Should we adopt this plan, no extraordinary expenses would arise, and Congress having but one object to attend, every commercial regulation would be uniformly adopted; the duties of impost and excise, would operate equally throughout the states; our ship building and carrying trade, would claim their immediate attention; and in consequence thereof, our agriculture, trade and manufactures would revive and flourish. No acts of legislation, independent of this great business, would disaffect one State against the other; but the whole, . . . in one Federal System of commerce, would serve to remove all local attachments, and establish our navigation upon a most extensive basis. The powers of Europe, would be alarmed at our Union, and would fear lest we should retaliate on them by laying restrictions on their trade. . . .
These states, by the blessing of Heaven, are now in a very tranquil state. This government, in particular, has produced an instance of ENERGY, in suppressing a late rebellion, which no absolute monarchy can boast. And notwithstanding the insinuations of a "small party," who are ever branding the PEOPLE with the most opprobrious epithets--representing them as aiming to level all distinctions; emit paper money; encourage the rebellion--yet the present General Court, the voice of that body, whom they have endeavored to stigmatize, have steadily pursued measures foreign from the suggestions of such revilers. And the public credit has been constantly appreciating since the present Administration.
Let us then be cautious how we disturb this general harmony. Every exertion is now making, by the people, to discharge their taxes. Industry and frugality prevail. Our commerce is every day increasing by the enterprise of our merchants. And above all, the PEOPLE of the several states are convinced of the necessity of adopting some Federal Commercial Plan. . . .
In Federalist No. 23, Alexander Hamilton cogently outlined the necessity for an energetic government. Such a government, wrote Hamilton, required unlimited power for the national defense, "because it is impossible to foresee or define the extent and variety of national exigencies, or the correspondent extent and variety of the means which may be necessary to satisfy them." "BRUTUS" replied directly to Hamilton's argument in the following selection, excerpted from the 7th and 8th essays of "Brutus" in The New-York Journal, January 3 and 10, 1788.
Behind the disagreement between Hamilton and "Brutus" over the use or possible abuse of power necessary for the common defense, rests the deeper division of their respective views and hopes for America's future.
In a confederated government, where the powers are divided between the general and the state government, it is essential . . . that the revenues of the