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the substance of my notes, he attributes to the present feeble government. An opinion has gone forth, we find, that we are a contemptible people: the time has been when we were thought otherwise. Under this same despised government, we commanded the respect of all Europe: wherefore are we now reckoned otherwise ? The American spirit has fled from hence: it has gone to regions, where it has never been expected: it has gone to the people of France, in search of a splendid government-a strong, energetic government. Shall we imitate the example of those nations, who have gone from a simple to a splendid government ? Are those nations more worthy of our imitation? What can make an adequate satisfaction to them for the loss they have suffered in attaining such a governmentfor the loss of their liberty? If we admit this consolidated government, it will be because we like a great and splendid one. Some way or other we must be a great and mighty empire; we must have an army, and a navy, and a number of things. When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: liberty, sir, was then the primary object. We are descended from a people whose government was founded on liberty: our glorious forefathers, of Great Britain, made liberty the foundation of every thing. That country is become a great, mighty and splendid nation; not because their government is strong and energetic: but, sir, because liberty is its direct end and foundation. We drew the spirit of liberty from our British ancestors; by that spirit we have triumphed over every difficulty. But now, sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country into a powerful and mighty empire. If you make the citizens of this country agree to become the subjects of one great consolidated empire of America, your government will not have sufficient energy to keep them together : such a government is incompatible with the genius of republicanism. There will be no checks, no

real balances, in this government. What can avail your specious, imaginary balances; your rope-dancing, chain-rattling, ridiculous, ideal checks and contrivances ? But, sir, we are not feared by foreigners ; we do not make nations tremble. Would this constitute happiness, or secure liberty? I trust, sir, our political hemisphere will ever direct its operations to the security of those objects. Consider our situation, sir; go to the poor man, ask him what he does; he will inform you that he enjoys the fruits of his labor, under his own fig-tree, with his wife and children around him, in peace and security. Go to every other member of the society, you will find the same tranquil ease and content; you will find no alarms or disturbances! Why then tell us of dangers, to terrify us into an adoption of this new form of government? And yet who knows the dangers that this new system may produce? They are out of the sight of the common people: they cannot foresee latent consequences. . I dread the operation of it on the middling and lower classes of people: it is for them I fear the adoption of this system. I fear I tire the patience of the committee, but I beg to be indulged with a few more observations.

When I thus profess myself an advocate for the liberty of the people, I shall be told, I am a designing man, that I am to be a great man, that I am to be a demagogue; and many similar illiberal insinuations will be thrown out; but, sir, conscious rectitude outweighs these things with me. I see great jeopardy in this new government: I see none from our present one. I hope some gentleman or other will bring forth, in full array, those dangers, if there be any, that we may see and touch them ; I have said that I thought this a consolidated government: I will now prove it. Will the great rights of the people be secured by this government ? Suppose it should prove oppressive, how can it be altered? Our bill of rights declares, 6 That a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable and indefeasible right to reform, alter,


VOL. 1.

or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.” I have just proved, that one tenth, or less, of the people of America-a most despicable minority, may prevent this reform, or alteration. Suppose the people of Virginia should wish to alter their government, can a majority of them do it? No, because they are connected with other men; or, in other words, consolidated with other states. When the people of Virginia, at a future day, shall wish to alter their government, though they should be unanimous in this desire, yet they may be prevented therefrom by a despicable minority at the extremity of the United States. The founders of your own constitution made your government changeable: but the power of changing it is gone from you! Whither is it gone? It is placed in the same hands that hold the rights of twelve other states; and those, who hold those rights, have right and power to keep them. It is not the

particular government of Virginia : one of the leading features of that government is, that a majority can alter it, when necessary for the public good. This government is not a Virginian, but an American government. Is it not therefore a consolidated government? The sixth clause of your bill of rights tells you, 6 That elections of members to serve as representatives of the people in assembly, ought to be free, and that all men, having sufficient evidence of permanent, common interest with, and attachment to the community, have the right of suffrage, and cannot be taxed or deprived of their property, for public uses, without their own consent, or that of their representatives so elected, nor bound by any law to which they have not in like manner assented for the public good. But what does this constitution say? The clause under consideration gives an unlimited and unbounded power

of taxation. Suppose every delegate from Virginia opposes a law laying a tax, what will it avail? They are opposed by a majority; eleven members can destroy their efforts: those feeble ten cannot prevent the passing the

most oppressive tax-law. So that in direct opposition to the spirit and express language of your declaration of rights, you are taxed, not by your own consent, but by people who have no connexion with you.

. The next clause of the bill of rights tells


66 That all power of suspending law, or the execution of laws, by any authority, without the consent of the representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised.” This tells us that there can be no suspension of government, or laws, without our own consent; yet this constitution can counteract and suspend any of our laws, that contravene its oppressive operation; for they have the power of direct taxation, which suspends our bill of rights; and it is expressly provided, that they can make all laws necessary for carrying their powers into execution; and it is declared paramount to the laws and constitutions of the states. Consider how the only remaining defence, we have left, is destroyed in this manner. Besides the expenses of maintaining the senate and other house in as much splendor as they please, there is to be a great and mighty president, with very extensive powersthe powers of a king. He is to be supported in extravagant magnificence: so that the whole of our property may be taken by this American government, by laying what taxes they please, giving themselves what salaries they please, and suspending our laws at their pleasure. I might be thought too inquisitive, but I believe I should take up but very little of your time in enumerating the little power that is left to the government of Virginia; for this power is reduced to little or nothing. Their garrisons, magazines, arsenals, and forts, which will be situated in the strongest places within the states—their ten miles square, with all the fine ornaments of human life, added to their powers, and taken from the states, will reduce the power of the latter to nothing. The voice of tradition, I trust, will inform posterity of our struggles for freedom. If our descendants be worthy the name of Americans, they

will preserve, and hand down to their latest posterity, the transactions of the present times; and though, 1 confess, my exclamations are not worthy the hearing, they will see that I have done my utmost to preserve their liberty: for I never will give up the power of direct taxation, but for a scourge. I am willing to give it conditionally; that is, after non-compliance with requisitions: I will do more, sir, and what I hope will convince the most sceptical man, that I am a lover of the American union; that in case Virginia shall not make punctual payment, the control of our customhouses, and the whole regulation of trade, shall be given to Congress; and that Virginia shall depend on Congress even for passports, till Virginia shall have paid the last farthing, and furnished the last soldier. Nay, sir, there is another alternative to which I would consent; even that they should strike us out of the union, and take away from us all federal privileges, till we comply with federal requisitions; but let it depend upon our own pleasure to pay our money in the most easy manner for our people. Were all the states, more terrible than the mother country, to join against us, I hope Virginia could defend herself; but, sir, the dissolution of the union is most abhorrent to


mind. The first thing I have at heart is American liberty; the second thing is American union; and I hope the people of Virginia will endeavor to preserve that union. The increasing population of the southern states, is far greater than that of New England; consequently, in a short time, they will be far more numerous than the people of that country. Consider this, and you will find this state more particularly interested to support American liberty, and not bind our posterity by an improvident relinquishment of our rights. I would give the best security for a punctual compliance with requisitions; but I beseech gentlemen, at all hazards, not to grant this unlimited power of taxation.

The honorable gentleman has told us that these

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