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offence against sovereignty, and sovereignty must reside with the power to punish it. But the reserved rights of the states are not less sacred because they have for their common interest made the general government the depository of these powers. The unity of our political character (as has been shown for another purpose) commenced with its very existence. Under the royal government we had no separate character; our opposition to its oppressions began as United Colonies. We were the United States under the confederation, and the name was perpetuated and the union rendered more perfect by the federal constitution. In none of these stages did we consider ourselves in any other light than as forming one nation. Treaties and alliances were made in the name of all. Troops were raised for the joint defence. How, then, with all these proofs, that under all changes of our position we had, for designated purposes, and with defined powers, created national governments; how is it that the most perfect of those several modes of union, should now be considered as a mere league that
may be dissolved at pleasure? It is from an abuse of terms. Compact is used as synonymous with league, although the true term is not employed, because it would at once show the fallacy of the reasoning. It would not do to say that our constitution was only a league, but, it is labored to prove it a compact, (which in one sense it is,) and then to argue that as a league is a compact, every compact between nations must of course be a league, and that from such an engagement every sovereign power has a right to recede But it has been shown, that in this sense the states are not sovereign, and that even if they were, and the national constitution had been formed by compact, there would be no right in any one state to exonerate itself from its obligations.
So obvious are the reasons which forbid this secession, that it is necessary only to allude to them. The union was formed for the benefit of all. It was produced by mutual sacrifices of interests and opinions. Can those sacrifices be recalled? Can the states who magnanimously surrendered their title to the territories of the west, recall the grant? Will the inhabitants of the inland states agree to pay
the duties that
be imposed without their assent by those on the Atlantic or the Gulf, for their own benefit ? Shall there be a free port in one state and onerous duties in another? No one believes that any right exists in a single state to involve all the others in these and countless other evils contrary to engagements solemnly made. Every one must see that the other states, in self-defence, must oppose it at all hazards.
These are the alternatives that are presented by the convention : a repeal of all the acts for raising revenue, leaving the government without the means of support; or an acquiescence in the dissolution of our Union by the secession of one of its members. When the first was proposed, it was known that it could not be listened to for a moment. It was known if force was applied to oppose the execution of the laws that it inust be Tepelled by force—that Congress could not, without involving itself in disgrace and the country in ruin, accede to the proposition: and yet if this is not done in a given day, or if any attempt is made to execute the laws, the state is, by the ordinance, declared to be out of the Union. The majority of a convention assembled for the purpose, have dictated these terms, or rather its rejection of all terms, in the name of the people of South Carolina. It is true that the governor of the state speaks of the submission of their grievances to a convention of all the states; which
he says they “ sincerely and anxiously seek and desire." Yet this obvious and constitutional mode of obtaining the sense of the other states on the construction of the federal compact, and amending it if necessary, has never been attempted by those who have urged the state on to this destructive measure. The state might have proposed the call for a general convention to the other states: and Congress, if a sufficient number of them concurred, must have called it. But the first magistrate of South Carolina, when he expressed a hope that, “ on a review by Congress and the functionaries of the general government of the merits of the controversy,” such a convention will be accorded to them, must have known that neither Congress nor any functionary of the general government has authority to call such a convention, unless it be demanded by two-thirds of the states. This suggestion, then, is another instance of the reckless inattention to the provision of the constitution with which this crisis bas been madly hurried on; or of the attempt to persuade the people that a constitutional remedy had been sought and refused. If the legislature of South Carolina “ anxiously desire" a general convention to consider their complaints, why have they not made application for it in the way the constitution points out? The assertion that ihey "earnestly seek” it is completely negatived by the omission.
This, then, is the position in which we stand. A small majority of the citizens of one state in the Union have elected delegates to a state convention; that convention has ordained that all the revenue laws of the United States must be repealed, or that they are no longer a member of the Union. The governor of that state has recommended to the legislature the raising of an army to carry the secession into effect, and that he may be empow. ered to give clearances to vessels in the name of the state. No act of violent opposition to the laws has yet been coinmitted, but such a state of things is hourly apprehended; and it is the intent of this instrument to PROCLAIM not only that the duty imposed on me by the constitution “ to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” shall be performed to the extent of the powers already vested in me by law, or of such otbers as the wisdom of Congress shall devise and entrust to me for that purpose; but to warn the citizens of South Carolina, who have been deluded into an opposition to the laws, of the danger they will incur by obedience to the illegal and disorganizing ordinance of the convention—to exhort those who have refused to support it to persevere in their determination to uphold the constitution and the laws of their country—and to point out to all, the perilous situation into which the good people of that state have been led, -and that the course they are urged to pursue is one of ruin and disgrace to the very state whose rights they affect to support.
Fellow citizens of my native state !—let me not only admonish you, as the first magistrate of our common country, not to incur the penalty of its laws, but use the influence that a father would over his children whom he saw rushing to certain ruin. In that paternal language, with that paternal feeling, let me tell you, my countrymen, that you are deluded by men who are either deceived themselves or wish to deceive you. Mark under what pretences you have been led on to the brink of insurrection and treason, on which you stand! First a diminution of the value of your staple commodity, lowered by over production in other quarters, and the consequent diminution in the value of your lands, were the sole effect of the tariff laws. The effect of those laws was confessedly injurious, but the evil was greatly
exaggerated by the unfounded theory you were taught to believe, that its burdens were in proportion to your exports, not to your consumption of imported articles. Your pride was roused by the assertion that a submission to those laws was a state of vassalage, and that resistance to them was equal, in patriotic merit, to the opposition our fathers offered to the oppressive laws of Great Britain. You were told that this opposition might be peaceably—might be constitutionally made—that you might enjoy all the advantages of the Union, and bear none of its burthens. Eloquent appeals to your passions, to your state pride, to your native courage, to your sense of real injury, were used to prepare you for the period when the mask which concealed the hideous features of DISUNION should be taken off. It fell, and you were made to look with complacency on objects which not long since you would have regarded with horror. Look back at the arts which have brought you to this state— look forward to the consequences to which it must inevitably lead! Look back to what was first told you as an inducement to enter into this dangerous course. The great political truth was repeated to you, that you had the revolutionary right of resisting all laws that were palpably unconstitutional and intolerably oppressiveit was added that the right to nullify a law rested on the same principle, but that it was a peaceable remedy! This character which was given to it, made you receive with too much confidence the assertions that were made of the unconstitutionality of the law and its oppressive effects. Mark, my fellow citizens, that by the admission of your leaders the unconstitutionality must be palpable, or it will not justify either resistance or nullification! What is the meaning of the word palpable in the sense in which it is here used ?—that which is apparent to every one, that which no man of ordinary intellect will fail to perceive. Is the unconstitutionality of these laws of that description ? Let those among your leaders who once approved and advocated the principle of protective duties, answer the ques
and let them choose whether they will be considered as incapable, then, of perceiving that which must have been apparent to every man of common understanding, or as imposing upon your confidence and endeavoring to mislead you now. In either case, they are unsafe guides in the perilous path they urge you to tread. Ponder well on this circunstance, and you will know how to appreciate the exaggerated language they address to you. They are not champions of liberty emulating the fame of our Revolutionary fathers, nor are you an oppressed people contending, as they repeat to you, against worse than colonial vassalage.
You are free members of a flourishing and happy Union. There is no settled design to oppress you. You have indeed felt the unequal operation of laws which may have been unwisely, not unconstitutionally passed, but that inequality must necessarily be removed. At the very moment when you were madly urged on the unfortunate course you have begun, a change in public opinion had commenced. The nearly approaching pay. ment of the public debt, and the consequent necessity of a diminution of duties, had already produced a considerable reduction, and that too on some articles of general consumption in your state. The importance of this change was understood, and you were authoritatively told that no further alleviation of your burthens was to be expected at the very time when the condition of the country imperiously demanded such a modification of the duties as should reduce them to a just and equitable scale. But, as if apprehensive of the effect of this change, in allaying your discontents, you were precipitated into the fearful state in which you now find yourselves,
I have urged you to look back to the means that were used to hurry you on to the position you have now assumed, and forward to the consequences it will produce. Something more is necessary. Contemplate the condition of that country of which you still form an important part !consider its government uniting in one bond of common interest and general protection so many different states-giving to all their inhabitants the proud title of American citizens-protecting their commerce-securing their literature and their arts-facilitating their intercommunicationdefending their frontiers—and making their names respected in the remotest parts of the earth! Consider the extent of its territory, its increasing and happy population, its advance in arts, which render life agreeable, and the sciences which elevate the mind! See education spreading the lights of religion, humanity, and general information into every cottage in this wide extent of our territories and states ! Behold it as the asyluin where the wretched and the oppressed find a refuge and support! Look on this picture of happiness and honor, and say, WE, TOO, ARE CITIZENS OF AMERICA 1-Carolina is one of these proud states; her arms have defended-her best blood has cemented this happy union! And then add, if you can, without horror and remorse, this happy Union we will dissolve—this picture of peace and prosperity we will deface—this free intercourse we will interrupt—these fertile fields we will deluge with bloodthe protection of that glorious flag we renounce—the very name of Americans we discard. And for what, mistaken men ! for what do you
throw away these inestimable blessings—for what would you exchange your share in the advantages and honor of the Union ? For the dream of a separate independence-a dream interrupted by bloody conflicts with your neighbors, and a vile dependence on foreign power. If your leaders could succeed in establishing a separation, what would be your situation? Are you united at home—are you free from the apprehension of civil discord, with all its fearful consequences? Do our neighboring republics, every day suffering some new revolution or contending with some new insurrectiondo they excite your envy? But the dictates of a high duty oblige me solemnly to announce that you cannot succeed. The laws of the United States must be executed. I have no discretionary power on the subject-my duty is emphatically pronounced in the constitution. Those who told you that you might peaceably prevent their execution, deceived you—they could not have been deceived themselves. They know that a forcible opposition could alone prevent the execution of the law's, and they know that such opposition must be repelled. Their object is disunion : but be not deceived by names : disunion, by armed force, is treason. Are you really ready to incur its guilt? If you are, on the heads of the instigators of the act be the dreadful conse quences—on their heads be the dishonor, but on yours may fall the punishment--on your unhappy state will inevitably fall all the evils of the conflict you force upon
government of your country. It cannot accede to the mad project of disunion, of which you would be the first victims—its first magistrate cannot, if he would, avoid the performance of his duty—the consequence must be fearful for you, distressing to your fellow citizens here, and to the friends of good government throughout the world. Its enemies have beheld our prosperity with a vexation they could not conceal—it was a standing refutation of their slavish doctrines, and they will point to our discord with the triumph of malignant joy. It is yet in your power to disappoint them. There is yet time to show that the descendants of the Pinck
neys, the Sumpters, the Rutledges, and of the thousand other names which adorn the pages of your revolutionary history, will not abandon that Union, to support which so many of them fought and bled and died. I adjure you, as you honor their memory—as you love the cause of freedom, to which they dedicated their lives—as you prize the peace of your country, the lives of its best citizens, and your own fair fame, to retrace your steps. Snatch from the archives of your state the disorganizing edict of its convention-bid its members to re-assemble and promulgate the decided expressions of your will to remain in the path which alone can conduct you to safety, prosperity, and honor—tell them that, compared to disunion, all other evils are light, because that brings with it an accumulation of all—declare that you will never take the field unless the star-spangled banner of your country shall float over you—that you will not be stigmatized when dead, and dishonored and scorned while you live, as the authors of the first attack on the constitution of your country! Its destroyers you cannot be. You may disturb its peace--you may interrupt the course of its prosperity—you may cloud its reputation for stability—but its tranquillity will be restored, its prosperity will return, and the stain upon its national character will be transferred and remain an eternal blot on the memory of those who caused the disorder.
Fellow citizens of the United States ! The threat of unhallowed disunion, the names of those, once respected, by whom it was uttered—the array of military force to support it—denote the approach of a crisis in our affairs on which the continuance of our unexampled prosperity, our political existence, and perhaps that of all free governments, may depend. The conjuncture demanded a free, a full and explicit enunciation, not only of my intentions, but of my principles of action; and as the claim was asserted of a right by a state to annul the laws of the Union, and even to secede from it at pleasure, a frank exposition of my opinions in relation to the origin and form of our government, and the construction I give to the instrument by which it was created, seemed to be proper. Having the fullest confidence in the justness of the legal and constitutional opinion of my duties which has been expressed, I rely with equal confidence on your undivided support in my determination to execute the laws to preserve the union by all constitutional means—to arrest, if possible, by moderate but firm measures, the necessity of a recourse to force: and if it be the will of Heaven that the recurrence of its primeval curse on man for the shedding of a brother's blood should fall upon our land, that it be not called down by any offensive act on the part of the United States.
Fellow citizens! The momentous case is before you. On your undi. vided support of your government depends the decision of the great question it involves, whether your sacred Union will be preserved, and the blessing it secures to us as one people shall be perpetuated. No one can doubt that the unanimity with which that decision will be expressed, will be such as to inspire new confidence in republican institutions, and that the prudence, the wisdom and the courage which it will bring to their defence, will transmit them unimpaired and invigorated to our children.
May the great Ruler of nations grant that the signal blessings with wbich He has favored ours, may not by the madness of party or personal ambition be disregarded and lost: and may His wise Providence bring those who have produced this crisis, to see the folly before they feel the misery of civil strife: and inspire a returning veneration for that Union which, if we may dare to penetrate His designs, he has chosen as the only means of attaining the high destinies to which we may reasonably aspire.