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exercise exclusive jurisdiction over the Federal District includes the power of taxing its inhabitants, they do not in any manner participate in the election of members of the House of Representatives, or of Electors of President and Vice President.
712. But this departure from the rule which holds taxation and representation to be inseparable, is not deemed material or important; as the inhabitants of the District of Columbia voluntarily relinquished the right of representation, and adopted the whole body of Congress as their legitimate Government.
713. The next power falling within this miscellaneous class, is IJI. The Power of Congress “ to declare the
punishment of Treason" against the United
States. :.714. It is a general principle, that every Government contains within itself, means and capacity for its own preservation; had the express enumeration, therefore, of this power been omitted in the Constitution, the Federal Government would not have been left dependent on the several States to protect it from treasons and conspiracies. "
715. To have left the power of self-defence to inference, would nevertheless have been unwise and unsafe, as artificial and constructive treasons have been frequently converted into engines of oppression and tyranny ; it was therefore deemed expedient to insert in the Constitution a definition of the crime, to prescribe the proof requisite for conviction, and to restrain Congress, in punishing it, from extending the consequences of guilt beyond the person of the offender.
716. Treason against the United States is accor
CHAP. IV. TREASON AGAINST UNITED STATES.
s, they E non of
dingly declared to consist“ only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving themsaid and comfort;" that “no person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open Court;" and that “no attainder of Treason shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture, except during the life of the person attainted.”.
717. The term “ levying war," is of technical signification, and is adopted from the English Statute of Treasons, with the construction which has been given to it in the English Courts; and the “ war" included in the term, comprehends internal rebellion as well as hostilities from abroad.
718. A conspiracy to subvert by force the Go. vernment of the United States, violently to dismem. ber the Union, to coerce the repeal of a general Law, or to revolutionize a Territorial Government by force, if carried into effect by embodying and assembling a military. force in a military posture, are overt acts of levying war; and not only those who bear arms, but those who perform the various and essential parts, which must be assigned to different persons for the purpose of prosecuting the war, are guilty of the crime of Treason.
719. But a mere conspiracy for any such purpose, unaccompanied by any overt act, is not Treason ; and to constitute a “levying of war,” there must be an assemblage of persons with intent to effect by force a treasonable purpose; but the mere enlistment of men for such a purpose, is not sufficient.
• 720. Nor, on the other hand, is it necessary that an individual should appear in arms, to constitute the guilt of Treason; for if war be actually levied, i. e. if a body of men be actually assembled for the purpose of effecting by force a treasonable design, all those who perform any part in the conspiracy, however minute, or however remote they may have been from the scene of action, if actually leagued with the others, are considered as traitors. .
721. Similar, acts committed against the Laws or Government of a particular State, are punishable according to the Laws of that State ; but adhering to a foreign nation at war with the United States, and affording it aid in the prosecution of hostilities, is Treason against the United States, and not against the particular State of which the party is a Citizen.
722. A confession of guilt made out of Court is excluded as evidence by the terms of the Constitution; but after the overt act of Treason is proved by two witnesses, such confession may be given in evidence by way of corroboration; and the testimony of the two witnesses must be to the same overt act, and not, as in England, to two different overt acts of the same species of Treason.
723. In affixing the penalty of death to the crime of Treason, Congress have aeted on a construction of the Constitution, which assumes a discretion in them to omit forfeiture as a part of the punishment, even during the life of the offender; as they have declared, that “no conviction or judgment shall work corruption of blood, or any forfeiture of estate.”
724. Corruption of blood is derived from the Common Law of England, in reference to the Feudal system of tenures, and signifies that an attainted person can neither inherit lands from his ancestors, retain those of which he is in possession, nor transmit them by descent to his heirs; and that he is also incapable
of transmitting a title derived by descent through him from a remote ancestor..
725. This doctrine is founded on a legal fiction, and is equally at variance with the liberal spirit of modern times, and the elementary principles of justice; and in carrying this power into execution, Congress has humanely and wisely stopped short of its constitutional authority. .
726. The power of punishing the crime of Treason against the United States, is necessarily exclusive in the General Government, and a State cannot take cognizance of this offence, whatever jurisdiction it may exercise in relation to Treason committed exclusively against itself. But it is a question whether any case of Treason against a State can exist since the adoption of the Federal Constitution, which is not at the same time Treason against the United States, and merged in it.
727. Another Power of a miscellaneous nature vested in the Federal Government, is
IV.. The Power of “ admitting new States
into the Union."
728. As the United States possessed, at the adoption of the Constitution, an extensive National Ter.. ritory, and might acquire more either by conquest or cession, this power was with propriety vested in the National Government. But it was not granted without restriction, as “no new State can be formed or created within the jurisdiction of any other State ; nor any State be formed by the junction of two or more States, without the consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned, as well as of Congress."
729. Since the adoption of the Constitution, large
acquisitions of National Territory have been made by the purchases of Louisiana and Florida, and by cessions from the State of Georgia ; and the constitutionality of the two former acquisitions, though formerly questioned, is now considered as settled beyond all practical doubt..
730. When the preliminary measures were taken for the admission of the State of Missouri into the Union, an attempt was made to include a prohibition against the introduction of Slavery into that State, as a condition of the admission ; but the constitutional authority of Congress to impose such a restriction, was questioned on the ground of its inconsistency with the sovereignty of the State to be admitted ; and of the equality of the latter with the other States. •
731. The final result of the proceedings which authorized the erection of that State, seems to establish the authority of Congress to impose such a restriction, although none was applied in that case; and an objection of a similar character, which had been taken to the compact between Virginia and Ken.tucky, containing conditions upon which the latter was erected into a separate State, was overruled by the Supreme Court.
: 732. The next power to be enumerated in this miscellaneous class, is
V. The Power of Congress “to dispose of,
and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the Territory, and other pro perty belonging to the United States."
733. This Power is in itself obviously proper, and was specially requisite to avoid an objection which had been taken under the Confederation, to the con