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which lie on the large rivers, led Mr Lee to the active discharge of the duties, which devolved upon him, as commander of the militia of his county. In this service, he signalized his energy and skill, not less than he had done in the political councils of the country. In the two great questions, which at this time agitated the Assembly and the State of Virginia, that of making the depreciated paper money a legal tender and the obstructing of the payment of the British debts, it was the fortune of Mr Lee, who was on the negative of both these questions to be in direct collision with his colleague, Patrick Henry, who maintained the necessity and expediency of both these measures.
On the return of peace in 1783, Mr Lee resumed his seat in the Congress of the Confederation, and was chosen president of that body, of which he was for several years reelected a member. In 1787 he was one of the committee which reported the famous ordinance for the government of the territory north west of the Ohio. On the proposal of the Constitution in 1788, Mr Lee declared himself amongst the most decided opponents to its adoption. The arguments, which he employed to convince his friends of the dangerous character of this form of government, may be seen at large in the letters contained in the second volume, particularly in those addressed to Samuel Adams. Mr Lee shared the fears, which many of the soundest politicians and best patriots felt, that the National Government would prove too strong for the independence of the States. His reasonings deserve to be quoted, as part of the contemporaneous exposition of the Constitution, for it is only by comparing what was said against it with what was said for it, that we can arrive at certain knowledge of what the framers of the Constitution intended by its provisions.
The zeal and ardor, with which the friends of a strongly contested measure urge its adoption will always lead them to soften and disguise those features, which are particularly obnoxious ; and on the other hand, the opponents of the measure as naturally strive to render these obnoxious traits as prominent as possible. When, therefore, we quote simply those passages from the Federalist, and from the debates in the various State conventions, in which the obnoxious features of the Constitution are attempted to be defended, we are in great danger of falling into error; as great at least, as if we adopted the opposite course, and judged of the Constitution, solely by what was said in disparagement of it. Still, however, neither of these sources of exposition must be rejected. As we have already remarked, the letters of Mr Lee will add valuable matter to the stock of these contemporaneous expositions.
We will quote a single passage, in reference to the provision in the Constitution, that Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.' It is maintained by one school of politicians, that this provision is, of itself, sufficient to authorize Congress to do all things not prohibited by the Constitution,
which the common defence and general welfare prescribe. The other school maintains, that this provision gives no grant of powers, and seeks to sustain this position by various contemporaneous expositions. The following remark of Mr Lee, in a letter to Governor Randolph, will show his opinion of this clause.
• But what is the power given to this ill constructed body? [Congress.] To judge of what may be for the general welfare ; and such judgment, when made that of Congress, is to be the supreme law of the land. This seems to be a power coextensive with every object of human legislation.' Vol. 11. p. 79.
Mr Lee was a member of the Senate from Virginia in the first Congress, and exerted himself to procure the adoption of those amendments, which were thought so essential to guard the rights of the States. He was not, however, successful in
carrying them through, as proposed by himself and friends. The tenth amendment, which was particularly urged by Mr Lee, was proposed by him in the following form, The powers not expressly delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively. In this amendment the word expressly was stricken out; before the adoption of the article ; and on motion of Mr Ellsworth the words, or to the people,' were added. This addition will probably be thought, on close scrutiny, to be exceedingly subtil.
Mr Lee remained in the Senate during two sessions of Congress, and became, like his friend Henry, a cordial supporter of President Washington's administration. The last act of his political life was a letter, which he wrote to the President, assuring him of his support, on occasion of a meeting of the inhabitants of Fredericksburgh to condemn the proclamation of neutrality. After the year 1792, when he was at the age of sixty, he filled no VOL. XXII.--NO. 51.
place in the government of Virginia, or of the United States. He died on the nineteenth of June 1794, at his seat in Chantilly, Westmoreland.
Many readers will esteem the second volume the most valuable of the two, of which this work consists. It contains the correspondence of Mr Lee with his distinguished contemporaries, Washington, Lafayette, the two Adamses, Henry, Jefferson, Madison, and many others of the statesmen and patriots of the day. The arrangement of this volume is defective, not being upon any fixed principle of order; and as no index or list of contents accompanies the work, it is very difficult to recur to any par'ticular part
, or gain a general survey of the whole. This may be mentioned as a little error of authorship, or rather as a slight deficiency in the art of bookmaking, an art of which even the most judicious writer, about to usher a book into the world, ought not to be wholly ignorant. The literary execution of the work is, upon the whole, highly respectable ; and such as to render the work an honorable memorial to the great man who is the subject of it. Of the typographical execution little can be said in commendation. It is coarse and slovenly, and the doing up of the two volumes is disgraceful. It is high time that the opinion of the reading community was loudly expressed on this point. For ourselves, we cannot conceive how the publishers of this work, among the first publishing houses in America, can allow a book like this to go from their press, especially with such models as the Life of Quincy, and that of Otis, to show them what style of printing the public will bear, in works of this class. Prevented as we are by a most oppressive tariff from importing foreign books, it is a subject of loud and just complaint, that our own should at once be so meanly and so extravagantly printed. The work before us is in two volumes, averaging two hundred and fifty pages each, the first of them chiefly in a loose type. For this work we are obliged to pay two dollars a volume, while three dollars for the two would be a high price.
We perceive, by a paragraph in the papers, that Mr Lee, the author of this work, has deposited in the library at Philadelphia the manuscript correspondence of his grandfather. We honor this judicious disposition of such valuable historical records. It is now full time, that valuable collections of papers should be placed beyond the reach of the accidents, to which they are exposed in private hands. We doubt not almost all our readers have personal knowledge, within the circle of their acquaintance, of the gradual disappearance, absorption, annihilation of collections once large and precious. The history of our Revolution and constitutional organization is yet to be written. Nothing but materials have been published on this unparalleled theme. And many more materials must yet be given to the world, and perhaps another generation elapse, before the history can be written. The archives at Washington must be explored; those of the several states thoroughly searched ; and the treasures, which are scattered about in the families of the revolutionary worthies, must be given to the world. The latter is quite as important a preliminary as either of the others. The history of the Revolution is in the letters of the great men who shone in it. It is from them alone that characters can be graduated, majorities sifted, parties unraveled, opinions historically deduced under changing names. Take for illustration the Journal of the Federal Convention. Meagre as it is at best, what would it have been without the contributions to it, furnished by General Bloomfield as executor to Mr Brearly, by Mr C. Pinckney, and by Mr Madison. Even the sketches of Chief Justice Yates, imperfect as they are, present us all that we as yet possess, in the nature of a Report of the discussions in that august body. Much more remains in manuscript, than has yet been given to the world from the papers of the revolutionary period. General Washington's have been carefully perused by Chief Justice Marshall, but a gleaning of them only appears in his work. President Adams's, Mr Jefferson's, Mr Madison's are still, and may they long so continue, in the hands of these venerable men. The hope has occasionally been indulged, that the last of them would be induced to employ a part of his honorable leisure, in arranging the materials for a history of those momentous periods of our political history, with which no man living is so well acquainted as himself. To General Hamilton's papers we have already alluded, and trust the time is not far distant, when they will be made to contribute to the general stock of the materials for our independent history.
Such a subject, as that which this history presents, is nowhere else in the range of ages to be pointed out. Beginning with the first steps of the new colonial policy of Britain toward America, in 1764, and brought down to the adoption of the Constitution, and organization of the government in 1790, it is a theme of epic unity and grandeur. It comprehends every kind of interest ; politics alternately of the subtilest and of the most expansive school; the action and reaction upon each other of the mature political strength of the English Cabinet, and the adolescent energy of America. It is filled with characters, with incidents; the senate house rings with an eloquence, like that which was wont to be heard in the storms of the old commonwealths ; strains of exhortation and resolute responses echo to each other across the Atlantic ; in the shifting scenes of the war, all the races of man and the stages of civilization are mingled, the British veteran, the German mercenary, the gallant Chevaliers of Poland and France, the hardy American yeoman, the mountaineer, the painted savage. At one moment the mighty fleets of Europe are thundering in the Antilles; at the next, the blue eyed Brunswickers, the veterans of the Seven Years' War, are seen winding down from the Canadian frontier, under the command of an English Gentleman, to capitulate to the American militia; peace is made; thirteen republics stand side by side on the Continent, bleeding from the wounds of war, tremblingly alive for the independence, which their labors and agonies had gained them; the trial of war has been borne, that of peace succeeds; a Constitution is proposed, is discussed, is adopted ; a new life is breathed by it into the exhausted channels of the nation, which starts from that moment in a career of prosperity so rapid, so resistless, so adventurous, that the reality every day puts our brightest visions to shame. And this astonishing drama of events was the work of our days; its theatre was our beloved country; its immortal actors were our fathers.
ART. VII.- The Rebels, or Boston before the Revolution. By
THE AUTHOR OF HOBOMOK. Boston. Cummings, Hilliard, and Co. 12mo. pp. 304. We are glad to see that the author of Hobomok, whom we understand to be a lady, has resumed her pen. That interesting little tale made its way to the public favor solely by its own merits, and was scarcely noticed by our critics, till their opinions had been rendered of little consequence by the decision of the literary community. Whatever objections may be made to the mode in which the story is conducted, and the catastrophe pro