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born are so happily possessed of; they cannot so readily perceive latent objects. The microscopic eyes of modern statesmen, can see abundance of defects in old systems; and their illumined imaginations discover the necessity of a change. They are captivated by the parade of the number ten; the charms of the ten miles square. Sir, I fear this change will ultimately lead to our ruin. My fears are not the force of imagination; they are but too well founded. I tremble for my country: but, sir, I trust, I rely, and I am confident, that this political speculation has not taken so strong a hold of men's minds, as some would make us believe.

The dangers which may arise from our geographical situation, will be more properly considered a while hence. At present, what may be surmised on the subject, with respect to the adjacent states, is merely visionary. Strength, sir, is a relative term. When I reflect on the natural force of those nations that might be induced to attack us, and consider the difficulty of the attempt and uncertainty of the success, and compare

thereto the relative strength of our country, I say that we are strong. We have no cause to fear from that quarter; we have nothing to dread from our neighboring states. The superiority of our cause would give us an advantage over them, were they so unfriendly or rash as to attack us. As to that part of the community, which the honorable gentleman spoke of as in danger of being separated from us, what incitement or inducement could its inhabitants have to wish such an event? It is a matter of doubt whether they would derive any advantage to themselves, or be any loss to us by such a separation. Time has been, and may yet come, when they will find it their advantage and true interest to be united with us. There is no danger of a dismemberment of our country, unless a constitution be adopted which will enable the government to plant enemies on our backs. By the confederation, the rights of territory are secured. No


treaty can be made without the consent of nine states. While the consent of nine states is necessary to the cession of territory, you are safe. If it be put in the power of a less number, you will most infallibly lose the Mississippi. As long as we can preserve our unalienable rights, we are in safety. This new constitution will involve in its operation the loss of the navigation of that valuable river. The honorable gentleman cannot be ignorant of the Spanish transactions. A treaty had been nearly entered into with Spain, to relinquish that navigation, and that relinquishment would absolutely have taken place, had the consent of seven states been sufficient. The honorable gentleman told us then, that eight states having adopted this system, we cannot suppose they will recede on our account. I know not what they may do; but this I know, that a people of infinitely less importance than those of Virginia, stood the terror of war. Vermont, sir, withstood the terror of thirteen states. Maryland did not accede to the confederation till the year 1781. These two states, feeble as they are, comparatively to us, were not afraid of the whole union. Did either of these states perish? No, sir, they were admitted freely into the union.

Will not Virginia then be admitted ? I flatter myself that those states who have ratified the new plan of government will open their arms and cheerfully receive us, although we should propose certain amendments as the conditions on which we would ratify it. During the late war, all the states were in pursuit of the same object. To obtain that object, they made the most strenuous exertions. They. did not suffer trivial considerations to impede its acquisition. Give me leave to say, that if the smallest states in the union were admitted into it, after having unreasonably procrastinated their accession, the greatest and most mighty state in the union, will be easily admitted, when her reluctance to an immediate accession to this system is founded on the most reasonable grounds. When I call this the most mighty

state in the union, do I not speak the truth? Does not Virginia surpass every state in the union, in number of inhabitants, extent of territory, felicity of position, and affluence and wealth? Some infatuation hangs over men's minds, that they will inconsiderately precipitate into measures the most important, and give not a moment's deliberation to others, nor pay any respect to their opinions. Is this federalism? Are these the beloved effects of the federal spirit, that its votaries will never accede to the just propositions of others ? Sir, were there nothing objectionable in it but that, I would vote against it. I desire to have nothing to do with such men as will obstinately refuse to change their opinions. Are our opinions not to be regarded? I hope that you will recollect, that you are going to join with men who will pay no respect even to this state.

Switzerland consists of thirteen cantons expressly confederated for national defence. They have stood the shock of four hundred years: that country has enjoyed internal tranquillity most of that long period. Their dissensions have been, comparatively to those of other countries, very few. What has passed in the neighboring countries ?-wars, dissensions and intrigues—Germany involved in the most deplorable civil war thirty years successively, continually convulsed with intestine divisions, and harassed by foreign wars-France with her mighty monarchy perpetually at war. Compare the peasants of Switzerland with those of any other mighty nation : you will find them far more happy; for one civil war among them, there have been five or six among other nations: their attachment to their country, and to freedom, their resolute intrepidity in their defence, the consequent security and happiness which they have enjoyed, and the respect and awe which these things produced in their bordering nations, have signalized those republicans. Their valor, sir, has been active; every thing that sets in motion the springs of the human heart, engaged them to the protection of their in


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estimable privileges. They have not only secured their own liberty, but have been the arbiters of the fate of other people. Here, sir, contemplate the triumph of republican governments over the pride of monarchy. I acknowledge, sir, that the necessity of national defence has prevailed in invigorating their councils and arms, and has been, in a considerable degree, the means of keeping these honest people together. But, sir, they have had wisdom enough to keep together and render themselves formidable. Their heroism is proverbial. They would heroically fight for their government, and their laws. One of the illumined sons of these times would not fight for those objects. Those virtuous and simple people have not a mighty and splendid president, nor enormously expensive navies and armies to support. No, sir, those brave republicans have acquired their reputation no less by their undaunted intrepidity, than by the wisdom of their frugal and economical policy. Let us follow their example, and be equally happy. The honorable member advises us to adopt a measure which will destroy our bill of rights: for, after hearing his picture of nations, and his reasons for abandoning all the powers retained to the states by the confederation, I am more firmly persuaded of the impropriety of adopting this new plan in its present shape.

I had doubts of the power of those who went to the convention; but now we are possessed of it, let us examine it. When we trusted the great object of revising the confederation to the greatest, the best and most enlightened of our citizens, we thought their deliberations would have been solely confined to that revision. Instead of this, a new system, totally different in its nature, and vesting the most extensive powers in Congress, is presented. Will the ten men you are to send to Congress, be more worthy than those seven were? If power grew so rapidly in their hands, what may it not do in the hands of others? If those who go from

this state will find power accompanied with temptation, our situation must be truly critical. When about forming a government, if we mistake the principles, or commit any other error, the very circumstance promises that power will be abused. The greatest caution and circumspection are therefore necessary: nor does this proposed system in its investigation here, deserve the least charity.

The honorable member says, that the national government is without energy. I perfectly agree with him: and when he cried out union, I agreed with him : but I tell him not to mistake the end for the means. The end is union; the most capital means, I suppose, are an army and navy: on a supposition I will acknowledge this; still the bare act of agreeing to that paper, though it may have an amazing influence, will not pay our millions. There must be things to pay debts. What these things are, or how they are to be produced, must be determined by our political wisdom

The honorable gentleman alledges, that previous amendments will prevent the junction of our riches from producing great profits and emoluments, (which would enable us to pay our public debts,) by excluding us from the union. I believe, sir, that a previous ratification of a system notoriously and confessedly defective, will endanger our riches; our liberty; our all. Its defects are acknowledged; they cannot be denied. The reason offered by the honorable gentleman for adopting this defective system, is the adoption by eight states. I

say, sir, that, if we present nothing but what is reasonable in the shape of amendments, they will receive us. Union is as necessary for them as for us. Will they then be so unreasonable as not to join us? If such be their disposition, I am happy to know it in time.

The honorable member then observed, that nations will expend millions for commercial advantages : that is, they will deprive you of every advantage if they can.

and economy.

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