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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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6667. PIERS, Power to build.—
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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6667. PIERS, Power to build.—

know my doubts, or rather convictions, about
the unconstitutionality of the act for building
piers in the Delaware, and the fears that it
will lead to a bottomless expense, and to the
greatest abuses. There is, however, one intention
of which the act is susceptible, and
which will bring it within the Constitution;
and we ought always to presume that the real
intention which is alone consistent with the
Constitution. Although the power to regulate
commerce does not give a power to build piers,
wharves, open ports, clear the beds of rivers,
dig canals, build warehouses, build manufacturing
machines, set up manufactories, cultivate
the earth, to all of which the power would go
if it went to the first, yet a power to provide
and maintain a navy is a power to provide
receptacles for it, and places to cover and preserve
it. In choosing the places where this
money should be laid out, I should be much disposed,
as far as contracts will permit, to confine
it to such place or places as the ships of war
may lie at, and be protected from ice; and I
should be for stating this in a message to Congress,
in order to prevent the effect of the present
example. This act has been built on the exercise
of the power of building light houses, as a
regulation of commerce. But I well remember


Page 696
the opposition, on this very ground, to the first
act for building a lighthouse. The utility of
the thing has sanctioned the infraction. But
if, on that infraction, we build a second, and on
that second a third, &c., any one of the powers
in the Constitution may be made to comprehend
every power of government.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iv, 449. Ford ed., viii, 174.
(Oct. 1802)