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offence for any clerk to furnish a copy of the record, for the purpose of such appeal. The two principal provisions on which South Carolina relies, to resist the laws of the United States, and nullify the authority of this government, are, therefore, these: 1. A forcible seizure of goods, before duties are paid or secured, by the power of the State, civil and military. 2. The taking away, by the most effectual means in her power, of all legal redress in the courts of the United States ; the confining of judicial proceedings to her own State tribunals; and the compelling of her judges and jurors of these her own courts to take an oath, beforehand, that they will decide all cases according to the ordinance, and the Acts passed under it; that is, that they will decide the cause one way. They do not swear to try it, on its own merits; they only swear to decide it as nullification requires. The character, Sir, of these provisions defies comment. Their object is as plain as their means are extraordinary. They propose direct resistance, by the whole power of the State, to laws of Congress, and cut off, by methods deemed adequate, any redress by legal and judicial authority. They arrest legislation, defy the executive, and banish the judicial power of this government. They authorize and command acts to be done, and done by force, both of numbers and of arms, which, if done, and done by force, are elearly acts of rebellion and treason. Such, Sir, are the laws of South Carolina; such, Sir, is the peaceable remedy of nullification. Has not nullification reached, even thus early, that point of direct and forcible resistance to law to which I intimated, three years ago, it plainly tended ? And now, Mr. President, what is the reason for passing laws like these ? What are the oppressions experienced under the Union, calling for measures which thus threaten to sever and destroy it? What invasion of public liberty, what ruin to private happiness, what long list of rights violated, or wrongs unredressed, is to justify to the country, to posterity, and to the world, this assault upon the free Constitution of the United States, this great and glorious work of our fathers? At this very moment, Sir, the whole land smiles in peace, and rejoices in plenty. A general and a high prosperity pervades the country; and, judging by the common standard, by increase of population and wealth, or judging by the opinions of that portion of her people not embarked in these dangerous and desperate measures, this prosperity overspreads South Carolina herself. Thus happy at home, our country, at the same time, holds high the character of her institutions, her power, her rapid growth, and her future destiny, in the eyes of all foreign States. One danger only creates hesitation; one doubt only exists, to darken the otherwise unclouded brightness of that aspect which she exhibits to the view and to the admiration of the world. Need I say, that that doubt respects the permanency of our Union? and need I say, that that doubt is now caused, more than by any thing else, by these very proceedings of South Carolina? Sir, all Europe is at this moment beholding us, and looking for the issue of this controversy; those who hate free institutions, with malignant hope; those who love them, with deep anxiety and shivering fear. The cause, then, Sir, the cause! Let the world know the cause which has thus induced one State of the Union to bid defiance to the power of the whole, and openly to talk of secession. Sir, the world will scarcely believe that this whole controversy, and all the desperate measures which its support requires, have no other foundation than a difference of opinion upon a provision of the Constitution, between a majority of the people of South Carolina, on one side, and a vast majority of the whole people of the United States, on the other. It will not credit the fact, it will not admit the possibility, that, in an enlightened age, in a free, popular republic, under a Constitution where the people govern, as they must always govern, under such systems, by majorities, at a time of unprecedented happiness, without practical oppression, without evils such as may not only be pretended, but felt and experienced,—evils not slight or temporary, but deep, permanent, and intolerable, a single State should rush into conflict with all the rest, attempt to put down the power of the Union by her own laws, and to support those laws by her military power, and thus break up and destroy the world's last hope. And well the world may be incredulous. We, who see and hear it, can ourselves hardly yet believe it. Even after all that had preceded it, this ordinance struck the country with amazement. It was incredible and inconceivable that South Carolina should thus plunge headlong into resistance to the laws on a matter of opinion, and on a question in which the preponderance of opinion, both of the present day and of all past time, was so overwhelmingly against her. The ordinance declares that Congress has exceeded its just power by laying duties on imports intended for the protection of manufactures. This is the opinion of South Carolina; and on the strength of this opinion she nullifies the laws. Yet has the rest of the country no right to its opinion also? Is one State to sit sole arbitress? She maintains that those laws are plain, deliberate, and palpable violations of the Constitution; that she has a sovereign right to decide this matter; and that, having so decided, she is authorized to resist their execution by her own sovereign power; and she declares that she will resist it, though such resistance should shatter the Union into atoms. Mr. President, I do not intend to discuss the propriety of these laws at large; but I will ask, How are they shown to be thus plainly and palpably unconstitutional P Have they no countenance at all in the Constitution itself 2 Are they quite new in the history of the government? Are they a sudden and violent usurpation on the rights of the States? Sir, what will the civilized world say, what will posterity say, when they learn that similar laws have existed from the very foundation of the government; that for thirty years the power was never questioned ; and that no State in the Union has more freely and unequivocally admitted it than South Carolina herself? It is, Sir, only within a few years that Carolina has denied the constitutionality of these protective laws. The gentleman himself has narrated to us the true history of her proceedings on this point. He says that, after the passing of the law of 1828, despairing then of being able to abolish the system of protection, political men went forth among the people, and set up the doctrine that the system was unconstitutional. “And the people,” says the honourable gentleman, “received the doctrine.” This, I believe, is true, Sir. The people did then receive the doctrine ; they had never entertained it before. Down to that period, the constitutionality of these laws had been no more doubted in South Carolina than elsewhere. And I suspect it is true, Sir, and I deem it a great misfortune, that, to the present moment, a great portion of the people of the State have never yet seen more than one side of the argument. I believe that thousands of honest men are involved in scenes now passing, led away by one-sided views of the question, and following their leaders by the impulses of an unlimited considence. Depend upon it, Sir, if we can avoid the shock of arms, a day for reconsideration and reflection will come ; truth and reason will act with their accustomed force, and the public opinion of South Carolina will be restored to its usual constitutional and patriotic tone. Dut, Sir, I hold South Carolina to her ancient, her cool, her uninfluenced, her deliberate opinions. I hold her to her own admissions, nay, to her own claims and pretensions, in 1789, in the first Congress, and to her acknowledgments and avowed sentiments through a long series of succeeding years. I hold her to the principles on which she led Congress to act in 1816; or, if she have changed her own opinions, I claim some respect for those who still retain the same opinions. I say she is precluded from asserting that doctrines, which she has herself so long and so ably sustained, are plain, palpable, and dangerous violations of the Constitution. Mr. President, if the friends of nullification should be able to propagate their opinions, and give them practical effect, they would, in my judgment, prove themselves the most skilful “architects of ruin,” the most effectual extinguishers of highraised expectation, the greatest blasters of human hopes, that any age has produced. They would stand up to proclaim, in tones that would pierce the ears of half the human race, that the last great experiment of representative government had failed. They would send forth sounds, at the hearing of which the doctrine of the divine right of kings would feel, even in its grave, a returning sensation of vitality and resuscitation. Millions of eyes, of those who now feed their inherent love of liberty on the success of the American example, would turn away from beholding our dismemberment, and find no place on Earth whereon to rest their gratified sight. Amidst the incantations and orgies of nullification, secession, disunion, and revolution, would be celebrated the funeral rites of constitutional and republican liberty. But, Sir, if the government do its duty, if it act with firmness and with moderation, these opinions cannot prevail. Be assured, Sir, be assured, that, among the political sentiments of this people, the love of union is still uppermost. They will stand fast by the Constitution, and by those who defend it. I rely on no temporary expedients, on no political combinations; but I rely on the true American feeling, the genuine patriotism of the people, and the imperative decision of the public voice. Disorder and confusion indeed may arise; scenes of commotion and contest are threatened, and perhaps may come. With my whole heart, I pray for the continuance of the domestic peace and quiet of the country. I desire, most ardently, the restoration of affection and harmony to all its parts. I desire that every citizen of the whole country may look to this government with no other sentiments but those of grateful respect and attachment. But I cannot yield, even to kind feelings, the cause of the Constitution, the true glory of the country, and the great trust which we hold in our hands for succeeding ages. If the Constitution cannot be maintained without meeting these scenes of commotion and contest, however unwelcome, they must come. We cannot, we must not, we dare not, omit to do that which, in our judgment, the safety of the Union requires. Not regardless of consequences, we must yet meet consequences; seeing the hazards which surround the discharge of public duty, it must yet be discharged. For myself, Sir, I shun no responsibility justly devolving on me, here or elsewhere, in attempting to maintain the cause. I am tied to it by indissoluble bands of affection and duty, and I shall cheerfully partake in its fortunes and its fate. I am ready to perform my own appropriate part, whenever and wherever the occasion may call on me, and to take my chance among those upon whom blows may fall first and fall thickest. I shall exert every faculty I possess in aiding to prevent the Constitution from being nullified, destroyed, or impaired; and even should I see it fall, I will still, with a voice feeble, perhaps, but earnest as ever issued from human lips, and with fidelity and zeal which nothing shall extinguish, call on the PEOPLE to come to its rescue.*
THE PRESIDENTIAL PROTEST.5
MR. PRESIDENT: I feel the magnitude of this question. We are coming to a vote which cannot fail to produce important effects on the character of the Senate and the character of the
government. Unhappily, Sir, the Senate finds itself involved in a contro
4 Pending the discussion of the Force Bill, a member of the President's Cabinet called on Webster at his lodgings, and earnestly requested him to take an active part in the defence of that measure. Some time before, Calhoun had resigned the Vice-Presidency, and been elected to the Senate, as the only man fully able to maintain the cause of South Carolina in Congress. Early in the debate, several of the President’s friends in the Senate attacked the bill with great severity, and were thrown into dismay when Webster declared his position; which he did in the following terms: “I am no man's leader; and, on the other hand, I follow no lead but that of public duty and the star of the Constitution. I believe the country is in considerable danger; I believe an unlawful combination threatens the integrity of the Union. I believe the crisis calls for a mild, temperate, forbearing, but inflexibly firm execution of the laws; and, under this conviction, I give a hearty support to the administration in all measures which I deem to be fair, just, and necessary.”
5 In the Fall of 1833, President Jackson “assumed the responsibility” of removing the public deposits from the Bank of the United States, where they had been placed by law. Before doing this, however, he found himself under the necessity of removing from office the Secretary of the Treasury, who declined to execute his will in that behalf. At last, having put at the head of the Treasury a man who was ready to do his bidding, he gave a peremptory order for the removal. This was the most daring and high-handcd of all his measures against the bank, and was followed by most disastrous consequences to the business of the country. [See page 407, note 2.] On the 28th March, 1834, the Senate adopted a resolution, censuring the President’s action in that removal. On the 17th of April, the President forwarded to the Senate an elaborate Protest against that resolution. That protest drew from Webster, on the 17th of May, the following superb speech, which I give entire.