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visions, in addition to all its obvious uses, would for a volunteer, and gave it—the one which elecbe cheaply and abundantly supplied with that trified the country, and has become historical: article. Mr. B. concluded with saying, that, Our Federal Union : It must be preserved." next to the reduction of the price of public lands, and the free use of the earth for labor and culti- This brief and simple sentiment, receiving emvation, he considered the abolition of the salt tax, phasis and interpretation from all the attendant and a free trade in foreign salt, as the greatest circumstances, and from the feeling which had blessing which the federal government could been spreading since the time of Mr. Webster's now bestow upon the people of the West."
speech, was received by the public as a proclamation from the President, to announce a plot against the Union, and to summon the people to its defence. Mr. Calhoun gave the next toast;
and it did not at all allay the suspicions which CHAPTER XLVI.
were crowding every bosom. It was this: “The
Union: next to our Liberty the most dear: may BIRTHDAY OF MR. JEFFERSON, AND THE DOC
we all remember that it can only be preserved by TRINE OF NULLIFICATION.
respecting the rights of the States, and distributThe anniversary of the birthday of Mr. Jeffer- ing equally the benefit and burthen of the Union." son (April 13th) was celebrated this year by a This toast touched all the tender parts of the numerous company at Washington City. Among new question—liberty before union-only to be. the invited guests present were the President and preserved-State rights—inequality of burthens Vice-President of the United States, three of the and benefits. These phrases, connecting themSecretaries of departments—Messrs. Van Buren, selves with Mr. Hayne's speech, and with proEaton and Branch-and the Postmaster-General, ceedings and publications in South Carolina, unMr. Barry-and numerously attended by mem- veiled NULLIFICATION, as a new and distinct docbers of both Houses of Congress, and by citizens. trine in the United States, with Mr. Calhoun for It was a subscription dinner ; and as the paper its apostle, and a new party in the field of which imported, to do honor to the memory of Mr Jef- he was the leader. The proceedings of the day ferson as the founder of the political school to put an end to all doubt about the justice of Mr. which the subscribers belonged. In that sense Webster's grand peroration, and revealed to the I was a subscriber to the dinner, and attended public mind the fact of an actual design tending to it; and have no doubt that the mass of the sub- dissolve the Union. scribers acted under the same feeling. There Mr Jefferson was dead at that time, and could was a full assemblage when I arrived, and I ob- not defend himself from the use which the new served gentlemen standing about in clusters in party made of his name-endeavoring to make the ante-rooms, and talking with animation on him its founder;—and putting words in his mouth something apparently serious, and which seemed for that purpose which he never spoke. He to engross their thoughts. I soon discovered happened to have written in his lifetime, and what it was—that it came from the promulgation without the least suspicion of its future great of the twenty-four regular toasts, which savor- materiality, the facts in relation to his concern in ed of the new doctrine of nullification ; and which, the famous resolutions of Virginia and Kentucky, acting on some previous misgivings, began to and which absolve him from the accusation spread the feeling that the dinner was got up brought against him since his death. He counselto inaugurate that doctrine, and to make Mr. led the resolutions of the Virginia General AssemnJefferson its father. Many persons broke off, bly; and the word nullify, or nullification, is not and refused to attend further ; but the company in them, or any equivalent word: he drew the was still numerous, and ardent, as was proved Kentucky resolutions of 1798: and they are equalby the number of volunteer votes given-above ly destitute of the same phrases. He had noeighty-in addition to the twenty-four regulars; thing to do with the Kentucky resolutions of and the numerous and animated speeches deliver- 1799, in which the word “ nullification," and as ed—the report of the whole proceedings filling the “rightful remedy," is found; and upon which eleven newspaper columns. When the regular the South Carolina school relied as their main artoasts were over, the President was called upon Igument—and from which their doctrine took its
name. Well, he had nothing to do with it! and executed, in the sense intended by the constitu80 wrote (as a mere matter of information, and tion : for the commercial treaties made by the without foreseeing its future use), in a letter to President and the Senate are not the legislative William C. Cabell shortly before his death. This regulation intended in that grant of power ; nor letter is in Volume III., page 429, of his publish- are the tariff laws, whether for revenue or proed correspondence. Thus, he left enough to vindi- tection, any the more so. They all miss the obcate himself, without knowing that a vindication .ject, and the mode of operating, intended by the would be necessary, and without recurring to the constitution in that grant—the true nature of argumentative demonstration of the peaceful and which was explained early in the life of the new constitutional remedies which the resolutions federal government by those most competent to which he did write, alone contemplated. But do it-Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Madison, and Mr. Wm. he left a friend to stand up for him when he Smith of South Carolina, -and in the form most was laid low in his grave-one qualified by his considerate and responsible. Mr. Jefferson, as long and intimate association to be his compur- Secretary of State, in his memorable report“ On gator, and entitled from his character to the ab- the restrictions and privileges of the commerce solute credence of all mankind. I speak of Mr. of the United States in foreign countries ;” Mr. Madison, who, in various letters published in a Madison in his resolutions as a member of the quarto volume by Mr. J. C. Maguire, of Wash- House of Representatives in the year 1793, “For ington City, has given the proofs which I have the regulation of our foreign commerce; and already used, and added others equally conclu- | in his speeches in support of his resolutions; sive. He fully overthrows and justly resents the and the speeches in reply, chiefly by Mr. Wilattempt " of the nullifiers to make the name of liam Smith, of South Carolina, speaking (as it was Mr. Jefferson the pedestal of their colossal here- held), the sense of General Hamilton; so that in sy." (Page 286: letter to Mr. N. P. Trist.) And the speeches and writing of these three early he left behind him a State also to come to the members of our government (not to speak of rescue of his assailed integrity-his own na- many other able men then in the House of Reptive State of Virginia—whose legislature almost resentatives), we have the authentic exposition unanimously; immediately after the attempt of the meaning of the clause in question, and of to make Mr. Jefferson " the pedestal of this its intended mode of operation : for they all colossal heresy," passed resolves repulsing the agreed in that view of the subject, though differimputation, and declaring that there was no- ing about the adoption of a system which would thing in the Virginia resolutions '98 '99, to sup- then have borne most heavily upon Great Britport South Carolina in her doctrine of nullifica-ain. The plan was defeated at that time, and tion. These testimonies absolve Mr. Jefferson: only by a very small majority (52 to 47),—the but the nullifiers killed his birthday celebrations ! defeat effected by the mercantile influence, which Instead of being renewed annually, in all time, favored the British trade, and was averse to any as his sincere disciples then intended, they have discrimination to her disadvantage, though only never been heard of since ! and the memory of a intended to coerce her into a commercial treatygreat man—benefactor of his species--has lost an of which we then had none with her. Afterhonor which grateful posterity intended to pay wards the system of treaties was followed up, it, and which the preservation and dissemination and protection to our own industry extended inof his principles require to be paid.
cidentally through the clause in the constitution authorizing Congress to “Lay and collect taxes, duties, imports and excises,” &c. So that the power granted in the clause, “ To regulate com
merce with foreign nations," has never yet been CHAPTER XLVII.
exercised by Congress:-a neglect or omission, the REGULATION OF COMMERCE.
more remarkable as, besides the plain and obvious
fairness and benefit of the regulation intended, The constitution of the United States gives to the power conferred by that clause was the poCongress the power to regulate commerce with tential moving cause of forming the present conforeign nations. That power has not yet been stitution, and creating the present Union.
The principle of the regulation was to be that that the commerce of the United States is not, of reciprocity--that is, that trade was not to be at this day, on that respectable footing to which, free on one side, and fettered on the other—that He recurred to its situation previous to the adop
from its nature and importance, it is entitled. goods were not to be taken from a foreign coun- tion of the constitution, when conflicting systry, free of duty, or at a low rate, unless that tems prevailed in the different States. The then country should take something from us, also existing state of things gave rise to that contenfree, or at a low rate. And the mode of acting Union, who met to deliberate on some general
tion of delegates from the different parts of the was by discriminating in the imposition of duties principles for the regulation of commerce, which between those which had, and had not, commer- might be conducive, in their operation, to the cial treaties with us—the object to be accom
general welfare, and that such measures should plished by an act of Congress to that effect; and good faith of those countries who were dis
be adopted as would conciliate the friendship which foreign nations might meet either by leg- posed to enter into the nearest commercial conislation in their imposition of duties; or, and nections with us. But what has been the result which is preferable, by treaties of specified and of the system which has been pursued ever limited duration. My early study of the theory, commerce? From the situation in which we find
since? What is the present situation of our and the working of our government—so often ourselves after four years' experiment, he obdifferent, and sometimes opposite-led me to served, that it appeared incumbent on the Uniunderstand the regulation clause in the constitu- ted States to see whether they could not now tion, and to admire and approve it: and as in which the government was in a great degree in
take measures promotive of those objects, for the beginning of General Jackson's administra- stituted. Measures of moderation, firmness and tion, I foresaw the speedy extinction of the pub- decision, he was persuaded, were now necessary lic debt, and the consequent release of great part to be adopted, in order to narrow the sphere of of our foreign imports from duty, I wished to not to meet us on terms of reciprocity.
our commerce with those nations who see proper be ready to derive all the benefit from the event “Mr. M. took a general view of the probable which would result from the double process of effects which the adoption of something like the receiving many articles free which were then resolutions he had proposed, would produce. taxed, and of sending abroad many articles free imported, a competition which would enable
They would produce, respecting many articles which were now met by heavy taxation. With countries who did not now supply us with those this view, I brought a bill into the Senate in the articles, to do it, and would increase the encousession 1829–30, to revive the policy of Mr. ragement on such as we can produce within ourMadison's resolutions of 1793—without effect share in carrying our own produce ; we should
We should also obtain an equitable then, but without despair of eventual success. enter into the field of competition on equal terms, Aud still wishing to see that policy revived, and and enjoy the actual benefit of advantages which seeing near at hand a favorable opportunity for nature and the spirit of our people entitle us to. it in the approaching extinction of our present this country is entitled to stand in, considering
“He adverted to the advantageous situation public debt-(and I wish I could add, a return the nature of our exports and returns. Our ex. to economy in the administration of the govern-ports are bulky, and therefore must employ ment)—and consequent large room for the reduc- much shipping, which might be nearly all our tion and abolition of duties, I here produce some
own: our exports are chiefly necessaries of life,
or raw materials, the food for the manufacturers passages from the speech I delivered on my bill of other nations. On the contrary, the chief of of 1830, preceded by some passages from Mr. what we receive from other countries, we can Madison's speech of 1793, in support of his res- either do without, or produce substitutes. olutions, and showing his view of their policy conceived, by exerting her natural rights, with:
" It is in the power of the United States, he and operation-not of their constitutionality, for out violating the rights, or even the equitable of that there was no question: and his com- pretensions of other nations-by doing no more plaint was that the identical clause in the consti- than most nations do for the protection of their tution which caused the constitution to be interests respected; for, what we receive from
interests, and much less than some, to make her framed, had then remained four years without other nations are but luxuries to us, which, if execution. He said:
we choose to throw aside, we could deprive part
of the manufacturers of those luxuries, of even “Mr. Madison, after some general observa- bread, if we are forced to the contest of selftions on the report, entered into a more particu- denial. This being the case, our country may lar consideration of the subject. He remarked make her enemies feel the extent of her power
We stand, with respect to the nation exporting proper, when any thing new or unusual is to be those luxuries, in the relation of an opulent in- proposed, to state the clauses, and make an exdividual to the laborer, in producing the super- position of the principles of his bill, before he fluities for his accommodation; the former can submitted the formal motion for leave to bring do without those luxuries, the consumption of it in. which gives bread to the latter.
“ The tenor of it is, not to abolish, but to pro“He did not propose, or wish that the United vide for the abolition of duties. This phraseStates should, at present, go so far in the line ology announces, that something in addition to which his resolutions point to, as they might go. the statute-some power in addition to that of The extent to which the principles involved in the legislature, is to be concerned in accomthose resolutions should be carried, will depend plishing the abolition. Then the duties for upon filling up the blanks. To go the very ex- abolition are described as unnecessary ones; tent of the principle immediately, might be in- and under this idea is included the twofold conconvenient. He wished, only, that the Legisla- ception, that they are useless, either for the proture should mark out the ground on which we tection of domestic industry, or for supplying think we can stand ; perhaps it may produce the treasury with revenue. The relief of the the effect wished for, without unnecessary irrita- people from sixteen millions of taxes is based tion; we need not at first, go every length. upon the idea of an abolition of twelve millions
" Another consideration would induce him, he of duties; the additional four millions being the said, to be moderate in filling up the blanks- merchant's profit upon the duty he advances ; not to wound public credit. He did not wish to which profit the people pay as a part of the tax, risk any sensible diminution of the public revenue. though the government never receives it. It is He believed that if the blanks were filled with the merchant's compensation for advancing the judgment, the diminution of the revenue, from a duty, and is the same as his profit upon the diminution in the quantity of imports, would be goods. The improved condition of the four great counterbalanced by the increase in the duties. branches of national industry is presented as the
" The last resolution he had proposed, he said, third object of the bill; and their relative imis, in a manner, distinct from the rest. The portance, in my estimation, classes itself accordnation is bound by the most sacred obligation, ing to the order of my arrangement. Agriculhe conceived, to protect the rights of its citizens ture, as furnishing the means of subsistence to against a violation of them from any quarter; or, man, and as the foundation of every thing else, if they cannot protect, they are bound to repay is put foremost; manufactures, as preparing the damage.
and fitting things for our use, stands second; " It is a fact authenticated to this House by commerce, as exchanging the superfluities of communications from the Executive, that there different countries, comes next; and navigation, are regulations established by some European as furnishing the chief means of carrying on nations, contrary to the law of nations, by which commerce, closes the list of the four great our property is seized and disposed of in such a branches of national industry. Though classed way that damages have accrued. We are bound according to their respective importance, neither either to obtain reparation for the injustice, or branch is disparaged. They are all great intercompensate the damage. It is only in the first ests—all connected—all dependent upon each instance, no doubt, that the burden is to be other-friends in their nature—for a long time thrown upon the United States. The proper de- friends in fact, under the operations of our gopartment of government will, no doubt, take pro-vernment: and only made enemies to each other, per steps to obtain redress. The justice of foreign as they now are by a course of legislation, which nations will certainly not permit them to deny the approaching extinguishment of the public reparation when the breach of the law of nations debt presents a fit opportunity for reforming evidently appears; at any rate, it is just that the and ameliorating. The title of my bill declares individual should not suffer.' He believed the the intention of the bill to improve the condition amount of the damages that would come within of each of them. The abolition of sixteen milthe meaning of this resolution, would not be very lions of taxes would itself operate a great imconsiderable.”
provement in the condition of each ; but the in
tention of the bill is not limited to that incidenReproducing these views of Mr. Madison, and with a desire to fortify myself with his authority, may be ; it proposes a positive, direct, visible,
tal and consequential improvement, great as it the better to produce a future practical effect, I tangible, and countable benefit to each; and now give the extract from my own speech of this I shall prove and demonstrate, not in this 1830 :
brief illustration of the title of my bill, but at
the proper places, in the course of the examina“Mr. Benton said he rose to ask the leave for tion into its provisions and exposition of its which he gave notice on Friday last; and in do- principles. ing so, he meant to avail himself of the parlia- "I will now proceed with the bill, reading each mentary rule, seldom followed here, but familiar section in its order, and making the remarks in the place from whence we drew our rules— upon it which are necessary to explain its object the British Parliament—and strictly right and and to illustrate its operation.
The First Section.
of the world—could every country be employed
in producing that which nature has best fitted it “That, for the term of ten years, from and af- to produce, and each be free to exchange with ter the first day of January, in the year 1832, others mutual surplusses, for mutual wants
, or, as soon thereafter as may be agreed upon the greatest mass possible would then be probetween the United States and any foreign pow. duced, of those things which contribute to huer, the duties now payable on the importation of man life and human happiness, the numbers of the following articles, or such of them as may be mankind would be increased, and their condition agreed upon, shall cease and determine, or be bettered. reduced, in favor of such countries as shall, by “Would even a single nation begin with the treaty, grant equivalent advantages to the agri- United States this system of free commerce, it culture, manufactures, commerce, and navigation, would be advisable to begin it with that nation; of the United States.
since it is one by one only that it can be extend“ This section contains the principle of abolished to all. Where the circumstances of either ing duties by the joint act of the legislative and party render it expedient to levy a revenue, by executive departments. The idea of equiva way of impost on commerce, its freedom might lents, which the section also presents, is not be modified in that particular, by mutual and new, but has for its sanction high and venerated equivalent measures, preserving it entire in all authority, of which I shall not fail to avail my others. self. That we ought to have equivalents for “Some nations, not yet ripe for free comabolishing ten or twelve millions of duties on merce, in all its extent, might be willing to molforeign merchandise is most clear. Such an lify its restrictions and regulations, for us, in abolition will be an advantage to foreign powers, proportion to the advantages which an interfor which they ought to compensate us, by ra course with us might offer. Particularly they ducing duties to an equal amonnt upon our pro- may concur with us in reciprocating the duties ductions. This is what no law, or separate act to be levied on each side, or in compensating any of our own, can command. Amicable arrange excess of duty, by equivalent advantages of ments alone, with foreign owers, can effect it ; another nature. Our commerce is certainly of and to free such arrangements from serious, per- a character to entitle it to favor in most counhaps insuperable difficulties, it would be neces- tries. The commodities we offer are either nesary first to lay a foundation for them in an act cessaries of life, or materials for manufacture, or of Congress. This is what my bill proposes to convenient subjects of revenue; and we take in do. It proposes that Congress shall select the exchange either manufactures, when they have articles for abolition of duty, and then leave it to received the last finish of art and industry, or the Executive to extend the provisions of the act mere luxuries. Such customers may reasonably to such powers as will grant us equivalent ad- expect welcome and friendly treatment at every vantages. The articles enumerated for abolition market customers, too, whose demands, increasof duty are of kinds not made in the United ing with their wealth and population, must very States, so that my bill presents no ground of shortly give full employment to the whole indusalarm or uneasiness to any branch of domestic try of any nation whatever, in any line of supply industry.
they may get into the habit of calling for from it. “The acquisition of equivalents is a striking " But, should any nation, contrary to our feature in the plan which I propose, and for that wishes, suppose it may better find its advantage I have the authority of him whose opinions will by continuing its system of prohibitions, duties, never be invoked in vain, while republican prin- and regulations, it behooves us to protect our ciples have root in our soil. I speak of Mr. Jef- citizens, their commerce and navigation, by ferson, and of his report on the commerce and counter prohibitions, duties, and regulations, navigation of the United States, in the year '93, also. Free commerce and navigation are not to an extract from which I will read."
be given in exchange for restrictions and vexaThe Extract.
tions ; nor are they likely to produce a relaxa
tion of them.” “Such being the restrictions on the commerce and navigation of the United States, the question “ The plan which I now propose adopts the is, in what way they may best be removed, mod- idea of equivalents and retaliation to the whole ified, or counteracted ?
extent recommended by Mr. Jefferson. It dif“ As to commerce, two methods occur. 1. fers from his plan in two features: first, in the By friendly arrangements with the several na- mode of proceeding, by founding the treaties tions with whom these restrictions exist: or, 2. abroad upon a legislative act at home; secondly, By the separate act of our own legislatures, for in combining protection with revenue, in selectcountervailing their effects.
ing articles of exception to the system of free “ There can be no doubt, but that, of these trade. This degree of protection he admitted two, friendly arrangements is the most eligible. himself, at a later period of his life. It corresInstead of embarrassing commerce under piles ponds with the recommendation of President of regulating laws, duties, and prohibitions, could Washington to Congress, in the year '90, and it be relieved from all its shackles, in all parts with that of our present Chief Magistrate, to