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to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.
It is devoutly to be wished, that faction was at an end; and that those to whom every thing dear and valuable is intrusted, would lay aside party views, and return to first principles. Happy, happy, thrice happy country, if such were the government of it! But, alas, we are not to expect, that the path is to be strowed with flowers. That Great Good Being who rules the universe, has disposed matters otherwise, and for wise purposes, I am persuaded.
I am under more apprehensions on account of our own dissensions, than of the efforts of the enemy.
Unanimity in our councils, disinterestedness in our pursuits, and steady perseverance in our national duty, are the only means to avoid misfortunes. If they come upon us after these, we shall have the consolation of knowing, that we have done our best. The rest is with God.
The hour is certainly come, when party disputes and dissensions should subside; when every man, especially those in office, should, with hand and heart, pull the same way, and with their whole strength.
Providence has done, and, I am persuaded, is disposed to do, a great deal for us but we are not to forget the fable of Jupiter and the countryman.
It is important, that the habits of thinking, in a free country, should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding, in the exercise of the powers of one department, to encroach upon another.
The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this proposition.
The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments, ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. Το preserve them must be as necessary as to
If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be, in any particular, wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment, in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by Usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good,
it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance, in permanent evil, any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield.
SUPREME IMPORTANCE OF THE FEDERAL UNION.
Notwithstanding the cup of blessing is reached to us; notwithstanding happiness is ours, if we have a disposition to seize the occasion and make it our own; yet, it appears to me, there is an option still left to the United States of America; that it is in their choice, and depends upon their conduct; whether they will be respectable and prosperous, or contemptible and miserable, as a nation. This is the time of their political probation. This is the moment, when the eyes of the whole world are turned upon them. This is the moment, to establish or ruin their National Character for ever. This is the formidable moment, to give such a tone to our Federal Government, as will enable it to answer the ends of its institution. Or this may be the ill-fated moment for relaxing the powers of the Union, annihilating the cement of the Confederation, and exposing us to become the sport of European politics, which may play one State against another, to prevent their growing importance, and to serve their own interested purposes.
According to the system of policy the States shall adopt, this moment, they will stand or fall; and by their confirmation or lapse it is yet to be decided, whether the Revolution must ultimately be considered as a blessing or a curse; a blessing or a curse, not to the present age alone, for with our fate will the destiny of unborn millions be involved.
There must be Reciprocity, or no Union. Which of the two is preferable, will not become a question in the mind of any true patriot.
POWERS OF CONGRESS.
The fear of giving sufficient powers to Congress, is futile. Each Assembly, under its present constitution, will be annihilated, and we must once more return to the government of Great Britain, and be made to kiss the rod preparing for our correction. A nominal head, which, at present, is but another name for Congress, will no longer do.
That honorable body, after hearing the interests and views of the several States fairly discussed and explained by their respective representatives, must dictate, and not merely recommend, and leave it to the
States afterwards to do as they please, which is, in many cases, to do nothing at all.
Unless the principles of the Federal Government are properly supported, and the powers of the Union increased, the honor, dignity, and justice of the nation will be lost for ever.
To me it is a solecism in politics, indeed it is one of the most extraordinary things in nature, that we should confederate as a Nation, and yet be afraid to give the Rulers of that nation, (who are the creatures of our own making, appointed for a limited and short duration, and who are amenable for every action, and may be recalled at any moment, and are subject to all the evils which they may be instrumental in producing,) sufficient powers to order and direct the affairs of the same. By such policy as this, the wheels of government are clogged, and our brightest prospects, and that high expectation which was entertained of us by the wondering world, are turned into astonishment; and, from our high ground on which we stood, we are descending into the vale of confusion and darkness.
With joy I once beheld my country, feeling the liveliest sense of her rights, and maintaining them with a spirit apportioned to their worth. With joy I have seen all the wise men of Europe looking on her with admiration, and all the good with hope, that her fair example would regenerate the old world, and re