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“ [205] States, or in any department or officer thereof.”

Having thus relieved the Government from the trammels imposed on the Confederation by the use of the word “expressly,” it is plain why, in adopting the tenth amendment, they omitted that word.

What, then, becomes of Mr. Davis' statement, that the States “refused to be satisfied until amendments were added to the Constitution, placing beyond any pretence of doubt the reservation by the States of all their sovereign rights and powers, not expressly delegated to the United States by the Constitution?” It takes its place in the long catalogue of falsifications and frauds by which he and his coadjutors have excited, and expect to keep alive, the rebellion they are leading. The people whom he thus deceives and betrays may never see the falsehood; but the cause which rests upon such a foundation carries its own death within it, and will bring its supporters to sorrow, dismay, and ruin.

But had the second Article of the Confederation been incorporated in terms into the Constitution, would it support the right claimed by the South to secede from the Union at pleasure? Can it be for a moment supposed possible, that the people, in forming a government, reserved to each of the States a right to throw off that government at its will? When the people of the United States declared in the Constitution, that it was ordained and established “to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,” did they mean that a part of the people should have a constitutional right, the next year, or in ten, twenty, fifty, or any number of years thereafter, to scatter those blessings to the winds, by overthrowing the Constitution which secured them, and destroying the Union which the Constitution was designed to perpetuate? Were our fathers fools, that they engaged in such child's play as that? No: when they strove with as elevated a magnanimity as history exhibits to secure those blessings to their posterity, they believed that an endless succession of generations would gather the precious fruits of their patriotic labors, and hoped that the sun of the Constitution would set, only when that of the firmament should be extinguished in the gloom of an endless night.


No State except Texas ever was sovereign.

But if the States are sovereign, in the sense claimed in the insurgent States, when did they become so? Recurring to the principle previously enunciated, that no State is sovereign that has superiors, I affirm it to be historically true that no State in this country, except Texas, ever has been sovereign, save in a limited sense, over its domestic affairs; and to this point I will direct your minds in a series of brief propositions, which are conclusive:

1. When the people of the Colonies appointed the delegates who assembled as a Congress on tile 5th of September, 1774, the Colonies were mere dependencies of the British crown, and therefore were not sovereign.

2. That Congress was, de jure and de facto, a government over all the Colonies, from the date of its assembling until the Colonies, on the 4th of July, 1776, assumed the attitude of States, and thenceforward it was a government over the States, and Colonies and States were alike subject to its authority, and therefore not sovereign. This continued until the 1st of March, 1781, when the Articles of Confederation were finally ratified by all the States.

3. From the 1st of March, 1781, to the 4th of March, 1789, when the first Congress under the Constitution assembled, the States were subject to the Government of the Confederation, so far as its weak capacities justified the name of a government. At any rate the Confederate Congress exercised all the powers of general sovereignty which were exercised at all, and the States, as such, were merged, as to all the rest of the world, in the United States. The Confederation, too, as afterwards the Constitution, explicitly restricted the domestic sovereignty of the States. The sovereignty which the States declared in the Articles of Confederation that they retained, was, therefore, at most, only a limited one over their internal affairs, and did not affect their relations to the Union or to the world.

5. From the 4th of March, 1789, to the present day, the Government under the Constitution has been in existence; under which I have shown that the States have only such powers of sovereignty as, in the words of the Constitution, are not “prohibited by it to the States.”

Here, then, from the 5th of September, 1774, to the present hour, has been a clear and steady assertion of the sovereign power of the Nation, paramount to the powers of Colonies and States. Daring all that period of time, Colonies and States have all acknowledged the highest and most important attributes of sovereignty to reside in the Government established by the Nation, and therefore yielded to the Nation superiority over the individual States.

The only apparent exception to this, among the original thirteen States, is in the case of North Carolina, by which the Constitution was not adopted until more than eight months after the government under the Constitution went into operation; and of Rhode Island, by which its adoption was postponed more than fourteen months after that event. Still, those States during the time they deliberated as to their consent to the new form of government, remained essentially a part of the Nation, performing no sovereign function, except over their internal affairs, and, by the act of deliberation, expressing their continued adhesion to the Union. They, therefore, constitute no real exception.

The proposition that no State, except Texas, ever was sovereign, is most emphatically true

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