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Why are counties of the same States represented in proportion of their numbers ? Is it because the representatives are chosen by the people themselves? So will be the representatives in the National Legislature. Is it because the larger have more at stake than the smaller ? The case will be the same with the larger and smaller States. Is it because the laws are to operate immediately on their persons and property. The same is the case, in some degree, as the Articles of Confederation stand ; the same will be the case, in a far greater degree, under the plan proposed to be substituted. In the cases of captures, of piracies, and of offenders in a federal army, the property and persons of individuals depend on the laws of Congress. By the plan proposed, a complete power of taxation—the highest prerogative of supremacy-is proposed to be vested in the National Government. Many other powers are added, which assimilate it to the government of individual States.
In a word, the two extremes before us are a perfect separation, and a perfect incorporation of the thirteen States. In the first case, they would be independent nations, subject to no law but the law of nations. In the last, they would be mere counties of one entire republic, subject to one common law. In the first case, the smaller States would have every thing to fear from the larger. In the last, they would have nothing to fear. The true policy of the small States, therefore, lies in promoting those principles, and that form of government which will most approximate the States to the condition of counties. Another consideration may be added. If the General Government be feeble, the larger States, distrusting its continuance, and foreseeing that their importance and security may depend on their own size and strength, will never submit to a partition. Give to the General Government sufficient energy and permanency, and you remove the objection. Gradual partitions of the large and junctions of the small States will be facilitated, and time may effect that equalization which is wished for by the small States now, but can never be accomplished at once.
false Mr. Wilson. The leading argument of those who contend for equality of votes among the States, is, that the States, as such, being equal, and being represented, not as districts of individuals, but in their political and corporate capacities, are entitled to an equality of suffrage. According to this mode of reasoning, the representation of the boroughs in England, which has been allowed on all hands to be the rotten part of the Constitution, is perfectly right and proper. They are, like the States, represented in their corporate capacity; like the States, therefore, they are entitled to equal voices-Old Sarum to as many as London. And, instead of the injury supposed hitherto to be done to London, the true ground of complaint lies with Old Sarum: for London, instead of two, which is her proper share, sends four representatives to Parliament.
Mr. Sherman. The question is, not what rights naturally belong to man, but how they may be most equally and effectually guarded in society. And if some give up more than others, in order to obtain this end, there can be no room for complaint. To do otherwise, to require an equal concession from all, if it would create danger to the rights of some, would be sacrificing the end to the means. The rich man who enters into society along with the poor man gives up more than the poor man, yet, with an equal vote, he is equally safe. Were he to have more votes than the poor man, in proportion to his superior stake, the rights of the poor man would immediately cease to be secure. This consideration prevailed when the Articles of Confederation were formed.
Dr. Johnson. The controversy must be endless whilst gentlemen differ in the grounds of their arguments : those on one side considering the States as districts of people composing one political society, those on the other considering them as so many political societies. The fact is, that the States do exist as societies, and a government
is to be formed for them in their political capacity, as well as for the individuals composing them. Does it not seem to follow, that if the States, as such, are to exist, they must be armed with some power of self-defence! This is the idea of Col. Mason, who appears to have looked to the bottom of this matter. Besides the aristocratic and other interests, which ought to have the means of defending themselves, the States have their interests as such, and are equally entitled to like means. On the whole, he thought that as, in some respects, the States are to be considered in their political capacity, and, in others, as districts of individual citizens, the two ideas embraced on different sides, instead of being opposed to each other, ought to be combined—that in one branch the people ought to be represented, and in the other the States.
Mr. Gorham. The States, as now confederated, have no doubt a right to refuse to be consolidated, or to be formed into any new system. But he wished the small States, which seemed most ready to object, to consider which are to give up most, they or the larger ones. He conceived that a rupture of the Union would be an event unhappy for ail; but surely the large States would be least unable to take care of themselves, and to make connections with one another. The weaker, therefore, were most interested in establishing some general system for maintaining order. If, among individuals composed partly of weak and partly strong, the former most need the protection of law and government, the case is exactly the same with weak and powerful States. What would be the situation of Delaware, (for these things, he found, must be spoken out, and it might as well be done at first as last,) what would be the situation of Delaware in case of the separation of the States? Would she not be at the merey of Pennsylvania? Would not her true interest lie in being consolidated with her, and ought she not now wish for such a union with Pennsylvania, under one government, as will put it out of the power of Pennsylvania to oppress her ? Nothing can be more ideal than the danger apprehended by the States from their being formed into one nation. * * * On the whole, he considered a union of the States as necessary to their happiness, and a firm general government as necessary to their union. He should consider it his duty, if his colleagues viewed the matter in the same light he did, to stay here as long as any other State would remain with them, in order to agree on some plan that could, with propriety, be recommended to the people
.. Mr. Ellsworth did not despair. He still trusted that some good plan of government would be devised and adopted.
Mr. Read. He should have no objection to the system if it were truly national, but it has too much of a federal mixture in it. The little States, he thought, had not much to fear. He suspected that the large States felt their want of energy, and wished for a general government to supply the defect. Massachusetts was evidently laboring under her weakness, and he believed Delaware would not be in much danger if in her neighborhood. Delaware had enjoyed tranquillity, and he flattered himself would continue to do so. He was not, however, so selfish as not to wish for a good general government. 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 Dr. Johnson, that the mixed nature of the government