Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

should be responsible for the direction it shall hereafter take. Be his determination what it may, I stand prepared to meet him.

SPEECH

On the Independent Treasury Bill, in reply to Mr.

Webster, delivered in the Senate, March 22d, 1838.

MR. PRESIDENT : After having addressed the Senate twice, I should owe an apology, under ordinary circumstances, for again intruding myself on its patience. But, after all that fell from the Senator from Massachusetts nearest to me (Mr. Webster), the other day, the greater part of which was not only directed against my arguments, but at me personally, I feel that my silence, and not my notice of his remarks, would require an apology. And yet, notwithstanding I am thus constrained again to address the Senate, I fear it will be impossible to avoid exciting some impatience, fatigued and exhausted as it must be by so long a discussion ; to prevent which as far as practicable, I shall aim at as much brevity as possible, consistently with justice to myself and the side I support.

The Senator's speech was long and multifarious—consisting of many parts, which had little or no connection with the question under consideration. For the sake of brevity and distinctness, I propose to consider it under four heads. First, his preliminary discourse—which treated at large of credits and banks, with very little reference to the subject. Next, his arguments on the question at issue,—to be followed by his reply to my arguments at this and the extra session-and finally, bis conclusion ;—which was appropriated wholly to

personal remarks, and a comparison between his and my public course, without having the slightest relation either to the subject, or to any thing I had said in the debate, but which the Senator obviously considered as the most important portion of his speech. He devoted one day almost wholly to it; and delivered himself with an earnestness and vehemence which clearly manifested the importance which he had attached to it. I shall, as in duty bound, pay my respects first to that which so manifestly occupied the highest place in his estimation, though standing at the bottom in the order of his remarks.

The Senator opened this portion of his speech with much courtesy, accompanied by many remarks of respect and regard, which I understood as an intimation that he desired the attack he was about to make, to be attributed to political and not personal motives. I accept the intimation, and shall meet him in the sense he intended. Indeed, there never has been between the Senator and myself the least personal difference; nor has a word, having a personal bearing, ever passed between us in debate prior to the present occasion, within my recollection, during the long period we have been in public life,-except on the discussion of the Force Bill and Proclamation ; which, considering how often we have stood opposed on deep and exciting questions, may be regarded as not a little remarkable. But our political relations have not been on as good a footing as our personal. He seems to think that we had harmonized pretty well till 1824, when, according to his version, I became too sectional for him to act any longer with me; but which, I shall hereafter show, originated in a very different cause. My impression, I must say, is different, very different from that of the Senator. From the commencement of our public life to the present time, we have differed on almost all questions involving all the principles of the Government and its permanent policy, with the exception of a short interval, while I was in the War Depart

ment, when the Senator agreed with the South on the protective system and some other measures. I do not consider our casual concert during the last few years of the late administration, when we were both opposed to Executive power, as constituting an exception. It was understood that we both adhered to our principles and views of policy without the least change ; and our personal relations were formal and cold during the whole period. In fact, we moved in entirely different spheres. We differed in relation to the origin and character of the Government, the principles on which it rested, and the policy it ought to pursue ; and I could not at all sympathize with the grave and deep tone with which the Senator pronounced our final separation, as he was pleased to call it, and which, in my opinion, would have been much more appropriate to the separation of those who had been long and intimately united in the support of the same principles and policy, than to the slight and casual relations, personal and political, which had existed between us.

Setting, then, aside all personal motives, I may well ask, What political grief,—what keen disappointment is it, which at this time could induce him to make his attack on me, and I might add, the manner in which he made it? The Senator himself shall answer the question. He has unfolded the cause of his grief, and pointed to the source of his disappointment. He told us that “victory was within reach, and my co-operation only was wanted to prostrate for ever those in power.” These few words are a volume. They disclose all. Yes, victory was within reach, the arm outstretched, the hand expanded to seize it, and I would not co-operate. Hence the grief, hence the keen disappointment, and hence the waters of bitterness that have rolled their billows against

And what a victory! Not simply the going out of one party and the coming in of another; not merely the expulsion of the administration, and the induction of the opposition; but a great political revolution, carrying with it the personal remarks, and a comparison between his and my public course, without having the slightest relation either to the subject, or to any thing I had said in the debate, but which the Senator obviously considered as the most important portion of his speech. He devoted one day almost wholly to it; and delivered himself with an earnestness and vehemence which clearly manifested the importance which he had attached to it. I shall, as in duty bound, pay my respects first to that which so manifestly occupied the highest place in his estimation, though standing at the bottom in the order of his remarks.

me.

The Senator opened this portion of his speech with much courtesy, accompanied by many remarks of respect and regard,—which I understood as an intimation that he desired the attack he was about to make, to be attributed to political and not personal motives, I accept the intimation, and shall meet him in the sense he intended. Indeed, there never has been between the Senator and myself the least personal difference; nor has a word, having a personal bearing, ever passed between us in debate prior to the present occasion, within

my recollection, during the long period we have been in public life,-except on the discussion of the Force Bill and Proclamation ; which, considering how often we have stood opposed on deep and exciting questions, may be regarded as not a little remarkable. But our political relations have not been on as good a footing as our personal. He seems to think that we had harmonized pretty well till 1824, when, according to his version, I became too sectional for him to act any longer with me; but which, I shall hereafter show, originated in a very different cause. My impression, I must say, is different, very different from that of the Senator. From the commencement of our public life to the present time, we have differed on almost all questions involving all the principles of the Government and its permanent policy, with the exception of a short interval, while I was in the War Department, when the Senator agreed with the South on the protective system and some other measures.

I do not consider our casual concert during the last few years of the late administration, when we were both opposed to Executive power, as constituting an exception. It was understood that we both adhered to our principles and views of policy without the least change ; and our personal relations were formal and cold during the whole period. In fact, we moved in entirely different spheres. We differed in relation to the origin and character of the Government, the principles on which it rested, and the policy it ought to pursue ; and I could not at all sympathize with the grave and deep tone with which the Senator pronounced our final separation, as he was pleased to call it, and which, in my opinion, would have been much more appropriate to the separation of those who had been long and intimately united in the support of the same principles and policy, than to the slight and casual relations, personal and political, which had existed between us.

Setting, then, aside all personal motives, I may well ask, What political grief,—what keen disappointment is it, which at this time could induce him to make his attack on me, and I might add, the manner in which he made it? The Senator himself shall answer the question. He has unfolded the cause of his grief, and pointed to the source of his disappointment. He told us that “victory was within reach, and my co-operation only was wanted to prostrate for ever those in power.” These few words are a volume. They disclose all. Yes, victory was within reach, the arm outstretched, the hand expanded to seize it, and I would not co-operate. Hence the grief, hence the keen disappointment, and hence the waters of bitterness that have rolled their billows against

And what a victory! Not simply the going out of one party and the coming in of another ; not merely the expulsion of the administration, and the induction of the opposition; but a great political revolution, carrying with it the

me.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »