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case may be," " even under any process, order, or decrees, or other pretext, contrary to the true intent and meaning of the ordinance aforesaid." It is thus made the duty of the sheriff to oppose the process of the courts of the United States, and for that purpose, if need be, to employ the whole power of the country. And the act expressly reserves to him all power which independently of its provisions he could have used. In this reservation it obviously contemplates a resort to other means than those particularly mentioned.
It is not to be disguised that the power which it is thus enjoined upon the sheriff to employ, is nothing less than the posse comitatus, in all the rigor of the ancient common law. This power, though it may be used against unlawful resistance to judicial process, is in its character forcible, and analogous to that conferred upon ihe marshals by the act of 1795. It is, in fact, the embodying of the whole mass of the population, under the command of a single individual, to accomplish by their forcible aid what could not be effected peaceably and by the ordinary means. It may properly be said to be a relic of those ages in which the laws could be defended rather by physical than moral force, and in its origin was conferred upon the sheriffs of England, to enable them to defend their country against any of the king's enemies when they came into the land, as well as for the purpose of executing process. In early and less civilized times, it was intended to include " the aid and attendance of all knights and others who were bound to have harness." It includes the right of going with arms and military equipments, and embraces larger classes and greater masses of population than can be compelled by the laws of most of the states to perform militia dnty. If the principles of the common law are recognised in South Carolina, (and from this act it would seem they are,) the power of summoning the posse comitatus will compel, under the penalty of fine and imprisonment, every man over the age of fifteen, and able to travel, to turn out at the call of the sheriff, and with such weapons as shall be necessary; and it may justify beating, and even killing such as may resist. The use of the posse comitatus is, therefore, a direct application of force, and cannot be otherwise regarded than as the employment of the whole militia force of the country, and in any equally efficient form, under a different name. No proceeding which resorts to this power to the extent contemplated by the act, can be properly denominated peaceable.
The act of South Carolina, however, does not rely altogether upon this forcible remedy. For even attempting to resist or disobey, though by the aid only of the ordinary officers of the customs, the process of replevin, the collector and all concerned, are subjected to a farther proceeding in the nature of a distress of their personal effects; and are, moreover, made guilty of a misdemeanor, and liable to be punished by a fine of not less than one thousand, nor more than five thousand dollars, and to imprisonment not exceeding two years, nor less than six months; and for even attempting to execute the orders of the court for retaking the property, the marshal and all assisting would be guilty of a misdemeanor, and liable to a fine of not less than three thousand dollars, and to imprisonment not exceeding two years, nor less than one, and in case the goods should be retaken under such process, it is made the absolute duty of the sheriff to retake them.
It is not to be supposed that, in the face of these penalties, aided by the powerful force of the country, which would doubtless be brought to sustain the state officers, either the collector could retain the custody in the first
instance, or that the marshal could summon sufficient aid to retake the property pursuant to the order or other process of the court.
It is, moreover, obvious that in this conflict between the powers of the officers of the United States and the state, (unless the latter be passively submitted to,) the destruction to which the property of the officers of the customs would be exposed, the commission of actual violence, and the loss of lives, would be scarcely avoidable.
Under these circumstances, and the provisions of the acts of South Carolina, the execution of the laws is rendered impracticable even through the ordinary judicial tribunals of the United States. There would certainly be fewer difficulties, and less opportunity of actual collision between the officers of the United States and of the state, and the collection of the revenue would be more effectually secured — if, indeed, it can be done in any other way — by placing the custom-house beyond the immediate power of the county.
For this purpose, it might be proper to provide that whenever, by any unlawful combination or obstruction in any state, or in any port, it should become impracticable faithfully to collect the duties, the president of the United States should be authorized to alter and abolish such of the districts and ports of entry as should be necessary, and to establish the custom-house at some secure place within the same port or harbor of such state; and, in such cases, it should be the duty of the collector to reside at such place, and to detain all vessels and cargoes until the duties imposed by law be properly secured or paid in cash, deducting interest; that, in such cases, it should be unlawful to take the vessel and cargo from the custody of the proper officer of the customs, unless by process from the ordinary judicial tribunals of the United States; and that, in case of an attempt otherwise to take the property by force too great to be overcome by the officers of the customs, it should be lawful to protect the possession of the officers by the employ. ment of the land and naval forces, and militia, under provisions similar to those authorized by the eleventh section of the act of the nineteenth of Jan
This provision, however, will not shield the officers and citizens of the United States, acting under the laws, from suits and prosecutions in the tribunals of the state, which might thereafter be brought against them; por would it protect their property from the proceeding by distress; and it may well be apprehended that it would be inefficient to insure a proper respect to the process of the constitutional tribunals, in prosecutions for offences against the United States, and to protect the authorities of the United States
, whether judicial or ministerial, in the performance of their duties. It would, moreover, be inadequate to extend the protection due from the government to that portion of the people of South Carolina, against outrage and oppression of any kind, who may manifest their attachment, and yield obedience to the laws of the Union.
It may, therefore, be desirable to revive with some modifications better adapted to the occasion, the sixth section of the act of the third of March, 1815, which expired on the fourth of March, 1817, by the limitation of that of twenty-seventh of April, 1816, and to provide that in any case where suit shall be brought against any individual in the courts of the state, for any act done under the laws of the United States, he should be authorized to remove the said cause, by petition into the circuit court of the United States, without any copy of the record, and that that court should proceed to hear
and determine the same as if it had been originally instituted therein. And that in all cases of injuries to the persons or property of individuals, acting under the laws of the United States, for disobedience to the ordinance and laws of South Carolina, in performance thereof, redress may be sought in the courts of the United States. It may be expedient also, by modifying the resolution of the third of March, 1791, to authorize the marshals to make the necessary provision for the safe-keeping of prisoners committed under the authority of the United States.
Provisions less than these, consisting as they do, for the most part, rather of a revival of the policy of former acts called for by the existing emergency, than of the introduction of any unusual or rigorous enactments, would not cause the laws of the Union to be properly respected and enforced. It is believed these would prove adequate, unless the military forces of the state of South Carolina, authorized by the act of the legislature, should be actual y embodied and called out in aid of their proceedings, and of the provisions of the ordinance generally. Even in that case, however, it is believed that no more will be necessary than a few modifications of its terms to adapt the act of 1795 to the present emergency, as by that act the provisions of the law of 1792 were accommodated to the crisis then existing; and by conferring authority upon the president to give it operation during the session of Congress, and without the ceremony of a proclamation, whenever it shall be officially made known to him by the authority of any state, or by the courts of the United States, that within the limits of such state the laws of the United States will be openly opposed and their execution obstructed by the actual employment of military force, or by any un lawful means whatsoever, too great to be otherwise overcome.
In closing this communication I should do injustice to my own feelings not to express my confident reliance upon the disposition of each department of the government to perform its duty, and co-operate in all measures necessary in the present emergency.
The crisis undoubtedly invokes the fidelity of the patriot and the sagacity of the statesman, not more in removing such portion of the public burden as may be necessary, than in preserving the good order of society, and in the maintenance of well-regulated liberty.
While a forbearing spirit may, and I trust will, be exercised toward the errors of our brethren in a particular quarter, duty to the rest of the Union demands that open and organized resistance to the laws should not be executed with impunity.
The rich inheritance bequeathed by our fathers has devolved upon us the sacred obligation of preserving it by the same virtues which conducted them through the eventful scenes of the revolution, and ultimately crowned their struggle with the noblest model of civil institutions. They bequeathed to us a government of laws, and a federal union founded upon the great principle of popular representation. After a successful experiment of forty-four years, at a moment when the government and the Union are the objects of the hopes of the friends of civil liberty throughout the world, and in the midst of public and individual prosperity unexampled in history, we are called upon to decide whether these laws possess any force, and that Union the means of self-preservation. The decision of this question by an enlightened and patriotic people cannot be doubtful. For myself, fellow citizens, devoutly relying upon that kind Providence which has hitherto watched over our destinies, and actuated by a profound reverence for those
institutions I have so much cause to love, and for the American people, whose partiality honored me with their highest trust, I have determined to spare no effort to discharge the duty which in this conjuncture is devolved upon me. That a similar spirit will actuate the representatives of the American people is not to be questioned; and I fervently pray that the Great Ruler of nations may so guide your deliberations, and our joint measures, as that they may prove salutary examples, not only to the present but to future times, and solemnly proclaim that the constitution and the laws are supreme, and the Union indissoluble.
March 4, 1833. Fellow Citizens :
The will of the American people, expressed through their unsolicited suffrages, calls me before you to pass through the solemnities preparatory to taking upon myself the duties of president of the United States for another term. For their approbation of my public conduct, through a period which has not been without its difficulties, and for this renewed expression of their confidence in my good intentions, I am at a loss for terms adequate to the expression of my gratitude. It shall be displayed, to the extent of my humble abilities, in continued efforts so to administer the government, as to preserve their liberty and promote their happiness.
So many events have occurred within the last four years, which have necessarily called forth, sometimes under circumstances the most delicate and painful, my views of the principles and policy which ought to be pursued by the general government, that I need, on this occasion, but allude to a few leading considerations connected with some of them.
The foreign policy adopted by our government soon after the formation of our present constitution, and very generally pursued by successive administrations, has been crowned with almost complete success, and has elevated our character among the nations of the earth. To do justice to all, and to submit to wrong from none, has been, during my administration, its governing maxim; and so happy have been its results, that we are not only at peace with all the world, but have few causes of controversy, and those of minor importance, remaining unadjusted.
In the domestic policy of this government, there are two objects which especially deserve the attention of the people and their representatives, and which have been, and will continue to be, the subjects of my unceasing solicitude. They are, the preservation of the rights of the several states, and the integrity of the Union.
These great objects are necessarily connected, and can only be attained by an enlightened exercise of the powers of each within its appropriate sphere, in conformity to the public will constitutionally expressed. To this end, it becomes the duty of all to yield a ready and patriotic submission to the laws constitutionally enacted, and thereby promote and strengthen a proper confidence in those institutions of the several states and of the United States, which the people themselves have ordained for their own government.
My experience in public concerns, and the observation of a life somewhat advanced, confirm the opinions long since imbibed by me, that the destruction of our state governments, or the annihilation of their control over the local concerns of the people, would lead directly to revolution and anarchy, and finally to despotism and military domination. In proportion, therefore, as the general government encroaches upon the rights of the states, in the same proportion does it impair its own power and detract from its ability to fulfil the purposes of its creation. Solemnly impressed with these considerations, my countrymen will ever find me ready to exercise my constitutional powers in arresting measures which may directly or indirectly encroach upon the rights of the states, or tend to consolidate all political power in the general government. But, of equal, and indeed of