« AnteriorContinuar »
Scott, was greater than the whole number of Mr. Allin's votes, Yet, nothing decisive is to be inferred, as to the predominant consideration, however desirable to the politician, who would speculate upon the inducements which influence popular elections, from the result of this: General Scott had the reputation of military service in all the wars of the preceding half century, and military merit had ever been decisive with the people of Kentucky.
The number of organized militia, mustered in the state, and reported to the general government, appeared to be thirty one thousand, two hundred and thirty-six.
The legislature assembled in December; and the governor, having first chosen his son-in-law, Jesse Bledsoe, secretary; asusual, made communications. The intention once entertained, of giving the first communication of the kind, is necessarily relinquished, for want of room: a very concise review must in this case suffice.
The customary acknowledgments to the people are ample— "the public good," laid down in so many words, to be the great object of pursuit.
Reference is made to the existing crisis, as likely to call out the energies of the country, alluding to the foreign relations of the United States; then it is suggested, that the way to avoid force is to be in a situation to repel itj-says "the wanton and continued violation of our plainest rights by both Great Britain and France, who appear determined to sacrifice them, alternately, as convenience or resentment in their mutual and destructive conflicts for empire may suggest, seems to leave us but one alternative, either to submit to be the passive instruments of their pleasure at the expense of all we hold dear, or to make that resistance which the God of nature has put in our power." Represents the militia on parade days, as appearing frequently with guns without locks, and worse than this, with a mere apology for weapons. He then recommends the manufacture of arms among ourselves; and adverts to the requisition of 5005—made by the president from this state, as her quota of Ioojooo militia ordered to be held in readiness.
Home manufactures, the standing topic, is touched on, and recommended.
He adds: "It will be with you, gentlemen, to say, whether from the present posture of our affairs and the privations I have noticed, it will not be just and politic to give debtors some respite by prolonging the time for reply," &c. The revenue is recommended to attention. The senate is told that it is expected to assist the governor in selecting proper persons to fill public offices—a rapid survey is again taken of the state of affairs, with a view to war, and a retrospect of'76, and the former contest—with the appropriate conclusion, "that we must prevail."
Late in December the governor addressed the militia, with a view to procure volunteers, to fill the presidential requisition of this state's quota, in preference to a regular detachment, called a draft; while great merit was ascribed to volunteer service; and by consequence, demerit was reflected on those who did not turn out.
A course, as impolitic as it was unjust; since a deviation from the law, is ever the parent of disorder.
About the same time, resolutions approbatory of the course pursued by the government of the United States, were offered, by a member, to the Kentucky house of representatives: these were superseded by others, preferred by H. Clay, which read as follows, viz:
"Resolved, That the administration of the general government since Thomas Jefferson has been elected to the office of president, has been wise, dignified and patriotic, and merits the approbation of the.country.
"Resolved, That the embargo was a measure highly judicious, and the only honourable expedient to avoid war—whilst its direct tendency, besides annoying those who had rendered resort to it necessary, was to preserve our seamen and property, exposed to the piratical depredations of foreign vessels.
"Resolved, That the general assembly of Kentucky would view with the utmost horror a proposition in any shape, to submit to the tributary exactions of Great Britain, as attempted to be enforced by her orders of council, or to acquiesce in the violation of neutral rights as menaced by the French decrees; and they pledge themselves to the general government to spend, if necessary, the last shilling, and to exhaust the last drop of blood, in resisting these aggressions, t ',
"Resolved, That whether war, a total non-intercourse, or a more rigid execution of the embargo system, be determined on, the general assembly, however they may regret the privations consequent on the occasion, will cordially approve and co-operate in enforcing the measure; for they are sensible, that in the present crisis of the nation, the alternatives are, a surrender of liberty and independence, or, a bold and manly resistance.
"Resolved, That Thomas Jefferson is entitled to the thanks of his country for the ability, uprightness and intelligence which he has displayed in the management, both of our foreign relations and domestic concerns.
"Resolved, That a copy of the foregoing resolutions be transmitted to the president of the United States, and to each of our senators and representatives in congress."
As a substitute for the foregoing, H. Marshall presented the following, to wit:
"1st. Resolved; That all independent governments are re spectively equal in their sovereign capacity, and necessarily possessed of certain rights and privileges, among which is the right of navigating the high seas and of selecting the ports of destination for their ships, subject only to the established law of nations, and which none can abandon, without an abdication of that independence.
2d. That war is an evil, and never to be entered into for slight and transitory causes, nor until after a resort to pacific propositions, for the reparation of wrongs and for the adjustment of differences, has failed of its desired effect.
"3d. That the United States of America have for several years experienced from the governments of Great Britain and of France, repeated usurpations on their sovereignty and independence, and manifold injuries to their rights of navigation ^nd commerce; and that, having, in the spirit of amicable negotiation, employed in vain and exhausted the means of friendly adjustment, without obtaining from either of those governments the reparations due to their just claims for past injury, imposing in the mean time on themselves a rigorous embargo, the better to avoid new causes of irritation and of conflict, it now remains only, for these states, to continue this self-immolating restriction on their rights, submit their commerce and navigation, unarmed, to the insults and depredations of the unfriendly belligerants, or, authorizing the armament of merchant ships and their convoys, and disclaiming all intercourse with the aforesaid belligerants, so long as they continue their unjust decrees, orders, or aggressions, assert their national independence, with the spirit of freemen, in the practical exercise of their undoubted rights of navigation and commerce. In this choice of difficulties, difficulties insuperable to the eye of despondence and to the heart of timidity, there is one course open to honour and to patriotism; it is worthy the American character, it is suitable to the rights and to the dignity of a sovereign and independent nation: it is, to resume the practical exercise of those just rights of navigation and of commerce, which have been suspended, to the universal distress of the nation, and to defend them with all the energies of a people determined to be free and independent.
"4th. Resolved, That the act of congress laying an embargo, and the supplements thereto, ought to be repealed with all practical despatch—that the commerce of the United States with friendly nations ought to be regulated, and her bona fide citizens authorized to arm their ships, and to sail under convoy for defence and protection on their lawful voyages; abstaining from all intercourse with France and England so long as they shall respectively continue their decrees, orders or aggressions; with the public avowal and national pledge on the part of the United-States, that a resort to actual force by either not authorized by the established law of nations, will be held and treated as a declaration of war against the United States.
"5th. Resolved, That the general government may rely on the support of this commonwealth in the foregoing, and such other measures as may be deemed necessary and proper to protect the rights of the citizen, and maintain the honour and independence of the nation."
The vote being takenby yeas and nays, upon these as an amendment to those offered by Mr. Clay, the result was sixtyfour nays, one yea: Mr. Marshall being the only person who voted for his resolutions. Mr. Clay's were then carried by the same majority.
The course rejected, will be seen, to propose 'the assertion of the United States' right to maritime commerce—and being impartial as to France and England, might as readily lead to peace or war with the one as the other. Things utterly repugnant to the first principles of JefFersonian policy, now devolved on the care and management of President Madison.
In the state legislature—The first act to be noticed, is one authorizing the county court to establish inspections of tobacco, flour and hemp, in their counties respectively. Heretofore this power of establishing inspections, had been deemed a legislative power: Could it be transferred by the legislature to the county courts? In what capacity do they act, in its execution? are they judicial, executive, legislative, or administrative only? The same question may be asked, as to many other things committed to,the county courts. How far constitutional? is a question of no trifling import; but not now to be investigated.
"An act regulating divorces in this commonwealth," is the production of this session. This act was important for two reasons: it restored to the judicial department, a power which had sometimes been exercised by the legislature in particular cases, although judicial, as it affected a contract; and besides, its taking up much time, it was always acted on ex parte, and without any fixed rule;—this act gave rules, by enacting, that "the several circuit courts in this commonwealth shall have jurisdiction, to decree divorces in the manner hereafter mentioned, that is to say—in favour of a husband, where his wife shall have voluntarily left his bed and board with intention of abandonment, for the space of three years, or where she shall Lave abandoned him and lived in adultery with another man or