Page:Federalist, Dawson edition, 1863.djvu/353

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209
The Fœderalist.

nate authority cannot exist, is to set up supposition and theory against fact and reality. However proper such reasonings might be, to show that a thing ought not to exist, they are wholly to be rejected, when they are made use of to prove that it does not exist, contrary to the evidence of the fact itself. It is well known, that in the Roman Republic, the legislative authority, in the last resort, resided for ages in two different political bodies — not as branches of the same Legislature, but as distinct and independent Legislatures, in each of which an opposite interest prevailed; in one, the Patrician; in the other, the Plebian. Many arguments might have been adduced, to prove the unfitness of two such seemingly contradictory authorities, each having power to annul or repeal the acts of the other. But a man would have been regarded as frantic, who should have attempted at Rome to disprove their existence. It will be readily understood, that I allude to the comitia centuriata and the comitia tributa. The former, in which the people voted by centuries, was so arranged as to give a superiority to the Patrician interest: in the latter, in which numbers prevailed, the Plebian interest had an entire predominancy. And yet these two Legislatures coexisted for ages, and the Roman Republic attained to the utmost height of human greatness.

In the case particularly under consideration, there is no such contradiction as appears in the example cited; there is no power on either side to annul the acts of the other. And in practice, there is little reason to apprehend any inconvenience; because, in a short course of time, the wants of the States will naturally reduce themselves within a very narrow compass; and in the interim, the United States will, in all probability, find it convenient to abstain wholly from those objects to which the particular States would be inclined to resort.

To form a more precise judgment of the true merits