Page images

from the charge, intimates that there is a party in the country who are looking to disunion. Sir, if the gentleman had stopped there, the accusation would

have passed by me as the idle wind which I regard not.But when he goes on to give his accusation a local habitation and a name, by quoting the expression of a distinguished citizen of South Carolina," that it was time for the south to calculate the value of the union," and in the language of the bitterest sarcasm, adds,— surely then the union cannot last longer than July 1831," it is impossible to mistake either the allusion or the object of the gentleman. Now, Mr. President, I call upon every one who hears me, to bear witness that this controversy is not of my seeking. The senate will do me the justice to remember, that at the time this unprovoked and uncalled for attack was made upon the south, not one word had been uttered by me in disparagement of New England, nor had I made the most distant allusion either to the senator from Massachusetts or the state he represents. But, sir, that gentleman has thought proper, for purposes best known to himself, to strike the south through me, the most unworthy of her servants. He has crossed the border, he has invaded the state of South Carolina, is making war upon her citizens, and endeavouring to overthrow her principles and her institutions. Sir, when the gentleman provokes me to such a conflict, I meet him at the threshold I will struggle while I have lise, for our altars and our firesides, and if God give me strength, will drive back the invader discomfited. Nor shall I stop there. If the gentleman provoke the war, he shall have war. Sir, I will not stop at the border ; I will carry the war into the enemy's territory, and not consent to lay down my arms until I shall have obtained " indemnity for the past and security for the future.” It is with unfeigned reluctance, Mr. President, that I enter upon the performance of this part of my duty-I shrink almost instinctively from a course, however necessary, which may have a tendency to excite sectional feel. ings and sectional jealousies. But, sir, the task has been forced upon me, and I proceed right onward to the performance of my duty. Be the consequences what they may, the responsibility is with those who have imposed upon me this necessity. The senator from Massachusetts has thought proper to cast the first stone, and if he shall find, according to the homely adage, that “he lives in a glass-house"on his head be the consequences. The gentleman has made a great flourish about his fidelity to Massachusetts ; I shall make no professions of zeal for the interests and honour of South Carolina-of that my constituents shall judge. If there be one state in the union, Mr. President, (and I say it not in a boastful spirit,) that may challenge comparison with any other for a uniform, zealous, ardent, and uncalculating devotion to the union, that state is South Carolina. Sir, from the very commencement of the revolution up to this hour, there is no sacrifice, however great, she has not cheerfully made ; no service she has ever hesitated to perform. She has adhered to you in your prosperity, but in your adversity she has clung to you with more than filial affection. No matter what was the condition of her domestic affairs, though deprived of her resources, divided by parties, or surrounded by difficulties, the call of the country has been to her as the voice of God. Domestic discord ceased at the sound every man became at once reconciled to his brethren, and the sons

of Carolina were all seen crowding together to the temple, bringing their gifts to the altar of their common country: What, sir, was the conduct of the south during the revolution ? Sir, I honour New England for her conduct in that glorious struggle : but great as is the praise which belongs to her, I think at least equal honour is due to the south. They espoused the quarrel of their brethren with generous zeal, which did not suffer them to stop to calculate their interest in the dispute. Favourites of the mother country, possessed of neither ships nor seamen to create commercial rivalship, they might have found in their situation a guaranty that their trade would be for ever fostered and protected by Great Britain. But trampling on all considerations, either of interest or of safety, they rushed into the conflict, and fighting for principle, periled all in the sacred cause of freedom. Never was there exhibited in the history of the world higher examples of noble daring, dreadful suffering, and heroic endurance, than by the whigs of Carolina during that revolution. The whole state, from the mountain to the sea, was overrun by an overwhelming force of the enemy. The fruits of industry perished on the spot where they were produced, or were consumed by the foe. The “ plains of Carolina” drank up the most precious blood of her citizens-black and smoking ruins marked the places which had been the habitations of her children! Driven from their homes into the gloomy and almost impenetrable swamps, even there the spirit of liberty survived, and South Carolina, sustained by the example of her Sumpters and her Marions, proved by her conduct, that though her soil might be overrun, the spirit of her people was invincible.


The eulogium pronounced on the character of the state of South Carolina by the honourable gentleman, for her revolutionary and other merits, meets my hearty concurrence. I shall not acknowledge that the honourable member goes before me in regard for whatever of distinguished talent, or distinguished character, South Carolina has produced. I claim part of the honour : I partake in the pride of her great names. I claim them for countrymen, one and all. The Laurenses, Rutledges, the Pinckneys, the Sumpters, the Marions-Americans all-whose fame is no more to be hermed in by state lines, than their talents and patriotism were capable of being circumscribed within the same narrow limits.

In their day and generation they served and honoured the country, and the whole country, and their renown is of the treasures of the whole country. Him, whose honoured name the gentleman bears himself -does he suppose me less capable of gratitude for his patriotism, or sympathy for his sufferings, than if his eyes had first opened upon the light in Massachusetts instead of South Carolina? Sir, does he sup. pose it in his power to exhibit a Carolina name so bright as to produce envy in my bosom? No, sir,increased gratification and delight, rather. Sir, I thank God, that if I am gifted with little of the spirit which is said to be able to raise mortals to the skies, I have yet none, as I trust, of that other spirit, which would drag angels down.

When I shall be found, sir, in my place here in the senate, or elsewhere, to sneer at public m cause it happened to spring up beyond th

of my own state and neighbourhood ; when I refuse, for any such cause, or for any cause, the homage due to American talent, to elevated patriotism, to sincere devotion to liberty and the country; or if I see an uncommon endowment of heaven-if I see extraordinary capacity and virtue in any son of the southand if, moved by local prejudice, or gangrened by state jealousy, I get up here to abate the tithe of a hair from his just character and just fame, may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth !

Sir, let me recar to pleasing recollections-let me indulge in refreshing remembrances of the past-let me remind you that in early times no states cherished greater harmony, both of principle and of feeling, than Massachusetts and South Carolina. Would to God that harmony might again return. Shoulder to shoulder they went through the revolution-hand in hand they stood round the administration of Washington, and felt his own great arm lean on them for support. Unkind feeling, if it exist, alienation and distrust are the growth, unnatural to such soils, of false principles since sown. They are weeds, the seeds of which that same great arm never scattered.

Mr. President, I shall enter on no encomium upon Massachusetts—she needs none. There she is behold her and judge for yourselves. There is her history-the world knows it by heart. The past, at least, is secure. There is Boston, and Concord, and Lexington, and Bunker's Hill; and there they will remain for ever. The bones of her sons, fallen in the great struggle for independence, now lie mingled with the soil of every state, from New England to Georgia ; and there they will lie for ever. And, sir, where American liberty raised its first

and where its youth was nurtured and sustain

« PreviousContinue »