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ALIEN AND SEDITION LAWS;
TOGETHER WITH THE
OF DECEMBER 21, 1798,
THE DEBATE AND PROCEEDINGS THEREON
HOUSE OF D E L E G A TES OF VIRGINIA,
SEVERAL OTHER DOCUMENTS
THE REPORT AND RESOLUTIONS.
J. W. RANDOLPH, 121 MAIN STREET,
ALSO FOR SALE BY FRANCK TAYLOR, WASHINGTON; CUSHING AND BROTHER,
BALTIMORE; AND T. AND J. W. JOHNSON, PHILADELPHIA.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1850,
BY J. W. RANDOLPH,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court in and for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The design of this pamphlet, an edition of which was printed at Rich- . mond some years ago, is to convey to the public the “ Virginia Report of 1799," a state paper which, having wrought a great effect upon the politie cal parties of its day, is still,—though more praised than read, -highly esteemed as a commentary on the Federal Constitution. The other
papers which go along with the "Report,” are intended, like this preface, only to illustrate it.
After the lapse of so many years, the reader, it is hoped, will not take it amiss that his memory is refreshed as to some of the incidents of the period that gave birth to this document; a period perhaps the most critical in our national annals.
The present Federal Constitution, succeeding to the “ Articles of Confederation," having been ratified by eleven states, commenced its' opera. tion, nominally, on the 4th of March, 1789, under the auspices of WASHINGTON, as the first President. In his Cabinet, and in the first Congress, were organized the parties afterwards known as “ Federalists” and “ Re. publicans." The former, under the sagacious lead of Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of the Treasury, fearful of a recurrence of that anarchy which had overtaken the country under the imbecile government of the “ Confederation,” were inclined to a vigorous exercise of the federal power, and consequently adopted a liberal construction of the Federal Constitution. The Republicans, on the other side, headed by Mr. Jefferson, were apprehensive of a gradual absorption, by the central government, of the powers reserved to the states and to the people. Consolidation was their great terror, as the absence of all government was the terror of their opponents; and consolidation they viewed, justly, as the forerunner not of monarchy only, but of despotism.