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to divest themselves of the high sovereign right, (a right which they still retain, notwithstanding the modification,) to change or abolish the present constitution and government at their pleasure, cannot be doubted. It is an acknowledged principle, that sovereigns may, by compact, modify or qualify the exercise of their power, without impairing their sovereignty; of which, the confederacy existing at the time, furnishes a striking illustration. It must reside, unimpaired and in its plentitude, somewhere. And if it do not reside in the people of the several States, in their confederated character, where,― so far as it relates to the constitution and government of the United States,― can it be found? Not, certainly, in the government; for, according to our theory, sovereignty resides in the people, and not in the government. That it cannot be found in the people, taken in the aggregate, as forming one community or nation, is equally certain. But as certain as it cannot, just so certain is it, that it must reside in the people of the several States and if it reside in them at all, it must reside in them as separate and distinct communities; for it has been shown, that it does not reside in them in the aggregate, as forming one community or nation. These are the only aspects under which it is possible to regard the people; and, just as certain as it resides in them, in that character, so certain is it that ours is a federal, and not a national government.



Speech in the Senate, April 1, 1850, the Day after Mr.
Calhoun's Death.

I hope the Senate will indulge me in adding a very few words to what has been said. My apology for this presumption is the very long acquaintance which has subsisted between Mr. Calhoun and myself. We are of the same age. I made my first entrance into the House of Representatives in May, 1813, and there found Mr. Calhoun. He had already been in that body for two or three years. I found him then an active and efficient member of the assembly to which he belonged, taking a decided part, and exercising a decided influence, in all its deliberations.

From that day to the day of his death, amidst all the strifes of party and politics, there has subsisted between us, always, and without interruption, a great degree of personal kindness.

Differing widely on many great questions respecting the institutions and government of the country, those differences never interrupted our personal and social intercourse. I have been present at most of the distinguished instances of the exhibition of his talents in debate. I have always heard him with pleasure, often with much instruction, not unfrequently with the highest degree of admiration.

Mr. Calhoun was calculated to be a leader in whatsoever association of political friends he was thrown. He was a man of undoubted genius and of commanding talent. try and the world admit that.

All the coun

His mind was both perceptive and vigorous. It was clear, quick, and strong.

Sir, the eloquence of Mr. Calhoun or the manner of his exhibition of his sentiments in public bodies was part of his intellectual character. It grew out of the qualities of his mind. It was plain, strong, terse, condensed, concise; sometimes impassioned, still always severe. Rejecting ornament, not often seeking far for illustration, his power consisted in the plainness of his propositions, in the closeness of his logic, and in the earnestness and energy of his manner. These are the qualities, as I think, which have enabled him, through such a long course of years, to speak often, and yet always command attention. His demeanor as a Senator is known to us all — is appreciated, venerated by us all. No man was more respectful to others; no man carried himself with greater decorum, no man with superior dignity. I think there is not one of us but felt, when he last addressed us from his seat in the Senate, his form still erect, with a voice by no means indicating such a degree of physical weakness as did, in fact, possess him, with clear tones, and an impressive, and, I may say, an imposing manner, who did not feel that he might imagine that we saw before us a Senator of Rome, when Rome survived.

Sir, I have not in public nor in private life known a more assiduous person in the discharge of his appropriate duties. I have known no man who wasted less of life in what is called recreation or employed less of it in any pursuits not connected with the immediate discharge of his duty. He seemed to have no recreation but the pleasure of conversation with his friends.

Out of the chambers of Congress, he was either devoting himself to the acquisition of knowledge pertaining to the immediate subject of the duty before him or else he was indulging in those social interviews in which he so much delighted.

My honorable friend from Kentucky has spoken in just terms of his colloquial. talents. They certainly were singular and eminent. There was a charm in his conversation not often found. He delighted especially in conversation and intercourse with young men. I suppose that there has been no man among us who had more winning manners, in such an intercourse and conversation with men comparatively young, than Mr. Calhoun. I believe one great power of his character, in general, was his conversational talent. I believe it is that, as well as a consciousness of his high integrity, and the greatest reverence for his intellect and ability, that has made him so endeared an object to the people of the State to which he belonged.

Mr. President, he had the basis, the indispensable basis, of all high character; and that was unspotted integrity—unimpeached honor and character. If he had aspirations, they were high, honorable, and noble. There was nothing grovelling or low or meanly selfish that came near the head or the heart of Mr. Calhoun. Firm in his purpose, perfectly patriotic and honest, as I am sure he was, in the principles that he espoused, and in the measures that he defended, aside from that large regard for that species of distinction that conducted him to eminent stations for the benefit of the republic, I do not believe he had a selfish motive or selfish feeling.

However, sir, he may have differed from others of us in his political opinions or his political principles, those principles and those opinions will now descend to posterity under the sanction of a great name. He has lived long enough, he has done enough, and he has done it so well, so successfully, so honorably, as to connect himself for all time with the records of his country. He is now an historical character. Those of us who have known him here will find that he has left upon our minds and our hearts a strong and lasting impression of his person, his character, and his public performances, which, while we live, will never be obliterated. We shall, hereafter, I am sure, indulge in it as a grateful recollection that we have lived in his age, that we have been his contemporaries, that we have seen him and heard him and known him. We shall

delight to speak of him to those who are rising up to fill our places. And, when the time shall come when we ourselves shall go, one after another, in succession to our graves, we shall carry with us a deep sense of his genius and character, his honor and integrity, his amiable deportment in private life, and the purity of his exalted patriotism.


From his Life of Calhoun.

Life is not only "stranger than fiction," but frequently also more tragical than any tragedy ever conceived by the most fervid imagination. Often in these tragedies of life there is not one drop of blood to make us shudder, nor a single event to compel the tears into the eye. A man endowed with an intellect far above the average, impelled by a high-soaring ambition, untainted by any petty or ignoble passion, and guided by a character of sterling firmness and more than common purity, yet, with fatal illusion, devoting all his mental powers, all his moral energy, and the whole force of his iron will to the service of a doomed and unholy cause, and at last sinking into the grave in the very moment when, under the weight of the top-stone, the towering pillars of the temple of his impure idol are rent to their very base,— can anything more tragical be conceived? ...

It was his solemn conviction that throughout his life he had faithfully done his duty, both to the Union and to his section, because, as he honestly believed slavery to be "a good, a positive good," he had never been able to see that it was impossible to serve at the same time the Union and his section, if his section was considered as identical with the slavocracy. In perfect good faith he had undertaken what no man could accomplish, because it was a physical and moral impossibility : antagonistic principles cannot be united into a basis on which to rest a huge political fabric. Nullification and the government of law; State supremacy and a constitutional Union, endowed with the power necessary to minister to the wants of a great people; the nationalization of slavery upon the basis of States-rightism in a federal Union, composed principally of free communities, by which slavery was considered a sin and

a curse; equality of States and constitutional consolidation of geographical sections, with an artificial preponderance granted to the minority, these were incompatibilities, and no logical ingenuity could reason them together into the formative principle of a gigantic commonwealth. The speculations of the keenest political logician the United States had ever had ended in the greatest logical monstrosity imaginable, because his reasoning started from a contradictio in adjecto. This he failed to see, because the mad delusion had wholly taken possession of his mind that in this age of steam and electricity, of democratic ideas and the rights of man, slavery was "the most solid foundation of liberty." More than to any other man, the South owed it to him that she succeeded for such a long time in forcing the most democratic and the most progressive commonwealth of the universe to bend its knees and do homage to the idol of this "peculiar institution"; but therefore also the largest share of the responsibility for what at last did come rests on his shoulders.

No man can write the last chapter of his own biography, in which the Facit of his whole life is summed up, so to say, in one word. If ever a new edition of the works of the greatest and purest of pro-slavery fanatics should be published, it ought to have a short appendix,— the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln.

John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) was the pre-eminent representative of the doctrine of State Rights, as Daniel Webster was the pre-eminent representative of the doctrine of National Sovereignty, in the great controversy which raged in the country uninterruptedly in various forms from the time of the Constitutional Convention until its final settlement by the logic of events in the Civil War. "Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable," was the great watchword of Webster. It was this emblazoned on our ensign which he wished might greet his last earthly vision. "If you should ask me," Calhoun once said, "the word that I would wish engraven on my tombstone, it is Nullification." It was in the debate between Webster and Calhoun in February, 1833, immediately after the passage of the nullification act by South Carolina,-an act declaring the national tariff act of 1832 null and void and forbidding the collection of duties at any port in the State, threatening secession if interfered with, and in the famous debate between Webster and Senator Hayne, of South Carolina, three years before, while South Carolina was threatening nullification and while Calhoun was Vice-President of the United States and president of the Senate, that the two opposing principles received their most powerful presentation upon the floor of Congress. The student should read (Calhoun's Works, vol. i.) Calhoun's speech on the Revenue Collection (Force) Bill, February 15-16, 1833, and his speech on his Resolutions in support of State Rights, February 26, 1833. The first of these famous resolutions was, "That the people of the several States comprising these United States are united as parties to a constitutional compact, to which the people of each State acceded as a separate and sovereign community, each binding itself by its own particular ratification; and that the union, of which the said compact is the bond, is a union between the States ratifying the same." The student should also read the various addresses prepared by Calhoun for the legislature and people of South Carolina during the nullification period, 1828-32, setting forth their theory of their relation to the general government (Calhoun's Works, vol. vi.).

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