and the idea of coercing a sovereign State was not entertained at all.
The proceedings of the Convention
which framed the Constitution
, as well as those of the States that ratified it, together with the debates, go to show that at the time there was little difference of opinion as to this question.
Had the framers of the Constitution
declared their intention to create a supreme Central Government to bind the States beyond all power of withdrawal, it never would have been ratified at all. This State, as well as New York, and possibly others, inserted in their resolutions of ratification a declaration that the powers vested by the Constitution
in the United States of America
, might be resumed by them when they should deem it necessary to prevent injury or oppression.
Early in the nineteenth century the doctrine of secession, characterized as treason and rebellion in 1861, was openly advocated in Massachusetts
. Col. Pickering
, a member of General Washington
's cabinet, in July, 1804, wrote as follows: ‘The principles of our revolution point to the remedy—a separation.
That this can be accomplished, and without spilling one drop of blood, I have no doubt. * * * I do not believe in the practicability of a long continued union.
A Northern Confederacy would unite congenial characters and present a fairer prospect of public happiness; while the Southern States
, having a similarity of habits, might be left to manage their own affairs in their own way. If a separation were to take place, our mutual wants would render a friendly and commercial intercourse inevitable.
The Southern States would require the moral protection of the Northern Union, and the products of the former would be important to the navigation and commerce of the latter. * * It (meaning the separation) must begin in Massachusetts
The proposition would be welcome in Connecticut
, and could we doubt New Hampshire
But New York must be associated, and how is her concurrence to be obtained?
She must be made the centre of the Confederacy
and New Hampshire
would follow of course, and Rhode Island
This letter shows that Col. Pickering
believed that the doctrine of secession had the approval of New England
, as well as New York and New Jersey
In 1811 the admission of the State of Louisiana
was violently opposed in Congress.
During the debate, Mr. Quincy
, said: If this bill passes it is my deliberate opinion that it