39. Boston Gazette, 29 October 1787

Messieurs Edes, Looking over some of your last year’s papers, I cast my eye on a piece extracted from the Albany Gazette, under the signature of Solon—It is a well written piece, and perhaps as much, if not more applicable at the present day than when it first made its appearance.—Your republishing it will no doubt oblige many of your readers, Y’rs. A CUSTOMER.

Many People, sensible that the Right of Legislation is in their own Hands, suppose that they have a Right to refuse Obedience to a Law which is made by their Representatives in the Legislature, provided they do not like the Law. This dangerous, this pernicious Principle, proceeds from an erroneous Opinion that ought to be driven from free Governments—which is, that the Legislature and the People are two distinct Bodies. This Opinion, while it exists in Force, will ever produce Ferments in a State.

The Legislature of a State, is the Authority of that whole State collected—when, therefore, a Man says, I will not submit to a Law, he rebels against the Authority of the whole State. In the same Manner Congress is, so far as their Power extends, the Authority of the Thirteen States collected; and no Individual State has a Right to say, [“]we will not abide by their Resolutions.” This false Principle, that Congress and the Legislatures are Bodies distinct and independent of the People, unless corrected both in Theory and Practice, will defeat all the Ends of Government. We are constantly alarmed with the Danger of giving Power to Congress. Those who declaim upon this Head, are either ignorant of the Principles of Government, or are maliciously bent upon sowing Discord. So long as Congress are dependent upon the People, they are not a distinct Body; they are the same Body as the People; when, therefore, we talk about giving Power to Congress, we talk Nonsense; investing Congress with Power, is nothing more than collecting the Power of the People into a Point; where it must be collected before it can be exerted. When we talk of giving the Impost to Congress, we talk Nonsense; it is nothing more than collecting the Duties of the Continent into a Point, and Justice cannot be done to all Parts of the Continent, till the whole Union has the Collection in its own Power.—