Correspondence of the Journal of Commerce,
WASHINGTON, 4th January, 1832
I was a few minutes this morning in the Senate chamber, during which a question of reference arose between several members in relation to Mr. Benton's bill to abolish the duties on Indian blankets, 'c. Mr. Benton contended for its reference to the committee on finance; Mr. Dickerson and others for its reference to the committee on manufactures. The latter prevailed. In the course of the discussion Mr. Clay asked of the chairman of the committee on finance, General Smith, when he expected to be able to report generally on the system of import, revenue, 'c. Mr. Smith replied that he had expected to do so some time past, but on account of impediments he was not yet able to report early. From this inquiry and response, there cannot be any longer a doubt that it is intended during this session to revise the tariffs and settle the permanent revenues in accordance with the actual state of the country. To what period the commencement of the new system may be postponed I cannot say; but it may be certainly calculated that the whole policy of protection, revenue navigation, and commerce will be discussed and settled. Mr. Clay will take an active part in the modification of the tariff, and will assist in relieving our commerce and agriculture of the burden which now depress them. He will at the same time adhere to his favorite system of protection where the established manufactures of the country are concerned.
In a few words, the tariff will be so modified as to insure sufficient revenue for the purpose of government, and a sufficient encouragement of home industry.
The high steam tariff people have killed their own system. They have hastened the extinguishment of the public debt by the enormous revenue they created. They will not be able by the scheme of distributing the surplus among the people, to keep up the revenue; and must submit to the razee at a much earlier period than was anticipated. Mr. Clay perfectly understand what he is about, and will be found pursuing and approving the true American system. Perhaps you might turn with some pleasure to the statement of your correspondent, at the end of his third letter on the trade with Portugal where the system now to be adopted was distinctly foreseen and fully set forth. In fact common sense fully indicates the true policy.
I went into the House of Representatives this morning when the Senate closed doors for executive business. It was engaged on the bill to provide for the payment to South Carolina of the monies by her disbursed in the military service during the last war. The speakers were very animated. Mr. Everett of Massachusetts and Mr. Burgess were eloquent in support of the claim. When you shall see the sketch of the proceedings, you will see a beautiful compliment from Mr. Burgess to Col. Drayton of S.C.
I went to make my respects to the President and his family on Monday last, with thousands of others. The company at first was certainly every way respectable. But towards two o'clock, it was parti-colored enough. Some demagogues will affect to say this is all right; but I say it is abominable. About the time I took my leave, I say hundreds of rude boys, and vulgar and rude men, rushing in at every door and carrying over the carpets cart loads of mud and dirt. Even the sofas were covered with their footsteps. I never saw any gentleman acquit himself better than the President always does on such occasions; and it is lamentable indeed, that at such times he should be deemed to put up with so much trespass.
It was delightful to see Mrs. Donelson and Miss Easten again performing their part in the elegant gala, surrounded on all sides by gentlemen and ladies of the first character. I observed particularly in their circle Mrs. Livingson daughter and niece, Mrs. Taney and her daughter again all of whom every gentleman might will tender the homage due to ladies.
The Senate is now full, with the exception of Mr. Clayton, still absent from indisposition. The new Senator from Missouri thus far acts very independently,-at least of his colleague. You may put down General Timpton, Jackson whole hog! He is tall and straight as an Osage, somewhat weather beaten. The new Senator from Louisiana is a man among men. Mr. Clay sits between him and Mr. Ewing of Ohio. Of course, he is well supported, right and left. Mr. Webster sits a little to Mr. Clay's left, and somewhat in advance, but near enough to hold conversation with him.