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Revenue Collection Bill.
[FEB. 2, 1833.
former times, to contemplate those acts of our predeces- their jurisdiction, to the total annihilation of the jurisdicsors, which have illustrated their own and our fame, was tion of the State courts; that they will exercise their will always pleasing and profitable; and it was with great sa- instead of the law and the constitution. tisfaction that he could bring up, on this occasion, the "This argument, if it proves any thing, would operate voice of good old Virginia in favor of the constitution; more strongly against the tribunal proposed to be created, and he hoped it would put down forever those specu-which promises so little, than against the Supreme Court, lations which would ruin the constitution, and defeat the which, for the reasons given before, had every thing conhopes of the world. The opinion of Virginia, to which nected with their appointment calculated to ensure conhe should refer, was given at an interesting time. The fidence. What security have we, were the proposed State of Pennsylvania, one of the proudest States of the amendments adopted, that this tribunal would not substi Union, (he meant no invidious distinction, she was one of tute their will and their pleasure in the place of the law? the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful of the States,) The judiciary are the weakest of the three departments the State of Pennsylvania had determined, in the Olm- of Government, and least dangerous to the political rights stead case, to resist the decision of the United States of the constitution. They hold neither the purse nor the court, and to resist it unto blood. The Legislature sword, and even to enforce their own judgment and dewent so far as to pass laws to call out the militia to resist crees must ultimately depend upon the Executive arm. the federal process. The judiciary went on in its quiet Should the federal judiciary, however, unmindful of steady way. Notice was given to the marshal and to the their weakness, unmindful of the duty which they owe to President, that the State of Pennsylvania would resist the themselves and their country, become corrupt, and transprocess, but there was no flinching in that day. The cend the limits of their jurisdiction, would the proposed marshal was ordered to execute the law and the decree amendment oppose even a probable barrier in such an of the court. An order was given to imprison the de- improbable state of things? fendants. Even gallantry was overlooked, (for ladies were the defendants;) and, in a case where the life of the constitution was at hazard, they would not even stop for them, and the issue was about to be tried by arms. Pennsylvania, at this point, was patriotic and prudent enough to retire, and give up the contest. Notice was given to the marshal to make up the debt and costs, and the amount was forthwith paid. Pennsylvania would not, at the last pinch, encounter the constitution. Many patriots appeared then, and offered to devote themselves to the cause, and to die in the last ditch. The same language was used then, as we hear from South Carolina now. But Pennsylvania had too much patriotism to push her opposition to the extremity of war. She gave up the point, and proposed an amendment to the constitution, for the establishment of a tribunal to settle all disputes between the Government and the States. She took the advice of Virginia, and recorded her response as follows: "Preamble and resolutions on the proposition of Pennsylvania to amend the constitution of the United States: "The committee to whom was referred the communication of the Governor of Pennsylvania, covering certain resolutions of the Legislature of that State, proposing an amendment to the constitution of the United States, This doctrine is as sound as pure gold seven times tried. by the appointment of an impartial tribunal to decide dis- Here is the very issue which South Carolina seeks to try. putes between the State and federal judiciary, have had Pennsylvania called out her militia to uphold her sovethe same under their consideration, and are of opinion reignty, and in a well-advised hour retracted her appeal that a tribunal is already provided by the constitution of to force, and proposed an amendment to the constitution, the United States, to wit, the Supreme Court, more em- for the purpose of effecting her object. But good old inently qualified from their habits and duties, from the Virginia respected the wisdom of our fathers, and declarmode of their selection, and from the tenure of their ofed that the constitution which they had provided could fices, to decide the disputes aforesaid in an enlightened not be bettered by amendments. She refused to sanction and impartial manner, than any other tribunal which could an amendment which would dispense with the judiciary of the United States. Now, Mr. President, in this view of the subject, what a most admirable system of Government is ours. It is not to be wondered at that tyrants and the friends of power all over the world look at it with envy and jealousy. We cannot but perceive that, by the General and State Governments, each acting in their respective spheres, the principles of liberty must ever be preserved. New York cannot infringe upon the rights of Pennsylvania, nor Pennsylvania upon the rights of Virginia. The States cannot come into conflict with each other, nor can the General Government interfere with the rights and jurisdiction of the several States. But as we have great interests in common, the wisdom of our predecessors provided a sovereignty, above that of the several States, to attend to the common interests. This constitution was watched over with sleepless vigilance, as he hoped it always would be, and effectually guarded against all encroachments. What can the General Gov
January 23, 1810.--Agreed to, unanimously, by the House of Delegates.
"January 26, 1810.--Agreed to by the Senate, unanimously."
"The members of the Supreme Court are selected from those in the United States, who are most celebrated for virtue and legal learning; not at the will of a single individual, but by the concurrent wishes of the President and Senate of the United States; they will therefore have no local prejudices and partialities.
"The duties they have to perform lead them necessarily to the most enlarged and accurate acquaintance with the jurisdiction of the federal and several State courts together, and with the admirable symmetry of our Gov
"The tenure of their offices enables them to pronounce the sound and correct opinions they may have formed, without fear, favor, or partiality.
"The amendment to the constitution proposed by Pennsylvania seems to be founded upon the idea that the Federal Judiciary will, from a lust of power, enlarge
"The creation of a tribunal such as is proposed by Pennsylvania, so far as we are enabled to form an idea of it from a description given in the resolutions of the Legislature of that State, would, in the opinion of your committee, tend rather to invite than prevent a collision between the federal and State courts. It might also become, in process of time, a serious and dangerous embarrassment to the operations of the General Government.
Resolved, therefore, That the Legislature of this State do disapprove of the amendment to the constitution of the United States proposed by the Legislature of Pennsylvania.
"Resolved, also, That his excellency the Governor be, and he is hereby, requested to transmit forthwith a copy of the foregoing preamble and resolutions to each of the Senators and Representatives of this State in Congress, and to the Executive of the several States in the Union, with a request that the same may be laid before the Legislature thereof.
FEB. 2, 1833.]
But it is said, that the judiciary is not competent, from its organization, to settle political controversies. What is meant by political powers' Every power is political to some extent. Did Chief Justice Marshall mean to say, in
ernment do to prostrate the liberties of the States, when States. Then it would go to the Supreme Court. And twenty-four of those States support it and continue its who were they? They were made, he says, by the Senexistence and power? Since he had had the honor of a ate, and were impeachable only by the House of Represeat here, he had often been sorry to hear the General Gov- sentatives; and therefore they were all of a piece, and ernment gravely spoken of as an alien excrescence. Our might conspire together to defeat the purposes of the own work, the dearly cherished constitution, bequeathed constitution and the rights of the States. This general to us by our fathers, had been scouted at as an odious for-conspiracy draws into its vortex all the reserved rights of eign importation; and the Supreme Court, which keeps in the people. Thus far his fears alarmed him. Was it check the different powers of the State and Federal Gov-wise, in a grave nation-he spoke in the abstract-to inernments, had been spoken of as a thing down below dulge in such violent suppositions? Such imaginations which the sovereign States ought not to submit to. He would drive a man to shut himself in a cave, seclude himrejoiced that this subject was now fully before the people. self from all association with his kind, lest the first man He believed that the crisis had been brought to them, in whom he may happen to meet should contrive a plot the benignity of Providence, that they might rally around against his life. Because the judiciary may turn traitors the constitution, and that tribunal which preserves all the to the Government and the constitution, and the legislaprinciples of the constitution in purity. How, Mr. Presi- tive department may support them in their treason, shall dent, could we take a single step in the improvement of we have no Government? Shall we therefore unloose all our condition, without this General Government? Have the bonds of Government, and return, to a state of anarwe not intrusted to it all the concerns of commerce, the chy? Because fathers may turn tyrants, and mothers collection of the revenue, the vast concerns of the public prove monsters, shall we abolish those dear relations and lands, our Indian relations, &c.? How can we take a extinguish those sacred charities which they enkindle and single step to preserve our great common interests, if the cherish? Shall we draw rules of civil and social conduct State sovereignties can annul our acts at pleasure? Sup- from such violent suppositions? After all, we must conpose a case of war waged by us, in defence of our na- fide, to a greater or less extent, in our fellow man; more tional rights, against a foreign nation. If three or four or less we must trust to others every moment of our lives. ill-advised States can throw themselves on their sovereign-Shall we then sit down in inglorious ease, merely because ty, refuse to take part in the war, and nullify the acts de- our confidence may be abused? Rather should we use claring it, our country, instead of being a name and a the best means which our Maker has given us to plant praise among nations, would become a name of reproach, such safeguards as we can around our constitution; and if and subject to the contempt of the whole civilized world. we are not traitors to ourselves, if we dig not our own He would much rather go back to the old confederation, graves, we shall be free and prosperous. in which each State was bound, in honor, to pay its quota towards the public exigencies. Nothing can give us security for a single hour against State nullification. He had said, with submission, that the Supreme Court was intended by the constitution to be the great arbiter in the speech cited by the Senator from Kentucky, that the regard to questions within and without the powers con-judiciary could not decide a question arising out of the ferred upon it. In answer to this, it was said, suppose tariff laws? Never. His head was too sound for that. the Supreme Court transcends its powers? He would re- Besides, a political speech is not the best authority which ply, in the language of Virginia, that we had adopted the can be adduced for judicial opinions. He marvelled not best system which we could devise. If it failed in prac- a little when the Senator from Kentucky introduced it as tice, the failure would be owing to the imperfection of all authority. When he came to look at it, he found that it human institutions. No prudent man will push such a was a speech made in Congress, in high party times, upsupposition to its extremity, and upon the faith of it give on a case which involved great political and party exciteup our constitution. Should it fail of its object, we shall ment at that day-the case of a British subject who was have but to mourn over the frailty and insecurity of this seized as a deserter, given up, and put to death. But he as well as of all terrestrial things. What experience has rejoiced to find that the illustrious individual who made justified the supposition that the authority given to the the speech referred to was perfectly at home in discussing Supreme Court will be abused? For fifty years we have the subject, and that the views which he took of it disprospered with it; and the venerable and illustrious man played the soundness of his head and the purity of his who has given to it high renown in the world, still lives heart. "To come within the description, (of the powers to give it his beneficent energies. The judiciary holds conferred upon the judiciary,) a question must," he says, neither the purse nor the sword, and depends wholly up-| assume a legal form, for forensic litigation and judicial on its moral power, and the aid of other departments of decision. There must be parties to come into court, who the Government, for the enforcement of its decrees. It can be reached by its process and bound by its power; is the great peace arbiter. Let us then cherish and sup- whose rights admit of ultimate decision by a tribunal to port it. Let us select the best men to fill its seats, and which they are bound to submit." The case must have we shall have no cause to distrust it. But what is done a legal form, and parties, and must be submitted to the with the State courts? He put it to South Carolina to court; there are all the forms which are necessary to answer. She has a constitution and a judiciary. When place it within the powers of the judiciary. When someher Legislature enacts an unconstitutional law, what is thing is to be adjudicated, something to be given and done by her citizens? Do some of them call a town meet- taken away, then the judicial power may be exercised, ing and nullify it? No; they put in the plea before the though the case result from a treaty. In the dispute conState court, that the law is unconstitutional, and the cerning the northwestern boundary, referred to by the court decides the question. This had been done in his Senator from Kentucky, there were no parties but the State a dozen times. The supposition of the Senator two States. But the case made by South Carolina has all from Kentucky was the merest imagination that ever af- the attributes which the doctrine laid down in the speech flicted the human intellect. That Senator's imagination referred to requires. carried him to the extremity of fear. What fear? That The tariff law is individual in its effects, and makes Congress would break the constitution, by putting in op- parties by which the case can be submitted to the court. eration a wicked law. The bill of abominations would A merchant belonging to New York sojourns in Charlescome to the Senate, and they would join the other House ton for commercial purposes. He imports goods from in the conspiracy against the rights of the people and the Great Britain. He is required to pay the duties on them. VOL. IX.-21
Revenue Collection Bill.
Revenue Collection Bill.
[FEB. 2, 1833.
This makes a plain case of law, involving a personal claim. tive and Legislature. There was another class, which The merchant tells the collector that he cannot pay these was commingled with the greater interests of the whole duties. Why? Here is the law of the United States, says community; these they intrusted to the General Governthe collector, and I am bound to enforce it. That law ment, which was fully invested by the convention with. has been nullified, replies the merchant; and here is the executive, judicial, and legislative powers. Both were ordinance of nullification, passed by some citizens of this clothed with sufficient power to protect and preserve the State who assembled the other day for that purpose. What general interests. Where was the want of harmony? will be the rejoinder of the officer? He will say, Sir, I The Legislature of South Carolina moved in her sphere; act under the authority of the United States, and you the Federal Government moved in its sphere. If either must pay the duty. The merchant insists, and pleads in attempt to traverse in the track of the other, the federal bar of the law the laws of South Carolina. Is there any judiciary is to check and bring back the one that enpolitical question here to which the jurisdiction of the Su-croaches. The system is as orderly and as melodious as preme Court does not extend? Where is the usurpation our planetary system, of which the sun is the centre. It in this case? On the part of the United States law, or is only when States, in their excessive jealousy, run a tilt this ordinance? against the laws, that disorder can ensue. It is only when I have done, continued Mr. F., with this part of States, urged on by an aspiring ambition to thrust their the case. For the purpose of keeping all power in heads against the Federal Government, that the door is check, the judiciary was established. The framers of the opened for collisions. New Jersey was sovereign and inconstitution hoped to obtain, through it, a peaceful mode dependent as to the regulation of her own concerns; but for the adjustment of all constitutional questions. In a let her beware how she thrusts her head between the country of wider extent than all Europe, and embracing Federal Government and its obligations. It would be under one Government many distinct communities, they well for gentlemen to return to their homes, and take hoped to secure perpetual peace and tranquillity by this care how the State sovereignties again throw themselves arbiter of peace. Compare the operation of this peace- across the path of the federal powers. ful check with the resort to which Europe is accustomed for the preservation of the balance of power. Must we have the sword or the court as our arbiter? Europe has tried the sword, and has shed rivers of blood in the vain pursuit of the balance of power.
Reference had been made by the gentleman from Kentucky to the opinions of Judge Marshall as a politician. He wished that gentleman to listen now to the language of the same distinguished individual, sitting as a judge. In either character he was entitled to be listened to with We rely upon the peaceful energies of our institutions. great respect. But he wished now to call the attention Europe on the thunder of her cannon and the clangor of of the gentleman from Kentucky to his opinions, deliverher arms. Poor Holland is about to pay dearly for this ed under more solemn circumstances, in his judicial adbalance of power. For two hundred years it has deluged ministration, acting under an obligation to prevent the Europe with blood. Here we have it in a peaceful tribu- encroachments of these sovereignties upon each other. nal, by which the tranquillity of the country and the safe-In a case brought before the Supreme Court, M'Culloch ty of our institutions may be preserved for years to come. vs. the State of Maryland, it was insisted in argument that Just and certain retribution will come upon those who de- this was a mere federal compact between the States as instroy this peaceful arbiter, and set up the sword in its dependent sovereigns. Such was the argument: in effect, stead. Here is the system, sir, as I understand it, as I that this was not a Government, but was to be regarded honor it, and as I, with my latest breath, will maintain it. as only a compact, with certain restricted powers. The I regard this system as by far the greatest political bless-argument then was precisely the same as it is now. There ing ever given by Providence to any people. To it I was a similar argument also as early as 1792, in 2d DaHas, trace all our happiness and prosperity. In this day of our when there arose a controversy about the powers of the highest prosperity, when our fountains are all full, and General and State Governments. It was then held that our streams running over, do not let a sister State rashly this was a compact between the States, and that the peooverturn the institutions which are the sources of our ple had nothing to do with it. The opinion given by happiness. How painful is the crisis which seeks dis- Judge Marshall in the case M'Culloch vs. the State of Maunion, and which would split us up into disgraced and ryland, was so powerful in argument, and disposed of in bleeding fragments. This nullification, if it prevail, will so able a manner, that he must be permitted to read the yet meet a tremendous retribution, in the execrations of following extract: all future times.
Is not this, continued Mr. F., a plain question, whether the constitution confers the powers claimed upon the Federal Government? He cared not how it was framed; whether the States made it, or the people, in their primary assemblies. How does the bond read? If that gives the power, it is enough; for the instrument was made by competent authority. I cling to the bond with a Shylock's grasp. I care not how it was executed: here is the seal affixed to it. I will exact the last tribute of power which this instrument confers upon the General Gov
"In discussing this question, the counsel for the State of Maryland have decreed it of some importance in the construction of the constitution, to consider that instrument not as emanating from the people, but as the act of sovereign and independent States. The powers of the General Government, it has been said, are delegated by the States, who alone are truly sovereign, and must be exercised in subordination to the States, who alone possess supreme dominion.
"It would be difficult to sustain this proposition. The convention which framed the constitution was, indeed, elected by the State Legislatures. But the instrument, when it came from their hands, was a mere proposal, without obligation or pretension to it. It was reported to the existing Congress of the United States, with a request that it might be submitted to a convention of delegates, chosen in each State by the people thereof, under
It is, after all, continued Mr. F., a delegated power. I maintain that the people intended to act in the business. There was no sovereignty about it, although learned gentlemen were pleased to call this a political convention among sovereignties. I maintain, that as we gave up the old confederation, the people reverted to their primi- the recommendation of its Legislature, for their ratificative powers. They knew what they were about, when, tion.' This mode of proceeding was adopted, and by acting on their sovereignty, they clothed this Government the convention, by Congress, and by the State Legislawith power. There was one class of their interests tures, the instrument was submitted to the people. They which it was necessary to cherish and defend at home, acted upon it in the only manner in which they can act and this was committed to the care of their State Execu- safely, effectively, and wisely, on such a subject, by as
FEB. 2, 1833.]
Revenue Collection Bill.
sembling in convention. It is true, they assembled in parts. But this question is not left to mere reason; the their several States; and where else should they have people have, in express terms, decided it, by saying, this assembled? No political dreamer was ever wild enough constitution, and the laws of the United States which to think of breaking down the lines which separate the shall be made in pursuance thereof, shall be the suStates, and of compounding the American people into preme law of the land; and by requiring that the mem. one common mass. Of consequence, when they act, they bers of the State Legislatures, and the officers of the act in their States. But the measures they adopt do not, executive and judicial departments of the States, shall on that account, cease to be the measures of the people take the oath of fidelity to it. themselves, or become the measures of the State Governments.
"The Government of the United States, then, though limited in its powers, is supreme; and its laws, when made in pursuance of the constitution, form the supreme law of the land, any thing in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.' "It is the Government of all; its powers are delegated
"From these conventions the constitution derives its whole authority. The Government proceeds directly from the people; is ordained and established,' in the name of the people; and is declared to be ordained in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, by all; it represents all, and acts for all." If these preensure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of mises are correct, the conclusion cannot be resisted withliberty to themselves and their posterity.' The assent out a violation of common sense. How is the General of the States, in their sovereign capacity, is implied in Government to take care of the interests of all? How is calling a convention, and thus submitting that instrument the Government to take care of the interests of thirteen to the people. But the people were at perfect liberty to millions of people, unless its administration can be felt accept or reject it; and their act was final. It required over that extent of population? It was not to be wondered not the affirmance, and could not be negatived by the at, if the Chief Justice said that the proposition comState Governments. The constitution, when thus adopt-mmanded universal assent; that, within its enumerated ed, was of complete obligation, and bound the State sove-powers, the Federal Government was supreme. One can reignties. hardly turn to a page of the constitution without seeing "It has been said, that the people had already surren- that this has always been regarded as one nation. As a dered all their powers to the State sovereignties, and had matter of fact, he thought it was deeply to be deplored nothing more to give. But surely the question whether that, in the face of the world, it should be declared on they may resume and modify the powers granted to the this floor that we are no Government. He had always Government does not remain to be settled in this country.supposed that the name of American citizen was a passMuch more might the legitimacy of the General Govern- port over the world, and that a man needed no better ment be doubted, had it been created by the States. The passport to ensure him respect. Yet he had now to learn powers delegated to the State sovereignties were to be that this was all a mistake, and this Government was exercised by themselves, not by a distinct and indepen- merely an ignis fatuus, existing only by the light which it dent sovereignty created by themselves. To the forma- borrowed from the State Governments. tion of a league, such as was the confederation, the State sovereignties were certainly competent. But, when in order to form a more perfect union,' it was deemed ne- citizens in the several States." A citizen of New Jersey cessary to change this alliance into an effective Govern- is thus a citizen of all the United States; and wherever ment, possessing great and sovereign powers, and acting he may sojourn or abide throughout the whole confededirectly on the people, the necessity of referring it to the racy, he has the privilege of the citizen of the State and people, and of deriving its powers directly from them, of the United States. How can the interests of the States was felt and acknowledged by all. and of the United States be more commingled than by this clause in the constitution?
The constitution declares that "the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of
"The Government of the Union, then, (whatever may be the influence of this fact on this case,) is emphatically and truly a Government of the people. In form and in substance it emanates from them. Its powers are granted by them, and are to be exercised directly on them, and for their benefit.
Congress has passed laws of naturalization. The foreigner who comes hither is naturalized under these laws, and is admitted to the privileges of a citizen of one State and of all the United States. Yet this is to be regarded as no Government; is to be held as liable to be "This Government is acknowledged by all to be one of put down whenever the States shall choose to recall their enumerated powers. The principle that it can exercise delegated powers. If Congress were to attempt to vote only the powers granted to it, would seem too apparent up such an abstraction, the people would vote it down to have required to be enforced by all those arguments just as fast as it was sent out to them. which its enlightened friends, while it was depending before the people, found it necessary to urge. That principle is now universally admitted. But the question respecting the extent of the powers actually granted is perpetually arising, and will probably continue to arise as long as our system shall exist.
"In discussing these questions, the conflicting powers of the General and State Governments must be brought into view; and the supremacy of their respective laws, when they are in opposition, must be settled. "If any one proposition could command the universal and if they were offered to him, he would request that assent of mankind, we might expect it would be this: that the persons who might offer them would take them away the Government of the Union, though limited in its pow- from him. The people of the United States have become ers, is supreme within its sphere of action. This would so enlightened now that they will require arguments of seem to result necessarily from its nature. It is the Gov-sounder stuff than hard words to work convictions in their ernment of all; its powers are delegated by all; it repre- minds. They have too far advanced, and if gentlemen sents all, and acts for all. Though any one State may be do not quicken their speed, the constituents will soon go willing to control its operations, no State is willing to allow ahead of their representatives in the science of politics, others to control them. The nation, on those subjects on and leave them far behind in the wilderness. Such an which it can act, must necessarily bind its component array of names would not carry a question even in a town
Having arranged these premises, he would come now to consider the bill itself. This bill had been severely attacked, by calling it hard names. The gentlemen on the other side, not contented with calling it a bill worse than an abomination, a bill to repeal the constitution, to erect a military despotism, to create a dictator, had yesterday called it a Boston port bill, a riot act, a prison-ship bill, &c. Every appellation which could be devised to make the bill odious had been heaped upon it. He would adopt no such mode of warfare. He would use no such weapons;
Revenue Collection Bill.
[FEB. 2, 1833
meeting. It would not excite an emotion even in an as-sible to estimate the force against which it would have to semblage of five hundred citizens out of the thirteen be employed. There were also other laws to which he millions which compose our population. So much for the might refer the Senate; the law of 1790; of 1795, aunomenclature. It had been said that, to pass this bill thorizing the President to call out the militia to execute would be conferring extraordinary powers on the Execu- the laws, to suppress insurrections, &c.; of 1807, simliar tive. The gentleman from Pennsylvania had informed in its character, authorizing the calling out of the militia, the Senate, the other day, that with the exception of a and such part of the naval and military force as might be single clause in the first section, it was perfectly familiar necessary, in case of insurrections or obstructions of the to our legislation. laws.
The Senate would remember the intercourse bill of He would ask, then, if those were not groundless fears 1802, regulating our trade with the Indians. That bill which would restrain gentlemen from again confiding contained a clause to this effect: "and it shall moreover such powers to the President, who is made by the constibe lawful for the President of the United States to take tution commander-in-chief, and is required by another such measures, and employ such military force, as he may clause to see that the laws are faithfully executed. Who deem necessary to remove from the lands of the Indian was to be trusted, if he could not? Who was to be trusttribes any persons who have made, or may make, settle-ed, if not the President? Who would execute the power ment thereon." "Employ such military force," &c. Here under his responsibility to Congress? Gentlemen could Congress delegated the power to employ the force, and not terrify him with the cry of despotism. Why, if it left it to the discretion of the Chief Magistrate to fix the were now to be put to decide whether he would have a amount of force necessary, and to employ that force in despotism controlled by law, or a despotism without law, such manner as he should deem best to drive off the or in defiance of law, he should prefer the first. He settlers from their lands, whether they were situated in would prefer the despotism of law to the despotism of South Carolina or in Tennessee, or in any other State. nullification. He would discard the despotism of a fracHere was a plain duty to be performed. A treaty had tion, of a small portion of this federal community, and been made with the Indians, and to fulfil this treaty the would run in the broad path marked out by the constitulaw was passed. This law stands unrepealed in the statute tion, wheres if he met danger, he should be supported book, and has been frequently enforced without causing by his conscience, and by the virtue of the country. It any excitement. Whenever it was necessary to employ was a singular argument to say, take care you do not force, the President had left it to the officer to determine create a despotism, and, at the same time, as the gentlewhat force was necessary to give sufficient strength to the man from Kentucky had said, take care how you make Executive arm to effect the object. This was not an un- war on South Carolina. Who makes war on South Caroadvised discretion. In these emergencies, it was impossi-lina? Who meditates war? If there is to be a war, she ble for Congress to know the strength of the intruding will make it herself. It will be her own hand which will families, and, consequently, to apportion the adequate lay the axe to the root of her prosperity. What have force. General Washington, on one occasion, sent a mes- we done? We have passed a law operating on her, as sage to Congress, stating that five hundred families had well as on all the other States. What else have we done? intruded, and asking Congress if he should use military The coat he wore was one on which he paid a duty to the power to expel them? They unanimously answered, yes; treasury. And she would make war rather than submit and referred the message back to him. The Executive to pay this tax common with the rest of the Union. He must use power. The Congress of that day was not submitted that all the features of the bill were defensive distracted by fears on the subject, and why should we? in their character, and not warlike in any one of their Why should we, when our laws are counteracted, and attitudes. Instead of making war by brute force, the bill when we are told that our efforts to collect the revenue was only intended to come in to the aid of law, to enforce in South Carolina shall be resisted, and put down by the the laws, and to make them respected; to make the State interposition of her civil and military power? What was of South Carolina obey the law. He would proceed to to be done, when our authority was thus defied? were we prove this. to sit still and do nothing? Surely, even the gentlemen The first section of the act provides for the removal of on the other side would not advise this course. The Pre- the custom-house. He hoped that gentlemen would be sident has told us that it is impracticable to execute the just to the motives of the Executive. There had been laws without further aid from Congress. many fulminations against the President for this clause. In his message he recommends the removal of the customhouse with a view to prevent collisions. What says the message?
The measures proposed by the bill are revenue measures. Looking at them in this view, he referred the Senate to the act to provide for the better security of the duties imposed on foreign goods, by which the President "There would certainly be fewer difficulties, and less was authorized to cause to be built and equipped twelve opportunity of a direct collision between the officers of revenue cutters, &c. Here twelve revenue cutters were the United States and of the States, and the collection of authorized to be armed and equipped, and, at the discre- the revenue would be more effectually secured, (if, intion of the President, to be used for collecting the reve- deed, it can be done in any other way,) by placing the But there was another provision in this bill, which custom-house beyond the immediate power of the was of great importance. In case any vessel should not bring to, on being summoned, after hoisting the pennant, The motives of the President, therefore, were pacific. and firing a gun, it was made lawful for the cutter to fire It was to prevent collisions that he advised the removal into such vessel. Here, then, was a tremendous power of the custom-house. If, in an unhappy hour, South given to the President; to arm and equip twelve cutters, Carolina should push her State sovereignty to the dreadand to authorize the officer commanding a cutter, if a ful emergency of opposing resistance to the officers of merchant vessel refused to come to when hailed with all the United States, the President suggests, in order to the accustomed formalities, to discharge his whole artil- avoid this contingency, the removal of the custom-house. lery into the bosom of the vessel. What was this? It was Was this the conduct of a tyrant? Was this a course inmaking war on our citizens quite as efficiently as can be dicating a disposition to hurry the country to the verge of done under any of the clauses in this bill. Merchant ves- a precipice? Nothing like it. If this was a question with sels are not armed, therefore the number of cutters was a foreign Government, policy would forbid this conceslimited. In the bill concerning the Indian lands there sion, and would require that we should keep the customcould be no limitation of power, because it was impos- house where it is, and stand by it there. With a foreign