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Fen. 23, 1837.]
Reduction of the Tariff.
plus, and, at the same time, that there was not the slightest prospect of such reduction from those in power, who were either blind to the danger or too indifferent to the interests of the country to bestow a moment’s attention 9n the subject. Above all, we saw the danger of so large a surplus; the vast increase, in consequence, of the power and patronage of the Executive; the corruption and speculation that would follow, with the loss of all responsibility on the part of those in power. In all this we could not but see the overthrow of our institutions, and, with them, of the liberty of the country, unless some effectual remedy should be applied. This remedy, as I have stated, was to be found in State interposition; and we accordingly spared no exertion in preparing our State to meet the coming danger, under the banner of State sovereignty. In the mean time, we patiently waited the final payment of the public debt, when, if a sufficient reduction of the duties was not made, by which only the approaching calamity would be averted, it was resolved to interpose the sovereign voice of the State, as the last and only efficient remedy. At the opening of the session of 1831–32, the President, in his annual message, announced that the public debt might be considered as extinguished, as there was sufficient money in the Treasury to meet the remnant unpaid; and then, for the first time, the administration began to move on the reduction of the protective duties; but even then, when forced by necessity to act, so absurd and inefficient were the schemes proposed for reducing the duties, that it may well be doubted, even now, whether their desire to keep open the dangerous and vexed question of the taris did not preponderate over all other motives. Instead of proposing a system of gradual reduction, which would bring down the duties in a limited period to the wants of the Treasury, after the discharge of the debt, without the overthrow of the manufacturing establishments of the country, which was obviously the only practicable and wise course, a partial and inefficient bill was introduced, which provided a limited reduction, without any regular plan. It received the sanction of Congress, and was officially announced to be a final adjustment of the tariff between the conflicting interests. The amount of the reduction of the revenue under its provisions was estimated not to exceed three or sour millions of dollars, and yet it was seriously maintained that this inconsiderable reduction would bring down the revenue to the wants of the Government; and such was the force of party delusion at the time, that gentlemen of intelligence returned home and staked their reputation and re-election on that issue. But we were not deceived then, as we do not intend to be now. We clearly saw through the deception, and took our stand at once, with a fixed determination to close the dangerous controversy, and throw off the oppressive and unconstitutional burden which weighed so heavily upon the energy and prosperity of the south. The time for action had arrived. The debt was paid, and yet the tariff of 1828, the offspring of the Senator from New York and his party, remained almost in full energy. After a warm canvass, the State of South Car. olina, as one of the sovereign members of this Union, met in convention, declared the act to be unconstitution. al, and, as such, null and void. In a word, we nullfied. Then followed the proclamation and force bill, as the ultimate means of prolonging the existence of the odious and unconstitutional act of 1828, which the party of which the Sonator is a member had attempted to fix on the country by a scheme of permanent distribution; and which, when the issue was made, they were ready to sustain at the hazard of civil war. But, thanks to a kind Providence; which had watched so constantly over our destinies, theio, counsel did not prevail. The spirit of conciliation and compromise overruca that of violence
and force. The memorable bill of 1833 was introduced by the Senator from Kentucky, [Mr. Clax,] and became a law of the land, in despite of the protective and force-bill party. It closed the conflict between the North and the South, which, if not revived by the arts of those who passed the tarist of 1828, will, I trust and be. lic ve, remain closed forever. Such is the train of events which led to the act of 1833, and the circumstances under which it passed; and we are now called on to decide whether we shall adhere to its provisions or not. The Senator from New York invites us to surrender our interest in it, and to open anew the tariff controversy; and, with a view to test our determination, has inserted in this bill the repeal of the duty on salt. He signifies his dissent. I am glad of it. It proves that he dreads a direct issue on the subject, which is not surprising after the statement made; but I must tell him that it is immaterial whether it was so intended or not. Salt is among the articles comprehended in the act, and, if we may touch one item, we may all. To vote for the repeal of a single item, unless with common consent, as effectually surrenders the compromise as to vote for the repeal of all. The Senator from New York must excuse me. I fee lit my duty to speak plainly where the interest of my constituents and the whole country is so deeply concerned. I must tell him 1 lack confidence in him. I see in his bill a design, under the show of reduction, to revive the tarist controversy, by which he and his party have so much profited at the expense of the country. It is an artsul and bold stroke of party policy, calculated to distract and divide the opposition, and place almost unlimited control over the capital and labor of the country in the hands of those in power. It affords the means of appealing to the hopes and fears of every section and interest, while the distraction and division which must follow would prevent the possibility of united efforts to arrest the abuses and encroachments of power. Experience has taught us to understand the game, and to be on our guard against those who are playing it. We cannot close our eyes to the fact that the party which is now so intent to disturb the compromise is the very party that was the author of the tariff of 1828; and which, after using every effort to render it permanent, was ready to sh; d our blood rather than surrender the act. Their devotion to a measure, of which they are the authors, and to which they owe their present elevation, prepared us to expect that deep hostility to the act which gave their favorite a mortal blow, and opened the way for a united, and, we trust, ere long, a successful resistance to power, acquired by deception, and retained by delusion and corruption. The entire South may well apply to the Senator, as the author of the tariss of 1828, the reply which a distinguished Senator gave, after its passage, to one who now occupies a higher station than he then did, and who undertook to explain to him his vote on the occasion; “Sir, you have deceived me once; that was your fault; but if you deceive me again, the fault will be mine.” Alas, for Virginia! that once proud and patriotic State; she has dismissed her honest and enlightened soo, who served her with so much fidelity, and has elevated to the highest office him who betrayed her and trampled her interest in the dust. I know full well the attempts that will be made to mis. represent my position on this occasion, and to weaken me in the coi.fidence of the public. I fear them not. I know well those whom I represent. They have too clear a conception of their true interest, and place too high an estimate on truth and honor, to withhold their confidence from him who fearlessly follows their dictates. They will scorn the miserable boon proffered by the Senator from New York, and the hand that offers it, and will cling to the act which they so proudly wrung from this Government. Were I to listen to the voice of the Senator from New York, they would hold me blind to their interests, and indifferent to their honor. I shall firmly maintain the position I have taken. I shall not assent to disturb the act of 1833, in the slightest degree, so long as the manufacturing interests shall adhere to its provisions, be the conduct of politicians what it may. Thus far they have firmly adhered. Not a murmur has been heard, or a petition offered, from that quarter, against it, from its passage to the present day; while the memorial of the Legislatures of the two great tariff States—Massachusetts and Pennsylvania—which pledge themselves to abide by the provisions of the act, give strong additional assurance that, if we do not disturb it on our part they will not on theirs, Mr. BROWN said that, as one of those representing in part one of the Southern States, he felt himself called upon to say that he did not approve the doctrines which had been advanced by the Senators from South Carolina, and considered himself bound, by a proper regard to the interests of his constituents, to vote for the abolition of the duty on salt. This tax on an article of such prime necessity and universal use had always been viewed as odious, even when intended as a financial measure, to relieve an embarrassed Treasury. What, then, he would ask, should be the degree of repugnance felt towards it, when millions were annually flowing into the Treasury beyond its legitimate wants? Among the most extraordinary spectacles that he had witnessed here, in the various mutations of political parties, none had struck him as more remarkable than that presented by the co-operation of the Senators from South Carolina with the Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. Davis] who had always been distinguished for his zeal in support of high protecting duties, against the reductions proposed by the Committee on Finance. This, indeed, was a strange and extraordinary coincidence! And what more did we see and hear? Both of the Senators from South Carolina denouncing, in the most unqualified terms, those of our Northern friends who advocated these reductions! The Senate had been told that the State of Virginia, and other Southern States, which had aided in elevating the President elect to the station which he was shortly to fill, had done an act fatal to their interests, and inconsistent with their political principles. As one of the Senators from a Southern State, he could not sit in silence and hear the charges which had been brought against that gentleman, on the subject of the tariff, without expressing the opinion that great injustice had been done him. He (Mr. B.) had no hesitation in making the assertion that, srom the period when he had first taken his seat in that body, at the session of 1829-'30, down to the period when South Carolina passed her ordinance of nullification, the only efficient aid given by any party from the North in favor of reduction came from the no. litical friends of Mr. Van Buren. He would ask if it had not been almost a constant topic of abuse and denunciation against him, during the period to which he had referred, that he favored a reduction of the tariff if any one doubted the accuracy of his recollections of that period, he would refer them to the contemporaneous debotos in both branches of Congress, and they would find hat portion of the opposition who were in favor of high Protecting duties repeatedly assailing him as an advoy of the system, and as meditating its over. throw: ** Mr. B. knew to be the fact fie knew, o oo:: *ll test questions which came before : "...a ...' Songress, during the period to which he o: load .." almost the only aid that the South... o.o.d, either in discussion or by votes, was P. - Political friends of the gentleman whom
SENATE.] Reduction of the Tariff. [FFB. 23, 1837. Reduction of the Tariff.
the Senate had heard ...,'. denounced. And, not.
withstanding this was the fact, he was held up here, and charged with having attempted to fix permanently high duties on the country! Mr. B. considered the charge which had likewise been made against the administration in this debate, of having wanted in proper efforts to reduce the tariff, pending the progress of the great con. troversy which had agitated the country on that subject, to be equally unsustained. Those who were then mem. bers of that body could not fail to recollect the anxious exertions made by the leading members of the adminis. tration to obtain a reduction of the tariff to some reasonable standard. At the session of 1831–32, the then Secretary of the Treasury submitted a plan to the House of Representatives, which he was, he believed, called on by a resolution of that body to do, which proposed a very large reduction, and which met with warm oppo. sition from the manufacturing interests. This plan was then considered as having not only the sanction of the administration, but its warm support. How, then, he would ask, could it with justice be said that there was no effort made in good faith by those in power to adjust this question at that time? The honorable Scnator from South Carolina [Mr. CALhou N] had said that the act of 1832, by which the tariff was reduced some five or six millions annually, was considered by those who voted for it as settling the great question of the tariff between the North and the South. He (Mr. B.) was one of those who voted for the act of 1832, and he also remembered the little favor which it met with from some other quarter. He did not consider it as at all settling the question, nor did other gentlemen from the South, who supported it, view it in that sight. On the contrary, the debates of that day would show that they had declared their unalterable hostility to the system, while it continued on the statute book. The gentleman from South Carolina was, therefore, certainly mistaken when he had said that the act of 1832 was considered as settling the question of the tariss between the North and the South. He would add that, in his opinion, much of the credit was due to the operation of that law in mitigating the tariff, which was now claimed exclusively for what was generally designated as the compromise act, passed in 1833! By the former act, it was estimated that the revenue would be reduced annually five or six millions; yet it seemed that all the credit is now to be given to the compromise act. He felt towards that act, and for the motives which prompted the honorable gentleman who originated it, that respect to which they were so justly entitled. The honorable Senator from South Carolina who had first addressed the Senate on this question, [Mr. PresTox,] took occasion, in the course of his remarks, to say it was owing to the virtue and patriotism of the State of South Carolina, in taking the stand she did in relation to the tariff, that the Southern States were now enjoying the advantages of diminished burdens on their productions. Now, it was far from his intention to speak with censure of the movement of that State, which had been alluded to as possessing so much virtue. He was opposed to the force bill, designed to counteract that movement; but he thought it was claiming rather too much to say that the credit was due solely to any one State. He did not believe that her course on that occasion had been attended with such fortunate consequences as those which had been claimed as flowing from it. On the contrary, he must be allowed to express great doubts whether it had not, in a great degree, in the end, contributed to delay the reduction of the duties down to a revenue point. The payment of the national debt, and the accumulation of a vast amount of surplus in the Treasury, had produced an almost universal conviction throughout the
country that the revenue should be brought down to the
Feb. 23, 1837.]
legitimate wants of the Government. This opinion certainly prevailed at the last session of Congress, so far as he was able to judge. And what, he would inquire, was the reason, and almost the sole reason, for not doing it? Was it not asserted that the compromise act, which resulted from the movement of South Carolina, had imposed an obligation on Congress not to act while it was in force? This, certainly, was the main argument against legislation to reduce the duties. He believed but for that even the most enthusiastic advocates of high protecting duties would not have ventured to advocate the continuance of the law by which the present immense amount of surplus revenue was raised. He would repeat, then, that it might be well questioned whether the movement of South Carolina had not, in some degree, prejudiced Southern interests, from the effect of the compromise act, which had resulted from it, to delay the reduction of the tariff down to a revenue standard. The Senator had warned those representing Southern States in this body not to vote for a reduction of the duties provided for by the bill then before them, because, in doing so, he thinks they will lose the favorable position at this time occupied by the South under the present system, and invite another attempt to increase the tariff. Mr. B. did not perceive any ground for the indulgence of such apprehensions. The national debt had been some time since paid off, and a large amount of surplus revenue was annually coming into the Treasury. He could not for a moment believe that any administration would ever venture so dangerous an experiment as to propose an increase of duties under such circumstances. He had always entertained the opinion that the act of 1833 should not be touched for light or trifling causes. As a Senator from a Southern State, he would not have volunteered a proposition to act on this subject; but as it had been brought before them, and as very clear indications, in his opinion, had been given, from a large portion of the people of the North, that some reduction ought to be made, he considered the aspect of the question materially changed. The friends of reduction were not on that floor confined to those representing Southern States; but many gentlemen, from each of the great divisions of the Union, were found concurring in the opinion that it was necessary. When this sentiment had taken such strong hold of the public mind, as well in a large portion of the North as elsewhere, he could not see any impropriety in legislating with a view to lessen the public burdens, at this time so unnecessarily continued. ... As one of those representing a Southern State, he did not consider that he should discharge his duty if he were, under existing circumstances, to refuse his aid in voting to abolish the duty on salt; an article so essential to every class of citizens, and more especially to those engaged in agricultural pursuits. if, however, (said Mr. B.,) this view of the subject is irreconcileable with a proper consideration of the compromise act, there was another obligation of still higher authority; and entitled to more sacred observance, than any which could possibly result from a mere legislative enactment, that challenged their respect. He alluded to the constitution of the United States, from which was derived our power to impose taxes, in the shape of duties or otherwise. He contended that Congress had no right to raise money by any species of taxation, except only for the purpose of carrying into effect the powers granted to the General Government by that instrument. They were annually raising a great deal more money than was required for those purposes. Was there not, then, a constitutional obligation resting on them to re. duce the duties to the wants of the Government, which was paramount to any and to every other consideration? While, therefore, gentlemen were urging the claims of the compromise act to such sacred regard, he trusted Vol. XIII,-58
that they would remember that the constitution of the United States deserved infinitely more their regard and respect, in guiding us in our deliberations here. Mr B. expressed his regret that the gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. CAlito UN] had deemed it proper to make what was, in his opinion, such an uncalled for and unwarrantable denunciation against those of their Northern friends who had come forward as the advocates of a reduction of duties on this occasion. If some of these gentlemen had occupied the position in 1828, in relation to the tariff, which had been said and charged against them, the country had the gratification now to see and know that they, at least, had changed for the better, while some of those representing a portion of the South upon this floor, and who were now opposing some of the proposed reductions, had, in that respect, somewhat deteriorated. The Senator from South Carolina, in his opinion, in opposing a reduction of duties, by so doing contributed to keep up the system, and, in that manner, indirectly supported the tariff principle. It would seem, therefore, that the relative positions of gentlemen had under. gone some change in the progress of events. [Mr. CALhou N. Am I to understand the Senator to say that I have changed my sentiments in relation to the tariff?] Mr. B. resumed. What he intended to say, and what he had distinctly said, was, that those who are now charged with having, in 1828, been friends of the tariff, at any rate had now given indications in favor of relaxing the present system of duties, while gentlemen who were hitherto opposed to the system were at present against a reduction of the duties. He could not exactly say what their sentiments were, but only what their course was here. Whether their sentiments had undergone any change, it was not for him to say; but he repeated that, so far as their actions were concerned, it seemed certain to him that the gentlemen were not as hostile to the system as they had been on some former Occasions. Mr. CALHOUN observed, in reply, that the mode in which the Senator from North Carolina reasoned went to hold up Mr. C. to the country as being opposed to the reduction of the tariff. Mr. C. protested against such an interpretation of his course. He was, and always had been, decidedly in favor of a reduction, and he voted against the present motions expressly from his ut. ter aversion to the whole tariff system. He believed that the small reductions now proposed, by unsettling the compromise, would bring back the system in its whole extent; but he had not the slightest faith on earth that the party who had brought forward this bill ever intended to pass it... If they had really been in earnest in desiring that a bill of this character should become a law, why had these disputed items been put into the bill? The great body of the reductions in the bill were without dispute, and might have been passed in ten min. utes; why, then, had these others been put in Was not the design plain and palpable? Who expected that there would be any reduction in the revenue? And be. cause he would not give a vote which, while it would tell on nothing at all, would go to commit his State to break the compromise, was he to be held up as opposed to the reduction of the tarift” The Senator from North Carolina himself could not but see that Mr. C's position showed and proved that he was as much opposed to the tariff as he had ever been. He had never retrograded a single inch. Mr. BROWN said that he was not aware that he had at all misrepresented the Senator from South Carolina. In what he had said he had alluded to certain language in that gentleman's speech, which he thought was rather sharp towards those Southern Senators who had voted for this bill. Mr. B. had been called upon to give his SENATE.]
reasons why he was in favor of the abolition of the duty on salt; and, in so doing, he had taken occasion to observe that the Senator from South Carolina had advocated the retention of the existing duties; that he had opposed any infraction of the compromise, and had advocated doctrines which, in Mr. B's opinion, went to perpetuate the tarifi system; for he held that a vote against this bill was, to all intents and purposes, a tariff vote. The question put to every Senator was, whether he would reduce the duties or not; and no casuistry, no pitiful subterfuge, would ever induce him to believe that a Senator who voted in the negative did not, in flect, vote to perpetuate the tariff system. The constitution was imperative that Congress should raise no more revenue than the constitution itself gave them power to expend. They were at present raising a surplus revenue— a thing which, most evidently, the constitution never contemplated; and were they not then violating that instrument? Those who voted to perpetuate this system did, he insisted, vote to perpetuate the tariff. Let it of. fend whom it might, this was the honest truth. He cared not where it might light, the truth should be spoken. He knew that truth might sometimes be blamed, and that gentlemen might resort to harsh repartees, with a view to escape its force; but truth was not so to be escaped from. Mr. B. claimed to have no very exalted opinion of his own character, but he hoped he was free
from the contemptible vanity and overweening egotism
which was sometimes displayed on that floor. What little intelligence he did possess he should use without consulting any man, or inquiring whether his ideas quadrated or not with the notions of those who seemed to think themselves standards of political infallibility. He was not acquainted with any one who possessed this attribute, nor was this the place where he should seek for one of this description, and least of all should he look for it in that quarter. Mr. CALHOUN observed, in reply, that the Senator from North Carolina had fully satisfied him of one thing. The Senator continued to assert that Mr. C. was in favor of the tariff, because he was opposed to taking off this duty on salt. All he could say was, that a gentleman who could think or say so, after the two distinct explanations and admonitions which Mr. C. had given, would not hereafter receive any notice from him. Mr. C. regretted that his appeal to the good sense of the Senator had not been met. He had expressly asked him whether he meant to affirm that Mr. C. was not opposed to the tariff. From the reply he had received, he had learned a lesson; and it was, not in future to respond to any remarks which might fall from that Senator. Mr. BROWN rejoined, and observed that there were some individuals by whom not to be noticed would occasion him some mortification, but there were others by whom he had not the slightest desire to be noticed in any way. Their notice was a thing he had never desired or cared for, and to receive it had not always eventuated as a benefit. He had his standing on that floor not by efforts at high-sounding pretensions to the attributes of a gentleman and a man of honor. He felt himself on equal grounds with the Senator from South Car. olina, or any other, and should be ready to vindicate his claims on all occasions. He had said that he was not to be deceived by the miserable subterfuges of such as, while they opposed every reduction of the tariff, claimed the credit of being against the tarish system. This was the head and front of his offending; and he would here take leave to say that, if the notice of the honorable Senator was to be withdrawn on this account, that Senator must Pursue his own course; but Mr. B. should not hereafter notice his hojúchools and frantic dentino of all the friends of the administration wi. might not happen to agree with i.i. opinion.
Mr. CALHOUN said he was not in the habit of noticing the Senator from North Carolina at any time. As to the term subterfuge, as applied to himself, he threw it back with indignation.
Mr. RIVES said that he wished to offer one or two remarks, in reply to a particular part of the speech of the Senator from South Carolina, [Mr. CALhots.] He referred to the appeal addressed by him to all the repre: sentatives of Southern States, in which the Senator had contended that no Southern man could with propriety vote for a reduction of the tariff, in contravention of the compromise act. The Senator had based his argument on this ground—that if they of the South should once set the example of departing from that arrangement, they could afterwards with no plausibility pretend to hold gentlemen on the other side to its observance. The Senator had asked, if those of the South should set such an example, how they could dare to insist for a moment on the observance of the compromise by another portion of the Union? Mr. R. would ask that Senator what evi. dence he possessed that any other portion of the Union saw the least binding force in the compromise? The Senator himself did not pretend to say that there was the least legal or moral obligation on any one to observe it: Mr. R. had not heard a single observation which locked like recognising any binding obligation in that arrangement. Gentlemen talked to him about observing a bargain on his part, when he had no evidence whatever that the opposite side meant to observe it on theirs. Were Southern gentlemen to be scrupulous on this subject, while they possessed no guarantee whatever that their Northern brethren would not advocate an increase of the tariff the moment they had any chance of success' Mr. R. insisted that the South had no evidence on that subject. He called the attention of all Southern Senators to the very significant address delivered by the Senator from Massachusetts, [Mr. Wenston,] at the last session; to the emphatic and unequivocal declaration, when speaking on the subject ...? the surplus, that the compromise act never could or should be recognised as the prominent policy of the United States. That gentleman had protested in the strongest terms against any obligation to observe it, and had said expressly that it never could be recognised as a proper basis for the commercial policy of the United States. Mr. R. had not forgotten these words; and now, in the present debate, had the Senate heard from the other Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. Davis] a solitary argument which amounted to a recognition of the compromise as binding? Had that gentleman, in his able speech, opposed the abolition of the duty on salt as an infraction of that arrangement—as a violation of a bargain? Mr. R. had heard no language of that kind. Neither that gentleman nor his colleague had ever said that they meant to observe the bargain on their part, when their turn should come to make sacrifices for its observance. When that gentleman had opposed the proposition in the bill, he had done it, as he always did, in a manly and open manner; on grounds of strong prac. tical sense, and not as being ary violation of an ideal compromise, contained in an ordinary act of legislation. Mr. R. well recollected when the other Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. W EastEn] had appealed to the Senator from Kentucky lyir. Clax] who had introduced the compromise bill, and who supported it on this groundthat he was fully convinced that, unless some such expedient should be resorted to in order to arrest the then apparent policy of the administration, the manufacturing interest would soon be compelled to witness worse times; that the Senator from Massachusetts had observed that if the operation. of the bill should in practice be found injurious in a high degree to any particular branch of manufacture, he hoped that by general consent so much of the bill would be withdrawn, and that the Sen. Feb. 23, 1837.]
Reduction of the Tariff.
ator from Kentucky [Mr. Clay] did not deny that such was the intention. Mr. R. was confident that it would not be contended any where that there ever had been any distinct recognition of a binding force in the compromise bill. Yet the Senator from South Carolina insisted that every friend to Southern interests was bound to go on and submit to every sacrifice required by that law, in the vain expectation that at a future day the compromise would be respected by those who were inter. ested in the protected branches of industry. Mr. R. cherished no such expectation. He did not believe that one of those interested in the protective system recognised any such bargain. They had acted wisely, with a sagacious regard to the interest of their constituents, cautiously abstaining from saying a single word which might imply that their hands were tied. The Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. Websteit] had, on the contrary, with great consideration, with a grave and solemn manner, and with the utmost precision of language, protestsed, at the last session, as an advocate of the manufacturing interests, against the compromise. Mr. R. had closely watched, during the present debate, to see whether any of the Senators who opposed the reductions suggested by the Committee on Finance would say any thing that looked like recognising a solemn bargain, signed, sealed, and delivered, between the North and the South, which would be violated by a repeal of these duties, and he had not heard such a word uttered by any of them. They opposed the reduction exclusively upon the merits. Was Mr. R. then, as a practical representative of the South, to be told that he must go on, and observe the stipulations of the compromise, on the part of the South, when he saw, from the most unequivocal evidence, both Positive and negative, that the North meant to do no such thing? He had had positive evidence of it in the solemn protest of the Senator from Massachusetts, and he had had the most abundant negative evidence in the fact to which he had just alluded, that not a man who opposed the bill had placed his opposition on the ground of the compromise. Under such circumstances, he must be excused if he refused to pursue such a one-sided course of policy; and he hoped that gentlemen who assumed to take the lead on Southern questions, and to speak in the name of the whole South, would not hold
*P him, and those who thought as he did, as faithless to
their engagements, if they refused to follow such a lead. One of the Senators from south Carolina [Mr. Paes. To s] had said that he saw with the utmost clearness, from the indications around him, that the tariff interest was Predominant in that body; that its opponents were the weaker Party; and, therefore, that it would not be wise in them to open the question. Mr. R. would ask of that Senator, what were the indications to which he alluded? From the state of the vote, the fact was unquestionable that it was solely owing to the course pursued by that gentleman and his colleague that the tariff interest had the ascendency on that floor. The question was tried in the attempt to repeal the duty on porcelain and stoneware, and the ayes and noes on that question showed that it had been lost by the votes of those two Senators alone; the vote stood 24 to 20. If those gentle men had voted otherwise, it would have stood 22 to 22, and the motion to strike out porcelain and stoneware from the bill would have been lost by a tie. [Mr. Paestos here explained, and thought there must have been a mistake in recording the vote, as he had not been present when the yeas and nays were called. He expressed a doubt whether articles charged with a duty of .29. PeF cont; were included within the compro. mise. He was rather under the impression that they were not included. Whatever the compromise was, he was for preserving it..] - y
found the names of both the Senators from South Carolina among the 24 who voted for striking out. But whether the record was correct or not, Mr. R. greatly doubted that the tariff interest was in the ascendant. He had seen it for years losing its influence every moment, and he, for one, was not afraid to leave the tariff question open. He did not want any imaginary sanctuary to protect him while giving his vote on this occasion. He was not going to protect himself by artificial defences of this kind against the people of the United States. He was aware that the people had once been in favor of the protective policy, but he did not believe that they were so at this time. In the meanwhile he felt himself called upon to do his duty to a man who had been greatly misrepresented. He did not believe there was a man, individually, more favorable to the interests of the South, or who would do more to protect those interests, than the person who had been so rudely assailed in this debate. Mr. R. did not believe that he ever had been a friend to the high protective policy. He had watched his course and looked at his actions; and what had been his conduct’ It had been often thrown in his teeth that he had voted for the tariff of 1828, under instructions from his Legislature. Mr. R. cared not for all that had been or could be said on that subject. Every body had witnessed the progressive march of public opinion in that gentleman's own State, under his sagacious guidance. Let gentlemen look at his speech, delivered at Albany before the tarifi of 1828 was passed; it would show that the whole bent of his mind was against a high tariff, and Mr. R. did not doubt that it had been the suspicions excited by the sentiments in that speech which had drawn forth from the Legislature the instructions under which Mr. Van Buren had afterwards voted. They were not in the dark as to the views and purposes of that individual, whatever might have been said about the degeneracy of poor old Virginia. They had had declarations, under sufficient guarantees, that he was opposed to this policy. He was not a man to run into abstractions, but was, in all his course of action, eminently wise and practical. His abstaining from mere abstract positions rendered his course of action effectual in bringing about good results. What was that individual doing at this time? Were not his personal and political friends acting at this moment in favor of Southern interests? The chairman of the Finance Committee, who had introduced the present bill, was well known to be on terms of intimacy with that gentleman. In fulfilment of the pledges he had given when here in his place, the individual in question was now proceeding in an effort to mitigate the pressure of the tariff system; and yet those who should have received him into their confidence, and hailed his course with thanks and praise, turned round and ungratefully repelled the proffered aid. It was “all talk.” It was “ mere New York tactics.” Nothing was meant by it. Did the Senator from South Carolina [Mr. CALHoux] wish to be understood as so utterly and irreconcileably opposed to that individual, that whenever he was for a measure the Senator from South Carolina was to be against it? And when he was against a measure, and was using his efforts to effect a reform in their legislation, was the gentleman from South Carolina still to oppose him, even when he was giving the South the very thing they asked for? The Senator from New York had thus far acted for him in good faith, and had nobly redeemed his pledges to the South. Mr. R. anticipated with confidence that he would act out the course. He reposed on the pledges of that person, both as to our do: méstic and other interests; and if any observations had been made by him privately, and not in the hearing of the Senate, (as Mr. R. had heard some anecdotes respecting him,) he claimed that he should be judged by
*** * ****". He had examined the journal, and
his acts. When that gentleman and his friends said they