get; it is no command, no continuing command.
But, mark you, even that permission your Constitution does not allow you to use!
Your Constitution does not even recognize it as a permission
; because, if it is, it is a per. mission to commit suicide.
You have got to upset the American
idea of government before you can even exercise it as a permission.
, in one of his exceedingly able reports on this subject, fourteen years ago, placed this before the legislature in the most unanswerable light.
You must argue down the American
idea of government before you can put down the argument which forbids the taking of human life.
There is great difficulty here.
You have got to ignore the American
theory and American history.
You have got to say of that Declaration of Rights, “It is a lie!
There is something deeper than compact.
We do not sit under a compact.
We sit under an arrangement which God limits,--the height and depth and breadth of which He has defined, not the Constitution
This is not the republican theory of government, gentlemen; but I have no quarrel with it,--it may be so. But you sit here under the Constitution
, and if that Constitution is right, you have got no powers except what the people give you. When, gentlemen, did the law recognize that I have the right to take my own life?
Never. Then, under your idea of compact, you have no right to take my life.
If your Constitution is a sound, logical instrument, the very first statute that hung a man on the gallows was a violation of the Constitution
; for it undertook to assume over that man's life a power which he did not himself possess, and which he could not, therefore, delegate to the State
; and the Constitution
says that the government could have no right except what that man gave it,--“The body politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals; ”