Slike strani
PDF
ePub

SENATE.)

Admission of Michigan.

(Jan. 5, 1837.

grounds which, entirely independent of that preamble, versy, I shall recall to memory the history of the last ses. were such as satisfied his mind. The only effect of the sion, as connected with the admission of Michigan.' The preamble was to try to bind the State of Michigan by facts need but to be referred to, in order to revive their her own consent; but, for himself, he believed that Con- recollection. gress having settled the boundary line, it was vain to at. There were two points proposed to be effected by the tempt to compel the new State to receive it against her friends of the bill ai the last session. The first was to consent. He believed that a majority of the people, if settle the coniroversy, as to boundary, between Michifree from duresse, would never consent to that boundary; gan and Ohio, and it was that object alone which impo. he hoped, however, that the State being once admitted, sed the condition that Michigan should assent to the the dispute would end. If, however, she should unbap. boundary prescribed by the act, as the condition of her pily renew the contest, it seemed a hopeless case. Yet admission. But there was another object to be accomit appeared to him unjust to bind a State, in the act of plished. Two respectable gentlemen, who had been its admission, to consent to that to which, if left free, elected by the State as Senators, were then waiting to the State would never agree. Having thus explained the take their seats on this floor; and the other object of the reasons of his vote, he should give it in favor of the bill. bill was to provide for their taking their seats as Sena

The question being thereupon taken, the bill was or. tors on the admission of the State; and for this purpose dered to be engrossed for a third reading: Yeas 27, nays it was necessary to make the positive and unconditional 4-as follows:

declaration that Michigan was a State, as a State only YEAS--Messrs. Benton, Brown, Buchanan, Dana, Fulo could choose Senators, by an express provision of the ton, Grundy, Hendricks, Hubbard, King of Alabama, constitution; and hence the admission was made condiKing of Georgia, Knight, Linn, Nicholas, Niles, Page, tional, and the declaration that she was a State was Parker, Rives, Robinson, Ruggles, Sevier, Strange, Tallo made absolute, in order to effect both objects. To madge, Tipton, Walker, Wall, White, Wright--27. show that I am correct, I will ask the Secretary to read

NAYS--Messrs. Bayard, Calhoun, Davis, Prentiss--4. ) the third section of the bill.
The Senate then adjourned.

[The section was read accordingly, as follows:

* Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That as a com

pliance with the fundamental condition of admission conTHURSDAY, JANUARY 5.

tained in the last preceding section of this act, the boundADMISSION OF MICHIGAN.

aries of the said State of Michigan, as in that section The engrossed bill to admit Michigan into the Union described, declared, and established, shall receive the having been read a third time, and the question pending assent of a convention of delegates elected by the peobeing upon its passage,

ple of said State, for the sole purpose of giving the as. Mr. CALHOUN addressed the Senate in opposition sent herein required; and as soon as the assent herein to the bill.

required shall be given, the President of the United I bave (said Mr. C.) been connected with this Gov. States shall announce the same by proclamation; and ernment more than half its existence, in various capaci- thereupon, and without any further proceeding on the ties, and during that long period I have looked on its part of Congress, the admission of the said State into the action with attention, and have endeavored to make my. Union, as one of the United States of America, on an self acquainted with the principles and character of our equal footing with the original States in all respects political institutions, and I can truly say that within that whatever, shall be considered as complete, and the Sen. time no measure has received the sanction of Congress ators and Representative who have been elected by the which has appeared to me more unconstitutional and said State, as its representatives in the Congress of the dangerous than the present. It assails our political syg. | United States, shall be entitled to take their seats in the tem in its weakest point, and where, at this time, it most Senale and House of Representatives, respectively, withrequires defence.

out further delay.”] The great and leading objections to the bill rest main Mr. Caldoun then asked, Does not every Senator ly on the ground that Michigan is a State. They have see the two objects—the one to settle the boundary, and been felt by its friends to have so much weight, that its the other to admit her Senators to a seat in this body; advocates have been compelled to deny the fact, as the and that the section is so worded as to effect both, in the only way of meeting the objections. Here, then, is the manner I have stated? If this needed confirmation, it main point at issue between the friends and the oppo. would find it in the debate on the passage of the bill, nents of the bill. It turns on a fact, and that fact presents when the ground was openly taken by the present mathe question is Michigan a Stale?

jority, that Michigan had a right to form her constitution, if (said Mr. C.) there ever was a party committed on under the ordinance of 1787, without our consent; and a fact, if there ever was one estopped from denying it, that she was, of right, and in fact, a State, beyond our that party is the present majority in the Senate, and that control. fact, that Michigan is a State. It is the very party who I will (said Mr. C.) explain my own views on this urged through this body, at the last session, a bill for the point, in order that the consistency of my course at the admission of the State of Michigan, which accepted her last and present session may be clearly seen. constitution, and declared in the most explicit and My opinion was, and still is, that the movement of the strongest terms that she was a State. I will not take up people of Michigan, in forming for themselves a State the time of the Senate by reading this solemn declaration. constitution, without waiting for the assent of Congress, It has frequently been read during this debate, and is was revolutionary, as it threw off the authority of the familiar to all who hear me, and has not been questioned United States over the Territory; and that we were left or denied. But it has been said there is a condition an. at liberty to treat the proceedings as revolutionary, and nexed to the declaration, with which she must comply, to remand her to her territorial condition, or to waive before she can become a State. There is, indeed, a con the irregularity, and to recognise what was done as dition, but it has been shown by my colleague and oth rightfully done, as our authority alone was concerned. ers, from the plain wording of the act, that the condi. My impression was, that the former was the proper tion is not attached to the acceptance of the constitution, course; but I also thought that the act remanding her nor the declaration that she is a State, but simply to her back should contain our assent in the usual manner for admission into the Union. I will not repeat the argoher to form a constitution, and thus to leave her free to ment, but, in order to place the subject beyond contro become a Slate. This, however, was overruled. The

Jax. 5, 1837.)

Admission of Michigan.

(SENATE.

opposite opinion prevailed, that she had a perfect right about from the position maintained at the last session, to to do what she had done, and that she was, as I have sta that taken at this, but there may not be allowed them ted, a State, both in fact and right, and that we had no con now as many days to wheel back to the old position. trol over her; and our act accordingly recognised her as These gentlemen cannot be refused their seals after the a State, from the time she had adopted her constitution, admission of the State, by those gentlemen who passed and admitted her into the Union on the condition of her the act of the last session. It provides for the case. 1 assenting to the prescribed boundaries. Having thus now put it to the friends of this bill, and I ask them to solemnly recognised her as a State, we cannot now undo weigh the question deliberately-to bring it home to what was then done. Tbere were, in fact, many irreg. their bosom and conscience before they answer-can a ularities in the proceedings, all of which were urged in Territory elect Senators to Congress? The constitution vain against its passage; but the presidential election is express. Slates only can choose Senators. Were was then pending, and the vote of Michigan was con not these gentlemen chosen long before the admission of sidered of sufficient weight to overrule all objections, Michigan, before the Ann Arbor meeting, and while and correct all irregularities. They were all according- Michigan was, according to the doctrines of the friends ly overruled, and we cannot now go back.

of this bill, a Territory? Will they, in the face of the Such was the course and such the acts of the majority constitution, which they are sworn to support, admit as at the last sesion. A few short months bave since pass Senators on this floor those who, by their own state. ed. Other objects are now to be effected, and all is ment, were elected by a Territory! These questions forgotten as completely as if they had never existed. may soon be presented for decision. The majority, who The very Senators who then forced the act through, on are forcing this bill through, are already committed by the ground that Michigan was a State, have wheeled the act of the last session, and I leave them to reconcile, completely round, to serve the present purpose, and as they can, the ground they now take with the vote taken directly the opposite ground! We live in strange they must give when the question of their right to take and inconsistent times. Opinions are taken up and laid their seats is presented for decision. down, as suits the occasion, without hesitation, or the A total disregard of all principle and consistency has slightest regard to principles or consistency. It indi- so entangled this subject, that there is but one mode left cates an unsound state of the public mind, pregnant with of extricating ourselves without trampling the constitufuture disasters.

tion in the dust; and that is, to return back to where we I turn to the position now assumed by the majority, to stood when the question was first presented; to acquiesce suit the present occasion; and, if I mistake not, it will be in the right of Michigan to form a constitution, and erect found as false in fact, and as erroneous in principle, as herself into a State, under the ordinance of 1787; and to it is inconsistent with that maintained at the last session. repeal so much of the act of the last session as prescriThey now take the ground that Michigan is not a State, bed the condition on which she was to be admitted. This and cannot, in fact, be a State, till she is admitted into was the object of the amendment that I offered last evethe Union; and this on the broad principle that a Terri- ning, in order to relieve the Senate from its present ditory cannot become a State till admitted. Such is the lemma. The amendment involved the merits of the position distinctly taken by several of the friends of this whole case. It was too late in the day for discussion, and bill, and implied in the arguments of nearly all who have I asked for indulgence till to-day, that I might have on spoken in iis favor. In fact, its advocates had no choice. opportunity of presenting my views. Under the iron As untenable as it is, they were forced on this desperate rule of the present majority, the indulgence was refuposition. They had no other which they could occupy. sed, and the bill ordered to its third reading; and I have

I have shown that it is directly in the face of the law been thus compelled to address the Senate when it is too of the last session, and that it denies the recorded acts of late to amend ihe bill, and after a majority have commilthose who now maintain the position. I now go fur. ted themselves both as to its principles and details. ther, and assert that it is in direct opposition to plain New as such proceedings are in this body, I complain and unquestionable matter of fact. There is no fact not. 1, as one of the minority, ask no favors. All I more certain than that Michigan is a State. She is in ask is, that the constitution be not violated. Yold it sathe full exercise of sovereign authority, with a Legisla- cred, and I shall be the last to complain. ture and a Chief Magistrate. She passes laws; she exe I now return to the assumption that a Territory cancutes them; she regulates titles; and even takes away not become a State till admitted into the Union, which is life-all on her own authority. Ours has entirely ceas now relied on with so much confidence to prove that ed over her; and yet there are those who can deny, with Michigan is not a State. I reverse the position. I as. all these facts before them, that she is a State. They sert the opposite, that a Territory cannot be admitted might as well deny the existence of this ball! We have till she becomes a State; and in this I stand on the aulong since assumed unlimited control over the constitu- thority of the constitution itself, which expressly limits tion, to twist, and turn, and deny it, as it suited our pur the power of Congress to admitting new siates into the pose. And it would seem that we are presumptuously Union. But if the constitution had been silent, be attempting to assume like supremacy over facts them. would indeed be ignorant of the character of our politi. selves, as if their existence or non-existence depended cal system who did not see that States, sovereign and inon our volition. I speak freely. The occasion de dependent communities, and not Territories, can only mands that the truth should be boldly uttered.

be admitted. Ours is a Union of States, a federal re. But those who may not regard their own recorded acts, | public. States, and not Territories, form its component nor the plain facis of the case, may possibly feel the parts, bound together by a solemn league, in the form awkward condition in which coming events may shortly of a constitutional compact. In coming into the Union, place them. The admission of Michigan is not the only the State pledges its faith to this sacred compact; an act point involved in the passage of this bill. A question which none but a sovereign and independent communiwill follow, which may be presented to the Senate in a ty is competent to perform; and, of course, a Territory very few days, as to the right of Mr. Norvell and Mr. must first be raised to that condition before she can take Lyon, the two respectable gentlemen who have been her stand among the confederated States of our Union. elected Senators by Michigan, to take their seats in this How can a Territory pledge its faith to the constitution? ball. The decision of this question will require a more It has no will of its own. You give it all its powers, sudden facing about than has been yet witnessed. It re. and you can at pleasure overrule all her actions. If quired seven or eight months for the majority to wheel / she enters as a Territory, the act is yours, not hers. Her

SENATE.)

Admission of Michigan.

[Jan. 5, 1837.

consent is nothing without your authority and sanction. within her limits. This is the old, the established form, Can you, can Congress, become a party to the constitu. | instituted by our ancestors of the Revolution, who so well tional compact? How absurd.

understood the great principles of liberty and self-goyBut I am told, if this he s', if a Territory must become ernment. How simple; how sublime! What a contrast a State before it can be admitted, it would follow that to the doctrines of the present day, and the precedent she might refuse to enter the Unior. after she had ac which, I fear, we are about to establish! And shall we quired the right of acting for herself. Certainly she may. fear, so long as these sound principles are observed, that Ā State cannot be forced into the Union. She must a State will reject this bigh privilege--will refuse to come in by ber own free assent, given in her highest enter this Union? No; she will rush into your embrace, sovereign capacity, through a convention of the people so long as your institutions are worth preserving. When of the State. Such is the constitutional provision; and the advantages of the Union shall have become a matter those who make the objection must overlook both the of calculation and doubt, when new Stales shall pause to constitution and the elementary principles of our Govern- / determine whether the Union is a curse or blessing, the ment, of which the right of self-government is the first; question which now agitates us will cease to have any the right of every people to form their own Governmen', importance. and to determine their political condition. This is the Having now, I trust, establishei, beyond all controverdoctrine on which our fathers acted in our glorious Revosy, that Michigan is a State, I come to the great point at olution, which has done more for the cause of liberty issue-to the decision of which all that has been said is throughout the world than any event within the record but preparatory-had the self-created assembly which of history, anci on which the Government has acted from met at Ann Arbor the authority to speak in the name of the first, as regards all that portion of our extensive ter the people of Michigan, to assent to the conditions conritory that lies beyond the limits of the original States. tained in the act of ihe last session, to supersede a porRead the ordinance of 1787, and the various acts for the tion of the constitution of the State, and to overrule the admission of new States, and you will find the principle dissent of the convention of the people, regularly called invariably recognised and acted on, to the present un. by the constituted authorities of the State, to the condic bappy instance, without any departure from it, except tion of admission? I shall not repeat what I said when I in the case of Missouri. The admission of Michigan is first addressed the Senate on this bill. We all, by this destined, I fear, to mark a great change in the history time, know the character of that assemblage; that it met of the admission of new States, a total departure from without the sanction of the authorities of the State, fand the old usage, and the noble principle of self-government that it did not pretend to represent one third of the peo. on which that usage was founded. Every thing, thus ple. We all know that the State had regularly convened far, has been irregular and monstrous connected with a convention of the people, expressly to take into consid. her admission. I trust it is not ominous. Surrounded eration the condition on which it was proposed to admit by lakes within her natural limits, (which ought not to her into the Union, and that the convention, after full have been departed from,) possessed of fertile soil and deliberation, had declined to give its assent by a congenial climate, with every prospect of wealth, power, siderable majority. With a knowledge of all these facts, and influence, who but must regret that she should be I put the question--had the assembly a right to act for ushered into the Union in a manner so irregular and the State? Wag it a convention of the people of Michiunworthy of her future destiny.

gan, in the true, legal, and constitutional sense of that But I will waive these objections, constitutional and term? Is there one, within the limits of my voice, that all. I will suppose, with the advocates of the bill, that can lay his hand on his breast, and honestly say it was? a Territory cannot become a State till admilted into the Is there one that does not feel that it was neither more Union. Assuming all this, I ask them to explain to me nor less than a mere caucus-nothing but a party cauhow the mere act of admission can transmute a Territory cus-of which we have the strongest evidence in the into a State? By whose authority would she be made a perfect unanimity of those wlio assembled? Not a vote State! By ours? How can we make a State?

We can

was given against admission. Can there be stronger form a Territory; we can admit State into the Union; proof that it was a meeting got up by party machinery, but, I repeat the question, how can we make a State? I for party purpose! had supposed this Government was the creature of the But I go further. It was not only a party caucus, for States-formed by their authority, and dependent on parly purpose, but a criminal meeting--a meeting to their will for their existence. Can the creature form the

subvert the authority of the Siate, and to assume its creator? If not by our authority, then by whose? Not sovereignty. I know not whether Michigan has yet by her own: that would be absurd. The very act of ad- pagsed laws to guard her sovereignty. It may be that mission makes her a member of the confederacy, with no she bas not had time to enact laws for this purpose, other or greater power than is possessed by all the which no community is long without; but I do aver, if others; all of whom, united, cannot create a State. By there be such an act, or if the common law be in force what process, then, by what authority, can a Territory in the State, the actors in that meeting might be indictbecome a State, if not one before admitted? Who can ed, tried, and punished, for the very act on which it is explain? How full of difficulties, compared to the long now proposed to admit the State into the Union. If established, simple, and noble process which has pre such a meeting as this were to undertake to speak in vailed to the present instant. According to old usage, the name of South Carolina, we would speedily teach the General Government first withdraws its authority its authors what they owed to the authority and dignity over a certain portion of its territory, as soon as it has a of the State. The act was not only in contempt of the sufficient population to constitute a State. They are / authority of the Siale of Michigan, but a direct insult on thus left to themselves freely to form a constitution, and this Government. Here is a self-created meeting, conto exercise the noble right of self-government. They vened for a criminal object, which has dared to present then present their constitution to Congress, and ask the to this Government an act of theirs, and to expect that privilege (for one it is of the highest character) to be. we are to receive this irregular and criminal act as a come a member of this glorious confederacy of States. fulfilment of the condition which we had prescribed for The constitution is examined, and, if republican, as re the admission of the State! Yet, I fear, forgetting our quired by the federal constitution, she is admitted, with own dignity and the rights of Michigan, that we are no other condition except such as may be necessary to about to recognise the validity of the act, and quietly to secure the authority of Congress over inę public domain | submit to the insult.

[ocr errors]

Jan. 5, 1837.)

Admission of Michigan.

[SENATE.

The year 1836 (said Mr. C.) is destined to mark the est in public affairs, and to notice the working of this most remarkable change in our political institutions, odious party machine; and after reflection, with the experisince the adoption of ihe constitution. The events of ence then acquired, has long satisfied me that, in the the year have made a deeper innovation on the princi. course of time, the edicts of the caucus would eventually ples of the constitution, and evinced a stronger tendency supersede the authority of law and constitution. We to revolution, than any which have occurred from its have last arrived at the commencement of this great adoption to the present day. Sir, (said Mr. C., addres- change, which is destined to go on till it has consummated sing the Vice President,) duty compels me to speak of itself in the entire overthrow of all legal and constitution. facts intimately connected with yourself. In deference al authority, unless speedily and effectually resisted. to your feelings as presiding officer of the body, I shall The reason is obvious: for obedience and disobedience speak of them with all possible reserve, much more re. to the edicts of the caucus, where the system is firmly serve than I should otherwise have done if you did not established, are more certainly and effectually rewarded occupy that seat. Among the first of these events, and punished, than to the laws and constitution. Diswhich I shall notice, is the caucus of Baltimore; that too, obedience to the former is sure to be followed by com. like the Ann Arbor caucus, has been dignified with the plete political disfranchisement. It deprives the unfor. name of the convention of the people. This caucus iunate individual who falls under its vengeance of all was got up under the countenance and express authori. public honors and emoluments, and consigns him, if de. ty of the President himself; and its edict, appointing you pendent on the Government, to poverty and obscurity; his successor, has been sustained, not only by the whole while he who bows down before its mandates, it matters patronage and power of the Government, but by his ac not how monstrous, secures to himself the honors of the tive personal influence and exertion. Through its in. State--becomes rich, and distinguished, and powerful. strumentality he has succeeded in controlling the voice offices, jobs, and contracts, flow on him and lis connexof the people, and for the first time the President has ions. But to obey the law and respect the constitution, appointed his successor; and thus the first great step of for the most part, brings little except the approbation of converting our Government into a monarchy has been conscience-a reward indeed high and noble, and prized achieved. These are solemn and ominous facts. No by the virtuous above all others, but unfortunately little one who has examined the result of the last election can valued by the mass of mankind. It is easy to see what doubt their truth. It is now certain that you are not must be ihe end, unless, indeed, an effective remedy bc the free and unbiased choice of the people of these applied. Are we so blind as not to see in this why it is United States. If left to your own popularity, without that the advocates of this bill--the friends of the system-the active and direct influence of the President, and the are so tenacious on the point that Michigan should be ad. power and patronage of the Government, acting through mitted on the authority of the Ann Arbor caucus, and no a mock convention of the people, instead of the highest, other? Do we not see why the amendment proposed you would in all probability have been the lowest of the by myself to admit her by rescinding the condition imcandidates.

posed at the last session should be so strenuously opposed? During the same year, the State in which this ill.omen. Why, even the preamble would not be surrendered, ed caucus convened has been agitated by revolutionary | though many of our friends were willing to vote for the movements of the most alarming character. Assuming bill on that slight concession, in their anxiety to admit the dangerous doctrines that they were not bound to the State. obey the injunctions of the constitution, because it did And here let me say that I listened with allention to not place the powers of the State in the bands of an un. the speech of the Senator from Kentucky, [Mr. Crirchecked numerical majority, the electors belonging to TENDEN.] I know the clcarness of his understanding, the party of the Baltimore caucus who had been chosen and the soundness of his heart, and I am persuaded, in to appoint the State Senators refused to perform the declaring that his objection to the bill was confined to functions for which they had been elected, with the de the preamble, that he has not investigated the subject liberate intention to subvert the Government of the with the attention it deserves. I feel the objections to State, and reduce her to the territorial condition, till a the preamble are not without some weight; but the true new Gorernment could be formed. And now we have and insuperable objections lie far deeper in the facts of before us a measure not less revolutionary, but of an op the case, wbich would still exist were the preamble ex. posite character. In the case of Maryland, those who punged. It is these which render it impossible to pass undertook, without the authority of law or constitution, This bill without trampling under foot the rights of the to speak and act in the name of the people of the State, States, and subverting the first principles of our Governproposed to place her out of the Union by reducing her ment. It would require but a few steps more to effect from a State to a Territory; but in this, those who in like a complete revolution, and the Senator from North Carmanner onderlook to act for Michigan have assumed olina las taken the first. I will explain. If you wish to the authority to bring her into the Union without her mark the first indications of a revolution, the commence. consent, on the very condition which she had rejected ment of those profound changes in the character of a by a convention of, ihe people convened under the au people which are working beneath, before a ripple ap. thority of the State. If we shall sanction the authority pears on the surface, look to the change of language; of the Michigan caucus, to force a State into the Union you will first notice it in the altered meaning of imporwithout its assent, why might we not here sanction a tant words, and which, as it indicates a change in the similar caucus in Maryland, if one had been called, to feelings and principles of the people, become in turn a place the State out of the Union?

powerful instrument in accelerating the change, till an These occurrences, which have distinguished the past entire revolution is effected. The remarks of the Senayear, mark the commencement of no ordinary change in tor will illustrate what I have said. He told us that the our political system. They announce the ascendency of terms "convention of the people" were of very uncera the caucus system over the regularly constituted authoritain meaning, and difficult to be defined; but that their ties of the country. I have long anticipated this event. true meaning was, any meeting of the people in their In early life my attention was attracted to the working individual and primary character, for political purpose. of the caucus system. It was my fortune to spend five I know it is difficult to define complex terms, that is, to or six years of my youth in the Northern portion of the enumerate all the ideas that belong to them, and exclude Union, where, unfortunately, the system has so long pre. all that do not; but there is always, in the most complex, vailed. Though young, I was old enough to take inter some prominent idea which marks the meaning of the

SENATE.]

Admission of Michigan.

[Jan. 5, 1837.

term, and in relation to which there is usually no disa of the people, in the true sense of the term, and not that greement. Thus, according to the old meaning, (and of the mere majority, or the dominant interests. which I had still supposed was its legal and constitution. I am not familiar with the constitution of Maryland, to al meaning,) a convention of the people invariably im which the Senator alluded, and cannot, therefore, speak plied a meeting of the people, either by themselves, or of its structure with confidence; but I believe it to be by delegates expressly chosen for the purpose, in their somewhat similar in its character to our own. That it is high sovereign authority, in express contradistinction to a Government not without its excellence, we need no such assemblies of individuals in their private character, better proof than the fact, that though within the shadow or having only derivative authority. It is, in a word, a of executive influence, it has nobly and successfully re. meeting of the people in the majesty of their power-in sisted all the seductions by which a corrupt and artful that in which they may rightfully make or abolish consti- administration, with almost boundless patronage, has tutions, and put up or put down Governments at their tempted to seduce her into its ranks. pleasure. Such was the august conception which for Looking, then, to the approaching struggle, I take my merly entered the mind of every American when the stand immoveably, I am a conservative in its broadest and terms “convention of the people" were used. But now, fullest sense, and such I shall ever remain, unless, in. according to the ideas of the dominant party, as we are deed, the Government shall become so corrupt and distold on the authority of the Senator from North Carolina, ordered that nothing short of revolution can reform it. it means any meeting of individuals for political purpo- I solemnly believe that our political system is in its ses, and, of course, applies to the meeting at Ann Ar- / purity not only the best that ever was formed, but the bor, or any other party caucus for party purposes, best possible that can be devised for us. It is the only which the leaders choose to designate as a convention of one by which free States, so populous and wealthy, and the people. It it thus the highest authority known to occupying so vast an extent of territory, can preserve our laws and constitution is gradually sinking to the their liberty. Thus thinking, I cannot hope for a belter. level of those meetings which regulate the operation of Having no hope of a better, I am a conservative; and political parties, and ihrough which the edicts of their because I am a conservative, I am a States rights man. I leaders are announced, and their authority enforced; or, believe that in the rights of the States are to be found rather, to speak more correctly, the latter are gradually the only effectual means of checking the over-action of rising to the authority of the former, When they come this Government; to resist its tendency to concentrate to be completely confounded, when the distinction be all power here, and to prevent a departure from the tween a caucus and the convention of the people shall constitution; or, in case of one, to restore the Governbe completely obliterated, which the definition of the ment to its original simplicity and purity State interSenator, and the acts of this body on this bill, would position, or, to express it more fully, the right of a State lead us to believe is not far distant, this fair political to interpose her sovereign voice, as one of the parties to fabric of ours, erected by the wisdom and patriotism of our constitutional compact, against the encroachments our ancestors, and once ihe gaze and admiration of the of this Government, is the only means of sufficient po. world, will topple to the ground in ruins.

tency to effect all this; and I am, therefore, its advocate. It has, perhaps, been too much my babit to look more I rejoiced to hear the Senators from North Carolina [Mr. to the future, and less to the present, than is wise; but Brown) and from Pennsylvania (Mr. BUCHANAN) do us such is the constitution of mind, that when I see before the justice to distinguish between nullification and the me the indications of causes calculated to effect impor. anarchical and revolutionary movements in Maryland tant changes in our political condition, I am led irresistic and Pennsylvania. I know they did not intend it as a bly to trace them to their sources, and follow them out compliment; but I regard it as the highest. They are in their consequences. Language has been held in this right. Day and night are not more different-more un. discussion which is clearly revolutionary in its character like in every thing. They are unlike in their principles, and tendency, and which warns us of the approach of their objects, and their consequences. the period when the struggle will be between the con I sball not stop to make good this assertion, as I might servatives and the destructives. I understood the Sena. easily do. The occasion does not call for it. As a contor from Pennsylvania (Mr. BUCHANAN) as holding lan. servative, and a States rights man, or, if you will have guage countenancing the principle that the will of a it, a nullifier, I have and shall resist all encroachments mere numerical majority is paramount to the authority on the constitution, whether it be the encroachment of of law and constitution. He did not indeed announce this Government on the States, or the opposite; the distinctly this principle, but it might fairly be inferred Executive on Congress, or Congress on the Executive. from what he said; for he told us the people of a State, My creed is to hold both Governments, and all the de. where the constitution gives the same weight to a small partments of each, to their proper sphere, and to mainer as 1o a greater number, might take the remedy into lain the authority of the laws and the constitution against their own hand; meaning, as I understood him, that a all revolutionary movements. I believe the means which mere majority might at their pleasure subvert the consti. our system furnishes to preserve itself are ample, if tution and Government of a State, which he seemed to fairly understood and applied; and I shall resort to them, think was the essence of democracy. Our little State however corrupt and disordered the times, so long as has a constitution that could not stand a day against such there is bope of reforming the Government. The result cloctrines, and yet we glory in it as the best in the Union is in the hands of the Disposer of events. It is my part It is a constitution which respects all the great inter. to do my duty. Yet, while I thus openly wow myself a ests of the State, giving to each a separate and distinct conservative, God forbid I should ever deny the glorious voice in the management of its political affairs, by means right of rebellion and revolution. Should corruption of which the feebler interests are protected against the and oppression become intolerable, and cannot other. preponderance of the greater. We call our State a re. wise be thrown off; if liberty must perish, or the Gov. public, a commonwealih, not a democracy; and let me ernment be overthrown, I would not hesitate, at the tell the Senator it is a far more popular Government hazard of life, to resort to revolution, and to tear down than if it had been based on the simple principle of the a corrupt Government that could neither be reformed numerical majority. It takes more voices to put the ma nor borne by freemen; but I trust in God things will chine of Government in motion, iban in those that the never come to that pass. I

I trust never to see such fearSenator would consider more popular. It represents all ful times; for fearful, indeed, they would be, if they the interests of the State, and is in fact the Government should ever befal us. It is the last experiment, and not

« PrejšnjaNaprej »