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h manifests. But, sir, I say again, that the gentleman himself took the lead, against this measure — this darling measure of the Administration. I followed him; if I was seduced into error, or into unjustifiable opposition, there sits my seducer.
What, sir, were other leading sentiments, or leading measures of that day? On what other subjects did men differ? The gentleman has adverted to one, and that a most important one; I mean the navy. He says, and says truly, that at the commencement of the war the navy was unpopular. It was unpopular with hi s friends, who then controlled the politics of the country. Hut he says be differed with his friends; in this respect, he resisted party influence, and party connection, and was the friend and advocate of the navy. Sir, I commend him for it. He showed his wisdom. That gallant little navy soon fought itself into favor, and showed that no man, who had placed reliance on it, had been disappointed.
Well, sir, in all this, 1 was exactly of the same opinion as the honorable gentleman.
Sir, I do not know when my opinion of the importance of a naval force to the United States had its origin. I can give no date to my present sentiments on this subject, because I never entertained different sentiments. I remember, sir, that immediately after coming into my profession, at a period when the navy was most unpopular, when it was called by all sorts of hard names, and designated by many coarse epithets, on one of those occasions, on which young men address their neighbors, I ventured to put forth a boy's hand in defence of the navy. I insisted on its importance, its adaptation to our circumstances, and to our national character; and its indispensable necessity, if we intended to maintain and extend our commerce. These opinions and sentiments I brought into Congress; and, so far as I remember, it was the first, or among the first times, in which I presumed to speak on the topics of the day, that I attempted to urge on the House a greater attention to the naval service. There were divers modes of prosecuting the war. On these modes, or on the degree of attention and expense which should be bestowed on each, different men held different opinions. I confess 1 looked with most hope to the results of naval warfare, and therefore I invoked Government to invigorate and strengthen that arm of the national defence. I invoked it to seek its enemy upon the seas—to go where every auspicious indication pointed, and where the whole heart and soul of the country would go with it.
Sir, we were at war with the greatest maritime Power on earth. England had gained an ascendency on the seas over the whole combined Powers of Europe. She had been at war twenty years. She had tried her fortunes on the continent, but generally with no success. At one time the whole continent had closed against her. A long line of armed exterior, an unbroken hostile array, frowned upon her from the gulf of Archangel, round the promontory of Spain and Portugal, to the foot of the boot of Italy. There was not a port which an English ship could enter. Every where on the lajid the genius of her great enemy had triumphed. He had defeated armies, crushed coalitions, and overturned thrones; but, like the fabled giant, he was unconquerable only while he touched the land. On the ocean, he was powerless. That- field of fame was his adversary's, and her meteor flag was streaming in triumph all over it. .
To her maritime ascendency England owed every thing, and welwere now at waPwith her. One of the most charming of her poets had said of her, that
"Her march is o'er the mountain wave,
Now, sir, since we were at' war with her, I was for intercepting this march; I was for calling upon her, and paying our respects to her at home; I was for giving her to know that we, too, had a right of way over the seas, and that our'marine officers and our sailors were not entire strangers on the bosom of the deep; I was for doing something more with our navy, than to keep it on our shbres, for the protection of our own coasts and own harbors; I was for giving play to its gallant and burning spirit; for allowing it to go forth upon the seas, and to encounter, on an open and an equal field, whatever the proudest or the bravest of the enemy could bring against it. I knew the character of its officers and the spirit of its seamen; and I knew that, in their hands, though the flag of the country might go down to the bottom, while they went with it, yet that it could never be dishonored or disgraced.
Since she was our enemy — and a most powerful enemy — I was for touching her, if we could, in the very apple of her eye; for reaching the highest feather in her cap; for clutching at the very brightest jewel in her crown. There seemed to me to be a peculiar propriety'' in all this, as the war was undertaken* for the redress of maritime injuries alone. It was a war declared for free trade and sailors' rights. The ocean, therefore, was the proper theatre for deciding this controversy with our enemy, and Qn that theatre my ardent wish was, that our own power should be concentrated to the utmost.
So much, sir, for the war, and for my conduct and opinions as connected with it. And',' as I do not mean to recur to this subject often, nor ever, unless indispensably necessary, I repeat the demand for any charge, any accusation, any allegation whatever, that throws me behind the honorable gentleman, or behind any other man, in honor, in fidelity, in devoted love to that country in which I was Vol. in. 44
bom, which has honored me, and which I serve. I, who seldom deal in defiance, now, here, in my place,^boldly defy the honorable member to put his insinuation in the form of a charge, and to support that charge by any proof whatever.
The gentleman has adverted to the subject of slavery. On this subject, he says, I have not proved myself a friend to the South. Why, sir, the only proof is, that 1 did not vote for his resolutions.
Sir, this is a very grave matter; it is a subject very exciting and inflammable. I take, of course, all the responsibility belonging to my opinions; but 1 desire these opinions to be understood, and fairly stated. If I am to be regarded as an enemy to the South, because I could not support the gentlemen's resolutions, be it so. I cannot purchase favor, from any quarter, by the sacrifice of clear and conscientious convictions. The principal resolution declared that Congress had plighted its faith not to interfere either with slavery or the slave trade in the District of Columbia.
Now, sir, this is quite a new idea. I never heard it advanced until this session. I have heard gentlemen contend, that no such power was in the constitution; but the notion, that though the constitution contained the power, yet that Congress had plighted its faith not to exercise such a power, is an entire novelty, so far as I know. I must say, sir, it appeared to me little else than an attempt to put a prohibition into the constitution, because there was none there already. For this supposed plighting of the public faith, or the faith of Congress, I saw no ground, either in the history of the Government, or in any one fact, or in any argument. I therefore could not vote for the proposition.
Sir, it is now several years since I took care to make my opinion known, that this Government has, constitutionally, nothing to do with slavery, as it exists in the States. That opinion is entirely unchanged. I stand steadily by the resolution of the House of Representatives, adopted, after much consideration, at the commencement of the Government — which was, that Congress have no authority to interfere in the emancipation of slaves, or in the treatment of them, within any of the States; it remaining with the several States alone to provide any regulations therein, which humanity and true policy may require. This, in my opinion, is the constitution, and the law. I feel bound by it. I have quoted the resolution often. It expresses the judgment of men of all parts of the country, deliberately formed, in a cool time; and it expresses my judgment, and I shall adhere to it. But this has nothing to do with the other constitutional question; that is to say, the mere constitutional question, whether Congress has the power to regulate slavery and the slave trade, in the District of Columbia.
On such a question, sir, when I am asked what the constitution is, or whether any power granted by it has been compromised away; or, indeed, could be compromised away — I must express my honest opinion, andalways shall express it, if I say any thing, notwithstanding it may not meet concurrence either in the South, or the North, or the East, or the West. I cannot express by my vote what I do not believe.
He has chosen to bring that subject into this debate, with which it has no concern, but he may make the most of it, if he thinks he can produce unfavorable impressions on the South, from my negative to his fifth resolution. As to the rest of them, they were commonplaces, generally, or abstractions; in regard to which, ong may well not feel himself called on to vote at all.
And now, sir, in regard to the tariff. That is a long chapter, but I am quite ready to go over it with the honorable member.
He charges me with inconsistency. That may depend on deciding what inconsistency is, in respect to such subjects, and how it is to be proved. I will state the facts, for I have them in my mind somewhat more fully than the honorable member has himself presented them. Let us begin at the beginning. In 1816, I voted against the tariff law, which then passed. In 1824, 1 again voted against the tariff law, which was then proposed, and which passed. A majority of New England votes, in 1824, was against the tariff system. The bill received but one vote from Massachusetts; but it passed. The policy was established; New England acquiesced in it, conformed her business and pursuits to it; embarked her capital, and employed her labor, in manufactures; and I certainly admit that, from that time, I have felt bound to support interests thus called into being, and into importance, by the settled policy of the Government. I have stated this often here, and often elsewhere. The ground is defensible, and I maintain it.
As to the resolutions adopted in Boston, in 1820, and which resolutions he has caused to be read, and which he says he presumes I prepared, I have no recollection of having drawn the resolutions, and do not believe I did. But I was at the meeting, and addressed the meeting, and what I said on that occasion has been produced here, and read in the Senate years ago.
The resolutions, sir, were opposed to the commencing of a high tariff policy. I was opposed to it, and spoke against it — the city of Boston was opposed to it — the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was opposed to it. Remember, sir, that this was in 1820. This opposition continued till 1824. The votes all show this. But in 1824, the question was decided; the Government entered upon the policy; it invited men to embark their property and their means of living in it. Individuals have done this to a great extent; and, therefore, I say, so long as the manufactures shall need reasonable and just protection from Government, I shall be disposed to give it to them. What is there, sir, in all this, for the gentleman to complain of? Would he have us always oppose the policy, adopted by the country, on a great question? Would he have minorities never submit to the will of majorities?
I remember to have said, sir, at the meeting in Faneuil Hall, that protection appeared to be regarded as incidental to revenue, and that the incident could not be carried fairly above the principal: in other words, that duties ought not to be laid for the mere object of protection. I believe that was substantially correct. 1 believe that if the power of protection be inferred only from the revenue power, the protection could only be incidental.
But I have said in this place before, and I repeat now, that Mr. Madison's publication, after that period, and his declaration that the convention did intend to grant the power of protection, undei the commercial clause, placed the subject in a new and a clear light. I will add, sir, that a paper drawn up by Dr. Franklin, and read by him to a circle of friends in Philadelphia, on the eve of the assembling of the convention, respecting the powers which the proposed new Government ought to possess, shows, perfectly plainly, that in regulating commerce, it was expected Congress would adopt a course which should protect the manufactures of the North. He certainly went into the convention himself under that conviction.
Well, sir, and now what does the gentleman make out against me in relation to the tariff? What laurels does he gather in this part of Africa? I opposed the policy of the tariff, until it had become the settled and established policy of the country. I have never questioned the constitutional power of Congress to grant protection, except so far as the remark goes, made in Faneuil Hall, which remark respects only the length to which protection might properly be carried, so far as the power is derived from the authority to lay duties on imports. But the policy being established, and a great part of the country having placed vast interests at stake in it, I have not disturbed it; on the contrary, I have insisted that it ought not to be disturbed. If there be inconsistency in all this, the gentleman is at liberty to blazon it forth; let him see what he can make of it.
Here, sir, I cease to speak of myself; and respectfully ask pardon of the Senate for having so long detained it, upon any thing so unimportant as what relates merely to my own public conduct and opimons.
Sir, the honorable member is pleased to suppose (hat our spleen is excited, because he has interfered to snatch from us a victory over the Administration. If he means by this any personal disappointment, I shall not think it worth while to make a remark upon it. If he means a disappointment at his quitting us while we were endeavoring to arrest the present policy of the Administration,