The Nullification Controversy in South Carolina/Chapter 3
THE FIRST TEST OF STRENGTH (1830-31)
At various times early in 1830 a state convention had been suggested. Its advocates gradually gained in number, until in May it bade fair to become the main issue. A number of Charleston citizens, though they were opposed to the tariff, raised an objection to a convention, thereby evidencing continued disaffection between the upper and lower sections of the state; for the Charlestonians feared that if a convention were called it might not confine itself to the national issue, but might change the legislative representation within the state so as to destroy the weight of the lower country in the legislature. This raised the question whether a convention could be restricted to the consideration of specific subjects. To this was soon added the query whether a convention's action upon federal relations could be dictated, or whether the alternative between nullification and secession must be left to its discretion. It was replied that the legislature might, in the resolution calling a convention, state the reasons why a convention was deemed necessary, but that it had no more right to dictate what should be done than it had to declare itself the master instead of the servant of the people.
By July 4 the issue was definitely drawn, and state-wide parties were forming for and against a convention. In many cases, when candidates for the legislature were announced, their position on the question was challenged and the answers became the determining factors in their election. As an example of the extent to which this was true, the case may be cited in Greenville of three early candidates who indorsed the convention project. But soon the public sentiment in the district was seen to be so preponderantly hostile to it that these three withdrew from the race. They were men high in public esteem, however, and the proposal was made that they be elected under instructions and pledges against a convention. But the candidates, saying that they would be embarrassed by such election under the existing circiunstances, declined the honor.
In some places, however, the line of division was simply between Unionism and Nullification, apparently with the tacit understanding that all Unionists would oppose and all Nullifiers support a convention; but as the campaign progressed, the convention issue became confused in many parts of the state and did not mark a clear line of division between the two parties. Politics became the great business of life in many sections; the excitement was so great that not only the candidates, but many of the active partisans on both sides, spent their whole time in electioneering. The greatest obstacle the advocates of a convention had to overcome was the apprehension that disunion, civil war, and bloodshed must be the consequences of their proposal. The convention advocates endeavored in diverse ways to overcome this. Some stressed the hopelessness of reliance upon Jackson for redress; some pointed to the folly of further patience and forbearance; some explained away the prospect of strife, simply in order to win convention supporters, while others honestly believed that a convention would adopt only peaceable measures; others, after belittling the fears as to the outcome of a conflict, delivered outright "war" toasts and speeches. In many places the Conventionists asserted that their candidates would favor not only a convention, but with it "strong measures." On September 20, a so-called State Rights meeting, promoted by the convention advocates, was held at Columbia. Though largely composed of men from the immediate vicinity, it was to some extent a general convention of the interior. Many prominent men spoke and many others sent letters. The great majority of these not only favored a convention, but openly declared for state action, immediate and decisive, though Judge Langdon Cheves demanded instead a program of co-operation with the rest of the South—a program which twenty years later became the platform of the controlling party in the state. Judge J. P. Richardson also spoke strongly against nullification, but Robert Barnwell Smithy who changed his name later to Robert Barnwell Rhett, declared for resistance regardless of any stigma which might be put upon its advocacy. Chancellor William Harper offered a resolution, adopted by a large majority of the two or three thousand present, calling for a state convention. But the reports of the speeches and letters indicate strongly that many who were willing that a convention be called were opposed to nullification.
This Colimibia meeting was taken as a strong expression from the interior that a convention would be demanded and carried through, even though Charleston were against it, as it then seemed to be. But it was evident at this time, and became more so as the campaign progressed, that there was no agreement among the Conventionists as to when the convention should meet or what it should do. Some favored its prompt assemblage. Others, with Chancellor Harper, thought that since such a course would seem too much like a threat, the convention should meet after the next session of Congress, that is to say, in April or May. He thought the postponement would have a good effect on Congress. As to its purpose, while some thought that the calling of a convention for any other object than that of nullification was idle, others believed that it should initiate measures for co-operation of some sort with the sister states, and should by no means resort to nullification. Among the convention supporters there came to be quite a number of Union men who thought that a convention might be beneficial in showing the North that the opposition was not a mere factious one, and that it could protest against the tariff more effectively than could the legislature, even though its only weapon should be the same — resolutions.
The Anti-Conventionists were not idle. One of their leading spokesmen maintained that if a convention were called, it would be for the purpose of nullifying an act of Congress, which must either result in disunion or render the federal government unworthy of preservation. The people should know this and determine for themselves. If, knowing it, they declared for a convention, then every citizen should abide by the decision and support its policy to the end. But he believed that it was too soon to act; South Carolina should wait for the return of good sense to the American people, which must come soon. If, however, the state were resolved to act, it should do so openly and boldly, without any attempt to shield itself behind metaphysical constructions of the Constitution.
It goes without saying that all supporters of the tariff in South Carolina were against a convention. The most formidable group of all these was in Charleston, but there were a few scattered through the interior of the state, some of whom were newcomers from the North and were not allowed to forget it. Some were shopkeepers who were said by their critics to have been "misled by the artful sophistry about prices which the Yankee wholesale dealers in Charleston and elsewhere" were always passing along with their commodities; and a few were substantial farmers who had "taken Niles" Register until their faculties" were "all bewildered."
But by far the greater number of those opposed to a convention were men who hated the tariff but loved the Union and South Carolina enough to wish to avoid any measure which might endanger either. They believed that if a convention were called, it must, as Judge William Harper said, if it acted at all, nullify the laws of Congress; they quoted Colonel William Drayton to the effect that nullification meant disunion, and Langdon Cheves's opinion that a convention must assume "revolutionary vigor." All this, they said, meant that South Carolina was to revolt alone against the United States; this would be treason and would be treated as such. Furthermore, if the Union were saved in spite of South Carolina's folly, as would probably be the case, the state would suffer. Nullification undertaken by South Carolina would result as the revocation of the Edict of Nantes had done in France — it would cause the emigration of a large part of all classes of the population. Some there were, too, who took sides merely from the habit of opposition to rivals who now happened to have declared themselves on the other side.
The man who was looked upon as the logical organizer of the Union or Anti-Convention party was Joel R. Poinsett. He had just returned from a mission to Mexico and was finishing his business in Washington and Philadelphia in July, when he was urged to return to South Carolina to help the Unionists, whose cause needed careful and judicious management. When Poinsett arrived in Columbia he found there some old and valued friends, who, though opposed to the nullification doctrine, regarded opposition as hopeless against such an array as had declared themselves for nullification; and he found the same views among the Unionists in Charleston. But after frequent conferences, Daniel E. Huger, James L. Petigru, James R. Pringle, Joseph Johnson, and others, as well as Poinsett, resolved at all hazards to organize an opposition to the schemes which to their minds promised ruinous consequences. The work of organization was also materially promoted by Colonel William Drayton. The Union party organization did not become effective, however, until their opponents had long been at work, and at no time did they feel confident of victory. Many, indeed, felt that the nullification disaffection had gained such a start that it would sweep over the state like an epidemic, a "terrible fever." These were happily surprised at the results of the elections in October.
In Charleston the city election came the first week in September, and served as a preliminary test of strength; for although this question of state policy had no actual bearing upon the functions of city officers, it was made the issue of the campaign. There were to be chosen an intendant (mayor) and twelve wardens (aldermen). Henry L. Pinckney headed the ticket of the State Rights and Jackson party, as the Nullifiers called themselves. In its declaration of principles their organization denied the disunion charge, and, though not specific as to a program, asserted that the Union and the Constitution would be safe. The opposing ticket was headed by James R. Pringle. The men of this party also claimed to be a Jackson party, and called themselves the State Rights and Union party. They were for state sovereignty as they interpreted it, but opposed to the calling of a convention, nullification, and to disunion.
While the election was close, the entire Union ticket was elected. Although the Union party had been referred to by their opponents as the "regular Adams and Clay and Tariff" party, they pointed out after the election that the result must not be interpreted to mean that Charleston was any more disposed than she ever had been to tolerate the "Protecting System." The result at the polls was interpreted as, merely an expression of the majority in the city against a convention. The State Rights party immediately held a rally in the form of a subscription supper with a business meeting added. Some six or seven hundred were present. This meeting adopted an address to the people to explain the defeat of the party. It was due in large part, they said, to what they called the false charge that they would involve the state in war, which had turned the bankers and merchants against them. They declared that they would not give up, but had just begun to fight; and they were confident that the state could be carried for the convention even without St. Philip's and St. Michael's.
The election for state representatives and senators came on October 11 and 12. The Union party had come out openly against a convention, but even up to the time of the election the adherents of the State Rights party in Charleston, or at least their paper, the Mercury, had not openly declared for a convention. Their policy, softened by their recent defeat, was, as the Courier put it, to leave "their flag white, to be painted by the Columbia artists." By this concealment of their motive they hoped to gain votes, and they persuaded three of the Union party's nominees to let their names be placed also on the State Rights ticket.
There was to be elected at this time also a member of Congress from the Charleston district. William Drayton, the candidate of the Union party, was unopposed. A writer in the Courier remarked upon the humor of the situation which forced the Mercury and its followers to make the best of Colonel Drayton's candidacy, and to pretend to honor and admire him, when in reality they honored him as much as Shylock did Portia.
The candidates for the state Senate were Richard Cunningham on the State Rights ticket and James L. Petigru in opposition. The former was elected by the small majority of twenty-five. The State Rights party tried to make much of this, but its opponents pointed out that Cunningham could not have been elected over Petigru if he had not assured his supporters that he was against nullification and a convention. Perhaps they hoped to be able to change his position after electing him. Of the sixteen state representatives elected in Charleston, eleven were Union men and five were State Rights men, though three of the former were also on the State Rights ticket. Of the five State Rights men elected, only three were said to be Nullifiers. Taking the average of the Union candidates, the vote was 1,261, and for the State Rights candidates, 1,245. The excitement over the election is shown by the fact that a much greater vote was polled than at any other election which had ever been held in Charleston.
As returns came in from the rest of the state, the papers published such conflicting statements of the probable stand the members-elect would take on the convention question, that the Camden Journal rightly concluded, after having contemplated publishing an analysis of its own, that it was impossible even to approach accuracy. The only true list, it said, would come with the record of a definite vote in the legislature. Although in midsummer the issue in regard to the calling of a convention seemed in most sections to be clearly drawn between the Nullifiers and the Unionists, as the campaign progressed the supporters and opposers of a convention did not divide uniformly along the Union party and State Rights party lines.
When the legislatiure assembled, the two parties, after some preliminary skirmishing over the election of speaker and governor, devoted themselves to a general debate upon the convention project and the nullification doctrine. The personal alignment upon the two issues was not identical, for while some Conventionists were not Nullifiers, some Nullifiers desired a different mode of procedure than a state convention. The concrete question voted upon, however, was that of ordering a convention. When the ballots were taken the results were: in the Senate, 23 for and 18 against a convention; in the House, 60 for and 56 against. The Convention party thus had a majority but not the constitutional two-thirds. Its cause was for this time defeated. The Conventionists solaced themselves, however, by carrying through a set of resolutions.
The first three proclaimed the state's intention to defend the Constitution of the United States, and her attachment to the Union; they asserted that the power of the federal government was limited by the "plain sense and intention" of the Constitution, and that in case of "deliberate and palpable and dangerous exercise of powers not granted in the Constitution" the states were "in duty bound to interpose, to arrest the evil"; these resolutions were approved unanimously. Thereupon Daniel E. Huger moved a resolution that the legislature did not recognize as constitutional the right of an individual state to nullify or arrest a law passed by Congress, but this was rejected by a large majority.
The fourth resolution asserted that the general government was not one of unlimited powers to which the states must submit, but one of special powers delegated by the states; that all other powers were reserved to the states, and that any exercise of undelegated powers was unconstitutional; that the general government was not judge of its powers, but that "each party" to the compact had an equal right to judge for itself "as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress." This was carried by a vote of 93 to 31. The fifth resolution declared that the general government had shown a tendency to expand some of its powers to a degree destructive of the republican system and creative of an unlimited and absolute government; and this was carried by a vote of 103 to 9. The sixth asserted that the tariff acts were violations of the compact, and that a state, whenever other hope of redress was gone, might properly "interpose in its sovereign capacity, for the purpose of arresting the progress of the evil occasioned by the said unconstitutional acts." This was adopted by a vote of 90 to 24. The fourth and sixth resolutions were the ones in which the State Rights men took greatest comfort. Although they were not able to get a convention, they had persuaded the legislature to assert in formal resolutions what they claimed to be the doctrine of nullification. This was at least a positive step in advance of the legislative proceedings of 1828.
The Union men now insisted that their victory did not mean that submission was to be the program of the state. They rejoiced that the crude, half-way measure of a convention had failed, and with it an attempt at nullification, which its originators had endeavored to present in such a way as to avoid the responsibilities which might logically be expected to result from its adoption. The Union men now professed themselves ready to adopt any plan by which the South might be relieved, in a way constitutional and expedient, from all or any of the burdens which it was thought she bore. They had simply shown that they would not be driven by excitement to embark upon unknown seas, under the command of Turnbulls. Coopers, and other "demagogues and agitators."
Plots of the votes in the legislature on the convention question, especially that of the Senate, show that most of the votes against the convention project came from the upper districts and from a few of the parishes near Charleston.
The interior districts which were opposed were in most cases those where the slave population had not yet reached 50 per cent of the total population. The net result of the contest in the legislature was that the State Rights party was obliged to bide its time once more. During the early months of 1831 the papers simply watched Congress and exploited any indications of a hostility
Map II.—Senate vote on state convention, 1830
to tariff reduction. They discussed nullification or convention hardly at all, but seemed to think it necessary to go back to a more primary step in the education of the people and go over again all the old arguments against the tariff. They urged state action occasionally, when they believed they could point to something of striking value to show the folly of expecting anything from Congress.
Early in the session a letter from a South Carolina congressman was published to prove that the
Map III.—House vote on state convention, 1830
tariff supporters were "feeling power and forgetting right." Resolutions to inquire into the expediency of reducing various duties were rejected by large votes. This was especially galling because the resolutions were merely for inquiry, and ordinarily such resolutions were never refused unless the subject-matter was offensive to the House. This was taken to show that Congress intended that the protective policy should be the settled policy of the country and no longer open to discussion. Surely, it was argued, this should be lesson enough for even that class in the community who were for hoping, believing, bearing, and forbearing as long as any hope remained.
A little later, when Congress did discuss the tariff, and Mallory's report was published, it was referred to by the State Rights party as an avowal by the very leader of the tariff party that protection was the primary object of the law; that the manufacturers would continue to make common cause in support of the system ; that the separate items of the tariff would no longer be examined singly, because the system, as some South Carolina statesmen had hoped, might be destroyed that way. Two representatives of South Carolina, James Blair and William T. Nuckolls, who had been opposed to a convention because they had thought the tariff could be reduced piecemeal, were now said to be admitting that they had deceived themselves and the people.
As the session of Congress progressed, everything available was seized upon by the Nullifiers to show, directly and by implication, that those who had argued that a convention was premature and useless had been in the wrong. Then in May the party speakers at public dinners and barbecues began to come out more openly again and to urge a speedy application of the Carolina doctrines as the only means of relief.
In the early summer the State Rights papers began to chide the Anti-convention papers for not publishing an amoimt of anti-tariff material sufficient to prove that they were true South Carolinians. It was charged that in combating the nullification doctrine they were allowing themselves to be carried off into the incidental, if not open, support of those very measures against which they had formerly fought. To this the Anti-convention papers answered that there was no need of continuing to print anti-tariff doctrines which the people of South Carolina aheady believed in. Three years previously, when there was something like a tariff party in the state, they had published no end of material on the tariff; but now, when some of these papers had scarcely a reader who was a tariff man, it was unnecessary.
In July and August there were numerous meetings to appoint delegates to an anti-tariff convention to be held in Philadelphia in September. The State Rights men, who had now changed the name of their party from the State Rights and Jackson party to the State Rights and Free Trade party, were especially active at these meetings. In some of them the Nullifiers and the Anti- nullifiers clashed, although both were opposed to the tariff. While some of the Union men confessed a lack of faith in this Philadelphia meeting, some of the State Rights men contended that the promptness with which the State Rights and Free Trade party met the overtures and sent delegates showed the falsehood of the charge against them of hostility to the Union; they desired to promote every measure which promised to "bring their tariff brethren to a sense of justice, and only in the last resort to interpose the sovereignty of the state" in protection of her citizens.
The Philadelphia convention held sessions from September 30 to October 6 and was attended by about two hundred delegates from fifteen states. Virginia was first and South Carolina second in number of delegates in attendance, and a South Carolinian, Warren R. Davis, was given credit for having promoted the convention. A memorial against the tariff was sent to Congress, but, as the time drew near for another session of Congress in December of 1831, little confidence was placed in the memorial; the northern supporters of the American system might, it was said, make a few concessions in the tariff, but on such articles and in such amounts as not materially to affect the system.
Although South Carolina was so prominent in this anti-tariff convention, and her citizens were now regarded as practically unanimous against the tariff, there were some who boldly argued the fallacy of the two stock arguments, that the burden of the tariff was unequal and that it was unconstitutional. The Charleston Southern Patriot continually pleaded for "justice and sound reasoning" on this subject. It held that the reasonings of the party which proposed a most unusual remedy for southern wrongs were built entirely on the unsupported assmnption that South Carolina, in common with the other southern states, suffered peculiar injury from federal legislation. In vain had proof been demanded that the South was enduring a wrong which did not affect the people of the United States collectively, with the exception of the small number engaged in manufactures.
The charge was denied that the Patriot was trying to reconcile the southern states to the tariff and the American system; the editor claimed to be one of the first who had raised a cry against it, but he was for the truth about it, and against exaggerations which only put arguments at the command of the promoters of that system. He believed the system wrong for the country as a whole, and not so particularly for the South and South Carolina, as was represented by the Nullifiers. It was admitted that the South was justly more interested in the overthrow of the protective system because of prospective injuries, but not because of present ones. It was denied that any southern staple product had fallen in price because of the restrictive policy; and it was insisted that, until other sources for the supply of cotton were opened, the injury and loss would not and could not be sectional.
The Patriot editor was not alone in pointing out that the tariff had not caused the fall in the price of cotton. A writer in the Courier gave a list of the prices of exported cotton from 1816 to the time when the tariff came to be so bitterly attacked. His conclusion was that the tariff had had no effect on the price of cotton and that there was not the shadow of a reason why it should have; the South had glutted the market with cotton by the opening up of the fertile fields of the Southwest. The Yankees were not to blame; on the contrary, by setting up manufactures they had really prevented the price of cotton from falling still more.
The argument which was perhaps most generally accepted, however, came from George McDuffie's theories about the burdens of a tariff tax. This doctrine postulated not merely that, as all admitted, discriminating taxes in general were deterrent to production, but that the tariff particularly affected the cotton-producer; that it subtracted from his profits by compelling him to sell his produce at a reduced price. Its workings amounted to a reduction of the market value of southern products, the argument ran, because in the process of exchange it took more of the southern product to buy a protected article than an unprotected one.
The Patriot replied to this contention. Conceding, it argued, that taxes were in a majority of cases divided between the producer and consumer, the question arose as to who was the producer most affected; McDuffie and his supporters overlooked the producer of the taxed commodity and insisted that the producer of the commodity exchanged for the taxed one bore all of the impost which did not fall on the consumer. In the endeavor to locate tax burdens one could not attempt to trace the more remote effects upon production; for at what point could one call a halt? It would be found that one could not stop even at the producer who made the immediate exchange, but that one would be bound to follow the principle until he included nearly every class of producers engaged in the preceding exchanges. There was no objection to adopting this view of the subject, provided that in judging of the effects of the tariff on American production the principle was not made to stop with the grower of cotton.
Other prominent men, such as Colonel William Drayton, though they, with the majority of the Union party, thought the tariff acts unjust and oppressive and repugnant to the meaning and spirit of the Constitution, pointed out that it must be borne in mind that these sentiments were at variance with those of many of the most distinguished patriots. In fact, the weight of authority seemed to be in favor of the constitutionality of the tariff acts; yet it was solely upon the ground of their being palpably unconstitutional that the right to nullify them was maintained in South Carolina. Surely the question of constitutionality must be admitted to be open to debate; then the State Rights party was wrong in asserting the right of nullification, since it based its contention on the construction of a doubtful clause. Such were the arguments of the Union party.
Meanwhile Jackson and Calhoun were changing from friends and allies to irreconcilable foes; the latter was watching his presidential chances fade away, and he was soon to be forced to take an open stand on the controversy between his state and the federal government.
- Mercury, May 15, 1830.
- Mountaineer, June 4, 1830; Messenger, September 8.
- 'Hammond Papers: L. P. Saxon to Hammond, July 6, 1830; J. H. Irby to Hammond, July 5; T. T. Player to Hammond, July 10; B. M. Pearson to Hammond, July 13; B. F. Whitner to Hammond, September 11. Mercury, July 17, August 13, September 24, 1830; Times, August 9, 26; Messenger, August 18; Mountainneer, May 21.
- Times, August i6, 1830; Mountaineer, August 6. In this same district the adherents of the "Non-Convention party" soon began to feel their power and to glory in it. They began to talk of running a man for Congress in opposition to Warren R. Davis, because he had spoken for a convention. The Mountaineer tried to discourage this because it would be an unjust merger of two distinct matters; the delegate to Congress could have nothing to do with the question of a state convention. Davis had been a very able and fearless supporter of true southern policy in Congress, and to throw him out would be foolish.
- Hammond Papers: D. L. Wardlaw to Hammond, July 24, 1830.
- Hammond Papers: T. T. Playrer to Hammond, July 10, 1830. Times, August 26, September 9; Messenger, August 18; Mountaineer, August 13, in a letter by W. R. Davis.
- Hammond Papers: B. M. Pearson to Hammond, July 13, 1830. This campaign of education carried on by the convention advocates and the fears they had to overcome are clearly shown by a letter from Benjamin F. Whitner to Hammond, telling of the condition in Chester (Hammond Papers: Whitner to Hammond, September 11, 1830). Whitner said in part: " … I have had repeated conversations with many of the plain but intelligent farmers with whom business has brought me in contact, and I find the apprehension universal that the friends of convention do not propose it as a peaceful remedy. But in every instance where I had an opportunity to explain and illustrate the right of the state to this exercise of sovereignty—to distinguish between the constitutional resistance of the people to an unconstitutional law and their rebellion against an oppressive law, but one which Congress have the right to pass—I have found the people in favor of convention. They can scarcely believe that so much clamor could be raised against convention if by it the people are only to do in an aggregate capacity what they all do now individually—that is, assert the law to be unconstitutional and endeavor to devise the best mode of ridding themselves of it. And although I think it extremely doubtful whether the question of convention will be carried, I have not the least question that but for the false alarm that has been so industriously excited through the country, the general voice would call for it almost unanimously.
"I am glad to hear a great many of the yeomanry speak of attending the meeting in Columbia on the 20th. [Referred to below.] And I do hope that those who may figure as public speakers on that occasion may be conciliating and plain, stir up no angry passions, nor excite prejudice and ill will by aspersing the motives and questioning the patriotism of those who differ with them [and] who are timid and slow to adopt any course that may unnecessarily jeopardize the peace and union of the states. From such a meeting, so conducted, great good may yet result even in time for the approaching elections. God grant it may."
- Mercury, September 24, 1830; Times, September 23, October 10.
- Mercury, September 24, 1830; Times, September 2.
- Patriot, October 13, 1830; Journal, December 14.
- Mountaineer, September 3, 1830; Journal, August 28.
- Mountaineer, May 21, November 13, 1830; Courier, November 13. Judge William Smith was another holding this view—against a convention because the tariff and internal improvement systems were fast crumbling away and would soon be demolished.
- The editor of the Camden Journal claimed just before the election that the Convention party would not number more than fifty out of 800 voters in the district and that there were not ten in the town. "But," he added, "there is not one 'submission' man" in the district. The editor of the Columbia Times and Gazette asked: "If you are opposed to a convention and yet not for giving up, pray what remedy do you propose? "The Journal editor answered that he was for resistance in every constitutional way, by the use of moral force, of reason and argument, to the point where shown useless, and then for a convention to withdraw from the confederacy. The Times editor then answered that if the Journal editor could show that nullification would produce disunion or civil war, the Times would abandon the doctrine at once (Times, October 11, 21, 25, 1830).
- Hammond Papers: D. L. Wardlaw to Hammond, July 24, 1830.
- Courier, September 21, October 8, 1830.
- Poinsett Papers: Joseph Johnson to Poinsett, July 17, 1830.
- Poinsett Papers: Poinsett to Jackson, October 23, 1830.
- Poinsett Papers: Drayton to Poinsett, December 20, 1830, shows the extreme prejudices against which the Union party had to work.
- Mountaineer, September 3, 1830.
- Mercury, August 30, 1830.
- Gazette, September 7, 1830; Patriot, September 7; Courier, September 7.
- Mercury, September 11, 24, 1830; Times, September 3, 16.
- Courier, October 1, 2, 1830; Journal, October 23.
- Courier, October 2, 9, 1830.
- 'The vote stood 1,268 to 1,243. Mercury, October 15, 1830; Courier, October 16. Poinsett Papers: a letter with this notation upon it: "Confidential — copy of a letter from a Gentleman dated Charleston, October 15, 1830."
- Mercury, October 15, 1830; Gazette, October 15; Courier, October 14, 15. The vote polled in various preceding years was as follows: 1812, 1,943; 1814, 3,003; 1816, 1,813; 1818, 1,991; 1830, 2,135; 1833, 3,030; 1834, 3,061; 1836, 3,089; 1838, 3,067; 1830, 3,575. Before the legislative session closed a new member had to be elected from Charleston to fill the place left by Hugh S. Legaré, who became Attorney-General. At this extra election Petigru was elected over Laurens, a State Rights man, by 1,366 to 1,041 (Mercury, December 16; Courier, December 20).
- Times, November 11, 1830; Mountaineer, November 19; Journal, November 30.
- The State Rights party soon elected Henry L. Pinckney to be speaker of the House, 63 to 31, and later elected James Hamilton, Jr., governor, over Richard I. Manning, 93 to 67 (joint ballot). Clearly they had a majority, but the necessary two-thirds was doubtful (Messenger, December 1, 1830; Courier, December 13; Times, December 10, 23).
- Courier, December 15, 1830. Chief among those who spoke for a convention were W. R. Hill, William C. Preston, Thomas English, A. P. Butler, Henry L. Pinckney, T. T. Player, B. F. Dunkin, F. W. Pickens, and Alfred Huger. Those who opposed it were D. E. Huger, J. P. Richardson, J. J. Presley, William McWillie, and Thomas Williams.
- Mountaineer, December 24, 1830; Courier, December 20; Mercury, December 22.
- Messenger, December 29, 1830.
- Times, December 17, 23, 1830; Messenger, January 5, 1831.
- Gazette, December 30, 1830.
- See Maps II and III.
- In looking over a series of maps (of which those printed in this volume are but a fraction) showing the geographical location of the centers of support of the two parties, one notices that the northern counties tended to vote consistently with the Union party, and that in general those counties which opposed the things for which the State Rights party stood were those in which the introduction of the institution of slavery had made least progress.
The negro population had reached 50 per cent of the total population in Beaufort, Colleton, Charleston, Williamsburg, and Georgetown by 1790; in Sumter and Richland by 118oo; in Orangeburg and Kershaw by 1810; in Marlboro by 1820; in Darlington, Fairfield, and Newberry by 1830; in Barnwell, Edgefield, and Abbeville by 1840; in Chester, Union, and Laurens by 1850; it had not reached 50 per cent in Horry, Marion, Chesterfield, Lancaster, York, Spartanburg, Greenville, Pendleton, and Lexington by 1850.
In the maps published in this volume the districts indicated by dots were those in which a majority of the people opposed the Nullifiers, while the districts indicated by straight lines were those in which a majority voted with the Nullifiers.
- Hammond Papers: J. Hamilton to Hammond, February 5, 1831.
- Mercury, January 21, 1831; letter by Warren R. Davis, December 13, 1830.
- Mercury, January 23, 1831; Congressional Debates, Vol. VII, pp. 359 and 449.
- Mercury, February 5, 17, 1831.
- Mercury, March 12, April 13, May 20, 1831 ; Messenger, April 13.
- The Banner of the Constitution, published in Philadelphia by Raguet, was recommended as the best source of anti-tariff material. See Messenger, June 8, 1831; Camden and Lancaster Beacon, June 21.
- Journal, June 18, 1831; Mountaineer, August 27.
- Messenger, July 27, 1831.
- See below, p. 153.
- Journal, July and August, 1831; Camden and Lancaster Beacon, September 6, 7.
- Mountaineer, July 30, 1831; Messenger October 5.
- Messenger, October 19, 25, November 2, December 14, 21, 1831.
- Patriot, June 15, 16, 17, 20, 1831.
- "Franklin," in the Courier, August 18, 1831. The average price had been: 1816, 28 cents; 1817, 27½ cents; 1818, 33 cents; 1819, 30 cents; 1820, 15½ cents; 1821, 14 cents; 1822, 16½ cents; 1823, 10½ cents. There was no tariff to cause a ruinous fall from 33 cents in 1818 to 10½ cents in 1823. In 1824, the year of the tariff, cotton sold for 14½ cents, taking the average prices in January and June. In 1825, the year after the tariff, it was 27 cents in June, and in June of 1826 only 9 cents.
- See Houston, Nullification in South Carolina, chap. iii.
- Patriot, May 31, 1831.
- Courier, November 23, 1831.
- The protective system had been recommended, as both constitutional and expedient, by Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams, and Jackson. It was so considered shortly after the adoption of the federal Constitution, in a Congress of which several of the members had been delegates to the convention. It was so considered in South Carolina in 1816. The commercial and navigating states of New England were as hostile to it in 1816 and 1834 as was South Carolina now. Their representatives had opposed it zealously and pertinaciously at these dates, yet not one of them had denied its constitutionality. In the late free-trade convention in Philadelphia all concurred in admitting the impolicy and injuriousness of the protective system, yet was it deemed advisable not to discuss its constitutionality, as opinions were divided upon the subject.