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:^ositive measures which emanate from that spirit, are harsh
and proscriptive, beyond all precedent within my knowledge,
except in periods of professed revolution.
It is not, Sir, one would think, for those who approve these
proceedings to complain of the power of majorities.

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Nullification, Sir, is as distinctly revolutionary as secession; but I cannot say that the revolution which it seeks is one of so respectable a character. Secession would, it is true, abandon the Constitution altogether; but then it would profess to abandon it. Whatever other inconsistencies it might run into, one, at least, it would avoid. It would not belong to a government, while it rejected its authority. It would not repel the burden, and continue to enjoy the benefits. It would not aid in passing laws which others are to obey, and yet reject their authority as to itself. It would not undertake to reconcile obedience to public authority with an asserted right of command over that same authority. It would not be in the government, and above the government, at the same time. But though secession may be a more respectable mode of attaining the object than nullification, it is not more truly revolutionary. Each, and both, resist the constitutional authorities; each, and both, would sever the Union, and subvert the government. Mr. President, I will not now examine, at length, the ordinance and laws of South Carolina. These papers are well drawn for their purpose. Their authors understood their own objects. They are called a peaceable remedy, and we have been told that South Carolina, after all, intends nothing but a lawsuit. A very few words, Sir, will show the nature of this peaceable remedy, and of the lawsuit which South Carolina contemplates. In the first place, the ordinance declares the law of last July, and all other laws of the United States laying duties, to be absolutely null and void, and makes it unlawful for the constituted authorities of the United States to enforce the payment of such duties. It is therefore, Sir, an indictable offence, at this moment, in South Carolina, for any person to be concerned in collecting revenue under the laws of the United States. It being declared, by what is considered a fundamental law of the State, unlawful to collect these duties, an indictment lies, of course, against any one concerned in such collection; and he is, on general principles, liable to be punished by fine and impris. onment. The terms, it is true, are, that it is unlawful “to enforce the payment of duties”; but every custom-house officer enforces payment while he detains the goods in order to obtain such payment. The ordinance, therefore, reaches every. body concerned in the collection of the duties,

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This is the first step in the prosecution of the peaceable remedy. The second is more decisive. By the Act commonly called the replevin law, any person, whose goods are seized or detained by the collector for the payment of duties, may sue out a writ of replevin, and, by virtue of that writ, the goods are to be restored to him. A writ of replevin is a writ which the sheriff is bound to execute, and for the execution of which he is bound to employ force, if necessary. He may call out the posse, and must do so, if resistance be made. This posse may be armed or unarmed. It may come forth with military array, and under the lead of military men. Whatever number of troops may be assembled in Charleston, they may be summoned, with the governor, or commander-in-chief, at their head, to come in aid of the sheriff. It is evident, then, Sir, that the whole military power of the State is to be employed, whenever necessary, in dispossessing the custom-house officers, and in seizing and holding the goods, without paying the duties. This is the second step in the peaceable remedy. Sir, whatever pretences may be set up to the contrary, this is the direct application of force, and of military force. It is unlawful, in itself, to replevy goods in the custody of the collectors. But this unlawful act is to be done, and it is to be done by power. Here is a plain interposition, by physical force, to resist the laws of the Union. The legal mode of collecting duties is to detain the goods till such duties are paid or secured. But force comes, and overpowers the collector and his assistants, and takes away the goods, leaving the duties unpaid. There cannot be a clearer case of forcible resistance to law, And it is provided that the goods thus seized shall be held against any attempt to retake them, by the same force which seized them. Having thus dispossessed the officers of the government of the goods, without payment of duties, and seized and secured them by the strong arm of the State, only one thing more remains to be done, and that is, to cut off all possibility of legal redress; and that, too, is accomplished, or thought to be accomplished. The ordinance declares that all judicial proceedings, founded on the revenue laws, (including, of course, proceedings in the courts of the United States,) shall be null and void. This nullifies the judicial power of the United States. Then comes the test-oath Act. This requires all State judges and jurors in the State courts to swear that they will execute the ordinance, and all Acts of the legislature passed in pursuance thereof. The ordinance declares that no appeal shall be allowed from the decision of the State courts to the Supreme Court of the United States; and the replevin Act makes it an indictable

offence for any clerk to furnish a copy of the record, for the purpose of such appeal. The two principal provisions on which South Carolina relies, to resist the laws of the United States, and nullify the authority of this government, are, therefore, these: 1. A forcible seizure of goods, before duties are paid or secured, by the power of the State, civil and military. 2. The taking away, by the most effectual means in her power, of all legal redress in the courts of the United States; the confining of judicial proceedings to her own State tribunals; and the compelling of her judges and jurors of these her own courts to take an oath, beforehand, that they will decide all cases according to the ordinance, and the Acts passed under it; that is, that they will decide the cause one way. They do not swear to try it, on its own merits; they only swear to decide it as nullification requires. The character, Sir, of these provisions defies comment. Their object is as plain as their means are extraordinary. They propose direct resistance, by the whole power of the State, to laws of Congress, and cut off, by methods deemed adequate, any redress by legal and judicial authority. They arrest legislation, defy the executive, and banish the judicial power of this government. They authorize and command acts to be done, and done by force, both of numbers and of arms, which, if done, and done by force, are clearly acts of rebellion and treason. Such, Sir, are the laws of South Carolina; such, Sir, is the peaceable remedy of nullification. Has not nullification reached, even thus early, that point of direct and forcible resistance to law to which I intimated, three years ago, it plainly tended ? And now, Mr. President, what is the reason for passing laws like these? What are the oppressions experienced under the Union, calling for measures which thus threaten to sever and destroy it? What invasion of public liberty, what ruin to private happiness, what long list of rights violated, or wrongs unredressed, is to justify to the country, to posterity, and to the World, this assault upon the free Constitution of the United States, this great and glorious work of our fathers? At this very moment, Sir, the whole land smiles in peace, and rejoices in plenty. A general and a high prosperity pervades the country; and, judging by the common standard, by increase of population and wealth, or judging by the opinions of that portion of her people not embarked in these dangerous and desperate measures, this prosperity overspreads South Carolina herself. Thus happy at home, our country, at the same time, holds high the character of her institutions, her power, her rapid growth, and her future destiny, in the eyes of all foreign States,

One danger only creates hesitation; one doubt only exists, to
darken the otherwise unclouded brightness of that aspect
which she exhibits to the view and to the admiration of the
world. Need I say, that that doubt respects the permanency of
our Union? and need I say, that that doubt is now caused,
more than by any thing else, by these very proceedings of
South Carolina? Sir, all Europe is at this moment beholding
us, and looking for the issue of this controversy; those who
hate free institutions, with malignant hope; those who love
them, with deep anxiety and shivering fear. -
The cause, then, Sir, the cause! Let the world know the
cause which has thus induced one State of the Union to bid de-
fiance to the power of the whole, and openly to talk of secession.
Sir, the world will scarcely believe that this whole controversy,
and all the desperate measures which its support requires, have
no other foundation than a difference of opinion upon a pro-
vision of the Constitution, between a majority of the people of
South Carolina, on one side, and a vast majority of the whole
people of the United States, on the other. It will not credit the
fact, it will not admit the possibility, that, in an enlightened
age, in a free, popular republic, under a Constitution where the
people govern, as they must always govern, under such systems,
by majorities, at a time of unprecedented happiness, without
practical oppression, without evils such as may not only be pre-
tended, but felt and experienced,—evils not slight or tempo-
rary, but deep, permanent, and intolerable, a single State
should rush into conflict with all the rest, attempt to put down
the power of the Union by her own laws, and to support those
laws by her military power, and thus break up and destroy the
world’s last hope. And well the world may be incredulous.
We, who see and hear it, can ourselves hardly yet believe it.
Even after all that had preceded it, this ordinance struck the
country with amazement. It was incredible and inconceivable
that South Carolina should thus plunge headlong into resistance
to the laws on a matter of opinion, and on a question in which
the preponderance of opinion, both of the present day and of
all past time, was so overwhelmingly against her. The ordi-
nance declares that Congress has exceeded its just power by
laying duties on imports intended for the protection of manu-
factures. This is the opinion of South Carolina; and on the
strength of this opinion she nullifies the laws. Yet has the rest
of the country no right to its opinion also? Is one State to sit
sole arbitress? She maintains that those laws are plain, delib.
erate, and palpable violations of the Constitution; that she has
a sovereign right to decide this matter; and that, having so de-
cided, she is authorized to resist their execution by her own

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sovereign power; and she declares that she will resist it, though
such resistance should shatter the Union into atoms.
Mr. President, I do not intend to discuss the propriety of
these laws at large; but I will ask, How are they shown to be
thus plainly and palpably unconstitutional 2 IIave they no
countenance at all in the Constitution itself 2 Are they quite
new in the history of the government? Are they a sudden and
violent usurpation on the rights of the States? Sir, what will
the civilized world say, what will posterity say, when they learn
that similar laws have existed from the very foundation of the
government; that for thirty years the power was never ques-
tioned ; and that no State in the Union has more freely and un-
equivocally admitted it than South Carolina herself?
It is, Sir, only within a few years that Carolina has denied the
constitutionality of these protective laws. The gentleman him-
self has narrated to us the true history of her proceedings on
this point. He says that, after the passing of the law of 1828,
despairing then of being able to abolish the system of protec-
tion, political men went forth among the people, and set up the
doctrine that the system was unconstitutional. “And the peo-
ple,” says the honourable gentleman, “received the doctrine.”
This, I believe, is true, Sir. The people did then receive the
doctrine; they had never entertained it before. Down to that
period, the constitutionality of these laws had been no more
doubted in South Carolina than elsewhere. And I suspect it is
true, Sir, and I deem it a great misfortune, that, to the present
moment, a great portion of the people of the State have never
yet seen more than one side of the argument. I believe that
thousands of honest men are involved in scenes now passing,
led away by one-sided views of the question, and following
their leaders by the impulses of an unlimited confidence. De-
pend upon it, Sir, if we can avoid the shock of arms, a day for
reconsideration and reflection will come; truth and reason will
act with their accustomed force, and the public opinion of South
o Will be restored to its usual constitutional and patriotic
But, Sir, I hold South Carolina to her ancient, her cool, her
uninfluenced, her deliberate opinions. I hold her to her own
admissions, nay, to her own claims and pretensions, in 1789, in
the first Congress, and to her acknowledgments and avowed
sentiments through a long series of succeeding years. I hold
her to the principles on which she led Congress to act in 1816;
or, if she have changed her own opinions, I claim some respect
for those who still retain the same opinions. I say she is pre-
cluded from asserting that doctrines, which she has herself so

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