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And smiles an angel, or a fury frowns.
iv. Where shall I find him ? — Angels, tell me where! You know him : he is near you : point him out. Shall I see glories beaming from his brow, Or trace his footsteps by the rising flowers ? Your golden wings, now hovering o'er him, shed Protection ; now are waving in applause To that blessed son of foresight, lord of fate,
Whose work is done, who triumphs in the past,
Life makes the soul dependent on the dust;
XCI. – THE CONSTITUTION.
In COMMERCE, GOVERNMENT, LIBERTY, heed remarks, $ 7. The Latin words DE FACTO mean “from the fact”; DE JU'RE, “ from the law."
See in Index, ABSOLVE, DISSOLVE, NEITHER, OBEDIENCE, SOVEREIGN, WEBSTER.
Delivery. The extract is from Webster's speech in the Senate of the United States, February 16, 1833, in reply to Mr. Calhoun. The style is purely argumentative, requiring a rather moderate rate of utterance, middle pitch, a pure quality of voice, and varied inflections.
1. The Constitution of the United States creates direct relations between this government and individuals. This government may punish individuals for treason and all other crimes in the code, when committed against the United States. It has power, also, to tax individuals, in any mode and to any extent; and it possesses the further power of demanding from individuals military service. Nothing, certainly, can more clearly distinguish a government from a confederation of States than the possession of these powers. No closer relations can exist between individuals and any government.
2. On the other hand, the government owes high and solemn duties to every citizen of the country. It is bound to protect him in his most important rights and interests. It makes war for his protection, and no other government in the country can make war. It makes peace for his protection, and no other government can make peace. It maintains armies and navies for his defense and security, and no other government is allowed to maintain them.
3. He goes abroad beneath its flag, and carries over all the earth a nătional character imparted to him by this government, and which no other government can impart. In whatever relates to war, to peace, to commerce, he knows no other government. All these, Sir,
are connections as dear and as sacred as can bind individuals to any government on earth. It is not, therefore, a compact between States, but a government proper, operating directly upon individuals, yielding to them protection on the one hand, and demanding from them obedience on the other.
4. The truth is, - and no ingenuity of argument, no subtlety of distinction can evade it, — that, as to certain purposes, TŅE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES ARE ONE PEOPLE. They are one in making war, and one in making peace; they are one in regulating commerce, and one in laying duties of imposts. The very end and purpose of the Constitution was, to make them one people in these particulars; and it has effectually accomplished its object.
5. How, Sir, can any man get over the words of the Constitution itself ? “ WE, THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, DO ORDAIN AND ESTABLISH THIS CONSTITUTION.” These words must cease to be a part of the Constitution, they must be obliterated from the parchment on which they are written, before any human ingenuity or human argument can remove the popular basis on which that Constitution rests, and turn the instrument into a mere compact between sovereign States.
6. The second proposition which I propose to maintain is, that no State authority can dissolve the relations subsisting between the government of the United States and individuals; that nothing can dissolve these relations but revolution ; and that, therefore, there can be no such thing as secession without revolution. All this follows as a just consequence, if it be first proved that the Constitution of the United States is a government proper, owing protection to individuals, and entitled to their obedience.
7. The people in every State live under two governments. They owe obedience to both. These governments, though distinct, are not ad'verse. Each has its
separate sphere, and its peculiar powers and duties. It is not a contest between two sovereigns for the same power, like the wars of the rival houses in England; nor is it a dispute between a government de facto and a government de ju're.
8. It is the case of a division of powers between two governments, made by the people, to whom both are responsible. Neither can dispense with the duty which individuals owe to the other : the people are masters of both. This division of power, it is true, is in a great measure unknown in Europe. It is the peculiar system of America; and, though new and singular, it is not incomprehensible.
9. The State constitutions are established by the people of the States. This Constitution is established by the people of all the States. How, then, can a State secede? How can a State undo what the whole people have done? How can she absolve her citizens from their obedience to the laws of the United States? How can she annul their obligations and oaths ? How can the members of her legislature renounce their own oaths ? *
10. Sir, secession, as a revolutionary right, is intelligible ; as a right to be proclaimed in the midst of civil commotions, and asserted at the head of armies, I can understand it. But as a practical right, existing under the Constitution, and in conformity with its provisions, it seems to me to be nothing but a plain absurdity ; for it supposes resistance to government, under the authority of government itself; it supposes dismemberment, without violating the principles of Union; it supposes opposition to law, without crime; it supposes the violation of oaths, without responsibility ; it supposes the total overthrow of government, without revolution.
11. The Constitution regards itself as perpetual and
* Their oath to support the Constitution of the United States.