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‘ [423] can be conducted at all, while the powers of congress
Chap. XIX.} 1781. March.
are only recommendatory.’

‘Our independence, our respectability and consequence in Europe, our greatness as a nation hereafter, depend upon vesting congress with competent powers. That body, after hearing the views of the several states fairly discussed, must dictate and not merely recommend.’

And now that the confederation was established, he addressed himself to the great statesmen of Virginia, to Pendleton, Wythe, and Jefferson, to give adequate powers to the representative body of the states, especially a control over refractory states, to compel their compliance with the requisitions made upon them. ‘Danger,’ he wrote, ‘may spring from delay; good, from a timely application of a remedy. The present temper of the states is friendly to the establishment of a lasting union; the moment should be improved: if suffered to pass away, it may never return; and, after gloriously and successfully contending against the usurpations of Britain, we may fall a prey to our own follies and disputes.’1

He was more particularly impelled to express his opinions with freedom, because in December, 1779, the legislature of Virginia seemed to have censured the point of enforcing obedience to requisitions. ‘It would give me concern,’ he added, ‘should it be thought of me that I am desirous of enlarging the powers of congress unnecessarily, as I declare to God my only aim is the general good. Perhaps a knowledge ’

1 Madison Papers, i. 82. Mr. Hugh Blair Grigsby assures me that ‘there can be no doubt that Washington wrote the above letter.’ Written by H. B. G., 30 May, 1867; very high authority.

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