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ther. Federalist or not, he may, if he means that I had assailed the character of choose, claim to belong to the favored stock, the state, her honor, or patriotism, that I and his claim will be allowed. He may had retlected on her history or her concarry back his pretensions just as far as the duct, he had not the slightest ground for honorable gentleman himself; nay, he may any such assumption. I did not even refer, make himself out the honorable gentle- I think, in my observations, to any collecman's cousin, and prove satisfactorily that tion of individuals. I said nothing of the he is descended from the same political recent conventions. I spoke in the most great-grandfather. All this is allowable. guarded and careful manner, and only exWe all know a process, sir, by which the pressed my regret for the publication of whole Essex Junto could, in one hour be opinions which I presumed the honorable all washed white from their ancient federal- member disapproved as much as myself. ism, and come out every one of them, an In this, it seems, I was mistaken. original democrat, dyed in the wool! Some I do not remember that the gentleman of them have actually undergone the ope- | has disclaimed any sentiment, or any opinration, and they say it is quite easy. The ion, of a supposed anti-Union tendency, only inconvenience it occasions, as they which on all or any of the recent occasions tell us, is a slight tendency of the blood to has been expressed. The whole drift of the face, a soft suffusion, which, however, his speech has been rather to prove, that, is very transient, since nothing is said cal- in divers times and manners, sentiments çulated to deepen the red on the cheek, equally liable to objection have been but a prudent silence observed in regard promulgated in New England. And one to all the past. Indeed, sir, some smiles would suppose that his object, in this referof approbation have been bestowed, and ence to Massachusetts, was to find a presome crumbs of comfort have fallen, not a cedent to justify proceedings in the south, thousand miles from the door of the Hartford were it not for the reproach and contumely Convention itself. And if the author of the with which he labors, all along, to load ordinance of 1787 possessed the other re- his precedents. quisite qualifications, there is no knowing, By way of defending South Carolina notwithstanding his federalism, to what from what he chooses to think an attack on heights of favor he might not yet attain. her, he first quotes the example of Massa
Mr. President, in carrying his warfare, chusetts, and then denounces that example, such as it was, into New England, the in good set terms. This twofold purpose, honorable gentleman all along professes to not very consistent with itself, one would be acting on the defensive. He desires to con- think, was exhibited more than once in the șider me as having assailed South Caro- course of his speech. He referred, for inlina. and insists that he comes forth only stance, to the Hartford Convention. Did as her champion, and in her defence. Sir, he do this for authority, or for a topic of I do not admit that I made any attack what- reproach? Apparently for both; for he ever on South Carolina. Nothing like it. told us that he should find no fault with The honorable member, in his first speech, the mere fact of holding such a convenexpressed opinions, in regard to revenue, tion, and considering and discussing such and some other topics, which I heard both questions as he supposes were then and with pain and surprise. I told the gentle- there discussed; but what rendered it obman that I was aware that such sentiments noxious was the time it was holden, and the were entertained out of the government, circumstances of the country then existing. but had not expected to find them advanced We were in a war, he said, and the counin it; that I knew there were persons in try needed all our aid; the hand of govthe south who speak of our Union with in- ernment required to be strengthened, not difference, or doubt, taking pains to mag- weakened ; and patriotism should have nify its evils
, and to say nothing of its postponed such proceedings to another day. benefits; that the honorable member him- The thing itself, then, is a precedent; the self, I was sure, could never be one of time and manner of it, only, subject of these; and I regretted the expression of censure. such opinions as he had avowed, because I Now, sir, I go much farther, on this thought their obvious tendency was to en-point, than the honorable member.
Supcourage feelings of disrespect to the Union, posing, as the gentleman seems to, that the and to weaken its connection. This, sir, is Hartford Convention assembled for any the sum and substance of all I said on the such purpose as breaking up the Union, subject. And this constitutes the attack because they thought unconstitutional laws which called on the chivalry of the gentle had been passed, or to concert on that subman, in his opinion, to harry us with such ject, or to calculate the value of the Union ; a forage among the party pamphlets and supposing this to be their purpose, or any party proceedings of Massachusetts. If he part of it, then I say the meeting itself means that I spoke with dissatisfaction or was disloyal, and obnoxious to censure, disrespect of the ebullitions of individuals whether held in time of peace, or time of in South Carolina, it is true. But, if he war, or under whatever circumstances.
The material matter is the object. Is dis- to raise mortals to the skies, I have yet solution the object? If it be, external cir- none, as I trust, of that other spirit, which cumstances may make it a more or less would drag angels down. When I shall aggravated case, but cannot affect the prin- be found, sir, in my place here in the ciple. I do not hold, therefore, that the Senate, or elsewhere, to sneer at public Hartford Convention was pardonable, even merit, because it happened to spring up to the extent of the gentleman's admission, beyond the little limits of my own state, or if its objects were really such as have been neighborhood; when I refuse, for any such imputed to it. Sir, there never was a time, cause, or for any cause, the homage due to under any degree of excitement, in which American talent, to elevated patriotism, to the Hartford Convention, or any other sincere devotion to liberty and the counconvention, could maintain itself one mo- try; or if I see an uncommon endowment ment in New England, if assembled for of Heaven, if I see extraordinary capacity any such purpose as the gentleman says and virtue in any son of the south, and if
, would have been an allowable purpose. moved by local prejudice, or gangrened by To hold conventions to decide questions of state jealousy, I get up here to abate the constitutional law! to try the validity of tithe of a hair from his just character and statutes, by votes in a convention! Sir, just fame,—may my tongue cleave to the the Hartford Convention, I presume, would roof of my mouth Sir, let me recur to not desire that the honorable gentleman pleasing recollections ; let me indulge in should be their defender or advocate, if refreshing, remembrance of the past; let he puts their case upon such untenable me remind you that in early times no states and extravagant grounds.
cherished greater harmony, both of prin. Then, sir, the gentleman has no fault to ciple and feeling, than Massachusetts and find with these recently-promulgated South South Carolina. Would to God that harCarolina opinions. And, certainly, he mony might again return. Shoulder to need have none; for his own sentiments, shoulder they went through the revoluas now advanced, and advanced on reflec- tion; hand in hand they stood round the tion, as far as I have been able to compre- administration of Washington, and felt hend them, go the full length of all these his own great arm lean on them for supopinions. I propose, sir, to say something port. Unkind feeling, if it exist, alienaon these, and to consider how far they are tion, and distrust are the growth, unnatural just and constitutional. Before doing that, to such soils, of false principles since sown, however, let me observe, that the eulogium They are weeds, the seeds of which that pronounced on the character of the state same great arm never scattered. of South Carolina, by the honorable gen Mr. President, I shall enter on no en. tleman, for her revolutionary and other comium upon Massachusetts-she needs merits, meets my hearty concurrence. I none. There she is behold her, and judge shall not acknowledge that the honorable for yourselves. There is her history--the member goes before me in regard for what- world knows it by heart. The past, at ever of distinguished talent or distin- least, is secure. There is Boston, and Conguished character South Carolina has pro- cord, and Lexington, and Bunker Hill; duced. I claim part of the honor, I par- and there they will remain forever. The take in the pride, of her great names. I bones of her sons, fallen in the great strug: claim them for countrymen, one and all. gle for independence, now lie mingled with The Laurenses, the Rutledges, the Pinck- the soil of every state from New England neys, the Sumpters, the Marions-Ameri- to Georgia; and there they will lie forever
. cans all-whose fame is no more to be And, sir, where American liberty raised its hemmed in by state lines than their talents first voice, and where its youth was nurand their patriotism were capable of being tured and sustained, there it still lives, in circumscribed within the same narrow the strength of its manhood, and full of its limits. In their day and generation, they original spirit. If discord and disunion served and honored the country, and the shall wound it; if folly and madness, if whole country; and their renown is of the uneasiness under salutary and necessary treasures of the whole country. Him restraint, shall succeed to separate it from whose honored name the gentleman him that Union by which alone its existence is self bears does he suppose me less capable made sure, -it will stand, in the end, by of gratitude for his patriotism, or sympa- the side of that cradle in which its infancy thy for his sufferings, than if his eyes had was rocked; it will stretch forth its arm, first opened upon the light in Massachu- with whatever vigor it may still retain, setts instead of South Carolina? Sir, does over the friends who gather around it; he suppose it is in his power to exhibit a and it will fall at last, if fall it must, Carolina name so bright as to produce envy amidst the proudest monuments of its in my bosom? No, sir, increased gratifica- glory, and on the very spot of its origin, tion and delight, rather.
There yet remains to be performed, Mr. Sir, I thank God that if I am gifted with President, by far the most grave and im little of the spirit which is said to be able portant duty; which I feel to be devolved
on me by this occasion. It is to state, and direct state interference, at state discretion, to defend, what I conceive to be the true the right of nullifying acts of Congress by principles of the constitution under which acts of state legislation, is more than I we are here assembled. I might well have know, and what I shall be slow to believe. desired that so weighty a task should have That there are individuals, besides the fallen into other and abler hands. I could honorable entleman, who do maintain have wished that it should have been exe- these opinions, is quite certain. I recollect cuted by those whose character and expe- the recent expression of a sentiment which rience give weight and influence to their circumstances attending its utterance and opinions, such as cannot possibly belong to publication justify us in supposing was not mine. But, sir, I have met the occasion, unpremeditated—“The sovereignty of the not sought it; and I shall proceed to state state; never to be controlled, construed, or my own sentiments, without challenging for decided on, but by her own feelings of them any particular regard, with studied honorable justice.” plainness and as much precision as possi (Mr. HAYNE here rose, and said, that for ble.
the purpose of being clearly understood, he I understand the honorable gentleman would state that his proposition was in the from South Carolina to maintain that it is words of the Virginia resolution, as fola right of the state legislatures to interfere, lows:whenever in their judgment, this govern
“That this Assembly doth explicitly and ment transcends its constitutional limits, peremptorily declare, that it views the and to arrest the operation of its laws. powers of the federal government, as re
I understand him to maintain this right sulting from the compact, to which the as a right existing under the constitution, states are parties, as limited by the plain not as a right to overthrow it, on the sense and intention of the instrument con. ground of extreme necessity, such as would stituting that compact, as no further valid justify violent revolution.
than they are authorized by the grants I understand him to maintain an author- enumerated in that compact; and that, in ity, on the part of the states, thus to inter- case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerfere for the purpose of correcting the ex- ous exercise of other powers not granted ercise of power by the general government, by the same compact, the states who are of checking it, and of compelling it to con- parties thereto have the right and are in form to their opinion of the extent of its duty bound, to interpose for arresting the power.
progress of the evil, and for maintaining, I understand him to maintain that the within their respective limits, the authori. ultimate power of judging of the constitu- ties, rights, and liberties pertaining to tional extent of its own authority is not them.” lodged exclusively in the general govern
Mr. WEBSTER resumed :ment or any branch of it; but that, on the I am quite aware, Mr. President, of the contrary, the states may lawfully decide existence of the resolution which the genfor themselves, and each state for itself, tleman read, and has now repeated, and whether, in a given case, the act of the that he relies on it as his authority. I general government transcends its power. know the source, too, from which it is un
I understand him to insist that, if the derstood to have proceeded. I need not exigency of the case, in the opinion of any say, that I have much respect for the constate government, require it, such state stitutional opinions of Mr. Madison ; they government may, by its own sovereign au- would weigh greatly with me, always. thority, annul an act of the general govern- But, before the authority of his opinion be ment which it deems plainly and palpably vouched for the gentleman's proposition, it unconstitutional.
will be proper to consider what is the fair This is the sum of what I understand interpretation of that resolution, to which from him to be the South Carolina doc- Mr. Nadison is understood to have given trine. I propose to consider it, and to his sanction. As the gentleman construes compare it with the constitution. Allow it, it is an authority for him. Possibly he me to say, as a preliminary remark, that I may not have adopted the right construc call this the South Carolina doctrine, only tion. That resolution declares, that in the because the gentleman himself has so de- case of the dangerous exercise of powers not nominated it. I do not feel at liberty to granted by the general government, the states say that South Carolina, as a state, has ever may interpose to arrest the progress of the advanced these sentiments. I hope she has evil. But how interpose? and what does not, and never may. That a great majority this declaration purport? Does it mean of her people are opposed to the taritř laws no more than that there may be extreme is doubtless true. That a majority, some
cases in which the people, in any mode of what less than that just mentioned, consci- assembling, may resist usurpation, and entiously believe these laws unconstitu- relieve themselves from a tyrannical gove tional, may probably be also true. But ernment? No one will deny this. Such that any majority holds to the right of resistance is not only acknowledged to be
just in America, but in England also. I is to say, upon the ground of revolution. Blackstone admits as much, in the theory I admit that there is no ultimate violent and practice, too, of the English constitu- remedy, above the constitution, and defition. We, sir, who oppose the Carolina ance of the constitution, which may be doctrine, do not deny that the people may, resorted to, when a revolution is to be jusif they choose, throw off any government, tified. But I do not admit that under the when it becomes oppressive and intolerable, constitution, and in conformity with it, and erect a better in its stead. We all there is any mode in which a state governknow that civil institutions are established ment, as a member of the Union can for the public benefit, and that, when they interfere and stop the progress of the gencease to answer the ends of their existence eral government, by force of her own laws, they may be changed.
under any circumstances whatever. But I do not understand the doctrine now This leads us to inquire into the origin contended for to be that which, for the sake of this government, and the source of its of distinctness, we may call the right of power. Whose agent is it? Is it the revolution. I understand the gentleman to creature of the state legislatures, or the maintain, that without revolution, without creature of the people? If the government civil commotion, without rebellion, a rem- of the United States be the agent of the edy for supposed abuse and transgression state governments, then they may control of the powers of the general government it, provided they can agree in the manner lies in a direct appeal to the interference of controlling it; if it is the agent of the of the state governments. [Mr. HAYNE people, then the people alone can control here rose: He did not contend, he said, it, restrain it, modify or reform it. It is for the mere right of revolution, but for the observable enough, that the doctrine for right of constitutional resistance. What which the honorable gentleman contends he maintained was, that, in case of a plain, leads him to the necessity of maintaining, palpable violation of the constitution by not only that this general government is the general government, a state may the creature of the states, but that it is the interpose; and that this interposition is creature of each of the states severally; so constitutional.]
that each may assert the power, for itself, Mr. WEBSTER resumed :
of determining whether it acts within the So, sir, I understood the gentleman, and limits of its authority. It is the servant am happy to find that I did not misunder- of four and twenty 'masters, of different stand him. What he contends for is, that wills and different purposes; and yet bound it is constitutional to interrupt the admin- to obey all. This absurdity (for it seems istration of the constitution itself, in the no less) arises from a misconception as to hands of those who are chosen and sworn the origin of this government, and its true to administer it, by the direct interference, character. It is, sir, the people's constituin form of law, of the states, in virtue of tion, the people's government; made for their sovereign capacity. The inherent the people; made by the people; and right in the people to reform their govern- answerable to the people. The people of ment I do not deny; and that they have the United States have declared that this another right, and that is, to resist uncon- constitution shall be the supreme law. We stitutional laws without overturning the must either admit the proposition, or disgovernment. It is no doctrine of mine, pute their authority. The states are unthat unconstitutional laws bind the people. questionably sovereign, so far as their soverThe great question is, Whose prerogative is eignty is not affected by this supreme law. it to decide on the constitutionality or uncon- The state legislatures, as political bodies, stitutionality of the laws ? On that the main however sovereign, are yet not sovereign debate hinges. The proposition that, in the over the people. So far as the people have case of a supposed violation of the consti- given power to the general government, so tution by Congress, the states have a con- far the grant is unquestionably good, and stitutional right to interfere, and annul the the government holds of the people, and law of Congress, is the proposition of the not of the state governments. We are all gentleman; I do not admit it. If the gen- agents of the same supreme power, the tleman had intended no more than to people. The general government and the assert the right of revolution for justifiable state governments derive their authority cause, he would have said only what all from the same source. Neither can, in reagree to.-But I cannot conceive that there lation to the other, be called primary; can be a middle course between submission though one is definite and restricted, and to the laws, when regularly pronounced the other general and residuary. constitutional, on the one hand, and open The national government possesses those resistance, which is revolution or rebellion, powers which it can be shown the people on the other. I say the right of a state to have conferred on it, and no more. All annul a law of Congress cannot be main- the rest belongs to the state governments, tained but on the ground of the unaliena- or to the people themselves. So far as the ble right of man to resist oppression; that people have restrained state sovereignty
by the expression of their will, in the con-| injury of the Calcutta cotton trade. Obstitution of the United States, so far, it serve, again, that all the qualifications are must be admitted, state sovereignty is here rehearsed, and charged upon the tariff
, effectually controlled. I do not contend which are necessary to bring the case within that it is, or ought to be, controlled further. the gentleman's proposition. The tariff is The sentiment to which I have referred a usurpation; it is a dangerous usurpation; propounds that state sovereignty is only it is a palpable usurpation; it is a deto be controlled by its own" feelings of liberate usurpation. It is such a usurpajustice;" that is to say, it is not to be con- tion as calls upon the states to exercise trolled at all; for one who is to follow his their right of interference. Here is a case, feelings, is under no legal control. Now, then, within the gentleman's principles, however men may think this ought to be, and all his qualifications of his principles. the fact is, that the people of the United It is a case for action. The constitution is States have chosen to impose control on plainly, dangerously, palpably, and destate sovereignties. The constitution has liberately violated; and the states must ordered the matter differently from what interpose their own authority to arrest the this opinion announces. To make war, for law. Let us suppose the state of South instance, is an exercise of sovereignty; but Carolina to express this same opinion, by the constitution declares that no state shall the voice of her legislature. That would make war. To coin money is another ex- be very imposing ; but what then? Is the ercise of sovereign power; but no state is voice of one state conclusive? It so hapat liberty to coin" money. Again: the pens that, at the very moment when South constitution says, that no sovereign state Carolina resolves that the tariff laws are shall be so sovereign as to make a treaty, unconstitutional, Pennsylvania and KenThese prohibitions, it must be confessed, tucky resolve exactly the reverse. They are a control on the state sovereignty of hold those laws to be both highly proper South Carolina, as well as of the other and strictly constitutional. And now, sir, states, which does not arise“ from feelings how does the honorable member propose of honorable justice.” Such an opinion, to deal with this case? How does he get therefore, is in defiance of the plainest out of this difficulty, upon any principle of provisions of the constitution.
his? His construction gets us into it; how There are other proceedings of public does he propose to get us out ? bodies which have already been alluded to, In Carolina the tariff is a palpable, deand to which I refer again for the purpose liberate usurpation; Carolina, therefore, of ascertaining more fully what is the may nullify it, and refuse to pay the dulength and breadth of that doctrine, de- ties. In Pennsylvania, it is both clearly nominated the Carolina doctrine, which constitutional and highly expedient; and the honorable member has now stood up there the duties are to be paid. And yet on this floor to maintain.
we live under a government of uniform In one of them I find it resolved that laws, and under a constitution, too, which "the tariff of 1828, and every other tariff contains an express provision, as it hapdesigned to promote one branch of in- pens, that all duties shall be equal in all dustry at the expense of others, is contrary the states! Does not this approach abto the meaning and intention of the federal surdity ? compact; and as such a dangerous, palp
If there be no power to settle such quesable , and deliberate usurpation of power
, tions, independent of either of the states, by a determined majority, wielding the is not the whole Union a rope of sand ? general government beyond the limits of Are we not thrown back again precisely its delegated powers, as calls upon the upon the old confederation ? states which compose the suffering minor It is too plain to be argued. Four and ity, in their sovereign capacity, to exercise twenty interpreters of constitutional law, the powers which, as sovereigns, neces- each with a power to decide for itself
, and sarily devolve upon them, when their com- none with authority to bind anybody else, pact is violated."
and this constitutional law the only bond Observe, sir, that this resolution holds of their union! What is such a state of the tariff of 1828, and every other tariff
, things but a mere connection during pleadesigned to promote one branch of industry sure, or, to use the phraseology of the at the expense of another, to be such a times, during feeling? And that feeling, dangerous, palpable, and deliberate usur- too, not the feeling of the people who espation of power, as calls upon the states, tablished the constitution, but the feeling in their sovereign capacity, to interfere, by of the state governments. their own power. This denunciation, Mr. In another of the South Carolina adPresident
, you will please to observe, in- dresses, having premised that the crisis recludes our old tariff of 1816, as well as all quires all the concentrated energy of others; because that was established to passion,” an attitude of open resistance to promote the interest of the manufacturers the laws of the Union is advised. Open of cotton, to the manifest and admitted resistance to the laws, then, is the consti