« AnteriorContinuar »
2. By the sixth and ninth articles, the regulation of trade seems to be committed to the several states within their separate jurisdictions, in such a degree as may involve many difficulties and embarrassments, and be attended with injustice to some states in the union. We are of opinion that the sole and exclusive power of regulating the trade of the United States with foreign nations ought to be clearly vested in the congress; and that the revenue arising from all duties and customs imposed thereon, ought to be appropriated to the building, equipping, and manning a navy for the protection of the trade and defense of the coasts, and to such other public and general purposes as to the congress shall seem proper, and for the common benefit of the states. This principle appears to us to be just; and it may be added, that a great security will by this means be derived to the union from the establishment of a common and mutual interest.
"3. It is wisely provided in the sixth article, that no body of forces shall be kept up by any state in time of peace, except such number only as, in the judgment of the United States in congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defense of such state. We think it ought also to be provided and clearly expressed, that no body of troops be kept up by the United States in time of peace, except such number only as shall be allowed by the assent of nine states. A standing army, a military establishment, and every appendage thereof, in time of peace, is totally abhorrent from the ideas and principles of this state. In the memorable act of congress declaring the united colonies free and independent states, it is emphatically mentioned, as one of the causes of separation from Great Britain, that the sovereign thereof had kept up among us, in time of peace, standing armies without the consent of the legislatures. It is to be wished the liberties and happiness of the people may by the confederation be carefully and explicitly guarded in this respect.
"4. On the eighth article we observe, that as frequent settlements of the quotas for supplies and aids to be furnished by the several states in support of the general treasury, will be requisite,
so they ought to be secured. It cannot be thought improper, or unnecessary, to have them struck once at least in every five years, or oftener if circumstances will allow. The quantity or value of real property in some states may increase much more rapidly than in others; and therefore the quota which is at one time just, will at another be disproportionate.
"5. The boundaries and limits of each state ought to be fully and finally fixed and made known. This we apprehend would be attended with very salutary effects, by preventing jealousies, as well as controversies, and promoting harmony and confidence among the states. If the circumstances of the times would not admit of this, previous to the proposal of the confederation to the several states, the establishment of the principles upon which, and the rule and mode by which the determination might be conducted, at a time more convenient and favorable for despatching the same at an early period, not exceeding five years from the final ratification of the confederation, would be satisfactory.
"6. The ninth article provides, that no state shall be deprived of territory for the benefit of the United States. Whether we are to understand that by territory is intended any land, the property of which was heretofore vested in the crown of Great Britain, or that no mention of such land is made in the confederation, we are constrained to observe, that the present war, as we always apprehended, was undertaken for the general defense and interest of the confederating colonies, now the United States. It was ever the confident expectation of this state, that the benefits derived from a successful contest were to be general and proportionate; and that the property of the common enemy, falling in consequence of a prosperous issue of the war, would belong to the United States, and be appropriated to their use. We are therefore greatly disappointed in finding no provision made in the confederation for empowering the congress to dispose of such property, but especially the vacant and impatented lands, commonly called the crown lands, for defraying the expenses of the war, and for such other public and general purposes. The jurisdiction ought in every instance to belong to the respective states
within the charter or determined limits of which such lands may be seated; but reason and justice must decide, that the property which existed in the crown of Great Britain, previous to the present revolution, ought now to belong to the congress, in trust for the use and benefit of the United States. They have fought and bled for it in proportion to their respective abilities; and therefore the reward ought not to be predilectionally distributed. Shall such states as are shut out by situation from availing themselves of the least advantage from this quarter, be left to sink under an enormous debt, whilst others are enabled, in a short period, to replace all their expenditures from the hard earnings of the whole confederacy?
"7. The ninth article also provides that requisitions for the land forces to be furnished by the several states shall be proportioned to the number of white inhabitants in each. In the act of independence we find the following declaration: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endued by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' Of this doctrine, it is not a very remote consequence, that all the inhabitants of every society, be the color of their complexion what it may, are bound to promote the interest thereof, according to their respective abilities. They ought therefore to be brought into the account on this occasion. But admitting necessity or expediency to justify the refusal of liberty in certain circumstances to persons of a peculiar color, we think it unequal to reckon such in this case. Should it be improper, for speupon cial local reasons, to admit them in arms for the defense of the nation; yet we conceive the proportion of forces to be embodied ought to be fixed according to the whole number of inhabitants in the state, from whatever class they may be raised. If the whole number of inhabitants in a state, whose inhabitants are all whites, both those who are called into the field, and those who remain to till the ground and labor in the mechanical arts and otherwise, are reckoned in the estimate for striking the proportion of forces to be furnished by that state, ought even a part of VOL. II.
the latter description to be left out in another? As it is of indispensable necessity in every war, that a part of the inhabitants be employed for the uses of husbandry and otherwise at home, while others are called into the field, there must be the same propriety that the owners of a different color who are employed for this purpose in one state, while whites are employed for the same purpose in another, be reckoned in the account of the inhabitants in the present instance.
"8. In order that the quota of troops to be furnished in each state on occasion of a war may be equitably ascertained, we are of opinion that the inhabitants of the several states ought to be numbered as frequently as the nature of the case will admit, once at least every five years. The disproportioned increase in the population of different states may render such provision absolutely necessary.
"9. It is provided in the ninth article, that the assent of nine states out of the thirteen shall be necessary to determine in sundry cases of the highest concern. If this proportion be proper and just, it ought to be kept up, should the states increase in number, and a declaration thereof be made for the satisfaction of the union.
"That we think it our indispensable duty to solicit the attention of congress to these considerations and remarks, and to request that the purport and meaning of them be adopted as part of the general confederation; by which means we apprehend the mutual interests of all the states will be better secured and promoted, and that the legislature of this state will then be justified in ratifying the same."
The question being taken in congress, whether the purport and meaning of the several amendments proposed by New Jersey should be admitted as part of the confederation, it was decided in the negative; three states in the affirmative, six in the negative, and one divided. The amendments of the other states were, also, negatived.
In July, 1778, a form of ratification was adopted, and the articles were soon after signed by the delegates from all the states,
except New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. A letter was immediately sent to these states, urging their immediate attention to the subject.
Sensible of the importance of completing the union, the legislature of New Jersey, in November 1778, authorized the delegates of that state to ratify the federal compact.
The same legislature declared that the articles were still considered "in divers respects unequal and disadvantageous to that state, and that the objections to such of them lately stated and sent to the general congress, on the part of that state, were still viewed as just and reasonable, and sundry of them as of the most essential moment to the welfare and happiness of the people thereof; yet, under the full conviction of the present necessity of acceding to the confederacy proposed, and that separate and detached state interests ought to be postponed to the general good of the union; and moreover, in firm reliance that the candor and justice of the several states, would, in due time, remove as far as possible, the inequality which now subsists."
On the part of New Jersey, therefore, the articles were signed on the 25th of November, 1778. On the first of February 1779, Delaware followed the patriotic example of New Jersey. Her act of accession was accompanied with the following resolutions.
"Resolved, That this state think it necessary for the peace and safety of the state to be included in the union; that a moderate extent of limits should be assigned for such of those states as claim to the Mississippi or South sea; and that the United States in congress assembled, should and ought to have power of fixing their western limits.
“Resolved also, That this state consider themselves justly entitled to a right in common with the members of the union, to that extensive tract of country which lies to the westward of the frontiers of the United States, the property of which was not vested in, or granted to, individuals at the commencement of the present war that the same hath been or may be gained from the king of Great Britain, or the native Indians, by the blood and