Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

against the Compromise. So the bill | citizens in every State. Her admispassed both Houses, as did that for sion was at first voted down in the the admission of Maine on the same House by 93 Nays to 79 Yeas; but, day.

finally, a fresh Compromise, concoctThis virtually ended the Missouri ed by a select Joint Committee, struggle;" though, at the next Ses- whereof Mr. Clay was chairman, sion, when Missouri presented herself was adopted. By this Compromise, for admission as a State, with a Con- Missouri was required to pledge herstitution denying to her Legislature self that no act should be passed by any power to emancipate slaves or to her Legislature, “by which any of the prevent their immigration, and re- citizens of either of the States should quiring said Legislature to pass laws be excluded from the enjoyment of to prevent the immigration of free the privileges and immunities to negroes or mulattoes at any time or which they are entitled under the under any circumstances, the North- Constitution of the United States." ern members for the moment revolt- With this added as a proviso, the ed. They keenly felt that this was joint resolve admitting Missouri finalnot the “liberty” and “equality" | ly passed the House by 86 Yeas to which had been so stoutly demanded | 82 Nays; and the Senate concurred and eulogized by the opponents of by 26 Yeas to 15 Nays. Missouri, Slavery Restriction; and they further through her legislature, complied objected that this arbitrary and irre- with the condition, and thereby bevocable prohibition of free colored came an admitted State. And thus immigration was in palpable viola- closed the memorable Missouri contion of that clause of the Federal troversy, which had for two years disConstitution which guarantees to the turbed the harmony, and threatened citizens of each State the rights of the peace of the Union.90

19

MASSACHUSETTS.-Mark Langdon Hill, John language as this ? All things considered, we Holmes, Jonathan Mason, Henry Shaw~4. wish that the Missouri question may be suffered RHODE ISLAND.-Samuel Eddy-1.

to rest where it is, as the lesser evil; but, if ConCONNECTICUT.-Samuel A. Foot, James Ste- gress pleases to take it up again, and refuses to phens—2.

admit the Territory under the Constitution which NEW YORK.--Henry Meigs, Henry R. Storrs 2. its Convention has formed, and is without power

NEW JERSEY.-Joseph Bloomfield, Charles to enforce its determination, it is high time, inKinsey, Bernard Smith-3,

deed, that a new organization of affairs should PENNSYLVANIA.-Henry Baldwin, David Ful- take place.”-Niles' Register, August 26, 1820, lerton--2.

vol. xviii., p. 451. 17 Some idea of the state of feeling in Missouri,

18 Colonel William H. Russell, of Missouri, a as well as of that in some of the original States,

distant relative and life-long friend of Mr. Clay, at this period of the Missouri struggle, may be

in a letter (1862) to Hon. James S. Rollins, M. gathered from the following extract:

C., from his State, says that Mr. Scott, the Dele"IMPRUDENCE-OR WORSE.-The St. Louis En

gate from Missouri at the time of her adniission, quirer, intimating that the Restrictionists intend to renew their designs at the next session of told him that Mr. Clay, at the close of the strugCongress, says-Missouri will then appear as gle, said to him: “Now, go home, and prepare a sovereign State, according to the law of Con

your State for gradual Emancipation.” gress, and not as a Territorial orphan;' that

19 February 27, 1821. her people will, in that case, 'give fresh proof to the world that they know their rights, and

20 Even John Adams's faith in the Union was are able to defend them. What signifies such somewhat shaken in this stormy passage of its history. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, De- ion and control of the Congress. No State shall, cember 18, 1819, he said:

THE UNION NOT A MERE LEAGUE.

81

VIII.

STATE RIGHTS-NULLIFICATION.

So long as the people of any State ed to the fact, that the very preamwithheld their assent from the Fed- ble to this instrument proclaimed it eral Constitution, it was represented the work of “the people of the Uniand reprobated by its adversaries as ted States," and not a mere alliance a scheme of absolute and undis- or pact between the States themguised consolidation. They pointed selves in their capacity of separate to its sweeping provisions, whereby and sovereign political communities. all power with regard to war, to Patrick Henry urged this latter obtreaties, and to diplomatic or commer-jection with much force in the Vircial intercourse with foreign nations, ginia ratifying Convention. These to the currency, to naturalization, to cavilers were answered, frankly and the support of armies, etc., etc., was firmly: “It is the work of the people expressly withdrawn from the States of the United States,' as distinguished and concentrated in the Federal from the States in their primary and Government,' as proof irresistible of sovereign capacity; and why should the correctness of their position. The not the fact be truly stated ?" Genexpress inhibition of any alliance, eral Washington did not hesitate to compact, or treaty between two or assert, in his plain, earnest, practical more of the States, was even more way, that the end sought by the new conclusive on this head. They point- framework was the “consolidation of our Union," which he never ceased tion. They vehemently disclaimed to regard as of the highest impor- any desire to return to the chronic tance and the greatest beneficence. feebleness and anarchy of the supHistory teaches scarcely anything planted Confederation, and consecramore clearly than that it was the ted their energies to battling against purpose of the framers of the Consti- the measureless ills of an unbalanced tution to render the inhabitants of and centralized despotism. They all the States substantially and per- generally rejected the appellation petually one people, living under a of Anti-Federalists, and chose to be common Government, and known to distinctively known as Republicans. the rest of mankind by a common Thomas Jefferson, who had been abnational designation. The advan- sent as embassador to France throughtages secured to the people of all the out the five or six preceding years, States by the “more perfect Union” and who had therefore taken no conattained through the Constitution, spicuous or decided part either for or were so striking and manifest that, against the Constitution in its incipiafter they had been for a few years ency, became the leader, and was for experienced and enjoyed, they si- many years thereafter the oracle, of lenced all direct and straightforward their party. opposition. Those who had origin- The Federalists, strong in the posally opposed and denounced the Con- session of power, and in the popularstitution became—at least in profes- ity and influence of their great chief, sion-its most ardent admirers and Washington, were early misled into vigilant guardians. They volunteered some capital blunders. Among these their services as its champions and pro- was the passage of the acts of Contectors against those who had framed gress, famous as the Alien and Sediit and with difficulty achieved its rat- tion laws. The aliens, whom the

without the consent of Congress, lay any duty "The Missouri question, I hope, will follow

on tonnage, keep troops or ships of war in time the other waves under the ship, and do no

of peace, enter into any agreement or compact

with another State or with a foreign power, or harm. I know it is high treason to express a doubt of the perpetual duration of our vast

engage in war unless actually invaded, or in such American empire, and our free institutions; and

imminent danger as will not admit of delay." I say as devoutly as father. Paul, esto perpetua :

The Constitution, Art. I., sec. 10. and I am sometimes Cassandra enough to dream

2 In the Virginia Convention (Wednesday, that another Hamilton, another Burr, may rend

June 4, 1788, and the day following) Mr. Henry this mighty fabric in twain, or perhaps into a leash, and a few more choice spirits of the same

spoke as follows: stamp might produce as many nations in North "That this is a consolidated government is America as there are in Europe."--Adams's demonstrably clear; and the danger of such a Works, vol. x., p. 386.

government is, to my mind, very striking. I 1.1. No State shall enter into any treaty, or have the highest veneration for those gentleconfederation; grant letters of marque or repri- men (who formed the Constitution); but, Sir, sal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make any give me leave to demand, What right had they thing but gold and silver coin a tender in pay- to say, We, the people? My political curiosity, ment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex- exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public post-facto law, or law impairing the obligation welfare, leads me to ask, Who authorized them of contracts; or grant any title of nobility. to say, We, the people, instead of We, the States ?

"2. No State shall, without the consent of States are the characteristics and the soul of a the Congress, lay any imposts or duties on im- confederation. If the States be not the agents ports or exports, except what may be absolutely of this compact, it must be one great, consolidanecessary for executing its inspection laws; and ted, national government, of the people of all the net produce of all duties and imposts laid by the States. * * * I need not take much pains any State on imports or exports, shall be for to show that the principles of this system are the use of the treasury of the United States; extremely pernicious, impolitic, and dangerous." and all such laws shall be subject to the revis- -Elliot's Debates, vol. iii., pp. 22, 44.

These were plainly and political tempests then convulsing persistently accused of seeking its Europe had drifted in large numbers subversion through the continual en- to our shores, were in good part turlargement of Federal power by lati- bulent, restless adventurers, of despetudinous and unwarranted construc- rate fortunes, who sought to embroil

ification.

more

3 In the address of the Federal Convention to a body as Congress. Two sovereignties cannot the people, signed by Washington as its Presi- exist within the same limits." dent, September 17, 1787.

Mr. WILSON, of Pennsylvania (June 20th),

was tenacious of the idea of preserving the 4 " Citizens by birth or choice of a common State Governments." But in the next day's country, that country has a right to concentrate

debate : "Taking the matter in the your affections. The name of AMERICAN, which

general view, he saw no danger to the States belongs to you in your National capacity, must

from the General Government. On the contraalways exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more ry, he conceived that, in spite of every precauthan any appellation derived from local discrim

tion, the General Government would be in perinations."— Washington's Farewell Address. petual danger of encroachments from the State

And 5 In the Federal Convention of 1787 (Debate

Governments."

Mr. MADISON, of Virginia, "was of the opinion, of Monday, June 18th):

in the first place, that there was less danger Mr. HAMILTON, of New York, said: “The , of encroachment from the General Government General power, whatever be its form, if it pre- than from the State Governments; and, in the serves itself, must swallow up the State Govern- second place, that the mischiefs from the enments. Otherwise, it would be swallowed up by croachments would be less fatal, if made by the them. It is against all the principles of good former, than if made by the latter."- Madison's government to vest the requisite powers in such | Papers, vol. ii., pp. 884, 903, 921.

THE RESOLUTIONS OF '98.

83

us in the contest then devastating was far easier to libel a hated oppothe Old World. Washington, and nent than to refute his arguments. the Federal magnates who surround- The best newspapers of that day ed him, were inflexibly averse to this, would hardly maintain a comparison, and baffled all attempts to involve us either for ability or decorum, with in a foreign war.

This very natural

natural- the third class of our time; and ly offended the European refugees personalities largely supplied the among us, who looked anxiously to place of learning and logic. Hence, this country for interference to reës- many prosecutions under the Sedition tablish them in power and prosperity law; some of them, doubtless, richly in their own. Hence, they generally deserved ; but all tending to excite took the lead in reprobating and stig- hostility to the act and its authors. matizing the negotiation and ap- No other contributed half so palpaproval of Jay's treaty with Great bly to the ultimate overthrow of the Britain, whereby our past differences Federal ascendency. and misunderstandings with that When John Adams became Presipower were adjusted. They were in dent, in 1797, the South had become good part politicians and agitators the stronghold of the Opposition. by trade, instinctively hostile to a Mr. Madison had dissolved his earlier government so cold blooded and un- association with the great body of the impulsive as ours, and ardently de- framers of the Constitution, and besired a change. Regarding them as come the lieutenant of Mr. Jefferson. dangerous and implacable enemies to Kentucky—a Virginia colony and the established policy of non-inter- offset-was ardently and almost vention, and to those who upheld it, unanimously devoted to the ideas the Alien law assumed to empower and the fortunes of Jefferson ; and he the President to send out of the was privately solicited to draft the country any foreigner whose further manifesto, through which the new stay among us should be deemed by State beyond the Alleghanies prohim incompatible with the public claimed, in 1798, her intense hostility safety or tranquillity. The Sedition to Federal rule. The famous “Resolaw provided for the prosecution and lutions of '98” were thus originated; punishment of the authors of false, Mr. Jefferson's authorship, though malicious, and wicked libels on the suspected, was

established President, and others high in author- until he avowed it in a letter more ity. The facts that no one ever was than twenty years afterward. These sent away under the Alien act, and resolutions are too long to be here that the Sedition law was hardly quoted in full, but the first is as folmore than the common law of libel lows: applied specially to those who should Resolved, That the several States comventure to speak evil of dignities, posing the United States of America are not

united on the principle of unlimited submisproved rather the folly of such legis- sion to their General Government, but that, lation than its necessity or its accord- by a compact under the style and title of a ance with the Constitution. Party amendments thereto, they constituted a

Constitution for the United States, and of spirit and party feeling ran high. It General Government for special purposes

6 Signed November 19, 1794; ratified by Washington, August 14, 1795:

never

delegated to that Government certain defi-acts, nor any others of the General Governnite powers, reserving, each State to itself, ment, not plainly and intentionally authorthe residuary mass of right to their own ized by the Constitution, shall be exercised self-government; and that whensoever the within their respective territories. General Government assumes undelegated “9th. Resolved, That the said Committee powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, be authorized to communicate, by writing or and of no force; that to this compact each personal conferences, at any times or places State acceded as a State, and as an integral | whatever, with any person or persons who party, its co-States forming, as to itself, the may be appointed by any one or more coother party ; that the Government created States to correspond or confer with them, by this compact was not made the exclusive and that they lay their proceedings before or final judge of the extent of the powers the next session of Assembly.” delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitu- The Virginia resolves on the same tion, the measure of its powers; but that, as subject, passed by her Legislature in in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an 1799, were drafted by Mr. Madisonequal right to judge for itself, as well of doubtless after consultation with his infractions as of the mode and measure of chief, Mr. Jefferson—and did not redress.'

The resolves proceed, at great differ materially in spirit or expreslength, to condemn not only the Alien sion from those of Kentucky. and Sedition laws, as utterly unconstitutional and void, but even the

Mr. Jefferson became President on act, recently passed, to punish frauds the 4th of March, 1801. Up to this committed on the Bank of the United hour, he had been an extreme and States, as well as other acts and parts relentless stickler for the most rigid

and literal construction of the Federal of acts; and conclude with a call on the other States to unite with Ken- pact, and for denying to the Governtucky in condemning and opposing ment all authority for which express all such usurpations of power by the warrant could not be found in the Federal Government, and by express provisions of that instrument. Said ing her undoubting confidence

he': “In questions of power, then,

let no more be heard of confidence in " That they will concur with this commonwealth in considering the said acts as so

man, but bind him down from mispalpably against the Constitution as to chief by the chains of the Constituamount to an undisguised declaration that that compact is not meant to be the measure of the powers of the General Government, His fidelity to his declared princibut that it will proceed in the exercise, over ple was soon subjected to a searching these States, of all powers whatsoever: they will view this as seizing the rights of ordeal. Louisiana fell into the hands the States, and consolidating them in the of Bonaparte, who, it was not improbhands of the General Government, with the able, might be induced to sell it. It power assumed to bind the States (not merely as to the cases made federal (casus was for us

was for us a desirable acquisition; fæderis), but) in all cases whatsoever, by but where was the authority for buylaws made, not with their consent, but by others against their consent: that this would ing it? In the Constitution, there be to surrender the form of government we clearly was none, unless under that have chosen, and live under one deriving its very power to provide for the general powers from its own will, and not from our authority; and that the co-States, returning welfare, which, as he had expressly to their natural right in cases not made fede declared, was meant by the instrural, will concur in declaring these acts void ment " to be subsidiary only to the and of no force, and will each take measures of its own in providing that neither these execution of limited powers. He

tion."

that

8

? Eighth Kentucky Resolve.

8 Seventh Kentucky Resolve.

« AnteriorContinuar »