Page:Works of John C. Calhoun, v2.djvu/279

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263
SPEECHES.

arate government; and that, whenever the General Government assumes the exercise of powers not delegated by the compact, its acts are unauthorized, void, and of no effect; and that the said Government is not made the final judge of the powers delegated to it, since that would make its discretion, and not the constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among sovereign parties, without any common judge, each has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of the infraction, as of the mode and measure of redress.

"Resolved, That the assertions that the people of these United States, taken collectively as individuals, are now, or ever have been, united on the principle of the social compact, and, as such, are now formed into one nation or people, or that they have ever been so united, in any one stage of their political existence; that the people of the several States composing the Union have not, as members thereof, retained their sovereignty; that the allegiance of their citizens has been transferred to the General Government; that they have parted with the right of punishing treason through their respective State Governments; and that they have not the right of judging, in the last resort, as to the extent of powers reserved, and, of consequence, of those delegated, are not only without foundation in truth, but are contrary to the most certain and plain historical facts, and the clearest deductions of reason; and that all exercise of power on the part of the General Government, or any of its departments, deriving authority from such erroneous assumptions, must of necessity be unconstitutional—must tend directly and inevitably to subvert the sovereignty of the States—to destroy the federal character of the Union, and to rear on its ruins a consolidated government, without constitutional check or limitation, which must necessarily terminate in the loss of liberty itself."

Which being read, Mr. Calhoun said:]

When the bill with which the resolutions are connected was under discussion, the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Webster) thought proper to give his remarks a personal bearing in reference to myself. I had said nothing to justify this course on the part of that gentleman. I had, it is true, denounced the bill in strong language, but not stronger than