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States; but it is in this, their collective capacity, it is as all the people of the United States, that they establish the constitution. So they declare; and words cannot be plainer than the words used.

When the gentleman says the constitution is a compact between the states, he uses language exactly applicable to the old confederation. He speaks as if he were in congress before 1789. He describes fully that old state of things then existing. The confederation was, in strictness, a compact; the states, as states, were parties to it. We had no other general government. But that was found insufficient, and inadequate to the public exigencies. The people were not satisfied with it, and undertook to establish a better. They undertook to form a general government, which should stand on a new basis; not a confederacy, not a league, not a compact between states, but a constitution; a popular government, founded in popular election, directly responsible to the people themselves, and divided into branches with prescribed limits of power, and prescribed duties. They ordained such a government, they gave it the name of a constitution, and therein they established a distribution of powers between this, their general government, and their several state governments. When they shall become dissatisfied with this distribution, they can alter it. Their own power over their own instrument remains. But until they shall alter it, it must stand as their will, and is equally binding on the general government and on the states.

The gentleman, sir, finds analogy where I see none. He likens it to the case of a treaty, in which, their being no common superior, each party must interpret for itself, under its own obligation of good faith. But this is not a treaty, but a constitution of government, with powers to execute itself, and fulfill its duties.

I admit, sir, that this government is a government of checks and balances; that is, the house of representatives is a check on the senate, and the senate is a check on the house, and the president a check on both. But I cannot comprehend him, or, if I do, I totally differ from him, when he applies the notion of checks and balances to the interference of different governments. He argues, that, if we transgress, each state, as a state, has a right to check us. Does he admit the converse of the propo sition, that we have a right to check the states? The gentleman's doctrines would give us a strange jumble of authorities and powers, instead of governments of separate and defined powers. It is the part of wisdom, I think, to avoid this; and to keep the general government and the state government each in its proper sphere, avoiding as carefully as possible every kind of interference.

Finally, sir, the honorable gentleman says, that the states will only interfere, by their power, to preserve the constitution. They will not destroy it, they will not impair it; they will only save, they will only preserve, they will only strengthen it! Ah! sir, this is but the old story. All regulated governments, all free governments, have been broken up by similar disinterested and well disposed interference. It is the common pretense. Bat I take leave of the subject.

THE CONSTITUTION NOT A COMPACT.

REPLY TO CALHOUN.

SPEECIT IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, ON THE BILL FURTHER TO

PROVIDE FOR THE COLLECTION OF DUTIES ON IMPORTS,” ON THE 16TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 1833.

The gentleman from South Carolina has admonished us to be mindful of the opinions of those who shall come after us. We must take our chance, sir, as to the light in which posterity will regard us. I do not decline its judgment, nor withhold myself from its scrutiny. Feeling that I am performing my public duty with singleness of heart and to the best of my ability, I fearlessly trust myself to the country, now and hereafter, and leave both my motives and my character to its decision.

The gentleman has terminated his speech in a tone of threat and defiance toward this bill, even should it become a law of the land, altogether unusual in the halls of congress. But I shall not suffer myself to be excited into warmth by this denunciation of the measure which I support. Among the feelings which at this moment fill my breast, not the least is that of regret at the position in which the gentleman has placed himself. Sir, he does himself no justice. The cause which he has espoused finds no basis in the constitution, no succor from public sympathy, no cheering from a patriotic community. He has no foothold on which to stand while he might display the powe ers of his acknowledged talents. Everything beneath his feet is hollow and treacherous. He is like a strong man struggling in a morass: every effort to extricate himself only sinks him deeper and deeper. And I fear the resemblance may be car. ried still further; I fear that no friend can safely come to his

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