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NEW YORK, OOTOBER 27, 1787.
In the first number of the Federalist, which appeared in tho Independent Journal of Saturday, the interest of certain Officers, under the State establishments, to opposo an increase of Federal authority, is mentioned as a principal source of the opposition to be expected to the new Constitution. The same idea bas appeared in other publications, but has not hitherto been suffi. ciently explained. To ascertain its justness and extent, would, no doubt, be satisfactory to the public; and might serve to obviate misapprehensions.
A very natural enquiry presents itself on the subject :
How happens it, that the interest of the Officers of a stato should be different from that of its Citizens? I shall attempt an answer to this question.
The powers requisite to constitute Sovereignty, must be delegated by every people for their own protection and security. The people of each State have already delegated these powers; which are now lodged; partly in the PARTICULAR Government, and partly in the GENERAL Government. It is not necessary that they should grant greater or new ones. The only question with them is, in what manner the powers already granted shall be distributed; into what receptacles; and in what proportions If they are represented in both, it will be immaterial to them
80 far as concerns their individual authority, independence or liberty, whether the principal share be deposited in the whole body, or in the distinct members. The re-partition, or division, is a mere question of expediency; for by whatever scale it be made, their personal rights will remain the same. If it be their interest to be united, it will be their interest to bestow as large a portion upon the Union as may be required to render it solid and effectual; and if experience has shown, that the portion heretofore conferred is inadequate to the object, it will be their interest to take away a part of that which has been left in the State reservoirs, to add it to the common stock.
But such a transfer of power, from the individual members to the Union, however it may promote the advantages of the citizens at large, may subtract not a little from the importanco, und, what is with most men less easily submitted to, from the emolument of those, who hold a certain description of offices under the State establishments. These have one interest as Citizens, and another as OFFICERS. In the latter capacity, they are interested in the POWER and Profit of their offices, and will naturally be unwilling to put either in jeopardy. That men love power is no new discovery; that they are commonly attached to good salaries does not need elaborate proof; that they should be afraid of what threatens them with a loss of either, is but a plain inference from plain facts. A diminution of State authority is of course, a diminution of the POWER of those who are invested with the administration of that authority; and, in all probability, will in many instances produce an eventual decrease of salary. In some cases it may annihilate the offices themselves. But, while these persons may have to repine at the loss of official importance or pecuniary emolument, the private citizen may feel himself exalted to a more elevated rank. He may pride himself in the character of a citizen of America, as more dignified than that of a citizen of any single State. He may greet himself with the appellation of an American as more honourable than that of a New Yorker, a Pennsylvarian, or a Virginian.
From the preceding remarks, the distinction alluded to, between the private citizen and the citizen in office will, I presume, be sufficiently apparent. But it will be proper to observe, that its influence does not reach near so far as might at first sight be imagined. The offices that would be affected by the proposed change, though of considerable importance are not numerous. Most of the departments of the State Governments will remain untouched, to flow in their accustomed channels. This observation was necessary to provent invidious suspicions from lighting where they would not be applicable.
NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 16, 1787.
The government of Athens was a democracy. The people, as is usual in all democratical governments, were constantly alarmed at the spectre of ARISTOCRACY; and it was common in that republic as it is in the republics of America to pay court to them by encouraging their jealousies, and gratifying their prejudices. Pericles, to ingratiate himself with the citizens of Athens, whose favour was necessary to his ambition, was a principal agent in mutilating the privileges and the power of the court of AREOPAGUS; an institution acknowledged by all historians to have been a main pillar of the State. The pretènce was that it promoted the POWER of the ARISTOCRACY.
The same man undermined the constitution of his country to ACQUIRE popularity-squandered the treasures of his country to punOHASE popularity—and to avoid being accountable to his country precipitated it into a war which ended in its de struction. Pericles was, nevertheless a man endowed with many amiable and shining qualities, and, except in a few instances, was always the favorite of the people.
NOVEMBER 28, 1787.
Publius has shown us in a clear light the utility, it might be said, the necessity of Union to the formation and support of a navy. Thore is one point of viow however on which he has left the subject untouched—the tendency of this circumstance to the preservation of liberty.
Will force be necessary to repell foreign attacks, or to guard the national rights against the ambition of particular members ? A navy will be a much safer as well as a more effectnal engine for either purpose. If we have a respectablo fleet there will be the less call on any account for an army. This idea is too plain to need enlargement. Thus the salutary guardian. ship of the Union appears on all sides to be the palladiuni of American liberty.