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The laws of one state frequently
interferred with, and sometimes opposed, those of another. Commerce
between state and state was without protection, and confidence without
a point to rest on. The condition the country was then in, was aptly
described by Pelatiah Webster, when he said, "_thirteen staves and ne'er
a hoop will not make a barrel_."(1)

If, then, by _Federalist_ is to be understood one who was for cementing
the Union by a general government operating equally over all the States,
in all matters that embraced the common interest, and to which the
authority of the States severally was not adequate, for no one State
can make laws to bind another; if, I say, by a _Federalist_ is meant
a person of this description, (and this is the origin of the name,) _I
ought to stand first on the list of Federalists_, for the proposition
for establishing a general government over the Union, came originally
from me in 1783, in a written Memorial to Chancellor Livingston, then
Secretary for Foreign Affairs to Congress, Robert Morris, Minister
of Finance, and his associate, Gouverneur Morris, all of whom are now
living; and we had a dinner and conference at Robert Morris's on the
subject. The occasion was as follows:

Congress had proposed a duty of five per cent, on imported articles, the
money to be applied as a fund towards paying the interest of loans to
be borrowed in Holland. The resolve was sent to the several States to
be enacted into a law. Rhode Island absolutely refused. I was at
the trouble of a journey to Rhode Island to reason with them on the
subject.(2) Some other of the States enacted it with alterations, each
one as it pleased. Virginia adopted it, and afterwards repealed it, and
the affair came to nothing.

1 "Like a stare in a cask well bound with hoops, it [the
individual State] stands firmer, is not so easily shaken,
bent, or broken, as it would be were it set up by itself
alone."--Pelatiah Webster, 1788. See Paul L. Ford's
Pamphlets cm the Constitution, etc., p. 128.--Editor

2 See my "Life of Paine." vol i., p. 103.--Editor,

It was then visible, at least to me, that either Congress must frame the
laws necessary for the Union, and send them to the several States to be
enregistered without any alteration, which would in itself appear like
usurpation on one part and passive obedience on the other, or some
method must be devised to accomplish the same end by constitutional
principles; and the proposition I made in the memorial was, to _add
a continental legislature to Congress, to be elected by the several
States_. The proposition met the full approbation of the gentlemen to
whom it was addressed, and the conversation turned on the manner of
bringing it forward. Gouverneur Morris, in walking with me after dinner,
wished me to throw out the idea in the newspaper; I replied, that I did
not like to be always the proposer of new things, that it would have too
assuming an appearance; and besides, that _I did not think the country
was quite wrong enough to be put right_. I remember giving the same
reason to Dr. Rush, at Philadelphia, and to General Gates, at whose
quarters I spent a day on my return from Rhode Island; and I suppose
they will remember it, because the observation seemed to strike them.(1)

1 The Letter Books of Robert Morris (16 folio volumes, which
should be in our national Archives) contain many entries
relating to Paine's activity in the public service. Under
date Aug. 21, 1783, about the time referred to by Paine in
this letter, Robert Morris mentions a conversation with him
on public affairs. I am indebted to General Meredith Read,
owner of these Morris papers, for permission to examine
them.--_Editor._.

But the embarrassments increasing, as they necessarily must from the
want of a better cemented union, the State of Virginia proposed holding
a commercial convention, and that convention, which was not sufficiently
numerous, proposed that another convention, with more extensive and
better defined powers, should be held at Philadelphia, May 10, 1787.

When the plan of the Federal Government, formed by this Convention, was
proposed and submitted to the consideration of the several States, it
was strongly objected to in each of them. But the objections were not on
anti-federal grounds, but on constitutional points. Many were shocked
at the idea of placing what is called Executive Power in the hands of a
single individual. To them it had too much the form and appearance of a
military government, or a despotic one. Others objected that the
powers given to a president were too great, and that in the hands of
an ambitious and designing man it might grow into tyranny, as it did
in England under Oliver Cromwell, and as it has since done in France.
A Republic must not only be so in its principles, but in its forms. The
Executive part of the Federal government was made for a man, and those
who consented, against their judgment, to place Executive Power in the
hands of a single individual, reposed more on the supposed moderation of
the person they had in view, than on the wisdom of the measure itself.

Two considerations, however, overcame all objections. The one was, the
absolute necessity of a Federal Government. The other, the rational
reflection, that as government in America is founded on the
representative system any error in the first essay could be reformed
by the same quiet and rational process by which the Constitution was
formed, and that either by the generation then living, or by those who
were to succeed. If ever America lose sight of this principle, she will
no longer be the _land of liberty_. The father will become the assassin
of the rights of the son, and his descendants be a race of slaves.

As many thousands who were minors are grown up to manhood since the name
of _Federalist_ began, it became necessary, for their information, to
go back and show the origin of the name, which is now no longer what it
originally was; but it was the more necessary to do this, in order to
bring forward, in the open face of day, the apostacy of those who first
called themselves Federalists.

To them it served as a cloak for treason, a mask for tyranny. Scarcely
were they placed in the seat of power and office, than Federalism was to
be destroyed, and the representative system of government, the pride
and glory of America, and the palladium of her liberties, was to be
overthrown and abolished. The next generation was not to be free. The
son was to bend his neck beneath the father's foot, and live, deprived
of his rights, under hereditary control. Among the men of this apostate
description, is to be ranked the ex-president _John Adams_. It has been
the political career of this man to begin with hypocrisy, proceed with
arrogance, and finish in contempt. May such be the fate of all such
characters.

I have had doubts of John Adams ever since the year 1776. In a
conversation with me at that time, concerning the pamphlet _Common
Sense_, he censured it because it attacked the English form of
government. John was for independence because he expected to be made
great by it; but it was not difficult to perceive, for the surliness of
his temper makes him an awkward hypocrite, that his head was as full of
kings, queens, and knaves, as a pack of cards. But John has lost deal.

When a man has a concealed project in his brain that he wants to bring
forward, and fears will not succeed, he begins with it as physicians
do by suspected poison, try it first on an animal; if it agree with the
stomach of the animal, he makes further experiments, and this was the
way John took. His brain was teeming with projects to overturn the
liberties of America, and the representative system of government, and
he began by hinting it in little companies. The secretary of John Jay,
an excellent painter and a poor politician, told me, in presence of
another American, Daniel Parker, that in a company where himself was
present, John Adams talked of making the government hereditary, and that
as Mr. Washington had no children, it should be made hereditary in the
family of Lund Washington.(1) John had not impudence enough to propose
himself in the first instance, as the old French Normandy baron did,
who offered to come over to be king of America, and if Congress did not
accept his offer, that they would give him thirty thousand pounds for
the generosity of it(2); but John, like a mole, was grubbing his way to
it under ground. He knew that Lund Washington was unknown, for nobody
had heard of him, and that as the president had no children to succeed
him, the vice-president had, and if the treason had succeeded, and the
hint with it, the goldsmith might be sent for to take measure of the
head of John or of his son for a golden wig. In this case, the good
people of Boston might have for a king the man they have rejected as a
delegate. The representative system is fatal to ambition.

1 See supra footnote on p. 288.--_Editor._

2 See vol. ii. p. 318 of this work.--_Editor._

Knowing, as I do, the consummate vanity of John Adams, and the
shallowness of his judgment, I can easily picture to myself that when
he arrived at the Federal City he was strutting in the pomp of his
imagination before the presidential house, or in the audience hall, and
exulting in the language of Nebuchadnezzar, "Is not this great Babylon,
that I have built for the honour of my Majesty!" But in that unfortunate
hour, or soon after, John, like Nebuchadnezzar, was driven from among
men, and fled with the speed of a post-horse.

Some of John Adams's loyal subjects, I see, have been to present him
with an address on his birthday; but the language they use is too tame
for the occasion. Birthday addresses, like birthday odes, should not
creep along like mildrops down a cabbage leaf, but roll in a torrent of
poetical metaphor. I will give them a specimen for the next year. Here
it is--

When an Ant, in travelling over the globe, lift up its foot, and put it
again on the ground, it shakes the earth to its centre: but when YOU,
the mighty Ant of the East, was born, &c.



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