« ПретходнаНастави »
Mr. Foot's resolution :-"What you will ask me, will be the result of this resistance by a State, of an unconstitutional law of Congress, or an unconstitutional decision of the Supreme Court? I answer that the first result will be, the preservation of the sovereignty of the State, and the liberty of its citizens, at least for a time. The next result will be, that the attention of the people of the other States, will be awakened to the aggression, and the Congress, or the Supreme Court, whichever shall have been the aggressor, will be driven back into the sphere of its legitimacy, by the rebuking force of public opinion. Such was the result of the nullifying resolutions of the States of Virginia and Kentucky, in relation to the alien and sedition laws. And such was the rebaking effect of public opinion, in relation to the famous compensation law."
“ But it'these results should not follow, you ask me what next? Must the State forbear to resist the aggression upon her sovereignty, and submit to be shorn of it altogether? I answer, no Sir, no: that she must maintain her sovereignty, by every means within her power. She is good for nothing, even worse than good for nothing, without it. This you will tell me, must lead to civil war, to war between the General Government and the resisting State. I answer, not at all, unless the General Government shall choose to consecrate its usurpations, by the blood of those it shall have attempted to oppress. And if the States shall be led by apprehensions of that kind, to submit to encroachments upon their sovereignties, they will, most certainly, not remain sovereigns long. Fear is a bad counsellor, of even an individual; it should never be consulted by a sovereign State."
“No, Sir, it is in the power of Congress, instead of shedding the blood of the citizens, who assert the sovereignty of their State, and resist its prostration, to refer the question to an infinitely more exalted tribunal than the Supreme Court. I mean, to the States of this Union. They formed the Constitution—they are fit judges of questions involving sovereignty, being themselves sovereigns. The fifth article of the Constitution provides for the case.
It reads thus: “ The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary to propose amendments to this Constitution, &c., which, when ratified by the Legislatures of three-fourths of the several States, or by conventions in three-fourths of them, (not of the people at large, Mr. President, but of the States,) shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of this Constitution.” Three-fourths of the State, coostitute the august tribunal, to which Congress can refer
the question. To this tribunal, the State can have no objection, because it was created by the Constitutional compact-because the power of amending the Constitution, was accorded to it in that compact."
We concur entirely in opinion with Mr. Rowan, that the only tribunal which a State can recognise as having jurisdiction, on a question affecting her rights of sovereignty, is the august assembly of the States that are parties to the compact-an opinion which is supported by Mr. Jefferson, in bis letter to Mr. Gerry, with that clearness, and inimitable grace with which he always touched the profoundest subjects of government and civil polity. He says:" With respect to our State and Federal Governments, I do not think their relations correctly understood by foreigners. They generally suppose the former subordinate to the latter. But this is not the case. They are co-ordinate departments of one single and integral whole. To the State Governments, are reserved all legislation and administration, in affairs which concern their own citizens only, and to the Federal Government is given whatever concerns foreigners, or the citizens of other States; these functions alone being made Federal. The one is the domestic, the other the foreign branch of the government; neither having control over the other, but within its own department. There are one or two exceptions only to this partition of power. But you may ask if the two departments should claim, each, the same subject of power, where is the common umpire to decide ultimately between them? In cases of little importance or urgency, the prudence of both parties will keep them aloof from the questionable ground: but if it can neither be avoided nor compromised, a convention of the States must be called, to ascribe the doubtful power to that department which they may think best."
These opinions Mr. Jefferson expressed in 1801 in eighteen hundred and twenty-one, we find him reiterating them, more emphatically, by declaring—“it is a fatal heresy to suppose, that either our State Governments are superior to the Federal, or the Federal to the State: neither is authorized literally to decide what belongs to itself, or its co-partner in government. In differences of opinion, between their different sets of public servants, the appeal is to neither, but to their employers, peaceably assembled, by their representatives in Convention."
We consider Mr. Jefferson, to have thus indicated the true means in our Federal System of preventing revolution, or in other words, the application of force in all cases of disputed power, between the members of the league and its Federal head.
Any other than this peaceable appeal would be utterly abhorrent to the character of our government and institutions, and the genius of our people.
The constant repetition with which Mr. Webster rings the alarm bell of revolution ! revolution ! as being synonymous with “State interposition,” is an ingenious device to drive off the timid from what may be the only remedy left for the preservation of their rights. The truth is, that there can be nothing more preposterous, than to denominate the peaceful exercise of a power appertaining to the reserved rights of a sovereign State, a revolution. A revolution of what? of a people adhering to what they consider a just and perfect understanding of their own compact, and maintaining peaceably “ within their own limits, their own rights, authorities, and liberties ;" revolution " is made of sterner stuff than this."
We consider the civil freedom existing in the several States, guarded by the political liberty, resulting from their separate sovereignties, as the most effective check to revolution, any where to be found in our complex system of government. It is within the sphere of these separate soverignties that the right of jury-trial, subsists in its most comprehensive use, and within the freedom of the press, religious toleration, the writ of habeas corpus, and above all, that well regulated love for liberty, which not only gives to allegiance “a local habitation and a name," but invests this sacred principle with all those associations which belong to home to the spot endeared to usby the affections of infancy, and the inore sober attachments of maturer life. These political associations contain in themselves the self-resisting principle to revolution. The external ligament of the Federal Union might be taken off to-morrow, and yet leave the States in possession of all the essentials of free and peaceaful communities. The only purposes which the Union was designed to promote, were to protect us from foreign invasion, to promote a friendly intercourse between the States, and to secure to us, the full und untrammelled blessings of foreign commerce, the last to be accomplished by the aggregate force of all the States being exercised at once, through one common power of diplomacy, and protected by a navy common to all the States-by which means each State might carry the products of its labour, in prosperous safety, to the MARKETS OF THE WHOLE WORLD. We shall not stop, (for the reason we have already stated) to inquire hou faithfully this last condition has been performed--we leave this to be answered by the melancholy and instructive omens of the present crisis; our sole object is to enter our solemn protest against a doctrine so full of humiliation,
that the liberty as well as internal peace of these States depend upon any thing else but a rational attachment, which the people of the States cherish at home, for a well regulated civil freedom, fortified by the high moral courage of their being prepared to defend this freedom “even unto death."
Let it, for the sake of argument, be conceded, that the Congress of the United States enact a law, beyond the sphere of their clearly delegated powers, which exercise of power, the Supreme Court, nevertheless, affirms-that a State declares it void, that its judges and juries, acting through the solemo forms of its own judicature, make that void de facto, which the State in its sovereign capacity, declared void de jure, and arrest the progress of the evil " within her own limits." Is this revolution ? To this we reply, as Mr. Burke said, in his admirable speech in 1790, in the House of Commons, on the Canada bill, in speaking of the revolution of 1688: “ What we did was in truth and substance, and in a constitutional light, a revolution not made but prevented—we took solid securities; we settled doubtful questions; we corrected anomalies in our laws in the stable fundamental parts of our Constitution, we made no revolution, nor any alteration at all."
But suppose the Government of the United States should withdraw it functionaries, and cease to employ its ordinary powers, in a State which had prohibited to it the exercise of a disputed authority within its limits-would this be revolution ? We would ask, if North-Carolina and Rhode-Island were in a state of revolution, when they refused to subscribe in 1787—the Constitution, and remained out of the Union ? Mr. Jefferson in one of the letters published in his recent memoirs, observes that “we had tbirteen States independent for eleven years," and then descants on the unexampled harmony which prevailed in their internal condition, in spite of a war waged by a foreign power. To return, however, it ought to be recollected that every other part of the federal machine would be in operation within the limits of the State, save only the disputed power, and that disputed power, would only be arrested through the courts of justice of the State, unless the General Government should resort to coercion. What then, would this be revolution ? No: open, public war, which one sovereign would levy against another. What would be the result of such a war waged by Mr. Webster's " rope of sand” against a free, united and gallant people, fighting in the best and the holiest of all causes, pro aris et focis, we do not require the inspiration of a prophet to tell us. We maintain, however, that the Government of the United States would have to accept a peace
ful arbitration of the point in issue, by the decision of a Convention, composed of all the parties to the compact, or take the inevitable alternative of a dissolution of the Union, which would result either from the victory or defeat of the General Government; the first making it by the force of its triumph, either a government of unlimited powers, or a sanguinary despotism—the last by robbing it of all authority and respect. Do not these consequences inevitably show the beneficence and harmony of our political system-that for the legitimate ends of the compact, the government is omnipotent, and absolutely powerless for the purpose of coercive usurpation? If this, then, be the true theory of our confederacy, have we not attained the desideratum which rendered fruitless the leagues of antiquity--by establishing a confederate form of Government, whose actions would be paralized precisely where its just powers should end?
Here we are willing to close the argument, and would terminate all that we have to say on the topics which it has suggested, if a few incidental considerations, which Mr. Webster has himself thrown out, did not require from us a brief notice.
With much triumph and in a tone of obvious self-gratulation, he affirms: “And now, Sir, what I have first to say on this subject, is, that at no time and under no circumstances, has New-England, or any State in New-England, or any respectable body of persons in New England, or any public man of standing in New-England, put forth such a doctrine as this Carolina doctrine."
Before we join issue with Mr. Webster, let us ascertain what is the full scope and meaning of the “Carolina doctrine." It is that the tariff, taxing the industry of one portion of the Union, for the purpose of raising bounties to protect the industry of another portion, is an usurpation, and that as a sovereign state, she has a right to make void, in her sovereign capacity, the collection of such a tax within her limits, by arming her courts and juries with the requisite power. These doctrines have no further extent than this. Now, we will cite for that gentleman's especial consideration, the authority of one, before whose gigantic intellect, the blossoms of Mr. Webster's rhetoric would have "exhaled into thin air.” The late Chief Justice Parsons, (then Mr. Parsons) a delegate from Newburyport, in the Convention of Massachusetts, held for the adoption of the Federal Constitution, after discussing several of the provisions of the new Constitution, in the masterly manner with which he invaVOL. V.-NO. 11.