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[369] no single act has ever passed. Congress, unless we may possibly except the Missouri Compromise,1 impairing, in the slightest degree, the rights of the South in their property in slaves; that no such act could be passed, in the present or in the next Congress; that the Dred Scott decision had covered all the ground contended for by the Slave States, rendering null and void a recent act of the Legislature of Kansas, abolishing Slavery in that Territory; that all acts of State Legislatures intended to defeat the execution of the Fugitive Slave law were nullities, the Supreme Court having so decided and sustained that law at every point; nevertheless, the States that have passed such acts ought, and should be urged, to repeal them; that, should they not be repealed, “the injured States” “would be justified in revolutionary resistance to the Government of the Union” (for unfaithfulness to constitutional obligations by those whom that Government could not control); that there is no reserved or constitutional right of State Secession from the Union, which was clearly intended to be perpetual; that the Federal Government is required, and the States expressly forbidden, to do many things essential to the idea of sovereignty; that the Federal Government “has precisely the same right to exercise its power for the people of all these States, in the enumerated cases, that each one of them possesses over subjects not delegated to the United States ;” that the Federal Constitution is a part of the Constitution of each State, and is binding upon the people thereof; that the people of States aggrieved or oppressed by Federal power have the right of revolutionary resistance, but no other — and yet, if any State should see fit to secede from and defy the Union, there is no help for it! Let us hear Mr. Buchanan more fully on this point:
What, in the mean time, is the responsibility and true position of the Executive? He is bound by solemn oath, before God and the country, “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed;” and from this obligation he cannot be absolved by any human power. But what, if the performance of this duty, in whole or in part, has been rendered impracticable by events over which he could have exercised no control? Such, at the present moment, is the case throughout the State of South Carolina, so far as the laws of the United States to secure the administration of justice by means of the Federal Judiciary are concerned. All the Federal officers within its limits, through whose agency alone these laws can be carried into execution, have already resigned. We no longer have a District Judge, a District Attorney, or a Marshal, in South Carolina. In fact, the whole machinery of the Federal Government necessary for the distribution of remedial justice among the people has been demolished, and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to replace it.

The only acts of Congress on the statute-book, bearing upon this subject, are those of 28th February, 1795, and 3d March, 1807. These authorize the President, after he shall have ascertained that the Marshal, with his posse comitatus, is unable to execute civil or criminal process in any particular case, to call out the militia and employ the Army and Navy to aid him in performing this service, having first, by Proclamation, commanded the insurgents to “disperse, and retire peaceably to their respective abodes, within a limited time.” This duty cannot, by possibility, be performed in a State where no judicial authority exists to issue process, and where there is no Marshal to execute it; and where, even if there were such an officer, the entire population would constitute one solid combination to resist him.

But why cannot the President appoint

1 The Ordinance of 1787, reaffirmed under the Constitution in 1789, is thus clearly affirmed by Mr. Buchanan to be not in derogation of “Southern rights.” This, be it remembered, as well as the Missouri Compromise itself, had the hearty support of the entire South.

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