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ence to soften the political asperities of the time by the amenities of social life ; and strove to hide the thorns of public controversy under the roses of private cheerfulness. It has been said, to her great praise, that in her highest fortune she never neglected her early friends, but extended to all who approached her, those attentions which please the exalted and inspire the humble with confidence.

The first knowledge that we have of Mr. Madison finds him, at an carly age, a very active member of the Continental Congress. To him, more than to any one living, the people of the United States are indebted for the constitution under which they live. He was a leader in the convention that framed the Federal Constitution, and the most influential of its supporters in the Virginia Convention which adopted it. He wrote the greatest part of the Federalist; was the author of the Virginia Resolutions of 1798, and the Virginia Report of 1799, and for sixteen years was charged with the administration of the government, as the incumbent successively of the second and first offices in the Executive.

The first subject that pressed upon the attention of Congress, at the close of the revolution, was the debt incurred during the war, and which it was imperative upon them either to fund or pay. The national commerce had been anniliilated. To revive it was the first step towards reviving prosperity. But as a preliminary to any commercial arrange ments or treaties with foreign powers, a settlement of their own debt was indispensable. In this first step, however, Congress immediately felt its atter inefficiency, its incapability of even moving with its actual powers. To the impost laid on during the war, divers states had refused acquies

How was that or any tax to be now enforced? Nevertheless a committee was appointed. It drew up a report, which was soon issued, as an address to the several states, praying them to make provision for the national creditors. The address was received with the same spirit which had endangered the commonwealth so lately, by holding out against the claims of the veterans of the war; and as Congress had resolved not to raise money from one state till all had consented to the measure, each waited for its neighbor to commence, and each excused itself by its neighbor's backwardness.

At the same time Congress felt its want of authority marring the national interests upon another point. Envoys had been despatched to Europe for the purpose of concluding commercial treaties. England, the first applied to, held off, declaring that Congress had not power to conclude one. In vain did Mr. Jefferson argue that the American government had in reality sufficient authority. If it had, it was certainly not very clear; and the British ministry, well pleased at an opportunity to disappoint the United States envoys, and to flout the inexperience of their government, held firm in its denial.

The states were in the mean time dispensed from coming to a determination respecting raising a general fund, as the envoys of Congress had found it necessary to meet pressing demands by a loan. Individuals still smarting from the losses of a war were very willing to throw forward, as it were, the burden of taxes to a future and more prosperous time.

They were disappointed in these selfish calculations. Prosperity came


not, nor promised to come. Commerce was not restored. England still kept up her prohibitions or high duties upon all the great exports of America; nor could France consent to receive them, notwithstanding her own inclination, and all the efforts of Jefferson. To England, and to some relaxation in that country's rigid prohibition, they were obliged to look; and this alone produced the consolidation of the Federal Government.

England had changed her policy. She had laid aside the sword; but she still carried on, what, to America, was as destructive,—a commercial war. She monopolized the fisheries, shut out the American ships from her West Indies, and essayed to take to herself the whole carrying trade of her late colonies. Jefferson and Adams labored in Europe to open markets for their countrymen. They concluded treaties with Portugal, with Sweden, with divers European powers. But shut out from the Mediterranean by the Barbary corsairs; from France, notwithstanding the amity of the countries, by the monopoly of tobacco and other causes; the only alternative left to America was to force England to be equitable. This, however, could not be done by the state legislatures; for if one admitted British ships, whilst the other excluded them, the union of the commonwealth was not only destroyed, but the object of exclusion defeated. Congress, in 1784, therefore, demanded powers to exclude generally the vessels of all countries not having treaties of commerce with America. Most of the states acceded to this request ; but delays and difficulties intervened; some could not be brought to understand it

. Ere it was accepted, the necessity of powers more extended and minute were felt, so that Congress made a fresh demand of being permitted to regulate the entire commerce of the republic.

To these commercial difficulties were added political causes of quarrel between England and America. Notwithstanding the express stipulation of the treaty, the British creditors remained still unpaid; and the ministry refused, in consequence, to evacuate the military posts within the northwestern frontier of the United States. The fault lay with divers states of the Union, who resisted carrying into effect the honest stipulation of Congress.

The progress of the United States was thus effectually arrested. It was in vain that Congress or its leading members discussed or passed votes for forming treaties, raising funds, or regulating commerce. It was vain to devise remedies without the power of applying them. Every American of eminence and experience saw the necessity of giving more authority to Congress, of forming a federal head, and giving, in fact, an efficient government to the country.

The foremost in their opinions were the Virginians. Seeing the weakness of Congress, this state had early united with Maryland in a prohibitory system. Proving the good effect of this, they had besought the other states to send commissioners to agree upon making it general

. This proposition, made by Mr. Madison, produced what was called a convention, or a meeting of delegates from five states, at Annapolis, in September, 1786. The assembly soon perceived that unity upon commercial regulations must depend upon the political and fundamental unity of the

state, and that the only possibility of agreeing as to a common tariff, was to frame an efficient constitution. For this important task the delegates at Annapolis were not prepared. They declared, however, the necessity of taking such a measure into consideration, and, ere they separated, agreed as to the expediency of calling a more general and solemn meeting of delegates from all the states, to meet in the following year at Philadelphia.

At this period broke forth that political schism, that separation of the Americans into two parties, which had been brooding and preparing since the peace. The war had been a struggle between whig and tory; the supporters of independence on one side, the favorers of monarchy and British connexion on the other. By the destruction of the latter, the independents were left alone to split into new parties, as the nature of every political society requires. Those which were formed on the present occasion, have ever since endured, and the flags which each then hoisted long continued to float with their ancient principles inscribed.

But the jealousy of certain states in the preservation of their own local rights and interests was likely to operate fatally in marring the project of a constitution, and rendering any innovation for the purpose impracticable; since the dissentient states were resolved not to choose delegates, or accede to the desire of Virginia.

At length, however, the majority of the state legislatures was brought to coincide with the views of the federal statesmen. Convinced by late experience of the necessity of an established and general government, even for purposes of domestic security, the hitherto refractory states named, without hesitation, their delegates to the appointed convention for forming a constitution.*

Accordingly, in the month of May, 1787, the delegates of twelve states met at Philadelphia. Washington, who had reluctantly consented to attend, was chosen president. The discussion and arrangement of the several articles were carried on with closed doors, and lasted four months. And at length, on the 17th of September, the proposed constitution was made public. It was presented to Congress, and by that body was submitted to the several states for acceptance.f

The following interesting summary of Mr. Madison's opinions on the subject of confederation is from a paper in the hand-writing of General Washington, and presents the substance of a letter received by him a short time previous to the holding of the Convention at Philadelphia. For this valuable document we are indebted to the twenty-fifth volume of the North American Review.

* The state of Rhode Island alone refused.

† A history of this convention has never been written. The causes which led to it may be easily ascertained and traced out, but the opinions and private movements of the great political leaders of the day, the precise share of merit due to each for the part he acted in enlightening the public mind, and preparing it for the issue of events, the previous interchange of thoughts and sentiments, the exposition of motives, the ultimate hopes, and above all, the proceedings of the convention itself, the views, arguments, and designs of individuals, and the general voice of their constituents, as expressed by them; all these topics and numerous others are yet in the dark, and must remain so, till the papers left by the departed actors in the scene, and such as are still held hy the few venerable worthies that remain of that dignified assembly, shall come under the eye of the faithful historian, and receive a patient inspection and a discriminating award.-N. A. Review.

“Mr. Madison thinks an individual independence of the states utterly irreconcilable with their aggregate sovereignty, and that a consolidation of the whole into one simple republic would be as inexpedient as it is unattainable. He therefore proposes a middle ground, which may at once support a due supremacy of the national authority, and not exclude the local authorities whenever they can be subordinately useful.

“ As the groundwork, he proposes that a change be made in the principle of representation, and thinks there would be no great difficulty in effecting it.

“Next, that, in addition to the present federal powers, the national government should be armed with positive and complete authority in all cases which require uniformity; such as the regulation of trade, including the right of taxing both exports and imports, the fixing the terms and forms of naturalization, &c.

Over and above this positive power, a negative in all cases whatever on the legislative acts of the states, as heretofore exercised by the kingly prerogative, appears to him absolutely necessary, and to be the least possible encroachment on the state jurisdictions. Without this defensive power he conceives that every positive [law ?] which can be given on paper, will be evaded.

“This control over the laws would prevent the internal vicissitudes of state policy, and the aggressions of interested majorities.

The national supremacy ought also to be extended, he thinks, to the judiciary departments; the oaths of the judges should at least include a fidelity to the general as well as local constitution; and that an appeal should be to some national tribunals in all cases, to which foreigners or inhabitants of other states may be parties. The admiralty jurisdictions to fall entirely within the purview of the national government.

The national supremacy in the executive departments is liable to some difficulty, unless the officers administering them could be made appointable by the supreme government. The militia ought entirely to be placed in some form or other under the authority which is interested with the general protection and defence.

A government composed of such extensive powers should be well or ganized and balanced.

"The legislative department might be divided into two branches, one of them chosen every years by the people at large, or by the legislatures; the other to consist of fewer members, to hold their places for a longer term, and to go out in such rotation as always to leave in office a large majority of old members.

Perhaps the negative on the laws might be most conveniently exer cised by this branch.

“As a further check, a council of revision, including the great ministe rial officers, might be superadded.

“A national executive must also be provided. He has scarcely ventured as yet to form his own opinion, either of the manner of which it ought to be constituted, or of the authorities with which it ought to be clothed.



“ An article should be inserted, expressly guarantying the tranquillity of the states against internal as well as external dangers.

“In like manher, the right of coercion should be expressly declared. With the resources of commerce in hand, the national administration might always find means of exerting it either by sea or land; but the difficulty and awkwardness of operating by force on the collective will of a state, render it particularly desirable that the necessity of it might be precluded. Perhaps the negative on the laws might create such a mutual dependence between the general and particular authorities as to answer ; or perhaps some defined objects of taxation might be submitted along with commerce to the general authority.

To give a new system its proper validity and energy, a ratification must be obtained from the people, and not merely from the ordinary authority of the legislature. This will be the more essential, as inroads on the existing constitutions of the states will be unavoidable."

Although the party, designated as democratic, had given up a considerable portion of its hostility to a united government, still it was far from wanting representatives in the convention. We are informed, indeed, that, in the most important questions, votes were so nicely balanced, that it was impossible to foretell any decision. During the discussions the leading men opposed to the democrats published their opinions in a series of letters, signed the Federalist, a name which henceforward seemed to designate the party. Mr. Madison and Mr. Jay were writers; but the principal one, as well as the most esteemed in his opinions, was Colonel or General Hamilton. This gentleman went the length of propos ing that the president and each senator should hold his office, as our judges do, during their good behavior. The anti-federalists, on the other hand, of whom the future leader, Jefferson, was, however, as yet in France, supported the principle of rotation, or frequent change in the person wielding the executive of the country. The federalists' side was. most powerful in talent, and being supported by the authority of Washington, their opinions mainly prevailed.

The constitution no sooner appeared, than it was attacked with a host of objections. One party exclaimed that it had melted the states into one government, without fencing the people by any declarations of rights; that a standing army was not renounced, and the liberty of the press not secured ; that Congress reserved to itself the power of suspending trial by jury in civil cases ; that rotation in office was abandoned ; that the president might be re-elected from four years to four years, so as to render him a king for life, like a king of Poland ; and that the check or aid of a council had not been given him. Notwithstanding these objections, the constitution obtained the assent of all the states, save two-Rhode Island and North Carolina. New-York was said to have acceded, chiefly, from fear of being excluded from the union; and, in consenting, she had demanded a new convention to make amendments in the act. Even Virginia thought it necessary to propose alterations. She required a declaration of rights, and the limitation that the President should be but once re-elected. These discussions occupied the year 1788, after which the constitution was generally accepted, and the grand point of a federal union achieved.

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