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the constitution of Kentucky. That constitution refers to residence of more than one kind—residence that gives the right, and residence that regulates its exercise. The former may be constructive or actual; the latter must be actual. If the students at Mercer county had constructive residence elsewhere in Kentucky, such residence might qualify them to vote; but if they actually resided in Mercer, as beyond doubt they did, they could not vote elsewhere. The committee have, therefore, by their report, entirely disfranchised these qualified voters by their doctrine of constructive residence. They could not vote where their parents resided, because they did not actually reside there; and the committee hold that they could not vote where they actually resided, because their constructive residence was in another part of the State. The plain and obvious truth of the case is, that they were qualified to vote by residence, constructive or actual, no matter which; and that the place where their qualification was alone to be exercised was Mercer county, where they actually resided. The votes of the theological students have, therefore, upon every ground that can be assumed, been illegally rejected by the committee. The result of the whole, sir, I conceive to be as follows: taking the polls as the majority of the committee have reported, and admitting the committee to have been right in every decision, except the three which I have discussed, the majority of legal votes is still in favor of Mr. Letcher, as it was by the poll-books certified by the clerks of the different county courts. The able report of the minority shows a state of the polls much more favorable to Mr. Letcher; but, without including these corrections, the result will be the same if the House shall amend the report of the majority only so far as the principles I have discussed require.
SPEECH OF MR. PLUMMER,
Delivered in the House of Representatives of the United States, May 26, 1834.
The proceedings of a meeting of the citizens of the
county of Pike, in the State of Mississippi, in relation to
the United States Dank, the removal of the deposites, the
a six months' discussion of the great questions which agitate the nation, it cannot, said Mr. P., be reasonably expected that I will be able to throw any additional light on the subject, nor that I shall be able to use the ideas advanced by others without subjecting myself to the charge of plagiarism. In order to meet the charge in anticipation of the accusation, I give notice that I intend to avail myself of the arguments advanced by other gentlemen, both on this floor and elsewhere. I set up no claims to originality on these questions. I therefore take this occasion to tender my acknowledgements, in advance, to the author of the “American Banking System,” which I consider the most useful and valuable work on that subject extant; to an anonymous writer over the signature of Marcellus, in 1794, and to what other authorities I may, in the course of my remarks, think proper to draw upon, without stopping, as I proceed, to give credit to particular individuals, who have written or spoken on the subject. If the arguments used by others do not gain any additional weight by a repetition, they may, by that means, get disseminated among the people of Mississippi, where they would not otherwise find their way. Before I get deeply involved in the intricate question of the bank, I feel it due to myself, as well as those by whom I am sustained at home, to inform the House and the country of the peculiar attitude in which I stand in relation to the great political parties that divide the people of the several States of the Union. I belong to that class of politicians in Mississippi who succeeded, in 1832, in achieving that great political revolution which expunged from the constitution of the State those aristocratic features that conferred on the savored few rights and privileges withheld from the great mass of the people. In 1830 I was supported by the democracy of the country, without distinction of national party. In 1832, after I had served one session in Congress, I was opposed by the national republicans, in consequence of my opposition to the United States Bank: I was opposed by the nullifiers, in consequence of my opposition to Clay’s colonization land free negro bill, and because I supported the general measures of the administration: I was opposed by the would-be leaders of the Jackson party, and their presses, under a pretence that I was not sufficiently devoted to the President. I was, however, successfully and triumphantly sustained by the great mass of the people, by the democracy of the State, by the working-men of the country, for the purpose of sustaining the principles which they advocate, without regard to men. During the last summer there was a cross-fire levelled at me from the two extremes. The national republicans and nullifiers cannonaded me upon the bank and land questions, and the Simon Pure Jackson presses on the enforcing bill. Although I am sustained by a large majority of the people I have the honor in part of representing, it is a remarkable fact that, out of the whole number of presses in the State, I do not know of one that supports me or the principles I advocate. Standing, therefore, in the attitude I do, with all of the presses and the most of the talents of the three great formidable parties and the wealth of the State arrayed against me, and supported here only by a few select, choice spirits, scarcely known as a political party, I feel it my duty on this occasion to plant within the hall of the national Legislature the standard, and unfurl the flag of that party, under whose banners a few of us have enlisted, and whose principles, in my humble opinion, are alone calculated to save our bleeding constitution from destruction, our already tottering Union from dissolution, and the people from slavery, bloodshed, and oppression. An abolition of all licensed monopolies, universal suffrage, no property quali fications for office, equal, universal education, abolition of imprisonment for debt, abolition of capital punishments, an ad valorem system of taxation, the election of all offi
cers directly by the people, and no legislation on the sub
ject of religion, are some of the leading measures advoca-
no regularly-organized party in the country since I have
try to a generous people, who only wish to know their duty to perform it, and to understand their happiness to pursue it. It has been frequently asked, why is it that so many, returned to Congress as Jackson men by their constituents, are induced, immediately after their arrival here, to abandon Jacksonism, and oppose the measures of the administration? Questions of this kind, predicated on the celebrated letter of my colleague, have been asked by the leading opposition presses of the country. They have been emphatically asked, as though no satisfactory answer could be given. It is said not to be interest, nor love of power, for that would incline them to continue in support of the measures of the administration; but it is said to be an honest conviction, on the part of those who abandon the administration and join the opposition, of the impurity of the executive officers of the Government, and the injurious effects of their measures on the community. In consequence of the delicate state of my health, I have taken no active part in the business of legislation during this session. When not confined to my room, I have been a silent observer of passing events, and a mere “looker-on in Venice.” I have mingled more than usual with the passing crowd of visiters, and the hangers-on about the Capitol, who have so frequently thronged the galleries of the House, and the floor of the Senate chamber, during the session. When in the House, I have been frequently driven from this floor by the unwholesome state of the atmosphere, and compelled to take refuge in the gallery; for fear, however, that I may not be believed, I might as well have the gallantry to admit that I have sometimes been unconsciously drawn there by the magnetic powers of those attractive bodies who so frequently honor us with their presence. I have, therefore, had a fine opportunity of watching the process by which those who come here Jacksonians are converted, and transferred into the ranks of the opposition. The process is simple, and the political swindlers have reduced the practice of cheating the people out of the votes of their representatives to a perfect system, on a scientific plan. The process is simply this: on the arrival of a young member in the city, he is waited on by some of the deputies of the party, and introduced to such of the leaders of the opposition as were once the friends and supporters of General Jackson. They take occasion to speak of the patriotism of the President, his devotion to the interests of the people, and the military services he has rendered his country, in the most exalted terms. These professions of friendship for the man gains them the confidence of their subject. They then regret, almost with tears in their eyes, that they cannot support every measure of the President, affect to attribute all the errors of the administration to a set of unconstitutional advisers that he is surrounded with, which they denominate by the appellation of “cabal,” “backstairs cabinet,” or some other equally odious and unpopular epithet. The unsuspecting victim is called on again and again, and the same train of thoughts forced on his mind, until a strong impression is made of their truth. He is kept as much as possible out of the company of those who sustain the administration, and, by invitations and polite attentions, made to associate almost exclusively with those who oppose its measures. They pursue this course, if not repulsed at the onset, until they get the individual to acknowledge that the administration has some errors, that he is opposed to being controlled or dictated to by the “kitchen cabinet,” and that, notwithstanding his personal feelings, and the devotion of his constituents to the President, he only feels himself under obligations to support the administration so far as he approves its measures. This done, and they have him in a fair way. The fashionables who visit the city from all quarters of the country are taught to be.
lieve that it is not genteel to be in favor of the administration—that all the decency, the intelligence, and talents, are on the other side. Even the softer sex are made to act their part. They are taught to believe that it is not fashionable to speak well of any one who is not a national or a nullifier. If the victim is from the South or West, an appeal is made to his high sense of honor, and to his chivalrous feelings, to know whether he will subject himself to the wearing of a party collar; whether he will be under the malign influence of the “kitchen cabinet;” and the shackles of party trammels and “decided party discipline,” are held up to his view, and he asked if he has not too much independence to wear them. These arguments are irresistible to those who have weak nerves. It requires more than an ordinary share of moral courage to resist them. I almost wonder that there are any who can resist the arts and intrigues of the opposition. It is to me a strong evidence of the purity of the intentions, as well as the firmness, of those who sustain the measures of the administration. In order to convince the fashionables, the exquisites, the nullifiers, the nationals, and particularly the ladies, that they are not under the influence of “party trammels” or “party discipline,” they are compelled to take the first opportunity to record their votes on some incidental question against the administration. This once done, and, notwithstanding their professions, the work is completed. They are then told that they have forfeited the confidence of the administration, and incurred the displeasure of the Executive; and if they attempt to get back into the good old track, the lash is applied to their backs, and they are forced to wear the collar of the opposition instead of the administration, or incur the displeasure of the belles and dandies. The fashionables, whenever the signal is given, flock to the House and the Senate chamber, to hear them abuse the Chief Magistrate. The efforts of the most ordinary minds are pronounced the greatest exertions of human genius. Their low and vulgar epithets are trumpeted forth as the greatest specimens of American oratory. They are flattered, cajoled, caressed, and puffed; and those who have no pretensions to talents, and are too stupid to use abusive epithets, are called handsome, and praised for their beauty, by way of rewarding them for their traitorous conduct, and for betraying the confidence reposed in them by their constituents. They curl their lips, and speak in the slightest terms of the ablest efforts of the leading members on the side of the administration, because it is not fashionable to speak well of General Jackson, or any one who supports his measures. When the individual has the moral courage and the good sense to resist these artifices, resorted to by the opposition, they set their whole corps of venal letter writers on him, whose business it is to manufacture lies to order, and denounce him in the bitterest terms for every thing that is odious and contemptible. His constituents are told, through the medium of the public press, at the expense of the United States Bank, that he is under the influence of the Magician, the New York regency, the kitchen cabinet, or some other horrible animal about to destroy the Government, and erect a monarchy on its ruins. Those who can neither be flattered nor persuaded from the path of their duty, they attempt to drive; and those who will not be driven, they attempt to tarnish their characters and destroy their reputations in the estimation of their constituents. I will be a little more explicit, and confine myself directly to the question under consideration, for I very much fear that I shall not be clearly comprehended. If the victim is a member of the House, he tells those who inquire of him, that the removal of the deposites “was a measure totally uncalled for by any interests connected with the finances of the General Government,” which, he says, “is a totally different question from that of a recharter of the bank;” and that, therefore,
he shall vote for a restoration of the public moneys, but against a recharter. . When, however, he finds himself compelled, after taking the first step, to continue with his new associates, or still subject himself to the odious appellation of a “collar man,” he gives his vote in favor of a recharter of the bank, without!qualification. If he is a member of the other branch of the national Legislature, he is “willing to support the administration in everything which is right,” declares himself in favor of the resolution simply declaring the reasons assigned by the Secretary of the Treasury for the removal of the public deposites insufficient and unsatisfactory, but decidedly opposed to the one pronouncing judgment of condemnation against the, President of the United States for an alleged violation of the constitution and laws, without granting to him the privilege guarantied to the most humble citizen, of being confronted by his accusers, and of being heard in self-defence. When it comes to the test, he, too, is whipped into the measure; and by the same process forced to vote for the whole of the resolutions, in direct opposition to his declared sentiments. In order to console the feelings of their conscience-smitten victims and as a kind of apology to their constituents for the company they are found in, they are, together with their new associates, given a new name. And wo do you think it is? Why, sir, if you had not already heard, with thirteen Yankee pedlers to help you, you could not guess in a month, It is, sir, the name of whigs! Yes, sir, they are christened, after their political regeneration, by the name of whigs! By whom is this new and popular name given? Who is the high priest on the occasion? If you believe me, sir, it is none other than the brave, high-minded, honorable, chivalrous
gratulate myself, and thank my constituents for withdrawing my name from the company of those whom I am ashamed to acknowledge as my political associates. I have reference to the proceedings of a public meeting held at Vicksburg on the 21st of March last. A resolution was passed approving of the course of Senators Poindexter and Black, and the honorable Harry Cage, on the subject of the removal of the deposites. I read from a Mississippi newspaper: “Mr. Cornell moved to insert the name of F. E. Plummer after that of Mr. Cage.” After some discussion and explanations, “Mr. Cornell withdrew the motion, amidst the acclamations of the assembly.” Was not this, sir, a fortunate escape! Have I not cause to rejoice, not only because I made a narrow escape from these new-coined whigs, but is it not an evidence of my growing popularity! I was the only person the mention of whose name drew forth the acclamations of the assembled crowd; and, what is still more flattering to my feelings, it was not on the presentation, but on the withdrawal. of my name from among the names of these new-coined Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Hartford convention federal whigs! The House will pardon me for adverting to a complimentary notice of myself, which my vanity would not allow me to pass unnoticed! I will also here take occasion to notice one of the resolutions passed by a portion of my fellow-citizens of Jefferson county, held at Fayette on the 28th ultimo. They took that occasion to “highly approve of the honest, upright, and independent conduct” of those who have knowingly and wilfully violated the will of their constituents, and betrayed the confidence reposed in them by the democracy of Mississippi, and denounce me as the “ready and unflinching tool of the party in power, and no longer the fit representative of a
Colonel James Watson Webb, of mahogany pistol memo- free people,” because I have the moral courage to advoFy! Of what materials is this new party composed? It cate the interests of the people, and oppose a moneyed is an amalgamation of the old Adams, or Clay, and Cal-monopoly in its high-handed attempts to trample under houn parties; of the nationals and nullifiers, of the high foot their rights and liberties, in defiance of the law and pressure tariff and pretended free trade advocates; of that of the constitution, which is the pride and boast of Consolidationists and disunionists; of those who believe a levery true-hearted American. This is the language of bank important to the very existence of our Government, the minions of the bank, published to the world, and and those who pretend to believe the present charter a handed around among the members of this House, for the violation of the constitution; the federalists and disaffected purpose of destroying my influence and usefulness to my republicans; those who opposed the election of General constituents; which they seem resolved to do, at the sacJackson, and those who supported his first election, but |rifice of every moral principle. This is the language of fell out with him because he would not sacrifice principle a few purse-proud aristocrats and their deluded follow*d use his influence to make their favorite his successor. ers, sent here as expressive of the sentiments of the citiThis is the heterogeneous mass of materials, composing zens of Jefferson county. It is a slander upon the charthese new-coined patriots, these Webb, Webster, Clay, acter of the enligntened democracy of that patriotic counand Calhoun whigs. Fine company this, indeed, for a ty; and they will so find it in a day to come. I disregard Professed democratic Jacksonian republican! Who are their billingsgate abuse, and defy their influence. If I am he tories of the present day? Not those who opposed not most egregiously mistaken, there is still alive in that
the last war; not those who discouraged the enlisting of
soldiers, and the raising of money for the purpose of caroing it on; not those who raised the blue lights as signals to guide the enemy where they could plunder and murder our citizens. Oh no! they are the whigs. But those who fought the battles of the Revolution and the late war; those who periled their lives, expended their fortune, and shed their blood, in defence of the rights and liberties of the people; they are the tories. Yes, sir; Andrew Jackson, the soldier of two wars, the one for our liberties and the other for our rights, and his associates, are now denounced by these new-coined and self-styled whigs as toFies; and for what, sir? Why, for daring to oppose an irresponsible corporation, a moneyed monopoly, about to overthrow our Government, destroy our institutions, and enslave the people. If to be associated with Andrew Jackson, the hero of New Orleans, and Richard M. Johnson, the hero of the Thames, and others who prefer liborty to slavery, the rights of the people to a rag-money banking system, then, sir, am I proud of the appellation, and glory in the name. Anything but a sacrifice of principle to keep out of bad company. I have cause to con
county the spirit of a Dunbar, of a Dixon, and a Hinds,
H or R.] Removal of the Deposites, &c. [MAY 26, 1834.
ferring exclusive privileges on
a few particular individ
disclaim, act and speak with the frankness and indepen-