« 上一頁繼續 »
Southern States mean to take to themselves; that they also increase the burden of defense, which would of course fall so much the heavier on the Northern; that slaves occupy the places of freemen, and eat their food. Dismiss your slaves, and freemen will take their places. It is our duty to lay every discouragement on the importation of slaves; but this amendment would give the just rium liberorum to him who would import slaves; that other kinds of property were pretty equally distributed through all the colonies;— there were as many cattle, horses, and sheep, in the North as the South, and South as North; but not so as to slaves; —that experience has shown that those colonies have been always able to pay most which have the most inhabitants, whether they be black or white; and the practice of the Southern colonies has always been to make every farmer pay poll taxes upon all his laborers, whether they be black or white. He acknowledges, indeed, that freemen work the most, but they consume the most also. They do not produce a greater surplus for taxation. The slave is neither fed nor clothed so expensively as a freeman. Again, white women are exempted from labor generally, but negro women are not. In this, then, the Southern States have an advantage, as the Article now stands. It has sometimes been said that slavery is necessary, because the commodities they raise would be too dear for market, if cultivated by freemen; but now it is said that the labor of the slave is the dearest.
Mr. Payne urged the original resolution of Congress, to proportion the quotas of the States to the number of souls.
Dr. Witherspoon was of opinion that the value of lands and houses was the best estimate of the wealth of a nation, and that it was practicable to obtain such a valuation. This is the true barometer of wealth. The one now proposed is imperfect in itself, and unequal between the States. It has been objected that negroes eat the food of freemen, and therefore should be taxed; horses also eat the food of freemen, therefore they also should be taxed. It has been said, too, that in carrying slaves into the estimate of the taxes the State is to pay, we do no more than those States themselves do, who always take slaves into the estimate of the taxes the individual is to pay. But the cases are not parallel. In the Southern colonies slaves pervade the whole colony, but they do not pervade the whole continent. That as to the original resolution of Congress, to proportion the quotas according to the souls, it was temporary only, and related to the moneys heretofore remitted; whereas we are now entering into a new compact, and therefore stand on original ground.
August 1. The question being put, the amendment proposed was rejected by the votes of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, against those of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina. Georgia was divided.
The other article was in these words :—" Art. XVII. In determining questions, each colony shall have one vote."
July 30, 31, August 1. Present forty-one members. Mr. Chase observed, that this Article was the most likely to divide us of any one proposed in the draft then under consideration. That the larger colonies had threatened they would not confederate at all, if their weight in Congress should not be equal to the numbers of people they added to the confederacy, while the smaller ones declared against a union, if they did not retain an equal vote for the protection of their rights. That it was of the utmost consequence to bring the parties together, as, should we sever from each other, either no foreign power will ally with us at all, or the different States will form different alliances, and thus increase the horrors of those scenes of civil war and bloodshed which, in such a state of separation and independence, would render us a miserable people. That our importance, our interests, our peace, required that we should confederate, and that mutual sacrifices should be made to effect a compromise of this difficult question. He was of opinion the smaller colonies would lose their rights, if they were not in some instances allowed an equal vote; and therefore that a discrimination should take place among the questions which would come before Congress. That the smaller States should be secured in all questions concerning life or liberty, and the greater ones in all respecting property. He therefore proposed that, in votes relating to money, the voice of each colony should be proportioned to the number of its inhabitants.
Dr. Franklin thought that the votes should be so proportioned in all cases. He took notice that the Delaware counties had bound up their delegates to disagree to this article. He thought it very extraordinary language to be held by any State, that they would not confederate with us unless we would let them dispose of our money. Certainly, if we vote equally we ought to pay equally; but the smaller States will hardly purchase the privilege at this price. That, had he lived in a State where the representation, originally equal, had become unequal by time and accident, he might have submitted rather than disturb government; but that we should be very wrong to set out in this practice, when it is in our power to establish what is right. That, at the time of the union between England and Scotland, the latter had made the objection which the smaller States now do; but experience had proved that no unfairness had ever been shown them; that their advocates had prognosticated that it would again happen, as in times of old, that the whale would swallow Jonah, but he thought the prediction reversed in event, and that Jonah had swallowed the whale; for the Scotch had, in fact, got possession of the government, and gave laws to the English. He reprobated the original agreement of Congress to vote by colonies, and therefore was for their voting, in all cases, according to the nnmber of taxables.
Dr. Witherspoon opposed every alteration of the article. All men admit that a confederacy is necessary. Should the idea get abroad that there is likely to be no union among us, it will damp the minds of the people, diminish the glory of our struggle, and lessen its importance; because it will open to our view future prospects of war and dissension among ourselves. If an equal vote be refused, the smaller States will become vassals to the larger; and all experience has shown that the vassals and subjects of Free States are the most enslaved. He instanced the helots of Sparta and the provinces of Rome. He observed that foreign powers, discovering this blemish, would make it a handle for disengaging the smaller States from so unequal a confederacy. That the colonies should, in fact, be considered as individuals; and that, as such, in all disputes they should have an equal vote; that they are now collected as individuals making a bargain with each other, and, of course, had a right to vote as individuals. That in the East India Company they voted by persons, and not by their proportion of stock. That the Belgic confederacy voted by provinces. That in questions of war the smaller States were as much interested as the larger, and therefore should vote equally; and indeed, that the larger States were more likely to bring war on the confederacy, in proportion as their frontier was more extensive. He admitted that equality of representation was an excellent principle, but then it must be of things which are co-ordinate; that is, of things similar, and of the same nature; that nothing relating to individuals could ever come before Congress; nothing but what would respect Colonies. He distinguished between an incorporating and a federal union. The union of England was an incorporating one; yet Scotland had suffered by that union; for that its inhabitants were drawn from it by the hopes of places and employments; nor was it an instance of equality of representation; because while Scotland was allowed nearly a thirteenth of representation, they were to pay only one-fortieth of the land-tax. He expressed his hopes that, in the present enlightened state of men's minds, we might expect a lasting confederacy, if it was founded on fair principles.
John Adams advocated the voting in proportion to numbers. He said, that we stand here as the representatives of the people; that in some States the people are many, in others they are few; that therefore their vote here should be proportioned to the numbers from whom it comes. Reason, justice, and equity, never had weight enough, on the face of the earth, to govern the councils of men. It is interest alone which does it, and it is interest alone which can be trusted; that therefore the interests within doors should be the mathematical representatives of the interests without doors; that the individuality of the colonies is a mere sound. Does the individuality of a colony increase its wealth or numbers f If it does, pay equally. If it does not add weight in the scale of the confederacy, it cannot add to their rights, nor weigh in argument. A has £50, B £500, C £1000, in partnership. Is it just they should equally dispose of the moneys of the partnership? It has been said we are independent individuals, making a bargain together. The question is not what we are now, but what we ought to be when onr bargain shall be made. The confederacy is to make us one individual only; it is to form us, like separate parcels of metal, into one common mass. We shall no longer retain our separate individuality, but become a single individual, as to all questions submitted to the confederacy. Therefore all those reasons which prove the justice and expediency of equal representation in other assemblies hold good here. It has been objected that a propor