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Reduction of the Tariff.
[FER. 23, 1837.
were against a high tariff, they gave to the country works to justify the assertion. Let others who impugn their sincerity follow the example. When others uttered highsounding professions, which charmed the ear, let them follow out their words with works; but, as a plain practical man, Mr. R. saw nothing which would entice him to follow them. He should avail himself of every opportunity within his reach to get rid of the burden of which his constituents complained. The tariff question never had been closed; it was still open; and Mr. R. was willing, as a Southern man, to leave the protection of his rights with the American people. He did not believe that the tariff system had an ascendency in the country, nor would it in the Senate, but for the votes of South Carolina. Mr. R. believed the measure now proposed to be a wise one. He was not, indeed, the advocate of an indiscriminate warfare against manufactures; he was not going to act in the spirit of a crusader against them. He respected the people of the North, who were so deeply interested in these establishents, as he did his own constituents. But he was not to be deterred from what he considered to be his duty by having a piece of parchment held up before him, by being told that it was a compromise, and that he dare not ask the other party to observe it unless he observed it himself. The other party had expressly told him that they did not acknowledge the bargain; and why should he be held when they were not At the same time, he was disposed to treat all the great interests of the country with caution and reverence, and, in legislating with regard to them, to tread as upon holy ground; not because he was in terror of a compromise, but because he held it wise not rashly to disturb existing interests. As an American patriot, he viewed with pride and exultation the wealth and prosperity of his brethren. He would not take an iota from it, if it could possibly be avoided. He was one, however, who believed that, notwithstanding the land bill, (should it become a law,) there would still be a surplus in the Treasury; and from stern necessity alone he was willing to reduce the revenue, though in so doing he could not wholly avoid affecting the interests of some of his fellow-citizens; and as he saw no means of lessening the national income so good and expedient as the prudent and catholic measures proposed by this bill, it should receive his support. Mr. R., in conclusion, observed that he had said much more than he intended to say when he rose. The particular position he held there in reference to his own State rendered it his duty to be thus explicit, and he hoped would be received as his apology for so long detaining the Senate. As a representative of Virginia, he was willing to make a sacrifice of this salt tax in the name of his State. His constituents were largely interested in the manufacture of salt. He was aware that those of the honorable Senator from Massachusetts, who were also largely engaged in this manufacture, were in a different situation from most others. The salt manufacture in New York, Virginia, and Ohio, was sufficiently protected by nature. If, by any act of legisla. tion on this subject, an injury was to be inflicted on any portion of the people of Massachusetts, Mr. R. should sincerely regret it. But let those concerned reflect that theirs was but a minor interest, when compared with the whole amount of capital embarked in this manufacture: while that whole amount was not less than eight or ten millions, the capital of Massachusetts was only two millions. f'. R could not see, for one, that the continu. *...* o outy was so very important to their prosperity: The honorable Senator who so ably represented then o' assured the senate tha. i. o presente aled - , should the duty be rePoo his constituents would’ c l whining petitions and complai one here with no Points. Mr. R. believed
every word which had been said on that subject. He well knew the character of those people, and was assured that, under all circumstances, they would rather seek the up-building of their fortune from their own brawny arms and bold, untiring industry, than from the factitious aid of a precarious legislation. There was no duty which affected the community so widely, so universally, as a duty on salt; and while, in the process of reducing the revenue, the Senate were exploring the whole field of taxation, would they pitch upon a duty so intimately connected with the necessaries of life? He conceived not. Mr. W RIGHT said that he did not rise to prolong this debate, certainly not to follow the example of the two Senators from South Carolina, by leading off the debate into the discussion of incidental subjects of a personal and wholly irrelevant character. His state of health, too, admonished him not to speak more than was absolutely necessary; yet he was compelled, by the necessity of the case, to say a very few words in reply to the remarks of one of the Senators from South Carolins, [Mr. CALhou N. J In the first place, the Senate had heard the allegation of that Senator's strong suspicion that those who were in favor of this bill were not acting sincerely; and the remark seemed particularly aimed at the committee who had reported the bill. Mr. W. was sorry they stood so low in the Senator's opinion. But there was nothing to be done in the case. The Senator had a right not only to form his own opinion, but to promulgate it with a view to enlighten the senate. Mr. W. had to deal only with facts; and what were the facts of this case? How came the committee with the subject? On the motion of that honorable Senator. And under what circumstances? With the utterance of a declaration about as charitable as some others in which he was in the habit of indulging—that the committee would make a mere demonstration, but would in fact do nothing. The Senator, however, was resolved that the committee should show what their intentions really were. The matter thus far was prophetic. He would now come to history. The senator had done him the justice repeat: edly to acknowledge that his personal exertions had not been wanting. The progress of the committee had been frankly communicated to that gentleman, so that they could not at least be accused of secrecy and dio. guise, whether any unnecessary delay had occurred in reporting the bill was a matter for the judgment of the public. - For the truth of any allegations on this subject, he must refer to his humble credit here while he affirmed that the committee made what expedition they could. The bill was at length reported to the House as soon as it was prepared. But then the Senator asks, why was it not earlier taken up? Mr. W. said he knew it was unnecessary for him to answer that question before this Senate. What had been the declaration which he him: self had made, on bringing this bill into the House’ Dio he not then remark that the land bill must be the chief relance of the country for any very important reduction of the revenue, and that all that could be effected in respect to duties must bear a comparatively small proportion? And what bill had been before the Senate when the bill in question had been reported? Was it not the land bill? And to whom was it to be charged that the discussion of the land bill occupied the Senate for weeks? To the Committee on Finance? To any member of that committee: Let, the Senate answer. And what had followed the land bill? Another bill of a public nature, and of a highly important character. On Thursday the Fio. Committee had directed Mr. W. to... . . printing of the tariff bill, and it was or. dered by the Sena” but as the printing was not com.
pleted in time for it to be brought in on Friday, he had then given notice that he should call up the bill on the Monday following. In compliance with this promise, he had accordingly moved on Monday that the bill be taken up, but a large majority of the Senate refused to do so. Mr. W. called it up the day following; and he would now ask, had the committee since then been chargeable with delaying its progress? Whence had come the leading prominent opposition to the bill? From a source, he must in candor say, he had not anticipated. Those who made the opposition to it had of course perfect control as to the manner in which the opposition was to be conducted; but he had deemed it proper to make this answer to what he must consider a somewhat ungenerous - imputation. The Senator from South Carolina had thought proper to present the Senate with a full-length portrait of his humble self. What effect this might have in furthering or preventing the repeal of the salt duty, it was not for him to say. It was a matter he had nothing to do with. The fact that he had been a member of the Committee on Manufactures in 1828, and that he had supported the tariff bill passed in that year, was, he believed, not new. But to a single cautious remark thrown out by the gentleman, he should take the liberty to reply. The honorable Senator intimated that somebody had been deceived on that occasion; and, by coupling himself and his friend, when speaking of that deception, he seemed to leave the inference that Mr. W. had been a party to it. Mr. W. had been well aware of the course the bill was likely to take in the House of Representatives. Whether the other gentleman alluded to was so or not, he did not know; but this he knew: that the shape given to the bill was that preferred by every member from the South. There had been a conflict as to principle between reporting a bill which should protect manufactures alone, and a bill which should extend the protection to the material which constituted the subject-matter of which the manufactured articles were composed, so as to extend the benefit to the agricultural interest also. An exceedingly amiable and worthy gentleman, since dead, [Mr. W. was understood as referring to the late Hon. Warren R. Davis, of South Carolina,] had been a member with himself of the committee who reported the bill, and that gentleman's name and his own would be found recorded together in the votes upon it. The gentlesnan alluded to had been utterly opposed to a tariff bill of any kind; but if any was to be reported, he had his choice between the alternatives, and preferred the insertion of protecting duties on the raw material. Mr. W. knew that that gentleman and all his associates were sanguine in the belief that if the bill should be thus framed, the New England members would vote against it, and it would consequently be lost. Mr. W. did all he could to undeceive them, but he could not succeed. The Eastern members did, in the course of debate, make use of expressions severe and harsh, almost beyond the limits of parliamentary rule; and this strengthened the Southern members if the belief that the bill could not pass. But, he had told them repeatedly that the very men who thus denounced the bill would, on the final question, vote in its favor; and the event justified his prediction. [Mr. Davis here interposed, and asked whether the Senator meant to say that he had voted for the bill.] Mr. W. replied, that in his former remarks he had had no reference to that gentleman. There were insinuations here made which seemed to intimate a suspicion that some deception was intended by the authors of the present bill; but he thought, if the gentleman who had thrown them out would give the matter a little more reflection, he must himself become satisfied that the insinuation was unfounded. If not, however, it was but of
little moment. As to what had transpired here, whether in public proceedings or private conversations, he had nothing to do with it. It was years since the transactions took place, and many of the agents concerned in them had since passed off the stage of life; for himself, he was satisfied with the judgment which the country had pronounced upon his own course. He impugned that of no other gentleman. There was another point on which he must be indulged in a word or two. The Senator had represented him as having stated that this article of salt had been introduced into the bill as a test question, whether the compromise was or was not to be adhered to. . The Senator, it was true, had afterwards become satisfied of his mistake, and had corrected himself. What was it that Mr. W. had said in relation to the compromise? He had stated that it had been the purpose of the committee, in framing the present bill, to seek as well among articles the duty on which was above 20 per cent., as among those under 20 per cent., for such as might be made free of duty, without disturbing any very important interest of the country. He had expressly said that he felt under no restraint whatever in going above 20 per cent, or below it, to find articles of this description, and had stated his opinion, that what was called the compromise act had the force of an ordinary law of Congress, and no more. He had made the same declaration at the time the compromise bill passed; and he believed the Senator from South Carolina had done the same. It was now his duty to show that there had been no magic about the introduction of this article of salt into the bill. He had run his eye cursorily over a table containing the long list of protected articles, and had found that the duty on those charged with 20 per cent. amounted to $1,325,000. Congress, by unanimous consent, had reduced the duty on wine one half since the compromise; yet wine before the reduction paid more than 20 per cent. Since then it paid less. The committee proposed a similar reduction in the duty on foreign spirit. That was now over twenty per cent. But if nothing must be touched but what was under twenty per cent., then there must be deducted from the bill $429,000 on this item. There had been already deducted $52,000 on worsted yarn, and $339,000 on earthenware; and now salt must go, and various other items would have to follow suit. Mr. W. had not risen to argue the principle; on that every gentleman must satisfy his own mind. All he meant to say was, that if the Senate was to be guided by the rule which had been laid down, all hope of any reduction in the revenue was gone, and either there must be a surplus, and a consequent distribution till the year 1842, or the sale of the public lands must be stopped entirely. He must be indulged in one more suggestion. The Senator from Seuth Carolina had said that but for the compromise, the bill of 1832 would have produced an immense surplus. Mr. W. would ask the Senator whether, if the public lands had been retained, (as was then expected,) there would have been a surplus? None whatever. But Mr. W had voted for the compromise. True. He hoped for that one vote, at least, the Senator would not blame him. That he had many faults he felt most deeply; but he should not now so far comply with some examples as to enter into a discussion of his own public or private conduct. He had voted for the compromise act for the sake of quieting the country. He had not then believed that there would be any troublesome amount of surplus in the Treasury, nor did he now believe that there would have been, but for the immense sales of the public lands, which was an event not anticipated by any body. He would now observe, in conclusion, that, as a member of the Finance CommitSENATE.]
Reduction of the Tariff.
[Feb. 23, 1837.
tee, he had presented to the Senate the best bill he could. He had, indeed, been fully aware that it must disturb some domestic interests; but he defied the gentlemen who so loudly complained, to frame any bill which would not do so. There were some articles below 20 per cent, which the committee did not insert, because they believed it inexpedient to touch them, while there were others above 20 per cent. which they did insert, for the sake of the object to be accomplished, viz: some reduction in the revenue. Mr. STRANGE observed that the very deep reverence he entertained for this body always rendered it exceedingly painful to him to address it; and this reason alone had often restrained him from rising in his place, and disclaiming sentiments and opinions uttered by the Senator from S outh Carolina, in the name of the whole South, in which he differed with him toto caelo. But on the present occasion he was compelled, both by duty and inclination, earnestly to protest against the practice into which that Senator had fallen—of assuming to speak for the whole South; in which general term the State he had the honor to represent was, of course, included. He was unwilling to see North Carolina tacked as a tail to any kite, or brought to act under any dictation. He was perfectly contented that South Carolina should be represented by the Senators she had herself chosen. They were signally able to represent her, and doubtless they fairly expressed her views upon this and all other subjects; but they had no right to speak in the name of the whole South; and, so far as North Carolina was concerned, he claimed for himself and his colleague the sole right of speaking for her upon that floor, as long as she herself thought proper to intrust them with that honor. He was not for making invidious comparisons, but he hazarded nothing in saying that, in all of which man has reason to be proud, North Carolina was behind no State in the Union. She would act in all matters acdording to her own sense of right, and would, on no occasion, be either led or bullied. Among the characteristics of her people were prudence and good sense; but it had been his lot to witness on this floor language of much rashness and indiscretion, as he conceived, uttered in the name of the South. He would instance particularly some remarks of the Senator, uttered the other day, upon the subject of abolition, which he disapproved at the time, but refrained from objecting to, for the reason besore stated. He did not believe it either politic or proper, on every occasion of difference between us and our Northern brethren, to be throwing down the gauntlet of defiance, as had been done then. We assemble here from different portions of the Union, to confer together for the good of the whole. Far be it from him to advance the dangerous doctrine of the consolidationist, that each member of this body is the representative of the whole Union. No, no; each one is the pe. culiar representative of those who elect him; but in his representative capacity is governed, or rather should be, by the same laws of propriety, mutual concession, and common honesty, which govern individuals in their intercourse with each other. He was not so credulous as to believe that any mind can be altogether freed from the shackles of interest; but, with the high intellectual powers which in general characterize the members of the Nation. al Legislature, we may reasonably expect that sound and liberal views of public policy will control their deliberations. Instead, then, of arousing their passions by threatening denunciations, our appeals should be addressed to their reason, and to that sense of common interest which recognises the real good of the whole in the welfare of each and every part. These appeals would seldom be disregarded, while threats and defiance, if
productive of no other evil, must tend to weaken the bonds of our Union.
But to come to the matter more immediately under consideration: the Senator from South Carolina had made most extraordinary appeals to those representing Southern States; and assumed over them a sort of dicta. torial power to which he, for one, was not disposed to submit. In one particular he and the Senator from South Carolina agreed; and that was, in holding a tariff for protection to be unconstitutional. For the maintenance of this position, it was, if he rightly understood the matter, that South Carolina had placed herself in hostile attitude to the rest of the Union, and had nearly involved the country in the horrors of civil war. On one of the very few occasions on which he had heretofore addressed the Senate, he had remarked upon the great diversity of operation of human minds; by what various processes they arrive at the same conclusions, or wander into different results from the same premises; and of this the Senator from South Carolina and himself now presented an example. They agreed in the existence of an evil, but differed widely, very widely, as to the remedy. They were both opposed to a tariff for protection; but the Senator from South Carolina believed that the vote on the part of the Southern Senators to repeal the duty on salt would rivet the tariff upon them; while he, on his part, believed the object of removing the tarif most attainable by direct blows at each feature of the odious system.
He did not understand the Senator from South Carolina as objecting to present action upon any other ground than that of an act of Congress, which has been called in debate the compromise act; but, in relation to this, he solemnly warns the Southern Senators not to forfeit the vast advantages held under it by the South, for any benefit they may hope to derive from an immediate reduction of the tariff. But at the very moment the Senator speaks of a compact from which the South is deriving advantages, he disclaims being himself bound by it. If he is not bound by it, who is? . By adhering to the terms of the act of 1833, he urges we will secure certain benefits to the South, while by disturbing it the manufacturing interests will be released from the pledges under which it places them. What pledges? If any pledge exists on their part, where is the evidence of it? Do any of the Northern gentlemen acknowledge themselves under any pledge? i have heard none; but I have listened with surprise to the Senator from South Carolina, insisting upon a compact binding on them, while on his own part he disavows any obligation. How can there be a compromise without parties? or how shall an obli: gation be effectual on one side, and have no correspondent force on the other? The concession of the Senator seems to me utterly to destroy the character of the act of 1833, as a compact or compromise. It does not upon its face profess to have any such character, but stands upon the statute book like any other act of Congress, subject to modification or repeal at the pleasure of the law-making power. If, from any circumstance not appearing upon its face, it is entitled to more sacred regard than other laws passed at the same or any other session of congress, let the circumstance be pointed out, let us have the proof of its existence. He could easily perceive, from the delicate position in which South Car. olina stood immediately preceding the passage of this act, it might be viewed by her with peculiar interest, and demand from her the most profound respect, and exercise over her actions a sort of magic control; but no reason had yet been shown why to any other State of the Union it should be held as any thing more than an ordinary act of Congress. Its binding efficacy as a com: pact or compromise was disavowed on one side of the House, and not avowed on the other. But, independent of any obligation to respect this act, the Senator from South Carolina seems to think that, in Feb. 23, 1837.]
1842, we of the South will stand in a much better situation by leaving the act of 1833 unaltered, than we shall do by any present modifications we can possibly make. This position is plausible enough, admitting the act of 1833 is in truth a compromise; but in denying that one party is bound by it, while he insists that the other is not, the Senator abandons every legal idea of a compromise; and that being done, he was altogether at a loss to perceive any other ground of advantage to be claimed from it. But the Senator warns us against an insidious attempt to induce the unwary Southern Senators to abandon the strong ground they now occupy, by holding out to them fallacious hopes of an alteration of the tariff, advantageous to the South, with a view to open the whole subject, and ultimately to fix upon us a tariff more burdensome than that of 1828. He has given us a recital, in which he seeks to fix upon those who bring forward this measure flagrant falsehood and perfidy on a former occasion, and from thence very rationally argues that they are not to be trusted now. But we must be permitted to doubt the correctness of the representation he had made. He did not mean to say that the Senator had not represented things as they impressed themselves upon his mind; but we all know, when the passions and feelings are excited, we see each other and each other's conduct in false lights, and draw conclusions the most erroneous and unjust. The Senator was much excited at the period of which he speaks, and his fervid imagination led him to believe that a deception had been practised upon him, because matters had not resulted according to his wishes and expectations. The Senator's impressions, it seemed to him, were met by the most conclusive proof to the contrary. Among the parties to the fraud of which he speaks, the Senator has placed one now standing very high in the public confidence; one who, among those who are least disposed to do him justice, has had full credit for a remarkably keen sense of his own interests. To the honor of our country, it may be said that honesty, or at least the appearance of it, is essential to a man's long holding a place in public favor. Allowing, then, the distinguished individual alIuded to as destitute of moral principle as his worst enemies affect to believe him, would he have been so short-sighted, so recklessly indifferent to his own interest, as to enmesh himself in promises there was no necessity for making, for the mere purpose of breaking them in a few hours, in the face of the whole world? Can greater fatuity than such a course would indicate be imagined?, and can it for a moment be supposed of one whom his enemies have entitled the magician? Butlet us suppose all this possible; would not the fact have been long since brought home to the personal knowledge of every individual in this wide-spread com. munity?...Those with whom the knowledge of the fact exists, if it exists at all, have not been waning in motives to give it publicity and authenticity, if the thing were possible. Mr. S. said he was glad he had not yet been long. enough in political life to have lost his own honesty, or his confidence in that of others. He was the representative of a people with whom nothing but truth and plain dealing could ever be practised or held in estimation; and he would far rather be the “deceived” than the “deceiver.” The time might come when longer experience would convince him that in this body, as well as elsewhere, men are not always what they seem; but, for the present, he had just grounds for confiding in the sincerity of those who brought forward this measure. He believed it to be their honest purpose to carry it out in all its apparent fairness. He saw no compromise standing in the way of a vote to suppress the duty on salt. He perceived no advantages to be gained in futuro by declining to do so; he was satisfied that the present in.
terests of those whom he represented would be promoted by its suppression; and he was certain they would not receive, as an apology from him, that the Senator from South Carolina had assured him their interests would be more certainly promoted by postponing a present and certain good, to one uncertain in itself in the distant suture. Mr. CALHOUN said he had heard so much of prom: ise, and had seen so little of performance, since he came into public life, that the Senator from New York must really excuse him for not giving that implicit faith to all he heard, which he might, at an earlier period of life, have been disposed to yield. If any one looked at the indisposition of men in power to yield any portion of the power they held, he would readily become convinced that it was a most difficult task to get rid of existing duties. This was not the first time he had been led to make this remark. At the very outset of this session he had said that there would be no reduction of the revenue, and no deposite bill; nor had he uttered this prophecy from any peculiar trait of suspicion which belonged to his character, but from the teachings of experience. Why was the Senate not agreed on this measure? Here was a dominant majority held as closely bound by party ties as he had ever seen a set of men in his life; and yet they could not get along in a bill to reduce the revenue, without the votes of his colleague and himself. It was manifest that the reigning party were divided on the tariff, and equally obvious that that difference did not divide them politically. The tariff was one of those open questions on which men of both sides were left at liberty to vote as they pleased. The party would never get Northern Senators to vote for repealing the protective duties. Mr. C. did, therefore, want faith in the sincerity of the present effort. The Senator from New York [Mr. Waight] had disclaimed all unnecessary delay in reference to the present bill; but did not all know that it was not until two weeks after the land bill that this bill had been brought forward? What hindered its earlier consideration? Gentlemen had suffered the new fortification bill to be taken up, and then a bill to enlarge the army, and then an armory bill; all these consumed time; and, under such circumstances, he must doubt the zeal of gentlemen in pushing, as they might have done. And why was it discussed now, when there was not the remotest chance of its becoming a law? It might produce political agitation, but no reduction of the revenue. If gentlemen had been sincere and earnest in their anxiety to accomplish that object, why were not the items in this bill divided into two distinct classes, and reported in two different bills? In regard to many of them there was no dispute; and if these had been classed together, the bill containing them would have been passed at once by common consent. From the mixing up of these with other items which were sure to produce great controversy, Mr. C. was justified in believing, and time would show the correctness of the opinion, that they would have much talk and no action. Mr. C. was not opposed to those who in good faith desired to reduce the revenue. Those who professed to have this desire had the majority. Let that majority be brought together, and let the declaration be made in a certain quarter that all who oppose the measure would be considered as out of the true faith, and then Mr. C. would believe gentlemen to be in earnest; otherwise he could not. But the Senator from New York [Mr. WmIGHT) had declared that, if there was any secret understanding in regard to the tariff of 1828, he knew nothing of it. I was (said Mr. C.) consulted at the time, to know how the South would go, and whether the South would sus. tain the bill as it came from the Middle States? We did so sustain it, but refused to agree to such amendments as would suit the members from the Eastern States. The internal history of the bill shows what was our calculation. Can any man believe that Southern men would ever have voted for such a bill as the tariff of 1828, unless they believed that by so voting they would insure its ultimate defeat? Do not all the world know that we of the Southern States were for free trade, and looked upon all these protecting duties as neither more nor less than sheer oppression? We surely had an ordinary measure of common sense; and would we vote to resist all amendments to such a bill as was ultimately passed, unless we felt ourselves assured of a contingent advantage? And what was that advantage? We saw that the system might be pushed too far to suit New England; that it might be made to affect injuriously the interests of navigation and commerce; and that in that case they would go against the bill. Surely we must have had some assurance that in the final vote New England would join us. We took our hazard on this issue. We resisted all amendments, and kept the bill in such a shape that we were assured they never could vote for it. Our great inducement was a hope of being able to prostrate the administration, and aiding New England in the defeat of the bill; but the very men who had the most warmly denounced the bill suddenly wheeled round, and, on the final question, took ground against us. If, after all this, I am a little suspicious that gentlemen may be acting here a political part, with the intention of again bringing the whole industry of the country under the action of Congress, and thus gain for their party an unlimited control of its affairs, is it to be wondered at? Is it marvellous that I, who have seen and mingled with and been an actor in such a scene as passed here in 1828, should suspect the entire sincerity of the same gentlemen in 1837? But the honorable Senator says that salt is not the only article selected by the Finance Committee as an object of reduction; but that others, on which the existing duty is over 20 per cent., have also been inserted in this bill. It is very true. But as the act of 1833 was an adjustment of the tariff, by way of compromise between the manufacturing and agricultural interests of the country, some duties included in it may be reduced by common consent of both parties. Thus, the duties on wines and vinous spirits may be lowered, without interfering with the tariff system, because they are in a manner open articles; but this cannot be said of this duty on salt. This is a test question, and the only article in the bill which presents a fair test, whether the compromise is to be respected or not. On that view of the subject I take my ground. The difference between reducing this salt duty all at once, and reducing it gradually, presents no temptation to me. I neither can nor will be caught in such a trap. In 1840 and 1841 the duties go off rapidly. I shall then claim the benefit of our side of the arrangement; and shall I not be stronger then if I concede now I put it to all Southern men, whether, even allowing that the com. promise has no absolutely binding force, it will not be our wisest policy to hold to it? Whether we shall not thereby render ourselves stsonger in 1841 and 1842? Most certainly we shall. When Senators on the other side sit silent while we thus explain our understanding of the agreement, I hold it to be an acquiescence in our view; for surely it is a most unmanly course if they mean otherwise. We are told that the President elect is most wonderfully attached to the Southern States and the advance. ment of Southern interests; and the evidence is the speech he delivered in New York previous to the vote he gave to fix the tariff upon us in 1828; and the vote is no Pomitted to explain the speech. He voted for time ou"Y" wool and woollens, and for the whole bill of 1828-9" of the most oppressive measures to the south that **** was devised; and yet gentlemen has oth in
SENATE.] Reduction of the Tariff. [FEa. 23, 1837.
his deep attachment to Southern interests. I am much disposed to look back. Perhaps it is constitutional in my mind; but I feel a strong proneness to retrospection. I well remember the constitution of the first cabinet of General Jackson. There was Mr. Berrien, a stout antitariff man, and stoutly opposed to the tariff of 1828, (which was passed by the vote of Mr. Van Buren.) Then there was Mr. Branch, decidedly opposed to it. Mr. Ingham, who acted a manly, open part in that business. All these were General Jackson's warm friends. With them were Mr. Dickerson, of New Jersey, a most thorough tariff man, and Mr. Woodbury, of New Hampshire, who (to do him justice) acted not badly in 1828. At bottom, he was opposed to the bill. He acted a very different part from Mr. Van Buren. Mr. Van Buren, if we may judge by his vote, was most thoroughly tariff. Yet it seems extraordinary to the Senator from New York that, with that thoroughly tariff man for President, I should be unwilling to have the compromise disturbed! Let us have some proof that Mr. Van Buren is as hostile to the tariff as the Senator from North Carolina says he is. Until I have proof on that point, I, for one, can never consent to have the tariff question opened, because I am very sure, the moment it is, we in the minority are sure of being sacrificed. Whatever surplus may be lest in the Treasury, it is infinitely safer to return it to the States, until a gradual reduction of the revenue shall have dried up the sources from which it is derived. I have determined, under present circumstances, not to call up the deposite bill. I am well persuaded, if the Government shall go on in future as extravagantly as it has lately done, there will soon be complaint heard about a surplus in the Treasury. I have no faith, in the present state of the country. It is unsound. There is a plethoric, bloated state of apparent prosperily; but the slightest reverse will throw our whole money concerns into irretrievable confusion. The currency, both of Great Britian and America, was never before in so critical a condition. Mr. C. concluded by reiterating the declaration that he had taken his stand upon the advantages to be derived to the South from an adherence to the compromise. Mr. PRESTON next addressed the Senate. He commenced with a series of remarks intended to justify the course pursued by himself and his colleague [Mr. Cal: hous] in resisting the reduction of the duties, proposed in the present bill. He thought that it would be hard for the friends of the administration who advocated the bill to show that they (himself and colleague) were tariff men, and Mr. Van Buren anti-tariff. As to the act of 1833, President Jackson had, in his message, expressly recognised it as a compromise, and recommended its observance. Little did he expect to be so soon contradicted on the floor of the Senate by such devoted friends. But he was now the setting sun--another luminary was rising in the political sky, and all eyes were now directed to the flaming east. It would do now to say that the act was no compromise, and that all arguments based on that supposition were futile. Yet the Senator from Ken; tucky [Mr. CLAY) had pledged himself at the time, and still recognised the obligation, sacredly to observe it: The South had at least that guarantee; and, for himself, he preferred relying on that ground to trusting the guarantee of the chairman of the Committee on Finance. The Senator from Virginia, it seemed, considered Mr. Van Buren as pledged to the South; and this on some other ground of assurance besides his famous speech in New York, and his vote in direct contradiction of it. It gave Mr. P. unfeigned pleasure to hear such assurances, and he trusted in God that they would be carried out. He could tell that gentleman that in such a course he would not be opposed by South Carolina. They had had the prophecy, now let actions made it good. The honorable