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fundamental principles of the Government and a permanent change of policy. It would have brought in, not only the Senator and his party, but their political creed—as announced by him in the discussion on the Proclamation and Force Bill, with which he now taunts those in power—a fact to be noted and remembered. He, the champion of those measures,-against whom I contended foot to foot for one entire session,—now casts up to me, that, in refusing to co-operate with him, I protect the party in power—not a small portion of whom I have good reason to believe, were drawn by the adverse current of the times reluctantly from their own principles to the support of those measures, and with them the Senator and his principles. Yes, I repeat, it would have brought in the Senator and his consolidation doctrines, which regard this Government as one great National Republic, with the right to construe finally and conclusively, the extent of its own powers, and to enforce its construction at the point of the bayonet ; doctrines which at a blow sweep away every vestige of State Rights, and reduce the States to mere petty and dependent corporations. It would also have brought in his policybank, tariff, and all. Even now, when victory is still uncertain, the Senator announces the approach of the period when he shall move the renewal of the protective system : a precious confession, that dropped out in the heat of discussion.
[Mr. Webster : “No, I spoke deliberately."]
So much the worse. This justifies all I have said and done ; this proves my foresight and firmness, and will open the eyes of thousands, especially in the South, who have heretofore doubted the correctness of my course on this question.
The victory would not only have been complete had I cooperated, but it would also have been permanent. The portion of the State Rights party with which I acted would have been absorbed—yes, absorbed ; it is the proper word, and I use it in spite of the sarcasm of the Senator. The
other would have been scattered and destroyed, and the Senator and his party, and their principles and policy, would have been left undisputed masters of the field, unresisted and irresistible. The first fruits of the victory would have been the reunion of the political and money power—a wedded union, never more to be dissolved. The tariff would have been renewed—I may now speak positively, after the declaration of the Senator—to be again followed by an overflowing revenue, profuse and corrupt expenditures, heavy surplus, and overwhelming patronage, which would have closed the door of wealth and distinction to all who refused to bend the knee at the shrine of the combined powers. All this was seen and fully cemprehended by the Senator; and hence again, I repeat, his deep grief, his keen disappointment, and his attacks on me for refusing to co-operate.
The Senator must have known that, in refusing, I acted on principles and opinions long entertained and fully declared years ago. In my reply to his associate in this joint war on me, in which I am attacked at once in front and
I demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the Senate, the truth of what I assert so completely, that the Senator's associate did not even attempt a denial. And yet, such is the depth of the Senator's grief and disappointment, that it hurried him into a repetition of exploded charges, which, in his cooler moments, he must know to be unfounded. He repeated the stale and refuted charge of a somerset,-of going over, and of being struck with a sudden thought; and summoned up all his powers of irony and declamation, of which he proved himself to be a great master on the occasion, to make my Edgefield letter, in which I assigned my reason for refusing to co-operate, ridiculous. I see in all this but the disappointed hopes of one who had fixed his gaze intensely on power that had eluded his grasp, and who sought to wreak his resentment on him who had refused to put the splendid prize in his hands. He resorted to ridicule, because it was
the only weapon that truth and justice left him. He well knows how much deeper are the wounds they inflict, than the slight punctures that the pointed, but feeble, shafts of ridicule leave behind ; and he used the more harmless weapon only because he could not coinmand the more deadly. This is in my hand. I brandish it in his eyes. It is the only one I need, and I intend to use it freely on this occasion.
After pouring out his wailing in such doleful tones, because I would not co-operate in placing him and his party in power, and prostrating my own, the Senator next attacks me because I stated in my Edgefield letter, as I understood him, that I rallied on General Jackson with the view of putting down the tariff by Executive influence. I have looked over that letter with care, and can find no such expression.
[Mr. Webster : “ It was used at the extra session.”]
I was about to add, that I had often used it, and cannot but feel surprised that the Senator should postpone his notice of it till this late period, if he thought it deserving reply. Why did he not reply to it years ago, when I first used it in debate ? But the Senator asked what I meant by Executive influence. Did I mean his veto ? He must have asked the question thoughtlessly. He must know that the veto can only apply to bills on their passage, and could not possibly be used in case of existing laws, such as the tariff acts. He also asked if there was concert in putting down the tariff between myself and the present Chief Magistrate ? I reply by asking him a question, to which, as a New England man, he cannot object. He has avowed his determination, in a certain contingency, which he thinks is near, that he will move the renewal of the tariff. I ask, Is there concert on that point between him and his associate in this attack ? And, finally, he asks if I disclosed my motives then ? Yes: I am not in the habit of disguising them. I openly and constantly avowed that it was one of my leading reasons in
supporting General Jackson, because I expected he would use his influence to effect a gradual, but thorough reduction of the tariff, that would bring down the system to the revenue point ; and when I saw reason to doubt whether he would accomplish what I deemed so important, I did not wait the event of his election, but moved openly and boldly in favor of State interposition as a certain remedy, which would not fail to effect the reduction, in the event he should disappoint me.
The Senator, after despatching my letter, concluded his speech by volunteering a comparison between his and my public character, not very flattering to me, but highly complimentary to himself. He represented me as sectional ; in the habit of speaking constantly of the unconstitutional and oppressive operations of the tariff, which he thought very unpatriotic ; of having certain sinister objects in view in calling on the South to unite, and of marching off under the State Rights banner, while he paints himself in the most glowing and opposite colors. There is, Mr. President, no disputing about taste; such are the effects of a difference of organization and education, that what is offensive to one is often agreeable to another. According to my conception, nothing can be more painful than to pronounce our own praise, particularly in contrast with another, even when forced to do so in self-defence; but how one can rise in his place, when neither his motive nor conduct is impeached, and when there is nothing in the question or previous discussion that could possibly justify it, and pronounce an eulogy on himself, which a modest man would blush to pronounce on a Washington or a Franklin to his face, is to me utterly incomprehensible. But if the Senator, in pronouncing his gorgeous piece of autobiography, had contented himself with simply proclaiming, in his deep tone, to the Senate and the assembled multitude of spectators, that he came into Congress as the representative of the American people ; that if he was born for any good, it was for the good of the whole people, and the de
fence of the constitution ; that he habitually acted as if in the eyes of the framers of the constitution; that it would be easier to drive these pillars from their bases than to drive or seduce him from his lofty purpose ; that he would do nothing to weaken the brotherly love between these States, and every thing that they should remain united, beneficially and thoroughly, for ever, I would have gazed in silent wonder without uttering a word at the extraordinary spectacle, and the happy. self-delusion in which he seems to exist. But when he undertook, not only to erect an image to himself, as an object of self-adoration, but to place alongside of it a carved figure of myself, with distorted limbs and features, to heighten and render more divine his own image, he invited, he challenged-nay, he compelled me to inquire into the high qualities which he arrogates to himself, and the truth of the comparison which he has drawn between us. If the inquiry should excite some reminiscences not very agreeable to the Senator, or disturb the happy self-delusion in which he reposes, he must not blame me, but his own self-sufficiency and boasting at my expense.
“Know thyself,” is an ancient maxim, the wisdom of which I never before so fully realized. How imperfectly even the talented and intelligent know themselves! Our understanding, like our eyes, seems to be given, not to see our own features, but those of others. How diffident we ought to be of any favorable opinion we may have formed of ourselves ! That one of the distinguished abilities of the Senator, and his mature age, should form so erroneous an opinion of his real character, is indeed truly astonishing I do not deny that he possesses many excellent qualities. My object is truth, and I intend neither to exaggerate nor detract. But I must say that the character which he attributes to himself is wholly unlike that which really belongs to him. So far from that universal and ardent patriotism that knows neither place nor person, which he ascribes to himself, he is, above all the distinguished