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Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions
of the State of Kentucky. (Journal of the Senate
, session begun January 1, 1799, p. 43. Text differing slightly from that given by Elliot.)
The following is an extract from the message of Governor Daniel Rogers of Delaware, submitted to the General Assembly of the State on January 7, 1799. It was not known to me at the time of publication of the previous article.
You will also herewith receive other resolutions of a very different tendency, transmitted to me by his Excellency the Governor of the State of Kentucky. These resolutions seem to me, both by their language and object, to assume a form extremely hostile to the peace and happiness of the United States. According to my understanding, the Legislature of that State undertake to exercise a power not vested in them, but which is expressly delegated to another tribunal. If the laws of which they complain are unconstitutional, it belongs to the judiciary, and not to any Legislature to declare them to be so. As well may the Legislature of Kentucky or of any other State decide upon all and every other law of Congress. And if a measure of this kind is to be resorted to on every occasion, when a law becomes disagreeable to a particular State, however necessary it may be for the good of the whole, the Constitution, which was a "result of a spirit of amity and of mutual deference and concession" will soon become a shield to the fractions and discontented, and instead of promoting "the lasting welfare of our country" will involve us in disputes which may finally terminate in our utter ruin. It is expressly declared in the fourth article "that the Constitution and the laws of the United States, which shall be made in pursuance thereof, shall be the supreme law of the land," and in the third article "that the Judicial power shall extend to all cases in Law and Equity, arising under the Constitution and the laws of the United States, etc." Hence it is evident that there is a proper authority to decide upon every Act of Congress, without the interference of the Legislature of any State, and that it is as unconstitutional in a Legislature to assume a judicial Power as it would be in Congress to enact a law not warranted by the Constitution. (Journal of the Senate.)
Resolutions of the Connecticut General Assembly.
Resolved that the attempt to form a combination of the Legislatures of the several states for the avowed purpose of controuling the measures of the Government is foreign to the duties of the State Legislatures; Hostile to the existance of our national Union, and opposed to the principles of the Constitution, with these impressions this Assembly doth deeply regret that a spirit should Exist in the Legislature of any State capable of dictating Resolutions like those now under consideration; Resolutions calculated to subvert the Constitution and to introduce discord and anarchy. were this Assembly permitted to decide on the Measures of the General Government, they would declare the Acts against which the aforesaid Resolutions are particularly aimed, strictly Constitutional, but it is sufficient to remark that the administration of the Government meets their entire approbation, and that the Alien, and Sedition Acts are wisely calculated among others, to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the General welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to themselves, and their posterity. And therefore this Assembly doth refuse to concur with