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“For one, 1 enter my protest against the banking system, as conducted in this country—a system not to be supported by any correct principle of political economy-a gross delusion—the dream of a visionary—a system tikat has done more to corrupt the morals of society than any thing elsewhich has introduced a struggle for wealth, instead of the honorable stiug. gle w'nich governs the actions of a patriot, and makes ambition virtue which has made the husbandman spurn his cottage, and introduced a spirit of luxury at variance with the simplicity of our institutions.”
“I call upon the warm advocates of banking, now to surrender their errors. Shall I take them by the hand, and lead them through our cities? Bankruptcy meets us at every step; ruin stares us every where in the face. Shall I be told of the benefits arising to commerce from the concen. tration of capital ? Away with the delusion-experience has exposed its fallacy. True, for a moment, it has operated as a stimulus; but, like ardent spirits, it has produced activity and energy for a moment; relaxa tion has followed, and the torpor of death has ensued.”
“ The revenues amount to upwards of $20,000,000 annually. Require but a fourth or fifth part to be paid in gold or silver, what would be the effect? The merchants would collect the notes of banks, and demand specie for them; and thus a test would be adopted, by means of which to ascertain the solvency of each institution. The demand for specie thus produced, would have the beneficial effect of introducing more of it into the country; for money is like every other article, and will find its way to the market where it is most wanting. The system might be enlarged gradually, until your wishes should be consummated."
“I protest against the idea that the government cannot do wi out this bank. We are not dependent on this corporation. Wretched indeed would be our situation if such was the case.”
In 1825, Mr. Tyler was elected governor of the commonwealth of Vir. ginia, and devoted himself with characteristic ardor to the developement of her resources, and to the maintenance of those republican doctrines with which her renown is identified. Educated in the Jeffersonian school of politics, Governor Tyler opposed the doctrine of internal improvements by the federal government. In his message to the General Assembly, in December, 1826, he says:
“ Vain and idle, indeed, was this resolution, (concerning internal improvements by the general government,) if that same government has a right to enter upon the soil of a state, whensoever and wheresoever it may please to take possession of the same, convert it to its own uses and purposes, and render subject not only the property, but the persons of the people, to the jurisdiction of its courts; for it would seem to follow that the right to create imposed the obligation to preserve, and this duty would call for the imposition of regulations, the violation or disregard of which ought of consequence to render amenable to punishment the offending individual. One usurpation always begets another and another, until at last the original form of government is lost
, and liberty exists only in the records of the past. Virginia has ever been found exerting her influence against the exercise of this alarming power. Her motives cannot be misunderstood by her sister states. Her wants are as great as theirs can well be. Possess
ing a surface of territory larger than almost any other state in the Union, the moiety of which is distinguished by its irregularity, she would find many inducements in accepting, in the form of internal improvements, the largesses of the general government. But she will not surrender voluntarily her constitutional rights. She believes that liberty can only be preserved by upholding the federative principle; and she regards consolidation as the greatest of evils.”
On the 13th January, 1827, Governor Tyler was elected to the Senate of the United States for six years from the fourth of March succeeding. In this exalted sphere, his talents and integrity of character secured for him, among those with whom he acted, a commanding influence; and his industrious application to the public business, the independence of his char. acter, and the urbanity of his manners, were followed by the respect and esteem of all parties in that body. His election to the Senate of the United States, is a sufficient proof of the estimation in which he was held by the republican party. During his term of service in this body, great and momentous questions of civil policy and constitutional law were discussed and investigated. Probably at no period since the existence of the government, were weightier matters controverted, and a greater amount of talent called into requisition, than in the years of 1830, 31, '32, '33, and '34. The deepest excitement pervaded the country.
In the Senate, May 14, 1830, the bill authorizing a subscription of stock in the Maysville, Washington, Paris, and Lexington Turnpike Road, being under consideration, Mr. Tyler said :
“ He did not rise to enter into a constitutional argument on the bill now under consideration. He should wait for more favorable auspices, before he ventured to detain the Senate by such an argument. The period might be near at hand, when the principles of the constitution would once more be invoked, and the true democratic party be called upon to rally around the standard which was unfurled in times long since gone by. Whenever the day should arrive in which the country would be so far relieved from the unhappy spell in which it had been bound, as to listen with attention to an exposition of this subject on constitutional grounds, he would not be wanting in his duty. I was (said Mr. T.) in that Congress which was the first to enter gravely into the discussion of the constitutional power of this government to make roads and canals. I then attentively weighed all that was urged by the advocates of the system—if system that may be called, which is none-and my decision was against them. Every subsequent reflection has confirmed the opinion then expressed ; and the experience of the last six years has satisfied me that, in its exercise, all that is dear, and should be considered sacred in our institutions, is put to hazard. Experience is the parent of true wisdom, and the lights which she has furnished upon this subject ought to be bright enough to conduct our footsteps back to the path from which we have strayed.”
Mr. Tyler holds to what is called a strict construction of the constitution. In the Senate, February 24, 1831, the appropriation to pay the negotiators of the Turkish treaty being under consideration, he used the following language :
" It is our duty, Mr. President, under all circumstances, and however situated, to be faithful to the constitution. Esto perpetua should be the motto of all in regard to that instrument, and more emphatically those into whose hands it is committed by the parties to the compact of union. Sir
, parties may succeed, and will succeed each other; stars that shine with brilliancy to-day, may be struck from their spheres tomorrow; convulsion may follow convulsion; the battlements may rock about us, and the storm rage in its wildest fury; but while the constitution is preserved inviolate, the liberties of the country will be secure. When we are asked lay down the constitution upon the shrine of party, our answer is, the price demanded is too great. If required to pass over its violation in silence, we reply, that to do so would be infidelity to our trust, and treason to those who sent us here. The constant effort of Virginia has been directed to its preservation : the political conflict of the hour has never led her to yield it for an instant. No matter with what solemnity the violation has been attended ; although sanctioned by the two Houses of Congress and the President of the United States, and confirmed by judicial decision, she has not halted in her duty. How little, then, should we be entitled to represent her, if we could so far forget ourselves as to hobble in our course!"
In December, 1832, General Jackson issued his celebrated proclamation. It was designed to arrest the proceedings of the state of South Carolina, which were viewed as hostile to the existence of the union of the confed. erated states. With the view of carrying out his plans, as laid down in this state paper, be called on Congress to invest him with larger powers. By many, distinguished for their love of country, the bill commonly called “the force bill,” was deemed subversive of the rights of sovereign states. At this moment, Mr. Tyler came forth with a mass of information, lucidly arranged, and carefully and logically bodied forth, at once creditable to his talents as a speaker, and confessedly useful to the cause which he espoused, and the principles which he vindicated.
On the 10th April, at the close of a very able speech, which occupied two days in the delivery, upon Mr. Clay's resolutions for a modification of the tariff, Mr. Tyler closed as follows:
“ In the names of the great actors of former times under the roof of that very edifice, [Faneuil Hall,] I invoke honorable Senators to pause, long to pause, ere they decide that this grinding system shall receive no abatement. Its oppression, if that were the only circumstance, would be as nothing in comparison with the alienation of feeling which it has produced. What can compensate for the loss of that affection on the part of even a single state in this Union ? Flatter not yourselves that this is exclusively a' South Carolina question. No, sir; it is a Southern question. Every state on the other side of the Potomac feels alike interested in it: nor labor under the morbid apprehension that to grant relief can produce the slightest tendency to disunion. Do you seek to give perpetuity to the Union, practise not injustice ; for, as certain as fate itself, they who sow injustice will reap iniquity. I have been reared in a reverential affection for the Union. My imagination has led me to look into the distant future, and there to contemplate the greatness of free America. I have beheld her walking on the waves of the mighty deep, carrying along with her tidings of great joy to distant nations. °I have seen her overturning the strong places of despotism, and restoring to man his long lost rights. Wo, wo betide that man who shall sow the seeds of disunion among us! Better for him had he never been born. If he call upon the mountains to hide him—nay, if he bury himself in the very centre of the earth, the indignation of man. kind will find him out, and blast him with its lightnings.”
In 1834, in consequence of the violent usurpations of General Jackson, the Senate of the United States adopted a resolution, censuring the Pres. ident for the exertion of unconstitutional powers. Mr. Tyler, ever faithful to those ancient principles of Virginia, which were then sunk to the lowest depression, stood by the constitution, and asserted its mandates. The resolution was adopted. Shortly thereafter, the administration gaining the ascendancy in that body, a resolution was introduced by a Senator from Missouri, to expunge this resolution censuring the President for exercising unconstitutional powers, and thus violating this sacred instrument. As Mr. Tyler had contributed his support to the adoption of this resolution, he resisted its expunction. The mutilation of the journals of the Senate he opposed with the greatest energy. During this alarming crisis, we find him distinguished by his fidelity to the interests of the country-by his stern devotion to his duty, and his inflexibility of principle.
When instructed by that body from whence he derived his power as Senator of the United States—and which every man is bound to consider the true representative of the will of the people of the state—to support the expunging resolution, he took the alternative presented to the choice of every high-minded citizen. He acted as a man of principle and honor always acts. He could not obey, and he resigned, in order that the legis. lative body which instructed him might supply his place with one who could conscientiously obey its instructions. By this means he preserved his own integrity, without violating a duty of a representative of the people. He conducted himself like a faithful public servant, who, being commanded to do an act which he cannot approve, disdains to receive any longer the wages of a master he refuses to obey. He sacrificed a station as honorable as any which presents itself to the ambition of a citizen of the United States, and voluntarily sought retirement from a scene which he embellished by his highly cultivated talents, and ennobled by his lofty and uncompromising integrity.
Such an act of devotion to the great principle of representative respon sibility, is one that deserves to be recorded, not only for its magnanimity, but for its rarity.
It is the character and habit of the President not to yield a blind acqui escence to the opinions of any individual. His judgment was not satisfiea with the propriety of the measure of removing the deposites from the Bank of the United States. He foresaw the consequences it would produce, and desired an opportunity to investigate and reflect upon it. Such an opportunity he made an effort to obtain, and when that effort was successful, rather than unite with his political friends in supporting a measure preg. nant with results so extensive and important, without a full conviction of its necessity or constitutionality, he chose, by manly independence, to hazard all the imputations to which his vote with the minority might possibly subject him. Those who acted with him were too well acquainted with the purity and firmness of his principles, political and moral, to misrepresent his motives, or to arraign the propriety of his conduct. His opposition to this measure, and to the expunging resolution, elevated him greatly in the confidence of the Whig party. Although he had been ostracized banished from the Senate of the United States—by a faithful adherence to the doctrines of instruction, his virtues and independence as a statesman still continued to hold a firm grasp on the affections of the people. The Whig party, cherishing for him an elevated regard, placed him on the ticket with the late General William Henry Harrison, as their candidate for the Vice-Presidency. With that distinguished individual, he was ele. vated to office by almost acclamation. On the fourth of March, 1841, he took his seat as Vice-President of the United States, little dreaming of the destiny which an overruling Providence was in one short month to devolve upon him. President Harrison died on the fourth of April ; whereby, under our constitution, the duties and responsibilities of President were devolved upon Vice-President Tyler.
Immediately after the decease of President Harrison, Mr. Webster, Jr., chief clerk of the department of state, left Washington for the residence of the Vice-President, in Virginia, bearing to him the following letter:
WASHINGTON, April 4, 1841. To John TYLER, Vice-President of the United States :
Sir: It has become our most painful duty to inform you that William Henry Harrison, late President of the United States, has departed this life.
This distressing event took place this day, at the President's mansion, in this city, at thirty minutes before one in the morning.
We lose no time in despatching the chief clerk in the state department as a special messenger to bear you these melancholy tidings.
We have the honor to be, with the highest regard, your obedient servants,
JOHN J. CRITTENDEN,
Postmaster General. Vice-President Tyler lost no time in repairing to the seat of government, where he arrived on the morning of the sixth of April, taking lodgings at Brown's hotel. At twelve o'clock, all the heads of departments, with the exception of the Secretary of the Navy, (who was absent with his family in Georgia,) waited upon him, to pay him their official and personal respects. They were received with the utmost kindness and cordiality. The Vice-President signified to them his deep feeling of the public calamity sustained by the death of President Harrison, and expressed his profound sensibility to the heavy responsibilities so suddenly devolved upon himself. He spoke of the present state of things with great concern and seriousness,