Abbildungen der Seite

ry to their country's welfare. The who are without hope ; for alexperience, the learning, the ge. though in the present gloon of our nius, the various coincidence of political hemisphere, their late rulcircumstances, which are necessa. ing planet has travelled to the ry to form that effulgence of char- morning of another clime, yet acter, by which they enlighten, its kindred luminary rises on the polish and direct fociety, fail to horizon, brilliant, fteady, and prothe lot of few. When such lamps pitious to direct their course. are extinguished, we are happy if They lament that their beloved our darkness be tranfient. But WASHINGTON sleeps in in your wisdom the people of our death; their consolation is, that Commonwealth safely confide ; his faithful Brother, the vigilant

as members of our united ADAMS, survives. country, do they mourn like those


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]


HAT “ the truth must not be stand acquitted, and not only ac. spoken at all times," is an old quitted, but applauded, by imparmaxim. It may sometimes im- tial and independent judges, I pose filence, can never juftify shall pursue the course I have de. falsehood, or prevarication. As figned to take, with sensations a writer I must be my own judge, very different from those of fear, (for I have no counsellor) when Since the adoption of the federal to be silent, and when and what constitution, we have heard in to write. I will not write with general of but two political parout weighing and examining my ties-Federalifts and Jacobins. own thoughts ; and if possible, I How these sames have been used will think with candor and im- and abused, every American, from partiality. If my dissertations the school boy, up to the fage are not shielded by truth, I ask no coiners of the words, already protection for them or their au- know too well. They are heter-, thor. If they contain truths oclites too irregular for me to de. spoken out of time, it is the error clinę, Those who have used of my head, not of


heart. them most, would find themseves With those who hold it' a puzzled in all their variations, to crime to throw a wet blanket on give them any consisteot definition; the fire of party spirit, I stand to the numerous herd of wordarraigned as a criminal already. mongers, who have learned the Having learned my political and fashionable art of using epithets moral creed, in a school very dif- without ideas, I consign them over

ferent from theirs, my plea will forever. In America, we have be, not guilty, Knowing I shall three political sects, who have ad


hered uniformly to their respect- cannot feduce it from the temple, ive fyftems ; and a fourth class, they withdraw it from the priests who do not deserve the name of a who perform its offices. But fect, such as are found in all more of this hereafter. countries, who act upon no fys In speaking of this first polititem, and adhere to no principles. cal feet, this grcat and respectable The firít, and most respectable in class of real Americans, I shall number, and I believe in influ- * not enter into the more minute ence, is that large majority of the and frivolous distinctions which community who, in principle and art, and folly, and ignorance, and practice, are friends to our Consti- paflion, have made, and which tution as it now is. To those I have been delignated by cockades fhall give the name of ConMitu- and insidious names, that fall tionalifts. This class includes all never disgrace my pen. Howevmen of information, reflection, er the reason of honest men may and found politics, who regard have been deluded, or the vanity our constitution, in theory and of dishonest ones pampered by practice, as the temple of fober such distinctions, I am persuaded freedom, and a fafe barrier both my enlightened countrymen, in to tyranny and fa&tion. To this retrospective reflection, will here. class belong also the great body after think of them with other of industrious, temperate, honeft emotions than those of pride. I citizens, who move in the more know of no spirit more hostile to subordinate, but not less impor- the reason, thân that of political tant sphere of laborious life. party. We have drank of it to These are friends to their country, intoxication. It «vas new to us. because they believe, and believe We received it at first as friendly rightly, that there is no other cheer, and thought it necessary to country on earth, where people our health. We hare seen the of their description, enjoy as they experiment. It has been almost do, the rights and privileges, and as fatal to us, as the exotic fpirits feel as they do, and ought to do, of rum and brandy to the abothe importance of independent rigines of our forests. freemen. These are also friends To the subject. We will reto our Conftitution, because within turn from exotic fpirits; to exotic their own memory and their own politics. I must now descend to happy experience, it has contrib- the painful talk of describing two nted to their prosperity and their other feets that might with propriety peace ; so strong and so well be called organized disorganizers. known is the attachment of this These are the more to be feared be. class of people to it, that few cause they both act, though not demagogues would be so hardy as jointly, with uniformity and perfcto openly attempt to seduce their verance in their several fyltems. allegiance. But pity it is, there

But pity it is, there Both are the professed friends of are not wanting designing men, order and good government. But men for whom traitors is a better their school of order lies beyond a name, who know too well how wide chaos of discord; they to abuse this attachment. If they would pass through, before they


will become its initiated disciples. dilike, our present Constitution, The governments which they ad- and administration, but have not mire are some real or ideal ones, even united in the theory of what very far, and very different from they would have. 'The former our own, to which they transfer look to Great-Britain for a mod. all their good wishes, and leave el: as this model is stable and of course their bad actions to regular, they have acquired unitheir own country.

Thus far form habits by contemplating it. there is a similarity in the two The latter have their

eyes on parties. But they attack the France, and have become almost ramparts of the Constitution on as fickle, as the lunatic who gazes opposite sides, and their principles on the ever changing moon. and their object, are totally and. Both, however, adhere to their vorse and irreconcileable. There several fystems. Both would might, for this reason, be the less make us believe our liberty is danger from their hoftility, were not safe under the federal Confti. it pot that they have the address tution. The former would take to foment groundless dissensions, it down with caution, and preamong the well meaning, but ill serve some of its materials, and informed, and to draw into offen- furnish others, to erect a stronger sive operations many misguided and more expensive one, in which people, whose hearts are wedded we must make a free offering of to a better cause.

one half of our liberty to secure For these two fects, or parties, the other, and leave that subject as they may be called with more to a mortgage, for our posterity propriety, I cannot find juster to redeem as they can. The latnames, than those they have given ter would knock down the constieach other ; Monarchists and De- tution at once, put the whole mocrats.

stock of our freedom, and the The object of one is to con- rights of man, into the French centrate all

power in an energetic liberty cap, hustle for it, and take executive, which, if it have not their chance. Under the guidthe name, shall have the preroga ance of the former, we might tive of a King. Of the other, to make some calculation of the take back a large share which is length and the fatigue and the exalready vested in our executive, penfe of our journey to degradaand replace it in the hands of a tion, and of the burthens we must fovereign people.

bear. The other would drive us The former party is, perhaps, the short road to inevitable and the most to be feared from the incalculable destruction. number and influence of those There I have ventured to de. who compose it. The latter, clare to be the principles of the from its wild unsettled notions of Monarchists and Democrats.government, and the union they Parties which evidently exist in would naturally form with the un our country, but which have not, principled class, already mention- and I trust never will, gain strength ed, of political nothingarians. sufficient to make an open avowal 'They only agree in what they of their principles or designs.


They profefs a veneration for would be temperate breezes, that the Constitution, and a love of our ferve to purify the atmosphere. country.

(They possibly may This analysis may prove to poffefs the latter, if it can exift fome “ a stumbling block," and without the former.) They choose to others “ foolishness."

It it for a shelter, under which they ' speaks a language which I believe may attack their enemies and to be founded in truth, and that gain friends.

But Believe me, will be anderstood by those to! the amending clause is the only whom it is addresed---men who part they view with conrplacency. have difcernment to judge of our Here, like the enraged Irishman, political movements, and who have in farce, they will attempt to turn the ability, independence, and the houfe out at the door. Hap- difpofition to give them a right py would it be, if they had it not direction. in their power, to disturb its oth To place our enemies on their erwise peaceable tenants.

proper ground, and concentrate Without thofe parties, we the struggle of our friends, is the thould undoubtedly have some wish, and shall be the persevering political contentions, and admin- effort of iltration diffentients : but they



of LITERATURE, from the Age of MARCUS AURELIUS, to the Commencement of the FRENCH REPUBLIC. By De Sales, Member of the National Inftitute of France.

AFTER four years of labour, Daniel, colossus with feet of confecrated to the establishment clay. of philosophy and history on their In the examination I make of proper base, the ameliorating of those illustrious characters who the laws, the improvement of pub- employ my pen, I shall particulic madners, the endeavor to rec. larly endeavour to discover their oncile men to rational liberty, and secret principle of action, which citizens to the control of the prudence often, and that not to magiftracy, I terminate my career be condemned, obliges them to by throwing myself into the arms hide. This fecret principle of of men of genius, whom I have action is that alone which is not ever loved and honoured, but liable to contamination in the whose acquaintance not much mind of man; it is that which cultivated, except indeed that of ultimately forms the public opinHomer, Tacitus, Montaigne, and ion, and prekrves the traces of thofe illuftrious ancients whose virtue amid the changes and works inspire us with genius, and forms of revolution. without which all modern reputa

I shall be obliged, in performtion would be like the image of ing this great undertaking, to speak


of academies which no longer description of men of letters, it exist, but are revived in our litera. is necessary to consider them eiry inftitution ; and I shall dif- ther as isolated, or forming an in-* guise neither the incalculable ben- tellectual constellation by their efit they have been of to letunion in fome institution, literary ters, 'nor the failings by which fociety, or academy. they have been attended. This The solitary labours of a literadiscudon naturally induces me to ry man ought to yield in priority assume the tone of a critic : but to those of him whose views and from a spirit of tolerance I would talents are enlarged by liberal conwith my observations to be fup- verse with men of letters : just as posed to attach rather to facts, in a gallery of pictures, an artist ihan to perfons ; and when I examines not a portrait, till he Iball te obliged to disclose the has feafted his eyes on the historic veil which covers their foibles, and pictures which surround him. on which public opinion is always After these preliminary obserapi to put the worst construction, vations, the reader may see what I would wish to draw my exam

of ideas has led me to the ples from some distant epoch, to plan of this work. It seems propfilence contemporary vanity, un er that I should first begin by a der the venerable names of an- grand and rapid survey of all tiquity, and present truth to the those philosophic and literary mind of the refined scholar, .associations, which have extended through the medium of fable, the fphere of human knowledge,

This work shall be free, it can refined the arts, and enlightened not be otherwise, since the object the world by the concentration of of its author is true and enlight. its numerous rays. And as the huened literature ; it is impossible man mind, any where runningalong for him to breathe the spirit of career, must leave fome traces beflavery, who has pronounced with hind; it would be proper perhaps so much energy the name of free- to search for the origin of those dom. Thirty years has the Phin associations among the Chaldee losophy of Najure existed. But writers, the literary focieties of this love of independence favours China, the facerdotal colleges of not the advocates of licentious Egyptian Thebes, or of Memmanners : I admire not the apos- phis, the academy of Benares, tle of liberty, unless in his origi- and in all the Lyceums of the first Dal purity. The moment that de ages. votees disgrace, or traitors muti The brilliant age of Pericles late it ; or above all, that factious would also be useful to affist this men make it subfervient to their'inquiry, which was never equalled, own sinister defigns, I think it at least till the time of Monright then to submit it to the or- taigne, and that I am bold enough deal of the moral crucible, to fep-' to call, by way of distinction, the arate the virgin 'gold of nature age

of reason. from the vile drofs with which The connexion of events leads man has contaminated it.

me to speak of Rome, which, dur. In giving a true philosophical ing the space of feven hundred


« ZurückWeiter »