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view for predicting the approach of his monarchical millennium in America, we need not, I believe, no one here, need know or care. But does it mark unmanly fear of England, an unmanly haste to propitiate her good-will
, because I would commit the quiet and the glory of my country to you? Where should the peace of the nation repose, but beneath the folds of the nation's flag ? Do not fear, either, that you are about to undervalue the learning, abilities, and integrity of the State tribunals. Sir, my whole life has been a constant experience of their learning, abilities, and integrity; but I do not conceive that I distrust or disparage them, when I have the honor to agree with the Constitution itself, that yours are the hands to hold the mighty issues of peace and war.
Mr. President, how strikingly all things, and every passing hour, illustrate the wisdom of those great men who looked to the Union, the Union under a general government, for the preservation of
peace, at home and abroad, between us and the world, among the States, and in each State. Turn
Turn your eyes eastward and northward, and see how this vast, but restrained and parental, central power holds at rest a thousand spirits, a thousand elements of strife! There is Maine.
How long would it be, if she were independent, before her hardy and gallant children would pour themselves over the disputed territory, like the flakes of her own snow-storms? How long, if New York were so, before that tumultuous frontier would blaze with ten thousand “bale fires”? Our own beautiful and beloved Rhode Island herself, with which the Senator rebukes you for interfering, is it not happy even for her, that her star, instead of shining alone and apart in the sky, blends its light with so many kindred rays, whose influence may save it from shooting madly from its sphere?
The aspect which our united America turns upon foreign nations, the aspect which the Constitution designs she shall turn on them, the guardian of our honor, the guardian of our peace, is, after all, her grandest and her fairest aspect. We have a right to be proud when we look on that. Happy and free empress mother of States themselves free, unagitated by the passions, unmoved by the dissensions of any one of them, she watches the rights and fame of all, and reposing, secure and serene, among the mountain summits of her freedom, she
holds in one hand the fair olive branch of peace, and in the other the thunderbolt and meteor flag of reluctant and rightful war. There may she sit forever, — the stars of union upon her brow, the rock of independence beneath her feet !
Mr. President, it is because this bill seems to me well calculated to accomplish one of the chief original ends of the Constitution that it has my hearty support.
SPEECH ON THE POWER AND DUTY OF CONGRESS TO CONTINUE THE POLICY OF PROTECTING AMERICAN LABOR.
DELIVERED IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, MARCH 14, 1842.
[The resolutions of Mr. Clay being under consideration, one of which was in the following terms :
“ Resolved, That, in the adjustment of a tariff to raise an amount of twenty-six millions of revenue, the principles of the Compromise Act generally should be adhered to, and that especially a maximum rate of ad valorem duties should be established, from which there ought to be as little departure as possible,” Mr. Choate spoke as follows:] MR. PRESIDENT,
I HAD wished to say something on one branch of one of the subjects to which the resolutions extend; I mean that of the readjustment of the tariff, as it may affect domestic industry. In
my view, it is the great subject of the session and of the day. I agree with the Pennsylvania memorialists, whose petition has just been read, that the subject of the currency — difficult, delicate, and important as it is, and creditable as it will be to my friend from New York, [Mr. Tallmadge,] and useful to the country to adjust it — bears no comparison, in point of importance, with this. We are coming, whether we will or not, by the progress of the Compromise Act, to an era in the history of the national industry and the national prosperity. We have it in our power to mark this era by the commission of a stupendous mistake, or by the realization of a splendid felicity and wisdom of policy. This very tariff which we are about to construct may, on the one hand, paralyze American labor, drive it from many of its best fields of
employment, arrest the development of our resources of growth and wealth, and even the development of the mind and genius of America, our main resource, turning back the current of our national fortunes for an age; or it may, on the other hand, communicate an impulse, that shall be felt after we are in our graves, to that harmonized agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial industry, which alone can fill the measure of this or of any country's glory.
Under this impression of the importance of the subject, I have wished to take part in the discussion of it. In the present stage, however, of this business of arranging the tariff in the two houses of congress, ---- with no bill before us, with no report of either of the committees on manufactures, although we have had a very able speech from the chairman of our own committee, (Mr. Simmons,] unaided to any considerable and useful extent by the voice of the country, which, if I do not misunderstand the country, will come up, peremptory and unequivocal, the moment you have a bill reported, and before, if that is delayed much longer, — I do not think it expedient, or even practicable, to go far into the consideration of details. I mean to abstain from them altogether at this time. I move no question now about the amount of annual revenue which you will require for the wants of government, nor whether you should raise it from duties on imports alone, or partly from the proceeds of the public lands. I have nothing now to say about specific duties or ad valorem duties, horizontal or discriminating tariffs, home valuation or foreign valuation. The actual state of information before us, in parliamentary and authentic form, is not such as to make it worth while to anticipate that kind of discussion. But there is one preliminary and general principle upon which I shall consider myself obliged to stand; by which I shall consider myself obliged to try every question of detail that shall present itself; and which it may
to announce at this moment as at any other; and that is, that congress has the constitutional power so to provide for the collection of the necessary revenues of government as to afford reasonable and adequate protection to the whole labor of the country, agricultural, navigating, mechanical, and manufacturing, and ought to afford that protection. This general principle I shall take with me
through all this investigation; and it is the only one which it is necessary now to declare. I mean by this to say, that I shall enter on this business of the tariff with no unalterable predetermination as to the precise mode of effecting the grand object in view; although I certainly hold a very confident opinion that discriminating and specific duties will be found indispensable. But this I am ready to avow : that the protection of American labor, on all its fields and in all its forms, is to be kept constantly and anxiously in view in all our arrangements; that you have the constitutional power to secure that protection; and that you are bound to do so, regardless of everything and everybody but the Constitution, justice, and a true and large American policy.
There can be no doubt then, it would seem, in the first place, on the constitutional
in the assessment of duties of revenue, so to discriminate among objects of duty as to bring to life and to keep alive the whole multiform, agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial industry of the country. To state the immediate proposition which I mean to examine more precisely : You are about determining to raise a certain annual amount of revenue, — twenty-six millions of dollars, if you please. The wants of government require at least so much, whatever becomes of the land bill. The amount is fixed by reference to those wants. Now, without intending by any means to concede that this is the extent of your consti
—for certainly, in my judgment, it goes a great deal further, — what I would say is, that, in assessing the duties which are to yield the amount thus determined on, you may discriminate for the protection of labor. admit some articles free, and just as many of them as you please, without any regard to the enumeration in the Compromise Act. You may prohibit the importation of others. You may admit some under specific, and some under ad valorem duties, - some under a low rate, and some under a high one, - some under a foreign valuation, others under a valuation at home, - and others, or all, under that legislative preëstablishment of value which the Senator from Rhode Island Mr. Simmons) proposes to substitute for fraudulent or mistaken estimates of actual and changeable value made abroad or at home. All this you may do; these varieties of proceeding