صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

The consideration of Congress was invited to the subject, in the Message of President Jackson, and subsequently by his Proclamation; an instrument which was replete with maxims of good government. In accordance with that Proclamation, a Bill was reported to the Senate by Mr. Webster, for enforcing the laws made for collection of the revenue. When that Bill came down from the Senate, and was reported to the House, and brought up for debate, the session had almost expired; and it was determined by its friends, to allow opposition as much time as possible on their part to discuss it; but, for want of time, its friends were not to indulge in a protracted debate. Mr. Bell, of Tennessee, Chairman of the Committee who reported the Bill from the Senate, and now Speaker of the House, a gentleman of ability, with some of his associates of the Committee, it was expected, would be almost the only speakers. The measure was too important for any objection to be left unanswered. It was supposed Mr. McDuffie would use his vigorous weapons of attack, and it was desirable that he should be answered, before the debate was closed. Mr. Burges was requested by Mr. Grundy, a confidential friend of President Jackson, to perform this service; which he had intended to do, from the commencement of the discussion. When Mr. McDuffie had finished, Mr. Burges rose to reply; but Mr. Wayne, of Georgia, had already risen, and was announced as entitled to the floor. He concluded at nine o'clock at night. He again rose, but Mr. Daniel, of Kentucky, being nearer the Speaker, obtained the floor; but he was evidently speaking against time, and was determined that no one should reply to him or to Mr. McDuffie, until the next day. He did not close until two o'clock at night; when it was resolved, on consultation, that the debate should proceed no further; but that as soon as he closed, Mr. Bell should call the previous question. The day after, the Bill was read a third time, and passed.'

1 Whatever credit President Jackson may have acquired by his Proclamation, he seems now determined to destroy it. It would be singular for almost any other man to shape a course so entirely opposed to the sentiments of that Proclamation, as he has done.

1

Near the close of the session, Mr. Clay introduced a Bill, to alter and amend the Tariff Laws. That Bill contained provisions designed expressly to meet the tone of popular feeling at the South, and to assuage the elements which were then threatening a dissolution of our Union. With his peculiar tact and unrivalled eloquence, he implored the Senate to pass the Bill; and thus to avert the storm, which, if it does come, must sweep away the last hopes of freedom. It passed; and was sent down to the House. There, as in the Senate, it met with opposition, but was finally enacted.1

Mr. Burges was again re-elected to Congress in August, 1833, by a large majority over his immediate competitor. He was the only candidate elected among several competitors. In addressing his constituents, prior to the day of election, he gave a conclusive, and admirable illustration of the doctrines of nullification; both in their theory and practice.

"Nullification is the theory, the science, of that political system, of which treason and open rebellion are the art and practice. It claims for each and every State in the Union, the right and power to abolish, make utterly void, and take away the very existence of any, or every law of the United States, within the limits of any State which may choose to exercise such right and power. Every department of our National Government, and every feature of our national character, depend for their existence, on some law or laws, enacted under the Constitution, by the United States. The foul sorceress of Nullification may point her lean and withered finger, at each one of them; and they at once melt down and vanish from existence. She

1 This bill, in all its provisions, was not satisfactory to the friends of the Tariff. Mr. Clay himself was not favorable to all its parts. He knew, however, that the whole framework of the American System was endangered; and that it was better to introduce some conciliatory clauses, rather than to see it all perish. The experience of every day is developing the wisdom of Mr. Clay's policy.

The representatives from New-England strongly opposed that Bill. Mr. Burges made a vehement speech against it, and incurred the censure of many sincere friends. We may confidently assert, that it is the only one made by him in the Congress of the United States which has caused them regret.

can seal up every Post-Office; arrest every mail; pull down every Custom-House; break up your Treasury; pluck your judges from the bench; strike your venerable President from his chair; lock up the halls of national legislation; demolish your fortresses; disband your army; pull down your flag, the stars and stripes of our Union, and scatter your navy to all the winds of heaven; consume the existence, the very form of our whole nation; and of all this Union, this empire of laws, this glorious achievement of republican freedom, leave nothing but a wilderness of anarchy, where so many States, like so many wild beasts, with no other law but force, and no other restraint but fear, shall hereafter mutually prey upon and devour each other.

[ocr errors]

'Every man should examine his own principles and opinions, in relation to the Constitution and Government of our country; and be fully satisfied, that he is not corrupted by any false, vain, and treasonable heresies. Our first great principle is, or should be, that the Constitution has made the American People, one people, a nation in all their relations to other nations; and in all the relations of the several States, to each other; that this nation is known to other nations as such, and by them is called by the name of the United States; that, being a nation, they are, and must be, independent of all others; and sovereign in all parts of the United States territory, in all things granted to them by the people under the Constitution; and that each one of the several States holds, and may exercise all the powers of States, not denied to them under the Constitution by the same people. The Constitution, and the laws made under it, in pursuance of the powers granted by it, are as the people of the United States have declared, ordained, and established, the supreme law of the land throughout the whole territory of the United States; whether the same be unappropriated lands, or organized territory, or States established under their own constitutions; and any law made in any such State or territory, must be conformable to the Constitution, and to the laws so made by the United States under it, or they are utterly void, and cannot be carried into execution by any law court in our country.

W

"We learn, on the contrary by the creed of Nullification, that each State in the Union, is a perfectly independent, sovereign community; but that the United States are a mere agency of the several States, without sovereignty; and that any State may, within its own territory, call in question, and establish any law made by this agency. This, we are told may be done, because these States are sovereign, and the Constitution, being a compact between sovereignties all equal, there can be no court or tribunal established between them, with power to decide when the Constitution has been violated; and therefore, each State has a right to decide for herself, like any other independent nation.

"The United States is a nation, sovereign and independent; but I deny that either of the States is a nation, or sovereign, or independent. What is a nation, a sovereignty? It is such a community as is governed by no law, enacted by any power, located out of its own territory? Cannot the United States make such laws and execute them in each of the States? Who established the mail, the post-offices, and post-roads in every State? Who built your custom-houses, and made every law in every State, for collecting the revenue of the whole nation? Who made all the laws for coining that money, on which you see the eagle, the arms of the nation, and the form of liberty, the object of all our institutions? Is each State a nation, and does each of these nations permit a power, not located within its own territory, to enact laws for controlling its transmission of intelligence; the collection of its revenue; and the establishment of its coin and currency? Which one of the States contends, that she has a right to establish post-offices and post-roads; to levy taxes by duties and imposts; or to coin money, or to regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coins? Can any community be a nation, a sovereignty, without the right to exercise these powers? and yet not even Nullifiers contend, that any one of the States has, or can exercise them.

"There is a great family of communites on the earth, governed by a known and well established code of regulations, called the law of nations. Some of these communities are, in

Western Europe, called Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden; in North America, the United States of America, the United Mexican States; in South America, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chili, the Argentine Republic, and the Empire of Brazil. How are these nations known to each other; and what powers and qualities must each possess, before it could be received as a nation, into this great community? Each one, for that purpose, must be a sovereignty, governed by its own laws; and be independent, for their enactment of all others. The Canadas are not nations, because they are dependant on England for a part of their laws. Ireland and Scotland are not nations, but integral parts of Great Britain; because they depend on her for a part of their laws. Texas is not a nation, but one of the Mexican States, and dependant on that Republic for a part of its laws. In like manner, Massachusetts, Rhode-Island, or any other State in our Union, are not nations, but parts of our great Republic, called States; and they are not nations, because they are not sovereignties, but are dependant on the United States, for laws in many respects; such as laws to regulate their mails, their coin, their impost, their internal State commerce, and commerce with foreign nations. It is not pretended that any State in the Union can make any law, touching any one of these great subjects. How then can any such State, when so dependant on another community, be a nation, an independent sovereignty?

"If we consider the manner in which nations hold intercourse with each other, we shall find that no State in this Union is a nation, a sovereignty; or that any foreign nation could so regard any such State. Nations hold intercourse by public Ministers, or Ambassadors. Would England or France, receive an ambassador from Massachusetts or Connecticut? Would the United States receive such a functionary from Texas? Why not? Because ambassadors are the representatives of nations, sovereign and independent, to other like sovereign and independent nations. For the same reason consuls and commercial agents from those States would not be received by any foreign nation. How has it happened that no nation on earth has ever

« السابقةمتابعة »