Henry Clay Quotes
33 Sourced Quotes
The great advantage of our system of government over all others, is, that we have a written constitution, defining its limits, and prescribing its authorities; and that, however, for a time, faction may convulse the nation, and passion and party prejudice sway its functionaries, the season of reflection will recur, when calmly retracing their deeds, all aberrations from fundamental principle will be corrected.
In all cases where incidental powers are acted upon, the principal and incidental ought to be congenial with each other, and partake of a common nature. The incidental power ought to be strictly subordinate and limited to the end proposed to be obtained by the specified power. In other words, under the name of accomplishing one object which is specified, the power implied ought not to be made to embrace other objects, which are not specified in the constitution.
The imposition of taxes has its limits. There is a maximum which cannot be transcended. Suppose the citizen to be taxed by the general government to the utmost extent of his ability, or a thing as much as it can possibly bear, and the state imposes a tax at the same time, which authority is to take it?
Sir, if you wish to avoid foreign commerce; give up all your prosperity. It is the thing protected, not the instrument of protection, that involves you in war. Commerce engenders collision, collision war, and war, the argument supposes, leads to despotism. Would the councils of that statesman be deemed who would recommend that the nation should be unarmed—that in the art of war, the material spirit, and martial exercises, should be prohibited—…—and that the great body of the people should be taught that the national happiness was to be found in perpetual peace alone? No, sir.
It consists in the genius of the nation, which is prone to peace; in that desire to arrange, by friendly negotiation, our disputes with all nations…. But a new state of things has arisen: negotiation has become hopeless. The power with whom it was to be conducted, if not annihilated, is in the situation that precludes it; and the subject-matter of it is in danger of being snatched forever from our power. Longer delay would be construed into a dereliction of our right, and would amount to a treachery to ourselves.