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tron independent from and not a part of the precedent it established that Congress the government. The House of Repre- might in its discretion do what it pleased, sentatives was strongly in favor of the re- under the plea of being " necessary" to newal of the charter, and several of its carry into effect some granted power. The committees made elaborate, ample and non-renewal of the charter in 1811, was argumentative reports upon the subject. the act of the Republican party, then in These reports were the subject of news- possession of the government, and taking paper and pamphlet publication; and the opportunity to terminate, upon its own lauded for their power and excellence, and limitation, the existence of an institution triumphant refutation of all the President's whose creation they had not been able to opinions. Thus was the “war of the Bank” prevent. The charter of the second bank, commenced at once in Congress, and in the in 1816, was the act of the Republican public press; and openly at the instance party, and to aid them in the administraof the Bank itself, which, forgetting its tion of the government, and, as such, was position as an institution of the govern- opposed by the Federal party-not seeming ment, for the convenience of the govern- then to understand that, by its instincts, a ment, set itself up as a power, and strug, great moneyed corporation was in symgled for continued existence, by demand pathy with their own party, and would for renewal of its charter. It allied itself soon be with it in action—which the bank at the same time to the political power soon was--and now struggled for a conopposed to the President, joined in all their tinuation of its existence under the lead schemes of protective tariff
, and national of those who had opposed its creation and internal improvement, and became the against the party which effected it. Mr. head of the American system. Its moneyed Webster was a Federal leader on both and political power, numerous interested occasions—against the charter in 1816; affiliations, and control over other banks for the re-charter in 1832. The bill passed and fiscal institutions, was truly great and the Senate after a long and arduous conextensive, and a power which was exer- test; and afterwards passed the House, cised and made to be felt during the strug- quickly and with little or no contest at all. gle to such a degree that it threatened a It was sent to the President, and vetoed danger to the country and the government by him July 10, 1832; the message stating almost amounting to a national calamity. his objections being an elaborate review
The subject of renewal of the charter of the subject; the veto being based mainly was agitated at every succeeding session on the unconstitutionality of the measure. of Congress down to 1836, and many able The veto was sustained. Following this speeches made for and against it.
the President after the adjournment reIn the month of December, 1831, the moved from the bank the government National Republicans, as the party was deposits, and referred to that fact in his then called which afterward took the name next annual message on the second day of of “whig," held its convention in Balti- December, 1833, at the opening of the first more, and nominated candidates for Presi- session of the twenty-third Congress. Acdent and Vice-President, to be voted for companying it was the report of the at the election in the autumn of the ensu- Secretary of the Treasury, Hon. Roger B. ing year. Henry Clay was the candidate Taney, afterwards Chief Justice of the for the office of President, and John Ser- Supreme Court of the United States, givgeant for that of Vice-President. The ing the reasons of the government for the platform or address to the people presented withdrawal of the public funds. Long and the party issues which were to be settled bitter was the contest between the Presiat the ensuing election, the chief subjects dent on the one side and the Bank and its being the tariff, internal improvement, re-supporters in the Senate on the other side. moval of the Cherokee Indians, and the The conduct of the Bank produced disrenewal of the United States Bank charter. tress throughout the country, and was so Thus the bank question was fully presented intended to coerce the President. Distress as an issue in the election by that part of petitions flooded Congress, and the Senate its friends who classed politically against even passed resolutions of censure of the President Jackson. But it had also Demo- President. The latter, however, held firm cratic friends without whose aid the re-in his position. A committee of investicharter could not be got through Congress, gation was appointed by the House of and they labored assiduously for it. The Representatives to inquire into the causes first Bank of the United States, chartered of the commercial embarrassment and the in 1791, was a federal measure, favored by public distress complained of in the General Hamilton, opposed by Mr. Jeffer- numerous distress memorials presented to son, Mr. Madison, and the Republican the two Houses during the session; and party; and became a great landmark of whether the Bank had been instrumental, party, not merely for the bank itself, but through its management of money, in profor the latitudinarian construction of the ducing the distress and embarrassment of constitution in which it was founded, and I which so much complaint was made; to
inquire whether the charter of the Bank | curred in the administration of President had been violated, and what corruptions Monroe. The President justified himself in and abuses, if any, existed in its manage- published correspondence, but the inevitament; and to inquire whether the Bank ble result followed-a rupture between the had used its corporate power or money to President and Vice-President—which was control the press, to interpose in politics, quickly followed by a breaking up and or to influence elections. The committee reconstructing the Cabinet. Some of were granted ample powers for the execu- its members classed as the political friends tion of these inquiries. It was treated of Mr. Calhoun, and could hardly be exwith disdain and contempt by the Bank pected to remain as ministers to the Presimanagement; refused access to the books dent. Mr. Van Buren resigned ; a new and papers, and the directors and president Cabinet was appointed and confirmed. refused to be sworn and testify. The This change in the Cabinet made a great committee at the next session made report figure in the party politics of the day, and of their proceedings, and asked for war- filled all the opposition newspapers, and rants to be issued against the managers to had many sinister reasons assigned to itbring them before the Bar of the House to all to the prejudice of General Jackson and answer for contempt; but the friends of Mr. Van Buren. the Bank in the House were able to check It is interesting to note here that during the proceedings and prevent action being the administration of President Jackson, taken. In the Senate, the President was -in the year 1833,—the Congress of the sought to be punished by a declination by United States, as the consequence of the that body to confirm the President's earnest efforts in that behalf, of Col. R. M. nomination of the four government direc- Johnson, of Kentucky, aided by the retors of the Bank, who had served the commendation and support of the Presiprevious year; and their re-nomination dent, passed the first laws, abolishing imafter that rejection again met with a similar prisonment for debt, under process from fate. In like manner his re-nomination of the Courts of the United States: the only Roger B. Taney to be Secretary of the extent to which an act of Congress could Treasury was rejected, for the action of go, by force of its enactments; but by force the latter in his support of the President of example and influence, has led to the and the removal of the public deposits. cessation of the practice of imprisoning The Bank had lost much ground in the debtors, in all, or nearly all, of the States public estimation by resisting the investi- and Territories of the Union; and without gation ordered and attempted by the House the evil consequences which had been of Representatives, and in consequence the dreaded from the loss of this remedy over Finance Committee of the Senate made an the person. The act was a total abolition of investigation, with so weak an attempt to the practice, leaving in full force all the revarnish over the affairs and acts of the medies against fraudulent evasions of debt. corporation that the odious appellation of The American system, and especially its “white-washing committee” was fastened prominent feature of a high protective
The downfall of the Bank tariff was put in issue, in the Presidential speedily followed; it soon afterwards be- canvass of 1832; and the friends of that came a total financial wreck, and its assets system labored diligently in Congress in and property were seized on executions. presenting its best points to the greatest With its financial failure it vanished from advantage; and staking its fate upon the public view, and public interest in it and issue of the election. It was lost; not only concern with it died out.
by the result of the main contest, but by About the beginning of March, 1831, a that of the congressional election which pamphlet was issued in Washington, by took place simultaneously with it. All the Mr. John C. Calhoun, the Vice-President, States dissatisfied with that system, were and addressed to the people of the United satisfied with the view of its speedy and States, explaining the cause of a difference regular extinction, under the legislation of which' had taken place between himself the approaching session of Congress, exand the President, General Jackson, in- cepting only South Carolina. She has stigated as the pamphlet alleged, by Mr. held aloof from the Presidential contest, Van Buren, and intended to make trouble and cast her electoral votes for persons between the first and second officers of the who were not candidates-doing nothing government, and to effect the political to aid the election of General Jackson, destruction of himself (Mr. Calhoun) for the with whom her interests were apparently benefit of the contriver of the quarrel, the identified. On the 24th November, 1832, then Secretary of State, and indicated as a two weeks after the election which decandidate for the presidential succession cided the fate of the tariff, that State upon the termination of Jackson's term. issued an Ordinance to nullify certain The differences grew out of certain charges acts of the Congress of the United against General Jackson respecting his con- States, purporting to be laws laying duct during the Seminole war which oc- l duties and imposts on the importation
3f foreign commodities.” It declared that of Representatives the members are all the Congress had exceeded its constitu- representatives of the United States, not tional powers in imposing high and ex- representatives of the particular States cessive duties on the theory of “protec- from which they come. They are paid by tion," had unjustly discriminated in favor the United States, not hy the State, nor of one class or employment, at the expense are they accountable to it for any act done and to the injury and oppression of other in the performance of their legislative classes and individuals; that said laws functions. were in consequence not binding on the The constitution of the United States, State and its citizens; and declaring its then, forms a government, not a league; right and purpose to enact laws to prevent and whether it be formed by a compact the enforcement and arrest the operation between the States, or in any other manof said acts and parts of the acts of the ner, its character is the same. It is a govCongress of the United States within the ernment in which all the people are reprelimits of that State after the first day of sented, which operates directly on the February following: This ordinance placed people individually, not upon the States the State in the attitude of forcible resist- they retained all the power they did not ance to the laws of the United States, to grant. But each State, having expressly take efi on the first day of February parted wit so many powers as to constinext ensuing-a date prior to the meeting tute, jointly with the other States, a single of the next Congress, which the country nation, cannot, from that period, possess naturally expected would take some action any right to secede, because such secession in reference to the tariff laws complained does not break a league, but destroys the of. The ordinance further provided that unity of the nation, and any injury to that if, in the meantime, any attempt was made unity, is not only a breach which could by the federal government to enforce the result from the contravention of a comobnoxious laws, except through the tribu-pact, but it is an offence against the whole nais, all the officers of which were sworn Union. To say that any State may at against them, the fact of such attempt was pleasure secede from the Union, is to say to terminate the continuance of South Car- that the United States are not a nation ; olina in the Union—to absolve her from because it would be a solecism to contend all connection with the federal government that any part of a nation might dissolve —and to establish her as a separate govern- its connection with the other parts, to their ment, wholly unconnected with the United injury or ruin, without committing any States or any State. The ordinance of otfence.” nullification was certified by the Governor Without calling on Congress for extraof South Carolina to the President of the ordinary powers, the President in his United States, and reached him in Decem-annual message, merely adverted to the ber of the same year; in consequence of attitude of the State, and proceeded to which he immediately issued a proclama- meet the exigency by the exercise of the tion, exhorting the people of South Caro- powers he already possessed. The prolina to obey the laws of Congress; point-ceedings in South Carolina not ceasing, ing out and explaining the illegality of and taking daily a more aggravated form the procedure; stating clearly and distinct in the organization of troops, the collecly his firm determination to enforce the tion of arms and of munitions of war, and laws as became him as Executive, even by in declarations hostile to the Union, he resort to force if necessary. As a state found it necessary early in January to repaper, it is important as it contains the port the facts to Congress in a special views of General Jackson regarding the message, and ask for extraordinary powers. nature and character of our federal gov- Bills for the reduction of the tariff were ernment, expressed in the following lan- early in the Session introduced into both guage: “The people of the United States houses, while at the same time the Presi. formed the constitution, acting through dent, though not relaxing his efforts tothe State Legislatures in making the com- wards a peaceful settlement of the diffipact, to meet and discuss its provisions, culty, made steady preparations for enforcand acting in separate conventions when ing the law. The result of the bills offered they ratified those provisions; but, the in the two Houses of Congress, was the terms used in the constitution show it to passage of Mr. Clay's “compromise" bill be a government in which the people of all on the 12th of February 1833, which radi. the States collectively are represented. cally changed the whole tariff system. We are one people in the choice of Presi The President in his message on the dent and Vice-President. Here the States South Carolina proceedings had recomhave no other agency than to direct the mended to Congress the revival of some mode in which the votes shall be given. acts, heretofore in force, to enable him to
The people, then, and not the execute the laws in that State: and the States, are represented in the executive Senate's committee on the judiciary had branch.
In the House' reported a bill accordingly early in the