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continually perverted with these preachings—ay, pulpit preachings of hatred ?”
RELATIONS OF THE STATES TO THE GENERAL GOVERNMENT.
Senator DAVIs, of Mississippi, Feb. 2, 1860, in the Senate, submitted six resolutions. In the first, he speaks of the action of the States as independent sovereignties in forming the Constitution of the United States, by delegating a portion of their power to be exercised by the General Government. In the second, he speaks of negro slavery's being recognized by the Constitution. In the third, of the equality of the States, in respect to rights in the Territories. The fourth is as follows: “I’esolved, That neither Congress nor a territorial legislature, whether by direct legislation, or by legislation of an indirect and unfriendly nature, possess the power to annul or impair the constitutional right of any citizen of the United States to take his slave property into the common territories; but it is the duty of the Federal Government there to afford for that, as for other species of property, the needful protection; and if experience should, at any time, prove that the judiciary does not possess power to insure adequate protection, it will become the duty of Congress to supply such deficiency.” In the fifth, he declares that when a territory forms its constitution, the people can then, for the first time, have power to say whether slavery, as a domestic institution, shall be maintained or prohibited in its jurisdiction; and if Congress shall admit them as a State, they shall be received into the Union either with or without slavery, as their constitution may prescribe, at the time of admission. In the sixth, he speaks of the opposition made by the States to the return of fugitive slaves, as hostile in its character, and subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in its effect. The South insists that what is recognized as property in the States, and what is treated as property in the Constitution, and in treaties with other nations, and in congressional legislation, and in judicial decisions, shall be recognized as property in the territories, and protected as property. In opposition to this view, the Republican party, in their platform, Chicago, 1860, has the following declaration: “That the new dogma that the Constitution, of its own force, carries slavery into any or all of the territories of the United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself, with cotemporaneous exposition, and with legislative and judicial precedents, is revolutionary in its tendency, and subversive of the peace and harmony of the country.”
POWER OF CONGRESS OVER TERRITORIES.
As heretofore stated, Northern men have claimed for Congress the power to prohibit slavery in the Territories, on the strength of that clause in the Constitution which declares that “Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory and other property belonging to the United States; ” and for other reasons.
Does “territory” here mean land or inhabitants 2 If “public lands” be substituted for “territory,” it will then in the Constitution stand, “public lands” and other property; but if you substitute “colony,” that is, inhabitants, it will stand, “Congress shall have power to make all needful rules concerning the ‘colony’ and other property.” Where now is the power to dispose of the public lands? See Senator GEYER's speech, in 1856.
It is evident, then, that this clause conferred upon Congress no political power over the “territory” then owned by the United States, but only power to dispose of it, and make rules and regulations about it as “property.”
TERRITORY OF LOUISIANA.
“The inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated in the Union of the United States, and admitted as soon as possible, according to the principles of the Federal Constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, and advantages, and immunities of the citizens of the United States, and in the mean time shall be maintained and protected in the enjoyment of their liberty, property, and the religion they profess.”—Treaty with France, 1803.
“At this time slaves were held by the people of Louisiana, through the whole length of the Mississippi valley. These people had an unrestricted right of settlement with their slaves under legal protection throughout the entire ceded province. Here is a treaty promise to protect that property, that slave property in that Territory before it should become a State. This promise was violated at the time of the Missouri Compromise, by Northern votes.” Here by treaty the General Government engage to protect slave property. In 1820, Mr. MADison wrote: “The questions to be decided seem to be, first, whether a territorial restriction be an assumption of illegitimate power; or, second, a misuse of legitimate power; and if the latter only, whether the injury threatened to the nation from an acquiescence in the misuse, or from the frustration of it, be greater. On the first point, there is certainly room for a difference of opinion; though, for myself, I must own that I have always leaned to the belief that the restriction was not within the true scope of the Constitution. This opinion of Mr. MADISON, the “Father of the Constitution,” is in harmony with the DRED Scott decision. In the Republican platform, (1860,) there is the following declaration: “That the normal condition of the territory of the United States is that of freedom; that as our republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in our national territory, ordained that no person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, it becomes our duty, by congressional legislation, whenever such legislation shall become necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, of any individual or association of individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in the United States.” On this declaration, Senator ToonTEs, of Georgia, remarks: “Then you declare that the treaties made by Mr. JEFFERSON, in 1803, are null and void, and no law; then you declare that the acts by which property in slaves was protected and allowed, both by territorial and congressional acts, in Florida, in Louisiana, in Missouri, in Mississippi and Alabama, are all null, void, and no law; you declare that the decision of the Supreme Court is
WHo WERE PARTIES To THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMPACT. 213
null, void, and no law; that there is no Constitution but the Chicago platform; yet you propose to come here and take possession of this, and swear to maintain the Constitution with this reading, and you are quite astonished at our having any objections to the peaceable proceedings. * * But no matter what may be our grievances, the honorable Senator from Kentucky says we cannot secede. Well, what can we do? Submit : They say they are the strongest, and they will hang us. Well, I suppose we must be thankful for that boon. We will take that risk. We will stand by the right. We will take the Constitution. We will defend it by the sword, with halter around our neck.”
WHO WERE PARTIES TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMPACT.
March 8, 1860, in the Senate, Mr. CollAMAR, of Vermont: “I deny, in the first place, that the States, as States, entered into this compact. That is repeated so often, I do not know but it is believed. When a State acts, it acts in its organized capacity, by its organs, by its Legislature, or by its Executive. There never was one of the States that acted in this way in the adoption of the present Constitution. The people of the United States, meeting in the Conventions in the several States, adopted the United States Constitution. The States never acted on it as States. It would be a paradox that they should have done so. How could the Legislature of North Carolina, for instance, invested as it was, at that time, by the people with the power to levy and collect duties upon imports, how could the State in its organized capacity, through that organ, delegate that power to another body ? It could not be done. It never was done. It never was attempted to be done. The people of the United States had to meet in their several States in their original condition, as a people in convention, for these reasons: first, it was more convenient; next, if the people of North Carolina had invested their Legislature with the power to levy and collect duties, the people of North Carolina alone would have the power to invest that in another body, to wit, Congress. If you called the whole people of the United States, it would be a different people—it would be a different set of people to take that power away from the one that gave it. No, sir, it is not true that this is in that sense a Confederacy. It is a National Government. This is a clear statement of the theory that the States were not parties to the constitutional compact. But it is not supported by facts or comparative weight of authority.
MR. weBSTER’s PROPOSITIONS IN THE SENATE, 1832.
1. “That the Constitution of the United States is not a league, confederacy, or compact, between the people of the several States in their sovereign capacities; but a Government proper, founded on the adoption of the people, and creating direct relations between itself and individuals.
2. “That no State authority has power to dissolve these relations; that nothing can dissolve them but revolution; and that, consequently, there can be no such thing as secession without revolution.
3. “That there is a supreme law, consisting of the Constitution of the United States, acts of Congress passed in pursuance of it, and treaties; and that, in cases not capable of assuming the character of a suit at law or equity, Congress must judge of, and finally interpret, this supreme law, so often as it has occasion to pass acts of legislation; and in cases assuming the character of a suit, the Supreme Court of the United States is the final interpreter.
4. “That an attempt by a State to abrogate, annul, or nullify an act of Congress, or to arrest its operation within her limits, on the ground that, in her opinion, such law is unconstitutional, is a direct usurpation on the just powers of the General Government, and on the equal rights of other States, a plain violation of the Constitution, and a proceeding essentially revolutionary in its character and tendency.”
These propositions touching nullification, which was under consideration, rather than secession, were not formally considered by the Senate.
Mr. MADISON, on the other hand, takes a different view of the parties to the compact of the Constitution. “On examining the first relation, it appears, on one hand,