Page images


Extract from Mr. Calhoun's Speech, on Mr. Randolph's motion to strike out the minimum valuation on Cotton Goods, in the House of Representatives, April, 1816.

“ The debate, heretofore, on this subject, has been on the degree of protection which ought to be afforded to our cotton and woollen manufactures; all professing to be friendly to these infant establishments, and to be willing to extend to them adequate encouragement. Tbe present motion assumes a new aspect. It is introduced, professedly, on the ground that manufactures ought not to receive any encouragement; and will, in its operation, leave our cotton establishments exposed to the competition of the cotton goods of the East Insties, which, it is acknowledged on all sides, they are not capable of meeting with success, with out the proviso proposed to be stricken out by the motion now under discussion. Till the debate assumed this new form, he determined to be silent ; participating as he largely did, in that general anxiety which is felt, after so long and laborious a session, to return to the bosom of our families. But on a subject of such vital importance, touching as it does, the security and permanent prosperity of our country, he hoped that the House would indulge him in a few observations.

“ To give perfection to this state of things, it will be necessary to add, as soon as possi. ble, a system of internal improvements, and, at least, such an extension of our navy, as wil prevent the cutting off our coasting trade. The advantage of each is so striking, as not to require illustration, especially after the experience of the late war.

“ He firmly believed that the country is prepared, even to maturity, for the introduction of manufactures. We have abundance of resources, and things naturally tend, at this moment, in that direction. A prosperous commerce has poured an inimense amount of commercial capital into this country. This capital has, till lately, found occupation in commerce; but that state of the world which transferred it to this country, and gave it active employment, has passed away, never to return. Where shall we now find full employinent for our prodigious amount of tonnage? Where markets for the numerous and abun tant products of our country! This great body of active capital, which, for the moment, bas found sufficient employinent in supplying our markets, exhausted by the war, and mearures preceding it, must find a new direction : it will not be idle. What channel can it take, but that of manufactures ? This, if things continue as they are, will be its direction. It will introduce an era in our affairs, in many respects highly advantageous, and ought to be countenanced by the government. Besides, we have already surinounted the greatest dimculty that has ever been found in undertakings of this kind. The cotton and woollen man ufactures are not to be introduced—they are already introduced to a great extent ; frering us entirely from the hazards, and, in a great measure, the sacrifices experienced in giving the capital of the country a new direction. The restrictive measures, and the war, thougb not intended for that purpose, have, by the necessary operation of things, turned a large amount of capital to this new branch of industry. He had often heard it said, both in and out of Congress, that this effect alone, would indemnify the country for all its losses. So high was this tone of feeling, when the want of these establishments was practically felt, that he remembered, during the war, when some question was agitated respecting the introduction of foreign goods, that many then opposed it on the ground of injuring our manufactures.-He then said, that war alone furnished sufficient stimulus, and perhaps too much, as it would inake their growth unnaturally rapid; but that, on the return of peace, it would then be time to show our affection for them. We, at that time, did not expect an apathy and aversion to the extent which is now seen. But it will no doubt be said, if they are so far established, and if the situation of the country is so favorable to their growth, where is the necessity of affording them protection? It is to put them beyond the reach of coatiagency

« It has been further asserted that manufactures are the fruitful cause of pauperism ; and England bas been referred to, as furnishing conclusive evidence of its truth. For his part, be could perceive no such tendency in them, but the exact contrary, as they furnished new stimolus and means of subsistence to the labering classes of the community. We ought not to look at the cotton and woollen establishments of Great Britain for the prodigious numbers of poor with which her population was disgraced ; causes much more etficient exist. Her por Jaws, and statutes regulating the prices of labor, with taxes, were the real causes. But if it must be so; if the mere fact that England manufactured more than any other country, explained the cause of her having more beggars, it is just as reasonable to refer her courage, spirit, and all her masculine virtues, in which she excels all other nations, with a single ex. ception—he meant our own—in which we might, without vanity, challenge a preeminence, Another objection had been, which he must acknowledge was better founded, that capital employed in manufacturing produced a greater dependence on the part of the employed, than in commerce, navigation, or agriculture. It is certainly an evil, and to be regretted, but he did not think it a decisive objection to the system; especially when it had incideatal political advantages, which, in bis opinion, more than counterpoised it. It produced an

interest strictly American, as much so as agriculture, in which it had the decided advantage of commerce or navigation. The country will, from this, derive much advantage. Again : it is calculated to bind together more closely our widely spread republic. It will greatly increase our mutual dependence and intercourse ; and will, as a necessary consequence, excite an increased attention to internal improvements, a subject every way so intimately connected with the ultimate attainment of national strength, and the perfection of our political institutions.”

Extracts from the Speech of Mr. Calhoun, April, 1816—On the Direct Tar. “ In regard to the question, how far manufactures ought to be fostered, Mr. C. said, it was the duty of this country, as a means of defence, to encourage the domestic industry of the country, more especially that part of it which provides the necessary materials for clothing and defence. Let us look to the nature of the war most likely to occur, England is in the possession of the ocean. No man, however sanguine, can believe that we can deprive her soon, of her predominance there. That control deprives us of the means of maintaining our army and navy cheaply clad. The question relating to manufactures must not depend on the abstract principle, that industry left to pursue its own course, will find in its own interest all the encouragement that is necessary. I lay the claims of the manufacturers entirely out of view, said Mr. C.; but, on general principles, without regard to their interest, a certain encouragement should be extended, at least to our woollen and cotton manufactures.

“ This nation,” Mr. C. said, " was rapidly changing the character of its industry.When a nation is agricultural, depending for supply on foreign markets, its people may be taxed through its imports, almost to the amount of its capacity. The nation was, howev. er, rapidly becoming, to a considerable extent, a manufacturing nation."

To the quotations from the speeches and proceedings of the Representatives of South Carolina, in Congress, during Mr. Monroe's administration, may be added the following extract from Mr. Calhoun's report on roads and canals, submitted to Congress on 7th of January, 1819, from the Department of War :

“ A judicious system of roads and canals, constructed for the convenience of commerce, and the transportation of the mail only, without any reference to military operations, is it. self among the most efficient means for the more complete defence of the United States.' Without adverting to the fact that the roads and canals which such a system would require, are, with few exceptions, precisely those which would be required for the operations of war; such a system, by consolidating our union, increasing our wealth and fiscal capacity, would add greatly to our resources in war. It is in a state of war when a nation is compelled to put all its resources, in men, money, skill, and devotion to country, into requisition, that its government realizes in its security, the beneficial effects from a people made prosperous and happy by a wise direction of its resources in peace.

“Should Congress think proper to commence a system of roads and canals, for 'the more complete defence of the United States,' the disbursements of the sum appropriated for the purpose might be made by the Department of War, under the direction of the President. Where incorporate companies are already formed, or the road or canal commenced, under the superintendence of a state, it perhaps would be advisable to direct a subscription on the part of the United States, on such terms and conditions as might be thought proper."

NOTE 3. The following resolutions of the legislature of Virginia, bear so pertinently and so strongly on this point of the debate, that they are thought worthy of being inserted in a note, especially as other resolutions of the same body are referred to in the discussion. It will be observed that these resolutions were unanimously adopted in each House.

VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE. Extract from the Message of Gov. Tyler, of Virginia, Dec. 4, 1809. “A proposition from the state of Pennsylvania is herewith submitted, with Governor Snyder's letter accompanying the same, in which is suggested the propriety of amending the constitution of the United States, so as to prevent collision between the government of the union and the state governments.”

HOUSE OF DELEGATES, Friday, December 15, 1809 On motion, Ordered, That so much of the Governor's communication as relates to the communication from the governor of Pennsylvania, on the subject of an amendment, proposed by the legislature of that state, to the constitution of the United States, be referred to Messrs. Peyton, Otey, Cabell, Walker, Madison, Holt, Newton, Parker, Stevenson, Randolph (of Amelia,] Cocke, Wyatt, and Ritchie.-- Page 25 of the Journal.

Thursday, January 11, 1810. Mr. Peyton, from the committee to whom was referred that part of the governor's communication which relates to the amendment propnsed by the state of Pennsylvania, to the constitution of the United States, made the following report:

The committee to whom was referred the communication of the governor of Pennsylvania, covering certain resolutions of the legislature of that state, proposing an amendment of the constitution of the United States, by the appointment of an impartial tribunal to decide disputes between the States and Federal Judiciary, have had the same under their consideration, and are of opinion, that a tribunal is already provided by the constitution of the United States, to wit: the Supreme Court, more eminently qualified, from their habits and duties, from the mode of their selection, and from the tenure of their offices, to decide the disputes aforesaid, in an enlightened and impartial manner, than any other tribunal which could be created.

The members of the Supreme Court are selected from those in the United States who are most celebrated for virtue and legal learning, not at the will of a single individual, but by the concurrent wishes of the President and Senate of the United States; they will, therefore, have no local prejudices and partialities. The duties they have to perform, lead them, necessarily, to the most enlarged and accurate acquaintance with the jurisdiction of the Federal and State Courts together, and with the admirable symmetry of our government. The tenure of their offices enables them to pronounce the sound and correct opinions they may have formed, without fear, favor, or partiality.

The amendment to the constitution proposed by Pennsylvania, seems to be founded upon the idea that the Federal Judiciary will, from a lust of power, enlarge their jurisdiction, to the total annihilation of the jurisdiction of the state courts; that they will exercise their will, instead of the law and the constitution.

This argument, if it proves anything, would operate more strongly against the tribunal proposed to be created, which promised so little, than against the Supreme Court, which, for the reasons given before, have everything connected with their appointment calculated to ensure confidence. What security have we, were the proposed amendment adopted, that this tribunal would not substitute their will and their pleasure in place of the law ? Tire Judiciary are the weakest of the three departments of government, and least dangerous to the political rights of the constitution; they hold neither the purse nor the sword; and, even to enforce their own judgments and decisions, must ultimately depend upon the Executive arm. Should the Federal Judiciary, however, unmindful of their weakness, unmindful of the duty which they owe to themselves and their country, become corrupt, and transcend the limits of their jurisdiction, would the proposed amendment oppose even a probable barrier in such an improbable state of things?

The creation of a tribunal, such as is proposed by Pennsylvania, so far as we are able to form an idea of it, from the description given in the resolutions of the legislature of that state, would, in the opinion of your committee, tend rather to invite, than to prevent, collisions between the Federal and State Courts. It might also become, in process of time, a serious and dangerous embarrassment to the operations of the general government.

Resolved, therefore, That the legislature of this state do disapprove of the amendmen to the constitution of the United States, proposed by the legislature of Pennsylvania.

Resolved, also, That his excellency ihe governor, be, and he is hereby, requested to transmit forthwith, a copy of the foregoing preamble and resolutions, to each of the senitors and representatives of this state in Congress, and to the executive of the several states in the union, with a request that the same be laid before the legislatures thereof.

The said resolutions being read a second time, were, on motion, ordered to be referred to a committee of the Whole House on the state of the Commonwealth.

Tuesday, January 23, 1810. The House, according to the order of the day, resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Commonwealth, and after sometime spent therein, Mr. Speaker resumed the chair, and Mr. Stanard, of Spottsylvania reported that the committee had, according to order, had under consideration the preamble and resolutions of the select committee, to whom was referred that part of the governor's communication which relates to the amendment proposed to the constitution of the United States, by the legislature of Pennsylvania, had gone through with the same, and directed bim to report them to the House without amendment; which he handed in at the clerk's table.

And the question being put on agreeing to the said preamble and resolutions, they were agreed to by the House unanimously.

Ordered, That the clerk carry the said preamble and resolutions to the Senate, and desire their concurrence,

IN SENATE-Wednesday, January 24, 1810. The preamble and resolutions on the amendment to the constitution of the United States proposed by the legislature of Pennsylvania, by the appointment of an impartial tribunal to

decide disputes between the State and Federal Judiciary, being also delivered in and twice read, on motion, was ordered to be committed to Messrs. Nelson, Currie, Campbell, Upshur, and Wolfe.

Friday, January 26. Mr. Nelson reported, from the committee to whom was committed the preamble and resolutions on the amendment proposed by the legislature of Pennsylvania, &c. &c. that the committee had, according to order, taken the said preamble, &c. under their consideration, and directed him to report them without any amendment.

And on the question being put thereupon the same was agreed to unanimously.


Mr. Hayne having rejoined to Mr. WEBSTER, especially on the constitutional questionMr. WEBSTER rose, and, in conclusion, said :

A few words, Mr. President, on this constitutional argument, which the honorable gentleman has labored to reconstruct.

His argument consists of two propositions, and an inference. His propositions are

1. That the Constitution is a compact between the States.

2. That a compact between two, with authority reserved to one to interpret its terms, would be a surrender to that one, of all power whatever.

3. Therefore, (such is his inference) the general government does not possess the authority to construe its own powers.

Now, sir, who does not see, without the aid of exposition or detection, the utter confusion of ideas, involved in this, so elaborate and systematic argument.

The constitation, it is said, is a compact between states; the states, then, and the states only, are parties to the compact.

How comes the general government itself a party? Upon the honorable gentleman's hypothesis, the general government is the result of the compact, the creature of the compact, not one of the parties to it. Yet the argument, as the gentleman has now stated it, makes the government itself one of its own creators. It makes it a party to that compact, to which it owes its own existence.

For the purpose of erecting the constitution on the basis of a compact, the gentleman considers the states as parties to that compact; but as soon as his compact is made, then he chooses to consider the general government, which is the offspring of that compact, not its offspring, but one of its parties; and so, being a party, has not the power of judging on the terms of compact. Pray, sir, in what school is such reasoning as this taught?

If the whole of the gentleman's main proposition were conceded to him, that is to say—if I admit for the sake of the argument, that the constitution is a compact between states, the inferences, which he draws from that proposition, are warranted by no just reason. Because, if the constitution be a compact between states, still, that constitution, or that compact, has established a government, with

certain powers; and whether it be one of those powers, that it shall construe and interpret for itself, the terms of the compact, in doubtful cases, is a question which can only be decided by looking to the compact, and inquiring what provisions it contains on this point. Without any inconsistency with natural reason, the government, even thus created, might be trusted with this power of construction. The extent of its powers, therefore, must still be sought for in the instrument itself.

If the old confederation had contained a clause, declaring that resolutions of the Congress should be the supreme law of the land, any state law or constitution to the contrary notwithstanding, and that a committee of Congress, or any other body created by it, should possess judicial powers, extending to all cases arising under resolutions of Congress, then the power of ultimate decision would have been vested in Congress, under the confederation, although that confederation was a compact between states; and, for this plain reason: that it would have been competent to the states, who alone were parties to the compact, to agree, who should decide, in cases of dispute arising on the construction of the compact.

For the same reason, sir, if I were now to concede to the gentleman his principal propositions, viz. that the constitution is a compact between states, the question would still be, what provision is made, in this compact, to settle points of disputed construction, or contested power, that shall come into controversy? and this question would still be answered, and conclusively answered, by the constitution itself. While the gentleman is contending against construction, he himself is setting up the most loose and dangerous construction. The constitution declares, that the laws of Congress passed in pursuance of the constitution shall be the supreme law of the land. No construction is necessary here. It declares, also, with equal plainness and precision, that the judicial power of the United States shall extend to every case arising under the laws of Congress. This needs no construction. Here is a law, then, which is declared to be supreme; and here is a power established, which is to interpret that law. Now, sir, how has the gentleman met this? Suppose the constitution to be a compact, yet here are its terms, and how does the gentleman get rid of them? He cannot argue the seal off the bond, nor the words out of the instrument. Here they are—what answer does he give to them? None in the world, sir, except, that the effect of this would be to place the states in a condition of inferiority; and because it results, from the very nature of things, there being no superior, that the parties must be their own judges! Thus closely and cogently does the honorable gentleman reason on the words of the constitution. The gentleman says, if there be such a power of final decision in the general government, he asks for the grant of that power. Well, sir, I show him the grant-I turn him to the very words—I show him that the laws of Congress are made supreme; and that the Judicial power extends, by express words, to the interpretation of these laws. Instead of answering this, he retreats into the general reflection, that it must result from the nature of things, that the states, being parties, must judge for themselves.

« PreviousContinue »