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Jensen, Merrill (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut
(1978)

V. The aftermath of ratification,   pp. 285-307


Page 287

V. AFTERMATH OF RATIFICATION
Robert Farquhar had moved from Georgia to England before the
war and had taken his partners' bonds for his share of the partner-
ship. The partners had been Loyalists, and Georgia had confiscated
their property. Alexander Chisholm, executor of the deceased Far-
quhar's estate and a citizen of South Carolina, brought the suit against
the State of Georgia before the Supreme Court in August 1792. Geor-
gia refused to appear in February 1793, and the Supreme Court, for
the first but not for the last time, set forth opposing opinions of the
nature of the Constitution. Justice James Iredell stood alone in ar-
guing that the states retained their sovereignty, while Justice James
Wilson summed up the opinions of the other justices in the state-
ment that for the purposes of the Union "Georgia is not a sovereign
State."
Georgia had announced before the decision that it would not obey
it, and afterwards the state House of Representatives passed an act
(although the Senate refused to agree) declaring that any official at-
tempting to enforce the decision of the Supreme Court would be
guilty of felony "and shall suffer death, without benefit of clergy, by
being hanged" (Augusta Chronicle, 23 November 1793).
Several suits against other states were soon filed in the Supreme
Court, including one by the Indiana Company (of which Justice James
Wilson had long been an advocate) against Virginia. Governors,
legislators, and members of Congress demanded an amendment to
the Constitution, and the result was the eleventh amendment, which
went into effect in 1798. It provided that a state could not be sued
in the courts of the United States by the citizens of another state of
the United States or of a foreign state.
Georgia's involvement in a second major interpretation of the
Constitution was the outgrowth of postwar expansion, of resulting
quarrels with the Indians, and of land speculation. By the summer
of 1787 Georgia was on the brink of war with the Creek Nation.
William Pierce and William Few left the Constitutional Convention
and went to New York, where, as members of Congress, they moved
on 26 July that Congress use force to punish hostile Indians. Con-
gress ignored the motion by "committing" it. A week later Few
moved that Congress appoint commissioners to treat with the In-
dians, to confirm Georgia's claims, and to "fix the line circum-
scribing the Indians' hunting ground" (JCC, XXXIII, 407-8, 454-55).
The attitude of the majority of Congress was made explicit on
31 July in a committee report on Indian affairs in the South.
The report charged that "an avaricious disposition in some of our
people to acquire large tracts of land, and often by unfair means,
appears to be the principal source of difficulties with the Indians."
The report declared that under the Articles of Confederation the
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