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too, if we are determined to persevere in our folly. They know, that individual opposition to their measures is futile; and boast, that we are not sufficiently united as a nation, to give a general one! Is not the indignity alone of this declaration, while we are in the very act of peace-making and conciliation, sufficient to stimulate us to vest more extensive and adequate powers in the Sovereign of these United States? 1784.
I should suppose, no individual State can, or ought to, deprive an officer of rank derived from the States at large; and that it will not be improper for Congress to prohibit the exercise of such a power. The principle and practice are what I cannot reconcile to my ideas of propriety.
CONGRESS: CHOICE OF DELEGATES.
Men, chosen as the delegates in Congress are, cannot officially be dangerous. They depend upon the breath, nay, they are so much the creatures of the people, under the present Constitution, that they can have no views, which could possibly be carried into execution, nor any interests distinct from those of their constituents.
My political creed is, to be wise in the choice of delegates, support them like gentlemen while they are our representatives, give them competent powers
for all Federal purposes, support them in the due exercise thereof, and, lastly, compel them to close attendance in Congress, during their delegation. These things, under the present mode and termination of elections, aided by annual instead of constant sessions, would, or I am exceedingly mistaken, make us one of the most wealthy, happy, respectable, and powerful nations that ever inhabited the terrestrial globe. Without them, we shall, in my opinion, soon be every thing which is the direct reverse.
ANNUAL SESSIONS OF CONGRESS.
Annual sessions would always produce a full representation, and alertness in business. The delegates, after a separation of eight or ten months, would meet each other with glad countenances. They would be complaisant; they would yield to each other all that duty to their constituents would allow; and they would have better opportunities of becoming acquainted with their sentiments, and removing improper prejudices, when they are imbibed, by mixing with them during the recess.
Men who are always together, get tired of each other's company. They throw off that restraint which is necessary to keep things in proper tune. They say and do things which are personally disgusting. This begets opposition; opposition begets faction; and so
it goes on, till business is impeded, and often at a stand.
I am sure, (having the business prepared by proper boards, or a committee,) an Annual Session of two months would despatch more business than is done in twelve, and this by a full representation of the Union.
FREE AND EQUAL REPRESENTATION.
I always believed, that an unequivocally free and equal representation of the people in the legislature, together with an efficient and responsible Executive, was the great pillar on which the preservation of American freedom must depend.
THE DUTY OF REPRESENTATIVES.
Without an unprejudiced coolness, the welfare of the government may be hazarded. Without harmony, as far as consistent with freedom of sentiment, its dignity may be lost.
In all free governments, contentions in elections will take place; and, whilst it is confined to our own citizens, it is not to be regretted; but severely indeed
ought it to be reprobated, when occasioned by foreign machinations.
I trust that the good sense of our countrymen will guard the public weal against this and every other innovation, and that, although we may be a little wrong now and then, we shall return to the right path with more avidity.
I can never believe, that Providence, which has guided us so long, and through such a labyrinth, will withdraw its protection at this crisis.
THE AFFECTIONS OF THE PEOPLE.
It is desirable, on all occasions, to unite, with a steady and firm adherence to constitutional and necessary acts of government, the fullest evidence of a disposition, as far as may be practicable, to consult the wishes of every part of the community, and to lay the foundations of the public administration in the affections of the people.
I cannot forbear to recommend a repeal of the tax on the transportation of public prints. There is no resource so firm for the Government of the United States, as the affections of the people, guided by an enlightened policy. And to this primary good, nothing can conduce more, than a faithful representation of public proceedings, diffused without restraint throughout the United States.
In general, I esteem it a good maxim, that the best way to preserve the confidence of the people durably, is to promote their true interest.
There are particular exigencies, when this maxim has peculiar force. When any great object is in view, the popular mind is roused into expectation, and prepared to make sacrifices both of ease and property. If those to whom the people confide the management of their affairs do not call them to make these sacrifices, and the object is not attained, or they are involved in the reproach of not having contributed as much as they ought to have done towards it, they will be mortified at the disappointment; they will feel the censure; and their resentment will rise against those who, with sufficient authority, have omitted to do what their interest and their honor required.
THE CONSTITUTION, THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE.
To complete the American character, it remains for the citizens of the United States to show to the world that the reproach heretofore cast on Republican Governments, for their want of stability, is without foundation, when that Government is the deliberate choice of an enlightened people. And I am fully persuaded, that every well-wisher to the happiness and