Oerem'onies at Unveiling of Statue of General Lee. 75
that the government created thereby was a National, and not a Fed- eral Government. They asserted that the Constitution was ordained arid established by the consent, not of the States, but of "the whole people of the United States in the aggregate," and could only be un- done by like consent.
In view of the historical record which I have faintly sketched, and which might have been indefinitely extended, the mind is stupefied at the utter impotence of human language as a vehicle of thought, when it encounters such opposite interpretations of a written instru- ment, and discovers that after the lapse of forty years, time sufficient to have consigned to their tombs nearly every one of those who had aided in its confection, a construction should be advanced diametri- cally opposed to what they had declared, in every form, to be their veritable meaning.
Of course, it would not be possible for me, within the limits of this address, to state all the arguments advanced by Webster and Story in support of their theory, or the answers made to them; but one or two of the most salient deserve attention.
To show that the government was National and not Federal, they seized upon the first resolution adopted by the convention, which declared that a " National Government ought to be established, con- sisting of a supreme legislative, executive and judiciary. This reso- lution was proposed before the convention was full ; and how shall we restrain our wonder at the reliance placed upon it, when, in the record of the further proceedings of the convention, we learn that, upon motion of Ellsworth, of Connecticut, and upon his expressed objection to the term " National," the resolution was altered, nem. con., so as to read that " the Government of the United States ought to consist," etc. Thus the convention expressly repudiated the term " National Government," and substituted therefor words expressive of the Federal character of the government; and indeed, as already shown in the letter recommending the ratification of the Constitu- tion, the convention expressly described it as the " Federal Govern- ment of these States."
The grand cheval de battaille of their argument, however, was the preamble of the Constitution itself, which declares that " We, the people of the United States *>!=>!<**** ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
There is no doubt that these words, more than all other consider- ations combined, have lent force to the argument of those who supported the National theory of the government, and had the plain