Prophetical Concerns about the Constitution: Expressed by Alfred in Anti-Federalist No.16

Henry Dont Tread FlagProphetical Concerns about the Constitution: Expressed by Alfred in Anti-Federalist No.16

15 December 1787 by Alfred

To the real PATRIOTS of America: … America is now free. She now enjoys a greater
portion of political liberty than any other country under heaven. How long she may continue so depends entirely upon her own caution and wisdom. If she would look to
herself more, and to Europe less, I am persuaded it would tend to promote her felicity. She possesses all the advantages which characterize a rich country—rich within herself, she ought less to regard the politics, the manufactures, and the interests of distant nations. When I look to our situation—climate, extent, soil, and its productions, rivers, ports; when I find I can at this time purchase grain, bread, meat, and other necessaries of life at as reasonable a rate as in any country; when I see we are sending great quantities of tobacco, wheat and flour to England and other parts of the globe beyond the Atlantic; when I get on the other side of the western mountains, and see an extensive country, which for its multitude of rivers and fertility of soil is equal, if not superior, to any other whatever when I see these things, I cannot be brought to believe that America is in that deplorable ruined condition which some designing politicians represent; or that we are in a state of anarchy beyond redemption, unless we adopt, without any addition or amendment, the new constitution proposed by the late convention; a constitution which, in my humble opinion, contains the seeds and scions of slavery and despotism. When the volume of American constitutions [by John Adams] first made its appearance in Europe, we find some of the most eminent political writers of the present age, and the reviewers of literature, full of admiration and declaring they had never before seen so much good sense, freedom, and real wisdom in one publication. Our good friend Dr. [Richard] Price was charmed, and almost prophesied the near approach of the happy days of the millennium. We have lived under these constitutions; and, after the experience of a few years, some among us are ready to trample them under their feet, though they have been esteemed, even by our enemies, as “pearls of great price.”

The state of Rhode Island refused to send delegates to the 
Federal Convention, and the event has manifested that their 
refusal was a happy one as the new constitution, which the 
Convention has proposed to us, is an elective monarchy, 
which is proverbially the worst government....
The writer, therefore, thinks it the part of wisdom to 
abide, like the state of Rhode Island, by the old articles 
of confederation, which, if re-examined with attention, 
we shall find worthy of great regard; that we should give 
high praise to the manly and public spirited sixteen members, 
who lately seceded from our house of Assembly [in Pennsylvania]; 
and that we should all impress with great care, this truth on 
our minds—That it is very easy to change a free government 
into an arbitrary one, but that it is very difficult to convert 
tyranny into freedom.
 Author Unknown Anti-Federalist # 15; 7 December 1787

Let us not, ye lovers of freedom, be rash and hasty. Perhaps the real evils we labor under
do not arise from these systems. There may be other causes to which our misfortunes may
be properly attributed. Read the American constitutions, and you will find our essential
rights and privileges well guarded and secured. May not our manners be the source of our
national evils? May not our attachment to foreign trade increase them? Have we not acted
imprudently in exporting almost all our gold and silver for foreign luxuries? It is now
acknowledged that we have not a sufficient quantity of the precious metals to answer the
various purposes of government and commerce; and without a breach of charity, it may be
said, that this deficiency arises from the want of public virtue, in preferring private interest
to every other consideration. If the states had in any tolerable degree been able to answer the requisitions of Congress—if the continental treasury had been so far assisted, as to have enabled us to pay the interest of our foreign debt—possibly we should have heard little, very little about a new system of government. It is a just observation that in modern times money does everything. If a government can command this unum necessarium [Latin: one necessary] from a certain revenue, it may be considered as wealthy and respectable; if not, it will lose its dignity, become inefficient and contemptible. But cannot we regulate our finances and lay the foundations for a permanent and certain revenue, without undoing all that we have done, without making an entire new government? The most wise and philosophic characters have bestowed on our old systems the highest encomiums [accolades. tributes]. Are we sure this new political phenomenon will not fail? If it should fail, is there not a great probability, that our last state will be worse than the first? Orators may declaim on the badness of the times as long as they please, but I must tell them that the want of public virtue, and the want of money, are two of the principal sources of our grievances; and if we are under the pressure of these wants, it ought to teach us frugality—to adopt a frugal administration of public affairs….

Alfred thought the Articles of Confederation were more suitable for the states.

See also: 
POLITICAL CONSTITUTIONS by Johannes Von Muller (1832)
Rules of Interpreting the Constitution by Justice Joseph Story
Dedication to the Character of George Washington Apostle of Liberty
Founders & forefathers pledged their Sacred Honor, what did they mean?
RISE OF CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY by Dr. Richard Salter Storrs July 4 1876
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English)
SIGNS OF THE TIMES by Jedidiah Morse: Pastor of the Congregational Church
Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry and Henry’s Virginia Resolutions of 1765
AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE by Samuel Adams Delivered to Congress Aug 1, 1776
Who Is The Final Judge or Interpreter in Constitutional Controversies by Joseph Story
Preface To Resolutions of Virginia and Kentucky by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson
The British Constitution: Delivered Before The Georgia Bar Association 1885 by John W. Park
GOD GOVERNS IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN Speech by Benjamin Franklin During the Constitutional Convention
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Powers delegated to the General Government in the Federal Constitution
Thomas Paine: Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution

One thought on “Prophetical Concerns about the Constitution: Expressed by Alfred in Anti-Federalist No.16

  1. Pingback: Prophetical Concerns about the Constitution: Expressed by Alfred in Anti-Federalist No.16 | 4frespeech

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