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ing the militia, and thus providing in the language of the Constitution for calling them forth, to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions, as auxiliary to the state of our defence, to which Congress can never too frequently recur; they will not omit to inquire whether the fortifications which have beerr already licensed by law, be commensurate with our exigencies.” These quotations require no illustration. They demonstrate the principle contended for by the General Assembly. Until the fifth Congress this principle appears to have been duly respected. It was then materially varied by the substitution of a military establishment, and by volunteer corps officered by the President and not by the states, as the Constitution requires that the militia should be, at the same time refusing to arm and equip any portion of the militia for the purposes of defence.
The solicitude of the Virginia Assembly for disbanding the army and reinstating the great constitutional principle of national defence, is greatly increased by referring to the enormous sums appropriated for supporting the army and navy. During the last year, whilst money was procured at eight per centum, the appropriations for the support of the army alone, amounted to 4,200,000 dollars; for fortifications, 700,000; for the navy, 4,350,000; amounting in the whole to 9,250,000, exclusively of a great and unascertained sum of voluntary subscriptions for building and equipping vessels of war for which the subscribers receive an interest at six per centum. Thus imposing an annual debt, or an annual tax upon the people of nearly two dollars for every individual throughout the United States, to say nothing of the moral and political evils incident to a standing army and some of which are already developing themselves in the United States. Considering the great distance of the United States from the powerful nations of Europe, the natural strength of the country, the spirit of the people, and the fate of one invading experiment made at a time and under circumstances infinitely unfavourable to the United States compared with their present situation, the General Assembly is persuaded that as long as the nations of Europe continue at war with each other, no formidable in. vasion is to be apprehended at all, nor a sudden and formidable invasion at any time. Under this prospect of things the General Assembly holds it as the dictate of true policy in the federal government to husband the public resources, to arrange and prepare the militia, and to cultivate har. mony by removing as far as possible, causes of jealousy and disapproba. tion. With these advantages it cannot be doubted that the United States would be in a better posture for facing any danger that can be seriously apprehended, than can be given them by the present military establishment accompanied with the anticipation of resources and the accumula. tions of public debts and taxes inseparable therefrom.
In reviewing the measures adopted by the fifth Congress, the General Assembly cannot overlook the act suspending all commercial intercourse with the French dominions.* However ready the General Assembly and
* This policy was begun by act of 13th June, 1798, which took effect from 1st July following, and expired 3d March, 1799. It was renewed by act of 9th February, 1799, which expired 3d March, 1800. And was again renewed 27th February, 1800, until 3d March, 1801.
its constituents may be to bear with cheerfulness their full share of all necessary burdens, and to be among the foremost, in making all necessary sacrifices, they cannot be insensible to some of the effects of this measure, which press with peculiar weight on them, at the same time that they must be in some degree felt, by every part of the United States. The article of tobacco, as you well know, constitutes a principal staple in the exports of this state. For several years past it has been an increasing one. France and the markets supplied, or that could be supplied through her, consume a very great proportion of all the tobacco made in the United States. Great Britain is supposed to consume not more than ten or twelve thousand hogsheads. The consequence of passing this prohibitory act, cutting off one part of the continental market, in Europe, whilst the British fleet under the pretext of blockades had cut off another, has been to throw almost the whole of this great and valuable staple into the ports of Great Britain; from which, as a belligerent country, re-exportation to other markets, must be made with great difficulty, risk, and charges, whilst the monopoly thus thrown into a single market has had the natural effect of reducing the price of the article far below its usual standard, at the very time when, within the prohibited markets, it would have sold at a rate still more above the usual prices. At the time of passing the law, the average price of tobacco in Virginia was about ten dollars--at present the price is not more than about three dollars and thirty-three cents, and although other circumstances may possibly in some degree have contributed to produce this immense difference, yet it cannot be doubted that the act in question has been the principal cause. From this state of things it neces. sarily happens, that the merchants who were engaged in this branch of trade have been most extensively injured; the planter receives not more than a third of the value of his labour bestowed on the article of tobacco; the ability to pay the requisite taxes, is proportionably diminished, and the revenue from imports likely to be reduced, by the reduction of the value of the exports. On this consideration we think it proper to instruct you, to solicit a revision of the act aforesaid, which we cannot, from any infor. mation known to the public, perceive to be in any manner conducive in its operation to the national interest. Nor do we perceive, that any inconvenience can result from such a measure, to the existing posture of things between the United States and the French republic. If it should have any influence on the negotiations depending, it will probably be of a conciliatory, rather than of a disadvantageous nature. And should the negotiations not issue in the desired accommodation, this branch of the arrangements, that may then become proper, will be subject to the same discretion which will decide on every other.
With respect to the navy, it may be proper to remind you that whatever may be the proposed object of its establishment, or whatever may be the prospect of temporary advantages resulting therefrom, it is demonstrated by the experience of all nations, who have ventured far into naval policy, that such prospect is ultimately delusive; and that a navy has ever in practice been known more as an instrument of power, a source of expense, and an occasion of collisions and wars with other nations, than as an instrument of defence, of economy, or of protection to commerce.
Nor is there any nation, in the judgment of the General Assembly, to whose circumstances this remark is more applicable than to the United States.
The General Assembly of Virginia would consider itself unfaithful to the trusts reposed in it, were it to remain silent, whilst a doctrine has been publicly advanced, novel in its principle, and tremendous in its consequences : That the common law of England is in force under the government of the United States ! It is not at this time proposed to expose at large the monstrous pretensions resulting from the adoption of this principle.* It ought never, however, to be forgotten, and can never be too often repeated, that it opens a new tribunal for the trial of crimes never contemplated by the federal compact. It opens a new code of sanguinary criminal law, both obsolete and unknown, and either wholly rejected or essentially modified in almost all its parts by state institutions. It arrests or supersedes state jurisdiction, and innovates upon state laws. It subjects the citizen to punishment according to the judiciary will, when he is left in ignorance of what this law enjoins as a duty, or prohibits as a crime. It assumes a range of jurisdiction for the federal courts, which defies limitation or definition. In short, it is believed that the advocates for the principle would themselves be lost in an attempt to apply it to the existing institutions of federal and state courts, by separating with precision their judiciary rights, and thus preventing the constant and mis. chievous interference of rival jurisdiction.
With respect to the alien and sedition-laws, it is at present only deemed necessary to refer you to the various discussions upon those subjects which, in the opinion of the General Assembly of Virginia, clearly demonstrate the unconstitutionality of their principles; and experience has also sufficiently shown, the mischiefs of their operation.
The General Assembly of Virginia, confiding in your intelligence and zeal, trusts that these principles will be, on all proper occasions, illustrated and supported by you, with that candour, moderation and firmness, without which the friends of liberty and truth, however sincere, cannot render essential service to the cause in which they are engaged.
Deeply impressed with these opinions, the General Assembly of Virginia instructs the senators and requests the representatives from this state in Congress, to use their best efforts
1. To procure a reduction of the army, within the narrowest limits compatible with the protection of the forts and the preservation of the arsenals maintained by the United States ; unless such a measure shall be forbidden by information not known to the public.
2. To prevent any augmentation of the navy, and to promote any proposition for reducing it, as circumstances will permit, within the nar. rowest limits compatible with the protection of the sea-coasts, ports, and harbours of the United States, and of consequence a proportionate reduction of the taxes.
3. To oppose the passing of any law founded on, or recognising the
* The consequences of this doctrine are exposed in the Virginia Report. See the argument there. Ante, p. 216 et seq.
principle lately advanced," that the common law of England is in force under the government of the United States;" excepting from such opposition such particular parts of the common law as may have a sanction from the Constitution, so far as they are necessarily comprehended in the technical phrases which express the powers delegated to the government ;and excepting also such other parts thereof as may be adopted by Congress, as necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers expressly delegated.
4. To procure a repeal of the acts of Congress commonly called the alien and sedition-acts.
IN THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES.
VOTES ON INSTRUCTIONS TO SENATORS.
Saturday, January 11, 1800.
The House, according to order, proceeded to comsider the “instructions from the General Assembly of Virginia, to STEPHENS THOMPSON MASON and Wilson Cary NICHOLAS, senators from the state of Virginia, in the Senate of the United States ;” and the first article of the said instructions being read, a motion was made to amend the same by adding thereto,
unless such a measure shall be forbidden by information not known to the public,” and the same being read, a motion was made to amend the amendment, by substituting in lieu thereof, “ as soon as an accommodation of the existing differences with the French republic may render such a reduction safe and expedient.” · And the question being put thereupon,
It passed in the negative.
On the motion of Mr. Richard B. Lee, seconded by Mr. George K. Taylor,
Ordered, That the names of the ayes and noes on the foregoing ques. tion be inserted in the journal.
The names of those who voted in the affirmative are -Messrs. Bailey, Doake, Anderson, Blackburn, Hancock, Tate, A. White, Breckenridge, Powell, R. B. Lee, Clarkson, Edmunds, Magill, Eskridge, J. Mathews, Cavendish, B. Robinson, Fisher, Simon, T. Lewis, Ruffner, Ashton, Burwell, Ball, J. Lewis, Noland, Cowan, Nelson, J. Evans, Jun., Sumner, J. Taylor, Darby, Satchell, Biggs, Geo. K. Taylor, Cüreton, Lawson, J. Robinson, Blow, W. Bailey, Garner, Turner, Crockett, Griffin, Copland, R. B. Taylor.-46.
And the names of those who voted in the negative are—Messrs. Wise, Woods, Giles, Chaffin, David S. Garland, Hare, Vance, Calwell, Young, Otey, Fletcher, Charles Yancey, West, J. Taylor, Buckner, Reid, Tyler, Cheatham, T. A. Taylor, J. Roberts, M. Green, W. Daniel, Dean, Pegram,
Goodwyn, Booker, Westwood, Daingerfield, Garnett, Hayden, Payne, Greer, Cooke, Hall, C. Garland, Pleasants, William Lee, Gaines, John B. Scott, Calmes, Higgins, Selden, Price, (of Henrico,) Starke, T. White, Jackson, Prunty, Martin, Redd, Driver, James Johnston, Tazewell, Lightfoot, Wallace, Pollard, Cocke, Callis, Yancey, Francis Eppes, Hill, Roebuck, Billups, Blakey, Robert B. Daniel, Craig, Howe, Riddick, Watkins, Claughton, Ball, Freeman Eppes, Grief Green, Madison, Barbour, MÄRoberts, Wooding, Moseley, Woodson, Peter Johnston, Charles Scott, Pope, Thomas Mason, M'Coy, Hull, Rentfro, Haddan, Barnes, M'Carty, Bowyer, Moore, B. Harrison, Huston, M'Farlane, Dulany, Gatewood, Mercer, Stannard, Fox, Seward, Sebrell, Smith, Burnham, Meek, Dysart, Evans, Shield, and Waller.—107.
The question being then put on the amendment first proposed,
And then the question being put on the first article of the instructions, as amended,
It passed in the affirmative.
Ordered, That the names of the ayes and noes on the foregoing question be inserted in the journal.
The names of those who voted in the affirmative are -Messrs. Woods, Giles, Chaffin, David S. Garland, Hare, Vance, Calwell, Young, Hancock, Otey, Fletcher, C. Yancey, Bolling, West, James Taylor, Buckner, Reid, Price, (of Charlotte,) Tyler, Cheatham, T. A. Taylor, Roberts, M. Green, w. Daniel, Deane, Pegram, Goodwyn, Booker, Westwood, Dain. gerfield, Garnett, Hayden, Payne, Greer, Cooke, Hall, C. Garland, Pleasants, W. Lee, Gaines, J. B. Scott, Higgins, Selden, Price, (of Henrico,) Starke, T. White, Prunty, Fisher, Martin, Redd,
Driver, J. Johnston, Tazewell, Jackson, Lightfoot, Pollard, Cocke, Callis, R. Yancey, Francis Eppes, Hill
, Roebuck, Billups, Litchfield, Blakey, R. B. Daniel, Craig, Howe, Rid. dick, Watkins, Claughton, Ball, Freeman Eppes, G. Green, Madison, Barbour, M'Roberts, Wooding, Moseley, Woodson, Peter Johnston, C. Scott, Pope, 'T. Mason, M'Coy, Hull, Rentfro, Haddan, Barnes, M'Carty, Bowyer, Moore, B. Harrison, Huston, M'Farlane, Dulaney, Gatewood, Mercer, Stannard, Fox, Seward, Sebrell, Burnham, Meek, Dysart, John Evans, Shield, and Waller.—108.
And the names of those who voted in the negative are - Messrs. Wise, T. Bailey, Doake, Anderson, Blackburn, Tate, A. White, Breckenridge, Miller, J. F. Powell, R. B. Lee, Clarkson, Magill, Eskridge, Cavendish, Thomas Lewis, Ruffner, Wallace, Ashton, Burwell, Joseph Lewis, Noland, Cowan, Nelson, Evans, Jun., T. Wilson, Sumner, James Taylor, Darby, Satchell, Biggs, G. K. Taylor, Cureton, Lawson, J. Robinson, Blow, W. Bailey, Smith, Garner, Turner, Griffin, Copland, R. B. Taylor.–42.
The second article of the instructions being then read, a motion was made to amend the same, by striking out the whole of the said article from the third word, and substituting in lieu of the part so struck out, “unnecessary augmentation of the navy, and to promote any proposition för confining it within the narrowest limits compatible with the protection