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to that sense of justice, and those common sympathies, which ought to
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
* Virginia Resolutions of '98. + Kentucky Resolutions of '98.
endent sovereignties.” If ~~~~
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.
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.
cure the duties imposed by said acts, and all judicial proceedings which
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