« ПредишнаНапред »
It is an universal and fundamental po- I would be to retard, and not finally to litical principle, that the power to protect, resist, the will of a dominant majority. can safely be confided only to those inter But it is useless to multiply arguments
. ested in protecting, or their responsible Were it possible that reason could settle & agents-a maxim not less true in private question where the passions and interests of than in public affairs. The danger in our men are concerned, this point would have system is, that the general government, been long since settled for ever, by the which represents the interests of the whole, state of Virginia. The report of her legismay encroach on the states, which repre- lature, to which I have already referred, sent the peculiar and local interests, or has really, in my opinion, placed it beyond that the latter may encroach on the controversy. Speaking in reference to this former.
subject, it says, " It has been objected" to In examining this point, we ought not the right of a state
interpose for the to forget that the government, through all protection of her reserved rights), " that of its departments, judicial as well as the judicial authority is to be regarded as others, is administered by delegated and the sole expositor of the Constitution; on responsible agents; and that the power this subject it might be observed first that which really controls ultimately all the there may be instances of usurped powers movements, is not in the agents, but those which the forms of the Constitution could who elect or appoint them. To under- never draw within the control of the judistand then its real character, and what cial department; secondly, that if the dewould be the action of the system in any cision of the judiciary be raised above the supposable case, we must raise our view sovereign parties to the Constitution, the from the mere agents, to this high con- decisions of the other departments, not trolling power which finally impels every carried by the forms of the Constitution movement of the machine. By doing so, before the judiciary, must be equally auwe shall find all under the control of the thoritative and final with the decision of will of a majority, compounded of the that department. But the proper answer majority of the states, taken as corporate to the objection is, that the resolution of bodies, and the majority of the people of the General Assembly relates to those the states estimated in federal numbers. great and extraordinary cases, in which all These united constitute the real and final of the forms of the Constitution may prove power, which impels and directs the move- ineffectual against infraction dangerous to ments of the general government. The the essential rights of the parties to it. majority of the states elect the majority of The resolution supposes that dangerous the Senate ; of the people of the states, that powers not delegated, may not only be of the House of Representatives; the two usurped and executed by the other deunited, the President; and the President partments, but that the judicial departand a majority of the Senate appoint the ment may also exercise or sanction danjudges, a majority of whom and a major-gerous powers beyond the grant of the ity of the Senate and the House with the Constitution, and consequently that the President, really exercise all of the pow- ultimate right of the parties to the Constiers of the government with the exception tution to judge whether the compact has of the cases where the Constitution re- been dangerously violated, must extend to quires a greater number than a majority. violations by one delegated authority
, as The judges are, in fact, as truly the judi. well as by another-by the judiciary, as cial representatives of this united majority, well as by the executive or legislative." as the majority of Congress itself, or the Against these conclusive arguments, as President, is its legislative or executive they seem to me, it is objected, that if one representative; and to confide the power of the parties has the right to judge of into the judiciary to determine finally fractions of the Constitution, so has the and conclusively what powers are dele- other, and that consequently in cases of gated and what reserved, would be in real- contested powers between a state and the ity to confide it to the majority, whose general government, each would have a • agents they are, and by whom they can be right to maintain its opinion, as is the case controlled in various ways; and, of course, when sovereign powers differ in the conto subject (against the fundamental prin- struction of treaties or compacts, and that ciple of our system, and all sound political of course it would come to be a mere quesreasoning) the reserved powers of the tion of force. The error is in the assumpa states, with all of the local and peculiar tion that the general government is a party interests they were intended to protect, to to the constitutional compact. The states, the will of the very majority against as has been shown, formed the compact, which the protection was intended. Nor acting as sovereign and independent comwill the tenure by which the judges hold munities. The general government is but their office, however valuable the provi- its creature; and though in reality a gore sion in many other respects, materially ernment with all the rights and authority vary the case. Its highest possible effect I which belong to any other government,
within the orb of its powers, it is, never-pact of every defect and uncertainty, by theless, a goverment emanating from a an amendment of the instrument itself. It compact between sovereigns, and partak- is impossible for human wisdom, in a sysing, in its nature and object, of the charac-| tem like ours, to devise another mode ter of a joint commission, appointed to super- which shall be safe and effectual, and at intend and administer the interests in the same time consistent with what are which all are jointly concerned, but hav- the relations and acknowledged powers of ing, beyond its proper sphere, no more the two great departments of our governpower than if it did not exist. To deny ment. It gives a beauty and security this would be to deny the most incontestable peculiar to our system, which, if duly facts, and the clearest conclusions; while appreciated, will transmit its blessings to to acknowledge its truth, is to destroy ut- the remotest generations; but, if not, our terly the objection that the appeal would splendid anticipations of the future will be to force, in the case supposed. For if prove but an empty dream. Stripped of all each party has a right to judge, then under its covering, and the naked question is, our system of government, the final cogni- whether ours is a federal or a consolidated sance of a question of contested power government: a constitutional or absolute would be in the states, and not in the gen- one; a government resting ultimately on eral government. It would be the duty of the solid basis of the sovereignty of the the latter, as in all similar cases of a con- states, or on the unrestrained will of a test between one or more of the principals | majority; a form of government, as in all and a joint commission or agency, to refer other unlimited ones, in which injustice the contest to the principals themselves. and violence, and force, must finally preSuch are the plain dictates of reason and vail. Let it never be forgotten, that where analogy both. On no sound principle can the majority rules, the minority is the subthe agents have a right to final cognisance, ject; and that if we should absurdly attrias against the principals, much less to use bute to the former the exclusive right of force against them, to maintain their con- construing the Constitution, there would struction of their powers. Such a right be in fact between the sovereign and subwould be monstrous; and has never, here-ject, under such a government, no constitofore, been claimed in similar cases. tution; or at least nothing deserving the
That the doctrine is applicable to the name, or serving the legitimate object of so case of a contested power between the sacred an instrument. states and the general government, we
How the states are to exercise this high have the authority not only of reason and power of interposition which constitutes so analogy, but of the distinguished statesman essential a portion of their reserved rights already referred to. Mr. Jefferson, at a that it cannot be delegated without an enlate period of his life, after long experience tire surrender of their sovereignty, and and mature reflection, says, “With respect converting our system from a federal into to our state and federal governments, I do a consolidated government, is a question not think their relations are correctly un- that the states only are competent to dederstood by foreigners. They suppose the termine. The arguments former subordinate to the latter. This is that they possess the power, equally prove not the case. They are co-ordinate de- that they are, in the language of Jefferson, partments of one simple and integral" the rightful judges of the mode and whole. But you may ask if the two de measure of redress." But the spirit of partments should claim each the same forbearance, as well as the nature of the subject of power, where is the umpire to right itself, forbids a recourse to it, except decide between them? In cases of little in cases of dangerous infractions of the urgency or importance, the prudence of Constitution; and then only in the last both parties will keep them aloof from the resort, when all reasonable hope of relief questionable ground; but if it can neither from the ordinary action of the governbe avoided nor compromised, a convention ment has failed; when, if the right to inof the states must be called to ascribe the terpose did not exist, the alternative would doubtful power to that department which be submission and oppression on the one they may think best."--It is thus that our side, or resistance by force on the other. Constitution, by authorizing amendments, That our system should afford, in such exand by prescribing the authority and mode treme cases, an intermediate point between of making them, has by a simple contriv- these dire alternatives, by which the govance, with its characteristic wisdom, pro- ernment may be brought to a pause, and vided a power which, in the last resort, thereby an interval obtained to comprosupersedes effectually the necessity and mise differences, or, if impracticable, be even the pretext for force; a power to compelled to submit the question to a conwhich none can fairly object; with which stitutional adjustment, through an appeal the interests of all are safe'; which can to the states themselves, is an evidence of definitely close all controversies in the its high wisdom; an element not, as is only effectual mode, by freeing the com- supposed by some, of weakness, but of
3d and 6th, 1832.
strength; not of anarchy or revolution, people great truths, intimately connected but of peace and safety. Its general re- with the lasting welfare of my country. I cognition would of itself, in a great mea- should, indeed, sink overwhelmed and
subsure, if not altogether, supersede the neces- dued beneath the appalling magnitude of sity of its exercise, by impressing on the the task which lies before me, if I did not movements of the government that mod- feel myself sustained and fortified by a eration and stice so essential to harmony thorough consciousness of the justness of and peace, in a country of such vast ex- the cause which I have espoused, and by tent and diversity of interests as ours; and a persuasion I hope not presumptuous, that would, if controversy should come, turn it has the approbation of that Providence the resentment of the aggrieved from the who has so often smiled upon these United system to those who had abused its powers States. (a point all important), and cause them to Eight years ago it was my painful duty seek redress, not in revolution or over- to present to the other House of Congress, throw, but in reformation. It is, in fact, an unexaggerated picture of the general properly understood, a substitute where distress pervading the whole land. We the alternative would be force, tending to must all yet remember some of its frightprevent, and if that fails, to correct peace- ful features. We all know that the people ably the aberrations to which all political were then oppressed and borne down by systems are liable, and which, if per- an enormous load of debt; that the value mitted to accumulate, without correction, of property was at the lowest point of demust finally end in a general catastrophe. pression; that ruinous sales and sacrifices
were everywhere made of real estate ; that stop laws, and relief laws, and paper money
were adopted to save the people from imSpeech of Henry Clay
pending destruction; that a deficit in the In Defence of the American System* in which is given the public revenue existed, which compelled Previous History of Tarijf Contests in the Senate of the United States, Februury 2d,
government to seize upon, and divert from
its legitimate object the appropriations to [Mr Clay, having retired from Congress soon after the the sinking fund, to redeem the national of the Tariff of 1824, did not return to it till 1831-2, debt; and that our commerce and navigawhen the opponents of this system had acquired the tion were threatened with a complete paraexceudency, and were bent on its destruction. An act lysis. In short, sir, if I were to select any was devised and passed. The bill being under considera term of seven years since the adoption of tion in the Senate, Mr. Clay addressed that body as the present constitution which exhibited a follows:]
scene of the most wide-spread dismay and In one sentiment, Mr. President, ex- desolation, it would be exactly that term pressed by the honorable gentleman from of seven years which immediately preceded South Carolina, (General Hayne,) though the establishment of the tariff of 1824. perhaps not in the sense intended by him,
I have now to perform the more pleasing I entirely concur. I agree with him, that task of exhibiting an imperfect sketch of the decision on the system of policy em- the existing state of the unparalleled prosbraced in this debate, involves the future perity of the country. On a general surdestiny of this growing country. One way vey, we behold cultivation extended, the I verily believe, it would lead to deep and arts flourishing, the face of the country general distress, general bankruptcy and improved, our people fully and profitably national ruin, without benefit to any part employed, and the public countenance esof the Union: the other, the existing pros- hibiting tranquillity, contentment and happerity will be preserved and augmented, piness. And if we descend into particoand the nation will continue rapidly to lars, we have the agreeable contemplation advance in wealth, power, and greatness, of a people out of debt, land rising slowly without prejudice to any section of the in value, but in a secure and salutary confederacy.
degree; a ready though not extravagant Thus viewing the question, I stand here market for all the surplus productions of as the humble but zealous advocate, not of our industry; innumerable flocks and the interests of one State, or seven States herds browsing and gamboling on ten only, but of the whole Union. And never thousand hills and plains, covered with before have I felt more intensely, the over- rich and verdant grasses; our cities expowering weight of that share of respon- panded, and whole villages springing up, sibility which belongs to me in these de- as it were, by enchantment; our exports liberations. Never before have I had more and imports increased and increasing; our occasion than I now have to lament my tonnage, foreign and coastwise, swelling want of those intellectual powers, the pos- and fully occupied; the rivers of our insession of which might enable me to un- terior animated by the perpetual thunder fold to this Senate, and to illustrate to this and lightning of countless steam-boats; the
*In this extended abstracts are given and data rofer- currency sound and abundant; the publie ences omitted not applicable to these times.
Jebt of two wars nearly redeemed; and, to
With loss of Eden."
crown all, the public treasury overflowing, aware that, among those who were most embarrassing Congress, not to find subjects early pressing the payment of the public of taxation, but to select the objects which debt, and upon that ground were opposing shall be liberated from the impost
. If the appropriations to other great interests, term of seven years were to be selected, there were some who cared less about the of the greatest prosperity which this debt than the accomplishment of other obpeople have enjoyed since the establish-jects. But the people of the United States ment of their present constitution, it would have not coupled the payment of their be exactly that period of seven years which public debt with the destruction of the immediately followed the passage of the protection of their industry, against foreign tariff of 1824.
laws and foreign industry. They have This transformation of the condition of been accustomed to regard the extinction the country from gloom and distress to of the public debt as relief from a burthen, brightness and prosperity, has been mainly and not as the infliction of a curse. If it the work of American legislation, fostering is to be attended or followed by the subAmerican industry, instead of allowing it version of the American system, and an to be controlled by foreign legislation, exposure of our establishments and our cherishing foreign industry. The foes of productions to the unguarded consequences the American System, in 1824, with great of the selfish policy of foreign powers, the boldness and confidence, predicted, 1st. payment of the public debt will be the The ruin of the public revenue, and the bitterest of curses. Its fruit will be like creation of a necessity to resort to direct the fruit taxation. The gentleman from South Carolina, (General Hayne,) I believe,
“Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste thought that the tariff of 1824 would oper
Brought death into the world, and all our woo, ate a reduction of revenue to the large amount of eight millions of dollars. 211
. If the system of protection be founder! The destruction of our navigation. 3d. on principles erroneous in theory, perniThe desolation of commercial cities. And cious in practice-above all if it be uncou4th. The augmentation of the price of ob- stitutional, as is alleged, it ought to be jects of consumption, and further decline forthwith abolished, and not a vestige of it in that of the articles of our exports. suffered to remain. But, before we sanc. Every prediction which they made has tion this sweeping denunciation, let us failed—utterly failed. Instead of the ruin look a little at this system, its magnitude, of the public revenue, with which they its ramifications, its duration, and the high then sought to deter us from the adoption authorities which have sustained it. We of the American System, we are now shall see that its foes will have accomthreatened with its subversion, by the vast plished comparatively nothing, after havamount of the public revenue produced by ing achieved their present aim of breaking that system. Every branch of our navi- down our iron-foundries, our woolen, gation has increased.
cotton, and hemp manufactories, and our
sugar plantations. The destruction of Whilst we thus behold the entire failure these would, undoubtedly, lead to the sacof all that was foretold against the system, rifice of immense capital, the ruin of many it is a subject of just felicitation to its thousands of our fellow citizens, and infriends, that all their anticipations of its calculable loss to the whole community. benefits have been fulfilled, or are in pro- But their prostration would not disfigure, gress of fulfillment. The honorable gen- nor produce greater effect upon the whole tleman from South Carolina has made an system of protection, in all its branches, allusion to a speech made by me, in 1824, than the destruction of the beautiful domes in the other House, in support of the tariff, upon the capitol would occasion to the and to which, otherwise, I should not have magnificent edifice which they surmount. particularly referred. But I would ask Why, sir, there is scarcely an interest, any one, who can now command the cour- scarcely a vocation in society, which is not ago to peruse that long production, what embraced by the beneficence of this sysprinciple there laid down is not true? what tem. prediction then made has been falsified by It comprehends our coasting tonnage practical experience?
and trade, from which all foreign tonnage It is now proposed to abolish the system, is absolutely excluded. to which we owe so much of the public It includes all our foreign tonnage, with prosperity, and it is urged that the arrival the inconsiderable exception made by of the period of the redemption of the pub- treaties of reciprocity with a few foreign lic debt has been confidently looked to as powers. presenting a suitable occasion to rid the It embraces our fisheries, and all our country of evils with which the system is hardy and enterprising fishermen. alleged to be fraught. Not an inåttentive It extends to almost every mechanic observer of passing events, I have been | art: **
It extends to all lower Louisiana, the perity, the necessity of encouraging our Delta of which might as well be sub- domestic manufactures. Then came the merged again in the Gulf of Mexico, from edicts of Napoleon, and the British orders which it has been a gradual conquest, as in council; and our embargo, non-inter now to be deprived of the protecting duty course, non-importation, and war, followed upon its great staple.
in rapid succession. These national meaIt affects the cotton planter himself, and sures, amounting to a total suspension, for the tobacco planter, both of whom enjoy the period of their duration, of our foreign protection.
commerce, afforded the most efficacious Such are some of the items of this vast encouragement to American manufactures; system of protection, which it is now pro- and accordingly they everywhere sprung posed to abandon. We might well pause up. While these measures of restriction, and contemplate, if human imagination and this state of war continued, the manucould conceive the extent of mischief and facturers were stimulated in their enterruin from its total overthrow, before we prise by every assurance of support
, by proceed to the work of destruction. Its public sentiment, and by legislative reduration is worthy also of serious con- solves. It was about that period (1808) sideration. Not to go behind the consti- that South Carolina bore her high testitution, its date is coeval with that instru- mony to the wisdom of the policy, in an ment.' It began on the ever memorable act of her legislature, the preamble of fourth day of July--the fourth day of July, which, now before me, reads: 1789. The second act which stands re Whereas, the establishment and encour. corded in the statute book, bearing the il- agement of domestic manufactures, is conlustrious signature of George Washington, ducive to the interests of a State, by adding laid the corner-stone of the whole system. new incentives to industry, and as being That there might be no mistake about the the means of disposing to advantage the matter, it was then solemnly proclaimed surplus productions of the agriculturist : to the American people and to the world, and whereas, in the present unexampled that it was necessary for “the encourage- state of the world, their establishment in ment and protection of manufactures," that our country is not only expedient, but duties should be laid. It is in vain to politic in rendering us independent of urge the small amount of the measure of foreign nations." the protection then extended.
The legislature, not being competent to principle was then established by the fa- afford the most efficacious aid, by imposing thers of the constitution, with the father duties on foreign rival articles, proceeded of his country at their head. And it can- to incorporate a company, not now be questioned, that, if the govern Peace, under the treaty of Ghent, rement had not then been new and the sub- turned in 1815, but there did not return ject untried, a greater measure of protec- with it the golden days which preceded tion would have been applied, if it had the edicts levelled at our commerce by been supposed necessary. Shortly after, Great Britain and France. It found all the master minds of Jefferson and Hamil- Europe tranquilly resuming the arts and ton were brought to act on this interesting business of civil life. It found Europe no subject. Taking views of it appertaining longer the consumer of our surplus, and to the departments of foreign affairs and of the employer of our navigation, but ex; the treasury, which they respectively filled, cluding, or heavily burthening, almost all they presented, severally, reports which the productions of our agriculture, and our yet remain monuments of their profound rivals in manufactures, in navigation, and wisdom, and came to the same conclusion in commerce. It found our country, in of protection to American industry. Mr. short, in a situation totally different from Jefferson argued that foreign restrictions, all the past-new and untried. It became foreign prohibitions, and foreign high du- necessary to adapt our laws, and especially ties, ought to be met at home by Ameri- our laws of impost
, to the new circumcan restrictions, American prohibitions, stances in which we found ourselves
. Acand American high duties. "Mr. Hamil-cordingly, that eminent and lamented cititon, surveying the entire ground, and look- zen, then at the head of the treasury, (Mr. ing at the inherent nature of the subject, Dallas,) was required, by a resolution of treated it with an ability, which, if ever the House of Representatives, under date equalled, has not been surpassed, and ear- the twenty-third day of February, 1815, to nestly recommended protection.
prepare and report to the succeeding ses. The wars of the French revolution com- sion of Congress, a system of revenue conmenced about this period, and streams of formable with the actual condition of the gold poured into the United States through country. He had the circle of a whole a thousand channels, opened or enlarged year to perform the work, consulted merby the successful commerce which our chants, manufacturers, and other practical neutrality enabled us to prosecute. We men, and opened an extensive corresponforgot or overlooked, in the general pros lence. The report which he
de at the