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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 526

CONNECTICUT/7 JAN.
The principal sources of revenue will be imposts on goods imported
and sale of the western lands, which probably will be sufficient to
pay the debts and expenses of the United States while -peace continues.
But if there should be occasion to resort to direct taxation, each
state's quota will be ascertained according to a rule which has been
approved by the legislatures of eleven of the states, and should any
state neglect to furnish its quota, Congress may raise it by a tax in the
same manner as the state ought to have done; and what remedy more
easy and equitable could be devised to obtain the supplies from a
delinquent state?
Some object that the representation will be too small, but the states
have never thought fit to keep half the number of representatives in
Congress that they are entitled to under the present Confederation;
and of what advantage can it be to have a large assembly to transact
the few general matters that will come under the direction of Con-
gress? The regulating the time, place, and manner of elections seems
to be as well secured as possible. The legislature of each state may do
it, and if they neglect to do it in the best manner, it may be done by
Congress; and what motive can either have to injure the people in the
exercise of that right? The qualifications of the electors are to re-
main as fixed by the constitutions and laws of the several states.
It is by some objected that the executive is blended with the legisla-
ture, and that these powers ought to be entirely distinct and uncon-
nected, but is not this a gross error in politics? The united wisdom
and various interests of a nation should be combined in framing the
laws. But the execution of them should not be in the whole legisla-
ture; that would be too troublesome and expensive, but it will not
thence follow that the executive should have no voice or influence in
legislation. The supreme executive in Great Britain is one branch of
the legislature and has a negative on all the laws. Perhaps that is an
extreme that ought not to be imitated by a republic, but the partial
negative vested in the President by the new Constitution on the acts
of Congress, and the consequent revision, may be very useful to pre-
vent laws being passed without mature deliberation.
The Vice President, while he acts as President of the Senate, will
have nothing to do in the executive department. His being elected by
all the states will incline him to regard the interests of the whole, and
when the members of the Senate are equally divided on any question,
who so proper to give a casting vote as one who represents all the states?
The power of the President to grant pardons extends only to offenses
against the United States, which can't be productive of much mischief,
especially as those on impeachment are excepted, which will exclude
offenders from office.
526


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