of individuals. And should the proposed federal plan fail, from the obstinacy of those who will listen to no conditional amendments, although such as they cannot disapprove; or should it ultimately in its execution upon a fair trial, disappoint the wishes and expectations of our country--[then] an union purely federal is what the reasonable and dispassionate patriots of America must bend their views to.
My countrymen, preserve your jealousy--reject suspicion, it is the fiend that destroys public and private happiness. I know some weak, but very few if any wicked men in public confidence. And learn this most difficult and necessary lesson: That on the preservation of parties, public liberty depends. Whenever men are unanimous on great public questions, whenever there is but one party, freedom ceases and despotism commences. The object of a free and wise people should be so to balance parties, that from the weakness of all you may be governed by the moderation of the combined judgments of the whole, not tyrannized over by the blind passions of a few individuals.
UNRESTRICTED POWER OVER COMMERCE SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT
Partisan appeals to state pride, sectional jealousies and local interests, at times intruded into the arguments of both Federalist and Antifederalist--but, naturally, much more so into those of the latter. The essay which follows contains the frankly partisan view of a Massachusetts Antifederalist, "AGRIPPA," on the question of commerce under the new Constitution. Alleged to be from the pen of James Winthrop of Cambridge--though this identification is speculative rather than certain--"Agrippa" contributed eighteen letters to The Massachusetts Gazette between November 23, 1787 and February 5, 1788. The entire series has been reprinted in Paul L. Ford (ed.), Essays on the Constitution of the United States (Brooklyn, 1892), pp. 53- 122. This essay contains excerpts from "Agrippa's" letters of December 14, 18, 25, and 28, 1787, found in Ford, Essays, pp. 70-73, 76-77, 79-81.
It has been proved, by indisputable evidence, that power is not the grand principle of union among the parts of a very extensive empire; and that when this principle is pushed beyond the degree necessary for rendering justice between man and man, it debases the character of individuals, and renders them less secure in their persons and property. Civil liberty consists in the consciousness of that security, and is best guarded by political liberty, which is the share that every citizen has in the government. Accordingly all our accounts agree, that in those empires which are commonly called despotic, and which comprehend by far the greatest part of the world, the government is most fluctuating, and property least secure. In those countries insults are borne by the sovereign, which, if offered to one of our governors, would fill us with horror, and we should think the government dissolving.
The common conclusion from this reasoning is an exceedingly unfair one,