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its organized portion. No legislature can ever obtain the assent of all the people. Discontented minorities there must always be; and were the objection good, no civil government whatever could be said to have been founded on the consent of the governed.

It is, however, more important to notice Mr. Spence's next objection, since he commits, as we will show, a flagrant error in respect to the intention of the framers of the Constitution.

Speaking of Madison, he says, "It so happens that we have on record his interpretation of this very phrase. In the ratifying convention of the State of Virginia, Patrick Henry objected strongly to the words "We, the People," on the ground that the very construction might be given to them which is attempted at the present day. But Madison at once showed such construction to be erroneous. He replied in these words, The parties to it were to be the people, but not the people as composing one great society, but the people as composing thirteen sovereignties.' Not contented with giving the true meaning of the phrase, he

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adduced an argument to prove it, by adding, 'If it were a purely consolidated Government, the assent of a majority of the people would be sufficient to establish it. But it was to be binding on the people of a State only by their own separate consent. This argument seems to be conclusive, and as an interpreter of the meaning of the terms, none will attempt to compare the authority of Mr. Motley, or of Webster, with that of Madison." 1

But what if Madison, Motley, and Webster be, after all, agreed? Let us see how stand the facts. In the first place, Mr. Henry worded his objection in reference to the final result of ratification, and not to the act itself; Madison's reply refers to both, and, when given in full, shows Mr. Henry's idea to be perfectly correct.

Mr. Henry thus put it, "My political curiosity leads me to ask who authorized them to speak the language of

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We, the People,' instead of We, the States'

If the States be not the agents of this compact, it must be one great consolidated

The American Union, 225. Our Italics.

National Government of the people of all the States." 1

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On another occasion he exclaimed, "The fate of America may depend on this question, have they said We, the States?' Have they made a proposal of compact between States? If they had, this would be a Confederation; it is, otherwise, most clearly a consolidated Government. The whole question turns, sir, on that poor little thing the expression, We, the People, instead of the States of America." 2 It was upon the first of these occasions that

WIRT'S Life of Pat. Henry, 284. Italics sic.

2 Idem, 286. Italics sic.

"It is also historically known that one of the objections taken by the opponents of the Constitution was 'that it is not a Confederation of the States, but a Government of individuals. It was, nevertheless, in the solemn instruments of ratification by the people of the several States assented to as a Constitution; and although many declarations of rights, many propositions of amendments, and many protestations of reserved powers, are to be found accompanying the ratification of

the various conventions, sufficiently evincive of the extreme caution and jealousy of those bodies and of the people at large, it is remarkable that there is nowhere to be found the slightest allusion to the instrument as a Confederation or compact of States in their sovereign capacity, and no reservation of any right on the part of any State to dissolve its connection or to abrogate its assent, or to suspend the operations of the Constitution as to itself."- STORY'S Abridgement, 120.

Madison replied in the words quoted by Mr. Spence. But this gentleman does not commence his quotation soon enough, and ends it too soon. We will give it nearly in full. "Even if we attend to the manner in which the Constitution is investigated, ratified, and made the act of the people of America, I can say, notwithstanding what the honourable gentleman has alleged, that this Government is not completely consolidated, nor is it entirely federal. Who are the parties to it? The people; not the people as composing one great body, but the people as composing thirteen sovereignties. Were it, as the gentleman asserts, a consolidated Government, the assent of a majority of the people would be sufficient for its establishment,

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State is bound by it as it is without its own consent. Should all the States adopt it, it will be then a Government established by the thirteen States of America, not through the intervention of the Legislatures, but by the people at large." These last words form a most

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1 Eloquence of United States: Madison in the Virginian Convention, i. 137.

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important modification of those only quoted by Mr. Spence. It is his failure to distinguish between the mode of ratification and its results that has blinded Mr. Spence to the fact that, by the Constitution, all sections of the Union are united as one People. And hence he has been led into a justification of the present rebellion, by appealing to the Declaration of Independence, which declares, that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and to the constitutions of the several States, all of which embody the same declaration. But this is a principle which requires the very strictest interpretation, or it may be made the apology for anarchy. Who are the governed under the Constitution of the United States? The people at large. Whenever they desire to alter that Constitution, it provides for their doing so; and, those means failing, and a decided majority still withholding their "consent," the recognized revolutionary right of overturning the entire structure remains.1

1 The question has often been discussed, whether this mode of

ratification marks in any way the character of the Government

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