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or the hypothesis of a probability, at least possibility, of comoination between the executive and legislature, in some scheme of usurpation. Should this at any time happen, how easy would it be to fabricate pretences of approaching danger? Indian hostilities instigated by Spain or Britain, would always be at hand. Provocations to produce the desired appearances, might even be given to some foreign power, and appeased again by timely concessions. If we can reasonably presume such a combination to have been formed, and that the ontorprizo is warranted by a sufficient prospect of success: the army when once raised, from whatever cause, or on whatever pretext, may be applied to tho execution of the project.
If to obviate this consequence, it should be resolved to extend the prohibition to the raising of armies in time of peace, the United States would then exhibit the most extraordinary spectacle, which the world has yet seen—that of a nation incapacitated by its constitution to prepare for defence, before it was actually invaded. As the ceremony of a formal denunciation of war has of late fallen into disuse, the presence of an enemy within our territories must be waited for, as the legal warrant to the government to begin its levies of men for the protection of the state. We must receive the blow, before we could even prepare to return it. All that kind of policy by which nations anticipate distant danger, and meet the gathering storm, must be abstained from, as contrary to the genuino maxims of a free government. We must expose our property and liberty to the mercy of foreign invaders, and invite them by our weakness, to seize the naked and defenceless prey, because we are afraid that rulers, created by our choice, dependent on our will, might endanger that liberty, by an abuse of the means necessary to its preservation.
Here I expect we shall be told, that the militia of the country is its natural bulwark, and would at all times be equal to the national defence. This doctrine, in substance, had like to have lost us our independence. It cost millions to the United States, that might bave been saved. The facts, which from our own
experience forbid a reliance of this kind, are too recent to permit us to be the dupes of such a suggestion. The steady operations of war against a regular and disciplined army, can only be suc. cessfully conducted by a force of the same kind. Consider. ations of economy, not less than of stability and vigour, confirm this position. The American militia, in the course of the late war, have, by their valour on numerous occasions, erected eternal monuments to their fame; but the bravest of them feel and know, that the liberty of their country could not have been established by their efforts alone, however great and valuable they were. War, like most other things, is a science to be acquired and perfected by diligence, by perseverance, by time, and by practice.
All violent policy, as it is contrary to the natural and experienced course of human affairs, defeats itself. Pennsylvania at this instant affords an example of the truth of this remark. The bill of rights of that state declares, that standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be kept up in time of peace. Pennsylvania nevertheless, in a time of profound peace, from the existence of partial disorders in one or two of her counties, has resolved to raise a body of troops; and in all probability, will keep them up as long as there is any appearance of danger to the public peace. The conduct of Massachusetts affords a lesson on the same subject, though on different ground. That state (without waiting for the sanction of congress, as the articlos of the confederation require) was compellod to raise troops to quell a domestic insurrection, and still keops a corps in pay to prevent a revival of the spirit of revolt. The particular constitution of Massachusetts opposed no obstacle to the measure;
but the instance is still of use to instruct us, that cases are likely to occur under our governments, as well as under those of other nations, which will sometimes render a military force in time of peaco, essential to the security of the society, and that it is therefore improper, in this respect, to control the legislative discretion. It also teaches us, in its application to the United States, how little the rights of a feeble government
are likely to be respectod, even by its own constituents. And it teaches us, in addition to the rost, how unoqual aro parchmont provisions, to a struggle with public necessity.
It was a fundamental maxim with the Lacedemonian commonwealth, that the post of admiral should not be conferred twice on the same person. The Peloponnesian confederates, having suffered a severe defeat at sea from the Athenians, demanded Lysander, who had before served with success in that capacity, to command the combined fleets. The Lacedemonians, to gratify their allies, and yet preserve the semblance of an adherence to their ancient institutions, had recourse to the flimsy subterfuge of investing Lysander with the real power of admiral, under the nominal title of vice-admiral. This instance is selected from among a multitude that might be cited, to confirm the truth already. advanced and illustrated by domestic examples; which is, that nations pay little regard to rules and maxims, calculated in their very nature to run counter to the necessities of society. Wise politicians will be cautious about fetter. ing the government with restrictions, that cannot be observed; because they know, that every breach of the fundamental laws, though dictated by necessity, impairs that sacred reverence, which ought to be maintained in the breast of rulers towards tho constitution of a country, and forms a precedent for other breaches, where the same plea of necessity does not exist at all, or is less urgent and palpable.
THE FEDERALIST. .
NEW YORK, DECEMBER 22, 1787.
THE SUBJECT CONTINUED, WITH THE SAME VIEW.
It was a thing hardly to have been expected, that in a popular revolution, the minds of men should stop, at that happy mean, which marks the salutary boundary between POWER and PRIVI. LEGE, and combines the energy of government with the security of private rights. A failure in this delicate and important point, is the great source of the inconveniences we experience; and if we are not cautious to avoid a repetition of the error, in our future attempts to rectify and ameliorate our system, we may travel from one chimerical project to another; we may try change after change ; but we shall never be likely to make any material change for the better.
The idea of restraining the legislative authority, in the means of providing for the national defence, is one of those refinements, which owe their origin to a zeal for liberty more ardent than enlightened. We have seen, however, that it has not had thus far an extensive prevalency; that even in this country, where it made its first appearance, Pennsylvania and North-Carolina, are the only two states by which it has been in any degree patronized; and that all the others have refused to give it the least countenance. They wisely judgod that confidence must be placed somewhere that the necessity of doing it, is implied in the very
act of delegating power : and that it is better to hazard the abuse of that confidence, than to embarrass the government and endanger the public safety, by impolitic restrictions on the legislative authority. The opponents of the proposed constitution, combat in this respect the general decision of America; and instead of being taught by experience, the propriety of correcting any extremes, into which we may have heretofore run; they appear disposed to conduct us into others still more dangerous, and more extravagant. As if the tone of government had been found too high, or too rigid, the doctrines they teach are calcu. lated to induce us to depress, or to relax it, by expedients which upon other occasions, have been condemned or forborno. It may be affirmed without the imputation of invective, that if the principles they inculcato on various points, could so far obtain as to become the popular creed, they would utterly unfit the people of this country for any species of government whatever. But a danger of this kind is not to be apprehended. The citizens of America have too much discernment to be argued into anarchy. And I am much mistaken, if experience has not wrought a deep and solemn conviction in the public mind, that greater energy of government is essential to the welfare and prosperity of the community.
It may not be amiss in this place, concisely to remark the origin and progress of the idea, which aims at the exclusion of military establishments in time of peace. Though in speculative minds, it may arise from a contemplation of the nature and tendency of such institutions, fortified by the events that have happened in other ages and countries ; yot, as a national sentiment, it must be traced to those habits of thinking which we derive from the nation, from which the inhabitants of these states have in general sprung.
In England, for a long time after the Norman conquest, the authority of the monarch was almost unlimited. Inroads were gradually made upon the prerogative, in favour of liberty, first by the barons, and afterwards by the people, till the greatest part of its most formidable pretensions became extinct. But it