Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Speech on the Admission of Kansas, Under the Lecompton Constitution, Delivered in the Senate of the United States, March 4, 1858 >> Page 303

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 303

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 303
sovereign. Nor does Congress hold the sovereignty
of Kansas. The sovereignty of Kansas resides, if it
resides anywhere, with the sovereign States of this
Union. They have conferred upon Congress, among
other powers, that to administer such sovereignty to
their satisfaction. They have given Congress the
power to make needful rules and regulations regarding
the Territories, and they have given it power to ad-
mit a State—" admit," not create. Tinder these two
powers, Congress may first establish a provisional
territorial government merely for municipal purposes ;
and when a State has grown into rightful sovereignty,
when that sovereignty which has been kept in abey-
ance demands recognition, when a community is
formed there, a social compact established, a sov-
ereignty born as it were on the soil, then to Congress is
granted the power to acknowledge it, and the Legis-
lature, only by mere usage, sometimes neglected, assists
at the birth of it by passing a precedent resolution
assembling a convention.
But when that convention assembles to form a
Constitution, it assembles in the highest known capaci-
ty of a people, and has no superior in this Government
but a State sovereignty ; or rather only the State
sovereignties of all the States, acting by their estab-
lished Constitutional agent the General Government,
can do anything with the act of that convention.
Then if that convention was lawful, if there is no
objection to the convention itself, there can be no
objection to the action of the convention ; and there
is no power on earth that has a right to inquire, out-
side of its acts, whether the convention represented
the will of the people of Kansas or not, for a conven-