Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Book of Zephaniah
Chapter 1 Verse 7

7 Be still at the presence of the Lord God: for
the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath
prepared a sacrifice, and hath sanctified his guests

Nehemiah 8:11; Psalm 4:4; Psalm 46:10; 

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Book of Zephaniah
Chapter 1 Verse 1-18

Editor’s notation - Today’s study is a reading of the first chapter of the Book of Zephaniah. (a) Over the next few days I will take verses and highlight them as I normally do in my studies

Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah,
the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days
of Josiah, the son of Amon king of Judah.
2 I will surely destroy all things from off the land,
saith the Lord.
3 I will destroy man and beast: I will destroy the
fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and
ruins shall be to the wicked, and I will cut off man
from off the land, saith the Lord.
4 I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah,
and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and I will
cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the
name of the Chemarims with the Priests,
5 And them that worship the host of heaven
upon the housetops, and them that worship and
swear by the Lord, and swear by Milcam.
6 And them that are turned back from the Lord,
and those that have not sought the Lord, nor inquired
for him.
7 Be still at the presence of the Lord God: for
the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath
prepared a sacrifice, and hath sanctified his guests.
8 And it shall be in the day of the Lord’s sacrifice,
that I will visit the princes and the king’s children,
and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.
9 In the same day also will I visit all those that
dance upon the threshold so proudly, which fill their
masters’ houses by cruelty and deceit.
10 And in that day, saith the Lord, there shall be
a noise, and cry from the fish gate, and an howling
from the second gate, and a great destruction from
the hills.
11 How ye inhabitants of the low place: for the
company of the merchants is destroyed: all they that
bear silver, are cut off.
12 And at that time will I search Jerusalem with
lights, and visit the men that are frozen in their
dregs, and say in their hearts, The Lord will neither
do good nor do evil.
13 Therefore their goods shall be spoiled, and their
houses waste: they shall also build houses, but not
inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards, but not
drink the wine thereof.
14 The great day of the Lord is near: it is near,
and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the
Lord: the strong man shall cry there bitterly.
15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble
and heaviness, a day of destruction and desolation,
a day of obscurity and darkness, a day of clouds and
16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the
strong cities, and against the high towers.
17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they
shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned
against the Lord, and their blood shall be poured
out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able
to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath, but
the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his
jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance
of all them that dwell in the land.

(a) Footnote - For various translations of this Chapter please click here

The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection
For the Independent Journal. - Hamilton. 

To the People of the State of New York:

A firm Union will be of the utmost moment to the peace
and liberty of the States, as a barrier against domestic faction
and insurrection. It is impossible to read the history of the
petty republics of Greece and Italy without feeling sensations
of horror and disgust at the distractions with which they were
continually agitated, and at the rapid succession of revolutions
by which they were kept in a state of perpetual vibration
between the extremes of tyranny and anarchy. If they
exhibit occasional calms, these only serve as short-lived contrast
to the furious storms that are to succeed. If now and
then intervals of felicity open to view, we behold them with a
mixture of regret, arising from the reflection that the pleasing
scenes before us are soon to be overwhelmed by the tempestuous
waves of sedition and party rage. If momentary rays of
glory break forth from the gloom, while they dazzle us with
a transient and fleeting brilliancy, they at the same time admonish
us to lament that the vices of government should
pervert the direction and tarnish the lustre of those bright
talents and exalted endowments for which the favored soils
that produced them have been so justly celebrated.

From the disorders that disfigure the annals of those republics
the advocates of despotism have drawn arguments, not
only against the forms of republican government, but against
the very principles of civil liberty. They have decried all free
government as inconsistent with the order of society, and have
indulged themselves in malicious exultation over its friends
and partisans. Happily for mankind, stupendous fabrics reared
on the basis of liberty, which have flourished for ages, have,
in a few glorious instances, refuted their gloomy sophisms.
And, I trust, America will be the broad and solid foundation
of other edifices, not less magnificent, which will be equally
permanent monuments of their errors.

But it is not to be denied that the portraits they have sketched
of republican government were too just copies of the originals
from which they were taken. If it had been found impracticable
to have devised models of a more perfect structure,
the enlightened friends to liberty would have been obliged
to abandon the cause of that species of government as indefensible.
The science of politics, however, like most other sciences,
has received great improvement. The efficacy of various
principles is now well understood, which were either not
known at all, or imperfectly known to the ancients. The regular
distribution of power into distinct departments; the intro-
duction of legislative balances and checks; the institution of
courts composed of judges holding their offices during good
behavior; the representation of the people in the legislature
by deputies of their own election: these are wholly new discoveries,
or have made their principal progress towards perfection
in modern times. They are means, and powerful means,
by which the excellences of republican government may be
retained and its imperfections lessened or avoided. To this
catalogue of circumstances that tend to the amelioration of
popular systems of civil government, I shall venture, however
novel it may appear to some, to add one more, on a principle
which has been made the foundation of an objection to the
new Constitution; I mean the enlargement of the orbit within
which such systems are to revolve, either in respect to the
dimensions of a single State or to the consolidation of several
smaller States into one great Confederacy. The latter is that
which immediately concerns the object under consideration.
It will, however, be of use to examine the principle in its application
to a single State, which shall be attended to in another

The utility of a Confederacy, as well to suppress faction
and to guard the internal tranquillity of States, as to increase
their external force and security, is in reality not a new idea. It
has been practiced upon in different countries and ages, and
has received the sanction of the most approved writers on the
subject of politics. The opponents of the plan proposed have,
with great assiduity, cited and circulated the observations of
Montesquieu on the necessity of a contracted territory for a
republican government. But they seem not to have been apprised
of the sentiments of that great man expressed in another
part of his work, nor to have adverted to the consequences
of the principle to which they subscribe with such
ready acquiescence.

When Montesquieu recommends a small extent for republics,
the standards he had in view were of dimensions far short
of the limits of almost every one of these States. Neither Virginia,
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina,
nor Georgia can by any means be compared with the
models from which he reasoned and to which the terms of his
description apply. If we therefore take his ideas on this point as
the criterion of truth, we shall be driven to the alternative either
of taking refuge at once in the arms of monarchy, or of
splitting ourselves into an infinity of little, jealous, clashing,
tumultuous commonwealths, the wretched nurseries of unceasing
discord, and the miserable objects of universal pity or
contempt. Some of the writers who have come forward on the
other side of the question seem to have been aware of the dilemma;
and have even been bold enough to hint at the division
of the larger States as a desirable thing. Such an infatuated policy,
such a desperate expedient, might, by the multiplication of petty
offices, answer the views of men who possess not qualifications
to extend their influence beyond the narrow circles of
personal intrigue, but it could never promote the greatness or
happiness of the people of America.

Referring the examination of the principle itself to another
place, as has been already mentioned, it will be sufficient to
remark here that, in the sense of the author who has been
most emphatically quoted upon the occasion, it would only
dictate a reduction of the size of the more considerable members
of the Union, but would not militate against their being
all comprehended in one confederate government. And this
is the true question, in the discussion of which we are at present

So far are the suggestions of Montesquieu from standing in
opposition to a general Union of the States, that he explicitly
treats of a confederate republic as the expedient for extending
the sphere of popular government, and reconciling the advantages
of monarchy with those of republicanism.
“It is very probable,” (says he) “that mankind would have
been obliged at length to live constantly under the government
of a single person, had they not contrived a kind of
constitution that has all the internal advantages of a republican,
together with the external force of a monarchical government.
I mean a confederate republic.
This form of government is a convention by which several
smaller states agree to become members of a larger one, which
they intend to form. It is a kind of assemblage of societies
that constitute a new one, capable of increasing, by means of
new associations, till they arrive to such a degree of power as
to be able to provide for the security of the united body.
A republic of this kind, able to withstand an external force,
may support itself without any internal corruptions. The form
of this society prevents all manner of inconveniences.
If a single member should attempt to usurp the supreme authority,
he could not be supposed to have an equal authority and
credit in all the confederate states. Were he to have too great
influence over one, this would alarm the rest. Were he to subdue
a part, that which would still remain free might oppose him
with forces independent of those which he had usurped and overpower
him before he could be settled in his usurpation.
Should a popular insurrection happen in one of the confederate
states the others are able to quell it. Should abuses
creep into one part, they are reformed by those that remain
sound. The state may be destroyed on one side, and not on
the other; the confederacy may be dissolved, and the confederates
preserve their sovereignty.
As this government is composed of small republics, it enjoys
the internal happiness of each; and with respect to its
external situation, it is possessed, by means of the association,
of all the advantages of large monarchies.’’

I have thought it proper to quote at length these interesting
passages, because they contain a luminous abridgment of the
principal arguments in favor of the Union, and must effectually
remove the false impressions which a misapplication of
other parts of the work was calculated to make. They have, at
the same time, an intimate connection with the more imme-
diate design of this paper; which is, to illustrate the tendency
of the Union to repress domestic faction and insurrection.

A distinction, more subtle than accurate, has been raised
between a confederacy and a consolidation of the States. The
essential characteristic of the first is said to be, the restriction
of its authority to the members in their collective capacities,
without reaching to the individuals of whom they are composed.
It is contended that the national council ought to have
no concern with any object of internal administration. An
exact equality of suffrage between the members has also been
insisted upon as a leading feature of a confederate government.
These positions are, in the main, arbitrary; they are
supported neither by principle nor precedent. It has indeed
happened, that governments of this kind have generally operated
in the manner which the distinction taken notice of, supposes
to be inherent in their nature; but there have been in
most of them extensive exceptions to the practice, which serve
to prove, as far as example will go, that there is no absolute
rule on the subject. And it will be clearly shown in the course
of this investigation that as far as the principle contended for
has prevailed, it has been the cause of incurable disorder and
imbecility in the government.

The definition of a confederate republic seems simply to be
“an assemblage of societies,’’ or an association of two or more
states into one state. The extent, modifications, and objects
of the federal authority are mere matters of discretion. So
long as the separate organization of the members be not abolished;
so long as it exists, by a constitutional necessity, for
local purposes; though it should be in perfect subordination
to the general authority of the union, it would still be, in fact
and in theory, an association of states, or a confederacy. The
proposed Constitution, so far from implying an abolition of
the State governments, makes them constituent parts of the
national sovereignty, by allowing them a direct representation
in the Senate, and leaves in their possession certain exclusive
and very important portions of sovereign power. This fully
corresponds, in every rational import of the terms, with the
idea of a federal government.

In the Lycian confederacy, which consisted of twenty-three
cities or republics, the largest were entitled to three votes in
the common council, those of the middle class to two, and the
smallest to one. The common council had the appointment of
all the judges and magistrates of the respective cities. This was
certainly the most, delicate species of interference in their internal
administration; for if there be any thing that seems exclusively
appropriated to the local jurisdictions, it is the appointment
of their own officers. Yet Montesquieu, speaking
of this association, says: “Were I to give a model of an excellent
Confederate Republic, it would be that of Lycia.’’ Thus
we perceive that the distinctions insisted upon were not within
the contemplation of this enlightened civilian; and we shall
be led to conclude, that they are the novel refinements of an
erroneous theory.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012


The Same Subject Continued
(Concerning Dangers from Dissensions Between the States)

For the Independent Journal - Hamilton

To the People of the State of New York:

It is sometimes asked, with an air of seeming triumph, what
inducements could the States have, if disunited, to make war
upon each other? It would be a full answer to this question to
say—precisely the same inducements which have, at different
times, deluged in blood all the nations in the world. But,
unfortunately for us, the question admits of a more particular
answer. There are causes of differences within our immediate
contemplation, of the tendency of which, even under
the restraints of a federal constitution, we have had sufficient
experience to enable us to form a judgment of what might be
expected if those restraints were removed.

Territorial disputes have at all times been found one of the
most fertile sources of hostility among nations. Perhaps the
greatest proportion of wars that have desolated the earth have
sprung from this origin. This cause would exist among us in
full force. We have a vast tract of unsettled territory within
the boundaries of the United States. There still are discordant
and undecided claims between several of them, and the dissolution
of the Union would lay a foundation for similar claims
between them all. It is well known that they have heretofore
had serious and animated discussion concerning the rights to
the lands which were ungranted at the time of the Revolution,
and which usually went under the name of crown lands.
The States within the limits of whose colonial governments
they were comprised have claimed them as their property, the
others have contended that the rights of the crown in this
article devolved upon the Union; especially as to all that part
of the Western territory which, either by actual possession, or
through the submission of the Indian proprietors, was subjected
to the jurisdiction of the king of Great Britain, till it
was relinquished in the treaty of peace. This, it has been said,
was at all events an acquisition to the Confederacy by compact
with a foreign power. It has been the prudent policy of
Congress to appease this controversy, by prevailing upon the

States to make cessions to the United States for the benefit of
the whole. This has been so far accomplished as, under a continuation
of the Union, to afford a decided prospect of an
amicable termination of the dispute. A dismemberment of
the Confederacy, however, would revive this dispute, and
would create others on the same subject. At present, a large
part of the vacant Western territory is, by cession at least, if
not by any anterior right, the common property of the Union.
If that were at an end, the States which made the cession, on
a principle of federal compromise, would be apt when the
motive of the grant had ceased, to reclaim the lands as a reversion.
The other States would no doubt insist on a proportion,
by right of representation. Their argument would be,
that a grant, once made, could not be revoked; and that the
justice of participating in territory acquired or secured by the
joint efforts of the Confederacy, remained undiminished. If,
contrary to probability, it should be admitted by all the States,
that each had a right to a share of this common stock, there
would still be a difficulty to be surmounted, as to a proper
rule of apportionment. Different principles would be set up
by different States for this purpose; and as they would affect
the opposite interests of the parties, they might not easily be
susceptible of a pacific adjustment.

In the wide field of Western territory, therefore, we perceive
an ample theatre for hostile pretensions, without any umpire
or common judge to interpose between the contending parties.
To reason from the past to the future, we shall have good
ground to apprehend, that the sword would sometimes be
appealed to as the arbiter of their differences. The circumstances
of the dispute between Connecticut and Pennsylvania,
respecting the land at Wyoming, admonish us not to be
sanguine in expecting an easy accommodation of such differences.
The articles of confederation obliged the parties to submit
the matter to the decision of a federal court. The submission
was made, and the court decided in favor of Pennsylvania.
But Connecticut gave strong indications of dissatisfaction with
that determination; nor did she appear to be entirely resigned
to it, till, by negotiation and management, something like an
equivalent was found for the loss she supposed herself to have
sustained. Nothing here said is intended to convey the slightest
censure on the conduct of that State. She no doubt sincerely
believed herself to have been injured by the decision;
and States, like individuals, acquiesce with great reluctance in
determinations to their disadvantage.

Those who had an opportunity of seeing the inside of the
transactions which attended the progress of the controversy
between this State (NYS), and the district of Vermont, can vouch the
opposition we experienced, as well from States not interested
as from those which were interested in the claim; and can
attest the danger to which the peace of the Confederacy might
have been exposed, had this State attempted to assert its rights
by force. Two motives preponderated in that opposition: one,
a jealousy entertained of our future power; and the other, the
interest of certain individuals of influence in the neighboring
States, who had obtained grants of lands under the actual
government of that district. Even the States which brought
forward claims, in contradiction to ours, seemed more solicitous
to dismember this State, than to establish their own pretensions.
These were New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and
Connecticut. New Jersey and Rhode Island, upon all occasions,
discovered a warm zeal for the independence of Vermont;
and Maryland, till alarmed by the appearance of a connection
between Canada and that State, entered deeply into
the same views. These being small States, saw with an unfriendly
eye the perspective of our growing greatness. In a
review of these transactions we may trace some of the causes
which would be likely to embroil the States with each other,
if it should be their unpropitious destiny to become disunited.

The competitions of commerce would be another fruitful
source of contention. The States less favorably circumstanced
would be desirous of escaping from the disadvantages of local
situation, and of sharing in the advantages of their more fortunate
neighbors. Each State, or separate confederacy, would
pursue a system of commercial policy peculiar to itself. This
would occasion distinctions, preferences, and exclusions, which
would beget discontent. The habits of intercourse, on the
basis of equal privileges, to which we have been accustomed
since the earliest settlement of the country, would give a keener
edge to those causes of discontent than they would naturally
have independent of this circumstance. We should be ready to
denominate injuries those things which were in reality the justifiable
acts of independent sovereignties consulting a distinct
interest. The spirit of enterprise, which characterizes the commercial
part of America, has left no occasion of displaying
itself unimproved. It is not at all probable that this unbridled
spirit would pay much respect to those regulations of trade

by which particular States might endeavor to secure exclusive
benefits to their own citizens. The infractions of these regulations,
on one side, the efforts to prevent and repel them, on
the other, would naturally lead to outrages, and these to reprisals
and wars.

The opportunities which some States would have of rendering
others tributary to them by commercial regulations
would be impatiently submitted to by the tributary States.
The relative situation of New York, Connecticut, and New
Jersey would afford an example of this kind. New York, from
the necessities of revenue, must lay duties on her importations.
A great part of these duties must be paid by the inhabitants
of the two other States in the capacity of consumers of
what we import. New York would neither be willing nor able
to forego this advantage. Her citizens would not consent that
a duty paid by them should be remitted in favor of the citizens
of her neighbors; nor would it be practicable, if there
were not this impediment in the way, to distinguish the customers
in our own markets. Would Connecticut and New
Jersey long submit to be taxed by New York for her exclusive
benefit? Should we be long permitted to remain in the quiet
and undisturbed enjoyment of a metropolis, from the possession
of which we derived an advantage so odious to our
neighbors, and, in their opinion, so oppressive? Should we be
able to preserve it against the incumbent weight of Connecticut
on the one side, and the co-operating pressure of New
Jersey on the other? These are questions that temerity alone
will answer in the affirmative.

The public debt of the Union would be a further cause of
collision between the separate States or confederacies. The
apportionment, in the first instance, and the progressive extinguishment
afterward, would be alike productive of ill-humor
and animosity. How would it be possible to agree upon
a rule of apportionment satisfactory to all? There is scarcely
any that can be proposed which is entirely free from real objections.
These, as usual, would be exaggerated by the adverse
interest of the parties. There are even dissimilar views among
the States as to the general principle of discharging the public
debt. Some of them, either less impressed with the importance
of national credit, or because their citizens have little, if
any, immediate interest in the question, feel an indifference,
if not a repugnance, to the payment of the domestic debt at
any rate. These would be inclined to magnify the difficulties
of a distribution. Others of them, a numerous body of whose
citizens are creditors to the public beyond proportion of the
State in the total amount of the national debt, would be strenuous
for some equitable and effective provision. The procrastinations
of the former would excite the resentments of the
latter. The settlement of a rule would, in the meantime, be
postponed by real differences of opinion and affected delays.
The citizens of the States interested would clamour; foreign
powers would urge for the satisfaction of their just demands,
and the peace of the States would be hazarded to the double
contingency of external invasion and internal contention.

Suppose the difficulties of agreeing upon a rule surmounted,
and the apportionment made. Still there is great room to suppose
that the rule agreed upon would, upon experiment, be

found to bear harder upon some States than upon others.
Those which were sufferers by it would naturally seek for a
mitigation of the burden. The others would as naturally be
disinclined to a revision, which was likely to end in an increase
of their own incumbrances. Their refusal would be too
plausible a pretext to the complaining States to withhold their
contributions, not to be embraced with avidity; and the noncompliance
of these States with their engagements would be
a ground of bitter discussion and altercation. If even the rule
adopted should in practice justify the equality of its principle,
still delinquencies in payments on the part of some of the
States would result from a diversity of other causes—the real
deficiency of resources; the mismanagement of their finances;
accidental disorders in the management of the government;
and, in addition to the rest, the reluctance with which men
commonly part with money for purposes that have outlived
the exigencies which produced them, and interfere with the
supply of immediate wants. Delinquencies, from whatever
causes, would be productive of complaints, recriminations,
and quarrels. There is, perhaps, nothing more likely to disturb
the tranquillity of nations than their being bound to
mutual contributions for any common object that does not
yield an equal and coincident benefit. For it is an observation,
as true as it is trite, that there is nothing men differ so readily
about as the payment of money.
Laws in violation of private contracts, as they amount to
aggressions on the rights of those States whose citizens are
injured by them, may be considered as another probable source
of hostility. We are not authorized to expect that a more liberal
or more equitable spirit would preside over the legislations
of the individual States hereafter, if unrestrained by any
additional checks, than we have heretofore seen in too many
instances disgracing their several codes. We have observed the
disposition to retaliation excited in Connecticut in consequence
of the enormities perpetrated by the Legislature of
Rhode Island; and we reasonably infer that, in similar cases,
under other circumstances, a war, not of parchment, but of
the sword, would chastise such atrocious breaches of moral
obligation and social justice.

The probability of incompatible alliances between the different
States or confederacies and different foreign nations,
and the effects of this situation upon the peace of the whole,
have been sufficiently unfolded in some preceding papers.
From the view they have exhibited of this part of the subject,
this conclusion is to be drawn, that America, if not connected
at all, or only by the feeble tie of a simple league, offensive
and defensive, would, by the operation of such jarring alliances,
be gradually entangled in all the pernicious labyrinths
of European politics and wars; and by the destructive contentions
of the parts into which she was divided, would be likely
to become a prey to the artifices and machinations of powers
equally the enemies of them all. Divide et impera (Divided and command)
must be the motto of every nation that either hates or fears us.