CHAPTER V. THE CONFEDERATION (1781-1788).

48. REFERENCES

BIBLIOGRAPHIES. - Justin Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, VI. 745, VII. 199-236, 527-543, VIII. 491;, notes to Curtis, Bancroft, McMaster, and Pitkin; W. F. Foster, References to the Constitution, 12-14; J. J. Lalor, Cyclopedia, I. 577; Channing and Hart, Guide, secs. 142, 149-153.

HISTORICAL MAPS. - Nos. 1, 3, this volume ( Epoch Maps, Nos. 6, 7); Labberton, Atlas, lxvi.; Rhode, Atlas, No. xxviii.; Johnston, History of the United States for Schools, 133; Gordon American Revolution, I. frontispiece; B. A. Hinsdale, Old Northwest, I. 188, 201 (reprinted from MacCoun's Historical Geography), also I. frontispiece, and II. 393; Justin Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, VII. 140; school histories of Channing, Johnston, Scudder Thomas.

GENERAL ACCOUNTS. - Joseph Story, Commentaries, secs. 218-271; R. Hildreth, United States, III, 374-481; T. Pitkin, II. 9-36, 154-218; H. Von Hoist, United States, I. 1-46; Geo. Tucker,United States, I. 291-347; Justin Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, VII. ch. iii.; J. T. Morse, Franklin, 216-420; Abiel Holmes, Annals of America, II. 353-371; J. Schouler, United States, I. 1-30; Bryant and Gay, Popular History, IV. 79-99; F. A. Walker Making of a Nation, ch. 1; Edward Channing, United States 1761-1865. ch. iv.

SPECIAL HISTORIES. - G. T. Curtis Constitutional History, chs. v.-xiv. (History of the Constitution I. 214-347); George Bancroft, United States (last revision), VI. 5-194, History of the Constitution, I. 1- 266; John Fiske, Critical Period, 1-186; J. B. McMaster, United States, I. 103-416; J. F. Jameson Essays on the Constitution; T. Pitkin, United States, I. 283-422, II. 223; William B. Weeden, New England, II. chs. xxii., xxiii.; W. G. Sumner, Financier and Finances, II. chs. xvi.-xxvii.; B. A. Hinsdale, Old Northwest, chs. ix.-xvi.; H. B. Adams, Maryland's Influence; W. Hill, First Stages of the Tariff Policy; S. Sato, Public Land Question; Theodore Roosevelt. Winning of the West, III.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS. - Journals of Congress; Secret Journals; Madison's notes in H. D. Gilpin, Papers of James Madison, and in Elliot's Debates, V.; letters of Washington, Madison, John Jay, Hamilton, and Franklin, in their works; Thomas Paine, Public Good; Noah Webster, Sketches of American Policy ; Pelatiah Webster, Dissertation on the Political Union; Brissot de Warville'sExamen Critique [1784], and Nouveau Voyage [1788], (also in translation); Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia. - Reprints in American History told by Contemporaries, II., American History Leaflets, Nos. 20, 22, 28.

49. THE UNITED STATES IN 1781.

[Army.] [Territory.]

The task thrown upon Congress in 1781 would have tried the strongest government in existence. An army of more than ten thousand men was under arms, and must be kept up until peace was formally declared, and then must be paid off. The territorial claims of the States and of the Union were still in confusion. Virginia roused the suspicion of the small States by making the promised cession in terms which Congress could not accept, and the other States had made no motion towards yielding their claims. Relations with the Indians were still confused. Superintendents of Indian affairs had been appointed, and in 1778 a treaty was negotiated with the Creeks; but the States, particularly Pennsylvania and Georgia, continued to make their own arrangements with Indian tribes.

[Finances.] [Commerce.] [General weakness.]

The finances of the country seemed to have reached their lowest ebb. An attempt was made to float a new issue of continental money at one dollar for forty of the old bills The new obligations speedily sank to the level of the old, and the country was practically bankrupt. The aid of the French was all that kept the government afloat (sec. 43). The return of peace was expected to restore American commerce to its old prosperity; but having gone to war principally because colonial commerce with other countries was restricted, the Americans found themselves deprived of their old freedom of trade with England. They were subject to discriminating duties in English ports, and were excluded from the direct trade with the English West Indies, which had been the chief resource the colonial ship- owners. The State governments were in debt, embarrassed, and beset with the social difficulties which come in the train of war. The disbanded troops were not accustomed to regular employment or to a quiet life; taxes were heavy and odious; the far Western settlements clamored to be set free from the States to which they belonged. Above all, the national government was weak, inefficient, and little respected by the army or the people at large.

60. FORM OF THE GOVERNMENT (1781-1788.)

[Congress.]

The first and fundamental defect of the government was in the organization of Congress. The Continental Congress had been a head without a body; under the Articles of Confederation, Congress was a body without a head. A single assembly continued to be the source of all national legislative, executive, and judicial power (sec. 37). As though to prevent the country from getting the benefit of experience, no man could remain a member of Congress for more than three years in succession. The delegates of each State continued to cast jointly one vote; if only one member were present, the vote of a State was not counted; if but two were present, they might produce a tie. On important questions the approval of nine States was necessary, and often less than that number had voting representatives on the floor. Amendment was impossible, except by consent of all the State legislatures. Although Congress had to deal with difficult questions of peace, its principal power was that of carrying on war. Congress might make treaties, but it could pass no act in defence of American commerce.

[Executive departments.]

A great effort was made to improve the executive system. By resolutions passed early in 1781, secretaries were appointed for the three departments of Foreign Affairs, War, and Finance; the board system, championed by Samuel Adams and others, was to be abandoned. The importance of the War Department diminished after 1782. "The Secretary of the United States for the Department of Foreign Affairs" was quartered in two little rooms, and furnished with two clerks. The post was filled first by Robert R. Livingston, and from 1784 by John Jay. The office of Superintendent of Finance was bestowed upon Robert Morris of Pennsylvania.

[Courts.]

The Articles of Confederation provided for a special tribunal to settle territorial disputes between the States. The system was invoked in 1782, and a verdict was rendered in favor of Pennsylvania and against Connecticut in their rival claims to the Wyoming region. A second set of federal courts was constituted by designating certain State courts to try piracies and felonies committed on the high seas. A third and the only important federal tribunal was the Court of Appeals in prize cases, which began to sit in January, 1780, and before which were sued sixty-five cases. All the courts, like all the executive departments, were created by Congress, alterable by Congress, and subject to the control of Congress. In 1784 the Court of Appeals was allowed to lapse, by the refusal of Congress to pay the salaries of the judges.

51. DISBANDMENT OF THE ARMY (1783.)

To follow the history of the Confederation from year to year would be unprofitable. It was a confused period, with no recognized national leaders, no parties, no great crises. We shall therefore take up one after another the important questions which arose, and follow each to the end of the Confederation.

[Half-pay question.] [Protests.]

The first duty of Congress after peace was declared was to cut off the military expenditures (sec. 42). The food, clothing, and pay of the army amounted to about $400,000 a month. Provision had been made for bounty lands for the soldiers; the officers expected some more definite reward. On April 26, 1778, Congress, by a majority of one State, had voted half pay for life to the officers, as an essential measure for keeping the army together. In the four years following, five different votes had been passed, each annulling the previous one. Another proposition, in November, 1782, was to remit the whole matter to the States. On March 10, 1783, appeared the so-called "Newburgh addresses," - an anonymous plea to the army, urging the officers not to separate until Congress had done justice in this respect. A crisis was threatened. Washington himself attended the meeting of the officers, and counselled moderation. He used his utmost influence with Congress, and on the 22d of March secured a vote of full pay for five years. As the treasury was empty, the only payment to the officers was in certificates of indebtedness, upon which interest accumulated during the next seven years. Massachusetts protested, declaring the grant to be "more than an adequate reward for their services, and inconsistent with that equality which ought to subsist among citizens of free and republican states." In June, 1783, three hundred mutineers surrounded the place of meeting of Congress, and demanded a settlement of their back pay; and the executive council of Pennsylvania declined to interfere. The result was that Congress changed its place of meeting, and ever after retained a lively resentment against the city of Philadelphia.

52. TERRITORIAL SETTLEMENT WITH THE STATES (1781-1802).

[The Western claims.] [Northwest cessions.]

Although Congress had no power, under the Articles of Confederation, to regulate territory, it earnestly urged the States to cede their claims. The Ohio River divided the Western country into two regions, each having a separate territorial history. The northern part was claimed by Virginia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, on the ground that their old charters, extending to the Pacific, were revived (sec. 45). The United States, as representing the landless States, claimed the whole region as territory won by the common effort and sacrifice of the Revolutionary War. On March 1, 1784, Virginia ceded all her claims north of the Ohio River, except a reservation for bounty lands. Massachusetts followed in 1785; the commonwealth had large tracts of unoccupied land in Maine and in New York. Connecticut had no such resources, and in 1786 ceded only the western part of her claim, retaining till 1800, as a "Western Reserve," a strip, extending along Lake Erie, one hundred and twenty miles west from Pennsylvania.

[Territorial organization.]

The claims to the region north of the Ohio having thus been extinguished, the government began to make plans for the administration of its domain. On Oct. 10, 1780, the Continental Congress had promised that the lands ceded by the States should be "disposed of for the common benefit of the United States," and "be settled and formed into distinct republican States which shall become members of the federal union." These two principles are the foundation both of the territorial and the public land systems of the United States.

On April 23, 1784, an ordinance reported by Jefferson was passed, providing for representative legislatures as fast as the West grew sufficiently populous to maintain them. It is hardly a misfortune that the map was not encumbered with the names suggested by Jefferson for the new States, - Cherronesus, Metropotamia, Assenisippia, Polypotamia, and Pelisipia; but another clause was voted down which would have prohibited slavery in the Territories after 1800.

[Northwest Ordinance.]

June 13, 1787, a second ordinance passed Congress, which was inferior in importance only to the Federal Constitution. It provided minutely for a preliminary territorial government, in which laws were to be made by appointive judges, and for a later representative government. The conception was that the Territories were to occupy the position formerly claimed by the colonies; they were to be subject to no general taxation, but placed under a governor appointed by the general government; their laws were to be subject to his veto, and to later revision by the central authority. A new principle was the preparation of the Territories for statehood: the ordinance laid down a series of "Articles of Compact" to govern them after they were admitted into the Union. Religious liberty and personal rights were to be secured; general morality and education to be encouraged; and finally it was provided that "there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said Territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." The introduction of this clause is due to New England men, who were anxious to form a colony on the Ohio, and who desired to secure the freedom with which they were familiar. The clause had no effect upon slaves held in the Territory at the time of the passage of the ordinance, but it distinctly expresses the dissatisfaction of the country with the system of human slavery. As soon as the Northwest Territory was organized, the sale of lands began; but nothing was received in cash till long after the Confederation had expired.

[Southern cessions.]

In the southern block of States the territorial settlement proceeded more slowly, and was in every way less satisfactory. Virginia retained both jurisdiction and land in Kentucky. North Carolina in 1790 granted the jurisdiction in what is now Tennessee, but every acre of the land had already been granted by the State. South Carolina had almost nothing to cede, and yielded it in 1787. Georgia stood out on the claim to the whole territory between her present boundary and the Mississippi, and would not yield until 1802. Slavery was not prohibited.

53. FINANCES (1781-1788).

[Financial status.] [Requisitions.]

The financial condition of the Confederation was throughout deplorable (sec. 43). The Revolution imposed upon the country a heavy debt. The accounts of the government were so badly kept that to this day it is impossible to state the amount; but it was probably about thirty millions, with an annual interest charge of about two millions. The necessary expenditure for the support of Congress, of the army on a peace-footing, and of the executive and judicial boards and departments, called for about half a million more. The continental currency had practically been repudiated, and no more could be floated; Congress had no power to lay either direct or indirect taxes; the post-office had an income of about $25,000 a year, all of which was expended upon the service. Hence Congress fell back on requisitions apportioned on the States: one of its principal functions was each year to calculate the amount necessary for the public service, and to call upon the State legislatures for their quota. The total sum required from 1781 to 1788 was about $16,000,000. Of this there had actually been paid during the seven years $3,500,000 in specie, and $2,500,000 in certificates of national indebtedness. The annual cash income of the government was therefore about half a million, which was entirely absorbed by the necessary running expenses of the government, leaving nothing for the payment of interest.

[Morris's administration.]

This condition of virtual bankruptcy might have been avoided had Robert Morris been able to carry out the reforms which he proposed when he became superintendent of finance in 1781. He found the financial administration complicated and corrupt. He attempted to substitute business methods and punctuality of payment. While the war lasted, however, the only financial system possible was to squeeze every source of revenue, and to pay only what could not be avoided. When peace returned, the States would provide no better system. To keep up the credit of the government the first necessity was the prompt payment of interest: the payment of interest required money; money must come from taxes, and the State declined to levy the taxes. In 1784 Morris resigned in despair, and thenceforward a Treasury Board mismanaged the finances of the nation.

[Bank of North America.]

May 26, 1781, Congress had taken the important step of chartering the Bank of North America. The United States was to furnish part of the capital, and to make the bank its financial agent. Its notes were to be receivable in the duties and taxes of every State in the Union. Morris asked Jay to get specie from Spain to start the bank. "I am determined," said he, "that the bank shall be well supported until it can support itself, and then it will support us." Its connection with the government practically ceased after the retirement of Morris in 1784, although it remained under a State charter a prosperous and useful institution, and is still in existence, a sound and healthy bank.

[The currency.]

Another financial measure was the attempt to correct the currency. After the end of the war there was found in circulation an extraordinary mixture of gold and silver coins of all nations, especially the Spanish milled dollar, which had been accepted by the Continental Congress as the unit of its issues. All the currency was badly counterfeited, defaced, and clipped. In 1782 the quartermaster-general, Timothy Pickering, who was about to pay out a part of the French subsidy in coin, wrote as follows: "I must trouble you for the necessary apparatus for clipping. 'Tis a shameful business and an unreasonable hardship on a public officer.... A pair of good shears, a couple of punches, and a leaden anvil of two or three pounds weight. Will you inquire how the goldsmiths put in their plugs?" The Confederation, upon Jefferson's report, July 6, 1785, adopted the dollar as its unit, and provided for a decimal ratio; but a few tons of copper cents made up the only national currency put into circulation.

[Foreign loans.]

Towards the end of its existence the Confederation found itself on the brink of a default of interest on debts due to foreign governments and bankers. France in 1783 made a final loan of six hundred thousand francs; and from 1783 to 1788 Dutch bankers were found who had sufficient confidence in the government to advance it $1,600,000 on favorable terms. With the proceeds of these loans the government was able to pay the accumulated interest on the foreign loans, and thus to keep its credit above water in Europe.

54. DISORDERS IN THE STATES (1781-1788).

[State financial legislation.]

The finances of the States were little better than those of the Union. The States controlled all the resources of the country; they could and did raise taxes, but they appropriated the proceeds to their own pressing necessities; and the meagre sums paid to Congress represented a genuine sacrifice on the part of many States, particularly Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Unfortunately the States exercised unlimited powers over their own currency and commercial relations. Times were hard, debts had accumulated, property had been destroyed by the war. State after State passed stay laws delaying the collection of debts; or "tender laws" were enacted, by which property at an appraised value was made a legal tender, Cattle, merchandise, and unimproved real estate were the usual currency thus forced upon creditors. After peace was declared, a second era of State paper-money issues came on, and but four of the thirteen States escaped the craze.

[Weakness of the States.] [Proposed new states.] [Insurrections.]

These remedies bore hard on the creditors in other States, created a feeling of insecurity among business men, and gave no permanent relief. The discontented, therefore, sought a remedy for themselves. The Revolutionary War had left behind it an eddy of lawlessness and disregard of human life. The support of the government was a heavy load upon the people. The States were physically weak, and the State legislatures habitually timid. In several States there were organized attempts to set off outlying portions as independent governments. Vermont had set the example by withdrawing from New York in 1777, and throughout the Confederation remained without representation either in the New York legislature or in Congress. In 1782 the western counties of Pennsylvania and Virginia threatened to break off and form a new State. From 1785 to 1786 the so-called State of "Franklin," within the territory of what is now eastern Tennessee, had a constitution and legislature and governor, and carried on a mild border warfare with the government of North Carolina, to which its people owed allegiance. The people of Kentucky and of Maine held conventions looking toward separation. The year 1786 was marked by great uneasiness in what had been supposed to be the steadiest States in the union. In New Hampshire the opposition was directed against the legislature; but General Sullivan, by his courage, succeeded in quelling the threatened insurrection without bloodshed. In Massachusetts in the fall of 1786 concerted violence prevented the courts from sitting; and an organized force of insurgents under Captain Shays threatened to destroy the State government. As a speaker in the Massachusetts convention of 1788 said, "People took up arms; and then if you went to speak to them you had the musket of death presented to your breast. They would rob you of your property, threaten to burn your houses; obliged you to be on your guard night and day.... How terrible, how distressing was this!... Had any one that was able to protect us come and set up his standard, we should all have flocked to it, even though it had been a monarch." The arsenal at Springfield was attacked. The State forces were met in the open field by armed insurgents. Had they been successful, the Union was not worth one of its own repudiated notes. The Massachusetts authorities were barely able to restore order, and Congress went beyond its constitutional powers in an effort to assist.

55. SLAVERY (1777-1788).

[Anti-slavery spirit.] [Emancipation acts.] [Southern sentiment.]

One evidence that the States were still sound and healthful was the passage of Emancipation acts. The Revolutionary principles of the rights of man, the consent of the governed, and political equality, had been meant for white men; but it was hard to deny their logical application to the blacks. New anti-slavery societies were formed, particularly in Pennsylvania; but the first community to act was Vermont. In the Declaration of Rights prefixed to the Constitution of 1777 it was declared that since every man is entitled to life, liberty, and happiness, therefore "no ... person born in this country, or brought here over sea, ought to be holden by law to serve any person as a servant, slave, or apprentice" after he arrives at the age of maturity. A few years later this was supplemented by an act abolishing the institution of slavery outright. The number of slaves in Vermont was inconsiderable, but in 1780 two States, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, took similar action, affecting several thousand persons. The Massachusetts constitution of 1780 declared that "all men are born free and equal." This clause was a few years later interpreted by the courts to mean that after 1780 no person could legally be held as a slave. In Pennsylvania in the same year a gradual Emancipation Act was passed, under which persons then in bondage were to serve as slaves during their lives; their children, born after 1780, were eventually to become free; and no person was to be brought into the State and sold as a slave. Within four years New Hampshire and Connecticut passed similar Emancipation Acts. In Rhode Island the number of slaves, 3,500, was considerable in proportion to the population, and that State therefore made a distinct sacrifice for its principles by its act of 1785. Thus at the expiration of the Confederation in 1788, all the States north of Maryland, except New York and New Jersey, had put slavery in process of extinction; those two States followed in 1799 and 1804. Many Southern statesmen hoped that the institution was dying out even in the South. Jefferson in 1787 wrote: "Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever." Some steps were taken, particularly in Virginia and Kentucky, for the amelioration of the condition of the blacks; and the slave-trade was forbidden in most of the States of the Union during this period.

56. FOREIGN RELATIONS AND COMMERCE (1781-1788).

[Relations with England.]

In no respect, not even in finance, was the weakness of the Confederation so evident as in the powerlessness of Congress to pass commercial laws, and its consequent inability to secure commercial treaties. In 1785 John Adams was sent as minister to Great Britain, and was received with civility by the sovereign from whom he had done so much to tear the brightest jewel of his crown; but when he endeavored to come to some commercial arrangement, he could make no progress. It is easy now to see that the best policy for Great Britain would have been in every way to encourage American commerce; the Americans were accustomed to trade with England; their credits and business connections were established with English merchants; the English manufactured the goods most desired by America. When the Whigs were driven out of power in 1783, the last opportunity for such an agreement was lost. July 2, 1783, an Order in Council was issued, restraining the West India trade to British ships, British built; and on March 26, 1785, the Duke of Dorset replied to the American commissioners who asked for a treaty: "The apparent determination of the respective States to regulate their own separate interests renders it absolutely necessary, towards forming a permanent system of commerce, that my court should be informed how far the commissioners can be duly authorized to enter into any engagement with Great Britain which it may not be in the power of any one of the States to render totally useless and inefficient."

[Loyalists.] [British debts.] [Posts.]

There were other reasons why the British continued to subject American ships in English ports to discriminations and duties from which the vessels of most other powers were exempt. The treaty of 1783 had provided that Congress would recommend to the States just treatment of the loyalists; the recommendation was made. Most of the States declined to comply; men who had been eminent before the Revolution returned to find themselves distrusted, and sometimes were mobbed; their estates, which in most cases had been confiscated, were withheld, and they could obtain no consideration. This was unfriendly, but not a violation of any promise. The action of the States in placing obstacles in the way of collecting debts due to British merchants before the Revolution was a vexatious infraction of the treaty. Five States had passed laws for the partial or complete confiscation of such debts, and even after the treaty Pennsylvania and Massachusetts passed similar Acts. As an offset, the British minister in 1786 declared that the frontier posts would not be surrendered so long as the obstacles to the collection of British debts were left standing.

[The Spanish treaty.]

The only other power with which the United States desired commercial relations without possessing them was Spain. The Eastern States were very anxious to obtain privileges of trade. The Spanish were willing to grant them, but made it a condition that the Americans should not have the right of free navigation of the lower Mississippi. Jay, acting under the instruction of Congress, in 1786 negotiated a treaty in which he agreed to the Spanish conditions. Instantly the West was aroused, and violent threats were made by the people of Kentucky and the adjacent region that if that treaty went into effect they would withdraw from the Union. "The tendency of the States," said Madison, a few months later, "to violations of the laws of nations and treaties ... has been manifest.... The files of Congress contain complaints already from almost every nation with which treaties have been formed."

57. DISINTEGRATION OF THE UNION (1786, 1787).

[The Confederation violated.] [Danger of anarchy.]

The year 1786 marks a crisis in the development of the Union. The inefficiency of Congress was reflected in the neglect of constitutional duties by the States: Rhode Island recalled her delegates, and refused to appoint new members; New Jersey felt so much injured by a New York tariff that an act was passed taxing the lighthouse established by New York on Sandy Hook; Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia already had raised troops on their own account and for their own purposes, in violation of the Articles of Confederation. Davie, of North Carolina, a little later declared that the "encroachments of some States on the rights of others, and of all on those of the Confederation, are incontestable proofs of the weakness and imperfections of that system." Of the requisition of that year for $2,000,000 in specie, only about $400,000 was paid. Some States offered their own depreciated notes, and New Jersey refused to make any contribution until the offensive New York Acts were withdrawn. In May, 1786, Charles Pinckney on the floor of Congress declared that "Congress must be invested with more powers, or the federal government must fall."

58. REORGANIZATION ATTEMPTED (1781-1787).

[Five percent scheme.] [Revenue scheme.]

Before the Articles of Confederation had gone into effect, Congress had already proposed a radical amendment; and within three years it suggested two others. The first proposition, made February 3, 1781, was that the States allow Congress to levy an import duty of five per cent, the proceeds to be applied "to the discharge of the principal and interest of the debts already contracted ... on the faith of the United States for supporting the present war." In the course of about a year twelve States had complied with this reasonable request. Rhode Island alone stood out, and the plan failed. Forthwith Congress presented another financial scheme, which was called a "general revenue plan." April 12, 1783, it asked the States to allow Congress to lay low specific import duties for twenty-five years, to be collected by officers appointed by the States. The States were further recommended to lay some effective taxes, the proceeds to be set aside for government requisitions. The effect was precisely the same as before. Twelve States agreed; but the opposition of New York prevented the first part of the plan from being carried out. Not a single State had condescended to pay attention to the second request.

[Commerce amendment.]

Apparently abandoning any hope of an adequate revenue, Congress, on April 30, 1784, proposed a third amendment, that the States should permit it to pass commercial laws discriminating against foreign powers which refused to make commercial treaties. This was aimed at Great Britain. Washington urged the measure in vigorous language. "We are," said he, "either a united people, or we are not so. If the former, let us in all matters of national concern act as a nation which has a national character to support." Yet he could not bring even Virginia to agree to the plan, and it quickly failed.

[Schemes of revision.]

A poor constitution, which could be amended only by unanimous vote, was likely to stifle the nation. A few feeble suggestions were heard that the experiment of republican government be given over; others urged that the Americans be brought within one centralized government. Alexander Hamilton would have established a government "controlling the internal police of the States, and having a federal judiciary." Upon the last of his three schemes, dated 1783, is written: "Intended to be submitted to Congress, but abandoned for want of support." Even Washington's vastly greater influence had no effect. In a circular letter to the governors, dated June, 1783, he says: "It is indispensable to the happiness of the individual States that there should be lodged somewhere a supreme power to regulate and govern the general concerns of the confederated republic." Yet not a State would take the initiative in reforming the constitution.

From 1784 to 1786 pamphlets began to appear in which more definite suggestions were made for a new government. Pelatiah Webster proposed a government with enlarged powers, and a legislature of two houses. "If they disagree," said he, "let them sit still until they recover their good humor." The method in which the new government was to enforce its powers was put in a quaint and incisive form. "My principle is," said Webster, "the soul that sinneth, it shall die. Every person ... who shall disobey the supreme authority shall be answerable to Congress." The idea that the constitution needed radical amendment had at last found a lodgment in the public mind.