Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 32.djvu/37

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Causes of the War. 25

England to abandon her sister States, and these commissioners had reached Washington when the treaty of peace was signed, and the commissioners had no occasion to deliver their message.

In this connection it may be well to remember that John Quincy Adams always maintained that the Hartford Convention was a "treasonable convention," as it "gave aid and comfort to the ene- mies of the country in time of war."

While President of the United States Mr. Adams wrote: "That project, I repeat (secession) had gone to the length of fixing upon a military leader for its execution."

The journal of the Hartford Convention concludes with the words: " States which have no common umpire must be their own judges and execute their own decisions."

However contemptible the intention of the New England States may have been to desert under fire, they had an undoubted legal right to do so, and to withdraw from the Union whenever they saw fit.

In her original Convention in 1780, Massachusetts declared: " That the people of this Commonwealth have the sole and exclu- sive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign and inde- pendent State, and do and forever hereafter shall exercise and en- joy every power, jurisdiction and right which is not, or may here- after be, by them expressly delegated to the United States of America in Congress assembled."

Timothy D wight writes: "A war with Great Britain we, at least in New England, will not enter into; sooner would our inhabitants separate from the Union."

In 1804 the Legislature of Massachusetts enacted, "That the annexation of Louisiana to the Union transcends the constitutional power of the government of the United States. It formed a new confederacy to which the States, united by the former compact, are not bound to adhere."

Speaking of the admission of Louisiana, Josiah Quincy, of Mas- sachusetts, said in Congress: " If this bill passes it will be the duty of some definitely to prepare for a separation, amicably if they can, violently if they must." And he continued, saying that it was ob- vious to reason that in any partnership those who considered them- selves aggrieved by the acts of their partners, were at liberty to withdraw. This proposition Mr. Quincy stated to be common law and common sense.