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short extract, regretting that we have no more space to give to Dr. Lieber's pamphlet:
“What is right for one State, must needs be right for all the others. As to South Carolina, we can just barely imagine the possibility of her secession, owing to her situation near the border of the sea. But what would she have said a few years ago, or what, indeed, would she say now-I speak of South Carolina, less the secessionists-if a State of the interior, say Ohio, were to vindicate the presumed right of secession, and to declare that, being tired of a republican government, she prefers to establish a monarchy with some prince, imported, all dressed and legitimate, from that country where princes grow in abundance, and whence Greece, Belgium, and Portugal, have been furnished with ready-made royalties-what would we say? We would simply say, this cannot be and must not be. In forming the Union we have each given up some attributes, to receive, in turn, advantages of the last importance; and we have, in consequence, so shaped and balanced all our systems that no member can withdraw without deranging and embarrassing all, and ultimately destroying the whole." pp. 42, 43.
The Fast Day Sermon of Dr. Breckinridge has been for some time before the public, in the collection published by Messrs. Rudd & Carlton. It is a strong, earnest production, passing rapidly over a great number of subjects, and therefore not doing full justice to any one of them-defending a certain kind of right of nullification, which is no nullification at all-attacking secession with heavy blows-dealing contemptuously with South Carolina, "that small community," "one of the least important of the thirty-three States," and expounding the policy of the border States, especially of Kentucky. We are glad to see, that in a recent number of the Danville Review, Dr. Breckinridge most heartily supports the present most righteous war. "The nation is fighting," says he, "neither for vengeance nor for conquest, but for self-preservation, and, remotely, for the maintenance of its independence in the face of all other nations, and its future peace, security, and advancement in the glorious career now threatened to be cut short." We hope that Kentucky will be guided by men of this stamp, at this crisis, and that he will live to do more. good to the Union than his distinguished nephew has done hurt.
Dr. Palmer thinks this Sermon of Dr. Breckinridge, and his subsequent Article in the Danville Review, important
enough to be attacked in the Review of the Presbyterian secessionists. The review is well written, but arrogant and superficial, after that style of treating adversaries which southern men know how to assume with the smallest ground on their part. "We can imagine," says he, "the smile stealing over the visage of some experienced statesman, at the temerity with which this exploded political heresy [of a consolidated nationality, i. e., of the Union being more than a league of States] is revived; and at the coolness with which the opposite theory is ignored, which, nevertheless, has generally prevailed through the history of American legislation to the present time." For ourselves, we can hardly imagine, just at present, a smile stealing over the visages of southern statesmen, whose experiences must be somewhat unexpected and doleful. Nor could we readily have imagined, had we not known it before, the temerity with which a doctrine is ignored, which nearly all our greatest statesmen have supported from the formation of the Union downwards. Dr. Palmer here takes the attitude and borrows the flippancy of those foes of Christianity who treat it as about extinct in this nineteenth century.
We shall pass nearly sicco pede over the first or apologetic part of Dr. Palmer's Article, which, amid many specimens of excellent writing, justifies the attitude of South Carolina on the ground that "an imbecile and treacherous government, which could not be trusted on its own parole," sanctioned Major Anderson's transfer of his troops to Fort Sumter; which justifies the seizure of the mint at New Orleans, and declares that "there has been more repose in the seven cotton States than in all the rest of the country beside." It was a very good means to continue that repose to seduce Virginia into the war, and make her soil its theater.
The second part of the review, in defending the right of secession, shows not only what is the opinion of the party whose cause Dr. Palmer advocates, but also the arguments by which he, one of their foremost divines, sustains the cause. "There is no dispute," says he, "upon the fact that sovereignty, the jus summi imperii, resides in the people. But
the dispute is whether this sovereignty resides in the people as they are, merged in the mass, one undivided whole, or in the people as they were originally formed into Colonies, and afterwards into States, combining together for purposes distinctly set forth in their instruments of Union. Dr. Breckinridge maintains the former thesis; we defend the latter; and in the whole controversy upon the legal right of secession, this is the cardo causae." p. 162. In accordance with this view, he confesses his inability to understand the doctrine of a double sovereignty, (p. 169), and therefore denies that allegiance is due to any but the state government, "so that in seceding, there is no allegiance to be thrown off." p. 165.
It will be observed that the advocates of secession lay the main stress on the question how the government originated, and on certain terms of vague abstract import, around which they fight as an Indian around a tree. When they come, however, to the Constitution itself, and the views of its framers and expounders, the part which they are obliged to take is one of self-defense, for the instrument and history are against them.
We cannot enter into the question whether the Constitution was framed and set a going by a partnership of States, or by the American people, without first expressing our conviction that this is but a subordinate consideration, after all. The great question concerning the nature of any government must turn upon the powers given to that government, which are to be discovered from the instrument of government itself, and the practice under it. Before 1707, Scotland was a kingdom separate from England, but under the same sovereign: the parliament of that country, until the union took place, might have decided that the son of James II should succeed his sister Anne, while the house of Hanover had a legal right to the throne of England. This, of course, would have separated the two countries entirely. But the act of union fused them so far, that they thenceforth formed one state, under one sovereign, with one parliament. Did anybody ever think that because Scotland entered as a state into this close union, which merged its existence in the United
Kingdom, that it had any right to secede at pleasure? The same is true of the union of Ireland with Great Britain, in 1800. It is manifestly possible for sovereign and independent. States to enter into relations more or less close, reaching from the one extreme of temporary alliance for certain special purposes, to the other, of perpetual, consolidated union. Accordingly, the political writers, while they take notice of the way in which States arise, make that no criterion of their nature. The question is, whether the result is a league, or a State; and this depends not on the contracting parties, but on the form of the instrument by which they are united together.
What, now, are the facts, touching the question who were the parties to the Constitution? Whether these facts have any important bearing upon the right of secession, or not, they are deserving of notice, as enabling us to understand the origin of our institutions.
1. The Congress which assembled on the 10th of May, 1775, proceeded to exercise certain attributes of sovereignty, before any one of the colonies had separated itself by a revolutionary act from the mother country, and had become sovereign. It created a continental or national army, chose a commander-in-chief of the forces, created a currency by issuing bills of credit, authorized reprisals on the water against the ships and goods of inhabitants of Great Britain, organized a treasury and a post-office, and exercised control over the relations between the colonies and the Indians. In short, an imperfect kind of general government had arisen before the states began to exist as such, and not only was this true, but the tie which bound the colonies to Great Britain was severed by the Congress. Thus the creation of sovereignties, the passing out of the colonial into the state-life was an act not of each colony but of the united colonies in Congress assembled. Mr. Curtis, in his History of the Constitution, (II, 39, 40), speaks of this fact as follows: "The fact that these local or state governments were not formed, until a union of the people of the different colonies for national purposes had already taken place, and until the national power had authorized and recommended their establishment, is of great import
ance in the Constitutional history of this country; for it shows that no colony, acting separately for itself, dissolved its own allegiance to the British Crown, but that this allegiance was dissolved by the supreme authority of the people of all the colonies, acting through their general agent, the Congress, and not only declaring that the authority of Great Britain ought to be suppressed, but recommending that each colony should supplant that authority by a local government to be framed by and for the people of the colony itself."
2. The States, however, thus brought into being, regarded themselves as sovereign and independent, and in the course of time formed the Confederation, which both by the terms of the instrument giving its being, and by its attributes, is shown to have been a league of States, not a State formed out of a league. Thus the articles are called articles of confederation and perpetual union. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power not expressly delegated to the United States. (Art. II.) The States enter into a league with one another, they send delegates, and have one vote each. The object of the confederation is chiefly to carry the States by united action through the war, although in addition to this a certain power is given to the Congress to determine in the last resort disputes between two or more States concerning boundary, jurisdiction, and the like. But the Confederacy had no legislative authority, no power of levying money, no executive or judicial officers,-in short, had none, or next to none, of the functions of a State.
3. Under this clumsy contrivance the States went through the war successfully, but began to fall to pieces when forced by no foreign enemy into union. The evils of the want of a close union finally led to the assembling of the Convention which formed the present Constitution. When that body assembled, there were those among its members who feared a general government as likely to destroy the existence of the States, and there were others who would have annihilated the States by conferring on the national government extended and complete legislative powers. In the plan reported from the Committee of the whole to the Convention, June 13th, 1787,