Page:Federalist, Dawson edition, 1863.djvu/758

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
The Fœderalist.

Amendments, which shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof." The words of this Article are peremptory. The Congress "shall call a Convention." Nothing in this particular is left to the discretion of that body. And of consequence, all the declamation about the disinclination to a change, vanishes in air. Nor however difficult it may be supposed to unite two thirds, or three fourths of the State Legislatures, in amendments which may affect local interests, can there be any room to apprehend any such difficulty in a union on points which are merely relative to the general liberty or security of the People. We may safely rely on the disposition of the State Legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the National authority.

If the foregoing argument is a fallacy, certain it is, that I am myself deceived by it; for it is, in my conception, one of those rare instances in which a political truth can be brought to the test of a mathematical demonstration. Those who see the matter in the same light with me, however zealous they may be for amendments, must agree in the propriety of a previous adoption, as the most direct road to their own object.

The zeal for attempts to amend, prior to the establishment of the Constitution, must abate in every man, who is ready to accede to the truth of the following observations of a writer, equally solid and ingenious: "To balance a large State or society," (says he,) "whether monarchical or republican, on general laws, is a work of so great difficulty, that no human genius, however comprehensive, is able by the mere dint of reason and reflection, to effect it. The judgments of many must unite in the work; Experience must guide their labor; Time must bring it to perfection;