« AnteriorContinuar »
WE WILLIAM F. PENDLETON, and ALEXANDER L. Boris, members of the Executive Council of Virginia, do hereby certify that the Laws contained in the Ninth Volume of Hening's Statutes at Large, have been by us examined and compared with the originals from which they were taken, and have been found truly and accurately printed, except as to a list of Errata to the number of forty seven, at the end of the volume. The variations from the original, where they have not affected the sense were not noted; nor the errors in the original, where the
py is evidently right. Given under our hands this 21st day of November, 1821.
Minth Volume of the Statutes at Large.
The volume now presented to the public is one of peculiar interest. It commences with the Revolution, and carries us through a period which emphatically “ tried mens' souls.” The regal government, in the nervous language of the constitution, was Total• LY DISSOLVED;- no other form had then been adopted; the militia laws had beer suffered to expire;(a)--and the revenues of the crown were in the hands of its late officers, from which they were not extracted until a late period.(b) Thus the fathers of the revolution, when they dared that hazardous enterprize, fouud themselves without a government,--without men,-and without money. Indeed, they had nothing to support them, in the awíul contest, but their own virtue and talents, and a firm reliance on the SOVEREIGN DISPOSER OF ALL EVENTS.(c) The progress of the revolution shews with what facility all these difficulties were surmounted.
One of the first measures adopted by the American people to resist the encroachments of the government of Great Britain, was a system of self-denial, generally called the Continental Association, or non-importation agreement.(d) To enforce this, the Gereral Congress had recommended the appointment of Committees of Safety in the several colonies.(e) But the number of committeemen as well as their duration in office being unlimited, (e) the Convention of Virginia gave them a more distinct organization. A General Committee of Safety was appointed by the convention, (f) who were invested with the supreme executive powers of government. County committees were elected by the freeholders of the several counties and corporations;(g) from which district comunittees were deputed. On these committees devolved the appointment of the captains and subaltern officers of the regulars and minute men, and the general superintendence of the recruiting service.(h) So practically useful had the General Committee of Safety been found, that their powers were transferred to the Governor and Council,
(a) See pa 37. (b) See pa 360. (c) See the declaration of the convention in their Journal of the 13th of December, 1775. (a) Sce pa. 102, See pa. 57. (1) See pa. 49. (8) See pa. 57. Ch) See pa. 7,11,13,14,15,77, 78,88,89, &c.
and continued long after the adoption of the constitution.(i) These committees constituted the erecutive department of the government. The legislative was formed by delegates to the convention, annually elected by the freeholders of the several counties, and corporations, by law, entitled to send burgesses to the general assembly.(k) A judiciary, consisting of three judges appointed by the convention, and five members of each county committee, commissioned by the general committee of safety, was appointed to decide on cases arising under the ordinance “ for establishing a mode of punishment for the enemies to America in this colony."(l) The military was composed of regulars, (m) minute-men, or certain portions of the militia, more strictly trained, (n) and the main body of the militia, newly organized.(o) To provide money, emissions of treasury notes, or paper money were authorised.(p)
It is impossible to read this volume without perceiving what rapid progress was made in military science, and how fitly every measure was adapted to the circumstances of the country. Keeping a steady eye to the great object to be obtained, the friends of the revolution often resorted to the most efficient measures to effect their purpose,--taking care to preface every such act with a preamble which fully justified them. Remarkable instances of this kind occur in the “ Act for the punishment of certain offences,(9)-the act prescribing the oath of allegiance,(r)--the act for the encourageinent of iron works,(s)--the act to confirm the Kentucky election, (1)--the act for speedily recruiting the Virginia reginients on continental establishment, (u)--the act for indemnifying the governor and council, and others for removing and confining suspected persous, (v)--the act for better securing the commonwealth, &c.(w) the act for speedily clothing the troops,(x)-the act laying an embargo on provisions, and authorising their seizure for the use of the arıny, (y)--the act to attaint Josial Pbilips and his associates,(z)the aci for more effectually enforcing embargoes, (aa)--the act to supply the inhabitants of this commonwealth with sali, upon reasonable terms, (bb)-the act more effectually to guard against counterfeiting, (cc)--the act to amend the act for preventing forestalling, &c (dd)—and the act authorising the seizure of grain and flour for the use of our armies and navies, and the French squadron.(re)
(i) See pa. 121,178,309 k) See pa. 59. 12. See pa. 101,102,103. (m See pa. 7. ( 11 ) See pa lv. r) See pa. 27. Co See pa 67 (9) See pa. 170. (ro) see pa. 180. (s) See pa. 303. (1) See pa. 316. (u) See pa 388. (v) See pa. 373. (w) See pa. 37+ (x) See pa 375. (y) See pa 385. (z) See pa. 468. (un) See pa 474. (55) See pa 503. (cc) See pa. 511. (dd) See pa. 581. (ee) Sce pa. 584.
The journals of convention being so important in themselves, and so closely connected with the ordinances that it was once the intention of the editor to have prefixed them to this volume. But, in order to avoid the dividing of the acts of a session, it was found that the volume had so far exceeded the limits of his engagements with the public that he was compelled to abandon the idea.—Should the legislature enable bim to complete the sets of the whole work, without delay, and take off the restriction which limits the payments out of the treasury to one volume a year, he will publish all the JOURNALS of the Convention, in one separate volume, and furnish a copy with each set of the STATUTES AT LARGE, without any additional charge to the public, or to individuals.
WILLIAM WALLER HENING: