Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/68

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

telligence, his voice calm, deliberate and full. His reputation as the author of what was regarded as the palladium of our liberties β€Šβ€“β€Šthe Declaration of Rights and of the first Constitution of the Commonwealth, together with his known opposition to the ratification of the Federal Constitution, which he had refused to sign in the Federal Convention, as a delegate from Virginia, was calculated to attract attention. He was now past three score, but had only been in the public service about twelve years, but he was confessedly the first man in every assembly. He bitterly opposed unconditional grants to the General Government. He insisted upon amendments and conditions which he regarded as essential to secure the rights and liberties of the people. He wished these rights guaranteed in the instrument before its ratification and adoption. Throughout the session of the Convention he was an admirable coadjutor to Henry. One was the orator appealing to the sentiments and passions; the other the statesman invoking judgment and reason. He was not a broad man in his views; in fact his statesmanship appears to have been rather narrow and contracted, as evidenced by this question asked in debate:

"Does any man suppose that one general national government can exist in so extensive a country as this?" If living to-day he would doubtless have opposed the acquisition of Porto Rico and the Philippines.

"He was not of that strain of counselors That, like a tuft of rushes in a brook, Bends every way the current turns itself Yielding to every puff of appetite That comes from majesty, but with true zeal He faithfully declared all."


Attended a country school with John Marshall, with whom he traveled his eventful career, in war and peace, a long and honored course. He spent a term at "William and Mary, but his elementary stock of knowledge was small, his real education was on the stage of life. He entered the army of the Revolution at the age of eighteen as a cadet, became a lieutenant and captain