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Viroinia common defence and general welfare of the United States," are ascertainSo]829loNS e'l by tne plainest rules of grammatical construction, to be a limitation ,^-v-*w on the preceding member of the sentence, restraining Congress in the exercise of the power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises," to the objects of paying the debts, and providing for the common defence and general welfare of the United States. If this be true, the section contains an express enumeration of all the purposes for which the power may be exerted: the care and attention of American ma ufactures, are not embraced within this enumeration: and it would seem to your committee necessarily to follow, that the power conveyed by the section cannot be exerted for the protection or promotion of American manufactures.
It would be uncandid in your committee to elude or evade the examination of the question, whether or not the words "to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States," convey to Congress distinct and substantive grants of power. The aflirmative of this pioposition has been maintained by the advocates of protecting- duties; but your committee confess, that after the most mature deliberation, they have not been able to arrive at a similar conclusion. The collocation of the words excludes the idea of such a construction. They are inserted after the terms "duties and imposts," and are immediately succeeded by the words "but all duties, imposts and excises, shall be uniform throughout the United States." This concluding member of the section proves, that the attention of its framers had not been diverted from their primary subject. They had not introduced another subject, but were engaged in modifying, restraining or regulating the power over the subject first introduced. Their provisions were to have reference to it; there was nothing else on which they could attach; and the words "to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States," could no otherwise affect the power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises." than as creating a limitation, restraining Congress in its exercise, to the raising of money for the purpose of paying the debts, and providing for the common defence and general welfare of the United States. Had the Convention designed these words as conveying any substantive grant, they would have been separated by more distinct marks of punctuation. They would have been thrown into a separate sentence. This was done iu every other instance. All other subjects of grants of power have been treated of in sentences. The grants and provisions on each subject, are perfected and concluded before the introduction of another subject; and it would seem to your committee to be unaccountable, if in this particular instance the Convention had introduced a distinct grant between the clause which relates to the raising of money, and an acknowledged limitation on that clause. To construe the words as containing a substantive grant of power, is to convict the framers of the Constitution of the gross impropriety of interpolating one substantive grant between another substantive grant and its acknowledged limitation. If these words, "to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States," were designed as a limitation on the first member of the sentence, the collocation cannot be improved. They follow immediately the words which they wete intended to qualify, and have a natural and obvious connexion with them.
If, on the contrary, they be designed to impart additional energies to the Government, the Convention are convicted of this confused interpolation, when by a natural transposition of the members of the sentence, the design would have been clear. The difficulty would have been rendered less, had the section been construed thus: Congress shall have power.
To lav and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises; but all duties, „ v'k<"nia '- . .... .- '. . Resolutions.
imposts and excises, shall be uniform throughout the United States.
Congress shall have power to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.
Had this subject been thus arranged, it would have strengthened the argument for protecting duties; but, as the members of the sentence are at present disposed, to construe the words <"to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States," as conveying substantive grants, is to convict the framers of the Constitution of disjoining the limitation, "but all duties, imposts and excises, shall be uniform throughout the United States" from the power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises," which it was designed to limit, and of appending it to the power "to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States," which it was not designed to affect at all. But the Convention is relieved from the imputation of these inaccuracies of composition, by giving to their proceedings their rational explication, that the latter members of the sentence were designed as limitatious on the power to raise money: The one declarative of the purposes for which it might be raised ; the other prescribing that it should not be raised in unequal ptoportions on the several sections of the Union.
If this conviction wanted confirmation, it would be found in the history of the section, as it was originally introduced to the consideration of the Convention. It contained unlimited authority over the subject of "taxes, duties, imposts and excises." It was submitted in these words : "The Legislature of the United States shall have power to lay and collect taxes," duties, imposts and excises." In this form it was referred to a select committee, who reported it without amendment or appendage. On the 16th of August it was proposed to insert at the end of the section: "Provided, That no tax, duty or imposition, shall be laid by the legislature of the United States on articles exported from any State." The consideration was postponed, and the subject referred. Six days afterwards, the committee reported the section with amendments, so as to make it stand : "The Legislature of the United States shall have power to lay anil collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, for payment of the debts and nocessary expenses of the United States, provided that no law for raising any branch of revenue, except what may be specially appropriated for the payments of interest on debts or loans, shall continue in force for more than years." Your Committee here discover the
origin of the clause which relates to the payment of the debts, and the provision for the common defence and general welfare of the United States. Under the terms in which it was introduced, no doubt can exist as to its object. It was a manifest limitation on the preceding member. The power to raise money had been granted without limitation, and the amendment restrained its exercise to the raising of money "for payment of the debts and necessary expenses of the United States," with the addition of a proviso containing even a further limitation. On the 23d of August it was moved to amend this section so as to make it "The Legislature shall fulfil the engagements, and discharge the debts of the United States, and shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises." This motion prevailed, but was re-considered on the ensuing day, and the subject re-committed. On the 31st of August it was agreed that "duties, imposts and excises, laid by the Legislature, shall be uniform throughout the United States." This motion prevailed, but was reconsidered on the ensuing day, and the subject re-committed. On the VOL. I.—38.
Virginia 4th of September, the committee fully and finally reported the section, KES°lL82<)!OnB' in these words thus punctuated: "The Legislature shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States." It does not appear from the Journal of the Convention, that this part of the section ever again came under consideration, after the confirmation of this report; except that perhaps, on the 14th of September, it received as an amendment the addition of these words "but all duties, imposts and excises, shall be uniform throughout the United States." A committee of five members was appointed " to revise the style of, and aiTange the articles agreed to by the House." This committee was invested with no power to adopt any amendment affecting in any manner the import of the sentence, and whatever modification it subsequently experienced, was adopted from a regard to propriety of arrangement, and accuracy of style. It is obvious from this plain relation, that the original design in introducing this member of the sentence, was the creation of a limi'ation on the power to raise money, prohibiting the exertion of that power, except "for payment of the debts and necessary expenses of ihe United States." This limitation was had constantly in view, and whatever modifications the language experienced, were adopted from a regard to the propriety of style.
Various and numerous are the reflections which have suggested themselves to your committee, demonstrating the truth of the proposition, that Congress cannot legitimately "lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises," to advance the interest of the American manufacturer. It will not be contended, that Congress have power to impose and collect taxes or excises, to confer gratuities on any favored portion of the community; none would contend for such a power, and for the honor of the American people, it is hoped, that few would submit to its practical operation; but the power of Congress over duties and imposts, is no! more ample than that over taxes and excises. The power over all is precisely the same; conferred by the very same section of the Constitution; by the use of the very same terms; under precisely the same limitations. Any object which may be accomplished or attempted, by the exertion of the power to lay and collect duties and imposts, may be as constitutionally accomplished or attempted, by the exertion of the power to lay and collect taxes or excises. The selection from among these various means, is left to the wisdom and discretion of Congress. The propriety of selecting the one or the other, must be resolved into a questiou of expediency, and on occasions where Congress may not select at discretion, it has no power to select at all. If then taxes and excises may not be legitimately imposed, to confer gratuities on the favorites of Government, it would seem to your committee to be difficult to demonstrate the competency of the Government to lay and collect duties and imposts, to further the interest of the American manufacturer, who, far from rendering any equivalent, for the advantage which he derives from the operation of the Tariff, occasions a great and incalculable loss to the Treasury.
Acting under the influence of these reflections, your committee are constrained to adopt the opinion, that there is nothing in this section, which confers on Congress the right to foster domestic maufactures, by the imposition of prohibitory or protecting duties.
This right has been claimed for the Government, under the clause which gives to Congress the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with tha Indian tribes." But it seems to your committee, that the authority to regulate commerce, involves no power over domestic manufactures. The phrases are 1329. entirely dissimilar, and cannot be construed as synonymous. Each is a distinct, determinate subject, and they cannot possibly be identified. Commerce being the interchange of commodities, implies the exchange of one thing for another, between different individuals or nations. Domestic manufactures are local establishments, founded for the production. of commodities, and the phrase implies no exchange at all. The term commerce associates a general idea of trade. The term manufactures associates the idea of fixed, permanent, local foundations. Commerce supplies to the American citizen, in return for the product of his labor, the varied products of distant climes. Manufactures convert his raw material into fabrics for consumption. Sophistry itself cannot identify things thus substantive and distinct; nor render synonymous the terms or phrases by which they are represented. Yet the argument which derives the power to protect domestic manufactures from the power to regulate commerce, does indeed identify the subjects, and render the terms substantially synonymous.
The power, too, to regulate commerce, was granted with a view to its perfection. Independent of the consideration of revenue, it was delegated to secure the most advantageous arrangements in foreign trade, and to ensure domestic tranquility, by extinguishing all subjects of cavil among the States, originating in particular conflicting legislation. But the policy of the protecting duty's system, is by no means the advancement of commercial interest. Its object is to extinguish foreign trade; whilst it surely disturbs domestic tranquility, by furnishing a subject of loud and heavy complaint, of severe and angry recrimination. To derive, then, the right to protect domestic manufactures, from the power to regulate commerce, would be to pervert the design of the framers of the Constitution, defeat the ends of the instrument itself, and to establish the paradoxical proposition, that it is the same thing to perfect and to destroy.
Having concluded this minute examination of the several clauses of the Constitution, which were supposed to refer to the subject of protecting duties, or which have been claimed to have such reference, your committee find themselves occupying a position whence they may proceed with greater advantage to the contemplation of this momentous subject. The great design of the Federal Compact, as conceived by the wisdom of its illustrious authors, was the establishment of a Government competent to combine the energies of the several States, for the purposes of mutual and reciprocal safety and protection, against foreign insult and aggression: a government, adequate to secure the harmony and tranquility of America, by exterminating all subject of feud, and interposing its friendly and impartial adjudication, on occasion of cavil or dispute among the States. Experience had shewn to our sagacious Statesmen, that these were subjects of a general concern, in which the States held a common interest; the advantages of which were mainly sacrificed, by the particular conflicting legislation of the States. The jurisdiction over these, it was obviously proper to vest in' some common tribunal, having authority to legislate for the general weal, and in relation to these subjects, to secure the greatest possible advantages, to the common family of American States. The difficulty and delicacy of erecting such a tribunal, with powers adequate to these ends, yet so constructed as to ensure the perpetual independence of the States, with unimpaired authority over all other subjects, forcibly suggested itself to
Resolution! t^ie sagac'ty o^ those who then controuled the destinies of America. 1829. They despaired of this vast achievement, by the efforts and under the sanctions of individual man, and wisely determined to bring to its' accomplishment, the energies and sanctions of independent sovereignties.
Your committee will not impose on themselves the labor of compiling an historical sketch of the transactions .which induced the foundation of the Federal Government. This history, it is presumed, is familial' to all. In conformity with arrangements previously understood, the distinct and independent States of America assembled in General Convention at Philadelphia, and in their sovereign, corporate characters, proceeded to consider the nature of the Compact, which it might be deemed wise to establish among themselves. All the proceedings which were then had, were dispatched in their characters of sovereign States, and a Government was instituted, not sustained by the sanction of a majority of the people of America, but by the sanctions of the people of the several States. The plan of Government then established, was conformable to suggestions heretofore made. Each of the sovereignties then assembled, determined to cede to the Federal Government, certain portions of its sovereignty, reserving the residue unimpaired. In the cessions which were made, the Government was enabled to concentrate the whole strength of the Union, for the assertion and vindication of our national rights. It was invested with sufficient power to tranquilize disturbances among the Statesj together with a general jurisdiction, over such matters of general concern, as involved the common interests of the States, but which could not be wisely arranged, by the rival, partial, and conflicting legislation of the particular States. The jurisdiction over all other subjects was expressly reserved to the States respectively. All subjects of a local nature, the internal police of the States, the jurisdiction over the soil, the definition and punishment of crime, the regulation of labor, and all subjects which could be advantageously disposed by the authority of a particular State, were reserved to the jurisdiction of the State Governments. The wisdom of this regulation will not be questioned; for, it surely must be sufficiently obvious, that to subject our local or domestic affairs to any other authoiity than our own Legislature, would be to expose to certain destruction the happiness and prosperity of the people of Virginia. This piinciple was accordingly established :—That all subjects of a general nature should be confided to the Federal Government, whilst those which were local in their character, were reserved for the jurisdiction of the States respectively.
This distribution of political power having been established by the Constitution, the happiness and prosperity of the American people demand that it should be preserved. The theory of government as established in America, contemplates the Federal and State Governments as mutual checks on one another, constraining the various authorities to revolve within their proper and constitutional spheres. Each Government is invested with supreme authority, in the exercise of its legitimate functions, whilst the authority of either is wholly void, when exerted over a subject withheld from its jurisdiction. Should either depository of political power, unhappily be disposed to disregard the Constitution, and destroy the proportions of our beautiful theory, it devolves upon the other to interpose, as well from a regard to its own safety, as for the perpetual preservation of our political institutions. If there be a characteristic of jhe Federative system, peculiarly entitled to our admiration, it is the se