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Mr. Crawford, of Georgia, said:
volved. Never permit this Federal Government to | I think I speak the sentiments of my own constituents and pass into the traitorous hands of the Black Republican the State of South Carolina, when I say so. party. It has already declared war against you and your institutions. It every day commits acts of war against you: it has already compelled you to arm for your defense. Listen to "no vain babblings," to no treacherous jargon about "overt acts;" they have already been committed. Defend yourselves; the enemy is at your door; wait not to meet him at the hearthstone-meet him at the door-sill, and drive him from the temple of liberty, or pull down its pillars and involve him in a common ruin.
Senator Clingman, of North Carolina, in a recent speech, says that "there are hundreds of disunionists in the South now, where there was not one ten years ago," and that in some of the States the men who would willingly see the Union dissolved are in the majority. In considering the proper cause for disunion, Mr. Clingman continues:
In my judgment, the election of the Presidential candidate of the Black Republican party will furnish that
No other "overt act" can so imperatively demand resistance on our part as the simple election of their candidate. Their organization is one of avowed hostility, and they come against us as enemies.
The objections are not personal merely to this Senator (Mr. Seward), but apply equally to any member of the party elected by it. It has, in fact, been suggested that, as a matter of prudence, for the first election they should choose a southern free-soiler. Would the Colonies have submitted more willingly to Benedict Arnold than to Lord Cornwallis?
Mr. Curry, of Alabama, a member of the House of Representatives, in a recent speech, says:
However distasteful it may be to my friend from New York (Mr. Clark), however much it may revolt the public sentiment or conscience of this country, I am not ashamed or afraid publicly to avow that the election of William H. Seward or Salmon P. Chase, or any such representative of the Republican party, upon a sectional platform, ought to be resisted to the disruption of every tie that binds this Confederacy together. (Applause on the Democratic side of the House.)
Now, in regard to the election of a Black Republican President, I have this to say, and I speak the sentiment of every Democrat on this floor from the State of Georgia: we will never submit to the inauguration of a Black Republican President. (Applause from the Democratic benches, and hisses from the Republicans.) I repeat it, sir-and I have authority to say so-that no Democratic representative from Georgia on this floor will ever submit to the inauguration of a Black Republican President. (Renewed applause and hisses.) The most confiding of them all are, sir, for "equality in the Union or independence out of it;" having lost all hope in the former, I am for "INDEPENDENCE NOW AND INDEPENDENCE FOREVER!"
Mr. Gartrell, of the same State, said:
Just so sure as the Republican party succeeds in electing a sectional man, upon their sectional, Anti-Slavery platform, breathing destruction and death to the rights of my people, just so sure, in my judgment, the time will have come when the South must and will take an unmistakable and decided action, and that then, "he who dallies is a dastard, and he who doubts is damned." I need not tell what I, as a Southern man, will do I think I may safely speak for the masses of the people of Georgia -that when that event happens, they, in my judgment, will consider it an overt act, a declaration of war, and meet immediately in convention, to take into consideration the mode and measure of redress. That is my position; and if that be treason to the Government, make the most of it.
Mr. McRae, formerly Governor of Mississippi, now a member of the House of Representatives, recently spoke in that body as follows:
I said to my constituents, and to the people at the capital of my State, on my way here, that if such an event did occur, while it would be their duty to determine the course which the State would pursue, it would be my privilege to counsel with them as to what I believed to be the proper course; and I said to them, what I say now, and will always say in such an event, that my counsel would be to take independence out of the Union in preference to the loss of constitutional rights, and consequent degradation and dishonor in it. That is my posi tion, and it is the position which I know the Democratic
Mr. Pugh, of the same State, made a speech party of the State of Mississippi will maintain. in the House, in which he said:
If, with the character of the Government well defined, and the rights and privileges of the parties to the compact clearly asserted by the Democratic party, the Black Republicans get possession of the Government, then the question is fully presented, whether the Southern States will remain in the Union, as subject and degraded colonies, or will they withdraw and establish a Southern Confederacy of coëqual homogeneous sovereigns?
In my judgment, the latter is the only course compatible with the honor, equality, and safety of the South; and the sooner it is known and acted upon the better for all parties to the compact.
The truest conservatism and wisest statesmanship demand a speedy termination of all association with such confederates, and the formation of another Union of States, homogeneous in population, institutions, interests, and pursuits.
Mr. Moore, of the same State, said:
I do not concur with the declaration made yesterday by the gentleman from Tennessee, that the election of a Black Republican to the Presidency was not cause for a dissolution of the Union. Whenever a President is elected by a fanatical majority at the North, those whom I represent, as I believe, and the gallant State which I in part represent, are ready, let the consequences be what they may, to fall back on their reserved rights, and say, to this Union, we have no longer any lot or part in it." Mr. Bonham, a member of the House from South Carolina, said:
As to disunion, upon the election of a Black Republican, I can speak for no one but myself and those I have here the honor to represent; and I say, without hesitation, that, upon the election of Mr. Seward, or any other man who indorses and proclaims the doctrines held by him and his party-call him by what name you please-I am in favor of an immediate dissolution of the Union. And, sir,
Mr. De Jarnette, a member of the House from Virginia, says:
Thus William H. Seward stands before the country a perjured traitor; and yet that man, with hands stained with the blood of our citizens, we are asked to elect President of the United States. You may elect him President of the North, but of the South never. Whatever the event may be, others may differ; but Virginia, in view of her ancient renown, in view of her illustrious dead, and in view of her sic semper tyrannis, will resist his authority. I have done.
Mr. Leake, also of Virginia, declares:
Virginia has the right, when she pleases, to withdraw from the Confederacy. (Applause from the Democratic benches.) That is her doctrine. We will not fight in the Union, but quit it the instant we think proper
to do so.
Mr. Singleton, of Mississippi, says:
when will the South be united? It will be when you You ask me when will the time (for disunion) come; elect a Black Republican-Hale, Seward, or Chase-President of the United States. Whenever you undertake to place such a man to preside over the destinies of the South, you may expect to see us undivided and indivisible friends, and to see all parties of the South arrayed to resist his inauguration.
We can never quietly stand by and permit the control of the army and navy to go into the hands of a Black Republican President."
Gov. Letcher, of Virginia, in his recent message to the Legislature of his State, avows the rankest disunion and revolutionary sentiments. In his document, he declares that if a Republican President is elected in 1860,
It is useless to attempt to conceal the fact that, in the present temper of the Southern people, it cannot be and
will not be submitted to. The "irrepressible conflict"|"The bargain between Freedom and Slavery contained in doctrine, announced and advocated by the ablest and the Constitution of the United States, is morally and pomost distinguished leader of the Republican party, is an litically vicious, inconsistent with the principles on which open declaration of war against the institution of African alone our Revolution can be justified; cruel and oppresSlavery, wherever it exists; and I would be disloyal to sive, by riveting the chains of Slavery; and grossly uneVirginia and the South if I did not declare that the qual and impolitic, by admitting that Slaves are at once election of such a man, entertaining such sentiments, enemies to be kept in subjection, property to be secured and advocating such doctrines, ought to be resisted by and returned to their owners, and persons not to be reprethe slaveholding States. The idea of permitting such a sented themselves, but for whom their masters are priviman to have the control and direction of the army and leged with nearly a double share of representation;" and navy of the United States, and the appointment of high Whereas (to quote the language of Wm. Ellery Chanjudicial and executive officers, postmasters included, ning) "We in the Free States cannot fly from the shame cannot be entertained by the South for a moment. or guilt of the Institution of Slavery, while there are proThe Hon. William L. Yancy, a leading and on this subject our fathers, in framing the Constitution, visions of the Constitution binding us to give it support. prominent Democratic politician of Alabama, swerved from the right. We, their children, see the path and formerly member of Congress from that of duty more clearly than they, and must walk in it. No State, wrote the following letter in 1858, which blessings of the Union can be a compensation for taking part in the enslaving of our fellow-creatures ;" and the Washington States, a Democratic Journal, Whereas (to quote the language of Josiah Quincy, Sen.), recently published under the title of the "Scar-"The arm of the Union is the very sinew of the subjection let Letter:"
MONTGOMERY, June 15, 1858.
DEAR SIR: Your kind favor of the 15th is received.
I hardly agree with you that a general movement can be made that will clear out the Augean stable. If the Democracy were overthrown, it would result in giving place to a greater and hungrier swarm of flies.
The remedy of the South is not in such a process. It is in a diligent organization of her true men for prompt resistance to the next aggression. It must come in the nature of things. No national party can save us; no sectional party can ever do it. But if we could do as our fathers did-organize committees of safety all over the Cotton States (and it is only in them that we can hope for any effective movement)-we shall fire the Southern heart, instruct the Southern mind, give courage to each other, and at the PROPER MOMENT, by one organized concerted action, we can precipitate the Cotton States into a revolution.
The idea has been shadowed forth in the South by Mr. Ruffin; has been taken up and recommended in The Advertiser (Published at Montgomery. Alabama), under the name of "League of United Southerners," who, keeping up their old party relations on all other questions, will hold the Southern issue paramount, and will influence parties, legislatures, and statesmen. I have no time to enlarge, but to suggest merely. In haste, yours, etc.,
TO JAMES S. SLAUGHTER, Esq.
W. L. YANCEY.
The Montgomery (Ala.) Confederation thus gives the record of the leading secession delegates from the Charleston Convention from that State. It says:
No one can be deceived as to what are the objects of the Charleston Convention. Listen to what their men
"I want the Cotton States precipitated into a revolution."- Wm. L. Yancey.
"If I had the power, I would dissolve this Government in two minutes."-J. T. Morgan.
"Let us break up this rotten, stinking, and oppressive Government."-George Gayle.
of the Slaves; it is the Slaveholder's main strength; its continuance is his forlorn hope;" and
Whereas (to quote the language of Mr. Underwood, of Kentucky, as uttered on the floor of Congress), "The Dissolution of the Union, making the Ohio River and Mason and Dixon's line the boundary line, is the Dissolution of Slavery. It had been the common practice for Southern men to get up on this floor and say, 'Touch this subject and we will Dissolve the Union as a remedy.' Their remedy was the destruction of the thing which they wished to save, and any sensible man could see it ;" and Whereas (to quote the language of Mr. Arnold, of Tennessee, on the same occasion), "The South has nothing to rely on, if the Union be Dissolved; for, supposing that Dissolution to be effected, a million of Slaves are ready to rise and strike for Freedom at the first tap of the drum:" therefore,
1. Resolved, That in advocating the Dissolution of the Union, the Abolitionists are justified by every precept of the Gospel, by every principle of morality, by every claim of humanity; that such a Union is a Covenant with Death," which ought to be annulled, and "an agreement with Hell," which a just God cannot permit to stand; and that it is the imperative and paramount duty of all who would keep their souls from blood-guiltiness, to deliver the oppressed out of the hand of the spoiler, and usher in the day of Jubilee; to seek its immediate overthrow by all righteous instrumentalities.
2. Resolved, That (to quote the language of William H. Seward)" they who think this agitation is accidental, unnecessary, the work of interested or fanatical agitators, and therefore ephemeral, mistake the case altogether: it forces; and it means that the United States must and will, is an Irrepressible Conflict between opposing and enduring sooner or later, become either entirely a Slaveholding Nation or entirely a Free Labor Nation. It is the failure successful attempts at final Compromise between the Free to apprehend this great truth that induces so many unand Slave States; and it is the existence of this great fact that renders all such pretended Compromises, when made, vain and ephemeral." Therefore,
3. Resolved, That no matter how sincerely or zealously any Political Party may be struggling with side issues, in cripple its power, while standing within the Union and relation to Slavery, to prevent its extension, or otherwise sanctioning its Pro-Slavery Compromises, and refusing to
"Resistance! Resistance to death against the Gov-attack the Institution itself, its position is morally indeernment is what we want now."-David Hubbard.
AN ANTI-SLAVERY VIEW OF DISUNION.
The following Resolutions, prepared by Wm. Lloyd Garrison, were adopted at a Convention of the non-voting Abolitionists (better known as Garrisonians), at Albany, New-York, on the 2d of February, 1859:
fensible; it rests upon a sandy foundation; its testimonies are powerless, and its example fatal to the cause of liberty hence we cannot give it any support.
4. Resolved, That "better a thousand times that all North America should be obliterated by a concurrence of over buried Cities, than that we, after all our light and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as a dead, revenging sea Liberty, should live only by removing the truth that gave us being, or should set the example to a terrified and struggling world of a Nation claiming and daring to exist Whereas (to quote the language of John Quincy Adams), only by sustained and sanctified oppression."
THE POWER OF THE SUPREME COURT. :
IN view of the Dred Scott dicta and other encroachments upon the Liberties of the People and the rights of the States, that may well be apprehended from future decisions of a Federal partisan Judiciary, the opinions of the leaders of the old Jeffersonian Republican party on the powers and duties of the Supreme Court become matter of public interest.
OPINIONS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON.
In a letter to John Adams, dated Sept. 11, 1804, Mr. Jefferson says:
You seemed to think that it devolved on the Judges to decide on the validity of the Sedition Law. But nothing in the Constitution has given them a right to decide for the Executive, more than the Executive to decide for them. Both magistrates are equally independent in the sphere of action assigned to them. The Judges, believing the law constitutional, had a right to pass a sentence of fine and imprisonment, because the power was placed in their hands by the Constitution. But the Executive, believing the law to be unconstitutional, were bound to 'remit the execution of it, because that power had been confided to them by the Constitution."
Again, in a letter to Judge Roane, dated Poplar Forest, Sept. 6, 1819, Mr. Jefferson remarks:
In denying the right they usurp in exclusively explaining the Constitution, I go further than you do, if I understand rightly your quotation from the Federalist, of an opinion that "The Judiciary is the last resort in relation to the other departments of the Government, but not in relation to the rights of the parties to the compact under which the Judiciary is derived." If this opinion be sound, then indeed is our Constitution a complete felo de For intending to establish three departments, coördinate and independent, that they might check and balance one another, it has given, according to this opinion, to one of them alone the right to prescribe rules for the government of the others, and to that one, too, which is unelected by and independent of the nation. The Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax, in the hands of the Judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please. It should be remembered, as an eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also; in theory only at first, while the spirit of the people is up, but in practice as fast as that relaxes. Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass. They are inherently independent of all but moral law. My construction of the Constitution is very different from that you quote. It is that each department is truly independent of the others, and has an equal right to decide for itself what is the meaning of the Constitution in the cases submitted to its action, and especially where it is to act ultimately and without appeal. In a letter to Mr. Jarvis, dated Monticello, Sept. 28, 1820, Mr. Jefferson says:
You seem, in pages 84 and 148, to consider the Judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions-a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is, "boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem," and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that, to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sove:eign within themselves.
Under date of Montecello, Dec. 25, 1820, he writes to Thomas Ritchie as follows:
The Judiciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working under-ground to undermine the foundations of our confederated fabric. They are construing our Constitution from a coordination of a general and special government to a general and supreme one alone.
On the 18th of August, 1821, Mr. Jefferson writes to Mr. C. Hammond, as follows:
never shrunk from its expression, that the germ of dissoIt has long, however, been my opinion, and I have lution of our Federal Government is in the constitution
of the Federal Judiciary-an irresponsible body, working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little to-morrow, and advancing its noiseless step, like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States, and the Government of To this I am opposed; beall be consolidated into one. cause, when all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one Government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the Government from which we separated. It will be as in Europe, where every man must be either pike or gudgeon, hanimer or anvil. Our functionaries and theirs are wares from the same workshop, made of the same materials, and by the same hand. If the States look with apathy on this silent descent of their Government into the gulf which is to swallow all, we have only to weep over the human character, formed uncontrollable but by a rod of iron, and the blasphemers of man as incapable of self-government, become his true historians.
In a letterto Judge Johnson, dated Monticello, March 4, 1820, he says
I cannot lay down my pen without recurring to one of the subjects of my former letter, for, in truth, there is no danger I apprehend so much as the consolidation of our Government by the noiseless, and therefore unalarming, instrumentality of the Supreme Court. This is the form in which Federalism now arrays itself. he says,
In a letter dated June 12, same year,
The practice of Judge Marshall, of traveling out of his case to prescribe what the law would be in a moot case not before the court is very irregular and very censurable.
In writing to Mr. W. H. Torrance, June 11, 1815, Mr. Jefferson says:
The second question, whether the judges are invested with exclusive authority to decide on the constitutionality of a law, has been heretofore a subject of consideration there is not a word in the Constitution which has given with me in the exercise of official duties. Certainly that power to them more than to the Executive or Legislative branches. Questions of property, of character, and of crime, being ascribed to the judges through a definite course of legal proceeding, laws involving such questions, belong, of course, to them; and as they decide on them ultimately, and without appeal, they, of course, decide for themselves. The constitutional validity of the law or laws again prescribing executive action, and to be administered by that branch ultimately, and without appeal, the Executive must decide for themselves, also,, whether, under the Constitution, they are valid or not. So also, as to laws governing the proceedings of the Legislature, that body must judge for itself the constitutionality of the law, and equally without appeal or control from its coördinate branches. And, in general, the branch which is to act ultimately, and without appeal on any law, is the rightful expositor of the validity of the law, uncontrolled by the opinions of the other courdinate authorities.
John Taylor, of Caroline, Va., who used in his day to speak and write "as one having authority" in the old Jeffersonian Republican party, in an essay entitled "New Views of the Constitution," says:
The perseverance of the gentleman in favor of a National Government proves that the subject was thoroughly considered; and the solemn preference of the Federal form demonstrates that no construction by which the preference will be frustrated can be just. Its basis was State sovereignty, compatible with a federal limited Government, but incompatible with a supreme National Government. Hence State Sovereignty was denied by the gentlemen who proposed a National Government. This sovereignty is the foundation of all the powers reserved to the States. Unless they are sus ained by it, they are baseless. State legislative, executive, and judicial powers, must all or none flow from this source. All are necessary to sustain the State Republican Governments. Subject either to a master, and the others become subject to the same master. the State judicial power, as flowing from State Sov eignty, is not independent, State legislative and ex ecutive power cannot be independent, because all rest upon the same foundation; and because if a supreme federal Judiciary can control State Courts, it can also control State Legislatures and Executives. Thus a federal form of Government would be rejected, though it was established, and a National Government would be established, though it was rejected.
The legal features of the Constitution, in relation to judges, is expressed in the sixth article: "The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every State are to be bound thereby." Can the judgments of the Federal court be a supreme law over this supreme law? Is there no difference between the supremacy of a Federal court over inferior Federal courts, and the supremacy of the Constitution over all courts? The supremacy of the Constitution is a guaranty of the independent powers, within their respective spheres, allowed by the Federalist to the State and Federal Governments. A supremacy in the court might abridge or alter these spheres. The State judges are bound by the Constitution and by an oath to obey the supremacy of the Constitution, and not even required to obey the supremacy of the Federal court. Why are all the departments of the State and Federal Governments equally bound to obey the supremacy of the Constitution? Because the State and Federal Governments were considered as checking or balancing departments. Had either been considered as subordinate to a supremacy in the other, it would have been tyrannical to require it by an oath to support the supremacy of the Constitution, and also to break that oath by yielding to the usurped supremacy of the other.
During the administration of John Adams, the Judiciary system was remodeled in such way as to create a large number of Circuit Judgeships, and to make the Supreme Court simply a Court of Appeal from the inferior jurisdictions. After the election of Mr. Jefferson, with a Republican (Democratic) majority in Congress the act was repealed.
During the debate in the Senate, which was protracted, on this repeal bill, Mr. Jackson of Georgia, said:
We have been asked if we are afraid of having an army of judges? For myself, I am more afraid of an army of judges under the patronage of the President, than of an army of soldiers. The former can do us more harm. They may deprive us of our liberties, if attached to the Executive, from their decisions; and from the tenure of office contended for, we cannot remove them; while the soldier, however he may act, is enlisted, or if not enlisted, only subsisted for two years; whilst the judge is enlisted for life, for his salary cannot be taken from him.-See Annals of Congress, 1801-2, page 47.
During the same discussion, Mr. Mason, of Virginia, said:
The objects of courts of law, as I understand them, are to settle questions of right between suitors, to enforce obedience to the laws, and to protect the citizens against the oppressive use of power in the Executive offices. Not to protect them against the Legislature,
for that I think I have shown to be impossible, with the sise, and because the people have retained in their own powers which the Legislature may safely use and exerhands the power of controlling and directing the Legislature, by their immediate and mediate elections of President, Senate, and House of Representatives.-See ib., page 73.
Mr. Cocke, of Tennessee, on the same subject, said:
We have been told that the nation is to look up to these immaculate judges to protect their liberties; to protect the people against themselves.—Ib., page 75. In the House, Robert Williams, of North Carolina, said:
If this doctrine is to extend to the length gentlemen contend, then is the sovereignty of the Government to be swallowed up in the vortex of the Judiciary. Whatever the other departments of the Government may do, they can undo. You may pass a law, but they can annulit. Will not the people be astonished to hear that their laws independent of all law?-Ib., pages 531, 532. depend upon the will of the judges, who are themselves
John Randolph, of Roanoke, said:
But, sir, if you pass the law, the judges are to put their veto upon it by declaring it unconstitutional. Here is a new power, of a dangerous and uncontrollable nature, contended for. The decision of a constitutional question must rest somewhere. Shall it be confided to men immediately responsible to the people, or to those who are irresponsible? for the responsibility by impeachment is little less than a name. From whom is a corrupt decision most to be feared? To me it appears that the power which has the right of passing, without appeal, on the validity of your laws, is your sovereign. But, sir, are we not as deeply interested in the true exposition of the Constitution as the judges can be? With all due deference to their talents, is not Congress as capable of forming a correct opinion as they are ? Are not its members acting under a responsibility to public opinion, which can and will check their aberrations from duty? Let a case, not an imaginary one, be stated: Congress violates the Constitution by fettering the press; the judicial corrective is applied to; far from protecting the liberty of the citizen, or the letter of the Constitution, you find them outdoing the legislature in zeal; pressing the common law of England to their service where the sedition law did not apply. Suppose your reliance had been altogether on this broken staff, and not on the elective principle? Your press might have been enchained till doomsday, your citizens incarcerated for life, and where is your remedy? But if the construction of the Constitution is left with us, there are no longer limits to our power; and this would be true, if an appeal did not lie through the elections, from us to the nation, to whom alone, and not a few privileged individuals, it belongs to In their inquisitorial capacity, the Supreme Court, redecide, in the last resort, on the Constitution. lieved from the tedious labor of investigating judicial points by the law of the last session, may easily direct the Executive, by mandamus, in what mode it is their pleasure that we should execute his functions. They will also have more leisure to attend to the legislature, and forestall, by inflammatory pamphlets, their decisions on public, we shall retain the right of debating, but not of all important questions; whilst, for the amusement of the voting.-1b., pages 661, 662.
Nathaniel Macon, of North Carolina, said:
We have heard much about the judges, and the necessity of their independence. I will state one fact, to show that they have power as well as independence. Soon after the establishment of the Federal Courts, they issued a writ-not being a professional man, I shall not undertake to give its name-to the Supreme Court of North Carolina, directing a case then depending in the State Court to be brought into the Federal Court. The State judges refused to obey the summons, and laid the whole proceedings before the legislature, who approved their conduct, and, as well as I remember, unanimously; and this in that day was not called disorganizing.—Ib. page 711.
John Bacon, of Massachusetts, said:
The Judiciary have no more right to prescribe, direct, or control the acts of the other departments of the Gov
ernment, than the other departments of the Govern-preme Court of the United States annulled-the ment have to prescribe or direct those of the Judiciary. Ib., page 983.
THE SEDITION LAW.
When the case of Matthew Lyon was before the United States Senate in 1818, on petition asking indemnity for a fine imposed upon him under the Sedition Law, John J. Crittenden, of Kentucky, said:
The judiciary is a valuable part of the Government, and ought to be highly respected, but is not infallible. The Constitution is our guide-our supreme law. Blind homage can never be rendered by freemen to any power. In all cases of alleged violations of the Constitution, it was for Congress to make a just discrimination. Benton's Abridgment, vol. 6, page 184.
Nathaniel Macon, of North Carolina, on the same day said:
According to some gentlemen, we were to regard the Judiciary more than the law, and both more than the Constitution. It was a misfortune the judges were not equal in infallibility to the God who made them. The truth was, if the judge was a party-man out of power, he would be a party-man in. The office would not change human nature. He had no doubt that the Sedition Law, and the proceedings under it, had more effect in revolutionizing the Government than all its other acts. He well remembered the language of the times-pay your taxes, but don't speak against government.-Ibid., page 187.
Hon. James Barbour, of Virginia, made a report on the subject of the petition, of which the following is an extract:
The first question that naturally presents itself in the investigation is, was the law constitutional? The committee have no hesitation in pronouncing, in their opinions, it was not.
The committee are aware that, in opposition to this view of the subject, the decision of some of the judges of the Supreme Court, sustaining the constitutionality of the law, has been frequently referred to, as sovereign and conclusive of the question.
The committee entertain a high respect for the purity and intelligence of the Judiciary. But it is a rational respect, limited by a knowledge of the frailty of human nature, and the theory of the Constitution, which declares, not only that Judges may err in opinion, but also may commit crimes, and hence has provided a tribunal for the trial of offenders.
In the case of Paddleford, Fay, & Company v. the Mayor and Aldermen of the city of Savannah, Judge Benning, in delivering the opinion of the court, recited two or three cases in which the State of Georgia had acted in disregard of the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. In the case of Chisholm, executor, against Georgia, the Supreme Court of the United States
Ordered, that unless the said State shall either in due form appear, or show cause to the contrary, in this court, by the first day of next term, judgment by default shall be entered against the said State.
The reporter adds, in a note, that "in February term, 1794, judgment was rendered for the plaintiff, and a writ of inquiry awarded. The writ, however, was not sued out and executed; so that this cause, and all of the other suits against States, were swept at once from the records of the court by the amendment of the Federal Constitution."
Georgia treated the court with contempt in respect to this case. Her position was, that the court had no jurisdiction of her as a party.—Georgia Reports, vol. 14,
The Judge proceeds to say, that "in this position Georgia triumphed," and that the judgment against her "fell dead."
The Judge next cites the case of Worcester and Butler, who had settled on the Cherokee lands in Georgia, contrary to the laws of the State, and for which offense they were sent to the penitentiary. On a writ of error, the Su
judgment in the State court, and issued a mandate to the Superior Court of Georgia, to carry its judgment of reversal into execution. Judge Benning proceeds:
Now, what did Georgia do on receipt of this special mandate? Through every department of her government she treated the mandate and the writ of error with contempt the most profound. She did not even protest against jurisdiction, as she had done in the case of Chisholm's executors; but she kept Worcester and Butler in the penitentiary, and she executed, in the Creek nation, the laws, for violating which they had been put in the penitentiary.
Judge Benning, in delivering his opinion, says further:
It was not only in this case that Georgia occupied this position; she did it in two other cases, and those, cases of life and death: the case of Tassels, and that of Graves. One of these happened before those of Worcester and Butler, namely, in 1830; the other afterward, in 1834. The Supreme Court had issued writs of error in each of these cases, on the application of the defendants to the State of Georgia; but, as the cases are not reported, it is to be presumed that these writs never got back to the Supreme Court; or that, if they ever did, it was too late. It is certain that Georgia hung the applicants for the writ. In the Tassels case, the legislature passed these, among other resolutions:
Resolved, That the State of Georgia will never so far compromit her sovereignty, as an independent State, as to become a party to the case sought to be made before the Supreme Court of the United States by the writ in question.
Resolved, That his excellency the Governor be, and he and every other officer of this State is hereby, requested and enjoined to disregard any and every mandate and process that has been or shall be served on him or them, purporting to proceed from the Chief Justice or any Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, for the purpose of arresting the execution of any of the criminal laws of this State.
Similar resolutions were passed, as to the case of Graves, by the legislature of 1834.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in the case of the Commonwealth v. Cobbett, gave a unanimous opinion in 1783, from which the following is an extract:
If a State should differ with the United States about the
construction of them, there is no common umpire but the people, who should adjust the affair by making amendIn such a case, the Constitution of the United States is ments in the constitutional way, or suffer from the defect. federal; it is a league or treaty made by the individual States as one party, and all the States as another party. When two nations differ about the meaning of any clause, sentence, or word, in a treaty, neither has an exclusive right to decide it; they endeavor to adjust the matter by negotiation; but if it cannot be thus accomplished, each has a right to retain its own interpretation, until a reference be had to the mediation of other nations, and arbitration, or the fate of war. There is no provision in the Constitution that in such a case the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States shall control and be conclusive; neither can the Congress by a law confer that power.Respublica v. Cobbett, 3 Dallas's Reports, page 475.
The Court of Appeals of Virginia, in 1814, in the case of Hunter v. Martin, devisee of Fairfax, entered the following unanimous opinion, after full argument:
The court is unanimously of opinion that the appellate power of the Supreme Court of the United States does not extend to this court, under a sound construction of the Constitution of the United States; that so much of the twenty-fifth section of the act of Congress to establish the judicial courts of the United States as extends the appelin pursuance of the Constitution of the United States; late jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to this court is not that the writ of error in this case was improvidently al