The powers proposed to be delegated in this sect. are very important, as they will in effect place the purse-strings of the citizen in the hands of Congress for certain purposes. In order to know whether such powers are necessary we ought, sir to inquire what the design of uniting under one government is. It is, that the national dignity may be supported, its safety preserved, and necessary debts paid—Is it not necessary then to afford the means by which alone those objects can be attained? Much better it appears to me, would it be for the States not to unite under one government which will be attended with some expense, than to unite and at the same time withhold the powers necessary to accomplish the design of the union. Gentlemen say the power to raise money may be abused—I grant it: And the same may be said of any other delegated power. Our General Court have the same power; but did they ever dare abuse it?1
Instead of voting themselves 6/8, they might vote themselves £.12 a day; but there never was a complaint of their voting themselves more than what was reasonable—If they should make an undue use of their power they know a loss of confidence in the people would be the consequence, and they would not be re-elected; and this is one security in the hands of the people.
Another is, that all money-bills are to originate with the house representatives: And can we suppose, the representatives of Georgia, or any other State, more disposed to burden their constituents with taxes, than the representatives of Massachusetts—it is not to be supposed—for whatever is for the interest of one State in this particular will be the interest of all the States; and no doubt attended to, by the house of representatives.2
But why should we alarm ourselves with imaginary evils—an impost will probably be a principal source of revenue; but if that should be insufficient, other taxes, especially in time of war ought to supply the deficiency. It is said, that requisitions on the States ought to be made in cases of emergency; but we all know there can be no dependence on requisitions: The Hon. Gentleman from Newbury-Port, gave us an instance from the history of the United Provinces to prove it, by which it appears they would have submitted to the arms of Spain, had it not been for the surprizing exertions of one Province. But there can be no need of recurring to ancient records, when the history of our own country furnishes an instance, where requisitions have had no effect.
But some gentlemen object further and say the delegation of these great powers, will destroy the state legislatures but I trust this never can take place, for the general government depends on the state legislatures for its very existence—the president is to be chosen by electors under the regulation of the State legislatures—the senate is to be chosen by the State legislatures; and the representative body by the people, under like regulations of the legislative body in the different States.—3
If gentlemen consider this, they will, I presume alter their opinion, for nothing is clearer than that the existence of the legislatures in the different States, is essential to the very being of the general government. I hope, sir we shall all see the necessity of a federal government, and not make objections, unless they appear to us to be of some weight.