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or as

Mr. Webster has well said that a true conclusion may

be avoided, or a false one reached, by the substitution of one word or one phrase for another. This offence, however, has been committed, not by Mr. Calhoun, but by “the great expounder" himself. The one has not reached a false, but the other has shunned a true conclusion by "the adroit use of language.” Instead of saying and believing with the authors of the Constitution, that the new Union was formed by “ an accession of the States," he repudiates both the language and the idea, preferring the monstrous heresy that it was ordained and established by "the whole people of the United States in their aggregate capacity one nation-a heresy which may, with the records of the country, be dashed into ten thousand atoms.

I agree with Mr. Webster, that words are things, and things of mighty influence.” It is, no doubt, chiefly owing to the influence of language, in connection with the passions of men in a numerical majority, that the words and views of the fathers became so offensive to the Northern expounders of the Constitution. Words," says the philosopher of Malmesbury, “are the counters of wise men, but the money of fools." To which I may add, if this last phrase be true, as most unquestionably it is, then is there scarcely a man on earth without some touch of folly; for all are, more or less, under the influence of words. A far greater than either Mirabeau or Hobbes has said that we are often led captive by the influence of words, even when we think ourselves the most complete masters of them. Mr. Webster was himself, as we shall frequently have occasion to see, a conspicuous instance and illustration of the truth of the profound aphorism of Bacon. Of all the dupes of his own eloquence, of all the spell-bound captives of his own enchantments, he was himself, perhaps, at times, the most deluded and the most unsuspecting victim.

When, from his high position in the Senate, Mr. Webster *Mr. Webster's Speech of 1830.

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assured the people of the United States, that it is “unconstitutional language" to say “the States acceded to the Constitution;" he was no doubt religiously believed by the great majority of his readers and hearers. He was supposed to know all about the subject; and was, therefore, followed as the great guide of the people. But, as we have seen, he was profoundly ignorant of the facts of the case, about which he delivered himself with so much confidence. The new word," as he called it, was precisely the word of the fathers of the Constitution. Hence, if this word lays the foundation of secession, as Mr. Webster contended it does, that foundation was laid, not by Calhoun, but by the fathers of the Constitution itself, with “the father of his country” at their head.

So much for the first link in “ the great expounder's argument against the right of secession. His principles are right, but his facts are wrong. It is, indeed, his habit to make his own facts, and leave those of history to take care of themselves. He just puts forth assertions without knowing, and apparently without caring, whether they are true or otherwise. We shall frequently have occasion to notice this utter, this reckless unveracity in “the great expounder."



The first Resolution passed by the Convention of 1787.


MR. WEBSTER lays great stress on the fact, that the first resolution passed by the Convention of 1787 declared, “That a national government ought to be established, consisting of a supreme legislative, judiciary, and executive." But the fact only shows that the Convention, when it first met, had the desire to establish "a national government," rather than a federal one. This resolution was passed before the Convention was fully assembled, and by the vote of only six States, a minority of the whole number. After the members had arrived, and the Convention was full, the resolution in question was reconsidered and rescinded. The Convention, when filled up, changed the name of their offspring, calling it“the government of the United States.'"* A fraction of the Convention named it, as Mr. Webster says; but the whole Convention refused to baptise it with that name, and gave it another. Why then resuscitate that discarded name, and place it before the reader, as Mr. Webster does, in capital letters? Is it because “words are things; and things of mighty influence? or why persist, as Mr. Webster always does, in calling “the government of the United States” a national one? If the Convention had called it a national government, this name would have been so continually rung in our ears that we could neither have listened to the Constitution itself, or to its history, whenever these proclaimed its federal character. Nay, although the Convention positively refused to name it a national government, on the avowed ground that it did not express their views, yet has this name been eternally rung in our ears by the Northern School of politicia ns, and declaimers; just as if it had been adopted, instead of having been repudiated and rejected, as it was, by the authors of the Constitution.

*The Madison Papers, p. 908.

In like manner Mr. Justice Story, in his “Commentaries on the Constitution," builds an argument on the name given to the new government “in the first resolution adopted by the convention,” without the slightest allusion to the fact that this resolution was afterwards reconsidered, and the name changed to that of "the government of the United States.Is this to reason, or merely to deceive ? Is this to build on facts, or merely on exploded names ? Is this to follow the Convention in its deliberation, or is it to falsify its decision ?

The Convention, by a vote of six States, decided that “a national government ought to be established.” But when this resolution was reconsidered, Mr. Ellsworth "objected to the term national government,'* and it was rejected. Th record says: “The first resolution that a national government ought to be established,' being taken up.".... .“Mr. Ellsworth, seconded by Mr. Gorham, moves to alter it, so as to run that the government of the United States ought to consist, &c... This alteration, he said, would drop the word national, and retain the proper title “the United States." This motion was unanimously adopted by the Convention. That is, they unanimously rejected “the term national government,” and yet both Story and Webster build an argument on this term just as it had been retained by them!

The Madison Papers were not published, it is true, when the first edition of Story's Commentaries made their

* The Madison Papers.

† Ibid, p. 908.

# Ibid, p. 909.

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appearance; but they were published long before subse-
quent editions of that work. Why, then, was not this gross
error corrected? Why has it been repeated in every edi-
tion of the Commentaries in question ? Indeed, if Mr. •
Justice Story had desired to ascertain the truth in regard
to the first resolution of the Convention, he might very
easily have learned it from “Yates' Minutes,” which were
published before the first edition of his Commentaries.
For, in those Minutes, we find the passage: Ellsworth.
I propose, and therefore move, to expunge the word
“national,” in the first resolve, and to place in the room of
it, government of the United States, which was agreed to
nem con."* Yet, directly in the face of this, Mr. Justice
Story builds an argument on the word national used in the
first resolution passed by the Convention! and, in order to
give the greater effect to the same argument, Mr. Webster
prints that rescinded resolution in capital letters !

“ The name “United States of America',” says the younger Story, “is an unfortunate one, and has, doubtless, led many minds into error. For it may be said, if the States do not form a confederacy, why are they called “ United States'"?! This name is, indeed, a most unfortunate one for the purpose of his argument, and for that of the whole school of politicians to which he belongs. But then, as we learn from the journal of the convention of 1787, it was deliberately chosen by them as the most suitable name for the work of their own hands; and that too in preference to the very name which the whole Northern school clings to with such astonishing pertinacity. From the same journal, as well as from the other records of the country, I shall hereafter produce many other things which are equally unfortunate for the grand argument of the Storys, the Websters, and the Motleys, of the North.

* The Madison Papers, p. 908 † Ibid. p. 909. || The American Question, by William H. Story. Ellio Lates. Vol. 1 p.,


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