There is one more--the supreme law of necessity! Necessity for what and whence? If the necessity has been produced by the Administration instead of palliation it is but aggravation of its offenses. What then is this necessity? We are told that the seceding States have repudiated the Constitution and deserted the Union; they must be coerced to return to the one and to submit to the other. The Constitution gives no power to coerce a State; the power is indispensable, therefore we must usurp it.
In the Convention that framed the Constitution it was proposed to give the power to call forth the force of the Union against any member of the Union failing to fulfill its duty under the articles thereof. Mr. Madison said:
The more he reflected on the use of force the more he doubted the practicability, the justice and efficacy of it when applied the people collectively and not individually. An union of the Stats containing such an ingredient seemed to provide for it sown destruction. The use of force against a State would look more like a declaration of war than an infliction of punishment, and would probably be considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all previous compacts by which it might be bound. Any government for the United States formed on the supposed practicability of using force against the unconstitutional proceedings of the States would prove as visionary and fallacious as the government of Congress.
Mr. Hamilton said:
How can this force be exerted against the States collectively? It is impossible. It amounts to a war between the parties. Foreign powers will not be idle spectators. They will interpose; the confusion will increase, and a dissolution of the Union will ensue.
The power was not given.
In the war of 1812 Massachusetts refused to furnish her quota of troops and was not coerced. Recently Ohio refused to deliver u a fugitive from justice; the Federal courts decided that she was bound to do so by the Constitution but no department of the General Government had the right to coercee necessity then does not grow out of the Constitution but is something exterior and superior to it, suspending its vitality, annulling alike its guarantees and its prohibitions and threatening its annihilation.
It involves too another extra-constitutional necessity--a war--a civil war, the consequences of which the Representative of this Congressional district so truthfully sketched in his speech* of February last which you have all read and most of you approved; a war that has already paralyzed the trade, commerce, manufactures and finances of the country--has imposed an onerous tax on property whose revenues it has destroyed--that is building up at the rate of more than $1,000,000 a day a public debt that will be an incubus on the people for ages, if not forever; that has reduced the ordinary revenues of the country to one-fourth the ordinary expenditures; that will bankrupt our State as it has annulled the rights of her citizens and abolished her sovereignty; that has covered the land with ruin, with mounting and desolation.
What has it accomplished in its half year's duration but loss of life and treasure and national honor? What can it effect but additional evil?
The President has told us that it cannot settle the issues that divided the North and the South. His more conservative adherents declare it is not waged for conquest or subjugation, whilst the abolition wing of his party frankly declares that its motive and its inevitable consequence is to emancipate the slave and destroy the South.
*Foot-note in pamphlet, embodying an extract from Congressman Webster's speech on coercion, is omitted as unimportant.