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Revenue Collection Bill.
[Jax. 30, 1833.
ized to call out the militia of the State, because they was to limit the operation of the bill to the close of the were not committed against the United States, but were next session of Congress. As the amendments were of willing to obey the call. The man to whose name his much importance, he had felt desirous to present them tory has no parallel put himself at the head of these more distinctly to the consideration of the Senate. troops to quell the insurrection. All power was placed in Mr. BIBB then rose to address the Senate. My his hands by the act of November 24, 1794, vol. 2, p. 451, voice, said he, is still for peace. Thinking it expeand the President was authorized to place in West Penn- dient, I desire to secure it by means most sure and sylvania a corps of 2,500 men, either draughted or enlisted. practicable. I did wish that the discussion might have
- The sixth section of the bill had reference to the re-l been delayed yet longer, to have advantage of all plevin law of South Carolina, and was justified and ren-circumstances that might occur, as well those which dered necessary by the 12th section of that act, which might result from the legislative action of the Congress, prohibited any person from hiring or permitting to be as from the action of the Legislatures of the States, and used any building, to serve as a jail for the confinement also from the friends of conciliation and fraternal concord of any person committed for a violation of the revenue generally. laws, under penalty of being adjudged guilty of a misde. His wishes on this subject had to yield to those who meanor, and fined 1000 dollars, and imprisoned for one differed from him, and he was now compelled to enter year. The State law, therefore, closes all the jails and into this discussion, and to deliver such views as appeared buildings of South Carolina against prisoners held by pro- to bim just, upon the question at issue. In doing this, he cess from the United States for a refusal to yield obe- hoped he should observe that decorum which became him dience to their laws. It was necessary, therefore, that as a member of that distinguished body; and that he should something should be done. The case might not be fully in no instance be found transcending that respect which met by the resolution of 3d March, 1791, vol. 2. p. 236; be had ever felt for those with whom he had the honor and this section merely incorporates that provision, with there to be associated. He sincerely hoped that, even in out the introduction of any novel principle.
the heat of argument, not a single expression might escape The seventh and remaining section of the bill extends his lips, calculated to add to that excitement, which, both the writ of habeas corpus to a case not covered by ex- in doors and out of doors, was, he feared, already great isting laws. These laws do not extend to any other than enough, if not too great. But it was necessary, from the cases of confinement under the authority of the United nature of the subject, to touch on the conflicting opinions States, and when committed for trial before the United of two great parties which had been distinguished in the States' courts, or are necessary to testify. He referred United States, and had alternately held the reins of Govthe Senate to vol. 2, p. 63, to the 14th section of the Pernment. He had, from early life, belonged to one of judiciary act. The present section merely extended the these parties; he had never swerved from its doctrines; privileges of that act, which was so essential to the pro-jand, in his old age, he still saw reason to abide by them. tection of the liberties of our citizens. It extended the It was his wish, therefore, on the present occasion, to put act to cases of imprisonment for executing the laws of the his opinions fairly before the public, that he might not United States. There would be nothing objectionable be understood or thought to advocate doctrines which he in this section; it came in conflict with no code of law. did not advocate. If a citizen were confined under the provisions of the or- ! He would tell them, then, in the outset, that he loved dinance of the 24th November, 1832, he could have no the Union. It was because he did love the Union that he remedy under the laws as they now exist. As all such felt himself then compelled to join in that debate. He cases arose under the laws of the State of South Caro- wished to cherish the Union. He would cherish it as a lina, this section only extended the privileges of the writ safeguard against foreign invasion. He would cherish it of habeas corpus to meet those particular cases which as a bond of peace and concord at home. He would had originated in the present state of things.
cherish it as the most likely means of protecting the He had now done, having fully attempted to explain country from the evils which history told them had befalthe reasons which had induced him to give bis sanction len other Governments, who had, at one time, enjoyed a to the bill. He should only say, in addition, that if it considerable share of liberty; the horrors which had be. were the pleasure of Congress to enact this bill into a fallen revolutionary France; and the evils which had law, he should most fervently pray that no occasion might been acted almost before their eyes in South America. ever occur to require a resort to its provisions. It was He would not go into a detail of the horrors of civil war. his desire that the present bill, when it should become a He would leave them to the mind of every Senator to law, might be rendered unnecessary by a return of the imagine; but he must believe that the most vivid imaginastate of happy tranquillity which would renew the cement tion would fall far short of anticipating the borrors of a of our Union, and might lie for ages to come, without civil war like that which appeared about to be brought on the necessity of reference to its provisions, slumbering in this country. When he looked at the prospects before the libraries of the lawyer and among the archives of le-them, promising no alleviation of the burdens of the progislation.
tective tariff, and at the bill under consideration, he could
not but fear that those awful consequences, civil war and WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30.
disunion, must follow its passage. THE COLLECTION BILL.
A message had been sent to them from the President of
the United States, together with a proclamation addressed The Senate having resumed the consideration of the by him to the people of the United States. They had bill to provide further for the collection of the duties on been told by the honorable Senator, who was the chairimports
man of the committee by which this bill was reported, Mr. GRUNDY asked leave to re-state wbat had been and who opened the debate, that this bill was responsive already stated by the chairman of the Committee on the to the message of the Executive; that it was calculated Judiciary, as to the amendments which the committee and designed to meet the state of things there portrayed, proposed to move in the bill. The first amendment was the facts and the circumstances alluded to in the proclato strike out, in the 29th clause of the 1st section, the mation and message. Whilst it was admitted that this words "prevent or,” (the effect of which is to exclude was an act of high legislation, it was justified on the the power proposed to be conferred on the President of ground that it was necessary. He should, then, treat the the United States to use military force to prevent, as well bill as though the amendments offered that morning by as to suppress, any riotous assemblage, &c.) The second his friend from Tennessee were already in the bill; they
Jax. 30, 1833.]
Revenue Collection Bil.
proposed to make it not a permanent law, but to limit its resoundings of the heavy-toned fiery-mouthed cannon; duration to the end of the next session of Congress. He when I shall see the glittering of small arms; when I shall should treat its provisions, therefore, as intended to ope- read the proclamation preparatory to mortal strife between rate directly on South Carolina--he meant the state of States and State, and know that the strife is in fact begun things in South Carolina as declared and portrayed in the “ in all the pride, and pomp, and circumstance of war,” I message of the President, in the ordinance of South Caro- shall then despair. There will be no assurance that the lina, in the test oath, and in all the other public acts constitution will erect its proud crest above the struggling alluded to in the message--the proclamation, and the train hosts, and come out unscathed from the contest. I have of reasoning in the proclamation and the message, as ap- no assurance that the Union will survive the carnage and plicable to the state of things in South Carolina--of things embittered feelings engendered in the impious war of expected, not done.
child against parent, brother against brother. I bave no Pursuing this object, he said that, so far as South Caro- assurance that the rays of civil liberty will again gladden lina was concerned, the ordinance was made by the peo- with their mild beneficence this once happy land. These ple of that State in their highest sovereign character, are my apprehensions. The union of these States is too organized in convention. It was done by South Carolina precious to be set at hazard, or sported with by tilts and in her character of a State. So were also her legislative tournaments. He said the provisions of the fifth section acts. The whole proceedings in South Carolina, to which of the bill appeared to him to lead, by a direct road, to the proclamation and message allude, are facts done upon civil war and a severance of the States. paper, committed by words, not an uvert act of resistance Mr. B. said, it seemed to him that a false issue was in the country: not any blow struck ; no violence acted; presented. The question of war against South Carolina no plan executed by force ; no act done, or threatened, is presented as the only alternative. This issue was false. by a lawless banditti, or by a riotous assemblage of indi- The first question is between justice and injustice. Shall viduals convened without authority, or in contempt of we do justice to the States who have united with South the State authority, is communicated. But every fact in Carolina in complaint and remonstrance against the injusSouth Carolina complained of relates to things transacted tice and oppression of the tariff? Shall we cancel the by the people of South Carolina acting in their high sove obligations of justice to five other States, because of the reign character in convention, and through the legislative impetuosity and impatience of South Carolina under wrong and executive departments of their organized govern- and oppression? The question ought not to be whether ment. Every thing which has been complained of is done we have the physical power to crush South Carolina; but by the State of South Carolina.
whether it is not our duty to heal her discontents; to conHere, once for all, he desired it to be remembered, that, ciliate a member of the Union; to give peace and happiwhen he spoke of a State, he did not mean an intangible ness to the adjoining States which have made common being, a mere abstraction, without body, soul, intelligence, cause with South Carolina, so far as complaint and remonor moral responsibility; but of a State, in the sense in strance go. Are we to rush into a war with South Carowhich the term was understood in international law, and lina to compel her to remain in the Union? Shall we keep in our own codes, as people within a defined territory, her in the Union by force of arms, for the purpose of bound together by social compact, having a Government compelling her submission to the tariff laws of which she and laws to which they look for justice and protection, complains? How shall we do this? By the naval and and to which they owe the corresponding obligations of military force of the United States, combined with the allegiance and support.
militia? Where will the militia come from? Will VirIn the argument he was about to make, he did not in- ginia, will North Carolina, will Georgia, Mississippi, or tend to justify the extremities to which South Carolina had Alabama, assist to enforce submission to the tariff laws, the gone, nor to defend all the positions she had assumed. justice and constitutionality of which they have, by resoHe meant to examine the constitution of the country; its lutions on your files, denied over and over again? Will constituent parts; its checks and balances; for the pur- those States assist to forge chains by which they thempose of testing the soundness of the doctrines in the pro- selves are to be bound? Is this to be expected in the orclamation and the message, and proposed by the bill to be dinary course of chance and probability?" established by force of arms.
He earnestly entreated the Senators to reflect on the It seems to me that the subjects embraced by the pro- probable consequences of the measures proposed by the ceedings of South Carolina afford ample field for the exer- bill. Are we not approaching too near to the condition cise of intellect with intellect; sufficient room for the ex- of Great Britain, when the colonies were petitioning for a ercise of a mutual spirit of amity, concession, and concilia- redress of grievances? when the ministry, armed with her tion, without resorting to the sword and the bayonet, to military and naval forces, looked on the remonstrances of put up or to put down the political creed of the one or the her colonies with contempt? Their complaints could not other party.
reach the throne; their reasonings could only awaken the I have witnessed the ragings of the natural elements, liberals of the kingdom, but could not quench the miniswhen the blackening clouds gathered. I have seen the terial thirst for money and for power. forked flashes blaze upon the mountain, and yet the rock Has not South Carolina been treated by the proclamathat decked the mountain's brow, and defied the storm, tion pretty much in the style in which Lord Hillsborough remained unscathed by the lightnings of heaven. I have treated the colony of Massachusetts, requiring that certain heard the clamoring of the winds, and seen the proud resolutions should be rescinded?-(Here Mr. BiBB read forest bend before the majesty of nature. In the fury of from Holmes's America, the following:) the storm I have seen the fond mother press her infant to “On the 22d of April, 1768, Lord Hillsborough wrote her bosom, and sigb with fearful apprehension that her to Governor Barnard, of Massachusetts, stating that the husband might be exposed, houseless, “to hide the pelt- proceeding which gave rise to the circular letter was ings of the pitiless storm." But, in the darkest gloom of unfair, contrary to the real sense of the assembly, and elemental strife, there was a consolation; for there was an procured by surprise;' and instructing him, so soon as assurance that the storm would cease; that the sun would the General Court is again assembled, to require of the again shed his gladdening rays on herb, tree, fruit, and House of Representatives, in his Majesty's name, to rescind flower, displaying the charms of nature in renovated health the resolution which gave birth to the circular letter from and refreshened verdure. But when, in the storm now ga- the Speaker, to declare their disapprobation of, and disthering in the political horizon, I shall hear the blast of a sent to, that rash and hasty proceeding." trumpet, the neighing of the steeds, the noisy drum, the Mr. B. proceeded to allude to the obnoxious acts which
Revenue Collection Bill.
[Jan. 30, 1833.
gave rise to the resistance of Massachusetts to the British Her ordinance and her laws are alluded to under the power--the Boston port bill, the tea tax, &c. Great words, “or in any other manner opposing, or otherwise Britain sent her armies in the confident expectation that assisting and abetting.” Disguise it as they may, by apthe province would be immediately overrun. But what plying nicknames, contrary to the usage of language, the had aggrieved and injured the interests of Massachusetts, Government, and authorities and people of South Carolina, touched the rights and interests of all; and all united in acting in obedience to her ordinance and laws, are aimed one common cause, united to resist what they all believed at, and intended to be included in the provisions of this to be oppressive and unjust.
bill. Mr. B. said he could not be under a mistake in this. He would here notice objections which he had heard The chairman of the committee has told us the bill was (he would not say on that floor) to reducing the tariff, responsive to the message; that argues upon the ordinance according to the recommendation of the President's mes- and laws of South Carolina; and so has the honorable sage.
chairman. It is said, “South Carolina bas put berself in battle This bill proposes to treat the people of South Carolina, array against the Government; she has assumed a military who shall act in obedience to the State ordinance and attitude; and the Congress of the United States must not laws, as rioters and insurgents. It proposes to place the be dictated to by a member of the Union.” She must allegiance of the people of the State to their immediate submit. In like manner Lord North reasoned in his day. State Government in direct collision with their fidelity to (Here Mr. B. read from Mr. Holmes's History, as follows:] the Federal Government; to place the citizens of South
"On the 12th of April, 1770, the King gave his consent Carolina in an attitude in which they must be compelled to the act of repealing the duties, with the exception of the to take part in arms with the federal authorities, or with duty on tea. When the stamp act was repealed, the Par- the State authorities. Both Governments have the power liament took care to pass an act for securing the depen- to define and punish treason, and other offences; both dence of America on Great Britain.' That declaratory Governments have the power to call the militia into seract, and this reservation of the duty on tea, left the cause vice. The plain, peaceable, sober, industrious, unsophisof contention between the two countries in its entire force. ticated citizens, are to be placed in the sad alternative of Lord North, who had moved the repeal of the obnoxious committing treason and crime, either against their State port duties of 1776, excepting the duty on tea, being Government, or against the Federal Government. If they strongly urged by the members in opposition not to refuse to obey the call of their State, they are subject to persevere in the contention, when he relinquished the punishment; if they do obey, and appear in arms against revenue, replied: Has the repeal of the stamp act the military of the Federal Government, they are to be taught the Americans obedience? Has our lenity inspired treated as enemies, and to be shot down. Take wbich them with moderation? Can it be proper, while they de- side they may, if they survive thc conflict, they are liable ny our legal power to tax them, to acquiesce in the argu- to be punished as offenders and traitors by the power ment of illegality, and, by the repeal of the whole law, to which shall ultimately prevail in the contest. From trea. give up that power? No: the properest time to exert our son, and crime, and disgrace, there is to be no refuge but rights of taxation is when the right is refused. To tem- in death. porize is to yield; and the authority of the mother coun. There is an important distinction running throughout, try, if it is now unsupported, will, in reality, be relin- between the cases for which the acts of Congress were quished forever. A total repeal cannot be thought of till heretofore made, and cited as military precedents, and America is prostrate at our feet.'”
the cases to which this bill is intended to apply. In the Lord North's pompous idea of prostrating America be- former, all the persons against whom the military force fore the British lion proved to be but a phantasma which was authorized, were truly insurgent individuals, rioters, tickled the brain of a haughty aristocracy, in the confi- disturbers of the peace, not having the countenance, comdence of power, forgetting right: a project of oppression mand, or panoply of State law and State authorityand injustice which the Omnipotent Dispenser of Justice offenders against all authority, both State and federal. In would not suffer to be carried into execution. Let us the latter, the persons are countenanced, commanded, take warning from our experience; let us profit by the and authorized, and have the protection of the State. example; let us avoid a similar catastrophe. If we turn / The former were literally and truly insurgents, banditti, a deaf ear to the complaints and remonstrances of the rioters, and lawless: the latter are a nation, a State, a South; if we attempt to silence and put down, by force of component member of this Union. arms, the voice of reason and justice; may not the attempt! The bill proposes to invest the President with power to be followed by similar misfortunes-by a like fatal catas- march the troops of one State into the bosom of another; trophe? May we not see a union of common resistance, to put the Union at war with itself; to wage a war wbich established by common interest, among those who suffer must involve the innocent with the guilty. Is not this n common with South Carolina? May we not see another consideration weighty enough of itself to turn our thoughts union arise, on the ruins of the present constitution, in from such a measure, and to search for some other means that section of the country which is now complaining and of securing peace and good order? suffering under the system of protective duties? Let us Mr. President: If we make war upon the ordinance, pause before we follow the example of Great Britain; let and Government, and laws, and people of South Carolina us not rashly rush into civil war; let us examine the foun--conquer her, prostrate lier in the dust, what are we to dations of our institutions; let us look at the past and the do? Govern the people and territory as a conquered future, and see if it be wise, prudent, or just, to make war colony? South Carolina is a member of the Union, and upon a sovereign people-a State-a constituent member the constitution guaranties to her a republican form of of this union of States. It is not a mob, a parcel of riot-Government. If we extinguish her from the federal ers, a lawless pack of banditti and insurgents, that this escutcheon, we violate the constitution. If we govern bill proposes to "suppress” by military force. It is not ber by a peculiar law, different from the rule applicable a "riotous assemblage of persons resisting the custom-to the other States, we break the constitution. Viewed house officers," "or in any other manner" opposing the in every light in which it is presented to my mind, the bill execution of the revenue laws, "or otherwise assisting and seems to me to be in conflict with the constitution, and abetting violations of the same." No; it is the State of tends to drive South Carolina from the Union by the pow
South Carolina: the people acting in convention by ordi-er of the sword. · nance; the Legislature and the Executive of South Caro- That I may not appear to have spoken too strongly, I
lina, untruly called by this bill a "riotous assemblage." will call the attention of the Senate to the first and Kfth
Jar. 30, 1833.)
[SENATE. sections of the bill. As to the others, although unguard.! Mr. B. then passed to the consideration of the fifth ed and objectionable, they may be amended. So long as section, which he read as follows: the contest is between judiciary and judiciary, so long as Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That whenever the it is waged by opinions and counter-opinions, with press President of the United States shall be officially informed and paper,or pen and paper, it is comparatively harmless. by the authorities of any State, or by the circuit and one It is when force is to be employed that I am apprehensive of the district judges of the United States, in the State, of danger.
that, within the limits of such State, any law or laws of (Here Mr. B. read from the bill the provision which the United States, or the execution thereof, or of any authorized the removal of the custom-houses, and even process from the courts of the United States, will, in any to keep them on board a vessel, where the collection event, be obstructed by the employment of military force, of the revenue is obstructed or threatened: “and it or by any other unlawful means, too great to be overcome shall be the duty of the collector to reside at such place, by the ordinary course of judicial proceeding, or by the and there to detain all vessels and cargoes arriving within power vested in the marshal by existing laws, it shall be the said district, until the duties imposed on said cargoes lawful for him, the President of the United States, forthby law be paid in cash, deducting interest, according to with to issue his proclamation, declaring such fact or inexisting laws; and, in such cases, it shall be unlawful to formation, and requiring all such military and other force take the vessel or cargo from the custody of the proper forth with to disperse; and if, at any time after issuing officer of the customs, unless by process from some court such proclamation, any such opposition or obstruction of the United States."]
shall be made, in the manner or by the means aforesaid, On this part of the section he would remark, that, as it the President shall be, and hereby is, authorized promptwas applied to the State of South Carolina alone, it is a ly to employ such means to resist and suppress the same, violation of the constitution, which requires that “no and to cause the said laws or process to be duly executed, preference shall be given, by any regulation of commerce as are authorized and provided in the cases therein menor revenue, to the ports of one State over another.” The tioned by the act of the twenty-eighth of February, distinction between one port and another is apparent and one thousand seven hundred and ninety-five, entitled oppressive, which makes duties payable at one port in cash, "An act to provide for calling forth the militia to execute and in others in bonds. As to so much of the section as di- the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, repel invarects that the goods shall be kept till the money is paid, he sions, and to repeal the act now in force for that purwould say nothing, as he would not dwell on minute points pose;" and, also, by the act of the third of March, one while others of great importance demanded attention. Thousand eight hundred and seven, entitled “ An act
The section goes on to provide that “in case of any authorizing the employment of the land and naval forces attempt otherwise to take any vessel or cargo by any force of the United States, in cases of insurrection.” or combination, or assemblage of persons too great to be Mark the words; when the President is officially inovercome by the officers of the customs, it shall and may formed that the operation of the law “will, in any be lawful for the President of the United States, or such event, be obstructed by military force,” or “by any person or persons as he shall have empowered for that other unlawful means," &c., he may issue his propurpose, to employ such part of the land or naval fòrces, clamation, and thereafter employ military force. Now, or militia of the United States, as may be deemed neces-sir, I beg leave to ask the meaning of “any other unlawful sary, for the purpose of preventing the removal of such means." vessel or cargo, and protecting the officers of the customs Are they not intended to include the state of things in in retaining the custody thereof; and also for the purpose South Carolina? Do they not mean that, if the State of suppressing any armed or riotous assemblage of per- shall not rescind the ordinance and her laws, the Presisons resisting the custom-house officers in the exercise of dent may employ the army, navy, and militia, to compel their duties, or in any manner opposing the execution of her? They are intended to oppose South Carolina by the revenue laws of the United States, or otherwise vio. force of arms—by war. Yes, sir, it is war against a State: lating or assisting and abetting violations of the same.” lit authorizes a declaration of war against the State of
The offences included under the words “ or in any South Carolina, to be made by proclamation of the Premanner opposing the execution of the revenue laws, or sident, in his discretion, upon after, not upon existing facts. otherwise assisting and abetting," are too general and un- The power to declare war is, by the constitution, vestdefined. They do not go sutficiently into detail, to secure ed in the Congress. They are to judge and decide on the the rights of citizens in a free Government. Such general policy and expediency of so calamitous a measure, before terms in creating offences, conferring powers on military the honest industrious yeomanry of the country are officers to shoot down the supposed offenders, suit only called from their peaceful homes to partake of the toils, despotic Governments, where the subject is considered privations, and miseries of war. But in defence of the but a thing, the property of the autocrat. They do not constitution, which he will violate by this very act, we comport with the genius of our institutions. If the mili- are to confer upon a single Executive Magistrate the tary is to supplant the civil authority; if, instead of a fair power vested in Congress by the constitution. Yes, sir, and impartial trial by jury, the supposed offender is to be it is giving power to the President to declare war, and to executed at once by the soldiery, shot down as a wild make such declaration effectual by the naval and military beast, the offence should be clearly defined and flagrant. forces. Sir, I am not in favor of this. “It has an awful Now, sir, I do object to conferring on the Chief Magis- squinting towards monarchy." trate and his subordinate military officers the power to While on this part of the subject, my mind leads me declare and punish offences, included under such vague to those times when the colonies maintained, as rightful, expressions. The power wbich I would give to the Pre- resistance to unjust and oppressive usurpation; when the sident of my choice, I would give to any other President; spirit of freedom and patriotism animated the breasts of but I would not trust any President with such power. I lour ancestors. Great Britain attempted to introduce miwould not set so bad an example, to exert its dangerous litary force to overawe and humble the colony of Massainfluence on future generations. If one President is in- chusetts. A resolution of the Legislature of Massachurested with such authority, it becomes a precedent for setts was passed in 1769, declaring “ that the establishfuture Legislatures to imitate and enlarge. My objections ment of a standing army in this colony, in time of peace, are not aimed at the man wbo is in the Executive chair, is an invasion of natural rights; that a standing army is but they allude to general principles--to the safeguards not known as a part of the British constitution; that of civil liberty
sending an armed force into the colony, under pretence SENATE.]
Revenue Collection Bill.
[Jan. 30, 1833.
of assisting the civil authority, is highly dangerous to li-! To view these questions correctly, let us look to the berty, unprecedented, and unconstitutional.”
condition of the colonies before they threw off the yoke This bill proposes to send the army and navy against of the mother country. As colonies, they were separate South Carolina, under pretence of assisting the civil au- and distinct communities; each had its separate Legislathority of the United States. Instead of hearing the com- ture (by some termed General Court,) its Executive, and plaints of South Carolina, and legislating on the tariff, the Judiciary. They were settled under distinct charters source of her complaint, we authorize the President to granted by the crown. They were planted at different declare war. By an act of conciliation, we may heal the periods, and were emphatically distinct Governments. unhappy discontents. Because public sentiment defies in that condition they were when the arbitrary measures our law, we are invited to send a standing army to sup- of the British Government roused them to resistance. press the authorities of a sovereign State. Sir, is it not In this they had a common interest; a common feeling; monstrous, when the very message of the President de common burdens to complain of; and held, in common, a clares that the system complained of is unjust and op. spirit of freedom, which determined them to unite in depressive, to seize upon this bill, and bring into effect the fence of their violated rights. When resistance was the law of force, instead of the law of justice, reason, and question, they deliberated, separately at first: a common conciliation? Instead of turning a listening ear to the cause induced them to interchange communications, and complaints of South Carolina, we are to turn upon her a general Congress of the colonies was proposed and our cannon. Should we not first try to appease these adopted. In the general Congress the votes were taken discontents, by legislating on the subjects of her grievance, by colonies. The very declaration of independence was in a spirit of justice, attempted by a spirit of mutual con- voted by colonies. Some of the States had declared cession and conciliation? Is it not wanton, when we have themselves independent before the declaration promulat hand a remedy so easy and peaceful, to have recourse gated by Congress. North Carolina was the first; and I to the “ultima ratio," the law of force?
have seen an exemplification of the original document, in Nature has established diversity of climates, interests, which that State had declared herself free, sovereign, and habits, in the extensive territories embraced by this and independent, long prior to the declaration by ConUnion. We cannot assimilate these differences by legis- gress. The State of Virginia, too, preceded Congress in lation. We cannot conquer nature. Other differences her declaration of independence. have been introduced by human laws and adventitious. But it was in vain to go into details; for, before the 4th circumstances, very difficult, if not impossible, to be ad- of July, 1776, each of the States, by its acts of resistance justed by one General Legislature. Hence the necessity to tyranny and oppression, had thrown off its allegiance cf local Governments with their appropriate powers, and to the crown of Great Britain, assumed to itself a sovea General Government with its appropriate powers. reignty, and claimed the right to consult with co-States, Therefore, the respective States, in making up the pre- and to form a league for common defence; and, in virtue sent system of Federal Government, reserved to them- of such right, did send delegates to the General Congress; selves all the powers which were local in their nature, did there assume the right to take their stand among the and which, if exercised by any other than themselves, nations of the world. The first meeting of delegates was were likely to lead to the most prejudicial consequences. held in September, 1774, and from that time until July,
It seemed to him, that the proclamation and message 1776, continued to consult without any plan or league to assert, in substance, that, by the declaration of indepen. bind them.-[Here Mr. B. read from 1 vol. Laws U. S. dence, these United States were one single consolidated chap. 1. and p. 1.] Finally, in July, 1776, the declaranation; that the constitution was made by the United tion of independence was agreed on; and it is called the States as one single nation; adopted by the people of the unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of United States as one people; or, in other words, that it America. But this is not all. The instrument, after was adopted by a consolidated mass of the whole people, giving a history of their grievances, and speaking of the in contradistinction to the views of many of our most dis- failure of Great Britain to hear their complaints and retinguished statesmen, that it was adopted by the people dress them, concludes with this emphatic language: of the States, respectively. It is important, to sustain the “We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States first and fifth sections of this bill, that the grounds taken of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to in the proclamation and message should be adopted; that the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our is to say, that the constitution be made to spring from the intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the whole as a mass, and not from the people in States, acting good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and deas separate and distinct Governments. It is in the for-clare that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to mer view only that the people of South Carolina, acting be, free and independent States." Not an independent in obedience to State authorities, can be treated as rioters nation, but, in the language of the declaration, free and and lawless banditti. If the other view of the constitu-lindependent States. And the instrument goes further. tion be correct, then we cannot treat the people of South It declares that they (the States) are absolved from all Carolina as rioters and lawless banditti, but regard them allegiance to the British crown, and that all political as a State, and war with them as a State.
connexion between them and the State of Great Britain My creed is, that, by the declaration of independence, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free the States were declared to be free and independent and independent States, they have full power to levy war, States, thirteen in number, not one nation; that the old conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, articles of confederation united them as distinct States, and do all other acts and things which independent States not as one people; that the treaty of peace of 1783, ac- may of right do. And, for the support of this declaration, knowledged their independence as States, not as a single with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Provination; that the federal constitution was framed by States, dence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our submitted to the States, and adopted by the States, as dis- fortunes, and our sacred honor.” The very declaration tinct nations or States, not as a single nation or people. proclaiming to the world that thirteen stars had risen in
By canvassing these conflicting opinions, we shall the the firmanent of nations--not a single nation, but thirteenbetter understand how far South Carolina has transcend- ought to have arrested the statement advanced in the ed her reserved powers as a sovereign State; how far proclamation. we can lawfully make war upon ber; and whether we, or on the 11th June, 1776, it had been resolved that a South Carolina, are likely to transcend the barriers pro- committee be appointed to prepare and digest a form vided in the constitution of the United States.
of confederation, to be entered into between the co