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thereof, respectively, have bound themselves to each other, and to the federal government, and by which the federal government is bound to the several states, and to every citizen of the United States.” To this compact, in whatever mode it may have been done, the people of South Carolina have freely and voluntarily given their assent; and to the whole and every part of it they are, upon every principle of good faith, inviolably bound. Under this obligation they are bound, and should be required, to contribute their portion of the public expense, and to submit to all laws made by the common consent, in pursuance of the constitution, for the common defence and general welfare, until they can be changed in the mode which the compact has provided for the attainment of those great ends of the government and of ihe Union. Nothing less than causes which would justify revolutionary remedy can absolve the people from this obligation; and for nothing less can the government permit it to be done without violating its own obligations, by which, under the compact, it is bound to the other states, and to every citizen of the United States.
These deductions plainly flow from the nature of the federal compact, which is one of limitations, not only upon the powers originally possessed by the parties thereto, but also upon those conferred on the government, and every department thereof. It will be freely conceded that by the principles of our system, all power is vested in the people; but to be exercised in the mode, and subject to the checks, which the people themselves have prescribed. These checks are, undoubtedly, only different modifications of the same great popular principle which lies at the foundation of the whole, but are not, on that account, to be less regarded or less obligatory.
Upon the power of Congress, the veto of the executive, and the authority of the judiciary, which is to extend to all cases in law and equity arising under the constitution and laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof, are the obvious checks; and the sound action of public opinion, with the ultimate power of amendment, are the salutary and only limita: tion upon
of the whole. However it may be alleged that a violation of the compact, by the measures of the government, can affect the obligations of the parties, it cannot even be pretended that such violation can be predicated of those measures until all the constitutional remedies shall have been fully tried. If the federal government exercise powers not warranted by the constitution, and immediately affecting individuals, it will scarcely be denied that the proper remedy is a recourse to the judiciary. Such, undoubtedly, is the remedy for those who deem the acts of Congress laying duties on imports and providing for their collection, to be unconstitutional. The whole operation of such laws is upon the individuals importing the merchandise. A state is absolutely prohibited from laying imposts or duties on imports or exports, without the consent of Congress, and cannot become a party, under ihose laws, without importing in her own name, or wrongfully interposing her authority against them. By thus interposing, however, she cannot rightfully obstruct the operation of the laws upon individuals. For their disobedience to, or violation of, the laws, the ordinary remedies through the judicial tribunals would remain. And in a case where an individual should be prosecuted for any offence against the laws, he could not set up, in justification of his act, a law of the state, which, being unconstitutional
, would therefore be regarded as null and void. The law of a state cannot authorize the commission of a crime against the United States, or any other act
which, according to the supreme law of the Union, would be otherwise unlawful. And it is equally clear, that, if there be any case in which a state, as such, is aftected by the law beyond the scope of judicial power, the remedy consists in appeals to the people, either to effect a change in the representation, or to procure relief by an amendment of the constitution. But the measures of the government are to be recognised as valid, and, consequently, supreme,until these remedies shall have been effectually tried; and any attempt to subvert those measures, or to render the laws subordinate to state authority, and afterwards to resort to constitutional redress, is worse than evasive. It would not be a proper resistance to a “government of unlimited powers" as has been sometimes pretended, but unlawful opposition to the very limitations on which the harmonious action of the government, and all its parts, absolutely depends. South Carolina has appealed to none of these remedies, but, in effect, has defied them all. While threatening to separate from the Union if any attempt be made to enforce the revenue laws otherwise than through the civil tribunals of the country, she has not only not appealed in her own name to those tribunals which the constitution has provided for all cases in law or equity arising under the constitution and laws of the United States, but has endeavored to frustrate their proper action on her citizens, by drawing the cognizance of the cases under the revenue laws to her own tribunals, specially prepared and fitted for the purpose of enforcing the acts passed by the state to obstruct those laws, and both judges and jurors of which will be bound, by the import of oaths previously taken, to treat the constitution and laws of the United States in this respect as a nullity. Nor has the state made the proper appeal to public opinion, and to the remedy of amendment. For, without waiting to learn whether the other states will consent to a convention, or, if they do, will construe or amend the constitution to suit her views, she has, of her own authority, altered the import of that instrument, and given immediate effect to the change. In fine, she has set her own will and authority above the laws, has made herself arbiter in her own case, and has passed at once over all intermediate steps to measures of avowed resistance, which, unless they be submitted to, can be enforced only by the sword.
In deciding upon the course which a high sense of duty to all the people of the United States imposes upon the authorities of the Union, in this emnergency, it cannot be overlooked that there is no sufficient cause for the acts of South Carolina, or for her thus placing in jeopardy the happiness of so many millions of people. Misrule and oppression, to warrant the disruption of the free institutions of the Union of these states, should be great and lasting, defying all other remedy. For causes of minor character, the government could not submit to such a catastrophe, without a violation of its most sacred obligations to the other states of the Union, who have submitted their destiny to its hands.
There is, in the present instance, no such cause, either in the degree of misrule or oppression complained of, or in the hopelessness of redress by constitutional means. The long sanction they have received from the proper authorities and from the people, not less than the unexampled growth and increasing prosperity of so many millions of freemen, attest that no such oppression as would justify or even palliate such a resort
, can be justly imputed either to the present policy or past measures of the federal government.
The same mode of collecting duties, and for the same general objects
which began with the foundation of the government, and which has conducted the country through its subsequent steps to its present enviable con: dition of happiness and renown, has not been changed. Taxation and representation, the great principle of the American revolution, have continually gone hand in hand; and at all times, and in every instance, no tax of any kind has been imposed without their participation; and, in some insances which have been complained of, with the express assent of the representatives of South Carolina in the councils of the government. Up to ihe present period, no revenue has been raised beyond the necessary wants of the country, and the authorized expenditures of the government. And as soon as the burden of the public debt is removed, those charged with the administration have promptly recommended a correspondent reduction oi revenue.
That this system thus pursued, has resulted in no such oppression upon South Carolina, needs no other proof than the solemn and official declaration of the late chief magistrate of that state in his address to the legislature. In that he says, that "the occurrences of the past year, in connection with our domestic concerns, are to be reviewed with a sentiment of fervent gratitude to the Great Disposer of human events; that tributes of grateful acknowledgment are due for the various and multiplied blessings he has been pleased to bestow on our people; that abundant harvests in every quarter of the state have crowned the exertions of agricultural labor; thai health, almost beyond former precedent, has blessed our homes; and that there is not less reason for thankfulness in surveying our social condition.” It would, indeed, be difficult to imagine oppression where, in the social condition of a people, there was equal cause of thankfulness, as for abundant barvests, and various and multiplied blessings with which a kind Providence had favored them.
Independently of these considerations, it will not escape observation, that South Carolina still claims to be a component part in the Union, to participate in the national councils, and to share in the public benefits, without contributing to the public burdens—thus asserting the dangerous anomaly of continuing in an association without acknowledging any other obligation to its laws than what depends upon her own will.
In this posture of affairs, the duty of the government seems to be plain. It inculcates a recognition of that state as a member of the Union, and subject to its authority; a vindication of the just power of the constitution ;
the preservation of the integrity of the Union ; and the execution of the laws by all constitutional means.
The constitution, which his oath of office obliges him to support, declares that the executive " shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed :" and providing that he shall, from time to time, give to Congress information of the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient, imposes the additional obligation of recommending to Congress such more efficient provisions for executing the laws, as may from time to time be found requisite.
The same instrument confers on Congress the power not merely to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare, but" io make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into effect the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by the constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or office thereof;" and also, to provide
for calling forth the militia for executing the laws of the Union. In all cases similar to the present, the duties of the government become the mea. sure of its powers; and whenever it fails to exert a power necessary and proper to the discharge of the duties prescribed by the constitution, it violates the public trusts not less than it would in transcending its proper limits. To refrain, therefore, from the high and solemn duties thus enjoined, however painful the performance may be, and thereby tacitly permit the rightful authority of the government to be contemned, and its laws obstructed by a single state, would neither comport with its own safety, nor the rights of the great body of the American people.
It being thus shown to be the duty of the executive to execute the laws by all constitutional means, it remains to consider the extent of those already at his disposal, and what it may be proper farther to provide.
In the instructions of the secretary of the treasury to the collectors in South Carolina, the provisions and regulations made by the act of 1799, and also the fines, penalties, and forfeitures, for their enforcement, are particularly detailed and explained. It may be well apprehended, however, ihat these provisions may prove inadequate to meet such an open, powerful, organized opposition, as is to be commenced after the first of February next.
Subsequently to the date of those instructions, and to the passage of the ordinance, information has been received, from sources entitled to be relied on, that owing to the popular excitement of the state, and the effect of the ordinance declaring the execution of the revenue laws unlawful, a sufficient number of persons, in whom confidence might be placed, could not be induced to accept the office of inspector, to oppose, with any probability of success, the force which will, no doubt, be used when an aitempt is made to remove vessels and their cargoes from the custody of the officers of the customs ; and, indeed, that it would be impracticable for the collector, with the aid of any number of inspectors whom he may be authorized to employ, to preserve the custody against such an attempt.
The removal of the custom-house from Charleston to Castle Pinckney, was deemned a measure of necessary precaution; and though the authority to give that direction is not questioned, it is nevertheless apparent that a similar precaution cannot be observed in regard to the ports of Georgetown and Beaufort
, each of which, under the present laws, remains a port of entry, and exposed to the obstructions meditated in that
In considering the best means of avoiding or of preventing the apprehended obstruction to the collection of the revenue, and the consequences which may ensue, it would appear to be proper and necessary to enable the officers of the customs to preserve the custody of vessels and their cargoes, which, by the existing laws, they are required to take, until the duties to which they are liable shall be paid or secured. The mode by which it is contemplated to deprive them of that custody, is the process of replevin, and that of capias ad withernam, in the nature of a distress from the state tribunals organized by the ordinance.
Against the proceeding in the nature of a distress, it is not perceived that the collector can interpose any resistance whatever; and against the process of replevin authorized by the law of the state, he, having no common law power, can only oppose such inspectors as he is by statute authorized, and may find it practicable to employ; and these, from the information already adverted to, are shown to be wholly inadequate.
The respect which that process deserves must, therefore, be considered.
If the authorities of South Carolina had not obstructed the legitimate action of the courts of the United States, or if they had permitted the state tribunals to adıninister the law according to their oath under the constitution and the regulations of the laws of the Union, the general government might have been content to look to them for maintaining the custody, and to encounter the other inconveniences arising out of the recent proceedings. Even in that case, however, the process of replevin from the courts of the state would be irregular and unauthorized. It has been decided by the supreme court of the United States, that the courts of the United States have exclusive jurisdiction of all seizures made on land or water for a breach of the laws of the United States, and any intervention of a state authority, which, by taking the thing seized out of the hands of the United States officers, might obstruct the exercise of this jurisdiction, is unlawful; that in such case, the court of the United States having cognizance of the seizure, may enforce a redelivery of the thing by attachment, or any other summary process; that the question under such a seizure, whether a forfeiture has been actually incurred, belongs exclusively to the courts of the United States, and it depends on the final decree, whether the seizure is to be deemed rightful or tortuous; and that not until the seizure be finally judged wrongful, and without probable cause, by the courts of the United States, can the party proceed åt common law for damages in the state courts.
But by making it " unlawful for any of the constituted authorities, whether of the United States or of the state, to enforce the laws for the payment of duties, declaring that all judicial proceedings which shall be here after had in affirmance of the contracts made with purpose to secure the duties imposed by the said acts, are, and shall be held utterly null and void." she has, in effect, abrogated the judicial tribunals within her limits in this respect; has virtually denied the United States access to the courts established by their own laws; and declared it unlawful for the judges to discharge those duties which they are sworn to perform. In lieu of these, she has substituted those state tribunals already adverted to, the judges whereof are not merely forbidden to allow an appeal or permit a copy of their record, but are previously sworn to disregard the laws of the Union, and enforce those only of South Carolina ; and, thus deprived of the function essential to the judicial character, of inquiring into the validity of the law and the right of the matter, become merely ministerial instruments in aid of the concerted obstruction of the laws of the Union.
Neither the process nor authority of these tribunals, thus constituted, can be respected, consistently with the supremacy of the laws or the rights and security of the citizen. If they be submitted to, the protection due from the government to its officers and citizens is withheld, and there is at once an end not only to the laws but to the Union itself.
Against such a force as the sheriff may, and which, by the replevin law of South Carolina, it is his duty to exercise, it cannot be expected that a collector can retain his custody with the aid of the inspectors. In such case, it is true, it would be competent to institute suits in the United States' courts against those engaged in the unlawful proceedings; or the property might be seized for a violation of the revenue laws, and, being libelled in the proper courts, an order might be made for its redelivery, which would be committed to the marshal for execution. But, in that case, the fourth section of the act, in broad and unqualified terms, makes it the duty of the sheriff " to prevent such recapture or seizure, or to redeliver the goods, as the