1. Newton Town Meeting: Instructions to Edward Fuller
18 May 1787 (excerpt)1

… Before the expiration of the present year, the attention of the Legislature, will probably be called to consider the report of the federal convention now sitting. Experience has taught us that the powers of the present confederacy are inadequate to the great objects of its institution. We derive great hopes from the integrity and abilities of the characters who compose this august assembly: They are men who have uniformly been distinguished as the firm patriots of our country, and the illustrious Washington is one of their number.

Should they present, as we doubt not they will, a system which promises a firm efficient federal Government, founded on the equal principles of civil liberty, you will not hesitate to adopt it. You will consider, sir, that Government is instituted for the benefit and happiness of the people. You will therefore avoid laying any burthens upon them, except those which a solemn regard to public faith and public justice render essentially necessary. In your inquiries on this subject, we think you will find, that taxes on land and on polls are too high. Endeavour therefore to draw the necessary resources from a different quarter; a much larger proportion, we conceive, may be raised by impost and excise on the luxuries of life. By adopting such a system, you will lay the burthens on those who are able and willing to bear them, and afford support and encouragement to the temperate and frugal. …

1. Transcribed from the Independent Chronicle, 7 June. Reprinted: Hampshire Gazette, 20 June; Cumberland Gazette, 21 June.