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sylvania would have strong inducements to join the northern league. An active foreign commerce, on the basis of her own navigation, is her true policy, and coincides with the opinions and dispositions of her citizens. The more southern states, from various circumstances, may not think themselves much in. terested in the encouragement of navigation. They may prefer a system, which would give unlimited scope to all nations, to be the carriers, as well as the purchasers, of their commodities. Pennsylvania may not choose to confound her interests in a connection so adverse to her policy. As she must, at all events, be a frontier, she may deem it most consistent with her safety, to have her exposed side turned towards the weaker power of the southern, rather than towards the stronger power of the northern confederacy. This would give her the fairost chanco to avoid being the FLANDERS of America. Whatever may be the determination of Pennsylvania, if the northern confederacy includes New Jersey, there is no likelihood of more than one confederacy to the south of that state.
Nothing can be more evident than that the Thirteen States will be able to support a national government, better than one half, or one third, or any number less than the whole. flectidn must have great weight in obviating that objection to the proposed plan, which is founded on the principle of expense; .an objection however, which, when we come to take a nearer view of it, will appear in every light to stand on mistaken ground.
If, in addition to the consideration of a plurality of civil lists, we take into view the number of persons who must necessarily be employed to guard the inland communication, between the different confederacies, against illicit trade, and who in time will infallibly spring up out of the necessities of revenue; and if we also take into view the military establishments, which it has been shown would unavoidably result from the jealousies and conflicts of the several nations, into which the states would be divided, we shall clearly discover that a separation would be not less injurious to the economy, than to the tranquillity, commerce, revenue, and liberty, of every part.
NEW YORK, DECEMBER 1, 1777.
AN OBJECTION DRAWN FROM THE EXTENT OF COUNTRY
We have seen the necessity of the union, as our bulwark against foreign danger; as the conservator of peace among ourselves; as the guardian of our commerce, and other common interests; as the only substitute for those military establishments which have subverted the liberties of the old world; and as the proper antidote for the diseases of faction, which have proved fatal to other popular governments, and of which alarming symptoms have been betrayed by our own. All that remains, within this branch of our inquiries, is to take notice of an objection, that may be drawn from the great extent of country which the union embraces. A few observations, on this subject, will be the more proper, as it is perceived, that the adversaries of the new constitution are availing themselves of a prevailing prejudice, with regard to the practicable sphere of republican administration, in order to supply, by imaginary difficulties, the want of those solid objections, which they endeavour in vain to find.
The errour which limits republican government to a narrow district, has boon unfolded and refuted in preceding papers. I remark here only, that it seems to owe its rise and prevalence
chiefly to the confounding of a republic with a democracy; and applying to the former, reasonings drawn from the nature of the latter. The true distinction between these forms, was also adverted to on a former occasion. It is, that in a democracy, tho people meet and exercise the government in person: in a republic, they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents. A democracy, consequently, must be confined to a small spot. A republic may be extended over a large region.
To this accidental source of the errour, may be added the artifice of some celebrated authors, whose writings have had a great share in forming the modern standard of political opinions. Being subjects, either of an absolute, or limited monarchy they have endeavoured to heighten the advantages, or palliate the evils, of those forms, by placing in comparison with them the vices and defects of the republican, and by citing, as specimens of the latter, the turbulent democracies of ancient Greece, and modern Italy. Under the confusion of names, it has been an easy task to transfer to a republic observations applicable to a democracy only; and, among others, the observation, that it can never be established but among a small number of people, living within a small compass of territory.
Such a fallacy may have been the less perceived, as most of the popular governments of antiquity were of the democratic species; and even in modern Europe, to which we owe the great principle of representation, no example is seen of a government wholly popular, and founded, at the same time, wholly on that principle. If Europe has the merit of discovering this great mechanical power in government, by the simple agency of which, the will of the largest political body may be concentered, and its force directed to any object, which the public good requires; America can claim the merit of making the discovery the basis of unmixed and extensive republice. It is only to be lamented, that any of her citizens should wish to deprive her of the additional merit of displaying its full efficacy in the establishment of the comprehensive system now under her coneider ation
As the natural limit of a democracy is that distance from the central point, which will just permit the most remote citizens to assemble as often as their public functions demand, and will include no greater number than can join in those functions: 80 the natural limit of a republic, is that distance from the centre, which will barely allow the representatives of the people to meet as often as may be necessary for the administration of public affairs. Can it be said, that the limits of the United States exceed this distance? It will not be said by those who recollect, that the Atlantic coast is the longost sido of the union; that during the term of thirteen years, the representatives of the states have been almost continually assembled; and that the . members, from the most distant states, are not chargeable with greater intermissions of attendance, than those from the states in the neighbourhood of Congress.
That we may form a juster estimate with regard to this interesting subject, let us resort to the actual dimensions of the union. The limits, as fixed by the treaty of peace, are, on the east the Atlantic, on the south the latitude of thirty-one degrees, on the west the Mississippi, and on the north an irregular lino running in some instances beyond the forty-fifth degree, in others falling as low as the forty-second. The southern shore of lake Erie lies below that latitude. Computing the distance between the thirty-first and forty-fifth degrees, it amounts to nine hundred and seventy-three common miles; computing it from thirty-one to forty-two dogroos, to soven hundred sixtyfour miles and a half. Taking the mean for the distance, the amount will be eight hundred sixty-eight miles and three fourths. The mean distance from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, does not probably exceed seven hundred and fifty miles. On a comparison of this extent, with that of several countries in Europe, the practicability of rendering our system commensurate to it, appears to be demonstrable. It is not a great deal larger than Germany, where a diet, representing the whole empire, is continually assembled; or than Poland beforo the late dismember. mont, where another national diet was the depository of the
supremo power. Passing by France and Spain, wo find that in Great Britain, inferiour as it may be in size, the representatives of the northern extremity of the island, have as far to travel to the national council, as will be required of those of the most remote parts of the union.
Favourable as this view of the subject may be, some observations remain, which will place it in a light still more satisfactory.
In the first place, it is to be remembered, that the general gov. ernment is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws; its jurisdiction is limited to certain
, which concorn all tho mombors of tho re
public, bát which are not to be attained by the separate pro. . visions of any. The subordinate governments, which can extend their care to all those other objects, which can be separately provided for, will retain their due authority and activity. Were it proposed by the plan of the convention, to abolish the governments of the particular states, its adversaries would have some ground for their objection; though it would not be difficult to show, that if they were abolished, the general government would be compelled, by the principle of self-preservation, to reinstate them in their proper jurisdiction.
A second observation to be made is, that the immediate objoct of the federal constitution, is to secure the union of tho thirteon primitive states, which we know to be practicablo; and to add to them such other states, as may arise in their own bosoms, or in their neighbourhoods, which we cannot doubt to be equally practicable. The arrangements that may be necessary for those angles and fractions of our territory, which lie on our north western frontier, must be left to those whom further discoveries and experience will render more equal to the task.
Let it be romarked, in the third place, that the intercourse throughout the union will be daily facilitated by now improve. ments. Roads will every where be shortened, and kept in better order; accommodations for travellers will be multiplied and me
l; an interiour navigation on our eastern side, will be