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ONE or two preliminary remarks upon the establishment of the administrations of 1825 and 1829 may render some of the allusions in these speeches more intelligible to those readers who are not familiar with the political history of the day.
The election of a President of the United States for the term beginning March 4, 1825, devolved upon the House of Representatives. The whole electoral vote was 261 of which Andrew Jackson had 99, John Quincy Adams 84, William H. Crawford 41, and Henry Clay 37. The house, by the constitution, was limited to the first three in making a choice, and the vote was by states. Until the election actually took place, there was much doubt as to the result, but on the first ballot Adams received the votes of thirteen states, Jackson seven, and Crawford four; and Adams was thus elected. The vote was so close, however, that a rumor was put in circulation of a corrupt understanding between Adams and Clay, by which the friends of the latter, who was not a constitutional candidate, voted for Adams, in consideration of the bestowal of the office of secretary of state upon Clay by Adams in forming his cabinet. This calumny was disproved by all the testimony which could be brought to bear upon a negative proposition; and although at present it is probably not credited by any body, the suspicion of such a " coalition" seriously affected the popularity of both Adams and Clay at the time, and Colonel Hayne in his speech alluded to it, intimating that Webster had hopes of the office of secretary of state himself, which were frustrated by the appointment of Clay.
At the next presidential election, that of 1828, Adams and Jackson were opposing candidates, and the latter was chosen by a large popular majority. This result was brought about by the active coöperation with Jackson's original supporters of the friends of Mr. Calhoun and many of the friends of the other candidates of 1824. This coöperation implied the combination of the most discordant materials. The friends of Calhoun generally gave their aid, in the expectation that their favorite would be the next candidate, and in this way would receive the support of Jackson's other present supporters. How unfounded was any such expectation was proved by the actual result, by which Jackson was elected for a second term, and after him Van Buren, Calhoun being entirely neglected. It was in prophecy of this result that Mr. Webster quoted Shakspeare to the Vice President, Calhoun, reminding him that those who had foully removed Banquo had placed
"A barren sceptre in their gripe,
Thence to be wrenched by an unlineal hand,
No son of theirs succeeding."
Although at the time of the speech there was the most perfect cordiality between Jackson and Calhoun and their friends and supporters.
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 his 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 gentleman 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 arguments 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 gentleman, 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 gentleman 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 thrust 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 gallant west needs no aid from the south to repel any attack which may be made on them from any quarter. Let the gentleman from Massachusetts controvert the facts 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 forgotten 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, (at p. 19,) will be found, in a few lines, the history of Nathan Dane; and a little farther 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," it is 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 had 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 gentleman's denunciation of my doctrines yesterday,- that a book then lay open before him-nay, that he held 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 treasury 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 constant 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 contended 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