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it is quite a mistake. Owing to other engagements, I could not employ even the interval between the adjournment of the Senate and its meeting the next morning, in attention to the subject of this debate. Nevertheless, Sir, the mere matter of fact is undoubtedly true. I did sleep on the gentleman's speech, and slept soundly. And I slept equally well on his speech of yesterday, to which I am now replying. It is quite possible that in this respect, also, I possess some advantage over the honourable member, attributable, doubtless, to a cooler temperament on my part; for, in truth, I slept upon his speeches remarkably well.
But the gentleman inquires why he was made the object of such a reply? Why was he singled out? If an attack has been made on the East, he, he assures us, did not begin it: it was made by the gentleman from Missouri. Sir, I answered the gentleman's speech because I happened to hear it; and because, also, I chose to give an answer to that speech which, if unanswered, I thought most likely to produce injurious impressions. I did not stop to inquire who was the original drawer of the bill. I found a responsible indorser before me, and it was my purpose to hold him liable, and to bring him to his just responsibility, without delay. But, Sir, this interrogatory of the honourable member was only introductory to another. He proceeded to ask me whether I had turned upon him, in this debate, from the consciousness that I should find an overmatch, if I ventured on a contest with his friend from Missouri. If, Sir, the honourable member, modestice grutia, had chosen thus to defer to his friend, and to pay him a conipliment, without intentional disparagement to others, it would have been quite according to the friendly courtesies of debate, and not at all ungrateful to my own feelings. I am not one of those, Sir, who esteem any tribute of regard, whether light and occasional, or more serious and deliberate, which may be bestowed on others, as so much unjustly with holden from themselves. But the tone and manner of the gentleman's question forbid me thus to interpret it. I am not at liberty to consider it as nothing more than a civility to his friend. It had an air of taunt and disparagement, something of the loftiness of asserted superiority, which does not allow me to pass it over without notice. It was put as a question for me to answer, and so put as if it were difficult for me to answer, whether I deemed the member from Missouri an overmatch for myself in debate here. It seems to me, Sir, that this is extraordinary language, and an extraordinary tone, for the discussions of this body.
Matches and overmatches! Those terms are more applicable elsewhere than here, and fitter for other asseinblies than this.
Sir, the gentleman seems to forget where and what we are. This is a Senate, a Senate of equals, of men of individual honour and personal character, and of absolute independence. We know no masters, we acknowledge no dictators. This is a hall for mutual consultation and discussion; not an arena for the exhibition of champions. I offer myself, Sir, as a match for no man; I throw the challenge of debate at no man's feet. But then, Sir, since the honourable member las put the question in a manner that calls for an answer, I will give him an answer; and I tell him that, holding myself to be the humblest of the members here, I yet know nothing in the arm of his friend from Missouri, either alone or when aided by the arm of his friend from South Carolina, that need deter even me from espousing whatever opinions I may choose to espouse, from debating whenever I may choose to debate, or from speaking whatever I may see fit to say, on the floor of the Senate. Sir, when uttered as matter of commendation or compliment, I should dissent from nothing which the honourable member might say of his friend. Still less do I put forth any pretensions of my own, But when put to me as matter of taunt, I throw it back, and say to the gentleman that he could possibly say nothing more likely than such a comparison to wound my pride of personal character. The anger of its tone rescued the remark from intentional irony, which otherwise, probably, would have been its general acceptation. But, Sir, if it be imagined that by this mutual quotation and commendation; if it be supposed that, by casting the characters of the drama, assigning to each his part, to one the attack, to another the cry of onset; or if it be thought that, by a loud and empty vaunt of anticipated victory, any laurels are to be won here; if it be imagined, especially, that any, or all these things will shake any purpose of mine, I can tell the hon. ourable member, once for all, that he is greatly mistaken, and that he is dealing with one of whose temper and character he has yet much to learn. Sir, I shall not allow myself, on this occasion, I hope on no occasion, to be betrayed into any loss of temper: but if provoked, as I trust I never shall be, into crimination and recrimination, the honourable member may perhaps find that, in that contest, there will be blows to take as well as blows to give; that others can state comparisons as significant, at least, as his own; and that his impunity may possibly demand of him whatever powers of taunt and sarcasm he may possess. I commend him to a prudent husbandry of his
But, Sir, the Coalition! The Coalition! Ay, “the murdered Coalition !” The gentlemen asks, if I were led or frighted into this debate by the spectre of the Coalition. "Was it the ghost of the murdered Coalition,” he exclaims, “which haunted the member from Massachusetts ; and which, like the ghost of Banquo, would never down?” “The murdered Coalition!” Sir, this charge of a coalition, in reference to the late administration,4 is not original with the honourable member. It did not spring up in the Senate. Whether as a fact, as an argument, or as an embellishment, it is all borrowed.
He adopts it, indeed, from a very low origin, and a still lower present condition. It is one of the thousand calumnies with which the press teemed during an excited political canvass. It was a charge, of which there was not only no proof or probability, but which was in itself wholly impossible to be true. No man of common information ever believed a syllable of it. Yet it was of that class of falsehoods which, by continued repetition through all the organs of detraction and abuse, are capable of misleading those who are already far misled, and of further fanning passion already kindling into flame. Doubtless it served in its day, and, in greater or less degree, the end designed by it. Having done that, it has sunk into the general mass of stale and loathed calumnies. It is the very cast-off slough of a polluted and shameless press. Incapable of further mischief, it lies in the sewer, lifeless and despised. It is not now, Sir, in the power of the honourable member to give it dignity or decency, by attempting to elevate it, and to introduce it into the Senate. He cannot change it from what it is, an object of general disgust and scorn. On the contrary, the contact, if he choose to touch it, is more likely to drag him down, down, to the place where it lies itself.
But, Sir, the honourable member was not, for other reasons, entirely happy in his allusion to the story of Banquo's murder and Banquo's ghost. It was not, I think, the friends, but the
4 “The Coalition!” was one of the partisan outcries raised against the ad. ministration of President John Quincy Adams; and it was urged with incredi. ble violence durivg the canvass of 1828, in order to defeat the reëlection of Ad. ams, and bring in General Jackson. In 1824, Mr. Clay was a candidate for the Presidency along with Adams. As there was then no election by the people, it fell to the House of Representatives to elect a President, and Clay's friends, or the most of them, voted for Adams, and thus secured a majority of the States in his favour. Adams gave the first seat in his cabinet to Clay; not from any previous understanding between them, or between their friends, but because Clay was evidently the right man for the place. This appointment was eagerly seized upon as inferring a bargain; and the false accusation of a corrupt coali. tion thus grounded probably did a good deal towards defeating the reëlection of Adams in 1828. Mr. Calhoun was elected Vice-President both in 1824 and in 1828; and in the latter year he gave all his influence against Adams and in favour of Jackson. All through those years, Calhoun carried the politics of South Carolina in his pocket, nor was his strength by any means confined to that State.
enemies of the murdered Banquo, at whose bidding his spirit would not down. The honourable gentleman is fresh in his reading of the English classics, and can put me right if I am wrong: but, according to my poor recollection, it was at those who had begun with caresses and ended with foul and treacherous murder that the gory locks were shaken. The ghost of Banquo, like that of Hamlet, was an honest ghost. It disturbed no innocent man. It knew where its appearance would strike terror, and who would cry out, “A ghost !” It made itself visible in the right quarter, and compelled the guilty and the conscience-smitten, and none others, to start, with,
“Prøythee, see there! behold! look! lo!
If I stand here, I saw him!”
THEIR eyeballs were seared (was it not so, Sir?) who had thought to shield themselves by concealing their own hand, and laying the imputation of the crime on a low and hireling agency in wickedness; who had vainly attempted to stifle the workings of their own coward consciences, by ejaculating, through white lips and chattering teeth, “Thou canst not say I did it!" I have misread the great Poet if those who had no way partaken in the deed of the death either found that they were, or feared that they should be, pushed from their stools by the ghost of the slain, or exclaimed, to a spectre created by their own fears and their own remorse, “Ayaunt! and quit our sight!"
There is another particular, Sir, in which the honourable member's quick perception of resemblances might, I should think, have seen something in the story of Banquo, making it not altogether a subject of the most pleasant contemplation. Those who murdered Banquo, what did they win by it? Substantial good? Permanent power? Or disappointment, rather, and sore mortification ; dust and ashes,- the common fate of vaulting ambition overleaping itself? Did not even-handed justice ere long commend the poisoned chalice to their own lips? Did they not soon find that for another they had “filed their mind?” that their ambition, though apparently for the moment successful, had but put a barren sceptre in their grasp ? : Ay, sir,
5 The application here intended, though clear enough at the time, is somewhat obscure to us. Supposing there to have been a coalition, and that coali. tion to have been killed, the killing must have been done by the friends of Calhoun, among whom Mr. Hayne stood foremost. Of course they who had killed the coalition were the ones to be haunted by its ghost; and Webster here delicately implies that they had expected to stand tirst in the counsels of the party in whose behalf the killing was done, and also to hold the succession of power. But it was not long in becoming evident that Van Buren, and not Cal. houn, had the ascendant iu Jackson's counsels; in fact, matters soon grew to a decided rupture between Jackson anni Calhoun; and at the time when this speech was made it was manifest that Calhoun and his friends were cut off from the party succession.
Sir, I need pursue the allusion no further. I leave the honourable gentleman to run it out at his leisure, and to derive from it all the gratification it is calculated to administer. If he finds himself pleased with the associations, and prepared to be quite satisfied though the parallel should be entirely completed, I had almost said I am satisfied also; but that I shall think of. Yes, Sir, I will think of that.
In the course of my observations the other day, Mr. President, I paid a passing tribute of respect to a very worthy man, Mr. Dane, of Massachusetts. It so happened that he drew the Ordinance of 1787, for the government of the Northwestern Territory. A man of so much ability, and so little pretence; of so great a capacity to do good, and so unmixed a disposition to do it for its own sake; a gentleman who had acted an important part, forty years ago, in a measure the influence of which is still deeply felt in the very matter which was the subject of debate, might, I thought, receive from me a commendatory recognition. But the honourable member was inclined to be facetious on the subject. He was rather disposed to make it matter of ridicule, that I had introduced into the debate the name of one Nathan Dane, of whom he assures us he had never before heard. Sir, if the honourable member had never before heard of Mr. Dane, I am sorry for it. It shows him less acquainted with the public men of the country, than I had supposed. Let me tell him, however, that a sneer from him at the mention of the name of Mr. Dane is in bad taste. It may well be a mark of ambition, Şir, either with the honourable gentleman or myself, to accomplish as much to make our names known to advantage, and remembered with gratitude, as Mr. Dane has accomplished. But the truth is, Sir, I suspect, that Mr. Dane lives a little too far north. He is of Massachusetts, and too near the north star to be reached by the honourable gentleman's telescope. If his sphere had happened to range south of Mason and Dixon's line, he might probably have come within the scope of his vision.
I spoke, Sir, of the Ordinance of 1787, which prohibited