makes a difference between the specie to be raised of 1,800,000 dollars per annum. If the new government raises this sum in specie on the people, it will certainly support public credit, but it will overwhelm the people. It will give immense fortunes to the speculators; but it will grind the poor to dust. Besides, the present government is now redeeming the principal of the domestic debt by the sale of western lands. But let the full interest be paid in specie, and who will part with the principal for those lands? A principal, which having been generally purchased for two shillings and six pence on the pound, will yield to the holders two hundred and forty per cent. This paper system therefore, though in general an evil, is in this instance attended with the great benefit of enabling the public to cancel a debt upon easy terms, which has been swelled to its enormous size, by as enormous impositions. And the new government, by promising too much, will involve itself in a disreputable breach of faith. . . .
The present government promises nothing; the intended government, everything. From the present government little is expected; from the intended one, much. Because it is conceived that to the latter much is given; to the former, little. And yet the inability of the people to pay what is required in specie, remaining the same, the funds of the one will not much exceed those of the other. The public creditors are easy with the present government from a conviction of its inability [to pay]. They will be urgent with the new one from an opinion, that as is promised, so it can and will perform every thing. Whether the change will be for our prosperity and honor, is yet to be tried. Perhaps it will be found, that the supposed want of power in Congress to levy taxes is, at present a veil happily thrown over the inability of the people; and that the large powers given to the new government will, to every one, expose the nakedness of our land. Certain it is, that if the expectations which are grafted on the gift of those plenary powers, are not answered, our credit will be irretrievably ruined.
THE EXPENSE OF THE NEW GOVERNMENT
Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist No. 13, reasoned that economy in government could be effected through an adoption of the Constitution. Antifederalists believed that, quite the contrary, the new government would prove even more expensive than the Articles of Confederation.
The first part of the following essay is excerpted from a piece in The Feeeman's Oracle and New Hampshire Advertiser, January 11, 1788, by "A FARMER"; the second part is excerpted from an unsigned essay, headed "A letter from a gentleman in a neighboring state [ Massachusetts] to a gentleman in this city," in The Connecticut Journal, October 17, 1787.
. . . . Great complaint has been made, that Congress [under the Articles] has been too liberal in their grants of salaries to individuals, and I think not without just cause. For if I am rightly informed, there have been men whose
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Publication information: Book title: The Antifederalist Papers. Contributors: Morton Borden - Editor. Publisher: Michigan State University Press. Place of publication: East Lansing, MI. Publication year: 1965. Page number: 33.
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