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The previous admissions of Slave States, like Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi, had been from territory belonging to, and peopled by, the citizens of Slave States; and in the single case of Louisiana, a populous district, possessing large numbers of slaves while under the sway of another power, had been transferred into the Union without change of its institutions or local laws.
In the case of Missouri, there was a new issue. The ordinance of 1787, by which slavery was excluded from all territory northwest of the Ohio, expressed the opposition of the people to the extension of slavery over the territories which might subsequently become States; and it was urged that the admission of Missouri (which was divided only by the Mississippi River from that territory) with slavery, would virtually annul that expression of the popular will. The advocates of the admission of the State, on the other hand, urged that as slavery had existed in Louisiana Territory, of which Missouri formed a part at the time of the purchase of the latter, it would be a violation of the treaty, by which the United States had pledged itself to maintain the rights and privileges of the inhabitants of that territory on the same footing with those of its other citizens, to refuse to admit her with such social institutions as she preferred. The question was discussed with great ability during the greater part of three sessions of Congress, and produced an extraordinary excitement throughout the country. A resolution prohibiting slavery, and providing for the gradual emancipation of the slaves then in the State, passed the House, but was lost in the Senate. A compromise measure, proposed by Henry Clay, finally ended the controversy. Missouri was admitted as a Slave State; but slavery was prohibited in all territory north of the line of 36° 30', and south of that line the United States held no territories at that time except Arkansas and Florida, both of which from their position would necessarily be Slave States. The adherence to this compromise was solemnly guaranteed, and it was regarded as a final settlement of the question of the territorial extension of slavery. The vote on the admission of the State into the Union was taken in August, 1821, and in the Senate stood 28 yeas to 14 nays; in the House, 86 yeas to 82
The next attempt at nullifying or resisting the authority of the government of the United States, occurred in Georgia and Alabama in 1825. The Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Cherokee Indians, held large tracts of lands in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida, which had been secured to them as "reservations" by the United States Government. They had been the original proprietors of the soil of the entire Gulf States, but by treaty had relinquished to the United States all except nine and a half millions of acres in Georgia, seven and a half millions in Alabama, fifteen and threefourths millions in Mississippi, and four millions in Florida. They were considerably advanced in civilization, and had houses, farms, and herds of cattle on their reservations. But the rapid settlement of the Gulf States caused the white population to look with a greedy eye on these lands, and their State legislatures began to demand that the general Government should remove the whole body of Indians to
the region west of the Mississippi, about the head-waters of the Arkansas. So peremptory were the demands of Georgia to this effect (she having stipulated in her cession of Mississippi Territory, that the Indian titles to land in that State should be extinguished "whenever it could be accomplished peaceably and on reasonable terms"), that just before the close of Mr. Monroe's administration, commissioners were appointed to make a treaty with the Creeks for the purchase of their lands by the United States Government. A treaty was negotiated (as it afterward appeared, fraudulently) on the 12th of Febru ary, 1825, between the Creek chief, General William McIntosh, and Mr. Crowell, the United States agent, by which all the Creek reservations in Georgia, and a large tract in Alabama, were ceded to the Government. On learning of this treaty, the Creeks were greatly excited, and refused to accept it. On the 30th of April a party of them assassinated McIntosh and another chief who had signed the treaty with him, and burned his house. The State authorities of Georgia prepared to take possession of the territory by force, and called out troops for the purpose. As the United States Government had, by treaty, stipulated to protect the Indians in their just rights, President Adams sent a force of Federal troops to the confines of the reservation for that purpose. Georgia called on the adjacent States, and troops and money were raised to assist her "against the Government and the Indians." In this emergency President Adams gathered at Washington the head men and principal chiefs of the Creeks, and negotiated a new treaty with them, by which all the lands in Georgia, but none of those in Alabama, were ceded to the Government. This treaty was ratified by Congress, though opposed by the Georgia delegation, and was faithfully observed by the Indians. As there was no excuse for further hostilities, the Georgia troops were disbanded.
The tariff act of 1828 was the occasion of another rebellious outbreak, and this time South Carolina was the chief actor, though encouraged by several of the other Southern States. The war of 1812 had greatly developed the manufacturing interest of the country, and for the protection of that interest against the formidable rivalry of British manufacturers, Congress had, from time to time, laid heavy duties on such imported products, woollens, coarse cottons, sugars, &c., as competed with our manufactures-as they had, in the infancy of the cotton production, laid a heavy impost on the importation of raw cotton. The woollen manufacture was carried on in many of the States-New York, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Pennsylvania being most largely engaged in it. But when, in 1828, a higher duty was proposed on several classes of goods, including woollens, Mr. Hayne, of South Carolina, then a member of the United States Senate, took occasion to denounce the act as unconstitutional, a Northern exaction, a tribute which the South was to be compelled to pay to the North, and to assert the right and duty of his State to nullify the law, by refusing to pay the duties. Mr. Webster replied to Mr. Hayne, in that great speech in defence of the powers of the Constitution which has become historical, and so completely annihilated the
doctrine of nullification that its resurrection seemed impossible. Events proved, however, that the speech of Mr. Hayne was only the first step in the development of a plan to give the planting States the control of the Government, or to take them out of the Union. The State Rights heresy was already a favorite doctrine in Virginia and South Carolina, and was gaining ground in other Southern States; and to the propagation of this doctrine, as also to the defence and support of nullification, Mr. Hayne, and Mr. Calhoun, then Vice-President of the United States, lent their great powers. An open rupture between the United States and South Carolina seemed imminent, and, as usual, the timid recommended conciliation and the modification of the offensive tariff, and succeeded in procuring a reduction of some of the duties; but this only encouraged the conspirators to further demands. Congress, they urged, had been terrified into concessions by the threats of South Carolina; let those threats be increased, and every thing would be yielded. The legislature of that State met in the autumn of 1832, and appointed a Committee on the Relations of the State with the Federal Government. That committee reported in almost the language of Jefferson's resolutions, and of the Hartford Convention, declaring the Federal Constitution a mere compact between independent and sovereign States; that when any violation of the spirit of that compact took place, it was the right of the State to remonstrate against it; and that, though there was a tribunal appointed under the Constitution to decide controversies where the United States was a party, yet in some questions which might occur between the Government and the State, it would be unsafe to submit to any judicial tribunal, and it was proper for the State legislature to decide such questions for itself.
A convention of delegates met on the 19th of November, to act for the State in the crisis, and Governor (late United States Senator) Hayne was elected its president. Resolutions were passed, declaring the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 null and void, and not binding upon the citizens of the States; and that in case the general Government should attempt their enforcement by naval or military power, the union between South Carolina and the United States should be considered dissolved, and a convention called to form a government for the State. It was also resolved that no appeal should be permitted to be taken to the Supreme Court of the United States in respect to the validity of the ordinances of the convention, or of the laws passed to give effect thereto. A special session of the legislature was called on the adjournment of the convention, and acts passed authorizing the Governor to call out the militia to resist any attempt of the United States Government to enforce the laws, and ordering the purchase of ten thousand stand of arms and the necessary munitions of war. This was followed by Mr. Calhoun's resignation of the Vice-Presidency, and his election to the United States Senate. It had been the intention of President Jackson to order him to be arrested on his arrival at Washington, and tried for high treason, and, in case of conviction, to execute him. Messrs. Webster, Clay, and others, dissuaded him from this step; but, to his dying day, the stern old man
insisted that his failure to do this was the one great error of his administration. On the 10th of December the President issued his proclamation against nullification, in which he stated plainly the nature of the Federal Government, denied emphatically the dogma that the Constitution was a mere compact between the States, declared its supremacy, and exhorted the citizens of South Carolina not to persist in a course which must bring upon their State the whole military force of the Republic, and expose the Union to the hazard of dissolution.
While thus expostulating with South Carolina, the President did not forget that the exhibition of power sufficient to enforce his authority was the surest means of securing attention to his remonstrances. A considerable military force was ordered to Charleston, and a sloop of war sent to that port to protect the Federal officers in the discharge of their duties; and, before the South Carolinians were aware, General Scott, with a strong garrison, was in Fort Moultrie, prepared, if necessary, to use its cannon in the collection of the reve nue. In his message to Congress, President Jackson recommended a peaceful settlement, if possible, but avowed his determination, if Congress did not deem it best to modify or repeal the law, to force South Carolina to submission. He declared nullification rebellion against the Government, and such rebellion he deemed it his duty to suppress. The determined position of the President and the formidable preparations of General Scott had a sensible effect in cooling the ardor of the South Carolinians. The revenues were collected at the Charleston Custom-House, under the provisions of the hated tariffs, and all was quiet. The State Convention met, and resolved that it would wait until February 1st before ordering any hostile action. On the 21st of January, 1833, a bill was introduced into the United States Senate by Mr. Wilkins, of Pennsylvania, authorizing the President to summon, if necessary, the entire military power of the United States to put down the opposition to the collection of the revenue. In the course of the discussion on this bill, Mr. Calhoun, in a speech of great casuistry and adroitness, defended the State Rights interpretation of the Constitution; and Mr. Webster replied in an argument showing most conclusively that the Constitution was a bond of union of the people, and not a compact between sovereign States, and that there was no place nor room for State action to nullify national laws. The bill of Mr. Wilkins passed by an almost unanimous vote. The right and power of the Government having been thus maintained, Henry Clay proposed and carried through both Houses a measure of compromise and concession, providing for a gradual reduction of the tariff duties to a minimum rate, to be reached in December, 1841. The 1st of February had come, but no resistance had been offered to the collection of the revenue; and on the 11th of March, Governor Hayne summoned the Convention to "accept the highly satisfactory settlement of the difficulty afforded by the compromise of Mr. Clay, and to declare the great principle of State sovereignty established." This partial triumph was the source of subsequent mischief South Carolina had, substantially, gained her demands, and her
leading men believed that they had only to watch their opportunit and, under a less resolute executive, put forth their demands, acco panying them with threats, and they would be granted. In the ne thirty years the experiment was tried more than once, and always wi
The policy of the Government at the adoption of the Constitutio and for some years after, had been to repress slavery. It was t belief of the framers of the Constitution that it would die out in a fe years, and all of them regarded such a result as one to be desire But the invention of the cotton-gin gave such an impulse to the cu tivation of cotton, and the rapid extension of the cotton manufactu rendered it so profitable and important a crop, that the demand f slaves to cultivate it increased beyond the supply, and the price wa greatly enhanced. But the system of cultivation by slave labor wo out the lands of the cotton planters in a few years, and they were con pelled to move to new lands in order to obtain good crops. This, an the desire to secure to their section the political ascendancy in th United States Government, led the statesmen of the South to seek co stantly for the addition of new territory which could be made int Slave States.
This motive had great weight in inducing the purchase of Louis ana in 1803, without warrant from the Constitution; in the purchas of Florida from Spain in 1819; and in the struggle for the admissio of Missouri as a Slave State in 1820, in which, as we have seen, the were successful.
With this increase of slavery, however, there had been graduall springing up in the minds of the people of the non-slaveholdin States a dislike of the system, and about the time of the nullification movement this feeling began to find public expression in newspapers lectures, &c. At first the interests of the great body of the North ern people, especially the manufacturing, mercantile, and commercia classes, were so fully identified with the South, that they were littl inclined to tolerate any condemnation of slavery; and many of thos who wrote against or spoke against it were mobbed and maltreated The Southern leaders were enraged at the agitation of the subject of slavery. There was some reason to fear that their slaves might lear that there were those who desired their freedom, and thus b tempted to rise in insurrection; there was more reason to dread tha if the opposition to slavery assumed an organized form, it migh eventually curtail their power in the Government, and, since the North increased in population much more rapidly than the South. prevent the consummation of their plans for the extension of slave territory, and their control of the national administration. For these reasons they adopted measures of severe repression whenever any attempt was made to oppose or condemn the institution. The recep tion of petitions by Congress on any subject connected with emanci pation was prohibited; an attempt was made to expel John Quincy Adams, a former President of the United States, from the House of Representatives, for offering such a petition; laws were passed authoring the seizure of anti-slavery pamphlets or papers passing through