« AnteriorContinuar »
was in favor of conducting the great struggle of 1860 upon "the Cincinnati platform WITHOUT THE ADDITION OF A WORD OR THE SUBTRACTION OF A LETTER." Yet, in the face of all these facts, the attorney general does not hesitate to represent me as attempting to establish a new school of politics, to force new issues upon the party, and prescribe new tests of Democratic faith. In conclusion, I have only to suggest to Judge Black and his confederates in this crusade, whether it would not be wiser for them, and more consistent with fidelity to the party which placed them in power, to exert their energies and direct all their efforts to the redemption of Pennsylvania from the thraldom of Black Republicanism than to continue their alliance with the Black Republicans in Illinois, with the vain hope of dividing and defeating the Democratic party in the only western or northern state which has never failed to cast her electoral vote for the regular nominee of the Democratic party at any Presidential election.
THE INVASION OF STATES.
WHEN Congress assembled in December, 1859, the bloody history of the Harper's Ferry invasion was fresh in the minds of the people. That history was soon commented upon in the Senate, it formed a leading topic in the House of Representatives during the protracted struggle over the election of Speaker. As soon as both houses had organized, Mr. Douglas submitted a resolution having in view some practical legislation to prevent a recurrence of such an event. On that resolution a debate ensued, in which Mr. Douglas took a conspicuous part. We give his remarks entire, omitting all comment, as they are their own best commentaries.
On the 23d of January-the hour having arrived for the consideration of the special order-the Senate proceeded to consider the following resolution, submitted by Mr. Douglas on the 16th instant:
Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary be instructed to report a bill for the protection of each state and territory of the Union against invasion by the authorities or inhabitants of any other state or territory; and for the suppression and punishment of conspiracies or combinations in any state or territory with intent to invade, assail, or molest the government, inhabitants, property, or institutions of any state or territory of the Union.
Mr. DOUGLAS. Mr. President, on the 25th of November last, the Governor of Virginia addressed an official communication to the President of the United States, in which he said:
"I have information from various quarters, upon which I rely, that a conspiracy of formidable extent, in means and numbers, is formed in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, aud other states, to rescue John Brown and his associates, prisoners at Charleston, Virginia. The information is specific enough to be reliable.
"Places in Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, have been occupied as depots and rendezvous by these desperadoes, and unobstructed by guards or
otherwise, to invade this state, and we are kept in continual apprehension of outrage from fire and rapine. I apprise you of these facts in order that you may take steps to preserve peace between the states."
To this communication, the President of the United States, on the 28th of November, returned a reply, from which I read the following sentence:
"I am at a loss to discover any provision in the Constitution or laws of the United States which would authorize me to 'take steps' for this purpose." [That is, to preserve the peace between the States.]
This announcement produced a profound impression upon the public mind and especially in the slaveholding states. It was generally received and regarded as an authorative announcement that the Constitution of the United States confers no power upon the federal government to protect each of the states of this Union against invasion from the other states. I shall not stop to inquire whether the President meant to declare that the existing laws confer no authority upon him, or that the Constitution empowers Congress to enact no laws which would authorize the Federal interposition to protect the states from invasion; my object is to raise the inquiry, and to ask the judgment of the Senate and of the House of Representatives on the question, whether it is not within the power of Congress, and the duty of Congress, under the Constitution, to enact all laws which may be necessary and proper for the protection of each and every state against invasion, either from foreign powers or from any portion of the United States.
The denial of the existence of such a power in the Federal government has induced an inquiry among conservative men-men loyal to the Constitution and devoted to the Union-as to what means they have of protection, if the Federal government is not authorized to protect them against external violence. It must be conceded that no community is safe, no state can enjoy peace, or prosperity, or domestic tranquility, without security against external violence. Every state and nation of the world, outside of this Republic, is supposed to maintain armies and navies for this precise purpose. It is the only legitimate purpose for which armies and navies are maintained in time of peace. They may be kept up for ambitious purposes, for the purposes of aggression and foreign war; but the legitimate purpose of a military force in time of peace is to insure domestic tranquility against violence or aggression from without. The states of this Union would possess that power, were it not for the restraints imposed upon them by the Federal Constitution. When that Constitution was made, the states surrendered to the Federal government the power to raise and support armies, and the power to provide and maintain navies, and not only thus surrendered the means of protection from invasion, but consented to a prohibition upon themselves which declares that no state shall keep troops or vessels of war in time of peace.
The question now recurs, whether the states of this Union are in that helpless condition, with their hands tied by the Constitution, stripped of all means of repelling assaults and maintaining their existence, without a guarantee from the federal government, to protect them against violence. If the people of this country shall settle down into the conviction that there is no power in the Federal government under the Constitution to protect each and every state from violence, from aggression, from invasion, they will demand that the cord be severed, and that the weapons be restored to their hands with which they may defend themselves. This inquiry involves the question of the perpetuity of the Union. The means of defence, the means of repelling assaults, the means of providing against invasion, must exist as a condition of the safety of the states and the existence of the Union.
Now, sir, I hope to be able to demonstrate that there is no wrong in this Union for which the Constitution of the United States has not provided a remedy. I believe, and I hope I shall be able to maintain, that a remedy is
furnished for every wrong which can be perpetrated within the Union, if the Federal government performs its whole duty. I think it is clear, on a careful examination of the Constitution, that the power is conferred upon Congress, first, to provide for repelling invasion from foreign countries; and, secondly, to protect each state of this Union against invasion from any other state, territory, or place, within the jurisdiction of the United States. I will first turn your attention, şir, to the power conferred upon Congress to protect the United States-including states, territories, and the District of Columbia; ineluding every inch of ground within our limits and jurisdiction-against foreign invasion. In the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution, you find that Congress has power
"To raise and support armies; to provide and maintain a navy; to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces; to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions."
These various clauses confer upon Congress power to use the whole military force of the country for the purpose specified in the Constitution. They shall provide for the execution of the laws of the Union; and, secondly, suppress insurrections. The insurrections there referred to are insurrections against the authority of the United States-insurrections against a state authority being provided for in a subsequent action, in which the United States can not interfere, except upon the application of the state authorities. The invasion which is to be repelled by this clause of the Constitution is an invasion of the United States. The language is, Congress shall have power to "repel invasions." That gives the authority to repel the invasion, no matter whether the enemy shall land within the limits of Virginia, within the District of Columbia, within the Territory of New Mexico, or anywhere else within the jurisdiction of the United States. The power to protect every portion of the country against invasion from foreign nations having thus been specifically conferred, the framers of the Constitution then proceeded to make guarantees for the protection of each of the states by Federal authority. I will read the fourth section of the fourth article of the Constitution:
"The United States shall guaranty to every state in this Union a Republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and, on application of the Legislature, or of the Executive, (when the Legislature can not be convened), against domestic violence."
This clause contains three distinct guarantees: first, the United States shall guaranty to every state in this Union a Republican form of government; second, the United States shall protect each of them against invasion; third, the United States shall, on application of the Legislature, or of the Executive, when the Legislature can not be convened, protect them against domestic violence. Now, sir, I submit to you whether it is not clear, from the very language of the Constitution, that this clause was inserted for the purpose of making it the duty of the Federal government to protect each of the states against invasion from any other state, territory, or place within the jurisdiction of the United States? For what other purpose was the clause inserted? The power and duty of protection as against foreign nations had already been provided for. This clause occurs among the guarantees from the United States to each state, for the benefit of each state, for the protection of each state, and necessarily from other states, inasmuch as the guarantee had been given previously as against foreign nations.
If any further authority is necessary to show that such is the true construction of the Constitution, it may be found in the forty-third number of the Federalist, written by James Madison. Mr. Madison quotes the clause of the Constitution which I have read, giving these three guarantees; and, after discussing the one guarantying to each state a Republican form of govern
ment, proceeds to consider the second, which makes it the duty of the United States to protect each of the states against invasion, Here is what Mr. Madison says upon that subject:
"A protection against invasion is due from every society to the parts composing it. The latitude of the expression here used seems to secure each state, not only against foreign hostility, but against ambitious or vindictive enterprises of its more powerful neighbors. The history both of ancient and modern confederacies proves that the weaker members of the Union ought not to be insensible to the policy of this article."
The number of the Federalist, like all the others of that celebrated work, was written after the Constitution was made, and before it was ratified by the states, and with a view to securing its ratification; hence the people of the several states, when they ratified this instrument, knew that this clause was intended to bear the construction which I now place upon it. It was intended to make it the duty of every society to protect each of its parts; the duty of the Federal government to protect each of the states; and, he says, the smaller states ought not to be insensible to the policy of this article of the Constitution.
Then, sir, if it be made the imperative duty of the Federal government, by the express provision of the Constitution, to protect each of the states against invasion or violence from the other states, or from combinations of desperadoes within their limits, it necessarily follows that it is the duty of Congress to pass all laws necessary and proper to render that guarantee effectual. While Congress, in the early history of the government, did provide legislation, which is supposed to be ample to protect the United States against invasion from foreign countries and the Indian tribes they have failed, up to this time, to make any law for the protection of each of the states against invasion from within the limits of the Union. I am unable to account for this omission; but I presume the reason is to be found in the fact that no Congress ever dreamed that such legislation would ever become necessary for the protection of one state of this Union against invasion and violence from her sister states. Who, until the Harper's Ferry outrage, ever conceived that American citizens could be so forgetful of their duties to themselves, to the country, to the Constitution, as to plan an invasion of another state, with the view of inciting servile insurrection, murder, treason, and every other crime that disgraces humanity? While, therefore, no blame can justly be attached to our predecessors in failing to provide the legislation necessary to render this guarantee of the Constitution effectual; still, since the experience of last year, we cannot stand justified in omitting longer to perform this imperative duty.
The question then remaining is, what legislation is necessary and proper to render this guarantee of the Constitution effectual? I presume there will be very little difference of opinion that it will be necessary to place the whole military power of the government at the disposal of the President, under proper guards and restrictions against abuse, to repel and suppress invasion when the hostile force shall be actually in the field. But, sir, this is not sufficient. Such a legislation would not be a full compliance with this guarantee of the Constitution. The framers of that instrument meant more when they gave the guarantee. Mark the difference in language between the provision for protecting the United States against invasion and that for protecting the states. When it provided for protecting the United States it said Congress shall have power to "repel invasion." When it came to make this guarantee to the states it changed the language, and said the United States shall "protect" each of the states against invasion. In the one instance the duty of the government is to repel, in the other the guarantee is that they will protect. In other words, the United States are not permitted to wait until the enemy shall be upon your borders; until the invading army shall have been organized and drilled, and placed in march with a view to the invasion; but they must
pass all laws necessary and proper to insure protection and domestic tranquility to each state and territory of this Union against invasion or hostility from other states and territories.
Then, sir, I hold that it is not only necessary to use the military power when the actual case of invasion shall occur, but to authorize the judicial department of the government to suppress all conspiracies and combinations in the several states with intent to invade a state or molest or disturb its government, its peace, its citizens, its property, or its institutions. You must punish the conspiracy, the combination with intent to do the act, and then you will suppress it in advance. There is no principle more familiar to the legal profession than that wherever it is proper to declare an act to be a crime, it is proper to punish a conspiracy or combination with intent to perpetrate the act. Look upon your statute books, and I presume you will find an enactment to punish the counterfeiting of the coin of the United States; and then another section to punish a man for having counterfeit coin in his possession with intent to pass it; and another section to punish him for having the molds, or dies, or instruments for counterfeiting, with intent to use them. This is a familiar principle in legislative and judicial proceedings. If the act of invasion is criminal, the conspiracy to invade should also be made criminal. If it be unlawful and illegal to invade a state, and run off fugitive slaves, why not make it unlawful to form conspiracies and combinations in the several states with intent to do the act? We have been told that a notorious man who has recently suffered death for his crimes upon the gallows, boasted in Cleveland, Ohio, in a public lecture, a year ago, that he had then a body of men employed in running away horses from the slaveholders of Missouri, and pointed to a livery stable in Cleveland which was full of the stolen horses at that time. I think it is within our competency, and consequently our duty, to pass a law making every conspiracy or combination in any state or territory of this Union to invade another with intent to steal or run away property of any kind, whether it be negroes, horses, or property of any other description, into another state, a crime, and punish the conspirators by indictment in the United States courts, and confinement in the prisons or penitentiaries of the state or territory where the conspiracy may be formed and quelled. Sir, I would carry these provisions of law as far as our constitutional power will reach. I would make it a crime to form conspiracies with a view of invading states or territories to control elections, whether they be under the garb of Emigrant Aid Societies of New England, or Blue Lodges of Missouri. (Applause in the galleries.) In other words, this provision of the Constitution means more than the mere repelling of an invasion when the invading army shall reach the border of a state. The language is, it shall protect the state against invasion; the meaning of which is, to use the language of the preamble to the Constitution, to insure to each state domestic tranquility against external violence. There can be no peace, there can be prosperity, there can be no safety in any community, unless it is secured against violence from abroad. Why sir, it has been a question seriously mooted in Europe, whether it was not the duty of England, a power foreign to France, to pass laws to punish conspiracies in England against the lives of the princes of France. I shall not argue the question of comity between foreign states. I predicate my argument upon the Constitution by which we are governed, and which we have sworn to obey, and demand that the Constitution be executed in good faith so as to punish and suppress every combination, every conspiracy, either to invade a state, or to molest its inhabitants, or to disturb its property, or to subvert its institutions and its government. I believe this can be effectually done by authorizing the United States courts in the several states to take jurisdiction of the offence, and punish the violation of the law with appropriate punishments.