This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 placed Monroe and Madison, who were in Congress when this matter was discussed, in the most embarrassing predicament, which they were called upon to explain. His effort on this occasion won the approval and sympathy of the delegates from the District of Kentucky, who, being more directly interested in the matter, were bitterly opposed to the treaty. His efforts on this occasion were spectacular and dramatic, and produced so profound an impression that it is said had the vote then been taken that the Constitution would not have been adopted. But it is impossible on this occasion to do justice to this great character. Of Henry, as of so many of our public men, it can be said ‘tempora mutantur nos et nmutamur in illis.’ Consistency is a rare and precious jewel, and the Old Man Eloquent did not possess this rare gem. In his old age and full of honors showered upon him by a grateful and appreciative people, he turned to other gods than those he worshipped in his younger days. Patrick Henry, the man of the people, he who declared himself ‘the servant of the people of this Commonwealth, a sentinel over their rights and liberty and happiness,’ and denounced the Constitution as subversive of these priceless boons; the bitterest foe to the proposed instrument, the uncompromising anti-Federalist, went back upon his record in 1778. The great contest was on for the supremacy of the Republican party, for the control of the State, led by Jefferson, Monroe and Madison, and opposed by Washington, Hamilton, Lee and other leaders of the Federal party. It was a battle of the giants. Washington recognizing the man for the occasion—Patrick Henry—wrote and requested that he would be a candidate for Representative in the General Assembly of the Commonwealth. Washington's appeal touched a responsive chord in the heart of the grand old man, the lambent fires were once again kindled into a fervid glow of his wonted eloquence. The General Assembly had declared the Alien and Sedition Laws passed by Congress unconstitutional and had accused the Federal government of trespassing upon the rights of the States, all of which grew out of the imbroglio with France that came near culminating in a war with the sister republic. Jefferson and his party were for yielding to the unjust demands of France; Washington and
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.