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oly. The State, once tasting this blood, sees only an easy way of obtaining the means it desires; and other States will yield to the same temptation. The poet, after picturing vice as a monster of frightful mien, tells us in familiar words,
"Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace."
A profitable Usurpation, like that of New Jersey, would be a tempting example to other States. "It is only the first step that costs." Let this Usurpation be sanctioned by Congress, and you hand over the domestic commerce of the Union to a succession of local imposts. Each State will be a tax-gatherer at the expense of the Union. Each State will play the part of Don Quixote, and the Union will be Sancho Panza, not only bound to contributions, but driven to receive on bare back the lashes which were the penance of the knightly adventurer. If there be any single fruit of our national unity, if there be any single element of the Union, if there be any single triumph of the Constitution to be placed above all others, it is the freedom of commerce between the States, under which free trade, the aspiration of philosophy, is assured to all citizens of the Union, as they circulate through our whole broad country, without hindrance from any State. But this vital principle is now in jeopardy.
Keep in mind that it is the tax imposed on commerce between New York and Philadelphia, two cities outside the State of New Jersey, which I denounce. I have denounced it as hostile to the Union. I also denounce it as hostile to the spirit of the age, which is everywhere overturning the barriers of commerce. The robber castles, once compelling payment of toll on the
Rhine, were long ago dismantled, and exist now only as monuments of picturesque beauty. Kindred pretensions in other places have been overthrown or trampled out. Duties levied by Denmark on all vessels passing through the Sound and the Belts, duties levied by Hanover on the goods of all nations at Stade on the Elbe, tolls exacted on the Danube in its protracted course, tolls exacted by Holland on the busy waters of the Scheldt, and transit imposts within the great Zollverein of Germany, have all been abolished; and in this work of enfranchisement the Government of the United States led the way, insisting, in the words of President Pierce, in his Annual Message, "on the right of free transit into and from the Baltic." But the right of free transit across the States of the Union is now assailed. Can you who reached so far to secure free transit in the Baltic now hesitate in its defence here at home?
Thank God, within the bounds of the Union, under the National Constitution, commerce is made free. As the open sea is the highway of nations, so is this Union made the highway of the States, with all their commerce, and no State can claim any exclusive property therein. The Union is a mare liberum, beyond the power of any State, and not a mare clausum, subject to as many tyrannies as there are States. And yet the State of New Jersey asserts the power of closing a highway of the Union.
Such a pretension, so irrational and destructive, cannot be dealt with tenderly. Like the serpent, it must be bruised on the head. Nor can there be wise delay. Every moment of life yielded to such a Usurpation is like the concession once in an evil hour yielded to Nul
1 Annual Message, December 31, 1855.
lification, kindred in origin and character. The present pretension of New Jersey belongs to the same school with that abhorred and blood-bespattered pretension of South Carolina.
Perhaps, Sir, it is not unnatural that the doctrines of South Carolina on State Rights should obtain shelter in New Jersey. Like sees like. There is a common bond among the sciences, among the virtues, among the vices, — and so, also, among the monopolies. The monopoly founded on the hideous pretension of property in man obtained responsive sympathy in that other monopoly founded on the greed of unjust taxation, and both were naturally upheld in the name of State Rights. Both must be overthrown in the name of the Union. South Carolina must cease to be a Slave State, and New Jersey must also cease her disturbing pretension. All hail to the genius of Universal Emancipation! All hail to the Union, victorious over the Rebellion,victorious, also, over a Usurpation which menaces the unity of the Republic!
REPRESENTATION OF VIRGINIA IN THE
REMARKS IN THE SENATE, ON THE CREDENTIALS OF HON. JOSEPHI SEGAR, OF VIRGINIA, FEBRUARY 17, 1865.
FEBRUARY 17th, Mr. Willey, of West Virginia, presented the credentials of Hon. Joseph Segar, appointed Senator by a State Government of Virginia, sitting at Alexandria. Mr. Sumner moved their reference to the Committee on the Judiciary, and during the discussion that ensued said:
REGRET that a question of this magnitude has been precipitated upon the Senate at this late period of the session, when there is so much public business which has not yet received the attention of either House of Congress. The Senator from Michigan [Mr. HOWARD] does not exaggerate its magnitude. Sir, it is much to be a Senator of the United States, with all the powers and privileges pertaining to that office, legislative, diplomatic, and executive; and the question is, whether all these shall be recognized in the gentleman whose certificate has been sent to the Chair. I thought it my duty, on hearing the certificate read as I entered the Chamber, to move its reference to the Committee on the Judiciary. I am astonished that there can be any hesitation in that reference. Senators who hesitate show insensibility to the character of the question. Will the Senate act blindfold, or with eyes open? I
insist that on such a question it shall act with eyes open, wide open; and I know no way in which this can be accomplished, except through the intervention of a responsible Committee. Therefore, Sir, I proposed that the credentials should be referred. It will be the duty of the Committee, as my friend from Michigan suggests, to consider, in the first place, whether a State in armed rebellion, like Virginia, can have Senators on this floor. That is a great question, constitutional, political, practical. It will be their duty then to consider whether the gentleman whose credentials are before us is the legal choice of any State under the National Constitution. Now, Sir, I do not intend to prejudge either of these questions. I simply open them for consideration.
I say, Sir, I do not mean to prejudge these questions; but I do insist that a measure of this importance shall not be acted on without due consideration, and in absolute indifference to facts staring us in the face, glaring upon us every day in every newspaper that we read. Sir, you cannot be insensible to facts. It is in vain that Senators say that Virginia, now in war against the Union, is entitled to representation on this floor, when you have before you the inexorable fact that the greater part of the State is at this moment in the possession of an armed Rebellion, and that other fact, repeated by the newspapers of the land, that the body of men who have undertaken to send a Senator to Congress are little more than the Common Council of Alexandria. The question is distinctly presented, whether a representative of the Common Council of Alexandria is to enter this Chamber, and share the powers and privileges of my honorable friend near me, the Senator from New