Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

long apprehended at length ar- an effort has been made to renrived, at which the state was der odious. So far from deservcompelled to choose between ing the denunciation which has absolute acquiescence in a ruin- been levelled against it, he view. ous system of oppression, or a ed this provision of the ordinance resort to her reserved powers, as but the natural result of the powers of which she alone was doctrines entertained by the the rightful judge, and which state, and the position which she only, in this momentous junc- occupies. The people of that ture, could save her. She de- state believe that the Union is a termined on the latter.

union of states, and not of indiThe consent of two thirds of viduals; that it was formed by her legislature was necessary the states, and that the citizens for the call of a convention, which of the several states were bound was considered the only legiti- to it through the acts of their mate organ through which the several states; that each state people, in their sovereignty, ratified the constitution for itself, could speak. After an arduous and that it was only by such struggle, the state rights party ratification of a state, that any succeeded; more than two obligation was imposed upon thirds of both branches of the the citizens,—thus believing, it legislature favourable to a con- was the opinion of the people of vention were elected; a conven- Carolina, that it belonged to the tion was called the ordinance state which had imposed the obadopted. The convention was ligation, to declare, in the last succeeded by a meeting of the resort, the extent of that obligalegislature, when the laws to tion, as far as her citizens were carry the ordinance into execu- concerned ; and this, upon the tion were enacted; all of which plain principles which exist in had been communicated by the all analagous cases of compact, president-had been referred to between sovereign or political the committee on the judiciary, bodies. On this principle the and this bill is the result of their people of the state, acting in labour.

their sovereign capacity, in conHaving now, said Mr. C., cor- vention, precisely as they had rected some of the prominent adopted their own and the fedemisrepresentations, as 1o the na- ral constitutions, had declared ture of this controversy, and by the ordinance, that the acts given a rapid sketch of the of congress which had imposed movement of the state in refer- duties under the authority to lay ence to it, he would next proceed imposts, were acts, not for reve. to notice some objections con- nue, as intended by the constitu. nected with the ordinance and tion, but for protection, and the proceedings under it.. therefore null and void. The

The first, and most prominent ordinance thus enacted by the of these, is directed against what people of the state themselves, is called the test oath-which acting as a sovereign communi.

then

ty, was, to all intents and purpo- ledge of Mr. C. extends, not a ses, a part of the constitution of single individual had been rethe state; and though of a pecu- moved. The state had, in fact, liar character, was as obligatory acted with the greatest tenderon the citizens of that state, as ness, all circumstances considerany portion of the constitution. ed, towards citizens who had

In prescribing, then, the oath differed from the majority; and to obey the ordinance, no more in that spirit had directed the was done than to prescribe an oath to be administered only in oath to obey the constitution. cases of some official act directIt was, in fact, but a particular ed to be performed, in which oath of allegiance, and in every obedience to the ordinance was respect similar to that which is involved. prescribed under the constitu- It had been further objected tion of the United States, to be that the state had acted precipiadministered to all the officers of tately. What? precipitately? the state and federal govern- after making a strenuous resistments; and was no more deserv- ance for twelve years—by dising the harsh and bitter epithets cussion here and in the other which had been heaped upon it, house of congress-by essays in than that or any similar oath. It all forms-by resolutions, reought to be borne in mind, that, monstrances, and protests on the according to the opinion which part of the legislature, and finally, prevailed in Carolina, the right by attempting an appeal to the of resistance to the unconstitu- judicial power of the United tional laws of congress belongs States. He said attempting, for to the state, and not to her indi- they had been prevented from vidual citizens, and that, though bringing the question fairly bethe latter may, in a mere ques- fore the court, and that by an tion of meum and tuum, resist act of that very majority in conthrough the courts an unconsti- gress which now upbraid them tutional encroachment upon for not making that appeal; of their rights, yet the final stand that majority who, on a motion against usurpation rests not with of one of the members in the them, but with the state of which other house from South Carolithey are members—and that na, refused to give to the act of such act of resistance by a state, 1828 its true title; that it was a binds the conscience and alle- protective and not a revenue act. giance of the citizen. But there The state has never, it is true, appeared to be a general misap- relied upon that tribunal, the prehension as to the extent to supreme court, to vindicate its which the state had acted under reserved rights; yet they have this partof the ordinance. Instead always considered it as an auxof sweeping every officer, by a iliary means of defence, of which general proscription of the mi- they would gladly have availed nority, as has been represented themselves to test the constituin debate, as far as the know- tionality of protection, had the

not been deprived of the means only a sufficient number of inteof doing so by the act of the ma- rests barely to pass it through jority,

the two houses of congress-on No! it is not Carolina which the plain principles that the has acted precipitately, but her greater the number from whom sister states, who have suffered the monopoly takes, and the fewin common with her, that have er on whom it bestows, the acted tardily. Had they acted greater is the advantage to the as she has done had they per- monopolists. Acting in this formed their duty with equal spirit, we have often seen with energy and promptness, our what exact precision they count, situation this day would be very adding wool to woollens, assodifferent from what we now find ciating lead and iron, feeling their it. Delays are said to be dange- way, until a bare majority is obrous; and never was the maxim tained, when the bill passes, conmore true than in the present necting just as many interests as case-a case of monopoly. It is is sufficient to insure its success, the very nature of monopolies to and no more. In a short time, grow. If we take from one side however, we have invariably a large portion of the proceeds found that this lean, becomes a of its labour and give it to the decided majority, under the cerother, the side from which we tain operation which compels take must constantly decay, and individuals to desert the pursuits

that to which we give must which the monopoly have ren· prosper and increase. Such is dered unprofitable, that they may the action of the protective sys- participate in those pursuits tem. It exacts from the South which it had rendered profitable. a large portion of the proceeds It is against this dangerous and of its industry, which it bestows growing disease which South upon the other sections in the Carolina has acted-a disease shape of bounties to manufac- whose cancerous action would tures, and appropriations in a soon spread to every part of the thousand forms- pensions, im- system, had it not been speedily provement of rivers and har- arrested. bours, roads and canals, and in There was another powerful every shape that wit or inge- reason why the action of the nuity can devise. And this is state could not be safely delaythe real reason of the fact which ed. The public debt, as he had we witness, that all acts for already stated, for all practical protection pass with small mic purposes, had already been paid; norities, but soon come to be and, under the existing duties, a sustained by great and over- large annual surplus of many whelming majorities. Those millions must come into the who seek the monopoly, endea- treasury. It was impossible to vour to obtain it in the most ex- look at this state of things withclusive shape; and they take out seeing the most mischievous care, accordingly, to associate consequences; and, among others, if not speedily corrected, firmation of the truth of the docit would interpose powerful and trine for which the majority in almost insuperable obstacles to Carolina had contended throwing off the burden under The very point at issue bewhich the south had been so tween the two parties there was, long labouring. The disposition whether nullification was a of the surplus would become a peaceable and an efficient resubject of violent and corrupt medy against an unconstitustruggle, and could not fail to tional act of the general governrear up new and powerful inte- ment, and which might be asrests in support of the existing serted as such through the state system; not only in those sec- tribunals. Both parties agree tions which have been heretofore that the acts against which it benefited by it, but even in the was directed are unconstitusouth itself. He could not but tional and oppressive. The contrace to the anticipation of this troversy was only as to the state of the treasury, the sudden means by which our citizens and extraordinary movements might be protected against the which had taken place at the acknowledged encroachmentson last session in the Virginia legis- their rights. This being the lature, in which the whole south point at issue between the parwas vitally interested. It was ties, and the very object of the impossible for any rational man majority being an efficient proto believe that that state could tection of the citizens through seriously have thought of effect- the state tribunals; the measures ing the scheme to which he allu- adopted to enforce the ordinance, ded, by her own resources, with- of course, received the most deout powerful aid from the gene- cisive character. We were not ral government.

children, to act by halves. Yet, It was next objected, that the for acting thus efficiently the enforcing acts have legislated state is denounced, and this bill is the United States out of South reported to overrule, by military Carolina. They had been legislac force, the civil tribunals and ted out only to the extent that civil process of the state. Sir, they had no right to enter. The said Mr. C., I consider the bill, constitution had admitted the ju- and the arguments which have risdiction of the United States been urged on this floor in its within the limits of the several support, as the most triumphant states, only so far as the delega- acknowledgment that nullificated powers authorized; beyond tion is peaceful and efficient, and that they were intruders, and so deeply entrenched in the prinmight rightfully be expelled ; and ciples of our system, that it canthat they had been efficiently not be assailed but by prostrating expelled by the legislation of the the constitution, and substituting state through her civil process, the supremacy of military force as has been acknowledged on all in lieu of the supremacy of the sides in the debate, is only a con- laws. In fact, the advocates of

this bill refute their own argu- sented; has congress the right ment. They tell us that the or- to pass this bill? The decision dinance is unconstitutional, that of this question involves the init violates the constitution of quiry into the provisions of the South Carolina: although to him, bill. What are they? It puts the objection appears absurd, as at the disposal of the president it was adopted by the very au- the army and navy, and the enthority which adopted the con- tire militia of the country. It stitution itself. They also tell enables him, at his pleasure, to us that the supreme court is the subject every man in the United appointed arbiter of all contro- States, not exempt from militia versies between a state and the duty, to martial law—to call him general government. Why, then, from his ordinary occupation, to do they not leave this contro- the field, and under the penalty versy to that tribunal ? Why of fine and imprisonment inflictdo they not confide to it the ed by a court martial, to imbrue abrogation of the ordinance, and his hand in his brothers' blood. the laws made in pursuance of it. There is no limitation on the and the assertion of that supre- power of the sword, and that macy which they claim for the over the purse is equally withlaws of congress? The state out restraint; for among the stands pledged to resist no pro- extraordinary features of the cess of the courts. Why, then, bill, it contains no appropriation, confer on the president the ex- which, under existing circumtensive and unlimited powers stances, is tantamount to an unprovided in this bill? Why au- limited appropriation. The prethorize him to use military force sident may, under its authority, to arrest the civil process of the incur any expenditure and pledge state? But one answer can be the national faith to meet it. given. That, in a contest be- He may create a new national tween the state and the general debt at the very moment of the government, if the resistance be extinction of the former,-a limited on both sides to the civil debt of millions to be paid out of process, the state, by its inherent the proceeds of the labour of that sovereignty, standing upon its section of the country whose reserved powers, will prove too dearest constitutional rights this powerful in such a controversy, bill prostrates. and must triumph over the fede And for what purpose is the ral government, sustained by its unlimited control of the purse delegated and limited authority; and of the sword thus placed at and, in this answer, we have an the disposition of the executive? acknowledgment of the truth of To make war against one of the those great principles for which free and sovereign members of the state has so firmly and nobly this confederation ; which the contended.

bill proposes to deal with, not Having made these remarks, as a state, but as a collection of the great question is now pre- banditti or outlaws. Thus ex

« EdellinenJatka »