Page:Examiner, Journal of Political Economy, v2n12.djvu/6

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182
THE EXAMINER,


evident from that very power having been denied him in the Convention which formed the Constitution: for we find in the Journals of the Convention (page 68) that it was proposed to clothe the Congress with a power "to call forth the force of the Union against any member of the Union failing to fulfil his duty under its articles." but the Convention refused to listen to the proposition—so, again, at page 126, it was proposed that "if any State, or body of men in any State shall oppose or prevent the carrying into execution such Acts, &c. the Federal Executive shall be authorized to call forth the powers of the Confederated States, or as much thereof as may be necessary to enforce and compel an obedience to such Acts." But the Committee who drafted the Constitution unhesitatingly rejected it as repugnant to the spirit of our Institutions and in derogation of the Sovereignty of the States.

Ineed the entire scheme of our government, on its very face, and from its very nature, is simply one of mutual benefits, and separate advantages. The idea of Force is utterly abhorrent to its character. Has it ever been pretended that the States which have entered into the Union and adopted the General Compact, were compelled by coercion to do so? Were they no, on the contrary, induced voluntarily to unite by the proffered advantages of great security and protection from foreign dangers? Has it not always been held out to the Territories that they will be allowed to join the Confederacy and enjoy its advantages upon certain specified conditions? Have we ever heard of a Territory, even though the soil belonged, by purchase, to the Country, being compelled to come into the Union and to yield up its entire Right of self Government? Most absurdly not! How then can it be pretended that the Executive Department of the Federal Government has a right to employ force against the Sovereignty of a State?

No, indeed, it is neither the Duty, nor the Right, of the President to attempt to use of force in these cases of disputed Right. It is, on the contrary, his solemn duty to recommend, either the abandonment of the usurpation or the call of the Convention of the States—And hence, if the Executive perform his duty, [and he has no power to do otherwise] there can be neither violence nor any risk of Disunion. It is, in fact, the very repugnance and aversion which we entertain to the idea of Disunion that causes us to revolt at the remedy of Secession which has been maintained by Col. Drayton to be the only rightful Remedy of the States, on the failure of reason and remonstrance. We desire no Secession—for that is of itself and "ex vi termini" Disunion. Our great end and aim is to preserve the Union in its purity—the Union according to the compact of the Constitution—by arresting every perverse and wilful violation of its sanctity—and this, we contend, is to be effected by the exertion of a legitimate and rightful Injunction without departing from the pale of that Union, to which, in its state of purity, we are too much attached to bear with patience its continued violation and abuse.

But it is object by Col. Drayton that, this Doctrine of Nullification asserts the right of a State's being in the Union and out of it at the same time. Let us allow this to be so; it assuredly, even then, is but half as dangerous and extreme a measure as Col. Drayton's Right of Secession, which professedly goes the whole length of Disunion—and if that gentleman contends that a State possesses the ultra right of Secession, why should he express such horror at the half way measure of Nullification? Sure here is an utter inconsistency. For whilst he advocates a Right of direct Disunion, he yet denounces what he thinks will lead to that result through the lawless despotism and perverse aggression of the original oppression. But it will be said that Col. Drayton would only resort to the remedy of Secession when argument and remonstrance have been utterly exhausted.—And what more, we will ask, has been claimed, for the Remedy of Nullification? No period but that has ever been fixed for its adoption—We have been contending solely for the Right—Our object has been the establishment of the Principle. It will be for our State, through her appropriate Representatives, in her Legislature, or in Convention, to determine, in their sound discretion, upon the fit time for its application. let all doubts but be satisfied as to the Right, and the question of expediency will be of lesser moment and easier solution. Though we cannot for ourselves see aught to be gained by continued delay, save the steady increase and permanent fixture of the usurpation and the gradual destruction of our powers and our spirit of resistance. We surely can have no hope of Relief from our oppressors, after the Declaration in the last message of the Federal Executive that "The Tariff is Constitution, and the abandonment of the policy in which it originated can neither be expected nor desired"—and the concurrent report of the committee on Manufactures, that "they perfectly agree with the president as to the constitutionality of the Tariff—that the States have delegated to Congress the whole power over imposts—and that it may be used either for the purposes of Revenue, or Protection, and that the happiness and prosperity of the United States depend upon its continuance."

We are told by our opponents, that the Northern States, with few exceptions, are equally opposed to the Tariff with ourselves, and that they equally suffer from its oppressions; as Consumers alone are the subjects of the Tax. To these assertions we have briefly, and [as we consider] conclusively, to reply that those States [with the exception of the importing Merchants in their cities] are eternally clamouring aloud for these taxes whilst we are clamouring against them—That even if it be the consumer alone who pays the Tax, those States receive back in the Bounty upon their Manufactures infinitely more than the tax paid upon the amount of their purchases; whilst the Southern States sustain the unmitigated burthen of this Tax in their extensive purchases. But we deny in toto this theory of the Consumer alone being the sufferer from this system, and aver it to be our perfect conviction that the tax upon the Consumer is comparatively insignificant, whilst the almost entire burthen falls upon the Southern Planter in the diminished value of his produce, resulting from this restriction upon its exchangeable values. In this respect we concur most fully with our distinguished Representative Mr. M'Duffie. For no sophistry [however ingenious] can blind our eyes to the simple and self-evident proposition that as much of the European Articles with which our produce is purchased, as is taken in Duty from the Merchant, so much the less can he pay the planter for that produce; nor can he, at pleasure, [as is asserted] repay this loss by enhancing his prices on the consumer, for he must necessarily sell at the market price, and that (though inevitably increased by the restriction,) is yet entirely regulated by the domestic competition.

But, as we have said, before it is not the precise extent of our oppressions, [great as we esteem them] that we regard; it is the principle, for which we contend—the principle of Liberty—and of resistance to usurpation. For, strip this question of all