Page:State Documents on Federal Relations.djvu/26
State of New Hampshire:
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress assembled: The remonstrance of the Legislature of the State of New Hampshire, showeth:—
That the citizens of the State of New Hampshire adopted the federal constitution of the United States under the full conviction that more extensive general powers were necessary to be vested in Congress than they ever possessed or pretended that they possessed, when they were entirely dependent on the good-will or the resolves of the several States. But by this adoption they did not then intend, nor does their Legislature now choose to admit, that the confederation was in force prior to March, 1781, or that the federal constitution existed with respect to New Hampshire before June, 1788. That a question respecting the powers of Congress and the powers of the several States previous to the constitution or the confederation has been determined in the circuit court for the district of New Hampshire, held at Exeter on the 24th day of October, 1793, in which the foundation of the action was, whether this State, prior to an express grant to Congress, had a right to pass a law final in every way concerning the capture of vessels by this State, or citizens thereof, from the British, the enemy we were then engaged with in war. That the determination of this circuit court was, that the State of New Hampshire had no such power; but that Congress, or a court commissioned by them, could nullify the laws of any particular State; could control their several courts; and that in fact, the constitution of 1789 was unnecessary to be adopted, as it contained no new grant of powers, but only a confirmation of old ones.
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The states are forbidden by the federal constitution to make any retrospective laws. The Legislature conceived that Congress was under the same obligations; and that their courts could not rejudge cases that were finally adjudged by courts existing prior to its adoption. In fact, the Legislature conceive, and feel no inclination to relinquish the idea, that Congress, in its