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Admission of Michigan.
[Jan. 3, 1837
tional qualifications, all proved that the convention judged tionary mobs had been lavished upon the convention for themselves, in their high capacity of representatives of both of Arkansas and Michigan, because, being Territhe sovereign people, and independently of the laws and tories, they had held conventions, and framed constituconstitution of Virginia. The words used with respect tions, without the authority of Congress. Our answers to the returns of delegates are, not that they are found to these denunciations were the same that we give now, duly elected, or legally elected, but that they are “satis. namely: 1. That they had a right to do so without our factory;" the evidence received where certificates of authority, and all that we could require was, that they election were not produced, were statements of citizens should send us their constitutions, that we might see who said they were at the election, and heard the sheriff | they were republican; anı, 2. That these Territories had proclaim such and such candidates elected; and, in the several times applied to Congress for an act to regulate case of qualification, where a petition was presented to the holding of their conventions, which were always revacate the seat of a delegate because he was not a free-fused by the political party which then held the supremholder within the Commonwealth of Virginia, the report acy in ihis chamber; and that to refuse them an act to was that the petition be rejected. All these reports of regulate the holding of a convention, when they asked the committee on privileges and elections, Mr. B. said, for it, and then to denounce them for holding a conven. were confirmed by the convention, and the tenor of tion without law, was unreasonable and contradictory, their whole proceedings shows that they were acting in and subjected ourselves to the reproach both of injusthe high capacity of representing the sovereignty of the tice and inconsistency. These were our answers then; people, and did what was satisfactory to themselves, and and we added, that those who denounced the Arkansas not what might be conformable to the laws and constiru. and Michigan conventions for lawless and revolutionary tion of Virginia. In fact, said Mr. B., the mere compo- mobs, would find themselves unsupported by the vote sition of every convention proves that ihey are independs of the Senate; which turned out to be the fact, for the ent of the laws and constitution of the State, for judges, negative vote was exceedingly small; and Mr. B. would Governors, and all officers of the State or Federal Gov: add, that the result would be the same now; and that, afernment, may be members.
ter all this denunciation of the convention in Michigan, Mr. B. having shown, from the opinions of the most the convention party in Maryland, and the disorganizing eminent men, and from examples of the highest character, party in Pennsylvania, the vote would be about as it was that conventions were independent of State legislation, at the last session, exceedingly small, and entirely too demanded how it was that State Legislatures assumed to inconsiderable to give any countenance to their denun. have power to grant or withhold them? He wished to ciations. see their grant for the exercise of this authority? He Mr. B. concluded by expressing the hope that the wished to see how it was that they who were servants, Senate would not adjourn unlil it finished this question. and dressed up in a little brief authority, undertook to It was due to Pennsylvania and Maryland that we should govern and direct the people in the exercise of an in. stop a debate in which their concerns were improperly herent and unalienable right? They could not get this introduced; and it was due to Michigan herself that she authority from the people, for it assumed a supremacy should be relieved from this attendance at our doors. over the people. There was but one way to deduce She bas been debarred of her rights for years; she is a their title, and that was through divine right! and by the State, if not a State of the confederacy; she has a right grace of God! Any thing short of this acknowledges to be admitted; and the admission of a State is a question the sovereignty of the people, and puts an end to the of that dignity to be entitled, not only to a speedy deci. pretension; so that a Legislature which should now as. sion, but to a preference over all other questions until sume to authorize the people to hold a convention, if put it was decided. He repeated, what he had said some to a derivation of their own authority, would have to days before, that he had come with his cloak to camp adopt the style of those Kings of Europe who hold that on this floor until the vote was laken; and, that being God has put the people into their care, and endowed his idea of what all ought to do, he would not consume them with all authority for their protection and preser- time by speaking. vation. A legislative ailvice, counsel, or recommend. When Mr. Benton had taken his scat, ation to the people to hold a convention, and an appro Mr. PRESTON, of South Carolina, addressed the priation of money to defray its expenses, is certainly a Senate, and observed that he was as anxious as any other convenience, but it is not a prerequisite; and conven Senator could be that Michigan should be admittel, tions to change the form of government may be held by without delay, into the Union. She is a sovereign the people when they please; taking care to submit their State, recognised as such by Congress, (said Mr. P.,) work to a direct vote of the people themselves, or to a and her present position is extremely awkward; and as new convention elected for the express purpose of ap- it seems, by the declaration of her Senators, that Ohio proval or rejection, as was done in the case of the con has no longer any interest in the enforcing of the constitution of the United States; and thus making sure of dition required in the bill passed at the last session, I the approbation of a majority of the people before the am disposed to waive that condition altogether. It was new constitution is put in force.
merely with a view to prevent difficulties between conMr. B. had now finished his view of this question, and terminous States that i voted for its insertion; but as would make a brief application of the whole to the the Senators from Ohio no longer consider it necessary case of Michigan. The people there had held a con. as a security to that State on the question of boundary, vention, by their own power, to accept a fundamental | I am ready to admit Michigan at once. Yet, while condition of their admission into the Union. They bave these are my feelings, I cannot bring my mind to vote accepted the condition; and the objection is, that the for the whole bill, because I consider it as containing convention was a lawless and revolutionary mob, and matter which is wrong both in fact and in principle. that law ought to be made to suppress and punish such As the bill stands, it states a fact which the Senate does assemblages in future. Mr. B. would hold a proposi not know, and proceeds on principles which the Senate tion for such a law to be the quintessence not of Euro. ought to repudiate. pean, but of Asiatic despotism; and sure he was, it would [Mr. P. here gave way for a mution to adjourn; but receive no countenance by the vote of this chamber. In the yeas and nays were demanded, and the motion was saying this, he spoke upon a recollection of the past, as negatived: Yeas 16, nays 22.) well as upon a view of the present. At the last session Mr. Preston resumed. I have said that the bill of Congress all this denunciation of lawless and revolu. tates a fact which the Senate does not know. And,
JAN. 3, 1837.)
Admission of Michigan.
pray, what knowledge has this body that the solemn con a certain condition. But mark you, sir, that condition dition imposed by the law of Congress has been assented applied solely to her admission, not to her recognition as to and complied with by a convention of the people of
What are the words of the proviso? the State of Michigan? We have no authentication of “Provided, always, and this admission is upon the ex: the fact; none none whatever. Yet the bill states it as press condition, that the said State shall consist of and a thing certain, and rests entirely on that assumption. I have jurisdiction over all the territory included within When you turn your eyes towards our Northwestern the following boundaries, and over none other, to wit: territory, what is the spectacle which meets your view! | Beginning at the point where the above.described northWhat is it you see amidst the great lakes north of the ern boundary of the State of Ohio intersects the eastern State of Ohio? What do you see there! The State of boundary of the State of Indiana,” &c. Michigan. Can we look behind, or below, or above, This proviso, as you perceive, applies, with cautious that Stale sovereignty? Is there any thing which we precision of language, only to the last clause of the predare tv recognise except that State? No, sir. The ceding sentence. But, independent of the proviso, the law State alone can be recognised, or hold relations with us; constitutes Michigan a free, sovereign, and independent and if we break though its organized forms, to hold in: State, capable of admission into the Union, and of per. tercourse and make contracts with the people directly, forming every act of sovereignty. We constituted the it is a revolutionary proceeding. The State stands be. Siate, and by a contemporaneous act we required the ween us and the people of that peninsula. How can State thus constituted to perform certain conditions bethe citizens of that State make themselves known to us! | fore becoming a member of the confederacy; Where, How can you know them, but through their State organi. then, is the mighly inconsistency about which we have zation? What do you know of this Mr. Williams, whose heard so much? Before le charged inconsistency upon name is appended to a paper which has been submitted us, why did not the honorable Senator from Pennsyl. to us by the Executive of the United States? What as. vania (Mr. BUCHANAN) turn to the journal? Michigan, surance lieve you that be is not a mere man of straw? it is true, was not a State in January, but she was a What testimony do you pessess to prove his existence State in June-a State self-existing, and under the guar. and authenticate his signature? None whaterer. Allantee of the United States; and it is because this change that is presented is juose parol testimony, conjecture, was made, that we are incapable of holding any commuhearsay, and scraps of a newspaper. And are you to nication with her citizens in their individual capacity. bind a sovereign and independent state, and that in the The honorable Senator and myself have in this matter highest exercise of sovereignty, viz: the cession of terri- exactly changed sides. He was for recognising her befork; on such testimony as this testimony that would fore she was a State, and I was opposed io it; and now not be received in any court on the globe? Is such a that she is a State, it is he that refuses to recognise her, deed as this to be put on record, and remain on your and I who contend for it. I cannot consent to dissolve archives? liow do you know that Michigan has assent.
hier Siate existence. You cannot do it. It is out of your ed to the condition of her admission? Does the State power. She exists, independently of you. These, as ! appear before you? Have you her great seal! Have understand them, are the great and írue principles of you the authenticated signatures of her functionaries? the State rights party, and but for this I should not bave Without these, I cannot take my seat in this chamber.
asked the attention of the Senate for one moment. This Without these, the Senators from Michigan themselves bill, in its present form, involves a gross violation of cannot be admitted here. I therefore set out by aflirm- State rights; it goes to the utter prostration of all State ing that the fact recited in the preamble of this bill is Government, and involves the doctrine that the General not within the knowledge of the Senate. How dare Government has power to go below the State Governyou look into the interior operations of the State of ment, and look beyond it. The gentleman talks of a Michigan! What authority have you to gethere? Who convention of the people of a State. These are all comentitled you to pass by, to pass over, to supersede, the plex terms; and in what sense does he use them? The entire legislative authority of that Siale, to create an Senator from North Carolina (Mr. STRANGE] said that imperium in imperio, to the utter subversion of the Gov. the word "convention' had no technical meaning; that ernment of that state, and the overthrow of its consti- it applied to any assembly of the delegates of the people, tution? Sir, it is perfectly monstrous.
no matter how they care together. Delegates of the But the honorable Senator from Pennsylvania asks, people! How does he know that they are delegates? llow does it lie in our moutlis to say that this organisen of Here are we wield ng the destinies and casting the deepthe people is interposed between us and the Legislature est foundations of a State, without knowing the meaning of Michigan, when we refused in January last to recog.
of the word convention. The word is technical! It has nise that body as a Legislature at all, and declined re a constant and well-defined meaning in the constitution ceiving a memorial from it as a Legislature! I will tell of the United States and of the States. Am I to be told the Senator. When we refused to recognise the exist. that any loose gathering of the population is a convention, ence of that Legislature, we had not recognised the within the legal meaning of that word? Why, sir, was constitution of Michigan; and it was not till then that we the late Baltimore convention & convention of ile people sanctioned the use of the words States and Legislature.
of the United States? Was that assemblage capable of Where, then, is the monstrous inconsistency so triumphi.
giving laws to us? A convention of the people of the antly urged? Let gentlemen compare the dates, and United States can upturn these seats and banish us all they will see there is no inconsistency. When Michigan from these balls; can destroy the Senate, can abolish first asked to be admitted, there ware important difficul-Congress. And was the Baltimore convention, a motley ties in the way, and we could consider her only as a Ter. collection of postmasters, steam doctors, and God knows ritorial Government, or a mere mass of individuals inbabilo who, a convention of the people of the United States? ing a peninsula. But a change came over the mode of Sir, I would not give this pinch of snuff for the tenure her existence; ber State constitution was adopted in of my rights under this Government, if any such assem. April, and a committee of this body reported that they blage is to be so recognised. And do you know that had examined that instrument, and brouglit in a bill pro.
the convention in Michigan was any thing more than that posing the mode in which she should be admitted into which met in Baltimore? The documents do not show the Union. On the 15th of June this bill became a law, that it was any thing more. They do not show that it acknowledging the Territory of Michigan to be erected was as much. into a State, a..d to be received into the confederacy on
What is a convention? The constitution of the United VuL. XIII, --17
Admission of Michigan.
[Jan. 3, 1837.
States speaks of a convention of the States; and what is all the men, women, and children, residing within the meant by the word in that place? I will tell you what it limits of that State, he advances a doctrine utterly sub
It means a regularly delegated body, coming versive of the State. No, sir, the question of assent from a known constituency, with a political organization, was referred by our act to a political body; the political and endowed with sovereign powers over the matters people of Michigan, in regular convention assembled. intrusted to it. That is a convention in a technical And what proof bave we that the recent assemblage was sense. I know, indeed, that there is a popular impres such a convention? None in the world. A newspaper sion ibat a convention is a sort of undefined or undefi- paragraph! private letters! parol testimony! Is this evinable thing, which rises up like a mist from the people, dence?' who voted? Did the women and children? without any known law, but with exceeding power.
We are told that there were more members than in the But this is not a convention in the sense of any statute or first convention, and a larger constituency:. But how is of the constitution. A convention is a political body this? Did not the matter concerning which the first proceeding from a known constituency, and regularly convention assembled involve the very highest topic that convened for a known and defined political purpose. can engross and agitate a community? Was it any thing Now, do you know what was the constituency in this short of war with Ohio, and nullification of the acts of case of Michigan? Have you any authentic evidence Congress? Under this excitement, a certain number of that it was not a mere vague accidental assembly of gen voters turned out, and now gentlemen show us that the tlemen, who got together and arrogated to themselves number has been nearly doubled. How is this to be acthe highest rights of the people? What are the powers counted for? Has the excitement been increased? It of a convention? If it is a convention of the elementary has been diminished. How will these things look fifty kind referred to by the gentleman from North Carolina, years hence? That Congress received the acts of such who shall restrain its powers or give bounds to its au an assemblage, in direct contradiction of those of their thority? When you have conjured up this all-powerful political constituents. spirit, how dare you undertake to restrain it? If the It might be considered incumbent on me to prove that gentleman once assembles the majesty of Michigan, can Michigan is a. Stale, for the honorable Senator from he put manacles upon its hands? "No, sir, it is the great North Carolina (Mr. STRANGE] has denied it. On this power of the State, and it mocks at all attempts to re subject I belong to what has been deemed an extreme strain it. Who is to limit its doings? The instructions sect. But not in the very wildest of our excitement have of the people! I put it to the Senator from Pennsylva. I, for one moment, pushed the doctrine of State rights nia. I ask him to tell me who are the constituency of beyond the old Jeffersonian principles. Standing, where this self-styled convention in Michigan? Will he tell me, I have ever stovd, on those principles, and upon them the people? Let us, then, examine the word people-a alone, I am here called to vindicate the State existence name often invoked, about which great clamor is made of Michigan. If the idea of the Senator from North Carby some gentlemen, and with whom we have been re. olina is correct, then there is no existence for a State but peatedly threatened. Who are the people? It may be in this confederacy. I will put a question to that honordifficult exactly to define; but this I know, that I am one able Senator. What was North Carolina before she of them, and I do not look upon this thing, the people, came into the confederacy, and after the confederacy as some great monster which must have garbage thrown was formed? And yet he holds that Michigan is not a to it to keep it quiet. God forbid that I should consider | State, because she has not been admitted into it. If she or speak of my fellow-citizens as a mob, having a will is not a State, pray, what is she? She must either be a and purposes not to be ascertained through their consti Territory, or else be in an elementary state, like the Distutional organs—which some gentlemen appear to un trict of Columbia. When gentlemen once set out with derstand by the word people. No, sir, I am one of the these arrogations, there is no knowing where they are people, What is good for them is good for me. What to end. No, sir, Michigan is a State. I vindicate her is right, and just, and proper for them, is proper, and State sovereignty, and I am anxious, exceedingly anxjust, and right for me, for you, sir, and for all of us. ions, that that sovereignty should not be tarnished in iis Ay, sir, the proudest Senator upon this floor is but one very first act. of the people; and when gentlemen appeal, in whatever Then I say that there has not been a convention at candied phrase, from the organized will of the penple, to Ann Arbor, that the people of Michigan have not been what they may, for the occasion, choose to consider their there represented. But here we are met by a reductio will, it is done in an equally exaggerated conception of ad absurdum. We are asked, if the people of Michigan their cunning and the ignorance of their fellow.citizens. i were not to meet so, how could they meet? Sir, if there
Let us, however, look a little more closely to the mat. is any one thing more dangerous than another, it is first ter in hand. Who are the people of Michigan, of whom to create a difficulty, and then to create a power in Gove the gentleman speaks? The men, women, and children? ernment to meet it. It is dangerous in the extreme, white and black? foreigners and all? Who make up with no other warrant than a phantom conjured up by the people? Who are they? Gentlemen cannot answer. ourselves, to call for weapons to destroy it, which are I will tell you who they ought to be. They are that powerful enough to destroy liberty. Whai! are gentlepolitical body which is recognised by the constitution of men to make powers? Are they to say a certain power a State; and there may be a dozen conventions held by is needed, and therefore we will create it? No; let them the lag.rag and bob-tail within the peninsula, and yet not go to their masters. Let them go to the States and ask one convention of the people of Michigan. It must be for it. But here there is no such necessity. You have the political people of Michigan who are represented in the power already created. convention. Who is it that shall regulate this matter? A convention is provided for in the constitution of the Who is to declare who are the people and who not? United States and in the constitution of the State of Mich
Sir, on this point I took, at the last session, high igan-instruments which are obligatory on us and on ground for Michigan. Theld then, and I hold now, that that State. We have recognised her constitution, and it it is her right, and hers alone, to say who the people of declares that a convention shall be called only in a cerMichigan are, and Congress bas no right to couch the tain way. Have you a right to subvert that constitution? question; lill she has told you, you cannot know. And if Will you virtually repeal it in the very act of confirming the gentleman from Pennsylvania shall say that our ad it? i invoke the Senators who have been elected from mission bill
, in requiring ihe assent of the people of Michigan to aid me in defending the rights of their State. Michigan assembled in convention, meani a gathering of | Here is Congress proposing to repeal a part of their con:
Jax. 3, 1837.)
Admission of Michigan.
stitution, attempting to circumscribe their own Legisla The honorable Senator over the way (Mr. BUCHANAN) ture. I call them to the rescue. Much has been said in this comes from the great State of Pennsylvania, and I from debate about the will of the people, and we have been re the little State of South Carolina. He comes from a minded that their wish is paramount to all enactments. non-slaveholding State; I from a slaveholding. Will he God forbid that I should subscribe to that doctrine in the claim to go behind the act of my Legislature, and call sense here advanced. What? Do I hold my rights by upon the people of South Carolina? Intimalions were the mere popular breath? Shall I trust the liberties of once made, and from high quarters, that this General us the people to such a Government? No, sir. I look to Government would look behind the constituted authe recorded will of the people-to the will of the people thorities of South Carolina for the will of the people; as they have imbodied it in their political institutions. I and what people will the gentleman from Pennsylvania look for the will of the people of Michigan in the consti- select? The free white citizens, or black and white fution of Michigan. And they offend the rights of the people, of the State of South Carolina? Will the gen. people who look over that instrument to the voice of a ileman consider the human beings or the white men of mere popular assembly. The constitution, that is the South Carolina her people? South Carolina alone can people's will—their solemn, defined, recorded will. decide that for herself, and Michigan for herself; and Tell me not that that is the will of the people which can this Government ought not, and cannot, for either. The be expressed by a mere transient party caucus move. gentleman perceives that I am deeply interested in this ment. The people's will, I repeat it again, is the peo matter. There is a deep and a rful reason why I ple's constitution, and I will not live in a society that rec shall not let him look behind the constitution and Legis. ognises any other. Sooner turn me loose to the savage lature of a State. Sir, we talked much of conventions state, let me be armed to the teeth, and prepared to during the period of our late excitement in South Caro. make war on every neighbor, rather than be under the lina. We had then the convention of a party, large and government of mobs and caucuses. No convention, numerous, which sat from day to day, adjourned from therefore, can be entitled by that name, unless it was time to time, appealed from the Legislature to the peoheld according to the constitution of the State of Michi- ple, held, it was rumored, communications with this gan; and if you recognise any other, you subvert the con Government, and it was also rumored that officers of stitution.
This Government threatened to consider it as South Now, I ask, how was the first convention formed? It Carolina, and to obey its orders in wielding the sword at assembled under the recommendation of the Legislature that moment held drawn against the State. The same of Michigan, under an act which recognised the binding dangerous and disorganizing principles are avowed in authority of the constitution. The acts were duly au this bill. Sir, when once we get behind the Legislature, thenticated, and sent here with all the formulas of authen and get into conventions, who speaks the voice of the lication upon them. It was the deliberate judgment of people? Who has got it? Each man says that he the people of Michigan, regularly expressed. But this speaks it; but who is right? The party in power will will virtually goes to appeal from the entire authority of always say that the voice which disapproves their acts is the people of Michigan, to the honorable chairman of our not the voice of the people. It is in this way they satis. Judiciary Committee. He decides in the very teeth of fy their conscience. And shall it be that on the will of the Legislature of Michigan, who must be supposed to the majority here repose all the powers of the constiluunderstand their own rights and duties, and who passed tion, and all the rights of the people of the United a law for a convention--which convention did act, and Stales? I trust such a state of things will never occur. duly certified its action. There was great point in the supposing that this was the State of Pennsylvania in. question put by the Senator from Ohio, (Mr. Ewing.) If stead of Michigan, and there were two conventions, one the first convention had acceded to the terms, and then at Philadelphia, and one at Harrisburg, expressing opinthis new-fangled and self.created convention had met and I ions directly the reverse of each other, which, in the rescinded the act of assent, how would the Senator from opinion of the honorable Senator, would express the Pennsylvania (Mr. Buchanan) have then decided be. voice of the people? I can tell you, sir; it would be tween the two conventions? Would he for one moment that which expressed his own sentiments. What I dehave held up the latter against the former? 'No, sir. sire is, that we should not proceed on these resolutions No, no. The Senator would baie exclaimed, “ Tell me passed at Ann Arbor as an act of the State of Michigan, not of the lawless proceedings of a disorganizing assem but shall wait until we have the act of that State in a blage. Here is the act of a regular, a legitimate con regular,'organized form. What is a State? It is a povention, held according to law; and what is the language litical organization within a certain territory, and its poof Michigan, if this is not?" In what terms of indignation litical organization is the imbodying of its rights in a would the Senator have rebuked us for paltering with constitution. If you look beyond this, there is no terms, and casting the mantle of a convention over the State; there may be a population, but there is no State. unauthorized resolves of a lawless assembly? But cir. Sir, this bill has been characterized as revolutionary, cumstances alter cases. A convention regularly sanc and it is so. It is an appeal from the Government to tioned by the Legislature has refused to accede to your the people, from written constitutions to unwritten, terms. And how will you get out of the difficulty? By from organized systems of Government to disorganized. calling together a nameless body to controvert the will of The very act of this Ann Arbor convention is itself an the people, expressed through their own devised and act of disorganization. It grants away the territory of constituted organs, to repeal official acts sealed and cer. Michigan, yet it is itself not known to State authority. tified by their own functionaries? Shall we declare the supposing that some of these Ann Arbor gentlemen act of their Legislature to be unconstitutional? Who should be arrested on criminal process, and tried for gave us any such right? None dare do it.
their proceedings, how would they fare before a judicial But the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. WALKER) re tribunal? Sir, they are guilly of treason. Could they minded us that the first convention itself declared its plead the act of Congress? It would not avail them; want of power to aller the constitution Well, sir, if Congress is not their Legislature. If asked, what that convention had not the power, what right have we brought you here? if called upon to show an act of the to give superior power to another body? If the Gov. Legislature calling them there, what could they answer? ernor and Legislature of a State could not invest a con To bring the question home, suppose the Legislature vention with power to change the constitution of a State, should disavow their powers, what can we say? Can can we? It is preposterous.
we say that that assembly was paramount to the Legis.
Admission of Michigan.
[Jan. 3, 1837.
lature? Would the gentleman from Pennsylvania say other day made by the honorable Senator from South to the people of Michigan, we will not listen to your Carolina (Mr. Prestox] so large a portion of the text of Legislature: you shall be in the Union, and you shall be the very fervid and eloquent address he had just deliver. in it under the condition we prescribed? I think he ed. He had been so agreeably entertained as to be unwould not. The Legislature might repeal the act of willing to interrupt him, even for the purpose of rescuing that convention to morrow; and if the question came to himse is from misapprehension; but he now rose mainly a judicial investigation, how would wat gentleman plead for that purpose. The Senator from South Carolina the powers of that convention Suppose the territory [Mr. Preston) has represented me as saying that a conshould be disputed, and the courts of Michigan under. vention was an undefined something, rising, like a mist, take to try an officer of the State of Ohio. He justifies from the popular mass, scarcely perceptible, but very under this convention, and we take ground that it had powerful. What I meant 10 say, sir, and what I think I no power to act. How, I a-k, woull a court of justice did say, was that there was no moile printed out, either deciile? Will any gentleman say that the couri in Michi- by the common law or by statute, by which a convention gan would consider itself as bound by such an act? I was to be assembled; and 1 distincily stated that a con. am greatly mistaken if there is any judge in the land vention was an assemblage of the people of any conmuwho would not hont at it. The State, to be sure, may nity, either in person or by their agents or representaacquiesce in it. That is possible; bilt we have no guar. tives; and when so assembled its powers were vast, and, antee of it. And if not, your act will be laughed to scorn in a state of nature, unlimited. The Senator has asked, Sir, it does strike me that this wholesale violation of
when Congress has called together a convention, who is charters--this wholesale nullification-goes infinitely be. to control it? and, in so doing, has plainty misapprehend). yond what we in the South ever thouglit of. We never ed me in another particular. I have never said that applied the doctrine of nullification to the act of any Congress has the power to convuke a convention in Legislature within its own bounds; but the sweeping Michigan, or in any other State, or any where else, exnullification of the chairman of the Judiciary Commits cept in the cases specially provided for in the fifth article tee goes to the breaking down of all State powers and of the constitution; and am, therefore, not called upon to constitutiong. This is nullification by Congress; it is answer the Senator's question. I do not conceive the nullification with a vengeance, under the patronage of convention held in Michigan to have been in obedience the Congress of the United States. It is yery dangerous. to an act of Congress, or that it was called by Congress. We in the South went on the ground that the General In this matter I accord fully with the Senator from PennGoverninent had transcended its powers, and that, so sylvania, (Mr. BUCHANAN,] that the act of last session far, its acts were not binding; and our position was vin. was a mere offer on the part of Congress to the people dicates here, upon this floor, in 1832, with unanswered of Michigan, wliich they might either accede to or reand unanswerable reasoning; and those who remember ject, at their pleasure. Congress, in effect, says to the that affair may take occasion 10 sneer, but will never people of Michigan, we will create you a State of the venture upon the argument agrin. Whatever was our Union upon certain conditions, which conditions are, doctrine or purposes, we came boldly out, and risked that you shall meet in convention, and assent to certain our property and life on the issue. We did not paller territorial limits, which we have prescribed as those witli public faith, upon flimsy subtleties, or stifle the within which we are willing to create a State. The peoyoice of bonesty by a pettifogging technicality.
ple of Michigan may either meet in convention, or de. I trust there are interests in South Carolina which will cline it, at their pleasure; and being so met, they may always save her from the necessity of resorting to soph- either agree to the boundaries proposed, or refuse them; isms and subterfuges to vindicate an equivocal hones and the only consequences are, that in the one case they ty, or to hide herself in misty generalities while she accept the terms offered them by Congress, and become violates her charter.
a State, and in the other reject them, and remain a The honorable Senator tells us that the principles re Territory, as they were before. The only question, cently avowed by leading men of his party in Pennsylva- therefore, which we have now to decide is, hag Michigan nia have been misunderstood. I am glad to hear it; accepted the terins proposed, or not? Objections are for, as I and the public have understood those principles, raised to the authority of Congress to enter into bargains they are utterly revolting and abhorrent to my nature. I or contracts with any State in this Union; but that ob. do not desire for one moment to live under a Government jection proceeds upon the assumption of the fact that where such doctrines prevail-doctrines which go lo dis. Michigan is now a State-the very point upon which the solve the bond of society. I know, indeed, that extreme Senator from South Carolina and myself are at issue. I glosses are sometimes put on the language of men in have denied, and do still deny, that Michigan is a State; party times, but, as I understand, that celebrated letter and insist upon it that the very process is now going on is a call upon pauperism to enlist against property, to to make her so, or rather to ascertain whether she is so violate contracts, to strike first at bank charters and then or not. In my remarks the other day, I did not speak of at land charters, until nothing safe is left in the commu. any claim for Michigan to be a State by reason of the nity. It is said that the will of the people, as that will is ordinance of 1784, declaring that the portions of country ascertained by the great high priests who minister con. situated in the Northwestern territory should become tinually in the presence of power, is to supersede every States upon attaining a certain amount of population; nor thing: corporations, bank charters, acts of a State Legis. is it necessary for me lo reinark upon that ordinance now, Jature, Slale constitutions--all, all are to go by the board. for 1 perceive that the Senator from South Carolina does Sir, I start back in horror from such doctrine and its not base his argument that she is a State upon that ordiabellers. But I will not longer detain the Senate. I nance. On the contrary, be distinctly admits that in Januhave stated my objections to the preamble of this bill; ary last she was not a State, but became so by the action let these be taken out of the way, and I am ready to ad- of Congress in June. mit Michigan tomorrow. I shall be glad to see her take Now, sir, I deny that any thing took place in June to her place amongst the confederate States, and it will be give to Michigan a different character from that which a personal gratification to me to be officially associated she bore in January, except that the act passed in Jime with be worthy gentlemen who are waiting to take their placed it in the power of the people of Michigan, by seats as her Senators.
their own action, (to wit: according to the terms of the Mr. STRANGE said he was greatly flattered in having act of June,) to change their own character, and pass the few hasty and desultory remarks he had let fall the l frum territorial existence to that of a Statc. But it is