Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 32.djvu/29
Causes of the War. 17
The resolutions sketched by Thomas Jefferson and passed by the Legislature of Kentucky declared : " That whensoever the general government assumes and delegates powers, its acts are unauthori- tative, void and of no force ; that each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party, its co-States forming as to itself the other party ; that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, since that would have made its discretion and not the Constitu- tion the measure of its powers ; that as in all other cases of a com- pact among parties having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of the infractions as the mode and measure of redress."
That the doctrine of States' rights and rigid construction of the Constitution was held by the people of the North generally and of New England in particular, is amply proved by their words and deeds, both before and after the promulgation of the above resolu- tions by Virginia aud Kentucky.
Mr. Ellsworth and Mr. Sherman write : "Some additional pow- ers are vested in Congress, which was the principal object the States had in view in appointing the Convention; those matters extend only to the common interests of the Union, and are specially defined, so that the particular States retain their sover- eignty in' other matters."
Dr. Johnson further says : " This excludes the idea of an armed force." And Oliver Ellsworth, of Connecticut, endorses this state- ment : " The Constitution does not attempt to coerce sovereign bodies States in their political capacity." This is sufficient evi- dence of the extreme States' rights opinion of the New Englanders and their allies during the close of the last and at the opening of the present century. Why their .opinions as to matters of right changed so completely in accordance with their pecuniary interests the generation which fought the war and crushed the South will have to answer to their God; they have never been able to form an answer convincing to man.
RESISTANCE TO THE EMBARGO.
The great sectional ground of controversy next in order after the assumption bill is the Embargo Act of 1807.
Whether or not the embargo was necessary or politic is in itsel an intricate subject, foreign to the purposes of this discussion.