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ment. In order to obtain one, the whole States must be incorporated. If the States remain, the representatives of the large ones will stick together, and carry every thing before them. The Executive, also, will be chosen under the influence of this partiality, and will betray it in his administration. These jealousies are inseparable from the scheme of leaving the States in existence. They must be done away. The ungranted lands, also, which have been assumed by particular States, must be given up. He repeated his approbation of the plan of Mr. Hamilton, and wished it to be substituted for that on the table.
Mr. Madison agreed with Doctor JOHNSON, that the mixed nature of the Government ought to be kept in view; but thought too much stress was laid on the rank of the States as political societies. There was a gradation, he observed, from the smallest corporation, with the most limited powers, to the largest empire, with the most perfect sovereignty. He pointed out the limitations on the sovereignty of the States, as now confederated. Their laws, in relation to the paramount law of the Confederacy, were analagous to that of bye-laws to the supreme law within a State. Under the proposed Government the powers of the States will be much farther reduced. According to the views of every member,
, the General Government will have powers far beyond those exercised by the British Parliament when the States were part of the British Empire. It will, in particular, have the power, without the consent of the State Legislatures, to levy money directly from the people themselves; and therefore,
not to divest such unequal portions of the people as composed the several States of an equal voice, would subject the system to the reproaches and evils which have resulted from the vicious representation in Great Britain.
He entreated the gentlemen representing the small States to renounce a principle which was confessedly unjust; which could never be admitted; and which, if admitted, must infuse mortality into a Constitution which we wished to last forever. He prayed them to ponder well the consequences of suffering the Confederacy to go to pieces. It had been said that the want of energy in the large States would be a security to the small. It was forgotten that this want of energy proceeded from the supposed security of the States against all external danger. Let each State depend on itself for its security, and let apprehensions arise of danger from distant powers or from neighbouring States, and the languishing condition of all the States, large as well as small, would soon be transformed into vigorous and high-toned Governments. His great fear was, that their Governments would then have too much energy; that this might not only be formidable in the large to the small States, but fatal to the internal liberty of all. The same causes which have rendered the old world the theatre of incessant wars, and have banished liberty from the face of it, would soon produce the same effects here. The weakness and jealousy of the small States would quickly introduce some regular military force, against sudden danger from their powerful neighbours. The example would be followed by others, and would soon become universal. In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive magistrate. Constant apprehension of war has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive, will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim, to excite a war whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved, the people. It is, perhaps, questionable, whether the best concerted system of absolute power in Europe, could maintain itself, in a situation where no alarms of external danger could tame the people to the domestic yoke. The insular situation of Great Britain was the principal cause of her being an exception to the general fate of Europe. It has rendered less defence necessary, and admitted a kind of defence which could not be used for the purpose of oppression. These consequences, he conceived, ought to be apprehended, whether the States should run into a total separation from each other, or should enter into partial confederacies. Either event would be truly deplorable; and those who might be accessary to either, could never be forgiven by their country, nor by themselves. 22
Mr. Hamilton observed, that individuals forming political societies modify their rights differently, with regard to suffrage. Examples of it are found in all
* From this date he was absent till the 13th of August.
the States. In all of them, some individuals are deprived of the right altogether, not having the requisite qualification of property. In some of the States, the right of suffrage is allowed in some cases, and refused in others. To vote for a member in one branch, a certain quantum of property; to vote for a member in another branch of the Legislature, a higher quantum of property, is required. In like manner, States may modify their right of suffrage differently, the larger exercising a larger, the smaller a smaller, share of it. But as States are a collection of individual men, which ought we to respect most, the rights of the people composing them, or of the artificial beings resulting from the composition ? Nothing could be more preposterous or absurd than to sacrifice the former to the latter. It has been said, that if the smaller States renounce their equality, they renounce at the same time their liberty. The truth is, it is a contest for power, not for liberty. Will the men composing the small States be less free than those composing the larger ? The State of Delaware having forty thousand souls will lose power, if she has one-tenth only of the votes allowed to Pennsylvania having four hundred thousand; but will the people of Delaware be less free, if each citizen has an equal vote with each citizen of Pennsylvania ? He admitted that common residence within the same State would produce a certain degree of attachment; and that this principle might have a certain influence on public affairs. He thought, however, that this might, by some precautions, be in a great measure excluded : and that no material inconvenience could result from it; as there could not be any ground for combination among the States whose influence was most dreaded. The only considerable distinction of interests lay between the carrying and non-carrying States, which divides, instead of uniting, the largest States. No considerable inconvenience had been found from the division of the State of New York into different districts of different sizes.
Some of the consequences of a dissolution of the Union, and the establishment of partial confederacies, had been pointed out.
He would add another of a most serious nature. Alliances will immediately be formed with different rival and hostile nations of Europe, who will foment disturbances among ourselves, and make us parties to all their own quarrels. Foreign nations having American dominion are, and must be, jealous of us. Their representatives betray the utmost anxiety for our fate; and for the result of this meeting, which must have an essential influence on it. It had been said, that respectability in the eyes of foreign nations was not the object at which we aimed; that the proper object of republican government was domestic tranquillity and happiness. This was an ideal distinction. No government could give us tranquillity and happiness at home, which did not possess sufficient stability and strength to make us respectable abroad. This was the critical moment for forming such a government. We should run every risk in trusting to future amendments. As yet we retain the habits of union. We are weak, and sensible of our weakness. Henceforward, the motives will become feebler, and the difficulties greater. It is a miracle that we are