Page:Contemporary Opinion of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, p2.djvu/19

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
243
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

funeral, and the local commemorations, that the Kentucky Resolutions were overlooked. The resolutions of 1799 were not officially communicated to the other states and did not directly demand an answer. In form they were a solemn protest and in that light they seem to have been regarded. All the Federalist newspapers which made any comment upon them treated them as mere reiteration of those of the preceding year, failing to perceive that there was an important difference between the two sets.[1]

In Virginia, Madison's Report was greeted by the Republicans as a conclusive reply to the answers of the states and a complete vindication of the Virginia Resolutions.[2] It was widely circulated, and according to the Richmond Examiner, was of much service to the Republican cause in the elections held in the spring of 1800.[3] In New England the Report appears to have been little known. I have not been able to find any newspaper taking particular notice of it, or even giving it enough attention to enable its readers to obtain an idea of the arguments contained in the Report. The newspapers of the Middle States appear not to have given it more attention than those of New England, but there is some little evidence to show that it was quite well known in New York and Pennsylvania. An edition of it was published at Albany,[4] and Alexander Addison published at Philadelphia an elaborate reply to it.[5] In this reply Addison repeated with approval the reasoning of Madison, that the word states is equivalent to the expression the people of each state. From this premise he concluded, "It appearing then, that the people of the several states are the parties to the compact in the constitution, it will not follow that because the parties to a compact must be the judges whether it has been violated, the Legislatures of each state are the judges whether the constitution has been violated." Madison's argument would be true only upon the supposition that the state legislatures were the parties to the Constitution.[6] Addison does not seem to have perceived that his argument pushed a step further would have established the principle, that the people of Virginia, acting in their highest sovereign capacity, would have

  1. For examples see the Salem Gazette, December 27, 1799 (H. U.); the Massachusetts Spy, January 1, 1800 (A. A. S.); Albany Centinel, December 24, 1799 (H. U.); the Spectator (N. Y.), December 18, 1799 (H. U.); Massachusetts Mercury, December 24, 1799; Kennebec Intelligencer, January 18, 1800 (H. U.).
  2. The Press (Richmond), January 31, 1800. A. A. S.
  3. April 29, 1800.
  4. There is a copy of this edition in the Boston Public Library.
  5. Analysis of the Report of the Committee of the Virginia Assembly, on the Proceedings of Sundry of the other States in Answer to their Resolutions. By Alexander Addison. Philadelphia, 1800. Pamphlet, B. A.
  6. Pp. 6–8.