a small pamphlet, entitled “Considerations on the Bank of N. America”, in which he endeavored to derive the power from the nature of the Union, in which the Colonies were declared & became Independent States; and also from the tenor of the “Articles of Confederation” themselves. But what is particularly worthy of notice is, that with all his anxious search in those Articles for such a power, he never glanced at the terms “Common Defence & general Welfare” as a source of it. He rather chose to rest the claim on a recital in the text, “that for the more convenient management of the general interests of the United States, Delegates shall be annually appointed to meet in Congress, which he said implied that the United States had general rights, general powers, and general obligations; not derived from any particular State, nor from all the particular States, taken separately; but “resulting from the Union of the whole” these general powers, not being controuled by the Article declaring that each State retained all powers not granted by the Articles, because “the individual States never possessed & could not retain a general power over the others”
The authority & argument here resorted to, if proving the ingenuity & patriotic anxiety of the author on one hand, shew sufficiently on the other, that the terms “common defence & general welfare cd. not according to the known acceptation of them avail his object.
That the terms in question were not suspected, in the Convention which formed the Constitution of any such meaning as has been constructively applied to them, may be pronounced with entire confidence. For it exceeds the possibility of belief, that the known advocates in the Convention for a jealous grant & cautious definition of federal powers, should have silently permitted the introduction of words or phrases in a sense rendering fruitless the restrictions & definitions elaborated by them.
Consider for a moment the immeasurable difference between the Constitution limited in its powers to the enumerated objects; and expanded as it would be by the import claimed for the phraseology in question. The difference is equivalent to two Constitutions, of characters essentially contrasted with each other; the one possessing powers confined to certain specified cases; the other extended to all cases whatsoever: For what is the case that would not be embraced by a general power to raise money, a power to provide for the general welfare, and a power to pass all laws necessary & proper to carry these powers into execution; all such provisions and laws superseding, at the same times, all local laws & constitutions at variance with them. Can less be said with the evidence before us furnished by the Journal of the Convention itself, than that it is impossible