Letters from The Federal Farmer to The Republican
(Richard Henry Lee ?)

III

October 10th, 1787.

Dear Sir,

The great object of a free people must be so to form their government and
laws, and so to administer them, as to create a confidence in, and respect for
the laws; and thereby induce the sensible and virtuous part of the community to
declare in favor of the laws, and to support them without an expensive military
force. I wish, though I confess I have not much hope, that this may be the case
with the laws of congress under the new constitution. I am fully convinced that
we must organize the national government on different principals, and make the
parts of it more efficient, and secure in it more effectually the different
interests in the community; or else leave in the state governments some powers
propose[d] to be lodged in it—at least till such an organization shall
be found to be practicable. Not sanguine in my. expectations of a good federal
administration, and satisfied, as I am, of the impracticability of
consolidating the states, and at the same time of preserving the rights of the
people at large, I believe we ought still to leave some of those powers in the
state governments, in which the people, in fact, will still be represented—to define some other powers proposed to be vested in the general
government, more carefully, and to establish a few principles to secure a
proper exercise of the powers given it. It is not my object to multiply
objections, or to contend about inconsiderable powers or amendments; I wish the
system adopted with a few alterations; but those, in my mind, are essential
ones; if adopted without, every good citizen will acquiesce though I shall
consider the duration of our governments, and the liberties of this people,
very much dependant on the administration of the general government. A wise and
honest administration, may make the people happy under any government; but
necessity only can justify even our leaving open avenues to the abuse of power,
by wicked, unthinking, or ambitious men. I will examine, first, the
organization of the proposed government, in order to judge; 2d, with propriety,
what powers are improperly, at least prematurely lodged in it. I shall examine,
3d, the undefined powers; and 4th, those powers, the exercise of which is not
secured on safe and proper ground.

First. As to the organization—the house of representatives, the
democrative branch, as it is called, is to consist of 65 members: that is,
about one representative for fifty thousand inhabitants, to be chosen
biennially—the federal legislature may increase this number to one for
each thirty thousand inhabitants, abating fractional numbers in each state.—Thirty-three representatives will make a quorum for doing business, and
a majority of those present determine the sense of the house.—I have no
idea that the interests, feelings, and opinions of three or four millions of
people, especially touching internal taxation, can be collected in such a
house.—In the nature of things, nine times in ten, men of the elevated
classes in the community only can be chosen—Connecticut, for instance,
will have five representatives—not one man in a hundred of those who
form the democrative branch in the state legislature, will, on a fair
computation, be one of the five—The people of this country, in one
sense, may all be democratic; but if we make the proper distinction between the
few men of wealth and abilities, and consider them, as we ought, as the natural
aristocracy of the country, and the great body of the people, the middle and
lower classes, as the democracy, this federal representative branch will have
but very little democracy in it, even this small representation is not secured
on proper principles.—The branches of the legislature are essential
parts of the fundamental compact, and ought to be so fixed by the people, that
the legislature cannot alter itself by modifying the elections of its own
members. This, by a part of Art. 1. Sect. 4. the general legislature may do, it
may evidently so regulate elections as to secure the choice of any particular
description of men.—It may make the whole state one district—make
the capital, or any places in the state, the place or places of election—it may declare that the five men (or whatever the number may be the state may
chuse) who shall have the most votes shall be considered as chosen—In
this case it is easy to perceive how the people who live scattered in the
inland towns will bestow their votes on different men—and how a few men
in a city, in any order or profession, may unite and place any five men they
please highest among those that may be voted for—and all this may be
done constitutionally, and by those silent operations, which are not
immediately perceived by the people in general.—I know it is urged, that
the general legislature will be disposed to regulate elections on fair and just
principles:—This may be true—good men will generally govern well
with almost any constitution: but why in laying the foundation of the social
system, need we unnecessarily leave a door open to improper regulations?—This is a very general and unguarded clause, and many evils may flow from that
part which authorises the congress to regulate elections—Were it
omitted, the regulations of elections would be solely in the respective states,
where the people are substantially represented; and where the elections ought
to be regulated, otherwise to secure a representation from all parts of the
community, in making the constitution, we ought to provide for dividing each
state into a proper number of districts, and for confining the electors in each
district to the choice of some men, who shall have a permanent interest and
residence in it; and also for this essential object, that the representative
elected shall have a majority of the votes of those electors who shall attend
and give their votes.

In considering the practicability of having a full and equal representation
of the people from all parts of the union, not only distances and different
opinions, customs, and views, common in extensive tracts of country, are to be
taken into view, but many differences peculiar to Eastern, Middle, and Southern
states. These differences are not so perceivable among the members of congress,
and men of general information in the states, as among the men who would
properly form the democratic branch. The Eastern states are very democratic,
and composed chiefly of moderate freeholders; they have but few rich men and no
slaves; the Southern states are composed chiefly of rich planters and slaves;
they have but few moderate freeholders, and the prevailing influence, in them,
is generally a dissipated aristocracy: The Middle states partake partly of the
Eastern, and partly of the Southern character.

Perhaps, nothing could be more disjointed, unweildly and incompetent to
doing business with harmony and dispatch, than a federal house of
representatives properly numerous for the great objects of taxation, et cetera
collected from the several states; whether such men would ever act in concert;
whether they would not worry along a few years, and then be the means of
separating the parts of the union, is very problematical?—View this
system in whatever form we can, propriety brings us still to this point, a
federal government possessed of general and complete powers, as to those
national objects which cannot well come under the cognizance of the internal
laws of the respective states, and this federal government, accordingly,
consisting of branches not very numerous.

The house of representatives is on the plan of consolidation, but the senate
is intirely on the federal plan; and Delaware will have as much constitutional
influence in the senate, as the largest state in the union: and in this senate
are lodged legislative, executive and judicial powers: Ten states in this union
urge that they are small states, nine of which were present in the convention.—They were interested in collecting large powers into the hands of the
senate, in which each state still will have its equal share of power. I suppose
it was impracticable for the three large states, as they were called, to get
the senate formed on any other principles: But this only proves, that we cannot
form one general government on equal and just principles—and proves,
that we ought not to lodge in it such extensive powers before we are convinced
of the practicability of organizing it on just and equal principles. The senate
will consist of two members from each state, chosen by the state legislatures,
every sixth year. The clause referred to, respecting the elections of
representatives, empowers the general legislature to regulate the elections of
senators also, “except as to the places of chusing senators.”;—There is, therefore, but little more security in the elections than in those of
representatives: Fourteen senators make a quorum for business, and a majority
of the senators present give the vote of the senate, except in giving judgment
upon an impeachment, or in making treaties, or in expelling a member, when
two-thirds of the senators present must agree—The members of the
legislature are not excluded from being elected to any military offices, or any
civil offices, except those created, or the emoluments of which shall be
increased by themselves: two-thirds of the members present, of either house,
may expel a member at pleasure. The senate is an independant branch of the
legislature, a court for trying impeachments, and also a part of the executive,
having a negative in the making of all treaties, and in appointing almost all
officers.

The vice president is not a very important, if not an unncessary part of the
system—he may be a part of the senate at one period, and act as the
supreme executive magistrate at another—The election of this officer, as
well as of the president of the United States seems to be properly secured; but
when we examine the powers of the president, and the forms of the executive, we
shall perceive that the general government, in this part, will have a strong
tendency to aristocracy, or the government of the few. The executive is, in
fact, the president and senate in all transactions of any importance; the
president is connected with, or tied to the senate; he may always act with the
senate, but never can effectually counteract its views: The president can
appoint no officer, civil or military, who shall not be agreeable to the
senate; and the presumption is, that the will of so important a body will not
be very easily controuled, and that it will exercise its powers with great
address.

In the judicial department, powers ever kept distinct in well balanced
governments, are no less improperly blended in the hands of the same men—in the judges of the supreme court is lodged, the law, the equity and the fact.
It is not necessary to pursue the minute organical parts of the general
government proposed.—There were various interests in the convention, to
be reconciled, especially of large and small states; of carrying and
non-carrying states; and of states more and states less democratic—vast
labour and attention were by the convention bestowed on the organization of the
parts of the constitution offered; still it is acknowledged there are many
things radically wrong in the essential parts of this constitution—but
it is said that these are the result of our situation: On a full examination of
the subject, I believe it; but what do the laborious inquiries and
determinations of the convention prove? If they prove any thing, they prove
that we cannot consolidate the states on proper principles: The organization of
the government presented proves, that we cannot form a general government in
which all power can be safely lodged; and a little attention to the parts of
the one proposed will make it appear very evident, that all the powers proposed
to be lodged in it, will not be then well deposited, either for the purposes of
government, or the preservation of liberty. I will suppose no abuse of powers
in those cases, in which the abuse of it is not well guarded against—I
will suppose the words authorising the general government to regulate the
elections of its own members struck out of the plan, or free district
elections, in each state, amply secured.—That the small representation
provided for shall be as fair and equal as it is capable of being made—I
will suppose the judicial department regulated on pure principles, by future
laws, as far as it can be by the constitution, and consistent] with the
situation of the country—still there will be an unreasonable
accumulation of powers in the general government, if all be granted, enumerated
in the plan proposed. The plan does not present a well balanced government. The
senatorial branch of the legislative and the executive are substantially
united, and the president, or the first executive magistrate, may aid the
senatorial interest when weakest, but never can effectually support the
democratic[,] however it may be oppressed;—the excellency, in my mind,
of a well balanced government is that it consists of distinct branches, each
sufficiently strong and in-dependant to keep its own station, and to aid either
of the other branches which may occasionally want aid.

The convention found that any but a small house of representatives would be
expensive, and that it would be impracticable to assemble a large number of
representatives. Not only the determination of the convention in this case, but
the situation of the states, proves the impracticability of collecting, in any
one point, a proper representation.

The formation of the senate, and the smallness of the house, being,
therefore, the result of our situation, and the actual state of things, the
evils which may attend the exercise of many powers in this national government
may be considered as without a remedy.

All officers are impeachable before the senate only—before the men by
whom they are appointed, or who are consenting to the appointment of these
officers. No judgment of conviction, on an impeachment, can be given unless two
thirds of the senators agree. Under these circumstances the right of
impeachment, in the house, can be of but little importance; the house cannot
expect often to convict the offender; and, therefore, probably, will but seldom
or never exercise the right. In addition to the insecurity and inconveniences
attending this organization beforementioned, it may be observed, that it is
extremely difficult to secure the people against the fatal effects of
corruption and influence. The power of making any law will be in the president,
eight senators, and seventeen representatives, relative to the important
objects enumerated in the constitution. Where there is a small representation a
sufficient number to carry any measure, may, with ease, be influenced by
bribes, offices and civilities; they may easily form private juntoes, and out
door meetings, agree on measures, and carry them by silent votes.

Impressed, as I am, with a sense of the difficulties there are in the way of
forming the parts of a federal government on proper principles, and seeing a
government so unsubstantially organized, after so arduous an attempt has been
made, I am led to believe, that powers ought to be given to it with great care
and caution.

In the second place it is necessary, therefore, to examine the extent, and
the probable operations of some of those extensive powers proposed to be vested
in this government. These powers, legislative, executive, and judicial, respect
internal as well as external objects. Those respecting external objects, as all
foreign concerns, commerce, imposts, all causes arising on the seas, peace and
war, and Indian affairs, can be lodged no where else, with any propriety, but
in this government. Many powers that respect internal objects ought clearly to
be lodged in it; as those to regulate trade between the states, weights and
measures, the coin or current monies, post-offices, naturalization, etc. These
powers may be exercised without essentially effecting the internal police of
the respective states: But powers to lay and collect internal taxes, to form
the militia, to make bankrupt laws, and to decide on appeals, questions arising
on the internal laws of the respective states, are of a very serious nature,
and carry with them almost all other powers. These taken in connection with the
others, and powers to raise armies and build navies, proposed to be lodged in
this government, appear to me to comprehend all the essential powers in the
community, and those which will be left to the states will be of no great
importance.

A power to lay and collect taxes at discretion, is, in itself, of very great
importance. By means of taxes, the government may command the whole or any part
of the subject’s property. Taxes may be of various kinds; but there is a strong
distinction between external and internal taxes. External taxes are impost
duties, which are laid on imported goods; they may usually be collected in a
few seaport towns, and of a few individuals, though ultimately paid by the
consumer; a few officers can collect them, and they can be carried no higher
than trade will bear, or smuggling permit—that in the very nature of
commerce, bounds are set to them. But internal taxes, as poll and land taxes,
excises, duties on all written instruments, etc. may fix themselves on every
person and species of property in the community; they may be carried to any
lengths, and in proportion as they are extended, numerous officers must be
employed to assess them, and to enforce the collection of them. In the United
Netherlands the general government has compleat powers, as to external
taxation; but as to internal taxes, it makes requisitions on the provinces.
Internal taxation in this country is more important, as the country is so very
extensive. As many assessors and collectors of federal taxes will be above
three hundred miles from the seat of the federal government as will be less.
Besides, to lay and collect internal taxes, in this extensive country, must
require a great number of congressional ordinances, immediately operating upon
the body of the people; these must continually interfere with the state laws,
and thereby produce disorder and general dissatisfaction, till the one system
of laws or the other, operating upon the same subjects, shall be abolished.
These ordinances alone, to say nothing of those respecting the militia, coin,
commerce, federal judiciary, etc. etc. will probably soon defeat the operations
of the state laws and governments.

Should the general government think it politic, as some administrations (if
not all) probably will, to look for a support in a system of influence, the
government will take every occasion to multiply laws, and officers to execute
them, considering these as so many necessary props for its own support. Should
this system of policy be adopted, taxes more productive than the impost duties
will, probably, be wanted to support the government, and to discharge foreign
demands, without leaving any thing for the domestic creditors. The internal
sources of taxation then must be called into operation, and internal tax laws
and federal assessors and collectors spread over this immense country. All
these circumstances considered, is it wise, prudent, or safe, to vest the
powers of laying and collecting internal taxes in the general government, while
imperfectly organized and inadequate; and to trust to amending it hereafter,
and making it adequate to this purpose? It is not only unsafe but absurd to
lodge power in a government before it is fitted to receive it? It
is confessed that this power and representation ought to go together. Why give
the power first? Why give the power to the few, who, when possessed of it, may
have address enough to prevent the increase of representation? Why not keep the
power, and, when necessary, amend the constitution, and add to its other parts
this power, and a proper increase of representation at the same time? Then men
who may want the power will be under strong inducements to let in the people,
by their representatives, into the government, to hold their due proportion of
this power. If a proper representation be impracticable, then we shall see this
power resting in the states, where it at present ought to be, and not
inconsiderately given up.

When I recollect how lately congress, conventions, legislatures, and people
contended in the cause of liberty, and carefully weighed the importance of
taxation, I can scarcely believe we are serious in proposing to vest the powers
of laying and collecting internal taxes in a government so imperfectly
organized for such purposes. Should the United States be taxed by a house of
representatives of two hundred members, which would be about fifteen members
for Connecticut, twenty-five for Massachusetts, etc. still the middle and lower
classes of people could have no great share, in fact, in taxation. I am aware
it is said, that the representation proposed by the new constitution is
sufficiently numerous; it may be for many purposes; but to suppose that this
branch is sufficiently numerous to guard the rights of the people in the
administration of the government, in which the purse and sword is placed, seems
to argue that we have forgot what the true meaning of representation is. I am
sensible also, that it is said that congress will not attempt to lay and
collect internal taxes; that it is necessary for them to have the power, though
it cannot probably be exercised.—I admit that it is not probable that
any prudent congress will attempt to lay and collect internal taxes, especially
direct taxes: but this only proves, that the power would be improperly lodged
in congress, and that it might be abused by imprudent and designing men.

I have heard several gentlemen, to get rid of objections to this part of the
constitution, attempt to construe the powers relative to direct taxes, as those
who object to it would have them; as to these, it is said, that congress will
only have power to make requisitions, leaving it to the states to lay and
collect them. I see but very little colour for this construction, and the
attempt only proves that this part of the plan cannot be defended. By this plan
there can be no doubt, but that the powers of congress will be complete as to
all kinds of taxes whatever—Further, as to internal taxes, the state
governments will have concurrent powers with the general government, and both
may tax the same objects in the same year; and the objection that the general
government may suspend a state tax, as a necessary measure for the promoting
the collection of a federal tax, is not without foundation.—As the
states owe large debts, and have large demands upon them individually, there
clearly would be a propriety in leaving in their possession exclusively, some
of the internal sources of taxation, at least until the federal representation
shall be properly encreased: The power in the general government to lay and
collect internal taxes, will render its powers respecting armies, navies and
the militia, the more exceptionable. By the constitution it is proposed that
congress shall have power “to raise and support armies, but no
appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
to provide and maintain a navy; to provide for calling forth the militia to
execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions: to
provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia:[”] reserving to the
states the right to appoint the officers, and to train the militia according to
the discipline prescribed by congress; congress will have unlimited power to
raise armies, and to engage officers and men for any number of years; but a
legislative act applying money for their support can have operation for no
longer term than two years, and if a subsequent congress do not within the two
years renew the appropriation, or further appropriate monies for the use of the
army, the army will be left to take care of itself. When an army shall once be
raised for a number of years, it is not probable that it will find much
difficulty in getting congress to pass laws for applying monies to its support.
I see so many men in America fond of a standing army, and especially among
those who probably will have a large share in administering the federal system;
it is very evident to me, that we shall have a large standing army as soon as
the monies to support them can be possibly found. An army is a very agreeable
place of employment for the young gentlemen of many families. A power to raise
armies must be lodged some where; still this will not justify the lodging this
power in a bare majority of so few men without any checks; or in the government
in which the great body of the people, in the nature of things, will be only
nominally represented. In the state governments the great body of the people,
the yeomanry, etc. of the country, are represented: It is true they will chuse
the members of congress, and may now and then chuse a man of their own way of
thinking; but it is impossible for forty, or thirty thousand people in this
country, one time in ten to find a man who can possess similar feelings, views,
and interests with themselves: Powers to lay and collect taxes and to raise
armies are of the greatest moment; for carrying them into effect, laws need not
be frequently made, and the yeomanry, etc of the country ought substantially to
have a check upon the passing of these laws; this check ought to be placed in
the legislatures, or at least, in the few men the common people of the country,
will, probably, have in congress, in the true sense of the word, “from
among themselves.” It is true, the yeomanry of the country possess the
lands, the weight of property, possess arms, and are tocr strong a body of men
to be openly offended—and, therefore, it is urged, they will take care
of themselves, that men who shall govern will not dare pay any disrespect to
their opinions. It is easily perceived, that if they have not their proper
negative upon passing laws in congress, or on the passage of laws relative to
taxes and armies, they may in twenty or thirty years be by means imperceptible
to them, totally deprived of that boasted weight and strength: This may be done
in a great measure by congress, if disposed to do it, by modelling the militia.
Should one fifth, or one eighth part of the men capable of bearing arms, be
made a select militia, as has been proposed, and those the young and ardent
part of the community, possessed of but little or no property, and all the
others put upon a plan that will render them of no importance, the former will
answer all the purposes of an army, while the latter will be defenceless. The
state must train the militia in such form and according to such systems and
rules as congress shall prescribe: and the only actual influence the respective
states will have respecting the militia will be in appointing the officers. I
see no provision made for calling out the posse commitatus for executing
the laws of the union, but provision is made for congress to call forth the
militia for the execution of them—and the militia in general, or any
select part of it, may be called out under military officers, instead of the
sheriff to enforce an execution of federal laws, in the first instance and
thereby introduce an entire military execution of the laws. I know that powers
to raise taxes, to regulate the military strength of the community on some
uniform plan, to provide for its defence and internal order, and for duly
executing the laws, must be lodged somewhere; but still we ought not so to
lodge them. as evidently to give one order of men in the community, undue
advantages over others; or commit the many to the mercy, prudence, and
moderation of the few. And so far as it may be necessary to lodge any of the
peculiar powers in the general government, a more safe exercise of them ought
to be secured, by requiring the consent of two-thirds or three-fourths of
congress thereto—until the federal representation can be increased, so
that the democratic members in congress may stand some tolerable chance of a
reasonable negative, in behalf of the numerous, important, and democratic part
of the community.

I am not sufficiently acquainted with the laws and internal police of all
the states to discern fully, how general bankrupt laws, made by the union,
would effect them, or promote the public good. I believe the property of
debtors, in the several states, is held responsible for their debts in modes
and forms very different. If uniform bankrupt laws can be made without
producing real and substantial inconveniences, I wish them to be made by
congress.

There are some powers proposed to be lodged in the general government in the
judicial department, I think very unnecessarily, I mean powers respecting
questions arising upon the internal laws of the respective states. It is proper
the federal judiciary should have powers co-extensive with the federal
legislature—that is, the power of deciding finally on the laws of the
union. By Art. 3. Sect. 2. the powers of the federal judiciary are extended
(among other things) to all cases between a state and citizens of another state—between citizens of different states—between a state or the
citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects. Actions in all
these cases, except against a state government, are now brought and finally
determined in the law courts of the states respectively; and as there are no
words to exclude these courts of their jurisdiction in these cases, they will
have concurrent jurisdiction with the inferior federal courts in them; and,
therefore, if the new constitution be adopted without any amendment in this
respect, all those numerous actions, now brought in the state courts between
our citizens and foreigners, between citizens of different states, by state
governments against foreigners, and by state governments against citizens of
other states, may also be brought in the federal courts; and an appeal will lay
in them from the state courts, or federal inferior courts, to the supreme
judicial court of the union. In almost all these cases, either party may have
the trial by jury in the state courts; excepting paper money and tender laws,
which are wisely guarded against in the proposed constitution, justice may be
obtained in these courts on reasonable terms; they must be more competent to
proper decisions on the laws of their respective states, than the federal
courts can possibly be. I do not, in any point of view, see the need of opening
a new jurisdiction to these causes—of opening a new scene of expensive
law suits—of suffering foreigners, and citizens of different states, to
drag each other many hundred miles into the federal courts. It is true, those
courts may be so organized by a wise and prudent legislature, as to make the
obtaining of justice in them tolerably easy; they may in general be organized
on the common law principles of the country: But this benefit is by no means
secured by the constitution. The trial by jury is secured only in those few
criminal cases, to which the federal laws will extend—as crimes
committed on the seas, against the laws of nations, treason, and counterfeiting
the federal securities and coin: But even in these cases, the jury trial of the
vicinage is not secured—particularly in the large states, a citizen may
be tried for a crime committed in the state, and yet tried in some states 500
miles from the place where it was committed; but the jury trial is not secured
at all in civil causes. Though the convention have not established this trial,
it is to be hoped that congress, in putting the new system into execution, will
do it by a legislative act, in all cases in which it can be done with
propriety. Whether the jury trial is not excluded [from] the supreme judicial
court, is an important question. By Art. 3. Sect. 2. all cases affecting
ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, and in those cases in which a
state shall be party, the supreme court shall have jurisdiction. In all the
other cases beforementioned, the supreme court shall have appellate
jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exception, and under
such regulations, as the congress shall make. By court is understood a court
consisting of judges; and the idea of a jury is excluded. This court, or the
judges, are to have jurisdiction on appeals, in all the cases enumerated, as to
law and fact; the judges are to decide the law and try the fact, and the trial
of the fact being assigned to the judges by the constitution, a jury for trying
the fact is excluded; however, under the exceptions and powers to make
regulations, congress may, perhaps introduce the jury, to try the fact in most
necessary cases.

There can be but one supreme court in which the final jurisdiction will
centre in all federal causes—except in cases where appeals by law shall
not be allowed: The judicial powers of the federal courts extends in law and
equity to certain cases: and, therefore, the powers to determine on the law, in
equity, and as to the fact, all will concentre in the supreme court:—These powers, which by this constitution are blended in the same hands, the
same judges, are in Great-Britain deposited in different hands—to wit,
the decision of the law in the law judges, the decision in equity in the
chancellor, and the trial of the fact in the jury. It is a very dangerous thing
to vest in the same judge power to decide on the law, and also general powers
in equity; for if the law restrain him, he is only to step into his shoes of
equity, and give what judgment his reason or opinion may dictate; we have no
precedents in this country, as yet, to regulate the divisions in equity as in
Great Britain; equity, therefore, in the supreme court for many years will be
mere discretion. I confess in the constitution of this supreme court, as left
by the constitution, I do not see a spark of freedom or a shadow of our own or
the British common law.

This court is to have appellate jurisdiction in all the other cases before
mentioned: Many sensible men suppose that cases before mentioned respect, as
well the criminal cases as the civil ones, mentioned antecedently in the
constitution, if so an appeal is allowed in criminal cases—contrary to
the usual sense of law. How far it may be proper to admit a foreigner or the
citizen of another state to bring actions against state governments, which have
failed in performing so many promises made during the war, is doubtful: How far
it may be proper so to humble a state, as to oblige it to answer to an
individual in a court of law, is worthy of consideration; the states are now
subject to no such actions; and this new jurisdiction will subject the states,
and many defendants to actions, and processes, which were not in the
contemplation of the parties, when the contract was made; all engagements
existing between citizens of different states, citizens and foreigners, states
and foreigners; and states and citizens of other states were made the parties
contemplating the remedies then existing on the laws of the states—and
the new remedy proposed to be given in the federal courts, can be founded on no
principle whatever. Your’s &c.

The Federal Farmer.