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the necessity of creating a home demand for labor, provisions, and materials, by turning a larger proportion of our national industry into the channel of domestic manufactures.
The considerations for and against a protective tariff are set forth with marked ability in the speeches of Messrs. Clay and Webster; the latter of whom was the then champion of the opponents of a protective system.
In speaking of the depressed condition of the country, Mr. Clay said:
“ In casting our eyes around us, the most prominent circumstance which fixes our attention and challenges our deepest regret, is the general distress which pervades the whole country.
It is forced upon us by numerous facts of the most incontestable character. It is indicated by the diminished exports of native produce; by the depressed and reduced state of our foreign navigation; by our diminished commerce ; by successive unthreshed crops of grain perishing in our barns for want of a market; by the alarming diminution of the circulating medium; by the numerous bankruptcies; by the universal
1 complaint of the want of employment, and the consequent reduction of the wages of labor; by the ravenous pursuit after public situations, not for the sake of their honors and the performance of their public duties, but as a means of private subsistence; by the reluctant resort to the perilous use of paper money ; by the intervention of legislation in the delicate relation between debtor and creditor; and above all, by the low and depressed state of the value of almost every description of the whole mass of the property of the nation, which has, on an average, sunk not less than about fifty per centum within a few years. This distress pervades every part of the Union, every class of society; all feel it, though it may be felt at different
VIEWS OF CLAY AND WEBSTER.
places, in different degrees. It is like the atmosphere which surrounds us; all must inhale it, and none can escape
from it. A few years ago, the planting interest consoled itself with its happy exemptions from the general calamity ; but it has now reached this interest also, which experiences, though with less severity, the general suffering. It is most painful to me to attempt to sketch, or to dwell on the gloom of this picture. But I have exaggerated nothing. Perfect fidelity to the original would have authorized me to have thrown on deeper and darker hues.”
Mr. Clay substantiated his position by an elaborate array of statistics. To whom Mr. Webster replied, say ing that there was no cause for such general gloom and terrifying representations. In New England it was quite the contrary : That the distress which did prevail origi nated in other causes and demanded other remedies. the general question, allow me to ask,” he said, “ if the doctrine of prohibition, as a general doctrine, be not preposterous ? Suppose all nations to act upon it: they would be prosperous, then, according to the argument, precisely in the proportion in which they abolished intercourse with one another. The best apology for laws of prohibition and laws of monopoly, will be found in that state of society, not only unenlightened, but sluggish, in which they are most generally established. Private industry in these days, required a strong provocative, which government was seeking to administer by these means. Something was wanted to actuate and stimulate men, and the prospects of such profits as would, in our time, excite unbounded competition, would hardly move the sloth of former ages. In some instances, no doubt, these laws produced an effect which, in that period, would not have taken place without them. (Instancing the protection to the English woollen manufactures in the time of the Henrys and the Edwards.) But our age is wholly of a differcnt character, and its legislation takes another turn. Society is full of excitement; competition comes in place of monopoly; and intelligence and industry ask only for fair play and an open field.”
Mr. Webster stated his objections to the bill at length, and closed by saying there were some provisions which he approved; others in which he acquiesced; but the objections which he had instanced utterly precluded him from giving the measure his approval. Little more than a year
of Mr. Monroe's second term had expired before the contest over his successor commenced. Old party divisions having been broken down, the issue was now mainly a personal one. A great number of names were presented, but of these the contest ultimately narrowed down to William H. Crawford, Secretary of the Treasury; John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State ; Henry Clay, Speaker of the House of Repre sentatives; John C. Calhoun, Secretary of War; and Andrew Jackson, at that time a private citizen. Each of these candidates had given an ardent support to the Administration of Mr. Madison during the war, and were staunch adherents of the Democratic party.
Mr. Crawford had been a formidable candidate against Mr. Monroe, and a prominent member of his Cabinet; whether he was consequently entitled to it or not, it soon became evident that he was to receive the support of the old democratic politicians. He was considered as possessing great strength at the South, while there was not wanting encouragement at the North. Mr. Van Buren, Senator from New York, gave in his adhesion, and it was thought, with the aid of other men of prominence in the party, he might be able to carry the electoral vote of that
SUCCESSOR TO MR. MONROE.
State for Mr. Crawford. The annual election in New York transpiring in Nov. 1823, prior to the opening of Congress, disappointed these expectations in the complexion given to the Legislature which in turn was to appoint the Presidential electors. Both parties, those in favor, and those opposed to Mr. Crawford, claimed the majority. The latter, however, rested their hopes on passing a law referring the choice of the electors directly to the people. This question created what was known as the people's party-strongly opposed to Mr. Crawford for the Presidency. The law providing for the appointment of electors by the direct vote of the people was defeated; but by the strenuous efforts of Mr. J. Tallmadge, Mr. H. Wheaton, and other prominent members of the Legislature, the friends of Mr. Crawford were badly beaten. The electoral vote of the State was given as follows: for Adams 26, for Crawford 5, for Clay 4, for Jackson 1.
Congress was greatly interested and divided on the propriety of keeping up the old system of congressional nomination of candidates for President and Vice-President. The friends of Mr. Crawford, led by Mr. Van Buren, were in favor of a caucus, and were disposed to denounce all who were opposed to this method, which they termed "regular nomination," as enemies of the Democratic party. And notwithstanding an announcement in the National Intelligencer that out of two hundred and sixtyone members, it was ascertained that one hundred and eighty-one were opposed to a caucus; and, it was added that many others would not attend, should a meeting be called, the friends of Mr. Crawford insisted on adhering to the established precedent, and the caucus was held on
the 14th of February, 1824. Only sixty-six members were in attendance, of whom forty-eight were from the four States of New York, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. A ballot being had for President, Mr. Crawford received 64 votes, Mr. Adams 2, Gen. Jackson 1, and Mr. Macon, of North Carolina, 1. Mr. Gallatin received the nomination for Vice-President, but afterward declined.
Niles' Register furnishes us some facts touching the history of the caucus system. It had its origin in the contentions of the two great political parties which divided the American people into two almost equally powerful sects; thus rendering it seemingly necessary, if either would carry their measures, that there should be a perfect unanimity respecting candidates for offices of trust and responsibility ; hence individuals belonging to the same party would meet, express their preferences and concentrate their support on such candidates as, in their opinion, were most acceptable to the people. Mr. Adams, at the second election, received the cordial support—though he had not the private good-will—of the leaders of the Fed
So Mr. Madison was sustained in a second election, not more because he was the best man who could be found to carry on the war, than that not a shadow of a disposition should be manifest to conclude the war save on honorable terms. These candidates both received the support of their respective parties on the ground of party
Prior to the Presidential election of 1800, a few Federalists held a meeting in the Senate chamber to confer respecting the coming election. The Philadelphia Aurora, a Republican paper, denounced this caucus as a “jacobinical conclave.” For this, and other statements, its editor, William Duane, was arrested, and brought to the bar of the Senate to answer for his “ false, defamatory,