South Carolina’s Reserved Rights
 
From: bernhard1848@att.net
 
In a dispute between the States and the federal agent, the proper course of action of a State is to appeal to a convention of all the States for arbitration of the matter. The federal agent was never  empowered by the Founders to coerce a State, nor was the small standing army placed at its restricted disposal intended to be used against one of the creators of the agent. The same applied in early 1861 as the federal agent again prepared for war against a State.
 
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
www.cfhi.net  
 
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South Carolina’s Reserved Rights:


 
“The South Carolina Legislature convened on the 27th of November [1832]. Governor [James] Hamilton’s message stated the account between the State and the United States.  The latter claimed a further sum of sixty thousand dollars interest. Reviewing briefly the action of the Congress, he said that the die had been at last cast, and South Carolina had at length appealed to her ultimate sovereignty as a member of the confederacy, and planted herself upon her reserved rights.
 
He defined the measure of legislation which they had to employ at the crisis to be, “the precise amount of such enactments as may be necessary to render it utterly impossible to collect within our limits the duties imposed by protective tariffs thus nullified.”  He refrained from suggesting details, but proposed that the Governor be authorized to issue certificates of clearance to vessels outward bound in case the [federal] collectors refused to do so. 
 
Noticing the rumors that coercion might be resorted to, he remarked that such threats were once “officially promulged,” and that “we must prepare for this alternative.” He therefore recommended a revision of the militia laws, the details of a volunteer system, and provisions for mounting heavy ordnance; for a quartermaster service, and that the President be requested to vacate the citadel at Charleston, occupied at the joint instance of the city and the State, in order to make room for State troops and munitions.
 
“I cannot, however, but think,” he said, in conclusion, “that in a calm and dispassionate review by Congress…that the arbitration by a call of a convention of all the States, which we sincerely and anxiously seek and desire, will be accorded to us. To resort to force is at once to prefer a dissolution to its preservation.”
 
(A History of Sectional Struggle, Cicero Willis Harris, J.B. Lippincott Company, 1902, pp. 236-237)