tion; view the powers vested in that body--they all harmonize in the sentiment, that the due regulation of trade and navigation was the anxious wish of every class of citizens, was the great object of calling the Convention.
This object being provided for by the Constitution proposed by the general Convention, people overlooked and were not sensible of the needless sacrifice they were making for it. Allowing for a moment that it would be possible for trade to flourish under a despotic government, of what avail would be a prosperous state of commerce, when the produce of it would be at the absolute disposal of an arbitrary unchecked general government, who may levy at pleasure the most oppressive taxes; who may destroy every principle of freedom; who may even destroy the privilege of complaining. . . .
After so recent a triumph over British despots, after such torrents of blood and treasure have been spent, after involving ourselves in the distresses of an arduous war, and incurring such a debt, for the express purpose of asserting the rights of humanity, it is truly astonishing that a set of men among ourselves should have had the effrontery to attempt the destruction of our liberties. But in this enlightened age, to dupe the people by the arts they are practising, is still more extraordinary. . . .
ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION SIMPLY REQUIRES AMENDMENTS, PARTICULARLY FOR COMMERCIAL POWER AND JUDICIAL POWER; CONSTITUTION GOES TOO FAR
Benjamin Austin of Massachusetts, leader of a "sub-faction . . . ordinarily allied with John Hancock," ( Forrest McDonald, We The People, Chicago, 1958, p. 23), used the pen-name "CANDIDUS." Like many New Englanders, Austin desired a federal government capable of stimulating commerce, but not at the expense of sacrificing other freedoms.
Part of this essay is quoted in Harding, p. 23. It is excerpted from two letters by "Candidus" in the [Boston] Independent Chronicle, December 6 and 20, 1787.
. . . . Many people are sanguine for the Constitution, because they apprehend our commerce will be benefited. I would advise those persons to distinguish between the evils that arise from extraneous causes and our private imprudencies, and those that arise from our government. It does not appear that the embarrassments of our trade will be removed by the adoption of this Constitution. The powers of Europe do not lay any extraordinary duties on our oil, fish, or tobacco, because of our government; neither do they discourage our ship building on this account. I would ask what motive would induce Britain to repeal the duties on our oil, or France on our fish, if we should adopt the proposed Constitution? Those nations laid these duties to promote their own fishery, etc., and let us adopt what mode of government