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 Pelatiah Webster, in 1783, first expressed the idea that a Federal Government could be formed that ‘should act, not on the States, but directly on individuals.’ (To him Dr. Bledsoe refers in note on page 52 of the work under review, but inadvertently gives the credit of the idea mentioned to Noah Webster.) The former, it is true, conceived the idea of the possibility of a divided sovereignty; but even by him, the idea that the States could surrender, absolutely, certain sovereign rights—as individuals might surrender certain natural rights—seems not to have been clearly defined. He saw as but ‘through a glass, darkly’ on this subject. In truth neither he nor any of his contemporaries had any aid toward reaching the conclusion that a divided sovereignty might be made absolute, from any historic light upon the matter.
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