A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many and various and powerful interests, combined into one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in the banks.
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Be assured that, as certain as Congress transcends its assigned limits and usurps powers never conferred, or stretches those conferred beyond the proper limits, so surely will the fruits of its usurpation pass into the hands of the Executive. In seeking to become master, it but makes a master in the person of the President.
England has not wholly escaped the curse which must ever befall a free government which holds extensive provinces in subjection; for, although she has not lost her liberty or fallen into anarchy, yet we behold the population of England crushed to the earth by the superincumbent weight of debt and taxation, which may one day terminate in revolution.
Every dollar of tax imposed on our exchanges in the shape of duties impairs, to that extent, our capacity to meet the severe competition to which we are exposed; and nothing but a system of high protective duties, long continued, can prevent us from meeting it successfully. It is that which we have to fear.
Every increase of protective duties is necessarily followed, in the present condition of our country, by an expansion of the currency, which must continue to increase till the increased price of production, caused by the expansion, shall be equal to the duty imposed, when a new tariff will be required.
I am utterly opposed to all equivocation or obscure expressions in our public acts. We are bound to say plainly what we mean to say. If we mean negotiation and compromise, let us say it distinctly and plainly instead of sending to the President a resolution on which he may put whatever interpretation he pleases.
I saw that the incorporation of Texas into this Union would be indispensable both to her safety and ours. I saw that it was impossible she could stand as an independent power between us and Mexico without becoming the scene of intrigue of foreign powers, alike destructive of the peace and security of both Texas and ourselves.
I will not undertake to offer an opinion on the capacity of Hindustan to produce cotton. The region is large, and the soil and climate various, the population great and wages low; but I must be permitted to doubt the success of the experiment of driving us out of the market, though backed and patronized by English capital and energy.
In its exterior relations - abroad - this government is the sole and exclusive representative of the united majesty, sovereignty, and power of the States, constituting this great and glorious Union. To the rest of the world, we are one. Neither State nor State government is known beyond our borders. Within, it is different.
It is a fundamental rule with me not to vote for a loan or tax bill till I am satisfied it is necessary for the public service, and then not if the deficiency can be avoided by lopping off unnecessary objects of expenditure or the enforcement of an exact and judicious economy in the public disbursements.
Let a durable and firm peace be established and this government be confined rigidly to the few great objects for which it was instituted, leaving the States to contend in generous rivalry to develop, by the arts of peace, their respective resources, and a scene of prosperity and happiness would follow, heretofore unequaled on the globe.
Measures of policy are necessarily controlled by circumstances; and, consequently, what may be wise and expedient under certain circumstances might be eminently unwise and impolitic under different circumstances. To persist in acting in the same way under circumstances essentially different would be folly and obstinacy, and not consistency.