Presbyterian banner. (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 1860-1898, December 15, 1860, Image 1

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'Editors anti Proprietors.
sullsouivrtoNs 51.30
1s Muss 1.25
IMIAVERED IN rausit or Tun C/III:4 2.00
For Two DOLLAR:f t WO will enrol by nail seventy nuriAere
nod I'm 0:1), ltoMan, thirty-threo minibus.
oitom Eluding 110 TWENTY subscrlbere and upwards, will
1,, thereby entitled to it paper without charge.
Ituttowals should be prompt, IS little before the year expires
timid payments by WIN halide, or by
Direct ull lottoro to DAVID MlllllllBl
rath, C 0.2.
Fellow-citizens of the Senate
and House of Representatives:
Throughout the year since our last meet
ing, the .country has been eminently pros
perous in all its material interests. The
general health has been excellent, our har
vests have been abundant, and plenty smiles
throughout the land. Our commerce and
manufactures have been prosecuted with en
ergy and industry, and have yielded fair and
ample returns. In short, uo nation in the
tide of time has ever presented a spectacle
of greater material prosperity than we have
done until within a very recent period.
Why is it, then, that discontent now so
extensively prevails, and the Union of the
States, which is the source of all these
blessings, is threatened with destruction ?
The long-continued and intemperate inter
ference 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 countrymen of the now impending
danger. This does not proceed solely from
the claim on the part of. Congress or the
Territorial Legislatures to exclude slavery
from the Territories, nor from the efforts
of .different States to defeat the execution
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, the remedy.
The immediate peril arises not so much
from these causes as from the fact that the
incessant and violent agitation of the sla
very question throughout the North for
the last quarter of a century, has at length
produced its malign influence on 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 heme has given
place to apprehensions of servile insurrec
tion. Many a matron throughout the
South retires at night in dread of what
may befall herself and her children before
the morning. Should this apprehension of
domestic danger, whether real or imagina
ry, extend and intensify itself until it shall
pervade the masses of the Southern people,
then disunion will become inevitable.
Self-preservation is the first laW of nature,
and has been implanted in the heart of
man by his Creator for the wisest purpose;
and no political union, however fraught with
blessings and. benefits in all other respects,
can long continue, if the necessary conse
quence be to render the homes and the fire
sides of nearly half the parties to it habit
ually 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, Consti
tution and the Union throughout all gen
But let us take warning in time, and re
move 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. 1n.1835
pictorial hand-bills and inflamatory appeals
were circulated extensively throughout the
South, of a character to excite the passions
of the slaves, and, in the language of Gen.
Jackson, " to stimulate them to insurrec
tion, and produce all the horrors of a ser
vile war. This agitation has ever since
been continued by the public press, by the
proceedings of State and county conven
tions, and by abolition sermons and lec
tures. The time of Congress has been oc
oupied in violent speeches on the never
ending subject; and appeals in pamphlet
and other forms, endorsed by distinguished
names, have been sent forth from this cen
tral point, and spread broadcast over the
How easy would it be for the American
people to settle the slavery question forever,
and to restore peace and harmony to this
dietracted country! 11 1
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 per
mitted to manage their domestic institu
tions in their own. way. As sovereign
States, they, and they alone, are responsi
ble before God and the world for the sla
very existing among them. For this the
people of the North are not responsible,
and have no more right tgointerfere than
with similar institutions itlyßussia or Bra
zil. Upon their good sense and patriotic
forbearance I confess I still greatly rely.
Without their aid, it is beyond the power
of any President, no matter what may be
his owu political proclivities, to restore
peace and harmony among the States.
• Wisely limited and restrained as is his
power, under our Constitution and laws,
lie alone can accomplish but little, for good
or for evil, on such a momentous question.'
And this brings me to observe that the
election of any one of our fellow-citizens
to the office of President does not of itself
afford just cause for dissolving the Union.
This is more especially true if his election
has been effected by a mere plurality, and
not a majority, of the people, and has re
sulted from transient and temporary causes,
which may probably never again occur. In
order to justify a resort to revolutionary
resistance, the Federal Government must
be guilty of " a deliberate, palpable and
dangerous exercise" of power not granted
by the Constitution. The lute Presidential
election, however, has been held in strict
conformity with its express provisions.
How, then, can the result justify a revolu
tion to destroy this very Constitution ?
Reason, justice, a regard for the Constitu
tion, all require that we shall wait for
some overt and daneerous aet 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 justify the fbars of the South that be
will attempt to invade their constitutional
rights. But are such apprehensions of
continent danger in the future sufficient
to justify the immediate destruction of the
noblest system of government ever devised
by mortals ? From the very nature of his
office, and its high responsibilities, he must
necessarily be conservative. The stern
duty of administering the vast and com
plicated concerns of this Government af
fords in itself a guarantee that he will not
attempt any violation or a clear constitu
tional right. After all, lie 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 remark
able 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 pres
ent indications, that no probability exists
of the passage of such an act, by a majori
ty of both Houses, either in the present
or the next Congress. Surely under these
circumstances, we ought to be restrained
• -
VOL. IX., NO. 13.
from present action by the precept of Him
who spate as never man spake, that " suf
ficient 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
secession, that the Southern States are de
nied equal rights with the other States in
the common Territories. By w,hat author
ity 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 pro
tection 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 immediate dissolution of
the Union. It is true that the Territorial
Legislature of Kansas, on the 23d of Feb
ruary, 1860, passed in great haste an act,
over the veto of the Governor, declaring
that slavery " is, and shall be forever pro
hibited 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 Territorial Legislature. Yet
such has been the factious temper of the
times that the correctness of this decision
has been extensively impugned before the
people, and the question has given rise to
angry political conflicts throughout the
country. Those who have appealed from
this judgment of our highest constitutional
tribunal to popular assemblies would, if
they could, invest a Territorial Legislature
with power to annul the sacred rights of
property. This power Congress is ex
pressly forbidden by the Federal Constitu
tion to exercise. Every State- Legislature
in the Union is forbidden by its own con
stitution to exercise it. It cannot be exer
cised in any State, except by the people in
their highest sovereign capacity, when
framing or amending their State Constitu
tion. In like manner it can only be exer
cised by the people of a Territory repre
sented in a convention of delegates, for the
purpose of framing a constitution, prepar
atory 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 sov
ereign 'authority, and not of subordinate
Territorial legislation: Were it otherwise,
then indeed would the equality of the
States in the: Territories be destroyed, and
the rights of property in slaves would tit
pond not upon the guarantees of the Con
stitution, but upon the shifting majorities
of an irresponsible Territorial Legislature.
Such a doctrine, from its intrinsic unsound
ness, cannot long influence any considera
ble portion of our people much less can it
afford a good reason for a dissolution of the
The most palpable violations of consti
tutional duty which have yet been commit
ted consist in the acts of different State
Legisfatures to defeat the execution of the
Fugitive Slave Law. It ought to be re
membered, however, that for these acts,
neither Congress nor any President can
justly be held responsible. Having been
passed in violation of the Federal Constitu
tion, they are therefore null and void. All'
the courts both State and National, before
whom the question has arisen, have fro`m
the beginning declared the Fugitive Slave
Law to be 'constitutional. The single ex
ception is that of a State Court in Wiscon
sin; and this has not only been reversed
by the proper appelate tribunal, but has
met with such universal reprobation that
there can be no danger from it as a prece
dent. The validity 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, re
quiring that fugitive slaves who escape
ftom service in one State to another, shall
be " delivered up " to their masters.
Without this provision it is a well-known
historical fact that the Constitution itself
could never have been adopted by the con
vention. In one form or other, under the
ants of 1793 and 1850, both being substan
tially the same, the Fugitive Slave Law
has been the law o? 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 Pres
ident, as it has been my own, to act with
vigor in executing this supreme law against
the conflicting enactments of State Legis-'
latures. Should he toil in the performance
of this high duty, be will then have mani
fested a disregard of the Constitution 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
been' carried into execution in every con
tested case since the commencement of the
present administration ; though often it is
to be regretted, with great loss and incon
venience to the master, and with consider
able expense to the Government. Let us
trust that the State Legislatures will repeal
their unconstitutional and obnoxious enact
ments. 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
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
Statest, after having first used all peaceful
and constitutional means to obtain' redress,
would be justified in revolutionary resist
ance to the government of the Union.
I have purposely confined my remarks to
revolutionary resistance, because it has
been claimed within the last few years that
any State, whenever this shall be its sov
ereign will and pleasure, may secede from
the Union, in accordance with the Consti
tution, and without any violation of the
constitutional rights of the other members"
of the Confederacy. That as each became
parties to the Union by the vote of its own
people assembled in convention; so any one
of them may retire from the Union in a
similar manner by the vote of such a con
In order to justify secession as a consti
tutional remedy it must be on the princi
ple that the Federal Government is a mere
voluntary association of States, to be dis
solved at pleasure by any one of the con
tracting parties. If this be so, the Con
federacy 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
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 foreathers many years of toil, priva
tion and blood to establish.
Such a principle is Wholly inconsistent
with the history, as well as the character,
of the Federal Constitution. After it was
framed, with the greatest deliberation and
care, it was submitted to conventions of
the people of the several States for ratifica
tion. Its provisions were discussed at
length in those bodies, composed of the
first men of the country. Its opponents
contended that it conferred powers upon the
Federal Government dangerous to the
rights of the States, whilst its advocates
maintained that, under a fair construc
tion of the instrument, there was no foun
dation for such apprehensions. In that
mighty struggle between the first intellects
of this or any other country, it never oc
curred to any individual, either among its
opponents or advocates, to assert, or even
to intimate, that their efforts were all vain
labor, because the moment that any State
felt herself agrieved she might secede
from the Union. What a crushing argu
m w
ent ould 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 Gov-,
ernment that such a proposition was first
advanced. It was then met and refuted by
the conclusive arguments of Gen. Jackson,
who, in his message of the 16th January,
1833, transmitting the nullifying ordinance
of South Carolina to Congress employs
the following language : " The right of
the people of a single State to absolve
themselves at will, and without the consent
of the other States, from their most solemn
obligations, and hazzard the liberty and
happiness of the millions composing this
Union, cannot be acknowledged. Such
authority is believed to be utterly repug
nant both to the principles upon which
the general Government is constituted and
to the objects which it was expressly form
ed to attain."
It is not pretended that any clause in
the Constitution gives countenance to such
a theory. It is altogether founded upon
inference, not from any language contained
in the instrument itself, but from the sov-
ereign character of the several States by
which it was ratified. But is it beyond
the power of the State, like an individual,
to yield a portion of its sovereign rights to
secure the remainder? In the language of
Mr. Madison, who has been called the
father of the Constitution, " It wds formed
by the States—that is, by the people in
each of the States, acting in their highest
sovereign capacity, and formed consequent
ly by the same authority which formed the
State Constitutions."
" Nor is the Government of the United
States created by the Constitution, less a
Government 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 judiciary depart-
ments. It operates, like them, directly on
persons and things ; and, like them, it has
at command a phsical force for executing
.the-powers committed-to-it."--
was intended to be perpetual, and not
to be annulled at the pleasure of any one of
the contracting parties.. The old articles
of confederation were entitled "Articles of
Confederation and Perpetual Union be
tween 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
Confederation, recites that it was establish
ed "in order to form a pore perfect
Union." And yet it is contended that
this "more perfect Union." does not in
clude the essential attribute of perpetuity.
But that the Union was designed to be
perpetual, appears conclusively ',from - the
nature and extent of the powers conferred
by the Constitution on the Federal Govern
ment. These powers embrace . the very
highest attributes of national 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 Governments: It is
invested 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 enumerate the other high pow
ers which have been conferred. 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 com
mon with the States to lay and collect all
other taxes.
.But the Constitution has not only con
ferred these high powers upon Congress,
but it has adopted effectual means to re
strain the States from interfering with their
exercise. For that purpose it has, in
strong prohibitory language, expressly de
clared 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, ex post
facto law, or law impairing the obligation
of contracts." Moreover, " without the
consent of Congress no State shall lay any
any imposts or duties on any imports or
exports, except what may be absolutely
necessary for executing its inspection
laws;" and, if they exceed this amount,
the excess shall belong to the United
And "no State shall, without the con
sent of Congress, lay any duty on tonnage;
keep troops, or ships of- war, in time of
peace; enter into any agreement or com
pact with another State, or with a -foreign
power, or engage in war, unless actually
invaded, or in 'such imminent danget as
will not admit of delay."
In order still further to secure the unin
terrupted exercise of these high poWers
against State interposition, it is provided .
" that this Constitution and the laws of the
United States which shall be made in pur
suance thereof; and all treaties made, or
which shall be niade, under the authority
of the United States, shall be the su
preme law of the land; and the judges in
every State shall ,lad bound thereby, any
thing in the Constitution or laws of 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 of the United States and of
the several States, shall be bound by oath
or affirmation to support this Constitution."
In order to carry into effect these pow
ers, the Constitution has established a per
fect government all its forms, Legisla
tive, Executive -and. ;Judicial; and this
Government, to the extent of its powers,
acts directly upon the
of every State, and
cress by the agency of
this respect it differs
Government under the
which was confined to
on the States in their
Tbis left it in the
whether to obey or to
declined to comply w'
It thus became' nec
of removing thia-baey
form a more perfect
Government which c
the people, and execu,
out the intermediate
This has been accomi
tution of the United
In short, the Gove)
Constitution, and di
from the sovereign
several States, has pr,
to exercise its power
these States, in the el
each one of them pf
not deleoated to the
reserved to the Stai
the people."
To the extent of
the Constitution of the
much a part of the
State, and is as bind
though it had been text
This Government.
and powerful GoverL
the attributes of soy ,
cial subjects to which
Its framers never inter
its bosom the seeds of ii
nor were they at its creation guilty of the
absurdity of providing f r its own disso
lution. It was not inten dby its framers
to be the baseless fabric o 4'a vision, which,
at the touch of the ench rater, would van
ish into thin air, but „ substantial and
mighty fabric, capable of : esisting the slow
decay of time, and of dgying—the storms
of ages. Indeed, well may' the jealous
patriots of that day have *Aged fears that
a government of such hi potters liotiers might
violate the reserved riglits , nf , the States,
and wisely did they ad st;,the rule of a
strict construction of the Powers to pre
vent the danger. But t t
ey did not fear,
nor had they any reason* 'imagine, that
the Constitution would 'Ocer be so inter
preted as to enable any Stateyby her own
act, and without the conAit=of her sister.
If, - ,
States, to discharge her prpte from all or
any of their Federal obligations.
It may be asked, then, Ire :the people of
the States without redres against the ty
ranny and oppression of ' be 'Federal Gov
ernment? By n 3 meank The _right of
resistance on the part AK . the governed
against the oppression of then. Governments
cannot be denied. It exilds indepernlently
of all Constitutions, andfchd.s been exer
cised at all periods ' history.
Under it old. Gover teen de
stroyed, and new 01 ;n their
place. It is embodi and ex
press language in 01 , tion of
Independence. Bu,
ever be observed tl
against an establish(
a voluntary secessi.
an inherent Constitu,
let uS look the dant
Secession is neither
olution. It may or
fiable revolution, bul
What, in the me,
&lays and true pasii
He is bound by solemn oath before
and the country "to take care , that the laws
be faithfully executed," and from this obli
gation he cannot be absolved by any human
power. But what if the performance of
this duty, in whole or in part, has been ren
dered impracticable by events over which
he could have exercised no control ? Such,
at the present moment, is through
out the State of South Carolina, so far as
the laws of the United States to secure the
adminiseration 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 car
ried into execution, have already resigned.
We no longer have a District Judo. o e a District
Attorney, or a Marshal in South Carolina.
In fact, the whole machinery of the Fed
eral Government, necessary for the distri
bution of remedial justice among the peo
ple, has been demolished, and it would be
difficult, if not impossible, to replace it.
The only acts of Congress on the stet ute-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' his posse comitatus, is unable to ex
ecute civil or criminal' process in any par
ticular 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-7
This duty cannot,
,by possibility, be per
formed in a State where no judicial author
ity exists to issue process, and where there
is no Marshal to execute it, and where,
even if there were such an officer, the en
tire population would constitute one solid
combination to resist him.
The bare enumeration of these provi
sions proves how.inadequate they are with
out 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 Con
The same insuperable obstacles do not
lie in the way of exeuting .the laws for the
collection of the customs. The revenue
still continues, to be collected, as hereto?
fore, at the custom-house in Charleston;
and should the collector unfortunately re
sign, a successor may be appointed , to per
form this duty.
Then in regard to the property of the
United States in South Carolina. This has
been purchased for a fair equivalent,," by
the consent of the Legislature of the
State," " for the erection of forts, maga
zines, aresnals," &c., and over these the
authority "to exercise exclusive Legisla
tion has been expressly granted by the
Constitution to Congress. It is not: be
lieved that any attempt will be made to ex
pel the United States from this property
by force ; but if in this 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 contingency, the
responsibility for consequences would right
fully rest upon the heads of the assailants.
Apart from the execution of the laws, so
far as this may be practicable, the Execu
tive has no authority to decide what shall
be the relations between the Federal Gov
ernment and South Carolina. He has been
invested with no such discretion. He pos
sesses no power to change the relations
heretofore existing between them, much
less to acknowledge the independence of
that State. This would be;to invest a mere
executive officer with the power of recog
nizing the dissolution of the confederacy
among our thirty-three sovereign States.
It bears no resemblance to the recognition
of a foreign de facto Government, involving,
no such responsibility. Any attempt to do
this .Kould, on his part, be a naked act of
usurpation. It is, therefore, my duty to
submit to Congress the whole question in
all its bearings. The course of events is so
.ndividnal citizens
own de
3ers. In
from the
i of each
they often
order to
itablish a
,ctly upon
laws with-
the Consti-
rapidly hastening forward, that the emer
gency may soon arise when you may be
called upon to decidethe momentous ques
tion whether you possess the power, by
force of arms, to compel a State to remain
in 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,: Has the
Constitution delegated to Congress the
power to coerce a State into submission
which is attempting to withdraw 'or actually
has withdrawn from the Confederacy ? If
answered in, the a.ffirmative,.it must be on
the principle , that the power has been con
ferred upon Congress to declare and to make
A by the
uh of the
;ame right
war against a State. After much serious
reflection, I have arrived at the conclusion
that no such power has been delegated to
1e orall
cases, that
tes, " but
!ly, or to
Congress, or to any other department of the:
Federal Government. It is manifest, upon
•an inspection of the Constitution, that this
this is not among the specific and enumer
ated powers grantedlo Congress ; and it is
equally .apparent that its exercise- is not
" necessary and,proper •for carrying into ex
ecution" any of these powers. So far
from this Tower havineen d'elegated
ttnigreeliitlffis'WßeFsTPitfused by the
Convention which framed'the Conatitution.
is as
of each
eople, as
the e'n:
a great
d with all
the spe
implant in
liown destruction,
)n must
and not
irtue of
an short,
the face.
,han rev-
a u e
olu ion
-owns -
c - 1 vel
It appears, from the proceedings, of that
body, that on the 31st"of May, 1787, the
clause ".authorizing an exertion of the
force of the whole against a delinquent
State " came up for consideration. Mr.
Madison opposed it in a brief but powerful
speech, from' which shall.extract but a
single .sentence. He observed : " The use
of force against a State would look more
ike a declaration of war than an infliction
of punisbment; and would probably be
considered by the party attacked as a disso
lution of all previous compacts by which
it might be bound." Upon his motion the
clause was unanimously postponed, and was
never, I believe, again preseuted. Soon
afterwards on the Bth of June, 1787, when
incidentalfy adverting to the subject, he
said: "Any Government for the United
States, formed on the supposed practicabil
ity of using force against the unconstitu
tional proceedings of the States, would
prove as visionary and fallacious as the
Government of Congress," evidently mean
ing the then existing Congress of the old
Without descending to particulars, it
may be safely asserted, that the power to
make war against a State is at variance
with the whole spirit and intent of the
Constitution. &Oppose such a war should
result in the conquest of a State, how are
We to govern it afterwards ? all 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 Sena
tors and Representatives to Congress, and
to perform all the other duties depending
upon their own volition and required from
the free citizens of a free State as a con
stituent member of the Confederacy.
'But, if we possessed this power, would
it be wise to exercise it under existing cir
cumstances? The object would doubtless
be to preserve the. nion. War would not
only present the most effectual means of
destroying it, but would banish all
hope its.p.etweaklekre.constructon.,.Be
-in The -fraternal conflict—a, -vast
amount of blood and treasure would
be expended, rendering future reconcilia
tion between the States impossible. In
the meantime, who can foretell what would
be the sufferings and privations of the peo
ple during its existence ? •
The fact is, that our TJnion rests upon
public opinion, and can never be cemented
by the blood of its citizens shed in civil
war. If it cannot live in the affections of
the people, it,must one day perish. Con
gress possess many means of preserving it
by conciliation ; but the sword was not
placed in their hand to preserve it by force.
' But may I be permitted solemnly to in
voke my countrymen to pause and delib
erate, before they determine to destroy this,
the grandest temple which has ever been
dedicated to human freedom since the
world began ? It has been consecrated by
the blood-of our fathers, by the glories of
the past and by the hopes of the future.
The. Union has already made us the most
prosperous, and, ere long, will, if preserved,
render us the most powerful nation on, the
face of the earth. In every foreign region
of the globe the title of American citizen
is held in the highest respedt, and when
pronounced in a foreign land it causes the
hearts of our countrymen to swell with
honest pride: Surely when we reach the
brink of the yawning abyss, we shall recoil
with horror from the last fatal plunge. By
such a dread catastrophe the hopes of the
friends of freedom throughout the world
would be destroyed, .and a long night of
leaden despotism would enshroud the na
tions.' Oar example for more than eighty
years would not only he lost, but it would
be quoted as a conclusive prod that man is
unfit for self-government:
It is not every wrong—nay, it is . not
every grievous wrong—which can justify
a resort to such a fearful alternative. This
ought to be the last desperate remedy of a
despairing people, after every other consti
tutional means of conciliation had been ex
hausted. We should reflect 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. firmly believe that it has
reached and passed the, culminating point.
But if, in the midst of the existing excite
ment, the Union shall perish, the evil may
then become irreparable. Congress can
contribute much to avert it, by proposing
and recommending to the Legislatures of
the'several States the remedy for existing
evils, which the Constitution has itself pro
vided for its own preservation. This has
been tried: at different critical periods of
our history, and always' with eminent suc
cess. It is to be found in the sth article
providing for its own• amendment. Under
this article amendments have been proposed
by two-thirds of both houses of Congress,
and have been " ratified by the Legislatures
of three-fourths of the several States/' and
have, consequently, become parts of the Con
stitution. To this process, the country is
indebted for the clause prohibiting Con
gress from , pasting any law respecting an
establishment of religion or abridging the
freedom of speech or of the press, or of the
right of petition. To this we are also in
debted fur the Bill of, Rights,- which se
cures the people against any abuse of power
by the Federal Government. Such were
the apprehensions justly entertained by the
friends of State rights at that period as to
have rendered it extremely, doubtful wheth
er the Constitution could have long sur
vived without these amendments.
Again the Constitution was amended by
the same process after the election of Pres
ident Jefferson by the House of Represen
tatives, in February, 1803. This amend
ment was rendered necessary to prevent a
recurrence of the dangers which had se
riously threatened the existence of the
Government during the pendency of that
election. The :article for its own' amend
ment was intended to secure the AnTipftble
WHOLE NO, 429.
adjustment of conflicting Constitutional
questions like the present, which might
arise. between the Governments • of the
States and that ot the United States. This
appears from contemporaneous history. In
this connexion, I shall merely call attention
to a few , sentences in Mr. Madison's justly
celebrated report, in 1799, to the legislature
of Virginia. In this he ably and conclu
sively defended the resolutions of the pre=
Ceding Legislature against the strictures of
several other State Legislatures. These were
mainly founded upon, the protest of the
Virginia Legislature against . the " Alien
and Sedition Acts," as " palpable and
alarming infractions of the Constitution."
In pointing out the peaceful and Constitu
tional remedies—and he referred to none
other to which the States were authorized
to resort, on such occasions—he concludes
by saying, " that the Legislatures of the
States might have made a direct represen
tation to Congress, with a view to obtain a
rescinding of 'the two offensive acts, or
they might have represented to their res
pective Senators in Congress their wish
that two-thirds thereof would propose an
explanatory amendment to the Constitu
tion, or two-thirds of themselves, if such
had been their option, might; by an appli
cation. to Congreiv,,v,e 5112W.394, s
troll 'fel the — same object :
This is the V.ry course whichl earnestly
recommend in order to obtain an " explan
atory amendment" of the Constitution on
the subject of slavery. This might origi
nate with Congress or the State Legisla
tures, as may be deemed most advisable to
attain the object.
The explanatory • amendment might be
confined to the final settlement of the true
construction of the Constitution on three
special points.
1. An express recognition of the right
of property in slaves in the States where it
now exists or may hereafter exist.
2. The duty of protecting this right in
all the common Territoriesthroughout their
Territorial existence, and until they shall
be admitted as States into the Union, with
or without slavery, as their Constitutions
may prescribe.
3. A like recognition of the right of the
master to have his slave, who has escaped
from one State to another, restored and
" delivered up " to him, and of the valid
ity of the Fugitive Slave law, enacted for
this purpose, together with a declara
tion that all State laws impairing or
defeating this right, are violations of the
Constitution, and are consequently null and
It may be objected that this construction
of the Constitution has already been settled
by the Supreme Court of the United States,
and what more ought to be required ; ? The
answer is, that a very large proportion of
the people - of the United States still' contest
the correctness of this decision, and never
will cease from agitation and admit its
binding force until clearly established by
the people of the several States in their
sovereign character. Such an
amendment would, it *is believed, forever
terminate the existing dissentions, and
restore peace and harmony among the
It ought not to be doubted that such an
appeal to the arbitrament established by the
Constitution itself would be received with
favor by all the States of the Confederacy.
In any event, it ought to be tried in a
spirit of conciliation before any of these
Stitei — shall-s4firate — therudelves ftwbmthe
When I entered upon the duties of the
presidential office the aspect neither of our
foreign nor domestic affairs was at all sat
isfactory. We were involved in dangerous
complications with several nations, and two
of our Territories were iu a state of revo-
lution against the Government. A festo
ration of the African slave trade had nu
merous and powerful advocates. Unlawful
military expeditions were countenanced by
many of our Citizens, and were suffered, in
defiance of the efforts of the Government,
to escape from our shores, for the purpose
ofmaking war upon the unoffending people
of neighboring Republics with whom we
were at peace. In addition to these and
other difficulties, we experienced a revul
sion in' monetary affairs, soon after my ad
vent to power, of unexampled severity and
of ruinous consequence to all the great in
terests .of the country. When we take a
retrospect of what was then our condition,
and contrast this with its material prosper
ity at the time of the late Presidential
election, we have abundant reason to return
our grateful thanks to that merciful Provi
dence which has never forsaken us as a na
tion in ail our past trials.
Our relations .with Great Britain are of the
most friendly character. Since the Commence
-meat of my adtninistration, the, two dangerous
questions arising from the Clayton and Bulwer
treaty and from the right of search claimed by,
the British Government, have been amicably and
honorably adjusted.
The discordant constructions of the Clayton
and Bulwer treaty between the two Governments;
which at different periods of the discussion bore
a threatening aspect, have resulted in a final set
tlement entirely satisfactory to this Government.
In my last annual message I informed. Congress
that the British Government had not then " com
pleted treaty arrangements with the Republics of
Honduras and Nicaraima, in pursuance of the
understanding between the two Governments: It
"nevertheless confidently expected that this good
work will ere long be accomplished." This con
fident expectation haS since been fulfilled. Her
Britannic Majesty concluded a treaty with Hon-
Auras on the 28th of November, 1859; and with
Nicaragua on the 28th of Aughst, 1860, relin
quishing the Mosquito protectorate. Besides, by
the former the Bay Islands are recognized es a
pert of the Republic of Honduras. It may be
observed that-the stipulations of these. treaties
conform • in every important particulhr to the
amendments adopted by the Senate of the United
States to the treaty concluded at London on the
. I.7th of October, 1856, between the two Govern
ments. It. will be recollected that' this treaty
was rejected by the British Government because
of its objection to the just and important
amendriient of the senate to the article relating
to Buatan and the other islands in the Bay of
It must be a source of sincere satisfaction to
to all classes of our fellow-citizens, and especial
ly to those engaged in foreign commerce, that
the claim, on the part of Great Britain, forcibly
to visit an I search American merchant vessels on
the high seas in time of peace, has been aban
doned. This was by far the most dangerous
question to the peace of the two countries which
has existed since the war of 1812. Whilst it re
mained open, they might at any moment have
been precipitated into a war. This was rendered
manifest by the exasperated state of public feel
ing throughout, our entire country, produced by
the forcible search of American merchant vessels
by British cruisers on the coast of Cuba, in, the
Spring of 1858. The American people hailed
with general acclaim the orders.of the Secretary
of the Navy to our naval force in the Gulf of
Mexico, "to protect all vessels of the United
States on the, high seas from search or detention
by the vessels of war of any other. nation."
These orders might have produced, an immediate
- collision between, the naval forces of the two
"countries. This was most fortUnately prevented
by an appeal to the justice of Great Britain and
to the law of nations as expounded by her own
most eminent jurists.
The only question of any importance which
still remains open is the disputed title between
the two Govermitents to the Wand of San Juan,
in the vicinity of Washington Territory. Asthis
question is still under negotiation, it is not
deemed advisable, at .the present moment, to
make any other allusion to the subject.
The recent visit of the Prince of Wales, in a
private character, to the people of this country,
has proved to be a utast auspicious event.: In
its consequences,- it . cannot .fail - to increase the
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DAVID 111 1 B.I*111 - EY k ,CO.,
kindred and kindly feelings which I trust may
ever actuate the Government and people of both
countries in their political and social intercourse.;
with each other.
With France, our ancient and powerful ally;
our relations continue to be of the most friendly
character. A decision has recently been made
by a French judicial tribunal, with the approba
tion of the Imperial Gevernment, which cannot
fail to foster the sentiments of mutual regard
that have, so long existed between the two coun
tries. Under the French law no person can
serve in the armies of France unless he be a
French citizen. The law of France recognizing
the natural right of expatriation, it follows as a
necessary consequence that a Frenchman, by the
fact of having become - a citizen of the United
States, has changed his allegiance and has_ lost, his
native character. He cannot, therefore,elciim
pelled. to serve in the French armies in' case. he.
should return to his native country.. These prin
ciples were annouced in 1852 by the' French Min
ister of War, and in two late cases have been
I confirmed by, the French judiciary. In these, two
natives' of France have been dischargedfrom the
French army because they had become American
citizens. To employ the language of our present
Minister to France, who has rendered good ser
vice-on this oecasion, "I do not think our French
naturalized fellow-citizens will hereafter
rience much annoyance on this subject." I ven
ture to predict that the time is not far distant
when the other Continental Powers will adopt the,
same wise and just policy which has done
‘ so
much honor to the pill : hte . ed, AvtriitAtt. ~ tin tO
a ."' i . ._ect the rights of her , naturalized
citizens eferFtwhere to the same extent as though',
they had drawn their first breath in this country.
We can recognize no distinction between our na
tive and naturalized citizens.
Between the great Einpire of Russia and the
United States the mutual friendship and regard
which has so long exist'ed' still continues to
prevail, and, if possible, to increase. Indeed,
our relations with that Empire are all that we
could desire.
E 2172
Our relations with Spain are now of a more,
ctimplipated though less dangerous character
than they have been for many years. Our citi. 4 —
zens have long held, and still continue toehold,.
numerous claims against the Spanish Govern
ment. These had been ably urged fora series
of years'by our successive diplomatic represen
tatives at Madrid, but without obtaining redress.
The Spanish Government finally agreed to insti
tute a joint commission for the adjustment of
these claims, and on the sth day of March, 1860,
concluded n. convention for this purpose with our
present Minister at Madrid. Under this conven
tion, what had been denominated. " the Cuban
claims," amounting to $128,635.54, in which
more than one hundred of our fellow-citizens are
interested, were recognized, and the Spanish
Government agreed to pay $lOO,OOO of this amount
" within three months following the exchange
of ratifications." The payment. of the remain
ing $28;635.54 was to await the decision of the
commissioners for or against "the Amistad
claim ;" but in any event the balance was to be
paid to the claimants either by Spain or the Uni
ted States. These terms .I have every reason to
know are highly satisfactory to the holders of the
Cuban claims. Indeed, they have made a formal
offer authorizing the State Department to settle
these claims, and to deduct the amount of the
Amistad claim from the sums which they are en
titled to receive from Spain. This offer, of
course, cannot be accepted.
AU other claims of citizens of the United
States against Spain, or of subjects of the Queen
of Spain against the United States, including the
"Amistad claim," were by this convention re
ferred to a board of commissioners in the usual
form. Neither the validity of the Amistad claim
nor of any other claim against either party, with
the single exception of the Cuban claims, were
recognized by the convention. Indeed, the
Spanish Government did not insist that the valid
ity of the Amistad claim should be thus recog
nized, notwithstanding ;its payment had been
recommended to Congresd by two of my prede
cessors as well as myself, and an appropriation
for that purpose bad passed the Senate of the
United States. They were content that it should
be submitted. to the board for examination and
fitt - e — ti - e — ab - eraTmS7. — Dom - ufernL
merits were bound respectively to pay the amounts
awarded to the several claimanjs " at such times
and places as may be fixed by and according to
the tenor of said awards."
I transmitted this convention to the Senate for
their constitutional action, on the 3d of May,
1860, and, on the 27th of the succeeding June,
they determined that they would "not advise
and consent" to its ratification.
These proceedings place our relations with
Spain in an awkward and embarrassing posi
tion. It is more than probable that the final ad
justment of these claims will devolve upon my
I reiterate the recommendation contained in
my annual message of December, 1858, and re
peated in that of December, 1859, in favor of the
acquisition of Cuba from Spain by fair purchase.
I firmly believe that such an acquisition would
contribute, essentially to the well-being and pros
perity of both countries in all future time, as
well as prove the certain means of immediately
abolishing the African slave trade throughout the
world. I would not repeat this recommenda
tion upon the present occasion, if I believed that
the transfer of Cuba to the United States, upon
conditions highly favorable to Spain, could justly
tarnish the national honor of the proud and an
cient Spanish monarchy. Surely no person ever
attributed to the first Napoleon a disregard of tie
national honor of France for transferring Louisi
a;na to the United States for a fair equivalent,
both in money and commercial advantages.
With the Emperor of Austria, and the remain
ing Continental Powers of Europe, including that
of the Sultan, our relations continue to be of the
most friendly character.
The friendly and .peaceful policy pursued by
the Government of the United States toward the
Empire of China has produced.the most satisfac
tory results. The treaty of Tien-sin, of the 18th
of June, 1858, has been faithfully bserved by
the Chinese authorities. The convention of the
Bth of NOVember, 1858, supplementary to this
treaty, for the adjustment and satisfaction of the
claims of our citizens on China, referred to
in my last annual message, has been already car
ried into effect, so far as this was practicable.
Under this convention, the sum of 500,000
taels, equal to about $700,000, was stipulated to
be paid in satisfaction of claims of American
citizens, out of the one-fifth of the receipts for
tonnage import, and export duties on American
vessels at the ports of Canton, Shanghai, and
Fuchau ;„and it was "agreed that this amount
shall be in full liquidation of all claims of Amer
ican citizens at the various ports to this date."
Debentures for this amount, to wit: 300,000
tads foi Canton, 100,000 for Shanghai, andloo,-
000 for Fuchau, were delivered according to the
terms of the convention by the respective Chi
nese collectors of the customs of these ports to
the agent selected by our Minister to receive the
Since that time the claims of our citizens have
been adjusted by the board of commissioners ap
pointed for that purpose under the act of March
3, 1869, and their awards, which proved satisfac
tory to the claimants, have been approved by
our Minister. In the aggregate they amount to
the sum of $498,694.78. The claimants have
already received a large proportion of the sums
awarded to them out of the fund provided, and
it is confidently expected that the remainder will
ere long be entirely paid. After the awards shall
have been satisfied, there will remain a surplus of
more than $200,000 at the disposition of Con
gress. .As this will in equity belong to the Chi
nese Government, would not justice require its
appropriation to some benevolent object in which
the Chinese may be specially interested?
Our.Ministerto China, in obedience to his in
structions, has remained perfectly neutral in the
war between Great Britain and France and the
Chinese Empire ; although, in conjunction with
the . Russian Minister, he was ever ready and
willing, had' the opportunity offered; to employ
his good offices in restoring
peace between the
parties. It is but an act of simple justice, both
to our present Minister, and his predecessor, to
state that they have proved fully equal to the
delicate, trying, and responsible positions in
which they have on different occasions been
The ratifications of the treaty with Japan, con
cluded at Yeddo, on the 29th of July, 1858, were
exchanged at Washington on the 22d of May last,
and the treaty itself was proclaimed on the suc
ceeding 41ay. There is good reason to expect
that, under its protection and influence, our
trade and intercourse with that distant and inter
esting people will rapidly increase.
The ratifications of the treaty. were exchanged
with ,unusual solemnity. For this purpose the
Tycoon•lad accredited three of his most distin
guished .subjects •as. Envoys Extraordinary and
Ministers Plenipotentiary, who were received and
treated with marked distinction and kindness
both by the Gevernment and, people of the "Erni