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John Taylor.

Construction construed, and constitutions vindicated online

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been a mistake, so far as a capacity for aagmeotation is cousin
dered ; because, most or all of the measures complained of at
unconstitutional^ have originated with congress ; and a cafiacitj
for augmentation naturally encroaches. This symptom is sufi«
cient of itself, to awaken the vigilance of those who think, thai
federalism is indispensable for the good government of so laifia
a country as the United States. Federalism cannot enst
without confederates, and confederates are ioief&cient without
power. A tacit alliance between confess and a family of elee*
mosynarians, is a species of federalism inconsistent with tte
positive confederatioa of a family of states. These two kind*
of confederation cannot subsist long together. If the eleemeo'
synarian family should be made strong enough to defend con-,
gress against the states, it will be too strong for congress itself;
and as courtiers for pay abhor the vacillancy of election, they
will be always ready to desert from a fluctuating and depen*
dant, to a permanent and hereditary patron. That congress
should for a moment risque the friendship of the states, a fede-
ral militia fighting without pay, to cultivate that of a few mer-
cenary troops, sure to desert unless allowed to plunder, is a
policy for which I cannot discern a motive. By weakening the
state governments, congress would weaken itself, since they
are the props upon which its power rests ; for if these props
fall, a very different power from that of congress will spring
from the ruins. The notion of a contest for power between
the federal and state governments must therefore have origi-
nated from sounds without sense, or from artifices without
honesty. It is like a warfare between two diagrams or two
dogmas, or between two dancing masters about the figure of a
reel, neither of whom can gain any thing by the contest, how-
ever they may cripple each other. No federal or state legis-
htor can gain any thing for himself by the success of the
diagram or dogma under which he fights. Had we hereditary
families^ the warfare might be accounted for; but as we have
not, we can only ^scribe it to the ele^mosynarian families,.



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344

which may g^t something by it The question of course settles
into the plain alternative, whether to ^^pease its old friends
the states, or to cling to its courtiers, the eleemosynanans, is
the best policy for the federal government. The alternative
for the state governments is nearly the same; they ought to
consider, whetiier an imitation of the federal eleemosynarian
system, or a cultivation of the publick good, will by economy
and justice, contribute most to their preservation. Politick
economists say, in defence of the freedom of property against
exclusive privileges, that every man is the best manager of his
own affiurs. They ought to have added the reason, namely,
that no man will form intricate schemes to cheat himself.

As for a balance of power, the other rival of our coustitu*
tional federal policy, it may be accurately estimated by consi-
dering whether an animal, created with a number of legs, would
act wisely in cutting off one half, from a notion that it would
walk better witii half tium witii all.



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Online LibraryJohn TaylorConstruction construed, and constitutions vindicated → online text (page 34 of 34)