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Admission of Michigan.
(Jax. 3, 1837.
ter nor worse.
late Territory of Michigan in similar cases. The result
The subsequent proceedings of the convention. Although has been a decided expression of the voice of a majority it was not necessary to give them validity, yet it would of the people, approbatory of the resolution enclosed.”
not destroy them. It could neither make the case bet. Is there any doubt of this " decided expression of the
I am confident it mght be demonstrated voice of the majority of the people?". Can any Senator that the people of Michigan, under the act of Congress, upon this fluor question it! Has there been a single had the power to make a second trial, upon a failure of memorial, or even a single private letter produced, callo the first; but as this point has not been contested by the ing it in question? Nay, more: has a single voice been Senator, I shall not enter spon its discussion. raised in Michigan against entering the Union on the
I now come, Mr. President, to speak upon subjects terms proposed? Not one, to our knowledge.
concerning which I should gladly be silent. The in. if it were necessary to place the claims of Michigan ternal concerns of the States should never be introduced upon other grounds, it might be done with great force.
upon this floor when it can be avoided; but the Senalors Suppose we were to admit that their proceedings liad
from South Carolina (Mr. Calhoun) and Ohio (Mr. Mog. been irregular, ought thal to exclude her from the U.
BI8] have thought differently, and have rendered it ne. iun? On ihis subject we ought to act Ike stalesmen ac. quainted with the history of our own country. We oughe cessary for me to make some observations in reply.
First, then, I would ask, what possible connexion can not to apply the rigidrules of abstract political science too
be imagined between the conduct of the Senatorial elec. rigorously to such cases. It has been our practice here.
tors of Maryland, who refused to execute a trust for tofore to treat oor infant Terrilories with paternal care,
which they were elected, and that of the people of to nurse them with kindness, and, when they had attaili
Michigan, who chose delegates to a convention upon the ed the age of manhood, to admit them into the family express invitation of an act of Congress? The Mary. without requiring from them a rigid adherence to forms.
land electors refused to perform their duty under the The great questions to be decided are, do they contain
Siale constitution; but the people of Michigan did gire a sufficient population? have they adopted a republican their assent to the condition which we had prescribed to constitution and are they willing to enter the Union up them, and upon which alone they could enter the Union. on the terms which we propose? If so, all the prelimi. There is as greit a difference between the two cases as nary proceedings have been considered but mere forms,
“between a hawk and a handsaw." Standing here as which we have waived in repeated instances. They are
Senator, I liave no right to pronounce judgment upon bui the scaffolding of the building, which is of no fur.
the conduct of these eicciora. They are responsible to ther use after the edifice is complete. We have pursued the people of the State of Maryland, not to me. this course in regard to Tennessee, to Arkansas, and
The other Maryland question, to which the Senator even t• Michigan. No Senator will pretend that their adverted, is one of a very different character. It in. Territorial Legislatures bad any right whatever to pass volves the decision of the imporlant principle whether, laws enabling itse people to eicct delegates to a conven. under a settled form of constilutional government, the tion for the purpose of forming a State constitution. Il people have a right to change that form in any other was an act of usurpation on their part. And yet we have in all these instances waived this objection, and ap: if i were to admit that they did not possess this power,
manner than the mode prescribed by the constitution. proved the constitution thus formed. We have admillel
still the Senator is as much of a revolutionist as myself. Tennessee and Arkansas into the Union, notwithstand
He admits that if the Legislature of Michigan had passed ing this objection, and I trust we shall pursue a similar
a law autorizing this convention, and fising the time course towards Michigan, especially as there can be no and place of its meeting, then its proceedings would doubt but that hier people have assented to our lerms of have been regular and valid. But who gave ihe Legis. donission.
lature of Michigan this authority? Is it contained in ihe The case of Missouri was a very strong one. Congress constitution of the State! That is not pretended. agreed to admit her into the Union upon the condition Whence, then, shall we derive it? How dees the Sena that her Legislature should substantially change a previo ator escape from this difficuliy! Upon his own princi. s on in her constitution touching a very delicate subjeci. I ples, it would have been a legislative usurpation; and Under her constitution the Legislature bad no power to yet, he says, if the Legislature had acted first, the con. m.ke this change; nor could it have been eifecied with vention would have been lield under competent au• cui a long and troublesome procese. But Congress cut thority. the gordian knot at once, and agreed to accept the en. Now, for my own part, I should not have objected to gagement of the Legislature as the voice of lic people, their action. It might have been convenient, it might We have never had any occasion to regret this disregard have been proper, for them to have recommended a par. of forms.
ticular day for holding the election of delegates and for The Senator from Orio (Mr. Ewing) has contended the meeting of the convention. But it is manifest that, as a that the second M chigan convention had no power to source of power to the convention, legislative action would assent, because the first convention which was held had have been absurd. The constitution of Michigan fisis refused.
the boundaries of the State. For this purpose, is refers (liere Mr. Ewing dissented.)
to the act of Congress of the 11th of January, 1805, esMr. B. I understood the Senalor to stale that, as the tablishing the Territory. How could these boundaries be first convention had di-sented, the power was spent, and changed!! !f in no other manner than that prescribed in a second could not be helj.
the constitution of Michigan, it would have been a ledicus (Mr. Ewisa said he had not touched this point.) and troublesome process, and would have delayed, for
Mr. B. s.sil, I should be glad if the Senator would re. at least two years, the admission of the Siate into the blüte bis position.
Union. First, such an amendment must have been sanc. (Sir. Ewiso said he had asked whether, if ile first tioned by a majority of the Senate and House of Repre. Convention had assented to the condition propcsed by sentatives. Then it must have been published for three The act of Congress, there would have been any objec. monilis. Alierwards it must have received the approa tion to this asst nt, because it had been called by virtue of balion of two thirds of both Houses of a Legislature sub. an act of the Legi-lature?)
sequently elected. And, after all these prerequisites, it Jiri B. suiil, certainly not. It never could have been must have been submit ed to a role of ibe prople, for cuintended that this act of the Legislaiure had vitialed their ratification. It was to avoid these very difficulties unminus iute, the ineasure which the Senator nixiliat the ginate, at their last session, adopleid, by a
Jan. 3, 1837.]
Admission of Michigan.
unanimous vote the measure which the Senator now in Pennsylvania, and we are justly jealous of foreign in calls revolutionary, referred the decision of the question terserence. This is not the proper forum in which directly to the sovereign people of Michigan in their either to argue or decide the Pennsylvania bank ques. primary capacity. Then was the appropriate moment tion; and I call upon the whole Senate to bear me wit. for the Senator to have objected to this course; that was ness, that nothing but necessity compels me to speak the occasion on which to convince us that this was an un here of the subject. The letter of Mr. Dallas has been constitutional and lawless proceeding. He suffered the denounced by the Senator from Ohio as incendiary, as precious moment to escape, and it is now too late to tell revolutionary, and as calculated to excite the people to ile people of Michigan that they shall be punished by an rise up in rebellion against the laws. Would I not then be exclusion from the Union, because they thought proper recreant to my own character if I should not raise my to take us at our word. That would have been the voice in defence of a distinguished citizen of my own time to have inserted an amendment in the bill requiring State against such an unfounded assault? a previous act of the Legislature, prescribing the mode The letter of Mr. Dallas has been much and greatly of electing the delegates. But the Senator was then misrepresented. Garbled extracts from it have been silent upon this subject. There had then been no pro. published thro'ghont the whole country, without the ceedings in Maryland, such as he now calls revolutionary.context; and innumerable false commentaries have attrib. A word upon that subject. We are told in that sacred uted to him sentiments and opinions wholly at war with and venerated instrument which first proclaimed the its general tenor. In speaking upon this subject, 'I am rights of man to the world, that “ all experience hath fully sensible how liable I am myself to misrepresentation; shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while but I shall endeavor so plainly and clearly to present my evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing views, that at least they cannot be misunderstood by any the forms to which they are accustomed.” But suppose person present. the case of a State whose constitution, originally good, In the first place, then, Mr. Dallas never did assert bad, from the lapse of time, and from the changes in that the convention about to be held in Pennsylvania the population of different portions of its territory, be. will possess any power to violate the constitution of the come unequal and unjust. Suppose this inequality and United States. He never did maintain the proposition injustice to have gone to such an extent that the vital that this convention would be the final judge, and could principle of representative republics was destroyed, and decide, in the last resort, that its own decrees were no ihat the vote of a citizen in one county of the State was violation of that sacred instrument. Why, sir, such propequivalent to that of six citizens in another county. Sup. ositions woull be rank nullification; and al hough I pose that an equal disproportion existed between tax have never had the pleasure of being on intimate terms ation and representation, and that, under the organic with Mr. Dallas, I can venture to assert that he, in com. forms of the constitution, a minority could forever control mon with the people of Pennsylvania, is opposed to this the majority. Why, sir, even under such circumstances political heresy. For my own part, I can say, that I should bear with patience whilst hope remained. ! however mich I may admire the apostles of this new would solicit, I would urge the minority, I would appeal faith, their doctrines have never found favor in my eyes. to their sense of justice, to call a convention, under the No, sir; Mr. Dallas has expressly referred to the Suforms of the constitution, for the purpose of redressing preme Court of the United States as the tribunal which the grievances; but if, at last, I found they had deter must finally decide whether the convention possesses the mined to turn a deaf ear to all my entreaties, I should then power to repeal the banks charter. invoke the peaceable aid of the people, in their sover From what we have heard on this floor, it is manifest eign capacity, to remedy these evils. They are the that public opinion is greatly in error as to the princisuorce of all power; they are the righ ful authors of all ples of the anti-bank party in Pennsylvania. I profess constitutions. They are not forever to be shackled by to be a member of that party; and I now propose briefly their own servants, and compelled to submit to evils such to state their principles. If I should err in presenting as I have described, by the refusal of their own Legisla- theirs, I shall at least place my own beyond contradiction. ture to pass a law for holding a convention. Whoever The constitution of the United States declares Hat denies this position, condemns the principles of the dec “no State shall pass any law impairing the obligation of laration of independence and of the American Revolu contracts." This is a most wise and salutary provision; tion. There is not one of the old thirteen States whose may it be perpetual! It secures the private rights of Government was not called into existence upon these every citizen, and renders private contracts inviolable. very principles. It is now too late in the day, in our It imparts a sacred character to our titles to real estate, favored land, to contend that the people cannot change and it places the seal of absolute security upon the rights their forms of government at pleasure. The glorious of private property. experiment which we are trying in this country would Still the question remains, is a privilege granted by a prove a total failure, if we should now decide that the State Legislature to a corporation, for banking purposes, people, in no situation, and under no circumstances, can a contract, within the spirit and intention of the consei. hold a convention without the previous consent of their tution of the United States? In other words, is the au. own Legislature. It is not my province to say whether thority which the Legislature of Pennsylvania has given the proper time for this peaceful action of the sovereign io the Bank of the United States to create and circulate people, in their primary capacity, has yet arrived, or will a paper currency of thirty-five millions of dollars, irrev. ever arrive, in Maryland. That question may safely be ocable by any human power short of an amendment to left to them; but I feel no terrors, my fancy conjures up the federal constitution? My own convictions are clear no spectres from such doctrines as I have advanced. that such an act of legislation is not a contract, under the
I am exceedingly sorry that another topic has been in constitution. It is true that this instrumeni speaks of troduced into this debate by the Senator from Ohio, (Mr. “ contracts" in general terms; but there is no rule of MORRIS,) which, if possible, has still less connexion with construction better settled than that of restraining the the question before us than the recent conduct of the universality of general words, so as to confine their ap. senatorial electors of Maryland. The Senate will at plication to such cases as were exclusively within the in. once perceive that I refer to the letter of Mr. Dallas on tention of those by whom they were used. It would be the subject of the repeal of the bank charter. I regret useless to enumerate instances under this rule. Its ex. that this letter has become the subject of debate here. istence will not be denied by any. We are abundantly able to seltle all our local differences If, then, it can be made manifest that the framers of
Admission of Michigan.
(Jan. 3, 1837.
the constitution, by the use of the word “contracts," ed away forever at the pleasure of their own servants“ never could have intended to embrace the creation of This would be a doctrine utterly subversive of State such a bank by a State Legislature, then the question is rights and State sovereignty. decided. It would be an easy task for me to prove, Let me now illustrate these principles by a few exam. from the history of this provision, that its object was to ples. secure rights arising from private contracts; and that a The judges of the supreme court of several of the State bank charter was not within the contemplation of Stales hold their offices under the State constitutions. those by whom it was inserted. But I forbear. My sole They have abandoned the practice of a lucrative prosespurpose, at present, is to slate general principles. sion, and the State has entered into a solemn contract
I never can be imagined that lie sovereign States, with them that they shall hold their offices during good who are the parties to the federal constitution, intended, behaviour, and receive a fixed annual compensation, by this prohibition, to restrain themselves from the ex which shall not be diminished during their term of office. ercise of those great and essential powers of government Here is a solemn contract, founded on a valuable considwhich vitally affect ibe general interests of the people, eration; and yet, in all the changes which have been anel the laws regulating which must vary with the ever. made in the constitutions of the different States, it has varying changes in society. If they have been guilly of never, to my knowledge, been seriously contended that this absurdity, they have acted the part of suicides, and judges, under such circumstances, might not be remove Have voluntarily deprived themselves of the power of ed, or have the tenure or salary of their office entirely rendering the people under their charge prosperous and changed. This has been done in repeated instances. happy.
And why? Because, alihough this be a contract, it is Tihink, therefore, it may be stated as a general prop one not of a private, but of a public nature. It relates to osition, that the constitution of the United States, in the administration of justice, which is one of the most prohibiting the Legislatures of the respective States important concerns of Government; and the interest of from passing laws to impair the obligation of contracts, the individual judge must yield to that of the whole never intended 10 prevent the States from regulating, community. It is, therefore, not a contract within the according to their sovereign will and pleasure, the ad. meaning of the constitution of the United States. ministration of justice, their own internal commerce and Again: suppose the Legislature of a Stale should Traile, the assessment and collection of taxcs, the regula create a joint stock company, with a capital of thirty-five tion of the paper currency, and other general subjecis millions of dollars, and grant them the exclusive priviof legislation. If this be true, it follows, as a necessary lege of purchasing and vending all the cotton, the con-cquence, that if one Legislature should grant away flour, the iron, the coal, or any of the other great staples any of these general powers, either to corporations or to of the State which might seek a market in their comindividuals, such a grant may be resumed by their suc mercial metropolis, will any Senator contend that such a
Upon a contrary supposition, the legislative charter would be irrevocable? Must the great agriculpower might destroy itself
, and transfer its most impor: tural and manufacturing interests of the State, which tant lunctions forever to corporations. In the se general may have been thus sacrificed by the Legislature, re. principles I feel happy that I am sustained by the high main palsied by such an odious monopoly? Certainly authority of the late Chief Justice Marshall, in the cele. The next Legislature might repeal the obnoxious brated Dartmouth College case.—4 Wheaton, pages 627, law; because it concerned not private inte rests and pri629, 629, and 630.
vate property merely, but those great and leading inier. I shall not consume the time of ihe Senate in reading ests whiclo vitally affect the whole people of the State. the whole passage, but shall confine myself to the con No one can suppose that the constitution of the United clusion at which be arrives. Ile says: “If the act of States ever intended to consecrate such a charter. incorporation (of Dartmouth College] be a grant of po. Again: if the Legislature of a State should transfer to litical power; it it create a civil institution to be employ- a corporation, or to an individual, for a period of years, ed in ihe administration of the Government; or if the the power of collecting State taxes, and thus constitute funds of the college be public properly; or if the State | farmers-general of the revenue, as has been done in oth. of New Hampshire, as a Government, be alone interest er countries, would not ibis be a contract, in the lancd in its transactions, the subject is one in which the guage of Chief Justice Marshall, creating “a civil instiLegislature of the State may act according to its own tution to be employed in the administration of the Gov. judgment, unrestrained by any limitation of its power ernment,” and iberefore a "subject in which the Legis. imposed by ihe constitution of the United States." He lature of the State may act according to its own judga then proceeds to decide the case of Dartmouth College, ment, unrestrained by any limitation of its power impoon the principle that it is not a public, but a private sed by the constitution of the United Statesi" eleemosynary corporation, and, therefore, wilhin the Let us proceed a step further. One of the most essenprohibition contained in the constilution.
tial powers and duties of any modern Government is that flere, then, the principle is distinctly recogniseil, that of regulating the paper currency within its jurisdiction. if a corporation created by a State Legislature “be a This is emphatically the exercise of sovereignty, and is in grant of political power, if it create a civil institution to its nature a higli political power. It is scarcely second be employed in the administration of the Government,” in importance to ihe power of coining money; because then the charter may be altered or repealed at pleas. The paper circulation represents the current coin. This ure by the State Legislature. The distinct principle power is now exclusively possessed by the State Legis. clearly deducible from this opinion, as well as from the latures, whether rightfully, or not, it is too late to innature of our Government, is, that contracts made by a quire. By means of its exercise, they can raise or they Stale Legislature, whether with corporations or individ can sink the value of every man's property in the comuals, which transfer political power, and (lirectly affect munity. They can make the man who was poor yesterthe general administration of Government, are not such day, rich to day. They can elevate or depress the price contracts as the constitution intended to render invi of the necessaries of life and the wages of labor, accord. olable. In other words, although these contracts may ing to their pleasure. By crealing a redundant curren. be within its general words, they are not within its cy, they may depreciate ihe value of money to such a intent an.i pieaning: To declare that they were, would | degree as to ruin our manufactures, depress our agricul. be to say that the people had surrendered iheir dearest ture, and involve our people in rash and demoralizing rights into the keeping of the Legislature, to be barter. I speculations.
Jan. 3, 1837.)
Admission of Michigan.
What use bave these Legislatures made of this sover ments to the people, for their adoption or rejection. eign power? They have transferred it to a thousand They can place this question before the electors distinctState banks; they have yielded up all control over it; and, ly, and detached from all other amendments. Each cit. if the doctrine now contended for be correct, these izen, at the polls, will thus be enabled to vote upon the banks cannot be disturbed in the exercise of this attri single question, bank or nó bank. This is due to the bute of sovereign power by any human authority. They bank, as well as to the people. I need scarcely add that hold it under the sacred shield of the constitution of the no citizen of Pennsylvania with whom I have ever conUnited States. It is now deemed a matter of immense im. versed upon the subject entertains a doubt of the propri. portance to restrain the issue of small notes, and substi ety and justice of refunding the bonus which the bank tufe a specie circulation in their stead. But the banks can may have paid, with interest and damages sufficient to laligh you to scorn. The whole power of Congress, and place it in the very same situation it was when it received that of all the Legislatures of all the twenty-six States of its charter. This might properly be made a constituent this vast Union, cannot prohibit the circulation of notes of part of the question to be submitted to the people. a less denomination than five dollars. If this be the case, Thesc desirable objects could not be secured by means did ever so great an absurdity exist upon the face of the of a repeal by the Legislature. So many questions, both earth, under the Government of any people! Congress of a political and local character, influence the election have, by some means or other, lost the control over the of its members, that the friends of the bank might compaper currency of the country. The States, to whom it plain that the people had not sanctioned the repeal. I belongs, bave granted it to a thousand banking corpora. would, therefore, be sorry if necessity shoukl compel us lions; and, although the people of the States may change !o adopt this alternative as the only means left of trying and modify their fundamental institutions at pleasure, the question. yet this banking power remains unhurt amidst the gene. Again: should the bank appeal from the decision of ral wreck. If this be true, the people of the United the people of Pennsylvania in their sovereign capacity, States are completely at the mercy of these institutions. to the Supreme Court of the United States, the question The creature will give laws to the creator. But here will be presented before that tribunal in a more solemn the great and wise judge, and expounder of the consti- and imposing form than if the repeal should be accomtution, interposes for our relief. He declares that, “if plished by an ordinary act of legislation. The people of the act of incorporation be a grant of political power, the State of Pennsylvania, complaining that their legislathe subject is one in which the Legislature of the State tive servants had despoiled them of one of the highest may act according to its own judgment, unrestrained by attributes of an independent Commonwealth, and had any limitation of its power imposed by the constitution bartered away, for a period of thirty years, the political of ihe United States." Who doubts but that the power power which they enjoyed of regulating the paper cur. to regulate the paper currency of a country is, in its very rency within their own limits, would then be the party on nature, a political power?
the one side; and on the other, the Bank of the United Prom what I have said, the Senate will perceive that States, contending that the transfer of this power has there is no foundation whatever for the panic which has been irrevocaly made to it, under the sanction of the been excited lest the State might resume its grants of constitution of the United States. of the result I enter. land, might violate the rights of private property, or take lain not the slightest apprehension. Should it, how. what belongs to one man, and give it to another. The ever, be adverse, which Heaven forbid! I can tell the prohibition contained in the constitution of the United Senator from South Carolina (Mr. Calhoun] that wo States clearly embraces these cases.
shall never resort to nullification as the rightful remedy. It is not my intention here to discuss eillier the meriis Thus, sir, I have been drawn into a discussion utterly or demerits of the Bank of the United States, as rechar. repugnant to my own feelings. I hope I may never tered by Pennsylvania. In my opinion, a large majority again have occasion to allude to the subject on this floor. of the people of that State, and myself among the num. It is entirely foreign from the question in debate. Nothber, believe that the creation of this vast moneyed mo ing could have urged me to make the remarks which I nopoly, with the privilege of issuing bank paper to the have done, but the unwarranted attack of the Senator amount of thirty-five millions of dollars, is dangerous to from Ohio [Mr. MORRIS) upon the party at home with our liberties and to our dearest interests. We desire to which I am proud to act. try the question before the supreme judicial tribunal of Mr. BENTON followed the Senator from Pennsylvania, the land, whether its charter is protected by the consti. (Mr. Buchanan,) and said he had risen for what might fution of the United States. It will be admitted by all seem to be a very unnecessary purpose, that of sustain. that a more important question has never been present ing the positions of that Senator. This certainly looked ed for adjudication before any court. By what means, like a work of supererogation, seeing the able, perspic. then, can we raise this question for decision? We must uous, and powerful manner in which that gentleman had submit in silence, or the charter must be repealed either sustained himself; and if he (Mr. B.) had nothing but ar. by the Legislature or the approaching convention. There gument to offer, he should not tender his aid; for the are is no other alternative. And because we are anxious to gument just delivered required no aid of that kind. bave this question decided, by the only means in our But his aid was of another kind, that of authority and power, a deafening clamor has been raised against us, precedent, drawn from the venerable authority of our that we are revolutionists, radicals, violators of vested early history, and from the writings and opinions of the rights, and every thing else which is calculated to alarm fathers of the republic, and from ihe approved action of the people. We wish to ascertain the truth of that Stale Legislatures. In this former he held himself exwhich is taken for granted by our adversaries, whether cusable in tendering his aid, and should limit himself al. the charter is a vested right, prulecied by the constitu most entirely to the production of the authorities to tion of the United States, or not. This is the whole front which he had reference. But before he did this, he of our offending. Is this not just, is it not reasonable, must take leave to express his deep regret at the course is it any thing but a fair appeal to the laws of the land? followed yesterday by the Senators from South Carolina
Different opinions exist in Pennsylvania us to whether and Ohio, (Mr. Caluous and Mr. Mornis,] in bringing this repeal should be effected by the Legislature or the the names of Pennsylvania and Maryland into this discus. convention. For my own part, I decidedly prefer the sion, and in animadverting upon the conduct of citizens Jalter, if it can be accomplished. The convention will or parties in those States. He joined the Senator from possess no power bul merely that of proposing amend. Pennsylvania (Mr. Bucuanan) in the espression of his
Admission of Michigan.
[Jan. 3, 1837.
deep regret at this course; and, like him, should avoid of deportment of the writer, had prevented him from 60 recrimination, and should limit himself to defensive ob- scanning his words as to be able to find the deep misservations in favor of those who were assailerl, without chief which they concealed; for certainly he had not impugning the conduct or motives of their adversaries seen the anarchical spirit attributed to it. In many in their own States.
things he agreed with him, especially in that which rela. Mr. B. did not consider the Senate of the United ted io vested rights; in some things he did not; but States as a suitable place for the denunciation of the cit. where he did not agree, it was still the disagreement izens of the States, nor for the discussion of State meas which left unimpeached the high character for public ures, State parties, or State politics. The high privi: and private worth which Mr. Dallas brought with him, leges of debate secured to us by the constitution, and as a Senator from Pennsylvania, to this chamber, and the latitude of discussion allowed by our rules, were in carried back with him from this chamber to Pennsylvania. tended to protect us in the discussion of national meas. Mr. B. then referred to Mr. Madison's writings, No. ures, and in the investigation of those subjects and mal 44 of the Federalist, to sustain the opinion of the Senaters which regularly came before us, and necessarily re tor from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Buchanan,] on the nature quired our action. Acting on this conception of his of the contracts which ihe clause in the constitution of duty, he should follow the example of the Senator from the United States was intended to guard. He said it Pennsylvania, (Mr. Buchanan.] He should abstain would be seen that Mr. Madison confined this clause en. from all animadversion, or even expression of adverse tirely to private rights and personal security; and that not opinion, upon the measures which agitate the States of a word of what he said could be extended to chartered Pennsylvania and Maryland. He should limit himself privileges, the granting of which had been twice refused to some defence of those who were so unexpectedly in the convention which framed the constitution, and the dragged into this debate yesterday, and should endeavor preservation of which, therefore, could not come within to get rid of the whole subject as soon as possible. For the meaning of that instrument. Remarking upon the one, he should endeavor to finish at this sitting, in order clause in the constitution which probibits the States, that it should not be known in Pennsylvania and Mary: among other things, from passing any law. impairing tlie land that the Senate of the United States was engaged obligations of contracts, Mr. M. says: in discussing their affairs, until it was also known tbat
“Very properly, therefore, have the convention adil. that discussion was terminated.
ed this constitutional bulwark in favor of personal securiNominally, and upon the record, said Mr. B., this is a ty and private rights; and I am much deceived if they Michigan question-a question to admit the State of have noi, in so doing, as faithfully consulted the genuine Michigan into the Union; in fact and in substance, it is sentiments as the undoubted interests of their constitunow converted into a Pennsylvania and a Maryland The sober people of America are weary of the question, to arrest or paralyze ihe proceedings against Auctuating policy which has directed the public counthe United States Bank charter in the former, and to cils. They have seen, with regret and indignation, that arrest or paralyze the proceedings in favor of a con sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases af. vention in the latter. This is the form. given to it yes-fecting personal rights, become jobs in the hands of enterday by the movement of the Senators from South terprising and influential speculators, and snares to the Carolina and Ohio, (Mr. Calhoun and Mr. MORRIS;) so mure industrious and less informed part of the commuthat little Michigan, which had seemed to be the subunity." ject of discussion before the Senate, was suddenly found With this exposition from Mr. Madison, Mr. B. would to be nothing but the tail to the kite, dangling in the submit that chartered privileges, although they might be air below, while all eyes were fixed upon the imposing | sold for money, constitute no part of the contracts the apparition of the two Atlantic States, rising and hover inviolability of which are guarantied by the constitution ing above. In this way, the young Michigan was sud of the United States; and while this is plain upon the denly eclipsed and lost sight of; and the lawless and rev. face of the words used in the Federalist, namely, “priolutionary movement, as it was styled, in Pennsylvania, vate rights," "personal rights," "personal security," it against the sanctily of a certain charter, and the lawless is still further confirmed by the words which follow, and and revolutionary movement, as it was stigmatized, in which show that the clause, so far from being intended Maryland, in favor of a convention of the people, be. to secure enterprising jobbers and influential speculators came the engrossing theme of denunciation and vituper in their ill-gotten advantages, was really intended to proation. Greatly did Mr. B. rejoice that the Senator from tect the industrious and less informed part of the comPennsylvania (Mr. Buchanas) bad followed no part of munity against their legislative machinations. Finally, this unhappy example; that he had carefully eschewed and in full proof, that the clause could have no relation all animadversion; that he had positively refused to take to incorporations and bank charters is proved by the any part, or to have any share, in discussing State meas. fact that the federal convention which framed the conures here; and had confined himself to the duties of de stitution iwice refused to grant the incorporating power fence imposed upon him by the novel and aggressive to Congress, and consequently cannot be construed to course pursued by others. That Senator's first care
protect the existence of a thing which it twice refused was to defend a gentleman of his own State, Mr. Dallas, to create who had been assailed here by name; and in that he had Mr. B. said this was the exposition of one of the fathers so acted as to effect what he (Mr. B.) bad thought of the constitution, made before that instrument was to be impossible: he had increased his high character adopted by the States. There had been many exposi. for private worth, and had added to the exalted opinion tions of it since, both legislative and judicial, and out of entertained of the goodness of his heart; for this gen. the multitude Mr. B. would select one which, in all the erous defence was volunteered in favor of one with essentials of time, place, subject, actors, and action, whom it was not his fortune to be on terms of intimacy. would claim a pre-eminent and omnipotent voice in this He showed the injustice done to that gentleman by at. Pennsylvania question, so unexpectedly thrust in upon tributing to his letter meanings which did not belong to us here, and so vehemently plead on this flour in behalf it, and drawing inferences as foreign lo his character as of a certain bank, against the legislative and conventional they were to his writing. He (Mr. B.) had read that power of the State. Mr. B. then sent to the Secretary's letter, but not since it had been ihe subject of animad- / table a volume of the statutes of Kentucky for the year version; and it might be that his knowledge of the amia. 1820, and requested that the Secretary should read an ble character, purity of heart and purpose, and modesty act which he pointed out to him. The Secretary read: