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is unknown. Such were a number of ancient, and some modern independent cities. Men who read without attention, have taken these maxims respecting the extent of country; and, contrary to their proper meaning, have applied them to republics in general. This application is wrong in respect to all representative governments; but especially in relation to a confederacy of states, in which the supreme legislature has only general powers, and the civil and domestic concerns of the people are regulated by the laws of the several states. This distinction being kept in view, all the difficulty will vanish, and we may easily conceive, that the people of a large country may be represented, as truly as those of a small one. An assembly constituted for general purposes, may be fully competent to every federal regulation, without being too numerous for deliberate conduct. If the state governments were to be abolished, the question would wear a different face: but this idea is inadmissible. They are absolutely necessary to the system. Their existence must form a leading principle in the most perfect constitution we could form. I insist, that it never can be the interest or desire of the national legislature, to destroy the state governments. It can derive no advantage from such an event; but, on the contrary, would lose an indispensable support, a necessary aid in executing the laws, and conveying the influence of government to the doors of the people. The union is dependent on the will of the state governments for its chief magistrate, and for its senate. The blow aimed at the members, must give a fatal wound to the head; and the destruction of the states must be at once a political suicide. Can the national government be guilty of this madness? What induce-' ments, what temptations can they have? Will they attach new honors to their station ; will they increase the national strength ; will they multiply the national resources; will they make themselves more respectable in the view of foreign nations, or of their fellow
citizens, by robbing the states of their constitutional privileges ? But imagine, for a moment, that a political frenzy should seize the government; suppose they should make the attempt-certainly, sir, it would be for ever impracticable. This has been sufficiently demonstrated by reason and experience. It has been proved, that the members of republics have been, and ever will be, stronger than the head. Let us attend to one general historical example. In the ancient feudal governments of Europe, there were, in the first place, a monarch; subordinate to him, a body of nobles ; and subject to these, the vassals, or the whole body of the people. The authority of the kings was limited, and that of the barons considerably independent. A great part of the early wars in Europe were contests between the king and his nobility. In these contests, the latter possessed many advantages derived from their influence, and the immediate command they had over the people; and they generally prevailed. The history
of the feudal wars exhibits little more than a series of successful encroachments on the prerogatives of monarchy. Here, sir, is one great proof of the superiority, which the members in limited governments possess over their head. As long as the barons enjoyed the confidence and attachment of the people, they had the strength of the country on their side, and were irresistible. I may be told, that in some instances the barons were overcome: but how did this happen? Sir, they took advantage of the depression of the royal authority, and the establishment of their own power, to oppress and tyrannize over their vassals. As commerce enlarged, and as wealth and civilization increased, the people began to feel their own weight and consequence : they grew tired of their oppressions ; united their strength with that of the prince, and threw off the yoke of aristocracy. These very instances prove what I contend for. They prove, that in whatever direction the popular weight leans, the current of power will flow : wherever the popular attach
ments lie, there will rest the political superiority. Sir, can it be supposed that the state governments will become the oppressors of the people? Will they forfeit their affections ? Will the
Will they combine to destroy the liberties and happiness of their fellow-citizens, for the sole purpose of involving themselves in ruin? God forbid! The idea, sir, is shocking! It outrages every feeling of humanity, and every dictate of common sense!
There are certain social principles in human nature, from which we may draw the most solid conclusions, with respect to the conduct of individuals and of communities. We love our families more than our neighbors: we love our neighbors more than our countrymen in general. The human affections, like the solar heat, lose their intensity, as they depart from the centre, and become languid, in proportion to the expansion of the circle, on which they act. On these principles, the attachment of the individual will be first and for ever secured by the state governments: they will be a mutual protection and support
. Another source of influence, which has already been pointed out, is the various official connexions in the states. Gentlemen endeavor to evade the force of this, by saying that these offices will be insignificant. This is by no means true. The state officers will ever be important, because they are necessary and useful. Their powers are such as are extremely interesting to the people; such as affect their property, their liberty and life. What is more important than the administration of justice, and the execution of the civil and criminal laws? Can the state governments become insignificant, while they have the power of raising money independently, and without control? If they are really useful; if they are calculated to promote the essential interests of the people; they must have their confidence and support. The states can never lose their powers, till the whole people of America are robbed of their liberties. These must go together; they must
support each other, or meet one common fate. On the gentlemen's principle, we may safely trust the state governments, though we have no means of resisting them: but we cannot confide in the national government, though we have an effectual constitutional guard against every encroachment. This is the essence of their argument, and it is false and fallacious beyond conception,
With regard to the jurisdiction of the two governments, I shall certainly admit that the constitution ought to be so formed, as not to prevent the states from providing for their own existence; and I maintain that it is so formed; and that their power of providing for themselves is sufficiently established. This is conceded by one gentleman, and in the next breath, the concession is retracted. He says, Congress have but one exclusive right in taxation; that of duties on imports: certainly, then, their other powers are only concurrent. But to take off the force of this obvious conclusion, he immediately says, that the laws of the United States are supreme; and that where there is one supreme, there cannot be a concurrent authority; and further, that where the laws of the union are supreme, those of the states must be subordinate; because, there cannot be two supremes. This is curious sophistry. That two supreme powers cannot act together, is false. They are inconsistent only when they are aimed at each other, or at one indivisible object. The laws of the United States are supreme, as to all their proper, constitutional objects: the laws of the states are supreme in the same way. These supreme laws may act on different objects, without clashing; or they may operate on different parts of the same common object, with perfect harmony. Suppose both governments should lay a tax, of a penny, on a certain article: has not each an independent and uncontrollable power to collect its own tax?
The meaning of the maxim, there cannot be two supremes, is simply this—two powers cannot be supreme over
each other. This meaning is entirely perverted by the gentlemen. But, it is said, disputes between collectors are to be referred to the federal courts. This is again wandering in the field of conjecture. But suppose the fact certain: is it not to be presumed, that they will express the true meaning of the constitution and the laws ? Will they not be bound to consider the concurrent jurisdiction; to declare that both the taxes shall have equal operation; that both the powers, in that respect, are sovereign and co-extensive? If they transgress their duty, we are to hope that they will be punished. Sir, we can reason from probabilities alone. When we leave common sense, and give ourselves up to conjecture, there can be no certainty, no security in our reasonings.
I imagine I have stated to the committee, abundant reasons to prove the entire safety of the state governments, and of the people. I would go into a more minute consideration of the nature of the concurrent jurisdiction, and the operation of the laws, in relation to revenue ; but at present, I feel too much indisposed to proceed. I shall, with the leave of the committee, improve another opportunity of expressing to them more fully my ideas on this point. I wish the committee to remember, that the constitution under examination, is framed upon truly republican principles ; and that, as it is expressly designed to provide for the common protection and the general welfare of the United States, it must be utterly repugnant to this constitution, to subvert the state governments, or oppress the people.