Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 11.djvu/817

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APPENDIX. PROCLAMATION. N 0. 26. 773 discovered that they had the right now claimed by South Carolina. The war, into which we were forced to sup ort the dignity of the nation and the rights of our citizens, might have endedp in defeat and disgrace, instead of victory and honor, if the States who supposed it a ruinous and unconstitutional measure, had thought they possessed the right of nullitying the act by which it was declared, and denying supplies for its prosecution. Hardly and unequally as those measures bore upon several members of the Union, to the legislatures of none did this efficient and peaceable remedy, as it is called, suggest itself The discovery of this important feature in our Constitution was reserved to the present day. To the statesmen of South Carolina belongs the invention, and upon the citizens of that State will unfortunately fall the evils of reducing it to practice. If the doctrine of a State veto upon the laws of the Union carries with it internal evidence of its impracticable absurdity, our constitutional history will also aiford abundant proof that it would have been repudiated with indignation had it been proposed to form a feature in our government. In our colonial state, although dependent on another power, we very early considered ourselves as connected by common interest with each other. Leagues were formed for common defence, and before the Declaration of Independence, we were known in our aggregate character as the United Colonies of America. That decisive and impprtaut step was taken jointly. We declared ourselves a nation by a joint, not y several acts, and when the terms of our confederation were reduced to form, it was in that of a solemn league of several States, by which they agreed that they would collectively form one nation for the purpose of conducting some certain domestic concerns, and all fcrei relations. In the instrument forming that Union is found an article which midizlares that " every State shall abide by the determinations of Congress, on all questions which, by that confederation, should be submitted to them." Under the confederation, then, no State could legally annul a decision of the Congress, or refiise to submit to its execution; but no provision was made to enforce these decisions. Congress made requisitions, but they were not complied with. The government could not operate on individuals. They had no udiciary, no means of collecting revenue. But the defects of the confederation need not be detailed. Under its operation we could scarcely be called a nation. \Ve had neither pros erit at home nor consideration abroad. This state of things could not be endlixredli and our present happy Constitution was formed, but formed in vain, if this fatal doctrine prevails. t. was formed for important objects that are announced in the pre— amble, made in the name and by the authority of the people of the United · States, whose delerrates framed, and whose conventions approved it. The most important among these objects, that which is gaced iirst in rank, on which all the others rest, is “tc form a more perfect nion." Now, is it possible, that even if there were no express provision giving su remacy to the Constitution and laws of the United States over those of the d,tates·—can it be conceived, that an instrument made for the purpose of "_/`orming a more perfect U'n.ion,” than that of the confederation, could be so constructed by the assembled wisdom. of our country, as to substitute for that confederation a form of government dependent for its existence on the local interest, the party spirit of a State, or of a prevailing faction in a State ? Every man of plain, unsophisticated understanding, who hears the question, will give such an answer as will preserve the Union. Metaphysical subtlety, in ursunt of an impracticable theory, could alone have devised one that is calculated) to destroy it I consider, then, the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, irtconqnatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every princuale on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed. After this general view of the leading principle, we must examine the par— ticular application of it which is made in the ordinance The preamble rests its justification ou these grounds: It assumes, as a fact, that the obnoxious laws, although they purport to be laws for raising revenue, were, in reality, intended for the protection of manufactures, which purpose it asserts to be unconstitutional ;—that the operation of these laws is unequal ;——that the amount raised by them is greater t an is required by the wants of the government;-and finally, that the proceeds are to be applied to dbjects tmauthorized by the Constitution. These are the only causes alleged to justify an open opposition to the laws of the country, and a threat of seceding from the Union, if any attempt should be made to enforce them. The first virtually