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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.?
* 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
now here, exercising our tranquil and free deliberations on the subject. It would be madness to trust to future miracles. A thousand causes must obstruct a re-production of them.?
Mr. PIERCE considered the equality of votes under the Confederation as the great source of the public difficulties. The members of Congress were advocates for local advantages. State distinctions must be sacrificed, as far as the general good required, but without destroying the States. Though from a small State, he felt himself a citizen of the United States.
Mr. Gerry urged, that we never were independent States, were not such now, and never could be, even on the principles of the Confederation. The States, and the advocates for them, were intoxicated with the idea of their sovereignty. He was a member of Congress at the time the Federal Articles were formed. The injustice of allowing each State an equal vote was long insisted on. He voted for it, but it was against his judgment, and under the pressure of public danger, and the obstinacy of the lesser States. The present Confederation he considered as dissolving. The fate of the Union will be decided by the Convention. If they do not agree on something, few delegates will probably be appointed to Congress. If they do, Congress will probably be kept up till the new system should be adopted. He lamented that, instead of coming here like a band of brothers, belonging to the same family, we seemed to have brought with us the spirit of political nego tiators.
Mr. L. MARTIN remarked, that the language, of
the States being sovereign and independent, was once familiar and understood ; though it seemed now so strange and obscure. He read those passages in the Articles of Confederation which describe them in that languague.
On the question, as moved by Mr. LANSING, shall the word “not" be struck out ?—Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, aye—4; Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no—6; Maryland, divided.
On the motion to agree to the clause as reported, " that the rule of suffrage in the first branch ought not to be according to that established by the Articles of the Confederation,”-Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye—6; Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, no—4; Maryland, divided.
Doctor JOHNSON and Mr. ELLSWORTH moved to postpone the residue of the clause, and take
the eighth Resolution.
On the question,-Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye—9; Massachusetts, Delaware, no—2.
Mr. ELLSWORTH moved, “ that the rule of suffrage in the second branch be the same with that established by the Articles of Confederation.” He was not sorry, on the whole, he said, that the vote just passed had determined against this rule in the first branch. He hoped it would become a ground of compromise with regard to the second branch. We were partly national, partly federal. The proportional representation in the first branch was