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The North-Carolinian. [volume] (Fayetteville [N.C.]) 1839-1861, April 13, 1839, Image 1

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Terms S"2 50 Per annum, it" paid in advance; $3
if paid at the c"d of six months; or g3 50 at
the expiration of the year. Advertisements in
serted at the rate of sixty cents per square for the
first, and thirty cents for each subsequent mser-
tcp" Letters on business connected with this
establishment, must be addressed EI. L. Holmes,
Editor of the North-Carolinian, and in all cases
post-paid. - ' -
Vol. I.
"("ar"rlCr 18 ag linirtant to Stte, . It i to lull vllUal,; a thegU,ry of tUc Stotc, la the common propcrTof its citoeahW
My colleague speaks of that "atrociously
corrupt doctrine," that "to the victors belong
the spoils." Now, Mr. President, I have
never paid the least regard to many of these
V phrases, seized upon by party newspapers ana
WtmnArers. and often perverted from their
f. true sense. The one quoted, and that about
glory enough tor one day," ana nundreos 01
others, are unworthy of attention. I know not
to whom is attributed the above expression;
the first time I ever saw it in print over a re
sponsible signature, was in a letter signed
by the Senator from New York Mr. Tall-
FHere Mr. T. said it was marked with in
verted commas.
re it so, said lur. koine: l know not
the quotation, or whether the
rrontloman noa if at ll iimfft in Irnnv nr ll
rision, or approval. Let it all pass.
it My colleague says, "it Mr. Jetierson did
not dismiss from office, it was because no in
? stance of interference in elections occurred."
Now, sir, I can never forget the hue and cry
I .$ raised against that great man, for turning out
.; ! the Federalists whom his predecessor had
. I foisted into every department of the Govern
V ' I ment. When complaints were loudest against
him for so doing, he asked what be was to do:
tor mat "none resigned, ana oui lew uieu.
General Washington had declared that "it
would be a sort of political suicide to put into
'-.- office men whose political tenets were adverse
to the measures of the General Government."
What would that immortal patriot have thought
of the odious provisions of" the bill before us?
But Mr. Jefferson's circular to public officers
' s A has been read and appealed to in justification
" -m of this bill. That circular only speaks of the
,j public officers so interfering as to control the
free exercise of the elective franchise. It
-v speaks not of advice or persuasion. No, sir;
S that great man, who thought there was no
danger to our institutions, as long as "reason
and truth are left free to combat error," could
,i never have sanctioned this bill. His remedy
I was to turn out faithless and incompetent offi
I cers, whether that infidelity or incompetency
arose from intermeddling in elections, or from
" auy other cause. When did he ever recom
fmeud to Congress to pass such a law? He
' .Jknew they had no such power, and that he had
f ample power to make all his subordinates be-
fhave themselves. My colleague asks, when
did a minister of England or France ever in-
-,S tertere in an election, as did the Secretary of
the War Uepartmeut, last tall, by writing a
letter to South Carolina? Now, sir, I have no
very intimate acauaiutauce with ministerial
doings in England or France, but I am yet to
Iani of that scrupulous nicety, that fastidious
deli:ai-y on the subject of elections claimed
for them by my colleague. Sir, I have read,
' with inexpressible disaust, of the foul corrup-
lion, openly practised, to secure a seat in the
i House of Commons of Great Britain. Seats
fj-in that body are purchased. Great as seems
the salary of your President, instances exist
- jj.of a much larger amount being paid by a can-
"Aidate for a seat in ilio Houe of Commons.
That cou;itry, sir, where not one man in
many thousands is entitled to suffrage, can, in
no maimer, torm me illustrations 101 us uitu
geulleme.i are so urgently pressing. 1 respect
not the British examples about elections, or
office holding.
But, Mr. President, to the other point. I
know nothing of the letter of Mr. Poinsett,
which has been so harshly spoken of by my
colleague. I know not whn, to whom, or
about what, it was written: or whether it was
an original or a responsive letter, and, there
fore, cannot defend or condemn its contents.
tBut this much I will say: no man cares or
Ithinks less thau I do about what is called dis-
fu'itv of office. The office of Senator of the
United States has, by many, been considered
in that aspect as second only to that of the Pre
sident; and I am yet to learn that a Secretary
ot a department, having a temporary resi
dence in this city, is to be rendered odious
for writing a political letter to his native
State, where he has left, tor a time only, his
friends, his property, and all his dearest rights,
whilst a Senator may, with perfect propriety,
I write letters to a distant State, in which he
has no such stake or interest. It will be
readily perceived that I allude to a letter writ
ten to Pennsylvania, pending an important j
State election!
Mr. President, I must omit many things I
might say in reply about this bill; and say
that I utterly disagree with my colleague as to
his mighty compliments on the British system,
as affording examples for us. No man is
more disposed than I to pay the just tribute to
those immortal patriots, who have occasionally
risen in that nation, and fallen martyrs to the
true spirit of freedom. Locke, Sidney, Rus
sell, Hampden, and others, will be ever dear
to the friends of liberty. But I deny that it is
tr them tvo rwf nnr freedom. Tn snnnnit of
t . rr .
i this doctrine so warmly pressed, allusion has
I been made to the early settlers of our country.
1 I deny that any support for such principles
can be drawn from those men who first land
ed on the barren rock of Plymouth, the burn
ing sands of Carolina, or the island of James
town. Their history affords no countenance
to this doctrine. They fled from the persecu
te ana oppression ot mat Government, now
o lauded by American Senators: thev nrefer-
u 10 eucounter nunger, and all the terror of
vage man and wild beasts, thau to suhmit
nger to the oppression of that Government.
which is, in this chamber, exibited as a model
jpr our imitation. U hese people were perse
cuted and oppressed for two hundred years by
Jthat Government; they, with filial obedience
uunng uiai wnoie period, were unresisting;
but at length were obliged to raise their hand
against a cruel parent, and fight, yes fight, for
the liberty and freedom we now enjoy. And
am I, sir, by subscribing to all the fulsome
compliments to the British Government, to
charge upon my glorious ancesters the crime
of parricide. No, sir; no, sir. I totally deny
the truth of the contrast which has been drawn
"between the two Governments in favor of En
gland. In the conflicts of the Revolution, ia
the appeals then made to the justice of the
mother country, and in drafting our public
papers, reference might well be had to British
magna charta, and to the writings of Locke,
and other British patriots. But that time is
passed away we have a magna charta of
our own, a glorious one, written. Yes, sir,
written with a pencil of light. Here it is,
sir, (holding aloft the Constitution.) By that
sacred instrument do I choose to be guided,
without any reference whatever to British
"magna charta" or British usages; and when
ever any measure is proposed, I am willing
to adopt the golden rule laid down in Madi
son's report to test its constitutionality. "The
first quofliion i?, whether the power i express
ed in the Constitution? It" it be, the ques
tion is decided. If it be not expressed, the
next inquiry must be, whether it is properly
an incident to any expressed power, and ne
cessary to its execution," &c. If by this rule
the bill before us is tested, it cannot gain fa
vor with the American people. Nor have we
further use for the writings of Locke, to define
our liberty. We have those of Jefferson,
Madison, Taylor, and hundreds of others,
whose paths we can safely follow. Sir, those
who are perpetually quaffing from the pure
fountains, as they call them, of Locke and
other British writers, but too frequently, be
fore their thirst is slaked, are found drinking
from the muddy pool of Filmer; yes, sir, the
exploded doctrines of Filmer; that man is not
capable of self-government lies at the bottom,
and is the necessary inference from all these
fine theories drawn from British writings and
British practices. My colleague should re
collect, in all his learned, and, in my opinion,
mistaken applications from England to this
country, this great essential difference between
the two Governments, which constitutes our
great shield. There, they have septennial
elections and an hereditary monarch; here, we
have frequent elections and twenty-six sepa
rate, independent Governments, all watching
with ceaseless vigilance the movements of
each other, and of the General Government,
common to them all; and, sir, if my colleague
could only look with the same Democratic eye
of faith and admiration for the precepts of the
immortal Jefferson he has often professed, he
would admit that there is nothing in the char
acter or history of his life, or in any word in
his writings, that does not put upon the whole
British system the seal of his abhorrence and
detestation. Yet, sir, is that system .quoted
in this Senate as a model for imitation, and
as an arjrtimont in fnvnr V
ordinary and abominable bill! I could cite
innumerable passages from the writings of
Jefferson to sustain me, if time permitted; but
I am admonished to draw to a close on this
subject, and pass on to others. I am, sir, a
Democrat of the school of '9S. I have never
changed my name nor my principles. My
colleague well recollects Mr. Jefferson's pro
phetic history of the change of names which
the Old Hamilton ian Federalists would assume,-
but I doubt whether his prophetic spirit
could keep pace with the extended nomencla
ture of the present day.
Mr. Presideut, one word more about this
jealousy of Executive power. I have shown
that it is against Federal power, in all its de
partments, that the States ought to be jealous.
What has been the history of the Government
as to this point? Every two years shows you
great changes in the popular brauch of your
Government; aud they are very often occuring
here by the power of a vigilant people. Yet,
sir, in a period of fifty years there have been
only two instances in which the President of
the United States has not given satisfaction to
his constituents only twice, in the thirteen
elections we have had of a President, have
the people expressed their disapprobation of
his conduct. Your Congress has passed un
constitutional laws; one or more judges have
been impeached, but there has not been an
instance yet in which the President of the
United States has been impeached. No, sir,
with all the bitter opposition which each of
them has encountered, not one has yet been
impeached! Then why all this railing against
the.danger of Executive usurpation? Who
does not see that it is unfounded, and all for
party aggrandisement. Sir, when, some few
years ago, an honorable Senator from Ken
tucky, now in my eye (Mr. Clay,) offered to
the Senate a resolution condemning aud cen
suring, in strong terms, the official conduct of
the then President of the United States, it
was deemed to be a sort of quasi impeach
ment of that high officer, and my colleague
promptly stepped forward, and, by an able
speech, and an efficient vote, aided to ex
punge the resolution from your journals, on
which it had been recorded; and yet, sir, he is
now alarmed at the mighty "persuasive" pow
ers of these poor gaugers, weighers, and tide
waiters!! He is frightened about Executive
patronage. Sir, I must pass on. My col
league, on this subject, as on many others,
admonishes us against the "mad dominion"
of party spirit. Yes, sir, very much has he
said about motives, about party and party tac
tics, and party dictation, and about patriotism
and elevated, statesman-like views, and all
that. Not less strange than new is to hear
him railing against party!
I have nothing, sir, to do with the patriot
ism or motives of any gentleman. I only
claim for myself all that any Senator can ask
and receive on that score; while I set up no
special claim to those great sratesman-uke
views, rising above all party feeling, of which
we are so often reminded by my colleague;
and whilst I boast not of a patriotism warmer,
or motives purer, than those of others, yet, sir,
I am bold to say, that I am utterly unconcious
of ever having been actuated by any vote giv
en in this chamber by any other consideration
than a free, independent, and unbiased desire
to' promote the public good. I came into this
chamber, and am at this moment, as free as
any man in it to pursue, on all questions
which may arise, whatever course my own
conscience and judgment shall indicate as
most conducive to the best interests of the
nation. I had no : consistencies to establish,
no inconcistenoies to reconcile, no resent
ments to gratify, no heartburnings to appease,
no favors to ask, no hopes to indulge, no fears
to allay, and, thank God, no ambition to gra
tify. I brought with me no bantling scheme of
my own; and have most patiently and atten
tively listened to all that have been' proposed
by others, to give ease to the public mind,
and promote the great interests of our beloved
country. And if, sir, like the fabled JVlomus,
there was a glass in my bosom, I would not
hesitate to permit the world to look in upon
the operations of my heart, in regard to the
great national questions w have agitated in
this chamber. - But, Mr. Presideut, candor
requires that I should admit that, on such an
inspection, it would not be found that those
operations were beyond the reach or influence
of party. I admit, sir, that they are much
controlled by party feelings. I pretend not
to be beyond or above the influence of
party. . 1 am a party man, and glory in being
so; for my heart tells me that my party feel
ings are the result of au honest and an ardent,
though, perhaps, mistaken or misguided, pa
triotism. I doubt not the word of any gen
tleman who says he is not influenced by party
feelings. But, sir, it is almost inconceivable
to me, how any man, who has taken au active
part in the late political turmoils of the day,
can be free from its influence. Whoever he
may be, his temperament is very different
from mine; and, I believe, from that of nine
teuths of the people of this country, and of
England too; aud I go further, and say that
neither of these countries would long preserve
their liberty, but for party spirit; and that the
great spirit of self-preservation will always
afford a timely check to its mad or dangerous
excesses. Of this truth we have recently had
au exemplification at Harris! jrg, in Pennsyl
vania, which is cousolitory to every lover of
the liberty aud Union of America. Mr. Pre
sident, in connection widi this subject of
party spirit, which my colleague now so bit
terly reprobates, and in order fully to define
my position in regard to some of the leading
topics of the day, I beg leave to be permitted
to take a brief aud rapid review of the present
Administration of the Federal Government,
and its supporters and opponents.
Throughout America we have receutly
passed through a convulsive struggle to form
a new Executive Administration. Violent,
indeed, was that struggle. That party who,
for eight long years, had so bitterly opposed
measures of the late Administration, made a
bold, graud, and well concerted effort to elect
a Chief Magistrate entertaining their own
feelings and opiuions. Their opponents
were equally active aud untiring in their ex
ertions to elect one who would, in the main,
pursue the course of that reviled Administra
tion; ay, sir, if you chose so to have it, who
would ''follow in the footsteps of his illustri
ous predecessor." They succeeded in ihose
exertions, elected and the present Chief Mag
istrate. I, sir, in Virginia, in my individual
capacity, took a zealous and open part, within
my limited sphere of action, in aiding to bring
Martin Van Burcu, of New York, to the sta
tion he now so ably fills; and was one of the
organs of Virginia, in her electoral college, to
bestow upon him the vote of that ancient De
mocratic Commonwealth. In that memorable
contest, we encountered all that excited, nay,
maddened, party spirit could address to the
ignorance, to the fears, the prejudices, or iu
terests of a virtuous people. The vocabulary
of epithet was exhausted aud heaped upon us.
The foulest names ever given to a party were
freely bestowed upon us by our adversaries,
aud the fairest that ever adorned the friends
of liberty, were assumed for themselves; but
all, all, sir, would not do. The people could
not be intimidated or deluded; they could not
be "ersuaded or dissuaded;" they could not
be led or driven, to abandon those evident
principles of Republicanism they had so long
and dearly cherished. In vain, sir, had they
been told that Andrew Jackson was a despot,
a knave, and a fool in vain had they been
told, in one breath, that he was a self willed,
obstinate, indomitable tyrant, and in the next,
that he was a cypher, a supple tool, a mere
automaton, vilely used by others; and in vain,
also, were they told by these same men, that the
promises of Martin Van Buren could not be
relied on; that he was falsehood and treachery
personified; and, notwithstanding his oft de
clared opposition to a National Bank, he
would, iu his first message to Congress, re
commend one in its most odious form, to be
located in his favorite city, of New York; and
that, maugre all his honeyed words and fair
promises about Southern rights, and the sa
cred compromises of the Constitution, he
would, before he was warm in the Presidenti
al chair, show himself to be in heart and deed
a Northern Abolitionist! and much more pro
phetic stuff!, which I will not waste your pre
cious time to recapitulate. Has he verified
the forebodings of these men in any one of
these particulars? I ask his friends, and 1
ask his foes; and for their complete aud entire
falsification, I appeal to the three calm, lumi
nous, statesman-like, Republican messages
he has already sent to the Congress of the
United States; and I furthermore appeal to bis
whole conduct, both public and private, since
he has filled the Presidential chair. I have,
it is true, heard much difference of opinion
about the correctness and practicability of his
views in regard to the finance and currency
of the country; but I have heard no man yet
doubt their constitutionality, or complain of
the temper or manner in which they have been
submitted to the consideration of Congress.-
And here permit me, sir, for myself, to say,
that I have heard no man yet (and I have lis-
No. 7.
tened attentively to all that has been said here
and read much that has been written) who
has answered the lucid arguments by which
he ha sustained them, or shaken the firm,
Republicaxriconstitutional ground on which
his recommendation of Independent Trea-
tyii iu Keep u$e people s money,
ltKe cllltfhp"--riF tinnlr'i. iV.,-
sury, in
secure irtXni the clutches vof bank ' or other
speculators!;' Is based. Mr. President, be
lieving Martin Van Buren to be a Republican,
and a statesman of the first order, I came in
to' Congress with a predisposition, nay, sir,
I might almost say with a pledge, and pre
determination, to support his Administration,
hot right or wrong, sir; no, sir; not to "regis
ter his edicts;" no, sir: for I abhor and loath
all dependence and vassalage, as much, or
more, than those who now boast most loudly
of their independence and patriotism and dis
interestedness. I came here elected by tnose
who contributed to elect him; and I came, sir,
I repea, determined to support hia Adminis
tration, as far as I possibly could, with a safe
conscience, and not to abandon it for light
and trivial causes; and, above all things, for
auy cause personal to myself. This course,
I undertake to say, was expected from me by
every man of every party in Virginia. I have
thus far given to it an honest support; and, in
so doing, my conscience and my judgment
sustain my course. Nor, sir, has it been ne
cessary to my support of his Administration,
that I should concur in all his views and re
commendations, any more than that I should
have deemed it proper to become its bitter
opposer, because I differed with him on any
oue measure of policy. That, sir, I have done,
and am at all times free to do. It cauuot be
expected that there can, in the nature of the
human mind, be a universal concurrence of
opinion on every subject, even among
those yho generally agree. The whole
country knows my course, from the first
momeu; I took my seat iu the Senate
to the resent time, in regard to the great
subject 'of the public land, on which I have
diflered entirely from many of my political
friends; and, sir, had I been associated
with mycolleague during the administration of
General Jackson, whn he recommended the
same policy in regard to them, which is advo
cated by his successor, I should have differed
with him, then, with the same cordiality with
which he now concurs with me. But, sir, a
difference with the Administration on this
great subject has not, for a moment, indicated
that it was my duty to oppose it, out and out,
and affiliate myself with those who avow "un
compromising hostility to Martin Van Buren."
No, sir, I have gone on steadily to give to his
Administration an honest, and a conscien
tious support; and, let me add, sir, that as
long as I shall remain here, aud the President
shall advocate the true principles of the Con
thus far done, that support will be continued
with unabated zeal and pleasure. Docs this,
sir, define my position? JVo, sir, not as ful
ly as I desire. My colleague, who has from
time to time, and little by little, "defhred his
position" towards this Administration, and re
cently in a manner which none here present
doubt or misunderstand, was with me, or ra
ther I should say, I was with him, as far as I
had au opportunity to know, (and I had many)
iu every thought aud feeling, during the late
warmly contested Presidential election; and,
for the life of me, I cannot see why it is that
we are now so wide apart in those thoughts
and feelings about the Administration, and
Administrators of the Government. I know
of no public reasons for this difference, and
much less of any private ones. But, sir, ei
ther I or my colleague have entirely changed
our positions, since we were sent hither; and
lam reluctantly driven to put myself upon my
country, to say whether it is I who have chang
ed, as is roughly charged by my colleague up
on all the friends of the Administration.
Mr. President, before I came here as a se
nator, I was personally acquainted with Mar
tin Van Buren. My colleague knew him in
timately; he had served with him iu public life;
he had stood shoulder to shoulder with him in
this Chamber, iu resisting the powerful aud
combined assaults which were made on the
great measures of Jackson's administration;
he had zealously supported his election to the
Presidency; he had voted for me as one of
the electors of Virginia, substantially pledged
to vote for him; and I have no hesitation in
saying that, amidst all the foul charges brought
against this theti personal stranger to me, the
support which my colleague thus gave him,
strengthened my confidence in the correct
ness of the vote I had given for him at the
polls, and afterwards bestowed upon him as a
member of the Electoral College. On my
arrival here as a senator, I determined to en
deavor during my stay in this city, to form a
personal acquaintance with the President, and
to judge for myself in regard to the many
charges which had been brought against him.
Accident has afforded me a further opportu
nity for this investigation than I could have
anticipated; and, sir, I have scanned, with a
scrutinizing eye, as far as my poor abilities
would enable me, the character, opinions aud
conduct of the man. I have, sir, when the
'curtain of ceremony was drawn to the skies,"
and when it was utterly impossible for him to
know the operations of my mind, "tented
him to the quick." I have looked, but looked
in vain, sir, for all those leading chararteris
tic trials of non-committalism, and manage
ment, and intrigue, aud "mighty magic,"
wherewithal he was so loudly charged. I be
lieve, sir, that his first message to the Con
gress of the United States has hushed forever
all the croakings about his non-committalism;
and that all the slang about his magic arts
ceased as soon as it was found powerless to
dupe and deceive the people. Does any one
pretend that the President has as yet violated
any of the principles which those who elected,
expected him to maintain? Let the continu
ed, the untiring and remorseless opposition of
the far greater part ot those who opposed his
election, answer the question; let those of
them who now give either the cold, reluctant
approbation of silence, or are willing to re
ceive, as a "good half-way house," the once
Dy mem .denounced and reviled "pet bank"
"experiment," answer the question. And
how is it, why is it, that I find my colleague
now pulling kindly in the traces with thpso
gentlemen, and charging upon the President
aupucny ano deception? But sir, he says he
was the friend the best friend of the Presi
dent, for that he advised him beforehand
nay, sir, he warned him not to recommend
to Congress his scheme of a Sub-Treasury.
Ay, sir, he advised the President, and he did
not follow his advice; he warned him, and he
did not heed his warning, but went on to dis
charge his high duty according to the dictates
of his own judgment and conscience.
Sir, suppose that some kind friend, (and
would that he could have found such a one)
knowing or suspecting that my colleague in
tended to recommend to Congress his favor
ite "pet bank scheme," had have gone o him
and told him that it was an exploded experi
ment; that it had been already fully and fairly
tried, and, in his own impressive language,
"had signally and mournfully failed;", and ad
vised and warned him not to submit it; and
that, notwithstanding all this, he thought it his
duty to do as he 'did, and propose it to the
nation: does he think that that friend should
have manifested towards him the feeling and
temper which he, on all occasions, now evin
ces towards the President?
My colleague has opposed all and every
scheme thought of for the custody and dis
bursement of the public money, except the one
which he introduced, which has notoriously
met with less favor in Congress and elsewhere
than any other yet suggested. He condemns,
with unmeasured censure, the President for
again recommending to the consideration of
Congress a financial plan, which, my col
league says, has been repudiated by the voice
of Congress and the nation. He knows that
the people have not yet finally or fully passed
upon that plan. He knows that it has twice
received the sanction of this body, and each
time been defeated by a small majority in the
other House of Congress; and yet, strange to
tell, he who urges this objection to the Presi
dent's plan, thus sustained, is perpetually pres
sing on Congress and the nation a scheme
which, besides himself, finds but one support
er in the Senate, and very few, indeed, in the
other House of Congress, or elsewhere as
though his plan had been less repudiated by
the nation than the one submitted by the Pres
ident, or the President of the United States
was less authorized than he to "recommend
to the consideration of Congress such mea
sures as he shall judge necessary aud expedi
ent." My colleague is opposed to the Bank
of tho United S: wootuoc, I presume, it is
unconstitutional. He is opposed to the Sub
1 reasury, uccause it win lfifcrease .executive
patronage, because it will create two curren
cies one for the people, and the other (the
best) for the Office holders! and, I suppose,
because he advised and warned the Present not
to recommentl it; and as to a special deposite
scheme, he says that is all a humbug. Noth
ing, sir, nothing but his own dear scheme of
"State Rights! banks," or "Bank State rights,"
I forget which! he called it, will do for him; and
I am free to say that, after the fullest attention
I have been able to bestow upon all that he
has said in favor of this his darling pet, I can
distil from it nothing more than this that
having, on the emergency occasioned by the
removal of the deposites in 1834 from the
Bank of the United States, voted for the ex
periment of the State banks a3 fiscal agents,
he is consistent in voting for them again.
Yes, sir, every change has been rung on the
inconsistency of those who voted for them
then, and now that they have ''signally and
mournfully" failed to answer the desired pur
pose, are opposed to trusting them a second
time; whilst I have heard from my colleague
not a word of reproof against those who then
denounced his scheme as fraught with corrup
tion aud ruin to the country, and now "damn
it with faint praise," or stigmatize it as "a
good half way house." Half way where?
halfway to what? Why, sir, half way between
that constitutional Treasury and that uncon
stitutional Bank, between which, my colleague
says, he would pause long before he would
make an election!
Mr. President, I beg leave further to define
my position, by saying that every day's re
flection and observation nay, that "recent
events," if my colleague prefers the phrase
confirms me in my conviction that the money
of the people paid for the support of their Gov
ernment, and no other purpose, should be
kept in a Treasury independent of, and un
controlled by, any other Government, or the
creatures of any other Government on earth;
and that I will try every possible feasible
scheme which wise, patriotic statement can
devise, before I will confide the public trea
sure the taxes paid and intended by the
people for specific purposes to the uncon
trolled custody (as uncontrolled it must be,
for I agree with my colleague that a general
scheme of special deposites is all a humbug)
of any bank; and least of all, of banks who
owe their existence and allegiance to other
Governments, and whom we cannot, there
fore, supervise, regulate, control, or punish.
If you cannot exercise these powers in regard
to these banks, when curators of the public
money, it seems most clear to my mind that
it should not be entrusted to them; and if you
can; it is equally clear that we may bid an
eternaj adieu to all State rights, except what
my colleague is pleased to denominate "Bank
State rights." Far be it from me, sir, now to
go into any thing like an argument in favor
of the Sub-Treasury. .. That task has long
since been ably performed by others. Its
principles are before the people; and, like the
principles of constitutional liberty and reform
on other great occasions, may be slow, but
will be sure. It has always been sufficient
for me, that the system is supported by the
plain principles of common sense and com
mon honesty, and is notoriously the only mode
contemplated by the framers of the Constitu
tion, who denied to the Government the aid
of a National Bank, and therefore could not
nave contemplated or anticipated that of State
banks, in conjunction with the National
Further, sir, to define my position in con
fradistinction to that of my colleague, and that'
which he now occupies in contradistinction
to the one he occupied a few years ago, I beg'
leave to read to the Senate an extract or two
from a speech delivered by him in this cham
ber, m the year 1734, on the occasion of the
removal of the deposites. . I know, sir, that
efforts have been recently made to explain
away that speech to mean something very dif
ferent from what its words clearly import. If
he has not, since that speech was delivered,
changed his opinion, aud shifted his ground,
then indeed is language a most imperfect ex
ponent of thought. I certainly have not
changed my opinions on the subject of that
speech it was about gold currency. I shall
never forget the pleasure with which I read hY
and what golden opinions it obtained for my
colleague with the entire Democracy of Vir
ginia, or what heavy denunciations it brought
upon him from those with whom he is now
co-operating to make this a bank paper Gov
ernment. But to the extracts. He then said
that "Of all reforms, social, political, or eco
nomical, required by the great interests of the
country, that which is most urgently demand
ed, and which promises, in its accomplish
ment, the largest results of utility, security
and public benefit, is beyond comparison the
restoration of the Government to what it was
intended by the framers of the Constitution
to be a hard money Government. We are
too much in the habit, Mr. President, of re
garding the evils of a paper system as neces
sary and incurable, and of being content with
the delusive paliation of these evils, supposed
to be derived from the controlling supremacy
of a National Bauk." "Whatever
influence such an institution may be suppos
ed to possess in preserving the soundness of
the currency, that object would be much more
effectually promoted by a return, as far as
practicable, to a metallic circulation. The
first step towards that return is to let the Bank
of the United States go down. The ordinary
channels of circulation being thus supplied
with gold and silver, the Government would
be prepared, without hardship to the public
creditor, to require payment of its dues iu spe
cie, and thus realize a reform, than which
none could be more deeply interesting, in
every aspect, to the safety and prosperity of
the country." "I conjure gentle
men, then, with ability so eminently fitted for
this great work, to leave the Bank of the U.
States to its fate, and bring forward their pow
erful aid in an effort to restore the Govern
ment to its true constitutional character and
destination that of a simple, solid, hard mon
ey Government."1
Can language possibly be more plain, in
tellible, or impressive than this? Sir, when
I read lhi& part of that memorable speech of
my colleague, I thought of John Randolph,
whose dulcet and peculiar tones of voice, me
thinks, I can still hear ringing in my ears:
"This is a hard money Government give
of your rags none of your paper money."
These were the sentiments of that distinguish
ed man, than whom, none better knew, or
more sacredly revered, the meaning and spirit
of the Constitution. These were the senti
ments of the fathers and contemporaneous
expounders of the Constitution; and, sir, they
were the sentiments of my colleague, when he
delivered his speech in 1834, if I can under
stand plain English. Yet, sir, I know that it
has been recently attempted so to explain the
above extract, as to give to it a meaning to
tally different from that which I gave, when I
read it first, and which I give now. The
word practicable is seized upon to pervert its
true meaning, and make this a Government
of State bank paper money. Mr. President,
contemporaneous construction of language is
frequently, and most justly, resorted to in cas
es of doubt or difficulty. It has been a most
efficient aid in settling doubtful phrases in our
glorious Constitution. We are not without
that aid in the present difficulty. Three days
after the above speech of my colleague was
delivered, Mr. Webster, in a speech on the
removal of the deposites, said: "The second
suggestion is that which was made by the
honorable Senator from Virginia, Mr. Rives. 1
That honorable member pledges himself to
bring forward a proposition, having for its ob
ject to do away with the paper system alto
gether, and to return to an entire metallic
currency. I do not expect that the honora
ble member will find much support in such an
undertaking. Mere gold and silver currency,
and the entire abolition of paper, is not suited
to the times. The idea has something a lit
tle too Spartan in it. We might as well think
of going to iron at once. If such a result as
the gentleman hopes for were even desirable,
I regard its attainment as utterly impractica
ble and hopeless. I lay that scheme, there
fore, out of my contemplation." Mr. Clay,
in a speech on the same subject, said: "And
what are the remedies proposed by those in
possession of the Government? None
none. Idle and visionary and chimerical
schemes are, indeed, sometimes thrown out,
but even they are not seriously proposed. A
member, not now in his seat, Mr. Rives,
had suggested one of those schemes, which is
to banish all paper circulation, and to resort
exclusively to hard money. A more wild and
impracticable project never entered into the
head of man." Here is contemporaneous
construction for you. With the understand
ing of two such menj present on the occasion
of delivering this speech, with my own under
standing of it at the same time, and that of
every human being who I heard speak of" it, I
must be excused for not yielding my opinion
to any quibble about the meaning, or import,
or bearing of a single word. I should like to
know, sir, whether my colleague is now in
favor of the "hard money Government" the
framers of the Constitution intended to make
ours? I should like to know the advent of the
time when he now thinks it. will be practica
ble to "return to a metallic circulation?" As
he advised, the Bank of the United States,
which he considered the great impediment to
his political and financial millennium, was
permUted to go down. And I should like,

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