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cannot be fixed or bounded, even in imagination. Will you limit the means of your defence, when you cannot ascertain the force or extent of the invasion ? Even in ordinary wars, a government is frequently obliged to call for supplies, to the temporary oppression of the people.
Sir, if we adopt the idea of exclusive revenues, we shall be obliged to fix some distinguished line, which neither government shall overpass. The inconveniences of this measure must appear evident, on the slightest examination. The resources appropriated to one, may diminish or fail, while those of the other may increase, beyond the wants of government. One may be destitute of revenues, while the other shall possess an unnecessary abundance, and the constitution will be an eternal barrier to a mutual intercourse and relief. In this case, will the individual states stand on so good a ground, as if the objects of taxation were left free and open to the embrace of both the governments ? Possibly, in the advancement of commerce, the imposts may increase to such a degree, as to render direct taxes unnecessary. These resources, then, as the constitution stands, may be occasionally relinquished to the states; but on the gentleman's idea of prescribing exclusive limits, and precluding all reciprocal communication, this would be entirely improper. The laws of the states must not touch the appropriated resources of the United States, whatever may be their wants. Would it not be of more advantage to the states, to have a concurrent jurisdiction extending to all the sources of revenue, than to be confined to such a small resource, as, on calculation of the objects of the two governments, should appear to be their due proportion? Certainly you cannot hesitate on this question. The gentleman's plan would have a further ill effect; it would tend to dissolve the connexion and correspondence of the two governments, to estrange them from each other, and to destroy that mutual dependence, which forms the essence of union.
Sir, a number of arguments have been advanced by an honorable member from New York, which, to every unclouded mind, must carry conviction. He has stated, that in sudden emergencies, it may be necessary to borrow; and that it is impossible to borrow, unless you have funds to pledge for the payment of your debts. Limiting the powers of government to certain resources, is rendering the fund precarious; and obliging the government to ask, instead of empowering it to command, is to destroy all confidence and credit. If the power of taxing is restricted, the consequence is, that on the breaking out of a war, you must divert the funds, appropriated to the payment of debts, to answer immediate exigencies. Thus
your engagements, at the very time you increase the burden of them. Besides, sound policy condemns the practice of accumulating debts. A government, to act with energy, should have the possession of all its revenues to answer present purposes. The principle, for which I contend, is recognized, in all its extent, by our old constitution. Congress is authorized to raise troops, to call for supplies without limitation, and to borrow money to any amount. It is true, they must use the form of recommendations and requisitions : but the states are bound by the solemn ties of honor, of justice, of religion, to comply without reserve.
Mr. Chairman, it has been advanced as a principle, that no government but a despotism, can exist in a very extensive country. This is a melancholy consideration indeed. If it were founded on truth, we ought to dismiss the idea of a republican government, even for the state of New York. This idea has been taken from a celebrated writer, who, by being misunderstood, has been the occasion of frequent fallacies in our reasoning On political subjects. But the position has been misapprehended; and its application is entirely false and unwarrantable: it relates only to democracies, where the whole body of the people, meet to transact business: and where representation
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. Cån the national government be guilty of this madness? What inducements, 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 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 outragès 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