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[14] articles on the Congress, and that that body was regarded and spoken of by Wash. ington himself as the “sovereign of the Union.” 1

But feeble as the old Confederation was, and distinctly as it recognized the sovereignty of the States, it recognized in them no right to withdraw at their pleasure from the Union. On the contrary, it was specially provided that “the Articles of Confederation should be inviolably preserved by every State,” and that “the Union should be perpetual.” It is true that in a few years, from the inherent weakness of the central power, and from the want of means to enforce its authority on the individual citizen, it fell to pieces. It sickened and died from the poison of what General Pinckney aptly called “the heresy of State Sovereignty,” and in its place a Constitution was ordained and established “in order to form a more perfect Union;” a Union more binding on its members than this “contract of alliance,” which yet was to be “inviolably observed by every State;” more durable than the old Union, which yet was declared to be “perpetual.” This great and beneficent change was a Revolution — happily a peaceful revolution, the most important change probably ever brought about in a government, without bloodshed. The new government was unanimously adopted by all the members of the old Confederation, by some more promptly than by others, but by all within the space of four years.

The States might be Coerced under the Confederation.

Much has been said against coercion, that is, the employment of force to compel obedience to the laws of the United States, when they are resisted under the assumed authority of a State; but even the old Confederation, with all its weakness, in the opinion of the most eminent contemporary statesmen possessed this power. Great stress is laid by politicians of the Secession School on the fact, that in a project for amending the articles of Confederation brought forward by Judge Paterson in the Federal Convention, it was proposed to clothe the Government with this power and the proposal was not adopted. This is a very inaccurate statement of the facts of the case. The proposal formed part of a project which was rejected in toto. The reason why this power of State coercion was not granted eo nomine, in the new Constitution, is that it was wholly superfluous and inconsistent with the fundamental principle of the Government. Within the sphere of its delegated powers, the General Government deals with the individual citizen. If its power is resisted, the person or persons resisting it do so at their peril and are amenable to the law. They can derive no immunity from State Legislatures or State Conventions, because the Constitution and laws of the United States are the Supreme Law of the Land. If the resistance assumes an organized form, on the part of numbers too great to be restrained by the ordinary powers of the law, it is then an insurrection, which the General Government is expressly authorized to suppress. Did any one imagine in 1793, when General Washington called out 15,000 men to suppress the insurrection in the Western counties of Pennsylvania, that if the insurgents had happened to have the control of a majority of the Legislature, and had thus been able to clothe their rebellion with a pretended form of law, that he would have been obliged to disband his troops, and return himself baffled and discomfited to Mount Vernon? If John Brown's raid at Harper's Ferry, instead of being the

1 Sparks' Washington, vol. IX., pp. 12, 28, 29.

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