Accordingly they set on foot a movement in Congress to bring about a moderate reduction of the prevailing rates; and it was of course their hope that the nullifiers would be induced to recede altogether from the position which they had taken.
But he was deeply committed against the Nullifiers, and had denounced the separatist doctrines which found favour in South Carolina in a speech the fine peroration of which American schoolboys still learn by heart.
"In this message," said Mr. Adams, "Jackson has cast away all the neutrality he heretofore maintained upon the conflicting opinions and interests of the different sections of the country, and surrenders the whole Union to the nullifiers of the South and the land speculators of the West. This I predicted nearly two years since, in a letter to Peter B. Porter."
It professes to tread in the footsteps of its illustrious predecessor. It adopts, generally, the sentiments, principles, and opinions of General Jackson, proclamation and all; and yet, though he be the very prince of nullifiers, and but lately regarded as the chiefest of sinners, it receives the honorable gentleman with the utmost complacency.
The Governor declared that the State would maintain its sovereignty or be "buried beneath its ruins." The date of the expected crisis February 1, 1833, when the nullification ordinance was to take effect was now near at hand, and on both sides preparations were pushed. During the interval, however, the tide turned decidedly against the nullifiers.
The pro-slavery Democrats were logical and practical; the Abolitionists were equally logical but thoroughly impracticable and unconstitutional, avowed nullifiers and secessionists; the Free-Soilers were illogical, constitutional, and perfectly practical.
One man, at the close of 1860, could have done more than has yet been accomplished by the million of men who have been called to arms because no such man was then in the nation's service. The "one hour of Dundee" was not more wanting to the Stuarts than the one month of Jackson was wanting to us but two years ago. The powerful teaching of the Nullifiers was successful.
Who does not see that the American people are walking over a subterranean fire, the flames of which are fed by slavery? The South no doubt gave her influence to General Jackson, from the conviction that a slave-owner would support the slaveholding interest. The Proclamation against the nullifiers, which has given the President such sudden popularity at the North, has of course offended them.
One of their ablest spokesmen, Josiah Quincey, made a speech against the purchase, in which he anticipated the most extreme pronouncements of the Nullifiers of 1832 and the Secessionists of 1860, declared that his country was not America but Massachusetts, that to her alone his ultimate allegiance was due, and that if her interests were violated by the addition of new Southern territory in defiance of the Constitution, she would repudiate the Union and take her stand upon her rights as an independent Sovereign State.
He sought the society of the leading nullifiers, and was in their company as much as they would let him be, but he took care never to say a word to them on the subject of political differences; he treated them as friends.