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exist with injustice, licentiousness, insecurity clared my determination to give my vote for it, and oppression? These considerations, inde- yet I shall freely censure those parts which appendent of many others which I have not yet pear to me reprehensible. The trial by jury, in enumerated, would be a sufficient reason for criminal cases, is secured; in civil cases it is the adoption of this constitution, because it se not so expressly secured as I could wish it; but cores the liberty of the citizen, his person and it does not follow that Congress has the power property, and will invigorate and restore com- of taking away this privilege, which is secured merce and industry.
by the constitution of each State, and not given An additional reason to induce us to adopt it away by this constitution. I have no fear on is that excessive licentiousness which has re- this subject; Congress must regulate it so as sulted from the relaxation of our laws, and to suit every State. I will risk my property which will be checked by this government. on the certainty that they will institute the Let us judge from the fate of more ancient na- trial by jury in such manner as shall accommotions. Licentiousness has produced tyranny date the conveniences of the inhabitants in among many of them. It has contributed as every State; the difficulty of ascertaining this much (if not more) as any other cause whatso accommodation was the principal cause of its ever, to the loss of their liberties. I have re- not being provided for. It will be the interest spect for the integrity of our legislators; I be- of the individuais composing Congress to put it lieve them to be virtuous: but as long as the on this convenient footing. Shall we not defects of the constitution exist, so long will choose men respectable for their good qualities? laws be imperfect. The honorable gentleman Or can we suppose that men, tainted with the went on further, and said that the accession of worst vices, will get into Congress? I beg eight States is not a reason for our adoption. leave to differ from the honorable gentleman, Many other things have been alleged out of or- in another point. He dreads that great inconder; instead of discussing the system regularly, veniences will ensue from the federal court; a variety of points are promiscuously debated, that our citizens will be harassed by being in order to make temporary impressions on the carried thither. I cannot think that this power members. Sir, were I convinced of the validity of the federal judiciary will necessarily be of their arguments, I would join them heart abused. The inconvenience here suggested and hand. Were I convinced that the acces being of a general nature, affecting most of the sion of eight States did not render our acces- States, will, by general consent of the States, sion also necessary to preserve the Union, I be removed; and, I trust, such regulations would not accede to it till it should be pre- shall be made, in this case, as will accommodate viously amended; but, sir, I am convinced that the people in every State. The honorable genthe Union will be lost by our rejection. Mas- tleman instanced the Swiss cantons as an exsachusetts has adopted it; she has recommend ample, to show us the possibility, if not expeed subsequent amendments; her influence must diency, of being in amicable alliance with the be very considerable to obtain them: I trust other States, without adopting this system. my countrymen have sufficient wisdom and vir- | Sir, references to history will be fatal in polititue to entitle them to equal respect.
cal reasoning, unless well guarded. Orr menIs it urged, that being wiser, we ought to tal ability is often so contracted, and powers of prescribe amendments to the other States? I investigation so limited, that sometimes we adhave considered this subject deliberately; wea duce as an example in our favor what in fact ried myself in endeavoring to find a possibility militates against us. Examine the situation of of preserving the Union, without our uncondi- that country comparatively to us. Its extent tional ratification; hut, sir, in vain; I find no and situation are totally different from ours; it other means. I ask myself a variety of ques- is surrounded by powerful, ambitious, and retions applicable to the adopting States, and I ciprocally jealous nations; its territory small, conclude, will they repent of what they have and the soil not very fertile. The peculiarity, done? Will they acknowledge themselves in sir, of their situation, has kept these cantons an error ? Or will they recede to gratify Vir- | together, and not that system of alliance, to ginia? My prediction is that they will not. which the gentleman seems to attribute the Shall we stand by ourselves, and be severed durability and felicity of their connection. from the Union if amendments cannot be had? (Here Mr. Randolph quoted some passages I have every reason for determining within from Stanyard, illustrating his argument, and myself that our rejection must dissolve the largely commented upon them; the effect of Union, and that that dissolution will destroy which was, that the narrow confines of that our political happiness. The honorable gentle country rendered it very possible for a system man was pleased to draw out several other ar- of confederacy to accommodate those cantons, guments, out of order: that this government that would not suit the United States; that it would destroy the State governments, the trial was the fear of the ambitious and warliko naby jury, &c., &c., and concluded, by an illus- tions that surrounded them, and the reciprocal tration of his opinion, by a reference to the jealousy of the other European powers, that confederacy of the Swiss. Let us argue with rendered their union so durable; and that notunprejudiced minds. He says that the trial by withstanding these circumstances, and their jury is gone; is this so? Although I have de- l being a hardy race of people, yot such was the injudicious construction of their confederacy, be commensurate to the object. A less degree that very considerable broils sometimes inter- will defeat the intention, and a greater will rupted their harmony.]
subject the people to the depravity of rulers, He then continued—I have produced this who, though they are but the agents of the example to show that we ought not to be people, pervert their powers to their own amused with historical references which have emolument and ambitious views. no kind of analogy to the points under our con- Mr. Chairman, I am sorry to be obliged to sideration. We ought to confine ourselves to detain the House, but the relation of a variety those points solely which have an immediate of matters renders it now unavoidable. I inand strict similitude to the subject of our dis- formed the House yesterday, before rising, that cussion. The reference made by the honorable I intended to show the necessity of having a gentleman over the way is extremely inappli- national government, in preference to the concable to us. Are the Swiss cantons circum- federation; also, to show the necessity of con. stanced as we are? Are we surrounded by ceding the power of taxation, and of distinformidable nations, or are we situated in any guishing between its objects; and I am the manner like them? We are not, sir. Then it more happy, that I possess materials of infornaturally results that no such friendly intercourse mation for that purpose. My intention then is, as he flattered himself with could take place, in to satisfy the gentlemen of this committee, that case of a dissolution of our Union. We are re- a national government is absolutely indispensamotely situated from powerful nations, the ble, and that a confederacy is not eligible, in dread of whose attack might impel us to unite our present situation. The introductory step Ormly with one another; we are not situated to this will be, to endeavor to convince the in an inaccessible, strong position; we have to House of the necessity of the Union, and that fear much from one another; we must soon the present confederation is actually inadequate feel the fatal effects of an imperfect system of and unamendable. The extent of the country union.
is objected to, by the gentleman over the way, The honorable gentleman attacks the consti- as an insurmountable obstacle to the establishtution, as he thinks it contrary to our bill of ing a national government in the United States. rights. Do we not appeal to the people, by It is a very strange and inconsistent doctrine, whose authority all government is made That to admit the necessity of the Union, and yet bill of rights is of no validity, because, I con- urge this last objection, which I think goes ceive, it is not formed on due authority. It is radically to the existence of the Union itself. not a part of our constitution; it has never se-If the extent of the country be a conclusive cured us against any danger; it has been re- argument against a national government, it is peatedly disregarded and violated. But we equally so against an union with the other must not discard the confederation, for the re- States. Instead of entering largely into a dismembrance of its past services. I am attached cussion of the nature and effect of the different to old servants. I have regard and tenderness kinds of government, or into an inquiry into for this old servant; but when reason tells us the particular extent of country, that may suit that it can no longer be retained without the genius of this or that government, I ask this throwing away all that it has gained us, and question-is this government necessary for the running the risk of losing every thing dear to safety of Virginia ? Is the Union indispensable us, must we still continue our attachments for our happiness? I confess it is imprudent Reason and my duty tell me not. Other gen- for any nation to form alliance with another, tlemen may think otherwise. But, sir, is it whose situation and construction of government not possible that men may differ in sentiments, I are dissimilar with its own. It is impolitio and still be honest? We have an inquisition and improper for men of opulence to join their within ourselves that leads us not to offend so interest with men of indigence and chance. much against charity. The gentleman ex- But we are now inquiring, particularly, whether presses a necessity of being suspicious of those Virginia, as contradistinguished from the other who govern. I will agree with him in the ne- States, can exist without the Union—a hard cessity of political jealousy to a certain extent; question, perhaps, after what has been said. I but we ought to examine how far this political will venture, however, to say, she cannot. jealousy ought to be carried. I confess that a I shall not rest contented with asserting, I shall certain degree of it is highly necessary to the endeavor to prove. Look at the most powerful preservation of liberty; but it ought not to be nations on earth. England and France have extended to a degree which is degrading and had recourse to this expedient. Those counhumiliating to human nature; to a degree of tries found it necessary to unite with their imrestlessness and active disquietude sufficient to mediate neighbors, and this union has prevented disturb a community or preclude the possibility the most lamentable mischiefs. What divine of political happiness and contentment. Con-pre-eminence is Virginia possessed of, above fidence ought also to be equally limited. Wis- other States ? Can Virginia send her navy and dom shrinks from extremes, and fixes on a thunder, to bid defiance to foreign nations? medium as her choice. Experience and history, And can she exist without an union with her the least fallible judges, teach us that in form- neighbors, when the most potent nations have ing a government, the powers to be given must | found such an union necessary, not only to their political felicity, but their national exist- from the Union, shall our chance of having enoe ? Let us examine her ability. Although these be greater? Or, will not the want of it be impossible to determine, with accuracy, these be more deplorable? We shall be told of what degree of internal strength a nation onglit the exertions of Virginia, under the confederato possess, to enable it to stand by itself; yet tion-her achievements, when she had no comthere are certain sure facts and circumstances, merce. These, sir, were necessary for her which demonstrate that a particular nation immediate safety; nor would these have availed, cannot stand singly. I have spoken with free without the aid of the other States. Those dom, and, I trust, I have done it with decency; States, then our friends, brothers and supportbut I must also speak with truth. If Virginia ers, will, if disunited from us, be our bitterest can exist without the Union, she must derive enemies. that ability from one or other of these sources, If then, sir, Virginia, from her situation, is viz.: from her natural situation, or because she not inaccessible, or invulnerable, let us consider has no reason to fear from other nations. What if she be protected, by having no cause to fear is her situation. She is not inaccessible. She from other nations: has she no cause to fear? is not a petty republic, like that of St. Marino, You will have cause to fear, as a nation, if dissurrounded with rocks and mountains, with a united; you will not only have this cause to soil not very fertile, nor worthy the envy of fear from yourselves, from that species of popsurrounding nations. Were this, sir, her situ- ulation I have before mentioned, and your once ation, she might, like that petty state, subsist, sister States, but from the arms of other naseparated from all the world. On the contrary, tions. Have you no cause of fear from Spain, she is very accessible: the large, capacious bay whose dominions border on your country? of Chesapeake, which is but too excellently Every nation, every people, in our circumadapted for the admission of enemies, renders stances, have always had abundant cause to her very vulnerable. I am informed, and I fear. Let us see the danger to be apprehended believe rightly, because I derive my informa- from France: let us suppose Virginia separated tion from those whose knowledge is most re from the other States: as part of the former spectable, that Virginia is in a very unhappy confederated States, she will owe France a very position, with respect to the access of foes by considerable sum-France will be as magnanisea, though happily situated for commerce. mous as ever. France, by the law of nations, This being her situation by sea, let us look at will have a right to demand the whole of her, land. She has frontiers adjoining the States or of the others. If France were to demand it, of Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina. what would become of the property of AmerTwo of those States have declared themselves ica? Could she not destroy what little commembers of the Union. Will she be inaccessi | merce we have? Could she not seize our ships, ble to the inhabitants of those States? Cast and carry havoc and destruction before her on your eyes to the western country, that is in- our shores? The most lamentable desolation habited by cruel savages, your natual enemies. would take place. We owe a debt to Spain Besides their natural propensity to barbarity, also; do we expect indulgence from that quarthey may be excited, by the gold of foreign ter? That nation has a right to demand the enemies, to commit the most horrid ravages on debt due to it, and power to enforce that right. your people. Our great, increasing population, | Will the Dutch be silent about the debt due to is one remedy to this evil; but, being scattered them? Is there any one pretension, that any thinly over so extensive a country, how difficult of these nations will be patient? The debts it is to collect their strength, or defend the due the British are also very considerable: country. This is one point of weakness. I these debts have been withheld contrary to wish, for the honor of my countrymen, that it treaty: if Great Britain will demand the pay. was the only one. There is another circum- ment of these debts peremptorily, what will stance which renders us more vulnerable, Are be the consequence? Can we pay them if dewe not weakened by the population of those manded? Will no danger result from a refusal? whom we hold in slavery? The day may come, Will the British nation suffer their subjects to when they may make an impression upon us. be stripped of their property? Is not that Gentlemen who have been long accustomed to nation amply able to do its subjects justice? the contemplation of the subject, think there is Will the resentment of that powerful and supera cause of alarm in this case. The number of cilious nation sleep for ever? If we become those people, compared to that of the whites, one, sole nation, uniting with our sister States, is in an immense proportion: their number our means of defence will be greater; the inamounts to two hundred and thirty-six thou- dulgence for the payment of those debts will be sand, that of the whites only to three hundred greater, and the danger of an attack less probaand fifty-two thousand. Will the American ble. Moreover, vast quantities of lands have spirit, so much spoken of, repel an invading been sold, by citizens of this country, to Euroenemy, or enable you to obtain an advantageous peans, and these lands cannot be found. Will peace ? Marufactures and military stores may this fraud be countenanced or endured? Among afford relief to a country exposed : have we so many causes of danger, shall we be secure, these at present? Attempts have been made separated from our sister States? Weakness to have these here. If we shall be separated itself, sir, will invite some attack upon your country. Contemplate our situation deliberate of the most calamitous and deplorable nature, ly, and consult history: it will inform you, on one another. that people in our circumstances have ever Mr. Chairman, were we struck off from the been attacked, and successfully: open any page, Union, and disputes of the back lands should be and you will there find our danger truly de- renewed, which are of the most alarming napicted. If such a people had any thing, was it ture, and which must produce uncommon misnot taken? The fate which will befall us, I chiefs, can you inform me how this great subfear, sir, will be, that we shall be made a par-ject would be settled ? Virginia has a large tition of. How will these, our troubles, be re- unsettled country; she has, at last, quieted it; moved? Can we have any dependence on but there are great doubts whether she has commerce ? Can we make any computation taken the best way to effect it. If she has not, on this subject? Where will our flag appear? | disagreeable consequences may ensue. I have So high is the spirit of commercial nations, that before hinted at some other causes of quarrel they will spend five times the value of the between the other States and us; particularly object, to exclude their rivals from a participa- the hatred that would be generated by comtion in commercial profits: they seldom regard mercial competition. I will only add, on that any expenses. If we should be divided from subject, that controversies may arise concernthe rest of the States, upon what footing woulding the fisheries, which must terminate in wars. our navigation in the Mississippi be? What Paper money may also be an additional source would be the probable conduct of France and of disputes. Rhode Island has been in one Spain? Every gentleman may imagine, in his continued train of opposition to national duties own mind, the natural consequences. To these and integrity; they have defrauded their credconsiderations, I might add many others of a itors by their paper money. Other States have similar nature. Were I to say, that the bound- also had emissions of paper money, to the ruin ary between us and North Carolina is not yet of credit and commerce. May not Virginia, at settled, I should be told that Virginia and that a future day, also recur to the same expedient? State go together. But what, sir, will be the Has Virginia no affection for paper money, or consequence of the dispute that may arise be- disposition to violate contracts I fear she is tween us and Maryland, on the subject of Poto- as fond of these measures as most other States mac river? It is thought, Virginia has a right in the Union. The inhabitants of the adjacent to an equal navigation with them in that river. States would be affected by the depreciation of If ever it should be decided on grounds of prior paper money, which would assuredly produce right, their charter will inevitably determine it a dispute with those States. This danger is in their favor. The country called the North- taken away by the present constitution, as it ern Neck, will probably be severed from Vir- provides "That no State shall emit bills of ginia. There is not a doubt but the inhabit-credit." Maryland has counteracted the policy ants of that part will annex themselves to of this State frequently, and may be meditating Maryland, if Virginia refuse to accede to the examples of this kind again. Before the revoUnion. The recent example of those regula- lution there was a contest abont those back tions lately made respecting that territory, will lands, in which even government was a party; illustrate that probability. Virginia will also it was put an end to by the war. Pennsylvania be in danger of a conflict with Pennsylvania, was ready to enter into a war with us for the on the subject of boundaries. I know that disputed lands near the boundaries, and nothing some gentlemen are thoroughly persuaded, that but the superior prudence of the man who was we have a right to those disputed boundaries : at the head of affairs in Virginia could have if we have such a right, I know not where it is prevented it. to be found.
I beg leave to remind you of the strength of Are we not borderers on States that will be Massachusetts and other States to the north, separated from us? Call to mind the history and what would their conduct be to us if disof every part of the world, where nations have united from them? In case of a conflict bebordered on one another, and consider the con-tween us and Maryland or Pennsylvania, they sequences of our separation from the Union. would be aided by the whole strength of the Peruse those histories, and you find such coun- more northern States; in short, by that of all tries to have ever been almost a perpetual the adopting States. For these reasons, I conscene of bloodshed and slaughter. The inhab-ceive, that if Virginia supposes she has no cause itants of one escaping from punishment into the of apprehension, she will find herself in a fatal other, protection given them, consequent pur- error. Suppose the American spirit in the fullsuit, robbery, cruelty, and murder. A numer- est vigor in Virginia; what military preparaous standing army, that dangerous expedient, tions and exertions is she capable of making ? would be necessary, but not sufficient for the The other States have upwards of three hundefence of such borders. Every gentleman dred and thirty thousand men capable of bearwill amplify the scene in his own mind. If you ing arms; this will be a good army, or they wish to know the extent of such a scene, look can very easily raise a good army out of so at the history of England and Scotland before great a number. Our militia amounts to fifty the union; you will see their borderers con- thousand; even stretching it to the improbable tinually committing depredations and cruelties, annount (urged by some) of sixty thousand; in case of an attack, what defence can we make ? | fused in the country, merchants and men of Who are militia? Can we depend solely upon wealth will be induced to come among us; these? I will pay the last tribute of gratitude emigration will increase, and commerce will to the militia of my country; they performed flourish; the impost will therefore be more some of the most gallant feats during the last sure and productive. Under these circumstanwar, and acted as nobly as men inured to other ces, can you find men to defend you? If not avocations could be expected to do; but, sir, it men, where can you have a navy? It is an is dangerous to look to them as our sole pro- old observation, that he who commands at sea tectors. Did ever militia defend a country? will command the land, and it is justified by Those of Pennsylvania were said to differ very modern experience in war. The sea can only little from regulars, yet these, sir, were insuffi- be commanded by commercial nations. The cient for the defence of that State. The militia United States have every means, by nature, to of our country will be wanted for agriculture; enable them to distribute supplies mutually on this noblest of arts depends the virtue and among one another, to supply other nations the very existence of a country; if it be ne- with many articles, and to carry for other 98glected, every thing else must be in a state of tions. Our commerce would not be kindly reruin and decay. It must be neglected if those ceived by foreigners, if transacted solely by hands which ought to attend to it are occasion- ourselves, as it is the spirit of commercial naally called forth on military expeditions. tions to engross, as much as possible, the carrySome, also, will be necessary for manufactures, ing trade; this makes it necessary to defend and those mechanic arts which are necessary our commerce; but how shall we encompass . for the aid of the farmer and planter. If we this end ? England has arisen to the greatest
had men sufficient in number to defend our height, in modern times, by her navigation act selves, it could not avail without other requi- and other excellent regulations. The same sites. We must have a navy, to be supported means would produce the same effects. We in time of peace as well as war, to guard our have inland navigation. Our last exports did coasts and defend us against invasions. The not exceed one million of pounds. Our export impossibility of building and equipping a fleet, in trade is entirely in the hands of foreigners. a short time, constitutes the necessity of having We have no manufactures; depend for supplies a certain number of ships of war always ready on other nations, and so far are we from having in time of peace. The maintaining a navy will any carrying trade, that, as I have already require money; and where, sir, can we get said, our exports are in the hands of foreigners. money for this and other purposes? How Besides the profit that might be made by our shall we raise it? Review the enormity of the natural materials, much greater gains would debts due by this country; the amount of debt accrue from their being first wrought before we owe to the continent for bills of credit, they were exported. England has reaped imrating at forty for one, will amount to between mense profits by this; nay, even by purchasing six and seven hundred thousand pounds. There and working up those materials which her is also due the continent the balance of requisi-country did not afford; her success in comtions due by us, and, in addition to this pro merce is generally ascribed to her navigation portion of the old continental debt, there are act. Virginia would not, encumbered as she the foreign, domestic, State, military, and loan- is, agree to have such an act. Thus, for the office debts, to which, when you add the British want of a navy, are we deprived of the multidebt, where is the possibility of finding money farious advantages of our natural situation; nor to raise an army or navy? Review then your is it possible, that if the Union is dissolved, we real ability. Shall we recur to loans? Nothing ever should have a navy sufficient either for our can be more impolitic; they impoverish a na- defence or the extension of our trade. I beg tion; we, sir, have nothing to repay them; I gentlemen to consider these two things our nor, sir, can we procure them. Our numbers inability to raise and man a navy, and the are daily increasing by emigration; but this, dreadful consequences of the dissolution of the sir, will not relieve us, when our credit is gone, Union. and it is impossible to borrow money. If the I will close this catalogue of the evils of the imposts and duties in Virginia, even on the dissolution of the Union, by recalling to your present footing, be very unproductive, and not mind what passed in the year 1781. Such was equal to our necessities, what would they be it the situation of our affairs then, that the powwe were separated from the Union From the ers of a dictator were given to the commanderfirst of September to the first of June, the in-chief to save us from destruction. This amount put into the treasury is only fifty-nine shows the situation of the country to have been thousand pounds, or a little more. But, sir, if such as made it ready to embrace an actual diosmuggling be introduced in consequence of high tator. At some future period, will not our disduties, or otherwise, and the Potomac should tresses impel us to do what the Dutch have be lost, what hope is there of getting money done-throw all power into the hands of a from these ?
stadtholder? How infinitely more wise and Shall we be asked if the impost would be eligible, than this desperate alternative, is an bettered by the Union? I answer that it will, / union with our American brethren? I feel sir. Credit being restored and confidence dif- | myself so abhorrent to any thing that will dis