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Indianapolis Indiana Journal (Newspaper) - April 7, 1830, Indianapolis, Indiana
In a Ian a junk Najl. Vol. , wednesday april 7, 1830. No. 863. Published by Douglass amp Maguire. Terms. Two dollars per annul if paid in Advance. Three dollars it the end of the year. Advertisements inserted at the usual . Be Bat. Or. Webster s speech con nerf. That there Are individuals besides the honorable gentleman who do maintain these opinions is quite certain. I recollect the recent expression of a Quot sentiment which circumstances at Quot lending its utterance and publication justify us in supposing was not unpremeditated. Quot the sovereignty of the state never to be controlled construed or decided on but by her own feelings of honorable a Vir. Hayne Here Rose and said that for the purpose of being clearly understood he would state that his proposition was in the words of the Virginia Resolution As follows Quot that this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare that it views the Powers of the Federal government As resulting from the compact to which the states Are parties As limited by the Plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting that compact As no farther valid than they Are authorized by the Grants enumerated in that compact and that in Case of a deliberate palpable and dangerous exercise of other Powers Noi granted by the said compact the states who Are parties thereto have the right and Are in duty bound to interpose for arresting the Progress of the evil and for maintaining within their respective limits the authorities rights and liberties appertaining to or. Webster resumed i am quite aware or. President of the existence of the Resolution which the gentleman read and has now repeated and that he relies on it As his authority. I know the source too from which it is understood to have proceeded i need not say that i have much respect for the constitutional opinions of or. Madison they would weigh greatly with me always. But before the authority of his opinion be vouched for the gentleman s proposition it will be proper to consider what is the fair interpretation of that Resolution to which or. Madison is understood to have Given his Sanction. As the gentleman construes it it is an authority for him. Possibly he May not have adopted the right construction. That Resolution declares that in the Case of the dangerous exercise of Powers not granted by the general government the states May interpose to arrest the Progress of the evil. But How interpose and what does this declaration purport does it mean no More than that there May be extreme cases in which the people in any Mode of assembling May resist usurpation and relieve themselves from a tyrannical government no one will deny this. Such resistance is not Only acknowledged to be just in America but in England also. Blackstone admits As much in the theory and practice too of the English Constitution. We sir who oppose the Carolina doctrine do not deny that the people May if they choose throw off any government when it becomes oppressive and intolerable and crept a better in its Stead. We All know that civil institutions Are established for the Public Benefit and that when they cease to answer the ends of their existence they May be changed. But i do not understand the doctrine now contended for to be that which for the Sake of distinctness we May Call the right of revolution i understand the gentleman to maintain that with a out revolution without civil commotion without rebellion a remedy for supposed abuse and transgression of the Powers of the general government lies in a direct Appeal to the interference of the state or. Hayne Here Rose he did not contend he Strid for the Mere right of revolution but for the right of constitutional resistance. What he maintained was that in Case of a Plain palpable Viola Tion of the by the general government a state May interpose and that this interposition is constitutional a or. Webster resumed. So air i understood the gentleman and am Happy to find that 1 did not misunderstand him. What he contends for is that it is constitutional to interrupt the administration of the Constitution itself in the bands of those who Are chosen and sworn to administer it by the i. Rect interfere Cut in form of Law of the states in virtue of their Sovereign capacity. The inherent right in the people to Reform their government i do not deny and they have another right and that is to resist Union Stith a goal Laws without overturning the government. It is no doctrine of mind that unconstitutional Laws bind the people. The great question is whose prerogative is it to decide on the Consitt Guion laity or unconstitutionality of the Lawsl on that the main debate hinges. The proposition that in Case of a supposed violation of the Constitution by Congress the states have a constitutional right to interfere and annul the Law of Congress is the proposition of the gentleman a do not admit it. If the gentleman had intended no More than to assert the right of revolution for justifiable cause he would have said Only what All agree to. But i cannot conceive that there can be a Middle course Between submission to the Laws when regularly pronounced constitutional on the one hand and open resistance which is revolution or rebellion on the other. I say the right of a state to annul a Law of Congress cannot be maintained but on the ground of the unalienable right of Man to resist oppression that is to say upon the ground of revolution. I admit that there is an ultimate violent remedy above the Constitution and in Defiance of the Constitution which May be resorted to when a revolution is to be justified. But i do not admit that under the Constitution and in conformity with it there is any Mode in which a state government As a member of the Union c0d interfere and Stop the Progress of the general government by Force of her own Laws under any circumstances whatever. This leads us to inquire into the origin of this government and the source of its Power. Whose agent is it is it the creature of the state Legislatures or the creature of the people if the government of the United states be the agent of the state governments then they May control it provided they can agree in the manner of controlling it if it is the agent of the people then the people alone can control restrain modify or Reform it. It is observable enough that the doctrine for which the honorable gentleman contends leads him to the necessity of maintaining not Only that Thi general government is the creature of the states but that it is the creature of each of the states severally so that each May assert the Power for itself of determining whether it acts within the limits of its authority. It is the servant of four and Twenty masters of different wills and different purposes and yet bound to obey All. This Absurdity for it seems no less arises from a misconception As to the origin of this government and its True character. It is sir the people s Constitution the people s government made for the people made by the people and answerable to the people. The people of the United states have declared that this Constitution shall be the supreme Law. We must either admit the proposition or dispute their authority. The states Are unquestionably Sovereign so far As their sovereignty is not affected by this supreme Law. The state Legislatures As political bodies however Sovereign Are yet not Sovereign Over the people. So far As the people have Given Power to the general government so far the Grant is unquestionably Good and the government holds of the people and not of the state governments. We Are All agents of the same supreme Power the people. The general government and the state governments derive their authority from the same source. Neither can in relation to the other be called primary though one is definite and restricted and the other general and residuary. The National government possesses those Powers which it can be shown the people have Confer red on it and no More. All the rest belongs to the state governments or to the people themselves. So far As the people have restrained state sovereignty by the expression of their will in the Constitution of the United states so far it must be admitted state sovereignty is effectually controlled. I do not contend that it is or ought to be controlled farther. The sentiment to which i have referred propounds that state sovereignty is Only to be control de by its own Quot feeling of Justice Quot that is to say it is not to be controlled at All for one who is to follow his own feelings is under no Legal control now Howe Joir men May think this ought to be the fact is that the peo pie of the United states have chosen to impose control on state Sovereign ties. The Constitution has ordered the matter differently from what this opinion announces. To make War for instance is an exercise of sovereignty but the Constitution declares that no state shall make War. To Coin Money is another exercise of Sovereign Power but no state is at Liberty Tocsin Money. Again the Constitution says that no Sovereign slate shall be so Sovereign As to make a treaty. These prohibitions it must be confessed Are a control on the state sovereignty of South Carolina As Well As of the other states which does not arise Quot from her own feelings of honorable such an opinion therefore is in Defiance of the plainest provisions of the Constitution. There Are other proceedings of Public bodies which have been already alluded to and to which i refer again for the purpose of ascertaining More fully what is the length and breadth of that doctrine denominated the Carolina doctrine which the honorable member has now stood up on this floor to maintain. In one of them i find it resolved that Quot the Tariff of 1828, and every other Tariff designed to promote one Branch of Industry at the expense of others is contrary to the meaning and intention of the Federal compact and As such a dangerous palpable and deliberate usurpation of Power by a determined majority wielding the general government beyond the limits of its delegated Powers As Calls upon the states which compose the suffering minority in their Sovereign capacity to exercise the Powers which As sovereigns necessarily devolve upon them when their compact is observe sir that this Resolution tolds the Tariff of 1828, and every other Tariff designed to promote one Branch of Industry at the expense of another to be such a dangerous pal Able and deliberate usurpation of Power As Calls upon the states in their Sovereign capacity to interfere by their own Power. This Denuncio Tjon or. President you will please to observe includes our old Tariff of 1816, As Well As All others because that was established to promote the interest of the manufactures of Cotton to the Manifest and admitted injury of the Calcutta Cotton Trade. Observe again that All the qualifications Are Here rehearsed and charged upon the Tariff which Are necessary to bring the Case within the gentleman s proposition. The Tariff is a usurpation it is a dangerous usurpation it is a palpable usurpation it is a deliberate usurpation. It is such a usurpation As Calls upon the states to exercise their right of interference. Here is a Case then within the gentleman s principles and All his qualification is of Bis principles. It is a Case for action. The Constitution is plainly dangerously palpably and deliberately violated and the states must interpose their own authority to arrest the Law. Let us suppose the state of South Carolina to express this same opinion by the Voies of her legislature. That would be very imposing but what then is the voice of one state conclusive it so happens that at the very moment when South Carolina resolves that the Tariff Laws Are unconstitutional Pennsylvania and Kentucky resolve exactly the reverse. They Enli those Laws to be both highly proper and strictly constitutional. And now sir How does the honorable member propose to Deal with this Case How does he get out of this difficulty upon any principle of his his construction gets us into it How does he propose to get us out in Carolina the Tariff is a palpable deliberate usurpation Carolina therefore May nullify it and refuse to pay the duties. In Pennsylvania it is both clearly constitutional and highly expedient and there the duties Are to be paid. And yet we live under a government of uni Ibrom Laws and under a Constitution too which contains an express provision As it happens that All duties shall be equal in All the states does not this approach Absurdity if there be no Power to Settle such questions Independent of either of the states is not the whole Union a rope of Sand Are we not thrown Back a gain precisely upon the old confederation ? it is too Plain to be argued. Four and Twenty interpreters of constitutional Law each with a Power to decide for itself and none with authority to bind any body else and this constitutional Law the Only Bond of their Union what is such a state of things but a Mere connexion during pleasure or to use the phraseology of the during feeling and that feeling too not the feeling of the people who established the Constitution but the feeling of the state governments in another of the South Carolina addresses having premised that the Cri Sis requires Quot All the concentrated Energy of passion Quot an attitude of open resistance to the Laws of the Union is advised. Open resistance to the Laws then is the constitutional comedy the conservative Power of tie state which the South Carolina doctrine teach for the redress of political evils real or imaginary. And its authors further say that appealing with Confidence to the Constitution itself to justify their opinions they cannot consent to try their accuracy by the courts of Justice. In one sense indeed sir this is assuming an attitude of open resistance in in favor of Liberty. But what sort of Liberty the Liberty of establishing their own opinions in Defiance of the opinions of All others the Liberty of judging and of deciding exclusively themselves in a matter in which others have As much right to judge and decide As they the Liberty of placing their own opinions above the judgment of All others above the Laws and a Bove the Constitution. This is their Liberty and this is the fair result of the proposition contended for by the honorable gentleman. Or it May be More properly said it is identical with it rather than a result from it. In the same publication we find the following Quot previously to our revolution when the Arm of oppression was stretched Over new England where did our Northern Brethren meet with braver sympathy than that which sprang from the bosom of carolinians. We had no extortion no oppression no collision with the King s ministers no navigation interests springing up in envious rivalry of this seems extraordinary language. South Carolina no collision with the King s ministers in 1775 no extortion no oppression but sir it is also most significant language. Does any Man doubt the purpose for which it was penned can any one fail to see that it was designed to raise in the Reader s mind the question whether at this time that is to say in 1828�?South Carolina has any collision with the King s ministers any oppression or extortion to fear from England whether in Short England is not As naturally the Friend of South Carolina As new England with her navigation interests springing up in envious rivalry of England is it not strange sir that an intelligent Man in South Carolina in 1828, should thus labor to prove that in 1775, there was no hostility no cause of War Between South Carolina and England that she had no occasion in reference to her own interest or from a regard to her own welfare to take up arms in the revolutionary contest can any one account for the expression of such strange sentiments and their circulation through the state otherwise than by supposing the object to be what i have already intimated to raise the question if they had no a collision Quot Mark the expression with the ministers of King George the third inti 1775, what collision have they in 1828, with the of King George the fourth what is there now in the existing state of things to separate Carolina from old More or rather than from Vezo England. Resolutions sir have been recently passed by the legislature of South Carolina. I need in t refer to them they go no farther than the honorable gentleman himself has gone and i Hope not so far. I Content myself therefore with debating the matter with him. An Ltd 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. The gentleman has found no Case he can find none to support l is own opinions by new England authority. New England has studied the Constitution in other schools and under other teachers. She looks upon it with other regards and deems More highly and reverently both of its just authority and its Utility and excellence. The history of her legislative proceedings May be traced the ephemeral effusions of temporary bodies called together by the excitement of the occasion May be hunted up they have been hunted up. The opinions and votes of her Public men in and out of Congress May be explored it will All be in vain. The Carona doctrine can derive from her neither nor support. She rejects it now she always did reject it and till she loses her senses she always will reject it. The honorable member has referred to expressions on the subject of the embargo Law made in this place by an honorable and venerable gentleman or. Hillhouse now favouring us with his presence. He quotes that distinguished senator As saying that in his judgment the embargo Law was unconstitutional and that therefore in his opinion the people were not bound to obey it. That sir is perfectly constitutional language. An unconstitutional Law is not binding but then it does not rest Woith a Resolution 6f a Law of a site legislature to decide whether an act of Congress be or be not constitutional. An unconstitutional act of Congress would not bind the people of this District although they have no legislature to interfere in their behalf and on the other hand a Constitution al Law of Congress does bind the citizens of every state although All their Legislatures should undertake to annul it by act or Resolution. The venera ble Connecticut senator is a constitutional lawyer of sound principles and enlarged knowledge a statesman Practised and experienced bred in the company of Washington and holding just views upon the nature of our governments. He believed the embargo unconstitutional and so did others but what then who did be suppose waa to decide that question the slate legislators certainly not. No such sentiment Ever escaped his lips. Let us follow up sir this new eng land opposition to the embargo Laws let us Trace it till we discern the principle which controlled and governed new England throughout the whole course of that opposition. We shall then see what similarity there is be tween the new England school of constitutional opinions and this modern Carolina school. The gentleman i think read a petition from some single individual addressed to the legislature of Massachusetts asserting the Carolina doctrine that is the right of state interference to arrest the Laws of the Union. The Fate of that petition shows the sentiment of the let gis lature. It met no favor. The opinions of Massachusetts were otherwise. They had been expressed in 1798, in answer to the resolutions of Virginia and she did not depart from them nor Bend them to the times. Mis governed wronged oppressed As she Felt herself to be she still held fast her integrity to the Union. The gentleman May find in her proceedings much evidence of dissatisfaction with the measures of government and great and deep dislike to the embargo All this makes the Case so much the stronger for ber for notwithstanding All this dissatisfaction and dislike she claimed no right still to sever asunder the Bonds of the Union. There was heat and there was anger in her political feeling be it so her heat or her anger did not nevertheless betray her into infidelity to the the gentleman labors to prove that she disliked the embargo As much As South Carolina dislikes Quot the Tariff and expressed her dislike As strongly. Be it so but did she propose the Carolina remedy did she threaten to interfere by state authority to annul the iwas of the Union that is the question for the gentleman s consideration. No doubt sir a great majority of the people of a new England conscientiously believed the embargo Law of 1807 unconstitutional As conscientiously certainly As the people of s. Carolina hold that opinion of the Tariff they reasoned thus. Congress has Power to regulate Commerce but Here is a Law they 6�y, stopping All Commerce and stopping it indefinitely. The Law is perpetual that is it is not limited in Point of time and myst of course continue till it shall be repealed by some other Law. It is As perpetual therefore As the Law against treason or murder. Now is this regulating Commerce or destroying it is its guiding controlling giving the Rule to Commerce As a subsisting ,or�8 its putting an end to it altogether nothing is More certain than that a majority in new England deemed this Law a violation of the Constitution. The very Case required by the gentleman to justify state inference had then Arisen. Massachusetts believed this Law to be Quot a Deliby rate palpable and dangerous exercise of a Power not granted by the constitute Init a deliberate it was for it was Long continued palpable she thought it As no words in the Constitution gave the Power and Only a construction in her opinion Roost violent raised it dangerous it was since it threatened utter ruin to her most important interests. Here then was a Carolina Case. How did Massachusetts Deal with it it was As she thought a Plain Manifest palpable violation of the Constitution and it brought Roia to her doors. Thousands of families and hundreds of thousands of individuals were Begg tred by it. While she saw and Felt All this she saw and Felt also that As a measure of National Polt Licy it was perfectly futile that the country win no Way benefited la or that
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