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Carthage, though a commercial republic, was the aggressor in the very war that ended in her destruction. Hannibal bad carried her arms into the heart of Italy, and even to the gates of Rome, bofore Scipio, in turn, gave him an overthrow in the territories of , Carthage, and made a conquest of the commonwealth.
Venice, in latter times, figured more than once in wars of ambition; till becoming an object of terror to the other Italian states, Pope Julius the Second found means to accomplish that formidable league,* which gave a deadly blow to the power and pride of that haughty republic.
The provinces of Holland, till they were overwhelmed in debts and taxes, took a leading and conspicuous part in the wars of Europe. They had furious contests with England for the dominion of the sea; and were among the most persevering and most implacable of the opponents of Lewis XIV.
In the government of Britain the representatives of the people compose one branch of the national legislature. Commerce has been for ages the predominant pursuit of that country. Yet few nations have been more frequently engaged in war; and the wars, in which that kingdom has been engaged, have in numerous instances proceeded from the people. There have been, if I may so express it, almost as many popular as royal wars. The cries of the nation and the importunities of their representa· tives bave, upon various occasions, dragged their monarchs into war, or continued them in it, contrary to their inclinations, and sometimes contrary to the real interests of the state. In that memorable struggle for superiority, between the rival houses of Austria and Bourbon, which so long kept Europe in a flame, it is well known that the antipathics of the English against the French, seconding the ambition, or rather the avarice, of a favourite leader, t protracted the war beyond the limits marked
* THE LEAGUE OF CAMBRAY, comprehending the Emperor, the King of France, the King of Aragon, and most of the Italian Princes and States.
+ The Duke of Marlborough.
out by sound policy, and for a considerable time in opposition to the views of the court.
The wars of these two last mentioned nations have in a great measure grown out of commercial considerations ;—the desire of supplanting, and the fear of being supplanted either in particular branches of traffic, or in the general advantages of trade and navigation; and sometimes even the more culpable desire of sharing in the commerce of otber nations, without their consent.
The last war but two between Britain and Spain, sprang from the attempts of the English merchants, to prosecute an illicit trade with the Spanish main. These unjustifiable practices on their part, produced severities on the part of the Spaniards, towards the subjects of Great Britain, which were not more justifiable; because they exceeded the bounds of a just retaliation, and were chargeable with inhumanity and cruelty. Many of the English who were taken on the Spanish coasts, were sent to dig in the mines of Potosi; and by the usual progress of a spirit of resentment, the innocent were after a while confounded with the guilty in indiscriminate punishment. The complaints of the mercbants kindled a violent flame throughout the nation, which soon after broke out in the house of commons, and was communicated from that body to the ministry. Letters of reprisal were granted, and a war ensued; which, in its consequences, overthrow all the alliances that but twenty years before had been formed, with sanguine expectations of the most beneficial fruits.
From this summary of what has taken place in other countries, whose situations have borne the nearest resemblance to our own, what reason can we have to confide in those reveries, which would seduce us into the expectation of peace and cordiality between the members of the presont confederacy, in a state of separation ? Have we not already seen enough of the fallacy and extravagance of those idle theories which have amused us with promises of an exemption from the imperfections, the weak. nesses, and the evils incident to society in every shape? Is it
not time to awake from the deceitful dream of a golden age, and to adopt as a practical maxim for the direction of our political conduct, that we, as well as the other inhabitants of the globe, are yet remote from the happy empire of perfect wisdom and perfect virtue?
Let the point of extreme depression to which our national dignity and credit have sunk; let the inconveniences felt every where from a lax and ill administration of government; let the revolt of a part of the state of North Carolina; the late menacing disturbances in Pennsylvania, and the actual insurrections and rebellions in Massachusetts, declaro!
So far is the general sense of mankind from corresponding with the tenets of those, who endeavour to lull asleep our apprehensions of discord and hostility between the states, in the event of disunion, that it has from long observation of the progress of society become a sort of axiom in politics, that vicinity, or nearness of situation, constitutes nations natural enemies. An intelligent writer expresses himself on this subject to this effect: “NEIGHBOURING NATIONS (says he) are naturally ENEMIES of each other, unless their common weakness forces them to league in a CONFEDERATE REPUBLIC, and their constitution provents the differences that neighbourhood occasions, extinguishing that secret jealousy, which disposes all states to aggrandize them. selves at the expense of their neighbours.”* This passage, at the same time, points out the EVIL and suggests the REMEDY.
* Vide, Principes des Négotiations par l'Abbé de Mably,
NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 17, 1787.
THE SUBJECT CONTINUED, AND PARTICULAR CAUSES ENUMERATED.
It is sometimes asked, with an air of seeming triumph, what inducements the states could have, if disunited, to make war upon each other? It would be a full answer to this question to say,--precisely the same inducements which have, at different times, deluged in blood all the nations in the world. But unfortunately for us, the question admits of a more particular answer. There are causes of difference within our im. mediate contemplation, of the tendency of which, even under the restraints of a federal constitution, we have had sufficient experience to enable us to form a judgment of what might be expected, if those restraints were removed.
Territorial disputes have at all times been found one of the most fertile sources of hostility among nations. Perbaps the greatest proportion of the wars that have desolated the earth bave sprung from this origin. This cause would exist, among us, in full force. We have a vast tract of unsettled territory within the boundaries of the United States. There still are discordant and undecided claims between several of them; and the dissolution of the union would lay a foundation for similar claims betwoon them all. It is well known, that they have heretofore bad serious and animated discussions concerning the
right to the lands which were ungranted at thu timo of the revolution, and which usually went under the name of crown. lands. The states within the limits of whose colonial govern. ments they were comprised, have claimed then as their property; the others have contended that the rights of the crown in this article devolved upon the union; especially as to all that part of the Western territory which, either by actual possession, or through the submission of the Indian proprietors, was subject to the jurisdiction of the King of Great-Britain, till it was relinquished by the treaty of peace. This, it has been said, was at all events an acquisition to the confederacy by compact with a foreign power. It has been the prudent policy of Congress to appease this controversy, by prevailing upon the states to make cessions to the United States for the benefit of the whole. This has been so far accom. plished, as under a continuation of the union, to afford a decided prospect of an amicable termination of the dispute. A dismemberment of the confederacy however would revive tbis dispute, and would create others on the same subject. At present, a large part of the vacant Western territory is by cession at least, if not by any anterior right, the common property of the union. If that were at an end, the states which have made cessions, on a principle of federal compromise, would be apt, when the motive of the grant had ceased, to reclaim the lands as a reversion. The other states would no doubt insist on a proportion, by right of representation. Their argument would be, that a grant onco mado, could not be revoked; and that the justice of their participating in territory acquired or secured, by the joint efforts of the confederacy, remained undiminished. If, contrary to probability, it should be admitted by all the states, that each had a right to a share of this common stock, there would still be a difficulty to be surmounted, as to a proper rule of apportionment. Different principles would be set up by different states for this purpose; and as they would 'affect the