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Oct. 12, 1837.]
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daily placed on our desks, or to spend in examining books briefly to the past, but shall take only a rapid glance at of knowledge, or be occupied in quiet reflection.
circumstances that have transpired, as that ground has The experienced debaters, and the learned members of been most ably occupied by members who have preceded this House, may easily surmount such obstacles ; but the me in this debate. When, Mr. Chairman, did any counhumble member who claims your indulgence feels them try present as great a degree of prosperity as this nation with the strongest and almost overpowering force. Not- did at the time that General Jackson commenced his unwithstanding such embarrassing considerations, I ain un- relenting hostility to the late Bank of the United States? willing to give a silent vote on the bill before the commit. What country on earth poseossed a better currency than tee, but will assign, as briefly as I can, the reasons why I this did at that time? What country afforded such a reshall give a negative voice.
duced rate of exchanges? Where was labor better reWe have been assembled, Mr. Chairman, in extraordi- warded? Where was industry better recompensed ? Search nary session, and have already acted on some most extra- the inhabitable globe for a parallel, and you will search in ordinary bills. But the most extraordinary ever presented vain. Where was an institution belter organized and con. to the consideration of this House, with an earnest and ducted, and its paper more readily received in every part specious hope of being received with favor, is the bill now of the United States, if not in every part of the world, by under debate. A bill of no less a nature, in my judgment, people of every pursuit, from the centre to the remotest than one calculated, if passed, to obliterate some of the borders of the Union, than the paper of the Bank of the brightest features in our constitution; to annul in its oper- United States ? It had realized more than bad been preation almost all the statutes which so caresully guard the dicted by its most ardent advocales in 1816. It had been mode of receiving and disbursing the public revenues; in chiefly instrumental in effecting and maintaining, for nearone word, a bill to take from the representatives of the ly twenty years, what I regard to be the great desideratum people all supervision and control of the public moneys, in a country where agriculture, planting, manufactures, and to place in the Executive hand, which now has con- and commerce lean upon and support each other-a control over the army and the navy, the appointment of an vertible paper currency-bank paper converted at the will almost illimitable number of public officers, and has com- of the holder into gold and silver. Such was the state of mand of :he militia when in the actual service of the Uni- the currency four years ago. Bank paper was not only ted States to place in the same hand, to receive and to convertible into silver at the counter of the bank that ispay out, without scarcely a check or restraint, all the pub- sued it, but was convertible everywhere in the interior at lic money of the nation.
the counters of retail merchants, who were always glad to The request from the Executive to be possessed of such exchange their silver for bank notes, wbich better suited delicate and enormous power greatly surprised me ; to find their purposes for transmission. Peace and plenty gladtic representatives of sovereign States tamely acquiescing, dened the whole land; content and cheerfulness were found completely astonished me; to find it advocated on this in the most humble cottage as well as in the more costly floor by some of the representatives of the people, who, edifice; a prospect of universal prosperity was then preunder ine constitution, are the purse-creating and the sented, on which the mind loved to dwell. I will not expurse-holding power, has awakened into alarm every hid. patiate upon it, but content myself with a simple narraden apprehension of my mind.
tion. What proofs of superior knowledge and superior useful- General Jackson, in the plenitude of his power and unness has the Executive given, to warrant a surrender of paralleled popularity, had forced, by his system of proscrippower to its discretion? Has it shown, from the prudent ion, most of the officers of the Government to become exercise of powers delega'ed to it by the constitution and political partisans. To be an active partisan, to gain prethe laws, that, to promote the interest of the nation, its ferment, was a sine qua non with him. The political arpowers should be amplified and new authorities delegated ? mur was put on, and each saw written on it, “this is the That, to promote the interest of the people, you must aban- road to Byzantium.” The president of a northern branch don your trust and your duty, and give almost unlimited of the United States Bank had displeased some active pardiscretion to the Executive will ? That the Executive tisan, and the mother bank refused to dismiss the honest will better administer your duties than the conjoint wisdom and independent head of the branch; that partisan infused of the representatives of the people? Or does the Presi- the venom of his feelings into the bosom of General Jackdent even place his request upon the pretext that, by your Threat after threat was made, in the President's surrenderiog into his hands all control over the money of messages, against the United States Bank. A better curthe people, it will give them relief in their present distress, rency was promised the people, if they would unite with and equalize the exchanges and currency of the country? the Executive in destroying ihat institution. That promEven this plausible argument is not offered, but is dis. ise bad a chara in it, as all persons are anxious to better tinctly repudiated in the Executive message.
their condition; and all believe, however prosperous, that ment of this sort is offered ; and yet you are asked to make their condition can be improved. But still an honest and the surrender simply to gratify the executive pleasure. upright Congress refused to lend itself to the malignant But, Mr. Chairman, I would not care how strong the rea- purposes of the Executive, or to gratify his spleretic will. sons might be that could be assigned ; if they were ten Congress was in favor of renewing the charter of the bank. times as strong as any I could imagine, I never can be The Executive veto nullified the will of the representatives guilty of violating, by voting for such a measure, the whole of the States and the people. Congress refused to gratify genius and spirit of the constitution-the essence of every the will of the Executive in ordering the Government derepublican constitution in every representative Government. posites to be removed froin the Bank of the United States, So far from the Executive exhibiting superior sagacity and where the law had placed them; but he, with ruthless prudence in regulating the financial operations of the Gov- hand, seized upon the public treasure, as Cæsar had dono ernment, it has shown itself most culpably inefficient to before him, and parcelled out the money of the people discharge the duties required by the existing laws, and among a host of Stale institutions, which he now testifies those which it has assumed, in violation of both law and are the most unprincipled and profligate in the annals of usage. I have not even a shadow of doubt in my mind, history, that all the embarrassments in our country, in the curren- Those institutions were urged by the Secretary of the cy, and in business of every kind, are in a chief degree Treasury to discount most liberally upon the depositos of chargeable to the Executive of the last four years.
the Government; and as slaves always must readily obey To justify this allegation, I am constrained to allude the first orders of a new master, they not only discounted
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paper offered to them, but in many cases invited custom- circular, but he refused. When he saw, as he ought to
Congress altered the standard of gold, and reduced have seen, its evil tendency, he should have yielded to the its value. (I rejoice that I had the honor to vote against counsel of honest and practical men. I will here say that, that bill.) Europeans sent their gold here to be coined, whilst I believe that the evils of that measure might have and then ordered it home again. The Neapolitan and been in some degree softened if Mr. Van Buren had reFrench indemnities were adjusted, and imported in gold. scinded the order after the fourth of March, I do not think This was hailed as the millennium of the golden age, and that it would have prevented a suspension of specie payGeneral Jackson was told by his flatterers, and believed it, ments: it would have changed the direction of that sus. that he had at last discovered the Philosopher's stone. pension ; much of the silver would have been drawn from Jaundiced-eyed and near-sighted politicians, whose minds the West to the Allantic and 10 the Southern cities, and cannot realize causes and effects, or discriminate fictitious would have, in some degrec, relieved them; but that would from true and abiding causes, thought that they had really have forced a suspension of specie payments loy the Westworked a specie miracle; and the General himself read his ern and Southwestern banks, which would have been valedictory, “still harping" on the monster bank, and con- quickly followed by the banks of the commercial and large gratulating himself and the country on the experiment cities. When silver is at a premium, it is impossible, in which he had tried in his humble efforts to improve, as he | the nature of things, for the paper of any bank to remain said he had, the currency of our country. But I am fast long in circulation, or for any bank to throw out ils paper in my chronology ; there is one other remarkable event to any useful extent to the people, and redeem it with the which I wish to allude to. Before General Jackson re- precious metals. tired from office, a distinguished Senator, who had aided From this train of measures and circumstances I trace much in building up the golden image which he wished all the causes of the suspension of specie payments by all the to fall down and worship, made a political prediction, that, banks, the great confusion and embarrassment in business if the people of the West woulu co-operate with him in of every kind, the distresses and bankruptcies which oc. destroying the Bank of the United States, they would see, curred, and the confusion which has overwhelined both the in violation of all the laws which govern fluids or solids, people and the Government. From such measures you gold flow up the Mississippi. They believed, and looked can trace consequences, with the same unerring accuracy with anxious hope, but looked in vain. He conceived the as the human eye can inark the path of the desolating expedient whilst Congress was in session, but revealed it whirlwind. perhaps to few-lingered until Congress had adjourned, Ainid this disastrous crisis, the President issued his proand then, “solitary and alone,” he hought he would set clamation convening Congress, which he had positively the golden stream in motion. Congress ordered the Sec- refused to do a few weeks before. We assembled, some retary of the Treasury to receive the notes of specie-pay- of us with hope, some with apprehension, though all ing banks and gold or silver in payment of public dues. equally anxious to know what measures would be recom The alchyrnical operation was to be effected by a disregard mended, and what position the Executive would assume. of the law, and the Secretary of the Treasury was ordered some thought that the President would recommend the to issue his famous proclamation, demanding nothing but sub-Treasury system; others, a retrial of the State banks; gold or silver for public lanıls. The prediction was real- whilst others hoped, at least I did, that he would throw ized : gold and silver flowed up the valley and over the himself upon the advice of Congress. This was really my mountains, but flowed in steamboats and in stages-flowed belief, as well as my hope. His appointment of Mr. Pointo the land offices and to the banks of deposite, but never sett at the head of the War Department had inspired me into the pockels of the working people of the West. with some hope of better things. No nian, save one, who
This last act broke the glittering dream, and the veil of had been born either south or west of Pennsylvania held a Mokanna fell to the ground. Convertible paper and gold place in the cabinet. And the appointment of a second, were no longer synonymous; Government, which should
and one so highly worthy and eminently qualified, was, I have been the last, was the first to make the distinction. thought, the harbinger of some salutary changes. So firstGold and silver were at once more valuable for the article rate men are in office, I care not from what quarter they must in demand in this country is land ; and the Govern- are taken, or where may be their birth-place. But I do ment is the largest (vecause it is the greatest proprietor) ! maintain that every prominent place should be filled by and cheapest seller, and can control the market value. high-minded and efficient gentlemen, who understand their Thousands daily purchased public land, and of course thou- í duties, and are prompt to discharge them. I came here sands were forced to procure specie. It soon became an with no pledged hostility to his administration, and, perarticle of merchandise, to be bought in the market, rather | sonally, I had a very high regard for the President. My than a medium of exchange. The banks found their paper situation here is peculiar. I have been elected by the aid returned upon them, and their specie almost exhausted, of both parties. If I were to consult the feelings of a maand wisely suspended specie payments; and the deposite jority of the persons who voted for me, rather than the banks were the very first to set the example. Confidence opinions of a majority of the voters of the district, I would became impaired; the banks had been pressed by those who pause in my course. But, when entrusted with a public held their notes, and they, in turn, called on their debtors, duty, I do not feel at liberty to be governed by feelings of and the debtors of the banks called on all who owed them; personal predilection or antipathy. I feel bound to take a thug the pressure passed the whole round of the circle of
inore expansive view of the whole district and the nation. trade and business. Panic, dismay, confusion, and bank- When we assembled here, speculation was at once hushed ruptcy, followed in quick and fatal succession. The Gov- hy the receipt of the President's message ; and I must conernment could not escape the consequences of its measures, fess I was greatly disappointed. I had read his famous letand suspended specie payments.
ter to Mr. Sherrod Williams, in which he consilered the The last Congress, foreseeing the evil consequences of State banks as Government depositories, and said how adthe specie circular of the Treasury Department, passed a mirably the system worked—where he denounced the Unibill rescinding that order. General Jackson trealed it with ted States Bank, and promised to tread in the footsteps of contempt, placed it in his pocket, and retired to the Her- bis illustrious predecessor. I thought all this was the mere mitage, denouncing the insolence of Congress in sending electioneering language of the day, and that, when once in a bill to him which questioned the wisdom of any measure office, he would make himself the President of the people, which he had ordereil. Mr. Van Buren, who succeeded and not of a party. All my expectations were disappointto the Presidency, was urged most earnestly to rescind that 'ed; for almost the first thing he informed the representaOct. 12, 1837.]
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tives of the people whom he had called together-who as- places itself within the range of that censure, when it arsembled liere fresh and warın from the midst of the peo- rogantly uses, or presumptuously threatens, the veto. It ple-was, that if they should dare to pass a bill to establish is to awe free and fearless deliberation, by suspending the a bank of the United States, he would be a lion in their sword of Damocles over the heads of nervous politicians, in path; that he was armed with a veto power, and would as- this ball or the other. suredly use it. Such language is unprecedented in the his- Historians inform us that, with all his vices, "Nero tory of this or any other country. The President, in his never attempted any thing against the jurisdiction of the inaugural address, informed the people that if a particular Senate.” measure should be passed by Congress, he would use the Marcus Aurelius, though armed with the iniperial tribuveto. I thought that unnecessary and uncalled for, but nitian (or veto) prerogative, said, in allurling to the Senate, supposed it was designed for Southern effect. A velo in “ It is more proper that I should subinit to the opinion of that case would be unnecessary; nor did Mr. Van Buren, so many and such friends, than that so many and such or any one else, suppose that he would ever be called on to friends should follow my will." redeem his pledge; for, Mr. Chairman, whenever the Con- An able writer says, “It was by adding the tribunitian sress of the United States shall so far forget their compact power (intercedare vetare) to the military, in their own with Maryland as to violate private property in the District persons, that the Roman Emperors consummated the ruin of Columbia, your jurisdiction will end, and that of Mary- 1 of the republic.' “ It was by this mode," says Tacitus, land will begin, over all that part of the ten miles square "that Augustus found means, without the name of King north of the southern bank of the Potomac river. I may or Dictator, to make himself superior to the legislative and 59 farther: that moment this House shall contain a major executive powers of the commonwealth.” ity of members who will be so reckless as to vote for the If the Romans lost their liberty by the union of the milabolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, the annun- itary and the veto power in the same hands, ho:v can it be ciation of that majority by the Chair will be the sounding preserved in this nation, when you unite in the same bands, of the death-knell of the Union.
which have now the military and veto, the power of the Before Mr. Van Buren is six months in office, before a purse, which you propose to do by the bill now on your single bill or resolution has been sent to bim for his signa- table?-a power which Augustus never possessed. ture, he has voluntarily, gratuitously, stepped out of the But in these modern days, a President is called a Roman line of his duty, to inform Congress that upon at least two patriot, who freely uses this detested instrument of tyranmeasures he will use his veto. I have an hostility to the ny; though Pliny boasts, in panegyrizing Trajan, “that veto power, and can never be reconciled to its use. The the Emperor never allowed himself to annul or prevent the framers of our constitution placed it in the hands of the execution of the Senate's decrees." Executive, under the fallacious belief that it is the weakest I will not longer dwell on this subject than to say that, of the co-ordinate branches of Government. Sir, the fra- as it was by the use of the veto that Louis XVI lozt his mers of the constitution and the authors of the Federalist head-s0 may the next American who shall use it lose liis were mistaken. The Executive is more powerful than all personal popularity. the other branches put together. All power is fust consol- But the President has thought fit to read to Congress a idating in the Executive bands; and the Executive history lecture upou constitutional law, and gravely tells us that a of the last four years is sufficient to justify the remark with. Bank of ihe United States would be unconstitutional. Yes, out any proof. They thought it harinless, because they sir, he would fain convince us that the constitution was in found it obsolete in England, though existing in the Eng- his keeping, and that he will not let the rude hands of the lish constitution.
representatives of the people profane it.
Mr. Chairman, The Governinent of the United States is the last in the how much crime has been committed, how much blood world which should tolerate the veto power.
has been shed, hy fanaticism, under the pretexi of serving be some plausibility for it in the State constitutions, which the cause of religion? How much usurpation and tyran. secure to the people the right to elect both branches of the ny have been practised, upon the pretence of saving the Logislature ; for ihere both branches may be moved, in a constitution and serving the people? Let history answer--greater or less degree, by the same commotion or popular for every volume can answer, from ihe creation of the world impulse. But even in the constitution of my own State, to the present moment. Who is this mighty expounder of where the Senate is not elected by the people, the Execu. the constitution ? Is be the the venerable and glorious tive is denied the veto power; the constitution says the man who presided over the deliberations of the convention Governor shall sign the laws. And it has been judicially that formed that sacred instrument ? Or is he the wise and decided by our highest courts, that laws which have passed distinguished individual whose pen gave it forns and prothe General Assembly, or both Houses of the Legislature, portion, and who has been emphatically called the Father are valid without the signature of the Governor. And that of the constitution ? No, sir, he is not. But he is Martin is almost the only feature in the Maryland constitution Van Buren, of Kinderhook. The same individual who inwhich, I think, could not be changed for the better. And formed the nation in his inaugural address, on the east in the Federal Government, also, every useful caution ex- front of the Capitol, that he was the first President elected ists in framing laws, without the existence of the oppres- whio had not participated in the patriotic struggles of the sive veto power in the Executive. In our Government, Revolution; who thought it proper to say, for the informpart representative, part confederative, no law can be enact- ation, perhaps, of the ladies present, that he was born since ed without its first receiving the sanction of the representa-those ancient days. He is the first and chief of the modtives of the people; or, in other words, a majority of the ern expounders of the constitution. Yes, sir, even Amos people in their aggregate capacity, without distinction of Kendall, an officer, not of the constitution, but of the law, States, control in this House. In the confederate branch, says that he is a limb-yes, sir! the right arm, I suppose where the sovereign States are equal, a majority of those of the Executive body, and has dared to read a honvily to Siates must give sanction to every bill.
the courts upon their duties and ihe constitution. It is safeguard can there be to liberty than to require first the time, for the dignity of this House and the nation, that concurrence of a majority of the people, and then a in:- such insolence and effrontery should be frowned down, if jority of the States, to every measure of public utility? not punished. But I will leave these distinguished perEvery restraint beyond this is actual, real oppression. Isonages for a moment, and allude to others. There is regard the abuse of delegated power to be as obnoxious to another class of politicians in this House, who have been censure as the usurpation of power. And an Executive 'thrown into ecstacies because Mr. Van Buren says that, as
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he construes the constitution, Congress cannot create a ton; for as long as Hamilton lived (said he) he had never United States bank. They call themselves the true State been put to the labor and trouble of investigating questions rights Old Dominion republican democrats of the Jellerso- | for himself, and that, as Hamilton was dead, he non, alas, nian school, and quote the name of that patriot, for every would be forced to the clire necessity of thinking for bimpurpose, numberless times, in every speech with which self. they favor this House. My mind is in doubt whether such I could but think, since this discussion bas commenced, displays should be treated gravely or lightly. Gentlemen if Mr. Jefferson had not left behind him some two volumes seem to speak as if no one had read and understood Mr. of State Papes, one volume of Correspondence, and bis Jefferson's writings but themselves, and quote slips from, Notes on Virginia, how awfully annoyed some of the Virand fragments of, his letters written some fifty years ago, ginia politicians would be, if driven, like Tom Bailey, to before the existence of a United States bank. I have been think for themselves. What would these gentlemen do if amused to see the dreadful warfare of words carried on the point d'appui of their political lever were destroyed ? among those Southern State rights politicians, who dis- An able member from Virginia informed us, last night, pule upon subtleties tuo refined to be perceived by iny that he considered Mr. Jefferson the polar star that direcied mental vision. One descants upon constitutional law, and his course. Suppose we draw imagination from around all eagerly listen, in hope to hear some idea which may im- the figure, and examine it by the test of real life. Will a pinge against something which Mr. Jefferson may have loose- traveller always keep his eye on the polar star? If he ly written or said, believing it will be bis political destruc- should direct his gaze continually that way in his journey, tion at home. Quick as thought, a messenger is sent to the he will soon find that furs would add to his comfort; he library to produce a letter or conversation of Mr. Jefferson. would next find that the white bear and the wandering InThe orator ends, and another begins with anticipated vic- dian would be the only living things about him; and the next tory joyously illumining his features, and his Southern step he would find himself plunging into Symmes's arctic friend is handled without gloves or mercy. But with that hole. Will the prudent and skillul mariner look alone at propensity for long speaking which is so remarkable in the the north star, in directing his vessel's way over the trackSouth, where all are imaginative children of the Sun, and less ocean? At times he is forced to look at other fixed if where all possess the copia verborum in an eminent de. less beautiful luminaries, and finds themr equally true and gree, he soon runs foul of some other opinion of Mr. Jef- useful. Yes, sir, astronomy and navigation teach him to ferson, on some otber and foreign subject. Yes, and an- point his glass, at times, to all the bright stars in the zodiac, other more Mercury-footed page is posted, to tell the first and the power of human reason makes them subservient to to be swift. Then another State rights Jeffersonian Old
its control. Dominion true republican democrat rises, and, with the So I should sain think the practical American statesman merciless vengeance of a Samson, he routs and vanquishes should view every star in the firmainent, or, to quit the the political Philistines before him, behind him, and around figure, should read all that has been written by the wise him, horse, foot, and dragoons. These gentlemen regard and the good, and then dare to think for himself. it high treason, verily, to differ in the minutest particular When Jefferson embarked in the glorious cause of the from Mr. Jefferson. What a bombastic Englishman once Revolution, did he take Solon or Lycurgus, Sidney or said of Homer, they think true of Jefferson:
Hampden, for his model of greatness? Did he take Locke * Read Homer once, and you can read no more,
or Milton as the text-books of his creed ? No, sir, he did For all books else appear so man, 80 poor,
not. Verse will seem prose; but still persisi and read,
He read all that patriots had written; he read deepAnd Honer will be all the books you need."
ly the volumes of human nature : and then, sir, he dipped They regard it heresy, beyond the benefit of clergy, if his pen into bis own mind, and wrote the inmortal Declaany man dare speak, think, or breathe, without producing ration of Independence. He had no model; Jaring to the authority of Mr. Jefferson ; and he is read out of the think and to act for himself, he made himself great as he Stale rights party. They call to my mind an anecdote which occurred in my own State on the death of Alexander We are in Committee of the Whole on the state of the Hamilton, in the best days of Maryland hospitality, before Union ; and I am unwilling, us an American citizen, lo sit she was governed, as she now is, by uncles and aunts, who silently and hear Mr. Jefferson's name quoted, to effect are all united by either affinity or propinquity, who fill all every narrow and selfish purpose. His fame is the propplaces, and hold the reins of government in their feeble erty of the whole nation, and is not placed in the hands of and effeminate grasp-for Maryland is pretty much like the a few Southern politiciais. Mr. Jefferson had faults, as rest of the Southern States. They have all been, for the all men have; but Mr. Jefferson was a man of enlarged last :en ycars, like so many barrels of frozen cider-the and expansive mind. And if any supernatural power could spirit has not escaped, but it has become concentrated; resuscitate his body with the magic wand of one of old, as some of them now show signs of reanimation, and eliven- we read in solemn history, and present him living before ing feelings are beginning to pervade them; and we may us, he would rebuke his friends for using his naine, as it hope that even “ Rip Van Winkle" (North Carolina) will has been, on many occasions. in time open his wondering eyes. But to my anecdote. Mr. Jefferson doubted, before the first United States The news reached a colerie of thorough-going federalists, Bank was established, whether it was constitutional to eswho were dining on the Eastern shore of Maryland, where tablish such an institution. But did he advise Gereral wine and wit were flowing in equal streams; all expressed Washington to put his veto upon it? No, sir. He cauin general exclamation their bitter sorrow; all, save one, tions him against using the veto-he urges him to respect became earnest and eloquent in speaking of the powers the representatives of the people. This he did in the last that great man's mind--of the great services he had ren- sentence of his letter to General Washinglon, in 1791. dered to the country, and the heavy loss which the nation He says, “il must be added, however, that, unless the had sustained, and how much they lamented it. At length, President's mind, on a view of every thing which is urged Thomas Bailey, the brother of the Attorney General of for and against this bill, is tolerably clear that it is unauMaryland, who was remarkable for a high order of intellect, thorized by the constitution; if the pro and con bang so when he would venture to exercise it, setting down his even as to balance his judgment, a just respect for the wisempty wine-glass, said to his bevy of friends, that he had dom of ihe Legislature would naturally decide the balance listened to the expressions of grief which the sad news had in favor of their opinion.” called from them, but he felt that his grief was greater than Such is the manly language of a great mind; and I wish, theirs, because his loss was greater in the death of Hamil- ' for the interest of the country, that his modern friends
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knew how to appreciate it. He recommends no veto, bu ganic law, or when great national exigencies arise, such cautions the President against it. He advises the Presi- as I have allude to. dent to respect the Legislature. This is the language of a Some of these Southern constitutional lawyers seem to true democrat. A democrat is he who will think for him- revel in denunciations against the Bank of the United sell, vote for bimself, speak for himself, and obey the laws States—not only some of the Virginia politicians, but the and decisions of the tribunals of the country. A man who alile member from South Carolina, (Mr. Pickens,] who puts on the blind-bridle of party, and allows himself to be sprung into the front rank in this debate. Some new light caparisoned with party trammels, is not a democrat—he is has illamined his path. I bought, if any State in the half a vassal. A democrat must be a free thinker and a Union had acquiesced in the constitutionality of the Bank free talker-a free and fearless political actor,
of the United States, it was South Carolina. If the peoWhilst Mr. Jefferson spoke and wrote freely his senti- ple have erred in sustaining the bank, South Carolina has ments, he knew how to respect the opinions of others. He inculcated that error; for all of her great men have advorespected the constitution and obeyed the laws. When cated it. In 1816, seven out of eight of her representatives the Bank of the United States was established, he acquies. voted for the charter of the United States Bank. Yes, ced in deference and with cheerfulness. And in 1804, sir, Messrs. Calhoun, Chappell, Edwards, Huger, King, after he was exalted to the Presidency, he signed a bill Lowndes, Middleton, Pickens, Taylor, and Woodward; authorizing the bank to establish branches in the Territo. and Mr. Mayrant stood “solitary and alone" against it. ries. If he had not surrendered his first opinion, he placed | But the onward path of modern genius can demonstrate himself in the attitude of being guilty of base perjury in that all these men were ignorant of the constitution and sanctioning the measure ; and I would not venture to give their duties. utterance to the opinion I would entertain of the man who
" We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow; would bring such a charge against him.
Our wiser sons, no doubl, will think us so." It was but last night, while listening to an able member Yes, sir, Mr. Calhoun, who was a Southern fixed star, from the Old Dominion, who was quoting Jefferson against has, by some inscrutable phenomena of nature, by some the Bank of the United States, that I turned to a learned undiscoverable law of attraction, wandered from his station, friend from Virginia, by whom I was sitting, and said that and is now in the northern polar hemisphere; or, rather, is I really believed that, if Mr. Jefferson were on this floor, now a planet revolving around, by attraction and repulsion, and saw the distresses of the country, he would be the first the executive centre. Sir, I grieve at the sudden transiand warmest to advocate a United States bank. My friend tion, because I like Mr. Calhoun personally. But he has remarked that I appreciated justly Mr. Jefferson's charac- made himself a living warning, to the opinions I have exter; for he had heard a few days ago a distinguished gen pressed, how dangerous it is for any free-thinking and gentleman, who was a neighbor of Mr. Jefferson, assert thal erous man, whether in public or in private life, to pin his Mír. Jefferson had said that, if the State bank system was faith to the skirts of any man. Mr. Calhoun's political life to be tolerated, the only way to control it, and to give a has been most strangely erratic. If I should wish to find good currency, was to have a bank of the United States. an argument in favor of the Bank of the United States, [ But this fact has been alluded to by the able gentleman would read his speech made in 1816; if I wished to find a who preceded me, (Mr. Popr.] That he said so, I have confirmation of those opinions, I would read his speech not the smallest doubt. Your Supreme Court, last win. made in the twenty-third Congress; if I wished to find an ler, decided that the State banks were constitutional. argument against the bank, I would read his recent speech Then, if Mr. Jefferson's opinions are to be quoted, they made in the twenty-fith Congress; if I wished to find an would be in favor of a United States bank.
argument in favor of the tariff, I would real his speech But those very gentlemen, who wish to chain down Mr. made in 1816; if I would wish to find an argnment against Jefferson's opinions to the narrowest views upon all sub- the tariff, I would read at least a dozen speeches which he jects, will find themselves in an awkward predicament at has made within the last four years; if I wished to find an the next session. I predict, Mr. Chairman, that they will argument in favor of forts and fortifications, I would read then quote Mr. Jefferson as the greatest latitudinarian who his report made when he was Secretary of War; if I wished ever filled the Presidential chair.
to find an argument against forts and fortifications, I would When the question of the annexation of Texas to the read his speech delivered in the twenty-third Congress; if Union shall come up, as I expect it will next winter, these I wished to gain proof that he was friendly to the tariff and gentlemen will quote Mr. Jefferson as a precedent, because internal improvements, I would ask for it from the gentlehe recommended the purchase of Louisiana.
men of Pennsylvania, who, come ten or twelve years ago, Mr. Jefferson has admitted that that purchase was made urged his name for the Presidency, and I would be answer. without any authority being given in the constitution. Buted that they urged his claims because they thought him still he recommended it, and signed the bill. Sir, he acted ultra on those subjects; if I wished to find arguments wisely; he acted as a philosophic statesman should have against that system, they would be found in every speech acted. There are occasionally and rarely great national which he has delivered, on any subject whatever, for the emergencies which no framers of a constitution can foreser.
last six years.
Let the generous and chivalric young men 'Those emergencies must be met, and acted upon promptly. of the South follow guch a polar fixed star, and they will This was one of them. In such a case, all public func- find, when too late to retrieve their standing and usefultionaries are justified in adapting their course to the cir- ness, that they had been following an ignis fatuus, which cumstances. Whilst they venerate the constitution, they had been leading them from swamp to bog, from bog to are required by duty to obey what must be the sense, not glen, from glen to morass, and finally left them in a cyof a party, but of the whole nation, in the emergency, and press swamp of the most impenetrable darkness. He may adopt such measures as will meet the wishes of the present be quoted for any political opinion, as a distinguished judge generation, and which they are convinced will meet with once said Croke's reports could be quoted for any legal the approbation of all posterity. Such occurrences are but opinion. I had rather at once cut my political jugular than seldom presented, but still they do sometimes occur. And follow such a star; for, if I did not, the people would soon Mr. Madison said truly, in his able report upon the Vir- do it for me ; and I regard suicide preferable to public exeginia resolutions of 1798, that, “as the constitution is cution. I was amused at the gallant bearing of my chivalabove the law, so are the people above the constitution." rous friend from South Carolina, (Mr. PICKENS,] when he That maxim should be received with caution, to be sanc- took the lead, conscious of his right and ability to lead, in tioned only when the people desire a change in their or- this debate; it proved to my mind that his Southern feeling