This, Sir, is the substance of the arguments, if arguments they can be called, which were used in favour of inequality of suffrage.-
Those, who advocated the equality of suffrage, took the matter upon the original principles of government- They urged that all men considered in a state of nature, before any government formed, are equally free and independent, no one having any right or authority to exercise power over another, and this without any regard to difference in personal strength, understanding, or wealth- That when such individuals enter into government, they have each a right to an equal voice in its first formation, and afterwards have each a right to an equal vote in every matter which relates to their government- That if it could be done conveniently, they have a right to exercise it in person- Where it cannot be done in person but for convenience, representatives are appointed to act for them, every person has a right to an equal vote in choosing that representative who is entrusted to do for the whole, that which the whole, if they could assemble, might do in person, and in the transacting of which each would have an equal voice- That if we were to admit, because a man was more wise, more strong, or more wealthy, he should be entitled to more votes than another, it would be inconsistent with the freedom and liberty of that other, and would reduce him to slavery- Suppose, for instance, ten individuals in a state of nature, about to enter into government, nine of whom are equally wise, equally strong, and equally wealthy, the tenth is ten times as wise, ten times as strong or ten times as rich; if for this reason he is to have ten votes for each vote of either of the others, the nine might as well have no vote at all, since though the whole nine might assent to a measure, yet the vote of the tenth would countervail, and set aside all their votes- If this tenth approved of what they wished to adopt, it would be well, but if he disapproved, he could prevent it, and in the same manner he could carry into execution any measure he wished contrary to the opinion of all the others, he having ten votes, and the other all together but nine- It is evident, that on these principles, the nine would have no will nor discretion of their own, but must be totally dependent on the will and discretion of the tenth, to him they would be as absolutely slaves as any negro is to his master- If he did not attempt to carry into execution any measures injurious to the other nine, it could only be said that they had a good master, they would not be the less slaves, because they would be totally dependent on the will of another, and not on their own will- They might not feel their chains, but they would notwithstanding wear them, and whenever their master pleased he might draw them so tight as to gall them to the bone. Hence it was urged the inequality of representation, or giving to one man more votes than another on account of his wealth, &c. was altogether inconsistent with the principles of liberty, and in the same proportion as it should be adopted, in favour of one or more, in that proportion are the others inslaved-3
It was urged that though every individual should have an equal voice in the government, yet, even then superiour wealth, strength or understanding, would give great and undue advantages to those who possessed them. That wealth attracts respect and attention; superior strength would cause the weaker and more feeble to be cautious how they offended, and to put up with small injuries rather than to engage in an unequal contest- In like manner superior understanding would give its possessor many opportunities of profiting at the expence of the more ignorant- Having thus established these principles with respect to the rights of individuals in a state of nature, and what is due to each on entering into government, principles established by every writer on liberty, they proceeded to shew that States, when once formed, are considered with respect to each other as individuals in a state of nature- That, like individuals, each State is considered equally free and equally independent, the one having no right to exercise authority over the other, though more strong, more wealthy, or abounding with more inhabitants- That when a number of States unite themselves under a federal government, the same principles apply to them as when a number of individual men unite themselves under a State government- That every argument which shews one man ought not to have more votes than another, because he is wiser, stronger or wealthier, proves that one State ought not to have more votes than another, because it is stronger, richer or more populous- And that by giving one State, or one or two States more votes than the others, the others thereby are enslaved to such State or States, having the greater number of votes, in the same manner as in the case before put of individuals where one has more votes than the others- That the reason why each individual man in forming a State government should have an equal vote is, because each individual before he enters into government is equally free and independent- So each State, when States enter into a federal government, are entitled to an equal vote, because before they entered into such federal government, each State was equally free and equally independent-That adequate rep-resentation of men formed into a State government, consists in each man having an equal voice either personally, or if representatives, that he should have an equal voice in choosing the representative- So adequate representation of States in a federal government, consists in each State having an equal voice either in person or by its representative in every thing which relates to the federal government- That this adequacy of representation is more important in a federal, than in a State government, because the members of a State government, the district of which is not very large, have generally such a common interest, that laws can scarcely be made by one part oppressive to the others, without their suffering in common; but the different States composing an extensive federal empire, widely distant, one from the other, may have interests so totally distinct, that the one part might be greatly benefited by what would be destructive to the other.