Comment: A Touch on Magna Charta by Federalist Hamilton :

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A Touch on Magna Charta by Federalist Hamilton :

Certain
General and Miscellaneous Objections to the Constitution Considered and
Answered

From McLEAN's Edition, New York.

It has been several times truly remarked that bills of rights are,
in their origin, stipulations between kings and their subjects,
abridgements of prerogative in favor of privilege, reservations of
rights not surrendered to the prince. Such was MAGNA CHARTA, obtained
by the barons, sword in hand, from King John. Such were the
subsequent confirmations of that charter by succeeding princes. Such
was the PETITION OF RIGHT assented to by Charles I., in the beginning
of his reign. Such, also, was the Declaration of Right presented by
the Lords and Commons to the Prince of Orange in 1688, and afterwards
thrown into the form of an act of parliament called the Bill of
Rights. It is evident, therefore, that, according to their primitive
signification, they have no application to constitutions professedly
founded upon the power of the people, and executed by their immediate
representatives and servants. Here, in strictness, the people
surrender nothing; and as they retain every thing they have no need
of particular reservations. "WE, THE PEOPLE of the United
States, to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our
posterity, do ORDAIN and ESTABLISH this Constitution for the United
States of America.'' Here is a better recognition of popular rights,
than volumes of those aphorisms which make the principal figure in
several of our State bills of rights, and which would sound much
better in a treatise of ethics than in a constitution of government.

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