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store the blessings of equal government to long oppressed humanity. But, alas ! in place of maintaining this glorious attitude, America is herself rushing into disorder and dissolution.

We have powers sufficient for self-defence and glory, but those powers are not exerted. For fear Congress should abuse it, the people will not trust their power to Congress. Foreigners insult and injure us with impunity; for Congress has no power to chastise them. Ambitious men stir up insurrections; Congress possesses no power to coerce them. Public creditors call for their money; Congress has no power to collect it. In short, we cannot long subsist as a nation, without lodging somewhere a power, that may command the full energies of the nation, for defence against all its enemies, and for the supply of all its wants.

The people will soon be tired of such a government. They will sigh for a change; and many of them already begin to talk of Monarchy, without horror.

We have probably had too good an opinion of human nature, in forming our Confederation.


Experience has taught us, that men will not adopt carry into execution measures the best calculated for their own good, without the intervention of a coercive power.


Common danger brought the States into confederacy; and on their Union our safety and importance depend.


A spirit of accommodation was the basis of the present Constitution.



It should be the highest ambition of every American, to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind, that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity, but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn. To establish this desirable end, and to establish the government of laws, the Union of these States is absolutely necessary. Therefore, in every proceeding, this great, this important object should ever be kept in view; and, so long as our measures tend to this, and are marked with the wisdom of a well-informed and enlightened people, we may reasonably hope, under the smiles of Heaven, to convince the world, that the happiness of nations can be accomplished by pacific revolutions in

their political systems, without the destructive intervention of the sword.


The various and opposite interests which were to be conciliated, the local prejudices which were to be subdued, the diversity of opinions and sentiments which were to be reconciled, and, in fine, the sacrifices which were necessary to be made, on all sides, for the general welfare, combined to make it a work of so intricate and difficult a nature, that I think it is much to be wondered at, that any thing could have been produced with such unanimity, as the Constitution proposed. 1787.


I do most firmly believe, that, in the aggregate, it is the best Constitution that can be obtained at this epoch; and that this, or a dissolution of the Union awaits our choice, and is the only alternative before us.



Let the reins of Government be braced, and held with a steady hand, and every violation of the Consti

tution be reprehended. If defective, let it be amended, but not suffered to be trampled upon, whilst it has an existence.


We are now an independent people, and have yet to learn political tactics. We are placed among the nations of the earth, and have a character to establish; but how we shall acquit ourselves, time must discover.

The probability is, (at least, I fear it,) that local or State politics will interfere too much with the more liberal and extensive plan of government, which wisdom and foresight, freed from the mist of prejudice, would dictate; and that we shall be guilty of many blunders, in treading this boundless theatre, before we shall have arrived at any perfection in this art; in a word, that the experience which is purchased at the price of difficulties and distress, will alone convince us, that the honor, power, and true interest of this country, must be measured by a Continental scale, and that every departure therefrom weakens the Union, and may ultimately break the band which holds us together.

To avert these evils, to form a New Constitution, that will give consistency, stability, and dignity to the Union, and sufficient powers to the Great Council of the nation, for general purposes, is a duty incum

bent upon every man who wishes well to his country, and will meet with my aid as far as it can be rendered in the private walks of life.


I see one head gradually changing into thirteen. I see one army branching into thirteen; and, instead of looking up to Congress, as the Supreme Controlling Power of the United States, considering themselves as dependent on their respective States. In a word, I see the power of Congress declining too fast for the consequence and respect which are due to them, as the Great Representative Body of America; and I am fearful of the consequences.


The disinclination of the individual States, to yield powers to Congress, for the Federal Government, their unreasonable jealousy of that body and of one another, and the disposition which seems to pervade each, of being all-wise and all-powerful within itself, will, if there be not a change in the system, be our downfall as a nation.

This is as clear to me as A, B, C ; and I think we have opposed Great Britain, and have arrived at the present state of peace and independency, to very little purpose, if we cannot conquer our own prejudices. The powers of Europe begin to see this; and our newly acquired friends, the British, are already and professedly acting upon this ground; and wisely

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