Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

But this leads, at length, to a more formal and the opinion of the people, the distribution or permanent despotism. The disorders and mise- modification of the constitutional powers, be, ries, which result, gradually incline the minds in any particular, wrong, let it be corrected by of men to seek security and repose in the ab- an amendment in the way which the constitusolute power of an individual; and sooner or tion designates. But let there be no change later, the chief of some prevailing faction, more by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, able or more fortunate than his competitors, may be the instrument of good, it is the custurns this disposition to the purposes of his own tomary weapon by which free governments are elevation on the ruins of public liberty. destroyed. The precedent must always greatly

Without looking forward to an extremity of overbalance, in permanent evil, any partial or this kind, (which, nevertheless, ought not to be transient benefit which the use can at any time entirely out of sight,) the common and continual yield. mischiefs of the spirit of party, are sufficient to Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead make it the interest and duty of a wise people, to political prosperity, religion and morality are to discourage and restrain it.

indispensable supports. In vain would that It serves always to distract the public coun- man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should cils, and enfeeble the public administration. It labor to subvert these great pillars of human agitates the community with ill-founded jeal- happiness, these firmest props of the destinies ousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of men and citizens. The mere politician, of one part against another; foments occasion equally with the pious man, ought to respect ally, riot and insurrection. It opens the door and to cherish them. A volume could not trace to foreign influence and corruption, which finds all their connection with private and public fea facilitated access to the government itself, licity. Let it simply be asked, where is the through the channels of party passion. Thus security for property, for reputation, for life

, if the policy and the will of one country are sub- the sense of religious obligation desert the jected to the policy and will of another. oaths, which are the instruments of investiga

There is an opinion, that parties, in free tion in courts of justice? And let us with countries, are useful checks upon the adminis- caution indulge the supposition, that morality tration of the government, and serve to keep can be maintained without religion. Whatever alive the spirit of liberty. This, within certain may be conceded to the influence of refined limits, is probably true; and, in governments education on minds of peculiar structure, reaof a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with son and experience both forbid us to expect

, – indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit that national morality can prevail in exclusion of party. But in those of popular character, in of religious principles. governments purely elective, it is a spirit not It is substantially true, that virtue or morality to be encouraged. From their natural tenden- is a necessary spring of popular government. cy, it is certain there will always be enough of The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force that spirit for every salutary purpose. And to every species of free government. Who, that there being constant danger of excess, the effort is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifferought to be, by force of public opinion, to miti-ence upon attempts to shake the foundation of gate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, the fabric? it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its Promote, then, as an object of primary imbursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, portance, institutions for the general diffusion it should consume.

of knowledge. In proportion as the structure It is important, likewise, that the habits of of a government gives force to public opinion, thinking, in a free country, should inspire cau- it is essential that public opinion should be ention in those intrusted with its administration, lightened. to confine themselves within their respective As a very important source of strength and constitutional splieres, avoiding, in the exercise security, cherish public credit. One method of the powers of one department, to encroach of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as posupon another. The spirit of encroachment tends sible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultito consolidate the powers of all the departments vating peace, but remembering also that timely in one, and thus to create, whatever the form disbursements to prepare for danger, frequently of government, a real despotism. A just esti- prevent much greater disbursements to repel mate of that love of power, and proneness to it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, abuse it, which predominate in the human not only by shunning occasions of experise, but heart, is sufficient

to satisfy us of the truth of by vigorous exertions in time of peace to disthis position. The necessity of reciprocal charge the debts which unavoidable wars may checks in the exercise of political power, by have occasioned, not ungenerausly throwing dividing and distributing it into different de- upon posterity the burden which we ourselves positaries, and constituting each the guardian ought to bear. The execution of these maxima of the public weal against invasion by the oth- belongs to your representatives, but it is neceser, has been evinced by experiments ancient sary that public opinion should co-operate. To and modern : some of them in our country, and facilitate to them the performance of their duty, under our own eyes. To preserve them, must it is essential that you should practically bear be as necessary, as to institute them. 'If, in in mind, that towards the payment of debts

there must be revenue; that to have revenue quarrels and wars of the latter, without adethere must be taxes; that no taxes can be de- quate inducement or justification. It leads also vised which are not more or less inconvenient to concessions to the favorite nation of priviand unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrass- leges denied to others, which is apt doubly to ment, inseparable from the selection of the injure the nation making the concessions; by proper objects, (which is always the choice of unnecessarily parting with what ought to have difficulties) ought to be a decisive motive for a been retained ; and by exciting jealousy, ill will, candid construction of the conduct of the govern- and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties ment in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence from whom equal privileges are withheld; and in the measures for obtaining revenue which the it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citipublic exigencies may at any time dictate. zens, (who devote themselves to the favorite

Observe good faith and justice towards all nation,) facility to betray, or sacrifice the innations ; cultivate peace and harmony with all; terests of their own country, without odium, religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, a commendable deference for public opinion, or and, at no distant period, a great nation, to give laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolto mankind the magnanimous and too novel ish compliances of ambition, corruption, or inexample of a people always guided by an ex- fatuation. alted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt As avenues to foreign influence, in innumethat

, in the course of time and things, the fruits rable ways, such attachments are particularly of such a plan would richly repay any tempo- alarming to the truly enlightened and inderary advantages that might be lost by a steady pendent patriot. How many opportunities do adherence to it? Can it be, that Providence they afford to tamper with domestic factions; has not connected the permanent felicity of a to practise the arts of seduction; to mislead nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, public opinion; to influence or awe the public is recommended by every sentiment which en-councils! Such an attachment of a small or nobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered im- weak nation, toward a great and powerful one, possible by its vices?

dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter. In the execution of such a plan, nothing is Against the insidious wiles of foreign influmore essential than that permanent, inveterate ence, (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citiantipathies against particular nations, and pas- zens,) the jealousy of a free people ought to be sionate attachments for others, should be ex- constantly awake; since history and experience cluded; and that in place of them, just and prove, that foreign influence is one of the most amicable feelings towards all should be culti- baneful foes of republican government. But vated. The nation, which indulges towards that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fond- else it becomes the instrument of the very influDess, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to ence to be avoided, instead of a defence against its animosity or to its affection, either of which it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and and excessive dislike of another, cause those its interest. Antipathy in one nation against whom they actuate, to see danger only on one another, disposes each more readily to offer in- side; and serve to veil and even second the arts sult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of of influence on the other. Real patriots, who umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liawhen accidental or trifling occasions of dispute ble to become suspected and odious; while its occur.

tools and dupes usurp the applause and confiHence frequent collisions, obstinate, enven-dence of the people, to surrender their interomed and bloody contests. The nation, prompt- ests. ed by ill will and resentment, sometimes impels The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to to war the government, contrary to the best foreign nations is, in extending our commercial calculations of policy. The government some- relations, to have with them as little political times participates in the national propensity, connection as possible. So far as we have aland adopts through passion what reason would ready formed engagements, let them be fulfilled reject; at other times, it makes the animosity with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. of the nation subservient to projects of hostility Europe has a set of primary interests, which instigated by pride, ambition and other sinister to us have none, or a very remote relation. and pernicious motives. The peace often, and Hence she must be engaged in frequent controsometimes, perhaps, the liberty of nations, has versies, the causes of which are essentially forbeen the victim.

eign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must So, likewise, & passionate attachment of one be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artination for another, produces a variety of evils. ficial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her Sympathy for the favorite nation facilitating politics, or the ordinary combinations and colthe illusion of an imaginary common interest lisions of her friendships and enmities. in cases where no real common interest exists, Our detached and distant situation invites and infusing into one the enmities of the other, and enables us to pursue a different

course. If betrays the former into a participation in the I we remain one people, ander an efficient govo

ornment, the period is not far off, when we may prevent our nation from running the course defy material injury from external annoyance; which has hitherto marked the destiny of nawhen we may take such an attitude as will tions! But, if I may even flatter myself

, that cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve they may be productive of some partial benefit, upon, to be scrupulously respected; when bel- some occasional good; that they may now and ligerent nations, under the impossibility of mak- then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit; ing acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard to warn against the mischiefs of foreign inthe giving us provocation; when we may choose trigues; to guard against the impostures of prepeace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, tended patriotism; this hope will be a full reshall counsel.

compense for the solicitude for your welfare, Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a by which they have been dictated. situation? Why quit our own, to stand upon How far, in the discharge of my official duforeign ground 'Why, by interweaving our ties, I have been guided by the principles which destiny with that of any part of Europe, entan- have been delineated, the public records and gle our peace and prosperity in the toils of other evidences of my conduct must witness to European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, you and to the world. To myself the assurance or caprice?

of my own conscience is, that I have at least 'Tis our true policy to steer clear of perma- believed myself to be guided by them. nent alliances with any portion of the foreign In relation to the still subsisting war in Erworld; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty rope, my proclamation of the 22d of April

, 1793, to do it; for let me not be understood as capa- is the index to my plan. Sanctioned by your ble of patronizing infidelity to existing engage-approving voice, and by that of your representments. I hold the maxim no less applicable to atives in both Houses of Congress, the spirit of public than to private affairs, that honesty is that measure has continually governed me, unalways the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, influenced by any attempts to deter or divert let those engagements be observed in their gen- me from it. uine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unneces After deliberate 'examination, with the aid sary, and would be unwise, to extend them. of the best lights I could obtain, I was well

Taking care always to keep ourselves, by satisfied that our country, under all the circumsuitable establishments, in a respectable defen- stances of the case, had a right to take, and sive posture, we may safely trust to temporary was bound in duty and interest to take, a neualliances for extraordinary emergencies. tral position. Having taken it, I determined,

Harmony, and a liberal intercourse with all as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, with moderation, perseverance, and firmness. and interest. But even our commercial policy The considerations which respect the right to should hold an equal and impartial hand; hold this conduct, it is not necessary, on this neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors occasion, to detail. I will only observe, that, or preferences; consulting the natural course according to my understanding of the matter, of things ; diffusing and diversifying, by gentle that right, so far from being denied by any of means, the streams of commerce, but forcing the belligerent powers, has been virtually adnothing; establishing, with powers so disposed, mitted by all. in order to give trade a stable course, to define The duty of holding a neutral conduct may the rights of our merchants, and to enable the be inferred, without any thing more, from the government to support them, conventional rules obligation which justice and humanity impose of intercourse, the best that present circum- on every nation, in cases in which it is free stances and mutual opinion will permit, but to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of temporary, and liable to be, from time to time, peace and amity towards other nations. abandoned or varied, as experience and circum The inducements of interest for observing stances shall dictate; constantly keeping in that conduct will best be referred to your own view, that it is folly in one nation to look for reflection and experience. With me, a predomdisinterested favors from another ; that it must inant motive has been to endeavor to gain time pay, with a portion of its independence, for to our country to settle and mature its yet rewhatever it may accept under that character; cent institutions, and to progress, without interthat, by such acceptance, it may place itself in ruption, to that degree of strength and consisthe condition of having given equivalents for tency which is necessary to give it

, humanly nominal favors, and yet of being reproached speaking, the command of its own fortunes. with ingratitude for not giving more. There Though, in reviewing the incidents of my adcan be no greater error than to expect or cal- ministration, I am unconscious of intentional culate upon real favors from nation to nation. error, I am, nevertheless, too sensible of my It is an illusion, which experience must cure, defects, not to think it probable that I may which a just pride ought to discard.

have committed many errors. Whatever they In offering to you, my countrymen, these may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I avert or mitigate the evils to which they may dare not hope they will make the strong and tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that lasting impression I could wish; that they will my country will never cease to view them with control the usual current of the passions, or indulgence, and that after forty-five

years of

my life dedicated to its service, with an upright for several generations, I anticipate, with pleaszeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be ing expectations, that retreat in which I promconsigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be ise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet to the mansions of rest.

enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my felRelying on its kindness in this, as in other low-citizens, the benign influence of good laws things, and actuated by that fervent love toward under a free government—the ever favorite obit, which is so natural to a man who views in it ject of my heart, and the happy reward, as I the native soil of himself and his progenitors trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.*

Attempts have been made to rob Washington of the au- plete. The readers can satisfy themselves in relation to this thorship of this address; thus far without success. No bet- matter, by referring to Mr. Lenox's reprint; in the appenter proof that Washington was the author of it is necessary, dices to which are reproduced the statement of Mr. Claythan the facts produced by those who assert to the contrary. poole; the report of Mr. Rawle; the letter of Chief Justice The copy from which the address was first published, en Jay, and Mr. Sparks' paper. A reference may also be made tirely in Washington's own handwriting, marked with cor to Sullivan's Familiar Letters, page 115, and to the interestrections and erasures, is now in the possession of Mr. James ing discourse of the Hon. Luther Bradish, now in the ar. Lenox, of New York, by whom it has been printed, com-chives of the New York Historical Society.

ELIAS BOUDINOT.

Of Mr. Boudinot's ancestors hardly any thing is recorded. His grandfather was one of the numerous Protestants who fled from France to America on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. His father died in the year 1770, and all that is known of his mother is, that she was of Welsh descent. He was born in Philadelphia, on the second of May, 1740. After receiving a classical education, such as the colonies at that period afforded, he commenced the study of law in the office of Richard Stockton,* an eminent lawyer of New Jersey. Soon after he entered upon the practice of his profession, and rose to distinction. Early in life he married the eldest sister of his law preceptor, by whom he had an only daughter. Mrs. Boudinot died in 1808, and he was a second time married to a lady of New York, who survived him.

At the commencement of the difficulties with the mother country, Mr. Boudinot espoused the cause of the colonies, advocating their rights against the encroachments of tyranny and the cruelties of the ministry, with ability and the highest patriotism. In 1777 he was appointed by the Continental Congress, Commissary-general of prisoners, and during the same year he was elected a delegate to that body from the State of New Jersey. In this position he became distinguished, being in November, 1782, chosen President of Congress. In that capacity, subsequently, he signed the treaty of peace, which secured the independence of the United States. Soon after he resumed the practice of his profession, and on the adoption of the Federal Constitution in 1789, he was again elevated to a seat in the lower house of Congress, where he remained, by re-elections, during the succeeding six years, taking an important part in the delib

* RICHARD STOCKTON was born at Princeton, New Jersey, on the 1st of October, 1780. His ancestors emigrated from England at an early period of the colony. John Stockton, his father, was a gentleman of extensive fortune, and a high character, a great benefactor to the College of New Jersey, and for many years a judge in the Court of Common Pleas, in the county of Somerset. He acquired his education at an academy in Nottingham, Maryland, under the charge of the Rer. Samuel Finley. He graduated at New Jersey College; read law with David Ogden, of Newark; was admitted to the bar in August, 1754, and at once entered upon the duties of his profession. His practice gradually increased; "as an eloquent and accomplished advocate, he had no competitor." In 1766 he visited England, where he was received with much attention, and often consulted upon the affairs of the colonies. During his visit he used his efforts to obtain the services of Dr. Witherspoon, for the college of his native State, and was successful. Dr. Witherspoon became the president of that institution on the death of Dr. Finley. Mr. Stockton remained abroad some fifteen months. The year following his return be was made a member of Council, and in 1774 he was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court. He was a member of the Congress of 1776, and signed the Declaration of Independence. During the war he suffered the greatest distresses. His residence at Princeton was directly in the route of the British army, in its triumphant march through New Jersey. His home was soon the scene of desolation; his estate was laid waste, his property pillaged and destroyed. Compelled to tly with his wife and children to a place of safety, he sought refuge in the house of an old friend, in the county of Monmouth. But the place of his retreat was soon discovered by a party of refugee royalists, who dragged him from his bed at night; subjected him to every species of insult and indignity; exposed him to all the severity of a most inclement season; and hurried him to New York, where he was thrown into the common jail. His treatment here was so severe as to call for the interposition of Congress; and after his release his health was so broken that he never recovered. He died on the 28th of February, 1781, in the fifty-first year of his age. He married the sister of Elias Boudinot, and left two sons and four daughters. Mrs. Stockton was a woman of highly-cultivated mind, and of excellent literary taste. She was the author of several poetical productions, many of which evince no ordinary merit.-Nero Jersey Historical Collections, vol. & Pp. 190–202.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »