Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

PROTECTION-MR. JEFFERSON'S VIEW.

89

pated his slaves by his will. Each | earliest conspicuous champion in our became, for the first time, a candidate national councils was Alexander for the Presidency in 1824, when Hamilton, General Washington's each counted with confidence on the Secretary of the Treasury, came, at powerful support of Pennsylvania. a later day, to be mainly championed When that State, through her leading by Republicans. The great merpoliticians, decided to support Jack-chants were leading Federalists; the great sea-ports were mainly Federal strongholds; the seaboard was in good part Federal: it yearned for extensive and ever-expanding commerce, and mistakenly, but naturally, regarded the fostering of Home Manufactures as hostile to the consummation it desired. Mr. Jefferson's Embargo had borne with great severity upon the mercantile class, inciting a dislike to all manner of commercial restrictions. The interior, on the other hand, was preponderantly Republican, and early comprehended the advantage of a more symmetrical development, a wider diversification, of our National Industry, through the legislative encou ragement of Home Manufactures. The Messages of all the Republican Presidents, down to and including General Jackson, recognize and affirm the wisdom, beneficence, and constitutionality of Protective legislation. The preamble to the first tariff act passed by Congress under the Federal Constitution explicitly affirms the propriety of levying imposts, among other ends, "for the protection of Domestic Manufactures." Mr. Jefferson, in his Annual Message of December 14, 1806, after announcing that there is a prospect of an early surplus of Federal revenue over expenditure, proceeds:

son, Calhoun fell out of the race, but was made Vice-President without serious opposition; General Jackson receiving a plurality of the electoral votes for President, but failing of success in the House. In 1828, their names were placed on the same ticket, and they were triumphantly elected President and Vice-President respectively, receiving more than two-thirds of the electoral votes, including those of every State south of the Potomac. This is the only instance wherein the President and Vice-President were both chosen from those distinctively known as Slave States; though New York was nominally and legally a Slave State when her Aaron Burr, George Clinton, and Daniel D. Tompkins were each chosen Vice-President with the last three Virginian Presidents respectively. Alike tall in stature, spare in frame, erect in carriage, austere in morals, imperious in temper, of dauntless courage, and inflexible will, Jackson and Calhoun were each fitted by nature to direct, to govern, and to mould feebler men to his ends; but they were not fitted to coalesce and work harmoniously together. They had hardly become the accepted chiefs of the same great, predominant party, before they quarreled; and their feud, never healed, exerted a signal and baneful influence on the future of their country.

"The question, therefore, now comes forward to what other objects shall these surpluses be appropriated, and the whole The Protective Policy, though its surplus of impost, after the entire discharge

of the public debt, and during those intervals when the purposes of war shall not call for them? Shall we suppress the impost and give that advantage to foreign over domestic manufactures? On a few articles of more general and necessary use, the suppression, in due season, will doubtless be right; but the great mass of the articles on which impost is paid is foreign luxuries, purchased by those only who are rich enough to afford themselves the use of them. Their patriotism would certainly prefer its continuance and application to the great purposes of the public education, roads, rivers, canals, and such other objects of public improvement as it may be thought proper to add to the constitutional enumeration of federal powers. By these operations, new channels of communication will be opened between the States; the lines of separation will disap,

pear; their interests will be identified, and their Union cemented by new and indissoluble ties."

"Education is here placed among the articles of public care, not that it would be proposed to take its ordinary branches out of the hands of private enterprise, which manages so much better all the concerns to which it is equal; but a public institution can alone supply those sciences which, though rarely called for, are yet necessary to complete the circle, all the parts of which contribute to the improvement of the country, and some of them to its preservation. The subject is now proposed for the consideration of Congress, because, if approved, by the time the State Legislatures shall have

deliberated on this extension of the federal

trusts, and the laws shall be passed, and

other arrangements made for their execution, the necessary funds will be on hand and without employment. I suppose an amendment to the Constitution, by consent of the States, necessary, because the objects now recommended are not among those enu

merated in the Constitution, and to which it permits the public moneys to be applied." Mr. Jefferson, it will be seen, suggests an amendment to the Constitution, to give Congress power to raise and appropriate money to the "great purposes of education, roads, rivers, canals," etc.; but he betrays no suspicion that the incidental Protection then confessedly enjoyed by our Home Manufactures was given in defiance of "the Constitution as it is." On the contrary, an enlargement of federal power was suggested

by him with reference to new objects, not to those already provided for. Had these required such enlargement, the duties should have been repealed or reduced at once, to be reimposed whenever Congress should be clothed with the requisite constitutional power.

HENRY CLAY entered Congress under Jefferson, in 1806, and was an earnest, thorough, enlightened Protectionist from the start. Mr. Calhoun first took his seat in 1811, when the question of war with Great Britain dwarfed all others; and his zealous efforts, together with those of Clay, Felix Grundy, and other ardent young Republicans, finally overbore the reluctance of Madison and his more sedate councilors, and secured a Declaration of War on the 18th of June, 1812. At the close of that war, a revision of the existing Tariff was imperatively required; and no man did more than John C. Calhoun-then, for his last term, a leading member of the House-to secure the efficient Protection of Home Manufactures, but especially of the Cotton Manufacture, by the Tariff of 1816; which Massachusetts, and most of New England, opposed, precisely because it was Protective, and therefore, in the short-sighted view, hostile to the interests of Commerce and Navigation. Internal Improvements, and all other features of what was termed the National in contradistinction to the Radical or strict-construction theory of the nature and functions of our Federal Government, found in Mr. Calhoun and his personal adherents their most thorough-going champions: and South Carolina was, about 1820, the

THE TARIFF OF 1828.

91

from New England-some provisions having been engrafted upon it with the alleged purpose and the certain effect of making it obnoxious to Massachusetts and the States which, on either side, adjoined her. On the other hand, the members from the Middle and Western Free States, without distinction of party, supported it almost unanimously. This Tariff imposed high duties on Iron, Lead, Hemp, Wool, and other bulky staples, and was very generally popular. Under it, the industry of the Free States, regarded as a whole, was more productive, more prosperous, better rewarded, than ever before, and the country exhibited a rapid

arena of a stirring conflict between | by most of the members from the Cother "National" school of politicians, ton States, and by a majority of those headed by Calhoun and McDuffie, and the “Radicals," whose chief was William H. Crawford, of Georgia. Repeated duels between Mr. McDuffie and Colonel William Cuming, of Georgia, in one of which McDuffie was severely wounded, were among the incidents of this controversy. Yet but few years elapsed before Mr. Calhoun and his trusty henchman, McDuffie, appeared in the novel character of champions of "State Rights," and relentless antagonists of Protection, and all the "National" projects they had hitherto supported! Mr. Calhoun attempted, some years afterward, to reconcile this flagrant inconsistency; but it was like "arguing the seal off the bond"-a feat to which the sub-growth in wealth, intelligence, and tlest powers of casuistry are utterly general comfort. inadequate. He did prove, however, that his change did not follow, but preceded, his quarrel with General Jackson-his original, though then unacknowledged, demonstration against Protection as unconstitutional, and in favor of Nullification as a reserved right of each State, having been embodied in an elaborate document known as "The South Carolina Exposition," adopted and put forth by the Legislature of his State near the close of 1828. The doctrines therein affirmed were those propounded by Hayne and refuted by Webster in the great debate already noticed.

The Tariff of 1828-the highest and most protective ever adopted in this country—was passed by a Jackson Congress, of which Van Buren, Silas Wright, and the Jacksonian leaders in Pennsylvania and Ohio, were master-spirits. It was opposed

The South-that is, the cottongrowing region-for region-for Louisiana, through her sugar-planting interest, sustained the Protective policy, and shared in the prosperity thence resulting-now vehemently opposed the Tariff, declaring herself thereby plundered and impoverished. There is no evidence that her condition was less favorable, her people less comfortable, than they had been; but the contrast between the thrift, progress, and activity of the Free States, and the stagnation, the inertia, the poverty, of the cotton region, was very striking. And, as the South was gradually unlearning her Revolutionary principles, and adopting instead the dogma that Slavery is essentially right and beneficent, she could not now be induced to apprehend, nor even to consider, the real cause of her comparative wretchedness; though she was more than once

[blocks in formation]

"What, Sir, is the cause of Southern distress? Has any gentleman yet ventured to designate it? I am neither willing nor competent to flatter. To praise the honorable Senator from South Carolina would be 'To add perfume to the violet

Wasteful and ridiculous excess.' But, if he has failed to discover the source of the evils he deplores, who can unfold it? Amid the warm and indiscriminating denunciations with which he has assailed the policy of protecting domestic manufactures and native produce, he frankly avows that he would not deny that there are other causes, besides the Tariff, which have contributed to produce the evils which he has depicted.' What are those other causes?' In what proportion have they acted? How much of this dark shadowing is ascribable to each singly, and to all in combination? Would the Tariff be at all felt or denounced, if those other causes were not in operation? Would not, in fact, its influence, its discriminations, its inequalities, its oppressions, but for those other causes,' be shaken, by the elasticity, energy, and exhaustless spirit of the South, as 'dew-drops from the lion's mane?' These inquiries must be satisfactorily answered before we can be justly required to legislate away an entire system. If it be the root of all evil, let it be exposed and demolished. If its poisonous exhalations be but partial, let us preserve such portions as are innoxious. If, as the luminary of day, it be pure and salutary in itself, let us not wish it extinguished, because of the shadows, clouds, and darkness, which obscure its brightness, or impede its vivifying power.

"That other causes' still, Mr. President, for Southern distress, do exist, cannot be doubted. They combine with the one I have indicated, and are equally unconnected with the manufacturing policy. One of these it is peculiarly painful to advert to; and when I mention it, I beg honorable

[ocr errors]

Senators not to suppose that I do it in the spirit of taunt, of reproach, or of idle declamation. Regarding it as a misfortune merely, not as a fault as a disease inherited, not incurred-perhaps to be alleviated, but

not eradicated-I should feel self-condemned were I to treat it other than as an existing fact, whose merit or demerit, apart from the question under debate, is shielded from commentary by the highest and most just considerations. I refer, Sir, to the character of Southern labor, in itself, and in its influence on others. Incapable of adaptation to the ever-varying changes of human socie

ty and existence, it retains the communities in which it is established, in a condition of apparent and comparative inertness. The lights of Science and the improvements of Art, which vivify and accelerate elsewhere, cannot penetrate, or if they do, penetrate with dilatory inefficiency, among its operatives. They are not merely instinctive and passive. While the intellectual industry of other parts of this country springs elastically forward at every fresh impulse, and manual labor is propelled and redoubled by countless inventions, machines, and contrivances, instantly understood and at once exercised, the South remains stationary, inaccessible to such encouraging and invigorating aids. Nor is it possible to be wholly blind to the moral effect of this species of labor upon those freemen among whom it exists. A disrelish for humble and hardy occupation; a pride adverse to drudgery and toil; a dread that to partake in the employments allotted to color may be accompanied also by its degradation, are natural and inevita ble. The high and lofty qualities which, in other scenes and for other purposes, characterize and adorn our Southern brethren, are fatal to the enduring patience, the corporal exertion, and the painstaking simplicity, by which only a successful yeomanry can be formed. When, in fact, Sir, the Senator from South Carolina asserts that 'Slaves are too improvident, too incapable of that minute, constant, delicate attention, and that persevering industry which are essential to manufacturing establishments,' he himself admits the defect in Southern labor, by which the progress of his favorite section must be retarded. He admits an inability to keep pace with the rest of the world. He admits an inherent weakness; a weakness neither engendered nor aggravated by the Tariff-which, as societies are now constituted and directed, must drag in the rear, and be distanced in the common race."

South Carolina did not heed these

16 Speech in the Senate, February 27, 1832.

NULLIFICATION MADE PRACTICAL.

93

gentle admonitions. The convictions | States against the validity of said

act should be permitted; no copy of the proceedings should be taken for the purpose of making such appeal; and any attempt to appeal to the Judiciary of the United States from any decision of a State court affirming and upholding this Ordinance, should be "dealt with as for a contempt of the court" thus upholding and affirming. Every office-holder of the State, and "every juror" was required expressly to swear to obey this Ordinance, and all legislative acts based thereon. Should the Federal Government undertake to enforce the law thus nullified, or in any manner to harass or obstruct the foreign commerce of the State, South Carolina should thereupon consider herself no longer a member of the Federal Union:

of her leading men were, doubtless, Pro-Slavery and Anti-Tariff; but their aspirations and exasperations likewise tended to confirm them in the course on which they had resolved and entered. General Jackson and Mr. Calhoun had become estranged and hostile not long after their joint election as President and Vice-President, in 1828. Mr. Calhoun's sanguine hopes of succeeding to the Presidency had been blasted. Mr. Van Buren supplanted him as VicePresident in 1832, sharing in Jack son's second and most decided triumph. And, though the Tariff of 1828 had been essentially modified during the preceding session of Congress, South Carolina proceeded, directly after throwing away her vote in the election of 1832, to call a Convention of her people, which met at her Capitol on the 19th of November. That Convention was composed of her leading politicians of the Calhoun school, with the heads of her great families, forming a respectable and dignified assemblage. The net Thus was Nullification" embodied. result of its labors was an Ordinance in an Ordinance preparatory to its of Nullification, drafted by a grand reduction to practice. The LegislaCommittee of twenty-one, and adopt- ture, in which the Nullifiers were an ed with entire unanimity. By its overwhelming majority, elected Mr. terms, the existing Tariff was form-Webster's luckless antagonist, Robert ally pronounced "null, void, and no Y. Hayne, Governor of the State; law, nor binding on this State, its and the Governor, in his Message, officers, or citizens," and the duties thoroughly indorsed the action of the on imports imposed by that law were nullifying Convention, whereof he forbidden to be paid within the State had been a member. of South Carolina after the 1st day of February ensuing. The Ordinance contemplated an act of the Legislature nullifying the Tariff as aforesaid; and prescribed that no appeal to the Supreme Court of the United

"The people of this State will thenceforth hold themselves absolved from all further obligation to maintain or preserve their poliStates, and will forthwith proceed to organtical connection with the people of the other ize a separate government, and do all other acts and things which sovereign and independent States may of right do."

"I recognize," said he, "no allegiance as paramount to that which the citizens of

South Carolina owe to the State of their

birth or their adoption. I here publicly declare, and wish it to be distinctly understood, that I shall hold myself bound, by the highest of all obligations, to carry into effect, not only the Ordinance of the Con

17 November 24, 1832.

« ForrigeFortsett »