Pennsylvania daily telegraph. (Harrisburg, Pa.) 1857-1862, December 04, 1860, Image 2

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    had received, from the moral and physical
tortures endured, have become insane.
They howl in their, prisons, sometimes
mingling with the other victims, at other
times alone, but without any difference of
treatment. One of these wretohed maniacs
committed one day an insane act. The head
jailer beat him so cruelly as to leave him
almost lifeless on the ground. Young C—,
who was in the same cell, indignant at the
outrage, called out that they were murder
ing the man. Thereupon the jailer depart
ed, but immediately returned with a band
of turnkeys; who at once fell upon the
youth, removed him to another prison, and
there, with sticks and ropes, mercilessly
belabored him. Another poor fellow, whose
intellect was temporarily wandering., 4.
M—, having made some complaints
about his food, was kicked and thrashed
back to his old cell—there left without at
tendance, without the visit of the physician,
and with the corsest diet. He recovered
from his mental illness, but now, owing to
the length of the imprisonment, of the suf
ferings endured, and to the treatment to
which he has been subjected, his health
has suffered to such an extent that his
friends' have, no hope of ever seeing -him
again On this aide of the grave.
paitp Etlegrapt.
Tuesday Afternoon, December 4, 1830.
or , RAPANSINTATISPO :—Throughout the year
since our last meeting, the country has been
eminently prosperous in all its material inter
ests. The general health has been excellent,
our harvests have been abundant, and plenty
smiles throughout the land. Our commerce
and manufactures have been prosecuted with
energy and industry, and have yielded fair - and
ample returns,. In short, no nation in the
tide of time has everpresented a spectacle of
greater material prosperity than we have done
until within a very recent period.
Why hi it, then, that discontent now so ex- '
tensively prevails, and the Union of the. States,
whialAs the source of all these blessings, is
threatened with destruction t The long.con
tinued and intemperate interference of the
Northern people with the question of slavery
in the Southern States has at length produced
its natural effects. The different sections of
the Union are now arrayed against each other,
and the time has arrived, so much dreaded by
the Father of his Country, when hostile geo
graphical parties have been formed. I have
long foreseen and often forewarned my country
men of the now impending danger. This does
not proceed solely from the claim on the part
of Congress or the territorial legislatures to ex
clude slavery from the Territories, nor from the
efforts of different States to defeat the execu
tion of the Fugitive Slave law. All or any of
these evils might have been endured by the
South without danger to the Union, (as others
have been,) in the hope that time and reflection
might apply tisa remedy. The immediate peril
arises not so mitch from these causes as from
the fact that the incessant and violent agita-
Hen of thei;very question throughout the
North for thlast quarter of a century, has at
length produced its malign influence upon the
slaves, and inspired them with vague notions
of freedom. Hence a sense of security no
longer exists around the family altar. This
feeling of peace at home has given place to ap
prehensions of servile insurrection. Many a
matron throughout the South retires at night
in dread of what may befall herself and her
children before the morning. Should this ap
prehension of domestic danger, whether real or i
imaginary, extend and intensify itself until it;
shal pervade the masses of the Southern people,
then disunion will become inevitable.--Self-pre
servation is the first law of nature, and has been
implanted in the heart of man by his Creator
for the wisest purpose ; nod no political union,
however fraught with blessings and benefits in
all other respects, can long continue, if the ne
cessary consequence be to render the homes and
firesides of nearly half the parties to it habitu
ally and hopelessly insecure. Sooner or later
the bonds;of such a Union must be severed.—
It is my conviction that this fatal period has
not, yet arrived ; and my prayer to God is that
He would preserve the Constitution and the
Union throughout all generations.
But let us take warning in time, and remove
the cause of danger. It cannot be denied that,
for five and twenty years, the agitation at the
North against slavery in the South, has been
incessant. In 1886 pictorial handbills, and in
flammatory appeals, were circulated extensive.
ly throughout the South, of a character to ex
cite the passions of the slaves; and, in the lan
guage 'of General Jackson, "to stimulate them
to Inturreotion, and produce all the horrors of
aserviler war." This agitation has ever Bluets
been,continued by the public press, by tbe pro
ceedings of State and county conventions, and
by , abolition sermons and lectures. The time
of Congress has been occupied in violent speech
es on this never-ending subject ; and appeals in
pamphlet and other forme, endorsed by distin-
gashed names, have been sent forth from this
(*Oral point, slid Spread broadcast over the
How easy would it be for the American peo
ple to Settle the slavery question forever, and
to restore peace and harmony to this distracted
They, and they alone, can do it. All that is
necessary to accomplish the object, and all for
which the slave States have ever contended, is
to be let alone, and permitted to manage their
domestic) institutions in their own way. As
sovereign States, they, and they alone, are re
sponsible before God and the world for the
slavery existing among them. For this, the
people of the North are not more responsible,
and lave no more right to interfere, than with
si stitutions in Russia or in Brazil.—
panthe ood sense and patriotic forbear
anoe I confess I still greatly rely. Without
their:o4, - h beyond the power of any Presi
dent, no matter what may be his own political
proclivities, to restore peace and harmony
among the' States. Wisely limited and re
strained as is his power, under our Constitu
tion and laws, he alone can accomplish but lit.
tie, for good or for evil, on such a momentous
And this brings me to observe that the elec
tion of any one of our fellow-citizens to the of
ficstat,President does not of itself afford just
cause for dissolving the Union. This is more
eapedally true if his election has been effected
by a mere plurality, and not a majority, of the
people and has resulted from transient and
temporary causes, which may probably never
again occur. la order to justify a resort to
revolutionary resistance, the Federal Govern
ment must be guilty of "a deliberate, palpa
ble, and dangerous exercise" of powers not
granted by the Constitution. The late presi
dential election, however, has been held in
atrbat egiformity with its express provisions.
gotr, than, can the result justify a reyolution
to destroy this very 0 0 11 10kt/1W MAW;
justice, a regard for the Constitution, all re
quire that we shall wait for some overt and
dangerous act on the part of the President
elect before resorting to such a remedy.
It is said, however, that the antecedents of
the President elect have been sufficient to jus
tify the fears of the South that he will attempt
to invade their constitutional rights. But are
such apprehensions of contingent danger in the
future sufficient to justify the immediate des
truction of the noblest system of government
ever-devised by mortals? From the very na
ture of his office, and its bigh responsibilities,
he must necessarly be conservative. The stern
duty 01 administering the vast and complicated
concerns of this Government affords in itself a
guarantee that he will not attempt any viola
tion of a clear constitutional right. After all,
he is no more than the chief executive officer
of the Government. His province is not to
make,'but to execute, the laws ; and it is a re
markable fact in our history, that, notwith
standing the repeated efforts of the anti-slavery
party, no single act has ever passed Congress,
unless we may possibly, except the Missouri
Compromise, impairing in the slightest degree,
the rights of ? the South to their property in
slaves. And it may also be observed, judging
from present indications, that no possibility
exists of the passage of such an act, by a ma
jority of both Houses, either in the present or
the next Congress Surely, under these cir
cumstances, we ought to be restrained from
present action by the precept of Him who apake
as never man spoke, that "sufficient unto the
day is the evil thereof." The day of evil may
never come, unless we shall rashly bring it
upon ourselves.
It is alleged as one cause for immediate se
cession that the Southern States are denied
equal rights with the other States in the com
mon Territories. But by what' authority are
these denied? Not by Congress, which has
never passed, and I believe never will pass, any
act to exclude slavery from these Territories:
and certainly not by the Supreme Court, which
has solemnly decided that slaves are property,
and, like all other property, their owners have
a right to take them into the common Terri
tories, and hold them there under the protec
tion of the Constitution.
So far, then, as Congress is concerned, the
objection is not to anything they have already
done, but to what they may do hereafter. It
will surely be admitted that this apprehension
of future danger is no good reason for an imme
diate dissolution of the Union. It is true that
the territorial legislature of Kansas, on the 23d
of February, 1860, passed in great haste an act,
over the veto of the governor, declaring that
slavery "is and shall be, forever prohibited in
this Territory." Such an act, however, plainly
violating the rights of property secured by the
Constitution, will surely be declared void by
the judiciary whenever it shall be presented in
a legal form.
Only three days after my inauguration the
Supreme Court of the United States solemnly
adjudged that this power did not exist in a ter
ritorial legislature. Yet such has been the
factious temper of the times that the correct- 1
nem of this decision has been extensively im
pugned before the people, and the question has
given rise to angry political conflicts through
out the country. Those who have appealed
from this judgmens of our highest constitu
tional tribunal to popular assemblies would,
if they could, invest a territorial legislature
with power to annul the scred rights , of prop
erty. This power Congress is expressly for
bidden by the Federal Constitution' to ex
' ercise. Every State legislature in the
Union is forbidden by its own constitution
Ito exercise it. It cannot be exercised in
any State except by the people in their-high
est sovereign capacity when framing or amend
ing their State constitution. In like manner,
it can only be exercised by the people of a Ter
ritory represented in a convention of delegates
for the purpose of framing a constitution pre
paratory to admission as a State into the Union.
Then, and not until then, are they invested
with power to decide the question whether
slavery shall or shall not exist within their
limits. This is an act of sovereign authority,
and not of subordinate territorial legislation.
Were it otherwise, then indeed would the
equality of the States in the Territories be de
stroyed, and the rights of property in slaves
would depend, not upon the guarantees of the
Constitution, but upon the shifting majorities
of an irresponsible territorial legislature. Such
a doctrine, from its intrinsic unsoundness, can
not long influence any considerable portion of
our people, much leas can it afford a good rea
son for a dissolution of the Union.
The moat palpable violations of constitution
al duty which have yet been committed consist
iu the acts of different State legislatures to de-
feat the execution of the fugitive slave law.
It ought to be remembered, however,
that for
these acts, neither Congress nor any President
can justly be held responsible. Having been
passed in violation of the Federal Constitution,
they are therefore null and void. All the
courts, both State and National, before whom
the question has arisen, have from the
beginning declared the fugitive slave law
to be constitutional. The single exception
is that of a State court in Wisconsin ;
and this has not only been reversed by the
proper appellate tribunal, but has met with
such universal reprobation that there can be
no danger from it as a precedent. The validi
ty of this law has been established over and
over again by the Supreme Court of the 'United
States with perfect unanimity. It is founded
upon an express provision of the Constitution,
requiring that fugitive slaves who escape from
service in one State to another shall be "deliv
ered up" to their masters. Without this pro
vision it is a well-known historical fact that the
Constitution itself could never have been adopt
ed by the Convention. In one form or other
under the acts of 1798 and 1850, both being
substantially the same, the fugitive-slave law
has been the Jaw of the land from the days of
Washington until the present moment. Here,
then, a clear case is presented, in which it will
be the duty of the next President, as it has
been my own, to act with vigor in executing
this supreme law against the conflicting enact
ments of State legislatures. Should he fail in
the performance of this high duty, he will then
have manifested a disregard of the Constitu
tion and laws, to the great injury of the people
of nearly one-half of the States of the Union.
But are we to presume in advance that he will
thus violate his duty? This would be at war
with every principle of justice and of Christian
charity. Let us wait for the overt act. The
fugitive-slave law has beeen carried into execu
tion in every contested case since the commence
ment of the present administration ; though
often, it is to be regretted, with great loss and
Inconvenience to the master, and with consid
erable expense to the government. Let us
trust that the State legislatures will repeal their
unconstitutional and obnoxious enactments.
Unless this shall be done without unnecessary
delay, it is impossible for any human power to
save the Union.
The Southern States, standing on the basis of
the Constitution, have a right to demand this
act of justice from the States of the North.—
Should it be refused, then the Constitution, to
which all the States are parties, will have been
willfully violated by one portion of them in a
provision essential to the domestic security and
happiness of the remainder. In that event the
injured States, after having first used all peace
ful and constitutional means to obtain redress,
would be justified in revolutionary resistance
to the Government of the Union.
I have purposely confined my remarks to
revolutionary resistance, because it has- been
claimed within the lash two years that any
State, whenever this shall belts sovereign will
and pleasure,may secede from the Union, in
accordance' ith the Constitution, and without
any violation of- the constitutional rights of
the other members of the Confedenuty, That
Pennsylvania etitgrap4, eutsbap litarroon, Cluembtr 4, 1860.
as each became parties to the Union by the
vote of its own people assembled in Conven
tion, so any one of them may retire from the
Union in a similar manner by the vote of such a
In order to justify secession as a constitution
al remedy, it on the principle that the
Federal Government is a mere voluntary asso
ciation of States, to be dissolved at pleasure by
any one of the contracting parties. If this be
so, the Confederacy is a rope of sand, to be
penetrated and dissolved by the first adverse
wave of public opinion in any of the States.—
In this manner our thirty-three States may re
solve themselves into as many petty, jarring,
and hostile republics, each one retiring from
the Union, without responsibility, whenever
any sudden excitement might impel them to
such a course. By this process a Union might
be entirely broken into fragments in. a few
weeks, which cost our forefathers many years
of toil, privation, and blood to establish.
Such a principle is wholly inconsistent with
the history as well as the character of the Fed
eral Constitution. After it was framed, with
the greatest deliberation and care, it was sub
mitted to conventions of the people of the
several States for ratification. Its provisions
were discussed at length in these bodies, com
p:sed of the first men of the country. Its op
ponents contended that it conferred powers
upon the Federal Government dangerous to the
rights of the States, whilst its advocates main
tained that under a fair construction of the
instrument there was no foundation for such
apprehensions. In that mighty struggle be
tween the first intellects of this or any other
country, it never occurred to any individual,
either among its opponents or advocates, to
assert, to`r even to intimate, that their efforts
were all vain labor, because the moment that
any State felt herself aggrieved she might
secede from the Union. What a emitting ars
gement would this have proved against those
who dreaded that the rights of the States
would be endangered by the Constitution. The
truth is, that It was not until many years after
the origin of the Federal Government that
such a proposition was first advanced. It was
then met and refuted by the conclusive argu
ments of Jackson, who in his massage
of 16th January, 1888, transmitting the nulli
fying ordinance of South Carolina to Congress,
employs the following language "The right
of the people of, a single State to absolye them
selves at will, and without the consent of the
other States, front their most solemn obliga
tions, and hazard the liberty and happiness of
the millions composing this Union, cannot be
acknowledged. Such authority is believed to
be utterly repugnant both to the principles
upon which the General Government is consti
tuted and to the objects which it was expressly
formed to attain."
It is not pretended that , any clause in in the
the Constitution gives countenance to such a
theory. It is altogether founded upon infer
ence, not from any language contained in the
instrument itself, but from the sovereign char
acter of the' several States by which it was
ratified. But is it beyond the power of a State,
like an individval, to yield a portion of its
sovereign right to secure the remainder ? In
the language of Mr. Madison, who has been
called thefather of the Constitution : "It was
formed by the States—that is, by the people in
each of the States, acting in their highest sov
ereign capacity ; and formed consequently by
the same authority which formed the State
" Nor is the Government of the United
States, created by the Constitution, less a Gov
ernment in the strict sense of the term, within
the sphere of its powers, than the governments
created by the constitutions of the States are,
within their several spheres. It is, like them,
organized into legislative, executive, and ju
diciary departments. It operates, like them,
directly on persons and things ; and, like them
it has at command a p hysical force for execu
ting the powers committed to it.
It was intended to be perpetuated, and not
to be annulled at the pleasure of arty one of the
contracting parties. The old articles of con
federation were entitled "Articles of Confeder
ation and Perpetual Union between the States;"
and by the 13th article it is expressly declared
that "the articles of this Confederation shall
be inviolably observed by every State, and the
Union shall be perpetual." The preamble to
the Constitution of the United States, having
express reference to the articles of Confedera
tion, recites that it was established "in order
to form a more perfect• Union." And yet it is
contended that this "more perfect Union" does
not include the essential attribute of per
But that the Union was designed to be per
petual appears conclusively from the nature and
extent of the powers conferred by the Constitu
tion on the Federal Government. These pow
ers embrace the very highest attributes of na
tional sovereignty. They place both the sword
and the purse under its control. Congress has
power to make war, and to make peace; to raise
and support armies and navies, and to conclude
treaties with foreign governnients. It is in
vested with the power to coin money, and to
regulate the value thereof, and to regulate
commerce with foreign nations, and among the
several States. It is not necessary to enumer
ate the other high powers which have been con
ferred upon the Federal Government. In order
to carry the enumerated powers into effect, Con
gress possesses the exclusive right to lay and
collect duties on imports, and in common with
the States to lay and collect all other taxes.
But the Constitution has not only conferred
these high powers upon Congress, but it has
adopted effectual means to restrain the States
from interfering with their exercise. For that
purpose it has, in strong prohibitory language,
expressly declared that "no State shall enter
into any treaty, alliance or confederation; grant
letters of marque and reprisal ; coin money ;
emit bills of credit ; make anything but gold
and silver coin a tender in payment of debts;
pass any bill'of attainder' ire port facto lair, or
law impairing the obligation of contracts."—
Moreover, "without the consent of Congress, no
• State shall lay
,any imposts or duties on any
imports or exports, except what may be abso
lutely necessary for executing its inspection
laws ;" and, if they exceed this &monist, the
excess shill belong to the United States.
And "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 immi
nent danger as will not admit of delay." • ,
In order still further to secure the;uninter
rupteds exercise of these high - powerk• against
State interposition, it is provided "that this
Constitution and the laws of the United States
which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and
all treaties made, or which shalt be made, un
der the authority of the United 'States, shall be
the supreme law of the land ; and the judges
in every State shall be bound thereby; anything
in the Constitution or laweof any State to the
contrary notwithstanding."
The solemn sanction of religion has been
superadded to the obligations of, official duty,
and all senators and representatives , of, the
United States, all members of State legislatures,
and all executive and judicial officers, "both cf
the United States and of the several States,
shall be bound by oath or affirmation to--sup
port this Constitution." ;
In order to' carry into '
effect these, powers,
the Constitution lies established a perfect Gov
ernment in all its: forms, Legislative, Execu
tive, and Judicial ; and this Government, to
the extent of its powers, acts directly upon the
individual citizens of ..every Slate, and exe
cutes its own decrees 'by the agency of its own
Officers. In thin respect it differs entirely from
I the Government .under the old- Confederation,
wnich was confined to making requisitions on
the States - hi — their licrtefain — bliar , -ttter—
• s ••• •
A4l ,
left it in the discretion of each whether to obey
or to refuse, and they often declined to comply
wsth such requisitions. It thus became oeces
sary, for the purpose of removing this barrier,
and "in order to form a more perfect Union,"
to establish a Government which could act di
rectly upon the people, and execute its own
laws without the intermediate agency of the
States. This has been accomplished by the
Constitution of the United States.
In short, the Government created by the
Constitution, and deriving its authority from
the sovereign people of each of the several
States, has precisely the same right to exercise
its power over the people cf all these States, in
the enumerated cases, that each one of them
possesses over subjects cot delegated to the
United States but "reserved to the Slates, res
pectively, or to the people."
To the extent of the delegated powers the
Constitution of the United States is as much a
part of the constitution ut each State, and is
as binding upon its people, as thou o ti it had
been textually inserted therein.
This Government, therefore, is a great and
powerful Government, invested with all the at
tributes of sovereignty over the special sub
jects to which its authority extends. Its fra
mers never intended to implant in its bosom
the seeds of its own destruction, nor were they
at its creation guilty of the absurdity of provid
ing for its own dissolution. It was not intended
by its trainers to be the baseless fabric of a
vision, which, at the touch of the enchanter,
would vanish into thin air, but a substantial
and mighty fabric, capable of resisting the slow
decay of time and of defying the storms ot ages.
Indeed, well may the jealous patriots of that
day. bave indulged feats that a government of
such high powers might violate the reserved
rights of the States, and wisely did they adopt
the rule of a strict construction of these pow
ers to prevent the danger I But they did not
fear, nor bad they any reason to imagine, that
the Constitution would ever be so Interpreted
as to enable any State, by her own act; and
without the consent of her sister States, to dis
charge her people from all or any of their Fed
eral obligations.
It may be asked, then, are the people of the
I States without redress against the tyrany and
oppression of the Federal Government ? By no
means. The right of resistance on the part of
the governed against the oppression of their
governments cannot be denied. It exists inde-
Pendently of all constitutious, and has been
exercised at all periods of the world's history.
Under It old governments have been destroyed,
and new ones have taken their place. It is
embodied in strong and express language in
our own Declaration of Independence. But
the distinction must ever be observed, that this
is revolution against an established Govern
ment, and not a voluntary secession from It
by virtue of an inherent constitutional right.
In short, let us look the danger fairly in the
face. Secession is neither more nor leas than
revolution. It may or it may not be justifia
ble revolution, but still it is revolution.
What, in the mean time, is the responsibility
and true position of the Executive? He
is bound by solemn oath before God and
the country "to take care thatthe laws
be faithfully executed," and from this obliga
tion he cannot be. absolved by any human
power. But what if the performance of this
duty, in whole or in part, has been rendered
impracticable by events over which he could
have exercised no control? Such, at the pres
ene moment, is the case throughout the State
of South Carolina, so far as the laws of the
United States to secure the administration of
justice by means of the Federal Judiciary are
concerned. All the Federal officers within its
limits, through whose agency alone these laws
can be carried into execution, have already re
signed. We no longer have a district judge, a
district attorney, or a marshal, in South Caro
lina. In fact, the whole machinery of the Fed
eral Government, necessary for the distribution
of remedial justice among the people, has been
demolished ; and it would bo difficult, if not
impossible, to replace it.
The only acts of Congress on the statute
book, bearing upon this subject, are those of
the 28th February, 1795, and 3d March 1807.
These authorize the President, after he shall
have ascertained that the marshal with hisposaa
cor a / a /us is unable to execute civil or criminal
process in any particular case, to call forth the
militia and employ the army and navy to aid
him in performing this service, having first by
Proclamation commanded the insurgents "to
disperse and retire peaceably to their respective
abodes, within a limited time." This duty
cannot by possibility be performed in a State
where no judicial authority exists to issue pro
cess, and where there is no marshal to execute
it, and where, even if there were such an offi
cer, the entire population would constitute one
solid combination to resist him.
The bare enumeration of these provisions
prove how inadequate they are without further
legislation to overcome a united opposition in
a single State, not to speak of other States who
may place themselves in a similar attitude.—
Congress alone has power to decide whether
the present laws can or cannot be amended so
as to carry out more effectually the objects of
the Constitution.
The same insuperable obstacles do not lie in
the way of executing the laws for the collection
, of the customs. The revenue still continues
' to be collected, as heretofore, at the custom
house in Charleston; and should the collector
unfortunately resign, a successor may be ap
' pointed to perform this duty.
Then in regard to the property of the United
States in South Carolina. This has been par.
chased for a lair equivalent, "by the consent of
the legislature of the State," "ffir the erection
offorts, magazines, arsenals," &c., and over
these the authority "to exercise exclusive legis
lation" hail been expressly granted by the Con
stitution to Congress. It is not believed that
any attempt will be made to expel the United
Stites from this property by force; but if in
thiti I should prove to be mistaken, the officer
in command of the forts has received orders to
act Strictly on the defensive. In such a contin
gency, the responsibility for consequences
would rightfully rest upon the heads of the as
Aii ii rt from the execution of the laws, so far
as this may be practicable, the Executive has
no authority to decide what shall be the rela
tions between the Federal Government and
South Carolina. He has been invested with no
such discretion. He possesses no power to
change the relations heretofore existing between
them, much less to acknowledge the Independ
ence of that State. This would be to invest a
mere Executive, officer with the power of re
cognising the dissolution of the Confederacy
among our thirty-three sovereign States. It
beara no resemblance to the recognition of a
foreign de facto government, involving no such
responsibility. Any attempt to do this would,
on his part, be a naked act of usurpation. It
la, therefore, my duty to submit to Congress
the ;whole question in all its bearings. ; The
course of events is so rapidly hastening fur
bard, that the emergency may soon arise, when
you may be called upon to decide the momen
tous question whether you possess the power,
by force of arms, to compel a State to remain
h(the Union. I should feel. myself recreant to
my duty were I not to express an opinion on
this important subject.
The question fairly stated is: Hui the - Consti
tntion delegated toCongress the power to coerce
&State into submission which is attempting to
withdraw or has actually withdrawn from the
Confederacy ? If answered in the affirmative,
itlenst be on tho principle that the power has
been conferred upon Congress to declare and to
make war against a State. After mut% serious
reflection I have arrived at the conchision that
noanch power has been delegated to Cogress or
to any other department of the Federal Govern
meet. it is manifest, upon an inspection of the
(Xeditithwiii, that thistle not among the specific
and enumttated powers granted to Congress ;
and it is squally apparent that its exercise is
not "necessary and proper for carrying into ex
caution" any one of these powers• So far from
this power having been delegated to Congress,
it was expressly refused by the Convention
which framed the Constitution.
It appears, from the proceedings of that body,
that on the 31st of May, 1787 the clause "au
thorizing an exertion of the form of the whole
agaiust a delinquent State" came up for con
sideration. Mr. Madison opposed it in brief
but powerful speech, from which I shall extract
but a single sentence. lie observed : "The use
of force against a State would look more like a
declaration of war than an infliction of punish
ment ; and would probably be considered by
the party attacked as a dissolution of all pre
vious compacts by which it might be bound.'
Upon his motion the clause was unanimously
postponed, and was never again I believe pre
rented. Soon afterwards, on the Bth June,
1787, when incidentally adverting to the sub
ject, he said : "Any Government for the United
States, formed on the supposed practicability
of using force against the unconstitutional pro
ceedings of the States, would prove as visions,
ry and fallacious as the 'government of Con
gress," evidentlY meaning the then existing
Congress, of the old Confederation.
Without descending to particulars, it may be
safely asserted, that the power to make war
against a State is at variance with the whole
spitit and intontof the Constitution. Suppose
such a war should result in the conquest of a
State, how are we to govern it afterwards?
Shall we hold it as a province, and govern it
by despotic power? In the nature of things
we could not, by physical force, control the
will of the people and compel them to elect
senators and representatives to Congress, and
to perform all the other duties depending upon
their own volition, and required from the free
cams of a free State as a constituent member
o e Confederacy.
Bid, if possessed of this power, would it be
wise to exercise it under existing circumstan
ces ? The object would doubtless be to pre
serve the Union. War would not only present
the most effectual means of destroying it; but
would banish all hope of its peaceable recon
struction. Besides, in the fraternal conflict a
vast amount of blood and treasure would be
expended, rendering future reconciliation be
tween the States impossible. In the mean
time, who can foretell what would be the suf
fering and privation of the people during its
The fact is, that our Union rests upon public
opinion, and can never be cemented by the
blood of its citizens shed in civil war. If it
can not live in the affections of the people, It
must ono day perish. Congress possesses
many means of preserving it by conciliation ;
but the sword was not their hands : o
preserve it by force.
But may I be permitted solemnly to invoke
my countrymen to pause and deliberate, be
fore they determine to destroy this, the grand
est temple which has ever been dedicated to
human freedom since the world began? It has
been consecrated by the blood of one fathers,
by the glories of the past, and by the hopes of
the future. D , e Union has already made es
the most pregperous, and, ere long, will, If
preserved, render us the most powerful nation
on the face of the earth. In every foreign re
gion of the globe the title of American citizen
is held in the highest respect, and when pro
nounced in a foreign land it causes the hearts
of our countrymen to swell with honest pride.
Surely when we reach the brink of the yawn
ing abyss, we shall recoil with horror from the
last fatal plunge. By such a dread catastro
phe the hopes of the friends of freedom
throughout the world would be destroyed, and
a long night of despotism would enshroud the
nations. Our example for more than eighty
years would not only be lost; but would be
quoted as a conclusive proof that man is unfit
for self government.
't is not every wrong—nay, it is not every
grevious wrong—which can justify a resort to
such a fearful alternative. This ought to be
the last desperate remedy of a despairing peo
ple, after every other constitational means of
conciliation• had been exhausted. We should
rejlect that under this free government there
is an incessant ebb and flow in public opinion.
The slavery question, like everything human,
will have its day. I firmly believe that it has
already reached and passed the culminating
point. But if, in the midst of the existing ex
citement, the Union shall perish, the evil may
then become irreparable. Congress can con
tribute much to avert it by proposing and re
commending to the Legislatures of the -several
States the remedy for existing evils, which the
Constitution has itself provided for its own pre
servation. This has been tried at "different criti- .
cal periods of our history, and always with
eminent success. It is to be foisnd in the fifth
article providing for its own amendment.—
Under this article amendments have beenpro
posed by two-thirds of both Rouses of Congress
and have been " ratified by the Legislatures
of three fourths of the several States," and
consequently become parts of the Constitution.
To this process the country Is indebted for the
clause prohibiting Congress from passing any
law respecting the establishment of religion, or
abridging the freedom of speech or of the
press, or of the right of petition. To this we
are also indebted for.the Bill of Rights-which
secures the people against any abuse of power
by the Federal Government. Such were the
apprehensions justly entertained by the friends
of States rights at that period as to have ren
dered it extremely doubtful whether the Con
stitution could have long survived without these
_ .
Again, the Constitution was amended by the
same process after the election of President
Jefferson by the House of Representatives, in
February, 1803. This amendment was render
ed necessary to prevent -a recurrence of the
dangers which had seriously threatened the
existence of the Government during the pen
dency of that election. The article for its own
amendment was intended to secure the amicable
adjustment of conflicting constitutional ques
tions like the present, which might arise be
tween the governments of the States and that
of. the United States. This appears from con
temporaneous history.
In this connection, I shall merely , call atten
tion to a few sentences in Mr. lidairs!on's justly
celebrated report, in 1799, to the legislature of
Virginia. In this he ably and conolitsively
defended the resolutions of the preceding
legislature against the strictures of several
other State legislatures. These were mainly
founded np9l2 ,the protest of the Virginialegho
lature againat the "Allen and Sedition Acts,"
as "palpable and alarming infractions of the
Constitution." In pointing out the peaceful
and constitutional remedies, and he referred to
none other, to which the States were authori
zed to resort, on such occasions, he concludes
by saying, "that the legislatures of the States
might have made a direct representation to
Congress with a view to obtain the rescinding
of the two offensive acts.-d - r they might have
represented to their respective Senator in Con
gress their wish that tiro-thirds thereof would
propose an explanntory amendment, o the Co
nstitution, or two-thirds of themselves, if such
had been their option, might, by an applies,.
tion Congress, have obtained*" Convention
for the same object." -
This is the very course which I earnestly re
commend in order to obtain an fiexpleastory
amendment" of the Constitution on the the
subject slavery. This might originate with Con
gress or the State Legislatures, as maybe deem:.
ed most advisable to attain thenbject. The ex p lana tory - amenament-Might be con
finedo to the Anal settlement. of the ia-nocon
strugtion.of_the Constitaitthree-apecial
1. AA express reCOvarop i ,of the right
property in maces in the :States wi;
exists or may hereafter exibt.
2 The duty of protecting this rigid.
the common territories thioughout ti:
; 4 -
ritorial existence, and until thiy •
raffled as States into the L'ni at, with ct
out slavery, 118 their ccmititutions
3 A like recognition of th© right
master to have his slave, who has a.scar..!
ono State to another, restored oral
op" to him, and of the validity of the
slave law enacted fcr this pur r
with a declaration that all State laws
or defeating this right are violati, 1.,
Constitution, and are conscquectiy
It may be objected that this eur.stl
the Constitution has already been s,:tt;
Supreme. Court of the United ;States. ,t , .. 1
more ought to be required. Tor a ,
that a very large proportion of
the United States still contest thec ri„ ,
tbit decision, sad never will cease 1.,
tion and admit its binding lorce uutl.
established by the people o' 6c• l ! ,•‘;
in their sovereign character. such , ,
tory amendment would, it is believ.,
terminate the existing dissensions t
peace and harmony among the States
It ought not to be doubted that bt:
peal to the arbitrayment establi,hui
Constitution itself would be receive i w, t • -
by all the States of the Confederacy
event it ought to be tried in a spirit
Hatton before any of those States 1. ii,t
themselves from the Union.
Whet I entered upon tho duties of L, 1
<feudal Whoa, the aspect of neither
&fru nor domestic affairs was at ail ant :-f
We 'Veto involved in dangerous con.
with several nations, and two of ()Lt. I L ,
were Ina state of revolution agninit the
A restoration of the African slave
numerous and powerful advocates. I
military expeditions were countt.t t
many of our citizens, and were state:. I
fiance of the efforts of the Governine , ,
cape from our shores, for the purpo,
ins war upon the unoffeuding peopl. t
boring republics with whom we wero At ,
In addition to these and other ditlit.
experienced a revulsion in monet..uv .t
EOM after my advent to power, of unvxarui;
severity and of ruinous consequencei t
great interests of the country. Whys
a retrospect of what was then our c I
and contrast this with its material t:,
the time of the late Presidential el,.
have abundant reason to return tttn A •
thanks to that merciful Providence shim I
never forsaken us as a nation in all 0 ,, ,r
Our relations with Great Britain nte :
most friendly character. Since the c, , mm
meat of my administration, the two tlan.:,.; •
questions, arising from the Clayton and
treaty and from the right of search
the British goverment, hove been atm
and honorably adjusted.
The discordant construction of th
and Buiwer treaty between the two g, , N
ments, which at different periods of the
akin, bore a threatening aspect, have re,u
In a final settlement entirely satisfactory
Government. In my annual message Iht
ed Congress that the British government 11
the republic; of Honduras and Nicaragu t .3
pursuance of - the understanding between
two governments. It is nevertheless cm.:. t
ly expectedthat this good work will e , O e -
oomp 1." This confident expectat , ..t,
mince been fulfilled. Her Britanic Majetty
eluded a treaty with Honduran on the 24th -
vember, 1859, and with Nicaragua on the 9;. , til
Auguat, 1860, relinquishing the Mosquito pt..
tectorate. Besides, by the former, the
Islands are recognized as a part of the repub'l.
of Honduras. It may be observed that the
stipulations of these treaties conform in ev,r ) .
important particular to the amendments ad via
ed by the Senate of the United States to the
, I treaty concluded at London on the 19th
lOctober, 1856, between the two government:.
rlt will be recollected that this treaty was reject
ed by the British government because of it, 0..-
jection to the just and important amendtml.-.
of the Senate to the article relating to ltmitm
and the other islands in the Bay of liondura,
It must be a source of sincere satisfaction to
all classes of our fellow-citizens, and esphc:all
to those engaged in foreign commerce, that
claim on the part of Great Britain, forcibly o,
visit and search American merchant vessels ore
the high seas in time of peace, has been ah..l.
doned. This was by far the most dangerous
question to the peace of the two countries which
hem existed since the war of 1819. Whilst
it remained open, they might at any moment
have been precipitated into a war. This was
rendered manifest by the exasperated state
public feeling throughout our entire country,
produced by the forcible search of America!:
merchant vessels by British cruisers cn the
coast of Cuba, in the spring of 1858. The Ame
rican people bailed with general acclaim the
orders. of..the Secretary of the Navy to our
naval force in the Gulf of Mexico, "to pole
all vessels of the United States on the
seas from search or detention by the rese:l4o.-
war of any other nation."
These orders might have produced en intah
diate collision between the naval forces of 0,2
two countries. This was most fortun itelY P , "
vented by an appeal' to the justice of G reat
Britain; and to the law ofinations as expouutle
by her own most eminent jurists.
The only question of any importance which
gill remains open is the disputed title between
the two governments to the island of San Jew
in the vicinity of Washington Territory. A ,
thls,question is still under negotiation, it is rwt
deemed adirisable at the present moment ti
make any other allusion to the subject.
The recent visit of the Prince of Wales, LI
private character '
to the people of this country.
has proved to be a most auspicious event.
its consequences, it cannot fail to increase t
kindred and kindly feelings which I trust u3:l
ever actuate the government and peopl,
both countries in their political and social
terconrse with each other.
With France, our ancient and powerful ail . .
our relations continue to be of the most frie:/ 1
ly character. A decision has recently born
made by a French judicial tribunal, with 111.2
approbation of the Imperial Goyernme , .,t
which cannot fail to foster the sentiments et
mutual regard that have so long existed be
tween the two countries. Under the Fter.ii ,
law no person, can serve in the artaits of nave
unless he be a French citizen
The law of. France recognizfng the mit
right of expatriation, it follows as a nects:i.w ,
consequence that a Frenchman, by the filet
having become a ,¢tizen of the United Stato ,
has c h anged hie nWeigiance and has lost his na
tive character. He cannot, i
therefore be con ,
pelted to serve in the French armies n cave he
should return to his native country. These
principles were announced in 1852 by the
Preach Minister of War, and in two late saes:
have been confirmed by the French judiciary.
In theca, two natives of France have hero di:-
charged from the French army, because tho:
had become American citizens. To employ the
language of our present Minister to Frot , cc,
who has rendered good service on this occasion.
"I do not think our French naturalized :Lilo"'
citizens will hereafter experience much anvoi
same on this subject." I venture to P"d' t
that the time is not for distant when the otbo
continental powers will adopt the same ‘Ni;"
and just policy which has done so much boo
to-theiiffirtenefter l y in ment of the Empen.r.
In any event; our Government is bound to pro
tect the right; of our naturalized citizens every