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handmaid of the press; the armed force its executor; and the appointing power the directress of the whole. If the appointing power was itself an emanation of the popular will, if the President was himself the officer and organ of the people, there would be less danger in leaving to his will the sole direction of all these arbiters of human fate. But things must be taken as they are; statesmen must act for the country they live in, and not for the island of Utopia ; they must act upon the state of facts in that country, and not upon the visions of fancy. In the country for which the committee act, the press, with some exceptions, the post-office, the armed force, and the appointing power are in the hands of the President, and the President himself is not in the hands of the people. The President may, and in the current of human affairs, will be against the people; and, in his hands the arbiters of human fate must be against them also. This will not do. The possibility of it must be avoided. The safety of the people is the supreme law, and to ensure that safety, these arbiters of human fate must change position, and take post on the side of the people.”
These and other reformatory projects were discussed, but no practical results were reached in Congress. Sev. eral States, however, where electors were chosen by their Legislatures, taking action on this subject, referred their election to the people direct.
During this session was agitated the “ Panama Mission." A project supposed to have originated with General Bolivar, who was for a time at the head of the republic of Colombia. Commissioners were invited to meet at Panama, with a view to unite in mutual defence
against European aggressions. The President, in his Message, had recommended the appointment of ambassadors. In accordance with this idea, he transmitted on the 26th of December, a confidential Message to the Senate, setting forth the object of the proposed Congress, and nominating R. C. Anderson, and John Sergeant, as Ministers on the part of the United States, and William B. Rochester, as Secretary to the mission.
The committee on foreign relations, to which this Message was referred, reported on January 26th, 1826, condemning the mission, and declaring it inexpedient to send the proposed ministers. This report was voted down by 24 to 19, and the nominations made by the President were confirmed by the Senate. The Administration was also sustained in the House by the passage, after a lengthy discussion, of the bill making appropriation for the mission, by a vote of 133 to 61.
Mr. Anderson died on his passage from Colombiawhere he was a resident minister-to Panama; and the protracted discussion in Congress prevented the departure of Mr. Sergeant in time to attend the mission at Panama. The United States were unrepresented.
Delegates from Colombia, Peru, Central America, and Mexico constituted the Congress, which opened on the 22d of June, 1826, and closed July 15th, having formed a league of perpetual friendship, in which the States not represented might join within the year. No subsequent session was held. As the mission resulted, it was used to the disadvantage of Mr. Adams' administration.
The first session of the twentieth Congress commenced on the third of December, 1827, and closed on the 26th of May, 1828.
TARIFF OF 1828.
The subject of the revision of the tariff came before Congress early in the session, and secured for itself additional importance as being the event from which the doctrine of Nullification takes its origin.
The tariff of 1824 was inadequate to accomplish the end designed, both from the nature of its duties, and the manner in which they were determined. Being ad valorem duties, or duties laid according to the value of the article, goods were invoiced at a price below their actual value in England. Thus protection to our manufacturers was defeated, and the revenue defrauded. Against these fraudulent practices protection was asked, rather than a higher rate of tariff percentage. This could be effected only by changing the mode of determining the ad valorem duty, or by adopting a minimum duty, which it was impossible to evade.
The discussion on the tariff bill continued from the 12th of February to the 15th of April, and with various modifications, finally passed the House by a vote of 109 to 91.
In the Senate, after the incorporation of several amendments, which the House subsequently indorsed, the bill passed by 26 for, to 21 against it. The bill was approved by the President and became a law.
The discussion of the tariff bill embraced the usual variety of topics, and elicited no small amount of geographical feeling. Outside of Congress great excitement prevailed, especially in South Carolina. Public meetings, the legislature, and the press denounced the measure in the severest terms. The people of that State petitioned their legislature to “save them, if possible, from the conjoined grasp of usurpation and poverty;" and asserted, “We exist as a member of the Union merely as an object of
RESOLUTIONS ON THE TARIFF.
taxation. The Northern and Middle States are to be enriched by the plunder of the South. The citizens of South Carolina will be condemned to work as the tributaries of the northern and middle sections of the Union. It is so now; and it is triumphantly determined to extend the system indefinitely.” This extract typifies the spirit that prevailed throughout South Carolina, and to some extent in the adjoining States, and which, in after years, required the authority of the national Government to bring it to subjection.
At this period may also be dated the change in opinion of certain sections of country, and of prominent statesmen, relative to a protective tariff. The most noticeable was that of Daniel Webster, who spoke for himself and New England as well.
Hitherto New England had been opposed to the tariff policy. Mr. Webster predicates the change on the fact that, “ this has now become the established policy of the nation, and that the Eastern States have adapted themselves thereto, and it harmonized with their best interests that it should be inaintained."
Among the leading advocates of the bill in the House were Messrs. Anderson, Buchanan, Forward and Ingham, of Pennsylvania; Bates, of Massachusetts; Barnard, Hoffman, Martindale, Strong and Wright, of New York; Ingersoll, of Connecticut; Mallary, of Vermont; and Wright and Vinton, of Ohio. Among those opposed to it were Messrs. Alexander, Randolph, and Gilmer, of Virginia ; Anderson and Sprague, of Maine; Cambreling, of New York; McDuffie, Hamilton, and Drayton, of South Carolina ; Thompson, of New Jersey; Wilde, of Georgia; and Wickliff, of Kentucky,
Resolutions on retrenchment and reform were introduced by an opposition member, whereon a lengthy discussion ensued, undertaken and prosecuted with the un. questioned intent to injure the Administration then in power.
The 20th Congress closed its first session on the 26th of May, 1828.
From the first, Mr. Adams' administration was subject to a determined and persistent opposition. Its downfall was determined upon prior to its inauguration, and the public mind was early directed to a candidate to succeed Mr. Adams in the Presidency. It became evident at an early day that the next contest would lie between Mr. Adams and General Jackson.
As early as October, 1825, the Legislature of Tennessee nominated Gen. Jackson as a candidate for President in 1828. This nomination was soon followed by others in different parts of the country. With the friends of Gen. Jackson were joined those of Mr. Crawford, who gave in their adhesion, as in so doing alone could they hope to succeed in the election of an opposition President. The opposition to Mr. Adams may be regarded as fully organized early in 1827.
The contest thus commenced, was continued with untiring energy. It was animated and acrimonious. The public acts of both the candidates were scrutinized, that they might be rendered in evidence against them. The politics of 1808 were revived, touching the disclosure purported to have been made by Mr. Adams of intentions on the part of prominent New England Federalists to disconnect the Eastern States from the Confederacy through the aggravations of the Embargo. “Coalition, bargain, and corruption,” which were charged to have existed between Messrs. Adams and Clay, electing the former to the Presidency, and securing to the other the appointment of Secretary of State, were echoed and re