Slike strani
PDF
ePub

Jax, 3, 1837.)

Admission of Michigan.

(SENATE.

said that Congress, in that act, speaks of her as a State, sion of the sovereign power? and if so, its acts are valid, and accepts her constitution. I insist tbat that act of without any reference to the means by which that powCongress is altogether conditional, and musi be altogether er was acquired. So with the convention. Had it an actual inoperative to give her existence as a State, without at the unresisted esistence as ihe convention of the people and same time receiving her into the Union. The only authority if so, it possessed all the powers incident to a territorial claimed, or ever exercised by Congress, or, at any rate, convention. It is true, if Congress had in her act prethe only one she can lawfully claim ör exercise, is derived scribed the mode in which the convention should have from the 3d section of the 4th article of the constitution. been convoked, no other convention but one called in Even under this clause, the power of creating States is only that mode would have been a fulfilment of the act, or a implied as incidental to the power of admission, and the in compliance with its conditions. But, as Congress did dependent power of creationis nowhere to be found. Un. not prescribe such mode, the people of Michigan were der it, the incident merely accompanies the principal, left to the broadest latitude; and if the first convention and they must both constitute one entire act. But this bad yielded the assent required, all would have been construction is objected to, upon the ground that it would well. But there werelwo conventions; and we are asked place the Senators and Representative from Michigan in which was the voice of the people? I answer, both. Tlie a very awkward situation. I should be exceedingly sorry one spoke the voice of the people at one time, and the if this consequence should follow; but while I stand here other at another; and the last is to be taken as the con. in part representing a sovereign State, I must fear. tinuing voice of the people until they speak again. It lessly perform my duty, and assert that which I believe is so with individuals. If a gentleman ofiers to sell me a to be true, without reference to whom it may serve or horse, and I refuse to take him, that is my voice then; whom it may disoblige, and must therefore continue to but I may return the next day and agree to take him, aurl insist that Congress las no power to create a State for that is my voice then; but the last voice closes contract, any other purpose than reception into the Union; and, and here is the end of the matter. So with Michigan. An therefore, if Michigan is not already in the Union, she is offer is made her; she refuses to accept it; that is her voice not a State. Something like an argumentum ad hominem then: but another day she says I will acceptit; that is her has been addressed 10 me by the Senator from South voice then, and the compact is ratified. But the Senator Carolina, for the purpose of slowing that a State may asks, can Congress call a convention in South Carolina? I exist, and yet not be a member of the Union. He re believe I have alreally answered this question; but I will do fers to a period when, after the adoption of the federal it again. I say she cannot, and I deny that she has done constitution by all the other States except herself, North so in Michigan. It is, therefore, unnecessary to review Carolina had still an existence as a State, though not the picture of horrors which the gentleman has so elowithin the Union. I humbly conceive the argument is quently portrayed as likely to ensue from such an act. fallacious. North Carolina was not formed from any But the course of Michigan is said to be revolutionary, territory belonging to the Union, which never had prop- unless she be a State. Hris might have been so if Michi. erty in her soil, nor held over her any claim whatsoever. gan had acted without reference to the authority of the She was a free, sovereign, and independent State, own United States--if she had claimed the right of forming ing no superior, and acknowledging no control but that her constitution, and exercising other rights of sovereignof her own will. She had, in common with her sister | ty, without reference to the ratification of her acts by States, thrown off the shackles of despotism, and had a Congress. But this she bas not done, but, on the conright, in common with them, to seek her own interest trary, is now seeking that very ratification at your hands, and happiness, according to her own choice. With her. without for a moment intimating a desire of separation from self, therefore, was the decision, whether she would you, or claiming an existence unsanctioned by your constiseek them alone or in federative union with the other lution. But it bas been contended that Michigan, if a States. Not so with Michigan; she belonged in territory Stale, by holding this convention, has been guilty of a to the Union, and her citizens owed it allegiance; the revolutionary movement, inasmuch as it was not called one could never be transferred, or the other dissolved, by the proper authority. In reply, I say that I have not but by actual force sufficient to maintain the new State only denied, but, as I think, shown that Michigan is not a against the power of the Union, or the consent of Con. State; but if she were, I insist that, so far as Congress has gress constitutionally given. The former is not pretendo any wing to do with the matter, the act would not be ed, and the latter I deny has been shown to have been revolutionary. properly expressed. So that the cases of Michigan and Every State in the Union, so far as Congress is conNorth Carolina are altogether dissimilar; and the acci- cerned, has a right to hold conventions according to their dents of the one can never be used to illustrate those of pleasure, and, when assembled in convention, to prostrate the other.

As I said yesterday, Michigan is not a State their executive, legislative, and judicial bodies, and put until she complies with the terms imposed at the last up others in their stead, provided, in so doing, they allSession, and the question is whether she has done so. I here to the republican form of government. It is en. bave already stated what I conceived to be a convention, tirely a domestic matter, with which the other States so far as Michigan, at least, is concerned; and can there have nothing to do. In this I am, as I think, fortified by be a doubt that the Ann Arbor convention is such an one of the wisest and best stalesmen who has ever one?

adornel our country. “ The authority," says Mr. Madi. Gentlemen inquire what we would have said if the son, in his celebrated report,' of constitutions over Gore first convention called by the Legislature bad ratified the ernments, and of the sovereignty of the people over constiproposal of Congress. Would we have considered it tutions, are truths which are at all times necessary to be valid? I answer, valid, most unquestionably. We say it is kept in mind." The only check possessed by the Gener. totally in material how the convention is convened, so it is al Government over the sovereignty of the people of the a convention. The convention de facto is the one which several Stales must be found in the constitution, the we are to consider, without inquiring into its authority, charter of its own being. In the charter the General just as we treat with the Governments of foreign nations. Government is required to guaranty to each State a reIn this latter case, we do not ask how the Government is publican form of goveroment, and, while that is presei ved, constituted, or by what authority it was formed. Our the interference of the General Government is uncalled. only inquiry is, is it, in point of fact, the existing Gov for and unauthorized. She has nothing to do with the ernmeni? And so, also, of past acts of the Government. The inquiry is, wag it at the time it acted in the posses But we have been asked, what will be the result, if we

matter.

Senate.)

Admission of Michigan.

[Jan. 4, 1837.

make this convention the subject of judicial inquiry?

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4. The question is, I think, altogether premature. The validity of this convention can only be drawn into judi

ADMISSION OF MICHIGAN. cial inquiry in a dispute between Michigan and a neigh The Senate proceeded to the further consideration of boring State, on the subject of boundary; and to put that the bill for the admission of Michigan into the Union; the difficulty at rest it is that Congress has herself incurred question being on the motion of Mr. Mornis to amend much difficulty, and imposed it upon others: but she the bill. cannot settle the matter judicially; neither can she, by After Mr. MORRIS had made a few supplementary any legislation, interpose any insurmountable barrier in and explanatory remarks, the way of litigation. She has been endeavoring to Mr. BAYARD said: In taking part in the present dis. induce Michigan to estop herself from setting up any cussion, and in the vote which he should feel himself claim to the disputed territory. If she has succeeded, compelled to give on the subject now under consideraall is well; and if she has not, matters are only left as tion, he was actuated by no feelings of ill will towards they were. If Michigan chooses to make it a subject of the new State of Michigan; on the contrary, he would judicial inquiry, it must always be in her power to do so. cheerfully extend to her the hand of fellowship, and We may legislate as extensively and with as much com. heartily welcome ber admission into this great confedeplexity as we please, but the parties affected by our

racy. But, sir, I cannot conscientiously do so under the legislation will, whenever they think proper, apply to circumstances and in the manner that is proposed. Nor, the judicial tribunals to decide what our legislation has sir, have I any pride of opinion to maintain in the course accomplished. Congress has already passed a law pre. I pursue, as I bad not the honor of a seat here when the scribing the limits of the litigant States, thus expending act of Congress was passed which is the remote cause of all the power she possesses on the subject; but ihe effi- the present proceedings. A seat in this body imposes ciency of this, and all other powers, must be a question the duty of consulting the welfare of the whole Union, forever open to judicial investigation. We can pass no as well as of preserving the great principles of the congag-law by which the parties interested shall be forbid. stitution; and I feel, sir, that I am influenced by no other den to litigate their claims before the courts of the coun. motive. I am happy to find that one of those little mists try. But that a convention has been holden, as a matter which might have obscured the subject has been dissiof fact, I did not suppose would be disputed. [Mr. paled by ihe communication which has just been made Preston. I do not deny it at all.] I am obliged to the by the Secretary of the Treasury, that the share of the Senator for the admission; and that the Ann Arbor meeting surplus revenue to which Michigan would be entitled if was not only a convention, but one of indisputable validity, now a State of the Union will be reserved for her, unless I think is very satisfactorily shown by the fact, if there its distribution should be ordered by Congress. If, sir, were no other in the case, ihat this matter has been agi- this course had not been adopted by the Secretary, I tated in Michigan in the newspapers, in fact every where, should have cheerfully and promptly given my support and that no person is found in this city, either in or out to a law for that purpose. It is agreed, too, on all of Congress, lifting up bis voice with authority to deny hands, that there is no party purpose to be promoted by the validity of that meeting—that it was properly con our present action on the subject, and that we are thus vened, and that its acts are perfectly legitimate. at liberty to exercise a fair, impartial, unprejudiced

Mr. MORRIS withdrew his proposition to recommit judgment in its decision. the bill with instructions, and submitted, as an amend. In my opinion, sir, the present bill involves a molla ment, a substitute for the preamble.

strous political heresy, and gives its sanction by implication Mr. GRUNDY asked for ihe yeas and nays on Mr. to a doctrine wbich would subvert all regular government. Morris's amendment; which were accordingly ordered. It is true, sir, that upon its face there is nothing excep.

Messrs. CALHOUN and MORRIS addressed the Sen. tionable, but you cannot strip it of its contemporaneous ale in favor of the amendment just offered.

facts, you cannot blot from the page of history its con• Before Mr. Morris cuncluded, he gave way, and comitant circumstances. The message of the President

Mr. EWING, of Ohio, moved that the Senate adjourn; and other documents are now maiters of record. What, which question was decided in the negative: Yeas 16, then, sir, is the case before us? Not a single insulated

act, but a matter which, in the web of human affairs, in. After a few remarks from Mr. MORRIS,

volves consequences which cannot be trammelled up. Mr. WALL moved that the Senate adjourn; which The effect, sir, of to-day becomes the cause of to-mormotion was lost: Yeas 19, nays 19.

row, and it behooves as to look warily to the principles Yeas - Messrs. Bayard, Brown, Calhoun, Clay, Critten. which we establish. The case is simply this: the people den, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Kent, King of Alabama, of a part of Michigan Territory, without waiting for a Knight, Moore, Morris, Nicholas, Niles, Preston, Southe previous act of Congress assigning the boundaries of their ard, Swift, Wall, White--19.

State, and authorizing the formation of a constitution and Nays-Messrs. . Benton, Buchanan, Dana, Fulton, State Government, undertook, on the 11th May, 1835, Grundy, Hendricks, Hubbard, King of Georgia, Linn, to form a constitution and State Government, and applied Page, Rives, Robinson, Ruggles, Sevier, Strange, Talls for admission into the Union at the last session. Congress madge, Tipton, Waiker, Wright--19.

passed an act on the 15th June, 1836, accepting, ratify. After a few more remarks from Mr. MORRIS,

ing, and confirming, the constitution and State GovernMr. EWING, of Ohio, moved that the Senate adjourn; ment, but provided, as a condition precedent to her adwhich motion was carried: Yeas 21, nays 17--as fol- mission, that the assent of a convention of delegates, lows:

chosen by the people, should be given to the boundaries YEAs-- Messrs. Bayard, Brown, Calhoun, Clay, Crit. prescribed in the act. I say, sir, the people of a part of tenden, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Kent, King of Alabaina, Michigan Territory undertook to do this, because, at that Knight, Linn, Moore, Morris, Nicholas, Niles, Preston, time, Michigan Territory embraced not only the peninSouthard, Strange, Swift, Wall, While-21.

sula of Michigan, but the whole of the present Territory Nars-Messrs. Benton, Buchanan, Dana, Fulton, of Wisconsin, and contained within its limits 177,000 Grundy, Hendricks, Hubbard, King of Georgia, Page, square miles, or nearly three times the area of the great Rives, Robinson, Ruggles, Sevier, Tallmadge, Tipton, State of Virginia. The peninsula of Michigan, which Walker, Wright-17.

had previously formed a part of Indiana Territory, was So the Senate adjourned.

separated from that Territory and established as an in

nays 16.

Jan. 4, 1837.)

Admission of Michigan.

(SENATE.

dependent one by the act of Congress of the 11th Janua been stated, in the first instance been made a separate ary, 1805. Subsequently to this period, Indiana in the Territory by that act of Congress. In doing so, these mean time having been formed into a State, an act of people professed to act in conformity with the ordinance Congress was passed, (on the 18th April, 1818,) authori- of July, 1787, and to derive their authority from that orzing the formation of a constitution and State Government dinance; which, as has been seen, expressly reserves to for Illinois, and the 7th section of that act added to the Congress the right to form one or two States in the Terpeninsula of Michigan the rest of the Northwestern Ter ritory as it then existed. As both Congress and the inritory, comprising the present Wisconsin Territory, babitants of that peninsula could not have the same right, which it declared should be attached to, and made part it is perfectly clear that the act of those people was un. of, Michigan Territory, subject, however, to be disposed warranted by any provision of law, and a mere nullity. of by Congress according to the right reserved in the 5th This was the view taken of the subject at the time of article of the ordinance of July 13, 1787.

their application to Congress at the last session, and When the immense territory on the north of the Ohio hence, sir, the resolution of the 26th of January, 1836, river, formerly called the Northwestern Territory, was referred to by the Senator from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Buceded to the United States by Virginia, the 5th article of charaN,] “that the Senate regard the memorial purthe ordinance of the 13th July, 1787, which was declared porting to be from the State of Michigan in no other to be a compact between the original States and the light than as a voluntary act of private individuals." people and States of the said Territory, provided But, sir, consent takes away error, and Congress thought that it should be divided into not less than three nor proper, at a subsequent period, by the act of the 15th more than five States, and proceeded to parcel it out June, 1836, to accept, ratify, and confirm, the constituinto three States, whose boundaries it fixed, with the ex tion and State Government which had been formed by press provision, however, that those boundaries might the inhabitants of the peninsula, with this proviso, howbe altered, and that Congress should have the authority ever, that the limits of the State should embrace not to form one or two states in that part of the territory merely the peninsula, but likewise a region of country which lies north of an east and west line drawn through lying on the northwest of Lake Michigan; thus adding to the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan. At the proposed new State both territory and population, first, this whole region of country passed under one and requiring, as a condition precedent to her admission name, that of “the Territory northwest of the river into the Union, that the assent of a convention of deleOhio," and was subject to a single Territorial Government. gates chosen by the people should be given to the boundIn the year 1800, by the act of Congress of the 7th May, aries prescribed in the act. The simple question, then, it was divided into two parts, for the purpose of tempora would seem to be whether this condition has been comry government, by a line beginning at the Ohio, and oppo. plied with. Congress, not doubting but that such assite the mouth of the Kentucky river, and running thence sent would be cheerfully and promptly given, lurther to Fort Recovery, and thence north until it intersected provided that, as soon as such assent should be given, the territorial line between the United States and Cana. the President should announce the fact by proclamation, da. That portion of it which lay on the eastern side of and "that, thereupon, and without any further proceed. the division line retained the name of the Territory ing on the part of Congress, the admission of the said northwest of the river Ohio, and that on the western side State into the Union, as one of the United States of Amer. of the line was called Indiana Territory. The peninsula ica, on an equal footing with the original states in all of Michigan was tbus divided between these two Territo. respects whatever, shall be considered complete, and the rial Governments. Wher, subsequently, in the year Senators and Representatives who have been elected by 1802, the State of Ohio was, by the act of Congress of the said State, as its representatives in the Congress of the 30th April, in that year, authorized to form a consti the United States, shall be entiiled to take their eats in tution and State Government, and the boundaries of that the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, State were established, the balance of the Territory north without further delay." west of the river Ohio, that is to say, the other portion It is thus seen, sir, that not only the fact of assent is of the peninsula of Michigan, was attached to Indiana provided for, but also the evidence by which that fact Territory. By act of Congress of the 11th January, is to be established. It is clear that the President is 1805, this Territory of Indiana was again divided, and made the judge of that fact, and that he might have the peninsula of Michigan established as a separate Ter. bound the United States at least by his proclamation. ritory. From the year 1805, then, until the year 1818, We could not have controverted the fact, and the Sen. the Territorial Government of Michigan extended only ators from Michigan might have taken their seats on this over the peninsula of that name. When, however, in floor. But, sir, although the President might have as. the latter year, by act of Congress of the 18th April, Il. sumed this responsibility, he has, at least in this instance, linois was authorized to form a constitution and State wisely abstained from trampling on the law and constiGovernment, and the boundaries of that State were es tution. I cannot see how it was possible for bim, under tablished as they had been of the State of Indiana, by the the circumstances of this case, to have declared that a act of April 19, 1816, the remaining portion of the old convention of delegates, chosen by the people of MichiNorthwestern Territory was added to the peninsula of gan, had given its assent to the boundaries prescribed Michigan, and the whole subjected toone Territorial Gov. by the act of Congress. Whatever may have been his ernment. This immense region of country, covering an motive for this course, no proclamation has been issued, area of 177,000 square miles, was subject, however, by but the whole matter is referred to Congress by his the express provision of the ordinance of the 13th July, message of the 27th of December, 1836. By that mes. 1787, to be formed by the authority of Congress into one sage and the accompanying documents it appears that or two States. Such, sir, was the state of things when a convention of delegates assembled on the 26th of Septhe inbabitants of the peninsula of Michigan, disregard. tember, 1836, at Ann Arbor, in conformily with an act ing this authority of Congress, undertook to form a con of the Legislature of the State of Michigan, passed on stitution and State Government for themselves. The the 25th of July, 1836, and esolved “that this conven. preamble to their constitution is in these words: “We, tion cannot give their assent to the proposition contained the people of the Territory of Michigan, as established in said proviso; but the same is hereby rejected." By by the act of Congress of the 11th of January, 1805, do the same message and documents, it further appears agree,” &c.; which description embraced only the in thal another convention of delegates assembled on the habitants of the peninsula of Michigan, which had, as bas 14th of December, 1836, at Ann Arbor, without any

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

previous law of the Legislature of the State of Michigan, State, and may, therefore, alter or abolish the existing but which originated from the resolutions and proceed. Government. The proposition is too monstrous to be ings of primary meetings of the citizens in the several tolerated for a moment. If the people of Michigan counties, which assumed to be a convention of delegates were in a state of nature, lege solutus, without any social chosen by the people in compliance with the act or institutions whatever, and had assembled as a body in Congress, and this convention gave its assent to the con. some grand campus martius, those who were present dition. As the case stands, the simple question is, could have bound only themselves, since there would be whether the condition has been complied with; or, in wanting the assen', either express or implied, of those other words, has a convention of delegates, chosen by who were absent, and which assent is the sole foundation the people, given its assent? The act which we have of authority in a republican Government. now under consideration, in its preamble, declares that But such, even, was not their case; a constitution and such assent has been given in compliance with the law. form of government had been adopted by them on the

It may be bere remarked that the matter now under | 11th of May, 1835, which was accepted, ratified, and consideration does not involve the question of the right confirmed, by the act of Congress of June 15, 1836, and of Congress to impose such a condition. The bill which which was in existence and active operation at the time we are now to pass upon supposes that right to exist, is of this pretended convention. The very end of govern. based upon it, and declares that the condition has been ment is the protection of the weak against the strong, of complied with. I have not a doubt myself, sir, as to the guileless against the crafty; and no portion of the the right. But, sir, as to the fact, is it true that a con people have a right to bind the rest of the community, vention of delegates, chosen by the people, has given its but in the mode provided in the constitution, which is assent? As no proclamation has been made, which was the compact of their association, the compact which ev. the evidence contemplated by the act, and by which we ery man enters into with every other man, and which is, should have been bound, we must now look into the for that reason, the source and measure of the authority whole case; we must examine the evidence of the facts, as of the Government organized by it. furnished in the message and documents. What, then, Upon any question affecting the general interesi, and is the evidence laid before us? Ist. The proceedings of which falls within the scope of the legislative power, the convention held on the 26th of September, 1836, at that power alone is the true exponent of the public will. Ann Arbor, under the authority of the law passed by the The term people embraces every individual in the com. Legislature of the State of Michigan, on the 25th of Ju: munity, or, in a more confined and political sense, ev. ly, 1836.

2d. The proceedings of the convention held ery individual who enjoys the franchise of a vote, and is on the 14th of December, 1836, without any previous act

not to be confined to a few busy demagogues, who afof the Legislature of the State of Michigan, but conven. fect to imbody in themselves the majesty and authority ed by virtue of the resolutions and proceedings of pri- of the people; while the compact, which each man bas mary meetings of the citizens in the several counties. The entered into with every other in adopting a constitution first-mentioned convention positively refuses its assent.

which veets the legislative power in a particular body, ix, The second convention gives that assent. If the matter that the Legislature shall be the exponents of the pubstood ali ne upon the acts of the second convention, lic will in all cases not prohibited by the constitution. stripped of its concomitant history and circumstances, This results from the very nature of things, and is true and we were called upon simply to give credit to the of every species of government. Where the people have proceedings of that convention, on the faith of its assu. themselvey formed the constitution, it is they who have med character, and the attestation of its president and sec. declared, in such a case, that they will not collectively, retaries, we might, sir, be content with the evidence, nor in any portions of society, great or small, attempt to and look no further into its character and authority: exercise legislative power in any other mode. The ques. And this, sir, I take it, is the position assumed by the tion then arises, whether there existed in Michigan e Gov. Senator from North Carolina, (Mr. STRANGE.] Bui, sir, ernnient, possessing legislative power undera constitution buch is not the case; we cannot shut our eyes to the fact formed by themselves, and whether that legislaiive power stated in the letter of the president of the convention, was competent to call a convention. Her condition was (Mr. Williams,) accompanying its proceedings, and sta. the same after the act of June 15, 1836, as if she had been ted, also, in the message of the President of the United authorized in the first instance to form a constitution and Slates, in wbich this matter is referred to us, and which Siate Government, and had done so in conformity with are now both part of the records of this transaction, that such previous authority, but which bad provided that the convention was assembled without authority of any her admission into the Union should deperd on the perprevious law of the State of Michigan, but originated in formance of some condition precedent. In this state of primary meetings of citizens in the several counties. things there was nothing unusual or unknown to our in

Are we, then, sir, prepared to say that here has been a slilutions and praciice. The State of Indiana was authocompliance with the act of Congress, as is affirmed in rized, by act of Congress of April 19, 1816, to form a conthe preamble of this act? What did Congress inean hy stitution and State Government, and was not admitted ina convention of delegates chosen by the people? Did to the Union until the 11th day of December following: they mean an idle ceremony, or did they mean & con Illinois was, in like manner, authorized by act of Convention which could bind the people of Michigan; or, in gress of the 18th of April, 1818, and was not admitted inother words, a convention which should possess the sos. to the Union until the 3d of December following. Mis. ereign power of the State when assembled? If such is sissippi was authorized by act of March 1, 1817, and adtheir meaning, can it be pretended that this convention, mitted on the 10th of December following. In these dif. assembled under the authority of voluntary meetings of ferent instances, the State Governments were organized citizens in different counties, is possessed of the sover and in active operation before the admission of the reeign authority of the State? And yet, sir, if you pass spective States; they passed laws, and elected their rethis bill, with or without its preamble, you do virtually spective Senators and Representatives. It is, the refore, a declare that this proposition is true. You declare, sir, proposition which is undeniable, that a people may have a for you cannot get rid of the facts and circumstances of State Government before admission into the Union. This the transaction, that voluntary meetings of citizens in circunstance explains the reason why Congress male no different counties of a State, in a time of profound peace, provision as to the mode in which a convention should and as a measure of regular government, may calla con be convened, in order to give the required assent. It vention, which shall possess the sovereign power of tie was because there existed in Michigan a State Govern.

JAN. 4, 1837.)

Admission of Michigan.

(SENATE.

ment, accepted, ratified, and confirmed, by the very act order to avail himself of its provisions. But, sir, there which required the assent of a convention, which was is another and a conclusive answer to this objection; competent to call one, and settle the time and place of which is, that the inhabitants not having possessed the its assembling, and the details of its election. But it is right at all, in the first instance, to form a constitution said that the Legislature had, by the constitution of the and State Government, the same is binding and valid State, no power to call such a convention, because the only so far as it was rati by the act of Congress of purpose of such convention was to alter the boundaries June 15, 1836; and that act having refused to confine of the State as established by the constitution, and that the new State to the peninsula of Michigan, but having instrument had provided a different mode of proceeding required that it should embrace a region of country on in cases of amendment or alteration. This objection the northwestern side of the lake, it follows that if it assumes it to be true that the boundaries of the State were true that the preamble established the boundaries were settled by the constitution, which, in point of fact, of the State, it was in that particular vacated by the act is not so. There is no reference, either express or im- of Congress. For it must be recollected that the ordi. plied, to the boundaries of the State, in any part of the nance of 1787 gave to Congress the right to erect one or instrument, except the preamble, which is in these two States in the then existing Territory of Michigan, words: “We, the people of the Territory of Michigan, which was the remaining portion of the old Northwestas established by the act of Congress of the 11th of Jan. ern Territory. The result, sir, then, is this: that to call uary, 1805, &c., do, by our delegates in convention a convention to express its assent to the boundaries estabassembled, mutually agree to form ourselves into a free lished by Congress, is not to call a convention to amend and independent state, by the style and title of the or alter the constitution, since the constitution, neither State of Michigan, and do ordain and establish the fol. in point of fact nor in point of law, established any lowing constitution for the government of the same.” boundaries; and, consequently, that the enlargement or

It must be recollected that, at the time of forming this diminution of its territory became a matter of ordinary constitution, the Territory of Michigan was composed, as legislation, a power which is exercised every day by the 1 bave stated, of the whole of the remaining portion of | Legislatures of the respective States, in cessions made by the Northwestern Territory, embracing ihe present them to the United States. State of Michigan and the Wisconsin Territory, and But if it be true that the enlargement or diminution of covering an area of 177,000 square miles; that the penin the territory is a matter of ordinary legislation where sula of Michigan had been subjected to a separate Terri. the boundaries are not fixed by the constitution, a for. torial Government by the act of the 11th January, 1805, tiori, it is a matter of ordinary legislation to call a con. and had so continued up to the year 1818, when, on the vention to enlarge or diminish the territory, where the creation of the State of Illinois, ihe balance of the North- duty to do so is imposed by competent authority. The western Territory had been incorporated with it. The right of a Legislature to call a convention at any time must people of the peninsula of Michigan wishing to form depend on the constitution of the State; and the powers ibemselves into a State, instead of describing themselves of the convention, when called, will depend on the proas inhabitants of the peninsula, in terms adopted an visions of the law under which it is assembled; because equivalent form of expression, namely: “We, the peo- the people, in voting for such a convention, cannot be ple of the Territory of Michigan, as established by the understood to invest it with any other power than that act of the 11th January, 1805,” which was precisely the which they have previously agreed it should have in the peninsula of Michigan.

passage of the law to which they have, through their Le. This is nothing more than a description of the people gislature, given either their express or implied consent. who proposed to form themselves into a free and inde. The people are the source of all power. When assembled pendent State, as contradistinguished from the other in a state of nature, lige solutus, in their sovereign capa. inhabitants of the then existing Territory of Michigan. city, their power is without any practical limitation. It It is the natural and proper mode of describing a people is the whole will of the community, sustained by its or nation, namely, by the place or country of their resi whole force. But, as they cannot meet en masse when dence; but it does not import any limitation of bounda- spread over a large country, recourse is had to the prinries, any more than the phrase "We, the people of the ciple of representation; and, when the sovereign power Unised States,” in the preamble to the constitution of is delegated, a constitution becomes necessary in order the United States, limits the boundaries of the United to limit the powers granted. If the whole legislative States to those wbich existed at the time of its adoption. power were delegated, without restriction, then the If it were otherwise, how came we at this moment to Legislature, who are the depositaries of that power, possess the immense region on the western side of the would possess it in as absolute a degree as that in which Mississippi, or how came we to possess Florida? It is it belonged to the whole community, assembled in its very unusual and unnecessary to settle boundaries in the sovereign capacity; that is, without any practical limitaconstitution, and I question whether there are more than tion, The constitution of a State is not, therefore, gen. half a dozen cases to be found among the different States erally a mere grant of power to a particular body; it of this Union. In the cases of Ohio, Indiana, and Illic does not consist in an enumeration of certain powers nois, it became necessary to do so, because the act of which are granted, but, vesting at once the whole legisCongress which authorized the formation of their re. lative power in a particular body, it provides for limitaspective constitutions required that it should be done. tions on its exercise. Hence the necessity for bills of

The word State has a double meaning: in the one it rights and reservations in favor of individual liberty and indicates the people who compose the community, in the security; hence the provisions in relation to trial by other the territory inhabited by them. In forming a con- jury, to the power of arres', to the habeas corpus, to stitution it is the people who form themselves into a freedom of conscience in religious matters, and freedom sovereign State, and their identily would be the same, from unreasonable seizures and searches; hence the newhether they continued to occupy the same territory or cessity of guarding the existence of the executive and not. The reference, by way of description, to the re judicial powers by constitutional provision, which might gion of country they inhabit, is no more of the essence otherwise be absorbed by the legislative power. All of the compact than a description of an individual in a this results from the very nature of legislative power, deed, as A B, of the District of Columbia, would be of which, whether it resides in the whole community or is the essence of his contract, requiring that he should, in delegated by that community to a particular body, is all time to come, reside in the District of Columbia, in without practical limitation other than that provided for

VUL. XIII, -18

« PrejšnjaNaprej »