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Senator from Virginia was the priest upon the tripod Just now; but how did the Senate, or how could the South, know but another priest might shortly mount another tripod, and deliver a different response? The Senator from Virginia spoke for the South; the Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. Bucha NAN,] who was now unfortunately absent, might perchance feel in his turn the influence of the god, and utter a vaticination calculated for a different meridian. Mr. P. said that he received with great respect whatever fell from the gentleman from Virginia; but, in this case, he must be pardoned for feeling some little distrust. It might be so, as the Senator supposed; but, for one, he should be glad to hear the Senator from Pennsylvania rise in his place, and make a declaration in consonance with that which had just been uttered by the Senator from Virginia. But the gentleman (said Mr. P.) qualified his position by a certain set of words, carefully selected and cautiously weighed. The new President, it seems, is practically 9pposed to an extravagant tariff--ay, practically. He is for none of your vague abstractions--ob, no. His is a practical operation; and we are told this by honorable gentlemen who hunted down a late administration because they were the friends of a “judicious tariff.” And now, sir, can the gentleman tell us what is a practical tarifio What the dominant party mean by no abstractions, I understand to be no constitutional objections; for the constitution is a mere abstraction—a mere bit of parchment. But we of the weaker interest have nothing to appeal to but papers and parchments; we have nothing to rely upon but these abstractions. I should have been glad to have heard from the honorable Senator what is to be the exact nature and extent of the practical opposition which we of the South may expect from the powers that are to be. The present President came into power as the friend of a practical judicious tariff, and what did that turn out to be? The tariff of 1828, followed by the tariff of 1832—a tariff which we of the South felt ourselves compelled to resist. But the honorable Senator informs us that we have reason to think the feeling in the country in favor of high protecting duties has been greatly weakened. But where is the proof of this? We all remember the history of this feeling heretofore. We all know that the tariff system went on by constantly in&reasing majorities; and the larger the tariff proposed, the more votes were brought up in its favor. And what is the state of the interests still concerned in the same system? What one State has changed its policy or its prin. ciples on this subject? Do we not see, to this very hour, that the moment those interests are touched their representatives act in disregard to all party ties? will gentlemen, in a moment of triumph, because, with the aid 9f myself and my colleague, they find themselves able to break down the tariff of 1828 aid 1832, sing the flatter*8 o’s.” our ears that the tariff feeling is dead, and the tariff interest changed? If so, why have they not struck at the whole system? Gentlemen talk about the fruit of taxes going into the pockets of the rich, while they are gathered from the labor of the poor; but what, !.Pray Yo", has been the movement of their whole party? Has it not been to make all those articles which are intended for the consumption of the rich free of duty, and only stroke at salt and spirits? Why did they select China?, Does not that belong almost exclusively to the rio Pook at the whole list proposed in the present bill, and how many of them are articles for the relief of the Poor man: , Yet we are taunted and twitted for favoring to rich against the poor, while they them. selves are taking off the duty from the conveniences or luxuries of the rich alone. Why? With a view to favor the rich . I do not say that. But out of a half-way respect for the compromise of 1833. The senator from New York [Mr. Waight] does not consider that act as a Vol. XIII.-59
bargain, nor does he think either the North or the South pledged to its observance. Now, I do know that it was regarded as a bargain. I gave my pledge in behalf of those whom I represent. They consider themselves as bound in good faith; and if a compliance with it will take the last cent of my constituents out of their pockets, it shall be complied with, so far as depends on me, because I respect their honor above their property. I, for one, do not hold myself at liberty to disregard that act because it is only a bit of parchment. I am not at liberty to tear bits of parchment the moment they stand in the way of my pecuniary interest. But I will not argue the question. As to the surplus in the Treasury, I do not secl myself called upots to speak, at this time, about its disposition. The administration of General Jackson declared to the nation that there would be no surplus. I am glad now to hear that there will be one. I am happy in beholding the rising auspices of my country; and if the majority in power consider themselves free from any obligations to respect the act of 1833, and are sincere in their purpose to effect a reduction in the revenue, I hold myself ready to push with them at the tariff, but I fear that, instead of a dominant and triumphant majority, those who make that attempt in earnest will speedily find themselves in a lean and powetless minority. Mr. W RIGHT stated that the rate of duty on common salt was a fraction over 82 per cent., (taking the year 1835 as the standard.) If the expression of sentiment was to prevail which had been given here in regard to articles over and under 20 per cent., it was of course useless to occupy any more time in the discussion of the present motion. He must, however, detain the Senate for a short time, in order to explain the motives of his own action in inserting this article of common salt in the bill, with a view to abolishing the tax now imposed upon it. He would first, however, offer one word in regard to the views which had been given of the compromise act, and of its limits. If he was right, the views which gentlemen had expressed on that subject were certainly wrong. It seemed to be assumed, by gentlemen of all political interests, that all duties at 20 per cent. were inviolable; because the compromise bill referred to all duties over 20 per cent., and Congress had acted on all under 20 per cent. ; so that this particular point, while the duty was exactly 20 per cent, formed an exception from all human action for a certain term of years. It might be so; but he owed it to himself, as a member of that Congress which had psssed the bill, that he had made up a record for himself, and he considered the compromise act as standing precisely on the same basis as any other law; and no matter what were the terms employed in it, he was just as much at liberty to act on that particular law as on any other passed by the Legislature. He would now explain what were the view: he entertained in regard to that bill. All duties not affected by the action of the bill were equally subject to reservation; all over 20 per cent. were in a course of reduction, while those at and under 20 per cent. were not. He found, to-day, that in the views of gentlemen those articles alone might be rendered free of duty which were below 20 per cent. He would ask of all Senators who had been here when the compromise bill was passed, and still held a seat upon that floor, why the duties at 20 per cent. were to be held inviolable, while all above and below that point were subject to the action of Congress? He had thought that every duty left stationary by the compromise act itself was entirely open, if gentlemen chose to resort to that bill as an authority for legislation. But, for himself, he did not admit that it possessed any binding force beyond any other law. Then, as to the important article of common salt: he stood, with his respected colleague, [Mr. TALLMAngx,] in SENATE.]
Reduction of the Turiff.
[Fen. 23, 1837.
a situation the most interested of any gentleman on the floor, so far as his constituents were concerned. There was no State in the Union which made as much salt, or any thing like as much, as New York. While he thanked the Senator from Missouri for the favorable opinion he had expressed with regard to his course on this subject, he must be permitted to say that he did not know whether he truly represented the wishes of his State when he urged that this article should be duty free. He believed he did; but he was not quite confident that such was the case. His conviction was, that the measure would be sustained; and why? He would tell gentlemen. It would, on examination, be found that what had been stated by the Senator from Missouri was perfectly correct; namely, that in the year 1835 the value of imported salt had been something over $600,000, while the duties paid upon it amounted to $537,000. What was the amount of the interest which New York desired to be protected? The factories in that State now manufactured two millions of bushels per annum—perhaps he erred, but he believed that it was at least that. The revenue imposed by the State, at 6 cents per bushel, had amounted the last year to over $100,000. This was a very important revenue to the State. A hundred thousand dollars a year derived from an excise! Was it then prudent, patriotic, or proper, in him, to contend that the country ought to pay a tax of $530,000 to protect his State in the reception of a revenue of $100,000? In reply to this question, he was compelled to say no. As to the interest of the manufacturers themselves, he presumed they would be willing to compromise, and let the protecting duty go, if the State will release them from its excise. The argument, therefore, came back to the principle, whether, while the money was not wanted, he should stand there in his place, and tax the nation half a million of dollars, in order that his own State might get a hundred thousand. He could not consider such to be his duty. What, then, was the state of the manufacture? It was now as persect as it ever could be; and here let him say, on his own knowledge, that it had been on nearly as large a scale as at present, with a price of only ten cents a bushel. It had been sold for even less than that. He spoke of that part of the price which went to the manufacturer, after deducting the State tax. The tax had been twelve and a half cents; it was now reduced to six and a quarter. On the same principle which had made him unwilling to vote for retaining a revenue of $340,000 for the sake of protecting a branch of manufacture in which $150,000 capital had been embarked, he was unable to vote to retain this duty on salt. With the exception of the State of New York, but few factories would be affected, to any extent, by making it a free article. There were a few on the Atlantic border which would be somewhat affected by it. He knew that there were factories, also, near the river St. Lawrence; but, for their protection, he was willing to rest on the diffi. culties and cost of bringing in the foreign article. He could not, also, forget that about one half of those he represented derived their supply of salt, not from the State factories, but from foreign importation; that they paid the same tax as the rest of the Union, and would be proportionally relieved by its removal. Thus situated, he had a very difficult duty to perform; but he had in. clined, on the whole, to taking off the duty. And here he must be permitted to say that a misun. derstanding still existed as to the principles which had governed the committee in reporting this bill to the Seo. It seemed to be supposed that the committee ... themselves restrained' from touching any article the . o: i. *xceeded twenty per cent.; but the o dis o of salt was one fact which must effectually "ps that idea. He was just ... will.
when seeking to reduce the revenue, to go into the examination of articles above twenty per cent. as under. He should not, indeed, touch any of the protected interests, when their protection held any reasonable proportion to the gain which would accrue to the country by taking off the tax. This article of salt was not the only item which the committee had touched, when the tax was over twenty per cent. They had laid their hand on some which enjoyed a protection over one hundred. The great interest of the country in a reduction of the revenue was paramount to the prosperity of some particular interests. As almost every article which they could reach was an article of luxury, and, therefore, a legitimate subject for taxation, it had given him pleasure to find in the long list at least one which was as necessary to human life as any thing which could be conceived, not excepting bread-stuffs themselves. He would not deny that this consideration had pressed with important weight upon his mind. On many other items in the bill he had acted with extreme reluctance; but it was with lively satisfaction that he found himself justified in proposing to abolish entirely the tax upon salt. Mr. PRESTON next addressed the Senate. He said, if he had rightly understood the Senator from New York, he had maintained the position that, even adhering to the compromise act, this article of salt might be introduced into the bill. The Senator had further stated, that although he did not hold himself bound by the compromise, yet he was indisposed to touch important protected interests if it could be avoided. Mr. P. said that, for himself, he was disposed to reduce the duties whenever they ran counter to the law of 1833. He was a thoroughly anti-tariff politician, and ready and disposed, as such, to go all lengths, if he were not concluded by the law of 1833. He should vote to reduce any duty, when the reduction did not interfere with that act; but, whenever it did, he should steadily vote against it; for he was satisfied, from all the indications around him, that the anti-tariff interest in that chamber was the weaker interest, and that the only safety for them of the South was to adhere to the compromise. If once the tariff question were opened, and the existing provi. sions on that subject thrown afloat, Southern Senators would at once be reduced to an impotent minority, and would be compelled to sit by and see their rights, and their feelings too, sacrificed before their faces by inter: ested combinations. The indications this day given bad left no doubt on that subject. The compromise had been assented to by various sections of the country, for the sake of quieting the difficulties which agitated and threatened the Union; the larger interest yielding something to the weaker, and the weaker also consenting to relax something of their demands, lest their opponents should be driven to extremities. While the measure was under consideration, the inquiry had been put to himself, whether his State would be satisfied with such a measure. He had replied in the affirmative, and he therefore considered himself as personally identified with a part of the arrangement; for the Legislature of his own State had acted formally in this matter, expressly recognising the act of 1833 as a compromise. That act bound him, and bound her; and when South Carolina gave pledges, she abode by them. . She had pledged herself to the compromise; and he, as her representative, should stand to it. No doubt, the compromise bill had no force as a constitutional arrangement; but all parties had agreed to it, and the country had gone on well under it. But, even if it were not sor the interest of all to adhere to it, was it fit and becoming to open afresh all the wounds of the country, and bring back all the angry and Violent emotions which had been excited by the tariff controversy ; if it were for the sake of peace alone, he would not disturb the arrangement which had been FER. 23, 1837.]
Reduction of the Tariff.
made. Gentlemen might open the question again if they pleased; and, in that case, what would be his own position? He should be found on the extreme verge of the anti-tariff party. If the field was again thrown open, they must fight. Woollens, he supposed, would be the rallying point; and thus they would proceed from one article to another, fighting all their battles over again. If they must do this, they must; but he, for one, would gladly avoid it. Would Senators from the South permit the question to be opened? He addressed himself to the two flanks; and first to gentlemen in the opposition. Would they consent to throw a question of this kind open to an administration whose written principles were on one side of it, and their recorded votes upon the other? Would they again suffer the Executive to dandle them one against the other, and thus secure his own power, while he himself remained uncompro. mitted to one side or to the other? The Executive would bow to the one party, and assure them that if they would but give up their opposition, the tariff question should be their own; and then bow with equal grace on the other side, and give them a like assurance. But could this thing be done? Could such a double game be played? History showed that it could be done, and had been done; and that by a far less adroit manager than was soon to fill the executive chair. The present incumbent had played this game, and had played it up to South Carolina. The friends of the administration, speaking in its name, claimed to be with both parties— with one at the North, and with the other at the South; and by this very game General Jackson had got his power. And would gentlemen now permit an Executive who would not, and who could not, be compromitted to any thing, thus to hold a rod over them? He, for one, was unwilling to produce such a state of things; and he was anxious, on political as well as on other considerations, to keep the question closed. He had said that the suture Executive could not be compromitted. , Had the present incumbent been compromitted, bold and decided as he was? Would any gentleman rise in his place and say that President Jackson was a tariff or an anti-tariff man? The friends of the tariff strongly believed that he was with them. The opponents of the tariff as strongly believed that he was with them. South Carolina went for him as being against the tariff, and Pennsylvania went for him with equal zeal as being decidedly for it. Mr. P. might offend those who worshipped the setting sun, if he should say that the rising luminary was brighter. This, however, he supposed, might very safely be affirmed-–that the coming administration would not be bolder than that which had preceded it. J. He would now address himself to the friends of the administration. A Senator from New York now called upon them to open the tariff question, when it had been New York that had fastened on the country the tariff of 1828. He repeated the assertion: it was New York which had done this suo vigore. It had been Martin Van Buren who gave the vote which fixed the tariff of 1828 upon the Šouthern States; and it was under this tariff President that New York again called upon them to open the question. For whose benefit? That of an anti-tariff President? Or of a tariff President? Of both. Which was he? were they to believe his vote in 1828, or the anti-tariff movement of the present day? He knew very well the principle which was adopted here, that any man who was elected President was to be understood, from that fact, as having the popular sanction for all he had done, be it what it might. Very well; admit the principle, and how would it apply to the President elect? He had sustained the tariff of 1828, and the people since elected him, and had, of course, sanctioned the tariff policy, and to oppose it would be treason. This was the position which might legitimately be taken,
The people had voted for a man who stood recorded on the records of the Senate (if the Senate had any permanent records) as a tariff man. Of course, the Legislature, in this state of things, must turn just as he turns. But Mr. P. thought this doctrine eminently wrong in principle, and he did not believe that any individual could derive great benefits from it. He considered it as neither wise nor proper, honorable or honest, for a Legislature which had built up manufactures by a protective policy, suddenly to change its course, and at one blow prostrate all the establishments which had grown up under their previous legislation. It might, indeed, be said that our citizens who were investing large amounts of capital in particular branches of industry were fully apprized that the Legislature possessed this power, and might at any time exercise it. This was true; but then the people believed that those whom they intrusted to make their laws were cautious and wise men; and that, having once deliberately embraced a course of policy, they would persevere in it, or would at least abstain from so great and sudden and ruinous changes as to prostrate the great interests of the country. In the most ardent period of Southern opposition to the American system, it had never been contended that all the manufactured articles which had for years been protected by the tariff were at once to be laid in the dust. When the angry feelings of the South were roused to their uttermost point of excitement, he had never heard a man propose an immediate and sudden and violent change of policy, such as must crush and destroy these institutions. His colleague [Mr. Calnoux] had never proposed a course of reduction short of seven years in completing its effect; and he was persuaded, if the question had been put to the nullifying convention itself, that body would not have advocated an immediate demolition of all the interests which depended on the tariff for their very being. The tariff law of 1828, which had been saddled on the Southern States by the vote of New York, would have now produced a revenue of fifty or sixty millions of dollars. Had not South Carolina come to the rescue, had she not refused to listen to the delusive promises which were sung in her ears, such would have inevitably been the result. instead of a tariff of duties which brought nine millions into the Treasury, the country would have had a tariff which, at an average of 28 per cent. on the whole importation of the last season, would have given from fifty to sixty millions. The compromise had prevented such a state of things; and, having achieved that arrangement, Mr. P. was inclined for repose. He never could consent, as a Southern man, to trust a tariff administration with the open question of a protective system. What were not Southern gentlemen aware that that Senate was not a whit less tariff in its composition at this hour than it had been in 1828? And though they might now repeal the duty on coal, and salt, and woollens, yet, whenever the great interests protected by the tariff should rally their strength, the same plundering association would again be formed, whose combination had carried the tariff laws of 1824 and 1828. He now warned his friends of the South that the tariff principle was in reality as dominant this day as it had ever been. The Executive might, indeed, present a double face to the different portions of the Union. To the South and West he might wear a gilded smile, which would induce them all to think that he was decidedly anti-tariff; decidedly a strict constructionist; decidedly a State rights man; decidedly an anti-abolitionist. While, at the same time, over the other shoulder, there might be another face, nodding to the North; and there all might be equally sure that the President was tariff, unquestionably tariff; a liberal constructionist; a friend of internal improvements, with a little touch of abolition. Under circumstances of this description, Mr. P. was utterly averse from having the SENATE.]
compromise disturbed, and the question of the tariff again set afloat. He was well assured that if that question should now be opened, no Executive whatever would be strong enough to resist the tide of interest which would at once set in. Even the powerful inan who now filled the executive chair had not resisted and dare not resist it; and dare, then, his successor? Whatever might be his disposition to do so, it was not in his power. Was it not plain? The Executive could not, for his life, make the vote on any one article in this bill a party vote. Gentlemen were still found voting according to the interests of their own constituents; and so they must continue to vote. Rather than trust executive pledges, whatever might be the executive kindness towards the South, he was for adhering to the compromise. The longer the country reposed under it, the stronger would be its bonds of security and peace. The public mind had now conformed itself to the arrangement. The community was satisfied, and the country, so far as this interest was concerned, was tranquil and prosperous. As a Southern man, he felt bound to adhere to a present and a certain good, in preference to trusting to an uncertain future gain. In the mean time he should be happy to hear the opinion of the chairman of the Committee on Finance [Mr. Whight] on these two points: first, whether he considered the Senate as bound by the compromise law; and, second, whether a leading gentleman from New York was tariff or anti-tariff. In relation to this particular duty on salt, Mr. P. was in possession of sources of knowledge so intimate as would prevent him from voting on the question. The Senator from New York certainly could not have selected a stronger case to illustrate the impropriety of the tariff law than this very duty on salt. The whole duty was wrong in principle, and abominable in fact. In 1830 it enjoyed in the interior of the country a protection of two hundred per cent., besides all the natural protection arising from its weight and bulk. Yet he knew that even round about the establishment where the salt was made in immense quantities, this enormous duty was rendered popular by the wealth and influence of those who owned the manufactory; and there were no more decided partisans of the tariff system than the poor class of inhabitants in that region on whom this enormous duty was levied. The same influence was exerted in the halls of Congress; and never had he been so profoundly taught the danger of the tariff policy as he had by wit. messing its resul's in relation to this tax upon salt. Salt was selling at a dollar a bushel; the duty upon it was 20 cents, and the poorest people were paying this duty, and petitioning Congress that it might not be taken off. It was a tax which had renewed the virtue (of course he meant politically) of the Senator from New York, and of the forty New York delegates in the other House. The General Government reduced the duty to 10 cents, and the patriotic State of New York to 6 cents, making the existing duly 16 cents per bushel. The liberality of the honorable Senator was most conspicuous in moving to abolish this duty. Mr. P. was not quite so sure of the magnanimity of the forty Representatives in the other House; it might turn out that twenty of them would be found on one side, and twenty on the other; and so New York might decide upon the tariff, unless her Senators were called to vote by a decis on of their State Legislature. He believed that on a former occasion the Senaor from New York amicably divided, and thus kept the so **se, when in 1832 their state spoke, and instructed o "ow to vote; and it was possible that the hon. o in ...” who had proposed the abolition of this 3. o '• might, when the moment for voting arriNo. .." of his pocket the instructions of his Legis. ... g.o.o.o. of...," hio.own speeches, might v * motion. The compromise act had soond
the tax upon salt in this predicament. The duty of 20 cents had been reduced to 15, and by a second reduction had come down to 10, and at that point it stood when the compromise bill was introduced. The operation of the compromise law itself had further reduced the duty about three tenths, so that at the present time salt paid a duty of 7 or 8 cents, and by the year 1842 this would be further diminished to 3 or 4 cents. Mr. P. stated these facts from an accurate knowledge of the details of the subject; but though he stated them for the information of the Senate, and, being personally interested, should not vote upon the question, he was decidedly opposed to touching the compromise.
Mr. DAVIS here stating it was his desire to submit a few remarks on this subject, but feeling unwilling to commence them at so late an hour, the Senate, on his motion, adjourned.
FRIDAY, FEB nu Any 24. REDUCTION OF THE TARIFF.
The Senate having resumed the consideration of the bill to reduce the duties on certain imports-
Mr. DAVIS rose and addressed the Senate in substance as follows: . I feel it my duty, on this occasion, to say a few words in reply to some remarks which have fallen from gentlemen on the other side, and which seemed to me to be intended personally for myself and my colleague, as representing one of the Eastern States of this Union. Mycolleague is abundantly able to answer for himself, and will, no doubt, do so in due time. This discussion has taken a wide range, and it has been thought worth while to open the history of the tariff act of 1828. Many of us were witnesses of the transactions referred to; and I do not regret that some time has been occupied on that subject, as it may be a means of sending forth to the country a representation of some affairs not remarkably well understood. We of the North did not very well know how to account for it, when we saw you, sir, [Mr. KiN G, of Alabama, who was in the chair, and other Southern gentlemen, voting to keep up heavy protecting duties, while at the same time you inveighed with so much severity against the whole protective policy. We were aware that there was some key to the apparent enigma, and now we have had the whole secret fully unfolded. We could not, indeed, be so stupid as not to comprehend the general tenor of the act of 1828. What was the origin of that act? In 1827, those who were engaged in the woollens interest felt themselves aggrieved that the protective privileges secured to them under the act of 1824 had been in paired by the legislation of Great Britain; and they came to Congress, asking the enactment of such a law as should restore them to the same footing as they had enjoyed under the act of 1824. No action was had at that time, but their application was renewed in 1828; and out of these circumstances grew the famous act which has not unfrequently been denominated a bill of abominations. I do not know who first christened it by this name. I am not personally answerable, although I do not think the name was very much misapplied. The introduction of the bill occasioned a long discussion. Instead of giving the woollens interest a little aid, it was found that the Committee on Manufactures had introduced into the bill almost every thing, There was a heavy protecting duty on hemp, which nobody asked for; duties on duck, on iron, on spirits; although no petition had been presented calling for any one of them. These, and a number more, were gratuitously put into the bill; but when we come to look for what was done for the woollens interest, we find nothing at all. We asked for bread, and you gave us a stone. A high duty, it is true, was imposed on foreign woollens, Feb. 24, 1837.]
but a proportional duty was laid upon wool, which completely annulled the benefit to the manufacturer. The bill was made to respond to other matters, entirely foreign from its professed object. We are not so ignorant as not to know that there were mixed considerations of policy, and various interests concerned, in a measure so complicated in its character. When we saw Southern members voting to keep up high duties on iron, and sail cloth, and hemp, we thought there was some hidden meaning which prompted such a course. Now, as I before observed, we have the full interpretation. The policy of the South has been avowed, and we find that the object was to make the bill so very bad as to drive those who had asked for protection to vote against it. But when it came to the final vote, many of those who had most vehemently opposed the bill suddenly turned about, and voted in its favor. This I could not do. So I, for one, followed exactly the course which, as it now appears, it was designed I should. I voted against the bill. It passed, however, to the obvious disappointment and surprise of many Southern gentlemen, who had calculated on the opposition of every New England representative. I have only adverted to this history, for the purpose of showing that we of the New England States, and especially the woollens interest, were selected as the scapegoat; that while the bill was constructed in such a way as to satisfy all the Middle and Western States, that interest which most needed protection, and which had earnestly petitioned for it, was entirely deserted. Then came the bill of 1832, a bill of somewhat the same character with that which had preceded it. I deliberated long on the course which it was my duty to pursue; and, in conclusion, felt myself constrained to vote against that, as I had against the bill of 1828. When the period of my election came round, my opponents said ... that I had been found in bad company, and that I had ° stood side by side with Southern men in voting against a bill for protecting duties; and it was thence argued, by a similar course of reasoning to that which has been applied in the present debate, that I was an enemy to the tariff. A man, it was said, might be known by his company; and, as I had voted in the same way with avowed opponents of the whole tariff policy, I must be set down as agreeing with them in sentiment. Then followed the bill of 1833. I was called to act upon that, also; and the journals of the Senate will show that I voted in the negative, as I had done on the two former occasions. I took occasion at that time fully to express my sentiments in regard to that measure. They are in print, and will speak for themselves. The bill, however, passed, and became the law of the land; and, for myself, I acquiesced in it, as all citizens should do; nor am I aware that my State has discovered any dispo. sition to interfere with its provisions. But something has been said here upon the subject of pledges. The Senator from Virginia, and some other members of the Senate, have observed that they have neither heard nor seen any recognition of pledges, on this side the House, to the observance of the act of 1833 as a compromise. I do not know that these remarks were intended to have a personal reference to myself; but yesterday the Senator from Virginia made the former remarks more pointed and personal, observing that he had carefully watched, throughout the debate, and had listened to hear whether any Northern Senator would acknowledge himself to be bound by the act as a bargain, and had heard no such a word from any one of them. He had heard no pledges from this side of the House. Pledges to what? What pledges does he demand? What did he expect? Is he not in favor of this bill? He says that the compromise act is nothing more to him than any other piece of paper. He approves the present bill, and will vote for it. Well, sir, and how stands the matter
with his friends? Who brought this bill forward? Was it on my motion, or on the motion of those with whom I am associated? It was not. The bill has been matured by his own friends; and the chairman of the committee who reported it [Mr. WRIGHT) said it is obvious that about one million of the proposed amount of reduction falls within the provisions of the compromise act. Was it not, then, the deliberate purpose of the committee to report a bill which did interfere with the compromise; and do not all who support the bill avow the determination, which has been so frankly avowed by the chairman and by the Senator from Virginia, to invade that act? If such is the fact, and if this measure is not a mere experiment, but has been seriously brought forward here, what am I obliged to infer? Am I not compelled to believe that those who have brought it, and those who support it, mean to declare that we are not bound by the act of 1833? That, to use the language of the gentleman from Virginia, it is no more to us than a bit of parchment? lf such is the tenor and tendency of their own remarks, and such the doctrine they themselves avow, then where is the propriety in calling upon us for pledges? When they avow their disregard of the compromise, do they expect that we shall pledge ourselves to regard it? If that is their expectation, then the present measure is without sense or object, that I can see. What influence is our opinion to have? Suppose we rose in our place, and declared that we held that act to be binding, would the honorable Senator from Virginia change his course? If he would, then must he not admit that this bill is a mere experiment—a test? The chairman assures us it is brought here with a view to its being passed; and gentlemen say that they are willing their sincerity shall be judged by their votes. For what, then, do they want pledges from us? It would not alter their course if we should give them. Their course is wholly independent of any opinion of curs. I cannot, therefore, make any apology for their course on this ground. I do not like to be called upon for senseless and unmeaning pledges. But I have another word to say about this matter of pledges. My opinions with regard to the compromise bill were freely given at the time it passed; but it became a law, and I acquiesced in it, as was my duty;. nor have I given any proof of a disposition to disturb it. . But I know that this matter has recently been brought before the Legislature of my state, and that there is a probability of legislative action in regard to it. I am not in posses: sion of any authority to pledge my State, to a course of
future action; it would not become me; it does not belong
to me. The utmost that could be demanded of me would be an expression of my own opinion. It is not for me to give pledges while the matter in hand is before my state Legislature. I can now state that the opinions of that body have arrived by the last mail; I shall lay the document before the Senate, and let it speak for itself. I thought it due to myself to say thus much, on the subject of pledges; and, having done so, I will relieve the Senate, and resume my seat. Mr. BENTON went into a lengthy reply, in which he quoted the journal to show that the present bill was more advanced in proportion to the date of the session than the compromise bill had been in 1833; srom which he took occasion to vindicate the committee who reported it from the charge of delay. He denied the binding force of the compromise act, against which he spoke with some severity. He warmly commended the policy of regulating commerce by equivalents, and expressed a determination to commence a regular system of operations with a view to have that policy extensively pursued by this Government. After a few remarks from Mr. NILES, the question was taken on striking cut of the bill the words “com