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THE

WRITINGS AND SPEECHES

OF

SAMUEL J. TILDEN

EDITED BT

JOHN BIGELOW

m TWO VOLUHBS

Vol. I.

NEW YORK HARPER AND BROTHERS

1885

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Copyright, 1885, by Jomr Bigblow.

AU HgktB rtBorved,

t^ //W>

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PREFACE BY THE EDITOR

Were it necessary to assign any reason for gathering to- gether, as it were under one roof, the writings and speeches of Mr. Tilden, it might be sufficient to say that they embody the political opinions and public teachings of one of the most profound and sagacious of modem statesmen upon the most important problems of American politics for the last half cen- tury, and that they ought therefore to be more accessible ihan they have been, scattered through the official documents and public prints in which they originally appeared.

Why the present time is chosen for such a publication may not be so obvious, and therefore merits a brief explanation.

When Mr. Tilden's letter appeared, in 1880, declining a re- nomination to the Presidency, 1 knew that it was his well- considered purpose never to return to public life. Soon after, with his permission, I proceeded to occupy myself with what I had often, but in vain, urged him to undertake, a collection of his numerous contributions to the political science of his time ; deeming it one of the educational agencies best adapted to check " the fungus-growth of false constructions and corrupt practices" which were threatening the character, if not the very existence, of our cherished political system. Though Mr. Tilden's declining health daily reinforced the consideration which led to his formal abdication in 1880, the political party with which his public life had been identified, and of which he had long been the head, experienced unexampled difficulties in transferring its allegiance to another leader.

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IV PREFACE.

As time wore on, the determination to re-nominate Mr. Tilden, regardless of his health or his personal inclinations, gathered strength and momentmn. He alone of all the prominent states- men of his party seemed day by day to expand and to assmne continually enlarging proportions in popular estimation.^

With such a general demand from all sections for Mr. Tilden to resume the leadership of the opposition, any publication, with his assent, that would have had a tendency to commend him to the public esteem was liable not only to be construed by his friends as evidence of a relaxation of his resistance to the prevailing currents of public opinion, and to be made by his political opponents a pretext for impeaching the sincerity of his letter of 1880, but also to obstruct the execution of his well- considered purpose in respect to the choice of a successor.

That was obviously not the time, therefore, when Mr. Tilden's political writings would be likely to receive the dispassionate consideration to which they are entitled, or to answer the pur- poses contemplated by the Editor in selecting and preparing them for the press. Their publication was consequently de- ferred until such time as it woidd encounter no such mistrust,

^ Early in the year 1884, as the time for choosing a candidate approached, the purpose to nominate Mr. Tilden threatened to be irresistible. The Democratic masses entertained the ondonbting conviction that his nomination would assure success. This feeling was instinctive and pervading. Each one of the four million of voters who had given him their suffrages seemed to feel a sense of personal injury which transformed him from a comparatively indifferent voter into a prose- lyting canvasser. There was also a widespread disposition among Republicans who loved fair play to give their votes on the first opportunity in such a manner as to redress the vrrong of 1876. Instances of this kind came within the knowledge of almost eveiy Democratic voter, and were estimated at many thousands in number. Appeals were made in letters to Mr. Tilden and his friends by many eminent Democrats upon the ground that his candidacy could alone give success to their party in the Presidential election. But this idea of a re-nomination at no time received any encouragement from Mr. Tilden. In an interview with the writer as early as Sept. 13, 1882, he repeated the expression of his purpose to remain in retirement. On the 1st of June, 1883, he reiterated this declaration in an inter- view with Mr. Manning. His most intimate friends and the public journals which wrae supposed to have access to the best information invariably bore the same testimony. Mr. Tilden himself frankly expressed this intention to many who conversed with him.

Nevertheless, of twenty-two States which held their Conventions before the pub- lication of Mr. Tilden's letter of declination on the 12th of June, 1884, twenty

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PREFACE. V

and until both Mr. Tilden's public career and his writings should have become more completely the property of history.

That time seems to have arrived. No one has now any pretext for ascribing this publication to narrow personal or partisan motives, nor can any one now suspect Mr. Tilden of entertaining personal ambitions which political station could either satisfy or gratify.

A casual glance at the contents of these volumes will inform the reader that Mr. Tilden is not a literary man in the pro- fessional acceptation of that term. He has never written to impress people with the excellence of his writing, nor spoken to impress them with the excellence of his speech. Like Jefferson, like Palmerston, like Cavour, like Bismarck, he has used his pen and his tongue as instruments with which to persuade and convince, ratiier than to show how persuasively and convincingly he could use them. Though possessing a marvellous faculty for literary expression, he has employed that faculty as a means, but never as an end. Through life he has dealt mainly with living and pressing questions, seldom occupying himself with academic and speculative problems or

either instmcted their delegates to TOte for his nominatioii, or hy resolution de- clared him to be their preference, or appointed delegates known to favor his nomi- nation. One of the remaining two, although nominally favoring a State candidate, in the belief that Mr. Tilden would not consent to run, was really favorable to his nomination.

Of fourteen Stat^ which held their Conventions after the publication of Mr. Tilden's letter of declination, five States declared either for his nomination not- withstanding his declination, or expressed their continued preference for him, while nine appointed delegates of whom he was their first choice.

New York held its Convention on the 18th of June, six days after his letter of declination was published, and after delegates had been appointed from all the counties unanimously for him. The remaining State of the thirty-eight which compose the Union held its Convention on the 17th of June and appointed dele- gates fovorable to its State candidate.

The letter of declination of the 10th of June was prepared with the intent that it should be issued after the formal declaration by the State Convention of New York in favor of the re-nomination of Mr. Tilden, which was deemed to be a suitable occasion on which he could announce his definitive purpose without indeli- cacy, and yet in season not to be a surprise to the National Convention. Upon the request of the immediate friends of Mr. Cleveland, it was given to the public at an earlier day, with the idea that thereby an expression in his favor by the 8tate Convention would be facilitated.

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vi PREFACE..

" doubtful disputations." Whenever he has taken down his gun from the wall, it has not been for a parade, nor to fire at a mark. If, like Brutus over the dead body of Caesar, he has asked the public to lend him its ears, it has been for his cause, not for his eloquence, that he wished to be heard. Nor indeed has it been Mr. Tilden's habit to appeal to the public in any way when his end could be as well accomplished without such appeal. He was twice a member of the Legislature of New York, and he was a member of two constitutional conventions ; and, though one of the half-dozen conspicuous and influential members of each of those bodies, the record shows that he was one of the most sparing of speeches. It has been habitual with him, as with Franklin, to rely more upon private and friendly conference than upon public discussion for the success of his measures, rightfully assuming that it is easier for an op- ponent to surrender in private to arguments urged in friendly confidence than in public at the close of an harangue or debate, when surrender inevitably inflicts some of the humiliation and pain of defeat. For the like reason, many of his most thought- ful and most carefully wrought discourses were made in com- mittees and were never reported. He has thus incurred one of the penalties which men of action have usually to pay, in leaving no such record of their achievements as would testify to a corresponding industry and capacity in a man of letters.

While disclaiming on behalf of Mr. Tilden any special pre- tensions as a man of letters, it would be doing him signal injustice to imply that as great distinctions were not within his reach in the walks of pure literature, if he had chosen to turn his talents in that direction, as have rewarded his exertions as a political leader. No one can run his eyes over the following pages without discerning in them abundant evidence of the rarest literary faculty, abundant evidence of pre-eminent ca- pacities for analysis, statement, illustration, and demonstration. This faculty, these capacities, were as manifest at the dawn of his career as they were at its meridian. To those who have been accustomed to regard Mr. Tilden chiefly as a man of action, this statement may seem rash. I undertake to make

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PREFACE. vii

it good by a single citation, from a paper written when he was but twenty-three years of age. It was in reply to the late William Leggett, whose assault upon President Van Buren's Inaugural Address in 1837 provoked Mr. Tilden to enter the lists in defence of the first President which New York had yet furnished the Republic. In it occurs the following char- acterization of a class of which his impracticable antagonist was a singularly perfect specimen, that is worthy of the pen of La BruySre or of Y auvenargues. It is the portrait of a type which every one will recognize. But when, or by whom else, has it ever been so well painted ?

<'I know that there is a class of no-party men who vindicate their claim to that character by doing injustice to all, even with- out the excuse of bias. I know that society is sometimes troubled with 'I-always-speak-my-mind' nuisances, who seem to think it a virtue to violate the comities of social intercourse, and always to sacrifice the feelings of others to their own caprice or ill-nature. But to be really impartial and independ^t, a rare assemblage of mental and moral qualities is requisite. First, a power of just reasoning, with especial freedom from rashness in the induction of general principles and a confident reliance on their universal and exact truth; then, a moderation of character which lessens the bias of controversy and saves from false extremes ; a freedom from that arrogant pride of personal independence that does not allow of profiting by the opinions of others ; and above all, a per- vading sense of justice that is cautious to do no wrong. A man who is so unfortunate as to possess the reverse of these qualities is mentally and morally disqualified for genuine impartiality and independence. If he be afflicted with the desire of appearing distinguished for the qualities he most lacks, the disease becomes a mania. He considers it a derogation from his personal character to concede aught to the feelings or opinions of others ; forgetting that without such concession there can be no common action for a common object, and that without the capability of such action, a man is fit, not for society, not even for a state of nature, but only for absolute solitude. Absurdly attempting to act with others, he is not satisfied with devoting himself, as he has a right to do, to the maintenance of his peculiar sentiments, but must force those sentiments upon his associates. Even then he cannot content

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viii PREFACE.

himself with leading on a change in opinion, the slow progress of which in masses is the sheet-anchor of safety. He will not give others the opportunity of investigation he has previously had. He makes no allowance for deficient means of information, for habitual moderation or constitutional caution. Still less does he tolerate dissent or a qualification of his extremes. All must be convinced wholly, and instanter. With eyes closed and throats distended, they must force down his newfangled doctrine, with all its sharp points and its impure crudities, under the penalty of being held up to ^public reprobation and scorn' as false to the common object. If he is in any measure successful, he ascribes to his very faults what is due to truth struggling to light through the impracticability of its advocate. Nor does the folly end here. He is an independent man, forsooth ! and he must prove it. He must maintain his individuality among his associates, even to the injury of the common object. Lest he seem partial to his friends, he infiicts outrage upon them. To avoid the appearance of an amiable weakness, he commits actual injustice and treachery. Boasting his freedom from the least excess of a noble and gener- ous sentiment, he is the slave of an exaggerated idea which springs from a pitiful vanity. Friendship has less influence on his opin- ions and conduct than opposition; the one cannot moderate or restrain him, but the other can drive him to absurd extremes. He is to his friends an enemy, to his enemies a slave. He is inde- pendent of authority, and therefore attacks what is authorized, even though it be right. He despises the delicacy which alone renders social life tolerable, and therefore violates the privacy of retirement and lacen^tes personal character. He is above regard- ing what mankind esteem most sacred. He assails the revered usages of religion ; his vampire-tracks are upon the graves of the dead. All the while he mistakes his own motives ; about which, if he had applied the test of common-sense, he could not have been deceived. Impartial justice, when forced to condemn, does not exaggerate the fault. When speaking solely from public motives, and through an organ modulated by personal benevolence, its voice is of forbearing censure, not of angry crimination. Im- partial justice does not commit palpable and outrageous wrong. If a little adulterated by human frailty, it does not inflict such wrong on friends whom that weakness would naturally favor. He mistakes also the consequences of his conduct: injustice, or even harshness, in the judge causes an undue sympathy for the guilty

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PREFACE. ix

that foils the end of punishment. He mistakes the character in which he acts. He &ncies that, as a universal Aristarchus, he roles and rights the world ; while he serves it, if at all, as a public flagellater. I have drawn a picture ; I leave to the public to say if it be a portrait."

Indeed, so far as the literary faculty can express itself in practical politics, it may be said to have left its impress dis- tinctly upon the character of Mr. Tilden's leadership. He always relied for his influence upon ideas rather than upon patronage or party machinery, while fully comprehending the limited efficacy of both ; he studied rather to satisfy universal than individual needs, and to guide his party by general prin- ciples than by temporary expedients. Of what is called patron- age he can scarcely be said to have ever had any to dispense. He held his ascendency with the Democratic masses of New York at a time when he had to confront the opposition of the executive, of the heads of departments, of the judiciary, of a majority of both branches of the Legislature, and of at least one third of the county leaders. He also held a majority in New York State against at least twenty thousand hostile office- holders. It is true he carried on his politics upon a plane which for a man of inferior abilities would be impracticable, and to most of his own friends seemed impracticable, a plane upon which he probably would not have ventured himself if he had not been ready at any moment to return to private life. It was his notion of leadership '^ to hitch his party to a star ; " and he had little esteem for men pretending to be great political leaders who, while swaying all the patronage of the country^ Federal, State, and local, failed to hold their own party or a majority of the people.

Should any additional reasons be required for making this publication at the present time, they are at hand. Nearly two generations have been bom and clothed with the respond sibilities of citizenship since those fundamental principles of constitutional democracy which Jefferson and Madison planted, and which Jackson and Van Buren watered, have ceased to yield their proper increase. The Convention held at Baltimore in 1848 for the nomination of a Presidential candidate for the

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X PREFACE,

support of the Democratic party, presumed to exclude the dele- gates chosen by the Democracy of New York because the Con- vention which selected them had declared that, ^^ while faithfully adhering to all the compromises of the Constitution and main- taining inviolate all the reserved rights of the States, they were uncompromisingly opposed to the extension of slavery, by any action of the Federal Oovemment, into any Territory of the United States already free ; and that to this end they desired^ and so far as their efforts, constitutionally directed, could accomplish it, they designed, that the immunity from slavery contained in the ordinance of 1787, first proposed in 1784 by Thomas Jefferson, should be applied to these Territories, so long as they should remain under the government of Congress."

" The babe that was unborn might rue The voting of that day."

In this rash effort to make the nationalization of slavery one of the tests of democracy, the Democratic party was thrown from its orbit; and the remainder of its official supremacy was spent, less in illustrating sound Democratic principles and in applying them to the new problems of statesmanship as they were developed with the growth of the country, than in a defensive, exhausting, and ineffectual struggle with the vin- dictive consequences of its folly. Pour years before, Mr. Van Buren had been dismissed from public life and proscribed for discountenancing a sectional scheme to make five Slave States out of the newly acquired Territory of Texas. He was now re-nominated for the Presidency by the unrepresented and mis- represented Democracy of New York, who with becoming spirit declined to accept as their candidate the man^ whom they had been allowed no part in selecting, insisting that no Convention could name candidates entitled to their support in which their delegates were not received on equal terms with the delegates from other States.

With this intolerant proscription of the New York Democracy began the disastrous schism which was destined to rend in twain 1 Lewis Cassy of Michigan.

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PREFACE. xi

both the great parties of the country and practically to anni- hilate the political organization which had given a wise and beneficent goyemment to the country for half a century. Then too and there were laid the foundations of the politi- cal conglomerate which in 1860 acquired, and for twenty- four years retained, uninterrupted control of our Federal Grovemment.

But, though cast down, the Democratic party was not de- stroyed. Though overtaken and chilled by the winter of popular discontent, though its summer's leafage and autumn fruitage strewed the groimd, and barrenness dwelt in its branches, the seeds of its immortal principles were not dead. They slept where they had fallen, quietly awaiting the revo- lution of the political seasons and the return of the spring which was to warm thdkn again into life. Though their period of hibernation was protracted, and exhausted the faith of many, it was destined in the fulness of time to come to an end. The ways of the New York Democracy in 1848 were to be justified to men, and its honor to be vindicated, although at a great price. The stone which the reckless builders of those days rejected, was again to become the head of the corner.

Just twenty-eight years after the delegate from New York, who had been selected by his colleagues for the purpose, broke to their outraged constituents the story ^ of their State's humili- ation, that same delegate received tiie suffrages of a large majority of his countrymen for the highest honor in their gift; and to^ay, through that delegate's influence, another citizen of New York, who was nominated by a Democratic National Convention which imposed no sectional tests, and who was elected without the vote of a single slaveholder, becomes the chief magistrate and most honored citizen of the Bepublic.

" The wheel is come fall cbcle/'

and the bones of the Democratic party that were broken upon the cross of slavery in 1848, now, after an interval of thirty-six years, are once more knit together, and the traditions and the

1 See Vol. I., p. 232 et seq.

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xii PREFACE.

doctrines inherited from the golden age of the Republic are about to resume, not merely their official, but their moral supremacy in the nation.

Unhappily, but a comparatively small proportion of those who compose the Democratic party that elected Mr. Cleveland have read, and still fewer are old enough to have heard, any of the prolonged and fiery debates in which were forged those eternal principles of Democratic polity which for nearly sixty years constituted the grace and strength of American republi- canism. Called now for the first time to apply those principles to the emergencies of a community which has doubled its numbers and more than doubled its wealth and resources, the Democracy of America will naturally turn to those fountains of political philosophy which are still most affluent and which have been least corrupted in their flow. That the papers here submitted to the public constitute one of these fountains, few, if any, will now be disposed to question. With Mr. Tilden the problems of government have been his meditation by day and his dream by night from his early youth. Upon those sub- jects he had the ear of the public before he was out of his teens. The third paper in this collection, written in his nineteenth year, so impressed Washington Irving, who chanced at the time to be the guest of Mr. Van Buren at Kinderhook, that, though having the least possible interest in political matters, he asked that the young writer might be presented to him. From this time forth, the political affairs of his native State and country have been with Mr. Tilden a constant concern, and have engrossed a larger share of his time and attention than he has bestowed upon his private affairs.

Beginning his career as a political leader and publicist while General Jackson was yet President, and when the principles of American republicanism were first comprehensively applied to the great problems of finance and revenue, Mr. Tilden is one of the few surviving statesmen who had the good fortune to receive his early political training in the golden age of the Democratic party, when public measures were thoroughly tested by the Constitution and by public opinion, and when by ample debate the voters of the whole nation

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PREFACE. xiii

were educated, not only to embrace, but also to comprehend, the principles upon which their government was conducted, a training to which his subsequent political career bears con* tinual testimony. Whatever heresies of doctrine have crept into our public policy since those days, the responsibility for them will not rest with him. In all the papers and speeches with which from time to time he has endeavored to enlighten his countrymen it will be difficult to find a line or a thought not in harmony with the teachings of the eminent statesmen who during the first fifty years of our national history traced the limits and defined the functions of constitutional democracy in America. From that epoch to this there has been scarcely a question of public concern having its roots in the Constitution which Mr. Tilden has not carefully considered and which is not more or less thoroughly treated in these volumes. He was a champion of the Union and of President Jackson against the Nullifiers and Mr. Calhoun. He denounced the American sys- tem of Mr. Clay as unconstitutional, inequitable, and sectional. He vindicated the removal of the Government deposits from the United States Bank by President Jackson, and exploded the sophistical doctrine of its lawyers that the Treasury is not an executive department. He vindicated President Van Buren from the charge made by William Leggett of unbecoming subserviency to the Slaveholding States in his Inaugural Address. He was among the first to insist upon free banking under general laws, thus opening the business equally to all, and abolishing the monopoly which was a nearly universal superstition. He ex- posed the perils of banking upon public funds. He advocated the divorce of bank and State, and the establishment of a sub- treasury. He asserted the supervisory control of the legisla- ture over corporations of its own creation. He exposed the enormities of Mr. Webster's scheme to pledge the public lands for the payment of the debts of the States. He drew and vindicated in a profoundly learned and able report the Act which put an end to the discontents of the New York " Anti- renters." He wrote the protest of the Democracy of New York against making the nationalization of slavery a test of party fealty. He was the first, we believe, to assign states-

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xiv PREFACE.

manlike reasons for opposing coercive temperance legislation. He pointed out, as no one had done before, the danger of sectionalizing the government. He planned the campaign, he secured the requisite legislation, he bore much, the largest share of the expense, and, finally, he led the storming-party which drove Tweed and his predatory associates to prison or into exile. He purified the judiciary of the city and State of New York by procuring the adoption of measures which re- sulted in the removal of one judge by impeachment and of two judges by resignation. He induced the Democratic Convention of 1874 to declare, in no uncertain tone, for a sound currency, when not a single State Convention of either party had yet ventured to take a stand against the financial delusions be- gotten of the war, which for years had been sapping the credit of the country. It was at his instance that the Democratic party of New York, in the same Convention, pronounced against third-term Presidents, and effectively strengthened the exposed intrenchments which the country, for eighty years and more, had been erecting against the insidious encroachments of dynasticism. During his career as governor Mr. Tilden applied the principles of the political school in which he had been educated to the new questions which time, civil war, and national affluence had made paramount. He overthrew the Canal Ring which had become ascendant in all the depart- ments of the State Government. He dispersed the lobby which infested the legislative bodies. He introduced a prac- tical reform in the civil service of this State, and elevated the standard of official morality. In his messages he ex- posed the weakness and inadequacy of the financial policy of the party in power, the mismanagement of our canal sys- tem, the Federal assaults upon State sovereignty, and the pressing need of radical reforms both in the State and Federal administration.

Such, in general, is the character of the topics treated in these volumes ; and they are treated, not in a superficial and perfunctory way, but as a statesman, in the largest sense of that term, should treat them. Mr. Tilden has seldom dis- cussed any matter of public concern without planting the

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PREFACE. XV

structure of his argument upon the solid ground of funda- mental principles. Always cautious m the selection of his facts, logical as the seasons, singularly moderate in his state- ments and temperate in his language, he, better than, perhaps, any other statesman of our time, can afford to be judged by his record. Who that has figured so prominently in public affairs has said or written less that he would prefer not to have said; less that his maturer judgment cannot approve; less that will not commend itself to the deliberate judgment of thoughtful men and to an unprejudiced posterity ?

It is with extreme regret that I find myself constrained to put these volumes to press without including in them any adequate memorial of Mr. Tilden's strictly professional career. It is no disparagement to the American Bar to say that among its greatest achievements must be included Mr. Tilden's part in the proceedings instituted by Giles vs. Flagg to defeat Mr. Flagg's title to the ofiice of comptroller of New York city in 1855 ; his successful resistance to the claim of Mrs. Cunning- ham to be declared the widow and heir of the murdered Dr. Burdell ; his defence of the Pennsylvania Coal Company ada. The Delaware and Hudson Canal Company; and his original and successful application of the doctrine of trusts to the officers of corporations in the case of The Cumberland Coal and Iron Company V8. Sherman et al. Mr. Tilden's triumphs in these several cases would alone suffice to place him among the foremost lawyers of his own or of any age. Unhappily the reports of all these cases are either too imperfect to do any justice to the counsel concerned in them, or they turn upon such technical mysteries as would scarcely be intelligible except to the professional reader. They must live, therefore, while they live, like a goodly share of the most surprising dis- plays of forensic genius, in the necessarily imperfect records of the biographer.

I may not close these prefatory observations without an expression of my obligations to Mr. Tilden for some of the papers in these volumes, now very rare, which appeared in the days of his comparative obscurity as a publicist ; and also

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xvi PREFACE.

for the priyilege he has kindly accorded me of associating my name with a publication upon which his name confers whatever value and importance the public shall concede to it. I also owe my grateful acknowledgments to Mr. Manton Marble for several of the papers in this volume which it would be difficult, and perhaps impossible, to duplicate.

New Yobk, July 6, 1886.

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CONTENTS OF VOL. I.

Paqi I. NtTLLIFICATION AKD THB ChAIUCTXR 07 ITS OPFOSITIOir TO

Pbssidsnt Jackson's Adicinisteation 9-15

H. The Clat Compbokise op 1833 asd Nullzpication . . . 16-19 m. President Van Buben and the Nulupebbs 20-26

IV. Is THE TbBASTJET AN EXECUTIVB DEPARTMENT P . . . . 27-37

V. Pbssidsnt Van Buben's Inaugubal Address. Slayeby

IN the Distbict op Columbia and William Leggett . 38-54 VL Pbesident Van Buben's Fibst Message. The Disuse op

Bank Notes bt the Qoyebnment 55-77

Vn. The Ditobcb op Bank and State. An Addbbss to the Farmebs, Mechanics, and Wobking-mbn op the State

op New Yobk 78-87

VJJJL. Objections to the Exemption op the Deacons and Thus-

TEES OP THE SOCIETT OP ShAKEBS PBOM THE OPEBATION

OP THE Gbnebal Laws op this State belating to Trusts .88-100

IX. CUBBENCT, PbICES, AND WaGES : THE PbETENSIONS OP

THE United States Bank to begulatb the Gubbenct

EXPOSED 101-164

X. Is THE United States Bank Cbabter bepealableP . 165-182 XI. The Public Lands, and what to do with them . . 183-185

Xn. The Anti-Bant Disobdebs 186-220

Xm. Gubbenct and Banking. Speech against imposing Con- stitutional Limits upon the Issue op BaKk Notes . 221-231 XrV. The Fbee Soil Beyolt op 1848. Report op the New Yobk Delegates to the National Democbatic Gon-

YENTION OP 1848, MADE TO A DeMOCBATIC StATE GoN-

YENTioN HELD AT Utica June 22, 1848 232-247

YOL. I. B

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XVIU

CONTENTS.

XV. The Anticipation of the Canal Reyenues considebed IN the Light op the Constitxttion. Letter to

William Cassidy 24S-277

XVI. CoEECivE Tempeeance 278-283

XYn. The Union : its Danoebs, and how they may be

AVERTED. Letter to William Kent .... 284-330 XVIIL The Perils op the Union. A Letter to the Editors

op the "Evening Post" 331-340

XIX. Speech on restoring Eepresentatiok in Congress to

THE Southern States 341-346

XX. The Canal Enlargement Fallacy. Speech in the

Constitutional Convention op 1867 347-393

XXI. The Irritating Policy op the Bepublican Party. Speech in the Democratic State Convention held AT ALBAmr ON THE IIth March, 1868, to select Delegates to the National Democratic Conven- tion OP THAT Tear 394-420

XXn. The Burdens op Federal Taxation ; its Burden upon THE Productive Labob op the Countbt; Its con-

TINUANCE UNNECESSABY; ThE BeMEDY, A CHANGE OP

Measures and op Men. Speech delivebed in the Democbatic National Convention held in New

YoBE City in 1868 421-452

XXm. The Waste op the Wab 453-466

XXIY. Enobmities op the "Tweed Chabteb" imposed upon

THE City op New Yobk in 1870 467-471

XXV. Impeachment: its Natube and Object 472-482

XXVI. The Evils op Fedebal Centbausm 483-489

XXVIL Combination against Conspibacy. Speech at the

CooPEB Institute, Novembeb 2, 1871 490-500

XXVIII. FiGUBES THAT COULD NOT LIE. ThE ExPOSUBE OP THE

Tweed Bino ' 501-514

XXIX. Municipal Abuses : A State Gbievance. Abgxtment in the Coubt op Appeals to sustain the Bight op

THE AtTOBNEY-GeNEBAL TO INSTITUTE PbOCEEDINGS IN

THE Name op the People op the State against the BiNG Plundebebs op the City 515-551

XXX. HiSTOBY OP THE BiSE AND FaLL OP THE TWEED BiNG :

A Bbply to the "New Yobk Times" .... 552-606

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WRITINGS AND SPEECHES

OF

SAMUEL J. TILDEN.

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The Tariff Acts of 1828 and 1832 were thought by many of the statesmen of what are known as '^ the Southern States " to discriniinate unfairly against the agricultural interests of their section of the Commonwealth, and in favor of the infant manu- facturing interests of the Eastern States. Failing to obtain what they regarded as adequate relief for their grievances from the Federal Government, they put forward " the reserved right " of each State, as an independent party to the original compact of the States, to disregard any legislation of the Federal Government, to "nullify" it, in other words, whenever they were persuaded that such legislation was in conflict with their view of the conditions upon which the Union was formed. Acting upon this theory, the State of South Caro- lina, in the summer of 1832, assumed an attitude of defiance toward the Federal Government, and, under the leadership of John C. Calhoun, then the most conspicuous, and perhaps the most influential, statesman in the Southern States, delib- erately proclaimed that the Federal revenue laws should not be enforced within her borders. On the 11th of December President Jackson who had just been triumphantly re- elected — issued his memorable Proclamation warning the people of South Carolina and their sympathizers of the perils of their attitude toward the General Government, and giving them to imderstand that the Union would be preserved and the Federal authority enforced, at whatever hazard. On the 16th of January, 1838, he sent to Congress what is known to history as his Nullification Message; which was followed immediately by the introduction into Congress of a "Force Bill,*' intended to secure the prompt collection of the revenue

TOL. I. 1

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10 THE WORKS OF SAMUEL J. TILDEN. [1833.

in the State of South Carolina, which passed the Senate by the decisive vote of 32 to 8.

Pending these events, a new tariff bill was prepared by Henry Clay, known as the "Compromise Act,'* under the cover of which the Nullifiers finally retreated and found shelter from their rash and critical position. The two articles which follow were contributed by Mr. Tilden to the Press of his native county while these were the burning questions of the day, and when for a time the perpetuity of the Union was by many de- spaired of. The fact that Mr. Van Buren who was already regarded as the probable successor of President Jackson, and whose political fortunes were involved in the issue of this con- test— was also a resident of Columbia Cotmty, gave local importance to the discussion. It is worth noting, that, when these articles were written, Mr. Tilden was not yet twenty years of age.

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NULLIFICATION AND THE OPPOSITION.^

Upon the re-election of the President by an overwhelming, and to them unexpected, majority, the opposition Press were profuse in their professions of candor toward his adminis- tration, and their promises to yield a hearty support to such of its measures as might meet their approval. How have their pledges been redeemed ? When the Proclamation of the Presi- dent was issued, declaring his determination to maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and laws, and to preserve the Union, objects which they could not but approve, instead of giving him their cordial support, they immediately attribute the act itself to the basest of motives. The patriotic eloquence of that noble document, its powerful reasoning, its surpassing beauty, extort their admiration ; yet, issued as it was by one whose whole life, they must acknowledge, has been devoted to his country's good, they ascribe it to his enmity toward Mr. Calhoun. And in thus pertinaciously attributing an act acknowledged to be good to the very worst of motives, they disclose the rule of that warfare which they have so relent- lessly waged against the President. But the consequences of this course do not end with him. The object of the Proclama- tion was to array a moral force in support of the Government ; to call out an expression of public feeling, which should rebuke disaffection and sustain the laws, by an influence more power- ful than military force. The tendency of the course of the opposition Press is wholly to destroy this moral influence. If they could succeed in producing the impression that the object 1 From the Kinderhook Sentinel, 1833.

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