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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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of that government would revolt at least as readily, as the inhabitants of this country.  We do not find, that there was any immediate and personal act of the prince necessary for the exercise of the law, unless perhaps the affixing a piece of wax now and then to a piece of paper or parchment.  And I believe we may find men in this country, quite as well skilled in that manufacture, -is any English workmen.  If not, I am confident we may import as many workmen as we please.  But, Sir, what says the law to the present resistance ? We have lawyers enough among us, to tell what the law books say.  Many hard names are there stored up for such occasions, of which I believe the very gentlest and smoothest kind are riotously and routously.  Yet from the general silence of judges and juries, I cannot but think that the people consider this House as the sovereign  power, a resistance of whose commands is that resistance, which all these hard words are levelled at.  Let us consider the matter a little further.  Pray, if we had found the people of this country without any law whatever, or (what amounts to the same thing,) if his Majesty should send a frigate to bring over his governors, counsellors, judges, great seal, and the like, in such case should we hesitate a moment to provide proper laws and proper tribunals?  Did we, in such instances as the law was deficient in, did we there hesitate?  Or rather, have we not a strict tribunal for the laws of Congress in every committee?  To affirm then, that the distribution of justice is not in the hands of this House, argues great want of attention, and ignorance of our public proceedings.  To make short of this part Of my argument, I take Massachusetts Bay as an instance in point, which renders further reasoning unnecessary.

‘We find, therefore, the characteristic marks and of independence in this society, considered in itself, and compared with other societies.  The enumeration is conviction.  Coining money, raising armies, regulating commerce, peace, war, all these things you are not only adepts in, but masters of.  Treaties alone remain, and even those you have dabbled at.


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From The Life of Gouverneur Morris: With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers; Detailing Events in the American Revolution, The French Revolution, and in the Political History of the United States, by Jared Sparks, Volume 1, Boston: Gray & Bowen, 1832, p 99. Some minor edits may have been made, but an attempt has been made to preserve the original spelling. Although some effort has been made to correct the limitations of OCR technology, if you find an error please report it to jvinci@colonialhall.com.

 
 


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Last modified August 20, 2006