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an opportunity of resorting to a measure violent in its nature, before we have made an attempt, moderate and temperate. Would this conduct, he said, be pursued by an individual wishing to be reconciled to his friend ? He said the resolutions are certainly incorrect. The states alone are parties! What, are the people entirely excluded? He contended, that there is not a state in the Union that hath so unequal a representation in the state legislature as Virginia. Are the people of Virginia represented according to numbers ? No! It is the name of a county. Two hundred freeholders have the same voice in this Assembly, as one thousand. This statement, he said, the committee knew was accurate, and the two counties could be named. He then referred to the third amendment to the Consti. tution of the United States, which secures the right of petitioning for a redress of grievances. The states, he said, could never be injured whilst that power existed; and could he be convinced that the people were aggrieved, he would join in a constitutional, moderate way to obtain a redress. He said, the Kentucky resolutions, as did ours, declared these laws null and void. If they are so, let the proper courts say so.
He then proceeded to show that the states could not form a coalition; for by the Constitution they are prohibited from entering into any confederacy, or making any agreement with each other. In substance, he said, this was forming a confederacy. He then read an extract from the Federalist, in the writing of which the gentleman from Spottsylvania had said Mr. Madi. son was concerned.
He said he thought the laws constitutional, and then enumerated the consequences of adopting the resolutions before the committee. He enlarged upon this subject, and again entreated the committee to pause and seriously to reflect upon the awful question before them, for such he really considered it.
Mr. Foushee arose next, and asked if it would be necessary for him to tell the committee that the subject was important, after what the gentleman last up had said: " that peace or war was to be the consequence.” And being so important, he (Mr. Foushee) thought that they should most seriously consider the matter previous to a decision on the resolutions before the committee. He then made some remarks upon the quotations from the law of nations, used by Mr. George K. Taylor and Mr. Magill, to show that sovereignty must reside in every independent nation, and the power consequently
attached to sovereignty. This doctrine he did not deny, but said, if the states individually were sovereign before and at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, which he contended they then were, and still are, he asked could any one lay his finger on that part of the Constitution of the United States which had taken away their sove. reignty in those cases embraced by the alien and sedition laws? That the Constitution was a limited compact, and contained no powers but those granted. But the common law and implication had been resorted to by gentlemen, in support of a contrary doctrine. By admitting the common law and this construction to have force, he said, Congress might, under these, and the terms general welfare, pass any act whatever; thereby setting the Constitution at naught, and making it a dead letter; and nothing
would be reserved to the states, or to the people. He was alarmed, he said, at the method which the gentleman from Prince George had adopted, in selecting the alien from the sedition law, in his arguments, and confining himself to the former. In doing so, he (Mr. Foushee) seared he discovered an intention, under the guise of attacking aliens only, who were certainly the most unpopular inhabitants amongst us, to lay a foundation for inflicting similar injuries, in future, on such of our citizens as might give offence, and that he thought the selection of this law might keep the danger he apprehended out of general view. Mr. Foushee made several observations in answer to Mr. G. K. Taylor, respecting the rights of aliens; and observed, that, by the alien law, they were deprived unconstitutionally of liberty, which he (Mr. Foushee) contended was one of their rights, as well as life and property, to which it was acknowledged they were entitled; for the loss of their liberty, however, he said, the gentleman from Prince George expressed no pity nor offered any excuse, except one, which might be the plea of any tyrant, Mr. Foushee then said, he thought and feared, that the alien law was but a step to something else, to wit, a precedent under which citizens might in future be attacked. Danger too, he said, had been assigned as the cause of passing those laws. That cause, he observed, might be raised up at any time by an artful President, who could perhaps previously get such a treaty made as to suit his purpose; and, under the idea of danger, to produce a state of preparation, by which his power might be increased, and which might become injurious by the extension of influence arising from patronage; for instance, &c.
What direful acts and effects of usurpation, said he, may not ensue under the pretence alone of danger? The unconstitutionality of these laws, he observed, had been so fully proved, that it would be unnecessary then for him to say anything further on that head; and that, if there was an act at which the human mind could revolt, it would be, in his judgment, the denial of such unconstitutionality. He then said, that if the doctrine of some gentlernen on the floor of Congress, and that contended for by a certain modest pamphleteer, as lately published, and which some days past had been so copiously detailed by the member from Prince George, and which he (Mr. Foushee) had since seen, could be established, he admitted the resolutions must be wrong; but, as he was well satisfied such doctrine could not be supported, he thought the resolutions ought to receive the sanction of the committee. He mentioned the subject of implication again, and dwelt on its direful consequences, many of which he particularly enumerated. He then proceeded to answer quotations made by gentlemen from certain laws of Virginia, particularly the alien-bill, endeavouring, as he supposed, to deduce from thence, power to the general government over aliens. He urged, that the latter particularly was a proof that the state, and state only, had a right to pass such a law; and consequently, that Congress had not the right.
But, he said, the gentleman from Prince George had urged, that if Con. gress had not the power of passing such a law, Virginia might admit under the description of aliens, an army of soldiers, for instance, Bonaparte and his whole army (if they could get out of Egypt). Mr. Foushee asked, what idea must that gentlemen have of the virtue and patriotism of
his fellow-citizens, in urging such an argument ? He said, it might justly be called, in the gentleman's own words, a monstrous idea. He then asked, where would those doctrines contended for by gentlemen in opposition to the resolutions, leave us? Would it not be in a mass of consolidation? Could not freemen, he said, assert their rights, without being charged with an intention or wish of dissolving the government of the United States? He then stated the observations of several gentlemen, in regard to the consequences of opposition, as they termed it. That he differed, however, from them in regard to the consequences they apprehended, to wit, an invitation of foreign invasion, &c.; and he contended strongly for the right of free communication and consultation. He observed, that the gentleman from Prince George had said, that these acts of Congress having been passed by a majority of that body, the members of which had taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, could we suppose they were unmindful of it? The members of this Assembly, Mr. Foushee said, had taken the same oath, in addition to other obligations. That they must therefore pursue their duty, in discharge of their solemn obligations to this state and the United States, without regard to the conduct of other people, although they may have acted also under oath. He then recapitulated various arguments of those who approved the resolutions, and observed, it had been said by the member from Prince George, that this law (meaning the alien-law), although passed, would affect very few comparatively, indeed it would be almost as one man only. In this light, he (Mr. Foushee) considered it so much the more to be dreaded, as an exertion for its repeal might not be sufficiently made, and thus a precedent be established. Small beginnings, he said, often produced great ends, and required, therefore, to be more narrowly watched. He then made a comparison between the structure of the Constitution and the universe. The latter he represented to be a system composed of atoms. If, said he, it were once to be ascertained that we had a power to destroy or annihilate one atom, it would soon be seen that we had a power to destroy more atoms; and thereby we should establish a princi. ple, which might go to the total destruction of the universe. The same consequences as to the right of power over the Constitution, he said, might ensue, for the power over each was limited. Danger too, he said, had been repeatedly assigned as a cause for those laws. He again asked, what would be the consequence of subscribing implicitly to that doctrine ? The principles of such a measure, he repeated, would be to establish in a designing man, or set of men, at the head of the government, all power, which might be continued, even when the danger spoken of no longer existed. Precedent, he again said, would be thus founded and resorted to; and be urged upon us on every occasion, by saying, the same thing has been done before. But if danger alone, added he, had been the cause of passing those laws, and they could be justified, even on that score, that danger, he said, was now nearly over, or greatly lessened. He then referred to historical facts to prove the force of his remarks. These, he said, were worthy of being attended to. He again declared himself in favour of the resolutions, especially the first. After which he observed, that he had confined his observations generally to the alien-law, as he
had understood the gentleman from Prince George to say, early in the debate, that the arguments on the sedition-law would not be gone into, until those on the alien-law had been urged and decided on. However, he said, he considered the sedition-law of much the greater consequence of the two, as the evils were by that law, in his judgment, much aggravated; and that all the arguments urged against the alien-law applied with accumulated force against the sedition-law; and that he could as yet only account for the selection of the alien-law in argument, as being the most distant from, and least to be felt by, the citizens at large.
He then proceeded 10 state the purport of the sedition-law, the construction which had been given to it, and the consequences resulting from its operation. And although he admitted, that speaking might not be expressly enumerated, yet he said the free communication of opinion was prevented, and particularly in the mode of writing, printing, &c. He then stated the beneficial effects, resulting from a free communication of sentiment, and the greater benefits still, flowing particularly from the freedom of the press; by means of which, knowledge was most extensively diffused. He made several observations in favour of the manly language of the resolutions, particularly the first, as holding out our express determination to resist usurpation by every constitutional mode, as well as invasion; and which he thought would be the most effectual means of curing the present evil, as well as preventing similar attempts in future. He then made a short recapitulation of the unconstitutionality and inexpediency of those laws, and observed, that injustice and deception were particularly evident, in his judgment, on the face of the sedition-law, to wit: four specified acts, “ writing, printing, uttering, and publishing," independent of other prohibitions, were made punishable. That it had been urged, those various acts might be justified, if they contained the truth. He urged in reply, that the justificatory clause only enumerated two items, “writing and publishing.” That printing and uttering were not in that clause ; and Therefore, justification could not be pleaded in excuse for a prosecution founded on either of these.
Mr. BROORE arose next, and said that he never could consent to sanction the passage of resolutions having so alarming and dangerous a tendency as those which had been presented to them by the gentleman from Caro. line; and before he gave his vote upon the subject, he would beg leave to state to the committee, without adverting to the particular merits of the laws that were the subject of those resolutions, the reasons that would govern him in his vote upon that occasion.
Resolutions such as these, said Mr. Broolce, declaring laws which had been made by the government of the United States to be unconstitutional, null, and void, were in his opinion, in the highest extreme dangerous and improper, inasmuch as they had not only a tendency to inflame the public mind; they had not only a tendency to lessen that confidence that ought to subsist between the representatives of the people in the general government and their constituents, but they had a tendency to sap the very foundation of the government, by producing resistance to its laws, and were in the eyes of all foreign nations evidence, fatal evidence, of internal discord
in this country, and of imbecility in our government to protect itself against domestic violence and usurpation. For these reasons, he said, he was opposed to these resolutions, and did not hesitate to declare himself equally opposed to any modification whatsoever of such resolutions, that might be intended as an expression of the general sentiment upon this subject, because he conceived it to be an improper mode by which to express the wishes of the people of this state upon the subject. By what mode then, said he, were this Assembly to understand and to express the will of the people of Virginia upon the laws that had been called in question ? By an act of the Virginia Legislature, declaring these laws to be unconstitutional, null, and void ? No! But by the laws of the general government, to whom the power properly belonged of making these laws; and by which their will had been already expressed. The government of the United States, he said, was one organ of the will of the people ; the Legislature of Virginia was another organ of the public will. Those two organs, then, of the public will were at variance. One of these organs made laws for the government of the United States : another of these organs, the inferior one, declared these laws to be unconstitutional, null, and void ; and the question then was, which of these organs were they to obey? The govern. ment of the United States, he said, most indubitably; because in the government of the United States, the representation of the people of this state is more pure and more equal than it is or could possibly be in the state government, under the existing state Constitution. In the general government, said he, every thirty thousand persons are represented ; but in the state government, from the great inequality in the representation, under the existing state Constitution, it was utterly impossible, under existing circumstances, by this mode to express the sentiments and wishes of the people of Virginia upon the laws that had been called in question. In some counties in the state, said he, fifteen hundred or two thousand freeholders. constitute the number of electors, who are entitled to but two representatives : in other smaller counties, one hundred and fifty or two hundred freeholders constitute the number of electors, who are entitled to the same number of representatives : so that, from this apparent inequality in the representation, circumstanced as he was, and a number of other gentlemen in the House, how could they form any sort of estimate of the general will of the people upon the subject of the laws in question. In the county of Prince William, he knew not what the people thought of the laws. The representation from Loudoun, Berkeley, Frederic, and many other large coun. ties, were in the same situation. To what standard then were they to resort in order to ascertain the general will upon the subject? To the laws themselves, he said, he would again reply, which have been passed by the general government, where we are equally represented, and to whom the authority properly belongs by the Constitution. Since the representatives of the people in the general government, then, had made these laws, as a good citizen he would obey; as a good citizen he valued the Constitution of the United States, which he had sworn to support, and which he conceived to be invaded by the resolutions before them; and when the people of that part of the country which he had the honour to represent, became so exceedingly degenerate, so lost to all regard for the