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sibility or offend the just pride of the people of other states; and they should frown upon any proceedings within their own borders likely to disturb the tranquillity of their political brethren in other portions of the Union. In a country so extensive as the United States, and with pursuits so varied, the internal regulations of the several states must frequently differ from one another in important particulars; and this difference is unavoidably increased by the varying principles upon which the American colonies were originally planted — principles which had taken deep root in their social relations before the revolution, and therefore, of necessity, influencing their policy since they became free and independent states. But each state has the unquestionable right to regulate its own internal concerns according to its own pleasure; and while it does not interfere with the rights of the people of other states, or the rights of the Union, every state must be the sole judge of that measure proper to secure the safety of its citizens and promote their happiness; and all efforts on the part of the people of other states to cast odium upon their institutions, and all measures calculated to disturb their rights of property, or to put in jeopardy their peace and internal tranquillity, are in direct opposition to the spirit in which the Union was formed, and must endanger its safety. Motives of philanthropy may be assigned for this unwarrantable interference; and weak men may persuade themselves for a moment that they are laboring in the cause of humanity, and asserting the rights of the human race; but every one, upon sober reflection, will see that nothing but mischief can come from these improper assaults upon the feelings and rights of others. Rest assured, that the men found busy in this work of discord are not worthy of your confidence, and deserve your strongest reprobation.
In the legislation of Congress, also, and in every measure of the general government, justice to every portion of the United States should be faithfully observed. No free government can stand without virtue in the people, and a fofty spirit of patriotism; and if the sordid feelings of mere selfishness shall usurp the place which ought to be filled by public spirit, the legislation of Congress will soon be converted into a scramble for personal and sectional advan
tages. Under our free institutions, the citizens in every quarter of our country are capable of attaining a high degree of prosperity and happiness, without seeking to profit themselves at the expense of others; and every such attempt must in the end fail to succeed, for the people in every part of the United States are too enlightened not to understand their own rights and interests, and to detect and defeat every effort to gain undue advantages over them; and when such designs are discovered, it naturally provokes resentments which cannot be always allayed. Justice, full and ample justice, to every portion of the United States, should be the ruling principle of every freeman, and should guide the deliberations of every public body, whether it be state or national.
It is well known that there have always been those among us who wish to enlarge the powers of the general government; and experience would seem to indicate that there is a tendency on the part of this government to overstep the boundaries marked out for it by the constitution, Its legitimate authority is abundantly sufficient for all the purposes for which it is created; and its powers being expressly enumerated, there can be no justification for claiming any thing beyond them. Every attempt to exercise power beyond these limits should be promptly and firmly opposed. For one evil example will lead to other measures still more mischievous; and if the principle of constructive powers, or supposed advantages, or temporary circumstances, shall ever be permitted to justify the assumption of a power not given by the constitution, the general government will before long absorb all the powers of legislation, and you will have, in effect, but one consolidated government. From the extent of our country, its diversified interests, different pursuits, and different habits, it is too obvious for argument that a single consolidated government would be wholly inadequate to watch over and protect its interests ; and every friend of our free institutions should be always prepared to maintain unimpaired and in full vigor the rights and sovereignty of the states, and to confine the action of the general government strictly to the sphere of its appropriate duties.
There is, perhaps, no one of the powers conferred on the federal government so liable to abuse as the taxing power. The most productive and convenient sources of revenue were necessarily given to it, that it might perform the important duties imposed upon it; and the taxes which it lays upon commerce being concealed from the real payer in the price of the article, they do not so readily attract the attention of the people as smaller sums demanded from them directly by the tax-gatherer. But the tax imposed on goods enhances by so much the price of the commodity to the consumer; and as many of these duties are imposed on articles of necessity which are daily used by the great body of the people, the money raised by these imposts is drawn from their pockets. Congress has no right, under the constitution, to take money from the people, unless it is required to execute some one of the specific powers intrusted to the government; and if they raise more than is necessary for such purposes, it is an abuse of the power of taxation, and unjust and oppressive. It may, indeed, happen that the revenue will sometimes exceed the amount anticipated when the taxes were laid. When, however, this is ascertained, it is easy to reduce them; and, in such a case, it is unquestionably the duty of the government to reduce them, for no circumstances can justify it in assuming a power not given to it by the constitution, nor in taking away the money of the people when it is not needed for the legitimate wants of the government.
Plain as these principles appear to be, you will find that there is a constant effort to induce the general government to go beyond the limits of its taxing power, and to impose unnecessary burdens upon the people. Many powerful interests are continually at work to procure heavy duties on commerce, and to swell the revenue beyond the real necessities of the public service; and the country has already felt the injurious effects of their combined influence. They succeeded in obtaining a tariff of duties bearing most oppressively on the agricultural and laboring classes of society, and producing a revenue that could not be usefully employed within the range of the powers conferred upon Congress; and, in order to fasten upon
the people this unjust and unequal system of taxation, extravagant schemes of internal improvement were got up, in various quarters, to squander the money and to purchase support.
Thus one unconstitutional measure was intended to be upheld by another, and the abuse of the power of taxation was to be maintained by usurping the power of expending the money in internal improvements. You cannot have forgotten the severe and doubtful struggle through which we passed, when the executive department of the government, by its veto, endeavored to arrest this prodigal scheme of injustice, and to bring back the legislation of Congress to the boundaries prescribed by the constitution. The good sense and practical judgment of the people, when the subject was brought before them, sustained the course of the executive; and this plan of unconstitutional expenditure for the purposes of corrupt influence is, I trust, finally overthrown.
The result of this decision has been felt in the rapid extinguishment of the public debt, and the large accumulation of a surplus in the treasury, notwithstanding the tariff was reduced, and is now far below the amount originally contemplated by its advocates. But, rely upon it, the design to collect an extravagant revenue, and to burden you with taxes beyond the economical wants of the government, is not yet abandoned. The various interests which have combined together to impose a heavy tariff, and to produce an overflowing treasury, are too strong, and have too much at stake, to surrender the contest. The corporations and wealthy individuals who are engaged in large manufacturing establishments, desire a high tariff to increase their gains. Designing politicians will support it to conciliate their favor, and to obtain the means of profuse expenditure, for the purpose of purchasing influence in other quarters; and since the people have decided that the federal government cannot be permitted to employ its income in internal improvements, efforts will be made to seduce and mislead the citizens of the several states by holding out to them the deceitful prospect of benefits to be derived from a surplus revenue collected by the general government, and annually divided among the states. And if, encouraged by these fallacious hopes, the
states should disregard the principles of economy which ought to characterize every republican government, and should indulge in lavish expenditures exceeding their resources, they will, before long, find themselves oppressed with debts which they are unable to pay, and the temptation will become irresistible to support a high tariff, in order to obtain a surplus distribution. Do not allow yourselves, my fellow-citizens, to be misled on this subject. The federal government cannot collect a surplus for such purposes, without violating the principles of the constitution, and assuming powers which have not been granted. It is, moreover, a system of injustice, and, if persisted in, will inevitably lead to corruption, and must end in ruin. The surplus revenue will be drawn from the pockets of the people — from the farmer, the mechanic, and the laboring classes of society; but who will receive it when distributed among the states, where it is to be disposed of by leading politicians who have friends to favor, and political partisans to gratify? It will certainly not be returned to those who paid it, and who have most need of it, and are honestly entitled to it. There is but one safe rule, and that is to confine the general government rigidly within the sphere of its appropriate duties. It has no power to raise a revenue, or impose taxes, except for the purposes enumerated in the constitution; and if its income is found to exceed these wants, it should be forthwith reduced, and the burdens of the people so far lightened.
In reviewing the conflicts which have taken place between different interests in the United States, and the policy pursued since the adoption of our present form of government, we find nothing that has produced such deepseated evil as the course of legislation in relation to the currency.
The constitution of the United States unquestionably intended to secure the people a circulating medium of gold and silver. But the establishment of a national bank by Congress, with the privilege of issuing paper money receivable in the payment of the public dues, and the unfortunate course of legislation in the several states upon the same subject, drove from general circulation the constitutional currency, and substituted one of paper in its place.