Indeed I think, upon such a Supposition, those Sovereignties
ought to be eradicated from the Mind; for they would
be Imperia in Imperio justly deemd a Solecism in Politicks,
& they would be highly dangerous, and destructive
of the Peace Union and Safety of the Nation.
And can this National Legislature be competent to make
Laws for the free internal Government of one People,
living in Climates so remote and whose “Habits
& particular Interests” are and probably always
will be so different. Is it to be expected that
General Laws can be adapted to the Feelings of the
more Eastern and the more Southern Parts of so extensive
a Nation? It appears to me difficult if practicable.
Hence then may we not look for Discontent, Mistrust,
Disaffection to Government and frequent Insurrections,
which will require standing Armies to suppress them
in one Place & another where they may happen to arise.
Or if Laws could be made, adapted to the local Habits,
Feelings, Views & Interests of those distant Parts,
would they not cause Jealousies of Partiality in Government
which would excite Envy and other malignant Passions
productive of Wars and fighting. But should we
continue distinct sovereign States, confederated for
the Purposes of mutual Safety and Happiness, each
contributing to the federal Head such a Part of its
Sovereignty as would render the Government fully adequate
to those Purposes and no more, the People would govern
themselves more easily, the Laws of each State being
well adapted to its own Genius & Circumstances, and
the Liberties of the United States would be more secure
than they can be, as I humbly conceive, under the
proposed new Constitution. You are sensible,
Sir, that the Seeds of Aristocracy began to spring
even before the Conclusion of our Struggle for the
natural Rights of Men, Seeds which like a Canker Worm
lie at the Root of free Governments. So great
is the Wickedness of some Men, & the stupid Servility
of others, that one would be almost inclined to conclude
that Communities cannot be free. The few haughty
Families, think They must govern. The Body of
the People tamely consent & submit to be their Slaves.
This unravels the Mystery of Millions being enslaved
by the few! But I must desist—My weak
hand prevents my proceeding further at present.
I will send you my poor Opinion of the political Structure
at another Time. In the Interim oblige me with
your Letters; & present mine and Mrs A’s best
Regards to your Lady & Family, Colo Francis, Mr A.
L. if with you, & other Friends, & be assured that
very affectionately yours
As I thought it a Piece of Justice I have venturd
to say that I had often heard from the best Patriots
from Virginia that Mr G Mason was an early active
& able Advocate for the Liberties of America.
TO RICHARD HENRY LEE.
[Ms., Lee Papers, American Philosophical Society;
a draft is in the Samuel ,Adams Papers, Lenox Library]