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I have, as your representative, freely examined, and, in my deliberate judginent, justly condemned the conduct of general Jackson in some of our Indian wars. I believed and yet believe him to have trampled upon the constitution of his country, and io have violated the principles of humanity. Entertaining these opinions, I did not and could not vote for him.
I owe you, my friends and fellow-citizens, many apologies for this long interruption of the festivities of the day. I hope ihat my desire to vindicate their honored object, and to satisfy you that he is not altogether unworthy of them, will be deemed sufficient.
ON TIE POLITICAL CONDITION OF THE UNITED STATES
DURING J. Q. ADAMS'S ADMINISTRATION.
DELIVERED AT CINCINNATI, AUGUST 23, 1828.
[On Friday, (twenty-second August,) Mr. Clay arrived in Cincinnati. During the day he was visited by a large number of the citizens. On Saturday, at two o'clock, he met his fellow-citizens at Mr. Ruffner's, where a collation was prepared. A vast concourse of persons were present. The general impression was, that the number exceeded five thousand. Mr. Clay was introduced to the company by a short address from the chairman of the administration committee, S. W. Davies, Esq., to which be replied in the following words.]
Although it is not entirely compatible with the precautions which are enjoined by the delicate state of my health, to which you have so obligingly alluded, to present myself in this attitude, I cannot refrain from making a public expression to you, and to my fellow-citizens here assembled, of my profound acknowledg. Inents for the hearty welcome and the cordial, spontaneous, and enthusiastic manifestation of respect and attachment with which my present visit to your city has been attended. It has been frequently, but not less truly said, that the highest reward for public service, is the approbation of the public. The support of public opinion is the greatest incentive to the faithful and beneficial discharge of official duty. If, as you have truly suggested, it has been my misfortune for several years, to have been abused and assailed without example, I have nevertheless had the satisfaction to have been cheered and sustained, in all parts of the union, by some of the best and most virtuous men in it. And I seize with pleasure this occasion to say, that, even among my political opponents, many of the most moderate and intelligent have done me the justice to discredit and discountenance the calumnies of which I have been the object. But nowhere have I found more constant, ardent, and effective friends than in this city. I thank them most heartily for all their friendly sentiments and exertions.
Whatever may be the issue of the contest which at present unhappily divides and distracts our country, I trust that the beneficial system, to which you have referred, will survive the struggle,
and continue to engage the affections, and to cheer and animate the industry of the people of the United States. It has indeed been recently attacked in another quarter of the union, by some of our fellow-citizens, with a harshness and intemperance which must every where excite the patriot's regret. It has been denounced as if it were a new system, that sprung into existence but yesterday, or at least with the present administration, if not during the last session of congress. But it owes its origin to a much earlier date. The present adıninistration, though sincerely attached to it, and most anxious for its preservation, has not the merit of having first proposed or first established it. The manufacturing system was quickened into existence by the commercial restrictions which preceded the late war with Great Britain, and by that greatest of them all, the war itself. Our wants, no longer supplied from abroad, must have been supplied at home, or we must have been deprived of the necessaries and comforts of civilization, if we had not relapsed into a state of barbarism. The policy of Jefferson and Madison fostered, if it did not create, the manufactures of our country. The peace brought with it a glut of foreign fabrics, which would have prostrated our establishinents, if government had been capable of unjustly witnessing such a spectacle, without interposing its protective power. Protection, therefore, was not merely called for by the substantial independence of our country, but it was a parental duty of government to those citizens who had been tempied by its restrictive policy to embark all their hopes and fortunes in the business of manufacturing. Twelve years ago congress took up the subject, and after long and mature deliberation, solemnly decided to extend that measure of protection which was alike demanded by sound policy and strict justice. Then the foundations were laid of the American system ; and all that has been subsequently done, including the act of the last session of congress, are but the consequences of the policy then deliberately adopted, having for their object the improvement and perfection of the great work then begun. It is not the least remarkable of the circumstances of these strange times, that some who assisted in the commencement, who laid corner-stones of the edifice, are now ready to pull down and demolish it.
It is not the fact of the existence of an opposition to the tariff, that can occasion any inquietude; nor that of large and respectable assemblies of the people, to express their disapprobation of the policy, and their firın resolution to consume only the produce of their own industry. These meetings are in the true spirit of our free institutions, and that resolution is in the true spirit of the American system itself. But what must excite deep regret is, that any persons should allow themselves to speak of open and forcible resistance to the government of their country, and to threaten a dissolution of the union. What is the state of the case ? A great measure of national policy is proposed; it is a subject of discussion for a period of iwelve years, in the public prints, in popular assemblies, in political circles, and in the congress of the United States. That body, after hearing the wishes and wants of all parts of the union, fairly stated by their respective representatives, decides by repeated majorities, to adopt the measure. It is accordingly put into successful operation, improved from time to time, and is rapidly fulfilling all the hopes and expectations of its friends. In this encouraging condition of things, a small number of the citizens composing the minority, (for I will not impute to the great body of the minority any such violent purposes,) threaten the employ. ment of force, and ihe dissolution of the union! Can any principle be more subversive of all government, or of a tendency more exceptionable and alarming. It amounts to this, that whenever any portion of the coinmunity finds itself in a minority, in reference to any important act of the government, and by high coloring and pictures of imaginary distress, can persuade itself that the measure is oppressive, that minority may appeal to arms, and if it can, dissolve the union. Such a principle would reverse the established maxim of representative government, according to which, the will of the majority must prevail. If it were possible that the minority could govern and control, the union may indeed as well be dissolved; for it would not then be worth preserving. The conduct of an individual would not be more unwise and suicidal, who, because of soine trilling disease afflicting his person, should, in a feverish and fretful moinent, resolve to terminate his existence.
Nothing can be more unfair and ridiculous, than to compare any of the acts of the congress of the United States, representing all, and acting for all, to any of the acts of the British parliament, which led to our revolution. The principle on which the colonies seceded was, that there should be no taxation without representation. They were not represented in the British parliament, and to have submitted to taxation, would have been to have submitted to slavery, and to have surrendered the most valuable privileges of freemen. If the colonies had been fairly represented in the British parliament, and equal taxes, alike applicable to all parts of the British empire, had been iniposed by a majority, a case of remote analogy to any act of congress to which a minority is opposed, might be deduced from the history of the revolution. But every state of this confederacy is fairly represented, and has the faculty of being fully heard in the congress of the United States. The representation has been regulated by a joint principle of distribution, the result of a wise spirit of mutual compromise and concession, which I hope never to see disturbed, of which none can justly complain, and least of all, those citizens who have resorted to threats of an appeal to arms and disunion.
But there is, I hope and believe, no reason to apprehend the execution of those empty threats. The good sense, the patriotism, and the high character of the people of South Carolina, are sure guarantees for repressing, without aid, any disorders, should any be attempted within her limits. The spirit of Marion, and Pickens, and Sumpter, of the Rutledges, the Pinckneys, and of Lowndes, yet survives, and animates the high-minded Carolinians. The Taylors, and the Williamses, and their compatriots of the present day, will be able to render a just account of all, if there be any
who shall dare to raise their parricidal hands against the peace, the constitution, and the union of the states. Rebuked by public opinion - a sufficient corrective — and condemned by their own sober reflections, the treasonable purpose will be relinquished, if it were ever seriously conteinplated by any.
I have no fears for the permanency of our union, whilst our liberties are preserved. It is a tough and strong cord, as all will find who shall presumptuously attempt to break it. It has been competent to suppress all the domestic insurrections, and to carry us safely through all the foreign wars with which we have been afflicted since it was formed, and it has come out of each with more strength, and greater promise of durability. It is the choicest political blessing which, as a people, we enjoy, and I trust and hope that Providence will permit us to transmit it, unimpaired, to posterity, through endless generations.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the flattering opinion which you have expressed of my public services, and especially of those which I have endeavored to render to the west. Whilst I am sensible that you appreciate them much too highly, it is at the same time true, that I have sought, on all occasions that appeared to me proper, to advance the interests of that section, of which I am proud to be a citizen, whenever I have thought it could be done without prejudice to the predominant interests of the whole. I have, nevertheless, in several important instances, given my most zealous support to measures, (the navy, and the late war, for example,) in which the west could not be regarded as having any distinct or other interest, than that which belongs to the honor, the prosperity, and the character, of the whole confederacy. During the short period of the present administration, I hope I may be permitted to say, without meaning to claim for it exclusive merit, that more has been done and recommended for the west, than ever was done during the whole preceding period of our present constitution, with the exception only of the acquisition of Louisiana, under the administration of Mr. Jefferson. I have not strength or time to enter into details to establish the general proposition ; but those who will take the trouble to examine the appropriations of land and of money, for objects of internal improvement and education, the measures which have been adopted or recommended, in respect to the public domain, the judiciary, and so forth, will find that proposition fully sustained.