Robert Y. Hayne

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He entered at once into the debates and without the slightest embarrassment spoke fluently, intelligibly, sometimes forcibly but often without the slightest effect. Whilst he was himself treated with proper respect, motions, arguments and opinions which he deemed very conclusive, were sometimes disposed of in a summary and unceremonious way not [at] all consistent with the weight to which he deemed them entitled. * * * * No one informed him of the cause, but he did not fail to discover it himself, or to take promptly the steps to remedy the evil. From originating propositions himself he became obviously desirous to follow the lead of others — instead of the usual confident and ex-cathedra way of advancing his opinions they were now expressed with diffidence in moderate terms with well conceived expressions of deference to those of the elder and more experienced members of the Senate. The change was observed and appreciated. [10]

In 1832, under James Hamilton Jr. as governor, Hayne served as Chairman of South Carolina's nullification convention. Hamilton and Hayne argued that states could "nullify" federal laws with which they did not agree. Eighty percent of its 162 delegates voted to nullify federal tariffs of 1828 and 1832, and for the Ordinance of Nullification. A temporary compromise was reached between the federal government and South Carolina in 1833.

Hayne resigned from the Senate to accept election by the legislature as Governor of South Carolina in 1832, serving one term into 1834. He was succeeded in the senate by John C. Calhoun, who resigned his post as Vice President of the United States to take the seat. From 1836 to 1837 he served as Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina.

Death and legacy

Hayne died in Asheville, North Carolina on September 24, 1839. He is buried at St. Michael's Church cemetery in Charleston. [11] His transcontinental railroad dreams never materialized. His son-in-law, Capt. Elam Sharpe Jr., fought with the First South Carolina Cavalry, Hampton's Brigade during the Civil War and survived. However, he and his family sold their plantations and invested the proceeds in Confederate bonds. After the war, the family's finances were in dire condition, so Sharpe moved his family to Tennessee, then Dallas, Texas, where he became a Presbyterian minister. [12] Hayne's descendants sold the Ladson Street house in 1863, but it still exists today, albeit moved and renovated in 1890. [13] Hayne's nephew, Paul Hamilton Hayne, was a poet and South Carolina's poet laureate who moved to Georgia after the Civil War. In 1878 he published a biography of Hayne.

The World War II Liberty ship SS Robert Y. Hayne was named in his honor.

Political views

Hayne was an ardent free-trader and an uncompromising advocate of states' rights. He consistently argued that slavery was a domestic institution and should be dealt with only by the individual states. He opposed the federal government's plan to send delegates to the Panama Congress, which was organized by Simón Bolívar to develop a united North and South American policy towards Spain, including the end of slavery in Spain's former colonies. (After achieving independence, Mexico ended slavery in 1836.) Objecting to any federal effort to curtail slavery, Hayne said, "The moment the federal government shall make the unhallowed attempt to interfere with the domestic concerns of the states; those states will consider themselves driven from the Union." His remarks are considered an early description of the idea of Secession, which culminated with the American Civil War.

He opposed the protectionist federal tariff bills of 1824, 1828, and 1832. In 1828, in response to the changing economic landscape in Massachusetts (there was a shift from farming towards mass production in factories), Daniel Webster backed a high-tariff bill to enhance the profitability of manufacturing interests in his home state. This angered Southern leaders who would have to pay higher prices for manufactured goods, and brought Webster into dispute with Hayne.

Their disagreement over the powers of the federal government later evolved into a series of back-and-forth Senate speeches that became known as the Webster-Hayne debate. The debate arose over the "Foot resolution," introduced on December 29, 1829 [14] by Senator Samuel A. Foot of Connecticut. Foot's proposal called for a federal government study into restricting the sale of public lands to those lands already surveyed and available for sale, which would prevent states from conducting further land sales. Whether the federal government had the authority to take this action called into question the relationship between the powers of the federal government and the governments of the individual states.

Hayne contended that the United States Constitution was only a compact between the national government and the states, and that any state could nullify any federal law which it considered to be in contradiction.

Webster argued for the supremacy of the federal government and the Constitution, and against nullification and secession. He concluded his Second Reply to Hayne with the memorable phrase, "Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable."

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  1. Encyclopedia of American Biography, p. 465.
  2. "Robert Young Hayne."
  3. "Hayne, Robert y. Charleston's Intendants and Mayors Halsey Map Preservation Society of Charleston".
  4. 1820 U.S. Federal Census for Black River, Georgetown, South Carolina, p. 2 of 3 on
  5. 1820 U.S. Federal Census for St. Bartholomew's parish, Colleton, South Carolina.
  6. 1820 U.S. Federal Census in Charleston, South Carolina, p. 45 of 86.
  7. 1820 U.S. Federal Census for Ward 2, Charleston, South Carolina, p. 9 of 38.
  8. Weld, Theodore Dwight; Sweetser, Seth; American Anti-Slavery Society (1839). American slavery as it is: : testimony of a thousand witnesses. Boston Public Library. New York: : Published by the American Anti-Slavery Society, office, no. 143 Nassau Street.
  9. Denmark Vesey and His Co-Conspirators Author(s): Michael P. Johnson Source: The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Oct., 2001), pp. 915-976 Published by: Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture Stable URL: Accessed: 15-04-2020 00:45 UTC
  10. Van Buren, Martin, The Autobiography of Martin Van Buren, p.217.
  11. "Robert Young Hayne (1791-1839) - Find a Grave".
  12. "CPT Elam Sharpe Jr. (1821-1888) - Find a Grave".
  13. "Robert Young Hayne."
  14. New International Encyclopedia

Further reading

Robert Y. Hayne
Robert Y Hayne.jpg
32nd Intendant of Charleston, South Carolina
In office
September 5, 1836 – September 4, 1837
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Smythe Richardson
Attorney General of South Carolina
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 2) from South Carolina
Served alongside: John Gaillard, William Harper, William Smith, Stephen Decatur Miller
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by