of sovereign power.
The States, then, for all these important purposes, were no longer sovereign.
The allegiance of their citizens was transferred, in the first instance, to the Government of the United States; they became American citizens, and owed obedience to the Constitution of the United States, and to laws made in conformity with the powers it vested in Congress.
This last position has not been, and cannot be, denied.
can that State be said to be sovereign and independent, whose citizens owe obedience to laws not made by it, and whose magistrates are sworn to disregard those laws, when they come in conflict with those passed by another?
What shows, conclusively, that the States cannot be said to have reserved an undivided sovereignty, is, that they expressly ceded the right to punish treason — not treason against their separate power, but treason against the United States.
Treason is an offense against sovereignty, and sovereignty must reside with the power to punish it.
Mr. Jefferson Davis
, in one of his earlier manifestoes from Richmond
, saw fit to speak of the severance of our Union as “the dissolution of a league.”
anticipated and refuted this assumption as follows:
How is it that the most perfect of those several modes of Union should now be considered as a mere league, that may be dissolved at pleasure?
It is from an abuse of terms.
Compact is used as synonymous with league, although the true term is not employed, because it would at once show the fallacy of the reasoning.
It would not do to say that our Constitution was only a league, but it is labored to prove it a compact (which, in one sense, it is), and then to argue that, as a league is a compact, every compact between nations must, of course, be a league, and that, from such an engagement, every sovereign power has a right to recede.
But it has been shown that, in this sense, the States are not sovereign, and that, even if they were, and the national constitutution had been formed by compact, there would be no right in any one State to exonerate itself from its obligations.
So obvious are the reasons which forbid this secession, that it is necessary only to allude to them.
The Union was formed for the benefit of all. It was produced by mutual sacrifices of interests and opinions.
Can those sacrifices be recalled?
Can the States who magnanimously surrendered their title to the territories of the West, recall the grant?
Will the inhabitants of the inland States agree to pay the duties that may be imposed without their assent by those on the Atlantic or the Gulf; for their own benefit?
Shall there be a free port in one State and onerous duties in another?
No one believes that any right exists in a single State to involve all the others in these and countless other evils, contrary to engagements solemnly made.
Every one must see that the other States, in self-defense, must oppose it at all hazards.
Having thus frankly and vigorously set forth the fundamental principles of our political system, though at much greater length, and with a variety and fullness of illustration, General Jackson
proceeds to proclaim
That the duty imposed on me by the Constitution “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed” shall be performed to the extent of the powers already vested in me by law, or of such others as the wisdom of Congress shall devise and intrust to me for that purpose; and to warn the citizens of South Carolina, who have been deluded into an opposition to the laws, of the danger they will incur by obedience to the illegal and disorganizing Ordinance of the Convention.
And lie closes a most pathetic and eloquent appeal to the people of South Carolina
in these memorable and stirring words:
Contemplate the condition of that country of which you still form an important part!--consider its Government, uniting in one bond of common interest and general protection so many different States-giving to all their inhabitants the proud title of American citizens — protecting their commerce — securing their literature and their arts — facilitating their intercommunication — defending their frontiers — and making their names respected in the remotest parts of the earth!
Consider the extent of its territory, its increasing and happy population, its advance in the arts, which render life agreeable, and the sciences which elevate the mind!
See education spreading the lights of religion, humanity, and general information, into every cottage in this wide extent of our territories and States!
Behold it as the asylum where the wretched and the oppressed find a refuge and support Look on this picture of happiness and honor,