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important subject; while it affords to the coun- 1829, to the 1st of January next, which is less
said: sides, and on none by any but the most liberal and mutually beneficial means-we may, by the “In my annual message of December, 1829, I blessing of Providence, hope for all that national had the honor to recommend the adoption of a prosperity which can be derived from an inter- more liberal policy than that which then prevailcourse with foreign nations, guided by those ed towards unfortunate debtors to the governeternal principles of justice and reciprocal good ment; and I deem it my duty again to invite will which are binding as well upon States as your attention to this subject. Actuated by the individuals of whom they are composed. similar views, Congress at their last session pass
". I have great satisfaction in making this ed an act for the relief of certain insolvent debtstatement of our affairs, because the course of ors of the United States : but the provisions of our national policy enables me to do it without that law have not been deemed such as were any indiscreet exposure of what in other govern- adequate to that relief to this unfortunate class ments is usually concealed from the people. of our fellow-citizens, which may be safely exHaving none but a straightforward, open course tended to them. The points in which the law to pursue-guided by a single principle that will appears to be defective will be particularly combear the strongest light-we have happily no municated by the Secretary of the Treasury: and political combinations to form, no alliances to I take pleasure in recommending such an extenentangle us, no complicated interests to consult; sion of its provisions as will unfetter the enterand in subjecting all we have done to the con- prise of a valuable portion of our citizens, and sideration of our citizens, and to the inspection restore to them the means of usefulness to themof the world, we give no advantage to other na- selves and the community." tions, and lay ourselves open to no injury.”
Recurring to his previous recommendation in This clear and succinct account of the state of favor of giving the election of President and Viceour foreign relations makes us fully acquainted President to the direct vote of the people, the with these affairs as they then stood, and presents message says: a view of questions to be settled with several “I have heretofore recommended amendments powers which were to receive their solution of the federal constitution giving the election from the firm and friendly spirit in which they and limiting the service of the former to a
of President and Vice-President to the people, would be urged. Turning to our domestic con- single term. So important do I consider these cerns, the message thus speaks of the finances; changes in our fundamental law, that I cannot, showing a gradual increase, the rapid extinction in accordance with my sense of duty, omit to of the public debt, and that a revenue of 274 mil. press them upon the consideration of a new Conlions was about double the amount of all expen- relation to these points as to the disqualification
my views more at large, as well in ditures, exclusive of what that extinction absorb- of members of Congress to receive an office from ed :
a President in whose election they have had an “ The state of the public finances will be fully I refer you to my former messages.”
official agency, which I proposed as a substitute, shown by the Secretary of the Treasury, in the report which he will presently lay before you. And concludes thus in relation to the Bank of I will here, however, congratulate you upon their
the United States : prosperous condition. The revenue received in the present year will not fall short of twenty- “Entertaining the opinions heretofore expressseven million seven hundred thousand dollars ; ed in relation to the Bank of the United States, and the expenditures for all objects other than as at present organized, I felt it my duty, in my the public debt will not exceed fourteen million former messages, frankly to disclose them, in orseven hundred thousand. The payment on ac- der that the attention of the legislature and the count of the principal and interest of the debt, people should be seasonably directed to that imduring the year, will exceed sixteen millions and portant subject, and that it might be considered a half of dollars: a greater sum than has been and finally disposed of in a manner best calculaapplied to that object, out of the revenue, in any ted to promote the ends of the constitution, and year since the enlargement of the sinking fund, subserve the public interests. Having thus conexcept the two years following immediately i scientiously discharged a constitutional duty, I thereafter. The amount which will have been deem it proper, on this occasion, without a more applied to the public debt from the 4th of March, particular reference to the views of the subject
then expressed, to leave it for the present to the I was particularly grieved at this breach between investigation of an enlightend people and their Mr. Branch and the President, having known representatives.”
him from boyhood—been school-fellows together, and being well acquainted with his inviolable honor and long and faithful attachment to Gene
ral Jackson. It was the complete extinction of CHAPTER LIX.
the cabinet, and a new one was formed.
Mr. Van Buren had nothing to do with this REJECTION OF MR. VAN BUREN, MINISTER TO ENGLAND.
dissolution, of which General Jackson has borne
voluntary and written testimony, to be used in At the period of the election of General Jackson this chapter; and also left behind him a written to the Presidency, four gentlemen stood prominent account of the true cause, now first published in the political ranks, each indicated by his friends in this Thirty Years' View, fully exonerating for the succession, and each willing to be the Mr. Van Buren from all concern in that event, General's successor. They were Messrs. Clay and showing his regret that it had occurred. But and Webster, and Messrs. Calhoun and Van the whole catastrophe was charged upon him by Buren; the two former classing politically against his political opponents, and for the unworthy General Jackson—the two latter with him. But purpose of ousting the friends of Mr. Calhoun, an event soon occurred to override all political and procuring a new set of members entirely dedistinction, and to bring discordant and rival voted to his interest. This imputation was neelements to work together for a common object. gatived by his immediate departure from the That event was the appointment of Mr. Van country, setting out at once upon his mission, Buren to be Secretary of State—a post then look- without awaiting the action of the Senate on his ed upon as a stepping-stone to the Presidency– nomination. This was in the summer of 1831. and the imputed predilection of General Jackson Early in the ensuing session—at its very comfor him. This presented him as an obstacle in mencement, in fact—his nomination was sent in, the path of the other three, and which the inter- and it was quickly perceptible that there was to est of each required to be got out of the way. be an attack upon him—a combined one; the The strife first, and soon, began in the cabinet, three rival statesmen acting in concert, and each where Mr. Calhoun had several friends; and Mr. backed by all his friends. No one outside of the Van Buren, seeing that General Jackson's ad- combination, myself alone excepted, could believe ministration was likely to be embarrassed on his it would be successful. I saw they were masters account, determined to resign his post-having of the nomination from the first day, and would first seen the triumph of the new administration reject it when they were ready to exhibit a case in the recovery of the British West India trade, of justification to the country: and so informed and the successful commencement of other nego- General Jackson from an early period in the sestiations, which settled all outstanding difficulties sion. The numbers were sufficient: the difficulty with other nations, and shed such lustre upon was to make up a case to satisfy the people; and Jackson's diplomacy. He made known his de- that was found to be a tedious business. sign to the President, and his wish to retire from Fifty days were consumed in these prelimithe cabinet—did so-received the appointment naries—to be precise, fifty-one; and that in of minister to London, and immediately left the addition to months of preparation before the United States; and the cabinet, having been from Senate met. The preparation was long, but the the beginning without harmony or cohesion, was attack vigorous; and when commenced, the dissolved-some resigning voluntarily, the rest business was finished in two days. There were under requisition--as already related in the chap- about a dozen set speeches against him, from as ter on the dissolution of the cabinet. The volun- many different speakers-about double the numtary resigning members were classed as friends ber that spoke against Warren Hastings—and to Mr. Van Buren, the involuntary as opposed but four off-hand replies for him; and it was to him, and two of them (Messrs. Ingham and evident that the three chiefs had brought up all Branch) as friends to Mr. Calhoun; and be their friends to the work. It was an unprececame, of course, alienated from General Jackson. dented array of numbers and talent against one
individual, and he absent,—and of such amenity It was Mr. Gabriel Moore, of Alabama, who sat of manners as usually to disarm political oppo- near me, and to whom I said, when the vote was sition of all its virulence. The causes of objection declared, “ You have broken a minister, and were supposed to be found in four different heads elected a Vice-President.” He asked how? and of accusation; each of which was elaborately I told him the people would see nothing in it urged:
but a combination of rivals against a competitor, 1. The instructions drawn up and signed by and would pull them all down, and set him up. Mr. Van Buren as Secretary of State, under the “Good God!” said he, “why didn't you tell me direction of the President, and furnished to Mr. that before I voted, and I would have voted the McLane, for his guidance in endeavoring to re- other way.” It was only twenty minutos beopen the negotiation for the West India trade. fore, for he was the very last speaker, that Mr.
2. Making a breach of friendship between the Moore had delivered himself thus, on this very first and second officers of the government, interesting point of public duty against private President Jackson and Vice-President Calhoun feeling: -for the purpose of thwarting the latter, and 6 Under all the circumstances of the case, nothelping himself to the Presidency.
withstanding the able views which have been 3. Breaking up the cabinet for the same pur- presented, and the impatience of the Senate, I
feel it a duty incumbent upon me, not only in pose.
justification of myself, and of the motives which 4. Introducing the system of “proscription" govern me in the vote which I am about to give, (removal from office for opinion's sake), for the but, also, in justice to the free and independent same purpose.
people whom I have the honor in part to repreA formal motion was made by Mr. Holmes, have reluctantly compelled me to oppose the
sent, that I should set forth the reasons which of Maine, to raise a committee with power to confirmation of the present nominee.Sir, it is send for persons and papers, administer oaths, proper that I should declare that the evidence receive sworn testimony, and report it, with the adduced against the character and conduct of committee's opinion, to the Senate; but this the late Secretary of State, and the sources from
which this evidence emanates, have made an looked so much like preferring an impeachment, impression on my mind that will require of me, as well as trying it, that the procedure was in the conscientious though painful discharge of dropped; and all reliance was placed upon the my duty, to record my vote against his nomina
tion." numerous and elaborate speeches to be delivered, all carefully prepared, and intended for publica- The famous Madame Roland, when mounting tion, though delivered in secret session. Rejection the scaffold, apostrophized the mock statue upon of the nomination was not enough—a killing off it with this exclamation : "Oh Liberty! how in the public mind was intended ; and therefore many crimes are committed in thy name !" the unusual process of the elaborate preparation After what I have seen during my thirty years and intended publication of the speeches. All of inside and outside views in the Congress of the the speakers went through an excusatory for- United States, I feel qualified to paraphrase the mula, repeated with equal precision and gravity; apostrophe, and exclaim: “Oh Politics ! how abjuring all sinister motives; declaring them- much bamboozling is practised in thy game !" selves to be wholly governed by a sense of public The speakers against the nomination were duty ; describing the pain which they felt at Messrs. Clay, Webster, John M. Clayton, Ewing arraigning a gentleman whose manners and of Ohio, John Holmes, Frelinghuysen, Poindexdeportment were so urbane; and protesting that ter, Chambers of Maryland, Foot of Connecticut, nothing but a sense of duty to the country could Governor Miller, and Colonel Hayne of South force them to the reluctant performance of such Carolina, and Governor Moore of Alabama—just a painful task. The accomplished Forsyth com- a dozen, and equal to a full jury. Mr. Calhoun, plimented, in a way to be perfectly understood, as Vice-President, presiding in the Senate, could this excess of patriotism, which could voluntarily not speak; but he was understood to be perinflict so much self-distress for the sake of the sonated by his friends, and twice gave the public good; and I, most unwittingly, brought casting vote, one interlocutory, against the nomithe misery of one of the gentlemen to a sudden nee-a tie being contrived for that purpose, and and ridiculous conclusion by a chance remark. the combined plan requiring him to be upon the
record. Only four spoke on the side of the turned the attacks of his assailants against themnomination; General Smith of Maryland, Mr. selves. The facts were these: Mr. Gallatin, Forsyth, Mr. Bedford Brown, and Mr. Marcy. while minister at London, on the subject of this Messrs. Clay and Webster, and their friends, trade, of course sent home dispatches, addressed chiefly confined themselves to the instructions to the Secretary of State (Mr. Clay), in which on the West India trade; the friends of Mr. he gave an account of his progress, or rather of Calhoun paid most attention to the cabinet rup- the obstacles which prevented any progress, in ture, the separation of old friends, and the sys- the attempted negotiation. There were two of tem of proscription. Against the instructions it these dispatches, one dated September 22, 1826, was alleged, that they begged as a favor what the other November the 14th, 1827. The latter was due as a right; that they took the side of had been communicated to Congress in full
, and Great Britain against our own country; and printed among the papers of the case ; of the carried our party contests, and the issue of our former only an extract had been communicated, party elections, into diplomatic negotiations with and that relating to a mere formal point. It so foreign countries; and the following clause from happened that the part of this dispatch of Septhe instructions to Mr. McLane was quoted to tember, 1826, not communicated, contained Mr. sustain these allegations:
Gallatin's report of the causes which led to the
refusal of the British to treat-their refusal to “In reviewing the causes which have preceded and more or less contributed to a result so much permit us to accept the terms of their act of regretted, there will be found three grounds 1825, after the year limited for acceptance had upon which we are most assailable: 1. In our expired—and which led to the order in council, too long and too tenaciously resisting the right cutting us off from the trade; and it so happened of Great Britain to impose protecting duties in her colonies. 2. In not relieving her vessels that this report of these causes, so made by Mr. from the restriction of returning direct from th Gallatin, was the original from which Mr. Van United States to the colonies after permission Buren copied his instructions to Mr. McLane! had been given by Great Britain to our vessels and which were the subject of so much censure to clear out from the colonies to any other than in the Senate. I have been permitted by Mr. a British port. And, 3. In omitting to accept the terms offered by the act of Parliament of Everett, Secretary of State under President FillJuly, 1825, after the subject had been brought more -(Mr. Webster would have given me the before Congress and deliberately acted upon by same permission if I had applied during his our government. It is, without doubt, to the combined operation of these (three) causes that time, for he did so in every case that I ever we are to attribute the British interdict; you asked)—to examine this dispatch in the Departwill therefore see the propriety of possessing ment of State, and to copy from it whatever I yourself fully of all the explanatory and miti- wanted; I accordingly copied the following: gating circumstances connected with them, that you may be able to obviate, as far as practicable, the unfavorable impression which they have
“On three points we were perhaps vulnerable.
“1. The delay of renewing the negotiation. produced.”
“2. The omission of having revoked the reThis was the clause relied upon to sustain the striction on the indirect intercourse when that
of Great Britain had ceased. allegation of putting his own country in the
“3. Too long an adherence to the opposition wrong, and taking the part of Great Britain, and to her right of laying protecting duties. This truckling to her to obtain as a favor what was might have been given up as soon as the act of due as a right, and mixing up our party contests 1825 passed. These are the causes assigned for with our foreign negotiations. The fallacy of States on that subject ; and they have, un
the late measure adopted towards the United all these allegations was well shown in the re-doubtedly, had a decisive effect as far as relates plies of the four senators, and especially by to the order in council, assisted as they were General Smith, of Maryland; and has been fur- by the belief that our object was to compe! this ther shown in the course of this work, in the country to regulate the trade upon our own chapter on the recovery of the British West India trade. But there was a document at that This was a passage in the unpublished part time in the Department of State, unknown to of that dispatch, and it shows itself to be the the friends of Mr. Van Buren in the Senate, original from which Mr. Van Buren copied, subwhich would not only have exculpated him, but I stituting the milder term of “ assailable” where
Mr. Gallatin had applied that of “vulnerable" constitutional blunder, then, in the senators to to Mr. Adams's administration. Doubtless the treat Mr. Van Buren as the author of these incontents of that dispatch, in this particular, structions; it was also an error in point of fact. were entirely forgotten by Mr. Clay at the time General Jackson himself specially directed he spoke against Mr. Van Buren, having been them ; and so authorized General Smith to received by him above four years before that declare in the Senate—which he did. time. They were probably as little known to Breaking up the cabinet, and making dissenthe rest of the opposition senators as to our sion between General Jackson and Mr. Cal
and the omission to communicate and houn, was the second of the allegations against print them could not have occurred from any Mr. Van Buren. Repulsed as this accusation design to suppress what was material to the has been by the character of Mr. Van Buren, debate in the Senate, as the communication and and by the narrative of the “Exposition,” it has printing had taken place long before this occa- yet to receive a further and most authoritative sion of using the document had occurred. contradiction, from a source which admits of
The way I came to the knowledge of this no cavil—from General Jackson himself—in a omitted paragraph was this : When engaged voluntary declaration made after that event upon the chapter of his rejection, I wrote to had passed away, and when justice alone reMr. Van Buren for his view of the case; and mained the sole object to be accomplished. \ It he sent me back a manuscript copy of a speech was a statement addressed to "Martin Van Buwhich he had drawn up in London, to be de- ren, President of the United States,” dated at livered in New-York, at some “public dinner," the Hermitage, July 31st, 1840, and ran in which his friends could get up for the occasion; these words: but which he never delivered, or published, partly from an indisposition to go into the
“It was my intention as soon as I heard that
Mr. Calhoun had expressed his approbation of newspapers for character-much from a real
the leading measures of your administration, forbearance of temper—and possibly from see- and had paid you a visit, to place in your posing, on his return to the United States, that he session the statement which I shall now make; was not at all hurt by his fall. That manu- but bad health, and the pressure of other busiscript speech contained this omitted extract, What I have reference to is the imputation that
ness have constantly led me to postpone it. and I trust that I have used it fairly and benefi- has been sometimes thrown upon you, that you cially for the right, and without invidiousness to had an agency in producing the controversy the
wrong. It disposes of one point of attack; which took place between Mr. Calhoun and mybut the gentlemen were wrong in their whole self, in consequence of Mr. Crawford's disclosure
of what occurred in the cabinet of Mr. Monroe broad view of this British West India trade relative to my military operations in Florida question. Jackson took the Washington ground, during his administration. Mr. Calhoun is and he and Washington were both right. The doubtless already satisfied that he did you inenjoyment of colonial trade is a privilege to be justice in holding you in the slightest degree solicited, and not a right to be demanded ; and casion : but as there may be others who may
responsible for the course I pursued on that octhe terms of the enjoyment are questions for still be disposed to do you injustice, and who the mother country. The assailing senators may hereafter use the circumstance for the purwere wrong again in making the instructions a pose of impairing both your character and 'his
I think it my duty to place in your possession matter of attack upon Mr. Van Buren. They the followiug emphatic declaration, viz. : That were not his instructions, but President Jack- I am not aware of your ever saying a word to son's. By the constitution they were the Presi- me relative to Mr. Calhoun, which had a tendent's, and the senators derogated from that dency to create an interruption of my friendly instrument in treating his secretary as their sulted in any stage of the correspondence on
relations with him :that you were not conauthor. The President alone is the conductor the subject of his conduct in the cabinet of Mr. of our foreign relations, and the dispatches Monroe ;-and that, after this correspondence signed by the Secretaries of State only have became public, the only sentiment you ever exforce as coming from him, and are usually au- that it should have occurred. You are at lib
pressed to me about it was that of deep regret thenticated by the formula, “I am instructed erty to show this letter to Mr. Calhoun and by the President to say,” &c., &c. It was a make what other use of it you may think