A Point by Point Paraphrase of the Hayne-Webster Debate:

    "When the mariner has been tossed for many days in thick weather, and on an unknown sea, he naturally avails himself of the first pause in the storm, the earliest glance of the sun, to take his latitude, and ascertain how far the elements have driven him from his true course. Let us imitate this prudence, and, before we float farther on the waves of this debate, refer to the point from which we departed, that we may at least be able to conjecture where we now are."

      Daniel Webster, Second Reply to Hayne, U.S. Senate, Jan. 26, 1830

    "If we could first know where we are and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it."

      Abraham Lincoln, "A House Divided", Springfield IL, June 16, 1858.

The following tries to summarize and explain each thought presented in the four speeches. It is written as if the speakers had used different language, in their own first person, rather than in third person with "he said", etc.

It is difficult enough to understand what they are talking about, with all the oblique and indirect references to then-recent events, but I believe that concentrating the thoughts presented into succinct utterances, and then adding a few explanations, will facilitate this.

I have tried for an effective modern oratorical style, carrying much of the passion of the original presentation.

In reading the following, you may at any time click on the label {#} to jump to the corresponding point in the text, or on the label {o} to jump to the corresponding point in the outline (a list of headers for each of the main thoughts in the speeches). In either the main text or the outline, you may jump to the corresponding point in this paraphrase by clicking on the label {ΒΆ}.

Robert Y. Hayne's First Speech:  January 19, 1830

{o} {#} [1] By parliamentary tradition, a motion to inquire into the wisdom of such-and-such a bill, often passes without challenge. But we need not inquire into the wisdom of "a great and acknowledged wrong,"  so let us examine whether the bill fits that description.

{o} {#} [2] I want to comment on the broader discussion of government policy regarding the public lands -- some facet of this issue has forever taken up half of the debate in congress -- though nothing beyond temporary expedients is ever accomplished.

{o} {#} [3] On this issue, there are two great parties in the U.S. One, perhaps the majority, thinks the govt. has been too generous and indulgent. The other, that the govt. has treated western settlers as a "hard taskmaster", selling these lands at the highest obtainable prices.

{o} {#} [4] I am of the second party, and will even say that the U.S. policy is unprecedentedly harsh. The French, British, and Spanish, in North America provided land to settlers for free, or for the labor of subduing the lands and the "savage beasts, and still more savage men". Our policy has not been to "settle the country, ... but to fill our coffers by coining our lands into gold."

{o} {#} [5] How has our current system operated on a new, recently wild state, such as Missouri? the state is surveyed and land plots sold on long credits. Then, for years, the "whole profits" of the state are transferred from the state's population to the U.S. This debt has often led to widespread defaults, requiring special acts of congress to save the people from ruin. The result is "almost universal poverty", with no currency except local bank paper, whose value may vanish overnight; as well as relief laws, and many other evils.

{o} {#} [6] The south, which with a third of the U.S. population, provides two thirds of U.S. exports, suffers the same opression as the west, though our opression takes the form of severe taxation. We stand "towards the U.S. in the relation of Ireland to England," so that "the rank grass grows in our streets."

{o} {#} [7] If the public lands were sold for little or nothing, all the produce of Missouri, e.g., would stay in the state and "passing from hand to hand would, like rich and abundant streams ... have adorned and fertilized the whole." Or if the states received the proceeds from the lands, they could then use them for local benefit. "Who can say how much of wealth and prosperity ... would have diffused throughout the land."

{o} {#} [8] Efforts by the federal revenue to gain revenue from the public lands have signally failed. But suppose the Federal government should manage to fund itself from such a source "not drawn from the pockets of the people?" Would that be good? No, it would lull the people out of the watchfulness they ought to keep over government spending.

{o} {#} [9] The same danger -- of a behind-the-scenes revenue source -- applies to the system of "indirect taxation" [Ed.: the tariff, though he doesn't use the word]. If this $23 million were obtained by direct taxation, or through the states as intermediaries, the wastefulness of our government would not be tolerated one year. If I could "convert this capitol into gold for [the use of govenment] I would not do it." Such riches, and consequent power in the hands of the Federal Gov't would only allow it to control the states and other "great interests," and individuals. It would be able to subvert all other institutions and the "sovereign independence of the states."

{o} {#} [10] The very life of our system is the independence of the states. The influence of the government over the states must be checked -- especially its ability to distribute favors - which will spread "corruption [and] an abject spirit of dependence ... to produce jealousy among the [parts] of the union, and ... sap the very foundation of the government."

{o} {#} [11] According to the advocates of the American System, the progress of manufacturing requires "that low and degraded population which will work for the lowest wages, and be satisfied with the smallest possible share of human happiness."

In a report from the treasury department of the late administration, it was suggested to help create and preserve such a labor pool through control of the land policy - to "prevent the drawing off of this ... population." As if the regulation of industry were not bad enough, they want to "create a manufactury of paupers."

{o} {#} [12] The people of America are, and should continue to be, for the next century, "essentially an agricultural people." To preserve our agrarian nature, we ought to "by a just and liberal system, convert into great and flourishing communities that entire class of persons who would otherwise be paupers in your streets..."

{o} {#} [13] Distribution [Ed.: Distribution meant sale by the federal govenment with some or all of the proceeds distributed to the states] is another bad scheme, but it has been thoroughly discussed already.

{o} {#} [14] Some maintain that the states have a full and perfect right to the lands within their borders. The grants under which the U.S. acquired the lands do not permit this, so such arguments will only hurt the western cause.

{o} {#} [15] Even more hurtful to the cause are the "demands constantly made by the west for ... appropriations of the public lands for local objects ... While they shall continue to ask, and gratefully to receive these petty and partial appropriations, they will be kept forever in a state of dependence."

{o} {#} [16] Looking forward to the payment of the the national debt, in 3-4 years, I suggest we consider devising a system for distributing the lands to the states on fair terms, taking into account the cost of their original purchase, and the federal government's expense of maintaining them.

Stop keeping them "forever as a fund either for revenue or distribution -- [do not] hug them as a great treasure -- [do not use them] to regulate and control the industry and population of the states, or [to maintain control over any state or region]." Perhaps a state, to get control of all lands in her borders should have to reach a certain level of settlement; such as that of Ohio." The price should certainly not "keep the states [for long] in debt".

{o} {#} [17] Summary: The lands "ought not to be kept ... forever as a great treasure but ... administered chiefly [so as to create in reasonably short time] flourishing communities to be formed into free and independent states", controlling all the land within their respective borders.

Webster's First Reply - January 20, 1830:

{o} {#} [1a]I believe the Federal land policy needs no measures either to slow it down, much less to accellerate it.

{o} {#} [1b] In 40 years, less than 20 million acres have been sold, and 210 million acres are surveyed and ready to sell. The land cannot be settled any faster; any measure to lower its price would only put the land into hands of speculators. The bottom line is that "Every actual settler should be able to buy good land at a cheap rate."

{o} {#} [2] I must dispute some of Hayne's opinions.

{o} {#} [2a] H. says federal policies on the public lands have been harsh to settlers, "like a step-mother", worse than the policies of the European colonizers of America.

{o} {#} [2b] U.S. policy towards the west has been in fact "liberal and enlightened". She has ... striven to settle the lands "as fast as practicable" allowing new "equal and independent states to be formed as soon as the communities are ready".

{o} {#} [2c] As to the superior policy of England, etc. the settlers either came here to escape persecution, or as private adventurers. Their mother countries expended nothing on their security, while the U.S. has spent millions to purchase the Indian claims, and wealth and lives to defent the settlers.

{o} {#} [3] What has been the practical result of our land policy? Ohio in 1794 had but two small pinpoints of settlement. 35 years later, it has a population of a million - larger than that of Switzerland. Might it not be a sign of conceit to think our wisdom would have yielded a better result?

{o} {#} [4] Hayne says U.S. should give away the lands. But that would violate trusts under which the lands were acquired: (i) from the original cessions made under pre-Constitutional congress., (ii) from the 1802 compact with Georgia, (iii) from the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, and (iv) from the 1819 purchase of Florida.

{o} {#} [4a]The lands from the first two cases had been crown lands of England. It was only through the efforts of all the colonies that they were secured to the U.S. Hence they should be used and were intended to be used to pay the war debts of the U.S.

{o} {#} [4b] In recognition of this, Congress resolved in 1780 that such lands "be disposed of for the common benefit of the U.S. ... settled, at such times and under such regulations as agreed on by congress.

{o} {#} [4c] In 1783, congress mandated that cessions from states should be received "as a common fund for the use and benefit of [all the U.S] and "for no other purpose whatsoever".

{o} {#} [4d] Virginia, Maryland, and Connecticut, in making their cessions explicitly referred to these conditions.

{o} {#} [5] H. admits the land cannot be given away until the National Debt is paid. But the original agreements say more: that it is to remain a common fund. Congress is also obliged to see that the land is sold and settled according to congress's own judgement. Distributing very large masses would leave the receiver to determine the "times and manner of settlement". If Congress were to violate this and "force great portions ... at nominal or very low prices, into private hands to be sold and settled" as such holders choose, who can say what damage that would cause? Congress has gone the opposite way: where it once sold townships, it now sells in parcels of no more than 80 acres. How can this be called hard dealing and parsimony?

{o} {#} [6]But H. also maintains that the revenue itself from public lands is evil and a source of corruption, and tends to the consolidation of the Union. Is consolidation evil? What is it but the strengthening of the union of the states? When the Framers submitted the Constitution for the states' approval, they, spoke of consolidation as a great good, for which the state representatives at the Constitutional Convention sacrificed many private interests.

{o} {#} [7]There are those who say "it is time to calculate the value of the union". I trust H. is not one of these men, for whom the union is a matter of expediency, and not a positive good.

{o} {#} [8] I am a unionist and in that sense a national republican, and wish never to see the Union "severed asunder."

{o} {#} [9] The public debt will soon be paid off, and I am all for seeing it paid off; but some members evince a "morbid sort of fervor" about paying it off -- perhaps out of hatred for any common interest of the states.

{o} {#} [10] How is it that H says the federal lands are corrupting? Is it that they are sold to form farms and freeholds? Is it the proportion set aside for educational purposes? or the donating of some of the lands for making canals and roads? Are all positive acts of the government - as opposed to acts of penalty and restraint - "dangerous and obnoxious".

{o} {#} [11] H. says that for centuries, the states will have this land within their borders, which they cannot tax. The states cannot tax lands they themselves own, any more than they can tax federal lands. It is all a question of how to get it into the hands of private citizens. If the U.S. policy fails to do this, I will join westerners in voting for a change.

{o} {#} [12] We can't change the fact that the lands are a public fund. The consequent drawing of cash from the western states is inevitable, so we should be "kind and most liberal" to prevent too heavy a burden on the west.

{o} {#} [13] Now I must comment on H's accusations against the east. This was why I felt I must reply to his speech. We are accused of a "narrow and selfish policy", keeping "multitudes of dependent workers" from moving West, away from our cities. I deny this policy, nor is the east even motivated to have such a policy.

{o} {#} [14] You ask "what about the tariff?  This measure was originally favored more by the south, and not at all by Massachusetts, as late as 1824.

{o} {#} [15] No part of the U.S. has acted with more "liberality or intelligence than New England" towards the west. When a system was needed for parceling out the lands to individuals, there were two systems in use by states. The southern system, in which the prospective owner finds, describes, and enters the plot of land himself, has lead to a "shingling" of the southern states with overlapping claims of properties. In the North, the government surveyed and defined non-overlapping parcels of land before making the land available. This system prevailed, through New England's actions, in the new lands and it has been a blessing; has "cut up litigation by the roots".

{o} {#} [16]The Northwestern Ordance of '87, written by Massachusett's own Nathan Dane, with great wisdom, excluded slavery for all times from the northwestern territories. Now as any "intelligent gentleman of Kentucky" would surely agree, if that state had, early on, abolished slavery, it would have "contributed to [its] ultimate greatness".(and if you doubt it, W. implies, travel on the Ohio River where it lies between Kentucky and Ohio, and observe life on the two shores). New England did this unselfishly, knowing that it was "the very means of rendering certain a vast migration from northeast to the west".

    [Editor's note: Could Webster have believed this statement about any "intelligent gentleman of Kentucky"? I doubt it. More likely, it was part of Webster's goading Hayne to respond to his response in a passion, but being passionate about positions for which much of the country had no sympathy.]

{o} {#} [17] Every measure to benefit the West has been favored by New England; and could not have passed without her votes. The southern gentlemen cannot support transportation measures for the west because of their "constitutional scruples". "I do not believe that one dollar has been expended ... [in the west], which could have been obtained without support from New England." Ask the western members of Congress. And our actions were based on what is right for the union; not on any favoritism to the west.

{o} {#} [18] Don't look to New England for advocates of a policy to restrict immigration to the west. I regret having called such a policy "narrow", for Mr. McDuffie of South Carolina could never be guilty of any "narrow" policy. When we were both in the House of Representatives in 1825, debating the issue of roads to the west, he said it was not right to build roads to induce people to settle the western lands. He said it creates a "vortex to swallow up our floating population ... every inducement has been [given] to settle in the west, until our [eastern] population has become sparse." He also called the land prices ridiculously cheap, and that lands worth $15 an acre were offered for $1.25 per acre.

[W's reply was that he could not at all] "concur ... in wishing to restrain" the eastern laboring classes "from going ... where they could better their conditions."  If the east loses some of its population to the west, "we are not at all reluctant [to accept] the loss of relative importance. ... Does this not increase the overall population of the United States?"

{o} {#} [19] I have felt it my duty to vindicate my state from unjust criticism, at least when pronounced here in Congress, where it is bound to carry much weight. [W. then moved the indefinite postponement of the resolution.]

Robert Hayne's Second Speech - January 21, 1830.

{o} {#} [1] I did not expect to have to defend my previous remarks, as I attacked no person, party, or section of the country.

{o} {#} [2] Sen. Benton did, accuse the east of hostility to the West, citing facts and documents, but W. has ignored all this to accuse me and raise questions about the policy of the south. Is W., afraid to confront Benton, going after someone he thinks he can beat? Is he afraid of the "ghost of the murdered coalition", which, like that of MacBeth's Banquo, will not "down at his bidding?" I will not defend Mr Benton, who can well take care of hiself.

{o} {#} [3] W. says the U.S. has exerted great "paternal care" towards the west. I say "they have grown great in spite of your protection". [Ed.: Quoting an English parliamentarian who was sympathetic to the colonies' complaints.]

{o} {#} [4] W. praises Nathan Dane as author of the Northwest Ordinance of '87, by which "slavery was forever excluded from the new states north of the Ohio." Nathan Dane is also known as a participant in the Hartford Convention, whose 2nd resolution recommended "restraining congress in the exercise of an unlimited power to make new states." So much for Nathan Dane's solicitude towards the West.

{o} {#} [5] W. says vehemently that I am wrong and the public lands must be indeed "treated as so much treasure", since they are by agreement to be for "The common benefits of all the states.

{o} {#} [6] In January 1825, W. spoke much as I have spoken here - of how the sale of the lands impoverishes the west, and saying "he could never think the national domain was to be regarded as any great source of revenue" and that the government's object should be "the getting them settled".

{o} {#} [7] In 1825, W told the world that the public lands "ought not to be treated as a treasure". He now tells us "they must be treated as so much treasure. These lands were, when received by the government, declared to be "for the common benefit of all states", but that does not imply they must be treated "merely as so much treasure".

{o} {#} [8] In my part of the country, we do not measure political benefits by the "money standard".

{o} {#} [9] When W. says the land must be treated as a fund for all the states, how can he justify the many appropriations for local purposes?

{o} {#} [10] W "proves" the east's friendship with the west by the many internal improvements in the West that the East has supported, which the south opposed due to "constitutional scruples". Are "constitutional scruples" grounds for reproach of the south? This favoritism towards the west began [when Adams and Clay formed their alliance] and the south was left out of the bargain.

The effect on the west of this bargain is "it robs them of their birthright for a mess of pottage." When, where and how did the suposed friendship of the east for the west come about? It was the "corrupt bargain of 1825".

{o} {#} [11] W says there is a positive side to the Federal debt - in that it forms a "link to hold states together" Any monied interest in the gov't is essentially "a base interest at war with virtue and patriotism", potentially fatal to liberty. "I would lay the foundation of this gov't in the affections of the people ... [not on pecuniary interests, favors, etc]".

{o} {#} [12] When W. praised Ohio at the expense of Kentucky, and attributed this to the "Ordinance of 87"s prohibition of slavery, I was revolted and thought it suggested "the very spirit of the Missouri question". What does he mean by this? To enlist the "prejudices of the world" against the south? To make a veiled threat by saying we are weakened by slavery as against "the superior strength of free states?" Is this a hint of a threat?

{o} {#} [12a] The south had slavery thrust upon it. "We met it as a practical question of obligation and duty. We resolved ... to fulfill the high trust which has devolved on us as the owners of slaves, ... in the only way [that we could] without spreading misery and ruin throughout the land."

{o} {#} [12b] "[Blacks are by nature] totally disqualified from the [exercise of] freedom." And there are too many to send back to Africa; to do so would be ... "false philanthropy." There is nowhere "a population so poor, so wretched, so vile, so loathsome, so utterly destitute of all the ... decencies of life [as the freed former slaves]" ... "Liberty has been to them the greatest of calamities".

{o} {#} [13] Slavery has not weakened the south in terms of defense; though we have fewer men who could potentially fight, only a fraction of a population can ever be used in a modern war. A country's strength comes mostly from its ability to produce goods in time of war, and our slaves would go on producing while that small fraction of the white population goes to war.

{o} {#} [13a] Who has the economic power? The south, of course, which with half the population of the north, produces twice the value of goods for export. [Editor's note: This measure of the economic strength of the north vs. the south is misleading; the north may have produced goods of greater value, but for domestic rather than the export, market.]

{o} {#}[13b] [Editor's note: From here on, Hayne repeatedly quotes Matthew Carey's Olive Branch.] "Honest Matthew Carey", "father of the American System" said "I sicken for the honor of the human species [when I hear demagogues of the Eastern States abuse the South over slavery, while] deriving all the benefit [from southern trade, as if] from so many wealthy colonies". In this "ingratitude" they are "courting their own destruction".

{o} {#} [14] The British West Indies has ten slaves to every white person, but keeps their slaves perfectly under control. The south hardly anywhere has more slaves than freemen, and so can do the same. All we ask is to be left alone; not pestered by abolitionists.

{o} {#} [15] "FALSE PHILANTHROPY" is filling the land with thousands of wild and visionary projects ["visionary" is generally used in a derogatory fashion in the 1830s] -- some aimed at slavery, and others against the country's Indian policies [angling for western sympathy].

{o} {#} [16] If slave owning saps the moral strength of a culture, how is it that our greatest statesmen, from Washington to Jackson, have come from the south? Edmund Burke [a famous political philosopher and an English parliamentarian who was sympathetic to the colonists] said, regarding the slave-owning society of the South,

    "Those who are free are by far the most proud and jealous of their freedom. [It] is to them ... a kind of rank and privelege ... In such a people, the hautiness of dominion combines with the spirit of freedom, fortifies it, and renders it invincible.

    [Ed.: This presents a fine image of the 19th century southern gentleman's self-image.]

{o} {#} [17] Mr. W. defends the consolidation of the gov't, and cites the Framers of the constitution ... But these men meant only to consolidate the Union of the States -- in their individual characters, not submerged in one government.

{o} {#} [18] Webster's National Republicans, who stand for one consolidated national government, are the same as the old federalists. They advocate power, and are the political descendents of the Tories. My party, called Democratic Republicans since 1822, are the true lovers of freedom, and descendents of the Whigs.

    [Note: The name Tory is well-remembered as a revolutionary-era term of abuse for English loyalists. It is less well known today that some of the revolutionaries styled themselves Whigs, after the more liberal party of England.

    Four years after this speech was made, many National Republicans joined state sovereignty men like Calhoun, and christened their party the Whigs, reinforcing their wish to portray Jackson as "King Andrew I". It was a party of strange bedfellows, and men like Calhoun soon left it as the majority took strong unionist positions, but the unionists held onto the name.]

{o} {#} [19]Mr. W. once doubted the constitutionality of the tariff, as the south now does. "He stood forth, the powerful and fearless champion of "free trade". I regret to see him now, fallen so far as to to support the "tariff of abominations".

{o} {#} [20] W. tells us the tariff is not an "eastern measure"; neither do the west nor south claim it. If they care so little for the tariff, it is the more terrible that they will not revoke it in order to "bind the states more closely with the cords of affection ... [instead] the seeds of dissolution are already sown."

{o} {#} [21] W. has been making utterly unprovoked attacks on my state as "looking to disunion". I may have to reluctantly retaliate. SC has always shown "uniform, zealous, ardent, and uncalculating devotion to the union" ... We fought, with "noble daring, dreadful suffering, and heroic endurance" for the revolution. Then, in '98, the south (with the VA and KY resolutions) saved the liberty of the union again.

{o} {#} [22] But what about the War of 1812, fought for "free trade and sailor's rights", for New England seamen? Though the south had nothing to gain from it; SC answered the call with "the noblest of her sons and half million in cash".

{o} {#} [23] But, having goaded the country into war, New England, and particularly the Federalists (of which W. was one), would not join in the fight, and instead, traded with the enemy, hoarded their money in their banks, and held their Hartford Convention, which threatened New England's separation from the Union.

{o} {#} [24] They claimed that all the depredations by Britain were imaginary or trivial. They libeled those who tried to do their patriotic duty. The government had to promise secrecy to New Englanders who would loan money to the government. Ministers denounced good patriots from the pulpit.

{o} {#} [25] They denounced and insulted the south and west, saying "if the negroes were good for food, their southern masters would claim the right to destroy them at pleasure"; calling the supporters of the war "MURDERER"; speaking of "chains of Virginia despotism", saying "God has given [the western states] blood to drink". They called for cutting the connection with the rest of the Union. And W., who belonged to their party, never protested all this [Ed: This is largely supported with citations from the Olive Branch, as you can see from the actual text.]

{o} {#} [26] The Hartford Convention, composed of very prominent men of N.Eng., and with the sanction of the Massachusetts legislature, met just when it was most doubtful whether the U.S. could survive the War.

{o} {#} [27] In strict secrecy they voted resolutions to weaken the government and avoid their own participation in the war.

{o} {#} [28] But just then the Battle of New Orleans saved the U.S. from ruin, and sent the Hartford delegates home in embarrasment.

{o} {#} [29] Thomas Jefferson (whom these men shamefully insulted) says of the N.Eng. Federalists that they threatened to split the country before the war of 1812, because they could not stand the embargo -- only to later promote "a single and splendid government &c, riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman ..." Mr. J. said the system of consolidation and protective tariffs would lead straight to disunion -- preferable to such a form of tyranny.

{o} {#} [30] Josiah Quincy, former congressman of Mass., and now president of Harvard called the acquisition of Louisianna grounds for separation "amicably if they can, violently if they must". I praise New Englanders in general; it was only the party of Mr. Webster who acted so.

{o} {#} [31] The true friends of the Union are those who would limit the powers of the federal government strictly according to the constitution. Its enemies are those who are "constantly stealing power from the states" and adding power to the Fed. Gov't; who would regulate all enterprises.

{o} {#} [32] Worst are those who would subvert the equality of the states through bargains and favors. Some say patronage can only go so far because "every 10 appointments makes 100 enemies". But former Senator John Randolph of Roanoke illustrated how a pack of dogs can be governed by little treats. "It mattered not whether the gift was bestowed on Towser or Sweetlips, Tray, Blanch, or Sweetheart, ... they were governed by a nod, and ... the expectation of the favors of tomorrow kept up the subjection of today."

{o} {#} [33] The "Carolina doctrine" as W. calls it -- that a state may constitutionally act against a "gross, palpable, and deliberate violation of the constitution" -- which the SC legislature stated in Dec. 1828, is identical with the Virginia Resolutions of 1798 against the alien and sedition laws.

{o} {#} [34] Several N.Eng. states disputed the resolution, but it was vindicated by Mr. Madison's report of '99 [in congress]. This stated that "in the case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise [of unconstitutional powers] the states ... [have the duty to arrest] the progress of the evil ..".

{o} {#} [35] Mr. Madison said, the constitution being a compact or agreement among equal parties -- the states -- with no higher authority to decide a dispute, "must themselves decide in the last resort, questions ... of sufficient magnitude." Without such right of interposition by the states, "there would be an end to all relief from usurped power."

{o} {#} [36] In 11/98 and 11/99, Kentucky passed similar resolutions, stating "that a nullification by [the states] of all unauthorized acts done under the color of [the constitution] is the rightful remedy."

{o} {#} [37] In 1821, Jefferson called it "a fatal heresy to suppose that" either the state gov'ts or the Fed. gov't is superior to the other, and in 1825, a protest he wrote for the Virginia legislature against Federal tariff and internal improvement measures, said "These acts of the federal gov't [are] null and void ... Virginia would consider a dissolution of the union as among the greatest [possible] calamities ... yet ... there is one greater -- submission to a gov't of unlimited powers.

{o} {#} [38] In a letter to Mr. Giles, Jefferson said "the federal ... gov't is advancing toward the usurpation of all [state powers] ... Under the power to regulate commerce, they assume [power] over agriculture and manufacturing ... under the authority to establish post roads, they claim that of cutting down mountains ... and digging canals."  What to do? "when the sole alternatives left are a dissolution of our union ... or submission to a government of unlimited powers [we must chose dissolution]"

This "Carolina Doctrine" is Thomas Jefferson's doctrine.

{o} {#} [39] South Carolina, suffering under ten times the provocation of the Alien and Sedition laws, reasserts the declarations of '98 and '99 which, by asserting states rights "saved the union at its last gasp". She goes no further than Massachusetts and Mr. W. did in 1809. The Federal gov't -- no matter which of its branches -- executive, judicial, or legislative, must not have the final word, or we have "a government of unlimited powers. The states are at once reduced to mere petty corporations, and the people are entirely at your mercy.

{o} {#} [40] SC is acting to preserve, not destroy the union. Though she suffers greatly from the tariff, it is really the principal of total federal dominance she opposes ... and that principal is the enemy of the union.

Webster's Second Reply - January 26, 1830:

{o} {#} [1] Let us take our bearings and remind ourselves what this discussion is about - seeing that seeing that we've been talking about everything but our original topic - the public lands [the secretary reads Foote's Resolution].

{o} {#} [2] Mr. Hayne insisted on replying to my first speech when I had intended to be elsewhere. "He had a shot to return" ... and spoke of something rankling here [hand on his heart]. [H. rises to dispute his having said "rankling"; W. continues:] at any rate I have nothing rankling "here" nor has any "shot" reached me.

{o} {#} [3] H. complained of my having taken much time to prepare the reply to his first speech. This is not true, for I had other matters to attend to [accompanied by flowery sarcasm.]

{o} {#} [4] H. taunts me for responding to him when Senator Benton originated the complaints against the east, and made them at length. He implies I fear meeting Benton in debate and would rather confront him (Hayne). This is foolishness. I heard H's speech and not Benton's, and if H. repeats an accusation, he must take responsibility for it.

{o} {#} [5] He portrays me as MacBeth frightened by the ghost of Banquo and somehow relates this to the "murdered coalition". This is odd, since if there was any "murdered coalition", it was murdered by H. and his colleagues, and so the ghost should haunt them, and perhaps inform them that they should have no successors on their ill-gotten throne [Ed.: the "unlineal hand" - This is a quote from MacBeth, in which he is shown that his son will not inherit the throne.]

{o} {#} [6] H. ridicules the name of Nathan Dane and claims hardly to know the name. I spoke of Mr. Dane's Ordinance of 1787, "which prohibited slavery, in all future times, northwest of the Ohio, as a measure of great wisdom and foresight ..." I supposed no one in the Senate could disagree with that. This lead him to a "labored defense of slavery" and attacks on me "as having attacked ...slavery in the south." I presumed no "reflecting and intelligent gentleman" of Kentucky would doubt that prohibition from the first of slavery in Kentucky would have benefitted that state. "If these opinions be thought doubtful, they are nevertheless, ... neither extraordinary nor disrespectful. They attack nobody, and menace nobody."

{o} {#} [7] He accuses me of agitating discord, as in the Missouri Controversy. "The gentleman, indeed, argues that slavery, in the abstract, is no evil. ... I regard ... slavery as one of the greatest of evils" but the constitution and early acts of Congress forbad our interfering with slavery in the south. This constant claim that northerners want to do away with slavery has been used repeatedly to keep northerners out of high places. I make no attempt to overthrow the constitution and abolish slavery.

{o} {#} [8] The ordinance of '87 was great for a number of reasons. It committed government to support education, and it set a precedent for the sacredness of government-made contracts.

{o} {#} [9] H. tries to give the south credit for the exclusion of slavery in the northwest territory. Jefferson indeed advocated it, but the south voted against it, and it was carried by northern votes.

{o} {#} [10] But H. ridicules the ordinance's author, Mr. Dane, and produces "moth eaten two-penny pamphlets" [to indite N.Eng.] But these pamphlets seem to be more read in the south now, and the "learned doctors of Abbeville and Colleton [editor: South Carolina towns where much of the nullification movement was planned]" have gone far beyond them. "I have nothing to do, sir, with the Hartford Convention" and am ready to censure any disloyalty that may have occurred there.

{o} {#} [11] To disprove the charge of inconsistency, I must return to the start of the debate ...

H spoke at length of the government's "stinginess" towards the west, blaming it on the tariff. He contrasts this to the
"generous" policy of parliament. The speech which he quoted yesterday, by Col. Barre in Parliament contradicts him:

    "They planted by your care? Your oppression planted them in America. They fled from your tyranny, and grew by your neglect of them. So soon as you began to care for them, you showed your care by sending persons to spy out their liberties, misrepresent their character, prey upon them, and eat out their substance."

Were our settlers driven West by oppression? Has government done nothing for them? Let us leave this quoting game to schoolboys.

{o} {#} [12] Now to my supposed inconsistancy. On Wednesday I said "we could not give away gratuitously all the public lands; that .. the gov't had solemnly pledged itself to dispose of them ... as a common fund, and sell and settle them as its discretion should dictate." Is this saying that we should "hug these lands as a very great treasure? No. I then and now say, "they are ... to be sold at low prices for the accomodation of settlers"  keeping in view the goal of settling them, as well as of raising money.

{o} {#} [13] As to who would like to restrict westward immigration, I quoted a "gentleman from SC" who clearly did wish to slow down the settlement of the west through higher land prices, and H. did not and cannot dispute this. N.Eng. is innocent of such a policy.

{o} {#} [14] H. finds inconsistency in appropriating lands for particular roads, canals, schools, etc., while being unwilling to give away all the public lands. Such is the difference between us. He asks "What interest has South Carolina in a canal in Ohio?" If SC and OH are "different countries", the answer is "none", any more than if a canal were in Mexico." It is a natural conclusion from his doctrine.

{o} {#} [15] But "we narrow-minded people of New England [say] Carolina and Ohio are parts of the same country ... having interests, common, ... and intermingled. Sir, if a railroad or a canal, beginning [and ending in] SC, appeared to me to be of national importance ... if I were to stand up here and ask what interest Mass. [had in it] I should not be willing to face my constituents."

{o} {#} [16] In some cases, it is right for the federal gov't to allocate land for a relatively local project -- especially where the gov't owns much of the land in a state. As for education, the new states, with their young and rapidly growing populations need it the most. There is no contradiction between lands being a common fund, and allocations to particular objects.

{o} {#} [17] When I attributed the south's disagreement to constitutional scruples, H. seemed to think that an unfair reproach; yet I was only giving the most charitable interpretation to their actions.

{o} {#} [18] H. insinuates N.Eng. only recently began to care about the west [editor: H. implies that N.Eng.'s concern for the west originated in the "Corrupt Bargain" between John Quincy Adams, of Mass, and Henry Clay of Kentucky (i.e. "the west")]. He asks "when, how, & why [did N.Eng begin to be for western measures]?"

{o} {#} [18a] As to the "when, how, & why", I will cite a recent example, though before the supposed "bargain".

{o} {#} [18b] In 1820, we voted for, and the south voted against, reduction in land prices. The same goes for the 1821 measure for "relief of the purchasers of public land", which relinquished 6 or 7 million dollars of debt due the government.

"When?" In 1820 and 21. "How?" By voting in congress. "Why?" Because "they entertained toward the west neither envy, hatred, or malice" and the west was in need.

{o} {#} [19a] From the first days of the U.S. to 1815, we had no relief from the turmoil of revolutions and wars in Europe. In 1815, that ordeal finally ended. At the same time European nations, recovering from the war, gave us "intense competition" in markets we once had to ourselves.

{o} {#} [19b] Taking stock, we found a country of 10 or 12 million people, in 24 states, of vast distances, greatly in need of improvements in transporation. Such projects generally benefit more than one state, and are beyond the means of one state. The federal gov't had the means, through customs, of raising the sums needed, while states can only tax directly. [editor: Imports, coming through a small number of ports, could be intercepted and taxed. To tax other economic activities would have required a large government structure that did not exist, either at the state or national levels].

{o} {#} [20] By 1816, I concluded that the Federal gov't could legitimately pursue such internal improvements. I followed the lead of South Carolina, "first and foremost" in advocating internal improvements, and in supporting the tariff of 1816.

{o} {#} [21] South Carolina was in fact essential to the putting in place of the system of tariffs and internal improvements, which then protected their cotton against competition from India.

{o} {#} [22] In 1823, George McDuffie of South Carolina, defended internal improvements against charges of "Federalism". He stated that the internal improvements "originated [under] Jefferson, and were "first proposed, as a system, by Mr. Calhoun, and carried through the House of Rep. by a large majority of the Republicans." McDuffie then praised Calhoun and other republican advocates of internal improvements.

{o} {#} [23] In April 1824, in consideration of a bill for the study of possible national transportation routes, Calhoun rejected a proviso "that nothing herein shall be construed to ... admit a power in congress on their own authority, to make roads and canals within any of the states of the union."

{o} {#} [24] It is just such federal powers that are now supposed to justify SC in nullifying federal laws.

{o} {#} [25] Up to 1824, I followed SC in these matters; but when "that star, ... veered off in an unexpected direction, I relied on its light no longer". [Calhoun, occupying the chair of the Senate, asked 'Does W. say that <Calhoun> has changed his opinions on the tariff?', to which -- ]

{o} {#} [26] "From nothing ever said to me, Sir, have I had reason to know of any change in the opinions of the person filling the chair of the Senate. If such change has taken place, I regret it. I speak generally of the State of South Carolina. Individuals we know there are who [favor federal internal improvements] An application ... in behalf of a public work in South Carolina itself, is now pending, I believe, in the other house, presented by members from that State." [quoted as a high dramatic point in the debate, and a specimen of Webster's fine-tuned sarcasm].

{o} {#} [27] I said it is not a bad thing for a national debt to act as a common interest between the states, but H. wants you to believe that I consider the debt itself a good thing. I do not, and was very explicit about that.

{o} {#} [28] He also misconstrues what I said about consolidation. I have no wish to enlarge federal powers -- only to strengthen them and perpetuate the union.

{o} {#} [29] H., unlike the framers of the constitution wants no consolidation of the union, and hence wants "not a shilling of fixed revenue for the federal gov't."

{o} {#} [30] H. says I am inconsistent on the tariff because in 1816 I doubted its constitutionality. Indeed Mr. Monroe's strong arguments for the legitimacy of the tariff had some effect on me. And if I vote for a particular tariff, as in 1828, it is because the legitimacy of the tariff has long been seen as a settled matter, and it was necessary to represent my state's wishes on the particular tariff rates of various materials, so I voted for a particular tariff.

{o} {#} [31] Throughout the 1828 election, the West was told to thank the south for their acquiescence [in the tariff's protection of western goods] while the south has been told to blame the east.

{o} {#} [32] H. announced his intention to "carry the war into enemy country" in retaliation for some purported insult to SC, and has brought forth foolish and extravagant pamphlets, sermons, etc. with which to indite N.Eng. But he has produced no "discomfiture". Why bring up the heated words of the past? If we wanted to, we could find plenty of scurrilous words against Gen. Washington from "presses South of New England".

{o} {#} [33] H. says that N.Eng. has at times held opinions as dangerous as those he now holds. Is his point to accuse N.Eng., or to marshall N.Eng's words in his support? It has nothing to do with the public lands in any case. If some bodies in N.Eng. have expressed disloyalty, let us condemn them and any "similar procedings".

{o} {#} [34] He tells us the Federalists are the political heirs of Tories and Monarchists, while giving his party the most distinguished lineage -- going back to ancient Rome. But today everyone is free to choose his own political grandparents -- it is all a game.

{o} {#} [35] I deny having attacked South Carolina. I was painfully surprised at some of H's statements on revenue and other topics, and said so. I also spoke of some in the south who speak of our union with indifference" and "magnify its evils". I trusted Mr. H. was not of this party, but his statements now make me suspect he is.

{o} {#} [36] In retaliation for what H. calls abuse of SC, he reproaches Mass. for the Hartford Convention, yet he approves those anti-union sentiments he accuses them of -- only it was bad to have voiced them in time of war. He will condemn the Hartford Convention and use it as a positive precedent at the same time. I condemn unreservedly any act tending to the dissolution of the Union, whether the Hartford Convention did so or not.

{o} {#} [37] H. sings the praises of South Carolina heroes of the past - as if to make me envious. I admire them equally, and add that "in early times no states cherished greater harmony ... than MA and SC." N.Eng. stands for itself, and needs no praise from me. Liberty lives there as strong as ever, and will until the end.

{o} {#} [38] My most "grave and important duty" which this occasion has made necessary is to "state and defend what I conceive to be the true principles of the constitution ..." I understand H. to maintain that a state has the right, under the constitution, to arrest the operation of federal laws, if the federal laws are, in the state's opinion, unconstitutional. This is the "South Carolina" doctrine, as H. calls it, though I hope it does not really represent SC opinion generally.

    [H. rises to state that his position is given by the Virginia resolution, according to which states have a "right and duty" to interpose for arresting the progress of "deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of <unconstitutional powers>"]

{o} {#} [39] I am aware of this resolution, penned by Mr. Madison, and that H. relies on it to back up his opinion. Madison is a weighty authority, but perhaps H. misconstrues what [Madison] had to say. What does it mean that "the states may interpose to arrest the progress ..." If Madison was speaking of a fundamental "right of revolution", then we all agree.

{o} {#} [40] But H. seems to mean that short of revolution, the states may interfere with federal laws [H. rises and in effect confirms this].

[W. continues --] " [He claims] it is constitutional to interrupt the administration of the constitution itself, in the hands of those who are chosen and sworn to administer it."; that the "states in virtue of their sovereign capacity" can do this.

{o} {#} [41] I do not accept that "the states have a constitutional right to interfere, and annul the law of congress."  There is no "middle course, between submission to the laws ... and open resistance ..."

{o} {#} [42] Is the federal gov't the agent of the state legislatures, and hence the "servant of 24 masters, of different wills and ... and yet bound to obey all?" The truth is that this is "the people's gov't made for the people; made by the people; and answerable to the people". Clearly the constitution does limit and control state sovereignty - a state cannot make war, coin money, or make treaties, regardless of her "feeling of justice".

{o} {#} [43] Since the Constitutional Convention, another public body has resolved that "the tariff of 1828 and every tariff designed to promote one branch of industry at the expense of others, is contrary to the meaning and intention of the federal compact, ...[and] calls upon the States which compose the suffering minority in their sovereign capacity, to exercise the powers ..." This language equally fits the tariff of 1816, which injured the Calcutta cotton trade, [to the benefit of South Carolina and other southern states].

{o} {#} [44] What happens when Pennsylvania and Kentucky say the tariff is constitutional and useful? Will each state decide for itself and pay if they choose? Does SC contend for the judging and deciding for themselves, in a matter which concerns all the states? [in that case,] is not the whole Union a rope of sand?"

{o} {#} [45] One SC document declares "[Before the] Revolution, when the arm of oppression was stretched over New England, ... We had no extortion, no oppression, no collision with the king's ministers, no navigation interests springing up, in envious rivalry of England". What is meant here? That SC chose freely to come to the assistance of N.Eng., and will again choose freely whether or not to assist her neighbor states today?

{o} {#} [46] It is absolutely true that N.Eng. opposed the Embargo, and that most New Englanders considered it unconstitutional. But what did N.Eng. do?  Far from providing a precedent for nullification, she went to the federal courts.

{o} {#} [47] She sent the great constitutional lawyer, Samuel Dexter, to represent her.

{o} {#} [48] New England lost, and did not proceded to pass laws contrary to federal laws, but acquienced. She could have acquiesced or rebelled, but there is no middle ground.

{o} {#} [49] If the states are left to judge for themselves in these matters, it is futile to qualify applicable cases with adjectives like "clear, deliberate, or palpable". The more heated the disagreement between states gets, the more the case will seem "clear, deliberate, and palpable". Either the laws of the Union are beyond ... the control of the States; or else we have no constitution of general government."

{o} {#} [50] N.Eng. did not act according to Mr. H's interpretation of the constitition; had she, the Union would have probably collapsed.

{o} {#} [51] Do the Virginia resolutions of 1798 really support H's thesis? Or do they only support the "general right of resolution"? The latter, I believe.

{o} {#} [52] The people made the Constitution; it is not a compact between states. If it were a compact, it would still bind the states. They agreed to the statement:

    "the Constitution, and the laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof, shall be the supreme law of the land, any thing in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."

and, as the keystone of the arch, they agreed to a federal judiciary, as final arbiter:

    "the judicial power shall extend to all cases arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States."

Without these clauses, we would have no Constitution, but "a collection of topics for everlasting controversy; heads of debate for a disputatious people."

{o} {#} [53] Our government is one of restricted, and specifically named powers, but it has, as it must have, means for resolving disputes about its powers.

{o} {#} [54] Suppose SC tries to nullify the tariff. H. must lead the SC militia to the federal collector to demand he stop collecting tariffs. The collector would in turn show them the law, and his oath of office.

{o} {#} [55] Suppose the militiamen ask -- if our actions are judged wrong, how will they be treated? Hayne will have to say "as treason"; which in turn means they are liable to hang. For their self-protection, he must say "Defend yourselves with your bayonets"; and this is war,-- civil war.

{o} {#} [56] H. sees the judgement of Congress, or the Supreme Court, as subverting state sovereignty, but does not see how the right of judging by the state legislatures will subvert the Union.

{o} {#} [57] The nullification doctrine would leave the Union feeble and helpless.

{o} {#} [58] The Union is a great and vital object, which has served us well for 40 years, and I have spoken long, and without the usual preparation for a long speech, because my heart is full of concern.

{o} {#} [59] Should our Union fall into pieces, which these doctrines may cause to happen, I fear to see "States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; ... a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, ... in fraternal blood!" Let us not have "Liberty first and Union afterwards", but "Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable!"

    1. [This is the end of the speech Webster planned to make, but Hayne made a rejoinder to which Webster responded at length, and this exchange does appear the the version I used. It adds a line of reasoning that doesn't appear in the speech proper.]

    {o} {#} [60] Responding to a rejoinder by Mr. H., W. began by summarizing H's position as: 

    1. The Constitution is a compact between the States;
    2. a compact between two, with authority reserved to one to interpret its terms, would make no sense, being surrender to that one of all power whatever;
    3. Therefore the general government cannot have been given sole authority to construe its own powers.

    Even if I accepted point (1), which I do not, it is faulty reasoning to say points (1) and (2) imply (3). Why? Because the federal gov't was not a signer of the constitution. So supposing a compact cannot leave one of the parties the sole arbiter of its interpretation, that has no bearing. What we have is an agreement -- which I say is between the people, and Mr. Hayne says is between the states -- which creates the federal gov't, complete with a judicial body that decides how to interpret the agreement. This might theoretically make it right for the states, as joint creators, to come together to reinterpret the Constitution. It does not make it right for one state on its own to reinterpret the Constitution.