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“ [434] Yet no hint of such pretension — of any claim over them by the majority — of any assertion of ‘the supremacy of the Union’ --is to be found in any of the records of the period.”

The production of Mr. Davis, in the last of the above quoted sentences, of negative evidence only in support of his position as to the attitude of the eleven United States towards North Carolina and Rhode Island, shows, I think, that when he wrote his argument on this subject he could not have been aware of the existence of Government records, proving by the most direct, positive and clear testimony that the United States Government, among the very earliest of its official transactions,(i. e. at the first and second sessions of the first Congress in 1789-90,) formally and by legislative acts, acknowledged North Carolina and Rhode Island to be outside of the jurisdiction of the United States, and no more subject to “the supremacy of the Union” than France or China was, and thereby acknowledged their independence.

That Mr. Davis should not have been aware of the existence of this most important testimony is not at all to be wondered at, when we reflect that writers on constitutional questions, or questions of civil law, when searching among ancient and obsolete statutes in the hope of finding matter pertinent to the objects they have in view, do, as a rule, examine first the title or caption of a law under the impression that it is always a reliable indicator of the contents of the law, and if they see no allusion in the title to the object of their search, they are very apt to conclude that there is nothing in the law relating to it, and to proceed no farther in their examination of the law.

Several years ago, while rummaging among the early statutes of the Federal Government, I discovered1 the important testimony which is the principal subject of this paper, and on asking many able and experienced lawyers and jurists, among whom was an eminent ex-judge of a United States District Court, if they knew, or had ever heard of this testimony, I was answered in the negative by each of them.

Appended to this paper will be found the full titles with extracts from and condensed statements of the substance of pertinent parts of certain five statutes or acts passed by the first Congress that ever assembled under the present Constitution.

The dates of those five acts are respectfully: July the 4th, July the 20th, July the 31st, September the 16th, 1789, and February 8th, 1790.

1 Although it is a regular record of the proceedings of Congress, and has always been accessible to any person, I call it a discovery from the fact that everybody seems to have forgotten it.

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