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Mr. Foot's Resolution.
[Jax. 27, 1830.
the public lands, in wirich his success, perhaps, had and intensity. In all these conflicts, there was, no doubt, been neither distinguished nor satisfactory, and letting much of violence on both and all sides. It would be imgo, also, of the topic of the tariff, he sallied forth in a possible, if one had a fancy for such employment, to adgeneral assault on the opinions, politics, and parties, of just the relative quantum of violence between these con. New England, as they have been exhibited in the last tending parties. There was enough in each, as must thirty years. This is natural. The “narrow policy” (if always expected in popular Governments.
With a the public lands had proved a legal settlement in South great deal of proper and decorous discussion, there was Carolina, and was not to be removed. The "accursed mingled a great deal, also, of declamation, virulence, cri. policy” of the tariff, also, had established the fact of its mination, and abus :: In regard to any party, probably, birtli and parentage, in the same State. No wonder, there- at one of these leading epochs in the history of parties, fore, the gentleman wished to carry the war, as he ex- enough may be found to make out another equally inflampressed it, into the enemy's country. Prudently willing ed exhibition as that with which the honorable member to quit these subjects, he was, doubtless, desirous of fas- has edified us. For myself, sir, I shall not rake among tening on others, which could not be transferred south of the rubbish of by-gone times, to see what I can find, or Mason and Dixon's line. The politics of New England whether I cannot find something, by which I can fix a blot became his theme; and it was in this part of his specch, I on the escutcheon of any State, any party, or any part of think, that he menaced me with such sore discomfiture. the country: General Washington's administration was Discomfiture! Why, sir, when he attacks any thing which steadily and zealously maintained, as we all know, by I maintain, and overthrows it; when he turns the right or New England. It was violently opposed elsewhere. We left of any position which I take up; when he drives me know in what quarter he had the most carnest, constant, from any ground I choose to occupy; he may then and persevering support, in all his great and leading mcatalk of discomfiture--but not till that distant day. What sures. We know where his private and personal characbas he done? Has he maintained his own charges? Hlas ter were held in the highest degree of attachment and he proved what he alleged? Has he sustained himself in veneration; and we know, too, where his measures were his attack on the Government, and on the history of the opposed, his services slighted, and his character vilified. North, in the matter of the public lands? Has he dis- We know, or we might know, if we turned to the Jourproved a fact, refuted a proposition, weakened an argu nals, who expressed respect, gratitude, and regret, when ment, maintained by me Has he come within beat of he retired from the Chief Magistracy; and who refused drum of any position of mine? Oh, no, but he has to express either respect, gratitude, or regret. I shall “ carried the war into the enemy's country!” Carried the not open those Journals. Publications more abusive or war into the enemy's country! Yes, sir; and what sort of scurrilous never saw the light, than were sent forth against a war has he made of it? Why, sir, he has stretched a Washington, and all his leading measures, from presses drag-net over the whole surface of perished pamphlets, South of New England. But I shall not look them up. indiscreet sermons, frothy paragraphs, and funing popu- I employ no scavengers; no one is in attendance on me, lar addresses; over whatever the pulpit, in its moments of tendering such means of retaliation; and if there were, alarm, the press in its beats, and parties in their extrava- with an ass's load on them, with a bulk as huge as that gance, have severally thrown off, in times of general ex- which the gentleman himself has produced, I would not citement and violence. He has thus swept together a touch one of them. I see enough of the violence of our mass of such things as, but that they are now old, the own times, to be no way anxious to rescue from forgetfulpublic health would have required him rather to leave in ness the extravagancies of times past. Besides, what is their state of dispersion. For a good long hour or two, all this to the present purpose? It has nothing to do with ve had the unbroken pleasure of listening to the honora- the public lands, in regard to which the attack was beble member, while he recited, with his usual grace and gun; and it has nothing to do with those sentiments and spirit
, and with evident high gusto, specches, pamphlets, opinions, which, I have thought, tend to disunion, and all addresses, and all the et cæterus of the political press, such of which the honorable member seems to have adopted as warm heads produce in warm times; and such as it himself, and undertaken to defend. New England bas, would be disconfiture,” indeed, for any one, whose at times, so argues the gentleman, held opinions as dantaste did not delight in that sort of reading, to be oblig-gerous as those which he now holds. Suppose this were ed to peruse at any time. This is his war. This it is to so; why should he, therefore, abuse New England? If carry the war into the enemy's country. It is in an inva- he finds himself countenanced by acts of hers, how is it sion of this sort, that he fatters himself with the expecta- that, while he relies on these acts, he covers, or seeks to tion of gaining laurels fit to adorn a Senator's brow. cover, their authors with reproach? But, sir, if, in the
I shall not [said Mr. W.]-it will, I trust, not be ex. course of forty years, there have been undue effervespected that I should, either now, or at any time--separate cences of party in New England, has the same thing hapthis farrago into parts, and examine and answer its com- pened no where else? Party animosity, and party out. ponents. I shall hardly bestow upon it all, a general re- rage, not in New England, but elsewhere, denounced mark or two. In the run of forty years, sir, under this President Washington, not only as a Federalist, but as a constitution, we have experienced sundry successive vio- Toy; a British agent; a man who, in his high office, sanclent party contests. Party arose, indeed, with the con- tioned corruption! But does the honorable member sup: stitution itself, and, in some form or other, has attended pose, that, if I had a tender here, who should put such it thro'ıgh the greater part of its history. Whether any oth- an effusion of wickedness and folly in my hand, that I er constitution than the old Articles of Confederation was would stand up and read it against the South? Parties desirable, was, itself, a question on which parties formed: ran into great heats, again, in 1799 and 1800. What was if a new constitution were framed, what powers should said, sir, or rather what was not said, in those years, be given to it, was another question; and, when it had against John Adams, one of the signers of the Declaration been formed, what was, in fact, the just extent of the of Independence, and its admitted ablest defender on the powers actually conferred, was a third. Parties, as we floor of Congress? If the gentleman wishes to increase know, existed under the first administration, as distinctly his stores of party abuse and frothy violence; if he has marked as those which manifested themselves at any sub- a determined proclivity to such pursuits; there are treasequent period. The contest immediately preceding the sures of that sort south of the Potomac, much to his taste, political change in 1801, and that, again, which existed at yet untouched: I shall not touch them. the commencement of the late war, are other instances of The parties which divided the country at the commenceparty excitemení, of something more than usual strength ment of the late war, were violent. But, then, there was
JAN. 27, 1830.]
Mr. Foot's Resolution.
violence on both sides, and violence in every State. Mintrovert it.
It is not, at present, worth the pains of refunorities and majorities were equally violent. There was tation; because, sir, if, at this day, any one feels the sin of no more violence against the war in New England, than federalism lying heavily on his conscience, he can easily ob. in other States; nor any more appearance of violence, tain remission. He may even have an indulgence, if he be except that, owing to a dense population, greater facility desirous of repeating the same transgression. It is an afof assembling, and more presses, there may have been fair of no difficulty to get into this same right line of pa. more in quantity, spoken and printed there, than in some triotic descent. A man, now-a-days, is at liberty to choose other places. In the article of sermons, too, New Eng- his political parentage. He may elect his own father. land is somewhat more abundant than South Carolina; Federalist, or not, he may, if he choose, claim to belong and, for that reason, the chance of finding here and there to the favored stock, and his claim will be allowed. He an exceptionable one, may be greater. I bope, too, there may carry back his pretensions just as far as the honorable are more good ones. Opposition may have been more gentleman himself; nay, he may make himself out the formidable in New England, as it embraced a larger por- honorable gentleman's own cousin, and prove, satisfactorition of the whole population; but it was no more unre- ly, that he is descended from the same political great grandstrained in its principles, or violent in manner. The mi- father. All this is allowable. We all know a process, sir, norities dealt quite as harshly with their own State Go- by which the whole Essex Junto could, in one hour, be Fernments as the majorities dealt with the administration all washed white from their ancient federalism, and come here. There were presses on both sides, popular meet-out, every one of them, an original democrat, dyed in the ings on both sides, ay, and pulpits on both sides, also. wool! Some of them have actually undergone the operaThe gentleman's purveyors have only catered for him tion, and they say it is quite easy. The only inconvenience among the productions of one side. I certainly shall not it occasions, as they tell us, is a slight tendency of the supply the deficiency by furnishing samples of the other. blood to the face, a soft suffusion, which however is very I leave to him, and to them, the whole concern.
transient, since nothing is said by those whom they join, It is enough for me to say, that if, in any part of this, calculated to deepen tle red on the cheek, but a prudent their grateful occupation; it, in all their researches, they silence observed in regard to all the past. Indeed, sir, find any thing in the history of Massachusetts, or New some smiles of approbation have been bestowed, and England, or in the proceedings of any legislature, or some crumbs of comfort have fallen, not a thousand miles other public body, disloyal to the Union, speaking slightly from the door of the Hartford Convention itself. And if of its value, proposing to break it up, or recommending the author of the ordinance of 1787 possessed the other non-intercourse with neighboring States, on account of requisite qualifications, there is no knowing, notwithdifference of political opinion, then, sir, I give them all standing his federalism, to what hcights of favor he might up to the honorable gentleman's unrestrained rebuke; ex- not yet attain. pecting, however, that he will extend his buffetings, in In carrying his warfare, such as it was, into New Eng. like manner, to all similar proceedings, wherever else to land, the honorable gentleman all along professes to be act. be found.
ing on the defensive. He elects to consider me as having The gentleman, sir, has spoken at large of former par- assailed South Carolina, and insists that he comes forth ties, now no longer in being, by their received appellations, only as her champion, and in her defence. Sir, [said Mr. and has undertaken to instruct us, not only in the know. w.] I do not admit that I made any attack whatever on ledge of their principles, but of their respective pedigrees South Carolina. Nothing like it. The honorable member, also. He has ascended to the origin, and run out their in his first speech, expressed opinions in regard to revegenealogies. With most exemplary modesty, he speaks nue, and some other topics, which I heard both with pain of the party to which he professes to have belonged him- and with surprise. I told the gentleman that I was aware self, as the true pure, the only honest, patriotic party, de- that such sentiments were entertained out of the Governrived by regular descent, from father to son, from the ment, but had not expected to tind them advanced in it; time of the virtuous Romans! Spreading before us that I knew there were persons in the South who speak the family tree of political parties, he takes especial of our Union with indifference, or doubt, taking pains to
to show himself snugly perched on a popular magnify its evils, and to say nothing of its benefits; that bough! He is wakeful to the expediency of adopting the honorable member himself, I was sure, could never such rules of descent as shall bring him in, in exclusion of be one of these; and I regretted the expression of such others, as an heir to the inheritance of all public virtue, opinions as he had avowed, because I thought their obvi. and all true political principles. His party, and his ous tendency was to encourage feelings of disrespect to opinions, are sure to be orthodox; heterodoxy is confined the Union, and to weaken its connexion. This, sir, is the to his opponents. He spoke, sir, of the federalists, and I sum and substance of all I said on the subject. And this conthought I saw some eyes begin to open and stare a little, stitutes the attack which called on the chivalry of the genilewhen he ventured on that ground. I expected he would man, in his opinion, to harry us with such a foray, among draw lsis sketches rather lightly, when he looked on the the party pamphlets and party proceedings of Massachucircle round him, and especially if he should cast his setts! if he means that I spoke with dissatisfaction or disthoughts to the high places out of the Senate. Never- respect of the ebullitions of individuals in South Carolina, theless, he went back to Rome, ad annum urbe condita, it is true. But, if he means that I had assailed the characand found the fathers of the federalsits in the primeral ter of the State, her honor, or patriotism; that I had rearistocrats of that renowned empire! Ile traced the flow fiected on her history or her conduct; he had not the of federal blood down, through successive ages and cen- slightest ground for any such assumption. I did not even turies, till he brought it into the veins of the American refer, I think, in my oliservations, to any collection of intor.es, (of whom, by the way, there were twenty in the dividuals. I said nothing of the recent conventions. I Carolinas for one in Massachusetts.) From the tories, spoke in the most guarded and careful manner, and cnly he followed it to the federalists: and as the federal party expressed my regret for the publication of opinions which was broken up, and there was no possibility of transmit- I presumed the lionorable member disapproved as much ting it further on this side of the Atlantic, he seems to have as self. In this it scems I was mistake). I do not rediscovered that it has gone off, collaterally, though against member that the gentleman has disclaimed any sentiment, all the canons of descent, into the ultras of France, and or any opinion, of a supposed anti-union tendency, which finally become extinguished, like exploded gas, among the on all, or any of the recenť occasions, has been expressed.. adherents of Don Miguel! This, sir, is an abstract of the The whole drift of luis speech has been rather to prove gentleman's history of federalism. I am not about to con- that, in divers times and manners, sentiments equally lia
[Jan. 27, 1830. ble to my objection have been promulgated in New Eng-whole country; and their renown is of the treasures of the land. And one would suppose that his object, in this whole country. Him, whose honored name the gentle. reference to Massachusetts, was to find a precedent to jus- man himself bears--does he suppose me less capable of tify proceedings in the South, were it not for the reproach gratitude for his patriotism, or sympathy for bis sufferings, and contumely with which he labors, all along, to load these, than if his eyes had first opened upon the light in Massahis own chosen precedents. By way of defending South chusetts, instead of South Carolina? Sir, does he suppose Carolina from what he chooses to think an attack on her, it in his power to exhibit a Carolina name so bright as to he first quotes the example of Massachusetts, and then produce envy in my bosom? No, sir, increased gratificadenounces that example in good set terms. This two-folation and delight, rather. Sir, I thank God that, if I am purpose, not very consistent with itself, one would think, was gifted with little of the spirit which is able to raise mortals exhibited more than once in the course of his speech. He to the skies, I have yet none, as I trust, of that other spirit, referred, for instance, to the Hartford Convention. Did which would drag angels down. When I shall be found, he do this for authority, or for a topic of reproach? Ap- sir, in my place, here in the Senate, or elsewhere, to sneer parently for both: for he told us that he should find no at public merit, because it happened to spring up beyond fault with the mere fact of holding such a convention, and the little limits of my own State or neighborhood; when I considering and discussing such questions as he supposes refuse, for any such cause, or for any cause, the homage were then and there discussed: but what rendered it due to American talent, to elevated patriotism, to sincere obnoxious was the time in which it was holden, and the devotion to liberty and the country; or if I see an uncom. circumstances of the country, then existing. We were in mon endowment of heaven--if I see extraordinary capaciwar, he said, and the country needed all our aid; the ty and virtue in any son of the South-and if, moved by hand of Government required to be strengthened, not local prejudice, or gangrened by State jealousy, I get up weakened; and patriotism should have postponed such here to abate the tithe of a hair from his just character and proceedings to another day. The thing itself, then, is a pre- just fame, may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth! cedent; the time and manner of it only, a subject of cen Sir, let me recur to pleasing recollections; let me insure. Now, sir, I go much further, on this point, than the dulge in refreshing remembrance of the past; let me rehonorable menuber. Supposing, as the gentleman seems mind you that, in early times, no States cherished greater to, that the Hartford Convention assembled for any such harmony, both of principle and fecling, than Massachupurpose as breaking up the Union, because they thought setts and South Carolina. Would to God, that harmony unconstitutional laws had been passed, or to consult on might again return! Shoulder to shoulder they went that subject, or to calculate the value of the Union; sup- through the Revolution--hand in hand they stood round posing this to be their purpose, or any part of it, then I the administration of Washington, and felt his own great say the mecting itself was disloyal, and was obnoxious to arm lean on them for support. Unkind feeling, if it es. censure, whether held in time of peace or time of war, or un- ist; alienation and distrust are the growth, unnatural to der whatever circumstances. The material question is the such soils, of false principles since sown. They are weeds, object. Is dissolution the object? If it be, external circum- the seeds of which that same great arm never scattered. stances may make it a more or less aggravate.l case, but can I shall enter on no encomiums upon Massachusetts; not affect the principle. I do not hold, therefore, sir, that she needs none. There she is; behold her, and judge the Hartford Convention was pardonable, even to the ex- for yourselves. There is her history; the world knows tent of the gentleman's admission, if its objects were really it by heart. The past, at least, is secure. There is such as have been imputed to it. Sir, there never was a Boston, and Concord, and Lexington, and Bunker Hill; time, under any degree of excitement, in which the Hart- and there they will remain forever. The bones of her ford Convention, or any other convention, could maintain sons, fallen in the great struggle for Independence, now itselfone moment in New England, if assembled for any such lie mingled with the soil of every State, from New Eng.
tleman says would have been an allowa- land to Gcorgia; and there they will lie forever. And, ble purpose.
To hold conventions to decide ques. sir, where American liberty raised its infant voice; and tions of constitutional law! To try the binding validity of where its youth was nurtured and sustained: there it still statutes, by votes in a convention! Sir, the Hartford lives, in the strength of its manhood, and full of its origiConvention, I presume, would not desire that the honora- nal spirit. If discord and disunion shall wound it; if par. ble gentleman should be their defender or advocate, if ty strife and blind ambition shall hawk at and tearit; if folly he puts their case upon such untenable and extravagant and madness; if uneasiness, under salutary and necessary grounds.
restraint, shall succeed to separate it from that Union, by Then, sir, the gentleman has no fault to find with these which alone its existence is made sure, it will stand, in the recently promulgated South Carolina opinions. And, end, by the side of that cradle in which its infancy was certainly, he need have none: for his own sentiments, as rocked; it will stretch forth its arm, with whatever of vinow advanced, and advanced on reflection, as far as I have gor it may still retain, over the friends who may gather been able to comprehend them, go the full length of all round it; and it will fall at last, if fall it must, amidst the these opinions. I propose, sir, to say something on these, proudest monuments of its own glory, and on the very spot and to consider how far they are just and constitutional. of its origin. Before doing that, however, let me observe, that the There yet remains to be performed, (said Mr. W.] by eulogium pronounced on the character of the State of far the most grave and important duty, which I feel to be South Carolina, by the honorable gentleman, for her re- devolved on me, by this occasion. It is to state, and to volutionary and other merits, meets niy hearty concur- defend, what I conceive to be the true principles of the
I shall not acknowledge that the honorable mem- constitution under which we are here assembled. I might ber goes before me in regard for whatever of distinguish. well have desired that so weighty a task should have fallen ed talent, or distinguished character, South Carolina has into other and abler hands. I could have wished that it produced. I claim part of the honor, I partake in the should have been executed by those, whose character and pride of her great n:imes. I claim them for countrymen, experience give weight and influence to their opinions, one and all. The Laurenses, the Rutledges, the Pinck- such as cannot possibly belong to mine. But, sir, I have neys, the Sumpters, the Marions-Americans all--whose met the occasion, not sought it; and I shall proceed to state fame is no more to be hemmed in by State lines, than my own sentiments, without challenging for them any their talents and patriotism were capable of being circum-particular regard, with studied plainness, and as much prescribed within the same narrow limits. In their day and cision as possible. generation, they served and honored the country, and the I understand the honorable gentleman from South Caro
purpose as the
Jan. 27, 1830.]
Mr. Foot's Resolution.
lina to maintain, that it is a right of the State Legislatures to consider what is the fair interpretation of that resolution to interfere, whenever, in their judgment, this Government to which Mr. Madison is understood to have given his sanctranscends its constitutional limits, and to arrest the opera- tion. As the gentleman construes it, it is an authority for tion of its laws.
him. Possibly, he may not have adopted the right conI understand him to maintain this right, as a right exist-struction. That resolution declares, that, in the case of ing under the constitution; not as a right to overthrow it, the dangerous exercise of powers not granted to the on the ground of extreme necessity, such as would justify General Government, the States may interpose to arrest violent revolution.
the progress of the evil. But how interpose, and what I understand him to maintain an authority, on the part does this declaration purport? Does it mean no more than of the States, thus to interfere, for the purpose of correct that there may be extreme cases, in which the people, in ing the exercise of power by the General Government, of any mode of assembling, may resist usurpation, and rechecking it, and of compelling it to conform to their opi- lieve themselves from a tyrannical government? No one nion of the extent of its powers.
will deny this. Such resistance is not only acknowledged I understand him to maintain that the ultimate power of to be just in America, but in England, also. Blackstone judging of the constitutional extent of its own authority admits as much, in his theory, and practice, too, of the is not lodged exclusively in the General Government, or English constitution. We, sir, who oppose the Carolina any branch of it; but that, on the contrary, the States may doctrine, do not deny that the people may, if they choose, lawfully decide for themselves, and each State for itself, throw off any government when it becomes oppressive whether, in a given case, the act of the General Govern- and intolerable, and erect a better in its stead. We all ment transcends its power.
know that civil institutions are established for the public I understand him to insist that, if the exigency of the benefit, and that, when they cease to answer the ends of case, in the opinion of any State Government, require it, their existence, they may be changed. But I do not unsuch State Government may, by its own sovereign authority, derstand the doctrine now contended for to be that which, annul an act of the General Government, which it deems for the sake of distinctness, we may call the right of replainly and palpably unconstitutional.
volution. I understand the gentleman to maintain, that, This is the sum of what I understand from him to be the without revolution, without civil commotion, without re. South Carolina doctrine; and the doctrine which he main- bellion, a remedy for supposed abuse and transgression of tains. I propose to consider it, and to compare it with the the powers of the General Government lies in a direct constitution. Allow me to say, as a preliminary remark, appeal to the interference of the State Governments. (Mr. that I call this the South Carolina doctrine, only because HAYNE here rose: He did not contend, he said, for the the gentleman himself has so denominated it. I do not mere right of revolution, but for the right of constitution. feel at liberty to say that South Carolina, as a State, has al resistance. What he maintained was, that, in case of ever advanced these sentiments. I hope she has not, and plain, palpable violation of the constitution, by the Genenever may: That a great majority of her people are op- ral Government, a State may interpose; and that this interposed to the tariff laws is doubtless true. That a majority, position is constitutional.] Mr. W. resumed: So, sir, I somewhat less than that just mentioned, conscientiously be understood the gentleman, and am happy to find that I lieve those laws unconstitutional, may probably also be true. did not misunderstand him. What he contends for, is, But, that any majority holds to the right of direct State that it is constitutional to interrupt the administration of the interference, at State discretion, the right of nullyfying constitution itself, in the hands of those who are chosen acts of Congress by acts of State legislation, is more than and sworn to administer it, by the direct interference, in I know, and what I shall be slow to believe.
form of law, of the States, in virtue of their sovereign That there are individuals, besides the honorable gen- capacity. The inherent right in the people to reform tleman, who do maintain these opinions, is quite certain. 1 their government, I do not deny; and they have another recollect the recent expression of a sentiment, which cir- right, and that is, to resist unconstitutional laws, without cumstances attending its utterance and publication justify overturning the Government. It is no doctrine of mine, us in supposing was not unpremeditated. “The sove- that unconstitutional laws bind the people. The great reignty of the State-never to be controlled, construed, question is, whose prerogative is it to decide on the conor decided on, but by her own feelings of honorable jus-stitutionality or unconstitutionality of the laws? On that,
the main debate hinges. The proposition, that, in case [Mr. HAYNE here rose, and said that, for the purpose of of a supposed violation of the constitution by Congress, being clearly understood, he would state, that his propo- the States have a constitutional right to interfere, and ansition was in the words of the Virginia resolution, as follows: nul the law of Congress, is the proposition of the gentle
“That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily man: I do not admit it. If the gentleman had intended declare, that it views the powers of the Federal Govern- no more than to assert the right of revolution, for justifiament as resulting from the compact, to which the States ble cause, he would have said only what all agree to. But are parties, as limited by the plain sense and intention of I cannot conceive that there can be a middle course, bethe instrument constituting that compact, as no farther tween submission to the laws, when regularly pronounced valid than they are authorized by the grants enumerated constitutional, on the one hand, and open resistance, which in that compact; and that, in case of a deliberate, palpable, is revolution, or rebellion, on the other. I say, the right and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by of a State to annul a law of Congress, cannot be maintainthe said compact, the States who are parties thereto have ed but on the ground of the unalienable right of man the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose, for arrest. to resist oppression; that is to say, upon the ground ing the progress of the evil, and for maintaining, within of revolution. I admit that there is an ultimate violent retheir respective limits, the authorities, rights, and liber- medy, above the constitution, and in defiar.ce of the conties, appertaining to them.”]
stitution, which may be resorted to, when a revolution is Mr. WEBSTER resumed: I am quite aware of the exist- to be justified. But I do not admit that, under the conence ofthe resolution which the gentleman read, and has now stitution, and in conformity with it, there is any mode în repeated, and that he relies on it as bis authority. I know the which a State Government, as a member of the Union, can source, too, from which it is understood to have proceeded. interfere and stop the progress of the General Govern. I need not say that I have much respect for the constitution- ment, by force of her own laws, under any circumstances al opinions of Mr. Madison; they would weigh greatly with whatever. me, always. But, before the authority of his opinion be This leads us to inquire into the origin of this Governvouched for the gentleman's proposition, it will be proper ment, and the source of its power. Whose agent is it? Is
Mr. Foot's Resolution.
[Jan. 27, 1830.
it the creature of the State Legislatures, or the creature ed majority, wielding the General Government beyond the of the people? If the Government of the United States limits of its delegated powers, as calls upon the States be the agent of the State Governments, then they may which compose the suffering minority, in their sovereign control it, provided they can agree in the manner of con- capacity, to exercise the powers which, as sovereigns, netrolling it; if it be the agent of the people, then the peo- cessarily devolve upon them, when their compact is ple alone can control it, restrain it, modify, or reform it. violated.” it is observable enough, that the doctrine for which the Observe, sir, that this resolution holds the tariff of 1828, honorable gentleman contends leads him to the necessity and every other tariff, designed to promote one branch of of maintaining, not only that this General Government is industry at the expense of another, to be such a dangerthe creature of the States, but that it is the creature of ous, palpable, and deliberate vsurpation of power, as calls each of the States, severally; so that each may assert the upon the States, in their sovereign capacity, to interfere power, for itself, of determining whether it acts within by their own authority: This denunciation, you will the limits of its authority. It is the servant of four and please to observe, includes our old tariff, of 1816, as well twenty masters, of different wills and different purposes, as all others; because that was established to promote the and yet bound to obey all. This absurdity (for it seems interest of the manufacturers of cotton, to the manifest and no less) arises from a misconception as to the origin of this admitted injury of the Calcutta cotton trade. Observe Government in its true character. It is, sir, the people’s again, that all the qualifications are here rehearsed and constitution, the people's Government; made for the peo-charged upon the tariff, which are necessary to bring the ple; made by the people; and answerable to the people. case within the gentleman's proposition. The tarifi' is a The people of the United States have declared that this usurpation; it is a dangerous usurpation; it is a palpable constitution shall be the supreme law. We must either usurpation; it is a deliberate usurpation. It is such a usuradmit the proposition, or dispute their authority. The pation, therefore, as calls upon the States to exercise their States are, unquestionably, sovereign, so far as their sove- right of interference. Here is a case, then, within the reignty is not affected by this supreme law. But the State gentleman's principles, and all his qualifications of his Legislatures, as political bodies, however sovereign, are principles. It is a case for action. The constitution is yet not sovereign over the people. So far as the people plainly, dangerously, palpably, and deliberately violated; have given power to the General Government, so far the and the States must interpose their own authority to arrest grant is unquestionably good, and the Government holds the law. Let us suppose the State of South Carolina to of the people, and not of the State Governments. We express this same opinion, by the voice of her Legislature. are all agents of the same supreme power, the people. That would be very imposing; but wbat then. Is the voice The General Government and the State Governments de- of one State conclusive? It so happens that, at the very rive their authority from the same source. Neither can, moment when South Carolina resolves that the tariff laws in relation to the other, be called primary, though one is are unconstitutional, Pennsylvania and Kentucky resolve definite and restricted, and the other general and residua- exactly the reverse. They hold those laws to be both ry. The National Government possesses those powers highly proper and strictly constitutional. And now, sir, which it can be shown the people have conferred on it, how does the honorable member propose to deal with this and no more. All the rest belongs to the State Govern- case? How does he relieve us from this difficulty, upon ments or to the people themselves. So far as the people any principle of his? His construction gets us into it; how have restrained State sovereignty, by the expression of does be propose to get us out? their will, in the constitution of the United States, so far, In Carolina, the tariff is a palpable, deliberate usurpait must be admitted, State sovereignty is effectually con- tion; Carolina, therefore, may nullify it, and refuse to pay trolled. I do not contend that it is, or ought to be, con- the duties. In Pennsylvania, it is both clearly constitutrolled farther. The sentiment to which I have referred, tional, and highly expedient; and there, the duties are to propounds that State sovereignty is only to be controlled be paid. And yet we live under a Government of uniby its own “feeling of justice;" that is to say, that it is form laws, and under a constitution, too, which contains not to be controlled at all: for one who is to follow his own an express provision, as it happens, that all duties sball be feelings is under no legal control. Now, however men equal in all the States! Does not this approach absurdity? may think this ought to be, the fact is, that the people of If there be no power to settle such questions, indethe United States have chosen to impose control on State pendent of either of the States, is not the whole Union a sovereignties. There are those, doubtless, who wish they l'ope of sand? Are we not thrown back again, precisely had been left without restraint; but the constitution has upon the old Confederation? ordered the matter differently. To make war, for instance, It is too plain to be argued. Four and twenty interis an exercise of sovereignty; but the constitution declares preters of constitutional law, each with a power to decide that no State shall make war. To coin money is another for itself, and none with authority to bind any body else, exercise of sovereign power; but no State is at liberty to and this constitutional law the only bond of their union! coin money. Again, the constitution says that no sove. What is such a state of things, but a mere connexion reign State shall be so sovereign as to make a treaty: These during pleasure; or, to use the phrascology of the times, prohibitions, it must be confessed, are a control on the during feeling? And that feeling, too, not the feeling of State sovereignty of South Carolina, as well as of the other the people who established the constitution, but the States, which does not arise “ from her own feelings of feeling of the State Governments, honorable justice." Such an opinion, therefore, is in de In another of the South Carolina addresses, having prefiance of the plainest provisions of the constitution. mised that the crisis requires "all the concentrated energy
There are other proceedings of public bodies which of passion,” an attitude of open resistance to the laws of have already been alluded to, and to which I refer again, the Union is advised. Open resistance to the laws, then, for the purpose of ascertaining more fully what is the is the constitutional remedy, the conservative power of length and breadth of that doctrine, denominated the Ca- the State, which the South Carolina doctrines teach, for rolina doctrine, which the honorable gentleman has now the redress of political evils, real or imaginary And its stood up on this floor to maintain. In one of them I find authors further say, that, appealing with confidence to the it resolved, that "the tariff of 1828, and every other tarifi constitution itself, to justify their opinions, they cannot designed to promote one branch of industry at the ex- consent to try their accuracy by the courts of justice. In pense of others, is contrary to the meaning and intention one sense, indeed, sir, (said Mr. w.) th s is assuming an at. of the Federal compact; and, as such, a dangerous, pal- titude of open resistance in favor of liberty. But what pable, and deliberate usurpation of power, by a determin- sort of liberty? The liberty of establishing their own