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Extracts from the Speech of Aaron V. Brown, the Democratic
candidate for the office of Governor, delivered at Athens, East Tennessee, June 21st, 1845.
Mr. Brown commenced by adverting to the high and responsible office for which he had become a candidate. One so high and so responsible, that he never should have aspired to it, but for the unsought and undesired designation of the late Democratic Convention. Most earnestly had he desired the nomination of some other individual, more able to vindicate and sustain the great principles of that party with which he had been acting for more than twenty years. Not that he was insensible to the honor of presiding over the destiny of such a noble and gallant State as Tennessee. To contribute any thing valuable to the prosperity of her brave and hardy people, might well kindle up the pride and ambition of any man living. But he desired no elevation, not even the highest which the people of the State could confer, if it had to be obtained by either the concealment or the abandonment of his principles. He was here to-day to make known these principles to his fellow-citizens now assembled, and he invoked their patient and kind attention. He did not propose to say any thing about the removal of the deposites, the specie circular, or the different vetoes of a United States Bank. All these were now dead and buried questions. So also is the chartering of another United States Bank. Mr. Foster will presently tell you that the democratic party will have a large majority (forty or fifty at the least) in the next Congress opposed to every such
institution. Well, this covers the whole period of the two years during which we are proposing to serve you. Why then should we have one word to say on the subject? I know well and must therefore anticipate his answer. He will say to you that the Bank is not dead, but like Lazarus, only sleepeth. It may be so, but it seems to me (said Mr. B.) that if it be a sleep, it is the very soundest sleep I ever saw. Day after day and week after week, have I seen Mr. Foster apply his galvanic battery to it, without the least effect upon it. No flutter of pulse, no heaving of the breast, no flush of the face, no opening of an eyelid inspires the hope of returning animation. But notwithstanding all these unfavorable circumstances, Mr. Foster still persists in cherishing some fuint hope of its future resuscitation. Truth, he says, never dies ; "and throwing himself into a lofty and I suppose poetic attitude, exclaims,
" Truth crush'd to earth by power riven,
Will rise again and fly to Heaven !" Well, if by truth he means the Bank, (and he is talking about nothing else,) I must be permitted to say that he has at last located his Bank in a very singular place. “Will rise again and fly to Heaven !" Why it sounds to me a little like profanity. Besides, I should very much fear that many of your friends might find it very difficult to obtain discounts in it there. What will you do for a President to attend to the business, for it is very well understood that the old President (Biddle) has gone in another direction.
But, gentlemen, why should Mr. Foster desire to keep up this everlasting and useless argument about a Bank? He, it seems to me, ought to be the last man in the State who should wish to do so. He was here with you in 1840-prophesying then as he is poetizing now, about a Bank. His first prophecy then, was, that our local Banks could never resume specie payments without a national Bank to lead the way. Well, what has become of that? Gone the way of all false prophecies before it. What was his second prophecy? Why, that our exchanges could never be reduced and regulated without a Bank. What has become of that? Gone likewise the way of all the Earth. What was his third prophecy about the Bank? That our circulating medium could never become sound and uniform without such an institution. Well, what has become of that? He himself now admits, that the precious metals have flowed into the country, until we now have about three times as much gold and silver in the United States as we have of paper money. Well, we all know gold and silver to be sound, and we never heard of any thing more uniform all the world over. Thus it is that the third prophecy has been falsified by time and actual experience and must be sent off to travel “in the footsteps of its two illustrious predecessors.” I am glad to have an opportunity to advert to these things. I have shown you the prophecies and the prophet of 1840. I brought him here with me that you might see him in 1845. Here he stands, look at him—"guilty or not guilty ?” But why ask him that question, when we know from the good book that there never were but two kinds of prophets. The prophets of the Lord and Baal's prophets. The former all died up with the dispensation in which they were employed, but the false prophets of Baal seem determined to live forever! (pointing to Mr. F.)
But, said Mr. B., I must pass away from this subject. Let Mr. Foster come forward and tell you, as he will, that Gen. Washington signed the first and Mr. Madison the second charter. So did Gen. Washington sign the commission of Benedict Arnold, but when he found by experience that he was a bad man, and would have betrayed him and ruined his country, would he have signed him a second commission ? So of Mr. Madison after Hull had surrendered one of the finest armies of the last war. Sirs, they both acted in reference to the future, which no human foresight can penetrate,
“Shadows, clouds and darkness rest upon it." But you, in deciding on a Bank, can now look back on the past, with all the clear sun-light of experience shinning upon it, and warning you, as you love yourselves, your families, your liberties and your country, to make no more Banks and no more paper money than you are obliged to have. It is an artificial and speculating system, which robs the laboring man of much of the hard earnings of his toil and his labor. Taking it in connection with the tariff, on which I shall presently speak, it is no stretch of the imagination to say, the farmer plants one grain of corn for himself, one for the banks, and one for the tariff. The blacksmith, with his lusty strength, strikes one blow for himself, one for the banks, and one for the tariff. So of the cotton planter, the tobacco grower, and the stock raiser, and in fact, so of all the agricultural and mechanical employments of our country.
I pass now to the distribution of the proceeds of the sales and entry of the public lands. I do not know whether to say much on this topic. Mr. Foster has evidently neglected it of late. Has he discovered that, according to his own admission, the democrats would have a large majority in the next Congress, and therefore it is useless to debate it any further? If so, I commend his discretion and forbearance. Or does he begin to discover that the shrewdness and good sense of the people look too easily through the sophistry that sustains the whole project. I will only ask him (to save you the trouble) a few questions for his answer and solution. At any time when you have not too much money in the treasury, if you take out two millions of the land money, will you not leave a vacuum of two millions! When this vacuum comes to be filled up, must it not be done by taxing the people through the tariff, the same amount of two millions? Well, how can it benefit any people to give them two millions and then make them pay it right back ? Try it by individuals; how can it help a man to give him five dollars to-day and then make him pay it back tomorrow? But the case is much worse than that. For the two millions taken out of the treasury, you must pay back two millions and a quarter or half, to cover all the commissions, expenses and loss of the distribution and collection. Well, you give a man five dollars of distribution money and then demand six or seven dollars in return! Sir, such a process can neither help a nation nor the individuals of it. It can neither advance the cause of education nor internal improvement. No, it is but a delusive bribe held out to tempt the virtue of a confiding people into the support of a wild and desperate ambition. But there is another reason why distribution cannot take place whilst the present tariff continues in force—you cannot have this tariff and distribution both. You covenanted in the Sen