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Mr. Foot's Resolution.
[Feb. 24, 1830
his own judgment, and is doubtless able to vindicate his in the purchase money obtained, and all could embark in own course to his constituents and his country.
the purchase itself. The hardy and enterprising yeomanry But, in one view, this wide range of discussion has of the East and the Middle States, who seem almost enproved a subject of deep regret to me individually, as it tirely to have been forgotten in this debate, would then has led gentlemen into remarks on the amendment, and find constantly opened to the ambition of themselves and on matters and things in general, some of which bore per- their sons, the benefit of lands at prices within their frusonally on myself, and on that portion of my constituents gal means, and under democratic institutions of their own with whom I had the pleasure to act in the late Presiden choice; and every valley and river of the West would in tial election. Those remarks, if unnoticed, may lead to a part become, as many of them are now, vocal with New misapprehension of our real opinions on questions of pub- England tongues, and would, in part, be improved and gladlic moment--which opinions I disdain to conceal, so far as dened by New England industry. So a division of the regards myself; and to imputations on those constituents, lands among all the States, who are as joint proprietors, utterly derogatory, and utterly unmerited-imputations, whether divided for specified or general objects, would about which I cared little, if flung in the scavenger slang seem to me a disposition of them for the “common beneof the day on myself alone, because I have long been in- fit;" but whether it would ever, in other respects, be a ured to them from certain quarters, like all other men in judicious disposition of them, considering the new relathe East, who refuse to bow the knee there to certain po- tions and dependency it might create between the General litical Dagons; but imputations, against which, when Government and the States, is a grave question, not now gravely made by conscript fathers, and extended to a large material to me to discuss. On our claim and title to these body of my constituents, I feel it my duty to defend them, lands, the State I partly represent has expressed a similar here and elsewhere—now and henceforth, while I have and decisive opinion, and one from which I have yet seen power left to defend any thing.
110 sufficient reason to dissent. But let us first advert a moment to the amendment offer. June 22, 1821. "Forasmuch, therefore, as the property ed by me to this resolution, and my opinions on its subject and jurisdiction of the soil were acquired by the common matter. The amendment has been considered by some in means of all, it is contended that the public lands, whether debate, and roundly asserted in the numerous libels that acquired by purchase, by force, or by acts or deeds of cesissue from the epistolary mints in this city—those manu- sion from individual States, are the common property of factures so exorbitantly' protected—to be, substantially, a the Union, and ought to enure to the common use and benproposition to give away the whole public domair of the efit of all the States, in just proportions, and not to the use Union. Whereas, in truth, it contemplates nothing be- and benefit of any particular State or States, to the exyond an inquiry for that light and information so earnestly clusion of the others; and that any partial appropriation urged by others; a mere inquiry in a less exceptionable, of them, for State purposes, 'is a violation of the spirit less questionable shape, into the expediency of making a of our national compact, as well as the principles of jus more rapid survey and sale of the public lands.
tice and sound policy.” The reasons for that inquiry have before been stated, And further, - that each of the United States has an and need not be repeated, except to observe, that they equal right to participate in the benefit of the public lands, rest on the facts of increasing competition in the sales of as the common property of the Union.”--(Niles's Reg. p. land by other governments on our Northern and South- 391, Res. of N. H. Leg.] western frontier; the vast quantities yet to be surveyed Those who passed that resolution seek no injustice or and sold by ourselves, and on our duties to the new States inequality towards the new States. The democracy of equally, in respect to the survey, sale, and settlement, of New Hampshire, neither then nor now, any more than in our untaxed domain within their respective boundaries. the last war, would refuse any aid or relief to the West, To discharge such duties; to give a wider sphere for within the permission of the constitution; they would, neichoice to the enterprising yeomanry from the East and the ther in peace nor hostility, taunt her when distressed, or Middle States, as well as the West; to obtain sooner the mock when her calamity cometh. Grateful for the sympameans for extinguishing the public debt, that great mill- thies and kindnesses shown them in this debate, from some stone on the neck of every popular government; all will of the West, as well as the South, I presume they stand admit to be legitimate objects; and an amendment seeking ready now, as ever, to make any modification in the systhese objects could not but tend to fulfil, promptly and tem of the public lands, or in the prices, the surveys, or justly, the condition on which most of these lands were sales, wbich can prove useful to the new States, and, at originally and generously ceded to the Union. This is the the same time, not prove unequal or unjust to the old whole length, breadth, and depth, of the amendment; but States, nor conflict with the condition of the original ceswhen we travel beyond the amendment and the resolution, sions or the specific powers of the General Government to speculate on what has been done, and what shall be done, over the common property of the Union. They stand with these lands in future time, after paying the public ready to do this, also, because it is right: and not to form debt, then these lands become the apple of discord--then new, or perfect old alliances, since they seek no alliances we open a Pandora's box of fears, jealousies, and fierce with the South, the West, or the Centre, but those of mucollisions. On this point, I have heretofore said nothing tual respect, mutual courtesy, and mutual benefits, accordin this discussion, and should say nothing now, had not my ing to the provisions of the constitution. views on the disposition of these lands been misrepresent. Such a division of the lands as the New Hampshire reed, and some of my votes at former sessions perhaps mis- solution approves, without reference to other notions conunderstood.
cerning what has before been granted for education and By the terms of the grants, I had always supposed that, to the other consideration before named, would, to every as all lands north of the Ohio were expressly obtained unjaundiced eye, seem to keep up the symmetry of our “ for the common benefit and support of the Union;" as political system as a confederation, and not a consolidation Congress bad resolved they “shall be disposed of for the of States; and hence would keep up an adherence to their common benefit of the United States;” and as the residue mutual rights as States in the whole public property. Any of our lands were purchased by our common funds, no such disposition of them, if effected speedily, would like doubt could exist that they must be used and granted only wise relieve Congress from a subject of legislation most in a way to be beneficial to the whole. All sales of them, burthensome, invidious, and vexatious. Whether our even at reduced prices, and whether to States or indivi. bills be four hundred or four thousand on that subject, duals, would always, in my opinion, be thus beneficial if they certainly engross much time, and subject us to vast competition was open to all; because all would participate expenditures. Either a sale or division would bring relief.
FEB. 24, 1830.)
(SEXATE. The West would be double gainers by either, as they ple; and no right is, in my opinion, given to promote the would get an equal share in the division, and a speedy "general welfare” by granting money or lands, but in power of taxation over the whole.
the exercise of the specific powers thus granted, and in But the contrary course, of a yearly scramble for scraps the modes prescribed by the constitution. of these lands, sometimes for roads, sometimes for canals, Such limitations of power are admitted by all to be the sometimes for asylums, and sometimes for colleges, seems great glory of a written constitution, and, since the Magto me any thing but a disposition for the “common bene- na Charta at Runny Mead, can never be long violated with fit," and seems likely to prove an endless source of favor- impunity among any of Saxon descent. itism, jealousies, and corrupt combinations. If the lands The General Government is well known to have been do not all, in time, become thus wasted and frittered away created chiefly for limited objects, connected with comfor little of good to any quarter, they surely will be disposed merce and foreign intercourse: and so far from being unof very unequally; they will excite dissatisfaction in the limited in its jurisdiction, extent, or means, was based on States not made donces, rather than tend to the “sup- express and jealous specifications; and designed not for port of the Union;" and they will be appropriated to ob- the prostration, but the preservation of State rights and jects, not, in my opinion, specified in the constitution as State governinents, for most of the great purposes of powithin the cognizance of the Government of the Union. Ilitical society. Without going further at this time, and on
The test adopted by some gentlemen, in voting for a this occasion, into the argument, legal or constitutional, grant to a road, canal, or college, that, if it be a good to upon the broad and the strict constructions, I shall conthe place where located, it is a good to a part of the tent myself with some references to the political bearing whole, and thus a good to the whole, seems to me a very of these constructions on the public lands, and on the convenient argument to support a donation in any place, great topics of controversy introduced into this debate, to any object, however limited, if the object be only be- and to some signal authorities in favor of my views, found neficial in any degree; and the whole domain certainly in the records of the General Government, and of the might thus be taken off our hands in a single weck. To State in which I have the honor in part to represent--a contend, also, that the lands may be given to such ob- State whose instructions I shall not, like the Senator from jects in small quantities, and may not at once be given to Maine, refuse to obey, nor deny to be my only earthly one, or a few, or all the States, in large quantities, seems “Jord and master," rather than the individual' idol or to me a suicidal position, and to make a distinction with image” of which he spoke so reverently, out a difference,
We all know that, early as the year 1794, the division Without reference to that kind of sales the Government commenced in Congress between the advocates of extendcan make for the common benefit, such as grants to the ed constructive powers in the General Government, and new States for schools, and receive a virtual compensation especially in its Executive department, and the advocates therefor, by having the rest of the land freed from taxa. of State rights, and of restricted views on constitutional tion, we merely lay down what we suppose to be the powers. general principle.
In relation to Jay's treaty, and the questions connected No reasoning has been offered which convinces me that with it, the lines began to be distinctly marked, and the lands can be legally appropriated to any object for which head of the present administration was found, as the auwe might not legally appropriate money. The lands are thor of the Declaration of our Independence was found, as much the property of the Union as its money in the among the firm opposers of indefinite constructive pow. treasury. The cessions and purchases of them were as ers; and the vote of the former, on the retirement of much for the benefit of all as the collection of the money. the first President, so often appealed to and misrepreThe constitution, as well as common sense, seems to me sented in the late canvass by his opposers, appears to have to recognize no difference; and if the money can only be been predicated entirely upon part of the policy and appropriated to specified objects, it follows that the land measures then pursued under these views of the constitucan only be so appropriated. Within those specified ob- tion. He has repeated his former opinions in his message jects, I have ever been, and ever shall be, as ready to at the opening of this Congress, by warning us not “to give la ds or money to the West as the East; but, beyond undermine the whole system by a resort to overstrained them, I never have been ready to give either to either. constructions,” and by wnrning us against “all encroachTowards certain enumerated objects, Congress have w-ments upon the legitimate sphere of State sovereignty.” thority to devote the common funds—the land or the mo- The same course of division ainong our leading statesmen ney; because those objects were supposed to be better was evinced in the debate on the foreign intercourse bill, managed under their control than under that of the States; in 1798; and the distinguished agent on the Northeastern but the care of the other objects is reserved to the States boundary, now in this country, then, as since, bent the themselves, and can only be promoted by the common whole force of his acute and profound mind to show the funds, in a return or division of those funds to the proprie evil tendency of such an administration of the General tors, to be expended as they may deem judicious. Government. The alien and scdition laws soon after
The whole debate on these points goes to satisfy my mind brought the hostile parties to a crisis; and then the strong of the correctness of that construction of the constitution reasoning of Mr. Madison, in the Virginia resolutions of which bolds no grants of money or lands valid, unless to 1798, and the acute mind of Mr. Jefferson, in those of advance some of the enumerated objects entrusted to Con- Kentucky, and the whole influence of their democratic gress. When we once depart from that great land mark coadjutors throughout the Union, were concentrated on the appropriations of lands or money, and wander into against those alarming doctrines, and their fatal, practical indefinite notions of the “common good,” or of the consequences. One of the Virginia resolutions was in “ general welfare,” we are, in my opinion, at sea without these words: (Virg. Res. p. 4.) compass or rudder; and in a Government of acknowledg “ That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily ed limitations, we put every thing at the caprice of a declare, that it views the powers of the Federal Governfluctuating majority here; pronouncing that to be for the ment, as resulting from the compact to which the States general welfare tv-day, which to-morrow may be de- are parties, as limited by the plain sense and intention of nounced as a general curse. Were the Government not the instrument constituting that compact, as no farther limited, this broad discretion would, of course, he neces- valid than they are authorized by the grants enumerated sary and right. But here every grant of power is defin- in that compact; and that, in case of a deliberate, palpaed. Many powers are not ceded to the General Govern-ble, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted ment, but are expressly withheld to the States and peo- by the said compact, the States who are parties thereto
(FEB. 24, 1830. have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for the change in administration at that era, and as one of the arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining, doctrines of the party at large, as a party, which effected within their respective limits, the authorities, rights, and the change. That the opinions of New Hampshire have liberties, appertaining to them.'
coincided with these views, whenever her politics have Another resolution is in these words:(Virg. Res. p. 9.) been democratic; and that I, on them, as on the subject
“That the General Assembly doth also express its deep of the public lands, am representing truly these sentiregret that a spirit has, in sundry instances, been mani- ments of her democracy, and not as a Judas, so courteousfested by the Federal Government to enlarge its power, by ly insinuated more than once, is easily demonstrable by a the forced constructions of the constitutional charter reference, not to pamphlets or newspapers, forgotten or which defines them; and that indications have appeared fresh, but to her legislative records. While that State of a design to expound certain general phrases, which, continued under the control of men opposed to Mr. Jefhaving been copied from the very limited grant of powers ferson, and of principles so fatal to his predecessor; while in the former articles of confederation, were the less lia- her Representatives here were voting for Aaron Burr, ble to be misconstrued, so as to destroy the meaning and she, as would naturally be expected, voted against the effect of the particular enumeration, which necessarily doctrines of the Virginia resolutions. explains and limits the general phrases, and so as to con But when, politically, she became regenerate, and mor. solidate the States by degrees into one sovereignty; the ed harmoniously with a majority of her sister planets in obvious tendency and inevitable result of which would be, the democratic system; when the tendencies and proto transform the present republican system of the United gress of the opposite doctrines, urged so often and so States into an absolute, or, at best, a mixed monarchy.” strenuously hy that gentleman's (Mr. Holmes's) “ match.
Mr. Jefferson, in his letters, has followed up the same less spirit of the West,” and under his lead; when those ideas, and never parted, till he parted with life itself, tendencies began to alarm the watchful, and call forth from this democratic view of the constitutional compact. deliberate and decisive expressions of State opinions on
“ You will have learned that an act for internal improve questions so dear to the purity of the constitution; New ment, after passing both Houses, was negatived by the Hampshire came out, in both her Executive and LegislaPresident. The act was founded, avowedly, on the prin- tive Departments, against the favorite views of that ciple that the phrase in the constitution, which authorizes matchless spirit.” She came out with directness anul Congress to lay taxes, to pay debts, and provide for the independence, as sovereign States ought to come out, on general welfare,' was an extension of the powers speci- all great emergencies. She showed her disregard, as a fically enumerated to whatever would promote the gene- State, of men, whether Southern or Eastern—whether poral welfare; and this, you know, was the federal doctrine. liticians or judges—in high aces or low-who, in her Whercas, our tenet ever was, (and indeed it is almost the opinion, had attempted to seduce the people of the Union, only land mark which now divides the federalists from the by gradual and stealthy attacks, into the same enlarged republicans) that Congress had not unlimited powers to and constructive views of the constitution which the reprovide for the general welfare, but were restrained to volution of 1800 had openly exposed and defeated. those specifically enumerated; and that, as it was never The Executive, in June, 1822, declared (see 21 Niles's meant they should provide for that welfare but by the ex- Register] that ercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have * The measures of the National Government are justly been meant they should raise money for purposes which regarded as subjects of great interest to the people
, but the enumeration did not place under their action; conse- they become more peculiarly of this character when be. quently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of lieved to be founded on doubtful or erroneous constructhe purposes for which they may raise money.”-4 Jeff. tions of the constitution, tending to an extension of their Works, 306.
own powers. When a case of this kind occurs, or even Other remarks of his, in like terms, have been before if it appears probable that it is about to happen, it becited, and need not be repeated.
comes the duty of the Legislatures of the individual States They were opinions which then endeared him to ma-to adopt such constitutional measures as inay tend to cor jority of the Union, and, in 1800, effected the first rect the error or avert the evil. great political revolution in the administration of our Ge “ The constitution gives to Congress the power to neral Government. They were the views of his talented lay and collect taxes, dutics, imposts, and excises, to pay successor, in after times, as well as in 1798, as evinced in the debts, and provide for the common defence and genenumberless of his public acts; and they, in substance, ral welfare, of the United States, and immediately proremained the views of his second successor, at least dur- ceeds to define and vest the specific powers which were ing his first term of office. They long continued every deemed necessary to effect these objects. Amongst these where the watchword of democracy. With
many they it is thought no more can be found, which, on any known always have remained the strongest test of political ortho- principles of construction, can authorize Congress to exdoxy. Such was Mr. Jefferson's own remark, as late aspend the public resources in mere objects of Internal Im. the year 1819. (4. Jeft. 306.] And though, in after and provement. The power to impose taxes to pay the more recent days, some departures may have been wit-debts, and provide for the common defence and general nessed in our ranks from these doctrines, yet they have welfare, seems to have been construed as a specific grant in general been apparent and local, rather than real and of power to Congress to do any act, or adopt and carry general departures from the doctrines themselves, and into effect any and every measure, without restriction, have existed rather in a difference of opinion, in particu- which it might suppose would conduce to the general lar applications of those doctrines, and in a difference welfare. This construction is believed to be wbölly unabout details, than about fundamental views on the true warranted. mode of construing the constitution. Some have been “When we advert to the great caution with which the misrepresented on this head, and none I believe, sir, more powers vested by the constitution were defined and than yourself. These differences have been rather the guarded by that distinguished body of men by whom it clouds that hang on freedom's jealous brow,” than any was framed, we find it impossible to believe that the palpable darkness, or any desertion of the great princi- indefinite phrase to provide for the common defence ples contended for the democracy of the Union, in the and general welfare, in the connexion in which it is, is great revolution of 1798. Some differences, and honest susceptible of that broad and sweeping construction
, differences, may, and doubtless do, exist on this point, in which must, of necessity, merge in it, and render utterly all parties; but I am now speaking of this as one basis of superfluous, every special grant of power in that instru
FEB. 24, 1830. ]
(SENATE. ment. A power to provide for the general welfare, with-things;' not in professions, but in effects: the one tending out restriction or limitation, is, in fact, a power to do to a republican confederation; the other, in the language whatever those who are invested with it choose to consi- of the Virginia resolutions, to a “practical monarchy.” der promotive of those objects. This is, in truth, the The Virginia Resolutions, p. 13, say further: power of a despotism, and can have no place in a free Go “Whether the exposition of the general phrases here vernment, the first principle of which is, that the powers combated, would not, by degrees, consolidate the States delegated to rulers shall be distinctly and clearly defined into one sovereignty, is a question concerning which the and limited.
committee can perceive little room for difference of opi“ At times this is so obvious, that they are seen to pos- nion. To consolidate the States into one sovereignty, sess the effrontery to endeavor to influence public opi- nothing more can be wanted than to supersede their renion, by boldly affecting to hold up to scorn every mea- spective sovereignties in the cases reserved to them, hy sure, having for its object the correction of a wasteful extending the sovereignty of the United States to all cases misuse of the public resources, as unbecoming national of the general welfare,' that is to say, to “all cases dignity; as if it were possible that real national dignity whatever.” and respectability could acknowledge any connexion with Grant that a different opinion on this construction has profusion and extravagance.”
now, and ever has bad, from Hamilton, Ames, and the For expressing such opinions, that Executive was then elder Adams, honest and able advocates; yet the tendenrebuked by the worshippers of enlarged powers, as the cies of it, whether to consolidation and monarchy, or not, same class of persons now taunt any principles or mea- have been, and are still, matter of fair argument and just sures leading to reform, or any men who advocate reform. criticism. In that view, and in the importance of this Here, in the capital of the Union, it was sneeringly said: construction to the present mode of making donations of “ The Hercules approaches who is to cleanse the Augean the public lands, and to a just judgment on the imputastable." (National intelligencer, June, 1822.] The ad. tions cast on myself and my constituents, as having little vocates of reform were then, as now, a theme of daily claims to real democracy, I have attempted to vindicate ridicule, and held up for the “slow unmoving finger of my own notions, and those of my own State, without a scorn to point at.” But the Legislature of New Hamp- detailed collection of the reasoning on the abstract quesshire responded to the Executive in an able report, and tion, and without any strictures on the motives of those concluded with the following memorable resolutions, with who differ from me. A word more, and I dismiss this conscarcely a dissenting vote:
sideration. “ 1. Resolved, That, in the opinion of this House, the Who is so blind as not to see, in the approaching conconstitution of the United States has not vested in Con- dition of our Government, on the extinguishment of the gress the right to adopt and execute, at the national ex- national debt, and with our present enormous duties repense, a system of Internal Improvements.
tained, creating a vast surplus revenue of ten or fifteen “2. Resolved, That, in the opinion of this House, it is millions of dollars; who does not see a cause of new and not essential so to amend the constitution of the United most fearful apprehension to the States, if all that surStates, as to give the power to Congress to make roads, plus, as well as all the public lands, can, and shall be embridges, and canals.”
ployed under the General Government, in objects that She thus evinced, on this point, her democracy, and Government may think conducive to the “common good,' her jealous attachment to State rights; and this, not only for “general welfare?” Who does not see a door opened by a decision against the enlarged powers being already to favoritism and corruption, which may let in irretrievareposed in the General Government, but declaring it “not ble ruin to sound political justice and equality, and overessential" they should be placed there. She believed it whelm every vestige of State independence? Who dangerous to the welfare and independence of the States does not see--I care not by whose bands administereither to give these powers to the General Government ed--I say the same in a majority as when in a minorby construction or express grant; and the former mode ity--I say the same under this as under the last ad. was only the more alarming, as it united usurpation and ministration—who does not see a power never contemencroachment on State rights with the exercise of a pow-plated at the formation of the constitution, and which er that she believed tended directly to a consolidation of can never be exercised under our present political systhe Government.
tem, without tainting to the core, both those who exerGentlemen may describe the exercise of such powers cise and those who feel it? Do I say this because hostile as beneficent and splendid; and picture a government to Internal Improvements? No! But because hostile to with them as having all the “pomp, pride, and circum. thedegeneracy, if not the ruin of our confederacy; and bestance" of Russian or Assyrian greatness. The gentle cause I would advance Internal Improvements at the exman from Maine (Mr. Holmes) may again, as in the Pa- pense of the States and individuals, and not at the exnama debate, picture his present martyr, then his “match-pense of the Union. I would do it the only way they less spirit of the West,” sighing for such “ gorgeous ever can be advanced, with safety and usefulness--accordkingdom;" "all the natives of this vast continent to bear. ing to the resolution of New Hampshire, before read; and raved” together for "the great occasion;" and the whole in those cases only in which individuals and States can “the magnificent scheme of the favorite--the genius, see their private and local interest to be so much promotthe master spirit of the West.” [2d Reg. Deb. 270.] ed by these improvements, as to warrant the undertakings Others may reverse the picture, and describe a govern-by themselves. ment without these powers as too much trammelled in its Has it then come to this, under such a Government, that movements; as “palsied by the will of its constituents;" one of the parties cannot, in any way, interpose and coras too “rigid in its expenditures;” and certainly as too rect its ruinoas tendencies, and its insidious constructions, plain and republican in its institutions for those who talk when the great exigencies of the country demand it? I of their political “lord and master” in the person of their think there has been more apparent than real difference Presidents. But nothing seems clearer to me, than that on this point, in the present debate. Most must admit one is the only true government to preserve and perpetu- that they can interfere in some way; so said the fathers of ate a mere confederacy of independent and democratic democracy in '98; so said the Virginia and Kentucky resosovereignties; and the other, by whatever name baptised, lutions, and so do those say whom I represent. They can is a government tending to consolidation--to consolidation, interpose in various ways. My theory on this subject may not of the Union, but of all political powers in the Union. vary more in form than substance from other gentlemen's, The difference does not consist so much in words as in but as each speaks for himself on this floor, I may be per
Mr. Foot's Resolution.
(FEB. 24, 1830
mitted to state briefly it is this: that the parties to the But how far can they go, and "where shall their proud constitution are the agents of the people and the States, waves be staid?” The opinion of the Supreme Court of placed in the General Government on the one hand, and the United States, a tribunal appointed, organized, and acthe agents of the people placed in their State Govern- countable only to one party to the Government, and one ments on the other hand; and that the people, separated party to the decision, is urged on us to be the great final from their agents, are only the great primary power and balance wheel of the whole machinery. But if the States foundation of the whole, never acting as one whole upon be another party to the compact, it is manifest that, on or. or about the constitution, either legislatively, executively, dinary principles of compact, they have the same right as or judicially; but acting on it in those forms, or any others, the opposite party, or its agents, to decide on the extent only by their agents in the States and in the General Go. of the compact. This is conceded between two parties, vernment. But the people themselves are still a power in the case of treaties, and in the case of ordinary barbehind the throne greater than the throne itself; and, en- guins and conventions; and it cannot be denied here, adtrench yourselves as you may, to the teeth, in parch- mitting we have shown the States to be one party, unless ments and constructions, they, by their agents, in con- both the parties have expressly agreed upon some tribu. vention in the States, can abolish every institution, politi- nal intermediate, as an umpire or judge, to decide, irtecal or civil, of the Union or of the respective States. vocably, this kind of differences between the parties to the
The parties, then, in collision as to the extent of the pow-constitution. On the other hand, I understand it to be ers given by the constitution of the Union, are seldom the argued that the Supreme Court bas been agreed on as people with their agents of either class, and never so any such a tribunal. But, the Supreme Court of the United length of time without a sufficient redress; but the oppos- States would not be likely to be so agreed on, reasoning ing parties are generally, on the one hand, the agents a priori, because its members are all appointed by, and of the people and the States, under that constitution, answerable to, only one of the parties, and indeed go and, on the other hand, their agents under the State form a portion of one of the parties, being mere agents constitutions. I say the agents of the people and States of the General Government. The amendments of the in the General Government, as the States are techni- constitution, reserving rights and powers to the States or cally represented here, in the Senate, and may always People, would be nugatory--a mere mockery, if the suitechnically and solely choose all the electors of the exe- cidal grant was made to the Supreme Court, to the mere cutive branch. The former, acting in the administration agents of one party, to decide finally and forever on the of the General Government, causes the former, properly extent of all their own powers. The reasoning for this enough in common parlance, to be called the General Go-grant, therefore, seems to me argumentum ad absurdum, vernment, and the latter the States. The people, as such, as clear as any axiom in Euclid. But on this head I an unluss in a revolutionary condition, cannot cast a single anxious not to be misapprehended, and am willing to revote, hold a single town meeting, or lay out a road of ordi- sort to the words of the charter itself to see what the lenary highway, except through State power and State gitimate powers of that court purport to be, in deciding agency. I shall not repeat what reasoning and illustra- such controversies. tion the gentlemen from Kentucky [Mr. Rowan) and South From the very fact of there being two parties in the Carolina (Mr. ILAYNE] have adduced, in proof of these Federal Government, it would seem a necessary inference views, but merely cite a clause, in the Virginia resolutions that the agents of each party, on proper occasions, must be of '98, to show, that these views, whether right or wrong, allowed, and are required, by an official oath, to conform were the views of the fathers of the democratic party, to the constitution, and to decide on the extent of its proand if I orr, I err with the Platos and Socrates of my poli- visions, so far as is necessary for the expression of their tical faith. (Virg. Res. p. 8. ]
own views, and for the performance of their own duties. “ The other position involved in this branch of the reso. This being, to my mind, the rationale of the case, I look lution, namely, that the States are not parties to the on the express words of the constitution as conforming constitution or compact,' is, in the judgment of the com- to it by limiting the grant of judicial jurisdiction to the mittee, equally free from objection. It is indeed true that Supreme Court, both by the constitution and by the acts the term States' is sometimes used in a vague sense, of Congress to specific enumerated objects. In the same and sometimes in different senses, according to the subject way there are limited grants of judicial jurisdiction to to which it is applied. Thus it sometimes means the sepa- State courts, under most of the State constitutions. When rate sections occupied by the political socicties within cases present themselves within these grants, the judges, each; sometimes the particular governments established whether of the States or the United States, must decide, by those societies; sometimes those societies as organized and enforce their decision with such means as are con into those particular governments; and lastly, it means the fided to them by the laws and the constitutions. But people composing those political societies in their highest when questions arise, not confided to the Judiciary of political sovereign capacity. Although it might be wished the States or United States, the officers concerned in those that the perfection of language admitted less diversity in questions must themselves decide them; and, in the end, the signification of the same words, yet little inconvenien- must pursue such course as their views of the constitution cy is produced by it, where the true sense can be collect. dictate. In such instances they have the same authority ed with certainty from the different applications. In the to make this decision as the Supreme Court itself has in present instance, whatever different constructions of the other instances, term “States, in the resolution, may have been entertain Thus the Virginia Resolutions, page 13, say:
"How ed, all will at least concur in that last mentioned; because ever true, therefore, it may be, that the Judicial Depart. in that sense the constitution was submitted to the States;' ment is, in all questions submitted to it by the forms of in that sense the States' ratifier it; and in that sense of the constitution, to decide in the last resort, this resort the term “States, they are consequently parties to the must necessarily be deemed the last in relation to the aucompact from which the powers of the Federal Govern- thorities of the other departments of the Government; ment results.”
not in relation to the rights of the parties to the constiThe States, then, being one party, is it to be contended tutional compact, from which the judicial as well as the that still the other party, the General Government, may other departments holl their delegated trusts. On any adopt any extended construction of the powers granted other hypothesis
, the delegation of judicial power would under the constitution, without any efficient right on the annul the authority delegating it; and the concurrence of part of the States to murmur, remonstrate, alter, or resist? this department with the others in usurped powers, might Certainly not, I should think, on either side of the debate. subvert forever, and beyond the possible reach of any