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The expediency, however, of making the proposed application to the States, will depend on the probability of their complying with it. If they should refuse, Congress will be in a worse situation than at present; for as the Confederation now stands, and according to the nature even of alliances much less intimate, there is an implied right of coercion against the delinquent party, and the exercise of it by Congress, whenever a palpable necessity occurs, will probably be acquiesced in.
It may be asked, perhaps, by what means Congress could exercise such a power, if the States were to invest them with it. As long as there is a regular army on foot, a small detachment from it, acting under civil authority, would at any time render a voluntary contribution of supplies due from a State, an eligible alternative. But there is a still more easy and efficacious mode. The situation of most of the States is such, that two or three vessels of force employed against their trade will make it their interest to yield prompt obedience to all just requisitions on them. With respect to those States that have little or no foreign trade of their own, it is provided that all inland trade with such States as supply them with foreign merchandize may be interdicted, and the concurrence of the latter may be enforced, in case of refusal, by operations on their foreign trade.
There is a collateral reason which interests the States who are feeble in maritime resources, in such a plan. If a naval armament was considered as the proper instrument of general government, it would be, both preserved in a respectable state in time of peace, and it would be an object to man it with citizens, taken in due proportions, from every State. A navy so formed, and under the orders of the General Council of the State, would not only be a guard against aggressions and insults from abroad, but, without it, what is to protect the Southern States, for many years to come, against the insults and ag. gressions of their northern brethren?
Whereas it is stipulated and declared in the 13th Article of the Confederation, “that every State shall abide by the determinations of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this Confederation are submitted to them: And that the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State;" by which Article a general and implied power is vested in the United States in Congress assembled, to enforce and carry into effect all the Articles of the said Confederation against any of the States which shall refuse or neglect to abide by such their determinations, or shall otherwise vio late any of the articles; but no determinate and particular provision is made for that purpose: And whereas the want of such provision may be a pretext to call into question the legality of such measures as may be necessary for preserving the authority of the Confederation, and for doing justice to the States which shall duly fulfil their federal engagements; and it is, moreover, most consonant to the spirit of a free Constitution, that, on the one hand, all exercise
of power should be explicitly and precisely warranted, and, on the other, that the penal consequences of a violation of duty should be clearly promulged and understood: And whereas it is further declared by the said 13th Article of the Confederation, that no addition shall be made to the articles thereof, unless the same shall be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the Legislatures of every State: The United States in Congress assembled, having seriously and maturely deliberated on these considerations, and being desirous as far as possible to cement and invigorate the Federal Union, that it may be both established on the most immutable basis, and be the more effectual for securing the immediate object of it, do hereby agree and recommend to the Legislatures of every State, to confirm and to authorize their Delegates in Congress to subscribe the following clause as an additional article to the thirteen Articles of Confederation and perpetual union :
It is understood and hereby declared, that in case any one or more of the confederated States shall refuse or neglect to abide by the determinations of the United States in Congress assembled, and to observe all the Articles of Confederation as required by the 13th Article, the said United States in Congress assembled, are fully authorized to employ the force of the United States, as well by sea as by land, to compel such State or States to fulfil their federal engagements; and particularly to make distraint on any of the effects, vessels, and nierchandizes of such State or States, or of any of the citizens thereof, wherever found, and to prohibit and prevent their trade and
intercourse as well with any other of the United States and the citizens thereof, as with any foreign State, and as well by land as by sea, until full compensation or compliance be obtained with respect to all requisitions made by the United States in Congress assembled, in pursuance of the Articles of Confederation.
And it is understood, and is hereby agreed, that this Article shall be binding on all the States not actually in possession of the enemy, as soon as the same shall be acceded to and duly ratified by each of the said States.
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
Philadelphia, May 1, 1781. Dear Sir,
Congress have received a good deal of information from Europe within a few days past. I can only say, in general, that it is unfavourable. Indeed, whatever consideration the powers of Europe may have for us, the audacious proceedings of our enemy in all quarters must determine them to abridge a power which the greatest dangers and distresses cannot inspire with moderation or forbearance.
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
Philadelphia, May 1, 1781. Dear Sir,
The case of the vessel captured within North Carolina was some time since remitted to Congress by
Governor Harrison. I am glad to find your ideas correspond so exactly with those I had advanced on the subject. The legislative power over captures, and the judiciary in the last resort, are clearly vested in Congress by the Confederation. But the judiciary power in the first instance, not being delegated, is as clearly reserved to the Admiralty Courts of the particular States within which the captures are made. Captures made on the high seas must fall within the jurisdiction of the State into which it shall please the captor to carry them. It will be sufficient, I believe, to insert in the instructions to privateers, a clause for preventing the grievance complained of by North Carolina. The anger of Mr. Burke was erroneous in its principle, as well as intemperate in its degree. The offender being an officer of Congress, and not of Virginia, Congress, and not Virginia, should have been resorted to for redress.
On a consultation before Doctor Lee left us, it was determined that we ought to renew our attempts to obtain froin Congress a decision on the cession of Virginia, before the meeting of the Legislature. The attempt was accordingly made, and produced all the perplexing and dilatory objections which its adversaries could devise. An indisposition of the President, * which suspended the vote of Maryland, furnished an argument for postponing, which it was prudent to yield to, but which is now removed by the arrival of Mr. Wright, a new Delegate from that State. We shall call again on Congress for a simple answer in the affirmative or the negative, without going into any unnecessary discussions on the point
* He was one of the Maryland Delegates.