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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. handed 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 termination of the system, if it has not already arrived at this stage ; and on these grounds, among others, he was opposed to it. He had no objection to people emigrating to the West, in the hope of bettering their condition; and if it were possible to pass a prospective law,-giving to every man who might desire to settle on 160 acres of land, with a view to improve and cultivate it, a pre-emption right,-without opening a field for speculation and violence, he knew not that he would object to it. It would be almost unnatural in him to be opposed to the brave and hardy pioneers. He was the immediate descendant of one who spent all the active and vigorous portion of his life on the frontier, and won his home by his courage, from the savage enemy; and he had, therefore, a feeling in common with those whose interests were the proposed objects of this bill. He objected to it, because it would not effect this object.
He had another and strong objection to perpetuating the system. So long as it continued, it was impossible to prevent questions in relation to the public domain from running into and controlling the party politics of the day. The stake was too great to be drawn into party struggles ; and ought to be withdrawn without delay ;-or, otherwise, it would, in a short time, be gambled away by the combatants for power. The system, as it stands, operated well enough in the infancy of the Republic, when the new States constituted so small and unimportant a portion of the Union. When he first entered into public life, there were but three new States,—including Kentucky and Tennessee with Ohio; -but now there were nine ;-excluding the two first,—which now might be considered as old States. These young offsprings of ours have already eighteen out of fifty-two Senators on this floor; and, with the co-operation of eight more from the old States, had one-half of the Senate. Instead of repining at this state of things, he rejoiced at it. He gloried in their wonderful and unparalleled growth. They are our descendants; and he considered the vast and mighty West, but as the inheritance of our posterity,-bestowed on us by a kind Providence, for our settlement and improve
But he could not close his eyes to the fact that this mighty and still rapidly progressing change made a thorough and radical change in our land system indispensable. So long as the present state of things continues, you will have eighteen solid votes from the new States for a continuance of the pre-emption system, with the whole weight and influence of the public domain constantly bearing perniciously on our party struggles. Of this he became fully convinced, during the discussion on the Land Bill at the last session ; in which he took an active part. The result then, satisfied him that, so long as the present state of things continued, it was impossible to prevent the incessant agitation of the subject of the public lands, or the passage of any particular law, which either the new States, or party considerations might bring forward. It was useless to complain or resist. It grew out of the nature of things, and must continue so long as that continued.
Under these impressions, he turned his attention, at the last session, towards a remedy; and, after careful investigation, he could discover but one; and that was, to place the new States in such a condition as to the public lands within their respective limits, as would identify their interests with those of the old ; and for this purpose, he introduced a bill to cede to them the public lands within those States, under certain conditions which were intended to secure the rights and interests of the old States, and to place the whole system under a solemn compact between the Government and the new States, in order to give it stability and uniformity. His reflections, and the additional experience derived from the present discussion, had satisfied him that there ought to be no delay in effecting a change ; and he thought the one he then offered was the best that could be devised. But he was not tenacious; and if there were a better, he hoped it would be presented. He would cheerfully surrender his own scheme for one that might promise an equal or more effectual remedy for the growing evil.
He said, he felt much reluctance in making a first move on the subject. He knew that, whoever brought forward a measure of this kind, would expose himself to the imputation of ulterior and selfish motives ; and though he was conscious that he was not actuated by any such, -as he desired nothing of the Government or the people,—he had been peculiarly liable to such imputations. It was the more strange that he should be, -as he had shown so little regard to popularity or favor, as to take, for the last ten years (under a sense of duty), the course most likely, of all others, to render one unpopular. Still, he could not exempt himself from such imputations, though he felt there was so little justice in them that, when duty demanded, he had but little concern between a popular and unpopular act.
Not desiring, for these reasons, to take a lead in proposing a remedy, he would wait and see whether any other Senator, more competent or conversant with the subject, would. But, if none such would venture forward, he would not shun the responsibility of again offering, for the consideration of the Senate, the bill he introduced at the last session, -as the only remedy, in his opinion, capable of reaching the disease.
Made during the Debate on his Resolutions, in respect
to the Rights of the States and the Abolition of Slavery,—December 27th, 1837, et seq.
[In Senate, Dec. 27, 1837, Mr. Calhoun submitted the following resolutions.
1. Resolved, That in the adoption of the Federal Constitution, the States adopting the same, acted severally, as free, independent and sovereign States; and that each, for itself, by its own voluntary act, entered into the Union with the view to its increased security against all dangers, domestic, as well as foreign,--and the more perfect and secure enjoyment of its advantages, natural, political and social.
2. Resolved, That, in delegating a portion of their powers to be exercised by the Federal Government, the States retained, severally, the exclusive and sole right over their own domestic institutions and police, --and are alone responsible for them; and that any intermeddling of any one or more States, or a combination of their citizens, with the domestic institutions and police of the others, on any ground, or under any pretext whatever, political, moral or religious, --with a view to their alteration or subversion, is an assumption of superiority, not warranted by the constitution ;-insulting to the States interfered with,-tending to endanger their domestic peace and tranquillity ; subversive of the objects for which the constitution was formed; and, by necessary consequence, tending to weaken and destroy the Union itself.
3. Resolved, That this Government was instituted and adopted by the several States of this Union as a common agent, in order to carry into effect the powers which they had delegated by the constitution for their mutual security and prosperity; and that, in fulfilment of their high and sacred trust, this Government is bound so to exercise its powers, as to give, as far as may be practicable, increased stability and security to the domestic institutions of the States that compose the Union; and that it is the solemn duty of the Government to resist all attempts by one portion of the Union to use it as an instrument to at