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either confirm or reject it. As to the notion that the Secretary of State was but the instrument of the President, and so not responsible for these instructions, I reject, at once, all such defence, excuse or apology, or whatever else it may be called. If there be any thing in a public despatch derogatory to the honor of the country, as I think there is in this, it is enough for me, that I see whose hand is to it. If it be said, that the signer was only an instrument in the hands of others, I reply, that I cannot concur in conferring a high public diplomatic trust on any one who has consented, under any circumstances, to be an instrument in such a case.
The honorable member from Georgia asks, also, why we have slept on this subject, and why, at this late day, we bring forward complaints. Sir, nobody has slept upon it. Since these instructions have been made public, there has been no previous opportunity to discuss them. The honorable member will recollect, that the whole arrangement with England was done and completed before ever these instructions saw the light. The President opened the trade by his proclamation, in October, 1830; but these instructions were not publicly sent to Congress till afterwards, that is, till January, 1831. And they were not then sent with any view, that either House should act upon the subject, for the whole business was already settled. For one, I never saw the instructions, nor heard them read, till January, 1831 ; nor did I ever hear them spoken of as containing these obnoxious passages. This, then, is the first opportunity for considering these instructions.
That they have been subjects of complaint out doors since they were made public, and of much severe animadversion, is certainly true. But, until now, there never has been an opportunity naturally calling for their discussion here. The honorable gentleman may be assured that if such occasion had presented itself, it would have been embraced.
I entirely forbear, Mr. President, from going into the merits of the late arrangement with England, as a measure of commercial policy. Another time will come, I trust, more suitable for that discussion. For the present, I confine myself strictly to such parts of the instructions as I think plainly objectionable, and reprehensive, whatever may be the character of the agreement between us and England, as matter of policy. And I repeat, Sir, that I place the justification of my vote on the party tone and party character of these instructions. Let us ask, If such considerations as these are to be addressed to a foreign Government, what is that foreign Government to expect in return? The Ministers of foreign Courts will not bestow gratuitous favors, nor even gratuitous smiles, on American parties. What, then, I repeat, is to be the return?What is party to do here, for that foreign Government, which has
done, is expected to do, or is asked to do, something for party here? What is to be the consideration paid for this foreign favor? Sir, must not every man see, that any mixture of such causes or motives in our foreign intercourse, is as full of danger as it is of dishonor?
I will not pursue the subject. I am anxious only to make my own ground fully and clearly understood; and willingly leave every other gentleman to his own opinions. And I cheerfully submit my own vote to the opinions of the country. I willingly leave it to the people of the United States to say, whether I am acting a factious and unworthy part, or the part of a true-hearted American, in withholding my approbation from the nomination of a gentleman as minister to England, who has, already, as it appears to me, instructed his predecessor at the same Court, to carry party considerations, to argue party merits, and solicit party favors, at the foot of the British throne.
Note. The circumstance did not occur to Mr. Webster's recollection at the moment he was speaking, but the truth is, that Mr. Van Buren was himself a member of the Senate, at the very time of the passing of this law, and Mr. McLane was, at the same time, a member of the House of Representatives. So that Mr. Van Buren did himself certainly concur in " setting up this pretension,” two years before Mr. Adams became President.
ON THE APPORTIONMENT OF REPRESENTATION.
In the Senate of the United States, April 5, 1832, MR. WEBSTER made the following Report :
The Select Committee, to whom was referred, on the 27th of March,
the bill from the House of Representatives, entitled “ An Act for the Apportionment of Representatives among the several States according to the Fifth Census,” have had the subject under consideration, and now ask leave to report :
This bill, like all laws on the same subject, must be regarded as of an interesting and delicate nature. It respects the distribution of political power among the States of the Union. It is to determine the number of voices which, for ten years to come, each State is to possess in the popular branch of the Legislature. In the opinion of the committee, there can be few or no questions which it is more desirable should be settled on just, fair and satisfactory principles, than this; and, availing themselves of the benefit of the discussion which the bill has already undergone in the Senate, they have given to it a renewed and anxious consideration. The result is, that, in their opinion, the bill ought to be amended. Seeing the difficulties which belong to the whole subject, they are fully convinced that the bill has been framed and passed in the other House, with the sincerest desire to overcome these difficulties, and to enact a law which should do as much justice as possible to all the States. But the committee are constrained to say, that this object appears to them not to have been obtained. The unequal operation of the bill on some of the States, should it become a law, seems to the committee most manifest; and they cannot but express a doubt whether its actual apportionment of the representative power among the several States, can be considered as conformable to the spirit of the Constitution. The bill provides, that, from and after the third of March, 1833, the House of Representatives shall be composed of members elected agreeably to a ratio of one representative for every fortyseven thousand and seven hundred persons in each State, computed according to the rule prescribed by the Constitution. The addition of the seven hundred to the forty-seven thousand, in the composition of this ratio, produces no effect whatever in regard to the constitution of the House. It neither adds to nor takes from the number of members assigned to any State. Its only effect is, a reduction of the apparent amount of the fractions, as they are usually called, or residuary numbers, after the application of the ratio. For all other purposes, the result is precisely the same as if the ratio had been 47,000.
As it seems generally admitted, that inequalities do exist in this bill, and that injurious consequences will arise from its operation, which it would be desirable to avert, if any proper means of averting them, without producing others equally injurious, could be found, the committee do not think it necessary to go into a full and particular statement of these consequences. They will content themselves with presenting a few examples only of these results, and such as they find it most difficult to reconcile with justice, and the spirit of the Constitution.
In exhibiting these examples, the committee must necessarily speak of particular States; but it is hardly necessary to say, that they speak of them as examples only, and with the most perfect respect, not only for the States themselves, but for all those who represent them here.
Although the bill does not commence by fixing the whole number of the proposed House of Representatives, yet the process adopted by it brings out the number of two hundred and forty members. Of these two hundred and forty members, forty are assigned to the State of New York; that is to say, precisely one sixth part of the whole. This assignment would seem to require that New York should contain one sixth part of the whole population of the United States, and would be bound to pay one sixth part of all her direct taxes. Yet neither of these is the case. The whole representative population of the United States is 11,929,005; that of New York is 1,918,623, which is less than one sixth of the whole, by nearly 70,000. Of a direct tax of two hundred and forty thousand dollars, New York would pay only 38.59. But if, instead of comparing the numbers assigned to New York with the whole numbers of the House, we compare her with other States, the inequality is still more evident and striking.
To the State of Vermont the bill assigns five members. It gives, therefore, eight times as many Representatives to New York as to Vermont : but the population of New York is not equal to eight times the population of Vermont by more than three hundred thousand. Vermont has five members only for 280,657 persons. If the same proportion were to be applied to New York, it would reduce the number of her members from forty to thirty-four—making a difference more than equal to the whole representation of Vermont, and more than sufficient to overcome her whole power in the House of Representatives.
A disproportion almost equally striking is manifested, if we compare New York to Alabama. The population of Alabama is 262,203; for this she is allowed five members. The rule of proportion, which gives to her but five members for her number, would give to New York but thirty-six for her number. Yet New York receives forty. As compared with Alabama, then, New York has an excess of representation equal to four fifths of the whole representation of Alabama; and this excess, itself, will give her, of course, as much weight in the House as the whole delegation of Alabama, within a single vote. Can it be said, then, that Representatives are apportioned to these States according to their respective numbers ?
The ratio assumed by the bill, it will be perceived, leaves large fractions, so called, or residuary numbers, in several of the small States, to the manifest loss of a great part of their just proportion of representative power. Such is the operation of the ratio, in this respect, that New York, with a population less than that of New England by thirty or thirty-five thousand, has yet two more members than all the New England States; and there are seven States in the Union, whose members amount to the number one hundred and twenty-three, being a clear majority of the whole House, whose aggregate fractions, all together, amount only to fiftythree thousand; while Vermont and New Jersey, having together but eleven members, have a joint fraction of seventy-five thousand.
Pennsylvania, by the bill, will have, as it happens, just as many members as Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New Jersey ; but her population is not equal to theirs by a hundred and thirty thousand : and the reason of this advantage, derived to her from the provision of the bill, is, that her fraction, or residuum, is twelve thousand only, while theirs is a hundred and forty-four.
But the subject is capable of being presented in a more exact and mathematical form. The House is to consist of two hundred and forty members. Now, the precise portion of power, out of the whole mass presented by the number two hundred and forty, which New York would be entitled to according to her population, is 38.59; that is to say, she would be entitled to thirty-eight members, and would have a residuum or fraction; and even if a member were given her for that fraction, she would still have but thirty-nine; but the bill gives her forty.
These are a part, and but a part, of those results, produced by the bill in its present form, which the committee cannot bring them