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That this State having, by its Convention, which ratified the federal Constitution, expressly declared that, among other essential rights, "the liberty of conscience and the press cannot be concealed, abridged, restrained, or modified by any anthority of the United States," and from its extreme anxiety to guard these rights from every possible attack of sophistry and ambition, having, with other States, recommended an amendment for that purpose, which amendment was, in due time, annexed to the Constitution,—it would mark a reproachful inconsistency, and criminal degeneracy, if an indifference were now shown to the most palpable violation of one of the rights thus declared and secured, and to the establishment of a precedent which may be fatal to the other.
That the good people of this commonwealth, having ever felt, and continuing to feel, the most sincere affection for their brethren of the other States; the truest anxiety for establishing and perpetuating the union of all, and the most scrupulous fidelity to that Constitution, which is the pledge of mutual friendship, and the instrument of mutual happiness, the General Assembly doth solemnly appeal to the like dispositions in the other States, in confidence that they will concur with this commonwealth in declaring, as it does hereby declare, that the acts aforesaid are unconstitutional, and that the necessary and proper measures will be taken by each for co-operating with this State in maintaining unimpaired the authorities, rights, and liberties, reserved to the States respectively or to the people.
That the Governor be desired to transmit a copy of the foregoing resolutions to the executive of each of the other States, with a request that the same may be communicated to the legislature thereof, and that a copy be furnished to each of the senators and representatives representing this State in the Congress of the United States.
KENTUCKY RESOLUTIONS OF 1798 AND 1790.
(Draum by Mr. Jefferson.)
1. Resolved, That the several States composing the United States of America are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that by compact, under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes, delegated to that government certain power, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of rights to their own selfgovernment, and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, of no force; that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party; that this government, created by this compact, was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself, since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among parties having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.
2. Resolved, That the Constitution of the United States having delegated to Congress a power to punish treason, counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States, piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the laws of nations, and no other crimes whatever, and it being true, as a general principle, and one of the amendments to the Constitution having also declared, "that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people," therefore, also, the same act of Congress, passed on the 14th day of July, 1798, and entitled "An Act in addition to the Act entitled au Act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States;" as also the act passed by them on the 27th day of June, 1798, entitled an Act to punish frauds committed on the Bank of the United States, (and all other their acts which assume to create, define, or punish crimes other than those enumerated in the Constitution,) are altogether void, and of no force; and that the power to create, define, and punish such other crimes is reserved, and of right appertains, solely and exclusively to the respective States, each within its own territory.
3. Resolved, That it is true, as a general principle, and is also expressly declared by one of the amendments of the Constitution, that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people;" and that, no power over the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or freedom of the press, being delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, all lawful powers respecting the same did of right remain, and were reserved to the States, or to the people; that thus was manifested their determination, to retain to themselves the right of judging how far the licentiousness of speech, and of the press, may be abridged without lessening their useful freedom, and how far those abuses which cannot be separated from their use, should be tolerated rather than the use be destroyed; and thus also they guarded against all abridgment, by the United States, of the freedom of all religious principles and exercises, and retained to themselves the right of protecting the same, as thus stated, by a law passed on the general demand of its citizens, bad already protected them from all human restraint or interference, and that, in addition to this general principle, and express determination, another and more special provision has been made by one of the amendments to the Constitution, which expressly declares, that "Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or the press," thereby guarding in the same sentence and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press, insomuch that whatever violates either throws down the sanctuary which covers the others,—and that libels, falsehood and defamation, equally with heresy and false religion, are withheld from the cognizance of federal tribunals. That, therefore, the act of the Congress of the United States, passed on the 14th of July, 1798, entitled, An Act in addition to the Act entitled an Act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States," which does abridge the freedom of the press, is not law, but is altogether void, and of no force.
4. Resolved, That alien friends are under the jurisdiction and protection of the laws of the State wherein they are; that no power over them has been delegated to the United States, nor prohibited to the individual States, distinct from their power over citizens; aud it being true as a general principle, and one of the amendments to the Constitution having also declared, that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people," the Act of the Congress of the United States, passed the 22ud day of June, 1798, entitled, " An Act concerning Aliens," which assumes power over alien friends not delegated by the Constitution, is not law, but is altogether void and of no force.
5. Resolved, That, in addition to the general principle, as well as the express declaration, that powers not delegated are reserved, another and more special provision, inserted in the Constitntion from abundant caution, has declared, "that the migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year 1808." That this commonwealth does admit the migration of alien friends described as the subject of the said act concerning aliens, that a provision against prohibiting their migration is a provision against all acts equivalent thereto, or it would be nugatory ; that to remove them when migrated, is equivalent to a prohibition of their migration, and is, therefore, contrary to the said provision of the Constitution, and void.
6. Resolved. That the imprisonment of a person under the protection of the laws of this Commonwealth, on his failure to obey the simple order of the President to depart out of the United States, as is undertaken by the said act, entitled, "An Act concerning Aliens," is contrary to the Constitution, one amendment in which has provided that "no person shall be deprived of liberty without due process of law;" and that another having provided, "that, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right of a public trial by an impartial jury, to be informed as to the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have assistance of counsel for his defense," the same act undertaking to authorize the President to remove a person out of the United States who is under the protection of the law, on his own suspicion, without jury, without public trial, without confrontation of the witnesses against him, without having witnesses in his favor, without defense, without counsel,— contrary to these provisions also of the Constitution—is therefore not law, but utterly void, and of no force.
That transferring the power of judging any person who is nnder the protection of the laws, from the courts to th# President of the United States, as is undertaken" by the same act concerning aliens, is against the article of the Constitution which provides "that the judicial power of the United States shall be vested in the courts, the judges of which shall hold their office during their good behavior,"