« AnteriorContinua »
that a father would over his children whom he saw rushing to certain ruin. In that paternal language, with that paternal feeling, let me tell you, my countrymen, that you are deluded by men who are either deceived themselves or wish to deceive you. Mark under what pretences you have been led on to the brink of insurrection and treason, on which you stand! First, a diminution of the value of your staple commodity, lowered by over-production in other quarters, and the consequent diminution in the value of your lands, were the sole effect of the tariff laws. The effect of those laws are confessedly injurious, but the evil was greatly exaggerated by the unfounded theory you were taught to believe, that its burdens were in proportion to your exports, not to your consumption of imported articles. Your pride was roused by the assertion that a submission to those laws was a state of vassalage, and that resistance to them was equal, in patriotic merit, to the opposition our fathers offered to the oppressive laws of Great Britain. You were told that this opposition might be peaceably-might be constitutionally made ; that you might enjoy all the advantages of the Union, and bear none of its burdens.
Eloquent appeals to your passions, to your state pride, to your native courage, to your sense of real injury, were used to prepare you for the period when the mask which concealed the hideous features of DISUNION should be taken off. It fell, and you were made to look with complacency on objects which, not long since, you would have regarded with horror. Look back at the arts which have brought you to this state-look forward to the consequences to which it must inevitably lead! Look back to what was first told you as an inducement to enter into this dangerous course. The great political truth was repeated to you, that you had the revolutionary right of resisting all laws that were palpably unconstitutional and intolerably oppressive : it was added that the right to nullify a law rested on the same prinple, but that it was a peaceable remedy! This character which was given to it, made you receive, with too much confidence, the assertions that were made of the unconstitutionality of the law, and its oppressive effects. Mark, my fel low-citizens, that by the admission of your leaders, the un. constitutionality must be palpable, or it will not justify either resistance or nullification! What is the meaning of the word palpable, in the sense in which it is here used ?-that which is apparent to every one · that which no man of ordinary intellect will fail to perceive. Is the unconstitutionality of these laws of that description? Let those among your leaders who once approved and advocated the principle of protective duties, answer the question ; and let them choose whether they will be considered as incapable then of perceiving that which must have been apparent to every man of common understanding, or as imposing upon your confidence, and endeavouring to mislead you now. In either case,
they are unsafe guides in the perilous path they urge you to tread. Ponder well on this circumstance, and you will know how to appreciate the exaggerated language they address to you. They are not champions of liberty, emulating the fame of our revolutionary fathers; nor are you an oppressed people, contending, as they repeat to you, against worse than colonial vassalage. You are free members of a flourishing and happy Union. There is no settled design to oppress you. You have, indeed, felt the unequal operation of laws which may have been unwisely, not unconstitutionally passed; but that inequality must necessarily be removed. At the very moment when you were madly urged on the unfortunate course you have begun, a change in public opinion had commenced. The nearly approaching payment of the public debt, and the consequent necessity of a diminution of duties, had already produced a considerable reduction, and that, too, on some articles of general consumption in your state. The importance of this change was understood, and you were authoritatively told that no farther alleviation of your burdens was to be expected, at the very time when the condition of the country imperiously demanded such a modification of the duties as should reduce them to a just and equitable scale. But, as if apprehensive of the effect of this change in allaying your discontents, you were precipitated into the fearful state in which you now find yourselves.
I have urged you to look back to the means that were used to hurry you on to the position you have now assumed, and forward to the consequences it will produce. Something more is necessary. Contemplate the condition of that country of which you still form an important part! Consider its government, uniting in one bond of common interests and general protection so many different states, giving to all their inhabitants the proud title of AMERICAN CITIZENS, protecting their commerce, securing their literature and their
ts, facilitating their intercommunication, defending their frontiers, and making their name respected in the remotest parts of the earth! Consider the extent of its territory, its increasing and happy population, its advance in arts, which render life agreeable, and the sciences, which elevate the mind! See education spreading the lights of religion, humanity, and general information into every cottage in this wide extent of our territories and states ! Behold it as the asylum where the wretched and the oppressed find a refuge and support! Look on this picture of happiness and honour, and say, We, too, ARE CITIZENS OF AMERICA ; Carolina is one of these proud states : her arms have defended, her best blood has cemented this happy Union! And then add, if you can, without horror and remorse, this happy Union we will dissolve; this picture of peace and prosperity we will deface; this free intercourse we will interrupt; these fertile fields we will deluge with blood ; the protection of that glorious flag we renounce; the very names of Americans we discard. And for what, mistaken men !--for what do you throw away these inestimable blessings—for what would you exchange your share in the advantages and honour of the Union ? For the dream of a separate independence-a dream interrupted by bloody conflicts with your neighbours, and a vile dependance on a foreign power. If your leaders could succeed in establishing a separation, what would be your situation? Are you united at homeare you free from the apprehension of civil discord, with all its fearful consequences? Do our neighbouring republics, every day suffering some new revolution, or contending with some new insurrection-do they excite your envy! But the dictates of a high duty oblige me solemnly to announce that you cannot succeed.
The laws of the United States must be executed. I have no discretionary power on the subject-my duty is emphatically pronounced in the Constitution. Those who told you that you might peaceably prevent their execution, deceived you_they could not have been deceived themselves. They know that a forcible opposition could alone prevent the execution of the laws, and they know that such opposition must be repelled. Their object is disunion ; but be not deceived by names; disunion, by armed force, is TREASON. Are you really ready to incur its guilt ? If you are, on the heads of the instigators of the act be the dreadful consequences—on their heads be the dishonour, but on yours may fall the punishment_on your unhappy state will inevitably fall
all the evils of the conflict you force upon the government of your country. It cannot accede to the mad project of disunion of which you would be the first victims—its first magistrate cannot, if he would, avoid the performance of his duty-the consequence must be fearful for you, distressing to your fellow-citizens here, and to the friends of good gove ernment throughout the world. Its enemies have beheld our prosperity with a vexation they could not conceal : it was a standing refutation of their slavish doctrines, and they will point to our discord with the triumph of malignant joy. It is yet in your power to disappoint them. There is yet time to show that the descendants of the Pinckneys, the Sumpters, the Rutledges, and of the thousand other names which adorn the pages of your revolutionary history, will not abandon that Union to support which so many of them fought, and bled, and died. I adjure you, as you honour their memory-as you love the cause of freedom, to which they dedicated their lives as you prize the peace of your country, the lives of its best citizens, and your own fair fame, to retrace your steps. Snatch from the archives of your state the disorganizing edict of its convention ; bid its members to reassemble and promulgate the decided expressions of your will to remain in the path which alone can conduct you to safety, prosperity, and honour; tell them that, compared to disunion, all other evils are light, because that brings with it an accumulation of all; declare that you will never take the field unless the star-spangled banner of your country shall float over you; that you will not be stigmatized when dead, and dishonoured and scorned while you live, as the authors of the first attack on the Constitution of your country! Its destroyers you cannot be. You may disturb its peace-you may interrupt the course of its prosperity--you may cloud its reputation for stability—but its tranquillity will be restored, its prosperity will return, and the stain upon its national character will be transferred, and remain an eternal blot on the memory of those who caused the disorder.
Fellow-citizens of the United States ! The threat of unhallowed disunion--the names of those, once respected, by whom it is uttered--the array of military force to support it- denote the approach of a crisis in our affairs on which the continuance of our unexampled prosperity, our political existence, and perhaps that of all free governments, may depend. The conjunction demanded a free, a full, and explicit enunciation, not only of my intentions, but of my prin
ciples of action; and as the claim was asserted of a right by a state to annul the laws of the Union, and even to secede from it at pleasure, a frank exposition of my opinions in relation to the origin and form of our government, and the construction I give to the instrument by which it was created, seemed to be proper. Having the fullest confidence in the justness of the legal and constitutional opinion of my duties which has been expressed, I rely with equal confidence on your undivided support in my determination to execute the laws—to preserve the Union by all constitutional means to arrest, it possible, by moderate but firm measures, the necessity of a recourse to force; and, if it be the will of Heaven that the recurrence of its primeval curse on mân for the shedding of a brother's blood should fall upon our land, that it be not called down by any offensive act on the part of the United States.
Fellow-citizens ! The momentous case is before you. On your undivided support of your government depends the decision of the great question it involves, whether your sacred Union will be preserved, and the blessings it secures to us as one people shall be perpetuated. No one can doubt that the unanimity with which that decision will be expressed will be such as to inspire new confidence in Republican institutions, and that the prudence, the wisdom, and the courage which it will bring to their defence, will transmit them unimpaired and invigorated to our children.
May the great Ruler of nations grant that the signal blessings with which He has favoured ours may not, by the madness of party or personal ambition, be disregarded and lost; and may His wise providence bring those who have produced this crisis to see the folly, before they feel the mis. ery of civil strife ; and inspire a returning veneration for that Union which, if we may dare to penetrate His designs, He has chosen as the only means of attaining the high destinies to which we may reasonably aspire. In testimony whereof, I have caused the seal of the Uni
ted States to be hereunto affixed, having signed the
same with my hand. Done at the city of Washington this 10th day of Decem
ber, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the fifty-seventh.
ANDREW JACKSON. By the President: Edw. LIVINGSTON, Secretary of State.