THE REGULATION OF COMMERCE. THE FIFTH CONGRESS.
THE legislature of Connecticut in 1783, angry at the grant of half pay to the officers of the army, insisted that the requisitions of congrese had no validity until they received the approval of the state. But the vote was only “a fire among the brambles;” and the people at the next election chose a legislature which accepted the general impost on commerce, even though it should be assented to by no more than twelve states.* The Virginia assembly of that year discountenanced the deviation from the rule of unanimity as a dangerous precedent;† but it was adopted by Maryland,‡
In the following winter Noah Webster of Hartford busied himself in the search for a form of a continental government which should act as efficaciously on its members as a local government. “So long as any individual state has power to defeat the measures of the other twelve, our pretended union,” so he expressed the opinion which began to prevail, “is but a name, and our confederation a cobweb. The sovereignty of each state ought not to be abridged in any article relating to its own government; in a matter that equally respects all the states, a majority of the states must decide. We cannot and ought not to divest ourselves of provincial attachments, but we should subordinate them to the general interest of the con-
* Monroe to Madison, 14 December 1784.
† Madison to Monroe, 24 December 1784. Madison, i., 114, 115.
‡ Act of Maryland. Session of 1784, 1785. In Pennsylvania Packet of 8 February 1785.