Page images

divided even the statesmen of Our own country.

The power to regulate foreign commerce is an attribute of sovereignty, and no state can properly be called sovereign which does not possess it. Under the Confederation it had, as we have seen, been retained by the separate States, only to be used for mutual injury and restraint. High countervailing duties in one State had co-existed with low duties on the same articles in another, the smuggler receiving a large proportion of the difference, and each State had consulted its own supposed interest without the slightest regard to the welfare of the others. But in the ratification of the Constitution, this vicious power was surrendered to the National Government : the immediate effect was, and the convention so intended it to be, to unite the American people as one nation, instead of a Confederation of States, and as such they are known to the nations and governments of Europe. Where would be the security for their public loans, and for the observance of their commercial treaties, if every State had the right

upon her own judgment of nullifying an Act of Congress, and of seceding from her responsibility, if that act were not repealed? And yet this is the conservative view of the sacredness of a Constitution solemnly ordained and established! How could such right co-exist with that clause which prescribes uniformity as essential for every tax, since one single State objecting would thereby destroy that uniformity, and by thus compelling a repeal might override the decision of all the other States?

American tariffs have been passed by Legislatures fairly elected by the People, on the widest possible suffrage in the North, and by a suffrage in the South which gives to every slave State an additional power equal to threefifths the number of its slaves. No pretence can, therefore, be set up that they inflict taxation without representation. Erroneous

as they are, they have fulfilled the conditions of their enactment, that the duties they have levied should be "uniform throughout the United States."




SECTION VIII.-10. Congress shall have power to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations:

11. To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water :

12. To raise and support armies; but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years: 13. To provide and maintain a navy :

14. To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces :

15. To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions:

16. To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively the appointment of the Officers and the authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress :

17. To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the Government of the United States; and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the Legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings:-And,

18. To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

SECTION IX.-2. The privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rabellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

SECTION X.-1. No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit, &c.

3. No State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.

WE have here powers given to Congress by the Constitution to raise armies and a navy, and to call out the militia, in order to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrection, repel invasions, and to put down rebellion.

These powers are sovereign and absolute. With them no State intermeddles. So far as they concern National defence from foreign invasion they will not be disputed. We shall, therefore, briefly consider them in relation to the right of coercion upon a State as opposed to the right of secession by a State.

The Constitution was intended by its framers,

and ordained by the sovereign People, to be "the supreme law of the land." To To that standard all subsequent legislation was to conform. In all cases of dispute as to conformity, or as to the general interpretation of the document itself, the Judiciary was appointed, as we have seen, to decide; and this it is to do without regard to the Constitution or laws of any State. To its judgment, Congress, State, and individual must alike submit voluntarily or by force.

According to Mr. Spence, the Southern States have not rebelled-but seceded by a reserved right; and one of his arguments is, that there is in the Constitution no provision against a State committing treason. “There is," says he, "a provision against the treason of individuals; and if a State can also commit treason, it would be a strange law that provided against crime on a small scale, omitting to deal with it when on a large one. The men who framed the Constitution were eminently practical men. It cannot be supposed they would slight so formidable a danger-why, then, the omission? For the

« PreviousContinue »