Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Report at a Meeting of the State Rights and Free Trade Party of Barnwell District, South Carolina, Held at Barnwell Court-House, on Monday, July 7th, 1834 >> Page 8

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Journalism | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 8
no doubt, the sincere conviction of their minds), to
throw the weight of their judicial influence into the
scale of the party in the minority.
The real question put at issue, and determined by
the Judges, in that part of their decision which may
justly be considered ultra judicial, is, whether, accord-
ing to our confederated system, sovereignty, or the
last power of decision in all civil and political ques-
tions, from which there can be no appeal, resides in
the States, respectively, or in the Federal Govern-
ment. The paramount allegiance of the citizen, or
obligation to obey without further question, is due of
course to that last power or sovereignty. The Oath
in the Military Bill required every Officer to swear
allegiance to the State of South Carolina ; in other
words, to acknowledge her his sovereign. Although
the Court of Appeals, on other grounds, decided the
Oath to be void, yet they have chosen to make a
dictum against it on this ground also ; and by a
course of reasoning as extraordinary as original. They
argue thus : Allegiance, in its feudal origin, meant the
duty which a vassal owed his Chief the subject his
King ; to follow them in war, and to pay tax and
homage to them in peace, for which he was protected
in both ; that, in this country, where there are no
Kings or Chiefs, but all power resides in the People,
this duty is due to them ; that in a state of nature
they cannot exact it, nor give what is required in
return for it, protection. It is, therefore, due only to
their government, which they regard as the first state
of a popular organization. It then means nothing but
obedience. But we have two Governments, State and
Federal. We now, therefore, owe allegiance, or