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If there even had been a prospect of the concurrence of the other States in the plan, how inadequate would it have been to the public exigencies, feitered with the embarrassments of a depreciating paper!
It is to no purpose to say, that the faith of the State was pledged by the act to make the paper equal to gold and silver, and that the other States would be obliged to do the same. What greater dependence can be had on the faith of the States pledged to this measure, than on the faith they pledged in the confederation, sanctioned by a solemn appeal to heaven? If the obligation of faith in one case has had so little influence upon their conduct in respect to the requisitions of Congress, what hope can there be that they would have greator influences in respect to the deficiencies of the paper money?
Thore yet remains an important light in which to consider the subject in the
way of rovenue. It is a clear point that wo cannot carry the duties upon imports to the same extent by separate arrangements as by a general plan. We must regulate ourselves by what we find done in the neigboring States. While Pennsylvania has only two and a half per cent. on her importations, we cannot greatly exceed her. To go much beyond it would injure our coinmorce in a variety of ways, and would defeat itself-While the ports of Connecticut and New Jersey are open to the introduction of goods free from duty, and the conveyance from them to us is so easyWhile they consider our imposts as an ungenerous advantage taken of them, which it would be laudable to elude, the duties must be light, or they would be evaded. The facility to do it and the temptation of doing it would be both so great, that we should collect perhaps less by an increase of the rates than we do now. Already we experience the effects of this situation. But if the duties were to be levied under a common direction, with the same precautions everywhere to guard against smuggling, they might be carried without prejudice to trade to a much more considerable height.
As things now are, we must adhere to the present standard of duties, without
material alterations. Suppose this to produce fifty thousand pounds a year. The duties to be granted to Congress ought, in proportion, to produce double that sum. To this it appears by a scheme now before us, that additional duties might be imposed for the use of the State, on certain enumerated articles, to the amount of thirty thousand pounds. This would be an augmentation of our national revenue by indirect taxntion to the extent of eighty thousand pounds a year; an immense object in a single State, and which alone demonstrates the good policy of the measure.
It is no objection to say that a great part of this fund will be dedicated to the use of the United States. Their exigencies must be supplied in some way or other. The more is done towards it by means of the impost, the less will be to be done in other modes. If we do not employ that resource to the best account, we must find others in direct taxation. And to this are opposed all the habits and prejudices of the community. There is not a farmer in the state who would not pay a shilling in the voluntarv
consumption of articles on which a duty is paid, rather than a penny imposed immediately on his house and land.
There is but one objection to the measure under consideration that has come to my knowledge, which yet remains to be discussed. I mean the effect it is supposed to have upon our paper currency. It is said, the diver-' sion of this fund would leave the credit of the paper without any effectual support.
Though I should not be disposed to put a consideration of this kind in competition with the safety of the Union, yet I should be extremely cautious about doing anything that might affect the credit of our currency. The legislature having thought an emission of paper advisable, I consider it my duty as a representative of the people to take care of its credit. The farmers appeared willing to exchange their produce for it. The merchants on the other hand, had large debts outstanding. They supposed that giring a free circulation to the paper would enable their customers in the country to pay, and as they perceived that they would have it in their power to convert the money into produce, they naturally resolved to give it their support.
These cnu808 combined to introduce the money into general circulation, and having once obtained credit, it will now be able to support itself.
The chief difficulty to have been apprehended in respect to the paper, was to overcomo the diffidence which the still recont experience of deprociating paper had instilled into men's minds. This, it was to have been feared, would have shaken its credit at its outset; and if it had once began to sink, it would be no easy matter to prevent its total decline.
The event has however turned out otherwise, and the money has been fortunate enough to conciliate the general confidence. This point gained, there need be no apprehensions of its future fate, unless the government should do something to destroy that confidence.
The causes that first gave it credit still operate, and will.in all probability continue so to do. The demand for money has not lessened, and the merchant has still the same inducement to countenance the circulation of the paper.
I shall not deny that the outlet which the payment of duties furnished to the merchant, was an additional motive to the reception of the paper. Nor is it proposed to take away this motive. There is now before the house a bill, one object of which is, the establishment of a state impost, on certain enumerated articles, in addition to that to be granted to the United States. It is computed on very good grounds that the additional duties would amount to about £30,000, and as they would be payable in paper currency, they would create a sufficient demand upon the merchant, to leave him in this respect, substantially the same inducement which he had before. Indeed, independent of this, the readiness of the trading people to take the money can never be doubted, while it will freely command the commodities of the country; for this to them is the most important use they can make of it.
But, besides the State Imposts, there must be other taxes; and these will
all contribute to create a demand for the money ; which is all we now mean, when we talk of funds for its support; for there are none appropriated for the REDEMPTION of the paper.
Upon the whole the additional duties will be a competent substitute for those nowv in existence; and the general good will of the community towards the paper, will be the best security for its credit.
Having now shown, Mr. Chairman, that there is no constitutional impediment to the adoption of the bill; that there is no danger to be apprehended to the public liberty from giving the power in question to the United States ; that in the view of revenue the measure under consideration is not only expedient, but necessary. Let us turn our attention to the other side of this important subject. Let us ask ourselves what will be the consequence of rejecting the bill? What will be the situation of our national affairs if they are left much longer to float in the chaos in which they are now involved
Can our National CHARACTER be preserved without paying our debts ? Can the Union subsist without revenue? Have we realized the consequences which would attend its dissolution ?
If these States are not united under a FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, they will infallibly have wars with each other; and their divisions will subject them to all the mischiefs of foreign influence and intrigue. The human passions will never want objects of hostility. The WESTERN territory is an obvious and fruitful source of contest. Let us also cast our eyo upon the map of this State, intersected from one extremity to the other by a large navigable river. In the event of a rupture with them, what is to hinder our Metropolis from becoming & prey to our neighbors ? Is it even supposable that they would suffer it to remain the nursery of wealth to a distinct community?
These subjects are delicate, but it is necessary to contemplate them, to teach us to form a true estimate of our situation.
Wars with each other would beget standing armies—a source of more real danger to our liberties than all the powers that could be conferred. upon the representatives of the Union. And wars with each other would lead to opposite alliances with foreign powers, and plunge us into all the labyrinths of European politics.
The Romans in their progress to universal dominion when they conceived the project of subduing the refractory spirit of the Grecian Republics, which composed the famous Achæan league, began by sowing dissensions. among them, and instilling jealousies of each other, and of the common head, and finished by making them a province of the Roman EMPIRE.
The application is easy ; if there are any foreign enemies, if there are any domestic foes to this country, all their arts and artifices will be employed to effect a dissolution of the Union. This cannot be bettor done than by sowing jealousies of the FEDERAL HEAD and cultivating in earn state an undue attachment to its own power.
RESOLUTION FOR AN ACT BY CONGRESS RECOMMENDING THE HOLDING A CONVENTION.
FEBRUARY 17, 1787. Resolved, If the Honorable the Senate concur, That the Delegates of this State in the Congress of the United States in America be, and they are hereby instructed to move in Congress for an Act recommending to the States composing the Union, that a Convention of Representatives from the said States respectively, be held and meet at a time and place to be mentioned in said recommendation, for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union between the United States of America, by such alterations and amendments as a majority of the Representatives in such Convention shall judge proper and necessary to render them adequate to the preservation and support of the Union.
RESOLUTION FOR THE APPOINTMENT BY NEW YORK OF DELEGATES TO TIIE GENERAL CONVENTION.
FEBRUARY 26, 1787. Resolved, (if the Honorable the Senate concur herein,) That ive Delegates be appointed on the part of this State to meet such Delegates as may be appointed on the part of the other States respectively, on the Second Monday of May next, at Philadelphia, for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting to Congress and to the several Legislatures such alterations and provisions therein, as shall, when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the several States, render the Federal Constitutiou adequate to the exigencies of Government and the preservation of the Union; and that, in case of such concurrence, the two Houses of the Legislature will meet on Thursday next, at such place as the Honorable the Senate shall think proper, for the purpose of electing the said delegates by joint ballot.
ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION.
Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
ARTICLE I. The style of this Confederacy shall be “The United States of America."
ART. II. Each State retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.
Art. III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defence, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sov. ereignty, trade, or any other pretence whatever.
Ant. IV. The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourso among the people of the different states in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted, sball be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States, and the people of each Stato shall have frco ingross and rogress to and from any other Slate, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commence, subject to the same duties, impositions, and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively, provided that such restrictions shall not extend so far as to prevent the removal of property imported into any State, to any other State of which the owner is an inhabitant; provided also, that no imposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any State, on the property of the United States, or either of them.
If any person guilty of or chargod with treason, felony, or other high misdemeanor in any State, shall flee from justice, and be found in any of the United States, he shall upon demand of the governor or executive power of the State from wbich he flod, be delivered up and removed to the State having jurisdiction of his offenco.
Full faith and credit shall be given in each of these Statos to the records, acts, and judicial proceedings of the Courts and magistrates of every other State.
Art. V. For the more convenient management of the general interests of the United Statos, delegatos shall be annually appointed in such mannor as tho logislaturo of each State shall diroct, to meet in Congress on the first Monday in November, in every yoar, with a power reserved to each Stato, to recall its delegates, or any of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in their stead, for the remainder of the year.
No State shall be represonted in Congress by logs than two, nor by more than soven members; and no person shall be capable of being a delegate for more than three yoars in any term of six years, nor shall any person, being a delegate, be capable of holding any office under the United States, for which he or another for his benefit receives any salary, fees, or omolument of any kind.
Each State shall maintain its own delegates in a meeting of the States, and whilo they act as members of the committee of the States.
In determining questions in the United States, in Congress assembled, each State shall havo ono voto.