Robert Y. Hayne
|32nd Intendant of Charleston, South Carolina|
September 5, 1836 - September 4, 1837
|Edward W. North|
|Henry Laurens Pinckney|
|54th Governor of South Carolina|
December 13, 1832 - December 11, 1834
|Lieutenant||Charles Cotesworth Pinckney|
|James Hamilton Jr.|
|United States Senator|
from South Carolina
March 4, 1823 - December 13, 1832
|John C. Calhoun|
|Chairman of the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs|
|George M. Dallas|
|5th Attorney General of South Carolina|
December 18, 1818 - December 7, 1822
Thomas Bennett Jr.
|John Smythe Richardson Sr.|
|James L. Petigru|
|16th Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives|
November 23, 1818 - December 18, 1818
|Thomas Bennett Jr.|
|Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from St. Philip's and St. Michael's Parish|
November 28, 1814 - December 18, 1818
Robert Young Hayne
November 10, 1791
St. Pauls Parish, South Carolina
|Died||September 24, 1839 (aged 47)|
Asheville, North Carolina
|Spouse(s)||Frances Henrietta Pinckney|
Rebecca Mott Alston
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Branch/service||United States Army|
South Carolina militia
|Unit||3rd South Carolina Regiment|
|Battles/wars||War of 1812|
Robert Young Hayne (November 10, 1791 - September 24, 1839) was an American lawyer, planter and politician. He served in the United States Senate from 1823 to 1832, as Governor of South Carolina 1832-1834, and as Mayor of Charleston 1836-1837. He was a vocal proponent of the states' rights doctrine, in collaboration with John C. Calhoun and James Hamilton Jr.
Robert Y. Hayne was born in 1791 to Elizabeth Peronneau and her husband William Hayne, who owned plantations farmed by enslaved labor in St. Paul Parish, Colleton District, South Carolina. Robert Hayne had a younger brother, Paul Hamilton Hayne (1803-1830). Hayne received a private education suitable for his class, then studied law in the office of Langdon Cheves in Charleston.
On November 3, 1813, he married Frances Henrietta Pinckney (1790-1818), daughter of prominent lawyer and former governor Charles Pinckney. They had a daughter, Frances Henrietta Pinckney Sharpe (1818-1875). In 1820, after his first wife's death from childbirth complications, Hayne married Rebecca Brewton Allston. Her father, William Alston, gave her a lot on lower King Street where Hayne built a house (today's 4 Ladson Street). Hayne would later give his daughter Frances a plantation in Tamassee, South Carolina, when she married the local Pendleton, South Carolina court clerk, Elam Sharpe, shortly before Hayne's unexpected death in 1839.
Hayne was admitted to the bar in 1812, and practiced law in Charleston. During the War of 1812 against Great Britain, he was Lieutenant in Charleston Cadet Infantry and rose to Captain in the Third South Carolina Regiment. Hayne later served as the Quartermaster General of the state militia. By 1836, he had risen in the state militia ranks to major general.
In the 1820 census, Hayne owned 118 slaves in Georgetown, South Carolina (half of them engaged in agriculture), another 50 slaves in Colleton County, South Carolina, and 19 more in Charleston, South Carolina. In the 1830 census, he owned 17 slaves in Charleston.
Hayne actively promoted South Carolina's industrial development, including the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company, which in 1835 expanded westward toward the Appalachian Mountains pursuant to Hayne's plan to link Charleston's port to Memphis, Tennessee and the Mississippi River. Hayne was president of the Louisville, Cincinnati and Charleston Railroad, until his death, and was succeeded as its president by James Gadsden. The LCCR bought the SCCRC's stock in 1839 and the two railroads merged in 1844, but never completed the track as expected, only finishing about 60 miles to Columbia, South Carolina in addition to connections to Camden, South Carolina in 1848 and Atlanta, Georgia in 1853.
A Democrat, Hayne elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives and served from 1814 to 1818, including as Speaker of the House in 1818. Hayne was Attorney General of South Carolina from 1818 to 1822. During his tenure, the trial of Denmark Vesey occurred in Charleston after a purported slave rebellion was thwarted. Governor Thomas Bennett, unsupportive of the city-appointed court handling the trial, asked Hayne for his legal opinion on the matter. Hayne advised Bennett that the "Magna Charta and Habeas Corpus and indeed all the provisions of our Constitution in favour of Liberty, are intended for freemen only" and that the Governor of South Carolina did not have the ability to examine "judicial errors."
In 1822 South Carolina's legislature elected Hayne to the United States Senate. He was reelected in 1828 and served from March 4, 1823, to December 13, 1832. From 1825 to 1832 he was Chairman of the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs.
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. From 1836 to 1837 he served as Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina.
Hayne died in Asheville, North Carolina on September 24, 1839. He is buried at St. Michael's Church cemetery in Charleston. 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. Hayne's descendants sold the Ladson Street house in 1863, but it still exists today, albeit moved and renovated in 1890. 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.
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 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."
John Smythe Richardson
| Attorney General of South Carolina
James L. Petigru
| U.S. senator (Class 2) from South Carolina
Served alongside: John Gaillard, William Harper, William Smith, Stephen Decatur Miller
John C. Calhoun
James Hamilton Jr.
| Governor of South Carolina