Page:Examiner, Journal of Political Economy, v2n12.djvu/1

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The Powers not Delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People . . . Amendments to the Constitution, Art. X.

Freedom of Industry, as sacred as freedom of speech or of the press . . . Jefferson.

Vol. II.]
[No. 12.
Wednesday, January 7, 1835.


Being a true—not an apochryphal—history, chapter and verse, of the several examples of the recognition and enforcement of that sovereign State remedy, by the different States of this confederacy, from 1798 down to the present day. (As originally published in the Charleston Mercury.) To which are added the opinions of distinguished statesmen, on State rights doctrines. By HAMPDEN.


The assertion having been repeatedly made, by various writers in the Consolidation journals of this city, and throughout the country, that the rightful and peaceable, though much vituperated, State remedy of Nullification had never been in reality recognized, vindicated, or enforced, by any of the States of this Union; and, further, that it was not until the adoption by the State Rights Party here, in 1827–'28 of the so called "Carolina Doctrines," that this legitimate exercise of State Sovereignty was ever even heard of, or known; I have in consequence, and in refutation of these unfounded declarations, thought it proper to analyse, and collect for publication the several instances in which this Safety Valve, (if I may so say), of the growing Usurpations of our General Government—this antiseptic conservative of our sacred Constitution—has been called into use by the Legislatures of the States; and to show that whether it be for good or for evil has hitherto depended—as it always must depend—upon the propriety of the occasion, and the justice of the cause.


      Charleston, October 1st, 1831.

"To this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party. Its co-states forming, as to itself, the other party," and "as in all other cases of compact among parties having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions, as of the mode and measure of redress."—Jefferson

"I confess that when the Confederation was formed, Congress ought to have been invested with more extensive powers—But when the States saw that Congress indirectly aimed at Sovereignty, they were jealous, and therefore it was that they refused further concessions."—Luther Martin.

"You have given to Congress the sword and the purse, and they will take the rest whether you will it or not."—Patrick Henry.

"Is it consonant with reason, with wisdom, with policy, to suppose that in a Legislature where a majority of persons sit whose interests are greatly different from ours that we should have the smallest chance of receiving adequate advantages?—certainly not."—Rawlins Lowndes.

"In order that the General Government should preserve itself, it is necessary it should presserve justice between the several states."—Judge Parsons

"An Act of usurpation is not obligatory—it is not law—Any man may be justified in his resistance to it—Let him be considered as a criminal by the General Government—yet his own fellow citizens alone can convict him—They are his jury—and if they pronounce him innocent, not all the powers of congress can hurt him—and innocent they certainly will pronounce him, if the supposed law which he resisted was an act of usurpation."—Ib.

"It may safely be received as an axiom in our political system, that the State Governments, will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the National Authority. Projects of usurpations cannot be masked under pretences so likely to escape the penetration of select bodies of men, as of the people at large. The Legislatures will have better means of information. They can discover the danger at a distance; and, possessing all the organs of civil power and the confidence of the people, they can at once adopt a regular plan of opposition, in which they can combine all the resources of the community."—Alexander Hamilton. [Federalist, No. 28.]

"If regardless of our duty as citizens, and our solemn obligations as Representatives—regardless of the Rights of our constituents—regardless of every sanction human and divine, we are ready to violate the Constitution we have sworn to defend; will the people submit to our unauthorized acts; will the states sanction our usurped power? Sir, they ought not to submit: they would deserve the chains which these measures are forging for them if they did not resist."—Mr. Livingston, on the Alien Bill.

"The history of the United States forcibly admonishes the people of America that they should suffer no invasion of their political Constitutions (however trivial the instance may appear,) to pass away without a determined persevering resistance. The future evils of a bad example in Government are far heavier than any immediate mischief that can possibly result. Every unreproved invasion of our political constitutions invites the crusades of arbitrary power against the public liberties; and while examples are supposed to justify the most dangerous measures, a capacity for augmentation gradually increases." Virginia Report, 1821, on Federal usurpations.