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James Buchanan, Buchanan's administration on the eve of the rebellion, Mr. Buchanan's administration. (search)
rcised great influence on her sister States, was, in 1832, on the verge of emancipation. Letter of Geo. W. Randolph to Nahum Capen, of 18th April, 1851. The current was then running strong in its favor throughout the State. Many of the leading men, both the principal newspapers, and probably a majority of the people sustained the policy and justice of emancipation. Numerous petitions in its favor were presented to the General Assembly. Mr. Jefferson Randolph, a worthy grandson of President Jefferson, and a delegate from one of the largest slaveholding counties of the commonwealth (Albemarle), brought forward a bill in the House to accomplish the object. This was fully and freely discussed, and was advocated by many prominent members. Not a voice was raised throughout the debate in favor of slavery. Mr. Randolph, finding the Legislature not quite prepared for so decisive a measure, did not press it to a final vote; but yet the House resolved, by a majority of 65 to 58, that the
ter of Dec. 80, 1828, in reply to Harrison Grey Otis and others. Appendix to Randal's Life of Jefferson, vol. III., p. 685. Vide also vol. III, p. 295. This he disclosed to Mr. Jefferson, in the yMr. Jefferson, in the year 1809. About the same time, to the confidential friends of Mr. Jefferson he urged that a continuance of the embargo much longer would certainly be met by forcible resistance, supported by the LegMr. Jefferson he urged that a continuance of the embargo much longer would certainly be met by forcible resistance, supported by the Legislature and probably by the judiciary of the State [Massachusetts]. That to quell that resistance, if force should be resorted to by the Government, it would produce a civil war; and that, in that eerwards, in 1828, whilst President of the United States, he reaffirmed the statement made to Mr. Jefferson, and said: That project, I repeat, had gone to the length of fixing upon a military leader fanguage: We have repeatedly said, and we once more insist,that the great principle embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration of American Independence, that Governments derive their just powers from th
edom of speech or of the press, or of the right of petition. To this we are, also, indebted for the Bill of Rights, which secures the people against any abuse of power by the Federal Government. Such were the apprehensions justly entertained by the friends of State rights at that period as to have rendered it extremely doubtful whether the Constitution could have long survived without those amendments. Again, the Constitution was amended by the same process, after the election of President Jefferson by the House of Representatives, in February, 1803. This amendment was rendered necessary to prevent a recurrence of the dangers which had seriously threatened the existence of the Government during the pendency of that election. The article for its own amendment was intended to secure the amicable adjustment of conflicting constitutional questions like the present, which might arise between the Governments of the States and that of the United States. This appears from contemporane
is inspired, by a supposed influence over the people, with an intrepid confidence in its own strength, which is sufficiently numerous to feel all the passions which actuate a multitude, yet not so numerous as to be incapable of pursuing the objects of its passions by means which reason prescribes, it is against the enterprising ambition of this department that the people ought to indulge all their jealousy and exhaust all their precautions. And in the expressive and pointed language of Mr. Jefferson, when speaking of the tendency of the legislative branch of Government to usurp the rights of the weaker branches: The concentrating these in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government. It will be no alleviation that these powers will be exercised by a plurality of hands, and not by a single one. One hundred and seventy-three despots would surely be as oppressive as one. Let those who doubt it turn their eyes on the Republic of Venice. As little will it avail us
ent Monroe, he sent them, with his own views on the subject, to Mr. Jefferson, and asked his advice as to the course which ought to be pursued by the Government to ward off the threatened danger. Mr. Jefferson's answer is dated at Monticello, on the 24th October, 1823. It is eat. From its importance we quote it entire from Randall's Life of Jefferson, vol. III., p. 491. Mr. Jefferson says: The question preseMr. Jefferson says: The question presented by the letters you have sent me is the most momentous which has ever been offered to my contemplation since that of independence. That respect. President Monroe, thus fortified by the support of Mr. Jefferson, proceeded to announce, in his seventh annual message to Congreerfere. The reader has perceived that the recommendations of Mr. Jefferson went beyond the joint declaration which had been proposed by Mrc to change their free institutions. To repeat the language of Mr. Jefferson, America, North and South, has a set of interests distinct from