« PreviousContinue »
"Tuis l'nion must be a voluntary one, and not compulsory. A Union upheld by force would be a despotism." — W. H. SEWARD, 1844.
“ THE States were, before the Union was. • Our federal Republic forever must exist through the combination of these several free, self-existing, stubborn States." — W. H. ŠEWARD, 1865.
" The only parties to the Constitution, contemplated by it originally, were the thirteen confederated States." - D. WEBSTER, 1819. “The Constitution is the only bond of the union of these States."
D. WEBSTER, 1850. "THE States are united, confederated." --D. WEBSTER, 1850.
“The States never conceived the idea of consolidating themselves into one government," or of " ceasing to be Maryland and Virginia, Massachusetts and Carolina. " I hope never to see the original idea departed from." - D. WEBSTER, 1852.
"A Union of co-equal sovereign States requires, as its basis, the harmony of its members, and their voluntary co-operation in its organic functions."
E. EVERETT, 1860. "The Constitution in all of its provisions looks to an indestructible union of indestructible States." – Federal Supreme Court, per Chase, C. J., 1868.
" In fact and in theory, the Union is an association of States, or a confederacy." The States are “the parties to the compact." - Hamilton, Federalist, 9 and 85.
" THE States are regarded as distinct and independent sovereigns * * by the Constitution proposed. * Each State in ratifying the Constitution is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, the new Constitution will be a federal and not a national Constitution.” “The federal and state governments are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, intrusted with different powers.'
MADISON, Federalist, articles 40, 39, and 46. "THE business of the federal convention * * comprehended the views and establishments of thirteen independent sovereignties." - JAMES Wilsos.
“The Constitution was a compact, not between individuals, but between political societies * each enjoying sovereign power, and, of course,
GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. "The government of the United States was instituted by a number of sovereign States for the better security of their rights." -- ROGER SHERMAN.
" THE sovereignty and jurisdiction of this state extends to all places within the boundaries thereof." - CONS? "UTION OF NEW YORK.
"The people of this commonwealth have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves, as a free, sovereign and independent State."
CONSTITUTION OF MASSACHUSETTS. “The American Flag must wave over States - not over provinces.
RUTHERFORD B. HAYES. See also the statements of the leading fathers herein. p. 42-50.
REPUBLIC OF REPUBLICS;
AMERICAN FEDERAL LIBERTY.
By P. C. CENTZ, BARRISTER.
"It (i.e., the republic of republics) is an assemblage of societies that constitute a new one,
" They will form together a federal republic." “ The sovereignty of each member is
See page 332 of this volume; also page 42 et seq.
THE "HE theory of this work is precisely that upon which the
anti-slavery sentiment of the country based itself, in opposing the extension of slavery, the fugitive slave law, and, indeed, slavery itself; while it supports the action (except nullifying), of those states which have from time to time defended themselves against federal excesses.
The author is one who never held or wished for office; who belongs to no party; and who pleads to save the palladium of all his blessings — his commonwealth.
In 1865, Andrew Johnson, filled with the motives and feelings of the war, and surrounded by detectives, spies, Stantons, and Holts, believed Davis to be a traitor, who sought the destruction of "the government,” starved federal prisoners at Andersonville and elsewhere, and procured Lincoln's death.
It was then that he uttered the celebrated threat of “making treason odious by hanging traitors ”; and for a time, even if it was not contemplated, it was feared that a military commission would be used as the machinery of trial and punishment. But, as Davis and the other leading confederates were prisoners of war, and protected by the jus gentium, the policy seemed to be adopted of turning them over to the civil authorities, for trial - if conviction could be assured; or for other disposal, as hereafter indicated.
The North was full of bitterness and vengeful spirit. Sentiments like the following, were heard from many leaders : "Rebels have no rights but to be hung”; “The army has convicted — only execution remains.” But the soberer judgment of pre
dominant men was more humane, and the moral sense of the country and the world favored a trial of some sort, though few comparatively could patiently contemplate the chances of acquittal. The following from the New York Times shows the prevailing views and feelings, and, at the same time, the danger of losing the great principles involved. Advocating civil trial, and presuming it would come, that journal said: “We have no fear that Jeff Davis will be acquitted on the merits of the case, as they will be expounded by the chief justice, who will try him. . . . If Davis is convicted, the constitution, as understood by the loyal people of the land, will be vindicated, and the supremacy of the national authority forever established in law, as well as fact.”
Presuming that there must be a large class of Sewards, Chases, Greeleys, Gerrit Smiths, Bateses, Everetts, Trumbulls, Stansberrys, etc., who, as peace grew older and reflection came, would arise and influence public opinion, the author sent from London, in the summer of 1865, the first edition of this work, in the shape of a “protest” against the trial of the confederate chiefs by military commission; and an argument — which was really that of the fathers, the author merely compiling - showing that the law and the testimony were in their favor, and that they could not be convicted even by a court and jury. It was sent to all the conspicuous men in and out of the administration.
The following telegram to the Philadelphia Ledger, is selected to show the estimate in which the work was held by some in Washington: “A most important argument has been received by the president from London, in which are set forth the reasons why Davis cannot be convicted in any court, of the crime of treason," etc., etc. Concerning it, Mr. Charles O'Conor wrote the author, Dec. 10, 1865: "If upon the numerous points that any lawyer can readily see in the case, I had so admirably prepared and overwhelmingly conclusive a brief as the protest, my task [of defending Davis) would be slight indeed.” And the Mobile Register noticed it as follows: “ This treatise is an extraordinary work, considering that it is written by an English lawyer. It exhibits profound acquaintance with the history and philosophy of the constitution."