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whole ground, I saw nothing to change in the opinions and principles I had avowed in 1834, and I determined to carry them out as far as circumstances and my ability would enable me. But I saw that my course must be influenced by the position which the two great contending parties might take in reference to the question. I did not doubt that the opposition would rally either on a National Bank or a combination of State banks, with Mr. Biddle's at the head ; but I was wholly uncertain what course the administration would adopt, and remained so until the message of the President was received and read by the Secretary at his table. When I saw he went for a divorce, I never hesitated a moment. Not only my opinions and principles, long entertained, and, as I have shown, fully expressed years ago, but the highest political motives, left me no alternative. I perceived, at once, that the object, to accomplish which we had acted in concert with the opposition, had ceased ; Executive usurpations had come to an end for the present ; and that the struggle of the administration was no longer for power, but to save themselves. I also clearly saw, that if we should

. unite with the opposition in their attack on the administration, the victory over them, in the position they occupied, would be a victory over us and our principles. It required

a no sagacity to see that such would be the result. It was as plain as day. The administration had taken position, as I have shown, on the very ground I occupied in 1834, and which the whole State Rights party had taken, at the same time, in the other House, as its journals will prove. The opposition, under the banner of the Bank, were moving against them, for the very reason that they had taken the ground they did.

Now, I ask, What would have been the result if we had joined in the attack? No one can now doubt that the victory over those in power would have been certain and decisive, nor would the consequences have been the least doubtful.

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The first fruit would have been a National Bank. The principles of the opposition, and the very object of the attack, would have necessarily led to that. We would have been not only too feeble to resist, but have been committed, by joining in the attack with its avowed object, to go for one, while those who supported the administration would have been scattered to the winds. We should then have had a bank—that is clear ; nor is it less certain that, in its train, there would have followed all the consequences which have, and ever will follow, when tried-high duties, overflowing revenue, extravagant expenditures, large surpluses; in a word, all those disastrous consequences which have well nigh overthrown our institutions, and involved the country in its present difficulties.

The influence of the institution, the known principles and policy of the opposition, and the utter prostration of the administration party, and the absorption of ours, would have led to these results as certainly as we exist.

I now appeal, Senators, to your candor and justice, and ask, Could I, having all these consequences before me, with my known opinions, and that of the party to which I belong, and to which only I owe fidelity, have acted differently from what I did ? Would not any other course have justly exposed me to the charge of having abandoned my principles and party, with which I am now accused so unjustly? Nay, would it not have been worse than folly—been madness in me to have taken any other? And yet, the grounds which I have assumed in this exposition are the very reasons assigned in my letter, and which the Senator has perverted, most unfairly and unjustly, into the pitiful, personal, and selfish motive which he has attributed to me. Confirmative of what I say, I again appeal to the record. The Secretary will read the paragraph marked in my Edgefield letter, to which, I presume, the Senator alluded.

“ As soon as I saw this state of things, I clearly perceived that a very important question was presented for our determination, which we were compelled to decide forthwith-Shall we continue our joint attack with the Nationals on those in power, in the new position which they have been compelled to occupy? It was clear, with our joint forces, we could utterly overthrow and demolish them; but it was not less clear that the victory would inure, not to us, but exclusively to the benefit of our allies and their cause. They were the most numerous and powerful, and the point of assault on the position which the party to be assaulted had taken in relation to the banks, would have greatly strengthened the settled principles and policy of the National party, and weakened, in the same degree, ours. They are, and ever have been, the decided advocates of a National Bank, and are now in favor of one with a capital so ample as to be sufficient to control the State institutions, and to regulate the currency and exchanges of the country. To join them, with their avowed object, in the attack to overthrow those in power, on the ground they occupied against a bank, would, of course, not only have placed the Government and country in their hands without opposition, but would have committed us, beyond the possibility of extrication, for a bank, and absorbed our party in the ranks of the National Republicans. The first fruits of the victory would have been an overshadowing National Bank, with an immense capital, not less than from fifty to a hundred millions, which would have centralized the currency and exchanges, and with them the commerce and capital of the country, in whatever section the head of the institution might be placed. The next would be the indissoluble union with political opponents, whose principles and policy are so opposite to ours, and so dan. gerous to our institutions, as well as oppressive to us.”

I now ask, Is there any thing in this extract which will warrant the construction that the Senator has attempted to force on it? Is it not manifest that the expression on which he fixes, that the victory would inure, not to us, but exclusively to the benefit of the opposition, alludes not to power or place, but to principle and policy? Can words be more plain? What, then, becomes of all the aspersions of the Senator--his reflections about selfishness and the want of patriotism—and his allusions and illustrations to give them force and effect? They fall to the ground, without deserving a notice, with his groundless accusation.

But, in so premeditated and indiscriminate an attack, it could not be expected that my motives would entirely escape, and we accordingly find the Senator very charitably leaving it to time to disclose my motive for going over.

Leave it to time to disclose my motive for going over! I, who have changed no opinion, abandoned no principle, and deserted no party ; I, who have stood still and maintained my ground against every difficulty, to be told that it is left to time to disclose my motive! The imputation sinks to the earth, with the groundless charge on which it rests. I stamp it, with scorn, in the dust. I pick up the shaft, which fell harmless at my feet. I hurl it back. What the Senator charges on me unjustly, he has actually done. He went over on a memorable occasion, and did not leave it to time to disclose his motive.

The Senator next tells us that I bore a character for stern fidelity, which he accompanied with remarks implying that I had forfeited it by my course on the present occasion. If he means by stern fidelity a devoted attachment to duty and principle, which nothing can overcome, the character is indeed a high one, and, I trust, not entirely unmerited. I have, at least, the authority of the Senator himself for saying, that it belonged to me before the present occasion ; and it is, of course, incumbent on him to show that I have since forfeited it. He will find the task a Herculean one. It would be by far more easy to show the opposite—that, instead of forfeiting, I have strengthened my title to the character ; instead of abandoning any principles, I have firmly adhered to them, and that, too, under the most appalling difficulties. If I were to select an instance in the whole course of my life, on which, above all others, to rest my claim to the character which the Senator attributed to me, it would be this very one, which he has selected to prove that I have forfeited it. I acted with the full knowledge of the difficulties I had to encounter, and the responsibility I must incur. I saw a great and powerful party, probably

the most powerful in the country, eagerly seizing on the catastrophe which had befallen the currency, and the consequent embarrassments that followed, to displace those in power, against whom they had been long contending. I saw that, to stand between them and their object, I must necessarily incur their deep and lasting displeasure. I also saw that, to maintain the administration in the position they had taken, to separate the Government from the banks, I would draw down on me, with the exception of some of the Southern banks, the whole weight of that extensive, concentrated, and powerful interest—the most powerful, by far, of any of the whole community; and thus I would unite against me a combination of political and moneyed influence almost irresistible. Nor was this all. I could not but see that, however pure and disinterested my motives, and however consistent my course with all I had ever said or done, I would be exposed to the very charges and aspersions which I am now repelling. The ease with which they could be made, and the temptation to make them, I saw were too great to be resisted by the party morality of the day, groundless as I have demonstrated them to be. But there was another consequence that I could not but foresee, far more painful to me than all others. I but too clearly saw that, in so sudden and complex a juncture, called on as I was to decide on my course instantly—as it were, on the field of battle—without consultation or explaining my reasons, I would estrange, for a time, many of my political friends, who had passed through with me so many trials and difficulties, and for whom I feel a brother's love. But I saw before me the path of duty; and, though rugged and hedged on all sides with these and many other difficulties, I did not hesitate a moment to take it. Yes, alone, as the Senator sneeringly says. After I had made up my mind as to my course, in a conversation with a friend about the responsibility I would assume, he remarked that my own State might desert me.


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