SPEECHES OF HENRY CLAY.
necessary demands of the government, and it may in some particular
cases require a rate somewhat higher than that in order to raise the
proposed sum of 26,000,000. But as the reserved fund of 2,000,
000 for contingencies will not require an annual revenue for that
purpose, should the amount of duties levied be less than 26,000,000,
or even between 24,000,000 and 25,000,000, the reserved fund may
be made up by accumulations, during successive years, and still leave
an amount sufficient to meet an annual expenditure of 22,000,000,
and 2,000,000 for the public debt. I now approach the considera-
tion of a very important branch of the subject in its connexion with
the compromise act.
I shall not here attempt to go again into the history of that act.
I will only say that, at the time of its passage, it was thought right
that the country should make a fair experiment of its effect; and that
as the law itself met the approbation of all pailts of the country, its
provisions ought not lightly to be departed from; that the principles
of the act should be observed in good faith; and that, if it be neces-
sary to raise the duties higher than twenty per cent., we ought to
adhtre to the principles of the compromise, then, as far as it should
be possible to do so. I have been animated, in the propositions I
now offer to the Senate, by the same desire that prompted me, when-
ever the act has been assailed by its opponents to stand by and de-
fend it. But it is necessary now to consider what the principles of
the compromise act really are.
I. The first principle is, that there should be a fixed rate of ad
valorem duty, and discrimination below it.
Il. That the excess of duty beyond twenty per cent. should, by
a gradual process, commencing on the 31st December, 1833, be re-
duced, so that by the 30th June, 1842, it should be brought down
to twenty per cent.
III. That, after that day, such duties should be laid for the purpose
of raising such revenue as might be necessary for an economical ad-
ministration of the government; consequently excluding all resort to
internal taxation, or to the proceeds of the public lands. For, con-
temporaneously with the pendency of the compromise act, a bill wVas
pending for the distribution of those proceeds.