James Madison Encroaches upon Our Liberties by Government

James Madison Quote General Welfare

James Madison Regarding the General Welfare Clause (Click to enlarge)


Fellow-citizens,— Unwilling to shrink from our representative responsibility, conscious of the purity of our motives, but acknowledging your right to supervise our conduct, we invite your serious attention to the emergency which dictated the subjoined resolutions. Whilst we disdain to alarm you by ill-founded jealousies, we recommend an investigation, guided by the coolness of wisdom, and a decision bottomed on firmness but tempered with moderation.

It would be perfidious in those entrusted with the guardianship of the State sovereignty, and acting under the solemn obligation of the following oath, “I do swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States,” not to warn you of encroachments which, though clothed with the pretext of necessity, or disguised by arguments of expediency, may yet establish precedents which may ultimately devote a generous and unsuspicious people to all the consequences of usurped power.

Encroachments springing from a government whose organization cannot be maintained without the co-operation of the States, furnish the strongest excitements upon the State Legislatures to watchfulness, and impose upon them the strongest obligation to preserve unimpaired the line of partition.

James Madison State Rights vs Federal Government

James Madison regarding State Rights vs Federal Government (Click to enlarge)

The acquiescence of the States under infractions of the federal compact, would either beget a speedy consolidation, by precipitating the State governments into impotency and contempt; or prepare the way for a revolution, by a repetition of these infractions, until the people are roused to appear in the majesty of their strength. It is to avoid these calamities that we exhibit to the people the momentous question, whether the Constitution of the United States shall yield to a construction which defies every restraint and overwhelms the best hopes of republicanism.

Exhortations to disregard domestic usurpation, until foreign danger shall have passed, is an artifice which may be forever used; because the possessors of power, who are the advocates for its extension, can ever create national embarrassments, to be successively employed to soothe the people into sleep, whilst that power is swelling, silently, secretly, and fatally. Of the same character are insinuations of a foreign influence, which seize upon a laudable enthusiasm against danger from abroad, and distort it by an unnatural application, so as to blind your eyes against danger at home.

The sedition act presents a scene which was never expected by the early friends of the Constitution. It was then admitted that the State sovereignties were only diminished by powers specifically enumerated, or necessary to carry the specified powers into effect. Now, Federal authority is deduced from implication; and from the existence of State law, it is inferred that Congress possess a similar power of legislation; whence Congress will be endowed with a power of legislation in all cases whatsoever, and the States will be stripped of every right reserved, by the concurrent claims of a paramount Legislature.

The sedition act is the offspring of these tremendous pretensions, which inflict a death-wound on the sovereignty of the States.

For the honor of American understanding, we will not believe that the people have been allured into the adoption of the Constitution by an affectation of defining powers, whilst the Preamble would admit a construction which would erect the will of Congress into a power paramount in all cases, and therefore limited in none. On the contrary, it is evident that the objects for which the Constitution was formed were deemed attainable only by a particular enumeration and specification of each power granted to the Federal Government; reserving all others to the people, or to the States. And yet it is in vain we search for any specified power embracing the right of legislation against the freedom of the press.

Had the States been despoiled of their sovereignty by the generality of the preamble, and had the Federal Government been endowed with whatever they should judge to be instrumental towards union, justice, tranquility, common defense, general welfare, and the preservation of liberty, nothing could have been more frivolous than an enumeration of powers.

It is vicious in the extreme to calumniate meritorious public servants; but it is both artful and vicious to arouse the public indignation against calumny in order to conceal usurpation. Calumny is forbidden by the laws, usurpation by the Constitution. Calumny injures individuals, usurpation, States. Calumny may be redressed by the common judicatures; usurpation can only be controlled by the act of society. Ought usurpation, which is most mischievous, to be rendered less hateful by calumny, which, though injurious, is in a degree less pernicious? But the laws for the correction of calumny were not defective. Every libelous writing or expression might receive its punishment in the State courts, from juries summoned by an officer, who does not receive his appointment from the President, and is under no influence to court the pleasure of Government, whether it injured public officers or private citizens. Nor is there any distinction in the Constitution empowering Congress exclusively to punish calumny directed against an officer of the General Government; so that a construction assuming the power of protecting the reputation of a citizen officer will extend to the case of any other citizen, and open to Congress a right of legislation in every conceivable case which can arise between individuals.

In answer to this, it is urged that every Government possesses an inherent power of self-preservation, entitling it to do whatever it shall judge necessary for that purpose.

This is a repetition of the doctrine of implication and expediency in different language, and admits of a similar and decisive answer, namely, that as the powers of Congress are defined, powers inherent, implied, or expedient, are obviously the creatures of ambition; because the care expended in defining powers would otherwise have been superfluous. Powers extracted from such sources will be indefinitely multiplied by the aid of armies and patronage, which, with the impossibility of controlling them by any demarcation, would presently terminate reasoning, and ultimately swallow up the State sovereignties.

So insatiable is a love of power that it has resorted to a distinction between the freedom and licentiousness of the press for the purpose of converting the third amendment of the Constitution, which was dictated by the most lively anxiety to preserve that freedom, into an instrument for abridging it. Thus usurpation even justifies itself by a precaution against usurpation; and thus an amendment universally designed to quiet every fear is adduced as the source of an act which has produced general terror and alarm.

The distinction between liberty and licentiousness is still a repetition of the Protean doctrine of implication, which is ever ready to work its ends by varying its shape. By its help, the judge as to what is licentious may escape through any constitutional restriction. Under it men of a particular religious opinion might be excluded from office, because such exclusion would not amount to an establishment of religion, and because it might be said that their opinions are licentious. And under it Congress might denominate a religion to be heretical and licentious, and proceed to its suppression. Remember that precedents once established are so much positive power; and that the nation which reposes on the pillow of political confidence, will sooner or later end its political existence in a deadly lethargy. Remember, also, that it is to the press mankind are indebted for having dispelled the clouds which long encompassed religion, for disclosing her genuine luster, and disseminating her salutary doctrines.

The sophistry of a distinction between the liberty and the licentiousness of the press is so forcibly exposed in a late memorial from our late envoys to the Minister of the French Republic, that we here present it to you in their own words:

“The genius of the Constitution, and the opinion of the people of the United States, cannot be overruled by those who administer the Government. Among those principles deemed sacred in America, among those sacred rights considered as forming the bulwark of their liberty, which the Government contemplates with awful reverence and would approach only with the most cautious circumspection, there is no one of which the importance is more deeply impressed on the public mind than the liberty of the press. That this liberty is often carried to excess; that it has sometimes degenerated into licentiousness, is seen and lamented, but the remedy has not yet been discovered. Perhaps it is an evil inseparable from the good with which it is allied; perhaps it is a shoot which cannot be stripped from the stalk without wounding vitally the plant from which it is torn. However desirable those measures might be which might correct without enslaving the press, they have never yet been devised in America. No regulations exist which enable the Government to suppress whatever calumnies or invectives any individual may choose to offer to the public eye, or to punish such calumnies and invectives otherwise than by a legal prosecution in courts which are alike open to all who consider themselves as injured.”

As if we were bound to look for security from the personal probity of Congress amidst the frailties of man, and not from the barriers of the Constitution, it has been urged that the accused under the sedition act is allowed to prove the truth of the charge. This argument will not for a moment disguise the unconstitutionality of the act, if it be recollected that opinions as well as facts are made punishable, and that the truth of an opinion is not susceptible of proof. By subjecting the truth of opinion to the regulation, fine, and imprisonment, to be inflicted by those who are of a different opinion, the free range of the human mind is injuriously restrained. The sacred obligations of religion flow from the due exercise of opinion, in the solemn discharge of which man is accountable to his God alone; yet, under this precedent the truth of religion itself may be ascertained, and its pretended licentiousness punished by a jury of a different creed from that held by the person accused. This law, then, commits the double sacrilege of arresting reason in her progress towards perfection, and of placing in a state of danger the free exercise of religious opinions. But where does the Constitution allow Congress to create crimes and inflict punishment, provided they allow the accused to exhibit evidence in his defense? This doctrine, united with the assertion, that sedition is a common law offence, and therefore within the correcting power of Congress, opens at once the hideous volumes of penal law, and turns loose upon us the utmost invention of insatiable malice and ambition, which, in all ages, have debauched morals, depressed liberty, shackled religion, supported despotism, and deluged the scaffold with blood.

All the preceding arguments, arising from a deficiency of constitutional power in Congress, apply to the alien act; and this act is liable to other objections peculiar to itself. If a suspicion that aliens are dangerous constitute the justification of that power exercised over them by Congress, then a. similar suspicion will justify the exercise of a similar power over natives; because there is nothing in the Constitution distinguishing between the power of a State to permit the residence of natives and of aliens. It is, therefore, a right originally possessed, and never surrendered, by the respective States, and which is rendered dear and valuable to Virginia, because it is assailed through the bosom of the Constitution, and because her peculiar situation renders the easy admission of artisans and laborers an interest of vast importance.

But this bill contains other features, still more alarming and dangerous. It dispenses with the trial by jury; it violates the judicial system; it confounds legislative, executive, and judicial powers; it punishes without trial; and it bestows upon the President despotic power over a numerous class of men. Are such measures consistent with our constitutional principles? And will an accumulation of power so extensive in the hands of the Executive, over aliens, secure to natives the blessings of republican liberty?

If measures can mold governments, and if an uncontrolled power of construction is surrendered to those who administer them, their progress may be easily foreseen, and their end easily foretold. A lover of monarchy, who opens the treasures of corruption by distributing emolument among devoted partisans, may at the same time be approaching his object and deluding the people with professions of republicanism. He may confound monarchy and republicanism, by the art of definition. He may varnish over the dexterity which ambition never fails to display, with the pliancy of language, the seduction of expediency, or the prejudices of the times; and he may come at length to avow that so extensive a territory as that of the United States can only be governed by the energies of monarchy; that it cannot be defended, except by standing armies; and that it cannot be united except by consolidation.

Measures have already been adopted which may lead to these consequences. They consist—

In fiscal systems and arrangements, which keep a host of commercial and wealthy individuals embodied, and obedient to the mandates of the treasury.

In armies and navies, which will, on the one hand, enlist the tendency of man to pay homage to his fellow-creature who can feed or honor him; and on the other, employ the principle of fear, by punishing imaginary insurrections, under the pretext of preventive justice.

In the extensive establishment of a volunteer militia, rallied together by a political creed, armed and officered by executive power, so as to deprive the States of their constitutional right to appoint militia officers, and to place the great bulk of the people in a defenseless situation.

In swarms of officers, civil and military, who can inculcate political tenets tending to consolidation and monarchy both by indulgencies and severities; and can act as spies over the free exercise of human reason.

In destroying, by the sedition act, the responsibility of public servants and public measures to the people, thus retrograding towards the exploded doctrine “ that the administrators of the Government are the masters, and not the servants, of the people,” and exposing America, which acquired the honor of taking the lead among nations towards perfecting political principles, to the disgrace of returning first to ancient ignorance and barbarism.

In exercising a power of depriving apportion of the people of that representation in Congress bestowed by the Constitution.

In the adoration and efforts of some known to be rooted in enmity to Republican Government, applauding and supporting measures by every contrivance calculated to take advantage of the public confidence, which is allowed to be ingenious, but will be fatally injurious.

In transferring to the Executive important legislative powers; particularly the power of raising armies, and borrowing money without limitation of interest.

In restraining the freedom of the press, and investing the Executive with legislative, executive, and judicial powers, over a numerous body of men.

And, that we may shorten the catalog, in establishing, by successive precedents, such a mode of construing the Constitution as will rapidly remove every restraint upon Federal power.

Let history be consulted; let the man of experience reflect: nay, let the artificers of monarchy be asked what further materials they can need for building up their favorite system.

These are solemn but painful truths; and yet we recommend it to you not to forget the possibility of danger from without, although danger threatens us from within. Usurpation is indeed dreadful; but against foreign invasion, if that should happen, let us rise with hearts and hands united, and repel the attack with the zeal of freemen who will strengthen their title to examine and correct domestic measures, by having defended their country against foreign aggression.

Pledged as we are, fellow-citizens, to these sacred engagements, we yet humbly and fervently implore the Almighty Disposer of events to avert from our land war and usurpation, the scourges of mankind; to permit our fields to be cultivated in peace; to instill into nations the love of friendly intercourse; to suffer our youth to be educated in virtue, and to preserve our morality from the pollution invariably incident to habits of war; to prevent the laborer and husbandman from being harassed by taxes and imposts; to remove from ambition the means of disturbing the commonwealth; to annihilate all pretexts for power afforded by war; to maintain the Constitution; and to bless our nation with tranquility, under whose benign influence we may reach the summit of happiness and glory, to which we are destined by nature and nature’s God.

Attest: JOHN STEWART, C. H. D. 1799, January 23. Agreed to by the Senate. H. BROOKE, C. S.

A true copy from the original deposited in the office of the General Assembly. JOHN STEWART, Keeper of Rolls.

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Rights of American Citizens: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to commerce

DoCThe Rights of an American Citizen: With a Commentary on State Rights, and on the Constitution and Policy of the United States by Benjamin Lynde Oliver published 1832

Continued from RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to manufactures


CHAPTER III; Commerce.

On this exhaustless subject, a few passing remarks only will be hazarded. Not because, as some suppose, the principles of science in relation.to it, can be comprehended by merchants only; but because the minute details, which alone require prolonged discussion, are of little consequence to general readers, and yet can only be obtained by a practical acquaintance with trade.

It is somewhat singular, that merchants of long experience and supposed sagacity, who have acquired and amassed great fortunes in youth, sometimes lose their property and fail, at a time of life, when, if ever, the judgment ought to be in its highest perfection. On the other hand, it is not less singular, that some persons of small acquirements and very moderate capacity, sometimes acquire great wealth by commerce in a very few years. The bad result in the former case, and the good one in the latter, however, are sufficient to show, that, in commerce, sagacity and experience, are not absolutely necessary to obtain success, and, what is worse, are not sufficient to insure it. It follows, that no infallible principles are derivable from mercantile experience, which will guaranty invariable prosperity even to the merchant’s private affairs; and much less, to those of the public.

The reason is, that the knowledge acquired by experience, consists only of those facts and details, which are necessary to carry on the particular branch of trade in which the individual happens to be engaged, but which have no general application to the interests of the public. For, the interest of the merchant, and that of the public are two different things, having no necessary connexion, any further than that the wealth of a a merchant is a constituent part of the whole wealth of the community, of which he is a member.

In order to have distinct ideas on this subject, as well as to form a correct opinion how far commerce is advantageous to a country, it will very shortly be considered under the heads of domestic trade, importation, exportation, and the carrying trade. These will be considered as entirely distinct, though it may very well happen, that two or more of these operations, may be performed in any single extensive commercial transaction.

1. Domestic trade is obviously of the highest importance to a community. Without it society could not well continue at all, but men would exist merely as solitary savages, in a state of perfect independence. For, it is almost impossible, that intercourse should be kept up among mankind, without those mutual dealings and contracts, in all of which some principle of exchange and barter, is necessarily more or less involved. If a hatter should barter a hat to a shoemaker for a pair of shoes; if a carpenter should contract, with a farmer to build him a shed, for a certain number of bushels of wheat; or, if two farmers should agree to exchange work, it might be considered as constituting an operation of internal trade, as much as a direct purchase for money.

It is of the utmost consequence to society, that this home trade should be as free from restraint as possible; because it is more convenient, that the citizens should supply each other with the respective products of their labor, than that each individual should undertake to be his own carpenter, batter, blacksmith, &c, and thus vainly attempt to supply his wants by his own personal labor in those various trades. For, in this way, each individual would be able to do but little work, and that would be done badly. But the division and distribution of labor, enable each individual to have an abundance of every kind of work, and well executed. The policy of taxing sales by auction, or of licensing auctioneers, retailers, inn-holders, pedlars, &c., does not come within the scope of this work. On the subject of home trade, therefore, it seems superfluous to enlarge, because, with the above suggested exceptions, it is left in perfect freedom.

2. Foreign trade; exportation, &c. With regard to foreign trade, its value to the country depends entirely upon the comparative value in use, between the articles exported and those imported in return.

In commerce, exportation as well as importation may be either advantageous or disadvantageous to the country.; and consequently in a single exchange of exports for imports, either a double loss, or a double gain may arise to it.

The most disadvantageous trade to a state that can be carried on, is where the exported articles are the necessaries of life, and the imports are not only incapable of supporting life, but tend to destroy it. It is not to be expected, that any country will long continue to increase in population, where a trade of this kind is carried on. If, therefore there should be exported from a country beef, pork, fish and corn, though, at the highest price in money, and that money should immediately be re-invested in brandy, wine, rum, gin, and other things equally incapable of supporting life, and equally injurious to health which should be brought back for home consumption, though at the cheapest rates, such commerce would be the most destructive to the prosperity of a state, that can be conceived. It is true, the merchant might be accumulating immense sums from such a business, and might suppose, from his own prosperity, that he was doing the public a great service; but, it is equally true, that he could not, if he were disposed, do a greater mischief to the public, than to buy up the necessaries of life and ship them abroad, and bring back such articles as have been named and expose them for sale throughout the country. In such a case as this, the merchant, if he grew rich, would fatten on the ruin of his country. For, by buying up the necessaries of life, and paying for them, directly or indirectly, in such commodities, supposing them to be merely useless, though they are in fact pernicious, he renders the production of the necessary articles exported, wholly vain, the labor bestowed on them being thrown away. The delusion which the producer would labor under would be this, that he should get a high price for his produce; but he forgets that it is paid in an article which is worthless in use. If it should be replied, that be can sell it to his neighbor and get a high price for it; still it is obvious the injury to the state is the same, though the loss falls on the thoughtless, and not on the designing and guarded. Any rich and powerful state, that finds its population at a stand, or increasing in too slow a ratio on account of emigration, would do well to look to this. For, in no case whatever, is the prosperity of the merchants, a test of the advantage of trade to the country. But this test will always be found in the consequent prosperity of the producer of exported articles, whether manufacturer or husbandman, &c., and the prosperity of the consumers of the imported ones.

That the prosperity of a merchant, is no test of the advantage of the trade he carries on, to the state, may easily be shown; because, however profitable a trade might be to the state, all the merchants concerned in it may lose money by it and be compelled to abandon it. On the other hand, however ruinous any trade may be to the state, it is very possible that the merchants may grow rich by it. The direct foreign trade, therefore, ought never to be encouraged for the sake of the interest of the merchants, but, for the sake of the public interest, which are two very distinct things. Where they are compatible—where the trade is for the advantage of the public, it should be encouraged; but, where incompatible, and where the trade is pernicious to the public interest, the interests of the state ought not to be sacrificed to favor those of a comparatively small number of persons. The hackneyed expression, laissez nous faire, in this case, would be as absurd as unbecoming; the merchant here is a mere carrier, and not a party in interest, any further than his commissions or profits are concerned. The trade is carried on for the advantage of the community, and not for the sake of giving him an opportunity to make money.

2. Where the merchant exports the surplus manufactures of a country, beyond what is necessary for home consumption, and brings back the necessaries or conveniences of life, he carries on a trade which is highly advantageous to the country. In the first place, he increases the demand for the home manufactures; consequently he enables more persons to support themselves by manufacturing; in this way, he increases population. In the next place, by bringing back the necessaries of life, he increases the supply in the slate, which operates in the same manner as a blessing would do, which should increase the annual produce of the soil; this also would tend to increase the population; for, wherever the necessaries of life are cheap, population will increase. If it should be said, this would discourage agriculture; the answer is, it would not prevent any man from cultivating his farm. On the contrary, as he found produce cheap, he would endeavor to raise more, so as to compensate in quantity for the lowness of the price; its tendency, therefore, would rather be to increase the production of agriculture. But, if the products of agriculture, on account of their abundance, became very low in price, many persons, who otherwise would have engaged in it, will betake themselves to other occupations, as the various trades, or manufactures, or commerce,, which, in consequence of the cheapness of necessary articles, would afford them opportunities of getting a living with very moderate labor. Thus, there would be a permanent increase of population, distributed equally in all the various classes of society, which always soon finds its level in this respect.

For, the high price of manufactures is attributable in part, at least, to the high price of labor; the high price of labor is owing to the high price of the necessaries of life. The high price of the necessaries of life, must necessarily follow extensive purchases of them for exportation and returns made in luxuries, superfluities or foreign goods generally, not being necessaries. If then the necessaries of life are retained, labor will become cheap in comparison with every thing but those necessaries. Consequently manufactures will grow cheaper, and there will be less necessity for protection against the competition of foreigners. Manufacturing companies therefore ought not to despair, even if the tariff should be taken off, as a measure might be suggested, which it is thought would be a palliative far its removal, if not a substitute for its continuance.

But, though such a trade would be highly advantageous to the state, it obviously might or might not, be ruinous to the merchants engaged in it, according to the state of the markets at home and abroad, and their prudence or imprudence in the management of their business. This is another proof, that the prosperity of the merchant, is not the slightest test of the public benefit of the trade, in which he is concerned.

Whence does the merchant derive his wealth in this case? Certainly it consists in the profits, which he receives from the consumer of the goods which he imports. The consumer endeavors to obtain the foreign goods as cheap as possible, the merchant endeavors to obtain for them as high a price as possible. In this particular the interests of the two are incompatible, and either may grow rich at the expense of the other. But, it is the interest of the state, that the surplus over consumption should be exported, and a return made of other articles, of equal utility, and not easily obtained otherwise. In this respect the interests of the merchants, and those of the producers of exports, and the consumers of imports, and consequently, of the whole state, strongly coincide. Commerce is here of the highest importance. It creates a new value. It performs in effect the operation of production. There is no measure of encouragement or protection, that commerce of this kind can reasonably require, that should not immediately be bestowed; and, here there is no danger, that laissez nous fuire, would ever be heard.

USChamberBut, a duty on the necessaries of life, imported from abroad, is a very great absurdity. For, what can be the object of it? Political partisans perhaps will say, that it is laid for the purpose of protecting national industry from the competition of foreigners. This is done by laying so heavy a duty on foreign production, that it will be wholly excluded from the market, and thus domestic produce will have the whole market secured to itself. But, the consequence will be, that the prices of the necessaries of life, will rise higher than before. The farmers will sell their produce at almost any price they please, unless the competition among them keeps it down. It will gradually, however, come to a level with other kinds of business; because so many will betake themselves to the cultivation of the soil, that they will fully supply the market, if the territory of the state, which can be come at, is sufficient for that purpose.

The farming business, in this case, will .have a great advantage secured to them in this monopoly; but, it will be at the expense of the manufacturers and the rest of society. This is clear; because, if foreign produce were admitted, the domestic produce would conform to it in price. But, if the foreign is excluded, then domestic produce rises to whatever the producers shall agree among themselves to demand. For, the necessaries of life must be had, if possible, from some source or other. And this necessity, if the producers can agree in demanding an exorbitant price, will put the rest of society at their mercy. For, the tendency of such a law is to reduce the rest of society under the control of the producers, in the same manner as the whole nation of the Egyptians were reduced by the policy of Joseph.

It is inexpedient, therefore, to impose any duty on foreign produce of the necessaries of life, because it so far checks an increase of population. Further, if home production is sufficiently abundant, then such an import would be superfluous; because, then the price of foreign produce would not pay for importing. On the other hand, if the price of foreign produce would pay for importing, then the domestic must be proportionally scarce. But true policy requires that the necessaries of life, should be as cheap and abundant as possible.

There is a strange error prevailing in the minds of some politicians, who assume that whatever increases consumption, increases production also, in the same proportion. For, they reason thus, whatever consumes an article in the market, raises the price of it. The increase of price, enables those who produce the article, to get more money for their labor than they can in other productions; they therefore bestow more labor in producing it, and others also .are induced to neglect other business, and to bestow their labor in the same way, and with the same expectations. But, notwithstanding this plausible theory, if the consumption is not for some valuable purpose, the labor of producing what is consumed, is entirely thrown away. The production consequently is of no use whatever. Suppose a state, capable of producing the necessaries of life, for 10,000,000 of people, were unhappily bound by a necessity to export 9-10ths of its whole produce, and receive a return in imports of jewelry, brandy, rum, wine, and other articles not capable of sustaining life, is it not clear that such commerce, though it might enrich the inhabitants with an abundance of expensive and perhaps ornamental articles, would yet so completely check its prosperity, that it could never reach more than one tenth of the population, which it could sustain. Such commerce would therefore be highly ruinous to the state, though the merchants, if they carried it on would grow rich by the profits they made by it. But though such state would thus check its growth and throw away the advantages which nature had given it, by selling its birthright in effect like the ignorant Indians for a string of beads, or a cask of brandy, the foreign producer or manufacturer of such worthless articles, would fatten on the folly or wretchedness of the inhabitants of such state. For,’the population which might be sustained here, would be supported abroad by supplies drawn from this country. And the seven lean kine would thus devour the seven well favored; and the most barren and unfruitful country, incapable of itself of sustaining a single inhabitant, might by such commerce, become as populous as China, and the country with which it traded, though as fertile as the garden of Eden, would never contain more inhabitants, than enough to till it for the sake of those foreign consumers.

To what extent these remarks are applicable to the commerce of any of the United States, let each reader judge for himself.

In 1822, there was exported from the United States, in fish, $930,000; in flour, $5,300,000; in rice, $1,000,000;’in pork, 1,400,000; in corn, meal, rye, he, $1,100,000; in butter and cheese, 220,000. Total $10,550,000.

In the same year there was imported into the United States, exclusive of what was re-exported, in wine, $1,700,000; in spirits, $2,300,000; in teas, $ 1,200,000; in cigars, $ 174,000. Total $5,374,000.

As these last articles were the balances remaining after re-exportation, they must he considered as designed for consumption. Now, to the United States, it is of no sort of consequence whether these imports were purchased with the proceeds of those exports or not, because, the result is the same. For, so far as the exportation of these necessaries of life, and the importation of these pernicious or useless articles, the produce of the United States is wasted; the productive labor has been employed for the mere benefit of those foreigners whose . wines, &c, have been purchased, and who have been supported abroad, instead of an equal number of people who would be supported in the United States, if the necessaries of life had not been exported. This species of commerce, it should be remembered, is to be considered as perpetual; consequently the United States are always to be taxed in this extraordinary manner for the support of foreigners, and the fertility of the soil is to be changed for sterility, and sterility upon which annual labor is thus thrown away.

3. There is another species of commerce, which consists of what is called the carrying trade. Though this is usually combined with the other operations of exporting and importing, yet, as it is so far subject to the remarks made in relation to them; and, as it may be carried on in a manner entirely independent of those operations, so far as the merchant’s own country is concerned, it will here be considered simply as the carrying trade.

Where a merchant in this country employs his capital in carrying merchandize backwards and forwards between two foreign countries, the public here derive the following advantages from it. 1. Though he makes his money abroad, yet he spends it here; as he increases in wealth, therefore, he adds proportionally to the wealth of the state where he resides, without any drawback whatever on the part of the state. 2. All those citizens, whom he employs in the management of his affairs at home or abroad, he supports out of the profits of his trade. He, therefore, so far increases the population of the society, by furnishing these citizens with the means of earning a living, without the least expense whatever to the state. This is evident, because if he saw fit, he might remove to some other country and employ others in their room; in which case, those citizens who are now employed. by him, would be obliged to derive it from some other source either at home or abroad. If at home, they would be obliged to come into competition with others. If abroad, the population would be diminished by their number. Merchants so circumstanced, it is obvious, deserve every countenance and encouragement to reside in the state. Because, their prosperity or adversity, to a certain degree, affects that of the state; and they bear part of its burdens, but add nothing to them.

CONCLUSION: On the Future Prospects of the United States.

Perhaps no country can, with more propriety, be said to have its destiny in its own power, than the United States. Having a local situation, remote from all nations, which are sufficiently powerful to endanger its independence; a population already sufficiently numerous for a great empire, yet rapidly increasing and spreading over its extensive territory; a climate, temperate and generally salubrious; a soil, fertile, and abundant in variety and production; a people, bold, enterprising and intent upon their interests; a frame of government, in which the choice of rulers depends on popular suffrages, and mild and indulgent; containing within itself a power to reform and amend, without any necessity of resorting to primary assemblies; which imposes few or no restraints, merely arbitrary, or which are grounded on policy alone; and consequently secures to its citizens the enjoyment of liberty to its utmost rational extent; under such circumstances, it would seem impossible that the United States should ever fall from their elevated rank among nations, into a state of weakness and contempt, unless they should occasion their own. decline, by the imprudence or rashness of their national policy, or should bring upon themselves ruin and destruction, as a judgment from heaven.

The advantage which a free elective government has over others, presupposes, in the majority of the electors, sufficient discernment to compare the characters and capacities of candidates for office, and requires, that in making a selection, they should be actuated by proper motives. If the former is wanting, there can be no certainty that they will elect the best candidate; if the people vote under unsuitable influence, it is almost certain that a bad choice will be the result.

Among the motives which frequently govern the popular choice, perhaps there is none worse than the influence of party. For, it is characteristic of this influence, as sometimes exhibited both in elections by the people, and appointments by rulers, that it does not seek either for a man of talents, and integrity, great acquirements, or industry, or well acquainted with the duties of the office. Such qualifications without more, though amply sufficient for the purposes of the public, are no qualifications at all in a party view. For, here the only necessary qualifications are, that the character of the candidate should not be so bad, nor his incapacity so flagrant, as to disgrace his party; but he must be the right kind of man to serve the turn of the party, and in case of appointments through party influence, he must either have rendered party services, or be recommended by some one who has, Sec.

The country of a partisan, to which he considers himself as owing the duty of patriotism, will be found, on examination, to mean nothing more than the party to which he belongs. It is this false god, that, in political affairs, governs his conscience, and constitutes his standard of right and wrong. The mental subjection of the followers of party, is therefore most miserable. For, until they know what their leaders think, they must not venture to form an opinion for themselves, for fear they may afterwards be obliged to recant it. Their ruling principle therefore is, neither truth, justice, or the interests of the country, but it is, To Be True To The Party.

And by what motives does party induce the citizens thus to follow her through right and wrong indiscriminately? The leaders are actuated by the hopes of personal distinction, or other advantage; the partisans are governed chiefly by the gregarious principle, though the personal influence of those leaders, exerted in numberless ways, must not be omitted. But, it may be asked, may not the citizens unite together for the purpose of attaining some object of general utility, without being obnoxious to the charge of forming a party or faction? Undoubtedly they may do so; for their acts are then for the good of the country; and not for the advancement of party purposes; and therefore in such a case there is no necessity for party names or distinctions.

In many instances, parties have originated with ambitious individuals, who, conscious of a want of desert for the distinctions at which they aim, have resorted to cabals and intrigues to induce persons who were not well informed, to join themselves to them as his followers. One of the earliest factions on record, is that of Abimelech. See Judges, Ch. ix. The direful effects of factions and parties in Rome, Carthage, Jerusalem, &tc. in ancient times, and in Italy, France, England and Ireland, &c. from the middle ages down to the present day, warrant the opinion, that as they are almost inseparable from governments under which any portion of liberty is enjoyed, and are violent in proportion to that liberty, so they are one of the greatest evils that can infest society.

As soon as any combination of persons become a permanent body, begin to act separately from “the rest of society, assume a peculiar designation, are organized with officers, and under the guidance of leaders, they are factious, and are dangerous to the public tranquility according to the proportion which their numbers bear to all the rest of society. It is true, so long as there is nothing more to excite them, than the usual contests at elections, they may do no great harm; but, experience shows, that whenever anything uncommon occurs, to rouse their passions, there is no act of violence or excess, to which they may not be incited. And whenever the country shall be so completely divided into factions, that every one shall find himself compelled to side with one or another, in order to escape incivility, the moral sentiments of society will, be proportionally degraded and debased. Should its violence ever rise to a great height, the only safety for the peaceful citizens will be to stand by the constitution and laws, and take care that they are not violated, under a pretense of reforming abuses.

What palliative can be found for this evil? Take away from the president the sole power of removing, appointing or even nominating public officers, any further than it is expressly bestowed in the constitution. Disqualify members of congress for all other public offices, during the term for which they are elected, not merely during their term of office. Suffer no removals from one public office to another.

These regulations would diminish in some measure the prize of ambition, would take away some of the subject matter of promises, intrigue and corruption, and consequently would cool the patriotism of the leaders of factions, and perhaps hush that eloquence, which so much attracts the less informed part of the people.

So long as the different parties are completely intermingled with each other throughout the country, there will be but little danger of public commotions from factions, however unfavorably the peace and tranquility of private intercourse may be affected by angry discord; but, as soon as the parties come to be defined by the limits of states and territories, there will be immediate danger of public disturbances. The minority, out of power, in any such case, will always be apt to consider the public measures of the majority, in power, as tyrannical and oppressive, and contrary to law and the constitution; and when things have come to this pass, there never will be wanting demagogues to excite sedition, insurrection, and civil war, and dupes and disorderly persons, to follow such leaders in their career of violence and wickedness, from a hope of obtaining that distinction, in times of public disturbance, which they are conscious will otherwise be unattainable.

It is the duty, therefore, of every conscientious citizen, and the interest of every peaceable one, to discountenance, as much as possible, all party distinctions and divisions generally; but especially, to prevent their becoming sectional. It is for this reason, the majority in congress, when not urged by some paramount obligation of justice, should be extremely cautious of exercising any power, of the constitutionality of which there exists a doubt, from mere considerations of general expediency, when the minority consists of one or more states, the citizens of which may consider themselves injured by it. For, if such a case should ever occur, there is hardly an argument, that was formerly urged against the oppression of the British government before the revolution, which state patriots will not revive, and apply, whether right or wrong, to excite the people of their states to resist the general government. The people also would do well, to thrust back into private life those office seekers, who personally, or by the agency of political partisans, under patriotic pretenses, obtrude themselves upon the citizens, and seek their suffrages at elections, but who care not what evils they bring upon their country, so that they obtain their own ends. But though, agreeably to the theory of the admirable constitution under which we live, every fault in legislation, and every deficiency in itself, may be easily corrected or amended, without disturbing the public tranquility; yet, in practice a degree of intelligence is required in the people, to perceive the necessity of such, amendments and corrections, and agree in the choice of legislators who will make them, that history and observation teach us, is too much to expect of a numerous population. This defect, therefore, where it exists, will probably be found incurable; because the want of intelligence and discernment is not obviated by the mere exercise of the will. For, it is not infrequent to find that individuals, of contracted minds and small information, take an envious satisfaction in opposing the measures of persons, whom they know to possess more discernment.

It is on persons of such a character, as well as the ignorant and imbecile generally, that designing men operate, by flattering their prejudices, tantalizing their envy, and exciting their suspicions; and by such arts become popular with them. If the time should ever come, therefore, when the majority of the people shall be of this class, and be under such guidance, how will it be possible, that any fault in its legislation, or defect in its frame of government should be remedied, when the very defect itself, will furnish food for the ambition of the leaders of the majority and the means of rewarding their followers? For, that no such defect will ever be corrected or amended, where those, who have the power, consider it inconsistent with their interests to do it, requires no proof. Let us turn our eyes abroad. The British empire has been for many years laboring under the pressure of a number of great political evils and embarrassments. Yet, instead of removing the true causes of those evils, they have been endeavoring to procure a reform of certain minor abuses and corruptions, which, if removed, will improve the condition of the country in a small degree only. Yet this inconsiderable reform has been most strenuously urged and opposed, and great eloquence and oratory has been exhibited on both sides.

But measures, the policy of which is obvious to every intelligent person, and which would remedy many of the evils under which that mighty empire languishes, are hardly mentioned. To pay the national debt of Great Britain; abolish tythes; enable the industrious to earn a living by moderate labor; to improve the pauper system, by employing the poor in such a manner as to support themselves; to reform the cruel criminal code, and at the same lime render it unnecessary; to convert the vicious population of the larger cities into honest and industrious citizens, by furnishing them with sufficient employment; measures which would naturally assist each other and contribute to the same end, one would suppose to be such that in comparison with either of them, a reform in parliament, would amount to nothing at all. Yet, if the parliament were willing that these measures should be adopted, it is believed these objects might all be effected within a moderate number of years. Tythes might be gradually and completely abolished in one generation, by passing a law to discontinue them at the death of the present clerk of each parish respectively. The evils arising from an unequal distribution of property, would be gradually diminished by enabling all children to inherit equally. The application of a just principle, but which perhaps is not thought of, would immediately put the British National Debt in a state of liquidation; to the great relief of the nation’s taxes, yet without defrauding the public creditor of one farthing of his due, &c. But, if measures like these, should be repugnant to the feelings, or considered inconsistent with the interests of men in power, it would be vain to expect they wotdd be adopted, though they would cause the British nation to be one of the happiest as well as most powerful on earth, and would render the reign of William IV, the most glorious since the conquest.

The case in this country is analogous. The people will never be able to get back power or influence from the hands of their rulers, if once intrusted with it. For, abuses, corruptions, &c. always tend to continue themselves until they destroy their subject, and then all perish together. For instance, suppose the people should think the president’s official patronage conferred on him by the laws of the United States, too great and of a pernicious tendency, how can they take it away? By law? The president may not consent, and the direct or indirect influence of that very patronage, may very possibly prevent the passage of the law by a majority of two thirds. This demonstrates the propriety of rendering all members of congress, incapable of any other office during the term for which they are elected, which would render them entirely free from the slightest bias. But will the people ever be able to induce the members of congress, to consent to make this alteration? On the contrary, though the expediency of it is evident to every person’ of ordinary information, the people will1 sooner be persuaded by their representatives, that such alteration would be bad policy. For similar reasons, h is hardly to be expected, that any president will ever consent that his power of removal from certain offices, should be taken away from him; of, that the people should ever be able to choose legislators, the majority of whom will be sufficient to effect that measure. For, office seekers, who, indirectly or directly, manage so as to control the voice of the people of their party, would lose all motive to elect or to remove any president, if the office of president should lose the power of removing officers; because1 a new president would have no offices to distribute among his’ supporters.

If, therefore, the people would wish to be liberated from indirect thraldom of this kind, by which they so often find themselves hampered and shackled, without knowing how it happens, or in what it consists, they must throw off the livery of party, and not suffer office seekers or office holders, to influence their conduct; and, if ever an opportunity presents to reclaim those powers, take care for the future to grant no more such.

An unfortunate circumstance, attending all popular governments where the people choose their own rulers, is, that the choice is frequently grounded on no other merit or qualification, than an acceptable manner of haranguing the populace. It is very singular that volubility, fluency, and loquacity, which, with men of observation, are considered a proof of any thing but wisdom or ability, should be the only criterion of those qualifications, which the people have. In consequence of this wrong estimate, these accomplishments are made too much the objects of ambition, and any further knowledge and acquirements than may be used in flights of oratory, are considered superfluous. Those persons, however, who expend so much time in learning to speak well, must evidently do it at the expense of more valuable acquisitions. And what would be the consequence if all members of the general legislature, were great orators? 1. The sessions of congress would be very much prolonged, because every member must have an opportunity of making one or more, vainglorious speeches. 2. Business would consequently be delayed; yet finally be hurried through, or else left half done and postponed to the next session. 3. Emulation, degrading strife, and angry and indecent contention would unnecessarily consume a great part of the time, which should be devoted to the public service. 4. Though many long speeches would be made, about a subject, yet there would be very little discussion, because declamation is altogether unfavorable to rational investigation. No one, therefore,would ever be convinced by, or be the wiser for tiresome harangues; on the contrary, as the speeches were longer, the impressions would grow fainter and less distinct. For, it is found that the excitement occasioned by the most impassioned eloquence, lasts but a short time, and, when it has once begun to subside into languor and apathy, cannot be renewed by a mere fountain of lofty words, even though inexhaustible and though animated by the most spirited action, and uttered in a loud voice and with energetic gestures. The characteristics of eloquence itself seem to be very much changed from what they formerly were. It no longer consists of just arguments forcibly expressed, but of pointless descant, dealt out without any other limits than such as nature has set to the continuance of all bodily exertion; for, though the time of congress ought not to be valued at less than $200 or $300 per hour, yet those, who wish to be considered as eminent speakers, seldom declaim less than three or four hours; though probably there never was a speech more than half an hour long, that would not be improved by reducing it within that compass. What an ungrateful advantage then does a declaimer at irregular assemblies of the people, take of the patient admiration of his followers, when he keeps them in a state of petrifaction for a whole evening, with polished periods and rhetorical flourishes, pronounced with dignified self-complacency!

There is another mistake, that is sometimes made by the people. They are afraid to elect to office a man of superior abilities for fear he should not be honest; and prefer to him some person of correct character as far as the public knows, but of very moderate capacity, on the supposition that he will be more likely to be honest than the other, and, at any rate, will not be able to do much mischief. Experience shows, that such suppositions are frequently very incorrect. The ruling passion of men of great abilities, is ambition; that of men of small abilities who are conscious of it, is either envy or avarice. The sense of character of the former, will therefore preserve them honest, unless this quality should be in the way of their advancement. But honesty is necessarily at continual war with avarice. There is, therefore, great odds, that men of moderate abilities will sooner be dishonest, than those of great talents. For one Lord Bacon, there have been thousands of persons of moderate abilities, who have been corrupted, or, would have been, if they had been thought of sufficient consequence. It is true, that men of small abilities can do no great harm directly, and can do no great good, at all, unless, by accident; but, they may by their vote, prevent a great deal of good, and thus indirectly do much mischief. But, such persons are always a dead weight upon the public councils. If ignorant, every thing must be explained to them; if conceited, slow of apprehension, uncomplying and obstinate; nothing must be done without their seeing, knowing, attempting to understand, and expressing an insipid opinion upon it, whether they understand it or not. When envious of superior abilities in another, as is frequently the case, their sole aim is to create difficulties, in order to make themselves of consequence. In order to obtain a character for discernment, and because conscious of their ignorance and imbecility, they are full of suspicion and mistrust; and, from want of knowledge, often halt most miserably, between the extremes of credulity and incredulity; sometimes believing falsehood and ridiculous absurdities, and frequently disbelieving probability, truth, and even demonstration itself, because they cannot understand it. Their whole ability may be reduced to one single measure. They find out what others are desirous to effect, and oppose it for that reason. When they practice deceit, they use direct falsehood, and, in this way, they often succeed with persons, whom they never could have overreached by subtilty. Such is the man of moderate abilities and noiseless character, that sometimes creeps into office instead of a man of talents and experience; and, if he has an occasion, will sacrifice not his country only, but even his party, to gain his own ends.

It was remarked, that the United States seem to have their destiny in their own hands. If they would become a great nation, they must continue united. If they should separate, their importance would immediately vanish; and their jealousies and dissensions with each other, if they did not break out into border wars and predatory incursions, would render each of them comparatively weak, and little regarded with other nations; and would cause them to be less willing to assist each, and at the same time less able to stand alone. The necessity and advantage of union, will however never be able to preserve it, if injustice is practiced by the United States upon one or more of the individual states, or, what will, in the result, amount to the same thing, if the influential men in any state, with whatever views, can persuade the people of their state, that such is the case; and, it is apprehended also, that if the leading men of any state should feel satisfied, that, by seceding from the Union, they will be able to gain distinction and power among their own citizens, in consequence of supposed advantages resulting to their state from such measures, a patriotic pretext will never be wanting for that purpose.

The states are advancing so rapidly in population, wealth and power, that there is great danger that the common bond of union, the constitution of the United States, though sufficient, when the country was less flourishing, and there was more danger from foreign powers, than at present, will be found too weak to hold the states together much longer. The wise citizens, therefore, and those who have a regard for the true interests of the country, at the same time that they support the constitution, and endeavor to give it additional strength by amendments, will be very cautious of giving cause of disaffection, by attempting to increase its power by doubtful constructions. But, there is good reason to believe, that there is a faction already formed within the United States, whose aim is to separate themselves from the Union; and, if they can bring the people of the state to which they belong, to believe that the constitution is violated} and that they have a right to resist, their object so far will be obtained. To strain the powers of the constitution by a doubtful construction, is to do half of their work for them. It is true, if such is their object, they will unquestionably persist in it, though every possible cause of jealousy should be removed, and every thing that they ask, should be conceded; because any pretext, however groundless In reality, if sufficient to persuade the people of their state, will answer their purpose. Still, if, by avoiding every act that can furnish occasion for complaint, the wiser citizens among them can be induced to see, that there is no just cause for it whatever, it is hoped, they will have sufficient influence over the rest, to counterbalance that of unprincipled and designing demagogues. In this way the evil day will be postponed, and such persons will be left without any excuse or extenuation for their conduct.

Before taking leave of his readers, the author will submit one further consideration, which, though it would come with far better grace from a teacher of religion, he hopes will not be considered improper in one who is a firm believer in Christianity; since it is addressed to those only, who make the same profession.

It is remarked in substance by Bishop Atterbury, that one of the reasons of God’s interposing so remarkably in the sudden depression or advancing of kingdoms and states, is because this conduces to the manifestation of his political justice, towards public bodies and communities of men; and which is very different from that, by which he punishes the sins or rewards the virtues of private persons. The justice of his dealing with particular men may be manifested here or hereafter, as he thinks fit; for their duration is eternal, and should their successful crimes or unmerited afflictions be winked at in this world, it suffices if such irregularities are set right in another. But, as to the societies, and combinations of men, the justice of his administration towards them, must be manifested either in this world, or not at all.

If, therefore, borrowing the hint from this excellent divine, we contemplate the fall of the ancient empires, which once flourished in the highest state of splendor and magnificence, but are now almost forgotten, in connexion with the reasons assigned by the inspired writers for their destruction, and keep in mind the immutability of the divine nature, it will furnish no irrational or unphilosophical ground, to conjecture the fate of any nation, which shall transgress in a similar manner.

It is the opinion of many very worthy and conscientious persons, that, from the first settlement of this country, the Indians have had great cause of complaint against the white inhabitants; and, if there does not appear in the history of early times any particular instances of ill treatment, fraud, injustice, or imposition upon them, it is ascribed to the partiality of the historian, or his ignorance of the real causes of Indian aggressions, which, on account of the omission of their causes, sometimes appear to be wholly unprovoked and most barbarous. But, in later times, we cannot so easily shut our eyes to the light. For there is an internal evidence in certain transactions, which he must be a very inattentive observer, who cannot perceive. The United States have purchased or extinguished the Indian title to 200 millions of acres of land, for less than four millions of dollars. The lowest price which the United States demand for these lands, at the rate of $ 1,25 per acre, is 250 millions of dollars. The Indian nations are in a state of pupillage, or under guardianship to the United States, a relation which is regarded with so much suspicion by a Court of Equity, that it sets aside all purchases made by a guardian of his ward, because of the temptation the former is under, to take an unfair advantage of the latter. These treaties, however, though so advantageous to the United States, the Indians complain have not always been so scrupulously observed, on the part of the white inhabitants, as they ought to have been. Previous to the independence of the United States, the intrusions upon the Indian lands by new settlers of the most lawless character, was a frequent subject of complaint by the Indians from the year 1768 at least, when the six nations remonstrated to the commissioners of Pennsylvania, that, it would be time enough to settle their lands, when they had purchased them, &c: and, afterwards, when the Delawares and other tribes thus pathetically, but fruitlessly remonstrated with the Governor of Pennsylvania, ‘ We want to live in friendship with you: you have always told us you have laws to govern your people by; but we do not see that you have: we find your people very fond of our rich land; we do not know how soon they may come over the river Ohio and drive us from our villages; nor do we see you, brothers, take any care to stop them.’ What the conduct of the settlers was, is clearly shown by the report of the commissioners for trade and plantations, in which they remark, ‘ if the settlers are suffered to continue in the lawless state of anarchy and confusion, they will commit such abuses as cannot fail of involving us in quarrels and disputes with the Indians,’ he. There is reason to suspect, that in all the Indian wars which have taken place, from the confederacy under King Philip to the war with Black Hawk, which is just concluded, the first provocation consisted in some act of injustice, fraud, imposition or violence, perpetrated by some of the white inhabitants. But the truth will never be come at, by hearing one side only.

About the year 1771, the white settlers infringed the Indian boundary and killed several Indians, and encroached on the lands on the opposite side of the Ohio. The intruders could never be effectually removed. Governor Gage twice sent parties of soldiers to remove them from Redstone Creek, but in vain. That Indian wars should arise in this way, is not to be wondered at. But, when they do arise, it would be much more humane to send commissioners to the Indians, to demand their grievances, make them reparation and punish all who molested them, rather than to march troops against them to destroy them, right or wrong. It would also be more magnanimous in a nation containing twelve millions of people, against a few thousands, the remnant left by the evils brought on them by the whites, ardent spirits, and the small pox; to say nothing of the slaughter of them, which is frequently made a subject of boast, without much reason.

Some of the Indian tribes make grievous complaints, that their treaties are violated. Are not the bargains made with them advantageous enough, without resorting to such measures as these? They have appealed to the government of the United States,—they have appealed to the people of the United States, for redress. Shall it be in vain? Let no presumptuous confidence in the consciousness of superior power, and their comparative weakness, dictate the answer. The Amalekites, who were the first of nations, were sentenced to be utterly put out under heaven, because they attacked the Israelites when on their march, faint and weary, and slew those who were in the rear, and’ feared not God.’ Exo. ch. xvii. v. 14. Deut. ch. xxv. v. 18. If any one should answer, that the Israelites were under the immediate protection of the Deity; the reply is, that Babylon, the wonder of the world for its magnificence, was brought to utter ruin for the pride and arrogance of the people and rulers, and the oppressions which they practiced on other nations.

What was the cause of the judgments denounced against Damascus? It was, among other things, because they had threshed Gilead with threshing instruments; which is supposed by interpreters to mean, that they had greatly oppressed the Hebrews on the east of Jordan.

What was the cause of the judgment against Tyre? Was it not for cruel treatment of the Hebrews, and ‘ because they remembered not the brotherly covenant?’

What was the cause of the judgment against Edom? Was it not pitiless cruelty and unceasing revenge and hatred of the Jews?

When Saul slaughtered the Gibeonites in violation of the treaty, made with them in the time of Joshua, he committed an act highly offensive to the Supreme Being, which was followed many years afterwards, in the time of David, by the infliction of a famine for three successive years, until atonement was made. When David sinned in numbering the Israelites, there was a pestilence sent on the people from Dan to Beersheba, and seventy thousand of them died. These instances are deserving attention, because in them, it appears, the people were afflicted for the wickedness of their rulers, though they had no control over them whatever. As respects the people, therefore, in these instances, the infliction must be considered as merely natural evil, though brought on by the crimes of their rulers. But, if the people choose their own rulers, and thus sanction their measures with their approbation or tacit acquiescence, if those measures are unjust, wicked and oppressive, with how much less reason can they hope to escape, under the pretense that those measures are the acts of the government, and not the acts of the people. For, that those, who adopt the unjust act of another and screen him from punishment, are made answerable for his sins, is apparent from the narration of the Levite’s wrong mentioned in Judges, ch. xx., where it appears, that when the Israelites demanded, that the perpetrators should be delivered up, but the Benjaminites would not suffer them to he punished and took up arms to oppose the Israelites, the whole tribe was exterminated with the exception of six hundred only.

In these general visitations it must be an unwarrantable presumption to hope to escape, from a mere supposition that innocence will be a protection; since this would be to expect a miracle to take place. It is therefore made the temporal interest of every one, to endeavor to prevent injustice from being committed by his rulers; since he may suffer the infliction of natural evil, if he is entirely free from participating in the unjust act, for which the nation is punished.

If the United States therefore should commit acts of injustice and oppression upon the Indians, upon what ground can they hope to escape a visitation for it? If the rulers oppress them, or suffer any of their agents or any of the people under their government, to do so, it is national sin, and, if visited by some national calamity, what individual has a right to expect that a miracle shall be wrought to save him from it? He may be innocent or he may not be so; but when the pestilence comes, or the earthquake, or tempests, or floods, or famine, or foreign war, or civil commotions, sent as judgments upon the whole people for national transgressions, he must bear his lot, whatever it may be. For, there is no pretense, that those upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, were worse than others.* *

It is a sufficient refutation of the fatal error of those persons, who suppose they may commit wickedness with impunity in this world, by using proper precautions, and so avoiding those direct, probable, and natural consequences, which they foolishly believe are the only punishments to be expected for their flagitiousness, that those immediate consequences are rather to be considered as warnings to desist from offending, than the punishments of offenses. If these consequences are avoided, and the warning is not taken, and the offender hardens himself in the confidence of impunity, the result will infallibly show, in the language of revelation, that ‘ God is not mocked;’ and the offender will find in the result, that though for a time, he goes on in a course of unrivaled prosperity, and, from all appearances, might seem to be favored above others, yet in reality he is but adding wrath to wrath, until his iniquity is filled to the full; when he will find destruction come suddenly upon him from a quarter, whence it was least expected. Such was the fall of Hainan, and the Amalekites with him.* * *

Is it not then worth while for the people of the United States to examine, whether they have always acted justly, mercifully and humanely towards the Indian tribes; or, whether they have not directly or indirectly, by their agents, or, by not restraining lawless intruders, or, by not observing the Indian treaties, grievously oppressed them? Are the honest and worthy citizens of the United States, willing to run the risk of suffering some infliction of the divine displeasure. rather than that such violators of the public peace, should be controlled or punished?

It is true, that, while the Indians remain not wholly driven out or exterminated, it is possible, that no severe requital may be made; because, a season for a change of conduct, may perhaps be mercifully allowed. But, after the Indians are dispersed or annihilated, and there is no longer any opportunity remaining to do them justice or to make reparation for their wrongs, it is then, in the false security of worldly prosperity, that there will be most reason to dread a day of evil visitation.* *

Are there not sources enough, from whence such an evil may come, notwithstanding the present apparent prosperity of the United States, without the necessity of going out of he ordinary course of nature? This nation introduced ardent spirits and perhaps the small pox too, among the Indians. Have they not suffered by intemperance and pestilence, themselves? Is it not possible, that the same disposition, that can countenance a violation of Indian treaties, may lead to a violation of the constitution, and that the consequences of the latter may be a most awful infliction and retaliation for the former?

What then does prudence, as well as, religion, justice and humanity dictate with regard to the treatment of the Indians. Fence off the Indian territories with a wall of iron against lawless intruders. Send missionaries among them, men, who, as experience shows, may be depended on, in whatever they undertake, to instruct, and with power to protect them. If hostilities arise, instead of marching an armed force to massacre them, send commissioners with power to hear their complaints, redress their wrongs and relieve their necessities. This is all that is asked, and it will cost the United States nothing in comparison with the profit, derived from the purchases already made of the Indian territories. But, until this is done, it does not look well to speak of Russia and Poland; nor, it is believed, will a national fast be of any avail to avert any infliction, if it should be a punishment for injustice, so long as the injustice is continued.

Let not then the appeal of the Indians to the citizens of the United States be made in vain, lest they be compelled to appeal to a tribunal, from which it is believed they will not be sent away unredressed; but whatever shape it may appear in, whether war, pestilence, famine, civil commotions, or insurrection, the injured sooner or later will be avenged, and the justice of heaven vindicated.


See the other parts of this series:
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; Division One
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; Division Two
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; The Social Compact
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Powers delegated to the General Government in the Federal Constitution
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Powers delegated to the State Governments
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Independence of the States
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The rights reserved to the people of the United States
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Of the right of suffrage and of elections
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Liberty of Speech and of the Press
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Power of Courts to punish for Contempts
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Law of Libel in relation to Public Officers
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Of the mode of obtaining redress for any infringement of civil or political rights, committed either by the officers of the General Government, or of any of the State Governments.
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to agriculture
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to manufactures
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to commerce

Rights of American Citizens: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to manufactures

Manufacturing1The Rights of an American Citizen: With a Commentary on State Rights, and on the Constitution and Policy of the United States by Benjamin Lynde Oliver published 1832

Continued from Rights of American Citizens: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to agriculture


CHAPTER II; Manufactures.

In the progress of society, manufactures naturally follow agriculture. For, when society begins to advance from its rudest beginning, it is found that other things are desirable beside mere food, lodging and clothing, and, at the same time, that improvements are making in relation to these three subjects, it is discovered, that, as soon as provision is made for the necessities of nature, those of the imagination must also be provided for. A boundless field is therefore opened at once for the utmost exertion of human industry and ingenuity.

By the census of the United States, it appears that more than one fifth of the whole population is engaged in agriculture. As there is a considerable exportation of agricultural products capable of supporting human life, it is very probable that every person employed in agriculture, is able to support a considerable number of persons beside himself; it is not easy, however, nor is it necessary here to ascertain precisely how many.

If therefore a colony, consisting merely of persons whose usual occupation was to cultivate the soil, should settle in a new country, though they might have a great abundance of the immediate means of subsistence; yet they would be in want of numberless necessaries and conveniences. A blacksmith, house-Wright, mason, &c, would, therefore be an invaluable accession to their number, and, on account of the great demand for their services, such persons would have it in their power to extort almost any wages, which they thought fit to demand. It is obvious, therefore, that the business of any such mechanic, would be more profitable than that of a husbandman; because the same labor bestowed in such business, would earn many times as much agricultural produce, as it would raise, if employed in agriculture. Common sense would therefore immediately prompt the farmers to bind their sons, apprentices to such trades, until the colony contained a sufficient number of mechanics to supply all its wants.

Manufactures derive their origin from the mechanic arts. They first provide for the demands of necessity, then those of convenience, and terminate in luxury; and though it is not easy to draw the line where each begins and ends, all manufactures may be classed under these three heads.

Those manufactures, which are matters of necessity, are few, and may usually be obtained at a moderate expense, and in great abundance. But, as the demand for them is very great and uniform, the trades which produce them are deservedly great favorites with the people. Because, for the most part, they require but little skill, and every man having a healthy constitution, .and a moderate share of bodily strength, if he is industrious and temperate, is pretty sure of getting a good living by following one of them.

Those manufactures, which are matters of convenience, are more numerous. As society advances, they come to be regarded as absolutely necessary. They are greatly diversified, and the demand for them is constant; persons engaged in them easily obtain a good living, but usually, though they require more skill, they do not call for so much severe and unremitted labor as the first class. Those trades which supply such manufactures, are therefore more apt to be crowded; and the price of the product in consequence of competition, is frequently low, in comparison with the time bestowed in manufacturing it.

Manufactures for the supply of luxury, though they are the product of labor bestowed in particular trades, yet are almost infinite in variety. They are sometimes boundless in extravagance; frequently of very inconsiderable utility, or, all the real use may be supplied with articles of much less price; and sometimes are pernicious to the public, because hurtful to the health or estate of imprudent individuals. Great skill is sometimes required in the manufacture of them, and there is also a chance of failure. Their price in such cases, is very high, in comparison with the labor bestowed on them; because those which succeed must compensate, for the loss on those which fail. In some, their value and consequently their price depends upon novelty, having therefore but little intrinsic value, as soon as the fashion changes, they become worthies and cheap, though their real utility remains the same.

If a farmer should give two bushels of corn for a pair of shoes, he might be considered as acting under a species of moral necessity, because his health might be concerned in the purchase; if he should give a third of that value for a razor, he would consult his comfort or convenience; in either case, if the price was agreeable to the usual market valuation, he could not be blamed for imprudence. But, if he should give a hundred bushels of corn for a cashmere shawl, it would be useless extravagance, though the actual price in the market were twice what he gave for it. Or, if he gave a ton of carrots for a pair of ear-rings, or for any fashionable article, which in six months time would be out of fashion, and would not bring one half of the price which he gave, though its real value was not at all diminished, he would commit an act of expensive vanity.

If all the lands in any community were distributed among husbandmen, and cultivated by them to the highest degree, and all the necessaries and conveniences of life, beside what they raised by their own labor, were furnished them by mechanics and manufacturers, before the introduction of the inventions and discoveries of luxury, it is plain, that independently of foreign commerce, such community might attain to a great height in the number of its population, all of whom might be as comfortably situated, as the reasonable satisfaction of moderate wishes would require. For, as all the farmers would equally have occasion for the products and labor of manufacturers and mechanics, these classes would receive in exchange from the farmers, so much of their produce, as their own labor would have produced, if employed in agriculture. Because, agreeably to the general rule, the demand would regulate the supply; and the number of apprentices bound to a trade, would depend upon their prospect of earning a good living, when they should become master workmen.

But, as soon as society advanced one step further, it would be discovered, that agriculture could support within the country a greater number of persons, than could find employment within it, taking all the various occupations of agriculture and manufacturers together. For, not many more persons would engage in agriculture, than would be sufficient to supply the whole community with agricultural produce. And, as it would by no means take all the rest of the people, to supply the whole community with every species of necessary convenience, or even domestic luxury, that might be called for; it would immediately become necessary to find some means of employing the supernumeraries, so as to enable them to support themselves; since otherwise they would become a burden upon the rest of the community. And it would soon be perceived, that this could be done effectually, and perhaps without changing the nature of their usual employments, by finding another market for the products of their labor. As the home market would already be taken up, another market for the surplus of home production, must therefore be looked for, abroad. This would introduce foreign trade and navigation. For, the manufacturer by means of the merchant, and with the use of shipping, would send abroad all the surplus produce of his labor beyond what was called for to supply the market at home; and receiving his returns from abroad either in money or in some foreign article of luxury or variety, which he could not obtain at home, and exchanging it in whole or in part for the necessaries or conveniences of life, would thus be enabled to get as good a living as his neighbors. By the introduction of the various employments of commerce and navigation, the means of obtaining a good living, would also be furnished to another numerous class of people, who would be supported by and consequently would furnish a market for a large amount of agricultural produce. Thus the various classes of society would mutually assist, and at the same time, balance each other. The exigences of society however would introduce various other classes of persons, whose occupations and employments are of the highest necessity and utility, such as the makers, expounders, and ministers of the laws, the members of the various professions, teachers of youth, &c. &c., all of which, so far as political economy is concerned, must be considered in the inoffensive and strict sense of the term, as parasitical. For, these classes derive their existence merely from the use they are of to society, to prevent or remove evils, inconveniences and disadvantages, which otherwise it must necessarily suffer. This is obvious; because if the people were peaceable and just in all their dealings, there would be but little necessity for rulers, legislators, &c. &c. If they were always in health, there would be no occasion for physicians, surgeons and apothecaries. If knowledge were either intuitive, or were unnecessary, there would be no occasion for teachers of youth, &c.

As the manufactures, which are necessary to supply the home market, employ a great many persons who consume a large proportion of agricultural produce, the interests of agriculture and manufactures are intimately connected; they are reciprocally advantageous; and whatever encourages or discourages either, for the most part affects the other in a similar manner.

So long as the necessaries of life raised by the husbandman, are exchanged for home manufactures, even though they should be merely articles of luxury, if not absolutely pernicious, there will hardly be any subject for legislative interference; because, those necessaries being consumed within the territory, the country will always sustain as great a population, as its actual production will enable it to do at the time. No check will therefore be offered to the increase of its population. And even although the consideration, which the husbandman should receive from the manufacturer, should be nothing more valuable than trinkets and baubles of his manufacture, the interests of the country will not be directly concerned in it. For, the whole amount of property in the community will remain the same as before, notwithstanding such exchange; there being no difference, except that the manufacturer has supplied his occasions with agricultural produce, and the husbandman has gratified his vanity with the possession of finery of little value. The tendency of such a barter, however, is very injurious. For, as soon as it is discovered, that more of the necessaries of life can be earned by a little easy labor, bestowed in manufacturing articles of such inconsiderable value, than by a great deal of hard labor employed in tilling the ground, there will be too many apprentices bound to learn the trade of manufacturing such articles, and agriculture will be less followed. The evil may, or may not, cure itself. Agricultural produce without doubt, would rise; and when the country was once deluged with such baubles, their price would probably fall, to conform to their real value; but invention is infinite, and for aught that appears, there might be new patterns and new fashions in perpetual succession forever, to the great impoverishment of the agricultural class and consumers generally.

But, as society is at present constituted, it seems impossible for the legislative power to interpose, without infringing what the citizens consider their reserved rights. For, they would hardly consent, that they should be deprived of the privilege of consulting their inclinations in the purchase of any articles, however useless, extravagant, or even pernicious, by the operation of sumptuary laws. Such matters, therefore, must be left to the discretion of each individual, being, matters of private economy.

But, it is quite clear, that, while the manufacture of articles of real utility, should meet with every encouragement that the legislative power of the country has a right to bestowj sound policy requires that any manufactures of the nature just referred to, should receive no encouragement, for the plain reason, that they consume the means of subsistence for a class of manufacturers of greater utility. But, when all the useful and necessary occupations in society are filled with tradesmen, artists and manufacturers, no objection ought to be made to the setting up of any such manufactures, or any of the various fine or ornamental arts. Because to check or prohibit these, is to stop the advance of society in civilization and refinement; and is to require, that wealth, which is the proper reward of skill and industry, should forego those innocent and proper indulgences, which furnish the strongest motive for its accumulation. And the fine arts, though they make no pretensions to be the foundations of society nor add any thing to its strength, still must be considered as contributing greatly to its felicity, and constituting the most brilliant gems that adorn its crown. Another principal reason, however, why encouragement should not be held out to them, in the first instance, is, that, out of the number of aspirants to distinction among them, a comparatively small number meet with any considerable success; for, as in them anything short of excellence, is but little regarded; and, as excellence is always comparative, a few only can be rewarded with a prize, which, though an ample one, is always bestowed at the expense of the unsuccessful competitors, who in consequence, frequently languish in indigence and obscurity.

Manufactures, which convert the necessaries of life into an article incapable of sustaining it, and, which being of but little use at best, in fact, sometimes, become the ruin of numberless people from the temptations to excess which they offer, should be wholly abolished. Because they check population, by wasting food capable of sustaining life; destroy health; lessen industry; and introduce directly or indirectly every species of vice.

As some of the United States possess great natural advantages for the establishment and carrying on of manufactures; but others are less favorably situated for this purpose, the following questions, being subjects of general interest, naturally present themselves for consideration.

1. Is it advantageous to the interests of any manufacturing state, that foreign goods, which come into competition with its manufactures, should be either partially or wholly, excluded from its market, by protecting or prohibitory duties?

2. Is it disadvantageous to the interests of any non-manufacturing state, that foreign manufactures usually consumed within it, and of a similar kind to goods manufactured in some of the other states, should be either partially or wholly excluded from its market, by protecting or prohibitory duties?

3. Is it, on the whole, a national advantage to the United States, that duties should be laid on foreign goods, of a similar kind with goods manufactured in some of the states, for the purpose of securing either a monopoly, or equal competition for the products of the industry of the manufacturing states, against those of foreign industry?

4. Has the congress of the United States any authority under the federal constitution, either to prohibit, or to impose duties upon the importation of foreign goods, for the sole purpose of securing the whole market of the United States, to the products of the industry of the manufacturing states, and, when there is no constitutional call for the expenditure of the money to be raised by the collection of those duties?

It may be remarked, that, though a state which has manufactures largely established within it, is here called a manufacturing state, it is by no means so called because those manufacturing interests are paramount to all the other interests in such state; for, it is believed, that there is hardly a state in the Union, in which there is not some interest within it, either of agriculture or commerce, paramount to that of manufactures. But this epithet is bestowed on it here, merely to distinguish such states, from those which have not introduced manufactures among them. It would be a great error in politics, therefore, to wish to introduce any regulations into a state for the encouragement of its manufactures, without previously considering how such regulations consist with the interests of the state at large, that is, the interests of the rest of the inhabitants. Laying this foundation, it may be answered,

1. With regard to the first question; the direct consequence of a prohibition of foreign manufactures, is to raise the price of domestic ones of the same kind and quality. This price will then depend upon the proportion between the demand and the supply. If the supply is not equal to the demand, the price will rise very high, and the manufacturers will realize a great profit, but the rest of society will be put to great expense and inconvenience in furnishing themselves with goods, which they will be compelled to do at such prices, as the manufacturers think fit to demand. The tendency of high prices will be to encourage smuggling. Affairs, however, will not remain long in this state. As soon as it is discovered, that manufacturers derive great profits from their business, so many will embark in it, that the market will be abundantly supplied with goods, which will therefore fall in price; and notwithstanding the goods of foreign manufacture are excluded, and the monopoly of the home market is secured to the domestic manufacturers, their competition with each other will soon render their prices as moderate, as they are in all other kinds of business; that is, as low as they can sell them and make a reasonable profit, in proportion to the profits of othef kinds of business. It is very clear, therefore, that the manufacturers, as individuals, will derive no permanent gain from a prohibition of foreign goods, which will give them an advantage over persons engaged in other occupations; though, if such prohibition should once be made, and any persons should enter largely into manufactures, under an opinion that it would be continued, they might very probably be ruined, if the prohibition should then be unexpectedly withdrawn.

It must not be overlooked, that, if the price of labor, in any country from which the importation is prohibited, is so much lower than it is here, that the foreign manufacturer, if he could have a chance to introduce his goods into this country, would, notwithstanding freight, insurance, and other charges, be able to realize a profit by selling them at a price lower than our manufacturers could afford, the competition of domestic manufacturers, will never of itself compensate to the consumers in the home market, for the high prices which, it is obvious, they will be obliged to pay, when the prohibition is first made. The reason is, the home manufacturer cannot afford to sell his goods for less than they cost him. But^ as they cost the foreign manufacturer less than they cost our manufacturers, he can afford to sell them for less. The support of manufactures, therefore, under such circumstances, will always, in this respect, be a tax on the consumers of the goods in this country; which tax will amount precisely to the difference between the price of a home-made article, and that which a foreign one would cost here, if it were not prohibited.

There are several circumstances, however, which, though indirectly and circuitously, would overbalance this disadvantage to the state at large; ]. By prohibiting foreign manufactures, an opening would be made for a very extensive business, capable of affording as good a living as any Other in society. On the supposition that its market was confined to this country, still, it is obvious, that the supply of the home market must employ a considerable number of persons. The population of the state would therefore, sooner or later, be increased by the number of persons, who, in consequence of the prohibition, would engage themselves in manufactures. For, it is admitted in political economy, that the number of the people soon increases or decreases, so as to have a correspondence with the means of earning a subsistence.

2. The market for the supply of these manufacturers, would be secured to the producers in this country. This would increase the demand for agricultural produce; and, it is very probable, that the farmer, who, perhaps, before the prohibition, when the market for the sale of his own produce was dull, might purchase foreign goods at a cheap price; afterwards, when the prohibition was laid, and the market for the sale of his produce had become high, might better afford to give a considerably dearer price for domestic goods.

3. By purchasing foreign goods, our own country would contribute to support the manufacturers of that country from which they come. The number of manufacturers, who are supported abroad by the profits which they derive from the sale of their goods here, is the same that -we should support at home, if foreign goods were prohibited. But, if the manufacturers are supported here, they increase the number of our own population, and bear their proportion of the general burdens, and add to the effective force and respectability of the nation.

The effect of protecting duties, would, in some respects, be similar to that of a prohibition; because it would bring domestic manufactures into the home market, on the footing of competition, and would furnish a check to those of foreign fabric. It, of course, would be less advantageous to the interests of domestic manufactures, than a prohibition; because, the latter would secure to them the exclusive possession of the home market, which the former would be unable to do. The competition, however, would be more favorable to all oonsumers of foreign goods ; because they would have it in their power to purchase them at a cheaper rate, than they could do under the monopoly occasioned by a prohibition.

It would also be more advantageous in some respects to the government, to lay an impost, rather than a prohibition. Because, if the impost were adapted to the circumstances of the foreign manufacturer, he would be compelled to pay the whole of it. For, the market in this country would be profitable enough to him, to induce him to send his surplus, which otherwise would perish on his hands; but, in order to sell it, the price must be reduced so low, as to compensate to the consumer for the amount of the duty. So much of the revenue must, therefore, be paid by the foreign manufacturer, and he will find it for his interest to do it for that part of his produce, for which he can find no other market.

In illustration, let a case be supposed. If a farmer, when home-made shoes are worth two bushels of corn a pair, can buy a pair of foreign made shoes of equal quality for one bushel of corn, it is not to be doubted that he will buy the foreign shoes; and if all the other consumers in the state act on the same principle, the shoemakers, finding, that they cannot get enough for their labor at the same price, to enable them to live, will leave the business, or, it will be so bad that no more apprentices will be bound to it; so that finally it will be discontinued. The state will then support its shoemakers in a foreign country. And the means of subsistence being sent abroad, the state will not be able to support so many people, by that number. If the shoemakers discontinue their regular business, they will be distributed among the other classes in society. It is worthy of remark here, that, by carrying on any other business in any such case, they will be able by the wages of their labor, to purchase a greater number of shoes, than they could have manufactured at their regular business. For, when shoemakers, suppose they manufactured 10,000 pair of shoes, equal to 20,000 bushels of corn raised by an equnl number of farmers; then, becoming farmers, they produce 20,000 bushels of corn; 10,000 bushels of which will give them 10,000 pairs of shoes ; and then they will have 10,000 bushels of corn left. If then a shoemaker could buy a pair of shoes, supposing them equally good with what he produces by six hours labor in the field; would he be willing to work twelve hours equally hard in his shop, in order to make them?

Under these circumstances, if a duty should be laid of fifty per cent, it would tend to lessen the price, which the foreign manufacturer would expect to receive for his shoes; because it would lessen the demand for them, by introducing competition into the market. The domestic manufacturer would then be able to live; but all consumers would be compelled to pay a higher price for shoes, by the difference between the price of foreign shoes before the duty was laid, and the price afterwards.

But, it must be remarked, here, that if we have no manufactures among us, foreigners, knowing that we must have a supply from some quarter or other, will have it in their power to compel us to receive goods of whatever quality, and at whatever price, they please.

Suppose then our shoemakers have abandoned their business, and left the market to foreigners, what will the consequence be? Shoes of the worst quality will immediately be sent here, and if we are not compelled to pay a higher price for them, than we refused to pay our own shoemakers, we may think ourselves fortunate. In all such cases, therefore, we must choose between the two evils ; and, if we wish to have manufacturers among us, we must lay such a duty on foreign goods, as will enable our own, to meet them fairly in our own market. But, we must not take off such a duty on the vain supposition, that goods will remain permanently cheaper; for, as soon as we have broken up our own manufacturers, we shall, in this respect, immediately become at the mercy of foreigners. , .

2. Is it disadvantageous to the interests of any non-manufacturing state, that foreign manufactures usually consumed within it, and of a similar kind to goods manufactuied in some of the other states, should be either wholly or partially excluded from it, by the operation of protecting or prohibitory duties?

Manufacturing2An absolute prohibition of foreign goods, would seem ‘to compel the non-manufacturing state to purchase such articles as it needed, even though inferior in quality to the foreign ones, at whatever price, the home manufacturer saw fit to demand. There would be two checks, however, to any exhorbitant increase of price. 1. The manufacturers having principally to depend upon the market of the United States, would be under as great a necessity to sell, as the consumers would be to purchase. 2. The competition among the manufacturers themselves, which, on account of their increase of numbers, would be continually growing greater, would keep the prices of their goods down, to an average with the products of other kinds of labor.

But there would remain two disadvantages. 1. As long as the price of labor and of subsistence, are so much lower in a foreign country than here, as to outweigh the freight, insurance, &c. for transporting foreign goods to this country, the foreign manufacturer will always be able to undersell ours in our own market, if not protected by a duty. Consequently, if the foreign goods should be excluded, no competition among the home manufacturers, will ever reduce their goods to as low a price, as those of foreign goods would be, if there were no duty.

2. If foreign goods are prohibited, the nonmanufacturing state will suffer a loss by the prohibition, precisely equal to the difference in price, between what the same goods could be bought for before the prohibition, and what must be given for them afterwards. The consequence of this loss, will be that the non-manufacturing state will not be able to sustain as great a population by so many persons, as that difference would support. For example, let it be supposed, that the non-manufacturing state before the prohibition paid $50,000 per annum for foreign goods, and afterwards paid for similar goods, to a manufacturing state $60,000; then it is plain, that so many persons as derive their subsistence from the difference, viz.; $ 10,000 per annum, are gained by the manufacturing state, and lost by the non-manufacturing state. This is evident, because, whatever tends to increase the consumption of a state, without tending also to increase the population, not only checks population, but diminishes the capability of the state, so long as the cause exists.

To counterbalance these disadvantages, there are some circumstances which deserve consideration. 1. The increase of population in the manufacturing state, will increase the home trade between the two states, not only in relation to the sale and purchase of the particular goods of the manufacturing state, but, in all articles which may be received in barter for them; in this way, it is not unlikely, that the manufacturing state may be the customer of the non-manufacturing state, to an amount equal to the price of the manufactures.

This compensation would be much more complete and direct, if the raw material used by the manufacturing state were the -growth of the other, and was bartered for the manufactured goods. But, on the other hand, if the non-manufacturing state were compelled by the prohibition to purchase goods of a manufacturing state, which either could not or would not purchase the raw material in return, it would operate very injuriously to its interests. Because, 1. The non-manufacturing state would more or less lose its market for its raw material with the foreign manufacturer, in consequence of not buying of him;

2. Would be compelled to pay to the manufacturing state a higher price in money, for whatever goods it purchased.

3. Its raw material would fall in price on account of the difficulty of rinding a market for it. Under these circumstances, a prohibition would be entirely to the advantage of the manufacturing state, and to the disadvantage of the other.

The effect, which duties imposed on articles of foreign manufacture, for the purpose of protecting the manufacture of similar goods in a manufacturing state, would have on the interests of a non-manufacturing state, must be analogous to a prohibition. Some consequences, however, would be more favorable in the latter. 1. Though the protecting duty would naturally tend to raise the price of the manufactures to the consumer; yet, it would by no means have so great an effect, in this respect, as a prohibition. The rise probably would not be so great as the whole amount of the duty. For, by encouraging the domestic manufactures of another state, though by the supposition, it would not wholly expel the foreign manufacture, yet a competitor would be introduced into the market, who would lessen the sales of the foreign article. The diminution of the sale, would, for a time, at least be accompanied with an accumulation of the foreign goods. It is very possible, that this might become so great, as to compel a sacrifice at a price below the usual one before the duty was laid. The duty of course would cease to be a protection for a season. For, large sales of foreign goods, would bring down the price of the manufactures intended to be protected, so low, that they could not be manufactured and sold in their own state and, with greater reason, could not pay for freight &c. to the non-manufacturing state, with any reasonable expectation of profit. This effect, however, would be only temporary. The foreign manufacturer, or merchant, after so great a sacrifice, would send fewer goods; and fewer would be ordered from this country. It is very possible, however, that any person, not knowing the nature of the cause of the disturbance of the market, might suppose it to be permanent, and conclude that the various manufacturing establishments would be ruined, unless heavier duties were imposed.

2. During this struggle for the market, the consumers in the non-manufacturing state, would enjoy the advantage of purchasing goods at extremely low prices. The public revenue also would he levying a heavy contribution, which would fall either on the merchant, in whose hands they happened to be at the time of the pressure, or else on the foreign manufacturer, but not on the consumer, as some imagine. It is true, when foreign goods, subject to duty, are imported in the regular course of trade, the duty is added to the cost of production and the freight, &c, and the whole constitutes the price, all of which in ordinary cases is paid by the consumer, and the duty goes to the government. But, where the duty is laid to protect a domestic manufacture, the foreign manufacturer is obliged to reduce his price, to the importer, as much as possible; otherwise the protecting duty will drive him from the market as effectually as a prohibition would do. This reduction of price goes to pay the duty, and, in case of a glut of the market arising in the manner before suggested, may amount to more than the whole duty. The cheapness of the price in this case, notwithstanding the duty, clearly shows that the duty is in effect paid by the foreign manufacturer. But, as the foreign manufacturer, in consequence of his loss, or the low price of his goods, arising from the accumulation of them, would afterwards receive orders for fewer goods ; the price of such articles, whether manufactured abroad or at home, would soon rise again in the market of the non-manufacturing state, until they settled at that price, at which the home manufacturer could afford to sell them and make an average profit with other kinds of business. To this price the foreign manufacturer must cofnorm, or otherwise his goods must leave the market. Whether such a protecting duty would or would not be a disadvantage on the whole to a non-manufacturing state, no infallible criterion appears, applicable to all cases. It must depend in every case upon the balance of the various advantages and disadvantages necessarily involved in it. In some cases, there can be no doubt. For instance, if the effect of a protecting duty is to create a permanent rise in the price of the manufactured articles, in comparison with the products of the non-manufacturing state, which either directly or indirectly must pay for them, it would be a disadvantage equal to the difference of price; because it would be a proportionate check to an increase of population. But, though the price in money should be raised, it does not follow, from, this circumstance alone, that the protecting duty must necessarily be disadvantageous to the non-manufacturing state; beeause the produce of such state may also have risen in price, in proportion.

So, if the non-manufacturing state, in consequence of the protecting duty, should be placed in a dilemma, where it either must lose the market for its raw material, with the foreign manufacturer, by purchasing of the manufacturing state which does not purchase the raw material in return; or, otherwise must pay an increased price for the foreign articles, in order to sell its raw material to the foreign manufacturer, the protecting duty will be proportionally injurious to the non-manufacturing state.

3. Is it, on the whole a national advantage to the United States, that duties should be laid on foreign goods of a similar kind with goods manufactured in some of the states, for the purpose of securing either a monopoly, or equal competition for the products of the industry of the manufacturing states, against those of foreign industry?

A few remarks have already been made, to show that the encouragement of manufactures by a protecting duty, is advantageous not only to the manufacturers themselves, but, independently of their particular interest, to the whole of a manufacturing state; it has also been shown that, in some cases, the imposition of such a duty is injurious to a non-manufacturing state; that where it is not so, it is because incidental circumstances sometimes afford an indirect compensation; the disadvantage however, where it exists, is direct and obvious j but the effect of the compensating circumstances, can seldom be clearly shown.

It is apparent here, that the determination of the present question, must depend upon a comparison of the advantages, which the encouragement of manufactures affords the manufacturing states, and the disadvantages which they will suffer, if protection is withheld, with the injurious effects that the imposition of protecting duties, &c. will have on the non-manufacturing states, and the advantages which they will derive from a free trade in these respects, if the duties are taken off. The difficult task, however, of striking a balance between present and actual advantages and disadvantages, and those which are future and contingent, will not be attempted here; because, it is believed a proper answer to the next question, will render a further consideration of the present one, wholly unnecessary. It is an ancient saying, that, consilium non est eorum qua fieri nequeunt, which, for the present purpose, may be rendered, that it is useless to consider the expediency of measures, which we have no right to adopt; , it is hoped, that the government of the United States will always consider the want of right as the same with the want of power, in relation to this and every other subject.

4. Has the congress of the United States any authority under the Federal Constitution, either to prohibit, or, to impose duties upon the importation of foreign goods, for»the sole purpose of securing the. whole market of the United States, to the products of the industry of the manufacturing states, when there is no constitutional call for the expenditure of the money, to be raised by the collection of those duties?

Some observations on this subject have already been made, in commenting on the constitutional powers of congress. See ante, p. 99 to 109. But, as the committee of congress on manufactures, have expressed a decided opinion, that the power in question is bestowed on congress by the constitution, a few further remarks are here submitted to the discerning reader, for the purpose of noticing the grounds on which such opinion is placed.

The chairman of the committee, in his letter to the speaker of the house of representatives, says that Mr. Madison entertains the opinion, ‘that the power of congress to protect domestic, by taxation upon foreign industry, is implied in the power to regulate commerce,’ and expresses his assent to the doctrine. He adds, that it is also contained in the grant of power of taxing ‘ to provide for the common defence and general welfare.” But, in the opinion of the supreme court of the United States, the power to regulate commerce, does not comprehend the power to lay duties or imposts on exports or imports. See 9 Wheat. 209. Yet, it is in this connexion, that one would naturally have expected to find such power expressed, if it had been granted in direct terms in the constitution; and, if not contained here, it would very naturally be supposed, that it was not intended to grant it at all. It may be remarked, that though the chairman agrees with Mr. Madison, in thinking the power is implied in that of regulating commerce; yet, it by no means appears, that Mr. Madison agrees with the chairman, in believing that such protecting power is contained in the power to tax, ‘ to provide for the common defence and general welfare.’ The circumstance, that this power may equally be inferred from two several grants, made in different places in the constitution, of very different powers, shows clearly, that there is no necessary inference of any such power in either grant.

Manufacturing3The importance of this power in the hands of congress, to the interests of the manufacturing states, and perhaps also to the interests of the United States, considered as one great nation, would naturally create a wish in the minds of statesmen, that the states had agreed to confer it on congress, by the national compact; in others, the necessity for it seems to have furnished the only ground for a belief, that it is actually granted; in others, there seems to exist a pre-determination to find such power granted in the constitution, and the only question with such, is, under what clause or article it is contained, or under what general expression, will it be best to consider it comprehended. Any such previous bias, or predetermination, however, is not at all favorable to an impartial examination of the question, whether it really is contained in the constitution or not.

The power in question, it is pretty clear, if it exists at all, is an implied one. But, if valid as an implied power; then according to the general rule, it must be absolutely necessary to the exercise of some power expressly given. If it is thus necessary to any express power, what is that express power?

If it should be answered, that it is necessary to the exercise of the express power of providing for the common defence and general welfare; the reply is, lhat a power to provide for the common defence and general welfare, is not given to congress in express terms in any part of the constitution. If such power had been given in express terms, there would have been no necessity of enumerating particularly in the constitution, the Various powers intended to be bestowed on congress; for, congress might then have done whatever they considered for the general welfare, provided they did no act which is expressly prohibited in the constitution. A power to provide for the general welfare, which would comp;ehend, with ?. few exceptions, an unlimited grant of power, is not granted in it at all, in express terms; but, to provide for the general welfare, is the pvrpose for which, and for which alone all the powers were granted. It is not a power of itself, however, a’nd consequently does not alone authorize any act, which does not result from the exercise of some other power, either given in express terms, or necessary to the exercise of some power, which is given in express terms. Instead of being an independent, unlimited power of itself, it is rather a restraint upon all the express and implied powers contained in the constitution; since it would be unconstitutional to exercise any of those powers for any purpose, that does not in some way contribute to the general welfare.

If it should be said, that this protecting power is contained in, or is part of the express power to impose duties for the purpose of providing for the general welfare; the reply is, that no one can well entertain this opinion, who considers it an implied power. There is an apparent incongruity in supposing an implied power to be either contained in, or to be part of an express power; agreeably to the maxim, expressum facit cessare taciturn; the purport of which is, that where the intention is express, there is no room for implication. That it is not an express power, and is not granted in effect, is apparent from what must then be the necessary consequences. 1. For, congress would then have a right to impose a tax for any purp ose which they think will conduce to the general welfare, provided such purpose is not expressly forbidden in the constitution; which would enable congress to do what they pleased, if not thus expressly prohibited. For, we cannot suppose, that congress have a constitutional power to impose a tax for the purpose of doing an act, to do which would be an infringement of the constitution.

Can it be said, that under the power, ‘to impose taxes in order to provide for the common defence and general welfare,’ congress has a power to impose duties, in order to promote the sale of domestic manufactures by the partial exclusion of foreign ones, because such encouragement to domestic manufactures is one of the means of providing for the common defence and general welfare? It is true, the chairman puts it on the ground, that defence in the constitution, means ‘ defence against every danger, and every foe;—defence against all hostility and from every evil which may bear on the whole community and menace the general welfare,’ &c. But dangers and foes, which are so merely in a figurative sense, it is supposed, are not intended by the constitution; otherwise an inconvenient and ludicrous latitude of interpretation must follow. In fact, at the time of framing the constitution, the nation had just emerged from the dangers and troubles of a long and cruel war, in which the national existence was at hazard, from the greatness of the invading force of the enemy,—their fleets and armies. The articles of confederation had been found inadequate to the various emergencies which had taken place, among other respects, because it did not bestow a power of direct taxation. In forming the constitution, the states therefore agreed that congress might impose taxes for the purpose of providing ‘for the common defence;’ i. e. by expending the money during hostilities, in fortifications, in ships, in armies, &c. &c. But it is not believed, that in using the expression, common defence it ever occurred to the states, that they were bestowing on congress the power of taxing foreign goods, for the purpose of encouraging home manufactures. For, what is the common defence in this case? It is nothing more than compelling our own citizens to buy home-made articles, by raising the price of foreign ones in our market. And, who are the enemies, against whom we are to defend ourselves in a time of profound peace? Our own merchants, who, in consequence of the rise of foreign goods, will be less inclined to order them. And how is the common defence to be provided for, and the general welfare to be consulted? By making the rest of the people, who are twenty to one of the manufacturers, pay a greater price for their goods, in order to encourage these last in their business. For, no one will pretend, that the exclusion of foreign goods, is for any other purpose than to encourage home manufactures. It is very figurative language indeed, to call this, common defence and general welfare; but, if it be proper to use it on popular occasions, it by no means follows, that it may be assumed as the basis of legislative measures and proceedings.

But, if the states intended, by these expressions in the constitution, to grant this power to congress, then section 8 of the first article, which specifies many powers of the highest importance to the public defence and general welfare, is wholly useless and superfluous. The power to coin money, to establish post offices, to fix the standard of weights and measures, &c. are given in direct terms; so, the power to raise armies; to maintain a navy; to provide for calling forth the militia, &c. are all expressly given to congress. Are not these necessary to the common defence and general welfare? Now, is this power of taxation for the sake of giving the monopoly of the home market to our own manufactures, of so much more necessity than these powers, that it shall be considered as granted, though not named, and though it was thought necessary to name these?

Further; if, under the power to impose taxes to provide for the common defence and general welfare, congress have not a power to do every act not expressly prohibited in the constitution, which they may think necessary to the common defence, &c., then, for the same reason, they have no right to impose a duty on foreign manufactures, for the sole purpose of encouraging domestic manufactures. There can be no mediurn, and the chairman expressly disclaims any such indefinite grant of power. See his letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. His conclusion, therefore does not follow. For, how can a power to impose a duty for such a purpose, be contained in, or inferred from a power to impose taxes for the common defence, &c., unless congress have a power to lay taxes for all purposes, which they judge necessary, to the common defence, &c. and which are not expressly forbidden in the constitution?

In the report of the committee on manufactures, it is further urged, that the first act of the first congress organized under the constitution, was to pass a law, containing the following preamble; ‘Whereas it is necessary for the support of government, for the discharge of the debts of the United States, and the encouragement and protection of manufactures, that duties be laid on goods, wares and merchandizes imported;’ and the argument is, that it is impossible to deny the power of congress to levy duties for the protection of domestic manufactures, without pronouncing this act to be unconstitutional. But the conclusion does not follow; for, allowing this act to have all the authority of a precedent, though American manufactures at that time were of comparatively small account, and it does not appear, that the present subject was considered at all, at that time; two circumstances which wholly take away its authority as a precedent; still, it can have no authority, except when the country is under similar circumstances. This act was passed, while the United States were laboring under a heavy public debt, which could be discharged in no other way but by a tax on the people, to be levied in some mode or other. This constitutional ground, for the imposition of the tax, together with that of the necessary support of government was therefore laid in the first part of the preamble; and, in what follows, it appears congress was governed by considerations of sound policy, to lay the duties on imported goods; because such duties, whether similar articles were then manufactured in the country or not, would offer a proportionate inducement or encouragement, to enterprising persons to undertake, or to carry on manufactures; and it is very possible, that the words in italic were introduced, in order to lessen the unpopularity, which invariably attends an act laying a tax, by holding out to the people the hope of deriving some advantage from a source, whence they expected only to feel a burthen. For, in any other view, the words in italic are wholly superfluous; since the law is constitutional without them.

But, this supposition is by no means necessary, as the public debt contains a sufficient ground for the tax; and political expediency is the reason for imposing it on foreign goods imported. The precedent therefore loses its authority for the purpose, for which it is adduced. For, it does not follow, because congress, when the United States are in debt, has authority to lay a duty, which, for the encouragement of domestic manufactures, is imposed on foreign manufactures, that congress has authority to impose a duty on foreign goods, when the United States are not in debt, for the mere purpose of encouraging domestic manufactures. Besides, it ought to appear, that congress would never have inserted the words in italic, unless they had believed, that they had authority to impose taxes for the sole purpose of encouraging domestic manufactures. Less than this will not answer, because it will be irrelevant to the present inquiry; and this does not appear at all.

Further; why did not congress in this act, make use of the language of the constitution, to express the ground of the exercise of their constitutional authority, if they did not think the payment of the public debt sufficient? If the encouragement of domestic manufactures is a sufficient ground, and is couched under the words, ‘to provide for the common defence and general welfare,’ why was not this constitutional language used? But it was not used; it is plain, therefore, that the payment of the public debt, &c. was considered sufficient without it, and the encouragement of manufactures, was inserted as a matter of policy.

Lastly ; if congress, under the power to provide for the general welfare, have the power thus to impose duties on foreign manufactures, still there will be no room for the exercise of it, unless the object is of a general nature. If the object, instead of consulting the general welfare, is absolutely injurious to the interests of one or more of the states, though highly advantageous to the rest, it will afford no pretext for the exercise of such power. By the general welfare, here, is not meant the interest of a majority merely of the states, to which they may sacrifice the interests of the rest; but, it should embrace the interests of a majority of each of the states. For, twenty-three of the states may possibly think it would contribute to their general welfare, to partition the twenty-fourth among them. But this is not such a general interest, as is intended in the constitution, which, though it may extend so far as to authorize a law which being favorable to all, is more so to some than to others, could never have been intended by the framers, to justify a sacrifice of one, for the advantage of the rest.

The inference seems to be, that so long as the country is in debt, it is both constitutional, and good policy,, to tax foreign manufactures; but, as soon as the country is free of debt, and there is no constitutional call for the expenditure of the money, to be raised by an impost on foreign goods, such impost cannot be laid for the sole purpose of protecting or encouraging domestic manufactures, without overstepping the limits of the constitutional authority of congress.

Note. A few desultory remarks, which could not well be interwoven in the text without interrupting the train of reasoning, are here subjoined; and, in order to place two different views of the same subject, in stronger contrast, they are introduced in the form of a conference between a manufacturing and a non-manufacturing state.

Manufacturing State. Why do you oppose the tariff?

Non-Manufacturing State. Because I can never assent to a law, which compels me to pay a higher price for goods imported, when the revenue, arising from the duty imposed by it, is not wanted for any constitutional purpose.

Man. State. Why then will you not buy your goods of roe?

Non-Man. State. Because, if I should buy of you, importation will cease. You will then have the monopoly of my market, and I must be more or less at your mercy as to the price of your goods. But, I ask in return, why do you wish to have the duties continued?

Man. State. Because of the great benefit I derive from the law, and the immense advantage, it is or will be, to the prosperity of the United States, in the protection of American industry.

Non-Man. State. Call it, if you please, the protection of a particular portion of American industry, for which protection, the other, and I believe much the largest portion of American industry, is compelled to pay, in the shape of higher prices for the goods they want. The number of persons in the United States, engaged in manufactures, probably does not exceed a half million, out of twelve or thirteen millions, the rest of whom probably are as industrious as the manufacturers. Our state is engaged in agriculture and commerce, and the inhabitants are as industrious as they choose to be, and follow whatever calling they please, which, I take it, is all that any one has to do with the subject. But, waiving that; the tariff occasions a loss to me, equal to the additional price, which I am obliged to give for goods subject to the duty. This tariff was imposed at your request, and you derive all the benefit of it, while I suffer all the loss. Why then, if you wish it to be continued, and are actuated by motives of justice, will you not allow me, out of the great profits you derive from the tariff, the amount of duties, collected in the ports of our state, on the foreign goods subject to them?

Man. State. It is impossible you can be serious; all the profits, which I derive from the sale of a quantity of goods equal to those which pay duties in your state, I presume would pay but a small part of those duties. If this was required, all my manufacturers would be ruined. But you mistake the matter greatly. Look at the price of our stock; it is not so very much better, than other stock in general. We sell our goods as cheap as we can afford.

Non-Man. State. It is pretty clear, then, that though my loss by the tariff is great, yet your gain by it is small. For, if you get ten or even five per cent, more by manufacturing, than you could do in other business, you consider yourself as doing well. Now, on all goods, the price of which is raised by the tariff, my loss is the rise in price. For, if the goods are raised thirty per cent, then I can get no more goods for 130 bales of cotton, than I could for 100, if there were no tariff. Then I must lose thirty per cent, on my exports, in order that you may get five or ten per cent, more on your labor and capital, than you can do in other business. For, I presume you would not carry on manufactures unless you made some profit. Why then is your interest so much to be preferred to mine, that I must bear this heavy loss, in order that you may realize this comparatively inconsiderable gain 1

Man. State. You mistake again. This duty is not imposed to favor manufacturers, as a class; but, to encourage manufactures, as an employment. It is not thought good policy, for the United States to depend on foreigners for their manufactures; but the people of the United States cannot afford to manufacture, unless they have the advantage of a protective duty. This duty being imposed, many persons have engaged very largely in this business, whose establishments will be ruined, if the protection is withdrawn. But, why do you not set up manufactures in your state 1

Non-Man. State. And commit a similar act of imprudence! How could they so rashly embark so much capital on the faith of a law, which they ought to have foreseen, must inevitably be repealed, as soon as the Constitutional ground of it should be removed, unless the government of the United States should see fit to violate the constitution, or we should always remain in ignorance of the interests of our state? But, in answer to your question; we cannot manufacture, because we cannot hire laborers whom we can trust, without giving higher wages than you do. Besides, I believe you have many local advantages over us in this respect, so that you would always undersell us. Further; we rather prefer to import goods than waste labor in manufacturing what we can purchase with the earnings of part of that labor, employed in some other way. I protest, however, against any such right as your question implies, of compelling us to turn manufacturers in order to free ourselves from paying this duty.

Man. State. No offence was intended. But, as the encouragement of manufactures is admitted to be of the highest importance to every nation; and, as the United States derive, or soon will derive, the greatest benefit from them, I suggested, that you might have the same benefit that we have from setting up manufactures in our state.

Non-Man. State. I have stated the reasons why we cannot do it, to any advantage. If therefore we are compelled to pay this duty, we are made a sacrifice.

Man. State. Not for our interest alone, however. This tariff is imposed out of regard to the greater good of the whole, which requires that manufactures should be established within the United States.

Non-Man. State. If so; consider, either the advantage to the United States is greater than the loss which I must suffer by it, or it is not. If it be not, it is hardly worth while, that I should be compelled to make a great sacrifice, in order that the United States should derive a less advantage. This would be impolitic as well as ungenerous. If it is more advantageous to the United States, than it is injurious to me, let compensation be made to me, by directing the custom houses in our state, to pay over to the state treasury the amount of all protecting duties collected at them, and I will undertake to satisfy my citizens.

Man. State. It cannot be done; for, if compensation is made to you, it must also be made to all the non-manufacturing states; this would devour all the revenue arising from the protecting duties.

Non-Man. State. And so it ought, if it is not wanted for any constitutional purpose, and the duty is consequently imposed for the benefit of home manufactures solely, while we sustain all the loss.

Man. State. But it is impracticable; because, if the duty operates as a prohibition, no collection will ever take place, because no goods will be imported. If it is merely protective, and the United States permit you to draw back the duty into the state treasury, the law will be inoperative in effect, and importations will remain as before.

Non-Man. State. It is unjust in itself, without any compensation, to make my interest a sacrifice for the advantage either of any particular class of people, or of any particular state or states, or of all the rest of the United States. Even in time of war, the government of the United States cannot, without violating the constitution, deprive an individual of his property for public uses, in cases of the utmost extremity, without full compensation. Why then is the interest of our state to be thus sacrificed in time of peace? How can it be done without violating the constitution?

Man. State. Though your interest, at first sight, may appear to. be Sacrificed, yet, I doubt whether it be so in fact, on account of the advantages, which the United States will derive from the encouragement of manufactures, in which, it is believed your state will participate, either directly or indirectly, in a greater or less. degree, whether you undertake to manufacture or not. But, however this may be, suffer me to remind you, that when the constitution of the United States was formed, the several states made a mutual compromise of their respective interests, and entrusted congress with a power, to lay taxes to provide for the general welfare. Under this power, congress has authority to make an inconsiderable state interest give place to the greater interest of the Union. The exercise of this power must depend upon the discretion of congress, who, coming equally from all the states, can have no interest to sacrifice any particular state for the advantage of the rest. But, where a public measure is of the greatest possible importance to the public welfare, congress ought not to neglect it, merely because it may interfere, in some inferior respect, with the interest of some particular state. Without a compromise of this nature, the constitution never could have been agreed to, because, it is obvious, that no general measure can ever be adopted under it, which will not be more favorable in its operation to some states than to others. The constitution is not a subject for a strictly literal construction; if it were, I should admit that no such power as we contend for, is contained in it; and Mr. Madison, to whom the country is under so great obligations for the part which he took in framing and procuring the adoption of that instrument, is of opinion, that congress possesses the power of imposing duties, under the power to regulate commerce.

Non-Man. State. The greatest deference, without doubt, is due to the opinion of the eminent statesman whom you name; but, in political affairs, there can be no authority but truth, justice, and the stronger argument. Under a power to regulate commerce, it cannot be doubted, that congress has a power to impose such petty exactions, as may be found necessary to effect this constitutional purpose. But, a power to impose duties for the sole purpose of encouraging manufactures, cannot be brought within this power, by any logical deduction, and the power to impose duties, according to the opinion of the supreme court, is part of the taxing power. The powers, which the states have conceded to the general government, it would be very dangerous to extend by construction, or to interpret by opinion. By straining the bands of power, they will break; the states disgusted at the attempt to usurp authority, will consider themselves no longer bound by them; and there is danger that the Union may be dissolved. It would be better, therefore, for congress never to attempt to exercise powers, of the constitutionality of which, there remains a doubt. Instead of strengthening the arm of the general government, such attempts palsy it by the mistrust, disaffection and rancor, which they occasion in all who find themselves aggrieved. There can be no other way to ascertain the meaning of the parties to the constitution, than to apply its language to the situation and circumstances of the country, when it was adopted; for, the constitution, I apprehend, is to be construed according to the real intention of the parties at the time of its adoption ; and, if a certain construction will lead to a conclusion, which the states could never have intended, such construction must be abandoned, even though it may seem not inconsistent with the literal meaning of some general expressions contained in it. It is impossible to suppose, that any state adopted the constitution for the sake of accommodating the interests of the other states, without consulting its own. It is conclusive, therefore, that no state ever contemplated making an agreement, by virtue of which its own interest should be gratuitously sacrificed either for the welfare of the rest, or of any particular state. How then can it be consistent with the true intent of the constitution to enact laws, laying a duty upon foreign goods imported into a non-manufacturing state, merely in order to encourage manufactures in other states?

Man. State. The constitutionality of a law, you will recollect, is to be decided by the supreme court of the United States, and is not a subject for the decision of any other judicial tribunal. Your opinions, though I do not agree with them, may be sound, but, if the supreme court should decide otherwise, they will be unavailing. It is true, however, the case has never been decided by them, and nothing more than an obiter dictum, by which no one will legally be bound, can be had from that tribunal, until the case occurs. But, if it should be decided against you, there is no appeal to any earthly tribunal, except one, which I should be the last to allude to, if we were not continually reminded of it by certain of your citizens.

Non-Man. State. And upon whom must rest the responsibility? If the government of the United States, in violation of the constitution should enact laws, by which we shall feel ourselves oppressed, should we not resist?

Man. State. I think not. For, if the supreme court should decide the laws to be unconstitutional, they become void from that moment. On the other hand, if they decide the laws to be constitutional, you are bound to submit. Will you not submit to the decision of the tribunal, which you have agreed, with the other states, to establish, for the very purpose of settling differences, arising among the states, which can be determined in no other way? If the decision should be in your favor, even contrary to your opinion, I have not so much charity, as to believe, that you will find fault with the decision on that account, or, that you will not think the other states are bound to submit to the decision. If the decision is against you, and you should believe it to be incorrect, will you resist this decision, because you did not find the tribunal, you agreed to establish, infallible? But, though the judges of the supreme court should even be infallible, unless you are so too, which I presume you do not arrogate to yourself, there is no certainty that your opinion will agree with theirs. Is it not better then, that a doubt should be settled by a decision, even though incorrect, than remain a perpetual source of disagreement and ill will?

Non-Man. State. Admitting what you say to be just; the decision of the supreme court will be binding no further, than to settle the legal question; but will by no means determine the political one: that is to say; after the decision of the supreme court against me, I must acknowledge, that I shall have no right whatever, to deny the constitutionality of the law for the purpose of opposing the execution of it; but, if I am fully persuaded, that the decision is contrary to the true intention of the parties to the constitution, and so repugnant to our interests, that the objects which we had in view in adopting it, cannot be obtained, I shall think myself justified in requesting permission of the other states, to withdraw from the Union, peaceably and on equitable terms. For this purpose, if it should ever become necessary, I would not hesitate to call a state convention. I will proceed no further.

Man. State. Permit me then to begin where you leave off. Suppose you call a state convention for the purpose of deliberating on this question; how can you obviate the difficulties, that will meet you at every turn? Suppose a majority of your citizens should be in favor of an application to congress, to obtain the consent of the other states to your secession from the union. Has congress any constitutional authority to act on this subject? Ought not the application to be made to the other states? Yet the state legislatures have no authority on this subject. But, if congress should consider themselves authorized to act on this subject, can you suppose that they will abandon the minority in your state, who wish to abide with the Union? To act on this subject, how can any authority be derived from the people, without resolving society into its original elements? For, as respects all powers not delegated either to the state governments, or to that of the United States, the people are independent of each other. Whence then can the majority derive any right to govern the minority in cases, not provided for either in the constitutions of the states, or in that of the United States? Is it not clear then that those citizens of your state, who wish to remain under the authority of the United States, have a perfect right to do so, and cannot be controlled in this respect, by any act or resolution of a majority of a convention of your citizens? If, therefore, the United States should be perfectly willing that you should withdraw from the union, they will still be bound to protect the dissentients. Will you then partition your state? Certainly not; even the majority, who might be desirous to secede from the Union, if all were unanimous, will be averse to do so, if they find a respectable minority opposed to the measure. In such an extreme case, can you suppose, that you may safely rely on the wisdom, fortitude, perseverance, and disinterested generosity of state heroes who appear so desirous of opposing the execution of the laws of the United States; orators, who, in order to magnify themselves in the eyes of those who are so simple as to be their dupes, make’ the dissolution of the Union, notwithstanding the awful consequences that may result from it, a theme for gasconade and bravado in the irregular assemblies of the people; turbulent champions, who, for greater personal security, carry concealed weapons in time of peace, and bluster in patriotic bombast, at public dinners? Such as these never yet did any thing deserving praise or honor. They know better how to keep their own persons out of danger, than how to secure the welfare of the public. The part of Decius or Leonidas, though often mentioned in holiday orations, and the exercises of the academies, is never performed in our days, except upon the stage. And modern orators, for the most part are proved by experience to be but shallow statesmen ; since their influence over the people, gained by their persuasive but superficial accomplishments, is seldom productive of any effect of general utility; and, while deluding themselves, as well as others with their own eloquence and sophistry, are too ingenious in apology ever to be martyrs; and, being rather inclined to discourse than to act, are totally unfit either for generals or soldiers.
Excuse me;—but, it is to be hoped, that you will not suffer yourself to be under the influence of any such counsels, which, at best can result from nothing better than the vaporing effervescence of patriotic, but mistaken zeal for state interests.

Non. Man. State. I readily accept your apology; but thevolley, which you have just discharged, really excites my admiration. I should have thought, that you had just risen from the perusal of the never-ending, grave and pompous speeches of your own delegation. But, I know it is much easier to praise, than to read those elaborate disquisitions.

But, to return to the subject of discussion, which, in its result, may be of the most unhappy consequence to me, though certainly, if I am wronged by a violation of the constitution, the injury will be felt by all. You are aware of the embarrassment of our situation: The uncertainty whether we shall not, by attempting to obtain redress, put ourselves in a worse condition, than we now are, only aggravates the evil. What are we to dot

Man. State. I do not admit that you suffer any wrong Whatever. But, on the supposition, that the policy of the general government is none of the best; yet have patience, and they will eventually come to the same correct views, which you suppose yourself to entertain, and the injurious laws will then be repealed. Or, if they are right, and their measures are really promotive of your true interests, though they subject you to some temporary disadvantage, be not envious, if these measures appear to you calculated to enrich our state, by enabling us to make the most of those advantages, which nature, in your opinion has afforded us. While a mere majority is sufficient to enact a law, our institutions will never rival those of the Medes and Persians. The redoubled efforts of a large and energetic minority, always has a tendency to keep those public measures, which are of a revocable nature, in a state of oscillancy and equilibration, very favorable to the views of those who think they suffer by them.

But, if the Union should be dissolved, shall we then be safe from each other’s injustice, when we complain while we are united? Can each of us alone resist the attacks of a foreign power? Must we again become provinces?—If we dissolve the Union, such must be our fate, unless we form a new Union. Let us then adhere to the present one. At any rate, let us not be rash; the national debt is not yet paid; and until it is, there is no constitutional ground for controversy in relation to this subject.

Continued in Part III, Chapter III: Of The Policy Which Ought To Be Pursued By The General Government In Relation To Commerce.

See the other parts of this series:
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; Division One
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; Division Two
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; The Social Compact
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Powers delegated to the General Government in the Federal Constitution
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Powers delegated to the State Governments
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Independence of the States
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The rights reserved to the people of the United States
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Of the right of suffrage and of elections
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Liberty of Speech and of the Press
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Power of Courts to punish for Contempts
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Law of Libel in relation to Public Officers
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Of the mode of obtaining redress for any infringement of civil or political rights, committed either by the officers of the General Government, or of any of the State Governments.
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to agriculture
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to manufactures
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to commerce