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ment may fairly be presumed to have reference to some or all of them. And consequently, if any provision is susceptible of two interpretations, that ought to be adopted, and adhered to, which best harmonizes with the avowed intentions of the authors, as gathered from their declarations in the instrument itself.
$38. The first object is, 'to form a more perfect union.' From what has been already stated, respecting the defects of the Confederation, it is obvious, that, a farther continuance of the Union was impracticable, unless' a new Government was formed, possessing more powers and more energy. That the Union of the States is in the highest degree desirable, nay, that it is almost indispensable to the political existence of the States, is a proposition, which admits of the most complete moral demonstration, so far as human experience, and general reasoning can establish it. If the States were wholly separated from each other, the very inequality of their population, territory, resources, and means of protecting their local interests, would soon subject them to injurious rivalries, jealousies, and retaliatory measures. The weak would be wholly unable to contend successfully against the strong, and would be compelled to submit to the terms, which the policy of their more powerful neighbors should impose upon them. What could Rhode Island, or New Jersey, or Delaware, accomplish against the will, or the resentments of the formidable States, which surround them? But, in a more general view, the remark of the Abbe Mably may be appealed to, as containing the result of all human experience. Neighboring States, (says he) are naturally enemies of each other, unless their common weakness forces them to league in a confederative republic, and their Constitution prevents the differences, that neighborhood occasions, extinguishing that secret jealousy, which disposes all States to aggrandize themselves, at the expense of their neighbors.'
§ 39. On the other hand, if the States should separate into distinct confederacies, there could scarcely be less than three, and most probably, there would be four ; an Eastern, a Middle, a Southern, and a Western Confederacy. The lines of division would be traced out by geographical boundaries between the slave-holding and the non-slave-holding States, a division, in itself, fraught with constant causes of irritation and alarm. There would also be marked distinctions between the commercial, manufacturing, and agricultural States ; which would perpetually give rise to real, or supposed grievances and inequalities. But the most important consideration is, that in order to maintain such confederacies, it would be necessary to clothe each of them with summary and extensive powers, almost incompatible with liberty, and to keep up large and expensive establishments for defence and offence, in order to guard against the sudden inroads, and deliberate aggressions of their neighbors and rivals. The evils of faction, the tendencies to corrupt influence, the pressure of taxation, and the fluctuations of legislation, would thus be immeasurably increased. Foreign nations, too, would not fail to avail themselves, in pursuit of their own interests, of every opportunity to foster our intestine divisions, since they might thus, more easily command our trade, or monopolize our products, or keep us in a state of dependence upon their good will for our security.
The Union of the States, 'the more perfect union' of them, under a National Government, is then, and forever must be invaluable to all, in respect to foreign and domestic
It will diminish the causes of war, that scourge of the human race; it will enable the National Government to protect and secure the rights of all; it will diminish public expenditures; it will ensure respect abroad, and confidence at home; and, it will unite in one common bond the interests of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures.
41. The next object is, to establish justice.' This, indeed, is the first object of all good and rational forms of Government. Without justice being fully, freely, and impartially administered, neither our persons, nor our rights, nor our property, can be protected. Call the form of Government whatever you may, if justice cannot be equally obtained by all the citizens, high and low, rich and poor, it is a mere despotism. Doubtless, the attainment of justice is the foundation, on which all our State Governments rest; and, therefore, the inquiry may naturally present itself, in what respects the formation of a National Government would better tend to establish justice.
§ 42. The answer may be given in a few words. In the administration of justice, citizens of the particular State are not alone interested. Foreign nations, and their subjects, as well as citizens of other States, may be deeply interested. They may have rights to be protected ; wrongs to be redressed; contracts to be enforced ; and equities to be acknowledged. It may be presumed, that the States will provide adequate means to redress the grievances, and secure the rights of their own citizens. But, it is far from being certain, that they will at all times, or even ordinarily, take the like measures to redress the grievances, and secure the rights of foreigners, and citizens of other States. On the contrary, one of the rarest occurrences in human legislation is, to find foreigners, and citizens of other States, put upon a footing of equality with the citizens of the legislating State. The natural tendency of every Government is, to favor its own citizens; and unjust preferences, not only in the administration, but in the very structure of the laws, may reasonably be presumed to arise. It could not be expected, that all the American States, left at full liberty, would legislate upon the subject of rights and remedies, preferences and contracts, exactly in the same manner. And every diversity would soon bring on some retaliatory legislation elsewhere. Popular prejudices
and passions, real or supposed injuries, the common attachment to domestic pursuits and interests, and the common in. difference to strangers and remote objects, are often found to interfere with a liberal policy in legislation. Now, precisely, what this reasoning would lead us to presume as probable, actually occurred, not only while we were Colonies of Great Britain, but also under the Confederation. The legislation of several of the States gave a most unjust preference to the debts of their own citizens in cases of insolvency.
§ 43. But there were other evils of a much greater magnitude, which required a National Government, for the more effectual establishment of justice. There were territorial disputes among the States, as to their respective boundaries and jurisdiction, constantly exciting irritations, and introducing border warfare. Laws were perpetually made in the States, interfering with the sacred rights of private contracts, suspending the remedies in them, or discharging them in worthless paper money, or some depreciated, or valueless property. The debts due to foreigners were, notoriously, refused payment; and many obstructions were put in the way of their recovery. The Public Debt was left unprovided for; and a disregard of the public faith had become so common a reproach among us, that it almost ceased to attract observation. Indeed, in some of the States, the operation of private and public distresses was felt so severely, that the administration, even of domestic justice, was constantly interfered with ; the necessity of suspending it was boldly vindicated ; and in some cases, even a resort to arms was encouraged. Nothing but a National Government, capable, from its powers and resources, of overawing the spirit of rebellion, and of aiding in the establishment of a sound currency, just laws, and solid public credit, could remedy the existing evils.
The next object is, 'to ensure domestic tranquillity.' From what has been already stated, it is apparent, how essential an efficient National Government is, to the se
curity of the States against foreign influence, domestic dissensions, commercial rivalries, legislative retaliations, territorial disputes, and the perpetual irritations of a border warfare, for privileges, exemptions and smuggling. In addition to these considerations, it is well known, that factions are far more violent in small than in large communities; and that they are even more dangerous, and enfeebling; because success and defeat more rapidly succeed each other in the changes of their local affairs, and foreign influences can be more easily brought into play to corrupt and divide them. tional Government naturally tends to disarm the violence of domestic factions in small States, by its superior influence. It diminishes the exciting causes, and it leaves sewer chances of success to its operations.
§ 45. The next object is,' to provide for the common defence. One of the surest means of preserving peace is, always to be prepared for war. One of the safest reliances against foreign aggression is, the possession of numbers and resources, capable of repelling any attack. A nation of narrow territory, and small population, and moderate resources, can never be formidable; and must content itself with being feeble, and unenviable in its condition. On the contrary, a nation or confederacy, which possesses large territory, abundant resources, and a dense population, can always command respect, and is almost incapable, if true to itself, of being conquered. In proportion to the size and population of a nation, its general resources will be ; and the same expenditures, which may be easily borne by a numerous and industrious people, would soon exhaust the means of a scanty population. What, for instance, would be more burthensome to a State like New-Jersey, than the necessity of keeping up a body of troops, to protect it against the encroachments of the neighboring States of Pennsylvania, and New-York? The same military force, which would hardly be felt in either of the latter States, would press heavily upon