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court appointing them, who shall receive compensation for their services in fees, and whose powers and functions under the law are of a judicial character, while the Constitution provides that all judicial officers shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, who shall receive a fixed salary and hold their offices during good behavior. 3d. The Constitution provides that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, but by due process of law, while this statute allows a claimant or his agent to seize a fugitive without process.

We say, for these reasons, we regard the fugitive slave law unconstitutional, and we know that this opinion is held by many other persons, and all the arguments which have been used in favor of its constitutionality have failed to carry conviction. Every man has a right to his own opinion and to bring others, if he can, to agree with him, and we trust the time will come when this law will be generally regarded as unconstitutional. But this question has been before the Supreme Court of the United States for their consideration, and that court has pronounced the decision that the law does not conflict with the Constitution. It is in vain to reargue the question before this court, as at present constituted. It is in vain to expect a reversal of that decision now.

The Supreme Court is the court of final resort, the arbiter appointed by the constitution itself, to declare the law of the land. While this decision remains unreversed and in full force, whatever our private opinions may be, we must conform our practice to the decision of the court. Although we think the law to be unconstitutional, we must act as though it is constitutional. There can be no security for any man's life, liberty, or property if the private judgment of the citizen can annul the law of the state. This is consonant with reason, and with the precepts of the Bible. The directions of the apostle, “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers, for there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God; whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.” And again, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake; whether it be to the

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king as supreme, or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him, for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God," are not arbitrary commands. Nor are they of local or temporary policy. They are founded in the nature of man, as he is constituted by his Maker.

It is the will of God that man should live in societies. Society necessitates government. Government can only exist by the enforcement of law. The right of a civil government to enact Jaws, involves the duty of obedience on the part of the subjects. Thus it is seen that the duty to obey the civil authority is a religious duty, and an enlightened conscience will demand obedience to the law of the land, in the great inajority of cases, as promptly and decidedly as it will demand disobedience to those enactments which contravene the law of God. Conscience is the rule of right for the individual. One man cannot make his conscience a rule for another. Conscience takes cognizance of our own thoughts and feelings and actions, and forbids us to violate its dictates, but can never decide for others. It never prompts a man to redress his own wrongs, much less to seek to redress the wrongs of his fellows. The directions of the apostle on this subject were given when the world was suffering under tyranny and oppression to an extent hardly ever equaled; but we nowhere find, either in the precept or example of the apostles, warrant for resisting the authority of the law, however great the wrong, however severe the oppression.

There is a manifest difference between refusing to do a wrong, or omitting to perform a duty, although in this we disobey the civil authority, and resisting the civil authority by force, even when its requirements are, in our view, unjust. In the one case we act on the principle “We ought to obey God rather than men;" in the other, we fall under the condemnation, “whoso resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.” Paul and Silas suffered imprisonment for disobeying an unrighteous law; but we do not learn that the disciples used any other means for their rescue than prayer to God. Other examples of disobedience to wicked laws, and nonresistance to oppressors, will recur to the reader.

Under our form of government, the Supreme Court of the United States has the duty and the right of determining whether the enactments of the law-making power of the federal government have the force of law. When, therefore, their decision is made, and as long as it is unchanged, obedience becomes the duty of the citizen.

Are we asked on what principle disobedience to unrighteous enactments can be justified? We answer, on the grounds already stated, that all law proceeds from God, and every civil enactment which violates the moral sense which God has implanted in every man to determine what is right and what is wrong, is no law, has no binding force. Civil law has been well defined by Blackstone, to be “the rule of civil conduct prescribed by the supreme power in the state, commanding what is right, and prohibiting what is wrong.A statute which commands what is wrong, and prohibits what is right, no matter from what authority it issues, is no law, and may be rightfully disobeyed.

So, too, when a government is unjust and oppressive to such an extent that it cannot be looked on “as ordained of God,” and is clearly seen to be unrighteous, the majority of the people having the power may resort to revolution, and change the government. But there is no middle ground, in such cases, between revolution and submission to the penalty for disobedience. Resistance to the civil authority is, so far forth, revolution, and can never be justified except in an extreme case.

The men whom we most highly honor have acted on these principles. The Puritans, under the oppressive enactments of Laud and the tyranny of the Stuarts, refused to submit their consciences to the dictation of their oppressors, but they did not revolt until forbearance ceased to be a virtue, and until the way to a change in the government was opened, yet we are accustomed to call them the fathers of civil and religious liberty. When three of the judges, who condemned King Charles I. to death, were compelled, after the restoration of the monarchy in England, to flee to this country, John Davenport, the first minister in the New Haven Colony, preached a series of sermons, in which he taught his people their duty in reference to those fugitives from an unjust persecution. Those among whom they took refuge gave them protection, but they did not accomplish this object by rebellion against the government, nor by armed resistance to the legally constituted authorities; neither did they violate their consciences by obeying righteous enactments.

Such is the duty of all who regard the fugitive slave law, in any part of its requirements, an infringement on the rights of conscience. Not to submit their consciences to the unrighteous enactments of the civil power, and do what they regard as contrary to God's will, but, on the other hand, not to resist the officers of the law, unless prepared, with the great majority of the people, to effect an entire revolution and remodel the government. When they are prepared for this, the law can be changed under the forms of law. (For a full discussion of “the doctrine of the higher law,” the reader is referred to an article on that subject, published in this Journal, May, 1853, from the pen of the venerable President Day, late of Yale College.)

We do not suppose that those, who were engaged in the rescue we have been discussing, rest their justification on any supposed right of resistance to law, short of revolution. We have supposed that they base their defense on the facts and principles to which we have already alluded, that every man is to be presumed to be free; that the man rescued was not proved to be a slave ; and if he was such, not known to them to be a slave, and that the authority under which he was seized was invalid and without effect. There is danger, however, that in our sympathy for those who suffer bonds and imprisonment unjustly, and in our abhorrence of an unrighteous law, we may forget the duty we owe of obedience to righteous law, and may lose our reverence for that which is truly the ordinance of God.

There is another point in this case of great interest, with reference to which we presume the question of the constitutionality of the law was raised, viz, the power and right of the state courts to set free those imprisoned by order of the federal courts. After the conviction and sentence of Bushnell by the District Court of the United States, his counsel obtained, from the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio, a writ of habeas corpus, that that court might enquire into the cause of his imprisonment, and make an order for his liberation, and so a question of the gravest importance has arisen which must be settled by the tribunal of public opinion.

After what we have already said, it is hardly necessary to repeat that in our opinion Bushnell was unjustly convicted, the evidence and the law being both in his favor; but the question here involved depends on the relative rights and powers of the general government and the individual states, and however inuch our prejudices and sympathies may be enlisted in the particular case affected, the decision must be made upon general principles. It has bearings quite beyond the

present issue.

The question is not altogether a new one. Thirty years ago a law of Congress was in force, which was regarded by the people of some of the states as clearly unconstitutional, palpably unjust and oppressive to individuals. They proposed at that time, by the interposition of state authority, to obtain protection from what they regarded as gross invasions of their rights. We well remember how the great “defender of the Constitution” met this political heresy with invincible powers of logic, wit, and eloquence, and discomfited and confounded it, as was thought, forever. We remember how that unanswerable argument passed from city to city, from farm-house to farmhouse, through the northern states, how every hearth-stone reëchoed its eloquence, and every school-boy chose for his declamation, a selection from Webster's reply to Hayne. Then young and old alike uttered their congratulations that the North had found a voice and the Constitution a defender, while they cherished the hope that the principles, on which the rights of the federal government and the states rested, were now definitely and finally established. We know it is the fashion at the present day, in some quarters, to speak with slight, even with reviling, of Daniel Webster. We are not

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