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The great difficulty, he continued, lay in the affair of representation; and if that could be adjusted, all others would be surmountable. It was admitted by both of the gentlemen from New Jersey, that it would not be just to allow Virginia, which was sixteen times as large as Delaware, an equal vote only. Their language was, that it would not be safe for Delaware to allow Virginia sixteen times as many votes. Their expedient was, that all the States should be thrown into one mass, and a new partition be made into thirteen equal parts. Would such a scheme be practicable? The dissimilarities in the rules of property, as well as in the manners, habits, and prejudices of the different States, amounted to a prohibition of the attempt. It had been impossible for the power of one of the most absolute princes in Europe, directed by the wisdom of one of the most enlightened and patriotic ministers that any age had produced,3 to equalize in some points only the different usages and regulations of the different provinces. But, admitting a general amalgamation and repartition of the States to be practicable, and the danger apprehended by the smaller States from a proportional representation to be real, would not their special and voluntary coalition with their neighbors be less inconvenient to the whole community and equally effectual for their own safety? If New Jersey or Delaware conceived
1 Mr. Brearly and Mr. Patter
2 Louis XVI.
4 Mr. Patterson had said, that, if they were to depart from the prin
that an advantage would accrue to them from an equalization of the States, in which case they would necessarily form a junction with their neighbors, why might not this end be attained by leaving them at liberty to form such a junction whenever they pleased? And why should they wish to obtrude a like arrangement on all the States, when it was, to say the least, extremely difficult, and would be obnoxious to many of the States, -and when neither the inconvenience nor the benefit of the expedient to themselves would be lessened by confining it to themselves? The prospect of many new States to the westward was another consideration of importance. If they should come into the Union at all, they would come when they contained but few inhabitants. If they should be entitled to vote according to their proportion of inhabitants, all would be right and safe. Let them have an equal vote, and a more objectionable minority than ever might give law to the whole.'
At the close of Mr. Madison's remarks, the committee decided, by a vote of seven States against three, one State being divided, to report the Virginia plan to the Convention. The delegation of New York (with the exception of Hamilton), and those of New Jersey and Delaware, constituted the negative votes. The vote of Maryland was divided
ciple of equal sovereignty, the only expedient that would cure the difficulty would be to throw the States into hotchpot. To say that this was impracticable, would not make it so.
Let it be tried, and they would see whether Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia would accede to it. (Madison, Elliot, V. 194.)
1 Elliot, V. 206–211.
by Luther Martin, who had constantly acted with the minority. The vote of Connecticut was given for the report, but she was not long to remain on that side of the question.'
1 Madison, Elliot, V. 212. Journal, Elliot, I. 180. This vote was taken, and the committee of the
whole were discharged, on the 19th of June.
NOTE ON THE OPINIONS OF HAMILTON.
THE idea has been more or less entertained, from the time of the Convention to the present day, that Hamilton desired the establishment of a monarchical government. This impression has arisen partly from the theoretical opinions on government which he undoubtedly held, and which he expressed with entire freedom in the course of the debate, of which an account has been given in the previous chapter; and partly from the nature of some of his propositions, especially that for an executive during good behavior, which has been sometimes assumed to have been the same thing as an executive for life. I believe that the imputation of a purpose on his part to bring about the establishment of any system not essentially republican in its spirit and forms, is unfounded and unjust, and that it can be shown to be so.
Mr. Luther Martin, in his celebrated letter or report to the legislature of Maryland on the doings of the Federal Convention, referred to a distinct mona onarchical party in that body, "whose object and wish," he said, "it was to abolish and annihilate all State governments, and to bring forward one general government over this whole continent, of a monarchical nature, under certain restrictions and limitations. Those who openly avowed this sentiment," he said, "were, it is true, but few; yet it is equally true, that there was a considerable number who did not openly avow it, who were, by myself and many others of the Convention, considcred as being in reality favorers of that sentiment and acting upon those principles, covertly endeavoring to carry into effect what they well knew openly and avowedly could not be accomplished." He then goes on to say, that there was a second party, who were "not for the abolition of the State governments, nor for the introduction of a monarchical government
under any form; but they wished to establish such a system as could give their own States undue power and influence, in the government, over the other States." "A third party," he adds, "was what I considered truly federal and republican"; that is to say, it consisted of the delegations from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and in part from Maryland, and of some members from other States, who were in favor of a federal equality and the old principle of the Confederation.
Upon this rule of classification, the test of republicanism was to be found in the views entertained by members upon the question whether the State governments ought to be abolished. Mr. Martin, indeed, went further, and considered those only as truly republican, who were in favor of a purely federal system, and opposed to any plan of popular representation. Now it is quite clear, that the abolition of the State governments, so far as that subject was considered at all, and in the sense in which it was at any time mentioned, did not necessarily lead to monarchy as a conclusion. The reduction of the State governments to local corporations and to the position of subordinate agents of the central government, was considered by some as a necessary consequence of a national representative government. This arose from the circumstance that a union of federal and national representation had nowhere been witnessed, and had not therefore been considered. I have already suggested, in the text, that, if the framers of the Constitution had gone on to the adoption of a pure system of popular and proportional representation in all the branches of the government, they must inevitably have bestowed upon that government full legislative power over all subjects; otherwise, they would have left the States, possessed of the sovereign powers of a distinct political organization, to contend with the national government by adverse legislation. The subsequent expedient of a direct and equal representation of the States in one branch of the government has in reality, to a great degree, disarmed State jealousy and opposition, by giving to the States as political bodies an equal voice in the check established by the branch in which they are represented.
So that to argue, that, because there were men who saw the necessity for making a purely national or proportionate system of popular representation consistent with the situation in which it would place the country, they were therefore in favor of a monarchical system, was to argue from premises to a conclusion in no way connected. Had such a plan been carried out, it could have been, and must have been, purely republican in all its details; and it would have been liable to the reproach of being monarchical in no other sense than any system which did not yield the point of a full federal equality, for which Mr. Martin and his party contended.
Undoubtedly, Hamilton, as I have said, was in favor of bestowing upon the national government full power to legislate upon all subjects; and to this extent, and in this sense, he proposed the abolition of the State governments. But any one who will attend carefully to the course of his argument,-imperfectly as it has been preserved, will find that it embraces the following course of reasoning. All federal governments are weak and distracted. In order to avoid the evils incident to that form, the government of the American Union must be a national representative system. But no such system can be successful, in the actual situation of this country, unless it is endowed with all the principles and means of influence and power which are the proper supports of government. It must therefore be made completely sovereign, and State power, as a separate legislative authority, must be annihilated; otherwise, the States will be not only able, but will be constantly tempted, to exert their own authority against the authority of the nation. I have already expressed the opinion, that in this view of the subject, assuming that the States were not to be admitted to an equal representation as political corporations in any branch of the government, as the framers and friends of the Virginia plan had thus far contended, Hamilton was right. I believe that a constitution, in which the States had not been placed upon an equal footing in one branch of the legislative power, and under which the State sovereignties had been left as they were left by the system actually adopted, if it could have been ratified by all the States, could not have endured to our times. Yet the fortunate result of the mixed system that is embraced in the Constitution of the United States, is the product, not simply of either of the theories of a national or a federal government, but of a compromise between the two.
But the charge of anti-republican tendencies or designs has been most often urged against Hamilton, on account of his theoretical opinions concerning the comparative merits of different governments, and of certain features of the plan of a constitution which he read to the Convention. With respect to these points, I shall state the results of a very careful examination which I have made of all the sources of information as to the views and opinions which he expressed or entertained. Mr. Madison has given us what he probably intended as a full report of at least the substance of Hamilton's great speech addressed to the committee of the whole, and has informed us that his report was submitted to Colonel Hamilton, who approved it, with a few verbal changes. But how meagre a report, which fills but six pages in the octavo edition of Mr. Madison's "Debates," must have been in comparison with the speech actually made by Hamilton, will occur to every reader who notices the fact that the