[Volume 1, Page 522]

CHAPTER 15 | Document 17

Edmund Randolph, History of Virginia 253

ca. 1809

The bill of rights and the constitution [of Virginia] are monuments which deserve the attention of every republican, as containing some things which we may wish to be retrenched and others which cannot be too much admired.

The declaration in the first article of the bill of rights that all men are by nature equally free and independent was opposed by Robert Carter Nicholas, as being the forerunner or pretext of civil convulsion. It was answered, perhaps with too great an indifference to futurity, and not without inconsistency, that with arms in our hands, asserting the general rights of man, we ought not to be too nice and too much restricted in the delineation of them; but that slaves, not being constituent members of our society, could never pretend to any benefit from such a maxim.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 1, Chapter 15, Document 17
The University of Chicago Press