Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
[merged small][ocr errors]

to that sense of justice, and those common sympathies, which ought to
bind together the different members of a confederated republic, the cri-
sis has at length arrived, when the question must be solemnly and finally
determined, whether there remain any means, within the power of the
State, by which these evils may be redressed. -
It is useless to disguise the fact, or to attempt to delude ourselves on
this subject. The time has come when the State must either adopt a deci-
sive course of action, or we must at once abandon the contest. We cannot
again petition. It would be idle to remonstrate, and degrading to pro-
test. In our estimation, it is now a question of Liberty or Slarery / It
is now to be decided, whether we shall maintain the rights purchased by
the precious blood of our fathers, and transmit them unimpaired to our
posterity, or tamely surrender them without a struggle. We are con-
strained to express our solemn conviction, that under the Protecting Sys-
tem, we have been reduced to a state of “colonial dependence, suffering
and disgrace;” and that unless we now fly with the spirit which becomes
freemen, to the rescue of our liberties, they are lost forever. Brought
up in an ardent devotion to the union of the States, the people of South
Carolina have long struggled against the conviction, that the powers of
the Federal Government have been shamefully perverted to the purposes
of injustice and oppression. Bound to their brethren by the proud recol-
lections of the past, and fond hopes of the future, by common struggles
for liberty and common glories acquired in its defence, they have been
brought slowly, and with the utmost reluctance, to the conclusion, that
they are shut out from their syspathies, and made the umpitied victims of

an inexorable system of tyranny, which is without example in any coun

try claiming to be free. Experience has at length taught us the lamentable truth, that administered as the government now is, and has been for several years past, in open disregard of all the limitations prescribed by the Constitution, the Union itself, instead of being a blessing, must soon become a curse. Liberty, we are thoroughly persuaded, cannot be preserved under our system, without a sacred and inviolable regard, not merely to the letter, but to the true spirit of the Constitution; and without liberty, the Union would not be worth preserving. If then there were no alternatives but to submit to these evils, or to seek a remedy even in Revolution itself, we could not, without proving ourselves recreant to the principles hallowed by the example of our ancestors, hesitate a moment as to our choice. We should say, in the spirit of our fathers, “we have counted the cost, and find nothing so intolerable as voluntary slavery.” But we cannot bring ourselves for one moment to believe that the alternatives presented to us, are revolution or slavery. We confidently believe that there is a redeeming spirit in our institutions, which may, on great occasions, be brought to our aid, for the purpose of preserving the public liberty—restoring the Constitution—and effecting a regeneration of the government, and thereby producing a redress of intolerable grievances, without war, revolution, or a dissolution of the Union. These great objects, we feel assured, may now be effected, unless those who are in possession of the powers of the government, and charged with the administration of our national affairs, shall resolve to persevere in a course of injustice, and prove, by their conduct, that they love the usurpation (to which the people of this State are unalterably determined not to submit) better than the Union. We believe that the redeeming spirit of our system is STATE Sovereignty, and that it results from the very form and structure of the Federal Government—that when the rights reserved to the several states are deliberately invaded, it is their right and their duty to “interpose for the purpose of arresting the progress of the evil of §:

usurpation, and to maintain, within their respective limits, the authorities
and privileges belonging to them as o:
the several states do not possess this right, it is in vain that they claim to
be sovereign. They are at once reduced to the degrading condition of
humble dependents on the will of the Federal Government. South Caro-
lina claims to be a sovereign State. She recognizes no tribunal upon
earth as above her authority. It is true, she has entered into a solemn
compact of Union with other sovereign states—but she claims, and will
exercise, the right to determine the extent of her obligations under that
compact, nor will she consent that any other power shall exercise the right
of judging for her. And when that compact is violated by her co-states,
or by the Government which they have created, she asserts her unques-
tionable right “to judge of the infractions, as well as of the Mode and MEA-
sure of REDREss.”f South Carolina claims no right to judge for others.
The states, who are parties to the compact, must judge, each for itself,
whether that compact has been pursued or violated; and should they dif-
fer irreconcilably in opinion, there is no earthly tribunal that can authori-
tatively decide between them. It was in the contemplation of a similar
case, that Mr. Jefferson declared that if the difference could neither be
compromised nor avoided, it was the peculiar felicity of our system to
have provided a remedy in a Convention of all the states, by whom the
Constitution might be so altered or amended, as to remove the difficul-
ty. To this tribunal, South Carolina is willing that an appeal should
now be made, and that the constitutional compact should be so modi-
fied as to accomplish all the great ends for which the Union was form-
ed, and the Federal Government constituted, and at the same time
restore the rights of the states, and preserve them from violation here-
after.
Your Committee purposely avoid entering here into an examination
of the nature and character of this claim, which South Carolina asserts
to interpose her sovereignty, for the protection of her citizens from the
operation of unconstitutional laws, and the preservation of her own re-
served rights. In an address, which will be submitted to the Conven-
tion, this subject will be fully examined, and they trust that it will be
made to appear, to the entire satisfaction of every dispassionate mind, that
in adopting the ORDINANCE, which the committee herewith report, de-
claring the Tariff Laws, passed for the protection of domestic manufac-
tures, null and void, and no law—and directing the Legislature to provide
that the same shall not be enforced within the limits of this State—South
Carolina will be asserting her unquestionable rights, and in no way viola-
ting her obligations under the federal compact.
The Committee cannot dismiss this point, however, even for the pre-
sent, without remarking that in asserting the principles, and adopting the
course, which they are about to recommend, South Carolina will only be
carrying out the doctrines which were asserted by Virginia and Ken-
tucky in 1798, and which have been sanctioned by the high authority of
Thomas Jefferson. It is from the pen of this great apostle of liberty,
that we have been instructed that to the Constitutional compact, “each
State acceded as a State, and is an integral party; its co-states, forming
as to itself the other party;” that “they alone being parties to the com-

--

* Virginia Resolutions of '98. + Kentucky Resolutions of '98.

[ocr errors]

endent sovereignties.” If ~~~~

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

pact, are solely authorized to judge, in the last resort, of the powers exercised under it—Congress being not a party, but merely the creature of the compact;” that it becomes a sovereign State, “to submit to undelegated, and consequently unlimited power, in no man or body of men on earth—that in cases of abuse of delegated powers, the members of the General Government being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the Constitutional remedy; but where powers are assumed which have not been delegated [the very case now before us|| A NuLLIFication of the Act is the Rightful, REMEDy—that every State has a natural right, in cases not within the compact casus non federis] to NULLIFY, of their own authority, all assumptions of powers by others within their limits; and that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whomsoever might exercise the right of judgment for them;” and that in case of acts being passed by Congress, “so palpably against the Constitution as to amount to an undisguised declaration, that the compact is not meant to be the measure of the powers of the General Government, but that it will proceed to exercise over the states all powers whatsoever, by seizing the rights of the states, and consolidating them in the hands of the General Government, with a power assumed of binding the states, not merely in cases made federal, but in all cases whatsoever, by laws made, not with their consent, but by others against their consent, it would be the duty of the states to declare the acts void and of no force; and that each should take measures of its own for providing that neither such acts, nor any other of the General Government, not plainly and intentionally authorized by the Constitution, shall be exercised within their respective territories.”

In acting on these great and essential truths, South Carolina surely cannot err. She is convinced, and has so declared to Congress and the World, that the Protecting System is in all its branches a “gross, deliberate, and palpable violation of the Constitution.” She believes that after having exhausted every other means of redress in vain, it is her right, and that it has now become her solemn duty, to interpose for arresting the evil within her own limits, by declaring said acts “to be null and void, and no law, and taking measures of her own that they shall not be enforced within her territory.” That duty she means to perform, and to leave the consequences in the hands of Him, with whom are the issues of life and the destinies of nations.

South Carolina will continue to cherish a sincere attachment to the UNIon of the states, and will to the utmost of her power endeavor to preserve it; “and believes that for this end, it is her duty to watch over and oppose any infraction of those principles which constitute the only basis of that Union, because a faithful observance of them can alone secure its existence.” She venerates the CoNstitution, and will protect and defend it “against every aggression, either foreign or domestic:” but above all, she estimates, as beyond all price, her Liberty, which she is unalterably determined never to surrender, while she has the power to maintain it. Influenced by these views, your committee report herewith, for the adoption of the Convention, a solemn DECLARATION and OR DINANCE.

AN ORDINANCE,

To Nullify certAIN ACTs of the CoNGREss of the UNrted STATEs, PURPorting to BE LAws, LAYING DUties AND IMposts on THE IMPortAtion of Foreign CoM Modities.

Whereas, the Congress of the United States, by various acts, purporting to be acts laying duties and imposts on foreign imports, but in reality intended for the protection of domestic manufactures, and the giving of bounties to classes and individuals engaged in particular employ

ments, at the expense and to the injury and oppression of other classes:

and individuals, and by wholly exempting from taxation certain foreign commodities, such as are not produced or manufactured in the United States, to afford a pretext for imposing higher and excessive duties on articles similar to those intended to be protected, hath exceeded its just powers under the Constitution, which confers on it no authority to afford such protection, and hath violated the true meaning and intent of the Constitution, which provides for equality in imposing the burdens of taxation upon the several States and portions of the Confederacy. And whereas, the said Congress, exceeding its just power to impose taxes and collect revenue for the purpose of effecting and accomplishing the specific objects and purposes which the Constitution of the United States authorizes it to effect and accomplish, hath raised and collected unnecessary revenue, for objects unauthorized by the Constitution— We, therefore, the People of the State of South Carolina, in Conrention assembled, do Declare and Ordain, and it is hereby Declared and Ordained, That the several acts and parts of acts of the Congress of the United States, purporting to be laws for the imposing of duties and imposts on the importation of foreign commodities, and now having actual operation and effect within the United States, and more especially an act entitled “an act in alteration of the several acts imposing duties on imports,” approved on the nineteenth day of May, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight, and also, an act entitled “an act to alter and amend the several acts imposing duties on imports,” approved on the fourteenth day of July, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two, are unauthorized by the Constitution of the United States, and violate the true meaning and intent thereof, and are null, void, and no law, nor binding upon this State, its officers, or citizens; and all promises, contracts and obligations,

made or entered into, or to be made or entered into, with purpose to seVOL. I.-42.

[ocr errors]

cure the duties imposed by said acts, and all judicial proceedings which
shall be hereafter had in affirmance thereof, are, and shall be held, utterly
null and void.
And it is further Ordained, That it shall not be lawful for any of the
constituted authorities, whether of this State, or of the United States, to
enforce the payment of duties imposed by the said acts, within the limits
of this State; but it shall be the duty of the Legislature to adopt such
measures and pass such acts as may be necessary to give full effect to
this Ordinance, and to prevent the enforcement and arrest the operation
of the said acts and parts of acts of the Congress of the United States,
within the limits of this State, from and after the first day of February
next; and the duty of all other constituted authorities, and of all persons
residing or being within the limits of this State, and they are hereby re-
quired and enjoined, to obey and give effect to this Ordinance, and such
acts and measures of the Legislature as may be passed or adopted in
obedience thereto.
And it is further Ordained, That in no case of law or equity, decided
in the Courts of this State, wherein shall be drawn in question the au-
thority of this Ordinance, or the validity of such act or acts of the Legis-
lature as may be passed for the purpose of giving effect thereto, or the
validity of the aforesaid acts of Congress, imposing duties, shall any
appeal be taken or allowed to the Supreme Court of the United States;
nor shall any copy of the record be permitted or allowed for that pur-
pose; and if any such appeal shall be attempted to be taken, the Courts
of this State shall proceed to execute and enforce their judgments, ac-
cording to the laws and usages of the State, without reference to such
attempted appeal, and the person or persons attempting to take such ap-
peal may be deal: with as for a contempt of the Court.
And it is further Ordained, That all persons now holding any office of
honor, profit or trust, civil or military, under this State, (members of the
Legislature excepted) shall, within such time, and in such manner as the
Legislature shall prescribe, take an oath, well and truly to obey, execute
and enforce this Ordinance, and such act or acts of the Legislature as
may be passed in pursuance thereof, according to the true intent and
meaning of the same; and on the neglect or omission of any such person
or persons so to do, his or their office or offices shall be forthwith vaca-
ted, and shall be filled up as if such person or persons were dead or had
resigned; and no person hereafter elected to any office of honor, profit
or trust, civil or military, (members of the Legislature excepted) shall,
until the Legislature shall otherwise provide and direct, enter on the exe-
cution of his office, or be in any respect competent to discharge the du-

ties thereof, until he shall, in like manner, have taken a similar oath ; and

no juror shall be impannelled in any of the Courts of this State, in any cause in which shall be in question this Ordinance, or any act of the Legislature passed in pursuance thereof, unless he shall first, in addition to the usual oath, have taken an oath that he will well and truly obey, exe

« ZurückWeiter »