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must give rise to a multitude of heart-burnings in particular
cases, where a state legislates on matters in which other states
of the confederacy have a concern, or in which the rights of
individuals may be invaded. As an instance of this possibil-
ity of conflict, and of the wide-sweeping range of a few words
in our federal constitution, I may refer to the provision in Arti-
cle i,  10, that no state shall pass any law impairing the ob-
ligation of contracts.* Let any one examine the history of
decisions in cases of appeal, where this little clause was brought
in question; whether it affects state laws relating to executory
contracts, express or implied, or to executed contracts, to
officers, to licenses, to private and public corporations ; or ask
what is the obligation of a contract which may not be im-
paired, and what state laws impair it; and he will find a con-
trol most salutary, but sometimes most irritating in the series
of cases where state law and the judgment of the supreme
court of the union come into conflict. A state is liable con-
tinually to overstep its just power and to encroach on the
power and rightful authority of the general government, and
it may happen that the union itself by its law and the decisions
of its judges may overstep the limits drawn by the constitu-
tion. In this case there is no remedy within the constitution,
no remedy but dissolution. A dissolution again is more easy
and natural in a confederation than in other political organi-
zations, because a large part of the purposes of government
are subserved by the particular states or members of the fed-
eral union, and the inhabitants seldom feel in their private
affairs the power of the general constitution. Its necessity
is not felt, because the advantages from it, such as the man-
agement of intercourse with foreign parts and between the
states, when once it is established, seem things of course. To
estimate them properly one ought to live where a multitude
of little sovereignties have their own diplomatic relations,
their barrier tariffs, their constant difficulties along the bor-
ders, or from complaints of internal injustice. Allegiance,
*Comp. Pomeroy's Const, law, 348-413.