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June 14, 1799.

The committee to take into consideration the resolutions of the General Assembly of Virginia, dated December 21st, 1798; also certain resolutions of the Legislature of Kentucky, of the 10th November, 1798, report as follows:

The Legislature of New Hampshire having taken into consideration certain resolutions of the General Assembly of Virginia, dated December 21, 1798; also certain resolutions of the Legislature of Kentucky, of the 10th of November, 1798 :

Resolved, That the Legislature of New Hampshire unequivocally express a firm resolution to maintain and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of this state, against every aggression, either foreign or domestic, and that they will support the government of the United States in all measures warranted by the former.

That the state legislatures are not the proper tribunals to determine the constitutionality of the laws of the general government, that the duty of such decision is properly and exclusively confided to the judicial department.

That if the Legislature of New Hampshire, for mere speculative purposes, were to express an opinion on the acts of the general government, commonly called “the alien and sedition-bills,” that opinion would unreservedly be, that those acts are constitutional, and in the present critical situation of our country, highly expedient.

That the constitutionality and expediency of the acts aforesaid, have been very ably advocated and clearly demonstrated by many citizens of the United States, more especially by the minority of the General Assembly of Virginia. The Legislature of New Hampshire, therefore, deem it unnecessary, by any train of arguments, to attempt further illustration of the propositions, the truth of which, it is confidently believed, at this day, is very generally seen and acknowledged.

Which report being read and considered, was unanimously received and accepted, one hundred and thirty-seven members being present. Sent up for concurrence.


In Senate, the same day, read and concurred unanimously.

Amos SHEPARD, President.

Approved, June 15th, 1799.

J. T. GILMAN, Governor.

A true copy


Joseph PEARSON, Secretary.



October 30th, A. D. 1799.

The House proceeded to take under their consideration, the resolutions of the General Assembly of Virginia, relative to certain measures of the general government, transmitted to the Legislature of this state, for their consideration : Whereupon,

Resolved, That the General Assembly of the state of Vermont do highly disapprove of the resolutions of the General Assembly of Virginia, as being unconstitutional in their nature, and dangerous in their tendency. It belongs not to state legislatures to decide on the constitutionality of laws made by the general government; this power being exclusively vested in the judiciary courts of the Union : Thai his excellency the Governor be requested to transmit a copy of this resolution to the executive of Virginia, to be communicated to the General Assembly of that state: And that the same be sent to the Governor and Council for their concurrence,


In Council, October 30, 1799.

Read and concurred unanimously.







Waiving objections to the spirit and manner of the counter-resolutions of other states, the Report proceeds to discuss the resolutions of 21st December, 1798, seriatim. 1st Resolution. To maintain and defend the Constitution of the United States, &c.

Not liable to objection. 2d Resolution. To oppose every infraction of the Constitution, &c.

Not liable to objection. 3d Resolution. That the powers of the Federal Government result from

the compact, to which the states are parties: That those powers are limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument of compact: And that it is the duty of the states to interpose to arrest the deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of powers not granted ;

wherein consider, I. The truth of the several propositions affirmed: viz., that, 1. The powers of the Federal Government result from the compact,

or Constitution; wherein of,
1. The contemporary discussions when the Constitution was sub-

mitted to the people of the states for their ratification.
2. The 12th amendment to the Constitution.
2. The states are parties to the compact, or Constitution : wherein of,
1. The different senses of the word states, and the meaning as

here used. 2. The sense in which the Constitution was submitted to, and

ratified by the states.

3. The powers are limited by the plain sense and intention of the

instrument of compact; wherein consider that,
1. The powers granted are valid only because granted.

2. The powers not granted, are not valid. 4. The states, as sovereign parties to the compact, must construe it in

the last resort, and decide if it be violated; wherein consider that,
1. There can be no tribunal superior to the states, in the last resort,

they being sovereign.
2. The federal judiciary cannot be the final expositor of the Consti-

tution, except in relation to the other departments of the govern-
ment; because,
1. Some usurpations, by the forms of the Constitution, cannot be

drawn within its control.
2. The decisions of the other departments, in cases not subject to

judicial cognizance, would be equally authoritative and final. 3. The usurpations sanctioned, or committed, by the judiciary

would be irremediable. 5. The cases for interposition by the states ;-only where the violation,

by the United States, is
1. Deliberate.
2. Palpable.

3. Dangerous.
6. The object of the interposition :

To arrest the progress of usurpation, and maintain the authorities,

rights, and liberties appertaining to the states. II. The expediency of declaring the truths aforesaid; wherein of

1. The general importance of recurrence to fundamental principles. 2. The particular importance in view of the political doctrines of the

day. 4th Resolution. That a spirit has been manifested to enlarge the powers

of the Federal Government, by forced constructions, especially of certain general phrases ; of which the effect will be to consolidate the states into one sovereignty, and the result a monarchy; wherein of

the affirmation1. That a spirit has been manifested by the Federal Government to

enlarge its powers by forced constructions of the Constitution; whereof
the instances are (amongst others),
1, The Bank-law of 1791.
2. The Carriage-tax law of 1794.

3. The Alien and Sedition laws. II. That indications have appeared of a design to expound certain gene

ral phrases, (which although substantially contained in the former
Articles of Confederation, were never therein so misconstrued,] so as
to destroy the effect of the particular enumeration which explains
and limits those phrases; wherein of
1. What general phrases are referred to,-
Those which relate to a provision “ for the common defence and

general welfare," &c. - Articles of Confederation, Art, VIII.

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2. The meaning attached to them, in the Articles of Confederation. III. Instances of a design so lo expound those phrases as to destroy

the effect of the particular enumeration of powers; wherein consider,
1. What the instances are,

1. Debates in Congress.
2. Hamilton's Report on Manufactures, 5th December, 1791,

wherein he supposes everything in the power of Congress, which
concerns the general welfare, and involves the application of

money. 3. Report of Committee of House of Representatives on Agricul

ture, January, 1797; proposing an Agricultural Society under

the direction of the Federal Government. 2. The result of such exposition to destroy the effect of the particular enumeration of

powers; for, 1. No power of importance, but may involve the application of

money. 2. It is no limitation of the power to confine it to cases affecting

the general welfare, because all cases may be said to do so. 3. The proper construction of the phrasesTo limit the Federal Government to those modes of promoting

the general welfare which are afterwards specified. 3. The tendency of such exposition of the general phrases in ques.

tion to consolidate the states into one sovereignty. 4. The result of such consolidation, a monarchy; by, 1. Enlarging the Executive power as a supplement to the deficiency

of laws, which would be greater as the objects of legislative

attention were multiplied. 2. Increasing the offices, honours, and emoluments depending on

the Executive will, and thereby enabling the chief magistrate to secure his own re-election from time to time, and to regulate the

succession, 3. Rendering the Executive office such an object of ambition as to

make elections so tumultuous and corrupt, that the people would

themselves demand an hereditary succession. 5th Resolution. Protests particularly, against the Alien and Sedition-Acts,

as palpable and alarming infractions of the Constitution, &c.;

wherein consider, I. The Alien Act :-of which it is said that, 1. It exercises a power not delegated by the Constitution; wherein of 1. Some preliminary observations. 1. The Federal Government possesses only delegated powers; and

those not delegated to it are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. Hence any power exercised, must appear to

be granted by the Constitution. 2. Distinguish between alien enemies, over whom the Federal

authority, as incident to the power of making war, is complete ;

and alien friends, to whom it is denied that its power extends. 3. Even if the "Alien-Act” contemplated preventive, only, and

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