Abbildungen der Seite

ordinance to these laws are, that the sums lina ordinance, may be rightfully annulled, intended to be raised by them are greater unless it be so framed as vo la iv ever will or than are required, and that the proceeds will can be framed. Congress has a right to pass be unconstitutionally employed. The consti- laws for raising revenue, and each state has a tution has given expressly to Congress the right to oppose their execution—two rights right of raising revenue, aud of determining directly opposed to each other; and yet is this the sum the public exigencies will require. absurdiiy supposed to be contained in an inThe states will have no control over the strument drawn for the express purpose of exercise of this right, other than that which avoiding collisions between the States and the results from the power of changing the repre- | General Government, by an assembly of the sentatives who abuse it, and thus procure re

most enlightened statsmen and purest padress. Cougress may, undoubtedly, abuse triois ever embodied for a similar purpose. this discretiouary puwer; but the same may Ju vain have these sages declared that Conbe said of others with which they are vested. gress shall bave power to lay and collect Yet the discretion must exist somewhere. The taxes, duties, imposts, and excises-in vain constitution has given it to the representa- bave they provided that they shall have power tives of the people, checked by the repre- to pass laws which shall be necessary and sentatives of the states, and by the executive proper to carry those powers into execution; power. The South Carolina construction that those laws and that constitution shall be gives it to the legislature or the convention of the “s!preme law of the land; and that the a single state, where neither the people of the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, different states, por the states in their sepa- any thing in the constitution or laws of any rate capacity, por the chief magistrate elected state to the contrary notwithstanding.” In by the people, have any representation. vain have the people of the several states Which is the most discreet disposition of the solemnly sanctioned these provisions, made power? I do not ask you, fellow.citizens, them their paramount law, and individually which is the constitutional disposition-.that sworn to support them whenever they were instrument speaks a language not to be mis- called on to execute any office. Vain proviunderstood. But if you were assembled in sions ! iueffectual restrictions! vile profanageneral couvention, which would you think tion of oatbs! miserable mockery of legisthe safest repository of this discretionary latiou! If a bare majority of the voters in any power in the last resort? Would you add a one state may, on a real or supposed know. clause, giving it to each of the states, or would ledge of the intent with which a law has been you sanction the wise provisions already made passed, declare themselves free from its opeby your constitution?" If this should be the ration-say here it gives too little, there too result of your deliberations when providing much, and operates unequally—here it suffers for the future, are you-can you-be ready to articles to be free that ought to be taxed, risk all that we hold dear, to establish, for a there it taxes those that ought to be free-in temporary and local purpose, that which you this case the proceeds are inteuded to be apmust acknowledge to be destructive and even plied to purposes which we do not approve, in absurd, as a general provisiou ? Carry out that the amount raised is more than is wanted. the consequences of this right vested in the Congress, it is true, are invested by the condifferent states, and you must perceive that stitution with the right of deciding these the crisis your conduct presents at this day questions according to their sound discretion. would recur when any law of the United Congress is composed of the representatives of States displeased any of the states, and that all the states and of all the people of all the we should soon cease to be a nation.

states; but we, part of the people of one state, The ordinance, with the same kuowledge to whom the constitution has given no power of the future that characterizes a former ob- on the subject, from whom it has expressly jection, tells you that the proceeds of the taken it away—we, who have solemuly agreed tax will be unconstitutionally applied.

If that this constitution shall be our law,-we, this could he ascertained with certainty, the most of whom have sworn to support it-we objection would, with more propriety, be re- now abrogate this law, and swear, and force served for the law so applying the proceeds, others to swear, that it shall not be obeyedbut surely cannot be urged against the laws and we do this, not because Congress has no levying the duty.

right to pass such laws; this we do not These are the allegations contained in the allege ; but because they have passed them

Examine them seriously, my with improper views. They are unconstitufellow.citizens-judge for yourselves. I ap- tional from the motives of those who passed peal to you to determine whether they are so them, which we can never with certainty clear, so convincing, as to leave no doubt of know, from their unequal operation ; although their correctuess ; and even if you should it is impossible froin the nature of things that come to this conclusion, how far they justify they should be equal--and from the disposition the reckless, destructive course which you are which we presume may be made of their prodirected to 'pursue. Review these objections, ceeds, although that disposition bas not been and the conclusious drawn from them, once deciared. This is the plaiu meaning of the more. What are they? Every law, then, for ordinance in relation to laws which it abroraising revenue, according to the South Caro- gates for alleged unconstitutionality. But it


does not stop there. It repeals, in express the house of representatives there is this terms, an important part of the constitution difference ; the people of one state da, nut, as itself, and of laws passed to give it effect, in the case of president anıl vice-president, all which have never been alleged to be uncon- vote for the same officers. The people of all stitutional The constitution declares that the states do not vote for all the members, the judicial powers of the United States each state electing only its own representaextend to cases arising under the laws of the tives. But this creates no naterial distiucUuited States, and that such laws, the consti- tion. When chosen, they are all representatution, and treaties, shall be paramount to lives of the United States, not representatives the state constitution and laws. The Judiciary of the particular state from which they come. Act prescribes the mode by which the case They are paid by the Uvited States, not by the may be brought before a court of the United state; nor are they accountable to it for any States by appeal, when a state tribunal shall act dope in the performance of their legislative decide against this provision of the constitu- functions ; and, however they may in praction. The ordinance declares there shall be tice, as it is their duty to do, consult and preno appeal, makes the state law paramount to fer the interests of their particular constitu. the constitution and laws of the United States; ents when they come in conflict with any other forces judges and jurors to swear that they partial or local interest, yet it is their first and will, disregard their provisions; and even hightest duty, as representatives of the United makes it penal in a suitor to attempt relief by States, to promote the general good. appeal. It further declares, that it shall not The constitution of the United States, then, be lawful for the authorities of the United forms a government, put a league; and wheStates or of that state, to enforce the payment ther it be formed by compact between the of duties imposed by the revenue laws within states, or in any other manner, its character its limits.

is the same. It is a government in which all Here is a law of the United States, not even the people are represented, which operates on pretended to be unconstitutional, repealed by the people individually, not upou the states;. the authority of a smalt majority of the voters they retained all the power they did not grant of a single state. Here is a provision of the But each state having expressly parted with constitution which is solemnly abrogated by so many powers as to constitute jointly with the same authority.

the other states a single nation, cannot from On such expositions and reasonings the or- that period possess any right to secede, bedinance grounds not only an assertion of the cause such secession does not break a league. right to annul the laws of which it complains, but destroys the unity of a nation ; and any but to enforce it by a threat of seceding from injury to that unity is not only a breach the Union, if an attempt is made to execute which would result from the contravention of them.

a compact, but it is an offence against the This right to secede is deduced from the na- whole Union. To say that any state may at ture of the constitution, which, they say, is a pleasure secede from the Union, is to say tbat "compact between sovereign states, who have the United States are not a nation ; because preserved their whole sovereignty, and, there- it would be a solecism to contend that any fore, are subject to no superior ; that, because part of a nation might dissolve its connexion they made the compact, they can break it with the other parts, to their injury or ruia, when, in their opinion, it has been departed without committing any offence. Secession, from by the other states. Fallacious as this like any other revolutionary act, may be mo'course of reasoning is, it enlists state pride, rally justified by the extremity of oppression, and finds advocates in the honest prejudices of but to call it a constitutioual right is conthose who have not studied the nature of our founding ine meaning of terms, and can only government sufficiently to see the radical he done through gross error, or to deceive error on which its rests.

those who are willing to assert a right, but The people of the United States formed the would pause before they made a revolution, constitution, acting througn the state legisla- or incur the penalties consequent on a failure. ture in making the compact, to meet and dis- Because the Union was formed by compact, cuss its provisions, and acting in separate it is said the parties to that compact may, convention when they satisfy these pro- when they feel themselves aggrieved, depart visions; but the 'terms used in its con- from it; but it is precisely because it is a struction show it to be a Government in compact that they cannot. A compact is an which the people of all the states collectively agreement or binding obligation. It may, by are represented. We are one people in the its terms have a sanction or penalty for its choice of the president and vice president. breach, or it may, not.

Jf it contains no Here the states have no other agency than to sanction, it may be broken with no other conte direct the mode to which the votes shall be sequencé than moral guilt : if it have a sancgiven. The candidates having a majority of tion, then the breach incurs the designated all the votes are chosen. The electors of a or implied penalty. A league between indemajority of states may have given their votes pendent nations, geoerally, has no sanction for one candidate, and yet another may be other than a moral one ; or, if it should conchosen. The people, then, and vot the states, taio a penalty, as there is no commcu superior, are represented in the executive branch. it caunot be enforced. A government; un

[merged small][ocr errors]

the contrary, always has a sanction, express, whose magistrates are sworu to disregard or implied, and in our case it is bith neces- those laws, when they come in conflict with sarily implied and expressly given. An at those passed by another? What shows contempt by force of arms to destroy a govern- clusively that the states cannot be said to ment, is an offence, by whatever means the have reserved an undivided sovereigaty, is, constitutional compact may have been form- that they expressly ceded the right to punish ed; and such government has the right, by treason-not treason against their separate the law of self-defence, to pass acts for pu-l power, but treason against the United States. nisbing the offender, unless that right is Treason is an offence against sovereignty, and modified, restrained, or resumed, by the con- sovereignty must reside with the power to stitutional act In our system, although it is punish it. But the reserved rights of the modified in the case of treasou, yet authority states are not less sacred, because they have is expressly given to pass all laws veressary for their common interest made the general to carry its powers into effect, and under this government the depository of these powers. grant provision has been made for punisbiog The unity of our political character (as has acts which obstruct the due administration of been shown for another purpose) commenced the laws.

with its very existence. Under the Royal It would seem superfluous to add anything Government we had no separa e character to show the nature of that Union which con- our opposition to its oppressions began as Dects us ; but as erroneous opinions on this united colonies. We were the United States subject are the foundation of doctrives the under the Confederation, and the name was most destructive to our peace, I must give perpetuated, and the Union rendered more some further development to my views on perfect, by the Federal Constitution. In none this subject. No one, fellow.citizens, has a of these stages did we consider ourselves in higher reverence for the reserved rights of the any other light than as forming one nation. states than the magistrate who now addresses Treaties and alliances were made in the name you. No one would make greater personal of all. Troops were raised for the joint desacrifices, or official exertions, to defend them fence. How, then, with all these proofs, that from violation ; but equal care must be taken under all changes of our position we bad, for to prevent on their part an improper interfer designated purposes and with defined powers, ence with, or resumption of, the rights they created national goveroments? How is it, have vested in the nation. The line has not that the most perfect of these several modes of been so distinctly drawn as to avoid doubts in union should now be cousidered as a mere some cases of the exercise of power. Men of league, that inay be dissolved at pleasure? It the best intentions and soundest views may is from an abuse of terms. Compact is used differ io their construction of some parts of as synonymous with league, although the true the constitution ;

but there are others ou term is not employed, because it would at which dispassionate reflection can leave no once show the fallacy of the reasoning. It doubt. Of this nature appears to be the as- would not do to say that our constitutioù was sumed right of secession. 'It rests, as we have only a leagne; but, it is laboured to prove seen, on the alleged uudivided sovereigoty of that it is a compact (which in one sense it is), the states, and on their having formed in this and then to argue, that as a league is a comsovereign capacity a compact which is called pact, every compact between nations must of the constitution, from which, because they course be a league, and that from such an enmade it, they have the right to secede. Both gagement every sovereigu power has a right of these positions are erroneous, and some of to secede. But it has been shown that in this the arguments to prove thein so have been sense the states are not soverrigu, and that anticipated.

even if they were, and the national constituThe states severally have not retained their tion had been formed by compact, there would entire sovereignty. It has been shown that be no right in any one state tu exonerate itself in becoming paris of a nation, not members of from its obligations. a league, they surrendered many of their e-sen- So obvious are the reasods which forbid tial parts of sovereigiity. The right to make this secession, that it is necessary only to treatiez-declare war - levy taxes--exercise allude to them. The Union was formed for exclusive judicial and legislative powers, were the benefit of all. It was produced by mutual all of them functions of sovereign power. sacrifices of interests and opinions. Can those The states, then, for all these important pur- sacrifices be recalled? Can the states who poses, were no longer sovereign. The alle magnanimously surrendered their title to the giance of their citizens was transterred, in the territories of the west recall the grant? Will firstinstance, to the government of the United the inhabitants of the inland states agree to States—they became American citizens, and pay the duties that may be imposed without owed chedience to the constitution of the their assent by those on the Atlantic or the United States, and to laws made in conformity Gulf, for their own benefit? Shall there be a with the powers it vested in Congress. This free port in one state, and onerous duties in last position has not been, and cannot be, de-another? No one believes that any right nied. How then can that state be said to be exists in a single state to involve all the others sovereign and independent, whose citizens in these and countless other evils, contrary to owe obedience to laws not made by it, and the engagements solemniy made. Every one

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

81 must see that the other states, in self-defence, the state. No act of violent opposition to the must oppose at all hazards.

laws has yet been committed, but such a state These are the alteruatives that are pre-i of things is hourly apprehended, and it is the sented by the convention. A repeal of all the intent of this instrument to proclaim, not only acts for raising the revenue, leaving the Go- that the duty imposed on me by the constituvernment without the means of support; ortion, “to take care that the laws be faithfully an acquiescence in the dis:olution of our Union executed," shall be performed to the extent of by the secession of one of its members. When the powers already vested in me by law, or of the first was proposed, it was known that it such others as the wisdom of Congress shall could not be listened to for a moment. It was devise and intrust to me for that purpose ; but known, if force was applied to oppose the to warn the citizens of South Carolina, who execution of the laws, that it must be repelled have been deluded into an opposition to the by force—that Congress could not, without laws, of the danger they will incur by obediinvolving itself in disgrace and the country in euce to the illegal and disorganizing ordiuance ruin, accede to the proposition; and yet, if of the convention—to exhort those who have this is not done in a given day, or if any at- refused to support it to persevere in their de tempt is made to execute the laws, the state termination to uphold the consitution and laws is, by the ordinance, declared to be out of the of their country—and to point out to all the Union. The majority of a convention assem- perilous situation into which the good people bled for the purpose have dictated these terms, of that state have been led, and that the or rather this rejection of all terms, in the course they are urged to pursue is one of ruin name of the people of South Carolina. It is and disgrace to the very state whose rights true that the governor of the state speaks of they affect to support. the submission of their grievances to a con- Fellow-citizens of my native state! Let vention of all the states, which, he says, they me not only admonish you, as the first magis" sincerely and anxiously seek and desire." trate of our common country, not to incur the Yet this obvious and constitutional mode of penalty of its laws; but use the influence that obtaining the sense of the other states on the a father would over his children whom he saw coustruciion of the federal compact, and rushing to certain ruin. Jo that paternal amevding it, if necessary, has never been language-with that paternal feeling--let me attempted by those who have urged the state tell you, my countrymen, that you are deluded ou to this destructive measure. The state by men who are either deluded themselves, or might have proposed to call for a general wish to deceive you. Mark under what preconventiou to the other states; and Congress, tences you have been led on to the brink of if a sufficient number of thein concurred, must insurrection aud treason, on wbich you stand! have called it. But the first magistrate of First, a diminution of the value of your staple South Carolina, when he expressed a hope commodity, lowered by over production in that, un a review by Congress and the func-other quarters, and the consequent diminution tionaries of the general Government of the in the value of your lands, were the sole effect merits of the controversy," such a convention of the tariff-laws. The effects of those laws will be accorded to them, must have known are confessedly injurious; but the evil was that neither Congress nor any functionary of greatly exaggerated by the unfounded theory the general Government has authority to call you were taught to believe-that its burdens such a convention, unless it be demauded by were in proportion to your exports, not to your two-thirds of the states. This suggestion, consumption of imported articles. Your pride then, is another instance of the reckless iv- was roused by the assertion, that a submission attention to the provisions of the constitution to those laws was a state of vassalage, and with which this crisis has been madly hurried that resistance to them was equal, in patriotic on; or of the attempt to rersuade the people merit, to the opposition our fathers offered to that a constitutional remedy had been sought the oppressive laws of Great Britaio. You and refused. If the legislature of South were told that this opposition might be peace Carolina “ anxiously desire" a general con-ably-might be constitutionally made ; that vention to consider their complaints, why have you might enjoy all the advantages of the they not made application for it in the way the Union, and bear noue of its burdeus. constitution points out? The assertion that Eloquent appeals to your passions, to your they earnestly seek ”it, is completely nega- state pride, to your dative courage, to pour tived by the omission.

This, then, is the position in which we for the period whew the mask which concealed stand. ` A small majority of the citizens of one the hideous features of DISUNION should be state in the Union have elected delegates to a taken off

. It fell, and you were made to look state convention ; that convention has ordain- with complacency on ohjects which, not long ed, that all the revenue laws of the United since, you would have regarded with borrof. States must be repealed, or that they are no Lvok' back at the arts which have brought longer a member of the Union. The governor you to this state-look forward to the consen of that state has recommended to the legisla- quences to which it must inevitabıly lead! ture the raising of an army to carry the seces- Look back to what was first told you as an siun into effect, and that he may be empower- inducement to enter into this dangerous ed to give clearances to vessels in the name of course.

The great political truth was re


[ocr errors]

peated to you, that you had the revolutionary | upitiog in one bond of common interest and right of resisting all law; that were palpably general protertiou so many different states, unconstitutional and intolerably oppressive : Liviog to all their ivhabitants the proud title

it was added that the right to nullify a law of AMERICAN CITIZENS, protecting their com{"rested on the same principle, but that it was a merce, securing their literature and their arts, i peaceable reinedy! This character which facilitating their inter-communication, de

was given to it made you receive, with too fending their frontiers, and making their much confidence, the assertions that werel naine respected in the remotest parts of the made of the unconstitutionality of the law, earth! Cunsider the extent of its territory, and its oppressive effects. Mark, my fellow- its increasing and happy population ! lis adcitizens, that, by the admissiou of your leaders, vance in arts, which render life agreeable, the unconstitutionality must be palpable, or it and the sciences, which elevate the mind ! See will not justify either resistance or nullifica- educativu spreadiug the lights of religion, hution! What is the meaning of the word pal. manity, and general information into every pable, in the sense in which it is bere used ? cottage in the wide exteut of our territories That which is apparent to every one; that which and states ! Behold it as the asylum where no man of ordinary intellect will fail to per the wretched and the opressed find a refuge ceive. Is the unconstitutionality of these and support! Look on this picture of happilaws of that description ? Let those among ness and honour, aurt say,- We, too, are citiyour leaders who or ce approved and advocated zens of America. Carolina is one of these the principle of protective duries, answer :he proud states : her arms have defended; her question; and let them choose whether they best blood bas cemeuted this happy Union ! will be considered as iucapable, then, of per- And theu adu, if you can, without horror and ceiving that which must have been apparent remorse, this happy Union we will dissolve ; to every man of commun understanding, or his picture of peace and prosperity we will as imposing upon your coufidence, and en deface; this free intercourse we will interdeavouriug to mislead you now. In either rupt; these fertile fields we will deluge with case, they are unsafe guides in the perilous blood; the protection of that glorivus flag we path they urge you to cread. Ponder well on renounce; the very uames of Americans we this circumstance, and you will know how to discard And for what, mistaken men! appreciate the exaggerated language they for what do you throw away these inestimable address to you. They are not champions of blessings ; for what would you exchange your liberty, emulating the fame of our revolu- share in the advantages aud bonour of the tionary fathers; wor are you an oppressed Union ? For the dream of a separate inde.' penple, contending, as they repeat to you, pendence-a dream interrupted' by bloody against worse than colonial vassalage. You conflicts with your neighbours, and a vile are free members of a flourishing and happy dependence on a foreign power: Union. There is no settled design to oppress leaders could succeed in establishing a sepayou. You have indeed felt the unequal opera- ration, what would be your situation ? Are tion of laws which may have been unwisely, you united at home? are you free from the not unconstitutionally, passed; but that in. apprehensiou of civil discord, with all its fearequality must necessarily be removed. At the ful consequences ? Do our neighbouring revery moment when you were madly urged on publics, every day suffering some new revoto the unfortunate course you have begun, a lution, or conte ding with some pew insurchange in public opinion had commenced. rection--də they excite your envy? But the The nearly approaching payment of the pub- dictates of a high duty oblige me solemnly to lic debt, and the consequent necessity of a announce that you cannot succeed. diminution of duties, had already produced a The laws of the United States must be exe. considerable reduction, and that tuo on some cuted - I have no discretionary power on the articles of general consumption in your state. subject-my duty is emphatically pronounced The importance of this change was understood, in the constitution. Those who told you that and you were authoritatively told, that no you might peaceably prevent their execution, further alleviation of your burdens was to be deceived you--they could not have been deexpected, at the very time when the condition ceived themselves. They know that a forcible of the country imperiously demanded such a opposition could alone prevent the executiva modification of the duties as should reduce of the laws, aud they know that such oppusithem to a just and equitable scale. But, as if tion must be repelled. Their object is disapprehensive of the effect of this change in union; but be not deceived by names ; disallaying your discontents, you were precipi- union, by armed force, is treason. Are you tated into the fearful state in which you now really ready to incur its guilt? If you are, on

the heads of the instigators of the act be the I have urged you to look back to the means dreadful consequences -on their heads be the that were used to hurry you

on to the position dishonour, but on yours may fall the punishyou have now assumed, and forward to the ment-on your unhappy state will inevitably consequences it will produce. Something fall all the eviis of the conflict you force upon more is necessary. Contemplate the condition the government of your country. It cannot important part? Consider its government, which you would be the first victims-its first

If your

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

find yourselves.

« ZurückWeiter »