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[282]

It was not the South which arrayed itself against the only sovereignty known to this country—the sovereignty of law. The constitutional position of the South received the sanction of the only umpire known to the Constitution. The final sanction, known as the Dred Scott decision, was the inevitable sequel to prior adjudications, and could have been no other than it was; and those prior adjudications, like the votes of the two Houses in 1838, had been too reasonable to awaken agitation or serious comment. The adjudication was that the Territories secured to the States by the common blood and treasure (and, it might have been added, more largely secured by the blood and treasure of the South, if the donations to the general government be considered)—that these Territories were secured equally to all the States, and not unequally to any, and that it was to deprive the citizen of his property without due process of law — to take his slave from him merely because the latter was found in the common territory of the United States. The adjudication was that the Federal Union rested on the basis of Federal equality.

At least the school of construction, which proclaimed the judgment of this tribunal to be the ultimate reason, when it was planted on the side of the Bank of the United States, should have been estopped to denounce their own canonized authority.

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