Antifederalist No. 51 DO CHECKS AND BALANCES REALLY SECURE THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE? This satire is from a pamphlet of "ARISTOCROTIS," The Government of Nature Delineated; Or An Exact Picture of the New Federal Constitution (Carlisle, PA, 1788) The present is an active period. Europe is in a ferment breaking their constitutions; America is in a similar state, making a constitution. For this valuable purpose a convention was appointed, consisting of such as excelled in wisdom and knowledge, who met in Philadelphia last May. For my own part, I was so smitten with the character of the members, that I had assented to their production, while it was yet in embryo. And I make no doubt but every good republican did so too. But how great was my surprise, when it appeared with such a venerable train of names annexed to its tail, to find some of the people under different signatures-such as Centinel, Old Whig, Brutus, etc. - daring to oppose it, and that too with barefaced arguments, obstinate reason and stubborn truth. This is certainly a piece of the most extravagant impudence to presume to contradict the collected wisdom of the United States; or to suppose a body, who engrossed the whole wisdom of the continent, was capable of erring. I expected the superior character of the convention would have secured it from profane sallies of a plebeian's pen; and its inherent infallibility debarred the interference of impertinent reason or truth. It was too great an act of condescension to permit the people, by their state conventions, "to assent and ratify," what the grand convention prescribed to them; but to inquire into its principles, or investigate its properties, was a presumption too daring to escape resentment. Such licentious conduct practised by the people, is a striking proof of our feeble governments, and calls aloud for the pruning knife, i.e., the establishment of some proper plan of discipline. This the convention, in the depth of their united wisdom hath prescribed, which when established, will certainly put a stop to the growing evil. A consciousness of this, is, no doubt, the cause which stimulates the people to oppose it with so much vehemence. They deprecate the idea of being confined within their proper sphere; they cannot endure the thought of being obliged to mind their own business, and leave the affairs of government to those whom nature hath destined to rule. I say nature, for it is a fundamental principle, as clear as an axiom, that nature hath placed proper degrees and subordinations amongst mankind and ordained a few(1) to rule, and many to obey. I am not obliged to prove this principle because it would be madness in the extreme to attempt to prove a self- evident truth. (1) If any person is so stupidly dull as not to discern who these few are, I would refer such to nature herself for information. Let them observe her ways and be wise. Let them mark those men whom she hath endued with the necessary qualifications of authority; such as the dictatorial air, the magisterial voice, the imperious tone, the haughty countenance, the lofty look, the majestic mien. Let them consider those whom she hath taught to command with authority, but comply with disgust; to be fond of sway, but impatient of control; to consider themselves as Gods, and all the rest of mankind as two legged brutes. Now it is evident that the possessors of these divine qualities must have been ordained by nature to dominion and empire; for it would be blasphemy against her supreme highness to suppose that she confers her gifts in vain. Fortune hath also distinguished those upon whom nature hath imprinted the lineaments of authority. She hath heaped her favors and lavished her gifts upon those very persons whom nature delighteth to honor. Indeed, instinct hath taught those men that authority is their natural right, and therefore they grasp at it with an eagerness bordering on rapacity. But with all due submission to the infallible wisdom of the grand convention, let me presume to examine whether they have not, in the new plan of government, inviolably adhered to this supreme principle. . . . In article first, section first, of the new plan, it is declared that "all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States which shall consist of a Senate"-very right, quite agreeable to nature and House of Representatives"-not quite so right. This is a palpable compliance with the humors and corrupt practices of the times. But what follows in section 2 is still worse: "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states." This is a most dangerous power, and must soon produce fatal and pernicious consequences, were it not circumscribed and poised by proper checks and balances. But in this is displayed the unparalleled sagacity of the august convention: that when such bulwarks of prejudice surrounded the evil, so as to render it both difficult and dangerous to attack it by assault and storm, they have invested and barricaded it so closely as will certainly deprive it of its baneful influence and prevent its usual encroachments. They have likewise stationed their miners and sappers so judiciously, that they will certainly, in process of time, entirely reduce and demolish this obnoxious practice of popular election. There is a small thrust given to it in the body of the conveyance itself. The term of holding elections is every two years; this is much better than the detestable mode of annual elections, so fatal to energy. However, if nothing more than this were done, it would still remain an insupportable inconvenience. But in section 4 it is provided that congress by law may alter and make such regulations with respect to the times, places, and manner of holding elections, as to them seemeth fit and proper. This is certainly a very salutary provision, most excellently adapted to counterbalance the great and apparently dangerous concessions made to the plebeians in the first and second sections. With such a prudent restriction as this they are quite harmless: no evil can arise from them if congress have only the sagacity and fortitude to avail themselves of the power they possess by this section. For when the stated term (for which the primary members was elected) is nigh expired, congress may appoint [the] next election to be held in one place in each state; and so as not to give the rabble needless disgust, they may appoint the most central place for that purpose. They can never be at a loss for an ostensible reason to vary and shift from place to place until they may fix it at any extremity of the state it suits. This will be the business of the senate, to observe the particular places in each state, where their influence is most extensive, and where the inhabitants are most obsequious to the will of their superiors, and there appoint the elections to be held. By this means, such members will be returned to the house of representatives (as it is called) as the president and senate shall be pleased to recommend; and they no doubt will recommend such gentlemen only as are distinguished by some peculiar federal feature-so that unanimity and concord will shine conspicuous through every branch of government. This section is ingeniously calculated, and must have been intended by the convention, to exterminate electioneering entirely. For by putting the time of election in the hands of congress they have thereby given them a power to perpetuate themselves when they shall find it safe and convenient to make the experiment. For though a preceding clause says, "that representatives shall be chosen for two years, and senators for six years," yet this clause being subsequent annuls the former, and puts it in the power of congress, (when some favorable juncture intervenes) to alter the time to four and twelve years. This cannot be deemed an unconstitutional stretch of power, for the constitution in express terms puts the time of holding elections in their power, and certainly they are the proper judges when to exert that power. Thus by doubling the period from time to time, its extent will soon be rendered coeval with the life of man. And it is but a very short and easy transition from this to hereditary succession, which is most agreeable to the institutions of nature, who in all her works, hath ordained the descendant of every species of beings to succeed its immediate progenitor, in the same actions, ends and order. The indefatigable laborious ass never aspires to the honors, nor assumes the employment of the sprightly warlike steed, nor does he ever pretend that it is his right to succeed him in all his offices and dignities, because he bears some resemblance to the defunct in his figure and nature. The llama, though useful enough for the purposes for which he was intended by nature, is every way incompetent to perform the offices of the elephant; nor does he ever pretend to usurp his elevated station. Every species of beings, animate and inanimate, seem fully satisfied with the station assigned them by nature. But perverse, obstinate man, he alone spurns at her institutions, and inverts her order.' He alone repines at his situation, and endeavors to usurp the station of his superiors. But this digression has led me from the subject in hand. . . . (2) This is only to be understood of the inferior class of mankind. The superior order have aspiring feelings given them by nature, such as ambition, emulation, etc., which makes it their duty to persevere in the pursuit of gratifying these refined passions. The next object that presents itself is the power which the new constitution gives to congress to regulate the manner of elections. The common practice of voting at present is by ballot. By this mode it is impossible for a gentleman to know how he is served by his dependent, who may be possessed of a vote. Therefore this mode must be speedily altered for that viva voce, which will secure to a rich man all the votes of his numerous dependents and friends and their dependents. By this means he may command any office in the gift of the people, which he pleases to set up for. This will answer a good end while electioneering exists; and will likewise contribute something towards its destruction. A government founded agreeable to nature must be entirely independent; that is, it must be beyond the reach of annoyance or control from every power on earth, Now in order to render it thus, several things are necessary. 1st. The means of their own support must be within the immediate reach of the rulers. For this purpose they must possess the sole power of taxation. As this is a principal article, it ought, in all things to have preeminence; and therefore the convention has placed it in front. "The congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises," so that they shall never be at a loss for money while there is a shilling on the continent, for their power to procure it is as extensive as their desires; and so it ought, because they can never desire any thing but is good and salutary. For there is no doubt but the convention will transfer their infallibility to the new congress, and so secure them from doing evil. This power of taxation will answer many valuable purposes, besides the support of government. In the first place, in the course of its operation, it will annihilate the relies of the several state legislators. For every tax which they may lay, will be deemed by congress an infringement upon the federal constitution, which constitution and the laws of congress being paramount to all other authority, will of consequence nullify every inferior law which the several states may think proper to enact, particularly such as relate to taxes; so that they being deprived of the means of existence, their pretended sovereignties will gradually finger away. 2dly. It will create and diffuse a spirit of industry among the people. They will then be obliged to labor for money to pay their taxes. There will be no trifling from time to time, as is done now. The new government will have energy sufficient to compel immediate payment. 3dly. This will make the people attend to their own business, and not be dabbling in politics - things they are entirely ignorant of; nor is it proper they should understand. But it is very probable that the exercise of this power may be opposed by the refractory plebeians, who (such is the perverseness of their natures) often refuse to comply with what is manifestly for their advantage. But to prevent all inconvenience from this quarter the congress have power to raise and support armies. This is the second thing necessary to render government independent. The creatures who compose these armies are a species of animals, wholly at the disposal of government; what others call their natural rights they resign into the hands of their superiors-even the right of self-preservation (so precious to all other beings) they entirely surrender, and put their very lives in the power of their masters. Having no rights of their own to care for, they become naturally jealous and envious of those possessed by others. They are therefore proper instruments in the hands of government to divest the people of their usurped rights. But the capital business of these armies will be to assist the collectors of taxes, imposts, and excise, in raising the revenue; and this they will perform with the greatest alacrity, as it is by this they are supported; but for this they would be in a great measure useless; and without this they could not exist. . . . From these remarks, I think it is evident, that the grand convention hath dexterously provided for the removal of every thing that hath ever operated as a restraint upon government in any place or age of the world. But perhaps some weak heads may think that the constitution itself will be a check upon the new congress. But this I deny, for the convention has so happily worded themselves, that every part of this constitution either bears double meaning, or no meaning at all; and if any concessions are made to the people in one place, it is effectually cancelled in another-so that in fact this constitution is much better and gives more scope to the rulers than they durst safely take if there was no constitution at all. For then the people might contend that the power was inherent in them, and that they had made some implied reserves in the original grant. But now they cannot, for every thing is expressly given away to government in this plan. Perhaps some people may think that power which the house of representatives possesses, of impeaching the officers of government, will be a restraint upon them. But this entirely vanishes, when it is considered that the senate hath the principal say in appointing these officers, and that they are the sole judges of all impeachments. Now it would be absurd to suppose that they would remove their own servants for performing their secret orders. . . . For the interest of rulers and the ruled will then be two distinct things. The mode of electing the president is another excellent regulation, most wisely calculated to render him the obsequious machine of congress. He is to be chosen by electors appointed in such manner as the state legislators shall direct. But then the highest in votes cannot be president, without he has the majority of all the electors; and if none have this majority, then the congress is to choose the president out of the five highest on the return. By this means the congress will always have the making of the president after the first election. So that if the reigning president pleases his masters, he need be under no apprehensions of being turned out for any severities used to the people, for though the congress may not have influence enough to procure him the majority of the votes of the electoral college, yet they will always be able to prevent any other from having such a majority; and to have him returned among the five highest, so that they may have the appointing of him themselves. All these wise regulations, prove to a demonstration, that the grand convention was infallible. The congress having thus disentangled themselves from all popular checks and choices, and being supported by a well disciplined army and active militia, will certainly command dread and respect abroad, obedience and submission at home. They will then look down with awful dignity and tremendous majesty from the pinnacle of glory to which fortune has raised them upon the insignificant creatures, their subjects, whom they have reduced to that state of vassalage and servile submission, for which they were primarily destined by nature. America will then be great amongst the nations(3) and princess amongst the provinces. Her fleets will cover the deserts of the ocean and convert it into a popular city; and her invincible armies overturn the thrones of princes. The glory of Britain (4) shall fall like lightning before her puissant arm; when she ariseth to shake the nations, and take vengeance on all who dare oppose her. O! thou most venerable and august congress! with what astonishing ideas my mind is ravished! when I contemplate thy rising grandeur, and anticipate thy future glory! Happy thy servants! happy thy vassals! and happy thy slaves, which fit under the shade of thy omnipotent authority, and behold the glory of thy majesty! for such a state who would not part with ideal blessings of liberty? who would not cheerfully resign the nominal advantages of freedom? the dazzling splendor of Assyrian, Persian, Macedonian and Roman greatness will then be totally eclipsed by the radiant blaze of this glorious western luminary! These beautiful expressions, aristocracy, and oligarchy, upon which the popular odium hath fixed derision and contempt, will then resume their natural emphasis; their genuine signification will be perfectly understood, and no more perverted or abused. ARISTOCROTIS (3) That is, if we may credit the prognostications with which our federal news-papers and pamphlets daily teem. (4) Britain once the supreme ruler of this country, but her authority was rejected. Not, as a great many believe, because her claims were tyrannical and oppressive, but because her dominion excluded those from monopolizing the government into their own hands, whom nature had qualified to rule. It is certainly no more than the natural right of rulers "to bind their subjects, in all cases whatsoever." This power is perfectly synonymous with that clause in the constitution which invests congress with power to make all laws which shall be "necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers," etc., and that which says "the constitution, laws, and treaties of congress shall be the supreme law of the land; any thing in the constitutions or laws of any of the states to the contrary notwithstanding." But nothing less would satisfy Britain, than a power to bind the natural rulers as well as subjects.
Antifederalist No. 52 ON THE GUARANTEE OF CONGRESSIONAL BIENNIAL ELECTIONS The following essay was signed by Consider Arms, Malichi Maynard, and Samuel Field. It was taken from The Hampshire Gazette of April 9, 1788. We the subscribers being of the number, who did not assent to the ratification of the federal constitution, under consideration in the late state convention, held at Boston, to which we were called by the suffrages of the corporations to which we respectively belong-beg leave, through the channel of your paper, to lay before the public in general, and our constituents in particular, the reasons of our dissent, and the principles which governed us in our decision of this important question. Fully convinced, ever since the late revolution, of the necessity of a firm, energetic government, we should have rejoiced in an opportunity to have given our assent to such a one; and should in the present case, most cordially have done it, could we at the same time been happy to have seen the liberties of the people and the rights of mankind properly guarded and secured. We conceive that the very notion of government carries along with it the idea of justice and equity, and that the whole design of instituting government in the world, was to preserve men's properties from rapine, and their bodies from violence and bloodshed. These propositions being established, we conceive must of necessity produce the following consequence: That every constitution or system, which does not quadrate with this original design, is not government, but in fact a subversion of it. Having premised thus much, we proceed to mention some things in this constitution to which we object, and to enter into an inquiry, whether, and how far they coincide with those simple and original notions of government before mentioned. In the first place, as direct taxes are to be apportioned according to the numbers in each state, and as Massachusetts has none in it but what are declared free men, so the whole, blacks as well as whites, must be numbered; this must therefore operate against us, as two-fifths of the slaves in the southern states are to be left out of the numeration. Consequently, three Massachusetts infants will increase the tax equal to five sturdy full-grown Negroes of theirs, who work every day in the week for their masters, saving the Sabbath, upon which they are allowed to get something for their own support. We can see no justice in this way of apportioning taxes. Neither can we see any good reason why this was consented to on the part of our delegates. We suppose it next to impossible that every individual in this vast continental union, should have his wish with regard to every single article composing a frame of government. And therefore, although we think it More agreeable to the principles of republicanism, that elections should be annual, yet as the elections in our own state government are so, we did not view it so dangerous to the liberties of the people, that we should have rejected the constitution merely on account of the biennial elections of the representatives-had we been sure that the people have any security even of this. But this we could not find. For although it is said, that "the House of Representatives shall be chosen every second year, by the people of the several states," etc., and that "the times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof," yet all this is wholely superseded by a subsequent provision, which empowers Congress at any time to enact a law, whereby such regulations may be altered, except as to the places of choosing senators. Here we conceive the people may be very materially injured, and in time reduced to a state of as abject vassalage as any people were under the control of the most mercenary despot that ever tarnished the pages of history. The depravity of human nature, illustrated by examples from history, will warrant us to say, it may be possible, if not probable, that the congress may be composed of men, who will wish to burden and oppress the people. In such case, will not their inventions be fruitful enough to devise occasions for postponing the elections? And if they can do this once, they can twice; if they can twice, they can thrice, so by degrees render themselves absolute and perpetual. Or, if they choose, they have another expedient. They can alter the place of holding elections. They can say, whatever the legislature of this state may order to the contrary, that all the elections of our representatives shall be made at Mechias, or at Williamstown. Consequently, nine- tenths of the people will never vote. And if this should be thought a measure favorable to their reelection, or the election of some tool for their mercenary purposes, we doubt not it will be thus ordered. But says the advocates for the constitution, "it is not likely this will ever happen; we are not to expect our rulers will ever proceed to a wanton exercise of the powers given them." But what reason have we more than past ages, to expect that we shall be blessed with impeccable rulers? We think not any. Although it has been said that every generation grows wiser and wiser, yet we have no reason to think they grow better and better. And therefore the probability lies upon the dark side. Does not the experience of past ages leach, that men have generally exercised all the powers they had given them, and even have usurped upon them, in order to accomplish their own sinister and avaricious designs, whenever they thought they could do it with impunity? This we presume will not be denied. And it appeared to us that the arguments made use of by the favorers of the constitution, in the late convention at Boston, proceeded upon the plan of righteousness in those who are to rule over us, by virtue of this new form of government. But these arguments, we confess, could have no weight with us, while we judge them to be founded altogether upon a slippery perhaps. We are sensible, that in order to the due administration of government, it is necessary that certain powers should be delegated to the rulers from the people. At the same time, we think they ought carefully to guard against giving so much as will enable those rulers, by that means, at once, or even in process of time, to render themselves absolute and despotic. This we think is the case with the form of government lately submitted to our consideration. We could not, therefore, acting uprightly, consulting our own good and the good of our constituents, give our assent unto it. We could not then and we still cannot see, that because people are many times guilty of crimes and deserving of punishment, that it from thence follows the authority ought to have power to punish them when they are not guilty, or to punish the innocent with the guilty without discrimination, which amounts to the same thing. But this we think in fact to be the case as to this federal constitution. For the congress, whether they have provocation or not, can at any time order the elections in any or all the states to be conducted in such manner as wholely to defeat and render entirely nugatory the intention of those elections, and convert that which was considered and intended to be the palladium of the liberties of the people-the grand bulwark against any invasion upon them-into a formidable engine, by which to overthrow them all, and thus involve them in the depth of misery and distress. But it was pled by some of the ablest advocates of the constitution, that if congress should exercise such powers to the prejudice of the people (and they did not deny but they could if they should be disposed) they (the people) would not suffer it. They would have recourse to the ultima ratio, the dernier resort of the oppressed-the sword. But it appeared to us a piece of superlative incongruity indeed, that the people, whilst in the full and indefeasible possession of their liberties and privileges, should be so very profuse, so very liberal in the disposal of them, as consequently to place themselves in a predicament miserable to an extreme. So wretched indeed, that they may at once be reduced to the sad alternative of yielding themselves vassals into the hands of a venal and corrupt administration, whose only wish may be to aggrandize themselves and families-to wallow in luxury and every species of dissipation, and riot upon the spoils of the community; or take up the sword and involve their country in all the horrors of a civil war-the consequences of which, we think, we may venture to augur will more firmly rivet their shackles and end in the entailment of vassalage to their posterity. We think this by no means can fall within the description of government before mentioned. Neither can we think these suggestions merely chimerical, or that they proceed from an overheated enthusiasm in favor of republicanism; neither yet from an illplaced detestation of aristocracy; but from the apparent danger the people are in by establishing this constitution. When we take a forward view of the proposed congress-seated in the federal city, ten miles square, fortified and replenished with all kinds of military stores and every implement; with a navy at command on one side, and a land army on the other-we say, when we view them thus possessed of the sword in one hand and the purse strings of the people in the other, we can see no security left for them in the enjoyment of their liberties, but what may proceed from the bare possibility that this supreme authority of the nation may be possessed of virtue and integrity sufficient to influence them in the administration of equal justice and equity among those whom they shall govern. But why should we voluntarily choose to trust our all upon so precarious a tenure as this? We confess it gives us pain to anticipate the future scene: a scene presenting to view miseries so complicated and extreme, that it may be part of the charms of eloquence to extenuate, or the power of art to remove. CONSIDER ARMS MALICHI MAYNARD SAMUEL FIELD
Antifederalist No. 53 A PLEA FOR THE RIGHT OF RECALL "AMICUS" appeared in the Columbian Herald, August 28, 1788. Some time before a Convention of the United States was held, I mentioned in a paragraph which was published in one of the Charlestown papers, that it would be acting wisely in the formation of a constitution for a free government, to enact, that the electors should recall their representatives when they thought proper, although they should be chosen for a certain term of years; as a right to appoint (where the right of appointing originates with the appointees) implies a right to recall. As the persons appointed are meant to act for the benefit of the appointees, as well as themselves, they, if they mean to act for their mutual benefit, can have no objection to a proposal of this kind. But if they have any sinister designs, they will certainly oppose it, foreseeing that their electors will displace them as soon as they begin to act contrary to their interest. I am therefore glad to find that the state of New York has proposed an amendment of this kind to the federal constitution, viz: That the legislatures of the respective states may recall their senators, or either of them, and elect others in their stead, to serve the remainder of the time for which the senators so recalled were appointed. I wish this had been extended to the representatives in both houses, as it is as prudent to have a check over the members of one house as of the other. Some persons as object to this amendment, in fact say, that it is safer to give a man an irrevocable power of attorney, than a revocable one; and that it is right to let a representative ruin us, rather than recall him and put a real friend of his country, and a truly honest man in his place, who would rather suffer ten thousand deaths than injure his country, or sully his honor and reputation. Such persons seem to say, that power ought not to originate with the people (which is the wish, I fear, of some among us); and also that we are not safe in trusting our own legislature with the power of recalling such senators as will not abide by such instructions - as shall be either given them, when chosen, or sent to them afterwards, by the legislature of this or any other state, or by the electors that chose them, although they should have met together in a body for the purpose of instructing or sending them instructions on a matter on which the salvation of the state depends. That we should insist on the amendment respecting this matter taking place, which the state of New York has proposed, appears to me to be absolutely necessary, the security of each state may be almost said to rest on it. For my own part, I would rather that this amendment should take place and give the new government unlimited powers to act for the public good, than give them limited powers, and at the same time put it out of our power, for a certain term of years, to recall our representatives, although we saw they were exceeding their powers, and were bent on making us miserable and themselves, by means of a standing army-a perpetual and absolute government. For power is a very intoxicating thing, and has made many a man do unwarrantable actions, which before he was invested with it, he had no thoughts of doing. I hope by what I have said I shall not be thought to cast even the shadow of a reflection on the principles of either of the members of the federal convention-it is far from being my intention. I wish for nothing more than a good government and a constitution under which our liberties will be perfectly safe. To preserve which, I think the wisest conduct will be to keep the staff of power in our own hands as much as possible, and not wantonly and inconsiderately give up a greater share of our liberties with a view of contributing to the public good, than what the necessity of the case requires. For our own sakes we shall keep in power those persons whose conduct pleases us as long as we can, and shall perhaps sometimes wish (when we meet with a person of an extra worthy character and abilities) that we could keep him in power for life. On the other hand, we shall dismiss from our employ as soon as possible, such persons as do not consult our interest and will not follow our instructions. For there are, I fear, a few persons among us, so wise in their own eyes, that they would if they could, pursue their own will and inclinations, in opposition to the instructions of their constituents. In so doing, they may perhaps, once in a hundred times, act for the interest of those they represent, more than if they followed the instructions given them. But I wish that we would never suffer any person to continue our representative that obeyed not our instructions, unless something unforeseen and unknown by us turned up, which he knew would alter our sentiments, if we were made acquainted with it; and which would make his complying with our will highly imprudent. In every government matter, on which our representatives were not instructed, we should leave them to act agreeable to their own judgment; on which account we should always choose men of integrity, honor and abilities to represent us. But when we did instruct them, as they are our representatives and agents, we should insist on their acting and voting conformable to our directions. But as they would each of them be a member of the community, they should have a right to deliver to the houses of representatives of which they were members, their own private sentiments so that if their private sentiments contained cogent reasons for acting contrary to the instructions given them-the other members of said houses who would not be bound by said instructions, would be guided by them; in which case, that would take place which would be most for the public good, which ought to be the wish of all of us. AMICUS
Antifederalist No. 54 APPORTIONMENT AND SLAVERY: NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN VIEWS This four part essay shows both northern and southern dissatisfaction with "the Great Compromise" The first is taken from the third essay of "BRUTUS." The second: from the speeches of Rawlins Lowndes to the South Carolina ratifying convention on January 16, 17, and 18, 1788. The third: from the sixth essay by "CATO." The fourth: from an essay by "A GEORGIAN," appearing in The Gazette of the State of Georgia on November 15, 1787. "Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States, which may be included in this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons." What a strange and unnecessary accumulation of words are here used to conceal from the public eye what might have been expressed in the following concise manner: Representatives are to be proportioned among the States respectively, according to the number of freemen and slaves inhabiting them, counting five slaves for three freemen. "In a free State," says the celebrated Montesquieu, "every man, who is supposed to be a free agent, ought to be concerned in his own government, therefore the legislature should reside in the whole body of the people, or their representatives." But it has never been alleged that those who are not free agents can, upon any rational principle, have anything to do in government, either by themselves or others. If they have no share in government, why is the number of members in the assembly to be increased on their account? Is it because in some of the States, a considerable part of the property of the inhabitants consists in a number of their fellow-men, who are held in bondage, in defiance of every idea of benevolence, justice and religion, and contrary to all the principles of liberty which have been publicly avowed in the late Glorious Revolution? If this be a just ground for representation, the horses in some of the States, and the oxen in others, ought to be represented-for a great share of property in some of them consists in these animals; and they have as much control over their own actions as these poor unhappy creatures, who are intended to be described in the above recited clause, by the words, "all other persons." By this mode of apportionment, the representatives of the different parts of the Union will be extremely unequal; in some of the Southern States the slaves are nearly equal in number to the free men; and for all these slaves they will be entitled to a proportionate share in the legislature; this will give them an unreasonable weight in the government, which can derive no additional strength, protection, nor defense from the slaves, but the contrary. Why, then, should they be represented? What adds to the evil is, that these States are to be permitted to continue the inhuman traffic of importing slaves until the year 1808-and for every cargo of these unhappy people which unfeeling, unprincipled, barbarous and avaricious wretches may tear from their country, friends and tender connections, and bring into those States, they are to be rewarded by having an increase of members in the General Assembly.... BRUTUS . . . . six of the Eastern States formed a majority in the House of Representatives. In the enumeration he passed Rhode Island, and included Pennsylvania. Now, was it consonant with reason, with wisdom, with policy, to suppose, in a legislature where a majority of persons sat whose interests were greatly different from ours, that we had the smallest chance of receiving adequate advantages? Certainly not. He believed the gentlemen that went from this state, to represent us in Convention, possessed as much integrity, and stood as high in point of character, as any gentlemen that could have been selected; and he also believed that they had done every thing in their power to procure for us a proportionate share in this new government; but the very little they had gained proved what we may expect in future-that the interest of the Northern States would so predominate as to divest us of any pretensions to the title of a republic. In the first place, what cause was there for jealousy of our importing Negroes? Why confine us to twenty years, or rather why limit us at all? For his part, he thought this trade could be justified on the principles of religion, humanity, and justice; for certainly to translate a set of human beings from a bad country to a better, was fulfilling every part of these principles. But they don't like our slaves, because they have none themselves, and therefore want to exclude us from this great advantage. Why should the Southern States allow of this, without the consent of nine states? . . . We had a law prohibiting the importation of Negroes for three years, a law he greatly approved of; but there was no reason offered why the Southern States might not find it necessary to alter their conduct, and open their ports. Without Negroes, this state would degenerate into one of the most contemptible in the Union; and he cited an expression that fell from General Pinckney on a former debate, that whilst there remained one acre of swampland in South Carolina, he should raise his voice against restricting the importation of Negroes. Even in granting the importation for twenty years, care had been taken to make us pay for this indulgence, each negro being liable, on importation, to pay a duty not exceeding ten dollars; and, in addition to this, they were liable to a capitation tax. Negroes were our wealth, our only natural resource; yet behold how our kind friends in the north were determined soon to tie up our hands, and drain us of what we had! The Eastern States drew their means of subsistence, in a great measure, from their shipping; and, on that head, they had been particularly careful not to allow of any burdens: they were not to pay tonnage or duties; no, not even the form of clearing out: all ports were free and open to them! Why, then, call this a reciprocal bargain, which took all from one party, to bestow it on the other! Major [Pierce] BUTLER observed, that they were to pay five per cent impost. This, Mr. LOWNDES proved, must fall upon the consumer. They are to be the carriers; and, we being the consumers, therefore all expenses would fall upon us. A great number of gentlemen were captivated with this new Constitution, because those who were in debt would be compelled to pay; others pleased themselves with the reflection that no more confiscation laws would be passed; but those were small advantages, in proportion to the evils that might be apprehended from the laws that might be passed by Congress, whenever there was a majority of representatives from the Eastern States, who were governed by prejudices and ideas extremely different from ours. . . . Great stress was laid on the admirable checks which guarded us, under the new Constitution, from the encroachments of tyranny; but too many checks in a political machine must produce the same mischief as in a mechanical one-that of throwing all into confusion. But supposing we considered ourselves so much aggrieved as to reduce us to the necessity of insisting on redress, what probability had we of relief? Very little indeed. In the revolving on misfortune, some little gleams of comfort resulted from a hope of being able to resort to an impartial tribunal for redress; but pray what reason was there for expectancy that, in Congress, the interest of five Southern States would be considered in a preferable point of view to the nine Eastern ones? .... the mode of legislation in the infancy of free communities was by the collective body, and this consisted of free persons, or those whose age admitted them to the right of mankind and citizenship, whose sex made them capable of protecting the state, and whose birth may be denominated Free Born; and no traces can be found that ever women, children, and slaves, or those who were not sui juris, in the early days of legislation, met with the free members of the community to deliberate on public measures; hence is derived this maxim in free governments, that representation ought to bear a proportion to the number of free inhabitants in a community; this principle your own state constitution, and others, have observed in the establishment of a future census, in order to apportion the representatives, and to increase or diminish the representation to the ratio of the increase or diminution of electors. But, what aid can the community derive from the assistance women, infants and slaves, in their deliberation, or in their defense? What motives, therefore, could the convention have in departing from just and rational principle of representation, which is the governing prince of this state and of all America? CATO Article 1, section 2. This section mentions that, within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, an enumeration shall take place, the number of representatives not to exceed one member for every 30,000. This article I believe to be inadmissable. First, it affords to small a representation, (supposing 48 at the highest calculation) and especially in the southern states, their climate, soil, and produce, . . . not being capable of that population as in the northern states. Would it not therefore be better to increase the number of representatives, say one member for every 20,000 for the states north of Virginia, and one for every 15,000 south of the said state, itself included? Or, secondly, divide the states into districts which shall choose the representatives, by which every part of a state will have an equal chance, without being liable to parties or factions? Should it be said it will increase the expense, it will be money well laid out, and the more so if we retain the paying them out of our own bands. And, supposing the voting in the house of representatives was continued as heretofore by states, would it not be more equal still? At any rate I would strenuously recommend to vote by states, and not individually, as it will be accommodating the idea of equality, which should ever be observed in a republican form of government. Or, thirdly, if it was in proportion to the quotas of the states, as rated in taxation, then the number of members would increase with the proportion of tax, and at that rate there would always be an equality in the quota of tax as well as representation; for what chance of equality according to the constitution in question, can a state have that has only one or two votes, when others have eight or ten, (for it is evident that each representative, as well as senator, is meant to have a vote, as it mentions no other mode but in choosing the president), and as it is generally allowed that the United States are divided into two natural divisions, the northern as far as Virginia, the latter included forms the southern? This produces a wide difference in climate, soil, customs, manners of living, and the produce of the land, as well as trade, also in population, to which it is well observed the latter is not so favorable as the former, and never can nor will be, nature itself being the great obstacle. And when taxation is in agitation, as also many other points, it must produce differences in sentiments; and, in such dispute, how is it likely to be decided? According to the mode of voting, the number of members north of Virginia the first three years is 42, and the southern, Virginia included, 23.... Is human nature above self interest? If the northern states do not horde the southern in taxation, it would appear then really that they are more disinterested men than we know of.
Antifederalist No. 55 WILL THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BE GENUINELY REPRESENTATIVE? (PART 1) Following are four essays by "THE FEDERAL FARMER" .... It being impracticable for the people to assemble to make laws, they must elect legislators, and assign men to the different departments of the government. In the representative branch we must expect chiefly to collect the confidence of the people, and in it to find almost entirely the force of persuasion. In forming this branch, therefore, several important considerations must be attended to. It must possess abilities to discern the situation of the people and of public affairs, a disposition to sympathize with the people, and a capacity and inclination to make laws congenial to their circumstances and condition. It must afford security against interest combinations, corruption and influence. It must possess the confidence, and have the voluntary support of the people. I think these positions will not be controverted, nor the one I formerly advanced, that a fair and equal representation is that in which the interests, feelings, opinions and views of the people are collected, in such manner as they would be were the people all assembled. Having made these general observations, I shall proceed to consider further my principal position, viz. that there is no substantial representation of the people provided for in a government, in which the most essential powers, even as to the internal police of the country, are proposed to be lodged; and to propose certain amendments as to the representative branch.... The representation is insubstantial and ought to be increased. In matters where there is much room for opinion, you will not expect me to establish my positions with mathematical certainty; you must only expect my observations to be candid, and such as are well founded in the mind of the writer. I am in a field where doctors disagree; and as to genuine representation, though no feature in government can be more important, perhaps, no one has been less understood, and no one that has received so imperfect a consideration by political writers. The ephori in Sparta, and the tribunes in Rome, were but the shadow; the representation in Great Britain is unequal and insecure. In America we have done more in establishing this important branch on its true principles, than, perhaps, all the world besides. Yet even here, I conceive, that very great improvements in representation may be made. In fixing this branch, the situation of the people must be surveyed, and the number of representatives and forms of election apportioned to that situation. When we find a numerous people settled in a fertile and extensive country, possessing equality, and few or none of them oppressed with riches or wants, it ought to be the anxious care of the constitution and laws, to arrest them from national depravity, and to preserve them in their happy condition. A virtuous people make just laws, and good laws tend to preserve unchanged a virtuous people. A virtuous and happy people by laws uncongenial to their characters, may easily be gradually changed into servile and depraved creatures. Where the people, or their representatives, make the laws, it is probable they will generally be fitted to the national character and circumstances, unless the representation be partial, and the imperfect substitute of the people. However the people may be electors, if the representation be so formed as to give one or more of the natural classes of men in society an undue ascendancy over others, it is imperfect; the former will gradually become masters, and the latter slaves. It is the first of all among the political balances, to preserve in its proper station each of these classes. We talk of balances in the legislature, and among the departments of government; we ought to carry them to the body of the people. Since I advanced the idea of balancing the several orders of men in a community, in forming a genuine representation, and seen that idea considered as chimerical, I have been sensibly struck with a sentence in the Marquis Beccaria's treatise. This sentence was quoted by Congress in 1774, and is as follows:-"In every society there is an effort continually tending to confer on one part the height of power and happiness, and to reduce the others to the extreme of weakness and misery; the intent of good laws is to oppose this effort, and to diffuse their influence universally and equally." Add to this Montesquieu's opinion, that "in a free state every man, who is supposed to be a free agent, ought to be concerned in his own government: therefore, the legislative should reside in the whole body of the people, or their representatives." It is extremely clear that these writers had in view the several orders of men in society, which we call aristocratical, democratical, mercantile, mechanics etc., and perceived the efforts they are constantly, from interested and ambitious views, disposed to make to elevate themselves and oppress others. Each order must have a share in the business of legislation actually and efficiently. It is deceiving a people to tell them they are electors, and can choose their legislators, if they cannot, in the nature of things, choose men from among themselves, and genuinely like themselves. I wish you to take another idea along with you. We are not only to balance these natural efforts, but we are also to guard against accidental combinations; combinations founded in the connections of offices and private interests, both evils which are increased in proportion as the number of men, among which the elected must be, are decreased. To set this matter in a proper point of view, we must form some general ideas and descriptions of the different classes of men, as they may be divided by occupation and politically. The first class is the aristocratical. There are three kinds of aristocracy spoken of in this country-the first is a constitutional one, which does not exist in the United States in our common acceptation of the word. Montesquieu, it is true, observes that where part of the persons in a society, for want of property, age, or moral character, are excluded any share in the government, the others, who alone are the constitutional electors and elected, form this aristocracy. This, according to him, exists in each of the United States, where a considerable number of persons, as all convicted of crimes, under age, or not possessed of certain property, are excluded any share in the government. The second is an aristocratic faction, a junto of unprincipled men, often distinguished for their wealth or abilities, who combine together and make their object their private interests and aggrandizement. The existence of this description is merely accidental, but particularly to be guarded against. The third is the natural aristocracy; this term we use to designate a respectable order of men, the line between whom and the natural democracy is in some degree arbitrary. We may place men on one side of this line, which others may place on the other, and in all disputes between the few and the many, a considerable number are wavering and uncertain themselves on which side they are, or ought to be. In my idea of our natural aristocracy in the United States, I include about four or five thousand men; and among these I reckon those who have been placed in the offices of governors, of members of Congress, and state senators generally, in the principal officers of the army and militia, the superior judges, the most eminent professional men, etc., and men of large property. The other persons and orders in the community form the natural democracy; this includes in general, the yeomanry, the subordinate officers, civil and military, the fishermen, mechanics and traders, many of the merchants and professional men. It is easy to perceive that men of these two classes, the aristocratical and democratical, with views equally honest, have sentiments widely different, especially respecting public and private expenses, salaries, taxes, etc. Men of the first class associate more extensively, have a high sense of honor, possess abilities, ambition, and general knowledge; men of the second class are not so much used to combining great objects; they possess less ambition, and a larger share of honesty; their dependence is principally on middling and small estates, industrious pursuits, and hard labor, while that of the former is principally on the emoluments of large estates, and of the chief offices of government. Not only the efforts of these two great parties are to be balanced, but other interests and parties also, which do not always oppress each other merely for want of power, and for fear of the consequences; though they, in fact, mutually depend on each other. Yet such are their general views, that the merchants alone would never fail to make laws favorable to themselves and oppressive to the farmers. The farmers alone would act on like principles; the former would tax the land, the latter the trade. The manufacturers are often disposed to contend for monopolies; buyers make every exertion to lower prices; and sellers to raise them. Men who live by fees and salaries endeavor to raise them; and the part of the people who pay them, endeavor to lower them; the public creditors to augment the taxes, and the people at large to lessen them. Thus, in every period of society, and in all the transactions of men, we see parties verifying the observation made by the Marquis; and those classes which have not their centinels in the government, in proportion to what they have to gain or lose, must infallibly be ruined. Efforts among parties are not merely confined to property. They contend for rank and distinctions; all their passions in turn are enlisted in political controversies. Men, elevated in society, are often disgusted with the changeableness of the democracy, and the latter are often agitated with the passions of jealousy and envy. The yeomanry possess a large share of property and strength, are nervous and firm in their opinions and habits; the mechanics of towns are ardent and changeable-honest and credulous, they are inconsiderable for numbers, weight and strength, not always sufficiently stable for supporting free governments; the fishing interest partakes partly of the strength and stability of the landed, and partly of the changeableness of the mechanic interest. As to merchants and traders, they are our agents in almost all money transactions, give activity to government, and possess a considerable share of influence in it. It has been observed by an able writer, that frugal industrious merchants are generally advocates for liberty. It is an observation, I believe, well founded, that the schools produce but few advocates for republican forms of government. Gentlemen of the law, divinity, physic, etc., probably form about a fourth part of the people; yet their political influence, perhaps, is equal to that of all the other descriptions of men. If we may judge from the appointments to Congress, the legal characters will often, in a small representation, be the majority; but the more the representatives are increased, the more of the farmers, merchants, etc., will be found to be brought into the government. These general observations will enable you to discern what I intend by different classes, and the general scope of my ideas, when I contend for uniting and balancing their interests, feelings, opinions, and views in the legislature. We may not only so unite and balance these as to prevent a change in the government by the gradual exaltation of one part to the depression of others, but we may derive many other advantages from the combination and full representation. A small representation can never be well informed as to the circumstances of the people. The members of it must be too far removed from the people, in general, to sympathize with them, and too few to communicate with them. A representation must be extremely imperfect where the representatives are not circumstanced to make the proper communications to their constituents, and where the constituents in turn cannot, with tolerable convenience, make known their wants, circumstances, and opinions to their representatives. Where there is but one representative to 30,000 or 40,000 inhabitants, it appears to me, he can only mix and be acquainted with a few respectable characters among his constituents. Even double the general representation, and then there must be a very great distance between the representatives and the people in general represented. On the proposed plan, the state of Delaware, the city of Philadelphia, the state of Rhode Island, the province of Maine, the county of Suffolk in Massachusetts, will have one representative each. There can be but little personal knowledge, or but few communications, between him and the people at large of either of those districts. It has been observed that mixing only with the respectable men, he will get the best information and ideas from them; he will also receive impressions favorable to their purposes particularly.... Could we get over all our difficulties respecting a balance of interests and party efforts, to raise some and oppress others, the want of sympathy, information and intercourse between the representatives and the people, an insuperable difficulty will still remain. I mean the constant liability of a small number of representatives to private combinations. The tyranny of the one, or the licentiousness of the multitude, are, in my mind, but small evils, compared with the factions of the few. It is a consideration well worth pursuing, how far this house of representatives will be liable to be formed into private juntos, how far influenced by expectations of appointments and offices, how far liable to be managed by the president and senate, and how far the people will have confidence in them.... THE FEDERAL FARMER
Antifederalist No. 56 WILL THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BE GENUINELY REPRESENTATIVE? (PART 2) . . . . Why in England have the revolutions always ended in stipulations in favor of general liberty, equal laws, and the common rights of the people, and in most other countries in favor only of a few influential men? The reasons, in my mind, are obvious. In England the people have been substantially represented in many respects; in the other countries it has not been so. Perhaps a small degree of attention to a few simple facts will illustrate this. In England, from the oppressions of the Norman Kings to the revolution in 1688, during which period of two or three hundred years, the English liberties were ascertained and established, the aristocratic part of that nation was substantially represented by a very large number of nobles, possessing similar interests and feelings with those they represented. The body of the people, about four or five millions, then mostly a frugal landed people, were represented by about five hundred representatives, taken not from the order of men which formed the aristocracy, but from the body of the people, and possessed of the same interests and feelings. De Lolme, speaking of the British representation, expressly founds all his reasons on this union; this similitude of interests, feelings, views and circumstances. He observes the English have preserved their liberties, because they and their leaders or representatives have been strictly united in interests, and in contending for general liberty. Here we see a genuine balance founded in the actual state of things. The whole community, probably, not more than two-fifths more numerous than we now are, were represented by seven or eight hundred men; the barons stipulated with the common people, and the king with the whole. Had the legal distinction between lords and commons been broken down, and the people of that island been called upon to elect forty-five senators, and one hundred and twenty representatives, about the proportion we propose to establish, their whole legislature evidently would have been of the natural aristocracy, and the body of the people would not have had scarcely a single sincere advocate. Their interests would have been neglected, general and equal liberty forgot, and the balance lost. Contests and conciliations, as in most other countries, would have been merely among the few, and as it might have been necessary to serve their purposes, the people at large would have been flattered or threatened, and probably not a single stipulation made in their favor. In Rome the people were miserable, though they bad three orders, the consuls, senators, and tribunes, and approved the laws, and all for want of a genuine representation. The people were too numerous to assemble, and do any thing properly themselves. The voice of a few, the dupes of artifice, was called the voice of the people. It is difficult for the people to defend themselves against the arts and intrigues of the great, but by selecting a suitable number of men fixed to their interests to represent them, and to oppose ministers and senators. . . . [Much] depends on the number of the men selected, and the manner of doing it. To be convinced of this, we need only attend to the reason of the case, the conduct of the British commons, and of the Roman tribunes. Equal liberty prevails in England, because there was a representation of the people, in fact and reality, to establish it. Equal liberty never prevailed in Rome because there was but the shadow of a representation. There were consuls in Rome annually elected to execute the laws; several hundred senators represented the great families; the body of the people annually chose tribunes from among themselves to defend them and to secure their rights; I think the number of tribunes annually chosen never exceeded ten. This representation, perhaps, was not proportionally so numerous as the representation proposed in the new plan; but the difference will not appear to be so great, when it shall be recollected, that these tribunes were chosen annually, that the great patrician families were not admitted to these offices of tribunes, and that the people of Italy who elected the tribunes were a long while, if not always, a small people compared with the people of the United States. What was the consequence of this trifling representation? The people of Rome always elected for their tribunes men conspicuous for their riches, military commands, professional popularity, etc., great commoners, between whom and the noble families there was only the shadowy difference of legal distinction. Among all the tribunes the people chose for several centuries, they had scarcely five real friends to their interests. These tribunes lived, felt and saw, not like the people, but like the great patrician families, like senators and great officers of state, to get into which it was evident by their conduct, was their sole object. These tribunes often talked about the rights and prerogatives of the people, and that was all; for they never even attempted to establish equal liberty. So far from establishing the rights of the people, they suffered the senate, to the exclusion of the people, to engross the powers of taxation; those excellent and almost only real weapons of defense even the people of England possess. The tribunes obtained that the people should be eligible to some of the great offices of state, and marry, if they pleased, into the noble families; these were advantages in their nature, confined to a few elevated commoners, and of trifling importance to the people at large. Nearly the same observations may be made as to the ephori of Sparta. We may amuse ourselves with names; but the fact is, men will be governed by the motives and temptations that surround their situation. Political evils to be guarded against are in the human character, and not in the name of patrician or plebeian. Had the people of Italy, in the early period of the republic, selected yearly or biennially, four or five hundred of their best informed men, emphatically from among themselves, these representatives would have formed an honest respectable assembly, capable of combining in them the views and exertions of the people and their respectability would have procured them honest and able leaders, and we should have seen equal liberty established. True liberty stands in need of a fostering band,- from the days of Adam she has found but one temple to dwell in securely. She has laid the foundation of one, perhaps her last in America; whether this is to be completed and have duration, is yet a question. Equal liberty never yet found many advocates among the great. It is a disagreeable truth that power perverts men's views in a greater degree than public employments inform their understandings. They become hardened in certain maxims, and more lost to fellow feelings. Men may always be too cautious to commit alarming and glaring iniquities; but they, as well as systems, are liable to be corrupted by slow degrees. Junius well observes, we are not only to guard against what men will do, but even against what they may do. Men in high public offices are in stations where they gradually lose sight of the people, and do not often think of attending to them, except when necessary to answer private purposes. The body of the people must have this true representative security placed some where in the nation. And in the United States, or in any extended empire, I am fully persuaded [it] can be placed no where, but in the forms of a federal republic, where we can divide and place it in several state or district legislatures, giving the people in these the means of opposing heavy internal taxes and oppressive measures in the proper stages. A great empire contains the amities and animosities of a world within itself. We are not like the people of England, one people compactly settled on a small island, with a great city filled with frugal merchants, serving as a common centre of liberty and union. We are dispersed, and it is impracticable for any but the few to assemble in one place. The few must be watched, checked, and often resisted. Tyranny has ever shown a predilection to be in close amity with them, or the one man. Drive it from kings and it flies to senators, to decemviri, to dictators, to tribunes, to popular leaders, to military chiefs, etc. De Lolme well observes, that in societies, laws which were to be equal to all are soon warped to the private interests of the administrators, and made to defend the usurpations of a few. The English, who had tasted the sweets of equal laws, were aware of this, and though they restored their king, they carefully delegated to parliament the advocates of freedom. I have often lately heard it observed that it will do very well for a people to make a constitution and ordain that at stated periods they will choose, in a certain manner, a first magistrate, a given number of senators and representatives, and let them have all power to do as they please. This doctrine, however it may do for a small republic-as Connecticut, for instance, where the people may choose so many senators and representatives to assemble in the legislature, [representing] in an eminent degree, the interests, the views, feelings, and genuine sentiments of the people themselves - can never be admitted in an extensive country. And when this power is lodged in the hands of a few, not to limit the few is but one step short of giving absolute power to one man. In a numerous representation the abuse of power is a common injury, and has no temptation; among the few, the abuse of power may often operate to the private emolument of those who abuse it. THE FEDERAL FARMER
Antifederalist No. 57 WILL THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BE GENUINELY REPRESENTATIVE? (PART 3) . . . . But "the people must elect good men." Examine the system-is it practicable for them to elect fit and proper representatives where the number is so small? "But the people may choose whom they please." This is an observation, I believe, made without due attention to facts and the state of the community, To explain my meaning, I will consider the descriptions of men commonly presented to the people as candidates for the offices of representatives. We may rank them in three classes. 1. The men who form the natural aristocracy, as before defined. 2. Popular demagogues-these men also are often politically elevated, so as to be seen by the people through the extent of large districts; they often have some abilities, fare] without principle, and rise into notice by their noise and arts. 3. The substantial and respectable part of the democracy- they are a numerous and valuable set of men, who discern and judge well, but from being generally silent in public assemblies are often overlooked. They are the most substantial and best informed men in the several towns, who occasionally fill the middle grades of offices, etc., who hold not a splendid, but respectable rank in private concerns. These men are extensively diffused through all the counties, towns and small districts in the union; even they, and their immediate connections, are raised above the majority of the people, and as representatives are only brought to a level with a more numerous part of the community, the middle orders, and a degree nearer the mass of the people. Hence it is, that the best practical representation, even in a small state, must be several degrees more aristocratical than the body of the people. A representation so formed as to admit but few or none of the third class, is in my opinion, not deserving of the name. Even in armies, courts-martial are so formed as to admit subaltern officers into them. The true idea is, so to open and enlarge the representation as to let in a due proportion of the third class with those of the first. Now, my opinion is, that the representation proposed is so small as that ordinarily very few or none of them can be elected. And, therefore, after all the parade of words and forms, the government must possess the soul of aristocracy, or something worse, the spirit of popular leaders. I observed in a former letter, that the state of Delaware, of Rhode Island, the Province of Maine, and each of the great counties in Massachusetts, etc., would have one member, and rather more than one when the representatives shall be increased to one for each 30,000 inhabitants. In some districts the people are more dispersed and unequal than in others. In Delaware they are compact, in the Province of Maine dispersed; how can the elections in either of those districts be regulated so that a man of the third class can be elected? Exactly the same principles and motives, the same uncontrollable circumstances, must govern the elections as in the choice of the governors. Call upon the people of either of those districts to choose a governor, and it will probably never happen that they will not bestow a major part, or the greatest number, of their votes on some very conspicuous or very popular character. A man that is known among a few thousands of people, may be quite unknown among thirty or forty thousand. On the whole it appears to me to be almost a self- evident position, that when we call on thirty or forty thousand inhabitants to unite in giving their votes for one man it will be uniformly impracticable for them to unite in any men, except those few who have become eminent for their civil or military rank, or their popular legal abilities. It will be found totally impracticable for men in the private walks of life, except in the profession of the law, to become conspicuous enough to attract the notice of so many electors and have their suffrages. But if I am right, it is asked why so many respectable men advocate the adoption of the proposed system. Several reasons may be given. Many of our gentlemen are attached to the principles of monarchy and aristocracy; they have an aversion to democratic republics. The body of the people have acquired large powers and substantial influence by the revolution. In the unsettled state of things, their numerous representatives, in some instances, misused their powers, and have induced many good men suddenly to adopt ideas unfavorable to such republics, and which ideas they will discard on reflection. Without scrutinizing into the particulars of the proposed system, we immediately perceive that its general tendency is to collect the powers of government, now in the body of the people in reality, and to place them in the higher orders and fewer hands; no wonder then that all those of and about these orders are attached to it. They feel there is something in this system advantageous to them. On the other hand, the body of the people evidently feel there is something wrong and disadvantageous to them. Both descriptions perceive there is something tending to bestow on the former the height of power and happiness, and to reduce the latter to weakness, insignificance, and misery. The people evidently feel all this though they want expressions to convey their ideas. Further, even the respectable part of the democracy have never yet been able to distinguish clearly where the fallacy lies. They find there are defects in the confederation; they see a system presented; they think something must be done; and, while their minds are in suspense, the zealous advocates force a reluctant consent. Nothing can be a stronger evidence of the nature of this system, than the general sense of the several orders in the community respecting its tendency. The parts taken generally by them proves my position, that notwithstanding the parade of words and forms, the government must possess the soul of aristocracy. Congress, heretofore, have asked for moderate additional powers. The cry was give them-be federal. But the proper distinction between the cases that produce this disposition, and the system proposed, has not been fairly made and seen in all its consequences. We have seen some of our state representations too numerous and without examining a medium we run to the opposite extreme. It is true, the proper number of federal representatives, is matter of opinion in some degree; but there are extremes which we immediately perceive, and others which we clearly discover on examination. We should readily pronounce a representative branch of 15 members small in a federal government, having complete powers as to taxes, military matters, commerce, the coin, etc. On the other hand, we should readily pronounce a federal representation as numerous as those of the several states, consisting of about 1,500 representatives, unwieldy and totally improper. It is asked, has not the wisdom of the convention found the medium? Perhaps not. The convention was divided on this point of numbers. At least some of its ablest members urged, that instead of 65 representatives there ought to be 130 in the first instance. They fixed one representative for each 40,000 inhabitants, and at the close of the work, the president suggested that the representation appeared to be too small and without debate, it was put at, not exceeding one for each 30,000. I mention these facts to show, that the convention went on no fixed data. In this extensive country it is difficult to get a representation sufficiently numerous. Necessity, I believe, will oblige us to sacrifice in some degree the true genuine principles of representation. But this sacrifice ought to be as little as possible. How far we ought to increase the representation I will not pretend to say; but that we ought to increase it very considerably, is clear-to double it at least, making full allowances for the state representations. And this we may evidently do and approach accordingly towards safety and perfection without encountering any inconveniences. It is with great difficulty the people can unite these different interests and views even tolerably, in the state senators, who are more than twice as numerous as the federal representatives, as proposed by the convention; even these senators are considered as so far removed from the people, that they are not allowed immediately to hold their purse strings. The principal objections made to the increase of the representation are, the expense and difficulty in getting the members to attend. The first cannot be important; the last, if founded, is against any federal government. As to the expense, I presume the house of representatives will not be in sessions more than four months in the year. We find by experience that about two-thirds of the members of representative assemblies usually attend; therefore, of the representation proposed by the convention, about forty-five members probably will attend. Doubling their number, about 90 will probably attend. Their pay, in one case, at four dollars a day each (which is putting it high enough) will amount to, yearly, 21,600 dollars; in the other case, 43,200 dollars-[a] difference [of] 21,600 dollars. Reduce the state representatives from 1,500 down to 1,000 and thereby save the attendance of two-thirds of the 500, say three months in a year, at one dollar and a quarter a day each [would amount to] 37,125 dollars. Thus we may leave the state representations sufficient large, and yet save enough by the reduction nearly to support exceeding well the whole federal representation I propose. Surely we -never can be so unwise as to sacrifice, essentially, the all- important principles of representation for so small a sum as 21,600 dollars a year for the United States. A single company of soldiers would cost this sum. It is a fact that can easily be shown, that we expend three times this sum every year upon useless inferior offices and very trifling concerns. It is also a fact which can be shown that the United States in the late war suffered more by a faction in the federal government, then the pay of the federal representation will amount to for twenty years. As to the attendance-can we be so unwise as to establish an unsafe and inadequate representative branch, and give it as a reason, that we believe only a few members will be induced to attend? We ought certainly to establish an adequate representative branch, and adopt measures to induce an attendance. I believe that a due proportion of 130 or 140 members may be induced to attend. There are various reasons for the non-attendance of the members of the present congress; it is to be presumed that these will not exist under the new system... I In the second place, it is said the members of congress must return home, and share in the burdens they may impose; and, therefore, private motives will induce them to make mild laws, to support liberty, and ease the burdens of the people, This brings us to a mere question of interest under this head. I think these observations will appear, on examination, altogether fallacious; because this individual interest, which may coincide with the rights and interests of the people, will be far more than balanced by opposite motives and opposite interests. If, on a fair calculation, a man will gain more by measures oppressive to others than he will lose by them, he is interested in their adoption. It is true, that those who govern generally, by increasing the public burdens, increase their own share of them; but by this increase they may, and often do, increase their salaries, fees, and emoluments, in a tenfold proportion, by increasing salaries, forming armies and navies, and by making offices. If it shall appear the members of congress will have these temptations before them, the argument is on my side. They will view the account, and be induced continually to make efforts advantageous to themselves and connections, and oppressive to others. We must examine facts. Congress, in its present form, have but few offices to dispose of worth the attention of the members, or of men of the aristocracy. Yet from 1774 to this time, we find a large proportion of those offices assigned to those who were or had been members of congress; and though the states choose annually sixty or seventy members, many of them have been provided for. But few men are known to congress in this extensive country, and, probably, but few will be to the president and senate, except those who have or shall appear as members of congress, or those whom the members may bring forward. The states may now choose yearly ninety-one members of congress; under the new constitution they will have it in their power to choose exactly the same number, perhaps afterwards, one hundred and :fifteen, but these must be chosen once in two and six years. So that, in the course of ten years together, not more than two-thirds so many members of congress will be elected and brought into view, as there now are under the confederation in the same term of time. But at least there will be five, if not ten times, as many offices and places worthy of the attention of the members, under the new constitution, as there are under the confederation. Therefore, we may fairly presume, that a very great proportion of the members of congress, especially the influential ones, instead of returning to private life, will be provided for with lucrative offices, in the civil or military department; and not only the members, but many of their sons, friends, and connections. These offices will be in the constitutional disposition of the president and senate, and, corruption out of the question, what kind of security can we expect in a representation so many of the members of which may rationally feel themselves candidates for these offices? Let common sense decide. It is true, that members chosen to offices must leave their seats in congress; and to some few offices they cannot be elected till the time shall be expired for which they were elected members. But this scarcely will effect the bias arising from the hopes and expectations of office.... But it is asked how shall we remedy the evil, so as to complete and perpetuate the temple of equal laws and equal liberty? Perhaps we never can do it. Possibly we never may be able to do it in this immense country, under any one system of laws however modified. Nevertheless, at present, I think the experiment worth making. I feel an aversion to the disunion of the states, and to separate confederacies; the states have fought and bled in a common cause, and great dangers too may attend these confederacies. I think the system proposed capable of very considerable degrees of perfection, if we pursue first principles. I do not think that De Lolme, or any writer I have seen, has sufficiently pursued the proper inquiries and efficient means for making representation and balances in government more perfect. It is our task to do this in America. Our object is equal liberty, and equal laws diffusing their influence among all orders of men. To obtain this we must guard against the bias of interest and passions, against interested combinations, secret or open. We must aim at a balance of efforts and strength. Clear it is, by increasing the representation we lessen the prospects of each member of congress being provided for in public offices. We proportionably lessen official influence, and strengthen his prospects of becoming a private citizen, subject to the common burdens, without the compensation of the emoluments of office. By increasing the representation we make it more difficult to corrupt and influence the members. We diffuse them more extensively among the body of the people, perfect the balance, multiply information, strengthen the confidence of the people, and consequently support the laws on equal and free principles. There are two other ways, I think, of obtaining in some degree the security we want; the one is, by excluding more extensively the members from being appointed to offices; the other is, by limiting some of their powers. These two I shall examine hereafter. THE FEDERAL FARMER
Antifederalist No. 58 WILL THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BE GENUINELY REPRESENTATIVE? (PART 4) It is said that our people have a high sense of freedom, possess power, property, and the strong arm; meaning, I presume, that the body of the people can take care of themselves, and awe their rulers; and, therefore, particular provision in the constitution for their security may not be essential. When I come to examine these observations, they appear to me too trifling and loose to deserve a serious answer. To palliate for the smallness of the representation, it is observed, that the state governments in which the people are fully represented, necessarily form a part of the system. This idea ought to be fully examined. We ought to inquire if the convention have made the proper use of these essential parts. The state governments then, we are told, will stand between the arbitrary exercise of power and the people. True they may, but armless and helpless, perhaps, with the privilege of making a noise when hurt. This is no more than individuals may do. Does the constitution provide a single check for a single measure by which the state governments can constitutionally and regularly check the arbitrary measures of congress? Congress may raise immediately fifty thousand men and twenty millions of dollars in taxes, build a navy, model the militia, etc., and all this constitutionally. Congress may arm on every point, and the state governments can do no more than an individual, by petition to congress, suggest their measures are alarming and not right. I conceive the position to be undeniable, that the federal government will be principally in the hands of the natural aristocracy, and the state governments principally in the hands of the democracy, the representatives of the body of the people. These representatives in Great Britain hold the purse, and have a negative upon all laws. We must yield to circumstances and depart something from this plan, and strike out a new medium so as to give efficacy to the whole system, supply the wants of the union, and leave the several states, or the people assembled in the state legislatures, the means of defense. It has been often mentioned that the objects of congress will be few and national, and require a small representation; that the objects of each state will be many and local, and require a numerous representation. This circumstance has not the weight of a feather in my mind. It is certainly inadvisable to lodge in 65 representatives, and 26 senators, unlimited power to establish systems of taxation, armies, navies, model the militia, and to do every thing that may essentially tend soon to change, totally, the affairs of the community; and to assemble 1500 state representatives, and 160 senators, to make fence laws and laws to regulate the descent and conveyance of property, the administration of justice between man and man, to appoint militia officers, etc. It is not merely the quantity of information I contend for. Two taxing powers may be inconvenient; but the point is, congress, like the senate of Rome, will have taxing powers, and the people no check. When the power is abused, the people may complain and grow angry, so may the state governments; they may remonstrate and counteract, by passing laws to prohibit the collection of congressional taxes. But these will be acts of the people, acts of sovereign power, the dernier resort unknown to the constitution; acts operating in terrorum, acts of resistance, and not the exercise of any constitutional power to stop or check a measure before matured. A check properly is the stopping, by one branch in the same legislature, a measure proposed by the other in it. In fact the constitution provides for the states no check, properly speaking, upon the measures of congress. Congress can immediately enlist soldiers, and apply to the pockets of the people. These few considerations bring us to the very strong distinction between the plan that operates on federal principles, and the plan that operates on consolidated principles. A plan may be federal or not as to its organization each state may retain its vote or not; the sovereignty of the state may be represented, or the people of it. A plan may be federal or not as to its operation-federal when it requires men and monies of the states, and the states as such make the laws for raising the men and monies; not federal when it leaves the states' governments out of the question, and operates immediately upon the persons and property of the citizens. The first is the case with the confederation; the second with the new plan. In the first the state governments may be [a] check; in the last none at all. . . . It is also said that the constitution gives no more power to congress than the confederation, respecting money and military matters; that congress under the confederation, may require men and monies to any amount, and the states are bound to comply. This is generally true; but, I think . . . that the states have well founded checks for securing their liberties. I admit the force of the observation that all the federal powers, by the confederation, are lodged in a single assembly. However, I think much more may be said in defense of the leading principles of the confederation. I do not object to the qualifications of the electors of representatives, and I fully agree that the people ought to elect one branch. Further, it may be observed, that the present congress is principally an executive body, which ought not to be numerous; that the house of representatives will be a mere legislative branch, and being the democratic on ought to be numerous. It is one of the greatest advantages of a government of different branches, that each branch may be conveniently made conformable to the nature of the business assigned it, and all be made conformable to the condition of the several orders of the people. After all the possible checks and limitations we can devise, the powers of the union must be very extensive; the sovereignty of the nation cannot produce the object in view, the defense and tranquility of the whole, without such powers, executive and judicial. I dislike the present congress-a single assembly-because it is impossible to fit it to receive those powers. The executive and judicial powers, in the nature of things, ought to be lodged in a few hands; the legislature in many hands. Therefore, want of safety and unavoidable hasty measures out of the question, they never can all be lodged in one assembly properly-it, in its very formation, must imply a contradiction. In objection to increasing the representation, it has also been observed that it is difficult to assemble a hundred men or more without making the tumultuous and a mere mob. Reason and experience do not support this observation. The most respectable assemblies we have any knowledge of and the wisest, have been those, each of which consisted of several hundred members - as the senate of Rome, of Carthage, of Venice, the British Parliament, etc. I think I may, without hazarding much, affirm that our more numerous state assemblies and conventions have universally discovered more wisdom, and as much order, as the less numerous ones. There must be also a very great difference between the characters of two or three hundred men assembled from a single state, and the characters of that number or half the number assembled from all the united states. It is added, that on the proposed plan the house of representatives in fifty or a hundred years will consist of several hundred members. The plan will begin with sixty-five, and we have no certainty that the number ever will increase, for this plain reason-that all that combination of interests and influence which has produced this plan, and supported [it] so far, will constantly oppose the increase of the representation, knowing that thereby the government will become more free and democratic. But admitting, after a few years, there will be a member for each 30,000 inhabitants, the observation is trifling; the government is in a considerable measure to take its tone from its early movements, and by means of a small representation it may in half of 50 or 100 years, get moved from its basis, or at least so far as to be incapable of ever being recovered. We ought, therefore, . . . now to fix the government on proper principles, and fit to our present condition. When the representation shall become too numerous, alter it. Or we may now make provision, that when the representation shall be increased to a given number, that then there shall be one for each given number of inhabitants, etc. Another observation is, that congress will have no temptations to do wrong. The men that make it must be very uninformed, or suppose they are talking to children. In the first place, the members will be governed by all those motives which govern the conduct of men, and have before them all the allurements of offices and temptations to establish unequal burdens, before described. In the second place, they and their friends, probably, will find it for their interests to keep up large armies, navies, salaries, etc., and in laying adequate taxes. In the third place, we have no good grounds to presume, from reason or experience, that it will be agreeable to their characters or views, that the body of the people should continue to have power effectually to interfere in the affairs of government. But it is confidently added, that congress will not have it in their power to oppress or enslave the people; that the people will not bear it. It is not supposed that congress will act the tyrant immediately, and in the face of daylight. It is not supposed congress will adopt important measures without plausible pretenses, especially those which may tend to alarm or produce opposition. We are to consider the natural progress of things-that men unfriendly to republican equality will go systematically to work, gradually to exclude the body of the people from any share in the government, first of the substance, and then of the forms. The men who will have these views will not be without their agents and supporters. When we reflect, that a few years ago we established democratic republics, and fixed the state governments as the barriers between congress and the pickets of the people, what great progress has been made in less than seven years to break down those barriers, and essentially to change the principles of our governments, even by the armless few-is it chimerical to suppose that in fifteen or twenty years to come, that much more can be performed, especially after the adoption of the constitution, when the few will be so much better armed with power and influence, to continue the struggle? Probably they will be wise enough never to alarm, but gradually prepare the minds of the people for one specious change after another, till the final object shall be obtained. Say the advocates, these are only possibilities. They are probabilities a wise people ought to guard against; and the address made use of to keep the evils out of sight, and the means to prevent them, confirm my opinion. But to obviate all objections to the proposed plan in the last resort, it is said our people will be free, so long as they possess the habits of freemen, and when they lose them, they must receive some other forms of government. To this I shall only observe, that this is very humiliating language, and can, I trust, never suit a manly people who have contended nobly for liberty, and declared to the world they will be free. THE FEDERAL FARMER
Antifederalist No. 59 THE DANGER OF CONGRESSIONAL CONTROL OF ELECTIONS Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist #59, addresses this same topic from an opposing viewpoint. This essay was written anonymously by "VOX POPULI," and appeared in The Massachusetts Gazette on October 30, 1787. . . I beg leave to Jay before the candid public the first clause in the fourth section of the first article of the proposed Constitution: "The times, places and manner of holding elections, for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may, at any time, by law, make or alter such regulations except as to the places of choosing senators." By this clause, the time, place and manner of choosing representatives is wholly at the disposal of Congress. Why the Convention who formed the proposed Constitution wished to invest Congress with such a power, I am by no means capable of saying; or why the good people of this commonwealth [Massachusetts] should delegate such a power to them, is no less hard to determine. But as the subject is open for discussion, I shall make a little free inquiry into the matter. And, first. What national advantage is there to be acquired by giving them such a power? The only advantage which I have heard proposed by it is, to prevent a partial representation of the several states in Congress; "for if the time, manner and place were left wholly in the hands of the state legislatures, it is probable they would not make provision by appointing time, manner and place for an election; in which case there could be no election, and consequently the federal government weakened." But this provision is by no means sufficient to prevent an evil of that nature. For will any reasonable man suppose-that when the legislature of any state, who are annually chosen, are so corrupt as to break thro' that government which they have formed, and refuse to appoint time, place and manner of choosing representatives-I say, can any person suppose, that a state so corrupt would not be full as likely to neglect, or even refuse, to choose representatives at the time and place and in the manner prescribed by Congress? Surely they would. So it could answer no good national purpose on that account; and I have not heard any other national advantage proposed thereby. We will now proceed, in the next place, to consider why the people of this commonwealth should vest Congress with such a power. No one proposes that it would be any advantage to the people of this state. Therefore, it must be considered as a matter of indifference, except there is an opportunity for its operating to their disadvantage-in which case, I conceive it ought to be disapprobated. Whether there is danger of its operating to the good people's disadvantage, shall now be the subject of our inquiry. Supposing Congress should direct, that the representatives of this commonwealth should be chosen all in one town, (Boston, for instance) on the first day of March - would not that be a very injurious institution to the good people of this commonwealth? Would not there be at least nine-tenths of the landed interest of this commonwealth entirely unrepresented? Surely one may reasonably imagine there would. What, then, would be the case if Congress should think proper to direct, that the elections should be held at the north-west, south-west, or north-east part of the state, the last day of March? How many electors would there attend the business? And it is a little remarkable, that any gentleman should suppose, that Congress could possibly be in any measure as good judges of the time, place and manner of elections as the legislatures of the several respective states. These as objections I could wish to see obviated. And I could wish the public inquiry might extend to a consideration, whether or not it would not be more conducive, to prevent a partial representation, to invest Congress with power to levy such a fine as they might think proper on states not choosing representatives, than by giving them this power of appointing time, manner and place. It is objected by some, that Congress could not levy, or at least, could not collect, such a fine of a delinquent state. If that is the case, Congress could not collect any tax they might think proper to levy, nor execute any order whatever; but at any time any state might break through the national compact, dissolve the federal constitution, and set the whole structure afloat on the ocean of chaos. It is, therefore, proposed to the public to consider, whether the said clause in the fourth section of the first article can answer the only purposes for which it is said to have been provided, or any other which will prove any advantage either to the nation or state. VOX POPULI
Antifederalist No. 60 WILL THE CONSTITUTION PROMOTE THE INTERESTS OF FAVORITE CLASSES? John F. Mercer of Maryland was the author of this essay, taken from his testimony to members of the ratifying conventions of New York and Virginia, 1788, (From the Etting Collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.) We have not that permanent and fixed distinction of ranks or orders of men among us, which unalterably separating the interests and views, produces that division in pursuits which is the great security of the mixed Government we separated from and which we now seem so anxiously to copy. If the new Senate of the United States will be really opposite in their pursuits and views from the Representatives, have they not a most dangerous power of interesting foreign nations by Treaty [to] support Their views?-for instance, the relinquishment of the navigation of [the] Mississippi-and yet where Treaties are expressly declared paramount to the Constitutions of the several States, and being the supreme law, [the Senate] must of course control the national legislature, if not supersede the Constitution of the United States itself. The check of the President over a Body, with which he must act in concert-or his influence and power be almost annihilated-can prove no great constitutional security. And even the Representative body itself . . . are not sufficiently numerous to secure them from corruption. For all governments tend to corruption, in proportion as power concentrating in the hands of the few, tenders them objects of corruption to Foreign Nations and among themselves. For these and many other reasons we are for preserving the rights of the State governments, where they must not be necessarily relinquished for the welfare of the Union. And, where so relinquished, the line should be definitely drawn. If under the proposed Constitution the States exercise any power, it would seem to be at the mercy of the General Government. For it is remarkable that the clause securing to them those rights not expressly relinquished in the old Confederation, is left out in the new Constitution. And we conceive that there is no power which Congress may think necessary to exercise for the general welfare, which they may not assume under this Constitution. And this Constitution, and the laws made under it, are declared paramount even to the unalienable rights which have heretofore been secured to the citizens of these States by their constitutional compacts. . . . Moreover those very powers, which are to be expressly vested in the new Congress, are of a nature most liable to abuse. They are those which tempt the avarice and ambition of men to a violation of the rights of their fellow citizens, and they will be screened under the sanction of an undefined and unlimited authority. Against the abuse and improper exercise of these special powers, the people have a right to be secured by a sacred Declaration, defining the rights of the individual, and limiting by them the extent of the exercise. The people were secured against the abuse of those powers by fundamental laws and a Bill of Rights, under the government of Britain and under their own Constitution. That government which permits the abuse of power, recommends it, and will deservedly experience the tyranny which it authorizes; for the history of mankind establishes the truth of this political adage-that in government what may be done will be done. The most blind admirer of this Constitution must in his heart confess that it is as far inferior to the British Constitution, of which it is an imperfect imitation, as darkness is to light. In the British Constitution the rights of men, the primary object of the social compact, are fixed on an immoveable foundation and clearly defined and ascertained by their Magna Charta, their Petition of Rights, their Bill of Rights, and their effective administration by ostensible Ministers secures responsibility. In this new Constitution a complicated system sets responsibility at defiance and the rights of men neglected and undefined are left at the mercy of events. We vainly plume ourselves on the safeguard alone of representation, forgetting that it will be a representation on principles inconsistent with true and just representation; that it is but a delusive shadow of representation, proffering in theory what can never be fairly reduced to practice. And, after all, government by representation (unless confirmed in its views and conduct by the constant inspection, immediate superintendence, and frequent interference and control of the people themselves on one side, or an hereditary nobility on the other, both of which orders have fixed and permanent views) is really only as one of perpetual rapine and confusion. Even with the best checks it has failed in all the governments of Europe, of which it was once the basis, except that of England. When we turn our eyes back to the zones of blood and desolation which we have waded through to separate from Great Britain, we behold with manly indignation that our blood and treasure have been wasted to establish a government in which the interest of the few is preferred to the rights of the many. When we see a government so every way inferior to that we were born under, proposed as the reward of our sufferings in an eight years calamitous war, our astonishment is only equaled by our resentment. On the conduct of Virginia and New York, two important States, the preservation of liberty in a great measure depends. The chief security of a Confederacy of Republics was boldly disregarded, and the Confederation violated, by requiring 9 instead of 13 voices to alter the Constitution. But still the resistance of either of these States in the present temper of America (for the late conduct of the party here [Maryland] must open the eyes of the people in Massachusetts with respect to the fate of their amendment) will secure all that we mean to contend for-the natural and unalienable rights of men in a constitutional manner. At the distant appearance of danger to these, we took up arms in the late Revolution. And may we never have cause to look back with regret on that period when connected with the Empire of Great Britain, we were happy, secure and free.