Page:State Documents on Federal Relations.djvu/43

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29
MASSACHUSETTS ON THE EMBARGO

would, on the part of the people, be a breach of their allegiance, and on our part treachery and perjury. For the people are bound by their allegiance, and we are additionally bound by our oaths to support the Constitution of the State—and we are responsible to the people, and to our God, for the faithful execution of the trust.

But your Honour is pleased to observe, that "the union have their favorite projects—states, towns and individuals have theirs" and to inquire whether "thus jarring with augmented resentments we are to rush together in ruinous collisions."

Can it be necessary to remind your Honour that the aggressor is responsible for all the consequences, which you have been pleased so pathetically to describe? That the people have not sent us here to surrender their rights but to maintain and defend them?—and, that we have no authority to dispense with the duties thus solemnly imposed:

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We most heartily concur with your Honour, "that there is a point in national sensibility, as in the feelings of men, where patience and submission end." And when that crisis shall arrive your Honour may rest assured that the people of New England "will (as you have been pleased to say) rally round the national constitution." But, Sir they will not "cling" to an administration which has brought them to the brink of destruction—they will not "keep their hold in the extremity of its exit," nor "sink with it into the frightful abyss." No, Sir! The people of Massachusetts will not willingly become the victims of fruitless experiment.

17. Extracts from the Answer of the House.

Resolves of Massachusetts (1809), 236–242.

May it please Your Honour,

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We are unwilling to believe that any division of sentiment can exist among the New England States or their inhabitants as to the obvious infringement of rights secured to them by the Constitution of the United States; and still more so that any man can he weak or wicked enough to construe a disposition to