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Anti-Federalist Papers - Wikipedia
The Federalist writers apparently never responded to "BRUTUS. " The following "Brutus" article was extracted from his sixth essay,The New-York Journal of December 27, 1787.
As I understand the situation, you are in a state of ambivalence in regards to your political affiliations; I write to you today to help you see the strength in the Federalist Party.
The Writers Of The Federalist Papers - …
And I think, he proves too, very clearly, that the fewer nations there are inthe world, the fewer disputes [there] will be about the law of nations - and thegreater number that are joined in one government, the abler will they be toraise ships and soldiers, and the less need for fighting. But I do not learnthat any body denies these matters, or that they have any thing to do with thenew constitution, Indeed I am at a loss to know, whether Mr. Publius means topersuade us to return back to the old government, and make ourselves as happy asScotland has by its union, or to accept of the new constitution, and get all theworld to join with us, so as to make one large government. It would certainly,if what he says is true, be very convenient for Nova-Scotia and Canada, and, forought I know, his advice will have great weight with them. I have also readseveral other of the pieces, which appear to be wrote by some other littleauthors, and by people of little consequence, though they seem to thinkthemselves men of importance, and take upon them grand names such as . . . Caesar,' . . . Now Mr. Caesar do[es] not depend so much on reasoning as uponbullying. He abuses the people very much, and if he spoke in our neighborhoodas impudently as he writes in the newspapers, I question whether he would comeoff with whole bones. From the manner he talks of the people, he certainlycannot be one of them himself. I imagine he has lately come over from some oldcountry, where they are all Lords and no common people. If so, it would be aswell for him to go back again as to meddle himself with our business, since heholds such a bad opinion of us.
I have seen enough to convince me very fully, that the new constitutionis a very bad one, and a hundred-fold worse than our present government. And Ido not perceive that any of the writers in favor of it (although some of themuse a vast many fine words, and show a great deal of learning) are able toremove any of the objections which are made against it. Mr. [James] Wilson,indeed, speaks very highly of it, but we have only his word for its goodness;and nothing is more natural than for a mother to speak well of her own bantling,however ordinary it may be. He seems, however, to be pretty honest in onething - where he says, "It is the nature of man to pursue his own interest,in preference to the public good" for they tell me he is a lawyer, and hisinterest then makes him for the new government, for it will be a noble thing forlawyers. Besides, he appears to have an eye to some high place under it, sincehe speaks with great pleasure of the places of honor and emolument beingdiverted to a new channel by this change of system. As to Mr. Publius [TheFederalist], I have read a great many of his papers, and I really cannot findout what he would be at. He seems to me as if he was going to write a history,so I have concluded to wait and buy one of his books, when they come out. Theonly thing I can understand from him, as far as I have read, is that it isbetter to be united than divided - that a great many people are stronger than afew - and that Scotland is better off since the union with England than before.
Writers Of The Federalists Papers
It is agreed by most of the advocates of this new system, that thegovernment which is proper for the United States should be a confederated one;that the respective states ought to retain a portion of their sovereignty, andthat they should preserve not only the forms of their legislatures, but also thepower to conduct certain internal concerns. How far the powers to be retainedby the states are to extend, is the question; we need not spend much time onthis subject, as it respects this constitution, for a government without powerto raise money is one only in name. It is clear that the legislatures of therespective states must be altogether dependent on the will of the generallegislature, for the means of supporting their government. The legislatureofthe United States will have a right to exhaust every source of revenue in everystate, and to annul all laws of the states which may stand in the way ofeffecting it; unless therefore we can suppose the state governments can existwithout money to support the officers who execute them, we must conclude theywill exist no longer than the general legislatures choose they should. Indeedthe idea of any government existing, in any respect, as an independent one,without any means of support in their own hands, is an absurdity. If therefore,this constitution has in view, what many of its framers and advocates say ithas, to secure and guarantee to the separate states the exercise of certainpowers of government, it certainly ought to have left in their hands somesources of revenue. It should have marked the line in which the generalgovernment should have raised money, and set bounds over which they should notpass, leaving to the separate states other means to raise supplies for thesupport of their governments, and to discharge their respective debts. To thisit is objected, that the general government ought to have power competent to thepurposes of the union; they are to provide for the common defense, to pay thedebts of the United States, support foreign ministers, and the civilestablishment of the union, and to do these they ought to have authority toraise money adequate to the purpose. On this I observe, that the stategovernments have also contracted debts; they require money to support theircivil officers; . . . if they give to the general government a power to raisemoney in every way in which it can possibly be raised, with . . . a control overthe state legislatures as to prohibit them, whenever the general legislature maythink proper, from raising any money, (the states will fail]. It is againobjected that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to draw the line ofdistinction between the powers of the general and state governments on thissubject. The first, it is said, must have the power to raise the moneynecessary for the purposes of the union; if they are limited to certain objectsthe revenue may fall short of a sufficiency for the public exigencies; they musttherefore have discretionary power. The line may be easily and accurately drawnbetween the powers of the two governments on this head. The distinction betweenexternal and internal taxes, is not a novel one in this country. It is a plainone, and easily understood. The first includes impost duties on all importedgoods; this species of taxes it is proper should be laid by the generalgovernment; many reasons might be urged to show that no danger is to beapprehended from their exercise of it. They may be collected in few places, andfrom few hands with certainty and expedition. But few officers are necessary tobe employed in collecting them, and there is no danger of oppression in layingthem, because if they are laid higher than trade will bear, the merchants willcease importing, or smuggle their goods. We have therefore sufficient security,arising from the nature of the thing, against burdensome, and intolerableimpositions from this kind of tax. The case is far otherwise with regard todirect taxes; these include poll taxes, land taxes, excises, duties on writteninstruments, on everything we eat, drink, or wear; they take hold of everyspecies of property, and come home to every man's house and pocket. These areoften so oppressive, as to grind the face of the poor, and render the lives ofthe common people a burden to them. The great and only security the people canhave against oppression from this kind of taxes, must rest in theirrepresentatives. If they are sufficiently numerous to be well informed of thecircumstances, . . . and have a proper regard for the people, they will besecure. The general legislature, as I have shown in a former paper, will not bethus qualified,' and therefore, on this account, ought not to exercise the powerof direct taxation. If the power of laying imposts will not be sufficient, someother specific mode of raising a revenue should have been assigned the generalgovernment; many may be suggested in which their power may be accurately definedand limited, and it would be much better to give them authority to lay andcollect a duty on exports, not to exceed a certain rate per cent, than to havesurrendered every kind of resource that the country has, to the completeabolition of the state governments, and which will introduce such an infinitenumber of laws and ordinances, fines and penalties, courts, and judges,collectors, and excisemen, that when a man can number them, he may enumerate thestars of Heaven.
First. To detail the particulars comprehended in the general terms, taxes,duties, imposts and excises, would require a volume, instead of a single piecein a newspaper. Indeed it would be a task far beyond my ability, and to whichno one can be competent, unless possessed of a mind capable of comprehendingevery possible source of revenue; for they extend to every possible way ofraising money, whether by direct or indirect taxation. Under this clause may beimposed a poll tax, a land tax, a tax on houses and buildings, on windows andfireplaces, on cattle and on all kinds of personal property. It extends toduties on all kinds of goods to any amount, to tonnage and poundage on vessels,to duties on written instruments, newspapers, almanacks, and books. Itcomprehends an excise on all kinds of liquors, spirits, wines, cider, beer,etc. , and indeed takes in duty or excise on every necessary or conveniency oflife, whether of foreign or home growth or manufactory. In short, we can haveno conception of any way in which a government can raise money from the people,but what is included in one or other of these general terms. We may say thenthat this clause commits to the hands of the general legislature everyconceivable source of revenue within the United States, Not only are these termsvery comprehensive, and extend to a vast number of objects, but the power to layand collect has great latitude; it will lead to the passing a vast number oflaws, which may affect the personal rights of the citizens of the states, exposetheir property to fines and confiscation, and put their lives in jeopardy. Itopens a door to the appointment of a swarm of revenue and excise collectors toprey upon the honest and industrious part of the community, [and] eat up theirsubstance. . . .
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Writers Of Federalist Papers - …
2. Officers may be appointed by the president and senate. This mode, forgeneral purposes, is clearly not defensible. All the reasoning touching thelegislature will apply to the senate. The senate is a branch of thelegislature, which ought to be kept pure and unbiased. It has a part in tryingofficers for misconduct, and in creating offices it is too numerous for acouncil of appointment, or to feel any degree of responsibility. If it has anadvantage of the legislature, in being the least numerous, it has a disadvantagein being more unsafe; add to this, the senate is to have a share in theimportant branch of power respecting treaties. Further, this sexennial senateof 26 members, representing 13 sovereign states, will not in practice be foundto be a body to advise, but to order and dictate in fact; and the president willbe a mere primus inter pares. The consequence will be that the senate, withthese efficient means of influence, will not only dictate, probably, to thepresident, but manage the house, as the constitution now stands; and underappearances of a balanced system, in reality govern alone. There may also, bythis undue connection, be particular periods when a very popular president mayhave a very improper influence upon the senate and upon the legislature. Acouncil of appointment must very probably sit all, or near all, the year. Thesenate will be too important and too expensive a body for this. By giving thesenate, directly or indirectly, an undue influence over the representatives, andthe improper means of fettering, embarrassing, or controlling the president orexecutive, we give the government in the very outset a fatal and pernicioustendency to . . . aristocracy. When we, as a circumstance not well to beavoided, admit the senate to a share of power in making treaties, and inmanaging foreign concerns, we certainly progress full far enough towards thismost undesirable point in government. For with this power, also, I believe, wemust join that of appointing ambassadors, other foreign ministers, and consuls,being powers necessarily connected. In every point of view, in which I cancontemplate this subject, it appears extremely clear to me, that the senateought not generally to be a council of appointment. The legislature, after thepeople, is the great fountain of power, and ought to be kept as pure anduncorrupt as possible, from the hankerings, biases, and contagion of offices. Then the streams issuing from it will be less tainted with those evils. It isnot merely the number of impeachments, that are to be expected to make publicofficers honest and attentive in their business. A general opinion must pervadethe community, that the house, the body to impeach them for misconduct, isdisinterested, and ever watchful for the public good; and that the judges whoshall try impeachments, will not feel a shadow of bias. Under suchcircumstances men will not dare transgress, who, not deterred by such accusersand judges, would repeatedly misbehave. We have already suffered many andextensive evils, owing to the defects of the confederation, in not providingagainst the misconduct of public officers. When we expect the law to bepunctually executed, not one man in ten thousand will disobey it. It is theprobable chance of escaping punishment that induces men to transgress. It isone important means to make the government just and honest, rigidly andconstantly to hold before the eyes of those who execute it, punishment anddismissal from office for misconduct. These are principles no candid man whohas just ideas of the essential features of a free government will controvert. They are, to be sure, at this period, called visionary, speculative andanti-governmental-but in the true style of courtiers, selfish politicians, andflatterers of despotism. Discerning republican men of both parties see theirvalue. They are said to be of no value by empty boasting advocates for theconstitution, who, by their weakness and conduct, in fact, injure its cause muchmore than most of its opponents. From their high sounding promises, men are ledto expect a defense of it, and to have their doubts removed. When a number oflong pieces appear, they, instead of the defense, etc., they expected, seenothing but a parade of names; volumes written without ever coming to the point;cases quoted between which and ours there is not the least similitude; andpartial extracts made from histories and governments, merely to serve a purpose.
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