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Kaminski, John P.; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Leffler, Richard; Reid, Jonathan M.; Flamingo, Margaret R.; Lannér-Cusin, Johanna E.; Fields, David P.; Conley, Patrick T.; Moore, Timothy D. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Rhode Island (3)
(2013)

VI. The debate over the Constitution in Rhode Island, 20 January-29 May 1790,   pp. 711-897


Page 737

COMMENTARIES, 25 FEBRUARY 1790
giving effect to the several acts therein mentioned, in respect to the
State of North-Carolina, and other purposes.'-
"And be it further enacted, That the second section of the act, en-
titled, 'An act to suspend part of an act, entitled an act to regulate the
collection of duties imposed by law, on the tonnage of ships or vessels,
and on goods, wares, and merchandizes, imported into the United
States, and for other purposes,' passed the sixteenth day of September
last,2 shall, with respect to the inhabitants and citizens of the state of
Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, be revived, and also, that the
fourth section of the said act shall be revived, and both continue in
force until the first day of April next, AND NO LONGER."
1. The extract is clause 6 of the North Carolina Act of 8 February 1790. The act provided
for the collection of impost and tonnage duties in North Carolina since it was now in the
Union. For legislative action on and the text of the act, see DHFFC, VI, 1532-51.
2. See John Adams to Henry Marchant, 17 September 1789, note 2 (RCS:R.I., 610n).
Solon, junior
Providence United States Chronicle, 25 February 17901
Under the old Confederation the several States retained the power
of regulating trade exclusively, by levying imposts, or otherwise: And
altho applied to by Congress, several of them pertinaciously refused to
part with that power.2
It is not difficult to see that under the operation of that power, lodged
in the several State Legislatures, the trade of this State might and prob-
ably would, in a short space of time, have been shackled with restraints,
and reduced to embarrassments, similar, and perhaps equal to those
under which it labours at present. It must therefore be evident, that,
in this particular, the old Confederation was inadequate to our protec-
tion. The expedient of vesting Congress with power to raise a revenue
from trade would not have remedied that defect. It might have placed
us in our present situation, charged with a heavy impost, and shut out
from the neighbouring ports, with this difference only, that in that case
the duties which now go into our own coffers would have gone into
those of Congress.
Before the powers of the Sword and Purse could be lodged both
together in the general Government, with safety, radical alterations were
necessary in the very frame and constitution of that government. This did not
escape the examination of those enlightened patriots who met at Phila-
delphia in the year 1787. The letter from their President to that of
Congress contains the following remarkable passage.
"The friends of our country have long seen and desired, that the
powers of making war, peace and treaties;-that of levying money, and
737


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