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of granting monopolies of trade and navigation should not be considered as still retained by the States."1
And, yet again, he adduces an authority which ought to be conclusive on the present occasion: it is that of New Jersey, on the formation of the Constitution:
“ The New Jersey resolutions complain that the regulation of trade was in the power of the several States, within their separate jurisdiction, to such a degree as to involve many difficulties and embarrassments; and they express an earnest opinion that the sole and exclusive power of regulating trade with foreign states ought to be in Congress."
But the power of regulating trade “among the States' stands on the same reason, and also on the same text of the Constitution.
And yet, in face of these principles, we have a gigantic monopoly organized by New Jersey, composed of several confederate corporations, whose capital massed together is said to reach upwards of $27,537,977,- a capital not much inferior to that of the United States Bank, which once seemed to hold “divided empire” with the National Government itself. And this transcendent monopoly, thus vast in resources, undertakes to levy a toll on the commerce, the passengers, the mails, and the troops of the Union in transit between two great cities, both outside New Jersey. In attitude and pretension the grasping monopoly is not unlike Apollyon, in Bunyan's “Pilgrim's Progress,” whose usurpation is thus described :
“But now in this Valley of Humiliation poor Christian was hard put to it; for he had gone but a little way before
1 Works, Vol. VI. p. 11.
2 Ibid., pp. 9, 10.
he espied a foul fiend coming over the field to meet him : his name is Apollyon. Then did Christian begin to be afraid, and to cast in his mind whether to go back or to stand his ground. ...
“Now the monster was hideous to behold : he was clothed with scales like a fish, and they are his pride; he had wings like a dragon, feet like a bear, and out of his belly came fire and smoke, and his mouth was as the mouth of a lion. When he was come up to Christian, he beheld him with a disdainful countenance, and thus began to question with him.
“APOLLYON. Whence come you, and whither are you bound?
“Christian. I am come from the City of Destruction, which is the place of all evil, and am going to the City of Zion.
“APOLLYON. By this I perceive thou art one of jects; for all that country is mine, and I am the prince and god of it.”
New Jersey is the Valley of Humiliation through which all travellers north and south from the city of New York to the city of Washington must pass; and the monopoly, like Apollyon, claims them all as "subjects," saying, “For all that country is mine, and I am the prince and god of it."
The enormity of the Usurpation is seen in its natural consequences. New Jersey claims the right to levy a tax for State revenue on passengers and freight in transit across her territory from State to State, - in other words, to levy a tax on commerce among the several States."
Of course the right to tax is the right to prohibit. The same power which can exact “ten cents from every passenger,” according to the cry of the Camden and Amboy Railroad, by the voice of its coun
sel, may exact ten dollars, or any other sum, and thus effectively close this great avenue of communication.
Again, if New Jersey can successfully play this game of taxation, and compel tribute from the domestic commerce of the Union traversing her territory on the way from State to State, then may every other State do likewise. New York, with her central power, may build up an overshadowing monopoly and a boundless revenue, while all the products and population of the West traversing her territory on the way to the sea, and all the products and population of the East, with the contributions of foreign commerce, traversing her territory on the way to the West, are compelled to pay tribute. Pennsylvania, holding a great highway of the Union, — Maryland, constituting an essential link in the chain of communication with the national capital, - Ohio, spanning from lake to river, and forming a mighty ligament of States, east and west, — Indiana, enjoying the same unsurpassed opportunities, — Illinois, girdled by States with all of which it is dovetailed by railroads, east and west, north and south, — Kentucky, guarding the gates of the Southwest, — and, finally, any one of the States on the long line of the Pacific Railroad, — may enter upon a similar career of unscrupulous exaction, until anarchy sits supreme, and there are as many different tributes as there are States. If the Union should continue to exist, it would be only as a name. The national unity would be destroyed.
The taste of revenue is to a government like the taste of blood to a wild beast, exciting and maddening the energies, so that it becomes deaf to suggestions of justice; and the difficulties must increase, where this taxation is enforced by a comprehensive monop
oly. The State, once tasting this blood, sees only an easy way of obtaining the means it desires; and other States will yield to the same temptation. after picturing vice as a monster of frightful mien, tells us in familiar words,
“Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace." A profitable Usurpation, like that of New Jersey, would be a tempting example to other States. “It is only the first step that costs.” Let this Usurpation be sanctioned by Congress, and you hand over the domestic commerce of the Union to a succession of local imposts. Each State will be a tax-gatherer at the expense of the Union. Each State will play the part of Don Quixote, and the Union will be Sancho Panza, not only bound to contributions, but driven to receive on bare back the lashes which were the penance of the knightly adventurer. If there be any single fruit of our national unity, if there be any single element of the Union, if there be any single triumph of the Constitution to be placed above all others, it is the freedom of commerce between the States, under which free traile, the aspiration of philosophy, is assured to all citizens of the Union, as they circulate through our whole broad country, without hindrance from any State. But this vital principle is now in jeopardy.
Keep in mind that it is the tax imposed on commerce between New York and Philadelphia, two cities outside the State of New Jersey, which I denounce.
lenounce. I have denounced it as hostile to the Union. I also denounce it as hostile to the spirit of the age, which is everywhere overturning the barriers of commerce. The robber castles, once compelling payment of toll on the
Rhine, were long ago dismantled, and exist now only as monuments of picturesque beauty. Kindred pretensions in other places have been overthrown or trampled out. Duties levied by Denmark on all vessels passing through the Sound and the Belts, duties levied by Hanover on the goods of all nations at Stade on the Elbe, tolls exacted on the Danube in its protracted course, tolls exacted by Holland on the busy waters of the Scheldt, and transit imposts within the great Zollverein of Germany, have all been abolished; and in this work of enfranchisement the Government of the United States led the way, insisting, in the words of President Pierce, in his Annual Message, "on the right of free transit into and from the Baltic."1 But the right of free transit across the States of the Union is now assailed. Can
you who reached so far to secure free transit in the Baltic now hesitate in its defence here at home ?
Thank God, within the bounds of the Union, under the National Constitution, commerce is made free. As the open sea is the highway of nations, so is this Union made the highway of the States, with all their commerce, and no State can claim any exclusive property therein. The Union is a mare liberum, beyond the power of any State, and not a mare clausum, subject to as many tyrannies as there are States. And yet the State of New Jersey asserts the power of closing a highway of the Union.
Such a pretension, so irrational and destructive, cannot be dealt with tenderly. Like the serpent, it must be bruised on the head. Nor can there be wise delay. Every moment of life yielded to such a Usurpation is like the concession once in an evil hour yielded to Nul
1 Annual Message, December 31, 1855.