Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due. 390. Before the adoption of the Constitution, a slave escaping from one state into another could only be recovered as a matter of comity and favor, not as a matter of right. Because, by the law of nations, no independent state is bound to recognise the state of slavery as to foreign slaves found within its territory, when such recognition is in opposition to its own policy and institutions. 391. Hence the constitutional provision which makes that a matter of legal right which before could be claimed only as a matter of favor. Under the Constitution, therefore, a fugitive from service or labor cannot, in consequence of any law or regulation of the state into which he may have fled, be discharged from such service or labor, but must be delivered up on claim of the party entitled to his service or labor. 392. There must, however, be an escape. The Constitution does not extend to the case of a slave voluntarily carried by his master into a state in which slavery is not tolerated, or who goes there with his master's permission, and then escapes or refuses to return. Whether such a person shall be

delivered up, or be deemed free, depends wholly upon the local law and regulations, and not at all upon the Constitution or laws of the United States. Happily all questions growing out of the state of slavery are

now at an end by its entire abolition. 19.3%

United States, are the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state are bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. 414. The propriety and the necessity of making the Constitution, and the laws passed in pursuance of it, the supreme law of the land, are very obvious. The very existence of the federal government depends upon it. If the powers conferred on that government could be overridden by contradictory powers in the several state governments, they might as well not have been conferred at all. Necessarily, therefore, powers conferred for national purposes must be supreme over those conferred for state purposes. But those powers cannot be exceeded. If Congress pass laws not in pursuance of the Constitution, they are void, and it is the duty of the judiciary to declare them void. And it is equally their duty to declare void acts of the state legislatures which are repugnant to the Constitution of the United States. 415. A treaty ratified with proper formalities is, by the Constitution, the supreme law of the land, and the courts have no power to examine into the authority of the persons by whom it was entered into on behalf of the foreign nation. Whenever a right grows out of, or is protected by, a treaty, it is sanctioned against all the laws and judicial decisions of

new states have already been admitted into the Union, originally composed of thirteen states; and territory yet remains sufficient when peopled to form perhaps fifteen or twenty more.

896. The usual mode of proceeding in the creation and admission of new states is as follows: When a territory has acquired such a population as fits it to become a state, the territorial legislature, with the permission of Congress, pass a law authorizing a convention to be chosen for the purpose of forming a constitution and state government. The constitution when formed is submitted to Congress by the convention, with the request that the territory may be admitted into the Union as a state. If the constitution is found to be republican, and is approved, Congress admit it on an equal footing with the original States.

397. To prevent Congress from arbitrarily creating new states by the division of the larger states, or the junction of the smaller ones, or of parts of states, it is provided that such division or junction shall not take place without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned.

Territories.

398. Congress have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in the Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state. 399. The term “territory,” as here used, is merely descriptive of one kind of property, and is equivalent to the word lands. The power of Congress to “dispose of the public lands is not limited to making sales: they may be leased. But no property belonging to the United States can be disposed of, except by the authority of Congress. 400. It is observable that the right to acquire territory is nowhere expressly granted in the Constitution: but the power to make war and treaties is granted, and from this results the power to acquire territory in either of those modes, that is, by war or treaty. And the right to govern would seem to be the inevitable consequence of the right to acquire territory. 401. Until the territories of the United States have such a population as fits them to become states; that is, according to the usual rule, until they have such a population as would entitle them to a Representative in Congress by the existing ratio of representation, Congress may govern them in such mode, within the scope of its constitutional powers, as it thinks proper, either directly, by its own legislation,

« AnteriorContinuar »