« FöregåendeFortsätt »
to force itself on it—notwithstanding all these powerful opposing obstacles-greater than can ever again be arrayed against any similar institution-would not the fact prove, that the Bank has become stronger than both Government and people ? And would it not go far-as he himself confessed to make the Bank the Government ? It was under this aspect that he obviously regarded the struggle ; and he must say, that, if the Senator, looking on it in the same light, did not regard it with similar sentiments, he could neither envy him his feelings nor his patriotism.
On the Amendment proposed by Mr. Clay to the Re
solution of the Committee on Finance, made in the Senate, September 26th, 1837.
[MR. WRIGHT, from the Committee on Finance, called up the report relative to the petitions for the establishment of a National Bank, which was :
“Resolved, That the prayer of the respective petitions ought not to be granted.” Mr. Clay, after some remarks, moved to strike out all after the word " Resolved," and insert," that it will be expedient to establish a Bank of the United States, whenever it shall be manifest that a clear majority of the people of the United States desire such an institution."
Mr. Webster, after assigning his reasons, moved to postpone the question until Monday next; which, after some remarks from Mr. Preston, in opposition to the report of the Committee, was negatived by a vote of 30 to 15.
Mr. Tallmadge then moved to amend the amendment, by inserting after the word " Resolved” the following : “ that in the opinion of the Senate, a clear majority of the people of the United States are opposed to a National Bank, and that it is inexpedient to grant the prayer of the petitioners."
After some further remarks from Messrs. Clay, Preston and Wright. Mr. Calhoun said :-]
That the course which he intended to pursue was, first, to vote against the amendment to the amendment—and, if that succeeded, then to vote against the amendment itself; so as to bring the question nakedly on the report of the Committee on Finance—viz., that the prayer of the petitioners ought not to be granted. He was not prepared to say what the opinion of the people of the United States is, at this time, in relation to a Bank ; and much less was he prepared to commit himself in favor of one, in the contingency contemplated by the amendment. Where the constitution or important principles are involved, his only guide was his judgment and his conscience, and not the popular voice.
If there was any trick or management (as intimated in the remarks of his colleague, Mr. Preston) in bringing forward the report to entrap any Senator, who may not have made up his opinion definitely as to the necessity of a Bank, he was wholly ignorant of it. He did not know that the Committee on Finance had reported until this morning, nor that it was intended to take up the report, till a short time before it was called up; but he did not doubt the propriety of taking the sense of the Senate upon the subject of the Bank. The memorialists had petitioned for the establishment of a National Bank, and it was due to them as well as the country at large, that there should be an explicit declaration of the sense of the Senate on the subject. He considered it, in fact, among the measures of relief, that the sense of Congress should be fully known as to what ought, and what ought not to be done. There is a vast amount of capital now locked up awaiting our decision, which would filow out, as soon as it was known, to stimulate business, and
relieve the money pressure, at this important season, when the fall trade is about to commence.
Mr. C. said, his colleague (Mr. Preston) had made some remarks which he could not pass unnoticed. He understood him to say that, to assent to any important part of the President's message was to support the whole—and that it was, in fact, to become a partisan of the administration.
[Here Mr. Preston dissented, and stated that what he did say was, that, according to his impressions, the support of the leading measure of the administration, seemed to him, as necessarily involving an entire support of the administration.]
Mr. C. resumed : He was gratified to receive the explanation of his colleague ; and he now understood him as merely stating his impressions of what ought to be the effects of supporting any of the prominent measures recommended in the message. He must say that his (Mr. C's.) impressions were wholly different. No one knew better than his colleague, that he never acted but in relation to an object, and that object usually one somewhat remote; and that he advanced towards it with a steady step, regardless of the difficulties and party combinations around him. He was master of his own move; and acknowledged connection with no party but the State Rights party,—the small band of nullifiers,—and acted either with or against the administration or the national party, just as it was calculated to further the principles and policy which we, of that party, regarded as essential to the liberty and institutions of the country. It was thus he acted in the present instance. He knew his latitude and longitude ; he had not neglected his log-book, but had kept an exact reckoning,—and knew the precise point where he was, and in what direction he was moving. The object for which he and those with whom he had acted had united with the Nationals, had been accomplished-Executive usurpation had been arrested. The treasury was empty-and the administration had scarcely a majority in either House, or the Union. But the event which had separated us and the Nationals, had, at the same time, put an end to the Jackson party—they had run out. That remarkable man had formed a personal party,-held together by his great influence, and the immense patronage placed in his hands. He was off the stage now—and the gorged treasury had been turned into empty boxes. The cohesive principle of his party was destroyed, and it had resolved itself into its original elements. It had no option, but was compelled to reunite on the old principles which brought it into power—to fall back on the ground where it stood in 1827, and where he and his friends had stood ever since, and continued to stand. There was no other alternative—this, or utter destruction. In the mean time, the Government itself had been brought back, by a series of decisive moves, almost to where it stood at its commencement, and in 1798. No bank—no tariff--and scarcely a vestige of those measures, of which it was the fruitful parent. This was the point we had reached :-Executive encroachments arrested from their own weakness, and legislative encroachments by the overthrow of the system which they had built up in a long course of years. Could he, as a member of the State Rights party, hesitate as to the course he ought to pursue in so remarkable a juncture ? It was as clear as the noonday sun. We are the sworn enemies both of executive and legislative usurpations ;-and of the two, more opposed, if possible, to the latter than the formerbecause, in the nature of things, they must take precedence in the order of time. Without legislative there could be no Executive usurpations. Congress must first encroach on the powers of the States, before the Executive can become strong enough to encroach on its powers; but as soon as they do, the benefit enures, not to them, but to the President. Reason and experience both prove this. Now, Sir, while the National party have shown themselves the foes of
Executive encroachments, they had been, and he feared still were the advocates of a liberal construction of the constitution—the supporters of the delegated against the reserved powers. To it, then, may be traced most of those acts which have gone so far to convert this into a consolidated government, -and to which they still cling. On the contrary, a very large portion of the Jackson party—those drawn off from their principles by his extraordinary influence and power, still professed, and he doubted not sincerely, to be the advocates of a strict construction of the constitution,-notwithstanding their frequent, and, he must say, great departures in practice in many particulars.
Now, he would ask, what course ought he to pursue under such circumstances ? He, the opponent of all encroachments from whatever quarter - Executive or legislative ? Was it for him to join the friends of the tariff-of a National Bank, and the whole system of Congressional usurpations, and utterly break down his old friends of 1827, who had taken shelter under his position,—and thus give a complete and final victory to his old opponents of that period, and with it a permanent ascendency to them and their principles and policy, which, he honestly believed, could not but end in consolidation, with the loss of our liberty and institutions ? Or rather, was it not his duty, thinking as he did, and with the objects he had been long pursuing, to prevent such a result ; and to call a rally of his old friends on the ground where he stood, and where they stood in 1827, in order to arrest the final triumph of the principles to which he and they were then both opposed ? But my colleague seems to think the danger of Executive usurpation is not yet over, and that that department is not so prostrated as he (Mr. C.) supposed. Instead of this, he thinks it is still meditating schemes of power. Be it so. He was not more confiding than his colleague. Experience had taught him distrust of power; and if the apprehensions of his colleague should