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Report* But ^ '* ^e true' 3s vour commit,;ee maintain, that the Congress of the 1828. United States are restricted to the powers expressly enumerated, it is .^»y-^/ equally true that they have no power or right to pass any laws but such as may bo 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 insuriection 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 tho 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 tho 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:
Resolved, That this legislature concur with the legislature of the State of South Carolina, in tho 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 befpre 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.
JOHN FORSYTH, Governor.
Or* The Subject Of The Late Tariff; Addressed By The General Assembly Of The State Of Georgia To The Anti-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 duties and imposts, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United 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
Georgia ercd in relation to the raising of a revenue. The present tariff" Ei82g!aL restrains its freedom, and therefore lessens both its extent and its profitableness.
2dly. It is unconstitutional—Because, if it be defended under the power to "regulate commerce with foreign nations," while the avowed object is to encourage and protect domestic manufactures, it is a palpable abuse of the power given by the language of the Constitution—For under a power of prescribing the rule* of exchanging foreign and domestic commodities, the power is so perverted as to endanger, not only the prosperity of our commerce, but almost its very existence, in the anxiety to accomplish an object altogether domestic, and even sectional. An object, too, which the Constitution intends to effect, by means prescribed, and altogether different from those used. For, under the power to promote "the useful arts," au ample and effectual general power, with a prescribed mode of use, resides in Congress, lo encourage and protect all useful aits. To use another and a different power, capable, indirectly, of effecting such objects, concurrently with that obviously intended to effect them, is an unconstitutional abuse of the former power.
3dly. Independent of its unconstitutionality, the law is inexpedient, and oppressive generally, particularly on the Southern division of the United States.
It is inexpedient, because it brings into premature existence a vast , system of industry, which should be, and which in time would be, the natural and spontaneous production of circumstances, and the condition of the country. This is nothing but pure political empiricism. It is inexpedient, because that industry, having this factious origin, must be sustained by a continued and like factious support. Law after law will be required, or demanded, to support that department of labor which springs up under the encouragement of law—Avarice and cupidity are extravagant in their schemes of pecuniary adventure—And every revulsion of their affairs which injudicious or boundless speculation may produce, will, as the commercial policy of England exemplifies, be sought to be remedied, by cumulative impositions upon foreign commerce.
It is oppressive, because one species of industry is directly supported by government, at the expense of other branches of industry. The productions of Southern agriculture, which hitherto have mainly supplied the exportation of this country, and drawn its varied and abundant importation of manufactured commodities, are almost forced into domestic markets, and confined within one channel.
A liberal reciprocity of trade, between our own and foreign nations, being by this means destroyed, the vender of agricultural products is in effect deprived of a choice of markets, either foreign or domestic, and compelled to vend in the latter. Confined to that, he is dependant on the manufacturing consumer, for the price of his raw materials. The competition of manufacturers cannot sustain their old prices. And the law operates unequally and oppressively in this—that the agriculturalist is deprived of the liberty of choosing his market. This liberty, hitherto enjoyed, and which has hitherto been his security for fair and adequate prices of his productions, by exciting foreign and domestic competition, is in effect taken away—For heavy impositions upon foreign imports exclude foreigners from market, by destroying the equality of reciprocal advantages. Thus, the domestic purchaser controuls the market. The advantage heretofore enjoyed by the agriculturalist, is destroyed— he no longer can controul his prices by the power of optional disposilion at home or abroad, but is controuled by purchasers independent in Georgia their fortified monopoiies.
This abstraction of an indisputable right of the agriculturalist, under the free trade intended by the Constitution, is not, and cannot be compensated by the promised, yet contingent, remote, and improbable advantages resulting from manufacturing rivalry.—It is inexpedient, because it brings prematurely into existence those manufactories whose materials are drawn from the mines of the earth, by imposing duties on the articles manufactured abroad, with a view to prohibit their introduction, and protecting the manufacture of the same articles at home. The prices of manufactured imports are thus regulated by law, to effect an object in its nature partial and sectional. This, too, is a restriction which operates unequally. The consumer is deprived of the advantage of seeking a supply of his wants, on equal terms, at home or abroad, at his option. The prices of foreign manufactures, and other commodities, are arbitrarily fixed high, to force the consumer to purchase what under such restriction can be procured cheapest; which must be, the domestic manufacture. Here the manufacturer is the favorite of government— legislation directly confers upon him peculiar advantages—while the agriculturalist pays him tribute, and is in dependance upon him.
It might be assuming too broad a ground, to say that the Constitution forbids the encouragement and protection of any object of industry— that it forbids the protection of any manufacture whatever. It is both advisable and patriotic, that all the necessaries and impliments of military use, in protecting and defending our rights, and our honor as a nation, should be the product of national industry—" To provide for the common defence and general welfare," is a power clearly given to the Congress. The power given is vague, and if taken separately, indefinite; but when taken in connexion with the cautious, and even jealous limitations, of federal powers, and considered in reference to the specified general objects of our confederation, it cannot be deemed to be a power limitable only by the discretion of a majority of Congress. Does not Congress provide for the "common defence and general welfare," in erecting fortifications 1 Is the "general welfare," something distinct from, and separable from the "common defence 1" And if so, what class of objects and measures can be enumerated under it? The power to "provide" for the "general welfare" certainly confers not a discretionary power over every object of human legislation. It refers to appropriations of money, for proposed objects, included within the enumerated federal powers. Whether any proposed measure, or regulation, will promote the general welfare, is a question entirely speculative— Whether legislative action upon such measure, is within the limit of constitutional competency, or whether its object be constitutionally pursued, is another question. Measures of an experimental character, and problematical operation, upon the general good, transcend the prudent restraints, and violate the spirit of the Constitution. To guard it from violation, is the proper object of State vigilance: to restore its purity, a proper and legitimate object of their several or united endeavors.
The spirit and objects of the Federal Compact, place a virtual constraint upon l3titudinary construction and implication. The power is 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.
Georoia 4thly. The late Tariff, "altering the duties on imports," if the power of 'Ei828.aI" tne Constitution were strictly adhered to, would be a revenue bill. It is ^-v^, 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 exteriial 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 tights of independent sovereignty to each, and all the particular interests of an individual State, oi section of States, to their fullest extent, and yet piovide 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 promoted by making the agricultural divisions of the Union tributary to them.