landing the cargo; and it will be your duty, against any forcible attempt, to retain and defend the custody of the said vessel, by the aid of the officers of the customs, inspectors, and officers of the cutters, until the requisitions of the law shall be fully complied with; and, in ease of any attempt to remove her or her cargo from the custody of the officers of the customs, by the form of legal process from State tribunals, you will not yield the custody to such attempt, but will consult the law officer of the district, and employ such means as, under the particular circumstances, you may legally do, to resist such process, and prevent the removal of the vessel and cargo.
Should the entry of such vessel and cargo not be completed, and the dutie paid, or secured to be paid, by bond o<*> bonds, with sureties to your satisfaction, within the time limited by law, you will, at the expiration of that time, take possession of the cargo, and land and store the same at Castle Pinckney, or some other safe place, and, in due time, if the duties are not paid, sell the same, according to the direction of the 56th section of the act of the 2d of March, 1799; and you are authorized to provide such stores as may be necessary for that purpose.
The contrast between the spirit evinced in these instructions, and that exhibited by General Jackson
's successor, on the occurrence of a similar outbreak at Charleston
twenty-eight years later, is very striking.
Congress reconvened on the 3d of December; but the President
's Message, delivered on the following day, made no allusion to the impending peril of civil convulsion and war. One week later, however, the country was electrified by the appearance of the famous Proclamation, wherein the President
's stern resolve to crush Nullification as Treason was fully manifested.
And, though this document received its final fashion and polish from the pen of the able and eminent Edward Livingston
, who then worthily filled the post of Secretary of State
, it is abundantly established1
that the original draft was the President
's own, and that he insisted throughout on expressing and enforcing his own sentiments and convictions.
The language may in part be Livingston
's; the positions and the principles are wholly Jackson
's; and their condemnation of the Calhoun
or South Carolina
theory of the nature, genius, and limitations of our Federal pact, are as decided and sweeping as any ever propounded by Hamilton
, by Marshall
, or by Webster
After reciting the purport and effect of the South Carolina
Ordinance, General Jackson
The Ordinance is founded, not on the indefeasible right of resisting acts which are plainly unconstitutional and too oppressive to be endured; but on the strange position that any one State may not only declare an act of Congress void, but prohibit its execution; that they may do this consistently with the Constitution; that the true construction of that instrument permits a State to retain its place in the Union, and yet be bound by no other of its laws than those it may choose to consider as constitutional!
It is true, they add that, to justify this abrogation of a law, it must be palpably contrary to the Constitution; but it is evident that, to give the right of resisting laws of that description, coupled with the uncontrolled right to decide what laws deserve that character, is to give the power of resisting all laws.
For, as, by this theory, there is no appeal, the reasons alleged by the State, good or bad, must prevail.
If it should be said that public opinion is a sufficient check against the abuse of this power, it may be asked why it is not deemed a sufficient guard against the passage of an unconstitutional act by Congress.
There is, however, a restraint in this last case, which makes the assumed power of a State more indefensible, and which does not exist in the other.
There are two appeals from an unconstitutional act passed by Congress--one to the Judiciary, the other to the people and the States.
There is no appeal from the State decision in theory, and the practical illustration shows that the courts are closed against an application to review it, both judges and jurors being sworn to decide in its favor.
But reasoning on this subject is