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For with respect to those
things which immediately concern the union, and for which the union was
purposely established, and is intended to secure, each state is to the
United States what each individual is to the state he lives in. And
it is on this grand point, this movement upon one centre, that our
existence as a nation, our happiness as a people, and our safety as
individuals, depend.

It may happen that some state or other may be somewhat over or under
rated, but this cannot be much. The experience which has been had upon
the matter, has nearly ascertained their several abilities. But even
in this case, it can only admit of an appeal to the United States, but
cannot authorise any state to make the alteration itself, any more than
our internal government can admit an individual to do so in the case of
an act of assembly; for if one state can do it, then may another do the
same, and the instant this is done the whole is undone.

Neither is it supposable that any single state can be a judge of all the
comparative reasons which may influence the collective body in arranging
the quotas of the continent. The circumstances of the several states are
frequently varying, occasioned by the accidents of war and commerce, and
it will often fall upon some to help others, rather beyond what their
exact proportion at another time might be; but even this assistance is
as naturally and politically included in the idea of a union as that of
any particular assigned proportion; because we know not whose turn
it may be next to want assistance, for which reason that state is the
wisest which sets the best example.

Though in matters of bounden duty and reciprocal affection, it is rather
a degeneracy from the honesty and ardor of the heart to admit any thing
selfish to partake in the government of our conduct, yet in cases where
our duty, our affections, and our interest all coincide, it may be of
some use to observe their union. The United States will become heir to
an extensive quantity of vacant land, and their several titles to
shares and quotas thereof, will naturally be adjusted according to their
relative quotas, during the war, exclusive of that inability which may
unfortunately arise to any state by the enemy's holding possession of
a part; but as this is a cold matter of interest, I pass it by,
and proceed to my third head, viz., on the manner of collection and
expenditure.

It has been our error, as well as our misfortune, to blend the affairs
of each state, especially in money matters, with those of the United
States; whereas it is our case, convenience and interest, to keep them
separate. The expenses of the United States for carrying on the war, and
the expenses of each state for its own domestic government, are distinct
things, and to involve them is a source of perplexity and a cloak for
fraud. I love method, because I see and am convinced of its beauty and
advantage. It is that which makes all business easy and understood, and
without which, everything becomes embarrassed and difficult.

There are certain powers which the people of each state have delegated
to their legislative and executive bodies, and there are other powers
which the people of every state have delegated to Congress, among
which is that of conducting the war, and, consequently, of managing the
expenses attending it; for how else can that be managed, which concerns
every state, but by a delegation from each? When a state has furnished
its quota, it has an undoubted right to know how it has been applied,
and it is as much the duty of Congress to inform the state of the one,
as it is the duty of the state to provide the other.

In the resolution of Congress already recited, it is recommended to the
several states to lay taxes for raising their quotas of money for the
United States, separate from those laid for their own particular use.

This is a most necessary point to be observed, and the distinction
should follow all the way through. They should be levied, paid and
collected, separately, and kept separate in every instance. Neither have
the civil officers of any state, nor the government of that state, the
least right to touch that money which the people pay for the support of
their army and the war, any more than Congress has to touch that which
each state raises for its own use.

This distinction will naturally be followed by another. It will occasion
every state to examine nicely into the expenses of its civil list, and
to regulate, reduce, and bring it into better order than it has hitherto
been; because the money for that purpose must be raised apart, and
accounted for to the public separately. But while the, monies of both
were blended, the necessary nicety was not observed, and the poor
soldier, who ought to have been the first, was the last who was thought
of.

Another convenience will be, that the people, by paying the taxes
separately, will know what they are for; and will likewise know that
those which are for the defence of the country will cease with the war,
or soon after. For although, as I have before observed, the war is their
own, and for the support of their own rights and the protection of their
own property, yet they have the same right to know, that they have
to pay, and it is the want of not knowing that is often the cause of
dissatisfaction.

This regulation of keeping the taxes separate has given rise to a
regulation in the office of finance, by which it is directed:

"That the receivers shall, at the end of every month, make out an exact
account of the monies received by them respectively, during such month,
specifying therein the names of the persons from whom the same shall
have been received, the dates and the sums; which account they shall
respectively cause to be published in one of the newspapers of the
state; to the end that every citizen may know how much of the monies
collected from him, in taxes, is transmitted to the treasury of the
United States for the support of the war; and also, that it may be known
what monies have been at the order of the superintendent of finance. It
being proper and necessary, that, in a free country, the people should
be as fully informed of the administration of their affairs as the
nature of things will admit."

It is an agreeable thing to see a spirit of order and economy taking
place, after such a series of errors and difficulties. A government or
an administration, who means and acts honestly, has nothing to fear, and
consequently has nothing to conceal; and it would be of use if a monthly
or quarterly account was to be published, as well of the expenditures
as of the receipts. Eight millions of dollars must be husbanded with an
exceeding deal of care to make it do, and, therefore, as the management
must be reputable, the publication would be serviceable.

I have heard of petitions which have been presented to the assembly of
this state (and probably the same may have happened in other states)
praying to have the taxes lowered. Now the only way to keep taxes low
is, for the United States to have ready money to go to market with: and
though the taxes to be raised for the present year will fall heavy,
and there will naturally be some difficulty in paying them, yet the
difficulty, in proportion as money spreads about the country, will every
day grow less, and in the end we shall save some millions of dollars by
it. We see what a bitter, revengeful enemy we have to deal with, and
any expense is cheap compared to their merciless paw. We have seen the
unfortunate Carolineans hunted like partridges on the mountains, and it
is only by providing means for our defence, that we shall be kept from
the same condition. When we think or talk about taxes, we ought to
recollect that we lie down in peace and sleep in safety; that we
can follow our farms or stores or other occupations, in prosperous
tranquillity; and that these inestimable blessings are procured to us
by the taxes that we pay. In this view, our taxes are properly our
insurance money; they are what we pay to be made safe, and, in strict
policy, are the best money we can lay out.

It was my intention to offer some remarks on the impost law of five per
cent. recommended by Congress, and to be established as a fund for the
payment of the loan-office certificates, and other debts of the United
States; but I have already extended my piece beyond my intention. And
as this fund will make our system of finance complete, and is strictly
just, and consequently requires nothing but honesty to do it, there
needs but little to be said upon it.

COMMON SENSE.

PHILADELPHIA, March 5, 1782.




THE CRISIS. XI. ON THE PRESENT STATE OF NEWS.


SINCE the arrival of two, if not three packets in quick succession, at
New York, from England, a variety of unconnected news has circulated
through the country, and afforded as great a variety of speculation.

That something is the matter in the cabinet and councils of our enemies,
on the other side of the water, is certain--that they have run their
length of madness, and are under the necessity of changing their
measures may easily be seen into; but to what this change of measures
may amount, or how far it may correspond with our interest, happiness
and duty, is yet uncertain; and from what we have hitherto experienced,
we have too much reason to suspect them in every thing. I do not address
this publication so much to the people of America as to the British
ministry, whoever they may be, for if it is their intention to promote
any kind of negotiation, it is proper they should know beforehand, that
the United States have as much honor as bravery; and that they are no
more to be seduced from their alliance than their allegiance; that their
line of politics is formed and not dependent, like that of their enemy,
on chance and accident. On our part, in order to know, at any time, what
the British government will do, we have only to find out what they ought
not to do, and this last will be their conduct. Forever changing and
forever wrong; too distant from America to improve in circumstances, and
too unwise to foresee them; scheming without principle, and executing
without probability, their whole line of management has hitherto been
blunder and baseness.



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