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0 / 75
LIBERTY.. ..THE CONSTITUTION. ...UNION.
BY THOMAS WATSON.
Three dollarrfer annum-payable in advance,
v mPPr will be discontinued (but at the dis
cretion ofthc Editor) until all arrearages have been
Pt:Ilcmittance3 by mail will be guarantied by
BY AUTHORITY. ;
'lin's of the united states passed at the first
session of the twenty-second congress.
X ACT to exempt the vessels of Portugal lrom
the payment of duties on tonnage.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Rep
resentatives of the United States of America in
Cnno-ress assembled, That no duties upon ton-
mar shall behereafier levied or collected of
the vessels of the kingdom ofjPortugal. Provi
'did always, That whenever the President of the;
United States, shall be satisfied that the ves
sels of "i the United States are subjected, in the
ports of the kingdom of "Portugal, to payment
of any duties of tonnage, he shall, by procla
mation declare the fact, and the duties now
nf-.vablc by the vessels of that kingdom, shallj
h" levied and paid, as if this act had not been
passed. . i '
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Vice President of thUnited States,
and President of 'the Senate
Approved, May 25, 1832.
AN ACT to extend the limits of Georgetown, ir
the District of Columbia. j
Resolved by the Senate and House of Repre
rentatives of the United States of America in
Congress assembled, That tliclimitsof George
town, in the District of Columbia, be, and they
are hcrcjjy, extended, o as to include the part
of a tract of laud called " Pretty Prospect,"
recently purchased by the Corporation of the
naid town, as "a site for theirjPoors-house; be
nnninir,Tor the said piece of ground, at a ston s
mnrUrl number four extending at the end o!f
four hundred and seventy-six poles on the first
line of a tract of land, called the "Rock of
Dumbarton;" said stone also standing on the
western boundary line of lot numbered two
hundred and sixty, of J3eatty and Hawkin'sad
dition to said town, and running thence, north,
seventy-eight degrees, east thirty-eight polesj;
south eighteen poles, south twelve degrees,
cast nine poles; south eleven degrees west,
twelve poles-, south seventyj-two degrees, west
twenty-three poles, to the said first line of tile
, 14 Rock of Dunbarton," thence, with said line,
to the beginning.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That all
the rights, powers, and privileges, heretofore
granted by law to the said Corporation, and
which are at this time claimed and exercised liy
them, may' and shall be exercised and enjoyed
by them, withm the bounds ana limits set lor
and described in the first section of this act.
Approved, May 25, 1832.
AN ACT for improving Pennsylvania Avenue,
supplying the Public Buildings with vat;r,
and for Davinir the walk lrom the western
gate to the Capitol with flagging.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House
Representatives of the United States of Ameri
ca in Congress assembled, ThanUhe Cominis
. sioner of the Public Buildings be, and he is
hereby, authorized and directed t contract,
after giving due notice by public advertisement,
.for improving the avenue, in the city ofVah
imUon, leading from the Capitol to the Execu
tive offices, by paving thelcentre way thereof
forty-rive feetm width, with cobble or pebble
stones, or with pounded stone upon the Mc
Ailam plan, or in any other ipennancnt manner,
as the President of United States may direct;
and also, for the graduation, and covering with
the best gravel to be obtained, the sideways of
said avenue, and for proper gutters and drains
to ca.ry on the water, lor which purpose, the
sum of sixty-two t ousand dollars is hereby
appropriated, to be paid but of any money! in
the Treasury, not otherwise appropriated.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That,
under the same direction !as prescribed in the
first section, the following sums be, and the
same are hereby, respectively, appropriated, to
be .paid out of any money in the Treasury not
otherwise appropriated, for the following pur
poses, that is to say : j j
iFor conducting water in pipes from the foun
tain, on square number two hundred and foifty
nine, to the President's house and public offi
ces, and the construction of reservoirs and hy
drants, five thousand seven hundred dollars.
For bringing water injpipes to the Capitol,
and the construction reservoirs and hydrants,
and the purchase of the rights of individuals to
the water, forty thousand (dollars.
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the
Commissioner of the Public Buildings is hereby
authorized and: directed to contract for the pur
chase, delivery, and laying of Seneca flagging
on the walk from the western gate to the Capi
tol; and for this purpose, the sum of seVen
thousand one hundred and two dollars be, and
the same is hereby, appropriated, to be paid
out ofany money in the Treasury not otherwise
Approved, May 25, 18y2.
AN ACT to amend an aqt, entitled" An apt to
enlarge the powers of the several corpora-
Tions nt thn IJisiriCl Ol iuitmiuio
Be it enacted by the
Senate and House of
Rpnrrxpnirtti nf the. United States of Ameri
ca in Congress assembled, That the f Corpora-
tku of Washington be, arid it is hereby, empow-
cred to collect, annually! the tax at the rate of
one pcentum and thirteen, hundredths of one
per Centum on the assessed value of thecal
mgton, assessed and laid by the fifth section off
said act, or any part thereof, for the purposes
and objects designated in said act, by the same
officers, process, and means by which saiu
Corporation is now. or may hereafter be, em
powered to collect any other taxes: and to pay
over said money, when so collected as afore
said, to the Treasury of the United States, in
the manner, and within the times, prescribed
by the acts to which this act is supplement;
and that, in default made by the Corporation,
either in collecting or paying over as aforesaid,
that then, and in such case, the President of the
United States may proceed to exercise the
powers reposed in, and conferred on him, in
and bythe said fifth section.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the
Common Council of Alexandria shall have the
power to appoint one or more Inspectors of
Tobacco for the town of Alexandria, and the
Inspectors shall take an oath before a Justice
of the Peace of the County of Alexandria, or the
Mayor of the Corporation, for the faithful dis
charge ofjthe duties of office of Inspector, a certi
ficate of which he shall return to theClerk of the
Common Council : And the said Common
Council shall have power to pass all needful
laws for the due and proper inspection of To
bacco, and regulating the conduct of the said
Inspectors ; And the said Common Council
shall have power to remove, for just' cause,
any Inspector, and appoint another in his place.
. Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That this
act shall commence and be in force from tilt
Approved, May 25, 1832.
AN ACT changing the times of holding the Courts
in the District ol Columbia.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United States of Amen
ca in Congress assembled, That the Circuit
Court of the District of Columbia, for the coun
ty of Washington, shall hereafter be held on
the fourth Monday in March, and on the fourth
Monday in November, in every year, instead
of the times now designated bv law; and the
court for the county of Alexandria shall be held
on the first Monday in May, and on the first
Monday in October, in every year, instead of
the times now designated by law; and that all
process shall be made returnable to the said
terms as herein directed. This act shall take
effect' from and after the first day of June next.
Approved, May 31, 1832.
AN ACT defining the (jualifications of voters in the
Territory of Arkansas. (
Be it enacted by the Senate and House vf
Representatives of the United States of Ameri
ca, in Congress assembled, That every lree
white male citizen of the United States of the
ae of twenty-one years, who shall have resi
ded in the Territory of Arkansas for the term
of six months next preceding any general or
special election, shall have the privilege" of
voting in the election district where he shall
reside, and, and not elsewhere, for all clectiv-e
officers of said Territory.
Approved, May 31, 1S32.
NORTHERN, SOUTHERN, AND
General Stage Office at the Wash ington Hotel.
Cr" Those who may apply for seatsin either
of the above Stages, will please pay their stage
fare at the time they give in their names ; as
no names will be entered on the Waybills until
the fare be paid : and no Efrtta MU&$ZQt
will be received at or delivered from the Office
until payment of the fare 'due thereon.
, F. ALEXANDER, Agent.
POST OFFICE. "
Arrival and Departure of tl eMail.
Northern Mail, arrives on Sunday, Wednesday
and Friday, at 4 P. M. Closes on Monday at half
past 2 P. M. and on Wednesday and Friday at half
past 8 P. M.
Wilmington Mail, arrives on Monday at 12 M.
and on Wednesday and Friday at 2 P. M. Closes on
Monday, Wednesday and Friday at half past 5 P. M.
Raleigh Mail, arrives on Sunday, Wednesday and
Friday at 3 P. M. Closes on Mouday, Wednesday
and Friday at half past 5 P. M.
Beaufort Mail, arrives on Monday and Friday at
P. M. Closes same evenings at half past 8.
Trent Bridge and Onslow Mail, arrives on Mon
day and Friday at 2 P. M. Closes on Wednesday
and Friday at 5 P. M.
Letters for any of the above Mails must be brought
to the Office fifteen minutes before the hour of closing,
or they will not be sent until the next mail in course.
AN away from the subscriber, on the 14th
of May last, a Negro Man named EZE-
KiEL, about 34 years of age, 5 feet 5 or 6
inches high, of dark complexion, and by trade
a House-Carpenter. He is probably lurking
about the plantation ot Micnaei w. r isner, on
Handcock's Creek, about 25 miles from New
bern, where he has a wife. He can read and
write tolerably well, and may attempt to pass
for a free man. He is well know n at the plan
tations of Lemuel D. Hatch and James Hatch,
in Duplin and Jones Counties, where he has
" The above reward will be given for the
delivery of said Negro to me in Newbern, or
for his confinement in any jail, so that I get
him ; and all reasonable expenses w ill be
AVI L LI AM L. SEARS.
Newbern, Feb. 2, 1832.
HpHE Commissioners of the Town, with, the view
of keepig the Public Pumps in constant good
Prvation to Mr Sa-
Z. SLADE, Town SergH.
MWBEM, FRIDAY, JUNE 15,
LETTER FROM MR, MADISON.
" To provide for the common defence and general
welfare is the duty, the irremissible duty, of the Con
gress; the power to levy taxes, duties, imposts and
excises, is the means with which they are invested
for the execution of the trust. The non-user of the
power is a violation of the trust a violation as culpa-1
ble as would have been the neglect or refusal to levy i
birps for thp mvmpnt nf thr nnhlir deht. Thnt ih I
intention of the People was to confer the power in
great amplitude is apparent, not only from the great
ness of purpose to be accomplished, and from the ge
nerality of the terms in whic h the power is conferred
not only from the emphatic repetition of the terms
in which the objects ol'the-Constitution are announced
in the preamble but from the anxious use of all the
words by which the contributions of taxation can be
levied taxes, duties, imposts and excises." . Q.
Adams Report on the Tariff.
From the Richmond Enquirer.
We have this morning a very important letter of
Mr. Madison to lay before our readers. The history
of it is soon told. Some time in the course ofthc year
1830, Air. Stevenson, the Speaker of the H. ofR.
being on a visit to Mr. Madison, some conversation
took place on the general phrases in the Constitution,
"the common defence and general welfare." Mr.
M. shed so much light, and produced so many nqw
facts, upon the subject, that Mr. S. subsequently de
termined to write to him, and to obtain his views, for
the purpose of laying them before the public. Mr.
Madison complied, but the letter has never yet been
Moktpelier, Nov'r. 27th, 1830.
Dear Sir : I have received your friendly favor of
the 20th inst. in which you refer to a conversation
when i had ktely the pleasure of a visit from you, jn
which you mentioned your belief that the terms "com
mon defence and general welfare," in the 8th section
of the first article of tiie Constitution of the United
States, were still regarded by some as conveying to
Congress a substantive and indefinite power; and in
which 1 communicated my views o!" the introduction
and occasion of the terms, as precluding that comment
on them ; and you expressed a wish that I would re
peat those views in the answer to your letter.
However disinclined to the discussion of such topics,
at a time when it is so dilHcult to separate in the
minds of many, questions purely constitutional from
the party polemics of the day, 1 yield to the prece
dents which you think 1 have imposed on myself, and
to the consideration that without relying on my per
sonal recollections, -which your partiality overvalues,
I shall derive my construction ol the passage in ques
tion, from sources of information and evidence known
or accessible to all, who feel the importance of the
subject, and are disposed to give it a patient examina
tion. In tracing the history and determining the import
of the terms u common defence and general welfare,"
as found in the text of the Constitution, the following
lights are furnished by the printed Journal of the
Convention which formed it.
The terms appear in the general propositions ofler
ed May 29th as a basis for the incipient deliberations;
the first, of which ''Resolved that the articles of Con
federation ought to be so corrected and enlarged as
to accomplish the objects proposed by their institution,
namely: common defence, security of liberty and
general weliare." On the day following, tiie propo
sition -was exchanged for u Resolved that an union of
the States merely federal will not accomplish the ob- i of proper claims, if not positively brought within the
jects proposed by the articles of confederation, namely :, authorized functions of the new government; and
common defence, security of liberty and general wel- ! others again considering the past debts of the United
fare." j States as sufficiently secured by the principle that no
The inference from the use here made of the terms, change in the Government could change the obliga
and from the proceedings on the subsequent proposi- ) tions of the nation. Besides the indications in the
tions is, although common defence and general we!- i history of the period sanctions this explanation,
fare were object of the confederation, they were limit- Butj it is to be emphatically remarked, that in the
ed objects, which ought to be enlarged by an enlarge-. I multitude of motions, propositions and amendments,
mcnt of the particular powers to which they were there is not a single one having reference to the terms
limited, and accomplished by a change in the struc- j "common defence and general welfare," unless we
ture ofthc Union, froma form merely federal to one j were s0 t0 understand the proposition containing
party national ; and as these terms are prefixed m j theni made on August 25th, which was disagreed to
the like relation to the several legislative powers in ! by aI1 the states except one.
the new charter as they were in the old they must j T fa . conclusion to which we are brought,
be understood to be under the like limitations in the , Umt cQpied q &n
new as in the old. uTOOn irwi, ! federation, were regarded in the new, as in the old
In the course of the proceedings between the 30 ; instrumen't merely neral termSj 'explained and
of May and the 6th ol August, terms p con , fa subjoinef 3J)eclfication3Sj and therefbre
defence and general weliare" as well as other equiva- , irj no criticJal attenon or studie'd preCaution.
lent terms, must have been dropped : for they do not j . ' ,
appear in the draft of a Constitution reported on the j If the practice of the Revolutionary Congress be
hvn r?nmmittPftnnnnintft.1 to nrenare one in de-:. pleaded in opposition to this view ol the case, the
tail the clause in which those terms were afterwards
liibciicii, uciii" n iuc mail, c-iiui.nr "-ft ',"-"-' " ! ,, . , . r . ,
'StatPB cVill hv .w.wpr to lav and col- ! " articles ot Confederacy." 1 nese articles were
i , : a : ! in brce till they were finally ratified by Mary
m, ' u i ! 1781. Prior to that event, the power of Cong
ted from the old into the new system ot Government, rjved BauctioI( from the acquiescence of the States,
is explained by a course somewhat advantitiously gi- ; After t5 at eyen habjtj and a continued expediency,
ven to tne proceedings ot the Convention. ! amoullting oitcn t0 a real or apparent necessity, pro-
On the 18th of August, among other propositions , longed the exercise of an undefined authorty "which
referred to the committee which had reported thewas the more readily over lookedf-as the members of
draft, was one "to secure the payment of the public , the body held their seats during pleasure, as its acts,
debt," and, " . particularly after the failure of the Bills of credit, de-
Onche same day, was appointed a Coram ittee of; pended for efficacy on the will of the States; 'and
eleven members, (one lrom each State) " to consider i as its general impotency became manifest. Exam
ine necessity and expediency of the debts of the save- i pies of departure from the prescribed rule, are too
ral States, beino- assumed by the United States." i well known to require proof. The case of the old
On the 21st of August this last committee reported j Bnk ot Nrthh America might be cited as a memo
a clause in the words following : " The Legislature I ah'e onf The mcorporauiig ordinance grew out of
oHheVuhed VLtes shall have power to fulfil the , Herred necessity o i mch an mstitu ion to carry on
x lie luatuiei in wmcu uic iciujs uciuuh, uanci.
! engagements, which have been entered into by Con-
, 6 gv.iuwiiA, u v tT.. , ,
gress, and to discharge as wen tne aeots oi tne unnea -- w
States, as the debts incurred by the several States, - their assessed quotas. Congress was at the time so
during the late war, for the common defence and much anvJa,re, nhe d,ctien authorty that they
general welfare conforming herein to the 6th of j commended it to the State Legislatures to pass laws
the articles of the Confederation, the language of ; glv"fS,ndu erfect to the ordinance, which was done
which is, that "all charges of war and all other ex- j bY Pennsylvania and several other States,
penses that shall be incurred for the common defence j Mr. W ilscn, justly distinguished for his intellectual
and general weliare, and allowed by the United States : powers, being deeply impressed with the importance
in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of a com- j of a Bank at such a crisis, published a smalf pamph
mon treasury," &c. let entitled Considerations on the Bank of North
On the 22d of Aunwt the Committee ol five re- i America," in which he endeavored to derive the
ported among other additions to the clause giving
a clause in the words following : " for payments oi
debts and necessary expenses," with a proviso quali
fying the duration of the Revenue laws.
This Reoort being taken up it was moved, as an
amendment, that the clause should read-the Legis-
latnre shall fulfil the engagements and discharge the
debts of the United States."
It was then moved to strike out " discharge the
debts,"and insert "liquidate the claims," which being
rejected, the amendment was agreed to as proposed,
viz: "the Legislature shall fulfil the engagements
and discharge the debts of the United States.",
On tho ?ll nf AlKTllfit Ihl f.1 r,,. a
"the Leirislature shall fulfil the eno-nfrements and
discharge the debts of the United States, aid shall
have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, im
posts and excises," the two powers relating to taxes
and debts being merely transposed. ;
On the 25th of August, the clause was again al
tered so as to read "all debts contracted and engage
ments entered into bv or under the authority of Con-
I gress the Revolutionary Congress shall be as valid
under this Constitution as under the Confederation.
This amendment was followed bv a proposition
referring to the nowera to lav and collect taxes, &C,
i0301"?? Vle d od debts, to add "for
payment oi said debt. nnrl tnr Hpfrovino- the exDen-
ces that shall be incurred for the common defence
"Fit- 1M.U I I ? . .
iiditrrtu welfare." The proposition was disa
greed to, one State only voting for it.
oepiempcr 4. The committee of eleven reported
uieiouowmg modification--" The Legislature shall
have power to lay and collect
--"") pj ucuus ana provide lor tne com-
uiuu ueieuce ana general welfare ; thus retaining
the terms oi the articles of Confederation, and cover
ing by the general term debts" those of the old Con
A special provision in this mode could nnt h,
M w a V.V V
been necessary for the debts of the new Congress:
For a power to provide money, and a power to per
form certain acts of which money is the ordinary and
appropriate means, must, of course, carry with them,
a power to pay the expense of performing the acts.
Nor was any special prevision for debts proposed till
the case of the Revolutionary debts was brought into
view; and it is a fair presumption, from the course of
the varied propositions which liave been noticed that
but for the old debts, and their association " with the
terms u common defence and general welfare," the
clause would have remained as reported in the first
draft of a constitution, expressing generally power
in Congress to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts
and excises j" without any addition of the phrase "to
provide lor thecommon defence and general welfare.
With this addition, indeed, the language of the clause
being in conformity with that of the clause in the ar
tides of Confederation, it would be qualified, as in
those articles, by the specification of powers subjoined
to it. But tliere is sufficient reason to suppose that'
the terms in question would not. have ben introduced
but lor the introduction of the old debts, with which
they happened to stand in a familiar tho inoperative
relation. Thus introduced, however, they passed
undisturbed through the subsequent stages of the
If it be asked why the terms "common defence and
general welfare," if not meant to convey the compre
hensive power which, taken literally, they express,
were not qualified and explained by some reference
to particular power subjoined, the answer is at hand,
that although it might easily have been done, and
experience shews it might be well if it had been done,
yet the omission is accounted for by an inattention to
the phraseology, occasioned, doubtless, by its identity
with the harmless character attached to it m the in
strument from which it was borrowed.
But may it not be asked with infinitely more pro
priety, and without the possibility ; of a satisfactory
answer, why if the terms were meant to embrace not
only all the powers particularly expressed, but the in
definite power which has been claimed under them,
the intention was not so declared; why on that sup
position so much critical labor was employed in enu
merating the particular , owiers and in defining and
limiting their extent?
The variations and vicissitudes in the modification
of the clause in which the terms "common defence
and general welfare" appear, are remarkable ; and to
: be no otherwise explained than by differences of opin
ion concerning the necessity or the form of a constitu
tional provision for the debts of the Revolution; some
of the members apprehending improper claims for
losses by depreciated bill of credit; others an evasion
! plea is met by the notoriety that on several accounts
irao montnirr-rl hr (hp pvi frpnpifs! rP thf war rtnA An-
j lUB. w" LX;? ui rl! c W6re elrvin
I iini pr the new ect or mam htv nf hp Statoo fi- cK
; l'er irom tne noiMi-e ol tne t,a,ini u
i , uiou iijui uic itiiut ui -
Oomederation" themselves. But wnat is panicuiai
ly worthv of notice, is, that with all hi anxious
search in'those articles for such i a power, he never
glanced at the terms " comoion defence and genera
it He rather chose to rest
j rHrr chose
: 1 1 a, ? 38 a 800 72 A' (flrt that for the r
the claim on a recital in the text, "that for the more
i th Unit,! Straps. Delecrates shall be annually ap-
convenient management oi - -
j pointed to meet in Congress, which TSsaid implied
j that the United States had general rights, general
I powers and general obligations, not derived from
any particular State, nor from; all the particular
; Sft taken separately, but "-resulting from the
Union of the whole'," these general powers, not
being controled by Uie article declaring tfiat each
iwj retained ail powers not granieaoy uie aniciefs
because "the individual States never possessed ant
coum not retain a general power over the others."
a he authority and argument here restated to, if
pToyingthe ingenuity and patriotic anxiety of the
ihlTll oue haud shew Buffieieotly on the other,
5w u13 Mcon"wn defence and general wel
S tL111:11 -i1 .a.cn'.ing to the known acceptation
ot them, avail hia object!
That the terms in question were not suspected in
the Convention which formed the OonsUmtion, of
any such meaning as has been constructively applied
to them, may be pronounced with entire confidence,
F or lt.exceeds the possibility of belief, that the known
advocates m the Convention for a jealous grant and
cautious definition of federal powers, should have
silently permitted the introduction of words or phrases,
in a sense rendering fruitless the restrictions and de
finitions elaborated by them.
Consider for a moment the immeasurable differ
ence between the Constitution, limited in its powers
to the enumerated objects ; and expanded as it would
be by the import chimed for the phraseology in ques-1
tion. The difierence ia eauivalent to two Constitu
tions, of characters essentially contrasted with each
other ; the one possessing powers confined to certain
specineo cases ; the other extended to all cases what
soever : For what is the case that would not be em
braced by a general power to raise money, a power
to provide for the general welfare, and a power to
pass all laws necessary and proper to carry these
powers into execution ; all such provisions and laws
superseding at the same time, all local laws and Con
BUtutioua at variance with them? Can less be paid
with the evidence before us, furnished by the Journal
of the Convention itself, than that it is impossible
that such a Constitution as the latter, would have
been recommended to the States by all the member
of that body whose names were subscribed to tle
Passing from this view of the sense in which the
terms common defence and general welfare, were
used by the Framers of the Constitution, let us look
for that in which they must have been understood by
the Conventions, or rather by the people who, tlntV
their Conventions, accepted and ratified it. And
here the evidence is, if possible, still more irresistible,
that the terms could not have been regarded as giv
ing a scope to Federal legislation, infinitely more
objectionable, than any of the specified powers which
produced such strenuous opposition, and calls for
amendments which might be safeguards against the,
dangers apprehended from them.
V ithout recurring to the published debates of the
Conventions, which, as far as they can be relied on
for accuracy,-would, it is belived, not impair the evi
dence, furnished by their recorded proceedings, if
will suffice to consult the lists of amendments propo
sed by such of the Conventions as considered the
powers granted to the Government, too extensive, or
not safely defined.
Besides the restrictive and explanatory amendments
to the text of the Constitution, it may be observed,
that a long list was premised under the name and in
the nature of " Declarations of Rights all of them
indicating a jealousy of the Federal powers, and an
anxiety to multiply securities against a constructive
enlargement of them. But the appeal is more par
ticularly made to the number and nature of the
amendments, proposed to be made specific and inte
gral parts of the Constitutional text.
No less than seven States, it appears, concurred, ijft
adding to their ratifications, a series of amendments,
which they deemed requisite. Of these amendment p.
nine were proposed by the Convention of Massa
chusetts; Ji ve by that of South Carolina ; twelve
by that ol 'New Hampshire; twenty by that ofVir
gmia ; thirty-three by that of New York ; twenty-sir
by that of North Carolina; twenty-one by that ot
Here are a majority of the States, proposingamenri
ments, in one instance thirty-three by a single Stated;
all of them intended to circumscribe the power grant
ed to the General Government, by explanations, res
trictions, or prohibitions, without including a single
proposition from asingle State; referring to the term?,
common defence and general welfare; which if under
stood to convey the asserted power, could not have
failed to be the power most strenuously aimed at, be
cause evidently more alarming in its range, than all ther
powers objected to put together. And that the terms
should have passed, altogether unnoticed by the many
eyes which saw danger in terms and phrasesemployed
in some of the most minute and limited of the enume
rated powers, must be regarded as a demonstratioi
that it was taken for granted, that the terms wer
harmless, because explained and limited, as in the
" article of Confederation," by the enumerated jiow
ers which followed them.
A like demonstration, that these terms were nd.
understood in any sense that could invest Congrcrv
with powers not otherwise bestowed by the Constitu
tional Charter, may be found in what passed in the
first session of the first Congress, when the sub ject of
amendments waa taken up, with the conciliatory
view of freeing the Constitution from objections-,
which had been made to the extent of its" powers, ok
the unguarded terms employed in describing them.
Not only were the terms "common defence and gene
ral welfare," unnoticed in the long list of amendment
brought forward in the outset; but the Journals of
Congress shew that in the progress ofthc discussions,
not a single proposition was made in riti er branch ct
the Legislature, which referred to the phraso as ad mitting
a constructive enlargement ci the grah ted
powers, and requiring an amendment guarding
against it. Such a forbearance and silence on such
an occasion and among so many members who be
longed to the part of the nation which called for ex
planatory and restrictive amendments, and who had
been elected as known advocates for them, cannot be
accounted for, without supposing that the terms "com
mon defence and general welfare," were not at that
time deemed susceptible of any such construction ua
has since been applied to them.
It may be thought perhaps, due to tho subject, to
advert to a letter of October 5th,. 1787, to Samuel
Adams, and another of October 16th of the same year,
to the Governor of Virginia, from R. H. Lee, in botU
which, it is seen that the terms had attracted his no
tice, and were apprehended by him 'to submit to Con
gress every object of human legislation." But it i '
particularly wortny oi remark, that altho, a member
of the Senate ofthc United States, when amendmsnU
to the Constitution were before thatHouse. and sundry
additions and alterations were there made to the li
sent from the other, no notice was taken of thoso
terms, as pregnant with danger. It muet be inferred
that the opinion formed by the distinguished member,
at the first view of the ConsUtution, and before it had
been fully discussed and elucidated, had been changed
into a conviction that the terms did not fairly admit
the construction he had originally put oh them andT
therefore needed no explanatory precaution againstif.
I close these remarks, which I fearmay be found
tedious, with assurances of great esteem and best re
gards. . "
w O CJ 1