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A sample of this is to be observed in the exaggerated and improbable suggestions, which bave taken place respecting the power of calling for the services of the militia. That of New. Hampshire is to be marched to Georgia, of Georgia to New. Hampshire, of New York to Kentucky, and of Kentucky to Lake Champlain. Nay, the debts due to the French and Dutch, are to be paid in militia-men, instead of Louis d'ors and ducats. At one moment, there is to be a large army to lay prostrate the liberties of the people; at another moment, the militia of Virginia are to be dragged from their homes, five or six hundred miles, to tame the republican contumacy of Massachusetts; and that of Massachusetts is to be transported an equal distance, to subdue the refractory baughtiness of the aristocratic Virginians. Do the persons, who rave at this rate, imagine, that their art or their eloquence can impose any conceits or absurdities upon the people of America for infallible truths ?
If there should be an army to be made use of as the engine of despotism, what need of the militia ? If there should be no army, whither would the militia, irritated at being required to undertake a distant and distressing expedition, for the purpose of rivetting the cbains of slavery upon a part of their country. men, direct their course, but to the seat of the tyrants, who had meditated so foolish, as well as so wicked a project; to crush them in their imagined entrenchments of power, and make them an example of tbe just vengeance of an abused and incensed people? Is this the way in which usurpers stride to dominion over a numerous and enlightened nation? Do they begin by exciting the detestation of the very instruments of their intended usurpations? Do they usually commence their career by wanton and disgustful acts of power, calculated to answer no end, but to draw upon themselves universal hatred and execration?. Are suppositions of this sort, the sober admonitions of discerning patriots to a discerning people ? Or are they the inflammatory ravings of chagrined incendiaries, or dig. tempered enthusiasts ? If we were even to suppose the national rulers actuated by the most ungovernable ambition, it is impos
sible to believe that they would employ such preposterous means to accomplish their designs.
In times of insurrection, or invasion, it would be natural and proper, that the militia of a neighbouring state should be marched into another, to resist a common enemy, or to guard the republic against the violences of faction or sodition. This was frequently the case, in respect to the first object, in the course of the late war; and this mutual succour is, indeed, a principal end of our political association. If the power of affording it be placed undor the direction of the union, there will be no danger of a supino and listless inattention to the dangers of a neighbour, till its near approach bad superadded the incitements of self-preservation, to the too feeble impulses of duty and sympathy.
NEW YORK, DECEMBER 29, 1787.
It has been already observed, that the federal government ought to possess the power of providing for the support of the national forces; in which proposition was intended to be included the expense of raising troops, of building and equipping fleets, and all other expenses in any wise connected with military arrangements and operations. But these aro not the only objects to which the jurisdiction of the union, in respect to revenue, must necessarily be impowered to extend. It must embrace a provision for the support of the national civil list; for the payment of the national debts contracted, or that may be contracted; and, in general, for all those matters which will call for disbursements out of the national treasury. The conclusion is, that there must be interwoven in the frame of the government, a general power of taxation in one shape or anotber.
Money is with propriety considered as the vital principle of the body politic; as that which sustains its life and motion, and enables it to perform its most essential functions. A complete power, therefore, to procure a regular and adequate supply of revenue, as far as the resources of the community will permit may be regarded as an indispensable ingredient in every constitution.
From a deficiency in this particular, one of two cvils
must ensue; either the people must be subjected to continual plunder, as a substitute for a more eligible mode of supplying the public wants, or the government must sink into a fatal atrophy, and in a short course of time perish.
In the Ottoman or Turkish empire, the sovereign, though in other respects absolute master of the lives and fortunes of his subjects, has no right to impose a new tax. The consequence is, that he permits the bashaws or governors of provinces to pillage the people at discretion; and, in turn, squeezes out of them the sums of which he stands in need, to satisfy his own exigencies, and those of the state. In America, from a like causo, the government of tho union bas gradually dwindled into a state of decay, approaching nearly to annihilation. Who can doubt, that the happiness of the people in both countries would be promoted by competent authorities in the proper hands, to provide the revenues which the necessities of the public might require ?
The present confederation, feeble as it is, intended to repose in the United States, an unlimited power of providing for the pecuniary wants of the union. But proceeding upon an erroneous principle, it has been done in such a manner, as entirely to have frustrated the intention. Congress, by the articles which compose that compact (as has been already stated) are authorizod to ascertain and call for any sums of money necessary, in their judgment, to the service of the United States; and their requisitions, if conformable to the rule of apportionment, are, in every constitutional sense, obligatory upon the states. These have no right to question the propriety of the demand : no discretion beyond that of devising the ways and means of furnishing the sums demanded. But though this be strictly and truly the case; though the assumption of such a right would be an infringement of the articles of union : though it may seldom or never have been avowedly claimod; yet in practice it has been constantly exercised, and would continue to be so, as long as the revenues of the confederacy should remain dependent on the intermediate agency of its members. What the consequences
of the system have been, is within the knowledge of every mar, the least conversant in our public affairs, and has been abun dantly unfolded in different parts of these inquiries. It is this which has chiefly contributed to reduce us to a situation, that affords ample cause of mortification to ourselves, and of triumpli to our enemies.
What remody can there be for this situation, but in a chango of the system, which has produced it ? in a change of the fallacious and delusive system of quotas and requisitions ? What substitute can there be imagined for this ignis fatuus in finance, but that of permitting the national government to raise its own revenues by the ordinary methods of taxation, authorized in every well ordered constitution of civil government? Ingenious men may declaim with plausibility on any subject; but no human ingenuity can point out any other expedient to rescue us from the inconveniences and embarrassments, naturally resulting from defective supplies of the public treasury.
The more intelligent adversaries of the new constitution, admit the force of this reasoning; but they qualify their admission, by a distinction between what they call internal, and external taxations. The former they would reserve to the state governments; the lattor, which they explain into commercial imposts, or rather duties on imported articles, they declare themselves willing to concede to the federal head. This distinction, however, would violate that fundamental maxim of good sense and sound policy, which dictates that every POWER ought to be proportionate to its OBJECT; and would still leave the general government in a kind of tutelage to the state gove ernments, inconsistent with every idea of vigour or efficiency. Who can pretend that commercial imposts are, or would be, alone equal to the present and future exigencies of the union? Taking into the account the existing debt, foreign and domestic, upon any plan of extinguishment, which a man, moderately impressed with the importance of public justice and public credit could approve, in addition to the establishments, which al! parties will acknowledge to be necessary, we could not reason