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Art. V. -- 1. Life of John C. Calhoun, presenting a

Condensed History of Political Events from 1811 to 1843. New-York: Harper & Brothers. 1843. 8vo. pp. 76. 2. Speeches of John C. Calhoun, delivered in the

Congress of the United States, from 1811 to the Present Time. New-York: Harper & Brothers. 1843. 8vo. pp. 554.

The title of the second work here named is inexact, and was given inconsiderately by the publishers, or editor, before receiving from Mr. Calhoun the one originally intended. The appropriate title, and which the author intended, as nearly as we remember, - for we have not now before us his Letter to the Editors of the National Intelligencer, in which he gives it,-is, “A Selection from the Speeches and other Writings of John C. Calhoun, since 1825, together with his Speech in Congress on the Subject of the War, December 19, 1811.” The title of the first-named work is well chosen, and liable to no objection. The life of Mr. Calhoun is intimately connected with the political history of the country, and his biography is necessarily a history of all the political events which have transpired since his entrance into the Congress of the United States. Perhaps no one of our statesmen has more completely identified himself with the history of the country. He no sooner entered Congress than he took an active and leading part, which he has continued from that time to this. This fact his able and candid biographer has properly appreciated, and has, in giving us a biographical sketch of Mr. Calhoun, given us one of the best political histories of the country, for the last thirty years and more, to be found in our literature.

John C. Calhoun, of Irish descent, was born in Abbeville district, South Carolina, March 18th, 1782, and is now in the sixty-second year of his age. He received his earliest education at a school in Columbia VOL. I. NO. I.


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county, Georgia, kept by his brother-in-law, Mr. Wardell, a Presbyterian minister. Subsequently, he entered Yale College, where he graduated in 1804, with distinction. He then devoted three years to the study of the law, eighteen months of which were spent at the celebrated Law School at Litchfield, Connecticut, at that time kept by Judge Reeves and Mr. Gould ; the residue was spent in the offices of Mr. De Saussure (afterwards chancellor), of Charleston, and of Mr. Bowie, of Abbeville. His preparatory studies completed, he commenced the practice of the law in his native district, and at once took his stand with the oldest and ablest lawyers on the circuit.

Mr. Calhoun was not suffered to remain long at the bar. He was soon elected to the legislature of his native State, where he served two sessions. In the fall of 1810, he was elected to the Congress of the United States, and has since been, in one capacity or another, .connected with the Federal Government without any intermission, till his recent retirement from the Senate. He was a member of Congress six years; then Secretary of War somewhat over seven; Vice-President of the United States from March 4th, 1825, to his resignation in the winter of 1832 – '3; and senator, from that time till his recent resignation.

This hasty sketch merely shows us the sphere in which Mr. Calhoun has been placed, and the important and honorable offices he has filled; it tells us little or nothing of the man, or of the statesman. To be able to form any tolerable estimate of the man and the statesman, we must look to the questions in which he has been called to take part by his position and office, and to the part he has actually taken. Our limits will permit us merely to glance at a few of the more prominent of these questions. The principal questions, which came up during the time Mr. Calhoun was in Congress, were, 1. The war with England; 2. The United States Bank; 3. The Tariff and Internal Improvements.

With regard to the first, Mr. Calhoun took an active

part, and his first speech in Congress was designed to urge immediate and ample preparation for war. He was a uniform supporter of the war, and no man in Congress did more to suggest, mature, and obtain the adoption of efficient measures for prosecuting it; and no one in the country did more to stimulate the courage and the patriotism of the people. If the war was a just, necessary, and patriotic measure, Mr. Calhoun's course in regard to it was wise, bold, efficient, and deserving the warm approbation of his countrymen.

He also took a prominent part in the Bank question. At this time the Bank was an administration measure, and therefore a measure of the Republican party, with which Mr. Calhoun generally acted. It was not then, as now, a measure of the Federal party ; it was demanded by a Republican administration, at the head of which was James Madison, and was supported by the majority of the more prominent individuals among its friends. It should also be remembered, that the circumstances, under which the project of a bank was then put forward and supported, were very different from those under which the recharter of the late Bank of the United States was urged, and the end proposed to be accomplished by it was by no means the same. Nothing is more plain than that Congress does not possess the substantive power to create a bank ; but it is equally clear, that it has the power to create one, whenever it becomes necessary to enable the Federal government to discharge its constitutional functions. It is a power possessed only as an incident to other powers.

How far the regulation of the currency, beyond that of coining money, or putting its stamp on gold and silver, is the duty of the Federal government, may possibly be made a question ; but, for ourselves, we have always agreed with Mr. Webster, that the currency is placed exclusively under its control ; and, therefore, if a paper currency is admitted at all, it must be subject to Federal regulation. Of course, then, if a United States Bank were necessary for this purpose, the right to create one would vest in Congress, as incident to the power to

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regulate the currency. But, however this may be, when the government is placed in such a condition, that it cannot perform its express and unquestionably constitutional functions without a bank, Congress has a right to create one; as the grant of a power, or the imposition of a duty, carries along with it, always, all the powers necessary to the exercise of that power, or the performance of that duty; and also, because the Constitution expressly declares, that Congress shall have power to make all laws necessary for carrying into effect "all powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof."

Now, it was contended at the time, in the then existing state of the currency, that the government, in its financial department, could not go on without a bank. The currency was deranged, specie payments were suspended by the banks, and the government, in consequence of its connexion with them, was obliged to receive its dues in their irredeemable paper. This paper was of unequal value in different parts of the Union. Its depreciation was as great as twenty per cent. in the District of Columbia, compared with that of Boston. How was it possible, in this case, to collect the revenues in a medium of uniform value, so as to obey the Constitution in not giving to one port in the Union an advantage over another? How, with this paper currency, varying in value as you passed from one State to another, and from one section of the Union to another, was it possible to equalize the imposts and taxes ? It was necessary to compel the resumption of specie payments. To do this was the right and the duty of the government. The only question was as to the means. If a bank was necessary, a bank would, of course, under this view of the case, be constitutional.

The administration believed a bank to be necessary, and essential to the financial operations of the government, as well as for the general regulation of the currency of the country in view of trade and commerce. The case of the banks, at this time, was very different from what it was in 1837. In 1837, the banks suspended payment, because they had made over-issues to individuals, who were not in a condition to be coerced into payment; and the suspension was rather a measure of relief to the debtors of the banks, than to the banks themselves. A measure of the Federal government, at that moment, compelling the banks to resume instanter, would have fallen not only with great weight on the banks themselves, but with a crushing weight on the great mass of the business men of the country. The recharter of a United States Bank in 1837, then, would have been a measure of terrible severity, and would have added not a little to the embarrassments from which the whole industry of the country was already suffering. But at the former period the case was different. The banks had over-issued, but, as Mr. Calhoun has remarked, they had over-issued to the government, a solvent debtor, whose stock was at par. The banks held this stock, and might have gone into the market and sold it for specie, and with that redeemed the excess of their issues. But this they would not do. They chose rather to draw interest on the stock, by discounting on it as capital, and to profit by its continued rise in the market. It was necessary to compel them to surrender these advantages which they held. The case here had scarcely any analogy with that of 1837; and the reasons for a bank, in the former case, were of a very different force from what they were in the latter. The principal weight of the bank, in the former case, would fall, not on the debtors of the banks, but on the banks themselves, and be felt in compelling them to use the government stock for taking up their overissues, instead of using it as the basis of speculations.

It must be borne in mind, that the government was so linked in with the banks, by the fact of its treating their issues as money, that, at that time, the total separation of the government from them, by its refusal to receive and pay away their notes, was out of the question. Moreover, public opinion in relation to banks and banking would not, even for a moment, have sus

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