Front Page Titles (by Subject) Philo-Publius [William Duer] Essays - Friends of the Constitution: Writings of the Other Federalists, 1787-1788
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“Philo-Publius” [William Duer] Essays - Colleen A. Sheehan, Friends of the Constitution: Writings of the “Other” Federalists, 1787-1788 
Friends of the Constitution: Writings of the “Other” Federalists, 1787-1788, edited by Colleen A. Sheehan and Gary L. McDowell (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998).
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“Philo-Publius” [William Duer]
I: Daily Advertiser, New York, 30 October 1787; II: New York Packet, 16 November 1787; III and IV: Daily Advertiser, New York, 29 November and 1 December 1787
William Duer was originally to be one of the authors of The Federalist. According to James Madison, “William Duer was also included in the original plan; and wrote two or more papers, which though intelligent and sprightly, were not continued, nor did they make a part of the printed collection.” Thus, Duer’s choice of the pseudonym Philo-Publius. See the introduction to Jacob E. Cooke’s edition of The Federalist (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1961).
In the first number of the Federalist, which appeared in the INDEPENDENT JOURNAL of Saturday, the interest of certain Officers, under the State establishments, to oppose an increase of Federal authority, is mentioned as a principal source of the opposition to be expected to the New Constitution.1 The same idea has appeared in other publications, but has not hitherto been sufficiently explained. To ascertain its justness and extent, would, no doubt, be satisfactory to the public; and might serve to obviate misapprehensions.
A very natural enquiry presents itself on the subject:—How happens it, that the interest of the Officers of a State should be different from that of its Citizens? I shall attempt an answer to this question.
The powers requisite to constitute Sovereignty, must be delegated by every people for their own protection and security. The people of each State have already delegated these powers; which are now lodged; partly in the PARTICULAR Government, and partly in the GENERAL Government. It is not necessary that they should grant greater or new ones. The only question with them is, in what manner the powers already granted shall be distributed; into what receptacles; and in what proportions. If they are represented in both, it will be immaterial to them, so far as concerns their individual authority, independence, or liberty, whether the principal share be deposited in the whole body, or in the distinct members. The repartition, or division, is a mere question of expediency; for, by whatever scale it be made, their personal rights will remain the same. If it be their interest to be united, it will be their interest to bestow as large a portion upon the Union, as may be required to render it solid and effectual; and if experience has shewn, that the portion heretofore conferred is inadequate to the object, it will be their interest to take away a part of that which has been left in the State reservoirs, to add it to the common stock.
But such a transfer of power, from the individual members to the Union, however it may promote the advantage of the citizens at large, may subtract not a little from the importance, and, what is with most men less easily submitted to, from the emolument of those, who hold a certain description of offices under the State establishments. These have one interest as Citizens, and another as OFFICERS. In the latter capacity, they are interested in the POWER and PROFIT of their offices, and will naturally be unwilling to put either in jeopardy. That men love power is no new discovery; that they are commonly attached to good salaries does not need elaborate proof; that they should be afraid of what threatens them with a loss of either, is but a plain inference from plain facts. A diminution of State authority is, of course, a diminution of the POWER of those who are invested with the administration of that authority; and, in all probability, will in many instances produce an eventual decrease of salary. In some cases it may annihilate the offices themselves. But, while these persons may have to repine at the loss of official importance or pecuniary emolument, the private citizen may feel himself exalted to a more elevated rank. He may pride himself in the character of a citizen of America, as more dignified than that of a citizen of any single State. He may greet himself with the appellation of an American as more honorable than that of a New-Yorker, a Pennsylvanian, or a Virginian.
From the preceding remarks, the distinction alluded to, between the private citizen and the citizen in office, will, I presume, be sufficiently apparent. But it will be proper to observe, that its influence does not reach near so far as might at first sight be imagined. The offices that would be affected by the proposed change, though of considerable importance, are not numerous. Most of the departments of the State Governments will remain, untouched, to flow in their accustomed channels. This observation was necessary, to prevent invidious suspicions from lighting where they would not be applicable.
The government of Athens was a democracy. The people, as is usual in all democratical governments, were constantly alarmed at the spectre of ARISTOCRACY; and it was common in that republic as it is in the republics of America to pay court to them by encouraging their jealousies, and gratifying their prejudices. Pericles, to ingratiate himself with the citizens of Athens, whose favour was necessary to his ambition, was a principal agent in mutilating the privileges and the power of the court of AREOPAGUS; an institution acknowledged by all historians to have been a main pillar of the State. The pretence was that it promoted the POWER of the ARISTOCRACY.
The same man undermined the constitution of his country TO ACQUIRE popularity—squandered the treasures of his country to PURCHASE popularity—and to avoid being accountable to his country precipitated it into a war which ended in its destruction. Pericles was, nevertheless, a man endowed with many amiable and shining qualities, and, except in a few instances, was always the favorite of the people.
PUBLIUS has shewn us in a clear light the utility, it might be said, the necessity of Union to the formation and support of a navy.2 There is one point of view however on which he has left the subject untouched—the tendency of this circumstance to the preservation of liberty.
Will force be necessary to repell foreign attacks, or to guard the national rights against the ambition of particular members? A navy will be a much safer as well as a more effectual engine for either purpose. If we have a respectable fleet there will be the less call on any account for an army. This idea is too plain to need enlargement. Thus the salutary guardianship of the Union appears on all sides to be the palladium of American liberty.3
UPON what basis does our Independence rest, so far as respects the recognition of Foreign Powers? Upon the basis of the UNION.—In what capacity did France first acknowledge our Independence? In the capacity of UNITED STATES. In what capacity did Britain accede to it, and relinquish her pretensions? In the capacity of UNITED STATES.—In what character have we formed Treaties with other Nations? In the character of UNITED STATES.—Are we, in short, known in any other Independent character to any Nation on the face of the Globe?
I admit, that in theory, our Independence may survive the Union; but can the Anti-federalists guarantee the efficacy of this theory upon the Councils of Europe? Can they ensure us against a fate, similar to that which lately befel the distracted and devoted Kingdom of Poland?
[1. ]As Publius puts it in The Federalist, No. 1: “Among the most formidable of the obstacles which the new Constitution will have to encounter, may readily be distinguished the obvious interest of a certain class of men in every state to resist all changes which may hazard a diminution of power, emolument, and consequence of the offices they hold under the state establishments.”
[2. ]The Federalist, No. 11.
[3. ]See The Federalist, Nos. 10, 14, and 51.