d by an eminent citizen of Massachusetts,
George Cabot, who had been United States Senator from Massachusetts for several years during the administration of Washington.
See Life of Cabot, by Lodge, p. 334. that the influence of our [the Northeastern] part of the Union must be diminished by the acquisition of more weight at thwho had been an officer of the war of the Revolution, afterward successively Postmaster General, Secretary of War, and Secretary of State, in the cabinet of General Washington, and still later, long a representative of the state of Massachusetts in the Senate of the United States, was one of the leading secessionists of his day. W5, 446.
Such were the views of an undoubted patriot who had participated in the formation of the Union, and who had long been confidentially associated with Washington in the administration of its government, looking at the subject from a Northern standpoint, within fifteen years after the organization of that government under
f the Constitution, as set forth by its framers for the consideration and final action of the people of the states, were attached the following words:
Done in Convention, by the unanimous consent of the States present, the seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the twelfth.
In witness whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names.
[Followed by the signatures of George Washington, President, and deputy from Virginia, and the other delegates who signed it.]
This attachment to the instrument—a mere attestation of its authenticity, and of the fact that it had the unanimous consent of all the states then present by their deputies—not of all the deputies, for some of them refused to sign it—has been strangely construed by some commentators as if it were a part of the Constitution, and implied that it was done, in the sense of completion of the work.
Ratification of the Constitution by the States
organization of the New Government
accession of North Carolina and Rhode Island
correspondence between General Washington and the Governor of Rhode Island.
The amended system of union, or confederation (the terms are employed indiscriminately and interchangeably by the state the Congress, provision was made for putting the new Constitution in operation.
This was effected on March 4, 1789, when the government was organized, with George Washington as President, and John Adams, Vice-President; the Senators and Representatives elected by the states which had acceded to the Constitution organizing themsel of Representatives of the eleven United States of America in Congress assembled, I take the earliest opportunity of laying a copy of it before you. (Signed) George Washington.
Some extracts from the communication
American State Papers, Volume I, miscellaneous. referred to are annexed:
State of Rhode Island and Providence
thing spoken in the House be printed, or otherwise published or communicated, without leave.
Journal of the Federal Convention, May 29, 1787, 1 Elliott's Debates.
We can understand, by reference to these rules, how Madison should have felt precluded from making allusion to anything that had occurred during the proceedings of the convention.
But the secrecy then covering those proceedings has long since been removed.
The manuscript journal, which was entrusted to the keeping of General Washington, president of the convention, was deposited by him, nine years afterward, among the archives of the State Department.
It has since been published, and we can trace for ourselves the origin, and ascertain the exact significance, of that expression, We, the people, on which Patrick Henry thought the fate of America might depend, and which has been so grossly perverted in later years from its true intent.
The original language of the preamble, reported to the convention by a committee
stern States to insist on what the Southern States will never agree to.
Madison Papers, pp. 1081, 1082.
Madison, while inclining to a strong government, said: In the case of a union of people under one Constitution, the nature of the pact has always been understood, etc.
Ibid., p. 1184.
Hamilton, in the Federalist, repeatedly speaks of the new government as a confederate republic and a confederacy, and calls the Constitution a compact.
See especially Nos. IX and LXXXV.
General Washington—who was not only the first President under the new Constitution, but who had presided over the convention that drew it up—in letters written soon after the adjournment of that body to friends in various states, referred to the Constitution as a compact or treaty, and repeatedly uses the terms accede and accession, and once the term secession.
He asks what the opponents of the Constitution in Virginia would do, if nine other States should accede to the Constitution.
Luther Martin o
for the purpose of crippling the government and rendering it unable to perform its functions, I can certainly not appreciate the idea of honor that sanctions the suggestion.
Among the advantages claimed for this proposition by its supporters was that of thwarting the President in the appointment of his cabinet and other officers necessary for the administration of public affairs.
Would this have been to maintain the Union formed by the states?
Would such have been the government which Washington recommended as a remedy for the defects of the original confederation, the greatest of which was the paralysis of the action of the general agent by the opposition or indifference of the states?
Sad as have been the consequences of the war which followed secession—disastrous in its moral, material, and political relations—still we have good cause to feel proud that the course of the Southern states has left no bolt nor stain upon the honor and chivalry of their people.
And if our child
There was no selfish desire to linger around home, no narrow purpose to separate local interests from the common welfare.
The object was to sustain a principle—the broad principle of constitutional liberty, the right of self-government.
The early demonstrations of the enemy showed that Virginia was liable to invasion from the north, from the east, and from the west.
Though the larger preparation indicated that the most serious danger to be apprehended was from the line of the Potomac, the first conflicts occurred in the east.
The narrow peninsula between the James and York rivers had topographical features well adapted to defense.
It was held by General John B. Magruder, who skillfully improved its natural strength by artificial means; there, on the ground memorable as the field of the last battle of the Revolution, in which General Washington compelled Lord Cornwallis to surrender, Magruder, with a small force, held for a long time the superior forces of the enemy in check
to urge upon him respectfully, but in the most earnest manner, a course of policy which would give peace to the country, and especially the withdrawal of all orders contemplating the passage of troops through any part of Maryland.
The legislature of the state of Maryland appointed commissioners to the Confederate government to suggest to it the cessation of impending hostilities until the meeting of Congress at Washington in July.
Commissioners with like instructions were also sent to Washington.
In my reply to the commissioners, dated May 25, 1861, I referred to the uniform expression of desire for peace on the part of the Confederate government, and added:
In deference to the State of Maryland, it again asserts in the most emphatic terms that its sincere and earnest desire is for peace; but that, while the Government would readily entertain any proposition from the Government of the United States tending to a peaceful solution of the present difficulties, the recent attempt
e common treasury to defray expenses for the common defense and general welfare.
During the period of our colonial existence, the policy of the British government had been to suppress the growth of manufacturing industry.
It was forcibly expressed by Lord North in the declaration that not a hobnail should be made in the American colonies.
The consequence was that in the War of the Revolution our armies and people suffered so much from the want of the most necessary supplies that General Washington, after we had achieved our independence, expressed the opinion that the government should, by bounties, encourage the manufacture of such materials as were necessary in time of war.
In the convention which framed the Constitution for a more perfect union, one of the greatest difficulties in agreeing upon its terms was found in the different interests of the states, but among the compromises which were made, there prominently appears the purpose of a strict equality in the burdens to
od preeminently forward among those who asserted community independence: and this reminds me of another incident.
President Washington visited Boston when John Hancock was Governor, and Hancock refused to call upon the President, because he contendeState.
He eventually only surrendered the point on account of his personal regard and respect for the character of George Washington.
I honor him for this, and value it as one of the early testimonies in favor of State rights.
I wish all our Gove collection of your early history, I found a letter descriptive of the reading of the church service to his army by General Washington, during one of those winters when the army was ill-clad and without shoes, when he built a little log-cabin for a mspirit of independence, the devotion to liberty, was so supreme in their breasts, that they gave one loud huzza for General Washington, and went to meet death in their loathsome prison.
From these glorious recollections, from the emotions which they