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to a col.test with any spirit which might happen to infuse itself into the public councils, unfriendly to the manufacturing and trading interests. These considerations, and many otbers that might he mentioned, prove, and experience confirms it, that artizans and manufacturers, will commonly be disposed to bestow their votes upon merchants and those whom they recommend. We must therefore consider merchants as the natural representatives of all these classes of the community.
With regard to the learned professions, little need be observed; they truly form no distinct interest in society; and according to their situation and talents, will be indiscriminately the objects of the confidence and choice of each other, and of other parts of the community.
Nothing remains but the landed interest; and this, in a political view, and particularly in relation to taxes, I take to be perfectly united, from the wealthiest landlord, down to the poorest tenant. No tax can be laid on land which will not affect the proprietor of thousands of acres, as well as the proprietor of a single acre. Every land-holder will therefore have a common interest to keep the taxes on land as low as possible; and common interest may always be reckoned upon as the Burest bond of sympathy. But if we even could suppose a distinction of interests between the opulent land-holder, and the middling farmor, what reason is there to conclude, that the first would stand a better chance of being deputed to the national legislature than the last? If we take fact as our guide, and look into our own senate and assembly, we shall find that moderate proprietors of land prevail in both; nor is this less the case in the senate, which consists of a smaller number than in the assembly, which is composed of a greater number. Where the qualifications of the electors are the same, whether they have to choose a small or a large number, their votes will fali upon those in whom they have most confidence; whether these happen to be men of large fortunes, or of moderate property, or of no property at all.
It is said to be necessary that all classes of citizens should
bave some of their own number in the representative body, in order that their feelings and interests may be the better under stood and attended to. But we have seen that this will never happen under any arrangement that leaves the votes of the people free. Where this is the case, the representative body, with too fow exceptions to have any influence on the spirit of the government, will be composed of land-holders, merchants, and men of the learned professions. But where is the danger that the interests and feelings of the different classes of citizens will not be understood, or attended to by those three descriptions of men ? Will not the land-holder know and feel whatever will promote or injure the interests of landed property? and will he not, from his own interest in that species of property, be sufficiently prone to resist every attempt to prejudice or encumber it? Will not the merchant understand and be disposed to cultivate, as far as may be proper, the interests of the mechanic and manufacturing arts, to which his commerce is so nearly allied ? Will not the man of the learned profession, who will feel a neutrality to the rivalships among the different branches of industry, be likely to prove an impartial arbiter between them, ready to promote either, so far as it shall appear to him conducive to the general interests of tbe community?
If we take into the account the momentary humours or dispositions which may happen to prevail in particular parts of tho society, and to which a wise administration will never be inattentive, is the man whose situation leads to extensive inquiry and information less likely to be a compotent judge of their nature, extent, and foundation, than one whose observation does not travel beyond the circle of bis neighbours and acquaintances ? Is it pot natural that a man who is a candidate for the favour of the people, and who is dependent on the suffrages of his fellow citizens for the continuance of his public honours, should take care to inform himself of their dispositions and inclinations, and should be willing to allow them their proper degree of influence upon his conduct ? This dependence, and the necessity of being bound himself, and bis posterity, by the laws to which
he gives his assent, are the true, and they are the strong cords of sympathy between the representative and the constituent.
There is no part of the administration of government that requires extensive information, and a thorough knowledge of the principles of political economy, so much as the business of taxation. The man who understands those principles best, will be least likely to resort to oppressivo expedients, or to sacrifico any particular class of citizens to the procurement of revenue. It might be demonstrated that the most productive systom of finance will always be the least burthensome. There can be no doubt tbat, in order to a judicious exorciso of the powor of taxation, it is necessary that the person in whose hands it is, should be acquainted with the general genius, habits, and modes of thinking, of the people at large, and with the resources of the country. And this is all that can be reasonably meant by a knowledgo of the interests and feelings of the people. In any other sense, the proposition has either no meaning, or an absurd one. And in that senso, let every considerate citizen judge for himself, where the requisite qualification is most likely to be found.
NEW YORK, JANUARY 8, 1788.
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
We have seen that the result of the observations, to which the foregoing number has been principally devoted, is, that from the natural operation of the different interests and views of the various classes of the community, whether the representation of the people be more or less numerous, it will consist almost • entirely of proprietors of land, of merchants, and of members of the learned professions, who will truly represent all those different interests and views. If it should be objected, that we have seon other descriptions of mon in the local legislatures ; I answer, that it is admitted there are exceptions to the rule, but not in sufficient number to influonco the goneral complexion or character of the government. There are strong minds in every walk of life, that will rise superior to the disadvantages of situation, and will command the tribute due to their merit, not only from the classes to which they particularly belong, but from the society in general. The door ought to be equally open to all; and I trust, for the credit of human nature, that we shall see examples of such vigorous plants flourishing in the soil of federal, as well as of state legislation ; but occasional instances of this sort, will not render the reasoning, founded upon the general course of things, less conclusive.
Tuesubject might be placed in several other lights, that would all lead to the same result; and in particular it might be asked, what greater affinity or relation of interest can be conceived between the carpenter and blacksmith, and the linen manufacturer or stocking weaver, than between the merchant and either of them? It is notorious, that there are often as great rivalships between different branches of the mechanic or manufacturing arts, as there are between any of the departments of labour and industry; so that unless the representative body wero to bo far more numorous, than would be consistent with any idea of regularity or wisdom in its deliberations, it is impossible that what seems to be the spirit of the objection wo bave been considering, should ever be realized in practice. But I forbear to dwell longor on a mattor, which has hitherto worn too loose a garb to admit even of an accurate inspection of its real shape or tendency.
Thero is another objection of a somewhat more precise nature, which claims our attention. It has been asserted that a power of internal taxation in the national legislature, could never be exercised with advantage, as well from the want of a sufficient knowledge of local circumstances, as from an interference between the revenue laws of the union, and of the particular states. The supposition of a want of proper knowledge, seems to be entirely destitute of foundation. If any question is depending in a state legislature, respecting one of the counties, which demands a knowledge of local details, how is it acquired ? No doubt, from the information of the members of the county. Cannot the like knowledgo be obtained in the national legislature, from the representatives of each state? And is it not to be presumed, that the men who will generally be sent there, will be possessed of the necessary degree of intelligence, to be able to communicate that information? Is the knowledge of local circumstances, as applied to taxation, a minute topographical acquaintance with all the mountains, rivers, streams, highways, and bye-paths in each state? or is it a general acquaintance with its situation, and resources—with the state of its agricul.