I hope all the measures of your body will be dictated by the principles of honor and justice. Among the various subjects which will come before you, the requisition of Congress of the last year will undoubtedly be one. I hope you will excuse me for just suggesting to you, that I think it will be burdening the people to no essential purpose to comply with that requisition any further than applies to the cash part of it;—
not that I have any doubt of the justice and duty of paying the domestic debt; but it is in vain for Massachusetts alone to expect to support the public credit; for six or seven States have absolutely refused to comply with the one of the year before the last, and, of those who have complied in appearance, very few will make any effectual payments; and I presume there will not be any that will comply with the one that is now to be considered by you, excepting the cash part of it, and with that numbers will comply. In short, the present Federal Government seems near its exit; and whether we shall in the Convention be able to agree upon mending it, or forming and recommending a new one, is not certain. All agree, however, that much greater powers are necessary to be given,1
under some form or other. But the large States think the representation ought to be more in proportion to the magnitude of the States, and consequently more like a national government, while the smaller ones are for adhering to the present mode. We have hitherto considered the subject with great calmness and temper; and there are numbers of very able men in this body who all appear thoroughly alarmed with the present prospect. I do not know that I am at liberty to write anything on this subject.
I shall therefore only observe further, that all agree the legislative and executive ought to be separate, and that there should be a national judiciary.2