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Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of Innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts.

One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, alterations, which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown.

In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember, that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments, as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing Constitution of the country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion. And remember, especially, that, for the efficient management of your common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty, is indispensable. Liberty itself will find, in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian.

It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the Government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the securest tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.


This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst en


The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which, in different ages and countries, has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads, at length, to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and, sooner or later, the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection.

It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself, through the channels of party passions. Thus, the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.


There is an opinion, that Parties, in free governments, are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty.

This, within certain limits, is probably true; and in governments of a Monarchial cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain, there will always be enough of that spirit, for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance

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. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them.

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,

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