William Smith.

Speech of the Hon, William Smith, delivered on Monday, August 1, 1931 online

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OH l&OtfDAY, AUGUST 1, 1831,





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ON the first Monday in August, upwards of 1,500 citizens of
Spartanburg District, assembled at this village for the purpose
of expressing, by Resolutions, their decided opposition to the
doctrine of "Nullification," now so vehemently urged upon the
public mind by a certain portion of our politicans.

The assemblage was so great that they had to retire to a plea-
sant grove, adjacent to the village, where they were addressed
in succession by H. H. Thompson, Esq. of Spartanburg Dis-
trict, by Judge Smith of York District, and by Honorable W*
T* Nuckolls, of Union District,


FELLOW-CITIZENS,— I have not come here by the invita-
tion of your Committee of Arrangement, nor by the invitation
of any other citizen of your District. I heard ot your intended
meeting and its object, and have volunteered my attendance ; and
by your indulgence have been called upon to address you. I an,
for'that purpose, and have no hesitation to avow it. I had bee
associated with you in various political relations. I had for;
merly presided in your Courts. I had been your Senator n th
Congress of the United States. I am now, and have been fo.
more than forty years ago, associated with you in the same Con
gressional Election District. These I calculated, as I hay,
found it, would shield me from the imputation of an intrude!
But I ea dilated on another reason, a little stronger still, to sh.eh
me from that imputation. I believed that there existed betwee,
™ . kindred sympathy for the safety of our country, and a du
position to co-operate in the best means to preserve our happ;
Union and I came, not under a belief that I could pour out
Union, ami j. •-<"■"=, , m n ds captive, o

inrrent of eloquence, b) wnicn 10 ieau ;»«■ r >

prostrate you? reasoning faculties, and prose yte you to ne

ndunheadof doctrines; but I came, my fellow-citizens, t
m"„ "le my humble voice with yours, in deprecating the .leva.
S doctrine of "Nullification," now stalking through yo»
lounfry, d squlting the peaceful repose of your honest citizens
and f not an-ested by the good sense of our f ^° n < "
„;.,- mrst inevitably produce a dissolution of the Union, or
"ate of civil war To reflecting minds these alternatives pr.

SC ffta" NuUificalton first made its appearance among us, it w
no i a spirit of conciliation and respect for the honest opinio,
of others but it bursted .forth with nny.e ding intolerance ar
t advocates have assume*, with unwearied coldness, the do
trines which they taught Cue people to contemn ; have usurp,
v HI see in- earnestness the very characters winch they bran,
Id wth reproach ; and with an unusual self-eomplaseney to
eo. win ai ' virtuous appellation that marks t!

taken to themselves every " dres? _inthisborrd^

natriot and the statesman. inuiisii.»«"» a
11 mole they have slept in our path, and cry out, "follow ,
Follow us! amiall will be well ;" at the same time unblushing



denouncing erafy man^vho refuses to embrace the new political
faith, as a submission mdf^—a coward — a federalist — a tory —
an advocate for non-resistance and perfect obedience, or some
such reproachful epithet calculated to force him into their ranks
to escape their scourge, or to disgrace him, and render any ar-
guments he might offer against "nullification" unavailing, and
a thousand other misrepresentations — in the division of which
they have heaped on myself, with an unsparing hand, characters
and epithets which never belonged to me, to which I have al-
ways acted in direct opposition, and which they had but just
shaken from their own shoulders.

Had nullification slumbered, where its advocates left it after
the proposition for Convention had failed, I should cheerfully
have permitted those misrepresentations and calumnies to have
slept with it. But unfortunately for the repose of this commu-
nity, it has recently been revived with renovated vigor. Their
public speakers are abroad — convention is no longer spoken of,
but nullification is loudly proclaimed. As I cannot subscribe to
doctrines which I conceive to be fraught with consequences so
disastrous to this Union, I only desire, by bringing to view those
unwarrantable attacks, to call the attention of a liberal communi-
ty to what may happen in future. And should I communicate
any thing upon this important question, they may give to it such
consideration as it may. claim, and not permit it to be lost in
calumny and reproach.

I lay no claim to infallibility — I ask no exemption from just
remarks ; on the contrary, I acknowledge that men in public
stations are justly subject to public animadversions, whensoever
they permit themselves to indulge in maintaining and inculcating,
at different periods, different political creeds upon the same po-
litical subject. It holds in check the wily and ambitious politi-
cian, and corrects the errors of the honest statesman. But when
a public man's conduct is called in question it ought to be sup-
ported by facts, not by assertions of men who have no regard
for fair dealing.

There are several statesmen among us who have been amonor
your most decided Tariff and Internal Improvement men. They
were the first to concede the power to the General Government
3ver the Tariff and Internal Improvement, and certainly the first
;o propose nullification as a means of regaining it by the States.
[ intend to bring to public view their distinct opinions as given
jy themselves on both sides. I shall do it respectfully, because
hev are held up both at public festivals and in legislative
speeches, as illustrious examples for our imitation in. the nullifi-
cation doctrine.

The statesmen, to whom I allude, arc the Vice President, Cal-
loun. the Hon. George MTKiffie, Governor Hamilton, General

"Robert Y. Haync, and Governor Miller. They are uniformly
toasted together on all public occasions, as the great men of the
nation. Mr. IT. L. Pinkney in his legislative speech on nullifi-
tion, during last winter, triumphantly exclaims: "If I err, I have
the consolation, at all events, to know, that I am with many of
our purest patriots and most distinguished statesmen. With
Mr. Calhoun — with Mr. M'Duffie — with Mr. Hamilton, and with
Mr. Miller." — [See his Speech, public debates, page 122.]

I mean to oiler nothing but fair extracts from their own printed
speeches, and their own printed books, written by themselves, and
their own votes as recorded in the Journals of Congress, or from
the most authentic sources. I will, in all cases, give the authority
where the extracts are to be found, by which any person may ad-
vert to the original, and examine the whole doctrine for himself.
This will be doing them complete justice, and of which I am sure
they will not complain. And as they are so often referred to
•as political guides to lead us through this "mazy dance," if it
can be clearly demonstrated that they have been mistaken them-
selves, and have distrusted their own first and long entertained
-opinions, and have totally abandoned them, and assumed new
opinions directly opposite, whatever distinctions they may other-
wise have attained, they certainly have no claims as distinguish-
ed (juides.

Before I go into a detailed history of the Tariff and Internal
Improvement principles of those gentlem :n, permit me, without
entering upon a formal self-defence, to give my own creed upon
the same subject. I cannot do it letter t-han by repeating what
I have constantly repeated, and what I have uniformly declared:
That I have been an unceasing advocate for abolishing all pro-
tecting duties, on whatsoever laid* and in whatsoever state they
may operate. That I have been unceasingly opposed to the In-
ternal Improvement system in all its forms. I have been so op-
posed, because I most conscieniiously believed them both to be
unconstitutional, and in their operation unequal, therefore un-
just, and peculiarly oppressive to th„ Southern States, without
affording those States any of the benefits intended to flow from
< item of policy. And, furthermore, because I saw in that
policy the degradation of my country. I commenced my opposi-
tion to Internal Improeement with my first political breath. I
opposed the famous "Bonus Bill," in my maiden spekch, within
three weeks after I entered the Senate. I commenced my op-
position to the Tariff the next session thereafter, on a pr opposi-
tion to lay an additional duty on Iron. I have preserved with
ardour in that opposition tip to the present moment.

I have served ten years in the Legislature of the State, and I
have served twelve years in the Senate of the United States,
and without fear of contradiction I assert, they cannot prod^po


one instanee in which I have given different votes on the same
subject at different times — yet the constant slang of the nullify-
ing gentlemen, is, that I have abandoned my former principles
and become a Tariff man.

Their change of opinion cannot be better illustrated than by
comparing the opinions they have respectfully held an:l acted
upon at one period, with the opinions they have held and acted
upon at another period, upon the same subject, the subject of the
Tariff and Internal Improvement. When I shall have done this,
I shall have done all I have promised to do. It will remain for
others to account to the people for their mutations.

Mr. Calhoun, after the bill which laid the foundation of the
Tariff of 181G, had been fully discussed by other gentlemen,
made a speech in support of it, from which the following is an

"The debate heretofore on this subject has been on the degree
"of protection which ought to be afforded to our cotton and wool-
len manufacturers. He regretted much his want of prepara-
tion. But whatever his arguments might want on that account
"in weight, he hoped might be made up in the disinterestedness
"of his situation. He was no manufacturer; he was not from
"that portion of our country supposed to be peculiarly interest-
ed. Coming, as he did, from the South ; having, in common
"with his immediate constituents, no interest but in the culti-
vation of the soil, in selling its products high, and buying cheap
"the wants and conveniencies of life, no motives could be attri-
"buted to him, but such as were disinterested." — [Sec his Speech,
Nat. Int. 22d April, 1816.

Mr. Calhoun continued to be the unwavering advocate of a
protecting Tariff until 1828, four years after the Tariff of 1834,
which fixed the system upon us. He then spoke freely of nul-
lification, and the repeal of the 25th section of the act of 17$?,
and of deciding the constitutionality of the Tariff laws by the
verdict of a jury, on the revenue bonds ; and in the autumn of
that year, he wrote his famous "Exposition," which gave the
first impulse to nullification. The following are extracts from it:
"The government has no mines. Some one must bear the
"burdens of its support. This unequal lot is ours. We are the
"serfs of the system, out of whose labour is raised not only the
"money that is paid into the Treasury, but the funds out of
"which are drawn the rich reward of the manufacturer and his
"associates in interest. The encouragement is our discourage-
men." — [Exposition, page 11.

"Manufactures fostered, the former will find a ready market


-'For his surplus produce, and, what is aimost of equal conse-
quence, 'a certain and cheap supply of ail his wants. Thus
"situated, the storm may beat without, but within all may be
"quiet and safe. To give perfection to this state of things, it
"will be necessary to add, as soon as possible, a system of In-
eternal Improvement. But it lias been objected, that the conn-
"try is not prepared for manufacturing, and that the result of
"our premature exertion would be to bring distress on it, with-
"out effecting the intended object. But he coucd not for a mo-
"ment yield to the assertion — on the contrary, he firmly believed
"that the country is prepared, even to maturity, for the intro-
"duction of manufactures. It will introduce a new era in our
"affairs, in many respects highly advantageous, and ought to be
"countenanced by the government." — [His Speech, IS at. Intel.
2'2d April, 1816.

"Their object in the Tariff is to keep down foreign competition,
"in order to obtain a monopoly of the domestic market. The
"effect on us is to compel us to purchase, at a high price, both
"what we purchase from them and from others, without receiv-
ing a corresponding increase of price from what we sell." —
[His Exposition, pa ge li.

"We already see indications of the commencement of a com-
"mercial warfare, the termination of which cannot be conjectur-
"ed, though our fate may easily be. The last remains of our
"great and once flourishing agriculture, must be annihilated in
"the conflict." — [Exposition, page 12.


"But it will no doubt be said, if manufactures are so far es-
tablished, and if the situation of the country is so favorable to
"their growth, where is the necessity of affording them protec-
tion. It is 'o put them beyond the reach of contingency." — [See
Nat. Int. 2M April, 1816.


"It has already been proved that our contribution through the
"Custom House to the Treasury of the Union amounts annually
"to $16,658,000, which leads to the enquiry, what becomes of
"the amount of the products of our labor, placed by the opera-
"tion of the system at the disposal of Congress. One point is
"certain, a very small share returns to us, out of whose labor it
"is extracted." — [Exposition, page 14.


"Besides, circumstances, if we act with wisdom, are favorable
"to attract to our country much skill and industry. The coun-
"try in Europe, having the most skilful workmen, is broken up.
"It is to us, if wisely used, more valuable than the repeal of the
"edict of Nantz was to England. She had the prudence to profit


"by it: let us not discover less political sagacity. Afford to in-
"genuity immediate and ample protection, and they will -not -
"fail to give a preference to this free and happy country." — [See
Nat. Int. Z'M April, 1810.

MR. CALII017N IN 1828.

"Our very complant is that we are not permitted to consume
":he fruits of our labour ; but through an. artful and complex sys-
tem, in violation of every principle of justice they are transfer-
red from us to others.'"— Exposition, page 15.

"Manufacture? produced an interest strictly American, as
"much so as agriculture^ in which it had the decided advantage
"of commerce and navigation. The country, from this will de-
rive much advantage."— [See Nat. Int. ZM April, 1816.

"But the existence of the right of judging of their powers,
"clearly established from the sovereignty of the States, as clear-
"7y implies a veto, or control on the action of the General Gov-
"ernment on contested points of authority ; and this very con-
trol is the remedy which the constitution has provided to pre-
"vent the encroachment on the reserved right of the Stales."—

\ Exposition, page 30.

"Again, it is calculated to bind together more closely our wide-
ly spread republic. It will greatly increase our mutual de-
pendence and intercourse ; and will, as a necessary conse-
"ouence, excite an increased attention to Internal Jmprove-
"ment, a subject every way so intimately connected with the ul-
timate attainment of our national strength and the perfection
"of our political institutions. He regarded the fact that it would
"make the parts adhere more closely, that it would form a new
"and most powerful cement, far out weighing political cbjec-
"tions that might be urged against the system."— [See Nat. Int.

22i April, 1816.

"The co itinuance of this unhuppp state must end in the loss
"of all affection, leaving the government to be sustained by force
"instead of patriotism. In fact, to him who will duly reflect, it
"must be apparent, that where there ore important separate in-
terest to preserve, there is no alternative but a veto or military
"force."— [Sec Exposition, page 56.

* I have given Mr. Calhoun's opinions of 1810 and ot lfcWS— a
paragraph from the one, and a paragraph from the other, alter-
natly { and assuredly they are as opposite as it is possible
forooiuionstobe— and here I will leave him for the present,
and examine his votes upon the Tariff whilst he was a member
of our Confess, in 1816. It has been said by Mr. Calhoun s


friends, that the Tariff of 1816 was not a Tatiff of protection

bat to reduce the duties which were laid to support the war.—
His votes will prove that his object was to increase the dudes,
and that for the express purpose of raising up the "American'
System" in favor of the manufacturers.

The duty on salt was intirely a war duty. Previous to the
war salt paid no duty. la 181(5, more than a year after the war
terminated, Mr. Calhoun voted:

"To continue in force the act laying a duty on imported salt ;
"granting a bounty on picket fish exported", and allowances to'
"certain vessels employed in the fisheries." — [See Jour. II. R.
1st Session, \4tk Congress, page 188.

An amendment was proposed,' by the committee of the whole,
to reduce the duty on iron in bars and bolts from seventy-live
cents per hundred weight to forty-five cents.

"Mr. Calhoun voted against reducing the duty, and left it
"seventy-five cents, instead of forty-five cents," which has since
increase.! to one hundred and seventy-five cents per hundred.—
[Jour. II. R. 1st Session, ]4th Congress, page 582.

It was proposed to amend the bill by reducing the duty on
brown sugar from four cents per pound to two cents per pound.
"Mr. Calhoun voted for the four cents per pound instead of
"two cents per pound."— [Jour. II. R. 1st Sess. 14th Congress
page 58 1. °

It was then proposed by Mr. Huger, (S. C.) to reduce the duty
on woollen manufactures from. twenty-five cents to twenty cents

"Mr. Calhoun voted for twenty-five cents duty in preference
"to twenty cents."— Journ. IL it. Ut.Sess. Uth Con. pagetiM.
Mr. Calhoun voted to increase the duties on salt,' iron and
brown sugar, and on coarse woollen and coarse cotton (roods,
and voted for the final passage of the bill, with all its burdens
The effect of the Internal Improvement in keeping U r) the
Tariff, is but little understood. The Tariff will 'give way 'at
once, if you could put an end to Internal Improvement. It "is a
fact not to be doubted, that no m mey whatever, but the neces-
sary expenditures of the government, except what is expended
for making roads and canals, is derived from the Tariff. Mr.
Calhoun has silently passed over this subject in his "Expositia
pr. M'Duffie, his friend, lias said, that Internal Improvement
was first proposed as a system,, by Mr. Calhoun. Mr. Calhoun
laid its foundation in his speech on the Tariff of 1816. He there
connected their fortunes together, and made Internal Improve-
ment to depend on the Tariff. And at the next, succeeding Ses-
sion of Congress he made Hie folllowing motion:

"That a committee be appointed to enquire into the expedi-


«encv of setting apart the Bonus, and the nett annual profits ot
"the National Bank, as a permanent fund for Internal Improve-
«ment."-J<m™. H. K. 2d Sess. 14th Congress, page 73. _

Shortly after, he reported a hill to that effect When this bill
came up for consideration, considerable debate ensued. The
following are extracts from Mr. Calhoun's speech on that bil .

«Uw!s mainly urged that the Congress can only apply the
"public money in execution of the enumerated powers. He was
"no advocate for refined arguments on the Constitution, I he
'instrument was not intended as a thesis for the logician to
"exercise his ingenuity on. It ought to be con.tn.ed ^n* l plain
"o-ood sense ; and what can be more express than the Constitu-
tion on thisVery point! The first power delegated to Congrc^
"i, comprised in these words: "to lay and collect taxes, duties,
"imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and proptde for he
"common defence and general welfare of the United States. -
Mils Speech, N. L 2U Feb. 1817. .*.-,, e

I "Uninfluenced by any other considerations than love of conn-
"try said he, let us add this to the many useful measures rf-
"readv adopted. The money cannot be appropriated to a more
"exalted use."— [His Speech, N. L 22d Feb. Ibl7.

At the session that Mr. Calhoun brought in this bill, to appro-
priate the Bonus of the Bank of the United States, amounting to

II 500,000, and the proceeds of that Bank, arising from $7,000,-
000 of capital, owned by government, to Internal Improvement
at that same session he voted against the repeal of the internal
duties, and among the reasons which he assigned, ma- public
speech, was, that "the money arising from that tax could not be
soared from the making of roads and canals. And he actually
Lent an od on tax upon stills, winch fell for the most part on
poo men, who occasionally made a little money from their own
snare -rain, to enable him to make roads and canals lor other
States.— [See his Speech in Congress against repealing Inter-
<nnl Duties Nat. Int. l\th April 181(5.

ille £ afthe same session, voted against reducing the duty
"on brown sugar from three cents to one cent and a half per
"nnnnd for the same reason, the money could not be spared
4om roads and canab."-[S« Jour. II. R. 2d Sess. Uth Con.

T X. Sison'ntS'tived Mr. Calhoun', famous Bonus Bill bj
cause it was a direct viola ion of the Constitution, winch so
much disappointed Mr. Calhoun in his favorite scheme , of ex-
pending the public money, that he made a road of his own ac
cord which cost the government $10,000, and of which the
Zernment knew nothing until he applied to Congress to ap-
propriate the money for his benefit. Indeed these were but the
beginnings of Mr. Calhoun's road and canal career. At the lat-


ier end of ins Secretaryship, he ordered more surreys than th<
whole revenue of the United States would accomplish in fort\
years. — [Sec Jour. H. R. 2d Sess. I4.lh Con. 537 — See State pa-
pers, 2d Sess. \Sth Con. Doc. No. 32 — also, 2d Sess. IQlh Con.
Doc. No. 19.

I will give Mr. M'Duffic's opinions also, alternatively, and in
rotation, according to their respective dates.

Mr. M'Duffie in 1821, after he had been elected a member of
Congress, wrote a number of essays in support jf the powers of
the General Government, and against the powers of the State
Governments. In which he seems to have given up all power
to the General Government, and considered the States as merely
tributary without possessing any sort of power themselves. In
which he has maintained some most extraordinary Doctrines.
From the principles which Mr. M'Duffie has there broadly laid
down, he has not only surrendered to the Federal Government
full powers over the Tariff and Internal Improvement systems,
but every other system over which Congress might choose to
exercise control, regardless of the reserved Rights, or any oihe,
Rights. He wrote those essays in answer to certain numbers
which had been previously published in a Georgia paper under
the signature of " Trio."

The " Trio" held that the General Government was establish-
ed by the States, and not by the people. A doctrine now usur-
ped by the advocates of Nullification. Mr. M'Duffie boldly con-
tends against that theory, and goes to prove that it was estab-
lished by the people, themselves, and that the States have no
control over it. He sets out by saying:

" The General Government is truly the government of the
" whole people, as a State Government is of part of the people.
" Its constitution in the language of its preambles was ordained
"and established by "the people of the United States." His
" One of the People, page 1.

"The State Governments, too, are the absolute creatures of
" the people, and have no political powers not delegated to them

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Online LibraryWilliam SmithSpeech of the Hon, William Smith, delivered on Monday, August 1, 1931 → online text (page 1 of 6)