Memorial of the Citizens of the Country Part of Alexandria County to the Virginia House of Assembly
Memorial of the Citizens of the Country Part of Alexandria County to the Virginia House of Assembly.
The respectful memorial of the undersigned citizens of the country part of the county of Alexandria, late of the District of Columbia, to the house of assembly of the commonwealth of Virginia, sheweth:
That on behalf of ourselves and of a large majority of our fellow-citizens of the rural portion of the county of Alexandria, we solemnly and respectfully protest against the act of retrocession passed by the congress of the United States, at the first session of the 29th congress, retroceding, under certain conditions, the country aforesaid to the commonwealth of Virginia, for the reasons following, namely
That the country portion of the inhabitants of said county were not consulted upon the matter of retrocession, or advised of the intention to seek a change of our allegiance, the whole proceeding having been concocted and determined upon in secret meeting of the corporation of Alexandria, an irresponsible body, having no manner of right to act upon the subject:
That we believe the legislature of the commonwealth have been misinformed with respect to the wishes of the citizens of the country portion of the county, as well as of many of the town of Alexandria itself:
That the act of retrocession is an act in clear and obvious hostility to the spirit and provisions of the constitution of the United States, and beyond the possibility of honest doubt, null and void:
That therefore we respectfully invoke the senate and house of assembly to disregard and give no countenance or heed to any so-called commissioners or representatives pretending or purporting to speak for and in behalf of the citizens of the county of Alexandria, and more especially of the citizens of the country part of the same:
That we further respectfully request the legislature of the said commonwealth to suspend all further action in relation to said county until the constitutionality or unconstitutionally of said act of retrocession by the congress of the United States can be determined by the authority legitimately charged with the same; it being the fixed purpose and intention of your memorialists, and a majority of the citizens of the country part of the county, as well as others, citizens of the town of Alexandria, to bring without delay the question of said constitutionality or unconstitutionality before the supreme court of the United States:
That your memorialists, in common with numerous citizens of good education and great experience, skilled and learned in the law, do by force of the plain and obvious dictates of the constitution of the United States, as well as of the acts of original cession by the states of Virginia and Maryland, deem and consider the whole District of Columbia, or federal ten miles square, to be a perfect unit, undivided and indivisible, and so deeming and considering, they are constrained to conclude that even if the congress of the United States had a constitutional power to cede, said congress must cede the whole and not a part:
That lastly, your memorialists, penetrated with a deep regard for the great principles of constitutional republican freedom, cannot behold with feelings other than painful, the severe blow dealt by said act of retrocession, at one of the chief principles upon which are built the liberties of our common country, namely, that whereby the fairly expressed will of a majority shall be taken as law, inasmuch as the congress in said act of retrocession allowed to a small minority of the citizens of the District of Columbia the decision of a question of paramount importance to the whole thus virtually establishing a precedent equally novel and dangerous, whereby a minority is empowered to rule the majority.
County of Alexandria, December 2, 1846.
Signed, Anthony R. Fraser, Wesley Carlin, Henry Hardy, ElCHARD SOTHORON, Nicholas Febrey, Walter S. Alexander, Samuel Birch, Horatio Ball, Wash. T. Harper, Committee of nine, acting by order and in behalf of the citizens of the counttry part of Alexandria county