to him, repealed and wiped off from the statute-book.
The next evil that my friend complained of was the Tariff.
Well, let us look at that for a moment.
About the time I commenced noticing public matters, this question was agitating the country almost as fearfully as the slave question now is. In 1832, when I was in college, South Carolina
was ready to nullify or secede from the Union
on this account.
And what have we seen?
The Tariff no longer distracts the public councils.
Reason has triumphed I The present Tariff was voted for by Massachusetts
and South Carolina
The lion and the lamb lay down together — every man in the Senate and House from Massachusetts
and South Carolina
, I think, voted for it, as did my honorable friend himself.
And if it be true, to use the figure of speech of my honorable friend, that every man in the North
that works in iron and brass and wood has his muscle strengthened by the protection of the Government
, that stimulant was given by his vote, and I believe every other Southern man. So we ought not to complain of that.
--The tariff assessed the duties.
--Yes, and Massachusetts
with unanimity voted with the South
to lessen them, and they were made just as low as Southern men asked them to be, and that is the rates they are now at. If reason and argument, with experience, produced such changes in the sentiments of Massachusetts
from 1832 to 1857, on the subject of the Tariff, may not like changes be effected there by the same means — reason and argument, and appeals to patriotism on the present vexed question; and who can say that by 1875 or 1890 Massachusetts
may not vote with South Carolina
upon all those questions that now distract the country, and threaten its peace and existence.
I believe in the power and efficiency of truth, in the omnipotence of truth, and its ultimate triumph when properly wielded.
Another matter of grievance alluded to by my honorable friend was the navigation laws.
This policy was also commenced under the Administration of one of these Southern Presidents
who ruled so well, and has been continued through all of them since.
The gentleman's views of the policy of these laws and my own do not disagree.
We occupied the same ground in relation to them in Congress.
It is not my purpose to defend them now. But it is proper to state some matters connected with their origin.
One of the objects was to build up a commercial American marine by giving American bottoms the exclusive carrying trade between our own ports.
This is a great arm of national power.
This object was accomplished.
We have now an amount of shipping, not only coastwise, but to foreign countries, which puts us in the front rank of the nations of the world.
can no longer be styled the Mistress
of the Seas
What American is not proud of the result?
Whether those laws should be continued is another question.
But one thing is certain: no President
, Northern or Southern, has ever yet recommended their repeal.
And my friend's efforts to get them repealed were met with but little favor, North or South.
These, then, were the true main grievances or grounds of complaint against the general system of our Government and its workings — I mean the administration of the Federal Government
As to the acts of the Federal States
, I shall speak presently, but these three were the main ones used against the common head.
Now, suppose it be admitted that all of these are evils in the system, do they overbalance and outweigh the advantages and great good which this same Government affords in a thousand innumerable ways that cannot be estimated?
Have we not at the South
, as well as the North
, grown great, prosperous, and happy under its operation?
Has any part of the world ever shown such rapid progress in the development of wealth, and all the material resources of national power and greatness, as the Southern States
have under the General Government
, notwithstanding all its defects?
--In spite of it.
--My honorable friend says we have, in spite of the General Government
; that without it I suppose he thinks we might have done as well, or perhaps better, than we have done this in spite of it. That may be, and it may not be; but the great fact that we have grown great and powerful under the Government
as it exists, there is no conjecture or speculation about that; it stands out bold, high, and prominent like your Stone Mountain
, to which the gentleman alluded in illustrating home facts in his record — this great fact of our unrivalled prosperity in the Union
as it is admitted; whether all this is in spite of the Government
— whether we of the South
would have been better off without the Government
— is, to say the least, problematical.
On the one side we can only put the fact against speculation and conjecture on the other.
But even as a question of speculation I differ with my distinguished friend.
What we would have lost in border wars without the Union
, or what we have gained simply by the peace it has secured, no estimate can be made of. Our foreign trade, which is the foundation of all our prosperity, has the protection of the navy, which drove the pirates from the waters near our coast, where they had been buccaneering for centuries before, and might have been still had it not!been for the American Navy
under the command of such spirits as Commodore Porter
Now that the coast is clear, that our commerce flows freely outwardly, we cannot well estimate how it would have been under other circumstances.
The influence of the Government
on us is like