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[291]

One may search the Constitution of the United States in vain to find any grant of power to Congress by which it could be authorized to pass this act; much less to find any authority conferred upon the President to approve the act, or to justify him in a violation of the oath he had taken to support and maintain the provisions of the Constitution. Congress was guilty of a most flagrant usurpation by the passage of the act, and the President, instead of being a check upon their unconstitutional measures, for which object the veto power was granted to him, became, by his approval, an accomplice in their usurpation. For nothing is more evident than that it is one of the powers reserved to the states to regulate the commercial intercourse between their citizens, to the extent even of the establishment of inspection and quarantine regulations. The former of these is a benefit to commerce, and the latter, in some special cases, retards it only temporarily, to secure the health of a community.

Neither did a state of war authorize the government of the United States to interfere with the commercial intercourse between the citizens of the states, although under the law of nations it might be so justified with regard to foreign enemies. But this relation it persistently refused to concede to the Confederate States or to their citizens. It constantly asserted that they were its subjects, in a state of insurrection; if so, they were equally entitled to the provisions of the Constitution for their protection as well as to its penalties. Still less could the government make an absolute forfeiture of the goods seized, as has already been shown when treating of the Confiscation Act.

But that a state of war did not enlarge the powers of the government, as was assumed by this act, was expressly decided by Chief Justice Taney, in a case that arose under this act. The Secretary of the Treasury issued the regulations for trade, as the act assumed the power to authorize him to do so, in the section presented on a previous page. One Carpenter neglected or refused to obtain a permit required, and his goods were seized. He contested the right of seizure, and the Chief Justice gave a decision at Baltimore in May, 1863. He said:

If these regulations had been made directly by Congress, they could not be sustained by a court of justice, whose duty it is to administer the law according to the Constitution of the United States. For from the commencement of the Government to this day it has been admitted on all hands, and repeatedly decided by the Supreme Court, that the United States have no right to interfere with the internal and domestic trade of a State. They have no right to compel it to pass through their custom-houses, nor to tax it. This is so plainly set forth in the Constitution, that it has never been supposed to be open to controversy or question. Undoubtedly, the United States authorities may take proper measures to prevent trade or intercourse with the enemy. But it does not by any means follow that

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