Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

of the note, discounted for the credit of the bank in the shape of its own note. In the exchange, the bank insures the parties to the note discounted, and the community, which is the loser if the bank fails, virtually insures the bank; and yet, by confounding this exchange of credit with the use of capital, the bank is permitted to charge an interest for this exchange, rather greater than an individual is permitted to charge for a loan, to the great gain of the bank and loss to the community. I say loss, for the community can never enjoy the great and full benefit of the credit system, till loans and credits are considered as entirely distinct in their nature, and the compensation for the use of each be adjusted to their respective nature and character,

Nothing would give a greater impulse to all the business of society. The superior cheapness of credit would add incalculably to the productive powers of the community, when the immense gains, which are now made by confounding them, shall come in aid of production.

Whatever other changes the credit system is destined to undergo, these are certainly some which it must ; but when, and how the revolution will end—whether it is destined to be sudden and convulsive, or gradual and free from shock, time alone can disclose. Much will depend on the decision of the present question, and the course which the advocates of the system will pursue. If the separation takes place, and is acquiesced in by those interested in the system, the prospect will be, that it will gradually and quietly run down, without shock or convulsions, which is my sincere prayer ; but if not—if the reverse shall be insisted on, and, above all, if it should be effected through a great political struggle (it can only so be effected), the revolution would be violent and convulsive. A great and thorough change must take place. It is wholly unavoidable. The public attention begins to be roused throughout the civilized world to this all-absorbing subject. There is nothing left to be controlled but the mode and manner, and it is better

for all that it should be gradual and quiet than the reverse. All the rest is destiny.

I have now, Mr. President, said what I intended, without reserve or disguise. In taking the stand I have, I change no relation, personal or political, nor alter any opinion I have heretofore expressed or entertained. I desire nothing from the Government or the people. My only ambition is to do my duty—which I shall follow wherever it may lead, regardless alike of attachments or antipathies, personal or political. I know full well the responsibility I have assumed. I see clearly the magnitude and the hazard of the crisis, and the danger of confiding the execution of measures in which I take so deep a responsibility, to those in whom I have no reason to have any special confidence. But all this deters me not, when I believe that the permanent interest of the country is involved. My course is fixed. I go forward. If the administration recommend what I approve on this great question, I will cheerfully give my support ; if not, I shall oppose ; but, in opposing, I shall feel bound to suggest what I believe to be the proper measure, and which I shall be ready to back, be the responsibility what it may-looking only to the country, and not stopping to estimate whether the benefit shall inure either to the administration or the opposition

REMARKS

On the Passage of the Bill to grant Pre-emption Rights

to actual settlers on the Public Lands, made in the Senate, January 27th, 1838

Messrs. WEBSTER, Bayard, and Fulton, having concluded their remarks, Mr. Calhoun said :-)

He had remained silent during this discussion, from the conviction derived from the experience of the last session, that all opposition would be unavailing. Nor did he rise now with the least expectation of changing the vote of a single Senator—but simply to state the grounds of his objections.

If the passage of this bill would terminate the Pre-emption System, he, for one, would not object to it; for he felt, with the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Webster), that, under the influence of the passage of similar bills, many persons had made improvements on the public lands, of which it would be almost cruel to deprive them ; and he regretted that the Senator, who had turned his attention to the subject, and who was so well qualified for the task, had not incorporated some provision in the bill, to terminate the system, as he was as much opposed to its continuance as himself. Had he done so, the bill would have received his support; but, as it is, he was compelled to vote against it.

Considering it, then, as a continuation of a system of passing acts, from time to time, to give to the occupant a pre-emption in the sale of the public lands, he would askwhen and how the system is to terminate ? The passage of every additional bill but confirmed and strengthened it. The same exigency under which this is passed, would in

crease the necessity of passing another hereafter—and that, a subsequent one-until it would terminate in the surrender of the public domain to those who could first seize on it ; unless some means should be adopted in time to terminate the system. Now, Sir, if this surrender would be to the poor, but honest and industrious settlers-giving to each the one hundred and sixty acres of vacant land on which he might settle first—to be a home for himself and family-he would have no great objections. But would this be the end ? Would it benefit the man with many children and but little money, who might desire to emigrate to the West, in order to improve the condition of himself and family ? His opinion was, that its termination would be directly the reverse. Instead of benefiting the poor and honest emigrant, the system would operate, in the end, to the almost exclusive benefit of the rich, the strong and the violent. Let it be once firmly and universally fixed in the public mind—as it surely will be under its operation—that the public lands belong, of right, to those who can first seize on them; and the result will be that, the moment a treaty is held to extinguish the Indian title to a tract of land—and long before it is submitted to us for our ratification—an armed body of men, acting for themselves, or with speculators, will rush into it, and make themselves masters of the country; and will exact more from the poor and peaceable emigrant for the liberty of settling, than the United States would for the quiet fee-simple of the soil.

If he was correctly informed, the Iowa country had been already seized on by a lawless body of armed men, who had parcelled out the whole region, and had entered into written stipulations to stand by and protect each other—and who were actually exercising the rights of ownership and sovereignty over it-permitting none to settle without their leave --and exacting more for the license to settle, than the Government does for the land itself. In confirmation of this, he

would ask the Secretary to read a letter which he had received from an emigrant to that region with a view to settlement-and how he fared there, the letter would show. In desiring it to be read, he had no expectation that it would have any influence over the votes of the members. His object was to turn the attention of the Senate to the actual state of things in that quarter-in the hope that something would be done to provide against the evil in future, and to put an end to a system that led to such results.

[Here Mr. C. landed the letter to the Secretary to be read; but after various objections to it, unless the name of the writer was given up,—which Mr. C. refused to do, from the hazard to which the disclosure might expose the writer,-he finally withdrew it.]

He said, -as the reading of the letter was objected to, without the name of the writer, he would not press it, but would give a very brief summary of its contents. , He (the writer) stated, that he emigrated with a view to make a settlement ;-that the country consisted of a small portion of woodland to a large portion of prairie ; that the latter was only valuable in connection with the former;—that the woodland had been seized on by large bodies of armed men, who had marked out and designated their respective possessions, and entered into written stipulations for mutual protection. He says further, that he was driven about from place to place, without being permitted to form a settlement ;—that he finally offered to purchase a place, for which a most extravagant price was asked,—and was, at last, compelled to purchase at a rate far beyond the Government price. The individual wrote like a man of intelligence and sense. He stated that his life had been menaced ;—and that he had been informed that the lives of several intruders had paid the forfeit.

Whether these things were so or not, he did not vouch; but he felt a certain conviction that such must be the final

« FöregåendeFortsätt »