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vention, but every act of the Legislature, maintain the Constitution, as if unand every judgment of our own courts, the enforcement of which may devolve upon the
conscious of the tempest he had exexecutive. I claim no right to revise their cited, and which was now preparing acts. It will be my daty to execute them; to burst
to burst upon his head. and that duty I mean, to the utmost of my
General Jackson had already" power, faithfully to perform." He proceeded:
made provision for the threatened "If the sacred soil of Carolina should be emergency. Ordering General Scott polluted by the footsteps of an invader, or to proceed to Charleston for the purbe stained with the blood of her citizens, shed in her defense, I trust in Almighty God pose of “superintending the safety that no son of hers, native or adopted, who
of the ports of the United States in has been nourished at her bosom, or been that vicinity,” and making the requicherished by her bounty, will be found rais
site disposition of the slender military ing a parricidal arm against our common mother. And even should she stand ALONE
and naval forces at his command, the in this great struggle for constitutional President sent confidential orders to liberty, encompassed by her enemies, that there will not be found, in the wide linits the Collector for the port of Charlesof the State, one recreant son who will not ton, whereof the following extract fly to the rescue, and be ready to lay down sufficiently indicates the character his life in her defense. South Carolina cannot be drawn down from the proud emi
and purpose : nence on which she has now placed herself, "Upon the supposition that the measures of except by the hands of her own children. the Convention, or the acts of the Legislature Give her but a fair field, and she asks no may consist, in part, at least, in declaring more. Should she succeed, hers will be the laws of the United States imposing glory enough to have led the way in the duties unconstitutional, and null and void, noble work of REFORM. And if, after mak, and in forbidding their execution, and the ing these efforts due to her own honor, and collection of the duties within the State of the greatness of the cause, she is destined South Carolina, you will, immediately after utterly to fail, the bitter fruits of that failure, it shall be formally announced, resort to all not to herself alone, but to the entire South, the means provided by the laws, and particnay, to the whole Union, will attest her vir- ularly by the act of the 2d of March, 1799, tue."
to counteract the measures which may be The Legislature proceeded to pass adopted to give effect to that declaration. the acts requisite to give practical yourself authorized to employ the revenue
“For this purpose, you will consider effect to the Ordinance, and the Gov- cutters which may be within your district, ernor to accept the services of volun- and provide as many boats and employ as
many inspectors as may be necessary for the teers, who were not mustered into execution of the law, and for the purposes service, but directed to hold them of the act already referred to. You will, selves in readiness for action at a
moreover, cause a sufficient number of offi
cers of outters and inspectors to be placed moment's notice. Mr. Calhoun re on board, and in charge of every vessel signed the Vice-Presidency when he arriving
from a foreign port or place, with
goods, wares, or merchandise, as soon as had three months still to serve, and practicable after her first coming within was chosen to the Senate to fill the your district, and direct them to anchor her seat vacated by Mr. Hayne's accept- she may be secure from any act of violence,
in some safe place within the harbor, where ance of the governorship. Leaving and from any unauthorized attempt to dishis State foaming and surging with charge her cargo before a compliance with preparations for war, Mr. Calhoun, her at such place until the reports and enin December, calmly proceeded to tries required by law shall be made, both of Washington, where he took his seat secured to be paid to your satisfaction, and
vessel and cargo, and the duties paid, or in the Senate, and swore afresh to until the regular permit shall be granted for
18 November 6th.
JACKSON AGAINST NULLIFICATION.
landing the cargo; and it will be your duty, | President's own, and that he insisted defend the custody of the said vessel, by the throughout on expressing and enforcaid of the officers of the customs, inspectors, ing his own sentiments and convicand officers of the cutters, until the requisi- tions. The language may in part be tions of the law shall be fully complied with; and, in case of any attempt to remove her Livingston's; the positions and the or her cargo from the custody of the officers principles are wholly Jackson's; and from State tribunals, you will not yield
ches their condemnation of the Calhoun custody to such attempt, but will consult or South Carolina theory of the the law officer of the district, and employ nature, genius, and limitations of our such means as, under the particular circumstances, you may legally do; to resist such Federal pact, are as decided and process
, and prevent the removal of the sweeping as any ever propounded by vessel and cargo.
“Should the entry of such vessel and Hamilton, by Marshall, or by Webcargo not be completed, and the dutie paid, ster himself. or secured to be paid, by bond or bonds, After reciting the purport and with sureties to your satisfaction, within the effect of the South Carolina Orditime limited by law, you will, at the expiration of that time, take possession of the car- nance, General Jackson proceeds: go, and land and store the same at Castle Pinckney, or some other safe place, and, in “ The Ordinance is founded, not on the due time, if the duties are not paid, sell the indefeasible right of resisting acts which are same, according to the direction of the 56th plainly unconstitutional and too oppressive section of the act of the 2d of March, 1799 ;
to be endured; but on the strange position and you are authorized to provide such that any one State may not only declare an stores as may be necessary for that purpose.” act of Congress void, but prohibit its execu
tion; that they may do this consistently The contrast between the spirit with the Constitution; that the true conevinced in these instructions, and to retain its place in the Union, and yet be
struction of that instrument permits a State that exhibited by General Jackson's bound by no other of its laws than those it successor, on the occurrence of a simi- may choose to consider as constitutionall
It is true, they add that, to justify this abrolar outbreak at Charleston twenty- gation of a law, it must be palpably coneight years later, is very striking. trary to the Constitution; but it is evident Congress reconvened on the 3d of that, to give the right of resisting laws of
that description, coupled with the unconDecember; but the President's Mes- trolled right to decide what laws deserve sage, delivered on the following day, ing all laws. For, as, by this theory, there
that character, is to give the power of resistmade no allusion to the impending is no appeal, the reasons alleged by the peril of civil convulsion and war. State, good or bad, must prevail. If it should One week later, however, the country check against the abuse of this power, it
be said that public opinion is a sufficient was electrified by the appearance of may be asked why it is not deemed a suffithe famous Proclamation, wherein cient guard against the passage of an uncon
stitutional act by Congress. There is, howthe President's stern resolve to crush ever, a restraint in this last case, which Nullification as Treason was fully makes the assumed power of a State more manifested. And, though this docu- other. There are two appeals from an un
indefensible, and which does not exist in the ment received its final fashion and constitutional act passed by Congress—one polish from the pen of the able and to the Judiciary, the other to the people and eminent Edward Livingston, who State decision in theory, and the practical
the States. There is no appeal from the then worthily filled the post of Secre- illustration shows that the courts are closed tary of State, it is abundantly estab against an application to review it, both
judges and jurors being sworn to decide in lished" that the original draft was the its favor. But reasoning on this subject is
19 See Parton's Life of Jackson, pp. 455-6.
superfluous when our social compact in ex law of the United States, assumed by one press terms declares that the laws of the State, incompatible with the existence of the United States, its Constitution, and the trea- Union, contradicted expressly by the letter ties made under it, are the supreme law of of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirthe land ; and, for greater caution, adds, it, inconsistent with every principle on which
that the judges in every State shall be it was founded, and destructive of the great bound thereby, anything in the constitution object for which it was formed." or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.' And it may be asserted,
A little farther on, he proclaimed without fear of refutation, that no federative his concurrence in the “Nationgovernment could exist without a similar al,” as contradistinguished from the provision. Look, for a moment, to the consequences. If South Carolina considers the “State Rights,” theory of our Fedrevenue laws unconstitutional, and has a eration, in these words: right to prevent their execution in the port of Charleston, there would be a clear con
"The Constitution of the United States, stitutional objection to their collection in then, forms a Government, not a league; every other port, and no revenue could be and, whether it be formed by compact becollected anywhere; for all imposts must be tweer the States, or in any other manner, equal. It is no answer to repeat, that an
its character is the same. It is a governunconstitutional law is no law, so long as
ment in which all the people are representthe question of legality is to be decided by ed, which acts directly on the people indithe State itself; for every law, operating vidually, not upon the States—they retained injuriously upon any local interest, will be all the power they did not grant. But each perhaps thought, and certainly represented State, having expressly parted with so many as, unconstitutional; and, as has been powers, . as to constitute, jointly with the shown, there is no appeal.
other States, a single nation, cannot, from “If this doctrine had been established at that period, possess any right to secede; bean earlier day, the Union would hav been cause such secession does not break a league, dissolved in its infancy. The Excise law in but destroys the unity of a nation, and any Pennsylvania, the Embargo and Non-Inter- injury to that unity is not only a breach course law in the Eastern States, the car- which would result from the contravention riage-tax in Virginia, were all deemed un of a compact, but it is an offense against the constitutional, and were more unequal in
whole Union. To say that any State may their operation than any of the laws now at pleasure secede from the Union, is to say complained of; but, fortunately, none of that the United States are not a nation, bethose States discovered that they had the cause it would be a solecism to contend that right now claimed by South Carolina. The any part of a nation might dissolve its connecwar into which we were forced, to support tion with the other parts, to their injury or the dignity of the nation and the rights of ruin, without committing any offense. Secesour citizens, might have ended in defeat and sion, like any other revolutionary act, may disgrace, instead of victory and honor, if the be morally justified by the extremity of opStates who supposed it a ruinous and uncon- pression; but to call it a constitutional right, stitutional measure had thought they pos- is confounding the meaning of terms, and sessed the right of nullifying the act by can only be done through gross error, or to which it was declared, and denying supplies deceive those who are willing to assert a for its prosecution. Hardly and unequally right, but would pause before they make a as those measures bore upon several mem- revolution, or incur the penalties consebers of the Union, to tho Legislatures of quent on a failure.” none did this efficient and peaceable remedy, The dogma of State Sovereignty, as it is called, suggest itself. The discovery of this important feature in our Constitution as contravening or limiting the was reserved for the present day. To the proper Nationality of the Republic, statesmen of South Carolina belongs the invention, and upon the citizens of that State is thus squarely confronted: will unfortunately fall the evils of reducing
“The States severally have not retained it to practice."
their entire sovereignty. It has been shown General Jackson summed
that, in becoming parts of a nation, not memhis up
bers of a league, they surrendered many of objections to Nullification in these their essential parts of sovereignty. The unambiguous terms:
right to make treaties, declare war, levy
taxes, exercise exclusive judicial and legisla"I consider, then, the power to annal a | lative powers, were all of them functions
APPEAL TO SOUTH CAROLINA.
of sovereign power. The States, then, for grant? Will the inhabitants of the inland all these iinportant purposes, were no longer States agree to pay the duties that may be sovereign. The allegiance of their citi imposed without their assent by those on zens was transferred, in the first instance, the Atlantic or the Gulf, for their own bento the Government of the United States; efit? Shall there be a free port in one State they became American citizens, and owed and onerous duties in another? No one beobedience to the Constitution of the United lieves that any right exists in a single State States, and to laws made in conformity with to involve all the others in these and countthe powers it vested in Congress. This less other evils, contrary to engagements sollast position has not been, and cannot be, emnly made. Every one must see that the denied. How, then, can that State be said other States, in self-defense, must oppose it to be sovereign and independent, whose cit at all hazards." izens owe obedience to laws not made by it, and whose magistrates are sworn to disre
Having thus frankly and vigorgard those laws, when they come in conflict ously set forth the fundamental prinwith those passed by another? What shows, ciples of our political system, though conclusively, that the States cannot be said to have reserved an undivided sovereignty,
at much greater length, and with a is, that they expressly ceded the right to variety and fullness of illustration, punish treason--not treason against their General Jackson proceeds to proseparate power, but treason against the United States. Treason is an offense against
claim 8orereignty, and sovereignty must reside with the power to punish it."
“That the duty imposed on me by the
Constitution to take care that the laws be Mr. Jefferson Davis, in one of his faithfully executed' shall be performed to earlier manifestoes from Richmond, the extent of the powers already vested in
me by law, or of such others as the wisdom saw fit to speak of the severance of
of Congress shall devise and intrust to me our Union as “the dissolution of a for that purpose; and to warn the citizens league.” General Jackson anticipa- of South Carolina, who have been deluded ted and refuted this assumption as they will incur by obedience to the illegal
into an opposition to the laws, of the danger follows:
and disorganizing Ordinance of the Conven
tion.” “How is it that the most perfect of those several modes of Union should now be con And he closes a most pathetic and sidered as a mere league, that may be dissolved at pleasure? It is from an abuse of eloquent appeal to the people of terms. Compact is used as synonymous South Carolina in these memorable with league, although the true term is not and stirring words: employed, because it would at once show the fallacy of the reasoning. It would not “Contemplate the condition of that coundo to say that our Constitution was only a try of which you still form an important league, but it is labored to prove it a com part!-consider its Government, uniting in pact (which, in one sense, it is), and then to one bond of common interest and general argue that, as a league is a compact, every protection so many different States--giving compact between nations must, of course, to all their inhabitants the proud title of be a league, and that, from such an engage- American citizens—protecting their comment, every sovereign power has a right to merce-securing their literature and their recede. But it has been shown that, in this arts—facilitating their intercommunication sense, the States are not sovereign, and that, | -- defending their frontiers—and making even if they were, and the national constitu- their names respected in the remotest parts tution had been formed by compact, there of the earth! Consider the extent of its would be no right in any one State to ex territory, its increasing and happy populaonerate itself from its obligations.
tion, its advance in the arts, which render life “So obvious are the reasons which forbid agreeable, and the sciences which elevate this secession, that it is necessary only to the mind! See education spreading the allude to them. The Union was formed for lights of religion, humanity, and general inthe benefit of all. It was produced by mu- formation, into every cottage in this wide taal sacrifices of interests and opinions. Can extent of our territories and States ! Behold those sacrifices be recalled? Can the States it as the asylum where the wretched and who magnanimously surrendered their title the oppressed find a refuge and support! to the territories of the West, recall the Look on this picture of happiness and honor,
and say, We, too, ARE CITIZENS OF AMERICA. ants of the Pinckneys, the Sumpters, the Carolina is one of these proud States; her Rutledges, and of the thousand other names arms have defended, her best blood has which adorn the pages of your Revolutioncemented, this happy Union ! And then ary history, will not abandon that Union, to add, if you can, without horror and re support which so many of them fought, and morse, "This happy Union we will dissolve bled, and died. I adjure you, as you honor
-this picture of peace and prosperity we their memory, as you love the cause of freewill deface—this free intercourse we will dom to which they dedicated their lives—as interrupt-these fertile fields we will deluge you prize the peace of your country, the with blood—the protection of that glorious lives of its best citizens, and your own fair flag we renounce--the very name of Ameri- fame, to retrace your steps. Snatch from cans we discard.' And for what, mistaken the archives of your State the disorganizing men! for what do you throw away these edict of its Convention-bid its members to inestimable blessings—for what would you reassemble and promulgate the decided exexchange your share in the advantages and pression of your will to remain in the path honor of the Union? For the dream of a which alone can conduct you to safety, separate independence-a dream interrupted prosperity, and honor-tell them that, comby bloody conflicts with your neighbors, and pared to disunion, all other evils are light, a vile dependence on foreign power! If because that brings with it an accumulation your leaders could succeed in establishing a of all—declare that you will never take the separation, what would be your situation? field unless the star-spangled banner of your Are you united at home? Are you free country shall float over you—that you will from the apprehension of civil discord, with not be stigmatized when dead, and dishonorall its fearful consequences? Do our neigh-ed and scorned while you live, as the authors boring republics, every day suffering some of the first attack on the Constitution of new revolution or contending with some your country! Its destroyers you cannot be. new insurrection, do they excite your envy? You may disturb its peace-you may inter
“But the dictates of a high duty oblige me rupt the course of its prosperity-you may solemnly to announce th you cannot suc cloul its reputation for stability—but its ceed. The laws of the United States must tranquillity will be restored, its prosperity be executed. I have no discretionary power will return, and the stain upon its nationai on the subject-my duty is emphatically character will be transferred, and remain an pronounced in the Constitution. Those who eternal blot on the memory of those who told you that you might peaceably prevent caused the disorder." their execution, deceived you—they could not have been deceived themselves. They Turning from the deluded minorknow that a forcible opposition could alono ity to the loyal and Union-loving prevent the execution of the laws, and they know that such opposition must be repelled. majority of the American people, the Their object is disunion : be not deceived | President concludes his Proclamation by names. Disunion, by armed force, is
as follows: treason. Are you really ready to incur its guilt? If you are, on the heads of the insti “ Fellow-citizens of the United States ! gators of the act be the dreadful conse- The threat of unhallowed disunion, the quences—on their heads be the dishonor; names of those (once respected) by whom but on yours may fall the punishment on it was uttered, the array of military force to your unhappy State will inevitably fall all support it, denote the approach of a crisis in the evils of the conflict you force upon the our affairs, on which the continuance of our Government of your country. It cannot unexampled prosperity, our political existaccede to the mad project of disunion, of ence, and perhaps that of all free governwhich you would be the first victims-its ments, may depend. The conjuncture defirst magistrate cannot, if he would, avoid manded a full, a free, and explicit annunciathe performance of his duty—the conse tion, not only of my intentions, but of iny prinquence must be fearful for you, distressing ciples of action; and, as the claim was assertto your fellow-citizens here, and the friends ed of a right by a State to annul the laws of the of good government throughout the world. Union, and even to secede from it, at pleasIts enemies have beheld our prosperity ure, a frank exposition of my opinions in with a vexation they could not conceal—it relation to the origin and form of our Govwas a standing refutation of their slavish ernment, and the construction I give to the doctrines, and they would point to our dis- instrument by which it was created, seemed cords with the triumph of malignant joy. to be proper. Having the fullest confidence It is yet in your power to disappoint them. in the justness of the legal and constitutional There is yet time to show that the descend- opinion of my duties, which has been ex