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STRICT AND LOOSE CONSTRUCTION.
was quite too large and frank a man ted States, I cannot help believing the to pretend that his action in this case intention was not oo permit Congress was justified by the Constitution, as to admit into the Union new States, he understood and had always inter- which should be formed outside of preted it. He said:
the territory for which, and under " This treaty must of course be laid before whose authority alone, they were then both Houses, because both have important acting. I do not believe it was meant functions to exercise respecting it. They, I that they might receive England, Irepresume, will see their duty to their country in ratifying and paying for it, so as to secure land, Holland, etc., into it, which a good which would otherwise be probably would be the case on your construcnever again in their power. But I suppose tion.” After disposing in like manthey must then appeal to the nation for an additional article to the Constitution, ap
ner of the opinion of those who conproving and confirming an act which the sider the grant of the treaty-making nation had not previously authorized. The Constitution has made no provision for our
power as boundless," and completing holding foreign territory, still less for incor- his demonstration that there was no porating foreign nations into our Union. power whatever in the Constitution, The Executive, in seizing the fugitive occurrence which so much advances the good of
as he construed it, to make this purtheir country, have done an act beyond the chase, he, with more good sense than Constitution. The Legislature, in casting consistency, concludes; “I confess, behind them metaphysical subtleties, and risking themselves like faithful servants, then, I think it important, in the presmust ratify and pay for it, and throw them- ent case, to set an example against selves on their country for doing for them unauthorized what we know they would broad construction, by appealing for have done for themselves had they been in a new power to the people. If, howsituation to do it. It is the case of a guardi- ever, our friends shall think differan, investing the money of his ward in purchasing an important adjacent territory ; ently, certainly I shall acquiesce with and saying to him, when of age, I did this satisfaction; confiding, that the good for your good; I pretend to no right to bind you: you may disavow me, and I must get sense of our country will correct the out of the scrape as I can. I thought it my evil of construction when it shall duty to risk myself for you. But we shall produce ill effects." not be disavowed by the nation, and their act of indemnity will confirm, and not weaken, the Constitution, by more strongly When, in 1811, the Territory of marking out its lines.'
Orleans was moulded into the State In a letter to Wilson C. Nicholas," of Louisiana, Mr. Josiah Quincy, a he examines and thoroughly refutes young and very ardent Federalist who the assumption, suggested by Mr. N., then represented the city of Boston that the power to purchase Louisiana in the House, indulged in what re
might possibly be distilled from the sembled very closely a menace of authority given to Congress to admit contingent secession, and similar fulnew States into the Union.”? He minations were uttered by sundry says: "But when I consider that the New England Federalists under the limits of the United States are pre- pressure of Mr. Jefferson's Embargo cisely fixed by the treaty of 1783, and and of the War of 1812. The famous that the Constitution expressly de- but unsavory Hartford Convention, clares itself to be made for the Uni- held near the close of that war, and
9 Letter to Senator Breckinridge, August 12, 1803.
10 September 7, 1803.
11 For proceedings of this Convention, sen Niles's Register, January 14, 1815.
I do not admit it.
by which the ruin of the Federal | constitutional laws, without overturning the
It is no doctrine of mine party was completed, evinced its dis- government.
that unconstitutional laws bind the people. content with matters in general, but The great question is, 'Whose prerogative is especially with Democracy and the it to decide on the constitutionality or uncon
stitutionality of the laws?' On that, the War, by a resort to rhetoric which main debate hinges. The proposition that, was denounced as tending to dis- in case of a supposed violation of the Constiunion, but which does not seem to
tution by Congress, the States have a consti
tutional right to interfere and annul the law warrant the imputation. And when- of Congress, is the proposition of the gentleever the right of secession or of nulli
If the gentleman
had intended no more than to assert the fication has been asserted, whether right of revolution for justifiable cause, he directly or by clear implication, in would have said only what all agree to. But any part of the country, or by any ale course between submission to the laws,
I cannot conceive that there can be a midparty out of power, such assertion when regularly pronounced constitutional , has called forth expressions of em- on the one hand, and open resistance, which
is revolution or rebellion, on the other. I phatic rebuke and dissent from other
say, the right of a State to annul a law of sections and antagonistic parties. Congress cannot be maintained, but on the Mr. Webster, 13 in replying to Mr. ground of the inalienable right of man to
resist oppression; that is to say, upon the Hayne of South Carolina on this ground of revolution. I admit that there is subject, forcibly said:
an ultimate violent remedy, above the Con
stitution and in defiance of the Constitu“I understood the gentleman to maintain, tion, which may be resorted to when a revthat, without revolution, without civil com- olution is to be justified. But I do not admit motion, without rebellion, a remedy for sup- that, under the Constitution, and in conforposed abuse and transgression of the powers mity with it, there is any mode in which of the General Government lies in a direct a State Government, as a member of the appeal to the interference of the State Gov- | Union, can interfere and stop the progress ernments."
of the general movement, by force of her Mr. Hayne here rose and said: “He did own laws, under any circumstances whatnot contend for the mere right of revolution, * * * Sir, the human mind is so conbut for the right of constitutional resistance. stituted that the merits of both sides of a What he maintained was that, in case of a controversy appear very clear, and very palplain, palpable violation of the Constitution pable, to those who respectively espouse by the General Government, a State may in- | them; and both sides usually grow clearer terpose; and that this interposition is con- as the controversy advances. South Carostitutional."
lina sees unconstitutionality in the tariff; Mr. Webster resumed :-“So, Sir, I under- | she sees oppression there also; and she sees stood the gentleman, and am happy to find danger. Pennsylvania, with a vision not less that I did not misunderstand him. What he sharp, looks at the same tariff, and sees no contends for is, that it is constitutional to in- such thing in it; she sees it all constitutional, terrupt the administration of the Constitu- | all useful, all safe. The faith of South Cartion itself, in the hands of those who are olina is strengthened by opposition, and she chosen and sworn to administer it, by the now not only sees, but resolves, that the tariff direct interference, in form of law, of the is palpably unconstitutional, oppressive, and States, in virtue of their sovereign capacity. dangerous; but Pennsylvania, not to be beThe inherent right of the people to reform hind her neighbors, and equally willing to their government, I do not deny; and they strengthen her own faith by a confident ashave another right, and that is, to resist un- severation, resolves also, and gives to every
12 The following extract is a fair specimen of the prevailing sentiment, at the time of the assembling of the "Hartford Convention," of the South--including South Carolina-on the subject of Secession:
"No man, no association of men, no State or set of States, has a right to withdraw itself from this Union, of its own account. The same power that knit us together can unknit. The same
formality which formed the links of the Union is necessary to dissolve it. The majority of the States which formed the Union must consent to the withdrawal of any branch of it. Until that consent has been obtained, any attempt to dissolve the Union, or distract the efficacy of its laws, is TREASON—treason to all intents and purposes." --Richmond Enquirer, November 1, 1814.
13 Debate on Foot's resolutions, January 26, 1830.
MR. WEBSTER ON NULLIFICATION.
warin affirmative of South Carolina a plain, struction. The Constitution declares that, downright, Pennsylvania negative. South the laws of Congress passed in pursuance of Carolina, to show the strength and unity of the Constitution shall be the supreme law of her opinion, brings her assembly to a una- the land. No construction is necessary nimity, within seven voices; Pennsylvania, here. It declares also, with equal plainness not to be outdone in this respect any more and precision, that the judicial power of the than in others, reduces her dissentient frac- United States shall extend to every case aristion to a single vote. Now, Sir, again I ask ing under the laws of Congress. This needs the gentleman, What is to be done? Are no construction. Here is a law, then, which these States both right? If not, which is in is declared to be supreme; and here is a the wrong? or, rather, which has the best power established, which is to interpret that right to decide? And if he, and if I, are not law. Now, Sir, how has the gentleman met to know what the Constitution means, and this? Suppose the Constitution to be a what it is, till those two State Legislatures, compact, yet here are its terms; and how and the twenty-two others, shall agree in its does the gentleman get rid of them? He construction, what have we sworn to when cannot argue the seal of the bond, nor the we have sworn to maintain it? I was forci- words out of the instrument. Here they bly struck, Sir, with one reflection, as the are ; what answer does he give to them? gentleman went on in his speech. He None in the world, Sir, except, that the quoted Mr. Madison's resolutions14 to prove effect of this would be to place the States in that a State may interfere, in a case of a condition of inferiority; and that it results deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise from the very nature of things, there being of a power not granted. The honorable
no superior, that the parties must be their member supposes the tariff law to be such own judges! Thus closely and cogently an exercise of power; and that, consequent- does the honorable gentleman reason on the ly, a case has arisen in which the State may, words of the Constitution! The gentleman if it see fit, interfere by its own law. Now says, if there be such a power of final deciit so happens, nevertheless, that Mr. Madi- sion in the General Government, he asks son deems this same tariff law quite consti- for the grant of that power. Well, Sir, I tutional! Instead of a clear and palpable show him the grant. I turn him to the violation, it is, in his judgment, no violation very words. I show him that the laws of at all. So that, while they use his authority Congress are made supreme; and that the for a hypothetical case, they reject it in the judicial power extends, by express words, to very case before them. All this, Sir, shows the interpretation of these laws. Instead of the inherent futility-I had almost used a answering this, he retreats into the general stronger word-of conceding this power of reflection, that it must result from the nainterference to the States, and then attempt- ture of things, that the States, being parties, , ing to secure it from abuse by imposing must judge for themselves. qualifications of which the States themselves “I have admitted, that, if the Constitution are to judge. One of two things is true: were to be considered as the creature of the either the laws of the Union are beyond the State governments, it might be inodified, indiscretion and beyond the control of the terpreted, or construed according to their States; or else we have no constitution of pleasure. But, even in that case, it would General Government, and are thrust back be necessary that they should agree. One again to the days of the Confederation." alone could not interpret it conclusively;
one alone could not construe it; one alone In his brief speech, which closed could not modify it. Yet the gentleman's that debate, and finished the doctrine doctrine is, that Carolina alone may conof Nullification, Mr. Webster said:
strue and interpret that compact, which
equally binds all, and gives equal rights to “Sir, if I were to concede to the gentle- all. man his principal proposition, namely, that ' So, then, Sir, even supposing the Conthe Constitution is a compact between stitution to be a compact between the States, States, the question would still be, What the gentleman's doctrine, nevertheless, is provision is made in this compact to settle not maintainable; because first, the General points of disputed construction, or contested Government is not a party to the compact, power, that shall come into controversy ? but a government established by it, and And this question would still be answered, vested by it with the powers of trying and and conclusively answered, by the Constitu- deciding doubtful questions; and, secondly, tion itself. While the gentleman is contend- because, if the Constitution be regarded as a ing against construction, he himself is set- compact, not one State only, but all the ting up the most dangerous and loose con- States, are parties to that compact, and one
14 The Virginia Resolves of 1799,
can have no right to fix upon it her own was born; while the father of John peculiar construction."
C. Calhoun died when his son was
still in his early teens. Each was by ANDREW JACKSON and JOHN C. birth a South Carolinian; for, though CALHOUN-two of the most remarka- General Jackson's birth-place is ble men ever produced in this or any claimed by his biographers for North other country--were destined to lead Carolina, he expressly asserted South the rival forces by which the Nullifi- Carolina's to be his native State, in cation issue was finally brought to a the most important and memorable practical conclusion. Though they document to which his name is apbecame and died fierce antagonists, pended, and which flowed not merely and even bitter personal enemies, from his pen, but from his heart. their respective characters and careers Each was of the original Anti-Federexhibited many points of resemblance. al, strict-construction school in our Each was of that “Scotch-Irish" politics—Calhoun's father having vePresbyterian stock with which Crom- hemently opposed the adoption of well repeopled the north of Ireland the Federal Constitution; while Jackfrom Scotland, after having all but son, entering Congress as the sole reexterminated its original Celtic and presentative of the newly admitted Catholic inhabitants, who resisted State of Tennessee (December 5, and defied his authority. That 1796), voted in a minority of twelve Scotch-Irish blood to this day evinces against the address tendering to Gensomething of the Cromwellian ener- eral Washington, on his retirement gy, courage, and sturdiness. Each from the Presidency, a respectful exwas of Revolutionary Whig antece- pression of the profound admiration dents-Jackson, though but thirteen and gratitude wherewith his whole years of age, having been in arms for public career was regarded by Conthe patriotic cause in 1780; his bro- gress and the country. General ther Hugh having died in the service Jackson was not merely an extreme the preceding year. Andrew (then Republican of the Jeffersonian Statebut fourteen) with his brother Ro- Rights School; he was understood to bert, was taken prisoner by the Brit- side with Colonel Hayne at the time ish in 1781, and wounded in the head of his great debate on Nullification and arm while a captive, for refusing with Mr. Webster. Each entered to clean his captor's boots. His bro- Congress before attaining his thirtither was, for a like offense, knocked eth year, having already taken a condown and disabled. John C. Cal- spicuous part in public affairs. Each houn was only born in the last year was first chosen to the House, but of the Revolutionary War; but his served later and longer in the Senate. father, Patrick Calhoun, was an Each was a slaveholder through most ardent and active Whig throughout of his career, always found on the the struggle. Each was early left side of Slavery in any controversy fatherless-Andrew Jackson's father affecting its claims or interests during having died before his illustrious son his public life; and neither emanci
15" Fellow-citizens of my native State !"appealing to South Carolinians in his Proclama
tion against the Nullifiers, Dec. 11, 1832. He can hardly have been mistaken on this head.
PROTECTION - MR. JEFFERSON'S VIEW.
pated his slaves by his will. Each | earliest conspicuous champion in our became, for the first time, a candidate national councils was Alexander for the Presidency in 1824, when Hamilton, General Washington's each counted with confidence on the Secretary of the Treasury, came, at powerful support of Pennsylvania. a later day, to be mainly championed When that State, through her leading by Republicans. The great merpoliticians, decided to support Jack- chants were leading Federalists; the son, Calhoun fell out of the race, but great sea-ports were mainly Federal was made Vice-President without strongholds; the seaboard was in serious opposition ; General Jackson good part Federal: it yearned for receiving a plurality of the electoral extensive and ever-expanding comvotes for President, but failing of merce, and mistakenly, but naturally, success in the House. In 1828, their regarded the fostering of Home names were placed on the same Manufactures as hostile to the conticket, and they were triumphantly summation it desired. Mr. Jefferelected President and Vice-Presi- son's Embargo had borne with great dent respectively, receiving more severity upon the mercantile class, than two-thirds of the electoral votes, inciting a dislike to all manner of including those of every State south commercial restrictions. The inteof the Potomac. This is the only rior, on the other hand, was preponinstance wherein the President and derantly Republican, and early comVice-President were both chosen from prehended the advantage of a more those distinctively known as Slave symmetrical development, a wider States ; though New York was nom- diversification, of our National Indusinally and legally a Slave State when try, through the legislative encouher Aaron Burr, George Clinton, and ragement of Home Manufactures. Daniel D. Tompkins were each chosen The Messages of all the Republican Vice-President with the last three Presidents, down to and including Virginian Presidents respectively. General Jackson, recognize and Alike tall in stature, spare in frame, affirm the wisdom, beneficence, and erect in carriage, austere in morals, constitutionality of Protective legisimperious in temper, of dauntless lation. The prëamble to the first courage, and inflexible will, Jackson tariff act passed by Congress under and Calhoun were each fitted by na- the Federal Constitution explicitly ture to direct, to govern, and to affirms the propriety of levying immould feebler men to his ends ; but posts, among other ends, "for the they were not fitted to coalesce and protection of Domestic Manufacwork harmoniously together. They tures.” Mr. Jefferson, in his Annual had hardly become the accepted Message of December 14, 1806, after chiefs of the same great, predominant announcing that there is a prospect party, before they quarreled; and of an early surplus of Federal revetheir feud, never healed, exerted a
nue over expenditure, proceeds : signal and baneful influence on the future of their country.
“The question, therefore, now comes forward - to what other objects shall these
surpluses be appropriated, and the whole The Protective Policy, though its surplus of impost, after the entire discharge