A friend of ours, who was an ardent advocate of the principles of free trade once remarked in conversation, "if I could have my own way, I would not have such a thing as a custom house from one end of the country to the other." This remark astonished the bystanders, one of whom, with great solicitude inquired, "Why, how should we be able to get foreign goods, if we had no custom houses?" It often happens that habit forms such associations in the mind, as to render it difficult for new views to penetrate, and there are no doubt many people, who really think that we could have no foreign goods, without custom houses; as there are many people, brought up in countries where it is impossible to move without a passport, who are not able to see how a man can travel in this country without one.
Precisely of this character is the idea so universally prevalent in our cities, that the public revenue cannot be collected without the agency of a bank, and hence it is, that all attempts to prove its fallacy, must encounter a mass of prejudice not easily overcome. This however, shall not deter us from the attempt, and if we do not succeed in convincing all, we trust we shall succeed in convincing some. Our plan then is simply as follows.
1. Let the collector of each port of entry, be authorized to have a vault constructed within his custom house, which no one will pretend, cannot be made as strong and as secure against fire and thieves, as the vaults of a bank, and let him be held responsible, by sufficient securities for the safe keeping of the public money entrusted to his care.
2. Let Congress declare that all monies payable for duties to the United States, after a certain day, shall be paid in gold and silver and in nothing else, and that all sums payable by the United States, in the various disbursements of the government, shall in like manner be paid in gold and silver and in nothing else.
Now this operation is in itself perfectly simple and there is not in the land an individual who cannot at once see its practicability. There is no mystification about it, and if the public revenue receivable at any one place, was precisely equal to the sum to be expended by the government at that one place, no one who wishes to see the government entirely divorced from the banking system, would hesitate to pronounce it expedient.
Amongst the advantages to be derived from a hard money system like this, would be the following.
1. The injunction of the Constitution would be complied with, which declares that "all duties, imposts and excises, shall be uniform throughout the United States," for nothing could be more uniform than gold and silver, or, rather we should say, nothing can be uniform but gold and silver.
2. There would be no quarrelling about the public deposites, nor no intriguing with the government to get possession of them.
3. The abstraction from actual use of the amount of coin in the custom house vaults, drawing no interest, would be a motive for Congress to take especial care, that there should be little, or no surplus revenue.
4. The principal inducement for Congress to charter a federal bank, would be entirely removed, and thus the country would be saved from that periodical convulsion in politics and money concerns which cannot fail to occur at, or before, the expiration of every federal bank charter.
5. The public deposites would confer no political or pecuniary influence upon any individual or corporation, and no administration could use them, for buying up banks, or partisans.
But to this scheme of collecting the revenue, various objections will be raised by the advocates of a new federal bank, and of a league of State banks, as well as by others who have not given the subject due reflection.
The first objection will be that the money would not be safe in the vaults of a custom house. And why not as safe there as in the vaults of a bank ? Property to a large amount is always under the lock and key of the custom house, and is considered perfectly safe; and why should not gold and silver, which is but another species of property, be equally safe ? It could only be in the large cities, that heavy sums would be on hand, and if the collectors could not be entrusted with them, special officers might be appointed to perform the duties of treasurers. Who ever dreams that the vast amount of gold and silver bullion deposited in the mint, is in danger of robbery or peculation from the officers ? And could not as honest men be found in every city, as those who have managed that institution for more than forty years ? But, if there were danger on that score, it could not remain long undiscovered. It could be made the duty, by law, of the Secretary of the Treasury, once in every year, by his drafts, to probe the soundness of every custom house, by emptying its vaults, and in that manner, fraud could not long remain concealed. We cannot, therefore, regard this objection as a valid one, and few persons would think the public money more unsafe in the vaults of the custom houses, than in those of the State banks, in which it now lies.
A second objection that would be made is, that the payments inwards and outwards at the custom houses, would be attended by a vast deal of labour, expense and inconvenience in counting large sums of coin and in transporting them to and from the vaults. Let us examine into this objection. It is true, that the first payments into the custom house vaults would have to be accomplished by the absolute conveyance upon carts or drays of a quantity of coin, and that it would have to be counted, just as is the case with coin deposited in a bank. This process would last, however, only until a sum was accumulated equal to the amount of the cash balance, which the government might think it proper to keep in the vaults of that particular custom house, to enable it to discharge with punctuality its engagements. All subsequent payments into the custom houses would be made in the treasury drafts drawn upon them, and there would be an end of the labour, expense and inconvenience of transporting and counting large sums. For these Treasury drafts would be every where received by the banks in the vicinity of the custom house, upon which they were drawn, as cash, because the banks would know that they would command the coin on presentation, and because the banks would find it their interest to facilitate payments into the custom house, by handing over these drafts to those having duties to pay, who kept accounts with them. This is so palpably the course that things would take, that there can be no doubt at all about it, and if any occasional transportation of coin should take place, to or from the custom houses, the expenses would be very trifling, and the banks would, in all probability, incur them voluntarily as they do the expense of furnishing blank checks and books to their customers. As to the labour of counting, we have ascertained that a smart clerk can count 4000 silver dollars in an hour, and gold coin in much less time; and a single dray will haul twenty-five thousand dollars for half a mile for a quarter of a dollar, and 400,000 gold dollars for the same sum. If therefore an estimate must be made of this labour and expense, they are too trifling to be thought of for a moment, as an objection against a measure calculated to render the government what it was intended to be, as John Randolph used to say, "a hard money government," and which every friend to its stability should desire to see it; for it will be found upon calculation, that the whole revenue of the U. States, estimating it at 24 millions of dollars, could be counted twice over, by four clerks, working only 300 days in the year.
A third objection might be, that as the revenue is not all collected at the points where the expenditures are to be made, the government would be put to the expense and risk of transporting the coin from one place where it was not wanted, to another place where it was wanted, or, that it would be obliged to purchase, bills of exchange, which would not only be attended with trouble and risk, but would convert the government into a dealer in exchange, and thus bring a money influence into the political field, which it is one of the chief designs of a hard money system to prevent. To this we reply, that the objection would be obviated, by the following very simple process, which is a principal feature in our plan. It should be declared by law, that all local and fixed expenditures, such as those due for salaries to public officers, &c. shall be payable in drafts upon the custom house nearest to the spot where the payment is due, which has in its vaults available funds, and that all payments under special contracts shall be made at the places stipulated in the contract, which would of course always be the places at which the revenue accrued. These drafts would always be negociable through the local banks, and as they would all be drawn upon cities and towns on the sea board, to which remittances from the country would constantly be making, they would most generally command a premium. It is not easy to imagine a case in which a treasury draft drawn upon the nearest custom house would not be convertible into cash without loss, and consequently, no injury could be sustained by any public creditor.
According to the arrangement which existed under the Bank of the United States, the Government was enabled to make payments at twenty-five different points, being those at which the bank and its twenty-four branches were located. Under the plan here suggested it will be enabled to make payment at upwards of an hundred different points, and consequently, the facilities of collecting its drafts by those who hold them must be increased rather than diminished. The local banks which used to collect these treasury drafts upon the Bank of the U. States and its branches, would still be as ready to collect those drawn upon the vaults of the custom houses, and we are not able to conceive of a single circumstance that could operate to the prejudice of a public creditor by the change.
A fourth objection would be, that this plan would require more coin than could easily be obtained by the persons who have duties to pay. In answer to this, we state that every man who now has duties to pay, must either have coin to pay them with, or bank notes, and that under the new plan, nothing more would be required of him, if he could not procure a floating treasury draft, than to take his bank notes to the banks that issued them, and demand payment. This liability to be called upon for coin might possibly sometimes oblige the local banks to keep on hand a larger amount of coin than they might otherwise do, but the public would sustain no injury from that measure, and therefore, it ought not to be an objection to the plan proposed, that its tendency will be, to make the local banks keep themselves in a sounder state than at present.
A fifth objection would be, that the government would lose the interest upon the amount of specie lying idle. This is very true, but this, as we have already said, would be a motive with Congress to keep down the revenue, so as to let it exceed, as little as possible the amount of expenditures. But at all events, as regards this particular, the government would be no worse off than heretofore, for never has she derived one dollar in the shape of interest, for any of the sums she has had lying idle in the Bank of the United States, or the State Banks. A loss of interest for idle cash is inseparable from all large dealings, where punctuality ought to be observed, as with governments, but this loss is more than compensated by the better terms upon which contracts are made by one that deals for cash, than by one that deals on credit, so that, in reality, no loss whatever occurs from a reasonable cash balance kept on hand by a government, or by an individual.
A sixth objection is, that admitting It to be true, that the government would lose no more interest by the new plan than by the old one, yet that the community sustains a loss by the non-employment of a capital, which, if deposited in banks instead of the vaults of the custom-houses, would be loaned out, by which process, the community would have the use of the capital, whilst the government would be no worse off. This is true enough, but in order to see the force of the objection, let us analyse it, and see what it will amount to.
The average amount of deposites on hand ought not to exceed $6,500,000, the interest upon which at 5 per cent. would be, $325,000 per annum. This sum divided amongst the thirteen millions of population, would be not quite two and a half cents per head, and the objection therefore, supposes, that the incalculable blessings which the country would derive from the measure proposed, which would secure us forever from a recurrence of the frightful scenes of the past year, exempt the government from all participation in money transactions, and the people from the possibility of a coalition between a powerful monied corporation and the government, would be dearly purchased by an annual tax of two and a half cents per head. No patriot, we trust, will listen to so frivolous an objection.
A seventh objection might be, that the duties of the collectors of the customs would be rendered too great. To this we answer, that should this be the case, the difficulty could easily be remedied by the appointment of a cashier in each custom house, where the business was extensive, and if an estimate be made of the additional expenses to be incurred thereby, they will be found to be so trifling as to amount to mere dust in the balance.
Although in this plan we have for the sake of simplifying the argument, referred only to the revenue collected through the custom houses, yet, it is equally applicable to that collected through the various land offices, which should be embraced in any hard money system, and if it be desirable that coin should be more extensively circulated throughout the interior than it is at present, receipts and payments in coin at the various land offices would have that effect.
In putting forth these views, we know them to contain the sentiments of a number of sound political economists in this quarter. If the scheme is liable to any objections which we have not noticed, or, if we have not been successful in obviating those we have attempted to meet, our columns will be open to any one who may be disposed to discuss the subject. Now is the moment for settling the question. Nothing but providing for the collection of the public revenue without the instrumentality of banks, can prevent the incorporation of a new federal bank, before three years are over. A large portion of those who have been instrumental in destroying the present one, have been actuated by no motives in the world, but the desire of having a fresh speculation in bank stock to gamble with, and if the real opponents of such a bank upon principle, do not unite in some plan of separating the government from the banking system, they, or their children will live to see the day, when the country will again be convulsed from one extremity to another, as it has been of late.
--It is our intention to record in this volume of the Examiner, for future reference, some of the principal documents connected with the Removal of the Public Deposites. We give to-day the first move in the game, in the form of the President's Manifesto, by which he took upon himself "the responsibility."
It appears from this document that when Mr. Jackson resolved to remove the deposites from the Bank of the United States, he really thought that the operation was a mere business of sending a parcel of drays to Nicholas Biddle's marble palace, in Chesnut street, and hauling some few hundreds of kegs of dollars to the Girard Bank in Third street, and, as he supposed, that the money would just as certainly be loaned out by the latter institution, as by the former, he could not imagine, how this mere transfer of dollars from one vault to another, not five hundred yards distant, could possibly produce a convulsion from one end of the country to the other. In this State of Pennsylvania, there are thousands whose views on the subject were quite as limited as Mr. Jackson's, and hence we saw the position boldly asserted in our Legislature, last winter, and through the press, that the existing distress had not been in any degree occasioned by the removal of the deposites. That such opinions should have been entertained by persons who are not conversant with the science of currency, is not to be wondered at; but it is to be wondered at, that intelligent people who understood the subject better, should have sustained the President in adhering to the measure, after its mischievous character had been developed, and after he and every body about him must have had all doubts removed, as to its having been the cause of the calamity.
In every country where credit enters extensively into the transactions of people, there must always be liabilities to what are called panics. The effect of a panic is, to engender doubts as to the solvency of banks and individuals, which lead to a demand upon banks for coin in payment of their notes, a measure which obliges them to call upon their debtors for payment. The debtors thus suddenly called upon are driven to the expedient of borrowing money of private lenders, at a higher rate of interest than legal interest, or to make forced sales of their property. A pressure falling thus in the first instance solely upon those who are indebted to banks, soon reaches the rest of the community. The payments into the Bank by its debtors, beyond the amount of the specie withdrawn, amount to a positive annihilation of currency, and this annihilation diminishing the amount in existence, destroys some of the facilities which borrowers before enjoyed. Every man therefore, who is in debt feels it more or less.
But the pressure does not limit itself to those who are in debt. It falls also upon people who are not in debt. Capitalists abstain from new transactions, for, fear of embarrassment. Hence arises a suspension of industry. Merchants diminish the number of their voyages -- build fewer new ships --reduce their imports of foreign goods. Manufacturers shut up their factories, and dismiss their hands, or reduce their wages, -- mechanics build fewer houses, owing to the demand being diminished by the necessity of economizing, which compels people to rent a room, who, in prosperous times, would have rented a house. The millers and country merchants cannot purchase from the farmer, as much grain and other produce, as formerly, owing to the scarcity of money, whilst the planters find their crops of tobacco, cotton and rice, diminished in price from the same cause. In fact, every branch of business is affected by the general stagnation, and the country sustains an absolute loss, to the value of all the productive labour which has been suspended by the panic.
The effects, however, of this general distress, are felt more keenly by the poor and working classes. Those persons who possess property, may lose a part of it, but they are not brought to want. The man who used to spend $2,000 per annum, can manage to live upon $1500, and if he were driven down to $1000, he would still not starve. All who stand at some distance from the great abyss of pauperism, can bear to be pushed some paces towards it, without tumbling in, but those unfortunate beings, and they constitute a large portion of the industrious community, who always live from hand to mouth, who rely for their daily bread upon their daily labour, have not an inch between them and positive beggary. --A general pressure of the crowd towards the abyss, inevitably pushes them in, but as they are mostly of a class of people who have no influence, nor no means of presenting themselves as a body seeking for relief, they have no remedy, but to beg, borrow or steal, and this they do perhaps, without as much as being acquainted with the cause which has deprived them of employment.
Such being the effects liable to result from panics, how clear is it that no extraordinary causes should be encouraged which can have a tendency to bring them on. When they occur from causes which arise in the natural course of contingencies, of the probability of which the public has an opportunity of judging, they can be met by precautions, as the mariner meets a storm, by taking in sail, when he sees one brewing. Thus, the winding up of the Bank of the United States, in 1836, was an event foreseen by every one who was not blind, and all prudent men would have prepared for the reduction of loans necessarily attendant upon that operation. But no extent of prudence or foresight could have saved a man from Mr. Jackson's experiment, and coming as it did, upon an unprepared community, it operated with twice or thrice the force that the mere winding up the Bank could have done.
The following articles from the two principal State Rights papers in Ohio, will show that the glorious cause of liberty is not to be given up in that State.
From the Zanesvill Messenger.
The late elections which have taken place in many of the States, have turned on principles much less than could be desired. Yet we think rather more than they did a year ago: at least, principles were more discussed previous to the elections, and in a better style than usual. This will be the case more and more, until the plain question of despotic government or rational liberty is made before the people: or in other words, whether the Constitution of the United States is binding on the general government, or whether the officers in the ten miles square are unlimited in power. On the decision of this question will depend the happiness of the people, and indeed the very existence of our Republican institutions.
Under these circumstances, it becomes the disciples of Jefferson, those who would restrain power within its limits, to keep on in their exertions in the cause of our country. Their efforts will conduce to human happiness, because they uphold the principles which alone can preserve the rights and liberties of the people. Parties founded on personal attachment or partiality to particular men, are but factions at best, and have been the bane and ruin of many countries, whilst those founded on sound principles are most beneficial to a country, because they hold up the lamp of truth to the people unobscured by petty, local or personal interests.
From the St. Clairsville Journal & Enquirer.
Our Course.-- The struggle is not over. We have gained something upon our opponents, though not all we could have wished, nor quite all we anticipated. We cannot say, "now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer." Much yet remains to be done, ere our State and the Union can be proclaimed redeemed and disenthralled. But though not so successful in this campaign as we hoped for, shall we therefore "hang up our bruised arms as monuments ?" Shall we go into "winter quarters," and give ourselves up to the revelry of a deceitful and inglorious peace ? Whatever others may be preparing to do, and whatever others may finally determine upon doing, we shall keep the field. We have not been contending for men, but for principles. These we shall continue to contend for, and cheerfully await the result. We have held that if the republic is saved, it must be by an acknowledgement of those political doctrines which preserved the integrity of the Constitution, in the "reign of terror," under the elder Adams. --The recent election assures as that we are correct. Therefore, we shall persevere, requesting the aid, in behalf of our good cause, of all honest and true republicans. Of this our determination, an evidence will be found in an article on the first page of this paper.
---The article referred to, on the first page of the Journal, was a continuation of Locke's Essays upon the Virginia Resolutions, addressed to Thomas Ritchie, Esq., which are also republishing in the Messenger.
Governor Hayne's Message.
The events of the past year, have been far too interesting and important, not to have left a deep impression on the minds and hearts of us all. The extraordinary vicissitudes of the seasons, and the unusual severity of our autumnal storms, blasting in some quarters of the State the hopes of the Planter, --were but the precursors of another calamity, which at one time threatened us with devastation and ruin. That devouring pestilence, which within a few years past has traversed the whole earth, sweeping off upwards of 60 millions of the human race, --a short time since crossed our borders, and threatened to pervade the whole State. It has pleased the Almighty, however, to stay the hand of the destroyer, even at the threshold, and though the losses sustained from this visitation, have, within the limited sphere of its influence, been extremely severe, --we have abundant cause of gratitude to God, that so large a portion of the State has been free from its ravages, and that it has now entirely disappeared, after advancing but a few miles within our limits.
It is truly gratifying to me, to be able to state, that these calamities, --great as they have been,-- have hardly served to check, even for a moment, that impulse, which the industry of our State has obviously received, and which it still urging us forward in the path of prosperity, with an accelerated pace.
Among the causes which have contributed to this gratifying change in our condition, the most striking are,-- the general enlightenment of the public mind on all questions, agricultural, economical, and political, --to which recent events have so largely contributed,-- the activity and enterprise which has sprung up since the adjustment of the tariff, on principles promising more extensive commercial connexions with those nations which are the consumers of southern productions, --and the increased facilities of intercourse among ourselves, afforded by Rail Roads, and the extension of Steam navigation. When to all these is added, a corresponding improvement in the intellectual and moral habits of our people, and a growing conviction that our southern institutions, so far from exposing us in a peculiar degree to domestic commotions, actually afford, (as has been demonstrated by recent events in other quarters,) greater security to all classes of the community, than is enjoyed by any other portion of the Union, --it can hardly excite surprise that a new era should have arisen in the history of the southern States, which if property improved, cannot fail to be productive of the happiest results.
Our destinies, Fellow Citizens, are in our own hands, and if we are but true to ourselves, we shall, under the blessing of Heaven, yet reap the reward of all our labours, in the establishment of public liberty, and the promotion of the prosperity and happiness of the people.
Other events have occurred since your adjournment, which are calculated to exert a lasting influence over the fortunes of our beloved country. In the administration of our national affairs, a collision has arisen between two of the departments of the Federal Government, that has led to the practical assertion of principles, on the part of the Executive, which, if established, must lay the axe to the very root of our liberties. It is utterly impossible that free government can long exist any where, if the purse and the sword shall be confided to the same hands. That odious and tyrannical measure, the Force Bill, by which, with the consent of Congress, the sword was committed to the hands of the President, to be used at his discretion, even against the Sovereign States, has been followed up, as might have been foreseen, by his seizing upon the Purse, and openly claiming dictatorial powers. For all practical purposes, the President of the United States is now in possession of the whole of the vast power and patronage of the Federal Government, which are wielded at his pleasure, without any responsibility except to God and his conscience.
There is no one so simple as not to perceive that the responsibility of the Executive, while he continues the head of a party, to impeachment, is an idle dream, and our recent experience has demonstrated, that all other responsibility may be entirely disregarded. The whole revenue of the country, amounting to between 20 and 30 millions annually, is now confided, under the direction of the President, to persons chosen and appointed by himself, or his agents. Even the Senate, without whose consent not even a Justice of the Peace in the District of Columbia can be lawfully appointed, is denied all participation in the selection of those agents of the Treasury, who are made the depositors of the public money, which has been withdrawn from the places designated by law, and is disposed of, according to executive discretion, nor does there appear to be any power in the country, of arresting this flagrant usurpation, which would unquestionably have deprived an European monarch of his crown. Thus has been suddenly and most fatally realized our worst anticipations of the downward course of our national affairs, and the rapid progress of the Federal Government towards the assumption of absolute power. It required, indeed no profound philosophy to discern in the history of our country, for the last ten years, the unequivocal indications of a spirit of self aggrandizement on the port of the Federal Government, equally fatal to the rights of the States, and the liberties of the citizens, the inevitable consequence of which must be, to draw from the States the rights essential to their safety, and eventually to concentrate in the Executive the powers of all the departments of the Federal Government.
The evil, it is true, did not begin with General Jackson, and it is to be feared, will not end with him. His administration has only given a more rapid development to those pernicious principles coeval with the confederacy itself, which now threaten the subversion of our free institutions. Implication and construction, those "sappers and miners" of the constitution, have been at work ever since the creation of the Federal Government, and the citadel of Liberty already totters to its base. It is impossible that our republican system can endure, if ours is to become a consolidated Government.
The framers of our constitution knew, and every well informed and reflecting man, must be fully aware, that no country so extensive and diversified as our own -- with a population widely separated from each other, in habits, pursuits, and by conflicting interests, could be moulded into a single nation, and, governed by a great central power, exercising unlimited control over their domestic interests and pursuits, without degenerating into a military despotism.
The wildest and most visionary politician that ever devised systems of government for a dependent people, could never have imagined a scheme of oppression more intolerable, than that to which we shall be exposed, should ours become a consolidated Government, and the Plantation States be consequently reduced to were dependent provinces, governed not with reference to their own interests, but the interests of others. The levying of taxes, duties and imposts, to an amount exceeding by many millions the wants of the Government, has not only produced the most wasteful expenditures, but has led, by an almost inevitable necessity, to the distribution of the surplus among unauthorized objects, and this has so enlarged the power and extended the patronage and influence of the Federal Government, and especially of the Executive Department, as to have infused a deadly poison into ever vein, and artery of the body politic, the corrupting influence of which is already truly alarming, and threatens the speedy dissolution of our political system.
They who see in the frightful abuses and corruptions recently developed at Washington, no evidence of the existence of any evils but such as will be effectually removed by the elevation of some other individual to the Presidency, must have a very imperfect view of the true nature and extent of the mischief.
Governments, like individuals, do not become thoroughly corrupt in a day, and when we see the height to which abuses have now arisen, and how entirely unavailing have been all the efforts made to correct them, we may safely conclude that there must be some radical defect either in the system itself, or in its practical operation, which demands reformation. Gradually, and almost imperceptibly, has a state of things been brought about, which has at length opened the eyes of the intelligent and patriotic throughout the Union, as to the pressing necessity of Reform.
The Whigs of the Union are beginning to rouse themselves from that fatal apathy in which they have too long slumbered, and thanks be to God! the Spirit of Liberty is again abroad in the land. I must be permitted, however, to express my apprehensions, the result of a careful observation of passing events, and of no small experience in the councils of the nation -- that the public mind is not yet fully awakened to the alarming condition of the country, and that even those who have felt most keenly the effects of Executive usurpation, are not yet prepared to apply any effectual remedy. The true remedy, in my estimation, is a Convention of the States -- to reform the Constitution -- to take fresh securities for the public Liberty -- to ensure executive responsibility --and erect new guards against Federal usurpation. The rights of the States, and the Liberties of the citizens, must be effectually secured, the General Government must be brought back to its true limits, the Executive must be confined to his appropriate sphere -- and in a word, the restrictions imposed by the Constitutionals compact between the Sovereign States, must be sacredly adhered to, or the Union cannot be much longer preserved.
I am under the deepest conviction, that our Liberties are in danger. The government is rapidly degenerating into on irresponsible despotism. With the purse and the sword and the vast patronage of a consolidated government in his hands, the President will appoint his successor; Congress will be held in subjection by executive patronage, which will be brought into hourly conflict with the freedom of elections," and if, under such disastrous circumstances, any of the States shall be able to preserve their Liberties, they may not be able to preserve the Union. Let every man therefore, who loves the land of his birth or adoption -- every true disciple of Liberty -- all who are sincerely devoted to the Constitution and the Union -- forgetting minor differences -- unite in one mighty effort for the salvation of their country. Our course, fellow citizens, at this momentous crisis, is perfectly clear.
The path of duty lies plain before us. Let we resolve to walk therein, pressing forward to that glorious consummation of our hopes -- A Radical Reform of all existing abuses. Unsubdued by the blandishments or the frowns of power, let us stand prepared, eagerly to embrace; and steadily to pursue, every measure --come from what quarter it may-- having in view the glorious work of Reform -- always bearing in mind, that upon the issue of our labours in this field, depend the preservation of that noble inheritance of freedom, which was purchased by our fathers, with their blood, and which we are bound by the most sacred obligations to transmit unimpaired to the latest posterity.
The Act passed at your last session for the organization of the Militia has been carried into effect, except so far as relates to the administration of an oath of fidelity and allegiance to the officers elected under it. By the 10th section of that Act, it was provided "that in addition to the oaths now required by law, every officer of the militia hereafter to be elected shall, before he enters upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe before some person authorized by law to administer oaths, the following oath: 'I, A B, do solemnly swear (or affirm as the case may be) that I will be faithful, and true allegiance bear to the State of South Carolina --so help me God!' which oath shall be endorsed and certified upon his commission as hereafter prescribed:" and by a subsequent section the Governor was required "to cause military commissions to be prepared and issued, in proper form." Under these provisions of the law, I caused commissions to be prepared with an endorsement thereon, incorporating into one, the oath required by this Act, and that imposed by the Act of 19th December 1794, and issued orders, directing that commissions should be given to those officers only, who should take and subscribe the same. Before any of the elections however, had taken place under the new Act, a case was made in the 16th Regiment by the application of Lieut. McCready, for a mandamus, to be directed to Col. Hunt, of that Regiment, which was intended to test the validity of that provision of the Act of December last, which requires of militia officers an oath of "fidelity and allegiance" to the State. Though this measure was adopted without any consultation with me, and I well knew that the officer against whom the mandamus was to be directed would go out of office before any final decision could be had in the case, yet having received official notice from Col. Hunt of the pendency of the suit, I felt it to be my duty to require the Attorney General to appear in behalf of the State, and to maintain the validity of the law. At the special instance of the Attorney General, assistant counsel was also retained for the State, and the Court was put into full possession of all the grounds on which the authority of the Legislature was maintained, to exact the oath prescribed in the Military Bill.
The origin of this case of Hunt and M'Cready is here referred to, in order to correct an erroneous statement of its being an issue made up with the consent of the executive, and intended as a voluntary submission of the question, in behalf of the State, to the final arbitrament of the Judiciary. The truth is, that the case was brought into court without the advice or consent of the executive, -- and the question made, would have been decided by the Court, whether we had consented to take part in the discussion or not. Being well aware of this --feeling a high respect for the court,-- and influenced by a sincere desire that the decision of a question of such vital importance should not be made unadvisedly, nor without all the lights which could be furnished by argument, I determined that the State should be represented at the trial by the ablest counsel the country could afford; and it gives me pleasure to add, that both in Columbia and Charleston, it was argued, on both sides, with an ability and learning which conferred the highest honour upon all the parties concerned.
With the decision of the Appeal Court, you are already well acquainted, by which it was held by Judges Johnson and O'Neall, in opposition to the opinion of Judge Harper, that the Oath of fidelity and allegiance prescribed by the Act of 1833, us well as that imposed by the Act of 19th December, 1794, (the only oath heretofore taken by Militia officers) were contrary to the Constitution of this State, and therefore null and void, -- and that the only oath which could be lawfully administered was at prescribed by the 4th Art. of the Constitution. Though the decision in the case of Hunt and McCready, could not, for the reasons above mentioned so far as those parties were concerned, have produced any practical effect, yet the court having made, a similar decision in the case of M'Daniel and M'Meekin; and being doubtless prepared to carry out the principle in all other cases, I deemed it necessary to decide at once, upon the course proper to be pursued by the Executive, in this painful and must unexpected emergency. After a careful survey of the whole ground, I deemed it to be my duty to conform to the decision of the Court, for reasons which are fully set forth in the document herewith transmitted, which was addressed to all the Militia officers of the State, and which directed that commissions should be issued to such officers as were entitled to them, according to the decision of the Appeal Court.
It will be seen from this document, that I was chiefly influenced in the adoption of this course, and induced to refrain from calling an extra session of the Legislature, then loudly demanded by the public voice, by the consideration, that an amendment of the constitution, embracing the very same Oath, was then pending before the people, which, in the declared opinion of Judge Johnson, would, if adopted by them, be free from the objection which was held to be fatal to the Oath in the Military Bill. -- The late Elections, which have resulted in the choice of more than two-thirds of both Houses, known at the time of their election, to be in favour of the amendment -- may be considered as having authentically settled this question, by the decision of the highest tribunal known to our system-- The People Themselves.
In giving effect to the will of the People, thus distinctly expressed, it will, I doubt not, afford you great satisfaction to reflect that the whole course of the State in relation to this matter, has been marked by the utmost moderation and forbearance. We have now in support of the amendment, the solemn decision of two-thirds of the whole Representation in both branches of the Legislature, made at their last Session. We have the emphatic declaration of the very court which annulled the Oath in the Military Bill, announcing before hand, that, "if the people should think fit so to amend the Constitution as to authorize the administration of an Oath of Allegiance, in the form prescribed by the act of the last session of the Legislature, there is nothing in the Constitution of the United States opposed to it." We have the decision of the People themselves, recorded at the Polls, and if this shall now be followed up, by the final ratification of the amendment by a vote of two-thirds of both branches of the "present Legislature -- we shall certainly present, in favour of this measure, a weight of authority, which should at least secure for it the acquiescence, if not the cordial support of every patriotic citizen.-- When to all these considerations is superadded the fact, that the proposed oath is the very same which is required in several of our sister States -- that in the shape which it will now assume, as a part of the fundamental law, it will have received the deliberate sanction not only of the people, but of every department of the State Government; surely no case can be conceived to which the celebrated aphorism of Mr. Jefferson could be more strictly applicable, which enjoins on the citizens of a Free State the duty of "absolute acquiescence in the will of the majority, from which there can be no appeal of to force."
Even if any just exception could be taken to the proceedings of the Convention, (under which the Legislature was erroneously supposed to have acted in prescribing the Oath in the Military Bill,) surely that objection would be wholly inapplicable to the present case, since no one can pretend, that in respect to the proposed Oath, any power or authority will have been derived from the Convention; and it is indeed too clear to admit of a doubt, that in all the measures pursued in relation to this amendment, the Legislature has derived its authority from the Constitution itself, and has acted throughout in strict conformity both with the letter and spirit of that instrument.
It does appear to me that the proposed oath should be objected to by none, but those who utterly deny State Sovereignty, and repudiate the idea of any allegiance whatever being due to the State. Embracing public officers only, the oath cannot possibly interfere with an entire freedom of private opinion; and surely it would be as unwise for a state to confide its offices to those who should refuse to swear to be faithful to their trust, as it would be to commit the constitution itself to the safe keeping of those who should refuse to swear "to preserve, protect and defend it." The former is no more liable to the objection of being "a test oath" than the latter, and if they could be properly so called, it would amount only to this, that while the one is a test of fidelity to the State, the other is a test of fidelity to the Constitution. --As an individual, I would not be willing to impose upon others any duty which under the same circumstances I should not be willing to have imposed upon me, and I have no hesitation in declaring that if I entertained any views of the relations existing between the Federal and State Governments, which did not amount to a total denial of the Sovereignty of the State, and the corresponding duty of fidelity and allegiance, I should have no hesitation whatever in taking the proposed Oath -- and if I really believed, contrary to the general opinion of my fellow citizens, that ours was a consolidated Government, and that my own state was, in truth, nothing more than a dependent province of a mighty empire, I should neither seek nor be willing to hold any office under her authority.
It is certainly no just exception to the proposed Oath, that the Legislature may, at some future day, undertake "to define Allegiance, and provide penalties for the breach of such Allegiance," for, should this ever take place, it is demonstrably clear, that such penalties must, as a matter of course, embrace every citizen, without distinction; and would, both in law and in reason, apply with just as much force, to the citizen who may have refused, as to him who may have consented to take the Oath. Believing, therefore, that the proposed amendment, which has been shown to be free from any just exception, will, when it becomes a part of the fundamental law of South Carolina, command the respect and obedience of all our citizens -- I should think it might be safely left, without any further legislation, at this time, to win its way with the patriotism and good sense of an enlightened community.
But whilst I would inculcate moderation, and recommend that your legislation should be marked throughout by a liberal spirit, I would not be understood to advise any compromise of the great principle of State Sovereignty, on the inflexible maintenance of which our rights and liberties entirety depend. The supremacy of the state, within her own limits, and the rightful authority of the Constitution and the Laws, must, at all hazards, be maintained, and any attempt, come from what quarter it may, to subvert these, must be promptly and effectually resisted.
When it shall be established that South Carolina is not a sovereign State, entitled to the fidelity and allegiance of her citizens, not only will "the days of our liberty be numbered," but the prosperity -- nay, the political existence of the State will be at an end.
It will appear from the reports of the Comptroller General, and the President of the Bank of the State, that our finances still continue in a prosperous condition. The receipts, from the Taxes, and the profits of the Bank, fully equal those of the previous year, though the amount carried to the Sinking Fund has been somewhat less, in consequence of its having been deemed prudent to reserve the entire profits of one of the Branches, to cover the losses sustained by that Branch, from, unexpected commercial failures. The balance in the Treasury on the first of October last, was upwards of $200,000, exceeding by more than $40,000, the balance in the Treasury at the end of the last fiscal year, which will be abundantly sufficient to cover all authorized expenditures, and leave a balance subject to your disposal. The continuance of the taxes, at the present moderate rates, will, with the profits of the Bank, probably enable us not only to pay the interest and meet the instalments of the Public Debt, as they become due, but leave an annual surplus beyond the ordinary appropriations, applicable to the further protection, security and improvement of the State.
The public debt, incurred several years since in the prosecution of a scheme of internal improvement, it was then supposed, might be gradually extinguished from the profits of the public works.-- These, however, though ably managed by the Superintendents, having proved unproductive, (yielding hardly more than sufficient to keep them in repair,) the entire profits of the Bank, have very wisely been set apart, as a Sinking Fund for the reduction of the debt. This fund, including the profits of the Bank for the past year, ($105,233.45) now amounts to $510,509.15, and I would earnestly recommend that the same, together with the what future profits of the Bank, be considered as sacredly pledged and set apart for this object, not to be in any way interfered with, even by the Legislature. No object can be conceived more important than the speedy and certain extinction of the public debt, which, by making the profits of the Bank available to meet the ordinary expenses of the State, will enable you greatly to reduce the taxes, and thereby lessen the public burthens.
By a joint resolution of both Houses, adopted at your last session, "the Governor was directed to convey to the volunteers of this State, in the strongest language, the sense of the Legislature, of the gratitude due to them, not only by their own state, but by the lovers of freedom in all countries, and in all future times." Having after mature reflection arrived at the conclusion, that it was not in the power of the executive to convey to those brave and patriotic men, the thanks of their country, in any terms so emphatic, or in any form so acceptable as is embraced in the vote of the Legislature, above recited, I take this opportunity, of thus recording the gratitude of South Carolina to her gallant sons, who, with a spirit worthy of the best days of the Republic, rallied of the first summons to the defence of the State, flew to her support at the approach of danger, and pledged their lives and fortunes in her defence.
Of the progress made in the various matters to which the attention of the Executive was directed by the acts and resolutions passed at your last session, a detailed report will be shortly made, accompanied by the accounts and vouchers for the amounts expended under my direction.
Having in the course of the last session called the attention of your predecessors to several matters of local interest which seemed to me to require legislation, I deem it unnecessary at this time to do more than merely to refer you to my former Messages, and to state that my views in relation to those subjects, so far as they have not been already acted upon by the Legislature, remain unchanged, and that there are no other subjects to which I think it necessary at this time to invite your attention.
The term for which I have been elected will shortly expire, when after having devoted upwards of twenty years to the service of the State, I shall retire into private life, with the consciousness of having at least endeavoured faithfully to perform my duty, in every station in which I have been placed. When I entered two years ago upon the arduous duties of the Executive office, at the call of the State, made under circumstances which I considered as equivalent to an imperative command, -- I found the country surrounded with difficulties and dangers which I scarcely dared to hope, could have been peaceably and successfully overcome. I could only bring to your service, at that important crisis, a spirit of ardent devotion to the public service, and a determination to do my duty, in every emergency, according to the best of my abilities. Claiming no credit for the happy course of events which under the smiles of Providence have prospered all our measures, and conducted us, thus far, in safety and honour, my heart is nevertheless, filled with gratitude to Almighty God, that while the peace of the country has been preserved, your rights and liberties have suffered no detriment in my hands.
In rendering to my fellow-citizens an account of my stewardship, I have only to ask, as an act of common justice, that I may have credit for the honesty of my purposes, and that my errors, whatever they may have been, will be attributed to any cause, rather than a want of fidelity to those, by whom I have been so long and so highly honoured. That the Friend and Father of us all, may have you in his holy keeping, and prosper all your measures, for the safety, honour and prosperity of our beloved country, is my constant and earnest prayer.
Robert Y. Hayne.
Columbia, November 25th, 1834.
From the New York Evening Star.
Mr. Editor:-- I have lately been turning my attention to State Rights, and the powers of the General Government, and think I see increasing dangers in swelling the powers of the one, and decreasing the powers of the other; yet how are we to reconcile the conflicting opinions, that the constitution is the work of the people, and not the States, as contended for by the President in his Proclamation.
The doctrines of the Proclamation are ultra-federal, tending to consolidation, and denying to States powers which hitherto have always been recognized. The objects and intention of the Proclamation may have been patriotic; but the doctrines laid down in that paper should have been denounced by all parties, instead of which, all parties adopted them; it was a trick to catch the support of both sides, and it succeeded, but only so far as to unite opinions against nullification. All the powers of the General Government depend upon the original league and treaty by which the States united in the Confederacy, and so it has been with all governments, from the Amphyctionic Council down to the Confederation of the Rhine; and without we go back to the foundation of the Government, and show what was intended by the patriots of the Revolution, we shall always hear of some plausible pretext for the exercise of unconstitutional powers.
In the second article of confederation and perpetual union, adopted by the thirteen States, 9th July, 1778, we find the following words:-- "Each State retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence; and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States." Here end all constructive powers --here terminates the claim of the President to control the public moneys and public property, and to construe the Constitution as "he understands it," for the General Government can set up no claims to powers not expressly granted by the Constitution; and to prove that this sovereignty is not in the people alone, it was decided by the fifth article of confederation, that in determining questions in the United States in Congress assembled, each State shall have a vote. Each State or Colony which threw of its allegiance to Great Britain, acquired all the rights and privileges of sovereignty, and in forming a Union under a Federal Government for external protection, they relinquish no other rights or powers than those expressed in the Constitution.
The States united to maintain the independence of each, not the sovereignty or supreme power of the General Government, that being merely the agent of the States. Chief Justice M'Kean, a Jurist of great reputation, places the question in its true light in the case of the Commonwealth vs. Cobbett, 3 Dallas, 473-4.
"Our system of government seems to me to differ in form and spirit, from all other governments, that have heretofore existed in the world. It is as to some particulars, National, in others Federal, and in all the residue Territorial, or in districts called States.
"The divisions of power between the National, Federal, and State Governments, (all derived from the same source, the authority of the people) must be collected from the Constitution of the United States. Before it was adopted, the several States had absolute and unlimited sovereignty within their respective boundaries, all the powers, legislative, executive, and judicial, excepting those granted to Congress, under the old Constitution; they now enjoy them all, excepting such as are granted to the Government of the United States by the present instrument, and the adopted amendments which are for particular purposes only. The Government of the United States forms a part of the Government of each State; its jurisdiction extends to the providing for the common defence against exterior injuries and violence, the regulation of commerce, and other matters specially enumerated in the Constitution; all other powers remain in the individual States, comprehending the interior and other concerns; these combined, form one complete government.
"Should there be any defect in this form of government, or any collision occur, it cannot be remedied by the sole act of the Congress, or of a State; the people must be resorted to, for enlargement or modification. If a State should differ with the United States about the construction of them, there is no common umpire but the people, who should adjust the affair by making amendments in the constitutional way, or suffer from the defect. In such a case, the Constitution of the United States is federal; it is a league or treaty made by the individual States as one party, and all the States as another party. When two nations differ about the meaning of any clause, sentence, or word in a treaty, neither has an exclusive right to decide it; they endeavour to adjust the matter by negotiating, but if it cannot be thus accomplished, each has a right to retain its own interpretation, until a reference be had to the mediation of other nations, an arbitration, or the fate of war. There is no provision in the Constitution, that in such a case the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States shall control and be conclusive; neither can the Congress by a law, confer that power. There appears to be a defect in this matter; it is a casus omissus, which ought in some way to be remedied."
The opinion of the learned Chief Justice, that there is no intermediate power but a convention of the people, to settle disputed points in the Constitution, will not be doubted; yet any unconstitutional power exercised over the property of a State, by either branch of the National Government, may be resisted. This would not be nullification, but a constitutional exercise of power by the legislative and executive acts of a sovereign State.
However, it is reduced to a certainty, that power gradually accumulating in the hands of the Executive may give any construction to certain sections of the Constitution, suitable to party or personal views. The moment the sacred charter of our liberties ceases to be venerated with a religious awe, it becomes a mere instrument of construction and implication, and can be made to assume any form; the people, not well acquainted with all the definitives of power, throw themselves into the arms of party leaders, and surrender the Constitution to their unlimited control.
Hence we have powers claimed and exercised, which are not delegated; what is doctrine to-day, becomes precedent to-morrow; the political control of the States is in the hands of the Executive --the people submit, and consolidation or limited monarchy, supersedes State Rights and a government of the people. This is the gradual work of time. This year, a power is assumed and submitted to; next year, another right is exercised without check; at length, from day to day, and year to year, the power of the General Government swells to a magnitude which entirely swallows the sovereignty and independence of the States.
This country is always safe in the hands of honest rulers, and will be always in danger when governed by intriguers and office holders; it will be an incessant effort of the patriotic to deprive vice of power, and a furious war of corruption to hold on to the "spoils." Nothing will so effectually check the plans of the conspirators as a Convention of States friendly to reform, preparatory to the great convention for amending the Constitution of the Union. Such an array of talent, of patriotism and integrity, which the Southern, Eastern, and Western States can send into that Convention before the next Presidential election, will occupy the attention of the whole Union --absorb every other consideration; and, if we are not much mistaken, will shake the prospects and calculations of the "great agitator" himself.
This Union, as I shall presently show, is nothing more than a compact between the States which compose it, and the General Government.
The fundamental principle of this, and of every other republican government, is, that the sovereign power resides, and is inherent in the people, and not in the government. The sovereign power is the right of the people to unite together for objects of their mutual safety and advantage, and to establish a public authority to order and direct what is to be done by each in relation to the end of the association. Upon the principle of our Government, all the sovereignty is in the people; they are the fountain whence it flows and the General Government has no more power than what the people have delegated to it for federal purposes. In the establishment of public authority, a greater or less portion of power may be delegated by the people, by voluntary engagements; but whatever may be the power delegated, the sovereignty is not impaired, since it was by their will, and may be recalled or modified by the same will, when the ends and objects of their association require it.
All governments are instituted for the protection of this right in the people. Before the formation of the Union, the people of each State were sovereign and independent; they had exercised their sovereignty in the formation of State constitutions and governments; they not only retained all power not given to those governments by their constitutions, but they possessed the right of altering and changing their constitutions at will. In virtue of this sovereign power, the people of the old States consented to form a compact of Union, for their mutual safety and equality of rights, and they consented to vest in the Government of the Union certain powers; the better to guarantee to the people the enjoyment of the remainder. The powers of the General Government are therefore limited; and all the power not delegated remains with the States, as far as their constitutions give it, and with the people. In all other respects, the States and the people are as completely sovereign as they were before the Union.
The powers of the General Government are purely federal; they are neither national nor municipal; the rights of the people in their State Governments are both national and municipal. The jurisdiction of the Federal Government extends to the connections, intercourse, and commerce of the republic with foreign States and Governments, and with each other as sovereign independent States. But the administration of their local concerns, the regulation of their domestic relations, the rights of property, together with the whole routine of municipal regulations, belong to the States and the people.
The most dangerous term that can be employed in American politics, is the word "National" as applied to any of our institutions. Many persons who believe in the Sovereignty of the States, use the expression sometimes without reflecting upon its import, "the national bank" "the national judiciary," "the national government." Now in point of fact, there are no such institutions. The government which is administered at the Federal City, as it used to be called, and as it still ought to be called, is "the Federal Government," the Supreme Court of which John Marshall is Chief Justice, is "the Federal Judiciary;" and the Bank of which N. Biddle is President, is "a federal bank." We caution all the friends of State Rights against the use of a term that belongs to the consolidation school of politics, and has a tendency to lead us into a wrong conception of the nature and character of the government under which we live. Let it never be forgotten, that in the Federal Convention of 1787 it was proposed by the friends of consolidation, to establish "a national government," --that the proposition prevailed, but that after a few days, the State Sovereignty party succeeded in putting it down, and in erecting a government of United States-- There is however one use of the term, which is perfectly legitimate, and that is, when it is applied to "the National Gazette," the politics of which are in perfect keeping with its title.
The Federal Government is either the sole judge of the extent of its own power under the Constitution, or, it is not.
If it is the sole judge of the extent of its own powers, it follows as a necessary consequence, that it is also the sole judge of the extent of the powers reserved to the States, or to the People, for, to be the judge of one is to be the judge of the other, the right of judgment between them, being nothing more than deciding the precise point at which the jurisdiction of the one terminates and that of the other begins.
If in a contract between two individuals, the one possesses the right of solely deciding what is his interest in the contract, this decision of necessity involves a decision as to the extent of the interest of the other party.
This conclusion there is no possible mode of resisting, by any fair system of reasoning. It is not avoided, by declaring that the Supreme Court of the United States is the sole expounder of the Constitution, for that Court is a part of the Federal Government, and is so entirely dependent upon its Legislative and Executive Departments, as to its political character, that by an enlargement of the bench, it may without violence to the letter of the Constitution, be moulded to suit the views of a majority of Congress, and of the President.
Under the hypothesis, that the Federal Government is the sole judge of the extent of its own powers, that government is an unlimited government, for what avails a constitutional compact which can be interpreted at the pleasure of a majority, to suit purposes, without resorting to the process of procuring an amendment to it by the sanction of the parties ?
If, on the other hand, the Federal Government is not the sole judge of the extent of its own powers, it follows, that the States have the right of judging of the same, as well as of the extent of their own reserved rights, and if they have such right, they must either possess the power to enforce that right, or, they must not possess it. A right without a corresponding right to enforce it, is not supposeable. It is an utter absurdity. How could a man have a right to a house, or to a piece of land, if another had a right to deprive him of possession ? How could a man have a right to vote, if any authority possessed a right to prevent him ? Opposition to the exercise of a right can only be made by the perpetration of a wrong, and Blackstone lays it down as a maxim, admitting of no dispute, that for every wrong there is a remedy.
Under the hypothesis then, that the States have a right to judge of infractions of the Federal Constitution, it is not possible to conceive but that they have also the right of enforcing their judgment, in some way that shall protect the people residing within their territorial limits from the operation of an unconstitutional law. In whatever mode, that right be exercised, it can only be by rendering the law null and void within her limits, and such process is nullification.
As for conceding to a State the right of rebellion, such right is not a State Right, which is the only sort of right that State can have. Rebellion is predicable only of consolidated governments. The people of a county may rebel, but a Sovereign State cannot rebel, because rebellion is the refusal of an inferior to obey a superior, and the States of this confederacy are equals.
If these positions be sound, then it follows that there can be but two opinions in refereace to the character of the Federal Government, and but two parties founded upon those opinions. Those who hold the doctrine that the Federal Government is the sole judge of the extent of its own powers, whether that judgment be exercised by the Legislative, Judicial, or Executive Department, are consolidationists. Those who hold the opposite doctrine, are State Remedy men. In fine, there can be but two parties --those who advocate limited and those who advocate an unlimited government.
the Sovereignty of the States,
The State Rights Association of Pennsylvania, and a Public Meeting of Citizens,
on the 4th of March, 1834,
at the Commissioners' Hall,
in the Northern Liberties of Philadelphia,
by Condy Raguet, Esq.,
a Member of the Association.
We are assembled in commemoration of the day upon which, three and thirty years ago, a memorable revolution placed in the Executive chair, the great apostle of American liberty, Thomas Jefferson. I use the word "Revolution," not in a figurative sense of that term, but as the true expression to signify that radical change in the theory of the government as then maintained, which was accomplished by that event, and which restored the federative character of our Union, and saved the people from the despotism of a grand consolidated empire.
It is not the purpose of him who now addresses you, to pronounce an eulogium, upon the sage whose mortal remains now repose on the retired and peaceful summit of Monticello. A more a appropriate occasion for such an offering, will be presented at the approaching anniversary of his birth, when to more able hands, will no doubt be confided, the task of recalling to memory the deeds of the man, whom the people, once delighted to honor; not, however, it is hoped, in the spirit of man-worship, or of debasing adulation, but, in that spirit of veneration for the great principles of freedom, which were so eminently personified in that patriotic statesman.
My present design, and that for which I have been especially invited by the State Rights Association, is simply to lay before you, in language adapted to the comprehension of all, a history of the formation of our government, and some detail of those political facts, upon which the great doctrine of State Sovereignty is founded.
In a republican government where the highest offices and honours are alike accessible to the poor and to the rich --where there is no titled aristocracy invested with privileges denied to the mass of the people; --and where education is within the reach almost of all-- it behooves every man to have an acquaintance with the nature of the government under which he lives, and in the administering of which, he may some day be called to take a part. Without such acquaintance, how is it possible for one to enter upon an office with the hopes of rendering the country a service, which, let me remark by the way, is the only legitimate motive with which office should be sought ? Ignorant of the first principles of the science of government, and even of the character of the one which he seeks to serve, he must enter upon his duties with as little capacity to perform them, as would a landsmen possess, who had never seen a compass, to navigate a ship across the ocean.
I do not mean to say that every man is bound to be a statesman, or to be deeply skilled in political learning, but simply that no one should be ignorant of those elementary and fundamental principles, which, have from the organization of our government to the present day, constituted the test of parties, or, of those historical truths, an acquaintance with which is essential to a right understanding of the subject.
You all well know, fellow citizens, that the great point upon which the federal and democratic parties were originally divided, was caracter of the federal government. The Federal party maintained that it was a government formed by the whole people of the thirteen United States, as one aggregate mass, in the same manner that the government of Pennsylvania was formed by the people of Pennsylvania, as one aggregate mass. --The Democratic party maintained that the government was formed, not by the whole people of the United States as one aggregate mass, but by the people of the thirteen States, in their separate capacities of thirteen free Sovereign and Independent communities. Upon this distinction, depends the whole question.
If the federal doctrine be true, then the government of the United States is a consolidated empire, towards which, the several States stand in the same relation, that the counties of Pennsylvania stand to the State. But, if on the other hand, the democratic doctrine be true, then the government is a federal government, formed by a confederation of republics, each possessing rights which have never been delegated to the federal head. --These two theories of government involve the most important consequences as respects the liberty of the people, and the union of the States, and as there can be no better mode of ascertaining which of the two is the true theory, than by referring to history, I shall beg your earnest attention to the following recital.
Under the old Colonial government of Great Britain, each of her colonies on the American continent, was wholly independent of the rest. Each had its own Governor, its own Legislature, its own Judicial tribunals, and its own code of laws, and each was subject to no other jurisdiction or authority, than that of the mother country. Each stood to the crown of Great Britain, in precisely the same relation as the provinces of Canada, and New Brunswick now stand, and each, had it possessed the physical strength necessary to sustain it in the act, might if it had chosen, have declared its individual separation from the mother country, and taken its rank amongst the powers of the earth, as a free, Sovereign and Independent nation.
The limited population and resources, however, of each of the colonies, disqualified it for separate action; and when the period arrived at which the oppression of the parent State could no longer be borne by the children, a sense of common danger naturally induced them to unite in one common effort to throw off the yoke. --The first congress, which was assembled to take into consideration the actual situation of the colonies in reference to their differences with Great Britain, met at the Carpenter's Hall, in the city of Philadelphia, on the 5th of September, 1774, not quite sixty years ago. This body consisted of Delegates, from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, from the city and county of New York, and other counties in the Province of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Castle, Kent and Sussex, in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, and continued in session until the 26th of October, when it dissolved, after recommending delegates to meet again on the 10th of the following May. During its sitting, this Congress amongst other things, resolved, "that the Congress approve the opposition of the inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay, to the obnoxious acts of Parliament; and if the same shall be attempted to be carried into execution by force, in such case all America ought to support them in their opposition." It also adopted an address to the people of Great Britain upon the subject of the grievances of the colonies, and a petition to the King, and resolved, that letters be addressed to the people of Quebec, and to the colonies of St. John's, Nova Scotia, Georgia, and East and West Florida, inviting them to unite in resistance to the tyranny of Great Britain.
On the 10th of May, 1775, the second Congress assembled at the State House in Philadelphia. --On the 1st of August it adjourned until the 5th of September, from which day it remained in permanent session until after the consummation of the act, which dissolved the connexion with the mother country.
It is foreign to the object of this address, to detail the incidents of this eventful period. Suffice it to say, that on the 19th of June, George Washington was commissioned the "General and Commander in Chief of the Army of the United Colonies" --that on the same day, Congress resolved, "that they would maintain, assist, and adhere to George Washington, with their lives and fortunes in the same cause" --that on the 13th of September, delegates from Georgia took their seats in Congress, and completed the number of the thirteen States which had resolved to be free --that on the 13th of December, a naval armament of thirteen ships, was resolved on --that on the 27th of February, 1776, the colonies were laid off into military departments --that on the 23d of March, letters of marque and reprisal were authorized --and that on the 10th of May, it was resolved, to "recommend to the respective assemblies and conventions of the United Colonies, where no government sufficient to the exigency of their affairs, had been established, to adopt such a government as should, in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and of America in general."
All these measures, let it be remembered, were adopted prior to the Declaration of Independence, and whilst the colonies were still united to the British empire, but as they produced no change in the policy of the king, nothing was left to the colonists, but to take the final step of separation.
On the 10th of June, a committee was appointed to prepare a declaration to the following effect--
That the United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown; and that all political connexion between them and the State of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."
This noble determination was promptly sustained by Pennsylvania. On the 25th of June, a declaration of the deputies of that State met in provincial conference, expressing their willingness to concur in a vote declaring the United Colonies Free and Independent States, was laid before Congress and read, and on the 28th of June, the committee, through its Chairman, Thomas Jefferson, reported a draft, which was subsequently discussed, and finally adopted and signed, on the 4th of July, in the form of the document so well known to us all, as the Declaration of Independence.
In that glorious instrument, the truth was distinctly proclaimed to the world, that the act of separation from Great Britain, was a joint and several act --that the thirteen colonies, although they had united for the purpose of acting together in resistance to Great Britain, had not agreed to become one consolidated State, but had resolved to commence their independent existence as thirteen distinct States, with all the powers and attributes of individual sovereignty. The declaration was in these memorable words--
"We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world, for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly, publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent States --that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connexion between them and the State of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved, and that as Free and Independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other things which Independent States may of right do."
And here I will take occasion to remark, that the term "State" is susceptible of several different interpretations, according to the sense in which it is applied. It sometimes means the territory comprised within certain geographical boundaries, as when it is said, we reside in the State of Pennsylvania. It sometimes means the government of a State, as if it were said, the State of Pennsylvania has appointed commissioners to treat with New Jersey, relative to the navigation of the Delaware. But in its most ordinary sense, it means a people who are bound together by a social compact, which constitutes them one nation. State in this sense, is but another same for nation, and when this term was employed in the Declaration of Independence, in reference to "the State of Great Britain," it could only have meant the nation of Great Britain. And so when States were used in reference to the colonies, it could only have meant the people of each colony, now become an independent nation.
But to resume the subject. The colonies, having, by this act, jointly and severally thrown off the yoke of the mother country, they prepared to encounter the perils to which that bold and determined measure had exposed them. In the war which followed, they acted in their new capacity of free and independent States. Each one established its own commerce; each one levied war, and maintained its own army, out of its own private resources, besides contributing towards the support of the continental army, its fair proportion; and each one performed "all other things which independent States may of right do," except those things which were specifically entrusted to Congress, by the States which had united. So far from there having been any ground for the allegation which has been made by some, that the separation of the States from Great Britain, took place as the act of a single nation, there was not, for near five years after the revolution began, even so much as an instrument of confederation between them. Although the subject was proposed before the Declaration of Independence, yet it was not until the 15th of November, 1777, that articles of confederation were first executed by the delegates in Congress assembled --with the view, as they stated in a circular letter, sent with the articles, to each of the States, of "securing the freedom, sovereignty, and independence of the United States"-- nor until the 9th of July, 1778, that they were ratified by a subsequent Congress --nor until the 30th of January, 1781, that they were ratified by all the States, so as to render them binding on either.
By these articles of confederation, the terms of the Union between the whole thirteen States were first reduced to a systematic written compact, and it is to that instrument we are to look for our exposition of the relation towards each other, which was at that time held to exist. We shall not long be obliged to search, before we discover that the confederation referred to, was one between parties, each one of which considered itself a distinct and separate State, or nation, and not a compact between individual members of a single nation. The first three articles of the instrument which is entitled, "Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union," run thus:
"Article 1. The style or this Confederacy shall be, the United States of America.
"Article 2. Each State retains its Sovereignty, Freedom and Independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.
"Article 3. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other for their common defence, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other against all force offered to, or attacks made, upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any pretence whatever."
Up to this period, it cannot be pretended, that the States had parted with their sovereignty, freedom, or independence, and if that position be still alleged, we must seek for that act of self immolation, at some subsequent period of our history.
Under the form of government just described, the war of the revolution was successfully conducted, and brought to a happy close by the acknowledgment of our independence by the Government of Great Britain. As it has just been shewn that the parties which made war upon the mother country were thirteen sovereign, free and independent States, at least, in their own estimation, it will be worth while to ascertain what opinion this mother country entertained on the subject, in order that we may know whether she thought she had been fighting thirteen different Sovereign States or only one. Of this opinion, we have evidence before our eyes, in the first article of the provisional agreement of 30th of November, 1782, in the following clear and explicit terms:
"His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz: New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. --Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, to be free, sovereign and independent States, that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof."
Having thus given the history of the organization of the government, under the articles of confederation, it will now be in order to give a detail of the occurrences, which led to the convocation of the federal convention.
The government was not long in operation before it was discovered, that the want of a power in the confederation over foreign commerce, was the occasion of much embarrassment in its operations. Each State having the power to establish its own tariff of duties, and otherwise to regulate its trade, the Congress found it impossible to negotiate advantageous commercial treaties with Foreign Powers, inasmuch as it could pledge no reciprocity for favours granted, and was wholly destitute of the power to coerce by countervailing regulations. So early as February 3d, 1781, a resolution was offered in Congress, "that it is indispensably necessary that the United States in Congress assembled, should be vested with a right of superintending the commercial regulations of every State," and "that they should be vested with the exclusive right of laying duties upon all imported articles." On the 18th of April of that same year, the subject was again introduced, and a resolution was passed, recommending the States to empower Congress to levy a small duty on certain specified articles, the proceeds of which to be applied wholly to the discharge of the interest or principal of the debts contracted on the part of the United States, for supporting the war." It was at the same time further recommended to the States, to raise for the term of 25 years, "substantial and effective revenues," to be applied towards the said debt, and to engraft these two principles, if acceded to, as additional powers on the Articles of Confederation.
These recommendations were urged upon the States in an able address by the Congress on the 26th of April, soon after the conclusion of peace, in which they represented the advantages that would result to this "Confederated Republic" from the adoption of the proposed measures, and took occasion to say, "that it has ever been the pride and boast of America that, the rights for which she contended were the rights of human nature," "rights which form the basis of thirteen independent states."
Notwithstanding however, the ability and zeal with which this appeal was made, the states were reluctant to enlarge the powers of the Confederation, and as the consent of all was requisite to give validity to any act, nothing decisive was accomplished. The subject was again brought into view on several different occasions, and particularly on the 13th of July 1785, in the form of a report of a committee, in which the power to regulate trade, was solicited of the States, but the result was not more propitious.
At length another mode of effecting the object, was resorted to by the friends of the measure. The call for additional powers made by those who exercised the federal authority, was calculated to excite the jealousy of the States, and this may have indisposed some of them to lend a favourable ear to it. They probably feared, that the servants might wish to become masters, and that as the Congress already held the sword, it would be unwise to permit it also to hold the purse. It was therefore probably seen, that if any thing was to be effected, it could best be done by making the movement for an enlargement of powers, proceed from one of the States. Virginia being then the largest member of the Confederacy, and being besides, a state having, as a consumer of foreign commodities the greatest interest in a judicious exercise of such a power, was selected as the file leader, and accordingly we find Mr. Madison offering in the Legislature of that state on the 30th of November, resolutions instructing her delegates in Congress, "to propose a recommendation to the States in Union, to authorize that assembly to regulate their trade," on certain specified principles. The resolutions were however, not adopted, but on the 21st of January 1786 a resolution was passed, that Commissioners be appointed "to meet such other Commissioners as may be appointed by the other States in the Union, at a time and place to be agreed on, to take into consideration the trade of the United States; to examine the relative situation and trade of the said states; to consider how far an uniform system in their commercial regulations maybe necessary to their common interest, and their permanent harmony, and to report to the several states such an act relative to this great object, as when unanimously ratified by them, will enable the United States in Congress assembled, effectually to provide for the same."
Although this resolution was adopted on the 21st of January, so slow and cautious were the States, that it was not until the 11th of September, that Commissioners from five states alone, viz, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, assembled at Annapolis. The first proceeding of this body, after a full communication of sentiments, was the appointment of a committee to "prepare a draught of a report to be made to the states, having commissioners attending at this meeting," which draught having been reported on a subsequent day, was adopted on the 14th. In that report it was stated, that commissioners had been appointed by the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and North Carolina, none of whom had attended, and that as the representation was too "partial and defective," those assembled did not conceive it advisable to proceed on the business of their mission." --"Deeply impressed, however, with the magnitude and importance of the objects confided to them on this occasion," says the report, "your commissioners cannot forbear to indulge an expression of their earnest and unanimous wish, that speedy measures may be taken to effect a general meeting of the States, in a future convention, for the same, and such other purposes, as the situation of public affairs may be found to require." The report concludes by recommending "the appointment of commissioners to meet at Philadelphia on the second Monday in May next, to take into consideration the situation of the United States, to devise such further provisions as shall appear to them necessary to render the constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union, and to report such an act for that purpose to the United States in Congress assembled, as when agreed to by them and afterwards confirmed by the Legislature of every State, will effectually provide for the same."
In pursuance of this recommendation, delegates were appointed as follows:
By New Jersey, on the 23d of November, 1786.
By Virginia on the 4th of December, 1786.
By Pennsylvania, on the 30th of December, 1786.
By North Carolina, on the 6th of January, 1787.
By Delaware, on the 3d of February, 1787.
By Georgia, on the 10th of February, 1787.
These manifestations of public sentiment being in accordance with the views so repeatedly urged by Congress, induced that body to press the subject upon the consideration of the remaining States, by the adoption, on the 21st of February, 1787, of the following resolution.--
Resolved, That in the opinion of Congress, it is expedient that, on the second Monday in May next, a Convention of delegates, who shall have been appointed by the several States, be held at Philadelphia, for the sole and express purpose of revising the articles of confederation and reporting to Congress and the several Legislatures, such alterations and provisions therein, as shall, when agreed to in Congress, and confirmed by the States, render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of government, and the preservation of the Union."
In conformity with this resolution, all the other States which had not acted upon the suggestion of the Commissioners at Annapolis, except Rhode Island, which took no part in the Convention, appointed Delegates in the following order:
New York, on the 28th of February, 1787.
South Carolina, on the 8th of March, 1787.
Massachusetts, on the 9th of April, 1787.
Connecticut, on the 10th of May, 1797.
Maryland, on the 26th of May, 1787.
New Hampshire, on the 27th of June, 1787.
From a perusal of the resolution of Congress, under which the delegates assembled, the following facts appear:
First. That the delegates were to be chosen by the several States.
Secondly. That the convocation of the proposed convention was, "for the sole purpose of revising the articles of confederation," then subsisting between the thirteen sovereign, free and independent States, which by them were united, and not for the purpose of forming any new government, to be composed of the whole people of the thirteen States as an aggregate mass.
Thirdly. That the alterations and provisions to be recommended by the convention, should, before going into operation, receive the sanction of the States, and
Fourthly. That these alterations and provisions should have no tendency to destroy, "the federal constitution," that is, the articles, constitution, or compact, at that time subsisting, but on the contrary, should be adapted to render it "adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union," viz: the union then subsisting between the thirteen States, each of which was in full possession of its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and the only union to which these terms could have applied.
It being thus manifest that the object for which the convention was assembled, was, not to change the form of the government, but simply to "revise the articles of confederation," it remains for us to see whether that body was properly elected, and whether it did in honesty and good faith fulfil the duties of its appointment. This we shall learn from the journal of its proceedings, and if from that record, it shall appear that such was the fact, we shall have advanced another step towards establishing the position, that the government of the United States, was established by the States, and not by a the people as an aggregate mess.
In the first place then, we learn from a perusal of the credentials of the delegates, that they were all chosen by their respective State Legislatures, as representatives of their respective States, and of those States alone, and, in the second place, that they were appointed for the purpose of revising the existing articles of confederation.
The second Monday of May, 1787, was the day fixed upon for the meeting of the Convention at Philadelphia. The Journal informs us, that on that day, which was the 14th of the month, "sundry Deputies to the Federal Convention appeared, but a majority of the States not being represented the members present adjourned from day to day, until Friday the 25th of the said month," when the convention commenced its labours, after electing George Washington its President. The question then presents itself, did they act as the Representatives of sovereign, free, and independent States, or, as the representatives of the People, as an aggregate mass ? This question is answered by every vote upon which the yeas and nays were recorded. The votes were given by States, and not upon the principle of proportionate representation. Each State, whether small or large, had one vote. The weight of Delaware, with her sixty thousand population, was as great as that of Virginia, with her eight hundred and fifty thousand, and so entire a disregard was had to proportionate representation, an essential element in a constitution framed by an aggregate people, that some of the small States had more deputies than some of the large ones.
If any doubt could exist on this point it would be dissipated by this simple statement. The population of the five largest states, represented in the Convention was 2,541,649 whilst that of the six smallest states, was but, 1,123,528. Now by the terms upon which the constitution was formed, each state having one vote, it may well have happened, that some of its most important features were adopted by the votes of a majority of the states, containing less than one third of the whole population, which would never have been acceded to, by a majority of the people, had the government been understood to have been formed upon the principles of one aggregate mass. In this statement we have taken only eleven states as represented in the Convention, that being the greatest number at any time present. Rhode Island never appeared at all, whilst New Hampshire did not take her seat until the 23d of July, subsequent to the withdrawing of New York, which took place on the 11th of that month.
Nor does the evidence terminate here. The constitution carries on its face a declaration that it was formed by the States, and not by the whole people as one consolidated mass. The very title of the government, given in that instrument, "The United States," implies individuality in the States, and simply means the States at that time United. The Preamble, too, which declares that the object of the constitution is amongst other things to form "a more perfect union" can only have reference to the union then subsisting, which we have shown to be a union between Sovereign, free and Independent states, and it explicitly asserts, that the Constitution is ordained and established for "the United States of America," and not for the people. And here we must not pass over without notice, the important and conclusive fact, that in the article of the constitution which designates the agency by which the States are to enact laws, for the government of the Confederacy, the term "Congress," and not Parliament, or assembly is used. The term "Congress" is one specifically applied to an assemblage of nations, in the persons of their Sovereigns, or their representatives, and hence the legislative proceedings of the Federal Government, were always styled the proceedings of "The United States in Congress assembled," and not the proceedings of the people.
The mode, too, provided for amending the constitution, is also explicit on this subject. Alterations must be ratified by "the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by conventions in three-fourths thereof," so, that were it now desirable for seventeen of the largest States to obtain an alteration of the constitution, to authorize acts which are not now authorized, it would be in the power of the seven smallest States, containing less than one-twelfth pact of the population of the whole country, to prevent it. With this fact staring us in the face will any one pretend to say, that the Government was formed by the people as an aggregate mass ? If so, he must consider the people of 1787, as wholly ignorant of their rights, or as destitute of wisdom, in sanctioning a system, the practical effect of which at this day, is to enable a fraction of a little more than one million of people, to defeat the wishes of near twelve millions.
But this is not all. The seventh and last article of the constitution declares, that
"The ratifications of nine States shall be sufficient" --(for what?)-- "for the establishment of this constitution between the States so Atifying the same."
In this article we have the following indisputable admissions--
First, That the States formed the constitution, for it was only by their ratification that it was made to exist.
Secondly, That it was only to be binding upon the States that should so ratify it, leaving those who should refuse to do so, in the full enjoyment of their sovereignty, freedom and independence, to remain as separate nations, or to unite under some new instrument of federation.
And as if no doubt should be left upon the minds of the people, as to the federative character of the Government, the very attestation to the instrument of the members of the convention, declares, that it was "Done in Convention, by the unanimous consent of the States present."
Let us now follow up our history, and see what was the form of the ratification. The convention adjourned on the 17th of September, 1787, and transmitted to the Congress still acting under the articles of confederation, a report of its proceedings. That body, on the 28th of the same month, adopted the following resolution:
"Resolved unanimously, That the said report, with the resolutions and letter accompanying the same, be transmitted to the several Legislatures, in order to be submitted to a convention of delegates chosen in each State by the people thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the convention, made and provided in that case."
In conformity with this resolve, the Legislature of each State enacted a law, calling a convention of the people thereof, in their separate capacity of members of a sovereign, free and independent State, and to these conventions were submitted the constitution for ratification. By these conventions it was ratified, and so clearly were those ratifications the acts of the States, and not of the people as an aggregate mass, that it was in the power of the five smallest States, containing a population of only 622,030 persons, by withholding their assent, to defeat the adoption of the constitution, against the wishes of the other eight States, containing a population of upwards of three millions. Had the constitution been intended for a new Government, proposed to be formed by the people of the whole United States, as an aggregate mass, very different would have been the form of the ratification. Nothing less than a majority of the whole people would have been required to defeat it, and instead of the State of Delaware being allowed as much weight in determining the question as Virginia, she would have been allowed only the proportion of influence which 60,000 people bear to 850,000, that is, the proportion of 1 to 14.
That these ratifications, although executed by the people of each State, in their separate and sovereign capacities, and not by the State Legislatures, were in the form and mode prescribed by the seventh article of the constitution, that is, that they were ratifications of the States, is apparent from the following proceedings extracted from the Journal of the old Congress.
"United States in Congress assembled,
Wednesday, July 2, 1788.
"The State of New Hampshire having ratified the constitution transmitted to them by the act of the 28th of September last, and transmitted to Congress their ratification, and the same being read, the President reminded Congress that this was the ninth ratification, transmitted and laid before them: whereupon it was
"Ordered, That the ratifications of the constitution of the United States, transmitted to Congress, be referred to a committee, to examine the same, and report an act of Congress for putting the said constitution into operation, in pursuance of the resolutions of the late Federal Convention."
And here it may not, be amiss to remark, that the term "Federal," here applied by Congress to the convention, being derived from the Latin word fœdus, a league, a stipulation between two or more, is an additional confirmation of the confederated character of the Government, in contrast with consolidation; and so universal was the acknowledgment of this political truth, that even long subsequent to the removal of the government to Washington, that city was called "the federal city," and which of you here present, ever heard that the great Federal procession of '89 in this city, was to commemorate the establishment of a consolidated government ?
At a subsequent day, viz: on the 13th of September, 1788, the Congress passed a resolution in the following words:
"Resolved, that the first Wednesday in January next, be the day for appointing electors in the several States, which, before the said day shall have ratified the said constitution; that the first Wednesday in February next, be the day for the electors to assemble in their respective States, and vote for a President, and that the first Wednesday in March next, be the time, and the present seat of Congress the place, for commencing proceedings under the said constitution."
In conformity with this resolution, the elections were held. On the 4th of March, 1789, the first Congress under the new constitution, assembled at New York, and commenced its duties, and on the 30th of April, George Washington, who had been unanimously elected President of the United States, was inducted into office. Amendments to the Constitution were subsequently made, in the form prescribed by that instrument, and illustrating in practice the manifest truth, that the States, were the creators of the government. By one of those amendments, it was emphatically declared that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People." --Now as the reservation of rights implies of necessity the pre-existence of those rights, and as it is very clear, that no rights were conferred upon the States, by the federal government, whose creature it was, it follows that those rights thus reserved to the States must have been rights inherent in the Sovereignty of the States.
Thus have I given an account of the origin and character of the Constitution, as brief as was consistent with the object in view, which was that of proving from documentary evidence, the important fact, that the government under which we live, is still a confederation of Sovereign free and independent States, and not a consolidated empire. If I have done this to your satisfaction, it is only because the evidence within reach has been so abundant, and because it has been recorded in so plain and intelligible a nature, that the most unlettered mind can comprehend it. Indeed it is difficult to imagine with such a body of harmonious testimony before him, how any unprejudiced man can advance the position, that the government of the United States, was formed by the whole people as one aggregate mass. It is true that those who maintain this doctrine, rely not so much upon historical evidence, as upon verbal criticisms, as if great questions of liberty were to be determined by criticisms so close as that which could split a hair,
" 'twixt west and south-west side."
The use of the term "national" occasionally employed in reference to the federal government, has been seized upon, as of consolidating import, and yet, under the old confederation, the debt of the government, was at that time spoken of in the public documents, as the "national debt." The term "constitution" has also been urged as proof of the establishment of the government by the people as an aggregate mass, upon the ground that "constitution" is an expression which is not applicable to a compact existing between Independent States, and yet, I have adduced in this address, several cases wherein the term "constitution" was applied, before the formation of the present instrument, to the very articles of confederation.
The main reliance, however, of the advocates of consolidation, for the support of their theory, is upon the phrase "We the People of the United States," where it occurs in the preamble to the Constitution. As this is a point which is frequently urged in discussions on the Constitution, I will encroach a little longer on your time, whilst I give a detailed account of the origin of that phrase.
By referring to the Journal of the Convention, it will be found, that on the 6th of August, the first draft of a Constitution was reported by a committee appointed for the purpose. The preamble to that draft, commenced as follows--
"We, the people of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, do ordain, declare and establish the following Constitution, for the government of ourselves and our posterity."
In this phraseology, it is manifest, that "We, the People," were the people of the several States enumerated, and no inference can be drawn from it, favourable to the doctrine of an aggregate mass. In this form, the preamble was adopted unanimously by the Convention on the 7th of August, the day after it was reported by the committee.
After a discussion on the provisions of the draft, until the 7th of September, during which time it does not appear that the preamble was ever again brought into view, a committee of five was appointed "to revise the style of and arrange the articles agreed to by the House."
On the 12th of September, the committee of revision reported the Constitution as revised in style and arranged by them, in which the preamble read as follows--
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves, and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
The reason for the change by the committee, in the phraseology of the preamble, by the insertion of the words "United States," instead of recapitulating the names of the several States, is apparent enough, if we admit the absence of all design on the part of the committee to be guilty of a wilful fraud, as we must do, when we consider their high character, and when we see that they weakened the strength of the original language, by declaring that the Constitution was ordained for the United States and not simply for "ourselves and our posterity."
It was not at that time known, whether all the States, then united under the existing articles of confederation, would continue in the union. Rhode Island, as has been seen, did not even send delegates to the Convention, and consequently, the insertion of their names, should any of them refuse, would have rendered necessary an alteration of the Constitution: and besides this, as the phrase "United States," had reference to the States United, at that time under the confederation, each one of which, at that moment was in full possession of its "Sovereignty, freedom, and independence," and as it was intended that the people of each State, as a distinct and separate community, should ratify the Constitution, no member of the committee could have anticipated, that the day would arrive, when the term, "we the people," would be construed to mean the people of States, which had not retained their Sovereignty, freedom and independence.
Accordingly, we find, that on the 13th of September, the day following the report of the revised draft, the Convention proceeded "to the comparing of the report from the committee of revision, with the articles which were agreed to by the House, and to them referred for arrangement," and the same was read by paragraphs, compared, and in some places, corrected and amended." It does not appear that any proposition for restoring the original reading of the preamble, was made, and the conclusion is self-evident, that the Convention did not discern in the change of phraseology, any change in the character of the parties to the Constitution, and accordingly, "We the People of the United States," was left as the language of that instrument, in the engrossed copy that was signed, and which this day exists.
But, let me ask, fellow citizens, whether the phrase, "We the People of the United States," was not the one best adapted to express who were the real framers of the federal government ? It is very certain that it was not formed by the State Governments, but by the people of the several States, in their sovereign capacity, and to infer from the very fact of an exercise of that sovereignty, that the States were no longer sovereign, is one of the most extraordinary deductions that can be imagined. As well might it be said, that the term "the good people of these colonies," employed in the Declaration of Independence, amounted to proof, in spite of all the testimony furnished to the contrary, that the people of the colonies were one consolidated mass, before they were separated from Great Britain.
Having thus, I trust, conclusively established the fact, that the constitution was formed by thirteen Sovereign states, and not by the people of the thirteen States as an aggregate mass, the question may be asked, what great principle connected with the liberty of the people, or the Union, of the States, is involved in the controversy ? Of what consequence is it to us and to our posterity, whether the one or the other theory of government be the true one ? --Time will not permit me to reply to these questions, but I cannot close without remarking, that upon the Sovereignty of the States, depend State Rights, and the momentous issue, whether the federal government is a government of limited powers, or a despotism --whether we are freemen or slaves. This could be made to appear, but as I have already occupied too much of your time, I must refer you to the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of '98 and '99; to Mr. Madison's Report in favour of the latter; to the proceedings of your own Legislature, when democracy was something more than a name, and to the opinions pronounced by Chief Justices M'Kean and Tilghman, in the Supreme Court of this State, in the cases of Cobbett and Gideon Olmstead.
The following is the order in which the thirteen States ratified the Federal Constitution:
1 Delaware, December 7, 1787
2 Pennsylvania, December 12, 1787
3 New Jersey, December 13 1787
4 Georgia, January 2, 1788
5 Connecticut, January 9, 1788
6 Massachusetts, February 6, 1788
7 Maryland, April 28, 1788
8 South Carolina, May 23, 1788
9 New Hampshire, June 21, 1788
10 Virginia, June 26, 1788
11 New York, July, 26, 1788
12 North Carolina, November 21, 1789
13 Rhode Island, May 29, 1790
∵ North Carolina existed as a separate State or nation, for upwards of eight months after the Federal Government commenced its operations under the present constitution, and Rhode Island, for near fourteen months, and both, had they seen fit, might have continued to do so up to the present day.
The following gentlemen compose the Central Committee of the State Rights party of Georgia.
Wm.H. Torrance. David B. Mitchell, Joel Crawford, John H. Howard, Randal Jones, Samuel Boykin, L.Q.C. Lamar, Seaton Grantland, Irby Hudson, Samuel Rockwell, N.C. Sayre, Dr. William Green, and John Williams, Esq'rs.
Milledgeville, 14th December 1833.
The Central Committee having organized itself by choosing Gen. D.B. Mitchell, Chairman, and Col. N.C. Sayre, Secretary, --On motion, a sub-committee of three, consisting of Messrs. Rockwell, Green and Sayre, was appointed by the Chair, who were instructed to report Resolutions and an Address, for the consideration of the friends of State Rights in Georgia-- which committee subsequently reported the following Resolutions and Address, which were adopted-- and ordered to be published in the State Rights papers of the State, and in pamphlet form.
Resolved, That it be respectfully, but earnestly recommended to the friends of State Rights throughout the State, to form, with as little delay as possible, county associations, with the view to a complete harmonious organization of the State Rights party of Georgia.
Resolved, That these associations, when formed, be respectfully requested to notify the names of their officers to the chairman of the Central Committee at Milledgeville.
Resolved, That the committee elect from its own body an executive committee, to consist of three and a Treasurer --said Treasurer to be subject to the directions of said executive committee, in all disbursements by him made on account of the State Rights party of Georgia.
To the Friends of State Rights in Georgia.
The Central Committee of the State Rights party in Georgia, to whom has been confided a high and important trust, in accepting the same, most earnestly ask the co-operation of their fellow citizens throughout the State, in such measures as will ensure unanimity in supporting those great and conservative principles of State Rights, hitherto so efficacious in prostrating the encroaching spirit of consolidation. The achievement of this unanimity, so important to the triumph of these principles, must essentially depend upon the formation of local associations, in the several counties of this State, in conformity to the plan recommended by the State Rights Meeting recently held in Milledgeville; and upon the dissemination, by the agency of these local associations, of those great political truths, maintained by the illustrious Jefferson, affirmed by the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, and sanctioned by the approbation of the purest patriots of our country.
The state of political parties in Georgia, calls loudly for this concert of action, to preserve all that is dear to freemen. A spirit fatal to constitutional liberty is abroad. The republican doctrines of '98 and '99 are in danger of being overthrown. They are covertly assailed by treacherous friends, and insidious foes. And in their place, there is sought to be established antagonist doctrines, alarming to liberty, and subversive of our civil rights. If these doctrines prevail, then farewell to freedom; then will the altar of our political faith be desecrated --its votaries dispersed --its glories extinguished.
Seizing upon the popularity of a name, and repudiating the one by which they were formerly known, our adversaries have recently formed a new party, composed of a coalition of the Federalists of the old school, and the Consolidationists of the present day; of the expectants of office, and the parasites of power. This motley party, under the specious, but deceptive cognomen of "Union," are endeavouring to inculcate principles, and establish doctrines, adverse to the vital principles of the constitution, and fatally destructive of the dearest rights of their own State. Hypocritically pretending to accord with the political views of Jefferson, and dissemblingly professing the principles of republicanism; they have adopted all of federalism but the name. Thus, the sovereignty of the Government of the United States is maintained --allegiance to its functionaries inculcated --the dogmas of the proclamation of the fatal 10th of December, applauded --the despotic provisions of the Force Bill sanctioned --its supporters cherished --and the independence and sovereignty of their own State denied !
The tendency of these doctrines, is obviously pernicious, and if successful, must inevitably, sooner or later, result in the overthrow of constitutional liberty, and in the erection of a consolidated despotism upon its ruins. Their argument is submission; their illustration is slavery. While this party are thus actively and zealously engaged in the accomplishment of their unholy work, they spare no pains, they intermit no exertions, in casting odium on the friends of State Rights; their motives are designedly misrepresented, and themselves marked out for proscription. The terms, disunionists, rebels, traitors, and other opprobrious epithets, are as familiar among the members of this party, from the highest to the lowest, as household words, and are indiscriminately applied to all who would arrest the General Government, in its march to absolute power, and restore the constitutional charter to its original purity.
The State Rights party indignantly cast back these unworthy epithets. Are they "disunionists," who affirm that the powers of the General Government, result from the constitutional compact to which the States are sovereign parties ? Are they "rebels" who maintain that these powers are limited "by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting that compact ?" Are they "traitors" who assert that these powers are "no further valid than as they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact, and that in case of a deliberate, palpable and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the States who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to sovereign States ?" Are they obnoxious to the epithets of "disunionist, rebel, traitor," who claim that each of the States, in virtue of its sovereignty, is "the rightful judge in the last resort, whether the bargain made has been pursued or violated; and who declare that "each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions, as of the mode and measure of redress ?"
If so, then were the democracy of Virginia and Kentucky "disunionists," for those doctrines have passed the ordeal of their scrutiny, and received their highest sanction. Then was the great apostle of liberty, Thomas Jefferson, a "rebel and a traitor," for these are his doctrines. But no! he was no rebel, no traitor ! A far different judgment has been pronounced upon this gifted statesman --a judgement, that has rendered his name illustrious --and his doctrines sacred.
For inculcating these principles the friends of State Rights in Georgia, have received the unmeasured denunciations of those who, in their struggles for power, have lost their attachment to the State in which they are protected and cherished.
Disunionists! Rebels!! Traitors!!! They are "disunionists" who would endanger the integrity of the constitution, by submitting to its infraction. They are "rebels" who would truckle to undelegated power. They are "traitors" who would place the independence and sovereignty of their own State at the footstool of federal supremacy.
The history of the Government of the United States, exhibits the utter uselessness of parchment restrictions upon the exercise of its prerogatives: vain indeed is the reliance upon the checks and balances of constitutional provisions, --futile the counterpoise of delegated power, to arrest the progress of its usurpations. The events of the passing hour fully demonstrate the constant tendency of the General Government, to transform the federative system into one consolidated sovereignty; and as fully prove that our political adversaries in this State, are ready and willing to aid in the transformation.-- When were the leaders of this party ever found on the side of Georgia in her struggles for her rights ? When were they ever found battling for her honour, when her sovereignty was invaded ? Never. They were new treaty men in 1825-6 --they were apologists for the Tariff of 1828 and 1832 --those acts of abomination, which were paralyzing the energies, and preying upon the substance of Georgia. They vapoured valiantly, it is true, in a recent instance, but when the hour of trial came, their "noble daring" ended in submission; and the convict missionaries are at large, luxuriating in the bosom of the State, whose sovereignty they trampled on --whose laws they contemned.
Alarming as was the advance of federal doctrines in '98 and '99, their fatal tendency was not so much to be dreaded then as now. The corrupt administration of the elder Adams, had then alienated the attachments of its former adherents; the black cockade, (the distinctive badge of loyalty in those days,) did not always indicate the sincerity of the wearer. The materials of this administration were fast going to decay; its odious measures had aroused the energies of a free people, jealous of their liberties, uncorrupted by Executive patronage and the blasting influence of a protective Tariff, undazzled by the blandishment of place, unseduced by the allurements of office, and undeluded by the magic of a name. Then, too, the star of republicanism was in the ascendant; the illustrious Jefferson was animated by its light; he put forth his intellectual strength, and the temple and the idol of federalism, sunk beneath his prowess.
But how different the political aspect now. An individual, venerated for his public services, of all others the most cherished, the most trusted, the most beloved in this Republic, occupying the first and most elevated station on earth, by the free suffrages of his fellow citizens. This individual, during the first years of his administration, on every proper occasion, demonstrating his love of the constitution, maintaining, with Roman sternness, the sovereignty of the States of this confederacy, denouncing in bold and manly terms, the pernicious tendency of the exercise of doubtful powers by Congress, and checking the hitherto wasteful expenditure of the public treasure in works of internal improvement.
This individual is again called to preside over the destinies of these confederated States, amid the acclamation of his fellow citizens. With what enthusiasm the event was received in Georgia, let the brilliant illuminations of her cities, her towns, and her hamlets, bear testimony. The character of his public acts, had given promise of the blessings that were to flow from his government, and had secured the attachment and confidence of the people. It was thought that the mantle of Jefferson had fallen upon his person, that he would restore the compact to its virgin purity, that he would maintain the fair fabric of our fathers in its unsullied brightness; the confidence of the people of Georgia, he had in an especial manner -- espousing her cause, he had put in operation vigorous measures for the speedy acquisition of her rights. For his republican acts, Georgia honoured him; for maintaining her just rights, her people cherished him. There were no portion of her population more zealous or more sincere in their manifestations of honour, than those comprising the State Rights party --not only from attachment to the man, but for the principles he had professed, and the acts he had done.
In him they beheld the protector of the South, and the restorer of the genuine principles of the government; but while they are proud to do him justice, they cannot be seduced from their principles. In an evil hour, betrayed, we believe, by treacherous counsels, in a proclamation to the people of a sovereign State of this confederacy, he who had done so much for the ascendancy of the doctrines of the republican school, re-asserts the exploded doctrines of the federalists of former days, affirming among other things, that the States of this confederacy never had a separate existence; that a State in the exercise of its legitimate powers, has no right to decide upon the constitutionality of an act of Congress, nor to protect its citizens from the operation of an unconstitutional act, nor yet to maintain within her limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to a sovereign State, denying the right of secession, (under the most partial, oppressive, and unconstitutional measures of Congress) as destroying the unity of the nation; declaring that the members of Congress are all representatives of the United States, and not representatives of the particular State from which they come, nor accountable to it for any act done in the performance of their legislative functions; maintaining that the States have not retained their entire sovereignty, and that the allegiance of our citizens is due to the United States in the first instance; and threatening the employment of the sword and the bayonet, to coerce a sovereign State into submission, when at the same time, "the regular and appropriate alternative was in his power" to recommend a repeal of the usurping Tariff acts of Congress, or a call of the convention of the States.
Apparently overlooking his former principles, and affirming those fatally subversive of constitutional freedom, he demands of a submissive Congress their sanction to these extraordinary doctrines, and the means of carrying them into full effect. This body, subservient to these views, passes an act which aimed a mortal blow at the vitals of State sovereignty:-- This daring outrage upon the liberties of the people, was passed too at a time when Congress, forced by circumstances, were obliged to modify the Tariff, and thus render to the South a reluctant act of justice.
"It is difficult to conceive the motive (says an able statesman in his recent message to the Virginia Legislature) which prompted the Government of the United States to this palpable violation of the constitution, unless traceable to that system of measures, which the friends of strong government have often attempted to give to the confederacy, and which has been so uniformly and resolutely resisted, by the friends of liberty and free government. On no former occasion, had the hand of power been exerted over the constitution of a free country with more daring assumption; it leaves not the semblance of freedom to the people, or rights to the States. It has, at one fell swoop, under the pretence of collecting the revenue, abolished the State Governments, annihilated their courts, conferred upon the President unlimited power, and placed at his disposal the Treasury, the Army, the Navy, and the Militia of the United States; not only to be used according to his caprice, but even authorizes him to confer this power upon any whom he may think proper. It enables him to give a preference to one port over another, by removing the custom house of any he may choose on board a ship of war, and demanding cash duties, instead of allowing the usual credits, although the constitution expressly declares, that 'no one port shall have preference over any other.'
"A hypocritical hypothesis is made the foundation of this act. It assumes that unlawful obstructions or combinations or assemblages of men, 'may render it impracticable to execute the revenue laws,' although they well knew, that the State authorities had ample power to remedy such evils -- indeed it requires but a cursory glance at that statute, to discover that Congress, acting in conformity to the will of the President, have attempted obliquely to lay hold on a power, which, if plainly and directly claimed, would have shocked the democratic spirit of the whole confederacy -- for it claims complete ascendancy for the United States courts over the State courts -- rendering the decrees of the latter nugatory, when under this act they may be brought into conflict with the United States courts, authorizing these courts to liberate offenders committed to prison for offences against the State laws, and imprisoning those who act in conformity to them. It authorizes the taking away beyond the limits of the State; and incarcerating in a military fortress, or perhaps a prison-ship, the citizen who may be guilty of obeying the laws of his own State made by his own representatives."
Thus is given an analysis of the Force Bill, taken from the last message of the patriotic Governor of Virginia. The provisions of this bill are disgraceful to the statute book, a stain upon the administration of Andrew Jackson, and a monument of the servile spirit of the 22d Congress.
Advocates of these measures are numerous in this State, affirming, with a pertinacity that is armed against all conviction, their entire devotion to their doctrines, which leave to them and to their children, the miserable alternative of dying as rebels, or living as slaves, for these doctrines fall nothing short of denying every right, except the right to rebel, or the right to fight. Repudiating the reserved rights of the States, or limiting them to the idle mockery of petitioning those who, from interest or prejudice, are deaf to our complaints; --or to the right of revolution.
The announcement of these fatal doctrines, sanctioned by the Force Bill, from a President hitherto viewed as the head of the democracy of the country, while it burst with the astounding effects of the electric flash, upon the friends of State Rights, throughout the land, served to reanimate the despondency of the old Federalists, and cheer the drooping spirits of the enemies of the South, --of these materials parties were formed, which like the one in this State, soon increased its numbers by the acquisition of recreants from the republican faith, seeking and obtaining office, laying aside their and former principles as they would cast off a garment, and showing their willingness to entomb the constitution of the country, and the sovereignty of the States, in one common grave.
Not so with the friends of State Rights in Georgia. Although in the full enjoyment of power, yet they could not sacrifice principles for men. They had been among the most ardent admirers of the President --had stood by him in an undivided phalanx, through good and through evil report-- had honestly commended those public acts that merited commendation --yet they could not abandon their principles, even to serve Andrew Jackson -- they could not surrender the independence and sovereignty of their own State, or barter their birth-right, either for power or for office. While they were ever ready to do justice to the republican acts of the President, they could not hesitate to denounce those that deserved denunciation. In uttering these sentiments, we believe we represent the feelings and sentiments of every member of the State Rights party.
Compared with party the violations of the constitutional charter, and the despotic exercise of undelegated power, every other topic sinks into insignificance. What though we retain the form and pageantry of State government, if the vital energies of its prerogative are to be prostrated; if the living principle of its authority is to be extinguished ? What matters it how our agriculture prospers, how our commerce flourishes, or how we succeed in our various avocations, if the fruits of our industry are to be swallowed up by unjust and unequal taxation, if our constitutional rights are to be destroyed, our State sovereignty annihilated, our "liberties cloven down ?"
By the principles of the Proclamation, and the provisions of the Force Bill, this has been attempted (if not accomplished) in a state of profound peace. The blow came too, from a quarter least expected -- while the olive branch was presented, the thunderbolt fell -- directed by a hand that should have been extended in amity, not put forth in anger. It was done too, in wanton disregard of Southern rights and Southern feelings -- in the midst of our rejoicings for the elevation of Georgia's favourite -- the principles of despotism were substituted for the principles of freedom. Troup was right, when, as a faithful sentinel upon the watch-tower, he warned us to "prepare to receive a Cæsar and the Purple."
Is it not time, then, fellow citizens, for the democracy of Georgia to awaken from its slumbers --to put forth its wonted strength-- lest slumbering on, it awakes in chains. Is it not time deeply to impress upon the minds of those around us, that the least infraction of the constitution by those to whom its administration is committed, should be met by decisive opposition. Let it be constantly borne in mind; let it be the nursery lesson taught our children; the first maternal precept; and the last paternal instruction, that the sovereignty of the States forms our only safeguard --it is indeed the palladium of all our rights, and all our liberties --destroy its prerogatives, paralyze its energies, and we are at the mercy of those who, while in the unlimited exercise of consolidated power, pretend that they are administering a government of limited powers.
If republican Georgia is quiescent in the triumph of the doctrines of the Proclamation and the Force Bill, she must become recreant to her principles, so often put forth by her Legislatures --so proudly and so triumphantly maintained by the champion of her honour and her sovereignty, with a fervency that thrilled through every nerve, and carried dismay in to the rants of her oppressors. But Georgia will not prove recreant to her principles, nor dishonour her fame; those who anticipate her acquiescence, mistake the character of her people. They will rally in support of the good old republican doctrines of '98 and '99.
In the ascendancy of this doctrine, consists our moral strength as a free people. To maintain it as embodied and put forth in the proceedings of the State Rights meeting held in Milledgeville, is the object we have in view. This object animated our friends on that occasion, and we earnestly hope it will animate the bosom of every true hearted Georgian in the State. With this doctrine for our directing star, we can never be led astray. It derives its existence from our federative system -- it is the doctrine advanced by the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, and based upon the independence and sovereignty of the respective States. Its moral power achieved a glorious victory in the overthrow of federalism in former days -- and (in the words of Mr. Jefferson) "preserved the constitution at its last gasp" --it animated our own Troup in the conflicts between Georgia and the General Government, and bore him on in triumph; and doubt not it will prove victorious again.
Let us then rally around the temple of our republican faith, let us once more bring to its altar our votive offerings -- on it let all our private and personal considerations be sacrificed for the restoration and perpetuity of our constitutional rights -- then having done our duty, if constitutional liberty, and State sovereignty are to be swallowed up in the vortex of consolidation -- "if Rome must fall, we are innocent."