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 10

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 10

Journalism | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 10
tain its own existence for a single hour ? If it cannot
do these things, and that it cannot is the first principle
of Republicanism, how can it protect us ? The argu-
ment is not only superficial, but dangerous. The
Court, while pretending to discard the idea of alle-
giance as foreign in its origin, and anti-republican in
its nature, has fallen into the very error which it
reprobated, and founded its whole theory upon the
exploded doctrines of the old world. It is there
taught, that Governments can do everything. It is
there that Kings, acting by " divine right," have
unlimited control over the destinies of their subjects ;
and Governments universally punish it as treason to
question their possession of sovereign and unlimited
power, by virtue of which they bind the conscience,
seize the property, sacrifice the lives, and " protect "
the rights of the people. Here, we have a power above
the Government. A power which sustains and "pro-
tects " the Government, gives it existence, energy,
legality, the command of resources, and the power to
exact the " obedience " of the citizen. This transcend-
ent power is SOVEREIGNTY, and belongs to the peo-
ple only. Not to the people in a "state of nature,"
which is one of those philosophic dreams with which
political science has nothing to do ; but to the people
in a state of society in which they have been found
from the foundation of the world. In other words, it
belongs to the true first state of popular organization
called the SOCIAL COMPACT. A compact which, from
the nature of things, necessarily arises whenever a
number of individuals meet and form a distinct com-
munity, whether large or small, the principle of whose
existence is, that they will adhere together, on their