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But if it be true, as your committee maintain, that the Congress of the United States are restricted to the powers expressly enumerated, it is equally true that they have no power or right to pass any laws but such as may be necessary and proper to carry into effect the powers enumerated, and which promote the general welfare of the United States. In relation to the right of Congress to interfere either directly or indirectly with the subject of slavery, as recognized by the laws of this State, your committee deem it improper and unnecessary to enter into a discussion. This State never can, and never will, so far compromit her interests on a subject of such deep and vital concern to her self-preservation, as to suffer this question to be brought into discussion. Non-interference on this subject was the sine qua non on the part of the slave holding States, in forming the Union, and entering into the Federal Compact. As the Southern States would then, so they must now or hereafter consider any attempt to interfere with this delicate subject, an aggression having a tendency to produce revolt and insurrection of the most hideous character. These states must view with jealousy and distrust, all associations having for their object the abolition of slavery. The principles propagated by the enthusiastic devotees of this project, are calculated to have most pernicious effect—exciting false hopes of liberty; producing discontent and dissatisfaction in the minds of the otherwise happy and contented slave, and a restlessness for emancipation, when the actual state of things forbids the possibility of it at present. The Colonization Society is considered by your committee as one of a dangerous character in this respect. Its schemes of colonization are vain and visionary. Its professed objects never can be accomplished— they are wholly impracticable. This institution, therefore, should not, in the opinion of your committee, receive the support, countenance, or patronage of Congress, and not being a matter of national interest, the Government has no right to take it under its protection, or make appropriations for its support. Your committee therefore recommend the adoption of the following resolutions: o Resolved, That this legislature concur with the legislature of the State of South Carolina, in the Resolutions adopted at their December session in 1827, in relation to the powers of the General Government, and state rights. - Resolved, That his Excellency the Governor be requested to transmit copies of this preamble and resolutions to the Governors of the several states, with a request that the same be laid before the Legislatures of their respective states; and also to our Senators and Representatives in Congress, to be by them laid before Congress for consideration.
Approved, Dec. 20, 1828.
ON THE SUBJECT of THE LATE TARIFF; ADDREssed BY THE GENERAL
Assembly of Tile STATE of GEoRGIA To THE ANT1-TARIFF STATEs.
ORDERED TO BE PRINTED WITH THE PAMPHLET LAws, REPORTS, AND RESOLUTIONS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, AT DEC. SESSION, 1829.
(See Pamphlet Laws, Reports and Resolutions of 1829, p. 81.)
House of Representatives, December 17, 1828.
A Memorial from the Senate and House of Representatives, in General Assembly, representing the feelings and opinions of the people of the State of Georgia, upon the Tariff Law passed at the First Session of the 20th Congress; submitting to the States opposed to that obnoxious law, a summary of the principles of the opposition of this State to it, and requesting a concurrent Constitutional opposition to the law, and the system which it is intended to foster. The Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Georgia, in General Assembly met, solicit the concurrence of their sister States opposed to the Tariff lately passed, in resisting the law and its operation, upon the following reasons, and in the manner hereinafter proposed. 1st. We oppose the Tariff Law, last enacted, because we believe it to be both in its object and its spirit, unconstitutional. It is unconstitutional—1st. Because the power “to lay and collect dutics and imposts, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the U. States,” is abused and perverted to the accomplishment of objects not within the sphere of direct federal legislation. The power intended to be given by the Constitution, to Congress, is that of raising a revenue, for objects specified. The late tariff destroys the revenue, and is intended and avowed to have for its object the encouragement and protection of Domestic
Manufactures. As it destroys, or at least, diminishes the Revenue, it is
so far inexpedient. It operates thereby, indirectly, as an onerous tax upon the consumers of Southern productions. So far, it is unequal and oppressive—therefore, it is inexpedient and impolitic, as a general law. It intends to encourage and protect domestic manufactures, by reversing the accustomed course of exchange in trade—viz: the raw materials for manufactured commodities. It thereby intends to effect an entire alteration in the system of our commercial intercourse with foreign nations. Hitherto, the trade of the United States has been comparatively absolutely free; subject only to regulations, expedient, when consid
ered in relation to the raising of a revenue. The present tariff
he no longer can controul his prices by the power of optional disposi
tion at home or abroad, but is controuled by purchasers independent in so
their fortified monopolies.
This abstraction of an indisputable right of the agriculturalist, under J-2
the free trade intended by the Constitution, is not, and cannot be
clearly limited by its objects. We object, therefore, to the expansion of
federal powers by construction—We deny the right of Congress to restrain the freedom of our commerce, to protect, as it is said, domestic industry; and we affirm, that a power wisely given to Congress, is carried to an extent at once unnecessary, inexpedient, and even abusive.
4thly. The late Tariff, “altering the duties on imports,” if the power of the Constitution were strictly adhered to, would be a revenue bill. It is calculated to diminish the revenue. In this, the law is inexpedient and injudicious. But the avowed object of the law is to promote manufactures at home. Under the power, therefore, to raise a revenue, for specific national purposes, a different object is pursued. In this the power is perverted. If the law be called a regulation of commerce, it is, in like manner, inexpedient and oppressive.
If the law in question, upon its face, promised a greater prosperity to our external commerce, which the Constitution intended to preserve and extend by wise regulations, we should deem the power to regulate it faithfully fulfilled and executed. But on its very face, the features of ruin are set forth in full relief—And a short experience has realised the consequences which its provisions indicated. Is the law, in this light, calculated to produce its legitimate object? If experience of the contrary proves not merely its inefficiency, but its injurious operation, policy on the first ground requires, justice, expediency and necessity demand it on the second. If the decline and ruin of our commerce is the consequence of an attempt to regulate it, the consequence proves the measure to have been injudicious, either in conception or execution. Either would be a sufficient ground of repeal. If under the pretext of “regulating commerce,” or of “raising a revenue,” the aim is, to effect a collateral and indirect object; if a legitimate power be used in disguise, to accomplish a purpose, which, if the power and right to accomplish it existed, could be accomplished by a direct, overt, and undisguised exercise of the power; then, and in the first case, the legitimate power is abused and perverted: and in the second case, the stratagem resorted to argues the consciousness of using improperly a proper power, and a disregard of the restraints and limitations of the powers of the Constitution. This spirit is censurable, and calculated to impair the vigour of the Constitution, and vitiate the purity of federal legislation; it leads to the use of unconstitutional powers; it leads to illiberal and sectional legislation; and produces a disregard or oblivion of national interests.
While complaining of a law intended solely to promote sectional objects, we will endeavour to avoid an opposition upon sectional interests and feelings. We are aware, that if each State consulted its own interests alone, the consequences might be particularly disagreeable, and injurious to others; so, too, if one section of the Union acted on the same illiberal principle. It might be impracticable in the Federal Government of these States to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each,
and all the particular interests of an individual State, or section of States,
to their fullest extent, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all. To reconcile all to federal legislation, partial and conciliatory compromises of sectional interests must be made. Individuals entering into society must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. This is the rational and harmonising spirit and doctrine of law. It is strongly applicable to these States, confederated for the great purposes of general defence, general benefit, and general harmony. For the advantages and benefits of union, the interests of particular States, or divisions of States, should be in some measure compromised ; that a spirit of liberal and fraternal conciliation should regulate all measures intended to advance their pecuniary prosperity. Thus, if it be the interest of the Middle and Western divisions of the Union, to manufacture, their interests should not be o by making the agricultural divisions of the Union tributary to them.