Reduction of the Standing Army.

House of Representatives, January 5, 1800.

Mr. RANDOLPH. I suppose the establishment of a standing army in the country not only a useless and enormous expense, but, upon the ground of the Constitution, the spirit of that instrument and the genius of a free people are equally hostile to this dangerous institution, which {442} ought to be resorted to (if it all) only in extreme cases of difficulty and danger; yet let it be remembered that usage, that immemorial custom, is paramount in every written obligation; and let us beware of engrafting this abuse upon the Constitution. A people who mean to continue free must be prepared to meet danger in person, not to rely upon the fallacious protection of mercenary armies.