MVB remarks on state sovereignty, [27 March 1827]
5. Hon. Martin Van Buren—The zealous friend of State Sovereignty.
Mr. VAN BUREN here rose and said: He would be unwanting in courtesy as well as in gratitude, if he withheld his acknowledgements for the honor conferred upon him, by associating his name with the cause of State Sovereignty. The motive of that association was only to be found in the partiality of gentlemen, as it had not been in his good fortune to deserve it by any acts of his own. This was to him a source of regret, which would be greater, were it not for the hope that he might yet make amends for the remissness of the past, by his exertion in future. As yet it had only been his humble office to imitate the example and reverence the principles of the great and good men who had gone before us, and in whose school a jealous solicitude for the sovereignty of the States was inculcated as a cardinal duty; of such a cause too much could not, on a proper occasion, be said. It was the cause of the whole country, one in which mere differences of opinion as to men, and all subordinate divisions of party, were of necessity merged. Instead of the ordinary contest about personal interests, its friends stood on the firm foundation of the constitution, and contended for the rights of Sovereign States. It was not, he said, to be doubted, that upon this entire preservation, depended not only the continuance of the confederacy, but the future welfare of the States themselves. It was a source of unmingled satisfaction to perceive that this conviction was rapidly becoming, if it was not always, the national sentiment. But the festive board, he said, was not the place for political essays, and he would therefore dismiss the subject by offering the following sentiment:
“A speedy extinguishment of Sectional and State jealousies–the best and most appropriate sacrifice that can be made upon the altar of State Rights.”
Editorial note: This meeting was held in the Carolina Coffee House.