The Greatest Domestic Terrorist Organization in America is the Federal Government

EdmundBurkeQuotesDemocrats

“On every unauthoritative exercise of power by the legislature must the people rise in rebellion or their silence be construed into a surrender of that power.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

The federal government has become the greatest domestic terrorist organization, and the greatest threat to peace and happiness in America. The continuing slide towards a police state we see in America today, is on a trajectory that cannot be sustained for long among a free people. With the militarization of the various governmental agencies in the federal government and the nations police forces, it should be obvious to anyone the federal government has ceased to work for the best interests of the citizenry or the nation.

It should be noted the Nazi’s and Third Reich in Germany rose to power because the German people were more concerned about the economy than they were about anything else. Just as we see in America today, people only care about politics and what the government is doing when it affects their pocket books. People need to wake up and look to the history of the world, to learn what is possible and how to avoid the mistakes of the past in made in other parts of the world as well as our own.

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"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin 
by subduing the freeness of speech." Benjamin Franklin 
Written when he was 16.

When you have instances where a tortoise takes precedent over American lives and lively hoods, it is unsustainable against the bulwark of our freedoms. There are many instances like this, including but not limited to:

Federal EPA i.e. Environmental Propaganda Agency now claims it can garnish the wages of individual Americans, families, homeowners, etc. who they deem are violating EPA rules and regulations. No judge needed, no court approval or oversight, they can do it just like the IRS. This is what you call tyranny, the acts of our current federal government are in many ways much more egregious than those acts of King George III, whom the colonial Americans fought against for Independence in the Revolutionary War.

Farmers in California being denied the water they need to grow produce for the nation because of a smelt. Ranchers in various parts of the country being denied the right to graze their cattle on public lands, or being fined for cleaning out a water course to allow for the free flow of water. Builders being denied the right to build what they choose to build, on land they own. Home owners being denied the right to even catch rain in a barrel that flows from the roof of the houses they own. It is nothing short of tyranny designed to cause terror among the domestic population and is therefore domestic terrorism.

When you have a pipeline that would benefit the nation and citizenry being denied the needed permits through numerous studies, studies that find no harm would come from the same, yet the federal government through it’s domestic terrorist arm the EPA continues to deny the permits. When this same government imposes regulations that are so egregious they cause numerous business and job losses in coal country. It is nothing short of domestic terror and government abuse of the citizenry.

When you have the IRS, FEC, OSHA, FBI, DoJ, BLM, DHS and numerous other domestic terrorist agencies of the federal government targeting their political opponents. When you have the NSA doing nonstop surveillance and spying on the American people. It is nothing short of domestic terror, and designed to cause fear among the citizenry.

When you have members of the Government Oversight Committee coordinating with the IRS and other agencies in that same targeting of conservative groups, and other members of Congress and the Whitehouse calling on the IRS to do that targeting. It is nothing short of domestic terror and designed to cause a chilling effect on those who would speak against them.

When you have the Whitehouse take punitive measures against the American people during the most recent government shutdown: i.e. Closing the WWII Memorial to veterans, the ocean to fisherman, highway scenic overlooks, and the national parks to the American public who paid for those parks with their tax dollars and numerous other punitive and adolescent measures designed to make the American people call on Congress to cave to the Whitehouse demands. It is nothing short of domestic terror and reflect more the actions of a third world dictator, than those of an American president who should reflect the values of the American citizenry.

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When you have members of the TSA, created by the George W. Bush administration; committing lewd and lascivious sexual acts on the general public and given sanction to do so by the federal government. It is nothing short of domestic terror and designed to condition the citizenry to surrender more and more of their liberties under the guise of protecting them.

When you have a federal government, who will turn the full weight of it’s power against the citizens, and do nothing about the influx of law breakers through our porous southern border. It is indeed nothing short of terror and has no place in America, the Land of the Free.

When The same federal government kills cattle because a rancher loses his appeals to the federal courts that are stacked against him and doesn’t pay the fines imposed upon him. This same government refuses to pay the millions awarded to another rancher (Wayne Hage) who took it upon himself to learn the law because of his fathers 20 year dispute with the federal government, and in so doing allowed him to prevail in his legal disputes against that same government, it is nothing short of domestic government tyranny and abuse of power.

When you have the federal government printing and pumping money into the stock market to buoy the numbers so the economy seems to be doing better than we average American’s know it to be. When the actions of the federal governmental policies devaluing the dollar to such an extent it causes prices, not only on luxuries to skyrocket, but also the basic staples and needs of human life, such as groceries, electricity, and fuel to double and triple in the years since Obama became president, it is nothing short of domestic terror, which does only harm to the tranquility and peace of the citizenry.

When you have the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families team up with Boston Children’s Hospital to kidnap a child from Connecticut and keep her from her family as they did, and continue to do with Justina Pelletier, and the court imposes a gag order to keep the Pelletier from speaking about it. That is not indicative of American values, those are more like tactics of a despot who denies the rights of parents and families,  It is nothing short of government abuse of power and domestic terror. It is also an indication of what America has in store for her with Obamacare, since Obamacare was designed by the same people who designed the Massachusetts healthcare system.

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I could spend all day making a list and providing links to various instances of domestic terror by the federal government, however I think enough Americans are beginning to see them in their personal lives that I do not need to do so.

It is indeed time for the nation to stand up against the biggest bullies in America and take back our country from the federal government and the people who support this same tyrannical terroristic organization. Congress is not blameless in this growing domestic terrorism by the government. For it was they who created the monster, and it is they who can pass legislation or resend legislation that has led to the abuse by the monster they created. It would be wise from what we are seeing today for the House of Representatives and the United States Senate to fix the alphabet agency soup they created before the people rise up against the same; due to the lack of action on the part of Congress, the Supreme Court and the President to reign in the government we pay for through our tax dollars.

I encourage and invite you all to add to the list in the comments below…

One last message before I sign off: Attention Government Employees and Officials: YOU are our hirelings, servants, and employees, NOT our parents, rulers, or lords and We the people are NOT your Customers!

We the People are the Ruler’s in America! We the People ARE the Last Word, NOT the Legislator, NOT the Supreme Court, NOT the President. When We Stand Together, our Hirelings have no choice but to Listen!

“The government is merely a servant―merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.” ~ Mark Twain

UPDATE: Harry Reid doesn’t want Americans to get away with breaking laws, but if illegal aliens break the law; he gives them citizenship! Forget about the GOP’s so called war on women, so-called by democrats to distract. Think of the federal governments war on us ALL!

Also see:What Measures are actually taken by wicked and desperate Ministers to ruin and enslave their Country
Freedom of Speech the Same is Inseparable From Public Liberty: Cato Letter No. 15
Of Rebellion: Observations on the Boston Port-Bill by John Q. Adams 1774
Extract from Hyperion by “The Patriot” Josiah Quincy Jr., 1768
Appeal to the People Concerning the Heavy Hand of Government
The Reason Behind Low Congressional Approval Ratings “Far Too Long”
The Democrats Assault on the First Amendment in America
Sensible According to the Democrats
A System That Breeds Contempt In Its Children
The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation
The Powers of Congress; House of Representatives and the Senate: Constitution Article I
The Powers of the Executive Branch i.e. the President: Constitution Article II
Weird Weather in the United States evidence of Climate Change?
A WARNING TO AMERICANS by John Dickinson 1732-1808
GRIEVANCES OF THE COLONISTS TO THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT by Richard Henry Lee 1775

Oversight Committees IRS Targeting Investigation Malfeasance

No wonder Democrat Minority Leader (Rep Elijah Cummings) in the House Oversight Committee Has Fought So Hard and Viciously to Impede the Oversights Committees Investigation into the IRS Targeting Tea Party, Religious, Jewish, and Conservative Organizations.

IRS“House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa on Wednesday accused his Democratic counterpart, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, of colluding with the IRS to attack one of the tea party groups that was targeted by the tax agency for intrusive scrutiny and long delays.

Mr. Issa and five other top Republicans said they just last week were given emails showing Mr. Cummings sought information from the IRS about True the Vote, a conservative tax-exempt organization that drew the ire of liberals for pushing states to eliminate potentially bogus names from their voter rolls.”

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/9/issa-irs-coordinated-dems-attack-tea-party-group/

Keep in mind North Carolina officials found over 36,000 cases of Voter Fraud just in their State during the 2012 election cycle. This should be one of the Greatest Crimes in America. Dealt the most severe punishment for it undermines the very bedrock of our Republic. When a person commits voter fraud, they are not only robbing each individual who votes, they are robbing our Republic of the very democratic principles of its founding.

Excerpt from page two of above linked story: “Sixty years ago, Joe McCarthy tried — and failed — to hold an American citizen in contempt after she professed her innocence and asserted her rights under the Fifth Amendment. I reject Chairman Issa’s attempts to re-create our committee in Joe McCarthy’s image, and I object to his effort to drag us back to that shameful era in which Congress tried to strip away the constitutional rights of American citizens under the bright lights of hearings that had nothing to do with responsible oversight and everything to do with the most dishonorable kind of partisan politics,” Mr. Cummings said.

This is pretty rich coming from Cummings who has done everything he can to impede the Oversights committees investigation into the IRS stripping away True American Citizens Rights. A government employee is the government, they are not an American citizen. If an American business person gives up their Constitutional Rights when entering into public commerce, then an American who enters into public service give up those same rights when entering that same service!

Here are the documents about Democrat Rep Cummings’  interactions with the IRS about a targeted conservative organization: True The Vote

Keep in mind hundreds of Progressive, Liberal, Democrat 501c Organizations have been politically active for decades. See it was just fine with the Democrats when it was only their side who took advantage of these tax-exempt organizations. These include to name a few:
Fierce;
Moveon.org;
Voto Latino;
Labor Unions;
Planned Parenthood;
The Ruckus Society;
Brennan Center for Justice;
The New World Foundation;
Americans United for Change;
The Black Alliance for Just Immigration;
Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND);

It is only when organizations who are opposed to the Democrats and in fact to some extent the leadership in the GOP that the 501 organizations suddenly need revision and fixing by Congress to reign in their political activity. Democrats do this all the time, they create legislation they take advantage of, then when their opposition takes advantage of the same. They then want to revise those rules, or repeal the legislation to keep the opposition from doing the same. Democrats, liberals and progressives truly are the biggest hypocrites in America. Cummings at the very least should be removed from his duties as a member of the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform.

Here are just a few of those average hard working Americans targeted by the IRS

A System That Breeds Contempt In Its Children

SpringBreakRiotWe see in the Spring Break riot in CA what happens when a school system that teaches children from their inception to despise the nation of their birth. When a school system teaches children to so despise the nation of their birth, it not only breeds contempt for the nation, it also breeds contempt for the law, and the very system and people who taught them that contempt. Just wait until they learn how they have been so completely lied to about the history of their country, then we will see that system pulled down around those who forced that contempt upon them, around the ears of those responsible.

You are hereby forewarned politicians, courts, and national education system, including the Government bureaucracy, the NEA, Department of education and so called liberal progressives, who are nothing but leftist tyrannical malcontents who have such disgust for themselves, they can see no good in the nation that has blessed them with its existence.

The Reason Behind Low Congressional Approval Ratings “Far Too Long”

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Attention Congress & Elected Government Officials: When the people we elect to fix the problems of governmental abuse of the citizenry (for decades now) continually refuse to address those issues and be more concerned with their re-elections than in doing what is right for America, it’s veterans and it’s citizenry. It is getting U.S. closer and closer to the 2nd Revolution that many seem to be hoping for, including those in government who seem to want the same. It would be wise if you in Congress who we give the power of the purse and of legislation, work to scale back the bureaucracy and the power they weld and use to abuse We The People. Do not mistake this for a threat or a call to any drastic measures by we the American people. I am not writing this to stir up strife, division, hatred, or anything of such manner. I and others like me do not stir the pot, it is our government who has been stirring it for far too long, and our congress and courts failing to do anything about it. This is simply a friendly piece of advice from an American son and father with his ear to the ground, who is praying we can fix these problems before it is too late and hoping it is not too late already. As we can see with recent events, more and more people are getting fed up with the abuse, corruption, malfeasance, cronyism and treason we have been experiencing from our governmental bureaucracies for far too long.

It’s easy to see why the Congress of the United States have such low approval ratings. Our elected officials in Congress seem to be inept and clueless in regards to the American people and their plight. While you have bi-partisan bickering going on over issues that are only important to those in Washington D.C. and their political aspirations, the Federal Government and the bureaucracies that it involves are escaping unharmed and unaccountable for the abuse they have meted out to the citizenry for far too long, under far too many presidential administrations.

Thomas Paine quote Politicians

Barack Obama is not the first president to preside over the alphabet soup agencies that go to make up the federal bureaucracy, he is only the latest in a long line of them since at least Richard Nixon, a republican who was also a progressive. I would argue it was long before his time as president that it started, but since he presided over the institution of the EPA, I will begin with him.

Obama is also not the first president to utterly fail to faithfully enforce the law when it comes to immigration. The GOP and the Democrats have both unlawfully ruled against the American peoples interest in this. Both parties have listened to everyone, other than those people whose votes mean nothing once the politicians are elected. This is shown on the latest deal with the presidents illegal amnesty, I knew the Congress would fail to address it with the new majority.The immigration system was never “broken”, it was just our politicians refused to enforce the laws that exist!

It doesn’t matter what the people who elected the politicians want, it doesn’t matter what is good for the American people, it only matters what the lobbyists, big money players, the US Chamber of Commerce, and other special interests want.

The members elected to Congress never listen to the voters who put them there, it only matters what the political pundits and consultants say, the voters are too dumb to know why the voters elected a certain politician or group of politicians. No, the politicians cannot ask the people who elected them directly why they voted for them, they need paid political consultants to tell us voters why we elected them.

Far too many politicians these days seem to think it is more important for we the people to listen to them, than it is for the politicians to listen to us!

This new Congress couldn’t even get Keystone pipeline accomplished. The only time Congress ever accomplishes anything is when they join together to pass more legislation that is harmful to the American people and the government bureaucracy can use to force more onerous regulations on us that further stifles our liberty, the economy, and fundamental principles of the Republic.

I’m not going to go into a long list or details about the individual instances of this abuse, most of you that care about it and pay attention know the many stories, those of you who don’t, the stories are easily found on the internet through search engines and on youtube. I will mention some of the latest such as the NSA spying, the IRS targeting of conservatives, the EPA abuses that happen on a regular basis, the case of Justina Pelletier in Massachusetts, the Fast and Furious scandal that took place during two presidential administrations, the list is long and it is growing by leaps and bounds under the current administration. Add the latest and most egregious abuse, the abuse that has led to the deaths of veterans who depended on the VA and the bureaucracy that serves them, it is all adding up.

It is clear that Congress has failed for far too long to address the abuses by the federal government and the bureaucracy has gotten far too out of hand. It’s members it seems, have been involved in the bureaucracy far too long, to be effective in their representation of the people’s and liberties interests. If this Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate cannot refrain from only having bi-partisan agreement on issues, laws and regulations that only do further harm to the American people and their liberties, then it is time we the people replace them all with those, who still have more than just a foothold in the communities they are elected to serve!

It is time for Congress to get off their fancy derrieres, put aside their politics and bickering, and get back to the work we the people have elected them to do. They need to not only reign in the alphabet soup agencies, that go to make up the federal bureaucracy, they need to eliminate them. They are the monsters of Congress’s creation, and it is up to Congress to correct the mistakes of their past. It is time they repeal these regulations, and pass laws that outright ban these agencies from making more, the more regulations they create, the more onerous they become, and it leads the agencies involved to abuse their power with more and more impunity and aggression towards the citizens, Congress people are elected to represent. It is time for the malfeasance and abuse of power to end!

See also: Appeal to the People Concerning the Heavy Hand of Government
The heavy hand of government has become completely unacceptable in the US, Barack Obama likes to lecture US about American Values. He and his Whitehouse’s administration of the Federal Government are the antithesis and in Direct Opposition to everything our Constitution and the … Continue reading

The Greatest Domestic Terrorist Organization in America is the Federal Government

The federal government has become the greatest domestic terrorist organization, and the greatest threat to peace and happiness in America. The continuing slide towards a police state we see in America today, is on a trajectory that cannot be … Continue reading

 

Hungarian President Louis Kossuth Concerning the Centralization of Power

LouisKossuthLajos Kossuth, [aka Louis] the Hungarian political reformer and leader of the 1848-1849 revolution for Hungarian independence, was one of the greatest statesmen and orators of the mid 19th century. He was a prominent figure, well known in the United States and Europe for his leadership of the democratic forces who sought Hungarian independence from Austrian domination. During his exile, [See the rest of his bio below speech] he toured the United States in 1851-1852, American journalist Horace Greeley said of Kossuth: “Among the orators, patriots, statesmen, exiles, he has, living or dead, no superior.”

Speech at a Washington Banquet, Jan. 6th, 1852, The Banquet given by a large number of the Members of the two Houses of Congress to Kossuth took place at the National Hotel, in Washington City. The number present was about two hundred and fifty. The Hon. Wm. R. King, of Alabama, president of the Senate, presided. On his right sat Louis Kossuth, and on his left the Hon. Daniel Webster, Secretary of State. On the right of Kossuth1 at the same table, sat the Hon. Linn Boyd, speaker” of the House of Representatives. Besides other distinguished guests who responded to toasts, are named Hon. Thomas Corwin, Secretary of the Treasury, and Hon. Alex. H. H. Stuart, Secretary of the Interior. Also in attendance were Judge Wayne, of the Supreme Court of the United States; Mr. Stanton, of Tennessee; General Shields, Senator for Illinois, Chairman of the Committee of Military Affairs in the Senate; and many other dignitaries of the United States.

NOVELTIES IN AMERICAN REPUBLICANISM

Sir, though I have a noble pride in my principles, and the inspiration of a just cause, still I have also the consciousness of my personal insignificance. Never will I forget what is due from me to the Sovereign Source [referring to the Hungarian people] of my public capacity. This I owe to my nation’s dignity; and therefore, respectfully thanking this highly distinguished assembly in my country’s name, I have the boldness to say that Hungary well deserves your sympathy; that Hungary has a claim to protection, because it has a claim to justice. But as to myself, I am well aware that in all these honours I have no personal share. Nay, I know that even that which might seem to be personal in your toast, is only an acknowledgment of a historical fact, very instructively connected with a principle valuable and dear to every republican heart in the United States of America. As to ambition, I indeed never was able to understand how anybody can love ambition more than liberty. But I am glad to state a historical fact, as a principal demonstration of that influence which institutions exercise upon the character of nations.

We Hungarians are very fond of the principle of municipal self-government, and we have a natural horror against centralization. That fond attachment to municipal self-government, without which there is no provincial freedom possible, is a fundamental feature of our national character. We brought it with us from far Asia a “thousand years ago, and we preserved it throughout the vicissitudes of ten centuries. No nation has perhaps so much struggled and suffered for the civilized Christian world as we. We do not complain of this lot. It may be heavy, but it is not inglorious. Where the cradle of our Saviour stood, and where His divine doctrine was founded, there now another faith rules: the whole of Europe’s armed pilgrimage could not avert this fate from that sacred spot, nor stop the rushing waves of Islamism from absorbing the Christian empire of Constantine. We stopped those rushing waves. The breast of my nation proved a breakwater to them. We guarded Christendom, that Luthers and Calvins might reform it. It was a dangerous time, and its dangers often placed the confidence of all my nation into one man’s hand. But there was not a single instance in our history where a man honoured by his people’s confidence deceived them for his own ambition. The man out of whom Russian diplomacy succeeded in making a murderer of his nation’s hopes, gained some victories when victories were the chief necessity of the moment, and at the head of an army, circumstances gave him the ability to ruin his country; but he never had the people’s confidence. So even he is no contradiction to the historical truth, that no Hungarian whom his nation honoured with its confidence was ever seduced by ambition to become dangerous to his country’s liberty. That is a remarkable fact, and yet it is not accidental; it springs from the proper influence of institutions upon the national character. Our nation, through all its history, was educated in the school of local self-government; and in such a country, grasping ambition having no field, has no place in man’s character.

The truth of this doctrine becomes yet more illustrated by a quite contrary historical fact in France. Whatever have been the changes of government in that great country—and many they have been, to be sure—we have seen a Convention, a Directorate, Consuls, and one Consul, and an Emperor, and the Restoration, and the Citizen King, and the Republic; through all these different experiments centralization was the keynote of the institutions of France—power always centralized; omnipotence always vested somewhere. And, remarkable indeed, France has never yet raised one single man to the seat of power, who has not sacrificed his country’s freedom to his personal ambition!

It is sorrowful indeed, but it is natural. It is in the garden of centralization that the venomous plant of ambition thrives. I dare confidently affirm, that in your great country there exists not a single man through whose brains has ever passed the thought, that he would wish to raise the seat of his ambition upon the ruins of your country’s liberty, if he could. Such a wish is impossible in the United States. Institutions react upon the character of nations. He who sows wind will reap storm. History is the revelation of Providence. The Almighty rules by eternal laws not only the material but also the moral world; and as every law is a principle, so every principle is a law. Men as well as nations are endowed with free-will to choose a principle, but, that once chosen, the consequences must be accepted. , With self-government is freedom, and with freedom is justice and patriotism. With centralization is ambition, and with ambition dwells despotism. Happy your great country, sir, for being so warmly attached to that great principle of self-government. Upon this foundation your fathers raised a home to freedom more glorious than the world has ever seen. Upon this foundation you have developed it to a living wonder of the world. Happy your great country, sir! that it was selected by the blessing of the Lord to prove the glorious practicability of a federative union of many sovereign States, all preserving their State-rights and their self-government, and yet united in one—every star beaming with its own lustre, but altogether one constellation on mankind’s canopy.

Upon this foundation your free country has grown to a prodigious power in a surprisingly brief period, a power which attracts by its fundamental principle. You have conquered by it more in seventy-five years than Rome by arms in centuries. Your principles will conquer the world. By the glorious example of your freedom, welfare, and security, mankind is about to become conscious of its aim. The lesson you give to humanity will not be lost. The respect for State-rights in the Federal Government of America, and in its several States, will become an instructive example for universal toleration, forbearance, and justice to the future States, and Republics of Europe. Upon this basis those mischievous questions of language-nationalities will be got rid of, which cunning despotism has raised in Europe to murder liberty. Smaller States will find security in the principle of federative union, while they will preserve their national freedom by the principle of sovereign self-government; and while larger States, abdicating the principle of centralization, will cease to be a blood-field to unscrupulous usurpation and a tool to the ambition of wicked men, municipal institutions will ensure the development of local elements; freedom, formerly an abstract political theory, will be brought to every municipal hearth; and out of the welfare and contentment of all parts will flow happiness, peace, and security for the whole.

That is my confident hope. Then will the fluctuations of Germany’s fate at once subside. It will become the heart of Europe, not by melting North Germany into a Southern frame, or the South into a Northern; not by absorbing historical peculiarities into a centralized omnipotence; not by mixing all in one State, but by federating several sovereign States into a Union like yours.

Upon a similar basis will take place, the national regeneration of Slavonic States, and not upon the sacrilegious idea of Panslavism [a political and cultural movement originally emphasizing the cultural ties between the Slavic peoples but later associated with Russian expansionism], which means the omnipotence of the Czar. Upon a similar basis shall we see fair Italy independent and free. Not unity, but union will and must become the watchword of national members, hitherto torn rudely asunder by provincial rivalries, out of which a crowd of despots and common servitude arose. In truth it will be a noble joy to your great Republic to feel that the moral influence of your glorious example has worked this happy development in mankind’s destiny; nor have I the slightest doubt of the efficacy of that example.

But there is one thing indispensable to it, without which there is no hope for this happy issue. It is, that the oppressed nations of Europe become the masters of their future, free to regulate their own domestic concerns. And to this nothing is wanted but to have that “fair play” to all, for all, which you, sir, in your toast, were pleased to pronounce as a right of my nation, alike sanctioned by the law of nations as by the dictates of eternal justice. Without this “fair play” there is no hope for Europe—no hope of seeing your principles spread.

Yours is a happy country, gentlemen. You had more than fair play. You had active and effectual aid from Europe in your struggle for independence, which, once achieved, you used so wisely as to become a prodigy of freedom and welfare, and a lesson of life to nations.

But we in Europe—we, unhappily, have no such fair play. With us, against every pulsation of liberty all despots are united in a common league; and you may be sure that despots will never yield to the moral influence of your great example. They hate the very existence of this example. It is the sorrow of their thoughts, and the incubus of their dreams. To stop its moral influence abroad, and to check its spread at home, is what they wish, instead of yielding to its influence.

We shall have no fair play. The Cossack already rules, by Louis Napoleon’s usurpation, to the very borders of the Atlantic Ocean. One of your great statesmen—now, to my deep sorrow, bound to the sick bed of far advanced age [Henry Clay]— (alas! that I am deprived of the advice which his wisdom could have imparted to me)—your great statesman told the world thirty years ago that Paris was transferred to St. Petersburg. What would he now say, when St. Petersburg is transferred to Paris, and Europe is but an appendage to Russia?

Alas! Europe can no longer secure to Europe fair play. England only remains; but even England casts a sorrowful glance over the waves. Still, we will stand our ground, “sink or swim, live or die.” You know the word; it is your own. We will follow it; it will be a bloody path to tread. Despots have conspired against the world. Terror spreads over Europe, and persecutes by way of anticipation. From Paris to Pesth [Pesth; Budapest The capital and largest city of Hungary] there is a gloomy silence, like the silence of nature before the terrors of a hurricane. It is a sensible silence, disturbed only by the thousandfold rattling of muskets by which Napoleon prepares to crush the people who gave him a home when he was an exile, and by the groans of new martyrs in Sicily, Milan, Vienna, and Pesth. The very sympathy which I met in England, and was expected to meet here, throws my sisters into the dungeons of Austria. Well, God’s will be done! The heart may break, but duty will be done. We will stand our place, though to us in Europe there be no “fair play.” But so much I hope, that no just man on earth can charge me with unbecoming arrogance, when here, on this soil of freedom, I kneel down and raise my prayer to God: “Almighty Father of Humanity, will thy merciful arm not raise up a power on earth to protect the law of nations when there are so many to violate it?” It is a prayer and nothing else. What would remain to the oppressed if they were not even permitted to pray? The rest is in the hand of God.

Sir, I most fervently thank you for the acknowledgment that my country has proved worthy to be free. Yes, gentlemen, I feel proud at my nation’s character, heroism, love of freedom and vitality; and I bow with reverential awe before the decree of Providence which has placed my country into a position such that, without its restoration to independence, there is no possibility for freedom and independence of nations on the European continent. Even what now in France is coming to pass proves the truth of this. Every disappointed hope with which Europe looked towards France is a decree more added to the importance of Hungary to the world. Upon our plains were fought the decisive battles for Christendom; there will be fought the decisive battle for the independence of nations, for State rights, for international law, and for democratic liberty. We will live free, or die like men; but should my people be doomed to die, it will be the first whose death will not be recorded as suicide, but as a martyrdom for the world, and future ages will mourn over the sad fate of the Magyar race, doomed to perish, not because we deserved it, but because in the nineteenth century there was nobody to protect ” the laws of nature and of nature’s God.”

But I look to the future with confidence and with hope. Manifold adversities could not fail to impress some mark of sorrow upon my heart, which is at least a guard against sanguine illusions. But I have a steady faith in principles. Once in my life indeed I was deplorably deceived in my anticipations, from supposing principle to exist in quarters where it did not. I did not count on generosity or chivalrous goodness from the governments of England and France, but I gave them credit for selfish and instinctive prudence. I supposed them to value Parliamentary Government, and to have foresight enough to know the alarming dangers to which they would be exposed, if they allowed the armed interference of Russia to overturn historical, limited, representative institutions. But France and England both proved to be blind, and deceived me. It was a horrible mistake, and has issued in a horrible result. The present condition of Europe, which ought to have been foreseen by those governments, exculpates me for having erred through expecting them to see their own interests. Well, there is a providence in every fact. Without this mistake the principles of American republicanism would for a long time yet not have found a fertile soil on that continent, where it was considered wisdom to belong to the French school. Now matters stand thus: that either the continent of Europe has no future at all, or this future is American republicanism. And who can believe that two hundred millions of that continent, which is the mother of such a civilization, are not to have any future at all? Such a doubt would be almost blasphemy against Providence. But there is a Providence indeed—a just, a bountiful Providence, and in it I trust, with all the piety of my religion. I dare to say my very self was an instrument of it. Even my being here, when four months ago I was yet a prisoner of the league of European despots in far Asia, and the sympathy which your glorious people honours me with, and the high benefit of the welcome of your Congress, and the honour to be your guest, to be the guest of your great Republic — I, a poor exile — is there not a very intelligible manifestation of Providence in it ? — the more, when I remember that the name of your guest is by the furious rage of the Austrian tyrant, nailed to the gallows.

I confidently trust that the nations of Europe have a future. I am aware that this future is vehemently resisted by the bayonets of absolutism; but I know that though bayonets may give a defence, they afford no seat to a prince. I trust in the future of my native land, because I know that it is worthy to have one, and that it is necessary to the destinies of humanity. I trust to the principles of republicanism; and, whatever may be my personal fate, so much I know, that my country will preserve to you and your glorious land an everlasting gratitude.

Continuation of Kossuth biography:

In 1832 he was designated a substitute to represent a local noble in the Hungarian Diet (national parliament). Kossuth, a prolific writer and editor, produced a record of the Diet’s proceeding as well as other newspapers and journals. In 1837, his advocacy of political reform and national independence led to his imprisonment for three years by the Austrian government. During his confinement, he taught himself English by studying the Bible and Shakespeare.

After his release from prison in 1840, Kossuth became the editor of the “Pesti Hirlap,” or Pest Journal. The Pest Journal advocated political reform and an independent legislature for Hungary. In 1847 Kossuth was elected to the Diet as a representative of the county of Pest. Kossuth continued to spread his ideas of independence, and individual liberty and made brilliant speeches demanding a constitution for Hungary. In 1848, Kossuth’s campaigns and demands earned Hungary its own separate constitution from Austria. After the new government was formed, Kossuth was named the Minister of Finance. Shortly thereafter, revolution broke out across Europe. On September 28, 1848, after five months of serving as the minister of Finance, he assumed full control of the revolution in Hungary. He gathered, strengthened, and armed his “revolutionary army.” Not satisfied with their autonomous constitution, he demanded his county’s independence from Austrian rule. In the spring of 1849, Kossuth rallied against the Habsburg monarchy. On April 14, 1849, the Hungarian Diet, inspired by Kossuth, proclaimed the complete independence of Hungary from Austria and deposed the Habsburg Dynasty. The Hungarian declaration of independence was influenced by the American document. At the same time the Diet elected Kossuth “governor-president” and charged him to render an account of his actions to the parliament. Hungary was the last bastion of the democratic revolutions of 1848 to remain standing against the forces of absolutism, and Hungarian developments were carefully followed with considerable sympathy by the governments and people of Europe and the United States.

The inability of the Austrian government to reestablish its authority was a great concern to the autocratic government of Russia. Czar Nicholas I offered to aid the Austrians in suppressing the Hungarian revolution and that offer was accepted by the Austrians. As a result the Russian imperial forces, allies to the Austrians, declared war on the Hungarian Republic. The Russian armies brought the revolution to a quick and bloody end.

After his defeat, Kossuth fled to Turkey where he spent two years in exile. The governments of Great Britain, The United States, and other West European nations successfully pressured the Turkish Sultan to refuse Austrian and Russian demands for Kossuth’s extradition. They were able to arrange for his departure from Turkey, and on September 10, 1851, he steamed from the Turkish port of Smyrna (now Izmir) aboard the U. S. Navy’s frigate Mississippi. After brief stops in France and Britain, he arrived in New York City on December 5, 1851, to great public acclaim. His triumphant six-month tour throughout the United States was an unprecedented popular success.

Although Kossuth did not achieve his goal of winning official United States government support and recognition for continuing his struggle for Hungarian independence, his visit did leave a permanent legacy in America. He gave several hundred speeches in all parts of the United States, including separate addresses to both Houses of Congress. During this tour 250 poems, dozens of books, hundreds of pamphlets, and thousands of editorials were written about him and his democratic ideals.

He left the United States after six months, returning to Europe in July 1852 to rally support for the Hungarian cause. He lived for a period of time in London, and eventually settled in Turin, Italy. In exile he continued his efforts for Hungarian independence, but he did not return to Hungary.

Following his death in Turin on March 20, 1894, his body was returned to Hungary, where he was buried amid nationwide mourning. After his death, Kossuth continued as the popular symbol of the aspiration of the Hungarian people for independence.

Today there are many reminders of Kossuth’s impact on the Unites States of America. There are towns with his name in Indiana, Ohio and Mississippi, and a settlement with a Post office in Pennsylvania. Previous to today there were two other full figure Kossuth statues in the United States, in New York City, New York and Cleveland, Ohio.

And, of course, there is Kossuth County, Iowa where the impact of Kossuth is noted throughout the county with the name Kossuth appearing on buildings and streets in all parts of the county. Kossuth County now has the third full figure statue of Lajos Kossuth in the United States. The statue of Lajos Kossuth, being dedicated today, is not only a reminder of the Hungarian struggle for independence but it is also a reminder of our own United States democracy that Lajos Kossuth idealized so much.

Biography source: Kossuth County Iowa; http://www.kossuth-edc.com/community/kossuthbio.htm
Speech Source: Select Speeches of Kossuth; by Lajos Kossuth, Francis William Newman: published 1855

MORALITY OF GOVERNMENT by Thomas Jefferson 1810

Separation of Power ~ Jefferson

This could very well have been written about the government of the United States in this day and time.

Morality of government.—It may be asked, what, in the nature of her government, unfits England for the observation of moral duties? In the first place, her King is a cipher; his only function being to name the oligarchy which is to govern her. The parliament is, by corruption, the mere instrument of the will of the administration. The real power and property in the government is in the great aristocratical families of the nation. The nest of office being too small for all of them to cuddle into at once, the contest is eternal, which shall crowd the other out. For this purpose, they are divided into two parties, the ” Ins” and the “Outs,” so equal in weight that a small matter turns the balance. To keep themselves in, when they are in. every stratagem must be practiced, every artifice used which may flatter the pride, the passions or power of the nation. Justice, honor, faith, must yield to the necessity of keeping themselves in place. The question whether a measure is moral, is never asked; but whether it will nourish the avarice of their merchants, or the piratical spirit of their navy, or produce any other effect which may strengthen them in their places. As to engagements, however positive, entered by the predecessors of the “Ins,” why, they were their enemies: they did everything which was wrong; and to reverse everything which they did, must, therefore, be right. This is the true character of the English government in practice, however different its theory; and it presents the singular phenomenon of a nation, the individuals of which are as faithful to their private engagements and duties, as honorable, as worthy, as those of any nation on earth, and whose government is yet the most unprincipled at this day known. In an absolute government there can be no such equiponderant [having equal weight] parties. The despot is the government. His power suppressing all opposition, maintains his ministers firm in their places. What he has contracted, therefore, through them, he has the power to observe with good faith; and he identifies his own honor and faith with that of his nation. —To John Langdon; March 1810.

Source: The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia: A Comprehensive Collection of the Views of Thomas Jefferson, by Thomas Jefferson; ‎John P. Foleypublished 1900

FEDERAL CABINET MINISTERS QUALIFICATIONS by Governor Morris; New York

Gouverneur_MorrisGovernor Morris Born in Morrisania, N. Y., 1752. Died there, 1816. [The Life of Gouverneur Morris. By Jared Sparks. 1832.]

TO determine who should be appointed Minister either of the Finances, of War, of the Marine, or of Foreign Affairs, may be difficult; but it may not be so difficult to determine the qualities requisite for each of these departments, and having thereby established a rule, the proper persons will be more easily ascertained. These qualities will be classed under the different heads of genius, temper, knowledge, education, principles, manners, and circumstances.

Our Minister of the Finances should have a strong understanding, be persevering, industrious, and severe in exacting from all a rigid compliance with their duty. He should possess a knowledge of mankind, and of the culture and commerce, produce and resources, temper and manners of the different States; habituated to business on the most extensive scale, particularly that which is usually denominated money matters; and, therefore, not only a regular-bred merchant, but one who has been long and deeply engaged in that profession. At the same time, he should be practically acquainted with our political affairs, and the management of public business; warmly and thoroughly attached to America, not bigoted to any particular State; and his attachment founded not on whim, caprice, resentment, or a weak compliance with the current of opinion, but on a manly and rational conviction of the benefits of independence, his manners plain and simple, sincere and honest, his morals pure, his integrity unblemished; and he should enjoy general credit and reputation, both at home and abroad.

Our Minister of War should have a mind penetrating, clear, methodical, comprehensive, joined with a firm and indefatigable spirit He should be thoroughly acquainted with the soldiery, know the resources of the country, be most intimately informed of the geography of America, and the means of marching and subsisting armies in every part of it He should be taken from the army, and have acted at some time or other as a quartermaster-general, if not as a commander in a separate department He should be attached to the civil head of the empire, and not envious of the glory of others, but ambitious of honest fame; his manners those of a generous soldier, and not of an intriguing politician; disagreeable to no considerable body or denomination of men, and by all means agreeable to the commander-in-chief.

A Minister of the Marine should be a man of plain good-sense, and a good economist, firm but not harsh; well acquainted with sea affairs, such as the construction, fitting, and victualling of ships, the conduct and maneuver on a cruise and in action, the nautical face of the earth, and maritime phenomena. . He should also know the temper, manners, and disposition of sailors; for all which purposes it is proper, that he should have been bred to that business, and have followed it, in peace and in war, in a military and commercial capacity. His principles and manners should be absolutely republican, and his circumstances not indigent

A Minister of Foreign Affairs should have a genius quick, lively, penetrating; should write on all occasions with clearness and perspicuity; be capable of expressing his sentiments with dignity, and conveying strong sense and argument in easy and agreeable diction; his temper mild, cool, and placid; festive, insinuating, and pliant, yet obstinate; communicative, and yet reserved. He should know the human face and heart, and the connections between them; should be versed in the laws of nature and nations, and not ignorant of the civil and municipal law; should be acquainted with the history of Europe, and with the interests, views, commerce, and productions of the commercial and maritime powers; should know the interests and commerce of America, understand the French and Spanish languages, at least the former, and be skilled in the modes and forms of public business; a man educated more in the world, than in the closet, that by use, as well as by nature, he may give proper attention to great objects, and have proper contempt for small ones. He should be attached to the independence of America, and the alliance with France, as the great pillars of our politics; and this attachment should not be slight and accidental, but regular, consistent, and founded in strong conviction. His manners gentle and polite; above all things honest, and least of all things avaricious. His circumstances and connections should be such, as to give solid pledges for his fidelity; and he should by no means be disagreeable to the Prince, with whom we are in alliance, his Ministers, or subjects.

GRIEVANCES OF THE COLONISTS TO THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT by Richard Henry Lee 1775

rhenryleeGrievances Of The Colonists To The British Government by Richard Henry Lee (Cicero of America)

Born In Stratford, Va., 1788. Died at Chantilly, Va., 1794

THE COLONIES TO THE MOTHER COUNTRY.
[From the Address adopted by Congress, July 8, 1775.]

AFTER the most valuable right of legislation was infringed; when the powers assumed by your Parliament, in which we are not represented, and from our local and other circumstances cannot properly be represented, rendered our property precarious; after being denied that mode of trial to which we have long been indebted for the safety of our persons and the preservation of our liberties; after being in many instances divested of those laws which were transmitted to us by our common ancestors, and subjected to an arbitrary code, compiled under the auspices of Roman tyrants; after those charters, which encouraged our predecessors to brave death and danger in every shape, on unknown seas, in deserts unexplored, amidst barbarous and inhospitable nations, were annulled; when, without the form of trial, without a public accusation, whole colonies were condemned, their trade destroyed, their inhabitants impoverished; when soldiers were encouraged to imbrue their hands in the blood of Americans, by offers of impunity; when new modes of trial were instituted for the ruin of the accused, where the charge carried with it the horrors of conviction; when a despotic government was established in a neighboring province, and its limits extended to every part of our frontiers; we little imagined that anything could be added to this black catalogue of unprovoked injuries: but we have unhappily been deceived, and the late measures of the British ministry fully convince us, that their object is the reduction of these colonies to slavery and ruin. ….

If still you retain those sentiments of compassion by which Britons have ever been distinguished; if the humanity which tempered the valor of our common ancestors has not degenerated into cruelty, you will lament the miseries of their descendants.

To what are we to attribute this treatment? If to any secret principle of the constitution, let it be mentioned; let us learn that the government we have long revered is not without its defects, and that while it gives freedom to a part, it necessarily enslaves the remainder of the empire. If such a principle exists, why for ages has it ceased to operate? Why at this time is it called into action? Can no reason be assigned for this conduct? or must it be resolved into the wanton exercise of arbitrary power? And shall the descendants of Britons tamely submit to this? No, sirs! We never will; while we revere the memory of our gallant and virtuous ancestors, we never can surrender those glorious privileges for which they fought, bled, and conquered. Admit that your fleets could destroy our towns, and ravage our sea-coasts; these are inconsiderable objects, things of no moment to men whose bosoms glow with the ardor of liberty. We can retire beyond the reach of your navy, and, without any sensible diminution of the necessaries of life, enjoy a luxury, which from that period you will want—the luxury of being free.

We know the force of your arms, and was it called forth in the cause of justice and your country, we might dread the exertion; but will Britons fight under the banners of tyranny? Will they counteract the labors, and disgrace the victories of their ancestors? Will they forge chains for their posterity? If they descend to this unworthy task, will their swords retain their edge, their arms their accustomed vigor? Britons can never become the instruments of oppression, till they lose the spirit of freedom, by which alone they are invincible.

Our enemies charge us with sedition. In what does it consist? In our refusal to submit to unwarrantable acts of injustice and cruelty? If So, show us a period in your history in which you have not been equally seditious. We are accused of aiming at independence; but how is this accusation supported? By the allegations of your ministers—not by our actions. Abused, insulted, and contemned, what steps have we pursued to obtain redress? We have carried our dutiful petitions to the throne. We have applied to your justice for relief. We have retrenched our luxury, and withheld our trade. ….

The great bulwarks of our constitution we have desired to maintain by every temperate, by every peaceable means; but your ministers (equal foes to British and American freedom) have added to their former oppressions an attempt to reduce us, by the sword, to a base and abject submission. On the sword, therefore, we are compelled to rely for protection. Should victory declare in your favor, yet men trained to arm3 from their infancy, and animated by the love of liberty, will afford neither a cheap nor easy conquest Of this, at least, we are assured, that our struggle will be glorious, our success certain; since even in death we shall find that freedom which in life you forbid us to enjoy.

Let us now ask, What advantages are to attend our reduction? The trade of a ruined and desolate country is always inconsiderable, its revenue trifling; the expense of subjecting and retaining it in subjection, certain and inevitable. What then remains but the gratification of an ill-judged pride, or the hope of rendering us subservient to designs on your liberty?

Soldiers who have sheathed their swords in the bowels of their American brethren, will not draw them with more reluctance against you. When too late, you may lament the loss of that freedom which we exhort you, while still in your power, to preserve.

On the other hand, should you prove unsuccessful; should that connection which we most ardently wish to maintain, be dissolved; should your ministers exhaust your treasures, and waste the blood of your countrymen in vain attempts on our liberty, do they not deliver you, weak and defenceless, to your natural enemies?

Since, then, your liberty must be the price of your victories, your ruin of your defeat—what blind fatality can urge you to a pursuit destructive of all that Britons hold dear?

If you have no regard to the connection which has for ages subsisted between us; if you have forgot the wounds we have received fighting by your side for the extension of the empire; if our commerce is not an object below your consideration; if justice and humanity have lost their influence on your hearts, still motives are not wanting to excite your indignation at the measures now pursued. Your wealth, your honor, your liberty are at stake.

A WARNING TO AMERICANS by John Dickinson 1732-1808

john dickinsonA WARNING TO THE COLONIES.
[The Political Writings of John Dickinson, Esq. 1804.]
Born In Maryland, 1732. Died at Wilmington, Del., 1808.

THOUGH I always reflect with a high pleasure on the integrity and understanding of my countrymen, which, joined with a pure and humble devotion to the great and gracious Author of every blessing they enjoy, will, I hope, insure to them and their posterity all temporal and eternal happiness; yet when I consider that in every age and country there have been bad men, my heart at this threatening period is so full of apprehension as not to permit me to believe, but that there may be some on this continent against whom you ought to be upon your guard . Men, who either hold, or expect to hold certain advantages by setting examples of servility to their countrymen. Men, who trained to the employment, or self-taught by a natural versatility of genius serve as decoys for drawing the innocent and unwary into snares. It is not to be doubted but that such men will diligently bestir themselves on this and every like occasion to spread the infection of their meanness as far as they can. On the plans they have adopted, this is their course. This is the method to recommend themselves to their patrons. They act consistently in a bad cause. They run well in a mean race.

The freedom of a people consists in being governed by laws, 
in which no alteration can be made, without their Consent 
~ John Dickinson

From them we shall learn how pleasant and profitable a thing it is to be for our submissive behavior well spoken of at St James’s or St Stephen’s; at Guildhall or the Royal Exchange. Specious fallacies will be dressed up with all the arts of delusion to persuade one colony to distinguish herself from another by unbecoming condescensions, which will serve the ambitious purposes of great men at home, and therefore will be thought by them to entitle their assistants in obtaining them to considerable rewards.

Our fears will be excited . Our hopes will be awakened. It will be insinuated to us, with a plausible affectation of wisdom and concern, how prudent it is to please the powerful—how dangerous to provoke them—and then comes in the perpetual incantation that freezes up every generous purpose of the soul in cold, inactive expectation—”that if there is any request to be made, compliance will obtain a favorable attention.”

Our vigilance and our union are success and safety. Our negligence and our division are distress and death They are worse—they are shame and slavery. Let us equally shun the benumbing stillness of overweening sloth, and the feverish activity of that ill-informed zeal which busies itself in maintaining little, mean and narrow opinions. Let us, with a truly wise generosity and charity, banish and discourage all illiberal distinctions which may arise from differences in situation, forms of government, or modes of religion. Let us consider ourselves as men —freemen—Christian freemen—separated from the rest of the world and firmly bound together by the same rights, interests and dangers. Let these keep our attention inflexibly fixed on the great objects which we must continually regard in order to preserve those rights, to promote those interests, and to avert those dangers.

Let these truths be indelibly impressed on our minds—that we cannot be happy without being free—that we cannot be free without being secure in our property—that we cannot be secure in our property, if, without our consent others may, as by right, take it away—that taxes imposed on us by parliament do thus take it away—that duties laid for the sole purpose of raising money are taxes—that attempts to lay such duties should be instantly and firmly opposed—that this opposition can never be effectual unless it is the united effort of these provinces—that therefore benevolence of temper towards each other and unanimity of counsels are essential to the welfare of the whole—and lastly, that for this reason every man amongst us who in any manner would encourage either dissension, diffidence, or indifference between these colonies, is an enemy to himself, and to his country.

This is why the Elitist’s in the United States want to eliminate the middle class

It is easy to see why the Elitist’s & Statist’s in the United States want to eliminate the middle class, history will always tell the tale.

despotism-alexis-de-tocqueville

“But what say the despots? Like the tyrannical son of Philip, when he reprimanded Aristotle for publishing his discoveries, they whisper to their myrmidons [loyal followers], Let us diffuse darkness round the land. Let the people be kept in a brutal state. Let their conduct, when assembled, be riotous and irrational as ignorance and ‘our’ spies can make it, that they may be brought into discredit, and deemed unfit for the management of their own affairs. Let power be rendered dangerous in their hands, that it may continue unmolested in our own. Let them not taste the fruit of the tree of knowledge, lest they become as we are, and learn to know good and evil.” (quote Author Unknown written in late 1700’s)

The tactics of the despots and tyrants are still the same today as we can see by the tactics the left and elitist’s use in America against their opposition in the Tea Party.

The left and democrats have had agents infiltrate the Tea Party rallies as “spies” or saboteurs espousing racist, anti-Semite and other comments or holding signs trying to discredit the Tea Party Patriots.

They call the Tea Party Patriots names such as Nazi’s, Racist’s, Anarchist’s, Arsonist’s, Hobbit’s, WackoBirds, Extortionists, Terrorists and numerous others to paint them as unruly, unfit, unlawful, dangerous, mentally unstable, etc. It’s the same old playbook the elitist’s, tyrant’s and despots have used throughout history.

Despotism Aristotle

The Spirit of Truth, Liberty, and Virtue, public as well as privatef chiefly to be found in the Middle Ranks of the People.

Nemo altero nobilior, nisi cui rectius ingenium et artibus bonis aptius. Qui imagines in atrio exponunt et nomina families suae.— Noti magis quam nobiles sunt.—Dicenda hsec fuerunt ad contundendam insolentiam hominum ex fortuna pendentium. [“No man is nobler born than another, unless he is born with better abilities and a more amiable disposition. They who make such a parade with their family pictures and pedigrees, are, properly speaking, rather to be called noted or notorious than noble persons. I thought it right to say thus much, in order to repel the insolence of men who depend entirely upon chance and accidental circumstances for distinction, and not at all on public services and personal merit.”]

Seneca de Benef.

Being about to quote a striking passage from the writings of Dr. Price, the author digresses to pronounce a panegyric upon him, led, he says, by an honest indignation against the vilest of calumnies [slanders] against the best of men:

On the mention of his name, I must pay a trilling tribute to his memory, which is the more necessary, as his character has been scandalously aspersed by those who are ever busy in discrediting the people and their friends, and who, pretending a love of goodness and religion, blacken with their foulest calumny those who are singularly remarkable for both, for no other reason than that, under the influence of goodness and religion, such persons espouse the cause of freedom, and prefer the happiness of millions to the pomp and pride of a few aspirants at unlimited dominion. Meek, gentle and humane; acute, eloquent, and profoundly skilled in politics and philosophy; take him for all and all, the qualities of his heart, with the abilities of his head, and you may rank Price among the first ornaments of his age. Let his enemies produce from all their boasted despots and despotical Satraps, any one of his contemporaries whom, in the manner of Plutarch, they may place by his side as a parallel. Posterity will do him the justice of which the proud have robbed him, and snatch him from the calumniators, to place him in the temple of personal honor, high among the benefactors to the human race.”

Has not the United States been holding human life cheap for far too long? Abortion comes to mind…see the following.

When Human Life is held cheap, it is a Symptom of a prevailing Spirit of Despotism.

The dignity of human nature, in despotical countries, is treated as a burlesque [a mockery]. A man is less dignified than a pampered horse, and his life infinitely less valued. But in a land of liberty, like ours, every man should learn to venerate himself and his neighbor, as a noble creature, dependent only on God, on reason, on law. Life, under such circumstances, is a pearl of great price. Every human being, under such circumstances, is of equal value in the sight of God. They, therefore, who, in consequence of civil elevation, hold any man’s life cheap and vile, unless he has forfeited his rights by enormous crimes, are guilty of rebellion against God, and ought to be hunted out of society; as the wolf, once the native of England’s forests, was exterminated from the island.

The consequences are traced of holding human life cheap. It is maintained with the philosopher [Seneca] of antiquity, that homo res est sacra, [man is a sacred thing] that every human creature is consecrated to God, and therefore inviolable by his fellow-man without profanation. All the gold of Ophir, all the gems of Golconda, cannot buy a single life, nor pay for its loss. But in despotic countries, and in all countries, opinions that depreciate man as man tend to despotism; the dignity of human nature is treated as a burlesque [a mockery].

Despotism JeffersonPublic and private virtue, the author contends, are found chiefly in the middle ranks.

[Editors Note: It takes little imagination to see how this applies to the United States and its current condition.]

The people of this land are usually divided into nobility, gentry, and commonalty. The nobility and gentry seem to be estimated as officers in an army of the commonalty, or the whole body of the people, as the rank and file.

There might be no original impropriety in. these appellations; but that of commonalty has been often used, by aristocratical upstarts, with insolence. The commonalty comprise the grand mass of the nation; form the great fabric of the political building; while the gentry, after all, are but the carving and gilding, or the capitals of the pillars, that add to the support of the roof, but constitute neither the walls nor the foundation. The commonalty, therefore, being the main fabric, are worthy, in the eye of reason, of the highest esteem, and the first degree of a patriot’s solicitude. There can be no rational end in our government but the happiness of the whole people, king, lords, and commons.

The commonalty are, beyond all comparison, the most numerous order: and as every individual of them is entitled to comfort and security in a wellregulated nation, the whole together must demand the greatest attention of the philosopher, the divine, the philanthropist, of every man of sense, goodness of heart, and liberality. The pomp and parade, the superfluous luxury, the vain distinctions of the few, sink to nothing, compared, in the mind of reasonable and humane men, with the happiness of the million.

It is certainly true, that the greatest instances of virtue and excellence of every kind have originated in the middle order. ” Give me neither poverty nor riches,” was a prayer founded on a knowledge of human nature, and fully justified by experience. The middle station affords the best opportunities for improvement of mind, is the least exposed to temptation, and the most capable of happiness and virtue.

This opinion has long been received and acknowledged. I could cite, from the sermons of our best divines on Agur’s Prayer, many passages in confirmation of it. I dwell upon it now, for no other reason, but because it has lately been the fashion, among those who are alarmed for their privileges by the French revolution, to run down the people, and to cry up that silly spirit of chivalry which established the systems of false honour, claiming rank and respect from society, without rendering it any service, without possessing any just claim to esteem, much less to public honour, exclusive privileges, and titular distinction. The terms sans culottes, canaille, bourgeoise, scum of the earth, venal wretches, and the never to be forgotten swinish multitude, have been reserved for the people, especially those among them who have had sense and spirit enough personally to oppose the progress of despotic principles and practices. Every thing that malice, urged by the fear of losing the ribands, the titles, and the solid pence, which a corrupt and corrupting minister can bestow, has been thrown out, in newspapers hired by the people’s money, for the purpose of vilifying the people.

It is time, therefore, that the people should vindicate their honour. What are these insolent courtiers, what these placemen and pensioners, who live on the public bounty, that they should thus insult those whose bread they eat ? For the most part, they are persons who, if they were stripped of the false splendour of great mansions, numerous retinues, painted carriages, would appear among the meanest and most despicable members of society. They indeed are to be pitied and borne with, while they abstain from insulting the people ; but when their silly pride presumes to trample on the mass of the community, they become deserving of contempt as well as commiseration.

These are the persons whom a patriotic lord describes ” as giving themselves up to the pursuit of honours and dignities, as loving the splendour of a court, and attaching themselves to the cause of monarchy, (not from any conviction that monarchy is the most favourable to human happiness, not even, from personal attachment to the monarch,) but because they see in the increased power of the monarch the source of additional weight and splendour to those (that is themselves) who surround the throne, and an increase of value to the favours which the sovereign can confer ; such as stars, garters, ribands, and titles.”

But is a passion, childish from its vanity, and diabolical in its unfeeling greediness, to be borne with any longer, when, not content with engrossing the profits of office and the pageantry of state, it dares to speak of the middle and lower classes, as beings scarcely deserving notice, as mere nuisances when not employed in the servile office of administering to aristocratic pride.

Virtue is nobility. Personal merit, useful, generous, benevolent exertion, the only honourable distinction. The trappings which every tailor can make to clothe a poor puny mortal, add no real dignity. In ages of ignorance, they might strike with awe. Those ages are no more. Nor will they ever return, notwithstanding the efforts of petty despots, (fearing the loss of those distinctions which they know they never earned,) to keep the people in the grossest ignorance.

God Almighty, who gives his sun to shine with as much warmth and radiance on the cottage as on the palace, has dispensed the glorious privilege of genius and virtue to the poor and middle classes, with a bounty perhaps seldom experienced in any of the proud pretenders to hereditary or official grandeur. Let us call to mind a few among the worthies who have adorned the ages that have elapsed: Socrates; was he noble in the sense of a king at arms? Would he have condescended to be bedizened with ribands, and stars, and garters? Cicero; was he not a novus homo? a man unconnected with patricians, and deriving his glory from the purest fountain of honour, his own genius and virtue? Demosthenes would have scorned to owe his estimation to a pedigree.

Who were the great reformers, to whom we of England and all Europe are indebted for emancipation from the chains of superstition? Erasmus and Luther; Erasmus, as the monks of his day objected to him, laid the egg, and Luther hatched it . But was it Archbishop Erasmus? Lord Luther, Marquis Luther, Sir Martin Luther? Did they, either of them, seek the favour of courts? Were they not among the swinish multitude?

Thomas Paine contributed much, by his “Common Sense,” to the happy revolution in America. I need not observe, that he had nothing of the lustre of courts or nobility to recommend him. The virulent malice of courtiers and venal scribblers has blackened him as they once blackened Luther, when they asserted of him, that he was actually a devil incarnate, disguised in the shape of a monk with a cowl. I do not advert to any of his subsequent political publications. I only say, if they are so contemptible as they are said by courtiers and aristocrats to be, why not undertake the easy task of refuting him? Bloody wars and prosecutions are no refutation.

“‘Who is this Luther? said Margaret, governess of the Netherlands. The courtiers around her replied, ‘ He is an Illiterate monk.’ ‘ Is he so?’ said she. “ I am glad to hear it. Then do you, gentlemen, who are not illiterate, who are both learned and numerous, do you, I charge you, write against this illiterate monk. That is all you have to do. The business is easy; for the world will surely pay more regard to a great many scholars, and great men, as you are, than to one poor ILLITERATE MONK.’  [Martin Luther]

“Many did write against him, and poured forth the virulence of a malice unchecked by truth, and encouraged by crowned heads. But Luther prevailed; and we Englishmen have reason to celebrate the victory of truth and virtue over corrupt influence and cruel persecution.

“The greatest scholars, poets, orators, philosophers, warriors, statesmen, inventors and improvers of the arts, arose from the lowest of the people. If we had waited till courtiers had invented the art of printing, clock-making, navigation, and a thousand others, we should probably have continued in darkness to this hour. They had something else to do, than to add to the comforts and conveniences of ordinary life. They had to worship an idol, with the incense of flattery, who was often much more stupid than themselves, and who sometimes had no more care or knowledge of the people under him, or their wants, than he had of arts or literature.”

Now see what he says in the following about the character and virtues of the middle class.

“The education of the middle classes is infinitely better than the education of those who are called great people. Their time is less consumed by that vanity and dissipation which enfeebles the mind, while it precludes opportunity for reading and reflection. They usually have a regard to character, which contributes much to the preservation of virtue. Their honor and integrity are valued by them, as pearls of great price. These are their stars, and these their coronets. They are for the most part attached to their religion. They are temperate, frugal and industrious. In one particular, and that one adds a value above all that Courts can give, they greatly excel the GREAT, and that particular is SINCERITY. They are in earnest in their words and deeds. They have little occasion for simulation and dissimulation. Courtiers [Elitists, Politicians] are too often varnished [glossy], factitious [artificial] persons, whom GOD and nature never made; while the people preserve the image uneffaced [unchanged] which the Supreme Being impressed when he created MAN.”  From a pamphlet written circa 1800-1820 by Dr. (I assume Rev.) Price

I ask you this;

If our government officials think themselves above the legislation & regulations they impose on US, is this not despotism & tyranny? If our leaders do not hold sacred the laws they pass, how can they then expect anything other than the citizenry rising up against them?

Have the left and statist’s not been attacking the Christian religion, the Holy Bible, and the followers of Jesus for decades in the U.S. now? Why do you think they attack christians? It is because true Christians and Christianity promote and advance liberty, knowledge, wisdom, and happiness. They promote dependence on God and his son Jesus, rather than dependance on government or man.

The Obama administration has even gone so far as to say Fundamental Christians in America are the greatest threat to the security of the United States. To a tyrant and despot who wishes to encroach on the liberties and happiness they espouse, this would seem to be true.

In closing I will add this:
In case any of you don’t know; when the democrats and elitists say they want to help the middle class, just as always, they mean the exact opposite. Just like the Affordable Care Act has been proven to be unaffordable, unaffordable to our pocket-books, our freedoms, and our consciences. What they really want to do is help the middle class become part of the poverty class. Simple truth and fact as demonstrated by the policies they put forth. It’s really not rocket science they truly are transparent to the eye that can see.

A few words of wisdom from the Apostle of Freedom before I go:

“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 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.” ~President Washington in his farewell address 1796

Rights of American Citizens: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to commerce

DoCThe Rights of an American Citizen: With a Commentary on State Rights, and on the Constitution and Policy of the United States by Benjamin Lynde Oliver published 1832

Continued from RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to manufactures

PART III; OF THE POLICY WHICH OUGHT TO BE PURSUED BY THE GENERAL GOVERNMENT IN RELATION TO AGRICULTURE, MANUFACTURES, AND COMMERCE.

CHAPTER III; Commerce.

On this exhaustless subject, a few passing remarks only will be hazarded. Not because, as some suppose, the principles of science in relation.to it, can be comprehended by merchants only; but because the minute details, which alone require prolonged discussion, are of little consequence to general readers, and yet can only be obtained by a practical acquaintance with trade.

It is somewhat singular, that merchants of long experience and supposed sagacity, who have acquired and amassed great fortunes in youth, sometimes lose their property and fail, at a time of life, when, if ever, the judgment ought to be in its highest perfection. On the other hand, it is not less singular, that some persons of small acquirements and very moderate capacity, sometimes acquire great wealth by commerce in a very few years. The bad result in the former case, and the good one in the latter, however, are sufficient to show, that, in commerce, sagacity and experience, are not absolutely necessary to obtain success, and, what is worse, are not sufficient to insure it. It follows, that no infallible principles are derivable from mercantile experience, which will guaranty invariable prosperity even to the merchant’s private affairs; and much less, to those of the public.

The reason is, that the knowledge acquired by experience, consists only of those facts and details, which are necessary to carry on the particular branch of trade in which the individual happens to be engaged, but which have no general application to the interests of the public. For, the interest of the merchant, and that of the public are two different things, having no necessary connexion, any further than that the wealth of a a merchant is a constituent part of the whole wealth of the community, of which he is a member.

In order to have distinct ideas on this subject, as well as to form a correct opinion how far commerce is advantageous to a country, it will very shortly be considered under the heads of domestic trade, importation, exportation, and the carrying trade. These will be considered as entirely distinct, though it may very well happen, that two or more of these operations, may be performed in any single extensive commercial transaction.

1. Domestic trade is obviously of the highest importance to a community. Without it society could not well continue at all, but men would exist merely as solitary savages, in a state of perfect independence. For, it is almost impossible, that intercourse should be kept up among mankind, without those mutual dealings and contracts, in all of which some principle of exchange and barter, is necessarily more or less involved. If a hatter should barter a hat to a shoemaker for a pair of shoes; if a carpenter should contract, with a farmer to build him a shed, for a certain number of bushels of wheat; or, if two farmers should agree to exchange work, it might be considered as constituting an operation of internal trade, as much as a direct purchase for money.

It is of the utmost consequence to society, that this home trade should be as free from restraint as possible; because it is more convenient, that the citizens should supply each other with the respective products of their labor, than that each individual should undertake to be his own carpenter, batter, blacksmith, &c, and thus vainly attempt to supply his wants by his own personal labor in those various trades. For, in this way, each individual would be able to do but little work, and that would be done badly. But the division and distribution of labor, enable each individual to have an abundance of every kind of work, and well executed. The policy of taxing sales by auction, or of licensing auctioneers, retailers, inn-holders, pedlars, &c., does not come within the scope of this work. On the subject of home trade, therefore, it seems superfluous to enlarge, because, with the above suggested exceptions, it is left in perfect freedom.

2. Foreign trade; exportation, &c. With regard to foreign trade, its value to the country depends entirely upon the comparative value in use, between the articles exported and those imported in return.

In commerce, exportation as well as importation may be either advantageous or disadvantageous to the country.; and consequently in a single exchange of exports for imports, either a double loss, or a double gain may arise to it.

The most disadvantageous trade to a state that can be carried on, is where the exported articles are the necessaries of life, and the imports are not only incapable of supporting life, but tend to destroy it. It is not to be expected, that any country will long continue to increase in population, where a trade of this kind is carried on. If, therefore there should be exported from a country beef, pork, fish and corn, though, at the highest price in money, and that money should immediately be re-invested in brandy, wine, rum, gin, and other things equally incapable of supporting life, and equally injurious to health which should be brought back for home consumption, though at the cheapest rates, such commerce would be the most destructive to the prosperity of a state, that can be conceived. It is true, the merchant might be accumulating immense sums from such a business, and might suppose, from his own prosperity, that he was doing the public a great service; but, it is equally true, that he could not, if he were disposed, do a greater mischief to the public, than to buy up the necessaries of life and ship them abroad, and bring back such articles as have been named and expose them for sale throughout the country. In such a case as this, the merchant, if he grew rich, would fatten on the ruin of his country. For, by buying up the necessaries of life, and paying for them, directly or indirectly, in such commodities, supposing them to be merely useless, though they are in fact pernicious, he renders the production of the necessary articles exported, wholly vain, the labor bestowed on them being thrown away. The delusion which the producer would labor under would be this, that he should get a high price for his produce; but he forgets that it is paid in an article which is worthless in use. If it should be replied, that be can sell it to his neighbor and get a high price for it; still it is obvious the injury to the state is the same, though the loss falls on the thoughtless, and not on the designing and guarded. Any rich and powerful state, that finds its population at a stand, or increasing in too slow a ratio on account of emigration, would do well to look to this. For, in no case whatever, is the prosperity of the merchants, a test of the advantage of trade to the country. But this test will always be found in the consequent prosperity of the producer of exported articles, whether manufacturer or husbandman, &c., and the prosperity of the consumers of the imported ones.

That the prosperity of a merchant, is no test of the advantage of the trade he carries on, to the state, may easily be shown; because, however profitable a trade might be to the state, all the merchants concerned in it may lose money by it and be compelled to abandon it. On the other hand, however ruinous any trade may be to the state, it is very possible that the merchants may grow rich by it. The direct foreign trade, therefore, ought never to be encouraged for the sake of the interest of the merchants, but, for the sake of the public interest, which are two very distinct things. Where they are compatible—where the trade is for the advantage of the public, it should be encouraged; but, where incompatible, and where the trade is pernicious to the public interest, the interests of the state ought not to be sacrificed to favor those of a comparatively small number of persons. The hackneyed expression, laissez nous faire, in this case, would be as absurd as unbecoming; the merchant here is a mere carrier, and not a party in interest, any further than his commissions or profits are concerned. The trade is carried on for the advantage of the community, and not for the sake of giving him an opportunity to make money.

2. Where the merchant exports the surplus manufactures of a country, beyond what is necessary for home consumption, and brings back the necessaries or conveniences of life, he carries on a trade which is highly advantageous to the country. In the first place, he increases the demand for the home manufactures; consequently he enables more persons to support themselves by manufacturing; in this way, he increases population. In the next place, by bringing back the necessaries of life, he increases the supply in the slate, which operates in the same manner as a blessing would do, which should increase the annual produce of the soil; this also would tend to increase the population; for, wherever the necessaries of life are cheap, population will increase. If it should be said, this would discourage agriculture; the answer is, it would not prevent any man from cultivating his farm. On the contrary, as he found produce cheap, he would endeavor to raise more, so as to compensate in quantity for the lowness of the price; its tendency, therefore, would rather be to increase the production of agriculture. But, if the products of agriculture, on account of their abundance, became very low in price, many persons, who otherwise would have engaged in it, will betake themselves to other occupations, as the various trades, or manufactures, or commerce,, which, in consequence of the cheapness of necessary articles, would afford them opportunities of getting a living with very moderate labor. Thus, there would be a permanent increase of population, distributed equally in all the various classes of society, which always soon finds its level in this respect.

For, the high price of manufactures is attributable in part, at least, to the high price of labor; the high price of labor is owing to the high price of the necessaries of life. The high price of the necessaries of life, must necessarily follow extensive purchases of them for exportation and returns made in luxuries, superfluities or foreign goods generally, not being necessaries. If then the necessaries of life are retained, labor will become cheap in comparison with every thing but those necessaries. Consequently manufactures will grow cheaper, and there will be less necessity for protection against the competition of foreigners. Manufacturing companies therefore ought not to despair, even if the tariff should be taken off, as a measure might be suggested, which it is thought would be a palliative far its removal, if not a substitute for its continuance.

But, though such a trade would be highly advantageous to the state, it obviously might or might not, be ruinous to the merchants engaged in it, according to the state of the markets at home and abroad, and their prudence or imprudence in the management of their business. This is another proof, that the prosperity of the merchant, is not the slightest test of the public benefit of the trade, in which he is concerned.

Whence does the merchant derive his wealth in this case? Certainly it consists in the profits, which he receives from the consumer of the goods which he imports. The consumer endeavors to obtain the foreign goods as cheap as possible, the merchant endeavors to obtain for them as high a price as possible. In this particular the interests of the two are incompatible, and either may grow rich at the expense of the other. But, it is the interest of the state, that the surplus over consumption should be exported, and a return made of other articles, of equal utility, and not easily obtained otherwise. In this respect the interests of the merchants, and those of the producers of exports, and the consumers of imports, and consequently, of the whole state, strongly coincide. Commerce is here of the highest importance. It creates a new value. It performs in effect the operation of production. There is no measure of encouragement or protection, that commerce of this kind can reasonably require, that should not immediately be bestowed; and, here there is no danger, that laissez nous fuire, would ever be heard.

USChamberBut, a duty on the necessaries of life, imported from abroad, is a very great absurdity. For, what can be the object of it? Political partisans perhaps will say, that it is laid for the purpose of protecting national industry from the competition of foreigners. This is done by laying so heavy a duty on foreign production, that it will be wholly excluded from the market, and thus domestic produce will have the whole market secured to itself. But, the consequence will be, that the prices of the necessaries of life, will rise higher than before. The farmers will sell their produce at almost any price they please, unless the competition among them keeps it down. It will gradually, however, come to a level with other kinds of business; because so many will betake themselves to the cultivation of the soil, that they will fully supply the market, if the territory of the state, which can be come at, is sufficient for that purpose.

The farming business, in this case, will .have a great advantage secured to them in this monopoly; but, it will be at the expense of the manufacturers and the rest of society. This is clear; because, if foreign produce were admitted, the domestic produce would conform to it in price. But, if the foreign is excluded, then domestic produce rises to whatever the producers shall agree among themselves to demand. For, the necessaries of life must be had, if possible, from some source or other. And this necessity, if the producers can agree in demanding an exorbitant price, will put the rest of society at their mercy. For, the tendency of such a law is to reduce the rest of society under the control of the producers, in the same manner as the whole nation of the Egyptians were reduced by the policy of Joseph.

It is inexpedient, therefore, to impose any duty on foreign produce of the necessaries of life, because it so far checks an increase of population. Further, if home production is sufficiently abundant, then such an import would be superfluous; because, then the price of foreign produce would not pay for importing. On the other hand, if the price of foreign produce would pay for importing, then the domestic must be proportionally scarce. But true policy requires that the necessaries of life, should be as cheap and abundant as possible.

There is a strange error prevailing in the minds of some politicians, who assume that whatever increases consumption, increases production also, in the same proportion. For, they reason thus, whatever consumes an article in the market, raises the price of it. The increase of price, enables those who produce the article, to get more money for their labor than they can in other productions; they therefore bestow more labor in producing it, and others also .are induced to neglect other business, and to bestow their labor in the same way, and with the same expectations. But, notwithstanding this plausible theory, if the consumption is not for some valuable purpose, the labor of producing what is consumed, is entirely thrown away. The production consequently is of no use whatever. Suppose a state, capable of producing the necessaries of life, for 10,000,000 of people, were unhappily bound by a necessity to export 9-10ths of its whole produce, and receive a return in imports of jewelry, brandy, rum, wine, and other articles not capable of sustaining life, is it not clear that such commerce, though it might enrich the inhabitants with an abundance of expensive and perhaps ornamental articles, would yet so completely check its prosperity, that it could never reach more than one tenth of the population, which it could sustain. Such commerce would therefore be highly ruinous to the state, though the merchants, if they carried it on would grow rich by the profits they made by it. But though such state would thus check its growth and throw away the advantages which nature had given it, by selling its birthright in effect like the ignorant Indians for a string of beads, or a cask of brandy, the foreign producer or manufacturer of such worthless articles, would fatten on the folly or wretchedness of the inhabitants of such state. For,’the population which might be sustained here, would be supported abroad by supplies drawn from this country. And the seven lean kine would thus devour the seven well favored; and the most barren and unfruitful country, incapable of itself of sustaining a single inhabitant, might by such commerce, become as populous as China, and the country with which it traded, though as fertile as the garden of Eden, would never contain more inhabitants, than enough to till it for the sake of those foreign consumers.

To what extent these remarks are applicable to the commerce of any of the United States, let each reader judge for himself.

In 1822, there was exported from the United States, in fish, $930,000; in flour, $5,300,000; in rice, $1,000,000;’in pork, 1,400,000; in corn, meal, rye, he, $1,100,000; in butter and cheese, 220,000. Total $10,550,000.

In the same year there was imported into the United States, exclusive of what was re-exported, in wine, $1,700,000; in spirits, $2,300,000; in teas, $ 1,200,000; in cigars, $ 174,000. Total $5,374,000.

As these last articles were the balances remaining after re-exportation, they must he considered as designed for consumption. Now, to the United States, it is of no sort of consequence whether these imports were purchased with the proceeds of those exports or not, because, the result is the same. For, so far as the exportation of these necessaries of life, and the importation of these pernicious or useless articles, the produce of the United States is wasted; the productive labor has been employed for the mere benefit of those foreigners whose . wines, &c, have been purchased, and who have been supported abroad, instead of an equal number of people who would be supported in the United States, if the necessaries of life had not been exported. This species of commerce, it should be remembered, is to be considered as perpetual; consequently the United States are always to be taxed in this extraordinary manner for the support of foreigners, and the fertility of the soil is to be changed for sterility, and sterility upon which annual labor is thus thrown away.

3. There is another species of commerce, which consists of what is called the carrying trade. Though this is usually combined with the other operations of exporting and importing, yet, as it is so far subject to the remarks made in relation to them; and, as it may be carried on in a manner entirely independent of those operations, so far as the merchant’s own country is concerned, it will here be considered simply as the carrying trade.

Where a merchant in this country employs his capital in carrying merchandize backwards and forwards between two foreign countries, the public here derive the following advantages from it. 1. Though he makes his money abroad, yet he spends it here; as he increases in wealth, therefore, he adds proportionally to the wealth of the state where he resides, without any drawback whatever on the part of the state. 2. All those citizens, whom he employs in the management of his affairs at home or abroad, he supports out of the profits of his trade. He, therefore, so far increases the population of the society, by furnishing these citizens with the means of earning a living, without the least expense whatever to the state. This is evident, because if he saw fit, he might remove to some other country and employ others in their room; in which case, those citizens who are now employed. by him, would be obliged to derive it from some other source either at home or abroad. If at home, they would be obliged to come into competition with others. If abroad, the population would be diminished by their number. Merchants so circumstanced, it is obvious, deserve every countenance and encouragement to reside in the state. Because, their prosperity or adversity, to a certain degree, affects that of the state; and they bear part of its burdens, but add nothing to them.

CONCLUSION: On the Future Prospects of the United States.

Perhaps no country can, with more propriety, be said to have its destiny in its own power, than the United States. Having a local situation, remote from all nations, which are sufficiently powerful to endanger its independence; a population already sufficiently numerous for a great empire, yet rapidly increasing and spreading over its extensive territory; a climate, temperate and generally salubrious; a soil, fertile, and abundant in variety and production; a people, bold, enterprising and intent upon their interests; a frame of government, in which the choice of rulers depends on popular suffrages, and mild and indulgent; containing within itself a power to reform and amend, without any necessity of resorting to primary assemblies; which imposes few or no restraints, merely arbitrary, or which are grounded on policy alone; and consequently secures to its citizens the enjoyment of liberty to its utmost rational extent; under such circumstances, it would seem impossible that the United States should ever fall from their elevated rank among nations, into a state of weakness and contempt, unless they should occasion their own. decline, by the imprudence or rashness of their national policy, or should bring upon themselves ruin and destruction, as a judgment from heaven.

The advantage which a free elective government has over others, presupposes, in the majority of the electors, sufficient discernment to compare the characters and capacities of candidates for office, and requires, that in making a selection, they should be actuated by proper motives. If the former is wanting, there can be no certainty that they will elect the best candidate; if the people vote under unsuitable influence, it is almost certain that a bad choice will be the result.

Among the motives which frequently govern the popular choice, perhaps there is none worse than the influence of party. For, it is characteristic of this influence, as sometimes exhibited both in elections by the people, and appointments by rulers, that it does not seek either for a man of talents, and integrity, great acquirements, or industry, or well acquainted with the duties of the office. Such qualifications without more, though amply sufficient for the purposes of the public, are no qualifications at all in a party view. For, here the only necessary qualifications are, that the character of the candidate should not be so bad, nor his incapacity so flagrant, as to disgrace his party; but he must be the right kind of man to serve the turn of the party, and in case of appointments through party influence, he must either have rendered party services, or be recommended by some one who has, Sec.

The country of a partisan, to which he considers himself as owing the duty of patriotism, will be found, on examination, to mean nothing more than the party to which he belongs. It is this false god, that, in political affairs, governs his conscience, and constitutes his standard of right and wrong. The mental subjection of the followers of party, is therefore most miserable. For, until they know what their leaders think, they must not venture to form an opinion for themselves, for fear they may afterwards be obliged to recant it. Their ruling principle therefore is, neither truth, justice, or the interests of the country, but it is, To Be True To The Party.

And by what motives does party induce the citizens thus to follow her through right and wrong indiscriminately? The leaders are actuated by the hopes of personal distinction, or other advantage; the partisans are governed chiefly by the gregarious principle, though the personal influence of those leaders, exerted in numberless ways, must not be omitted. But, it may be asked, may not the citizens unite together for the purpose of attaining some object of general utility, without being obnoxious to the charge of forming a party or faction? Undoubtedly they may do so; for their acts are then for the good of the country; and not for the advancement of party purposes; and therefore in such a case there is no necessity for party names or distinctions.

In many instances, parties have originated with ambitious individuals, who, conscious of a want of desert for the distinctions at which they aim, have resorted to cabals and intrigues to induce persons who were not well informed, to join themselves to them as his followers. One of the earliest factions on record, is that of Abimelech. See Judges, Ch. ix. The direful effects of factions and parties in Rome, Carthage, Jerusalem, &tc. in ancient times, and in Italy, France, England and Ireland, &c. from the middle ages down to the present day, warrant the opinion, that as they are almost inseparable from governments under which any portion of liberty is enjoyed, and are violent in proportion to that liberty, so they are one of the greatest evils that can infest society.

As soon as any combination of persons become a permanent body, begin to act separately from “the rest of society, assume a peculiar designation, are organized with officers, and under the guidance of leaders, they are factious, and are dangerous to the public tranquility according to the proportion which their numbers bear to all the rest of society. It is true, so long as there is nothing more to excite them, than the usual contests at elections, they may do no great harm; but, experience shows, that whenever anything uncommon occurs, to rouse their passions, there is no act of violence or excess, to which they may not be incited. And whenever the country shall be so completely divided into factions, that every one shall find himself compelled to side with one or another, in order to escape incivility, the moral sentiments of society will, be proportionally degraded and debased. Should its violence ever rise to a great height, the only safety for the peaceful citizens will be to stand by the constitution and laws, and take care that they are not violated, under a pretense of reforming abuses.

What palliative can be found for this evil? Take away from the president the sole power of removing, appointing or even nominating public officers, any further than it is expressly bestowed in the constitution. Disqualify members of congress for all other public offices, during the term for which they are elected, not merely during their term of office. Suffer no removals from one public office to another.

These regulations would diminish in some measure the prize of ambition, would take away some of the subject matter of promises, intrigue and corruption, and consequently would cool the patriotism of the leaders of factions, and perhaps hush that eloquence, which so much attracts the less informed part of the people.

So long as the different parties are completely intermingled with each other throughout the country, there will be but little danger of public commotions from factions, however unfavorably the peace and tranquility of private intercourse may be affected by angry discord; but, as soon as the parties come to be defined by the limits of states and territories, there will be immediate danger of public disturbances. The minority, out of power, in any such case, will always be apt to consider the public measures of the majority, in power, as tyrannical and oppressive, and contrary to law and the constitution; and when things have come to this pass, there never will be wanting demagogues to excite sedition, insurrection, and civil war, and dupes and disorderly persons, to follow such leaders in their career of violence and wickedness, from a hope of obtaining that distinction, in times of public disturbance, which they are conscious will otherwise be unattainable.

It is the duty, therefore, of every conscientious citizen, and the interest of every peaceable one, to discountenance, as much as possible, all party distinctions and divisions generally; but especially, to prevent their becoming sectional. It is for this reason, the majority in congress, when not urged by some paramount obligation of justice, should be extremely cautious of exercising any power, of the constitutionality of which there exists a doubt, from mere considerations of general expediency, when the minority consists of one or more states, the citizens of which may consider themselves injured by it. For, if such a case should ever occur, there is hardly an argument, that was formerly urged against the oppression of the British government before the revolution, which state patriots will not revive, and apply, whether right or wrong, to excite the people of their states to resist the general government. The people also would do well, to thrust back into private life those office seekers, who personally, or by the agency of political partisans, under patriotic pretenses, obtrude themselves upon the citizens, and seek their suffrages at elections, but who care not what evils they bring upon their country, so that they obtain their own ends. But though, agreeably to the theory of the admirable constitution under which we live, every fault in legislation, and every deficiency in itself, may be easily corrected or amended, without disturbing the public tranquility; yet, in practice a degree of intelligence is required in the people, to perceive the necessity of such, amendments and corrections, and agree in the choice of legislators who will make them, that history and observation teach us, is too much to expect of a numerous population. This defect, therefore, where it exists, will probably be found incurable; because the want of intelligence and discernment is not obviated by the mere exercise of the will. For, it is not infrequent to find that individuals, of contracted minds and small information, take an envious satisfaction in opposing the measures of persons, whom they know to possess more discernment.

It is on persons of such a character, as well as the ignorant and imbecile generally, that designing men operate, by flattering their prejudices, tantalizing their envy, and exciting their suspicions; and by such arts become popular with them. If the time should ever come, therefore, when the majority of the people shall be of this class, and be under such guidance, how will it be possible, that any fault in its legislation, or defect in its frame of government should be remedied, when the very defect itself, will furnish food for the ambition of the leaders of the majority and the means of rewarding their followers? For, that no such defect will ever be corrected or amended, where those, who have the power, consider it inconsistent with their interests to do it, requires no proof. Let us turn our eyes abroad. The British empire has been for many years laboring under the pressure of a number of great political evils and embarrassments. Yet, instead of removing the true causes of those evils, they have been endeavoring to procure a reform of certain minor abuses and corruptions, which, if removed, will improve the condition of the country in a small degree only. Yet this inconsiderable reform has been most strenuously urged and opposed, and great eloquence and oratory has been exhibited on both sides.

But measures, the policy of which is obvious to every intelligent person, and which would remedy many of the evils under which that mighty empire languishes, are hardly mentioned. To pay the national debt of Great Britain; abolish tythes; enable the industrious to earn a living by moderate labor; to improve the pauper system, by employing the poor in such a manner as to support themselves; to reform the cruel criminal code, and at the same lime render it unnecessary; to convert the vicious population of the larger cities into honest and industrious citizens, by furnishing them with sufficient employment; measures which would naturally assist each other and contribute to the same end, one would suppose to be such that in comparison with either of them, a reform in parliament, would amount to nothing at all. Yet, if the parliament were willing that these measures should be adopted, it is believed these objects might all be effected within a moderate number of years. Tythes might be gradually and completely abolished in one generation, by passing a law to discontinue them at the death of the present clerk of each parish respectively. The evils arising from an unequal distribution of property, would be gradually diminished by enabling all children to inherit equally. The application of a just principle, but which perhaps is not thought of, would immediately put the British National Debt in a state of liquidation; to the great relief of the nation’s taxes, yet without defrauding the public creditor of one farthing of his due, &c. But, if measures like these, should be repugnant to the feelings, or considered inconsistent with the interests of men in power, it would be vain to expect they wotdd be adopted, though they would cause the British nation to be one of the happiest as well as most powerful on earth, and would render the reign of William IV, the most glorious since the conquest.

The case in this country is analogous. The people will never be able to get back power or influence from the hands of their rulers, if once intrusted with it. For, abuses, corruptions, &c. always tend to continue themselves until they destroy their subject, and then all perish together. For instance, suppose the people should think the president’s official patronage conferred on him by the laws of the United States, too great and of a pernicious tendency, how can they take it away? By law? The president may not consent, and the direct or indirect influence of that very patronage, may very possibly prevent the passage of the law by a majority of two thirds. This demonstrates the propriety of rendering all members of congress, incapable of any other office during the term for which they are elected, which would render them entirely free from the slightest bias. But will the people ever be able to induce the members of congress, to consent to make this alteration? On the contrary, though the expediency of it is evident to every person’ of ordinary information, the people will1 sooner be persuaded by their representatives, that such alteration would be bad policy. For similar reasons, h is hardly to be expected, that any president will ever consent that his power of removal from certain offices, should be taken away from him; of, that the people should ever be able to choose legislators, the majority of whom will be sufficient to effect that measure. For, office seekers, who, indirectly or directly, manage so as to control the voice of the people of their party, would lose all motive to elect or to remove any president, if the office of president should lose the power of removing officers; because1 a new president would have no offices to distribute among his’ supporters.

If, therefore, the people would wish to be liberated from indirect thraldom of this kind, by which they so often find themselves hampered and shackled, without knowing how it happens, or in what it consists, they must throw off the livery of party, and not suffer office seekers or office holders, to influence their conduct; and, if ever an opportunity presents to reclaim those powers, take care for the future to grant no more such.

An unfortunate circumstance, attending all popular governments where the people choose their own rulers, is, that the choice is frequently grounded on no other merit or qualification, than an acceptable manner of haranguing the populace. It is very singular that volubility, fluency, and loquacity, which, with men of observation, are considered a proof of any thing but wisdom or ability, should be the only criterion of those qualifications, which the people have. In consequence of this wrong estimate, these accomplishments are made too much the objects of ambition, and any further knowledge and acquirements than may be used in flights of oratory, are considered superfluous. Those persons, however, who expend so much time in learning to speak well, must evidently do it at the expense of more valuable acquisitions. And what would be the consequence if all members of the general legislature, were great orators? 1. The sessions of congress would be very much prolonged, because every member must have an opportunity of making one or more, vainglorious speeches. 2. Business would consequently be delayed; yet finally be hurried through, or else left half done and postponed to the next session. 3. Emulation, degrading strife, and angry and indecent contention would unnecessarily consume a great part of the time, which should be devoted to the public service. 4. Though many long speeches would be made, about a subject, yet there would be very little discussion, because declamation is altogether unfavorable to rational investigation. No one, therefore,would ever be convinced by, or be the wiser for tiresome harangues; on the contrary, as the speeches were longer, the impressions would grow fainter and less distinct. For, it is found that the excitement occasioned by the most impassioned eloquence, lasts but a short time, and, when it has once begun to subside into languor and apathy, cannot be renewed by a mere fountain of lofty words, even though inexhaustible and though animated by the most spirited action, and uttered in a loud voice and with energetic gestures. The characteristics of eloquence itself seem to be very much changed from what they formerly were. It no longer consists of just arguments forcibly expressed, but of pointless descant, dealt out without any other limits than such as nature has set to the continuance of all bodily exertion; for, though the time of congress ought not to be valued at less than $200 or $300 per hour, yet those, who wish to be considered as eminent speakers, seldom declaim less than three or four hours; though probably there never was a speech more than half an hour long, that would not be improved by reducing it within that compass. What an ungrateful advantage then does a declaimer at irregular assemblies of the people, take of the patient admiration of his followers, when he keeps them in a state of petrifaction for a whole evening, with polished periods and rhetorical flourishes, pronounced with dignified self-complacency!

There is another mistake, that is sometimes made by the people. They are afraid to elect to office a man of superior abilities for fear he should not be honest; and prefer to him some person of correct character as far as the public knows, but of very moderate capacity, on the supposition that he will be more likely to be honest than the other, and, at any rate, will not be able to do much mischief. Experience shows, that such suppositions are frequently very incorrect. The ruling passion of men of great abilities, is ambition; that of men of small abilities who are conscious of it, is either envy or avarice. The sense of character of the former, will therefore preserve them honest, unless this quality should be in the way of their advancement. But honesty is necessarily at continual war with avarice. There is, therefore, great odds, that men of moderate abilities will sooner be dishonest, than those of great talents. For one Lord Bacon, there have been thousands of persons of moderate abilities, who have been corrupted, or, would have been, if they had been thought of sufficient consequence. It is true, that men of small abilities can do no great harm directly, and can do no great good, at all, unless, by accident; but, they may by their vote, prevent a great deal of good, and thus indirectly do much mischief. But, such persons are always a dead weight upon the public councils. If ignorant, every thing must be explained to them; if conceited, slow of apprehension, uncomplying and obstinate; nothing must be done without their seeing, knowing, attempting to understand, and expressing an insipid opinion upon it, whether they understand it or not. When envious of superior abilities in another, as is frequently the case, their sole aim is to create difficulties, in order to make themselves of consequence. In order to obtain a character for discernment, and because conscious of their ignorance and imbecility, they are full of suspicion and mistrust; and, from want of knowledge, often halt most miserably, between the extremes of credulity and incredulity; sometimes believing falsehood and ridiculous absurdities, and frequently disbelieving probability, truth, and even demonstration itself, because they cannot understand it. Their whole ability may be reduced to one single measure. They find out what others are desirous to effect, and oppose it for that reason. When they practice deceit, they use direct falsehood, and, in this way, they often succeed with persons, whom they never could have overreached by subtilty. Such is the man of moderate abilities and noiseless character, that sometimes creeps into office instead of a man of talents and experience; and, if he has an occasion, will sacrifice not his country only, but even his party, to gain his own ends.

It was remarked, that the United States seem to have their destiny in their own hands. If they would become a great nation, they must continue united. If they should separate, their importance would immediately vanish; and their jealousies and dissensions with each other, if they did not break out into border wars and predatory incursions, would render each of them comparatively weak, and little regarded with other nations; and would cause them to be less willing to assist each, and at the same time less able to stand alone. The necessity and advantage of union, will however never be able to preserve it, if injustice is practiced by the United States upon one or more of the individual states, or, what will, in the result, amount to the same thing, if the influential men in any state, with whatever views, can persuade the people of their state, that such is the case; and, it is apprehended also, that if the leading men of any state should feel satisfied, that, by seceding from the Union, they will be able to gain distinction and power among their own citizens, in consequence of supposed advantages resulting to their state from such measures, a patriotic pretext will never be wanting for that purpose.

The states are advancing so rapidly in population, wealth and power, that there is great danger that the common bond of union, the constitution of the United States, though sufficient, when the country was less flourishing, and there was more danger from foreign powers, than at present, will be found too weak to hold the states together much longer. The wise citizens, therefore, and those who have a regard for the true interests of the country, at the same time that they support the constitution, and endeavor to give it additional strength by amendments, will be very cautious of giving cause of disaffection, by attempting to increase its power by doubtful constructions. But, there is good reason to believe, that there is a faction already formed within the United States, whose aim is to separate themselves from the Union; and, if they can bring the people of the state to which they belong, to believe that the constitution is violated} and that they have a right to resist, their object so far will be obtained. To strain the powers of the constitution by a doubtful construction, is to do half of their work for them. It is true, if such is their object, they will unquestionably persist in it, though every possible cause of jealousy should be removed, and every thing that they ask, should be conceded; because any pretext, however groundless In reality, if sufficient to persuade the people of their state, will answer their purpose. Still, if, by avoiding every act that can furnish occasion for complaint, the wiser citizens among them can be induced to see, that there is no just cause for it whatever, it is hoped, they will have sufficient influence over the rest, to counterbalance that of unprincipled and designing demagogues. In this way the evil day will be postponed, and such persons will be left without any excuse or extenuation for their conduct.

Before taking leave of his readers, the author will submit one further consideration, which, though it would come with far better grace from a teacher of religion, he hopes will not be considered improper in one who is a firm believer in Christianity; since it is addressed to those only, who make the same profession.

It is remarked in substance by Bishop Atterbury, that one of the reasons of God’s interposing so remarkably in the sudden depression or advancing of kingdoms and states, is because this conduces to the manifestation of his political justice, towards public bodies and communities of men; and which is very different from that, by which he punishes the sins or rewards the virtues of private persons. The justice of his dealing with particular men may be manifested here or hereafter, as he thinks fit; for their duration is eternal, and should their successful crimes or unmerited afflictions be winked at in this world, it suffices if such irregularities are set right in another. But, as to the societies, and combinations of men, the justice of his administration towards them, must be manifested either in this world, or not at all.

If, therefore, borrowing the hint from this excellent divine, we contemplate the fall of the ancient empires, which once flourished in the highest state of splendor and magnificence, but are now almost forgotten, in connexion with the reasons assigned by the inspired writers for their destruction, and keep in mind the immutability of the divine nature, it will furnish no irrational or unphilosophical ground, to conjecture the fate of any nation, which shall transgress in a similar manner.

It is the opinion of many very worthy and conscientious persons, that, from the first settlement of this country, the Indians have had great cause of complaint against the white inhabitants; and, if there does not appear in the history of early times any particular instances of ill treatment, fraud, injustice, or imposition upon them, it is ascribed to the partiality of the historian, or his ignorance of the real causes of Indian aggressions, which, on account of the omission of their causes, sometimes appear to be wholly unprovoked and most barbarous. But, in later times, we cannot so easily shut our eyes to the light. For there is an internal evidence in certain transactions, which he must be a very inattentive observer, who cannot perceive. The United States have purchased or extinguished the Indian title to 200 millions of acres of land, for less than four millions of dollars. The lowest price which the United States demand for these lands, at the rate of $ 1,25 per acre, is 250 millions of dollars. The Indian nations are in a state of pupillage, or under guardianship to the United States, a relation which is regarded with so much suspicion by a Court of Equity, that it sets aside all purchases made by a guardian of his ward, because of the temptation the former is under, to take an unfair advantage of the latter. These treaties, however, though so advantageous to the United States, the Indians complain have not always been so scrupulously observed, on the part of the white inhabitants, as they ought to have been. Previous to the independence of the United States, the intrusions upon the Indian lands by new settlers of the most lawless character, was a frequent subject of complaint by the Indians from the year 1768 at least, when the six nations remonstrated to the commissioners of Pennsylvania, that, it would be time enough to settle their lands, when they had purchased them, &c: and, afterwards, when the Delawares and other tribes thus pathetically, but fruitlessly remonstrated with the Governor of Pennsylvania, ‘ We want to live in friendship with you: you have always told us you have laws to govern your people by; but we do not see that you have: we find your people very fond of our rich land; we do not know how soon they may come over the river Ohio and drive us from our villages; nor do we see you, brothers, take any care to stop them.’ What the conduct of the settlers was, is clearly shown by the report of the commissioners for trade and plantations, in which they remark, ‘ if the settlers are suffered to continue in the lawless state of anarchy and confusion, they will commit such abuses as cannot fail of involving us in quarrels and disputes with the Indians,’ he. There is reason to suspect, that in all the Indian wars which have taken place, from the confederacy under King Philip to the war with Black Hawk, which is just concluded, the first provocation consisted in some act of injustice, fraud, imposition or violence, perpetrated by some of the white inhabitants. But the truth will never be come at, by hearing one side only.

About the year 1771, the white settlers infringed the Indian boundary and killed several Indians, and encroached on the lands on the opposite side of the Ohio. The intruders could never be effectually removed. Governor Gage twice sent parties of soldiers to remove them from Redstone Creek, but in vain. That Indian wars should arise in this way, is not to be wondered at. But, when they do arise, it would be much more humane to send commissioners to the Indians, to demand their grievances, make them reparation and punish all who molested them, rather than to march troops against them to destroy them, right or wrong. It would also be more magnanimous in a nation containing twelve millions of people, against a few thousands, the remnant left by the evils brought on them by the whites, ardent spirits, and the small pox; to say nothing of the slaughter of them, which is frequently made a subject of boast, without much reason.

Some of the Indian tribes make grievous complaints, that their treaties are violated. Are not the bargains made with them advantageous enough, without resorting to such measures as these? They have appealed to the government of the United States,—they have appealed to the people of the United States, for redress. Shall it be in vain? Let no presumptuous confidence in the consciousness of superior power, and their comparative weakness, dictate the answer. The Amalekites, who were the first of nations, were sentenced to be utterly put out under heaven, because they attacked the Israelites when on their march, faint and weary, and slew those who were in the rear, and’ feared not God.’ Exo. ch. xvii. v. 14. Deut. ch. xxv. v. 18. If any one should answer, that the Israelites were under the immediate protection of the Deity; the reply is, that Babylon, the wonder of the world for its magnificence, was brought to utter ruin for the pride and arrogance of the people and rulers, and the oppressions which they practiced on other nations.

What was the cause of the judgments denounced against Damascus? It was, among other things, because they had threshed Gilead with threshing instruments; which is supposed by interpreters to mean, that they had greatly oppressed the Hebrews on the east of Jordan.

What was the cause of the judgment against Tyre? Was it not for cruel treatment of the Hebrews, and ‘ because they remembered not the brotherly covenant?’

What was the cause of the judgment against Edom? Was it not pitiless cruelty and unceasing revenge and hatred of the Jews?

When Saul slaughtered the Gibeonites in violation of the treaty, made with them in the time of Joshua, he committed an act highly offensive to the Supreme Being, which was followed many years afterwards, in the time of David, by the infliction of a famine for three successive years, until atonement was made. When David sinned in numbering the Israelites, there was a pestilence sent on the people from Dan to Beersheba, and seventy thousand of them died. These instances are deserving attention, because in them, it appears, the people were afflicted for the wickedness of their rulers, though they had no control over them whatever. As respects the people, therefore, in these instances, the infliction must be considered as merely natural evil, though brought on by the crimes of their rulers. But, if the people choose their own rulers, and thus sanction their measures with their approbation or tacit acquiescence, if those measures are unjust, wicked and oppressive, with how much less reason can they hope to escape, under the pretense that those measures are the acts of the government, and not the acts of the people. For, that those, who adopt the unjust act of another and screen him from punishment, are made answerable for his sins, is apparent from the narration of the Levite’s wrong mentioned in Judges, ch. xx., where it appears, that when the Israelites demanded, that the perpetrators should be delivered up, but the Benjaminites would not suffer them to he punished and took up arms to oppose the Israelites, the whole tribe was exterminated with the exception of six hundred only.

In these general visitations it must be an unwarrantable presumption to hope to escape, from a mere supposition that innocence will be a protection; since this would be to expect a miracle to take place. It is therefore made the temporal interest of every one, to endeavor to prevent injustice from being committed by his rulers; since he may suffer the infliction of natural evil, if he is entirely free from participating in the unjust act, for which the nation is punished.

If the United States therefore should commit acts of injustice and oppression upon the Indians, upon what ground can they hope to escape a visitation for it? If the rulers oppress them, or suffer any of their agents or any of the people under their government, to do so, it is national sin, and, if visited by some national calamity, what individual has a right to expect that a miracle shall be wrought to save him from it? He may be innocent or he may not be so; but when the pestilence comes, or the earthquake, or tempests, or floods, or famine, or foreign war, or civil commotions, sent as judgments upon the whole people for national transgressions, he must bear his lot, whatever it may be. For, there is no pretense, that those upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, were worse than others.* *

It is a sufficient refutation of the fatal error of those persons, who suppose they may commit wickedness with impunity in this world, by using proper precautions, and so avoiding those direct, probable, and natural consequences, which they foolishly believe are the only punishments to be expected for their flagitiousness, that those immediate consequences are rather to be considered as warnings to desist from offending, than the punishments of offenses. If these consequences are avoided, and the warning is not taken, and the offender hardens himself in the confidence of impunity, the result will infallibly show, in the language of revelation, that ‘ God is not mocked;’ and the offender will find in the result, that though for a time, he goes on in a course of unrivaled prosperity, and, from all appearances, might seem to be favored above others, yet in reality he is but adding wrath to wrath, until his iniquity is filled to the full; when he will find destruction come suddenly upon him from a quarter, whence it was least expected. Such was the fall of Hainan, and the Amalekites with him.* * *

Is it not then worth while for the people of the United States to examine, whether they have always acted justly, mercifully and humanely towards the Indian tribes; or, whether they have not directly or indirectly, by their agents, or, by not restraining lawless intruders, or, by not observing the Indian treaties, grievously oppressed them? Are the honest and worthy citizens of the United States, willing to run the risk of suffering some infliction of the divine displeasure. rather than that such violators of the public peace, should be controlled or punished?

It is true, that, while the Indians remain not wholly driven out or exterminated, it is possible, that no severe requital may be made; because, a season for a change of conduct, may perhaps be mercifully allowed. But, after the Indians are dispersed or annihilated, and there is no longer any opportunity remaining to do them justice or to make reparation for their wrongs, it is then, in the false security of worldly prosperity, that there will be most reason to dread a day of evil visitation.* *

Are there not sources enough, from whence such an evil may come, notwithstanding the present apparent prosperity of the United States, without the necessity of going out of he ordinary course of nature? This nation introduced ardent spirits and perhaps the small pox too, among the Indians. Have they not suffered by intemperance and pestilence, themselves? Is it not possible, that the same disposition, that can countenance a violation of Indian treaties, may lead to a violation of the constitution, and that the consequences of the latter may be a most awful infliction and retaliation for the former?

What then does prudence, as well as, religion, justice and humanity dictate with regard to the treatment of the Indians. Fence off the Indian territories with a wall of iron against lawless intruders. Send missionaries among them, men, who, as experience shows, may be depended on, in whatever they undertake, to instruct, and with power to protect them. If hostilities arise, instead of marching an armed force to massacre them, send commissioners with power to hear their complaints, redress their wrongs and relieve their necessities. This is all that is asked, and it will cost the United States nothing in comparison with the profit, derived from the purchases already made of the Indian territories. But, until this is done, it does not look well to speak of Russia and Poland; nor, it is believed, will a national fast be of any avail to avert any infliction, if it should be a punishment for injustice, so long as the injustice is continued.

Let not then the appeal of the Indians to the citizens of the United States be made in vain, lest they be compelled to appeal to a tribunal, from which it is believed they will not be sent away unredressed; but whatever shape it may appear in, whether war, pestilence, famine, civil commotions, or insurrection, the injured sooner or later will be avenged, and the justice of heaven vindicated.

FINIS.

See the other parts of this series:
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; Division One
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; Division Two
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; The Social Compact
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Powers delegated to the General Government in the Federal Constitution
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Powers delegated to the State Governments
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Independence of the States
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The rights reserved to the people of the United States
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Of the right of suffrage and of elections
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Liberty of Speech and of the Press
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Power of Courts to punish for Contempts
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Law of Libel in relation to Public Officers
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Rights of Juries
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Rights of Witnesses
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Of the mode of obtaining redress for any infringement of civil or political rights, committed either by the officers of the General Government, or of any of the State Governments.
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to agriculture
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to manufactures
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to commerce

When Vain & Aspiring Men Possess the Highest Seats in Government by Samuel Adams

Samuel-AdamsSamuel Adams Letter to James Warren Philadelphia Oct 24 1780

MY DEAR SIR

I have not yet laid aside your Letter of the 17th of Septr which is the last I have been favord with from you. It ill becomes you, my Friend, to think of retiring into private Life, who can lay your hand on your heart, and say that in your publick Conduct your have in no Instance deviated from virtuous Principles. If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experiencd Patriots to prevent its Ruin. There may be more Danger of this, than some, even of our well disposd Citizens may imagine. If the People should grant their Suffrages to Men, only because they conceive them to have been Friends to the Country, without Regard to the necessary Qualifications for the Places they are to fill, the Administration of Government will become a mere Farce, and our pub-lick Affairs will never be put on the Footing of solid Security. We should inquire into the Tempers of Men, in order to form a Judgment in what Manner the publick Trusts to be reposed in them will be executed. You remember the Character of Pisistratus. He was a Citizen of Athens, supposd to have many excellent Qualities, but he had an insatiable Lust of Pre-eminence. Solon could discover his Vanity, but the People were blinded by a false Glare of Virtues and he was their Idol. Under Pretence of his having escaped imminent Danger from a violent Faction, and the further Insecurity of his Person he artfully obtaind a Guard of Soldiers, by which Means he possessd himself of the Citadel & usurpd the Government. But though he made himself Sovereign, & thus far overthrew the popular Election, the Historian tells us, “that he made no Change in the Magistracy or the Laws.—He was content that others should hold their Places according to the establishd Rules of the Constitution, so that he might continue Archon, independent of the Suffrages of the People. This he effected; for though several Attempts were made, to deprive him of the Sovereignty which he had so violently obtaind, he held it till his Death & left it to his Children.” Such was the Ambition of this Man, who indeed assumd the Government, and such were the Effects of it. Power is intoxicating; and Men legally vested with it, too often discover a Disposition to make an ill Use of it & an Unwillingness to part with it. HOW different was Pisistratus from that Roman Hero and Patriot Lucius Quinctius Cincinatus who, tho vested with the Authority of Dictator, was so moderate in his Desires of a Continuance of Power, that, having in six Weeks fulfilld the Purposes of his Appointment, he resignd the dangerous office, which he might have held till the Expiration of six Months.—When we formerly had weak and wicked Governors & Magistrates, it was our Misfortune; but for the future, while we enjoy and exercise the inestimable Right of chusing them ourselves, it will be our Disgrace. I hope our Countrymen will always keep a watchful Eye over the publick Conduct of those whom they exalt to Power, making at the same time every just Allowance for the Imperfections of human Nature; and I pray God we may never see Men filling the sacred Seats of Government, who are either wanting in adequate Abilities, or influencd by any Views Motives or Feelings seperate from the publick Welfare. [public Welfare = Public Good, i.e. Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness]

Adieu.

Warren’s September 17 letter to Adams is in Warren-Adams Letters, 2:138-39

Bi-Partisanship It’s becoming more and more obvious that it is the government (both parties) against We The People.

Excerpt from letter by Samuel Adams to Eldridge Gerry Nov 27, 1780
“More in my Opinion, is necessary to be done, than conquering our British Enemies in order to establish the Liberties of our Country on a solid Basis. Human Nature, I am affraid, is too much debas’d to relish those Republican Principles, in which the new Government of the Common Wealth of Massachusetts appears to be founded. And may it not be added, that the former Government, I mean the last Charter, being calculated rather to make servile Men than free Citizens, the Minds of many of our Countrymen have been inurd to a cringing Obsequiousness [Full of or exhibiting servile compliance; fawning], too deeply wrought into Habit to be easily eradicated? Mankind is prone enough to political Idolatry. Such a temper is widely different from that reverence which every virtuous Citizen will show to the upright Magistrate. If my Fears on this Head are ill grounded, I hope I shall be excusd. They proceed from a cordial Affection for that Country to the Service of which I have devoted the greatest Part of my Life—May Heaven inspire the present Rulers with Wisdom & sound Understanding. In all Probability they will stamp the Character of the People. It is natural for sensible Observers to form an Estimate of the People from the Opinion they have of those whom they set up for their Legislators & Magistrates. And besides, if we look into the History of Governors, we shall find that their Principles & Manners have always had a mighty Influence on the People. Should Levity & Foppery(fn1) ever be the ruling Taste of the Great, the Body of the People would be in Danger of catching the Distemper, and the ridiculous Maxims of the one would become fashionable among the other. I pray God we may never be addicted to Vanity & the Folly of Parade! Pomp & Show serve very well to promote the Purposes of European & Asiatick grandeur, in Countries where the Mystery of Iniquity is carried to the highest Pitch, & Millions are tame enough to believe that they are born for no other Purpose than to be subservient to the capricious Will of a single Great Man or a few! It requires Council & sound Judgment to render our Country secure in a flourishing Condition.—If Men of Wisdom & Knowledge, of Moderation & Temperance, of Patience Fortitude & Perseverance, of Sobriety & true Republican Simplicity of Manners, of Zeal for the Honor of the Supreme Being & the Welfare of the Common Wealth—If Men possessd of these & other excellent Qualities are chosen to fill the Seats of Government we may expect that our Affairs will rest on a solid & permanent Foundation.”

(fn1)
Levity: means humor or frivolity, esp. the treatment of a serious matter with humor or in a manner lacking due respect.
Foppery: is a pejorative term describing a foolish man overly concerned with his appearance and clothes in 17th century England. Some of the very many similar alternative terms are: “coxcomb”, fribble, “popinjay” (meaning “parrot”), fashion-monger, and “ninny”. “Macaroni” was another term, of the 18th century, more specifically concerned with fashion. A modern-day fop may also be a reference to a foolish person who is overly concerned about his clothing and incapable of engaging in intellectual conversations, activities or thoughts.

See also:
Patrick Henry may well be proved a Prophet as well as a Statesman
The Importance of Free Speech and The Free Press in America
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Powers delegated to the State GovernmentsThe Doctrine of Fascism, Fascism Defined by Benito Mussolini

The Importance of Free Speech and The Free Press in America

Infringed

When contemplating the liberties, freedoms and protections given by God and enumerated by the Constitution and Bill of Rights: Remember! The Free Exercise of Religion was the first to be mentioned by the Framers! The Freedom of the Press was meant to insure against the abuse of the government and those in power of all the other rights of man.

Remember also! When one right, liberty, or freedom is under attack, they are all under attack, when one is in jeopardy, they are all in jeopardy! The Second Amendment is meant to guarantee the First Amendment! 

The Importance of Free Speech and The Free Press in America

Background:

One of the most egregious breaches of the U.S. Constitution in history became federal law when Congress passes the Sedition Act, endangering liberty in the fragile new nation. While the United States engaged in naval hostilities with Revolutionary France, known as the Quasi-War, Alexander Hamilton and congressional Federalists took advantage of the public’s wartime fears and drafted and passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, without first consulting President John Adams.

President Adams never took advantage of his new found ability to deny rights to immigrants. However, the fourth act, the Sedition Act, was put into practice and became a black mark on the nation’s reputation. In direct violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech, the Sedition Act permitted the prosecution of individuals who voiced or printed what the government deemed to be malicious remarks about the president or government of the United States. Fourteen Republicans, mainly journalists, were prosecuted, and some imprisoned, under the act.

In opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison drafted the Virginia and Kentucky Resolves, declaring the acts to be a violation of the First and Tenth Amendments. President Adams, appalled at where Hamilton and the congressional Federalists were leading the country under the guise of wartime crisis, tried to end the undeclared war with France to undercut their efforts. He threatened to resign from the presidency and leave the Federalists with Republican Vice President Thomas Jefferson if they did not heed his call for peace. Adams succeeded in quashing Hamilton and the Federalists’ schemes, but ended any hope of his own re-election in the process.

The first of the laws was the Naturalization Act, passed by Congress on June 18. This act required that aliens be residents for 14 years instead of 5 years before they became eligible for U.S. citizenship.

Congress then passed the Alien Act on June 25, authorizing the President to deport aliens “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States” during peacetime.

The third law, the Alien Enemies Act, was enacted by Congress on July 6. This act allowed the wartime arrest, imprisonment and deportation of any alien subject to an enemy power.

The last of the laws, the Sedition Act, passed on July 14 declared that any treasonable activity, including the publication of “any false, scandalous and malicious writing,” was a high misdemeanor, punishable by fine and imprisonment. By virtue of this legislation twenty-five men, most of them editors of Republican newspapers, were arrested and their newspapers forced to shut down.

One of the men arrested was Benjamin Franklin’s grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache, editor of the Republican Aurora and General Advertiser. Charged with libeling President Adams, Bache’s arrest erupted in a public outcry against all of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Many Americans questioned the constitutionality of these laws. Indeed, public opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts was so great that they were in part responsible for the election of Thomas Jefferson, a Republican, to the presidency in 1800. Once in office, Jefferson pardoned all those convicted under the Sedition Act, while Congress restored all fines paid with interest. “

(See Text of Act(s) below)

Bill of RightsThe Argument against Unlimited Power in the Hands of the Federal Government!

One of the best arguments against these acts came from The Honorable Josephus Daniels in response to members George K. Taylor and Magill.

Daniels stated that the acts enumerated in the first section of the sedition law, as offences to be punished with heavy fines and long imprisonment, were “to combine or conspire together with intent to oppose any measure, or to impede the operation of any law of the United States;” or to intimidate any officer under the government of the same, from undertaking, performing, or executing his trust or duty; or to counsel, advise, or attempt to procure any insurrection, riot, unlawful assembly, or combination, whether such counsel or advice had effect or not. The offences enumerated in the second section of said law, he said, were, “to write, print, utter, or publish, or to cause the same to be done, or to aid in writing, printing, uttering, or publishing, any false writings against the government, the president, or either house of the congress of the United States, with intent to defame the government, either house of congress, or the president, or to bring them, or either of them, into disrepute; or to excite against them, or either of them, the hatred of the people; or to excite any unlawful combination, for opposing any law, or act of the president of the United States, or to defeat any such law or act.” These were the provisions of the act. The provisions of the constitution were, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Third article of amendments to the constitution. He requested gentlemen to read the one and the other; to compare them, and reconcile them if possible. He was one of those who believed, that the first clause of the law would in its operation, effectually destroy the liberty of speech; and the second clause did most completely annihilate the freedom of the press. “To combine, conspire, counsel and advise together,” was a natural right of self-defense, belonging to the people; it could only be exercised by the use of speech; it was a right of self-defense [2nd Amendment force] against the tyranny and oppression of government; it ought to be exercised with great caution; and -never, but upon occasions of extreme necessity. Of this necessity, the people are the only judges. For if government could control this right; if government were the judge, when the necessity of exercising this right has arrived, the right never will be used; for government never will judge that the people ought to oppose its measures, however unjust, however tyrannical, and despotically oppressive. This right, although subject to abuse, like many other invaluable rights, was nevertheless essential to, and inseparable from, the liberties of the people. The warmest friend of any government would not contend that it was infallible. The best of governments may possibly change into tyranny and despotism. Measures may be adopted violating the constitution, and prostrating the rights and principles of the people. He hoped never to see the time; but, if it should so happen, no man would deny but that such measures ought to be opposed. But, he would ask, how they could be effectually opposed, without the people should “combine, conspire, counsel and advise” together? One man could do nothing. This right of adopting the only efficient plan of opposition to unconstitutional, oppressive and tyrannical measures, whenever they should occur, he hoped never would be given up. This right had been well exercised on a former occasion against England; and it would probably be well used again, if our liberties were sufficiently endangered, to call forth its exertion. But for the spirited and energetic exercise of this right; but for the “combining, conspiring, counseling and advising” together of the American people, these United States, now independent and free, would have remained under the tyrannical and despotic domination of the British king. It had been said, that this doctrine leads to anarchy and confusion; but, said Mr. Daniel, this doctrine gave birth and success to our revolution; secured our present liberty, and the privileges consequent thereupon. The contrary doctrine, said Mr. Daniel, leads to passive obedience and non-resistance, to tyranny and oppression, more certain, and more dangerous. If a measure was unpopular, and should give discontent, it would be discussed: if it should thereupon be found to be tolerable, it would be acquiesced in. If, on the contrary, measures should be adopted of such dangerous and destructive tendency, that they ought to be opposed; he would ask, how this could be done, but by the means which are forbidden in the first section of the law in question? These were the only means by which liberty, once trampled down by tyrants and despots, could be reinstated: and if the general government continued its rapid progress of violating the constitution, and infringing the liberties of the people, the time he feared was hastening on, when the people Would find it necessary again, to exercise this natural right of defense.

Mr. Daniel said, he would now turn his attention to that part of the law which affects the freedom of the press, in which the constitution was most palpably, and most dangerously infringed. On this subject, he said, the gentleman from Frederick had contended, that the constitution was not violated; that the common law was a part of the constitution; and that the offences enumerated in the act, were always punishable at common law. If this be the fact, said Mr. Daniel, the law in question is nugatory; and the clause of the constitution on this subject, which had been read, was of no effect, By the gentleman’s common law, which he had read, offences against the king and his government, were precisely such as were enumerated if offences in this law, against the president and government of the United States; substituting the word “president,” in the latter case, for the word “king,” in the former. These offences might be “by speaking, or writing against them; or wishing him (the king in England, and the president in America,) ill, giving out scandalous stories concerning them, (the king and his government in England, and the president and his government in America,) or doing anything, that may tend to lessen him (the king, or president, as the case may be) in the esteem of his subjects; weaken the government, or raise jealousies among the people.” JBlackstone’s Commentaries, page 123. When our “sedition law” was so like the law of England, he did not wonder that the gentleman had supposed that the law of England was in force here; one being the copy of the other, with the necessary change of names, and some other trivial circumstances; nor did he wonder that the gentleman should say, in conformity to that authority, that “the liberty of the press, properly understood, is by no means infringed or violated” by such regulations; “but consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications;” and is otherwise “licentiousness.” Blackstone, pa. 151, that a printer may publish what he pleases, but must answer the consequence, if a certain set of men shall adjudge his writings to contain “dangerous and licentious sentiments.” If this be true, he said, he would be glad to be informed, for what purpose was it declared by the constitution, that “the freedom of the press should not be restrained;” and how we were more free in the United States than the people of any other nation whatsoever? The most oppressed of Europe; the slaves and subjects of the most despotic power on the earth, he said, had the right to speak, write and print, whatever they pleased, but were liable to be punished afterwards, if they spoke, wrote or printed, anything that was offensive to the government: that there was very little difference as to the liberty of the press, whether the restraints imposed, were “previous” or subsequent to publications. If the press was subjected to a political licenser, the discretion of the printer would be taken away, and with it his responsibility; and nothing would be printed, but what was agreeable to the political opinions of a certain set of men; whereas subsequent restraints have the same operation, by saying, if you do “write, print, utter or publish,” anything contrary to the political opinions, reputation or principles of certain men, you shall be fined and imprisoned. In vain, he said, were we told that the accused may prove the truth of his writings or printing, and that we are only forbidden to write or print false facts. The truth was, that it was not the facts, but the deductions and conclusions drawn from certain facts, which would constitute the offence. If a man was to write and publish that the congress of the United States had passed the “alien and sedition acts,” that the provisions of the said acts were in these words, reciting the laws as they are, that the constitution was in these words, reciting the provisions of the constitution truly; and conclude, that the said acts violated the constitution; that the congress and the president, in enacting the same, had assumed powers not granted to them, and had encroached upon the liberties of the people, who ought to take measures “to defeat” these laws, and this “act of the president.” Here the facts stated, that the laws had been passed, and that the constitution was in terms stated, could be proved, and would not constitute the offence, but the inference from these facts, that the congress, in enacting the said laws, had violated the constitution, assumed powers not delegated to them, and usurped the rights and liberties of the people, in which usurpation the president had joined, would certainly have a tendency “to defame the government, the congress, and the president, and to bring them into disrepute and hatred among the people,” and would therefore constitute the offence. The inference or conclusion from certain facts might be true or not, and was mere matter of opinion. It was opinion then, political opinion, which was the real object of punishment. The deduction made from the facts just stated, he said, was in his opinion true, the consequence of which was, that the congress and president of the United States had not his confidence; with him they were in “disrepute.” But he could not prove that the opinion was true, as a fact; he could offer those reasons which convinced his mind of its truth, but they might not be satisfactory to a jury summoned with a special regard to their political opinions, or to a judge of the United States, most of whom had already pronounced their opinion on the subject, either in pamphlets, or political instead of legal charges to the grand juries of the several circuits of the United States; thus prejudging a constitutional question, which they knew would be made, if ever the law was attempted to be carried into effect.

He said he would state one more case to exemplify his opinion. If at the time of British oppressions, when the parliament of England boldly implied the right to make laws for, and to tax the American people, without representation, any man had by writing maintained that representation and taxation were inseparable, and that it was an usurpation and assumption of power by parliament to impose taxes on the American colonies, who were not represented in parliament, the fact here stated would not offend, because true; but the conclusion, the charge of usurpation, made upon the British government, would certainly have a tendency to bring it into “disrepute and hatred” among the people, as it did most effectually in America, and would have constituted the offence. This opinion, though now clearly admitted to be true, was then new, and could not be proven true to an English judge and jury, for they were so impressed with its falsity, that the nation undertook and carried on a bloody and expensive war, to correct its error. He concluded that the provisions of this act abridged and infringed the liberty of the press, which at the time of the adoption of the constitution had no other restraint than the responsibility of the author to the individual who might be injured by his writing or printing: that they destroyed all enquiry into political motives, silenced scrutiny, weakened the responsibility of public servants, and established political and executive infallibility. That the solicitude discovered by the government to defend itself against the attacks of its own citizens, was an evidence that its acts would not deserve their confidence and esteem: that the solicitude thus expressed by threats of fine and imprisonment, to keep the president for the time being from coming “into disrepute,” was evidence of a fear that a comparison of motives and views would prove favorable to his competitor, and was calculated to keep the real merits of competition out of view, inasmuch as the merits of one of the proposed candidates could not be insisted on to advantage, without exposing the demerits of the other, which would tend to bring him “into disrepute.” And if the one to whom the want of merit should be ascribed, should be president for the time being, thus to bring him into “disrepute,” would be to bring the person discussing the subject into the pains of fine and imprisonment.

It had been contended, said Mr. Daniel, by the gentleman from Frederick, that the adoption of the resolutions would be an infringement of the right of the people to petition. He, Mr. Daniel, would slate, that this right might be exercised by an individual, by an assemblage of individuals, or by the representatives of the people; which last mode was preferable, when the sovereignty of the state, as well as the appropriate rights of the people was attacked, as in the present case. He conceived, however, that the law in question had very much abridged the right of the people to petition and remonstrate. The necessity and propriety of petitions and remonstrance’s could not be seen but by discussion: the right itself could not be effectually used, without “counseling and advising together.” Three or more persons would constitute an “unlawful assembly;” for it would be easily said, that they were unlawfully assembled, when they intended, by discussing certain acts of the president, or laws of the government, “to defeat” the same, by inducing the people to petition and remonstrate; or if the same were not defeated, by virtue of such petition and remonstrance, to bring the government and president into “disrepute,” for continuing such acts and laws in operation, against which the people had petitioned and remonstrated. But those things being offences, and so enumerated in one clause of the law, an assembly of three or more persons, contemplating the objects just described, would be “unlawful,” within the purview of the act, and subject to fine and imprisonment. Again, he said, the dangerous and ruinous tendency of certain measures, might not be observed by the people of any particular district. A few, however, might wish a petition to be made, to remove the grievance of the measures; in order to which, they would individually address the district by writing, in which they would expose and censure the evil tendency of the said measures, to excite the people to petition and remonstrate, “to defeat” the same, or necessarily to bring the friends of the continuance thereof into “disrepute.” This would be an offence within the purview of the second clause of the law. Thus, said he, by one act we have seen, that that clause of the constitution, which secures the right of speech, of the press, of petition, of the free exercise of religious opinion to the people, is prostrated in every respect, except as it relates to religion. And this last and most invaluable right, he had no doubt would soon be invaded, inasmuch as he had been informed, that the friends of the present measures had already begun to insinuate, that an “established church was one of the strongest props to government:” and inasmuch, that the same reasons might be urged in its favor, as in favor of the abridgment of the liberty of the press. But it was said, that the press was still left free to print truth: “its licentiousness and abuse” are only forbid. So it might be said of religion: true religion only ought to be tolerated: the abuse of religion ought to be forbidden: the “licentiousness” of particular sectaries ought to be restrained.

He said, he was fearful that he had already trespassed upon the patience of the committee, and he would hasten to a conclusion, with a few remarks on the particular shape and address of the resolutions. It had been objected by gentlemen, that it was going too far to declare the acts in question, to be “no law, null, void and of no effect:” that it was sufficient to say they were unconstitutional. He said, if they were unconstitutional, it followed necessarily that they were “not law, but null, void and of no effect.” But, if those particular words were offensive to gentlemen he had no objection to any modification, so the principle were retained. As to the objection, that they were improperly addressed to the other states, Mr. Daniel said, he supposed that this mode was extremely eligible. If the other states think with this, that the laws are unconstitutional, the laws will be repealed, and the constitutional question will be settled by this declaration of a majority of the states: thereby destroying the force of this precedent, and precluding from any future congress, who might be disposed to carry the principle to a more pernicious and ruinous extent, the force of any argument which might be derived from these laws. If, on the contrary, a sufficient majority of the states should declare their opinion, that the constitution gave congress authority to pass these laws, the constitutional question would still be settled; but an attempt might be made so to amend the constitution, as to take from congress this authority, which in our opinion was so pernicious and dangerous.

He then concluded by saying, that something must be done: the people were not satisfied: they expected that this legislature would adopt some measure on this subject: that the constitution of the United States was the basis of public tranquility; the pledge of the sovereignty of the states, and of the liberties of the people. But, said he, this basis of public tranquility, this pledge of liberty and security is but a name, a mere phantom, unless it be strictly observed. It became our duty to watch attentively, to see that it was not violated; to see that it was equally observed by those who govern, and by those who are destined to obey. To attack the constitution was an offence against society; and if those guilty of it were invested with authority, they added to the offence a perfidious abuse of the power with which they were entrusted. It was our duty, said he, to suppress this abuse with our utmost vigor and vigilance. It was strange to see a free constitution openly and boldly attacked by those who were put in power under it. It was generally by silent and slow attacks, that free governments had progressively changed, till very little of their original texture and principles remained: that the doctrine of implication had introduced innovations, under the influence and operation of which, the freest governments had been enslaved. It was our duty to guard against innovations. The people of Virginia had been attentive to this subject. The petitions and remonstrances, which had been read to the committee, proved that the people were seriously alarmed at the innovations of the federal government. He said they proved more: they proved that the people thought that their servants, in the administration of the federal government, were not even modest enough to wait the increase of their power by progressive change. That their ambition exceeded the resources of the doctrine of implication: that their thirst of power could not be satiated, but by a direct attack upon the constitution, and a prostration of the great rights of the people. He said, this apprehension of the people, which he thought just, would be satisfied. He thought the mode proposed by the resolutions was most likely to effect this purpose; as well as other important purposes. He said, if they who were the representatives of the people, would not act for them when called upon, the people will speak for themselves; and as the voice of God, they would be heard. He hoped this final and dreadful appeal would never be necessary. He preferred the resolutions, and hoped they would be adopted by the committee. ..

Related: The Sedition Act of 1918 signed into law by Progressive President Thomas Woodrow Wilson

During World War I, libel laws surfaced again. The Sedition Act of 1918was part of an amendment to the Espionage Act, created in 1917 to prohibit “false statements” that might “impede military success.”

The revisions prohibited not only public criticism of the government, but also forbade “any abusive language about … the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy.”

It extended further to target any person who displayed the flag of an enemy country, or attempted to curb the production of goods needed for war. Both the Espionage Act and Sedition Act were repealed in 1921.

Because the Sedition Acts of 1798 and 1918 were each in effect only for three years, neither was ever challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court. In the 1964 case of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment prevented a public official from charging a fine for libel, “unless ‘actual malice’—knowledge that statements are false or in reckless disregard of the truth—is alleged and proved.”

The Court took this opportunity to officially declare the Sedition Act of 1798, which had expired over 150 years earlier, unconstitutional: “the Act, because of the restraint it imposed upon criticism of government and public officials, was inconsistent with the First Amendment.”

Justice William Brennan quoted James Madison, stating, “The censorial power is in the people over the Government, and not in the Government over the people.”

Text of Act(s)

An act in addition to the act entitled, “An act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States.”

[Approved July 14, 1798.]

ABSTRACT.

SECTION I. Punishes combinations against United States government.

1. Definition of offence:
Unlawfully to combine or conspire together to oppose any measure of the government of the United States, &c. This section was not complained of.

2. Grade of offence:
A high misdemeanour.

3. Punishment:
Fine not exceeding $5000, and imprisonment six months to five years.

SECTION II. Punishes seditious writings.
1. Definition of offence:

To write, print, utter or publish, or cause it to be done, or assist in it, any false, scandalous, and malicious writing against the government of the United States, or either House of Congress, or the President, with intent to defame, or bring either into contempt or disrepute, or to excite against either the hatred of the people of the United States, or to stir up sedition, or to excite unlawful combinations against the government, or to resist it, or to aid or encourage hostile designs of foreign nations.

2. Grade of offence:
A misdemeanour.
3. Punishment:
Fine not exceeding $2000, and imprisonment not exceeding two years.

SECTION III. Allows accused to give in evidence the truth of the matter charged as libellous.

SECTION IV. Continues the Act to 3d March, 1801.


SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled. That if any persons shall unlawfully combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States, which are or shall be directed by proper authority, or to impede the operation of any law of the United States, or to intimidate or prevent any person holding a place or office in or under the government of the United States, from undertaking, performing, or executing his trust or duty: and if any person or persons, with intent as aforesaid, shall counsel, advise, or attempt to procure any insurrection, riot, unlawful assembly, or combination, whether such conspiracy, threatening, counsel, advice, or attempt shall have the proposed effect or not, he or they shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanour, and on conviction before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, and by imprisonment during a term of not less than six months, nor exceeding five years; and further, at the discretion of the court, may be holden to find sureties for his good behaviour, in such sum, and for such time, as the said court may direct.

SECT. 2. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter, or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered, or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering, or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either House of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either House of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States; or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the Constitution of the United States; or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act; or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against the United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.

SECT. 3. And be it further enacted and declared, That if any person shall be prosecuted under this act for the writing or publishing any libel aforesaid, it shall be lawful for the defendant, upon the trial of the cause, to give in evidence in his defence, the truth of the matter contained in the publication charged as a libel. And the jury who shall try the cause shall have a right to determine the law and the fact, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.

SECT. 4. And be it further enacted, That this act shall continue and be in force until the third day of March, one thousand eight hundred and one, and no longer: Provided, That the expiration of the act shall not prevent or defeat a prosecution and punishment of any offence against the law, during the time it shall be in force.

See also:
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English)
The Importance of the Freedom of the Press; by Senator Ebenezer Mack (1791-1849)
THE LIBERTY OF THE PRESS by Charles F. Partington 1836
George Mason of Virginia the Father of the Declaration of Independence
A REPUBLIC! A LIVING BREATHING CONSTITUTION DEFINED! by Alphonse De Lamartine 1790-1869
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Powers delegated to the General Government in the Federal Constitution
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The mode of obtaining redress for infringement of civil or political rights by officers of the government
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Liberty of Speech and of the Press
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Law of Libel in relation to Public Officers
Sources:
1. http://www.history.com
2. http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/sedition/
3. “Resolutions of Virginia and Kentucky” by James Madison, Thomas Jefferson
4. http://www.constitution.org/rf/sedition_1798.htm

Governments Corrupted By Vice and Restored By Virtue: by Samuel Langdon 1775

corruption3Samuel Langdon Biography

This eminent man, celebrated alike for his piety and sterling patriotism, was born at Boston, Massachusetts. Through the exertions of his friends, who discovered in him a desire to obtain a liberal education, he was entered at Harvard College, from which institution he graduated with credit in 1740. From college he went to Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, where he was employed to take charge of a grammar school until 1745, at which time he was invited to preach in the First Church, as assistant to Mr. Fitch. Two years after, he was ordained, and from this time until the commencement of the difficulties between England and her colonies, he continued an active laborer for the cause of the church.

Dr. Langdon was a very zealous Whig. His bold and open opposition to the measures of the British government, rendered him highly acceptable to the patriots of New England, and through the influence of John Hancock and others, he was, in 1774, installed as successor of Mr. Locke in the presidency of Harvard College. When he took the chair it gave great delight to the sons of liberty; and in 1775, a month after the commencement of the war, he was chosen to preach the election sermon. This effort will be found in the following pages.

President Langdon’s connection with the college did not prove of the most satisfactory character. His administration was a perpetual struggle with difficulties and embarrassments, amid the dangers of civil war and the excitement of a political revolution. He wanted judgment, and had no spirit of government. He did not receive that respect and kindness from the students and others connected with the college, that were due his character as a scholar and a Christian. Under these circumstances he resigned the presidency, and in 1781, became the pastor of a church at Hampton Falls, near Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In 1788 he preached the election sermon at Concord, and the same year occupied a seat in the New Hampshire Convention, in which body he took an active part, and had an extensive influence in removing the prejudices which prevailed against the Federal Constitution. At the age of seventy-four, on the twenty-ninth of November, 1794, he closed a life well spent, beloved for his piety, hospitality, and good-will to his fellow-men.

Governments Corrupted By Vice and Restored By Virtue:  by Dr. Samuel Langdon 1775; Before the Honorable Congress of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay. Assembled at Watertown, 31st Day of May, 1775. Being the Anniversary fixed by CHARTER for the Election of Counsellors;

References: The patriot preachers of the American Revolution, The Pulpit of the American Revolution, The God of Our Fathers, and The Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution by Frank Moore, John W. Thornton, George Duffield, Jr., and Joel T. Headley  respectfully.

“The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs
in the affairs of men.”—Benjamin Franklin.

Background of the oration:

From one of the sources of information on this topic, “it occurred to us, would be the sermons that had been delivered on other National Fast Days. Many such being just at our hand, we turned them over with no little interest and curiosity. The more we “touched the bones of the prophets,” the more we felt that virtue came out of them.

“Faithful men,” indeed, were those old Fathers, to whom the Gospel in all its relations, both temporal and eternal, might be most safely entrusted! Though a reward was offered for their heads, they preached; though a Tory party in the Church might wish to keep them quiet, still they preached; though their brethren not infrequently found vehement fault with them for so doing, yet, the Word of God “burning like a fire in their bones,” they could not do otherwise than preach. The Chinese idea which so many have been endeavoring to inculcate of late, that “to speak of politics is to be guilty of death,” by such men as Mayhew, Witherspoon, Emmons, &c, would have been laughed to scorn!” Dumb dogs that cannot bark,” could not be said of them, any more than of Calvin, and Knox, and the staunch old English Puritans! Thank God that such men lived on this side of the Atlantic, as well as the other!

There is no excuse for us if we do not try, at least, to imitate their example. If ever the pulpit is to regain that influence which it has lost in our land, it must be by preaching occasionally such sermons as the following Dr. Langdon”

Dr. Samuel Langdon was moderator of the annual convention of the ministers, held, by special invitation of the Provincial Congress, at Watertown, June 1st, following election-day, when he signed the following letter:

“To the Hon. Joseph Warren, Esq., President of the Provincial Congress of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, etc.

“Sir : — We, the pastors of the Congregational churches of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, in our present annual convention,”— at Watertown, June 1, 1775, — ” gratefully beg leave to express the sense we have of the regard shown by the Honorable Provincial Congress to us, and the encouragement they have been pleased to afford to our assembling as a body this day. Deeply impressed with sympathy for the distresses of our much-injured and oppressed country, we are not a little relieved in beholding the representatives of this people, chosen by their free and unbiased suffrages, now met to concert measures for their relief and defence, in whose wisdom and integrity, under the smiles of Divine Providence, we cannot but express our entire confidence.

“As it has been found necessary to raise an army for the common safety, and our brave countrymen have so willingly offered themselves to this hazardous service, we are not insensible of the vast burden that their necessary maintenance must”—devolve —”upon the people. We therefore cannot forbear, upon this occasion, to offer our services to the public, and to signify our readiness, with the consent of our several congregations, to officiate, by rotation, as chaplains to the army.

“We devoutly commend the Congress, and our brethren in arms, to the guidance and protection of that Providence which, from the first settlement of this country, has so remarkably appeared for the preservation of its civil and religious rights.

“SAMUEL LANGDON, Moderator.”

Langdon was appointed to deliver the election sermon. By a special vote, Dr. Langdon’s Sermon was sent to each minister in the colony, and to each member of the Congress. The contest (the Revolutionary War) had then begun—blood had flowed at Lexington and Concord, and only three weeks before the battle of Bunker Hill had been fought. Boston was in possession of the British, and the Colonial Congress assembled at Harvard. There was no election of Councillors, but it was the anniversary of the day fixed by charter for the election. The Congress was perplexed and ignorant what course to adopt. His Majesty’s Governor was not there, neither would they elect a Council for His Majesty; and yet Congress had taken no decided steps toward the inauguration of an independent government.

Nevertheless until things assumed more definite shape they would fulfill, as far as they were concerned, the conditions of the Charter. They therefore met on the appointed day, and listened to a sermon from the learned Dr. Langdon.

He took for his text Isaiah, 1. 26: “And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsel as at the beginning. Afterward thou shalt be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” Nothing could be more appropriate than this text. It shows in what perfect harmony the pulses of the clergy and the people beat. The latter did not now need any instruction as to their rights, or appeals to assert them. They had already asserted them at the point of the bayonet. The die was cast, and every one asked what would the end be. The capital was in the hands of the brutal soldiery, and the patriots were driven from their homes which they might never see again. In such a crisis, in such a state of feeling, how beautiful, how appropriate and encouraging is this full, rich promise.

The Sermon: “Shall we rejoice, my fathers and brethren, or shall we weep together, on the return of this anniversary, which from the first settlement of this colony has been sacred to liberty, to perpetuate that invaluable privilege of choosing, from among ourselves, wise men, fearing God, and hating covetousness, to be honorable counselors, to constitute one essential branch of that happy government which was established on the faith of royal charters?

On this day, the people have from year to year assembled, from all our towns, in a vast congregation, with gladness and festivity, with every ensign of joy displayed in our metropolis, which now, alas I is made a garrison of mercenary troops, the stronghold of despotism. But how shall I now address you from this desk, remote from the capital, and remind you of the important business which distinguished this day in our calendar, without spreading a gloom over this assembly, by exhibiting the melancholy change made in the face of our public affairs?

We have lived to see the time when British liberty is just ready to expire; when that constitution of government which has so long been the glory and strength of the English nation, is deeply undermined and ready to tumble into ruins;—when America is threatened with cruel oppression, and the arm of power is stretched out against New England, and especially against this colony, to compel us to submit to the arbitrary acts of legislators who are not our representatives, and who will not themselves bear the least part of the burdens which, without mercy, they are laying upon us. The most formal and solemn grants of kings to our ancestors are deemed by our oppressors as of little value, and they have mutilated the charter of this colony in the most essential parts, upon false representations, and new invented maxims of policy, without the least regard to any legal process. We are no longer permitted to fix our eyes on the faithful of the land, and trust in the wisdom of their counsels, and the equity of their judgment; but men in whom we can have no confidence, whose principles are subversive of our liberties, whose aim is to exercise lordship over us, and share among themselves the public wealth; men who are ready to serve any master, and execute the most unrighteous decrees for high wages, whoso faces we never saw before, and whose interests and connections may be far divided from us by the wide Atlantic, are to be set over us as counselors and judges, at the pleasure of those who have the riches and power of the nation in their hands, and whose noblest plan is to subjugate the colonies first, and then the whole nation to their will.

corruption4That we might not have it in our power to refuse the most absolute submission to their unlimited claims of authority, they have not only endeavored to terrify us with fleets and armies sent to our capital, and distressed and put an end to our trade, particularly that important branch of it, the fishery(fn1), but at length attempted, by a sudden march of a body of troops in the night, to seize and destroy one of our magazines, formed by the people merely for their own security; if, as after such formidable military preparation on the other side, matters should not be pushed to an extremity. By this, as might well be expected, a skirmish was brought on; and it is most evident, from a variety of concurring circumstances, as well as numerous depositions, both of the prisoners taken by us at that time, and our men then on the spot only as spectators, that the fire began first on the side of the king’s troops. At least five or six of our inhabitants were murderously killed by the regulars at Lexington, before any man attempted to return the fire, and when they were actually complying with the command to disperse; and two more of our brethren were likewise killed at Concord Bridge by a fire from the king’s soldiers, before(fn2) the engagement began on our side. But whatever credit falsehoods transmitted to Great Britain from the other side may gain, the matter may be rested entirely on this—that ho that arms himself to commit a robbery, and demands the traveler’s purse, by the terror of instant death, is the first aggressor, though the other should take the advantage of discharging his pistol first and killing the robber.

The alarm was sudden; but in a very short time spread far and wide; the nearest neighbors in haste ran together to assist their brethren, and save their country. Not more than three or four hundred met in season, and bravely attacked and repulsed the enemies of liberty, who retreated with great precipitation. But by the help of a strong reinforcement, notwithstanding a close pursuit, and continual loss on their side, they acted the part of robbers and savages, by burning(fn3), plundering, and damaging almost every house in their way, to the utmost of their power, murdering the unarmed and helpless, and not regarding the weakness of the tender sex, until they had secured themselves beyond the reach of our terrifying arms. (fn4)

That ever memorable day, the nineteenth of April, is the date of an unhappy war openly begun, by the ministers of the king of Great Britain, against his good subjects in this colony, and implicitly against all the colonies. But for what! Because they have made a noble stand for their natural and constitutional rights, in opposition to the machinations of wicked men, who are betraying their royal master, establishing Popery in the British dominions, and aiming to enslave and ruin the whole nation, that they may enrich themselves and their vile dependents with the public treasures, and the spoils of America.

“We have used our utmost endeavors, by repeated humble petitions and remonstrances—by a series of unanswerable reasonings published from the press, in which the dispute has been fairly stated, and the justice of our opposition clearly demonstrated—and by the mediation of some of the noblest and most faithful friends of the British constitution, who have powerfully pleaded our cause in Parliament—to prevent such measures as may soon reduce the body politic to a miserable, dismembered, dying trunk, though lately the terror of all Europe. But our king, as if impelled by some strange fatality, is resolved to reason with us only by the roar of his cannon, and the pointed arguments of muskets and bayonets. Because we refuse submission to the despotic power of a ministerial Parliament, our own sovereign, to whom we have been always ready to swear true allegiance— whoso authority we never meant to cast off—who might have continued happy in cheerful obedience, as faithful subjects as any in his dominions—has given us up to the rage of his ministers, to be seized at sea by the rapacious commanders of every little sloop of war and piratical cutter, and to be plundered and massacred by land by mercenary troops, who know no distinction betwixt an enemy and a brother, between right and wrong; but only, like brutal pursuers, to hunt and seize the prey pointed out by their masters.

We must keep our eyes fixed on the supreme government of the ETERNAL KING, as directing all events, setting up or pulling down the kings of the earth at his pleasure, suffering the best forms of human government to degenerate and go to ruin by corruption; or restoring the decayed constitutions of kingdoms and states, by reviving public virtue and religion, and granting the favorable inter-positions of his providence. To this our text leads us; and though I hope to be excused on this occasion from a formal discourse on the words in a doctrinal way, yet I must not wholly pass over the religions instruction contained in them.

Let us consider—that for the sins of a people God may suffer the best government to be corrupted, or entirely dissolved; and that nothing but a general reformation can give ground to hope that the public happiness will be restored, by the recovery of the strength and perfection of the state, and that divine Providence will interpose to fill every department with wise and good men.

Isaiah prophesied about the time of the captivity of the ten tribes of Israel, and about a century before the captivity of Judah. The kingdom of Israel was brought to destruction, because its iniquities were full; its counselors and judges were wholly taken away, because there remained no hope of reformation. But the scepter did not entirely depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, till the Messiah came; yet greater and greater changes took place in their political affairs; their government degenerated in proportion as their vices increased, till few faithful men were left in any public offices; and, at length, when they were delivered up for seventy years into the hands of the king of Babylon, scarce any remains of their original excellent civil polity appeared among them.

The Jewish government, according to the original constitution which was divinely established, if considered merely in a civil view, was a perfect republic. The heads of their tribes, and elders of their cities, were their counselors and judges. They called the people together in more general or particular assemblies, took their opinions, gave advice, and managed the public affairs according to the general voice. Counselors and judges comprehend all the powers of that government, for there was no such thing as as legislative authority belonging to it, — their complete code of laws being given immediately from God by the hand of Moses. And let them who cry up the divine right of kings consider that the only form of government which had a proper claim to a divine establishment was so far from including the idea of a king, that it was a high crime for Israel to ask to be in this respect like other nations; and when they were gratified, it was rather as a just punishment of their folly, that they might feel the burdens of court pageantry, of which they were warned by a very striking description, than as a divine recommendation of kingly authority. Every nation, when able and agreed, has a right to set up over themselves any form of government which to them may appear most conducive to their common welfare.(fn5) The civil polity of Israel is doubtless an excellent general model, allowing for some peculiarities; at least, some principal laws and orders of it may be copied to great advantage in more modern establishments.

When a government is in its prime, the public good engages the attention of the whole; the strictest regard is paid to the qualifications of those who hold the offices of the state; virtue prevails; everything is managed with justice, prudence, and frugality; the laws are founded on principles of equity rather than mere policy, and all the people are happy. But vice will increase with the riches and glory of an empire; and this gradually tends to corrupt the constitution, and in time bring on its dissolution. This may be considered not only as the natural effect of vice, but a righteous judgment of Heaven, especially upon a nation which has been favored with the blessings of religion and liberty, and is guilty of undervaluing them, and eagerly going into the gratification of every lust.

In this chapter the prophet describes the very corrupt state of Judah in his day, both as to religion and common morality, and looks forward to that increase of wickedness which would bring on their desolation and captivity. They were “a sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that were corrupters, who had forsaken the Lord, and provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger.” The whole body of the nation, from head to foot, was full of moral and political disorders, without any remaining soundness. Their religion was all mere ceremony and hypocrisy ; and even the laws of common justice and humanity were disregarded in their public courts. They had counselors and judges, but very different from those at the beginning of the commonwealth. Their princes were rebellious against God and the constitution of their country, and companions of thieves, — giving countenance to every artifice for seizing the property of the subjects into their own hands, and robbing the public treasury. Every one loved gifts, and followed after rewards ; they regarded the perquisites more than the duties of their office; the general aim was at profitable places and pensions; they were influenced in everything by bribery; and their avarice and luxury were never satisfied, but hurried them on to all kinds of oppression and violence, so that they even justified and encouraged the murder of innocent persons to support their lawless power and increase their wealth. And God, in righteous judgment, left them to run into all this excess of vice, to their own destruction, because they had forsaken him, and were guilty of willful inattention to the most essential parts of that religion which had been given them by a well-attested revelation from heaven.

The Jewish nation could not but see and feel the unhappy consequences of so great corruption of the state. Doubtless they complained much of men in power, and very heartily and liberally reproached them for their notorious misconduct. The public greatly suffered, and the people groaned and wished for better rulers and better management; but in vain they hoped for a change of men and measures and better times when the spirit of religion was gone, and the infection of vice was become universal. The whole body being so corrupted, there could be no rational prospect of any great reformation in the state, but rather of its ruin, which accordingly came on in Jeremiah’s time. Yet if a general reformation of religion and morals had taken place, and they had turned to God from all their sins, — if they had again recovered the true spirit of their religion, — God, by the gracious interpositions of his providence, would soon have found out methods to restore the former virtue of the state, and again have given them men of wisdom and integrity, according to their utmost wish, to be counsellors and judges. This was verified in fact after the nation had been purged by a long captivity, and returned to their own land humbled and filled with zeal for God and his law.

By all this we may be led to consider the true cause of the present remarkable troubles which are come upon Great Britain and these colonies, and the only effectual remedy.

We have rebelled against God. We have lost the true spirit of Christianity, though we retain the outward profession and form of it. We have neglected and set light by the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and his holy commands and institutions. The worship of many is but mere compliment to the Deity, while their hearts are far from him. By many the gospel is corrupted into a superficial system of moral philosophy, little better than ancient Platonism; and, after all the pretended refinements of moderns in the theory of Christianity, very little of the pure practice of it is to be found among those who once stood foremost in the profession of the gospel. In a general view of the present moral state of Great Britain it may be said, “There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery,” their wickedness breaks out, and one murder after another is committed, under the connivance and encouragement even of that authority by which such crimes ought to be punished, that the purposes of oppression and despotism may be answered. As they have increased, so have they sinned; therefore God is changing their glory into shame. The general prevalence of vice has changed the whole face of things in the British government.

The excellency of the constitution has been the boast of Great Britain and the envy of neighboring nations. In former times the great departments of the state, and the various places of trust and authority, were filled with men of wisdom, honesty, and religion, who employed all their powers, and were ready to risk their fortunes and their lives, for the public good. They were faithful counselors to kings; directed their authority and majesty to the happiness of the nation, and opposed every step by which despotism endeavored to advance. They were fathers of the people, and sought the welfare and prosperity of the whole body. They did not exhaust the national wealth by luxury and bribery, or convert it to their own private benefit or the maintenance of idle, useless officers and dependents, but improved it faithfully for the proper purposes — for the necessary support of government and defence of the kingdom. Their laws were dictated by wisdom and equality, and justice was administered with impartiality. Religion discovered its general influence among all ranks, and kept out great corruptions from places of power.

But in what does the British nation now glory? — In a mere shadow of its ancient political system, — in titles of dignity without virtue, — in vast public treasures continually lavished in corruption till every fund is exhausted, notwithstanding the mighty streams perpetually flowing in,— in the many artifices to stretch the prerogatives of the crown beyond all constitutional bounds, and make the king an absolute monarch, while the people are deluded with a mere phantom of liberty. What idea must we entertain of that great government, if such a one can be found, which pretends to have made an exact counterbalance of power between the sovereign, the nobles and the commons, so that the three branches shall be an effectual check upon each other, and the united wisdom of the whole shall conspire to promote the national felicity, but which, in reality, is reduced to such a situation that it may be managed at the sole will of one court favorite? What difference is there betwixt one(fn6) man’s choosing, at his own pleasure, by his single vote, the majority of those who are to represent the people, and his purchasing in such a majority, according to his own nomination, with money out of the public treasury, or other effectual methods of influencing elections? And what shall we say if, in the same manner, by places, pensions, and other bribes, a minister of the crown can at any time gain over a nobler majority likewise to be entirely subservient to his purposes, and, moreover, persuade his royal master to resign himself up wholly to the direction of his counsels? If this should be the case of any nation, from one seven years’ end to another, the bargain and sale being made sure for such a period, would they still have reason to boast of their excellent constitution?(fn7) Ought they not rather to think it high time to restore the corrupted, dying state to its original perfection? I will apply this to the Roman senate under Julius Caesar, which retained all its ancient formalities, but voted always only as Caesar dictated. If the decrees of such a senate were urged on the Romans, as fraught with all the blessings of Roman liberty, we must suppose them strangely deluded if they were persuaded to believe it.

corruption2The pretense for taxing America has been that the nation contracted an immense debt for the defence of the American colonies, and that, as they are now able to contribute some proportion towards the discharge of this debt, and must be considered as part of the nation, it is reasonable they should be taxed, and the Parliament has a right to tax and govern them, in all cases whatever, by its own supreme authority. Enough has been already published on this grand controversy, which now threatens a final separation of the colonies from Great Britain. But can the amazing national debt be paid by a little trifling sum, squeezed from year to year out of America, which is continually drained of all its cash by a restricted trade with the parent country, and which in this way is taxed to the government of Britain in a very large proportion? Would it not be much superior wisdom, and sounder policy, for a distressed kingdom to retrench the vast unnecessary expenses continually incurred by its enormous vices; to stop the prodigious sums paid in pensions, and to numberless officers, without the least advantage to the public; to reduce the number of devouring servants in the great family; to turn their minds from the pursuit of pleasure and the boundless luxuries of life to the important interests of their country and the salvation of the commonwealth? Would not a reverend regard to the authority of divine revelation, a hearty belief of the, gospel of the grace of God, and a general reformation of all those vices which bring misery and ruin upon individuals, families, and kingdoms, and which have provoked Heaven to bring the nation into such perplexed and dangerous circumstances, be the surest way to recover the sinking state, and make it again rich and flourishing? Millions might annually be saved if the kingdom were generally and thoroughly reformed; and the public debt, great as it is, might in a few years be cancelled by a growing revenue, which now amounts to full ten millions per annum, without laying additional burdens on any of the subjects. But the demands of corruption are constantly increasing, and will forever exceed all the resources of wealth which the wit of man can invent or tyranny impose.

Into what fatal policy has the nation been impelled, by its public vices, to wage a cruel war with its own children in these colonies, only to gratify the lust of power and the demands of extravagance! May God, in his great mercy, recover Great Britain from this fatal infatuation, show them their errors, and give them a spirit of reformation, before it is too late to avert impending destruction! May the eyes of the king be opened to see the ruinous tendency of the measures into which he has been led, and his heart inclined to treat his American subjects with justice and clemency, instead of forcing them still further to the last extremities! God grant some method may be found out to effect a happy reconciliation, so that the colonies may again enjoy the protection of their sovereign, with perfect security of all their natural rights and civil and religious liberties.

But, alas! have not the sins of America, and of New England in particular, had a hand in bringing down upon us the righteous judgments of Heaven? Wherefore is all this evil come upon us? Is it not because we have forsaken the Lord? Can we say we are innocent of crimes against God? No, surely. It becomes us to humble ourselves under his mighty hand, that he may exalt us in due time. However unjustly and cruelly we have been treated by man, we certainly deserve, at the hand of God, all the calamities in which we are now involved. Have we not lost much of that spirit of genuine Christianity which so remarkably appeared in our ancestors, for which God distinguished them with the signal favors of providence when they fled from tyranny and persecution into this western desert? Have we not departed from their virtues? Though I hope and am confident that as much true religion, agreeable to the purity and simplicity of the gospel, remains among us as among any people in the world, yet, in the midst of the present great apostasy of the nations professing Christianity, have not we likewise been guilty of departing from the living God? Have we not made light of the gospel of salvation, and too much affected the cold, formal, fashionable religion of countries grown old in vice, and overspread with infidelity? Do not our follies and iniquities testify against us? Have we not, especially in our seaports, gone much too far into the pride and luxuries of life? Is it not a fact, open to common observation, that profaneness, intemperance, unchastity, the love of pleasure, fraud, avarice, and other vices, are increasing among us from year to year? And have not even these young governments been in some measure infected with the corruptions of European courts? Has there been no flattery, no bribery, no artifices practiced, to get into places of honor and profit, or carry a vote to serve a particular interest, without regard to right or wrong? Have our statesmen always acted with integrity, and every judge with impartiality, in the fear of God? In short, have all ranks of men showed regard to the divine commands, and joined to promote the Redeemer’s kingdom and the public welfare? I wish we could more fully justify ourselves in all these respects. If such sins have not been so notorious, among us as in older countries, we must nevertheless remember that the sins of a people who have been remarkable for the profession of godliness, are more aggravated by all the advantages and favors they have enjoyed, and will receive more speedy and signal punishment; as God says of Israel: “You only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore will I punish you for all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:2)

The judgments now come upon us are very heavy and distressing, and have fallen with peculiar weight on our capital, where, notwithstanding the plighted honor of the chief commander of the hostile troops, many of our brethren are still detained, as if they were captives;(fn8) and those that have been released have left the principal part of their substance, which is withheld, by arbitrary orders, contrary to an express treaty, to be plundered by the army.(fn9)

Let me address you in the words of the prophet: “O Israel! return unto the Lord thy God, for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.” My brethren, let us repent, and implore the divine mercy; let us amend our ways and our doings, reform everything which has been provoking to the Most High, and thus endeavor to obtain the gracious interpositions of Providence for our deliverance.

If true religion is revived by means of these public calamities, and again prevails among us, — if it appears in our religious assemblies, in the conduct of our civil affairs, in our armies, in our families, in all our business and conversation, — we may hope for the direction and blessing of the Most High, while we are using our best endeavors to preserve and restore the civil government of this colony, and defend America from slavery.

Our late happy government is changed into the terrors of military execution. Our firm opposition to the establishment of an arbitrary system is called rebellion, and we are to expect no mercy, but to yield property and life at discretion. This we are resolved at all events not to do, and therefore we have taken up arms in our own defence, and all the colonies are united in the great cause of liberty.

But how shall we live while civil government is dissolved? What shall we do without counselors and judges? A state of absolute anarchy is dreadful. Submission to the tyranny of hundreds of imperious masters, firmly embodied against us, and united in the same cruel design of disposing of our lives and subsistence at their pleasure, and making their own will our law in all cases whatsoever, is the vilest slavery, and worse than death.

Thanks be to God that he has given us, as men, natural rights, independent on all human laws whatever, and that these rights are recognized by the grand charter of British liberties. By the law of nature, any body of people, destitute of order and government, may form themselves into a civil society, according to their best prudence, and so provide for their common safety and advantage. When one form is found by the majority not to answer the grand purpose in any tolerable degree, they may, by common consent, put an end to it and set up another, — only, as all such great changes are attended with difficulty and danger of confusion, they ought not to be attempted without urgent necessity, which will be determined always by the general voice of the wisest and best members of the community.

Corruption1If the great servants of the public forget their duty, betray their trust, and sell their country, or make war against the most valuable rights and privileges of the people, reason and justice require that they should be discarded, and others appointed in their room, without any regard to formal resignations of their forfeited power.

It must be ascribed to some supernatural influence on the minds of the main body of the people through this extensive continent, that they have so universally adopted the method of managing the important matters necessary to preserve among them a free government by corresponding committees and congresses, consisting of the wisest and most disinterested patriots in America, chosen by the unbiased suffrages of the people assembled for that purpose in their several towns, counties, and provinces. So general agreement, through so many provinces of so large a country, in one mode of self-preservation, is unexampled in any history; and the effect has exceeded our most sanguine expectations. Universal tumults, and all the irregularities and violence of mobbish factions, naturally arise when legal authority ceases. But how little of this has appeared in the midst of the late obstructions of civil government! — nothing more than what has often happened in Great Britain and Ireland, in the face of the civil powers in all their strength; nothing more than what is frequently seen in the midst of the perfect regulations of the great city of London; and, may I not add, nothing more than has been absolutely necessary to carry into execution the spirited resolutions of a people too sensible to deliver themselves up to oppression and slavery. The judgment and advice of the continental assembly of delegates have been as readily obeyed as if they were authentic acts of a long-established Parliament. And in every colony the votes of a congress have had equal effect with the laws of great and general courts.

It is now ten months since(fn10) this colony has been deprived of the benefit of that government which was so long enjoyed by charter. They have had no General Assembly formatters of legislation and the public revenue; the courts of justice have been shut up,(fn11) and almost the whole executive power has ceased to act; yet order among the people has been remarkably preserved. Few crimes have been committed, punishable by the judge; even former contentions betwixt one neighbor and another have ceased; nor have fraud and rapine taken advantage of the imbecility of the civil powers.

The necessary preparations for the defence of our liberties required not only the collected wisdom and strength of the colony, but an immediate, cheerful application of the wealth of individuals to the public service, in due proportion, or a taxation which depended on general consent. Where was the authority to vote, collect, or receive the large sums required, and make provision for the utmost extremities? A Congress succeeded to the honors of a General Assembly as soon as the latter was crushed by the hand of power. It gained all the confidence of the people. Wisdom and prudence secured all that the laws of the former constitution could have given; and we now observe with astonishment an army of many thousands of well-disciplined troops suddenly assembled, and abundantly furnished with all necessary supplies, in defence of the liberties of America.

But is it proper or safe for the colony to continue much longer in such imperfect order? Must it not appear rational and necessary, to every man that understands the various movements requisite to good government, that the many parts should be properly settled, and every branch of the legislative and executive authority restored to that order and vigor on which the life and health of the body politic depend? To the honorable gentlemen now met in this new congress as the fathers of the people, this weighty matter must be referred. Who knows but in the midst of all the distresses of the present war to defeat the attempts of arbitrary power, God may in mercy restore to us our judges as at the first, and our counselors as at the beginning?

On your wisdom, religion, and public spirit, honored gentlemen, we depend, to determine what may be done as to the important matter of reviving the form of government, and settling all necessary affairs relating to it in the present critical state of things, that we may again have law and justice, and avoid the danger of anarchy and confusion. May God be with you, and by the influences of his Spirit direct all your counsels and resolutions for the glory of his name and the safety and happiness of this colony. We have great reason to acknowledge with thankfulness the evident tokens of the Divine presence with the former congress, that they were led to foresee present exigencies, and make such effectual provision for them. It is our earnest prayer to the Father of Lights that he would irradiate your minds, make all your way plain, and grant you may be happy instruments of many and great blessings to the people by whom you are constituted, to New England, and all the united colonies. Let us praise our God(fn12) for the advantages already given us over the enemies of liberty, particularly that they have been so dispirited by repeated experience of the efficacy of our arms; and that, in the late action at Chelsea, when several hundreds of our soldiery, the greater part open to the fire of so many cannon, swivels, and muskets, from a battery advantageously situated,—from two armed cutters, and many barges full of marines, and from ships of the line in the harbor, — not one man on our side was killed, and but two or three wounded; when, by the best intelligence, a great number were killed and wounded on the other side, and one of their cutters was taken and burnt, the other narrowly escaping with great damage.(fn13)

If God be for us, who can be against us? The enemy has reproached us for calling on his name, and professing our trust in him. They have made a mock of our solemn fasts, and every appearance of serious Christianity in the land. On this account, by way of contempt, they call us saints; and that they themselves may keep at the greatest distance from this character, their mouths are full of horrid blasphemies, cursing, and bitterness, and vent all the rage of malice and barbarity. And may we not be confident that the Most High, who regards these things, will vindicate his own honor, and plead our righteous cause against such enemies to his government, as well as our liberties? O, may our camp be free from every accursed thing! May our land be purged from all its sins! May we be truly a holy people, and all our towns cities of righteousness!

Then the Lord will be our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, and we shall have no reason to be afraid though thousands of enemies set themselves against us round about, — though all nature should be thrown into tumults and convulsions. He can command the stars in their courses to fight his battles, and all the elements to wage war with his enemies. He can destroy them with innumerable plagues, or send faintness into their hearts, so that the men of might shall not find their hands. In a variety of methods he can work salvation for us, as he did for his people in-ancient days, and according to the many remarkable deliverances granted in former times to Great Britain and New England when popish machinations threatened both countries with civil and ecclesiastical tyranny.(fn15)

May the Lord hear us in this day of trouble, and the name of the God of Jacob defend us, send us help from his sanctuary, and strengthen us out of Zion! We will rejoice in his salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners. Let us look to him to fulfill all our petitions.”

About Samuel Langdon

This eminent man, celebrated alike for his piety and sterling patriotism, was born at Boston, Massachusetts. Through the exertions of his friends, who discovered in him a desire to obtain a liberal education, he was entered at Harvard College, from which institution he graduated with credit in 1740 (The same year in which Samuel Adams graduated). From college he went to Portsmouth, in Now Hampshire, where he was employed to take charge of a grammar school until 1745, at which time he was invited to preach in the First Church, as assistant to Mr. Fitch. Two years after, he was ordained, and from this time until the commencement of the difficulties between England and her colonies, he continued an active laborer for the cause of the church.

Dr. Langdon was a very zealous Whig. His bold and open opposition to the measures of the British government, rendered him highly acceptable to the patriots of New England, and through the influence of John Hancock and others, he was, in 1774, installed as successor of Mr. Locke in the presidency of Harvard College. When he took the chair it gave great delight to the sons of liberty; and in 1775, a month after the commencement of the war, he was chosen to preach the election sermon, as seen above. After an able administration, in a period of peculiar embarrassment, he resigned the presidency of the college.

President Langdon’s connection with the college did not prove of the most satisfactory character. His administration was a perpetual struggle with difficulties and embarrassments, amid the dangers of civil war and the excitement of a political revolution. He wanted judgment, and had no spirit of government. He did not receive that respect and kindness from the students and others connected with the college, that were due his character as a scholar and a Christian. Under these circumstances he resigned the presidency, and in 1781, became the pastor of a church at Hampton Falls, near Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In 1788 he preached the election sermon at Concord, and the same year occupied a seat in the New Hampshire Convention, in which body he took an active part, and had an extensive influence in removing the prejudices which prevailed against the Federal Constitution, and was prominent in securing the adoption of it. At the age of seventy-four, on the twenty-ninth of November, 1794, he closed a life well spent, beloved for his piety, hospitality, and good-will to his fellow-men, revered for his private and public life.

Footnotes:

(fn1) Mr. Sabine’s learned “Report on the Principal Fisheries of the American Seas,” 1833, is an invaluable contribution to American history. It is essential to a correct knowledge of American colonization, and of much of our subsequent history.

(fn2) Mr. Frothingham presents the results of an able and conscientious study of these events in his ” History of the Siege of Boston,” — ” The best of our historic monographs.”— Bancroft in Allibone. See also Mr. Henry B.Dawson’s elaborate pages in “The Battles of the United States.”

(fn3) Rev. Isaac Mansfield, Jr., chaplain to General Thomas’s regiment, in his Thanksgiving Sermon ” in the camp at Roxbury, November 23, 1775,” says of the event of April 19th: “What but the hand of Providence preserved the school of the prophets from their ravage, who would have deprived us of many advantages for moral or religious improvement?” To this he adds the note following: ” General Gage, as governor of this province, issued his precepts for convening a General Assembly at Boston, designing to enforce a compliance with Lord North’s designing motion; they were to be kept as prisoners in garrison, till, under the mouth of cannon and at the point of the bayonet, they should be reduced to a mean and servile submission. To facilitate this matter, he was to send out a party to take possession of a magazine at Concord. Presuming that this might be done without opposition, the said party, upon their return from Concord, were to lay waste till they should arrive at Cambridge common; there, after destroying the colleges”— seminaries of sedition — ” and other buildings, they were to throw up an entrenchment upon the said common, their number was to be increased from the garrison, and the next morning a part of the artillery to be removed and planted in the entrenchment aforesaid. This astonishing manoeuvre, it was supposed, would so effectually intimidate the constituents, that the General Assembly, by the compliance designed, would literally represent their constituents.’ The author is not at liberty to publish the channel through which he received the foregoing, but begs to assure the reader that it came so direct that he cannot hesitate in giving credit to it. He recollects one circumstance which renders it highly probable: Lord Percy (on April 19), suspicious his progress to Concord might be retarded by the plank of the bridge at Cambridge being taken away, brought out from Boston several loads of plank, with a number of carpenters; not finding occasion to use them, he carried them on his way to Concord, perhaps about a mile and a half from the bridge; about an hour after the plank were returned. If he had intended to repass that river at night, he must have reserved the plank; if he designed to stop in Cambridge, the plank must be an encumbrance. This conduct, in returning the plank, may be accounted for upon supposition of the foregoing plan of operation.”

(fn4) Near the meeting-house in Menotomy (now West Cambridge) two aged helpless men, who had not been out in the action, and were found unarmed in a house where the regulars entered, were murdered without mercy. In another house in that neighborhood, a woman in bed with a new-born infant—about a week old—was forced by the threats of the soldiery to escape almost naked to an open outhouse; her house was then set on fire, but was soon extinguished by one of the children which had lain concealed till the enemy was gone. In Cambridge a man of weak mental powers, who went out to gaze at the regular army as they passed, without arms, or thought of danger, was wantonly shot at, and killed by those inhuman butchers, as he sat on a fence.

(fn5) “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; …. it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundations on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”—Dec. of Ind., July 4th, 1776.

(fn6) Mr. Burke, in his “Thoughts on the Present Discontents,” 1770, said: “The power of the crown, almost rotten and dead as prerogative, has grown up anew, with much more strength, and far less odium, under the name of influence,” intrigue, and favoritism; and a few years later he refers to the “not disavowed use which has been made of his Majesty’s name for the purpose of the most unconstitutional, corrupt, and dishonorable influence on the minds of the members of this Parliament that ever was practiced in this kingdom. No attention even to exterior decorum,” etc.

(fn7) This contemporary observation of the English government of that period shows the watchful eye of the colonists on the administration; and by it we can better appreciate their masterly conduct of public affairs, and their superiority over the British statesmen. England knew not her colonists, but she was known of them.

(fn8) One apology for this bad faith was, that if only Tory interests remained in Boston the patriots would fire the town. It occasioned extreme anxiety and suffering. — Frothingham, 93-90

(fn9) Soon alter the battle at Concord, General Gage stipulated, with the selectmen of Boston, that if the inhabitants would deliver up their arms, to be deposited in Fanuell Hall, and returned when circumstances would permit, they should have liberty to quit the town, and take with them their effects. They readily complied, but soon found themselves abused. With great difficulty, and very slowly, they obtain passes, but are forbidden to carry out anything besides household furniture and wearing apparel. Merchants and shopkeepers are obliged to leave behind all their merchandise, and even their cash is detained. Mechanics are not allowed to bring out the most necessary tools for their work. Not only their family stores of provisions are stopped, but it has been repeatedly and credibly affirmed that poor women and children have had the very smallest articles of this kind taken from them, which were necessary for their refreshment while they traveled a few miles to their friends; and that even from young children, in their mothers’ arms, the cruel soldiery have taken the morsel of bread given to prevent their crying, and thrown it away. How much better for the inhabitants to have resolved, at all hazards, to defend themselves by their arms against such an enemy, than suffer such shameful abuse!

(fn10) Since July 17, 1771, when the General Court at Salem closed the door against the secretary sent by Governor Gage to dissolve the Assembly, chose Thomas Gushing, Samuel Adams, Robert Treat Paine, James Bowdoin, and John Adams, delegates to a congress of the colonies, passed resolves, and separated. — Ed.

(fn11) The power of public opinion in preserving order and safety during the period from the time when the king’s courts and magistrates — all legal authority — ceased to act, till the accession of constitutional authority,— a phenomenon which excited the admiration of the world, — is finely illustrated in Mr. Freeman’s account of the proceedings in Barnstable county, “on the first Tuesday of September,” 1774. As there might be appeals from the Court of Common Pleas to the Superior Court, the Chief Justice of which, Hutchinson, had accepted a salary from the crown, the people suppressed the sessions of that court throughout the province, except in Boston, where they were not in power. Fifteen hundred of the people of Barnstable, Plymouth, and Bristol counties, thoroughly organized, met in front of the court-house, at Barnstable, and, through their conductor-in-chief, Dr. Nathaniel Freeman, of Sandwich, addressed Colonel Otis, the venerable Chief Justice: . . . “Our safety, all that is dear to us, and the welfare of unborn millions, have directed this movement to prevent the court from being opened or doing any business. We have taken all the consequences into consideration; we have weighed them well, and have formed this resolution, which we shall not rescind.” The Chief Justice then calmly but firmly replied: “This is a legal and a constitutional court; it has suffered no mutations; the juries have been drawn from the boxes as the law directs; and why would you interrupt its proceedings?—why do you make a leap before you get to the hedge?” Dr. Freeman responded: “All this has been considered. We do not appear out of any disrespect to this honorable court, nor do we apprehend that if you proceed to business you will do anything that we could censure. But, sir, from all the decisions of this court, of more than forty shillings’ amount, an appeal lies; an appeal to what? — to a court holding office during the king’s pleasure, —a court over which we have no control or influence, — a court paid out of the revenue that is extorted from us by the illegal and unconstitutional edict of foreign despotism, —and there the jury will be appointed by the sheriff. For this reason we have adopted this method of stopping the avenue through which business may otherwise pass to that tribunal, — well knowing that if they have no business they can do us no harm.” The Chief Justice then said: “As is my duty, I now, in his Majesty’s name, order you immediately to disperse, and give the court the opportunity to perform the business of the county.” Dr. Freeman replied: “We thank your Honor for having done TotK duty: We Shall Continue To Perform Ours.” The court then turned and repaired to the house where they had put up. This was supposed to be the first overt act of Treason, done deliberately, in the face of day. The solemnity and sense of right which governed the people, and which was a characteristic of the revolutionary period, was grandly exhibited in their code of regulations adopted on this occasion. We give their own words:

“Whereas a strict adherence to virtue and religion is not only well pleasing in the sight of Almighty God, and highly commendable before men, but hath a natural tendency to good order, and to lead mankind in the paths of light and truth:

“Therefore, Resolved, That we will . . . avoid all kinds of intemperance by strong liquors, and no otherwise frequent the taverns than for necessary entertainment and refreshment; that we will not swear profanely, or abuse our superiors, equals, or inferiors, by any ill or opprobrious language; that we will not invade the property of any, or take of their goods or estate without their leave or consent; that we will not offer violence to any persons, or use any threatening words, otherwise than such as shall be approved of and accounted necessary by our community for the accomplishing the errand we go upon; and that we will carefully observe an orderly, circumspect, and civil behavior, as well towards strangers and all others as towards those of our own fellowship.

“Resolved, That Messrs. Aaron Barlow, Nathaniel Briggs, James Foster, Joseph Haskell, 3d, John Doty, Judah Sears, Jr., Stephen Wing, and John Pitcher, be a committee to hear and determine all offenses against morality, decency, and good manners, that shall be complained of, . . . with power to call before them, examine, acquit, or punish, according to the nature and circumstances of the offence

“Resolved, That we will, during the time of our said enterprise, aid, protect, and support our said committee in the full and free discharge of their duty and office, and use our most careful endeavors for the punishment of all offenders.

“And, forasmuch as these our public transactions are of a public nature, and, as we apprehend, laudable; and as we have no private interest to serve, or anything in view but the good of our country and its common cause:

“Therefore, Voted, That these resolves be read once every day, at some convenient time and place, during our transitory state and temporary fellowship, — so that our righteousness may plead our cause, and bear a public testimony that we are neither friends to mobs, or riots, or any other wickedness or abomination.

“And, lastly, we Resolve, That we will yield all due respect and obedience to those persons whom we shall choose and appoint for our officers and leaders,” etc.— ” History of Cape Cod,” by Rev. Frederick Freeman, Boston, 1860; a work of great value and interest, of which chapters xix. xx. are additional to previous materials, and supply a passage in the moral history of the people the most difficult to be preserved.

Mr. Burke, in March, 1775, reflecting on this singular spectacle of a people remaining in perfect order without a public council, judges, or executive magistrates, said: “Obedience is what makes government, and not the names by which it is called; not the name of governor, as formerly, or committee, as at present.”

(fn12) Governor Gage, in his proclamation of June 12,1775, a few days after Dr. Langdon’s sermon was preached, said: “To complete the horrid profanation of terms and of ideas, the name of God has been introduced in the pulpits to excite and justify devastation and massacre.”

(fn13) This action was in the night following the twenty-seventh current, after our soldiery had been taking off the cattle from some islands in Boston harbor. By the best information we have been able to procure, about one hundred and five of the king’s troops were killed, and one hundred and sixty wounded, in the engagement.(fn14)

(fn14) Frothinghatn, pp. 109, 110, says this was magnified into a battle, and dwelt upon with great exultation throughout the colonies. The loss of the enemy was probably exaggerated. — Gordon, Letter xiv.

Mr. Mansfield, in his Thanksgiving Sermon at Roxbury, November 23, 1775, said: “Providence has likewise smiled upon the camp, in permitting so few fatal accidents, and evidently been its safeguard.” He says: “I am informed that by means of upwards two thousand balls that have been thrown from the opposite lines, five men only have been taken off.

(fn15) When we consider the late Canada Bill, which implies not merely a toleration of the Roman Catholic religion (which would be just and liberal), but a Arm establishment of it through that extensive province, now greatly enlarged to serve political purposes, by which means multitudes of people, subjects of Great Britain, which may hereafter settle that vast country, will be tempted, by all the attachments arising from an establishment, to profess that religion, or be discouraged from any endeavors to propagate reformed principles, have we not great reason to suspect that all the late measures respecting the colonies have originated from popish schemes of men who would gladly restore the race of Stuart, and who look on Popery as a religion most favorable to arbitrary power? It is a plain fact that despotism has an establishment in that province equally with the Roman Catholic Church. The governor, with a council very much under his power, has by his commission almost unlimited authority, free from the clog of representatives of the people. However agreeable this may be to the genius of the French, English subjects there will be discouraged from continuing in a country where both they and their posterity will be deprived of the greatest privileges of the British constitution, and in many respects feel the effects of absolute monarchy.

Lord Littleton, in his defence of this detestable statute, frankly concedes that it is an establishment of the Roman Catholic religion, and that part of the policy of it was to provide a check upon the New England colonies. And the writer of an address of the people of Great Britain to the inhabitants of America, just published, expresses himself with great precision when he says ” that statute gave toleration to English subjects.”

I perceive likewise that by means of about three hundred balls, etc., thrown into this place”— Roxbury — “in the course of one month, viz., from September 3 to October 3, but two were wounded (one but slightly; the other died, after some time, of his wound), and no man was immediately killed. It is to be remarked further, that not one person was hurt, in the course of above three hundred shells being thrown to a fortress erected upon Ploughed Hill,” in Charlestown.

RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Rights of Witnesses

Bill of RightsThe Rights of an American Citizen: With a Commentary on State Rights, and on the Constitution and Policy of the United States by Benjamin Lynde Oliver published 1832

PART II; OF SOME PARTICULAR RIGHTS

CHAPTER VI: Of the Rights of Witnesses

As society is organized for the protection of the persons, and the security of the property and rights of its members, each individual may be considered as undertaking on his part, to conform to all the regulations, which the government may think it expedient to introduce, for the more readily obtaining of those important objects.

Among these regulations may usually be found one, which gives every individual a right to call on others to give testimony, in any cause which may arise before the tribunals of justice, in which his rights are concerned.

This right of calling on witnesses, is one of the greatest importance; because, without it, no man would be able to obtain redress by law, for any injuries which might be offered to him, for want of evidence; unless he was so fortunate as to find volunteers, who would step forward of their own good will to give testimony in his favor. The law therefore provides a process, by which a party in any cause may compel the attendance of witnesses, so far as may be thought necessary to secure their testimony. But, as it would be unreasonable to compel a witness to neglect his own affairs, and to be at the expense and trouble of going from his place of residence, and living at board during his attendance on the court, provision is made by the law for the indemnity of the witness in all these respects.

A witness therefore is under no obligation to attend court at all, unless he is summoned by a regular subpoena, stating the cause in which his testimony is wanted, and served by a regular officer, and also has sufficient money tendered him to defray his charges, or, at any rate, such allowance as is provided by the statute law, whether such allowance is more or less. If such a sum is tendered him, he will be obliged to attend so many days as it is a legal allowance for, unless he is sooner dismissed. But, it seems, he is under no obligation to make advances ; and therefore, after the money which has been paid him is expended, or rather, after the time has elapsed, for which the money so paid is a legal allowance, he is under no obligation to remain in attendance upon the court, unless a further advance is made to him.

Though a witness, when summoned, is obliged to attend court if his expenses are tendered, yet the notice ought not to be so short that, in order to comply with it, he must break off suddenly from his business; the notice should be a reasonable one, so that he may not be put to any inconvenience from the mere circumstance of its being unexpected.

So, a witness is entitled to a reasonable time to convey himself from the place where he is summoned, to the court which he is to attend. As there is no allowance made him by law, for coach hire, turnpikes, Sic. it would seem that he is under no obligation to pay such charges; indeed, he may be unable to do it. Unless therefore some suitable conveyance is provided for him, he can be under no obligation to go any otherwise than on foot, and on the common county road. And as the law estimates a day’s travel on foot, at a certain number of miles, (say twenty) if the witness, as soon as he is summoned and receives his advance, sets out and travels at the rate of twenty miles per day towards the place where the court is sitting, it will be difficult to make out against him a case of contempt for not attending at an earlier day, though perhaps he might have arrived in half the time by taking the stage coach. The default is in the party who summons him; for, either he should have given an earlier notice, or furnished the witness a. suitable conveyance, or advanced him an additional sum for that express purpose.

A witness is usually allowed for a day’s attendance, though he may not actually attend in court five minutes; and if he is obliged to attend court on two or three different days, he is entitled to one full day’s attendance on each.

A person must be summoned, in order to be subject to examination as a witness. And therefore, if an individual should happen to be in court, without having been summoned, and one of the counsel in a cause should call upon him to be sworn and give his testimony, he may refuse to be sworn, without being guilty of any contempt, and has a right to depart without molestation. ,

Where a married woman is summoned, the fees must be tendered to her, and not to her husband.

A witness summoned to attend court, is entitled to the protection of the court, against all arrests, while going to court, or attending upon it, and in returning, if he uses common diligence and expedition, without being obliged either to take the shortest road, or to make use of more than ordinary dispatch.

This protection will be granted, either by a writ of protection, which the witness may have by asking for it, and which it will be a contempt of court for any officer to disobey, by arresting the witness after it is shown to him; or, if the witness has never applied for the writ, and is arrested, the court, on motion, will discharge him. This protection, however, is afforded against arrests on actions brought for causes of a civil nature only, but will not protect the witness from arrests, on warrants for breaches of the peace, &c.

A witness, when called upon to testify, is supposed to be entirely disinterested, because the smallest pecuniary interest in the event of the cause, will be a sufficient cause of exception to disqualify him as a witness. To ascertain whether a witness is interested or not, he may be asked that question, or the testimony of others may be brought to prove it. But, if the question is made to the witness, and he denies it, it is not permitted afterwards to introduce the testimony of others to contradict him.

As no person will be permitted to give testimony, by which he will discharge himself from any species of legal accountability by throwing that burthen on another; but, if he is wholly and absolutely discharged himself, from such accountability in any legal way, will immediately become a competent witness, it has become a common practice to qualify an interested witness, by releasing him, if there is a cause of action against him, so that he becomes entirely indifferent to the result of the suit.

It frequently happens, also, where an action is brought against a wrong party by mistake, either of the law or the fact, that the person against whom the action ought to have been brought, if used as a witness, would clear the defendant by making himself chargeable. To the competency of such a witness, the plaintiff in such case can never make any valid objection, because he is called upon to swear against his own interest.

But, it may be asked, is a witness bound by law, to testify against his own interest in this way? May he not decline to answer any questions, the answers to which may be given against him either in a civil action, or on a criminal prosecution?

With regard to such questions, as if answered one way, tend to incriminate the witness, he is entirely at liberty to decline answering them. But, this is held to be the privilege of the witness alone. The counsel of the parties have no rights on this subject. The witness may refuse to answer the question or not, at discretion. As a matter of prudence, however, the witness ought to take care to object to answering the first question in relation to such objectionable subjects of inquiry; for, it has been held, if he answers to part, he may be compelled to answer to the whole, whatever the consequence may be. See 1 Moody and Mai. 47.

PrecedentThis doctrine however seems to be laid down too broadly; for, the only reason why a witness who has answered to part, shall be compelled to tell the whole, is, that a partial statement may do great injustice to one of the parties. But, the answer is, that, where part is told, and the rest is inaccessible, the part told is no evidence at all to the jury. Thus, the court will not suffer part of a deed, where the rest is torn off, to be shown to the jury as evidence of a contract; because it is impossible to tell what the effect of the whole would be. Suppose a witness, after he had been examined originally, should die in a fit before his cross examination, would not the court generally instruct the jury to pay no regard to his testimony, though possibly there might be some excepted cases? The doctrine of the case cited, it would seem, ought to be restricted to cases, where a witness, with a full knowledge of his rights, to refuse to answer all questions tending to incriminate himself, voluntarily testifies to part of a transaction, &c. Here he may be compelled to answer to the whole, without any violation of principle ; since, by answering the first question, he, of his own accord, relinquishes the protection which the law affords him. Ld. Ellenborough, in the case Jean Peltier, remarks : ‘I think it is the office of the judge to suggest to a witness, that he is not bound to answer anything which will incriminate himself; and if a judge were not to remind a witness of that circumstance, he would neglect his duty.’ It would therefore be a good rule to establish, that a witness does not relinquish the protection of the law in any case, by a partial answer, unless the court has given him notice in the manner suggested by Ld. Ellenborough.

It is held, that questions may be put to witnesses on a cross examination, tending to degrade them, for the purpose of trying their characters, unless the answers to such questions may expose them to punishment. 1 Moody and Mal. 10S. The inference is, that the witness will be bound to answer any such questions. In New York, however, it has been held, that a witness is not only not bound to answer any questions, the answers to which may expose him either to a civil or criminal prosecution; but, it seems, he is under no obligation to answer any questions, the answers to which may have a tendency to degrade or disgrace him. See 1 Johns. R. 498. Whether such questions ought to be permitted to be put, does not seem clearly settled. For, it is not the same thing to allow the question to be put, and leave the witness to answer, or not, at discretion, and to refuse to permit such questions to be put at all. The decisions on this subject cannot easily be reconciled with each other. In one case, the court would not suffer the question to be put to a witness on a cross examination, whether he had not been put in the house of correction. 4 Esp. R. 225. On the trial of James Watson for high treason before the king’s bench, the general doctrine in relation to this subject, was held to be: 1. That if any question is put to a witness to shake his credibility, he may refuse to answer it. If he answers, you must take the answer, and will not be allowed to impeach it. A witness who has received a pardon for a crime, or who has been prosecuted, and the prosecution is put an end to, is not bound to answer any questions in relation to the subject. No evidence will be received to show that a witness has committed infamous crimes, for the purpose of impeaching his character and testimony, short of the record of conviction; because the court will not try collateral issues, which might be endless. If a question is asked a witness, whether he has not committed a particular crime, and he refuses to answer; though this may have its effect on the jury, yet it is not sufficient to discredit him in law, or render him incompetent. It seems to be the settled practice in England to permit such question to be put, and leave the witness to answer or not, as he pleases.

In Phillips’ treatise on evidence, however, a case is mentioned where, a witness being asked on a cross examination, whether he had not been tried for theft, refused to answer, and appealed to Ld. Ellenborough, whether he was bound to answer. Ld. Ellenborough said, :If you do not answer I will commit you,’ adding, ‘you shall not be compelled to say, whether you were guilty or not.’ 1 Phil, on Evi. 269, in notis. In New York, it seems, no public officer is bound to answer any questions in relation to his official conduct, the answer to which may tend to impeach his integrity. See 1 Johns. 498.

Whether a question tends to incriminate a witness or not, it is held, not to belong to the court to decide, but to the witness himself. Because, the court cannot know beforehand the facts and circumstances, which may be necessary in order to decide whether it may or may not, have such a tendency. For, though a question apparently may not have that tendency at first, yet, it may be the first link of a chain which has. See 2 Nott. and Mc. Cord. 15. In Burr’s trial, it was held, that a witness may be required to answer on oath, whether he thinks answering a question will tend to incriminate himself, before he will be allowed to decline to answer it. With regard to questions, the answers to which may expose the witness to a civil action, or may be given in evidence against him, in any action, which may afterwards be brought either by or against him, the law does not seem finally settled. Under this general class, a variety of cases are comprehended, which, in their decision, would seem to involve very different considerations. For, Erst—the answer to the question may be obviously and indispensably necessary to the plaintiff in the action, for the maintenance of his suit, or, it may be thus necessary to the defendant’s defence, in a civil action, or the prisoner’s defence, on a criminal prosecution; if it is not answered, therefore, there must be a failure of justice. Second—the answer, though it may be directly injurious to the interest of the witness, may be wanted by one of the parties, for the mere purpose of strengthening an argument of the probability or improbability of a certain fact, which is material to his cause. Here there is a greater or less probability, according to the circumstances of each particular case, that there may be a failure of justice in consequence of not obtaining an answer from the witness. The rule, in these cases, it is obvious, must be grounded on the same principle. It may be remarked here, that, in these cases, if the witness is compelled to testify, no injustice can be done to him by it in fact, because he is bound to answer nothing but the truth. He does not therefore create a cause of action against himself, but merely furnishes evidence against himself, by which an action may be maintained against him. But, however, it has been held, that though one who conveys land, may be a witness to prove that he had no title, he is not compellable to give such evidence. 2 Ld. Raym. 1008. By the law of Scotland, it seems, a witness is not held to answer against his interest; and in such case, it is held to be the duty of the presiding judge, to inform him of his right. Tait on Evi. 429. In Pennsylvania it has been held, that a witness is bound to answer any questions the answers to which do not render him liable to a criminal charge, or tend to degrade him. In the case of Baird v. Cochran, Tilghman, Ch. Jus., ruled the law to be so, and observed, that’ every man may be compelled on a bill filed against him in equity, to declare the truth, though it may affect his interest; why then should he not be compelled at law, except where he is a party to the suit’? This is a most unfortunate analogy, ox rather there is a great want of it in the two cases. A man who has a bill filed against him in equity, is compelled to disclose; to maintain the analogy, a defendant in an action at law, ought to be compelled to disclose. This, however, is not contended for; but it is contended, that a witness ought to disclose his interest, in an action at law between third persons: there would be some ground for analogy, if a third person were compelled to disclose his interest in a suit in equity between third persons. But the true ground of the argument is, that as a person may be compelled to disclose in equity, by bringing a bill in equity against him, there is no hardship in compelling him to disclose the same interest, in an action at law between third persons. But there is a striking difference between being compelled to answer questions on a cross examination, as a witness on the stand, and giving answers to interrogatories, with the direction and assistance of legal counsel at the elbow.—See 4 Serg. & R’ 397.

In Connecticut, it is settled, that a witness shall be protected from answering questions, which subject him to a civil suit or debt. See More v. Hathaway. 3 Con. R.

Third—the question may be wholly immaterial to the issue, so that, whether it be answered affirmatively, or negatively, or not at all, it will have no effect whatever on the result of the action or prosecution. In this case, it is obvious, there will be no failure of justice in the cause then in hearing, if the witness should decline answering. It may be remarked, also that, if the witness should see fit to answer, he cannot be convicted of perjury, though he should swear falsely; because perjury can only be committed by swearing falsely in relation to something which is material to the issue. For, though it is settled that perjury may be in a mere circumstance, yet it must be one that is material to the issue, though it is not necessary that it should be decisive. So held by Ld. Holt. See 10 Mod. 195. Carth. 422. 2 Ld. Raym. 889.

It has been held, that a subscribing witness to a note, may be compelled to testify to that fact, though he may be bail for the defendant; but, if he is not a subscribing witness, he would be at liberty to testify or not. See 1 Strang. 406. This is on the principle, that a subscribing witness undertakes to testify when called on, and cannot by his own act destroy the party’s right to his testimony. As to the question, what papers or documents a witness, who has been summoned by a subpoena duces tecum, [A subpoena duces tecum is used to compel the production of documents that might be admissible before the court. It cannot be used to require oral testimony] is bound to produce, no general principle appears to be settled, which will apply to every case that may arise. It seems, however, that a witness is not bound to expose his own title deeds. Such is the settled law in England, because, by exposing his deeds, he may disclose a flaw in his title. The same reason does not seem to apply in places where title deeds are recorded; but, as a copy of a title deed may at any time be had by applying to the registrar, there seems to be no reason, why a person should be compelled to produce his title deed, unless there is some other object, than to obtain a knowledge of its contents. So, it is held that a witness ought not to be compelled to produce his private books, relating to his private transactions. See 1 Str. 646.

So, a trustee, to whom it is suggested the plaintiff has conveyed his estate in trust, may demur to the production of the title deeds. 2 Stark. R. 203.

So, a solicitor to a third person will not be compelled to produce the deeds of such third person, where it may be prejudicial to his interest. 1 Starkie, 95. For, generally, an attorney is not at liberty to disclose communications made to him by his client, whether the client is or is not a party to the cause before the court. See 2 Camp. 578. In these cases, it may be remarked, that this is the client’s privilege; and, it will seem that, where any such confidence is recognized by the law, the witness will not be called on to testify, nor even permitted to do so. And therefore the client’s interpreter cannot be examined as to communications, made through him to his counsel. And, from a regard to a similar principle, a woman after her husband’s death shall not be examined as to conversations, had between herself and her husband during his life time. And for the same reason, a woman, after a divorce, cannot be called on to give evidence of conversations previously had between herself and her husband. See 1 Ryan and Moody, 198.

It has been held, that, under a subpoena duces tecum, a witness is under no obligation to produce private papers in his custody. 1 Esp. N. P. Cases, 405. In the case referred to, Ld. Kenyon denied the general position, that, in such case, a witness might be required to produce every paper in his possession, which did not tend to incriminate him, because it would ruin millions. See 1 Esp. N. P. Cas. 405. However, it seems impracticable, to lay down any general rule or principle as to the production of papers and documents. In Amty v. Long, Ld. Ellenborough observes, that ‘though it will always be prudent and proper, for a witness served with such a subpoena, to be prepared to produce the specified papers and instruments at the trial, if it be at all likely, that the judge will deem such production fit to be there insisted upon; yet, it is in every instance a question for the consideration of the judge at nisi prius (fn1), whether, upon the principles of reason and equity, such production should be required by him; and, of the court afterwards, whether having been there withheld, the party should be punished by attachment.’ 9 East. 485. The question as to the obligation of the witness to produce papers, is therefore to be decided by the court, according to the circumstances of each particular case. But, this is to leave the subject wholly unsettled, because the opinion or discretion of different judges, as to the same facts or circumstances,. is found to be different, and indeed the same judge is sometimes found to entertain different opinions at different times. Thus, when the question was made on the trial of Ld. Melville, whether a witness was bound to answer a question, the answer to which would subject him to a civil action, four judges held that he was not, and eight judges held that he was. As this is a case, where a similar principle is involved, if it had come up at nisi prius, the witness might or might not have been held to answer; according as one of the four, or one of the eight judges happened to preside. If the law is so unsettled, therefore, on this subject, and a case should occur, where the witness should be called upon to violate the sacredness of private confidential correspondence, or, to render himself liable to a civil action, it might be well for him not to be too hasty, either in the answering of questions, or in the production of papers. It has been said, and there seems to be no improbability in it, that Ld. Keith, in his answer to a question proposed to him, as a witness in an insurance case, subjected himself to damages to the amount of ten thousand pounds sterling. If a case of any considerable importance, therefore, should arise, the witness must by no means rely upon the court to protect his rights, unless he claims them. For, if he neglects to assert his rights, the court will take for granted that he waives the objection, and consents to produce the letters, and to answer the objectionable questions. Many things take place in this way, in the course of a trial, which would immediately be overruled by the court, if an exception were taken to them, regularly and in season. But, in most cases, the witness not being acquainted with the precise extent of his rights, does not know what he may legally insist on, and what he cannot. Sometimes, therefore, it happens, that no objection is made, and the irregularity passes off without notice, as if done by consent. In any such case, therefore, the witness should state his objection to the court, and if of great consequence, should request delay, in order to obtain the advice and assistance of counsel to argue it, and, if it should be overruled by the court, and it becomes necessary for the protection of his rights, and the court is one of inferior jurisdiction, he may appeal, and if his appeal should not be allowed, and he is confident that his objection is a legal one, he may take the hazard of disobeying. For, if he is committed in consequence, he may bring his habeas corpus, when, if his objection is legal, he will be discharged. If a witness should be called on to produce papers, put into his custody by a third person, who had a right to call for them when he pleased, it would be very proper to give immediate notice of the subpoena, to such third person, that he might adopt such measures as he saw fit. .If in consequence of it, the owner were to replevy [To regain possession of by a writ of replevin] them (though it has been held that at common law replevin does not lie for charters) there does not appear to be any way of coming at them. But the law does not seem to be settled.

It is apparent that the rights of witnesses in some respects, are not so much regarded, and consequently, not so well protected as they ought to be, from whatever cause it may arise. No reference is here had to the circumstance, that a witness is compelled to neglect his own affairs, for the purpose of traveling to and attending upon the court, to give testimony in a cause in which he has not the slightest concern; because this is for the benefit of one of the parties in the cause, and, is the consequence of a regulation, of which he will have the advantage himself, if he ever has a cause in court. But, it is intended to allude principally to the mode of examining witnesses, by way of cross examination, as it is sometimes seen practiced, and, for any thing that appears, may always legally be done, but seldom justifiably.

The legitimate objects of a Cross examination, are among others, 1. To enable the party against whom a witness is brought forward to testify, to elicit from him any circumstances which attended the transactions to which he may have testified; but which he may have omitted, or had no opportunity to mention on his direct examination. 2. By a series of close and judicious interrogatories, respecting the minute circumstances attending such transactions, to ascertain whether the witness is testifying to a story, which he has either fabricated himself or concerted with others. 3. To determine in the same way, supposing the witness to be honest, how far his observation, memory, and discrimination can be depended on. 4. On the supposition, that he is a dishonest witness, to exhibit him in that light to the jury; by compelling him to invent new falsehoods at every question, in order to keep his story consistent with itself, until he is involved unconsciously, in absurdity, impossibility, and self-contradiction. The advantages of a cross examination in all these respects, are obviously very great. In an examination in chief, it is a general rule, though there are some exceptions, that the questions should be very general, so as not to intimate to the witness what he is desired to say, nor to prompt him, nor to lead him, nor to put answers in his mouth. After the direct examination is finished, which terminates as soon as the witness has testified sufficient for the examiner’s purpose, because it is part of the professional tactics, observed on such occasions, not to push to the inquiry further, as well because it is unnecessary, as because something unfavorable may come out, the cross examiner considers it his duty to draw out what has thus been omitted, which frequently gives a different color to the case. On a cross examination, therefore, the advocate has a right to make use of questions of a much more direct and particular nature, than are usually allowed on an original examination. The advantage of this mode of examining a witness, in detecting a concerted story, sworn to by the witness on his direct examination, is very great; a few moments of well directed cross examination, being sufficient to expose the most ingeniously contrived fabrication. This is done by a close inquiry into minute circumstances, without which no real event ever happens, and which, if remembered, may readily be sworn to by an eye witness. But minute circumstances are seldom concerted in a false relation, and the witness, if interrogated in relation to them, is obliged to rely on his power of extemporaneous creation, to keep his testimony consistent. The consequence is, that the consciousness of adding falsehood to falsehood, accompanied with the fear of detection, exposure and punishment, soon throw him into a state of perceivable embarrassment, and perhaps inextricable confusion. A witness sometimes falls into a similar situation, from having answered a question on his direct examination, with too little precision, either from heedlessness or vanity, though without any unfair intention whatever. In a case of this kind, which occurred on the trial of Hardy, for high treason, a witness, who was a dancing master, being asked whether there had been a subcription for a certain individual imprisoned; answered, ‘ Yes; perhaps I gave a shilling or half a crown, or a guinea or five guineas towards his relief.’ Being afterwards cross examined down to, ‘but I might have given half a crown,’ and being further urged with perplexing questions on the subject, he said, ‘I would as soon give one as the other for a poor family in distress.’ Ch. Jus. Eyre then gave him the following reproof and caution. ‘You have brought yourself into a scrape, only for the sake of a flourish. When you are upon your oath, if you would only speak plain English, you would be under no difficulty. There is a great difference between a shilling, and a guinea, and five guineas, therefore you should not have conveyed an idea, that you did not know whether you gave one shilling, two shillings, one guinea or five guineas. I would advise you, when you are upon your oath, never to speak by metaphor,’ &c.

With regard to the mode of examining witnesses, it may be further remarked, that it is not considered proper, though it is a very common practice, to state direct propositions to a witness, with the tone of a person asking a question, and to require an answer to it, as if it were really a question. On this account, Mr. Justice Abbott checked the examining counsel in the trial of Isaac Ludlam for sedition; ‘You must not,’ says he) be angry with the witness, if what he says is not an answer, when you do not put a question.’ It is also a frequent practice in cross-examining a witness, to state interrogatively to him, propositions consisting of a variety of circumstances, some of which are true and some false. This is unfair and ensnaring; for, if he gives a general denial, intending that the whole is not correctly stated, it may be argued, that he has denied that part which is true. On the other hand, if he gives a general assent, intending it only for that part which he thinks material and which is strictly true, if the slightest inaccuracy can be detected in the whole proposition to which he has assented, it may be urged against him to impeach his credit. A witness for his own security, in any such case, would do well, to make no reply to propositions which are not questions, and, where the question is embarrassed with a variety of particulars, should request the examiner to simplify his question, or should ask, ‘what is the question,’ which will induce him to put it in a more simple form, and directly to the purpose. It is a common practice also with some, when examining a witness, to interlard their questions with comments and observations. This irregularity is also much censured by the court; particularly by Ch. Jus. Eyre, and Ld. Ellenborough. It is also considered unfair and a breach of decorum, While the counsel on one side are examining a witness, for the counsel of the opposite party to make use of grimaces or gesticulations, expressive of surprise, as holding up the hands, &c. In Watson’s trial for high treason, the court declared, that they would animadvert very severely upon such conduct. In the course of the same trial, Ld. Ellenborough checked Mr. Wetherell for improper treatment of a witness, and observed that he would not suffer injustice to be practised upon a witness by counsel. IMr. Jus. Abbott, also remarked on another occasion during the same trial, ‘ Every witness is entitled to the protection of the court from insulting questions and observations.’ 32 St. Tr. 291,298.

It sometimes happens, that the result of a trial depends upon a particular fact, which is sworn to by a single witness only. When this is the case, every legal measure possible is resorted to, for the purpose of impeaching his credit with the jury, so that they may set his testimony aside, and find their verdict for the party against whom he testifies.

For this purpose, persons may be called to testify, that the general reputation of the witness for veracity is bad. But they can only be asked general questions in relation to the subject, i. e. as to their opinion of his character for truth, and the grounds of that opinion; but, it would seem, that they ought not to be permitted to state particular facts against the witness. See 2 Starkie, 241.

The testimony of the witness may also be impeached by showing, that he has previously done or said something, inconsistent with what he now testifies. But, before introducing testimony of this kind, the witness must be asked, whether he has said or done that particular thing, so that he may have an opportunity to deny, or admit and explain it; and contradictory testimony ought not to be admitted until he has had this opportunity. See the opinion of Abbott, Ch. Jus., in the Queen’s Case; 2 Brod. and B. 312.

A witness cannot be cross-examined as to any collateral independent fact, irrelevant to the matter in issue, for the purpose of contradicting him, if he answers one way, by another witness, in order to discredit his whole testimony. In such cases only general questions can be put. If, however, the witness should answer, his answer cannot be contradicted by other witnesses. For, this would lead to the trial of collateral issues, and might be endless. See 7 East, 108. 2 Campb. 637.

Nor can a witness be cross-examined as to facts not in issue, if such facts are injurious to the characters of third persons, not connected in the cause. 1 Car. and P. 100.

The court will protect a witness from questions put through impertinent curiosity, and much more, if it seems probable, that any unfair use may be made of them. See the opinion of Tilghman, Ch. Jus., in the case of’ Baird v. Cochran. 4 Serg. and R. 397. See also, 1 Car. and P. 363.

Every witness is entitled to ordinary civility, at least, from the examining counsel; since, whether he is willing or not, he may be compelled to attend the trial by the process of the court, and if he refuses to answer proper questions, may be fined and imprisoned for the contempt. He is not at all, in legal contemplation, under the control of the examining counsel, except so far as the court sanctions and authorizes the questions put by him, and, in case of any illiberal treatment, has a right to claim the protection of the court, which is readily afforded when there is a suitable occasion for it and it is claimed decently and respectfully. If the ill treatment is gross, or the witness does not seem to be aware that he has a right to this protection, the court will interfere of their own motion, as where any opprobrious epithet is bestowed on a witness, whether merited or not. It would certainly be singular, if the judges should permit their court to exhibit a scene of indecent altercation between the examining counsel and a witness. In the trial of Mr. Hardy, both Mr. Erskine and Mr. Gibbs were checked by Ch. Jus. Eyre, for addressing the witness by the epithet of spy, though he was in fact a government spy, and an informer. 24 St. Tr. 751.

It is plain, therefore, that those professional gentlemen mistake the purpose of a cross-examination very much, who waste . the time and patience of the court, jury and witnesses, by asking a thousand frivolous and unmeaning questions, which have no bearing on the merits of the cause. When such questions are asked, the court cannot always stop them, because they cannot tell beforehand, whether something may not be made of them in the address to the jury. If therefore they are not absolutely illegal questions, and the witness makes no objection, the court commonly does not interfere. It frequently happens, in consequence, that the witness not knowing his own rights, and believing himself bound to answer every question whatever that is put to him, makes no objection to answer, and if he finds himself insulted by an offensive question, instead of asking the opinion or protection of the court, resorts to ill-tempered and petulant answers. But, when it is found that, after all this parade of questioning, no use can be made of the answers, let them be made which way they may, being wholly foreign to the case before the court, the judges and jury very naturally feel disgusted, because they perceive their attention has been kept in suspense without any other object than the gratification of the examiner’s vanity, in having all eyes directed towards him during the examination. These useless questions furnish the occasion for the sarcasm of Swift, which is in substance, that if an action at law is brought for a cow, the decision of the case does not depend upon the inquiry, whether the cow belongs to the plaintiff or to the defendant, but whether the cow is a black cow or a red cow, or has long or short horns.

It is to be much wished that the law, with regard to the examination of witnesses, were altered in the respects following, viz:

1. That witnesses should never be called for the purpose of impeaching the testimony of a witness, by giving testimony against his character for veracity. This is a most unjust practice, and though sanctioned by long usage, is contrary to legal analogy. For, in this way, the reputation of the witness is attacked in a suit between third persons, in which he has been compelled to testify, and, for aught that appears, may have told the exact truth. This is done without any previous notice to him; and, if he had received notice, he is entitled to no process to compel the attendance of his witnesses, not being a party to the suit. If his enemies are summoned as witnesses against him, they have an opportunity of aspersing or disparaging his character in this respect, with perfect impunity. The defence of his character, is left entirely with one of the parties in the suit, whose principal if not sole object, is merely to gain his own cause, and who may or may not feel interest enough to endeavor to establish it. His feelings and character may therefore be grossly injured without the possibility of redress.

2. That all questions, the answers to which tend to disparage a witness, should be overruled by the court; for, if the subject of the question is known, it may be proved by others; and if unknown, the witness is tempted to perjure himself, and thus preserve his character. But, if he acknowledges what is insinuated against him, then he establishes his veracity, instead of destroying it; because a person who will not be guilty of falsehood for his own sake, can hardly be supposed willing to practice it for the sake of another.

3. That personal questions, addressed to the witness relative to his private affairs, should not be put until the examiner has made it appear probable, that the ends of justice cannot be obtained without an answer to them.

4. That witnesses should never be examined under oath, but each witness should be affirmed under the pains and penalties of perjury. There could then be no objection to the competency of atheists; nor of children, however young; but the credit of the witness, in every case, would be left where it ought to be left, with the jury, and-crimes, which may now go unpunished on account of the inadmissibility of certain testimony, would then be subject to legal animadversion.

fn1. A court of nisi prius is a court that tries questions of fact before one judge and, in some cases, a jury. In the United States, the term ordinarily applies to the trial level court where the case is heard by a jury, as opposed to a higher court that entertains appeals where no jury is present.

Continued in CHAPTER VII: Of the mode of obtaining redress for any infringement of civil or political rights, committed either by the officers of the General Government, or of any of the State Governments.

See the other parts of this series:
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; Division One
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; Division Two
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; The Social Compact
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Powers delegated to the General Government in the Federal Constitution
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Powers delegated to the State Governments
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Independence of the States
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The rights reserved to the people of the United States
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Of the right of suffrage and of elections
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Liberty of Speech and of the Press
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Power of Courts to punish for Contempts
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Law of Libel in relation to Public Officers
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Rights of Juries
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Rights of Witnesses
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The mode of obtaining redress for infringement of civil or political rights

RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; Division Two

PrecedentThe Rights of an American Citizen: With a Commentary on State Rights, and on the Constitution and Policy of the United States by Benjamin Lynde Oliver published 1832

PART I. OF GENERAL RIGHTS.

Division II. Of those natural rights which are usually retained in organized society. Sec. I. Of self defence in cases of extreme urgency.— Sec. II. Of qualified liberty, under which is considered, 1, the right of expatriation; 2, the rights of conscience and freedom of inquiry; 3, the right of property; 4, the right of equality; 5, the right of freely discussing public measures; 6, the right of petition and remonstrance; 7, the right to reform the Government.

Sec. I. Self-defense in cases of extreme urgency. The first and most important of these rights, is that of self-defense. This right is reserved to every individual, in all cases, where there is not time sufficient to apply to the government for protection. So that, if a man is assaulted, and his life is in extreme danger, and he has no opportunity to apply to the police, because his case will admit of no delay, he will be excused by the law of society as well as by the law of nature, if he takes the life of his assailant, supposing always that he has no other way to save his own. For, in any such case as this, society cannot afford him that protection, which was one of the principal motives, which led him to unite with others in the formation of it. His natural right to protect himself in any such extremity, is therefore always reserved to him. But, where the aggression is threatened previously to its being actually made, no individual has a right to make preparations for his own defence, personally, if such preparations constitute a disturbance of the public peace. In any such case, the individual threatened ought to apply to the proper officers of the society for that protection, which it is their duty to afford him.

Bill of RightsSec. II. Of qualified liberty of action; freedom from unnecessary restraints, requisitions and exactions, &c. Where the people form a social compact, contained in a written constitution, the extent of the powers granted to the government, may be defined with precision. But, where there is no written constitution, the extent of such powers is ascertained by usages and precedents, that is to say, by the practice of the rulers, sanctioned by the silent acquiescence of the people, in peaceable and quiet times. In different societies and under different governments, the powers of the rulers, and the consequent restraint on the natural liberty of the subjects, vary greatly.

Civil liberty consists in not being restrained from acting, and not being constrained to act, by any law which does not conduce to the general welfare. But, it may be asked, how shall it be ascertained whether a law conduces to the general welfare or not? The answer is, this is submitted to the wisdom and discretion of the rulers. But, it may be asked again, is there no restraint upon the exercise of this discretion? The answer is, that they are restrained from enacting laws, or adopting any public measures which are inconsistent with the constitution, whether ascertained by usage or contained in a written document or compact. But, it may be asked again, who shall determine whether a law is or is not agreeable to the constitution or social compact? The answer must be, the tribunal (if any) provided in the constitution, for the determination of such questions, must decide. But, if none is provided, then that person or persons in whom the power is vested in the last resort, by the frame of government, whether a monarchy, an aristocracy, or a democracy, will have the constitutional right to determine. But, where the act in violation of the constitution, is committed by the very person or persons, to whom the supreme power of the government is given by the constitution; there is no peaceable remedy, if the illegal laws or measures are persisted in, after petition and remonstrance by the subjects; for the truth is, the frame of government is defective, and the conduct of the rulers or ruler is so far oppressive and tyrannical.

As the degree of restraint upon natural liberty or freedom, may vary under different constitutions or forms of government, it is obvious, that it may also vary greatly under the same constitution at different times, owing to the various interpretations and constructions put upon it, by persons of greater or less integrity and intelligence.

The definition of the freedom, which men have in a state of nature, of consulting their own happiness in all they do, so as they offend against- neither religion nor morality, that is, provided they transgress no divine law, and do no injury to the rest of mankind, is sufficiently intelligible and plain. But, in a state of society, this single right branches out into a great variety of rights, each of which has received a distinct appellation. The first division of this natural liberty or freedom, is into a freedom from restraint, and a freedom from exactions or requirements. By relinquishing the first, we become liable to be restrained by the laws of society, from doing many things which, in a state of nature, we are at perfect liberty to do, without committing any wrong or injustice. By relinquishing the second, we become liable to be bound to do, by virtue of our social compact, and the laws made under it, many things, which, in a state of nature, we were under no such obligation to do, and which, from the general maxim of the natural equality of all mankind as to their rights, no man or body of men could have any right to compel us to do, without some previous consent or other act of our own.

Under the former of these branches of natural liberty, viz: freedom from restraint upon the right of action, may be comprehended,
1. The right of expatriation. That a citizen of any community, in ordinary cases, has a right to leave its territory at pleasure, and reside in some other country, and cast off his native allegiance to his own, seems to follow of course, from the preceding view of the natural rights of mankind, and the origin of governments. It is true, that this right has been absolutely denied by some, who hold that a man can never shake off the allegiance which may be claimed by his native country. This, however, seems something like setting up an idol, and is entirely contrary to the principles acknowledged in the constitution of the United States. For, if a foreigner cannot become an American citizen, without committing a crime, or at least doing a manifest injustice to the country of his birth, why is the naturalization of aliens permitted among us? Why is it thought worth while to inquire into the character of an individual, who, by the very act of applying for naturalization, which renders such inquiry necessary, shows that he is not fit to be a citizen of any other country, since he must first throw off his allegiance to his native land? But, though this may furnish an excellent theme for declamation, which will be omitted here, such opinion seems not to be sufficiently well grounded to stand the test of a close examination. For, what is a man’s country? Is it the place of his birth or residence? This would be a very unreasonable supposition, unless taken in connexion with its inhabitants, its frame of government, and its laws and institutions. For, a man cannot owe allegiance to inanimate nature, as mountains, rivers, and groves, whatever poets may imagine. Neither can it consist in the government, laws, and institutions; for, if so, then to change them in a material point, would deprive a man of his country. It must then consist in the inhabitants forming a society, the identity of which is preserved, like that of a river, by perpetual succession under the government to which he has either expressly or tacitly agreed, on the territory subject to that government, and belonging to its citizens.

If a man owes allegiance to any of these, let it be first supposed that it is to the government. But if it is owed to the government, independently of the inhabitants, then it must be due to the persons of the rulers for the time being. For the government in any other sense, is a mere abstraction. In monarchies, it is admitted, allegiance is due to the king, as the feudal head of the nation, and who is acknowledged to be the lawful political master and lord of his subjects. But such allegiance can be claimed only in monarchies and aristocracies. In our republic, to whom is allegiance due? The answer must be, that no such allegiance is due to any one. But, with regard to the state of which he is a citizen, each one’s allegiance is limited by the terms of the constitution made by the citizens of that state, and to which he has either expressly or tacitly assented. The same remark applies to the constitution of the United States, to which we must, resort, if we would know precisely the kind of allegiance which is to be considered as due from the citizens of the Union.

As nothing is said in restraint of this natural right of going where he pleases, or expatriation, in either of those compacts, it follows that a man may rightfully expatriate himself, and throw off his supposed natural allegiance to his own country, whenever he pleases, provided he was not personally a party to the original compact, and has never taken any oath of allegiance, either to the state of which he is a citizen, or to the United States. For, obligations like these, whatever the common practice may be, are not to be assumed and cast off again at pleasure.

But, perhaps it will be urged, that a man’s country consists properly in the succession of inhabitants in the territory and under the government of which he is a resident native citizen; and that, it is to these inhabitants in a body and in their political capacity as a nation, that allegiance is properly due. But, it may be replied, if he is under an obligation of this kind to them, every other citizen is also under a reciprocal obligation to him, as well as a similar obligation to each other. This supposition would gratuitously and unnecessarily impose reciprocal obligations upon every one of the citizens of a country, to remain in it subject to its allegiance, however adverse it might be to his interest or happiness; when, on the contrary, it would be much more agreeable to natural freedom, to consider every individual as having a right to expatriate himself, and form new connections at discretion. Whether an American citizen can throw off his allegiance or not, without an act of Congress to authorize him, seems not to be judicially settled. 7 Wheat. 283.

Further, if a man is under obligations to any one, it must be to his parents; yet nature sets him free from all ties but those of gratitude, affection and reverence, as soon as he arrives at maturity. If then he becomes free from them, there is certainly but little reason, why he should be under any higher obligations, in the ordinary course of events, to his countrymen, unless he has entered into some express, voluntary engagements to them.

It is not intended, however, to palliate or excuse, the conduct of any individual, who should see fit to exercise this right at a time when his country is in a state of peril or distress from hostile aggression, and has need of his assistance in its defence. The gratitude, which would be due to it, from him, on account of the protection it has afforded him during his youth, and the advantages which he has derived from its various laws and institutions, and the civilities and kindnesses which he has received from his fellow-citizens, would render his conduct deserving of the same reprehension as that of a son, who should refuse to relieve the necessities of his parents, on the ground, that gratitude is a duty of imperfect obligation, and that he had a natural right to do as he pleased in relation to the subject.

Neither is it intended to deny the perfect right of the government of the country, to adopt such measures, as may be necessary to protect itself against any of its citizens, who, not satisfied with renouncing their allegiance, should take up arms against their country, and abuse their knowledge of the weak points in its defenses, to insure its overthrow.

2. The rights of conscience, and freedom of inquiry. In a state of nature, these rights, as well as others of a similar kind, are derived from the natural freedom from the control of others, to which all men are entitled; while again this natural freedom results from the natural equality of all men as to their rights. If these rights are relinquished on the formation of society, it must be by virtue of the constitution or social compact of the society or government. But, if not so relinquished, either expressly or by tacit acquiescence, they remain unimpaired to the members of the society or body politic, and the rulers have no right to do any thing to infringe them.

It is not necessary, however, in order to authorize the government of a country to legislate on these subjects, that a power for that purpose should be expressly given in the constitution. It will be sufficient, if the constitution imposes no restraint on the government, to prevent the exercise of such authority, and that a particular emergency has arisen, requiring such legislative interposition. For, unless expressly prohibited, their general authority to provide for the public welfare, would be amply sufficient for this purpose. These remarks, however, can apply only to open acts, opinions promulgated, and doctrines openly taught and inculcated. For, under a general power to provide for the general welfare, to institute a scrutiny into private opinions, and to require men to avow or disavow them, whether in relation to religious, moral or political subjects, would be an act of mere usurpation, and grossly tyrannical. Yet, a government, it is obvious, may be authorized by the citizens who frame and adopt it, to exclude from the rights of citizenship, or naturalization, all foreigners, who refuse to disclose their sentiments, whether religious or political. And, for the same reason, may be authorized by their citizens, to impose a test whether religious or political, on the citizens themselves, the refusal to take which, should be considered as a disqualification for office, whenever the public good requires such a measure. But, in most cases, the adoption of any such course would be highly odious. For the same reason, if it were part of the constitution, that no individual, though born within the country, should have the rights of citizenship, if he should profess any other religion than that of the state, such person would be a mere resident alien. And if the legislature, being authorized for that purpose by the constitution, should deem it expedient to exclude from its territory, all persons, who were not of the same religion with that of the government, there would seem to be no absolute violation of natural right in this, though it would seem to be an act of gross intolerance, not to be justified but by circumstances of great urgency. To express this doctrine in a few words;—as every man* in a state of nature, has a right to exclude from his household and family, every individual of bad character, notorious for bad principles or corrupt practices, it cannot be doubted, that, in organizing a society, the constituent members may confer a similar power on their government by using express terms for that purpose. A general authority to take care of the public welfare, would also be sufficient for that purpose, unless the exercise of this general power were expressly restrained in this particular instance.

Under any such authority, whether express or implied, the government would have a right to banish from its territory, any individual who should undertake to teach or disseminate opinions dangerous to the peace or welfare of society. And on this subject, the rulers or constituted authorities alone, would be the proper judges. It will make no difference, in this respect, of what nature such opinions or principles may be, or whether they relate to religion, morals or politics, if they lead, or, by the constituted authorities are thought to lead, to injurious consequences. For, erroneous opinions on the subjects of religion and politics, are found by experience to be a fruitful source of public troubles and disturbances, with their bloody concomitants, tortures, rapine, murder, massacre and civil war: while erroneous opinions in relation to morals, may soon sap the foundation of innocence and virtue, and raise on their ruins, a temple dedicated to vice, corruption, abomination, Dagon and Moloch. Can it be doubted then, that the open teaching, promulgation and inculcation of false and dangerous opinions, should immediately be stopped? The government, supposing them to have full authority from the people on this subject, should exercise a sound discretion in relation to it. If they merely punish crimes and immorality when they occur, they perform only half of their duty; since they ought to stop the sources of corrupt practices at the fountain head, in vicious principles.

Yet, on the other hand, the most perfect freedom of inquiry should be allowed, for the sake of informing the conscience. For, it cannot be supposed, that any individual, by coming under the obligations of society, intended to surrender his liberty of conscience, or his natural right of worshiping God according to the dictates of his own reason, to the mere opinions of other men as fallible as himself. Still, no christian government can be under any obligation to tolerate any grossly immoral or indecent practices, under the pretense of indulging religious freedom. For, such practices constitute a disturbance of the public peace, and are an offence or nuisance to all the orderly citizens. For similar reasons, the public teaching of a false religion, or the open inculcation of doctrines, professedly aiming at the subversion of all religion, should be silenced by public authority. For, the government acting on the behalf of the people, have a perfect right to adopt such measures as they may judge necessary for this purpose, provided they do not interfere with the right of free inquiry for the private satisfaction of each individual’s own conscience.

It may be objected here, if these observations apply equally to all forms of government, where is the freedom, which is so much boasted of under democratic or republican forms of government? The answer is, that as, under a monarchy, it was never intended to deprive the people of the power of doing good; so under a republic or a democracy, it was never intended that the people should be free to do evil; and, if there is less power and opportunity of doing good under a monarchy, and greater liberty as well as temptation to do ill under a republic or democracy, it is no part of the design of the framers of such governments; but such consequences naturally attend the greater or less degree of freedom enjoyed under each, respectively. To restrain the introduction of dangerous opinions among the people, is no infringement of their liberties; on the contrary, it is the most effectual method of preserving what the people have in view, in the exercise of their liberties, viz: their tranquility and happiness.

Here it may be objected again, if this doctrine is true, then the rulers for the time being, will be the sole judges of the truth as well as the tendency of all avowed opinions, and open practices. Consequently if they chance to be in an error, the truth will be kept from the people. The answer is, it is no part of the duty of the government to regulate the consciences of individuals; but every person should be left at perfect liberty to form his opinions as he pleases, provided he does not disturb others with them. But, where the people and the government are agreed in the general grounds of their religious faith, it would be very extraordinary, if they had not a perfect right to exclude from their territory, any persons, who should disturb the public peace by attempting to introduce a new one.

These remarks, however, so far as they respect opinions on religious subjects, are not intended to apply to any organized society or government, where, on account of the great number of religious opinions, universal toleration is one of the fundamental articles of the constitution or social compact. Nor will they apply to persons, who profess to come as divine ambassadors, provided only they are furnished with those divine credentials, which furnish the only safe criterion, by which uninspired persons, can, in every case, distinguish between enthusiasm, fanaticism, or imposture, and true inspiration. But if, having no other evidence or assistance than other men, they undertake to disturb and revolutionize society, with the visions of their own imaginations or the mere deductions of their own understandings, without any other sanction or authority than enthusiastic reveries, or supported alone by the self-blandishing but fallacious supposition of their own intellectual superiority, and the ignorance and delusion of others, the government, having sufficient authority from the people for that purpose, will do no more than their duty in gently sending them out of the country without further molestation.

Neither are these remarks designed to apply in the slightest degree to missionaries, as if it were intended to deter them from what they consider their duty, in attempting to spread the divine revelation among the heathen. On the contrary, this most benevolent intention, this attempt to comply with or fulfill the divine command, ‘Go preach the gospel to all nations,’ cannot in the fallible view of our narrow understandings, be too much applauded. Still, they should be careful not to disseminate as divine truths, any mere opinions or inventions of men. If unfortunately they should propagate error, what thanks can they deserve? Certainly nothing more than the praise of good intentions, accompanied with the discouraging abatement, of having done harm instead of good. In this case, it is obvious, there is ample room for an apparent conflict of rights and duties. For, the missionary may possibly mistake the peculiar tenets of the sect to which he belongs, for the only essential part of divine revelation, and esteem it his duty to spread them even at the risk of his life. On the other hand, the government of the country may consider those peculiar tenets, as nothing more than pernicious errors, and consider it their duty to put a stop to the dissemination of them.

Where a christian missionary goes among the heathen, thus exposing himself to toil, danger, hardships, and privation in the service of the great Master of our religion, there can be but one opinion, as to his merit and his reward. On the other band, can there remain a doubt, that an enlightened christian community may adopt decisive measures, to prevent the propagation of delusion, fanaticism, or any doctrines of sufficient plausibility and having a tendency to disturb the public tranquility, by subverting the true religion in the minds of the weak and defenseless, and introducing in its place, principles productive of confusion and numberless disorders?

Suppose, again, an enthusiast should be so zealous as to go to Rome for the purpose of converting the Pope, a case which history informs us has actually happened; what better treatment could he have a right to expect, than was given in the instance alluded to, viz. to be sent to a mad-house? Might not the Pope very properly answer his exhortation, by saying, ‘Friend, it appears, that you have come hither, for the purpose of converting me to what you believe to be the true doctrine of the christian religion. Your design, though in some measure vainglorious, is filled with benevolence; and if you have any new revelation, of the authenticity of which you can furnish satisfactory proof, I am ready to listen to it with the deepest veneration and humility. But, if you have not, what vanity can actuate you to suppose that I shall substitute your infallibility in the place of that, which is commonly ascribed to my office.

‘If I am sincere in the profession of the Catholic doctrine, can you be so simple as to expect to convert me to your opinions without the advantage of any other revelation, than I have myself, by the superiority of your intellectual powers alone? Or, if I am not sincere, what occasion is there for your kind offices? Would you take up arms against a shadow?’

3. The right of property. As society is organized for the security of property as well as life, this right remains in full force, and cannot be invaded without the grossest tyranny and oppression.

This right however is not infringed by equal taxes for public purposes, imposed by adequate legitimate authority. A misapplication or misappropriation of funds in the public treasury, however, must be considered as a violation of this right, though it is also a great breach of public trust. Any regulations introduced by law, for the transmission of property by descent, or directing the mode of transferring property on a sale, will be free from exception on this account; provided that no estate actually vested under a law, is divested by the operation of a law afterwards enacted. In any case, where an individual fails to receive what he had stipulated for, or what otherwise he would have a just right to expect, from an omission to comply with the laws of society, it must be ascribed to his own imprudence or negligence.

4. Right of equality. As men are naturally equal in their rights, there can be no doubt, as has been already remarked, that no individual would be willing to join in organizing a society, unless he were put on an equal footing with others, as to all the rights secured to him in the social compact, or constitution of the society. It would obviously be no violation of this principle, if, in the constitution itself, it had been stipulated and agreed, that certain classes of persons, which classes should be accessible to all, should have greater powers, or should be exempted from certain public burdens. There is nothing unfair or unequal in this, in reality.

Neither would it be a violation of this principle, if a law should be passed, making men liable to certain common burdens for the benefit of society, as soon as they arrive at a certain age, and to exempt them from such burdens, as soon as they arrived at a certain other age, as in the case of military service. Because the law is general in its application, and the difference of condition occasioned by it, is merely temporary. Since every man, however aged, has once been young; and the young, if they live, will certainly arrive at an age, at which they too will in like manner be exempted. But, it would be a violation of this principle, if the legislature should attempt to alter by law, the requirements of individuals made in the constitution in order to qualify them for the exercise of certain civil rights, either by adding to or taking from them; or, by imposing new conditions, or removing old ones. And therefore a disqualification of individuals by law, grounded on distinctions not recognized in the constitution, is a violation of this principle.

For the same reason, a sacrifice of the interests of particular individuals, or inhabitants of particular districts, either in favor of other individuals or classes, or, even in favor of the public at large, is a violation of this right. But the government is generally considered as having authority to apply private property to public uses, if an adequate compensation is made to the proprietor, especially in cases of great emergency.

Where the operation of a law is, to prefer one class of citizens over another, the question, whether the law is to be considered as a violation of the natural right of equality, will depend upon the previous question, whether this effect is one of the principal inducements to pass the law; in which case it is tyrannical, as emanating from an usurped power; or, whether, without having such inducement, the principal operation or effect of the law, is to give such a preference; in which case, it is unjust because unequal in its operation, and if continued after notice of its effects, is also arbitrary and oppressive; or whether this unequal effect was wholly overlooked by the legislature, and is a necessary attendant upon some great public advantage, the obtaining of which, was the sole object which the legislature had in view in the passing of the law; in which case, it will be no violation of private right. But, as one class of citizens ought not to be sacrificed for the benefit of another, or, even of the public, the latter, out of the great advantage which they derive from the law, ought to make satisfactory compensation to those persons, who are sufferers by its enactment; the loss to be ascertained by impartial appraisers or assessors. If the public are not willing to make this compensation, the wrong to the property of the suffering class or individuals, is neither more nor less than a robbery under pretense of law. But, if the public cannot afford, out of the benefit which they derive from the passage of such law, to make such compensation, it is conclusive proof, that the law is inexpedient as well as unjust; since it will occasion more disadvantage than benefit. Where the principal operation of a law is to give a preference to one class of citizens over another, this is not a cause for compensation; but is a direct violation of the right of equality, to be waived by the injured class alone. As soon as this effect is ascertained, therefore, the law should be immediately repealed.

5. The right of freely discussing public measures, &c. Another right, which, it must necessarily be presumed, the people mean to reserve to themselves in every free elective government, is that of discussing the qualifications and characters of all candidates for public offices, who consent to stand for them, as well as the character, conduct, and general measures of all public officers. This subject will be considered more at large in Part II. Chapters 1 and 2.

But in governments so framed, that misconduct in the chief ruler or magistrate, does not by their constitutions, involve his disqualification for office, or his removal from it, whether it be elective or hereditary, it would be of no advantage to the people, for each citizen to have a right to comment harshly upon him, for the purpose of bringing him into hatred or contempt with the people; since it could have but little tendency to correct public grievances, but might lead to public disorders and disturbances, and thus, instead of removing evils, might aggravate some and occasion others. For, it would be impossible to prevent the right of animadversion on the conduct of a bad prince, from being perverted to an unjust vituperation of the character and conduct of an excellent one. On the contrary, is it not very possible, that under a good prince, there might be thousands of factious demagogues, who, under the pretense of patriotism, the public good, and freedom and the rights of man, and other topics of popular declamation, might asperse and vilify their rulers; while under a cruel and merciless tyrant, whose public life was a disgrace to human nature, and whose administration of public affairs, was impolitic, unjust and ruinous, those same pretended patriots, from fear would have remained in perfect silence and perhaps have been most conspicuous for abject sycophancy and fawning servility? (fn1) Under all arbitrary governments, therefore, seditious speeches and writings are considered but little short of treason, to which they directly tend.

6. The right of petition and remonstrance. Another right retained by the people in all free governments, and which it is believed, is seldom denied under the most arbitrary and tyrannical, is that of representing to the government any particular evil or grievance, which the petitioner suffers from any law or other public measures, and requesting its removal, or that suitable compensation be made him for the damage, which he sustains in consequence of it. It should not be considered any infringement of this right, that the petition should be made in decent and respectful terms, however contrary it may seem to the opinions of those persons, who from a mistaken idea of the true principles of democracy, think there can be no freedom, where the private citizens may not affront and insult with impunity their superiors in office.

7. The right to reform the government. On this critical and dangerous subject, it seems difficult to establish any certain principles of general application, which will not be liable to be abused and misapplied, and which consequently may not involve in their operation, if injudiciously carried into practice, the most lamentable and disastrous results. A profound historian indulging in some reflections upon the American Revolution, makes the following observations. ‘To overset an established government, unhinges many of those principles which bind individuals to each other. A long time and much prudence, will be necessary to reproduce a spirit of freedom, without which, society is a rope of sand. The right of the people to resist their rulers, when invading their liberties, forms the corner stone of American Republics. This principle, though just in itself, is not favorable to the tranquility of present establishments. The maxims and measures, which in the years 1774 and 1775, were successfully inculcated and adopted by American patriots, for oversetting the established government, will answer a similar purpose, when recurrence is had to them by factious demagogues for disturbing the freest governments that were ever devised.’

It should not be overlooked, though it may seem to imply a contradiction in terms, that the strict enforcement or assertion of our most perfect rights, under peculiar circumstances may sometimes constitute a crying sin, as being a violation of some duty, which though of the strongest obligation in a religious and moral point of view, is usually called or defined a duty of imperfect obligation, because those persons who are the objects of it, have no right themselves to compel its performance. This is true in relation to our rights in a state of nature, and towards individuals; and is equally so in relation to our civil and political rights in a state of society, and towards the public. But, in the latter case, the consequences may be infinitely more disastrous, and wholly remediless. The following remarks are to be taken, subject to this qualification.

No government can have any legitimate foundation but in the good of the people; for, the people were not made to be governed for the interest or pleasure of the rulers; but rulers were set up and established to protect the people, and direct them by salutary laws and regulations, in the pursuit of their welfare and true interests. Where the people have good sense, and the virtues of self-denial, and the love of justice, as a nation, so as to know how to redress their wrongs on other nations, if any should be offered, and so as to be contented to do without, what they cannot gain without wrong to others, they have no need of arbitrary rulers, whose powers, in a political point of view, originate with themselves. But, if they have not this good sense and these virtues, they will soon fall a prey to usurpation, as a punishment for their folly and injustice. What nations have, and what nations have not, this intelligence and these virtues to a sufficient extent, may be conjectured, but can only be certainly determined by experience. To think so, and to be able to do it, are different things. To overthrow a monarchy is one thing; to establish a permanent, free, popular government is another. The characteristic qualities of a people, which may lead them to the former, are not of themselves sufficient to enable them to effect the latter. The form of general government established by American sages, though most admirable, is not perfect; and will stand no longer than while a portion of the same wisdom, patriotism and disinterestedness, which actuated them, shall continue to animate the public councils.

Governments were established at first, in days of ignorance violence and injustice. In most cases the strong, crafty and bold, reduced the weak, timorous, simple and defenseless to a state of subjection. The latter, in this way, became slaves to the former, in the first instance; and afterwards, by a gradual melioration of their condition became subjects, while the companions of the leader or conqueror, became nobles. This however was not always the, case. For, in some instances, it is probable, where the weak were not immediately overrun in the first invasion, they were .able by uniting and forming themselves into an organized society, adopting an exact military discipline, and inventing armor as well as improved weapons of offence, as shields, darts and swords, to prevail over those, who, relying merely on their gigantic stature and resistless bodily strength, had never felt the necessity, and consequently had never thought of any such expedients, but at best, had never made use of any weapons more effective than the stone, the stake, or the war club. It is most probable, that it was in this way, that Chedorlaomer, the first conqueror on record, subdued the various tribes of giants, enumerated in the holy scriptures. For, he had no divine assistance, and no mention is made of the superior stature of his soldiers or subjects. But they dwelt in cities, and must therefore have made some considerable advances in civilization and the necessary arts. But the nations or tribes whom he conquered, it is apparent, lived in a savage state; and were most of them conspicuous for their lofty stature; viz. the Emims, who are compared to the sons of Anak, of whom it was said, ‘Who can stand before the Anakims,’ the Rephaims, or giants, of whom it is said in the scriptures Og, the King of Bashan, was the last survivor, and whose stature, according to the scripture account, could not have been far from fifteen English feet; the Horims, who dwelt in caves and holes in the ground on Mount Seir, and who, in this respect, were literally Troglodytes. These giants were in a great measure destroyed by Chedorlaomer, and it is most probable without any miraculous aid, by superior weapons, and military skill alone. But, when other nations of gigantic men succeeded, such as the Anakims and the Amorites, who were acquainted with warlike implements and defensive armor, and subject to military discipline, it was impossible for the Israelites to conquer them without divine assistance, and the three sons of Anak, who struck terror into the hearts of the Israelite spies, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua, it is probable from the same account, were not cut off, until they were upwards of fourscore years of age; there being no evidence that, under the divine economy, the ordinary course of nature is ever disturbed by a miracle without necessity.

In later times, governments are chiefly grounded in the first instance on conquest or usurpation. For we see in history, Kings are dethroned and are succeeded for the most part by tyrants; Republics are conquered through delay or dissension, or corruption, and are annexed to the empire of the conqueror; monarchies are subverted and succeeded by anarchy and confusion, until the turbulent authors are cut off, one chief being left to trample on the people’s liberties and reduce them to a more abject state than they suffered before. In a few. instances, the people have rescued themselves from oppression, and have established a mild and free government.

Legitimate governments may be of any form whatever, whether a monarchy, an aristocracy, a democracy, or a combination of these. Where they are not established by divine appointment, they must be grounded, according to natural right, in the will of the people, express or tacit. A people, therefore, it is evident, without any government, when organizing a political society and forming a nation, may adopt any form of government which they think expedient, whether monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, or a republic. Whatever form they adopt, is a legitimate government, and no individuals in any succeeding generation, have a shadow of right to attempt to subvert it, or to excite the people to do so. Yet individuals who are dissatisfied, have a right to consult their happiness and leave the country; but so long as they reside within it, they are bound to obey the laws. But, if the rulers should abuse their legitimate authority, and oppress the people by acts of tyranny and cruelty, the people, after petitioning for redress of grievances in vain, if unanimous, (otherwise not,) will have a natural right to remove their rulers, choose others in their room and reform the government, and adopt a new constitution if they see fit. A bare majority of the people, however, has no such right.

This extreme right, on account of the terrible consequences usually attending its exercise, notwithstanding the most tyrannical and unjustifiable conduct in the rulers, in most cases it would be very wrong, indeed a great sin, to put in force. For, the benefits resulting from revolutions, seldom compensate for the horrors which almost invariably attend them. The risk of violating many duties, which, though of imperfect obligation, cannot be disregarded without incurring a degree of guilt and responsibility, proportional to the calamitous consequences which must necessarily follow, must therefore make every reasonable and conscientious person pause and deliberate long, before he arms himself against his rulers; and it is very probable, that it is in part for such reasons, that we christians are commanded ‘to submit to the powers that be. But, in fact, the people are seldom or never unanimous for a change of their government, even when it is of the most arbitrary form, and their rulers are tyrants. Where they appear to be so, (and especially if the administration is mild, and the people do not stand in awe of it,) it is owing to the dread and fear which the orderly citizens entertain of the threats, outrages and massacres of revolutionists and anarchists, which are greater than the respect or regard, which they entertain for a government, in their opinion no longer capable of protecting either them or itself. Many of these citizens, therefore, in such cases, through mere apprehension, side with the unprincipled and disorderly, in order to escape their violence, (though being suspected, on account of the previous respectability of their characters, their hypocrisy is not always successful in this respect,) when they would prefer to submit to the measured oppressions of any regular government, rather than be exposed to the capricious and illimitable envy and malignity of ignoble and unprincipled disorganizers. There is seldom, therefore, an occasion where such right can be said to exist at all; and it would be a rare case indeed, that would render the exercise of it perfectly justifiable.

In the original formation of a government established by the people, it is their consent which renders it legitimate. But, though the government should commence unjustly, as by conquest or usurpation, yet, if the people afterwards acquiesce in it, no succeeding generation has any greater right to alter it, than if it had been established by the free consent of the people in the first instance. For, the generation which acquiesces, have the same right to adopt the government under which they live, that a people without a government, have to form and establish one. The voluntary acquiescence of the former, is equal in its effects to the free choice of the latter. The contrary supposition would be attended with many inconveniences, if not absurdities. For, suppose a democracy is established by the free choice of the people, what sanction has this government, after the generation has passed away, which first established it? Certainly none but the tacit acquiescence of the people which succeed. In any such case, can we suppose that a political leader has a right to endeavor to persuade the people that their rulers oppress them, and, in this way, induce them to resist, throw off, or dissolve the government? For, without dwelling upon the probable consequences, mobs, riots, insurrections, rebellions, civil war, massacres, and other outrages, with which the overthrow of a settled government is invariably attended; and the anarchy and confusion, and suspension of the distribution of justice, which immediately follow ; and the establishment of a military despotism, which would in all probability be the termination, and the only effectual one, of these horrors; whence could a demagogue derive this right? Can such a pretense owe its origin to any other source, than an abuse of the great liberty which is permitted in a democracy; but which in a stronger government, would well be considered as a crime of the greatest magnitude and atrocity, and which would immediately be punished as it deserved ; or rather would rarely show itself, having no hopes of escaping punishment in case of a failure in the attempt. For, the confident expectation of escaping with impunity, is the chief origin of the fervid and inflammatory declamation against imaginary political evils and abuses, in the pretended patriot and lover of the people, as well as of the lawless violence of an ignorant and debased rabble, under the influence of intoxicating liquors, and in the exercise of, what they affect to believe, some of the rights of man.

When in the first formation of a constitution, a mode of amending the frame of government is pointed out in that instrument or political compact, all amendments and reforms made in the mode prescribed, though not unanimously agreed on, are doubtless as valid and binding, as if they constituted a part of the original compact, to which all the people had unanimously assented in the first instance. And here it will make no difference, whether agreeably to such mode of amendment, the alterations in the constitution are to be made by the rulers themselves, or by the people convened in their primary assemblies. But, as the majority have no natural right to frame a government in the first instance, which shall bind the minority who dissent, though the minority may silently ratify it by their peaceable acquiescence, if they see fit; it follows that a mere majority have no right to alter the constitution, unless it is expressly agreed that they may do so in the mode prescribed for that purpose in the constitution itself. It seems to follow, therefore, that though the people, if unanimous, have a right to change their form of government, even Where there is no provision for any such alteration in their constitution; yet, the rulers may justly enact laws to punish with exemplary severity, any persons who should attempt to excite the people to make radical changes in the government, or to remove, in an irregular and disorderly manner, those who preside over the administration of public affairs. This authority naturally results to the rulers, from the general power which is bestowed on them, either expressly or by implication, to provide for the public safety and welfare; and the exercise of it is justified, not only by the bad motives which usually actuate innovators, such as disappointed avarice, or ambition, envy, vanity, and a desire of self-aggrandizement; but, because of the infinite evils which attend an attempt to overthrow the government, where the people are divided into parties or factions, as they invariably are on such occasions.

Farther; if it were permitted to individuals to excite the people to overthrow their government, or change it in an irregular manner under the plausible pretext of reform, then nothing could ever remain sacred or established among mankind. It can make no essential difference, what the form of government may be, which it is desired to overthrow. Yet, it is certain, that where the form and administration of the government, is most arbitrary and despotic, and consequently where there will be the most just ground of complaint, there will be less of it made, through fear. On the contrary, where the government is most free, and there is consequently less danger of punishment for seditious or treasonable practices, unprincipled demagogues, from a desire of becoming popular, will pretend public abuses where none exist, and exaggerate those which do. Not but that there are tyrannical abuses of authority in democracies and republics, as well as in monarchies; but for the most part, they excite less apprehension and alarm in popular governments; because in them the power, however it may be abused, is supposed to be limited, and the evil consequences of such abuse, are definite and circumscribed. But in monarchies, where the political power exercised by the ruler is either arbitrary, or, at least very great, the abuse of it excites alarm ; because the extent of the abuse, or of the evils that may be occasioned by it, cannot be either distinctly perceived or foreseen, or precisely ascertained. It is for this reason, that, under the government of an arbitrary tyrant, there is no one but must entertain apprehensions for his own personal safety. Yet, for the most part, timid and conscientious persons, are desirous of a strong, though not of an arbitrary government. Because, from its very structure, a strong government is most likely to be permanent, and they consequently feel a greater confidence that they shall be protected from the innovations, abuses, and violence of the turbulent and disorderly. On the other hand, the unprincipled, dissolute and flagitious, always desire a weak government, in order that they may be at liberty to practice wickedness with the greater hope of impunity.

Where the form of government is strong and effective, the just and peaceable therefore, enjoy the highest degree of that rational liberty which consists in the security of their persons and property, and the quiet and undisturbed exercise of all their civil and political rights, free from the molestation of the turbulent and licentious. On the other hand, where the form of government is weak and tottering, and the rulers, from a desire of popularity, neglect a discharge of their duty, and are consequently timeserving and inefficient, the turbulent and unjust enjoy the highest degree of freedom and impunity in their insolent practices of fraud, violence and imposition upon those, who hare not the power to protect themselves, and, whom, the rulers through an apprehension of a loss of popularity, are base enough to leave unprotected. For, flagitious and disorderly persons dislike wholesome laws, because they find their freedom to commit wrongs with impunity, is restrained by them. They therefore make an outcry for liberty, and for a repeal of such laws. But laws to prevent wrong and injustice do not deprive well disposed persons of any freedom; because they would do no wrong and commit no crime, if there were no law against them. They therefore are in favor of such laws, to protect society and themselves against the lovers of such liberty. And as the good, who alone may safely be entrusted with such freedom, i. e. a state of exemption from such laws, never complain for want of it; so, those who do complain, are the very persons in whom such confidence cannot be placed.

Lastly; though it cannot be doubted, that where all the people are unanimous, they have a natural right to alter their government, whether any provision for such alteration is made in their constitution or not, because the government is intended for their benefit, and, if they had not such right, the most horrible tyranny, cruelty and oppression might be continued from generation to generation, unless there were some miraculous interposition of providence; still the wise and prudent will be very cautious how they engage in any such enterprises; some of which, seem to have been signally marked with the divine displeasure. The reader will readily recollect that the same nation, which dethroned and beheaded Charles I, a legitimate monarch, under pretence that he had made use of an unwarrantable stretch of his regal authority, which however was not well defined, was compelled to submit to a bloody usurper and ruthless tyrant, who died peaceably in his bed. And here the sturdy republicans of parliament, who had deprived the nobles of their constitutional authority, and who made it almost a matter of conscience to withhold due reverence and respect from their lawful sovereign, were compelled by Cromwell, both a republican and a fanatic, and as bloody and ferocious as themselves, but far superior to them in ability and decision of character, to bow their necks before him with servile fear; yet, after all, were thrust out of parliament by him with the utmost scorn and contempt.

What massacres followed the decapitation of the mild and benevolent Louis XVI? What a succession of demons afterwards controlled the public affairs of France, who, deluding the infatuated people with the ceaseless, false and senseless outcry and jargon of liberty, equality, the rights of man, tyranny, priestcraft, aristocrat, democrat, citizen and patriot, never hesitated to violate every precept of religion, every moral duty, and every feeling of humanity, and carried their extravagance to the height of the most blasphemous impiety. Were the horrors, which thus succeeded to the overthrow of this established government, a judgment from heaven, or were they merely the natural consequences, which may always be expected to flow from the prevalence of anarchy, atheism, and unbounded licentiousness? Certainly, no tyranny can occasion such evils, as an intoxication of the intellect, arising from an influx of false principles on the subject of religion, morals and philosophy.

Well-disposed men therefore will hesitate long, before they join in any attempt to overthrow or revolutionize their government, under any pretext whatever. It is true the people may be unanimous in subverting their government, and yet afterwards, they may not be able to agree in forming a new one, and, if so, they will be in a much worse condition, than they were in, under that which they have rejected; because, to destroy is not the same as to reform. Will it not be worse than living under any regular government, to remain in a state of anarchy and confusion, until the different parties and factions, are reduced by battles, massacres and assassinations, under one; and another government is established by force or fraud, ten times more arbitrary and despotic than that which they have been induced to overturn? For, in many cases, revolutions do not result so much from a sense of intolerable oppression, as from a fondness for an idol—a golden calf—a false god—an imaginary degree of liberty, which, if it were real, the frailty, perverseness and folly of mankind, to say nothing of their wickedness, injustice and depravity, wholly disqualify them from enjoying.

Footnote(s):
1. Such conduct is perfectly natural, when it is considered, that demagogues and false patriots are actuated by the same motives, as the courtiers and flatterers of kings. For, it is to power, wherever placed, that each class equally bows. In monarchies, they are induced to pay court to the opinions and wishes of the king, if they would rise to employment in the state. With the same object in view, in democracies, they suffer neither honor, conscience, truth, justice, decency, nor religion, to stand in competition with popular notions, prejudices, or selfish interests. With such, the voice of the people, right or wrong, is the voice of God; and whatever is unpopular, is unpardonable. If they have sagacity enough to foresee in what direction the majority of the people will incline, it is there such persons will always be found, justifying or recommending in advance, measures which the people would blush to commit individually, as private citizens; and, instead of using the information which a superior education has given them, in endeavoring to remove popular errors, mistakes and prejudices, and settling the public opinion on true principles of religion, justice and morality, prostituting their superior advantages and influence, in confirming such errors, opinions and prejudices, rather than incur the risk of the displeasure of the people, by attempting to set them right.

Continued from RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; Division One

Continued on CHAPTER II  Of the Social Compact of the Citizens of the different States in the American Union, in the formation of the General Constitution, taken in connexion with the real or supposed compact of the citizens of each State, in the formation of its own Constitution or State Government.

See the other parts of this series:
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Powers delegated to the General Government in the Federal Constitution
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Powers delegated to the State Governments
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Independence of the States
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The rights reserved to the people of the United States
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Of the right of suffrage and of elections
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Liberty of Speech and of the Press
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Power of Courts to punish for Contempts
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Law of Libel in relation to Public Officers
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Rights of Juries
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Rights of Witnesses

RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The mode of obtaining redress for infringement of civil or political rights

 
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tyranny_-_montesquieuDEMOCRACY IN DANGER! An Address By Rev. R. A. Holland. Delivered In Christ Church, St. Louis, Missouri. July 4th, 1876

A note from me: It is truly interesting how history continues to repeat itself, “to the victor belong the spoils” indeed. This concept has no place in America, American politics, nor American society. Too many times we have seen the president being given the crooks he wants to aid in his plundering, pilfering, binding and blinding of WE the American People! Too many times congress votes to confirm a presidential nominee, simply because that is the way it is normally done, and the president gets what he wants. It is time for our Senators in the Senate Chamber and Representatives in the House look at what aids in the liberty, prosperity and happiness of We The American People, than at what the president, the special interest groups, the celebrities, and the lobbyist want. It is time for them to finally listen to what We The American People, the heirs of the American Republic, the Sovereigns of the Nation are telling them.

There are two kinds of patriotism—one of instinct, the other of reason. Patriotism of instinct is attachment to a spot of ground, familiar scenes, inherited customs, a geographical name. It is the love of the fox for his hole, the fowl for her nest. In war a sort of magic, mobilizing men into instant armies reckless of death, in peace it encourages abuses and invites usurpations by defending every evil that may be done in the sacred name of country. “My country, right or wrong,” is its confession of faith, and for fetish it worships a flag.

Not in this spirit have we assembled to-day to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of our republic, but rather in the spirit of that more rational patriotism which loving truth, right, humanity first, loves country only in so far as these supreme ideas are or may be organized and administered in its policy. For governments are not an end to themselves, but means for achieving an end which is higher, broader, more enduring. They exist for man, not man for them. The method by which he attempts to realize social aims, they change in form as one form after another fails of its task. Even if the form should be perfect in its adaptation to a particular stage of national growth.

jm-tyrannyA Particular Stage Of National Growth:

The continuance of such a growth would by and by require a change to suit its enlarging needs. And whatever may be the fate of individual nations, whether or not their law is to mature and decay, the growth of the race is constant and imparts its gains of experience to all institutions that are vital enough to assimilate them. Accordingly, experiments in government have not been without an order of succession and a certain utility of failure. Failure warns against exact repetition. Men are not likely to go back to feudalism or despotism, the reign of one or of a few, for the models of future society. When only the few had knowledge and wealth, it was well that the few should govern; but knowledge has now become common, and wealth diffuse. There are no longer in our civilization lord and vassal separated by an impassable gulf. The gulf has been closed by a middle class nobler in intelligence and richer in estate than baronage. The rabble, as it was once called, has by co-operation, risen likewise in consciousness of power and stands before wealth and rank, with bare arms that on provocation might toss them both out of its way. One would have to bind one’s eyes with fold on fold of prejudice not to see that the tendency of these changes is towards democracy; that, indeed, by peoples who have graduated from a state of pupilage and know their manhood, no other kind of government will be tolerated long unless in evident transition towards democracy.

Within the present century we have seen Great Britain admit multitudes to a partnership in her crown, Spain elect a monarch who rules by popular consent, Italy unite under a scepter wrought of suffrage and stronger than the keys of St. Peter, Russia emancipate her serfs, and France stunned by the horror of the first revolution and reeling between throne and tribune as if unable to collect her senses, finally ascend the latter with firm step and proclaim the republic of peace.

jefferson_liberty_vs_tyrannyThe Republic Of Peace:

And still the tendency of governments sets in the same direction, and gains impetuosity as it goes. Men have not to be harangued any more about liberty, equality, fraternity. These ere-while abstractions are household words defined by the heart. Liberty—the right of every man to be himself so far as his self-hood does not trench upon the same right in others; equality—the level on which all men stand before the law, none born to rank or rule, each exercising the authority he obeys, sovereign that he may be subject, and subject that he may be sovereign; and fraternity, which is identity of interest, abolition of caste, every man being as jealous of the rights of every other as of his own, and the strongest and wisest willing to bear vexation or hardship that the weak and ignorant may qualify themselves for self-government by the use of rights which, even when least understood, foster self-respect, independence and a lively concern in affairs of state, and thus serve for a moral education.

The question is not whether democracy be the cheapest form of government, or the shrewdest, or the most facile, or the stoutest against inner or outer foes—in all which qualities superiority may be conceded to despotism; but whether in spite of extravagance, blunders, caprice, it is not the best for man as man, worth its excess of cost in money and toil and sense of danger.

Did monarchy impose small taxes, stimulate trade, render speedy and sure the process of law and lighten every load of government, the government would still weigh heavy on a shoulder that felt itself the bearer of a compulsory benefit. There is nothing in the power of government to bestow so precious as man’s right to rule himself—a right which democracy simply admits and leaves free to take whatever form it will. Better manhood with liberty, though liberty run risk of license; better manhood with equality, though equality sway to transient rule of ignorance and vice; better manhood with fraternity, though fraternity may run for awhile into the clannish hate and envy of the commune; better universal suffrage with all its drawbacks and dangers than any limitation of it that bars the birthright of the soul.

in-the-age-of-tyrannyThe Birthright Of the Soul:

Sooner or later, by the very discipline which their errors, with right of the the consequent sufferings, enforce, men will learn the art of self-government; and the secret of that are when learned, will be little else than the wiser head and warmer heart and more helpful hand of a developed manhood.

Nor is it mere moony vision or spread-eagle rapture to anticipate a democracy as vast as civilization. Be it for good or evil, the peoples will not rest until they have tried the experiment and tried it more than once. The might is theirs and they will exert it; theirs is the right and it will justify the utmost exertion to throw off the yoke of titled accidents; and if progress be the law of humanity, as it is of all things else, might and right must grow with time into graces of unity, peace and concord. Otherwise humanity is a predestined failure, and the ethics of its hope a lie.

For what else is democracy in the purest notion of it but the religion of politics. It means faith in man and in his destiny; it means that there is more of good than of evil in his nature, and that in the conflict between them the good shall triumph at last; it means the supremacy of conscience over force, and of reason over prejudice and passion; it means that men shall love their neighbors as themselves, and so adopts the golden rule for a civil constitution and charters the brotherhood of the race.

This, I say, is the ideal state of society. Perhaps not to be attained for ages, it will yet be steadily approached by the advance of civilization. The possibility of its attainment is bound up with no particular form of administration. Different forms may be wanted for different people, all forms will change with changing epochs ; but throughout differences and changes the spirit of democracy shall live and wax strong, healing whatever suspicions, discords, strifes afflict the body that grows meanwhile towards the fulness of the stature of a perfect man.

But why these truisms about democracy? For truisms they appear to the American mind. Is it necessary after a hundred years of democratic government to argue its utility and prophesy its permanence? Yes, and therein is the saddest reflection of our Centennial holiday. Time was when the American people believed in their institutions as an article of religion. To doubt their beneficence was heresy, as to fear for their perpetuity was treason. Such faith may have been child-like, but it was the substance of things hoped for. Its simplicity was justified by the rare auspices under which the experiment of free government began. There were no old customs and traditions to cast away. The nation was new-born. No enemies threatened its young life. Oceans made a moat between it and foreign harm. A continent gave it room and its forthgoings of enterprise were but an athlete’s pastime. It had a presentiment of high destiny, of some august mission to the world, and was exalted by that day-dream above everything mean and sordid. Here, it said, in this new world of nature, there shall be a new world of society. The old world is faint under oppression. The heaped up evil of a thousand years lies upon its breast, like Aetna on Enceladus, and the Titan’s unrest only heaves the mountain it cannot remove. Let us begin afresh. Let the oppressed of every land come hither for asylum. There is room enough and to spare. There shall be no distinction of class, no alienage of race, no barrier of religion. As one people equal and free, we will enact our own laws, elect our own officers to administer them in trust and call no man master. The old world looking hither shall see our glory and wonder as at a sunrise in the west.

tyranny-slavesA Sunrise In The West:

It was the invitation of youth, but there were many young hearts that heeded it. They flocked hither on the winds. Cities were extemporized to shelter them, states multiplied by a kind of segmentation, habitations sprang up in the desert, and the wilderness and the solitary places were glad with surprise. Rough, perhaps, the people were, unsophisticated and grotesquely proud of their prerogative, but they had virtues which more than offset these defects. They were as devoted to the principles of their government as the Parsee to his sacred fire. These principles they talked over by fireside and church door, on the road, behind the plough, in the smithy and across the counter. With heads bowed over the published reports of Congress, they listened to every word of its debates attentively enough to learn them almost by heart. By their very rights they were apprenticed to statesmanship, and the statesmanship they studied was that of Hamilton, of Jefferson, of Adams, of Madison, of Webster, of Calhoun—prophets whose mantle caught by no worthy successor, has fallen in the dust Those were the poetic days of our politics; bribery, stock-jobbing and embezzlement were unknown in high places; the least suspicion soiled a public name; official honor was as delicate and sensitive as virginity. Then the benefits of democracy were a truism, and only discoursed of in panegyric.

But those days are no more. What contributed most to preserve their purity was the freshness of the ideas which engaged the minds of the people and which the people were striving to embody in their institutions. A great idea transfigures whatever it informs, whether an individual, a state or a church, and turns the coarsest tissue of organism through which it shines into radiance “exceeding white as snow.” And such ideas are involved in the questions that engrossed the first thought of the nation. Was it to be a mere fasces of states, bound about an axe of common defence, or a nation indeed? Was it to be self-blockaded for the protection of a guild, or open in trade to the world that its citizens might have .the benefit of the world’s competition in its markets?

Was it to be restricted or universal in suffrage? The answers to these questions created parties, but they were parties breathed into by earnest thought and by such breath of life made living souls. They had a faith and a purpose, and sought to fix that faith and purpose in the framework of the republic. But the issues that divided them are now settled or ignored; the great ideas that organized them have passed from thought into fact, or oblivion; still the parties remain—remain without a soul. How can they be other than corrupt when they are but the carcasses of themselves. They use the old names for purposes wholly strange to their significance. They contend without hostility of opinion. They present the same statement of principles, each trying, however, in the artifice of it to construct the more tempting trap for votes. Both are in favor of economical government, of low tariff, of correcting abuses, of kindness to widows and orphans of dead soldiers, and of putting everybody in a good humor. Both avoid any declaration of belief that might cause a change of lines and the disruption of their compact and subservient organizations—organizations so compact and subservient as to belong to a set of men called bosses, who make a business of driving and trading their herded souls, which are too dull to hear the crack of the caucus whip or too tame to bolt from under it.

party-bossesA Set Of Men Called Bosses:

Every honest man must feel, even if he does not acknowledge, the dishonesty of such organizations, and whenever felt, and not renounced, that dishonesty is tainting his character. Hence the prevalent compromise between partisanship and virtue—a partition put into the conscience that one side may be kept clean for the ordinary duties of life, while the other is fouled by the use of party. Violation of the ballot is condemned in the abstract as an assault on the republic’s life, but covered up or excused when done for the sake of one’s party. Fraud is an abomination, and ought to be tied hand and foot and thrown into jail, but may be given a softer name and treated more tenderly—possibly allowed to escape and honored for its zeal when acting as the agent of one’s party.

Nevertheless, dishonesty is dishonesty; dishonesty with one’s self glides easily into dishonesty with others—dishonesty of allegiance into dishonesty of broken trusts. It is no worse to steal the people’s money than to steal their votes. If party can connive at one, party may apologize for the other and defend it. Hence theft with arms elbow-deep in the treasury of cities; theft shaking empty the overturned coffers of states; theft of hard-earned savings from freedmen; theft of dole from half-naked and half starved Indians; theft of wages from soldiers on the frontier; theft from the graves of the nation’s heroic dead; theft of revenue, of customs, of appropriations to lay out public grounds, erect public edifices, build ships of war, carry mails, pave iron thoroughfares across the continent; theft promoted in the name of civil-service reform, and given charge of the nation’s exchequer. And why not? Who cares but the opposite party, itself as slow to discover and as quick to condone the sins of its own adherents. No tremendous shock, no vast flaming up of indignation follows the exposure of the wholesale roguery. Certainly not; the roughs are high-toned rogues.

Mark TwainHigh Toned Rogues:

Gentlemen of the first class, eminent respectabilities—judges, are they, and governors and generals, and chairmen of congressional committees and senators, and ambassadors to foreign courts, and advisers of the president’s council, who have stolen handsomely by tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands, and not like a low-bred felon. Let them off, your excellency, for the sake of their wives who have not hoarded the ill-gotten gain selfishly. but turned it into diamonds to decorate the drawing-rooms of the capital. Mollify their sentence, your honor, in consideration of their wealth, which should have kept them above temptation; their age, which, sinned not from impulse, but with veteran deliberation; their influence, which spreads all the further the corruption of a bad example. Has not justice ever demanded that punishment should be severe according to the distress, inexperience and obscurity of the culprit? And you, gentlemen of the jury, acquit, by all means acquit; innocent or guilty, still acquit any whom to convict would be to graze, if not to pierce, the head of the nation.

I trust that those who hear me will not think that in these words I wish to aid one party by branding the other. I am not a partisan. I have never cast a partisan vote. I have uo preference for Democrat or Republican, as such. I have no reason to believe that the party now out of power would withstand the temptations of fifteen years of absolute sway more successfully than the party has done which still controls the emoluments of the administration. Both parties seem to me notionless, without aim beyond the getting or keeping of power by any sort of clap-trap, and therefore, morally dead, their activity being the activity of rot. What boots the promise of reform from men who, to fulfill that promise, must padlock their own hands? The pledges of a national convention, are they worth any more than the pledges of such men? Is not the convention itself a huge trick? Pretending to represent the people, it represents, with few exceptions, a class whom the people ought to detest as mountebanks. The primary meetings which elect the delegates are packed by bummers, who take their cue from local bosses, and the delegates nearly all are office-holders or office-seekers, who in turn are wire-pulled by a clique that prepares their work in advance, and prompts every detail of it. Before the convention assembles, traffic has been going on between aspirants and those who have part in the privilege of nomination; if not traffic in coin, traffic in promises of office, for promises of support, which is bribery as real and as gross. Whew the convention organizes, it organizes for any other object than to> deliberate and choose as becomes the pretending representatives of half a nation ; deliberation is confounded by hired shouts and’ hisses of clans that strive for their respective favorites, and’ choice waits impatient on a signal to desert its real favorite for the ranks of the winning chief. And this body of politicians who hope by electing their candidate for the presidency to elect themselves to a share of his patronage, this body which is spurious from its earliest conception in a ward-meeting to its expiring resolve, would cozen the people again and again with oaths of reform. Reform, indeed! Will it reform itself out of existence? When votes are not sought for the maintenance of a principle, what other motive can explain the zeal, the expense, the labor with which they are solicited? Not the excellence of candidates, since candidates are never chosen for their excellence, but for their availability in pushing the ends of party; not the enthusiasm of the party’s rank and file, which are apathetic until up-roused by the appeals of interested leaders who urge on the canvass. What then but greed for place, power, perquisites?—the fenris wolf whose jaws it is the first duty of reform to gag and split asunder! Reform, therefore, is impossible by parties so long as they exist in their present organizations, and the civil service of the country is labelled with the motto: “To the victors belong the spoils.”

jacksonspoils To The Victors Belong The Spoils:

In this service are thousands of offices that have no relation to questions of civil polity. The assessment and collection of taxes, the stamping of money, award of patents, distribution of mails, arrest, prosecution and punishment of criminals, are simply wheels and bands in the machinery of government, and should move the same under all changes of administration. As well dismiss all notaries public, or teachers of public schools, or officers of the army with every turn of an election as the persons engaged in this equally routine work. Yet, however faithful and expert, they must retire when another party than that to which they belong marches into possession of the nation’s offices, for “to the victors belong the spoils.” Even while in office they hang there on the pleasure of their patron, and may be cut off at any hour; competency counts for nothing unless it be competency to further his schemes. Flunkeyism is the most profitable type of character. Salaries are paid less for service to the country than for service against it. These salaries are then docked by the dispensers of patronage, who chastise complaint with forfeiture of the office itself; and so the nation’s work is neglected, her interests betrayed, her revenues squandered, her industry stricken prone that “to the victors may belong the spoils.”

Said one high in position, who lost his official hand by thrusting it into this soul-grinding machine to check some of its operations: “No sooner is a man in place than his rivals or enemies are on his track, ready to prove that he was the most unfit person that could be chosen, and that the party will be utterly demoralized if he is not instantly removed and his place given to another. If a month or two were all that is wasted in this employment it would be bad enough; but the truth is, that by far the larger part of the time of the president and all the members of his cabinet is occupied by this worse than useless drudgery during the whole term of his office, and it forms literally and absolutely the staple of their work. It is, therefore, no figure of speech to say that administering the government means the distribution of its offices, and that its diplomacy, finance, military, naval and internal administration are the minor affairs which the settled policy of the country has relegated to such odds and ends )f time as may be snatched from the greater cares of office.” —Hon. J. D. Cox.

Think you then that a party, of its own free will and accord, will surrender the hope of these spoils so dear, which hope alone holds it together from commander-in-chief down to the corporal of the curbstone who drums up recruits with a dram of whiskey? No. Never will that hope be surrendered except at, the demand of the people breaking loose from party and bent on deliverance from wrongs which have been suffered until they become insufferable. And the man who leads that uprising to victory, will save the republic from a greater peril than threatened its life in civil war. Has the hour come, and the man?

JeffersonTyrannyAnother Danger To Democracy:

But there is another danger to Democracy. The country has grown rich with almost magic suddenness. Its great extent of soil, inexhaustible mineral resources, universal opportunity of profitable labor, together with the rapid influx of population which these attract, have made the pursuit of wealth a mania.

It is as if money had been showering from the sky, and men had postponed all other thought than to pick up a fortune before the miracle was over. Thus, the very ease with which the republic prospered has been an injury to its permanent welfare; since that ease gave quiet to patriotism and excited avarice. As a result avarice is to-day the ruling passion of Americans. More with us than with any other nation does money regulate the scale of society. Money is our rank, our morality; in the hand hushes all inquest as to how it was got—commands like omnipotence. In our haste to be rich honest work for moderate wages is despised. Speculation runs mad. The activity of commerce exceeds its material. Values are fictitious and fluctuate every hour. Business gambles in contingencies and banks heavily on the future. Mutual sense of risk in all transactions tenders off-hand compromise to debt, and, debt freed from its awe of obligation rushes into extravagance; and extravagance is the quicksand where through contracts made not to be kept, mendacity, disregard of the rights of others, manhood, sinks towards utter loss of self-respect, at once its death and burial. But self-respect is the very spirit of democracy, and the spirit gone, nothing remains but the rule of the mob; insanest of tyrannies! Again, out of our haste to be rich have risen numerous corporations which mass the capital of many in one giant stock with a giant’s grasp. By such combinations the evils of individual avarice are aggravated. Division of responsibility among the members of a board and the impersonal nature of their operations renders them more unscrupulous and fearless than they each would be in a solitary enterprise. Having no existence but for money-making, the corporation regards all other existence from that stand-point. Soulless itself, it is without faculty to recognize the soul. It looks upon laws as commodities and those who enact and execute them as commission-brokers. Life, labor, commerce, art, politics and religion seem to it various phases of a melee whose prizes are for the strongest, and the corporation is the strongest. Individuals must die, corporations may be perpetual. Individual estates must dissolve and mingle again with the current wealth; the estates of corporations may stay entire and increase age after age. Already among us are some of these giants, yet in their youth, that own cities, hold liens on States, step off their acreage to the width of a continent and wear county-courts, common councils, legislatures and congress on their ring fingers. Compare their bold predatory course with the halt and blind policy of the parties which have charge of our institutions and answer if their continued aggrandizement does not bode ill to democracy.

cartoon-acron-voter-fraudA More Serious Danger Yet:

But there is a more serious danger yet. Old parties may corrupt, but their corruption is decay, and from that decay new parties will spring into life; corporations, while buying  special legislation, aid in developing the wealth of the country and are sure to incur popular wrath whenever their exorbitancies gall—provided the ballot remains pure and efficient. It is by the ballot that the people think, repent, resolve, and carry their, mind into conduct. They may think slowly, but by errors they will at last learn truth; they may repent late, but the later the repentance the sorer the conscious need of reform; they may hesitate long to act, but the hesitation sharpens the exigency that will spur them to swifter and more irresistible action when they start. Thus the ballot may educate them through evil into habits of forethought, of vigilance, of prompt exertion. But without purity and efficiency the ballot is worse than useless—it is an imposition. The people do not govern themselves, but are governed by unknown usurpers. Safer a Caesar crowned for services to the state, or the weak heir of a name constrained by the glare of a kingdom’s eyes—

“That fierce light which beats upon a throne,
And blackens every blot—”

Than these despots of the dark. What the ark was to Israel the ballot should be to the American people, and their love of liberty should act like a divine presence to palsy the hand that profanes it. Nor is such profanation menaced, as some apprehend, chiefly by ignorance. Ignorance may be reverent and cautious as well as rash. Besides, who are the ignorant of a nation? Capitalists are ignorant as well as workingmen. Students of one branch of knowledge are ignorant of many other branches. The most learned think of themselves as learners still. There are no standard textbooks of government, acquaintance with which may be demanded as a necessary qualification for suffrage, nor is any distinction valid between those who hold different theories of government and those who hold no theory at all. It was Milton who rebuked the grammarian, and said: “Whosoever he be, though from among the dregs of the common people, that you are so keen upon, whosoever, I say, has sucked in this principle, that he was not born for his prince but for God and his country—he deserves the reputation of a learned and an honest and a wise man more, and is of greater use in the world, than yourself.” Moreover in the people wise and unwise are mixed together, and the difference between them melts away with time. The philosophy of one generation is the proverb of the next. Before Adam Smith had been dead a century there was a realm of Adam Smiths. A word of fire went forth from a private citizen of Boston, and a score of years afterwards, he heard its effect in the cannonade of armies and the clank of a million falling chains.

No, the danger to democracy is not so much in ignorance as in indifference. The poor man loves his franchise for the sense of equality with the richest which it confers, and the villain is as sure to vote as a hawker to cry his wares. It is the men of culture who least esteem the privilege and therefore are most apt to neglect it. They feel degraded in an occupation which cheapens their culture to a par with boorishness and venality. Considering themselves the few, and the base and unlettered the many, they think of the rule of the majority as inevitably a rule of ignorance and vice— the inversion of social order. And their despondency would be reasonable, their indifference blameless, if the functions and duties of the ballot were confined to the mere depositing of votes. But the ballot includes all the mental and moral forces that enlighten the judgment and influence the will of the voters. In that work the few are not necessarily a minority; intelligence has sway equal to its worth, and character is more than a multitude. Howbeit, character needs time to count itself. The fool can say his folly in a minute, but the speech of understanding is slow. By acting on these principles in certain crises of state, character has demonstrated its supremacy. But why wait for crises to do what might be better done and with less fatigue by steady work? Is it because such work seems a disproportionate task for the few? Nature everywhere joins rare responsibility to rare endowments. The most favored citizens are by their very condition detailed to stand guard for the rest. They must watch while others sleep. Tyranny is an insidious thing, and it is for them to detect its crawl in the slightest abuse and transfix the snake before it raises its head to strike.

political-plunderBaffle The Hope Of Plunder:

When majorities begin to corrupt, they should be the first to revolt, and by concerted action baffle the hope of plunder and confuse the discipline of party. The wretch who interferes with the ballot they should lynch with their scorn as one who had attempted to garrote Liberty herself for debauchment.

Gentlemen, churchmen, does your conscience acknowledge the high obligation? Then, as men of conscience, to your duty. The dilettantism that pleads refinement in a neglect of duty is cowardice, as mean a vice as any that begrimes the riff-raff it would shun. “Wherever citizens meet to discuss public interests, you should be seen and heard and felt. Wherever place-hunters plot in caucus against the commonwealth you should not shrink from going to spy out their mischief that it may be brought to judgment. Least of all can you afford to countenance or even seem to wink at the pettiest falsehood, or fraud, or meddling with the perfect candor of the people’s choice. And when the hour of darkness falls and men’s hearts are failing them for fear—who, if not you, shall be the forlorn hope of the republic and rally its discouraged forces? Liberty has many sons and loves them all; but some know her only by the look of cheer that blesses their toil, and others by the hand-clasp that has led them into opportunities of wealth and honor; and others by her sentinel step around the altar-places of the soul, its love of truth and freedom of worship; while to a few she has confided her whole heart, her good intentions to men, and anxiety lest men should mar their fulfillment by distrust, and all her lifelong dream of a perfect race. Who of these sons should love her most? And if these who should love most because most trusted with love, betray, is there any treason that can be likened to their treachery?

Such are some of the most serious dangers that confront American democracy in its hundredth year. Doubtless they have been precipitated and made worse by the war through which it has recently passed. All war is savagery, and to prosecute war, civilization must forget its moral achievements and return to the instincts of the forest and jungle. However righteous the aim of a war, in the fury of strife, it is remembered only to license these instincts which, as soon as let slip, speed to havoc. Since, not the army only, but the whole people fight, we may expect, if the fight is protracted, that the savage instincts of the people will run so wild that morality cannot readily call them back into leash. Ferocity, deceit and lust of pillage having survived the occasion that allowed them, will henceforth seek their prey by the stratagems of peace. Defects of government they will take to for cover and follow the scent of an evil tendency as a jackal noses out distant carrion. Thus, while the late war revealed the nation’s strength, it likewise revealed or prepared the revelation of the nation’s weakness. That strength is the devotion of the masses to the great ideas embodied in our constitution; that weakness is the ease with which the masses are duped by a catch-word of party to intrust their government to men who filch its treasures or waste them in subsidizing corporations which grow fat only to want more, and which in order to get all they want would rob the people of their last liberty, a state of things already so bad that the better class of citizens have begun to lose heart, and by despondency are abetting the evil they deplore. Nevertheless, melancholy as the situation is, I see no cause to despair. The weakness of Democracy seems to me the weakness of strength. Dangers beset all governments and will beset them until men are perfect, and then government shall no longer be needed.

We are not in the millennium that we should throw up our hands at sight of wrong and marvel how it chanced here. Our world is thick with wrongs, and out of them government is to be built the best it may, so placing the tendency of one wrong against the tendency of another as to make, if possible, a fair proportion and a staunch support like the stones of an arch. The only question is, have we the architect in Democracy? I believe we have. I believe that the pressure of abuses will render the people more compact. Resistance, even now, is getting dense among us; parties do not hold the elements of it apart as hitherto. There are enough who desire reform to compel it if they were only pressed into unity of action. The pressure will come, and, with it, the reform.

Moreover a new power has just appeared among the people and reinforced their wisdom and will. It is the independent press. Until yesterday the daily press was the mouthpiece of party. Living on patronage it had to fawn. But wealth gives independence, and thus it happens that the ablest and most extensively read newspapers are those which have broken their alliance with party. They stand apart, unsparing critics of mischievous legislation and malfeasance of office. Parties dread their censure, and to corrupt politicians it is worse than indictment. Their eye is everywhere and their voice fills the land. Many an official whose crime is still secret, sleeps uncomfortably in the fear that some morning he will wake up to hear them shouting his name from city to city with a curse. They may yet prove the people’s trump of doom.

All in all, the republic has reason to be proud of its hundred years. For a hundred years the test of democracy, in spite of drawbacks and dangers, has been favorable. For a hundred years it has shown as much discretion as have contemporary monarchies in dealing with social problems. For a hundred years, with now and then a financial famine such as visits all governments alike, it has rivaled the richest empires in prosperity. And should the outward form of it perish at sunset of this anniversary, the example of democracy working out a hundred years of such order, energy, accumulation of wealth, and union of diverse interests in fealty to a sublime moral sentiment, has spoiled the race for any other form of government. It has insured beyond doubt that though in the end it should fail here, the experiment will be tried elsewhere, and until by an education of trials men have learned to maintain their own and respect each other’s rights.

But I cannot suffer myself to think of failure. The day forbids it, and points to good omens under the cloud. The republic is more closely knit than ever before. The wound of sectional war is well nigh healed. The flowers that fall on graves every spring from hands impartial to the blue and the gray, are flowers of a common hope that our country’s springtime may abound more and more to a far summer. Side by side, the North and South face the future and look into it with the same desire, and shall march against its dangers, and I trust through them with linked pace.

Best sign of all, as it were horses and chariots of fire round about, are the schools of every rural precinct and village and city where the children of rich and poor, cultured and ignorant meet together and by associations as well as by study learn to rule themselves as equal and free and one. Self-preserved by thus training her generations ever to purer and wiser patriotism, may the republic live to celebrate her Century of Centuries.

See also: The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation
Wide Spread And Growing Corruption In The Public Service Of The States And Nation
Open letter to Speaker Boehner and Republican party
Tea Party Crimes & Sins?
Open Letter to ALL Politicians and Bureaucrats, we’re coming for you
A message for our elected representatives
Liberals and celebrity endorsements
THE COST OF POPULAR LIBERTY by Brooks Adams July 4th 1876
THE POWER OF HISTORY by Horatio Seymour (1810–1886)
DANIEL WEBSTER AND OUR AMERICAN FLAG
WHAT HISTORY TEACHES US ABOUT AMERICAN DIPLOMACY Addressed in 1876
BENEFITS OF THE REPUBLICAN EXPERIMENT IN AMERICA by Thomas G. Alvord 1810- 1897
THE HAND OF GOD IN AMERICAN HISTORY by Rev Morgan Dix July 4th 1876 NYC
 THE DESTINY OF THE REPUBLIC by Lewis W. Clark 1876 New Hampshire
The Practical Advance Of Human Freedom Under The Trumpet Call Made In 1776 by Charles F Adams
THE SOURCE AND SECURITY OF AMERICAN FREEDOM AND PROGRESS by Courtlandt Parker 1876

A RESUME OF AMERICAN HISTORY by Lawrence A. Gobright , Esq., (1816-1881)

A RESUME OF AMERICAN HISTORY, An Oration by Lawrence A. Gobright , Esq., (1816-1881) Delivered At  Washington D.C., (Ford’s Opera House),  July 4th, 1876.

Ladies And Gentlemen, Fellow-members Of The Oldest Inhabitants Association, And Soldiers Of The War Of 1812:— Time was with some of us when on the Fourth of July revolutionary soldiers adorned the platform, and were objects of curiosity, but they have all passed away, leaving their works as our inheritance. At first they fought for their rights as British subjects, but these being denied, the Continental Congress in 1776 meditated a separation from British rule, and on the 7th of June, Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, introduced the following resolution:

Resolved that these united Colonies are, and of right ought to be. free and independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Before the final discussion a committee, consisting of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert C. Livingston, was appointed to draft a Declaration of Independence. The Declaration having been reported to Congress by the committee, the resolution itself was taken up and debated on the first day of July, and again on the 2nd, on which latter day it was agreed to and adopted. Having thus passed the main resolution, Congress proceeded to consider the reported draft of the Declaration. It was discussed on the second, third, and fourth days of the month, and on the last of those days received the final approbation and sanction of Congress. It was ordered at the same time that copies be sent to the several States, and that it be proclaimed at the head of the army. The Declaration thus published did not bear the names of the members, for as yet it had not been signed by them. It was authenticated, like other papers of the Congress, by the signatures of the President and the Secretary. On the 19th of July, as appears by the Secret Journal, Congress resolved that the Declaration passed on the 4th be fairly engrossed on parchment, with the title and style of “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America,” and the same, when engrossed, be signed by every member of Congress; and the 2nd day of August following, the Declaration being engrossed and compared with the original, was signed by the members.

Absent members afterwards signed as they came in, and it bears the names of some who were not chosen members of Congress until after the 4th of July.

We must be unanimous,” said Hancock; “there must be no pulling different ways; we must all hang together.” “Yes.” replied Franklin, “we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.

On the 9th of July Washington caused the Declaration to be read at the head of each brigade of the army, “The General hopes,” he said in his orders, “that this important event will serve as a fresh incentive to every officer and soldier to act with fidelity, as knowing that now the peace and safety of the country depend, under God, solely on the success of our arms, and that he is now in the service of a State possessed of sufficient power to reward his merit and advance him to the highest honors of a free country.

The people of the City of New York not only indulged themselves in the usual demonstrations of joy by the ringing of bells and the like, but also concluded that the leaden statue of his Majesty, George the Third, in the Bowling Green, might now be turned to good account. They therefore pulled down the statue, and the lead was run into bullets for the good cause.

Everywhere throughout the country the Declaration was hailed with joy. Processions were formed, bells were rung, cannon fired, orations delivered, and in every practicable way the popular approbation was manifested.

The causes which led to the Revolutionary War are sufficiently set forth in the Declaration of Independence, which has just been read in your hearing, and therefore need no elaboration. The result of the conflict is stated in the treaty of peace—1783— in which his Majesty the King of Great Britain acknowledges the American Colonies as free, sovereign, and independent States; “treats with them as such for himself, his heirs, and successors, and relinquishes all claims to the Government, proprietary and territorial rights of the same, and any part thereof.” After coming through the night of the Revolution,

“Our ancestors, with Joy, beheld’  the rays of freedom pour
O’er every nation, race, and clime—on every sea and shore;
Such glories as the patriarch viewed, when, ‘mid the darkest skies,
He saw, above a ruined world, the bow of promise rise.”

With a view of maintaining the Declaration of Independence a resolution was passed making an appropriation to the committee of safety for a supply of gun flints for the troops at New York, and the secret committee were instructed to “order the gun flints belonging to the continent and then at Rhode Island, to the commanding general at New York.” An agent was also sent to Orange county, New York, for a supply of flint-stone, and a board was empowered to “employ such number of men as they should think necessary to manufacture flints for the continent.”

Additional measures were also taken to arm the militia, provide flying camps, and to procure lead, to build ships, make powder, to manufacture cannon and small arms, and provide generally for vigorous warfare.

washington-prayerColonel Washington had been appointed Commander-in-chief of the American forces in June, 1775, by the unanimous voice of the colonies. In accepting the trust, he declared, “with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command with which I am honored.” His modesty, perhaps, gentlemen, would not suit the fashion of the present time.

It is necessary merely to allude to the present appliances of war in contrast with the means then accessible, namely, the monster cannon; the giant powder, with shot and shell in proportion to the explosive power; the mailed ship, propelled by steam; the perfected rifle, with its percussion caps and longer range than the musket, and no anxiety about a plentiful supply of flints, such as exercised our patriotic sires.

american-eagle-and-flagEver since 1776 the subject of the Declaration has afforded fourth of July orators an opportunity to glorify the Eagle as the symbol of America.

You have often been told of the victory of this same American eagle over the British Lion, in a kind of allegorical description. But this was more poetic than historic. In the common-sense moments of the youngest as well as of the “oldest inhabitants,” we should not think the contest between two such forces exactly equal!

Tobias Smollett, the English novelist, reconciles the Lion with the Eagle thus:

Thy spirit Independence let me share,
Lord of the Lion heart and Eagle eye.
Thy steps I follow with my bosom bare,
Nor heed the storm that howls along the sky.

EagleThe eagle, no matter what may be said of his predatory habits, and of the scriptural expression that “where the carcass is there will the eagle be gathered together,” triumphs. He is seen on the buttons of our warriors, on our coin, and the seal of the United States, the last-named designed by a committee consisting of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Wilson, the American ornithologist, says of the bird: “Formed by nature for braving the severest cold, feeding equally on the produce of the sea and of the land, possessing powers of flight capable of outstripping even the tempests themselves, unawed by anything but man, and from the ethereal heights from which he soars, looking abroad at one glance on an immeasurable expanse of forests, fields, lakes, and ocean deep below him, he appears indifferent to the localities of change of seasons, as in a few minutes he can pass from summer to winter, from the lower to the higher regions of the atmosphere, and thence descend at will to the arctic, the abode of eternal cold, or to the torrid regions of the earth.

EVO-WWI-064-01060
Gentlemen, our Government has such veneration for the proud bird that it has three fine live specimens in our own Franklin Square, in a cage for public admiration! The eagle is one of our institutions, and therefore has our enforced respect.

UniteOrDieThe eagle, however, was not the only symbol recognized by our ancestors. The rattlesnake was displayed on many of their banners. One of the arrangements was a rattlesnake divided in thirteen parts, with the initial letters of the colonies to each, and the motto “Unite or Die!” And another, the rattlesnake, in the act of striking, the motto being, “Don’t tread on me!” The rattles were thirteen in number. This device, stranger than that of ” Excelsior,“was a favorite with the colonists, and was meant to signify retaliation for the wrong upon America:

“The snake was ready with his rattle.
To warning give of coming battle.”

DontTreadOnMeSomething may here be said about the American flag, the one that has taken the place of all others. It was not till the 14th of June, 1777, that the design of the flag was formally adopted by the Continental Congress, although it is said a similar flag flew over the headquarters at Cambridge more than a year before that time. The act of Congress thus described it: “The flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, the Union thirteen stars, white, in a blue field, representing a new constellation.

dont_tread_me_flagThis continued to be the flag until two new States were admitted into the Union, namely, Vermont, in March, 1791, and . Kentucky, in June, 1792, when Congress passed an act, June 13, 1794, making an alteration in the flag, which provided that from and after the first day of May, 1795, the flag of the United States shall be fifteen stripes, with fifteen stars. There seems to have been no further agitation of the subject until 1816, when a bill was introduced making another alteration in the flag. The number of stripes were restored to thirteen, the stars to correspond to the number of States in the Union, a new star to be added to the flag whenever a new State should be admitted, the star to be placed there on the 4th day of July thereafter.

Among the reasons for altering the flag was that “There was a prospect at no distant period that the number of States would be considerably multiplied, and this rendered it highly inexpedient to increase the number of stripes on each flag, which must be limited in size.” As a consequence of this arrangement we have now thirty-seven stars, with room for many more on the azure field; and additional brightness will be added this centennial year to our constellation by the silver beams of Colorado.

This flag has for it century “braved the battle and the breeze;”
A blazing light upon the land, a beacon on seas.

It would be a mistake to suppose that our forefathers conquered Great Britain. The question might be put in this way: Great Britain did not conquer them. She found, after experience, that, having to transport, at enormous expense, large bodies of troops across the ocean—three thousand miles, in sailing vessels—was very unprofitable, as they did not accomplish the desired object, namely, the subjugation of the Colonists, who, of determined spirit, and having resolved to be free and independent of British rule, were not to be frightened from their patriotic purpose by coats of red, typical of the fire that boomed from their unfriendly cannon, and, besides, Holland having joined the belligerents against England, and England having been humiliated by the crowning battle of the contest—the surrender of Cornwallis—she departed from our soil, leaving the Colonists in full possession.

bald_eagle_in_flight_denali_national_park_alaskaIt was not until 1789 that the General or Federal Government went into full operation. At that time the population was supposed to be three millions, but in the eighty-seven years past it has, from various causes, increased to forty millions. The American eagle, which could fly over our original country without stopping to drink or to rest, finds that he cannot now without frequent stoppages on his course for refreshments, owing to enlarged limits, accomplish the distance from ocean to ocean without complaining, in his own natural way, of a weary wing.

A hundred years ago the people never thought of railroads, the steam engine and the electric telegraph—those great revolutionizes in everything that pertains to individual and national comfort—or if they did, there is no record of the fact. The traveling was on horseback, in gigs, and wagons, and carryalls, and sailing vessels, and row boats. And think: the time between England and America was from six weeks to two months, the duration of the voyage depending upon the state of the weather and the temper of the sea. Steam now propels the magnificent steamer across the Atlantic in eight or nine days— 3,000 miles—and the same distance is traveled from Washington to the Pacific Ocean, by railroad, in seven days. An experimental trip recently showed that the journey from New York to San Francisco could be made in eighty-three hours and thirtyfour minutes, or at the rate of one thousand miles a day! And, instead of waiting for weeks or months to receive intelligence from remote parts of our own country, and the world at large, the path of the subtle fluid, electricity, affords an instantaneous means of intercommunication, and thus annihilates space!

DoIIf our Revolutionary sires could reappear on earth, and see these wondrous things, together with the results of inventive genius, and progression in the arts and sciences, their expressions of surprise would be equal to, if they did not exceed, those of the hero of the Catskill mountains—but in a more agreeable sense—when he awoke from his long slumber, to be startled by the actual changes which meanwhile had taken place! We ourselves can scarcely realize the growth of the infant Republic, from its cradle in Independence Hall to the present time, when it stands forth in the pride of manhood with unconquerable strength!

It may here be appropriately mentioned that the first voyage across the Atlantic in a steam vessel was performed by the steamship Savannah in 1819. She was built in New York the year previous. On nearing Liverpool she was discerned from a lookout, and, as nothing of that kind had been seen there before, supposing a ship was on fire, one of the King’s cruisers was sent to her relief.

An item of the past will not be uninteresting in connection with the subject of locomotion. The Pennsylvania Gazette, of Philadelphia, January 3, 1776, had the “latest dates,” namely: ten days from Boston, and five days from New York. The “freshest” foreign dates from London were sixty days old, and these contained “an humble address of the House of Commons to the King,” in which they say:

No other use has been made of the moderation and forbearance of your Majesty and your Parliament but to strengthen the preparations of this desperate conspiracy, and that the rebellious war now levied is become more general, and manifestly carried on for the purpose of establishing an independent empire; and we hope and trust that we shall, by the blessing of God, put such strength and force into your Majesty’s hands as may soon defeat and suppress this rebellion, and enable your Majesty to accomplish your gracious wish of restoring order tranquility, and happiness through all the parts of your united empire.

The King graciously returned his fervent thanks for this loyal address, saying: “I promise myself the most happy consequences from the dutiful and affectionate assurances of the support of my faithful Commons on this great and important conjuncture, and I have a firm confidence that by the blessing of God and the justice of the cause, and by the assistance of my Parliament, I shall be enabled to suppress this dangerous rebellion, and to attain the most desirable end of restoring my subjects in America to the free and happy condition and to the peace and prosperity which they enjoyed in their constitutional dependence before the breaking out of these unhappy disorders.

The King and Commons not being as successful as they anticipated, his Majesty sent to this country Admiral Viscount Howe and General William Howe, general of his Majesty’s forces, as a commissioner in the interests of peace, and it is somewhat singular that their flag-ship bore the name of our national symbol the Eagle(1)—off the coast of the Province of Massachusetts. He declared the purpose of the King “to deliver all his subjects from the calamities of war and other oppressions they now undergo, and restore the colonies to peace;” and he was authorized by the King to “grant his free and general pardon to all those who in the tumult and disorders of the times may have deviated from their first allegiance, and who are willing by a speedy return to their duty to reap the benefits of the royal favor.”

But the Colonists or “conspirators” were not desirous of thus “reaping.” The seed they had themselves sown was to mature to a more precious harvest. They turned their plowshares into swords, and their pruning-hooks into spears, with the result of a fruitage beneficial to all mankind!

JohnQuincyAdamsJohn Quincy Adams, in his oration delivered July 4, 1831, said “Frederick the First of Brunswick constituted himself King of Prussia, by putting a crown upon his own head. Napoleon Bonaparte invested his brows with the crown of Lombardy, and declared himself King of Italy. The Declaration of Independence was the crown with which the people of united America, rising in gigantic stature as one man, encircled their brows, and there it remains. There, long as this globe shall be inhabited by human beings, may it remain a crown of imperishable glory.”

My friends, it is a solemn truth that there is not now on earth an intelligent person who lived on the Fourth of July, 1776. We read of the heroic struggles of the Continental army; their want of discipline and poverty, and the scarcity of money with which to purchase the needed supplies, and of the many sacrifices they made in the cause to which the best men that ever lived consecrated their lives and fortunes, and all else they held’ dear of ease and comfort; men who set the world an example in the straggle for freedom, which they eventually established. Their Constitution and the laws they passed to put it into operation attest their wisdom and the knowledge of the needs of the people in their new condition.

My friends, in what condition will our country be one hundred years hence?—the fourth of July, 1976? Will the same form of government we now have be preserved? Will it afford the same protection of personal freedom, property and human rights? Will the proud banner still wave over a united and prosperous people V These are questions to be answered by succeeding generations. If they are true to the teachings and examples of our Revolutionary sires the Republic will endure. If not, than the bright, and we might say this haughty Republic will pass into history with that of Rome, and for similar causes. There can be no republic that is not founded on the virtue, intelligence, and assent of the people. Enforced government belongs to tyranny.

We have additional cause of rejoicing in the fact, that, although national encounters have cursed the world ever since nations have had an existence, there is now no war between any nations. This is an era of peace. Even the oldest nations, including China and Japan, and others of the East, come will those of Europe to the happy centennial greeting. They bring with them, to exhibit near our own, their useful and ornamental products; all compatible with peace, and calculated to stimulate a beneficial rivalry.

Not far from where we are assembled lie the ashes of one whose character the entire world admires.

His name is seldom heard, excepting when it is uttered to designate the city which he founded. There was a time when it was more publicly honored than it is now; but still his memory is cherished by many patriotic hearts. Whatever may be the mutations in public affairs—whosoever may, for the time being, occupy the larger share of public attention, either as a warrior or as a statesman, the name of Washington, with its patriotic associations, will always be precious to the lover of liberty. But, alas! his teachings are too often disregarded, and we have not yet completed the monument to his memory. We may, however, without a dissenting voice, on this Centennial day, the first that we have seen, and the last that We shall ever see, recall a few words from his Farewell Address, although it was written eighty years ago. He said:

The unity of government which constitutes us one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence; the support of your tranquility at home, and your peace abroad; of your safety, of your prosperity;- of that very liberty which you so highly prize.

And the Father of his Country further advised “his friends and fellow-citizens” to “indignantly frown upon the first dawning of every attempt, to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

He counseled: “Towards the preservation of your Government and the permanency of your present happy State, it is requisite not only that you steadily discountenance irregular opposition to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretext.

And again: “It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free government . Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric. Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.”

US flag and bible crossMy friends, let us cherish the heavenly principle of “Peace on earth, good will to man,” and by word and example endeavor to cultivate in the hearts of those who are taking our places in the active scenes of life a love for law and liberty—a respect for the institutions of others, while preferring our own— and the enforcement of the duty of elevating the best men only to office, those who will see that the Republic suffers no detriment, for the acts of the public agent should be the reflex of the will of the constituency. A few should not plunder the many. To permit such practices is to sanction them. And let all wrongdoers be punished either by public opinion or by the criminal court, and public agents remember that the Government is for the people and not for themselves.

It was said aforetime, “Power is always stealing from the many to the few;” therefore if we would continue free we must guard against every encroachment on our liberties. And then there can be no doubt the Republic will endure, strengthened in population with the corresponding prosperity, presenting an example to the world at large for emulation, and conferring the richest blessings on the entire human race!

Footnote (1)  September 7, 1776 – Turtle Sinks Eagle
In the wee hours of the morning in New York Harbor, an explosion tore through the hull of the HMS Eagle, Admiral Richard Howe’s flagship. Though carpenters and crew rushed to save the vessel, it sank, carrying twenty-five men with it while the rest fled to shore and nearby ships. The British suspected an accident with the stored gunpowder, but two more explosions sank ships the next night. Eventually word came from old notes provided by a Loyalist spy that the Americans had a sort of “sub-marine” attack ship.
The Turtle had been invented by the young Yale student David Bushnell. While a freshman, he had begun experiments with underwater explosives, proving that gunpowder exploded underwater. He sought help from Isaac Doolittle, a New Haven clockmaker, and created the first time bomb. To implement the explosive on the hulls of ships, Bushnell designed a boat that could dive under the water. Something like an upturned clam, the one-man boat was made of two steel-reinforced wooden shells covered in tar. A hand pump and bilge tank allowed the intake and expulsion of water, thus increasing or decreasing the density of the craft and allowing it to sink. Six small windows allowed for bearings along with a compass lit by the bio luminescence of foxfire from fungus on cork.
Called the Turtle, the boat was manned by Sergeant Ezra Lee, who would later become part of Washington’s secret service. Dodging the iron plate at the Eagle’s rudder, Lee was able to secure the bomb and sneak away before spotted by soldiers. As the watch increased around the panicked British fleet, the Turtle was too easily discovered, so Washington set Bushnell on the task of improvements. The general referred to the craft as “an effort of genius” that had much promise for the future.
See also: Patrick Henry Lion of Liberty! greatest American Statesman
Founders & forefathers pledged their Sacred Honor, what did they mean?
THE POWER OF HISTORY by Horatio Seymour (1810–1886)
RISE OF CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY by Dr. Richard Salter Storrs July 4 1876
Christianity and the Founding of the United States the Simple Truth
The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation
Wide Spread And Growing Corruption In The Public Service Of The States And Nation
THE FIRST CENTURY OF THE REPUBLIC by Judge Isaac W Smith 1876
THE PERPETUITY OF THE REPUBLIC by Joseph Kidder July 4th 1876
Open Letter to ALL Politicians and Bureaucrats, we’re coming for you
THE SOURCE AND SECURITY OF AMERICAN FREEDOM AND PROGRESS by Courtlandt Parker 1876 
THE DESTINY OF THE REPUBLIC by Lewis W. Clark 1876 New Hampshire
THE COST OF POPULAR LIBERTY by Brooks Adams July 4th 1876
The Practical Advance Of Human Freedom Under The Trumpet Call Made In 1776 by Charles F Adams
THE GRAND MISSION OF AMERICA by Joseph H. Twitchell, July 4, 1876
Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English so even Politicians, Lawyers and Bureaucrats can understand)

OUR REPUBLIC! By Jeremiah Taylor at Providence, R. I., July 4th 1876

Power of History2OUR REPUBLIC! An Oration By Rev. Jeremiah Taylor, D. D., Delivered At Providence, Rhode Island, July 4th, 1876, At The Planting Of A Centennial Tree In Roger William’s Park.

Mr. President, Ladies, Gentlemen, Youth And Children: A German schoolmaster once said, “Whenever I enter my schoolroom, I remove my hat and bow with reverence, for there I meet the future dignitaries of my country.” Standing as we do this hour upon the high places of national prosperity and joining with the forty millions of people, the inhabitants of our proud and grateful country in this centennial celebration, the future outlook is awe-inspiring. To us as to him of old, who beheld the bush burning, yet not consumed, there comes the admonition, that we are standing in the presence of the high and the holy. In the order of the exercises which the committee have arranged for this day’s work among us, I am impressed that each department illustrates well some grand historic fact, or enunciates some underlying principle which has built and which must conserve this Republic.

You will have observed that the celebration began by a military and civic procession which, after winding through some of the principal streets of the city, brought up at the venerable “meeting house,” which is older than the nation, and has stood all these years blessing the people, and there combined with the services of religion and the reading of the Declaration of Independence and the address of eloquence.

WeThePeopleWhat better picture of the state of tilings one hundred years ago, when stirred with eloquence as the fire of patriotism burned bright and all consuming, men rushed to their altars for divine guidance, and then to their implements of war, to conquer or die. “A civic and military procession!” just that was the army of the Revolution springing up from field and workshop and all trades and professions wherever a hero might be found and the sacred cause moved him. Next in order to-day came the grand Trades Procession; symbolizing the prosperity of the country during a century of life and industry, and what nation under the whole heaven, can exhibit such a growth in a century as we do to-day, in all these things which constitute the strength and glory of a free people?

The third act in the scene of this pageantry is the one passing here, in which the children and the youth are so largely represented; from whose ranks are to arise the men and the women of the future. Yes, here we stand in the presence of the nation that is to be. There is a meaning, too, in the regatta appointed for the silent hours of incoming evening upon the quiet waters of the Seekonk That old stream that has played so important a part in ages gone as well as now; that yielded her bosom just as readily when furrowed by the canoe of the red man before civilized life began, as now it endures all the wantoness and sport of the trained sons of Brown. For shall we not see in the struggles of the boat race the intensified energy and stimulated purpose exemplified which must constitute the warp and woof in the great business life of the future?

That nation only has a future among the centuries that shall be worthy of record, which employs all her skill and well-directed enterprise to keep fully abreast of all the questions that bear upon human weal, and, when rightly solved, bless mankind to the last degree. We want the bone, the muscle, the sinew capable of hardly endurance, not less than the well-trained thought and sterling virtue for future use. The old Republic, weakened by effeminacy, perished. May God save us from such an unhonored grave!

Portrait_of_George_WashingtonIt will be seen then from this run along the line of the procession that the morning service had a more special reference to the past; was largely puritanic while this of the afternoon and evening contemplate the future, and are mainly prophetic. Let us catch the inspiration that ought to move us even here and now. I have said this service is future in its bearings. But lest the muse of history should turn away in sorrow, stop a moment before we proceed with that idea. Let us not forget this place is hallowed ground. Go up into the old house which has crowned the brow of the hill for the century past, and which has just been “fixed up” for the century to come. Then walk down to the well of whose pure waters, the Williams family drank from generation to generation, and which when mixed with tea gave such zest to the evening hours in the life of Betsey, to whose noble benefaction it is due we are here in such joyous mood, feeling that we are part owners of these twenty acres, if we hold not a foot of soil outside the Park. Then pass down into the sacred enclosure where the “forefathers of the hamlet sleep,” and read the quaintly lettered story of their life and death. We are sorry that you cannot look upon the face of old Roger himself, the patron saint of all these domains, and whose statue with a face as he ought to have looked when living, will one day appear ready to defy the storms of the open heavens as they may here sweep over the plain. But in the absence of that costly embellishment, walk across yon rustic bridge where you will find the apple tree and Roger Williams in it. But to our theme,—With these children from our public schools, and you, Mr. President representing the Board of Education, before me, how natural to say a few things in regard to education and government. And thus we shall see what the children must be and do to render the future grand—enduring. I have just read the story of the “Blue-eyed Boy,” who peered through the keyhole into the Hall of Independence, saw the venerable men sign the Declaration of Independence, then of his own accord shouted to the bellman to ring forth the joyful tidings, then leaping upon the back of his pony, self-appointed, rode night and day to the camp of General Washington, located in New York, and communicated to him what had been done in Congress, and this two days before the commander-in-chief received his dispatches from the proper authorities. Like that patriotic, heroic boy, we want the children of to-day to herald down the coming ages the great facts and principles of our nation’s life and glory. How can they do it?

We have planted our centennial tree; whether it survives and flourishes, or dies after a few months, depends upon certain established laws in nature. Soil, climate, sunshine and storm are to tell in the one direction or the other. The Republic of of the United States, which to-day wears a matronly brow and bears the wreath of a century, is to abide in honor and flourish in prosperity, or to perish from being a nation under the operation of laws no less fixed and obvious.

betsy_ross_flag1We are probably now passing through the test period of our existence. We have seen the sword cannot devour. The world knows, we know, that our arm of power is strong in defence and protection. The adverse elements which, during the century gone, have at times appeared so fierce and destructive, have only reduced elements of strength. Prosperity is often more dangerous than adversity. When Moab could not conquer ancient Israel on the field of battle, she did so spread her net of enticement as to decoy and imperil her. If we have come through the scourge of the sword strong, who can say that corruption and loss of public virtue shall not mark our ruin? We must educate the young aright, if we are to conserve what we have received and now hold. It has been said, “the chief concern of a State is the education of her children.” As a prime element in this education, we have need to inculcate American ideas of government. This may be quite easy to do with that portion of the young that are born here, and whose blood is Anglo Saxon; without other ingredients, the blood and the birth place both have an important bearing. The Englishman, reared on the other side of the Atlantic, does not easily comprehend the genius of our free institutions, and there noticeably are duller scholars still. The government here is through the people, and of course belongs to the people. I am a part of the nation, and am to my measure of ability responsible for what the national life is. This idea of being a factor in the Republic becomes one of the most potent influences for good; one of the most powerful educators in the land. It was this idea that brought to the field of battle such vast armies to save the government in its last scene of danger, and rendered them so tractable, wise, enduring, brave, where no standing armies existed before. Now whether a man came from China or Ireland, Japan or Germany, the north pole or the south pole, let him understand at the earliest possible period, that he is one of us and owes allegiance to no government but what he helps to constitute. It has been said many a time, that the English debt makes the English government strong—because so many of the people are creditors. Our own government in the late war made the people largely its creditors for a like reason. But the bond of our union is deeper, broader than this, more binding, more sure. It is this, that not only the money is ours, but the honor and prosperity, and the very being of the nation belongs to the people. And allow me to say that our system of popular education is one of the best agencies that can be employed to inculcate, foster and strengthen this idea. Every school in our land made up of a distinct nationality, on a fundamental principle of religion or politics, is fostering a spirit anti-Republican, and fraught with evil to our free institutions.

If any people are so purblind as not to see that we offer to them through our public institutions better educational opportunities than they can transplant here from the Old World, then we beg they will abide under their own vine and fig tree and leave to us and ours, what we so highly prize, and propose to perpetuate. We shall not submit to any foreign domination, whether it be political or ecclesiastical.

There will naturally be connected with this American idea of government, as a second educational element, patriotic fervor. One of the weakest things in the old Ottoman power so shaken just now that indicates its near ruin is a lack of patriotism. Such an emotion as love of country is not found there. The Turk may fight because he is forced to, not because his home, family and native land are dearer to him than life.

The Storming of Stony Point by Alonzo Chappell

The Storming of Stony Point by Alonzo Chappell

It was this patriotic fervor that brought our nation into being, and this must be an important instrumentality in its continuance. Read the closing sentence in that immortal document which one hundred years ago this very day so fired and nerved the people in their great struggle for liberty: “And for the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” Those words were no mere rhetorical flourish, when published. They included all the language could express, and infinitely more than such a declaration ever contained before.

It may be quite easy to frame resolutions and give pledges in times of peace; but the hour when the framers of the Declaration of Independence spoke so boldly and meaningly was when war was at the door and the hand of a most powerful nation was upon the throat of her feebler Colonies.

To pledge life, property, sacred honor then was to have them put in immediate requisition for the imperiled cause.

It meant, as Benjamin Franklin said to John Hancock, as he wrote his bold name and remarked, (1)”We must all hang together. Yes, we must indeed hang together, or else, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” That high-toned sentiment, fearlessly uttered was sustained by sacrifice and intense endurance. Republics are made of youth and let there arise generation after generation of youth, so infused, men of such devotion to the good of the country, and we are safe for the century to come, for all future years while the world standeth; for:

Our country first, their glory and their pride,
Land of their hopes, land where their fathers died,
When in the right they’ll keep her honor bright,
Wherein the wrong they’ll die to set it right.

It was a painful feature of our American life made prominent before the late rebellion, that so many eminent in positions at home, or traveling abroad, affected to despise their birth-right, were ashamed of their country. They claimed to be English rather than Americans, when in foreign lands. And when here on our soil, fostered, honored, had nothing of the national life and spirit about them.

In such an ignoble spirit the rebellion was matured. They were ever decrying their home blessings, and extolling the beauty and bounty of institutions far away. We are thankful that spirit, so vain and silly, so unnatural and obsequious, has been so thoroughly flogged out of the nation. I do not think so big a fool can be found in the entire land, in this day of grace, July 4, 1876, as a man who chanced to be born in our famed country, wishing the lines of life in the beginning had fallen to him in some other place. American citizenship has passed the period of reproach. It challenges the homage of the world. It is set in gems of beauty. It is royal diadem.

In studying the character of the men who became the founders and framers of this Republic, we find they were distinguished for sterling integrity, and so we must see to it that the young, rising up around us, are possessed of the same element of character, if our institutions are to be perpetuated. What we want to-day in our country is men who can be trusted. They are here, no doubt, and will appear and take their place when called for. Gold is good, and we want that, but men more. We have had a decade of sordid sentiment and base practice.

Such a state of things is not unusual after a season of war. Competition was widespread after the Revolution.

hero_of_vincennes1The vile mercenary spirit has invaded all departments of life and influences. The greed of gain, inflamed by a desire for personal gratification, has been too strong for the ordinary barriers of virtue and fair dealing, and what wrecks of character, fortune and life even have appeared as a consequence upon the surface of society. Men who have become insane through lust and gain scruple not at the use of any means which may accomplish their purpose. And so we distrust one another, and wonder if we shall find at the Centennial Exhibition even that noblest work of God, “an honest man.” It is thought by many that the evil is self-corrective, that the appalling depths of iniquity which have been revealed will frighten and compel a hasty retreat on the part of those who have ventured on the perilous extreme. That is not the ordinary law of reform. Reeking corruption does not of itself become a scene of sweetness and beauty. Let us trust in no such vain hope. Rather let the education of the young be the source of cheerful expectation. Train up the children in the ways of integrity. Let it be engraven upon their hearts in the deep-bedded lines of ineffaceable conviction, that righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways though he be rich.

“Ill fares the land to hast’ning; ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay.”

Another important lesson to bo taught our youth is that wealth is not the end, but the means, and so our life ought to be one of well-appointed industry and careful husbandry, whether we be rich or poor.

Harriet Martineau, who has just died at her home in England, after traveling through this country and observing the working of our free institutions, recorded as her deliberate opinion that no calamity could befall an American youth more serious in results than to inherit a large patrimony.

The idea has been so wide spread, that if a man has riches he has attained already the chief end of his being, that an overindulged, useless life, is almost a sure concomitant of inherited wealth; more diligence, less extravagance, should be the watchwords with which to start on the new century. With the very fair show which the benevolent department of the country may make as to-day she unrolls her record of church work at home and abroad, her educational work, with endowed colleges and public libraries, her charities to the poor and the unfortunate, it must yet be apparent that as a people we have not learned how to use wealth aright.

The great industries of the land are depressed. The hands of the laborer are seeking in vain for something to do, and the rich are becoming poor, as a consequence of the recklessness of habits in the modes of earning and spending in the past. The same is true of a liberal education, as of wealth. The youth who, blessed with opportunities for a higher education, must be made to feel that they are carried through the schools, not to be drones in society, fancy men, but that they may contribute to the wisdom, integrity and every virtue in the high places of state and nation.

It is sometimes said that higher education unfits some for business. Send a boy to college and he is good for nothing except in the learned professions. “If this be so, then our educational system needs reorganizing.” The old maxim that knowledge is power, is true, and broad as true. A man will be better fitted to fill any occupation in life for a higher education, if he has been educated aright. Out upon any other theory. Let the people everywhere be made to feel this, as the graduates do honor to their privileges, by meeting the just claim that society has upon them and the questions about graded schools and free colleges will fail to be discussed for want of an opponent.

Our country offers the highest prize for every virtue, all trained talent. It is base, it is mean, it is contemptible, not to be true, noble and good when the way to ascend is so easy; where the people are so ready to crown, and honor him who deserves to wear a crown, and when our free institutions are so deserving of all the support and praise we can bring them.

One word more. This has been a Christian nation during the century past. The great principles of divine truth have been wrought into the foundations and abide in the structure. The Word of God has been our sheet anchor in the past; it must be so in the future. Someone has said “Republicanism and freedom are but mere names for beautiful but impossible abstractions, except in the case of a Christainly, educated people.” Keep this thought in the minds of the young, in all their course of education, and they will rise up to bless the land, and possess her fair and large domain. It was [Alexis] De Tocqueville who said, “He who survives the freedom and dignity of his country, has already lived too long.

May none before us, or in the generations following, live thus long. Our Republic to the end of time.

See also: THE POWER OF HISTORY by Horatio Seymour (1810–1886)
RISE OF CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY by Dr. Richard Salter Storrs July 4 1876
SCORN TO BE SLAVES by Dr. Joseph Warren 1741-1775
THE MARCH OF FREEDOM by Theodore Parker 1810-1860
THE GENIUS OF AMERICA by Hon. Dr. Felix R. Brunot July 4, 1876
Wide Spread And Growing Corruption In The Public Service Of The States And Nation
THE HAND OF GOD IN AMERICAN HISTORY by Rev Morgan Dix July 4th 1876 NYC
A REPUBLIC! A LIVING BREATHING CONSTITUTION DEFINED! by Alphonse De Lamartine 1790-1869
BENEFITS OF THE REPUBLICAN EXPERIMENT IN AMERICA by Thomas G. Alvord 1810- 1897
RestoreTheConstitutionDotCom

THE TRIUMPHS OF THE REPUBLIC! by Hon. Theodore Bacon, New York 1876

RestoreTheConstitutionDotComTHE TRIUMPHS OF THE REPUBLIC! An Oration by Honorable Theodore Bacon, (1834-1900) of Rochester, New York. Delivered At The Centennial Celebration At Palmyra, New York, July 4th, 1876.

The occasion which we commemorate to-day, familiar as it is to us by its annual recurrence—fixed as it is in our national life—is in its very conception distinctive and American. It is not the birth-day of a reigning prince, however beloved; it is not the holiday of a patron saint, however revered; it is simply the the festival of our national existence. Unimaginative as we are, we have impersonated an idea—the idea of nationality; and the festival of that idea, instead of a man or a demi-god, we celebrate to-day.

And we do right to celebrate it. The fact of this national existence is a great fact. The act which first declared the nation’s right to exist was a great act—a brave act. If it was not indeed, as we have been ready enough to assert, a pivotal epoch in the world’s history, it was beyond question a decisive event in our own history. If it was not the birth-day of the nation— for the nation was born long before—it was the day the still growing youth became conscious of its young maturity, asserted its personality, and entered on equal terms into the community of nations. And whatever errors there may have been in our methods—whatever follies of mere deafening or nerve-distracting noise—whatever mad recklessness with deadly explosives, such as will make to-morrow’s newspapers like the returns of a great battle—whatever flatulence of vain glorious boasting from ten thousand platforms such as this—it is none the less a goodly and an honorable thing, that the one universal festival of this great nation should be the festival of its nationality alone. This, and this only, is the meaning of our being together to-day; that we are glad, and joyful, and grateful, that we are a nation; and that in unison with more than two-score millions of people, throughout the vast expanse of our imperial domains, we may give utterance to the joyful and thankful thought, “The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.

It is well then, to celebrate and rejoice. The many reasons we have for joy and pride are familiar enough to you. If there were any danger of your forgetting them, they are recalled annually to your remembrance. by addresses such as you have honored me by calling on me to deliver here to-day. And in considering how I could best respond to your request, in the few moments which you can spare from your better occupation of the day, I have thought it superfluous to repeat to you those glories of which your minds are already so full, deeming it a better service to you, and worthier of the day, I suggest certain imitations upon national self-laudation.

Let me recount to you summarily, the familiar and ordinary grounds of our boasting on such days as this. Then go over them with me, one by one; consider them soberly; and see whether we are in any danger of exalting ourselves unduly by reason of them.

1. We conquered our independence.

2. We govern ourselves.

3. We have enormously multiplied our numbers, and extended our boundaries.

4. We have enormously increased our material wealth, and subdued the forces of nature.

5. Education and intelligence are in an unequaled degree diffused throughout our population.

6. To crown all, we have but just now subdued a gigantic rebellion, and in doing so have incidentally suppressed the great national shame of human slavery.

Consider them:

RevolutionaryWar1. We conquered our independence.

Beyond doubt, this was a grand thing to do, even in view of all the advantages that aided our fathers, and of all the difficulties that burdened their enemies. It was not, indeed, except in a certain limited and qualified sense, what it is commonly misnamed, a revolution. It was rather a movement of conservatism—of resistance to an innovating despotism, seeking to impose the bonds of distant authority on those who were free-born, and who had always governed themselves. This resistance to ministerial novelties was in the interest of all Englishmen, and, until this very day one hundred years ago, was in the name of King George himself, whom we still recognized as our rightful monarch, after more than a year of flagrant war against his troops. It was (do not forget) war of defence, against an invader from the paralyzing distance of 3,000 miles; yet that invader was the most powerful nation in Europe. It enlisted (remember) the active alliance of France, and stirred up Spain and Holland to separate wars against our enemy; yet even with these great helps, the persistency of the struggle, the hardships and discouragements through which it was maintained to its final success, were enough to justify the honor in which we hold the assertors of our national independence.

2. We govern ourselves.

We have inherited, it is true, by a descent through many generations, certain principles of government which recognize the people as the source of authority over the people. Yet not even the founders of this federal republic—far less ourselves, their century remote descendants, could claim the glory either of inventing these eternal principles or of first applying them in practice. Before Jefferson were Plato, and Milton, and Locke, and Rousseau. Before Philadelphia were Athens, and pre-Augustan Rome; Florence and Geneva; Ghent and Leydon; the Swiss Republics and the Commonwealth of England. Before the United States of America were the Achaean League, the Hanseatic League, and—closest pattern and exemplar—the United Provinces of the Low Countries. Beyond doubt, however, it is something to be glad of that our ancestors began the century which closes to-day, upon the solid foundations of a faith in the right of self-government, when so many other nations of the earth were to be compelled to labor and study toward the acceptance of that faith, or to legislate and fight and revolutionize toward the embodiment of it in institutions. But whether that prodigious advantage with which we began the century should be now the occasion of pride or of some different emotion, might depend on other questions: Whether, for example, that advantage has enabled us to maintain to this day the pre-eminence over other nations which it gave us a hundred years ago; whether, as they have advanced, we have only held our own, or gone backward; whether our ten talents, the magnificent capital with which we were entrusted, have been hid in a napkin and buried, while the one poor talent of another has been multiplied a hundred fold by diligence and skill. It is a great thing, no doubt, for a nation to govern itself, whether well or ill; but it is a thing to be proud of only when its self-government is capable and just. Let us look for a moment at the relative positions in this respect of our own and other nations a hundred years ago, and now.

GreatExperimentA century since, the idea of parliamentary or representative government, primitive as that idea had been in the earliest Teutonic communities, and embalmed as it might still be in the reveries of philosophers, had no living form outside of these colonies, and of that fatherland from which their institutions were derived, and with which they were at war. In Great Britain itself, a sodden conservatism, refusing to adapt institutions to changing circumstances, had suffered them to become distorted with inequalities; so that the House of Commons, while it still stood for the English People, and was already beginning to feel the strength which has now made it the supreme power in the nation, was so befouled with rotten boroughs and pocket boroughs, that ministers easily managed it with places, and pensions, and money. The whole continent of Western Europe was subjected to great or little autocrats, claiming to rule by divine right, uttering by decrees their sovereign wills for laws, despising even the pretense of asking the concurrence of the governed. In France, an absolute despot, a brilliant court, a gorgeous and vicious civilization of the few, were superposed upon a wretched, naked, underfed peasantry; tithe-oppressed, tax-ridden; crushed with feudal burdens upon the soil, or dragged from it to be slaughtered in foreign wars for matters they never heard of. Germany was either parceled out, like Italy, among countless princelings, maintaining every one his disproportionate army, and court, and harem, and squeezing out taxes and blood from his people utterly without responsibility; or was crushed beneath the iron despotism of the Great Frederick in the North, or of the less capable Empire in the South. To the East, the great plains of Russia were an unknown darkness, where a shameless fury maintained an Asiatic reign of force and terror. Here and there a philosophical recluse was evolving from his books and his invention, systems of government which denied and antagonized the claims of divine right on which every dynasty in Europe was founded; yet so remote from any practical application did these speculations seem that the most absolute monarchs took pride in sharing them and fostering them. There were, indeed, things called “republics;” there were the despotic aristocracies of Venice and Genoa; there were their High Mightinesses, the estates of the United Provinces; there were the confederated cantons of Switzerland, fenced in their mountain strongholds, but without influence upon European thoughts or institutions .

Over against that Europe of 1776, set the Europe of to-day. Nation after nation—call off their names: observe their systems of government, and say, when you have completed the tale, how many sovereigns there are who rest their title to supremacy upon divine right by inheritance; how many governments there are whose daily continuance—how many whose very birth and origin, are derived avowedly from no other source than “the consent of the governed.” There are indeed crowned heads to-day; heads wearing crowns which have descended by but two or three degrees from the most confident assertors of “the right divine of kings to govern wrong;“—right royal men and women—nay more, right manly men and right womanly women: yet of all these there is hardly one who pretends to be more than the mere executive of the national will, expressed through a representative legislature. The England which our fathers denounced as tyrant, and foe of freedom—let us not commit the anachronism of confounding her with the England of to-day. Ruled by a National Assembly chosen by a suffrage little short of universal, exercising final and absolute legislative authority with the merest advisory concurrence of an hereditary Senate; its executive body little more than a standing committee of the House of Commons, removable in an instant by a mere expression of the will of the House; and all under the nominal presidency of a quiet matron, to whom even the external ceremonies of her position are irksome; with a system of local and municipal administration, which, however its defects, may well invite our admiration and study; tho sturdiest proclaimer of the doctrines of our “Declaration” could hardly have figured to himself a future America which should more fully embody those doctrines than the realm of George the Third has come to embody them under his granddaughter. If we look across the channel, we find all Western Europe, from the Polar Sea to the Mediterranean, the undisputed domain of constitutional representative, elective government. It the name and state of King or Emperor are maintained, it is in effect but as a convenient instrument for the performance of necessary functions in the great, public organism, and with a tacit, or even an express acknowledgement on the part of the crown that” tho consent of the governed ” is the true source of its own authority. Over the feudal France which I have but just now pictured to you, has swept a flood which not only destroyed institutions, but extirpated their immemorial foundations; which not only leveled the hideous inequalities of medievalism, but leveled upward the Gallic mind itself; so that hardly less than the American citizen—far more than the British subject—is the Frenchman of to-day penetrated by the consciousness of the equal rights of all men before the law. His form of supreme administration may vary from time to time, in name, or even in substance; but for fifty years it has stood upon the basis of the public consent, or, when it has failed so to stand, has fallen. The France of Richelieu—the France of that Louis XIV who dared to say of the State, “It is I,” is the France whose latest king called himself no longer King of France, but King of the French; whose latest Emperor claimed no right to rule but from a popular election by universal suffrage—boasted of being “The Elect of seven millions“—and styled himself in the most solemn instruments, “By the Grace of God and the Will of the People, Emperor of the French;” and which now, dispensing with even the fiction of a Sovereign, administers its affairs with a prudence, wisdom and economy which have drawn the admiration of neighboring nations. In United Italy—in the two great empires which share between them Germany and Hungary—in the Scandinavian Kingdoms—and at last even in Spain, so long the distracted prey of hierarchy and absolutism, the autocracy of an hereditary monarch has given way to parliamentary government and ministerial responsibility. The successor of Catharine the Second, by conferring spontaneously upon the half-civilized subjects of his vast empire not only personal freedom, but such local autonomy as they are capable of, is educating them toward a higher participation in affairs. And now, most marvelous testimony to the prevalence of those opinions upon which our own institutions are based, the world has seen within a month, a new Sultan, a new chief of Islam, announced to Europe as succeeding to the chair and the sword of Mahomet, “by the unanimous will of the Turkish people!

Christian republicLet us be quite sure, my fellow-citizens, before we boast oarselves immeasurably above other nations by reason of the excellence of our political institutions, not only that they are better than all others in the world, but that we have done something in these hundred years towards making them better; or at least that we have not suffered ours to become debased and corrupt, while those of other nations have been growing better and purer. Is our law-making and our conduct of affairs —national, state, and local—abler and honester now than then? Is the ballot-box cleaner, and a surer reflection of the public mind upon public men and measures? Or are we still in some small degree hampered by the tricks of politicians, so that we find ourselves voting into offices men whom we despise—giving support to measures which we abominate? Has public opinion grown so in that sensitive honor “which feels a stain like a wound,” that it compels public men to be not only above reproach, but above suspicion? Or has it rather come to content itself with weighing evidence, and balancing probabilities, and continuing its favor to any against whom the proofs may fall short of absolute conviction of felony? Is the vast organization of our public business contrived and controlled, as it is in every other civilized country, and as in every successful private business it must be, for the sole end of doing that business efficiently and cheaply? Or has it become a vast system for the reward of party services by public moneys—a vast mechanism for the perpetuation of party power by suppressing the popular will—with the secondary purpose of doing the public work as well as may be consistent with the main design? Have we, through dullness or feebleness, suffered methods to become customary in our public service, which if, attempted in the British post-office or custom-house, would overthrow a ministry in a fortnight—if in the French, might bring on a revolution? My fellow-citizens, I offer you no answers to these questions. I only ask them; and leave unasked many others which these might suggest. But when we have found answers to our satisfaction, we shall know better how far to exalt ourselves above the other nations of the earth.

3. We have enormously multiplied our numbers, and extended our boundaries.

A more indisputable support for national pride may be found, perhaps in our unquestioned and enormous multiplication of numbers and expansion of territory.

These have certainly been marvelous: perhaps unparalleled. It is a great thing that four millions of human beings, occupying in 1776 a certain expanse of territory, should be succeeded in 1876 by forty millions, occupying ten times that expanse. But let us be quite sure how much the increase of numbers is a necessary result of natural laws of propagation, working unrestrained in a land of amazing productiveness, unscourged by famine or pestilence, and burdened by but one great war during three generations of men; how much to the prodigious importation of involuntary immigrants from Africa during the last century, and of voluntary colonists, induced by high rewards for labor and enterprise, during this; and how much to any special virtue in our ancestors or ourselves. Let us be sure what degree and quality of glory it may be which a nation lays claim to for the extension of boundaries by mere mercantile bargain and purchase, or by strong armed conquest from its weaker neighbors. Let us remember, withal, that great as has been our growth in population and extent over this vacant continent which offered such unlimited scope for enlargement, other nations have not stood still. A century ago there was a little sub-alpine monarchy of two or three million subjects, which within these twenty years has so expanded itself by honorable warfare and the voluntary accession of neighboring provinces, that it now comprehends all the twenty-five millions of the Italian people. A century ago there was a little Prussian monarchy of three or four million subjects, which, sparing to us meanwhile millions of its increasing numbers, has grown until it has become the vast and powerful German Empire of forty millions. And, while we take a just pride in the marvelous growth of New York and Philadelphia, and the meteoric rise of Chicago and St. Louis, it is well not to forget that within the same century London has added three millions to its numbers; Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Glasgow, have sprung from insignificance into the second rank of cities; and that dull Prussian town, which, as the Great Frederick’s capital, boasted but 100,000 inhabitants, has become a vast metropolis of nearly a million people, doubling its numbers in the last quarter of that period. If our own increase of population has indeed surpassed these marvelous examples—if our territorial expansion has in fact been larger and swifter than that of the Russian Empire in Europe and Asia, or of the British Empire in India, America and Australia, then the more are we justified in that manner of pride which is natural to the youth grown to a healthy maturity of strength and stature.

4. We have enormously increased our material wealth, and subdued the forces of nature.

Thus also, if we have not greatly surpassed the rest of the world in our growth in material wealth, and in our subjugation of natural forces to human use, we may fairly claim at least to have kept in the van of progress. Yet here, too, while we have great and just cause for pride, let us not err by confounding the positive merits of our nation with the adventitious advantages which have stimulated or created its successes. It has been a different task, though perhaps not an easier one, to take from the fresh fields and virgin soil of this vast continent, fruitful in all that is most useful for human food and raiment, the wealth that has been the sure reward of steadfast industry—from the task of stimulating the productive powers of lands exhausted by thousands of years of crop bearing, up to that exquisite fertility that makes an English wheat-field an astonishment even to a Western New York farmer. It is indeed a singular fortune which ours has been that every decade of years has revealed beneath our feet some new surprise of mineral wealth; the iron everywhere; the anthracite of Pennsylvania; the copper of Lake Superior; the gold of California; the bituminous coal of the western coal fields; the petroleum which now illuminates the world; and finally, the silver which has deluged and deranged the trade of the Orient. Let us not be slow to remember that such natural advantages impose obligations, rather than justify pride in comparison with those old countries where nature has spoken long ago her last word of discovery, and where labor and science can but glean in the fields already harvested. And when we look with wonder upon the vast public works, not disproportionate to the vastness of our territory, which the last half-century especially has seen constructed, let us not forget that the industry and frugality which gathered the capital that built our railroad system—not all of which certainly, was American capital—the trained intellect of the engineers who designed and constructed its countless parts—are a greater honor to any people than 70,000 miles of track: that the patient ingenuity of Fitch and Fulton are more to be boasted of than the ownership of the steam navies of the world: the scientific culture and genius of Morse, than 200,000 miles of telegraphic wire.

ReligionRepublic5. Education and intelligence are in an unequaled degree diffused throughout our population.

If I have thought it needless to enlarge upon other subjects, familiar upon such occasions, for public congratulation, especially will it be superfluous to remind such an audience as this how broad and general is the diffusion of intelligence and education through large portions of our country. But let us not be so dazzled by the sunlight which irradiates us here in New York, as to forget the darkness of illiteracy which overwhelms vast regions of our common country; that if New York, and Massachusetts, and Ohio, offer to all their children opportunities of learning, there exists in many states a numerous peasantry, both white and black, of besotted ignorance, and struggling but feebly, almost without aid or opportunity, toward some small enlightenment. Let us not overlook the fact, in our complacency, that while we, in these favored communities, content ourselves with offering education to those whom we leave free to become sovereign citizens in abject ignorance, other nations have gone beyond us in enforcing universal education; in not only throwing open the feast of reason, but in going into the highways and hedges, and compelling them to come in.

6. To crown all, we have but just now subdued a gigantic rebellion, and in doing so have incidentally suppressed the great national shame of human slavery.

Coming to the last of the familiar sources of national pride which I have suggested, we may fairly say that the emotions with which a patriot looks back upon the conclusions of the period beginning in 1860 must be of a most varied and conflicting sort. The glory of successful war must be tempered by shame that red-handed rebellion should ever have raised its head in a constitutional nation. If it was not permitted to a Roman general, so it is not becoming to us, to triumph over conquered fellow-citizens. If we rejoice, as the whole world does rejoice, that the conflict which, for four years distracted us, ended in the restoration of four million slaves to the rights of free manhood, the remembrance that neither our national conscience nor our statesmanship had found a better way out of the bondage of Egypt than through a Red Sea of blood, may well qualify our reasonable pride; the question, how these millions and their masters are yet to be lifted up into fitness for their new sovereignty over themselves and over us, may well sober our exultation.

If I have departed from the common usage of this occasion, in assuming that you know, quite as well as I do, the infinite causes that exist for pride, and joy, and common congratulation in being American citizens, I beg leave before I close to suggest one further reason for the emotions which are natural to all our hearts to-day. It has been common to us and to other nations, —to our friends alike and our detractors,—to speak of the institutions under which we live, as new, experimental, and of questionable permanency. Fellow-citizens, if we can learn nothing else from the comparative view of other nations to which I have been hastily recommending you, this fact at least presses itself home upon us: that of all the nations of the earth which are under the light of Christian and European civilization, the institutions of America are those which the vicissitudes of a century have left most unchanged; that, tested by the history of those hundred years, and by the experience of every such nation republican democracy, means permanency, not revolution; wise conservatism, not destruction; and that all other institutions are as unstable as water in comparison.

I believe that to-day this American “experiment” is the most ancient system in Christendom. Not a constitution in Europe but exists by grace of a revolution of far later date than the framing of our constitution, which stands now, immortal monument to the wisdom of its founders, almost unchanged from its pristine shape and substance. If the stable British monarchy seems to you an exception, reflect upon the silent revolution which in that time has annulled the power of the crown, and almost subverted its influence; remember the suppression of the Irish Parliament, the removal of the Catholic disabilities which for a century and a half had been a foundation stone of the constitution; remember the Reform Bill which prostrated the power of the aristocracy; the repeal of the Corn Laws, which reversed the economic policy of a thousand years; look at the audacious legislation which within two years has destroyed even the names of that judicial system which is identified with English monarchy—-at that which within a few weeks has dared to add a flimsy glitter to the immemorial title of the sovereign herself—and you may well be proud of the solidity and permanence of our institutions compared with the swift-dissolving forms of European systems.

We know, however, that institutions, even the best of them, cannot long exist without change. As in physical life, there must be either growth or decay; when growth has ceased, decay cannot long be postponed. How shall it be with those institutions which a noble ancestry has bequeathed to us, and in which we rejoice to-day? Let us not forget that the day is the beginning of a new century, as well, as the close of an old one. Not one of us is to see the close of the coming age, as none of us saw the opening of the last. And while it is given to none to discern the future, we know well that institutions, whether civil or social, cannot long continue better than the people who enjoy them. Be it ours, therefore, so far as lies in us, to perpetuate for our remote offspring the benefits which have come own from our ancestors. Let us cultivate in ourselves—let us teach to our children—those virtues which alone make our free institutions possible or desirable. Thus, and only thus, shall we make this day not merely the commemoration of departed glories, but the portal to that Golden Age which has been the dream of poets and the promise of prophets, and toward which, as we dare to hope, the event which we now celebrate has so mightily impelled mankind. Our eyes shall not behold it; but woe to us if we cease to hope for it and to labor towards it It may be hard—it is hard—for us, surrounded by the green graves and the desolated homes which within a dozen years a ghastly civil war has made in this religious and enlightened nation,— for us here, in the very presence of the tattered yet venerated symbols of that strife,(1) to believe that the day can ever shine upon the earth

When the war-drum throbs no longer, and the battle-fags are furled
In the parliament of man, the federation of the world:
When the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall dumber, lapt in universal law.

The reign of ” Peace on Earth—Good Will towards Men”— the dominion of Reason and Justice over Force and Fraud—it may be far off, but it shall surely come.

Down the dark future, through long generations,
The sounds of strife grow fainter, and then cease;
And like a bell, in solemn, sweet vibrations,
I hear once more the voice of Christ say,” Peace!”
Peace! and no longer from its ‘brazen portals,
The blast of war’s great organ shakes the skies:
But, beautiful as songs of the immortals,
The holy melodies of Love arise.

Footnote(s): 1. The worn-out regimental colors of the 33d New York Volunteers, a regiment which went to the war from Wayne County, were carried in the procession and set up in front of the speaker’s stand.

See also: Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
OUR NOBLE HERITAGE by Hon. George W. Curtis (1824 –1892)
THE POWER OF HISTORY by Horatio Seymour (1810–1886)
AMERICA OUR SUCCESS OUR FUTURE! by John P. Gulliver July 4th 1876 NYC
AMERICA! FAIREST OF FREEDOM’S DAUGHTERS by Jeremiah E. Rankin 1828-1903
Wide Spread And Growing Corruption In The Public Service Of The States And Nation
BENEFITS OF THE REPUBLICAN EXPERIMENT IN AMERICA by Thomas G. Alvord 1810- 1897
THE SOURCE AND SECURITY OF AMERICAN FREEDOM AND PROGRESS by Courtlandt Parker 1876