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Jensen, Merrill (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut
3 (1978)

V. Commentaries on the Constitution, 13 November 1787-7 January 1788,   pp. 456-534

Page 510

of the staple commodities of our Southern brethren-yet the produc-
tions of our country are more various and in greater abundance than
theirs-a greater variety of useful domestic manufactures are to be
found in New England than elsewhere. We are under the best ad-
vantages to become the carriers of America and to breed, by our fish-
eries and commerce, a hardy race of men who may constitute our
wealth in peace and our glory and defense in war.
Every useful object of business which we can propose for ourselves
happens to be in direct competition with the interest of Great Britain
and in some degree opposed to the interest of the other maritime
powers of Europe. We judge, and we know that we judge truly, that
it is for our interest to combine our strength and resources against
the encroachments of foreigners, and we are desirous that all the
people of the United States may be connected with us for the estab-
lishment of the American empire.
These are our principal objects as a people, and we are not de-
ceived in the characters of our public men as you imagine. They are
not richer than most of us or in any respect elevated above our con-
trol, as you suggest-their offices depend upon our suffrages which
we bestow upon persons with whom we are intimately acquainted.
It is true that we imagine that the establishment of a federal gov-
ernment will remedy some evils with which we find ourselves op-
pressed by the selfishness of our neighbors. We feel some impatience
when we reflect on the conduct of New York. We remember when
the whole strength and resources of that state were not competent to
reduce their internal enemies. We have not forgotten the assistance
we afforded them-the immense property which they acquired byour
exertions and which has been converted to their particular benefit-
the extensive region of new country which they claimed without title
and which we have tacitly conceded to them-we thought would suf-
ficiently evince the generosity of our dispositions and that we did
not fight for plunder, but for liberty.
When the misguided State of Rhode Island refused to grant the
Impost to Congress upon the first requisition, we well remember the
curses which some of the first characters in New York vented against
that state.5 We admitted the absurdity of the conduct of Rhode Island
-but what shall we now say of the conduct of New York, a state famed
for political knowledge, a state under the highest obligations of grat-
itude to New England, who have since the peace been invariably pur-
suing a system founded in the most unjustifiable selfishness-a system
which increases their relative importance only by weakening and de-
pressing their neighbors.
We mean not to be too general and severe in our censures. We

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