Page images
PDF
EPUB

While through his rifted prison-bars the hues of freedom

pour, O'er every nation, race, and clime, on every sea and shore, Such glories as the patriarch viewed, when, 'mid the darkest

skies, He saw above the ruined world the bow of promise rise !

Questions. Where was this battle fought? Point out the locality on the map. Upon what water did the 6 barges” float?' In what “town" was the “trumpet” blown? To what town did the “wharf” belong? On which side of the water was the “Point”? Who were carried in the barges ? [Let the pupil get a clear idea of the relative position of Boston and Charlestown, and also of all the monuments mentioned. This selection is admirably adapted to thorough analysis and questioning.]

XL.— PROCLAMATION ON NULLIFICATION.

ANDREW JACKSON. 1. The ordinance, with the same knowledge of the future that characterizes a former objection, tells you that the proceeds of the tax will be unconstitutionally applied. If this could be ascertained with certainty, the objection would, with more propriety, be reserved for the law applying the proceeds, but surely cannot be urged against the laws levying the duty.

2. These are the allegations contained in the ordinance. Examine them seriously, my fellow-citizens—judge for yourselves. I appeal to you to determine whether they are so clear, so convincing, as to leave no doubt of their correctness; and, even if you should come to this conclusion, how far they justify the reckless, destructive course which you are directed

to pursue. Review these objections, and the conclusions • drawn from them, once more. What are they? Every law, then, for raising revenue, according to the South Carolina ordinance, may be rightfully annulled, unless it be so framed as no law ever will or can be framed. Congress has a right to pass laws for raising revenue, and each state has a right to oppose their execution,-two rights directly opposed to each other; and yet, is this absurdity supposed to be contained in an instrument drawn for the express purpose of avoiding collision between the states and the general government, by an assembly of the most enlightened statesmen and purest patriots ever embodied for a similar purpose.

3. In vain have these sages declared that Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises,-in vain have they provided that they shall have power to pass laws which shall be necessary and proper to carry those powers into execution, that those laws and that constitution shall be the supreme law of the land; and that the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” In vain have the people of the several states solemnly sanctioned these provisions, made them their paramount law, and individually sworn to support them whenever they were called on to execute any office.

4. Vain provisions ! ineffectual restrictions ! vile profanation of oaths ! miserable mockery of legislation! if a bare majority of voters in any one state may, on a real or supposed knowledge of the intent with which a law has been passed, declare themselves free from its operation,-say here it gives too little, there too much, and operates unequally,here it suffers articles to be free that ought to be taxed; there it taxes those that ought to be free,-in this case the proceeds are intended to be applied to purposes which we do not approve, in that the amount raised is more than is wanted. Congress, it is true, is invested by the constitution

with the right of deciding these questions according to its sound discretion. Congress is composed of the representatives of all the states, and of all the people of all the states, but we, part of the people of one state, to whom the constitution has given no power on the subject, from whom it has expressly taken it away,—we, who have solemnly agreed that this constitution shall be our law,—we now abrogate this law, and swear, and force others to swear, that it shall not be obeyed,—and we do this, not because Congress has no right to pass such laws; this we do not allege; but because it has passed them with improper views. They are unconstitutional, from the motives of those who passed them — which we can never with certainty know; from their unequal operations—although it is impossible, from the nature of things, that they should be equal; and from the disposition which we presume may be made of their proceeds --- although that disposition has not been declared. This is the plain meaning of the ordinance in relation to laws which it abrogates for alleged unconstitutionality.

5. But it does not stop here. It repeals, in express terms, an important part of the constitution itself, and of laws passed to give it effect, which have never been alleged to be unconstitutional. The constitution declares that the judicial power of the United States extends to cases arising under the laws of the United States, and that such laws, the constitution, and treaties shall be paramount to the state constitutions and laws. The judiciary act prescribes the mode by which the case may be brought before a court of the United States, by appeal, when a state tribunal shall decide against the provision of the constitution and laws of the United States; forces judges and jurors to swear that they will disregard their provisions, and even makes it penal in a suitor to attempt relief by appeal. It further declares that it shall

not be lawful for the authorities of the United States or of that state to enforce the payment of duties imposed by the revenue laws within its limits.

6. Here is a law of the United States, not even pretended to be unconstitutional, repealed by the authority of a small majority of the votes of a single state. Here is a provision of the constitution which is solemnly abrogated by the same authority.

XLI.—THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED. 1. I have urged you to look back to the means that were used to hurry you on to the position you have now assumed, and forward to the consequences it will produce. Something more is necessary. Contemplate the condition of that country of which you still form an important part; consider its government, uniting in one bond of common interest and general protection so many different states-giving to all their inhabitants the proud title of AMERICAN CITIZENSprotecting their commerce--securing their literature and arts-facilitating their intercommunication —defending their frontiers—and making their name respected in the remotest parts of the earth! Consider the extent of its territory, its increasing and happy population, its advance in the arts which render life agreeable, and the sciences which elevate the mind! See education spreading the lights of religion, morality, and general information into every cottage in this wide extent of our territories and states ! Behold it as the asylum where the wretched and oppressed find a refuge and support!

2. Look on this picture of happiness and honor, and say, WE, TOO, ARE CITIZENS OF AMERICA-Carolina is one of

these proud states; her arms have defended-her best blood has cemented, this happy Union! And then add, if you can, without horror and remorse, This happy Union we will dissolve; this picture of peace and prosperity we will deface; this free intercourse we will interrupt; these fertile fields we will deluge with blood; the protection of that glorious flag we renounce; the very name of Americans we discard. And for what, mistaken men ? For what do you throw away these inestimable blessings — for what would you exchange your share in the advantages and honor of the Union ? For the dream of a separate independence-a dream interrupted by bloody conflicts with your neighbors, and a vile dependence upon a foreign power. If your leaders could succeed in establishing a separation, what would be your situation? Are you united at home — are you free from the apprehension of civil discord, with all its fearful consequences? Do our neighboring republics, every day suffering some new . revolution or contending with some new insurrection-do they excite your envy ?

3. But the dictates of a high duty oblige me solemnly to announce that you cannot succeed. The laws of the United States must be executed. I have no discretionary power on the subject; my duty is emphatically pronounced in the constitution. Those who told you that you might peaceably prevent their execution deceived you; they could not have been deceived themselves. They know that a forcible opposition could alone prevent the execution of the laws, and they know that such opposition must be repelled. Their object is “ disunion”; but be not deceived by names; disunion by armed force is TREASON. Are you really ready to incur its guilt? If you are, on the head of the instigators of the act be the dreadful consequences on their heads be the dishonor; but on yours may fall the punishment-on

« PreviousContinue »