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 This much, however, is certain, that it was a measure passed with the express purpose of protecting the commercial interests of the North and New England, and in accordance with a petition presented by the merchants of Boston; urging that ‘such measures should be promptly adopted as will tend to disembarrass our commerce, assert our rights and support the dignity of the United States.’ Similar petitions were also presented by the merchants of New York and Philadelphia. If the merchants and people of New England objected to the embargo, it was merely because, in their opinion, it was not an advisable means ‘to disembarrass our commerce,’ yet they considered this mere difference of opinion on a matter of expediency as a sufficient ground for breaking up the Union, and that they had a right to do this, whenever their interests, in their opinion, made it necessary, the people of New England seem at that time to have had no doubt. The citizens of Boston addressed their Legislature as follows ‘Our hope and consolation rest with the Legislature of our State, to whom it is competent to devise means of relief against the unconstitutional measures of the general government; that your power is adequate to this object is evident from the organization of the confederacy.’ This and like utterances by other towns point directly to resistance to the general government. Said the Boston Sentinel: ‘If petitions do not produce a relaxation or removal of the embargo, the people ought immediately to assume a higher tone. The government of Massachusetts has also a duty to perform. The State is still sovereign and independent.’ Mr. Hilhouse, of Connecticut, said in the United States Senate: ‘I consider this to be an act which directs a mortal blow at the liberties of my country; an act containing unconstitutional provisions, to which the people are not bound to submit, and to which, in my opinion, they will not submit.’ Yielding to such threats of secession the embargo was repealed in 1809. Followed close by the embargo was the ground of controversy—the purchase of Louisiana. This measure was clearly expedient, and tending to promote the power and wealth of the United States, yet was attacked by the New England members of Congress, not so much on constitutional grounds, on which it was assailable, but rather for the malicious reason that it would tend to increase the
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