Gen. BROOKS (Lincoln) rose, he said, to consider the idea suggested by the gentleman last speaking, that this Constitution would produce a dissolution of the State governments, or a consolidation of the whole; which, in his opinion, he said, was ill founded—or rather a loose idea. In the first place, says he, the Congress under this Constitution cannot be organized without repeated acts of the legislatures of the several States—and therefore, if the creating power is dissolved, the body to be created cannot exist. In the second place, says the General, it is impossible the general government can exist, unless the governments of the several States are for ever existing, as the qualifications of the electors of federal representatives are to be the same as those of the electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.—It was, therefore, he said, impossible, that the State governments should be annihilated by the general government; and it was, he said, strongly implied from that part of the sect, under debate, which gave Congress power to exclusive jurisdiction over the federal town, that they should have exercise over no other place. When we attend to the Constitution, we shall see, says the General, that the powers to be given to Congress amount only to a consolidation of the strength of the union—and that private rights are not consolidated—
The General mentioned the rights which Congress could not infringe upon; and said, that their power to define what was treason was much less than is vested in the legislature of this State, by our own constitution—as it was confined in the 3d sect, of article III. to levying war or adhering to, and comforting enemies only.1
—He mentioned the restraint upon Congress in the punishment of treason, and compared it with the extended powers lodged in the Parliament of Great-Britain, on like crimes and concluded by observing, that as the United States guarantee to each State a Republican form of government; the State governments were as effectually secured, as though this Constitution should never be in force.