« ПретходнаНастави »
Dr. John Witherspoon, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and who, as a Delegate in Congress from the State of New Jersey, signed the Articles of Confederation, said: “The Congress is, properly speaking, the representative of the great body of the people of North America.”—Witherspoon's Works, Vol. IX, p. 73.
Extract from an article which was published in the Pennsylvania Journal, of April 19, 1783: “Our citizenship in the United States is our national character. Our citizenship in any particular State is only our local distinction. By the latter we are known at home; by the former, to the world. Our great title is Americans; our inferior one varies with the place.”
In a letter dated December 2, 1783, and addressed to the “Members of the Volunteer Association, and other inhabitants of the Kingdom of Ireland, who have lately arrived in the city of New York,” George Washington said: “The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct, they appear to merit the enjoyment.”—London “Remembrancer” for 1784, p. 194.
C H. A. PTE R VIII.
ON the ratification of the Treaty of Peace between the United States of America and Great Britain, the “United States in Congress assembled” issued a Proclamation, from which the following extract is copied: “We have thought proper, by these presents, to notify the premises to all the good citizens of these United States, hereby requiring and enjoining all bodies of magistracy, legislative, executive, and judiciary, all persons bearing office, civil or military, of whatever rank, degree and powers, and all others the good citizens of these States, of every vocation and condition, that reverencing those stipulations entered into on their behalf, under the authority of that federal bond by which their existence as an independent people is bound up together, and is known and acknowledged by the nations of the world, and with that good faith which is every man’s surest guide, within their several offices, jurisdictions and vocations, they carry into effect the said definitive articles, and every clause and sentence thereof, sincerely, strictly and completely.” “Given under the seal of the United States. Witness his excellency Thomas Mifflin, our President, at Annapolis, this 14th day of January, in the year of our Lord 1784, and of the sovereignty and independence of the United States of America the eighth.”—Journals of Congress.
In a letter dated “Paris, June, 1785,” and addressed to Col. [James] Monroe, of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson said: “I am very differently affected toward the new plan of opening our Land Office, by dividing the lands among the States, and selling them at vendue. It separates still more the interests of the States, which ought to be made joint in every possible instance, in order to cultivate the idea of our being one nation, and to multiply the instances in which the people shall look up to Congress as their head.”—Jefferson’s Complete Works, Vol. I, p. 347.
Congress of 1785.
In Congress, January 27, 1785, it was ordered that “the oath of fidelity” to be taken by the Secretary of War, his assistants and clerks, should be in the words following: “I, A. B., appointed to the office of —, do acknowledge that I owe faith and true allegiance to the United States of America; and I do swear (or affirm) that I will, to the utmost of my power, support, maintain, and defend the said United States in their freedom, sovereignty, and independence, against all opposition whatsoever.”—Journals of Congress.
In a letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, under date of “Paris, 27 August, 1786,” Mr. Jefferson says: “M. de Meusnier” [author of an Encyclopædia] “was introduced to me by the Duc de la Rochefoucauld. He asked of me information on the subject of our States, and left with me a number of queries to answer. Knowing the importance of setting to rights a book so universally diffused, and which will go down to late ages, I answered his queries as fully as I was able, went into a great many calculations for him, and offered to give further information where necessary.”—Works of John Adams, Vol. VIII, p. 413. In a written answer to some of M. de Meusnier's questions, Mr. Jefferson said: “The ninth Article of Confederation, section six, evidently establishes three orders of questions in Congress. First, The greater ones, which relate to making peace or war, alliances, coinage, requisitions for money, raising military force, or appointing its Commander-in-Chief. Secondly, The lesser ones, which comprehend all other matters submitted by the confederation to the federal head. Thirdly, The single question of adjourning from day to day. This gradation of questions is distinctly characterized by the Article. In proportion to the magnitude of these Questions, a greater concurrence of the voices composing the Union was thought necessary. Three degrees of concurrence, well distinguished by substantial circumstances, offered themselves to notice. First—A concurrence of a majority of the people of the Union. It was thought that this would be insured by requiring the voices of nine States; because, according to the loose estimates which had been made of the inhabitants, and the proportion of them which were free, it was believed that even the nine smallest would include a majority of the free citizens of the Union. The voices, therefore, of nine States were required in the greater questions.” *—Jefferson’s Complete Works, Vol. IX, p. 244.
* June 23, 1778, the Delegates in Congress from Massachusetts moved, on behalf of their State, that the sixth section of the ninth Article of Confederation “be re-considered so far as it makes the assent of nine States necessary to exercise the powers with which Congress” was “thereby invested.”—The motion failed.—Journals of Congress.
At a session of the General Assembly of the State of Virginia, which commenced on the 16th of October, 1786, an Act was passed for appointing Delegates to a Convention proposed to be held in Philadelphia, in May, 1787, for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation. In the Preamble to the Act the following passage appears: “And, whereas, the General Assembly of this Commonwealth, taking into view the actual situation of the Confederacy, as well as reflecting on the alarming representations made, from time to time, by the United States in Congress, particularly in their Act of the 15th of February last, can no longer doubt that the crisis is arrived at which the good people of America are to decide the solemn question, whether they will, by wise and magnanimous efforts, reap the just fruits of that independence which they have so gloriously acquired, and of that Union which they have cemented with so much of their common blood, or whether, by giving way to unmanly jealousies and prejudices, or to partial and transitory interests, they will renounce the auspicious blessings prepared for them by the Revolution, and furnish to its enemies an eventual triumph over those by whose virtue and valor it has been accomplished.”
On the 15th of February, 1786, Congress agreed to a Report which contains the following views: “The committee are of opinion, that it has become the duty of Congress to declare most explicitly, that the crisis has arrived, when the people of these United States, by whose