Page:Nullification Controversy in South Carolina.djvu/32

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The Origin of the Conflict

presses held that the attacks upon the tariff act were mere pretexts to cover deep and traitorous designs of the leaders of the Jackson party looking to the dissolution of the Union, with a view to the erection of a separate empire for Andrew Jackson and themselves. The Mercury answered, however, that the question was really distinct from the presidential issue and that the National Intelligencer was trying to make political capital out of it to defeat Jackson.[1] The South Carolinians evidently regarded the tariff of 1828 as of greater importance than did many Virginians, who looked upon it as simply an aid to the "manufacture of a President of the United States."[2]

In view of the accusation of the "administration presses" there arises at once a question as to just what modes of resistance were advocated at

this time. In the first place, there was as yet no well-defined, well-organized Disunion or even Nullification party. Certain hints at disunion had been dropped by a few writers, and the resolutions of some of the local meetings had led some of the more sensitive patriots to believe that they had scented a secret movement which might grow

  1. Mercury, August 23, 1828.
  2. Charles H. Ambler, Thomas Ritchie, p. 114.