But you comfort us by saying,-"there is no reason to suspect so popular a privilege will be neglected." The wolf, in the fable, said as much to the sheep, when he was persuading them to trust him as their protector, and to dismiss their guardian dogs. Do you indeed suppose, Mr. Wilson, that if the people give up their privileges to these new rulers they will render them back again to the people? Indeed, sir, you should not trifle upon a question so serious-You would not have us to suspect any ill. If we throw away suspicion-to be sure, the thing will go smoothly enough, and we shall deserve to continue a free, respectable, and happy people. Suspicion shackles rulers and prevents good government. All great and honest politicians, like yourself have reprobated it. Lord Mansfield is a great authority against it, and has often treated it as the worst of libels. But such men as Milton, Sidney, Locke, Montesquieu, and Trenchard, have thought it essential to the preservation of liberty against the artful and persevering encroachments of those with whom power is trusted.
You will pardon me, sir, if I pay some respect to these opinions, and wish that the freedom of the press may be previously secured as a constitutional and unalienable right, and not left to the precarious care of popular privileges which may or may not influence our new rulers.2
You are fond of, and happy at, quaint expressions of this kind in your observation-that a formal declaration would have done harm, by implying, that some degree of power was given when we undertook to define its extent. This thought has really a brilliancy in it of the first water. But permit me, sir, to ask, why any saving clause was admitted into this constitution, when you tell us, every thing is reserved that is not expressly given? Why is it said in sec. 9th, "The migration or importation of such persons as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by Congress, prior to the year, 1808." There is no power expressly given to the Congress to prohibit migrations and importations. By your doctrine then they could have none, and it was, according to your own position, nugatory to declare they should not do it. Which are we to believe, sir-you or the constitution? The text, or the comment. If the former, we must be persuaded, that in the contemplation of the framers of the constitution implied powers were given, otherwise the exception would have been an absurdity. If we listen to you we must affirm it to be a distinctive characteristic of the constitution, that-"what is not expressly given is reserved." Such are the inconsistences into which men over ingenuous, like yourself, are betrayed in advocating bad cause. Perhaps four months more consideration of the subject, would have rendered you more guarded.