General Government, then, that the Committee be also instructed to report such measures for the adoption of this General Assembly as they shall think will most effectually tend to arrest these usurpations,—to stay the hand of avarice and Despotism—to reinstate the good people of this commonwealth in all their essential Rights and Liberties, and the Government thereof in all the Rights granted and secured to it by its fundamental laws."—[See Appendix. Note A.]
Having given in my last communication, the Nullification of Virginia, both as to the principle clearly established by Madison's Resolutions, and as to the practice put in force by the Act of the Legislature, annulling the Sedition Law, in regard to the members of that body—and having shown that the extension of this Act of Protection to the citizens of the State generally, had been anticipated by the expiration and non-renewal of those high-handed and imperial edicts—We next present the Nullification of Kentucky, in the Resolutions which were so ably drawn by the immortal Jefferson—the ablest of American Statesmen, the man confessedly, of all others, the best acquainted with our Constitution and frame of Government.
First. The Resolutions passed November 10, 1798, are to this effect:
1st. "Resolved, That the several States, composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government, but that by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a General Government for special purposes; delegated to that Government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government—and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force—That, to this compact, each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party; its co-states forming, as to itself, the other party—That the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself, since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers—But that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.
2d and 3d. Resolved, That the Act of Congress passed on the 12th July, 1798, entitled "An Act in addition to the Act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States," is not law, but is altogether void and of no effect.
4th. Resolved, That the Act of Congress, passed on the 22d June, 1798, entitled "An Act concerning Aliens," which assumes powers over Alien Friends, not delegated by the Constitution, is not law, but is altogether void and of no force.
7th. Resolved, "That words meant by that instrument (the Constitution) to be subsidiary only to the execution of the limited powers, ought not to be so construed as themselves to give unlimited powers—nor a part so to be taken as to destroy the whole residue of the instrument—that the proceedings of the General Government under colour of these articles, will be a fit and necessary subject for revisal and correction, at a time of greater tranquillity, while those specified in the preceding Resolutions call for immediate redress.
9th. Resolved, That this Commonwealth is determined (as it doubts not its co-states are,) tamely to submit to undelegated and consequently unlimited powers in no man or body of men, on earth.
Second—The Resolution passed November 14, 1799, in support of those of the preceding year, are in these precise words, viz:
Resolved, "That the several States who formed that Instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction—and that a nullification by those sovereignties of all unauthorized Acts done under color of that Instrument, is the rightful remedy."
Here we have our high and established precedent for the adoption of that doctrine, for the alleged invention of which, we haev been but too much honoured—here we have too, the very name bestowed upon that sovereign and rightful remedy which we aver that the Constitution impliedly recognizes when it declares that all rights not granted to the Congress are reserved to the States or to the people—though we do not (as has been absurdly supposed,) claim the right as granted by the Constitution.
Upon this venerated authority, together with that of Virginia, we rest the support of our cause—by this lofty sanction we are willing to stand or fall—under this exalted standard we will fight and conquer—"In hoc Signo Vincemus."
GOV. McDUFFIE'S INAUGURAL ADDRESS.
Gentlemen of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives: