Obrazy na stronie

bordering on idiocy, and to set at defiance the uniform experience of man. kind. For was it ever yet known that a nation participating the blessings of liberty and peace, invited into its bosom a powerful foe, by which those invaluable blessings might be rifled. An idea of this kind was the child of a mind labouring to but little purpose to find some justification for the opinions it advances. But who could have supposed that the section alluded to, which had for its object only imposing an obligation, should by some be converted into a source of power? What, Mr. Barbour asked, was the object of that section? It was to impose on Congress the duty of defending each state from invasion. Congress, in the eighth section, had the power of declaring war; yet, without this section, Congress was not bound to exercise this power; and but for this section, Congress might have seen a state invaded, and yet by the letter of the Constitution, would not have been bound to have defended it from invasion, but might have left her to her own resources. To guard against this inconvenience was this section inserted; yet out of this, the committee were, told new powers are derived to the general government. Mr. Barbour observed, it appeared to him a bold and unjustifiable assertion to say that the expulsion of alien friends was necessary to prevent invasion. For his part, his small intellectual faculties could not perceive the connexion. He could readily perceive the necessity of expelling alien enemies; a right which Congress possessed, and upon which they had acted; but that the expulsion of a friend was necessary to the prevention of invasion, created in his mind a' confusion of ideas. It was asked by the gentleman from Prince George, by what authority did Congress exercise control over foreign intercourse, if it was not by implication ? Mr. Barbour answered, that the power was granted, he thought, by the third clause of the eighth section of the first article, the second clause of the second section, and the third section of the second article of the Federal Constitution. By the first, Congress has power to regulate commerce with foreign nations. By the second, the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, may make treaties, and shall likewise appoint ambassadors and other public ministers and consuls. And by the last, the President is vested with the power of receiving ambassadors and other public minis. ters; from which it is apparent, that without the aid of implication, the general government possesses the power of regulating foreign intercourse.

It was asked, too, by the same gentleman, by what power, did Congress erect forts, if it was not by implication ? Mr. Barbour answered, by the last clause but one of the eighth section of the first article there was this language : “Congress shall have the power to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such district, &c.:” “And to exercise like authority over all places purchased, by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of sorts, maga. zines, &c.” Mr. Barbour concluded upon this point, by observing that surely the gentleman had not read the Constitution, for if he had he would not have propounded the question, when he must have known the answer would recoil upon him. It was asked, too, by the gentleman from Prince George, if Congress possessed not the power to make the law now under discussion, by what authority did they make a law relative to alien ene

mies. Mr. Barbour answered he was happy he was able to instruct the gentleman upon the subject of the Constitution, which he (Mr. Taylor) had not read, or if he had, it was in a cursory and inattentive manner. He referred the gentleman from Prince George to the eleventh clause of the eighth section of article the first. By that, Congress had the power of declaring war. So soon, then, as war shall be declared, by the law of na. tions, alien enemies become prisoners of war; and being prisoners of war, and Congress having the sole power of declaring war, Congress bad a right to say what should be done with the prisoners, whose destiny Congress alone could decide. Again, the power of declaring war was the genus. The prisoners, which shall have been made under that declara. tion, might be called a species. Now, as the genus has been granted, the species, which is subordinate to the genus, has been granted likewise ; it being an axiom in reason, that the less is always included in the greater. To deny the truth of this position, would be as absurd as to say, when A. has transferred to B. a parcel of land, that the house or the wood upon the land are not granted likewise. Or, when a transfer in fee simple is made, that the life estate is not given also. But it had been said, that Virginia had passed a similar law, and, therefore, Congress must have the right. Doctrine like this should be a warning to the Virginia Legislature not to deviate from the principles of liberty, or the spirit of its Constitution, lest it should become a pretext to justify the worst of purposes in the hands of the general government. He observed, that he would not say whether Virginia had done right or wrong, in passing the law alluded to, because it was unimportant in the present discussion. He observed, the doctrine contended for by the gentleman from Prince George, namely, that Congress had a right to pass the law, because Virginia had done so, deserved the most serious attention and unreserved disapprobation of the committee. For, if it be true, the government of the United States would become an absolute consolidated government, and the sovereignty of the States anninilated ; from which situation, said Mr. Barbour, good Lord deliver us! But fortunately for us, he said, the position existed only in the mind of its author. The state legislature had a right to regulate the mode of de

greeably to the doctrine of the gentleman from Prince George, Congress would have a right to pass a similar law. Congress would possess the power of reviving the old feudal monarchical principle of primogeniture; and he had no doubt that it would be done, because it would be in unison with the other acts of the general government. Yet, no sober man, at this time, would say that Congress has a right to to say anything relative to the rules which shall be observed in the descent of estates. It must be clear and obvious to every man, not infatuated with political fallacy, that there is a line of demarcation drawn between the powers of the state and general governments; and to assert that Congress can do whatever the state can do, is as absurd as to say, the state can do whatever Congress can do; a position he did suppose the advocates of congressional omnipotence would be unwilling to admit. Mr. Barbour asked, in what cases Congress had a right to call in the aid of implication, --admitting, for argument's sake, that, on particular occasions, they might resort to that alternative ? For allow the supporters of the principle the utmost

latitude for which they contended, it could only be resorted to when the Constitution had given a power that cannot be consummated without implication. Wherever the Constitution was explicit, implication must be excluded. He said he would illustrate his idea by assimilating this case to the doctrine which would prevail in the instance of presumptive and positive evidence. Where positive evidence, from the nature of the case, cannot be procured, presumptive evidence is admissible, but where positive evidence can be procured, presumptive evidence is inadmissible. The Constitution, too, in the ninth section of the first article, is expressly in point. It is to this effect : “ The migration or importation of such persons as any of the states, now existing, shall think proper to admit, shall not be. prohibited by the Congress prior to the year 1808.” This then, explicitly declaring that Congress shall not inhibit the migration of aliens, if the state should think proper to admit them, must unquestionably exclude the idea of implication, and, consequently, the deductions drawn from that source, (the source itself being corrupt), must be fallacious. But it might be answered by a quibbler, that the alien-law did not prevent the landing of aliens here. But where, Mr. Barbour asked, was the difference between their being prevented from landing, and the very moment they landed being sent off? He begged leave to state a similar instance, which would prove this was a distinction without a difference; namely, if a man should suffer another to come into his house, and the moment he stepped in, should kick him out, would this not be as bad, nay worse than if he had prevented him from coming in at all? The liberal mind looked down with pity and disdain upon such subtersuges; and hesitated not to declare that the alienlaw did, beyond question, violate the Constitution of the United States in this part thereof. This part of the Constitution being violated should excite universal alarm; because to it was attached particular inviolability by the fifth article which declares that in this particular the Constitution should not be amended prior to the year 1808. Mr. Barbour said, the gentleman from Prince George having exhausted the doctrine of implication, had resorted to that of expediency, and contended that although Congress had neither express nor implied power to pass the law, yet it being expedient, it was correct. He said if that doctrine be true, the Constitution, instead of being the main pillar of American liberties, was but an institution calculated to ensnare. By the provisions in the Constitution, which the American people supposed as so many guarantees to their liberties, they had been trepanned into a fatal apathy, whilst they indulged themselves in what they supposed a well-grounded reflection, that the checks in the Federal Government were inviolate. They were now, as it were, awakened from the fatal repose into which they had been carried by misplaced confidence; and as the people of Caroline well expressed -it, this boasted Constitution of their own choice, and the rights which it secured, are to evaporate in the crucible of legislative expedience. He said he felt himself unusually agitated at the bare mentioning of such monstrous doctrine. Go, said Mr. Barbour, and read the historic page: it would there be found that expediency has been the invariable pretext of tyranny: it has been with that engine that the liberties of a free people were eternally assailed. If, said he, the time should ever come (which

God forbid) when that doctrine should prevail, we might date it as the era of the downfall of American freedom. From that moment, let the votaries of liberty be shrouded in sackcloth, and with ashes upon their heads, deplore the departure of their protecting genius. And, if from America the genius of liberty should ever take her fight, like the vital spirit, it would return no more to re-animate the body from which it had flown. The gentleman 100, to support the necessity or expediency of the law, resorted to the situation of this country as it related to France. This he said was the favourite theme: this was a ground he had anticipated ; it was not new; it had been successfully adopted by the higher orders of government. The conduct of France towards this country had been echoed by the friends of administration from every part of America, and under the momentary delusion created by the dispatches of the American envoys, it was hoped that principles of usurpation might be pushed. The jealous friends of the Constitution and the liberties of the people, if they had fortitude to oppose the impulse of the moment, and declare that the general government was bent upon the subversion of republican princi. ples, were branded with the opprobrious epithets of being disorganizers, French partizans, and enemies to all order; and the President of the United States, confident of success from the supposed wisdom of his operations, has condescended to become the head of the party, and has used language which, from its billingsgate style, as a man he treated with supercilious contempt; but as an American, he would feign shed an obliterating lear, which should efface it for ever. As coming from the chief magistrate of the Union, it would inflict an indelible stigma upon the American name.

Mr. Barbour said, he would not pretend to justify the conduct of France to this country. It was such as met with his disapprobation. It was an event, he said, that would be long deplored, and the consequences thereof were incalculable; for it had become the pretext of those measures, of which he complained. But, he said he felt indignant at the idea, that domestic usurpation was to be justified upon the ground of the maltreatment of a foreign nation; and that the President of the United States should dare brand the guardians of the rights of the people with the offensive name of a faction; and, to use his own language, that this faction should be ground into dust and ashes. Whom did Mr. Adams mean to call a faction? A majority of the yeomanry of America. For it was a fact not susceptible of any doubt, that a large majority of real native Americans were opposed to bis election, and his political opinions ; which Mr. Barbour said he would denounce as being hostile to republi. canism. For, although Mr. Adams was elected by a majority of three votes, yet it was well known that the majority was produced by artifice and coalition of federal officers, persons deeply concerned in funding and banking systems, refugees, foreigners, (whose whole life had been but a life of warfare against the principles of free government,) bankrupt speculators, and, to complete the group, all those who could profit by change and convulsion. Mr. Barbour said he would not be understood to pass an indiscriminate censure against all the friends of Mr. Adams; be. cause he believed there were as virtuous and as enlightened characters friends to his election, as were opposed to it. Neither should he have

made any remarks upon the nature of parties, had not the gauntlet been thrown: from that circumstance, he thought himself justifiable in taking it up, and causing it to recoil upon the head of its author. He said he supposed he was one of that party, whose fate had been anticipated; but he felt an elevating pride when he was classed with the names of Jefferson and Madison ; names which to the latest time, so long as worth and real patriotism should be respected, would cast a shade upon the author of such sentiments. Mr. Barbour said, for his part he could not perceive the connexion between the conduct of France, and the conduct of our own government; and although the friends of administration had been able by their dexterity in the arts of delusion, to gain a momentary advantage; although the passions of the people were excited for the instant, by which, reason, the noblest inhabitant of the human mind had been dethroned, yet they (for the people think generally right), at last, under the influence of truth, when generally disseminated, would regain their reason unclouded by passion, and at that moment they would spurn from them, with inexpressible detestation, the authors of their delusion. He hoped, then, that no more would be said of the conduct of France, in justification of alien and sedition laws. But the gentleman from Prince George had attempted to alarm the committee into his opinions, by delineating the fate of the island of St. Domingo. He told us that the fertile plains of that island had been deluged with seas of blood, and strewed with mangled carcases and mutilated limbs ; and that if the alien-law had not passed, by which all dangerous aliens were excluded, the same fate might have befallen the Southern States. The committee were almost taught to tremble at the idea of their houses being wrapt in flames; their property a prey to rapine ; their lives lo massacre; their wives, their daughters, and their sisters falling victims to the brutal and indiscriminate lust of the negro; and in short everything to misery and ruin. But, Mr. Barbour said, he respected too highly the good sense and judgment of the committee, to suppose for a moment that attempts of that kind would succeed : he knew they would be deemed the meagre, unimportant chink of the moment, that would scarcely survive the instant that gave them birth. That gentlé. man's sensibility was aroused only by imaginary evils; it was not at leisure to deplore the situation to which the unfortunate aliens, by this law, will be reduced. Instead of this class of people moving in the elevated sphere of freemen, which they occupied before the adoption of this law, they will be sunk into the despicable grade of slaves, whose destiny was suspended upon the arbitrary nod of one man. Mr. Barbour said, the committee were told, 100, of a conspiracy, which had for its object a schism in the empire, by which we were to lose the western country. Where was the evidence of that? Before he was willing to legislate, he said, he must have evidence of the fact, of a fact apparently so incredible, and so derogatory to the character of his country. He believed the western country, particularly Kentucky, was inhabited by as virtuous and as pa. triotic characters as the world ever produced : men who possessed that genuine and fervent regard for the cause of liberty that goes to elevate human nature a grade in the scale of animated nature, from which they look down with ineffable disdain upon such calumnious charges as those.

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