"the law and the Testimony."
A communication, in a late number of the Baltimore Sun, proves conclusively the right of States to secede, and that there is no power in the Federal Government
to use force against or to coerce a State.
The position is sustained by distinguished authorities, quoted by the writer.
It is of so much interest at the present time, that we publish it entire:
"If the representatives of the people betray
their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the execution of that original right of self-defence, which is paramount to all positive forms of government;
and which against the usurpation of the national rulers,
may be exerted with an infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual State." --Hamilton
, page 106, Federalist
"In a confederacy the people,
without exaggeration, may be said to be entirely the masters of their own fate.
"It may safely be received as an axiom in our political system that the State governments
will, in all possible contingencies afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority.
" --Ib., page 107
"The rule that all authorities of which the States are not explicitly divested in favor of the Union, remain with them
in full vigor, is not only a theoretical consequence of that division, [sovereign power,] but is clearly admitted by the whole tenor of the instrument which contains the articles of the proposed Constitution." --Ib., page 121
"If the Federal Government
should overpass the just bounds of its authority, and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution
as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify." --Ib., page 123
"The Constitution is to be founded on the assent
of the people,
given by deputies elected for the special purpose; but this assent and ratification is to be given by the people, not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to which they respectively belong.
It is to be the assent and ratification of the several States, derived from the supreme authority in each State--the authority of the people themselves.
The Constitution will not be a National,
but a Federal
act. That it will be a Federal and not a National act, as these terms are understood by the objectors, the act of the people,
as forming so many independent States,
not as forming one aggregate nation,
is obvious from this single consideration, that it is the result neither from the decision of a majority
of the people
of the Union
, nor that of a majority
of the States.
It must result from the unanimous
assent of the several States
that are parties to it. Were the people regarded in this transaction as forming one nation
the will of the majority
of the whole people of the United States
would bind the minority.
in ratifying the Constitution
, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act.
, Federalist, page 152
"In the establishment of the Constitution
, the States should be regarded as distinct
and independent sovereigns, and they are so regarded.
" --Ib., page 156
"It is vain to oppose constitutional barriers to the impulses of self-preservation." --Ib., page 162
"The Constitution and Union can be superceded without the unanimous consent of the States which are parties to it,
upon the great principle of self-preservation;
to the transcendent law of nature
and of nature's God, which declares that the safety
of society are the object at which all political institutions must be sacrificed.
"A compact between independent sovereigns,
founded on acts of legislative authority, can pretend to no higher validity than a league or treaty between the parties.
It is an established doctrine on the subject of treaties, that all the articles are mutually conditions of each other: that a breach of any one article is a breach of the whole treaty;
and that a breach committed by either
of the parties absolves the others,
and authorizes them,
if they please, to pronounce the compact violated and void.
" --Ib., page 178
"No axiom is more clearly established in law, or in reason, than that whenever the end is required, the means are authorized."
"The State governments may be regarded as constituent and essential parts of the Federal Government
; whilst the Federal Government
is in no wise essential to the operation or organization of the State Government
." "Without the State Legislatures
, the President
, and Representatives cannot be elected.
Each of the branches of the Federal Government
owes its 'existence to the State Governments
.' The powers delegated to the Federal Government
by the Constitution
, are few and defined; those which remain in the State Governments
are numerous and indefinite.
The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people." --Ib., pages 186 and 187
In the Convention
which framed the constitution, Edmund Randolph
proposed to give the Federal Government
power ‘"to call forth the force of the Union
against any member of the Union
failing to fulfill its duties under the articles there of."’ Mr. Patterson
also desired to be inserted in the Constitution
, ‘"And if any State, or body of men in any State, shall oppose or prevent the Carrying into executive such acts or treaties, the Federal Executive
shall be authorized to call 10th the powers of the confederated States, or so much thereof as may be necessary to compel obedience to such acts, or an observance of such treaties."’ In these two instances the Convention
was distinctly invited to authorize the Federal Government
to use force
measures against the States, but no such powers were authorized.
Not a single member of the Convention advocated force. Hamilton
, the strong government man, rejected and denounced resorting to force.
said "the more he reflected on the use of force, the more he doubted the practicability, the justice and the efficacy of it."
"An Union of the States containing such an ingredient (force or coercion) seemed to provide for its own destruction.
The use of force against a State would look more like a declaration of war than an infliction of punishment, and would be considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all previous compacts by which it might be bound;" he opposed the use of force.
If the Federal Government
attempts to coerce a State or uses force, it breaks the compact between all the States and itself; its acts are illegal and unauthorized, and it is a usurper, and no State is bound by the compact, nor can the Federal Government
claim no longer to act under or by authority of the compact by which it was brought into existence.
again said, "That any government for the United States
formed on the supposed practicability of using force against the States would prove visionary and fallacious."
again said: "Force, by which may be understood a coercion of laws or a coercion arms, it amounts to a war between the parties, the confusion will increase, and a dissolution of the Union
will ensue."--[Elliott's Debates, vol. 5, page 133.] These are some of the proceedings of the Convention
which framed the Constitution
, and you have before you the views of Hamilton
, who helped to frame it, as to the rights of the States, and the powers of the Federal Government
as to coercion
against the States.
New York, when she ratified the Constitution of the United States
, expressly declared, "That the powers of government may be resumed
by the people whensoever
it shall become necessary to their happiness; every other power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by the said Constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States, or to the departments of the Government
thereof, remains to the people of the several States, or to their respective State Governments. "--Elliott
's Debates, page 327
New York, when she ratified the Constitution of the United States
, expressly stated:-- "Under these impressions, and declaring that the rights aforesaid cannot be abridged or violated, and that the explanations aforesaid are consistent with the said Constitution, &c., we assent to and ratify the said Constitution." --These were no proposed amendments, but they were declarations of right and of the common understanding in relation to the meaning of the Constitution
, in her ratification, declares and makes known "That the powers granted under the Constitution
, being derived from the people of the United States
, may be resumed by them whenever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby, remains with them and at their will."
, when she ratified the Constitution of the United States
, expressly declared ‘"That the powers of government may be reassured by the people whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness."’--[Same as New York.]
As to the right or claim of the Federal Government
to forts, &c., in a State after the State
has been withdrawn from the Union
, and has resumed all powers and rights once delegated.
In the case of Pollard
's lessee vs. Hagan
, 3 Howard
, S. P. C. R., pages 222 and 223, the Court
"Taking the legislative acts of the United States
and the States of Virginia
, and their deeds of cession to the United States
, and giving to each separately, and to all jointly, a fair interpretation, we must come to the conclusion that it was the intention of the parties to invest the United States
with the eminent domain of the
country ceded, both national and municipal, for the purpose of temporary government, and to hold it in trust for the performance of the stipulation and conditions expressed in the deeds of cession and the legislative acts connected with them.
also say in the same case:
"The United States
has no constitutional capacity to exercise municipal jurisdiction, sovereignty or eminent domain within the limits of the State
or else where, except in cases in which it is expressly granted."
Forts, &c., are built, &c., out of the money of all the States, and before the United States
has any right or power to build them in a State, the State
must give permission by cession, &c. As soon as the State
resumes all of her sovereign rights, and if she refuses longer to recognize as her agent the Federal Government
, the Federal Government
has no longer any authority or right in or over the State
; The rights once delegated and ceded by the State
revert again exclusively to the State
Thus, suppose your land is condemned, or sold by you for a railroad, road, or street, &c., and you are paid for it whenever said land ceases to be used; &c., as required, it reverts back to you, or your heirs — the fee simple was always in you, subject to the uses or right of way, &c. I take it, the same rule or principle of law will apply to the Federal Government
owning property in the States.
The Federal Government only holds by express grant from the States; it has no constitutional sovereignty in a State, &c., as before shown.
From the debates and from the views of the men who assisted in framing the Constitution
; from the express declarations and reservations of the States ratifying the Constitution
, set forth in the State Constitutions
and in the Constitution of the United States
, and from the decision of the U. S. Supreme Court; can it be possible that any intelligent man can or will hereafter deny the States the inherent right to reassume all of their sovereign rights and powers, and to take back or reassume all the powers once delegated to their agent — the Federal Government
Where do men find the right or power in the Federal Government
to coerce or use force against a State, after a State has withdrawn from the Union
, and after it has ceased to recognize the Federal Government
any longer as its agent?
When a State secedes and goes out of the Union
, it takes with it and resumes all of the powers which were once delegated or entrusted to the Federal Government
The Federal Government, we have seen has no municipal jurisdiction, sovereignty, etc., in a State, by virtue of the Constitution
, even when a State is in the Union
Why, then, or how can it claim such powers in a State which is no longer in the Union
To give the Federal Government
these powers, a State in the Union
must expressly delegate such powers.
If you examine the Constitution
you will find, that the Federal Government
does not claim anything therein as an inherent right?
It only claims powers which were delegated to it by the States.
Yet with all these plain principles clearly set forth and manifest to any intelligent mind, you will find men holding the Federal Government
, or, as they term it, the Union
, up as an idol, which they worship, and which they would have the States (which are the creators of it,) do so in like manner, no matter how corrupt it is or may become.--These men would also give to this creature or agent unlimited and undefined rights and powers.
The President, in his last message, says he intends to enforce the laws in South Carolina
, although she is no longer in the Union
.--He has as much right to put the laws which he refers to in force in England
, &c., as he has in South Carolina
Why did not the President
enforce the laws in the free States?
These States all claim to be now in the Union
, yet they have for years past, and now are violating the Constitution
and laws of the United States
The violation by the free States of these laws is the cause of all the evils now upon us: they are the source from which all these troubles have come upon us. Why don't the President
now enforce the laws in the free States?
He had better send his Major Anderson
, Gen. Scotts
, &c., there, and not make war upon sovereign States no longer under his jurisdiction.
I appeal to the young men of this country, and also to the old men, to examine the subjects I refer to for yourselves.
Do not trust to the views and opinions of corrupt and designing demagogues and politicians.
Inform yourselves of your State's rights, and protect and defend them, for yourselves and for your children.