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Feb. 23, 1825.]
boon extended to them, than the other States of the named, at the period of the adoption of the resolution, Union? What was sail when the Cumberland Road was and for a long time thereafter. It is as follows: first undertaken? The sole object was to form a con- “ Resolved, that the several states, comprising the nection, by a permanent and durable road across the United States of America, are not united on the princiMountains, between the Atlantic Coast and the naviga. ple of unlimited submission to their General Government; ble waters of the West. Thus was effected by construct but that, by compact, under the style and title of a “Coning the road from Cumberland to Wheeling. At that stitution for the United States," and of amendments time, did any person dream that so soon, if at all con. thereto, they constitute a General Government for spe. gress was to be called on to extend it from Wheeling to cial purposes, delegating to that Government certain dethe Mississippi? For that, he understood, was the ob- finite powers, reserving, each state to itself, the residuary ject avowed by the advocates of the bill. If the West- mass of right to their own self-government-and that, ern States, generally, could bave no claim to such a ben. whensoever the General Government assumes undeleetical work, much less had the State of Ohio, consider. gated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of ed singly. The find out of which it is said the expense no force. That, to this compact, each state acceded as of making the roast is to be paid, so far as any portion a state, and is an integral party, its co-states forming, as ot' it was derivable from that state, had been long since to itself, the other party. l'hat the Government, created expended The reservation of the per centage on the by this compact, was not made the exclusive or final sales of the public lands for roads, in the State of Ohio, judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself, had been sunk in constructing the Cumberland Road, since that would have made its discretion, and not the to which it was, by law, applied. Nay, the expense of constitution, the measure of its powers. But that, as in all that road had greatly exceeded the reservation, by many other cases of compact among parties, having no common thonsand dollars. He was sure the fact would not be judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, denied.
as well of infractions, as of the nieasure of redress.”+ As the question involved all the principles relating to In this resolution will be found the anatomy of the the powers of the Federal Government on the subject of Federal Government; the principles on which it was internal improvements, he would here lay down a pro- created ; and, if so, it will not be a difficult matter to de. position, wbich he thonght almost self-evideni. It had termine in what manner the parties to the constitution, been contended, that the United States were bound to those by whom the Federal Government was framed and construct this road, by compact made with several of the adopted, intended this instrument of creation should be Western states at the time of their adınission into the construed and expounded. If the doctrines contained Union. Admitting that such a compact could be pro jin that resolution are true, then it is evident that the duced, and that it contained an express stipulation to compact, thus denominated the Fi deral Constitution, that eitect, it would not, in his opinion, change the pro- was one entered into between sovereign states, wherein position. It is, that Congress have no pow. rs, and can each relinquished a portion of its sovereignty. Common have none, but such as are derived from the constitution sense would teach us that such a compací should be so of the United States. It matters not with whom, whether strictly expounded, as to take from the grantors no more a state or an individual, the Federal Government may of their sovereignty than is absolutely necessary to effect have made such a compact, it could add nothing to the the great objects of the compact. At this very point, powers of that government, unless contained in the con- then, (said Mr. (3.) I start in establishing that strici role, stitution itself This was sufficiently evident from the by which I conceive the constitution should be ex. very first section of the first article of that instrument, pounded. If I should be so fortunate as to support this which declares that the L gislative powers "therein strict rule, by other circumstances, equally strong and granted” shall be vested, &c. Other parts of the instru. torcible, it may, with propriety, be contended, that the ment, especially some of the amendments, shew the truth power to construct roads and canals is no where to be of the proposition beyond doubt He would not now found in the constitution. Should I, however, fail in turn to the clauses, as they were, doubtless, familiar to showing this to be the true ruie, and the liberal one, the memory of every member present.
more recently established, should be adopted in its Almost every person who had expressed an opinion place, I shall not be able to deny that such power, or on the subject, so far as had come under his observation, any other not expressly prohibited, is conferred. admitted that this Government was one of limited pow The rule for which I contend derives strong support ers- limited nut alone by the prohibitions of power io be from many other circumstances, as before stated. 'l is found in the constitution, but by an absence or want of supported from the first section of the first article of a grant of power therein. It would seem that this was the constitution, which I have already noticed. It is true, as well from the parties by whom, as from the man- supported by the adoption of the amendments of the ner in which, the Federal Government was first con. constitution, all inserted for “greater caution." It is structed. It was, perhaps, unfortunate, that we do not supported by the manner in which amendments are dimore frequently recur to the circumstances under which recter to be made. When adopted by ongress, they the constitution was framed, when we are about to es. are to be ratified by that body, in each state, which retablish the principles from which is to be derived the presents its sovereignty; or the same representatives of true rule for the construction of an instrument uf such sovereignty may request a call of a convention for provast importance.
posing amendments. It is supported, also, by the deBy what parties, and for what object the instrument clarations and commentaries of the early expositors of was formed, woull better appear from a document which the instruments. I venture to throw the guantlet, and he was about to read, than from any thing he could say- defy any one to point to any contemporaneous exposiIt was one of the celebrated resolutions of the Kentucky tor, of approved reputation, who has decided in favor of Legislature,* containing, as was at one time said, the those broad and liberal principles of construction confoundation of Republican principles. He used the word tended for by the advocates of the bill. Republican as a party designation, inasmuch as he now Finally, I refer to the ratifications of the constitution had allusion to the principles professed by the party so 'by the several state conventions, as furnishing unanswer.
* These resolutions are said to be, and no doubt are, the production of Mr. Jefferson, and contain his opinion on the sube jects embraced in them.
+ Resolutions of a similar character were about the same period (1798) adopted by the Legislature of Virginia, in support of which "Madison's report" was founded, at the session thereafter. At a later period, the Legislatures of Pennsylvania and Ohio adopted resolutions containing like principles.
(Feb. 23, 1825.
able evidence in favor of a strict construction. Inasmuch Having said thus much concerning the nature of the as these instruments have been so recently published, Federal Government, the limitations of its powers, the that the public mind may not be very familiar with them, rule by which the Constitution should be expounded, I (although the members of the two Houses of Congress proceed to the inquiry, From what clause in that instru. may be,) i hope I shall be pardoned for turning to sallment can the power to construct roads and canals be departs of several of them.
rived? I admit there is no clause prohibiting the exer. In the ratification of the constitution of the Commoncise of such a power-but it is equally plain that there wealth of Massachusetts, I find the following declaration: is no clause containing an express grant of the right, as
“That it be explicitly declared, that all powers not a distinct and independent power. May we not go some• expressly delegated by ihe aforesaid constitution, (of the what further, and say, that, in addition to the fact of no United States,) are reserved to the several States, to be such express grant of power being found in the Constiby them exercised."
tution, there is a strong presumption that such a grant What inference is to be drawn from this declaration, was intended to be denied to the General Government? thus made by the Representatives of the people of Mas- This presumption is established from the Journal of the sachusetts, selected for the express purpose of consider. Convention, as I will read: On the 14th Sept. (Journal ing on the propriety of adopting the constitution, but of Convention, p. 376,) it was proposed to add to the that, by ratifying the instrument, they intended to yield enumeration of powers contained in the 8th sec, 1st. art. only such powers as were expressly granted ? In other the following: “To grant letters of incorporation for words, that none of their reserved powers should be canals,"* &c. li was rejected, three states only voting taken from them by construction of doubtful terms and for it, viz: Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Georgia. There phrases ?
is a slight difference in words, between the amendment The State of South Carolina, in like manner, declared, thus rejected, and the bill under consideration. The in her ratification, “that no section or paragraph of amendment proposed to invest Congress with power to said consuitution, warrants a conclusion that the States grant letters of incorporation for canals," &c. The do not retain every power not expressly relinquished by bill presupposes that Congress possesses the power to them and vested in the General Government of the construct roads and canals. Bui every one will at once Union.” The language of this declaration is more ex. see, that there is no difference in principle. For if the plicit than that of Massachusetts, and leaves no doubt as power to grant letters of incorporation for canals, &c. to the rule by which that State intended the constitu- had been conferred on Congress, it would have carried tion should be interpreted.
with it a grant of power to Congress itself, to construct The ratification, by the State of New Hampshire, con. them, inasmuch as the letters of incorporation could tains a similar declaration, that all powers not expressly confer only such powers as vested in the person or body and particularly delegated by the aforesaid constitution, politic by whom ihey were to be granted. What, then, are reserved, kc.”
is the presumption to be drawn from the refusal by the The terms used in the ratification, by the New York Convention to conter this power! It can be only one of Convention, are quite as explicil-" That every power, two: 1st, That the Convention intended to deny the jurisdiction, and right, which is not, by said constitution, power to Congress, and if so, the question as to our clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States, power to pass the bill under consideration is settled : we &c. remains to the people of the several States, or to can have no sucis power. 2d, The other presumption is, their respective State Governments, &c.”
that the Convention retused to adopt the amendment, The ratification by the State of Rhode Island declares, because they believed the power was conferred in some that “every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not, other clause or grant. If this last presumption were by the said constitution, clearly delegated to the Con correct, we should have had some evidence, somewhere, gress of the United States, &c. remain to the people of ot its truth. We should have had some hint, either the several States," &c.
from the early expositors of the Constitution, or from In the ratifications of Virginia and North Carolina, an the declarations ot some member of the Convention, that amendment was proposed, embracing the same princi such was the opinion entertained by that body. Consult ple, with a slight modification. It is, that "each State the Letters of Publius, published under the title of the in this Union, respectively, retsin every power, jurisdic- Federalist-that work was principally written by two tion, and right, which is not, by this constitution, dele- distinguish. d members of the convention, one of whomt gated” (the
adverb "clearly” being left out) to the Con. was at his post when the vote was taken on the amend gress," &c.
ment. Does that work any where insinuate that such There were seven States, being a majority of those power was res ed expressly or impliedly, in Congress, who adopted the constitution,) who inserted ihe decla- by the Constitutioni Nay, has not the distinguished rations I have quoted. I have read them to show, under individual alluded to, when subsequently President of what impressions ihe people of the several Stales, repre- the United States, in a solemn message to Congress, sented in their several state conventions for the express denied that any such power was conferred by the Conobject, received and ratified that instrument as the su stitution! Surely it would not have been unknown to preme law of the land, and to show, that the delegation tim, if the Convention had ever intended to delegate of power was to be “clear, express, or particular, " or at the power. Consult, also, the work recently published least beyond doubt, before it could be exercised; con by Mr. Yates, another member of the Convention, and sequently, that the grant was to be strictly construed. nothing will be found favorable to the presumption. At Frum all ihese circumstances, it appears to me that this the present moment, we have in this very body a distinrule of construction is so clearly deducible, as that an guished member of that Convention. He was present, exercise of power upon any other, would be little else and voted on the amendment I have read from the Jourthan a fraud upon the people, and a usurpation of their nal. Doubtless he will be able to inform us whether rights! The use of such language is justifiable only the rejection of the amendment proceeded from a belief upon the principle that I have proved that such, and in the Convention that the power was conferred in some such only, is the true rule of construction.
other clause of the Constitution. § This second preOther motions of similar import were elsewhere proposed, but noue of them adopted. + Mr. Madison. Hon. Rufus King, of New York.
In this part of his remarks, Mr. C. addressed himself to Mr. K. who, shaking his head, is understood to have said, “Such a thing was not thought of.” Mr, K. voted agaiust the bill,
Feb. 23, 1825.]
sumption, then, is fallacious, and, consequently, Con. rule," and commerce means "trade or traffic in equivagress have no power, either express or implied, over lent values.” He would proceed, and take into view the subject of roads and canals.
the situation of the United States before the adoption Notwithstanding these proofs and arguments, there of the Constitution. Commerce was then carried on are many who yet pertinaciously insist that the power is" among the states.” The instruments employed were conferred; noi expressly, to be sure, but cloaked under ships on the ocean, boats on the wavigable streams, some express grant of powers as an incident thereto. wagons, &c. on the roads made by the states. But each When asked to what clause thy refer it as an incident, state had her own, and consequently different regulathey are placed in some difficulty to point their fingers tions as regards this commerce. Hence, the regulations to one. At one time, there were those who said it was were attended with discrepancies, a want of uniformity, conferred in that grant which gives Congress power "to irregularities, and trequently great injustice, which provide for the common defence and general welfare could not well be amended or prevented. It was, of the United States,” (21 clause, 8th sec. Ist art.) and therefore, proper to transfer the power of regulating, under this claim the advocates of this system of internal that is, adjusting by uniform rules, the commerce among improvements, and some other measures depending the states to the Federal Government, as a common upon the same rules of construction, have gone so far as and impartial arbiter upon the subject, who alone to say, "That, whatever the public gooil required to be could avoid the pre-existing evils. Doubtless the coast"Jone, was necessary and proper, and that Congress ing trade was principally in the view of the Convention “ was, in this respect, like the state legislatures."- and the stales, when the Constitution was framed and Others again have said, “ 'That Congress may adopt any ratified. Such a man would scarcely dream that the
measures which they may leem necessary and proper words included the authority to construct roads and " to accomplish the object in any manner, whether the canals, and to me it appears a monstrous stretch of " means be direct or remote." it will at once be seen, power to give them that meaning, especially as we that, were such principles generally adopted, the pow. have already seen that, in the Convention, such authoers of Congress would be unlimited even by the prohi-rity was viewed as constituting, of itself, a separate and bitory clauses of the constitution ; it is proper to admit, distinct power. that ihe friends of the system under consideration, un- It will be in vain to enter into a further explanation of willing, as yet, to come to such a conclusion, (wirich, these two clauses. I have endeavored to put upon however, is inevitable, sooner or later,) have relinquish them what I think to be their obvious, common sense ed this derivation of power. Some have saiid, that the construction such a construction as it is propable the power is incident 10 that of " declaring war," or of people of the several states gave to them. The moment " raising and supporting armies.” This ground they we go beyond such a construction; the moment we have found to be equally untenable; because, with the commence the work of attenuation, and making nice same propriety they might have dispensed with the distinctions, we shall commence the destruction of the power to '" levy, and collect taxes," as a distinct power; constitution, by constructing it in a manner to invest for the powers of declaring and prosecuting war, and Congress with all the powers they may please to exof raising and supporting armies, would be inefficient ercise. without means, and money alone can afford those I am aware that a very different rule of construction means; therefore, as incident of these powers, and as than that for which I have been contending has been “necessary and proper” for their execution, Congress established by an important and highly imposing departcould have levied and collected taxes with equal pro. ment of the Government. I allude to the rule estabpriety as they could construct roals and canals ; yet the lished in the opinion of the Supreme Court of the Convention gave the taxing power in a separate and United States, in the case of M'Culloch and the state distinct form.
of Maryland. That opinion goes the full length of deIn latter times, two other clauses have been selected, nying almost every point for which I have contended. as containing the power to construct roads and canals, to the points determined in that case may be stated as which I sijall now advert, viz: the powers to estab. follows: lish post roads," and to "regulate commerce.” It will That the constitution emanated from the “people," be well to examine these clauses in the simplest form and not from the "states:" (This position is directly that we can. If, upon showing to a plain man, of good at war with every principle contained in the resolution common sense, (and for such the Constitution was of the Kentucky Legislature, which I have already formed,) the clause conferring on Congress the power read.) “ to establish post roa Is," he were asked its meaning, That although the Government of the United States woull it enter into his imagination, that it meant to is one of "enumerated and limited powers,” it is suconstruct roads? How would he reason? His answer preme within its sphere of action : would be formed frim his opinion of the circumstances That having the power to do an act, and having im. of the country; that the Post Office establishment could posed on it the duty of performing that act, it must have not be managed with benefit by the states, therefore, it the power of selecting the means; and has, moreover, was proper to confer it on the General Government; given to it pow.r to pass all law's “ necessary and prothat the mail was wanting only where there were peo- per” to carry into effect its defined powers : ple, and wherever thesc were, there would be roads of That the word " necessary" imports no more than some sort, made by the local authorities ; that the Con- that one thing is "convenient", "useful," "appropristitution meant to give Congress the power of declaring ate,” “needful,” or “conducive to” another: upon which of such roads the mail should be carried That, in the selection of " means" to execute its for the benefit of the greatest number, and that such powers, the National Legislature can exercise its digdeclaration would be establishing" such roads as cretion in the choice ani take all such as are “ap“post roads," giving to them a legal existence as such. propriate, plainly adapted to the end, not prohibited,” Under this plain, common sense cons:suction, so obvious &c. and is not tied down to such, without which some to every one, the Government has acted, from the of the powers conferred could not be executed ; and adoption of the Constitution to the present time. finally, Congress is to judge of the degree of “neces
Let us examine the power "to regulate commerce,” sity.” in the same manner. Were the same supposed indivi. Under such principles, I know not what powers dual asked the construction of this clause, he would Congress cannot exercise-I know of no limit to its comnience by giving the plain and obvious meaning of powers. the words, To regulate" means to "adjust" by For myself, Mr. President, I declare I have no reye
[FEB. 23, 1825.
rence for the decision of this tribunal. Much has been “tution a supposed usefulness or propriety for the nesaid during the present session of the Senate concerning “cessity expressed and contemplates by the instru. the claims of power set up by that court.
In most of “
ment; and which, in fact, destroys every limitation of these sentiments i heartily concur. In the work of ag. " the power of Congress. It will follow, thai, instead of gression, it has ever been foremost in the march. what “ being bound by any positive rule laid down by their claim of power by the Federal Government has it not charters, the discretion of Congress, a discretion to be sustained? What claim of power by the states has it “governed by suspicion, aların, popular clamor, prinut denied ? Its members, deriving their authority and vate ambition, and by the views of Auctuating facemoluments from the Federal Government-- amenable "tions, will justily any measure they may pleas to adopt; only to that for their acts; answerable there only for acts that, instead of being bound by a Constitution, they of corruption; (for, however flagrantly erroneously their may claim the omnipotence of the Bri:ish Parliament; opinions may be, if unattended with corrupt motives, “ that all the reserved powers of the people, or of the they are beyond the reach of punishment,) and holding states, will be swallowed up at their pleasure, by that their offices during life, fully understand the importance undefined discretion. In a word, tha: the Constituof their station. Supported by the other departments “ tion itse!, so far as repects a limiiation of powers, is, of the Government, this court has commenced the work " by that doctrine, completely annihilated. Even the of consolidation. In its outstretched hand it brandishes positive checks which, in a few instances, prohibit the a sword which commands to the execution of its decrees, exercise of certain powers, will not prove a sufficient the purse, and the physical force of the nation. Before “ guard against an inordinate appetite to legislate on the terrors of that sword the friends, as well as foes of " some favorite subject." its authority are made to prostrate themselves; and the Such are the views of this distinguished and veneraperiod, I fear, is not distant, when they must all perish ble character. In perfect accordance with the princiby being crushed by the mighty engine of Government, ples of construction laid down by him, is the celebrated of whose destructive approach it is only the forerunner. report adopted by the Législature of Virginia about the
I may be told of the venerable age, the talents, the same period, on the same subject. I have it at band, sagacity, and bigh integrity of the individuals of whom but presuming every member of the Senate fainiliar this court is composed. These high sounding charac- with it, I will not detain them by reading it. A slight teristics have but little weight with me. They are men; comparison of the purtion of the spee h which I have and when they have the opportunity of exercising pow. read, and of the report I have referred to, with the opier, like other men, they will do it, be the consequences nion of the Supreme Court, of which I have attempted what they may. I am no believer in the infallibility of to give an analysis, will show their utter hostility to each judges.
other upon all the principles of construction. Why Sir, if my opinions are to be regulated by those of should the decisions of that court be better entitled to others, there are other fathers in the political church our respect than the opinions of others equally eminent whom I prefer consulting, I hold in my hand an extract for talents, for patriotism, and stern integrity? Have from a speech, made by one of the most distinguished they considered the subject more profoundly? Have politicians who has ever had an influence in the coun. the authors of the opinions to which I have referred, cils of the Federal Government. It was made in Con. less character, less judgment, less impartiality? Sir, gress, at the session subsequent to the passage of the they had not the same interest in the establishment of Sedition Law, and upon the expediency of repealing the powers of this Government. They were the advo. that law. I will read it :
cates of the rights and powers of the “people and the “ The expressions used in the clause (of the Consti- states." " tution) are,' necessary and proper.' The idea con- From the arguments which I have urged, and the au
veyed by the word 'proper,' is implied in that of the thorities and documents read and referred to in support “word 'necessary ;' for whatever is necessary is proper. of them, my conclusion is easily drawn. If the delega* The addition of the word ' proper' was, therefore, use- tion of powers, (especially of incidental or implied pow. “ less, unless designed more precisely to ascertain the ers) is to be ascertained by a strict rule of construction; “meaning of the word 'necessary,' the better to pre- if the power proposed to be exercised, is not a defined
vent a construction that, by necessity, nothing more power, clearly granted in the constitution ;-if Congress
was meant than propriety,' and to establish, beyond cannot adopt urlimited means for the execution of li. "contradiction, that whatever might, by Congress, be mited powers;—nor such as merely have “a tendency
thought proper, was not, on that account, to be judg- to promote an end;"-nor such as are merely "requi. " ed necessary. Hence, the meaning of the word ne- site," "biglily convenient," "appropriate,” or “con
cessary' is confined in that clause to its strictest sense, ducive to" that end; but only such means as " that, with “to wit, to the power of passing laws, without which, out them, some powers clearly granted, could not be ex. " some of the powers delegated to Congress, could not ecuted ;" such were the implied power, proposed to be “ be carried into effect.
exercised as means,” plainly flowe from, and “ neces. " In order to support the constitutionality of the law, sarily and properly" grows out of, the defined or ex“ [the Sedition Law) the Select Committee must sup. press power, having an immediate, appropriate, and un
pose, in the first place, that Congress may pass laws doubted relation thereto; then there is no power in " without a certainty of their being necessary for carry: Congress to pass this bill: For, none will contend that “ing into execution some of the specific powers granted it is “indispensable," necessary," or very bighly “ to them; that is to say, that Congress have powers to “ needful,” for the transportation of the mail, or adjust“ pass laws which may be unnecessary for that purpose. ing by rule, the commerce “ among the several states." "In the next place, that, if a certain law is necessary for Both these powers are now executed without the aid " executing a constitutional measure, of a temporary na- of the bill, niost beneficially and profitably for all. Even
ture, that law may constitutionally be executed, al. upon a fair interpretation of the rule established by the though the temporary measure, itself, should not be Supreme Court, it may be doubted whether Congress " executed at all; that is to say, that the incidental pow. have power over the internal improvements of the coun.
er may be exercised for a purpose different than that try. " of executing the power on which it rests. (Such is It will, however, not be without its use to examine the fact, as regards constructing roads.]
into the consequences likely to result from the establish “The application of that constructive doctrine to the ment of the liberal principles of construction laid down "sedition and alien laws, justifies a conclusion, that, it by the Supreme Court, and the advocates of this system " adopted, it will substitute in that clause of the consti- 1 of internal improvement. I cannot be mistaken in sup
FEB. 23, 1825.]
posing 'hat it will cause many of them to pause and they should be-their very existence depends upon shudder at the extent of the powers which such princi. their being so. pies will confer on the General Government.
In what manner did the advocates of this restriction Will it be denied, at the present day, that the “Sedie claim the power to impose it? I will show by an extract tion law” was unconstitutional ?--not barely as being from one of the most celebrated speeches delivered on contrary to that article providing for "freedom of the that memorable question." “ In what part of the Con. press," but because Congress had no power, express or stitution is this power conferred ? It is conferred in that implied, to enact it? should be contending against part of the Constitution which authorizes Congress to shadows, to attempt now to prove that it was. It has admit new states into the Union ;' and, to me, it is per. been decided to be so by a tribunal higher than the Su- fectly plain, that we need look no further for it.” preme Court. It has been decided to be so by the peo- “ The power to admit new states is given to Congress ple the:nselves, in opposition to the opinions of every in general terms, without restriction or qualification, and department of the Government. Yet, what was the rea. upon every just principle of construction must be unsoning employed by the friends of that measure in favor derstood to confer whatever authority is ' necessary' for of its constitutionality! It will be found embodied in a carrying the power into effect; and every authority report of a committee of the House of Representatives, which, in practice, bad become incident to the principal in 1799, and upon which the speech, a part of which power, or was deemed to make a part of it. I have read, was delivered. I will read an extract “ Of late, it has been the fashion to insist upon a libefroin it.
ral construction of the constitution, and its most extenThe objection is—" That Congress have no power by sive efficacy has been found in the implied powers it is the Constitution to pass any act for punishing libels, no supposed to confer. All powers are implied, that are such power being expressly given, and all powers not l' necessary' for the execution of the enumerated powers, given to Congress, being reserved to the states respect and the necessity need not be absolute; a modified neively, or to the people thereof.
cessity, or high degree of expediency, is sufficient. “ To this objection it is answered, that a law to punish | Whence the power to incorporate a bank? Whence the false, scandalous, and malicious writings, against the Go. authority to apply the public treasure to the improvevernment, with an intent to stir up sedition, is a law ne- ment of the country by roads and canals ? Whence the cessary for carrying into effect the power vested by the authority to encourage domestic industry, by bounties Constitution, in the Government of the United States, or prohibitions? Is it to be found in the letter of the and in the departments and officers thereof; and con- constitution! They all rest upon this single position: sequently, such a law as Congress may pass ; because, That an original power having been granted, every other the direct tendency of such writings is to obstruct the power is implied, which is necessary,' or useful, for acts of the Government by exciting opposition to them, carrying that power into execution ; and this is an into endanger its existence by rendering it odious and con- herent essential principle of the constitution, altogether temptible in the eyes of the people, and to produce se independent of its words." ditious combinations against the laws, the power to pun,
Such is the derivation of the power to impose the reish which has never been questioned; because it would striction on Missouri. It is in strict conformity with that be manifestly absurd to suppose that a Government of the Supreme Court, in the case of the Bank. The might punish sedition, and yet be void of power to pre- latter is made a precedent to the former. The tariff, yent it, by punishing acts which plainly and necessarily and the bill under consideration, rest upon the same lead to it; and because, under the general power to principles. Can a sound distinction be drawn between make all laws, " proper and necessary,” for carrying in the:n? This question is more particularly addressed to to effect the powers vested by the Constitution, in the the representatives of those states where slavery is toleGovernment of the United States, Congress has passed rated, who may be friendly to this bill. The more the many laws for which no express provision can be found question is examined, the more plainly will it appear, in the Constitution, and the constitutionality of which has that, if any one of these measures is constitutional, the never been questioned," &c.
others are equally so; and yet what man in the South Precisely the same reasoning is employed by the Mas- will admit the constitutionality of the restriction on Mis. sachusetts report in answer to the Virginia resolutions, souri? and which drew forth the able report of the Virginia Le. By a similar course of reasoning, it is proveable that gislature, before alıuded to. I have it at hand, but will Congress has power to “ emit bills of credit." This, as not consume time by reading it. A very slight compa- a distinct and independent power, is expressly prohibitrison will show that the principles of the report just ed to the states. As a distinct and independent power, read, and those contained in the opinion of the Supreme it is no where conferred on the United Stales. Nay, the Court, so often alluded to, are the same, differing only presumption is, that it was intended to be refused, be. in words and phrases. According, then, to these princi- cause it was at one period, during the deliberations of ples, another sedition law would be constitutional. the convention, inserted after the power “to borrow
I am about to advert to another subject, which I know money," and then stricken out. We know that Con. is a hateful one. I allude to the attempt made to impose gress has exercised this power, because every Treasury a restriction upon the state of Missouri in relation to note issued during the late war, was a “ bill of credit." slavery. But I make the allusion without any improper Under what grant of power was it done? Under no es feeling, or any desire to open wounds long since healed. pressed one, I am sure, and of course it must have been But the question was, and is, and must always be, one of done as means" (not absolutely necessary, nor indisgreat interest to the Southern states. There are daily pensable) to the exercise of a power, without which it occurrences in relation to the slavery of a portion of the could not be executed, but as being highly conveni. population of the South, calculated to excite alarm ; and ent," " useful,” “ needful," "conducive to the powit is only within a few days past, that a measure intro- ers of “borrowing money,' declaring war," sup: duced on this subject, was, by consent of the mover, porting armies," * maintaining navies,' &c. to none of laid on the table of the Senate, for the residue of the which did the measure bear a more appropriate relationsession. The people of the Southern states are watch- ship, than the sedition law did to the power supful concerning all measures of the General Government priss insurrection.” touching the subject of slavery; and it is proper that In all the cases I have named, Congress have acted ;
This extract is taken from the speech of Mr. Sergeant, of Pennsylvania. The speeches of Messrs. King, Taylor, and Plumer, and others, occupied nearly the same grounds.