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the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of government, as of other human institutions-that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a 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 interest, 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 secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.

I HAVE already intimated to you, the danger of parties in the state, with particular re

ference to the founding of them on geographical discrimination. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you, in the most solemn manner, against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.


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

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.

WITHOUT looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be intirely out of sight) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party, are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and re

strain it.

IT serves always to distract the public councils, and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with illfounded 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 will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

THERE is an opinion, that parties in free countries 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 govern


ments of a monarchial cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favour 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 uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

IT is important likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country, should inspire caution in those entrusted 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 to 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, position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of the 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 insti tute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the con stitutional 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 weap on 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.

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriot,

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