Page:Contemporary Opinion of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, p2.djvu/5

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Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

formed of. According to this correspondent, Bacon while minister of the Old South Church in Boston in pre-Revolutionary days had owned two slaves, a husband and wife. Though Bacon had received them into his church-fellowship, when he perceived the likelihood of his losing them by action of the state he sold the husband, who was transported from Massachusetts, never to see his wife again. "This," says the correspondent, "is the man who stands for liberty and equality." Bacon had no difficulty in proving the story false,[1] but the Centinel took no notice of that fact.

Dr. Aaron Hill, the Republican leader in the House, lived in Cambridge. One night not long after the end of the session of the General Court, a Federalist mob, composed, the Chronicle insinuates, of students from Harvard College, manifested their disapprobation of Dr. Hill's course upon the reply to Virginia and Kentucky by shattering the windows and casements in his house. This outrage, however, redounded to the confusion of the Federalists. When the election for members of the General Court came on, about a month later, the Federalists made Hill and his course upon the reply to Virginia and Kentucky the issue at the largest town-meeting Cambridge had ever known. Hill was returned by three majority, enough Federalists casting their votes in his favor on account of the outrage to secure his election.[2]

It is plain, then, that both the Federalists and the Republicans of Massachusetts took the same general attitude toward the protest and remedy of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions as did the members of their respective parties in the Middle States. The Federalists manifested an utterly imperious and intolerant demeanor towards their Republican opponents. The imprisonment of Adams indicates that the Federalists were ready upon the slightest provocation to treat opposition to the policy of the administration, whether federal or state, as a crime. That case certainly does much to explain why Jefferson and other Republican leaders could fear that republican institutions were about to be overthrown.

The Rhode Island newspapers furnished their readers with no original thoughts upon the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions and with but little information about the manner in which the legislature of the state handled them. The legislature met at East Greenwich on February 18, and nearly all that can be learned of their proceedings for the entire session is that before adjourning on March 9 two sets of resolutions were passed in reply to Virginia and Kentucky.

  1. The Western Star (Stockbridge), May 20, 1799. A. A. S. This was a Federalist paper.
  2. Columbian Centinel, May 8, 1799; Chronicle, April 11, 1799.