Robert Young Hayne, an American statesman, born in St. Paul's parish, Colleton district, S. C, Nov. 10, 1791, died in Asheville, N. C, in. September, 1840. He was educated in Charleston, and was admitted to the bar before he was 21 years old. At the beginning of the war of 1812 he served in the 3d regiment of South Carolina troops, and then resumed practice in Charleston. In 1814 he was chosen a member of the state legislature, and after serving two terms he was elected speaker of the house, and then attorney general of the state. In 1823 he was chosen a senator of the United States. In the debates on the question of protection to American manufactures Mr. Hayne took a leading part, and in every stage of the discussion he was an uncompromising opponent of the protective system. When the tariff bill of 1824 came before the senate, he made in opposition to it an elaborate and powerful speech, in which for the first time the ground was taken that congress had not the constitutional right to impose duties on imports for the purpose of protecting domestic manufactures.
He was equally strenuous in his opposition to the tariff of 1828, which roused in South Carolina the spirit of resistance that came to a crisis in 1832. In that year Mr. Clay proposed a resolution in the senate declaring the expediency of repealing forthwith the duties on all imported articles which did not come into competition with domestic manufactures. Mr. Hayne denounced this proposition, and submitted an amendment to the effect that all the existing duties should be so reduced as simply to afford the revenues necessary to defray the actual expenses of the government. He supported this amendment in one of his ablest speeches, but it was rejected, and the principles of Mr. Clay's resolution were embodied in a bill which passed both houses and received the sanction of the president. Mr. Hayne on this occasion was the first to declare and defend in congress the right of a state, under the federal compact, to arrest the operation of a law which she considered unconstitutional. This doctrine led to the celebrated debate between Mr. Webster and himself. In consequence of the passing of the tariff bill the legislature of South Carolina called a state convention, which met at Columbia, Nov. 24, 1832, and adopted an ordinance of nullification.
In the following December Mr. Hayne was elected governor of the state, while Mr. Calhoun, resigning the vice presidency of the United States, succeeded to his place in the senate. On Dec. 10 President Jackson issued his proclamation denouncing the nullification acts of South Carolina. The governor replied with a proclamation of defiance, and South Carolina prepared for armed resistance. But congress receded from its position on the protective question, the tariff was for the time satisfactorily modified, and South Carolina in another convention, of which Gov. Hayne was president, repealed her ordinance of nullification. In December, 1834, he retired from the office of governor, and was soon after elected mayor of Charleston. He was attending a railroad convention at Asheville when he contracted a fever and died.