The Congressional Globe, Volume 14: Twenty-Eighth Congress, Second Session Page: 59
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voted against the treaty of annexation in the Senate
of the united States. It might be asked, then, what
great question was settled and decided by tire late
presidential contest. What had been determined
by it? So far as great important measures of legis-
lation were concerned, he contended that it estab-
lished nothing. It did r.ot show that the people
were in favor of reducing the tariff of 1842, or
in favor of the annexation of Texas, or in
favor of this independent treasury billl.
There was one thing, however, that the late elec-
tions did show; and that was, that a majority of the
people might, by the mere force of party drill be
brought to vote for a man who is in favor of meas-
ures they are opposed to, and, by this means, meas-
ures may be carried which a majority of the people
are opposed to.
After afew more remarks from Mr. H., he observed
that there was one more fact connected with the
late elections in New York, which he would now
advert to, and to which he begged leave to call
the attention of those who were in favor of the
annexation of Texas. That fact was, that the fail-
ure to vote of some 15,000 abolitionists in the State
of New York, caused the election of Mr. Polk; and
when gentlemen claimed that the late elections had
decided the question of the annexation of Texas, he
hoped they would advert to that fact.
Mr. PAYNE asked the gentleman to state to the
House for whom the abolitionists of the State of
New York voted.
Mr, HUNT presumed that the gentleman would
get that information from the returns of the elec-
tions. He would, however, state that some 15,000
abolitionists of New York voted for one James G.
Birney, who, in the late contest, was a very efficient
supporter of the Polk party.—who proclaimed his
preterence for Mr. Polk over Mr. Clay, and who
was, at one time, the democratic candidate in the
State of Michigan.
He proceeded to speak of Mr. Birney's preference
for Mr. Polk over Mr. Clay in the late contest, and
of his running as a candidate of the democratic party
in the Stateof Michigan.
Mr. PAYNE called inpon the gentleman from
New York, as a man of honor, to state to the House
and to the country, whether he knew that Mr. Jas.
G. Birney supported Mr. Polk in the late election
for the presidency; and whether, on the other hand,
he did not know that the letter which was published
was not an absolute forgery—such a forgery as had
been resorted to on other frequent occasions. And
he called upon the gentleman from New York to
state, on his honor, and on the responsibility which
rested upon him as a man of truth, to state whether
he did not know that Mr. Birney sought to elect
Mr. HUNT replied that Mr. Birney stated to
large assemblages in the State, of New York that,
as between Mr. Clay and Mr. Polk, he preferred
Mr. Polk. There was no doubt of that fact: nor of
another, that Mr. Birney accepted a nomination from
the democratic party of the State of Michigan.
Mr. McCLELLANDasked the gentleman from
New York, if he meant to represent Mr. James G.
Birney as-having been nominated or supported by
the democratic party of Michigan, or as having ac-
cepted a nomination from the democratic party? If
he did mean to make such a representation, he [Mr.
McClelland] begged him to understand that it was
entirely false and unfounded.
Mr. HUNT. Does the gentleman mean to say
that Mr. Birney was not nominated by the democratic
party of Michigan, and that he accepted such nomi-
Mr. McCLELLAND. Yes, I do deny it.
Mr. HUNT. That denial will create ^very great
surprise wherever it will be heaid. [Laughter.]
Mr. Birney himself admitted, in his'published letter,
that he did accept the nomination from Saginaw
county; but whether he accepted it as a democratic
nomination,was a refinement of terms which he
would not undertake to discuss.
Mr. McCLELLAND. If the gentleman will
permit, I will ask him if he has seen the letter of
Mr. Birney, denying the truth of the statement.
Mr. HUNT. I have seen the letter in which he
admitted that he did accept the nomination.
Mr. McCLELLAND. I will give the gentleman
§50 for the production of that letter.
Mr. HUNT. I have seen it in print. (Cries of
"Oh, that was a Roorback!")
He then went on with some general remarks in
continuation of those which he was making when
he was interrupted by the question that was put by
Mr- Payne. *
Mr. BAYLY had no disposition to fight o- er
again the late campaign. He was perfectly satis-
fied with the manner in which it was car-
ried on before the country, and he was still more
so with the manner in which it was decided.
He repeated, he was not disposed to fight that battle
over again; and he was still less disposed to under-
take to write or speak its history. He was not
qualified for the task. He was an active participa-
tor in that contest; he was warmed by the heat of
it: and, in candor, he admitted that he was not
qualified to delineate its history. And, after this
admission as to himself, he should be wanting
in courtesyif he questioned the qualifications of
others; - nor should he enter into any elaborate
•discussion of the proposition before the commit-
tee, for it had been iully discussed in every depart-
ment.of this government, and before the people.
He , should,, however, like to discuss it, if time
would permit; but it did not. He did desire to
understand, from their opponents in this House
and in the country, if it were possible, in what
manner they desired the finances of the coun-
try to be conducted for the next four years. A na-
tional bank, which was their favorite measure, was
out of the question. Its palpable unconstitutional-
ity, the frauds and corruptions of the late institu-
tion, its absolute incompatibility with the purity of
our institutions, had led to its emphatic condemna-
tion. That measure being out of the question for
the next four years: dul the gentlemen desire to go
back to the pet-bank system, on which they were in
the habit for years of heaping so much bitter exe-
cration? Or would the gentlemen take the Presi-
dent's exchequer scheme, which they had hitherto
condemned so loudly? He was led to infer—as
'they found that a bank was out of the question,
that the executive scheme was out of the question,
and as they wished to defeat this measure—that they
desired things to remain as they now were; for there
was no other alternative. And what was the pres-
ent state of things? Why, the great embodiment
of the whig party had told the country that its
finances were in "a lawless condition;" and he
would ask gentlemen if they desired that they
should so remain. He would ask if they intended
that the public money should be left with irresponsi-
ble depositaries. Did they intend to intrust the ex-
ecutive with them, and to give him the entire control
of the finances of the nation? He (Mr. B.) had great
confidence in the executive which was to assume the
government on the fourth of March next, and the
people had great confidence in him too; yet neither
he nor the people desired to leave the finances of
the nation at the will of that executive. They were
told by the Secretary of the Treasury that the tariff
act of 1842, if not modified—and he feared it would
require a desperate effort to procure a satisfactory
modification of it—if it was not materially mod-
ified, would annually accumulate a large surplus rev-
enue in the treasury; and he would ask gentlemen
if they desired this surplus to remain with irre-
sponsible depositaries, without the regulation of law
for their security? He could infer nothing else
from their course. With millions of dollars accumu-
lating in the treasury, could not gentlemen see that
the strongest temptations were offered to the officers
of the government to use the public money in
private speculations, which would lead to the corrup-
tion both of the government and the people, anl
great losses of the national treasure?
He had but one other remark to make, and with
with that he should close the few which he had
risen to make. The gentleman from New York, in
his anxiety to fix inconsistency on the republican
party, had referred to the fact, that in 1S34, the en-
tire democratic party, with one1 single exception,
voted agaiostthe proposition to divorce the govern-
ment fiom the bank; but the gentleman, in lus zeal,
did not see that, at the very moment he in th;s manner
was fixing inconsistency on the republican party,
he was fixing it more firmly on his own filends.
In 1&34, when the republican party, with one excep-
tion, voted against the proposition which came
from his State, (Virginia,) to divorce the govern-
ment from the banks, the pet bank system had
not been tried; and yet, when it was but an experi-
ment, the entire whig party, without one solitary
exception, voted for the divorce when it was pie-
sen ted as a substitute for the State bank system.
Mr. YANCE inquired if the gentleman from Vir-
ginia stated that as a fact.
Mr. BAYLY said he was speaking from his rec-
ollection of the transaction, and he was not prepar-
ed to say that there might not have been one selita-
ry straggler from the pariy that voted against the
party itself; but this he asserted, that the great body
of the whig party—and if there were a solitary ex-
ception, he forthe first time had to hear it—voted for
the proposition for the divorce of bank and state as
an antagonistic system of the pet banks.
It was true only some 32 voted for General Gor-
don's substitute, but they comprehended nearly all of
the Virginia whigs. It was objected to as being de-
fective to detail. Mr. Robertson, of Virginia, dis-
covering this, moved to recommit the deposit-bank
scheme', with instructions to the committee to report
a plan providing for the entire divorce of bank and
state. The abstract question was thus raised, unin-
cumbered with detail, and he believed every whig
in the House voted for the recommitment. If he
was wrong the journal would correct him.
After a few other observations, he said he had
only obtained a few minutes from the time of the
gentleman from Indiana, [Mr,. Henley,] and he
would not now trespass further on that gentleman's
Mr. HENLEY then rose to address the commit-
tee; but he was interrupted for some time by a claim
set up by Mr. Clingman for the floor.
A conversation ensued, in which Messrs. CLING-
MAN, HENLEY, BOYD, GRIDER, CAUSIN,
and others took part, which was terminated by the
establishment of Mr Henley's right
Mr. HENLEY said he had no desire to bring
into the House the party discussions which had
characterized the recent campaign; but as they had
been introduced by others, he might, not improperly,
participate in them. He then proceeded to notice
the observations of the gentleman from New York
and to reply to them in succession; more particular-
ly noticing the gentleman's charge of inconsistency
against the democratic party; and he asked that
gefitleman where he was on the question of the in-
dependent treasury in 1836, and whether he did not
vote for Mr. Van Buren in that year.
Mr. HUNT said he never was in favor of the
Mr- HENLEY asked the gentleman if he was not
a democratic candidate in 1840.
Mr. HUNT replied that the gentleman was en-
tirely misinformed. It is true he was a member of
the old Jackson party, and aided to elect Mr. Van
Buren in 1836, and was a candidate for Congress in
that year, but not in 1840. He had never support-
ed the system of collecting the public revenues in
a specie currency. For his consistency he was re-
sponsible only to his constituents. He frankly
avowed every change of opinion; but his greatest
inconsistency consisted in refusing to follow the
rapid strides of progressive democracy.
Mr. HENLEY continued. The gentleman did
not change, but the entire party with whom he act-
ed changed ! [Laughter.] Mahomet did not come
to the mountain, but the mountain went to Mahom-
et. The gentleman had said he would be glad to
be informed what was the verdict to be rendered up
by the jury of the people in the late trial
before the country, and pretended to fancy that no
question had been decided. Now Mr. H. thought
that the verdict in this case vv<is just such as that
returned by a jury of the West, in the case of a
man who had been guilty of whipping a man
charged -with whipping his wife. The jury
came into court with a verdict gravely sealed,
"sarred him right." [Laughter.] He apprehend-
ed-that this was the verdict. Mr. Clay had been
charged with inconsistency—with being in favor of
and against a national bank and a protective tariff.
He had made a speech ill 1832 or '33 on the com-
promise, in which he had said that no protection
was necessary to the American manufacturer; and
at the extra session of 1841, in a speech, he had
said that ''that there is no ncces&ity of piotection
for protection." He had been charged with vari-
ous inconsistencies, and other things which Mr.
H. would not mention; and now the verdict of the
jury, who had been in retirement for some time,
would lie, "sarved him right." [Laughter.]
He knew that to be the feeling of .the people of
the country—the deep-seated feeling of the whigs
as well as their opponents in the West—that they
felt that Mr. Clay was not the man suited for the
high station of the presidency.
Mr. HARDIN. Will the gentleman show it?
Mr. HENLEY. No.
. Mr. HARDIN. The gentleman cannot do it.
Mr. HENLEY. I suppose the gentleman wilj
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United States. Congress. The Congressional Globe, Volume 14: Twenty-Eighth Congress, Second Session, legislative document, 1845; Washington D.C.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2366/m1/75/: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.