صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني





§ 945. THE fourth article of the constitution contains several important provisions, some of which have been already considered. Among these are, the faith and credit to be given to state acts, records, and judgments, and the mode of proving them, and the effect thereof; the admission of new states into the Union; and the regulation and disposal of the territory, and other property of the United States. We shall now proceed to those, which still remain for examination.

§ 946. The first is, "The citizens of each state shall "be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens "in the several states." There was an article upon the same subject in the confederation, which declared, "that the free inhabitants of each of these states, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several states; and the people of each state shall, in every other, enjoy all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions, and restrictions, as the inhabitants thereof respectively," &c. It was remarked by the Federalist, that there is a strange confusion in this language. Why the terms, free inhabitants, are used in one part of the article, free citizens in another, and people in another; or what is meant by superadding to "all privileges and immunities of free citizens," "all the privileges of trade and commerce," cannot easily be determined. It seems to be a construction, however, scarceAbr.


ly avoidable, that those, who come under the denomination of free inhabitants of a state, although not citizens of such state, are entitled, in every other state, to all the privileges of free citizens of the latter; that is to greater privileges, than they may be entitled to in their

own state.

§ 947. The provision in the constitution avoids all this ambiguity. It is plain and simple in its language; and its object is not easily to be mistaken. Connected with the exclusive power of naturalization in the national government, it puts at rest many of the difficulties, which affected the construction of the article of the confederation. It is obvious, that, if the citizens of each state were to be deemed aliens to each other, they could not take, or hold real estate, or other privileges, except as other aliens. The intention of this clause was to confer on them, if one may so say, a general citizenship; and to communicate all the privileges and immunities, which the citizens of the same state would be entitled to under the like circumstances.

§ 948. The next clause is as follows: "A person "charged in any state with treason, felony, or other "crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in "another state, shall on demand of the executive au"thority of the state, from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the state having jurisdiction of "the crime." A provision, substantially the same, existed under the confederation.

[ocr errors]

§ 949. It has been often made a question, how far any nation is, by the law of nations, and independent of any treaty stipulations, bound to surrender upon demand fugitives from justice, who, having committed crimes in another country, have fled thither for shelter. Mr. Chancellor Kent considers it clear upon principle,

as well as authority, that every state is bound to deny an asylum to criminals, and, upon application and due examination of the case, to surrender the fugitive to the foreign state, where the crime has been committed. Other distinguished judges and jurists have entertained a different opinion. It is not uncommon for treaties to contain mutual stipulations for the surrender of criminals; and the United States have sometimes been a party to such an arrangement.

§ 950. But, however the point may be, as to foreign nations, it cannot be questioned, that it is of vital importance to the public administration of criminal justice, and the security of the respective states, that criminals, who have committed crimes therein, should not find an asylum in other states; but should be surrendered up for trial and punishment. It is a power most salutary in its general operation, by discouraging crimes, and cutting off the chances of escape from punishment. It will promote harmony and good feelings among the states; and it will increase the general sense of the blessings of the national government. It will, moreover, give strength to a great moral duty, which neighbouring states especially owe to each other, by elevating the policy of the mutual suppression of crimes into a legal obligation. Hitherto it has proved as useful in practice, as it is unexceptionable in its char



§ 951 The next clause is, "No person held to ser"vice or labor in one state under the laws thereof, escaping into another shall in consequence of any law "or regulation therein be discharged from such service or labour; but shall be delivered up on the claim of "the party, to whom such service or labour may be "due."


952. This clause was introduced into the constitution solely for the benefit of the slave-holding states, to enable them to reclaim their fugitive slaves, who should escape into other states, where slavery is not tolerated. The want of such a provision under the confederation was felt, as a grievous inconvenience, by the slave-holding states, since in many states no aid whatsoever would be allowed to the owners; and sometimes indeed they met with open resistance. In fact, it cannot escape the attention of every intelligent reader, that many sacrifices of opinion and feeling are to be found made by the Eastern and Middle states to the peculiar interests of the south. This forms no just subject of complaint; but it should for ever repress the delusive and mischievous notion, that the south has not at all times had its full share of benefits from the Union.

[ocr errors]



953. THE fourth section of the fourth article is as follows: "The United States shall guaranty to every "state in this Union a republican form of government; "and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive, "when the legislature cannot be convened, against "domestic violence."


§ 954. The want of a provision of this nature was felt, as a capital defect in the plan of the confederation, as it might in its consequences endanger, if not overthrow, the Union. Without a guaranty, the assistance to be derived from the national government in repelling domestic dangers, which might threaten the existence of the state constitutions, could not be demanded, as a right, from the national government. Usurpation might raise its standard, and trample upon the liberties of the people, while the national government could legally do nothing more, than behold the encroachments with indignation and regret. A successful faction might erect a tyranny on the ruins of order and law; while no succour could be constitutionally afforded by the Union to the friends and supporters of the government. But this is not all. The destruction of the national government itself, or of neighbouring states, might result from a successful rebellion in a single state. Who can determine, what would have been the issue, if the insurrection in Massachusetts, in 1787, had been success

« السابقةمتابعة »