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of the State of Vermont have merited the patronage of their country as highly as any soldiery in the union.
A letter from the Governor of the State of Maryland, covering certain resolutions of that State, as well as some other subjects of less import, will be communicated by a special message.--[See ante, p. 432.]
It is not barely to the limits of this state that our political duties are confined; they extend much farther, and have relation to the whole of the federal union. IIappy in our own State, by enjoying a republican form of government, it is another and important part of our political trust, that we are connected with the other free states of America by a Federal constitution mutually guaranteeing to each other, and to the whole, protection and defence. Our duty to the Federal government does noi depend on names, persons, or political distinctions; least of all does it depend on having the other states uniting with us in the election of any particular person to be President of the United States. Whoever holds that important office, by Constitutional appointment and authority, is justly entitled to all the respect and obedience which the Constitution and the laws have attached to the office; and that which in the Federal system is to be revered and obeyed, is not any particular name or opinion, but national and constitutional authority. There cannot, therefore, be a doubt, but that it is our duty to support the federal union, to obey the federal laws, and to do all in our power to support and preserve the constitution and government of the United States.
As the increase of population is one of the acknowledged criterions of the prosperity of a people, I cannot refrain from congratulating you upon the rapid increase of our Citizens since the last census. This will probably call for a new apportionment of the Representatives from this State to the Congress of the United States; and at the next annual Session of this Assembly, it may be necessary to district the State anew for the election of a requisite number of Representatives. At the present Session, it may be expedient to repeal the act directing the election of members to Congress to be holder in the month of September next, and to adopt such measures, as shall render an extraordinay session of the legislature for this purpose unnecessary.
I shall be ready to concur with you, Gentlemen, in any measure of public utility, and humbly rely upon a superintending Providence, that all our honest endeavors for the public good may be crowned with suc
ISAAC TICHENOR. For the answer of the House, see Assembly Journal of 1801, p. 105.
SPEECH OF Gov. TICIIENOR-Oct. 1802. Gentlemen of the Council, and of the IIouse of Representatives:
There cannot be a more important civil trust, than that which our constituents have assigned us. To designate those officers, on whose decision all that belongs to life, liberty, or property may depend, is a weighty and serious transaction. Instead of being a matter of intrigue, party, or selfish policy, it requires all the calmness of wisdom, all the disinterestedness of virtue. Nor could there be a more unfortunate error, than to make those civil appointments, which by our constitution must be annual, a matter of private friendship, interest, party, or faction. You will meet this part of your business, Gentlemen, with all the calmness, impartiality and attention to the public good, which the honor and interest of the state essentially require.
One of the greatest misfortunes, that attends republican Governments, is the progress and violence of party spirit. We need not recur to ancient history for proof. Our beloved Washington, with all his modera
tion, wisdom and virtues, was not able to repress the destructive spirit ; we know that an ardent love for his country, and a life devoted to its service with the most upright intentions, did not shield him and his measures from its malignant effects. It existed in his day, and has progressed with time, and increased with violence, untill now. In a government, where the honors and emoluments of public offices are alike open to all the citizens, it will be natural for many to appear as candidates for public approbation and employment; and many good effects will arise from a spirit of emulation, enterprise and ambition : let them be well directed, and under proper regulations, and they will give rise to the most necessary and useful public exertions. But when ambitious men become intlamed, so as to produce a violation of the laws of virtue, the destruction of private character, the propagation of falsehood and slander and an established rancorous spirit of party, they introduce into civil society some of the worst evils. One part of the community becomes inflamed against the other; different parties are ranked under different leaders; they have different views and aims, and forgettul of the public good, are most of all active and violent to accomplish their own particular purposes. It cannot be, in such a state of things, but that the public interest will be sacrificed to private views; and the more engaged men are in such pursuits, the more the public interest must suffer and the public peace be endangered.
Republican government cannot be maintained but by an union of the wise and good. It requires the abilities and exertions of the wisest and most virtuous, in every country, to direct the public affairs, to restrain the vicious, to give the laws a proper direction and energy, and to keep up those civil and moral institutions on which the existence and safety of civil society essentially depend. Those, therefore, who, from a spirit of party, or personal aggrandizement, labor to divide and intlame one part of the community against the other, whatever motive and principles they may avow, are the greatest enemies to our republican constitution and form of government. A remedy for these evils, so pernicious to society, is not within the reach of legislative acts; it is only on the virtue and correct information of the great body of the people, that we can rely to stop their progress, or to do away their fatal effects; and when aided by the precepts and examples of virtuous representatives and upright magistrates, [these] will, I presume, be effectual.
It is not barely from the Constitution and form of government, adopted by this State, that our safety is derived. Connected with other States by the Federal Constitution, the interest and safety of cach is involved in preserving the union of the whole.
By a late act of Congress, it has become our duty to make new arrangments respecting the choice of Representatives ; and it is of the most serious importance that in all our acts respecting the general government, we discover the most anxious solicitude to preserve and strengthen the union, and to support the Constitution and government of the United States. If under any pretence, or violence of parties, the Federal Constitution should be destroyed, perverted or essentially altered, we may discover our error and ruin at ihe same disastrous period.
In the view of humanity, it must be a matter of joy, that peace, in Europe, has put a stop to the effusion of human blood ; while we rejoice in the event, we feel most sensibly, that the produce of our agriculture is not a little connected with commerce. In an agricultural State, like that of Vermont, it is the commerce of the maritime states that gives value to that part of our productions which are not wanted for our owu consumption, and unless the latter be protected by the energies of government, the former cannot be pursued to any considerable extent with advantage to the laborer,
In a free state, a Militia, well equipt and disciplined, has ever been considered as the great and sure basis of its independence. Impressed with this truth, our sister states have made the greatest governmental exertions, to cherish and invite their citizens to practice the arts of war in times of peace, that they might know how to defend their Country in the hour of danger. In some States, they have furnished the Militia with fire arms, at the public expense, and in allmost all with field artillery. In our state, the Militia are very deticient in military equipments and totally destitute of field artillery. I have frequently made the situation of our Militia the subject of unsuccessful communication, and can only hope, from the patriotism of the present legislature, that the claims of this brave and meritorious part of our fellow citizens will be fully answered, especially as the late peace has probably brought the price of military articles within that rule of economy which ought to regulate public expenditure.
I cannot forbear to mention, with high satisfaction, that our schools and colleges are assuming a very respectable appearance of utility and reputation. It is in the progress and intluence of education, knowledge, virtue, and religion, that all orders of men will receive the most substantial benefits that can accrue, either to individuals or to societies.
If necessary, in pursuance of the duties of office, I shall recommend for your consideration any other business by particular message. I sincerely wish you an agreeable session, and firmly hope, that with temperance and wisdom becoming the assembled Fathers of the people. you will conduct for their best interest.
ISAAC TICHENOR. Burlington Oct. 18th 1802.
On the answer of the Assembly to this speech, the parties in the House were pretty nearly divided, and much discussion ensued. The Jeffersonian Republicans carried their address by a vote of 93 to 85.See printed Assembly Journal of 1802, pp. 109-117. The Federalists entered a protest on the journal.-See Ibid. pp. 201-203, and 281–288.
SPEECH OF Gov. TICHENOR-Oct. 1803. Gentlemen of the Council, and Gentlemen of the house of Representatives:
We are again assembled to devise and adopt such measures as will promote the great interest of our fellow citizens.
In the exercise of the duties assigned to us, it may not be unprotitable to look back to the intant state of our Republic, from thence trace the measures pursued by our venerable fathers, to whose wisdom and firmness we are indebted for ihe rank and privileges of an independent state. It is a tribute justly due to their virtues, thus publickly to acknowledge, that the evils, arising from divisions and party spirit, were not known in their legislative Councils. Their appointments to offices were fixed on men whose disinterested zeal for the public good was manifested more by their acts than their professions. A patriotic spirit of union, in Council and measures, animated their administrations. They subdued the wilderness, they sowed the seeds of science and the arts, and the elder states saw, with surprise, a few united and virtuous Citizens demanding as their right an honorable station among her sister states. It should be remembered, that it was union alone sustained them, in their intant struggles for right, in their noble exertions for sovereignty. It is wisdom in us to adhere to those rules and maxims, by which they regulated
their conduct, and like them, to make the general good the great object of all our public measures.
One important part of the business assigned to us, by the Constitution, is the appointment of public officers; our duty in this respect is plain and easy to be understood: the wisest and best men, those who by precept and example, will cherish obedience to the laws, are evidently the most proper candidates. And while we aim to appoint only such to office, there will be no room for party views and interest to influence our proceedings.
The enacting of laws should ever be a business of mature deliberation. The happiness and safety of society does not depend on the multiplicity of its laws. Laws should be few in number, explicit, and duly enforced. What the operation of a law will be, upon a community, the most discerning cannot often foretell. A partial evil is sometimes noticed upon the promulgation of a law, which is often greatly overbalanced by its more general and beneficial effects. The only sure mode of deciding upon the merits of a statute is to submit to the process of partial experiment. Hence it follows, that Legislatures should be as careful in repealing as in enacting laws. Among the public acts passed by the last General Assembly, it is believed that the act relating to insolvent debtors is not sufficiently explicit and guarded to secure the rights of Creditors, and afford the remedy intended for Debtors. An investigation, by an Assembly possessing accurate knowledge of the operation of this statute, and of some others recently enacted, will determine if amendments are necessary.
By the twenty fourth Section of our Constitution, in order to make sanguinary punishments less necessary, it is strongly recommended, “That means should be provided for punishing by hard labor those who should be convicted of crimes not capital; whereby the criminal shall be employed for the benetit of the public, or for the reparation of injuries done to private persons.” Whether the period has arrived, in which this humane and salutary recommendation can be carried into effect, you can best judge; but the weakness of our County Goals throughout the State, the frequent escape of persons convicted for crimes, the great expence sustained by the state and county Treasuries for the apprehension of prisoners, and the yet greater expence of supporting Criminals in our County Goals, impress it upon me as a duty, to draw the attention of the legislature to the erecting of a State prison. I may here add, we have not to venture the expence upon the uncertainty of experiment, but the benefits and even profits of a public penitentiary house or state prison has [have] been abundantly proved in a number of the neighboring States.
In a just arrangement of our fiscal concerns much advantage will result to the people. While we are careful to supply the Treasury with such sums of money as the public exigencies require, it will at all times be useful to pay a strict attention to public expenditures, and to ascertain from time to time, the amount of monies drawn for the support of ditferent branches of our government: for this purpose, the public accounts will be laid before you.
The state of our Militia has strong claims on your attention : by an official communication from the President of the United States, it has again become my duty to invite you to a consideration of this subject : this communication, iogether wiih a return of the effective force of our Militia will be laid before you. They are respectable for numbers, they are brave ; they inherit the spirit of their fathers : to preserve this spirii, they must be well armed and equipped : this cannot be effected without legislative aid. Our safety and freedom essentially depend on this class
of our fellow citizens. It is our highest interest, as a nation, to engraft the character of the soldier on the citizen, and to cherish that spirit, which gave us independence. It will be a sure and cheap defence.
While the horrors of war are again taking place in some of the nations of Europe, I cannot but congratulate you on the happy state of peace and tranquility that pervades the United States. A country that steadily pursues the business of Agriculture, manufactures, commerce and science and avoids war, except in defence of her just rights, is in the surest way of national prosperity and improvement. The glory derived from the increasing population and happiness of a country, is far more eligible and useful, than any thing, that can be obtained by making war, on any nation, or being distinguished by the destruction of the human race.
I shall be happy, Gentlemen, to cooperate with you in any measures that may serve to promote the interest and honor of the state : And I trust that we shall all bear in mind, that the public business will always be done to the greatest advantage, when it is done in the exercise of wisdom, of candor, and of moderation.
ISAAC TICHENOR. For the answer of the Assembly to this speech, see Assembly Journal of 1803, pp. 36, 37.