918. A Native of Boston (Jonathan Jackson):
Thoughts Upon the Political Situation of the United States
Worcester, 14 August 1788

See RCS:Mass., 1763–69, for the publication history, authorship, description of the contents, and reaction to this item. The following correspondence relates to this item. A facsimilie of the pamphlet follows the correspondence. The last two items in this grouping are a draft of a possible response to A Native of Boston and a review of the pamphlet from the New York American Magazine.

918-A. Jonathan Jackson to Isaiah Thomas
Boston, 21 June 17881

I wrote to you the 17th Inst to which referring, I now inclose four sheets containing my appendix in 16 pages. this completes the whole—the appendix may be printed in a smaller type if by it the whole work may be comprised within the number of sheets of letterpress we at first talked of—otherwise I would not wish the type for the appendix to be but very little smaller—

You will observe the relation of the ballot of Venice is put chiefly in figures—you will print it in figures or letters, as is most customary or you think most graceful—it is easier to read in figures I think when numbers are so frequently repeated, and perhaps they are easier retained in the memory—

I shall wish to hear that you have received these, and all my sheets which together make fifty—and the sooner you can complete the impression the more agreeable it will be to sir your obedt Servt,

PS. If Mr B. should not be returned still go on if you are ready to—using your full attention

918-B. Jonathan Jackson to Isaiah Thomas
Newburyport, 10 July 17881

I have written to you three times since I was at Worcester—there were inclosed five sheets in each of my two last from No. 26 to 35 inclusive which made ten—five more are now inclosed from No. 36 to 40 inclusive—

I think you will no longer wait for me—there remain now about five sheets besides the appendix which may be five or six more—Do let me know if the remainder should be sent you, as I expect before you have got the present off of hand, when it is probable you can finish the impression—for if I can make it at all convenient I will be about that time at Worcester—please to direct your letter to me at Boston—

918-C. From Jonathan Jackson
Newburyport, 22 August 17881

When I left Polly I desired her to request of you to communicate to me what might turn up, if any thing worth communicating, with respect to the late publication by Ish. Thomas—from your silence I begin to suspect little or nothing has been said, and that it has not arrested the public attention—I take no Newspapers that without being told I may not know if any notice is therein made of it—a silent death is in general to be preferred, but in some cases one would prefer a few struggles first.—Are not you & your horses so recruited from your former travellings, as by a few [and?] quiet movements, with your wife to reach here soon, & pay us a [visit?] we should all relish it—I should particularly—for suspecting that your epistolary exertions are chiefly bent towards N York & Pittsfield, I might hope by a few days residence with us, to draw forth what might come more sparingly by letter—

But jesting apart I wish you with Polly would be thinking of a visit to us, and soon put it in practice—a recognition of relationship is now and then grateful—and Miss Mary & some other of the [– – –] parts, would as Sterne says, rise an inch for the accomodation—don’t you suppose we must have risen here some feet from the late accomodation we received from the visit of your & my Master? I will assure you he was very agreeable & polite and appeared not a little gratified—he gave, & appeared to receive pleasure—

I wish to know of Mr Guild, if I could, whether he has received from Mr Thomas at Worcester a large box of Pamphlets & what success has attended the sale of those he had before received—If I [am?] pretty generally pointed out as the father of such a production there may be no harm in making Mr Guild my confidant, and putting these two questions to him at once, which in such case you would oblige me to do,—& desire him to write me upon the subject—but if I am not known or like to be, as having dabled in this business, and you & Lowell think it best I should not, for any reason that may have turned up, I do not think how to come at Guild to be resolved—unless you can get some friend of your’s to put the questions to Guild & receive his answers for you to send me without my being known to either of them, or you to Mr Guild—

When you see Tukesbury of the Island had you not better determine something about the cattle there?—and when next in town I wish to catch you with leisure enough to go down there with me—

I shall hope to hear from you soon—Hannah & all friends as usual—she joins me in love to all with you—

[P.S.] to let Lowell have the inclosed soon—

Hannah desires me to remind you that September will soon be here when you expected to be engaged

918-D. Jonathan Jackson to Isaiah Thomas
Newburyport, 5 September 17881

I received your’s of the 21st Ulto. some time since, & yesterday your’s of the 1st Inst. but you forgot to inclose the account—I had been informed that the books had got to Boston & had intended this week to be there myself but I cannot with convenience 'till the next—You will oblige me to inclose your acct & direct to me at Boston where I shall meet it—I will try my posibles to muster you some cash while there, but my fears predominate that I shall not be able.

Perhaps I took the best method to bring my books into veiw—I at least gratified myself in attentions I wished to pay to several gentlemen of my acquaintance—more faults must be found than the republican has this week pointed out in the Boston gazette2 before perhaps the books may be in demand here—I am impatient to get them on to Philada before any prejudication is made upon the performance—for my great dependance for sale is there & at N York—Do let me know if Mr Loudon should write for any to be sent him—

918-E. Jonathan Jackson to Isaiah Thomas
Boston, 22 September 17881

I wrote to you the 20th. & am now mortified that I can do no better with you—Mr Guild I find has sold but very few of the books I have desired him to pay to your order £10.15.6 and to deliver you my note for £60—which I shall leave with him—If you are not coming to Boston yourself had you not best send a rec[eip]t for £70.15/6 which will be in full for the balce of the Acct.—

I have packed about 100 books to go to Mr Pritchard of Philada. & have under Mr Guilds name desired him to remit to you or Mr Guild for you [as?] 20 or 30 Dollrs are recd.—I strongly hope before winter to receive some money which I can pay you—For I begin to suspect my truths will not readily sell here even for 4/6 when I give an assortment of 'em together too—

If Mr Loudon sends for any more books Mr Guild can supply them from Boston—you mention having sent on the bundles I left—I forget if any were made up for Rhode Island, & am puzzled to know if you have any left for sale yourself—I think it must be very few if those were sent on to Rd Isld. you can have any from Mr Guild when you want them—Your people omitted putting up the last sheet or page 209. in the odd sheets they sent to make up a set that was here it is useless without it.

I received your proposals for a new magazine which I shall endeavour to obtain subscriptions for—

918-F. Benjamin Lincoln to George Washington
Boston, 30 September 17881

My dear General

I have the pleasure of inclosing to your Excellency a political publication which lately made its appearance in this Common-wealth.—It was ushered into light with all that cover of secrecy which often attends that of an illegitimate child. The father however has shared the fate which is too common in such cases his likeness being so strongly impressed upon his of[f]spring that all our shrewd observers think they can point him out, and many blame him for his attempts to keep behind the curtain—The eagle-eyed folks say that it is a fine child that it has an fine open and manly countenance that it has evident marks of originality of thought, strength of mind, firmness of nerves, and an independency of soul, and will come forward with peculiar advantages to the world—Whether these observations are just or not, your Excellency, from your great knowledge in physiognomy, will on examination, be able to determine

918-G. Peter Thacher to Jonathan Jackson
Boston, 30 October 17881

I have just read, with very great pleasure, a pamphlet which is universally ascribed to you, entituled “Thoughts on the political situation of the united States of America,” and [would?] have contented myself with admiring [– – –] myself or among the private circle of my friends, had you not been witness to the erroneous sentiments with respect to government which I formerly entertained and which I expressed in the convention for forming the constitution of government of this commonwealth. I believe that I have expressed to you my conviction of their being erroneous, but lest I had not I thought it but a piece of justice to myself and to you, to say that I am convinced, from mature observation, that the sentiments advanced in this pamphlet are founded in truth and justice, and that principles of this kind alone can secure to us the freedom which we have so dearly purchased. I had formed my ideas of government from books and observations made in a period when an imagination naturally too warm was incapable of judging cooly upon events facts. It is a piece of justice which I owe you to say, that your ideas of the means to secure the peace and happiness of your country were then matured and that the event has proved to me their justice.

I am very sure that I am not influenced by any private sinister motive in addressing you on this subject, for I know not any that could influence me, except my gratitude to a man who appears to have the happiness of my country at heart and who has taken pains to promote it. My profession excludes me (and I am happy in the circumstance) from having any hopes from gentlemen who are or may be in political life, except [their?] good opinion. This indeed I highly value, [when it?] is given me by those whose integrity & [advice?] I esteem, and I know not but a disposition to recover this, forfeited perhaps by my former political reveries (though it is a piece of justice to myself to say that I was then influenced by no motives but what were consistent with real political integrity) has influenced me to give you so much trouble.

I trust you will not esteem this a letter of compliment. Truly can I say that I scorn to flatter the greatest or wisest of my fellow worms; The man who means & endeavors to promote the happiness of mankind will be esteemed by every one who is actuated by the same principle, and ought to know that his endeavors in their service are acceptable at least, if they do not answer the salutary purpose for which they were intended. With my warmest wishes for your private happiness and public usefulness I subscribe myself,

918-H. Jonathan Jackson to Isaiah Thomas
Newburyport, 30 December 17881

I observed in some of the late papers a request to the public to return your proposal for a new magazine—I now return you the one sent me but with small success as to subscribers—I have met your proposal in several of my friends hands to whom I offered it—every body seems to be growing oeconomical and careful how they spend money—

I am mortified that I have not been able to make any more money out for you—I am disappointed in receiving Cash from two or three different quarters—I expect to be along to the westward before the winter is passed and shall call upon you I hope with some Cash—I find now that half the number of Pamphlets would have answered my use—I have not realised a single dollar from one of them yet—having not heard a word of the success of one of them sent to the southwd. of N York—pray has Mr Loudon ever mentioned any thing further about them since your wrote to me?—

918-I. A Native of Boston (Jonathan Jackson)
Thoughts Upon the Political Situation of the United States
Worcester, 14 August 1788

918-J. Draft of a Possible Response to A Native of Boston: Thoughts Upon the
Political Situation of the United States, post-14 August 17881

To Civis author of “Thot’s on the political situation of the United States”—

With Some parts of your work I am highly pleased, with some I do not at present agree being from my education reading, company & modes of thinking & reasoning of different sentiments—of some parts I cannot as yet form a judgment or determine whether your proposals for “refinement concoction and sublimation” are a real improvement upon the subject of elections or not—

but of some things, on which you have but slightly touched, I have thot much & long, & I wish I had time & opportunity to sublimate my ideas & digest them into a better form than my present circumstances will admit of—however I have presumed to give you some crude sketches in the gross crude & which I wish I were in circumstances to subliminate

Page—

You speak of the western or vacant teritory (G[overnment] lands) of the addition of new States

I know not whether it would come in with your plan at present, but I see nothing why it may not

If you should happen to think with me, & in the case of another impression of your work I could wish you would dilate upon the Subject, for it is time the public mind was prepared for it as it must in the natural & necessary course of events sooner or later come before the fed Legislature

The only thing to which I shall beg your attention is to an equal division of the States, that in so far as it may be done by natural boundaries In theory this very easy as will appear This by only an ordinary degree of attention to the good map of the United States

however define it— This is very easy in theory—I wish it were as easy in practice—It must no doubt be attended with dificulty—yet I am far from considering it impracticable

The U S must have had Sufficient experience by this time that this was a fundamental error in the Confederation, that it is but very partially & slightly cured in the new fed Constitution, that to make a radical cure we must go to the bottom of the sore

& what other way is there but an entire new division & arrangement of the whole Union

Reasons for dividing the States by natural boundaries

Reasons for an equal division of the States by natl boundaries

The equal voice of unequal States, has always been & will continue to be a serious & well founded objection to any Constitution of Confederacy—This is an evil but not necessaryly so—or remediless—the remedy is simple & at hand—The small States made the necessity of the large ones their opportunity, & under duress extorted an unreasonable & unnatural advantage, which they have tenaciously held, & still hold tho somewhat impaired by the new Constitution—This conduct is ungenerous & anti-republican—But are the small States wholly to blame for this dificulty?—no

The large States have been, & are, as tenacious of their territory & as proud of their extent, & numbers as the small ones are of their prerogative

The remedy is clear, it is natural, it is simple, it [is] just, it is politic it is near at hand,—Let the large States relinquish such part of their territory as is most convenient or by a new & equal division make Remedy reform this fundamental error

To this it is said—Your plan looks well upon paper, but you can [n]ever get the States to come into it.

Hic labor, hoc opus est

This is the laborious task indeed

I answer, then they do not want to be rid of the dificulty—& their only alternative is quietly to suffer all the inconveniences & injustice of the present system, & if they will not part with their land for so good a purpose they deserve it & have no right ought not to complain—

That Some thing is necessary to be done I believe but few will question—what is the best mode of doing it I presume not to determine

In Europe where one man is not only Lord of the soil but equally so of all the buildings men cattle & improvements of every kind including men &c, it is of importance to the prince to get as much territory as he can—& for this reason copious streams of blood have flown to acquire a spot which in this Country we should think of very little no comparitive consequence

but is this the case or cant it be made to apply to Pensilvania & Connecticut Could they have the same grounds to actuate them Certainly not—was not one life of more worth than all the land in dispute they have quarelled about

The truth is they neither of them had any just right to it taken up on the large scale of equity or in an extended view of the subject—The evil is not done away

notwithstanding the decision of the federal Court we see they are both discontented & taking the same measures they did before the determination of that Court That Country must sooner or later, & I believe at no very distant one, be a seperate State, for they have lately pretty plainly discovered such a dispostion—50 years hence what will the posterity of the present Inhabitants [in?] Pens be bettered for the acquisition But I do not think it will be more than half that time

918-K. New York American Magazine, September and October 17881

Thoughts upon the political situation of the United States of America, in which that of Massachusetts is more particularly considered, with some observations on the Constitution for a federal government; addressed to the people of the union, by a native of Boston. Worcester. Isaiah Thomas.

The design of the author in this publication, is to point out to his countrymen some erroneous principles on which the confederacy is founded—some disadvantageous circumstances which attend the forming of a permanent and efficient government—and a few prejudices which he apprehends have taken deep root in this country. In this he wishes to excite us to national exertions and a conformity of sentiments, which he deems necessary to our political salvation.

After introducing himself to his readers with some apologies for his appearance in public, the author gives a retrospective view of the colonial situation of America, interspersed with remarks which are not the less just for being common. He seems to admit the axiom of Dean Swift, “that in political arithmetic two and two do not always make four;” in which all experienced politicians will join him. But when he embraces the hackneyed maxim that the “representatives or legislators of a people are their servants;” we presume to think he espouses a false opinion, and one of the most dangerous errors that has ever been propagated in America. What! have servants then the power of governing their masters? Of guarding public rights? Of legislating for their superiors? Do not the deputies of the people represent the full power of the people? Have the constituents a right to say, they will not obey the laws of their representatives? If they have not, they can not possess superior powers, and if they do not possess superior powers, they can not, with any propriety, be called their masters. The truth seems to be, the supreme legislative power of a state is in the whole body of the people assembled, or in the whole body of their representatives assembled. If the people can not assemble for the purpose of making laws, they have no legislative powers whatever; for a part of the State have not the right of determining what shall be a law for the whole, without a conference with the whole upon the subject. If the people therefore can not assemble together, the powers that would exist in a general assembly of all the citizens, must of necessity be lodged in their representatives assembled. There is no alternative. Supreme legislative powers must exist somewhere in every state.—The people at large cannot make a law, while scattered over the whole state—nor can they conveniently assemble for the purpose.—But they can choose representatives.—This is the first and last act of the people at large in government.—Their delegates then stand in their place—possess all their powers, and when assembled, possess all the powers which a general assembly of all the citizens would possess, and no man or men have a right to refuse obedience to their laws. Representatives are therefore as much masters of the people in making laws, as the people would be of themselves, were they all to assemble for the purpose.

The idea however that the people (indefinitely) possess powers paramount to the Legislature, is very prevalent, and is, in some measure, authorized by the Constitutions of several States. The 19th article of the Massachusetts declaration of rights, impowers, “the people to meet together in an orderly and peaceable manner, to consult upon the common good, and to instruct their representatives, &c.” If by the meeting of the people is here meant their town meetings or county conventions, we beg leave to say that the right given to such meetings of consulting upon the common good is subversive of all good government. What right have the people of Bristol to consult upon the good of Berkshire or Essex, without a representation from those counties? All the right possessed by such meetings, is confined to a liberty of considering their own particular situation, and offering their own particular opinions to the Legislature: but they have no more right to consult upon the common good, or to instruct their representatives positively to vote for or against a bill which has the whole State for its object, than one town has to legislate for all the others without a representation. The doctrine that delegates in legislation are the servants of their electors, and the right given to town meetings, of consulting for the common good, and of instructing their representatives, which is solemnly recognized by the Constitutions of some of the States, are repugnant to every idea of a free government. To the 19th article of the Constitution of Massachusetts, that State must ascribe, in a great degree, the late rebellion: a rebellion the sparks of which were enkindled by real evils, but which were blown into a flame by the town meetings and conventions, which proceeded very constitutionally to consult for the common good of the State, and arraign the conduct of the Legislature before their petty tribunals.

The remark of our author, that political virtue is but a pursuit from interested motives, and that the best way to fill offices with great and good men is to pay them well, contain more of truth than writers on this subject are willing to allow. A momentary enthusiasm may prompt men to great exertions for the public without a prospect of reward; but this will always subside, and leave men indifferent to the public interest, except it is connected with private emolument.

The remark that there are but few profound politicians and true patriots in a country, is undoubtedly just, but unpopular.

That children should be early taught a sacred regard to truth, is a mode of expression we cannot admit; we could wish to vary it thus, children should not be taught to lie. Veracity is a part of our natural constitution—propensity to speak truth without disguise, is one of the most striking characteristics of young children and of savages, who have not learnt the vices of civilized life.

Our author observes, that numbers should be the sole rule of representation. Would he include slaves? The northern States would not willingly consent to adopt this rule, as it places the slaves of the southern, on a footing with our own yeomanry. Would he also make numbers the sole rule of taxation? That Rhode-Island and Delaware are not entitled to the same proportion of representation, as Virginia and Massachusetts, is certain; but we are apprehensive that our author’s rule will not suit the interests of all the states.

Our author seems to think that the states should have been thrown into common stock, and then divided into equal portions of territory—and also that all unlocated lands should be purchased by Congress or other ways become the common property of the union. This might be a good plan if he could persuade people to believe it. Perhaps the new constitution will remedy the evils he complains of, as far as it is practicable.

But says this writer, “Man, uncultivated man is an animal more savage than we, who have lived in well ordered societies, heretofore, are apt to imagine.”—In this we do not agree with him. Savages possess more virtues and are guilty of fewer vices, than we are willing to allow. Yet this writer immediately after describes humanized men, as tyrants setting toils to ensnare and enslave their brethren; and as having such success, as to render it doubtful whether a savage state is not the most eligible. This is not the only inconsistency we may discover. In page 12, he speaks of rulers as servants of the people, with a portion of power entrusted to them by the people—In page 54, he asserts, that the bulk of mankind should never expect to govern, for they are incapable of it. If then the people are incapable of governing, it follows that a few leading men, as he terms them, chosen by this bulk of mankind to be their representatives or servants, are possessed of more abilities than their masters.

That there are in all societies some men, who are superior to their fellow citizens in abilities and respectability, is an undeniable truth, and these constitute the natural aristocracy mentioned by Dr. Adams. The opinion of Dr. Adams on this head is backed by our author’s; and both are undoubtedly right; notwithstanding, Dr. Adams has been abused for the opinion, by a sett of scribbling demagogues, who have, either ignorantly or wilfully misrepresented his meaning.

[October] Our author denies that large representative bodies in legislation are a great security to public liberty, as they are often inflamed by party, led by demagogues, influenced by the smallest motives; in short they approach nearly to the nature of a mob, and a mob never reasons. “A multitude,” says Mon. Turgot, “never calculate—and are never checked by remorse.” Some of the States have severely experienced the truth of these remarks. Our author in this article, has discovered his good sense and just observations of facts.

In his idea of compelling every representative to attend constantly in legislature, we cannot wholly concur. Small pecuniary considerations are sufficient to induce the attendance of most of the members. To these are added pride, ambition, sense of duty, &c. But in large societies, to require the full and constant attendance of every deputy, might prevent many able men from accepting the trust—might disgust others, and unless accidental absences, occasioned by sickness, &c. should be excepted from the rule, public business would suffer by delay. But if such accidents should be excepted from the rule, requiring attendance, it would open the door for absences as wide as it is now; for every small excuse would be converted into sickness, or an occasion of absence within the rule. In this plan, as in many others, our author seems to be mislead by theories.

In our author’s wishes to see none but wise and honest men elected for representatives, every good man will join him. But how can a constitution ensure the choice of such men? A constitution that leaves the choice entirely with the people? It is indeed declared in many of the constitutions that senators and representatives shall be elected from the most wise, able, and honest citizens. Yet it is presumed that such constitutions have already been infringed. The truth is, such declarations are empty things, as they require that to be done which cannot be defined, much less enforced.

Our author very justly disapproves of the principle of rotation in offices. When the people formed their constitutions in some of the States, their jealousy blinded their reason. It is suprizing they did not reflect, that such a want of confidence in delegates has a tendency to make them rapacious in their offices—and not only deprives the State of experienced officers, but actually abridges their own rights; by restraining themselves at a future election from choosing certain men to offices, even when they are convinced the men are the best qualified to fill those offices, of any persons in the State.

The author proceeds to make some very just, and some perhaps rather whimsical remarks, and at length advances a new, singular & unpopular doctrine, that the people at large are not fit to choose their own representatives. He therefore proposes a plan for sublimating the good sense and information of the people. His idea is, that large collections of people are turbulent, tumultuous, led by clamorous demagogues and therefore not capable of that cool deliberation that is required in choosing legislators. To prevent these evils, he would offer the following plan of elections; beginning with ten men of the smallest information and capacities, who, he thinks, may be trusted together for a single object.

“Ten men I have said, can with some propriety choose one deputy from among them; ten of these deputies of theirs, for further elections, can again only be trusted together, in their enlarged circle to pitch upon one the most fit to act for them—that is for the hundred; and as the elections rise to more importance, the deputies of hundreds, ten together, may with some accuracy pitch upon the fittest deputy for a thousand; ten of these when met to choose one for ten thousand, to transact still higher business, may not always hit upon the fittest man, because they have ten thousand to choose out of; but having already taken three regular steps from the mass of the people ascending, can any rational man suppose, that the last ten, each representing a thousand, shall not with more accuracy pitch upon a fit person to represent ten thousand, than one hundred men would, or together could, who had proceeded from the second choice by tens? And is it not probable, that each deputy of the thousands will have brought from the deputies of the hundreds who chose him, all the information which they could give, to direct his choice of the fittest man to represent the ten thousand? So that the ten now convened for that purpose, shall have all the information or nearly so of the hundred, without their cabal; but when we consider that ten men choosing the representative for ten thousand, will be conscious of a great trust, and feel a responsibility, which an hundred together can never be made to feel, the difference is vast, and the probability of having capable men in the higher offices, if thus elective, increased in a multiplied ratio.”

This mode, our author supposes, would possess, in some measure, the advantages of the intricate ballot, used in Venice and some other Italian States. This mode of balloting, or one resembling it, he would propose for practice in these States. Take his own words.

“It is many centuries since the Venetians have been in the practice of chusing their first magistrate, by a mode of election which has obtained the name of the intricate ballot,(a) ‘in which, judgment and chance are so perfectly blended, as precludes every attempt to corrupt the electors, and is said to prevent all cabals for this first dignity.’—‘By the ballot of Venice—out of the grand council of 470—30 persons are selected—by as many balls being put into an urn, as there are members present at the election, above thirty years of age, out of which urn each member is to draw one, 30 balls among them being gilt, and the rest white; those drawing the 30 gilt balls retire by themselves, and ballot again for 9 gilt balls, the persons drawing these are called first electors, and choose 40 persons—these 40 ballot again for 12 second electors; these 12 choose 25 (the first choosing 3, and the other eleven 2 a piece) these 25 ballot for 9 third electors, each of whom choose 5, making 45, who ballot for 11 fourth electors, and these 11 nominate 41 direct electors of the Doge.’

“After rising to the deputies of hundreds in counties, let every body of men who are convened for elections—whether in county, district, state, or national conventions—first select a certain portion of their number by ballot—by which, is here meant the drawing of different coloured balls out of a box—this portion may be an half or a less number; if either—let these, by written votes, apart by themselves, elect, of those they shall think the most capable, an half out of the whole number convened—let this half, by a second ballot, select again an half, a third, a quarter, or such a portion of their number, as will reduce to a small body, the real and final electors of the person required.

“For instance, when the representative of a county is required, let each deputy of the hundreds draw out of the box, which shall contain as many balls as there are deputies convened, a single ball—according to the divisions above stated for counties, the deputies in these conventions would commonly be from twelve to fifteen persons.—Let the balloting box contain,—not exposed to view—five gilt balls, and the remainder white, all precisely alike excepting in colour; let those who draw the five gilt balls, go by themselves into another room, and there choose by a majority of written votes, from the whole body of deputies convened, half the number, giving preference to the most capable, including themselves, or not, in that half as upon this principle it may happen; and making this new number a majority by one of the whole, provided the convention be composed of an odd number; let the box again be made to contain a number of balls equal to this new number thus elected, and let three gilt balls be now put in among the others, which shall be white; let the persons drawing these three gilt balls, immediately go by themselves into a separate room, and by written votes elect the fittest man in their opinion—or in that of any two of these three final electors—for the representative of their county; he being a resident within it, but not necessarily one of their body.

“A like process might be gone through, when the senator for a district was required, by the deputies of each hundred meeting in some central place in the district; or, if a further refinement or sublimation should be judged eligible in the choice of a senator, let the deputies in the county conventions after choosing their representatives, depute by ballot, or written votes, or a mixture of both, half of their body, to meet on the next day a like half of the other county in the same district, to form together a senatorial convention, for the purpose of choosing a senator for the district—who perhaps ought to have been a resident therein, three years or more preceding his election, as he is to represent so large a portion of people.

“When the election of a Governor or Lieutenant-Governor is required—which might be ordered at the same time when the elections of senators and representatives were required—let the county conventions elect, by a like process as in the choice of a representative, one member to a state convention. There would then be forty electors to this state convention, who ought to meet in some central place in the state, soon after their appointment, for the election of the supreme magistrate, and of his lieutenant when required. Let this state convention when met, again practise the intricate ballot; and as their number would be large, also to discourage cabal as much as possible, it might be eligible for this convention at their first getting together to separate half their number by ballot, those drawing the white balls immediately to depart to their homes; and the remaining half to proceed in the election, by some process like the one before described for the county conventions—only as here will be twenty electors remaining, perhaps it will be eligible to increase, to the number of five, the final electors of the Governor, &c.

“When the persons elected were declared, and the business of election completed, every convention should immediately be dissolved, and the members dispersed.

“To guard against all external influence, let the final electors in all instances be kept in a room by themselves till the election is completed.

“In all conventions, immediately upon their getting together, a moderator and clerk ought to be chosen from among themselves; the first to preside, and the other to keep a record of all their proceedings; a copy of which, countersigned by the moderator, should be deposited without delay in the secretary’s office of the state.”

The stile of this writer is harsh and disjointed, so that at first reading a paragraph, it is often difficult to understand his meaning. Amidst many trite remarks, and some very chimerical plans for reforming government, we find however many new and just observations; and those who can submit to travel a rough road in pursuing our author, will sometimes rise upon an eminence and find themselves relieved by the prospect of rich well-cultivated fields and pleasant landscapes.

(a) See Dr. MOORE’s View of Society and Manners in Italy. Vol. 1. Pages 120–123.