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their natural allies : because they have most to foar irom us, and most to hope from them. The improvements in the art of navigation, have, as to the facility of communication, rendered distant nations, in a great measure, neighbours. Britain and Spain, are among the principal maritime powers of Europe. A future concert of views between these nations, ought not to be regarded as improbable. The increasing remoteness of consanguinity, is every day diminishing the force of the family compact betwoen France and Spain. And politicians buvo ever, with great reason, considered the ties of blood, as feeble and precarious links of political connection. These circumstances, combined, admonish us not to be too sanguine in considering ourselves as entirely out of the reach of danger.
Previous to tho revolution, and ever since tho poace, there has been a constant necessity for keeping small garrisons on our western frontier. No person can doubt, that those will continue to be indispensable, if it should only be to guard against the ravages and depredations of the Indians. These garrisons must either be furnished by occasional detachments from the militia, or by permanent corps in the pay of the government. The first is impracticable; and if practicable, would be pernicious. The militia, in times of profound peace, would not long, if at all, submit to be dragged from thoir occupations and families, to porform that most disagreeable duty. And if they could be prevailed upon, or compelled to do it, the increased expense of a frequent rotation of service, and the loss of labour, and disconcertion of the industrious pursuits of individuals, would form conclusive objections to the scheme. It would be as burthensome and injurious to the public, as ruinous to private citizens. The latter resource of permanent corps in the pay of government, amounts to a standing army in time of peace; a small one, indeed, but not the less real for being small.
Here is a simple view of the subjoct, that shows us at once the impropriety of a constitutional interdiction of such establishments, and the necessity of leaving the matter to the discretion and prudence of the legislature.
In proportion to our increase in strength, it is probable, nay, it may be said certain, that Britain and Spain would augment their military establishments in our neighbourhood. If we should not be willing to be exposed, in a naked and defenceless condition, to their insults or encroachments, we should find it expedient to increase our frontier garrisons, in some ratio to the force by which our western settlements might be annoyed. There are, and will be, particular posts, the possession of which will include the command of large districts of territory, and facilitate future invasions of the remainder. It may be added, that some of those posts will be keys to the trade with tho Indian nations. Can any man think it would be wise, to leavo such posts in a situation to be at any instant seized by one or the other of two neighbouring and formidable powers? To act this part, would be to desert all the usual maxims of prudence and policy.
If we mean to be a commercial people, or even to be secure on our Atlantic side, we must endeavour, as soon as possible, to have a navy. To this purpose, there must be dock-yards and arsenals; and, for the defence of these, fortifications, and probably garrisons. When a nation has become so powerful by sea, that it can protect its dock-yards by its fleets, this supersedes the necessity of garrisons for that purpose; but where naval establishments are in their infancy, moderato garrisons will, in all likelihood, be found an indispensable security against descents for the destruction of the arsenals and dock-yards, and sometimes of the feet itself.
NEW YORK, DECEMBER 22, 1787.
THE SUBJECT CONTINUED, WITH THE SAME VIEW.
It may perhaps be urged, that the objects enumerated in the preceding number ought to be provided by the state govern mente, under the direction of the union. But this would be an inversion of the primary principle of our political association; as it would in practice transfer the care of the common defence from the federal head to the individual members: A project oppressive to some states, dangerous to all, and baneful to the confederacy.
The territories of Britain, Spain, and of the Indian pations in our neighbourhood, do not border on particular states; but encircle the union from MAINE to GEORGIA. The danger, though in different degrees, is therefore common. And the means of guarding against it, ought, in like manner, to be the objects of common councils, and of a common treasury. It happens that some states, from local situation, are more directly exposed. NEW-YORK is of this class. Upon the plan of separate provisions, New-York would have to sustain the whole weight of the establishments requisite to her immediate safety, and to the mediate, or ultimate protection of her neighbours. This would neither be equitable as it respected New York, nor safe as it respected the other states. Various inconveniences would attend
such a system. The states, to whose lot it might fall to support the necessary establishments, would be as little able as willing, for a considerable time to come, to bear the burthen of competent provisions. The security of all, would thus be subjected to the parsimony, improvidence, or inability of a part. If from the resources of such part becoming more abundant, its provisions should be proportionably enlargod, the other states would quickly take the alarm at soeing the whole military force of the union in the hands of two or three of its members; and those probably amongst the most powerful. They would each choose to have some counterpoise : and pretences could easily be contrived. In this situation, military establishments, nourished by mutual jealousy, would be apt to swell beyond their natural or proper size; and being at the separate disposal of the members, they would be engines for the abridgment, or demolition, of the national authority.
Reasons have been already given to induce a supposition, that the state governments will too naturally be prone to a rivalship with that of the union, the foundation of which will be the love of power; and that in any contest between the federal head and one of its members, the people will be most apt to unite with their local government: If in addition to this immense advantage, the ambition of the members should be stimulated by the separate and independent possession of military forces, it would afford too strong a temptation, and too great facility to them to make enterprises upon, and finally to subvert, the constitutional authority of the union. On the other hand, the liberty of the people would be less safe in this state of things, than in that which left the national forces in the hands of the national government. As far as an army may be considered as a dangerous weapon of power, it had better be in those hands, of which the people are most likely to be jealous, than in those of which they are least likely to be so. For it is a truth which the experience of all ages has attested, that the people are commonly most in danger, when the means of injuring their rights are in the ponsession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion
The framers of the existing confederation, fully aware of the danger to the union from the separate possession of military forces by the states, have in express terms, probibited them from having either ships or troops, unless with the consent of congress. The truth is, that the existence of a federal government and military establishments, under state authority, are not less at variance with each other, than a due supply of the federal treasury, and the system of quotas and requisitions.
There are other views besides those already presented, in which the impropriety of restraints on the discretion of the national legislature will be equally manifest. The design of the objection, which has been mentioned, is to preclude standing armies in time of peace; though we have never been informed how far it is desired the probibition should extend; whether to raising armies, as well as to keeping them up, in a season of tranquillity, or not. If it be confined to the latter, it will bave no precise signification, and it will be ineffectual for the purpose intended. When armies are once raised, what shall be denomi. nated “keeping them up,” contrary to the sense of the constitution? What time sball be requisite to ascertain the violation? Shall it be a week, a month, a year? Or shall we say, they may be continued as long as the danger which occasioned their being raised continues ? This would be to admit that they might be kept up in time of peace, against threatening or impende ing danger; which would be at onco to deviate from the literal meaning of the prohibition, and to introduce an extensive lati. tude of construction. Who shall judge of the continuance of. the danger? This must undoubtedly be submitted to the national government, and the matter would then be brought to this issue, that the national government, to provide against apprehended danger, might, in the first instance, raise troops, and might afterwards keep them on foot, as long as they supposed the peace or safety of the community was in any degree of jeopardy. It is easy to perceive, that a discretion so latitudinary as this, would afford ample room for eluding the force of the provision.
The utility of a provision of this kind, can only be vindicated