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political system of his country. As a New York. Not deeming it prudent member of the Continental Congress for a meeting so thinly attended to he had been compelled to witness, attempt to transact the important busimore nearly than most other persons, dess entrusted to them, the commisfor a series of years, the defects of that sioners contented themselves with a plan; and had naturally turned his recommendation to the State Legislathoughts very intently upon the means tures, by which they had been deleof amending it. In the introductory gated, "to concur themselves, and use article, prefixed to the report of the de- their endeavors to procure the concurbates in the Convention, he gives a rence of the other States, in the apsuccinct account of the measures resort- pointment of commissioners, to meet at ed to for this purpose, in all which he Philadelphia on the second Monday in appears himself to have taken the ini. May next, to take into consideration the tiative. As early as the year 1783, he situation of the United States; to deretired from Congress, and accepted a vise such farther expedients as may place in the Assembly of Virginia, in appear to them necessary to render the order to employ his influence there in Constitution of the Federal Governeffecting the desired object. He took ment adequate to the exigencies of the his seat in May, 1784, and after strug. Union, and to report such an act for gling for two years against a strong, that purpose to the United States in and ofien successful opposition, obtain- Congress assembled, as, when agreed ed, on the 26th of January, 1786, the to by them, and afterwards confirmed appointment of commissioners,of whom by the Legislatures of all the States, John Randolph and himself were the will effectually provide for the same.” two first named, to “meet such com- The recommendation, of which these missioners as might be named by the are the concluding sentences, was writother States for the same purpose, in ten by Hamilton, and is a document of order to take into consideration the great ability. It is inserted entire in trade of the United States,-to consider Mr. Madison's introduction to the dehow far a uniform system in their com- bates. The Legislature of Virginia mercial regulations may be necessary was the first that acted upon this reto their common interest, and their per- commendation. The proceedings were manent harmony, and to report to the arranged with great unanimity, and several States such an act, relative to delegates were appointed on the 4th of this great object, as, when unanimously December. The venerated name of ratified by them, will enable the United WASHINGTON, standing at the head of States in Congress effectually to pro- the line, already sanctified, as it were, vide for the same.”
to the American people, the plan in The appointment of this commission question, and gave, at the very outset, was the first public proceeding in the that favorable impulse to public opinion course of measures that terminated in which is always so important to sucthe adoption of the Federal Constitu- cess. The law passed by the Virginia tion. The resolution was moved by Legislature in compliance with the reMr. Tyler,-father to the present Pre- commendation from Annapolis was sident of the United States, —"an influ- drafted by Madison, and is given enential member," who, from not having tire in his introduction. The preambeen a member of Congress, was ble contains a succinct, but impressive thought a more suitable person than statement of the motives for attemptMr. Madison to make the formal mo- ing a reform, and is written with not tion. It met, at first, with very little less ability than the recommendation favor; but after the failure of some of Hamilton. Thus, these two illustriother propositions for increasing the ous men, who figured afterwards so powers of Congress, was proposed a prominently together, as the leading second time by Mr. Tyler, on the last supporters of the Constitution, are seen day of the session, and met with gen- already, moving harmoniously, side by eral acquiescence. Three of the com- side, towards the accomplishment of missioners, including the two first the great object, in the very initiatory named, met at Annapolis on the first of steps of the proceedings. September following, where they were The idea of a general Convention was joined by commissioners from Dela- not entirely new to the American peoware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and ple, having been previously suggested
in several quarters of greater or less “ The curiosity I had felt during my authority. Hence the proceedings in researches into the history of the most Virginia, sanctioned as they were by the distinguished confederacies, particularly
eat name of Washington were imme. those of antiquity, and the deficiency diately imitated in all the other States,
which I found in the means of satisfying with the single exception of Rhode
it ---more especially in what related to Island. That State, as is well known,
the process, the principles, the reasons
and anticipations which prevailed in the took no part in the Convention, and
formation of them,---determined me to predid not adopt the constitution until two
serve, as far as I could, an exact account years after it went into operation. She
of what might pass in the Convention, was determined to this course, accord
whilst executing its trust, with the maging to Mr. Madison, “ by an obdurate nitude of which I was duly impressed, as adherence to an advantage which her I was by the gratification promised to fuposition gave her, of taxing her neigh- ture curiosity by an authentic exhibition bors through their consumption of im- of the objects, the opinions, and the reaported supplies,-an advantage which sonings from which the new system of it was foreseen would be taken from government was to receive its peculiar her by a revisal of the Articles of Con- structure and organization. Nor was I federation."
unaware of the value of such a contribuAs Virginia had thus taken the lead
tion to the fund of materials for the hisin the proceedings which produced the
tory of a constitution on which would be Convention, it was natural that she
staked the happiness of a people, great
even in its infancy, and possibly the cause should also take the lead in the Con
of liberty throughout the world. vention itself; and Mr. Madison, as the
“ In pursuance of the task I had asmost effective member of the delega.
sumed, I chose a seat in front of the pretion from that State on the floor, be. siding member, with the other members came, of course, the most important on my right and left hands. In this favand prominent member of the body. orable position for hearing all that passed, Unaffectedly modest as he was, and I noted, in terms legible and in abbreviacontinued to be through life, he was tions and marks intelligible to myself, yet fully aware of the nature of his what was read from the chair or spoken own position, and of the character of by the members; and, losing not a moment the proceedings in which he was en- unnecessarily, between the adjournment gaged. He was resolved to do justice, and re-assembling of the Convention I so far as lay in his power, to the occa
was enabled to write out my daily notes sion. His remarks on the spirit with
during the session, or within a few finishwhich he entered on the business, and
ing days after its close, in the extent and
form preserved in my own hand and on the arrangements which he made for
my files. reporting the debates, -as given in the
« In the labor and correctness of this I introductory article before alluded to,
was not a little aided by practice, and by -are highly interesting:
a familiarity with the style and the train
of observation and reasoning which char“ On the arrival of the Virginia depu- acterized the principal speakers. It hapties at Philadelphia, it occurred to them pened also that I was not absent a single that from the early and prominent part day, nor more than a casual fraction of taken by that State in bringing about the an hour in any day, so that I could not Convention, some initiative step might have lost a single speech, unless a very be expected from them. The resolutions short one. introduced by Governor Randolph were “ It may be proper to remark that, with the result of a consultation on the sub- a very few exceptions, the speeches were ject, with an understanding that they left neither furnished, nor revised, nor sancall the deputies entirely open to the lights tioned by the speakers, but written out of discussion, and free to concur in any from my notes, aided by the freshness of alterations or modifications which their my recollections. A farther remark may reflections and judgment might approve. be proper, that views of the subject might The resolutions, as the journals show, occasionally be presented in the speeches became the basis on which the proceed- and proceedings, with a latent reference ings of the Convention commenced, and to a compromise on some middle ground, to the developments, variations, and mo- by mutual concessions. The exceptions difications of which the plan of govern- alluded to were,---first, the sketch furment proposed by the Convention may be nished by Mr. RANDOLPH of his speech traced.
on the introduction of his propositions on
the 29th day of May; secondly, the which it was to replace, and best secure speech of Mr. HAMILTON, on the 18th the permanent liberty and happiness of of June, who happened to call upon the country.” me when putting the last hand to it, It appears from the phrase marked and who acknowledged its fidelity, with
in italics that the interesting paper of out suggesting more than a very few ver
which these paragraphs form the conbal alterations, which were made ; thirdly, the speech of GOUVERNEUR MORRIS
clusion, and which is not dated in the on the 2d day of May, which was com
original manuscript, was written nearly municated to him on a like occasion, and
fifty years after the adoption of the who acquiesced in it without even a ver
constitution, and was, of course, one of bal change. The correctness of his lan
the lamented author's last productions. guage and the distinctness of his enuncia The draft does not even appear to have tion were particularly favorable to a re been corrected with much care, as porter. The speeches of Dr. FRANKLIN, there are some errors in it either of the excepting a few brief ones, were copied pen or the memory. One of these will from the written ones read to the Conven- be observed in the remark included in tion by his colleague, Mr.Wilson, it being the above extract upon a speech of inconvenient to the doctor to remain long GOUVERNEUR MORRIS, which is supupon his feet.
posed to have been inade on the 2d of “Of the ability and intelligence of
May, when the Convention was not those who composed the Convention the
in session. In general the paper is disdebates and proceedings may be a test; as the character of the work, which was
tinguished by the same correciness and the offspring of their deliberations, must
simple elegance of style, the same pube tested by the experience of the future, rity of sentiment, and
rity of sentiment, and the same vigor added to that of nearly half a century that and clearness of thought, which have has passed.
been so much admired in the author's “ But whatever may be the judgment more elaborate efforts. It affords a pronounced on the competency of the ar- satisfactory evidence of the full perfecchitects of the constitution, or whatever tion in which Mr. Madison retained his may be the destiny of the edifice prepared intellectual and moral powers up to the by them, I feel it a duty to express my very close of his long-continued life. profound and solemn conviction, derived In a future paper we propose, with from my intimate opportunity of observ- the aid of the information supplied by ing and appreciating the views of the
the invaluable work now before us, to Convention, collectively and individually,
offer a rapid sketch of the several plans that there never was an assembly of men,
that were offered to the Convention,charged with a great and arduous trust,
of the progress of the discussion, and who were more pure in their motives, or
of the manner in which the materials more exclusively or anxiously devoted to the object committed to them than were
employed were finally wrought up into the members of the Federal Convention the mature and finished instrument of 1787 to the object of devising and pro
that has obtained so extensive a celeposing a constitutional system, which brity as THE CONSTITUTION OF THE should best supply the defects of that UNITED STATES.
NEW NOTES ON RUSSIA.
BY A RECENT VISITER.
St. Petersburg._We are surprised city, when illuminated, and the glitto find a population of 470,000 in a tering lights of the palaces on its borcity founded only in 1703, on a barren, der are reflected in the clear and rapid desolate, and discouraging spot, and waters of the Neva. At such a moliable to occasional and disastrous in- ment, stationed on the Admiralty Place, undations. More than 200,000, how you are surrounded by the most splenever, consists of the army, nobility, did specimens of architecture in St. Péand their domestics. Its effective po- tersburg. Below, on the opposite bank pulation is about 100,000 less than of the Neva, you have the chaste and New York, including its suburbs on beautiful Academy of Fine Arts; the opposite bank of the East River. above, you see the new Exchange, a The latter is rapidly outstripping the copy of one of the ruins of Pastum ; former. Since 1783 St. Petersburg has opposite to this stands the colossal increased from 200,000 to 470,000, Winter Palace --in its rear, the column while New York has risen from 20,000 of Alexander and the admirable archito 360,000, with its suburbs; and in an- tecture of the Etat-Major. Returning other generation the latter will have a to the Admiralty Place, you have the greater number of inhabitants than the Admiralty on one side, ihe Palace of capital of Russia, even including the the Senate on the other; in front the army, nobility, and their servants. still-unfinished church of St. Isaac,
The Architecture of St. Petersburg the grandest in Russia; and in the is distinguished for an admirable union centre of this brilliant illumination of classic taste and oriental grandeur. rises the splendid statue of Peter the It has nearly five hundred palaces, tem- Great,--the flying horseman, appaples, and other public edifices, and a rently coursing his way among the hundred and fifty bridges over the stars, and waving the hand of that maNeva and its branches, and the Moika, gician who raised all these glittering Fontanka, and Catherine canals. The palaces from the marshes and solitudes Neva is walled with the red granite of of the Neva. But how long distant Finland, and bordered on one side may be the day when all this magnifor more than a mile and on the other ficence is to be destroyed by the inunfor more than two miles with ranges of dation to which it is well known that palaces. Nothing can be more enchant- the peculiar situation of the city rening than the appearance of this fairy ders it every year liable ? *
* The following speculation, by another late traveller in Russia, M. Kohl, in a work entitled “ Seenes in Petersburg," may be here appropriately quoted :--"The Gulf of Finland stretches in its greatest length in a straight line from Petersburg westward. The most violent winds are from this quarter, and the waters of the gulf are' thus driven direct upon the city. Were the gulf spacious in this part, There would not be so much to apprehend; but, unfortunately, the shores contract itnmediately towards Petersburg, which lies at its innermost point; while close to the city the waters lie hemmed in the narrow bay of Cronstadt. In addition to this, the Neva, which flows from east to west, here discharges its waters into the gulf, thus encountering the violent waves from the west in a diametrically opposite direclion. The islands of the Neva Delta, on which the palaces of Petersburg take root, are particularly flat and low. On their outer and uninhabited sides, towards the sea, they completely lose themselves beneath the waters, and even those parts which lie highest, and are, consequently, most peopled, are only raised from twelve to fourteen Teet above the level of the gulf. A rise of fifteen feet is sufficient, therefore, to lay all Petersburg under water, and one of thirty or forty feet must overwhelm the city. To bring about this latter disaster, nothing more is requisite than that a strong west wind should exactly concur with high water and ice-passage. The ice masses frone VOL. XINOI.