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MR. HAYNE'S SPEECH.
DEBATE IN THE SENATE ON MR. FOOT'S RESOLUTION, THURSDAY
JANUARY 21, 1830.
Mr. Foot's resolution being under consideration
[When Mr. WEBSTER concluded his first speech on Wednesday, the 20th, Mr. Benton followed with some remarks in reply to Mr. W., but as they were principally embodied In bis more extended speech some days after, those remarks are omitted. On the day following, Mr. HAYNE took the floor in the following rejoinder to Mr. WEBSTER.
Mr. HAYNE said, when he took occasion, two days ago, to throw out some ideas with respect to the policy of the government, in relation to the public lands, nothing certainly could have been further from his thoughts, than that he should have been compelled again to throw himself upon
the indulgence of the Senate. Little did I expect, said Mr. H., to be called upon to meet such an argument as was yesterday urged by the gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. Webster.) Sir, I questioned no man's opinions; I impeached no man's motives; I charged no party, or state, or section of country with hostility to any other, but ventured, as I thought, in a becoming spirit, to put forth my own sentiments in relation to a great national question of public policy. Such was my course. The gentlemen from Missouri, (Mr. Benton,) it is true, had charged upon the Eastern States an early and continued hostility towards the west, and referred to a number of historical facts and documents in support of that charge. Now, sir, how have these different argument been met? The honorable gentleman from Massachusetts, after deliberating a whole night upon his course, comes into this chamber to vindicate New England; and instead of making up his issue with the gentleman from Missouri, on the charges which he had preferred, chooses to consider me as the author of those charges, and losing sight entirely of that gentlemen, selects me as his adversary, and pours out all the vials of his mighty wrath upon my devoted head. Nor is he willing to stop there. He goes on to assail the institutions and policy of the south, and calls in question the principles and conduct of the state which I have the honor to represent.
When I find a gentlemen of mature age and experience, of acknowledged talents and profound sagacity, pursuing a course like this, declining the contest offered from the west, and making war upon the unoffending south, I must believe, I am bound to believe, he has some object in view which he has not ventured to disclose. Mr. President, why is this? Has the gentleman discovered in former controversies with the gentleman from Missouri, that he is overmatched by that senator? And does he hope for an easy victory over
a more feeble adversary? Has the gentleman's distempered fancy been disturbed by gloomy forebodings of “new alliances to be formed,” at which he hinted ; Has the ghost of the murdered CoALITION come back, like the ghost of Banquo, to “sear the eyeballs of the gentleman,” and will it not down at his bidding? Are dark visions of broken hopes, and honors lost forever, still floating before his heated imagination? Sir, if it be his object to thurst me between the gentleman from Missouri and himself, in order to rescue the east from the contest it has provoked with the west, he shall not be gratified. Sir, I will not be dragged into the defence of my friend from Missouri. The south shall not be forced into a conflict not its own. The gentleman from Missouri is able to fight his own battles. The gallent west needs no aid from the south to repel any attack which may be made on them from any quarter. Let the gentlemen from Massachusetts controvert the fact and arguments of the gentleman from Missouri, if he can — and if he win the victory, let him wear the honors; I shall not deprive him of his laurels. The gentleman from Massachusetts, in reply to my remarks on the injurious operations of our land system on the prosperity of the west, pronounced an extravagant eulogium on the paternal care which the government had extended towards the west, to which he attributed all that was great and excellent in the present condition of the new states. The language of the gentleman on this topic fell upon my ears like the almost forgotton tones of the tory leaders of the British Parliament, at the commencement of the American revolution. They, too, discovered that the colonies had grown great under the fostering care of the mother country; and I must confess, while listening to the gentleman, I thought the appropriate reply to his argument was to be found in the remark of a celebrated orator, made on that occasion: “They have grown great in spite of your protection.” The gentleman, in commenting on the policy of the government in relation to the new states, has introduced to our notice a certain Nathan Dane, of Massachusetts, to whom he attributes the celebrated ordinance of ’87, by which he tells us, “slavery was forever excluded from the new states north of the Ohio.” After eulogizing the wisdom of this provision in terms of the most extravagant praise, he breaks forth in admiration of the greatness of Nathan Dane — and great indeed he must be, if it be true, as stated by the senator from Massachusetts, that “he was greater than Solon and Lycurgus, Minos, Numa Pompilius, and all the legislators and philosophers of the world.” ancient and modern. Sir, to such high authority it is certainly my duty, in a becoming spirit of humility, to submit. And yet, the gentleman will pardon me, when I say, that it is a little unfortunate for the fame of this great legislator, that the gentleman from Missouri should have proved that he was not the author of the ordinance of ’87, on which the senator from Massachusetts has reared so glorious a monument to his name. , Sir, I doubt not the senator will feel some compassion for our ignorance, when I tell him, that so little are we acquainted with the modern great men of New England, that until he informed us yesterday that we possessed a Solon and a Lycurgus in the person of Nathan Dane, he was only known to the south as a member of a celebrated assembly, called and known by the name of the “Hartford Convention.” In the proceedings of that assembly, which I hold in my hand, o p. 19) will be found, in a few lines, the history of Nathan Dane; and a little arther on, there is conclusive evidence of that ardent devotion to the interest of the new states, which it seems, has given him a just claim to the title of “Father of the West.” By the 2d resolution of the “Hartford Convention,” itis declared, “that it is expedient to attempt to make provision for restraining Congress in the exercise of an unlimited power to make new states, and admitting them into the Union.” So much for Nathan Dane, of Beverly, Massachusetts.
In commenting upon my views in relation to the public lands, the gentleman insists, that it being one of the conditions of the grants that these lands should be applied to “the common benefit of all the states, they must always remain a fund for revenue;” and adds, “they must be treated as so much treasure.” Sir, the gentleman could hardly find language strong enough to convey his disapprobation of the policy which I have ventured to recommend to the favorable consideration of the country. And what, sir, was that policy, and what is the difference between that gentleman and myself on that subject? I threw out the idea that the public lands ought not to be reserved forever, as “a great fund for revenue;” that they ought not to be “treated as a great treasure;' but that the course of our policy should rather be directed towards the creation of new states, and building up great and flourishing communities.
Now, sir, will it be believed, by those who now hear me, — and who listened to the gentlemen's denunciation of my doctrines yesterday, - that a book then lay open before him — nay, that he held it in his hand, and read from it certain passages of his own speech, delivered to the House of Representatives in 1825, in which speech he himself contended for the very doctrines I had advocated, and almost in the same terms? Here is the speech of the Hon. Daniel Webster, contained in the first volume of Gales and Seaton's Register of Debates (p. 251,) delivered in the House of Representatives on the 18th of January, 1825, in a debate on the Cumberland road—the very debate from which the senator read yesterday. I shall read from the celebrated speech two passages, from which it will appear that both as to the past and the future policy of the government in relation to the public lands, the gentleman from Massachusetts maintained, in 1825, substantially the same opinions which I have advanced, but which he now so strongly reprobates. I said, sir, that the system of credit sales by which the west had been kept constantly in debt to the United States, and by which their wealth was drained off to be expended elsewhere, had operated injuriously on their prosperity. On this point the gentleman from Massachusetts, in January, 1825, expressed himself thus: “There could be no doubt, if gentlemen looked at the money received into the traasury from the sale of the public lands to the west, and then looked to the whole amount expended by government, (even including the whole amount of what was laid out for the army,) the latter must be allowed to be very inconsiderable, and there must be a constunt drain of money from the west to pay for the public lands. It might indeed be said that this was no more than the refluence of capital which had previously gone over the mountains. Be it so. Still its practical effect was to produce inconvenience, if not distress, by absorbing the money of the people.”
I contend that the public lands ought not to be treated merely as “a fund for revenue;” that they ought not to be hoarded “as a great treasure.” On this point the senator expressed himself thus: “Government, he believed, had received eighteen or twenty millions of dollars from the public lands, and it was with the greatest satisfaction he adverted to the change which had been introduced in the mode of paying for them; yet he could never think
the national domain was to be regarded as any great source of revenue. The great object of the government, in respect of these lands, was not so much the money derived from their sale, as it was the getting them settled. What he meant to say was, he did not think they ought to hug that domain As A GREAT TREASURE, which was to enrich the Exchequer.” Now, Mr. President, it will be seen that the very doctrines which the gentleman so indignantly abandons were urged by him in 1825; and if I had actually borrowed my sentiments from those which he then avowed, I could not have followed more closely in his footsteps. Sir, it is only since the gentleman quoted this book, yesterday, that my attention has been turned to the sentiments he expressed in 1825; and if I had remembered them, I might possibly have been deterred from uttering sentiments here, which, it might well be supposed, I had borrowed from that gentleman. In 1825, the gentleman told the world that the public lands “ought not to be treated as a treasure.” He now tells us that “they must be treated as so much treasure.” What the deliberate opinion of the gentleman on this subject may be, belongs not to me to determine; but I do not think he can, with the shadow of justice or propriety, impugn my sentiments, while his own recorded opinions are identical with my own. When the gentleman refers to the conditions of the grants under which the United States have acquired these lands, and insists that, as they are declared to be “for the common benefit of all the states,” they can only be treated as so much treasure, I think he has applied a rule of construction too narrow for the case. If in the deeds of cession it has been declared that the grants were intended for “the common benefit of all the states,” it is clear, from other provisions, that they were not intended merely as so much property; for it is expressly declared, that the object of the grants is the erection of new states; and the United States, in accepting this trust, bind themselves to facilitate the foundation of these states, to be admitted into the Union with all the rights and privileges of the original states. This, sir, was the great end to which all parties looked, and it is by the fulfilment of this high trust that “the common benefit of all the states” is to be best promoted. Sir, let me tell the gentleman, that in the part of the country in which I live, we do not measure political benefits by the money standard. We consider as more valuable than gold, liberty, principle, and justice. But, sir, if we are bound to act on the narrow principles contended for by the gentleman, I am wholly at a loss to conceive how he can reconcile his principles with his own practice. The lands are, it seems, to be treated “as so much treasure,” and must be applied to the “common benefit of all the states.” Now, if this be so, whence does he derive the right to appropriate them for partial and local objects? How can the gentleman consent to vote away immense bodies of these lands, for canals in Indiana and Illinois, to the Louisville and Portland Canal, to Kenyon College in Ohio, to Schools for the Deaf and Dumb, and other objects of a similar description? If grants of this character can fairly be considered as made “for the common benefit of all the states,” it can only be, because all the states are interested in the welfare of each—a principle which, carried to the full extent, destroys all distinction between local and national objects, and is certainly broad enough to embrace the principles for which I have ventured to contend. Sir, the true difference between us I take to be this: the gentleman wishes to treat the public lands as a great treasure, just as so much money in the treasury, to be applied to all objects, constitutional and unconstitutional, to which the public money is constantly applied. I consider it as a sacred trust which we ought to fulfil, on the principles for which I have contended. The senator from Massachusetts has thought proper to present, in strong contrast, the friendly feelings of the east towards the west, with sentiments of an opposite character displayed by the south in relation to appropriations for internal improvements. Now, sir, let it be recollected that the south have made no professions; I have certainly made none in their behalf of regard for the west. It has been reserved for the gentleman from Massachusetts, while he vaunts over his own personal devotion to western interests, to claim for the entire section of country to which he belongs an ardent friendship for the west, as manifested by their support of the system of internal improvement, while he casts in our teeth the reproach that the south has manifested hostility to western interests in opposing appropriations for such objects. That gentleman, at the same time, acknowledged that the south entertains constitutional scruples on this subject. Are we then, sir, to understand that the gentleman considers it a just subject of reproach that we respect our oaths, by which we are bound “to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States?” Would the gentleman have us manifest our love to the west by trampling under foot our constitutional scruples' Does he not perceive, if the south is to be reproached with unkindness to the west, in voting against appropriations which the gentleman admits they could not vote for without doing violence to their constitutional opinions, that he exposes himself to the question, whether, if he was in our situation, he could vote for these appropriations, regardless of his scruples? No, sir, I will not do the gentleman so great injustice. He has fallen into this error from not having duly weighed the force and effect of the reproach which he was endeavoring to cast upon the south. In relation to the other point, the friendship manifested by New England towards the west, in their support of the system of internal improvement, the gentleman will pardon me for saying, that I think he is equally unfortunate in having introduced that topic. As that gentleman has forced it upon us, however, I cannot suffer it to pass unnoticed. When the gentleman tells us that the appropriations for internal improvement in the west would, in almost every instance, have failed but for New England votes, he has forgotton to tell us the when, the how, and the wherefore this new-born zeal for the west sprung up in the bosom of New England. If we look back only a few years, we will find in both houses of Congress a uniform and steady opposition on the part of the members from the Eastern States, generally, to all the appropriations of this character. At the time I became a member of this house, and for some time afterwards, a decided majority of the New England senators were opposed to the very measures which the senator from Massachusetts tells us they now cordially support. Sir, the Journals are before me, and an examination of them will satisfy every gentleman of that fact. It must be well known to every one whose experience dates back as far as 1825, that up to a certain period, New England was generally opposed to appropriations for internal improvements in the west. The gentleman from Massachusetts may be himself an exception, but if he went for the system before 1825, it is certain that his colleagues did not go with him. In the session of 1824 and 25, however, (a memorable era in the history of this country,) a wonderful change took place in New England, in relation to western interests. Sir, an extraordinary union of sympathies and of interests was then effected, which brought the east and the west into close