Page images


South Carolina.

[JAN. 28, 1833.

parliamentary, notwithstanding the objection which had on reflection, the gentleman from Tennessee would withbeen urged against it on the ground of justice; and on draw his amendment. But if he would not consent to do this ground a demand was made upon him to withdraw this, he(Mr.C.) should, at a proper time, move an amendhis amendment. He could not comply with this demand ment to the amendment of the gentleman from Tennesat the moment, but he was willing to take the subject see, of which he would now ask the reading. into consideration; and if the debate on the resolutions The amendment was then read; after which, it was laid were postponed, he should then have more time allowed on the table, and ordered to be printed. him for reflection. While he was up, he begged leave to Mr. GRUNDY said he desired to ask permission of the say a word upon another subject. This measure, which Senate to make one declaration now, which he hoped had emanated from the Committee on the Judiciary, on would be remembered here and elsewhere. The genthe recommendation of the President, had been called a tleman from South Carolina had said to-day, and the colrepeal of the constitution, as tending to the destruction of league of that gentleman had made a similar declaration our confederacy, and erecting a military despotism on its some days before, in a way which he was sure they had ruins. Such was not the fact. The bill was a pacific not intended, that if Congress would repeal the existing measure; its object was to prevent any mischievous colli- tariff law, there would no longer be any discontent in sions, to prevent brothers from shedding their brothers' South Carolina. Now, he wished to say, that he had blood, and engaging in hostile strife to the dismember- never given the least aid in passing the tariff law, and he ment of the Union. Instead of denouncing this bill as was perfectly ready now to go into an examination of the waging war with South Carolina, it would be much wiser law, and to make almost any modifications in the scale of to go at once into deliberation upon the bill, and to ex- duties, although he might not, perhaps, be able to go quite amine what its provisions were. The committee who had so far as the gentleman from South Carolina would go. reported it were of the opinion that they could demon- And he wished now distinctly to say, that when he raised strate that, instead of having any of the injurious conse- his voice for the measures which had been recommended quences which had been charged against it, it would have and reported, it would not be because he was in favor of the effect of preventing the collisions which were appre- the tariff. No, he abhorred the tariff. But it was in behended, and of preventing the citizens of the State of half of the Union, and to perpetuate the peace and hapSouth Carolina from coming into hostile conflict with the piness of all the States, that he should desire to be heard citizens of any other State. He thought it would be advocating these measures. Whenever, therefore, it much better to go at once into the consideration of the should be urged against him that he was not laboring to subject, and determine whether or not the committee bring down the tariff to the scale which was recommendhad mistaken their course, and had adopted measures ed by the President, and to remove the oppression of its which would lead them from their object. This would, provisions from the shoulders of any State of the Union, in his opinion, be the proper mode of action for the Se- it would be an unjust charge. It had been remarked by nate. He would wish to see the resolutions made the the gentleman from South Carolina, that the bill reported order of the day for this day; they would then be taken by the Committee on the Judiciary closed the ports of up in conjunction with the bill, and both the subjects South Carolina. To that remark he would answer, by would be discussed together. Such seemed to him to be asking if South Carolina had not legislated the United the most correct course. But he would not be drawn States out of the limits of that State? The object of the further into the debate, but would avoid, as he always had bill was to bring back the United States within the jurisavoided, premature discussion. diction of the State by a constitutional process only. The committee might have gone, perhaps, too far; but such was their object.

Mr. CALHOUN replied. He stated that he was aware that the course of the Senator from Tennessee was a parliamentary course, but he was compelled to withhold Mr. CALHOUN said that the gentleman from Tenneshis assent to its justice. When the original resolutions see had asked, "Had not the State of South Carolina leand the amendment were under consideration together, it gislated the United States out of limits?" He would would be out of order to separate the motion to strike answer, No! not in the slightest degree. The State of out and insert. That motion was indivisible; and it was South Carolina had done nothing more than to resort to his wish to have the propositions distinctly and separately the exercise of her delegated powers, for the purpose of considered. As to the provisions of the bill, he would preserving her reserved rights. She had looked to no only say-God deliver him from the operation of such a object beyond the defence of her reserved rights; and bill! It offered peace, while all its provisions looked to a what were the means which she had resorted to for the state of conflict. It proposed to arm the President with protection of these rights? Did she resort to force? No. all the military and naval power; and it further proposed She had done nothing more than to meet process by proto close the courts of justice of the State. It thus trampled cess, and in this peaceful mode to offer the resistance the State of South Carolina in the dust. The peace which it was her duty to make. And after she had done which the bill offered was peace coerced by power. If this, up rose the monstrous giant of the United States, the gentleman from Tennessee was really desirous of with his hundred arms, and, stepping forward, declared peace, if he was sincere in his wish to allay the prevailing that he would put down that resistance by the interpodiscontent, the way to his object was a plain and an open sition of his superior strength.

one. In his message, at the commencement of the session, Mr. WEBSTER then obtained the floor. Nothing, he the President had declared the existing tariff law to be said, could have been more irregular than the whole of unjust and oppressive, and that it ought to be modified to this debate, and he could not avoid the expression of his the scale of the necessary expenditures of the Govern- surprise that the Senators should have gone so far from ment. The State of South Carolina had asked nothing the question. The question before Senate was simply beyond this. If Congress should repeal the existing law, as to the time to which the resolution should be postponand reduce the scale of duties, or if they were to separate ed, and on this unimportant question gentlemen had the principle of protection from that of revenue, and shown a disposition to rush at once into the discussion of adopt the latter, then he believed that there would no the general subject. If Senators were disposed to act, longer be heard any complaint from South Carolina; but as there seemed to be some indications that they would, that she would cheerfully acquiesce, and bear her share on a notion of policy, that the first and most effectual of the public burdens. These were the two modes by mode of injuring a measure was to give it a bad name; which the existing discontents could be allayed, and that the first principle of attack was to controvert beforeharmony and security might be restored. He hoped that, hand, and to raise, previous to the discussion of the bill,

JAN. 28, 1833.]

South Carolina.


a cry which might operate on its progress, and afterwards author of Hudibras, he would not think of employing it provoke its echo throughout the country; then they had on so solemn an occasion. It was no part of his policy, a right to pursue the course which was thus indicated. it was not his intention to give to the bill a bad name in But he, as a member of the Committee on the Judiciary, advance for the purpose of enlisting prejudices against it. who had reported the bill which was the special order for While acting in defence of her rights, the State of South this day, could not remain silent in his seat while the Carolina had been cruelly denounced as setting herself up gentleman from South Carolina charged him with having in wanton hostility against the General Government, as assisted, and been art and part in making a bill, which he exciting rebellion, and intending to break down the had designated as worse than an abomination--a bill to Union; and her sons had been stigmatized as traitors. It create a dictator, to establish a military despotism, and was not so. The gentleman from Massachusetts had said the like. He denied that such was the fact, and he pro- that, saving the first section (a prudent reservation) all posed, at a proper time, to try conclusions with the gen- the provisions in the bill had at some time received the tleman on this point. He wished in no degree to avoid sanction of South Carolina. It was not so. To the pesuch a conflict. Nor did he intend to utter any denun- culiar perceptions of that gentleman such may appear to ciations against opposition to the bill. Whenever it should have been the fact, inasmuch as he regarded the State as become necessary, he would be ready to assign the rea- merely a mass of individuals-a body of smugglers, persons which had induced him to give his assent to the bill. haps; but he would be unable to discover, in any one of But he would ask, why was this discussion to be precipi- the acts of the State of South Carolina, a sanction of the tated? Why was it not postponed until the proper time right which was now assumed, to put down a sovereign for bringing it on? A bill to create a dictator, to esta- State by force. blish a military despotism, reported by one of the standing committees of the Senate, and he a member of that committee! He called on the gentleman from South Carolina to prove the allegations he had made. He called on him to sustain the grave charge which he has thus thrown out in the face of the country.

Mr. WILKINS then moved to lay the resolutions and amendments on the table, for the purpose of proceeding to the special order of the day; but having withdrawn his motion,

The CHAIR decided that the motion would not be in order.

Mr. POINDEXTER rose to ask the Chair whether it would be in order to move an amendment to the motion The gentleman from South Carolina had laid it down, of the gentleman from North Carolina, the object of which and with an air of sincerity which he did not intend to was to include in the motion to postpone the various redepreciate, that the resolutions which he had offered solutions; a motion also to postpone the consideration of contained indubitable facts. Now he (Mr. W.) disputed the bill itself. If such an amendment would be in order, these facts, and he would take issue with the gentleman he would now move it. from South Carolina on that point. [Mr. CALHOUN:I will meet it.] He denied that they were facts, and he should be happy to meet the gentleman from South Ca- Mr. POINDEXTER then said that he would not go into rolina on that head. But when that gentleman threw out the consideration of the principles which were involved the idea that no one could deny his propositions, he took in the resolutions. Such examination would be now out a very bold ground, and narrowed down the power of de- of place, and would be calculated to produce a premature nial within very confined limits. To assert such a position excitement throughout the country. Whenever the bill was, in fact, a declaration of his own infallibility. The should come up for discussion, he should hold himself author of Hudibras made his hero see truth. He (Mr. W.) prepared to sustain the opinions he had advanced-that did not pretend to have had this personal acquaintance with the bill, as it had been reported, was a repeal of the contruth; but, if to a mind as humble as his, the features of stitution, and an investment of despotic power in the Pretruth were ever exhibited, he was not able to identify sident of the United States. them in the propositions of the gentleman from South But this was not the question before the Senate. What Carolina. But there would be a proper time to go into was the question? A string of resolutions were before this discussion. He wished to see that time arrive, and the Senate, which went to the fundamental principles of he was prepared to proceed immediately with the discus- the constitution, and to their practical operation. A dission of the bill. Whenever the discussion should come cussion upon these important points would therefore be, on, he should feel it incumbent on him to show that there in its character, a debate tending to the settlement of first was no provision, no principle contained in this bill, which principles. Then there was a bill which, although gewas not in strict conformity with the constitution, and in neral in its features, was reported with a mental reserharmony with other measures which had been adopted vation, that its operation was to be confined to one State by the Government. And if it were proper on this oc- only. He asked the gentleman from Massachusetts, why casion to use what was called the argumentum ad hominem, it was, that, as a member of the Judiciary Committee, he he should also be ready to show that there was not a pro- had not looked the mischief full in the face, and reported vision contained in this bill, with the exception of part of a measure simply to punish the refractory State? Why the first section, which had not, at some time, received was the bill so constructed as to pervade the whole Union, the sanction of South Carolina herself. But of that he with such a reservation, when no one would deny that should have something to say at a proper time. He had the sole intention was to operate against South Carolina? risen, intending only to say that these points ought not to He asked, if on its face it was a bill the provisions of be discussed beforehand, and that this bill ought not to which were limited to South Carolina? Certainly not. be placed in a worse situation than a common criminal. It is a measure of a permanent character, co-extensive The right of the criminal it was, to be heard first, then with the confederacy; and as such he intended to consider tried, then judged of. He claimed for this bill that it it. Every gentlemen ought to see the excitement which should be first heard, then tried, and then judged of; and prevailed throughout the country, and that the Union of not that it should be judged of without trial or hearing. the States was endangered. To prevent such a catastroHe repelled the charge that the bill was to create a dicta-phe, he would direct all his efforts and his vote. What tor, to establish a military despotism, and to repeal the was the fact? The President had, in his opening mes. constitution, and crush a sovereign State. This was, sage, told Congress that the duties, as they were laid in indeed, a high sounding indictment; but he called on the the existing tariff law, were onerous and oppressive, and Senate to try it, and not to receive it as proved without that they ought to be reduced to the standard of the ne

a trial.

Mr. CALHOUN said that if he possessed the wit of the
VOL. IX.-16

cessary revenue.

The Secretary of the Treasury had carried out the idea


Revenue Collection Bill.

Mr. WEBSTER--I do not doubt it.

of the President, and had recommended a reduction prin- fact that the gentleman from Massachusetts was now sitcipally on the protected articles. In the House of Re-ting in his chair. presentatives there was a bill pending, which had been founded on these views, and it was hoped that this bill would be speedily passed. Thus, then, there was an intermediate and an alternate course which offered themselves for selection. The intermediate course was to modify the existing tariff, according to the recommendations of the President; and to effect which a bill was now on its passage. The ultimate measure was to arm the President with the power to coerce the State of South Carolina into obedience to the existing law. Was it not wrong to discuss the ultimate measure while the intermediate measure was before the House? Suppose that the House were to pass the bill, would there then, he asked, be any reason for the passage of this bill? Certainly not. But suppose that the Senate were to pass this bill, and the bill of the House were also to be passed, this bill would then fall to the ground as of no effect.

Be it enacted, &c. That whenever, by reason of unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages of persons, or unlawful threats and menaces against officers of the United States, it shall become impracticable, in the judgment of the President, to execute the revenue laws, and collect the duties on imports in the ordinary way, in any collection district, it shall and may be lawful for the President to direct that the custom-house for such district be It appeared to him that the wisest course of legislation established and kept in any secure place within some port would be to wait and see the conclusion of the measure or harbor of such district, either upon land or on board which was before the House; and if it should be conclud- any vessel; and, in that case, it shall be the duty of the ed not to carry out the recommendation made by the Pre- collector to reside at such place, and there to detain all sident at the commencement of the session, then it would vessels and cargoes arriving within the said district until be time enough to take up the bill. But the discussion the duties imposed on said cargoes, by law, be paid, in of this bill now would be premature, and only calculated cash, deducting interest according to existing laws; and to put the country in a blaze, and would destroy all pros- in such cases it shall be unlawful to take the vessel or carpect to the end of the session of effecting any modifica- go from the custody of the proper officer of the customs, tions in the provision of the tariff. What, then, would be unless by process from some court of the United States. the result? The result would be strife and confusion. It and in case of any attempt otherwise to take any vessel or would result in the shedding the blood of brethren by cargo by any force, or combination, or assemblage of brethren, in the marching of troops from the East and persons, too great to be overcome by the officers of the the North, and in what ought emphatically to be called a customs, it shall and may be lawful for the President, of spinning-jenny war. What reason could be assigned why the United States, or such person or persons as he shall the Senate should not pause, and see what would be the have empowered for that purpose, to employ such part of action of the House? Would they urge the ulterior be- the land or naval forces, or militia of the United States, fore they had discovered that the intermediate measure as may be deemed necessary for the purpose of preventwould fail, and, while the other branch was engaged in ing the removal of such vessel or cargo, and protecting the modification of the tariff, clothe the Executive with the officers of the customs in retaining the custody thereauthority to execute the hostile provisions of this bill? It of; and also for the purpose of preventing and suppressing would, in his opinion, be a salutary course to postpone the any armed or riotous assemblage of persons resisting the further consideration of the whole subject until Thursday, custom-house officers in the exercise of their duties, or in or even Monday; and by that time it might be known any manner opposing the execution of the revenue laws of what had been done with the bill by the House, and what the United States, or otherwise violating, or assisting and was the prospect of a settlement of this question without abetting violations of the same. further distraction of the country.

Mr. MANGUM said that, at the instance of the gentleman from South Carolina, he would modify his motion so as to stand a motion to make the resolutions and amendments the order for Thursday. They could then be discussed in conjunction with the bill.

Mr. FORSYTH said he should wish to understand the motion and its effect-which subject would stand the first for discussion on the special order?

Mr. WEBSTER-The bill.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the jurisdiction of the circuit courts of the United States shall extend to all cases, in law or equity, arising under the revenue laws of the United States, for which other provisions are not already made by law; and if any person shall receive any injury to his person or property for or on account of any act by him done, under any law of the United States, for the protection of the revenue or the collection of duties on imports, he shall be entitled to maintain suit for damage therefor in the circuit court of the United States in the district wherein the party doing the injury may reside, or pre-shall be found. And all property taken or detained by

Mr. FORSYTH-Then I am satisfied.

The CHAIR then decided that the bill would have cedence on the special orders, and come up the first for any officer or other person under authority of any law of discussion. the United States shall be irrepleviable, and shall be

Mr. CALHOUN remarked, that the effect of the adop-deemed to be in the custody of the law, and subject only tion of the bill would be the destruction of the resolutions. to the orders and decrees of the courts of the United Mr. WILKINS said, if there was any doubt on the sub- States having jurisdiction thereof. And if any person ject of precedence, he would move to lay the resolutions shall dispossess or rescue, or attempt to dispossess or resand amendments on the table. cue, any property so taken or detained as aforesaid, or shall aid or assist therein, such person shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be liable to such punishment as is provided by the twenty-second section of the act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States, approved the thirtieth day of April, anno Domini one thousand seven hundred and ninety, for the wilful obstruction or resistance of officers in the service of process.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That in any case

The CHAIR repeated, that there could not be any doubt but that, in point of fact, there was but one special order, and that was the bill.

[JAN. 28, 1833.

Mr. CALHOUN said, that if he had any control over the resolutions, he would wish that they should be laid on the table, so that they might be subject to a motion to take them up at any time. He would merely add that he felt as deep a conviction, in his own mind, of the truth of the propositions contained in his resolutions, as of the

On motion of Mr. WILKINS, the resolutions were then laid on the table, together with the various propositions of amendment.


The Senate then took up the following bill, reported by Mr. WILKINS, from the Committee on the Judiciary, on the 21st instant.

JAN. 28, 1833.]

Revenue Collection Bill.


where suit or prosecution shall be commenced in a court lawful for him, the President of the United States, forthof any State against any officer of the United States, or with to issue his proclamation, declaring such fact or inother person, for or on account of any act done under the formation, and requiring all such military and other force laws of the United States, or under color thereof, or for forthwith to disperse; and, if, at any time after issuing or on account of any right, authority, or title set up or such proclamation, any such opposition or obstruction claimed by such officer, or other person, under any law shall be made, in the manner or by the means aforesaid, of the United States, it shall be lawful for the defendant the President shall be, and hereby is, authorized promptin such suit or prosecution, at any time before trial, upon ly to employ such means to resist and suppress the same, a petition to said court, setting forth the nature of said and to cause the said laws or process to be duly executed, suit or prosecution, and verifying the said petition by as are authorized and provided in the cases therein menaffidavit, which said petition and affidavit shall be present- tioned by the act of the twenty-eighth of February, one ed to said court, or to the clerk thereof, or left at the thousand seven hundred and ninety-five, entitled ", "An office of the said clerk, to remove the said suit or prose-act to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the cution to the circuit court of the United States then next laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, repel invasions, to be holden in the district where the said suit or prose- and to repeal the act now in force for that purpose:" and, cution is commenced; and, thereupon, it shall be the also, by the act of the third of March, one thousand eight duty of the said State court to stay all further proceed- hundred and seven, entitled, "An act authorizing the emings therein; and the said suit, or prosecution, upon pre-ployment of the land and naval forces of the United States sentment of said petition or affidavit, on leaving the same in cases of insurrection."

as aforesaid, shall be deemed and taken to be removed Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That in any State into the said circuit court; and any further proceedings, where the jails are not allowed to be used for the impritrial, or judgment therein, in the said State court, shall sonment of persons arrested or committed under the laws be wholly null and void; and on proof being made to the of the United States, or where houses are not allowed to said circuit court of the presentment of said petition and be so used, it shall and may be lawful for any marshal, affidavit, or of the leaving of the same as aforesaid, the under the direction of the judge of the United States for said circuit court shall have authority to entertain juris- the proper district, to use other convenient places, and to diction of said suit or prosecution, and to proceed therein, make such other provisions, as he may deem expedient and and to hear, try, and determine the same, in like manner necessary for that purpose. as if the same had been originally cognizable and institut- Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That either of the ed in such circuit court. And all attachments made, and justices of the Supreme Court, or a judge of any district all bail and other security given upon such suit or prose-court of the United States, in addition to the authority cution, shall be and continue in like force effect, as if already conferred by law, shall hav power to grant writs the same suit or prosecution had proceeded to final of habeas corpus in all cases of a prisoner or prisoners, in judgment and execution in the State court. And if, jail or confinement, where he or they shall be committed upon the removal of any such suit or prosecution, it shall or confined on or by any authority or law, for any act be made to appear to the said circuit court that no copy done, or omitted to be done, in pursuance of a law of the of the record and proceedings therein in the State court United States, or any order, process, or decree of any can be obtained, it shall be lawful for said circuit court judge or court thereof; any thing in any act of Congress to allow and require the plaintiff to proceed de novo, and to the contrary notwithstanding. And if any person or to file a declaration of his cause of action; and the parties persons to whom such writ of habeas corpus may be dimay thereupon proceed as in actions originally brought in rected shall refuse to obey the same, or shall neglect or said circuit court; and on failure of so proceeding, judg- refuse to make return, or shall make a false return therement of non pros. may be rendered against the plaintiff, to, in addition to the remedies already given by law, he with costs for the defendant. or they shall be deemed and taken to be guilty of a misSec. 4. And be it further enacted, That in any case in demeanor, and shall, on conviction before any court of which any party is, or may be, by law, entitled to copies competent jurisdiction, be punished by fine, not exceedof the record and proceedings in any suit or prosecution ing dollars, and by imprisonment, not exceeding in any State court, to be used in any court of the United or by either, according to the nature and States, if the clerk of said State court shall, upon de-aggravation of the case. mand, and the payment and tender of the legal fees, Mr. MANGUM moved that the further consideration of refuse or neglect to deliver to such party certified copies the bill be postponed to and made the special order of the of such record and proceedings, the court of the United day for Thursday next; and upon this motion asked the States in which such record and proceedings may be yeas and nays, which were ordered. needed, on proof, by affidavit, that the clerk of such State court has refused or neglected to deliver copies thereof, on demand, as aforesaid, may direct and allow such record to be supplied by affidavit, or otherwise, as the circumstances of the case may require and allow; and thereupon, such proceeding, trial, and judgment may be had in the said court of the United States, and all such process awarded, as if certified copies of such records and proceedings had been regularly before the said court.

The question being taken, it was decided in the negative, as follows:

YEAS.-Messrs. Bibb, Black, Brown, Calhoun, King, Mangum, Miller, Moore, Poindexter, Rives, Smith, Troup, Tyler, Waggaman, White-15.

NAYS.-Messrs. Benton, Chambers, Clay, Clayton, Dallas, Dickerson, Dudley, Ewing, Forsyth, Foot, Frelinghuysen, Grundy, Hendricks, Hill, Holmes, Johnston, Kane, Knight, Prentiss, Robbins, Robinson, Ruggles, Seymour, Silsbee, Sprague, Tipton, Tomlinson, Webster, Wilkins, Wright-30.

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That, whenever the President of the United States shall be officially informed by the authorities of any State, or by the circuit and one Mr. WILKINS rose in support of the bill. The posiof the district judges of the United States, in the State, tion, said he, in which you, Mr. President, have placed that, within the limits of such State, any law or laws of me in relation to this body, imposes on me the duty of the United States, or the execution thereof, or of any introducing the present bill to the Senate, and of explainprocess from the courts of the United States, will, in any ing its provisions. In my mode of discharging this duty, event, be obstructed by the employment of military force, I do not consider myself as the representative of other or by any other unlawful means, too great to be overcome gentlemen on the committee; those gentlemen possess a by the ordinary course of judicial proceeding, or by the competence, far beyond mine, to explain and defend the powers vested in the marshal by existing laws, it shall be power of the General Government to carry into effect


Revenue Collection Bill.

[JAN. 28, 1833.

its constitutional laws. The bill is founded upon a mes- principles of South Carolina-break the Union into fragsage from the President, communicated on the 16th inst., ments-some chieftain may bring the fragments toand proposes to sustain the constitutionality of the doc-gether, but it will be under a military despotism. He trines laid down in that admired state paper. In the would not say that South Carolina contemplated this reoutset of the discussion, it is admitted that the bill points sult, but he did say that her principles would lead to it. to an afflicting state of things existing in a Southern State South Carolina, not being able longer to bear the burden of the Union; it is not to be disguised that it points to the of an oppressive law, had determined on resistance. State of South Carolina. It is not in the contemplation of The excitement raised in the State gave to the party a the committee who reported this bill to make it assume, majority in the Legislature of the State, and a convention in any way, an invidious character. When the gentleman was called, under the provision of the State constitution from South Carolina threw out the suggestion that the authorizing its amendment. The convention met, and bill was invidious, he certainly did not intend to impute to passed what is called the ordinance, establishing new and the committee a design to give it such a character. So fundamental principles. Without repeating it, he would far from being invidious, the bill was made general and call the attention of the Senate to some few of its provisweeping, in its terms and application, for the reason that sions. It overthrew the whole revenue system. It was this course was thought to be more delicate in regard to not limited to the acts of 1828 or 1832, but ended with the State concerned. The provisions of the bill were a solemn declaration that, in that State, no taxes should made general, for the purpose of enforcing every where be collected. The addresses of the convention to the peothe collection laws of the Union. ple of the United States and of the State of South Carolina used a tone and language not to be misunderstood. They tell you it is necessary for some one State to bring the question to issue-that Carolina will do it--that Carolina had thrown herself into the breach, and would stand foremost in resistance to the laws of the Union; and they solemnly call upon the citizens of the State to stand by the principles of the ordinance, for it is determined that no taxes shall be collected in that State. The ordinance gives the Legislature the power to carry into execution this determination. It contains within itself no seeds of dissolution; it is unlimited as to time; contains no restrictions as to application; provides no means for its amendment, modification, or repeal. In their private, individual capacity, some members of the convention held out the idea which had been advanced by some members of this House, that if the tariff law was made less oppressive, the ordinance would not be enforced.

The bill presents three very important and momentous considerations: Is there any thing in the circumstances of the country calling for legislation on the subject of the revenue laws? Is the due administration of those laws threatened with impediments? and is this bill suited to such an emergency? He proposed to consider those points, but in a desultory manner. He never shrunk from any moral or political responsibility, but he had no disposition (to use the words of the Senator from North Carolina) to "drum on public sensibility." Neither he nor the State which he represented had any influence in bringing up these questions, but he was prepared to meet the crisis by his vote.

is time (continued Mr. W.) that the principles on which the Union depends were discussed. It is time that Congress expressed an opinion upon them. It is time that the people should bring their judgment to bear on this subject, and settle it forever. The authority of [Mr POINDEXTER here remarked, that he said that any Congress and of the people must settle this question one new tariff law, even if more oppressive than the law of day or other. There were many enlightened men in the 1832 were passed, the ordinance would not apply to it.] country, men whose integrity and patriotism nobody If the terms of the ordinance are considered, (continued doubts, who had arrived at opinions in this matter very Mr. W.) there is no possible mode of arresting it; so sure different from his own. The Senator from South Carolina as time rolls on, and four days pass over our heads, the knows (said Mr. W.) the respect in which I hold him; but ordinance, and the laws emanating from it, will lead to I am unwilling to take his judgment on this question as the employment of physical force, by the citizens of the guide of mine; and I will not agree that the Union South Carolina, against the enforcement of the revenue depends on the principles which he has advanced. He laws. Although many of the most influential citizens of has offered a document as a plea in bar; if it be establish- Carolina protested against the idea that any but moral ed, then a bar is interposed between the powers of the force would be resorted to, yet the excitement and deGovernment and the acts of South Carolina. termined spirit of the people would, in his opinion, lead The bill is of great importance, not on account of its speedily to the employment of physical force. He did particular provisions, but of their application to a rapidly not doubt that the Senator from South Carolina abhorred approaching crisis, which they were intended to meet. the idea of force; no doubt his excellent heart would That crisis was in the control of this body, not of any bleed at the scene which it would produce; but he would branch of the Government. He would ask the Senator refer to a passage in the ordinance to prove that it was from Mississippi [Mr. POINDEXTER] what authority he the intention of its framers to resort to force. Mr. W. had to say that the passage of any bill reducing the tariff here read the third paragraph of the ordinance. would avert the enforcement of the ordinance of South "And it is further ordained, that it shall not be lawful Carolina? He was unwilling to consider that Senator as for any of the constituted authorities, whether of this the representative of the unlimited authority and sove-State or of the United States, to enforce the payment of reignty claimed by the State of South Carolina. He would duties imposed by the said acts within the limits of this now present to the Senate a view of the position in which State; but it shall be the duty of the Legislature to adopt South Carolina had placed herself, in order to justify the such measures and pass such acts as may be necessary to committee in reporting the bill under consideration. It give full effect to this ordinance, and to prevent the enwas not, sir, for the purpose of establishing a military des-forcement and arrest the operation of the said acts and potism, nor of creating an armed dictator, nor of sending parts of acts of the Congress of the United States within into South Carolina military bands to "cut the throats of the limits of this State, from and after the 1st of Febwomen and children," that the committee framed the bill.ruary next; and the duty of all other constituted authoriIf any thing can ever establish a military despotism in this ties, and of persons residing or being within the limits of country, it is the anarchy and confusion which the princi- this State, and they are hereby required and enjoined, to ples contended for by the Senator from South Carolina obey and give effect to this ordinance, and such acts and will produce. If we keep together, not "ten years,' measures of the Legislature as may be passed or adopted nor tens of thousands of years, will ever bring the country in obedience thereto." under the dominion of military despotism. But adopt the Does the shadow follow the sun? Even so surely will

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »