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 9

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Journalism | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 9
obedience, to' two powers. Neither has a right to
claim it exclusively. Judge O'Neale understands the
Oath prescribed by the Legislature, to require ex-
clusive allegiance to the State, and, therefore, not to
be enforced. Judge Johnson does not so understand
it, but concurring in the train of reasoning above
stated, puts it beyond doubt, that if such be the true
meaning of the Oath (which it clearly is) he must
concur in this conclusion also. This is the substance
of the argument of the majority of the Appeal Court
fairly stated, in few words. We admit, on our part,
that we have two Governments. We admit, that we
owe obedience to both. We admit, that obedience is
all that Government can now require of us, and if the
highest duty which we owe, is to the Government of
the people, we admit the consequence that allegiance
and obedience are the same, and the conclusions of the
Court correct. But the highest duty which we owe
is not to the Government. On this point we take our
issue, and draw the dividing line, which, however
slight it may appear, at first glance, in the opinion of
this committee, separates right and wrong, justice and
oppression, liberty and bondage. Upon what ground
can Government claim from us this paramount obli-
gation ? Because, says the Court, it gives us in return
the highest possible equivalent, protection. Protec-
tion '? How ? Can Government, of itself, by virtue
of any inherent power it possesses, create men, money,
and arms, to protect us against foreign or domestic
war? Can it give spontaneous force and vigor to its
laws, to protect our lives, or liberty, or property, from
the assaults of our fellow-men ? Nay ; can it, by any
elementary vitality, any independent self action, main-