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ifs on esticle IX; the 194



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(JULY, 1834,)



By Altante Bill Gree

There have been in the world, but two systems or schools of policy; the one founded on the
great principles of wisdom and rectitude; the other, on cunning, and its various artifices.

Tantumque abest, ut aliquam bonam gratiam mihi quæsisse videar, ut multas etiam simultates,
partim obscuras, partim apertas, intelligam mihi non necessarias, vobis non inutiles suscepisse.
Oratio pro lege Manilia.




S'il n'eut MAL parlé de personne,
On n'eut jamais parlé de lui.

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us 1301.3

1864, Oct.1. Found among the Duplicates.


On Article IX., in the 84th Number of the North American Review, (July, 1834,) entitled 'Origin and Character of the Old Parties.'

It is possible, that some of the readers of the North American Review, who dwell beyond the limits of the New England States, may take the article above mentioned, to be in conformity with the tenor of opinions entertained by well-informed men within the New England States. The fact is supposed to be much otherwise. An editor of a review is the proper judge of the matter with which he shall fill his pages; and he assumes the responsibility of all they contain. He may inform his readers what books have been published;-and which of them should be approved, neglected, or condemned; or he may devote his pages to his own disquisitions; but he should bear in mind, that if his readers cannot write as well as he can, most of them can judge, correctly, of the soundness and utility of his opinions. He is like a speaker in a popular assembly. There may be no one present who can speak as well as he can; and no one present who cannot feel whether he speaks to the point, or not.

The North American has been a creditable publication to this part of the country. It has often contained valuable and instructive essays. In the present number, the article on usury does credit to the writer. It is a well-digested paper on a subject of universal interest, and will serve to fix attention on the true philosophy of usury. It is regretted, that the like commendation cannot be given to all its articles. It sometimes varies from the useful course which it ought to pursue; and has done so, most obviously, in the ninth article of the July number. There is no doubt, that a large proportion of those who have read this article, condemn it.

It requires more than one perusal, to know what the writer intends. It must be taken as a whole, and analyzed; and then one cannot say, confidently, that he has taken the writer's meaning. So far as we can pretend to comprehend it, it is; 1. A discussion of the progress of improvement in the science of government. 2. It is a commentary on the events which led to the adoption of the national constitution. 3. It is a comparison of the motives and merits of those who approved, and of those who disapproved, of that measure; and of the motives and merits

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of the two first parties, who conducted the administration. 4. It is an apology and vindication of one of these parties, and a condemnation of the other, with an affectation of candor and impartiality, which will deceive no one. 5. It is a lamentation, that the fame of the great and good Mr. Jefferson, should be wantonly assailed, and a labored attempt to vindicate him;-omitting, entirely, to notice, that whatsoever has been lately published of Mr. Jefferson, is only in reply to his own calumnies.

We propose to make a few remarks on these several topics; and to say something of certain others, which the article suggests, and which may not find a place under either of the divisions above assumed. But we shall avail ourselves of the reviewer's example, as to order, in some degree.

Without pretending to the historical knowledge of the writer of this article, whosoever he may be, yet pretending to have read something of history, as most men have, we shall be under the necessity of recurring to the general course of history, as illustrative of the progress made in the science of government. We must do this, because we cannot assent to the positions and illustrations assumed by this writer; and because our historical recollections agree with his, neither in fact nor philosophy.

We are disposed to treat this matter with sobriety. There are thousands of persons in the United States, between the ages of twenty and forty, who are strangers to the excitements which prevailed more than twenty years ago. Every one of them is deeply interested to know the history of the times which occurred before he was a man, because he is now feeling the effect of the acts then done. Every one of these citizens is sincerely and deeply attached to rational civil liberty, and determined to support republican government. He is so attached, and so disposed, because he knows that such liberty and such government involve his security and happiness. The article in question, assumes to tell him on what this security and happiness depend. So far as it is true and sound, it deserves his thanks; so far as it is unsound and unworthy of confidence, it ought to be discussed, and its unsoundness stated.

The principles of social union are very simple, and easily understood; and their operation, in times long past, can be known only from history.

As to the principles, the human race would soon come to an end, if it were not for the succession of parents and children. Hence arise family ties; families imply community, or society; thus a social state is the natural condition of the human race. Society implies property; for this is as necessary and natural a right, as that of slaking one's thirst at the fountain, or breathing the common air. Property requires protection; protection, alliance of the members of society, to effect the common good. This good requires defence against the aggressors of other communities; it also requires peace among the members of the same community, and consequently the prevention of wrongs, or the punishment of them, when they occur; in short, JUSTICE. As the members of a community are to be defended against the wrong which other communities (or nations) may do, and against the wrongs which the members of their own community may do, they must serve, pay, and obey, to accomplish these ends. All this is comprised in the word government. Reduced to its simple element, government is the command over the physical force of a community. Napo

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leon, who commanded the physical force of millions, and kept all in awe, who were not under his military command; and the sheriff of a county, who, in the name of the law, puts a man to death, rest alike on physical force. Napoleon had only to issue a word of command. The sheriff would rely on the physical force of his fellow-citizens, acting in the name of the law, if obstructed in the performance of his duties.

In what manner, to what extent, by whom, and over whom, the physical force of any society is exercised, constitutes the difference between any one government, and all others, that do, or ever did exist.

By the law of nature, which exists wherever man exists, each one is forbidden to deprive another of his life, of his home, of his wife, or children; or to violate his property, or do harm to his person, or his fame; he is also forbidden to prevent any one from doing any act which will promote that one's own welfare, when the act intended, is not injurious to another. These are natural rights, and when violated, the offended party is entitled to justice.

The end of government is to protect these natural rights. Protection depends on the power to restrain, and to punish. That power resides in the whole community, but may be usurped by one, or a few, who can acquire the command over the whole; or may be exercised by some of the members who are deputed to that service, and who act in the name and in behalf of the whole. The correspondent duty on the part of the protected is obedience.

The most natural, and probably the earliest form of government, and certainly the best, is, to select the wise and the virtuous to exercise the powers of government. The highest attainment which mankind have hitherto made, is, deliberately to prescribe the rules by which a society shall be governed, and therein defining what may and must, and what shall not be done, leaving all things, expressly or impliedly excluded by the rules, to the pleasure of each one; and then to choose the wisest and most honest to administer these rules according to the exigencies of society.

Such a sort of government is so obviously the best that mankind can ever have, while they need any, how does it happen that it has been so rarely known in the world? The answer is, that mankind are (and no other created beings are) favored by the Creator, with the capacity to advance from a state of barbarism, to a high degree of refinement; but they have advanced as slowly, as they are known to have done, because of war, and its consequences; because of the perversions of religion; and the contentions among the members of the same society, for power.

From war, sprang kings, princes, nobles, hereditary claims, inequality of condition, great riches among few; ignorance, poverty, and slavery among many. From false religion, has come the slavery of the mind; for he who assumes the absolute power of disposing of the souls of his fellow-men, in a future world, is master of the mind and person in this. Thus we find that religion has been made to be the handmaid of civil power, when not its mistress. From the contention of the members of the same society to settle the question, who should rule, and who should serve, pay, and obey, have arisen most of the miseries which have befallen the human race. What is there, that brute force, hypocrisy, fraud, cunning and crime, have not done, to gain power?

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