The commonwealth of Virginia has been proudly styled "the mother of States and statesmen." She is, justly entitled to this mark of distinction. Virginia gave to the Federal Union the States of Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. She gave the Republic Patrick Henry, whose fiery eloquence first sowed broadcast the seeds of rebellion against Great Britain's tyranny and oppression which ripened into American. Independence. She gave the Colonies, at the commencement of the Revolution, the Commander-in- Chief of their armies who led them to victory and achieved their independence, and won for himself the appellation of "Father of his country," "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." An illustrious statesman of hers drew the immortal Declaration of Independence. And another son of the Old Dominion has been properly termed "the father of the American Constitution." Seven of the Presidents of the Republic were born in the State of Virginia; and all the other States, now thirty-nine in number, have only furnished eleven Presidents.
James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, and the subject of our present sketch, is justly entitled to be called the "father of the Federal Constitution." He saw the imperfection of the old Articles, of Confederation which made the general government dependent on the States for the enforcement of its laws and the collection of its revenues. This voluntary obedience on the part of the States did very well whilst they were struggling for independence and overrun by the armies of Great Britain. But no sooner was danger removed than they became remiss in their contributions