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of the Constitution of the United States! Then it must be admitted, that the “committee on style," by a single turn of its pen, changed the course of history and the meaning of its facts; causing the supreme power of the Federal Government to emanate, not from the States, but from the people of America as one political community! Did the “committee on style” do all this? And is it on legislation like this that a sovereign State is to be deemed guilty of treason and rebellion against the sublime authority of the people of America, and visited with the utmost vengeance of that malign power? The sublime authority of the people of America, the one grand nation, erected and established solely by the pen of the “committee on


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This clause, “We, the people of the United States," introduced by the "committee on style," and passed over in perfect silence by the whole Convention, is the great stronghold, if it has one, of the Northern theory of the Constitution. The argument from these words appears in every speech, book, pamphlet, and discussion by every advocate of the North. It was wielded by Mr. Webster in his great debate with Mr. Calhoun, in 1833, and still more fully in his still more eloquent speech on Foote's resolutions in 1830. "The Constitution itself,” says he, in its very front, declares that it was ordained and established by the people of the United States in the aggregate." The fact is not so. The Constitution neither declares that it was established by the people of the United States in the aggregate, nor by the people of the United States in the segregate. But if we look into the history of the transaction, we shall find that it was established by them in the latter character, and not in the former. We shall find that each State acted separately, and for itself alone; and that no one pretended, or imagined, that the whole aggregate vote of any twelve States could bind the thin teenth State, without its own individual consent and ratitication. In enter to make out his interpretation, Mr. Webster interrelates the legislation of the committee on $filo" with runis et his own.

the hot spot in the preamble to the Constitution was vix fari v the pen of Governor Morris, one of the most

**s in the Convention of 1787, for a strong **** vremment. He certainly wished all power to

thed the people of America, and to have them

es ne great nation. But did he accomplish his bit to the Convention, says the record, “ Governor Vestuves more that the reference of the plan (i. e., of the interesentien) be made to one General Convention, chosen dette authorized by the people, to consider, amend, and Hicablish the same."* This motion, if adopted, would

. Anteed have caused the Constitution to be ratified by "the puuple of the United States in the aggregate," or as one mation. This would, in fact, have made it a Government emanating from the people of America in one General Convention assembled and not from the States. But how was this motion received by the Convention? Was it approved and passed in the affirmative by that body? It did not even find a second in the Convention of 1787. So says the record*, and this is a most significant fact. So completely was such a mode of ratification deemed out of the question that it found not the symptom or shadow of support from the authors of the Constitution of the United States.

Now was the very object, which Governor Morris so signally failed to accomplish directly and openly by his motion, indirectly and covertly effected by his style? And if so, did he design to effect such a change in the fundamental law of the United States of America? It is certain that precisely the same effect is given to his words, to his style, as would have resulted from the

of his motion by the Convention. Did Governor Morris


*** The Madison Papers," p. 1184.

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then intend that his words should have such force and effect? In supposing him capable of such a fraud on the Convention of 1787, I certainly do him no injustice, since we have his own confession that he actually perpetrated several such frauds on that assembly of Constitutionmakers. “That instrument,” says he in reference to the Constitution, “was written by the fingers which . writes this letter. Having rejected redundant terms, I believed it to be as clear as language would permit; excepting, nevertheless, a part of what relates to the judiciary. On that subject conflicting opinions had been maintained with so much professional astuteness, that it became necessary to select phrases, which expressing my own notions would not alarm others, nor shock their selflove; and to the best of my recollection this was the only part which passed without cavil."* How adroitly, then, how cunningly, he cheats the Convention into the unconscious sanction of his “own notions;” and this great legislator of the North, even in the purer days of the infant republic, was proud of the fraud !

Nor is this the only instance in which, according to his own confession and boast, Governor Morris tricked the Convention into the adoption of his own private views. "I always thought,” says he, in another letter, “that when we should acquire Canada and Louisiana, it would be proper to govern them as provinces, and allow them no voice in our councils. In wording the third section of the fourth article I went as far as circumstances would permit to establish the exclusion. Candor obliges me to add my belief that, had it been more pointedly expressed, a strong opposition would have been made.”+ Thus, as the penman of the committee on style, he abused his high position, not only to mould the judiciary system of the United States to suit his “own notions,” but also to determine the fate of

* 6. Life and Writings of Governor Morris," vol. iii., p. 323. † Ibid, vol. iii., p. 193.


3 pines! Is not such legislation truly won. which sead of weighing every word with the utmost **e'n depositing it in the Constitution as under the 34 Stien of an oath, the Convention trusts the style non instrument to a fine writer, who cunningly gives ven to his own views in opposition to those of the

r! “In a play, or a moral,” says Jeremy Ben

un improper word is but a word; and the impro***sti whether noted or not, is attended with no conse

Pis In a body of laws—especially of laws given as Fenstitutional ones—an improper word would be a national viimity, and civil war may be the consequences of it. het of one foolish word may start a thousand daggers.” Vis true, and how fearfully has this truth been illustrated er the history of the United States !

But although Governor Morris was capable of such a haud on the Convention, we have no good reason to believe he intended one, by the substitution of the words, We, the people of the United States," for the enumerarien of all the States by name. He has nowhere confessed to any such thing; and besides he did not understand his own words as they are so confidently understood by Story and Webster. Every rational inquirer after truth should, it seems to me, be curious to know what sense Governor Morris attached to the words in question, since it was by his pen that they were introduced into the preamble of the Constitution. Nor will such curiosity be diminished, but rather increased, by the fact that he did, in some cases, aim to foist his own private views into the Constitution of his country. How, then, did Governor Morris understand the words, “We, the people of the United States"? Did he infer from these words that the Constitution was not a compact between States, or that it was established by the people of America, and not by the States ? I answer this question in the words of Governor Morris himself. "The Constitution,” says he, "was a compact,

not between individuals, but between political societies, the people, not of America, but of the United States, each enjoying sovereign power and of course equal rights."* Language could not possibly be more explicit. Nor could it be more evident than it is, that Govenor Morris, the very author of the words in question, entertained precisely the same view of their meaning as that maintained by Mr. Calhoun and his school. This point was, indeed, made far too clear by the proceedings of the Convention of 1787 for any member of that body to entertain the shadow of a doubt in relation to it. Nor can any one read these proceedings as they deserve to be read, without agreeing with Governor Morris, that the authors of the Constitution designed it to be ratified, as in fact it was, by “the people of the United States," not as individuals, but as “political societies, each enjoying sovereign power, and of course equal rights." Or, in other words, without seeing that “the Constitution was a compact," not between individuals, “but between political societies,” between sovereign States. This, in the next chapter, I hope and

I expect to make perfectly clear, by bringing to view the origin of the words “We, the people," and by showing the sense in which they were universally understood and used by the members of the Convention of 1787 in the very act of framing the Constitution of the United States.

*“Life and Writings," vol. iii., p. 193.

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