« 上一頁繼續 »
tion could be obtained under a weak and ineffective government. The convention was urged to assure the success of the Constitution by ratifying as the ninth state; for, as we have said, New Hampshire's action was not yet known in Virginia.
The opponents of the Constitution objected to the clause allowing the importation of slaves for twenty years. “As much as I value a union of all the states," said Mason, "I would not admit the Southern States into the Union unless they agree to the discontinuance of this disgraceful trade." Yet he complained that Congress might, by taxation, bring about emancipation. Tyler pronounced the trade impolitic, iniquitous, and disgraceful. Henry, confessing that slavery was detested and declaring that it would rejoice his very soul if every one of his fellow-beings were set free, held up the fear that the northern states would free the slaves and declare “that every black man must fight.""
After a three weeks' session the convention was ready for a final vote. The Anti-Federalists debated to the end. The Federalists were willing that amendments to be adopted after ratification should be recommended; but Henry still asserted that there was no trouble about getting them adopted before ratification, and that subsequent amendments would but make matters worse. “The proposition of subsequent amendments is only to lull our ap
1 Elliot, Debates, III., 331, 433, 443.
Ibid., 452, 454, 590.
prehensions,” he exclaimed. “Will gentlemen tell me that they are in earnest about these amendments? I am convinced they mean nothing seri
When the vote came, eighty-nine delegates voted for ratification and seventy-nine against ratification (June 25, 1788). The resolution was accompanied by a solemn statement that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, might be resumed by them whenever the powers were perverted to their injury or oppression. A list of twenty articles constituting a bill of rights was added, beginning, of course, with the essential assertion “that there are certain natural rights, of which men, when they form a social compact, cannot deprive or divest their posterity.”: Twenty other amendments were presented, and the convention in the name and behalf of the people of Virginia enjoined upon their representatives in Congress the duty of working for the adoption of all the amendments to the Constitution.
Difficult as was the task of the Federalists in Virginia and Massachusetts, still greater trouble faced them in New York, where the Anti-Federalists were led by George Clinton and formed a strong party of opposition. The city of New York and the immediate neighborhood were enthusiastically in favor of adoption; most of Long Island and a portion of the east bank of the Hudson were evenly
1 Elliot, Debates, III., 649, 650. * Ibid., 654.
• Ibid., I., 327, III., 657.
divided; but the whole interior region was in opposition. More than half the goods consumed in Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, and western Massachusetts were bought within the limits of New York and paid an import duty into its coffers. This fact caused many New-Yorkers to hesitate to surrender to the general government the power to levy certain duties, and it called forth obstinate and selfish opposition to the new Constitution. The great landholders of the state, who were naturally jealous and conservative, were supported by the paper-money men and by the small band of officeholders, who feared that the state imposts would be lost and their salaries reduced.
Some of these men were opposed not so much to the Constitution as to the federal impost. The Federalists of the city and its vicinity were, however, very much in earnest and were not willing even to contemplate the organization of the new republic without New York; if Clinton and his followers were intent on holding aloof from the Union, what was to prevent the southern portion of the state from establishing an organization and ratifying the Constitution ?5
Under the circumstances, to win the vote of New
Libby, Distribution of Vote on Federal Const., 18. * McRee, Life and Corresp. of Iredell, II., 227, 228.
Libby, Distribution of Vote on Federal Const., 20, 26, 59. "" A Landholder” (Ellsworth), in Ford, Essays on the Constitution, 176.
s Pa. Gazette, June 11, 1788, quoted in Libby, Distribution of Vote on Federal Const., 19; New Haven Gazette, July 24, 1788, quoted, ibid.; Jay, Corresp. and Public Papers, III., 335.
Hamilton proposed to Jay and Madison the publication of a series of papers in defence of the Constitution. They bore the title of “The Federalist,” and appeared in the Independent Journal, the Daily Advertiser, the Packet, and other New York papers, over the name of “Publius." There is still some dispute as to the exact part taken by each member of this competent triumvirate.' Jay undoubtedly wrote but five of the essays; Madison seems to have been the author of twenty-nine, and Hamilton of fiftyone. Jay discussed the provisions of the Constitution affecting foreign affairs and the existing relations with foreign powers; Madison considered the foundations of government, the nature of confederacies and the examples of the past, the republican character of the new Constitution, the principle of separation of governmental powers, and representation under the new system. Hamilton commented on the need of union, on the danger of separation or the establishment of separate confederacies, on the glaring defects of the old Confederation, on the need of a government that could address itself immediately to the hopes and fears of individuals, on the functions of the executive and judicial departments, and on the necessity for the regulation of commerce.
York was difficult in the extreme.
1 Bourne and Ford, in Amer. Hist. Review, II., 443, 675; see also introduction to editions of Dawson, Hamilton, Bourne, Ford, and Lodge.
All of these essays are written in a style simple, clear, and straightforward. Abstruse as are the topics discussed, there is no ambiguity, no faltering, no juggling after the manner of demagogues. Each proposition is presented by men who expected to be heard and wished to convince the listener. While every word spoken bears directly on the great issue at hand, there is no sign of littleness, no personal allusions, no narrowness of view; general principles are laid down with daring and assurance by men who were still young in years but had read widely and had studied human nature.
“The Federalist" did not make much stir at the time, though some men were impressed by its power. And yet in the heat of this crisis these men were turning off with astonishing rapidity one of the greatest works ever written in the realm of political science. Perhaps America has as yet made no more signal contribution to learning or to literature.
When the New York convention assembled at Poughkeepsie in June, two-thirds of the delegates were hostile to the Constitution; and the task that confronted Hamilton, Jay, and Robert R. Livingston was a serious one. Lansing, Clinton, and Melancthon Smith led in the assault and were supported by their feebler followers. There was no disposition to defend the existing Confederation, or to deny that the country needed peace and
1 Elliot, Debates, II., 223, 358.