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Extract from Governor Strong's Speech, 17th. January, 1806. Changes in the constitution of government are more injurious than in the system of laws:--even a small innovation may destroy its principles. The framers of the constitution had before them not only the forms which had been preferred by the several states ; but those also, which, before that time, had been devised in other ages and nations. And though the repeated experiments which have since taken place in Europe, may suggest matter for warning, they afford nothing for imitation. If, notwithstanding, it is found by experience, that the constitution opperates very unequally, or the construction of any part is doubtful, amendments may be necessary to alter or explain it.-But it is in vain to expect that all zvill be satisfied. Free governments admit of an endless variety of mod. ifications ; and the oppinions entertained of their respective merits are equally various. When the constitution was established, perhaps no man that became subject to it was perfectly pleased with every part.-Ic was the result of mutual concession : and such, indeed, must always be the case, when a form of government is voluntarily accepted by a munity.
" In the minds of some men, their seems to be a restlessness, which renders them dissatisfied with any uniformi course of things, and makes them eager in the pursuit of novelty. They abound in projects, and, are ever meditating some fanciful change in the plan of government, which their immaginations represent as useful. But men of great ambition are still more dangerous ; they commonly make the fairest pretences to principles, though they are actuated only by self interest
. If the constitution or laws of their country present obstacles to the accomplishment of their wishes, they employ every artifice to alter or abolish them ; and, if individuaus oppose their attempts, they are equally artful and solicitous to destroy their influence and render them odious to their fellow citizens.
“ Few men, even in a prosperous community are fully satisfied with their condition. A great part are easily induced to believe, that there is something wrong in the government or laws, which might be rectified to their advantage. They therefore readily embrace any specious proposal to effect an alteration.,—The crafty and ambitious know how to avail themselves of this disposition to change, and encourage their followers to expect that the amendments they propose will perfectly suit their case, and produce the very blessings they wish: in this way they not only effect their immediate object, but acquire an influence which enables them afterwards to accomplish the most disastrous innovations. Such persons encourage hopes that can never be realized, and excite complaints whieh the most wise and benevolent administration is unable to
“ Our forms of government are doubtless like all other liuman institutions imperfect; but-they will ensure the blessings of freedom to the citizens, and preserve their tranquility, as long as they are virtuous and no constitution that has been or can be formed will secure those blessings to a depraved and vicious people.” Extract from the answer of the Massachusetts Senate to the
Governor's Speech of 17th, January, 1806. « We shall look with a still more cautious eye upon every innova. tion attempted to be made upon our national constitution. The integrity, experiance, and extensive information discovered by the illustrious characters who framed that valuable instrument and the series of public prosperity enjoyed under it, entitle it to our highest veneration ; its excel
appears with still greater lustre, when compared with the ephemeral constitutions of many nations which have Aitted across the eye in rapid succession, and then sunk into total oblivion. We are not insensible, that our form of government must be imperfect, as was the nature of its authors : but we recollect, at the same time that
any proposed alteration under the name of amendment is liable to the same imperfection.
“ Believing therefore that the principles of the constitution are as well adjusted as human infirmity will permit, and that a small innovation may essentially pervert its original tendency, we shall exert ourselves to preserve it in its present form, 'except in cases where its operation shall be found extremely unequal and oppressive.”
INTO A COMMUNITY, WHICH, DRAGGED INTO
A DEATH-LIKE STUPOR,
WITH UNPARALLELED APATHY BEHOLDS
PILLARS OF THE GOVERNMENT TEARING AWAY-
PROPERTY SİNKING IN VALUE-
PROSTRATE AT THE FEET OF A RUTHLESS FOE,
ANARCHY RAPIDLY APPROACHING,
A NUMBER OF AMBITIOUS LEADERS, REGARDLESS
STRUGGLING TO SEIZE UPON THE GOVERNMENT,
APPARENTLY DETERMINED THE COUNTRY SHALL GO TO
UNLESS THEY CAN POSSESS THEMSELVES OF POWER;
AND, WITH THIS VIEW, OPPOSING AND DEFEATING,
CALCULATED TO INSURE OUR SALVATION,
APPEAL TO THE PATRIOTISM,
THE HONOUR, THE FEELING, THE SELF-INTEREST OF YOUR,
TO SAVE A NOBLE NATION FROM RUIX
Phila. Jan. 4. 1815.
(AS A MARK OF GRATITUDE FOR
INESTIMABLE BLESSINGS ENJOYED IN
LIBERTY OF PERSON, LIBERTY OF PROPERTY, AND LIBERTY OF
TO A DEGREE NEVER EXCEEDED IN THE WORLD,
IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED
TO A BELOVED BUT BLEEDING COUNTRY,
TORN IN PIECES
FACTIOUS, DESPERATE, CONVULSIVE, AND RUINOUS
STRUGGLES FOR POWER.
IT IS LIKEWISE DEDICATED TO THOSE
MILLIONS OF HUMAN BEINGS,
WHO NEITHER HOLD NOR SEEK OFFICE,
BUT WHO ARE MADE THE INSTRUMENTS OF THOSE
WHO DO SEEK THEM:
AND WHO, WHILE A FOREIGN ENEMY PRESSES
AT THEIR DOORS,
ARE ENFEEBLED AND KEPT FROM UNION,
TO GRATIFY THE AMBITION OF
A FEW MEN,
(NOT ONE IN FIVE THOUSAND OF THE WHOLE COMMUNITY)
WHO HAVE BROUGHT
TO THE VERY VERGE OF DESTRUCTION,
THE FAIREST PROSPECT
THAT EVER SHONE ON ANY NATION.
BY THE AUTHOR.
Nov. 8, 1814
TO THE FIRST EDITION.
Philadelphia, Nov. 8, 1814.*
I SUBMIT this work to my fellow-citizens with an uncommon degree of solicitude and anxiety. The subject it embraces, and the objects it has in view, are of inexpressible magnitude. The subject is the present crítical situation of the United States, with the causes that have led to that situation ; the objects, the restoration of harmony, and dissipation of party rage and rancour.
It cannot be any longer doubted that there exists a conspiracy in New-England, among a few of the most wealthy and influential citizens, to effect a dissolution of the union at every hazard, and to form a seperate confederacy. This has been asserted by, some of our citizens for years, and strenuously deried by others, deceived by the mask the conspirators wore, and their hollow professions. But it requires more than Bæotian stupidity and dulness, to hesitate on the subject after the late extraordinary movements, which cannot possibly have any other object.
It is eighteen years since this dangerous project was promulgated, + From that period to the present, it has not been one hour out of view; And unholy and pernicious, as was the end, the means employed were at least equally unholly and pernicious. Falsehood, deception, and calumny, in turn, have been called in to aid the design. The passions of the people have been kept in a constant state of the most extravagant excitement. Every act of the government has been placed in the most revolting point of view. To the administration have been unceasingly ascribed the most odious objects, pursued by the most detestable means.
About two thirds of the papers published in New-England are opposed to the present administration. They are all exparte. I think it is doubtful whether a single number of the Centinel, Repertory, Boston Gazette, &c. has been published for years, free froin attacks on the administration. And I am pretty well convinced, that attempts at vindication are hardly ever alJowed a place. The object steadily, and invariably, and industriously pursued, is to run down the incumbents in office at all events. To this every thing is made subservient.
The reader is requested in reading the different Prefaces, to pay particular attention to their dates.
f In a series of essays, published under the signatures of Pelham, in the Connecticut Courant, 1796. See page 264.
On the injustice, the cruelty of this procedure, it is needless to descant." "It is treating the highest public functionaries of the country, chosen by the unbiassed suffrages of a free people, worse than we should treat the veriest rascal in society. It he were accused of any crime whatever, his defence would be patiently heard before sentence would be pronounced. But our first magistrate, and other public officers, are accused, tried and condemn. ed without a possibility of defence.
This is a great and deplorable evilman evil so inveterate, as to render a remedy almost hopeless. It is hardly possible for any government to stand against such an unjust system. It is pregnant with the most awful consequences to society.
I am not to be told, that there are many papers devoted to the defence of the government as well as to run it down. This I well know; but this does not remove the difficulty. Such is the folly of the times, that the mass of our citizens confine themselves to those papers calculated to strengthen their prejudices. They rarely read defences, if any appear. And thus it is not surprising that those prejudices become daily more and more inveterate and that through the address and industry of artful men, they are prepared to overturn that constitution, to whose abuse and pervertion they ascribe all those sufferings which have really flowed from the rapacity and injustice of the belligerents.
Besides the party in New-England, who are determined on a separation of the states for their own aggrandizement—there is a party in the middle states equally dangerous. They are daily engaged in preparing the public mind for seizing the reigns of government by violence, and expelling the public functionaries,
With these gentlemen, it is a favourite idea to send the president to Elba, and supply his place with one of their own friends, and thus save the people the necessity of another election. Mr. Barent Gardenier, of New York, and a few violent men in congress, are the most active of this party. All their talent3 and industry are devoted to this vile purpose.
This (blood and murder-lanterns and guillotines apart)—is as revolutionary, as disorganizing, as jacobinical a project as any of those of Danton, Legendre, Marat, Petion, or Robespierre, in the early stages of the French revolution. And, reader," lay not the flattering unction to your soul,” that we shall in this event escape bloodshed. It is as impossible that such a flagitious project should be carried into operation, without torrents of blood being shed, as that you can tear away the foundations on which a mighty edifice rests, without the edifice itself crumbling to ruins, or that you can remove the dykes which oppose the progress of a vast body of water, and not have the ajacent country overflowed.
With Mr. Gardenier, it is a favourite phrase that “the present administration must come down." This is tolerably explicit. It is impossible to mistake the intention or the mode of effecting