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upon all external attempts to restrain or direct its operations From this spirit it happens, that in every political association which is formed upon the principle of uniting in a common interest a number of lesser sovereignties, there will be found a kind of eccentric tendency in the subordinate or inferior orbs, by the operation of which, there will be a perpetual effort in each to fly off from the common centre. This tendency is not difficult to be accounted for. It has its origin in the love of power. Power controlled or abridged is almost always the rival and enemy of that power by which it is controlled or abridged. This simple proposition will teach us how little reason there is to expect, that the persons entrusted with the administration of the affairs of the particular members of a confederacy, will at all times be ready, with perfect good'humour, and an unbiassed regard to the public woal, to execute the resolutions or decrees of the general authority. The reverse of this results from the con. stitution of man.

If therefore the measures of the confederacy cannot be executed, without tho intervention of the particular administrations, there will be little prospect of their being executed at all. The rulers of the respective members, whether they have a constitutional right to do it or not, will undertake to judge of the propriety of the measures themselves. They will consider the conformity of the thing proposed or required to their immediate interests or aims; the momentary conveniences or inconveniences that would attend its adoption. All this will be done ; and in & spirit of interested and suspicious scrutiny, without that knowledge of national circumstances and reasons of state. which is essential to a right judgment, and with that strong predilection in favour of local objects, which can hardly fail to mislead the decision. The same process must be repeated in every member of which the body is constituted ; and the execution of the plans, framed by the councils of the whole, will always fluctuate on the discretion of the ill-informed and prejudiced opinion of every part. Those who have been conversant in the proceedings of popular assemblies; who bave seen how difficult it often

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is, when there is no exterior pressure of circumstances, to bring them to barmonious resolutions on important points, will readily conceive how impossible it must bu to induce a number of such assemblies, deliberating at a distance from each other, at differ

ent times, and under different impressions, long to co-operate in the same views and pursuits.

In our case, the concurrence of thirteen distinct sovereign wills is requisite under the confederation, to the complete execution of overy important measure, that procoods from the union. It has happened, as was to have been foreseen. The measures of the union have not been executed ; the delinquences lof the states have, step by step, matured themselves to an extreme, which has at length arrested all the wheels of the national government, and brought them to an awful stand. Congress at this time scarcely possess the means of keeping up the forms of administration, till the states can have time to agree upon a more substantial substitute for the present shadow of a federal government. Things did not come to this desperate extremity at once. The causes which have been specified, produced at first only unequal and disproportionate degrees of compliance with the requisitions of the union. The greater deficiencies of some states furnished the pretext of example, and the temptation of interest to the complying, or at least delinquent states. Why should we do more in proportion than those who are embarked with us in the same political voyage? Why should we consent to bear more than our proper share of the common burthen?

These were suggestions which human selfishness. could not withstand, and which even speculative men,, who looked forward to remote consequences, could not without hesitation combat. Each state, yielding to the per

suasive voice of immediate interest or convenienco, has succesLsively withdrawn its support, till the frail and tottering edifire

seems ready to fall upon our heads, and to crush us beneath its ruins.


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The tendency of the principle of legislation for states or communities in their political capacities, as it has been exemplified by the experiment we have made of it, is equally attested by the events which have befallen all other governments of the confederate kind, of wbich we have any account, in exact proportion to its prevalence in those systems. The confirmations of this fact will be worthy of a distinct and particular examination. I shall content myself with barely observing bero, that of all the confederacies of antiquity which history has handed down to us, the Lycian and Achøan leagues, as far as there remain vestiges of them, appear to have been most free from the fetters of that mistaken principle, and were accordingly those which have best deserved, and have most liberally received, the applauding suffrages of political writers.

This exceptionable principle may, as' truly as emphatically, be styled the parent of anarchy: It has been seen that delin. quencies in the members of the union are its natural and necessary offspring; and that whenever they happen, the only constitutional remedy is force, and the immediate effect of the uso of it, civil war.

It remains to inquire how far so odious an engine of govern. mont, in its application to us, would even be capable of answering its end. If there should not be a large army, constantly at the disposal of the national governmont, it would either not bo able to employ force at all, or when this could be done, it would amount to a war between different parts of the confederacy, concerning the infractions of a league ; in which the strongest combination would be most likely to prevail, whether it consisted of those who supported, or of those who resisted, the goneral authority. It would rarely happen that the delinquency to be redressed would be confined to a singlo momber, and if there were more than one, who had neglected their duty, similarity of situation would induce them to unite for common defence. Independent of this motivo of sympathy, if a large and influential state should happen to be the aggressing member, it would commonly havo weight enough with its neighbours, to win over some of them as associates to its cause. Specious arguments of danger to the general liberty could easily be contrived; plausible excuses for the deficiencies of the party, could, without difficulty, be invented, to alarm the apprehensions, inflame the passions, and conciliate the good will even of those states which were not chargeable with any violation, or omission of duty. This would be the more likely to take place, as the delinquencies of the larger members might be expected sometimes to proceed from an ambitious premeditation in their rulers, with a view to getting rid of all external control upon their designs of personal aggrandizement; the better to offoct which, it is presumable they would tamper beforehand with leading individuals in the adjacent states. If associates could not be found at home, recourse would be had to the aid of foreign powers, who would seldom be disinclined to encouraging the dissensions of a confederacy, from the firm union of which they had so much to fear. When the sword is once drawn, the passions of men observe no bounds of moderation. The suggestions of wounded pride, the instigations of irritated resentment, would be apt to carry the states, against which the arms of the union were

exerted, to any extremes necessary to avenge the affront, or to avoid the disgrace of submission. The first war of this kinu would probably terminate in a dissolution of the union.

This may be considered as the violent death of the confederacy. Its more natural death is what we now seem to be on the point of experiencing, if the federal system be not speedily renovated in a more substantial form. It is not probable, considering the genius of this country, tbat the complying states would often be inclined to support the authority of the union, by engaging in a war against the non-complying states. They would always be more ready to pursue the mildor course of putting themselves upon an equal footing with the delinquent members, by an imitation of their example. And the guilt of all would thus become the security of all. Our past experience has exhibited the operation of this spirit in its full light. There would in fact be an insuperable difficulty in ascertaining when force could with propriety be employed. In the article of pecuniary contribution, which would be the most usual source of delinquency, it would often be impossible to decide whether it had proceeded from disinclination, or inability. The pretence of the latter would always be at hand. And the case must be very flagrant in which its fallacy could be detected with sufficient certainty to justify the harsh expedient of compulsion. It is easy to see that this problem alone, as often as it should occur, would open a wide field to the majority that happened to prevail in the national council, for the exercise of factious viewe, of partiality, and of oppression.

It seems to require no pains to prove that the states ought not to prefer a national constitution, which could only be kept in motion by the instrumentality of a large army, continually on foot to execute the ordinary requisitions or decrees of the gov. ernment. And yet this is the plain alternative involved by those who wish to deny it the power of extending its operations to individuals. Such a scheme, if practicable at all, would instantly degenerate into a military despotism; but it will be found in every light impracticable. The resources of the union would

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