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 every other provision of it may be nullified, and every magistrate and officer in Carolina, whether of the State or Union, absolved from the oath which they have taken to support it? But this is not all. This secession ordinance purports to “repeal” the ordinance of 23d May, 1788, by which the Constitution of the United States was ratified by the people of South Carolina. It was intended, of course, by calling the act of ratification an ordinance to infer a right of repealing it by another ordinance. It is important, therefore, to observe that the act of ratification is not, and was not at the time called, an ordinance, and contains nothing which by possibility can be repealed. It is in the following terms:-- “The Convention [of the people of South Carolina], having maturely considered the Constitution, or form of government, reported to Congress by the convention of delegates from the United States of America, and submitted to them, by a resolution of the Legislature of this State passed the 17th and 18th days of February last, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to the people of the said United States and their posterity, do, in the name and in behalf of the people of this State, hereby assent to and ratify the same.” Here it is evident that there is nothing in the instrument which, in the nature of things, can be repealed; it is an authorized solemn assertion of the People of South Carolina, that they assent to, and ratify a form of government, which is declared in terms to be paramount to all State laws and constitutions. This is a great historical fact, the most important that can ever occur in the history of a people. The fact that the People of South Carolina, on the 23d of May, 1788, assented to and ratified the Constitution of the United States, in order, among other objects, to secure the blessings of liberty for themselves and “their posterity,” can no more be repealed in 1861, than any other historical fact that occurred in Charleston in that year and on that day. It would be just as rational, at the present day, to attempt by ordinance to repeal any other event, as that the sun rose or that the tide ebbed and flowed on that day, as to repeal by ordinance the assent of Carolina to the Constitution. Again: it is well known that various amendments to the Constitution were desired and proposed in different States. The first of the amendments proposed by South Carolina was as follows :-- “ Whereas it is essential to the preservation of the rights reserved to the several States and the freedom of the People under the operation of the General Government, that the right of prescribing the manner, times, and places of holding the elections of the Federal Legislature should be forever inseparably annexed to the sovereignty of the States; this Convention doth declare that the same ought to remain to all posterity, a perpetual and fundamental right in the local, exclusive of the interference of the general Government, except in cases where the Legislature of the States shall refuse or neglect to perform or fulfil the same, according to the tenor of the said Constitution.” Here you perceive that South Carolina herself in 1788 desired a provision to be made and annexed inseparably to her sovereignty, that she should forever have the power of prescribing the time, place, and manner of holding the elections of
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