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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.;

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8128. STATE RIGHTS, Encroachments on.—
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8128. STATE RIGHTS, Encroachments on.—

Whilst the General Assembly [of Virginia]


Page 833
thus declares the rights retained by the States, rights which they have never yielded, and which this State will never voluntarily
yield, they do not mean to raise the banner
of disaffection, or of separation from their
sister States, coparties with themselves to
this compact. They know and value too
highly the blessings of their Union as to foreign
nations and questions arising among
themselves, to consider every infraction of it
as to be met by actual resistance. They respect
too affectionately the opinions of those
possessing the same rights under the same
instrument, to make that difference of construction
a ground of immediate rupture. They
would, indeed, consider such a rupture as
among the greatest calamities which could
befall them; but not the greatest. There is
yet one greater, submission to a government
of unlimited powers. It is only when the
hope of avoiding this shall have become absolutely
desperate, that further forbearance
could not be indulged. Should a majority
of the coparties, therefore, contrary to the
expectation and hope of this Assembly, prefer,
at this time acquiescence in these assumptions
of power by the Federal member of the government,
we will be patient and suffer much
under the confidence that time, ere it be too
late, will prove to them also the bitter consequences
in which that usurpation will involve
us all. In the meantime we will breast
with them, rather than separate from them,
every misfortune, save that only of living
under a government of unlimited powers.
We owe every other sacrifice to ourselves, to
our Federal brethren, and to the world at
large, to pursue with temper and with perseverance
the great experiment which shall
prove that man is capable of living in society,
governing itself by laws self-imposed,
and securing to its members the enjoyment
of life, liberty, property, and peace; and further
to show, that even when the government
of its choice shall manifest a tendency to
degeneracy we are not at once to despair,
but that the will and the watchfulness of its
sounder parts will reform its aberrations, recall
it to original and legitimate principles,
and restrain it within the rightful limits of
Virginia Protest. Washington ed. ix, 498. Ford ed., x, 351.