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to his bride on the day of marriage. But as soon as these gentlemen discovered his political opinions to be different from what they supposed them to be when they admitted him into their society, they instantly broke off all communication with him, and ever afterwards reviled and persecu. ted him. He made some observations respecting Volney ; and then asked how the gentleman from Prince George had found out the story which he had related of Volney, when Porcupine or Goodloe Harper never could ? Perhaps he had learnt it from Billy Wilcox; and who was he? A mere automaton. He could say this—he could say that—anything or nothing. He was directed altogether by the breaker of the matrimonial vow. The gentleman from Prince George had spoken of Frenchmen sneaking away. But sneaking as they were, he said, he believed all Europe sneaked before them. However, he said, he was no champion for the French, any more than for the British. He thought we had no business with either of them. He then spoke of British aggressions upon our commerce. But these, he said, were not felt by the executive of the United States, as well as many of its citizens. He then complimented Mr. George K. Taylor upon his talent in moving the passions. He had exercised that talent so effectually a session or two before, as to draw tears from the members of that house, (alluding to the speech delivered in favour of the new criminal law,) and he himself must confess, indeed, that the gentleman had, on the subject then before them, dealt more in pathos than in argument. He then asked why the gentleman, when reviling Genet, did not say something of Liston too? He believed that he (Liston) had done us as much harm as ever Genet did. As a proof, he instanced the Spanish transaction. But when that was stated to that great man, Mr. Pickering, he said that we were to pay no kind of credit to it, for he was satisfied that our good allies, the British, did not intend to injure us. The gentleman from Prince George, he said, had introduced a damsel, and that was the damsel of liberty. When he had done so, he, (Mr. Pope,) cold as his blood was, confessed that he was seized with an ecstacy. But when, at the same time, the gentleman would not permit that damsel to remain within these walls, he acknowledged that his feelings were very much wounded indeed. For he (Mr. Pope), was fond of all damsels, but particularly so of the damsel of liberty. And if he were so, cold as his blood was, what might they not expect from that young, athletic gentleman, whose warmth of blood was so plainly visible. The same gentleman, he said, had also dwelt upon the Saint Domingo horrors. The alien law, he (Mr. Pope) said, had not removed them. He believed all the emigrants from that place were aristocrats : but they had not been removed. The gentleman had also mentioned the determinations of the other states. As well as he could recollect, he said, he conceived that such determinations extended only to an approbation of the measures of the Executive in regard to the nego. tiation with France. But, be they what they would, we were not bound to follow their example. Kentucky had differed from them. He asked who had knocked at the doors of the aristocratic Senate of the United States but Virginia ? She had been the chief means of opening them. In that instance, then, she had weight. He wished, therefore, that on this occasion they should do what they thought right. That, too, might pro
bably have weight. If it should not, they would at least discharge their duty. At any rate, he thought the determination, according to the reso. lutions which they were about to make, would not lead to war, as was apprehended; and therefore they might safely agree to pass them. How. ever, he said, he did not feel himself so rigidly attached to the resolutions, but that he would be willing to agree to any modification of them to accommodate gentlemen, provided the substance of them should be so' retained as to go to declare the laws of Congress under their consideration, unconstitutional.
Mr. John ALLEN arose next, and said he was not accustomed to make apologies for anything he wished to say in this house, nor should he do so in the present case; the subject was of too much importance to require any. And, notwithstanding his ill state of health, he rose to give his feeble 'aid in favour of the wounded daughter of liberty. In deciding on a constitutional question, he did not expect that the understanding was to be banished, and the passions only left to be their guide. But, he found that the gentleman from Prince George, through the whole of his lengthy harangue, relied solely on the force and effect of the latter. That gentle. man informed them that he should confine his observations to the alien law, and attempt to prove it constitutional. ' How did he do this? By describ. ing, in the most terrific colours, the conduct of the French towards us, and other nations ; and then asserting, that the alien law was made to protect us from the French. But, before the gentleman indulged himself in his description of the cruelties and aggressions committed by the French, he should have proved that this law related only to that nation, But it clearly was not so. It extends to all nations alike, and without discrimination. The law need only be read to prove the truth of this assertion.
Unless, then, it appeared that we were threatened with, or had danger to apprehend from, all the nations on earth, that law could not be justified, even by the gentleman's own arguments. The gentlemen had further observed, that if this law had been permanent, it would be unconstitutional; but, if temporary, it would not. Mr. Allen said, in his opinion, , there was no difference between the cases. He could not discover how a clause in a law declaring that it should expire at a particular period, could make the law constitutional. But, the gentleman did not appear to rely much on that argument; only that it gave him an opportunity of returning again to his favourite theme, a description of French cruelties. But, said the gentleman, the admission of aliens in a country was a matter of favour, and not of right. But, Mr. Allen averred, that the admission of alien friends into a country was not a matter of favour; and even if it were, when they were in a country they were entitled to certain rights, which he enumerated, and which, he said, were derived to them from the laws of nature, nations, and humanity. The gentleman admitted that an alien could not be deprived of life or property without a trial, and that by jury. If so, surely they should not be deprived of their liberty without trial, and that too by jury. But, perhaps, in these modern days, life and property only are to be held sacred, while liberty is to be exposed to the whim or caprice of a single man. If, indeed, this be the case, and
liberty is considered of less value than property, then the argument of the gentleman should have some weight. But, we are taught by the Con. stitution to rank liberty next to lise. If, therefore, an alien cannot be deprived of his property without trial by jury, he certainly should not be deprived of his liberty without the same kind of trial. On that account, then, he said, the law was apparently unconstitutional. But suppose, he said, it was absolutely necessary to provide by law for sending aliens out of this country, who had the power to do so? Congress, or the states? He declared that the states had. He read the first clause of the ninth section respecting the migration of persons prior to the year 1808, as proof of the assertion. But, even if Congress had such a power, they had no right to vest it in the President, for reasons that had already been given, and that were too apparent not to be understood. He then proceeded to point out the danger of placing too much power in the hands of the Executive. He stated instances of the unhappy effects proceeding from it in Britain ; and was afraid we had much danger to apprehend from a desire in Congress to increase executive power. This law, vesting in the President such enormous powers, the gentleman from Prince George observed, was made for the purpose of getting rid of two individuals, and as they had sneaked out of the country, there was no farther necessity for the law. To what extremity, said Mr. Allen, must the United States have been reduced. How must they be degraded, when we are informed that it was necessary to make the President absolute tyrant over perhaps a million of people, to get rid of two men.
But it was urged as an objection to the adoption of the resolutions under consideration, that the people were the proper tribunal to decide upon the constitutionality of the laws, and that they would shortly decide the ques. tion at the next election. Mr. Allen contended, that was not a proper mode for the decision of such a question, for that the people often voted from personal or local attachments; and that they were not always apprised of the opinions of the different candidates; and he instanced his own district as proof of the latter assertion. But, he said, if this was a proper mode of deciding this question, he believed there was no doubt how the people would determine. And this house, by the re-election of a senator of the United States the other day, had already decided the question. Mr. Allen then concluded by making some general observations on the dangerous consequences of deriving powers from implication ; and said, that he at that moment experienced too much bodily pain to be able to proceed further.
On motion of Mr. Magill, the committee then rose, the chairman reported progress, asked, and had leave to sit again.
IN THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES,
Monday, December 17, 1798. The House resolved itself into a committee of the whole house, on the state of the commonwealth, Mr. Brackenridge in the chair, when Mr. , John Taylor's resolutions being still under consideration,
MR. BARBOUR arose, and observed, that being a young man, he did not intend to have troubled the committee with any remarks upon the subject under discussion, but the solicitude he experienced had impelled him forward. He observed, that the moment on which he arose, might be called the first of his political existence, and yet in that moment he was called upon to decide a question, in which, not only his own fate as a politician, but the welfare of his country was materially involved. Mr. Barbour asked, what must be the sensations of a young man the first instant he stepped on the theatre of public life, to be called on to act a part, in which such important consequences are implicated ? He observed, he experienced those sensations to an eminent degree. But having formed a rule, by which he meant to be governed in his political career, which was, to pursue the line of conduct his judgment dictated as the most proper, he would announce to the committee, and through the committee to the world, the motives which actuated him to give the vote he was about to pronounce, which would be in favour of the adoption of the resolutions. He observed, it had been remarked by every gentleman, whether pro or con, that the event of the present discussion was important. He begged leave to add his testimony likewise to the importance of the subject. And he believed he should not use language too strong, was he to assert, that in the proceedings of this Legislature might be read the destinies of America : for issue was joined between monarchical principles on the one hand, and republican on the other; and they were the grand inquest who were to determine the controversy. For should so important a state as Virginia sanction the measures complained of in the resolutions, (which she would do if the resolutions should be rejected,) it would become a step-stone to farther usurpation, until those great rights, which are guaranteed by nature and the Constitution, will be destroyed one by one, and a monarchy erected upon the ruins thereof. But on the contrary, if she discountenanced those measures, (as she would do by the adoption of the resolutions,) and could obtain the co-operation of the sister states, it might overawe týranny, for tyranny in embryo was timid. He asked, could it be necessary, to conjure the members of the committee to be tremulously alive to the importance of the subject, and viewing it free from prepossessions, should give that opinion, which would redound most to their own fame and eventuate in the welfare of their country. He then read the resolutions, and observed, the gentleman from Prince George had remarked, that those resolutions invited the people to insurrection and to arms. But Mr. Barbour said, if he could conceive that the consequence foretold would grow out of the measure, he would become its bitterest enemy, for he deprecated intestine commotion, civil war, and bloodshed, as the most direful evils which could befall a country, except slavery. A resort to arms was the last appeal of an oppressed and injured nation, and was never made but when public servants converted themselves, by usurpation, into masters, and destroyed rights once participated ; and then, it was justifiable. But he observed, the idea of that same gentleman was in concert, as would appear by reference to a leading feature in the resolutions, which was, their being addressed not to the people, but to the sister states ; praying, in a pacific way, their co-operation in arresting the tendency and effect of unconstitu
tional laws. He observed, it had been said by some gentlemen that they admitted the unconstitutionality of the laws, and yet they would vote against the resolutions, for that the subject exclusively belonged to the people, and if their servants had violated their trust, they ought to substitute others. In answer to this, Mr. Barbour observed, that doctrine like this was pregnant with every mischief. For once admit, said he, that the states have no check, no constitutional barrier against the encroachment of the general government, we should thereby lessen that weight to which the state governments are entitled in the political machine, which, in America, is a complex one. We should thereby destroy those checks and balances, which are the sine qua non of their mutual existence and welfare. And the consequence then would be, that instead of harmony and symmetry which has hitherto prevailed, chaos, confusion, and all the evils incident to that situation, would be the inevitable result. In theory this doctrine is alarming, but fortunately for the liberties of America, when it comes to be tried by the rules of reason and sound argument, it is found monstrous and absurd, and therefore its advocates must be few.' He observed, that he would undertake to demonstrate that, although the people possessed the right of excluding those who advocated the obnoxious measures, and he hoped would exercise the right, yet the state legislatures not only had a concurrent right, but were equally bound to exercise that right. He asked, who were the parties that formed the compact ? Were they not the people and the states? If it had been formed exclusively by the people, he supposed a majority of the people would have been sufficient to have confirmed the compact. But what was the fact ? Did not the Constitution require, that the consent of nine of the states shall be an in. dispensable preliminary to its adoption? Again, did it not permit threefourths of the legislatures to alter the Constitution, without the intervention of the people? And cannot the states admit new parties to the compact, to wit, by the erection of new states? Again, are not the state legisla. tures to the Senate, what the people are to the Representatives? And if the latter possess the power of censure and discharge (which as yet no gentleman would deny), must it not follow by a parity of reasoning, that the former possess the same power relative to the body elected by them. selves? Again, the President is elected by electors, who represent the states as well as the people ; for the number of electors is not in proportion to the number of the people alone, but the states as well as the people: for example, the state of Delaware has three electors, when it is entitled to but one representative; whereas Virginia has only twenty-one electors when she is entitled to nineteen representatives. It must follow, then, as an incontrovertible deduction, that the states are parties to the compact, and being parties, if the compact was violated (as it was violated) the states have the right, and ought to exercise it, to declare that those proceedings, which are an infringement upon the Constitution, are not binding. The state legislatures being the immediate representatives of the people, and consequently the immediate guardians of their rights, should sound the tocsin of alarm at the approach of danger, and should be the arm of the people to repel every invasion. If, said he, the alien and sedition laws are unconstitutional, they are not law, and of course of no'force. For what are