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constitutional, may probably also respective limits, the authorities, be true. But, that any majority rights, and liberties appertaining holds to the right of direct State to them.'] interference, at State discretion, the right of nullifying acts of Mr Webster resumed : Congress by acts of State legisla I am quite aware, Mr President, tion, is more than I know, and of the existence of the resolution what I shall be slow to believe. which the gentleman read, and
That there are individuals, be- has now repeated, and that he sides the honorable gentleman, relies on it, as his authority. I who do maintain these opinions, is know the source too, from which it quite certain. I recollect the re- is understood to have proceeded. cent expression of a sentiment, I need not say, that I have much which circumstances attending its respect for the constitutional opinutterance and publication justify ions of Mr Madison ; they would
in supposing was not unpre- weigh greatly with me, always. meditated. The sovereignty of But before the authority of his the State ; never to be controlled, opinion be vouched for the gentleconstrued, or decided on, but by man's proposition, it will be proper her own feelings of honorable to consider what is the fair interjustice.'
pretation of that resolution, to
wbich Mr Madison is understood [Mr Hayne here rose, and said, to have given his sanction. As that for the purpose of being clear- the gentleman construes it, it is an ly understood, he would state, authority for him. Possibly, he that his proposition was in the may not have adopted the right words of the Virginia resolution, construction. That resolution as follows:
declares, that in the case of the
dangerous exercise of powers, not "That this Assembly doth ex- granted by the General Governplicitly and peremptorily declare, ment, the States may interpose to that it views the powers of the arrest the progress of the evil. Federal Government, as resulting But how interpose, and what does from the compact, to which the this declaration purport? Does it States are parties, as limited by mean ro more, than that there the plain sense and intention of may be extreme cases, in which the instrument constituting that the people, in any mode of ascompact, as no farther valid than sembling, may resist usurpation, they are authorized by the grants and relieve themselves from a enumerated in that compact; and tyrannical government? No one that, in case of a deliberate, pal- will deny this. Such resistance pable, and dangerous exercise of is not only acknowledged to be other powers, not granted by the just in America, but in England said compact, the States who are also. Blackstone admits as much, parties thereto have the right, and in the theory and practice too, of are in duty bound to interpose for the English constitution. arresting the progress of the evil, sir, who oppose the Carolina docand for maintaining, within their trine, do not deny, that the people
may, if they choose, throw off any ing the government. government, when it becomes op- doctrine of mine, that unconstitupressive and intolerable, and erecttional laws bind the people. The a better in its stead. We all know great question is, whose prerogathat civilinstitutions are established tive is it to decide on the constitufor the public benefit, and that tionality, or unconstitutionality, when they cease to answer the of the laws ? I admit, that there ends of their existence they may is an ultimate violent remedy, be changed. But I do not under- above the Constitution, and in stand the doctrine now contended defiance of the Constitution, which for, to be that which, for the sake may be resorted to when a revoof distinctness, we may call the lution is to be justified. But I do right of revolution. I understand not admit, that under the Constithe gentleman to maintain, that tution and in conformity with it, without revolution, without civil there is any mode in which a State 'commotion, without rebellion, a government, as a member of the remedy for supposed abuse and Union, can interfere and stop the transgression of the powers of the progress of the General GovernGeneral Government, lies in a di- ment, by force of her own laws, unrect appeal to the interference of der any circumstances whatever. the State Governments.
This leads us to inquire into [Mr Hayne here rose : He did the origin of this government, and not contend, he said, for the mere the source of its power.
Whose right of revolution, but for the agent is it? Is it the creature of right of constitutional resistance. the State Legislatures, or the What he maintained was, that in creature of the People? If the case of a plain, palpable violation Government of the United States of the Constitution by the General be the agent of the State GovernGovernment, a State may inter- ments, then they may control it, pose; and that this interposition provided they can agree in the is constitutional.] Mr Webster manner of controlling it; if it is resumed: So I understood the the agent of the People, then the gentleman, and am happy to find People alone can control it, rethat I did not misunderstand him. strain it, modify or reform it. It What he contends for is, that it is is observable enough, that the constitutional to interrupt the ad- doctrine for which the honorable ministration of the Constitution gentleman contends, leads him to itself, in the hands of those who the necessity of maintaining, not are cbosen and sworn to administer only that this General Government it, by the direct interference, in is the creature of the States, but form of law, of the States, in vir- that it is the creature of each tue of their sovereign capacity of the States severally ; so that The inherent right in the people each may assert the power, for to reform their government, I do itself, of determining whether it not deny; and they have another acts within the limits of its authorright, and that is, to resist uncon- ity. It is the servant of four stitutional laws, without overturn- and twenty masters, of differ
ent wills and different purposes; reignty is effectually controlled. and yet bound to obey all. This I do not contend that it is, or ought absurdity, (for it seems no less) to be, controlled farther. The arises from a misconception as to sentiment to which I have referred, the origin of this government and propounds that Stale sovereignty its true character. It is, sir, the is only to be controlled by its own People's Constitution, the Peo- feeling of justice ;' that is to say, ple's Government; made for the it is not to be controlled at all; People; made by the People ; for one who is to follow his own and answerable to the People. feelings is under no legal control. The People of the United States Now, however men may think this have declared that this Constitution ought to be, the fact is, that the shall be the supreme law. We people of the United States have must either admit the proposition, chosen to impose control on State or dispute their authority. The sovereignties. The Constitution States are unquestionably sove- has ordered the matter differently reign, so far as their sovereignty from what this opinion announces. is not affected by this supreme To make war, for instance, is an law. The State Legislatures, as exercise of sovereignty ; but the political bodies, however sove- Constitution declares that no reign, are yet not sovereign over State shall make war. To coin the people. So far as the People money is another exercise of sovehave given power to the General reign power; but no State is at Government, so far the grant is liberty to coin money. Again, unquestionably good, and the the Constitution says, that no soveGovernment holds of the People, reign State shall be so sovereign and not of the State Governments. as to make a treaty. These prohiWe are all agents of the same bitions, it must be confessed, are a supreme power, the People. The control on the State sovereignty General Government and the of South Carolina, as well as of State Governments derive their the other States, which does not authority from the same source. arise from her own feelings of Neither can, in relation to the other, honorable justice.' Such an be called primary; though one is opinion, therefore, is in defiance definite and restricted, and the of the plainest provisions of the other general and residuary. The Constitution. National Government possesses There are other proceedings of those powers which it can be public bodies which have already shown the People have conferred been alluded to, and to which I on it, and no more. All the rest refer again for the purpose of belongs to the State Governments ascertaining more fully, what is or to the People themselves. So the length and breadth of that far as the People have restrained doctrine, denominated the CaroState sovereignty, by the expres- lina doctrine, which the honorable sion of their will, in the Constitu- member bas now stood up on this tion of the United States, so far, floor to maintain. In one of them it must be admitted, State sove- I find it resolved, that the Tariff
of 1828, and every other Tariff per, and strictly constitutional: designed to promote one branch And now, sir, how does the honof industry, at the expense of orable member propose to deal others, is contrary to the meaning with this case? How does he get and intention of the Federal com- out of this difficulty, upon any pact; and as such, a dangerous, principle of his ? His construction palpable, and deliberate usurpation gets us into it; how does he proof power, by a determined major- pose to get us out? ity, wielding the General Govern In Carolina, the tariff is a palment beyond the limits of its pable, deliberate usurpation; Cardelegated powers, as calls upon blina, therefore, may nullify it, and the States which compose the refuse to pay the duties. In Pennsuffering minority in their sove- sylvania, it is both clearly constitureign capacity, to exercise the pow- tional, and highly expedient; and ers which, as sovereigns, necessa- there, the duties are to be paid. rily devolve upon them, when And yet, we live under a Governtheir compact is violated.' ment of uniform laws, and under a
Observe that this resolution Constitution, too, which contains holds the Tariff of 1828, and an express provision, as it happens, every other Tariff, designed to that all duties shall be equal in all promote one branch of industry the States! Does not this apat the expense of another, to be proach absurdity? such a dangerous, palpable, and If there be no power to seule deliberate usurpation of power, as such questions, independent of calls upon the States, in their sove- either of the States, is not the reign capacity, to interfere by their whole Union a rope of sand ? own power. Here is a case, then, Are we not thrown back again, within the gentleman's principles, precisely, upon the old Confederand all his qualifications of his prin- ation ? ciples. It is a case for action. It is too plain to be argued. The Constitution is plainly, dan- Four and twenty interpreters of gerously, palpably, and deliber- constitutional law, each with a ately violated : and the States power to decide for itself, and must interpose their own authority none with authority to bind anyto arrest the law. Let us suppose body else, and this constitutional the State of South Carolina to law, the only bond of their union ! express this same opinion, by the What is such a state of things, but voice of her Legislature. That a mere connexion during pleasure, would be very imposing, but vihat or, to use the phraseology of the then ? Is the voice of one State times, during feeling? And that conclusive? It so happens, that feeling, too, not the feeling of the at the very moment when South people, who established the ConCarolina resolves that the tariff stitution, but the feeling of the laws are unconstitutional, Penn- State governments. sylvania, and Kentucky, resolve In another of the South Caroexactly the reverse. They hold lina addresses, having premised those laws to be both highly pro- that the crisis requires all the
only option was either to fall in liad voted against the tariff of with this settled course of public 1824 – but it passed ; and in policy, and accommodate our 1827 and 1828, I voted to amend selves to it as well as we could, it in a point essential to the interor to embrace the South Carolina est of my constituents. I need doctrine, and talk of nullifying not recur 10 the bistory of a the statute by State inicrference. measure so recent. lis enemies
This last alternative did not suit spiced it with whatsoever they our principles, and, of course, we thought would render it distastelul; adopted the former. In 1827, its friends took it, drugged as it the subject came again before was. Vast amounts of property, Congress, on a proposition favor- many millions, had been invested able to wool and woollens. We in manufactures, under the inducelooked
pro- ments of 1894. Events called section as being fixed and settled. loudly, as I thought, for further The law of 1824 remained. It regulation to secure the degree of liad goje inio full operation, and protection intended by that aci. in regard to some objects intended l vas disposed to vote for such by it, perhaps most of them had regulation, and desired nothing produced all its expected effects. more; but certainly was not to
But owing to subsequent and be baniered out of my purpose unforescen occurrences the benefit by a threatened augmentation of intended by it to wool and wool- duty on molasses put into the bil! ! len fabrics, had not been realized. for the avowed purpose of making Events, not known licre when the it obnoxious. The vote may have law passed, liad taken place, been right or wrong, wise or unwhich defeated its object in that wise; but it is little less than abparticular respect.
A measure surd to allege against it an inconwas accordingly brought forward sistency with opposition to the to meet this precise deficiency, to former law. remedy this particular defect. It As to the general subject of was limited to wool and woollens. the tariff I have little now to say. Was ever anything more reasona Another opportunity may be preLle? If the policy of the tarifi sented. I remarked the other laws had become established in day, that this policy did not begin principle, as the permanent policy with us in New England ;, and of the government, should they yet, sir, New England is charged not be revised and amended, and with vehemence, as being favoramade equal, like other laws, as ble or charged with equal veheexigencies shouid arise, or justice mence, as being unfavorable to require? Because we had doubt- the tarifi policy, just as best suits ed about adopting the system, the time, place, and occasion for mere we torelase to cure its mani mahing some charge against ber. fest defects, after it became adopt- The credulity of the public bas ed, and when no one attempted been put to its extreme capacity its repeal? And ihis is the in- of false impression, relative io consistency so much bruited. 1 her conduci, in this particular.