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alone against those who threatened her with fire and sword, but who now are so squeamish about State Rights, as to be shocked to hear it asserted that a State is capable of extravagant and wasteful expenditures. Yes, I pledge myself that she will pay punctually every dollar she owes, should it take the last cent, without inquiring whether it was spent wisely or foolishly. Should I in this be by possibility mistaken-should she tarnish her unsullied honor, and bring discredit on our common country, by refusing to redeem her plighted faith (which I hold impossible), deep as is my devotion to her, and mother as she is to me, I would disown her.

REMARKS

On the Right of Petition, delivered in the Senate,

February 13th, 1840.

[Mr. Clay of Kentucky, having presented an abolition petition, signed by a single individual, and accompanied its presentation with some remarks-]

MR. CALHOUN said he rose to express the pleasure he felt at the evidence which the remarks of the Senator from Kentucky furnished of the progress of truth on the subject of abolition. He had spoken, with strong approbation, of the principle laid down in a recent pamphlet, that two races, of different character and origin, could not coexist in the same country, without the subordination of the one to the other. He was gratified to hear the Senator give assent to so important a principle, in application to the condition of the South. He had himself, several years since, stated the same, in more specific terms; that it was impossible for two races, so dissimilar in every respect as the European and African, that inhabit the Southern portion of this Union, to exist together in nearly equal numbers, in any other relation than that which existed there. He also added, that experience had shown that they could so exist in peace and happiness there, certainly to the great benefit of the inferior race; and that to destroy it, was to doom the latter to destruction. But he uttered these important truths then in vain, as far as the side to which the Senator belongs is concerned.

He trusted the progress of truth would not, however, stop at the point to which it has arrived with the Senator, and that it will make some progress in regard to what is called the right of petition. Never was a right so much mystified and magnified. To listen to the discussion, here and elsewhere, you would suppose it to be the most essential and imi ortant right : so far from it, he undertook to aver that, under our free and popular system, it was among the least of all our political rights. It had been superseded, in a great degree, by the far higher right of general suffrage, and by the practice, now so common, of instruction. There could be no local grievance but what could be reached by these, except it might be the grievance, affecting a minority, which could be no more redressed by petition than by them. The truth is, that the right of petition could scarcely be said to be the right of a freeman. It belongs to despotic governments more properly, and might be said to be the last right of slaves. Who ever heard of petition in the free states of antiquity ? We had borrowed our notions in regard to it from our British ancestors, with whom it had a value, for their imperfect representation, far greater than it has with us; and it is owing to that it has a place at all in our constitution. The truth is, that the right has been so far superseded, in a political point of view, that it has ceased to be what the constitution contemplated it to be — a shield to protect

against wrongs; and has been perverted into a sword to attack the rights of others—to cause a grievance, instead of the means of redressing grievances, as in the case of abolition petitions. The Senator from Ohio (Mr. Tappan) has viewed this subject in its proper light, and has taken a truly patriotic and constitutional stand in refusing to present these firebrands, for which I heartily thank him, in the name of my State. Had the Senator from Kentucky followed the example, he would have rendered inestimable service to the country.

[Mr. Tallmadge said that his views of the right of petition had been submitted heretofore, but he could not permit the remarks of the Senator from South Carolina to pass without remark. The Senator had said that we had derived this right of petition from England anterior to our struggle with that country, and that it had been superseded, and rendered of trivial importance, by the right of suffrage. It had been always considered a matter of the highest importance, both before the Revolution and since that event—from the first struggle of liberty in this country down to the present time. In proof of this he referred to the sentiments on the subject which pervaded all the public meetings immediately previous to and during the Revolution, and which were expressed in their resolutions and reports. With the same object, also, he referred to that amendment to the constitution which guards the right, and prohibits Congress from doing any thing to abridge it. This was one of the amendments, the adoption of which was made by New-York an express condition antecedent to her ratification of the constitution; which event was principally to be ascribed to the talents and eloquence of Alexander Hamilton, who was described on this floor the other day as being a man of only second-rate abilities, and an imitator. The right of petition went behind the constitution. The citizen has a right to petition even for that which Congress is prohibited by the constitution from granting. They may petition for an alteration of the constitution, so that you may be enabled to grant it to them. His views on abolition were not changed; but he said, and said four years ago, if they had not resisted the right of petition, there would have been infinitely less of abolition than had been.]

similar in every respect as the European and African, that inhabit the Southern portion of this Union, to exist together in nearly equal numbers, in any other relation than that which existed there. He also added, that experience had shown that they could so exist in peace and happiness there, certainly to the great benefit of the inferior race; and that to destroy it, was to doom the latter to destruction. But he uttered these important truths then in vain, as far as the side to which the Senator belongs is concerned.

He trusted the progress of truth would not, however, stop at the point to which it has arrived with the Senator, and that it will make some progress in regard to what is called the right of petition. Never was a right so much mystified and magnified. To listen to the discussion, here and elsewhere, you would suppose it to be the most essential and important right : so far from it, he undertook to aver that, under our free and popular system, it was among the least of all our political rights. It had been superseded, in a great degree, by the far higher right of general suffrage, and by the practice, now so common, of instruction. There could be no local grievance but what could be reached by these, except it might be the grievance, affecting a minority, which could be no more redressed by petition than by them. The truth is, that the right of petition could scarcely be said to be the right of a freeman. It belongs to despotic governments more properly, and might be said to be the last right of slaves. Who ever heard of petition in the free states of antiquity ? We had borrowed our notions in regard to it from our British ancestors, with whom it had a value, for their imperfect representation, far greater than it has with us; and it is owing to that it has a place at all in our constitution. The truth is, that the right has been so far superseded, in a political point of view, that it has ceased to be what the constitution contemplated it to be --- a shield to protect against wrongs; and has been perverted into a sword to attack the rights of others—to cause a grievance, instead of the means of redressing grievances, as in the case of abolition petitions. The Senator from Ohio (Mr. Tappan) has viewed this subject in its proper light, and has taken a truly patriotic and constitutional stand in refusing to present these firebrands, for which I heartily thank him, in the name of my State. Had the Senator from Kentucky followed the example, he would have rendered inestimable service to the country.

[Mr. Tallmadge said that his views of the right of petition had been submitted heretofore, but he could not permit the remarks of the Senator from South Carolina to pass without remark. The Senator had said that we had derived this right of petition from England anterior to our struggle with that country, and that it had been superseded, and rendered of trivial importance, by the right of suffrage. It had been always considered a matter of the highest importance, both before the Revolution and since that event—from the first struggle of liberty in this country down to the present time. In proof of this he referred to the sentiments on the subject which pervaded all the public meetings immediately previous to and during the Revolution, and which were expressed in their resolutions and reports. With the same object, also, he referred to that amendment to the constitution which guards the right, and prohibits Congress from doing any thing to abridge it. This was one of the amendments, the adoption of which was made by New-York an express condition antecedent to her ratification of the constitution; which event was principally to be ascribed to the talents and eloquence of Alexander Hamilton, who was described on this floor the other day as being a man of only second-rate abilities, and an imitator. The right of petition went behind the constitution. The citizen has a right to petition even for that which Congress is prohibited by the constitution from granting. They may petition for an alteration of the constitution, so that you may be enabled to grant it to them. His views on abolition were not changed; but he said, and said four years ago, if they had not resisted the right of petition, there would have been infinitely less of abolition than had been.]

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