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satisfy all its parts. I thought I perceived, in the class of objects not produced within the country, a field on which we could all enter, in a true and genuine spirit of compromise and harmony, and agree upon an amicable adjustment. Why should it not be done? Why should those who are opposed to the American system, demand of its friends an unconditional surrender? common object should be, so to reduce the public revenue as to relieve the burdens of the people, if the people of this country can be truly said to be burdened. The government must have a certain amount of revenue, and that amount must be collected from the imports. Is it material to the consumer, wherever situated, whether the collection be made upon a few, or many objects, provided, whatever be the mode, the amount of his contribution 10 the public exchequer remains the same? If the assessment can be made on objects which will greaily benefit large portions of the union, without injury to hiin, why should he object to the selection of those objects? Yes, sir, I came here in a spirit of warm attachmenit to all parts of our beloved country, with a lively solicitude 10 restore and preserve its harmony, and with a firm determination to pour oil and balm into existing wounds, rather than further to lacerate them. For the truth and sincerity of these declarations, I appeal to Him whom none can deceive. I expected to be inet by corresponding dispositions, and hoped that our deliberations, guided by fraternal sentiments and feelings, would terminate in diffusing contentment and satisfaction throughout the land. And that such may be the spirit presiding over them, and such their issue, I yet most fervently hope.
ON THE NOMINATION OF MR. VAN BUREN AS MINISTER
TO GREAT BRITAIN.
IN SECRET SESSION IN THE U. S. SENATE, JANUARY 24, 1832.
(In April, 1831, a rupture in the cabinet of president Jackson terminated in the resignation of the four secretaries, and the attorney general. Among them was Mr. Martin Van Buren, who resigned the office of secretary of state, which he had held a little over two years. General Jackson soon afterwards appointed Mr. Van Buren minister to Great Britain, and he took his departure for London during the recess of the senate ; of course, before the nomination could be submitied to that body, for their action. At the ensuing session of congress, the president sent in his name to the senate, and the subject was as usual acted upon in secret session, but the injunction of secrecy was af erwards removed, which enables us to give Mr. Clay's brief but pointed remarks on the occasion. The principal ground of opposition to the con. firmation of the nomination, was. that Mr. Van Buren, while secretary of state, in July, 1829, had instructed Mr. McLane, then minister to Great Britain, to represent to the British government that a change of administration in the United States had produced a change of policy; thus bringing our party politics into our negotiations with a foreign power. The senate, therefore, rebuked Mr. Van Buren and ihe president, by rejecting his nomination on this occasion, by an equal vote of the senators, and the casting vote of the vice-president (Mr. Calhoun).
I regret that I find myself utterly unable to reconcile with the duty I owe to my country a vole in favor of this nomination. I regret it, because in all the past strife of party the relations of ordinary civility and courtesy were never interrupted between the gentleman whose name is before us and myself. But I regard my obligations to the people of the United States, and to the honor and character of their government, as paramount to every private consideration. There was no necessity known to us for the departure of this gentleman from the United States, prior to the submission of his name to the senate. Great Britain was represented here by a diplomatic agent, having no higher rank ihan that of a chargé des affaires. We were represented in England by one of equal rank; one who had shed lustre upon his country by his high literary character, and of whom it may be justly said, that in no respect was he inferior to the gentleman before us. Although I shall not controvert the right of the president, in an extraordinary case, to send abroad a public minister without the advice and
consent of the senate, I do not admit that it ever ought to be done without the existence of some special cause, to be communicated to the senate. We have received no communication of the exist. ence of any such special cause. This view of the matter inight not have been suilicient alone to justify a rejection of this noini. nation; but it is sullicient to authorize us to examine the subject with as perfect freedom as we could have done if the minister had remained in the United States, and awaited the decision of the senate. I consider myself, therefore, not cominitted by the separate and unadvised act of the president in despatching Mr. Van Buren in the vacation of the senate, and not a very long time before it was to assemble.
My main objection to the confirmation of his appointment arises out of his instructions to the late minister of the United States at the court of Great Britain. The aitention of the senate has been already called to parts of those instructions, but there are other parts of them, in my opinion, highly reprehensible. Speaking of the colonial question, he says, “in reviewing the events which have preceded, and more or less contributed, 10 a result so much to be regretted, there will be found three grounds, on which we are most assailable. First, in our tvo long and too tenaciously resisting the right of Great Britain to impose protecting duties in her colonies.'
* • And, thirdly, in omitting to accept the terms offered by the act of parliament of July, 1825, aster the subject had been brought before congress, and deliberately acted upon by our government.
You will, therefore, see the propriety of possessing yourself of all the explanatory and mitigating circumstances connected with them, that you may be enabled to obviate, as far as practicable, the unfavorable impression which they have produced.' And after reproaching the late administration with setting up claims for the first time, which they explicitly abandoned, he says, in conclusion, I will add nothing as to the impropriety of suffering any feelings, that find their origin in the past pretensions of this government, to have adverse influence upon the present conduct of Great Britain.'
On our side, according to Mr. Van Buren, all was wrong; on the British side, all was right. We brought forward noihing but claims and pretensions. The British government asserted, on the other hand, a clear and incontestable right. We erred in too tenaciously and too long insisting upon our pretensions, and not yielding at once to the force of their just demands. And Mr. McLane was commanded to avail himself of all ihe circumstances in his power to mitigate our offence, and to dissuade the British government from allowing their feelings, justly incurred by the past conduct of the party driven from power, to have an adverse inquence towards the American party now in power. Sir, was this becoming language froin one independent nation to another?
Was it proper, in the mouth of an American minister ? Was it in conformity with the high, unsullied, and dignified character of our previous diplomacy? Was it not, on the contrary, the language of an humble vassal to a proud and haughty lord? Was it not prostrating and degrading the American eagle before the British lion ?
Let us examine a little those pretensions which the American government so unjustly put forward, and so pertinaciously maintain. The American government contended, that the produce of the United States ought to be admitted into the British West Indies, on the same terms as similar produce of the British American continental possessions; that without this equality our produce could not maintain in the British West Indies a fair competition with the produce of Canada, and that British preference given to the Canadian produce in the West Indies would draw from the western part of New York, and the northern part of Ohio, American produce into Canada, aggrandizing Montreal and Quebec, and giving employment to British shipping, to the prejudice of the canals of New York, the port of New York, and American shipping.
This was the offence of the American government, and we are at this moment realizing the evils which it foresaw. Our produce is passing into Canada, enriching her capitals, and nourishing British navigation. Our own wheat is transported from the western part of New York into Canada, there manufactured, and then transported in British ships in the form of Canadian flour. are thus deprived of the privilege even of manufacturing our own grain. And when the produce of the United States, shipped from the Atlantic ports, arrives at the British West Indies, it is unable, in consequence of the heavy duties with which most of it is burdened, to sustain a competition with British or colonial produce, freely admitted.
The general rule may be admitted, that every nation has a right to favor its own productions, by protecting duties, or other regulations; but, like all general rules, it must have its exceptions. And the relation in which Great Britain stands to her continental and West India colonies, from which she is separated by a vast sea, and the relations in which the United States stand to those colonies, some of which are in juxtaposition with them, constitute a fit case for such an exception.
It is true, that the late administration did authorize Mr. Gallatin to treat with Great Britain on the basis of the rule which has been stated, but it was with the express understanding, that some competent provision should be made in the treaty to guard against the British monopoly of the transportation of our own produce passing through Canada. Mr. Gallatin was informed, that the United States consent to the demand which they have heretofore
made of the admission of their productions into British colonies, at the same and no higher rate of duty as similar productions are chargeable with when imported from one into another British colony; with the excception of our produce descending the St. Lawrence and the Sorell.'
There was no abandonment of our right, no condemnnation of the previous conduct of our government, no humiliating admission, that we had put forth and too tenaciously clung to unsustainable pretensions, and that Great Britain had all along been in the right
. We only forebore for the present to assert a right, leaving ourselves at liberty subsequently to resume it. What Mr. Gallatin was authorized to do was, to make a temporary concession, and it was proposed with this preliminary annunciation. “But, notwithstanding on a full consideration of the whole subject, the president, anxious to give a strong proof to Great Britain of the desire of the government of the United States to arrange this long contested matter of the colonial intercourse in a manner mutually satisfactory, authorizes you,' &c. And Mr. Gallatin was required to endeavor to make a lively impression on the British government of the conciliatory spirit of that of the United States, which has dictated the present liberal offer, and of their expectation to meet, in the progress of the negotiations, with a corresponding friendly disposition.'
Now, sír, keeping sight of the object which the late secretary of state had in view, the opening of the trade with the British colonies, which was the best mode to accomplish it - to send our minister to prostrate himself as a suppliant before the British throne, and to say to the British king, we have offended your majesty! the late American administration brought forward pretensions which we cannot sustain, and they too long and too tenaciously adhered to them! your majesty was always in the right; but we hope that your majesty will be graciously pleased to recollect, that it was not we who are now in possession of the American power, but those who have been expelled from it, that wronged your majesty, and that we, when out of power, were on the side of your majesty; and we do humbly pray, that your majesty, taking all mitigating circumstances into consideration, will graciously condescend to extend to us the privileges of the British act of parliament of 1925, and to grant us the boon of a trade with your majesty's West India colonies-or to have presented himself before the British monarch in the manly and dignified attitude of a minister of this republic, and, abstaining from all condemnation or animadversion upon the past conduct of his own government, to have placed the withdrawal of our former demand upon the ground of concession in a spirit of amity and compromise?
But the late secretary of state, the appointed organ of the Amer. ican people to vindicate their rights with all foreign powers, and to