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Title: A Collection of Essays and Fugitiv Writings - On Moral, Historical, Political, and Literary Subjects
Author: Webster, Noah, 1758-1843
Language: English
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Transcriber's note:

      Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

      The headings in the table of contents do not always match
      the headings in the text. The subsections do not have their
      own heading, but refer to the page where his writing on
      this topic starts.

      The mistakes mentioned in the erratum list on page viii
      have all been incorporated in the text.

      A list of corrections to the text can be found at the end
      of the document.




         Heureuses les villes qui, comme les individus, n'ont
         point encore pris leur pli! Elles feules peuvent aspirer
         à des loix unanimes, profondes et sages.

                   TABLEAU DE PARIS.

Printed at Boston, for the Author,
by I. Thomas and E. T. Andrews,
at Faust's Statue, No. 45, Newbury Street.



  The honorable John Adams, Esq. Vice President
    of the United States, 2 copies.
  The hon. Pierce Butler, Esq.          }
  The hon. Charles Carrol, Esq.         }
  The hon. Oliver Ellsworth, Esq.       }
  The hon. William Few, Esq.            }
  The hon. Benjamin Hawkins, Esq.       }
  The hon. John Henry, Esq.             }
  The hon. Ralph Izard, Esq.            } Senators in Congress.
  The hon. William Samuel Johnson, Esq. }
  The hon. Samuel Johnston, Esq.        }
  The hon. Rufus King, Esq.             }
  The hon. Robert Morris, Esq.          }
  The hon. George Read, Esq.            }
  Hon. Jonathan Trumbull, Esq.          } Representativs
  Jeremiah Wadsworth, Esq. 2 copies.    } in Congress.

  Nathaniel W. Appleton, Physician, _Boston_.
  John Allen, Esq. Attorney at Law, _Litchfield_.

  Isaac Baldwin, Esq. Clerk of Court, _Litchfield_.
  Isaac Baldwin, jun. Esq. Attorney, do.
  Mrs. Ruthy Barlow, _Greenfield_.
  Mr. Jesse Benedict, _Fairfield_.
  Mr. Isaac Bronson, _Hartford_.
  Mr. Caleb Bull, do.
  Mr. James Burr, do.
  Jonathan Brace, Esq. Attorney, _Glanstenbury_.
  David Burr, Esq. Attorney, _Fairfield_.
  Barna Bidwell, Esq. Attorney, _New Haven_.
  John Bird, Esq. Attorney, _Salisbury_.

  Peter Colt, Esq. Treasurer of Connecticut, _Hartford_.
  Mr. John M'Curdy, Merchant, do.
  Richard M'Curdy, Esq. Attorney, _Lyme_.
  John Caldwell, Esq. Alderman of the City of Hartford.
  Mr. John Chenevard, jun. _Hartford_.
  Hon. John Chester, Esq. Judge of the County Court, _Wethersfield_.
  Thomas Chester, Esq. Attorney, _Wethersfield_.
  Edward Carrington, Physician, _Milford_.
  Reverend Henry Channing, _New London_.
  Joshua Coit, Esq. Attorney, do.
  Mr. Lynde M'Curdy, Merchant, _Norwich_.
  Messieurs Coit and Lathrop, Merchants, do.
  Mason F. Cogswell, Physician and Surgeon, _Hartford_.
  Reverend John Clarke, _Boston_.

  Samuel W. Dana, Esq. Attorney, _Middleton_.
  David Daggett, Esq. Attorney, _New Haven_.
  Mr. Benadam Dennison, _Norwich_.

  Pierpont Edwards, Esq. Attorney for Connecticut District, _New Haven_.

  Mr. Thomas Fanning, _Norwich_.

  William Greenleaf, Esq. _Boston_.
  Chauncey Goodrich, Esq. Attorney, _Hartford_.
  Elizur Goodrich, Esq. Attorney, _New Haven_.
  Gideon Granger, jun. Esq. Attorney, _Suffield_.
  Gaylord Griswold, Esq. Attorney, _Windsor_.

  His Excellency Samuel Huntington, Esq. Governor of Connecticut.
  Lemuel Hopkins, Physician, _Hartford_.
  Mr. Asa Hopkins, Druggist, do.
  Uriel Holmes, Esq. Attorney, _New Hartford_.
  Colonel Ebenezer Huntington, Merchant, _Norwich_.
  Mr. Joseph Howland, do.
  Mr. Andrew Huntington, Merchant, do.
  Mr. Levi Huntington, do.
  David Hull, Physician, _Fairfield_.
  William Hillhouse, Esq. Attorney, _New Haven_.
  Captain Pliny Hillyer, _Granby_.
  Samuel Henshaw, Esq. _Northampton_.

  Jonathan Ingersoll, Esq. Attorney, _New Haven_.

  William Judd, Esq. Attorney, _Farmington_, 2 copies.
  John Coffin Jones, Esq. _Boston_.

  Mr. Isaac Kibby, Merchant, _Enfield_.
  Ephraim Kirby, Esq. Attorney, _Litchfield_.
  Mr. Joshua King, _Ridgefield_.

  Lynde Lord, Esq. Sheriff of Litchfield County, _Litchfield_.

  Reverend Jedidiah Morse, _Charlestown_.
  William Moseley, Esq. Attorney, _Hartford_.
  Samuel Marsh, Esq. Attorney, _Litchfield_.
  Mr. John Morgan, Merchant, _Hartford_.
  Mr. William Marsh, do.
  Eneas Munson, jun. Physician, _New Haven_.
  Ashur Miller, Esq. Attorney, _Middleton_.
  George R. Minot, Esq. Attorney, _Boston_.

  Hon. Roger Newberry, Esq. Judge of the County Court, _Windsor_.

  Mr. Jacob Ogden, Merchant, _Hartford_.
  Harrison Gray Otis, Esq. Attorney, _Boston_.

  Ralph Pomeroy, Esq. Controller of the Treasury, _Hartford_.
  Enoch Perkins, Esq. Attorney, _Hartford_.
  Mr. Nathaniel Patten, Merchant, _Hartford_, 3 copies.
  Colonel Joshua Porter, Judge of the County Court, _Salisbury_.
  Jonas Prentice, jun. Esq. _New Haven_.
  Colonel Noah Phelps, _Symsbury_.
  Giles Pettibone, Esq. _Norfolk_.

  Hon. Jesse Root, Esq. Judge of the Superior Court, _Hartford_.
  Nathaniel Rosseter, Esq. _Guilford_.
  Ephraim Root, Esq. Attorney, _Hartford_.
  Tapping Reeve, Esq. Attorney, _Litchfield_.

  Reverend Nathan Strong, _Hartford_.
  Thomas Y. Seymour, Esq. Attorney, do.
  Mr. Isaac Sanford, Goldsmith, do.
  Reuben Smith, Esq. _Litchfield_.
  Daniel Sherman, Esq. Chief Judge of County Court, _Woodbury_.
  General Heman Swift, _Cornwall_.
  Lewis B. Sturgis, Esq. Attorney, _Fairfield_.
  Mr. James Smedley, do.
  Zephaniah Swift, Esq. _Windham_.

  John Trumbull, Esq. State Attorney for Hartford County.
  Uriah Tracy, Esq. Attorney, _Litchfield_.
  Nathaniel Terry, jun. Esq. Attorney, _Enfield_.
  Mr. Thomas Tisdale, Merchant, _Hartford_.

  The Hon. Oliver Walcott, Esq. Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut,
  John Williams, Esq. Attorney, _Wethersfield_.
  William Williston, Esq. Attorney, _Symsbury_.
  Mr. Joseph Williams, _Norwich_.
  Mr. Ashbel Wells, Merchant, _Hartford_.
  Alexander Wolcott, Esq. Attorney, _Windsor_.
  Mr. Thomas Walley, Merchant, _Boston_.
  Thomas Welsh, Physician, _Boston_.

  The SENATORS, and
  The following PUBLICATION,
  Designed to
  Diffuse a SPIRIT of ENQUIRY,
  Favorable to MORALS, to SCIENCE, and TRUTH,
  Is most humbly inscribed,

          _The Author_.

  HARTFORD, _June, 1790_.

_As the author was absent from the press, and the copy, in some places,
obscure or not correct, some errors have unavoidably escaped the notice
of the printers. The following are the most material._

  Page 47, line 7, after _corporate_ add _body_.
       49, line 4 from bottom, for _cognized_ reed _organized_.
       54, line 6 of note, for _would_ reed _could_.
       58, line 7, for _contrary_ reed _contracting_.
      146, last line, for _thousand_ reed _hundred_.
      151, line 2 from bottom, for _jurisdiction_ reed _usurpation_.
      263, line 13, for _do_ reed _did_.
      275, line 5, for _Archorites_ reed _Archontes_.
      283, line 14, for _leriquæ_ reed _linguæ_, and for _dacodeni_
      323, last line of text, for _godfather_ reed _grandfather_.
      327, line 7 from bottom, for _change_ reed _chance_.
      332, line 7 from bottom, for _masks_ reed _marks_.
      334, line 22, place the full point after _equity_.
      349, line 1, for _district_ reed _distinct_.
      350, line 2, for _mass_ reed _map_.
      355, line 5, for _ilans_ reed _clans_.
      365, line 9, for _the manners_ reed _this manner_.
      375, line 3 and 4 from bottom, for _ilans_ reed _ilands_.
      377, line 4, for _Koman_ reed _Roman_.
      382, line 4 from bottom, for _necessarily_ reed _necessary_.
      401, line 28, for _normous_ reed _enormous_.


The following Collection consists of Essays and Fugitiv Peeces, ritten
at various times, and on different occasions, az wil appeer by their
dates and subjects. Many of them were dictated at the moment, by the
impulse of impressions made by important political events, and abound
with a correspondent warmth of expression. This freedom of language wil
be excused by the frends of the revolution and of good guvernment, who
wil recollect the sensations they hav experienced, amidst the anarky and
distraction which succeeded the cloze of the war. On such occasions a
riter wil naturally giv himself up to hiz feelings, and hiz manner of
_riting_ wil flow from hiz manner of _thinking_.

Most of thoze peeces, which hav appeered before in periodical papers and
Magazeens, were published with fictitious signatures; for I very erly
discuvered, that altho the name of an old and respectable karacter givs
credit and consequence to hiz ritings, yet the name of a yung man iz
often prejudicial to hiz performances. By conceeling my name, the
opinions of men hav been prezerved from an undu bias arizing from
personal prejudices, the faults of the ritings hav been detected, and
their merit in public estimation ascertained.

The favorable reception given to a number of theze Essays by an
indulgent public, induced me to publish them in a volum, with such
alterations and emendations, az I had heerd suggested by frends or
indifferent reeders, together with some manuscripts, that my own wishes
led me to hope might be useful.

During the course of ten or twelv yeers, I hav been laboring to correct
popular errors, and to assist my yung brethren in the road to truth and
virtue; my publications for theze purposes hav been numerous; much time
haz been spent, which I do not regret, and much censure incurred, which
my hart tells me I do not dezerv. The influence of a yung writer cannot
be so powerful or extensiv az that of an established karacter; but I hav
ever thot a man's usefulness depends more on _exertion_ than on
_talents_. I am attached to America by berth, education and habit; but
abuv all, by a philosophical view of her situation, and the superior
advantages she enjoys, for augmenting the sum of social happiness.

I should hav added another volum, had not recent experience convinced
me, that few large publications in this country wil pay a printer, much
less an author. Should the Essays here presented to the public, proov
undezerving of notice, I shal, with cheerfulness, resign my other papers
to oblivion.

The reeder wil obzerv that the orthography of the volum iz not uniform.
The reezon iz, that many of the essays hav been published before, in the
common orthography, and it would hav been a laborious task to copy the
whole, for the sake of changing the spelling.

In the essays, ritten within the last year, a considerable change of
spelling iz introduced by way of experiment. This liberty waz taken by
the writers before the age of queen Elizabeth, and to this we are
indeted for the preference of modern spelling over that of Gower and
Chaucer. The man who admits that the change of _housbonde_, _mynde_,
_ygone_, _moneth_ into _husband_, _mind_, _gone_, _month_, iz an
improovment, must acknowlege also the riting of _helth_, _breth_,
_rong_, _tung_, _munth_, to be an improovment. There iz no alternativ.
Every possible reezon that could ever be offered for altering the
spelling of wurds, stil exists in full force; and if a gradual reform
should not be made in our language, it wil proov that we are less under
the influence of reezon than our ancestors.

_Hartford, June, 1790._


     No. I.
     On the Education of Youth in America.
  _General Remarks._                                                   1
  _Division of the Subject. Attention to the Dead Languages._          3
  _Study of the English Language necessary._                           7
  _Use of the Bible in Skools._                                        8
  _Study of Mathematics._                                              9
  _Diversity of Studies in the same Skool._                           10
  _Local Situation of Colleges and Academies._                        11
  _On classing Students._                                             13
  _Of good Instructors._                                              15
  _Fatal Effects of employing Men of low Karacters in Skools._        18
  _What Books should be read in Skools._                              23
  _On public Skools--their Importance in a free Guvernment._          24
  _On the Education of Females._                                      27
  _On a foreign Education._                                           30
  _The Tour of America, a necessary Part of a liberal Education._     35

     No. II.
     Principles of Guvernment and Commerce.

  _Origin of Guvernment._                                             38
  _Of Representation._                                           _ibid._
  _Of the Executiv and Judicial Powers._                              39
  _Distinction between Laws and legislativ Grants and Contracts._     40
  _Of collecting Debts by Law, and of Money._                         42
  _Of Public Justice._                                                43

     No. III.
     On Bills or Declarations of Rights.

  _Necessity and Advantages of such Declarations in England._         45
  _Bills of Rights not necessary in America._                         46

     No. IV.
     On Guvernment.

  _Of the Distinction between a Convention and Legislature._          49

     No. V.

  _The Subject continued, with a Consideration of Mr. Jefferson's
    Arguments in Favor of an unalterable Constitution._               59

     No. VI.

  _The Subject continued. That the Freemen of a State hav no Right
    to bind their Representativs in Legisture by their own
    Instructions._                                                    72

     No. VII.
     Remarks on the Manners, Guvernment and Debt of the United States.

  _State of America after the War._                                   81
  _Causes of Public Unhappiness._                                     84
  _Pernicious Effects of Introducing foreign Manners._                85
   -------------------------------- _False Taste._                    94
  _Force of Habit in Guvernment._                                     97
  _Fatal Effects of a Sudden Influx and fluctuating Value of Money._ 105
  _Instability of Laws._                                             112

     No. VIII.

  _On Paper Money._                                                  119

     No. IX.

  _On Redress of Grievances._                                        125

     No. X.

  _The Influence of the Devil._                                      127

     No. XI.

  _Desultory Thoughts on the Tranquillity of the Guvernment of
    Connecticut, Emissions of Paper Currency, Union of the States,
    and Popular Complaints respecting Lawyers._                      132

     No. XII.

  _Advice to Connecticut Folks._                                     137

     No. XIII.

  _An Address to the Dissenting Members of the late Convention in
    Pensylvania._                                                    142

     No. XIV.

  _On Test Laws, Oaths of Allegiance, Abjuration and partial
    Exclusions from Office._                                         151

     No. XV.
     Sketches of the Rise, Progress and Consequences of the late

  _Ground of European Claims to North America._                      154
  _Origin and Progress of the Controversies respecting America._     155
  _Causes of the late War, between Great Britain and America._       158
  _Massacre at Boston in 1770._                                      161
  _First Congress in 1774._                                          164
  _Battle of Lexington, and Progress of the War._                    167
  _Appointment of General Washington to the Command of the American
    Armies._                                                         169
  _Letter from General Washington, explaining the Circumstances
    which led to the Capture of Lord Cornwallis._                    180
  _Treaty of Peace._                                                 182
  _Consequences of the War. Defects of the Confederation._           183
  _Popular Tumults on Account of Half Pay to the Officers of the
    Army._                                                           184
   -------------- _on Account of the Cincinnati._                    186
  _Failure of Public Credit._                                        187
  _Insurrection in Massachusetts._                                   189
  _Regulation of Prices._                                            192
  _History of Paper Money._                                          194
  _State of Commerce._                                               198
  _Origin of the Convention in 1786._                                199
  _Convention and new Form of Federal Guvernment._                   200
  _Processions in Honor of the Constitution._                        203
  _First Congress under the Constitution._                       _ibid._

     No. XVI.

  _Remarks on the Method of Burying the Dead among the Nativs of
    this Country, compared with that among the Ancient Britons._     205

     No. XVII.

  _On the Regularity of the City of Philadelphia._                   217

     No. XVIII.

  _A Dissertation concerning the Influence of Language on Opinions,
    and of Opinions on Language._                                    222

     No. XIX.

  _Effect of Music on Society._                                      229

     No. XX.

  _On the Morality of Savage Nations._                               233

     No. XXI.

  _A Letter from Constantia, with the Answer._                       239

     No. XXII.

  _Letter on the Education of a Young Man, with an Answer._          245

     No. XXIII.
     An Enquiry into the Origin of the Words Domesday, Parish,
       Parliament, Peer, Baron, with Remarks, new and interesting.

  _Etymology of Domesday._                                           250
  _Probable Etymology of Parish._                                    252
  _Etymology of Parliament._                                         258
   -------- _of Peer_.                                               261
   -------- _of Baron_.                                              268
  _Extract from Camden's Britannia._                                 291
   ------ _from Sir William Temple's Works._                         297
  _Postscript, with Remarks on Juries after the Conquest._           299

     No. XXIV.

  _The Injustice, Absurdity, and Bad Policy of Laws against Usury._  304

     No. XXV.

  _The Grounds and Extent of Allegiance, Natural and Local._         317

     No. XXVI.

  _Explanation of the Reezons, why Marriage iz prohibited between
    Natural Relations, designed to determin the Propriety of marrying
    a Wife's Sister._                                                322

     No. XXVII.
  Miscellaneous Remarks on Divisions of Property, Guvernment,
    Education, Religion, Agriculture, Slavery, Commerce, Climate and
    Diseezes in the United States.

  _Connection between Property and Power._                           326
  _Tenure of Lands in Europe._                                   _ibid._
   -------------- _in New England--its Effects._                     328
  _Causes which may in Future change our Governments._               332
  _Karacter of the First Settlers of New England--their
    Institutions--Support of Clergymen, Skools, Newspapers,
    Parish Libraries, &c._                                    332 to 339
  _Constitution of Connecticut--Origin--Excellencies and
     Defects._                                                  340, 347
  _Remarks on the State of New York._                                347
   ---------------------- _New Jersey--Territorial Controversy
    between East and West Jersey._                                   348
  _Pensylvania-Territorial Controversy between that State and
    Connecticut._                                                    355
  _Maryland._                                                        360
  _Virginia._                                                        361
  _Carolinas and Georgia._                                           364
  _Agriculture--Influence of Slavery on this._                       365
  _Climate of America._                                              368
  _Comparativ Temperature of the Wether in the Northern and Suthern
    States._                                                         372

     No. XXVIII.

  _On a Discrimination between the Original and Purchasing
    Creditors of the United States._                                 378

     No. XXIX.

  _An Address to Yung Gentlemen._                                    387

     No. XXX.

  _An Address to Yung Ladies._                                       406



No. I.

                         NEW YORK, 1788.


The Education of youth is, in all governments, an object of the first
consequence. The impressions received in early life, usually form the
characters of individuals; a union of which forms the general character
of a nation.

The mode of Education and the arts taught to youth, have, in every
nation, been adapted to its particular stage of society or local

In the martial ages of Greece, the principal study of its Legislators
was, to acquaint the young men with the use of arms, to inspire them
with an undaunted courage, and to form in the hearts of both sexes, an
invincible attachment to their country. Such was the effect of their
regulations for these purposes, that the very women of Sparta and
Athens, would reproach their own sons, for surviving their companions
who fell in the field of battle.

Among the warlike Scythians, every male was not only taught to use arms
for attack and defence; but was obliged to sleep in the field, to carry
heavy burthens, and to climb rocks and precipices, in order to habituate
himself to hardships, fatigue and danger.

In Persia, during the flourishing reign of the great Cyrus, the
Education of youth, according to Xenophon, formed a principal branch of
the regulations of the empire. The young men were divided into classes,
each of which had some particular duties to perform, for which they were
qualified by previous instructions and exercise.

While nations are in a barbarous state, they have few wants, and
consequently few arts. Their principal objects are, defence and
subsistence; the Education of a savage therefore extends little farther,
than to enable him to use, with dexterity, a bow and a tomahawk.

But in the progress of manners and of arts, war ceases to be the
employment of whole nations; it becomes the business of a few, who are
paid for defending their country. Artificial wants multiply the number
of occupations; and these require a great diversity in the mode of
Education. Every youth must be instructed in the business by which he is
to procure subsistence. Even the civilities of behavior, in polished
society, become a science; a bow and a curtesy are taught with as much
care and precision, as the elements of Mathematics. Education proceeds
therefore, by gradual advances, from simplicity to corruption. Its first
object, among rude nations, is safety; its next, utility; it afterwards
extends to convenience; and among the opulent part of civilized nations,
it is directed principally to show and amusement.

In despotic states, Education, like religion, is made subservient to
government. In some of the vast empires of Asia, children are always
instructed in the occupation of their parents; thus the same arts are
always continued in the same families. Such an institution cramps
genius, and limits the progress of national improvement; at the same
time it is an almost immoveable barrier against the introduction of
vice, luxury, faction and changes in government. This is one of the
principal causes, which have operated in combining numerous millions of
the human race under one form of government, and preserving national
tranquillity for incredible periods of time. The empire of China, whose
government was founded on the patriarchical discipline, has not suffered
a revolution in laws, manners or language, for many thousand years.

In the complicated systems of government which are established among the
civilized nations of Europe, Education has less influence in forming a
national character; but there is no state, in which it has not an
inseparable connection with morals, and a consequential influence upon
the peace and happiness of society.

Education is a subject which has been exhausted by the ablest writers,
both among the ancients and moderns. I am not vain enough to suppose I
can suggest any new ideas upon so trite a theme as Education in general;
but perhaps the manner of conducting the youth in America may be capable
of some improvement. Our constitutions of civil government are not yet
firmly established; our national character is not yet formed; and it is
an object of vast magnitude that systems of Education should be adopted
and pursued, which may not only diffuse a knowlege of the sciences, but
may implant, in the minds of the American youth, the principles of
virtue and of liberty; and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of
government, and with an inviolable attachment to their own country. It
now becomes every American to examin the modes of Education in Europe,
to see how far they are applicable in this country, and whether it is
not possible to make some valuable alterations, adapted to our local and
political circumstances. Let us examin the subject in two views. First,
as it respects arts and sciences. Secondly, as it is connected with
morals and government. In each of these articles, let us see what errors
may be found, and what improvements suggested, in our present practice.

The first error that I would mention, is, a too general attention to the
dead languages, with a neglect of our own.

This practice proceeds probably from the common use of the Greek and
Roman tongues, before the English was brought to perfection. There was a
long period of time, when these languages were almost the only
repositories of science in Europe. Men, who had a taste for learning,
were under a necessity of recurring to the sources, the Greek and Roman
authors. These will ever be held in the highest estimation both for
stile and sentiment; but the most valuable of them have English
translations, which, if they do not contain all the elegance,
communicate all the ideas of the originals. The English language,
perhaps, at this moment, is the repository of as much learning, as one
half the languages of Europe. In copiousness it exceeds all modern
tongues; and though inferior to the Greek and French in softness and
harmony, yet it exceeds the French in variety; it almost equals the
Greek and Roman in energy, and falls very little short of any language
in the regularity of its construction.[1]

    [1] This remark is confined solely to _its construction_; in
    point of orthography, our language is intolerably irregular.

In deliberating upon any plan of instruction, we should be attentive to
its future influence and probable advantages. What advantage does a
merchant, a mechanic, a farmer, derive from an acquaintance with the
Greek and Roman tongues? It is true, the etymology of words cannot be
well understood, without a knowlege of the original languages of which
ours is composed. But a very accurate knowlege of the meaning of words
and of the true construction of sentences, may be obtained by the help
of Dictionaries and good English writers; and this is all that is
necessary in the common occupations of life. But suppose there is some
advantage to be derived from an acquaintance with the dead languages,
will this compensate for the loss of five or perhaps seven years of
valuable time? Life is short, and every hour should be employed to good
purposes. If there are no studies of more consequence to boys, than
those of Latin and Greek, let these languages employ their time; for
idleness is the bane of youth. But when we have an elegant and copious
language of our own, with innumerable writers upon ethics, geography,
history, commerce and government; subjects immediately interesting to
every man; how can a parent be justified in keeping his son several
years over rules of Syntax, which he forgets when he shuts his book; or
which, if remembered, can be of little or no use in any branch of
business? This absurdity is the subject of common complaint; men see and
feel the impropriety of the usual practice; and yet no arguments that
have hitherto been used, have been sufficient to change the system; or
to place an English school on a footing with a Latin one, in point of

It is not my wish to discountenance totally the study of the dead
languages. On the other hand I should urge a more close attention to
them, among young men who are designed for the learned professions. The
poets, the orators, the philosophers and the historians of Greece and
Rome, furnish the most excellent models of Stile, and the richest
treasures of Science. The slight attention given to a few of these
authors, in our usual course of Education, is rather calculated to make
pedants than scholars; and the time employed in gaining superficial
knowlege is really wasted.[2]

    [2] In our colleges and universities, students read some of
    the ancient Poets and Orators; but the Historians, which are
    perhaps more valuable, are generally neglected. The student
    just begins to read Latin and Greek to advantage, then quits
    the study. Where is the seminary, in which the students read
    Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Polybius, Dionysius
    Halicarnasseus, Livy, Velleius, Paterculus and Tacitus? How
    superficial must be that learning, which is acquired in four
    years! Severe experience has taught me the errors and defects
    of what is called a liberal education. I could not read the
    best Greek and Roman authors while in college, without
    neglecting the established classical studies; and after I
    left college, I found time only to dip into books, that every
    scholar should be master of; a circumstance that often fills
    me with the deepest regret. "Quis enim ignorat et eloquentiam
    et cæteras artes descivisse ab ista vetere gloria, non inopia
    hominum, sed desidia juventutis, et negligentia parentum, et
    inscientia præcipientium, et oblivione moris antiqui?--Nec in
    auctoribus cognoscendis, nec in evolvenda antiquitate, nec in
    notitia vel rerum, vel hominum, vel temporum satis operæ
    insumitur."--_Tacitus, de Orat. Dial. 28. 29._

          "A little learning is a dangerous thing,
          Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring."

But my meaning is, that the dead languages are not necessary for men of
business, merchants, mechanics, planters, &c. nor of utility sufficient
to indemnify them for the expense of time and money which is requisite
to acquire a tolerable acquaintance with the Greek and Roman authors.
Merchants often have occasion for a knowlege of some foreign living
language, as, the French, the Italian, the Spanish, or the German; but
men, whose business is wholly domestic, have little or no use for any
language but their own; much less, for languages known only in books.

There is one very necessary use of the Latin language, which will always
prevent it from falling into neglect; which is, that it serves as a
common interpreter among the learned of all nations and ages. Epitaphs,
inscriptions on monuments and medals, treaties, &c. designed for
perpetuity, are written in Latin, which is every where understood by the
learned, and being a dead language is liable to no change.

But the high estimation in which the learned languages have been held,
has discouraged a due attention to our own. People find themselves able
without much study to write and speak the English intelligibly, and thus
have been led to think rules of no utility. This opinion has produced
various and arbitrary practices, in the use of the language, even among
men of the most information and accuracy; and this diversity has
produced another opinion, both false and injurious to the language, that
there are no rules or principles on which the pronunciation and
construction can be settled.

This neglect is so general, that there is scarcely an institution to be
found in the country, where the English tongue is taught regularly, from
its elements to its true and elegant construction, in prose and verse.
Perhaps in most schools, boys are taught the definition of the parts of
speech, and a few hard names which they do not understand, and which the
teacher seldom attempts to explain; this is called _learning grammar_.
This practice of learning questions and answers without acquiring any
ideas, has given rise to a common remark, _that grammar is a dry study_;
and so is every other study which is prosecuted without improving the
head or the heart. The study of geography is equally dry, when the
subject is not understood. But when grammar is taught by the help of
visible objects; when children perceive that differences of words arise
from differences in things, which they may learn at a very early period
of life, the study becomes entertaining, as well as improving. In
general, when a study of any kind is tiresome to a person, it is a
presumptive evidence that he does not make any proficiency in knowlege,
and this is almost always the fault of the instructor.

In a few instances perhaps the study of English is thought an object of
consequence; but here also there is a great error in the common
practice; for the study of English is preceded by several years
attention to Latin and Greek. Nay, there are men, who contend that the
best way to become acquainted with English, is to learn Latin first.
Common sense may justly smile at such an opinion; but experience proves
it to be false.

If language is to be taught mechanically, or by rote, it is a matter of
little consequence whether the rules are in English, Latin or Greek: But
if children are to acquire _ideas_, it is certainly easier to obtain
them in a language which they understand, than in a foreign tongue. The
distinctions between the principal parts of speech are founded in
nature, and are within the capacity of a school boy. These distinctions
should be explained in English, and when well understood, will
facilitate the acquisition of other languages. Without some preparation
of this kind, boys will often find a foreign language extremely
difficult, and sometimes be discouraged. We often see young persons of
both sexes, puzzling their heads with French, when they can hardly write
two sentences of good English. They plod on for some months with much
fatigue, little improvement, and less pleasure, and then relinquish the

The principles of any science afford pleasure to the student who
comprehends them. In order to render the study of language agreeable,
the distinctions between words should be illustrated by the differences
in visible objects. Examples should be presented to the senses, which
are the inlets of all our knowlege. That _nouns are the names of things,
and that adjectives express their qualities_, are abstract definitions,
which a boy may repeat five years without comprehending the meaning. But
that _table_ is the name of an article, and _hard_ or _square_ is its
property, is a distinction obvious to the senses, and consequently
within a child's capacity.

There is one general practice in schools, which I censure with
diffidence; not because I doubt the propriety of the censure, but
because it is opposed to deep rooted prejudices: This practice is the
use of the Bible as a school book. There are two reasons why this
practice has so generally prevailed: The first is, that families in the
country are not generally supplied with any other book: The second, an
opinion that the reading of the scriptures will impress, upon the minds
of youth, the important truths of religion and morality. The first may
be easily removed; and the purpose of the last is counteracted by the
practice itself.

If people design the doctrines of the Bible as a system of religion,
ought they to appropriate the book to purposes foreign to this design?
Will not a familiarity, contracted by a careless disrespectful reading
of the sacred volume, weaken the influence of its precepts upon the

Let us attend to the effect of familiarity in other things.

The rigid Puritans, who first settled the New England States, often
chose their burying ground in the center of their settlements.
Convenience might have been a motive for the choice; but it is probable
that a stronger reason was, the influence which they supposed the
frequent burials and constant sight of the tombs would have upon the
lives of men. The choice, however, for the latter purpose, was extremely
injudicious; for it may be laid down as a general rule, that those who
live in a constant view of death, will become hardened to its terrors.

No person has less sensibility than the Surgeon, who has been accustomed
to the amputation of limbs. No person thinks less of death, than the
Soldier, who has frequently walked over the carcasses of his slain
comrades; or the Sexton, who lives among the tombs.

Objects that affect the mind strongly, whether the sensations they
excite are painful or pleasureable, always lose their effect by a
frequent repetition of their impressions.[3] Those parts of the
scripture, therefore, which are calculated to strike terror to the mind,
lose their influence by being too frequently brought into view. The same
objection will not apply to the history and morality of the Bible;
select passages of which may be read in schools to great advantage. In
some countries, the common people are not permitted to read the Bible at
all: In ours, it is as common as a newspaper, and in schools, is read
with nearly the same degree of respect. Both these practices appear to
be extremes. My wish is not to see the Bible excluded from schools, but
to see it used as a system of religion and morality.

    [3] The veneration we have for a great character, ceases with
    an intimate acquaintance with the man. The same principle is
    observable in the body. High seasoned food, without frequent
    intervals of abstinence, loses its relish. On the other hand,
    objects that make slight impressions at first, acquire
    strength by repetition. An elegant simplicity in a building
    may not affect the mind with great pleasure at first light;
    but the pleasure will always increase with repeated
    examinations of the structure. Thus by habit, we become
    excessively fond of food which does not relish at first
    tasting; and strong attachments between the sexes often take
    place from indifference, and even from aversion.

These remarks suggest another error which is often committed in our
inferior schools: I mean that of putting boys into difficult sciences,
while they are too young to exercise their reason upon abstract
subjects. For example; boys are often put to the study of mathematics,
at the age of eight or ten years; and before they can either read or
write. In order to show the impropriety of such a practice, it is
necessary to repeat what was just now observed, that our senses are the
avenues of knowlege. This fact proves that the most natural course of
Education is that which employs, first the senses or powers of the body,
or those faculties of the mind which first acquire strength; and then
proceeds to those studies which depend on the power of comparing and
combining ideas. The art of writing is mechanical and imitative; this
may therefore employ boys, as soon as their fingers have strength
sufficient to command a pen. A knowledge of letters requires the
exercise of a mental power, memory; but this is coeval almost with the
first operations of the human mind; and with respect to objects of
sense, is almost perfect even in childhood. Children may therefore be
taught reading, as soon as their organs of speech have acquired strength
sufficient to articulate the sounds of words.[4]

    [4] Great caution should be observed in teaching children to
    pronounce the letters of the alphabet. The labials are easily
    pronounced; thus the first words a child can speak are _papa_
    and _mama_. But there are some letters, particularly _l_ and
    _r_, which are of difficult pronunciation, and children
    should not be pressed to speak words in which they occur. The
    difficulty may produce a habit of stammering.

But those sciences, a knowlege of which is acquired principally by the
reasoning faculties, should be postponed to a more advanced period of
life. In the course of an English Education, mathematics should be
perhaps the last study of youth in schools. Years of valuable time are
sometimes thrown away, in a fruitless application to sciences, the
principles of which are above the comprehension of the students.

There is no particular age, at which every boy is qualified to enter
upon mathematics to advantage. The proper time can be best determined by
the instructors, who are acquainted with the different capacities of
their pupils.

Another error, which is frequent in America, is that a master undertakes
to teach many different branches in the same school. In new settlements,
where people are poor, and live in scattered situations, the practice is
often unavoidable: But in populous towns, it must be considered as a
defective plan of Education. For suppose the teacher to be equally
master of all the branches which he attempts to teach, which seldom
happens, yet his attention must be distracted with a multiplicity of
objects, and consequently painful to himself and not useful to the
pupils. Add to this the continual interruptions which the students of
one branch suffer from those of another, which must retard the progress
of the whole school. It is a much more eligible plan to appropriate an
apartment to each branch of Education, with a teacher who makes that
branch his sole employment. The principal academies in Europe and
America are on this plan, which both reason and experience prove to be
the most useful.

With respect to literary institutions of the first rank, it appears to
me that their local situations are an object of importance. It is a
subject of controversy, whether a large city or a country village is the
most eligible situation for a college or university. But the arguments
in favor of the latter, appear to me decisive. Large cities are always
scenes of dissipation and amusement, which have a tendency to corrupt
the hearts of youth and divert their minds from their literary pursuits.
Reason teaches this doctrine, and experience has uniformly confirmed the
truth of it.

Strict discipline is essential to the prosperity of a public seminary of
science; and this is established with more facility, and supported with
more uniformity, in a small village, where there are no great objects of
curiosity to interrupt the studies of youth or to call their attention
from the orders of the society.

That the morals of young men, as well as their application to science,
depend much on retirement, will be generally acknowleged; but it will be
said also, that the company in large towns will improve their manners.
The question then is, which shall be sacrificed; the advantage of an
_uncorrupted heart_ and an _improved head_; or of polished manners. But
this question supposes that the virtues of the heart and the polish of
the gentleman are incompatible with each other; which is by no means
true. The gentleman and the scholar are often united in the same person.
But both are not formed by the same means. The improvement of the head
requires close application to books; the refinement of manners rather
attends some degree of dissipation, or at least a relaxation of the
mind. To preserve the purity of the heart, it is sometimes necessary,
and always useful, to place a youth beyond the reach of bad examples;
whereas a general knowlege of the world, of all kinds of company, is
requisite to teach a universal propriety of behavior.

But youth is the time to form both the head and the heart. The
understanding is indeed ever enlarging; but the seeds of knowlege should
be planted in the mind, while it is young and susceptible; and if the
mind is not kept untainted in _youth_, there is little probability that
the moral character of the _man_ will be unblemished. A genteel address,
on the other hand, _may_ be acquired at any time of life, and _must_ be
acquired, if ever, by mingling with good company. But were the
cultivation of the understanding and of the heart, inconsistent with
genteel manners, still no rational person could hesitate which to
prefer. The goodness of a heart is of infinitely more consequence to
society, than an elegance of manners; nor will any superficial
accomplishments repair the want of principle in the mind. It is always
better to be _vulgarly right_, than _politely wrong_.

But if the amusements, dissipation and vicious examples in populous
cities render them improper places for seats of learning; the monkish
mode of sequestering boys from other society, and confining them to the
apartments of a college, appears to me another fault. The human mind is
like a rich field, which, without constant care, will ever be covered
with a luxuriant growth of weeds. It is extremely dangerous to suffer
young men to pass the most critical period of life, when the passions
are strong, the judgement weak, and the heart susceptible and
unsuspecting, in a situation where there is not the least restraint upon
their inclinations. My own observations lead me to draw the veil of
silence over the ill effects of this practice. But it is to be wished
that youth might always be kept under the inspection of age and superior
wisdom; that literary institutions might be so situated, that the
students might live in decent families, be subject, in some measure, to
their discipline, and ever under the control of those whom they

Perhaps it may also be numbered among the errors in our systems of
Education, that, in all our universities and colleges, the students are
all restricted to the same course of study, and by being classed,
limited to the same progress. Classing is necessary, but whether
students should not be removeable from the lower to the higher classes,
as a reward for their superior industry and improvements, is submitted
to those who know the effect of emulation upon the human mind.

But young gentlemen are not all designed for the same line of business,
and why should they pursue the same studies? Why should a merchant
trouble himself with the rules of Greek and Roman syntax, or a planter
puzzle his head with conic sections? Life is too short to acquire, and
the mind of man too feeble to contain, the whole circle of sciences. The
greatest genius on earth, not even a Bacon, can be a perfect master of
_every_ branch; but any moderate genius may, by suitable application, be
perfect in any _one_ branch. By attempting therefore to teach young
gentlemen every thing, we make the most of them mere smatterers in
science. In order to qualify persons to figure in any profession, it is
necessary that they should attend closely to those branches of learning
which lead to it.

There are some arts and sciences which are necessary for every man.
Every man should be able to speak and write his native tongue with
correctness; and have some knowlege of mathematics. The rules of
arithmetic are indispensably requisite. But besides the learning which
is of common utility, lads should be directed to pursue those branches
which are connected more immediately with the business for which they
are destined.

It would be very useful for the farming part of the community, to
furnish country schools with some easy system of practical husbandry. By
repeatedly reading some book of this kind, the mind would be stored with
ideas, which might not indeed be understood in youth, but which would be
called into practice in some subsequent period of life. This would lead
the mind to the subject of agriculture, and pave the way for

Young gentlemen, designed for the mercantile line, after having learned
to write and speak English correctly, might attend to French, Italian,
or such other living language, as they will probably want in the course
of business. These languages should be learned early in youth, while the
organs are yet pliable; otherwise the pronunciation will probably be
imperfect. These studies might be succeeded by some attention to
chronology, and a regular application to geography, mathematics,
history, the general regulations of commercial nations, principles of
advance in trade, of insurance, and to the general principles of

It appears to me that such a course of Education, which might be
completed by the age of fifteen or sixteen, would have a tendency to
make better merchants than the usual practice which confines boys to
Lucian, Ovid and Tully, till they are fourteen, and then turns them into
a store, without an idea of their business, or one article of Education
necessary for them, except perhaps a knowlege of writing and figures.

Such a system of English Education is also much preferable to a
university Education, even with the usual honors; for it might be
finished so early as to leave young persons time to serve a regular
apprenticeship, without which no person should enter upon business. But
by the time a university Education is completed, young men commonly
commence _gentlemen_; their age and their pride will not suffer them to
go thro the drudgery of a compting house, and they enter upon business
without the requisite accomplishments. Indeed it appears to me that what
is now called a _liberal Education_, disqualifies a man for business.
Habits are formed in youth and by practice; and as business is, in some
measure, mechanical, every person should be exercised in his employment,
in an early period of life, that his habits may be formed by the time
his apprenticeship expires. An Education in a university interferes with
the forming of these habits; and perhaps forms opposite habits; the mind
may contract a fondness for ease, for pleasure or for books, which no
efforts can overcome. An academic Education, which should furnish the
youth with some ideas of men and things, and leave time for an
apprenticeship, before the age of twenty one years, would in my opinion,
be the most eligible for young men who are designed for activ

The method pursued in our colleges is better calculated to fit youth for
the learned professions than for business. But perhaps the period of
study, required as the condition of receiving the usual degrees, is too
short. Four years, with the most assiduous application, are a short time
to furnish the mind with the necessary knowlege of the languages and of
the several sciences. It might perhaps have been a period sufficiently
long for an infant settlement, as America was, at the time when most of
our colleges were founded. But as the country becomes populous, wealthy
and respectable, it may be worthy of consideration, whether the period
of academic life should not be extended to six or seven years.

But the principal defect in our plan of Education in America, is, the
want of good teachers in the academies and common schools. By good
teachers I mean, men of unblemished reputation, and possessed of
abilities, competent to their stations. That a man should be master of
what he undertakes to teach, is a point that will not be disputed; and
yet it is certain that abilities are often dispensed with, either thro
inattention or fear of expense.

To those who employ ignorant men to instruct their children, permit me
to suggest one important idea: That it is better for youth to have _no_
Education, than to have a bad one; for it is more difficult to eradicate
habits, than to impress new ideas. The tender shrub is easily bent to
any figure; but the tree, which has acquired its full growth, resists
all impressions.

Yet abilities are not the sole requisites. The instructors of youth
ought, of all men, to be the most prudent, accomplished, agreeable and
respectable. What avail a man's parts, if, while he is the "wisest and
brightest," he is the "meanest of mankind?" The pernicious effects of
bad example on the _minds_ of youth will probably be acknowleged; but
with a view to _improvement_, it is indispensably necessary that the
teachers should possess good breeding and agreeable manners. In order to
give full effect to instructions, it is requisite that they should
proceed from a man who is loved and respected. But a low bred clown, or
morose tyrant, can command neither love nor respect; and that pupil who
has no motive for application to books, but the fear of a rod, will not
make a scholar.

The rod is often necessary in school; especially after the children have
been accustomed to disobedience and a licentious behavior at home. All
government originates in families, and if neglected there, it will
hardly exist in society; but the want of it must be supplied by the rod
in school, the penal laws of the state, and the terrors of divine wrath
from the pulpit. The government both of families and schools should be
absolute. There should, in families, be no appeal from one parent to
another, with the prospect of pardon for offences. The one should always
vindicate, at least apparently, the conduct of the other. In schools the
master should be absolute in command; for it is utterly impossible for
any man to support order and discipline among children, who are indulged
with an appeal to their parents. A proper subordination in families
would generally supersede the necessity of severity in schools; and a
strict discipline in both is the best foundation of good order in
political society.

If parents should say, "we cannot give the instructors of our children
unlimited authority over them, for it may be abused and our children
injured;" I would answer, they must not place them under the direction
of any man, in whose temper, judgement and abilities, they do not repose
perfect confidence. The teacher should be, if such can be found, as
judicious and reasonable a man as the parent.

There can be little improvement in schools, without strict
subordination; there can be no subordination, without principles of
esteem and respect in the pupils; and the pupils cannot esteem and
respect a man who is not in himself respectable, and who is not treated
with respect by their parents. It may be laid down as an invariable
maxim, that a person is not fit to superintend the Education of
children, who has not the qualifications which will command the esteem
and respect of his pupils. This maxim is founded on a truth which every
person may have observed; that children always _love_ an _amiable_ man,
and always _esteem_ a _respectable_ one. Men and women have their
passions, which often rule their judgement and their conduct. They have
their caprices, their interests and their prejudices, which at times
incline them to treat the most meritorious characters with disrespect.
But children, artless and unsuspecting, resign their hearts to any
person whose manners are agreeable, and whose conduct is respectable.
Whenever, therefore, pupils cease to respect their teacher, he should be
instantly dismissed.

Respect for an instructor will often supply the place of a rod of
correction. The pupil's attachment will lead him to close attention to
his studies; he fears not the _rod_ so much as the _displeasure_ of his
teacher; he waits for a smile, or dreads a frown; he receives his
instructions and copies his manners. This generous principle, the fear
of offending, will prompt youth to exertions; and instead of severity on
the one hand, and of slavish fear, with reluctant obedience on the
other, mutual esteem, respect and confidence strew flowers in the road
to knowlege.

With respect to morals and civil society, the other view in which I
proposed to treat this subject, the effects of Education are so certain
and extensiv, that it behooves every parent and guardian to be
particularly attentiv to the characters of the men, whose province it is
to form the minds of youth.

From a strange inversion of the order of nature, the cause of which it
is not necessary to unfold, the most important business in civil
society, is, in many parts of America, committed to the most worthless
characters. The Education of youth, an employment of more consequence
than making laws and preaching the gospel, because it lays the
foundation on which both law and gospel rest for success; this Education
is sunk to a level with the most menial services. In most instances we
find the higher seminaries of learning intrusted to men of good
characters, and possessed of the moral virtues and social affections.
But many of our inferior schools, which, so far as the heart is
concerned, are as important as colleges, are kept by men of no breeding,
and many of them, by men infamous for the most detestable vices.[5] Will
this be denied? will it be denied, that before the war, it was a
frequent practice for gentlemen to purchase convicts, who had been
transported for their crimes, and employ them as private tutors in their

    [5] How different this practice from the manner of educating
    youth in Rome, during the flourishing ages of the republic!
    There the attention to children commenced with their birth;
    an infant was not educated in the cottage of a hireling
    nurse, but in the very bosom of its mother, whose principal
    praise was, that she superintended her family. Parents were
    careful to choose some aged matron to take care of their
    children; to form their first habits of speaking and acting;
    to watch their growing passions, and direct them to their
    proper objects; to guard them from all immodest sports,
    preserve their minds innocent, and direct their attention to
    liberal pursuits.

    "--Filius--non in cella emptæ nutricis sed gremio ac sinu
    matris educabatur, cujus præcipua laus, tueri domum, et
    inservire liberis. Eligebatur autem aliqua major natu
    propinqua, cujus probatis spectatisque moribus, omnis
    cujuspiam familiæ soboles committeretur, coram qua neque
    dicere fas erat quod turpe dictu, neque facere quod
    inhonestum factu videretur. Ac non studia modo curasque, sed
    remissiones etiam lusus que puerorum, sanctitate quadam ac
    verecundia temperabat." In this manner were educated the
    Gracchi, Cæsar, and other celebrated Romans. "Quæ disciplina
    ac severitas eo pertinebat, ut sincera et interga et nullis
    pravitatibus detorta unius cujusque natura, toto statem
    pectore, arriperet artes honestas."---- _Tacitus de Orat.
    Dial. 28._

    The historian then proceeds to mention the corruption of
    manners, and the vicious mode of Education, in the later ages
    of Rome. He says, children were committed to some maid, with
    the vilest slaves; with whom they were initiated in their low
    conversation and manners. "Horum fabulis et erroribus teneri
    slatim et rudes animi imbuuntur; nec quis quam in toto domo
    pensi habet, quid coram infante domino aut dicat aut
    faciat."---- _Ibid. 29._

Gracious Heavens! Must the wretches, who have forfeited their lives, and
been pronounced unworthy to be inhabitants of a _foreign_ country, be
entrusted with the Education, the morals, the character of _American_

Will it be denied that many of the instructors of youth, whose examples
and precepts should form their minds for good men and useful citizens,
are often found to sleep away, in school, the fumes of a debauch, and to
stun the ears of their pupils with frequent blasphemy? It is idle to
suppress such truths; nay more, it is wicked. The practice of employing
low and vicious characters to direct the studies of youth, is, in a high
degree, criminal; it is destructive of the order and peace of society;
it is treason against morals, and of course, against government; it
ought to be arraigned before the tribunal of reason, and condemned by
all intelligent beings. The practice is so exceedingly absurd, that it
is surprising it could ever have prevailed among rational people.
Parents wish their children to be _well bred_, yet place them under the
care of _clowns_. They wish to secure their hearts from _vicious
principles_ and _habits_, yet commit them to the care of men of the most
_profligate lives_. They wish to have their children taught _obedience_
and _respect_ for superiors, yet give them a master that both parents
and children _despise_. A practice so glaringly absurd and irrational
has no name in any language! Parents themselves will not associate with
the men, whose company they _oblige_ their children to keep, even in
that most important period, when habits are forming for life.[6]

    [6] The practice of employing low characters in schools is
    not novel--Ascham, preceptor to Queen Elizabeth, gives us the
    following account of the practice in his time. "Pity it is
    that commonly more care is had; yea and that among very wise
    men, to find out rather a cunning man for their horse, than a
    cunning man for their children. They say, nay, in word; but
    they do so, in deed. For to one they will give a stipend of
    two hundred crowns, and loth to offer the other two hundred
    shillings. God, that sitteth in the Heaven, laugheth their
    choice to scorn and rewardeth their liberality as it should:
    for he suffereth them to have _tame_ and _well ordered
    horses_; but _wild_ and _unfortunate children_: and therefore
    in the end they find more pleasure in their horse, than
    comfort in their child."

    This is _old language_, but the facts stated are _modern
    truths_. The barbarous Gothic practice has survived all the
    attacks of common sense, and in many parts of America, a
    gentleman's groom is on a level with his schoolmaster, in
    point of reputation. But hear another authority for the
    practice in England.

    "As the case now stands, those of the first quality pay their
    _tutors_ but little above half so much as they do their
    _footmen_."--_Guardian_, No. 94.

    "'Tis monstrous indeed that men of the best estates and
    families are more solicitous about the tutelage of a favorite
    _dog_ or _horse_, than of their _heirs mate_."--_Ibm._

Are parents and guardians ignorant, that children always imitate those
with whom they live or associate? That a boy, bred in the woods, will be
a savage? That another, bred in the army, will have the manners of a
soldier? That a third, bred in a kitchen, will speak the language, and
possess the ideas, of servants? And that a fourth, bred in genteel
company, will have the manners of a gentleman? We cannot believe that
many people are ignorant of these truths. Their conduct therefore can be
ascribed to nothing but inattention or fear of expense. It is perhaps
literally true, that a wild life among savages is preferable to an
Education in a kitchen, or under a drunken tutor; for savages would
leave the mind uncorrupted with the vices, which reign among slaves and
the depraved part of civilized nations. It is therefore a point of
infinite importance to society, that youth should not associate with
persons whose manners they ought not to imitate; much less should they
be doomed to pass the most susceptable period of life, with clowns,
profligates and slaves.

There are people so ignorant of the constitution of our natures, as to
declare, that young people should see vices and their consequences, that
they may learn to detest and shun them. Such reasoning is like that of
the novel writers, who attempt to defend their delineations of abandoned
characters; and that of stage players, who would vindicate the obscene
exhibitions of a theater; but the reasoning is totally false.[7] Vice
always spreads by being published; young people are taught many vices by
fiction, books or public exhibitions; vices, which they never would have
known, had they never read such books or attended such public places.
Crimes of all kinds, vices, judicial trials necessarily obscene, and
infamous punishments, should, if possible, be concealed from the young.
An examination in a court of justice may teach the tricks of a knave,
the arts of a thief, and the evasions of hackneyed offenders, to a dozen
young culprits, and even tempt those who have never committed a crime,
to make a trial of their skill. A newspaper may spread crimes; by
communicating to a nation the knowlege of an ingenious trick of
villainy, which, had it been suppressed, might have died with its first
inventor. It is not true that the effects of vice and crimes deter
others from the practice; except when rarely seen. On the other hand,
frequent exhibitions either cease to make any impressions on the minds
of spectators, or else reconcile them to a course of life, which at
first was disagreeable.

    [7] The fact related by Justin, of an ancient people, will
    apply universally. "Tanto plus in illis proficit victiorum
    ignoratio, quam in his cognitio virtutis." An ignorance of
    vice has a better effect, than a knowlege of virtue.

          "Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
          As to be hated, needs but to be seen;
          Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
          We first endure, then pity, then embrace."

For these reasons, children should keep the best of company, that they
might have before them the best manners, the best breeding, and the best
conversation. Their minds should be kept untainted, till their reasoning
faculties have acquired strength, and the good principles which may be
planted in their minds, have taken deep root. They will then be able to
make a firm and probably a successful resistance, against the attacks
of secret corruption and brazen libertinism.

Our legislators frame laws for the suppression of vice and immorality;
our divines thunder, from the pulpit, the terrors of infinite wrath,
against the vices that stain the characters of men. And do laws and
preaching effect a reformation of manners? Experience would not give a
very favorable answer to this inquiry. The reason is obvious; the
attempts are directed to the wrong objects. Laws can only check the
public effects of vicious principles; but can never reach the principles
themselves; and preaching is not very intelligible to people, till they
arrive at an age when their principles are rooted, or their habits
firmly established. An attempt to eradicate old habits, is as absurd, as
to lop off the branches of a huge oak, in order to root it out of a rich
soil. The most that such clipping will effect, is to prevent a further

The only practicable method to reform mankind, is to begin with
children; to banish, if possible, from their company, every low bred,
drunken, immoral character. Virtue and vice will not grow together in a
great degree, but they will grow where they are planted, and when one
has taken root, it is not easily supplanted by the other. The great art
of correcting mankind therefore, consists in prepossessing the mind with
good principles.

For this reason society requires that the Education of youth should be
watched with the most scrupulous attention. Education, in a great
measure, forms the moral characters of men, and morals are the basis of
government.[8] Education should therefore be the first care of a
Legislature; not merely the institution of schools, but the furnishing
of them with the best men for teachers. A good system of Education
should be the first article in the code of political regulations; for it
is much easier to introduce and establish an effectual system for
preserving morals, than to correct, by penal statutes, the ill effects
of a bad system. I am so fully persuaded of this, that I shall almost
adore that great man, who shall change our practice and opinions, and
make it respectable for the first and best men to superintend the
Education of youth.

    [8] Plus ibi boni mores valent, quam alibi bonæ leges.

    Tac. de Mor. Germ. 19.

Another defect in our schools, which, since the revolution, is become
inexcuseable, is the want of proper books. The collections which are now
used consist of essays that respect foreign and ancient nations. The
minds of youth are perpetually led to the history of Greece and Rome or
to Great Britain; boys are constantly repeating the declamations of
Demosthenes and Cicero, or debates upon some political question in the
British Parliment. These are excellent specimens of good sense, polished
stile and perfect oratory; but they are not interesting to children.
They cannot be very useful, except to young gentlemen who want them as
models of reasoning and eloquence, in the pulpit or at the bar.

But every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He
should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him
in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse
the history of his own country; he should lisp the praise of liberty,
and of those illustrious heroes and statesmen, who have wrought a
revolution in her favor.

A selection of essays, respecting the settlement and geography of
America; the history of the late revolution and of the most remarkable
characters and events that distinguished it, and a compendium of the
principles of the federal and provincial governments, should be the
principal school book in the United States. These are interesting
objects to every man; they call home the minds of youth and fix them
upon the interests of their own country, and they assist in forming
attachments to it, as well as in enlarging the understanding.

"It is observed by the great Montesquieu, that the laws of education
ought to be relative to the principles of the government."[9]

    [9] Spirit of Laws. Book 4.

In despotic governments, the people should have little or no education,
except what tends to inspire them with a servile fear. Information is
fatal to despotism.

In monarchies, education should be partial, and adapted to the rank of
each class of citizens. But "in a republican government," says the same
writer, "the whole power of education is required." Here every class of
people should _know_ and _love_ the laws. This knowlege should be
diffused by means of schools and newspapers; and an attachment to the
laws may be formed by early impressions upon the mind.

Two regulations are essential to the continuance of republican
governments: 1. Such a distribution of lands and such principles of
descent and alienation, as shall give every citizen a power of acquiring
what his industry merits.[10] 2. Such a system of education as gives
every citizen an opportunity of acquiring knowlege and fitting himself
for places of trust. These are fundamental articles; the _sine qua non_
of the existence of the American republics.

    [10] The power of entailing real estates is repugnant to the
    spirit of our American governments.

Hence the absurdity of our copying the manners and adopting the
institutions of Monarchies.

In several States, we find laws passed, establishing provision for
colleges and academies, where people of property may educate their sons;
but no provision is made for instructing the poorer rank of people, even
in reading and writing. Yet in these same States, every citizen who is
worth a few shillings annually, is entitled to vote for legislators.[11]
This appears to me a most glaring solecism in government. The
constitutions are _republican_, and the laws of education are
_monarchical_. The _former_ extend civil rights to every honest
industrious man; the _latter_ deprive a large proportion of the citizens
of a most valuable privilege.

    [11] I have known instructions from the inhabitants of a
    county, two thirds of whom could not write their names. How
    competent must such men be to decide an important point in

In our American republics, where government is in the hands of the
people, knowlege should be universally diffused by means of public
schools. Of such consequence is it to society, that the people who make
laws, should be well informed, that I conceive no Legislature can be
justified in neglecting proper establishments for this purpose.

When I speak of a diffusion of knowlege, I do not mean merely a knowlege
of spelling books, and the New Testament. An acquaintance with ethics,
and with the general principles of law, commerce, money and government,
is necessary for the yeomanry of a republican state. This acquaintance
they might obtain by means of books calculated for schools, and read by
the children, during the winter months, and by the circulation of public

"In Rome it was the common exercise of boys at school, to learn the laws
of the twelve tables by heart, as they did their poets and classic
authors."[12] What an excellent practice this in a free government!

    [12] Middleton's life of Cicero, volume 1, page 14.

It is said, indeed by many, that our common people are already too well
informed. Strange paradox! The truth is, they have too much knowlege and
spirit to resign their share in government, and are not sufficiently
informed to govern themselves in all cases of difficulty.

There are some acts of the American legislatures which astonish men of
information; and blunders in legislation are frequently ascribed to bad
intentions. But if we examin the men who compose these legislatures, we
shall find that wrong measures generally proceed from ignorance either
in the men themselves, or in their constituents. They often mistake
their own interest, because they do not foresee the remote consequences
of a measure.

It may be true that all men cannot be legislators; but the more
generally knowlege is diffused among the substantial yeomanry, the more
perfect will be the laws of a republican state.

Every small district should be furnished with a school, at least four
months in a year; when boys are not otherwise employed. This school
should be kept by the most reputable and well informed man in the
district. Here children should be taught the usual branches of learning:
submission to superiors and to laws; the moral or social duties; the
history and transactions of their own country; the principles of liberty
and government. Here the rough manners of the wilderness should be
softened, and the principles of virtue and good behaviour inculcated.
The _virtues_ of men are of more consequence to society than their
_abilities_; and for this reason, the _heart_ should be cultivated with
more assiduity than the _head_.

Such a general system of education is neither impracticable nor
difficult; and excepting the formation of a federal government that
shall be efficient and permanent, it demands the first attention of
American patriots. Until such a system shall be adopted and pursued;
until the Statesman and Divine shall unite their efforts in _forming_
the human mind, rather than in loping its excressences, after it has
been neglected; until Legislators discover that the only way to make
good citizens and subjects, is to nourish them from infancy; and until
parents shall be convinced that the _worst_ of men are not the proper
teachers to make the _best_; mankind cannot know to what a degree of
perfection society and government may be carried. America affords the
fairest opportunities for making the experiment, and opens the most
encouraging prospect of success.[13]

    [13] It is worthy of remark, that in proportion as laws are
    favorable to the equal rights of men, the number of crimes in
    a state is diminished; except where the human mind is debased
    by extreme servitude, or by superstition. In France, there
    are but few crimes; religion and the rigor of a military
    force prevent them; perhaps also, ignorance in the peasantry
    may be assigned as another reason. But in England and Ireland
    the human mind is not so depressed, yet the distribution of
    property and honors is not equal; the lower classes of
    people, bold and independent, as well as poor, feel the
    injuries which flow from the feudal system, even in its
    relaxed state; they become desperate, and turn highwaymen.
    Hence those kingdoms produce more culprits than half Europe

    The character of the Jews, as sharpers, is derived from the
    cruel and villanous proscriptions, which they have suffered
    from the bigotry of Christians in every part of Europe.

    Most of the criminals condemned in America are foreigners.
    The execution of a native, before the revolution, was a
    novelty. The distribution of property in America and the
    principles of government favor the rights of men; and but few
    men will commence enemies to society and government, if they
    can receive the benefits of them. Unjust governments and
    tyrannical distinctions have made most of the villains that
    ever existed.

In a system of education, that should embrace every part of the
community, the female sex claim no inconsiderable share of our

The women in America (to their honor it is mentioned) are not generally
above the care of educating their own children. Their own education
should therefore enable them to implant in the tender mind, such
sentiments of virtue, propriety and dignity, as are suited to the
freedom of our governments. Children should be treated as children, but
as children that are, in a future time, to be men and women. By treating
them as if they were always to remain children, we very often see their
childishness adhere to them, even in middle life. The silly language
called _baby talk_, in which most persons are initiated in infancy,
often breaks out in discourse, at the age of forty, and makes a man
appear very ridiculous.[14] In the same manner, vulgar, obscene and
illiberal ideas, imbibed in a nursery or a kitchen, often give a
tincture to the conduct through life. In order to prevent every evil
bias, the ladies, whose province it is to direct the inclinations of
children on their first appearance, and to choose their nurses, should
be possessed, not only of amiable manners, but of just sentiments and
enlarged understandings.

    [14] It has been already observed that a child always
    imitates what he sees and hears: For this reason, he should
    hear no language which is not correct and decent. Every word
    spoken to a child, should be pronounced with clearness and
    propriety. Banish from children all diminutive words, all
    whining and all bad grammar. A boy of six years old may be
    taught to speak as correctly, as Cicero did before the Roman

But the influence of women in forming the dispositions of youth, is not
the sole reason why their education should be particularly guarded;
their influence in controling the manners of a nation, is another
powerful reason. Women, once abandoned, may be instrumental in
corrupting society; but such is the delicacy of the sex, and such the
restraints which custom imposes upon them, that they are generally the
last to be corrupted. There are innumerable instances of men, who have
been restrained from a vicious life, and even of very abandoned men, who
have been reclaimed, by their attachment to ladies of virtue. A fondness
for the company and conversation of ladies of character, may be
considered as a young man's best security against the attractives of a
dissipated life. A man who is attached to _good_ company, seldom
frequents that which is _bad_. For this reason, society requires that
females should be well educated, and extend their influence as far as
possible over the other sex.

But a distinction is to be made between a _good_ education, and a
_showy_ one; for an education, merely superficial, is a proof of
corruption of taste, and has a mischievous influence on manners. The
education of females, like that of males, should be adapted to the
principles of the government, and correspond with the stage of society.
Education in Paris differs from that in Petersburg, and the education of
females in London or Paris should not be a model for the Americans to

In all nations a _good_ education, is that which renders the ladies
correct in their manners, respectable in their families, and agreeable
in society. That education is always _wrong_, which raises a woman above
the duties of her station.

In America, female education should have for its object what is
_useful_. Young ladies should be taught to speak and write their own
language with purity and elegance; an article in which they are often
deficient. The French language is not necessary for ladies. In some
cases it is convenient, but, in general, it may be considered as an
article of luxury. As an accomplishment, it may be studied by those
whose attention is not employed about more important concerns.

Some knowlege of arithmetic is necessary for every lady. Geography
should never be neglected. Belles Letters learning seems to correspond
with the dispositions of most females. A taste for Poetry and fine
writing should be cultivated; for we expect the most delicate sentiments
from the pens of that sex, which is possessed of the finest feelings.

A course of reading can hardly be prescribed for all ladies. But it
should be remarked, that this sex cannot be too well acquainted with the
writers upon human life and manners. The Spectator should fill the first
place in every lady's library. Other volumes of periodical papers, tho
inferior to the Spectator, should be read; and some of the best

With respect to novels, so much admired by the young, and so generally
condemned by the old, what shall I say? Perhaps it may be said with
truth, that some of them are useful, many of them pernicious, and most
of them trifling. A hundred volumes of modern novels may be read,
without acquiring a new idea. Some of them contain entertaining stories,
and where the descriptions are drawn from nature, and from characters
and events in themselves innocent, the perusal of them may be harmless.

Were novels written with a view to exhibit only one side of human
nature, to paint the social virtues, the world would condemn them as
defective: But I should think them more perfect. Young people,
especially females, should not see the vicious part of mankind. At best
novels may be considered as the toys of youth; the rattle boxes of
sixteen. The mechanic gets his pence for his toys, and the novel writer,
for his books; and it would be happy for society, if the latter were in
all cases as innocent play things as the former.

In the large towns in America, music, drawing and dancing, constitute a
part of female education. They, however, hold a subordinate rank; for my
fair friends will pardon me, when I declare, that no man ever marries a
woman for her performance on a harpsichord, or her figure in a minuet.
However ambitious a woman may be to command admiration _abroad_, her
real merit is known only at _home_. Admiration is useless, when it is
not supported by domestic worth. But real honor and permanent esteem,
are always secured by those who preside over their own families with

    [15] Nothing can be more fatal to domestic happiness in
    America, than a taste for copying the luxurious manners and
    amusements of England and France. Dancing, drawing and music,
    are principal articles of education in those kingdoms;
    therefore every girl in America must pass two or three years
    at a boarding school, tho her father cannot give her a
    farthing when she marries. This ambition to educate females
    above their fortunes pervades every part of America. Hence
    the disproportion between the well bred females and the males
    in our large towns. A mechanic or shopkeeper in town, or a
    farmer in the country, whose sons get their living by their
    father's employments, will send their daughters to a boarding
    school, where their ideas are elevated, and their views
    carried above a connexion with men in those occupations. Such
    an education, without fortune or beauty, may possibly please
    a girl of fifteen, but must prove her greatest misfortune.
    This fatal mistake is illustrated in every large town in
    America. In the country, the number of males and females, is
    nearly equal; but in towns, the number of genteelly bred
    women is greater than of men; and in some towns, the
    proportion is, as three to one.

    The heads of young people of both sexes are often turned by
    reading descriptions of splendid living, of coaches, of
    plays, and other amusements. Such descriptions excite a
    desire to enjoy the same pleasures. A fortune becomes the
    principal object of pursuit; fortunes are scarce in America,
    and not easily acquired; disappointment succeeds, and the
    youth who begins life with expecting to enjoy a coach, closes
    the prospect with a small living, procured by labor and

    Thus a wrong education, and a taste for pleasures which our
    fortune will not enable us to enjoy, often plunge the
    Americans into distress, or at least prevent early marriages.
    Too fond of show, of dress and expense, the sexes wish to
    please each other; they mistake the means, and both are

Before I quit this subject, I beg leave to make some remarks on a
practice which appears to be attended with important consequences; I
mean that of sending boys to Europe for an education, or sending to
Europe for teachers. This was right before the revolution; at least so
far as national attachments where concerned; but the propriety of it
ceased with our political relation to Great Britain.

In the first place, our honor as an independent nation is concerned in
the establishment of literary institutions, adequate to all our own
purposes; without sending our youth abroad, or depending on other
nations for books and instructors. It is very little to the reputation
of America to have it said abroad, that after the heroic atchievements
of the late war, these independent people are obliged to send to Europe
for men and books to teach their children A B C.

But in another point of view, a foreign education is directly opposite
to our political interests, and ought to be discountenanced, if not

Every person of common observation will grant, that most men prefer the
manners and the government of that country where they are educated. Let
ten American youths be sent, each to a different European kingdom, and
live there from the age of twelve to twenty, and each will give the
preference to the country where he has resided.

The period from twelve to twenty is the most important in life. The
impressions made before that period are commonly effaced; those that are
made during that period _always_ remain for many years; and _generally_
thro life.

Ninety nine persons of a hundred who pass that period in England or
France, will prefer the people, their manners, their laws, and their
government, to those of their nativ country. Such attachments are
injurious, both to the happiness of the men, and to the political
interests of their own country. As to private happiness, it is
universally known how much pain a man suffers by a change of habits in
living. The customs of Europe are and ought to be different from ours;
but when a man has been bred in one country, his attachments to its
manners make them, in a great measure, necessary to his happiness. On
changing his residence, he must therefore break his former habits, which
is always a painful sacrifice; or the discordance between the manners
of his own country, and his habits, must give him incessant uneasiness;
or he must introduce, into a circle of his friends, the manners in which
he was educated. These consequences may follow, and the last, which is
inevitable, is a public injury. The refinement of manners in every
country should keep pace exactly with the increase of its wealth; and
perhaps the greatest evil America now feels is, an improvement of taste
and manners which its wealth cannot support.

A foreign education is the very source of this evil; it gives young
gentlemen of fortune a relish for manners and amusements which are not
suited to this country; which however, when introduced by this class of
people, will always become fashionable.

But a corruption of manners is not the sole objection to a foreign
education: An attachment to a _foreign_ government, or rather a want of
attachment to our _own_, is the natural effect of a residence abroad,
during the period of youth. It is recorded of one of the Greek cities,
that in a treaty with their conquerors, it was required that they should
give a certain number of _male children_ as hostages for the fulfilment
of their engagements. The Greeks absolutely refused, on the principle
that these children would imbibe the ideas and embrace the manners of
foreigners, or lose their love for their own country: But they offered
the same number of _old_ men, without hesitation. This anecdote is full
of good sense. A man should always form his habits and attachments in
the country where he is to reside for life. When these habits are
formed, young men may travel without danger of losing their patriotism.
A boy who lives in England from twelve to twenty, will be an
_Englishman_ in his manners and his feelings; but let him remain at home
till he is twenty, and form his attachments, he may then be several
years abroad, and still be an _American_.[16] There may be exceptions to
this observation; but living examples may be mentioned to prove the
truth of the general principle here advanced, respecting the influence
of habit.

    [16] Cicero was twenty eight years old when he left Italy to
    travel into Greece and Asia. "He did not stir abroad," says
    Dr. Middleton, "till he had completed his education at home;
    for nothing can be more pernicious to a nation, than the
    necessity of a foreign one."--_Life of Cicero, vol. 1. p.

    Dr. Moore makes a remark precisely in point. Speaking of a
    foreign education, proposed by a certain Lord, who objected
    to the public schools in England, he says, "I have attended
    to his Lordship's objections, and after due consideration,
    and weighing every circumstance, I remain of opinion, that no
    country but Great Britain is proper for the education of a
    British subject, who proposes to pass his life in his own
    country. The most important point, in my mind, to be secured
    in the education of a young man of rank of our country, is to
    make him an Englishman; and this can be done no where so
    effectually as in England." See his _View of Society and
    Manners_, &c. vol. 1, page 197, where the reader will find
    many judicious remarks upon this subject. The following are
    too pertinent to be omitted.--"It is thought, that by an
    early foreign education, all ridiculous English prejudices,
    will be avoided. This may be true; but other prejudices,
    perhaps as ridiculous, and much more detrimental, will be
    formed. The first cannot be attended with many
    inconveniencies; the second may render the young people
    unhappy in their own country when they return, and
    disagreeable to their countrymen all the rest of their
    lives." These remarks, by a change of names are applicable to

It may be said that foreign universities furnish much better
opportunities of improvement in the sciences than the American. This may
be true, and yet will not justify the practice of sending young lads
from their own country. There are some branches of science which may be
studied to much greater advantage in Europe than in America,
particularly chymistry. When these are to be acquired, young gentlemen
ought to spare no pains to attend the best professors. It may,
therefore, be useful, in some cases, for students to cross the atlantic
to _complete_ a course of studies; but it is not necessary for them to
go early in life, nor to continue a long time. Such instances need not
be frequent even now; and the necessity for them will diminish in
proportion to the future advancement of literature in America.

It is, however, much questioned, whether, in the ordinary course of
study, a young man can enjoy greater advantages in Europe than in
America. Experience inclines me to raise a doubt, whether the danger to
which a youth must be exposed among the sons of dissipation abroad, will
not turn the scale in favor of our American colleges. Certain it is,
that four fifths of the great literary characters in America never
crossed the atlantic.

But if our universities and schools are not so good as the English or
Scotch, it is the business of our rulers to improve them, not to endow
them merely; for endowments alone will never make a flourishing
seminary; but to furnish them with professors of the first abilities and
most assiduous application, and with a complete apparatus for
establishing theories by experiments. Nature has been profuse to the
Americans, in genius, and in the advantages of climate and soil. If this
country, therefore, should long be indebted to Europe for opportunities
of acquiring any branch of science in perfection, it must be by means of
a criminal neglect of its inhabitants.

The difference in the nature of the American and European governments,
is another objection to a foreign education. Men form modes of
reasoning, or habits of thinking on political subjects, in the country
where they are bred; these modes of reasoning may be founded on fact in
all countries; but the same principles will not apply in all
governments, because of the infinite variety of national opinions and
habits. Before a man can be a good Legislator, he must be intimately
acquainted with the temper of the people to be governed. No man can be
thus acquainted with a people, without residing amongst them and
mingling with all companies. For want of this acquaintance, a Turgot and
a Price may reason most absurdly upon the Constitutions of the American
states; and when any person has been long accustomed to believe in the
propriety or impropriety of certain maxims or regulations of government,
it is very difficult to change his opinions, or to persuade him to adapt
his reasoning to new and different circumstances.

One half the European Protestants will now contend that the Roman
Catholic religion is subversive of civil government. Tradition, books,
education, have concurred to fix this belief in their minds; and they
will not resign their opinions, even in America, where some of the
highest civil offices are in the hands of Roman Catholics.

It is therefore of infinite importance that those who direct the
councils of a nation, should be educated in that nation. Not that they
should restrict their personal acquaintance to their own country, but
their first ideas, attachments and habits should be acquired in the
country which they are to govern and defend. When a knowlege of their
own country is obtained, and an attachment to its laws and interests
deeply fixed in their hearts, then young gentlemen may travel with
infinite advantage and perfect safety. I wish not therefore to
discourage travelling, but, if possible, to render it more useful to
individuals and to the community. My meaning is, that _men_ should
travel, and not _boys_.

It is time for the Americans to change their usual route, and travel
thro a country which they never think of, or think beneeth their notice:
I mean the United States.

While these States were a part of the British Empire, our interest, our
feelings, were those of Englishmen; our dependence led us to respect and
imitate their manners, and to look up to them for our opinions. We
little thought of any national interest in America; and while our
commerce and governments were in the hands of our parent country, and we
had no common interest, we little thought of improving our acquaintance
with each other, or of removing prejudices, and reconciling the
discordant feelings of the inhabitants of different Provinces. But
independence and union render it necessary that the citizens of
different States should know each others characters and circumstances;
that all jealousies should be removed; that mutual respect and
confidence should succeed, and a harmony of views and interests be
cultivated by a friendly intercourse.

A tour thro the United States ought now to be considered as a necessary
part of a liberal education. Instead of sending young gentlemen to
Europe to view curiosities and learn vices and follies, let them spend
twelve or eighteen months in examining the local situation of the
different States; the rivers, the soil, the population, the improvements
and commercial advantages of the whole; with an attention to the spirit
and manners of the inhabitants, their laws, local customs and
institutions. Such a tour should at least precede a tour to Europe; for
nothing can be more ridiculous than a man travelling in a foreign
country for information, when he can give no account of his own. When,
therefore, young gentlemen have finished an academic education, let them
travel thro America, and afterwards to Europe, if their time and
fortunes will permit. But if they cannot make a tour thro both, that in
America is certainly to be preferred; for the people of America, with
all their information, are yet extremely ignorant of the geography,
policy and manners of their neighbouring States. Except a few gentlemen
whose public employments in the army and in Congress, have extended
their knowlege of America, the people in this country, even of the
higher classes, have not so correct information respecting the United
States, as they have respecting England or France. Such ignorance is not
only disgraceful, but is materially prejudicial to our political
friendship and federal operations.

Americans, unshackle your minds, and act like independent beings. You
have been children long enough, subject to the control, and subservient
to the interest of a haughty parent. You have now an interest of your
own to augment and defend: You have an empire to raise and support by
your exertions, and a national character to establish and extend by your
wisdom and virtues. To effect these great objects, it is necessary to
frame a liberal plan of policy, and build it on a broad system of
education. Before this system can be formed and embraced, the Americans
must _believe_, and _act_ from the belief, that it is dishonorable to
waste life in mimicking the follies of other nations and basking in the
sunshine of foreign glory.

No. II.

                         NEW YORK, 1788.


All mankind are, by nature, free, and have a right to enjoy life,
liberty and property.

One person has no right to take from another his life, health, peace, or
good name; to take away or lessen his freedom of thinking and acting, or
to injure his estate in the smallest degree.

A collection of individuals forms a _society_; and every society must
have _government_, to prevent one man from hurting another, and to
punish such as commit crimes. Every person's safety requires that he
should submit to be governed; for if one man may do harm without
suffering punishment, every man has the same right, and no person can be

It is necessary therefore that there should be laws to control every
man. Laws should be made by consent or concurrence of the greatest part
of the society.

The whole body of people in society is the sovereign power or state;
which is called, the body politic. Every man forms a part of this state,
and so has a share in the sovereignty; at the same time, as an
individual, he is a subject of the state.

When a society is large, the whole state cannot meet together for the
purpose of making laws; the people therefore agree to appoint deputies,
or representativs, to act for them. When these agents are chosen and met
together, they represent the whole state, and act as the sovereign
power. The people resign their own authority to their representativs;
the acts of these deputies are in effect the acts of the people; and the
people have no right to refuse obedience.

It is as wrong to refuse obedience to the laws made by our
_representativs_, as it would be to break laws made by _ourselves_. If
a law is bad and produces general harm, the people may appoint new
deputies to repeal it; but while it is a law, it is the act and will of
the sovereign power, and ought to be obeyed.

The people in free governments, make their own laws by agents or
representativs, and appoint the executiv officers. An executiv officer
is armed with the authority of the whole state and cannot be resisted.
He cannot do wrong, unless he goes beyond the bounds of the laws.

An executiv officer can hardly be too arbitrary; for if the laws are
good, they should be strictly executed and religiously obeyed: If they
are bad, the people can alter or repeal them; or if the officer goes
beyond his powers, he is accountable to those who appoint him. A neglect
of good and wholesome laws is the bane of society.

Judges and all executiv officers should be made as much as possible,
independent of the will of the people at large. They should be chosen by
the representativs of the people and answerable to them only: For if
they are elected by the people, they are apt to be swayed by fear and
affection; they may dispense with the laws, to favor their friends, or
secure their office. Besides, their election is apt to occasion party
spirit, cabals, bribery and public disorder. These are great evils in a
state, and defeat the purposes of government.

The people have a right to advise their representativs in certain cases,
in which they may be well informed. But this right cannot often be
exercised with propriety or safety: Nor should their instructions be
binding on their representativs: For the people, most of whom live
remote from each other, cannot always be acquainted with the general
interest of the state; they cannot know all the reasons and arguments
which may be offered for, or against a measure, by people in distant
parts of the state; they cannot tell at home, how they _themselves_
would think and act, in a general assembly of _all_ the citizens.

In this situation, if the people of a certain district, bind their
representativ to vote in a particular manner, they may bind him to do
_wrong_. They make up their minds, upon a partial view of facts, and
form a resolution, which they themselves, on a fair state of all the
facts, in the general assembly, might see reasons to change. There have
been instances, in which these binding, positiv instructions, have
obliged a representativ to give his vote, contrary to the conviction of
his own mind and what he thought the good of the state; consequently his
vote was a violation of his oath.

But the opinions of the people should, if possible, be collected; for
the general sense of a nation is commonly right. When people are well
informed, their general opinion is perhaps always right. But they may be
uninformed or misinformed and consequently their measures may be
repugnant to their own interest. This is often the case, with particular
districts of people; and hence the bad policy of giving binding
instructions to representativs. The sense of a nation is collected by
the opinions of people in particular districts; but as some of these
opinions may be wrong, a representativ should be left with discretionary
powers to act for the good of the state.

Representativs are chosen by the inhabitants of certain districts,
because this is most convenient: But when they act as lawgivers, they
act for the whole state. When a man is considering the propriety of a
general measure, he is not to be influenced by the interest of a single
district or part of a state; but by the collectiv interest of the whole
state. A good lawgiver will not ask solely what is _my_ interest, or the
interest of _my_ town or constituents? but, what will promote the
interest of the community; '_what will produce the greatest possible
good, to the greatest number of people_?'

When a legislativ body makes _laws_, it acts for _itself_ only, and can
alter or repeal the laws when they become inconvenient. But when it
makes _grants_ or _contracts_, it act as a party, and cannot take back
its grant, or change the nature of its contracts, without the consent of
the other party. A state has no more right to neglect or refuse to
fulfil its engagements, than an individual. There may be an exception
in the case of a grant, for if a state has made a grant, which, contrary
to its expectations, clearly endangers the safety of the community, it
may resume that grant. The public safety is a consideration superior to
all others. But the danger must be great and obvious; it must be
generally seen and felt, before the state can be justified in recalling
its grant. To take back a gift, or break a contract, for small causes or
slight inconveniencies, is a most wanton abuse of power. Bargains,
conveyances, and voluntary grants, where two parties are concerned, are
_sacred things_; they are the supports of social confidence and
security; they ought not to be sported with, because one party is
stronger than the other; they should be religiously observed.

As the state has no right to break its own promises, so it has no right
to alter the promises of individuals. When one man has engaged to pay
his debt in wheat, and his creditor expects the promise to be fulfiled,
the legislature has no right to say, the debt shall be paid in flax or
horses. Such an act saps all the supports of good faith between man and
man; it is the worst kind of tyranny.

For this reason, all _tender laws_, which oblige a creditor to take, for
his debt, some article which he never intended nor engaged to take, are
highly _unjust_ and _tyrannical_. The intention of the contracting
parties should be strictly regarded; the state may enforce that
intention, but can never have a right to interfere and defeat it. A
legislature has no right to put a bargain on any footing, but that on
which the parties _have_ placed it or _are willing_ to place it.

If a state is poor, and people owe more money than can be procured, a
legislature may perhaps go so far as to suspend the collection of debts;
or to ordain that a certain part only of the debts shall be recoverable
immediately, and the payment of the remainder suspended. This may ease
the debtors; but can be justified in extreme cases only, when the people
are generally and greatly involved.

A people should not generally be in debt: The consumers of goods should
not get credit. Heavy and numerous debts are great evils to a state. If
the people will giv and take extensiv credit, the state should check
their imprudence, by putting debts out of the protection of law. When it
becomes a practice to collect debts by law, it is a proof of corruption
and degeneracy among the people. Laws and courts are necessary to settle
controverted points between man and man; but a man should pay an
acknowledged debt, not because there is a law to oblige him, but because
it is _just_ and _honest_, and because he has PROMISED to pay it.

Money, or a medium in trade, is necessary in all great states; but _too
much_ is a greater evil than _too little_. When people can get money
without labor, they neglect business and become idle, prodigal and
vicious; and when they have nothing but money, they are poor indeed.
Spain was ruined by its mines of gold and silver in South America. That
kingdom possessed all the money in Europe, and yet was the _poorest_; it
will never be rich and flourishing, till its mines are exhausted. The
discovery of rich mines in this country, would be the greatest
misfortune, that can befall the United States.

Money is a mere representativ of property; it is the _change_ which
facilitates trade. But the _wealth_ of a country is its _produce_; and
its strength consists in the number of its industrious inhabitants. A
man cannot become rich, unless he earns more than he spends. It is the
same with a country. The labouring men are the support of a nation.

The value of money depends on the quantity in circulation. A medium of
trade respects all commercial nations; and like water, it will find its
level. Money will go where it is wanted, if the people have any thing to
purchase it. If one state or country has more money than another, it is
a proof that the people are more industrious or saving. It would be
happy for the world, if no more money could be made: There is already
too much. Silver is become very burdensome, merely because there is too
much in the world. If there were but one quarter of the money which now
circulates, one quarter of a dollar would buy as much as a dollar will

Hence the mistaken policy of those people who attempt to increase the
medium of trade by coinage or by a paper currency. They can add to the
quantity, as much as they please; but not to the value. If America were
shut out from all intercourse with other nations, and ten millions of
dollars were circulating in the country, every article of life would
have a certain price. If in this case, wheat should be one dollar a
bushel, let the money be instantly doubled, the price of wheat would
then be two dollars, and the price of every article would rise in the
same proportion. So that twenty millions of dollars would be worth no
more than ten, because they would buy no more of the useful commodities:
America would be no richer in the one case than in the other.

But as there is a communication with other nations, a million of
dollars, added to the circulating specie, does not increase the
permanent medium in quantity; for just so much money as is added, will
leave the country. If there is too much money in a country, the price of
labor will rise, and the produce cannot find market abroad without a
loss. This was the case with American produce, at the close of the war.
If money is scarce in a country, the price of labor will be low, and
consequently the produce of that country will be cheap at home, and a
great profit will be made on the exportation. This profit will be
returned, partly in goods and partly in money, and the country is

But the great principle, which should constitute the corner stone of
government, is _public justice_. The fountain head should be pure, or
the streams will be foul indeed. That Legislatures, or bodies politic,
should make laws, annex penalties for disobedience, institute courts for
deciding controversies and trying offenders, and execute punishments on
those that are convicted; yet at the same time neglect to do justice
themselves by paying their own debts; this is of all absurdities the
most glaring. To compel individuals to perform contracts and yet break
their own solemn promises; to punish individuals for neglect, and yet
set a general example of delinquency, is to undermine the foundation of
social confidence, and shake every principle of commutativ justice.

These are general principles in government and trade, and ought to be
deeply impressed upon the minds of every American.

No. III.

                         NEW YORK, 1788.


One of the principal objections to the new Federal Constitution, is,
that it contains no _Bill of Rights_. This objection, I presume to
assert, is founded on ideas of government that are totally false. Men
seem determined to adhere to old prejudices, and reason _wrong_, because
our ancestors reasoned _right_. A Bill of Rights against the
encroachments of Kings and Barons, or against any power independent of
the people, is perfectly intelligible; but a Bill of Rights against the
encroachments of an electiv Legislature, that is, against our _own_
encroachments on _ourselves_, is a curiosity in government.

The English nation, from which we descended, have been gaining their
liberties, inch by inch, by forcing concessions from the crown and the
Barons, during the course of six centuries.[17] _Magna Charta_, which is
called the palladium of English liberty, was dated in 1215, and the
people of England were not represented in Parliament till the year 1265.
Magna Charta established the rights of the Barons and clergy against the
encroachments of royal perogativ; but the commons or people were hardly
noticed in that deed. There was but one clause in their favor, which
stipulated, that "no villain or rustic should, by any fine, be bereaved
of his carts, plows and instruments of husbandry." As for the rest, they
were considered as a part of the property belonging to an estate, and
were transferred, as other moveables, at the will of their owners. In
the succeeding reign, they were permitted to send Representativs to
Parliament; and from that time have been gradually assuming their proper
degree of consequence in the British Legislature. In such a nation,
every law or statute that defines the powers of the crown, and
circumscribes them within determinate limits, must be considered as a
barrier to guard popular liberty. Every acquisition of freedom must be
established as a _right_, and solemnly recognized by the supreme power
of the nation; lest it should be again resumed by the crown under
pretence of ancient prerogativ: For this reason, the habeas corpus act
passed in the reign of Charles 2d, the statute of the 2d of William and
Mary, and many others which are declaratory of certain privileges, are
justly considered as the pillars of English freedom.

    [17] Not that the English nation was originally in slavery;
    for the primitiv Saxons and Germans were free. But the
    military tenures, established by the Gothic conquests,
    depressed the people; so that under the rigor of the feudal
    system, about the date of Magna Charta, the King and Nobles
    held their tenants in extreme servitude. From this
    depression, the English have gradually emerged into ancient

These statutes are however not esteemed because they are unalterable;
for the same power that enacted them, can at any moment repeal them; but
they are esteemed, because they are barriers erected by the
Representativs of the nation, against a power that exists independent of
their own choice.

But the same reasons for such declaratory constitutions do not
exist in America, where the supreme power is _the people in their
Representativs_. The _Bills of Rights_, prefixed to several of the
constitutions of the United States, if considered as assigning the
reasons of our separation from a foreign government, or as solemn
declarations of right against the encroachments of a foreign
jurisdiction, are perfectly rational, and were doubtless necessary. But
if they are considered as barriers against the encroachments of our own
Legislatures, or as constitutions unalterable by posterity, I venture to
pronounce them nugatory, and to the last degree, absurd.

In our governments, there is no power of legislation, independent of the
people; no power that has an interest detached from that of the public;
consequently there is no power existing against which it is necessary to
guard. While our Legislatures therefore remain electiv, and the rulers
have the same interest in the laws, as the subjects have, the rights of
the people will be perfectly secure without any declaration in their

But this is not the principal point. I undertake to prove that a
standing _Bill of Rights_ is _absurd_, because no constitutions, in a
free government, can be unalterable. The present generation have indeed
a right to declare what _they_ deem a _privilege_; but they have no
right to say what the _next_ generation shall deem a privilege. A state
is a supreme corporate body that never dies. Its powers, when it acts
for itself, are at all times equally extensiv; and it has the same right
to _repeal_ a law this year, as it had to _make_ it the last. If
therefore our posterity are bound by our constitutions, and can neither
amend nor annul them, they are to all intents and purposes our slaves.

But it will be enquired, have we then no right to say, that trial by
jury, the liberty of the press, the habeas corpus writ, and other
invaluable privileges, shall never be infringed nor destroyed? By no
means. We have the same right to say that lands shall descend in a
particular mode to the heirs of the deceased proprietor, and that such a
mode shall never be altered by future generations, as we have to pass a
law that the trial by jury shall never be abridged. The right of Jury
trial, which we deem invaluable, may in future cease to be a privilege;
or other modes of trial more satisfactory to the people, may be devised.
Such an event is neither impossible nor improbable. Have we then a right
to say that our posterity shall not be judges of their own
circumstances? The very attempt to make _perpetual_ constitutions, is
the assumption of a right to control the opinions of future generations;
and to legislate for those over whom we have as little authority as we
have over a nation in Asia. Nay we have as little right to say that
trial by jury shall be perpetual, as the English, in the reign of Edward
the Confessor, had, to bind their posterity forever to decide causes by
fiery Ordeal, or single combat. There are perhaps many laws and
regulations, which from their consonance to the eternal rules of
justice, will always be good and conformable to the sense of a nation.
But most institutions in society, by reason of an unceasing change of
circumstances, either become altogether improper, or require amendment;
and every nation has at all times, the right of judging of its
circumstances and determining on the propriety of changing its laws.

The English writers talk much of the omnipotence of Parliament; and yet
they seem to entertain some scruples about their right to change
particular parts of their constitution. I question much whether
Parliament would not hesitate to change, on any occasion, an article of
Magna Charta. Mr. Pitt, a few years ago, attempted to reform the mode of
representation in Parliament. Immediately an uproar was raised against
the measure, as _unconstitutional_. The representation of the kingdom,
when first established, was doubtless equal and wise; but by the
increase of some cities and boroughs, and the depopulation of others, it
has become extremely _unequal_. In some boroughs there is scarcely an
elector left to enjoy its privileges. If the nation feels no great
inconvenience from this change of circumstances, under the old mode of
representation, a reform is unnecessary. But if such a change has
produced any national evils of magnitude enough to be felt, the present
form of electing the Representativs of the nation, however
_constitutional_, and venerable for its antiquity, may at any time be
amended, if it should be the sense of Parliament. The _expediency_ of
the alteration must always be a matter of opinion; but all scruples as
to the right of making it are totally groundless.

Magna Charta may be considered as a contract between two parties, the
King and the Barons, and no contract can be altered but by the consent
of both parties. But whenever any article of that deed or contract shall
become inconvenient or oppressiv, the King, Lords and Commons may either
amend or annul it at pleasure.

The same reasoning applies to each of the United States, and to the
Federal Republic in general. But an important question will arise from
the foregoing remarks, which must be the subject of another paper.

No. IV.

                         NEW YORK, 1788.


The important question I proposed to discuss in this number, is this:
"Whether, in a free State, there ought to be any distinction between the
powers of the people, or electors, and the powers of the Representativs
in the Legislature." Or in other words, "whether the legislativ body is
not, or ought not to be, a standing convention, invested with the whole
power of their constituents."

In supporting the affirmativ of this question, I must face the opinions
and prejudices of my countrymen; yet if we attend closely to the merits
of the question, stripped of all its specious covering, we shall perhaps
find more arguments in favor of the opinion, than we at first suspect.

In the first place, a Legislature must be the supreme power, whose
decisions are laws binding upon the whole State. Unless the Legislature
is the supreme power, and invested with _all_ the authority of the
State, its acts are not laws, obligatory upon the whole State.[18] I am
sensible that it is a favorite idea in this country, bandied about from
one demagogue to another, that _rulers are the servants of the people_.
So far as their business is _laborious_ and _embarrassing_, it implies a
degree of servitude; but in any other view, the opinion is totally
false. The people ought at least to place their rulers, who are
generally men of the first abilities and integrity, on a level with
themselves; for that is an odd kind of government indeed, in which,
_servants_ govern their _masters_. The truth is, a Representativ, as an
individual, is on a footing with other people; as a Representativ of a
State, he is invested with a share of the sovereign authority, and is so
far a _governor_ of the people. In short, the collectiv body of the
Representativs, is the collectiv sense and authority of the people; and
so far are the members from being the _servants_ of the people, that
they are just as much _masters_, _rulers_, _governors_, whatever
appellation we give them, as the people would be themselves in a
convention of the whole State.

    [18] The first convention of deputies in a state, is usually
    designed to direct the mode in which future legislatures
    shall be organized. This convention cannot abridge the powers
    of future legislatures, any further than they are abridged by
    the moral law, which forbids all wrong in general.

But in the second place, the public good or safety requires that the
powers of a Legislature should be coextensiv with those of the people.
That a Legislature should be competent to pass any law that the public
safety and interest may require, is a position that no man will
controvert. If therefore it can be proved that the reservation of any
power in the hands of the people, may at times interfere with the power
of the Legislature to consult the public interest, and prevent its
exercise, it must be acknowleged, that such a reservation is not only
impolitic, but unjust. That a Legislature should have unlimited power to
do _right_, is unquestionable; but such a power they cannot have, unless
they have all the power of the State; which implies an unlimited power
to do _wrong_. For instance, suppose the constitution of any state to
declare, that no standing army shall be kept up in time of peace; then
the Legislature cannot raise and maintain a single soldier to guard our
frontiers, without violating the constitution. To say that new
enlistments every year will save the constitution, is idle; for if a
body of troops raised for thirty years is a standing army, then a body
raised for twenty years, or for six months, is a standing army; and the
power to raise troops for a year, is a power to raise them at any time
and maintain them forever; but with the addition of much trouble and a
load of expense. Since therefore there never was, and probably never
will be a time, till the millenium shall arrive, when troops will not be
necessary to guard the frontiers of States, a clause in a constitution,
restricting a Legislature from maintaining troops in time of peace,
will unavoidably disable them from guarding the public interest. That a
power to raise and equip troops at pleasure, may be abused, is certain;
but that the public safety cannot be established without that power, is
equally certain. The liberty of a people does not rest on any
reservation of power in their hands paramount to their Legislature; it
rests singly on this principle, _a union of interests between the
governors and governed_. While a Legislator himself, his family and his
property, are all liable to the consequences of the laws which he makes
for the State, the rights of the people are as safe from the invasion of
power, as they can be on this side heaven. This union of interest
depends partly on the laws of property; but mostly on the _freedom of
election_. The right of electing rulers is the people's prerogativ; and
while this remains unabridged, it is a sufficient barrier to guard all
their other rights. This prerogativ should be kept sacred; and if the
people ever suffer any abridgment of this privilege, it must be their
own folly and an irrecoverable loss.

Still further, I maintain that a people have no right to say, that any
civil or political regulation shall be perpetual, because they have no
right to make laws for those who are not in existence. This will be
admitted; but still the people contend that they have a right to
prescribe rules for their Legislature, rules which shall not be changed
but by the people in a convention. But what is a convention? Why a body
of men chosen by the people in the manner they choose the members of the
Legislature, and commonly composed of the same men; but at any rate they
are neither wiser nor better. The sense of the people is no better known
in a convention, than in the Legislature.[19]

    [19] The _nominal_ distinction of _Convention_ and
    _Legislature_ was probably copied from the English; but the
    American distinction goes farther, it implies, in common
    acceptation, a difference of _power_. This difference does
    not exist in G. Britain. The assembly of Lords and Commons
    which restored Charles II, and that which raised the Prince
    of Orange to the throne, were called _Conventions_, or
    _parliamentary Conventions_. But the difference between these
    Conventions and an ordinary Parliament, is merely a
    difference in the manner of assembling; a _Convention_ being
    an assembly or meeting of Lords and Commons, on an emergency,
    without the King's writ, which is the regular constitutional
    mode of summoning them, and by custom necessary to render the
    meeting a _Parliament_. But the powers of this assembly,
    whether denominated a _Convention_ or a _Parliament_, have
    ever been considered as coextensive and supreme. I would just
    remark further, that the impossibility of establishing
    perpetual, or even permanent forms of government, is proved
    already by the experience of two States in America.
    Pensylvania and Georgia, have suffered under bad
    Constitutions, till they are glad to go thro the process of
    calling a new Convention. After the new forms of government
    have been tried some time, the people will discover new
    defects, and must either call a third Convention, or let the
    governments go on without amendment, because their
    Legislatures, which ought to have supreme power, cannot make
    altertations.---- [1789.]

But admit the right of establishing certain rules or principles which an
ordinary Legislature cannot change, and what is the consequence? It is
this, a change of circumstances must supersede the propriety of such
rules, or render alterations necessary to the safety or freedom of the
State; yet there is no power existing, but in the people at large, to
make the necessary alterations. A convention then must be called to
transact a business, which an ordinary Legislature can transact just as
well; a convention differing from the Legislature merely in name, and in
a few formalities of their proceedings. But when people have enjoyed a
tolerable share of happiness under a government, they will not readily
step out of the common road of proceeding; and evils insensibly increase
to an enormous degree, before the people can be persuaded to a change.
The reservation therefore of certain powers may, by an imperceptible
change of circumstances, prove highly pernicious to a State. For
example: When the Commons of England were first admitted to a share in
the legislation of that kingdom, which was probably in the reign of
Henry III, in 1265,[20] the representation was tolerably equal. But the
changes in the population of different parts of the kingdom have
destroyed all equality. The mode of election therefore should be
reformed. But how shall it be done? If there is a constitution in that
kingdom, which settles the mode of election, and that constitution is an
act of the people, paramount to the power of the Parliament, and
unchangeable by them, a convention of the people must be called to make
an alteration which would be as well made in Parliament. This would
occasion infinite trouble and expense.

    [20] This is the date of the first writs now extant, for
    summoning the Knights and Burgesses.

But the danger is, that as an evil of this kind increases, so will the
lethargy of the people, and their habits of vice and negligence. Thus
the disease acquires force, for want of an early remedy, and a
dissolution ensues. But a Legislature, which is always watching the
public safety, will more early discover the approaches of disorders, and
more speedily apply a remedy. This is not precisely the case with the
British constitution; for it was not committed at once to parchment and
ratified by the people. It consists rather of practice, or common law,
with some statutes of Parliament. But the English have been too jealous
of changing their practice, even for the better. All the writers on the
English constitution agree, that any Parliament can change or amend
every part of it; yet in practice, the idea of an _unalterable
constitution_ has had too much influence in preventing a reform in their

But we have an example nearer home directly in point. The charter of
Connecticut declares that each town shall have liberty to send _one_ or
_two_ deputies to the General Court; and the constant practice has been
to send _two_. While the towns were few, the number of Representativs
was not inconvenient; but since the complete settlement of the State,
and the multiplication of the towns, the number has swelled the
Legislature to an unwieldly and expensive size. The house of
Representativs consists of about 170 members: An attempt has been made,
at several sessions, to lessen the representation, by limiting each town
to one Deputy. A question arises, have the Assembly a right to lessen
the representation? In most States, it would be decided in the negativ.
Yet in that State it is no question at all; for there is a standing law
expressly delegating the _whole_ power of all the freemen to the
Legislature. But I bring this instance to prove the possibility of
changes in any system of government, which will require material
alterations in its fundamental principles; and the Legislature should
always be competent to make the necessary amendments, or they have not
an unlimited power to do right.[21]

    [21] In Pensylvania, after the late choice of Delegates to
    Congress by the people, one of the Gentlemen sent his
    resignation to the President and Council, who refered it to
    the Legislature then sitting. This body, compozed of the
    servants of the people, I suppoze, solemnly resolved, that
    there was no power in the State which could accept the
    resignation. The resolv was grounded on the idea that the
    power of the people is paramount to that of the Legislature;
    whereas the people hav no power at all, except in choosing
    representativs. All Legislativ and Executiv powers are vested
    in their Representativs, in Councilor Assembly, and the
    Council should have accepted the resignation and issued a
    precept for another choice. Their compelling the man to serve
    was an act of tyranny.

The distinction between the _Legislature_ and a _Convention_ is, for the
first time, introduced into Connecticut, by the recommendation of the
late convention of States, in order to adopt the new constitution. The
Legislature of the State, without adverting to laws or practice,
immediately recommended a convention for that purpose. Yet a distinction
between a _Convention_ and a _Legislature_ is, in that State, a palpable
absurdity, even by their own laws; for there is no constitution in the
State, except its laws, which are always repealable by an ordinary
Legislature; and the laws and uniform practice, from the first
organization of the government, declare that _the Legislature has all
the power of all the people_. A convention therefore can have no more
power, and differs no more from an ordinary Legislature, than one
Legislature does from another. Or rather it is no more than a
Legislature chosen for _one particular purpose_ of supremacy; whereas an
ordinary Legislature is competent to _all_ purposes of supremacy. But
had the Legislature of that State ratified or rejected the new
constitution, without consulting their constituents, their act would
have been valid and binding. This is the excellence of the constitution
of Connecticut, that the _Legislature_ is considered as the _body of the
people_; and the people have not been taught to make a distinction which
should never exist, and consider themselves as _masters_ of their
_rulers_, and their power as paramount to the laws. To this excellence
in her frame of government, that State is indebted for uniformity and
stability in public measures, during a period of one hundred and fifty
years; a period of unparalleled tranquillity, never once disturbed by a
violent obstruction of justice, or any popular commotion or rebellion.
Wretched indeed would be the people of that State, should they adopt the
vulgar maxim, that their rulers are their _servants_. We then may expect
that the _laws_ of those _servants_ will be treated with the same
contempt, as they are in some other States.[22]

    [22] This pernicious error subverts the whole foundation of
    government. It resembles the practice of some Gentlemen in
    the country, who hire a poor strolling vagabond to keep a
    school, and then let the children know that he is a mere
    _servant_. The consequence is, the children despise him and
    his rules, and a constant war is maintained between the
    master and his pupils. The boys think themselves more
    respectable than the master, and the master has the rod in
    his hand, which he never fails to exercise. A proper degree
    of respect for the man and his laws, would prevent a thousand
    hard knocks. This is _government in miniature_. Men are
    taught to believe that their rulers are their _servants_, and
    then are rewarded with a prison and a gallows for despising
    their laws.

But from the manner in which government is constituted, it is evident
that there is no power residing in the State at large, which does not
reside in the legislature. I know it is said that government originates
in _compact_; but I am very confident, that if this is true, the
_compact_ is different from any other kind of compact that is known
among men. In all other _compacts_, _agreements_ or _covenants_, the
assent of every person concerned, or who is to be bound by the compact,
is requisite to render it valid and obligatory upon such person. But I
very much question whether this ever takes place in any constitution of

Perhaps so far there is an _implied compact_ in government, that every
man consents to be bound by the opinion of a majority; but this is all a
_supposition_; for the consent of a hundredth part of a society is never

The truth is, government originates in _necessity_ and _utility_; and
whether there is an implied compact or not, the opinions of the _few_
must be overruled, and submit to the opinions of the _many_. But the
opinions of a majority cannot be known, but in an Assembly of the whole
society; and no _part_ of the society has a right to decide upon a
measure which equally affects the _whole_, without a consultation with
the whole, to hear their arguments and objections. It is said that _all_
power resides in the _people_; but it must be remembered, that let the
supreme power be where it will, it can be exercised only in an _Assembly
of the whole State_, or in an _Assembly of the Representativs of the
whole State_.

Suppose the power to reside in the people, yet they cannot, and they
have no right to exercise it in their scattered districts, and the
reason is very obvious; it is impossible that the propriety of a measure
can be ascertained, without the best general information, and a full
knowlege of the opinions of the men on whom it is to operate.

By opinions here I would not be understood to mean, the various opinions
formed on a view of a particular interest, for these opinions may be
obtained by sending to each district, and collecting instructions; but I
mean the _opinions_ of the _whole society_, formed on the _information_
and _debates_ of the _whole society_. These opinions can be formed no
where but in a Convention of the _whole State_, or of their
_Representativs_. So far therefore are the people from having a power
paramount to that of their Representativs in Convention, that they can
exercise no act of supremacy or legislation at all, but in a Convention
of the whole State by Representativs.[23] Unless therefore, it can be
proved that a _Convention_, so called, which is composed mostly of the
same men as a Legislature, possesses some wisdom, power or
qualifications, which a Legislature _does not_ and _cannot_, then the
distinction is useless and trifling. A Legislature is supposed to
consist of men whom the people judge best qualified to superintend their
interests; a convention cannot be composed of better men; and in fact we
find it generally composed of the _same men_. If therefore no act of
sovereignty can be exercised but in an Assembly of Representativs, of
what consequence is it, whether we call it a _Convention_ or a
_Legislature_? or why is not the Assembly of Representativs of a people,
at all times a _Convention_, as well as a _Legislature_?

    [23] "In a democracy there can be no exercise of sovereignty
    but by suffrage: In England, where the people do not debate
    in a collective body, but by representation, the exercise of
    this sovereignty consists in the _choice of
    Representatives_." _Blackstone's Com. b. 1. ch. 2._ This is
    the sole power of the people in America.

To me it appears that a distinction is made without a difference; but a
distinction that will often prevent good measures, perpetuate evils in
government, and by creating a pretended power paramount to the
Legislature, tend to bring laws into contempt.

POSTSCRIPT.---- This reasoning applies solely to the individual States,
and not to the United States, before they were formed into a federal
body. An important distinction must be observed between the
_Constitution of a sovereign State_, and of _thirteen distinct
sovereignties_. In a sovereign State, whatever they may suggest to the
contrary, the voices of a majority are binding upon the minority, even
in framing the first plan of government. In general, a majority of the
votes of the _Representativs_ in Legislature or Convention have been
admitted as obligatory upon every member of the State, in forming and
establishing a Constitution: But when the Constitution has been
submitted to the people, as it is called, in town meetings or other
small assemblies, the assent of every individual could not be expressly
obtained; and the dissent of any number, less than half the freemen
present, who might not be one half the whole number in the State, could
not prevent the establishment of the government, nor invalidate the
obligation of _every man_ to submit peaceably to its operation. The
members of a state or community, cannot _from necessity_, be considered
as parties to a contract, where the assent of every man is necessary to
bind him to a performance of the engagement. But the several States,
enter into a negociation like _contracting parties_; they agree that the
assent of every individual State, shall be requisite to bind that State;
and the frame of government, so agreed upon, is considered as a compact
between independent sovereignties, which derives its binding force from
the mutual and unanimous consent of the parties, and not merely from a
necessity that the major part of the people should compel the rest to

But in this very compact, the States have resigned their independent
sovereignty, and become a single body or state, as to certain purposes;
for they have solemnly contracted with each other, that _three fourths
of_ their number may alter and amend the first compact. They are
therefore no longer separate individuals and contracting parties; but
they form a single State or body politic; and a majority of three
fourths can exert every act of sovereignty, except in two or three
particulars, expressly reserved in the compact.

No. V.

                         NEW YORK, 1788.


The constitution of Virginia, like that of Connecticut, stands on the
true principles of a Republican Representativ Government. It is not
shackled with a Bill of Rights, and every part of it, is at any time,
alterable by an ordinary Legislature. When I say _every part_ of the
constitution is alterable, I would except the right of elections, for
the Representativs have not power to prolong the period of their own
delegation. This is not numbered among the rights of legislation, and
deserves a separate consideration. This right is not vested in the
Legislature; it is in the people at large; it cannot be alienated
without changing the form of government. Nay the right of election is
not only the _basis_, but the _whole frame_ or essence of a republican
constitution; it is not merely _one_, but it is the _only_ legislativ or
constitutional act, which the people at large can with propriety

The simple principle for which I contend is this, "That in a
representativ democracy, the delegates chosen for Legislators ought, at
all times, to be competent to every possible act of legislation _under
that form of government_; but not to _change that form_." Besides it is
contrary to all our ideas of _deputation_ or _agency for others_, that
the person acting should have the power of extending the period of
agency beyond the time specified in his commission. The Representativ of
a people is, as to his powers, in the situation of an Attorney, whose
letters commission him to do every thing which his constituent would do,
where he on the spot; but for a limited time only. At the expiration of
that time his powers cease; and a Representativ has no more right to
extend that period, than a plenipotentiary has to renew his commission.
The British Parliament, by prolonging the period of their existence
from one to three, and from three to seven years, committed an unjust
act; an act however which has been confirmed by the acquiescence of the
nation, and thus received the highest constitutional sanction. I am
sensible that the Americans are much concerned for the liberties of the
British nation; and the act for making Parliaments septennial is often
mentioned as an arbitrary, oppressiv act, destructiv of English
liberty.[24] The English are doubtless obliged to us for our tender
concern for their happiness; yet for myself I entertain no such ideas:
The English have generally understood and advocated their rights as well
as any nation, and I am confident that the nation enjoys as much
happiness and freedom, and much more tranquillity, under septennial
Parliaments, than they would with annual elections. Corruption to obtain
offices will ever attend wealth; it is generated with it, grows up with
it, and will always fill a country with violent factions and illegal
practices. Such are the habits of the people, that money will have a
principal influence in carrying elections; and such vast sums are
necessary for the purpose, that if elections were annual, none but a few
of the wealthiest men could defray the expense; the landholders of
moderate estates would not offer themselves as candidates; and thus in
fact annual elections, with the present habits of the people, would
actually diminish the influence of the Commons, by throwing the
advantage into the hands of a corrupt ministry, and a few overgrown
nabobs. Before annual elections would be a blessing to the English,
their habits must be changed; but this cannot be effected by human
force. I wish my countrymen would believe that other nations understand
and can guard their privileges, without any lamentable outcries from
this side of the Atlantic. Government will always take its complexion
from the habits of the people; habits are continually changing from age
to age; a body of Legislators taken from the people, will generally
represent these habits at the time when they are chosen: Hence these
two important conclusions, 1st, That a legislativ body should be
frequently renewed and always taken from the people: 2d, That a
government which is perpetual, or incapable of being accommodated to
every change of national habits, must in time become a _bad_ government.

    [24] The septennial act was judged the only guard against a
    Popish reign, and therefore highly popular.

With this view of the subject, I cannot suppress my surprise at the
reasoning of Mr. Jefferson on this very point.[25] He considers it as a
defect in the constitution of Virginia, that _it can be altered by an
ordinary Legislature_. He observes that the Convention which framed the
present constitution of that State, "received no powers in their
creation which were not given to every Legislature before and since. So
far and no farther authorised, they organized the government by the
ordinance entitled a Constitution or form of government. It pretends to
no higher authority than the other ordinances of the same session; it
does not say, that it shall be perpetual; that it shall be unalterable
by other Legislatures; that it shall be transcendant above the powers of
those, who they knew would have equal powers with themselves."

    [25] Notes on Virginia, page 197. Lond. Edit. Query 13.

But suppose the framers of this ordinance had said, that it should be
_perpetual_ and _unalterable_; such a declaration would have been void.
Nay, altho the people themselves had individually and unanimously
declared the ordinance perpetual, the declaration would have been
invalid. One Assembly cannot pass an act, binding upon a subsequent
Assembly of equal authority;[26] and the people in 1776, had no
authority, and consequently could delegate none, to pass a single act
which the people in 1777, could not repeal and annul. And Mr. Jefferson
himself, in the very next sentence, assigns a reason, which is an
unanswerable argument in favor of my position, and a complete refutation
of his own. These are his words. "Not only the silence of the instrument
is a proof they thought it would be alterable, but their own practice
also: For this very Convention, meeting as a House of Delegates in
General Assembly with the new Senate in the autumn of that year, passed
acts of Assembly in contradiction to their ordinance of government; and
_every Assembly from that time to this, has done the same_."

    [26] Contracts, where a Legislature is a party, are excepted.

Did Mr. Jefferson reflect upon the inference that would be justly drawn
from these facts? Did he not consider that he was furnishing his
opponents with the most effectual weapons against himself? The acts
passed by _every subsequent Assembly in contradiction to the first
ordinance_, prove that all the Assemblies were _fallible_ men; and
consequently not competent to make _perpetual Constitutions_ for future
generations. To give Mr. Jefferson, and the other advocates for
_unchangeable Constitutions_, the fullest latitude in their argument, I
will suppose every freeman of Virginia, could have been assembled to
deliberate upon a form of government, and that the present form, or even
one more perfect, had been the result of their Councils; and that they
had declared it unalterable. What would have been the consequence?
Experience would probably have discovered, what is the fact; and what
forever will be the case; that _Conventions_ are not possessed of
_infinite wisdom_; that the wisest men cannot devise a perfect system of
government. After all this solemn national transaction, and a formal
declaration that their proceedings should be unalterable, suppose a
single article of the Constitution should be found to interfere with
some national benefit, some material advantage; where would be the power
to change or reform that article? In the same general Assembly of all
the people, and in no other body. But must a State be put to this
inconvenience, to find a remedy for every defect of constitution?

Suppose, however, the _Convention_ had been empowered to declare the
form of government _unalterable_: What would have been the consequence?
Mr. Jefferson himself has related the consequence. Every succeeding
Assembly has found errors or defects in that frame of government, and
has happily applied a remedy. But had not every Legislature had power
to make these alterations, Virginia must have gone thro the farce, and
the trouble of calling an _extraordinary_ Legislature, to do that which
an _ordinary_ Legislature could do just as well, in their annual
session; or those errors must have remained in the constitution, to the
injury of the State.

The whole argument for Bills of Rights and unalterable Constitutions
rests on two suppositions, viz. that the Convention which frames the
government, is _infallible_; and that future Legislatures will be _less
honest_, _less wise_, and _less attentiv to the interest of the State_,
than a present Convention: The first supposition is _always false_, and
the last is _generally_ so. A declaration of perpetuity, annexed to a
form of government, implies a supposition of _perfect wisdom and
probity_ in the framers; which is both arrogant and impudent; and it
implies a supposed power in them, to abridge the power of a succeeding
Convention, and of the future state or body of people. The last
supposition is, in every possible instance of legislation, _false_; and
an attempt to exercise such a power, a high handed act of tyranny. But
setting aside the argument, grounded on a want of power in one Assembly
to abridge the power of another, what occasion have we to be so jealous
of future Legislatures? Why should we be so anxious to guard the future
rights of a nation? Why should we not distrust the people and the
Representativs of the present age, as well as those of future ages, in
whose acts we have not the smallest interest? For my part, I believe
that the peeple and their Representativs, two or three centuries hence,
will be as honest, as wise, as faithful to themselves, and will
understand their rights as well, and be as able to defend them, as the
people are at this period. The contrary supposition is absurd.

I know it is said, that other nations have lost their liberties by the
ambitious designs of their rulers, and we may do the same. The
experience of other nations, furnishes the ground of all the arguments
used in favor of an unalterable constitution. The advocates seem
determined that posterity shall not lose their liberty, even if they
should be willing and desirous to surrender it. If a few declarations on
parchment, will secure a single blessing to posterity, which they would
otherwise lose, I resign the argument, and will receive a thousand
declarations. Yet so thoroughly convinced am I of the opposite tendency
and effect of such unalterable declarations, that, were it possible to
render them valid, I should deem every article an infringement of civil
and political liberty. I should consider every article as a restriction
which might impose some duty which in time might cease to be useful and
necessary, while the obligation of performing it might remain; or which
in its operation might prove pernicious, by producing effects which were
not expected, and could not be foreseen. There is no one single right,
no privilege, which is commonly deemed fundamental, which may not, by an
unalterable establishment, preclude some amendment, some improvement in
future administration of government. And unless the advocates for
unalterable constitutions of government, can prevent all changes in the
wants, the inclinations, the habits, and the circumstances of people,
they will find it difficult, even with all their declarations of
unalterable rights, to prevent changes in government. A paper
declaration is a very feeble barrier against the force of national
habits, and inclinations.

The loss of liberty, as it is called, in the kingdoms of Europe, has, in
several instances, been a mere change of government, effected by a
change of habits, and in some instances this change has been favorable
to liberty. The government of Denmark, was changed from a mixed form,
like that of England, to an absolute monarchy, by a solemn deliberate
act of the people or States. Was this a loss of liberty? So far from it,
that the change removed the oppressions of faction, restored liberty to
the subject and tranquillity to the kingdom. The change was a blessing
to the people. It indeed lodged a power in the Prince to dispose of life
and property; but at the same time it lodged in him a _power to defend
both_; a power which before was lodged _no where_; and it is infinitely
better that such a power should be vested in a _single hand_, than that
it should _not exist at all_. The monarchy of France has grown out of a
number of petty states and lordships; yet it is a fact, proved by
history and experience, that the subjects of that kingdom have acquired
liberty, peace and happiness, in proportion to the diminution of the
powers of the petty sovereignties, and the extension of the prerogativs
of the Monarch. It is said that Spain lost her liberties under the reign
of Charles Vth; but I question the truth of the assertion; it is
probable that the subject has gained as much by an abridgement of the
powers of the nobility, as he lost by an annihilation of the Cortez. The
United Netherlands fought with more bravery and perseverance to preserve
their rights, than any other people since the days of Leonidas; and yet
no sooner established a government, so jealously guarded as to defeat
its own designs, and prevent the good effects of government, than they
neglected its principles; the freemen resigned the privilege of
election, and committed their liberties to a rich aristocracy. There was
no compulsion, no external force in producing this revolution; but the
form of government, which had been established on paper, and solemnly
ratified, was not suited to the genius of the subjects. The burghers had
the right of electing their rulers; but they neglected it voluntarily;
and a _bill of rights_, a _perpetual constitution_ on parchment,
guaranteeing that right, was a useless form of words, because opposed to
the temper of the people. The government assumed a complexion, more
correspondent to their habits, and tho in theory no constitution is more
cautiously guarded against an infringement of popular privileges, yet in
practice it is a real aristocracy.

The progress of government in England has been the reverse: The people
have been gaining freedom by intrenching upon the powers of the nobles
and the royal prerogativs. These changes in government do not proceed
from _bills of rights_, _unalterable forms_ and _perpetual
establishments_; liberty is never secured by such paper declarations,
nor lost for want of them. The truth is, Government originates in
necessity, and takes its form and structure from the genius and habits
of the people; and if on paper a form is not accommodated to those
habits, it will assume a new form, in spite of all the formal sanctions
of the supreme authority of a State. Were the monarchy of France to be
dissolved, and the wisest system of republican government ever invented,
solemnly declared, by the King and his council, to be the constitution
of the kingdom; the people with their present habits, would refuse to
receive it; and resign their privileges to their beloved sovereign. But
so opposite are the habits of the Americans, that an attempt to erect a
monarchy or an aristocracy over the United States, would expose the
authors to the loss of their heads.[27] The truth is, the people of
Europe, since they have become civilized, have, in no kingdom, possessed
_all_ the true principles of liberty. They could not therefore lose what
they never possessed. There have been, from time immemorial, some rights
of government, some prerogativs vested in some man or body of men,
independent of the suffrages of the body of the subjects. This
circumstance distinguishes the governments of Europe and of all the
world, from those of America. There has been in the free nations of
Europe an incessant struggle between freedom or national rights, and
hereditary prerogativs. The contest has ended variously in different
kingdoms; but generally in depressing the power of the nobility;
ascertaining and limiting the prerogativs of the crown, and extending
the privileges of the people. The Americans have seen the records of
their struggles; and without considering that the objects of the contest
_do not exist in this country_; they are laboring to guard rights which
there is no party to attack. They are as jealous of their rights, as if
there existed here a King's prerogativs, or the powers of nobles,
independent of their own will and choice, and ever eager to swallow up
their liberties. But there is _no man_ in America, who claims any rights
but what are common to _every man_; there is no man who has an interest
in invading popular privileges, because his attempt to curtail another's
rights, would expose his own to the same abridgement. The jealousy of
people in this country has no proper object against which it can
rationally arm them; it is therefore directed _against themselves_, or
against an invasion which they _imagine_ may happen in future ages. The
contest for _perpetual bills of rights_ against a future tyranny,
resembles Don Quixote's fighting windmills; and I never can reflect on
the declamation about an _unalterable constitution_ to guard certain
rights, without wishing to add another article, as necessary as those
that are generally mentioned, viz. "that no future Convention or
Legislature shall cut their own throats, or those of their
constituents." While the habits of the Americans remain as they are, the
people will choose their Legislature from their own body; that
Legislature will have an interest inseparable from that of the people,
and therefore an act to restrain their power in any article of
legislation, is as unnecessary as an act to prevent them from committing

    [27] Some jealous people ignorantly call the proposed
    Constitution of Federal Government, an _aristocracy_. If such
    men are honest, their honesty deserves pity: There is not a
    feature of true aristocracy in the Constitution; the whole
    frame of Government is a pure Representativ Republic.

Mr. Jefferson, in answer to those who maintain that the form of
government in Virginia is unalterable, because it is called a
_constitution_, which, ex vi termini, means an act above the power of
the ordinary Legislature, asserts that _constitution_, _statute_, _law_
and _ordinance_, are synonymous terms, and convertible as they are used
by writers on government. Constitutio dicitur jus quod a principe
conditur. Constitutum, quod ab imperatoribus rescriptum statutumve est.
Statutum, idem quod lex.[28] Here the words _constitution_, _statute_
and _law_, are defined by each other; they were used as convertible
terms by all former writers, whether Roman or British; and before the
terms of the civil law were introduced, our Saxon ancestors used the
correspondent English words, _bid_ and _set_.[29] From hence he
concludes that no inference can be drawn from the meaning of the word,
that a _constitution_ has a higher authority than a law or statute. This
conclusion of Mr. Jefferson is just.

    [28] Calvini Lexicon Juridicum.

    [29] See Laws of the Saxon Kings.

He quotes Lord Coke also to prove that any parliament can abridge,
suspend or qualify the acts of a preceding Parliament. It is a maxim in
their laws, that "Leges posteriores priores contrarias abrogant." After
having fully proved that _constitution_, _statute_, _law_ and
_ordinance_, are words of similar import, and that the constitution of
Virginia is at any time alterable by the ordinary Legislature, he
proceeds to prove the danger to which the rights of the people are
exposed, for want of an _unalterable form of government_. The first
proof of this danger he mentions, is, the power which the Assembly
exercises of determining its own quorum. The British Parliament fixes
its own quorum: The former Assemblies of Virginia did the same. During
the war the Legislature determined that _forty_ members should be a
quorum to proceed to business, altho not a fourth part of the whole
house. The danger of delay, it was judged, would warrant the measure.
This precedent, our writer supposes, is subversive of the principles of
the government, and dangerous to liberty.

It is a dictate of natural law that a _majority should govern_; and the
principle is universally received and established in all societies,
where no other mode has been arbitrarily fixed. This natural right
cannot be alienated _in perpetuum_; for altho a Legislature, or even the
body of the people, may resign the powers of government to forty, or to
four men, when they please, yet they may likewise resume them at

The people may, if they please, create a dictator on an emergency in
war, but his creation would not _destroy_, but merely _suspend_ the
natural right of the _Lex majoris partis_. Thus forty members, a
minority of the Legislature of Virginia, were empowered during a
dangerous invasion, to legislate for the State; but any subsequent
Assembly might have divested them of that power. During the operation of
the law, vesting them with this power, their acts were binding upon the
State; because their power was derived from the general sense of the
State; it was actually derived from a legal majority. But that majority
could, at any moment, resume the power and practice on their natural

It is a standing law of Connecticut, that forty men shall be a quorum of
the House of Representativs, which consists of about 170 members. This
law, I am confident, never excited a murmur, or a suspicion that the
liberties of the people were in danger; yet this law creates an
oligarchy; it is an infringement of natural right; it subjects the State
to the possibility, and even the probability of being governed at times
by a minority. The acquiescence of the State, in the existence of the
law, gives validity, and even the sanction of a majority, to the acts of
that minority; but the majority may at any time resume their natural
right, and make the assent of more than half of the members, necessary
to give validity to their determinations.

The danger therefore arising from a power in the Assembly to determine
their own quorum, is merely ideal, for no law can be perpetual; the
authority of a majority of the people, or of their Representativs, is
always competent to repeal any act that is found unjust or inconvenient.
The acquiescence however of the people of the States mentioned, and that
in one of them for a long course of years, under an oligarchy; or their
submission to the power of a minority, is an incontestible proof of what
I have before observed, that _theories_ and _forms of government_ are
_empty things_; that the spirit of a government springs immediately from
the temper of the people, and the exercise of it will generally take its
tone from their feelings. It proves likewise that a _union of interests_
between the rulers and the people, which union will always coexist with
free elections, is not only the _best_, but the _only_ security for
their liberties which they can wish for and demand. The Government of
Connecticut is a solid proof of these truths. The Assembly of that
State, have always had power to abolish trial by jury, to restrain the
liberty of the press, to suspend the habeas corpus act, to maintain a
standing army, in short to command every engine of despotism; yet by
some means or other, it happens that the rights of the people are not
invaded, and the subjects have generally been better satisfied with the
laws, than the people of any other State. The reason is, the Legislature
is a part of the people, and has the _same interest_. If a law should
prove bad, the Legislature can repeal it; but in the _unalterable_ bills
of rights in some of the States, if an article should prove wrong and
oppressiv, an ordinary Legislature cannot repeal or amend it; and the
State will hardly think of calling a special Convention for so trifling
a purpose. There are some articles, in several of the State
Constitutions, which are glaring infractions of the first rights of
freemen; yet they affect not a majority of the community; and centuries
may elapse before the evil can be redressed, and a respectable class of
men restored to the enjoyment of their rights.[30]

    [30] Such is the article, which excludes the clergy from a
    right to hold civil offices. The people, might, with the same
    propriety, have declared, that no merchants nor lawyers
    should be eligible to civil offices. It is a common opinion
    that the business of the clergy is wholly _spiritual_. Never
    was a grosser error. A part of their business is to inform
    the minds of people on all subjects, and correct their
    morals; so that they have a direct influence on government.
    At any rate they are subjects of law, and ought as freemen to
    be eligible to a seat in the Legislature; provided the people
    incline to choose them.

To prove the want of an _unalterable Constitution_ in Virginia, Mr.
Jefferson informs us that in 1776, during the distressed circumstances
of the State, a proposition was made in the House of Delegates to create
a Dictator, invested with every power, legislativ, executiv and
judicial, civil and military. In June, 1781, under a great calamity, the
proposition was repeated, and was near being passed. By the warmth he
discovers in reprobating this proposal, one must suppose that the
creation of a Dictator even for a few months, would have buried every
remain of freedom. Yet he seems to allow that the step would have been
justified, had there existed an _irresistible necessity_.

Altho it is possible that a case may happen, in which the creation of a
Dictator might be the only resort to save life, liberty, property and
the State, as it happened in Rome more than once; yet I should dread his
power as much as any man, were I not convinced that the same men that
appointed him, could, in a moment, strip him of his tremendous
authority. A Dictator, with an army superior to the strength of the
State, would be a despot; but Mr. Jefferson's fears seem grounded on the
authority derived from the Legislature. A concession of power from the
Legislature, or the people, is a voluntary suspension of a natural
_unalienable_ right; and is resumeable at the expiration of the period
specified, or the moment it is abused. A State can never alienate a
_natural right_; for it cannot legislate for those who are not in
existence. It may consent to suspend that right for great and temporary
purposes; but were every freeman in Virginia to assent to the creation
of a _perpetual Dictator_, the act in itself would be void. The
expedient of creating a Dictator is dangerous, and no free people would
willingly resort to it; but there may be times when this expedient is
necessary to save a State from ruin, and when every man in a State would
cheerfully give his suffrage for adopting it. At the same time, a
temporary investiture of unlimited powers in one man, may be abused; it
may be an influential precedent; and the continuance of it, may furnish
the Dictator with the means of perpetuating his office. The distress of
a people must be extreme, before a serious thought of a Dictator can be
justifiable. But the people who create, can annihilate a Dictator; their
right to govern themselves cannot be resigned by any act whatever, altho
extreme cases may vindicate them in suspending the exercise of it. Even
prescription cannot exist against this right; and _every_ nation in
Europe has a _natural_ right to depose its King, and take the government
into its own hands; altho it may forever be inexpedient for any of them
to exercise the right.

No. VI.

                         NEW YORK, 1788.


I have said,[31] "that the people ought not to give binding instructions
to Representativs." "That they cannot exercise any act of supremacy or
legislation at all but in a Convention of the whole State, or of the
Representativs of the whole State." And "That the right of election is
the _only_ constitutional right which they can with propriety exercise."
That these positions, however repugnant to the received opinions of the
present age, are capable of political demonstration, is to me
unquestionable. They all convey nearly the same idea, and if true, they
contravene, in some measure, a fundamental maxim of American politics,
which is, that "the sovereign power resides in the people."

    [31] No. II. IV. V.

I am not desirous of subverting this favorite maxim; but I am very
desirous it should be properly qualified and understood; for the abuse
of it is capable of shaking any government; and I have no doubt that the
mistakes which this maxim has introduced, have been the principal
sources of rebellion, tumult and disorder in several of the American

It is doubtless true, that the individuals who compose a political
society or State, have a sovereign right to establish what form of
government they please in their own territories. But in order to
deliberate upon the subject, they must all convene together, as in Rome
and Athens; or must send deputies, vested with powers to act for them,
as is the practice in England and America. If they adopt the first
method, then the Supreme Legislativ power resides, to all intents and
purposes, in the whole body of the people. If, from the local
circumstances of the people, the whole body cannot meet for
deliberation, then the Legislativ powers do not reside in the people at
large, but in an assembly of men delegated by the whole body.

To prove this last position, it is necessary to enquire, what is the
object of law, and on what principles ought it to be founded? A law, if
I understand the term, is an act of the _whole State_, operating upon
the _whole State_, either by command or prohibition: It is thus
distinguished from a _resolve_ which more properly respects an
individual or a part of the State.[32] The object of a law is to prevent
positiv evil or produce positiv good to the _whole State_; not merely to
a particular part. The principle therefore on which all laws should be
founded, is, _a regard to the greatest good which can be produced to the
greatest number of individuals in the State_. The principle is so
obvious, that I presume it will not be controverted. Permit me then to
enquire, whether the people of any district, county or town, in their
local meetings, are competent to judge of this _general good_? A law,
which is, in its operation _general_, must be founded on the best
_general information_: The people themselves have no right to consent to
a law, without this general information: They have no right to consent
to a law, on a view of a local interest; nor without hearing the
objections and arguments, and examining the amendments, suggested by
every part of the community, which is to be affected by that law. To
maintain the contrary is to defend the most glaring contradictions. But
can the inhabitants, in detached associations, be acquainted with these
objections and arguments? Can they know the minds of their brethren at
the distance of three or five hundred miles? If they cannot, they do not
possess the right of legislation. Little will it avail to say, that the
people acquire the necessary information by newspapers, or other
periodical publications: There are not more than two States in the
thirteen, where one half the freemen read the public papers. But if
every freeman read the papers, this would not give him the information
necessary to qualify him for a Legislator; for but a small part of the
intelligence they contain is official, which alone can be the ground of
law; nor can the collectiv sense of a nation or state be gathered from
newspapers. The whole body of people, or Representativs of the whole
body, are the only vehicles of information which can be trusted, in
forming a judgement of the true interest of the whole State.

    [32] It is a capital defect in some of the States, that the
    government is so organized as not to admit subordinate acts
    of legislation in small districts. In these States, every
    little collection of people in a village must petition the
    Legislature for liberty to lay out a highway or build a
    bridge; an affair in which the State at large has very little
    interest, and of the necessity and utility of which the
    Legislature are not suitable judges. This occasions much
    trouble for the State; it is a needless expense. A State
    should be divided into inferior corporations, veiled with
    powers competent to all acts of local police. What right have
    the inhabitants of Suffolk to interfere in the building of a
    bridge in Montgomery?[a] Who are the most competent judges of
    a local convenience; the whole State, or the inhabitants of
    the particular district?

         [a] This was written in New York.

If the _collectiv sense_ of a State is the basis of law, and that sense
can be known officially no where but in an Assembly of all the people or
of their Representativs; or in other words, if there can be no such
thing as a _collection of sentiments_ made in any other manner, than by
a Convention of the whole people or their Delegates, where is the right
of _instructing Representativs_? The sense of the people, taken in small
meetings, without a general knowlege of the objections, and reasonings
of the whole State, ought not to be considered as the true sense of the
State; for not being possessed of the best general information, the
people often form wrong opinions of their own interest. Had I the
journals of the several Legislatures in America, I would prove to every
man's satisfaction, that most of the schemes for paper money, tender
laws, suspension of laws for the recovery of debts, and most of the
destructiv measures which have been pursued by the States, have
originated in towns and counties, and been carried by positiv
instructions from constituents to Representativs. The freemen, in these
cases, have wrong ideas of their own interest; their error, in the
first instance, is ascribeable merely to ignorance, or a want of that
just information, which they themselves would obtain in a General
Assembly.[33] The right therefore of prescribing rules to govern the
votes of Representativs, which is so often assumed, frequently amounts
to a right of doing infinite mischief, with the best intentions. There
is perhaps no case in which the people at large are so capable of
knowing and pursuing their own interest, as their Delegates are when
assembled for consultation and debate. But the practice of giving
binding instructions to Representativs, if it has any foundation, is
built on this maxim, that the constituents, on a view of their local
interests, and either with none, or very imperfect information, are
better judges of the propriety of a law, and of the general good, than
the most judicious men are (for such generally are the Representativs)
after attending to the best official information from every quarter, and
after a full discussion of the subject in an Assembly, where clashing
interests conspire to detect error, and suggest improvements. This maxim
is obviously false; and a practice built on it, cannot fail to produce
laws, inaccurate, contradictory, capricious and subversive of the first
rights of men. Perhaps no country, except America, ever experienced the
fatal effects of this practice, and I blush to remark, what candor
itself must avow, that few arbitrary governments, have in so short a
period, exhibited so many _legal infractions_ of sacred right; so many
public invasions of private property; so many wanton abuses of
legislativ powers! Yet the people are generally honest; and as well
informed as the people of any country. Their errors proceed from
ignorance; from false maxims of governments. The people attempt to
legislate without the necessary qualifications for lawgivers; yes, _they
legislate at home!_ and while this practice subsists, our public
measures will be often weak, imperfect, and changeable; and sometimes
_extremely iniquitous_. From these considerations, it appears that the
powers of a Representativ should be wholly discretionary when he acts as
a Legislator; but as an agent for a town or small society, he may have
positiv instructions. His constituents, in the last case, are competent
to instruct him, because they are the whole body concerned; but in the
first instance, they are but a part of the State, and not competent to
judge fully of the interest of the whole.

    [33] An error, originating in mistake, is often pursued thro
    obstinacy and pride; and sometimes a familiarity with
    _falsehood_, makes it appear like _truth_.

To place the matter in the strongest point of light, let us suppose a
small State, in which the whole body of people meet for the purpose of
making laws. Suppose in this democracy, the people of a town or other
district should desire a particular act, for instance, a tender law.
Would the inhabitants of this town, have a right to meet a few weeks
before the General Assembly, where they all would expect to be present,
to debate and vote; and in this town meeting take an oath, or otherwise
bind themselves to vote for the act? Would they have a right to shut
their ears against argument; to lay a restraint upon their own minds; to
exclude the possibility of conviction, and solemnly swear to vote in a
certain manner, whether right or wrong! If in this case, the people of a
district have no right to lay a restraint upon themselves before they
enter the General Assembly, neither have they a right, in representativ
democracies, to lay such a restraint upon their Delegates. The very
reason why they are incompetent to direct their _Deputies_, is that they
cannot determine how to act _themselves_, till they come into the
Assembly. The very doctrine of representation in government excludes the
right of giving binding instructions to Deputies. The design of choosing
Representativs is to _collect the wisdom of the State_; the Deputies are
_to unite_ their Councils; _to meet_ and _consult for_ the public
safety: But positiv instructions prevent this effect; they are dictated
by local interests, or opinions formed on an imperfect view of facts and
arguments; in short they totally counteract the good effects of public
deliberations, and prevent those salutary measures which may result from
united Councils. They make the opinions of a small part of the State a
rule for the whole; they imply a decision of a question, before it is
heard; they reduce a Representativ to a mere machine, by restraining the
exercise of his reason; they subvert the very principles of republican

But let us attend to the inconsistency of the practice. The oath
required of a Representativ, before he takes his seat, binds him to vote
or act from a regard to the public good, _according to his judgement_
and _the best of his abilities_. Some of the Constitutions contain an
oath that binds a Representativ, _not to assent to, or vote for, any act
that he shall deem injurious to the people_. But what opinion, what
judgement can a man exercise, who is under the restraint of positiv
instructions? Suppose a man so instructed should in conscience believe
that a bill, if enacted, would be prejudicial to his constituents, yet
his orders bind him to vote for it; how would he act between his oath
and his instructions? In his oath he has sworn to act according to his
judgment, and for the good of the people; his instructions forbid him to
use his judgment, and bind him to vote for a law which he is convinced
will injure his constituents. He must then either abandon his orders or
his oath; perjury or disobedience is his only alternativ.

This is no imaginary situation; I presume that many men have experienced
it. One very worthy member of the Legislature in this State[34] a few
years since, was in that very predicament; and I heard him express great
anxiety upon the occasion.

    [34] New York.

How noble was the conduct of that gentleman in Sandwich (Mass.) who,
being chosen to represent the town in the late Convention, and
instructed to vote against the Constitution, _at all events;
notwithstanding any thing that might be said in favor of it_; rather
than submit to be fettered in this manner, resigned his appointment. The
name of this gentleman, THOMAS BOURN, Esq. ought to be held in
veneration by every true friend to his country, and his address to the
electors on that occasion, ought to be written in letters of gold. It
is recorded in these words: "Fellow Townsmen--The line of conduct which
has appeared to me right, I have ever wished to pursue. In the decline
of life, when a few revolving suns at most will bring me to the bar of
impartial justice, I am unwilling to adopt a different, and less honest
mode of acting. It is true, my sentiments at present are not in favor of
the Constitution; open however to conviction, they may be very
different, when the subject is fairly discussed by able and upright men.
To place myself in a situation, where conviction could be followed only
by a bigotted persistence in error, would be extremely disagreeable to
me. Under the restrictions with which your Delegates are fettered, _the
greatest ideot may answer your purpose as well as the greatest man_. The
suffrages of our fellow men, when they neither repose confidence in our
integrity, nor pay a tribute of respect to our abilities, can never be
agreeable. I am therefore induced positivly to decline accepting a seat
in Convention, whilst I sincerely wish you, gentlemen, and my
countrymen, every blessing which a wise and virtuous administration of a
free government can secure."

Such a bold and honest independence of mind are the marks of a good
Legislator. With such men as Mr. Bourn, in the legislativ department,
our lives, liberties and properties are safe. Such a genius, rising
amidst the obscurity of errors and false maxims, like a star emerging
from chaos, spreads the rays of truth and illuminates the surrounding
hemisphere. Considering the circumstances in which this gentleman was
then placed, I had rather be the author of that short address, than of
all the labored dissertations which have been written upon the proposed

Another error, which is connected with the practice of instructing
Representativs, and may perhaps be one cause of it, is the opinion that
a Deputy chosen by a certain number of freemen, is _their Representativ
only_ or _particularly_: It seems to be believed that a Representativ is
bound to attend to the _particular interest of the men who elect him_,
rather than to the _general interest_. If this were true, it would
obviate, in some measure, the objections against instructions. But with
respect to every general act, the opinion is _clearly false_. The reason
why men are chosen by small societies of freemen, and not by the whole
body, is, that the whole body cannot be well acquainted with the most
able men in the different parts of the State. It is the best expedient
to correct the defects of government, or rather, it is the best
_practicable_ mode of election. To render the mode perfect, the _whole
body of freemen_ should be at liberty to choose their Delegates from the
_whole body_. This would destroy, in a great measure, the local views
and attachments which now embarrass government; every Representativ
would be chosen by the whole body; and the interest of the whole number
of constituents would be his object.

This mode is either impracticable or hazardous; notwithstanding this,
when a Delegate is elected by a _part_ of the State, he is really the
Representativ of the _whole_, as much as if he were _elected_ by the
whole. The constituents of every Representativ are not solely those who
_voted_ for him, but the _whole State_, and the man that acts from a
_local_ interest, and attends merely to the wishes of those men who
elected him, violates his oath, and abuses his trust. Hence the
absurdity of instructions, which are generally dictated by a partial
interest, and can perhaps in no case be the sole rule of a Legislator's
conduct. When therefore a Representativ says, _such is the wish of my
constituents; such are their directions_; his declaration is but
partially true; for his instructions are the wishes of a _part_ only of
his constituents. His constituents, whom he actually represents, and
whose greatest interest is the sole rule of his conduct, are _the whole
body of freemen_. This is an important truth, and I must repeat it; the
man who is deputed to make laws for a State, and suffers a local
interest to influence his conduct, abuses a sacred trust; and the
Representativ who obeys his instructions, in opposition to the
conviction of his own mind, arising from a general view of public good,
_is guilty of a species of perjury_.

Such are the opinions, which after long deliberation, I have formed
respecting the principles of a republican government. I feel a
diffidence in publishing sentiments so repugnant to the principles
received by my countrymen and recognized by some of the State
Constitutions. But a strong persuasion of the truth of these opinions,
acquired by reasoning, and confirmed by several years observations,
forbids me to suppress them.

A summary of the truths, deduced from the foregoing reasoning, is this:
That the power of a State is at all times equal; that neither the people
themselves, nor a Convention of their Delegates, have either the power
or the right to make an unalterable Constitution; that the power of
creating a legislativ body, or the sovereign right of election, is
solely in the people; but the sovereign power of making laws is solely
in an Assembly of their Representativs; that the people have no right to
give binding instructions to their Representativs; consequently a
distinction between a _Convention_ and a _Legislature_, can be merely a
difference of _forms_; that Representativs have no right to prolong the
period of their delegation; that being taken from the mass of the
people, and having a common interest with them, they will be influenced,
even by private interest, to promote the public good; and that such a
government, which is a novelty on earth, is perhaps the best that can be
framed, and the only form which will always have for its object, the
general good.

No. VII.

                         PHILADELPHIA, 1787.


Since the declaration and establishment of a general peace, and since
this country has had an opportunity to experience the effects of her
independence, events have taken place, which were little expected by the
friends of the revolution. It was expected, that on the ratification of
peace, by the belligerent powers, America would enjoy perfect political
tranquillity. The statesman in his closet, and the divine in his
addresses to heaven, predicted and anticipated the happy period, when
every man would rest, unmolested, under his own vine and his own fig
tree. The merchant foresaw, in vision, the ports of all nations open to
his ships, and the returns of a favorable commerce pouring wealth into
his coffers. The honest laborer, in the shop and the field, was told
that independence and peace would forever remove the fears of
oppression, would lighten his burthen, and give him legal security for
the uninterrupted possession of his rights. This flattering prospect
inspired an irresistible enthusiasm in war. The contention for freedom
was long and arduous; the prize was obtained; the delusion vanished, and
America is surprized at the disappointment.

Instead of general tranquillity, _one_ State has been involved in a
civil war, and most of them are torn with factions, which weaken or
destroy the energy of government. Instead of a free commerce with all
the world, our trade is every where fettered with restraints and
impositions, dictated by foreign interest; and instead of pouring wealth
into our country, its present tendency is, to impoverish both the
merchant and the public. Instead of legal security of rights under
governments of our own choice, and under our own control, we find
property at least unsafe, even in our best toned government. Our
charters may be wrested from us without a fault, our contracts may be
changed or set aside without our consent, by the breath of a popular
Legislature. Instead of a dimunition of taxes, our public charges are
multiplied; and to the weight of accumulating debts, we are perpetually
making accessions by expensiv follies. Instead of a union of States and
measures, essential to the welfare of a great nation, each State is
jealous of its neighbor, and struggling for the superiority in wealth
and importance, at the hazard even of our federal existence.

This is the dark side of our public affairs; but such are the facts. The
public and private embarrassments, which are both seen and felt, are the
topics of incessant declamation. The rhapsodies of orators, and the
publications in gazettes, from the northern to the southern extremity of
the United States, concur in deprecating the present state of this
country, and communicate the intelligence of our distresses to the whole
civilized world. Nor are newspapers the only heralds of our calamities.
The contempt of government among one class of men, the silent murmurs of
poverty in the peaceful cottage, and numerous bankrupts in every
quarter, are irresistible evidence to a thinking mind, that something is

But declamation is idle, and murmurs fruitless. Time has been when the
minds of people were alarmed at the approaches of despotism: Then
harangues roused attention; then mobs raised the temple of freedom, and
declared themselves ready to be sacrificed upon her altar. But violent
passions in the public as well as in the human body, are always
transitory. That enthusiasm which was called _public spirit, heroic
virtue, and love of country_, has long ago subsided, and is absorbed in
the general steady principle, private interest. That enthusiasm is not
to be rekindled. The expostulations of our rulers and patriotic
writers, have no more effect in reviving public spirit, than the
attraction of a meteor in raising a tide.

Men, who embraced revolution principles, because independence might save
a few shillings in taxes, or extend the imaginary sphere of freedom; who
expected that peace would place them in a paradise of blessings, where
they might riot without the fatigue of exertion; such men had narrow
views of the consequence of detaching America from a transatlantic
jurisdiction. They viewed but a small part of the great event: They are,
they _ought to be_ disappointed. Such men expect effects without causes,
and are ready to despond, or commence enemies to a glorious event,
because miracles are not wrought to verify their ill founded

In this view, this insect view of things, the revolution ought to be
considered as extremely unfortunate; for to the present generation, it
must certainly prove so.

But on the general scale of human happiness, every man of reflection
must rejoice at the illustrious event. Even the propriety of the
independence of these States, is so obviously dictated by their local
situation, that a generous European ought to have consented to the
measure on this single principle. But taking into consideration the vast
field which is here opened for improvements in science, in government,
in religion, and in morals; the philosopher will felicitate himself with
the prospect of discoveries favorable to arts and happiness; the
statesman will rejoice that there is a retreat from the vassalage of
Europe; the divine will bless God that a place has been reserved for an
uncorrupted church; and the philanthropist, who compares the yeomanry of
America with the peasantry of Europe, will congratulate himself on an
event which has removed millions of people from the ambition of princes,
and from a participation of the vices, which mark the decline of

The revolution of America, whatever may be the present effects, must, on
the universal scale of policy, prove fortunate, not only for the
parties, but for mankind in general. The period, however, when this
country will realize the happy consequences of her separation, must be
remote; probably beyond the lives of the present generation.

It is worth our curiosity to inquire into the causes of our present
political evils; not the more obvious causes, which every man sees and
laments, but those radical causes which lie hid from common observation;
whose operations are imperceptible, but whose effects are visible, even
to a vulgar eye.

A fundamental mistake of the Americans has been, that they considered
the revolution as completed, when it was but just begun. Having raised
the pillars of the building, they ceased to exert themselves, and seemed
to forget that the whole superstructure was then to be erected. This
country is independent in government; but totally dependent in manners,
which are the basis of government. Men seem not to attend to the
difference between Europe and America, in point of age and improvement;
and are disposed to rush, with heedless emulation, into an imitation of
manners, for which we are not prepared.

Every person tolerably well versed in history, knows that nations are
often compared to individuals and to vegetables, in their progress from
their origin to maturity and decay. The resemblance is striking and
just. This progress is as certain in nations as in vegetables; it is as
obvious, and its causes more easily understood; in proportion as the
secret springs of action in government are more easily explained, than
the mechanical principles of vegetation.

This progress therefore being assumed as a conceded fact, suggests a
forcible argument against the introduction of European manners into
America. The business of men in society is, first, to secure their
persons and estates by arms and wholesome laws; then to procure the
conveniences of life by arts and labor; but it is in the last stages
only of national improvement, when luxury and amusements become public
benefits, by dissipating accumulations of wealth, and furnishing
employment and food for the poor. And luxury then is not beneficial,
except when the wealth of a nation is wasted within itself. It is
perhaps always true, that an old civilized nation cannot, with
propriety, be the model for an infant nation, either in morals, in
manners or fashions, in literature or in government.

The present ambition of Americans is, to introduce as fast as possible,
the fashionable amusements of the European courts. Considering the
former dependence of America on England, her descent, her connexion and
present intercourse, this ambition cannot surprise us. But it must check
this ambition to reflect on the consequences. It will not be denied,
that there are vices predominant in the most polite cities in Europe,
which are not only unknown, but are seldom mentioned in America; and
vices that are infamous beyond conception. I presume it will not be
denied that there must be an amazing depravation of mind in a nation,
where a farce is a publication of more consequence than Milton's Poem;
and where an opera dancer, or an Italian singer, receives a salary equal
to that of an Ambassador. The facts being known and acknowleged, I
presume the consequence will not be denied. Not that this charge is good
against every individual; even in the worst times, there will be found
many exceptions to the general character of a nation.

If these vices and the depravation of mind do actually exist, it is a
proof of a gradual corruption; for there was a time when they did not
exist. There was a time when decency was a virtue, even at Venice. The
progress is also slow, unless hastened by some external circumstances.
It was more than two thousand years from the building of Rome to the
pontificate of Alexander the VIth whose naked revelings filled the
measure of public vice, and strike the human mind with horror.

A constant increase of wealth is ever followed by a multiplication of
vices: This seems to be the destiny of human affairs; wisdom, therefore,
directs us to retard, if possible, and not to accelerate the progress
of corruption. But an introduction of the fashionable diversions of
Europe into America, is an acceleration of the growth of vices which are
yet in their infancy, and an introduction of new ones too infamous to be
mentioned. A dancing school among the Tuscaroras, is not a greater
absurdity than a masquerade in America. A theater, under the best
regulations, is not essential to our public and private happiness. It
may afford entertainment to individuals; but it is at the expense of
private taste and public morals. The great misfortune of all exhibitions
of this kind is this; that they reduce all taste to a level. Not only
the vices of all classes of people are brought into view, but of all
ages and nations. The intrigues of a nobleman, and the scurrility of
shoe blacks, are presented to the view of both sexes, of all ages; the
vices of the age of Elizabeth and of Charles IId are recorded by the
masterly pens of a Shakespeare and a Congreve, and by repeated
representation, they are "hung on high," as the poet expresses it, "to
poison half mankind." The fact is, that all characters must be presented
upon a theater, because all characters are spectators; and a nobleman
and a sailor, a dutchess and a washer woman, that attend constantly on
the exhibitions of vice, become equally depraved; their tastes will be
nearly alike as to vice; the one is as prepared for a crime as the
other. It is for this reason, that many of the amusements of nations
more depraved than ourselves, are highly pernicious in this country.
They carry us forward by hasty strides, to the last stages of
corruption; a period that every benevolent man will deprecate and
endeavor to retard. This circumstance, the difference in the stages of
our political existence, should make us shun the vices which may be
politic and even necessary in older states; and endeavor to preserve our
manners by being our own standards. By attaching ourselves to foreign
manners, we counteract the good effects of the revolution, or rather
render them incomplete. A revolution in the form of government, is but a
revolution in name; unless attended with a change of principles and
manners, which are the springs of government.

This leads me to treat more particularly of the influence of fashions on
the interests of these States; an article in which the ladies are deeply

Fashion in itself is a matter of indifference, as affecting neither
morals nor politeness. It is of no consequence whether a lady is clad
with a gown or a frock; or whether a gentleman appears in public with a
cap or a wig. But there may be times and situations in which the most
trifling things become important. The practice of imitating foreign
modes of dress, cannot cost America less than 100,000l. a year. I speak
not of the necessary articles of dress; but merely of changes of

To understand this fact, it is necessary to advert to the different
circumstances of this country, and of the European kingdoms, which we
take as our models.

Two circumstances distinguish most of the commercial countries of Europe
from America; a feudal division of real property, and manufactures.
Where vast estates are hereditary and unalienable, a great part of the
people are dependent on the rich, and if the rich do not employ them,
they must starve. Thus in England and France, a great landholder
possesses a hundred times the property that is necessary for the
subsistence of a family; and each landlord has perhaps a hundred
families dependent on him for subsistence. On this statement, if the
landlord should live penuriously, and supply his own family only with
necessaries, all his dependents must starve. In order to subsist the
ninety nine families, he must create wants, which their employment must
supply; for the natural wants of a few rich people will not furnish
employment for great multitudes of poor. Hence the good policy, the
necessity of luxury in most European kingdoms. Hence originate all the
changes and varieties of fashion. A gentleman or lady in London must not
appear in public twice in the same suit. This is a regulation of custom,
but it is highly political; for were the nobility and rich gentry to
wear out all their clothes, one half the people must be beggars. The
fashions of England and France are not merely matter of fancy: Fancy may
dictate new and odd figures in dress; but the general design of frequent
and continual changes of fashion, is wise systematic policy, at the
courts of London and Paris.

But let us see with how little discretion and policy _we_ adopt foreign
luxuries. America is a young country, with small inequalities of
property, and without manufactures. Few people are here dependent on the
rich, for every man has an opportunity of becoming rich himself.
Consequently few people are supported by the luxuries of the wealthy;
and even these few are mostly foreigners.

But we have no body of manufacturers to support by dissipation. All our
superfluities are imported, and the consumption of them in this country
enriches the merchants and supports the poor of Europe. We are generous
indeed! generous to a fault. This is the pernicious, the fatal effect of
our dependence on foreign nations for our manners. We labor day and
night, we sacrifice our peace and reputation, we defraud our public
creditors, involve ourselves in debts, impoverish our country: Nay, many
are willing to become bankrupts and take lodgings in a prison, for the
sake of being as foolish as those nations which subsist their poor and
grow rich and respectable by their follies.

No objection can be made to rich and elegant dresses among people of
affluent circumstances. But perhaps we may safely calculate that one
third of the expenses incurred by dress in this country, add nothing
either to convenience or elegance.

A new dress is invented in London or Paris, not for the sake of superior
elegance, because it frequently happens that a new dress is less rich
and elegant than an old one; but for the sake of giving food to
manufacturers. That new fashion is sent across the Atlantic; let it be
ever so troublesome and uncouth, we admire its novelty; we adopt it
because it is fashionable; and merely for a change, that may be made in
half an hour by a tailor or a milliner, 20, 30, or 50,000 pounds are
drawn from the capital stocks of property in America, to enrich nations
which command our commerce and smile at our folly.

But it is not only the wealth of this country that is sacrificed by our
servile imitation of other nations; our complaisance often requires us
to dispense with good taste.

It will probably be admitted that amidst the infinite variety of dresses
which are fashionable, during a course of ten or fifteen years, some of
them must be more convenient and elegant than others. True taste in
dress consists in setting off the person to the best advantage. That
dress which unites the articles of convenience, simplicity and neatness,
in the greatest perfection, must be considered as the most elegant. But
true taste goes farther; it has reference to age, to shape, to
complexion, and to the season of the year. The same dress which adorns a
miss of fifteen, will be frightful on a venerable lady of seventy. The
same dress will embellish one lady and disfigure another. But the
passive disposition of Americans in receiving every mode that is offered
them, sometimes reduces all ages, shapes and complexions to a level.

I will not undertake to say that people ought not, in the article of
dress, to sacrifice taste to national interest. A sacrifice of that
kind, in a manufacturing country, may be laudable; it will at least be
pardonable. But in a reverse of situation, in America, where a waste of
property and a group of political evils accompany a bad taste, the
sacrifice admits of no apology.

It is not unfrequent to hear ladies complain severely of the
inconvenience of fashion. Their good sense disapproves and their taste
revolts at incumbrances. And yet where is the lady who would not sooner
submit to any fatigue, rather than be ridiculous. I speak of ladies
particularly; in point of expense, the gentlemens' dresses are
exceptionable as well as the ladies; in point of convenience, the ladies
are the greatest sufferers by fashion, as their dress admits of the
greatest variety of incumbrances.

Perhaps the trouble of conforming entirely to the fashions of Europe is
as great a tax upon the ladies, as the expense is to their husbands and

One society of people, the Friends, are happily released from the
tyranny and inconveniencies of fashion. However disagreeable the
restraints of their religion may appear in other respects, it must be
acknowledged that, in point of dress, the rules of their society conform
to purity of taste.

Perhaps we may safely estimate, that the ladies of that society dress
with two thirds of the expense which other ladies incur, even when the
articles of their dress are equally rich and expensiv; the difference is
saved by neglecting superfluous finery. And are not their taste in
dress, their simplicity and neatness, universally admired? Does it not
set off their persons to the best advantage? Do not gentlemen almost
universally give the preference to the taste of Quaker ladies? Nay, I
would ask, whether other ladies themselves, under a strong bias in favor
of a tawdry dress, are not frequently lavishing encomiums on the
superior elegance and convenience of the Friends' dresses? And how often
do they sigh beneath the trouble of their own dress, and wish that
particular articles would go out of fashion.

If there is any thing on earth, which can make a rational mind disgusted
with society, it is that cruel necessity, which obliges a person to
sacrifice both his interest and his taste, or run the hazard of being
laughed at for his singularity.

In some Asiatic countries, people never change their modes of dress.
This uniformity, which continues for ages, proceeds from the same
principles as the monthly changes in England and France; both proceed
from necessity and policy. Both arise from good causes which operate in
the several governments; that is, the manners of each government are
subservient to its particular interest. The reverse is true of this
country. Our manners are wholly subservient to the interest of foreign
nations. Where do we find, in dress or equipage, the least reference to
the circumstances of this country! Is it not the sole ambition of the
Americans to be just like other nations, without the means of supporting
the resemblance? We ought not to harbor any spleen or prejudice against
foreign kingdoms. This would be illiberal. They are wise, they are
respectable. We should despise the man that piques himself on his own
country, and treats all others with indiscriminate contempt. I wish to
see much less jealousy and ill nature subsisting between the Americans
and English. But in avoiding party spirit and resentment on the one
hand, we should be very careful of servility on the other. There is a
manly pride in true independence, which is equally remote from insolence
and meanness; a pride that is characteristic of great minds. Have
Americans discovered this pride since the declaration of peace? We boast
of independence, and with propriety. But will not the same men, who
glory in this great event, even in the midst of a gasconade, turn to a
foreigner and ask him, "what is the latest fashion in Europe!" He has
worn an elegant suit of clothes for six weeks; he might wear it a few
weeks longer, but it has not so many buttons as the last suit of my
lord ----: He throws it aside, and gets one that has. The suit costs him
a sum of money; but it keeps him in the fashion, and feeds the poor of
Great Britain or France. It is a singular phenomenon, and to posterity
it will appear incredible, that a nation of heroes, who have conquered
armies, and raised an empire, should not have the spirit to say--_we
will wear our clothes as we please_.

Let it not be thought that this is a trifling subject; a matter of no
consequence. Mankind are governed by opinion; and while we flatter
ourselves that we enjoy independence, because no foreign power can
impose laws upon us, we are groaning beneath the tyranny of opinion; a
tyranny more severe than the laws of monarchs; a dominion voluntary
indeed, but for that reason, more effectual; an authority of manners
which commands our services, and sweeps away the fruits of our labor.

I repeat the sentiment with which I began; the revolution of America is
yet incomplete. We are now in a situation to answer all the purposes of
the European nations; independent in government, and dependent in
manners. They give us their fashions, they direct _our_ taste to make a
market for _their_ commodities; they engross the profits of our
industry, without the hazard of defending us, or the expense of
supporting our civil government. A situation more favorable to _their_
interest, or more repugnant to our _own_, _they_ could not have chosen
for us, nor _we_ embraced.

If such is the state of facts, and if the influence of foreign manners
does actually defeat the purposes of the revolution; if our implicit
submission to the prevailing taste of European courts, involves
individuals and the public in unnecessary expenses, it is in the power
of a few influential characters in each of our commercial cities to
remedy the whole evil. And in a reformation of this kind, the ladies
would have no inconsiderable share.

It is really a matter of astonishment, that the pride of the Americans
has so long submitted tamely to a foreign yoke. Aside of all regard to
interest, we should expect that the idea of being a nation of apes would
mortify minds accustomed to freedom of thought, and would prompt them to
spurn their chains.

Have the ladies in America no ingenuity, no taste? Do they not
understand what dresses are most convenient and elegant? What modes are
best adapted to the climate, or other circumstances of this country?
They most certainly do. Foreigners acknowlege that the nativ beauty and
understanding of the American ladies are not excelled in any country,
and equalled in very few. And one would imagin that the modes of
embellishing so many personal charms ought not, in all cases, to be
prescribed by the milliners and manteau makers on the other side of the
Atlantic. A noble pride should forbid that ladies of birth and breeding
should be wholly indebted to the taste of others, for the decorations of
their beauty.

When the gentlemen in America shall exercise spirit enough to be their
own judges of taste in dress: When they have wisdom to consult the
circumstances of this country, and fortitude enough to retain a fashion
as long as their _own interest_ requires, instead of changing it when
_other nations_ direct: When the ladies shall exercise the rights of
their sex, and say, we will _give_ the laws of fashion to our _own
nation_, instead of _receiving_ them from _another_, we will perform our
part of the revolution: When both sexes shall take more pride and
pleasure in being their own standards, than in being the humble
imitators of those who riot on the profits of our commerce; we shall
realize a new species of independence; an independence flattering to
generous minds, and more productive of wealth than all the laws of
power, or the little arts of national policy. And in this revolution of
manners, there needs not any sacrifice of real dress. I will venture to
estimate, that the retrenching of superfluous articles; articles which
constitute no part of dress, and serve but to disfigure an elegant
person; articles that are made and sent to us to support the sixpenny
day laborers of Europe; I say, a retrenching of these trifling articles
only, would be an annual saving to America sufficient to pay one half of
the interest of our federal debt. We can throw no blame on foreign
nations; they are wise, and profit by our want of spirit and taste.

On the footing that all mankind are brethren, perhaps it is generous in
us to assist foreigners, who are a part of the Great Family.

It is to be wished, however, that we might first discharge our honest
debts: That the soldier, whose labor and blood have purchased our
empire, and whose services have been repaid with a shadow of reward,
might be indemnified by the justice of his country: That the widow and
orphan might at least receive the stipulated satisfaction for losses
which money cannot repair. Yes, let us first be _just_, and then
_generous_. When we have no better use for our superfluous property,
then let us bestow it upon our wretched brethren of the human race. They
will repay our charity with gratitude, and bless God that he has peopled
one half the world with a race of freemen, to enrich the tyrants, and
support the vassals of the other.

In another particular, our dependence on nations farther advanced in
society than ourselves, has a very unhappy effect.

I assume it as a fact, conceded by all philosophers and historians, that
there has been, in every civilized nation, a particular period of time,
peculiarly favorable to literary researches; and that in this period,
language and taste arrive to purity; the best authors flourish, and
genius is exerted to benefit mankind.

This period in Greece was the age of Themistocles, immediately after the
invasion of Xerxes. In Rome, it was the reign of Augustus Cæsar, when a
revolution had left the empire in a state of tranquillity. In France,
the reign of Louis the XIVth was distinguished for the number and
eminence of its authors, and the correctness of taste. The corresponding
period of taste in England, commenced about the middle of the sixteenth
century, and ended with the reign of George the IId. Scotland was later
in improvement; but perhaps has now seen its meridian splendor.

There seems to be a certain point of improvement beyond which every step
in refinement is corruption; moral sentiment is postponed to wit, and
sense is sacrificed to sound. This has been the case in all nations, and
is now true of England. The candid among the nation acknowlege and
lament the decline of true taste and science. Very few valuable writings
appear in the present age; plays, novels, farces, and compilations fill
the catalogue of new publications; and the library of a man of fashion
consists of Chesterfield's Letters, Tristram Shandy, and a few comedies.

A gentleman in high office in London, in a letter to an eminent literary
character in America, which I had the honor to read, informs, "that so
low is the taste of the nation, that were Milton's Poem to be now first
published, it would not find purchasers: Music and painting are the only
arts that have royal encouragement." He says further, "that there is a
national combination to oppose the fame of every American art,
production and character." I would hope that this account is an
exaggeration of the truth; but we have the best testimony to convince us
that every thing is sacrificed to amusement and pleasure.

We ought not therefore to form our taste after such models: In order to
write, think and act with propriety, we should go back half a century,
to the style and morality of Addison and his cotemporaries; there we may
find the most perfect models.

By making the present taste of Europe our standards, we not only debase
our own, but we check the attempts of genius in this country.

Eminence is sometimes apt to impose errors upon people, whose respect
for the character may silence all scruple, and prevent them from
examining into the grounds of his opinion. Such is the implicit
confidence reposed in the opinions of certain celebrated writers, that
when an American ventures to call in question a received principle or
opinion of theirs, his countrymen charge him with arrogance, and
exclaim, how should this man be as good a judge of the subject as a
foreigner! Such false notions of the perfection of particular character,
fetter the mind, and in concert with credulity and idleness, prepare it
for the reception of any errors, however enormous.

This same veneration for eminent foreigners, and the bewitching charms
of fashion, have led the Americans to adopt the modern corruptions of
our language. Very seldom have men examined the structure of the
language, to find reasons for their practice. The pronunciation and use
of words have been subject to the same arbitrary or accidental changes,
as the shape of their garments. My lord wears a hat of a certain size
and shape; he pronounces a word in a certain manner; and both must be
right, for he is a fashionable man. In Europe this is right in dress;
and men who have not an opportunity of learning the just rules of our
language, are in some degree excuseable for imitating those whom they
consider as superiors. But in men of science, this imitation can hardly
be excused.

Our language was spoken in purity about eighty years ago; since which
time, great numbers of faults have crept into practice about the theater
and court of London. An affected erroneous pronunciation has in many
instances taken place of the true; and new words or modes of speech have
succeeded the ancient correct English phrases.

Thus we have, in the modern English pronunciation, their natshures,
conjunctshures, constitshutions, and tshumultshuous legislatshures; and
a long catalogue of fashionable improprieties. These are a direct
violation of the rules of analogy and harmony; they offend the ear, and
embarrass the language. Time was, when these errors were unknown; they
were little known in America before the revolution. I presume we may
safely say, that our language has suffered more injurious changes in
America, since the British army landed on our shores, than it had
suffered before, in the period of three centuries. The bucks and bloods
tell us that there is no proper standard in language; that it is all
arbitrary. The assertion, however, serves but to show their ignorance.
There are, in the language itself, decisive reasons for preferring one
pronunciation to another; and men of science should be acquainted with
these reasons. But if there were none, and every thing rested on
practice, we should never change a general practice without substantial
reasons: No change should be introduced, which is not an obvious

But our leading characters seem to pay no regard to rules, or their
former practice. To know and embrace every change made in Great Britain,
whether right or wrong, is the extent of their inquiries, and the height
of their ambition. It is to this deference we may ascribe the long
catalogue of errors in pronunciation and of false idioms which disfigure
the language of our mighty fine speakers. And should this imitation
continue, we shall be hurried down the stream of corruption, with older
nations, and our language, with theirs, be lost in an ocean of perpetual
changes. The only hope we can entertain is, that America, driven by the
shock of a revolution, from the rapidity of the current, may glide along
near the margin with a gentler stream, and sometimes be wafted back by
an eddy.

The foregoing remarks suggest some of the causes which operate to defeat
the true end of the revolution. Every man sees and feels our political
embarrassments; the foes of the revolution ascribe them all to that
event, and the friends charge them upon the enmity and resentment of our
parent country. Both are wrong. The revolution is, and will ultimately
prove, a happy event for us and for the world. The English, as a nation,
are wise and respectable: As citizens of the world, we should esteem
them: As a commercial people, we should cultivate a friendly intercourse
with them; but as a foreign nation, whose political circumstances are
very different from ours, we should not make them, in all cases, our
standard. I repeat the declaration I before made: The independence of
this country is incomplete: There has been a total change in government,
with little or no change in the principles which give energy to the
operations of government.

In the preceding remarks, I have endeavored to shew in what respect the
revolution of America is yet incomplete, and that an independence of
manners and opinion is necessary to give full effect to an independence
of government. I propose now to make some remarks on government, to
state the effects of the revolution on the morals of people, and the
influence of money on mens' sense of justice and moral obligation.

It is perhaps a fundamental principle of government, that men are
influenced more by habit, than by any abstract ideas of right and wrong.
Few people examin into the propriety of particular usages or laws; or
if they examin, few indeed are capable of comprehending their propriety.
But every man knows what is a law or general practice, and he conforms
to it, not because it is right or best, but because it has been the
practice. It is for this reason that habits of obedience should not be
disturbed. There are perhaps in every government, some laws and customs,
which, when examined on theoretical principles, will be found unjust and
even impolitic. But if the people acquiesce in those laws and customs,
if they are attached to them by habit, it is wrong in the Legislature to
attempt an innovation which shall alarm their apprehensions. There are
multitudes of absurdities practised in society, in which people are
evidently happy. Arraign those absurdities before the tribunal of
examination; people may be convinced of their impropriety; they may even
be convinced that better schemes may be projected; and yet it might be
impossible to unite their opinions so as to establish different maxims.
On the other hand, there are many good institutions, in which, however,
there may be theoretical faults, which, if called into public view, and
artfully represented, might shake the best government on earth.

Speculativ philosophers and historians have often described, and
sometimes ridiculed the warmth with which nations have defended errors
in religion and government. With the most profound deference for wise
and respectable men, I must think they are guilty of a mistake; and that
the errors which nations fight to defend, exist only in the heads of
these theorists. Whatever speculation may tell us, experience and the
peace of society, require us to consider every thing as right, which a
nation believes to be so. Every institution, every custom, may be deemed
just and proper, which does not produce inconveniencies that the bulk of
mankind may see and feel. The tranquillity of society therefore should
never be disturbed for a philosophical distinction.

It will perhaps be objected, that these doctrines, if practised, would
prevent all improvements, in science, religion and government. By no
means; but they point out the method in which all improvements should be
made, when opinion and fixed habits are to be overthrown, or changed.
They show that all reformation should be left to the natural progress of
society, or to the conviction of the mind. They show the hazard and
impracticability of making changes, before the minds of the body of the
people are prepared for the innovation. I speak not of despotic
governments, where the will of the prince is enforced by an army; and
yet even absolute tyrants have been assassinated for not attending to
the spirit and habits of their subjects.

In vain do rulers oppose the general opinion of the people. By such
opposition, Philip IId, of Spain, kept one part of his subjects, for
half a century, butchering the other, and in the end, lost one third of
his dominions. By not regarding the change of habits in the nation,
Charles Ist, of England, lost his head. By carrying his changes too far,
Cromwell began to oppose the spirit of the nation, and had he lived to
prosecute his system, that spirit would, in a few years, have brought
his neck to the block. The general spirit of the nation restored to the
throne, the son of the prince, whom that spirit had but a few years
before arraigned and condemned. By opposing that spirit, James was
obliged to leave his kingdom, and the sense of the nation still excludes
the family which, by their own law of succession, has the best title to
the throne. But there is no prescription against general opinion; no
right that can enter the list against the sense of a nation; that sense,
which after all our reasoning, will forever determin what is best.

The truth of these remarks is proved by examples in this country. An
immense revenue might have been drawn from America without resistance,
in almost any method but that which the British parliament adopted. But
their first attempts were made upon articles of common necessity; the
attempts were too visible; the people felt and resisted. Their
apprehensions were alarmed; their fears, whether well founded or
imaginary, were multiplied and confirmed by newspaper rhapsodies, and
finally produced a combined opposition to all British taxation. Then
Great Britain should have compounded; she did not; she opposed the
general sense of three millions of her subjects, and lost the whole.

A dispute existed between Connecticut and Pensylvania, respecting a
tract of land; a federal court decided the jurisdiction, or State claim,
in favor of Pensylvania; five thousand inhabitants, seated on the lands,
acknowlege the jurisdiction, but contend that their original purchase,
and subsequent labor, entitle them to the lands. Notwithstanding the
invalidity of their State claim, the settlers determin to maintain their
lands. The question of right is at once suspended, and the only inquiry
is, which is the best policy, to indemnify a few individuals by a
pecuniary composition, or sacrifice five thousand subjects. This
question, left to the commonwealth, would be decided by a great
majority, in favor of the settlers, and against the very principles of
right on which the State holds the jurisdiction.

I am not competent to judge of the merits of the dispute between New
York and Vermont; but if the usurpation of Vermont were a conceded fact,
and that usurpation to be defended by arms, and the question of granting
them independence were left to the State of New York, I am confident
that nine tenths of the people would decide for the independence of
Vermont against their own rights.

Thus it often happens, that a general opinion, grounded on rational
expediency, will, and ought to decide political questions, contrary to
the strict principles of justice and equity.

I would, by no means, be understood to defend, by such doctrines, the
insurrections of a neighboring State. I reprobate every thing that wears
the least appearance of opposition to lawful authority. It is evident
however, that the Legislature of Massachusetts were too inattentive to
the general spirit of the State. The murmurs of the people were heard
long before they broke out into rebellion, and were treated with too
much neglect. They were a proof at least that something was wrong. This
the Legislature acknowleged in their late acts, and the complaints of
the populace might once have been silenced by such conciliatory

But an opposition so violent must suddenly cease, or acquire system. In
the latter case, the demands of the insurgents will rise in proportion
to their strength; they will ask unreasonable concessions, and the sword
must decide their claims. The insurgents took wrong steps to obtain
redress; they should have rested their agrievances on petitions, and the
event of an election; but one rash step leads to a second, and to a
third. These fatal effects of popular discontent afford one useful
lesson, that rulers should not attempt to carry a measure against the
general voice of a people.[35] But a question will arise, how far may
the people be opposed, when their schemes are evidently pernicious? I
answer, this can never happen thro design; and errors, even of the
populace, may gradually be removed. If the people cannot be convinced,
by reason and argument, of the impolicy or injustice of a favorite
scheme, we have only to wait for the consequences to produce conviction.
All people are not capable of just reasoning on the great scale of
politics; but all can feel the inconveniencies of wrong measures, and
evils of this kind generally furnish their own remedy. All popular
Legislatures are liable to great mistakes. Many of the acts of the
American Legislatures, respecting money and commerce, will, to future
generations, appear incredible. After repeated experiments, people will
be better informed, and astonished that their fathers could make such
blunders in legislation.

    [35] Some have suspected from these sentiments, that I favor
    the insurrection in Massachusetts. If it is necessary to be
    more explicit than I have been in the declaration, "_I
    reprobate, &c._" I must add, that in governments like ours,
    derived from the people, I believe there is no _possible
    situation_ in which violent opposition to laws can be
    justified; because it can never be necessary. _General evils_
    will always be legally redressed, and _partial evils_ must be
    borne, if the majority require it. A tender law, which
    interferes with _past_ contracts, is perhaps the wickedest
    act that a Legislature can be guilty of; and yet I think the
    people in Rhode Island have done right, in not opposing
    their's, in a violent manner.

If the people of this State[36] are not already convinced, they
certainly will be, that the addition of 150,000l. of paper, to the
current specie of the State, did not increase the permanent value of
circulating medium a single farthing. They were perhaps told that such a
sum of paper would shut up the specie, or enable the merchant to export
it; but their jealousy made them believe these the suggestions of
interest; and nothing but the experiment could satisfy their wishes.
Every man of reflection must regret that he is subject to the evils
consequent on popular mistakes in judgement; but this is the price of
our independence and our forms of government.

    [36] Pensylvania.

Let us attend to the immediate and necessary consequences of the
American revolution.

So great an event as that of detaching millions of people from their
parent nation, could not have been effected without the operation of
powerful causes. Nothing but a series of real or imaginary evils could
have shaken the habits by which we were governed, and produced a
combined opposition against the power of Great Britain. I shall not
enumerate any of these evils; but observe that such evils, by twenty
years operation upon the fears or feelings of the Americans, had
alienated their affections or weakened those habits of respect, by which
they were predisposed to voluntary obedience. When a government has lost
respect, it has lost the main pillar of its authority. Not even a
military force can supply the want of respect among subjects. A change
of sentiment prepares the way for a change of government, and when that
change of sentiment had become general in America, nothing could have
prevented a revolution.

But it is more easy to excite fears than to remove them. The jealousy
raised in the minds of Americans against the British government, wrought
a revolution; but the spirit did not then subside; it changed its
object, and by the arts of designing men, and the real distresses
consequent on such a political storm, was directed against our own
governments. The restraints imposed by respect and habits of obedience
were broken thro, and the licentious passions of men set afloat.

Nothing can be so fatal to morals and the peace of society, as a violent
shock given to public opinion or fixed habits. Polemic disputes have
often destroyed the friendship of a church, and filled it, not only with
rancor, but with immorality. Public opinion therefore in religion and
government, the great supports of society, should never be suddenly
unhinged. The separation of America, however, from all dependence on
European government, could not have been effected without previously
attacking and changing opinion. It was an essential step, but the
effects of it will not easily be repaired. That independence of spirit
which preceded the commencement of hostilities, and which victory has
strengthened; that love of dominion, inherent in the mind of man, which
our forms of government are continually flattering; that licentiousness
of inquiry which a jealousy of rights first produced and still
preserves, cannot be controled and subdued, but by a long series of
prudent and vigorous measures.

Perhaps the present age will hardly see the restoration of perfect
tranquillity. But the spirit and principles, which wrought our
separation from Great Britain, will mostly die with the present
generation; the next generation will probably have new habits of
obedience to our new governments; and habits will govern them, with very
little support from law.

The force of habit in government is most strikingly illustrated by the
example of Connecticut. Most of the laws, customs and institutions,
which the people brought with them from England, or which they
introduced, on their first settlement, remain to this day, with such
small alterations only as would naturally be made in the progress of
society and population.

The government of Connecticut had formerly little more than a nominal
dependence on England; independence therefore required but a little
change of the old constitution. The habits of the people have not been
materially changed; their respect for the government has not been
suspended nor diminished. It would therefore be extremely difficult to
raise an insurrection in that State against their own government;[37]
for they have not been accustomed to dispute the propriety of their
established maxims and laws. Whatever alterations in their constitution,
a discerning Legislator might suggest, it would be highly impolitic to
attempt any changes, which should disturb public opinion or alarm
apprehension. When a law or custom becomes inconvenient, the people will
feel the evil and apply a remedy.

    [37] This assertion may seem to be contradicted by the
    opposition of Connecticut to the half pay act; but that
    opposition did not even threaten violence or arms: It was
    conducted in a peaceable manner; and I do not know that the
    State has furnished an instance of a tumultuous interruption
    of law.

Most of the other States had new constitutions of government to form;
they had a kind of interregnum; an interval, when respect for all
government was suspended; an interval fatal in the last degree, to
morals and social confidence. This interval between the abolition of the
old constitution and the formation of a new one, lasted longer in
Massachusetts than in the other States, and there the effects are most
visible. But perhaps it is impossible to frame a constitution of
government, in the closet, which will suit the people; for it is
frequent to find one, the most perfect in theory, the most objectionable
in practice. Hence we often hear popular complaints against the present
governments in America: And yet these may proceed rather from the
novelty of the obedience required, than from any real errors or defects
in the systems: It may be nothing but the want of habit which makes
people uneasy; the same articles which now produce clamors and
discontent, may, after twenty years practice, give perfect satisfaction.
Nay, the same civil regulation, which the present generation may raise a
mob to resist, the next generation may raise a mob to defend.

But perhaps a more immediate and powerful cause of a corruption of
social principles, is a fluctuation of money. Few people seem to attend
to the connexion between money and morals; but it may doubtless be
proved to the satisfaction of every reflecting mind, that a sudden
increase of specie in a country, and frequent and obvious changes of
value, are more fruitful sources of corruption of morals than any events
that take place in a community.

America began the late war without funds of money, and its circulating
specie was very inconsiderable. Commerce was regular, and _speculation_,
a term unknown to the body of the people.

The emission of paper was an obvious and necessary expedient; yet it was
bad policy to throw vast sums into circulation without taking some
measures to recall it. It was the fate of America to receive in bills of
credit, and in the course of three or four years, about twenty times the
nominal value of its current specie; the bills depreciated in the same
proportion, and the real value of the medium continued the same.

The first visible effect of an augmentation of the medium and the
consequent fluctuation of value, was, a host of jockies, who followed a
species of itinerant commerce; and subsisted upon the ignorance and
honesty of the country people; or in other words, upon the difference in
the value of the currency, in different places. Perhaps we may safely
estimate, that not less than 20,000 men in America, left honest
callings, and applied themselves to this knavish traffic. A sudden
augmentation of currency flattered people with the prospect of
accumulating property without labor.

The first effect of too much money is to check manual labor, the only
permanent source of wealth. Industry, which secures subsistence and
advances our interest by slow and regular gains, is the best
preservative of morals; for it keeps men employed, and affords them few
opportunities of taking unfair advantages. A regular commerce has nearly
the same effect as agriculture or the mechanic arts; for the principles
are generally fixed and understood.

Speculation has the contrary effect. As its calculations for profit
depend on no fixed principles, but solely on the different value of
articles in different parts of the country, or accidental and sudden
variations of value, it opens a field for the exercise of ingenuity in
taking advantage of these circumstances. The speculator may begin with
honest intentions; and may justify his business, by saying, that he
injures no man, when he givs the current value of an article in one
place, and sells it for its current value in another; altho in this case
he is a useless member of society, as he livs upon the labor of others,
without earning a farthing. But he does not stop here; he takes an
advantage of ignorance and necessity; he will, if possible, monopolize
an article to create a necessity. Repeated opportunities of this kind
gradually weaken the force of moral obligation; and nine persons of ten,
who enter into the business of speculation with a good character, will,
in a few years, lose their principles, and probably, their reputation.

Speculation is pernicious to morals, in proportion as its effects are
extensiv. Speculation in the English funds is practised on principles
destructiv of justice and morals; but it consists in the transfer of
large sums; the contingencies on which it depends are not frequent, and
the business is confined to a few sharpers in the metropolis. Such a
speculation affects not the body of the people. The medium circulating
in the kingdom, has a fixed permanent value, and affords no
opportunities for irregular gains.

Very different is speculation in America. Here its objects are in every
person's hands; changes of value are frequent; opportunities of gain,
numberless; and the evil pervades the community. The country swarms with
speculators, who are searching all places, from the stores of the
wealthy, to the recesses of indigence, for opportunities of making
lucrativ bargains. Not a tavern can we enter, but we meet crowds of
these people, who wear their character in their countenances.

But the speculators are not the only men whose character and principles
are exposed by such a state of the currency; the honest laborer and the
regular merchant are often tempted to forsake the established principles
of advance. Every temptation of this kind attacks the moral principles,
and exposes men to small deviations from the rectitude of commutativ

Such are the sources of corruption in commercial intercourse. A
relaxation of principle, in one instance, leads to every species of
vice, and operates till its causes cease to exist, or till all the
supports of social confidence are subverted. It is remarked by people
very illiterate and circumscribed in their observation, that there is
not now the same confidence between man and man, which existed before
the war. It is doubtless true; this distrust of individuals, a general
corruption of manners, idleness, and all its train of fatal
consequences, may be resolved into two causes: The sudden flood of money
during the late war, and a constant fluctuation of the value of the

The effects of a sudden augmentation of the quantity of money in
circulation were so obvious, during the war, and the example is so
recent, that the subject requires no illustration, but a recollection of
facts. Yet there is an example recorded in the History of France, so
exactly in point, that I cannot omit it.

During the regency of the Duke of Orleans, one Law, who had fled from
punishment in Scotland, and taken refuge in France, obtained, by his
address, a great share of confidence in the councils of the regent. He
formed a plan of drawing all the specie from circulation, and issuing
bills upon the royal treasury. It is not necessary to name the
expedients he used to effect his purpose. It is sufficient to observe,
that by various methods, he drew most of the specie of the kingdom into
the public treasury, and issued bills to about one hundred times the
value of the specie, which had before circulated. The notes or
securities depreciated as they were thrown into circulation, like our
continental currency. The nature of a medium of trade, it seems, was not
well understood: Such a sudden depreciation was a surprising phenomenon
at that period; men of property, who were the holders of the paper, were
alarmed; the kingdom was in confusion. When the bills had sunk to a
fifth of their value, a royal edict was issued, ordaining that the
remaining specie in circulation should be sunk to a level with paper.
This resembles, in some respects, the regulation of prices in America.
An edict, so rash and absurd, increased the evils it was meant to
remedy, and filled the kingdom with clamor.

In a short time, the paper was sunk as low as our continental currency,
before its death.

The confusion was general; the regent and Law were obliged to fly the
kingdom; and both died in obscurity, the one in Italy, and the other, if
I mistake not, in the Netherlands. In France there was a total change of
property; poor men made fortunes by speculation, and the rich were
beggared. The result of the whole was, that the paper was called in at a
discount, by means similar to the _forty for one_ act of the United

But the principal view I have in stating this example is, to show the
effect of a sudden inundation of money upon industry and morals. No
sooner did the nation feel an increase of the quantity of money, but the
kingdom was overrun with speculators; men who left useful occupations,
for the prospect of rapid accumulations of wealth. Knavery, over
reaching, idleness, prodigality, and every kind of vice prevailed, and
filled the kingdom with distress, confusion, and poverty.

The South Sea bubble, in England, was a farce of a similar kind, but its
effects were less extensiv.

The continental currency was not the sole cause of the idleness and
speculation, which prevailed in this country, about the years 1780,
1781, and 1782. Vast quantities of specie were introduced by the French
army, by the Spanish trade, and by a clandestine intercourse with the
British garrisons. At the close of the war, there was more than double
the quantity of gold and silver in the country, which was necessary for
the purposes of a regular commerce.

This extraordinary circulation of specie had its usual, its certain
effect; it prompted multitudes to quit manual labor for trade. This
circumstance, in conjunction with the disbanding of the army, which left
great numbers of men without employment, and with a rage for foreign
goods, which was always strong, and was then increased by a long war,
filled our commercial towns with hosts of adventurers in business. The
consequent influx of goods and enormous credit necessary to obtain them,
are evils that deeply affect this country. I will not attempt a detail
of the state of commerce in the United States; but observe that the
necessary exportation of specie was the happiest event that could befal
the United States; the only event that could turn industry into its
proper channel, and reduce the commerce of the country to a proportion
with the agriculture.

Dissipation was another consequence of a flood of money. No country
perhaps on earth can exhibit such a spirit of dissipation among men, who
derive their support from business, as America. It is supposed by good
judges, that the expenses of subsistence, dress and equipage, were
nearly doubled in the commercial towns, the two first years of the
peace. I have no doubt the support of the common people was enhanced
twenty five per cent. This augmentation of expenses, with a dimunition
of productiv industry, are the consequences of too much money, and a
scarcity is our only remedy.

Short sighted people complain of the present scarcity; but it is the
only hope of our political salvation; and that Legislature which
ventures to remove popular complaints, by a coinage of great quantities
of specie, or by its substitute, paper, checks industry, keeps alive a
spirit of dissipation, and retards the increase of solid wealth. If this
has been necessary, it is a necessity sincerely to be lamented.

But there is one source of idleness and corruption, which is general in
America, and bids fair to be of long duration. I refer to the different
species of federal and State securities, which are every where diffused,
and of fluctuating value. These evidences of our debts open such
prospects for rapid accumulations of property to every class of people,
that men cannot withstand the temptation: Thousands are drawn from
useful occupations into a course of life, which cannot possibly benefit
society; which must render them useless, and probably will render them
bad men, and dangerous members of a community.

What remedy can be applied to so great an evil, it is not for me to
determin. But if I may offer my sentiments freely, I must acknowlege
that I think no measure can produce so much mischief, as the circulation
of a depreciated changeable currency. Let all our debts be placed on the
footing of bank stock, and made transferable only at the treasury; or
let the present evidences of it be called in, and new notes issued,
payable only to the creditor or original holder; or let the securities
be purchased at their current discount, let some method be adopted to
draw them from circulation; for they destroy public and private
confidence; they cut the sinews of industry; they operate like a slow
poison, dissolving the _stamina_ of government, moral principles.

No paper should circulate in a commercial country, which is not a
representativ of ready cash; it must at least command punctual interest,
and security of the principal when demanded. Without these requisits,
all notes will certainly depreciate. Most of our public securities want
all the requisits of a paper currency. But if they did not; if they
were equal in value to bank notes or specie, still the sums are much too
large for a circulating medium in America. The amount of the continental
and State certificates, with the emissions of paper by particular
States, cannot be less than seventy millions of dollars, which is seven
times the sum necessary for a circulation.

Were they equal in value to gold and silver, the whole medium would
depreciate, specie as well as paper. But as they want every requisit of
a paper currency, the whole depreciation falls upon the securities.

An alarming consequence of the State of our public debt remains to be
considered. Want of confidence in the public, added to the vast quantity
of paper, has sunk it to a third, sixth, or eighth part of its nominal
value. Most of the creditors of the public have parted with their
securities at a great discount, and are thus robbed of the monies which
they earned by the sweat of the brow. Men of property have purchased
them for a trifle, and in some States receive the interest in specie. In
Massachusetts, this is the case with respect to some part of the State
debt. When a man buys a note of twenty shillings value for five, and
receives the interest, six per cent. in specie, he in fact receives
twenty four per cent. on his money.

This is one source of the insurrection in Massachusetts. The people feel
the injustice of paying such an interest to men who earned but a small
part of it, and whose sole merit is, that they have more money than
their fellow citizens who suffer the loss by depreciation. Those men in
particular, who fought for our independence, or loaned their property to
save the country, view with indignant resentment, that law which obliges
them to pay twenty four per cent. interest on the securities, which they
have sold for a fourth, or an eighth part of their honest demands.

This cannot justify the violent steps taken by the people; because
petitions, and united firmness in a constitutional way, would have
procured redress. But I state the facts to shew the effects of
speculation, or rather, of the want of faith in public engagements.

Such are the consequences of a variable medium; neglect to industry;
application to irregular commerce; relaxation of principles in social
intercourse; distrust of individuals; loss of confidence in the public,
and of respect for laws; innumerable acts of injustice between man and
man, and between the State and the subject; popular uneasiness, murmurs
and insurrections. And such effects will exist till their cause shall be
removed. Not the creation of a Supreme Power over the United States, is
an object of more importance, than the annihilation of every species of
fluctuating currency.

That instability of law, to which republics are prone, is another source
of corruption. Multiplication and changes of law have a great effect in
weakening the force of government, by preventing or destroying habits.
Law acquires force by a steady operation, and government acquires
dignity and respect, in proportion to the uniformity of its proceedings.
Necessity perhaps has made our federal and provincial governments
frequently shift their measures, and the unforeseen or unavoidable
variations of public securities, with the impossibility of commanding
the resources of the continent, to fulfil engagements, all predict a
continuation of the evil. But the whole wisdom of Legislatures should be
exerted to devise a system of measures which may preclude the necessity
of changes that tend to bring government into contempt.

A mild or lax execution of law may also have a bad effect in lessening
the respect for its officers. In a monarchy, there is no reasoning with
the executive; the will of the prince inspires terror. In our
governments, the officers are often familiar, and will even delay
justice as long as possible to assist the prisoner.

In some of the eastern States, the frequency and mildness of laws, have
introduced very singular habits. The people of Connecticut respect the
laws as much as any people; they would not be guilty of disobedience;
they mean generally to pay their debts, but are not very anxious to be
punctual. They suppose a creditor can wait for his money longer than the
period when it is due, and think it hard if he will not.[38]

    [38] These remarks are not applicable to the mercantile part
    of the people, who, since the revolution, have been
    distinguished by their punctuality.

This mild execution of law, and a consequential habit of dilatoriness,
which arise from the spirit of equality, are still prevalent amongst the
body of the people. These gave rise to the late incorporation of several
commercial towns, with large powers; an expedient which has answered the
purpose of giving to commerce the advantage of energy and dispatch in
the collection of debts. As most of the business is done in the cities,
this effect will gradually extend itself, and form different habits.

The great misfortune of the multiplicity of laws and frequency of
litigation, is, that they weaken a respect for the executiv authority,
destroy the principle of honor, and transfer the disgrace, which ought
to follow delinquency in payment, from a man's reputation, to the
administration of justice. The lawyers and courts are impeached, when
the whole blame ought to fall upon the debtor for his impunctuality.
Honor, a substitute for honesty, has more influence upon men than law;
for in the one case, a man's character is at stake, and in the other,
his property. When a man's character suffers not, by a failure of
engagements, and by a public prosecution, the collection of debts must
be slow. But when a man's reputation is suspended on the punctual
discharge of his contracts, he will spare no pains to do it; and this is
or ought to be the case in all commercial countries.

Extensiv credit, in a popular government, is always pernicious, and may
be fatal. When the people are deeply or generally involved, they have
power and strong temptations to introduce an abolition of debts; an
agrarian law, or that modern refinement on the Roman plan, which is a
substitute for both, a paper currency, issued on depreciating
principles. Rhode Island is a melancholy proof of this truth, and New
Hampshire narrowly escaped the deplorable evils. In governments like
ours, it is policy to make it the interest of people to be honest. In
short, the whole art of governing consists in binding each individual by
his particular interest, to promote the aggregate interest of the

Massachusetts affords a striking example of the danger incurred by too
many private debts. During the war the operation of justice was
necessarily suspended, and debts were constantly multiplying and
accumulating. When law came to be rigorously enforced, the people were
distressed beyond measure, particularly in the western counties, where
people are poorer than in the parts of the State better settled, and
nearer to market. These private debts crowded hard, and operated with
the demands of the federal creditors, to push the people into violent

The planters in Virginia owe immense sums of money to the British
merchants. What is the consequence? a law, suspending the collection of
British debts. The loss of their slaves is the ostensible excuse for
this law; but a more solid reason must be, the utter impossibility of
immediately discharging the debts. In our governments the men who owe
the money, make the laws; and a general embarrassment of circumstances
is too strong a temptation to evade or suspend the performance of
justice. For this reason, the wisdom of the Legislature might cooperate
with the interest of the merchant, to check a general credit. In some
cases it might be safe and wise to withdraw the protection of law from
debts of certain descriptions. It is an excellent law in one State,
which ordains, that no tavern debt, of more than two days standing,
shall be recoverable by law. It prevents tavern haunting and its
consequences, idleness, drunkenness and quarrels. Perhaps laws of this
kind have the best effect in introducing punctual payments. Their first
effect is to prevent credit; but they gradually change a man's regard
for his property, to a more activ and efficient principle, an attention
to his character.

In the present anarchy in Massachusetts, monied men get credit with the
merchant, and are punctual to fulfil engagements, as they are sensible
that the merchant relies solely on their honor. The certain ultimate
tendency of withdrawing the protection of law from particular kinds of
debts, is to discourage tricks and evasions, and introduce habits of
punctuality in commerce.

The present state of our public credit hath the same effect. Repeated
violations of public faith, the circulation of a variable medium of
trade, the contempt of law, the perpetual fear of new legislativ schemes
for discharging our debts, and of tender laws, have made men very
cautious in giving credit, and when they do give it, they depend more on
the honor of a man than on any security derived from law. This one happy
effect of want of confidence in the public, is some small consolation
for an infinite variety of political evils and distresses.

Laws to prevent credit would be beneficial to poor people. With respect
to the contraction of debts, people at large, in some measure, resemble
children; they are not judges even of their own interest. They
anticipate their incomes, and very often, by miscalculation, much more
than their incomes. But this is not the worst effect; an easy credit
throws them off their guard in their expenses. In general we observe
that a slow, laborious acquisition of property, creates a caution in
expenditures, and gradually forms the miser. On the other hand, a sudden
acquisition of money, either by gambling, lotteries, privateering, or
marriage, has a tendency to open the heart, or throw the man off his
guard, and thus makes him prodigal in his expenses. Perhaps this is ever
the case, except when a penurious habit has been previously formed.

An easy and extensiv credit has a similar effect. When people can
possess themselves of property without previous labor, they consume it
with improvident liberality. A prudent man will not; but a large
proportion of mankind have not prudence and fortitude enough to resist
the demands of pride and appetite. Thus they often riot on other men's
property, which they would not labor to procure. They form habits of
indolence and extravagance, which ruin their families, and impoverish
their creditors.

Another effect of extensiv credit, is a multitude of lawyers. Every
thing which tends to create disputes, to multiply debts, weaken a regard
to commercial engagements, and place the collection of debts on law,
rather than on honour, increases the encouragement of lawyers. The
profession of law is honorable, and the professors, I scruple not to
aver, as liberal, honest and respectable, as any class of men in the
State. But their business must be considered as a public evil, except in
the drafting of legal instruments, and in some real important disputes.
Such is the habit of trusting to law, for the recovery of debts, that,
in some of the eastern States, one half or two thirds of the lawyers are
mere collectors. They bring forward suits for small debts, that are not
disputed; they recover judgement upon default, they take out executions,
and live upon their fees.

The evil is not so great in the middle States; but it is great in all
the States. Never was there such a rage for the study of law. From one
end of the continent to the other, the students of this science are
multiplying without number. An infallible proof that the business is

The insurgents in Massachusetts enumerate lawyers among their
grievances. They wish the Legislature to limit their number and their
demands. Short sighted mortals! They seem not to consider that lawyers
grow out of their own follies, and that the only radical remedy for the
evil is, to contract no more debts than they can pay, with strict

The number of professional men in a State should be as few as possible;
for they do not increase the property of the State, but liv on the
property acquired by others.

There is little danger that the number of clergymen will be too great.
In a few instances, religious parties may have multiplied their teachers
to too great a number, and perhaps in some parts of the country, a few
more ministers of the gospel would be very useful.

Physicians will multiply in proportion to the luxuries and idleness of
men. They cannot be limited by law, for people will be as intemperate
and as lazy as they please.

But an artful Legislature will take away some of the causes of
litigation, and thus curtail the number of lawyers. We may always
determin the degree of corruption, in commercial habits, by the number
of civil suits in the courts of law. The multiplication of lawyers is a
proof of private embarrassments in any State; it is a convincing proof
that in America these embarrassments are numberless. The evil is of such
magnitude in _some_ States, as to suspend the operation of law, and in
_all_ it produces distrust among men, renders property unsafe, and
perplexes our mutual intercourse. In this situation, with popular
governments, and an unbounded rage for magnificent living, perhaps the
only effectual remedy for a multitude of public evils, is the
restraining of credit. It might even be useful to destroy all credit on
the security of law, except debts of certain descriptions, where
mortgages might be given. This would not check business, but it would
oblige people to exercise a principle of honor, and to have recourse to
industry, and ready payment for articles which their necessities or
their fancies require. We should then be better able to determin,
whether bucks and bloods, in high life, "who roll the thundering chariot
o'er the ground," are sporting with their own property, or that of
honest creditors.

I cannot close these remarks without observing how much this country
owes to particular classes of people for the practice of the commercial
virtues. To the Friends, the Germans and the Dutch, this country is
indebted for that industry and provident economy, which enables them to
subsist without anxiety, and to be honest and punctual, without

Happy would it be for this country, if these virtues were more generally
practised. Paper money and foreign credit are mere temporary expedients
to keep up the _appearance of wealth_ and splendor; but they are
miserable substitutes for solid property. The only way to become rich at
home and respectable abroad, is to become industrious, and to throw off
our slavish dependence on foreign manners, which obliges us to sacrifice
our opinions, our taste, and our interest, to the policy and
aggrandizement of other nations.



[Published at _Baltimore_, August 9, 1785.]

          Messrs. PRINTERS,

I observed a paragraph of intelligence in your Journal, of the 26th of
July, respecting the circulation of paper currency in North Carolina. I
am not disposed to dispute the truth of the fact, that paper currency
passes in that State at par with specie; but I should be very sorry to
see it drawn into a precedent for other States.

_The scarcity of cash_ is a general complaint, and superficial observers
impute the evil to a wrong cause, while shallow reasoners would remedy
it by an emission of paper credit.

The real state of our commerce is this; since the ratification of peace,
the quantity of goods imported into the United States has been much
greater than what was necessary for the consumption of the inhabitants.
Perhaps I shall not be wide of the truth, when I suppose that one third
of the importations would supply the demands of people. The consequence
is, the other two thirds continue on hand as a superfluity. The merchant
finds no market for his goods, and erroneously imputes the evil to a
scarcity of cash. But the real truth is, people do not want his goods;
they purchase what they want, and find cash or produce to make payment;
but the surplus remains in store.

In every trading nation, there ought to be a due proportion between the
commercial interest, the agricultural and the manufacturing. Whenever
the farmers and manufacturers are too numerous for the merchants,
produce and manufactures will be plentiful and cheap; trade will of
course be lucrativ. Whenever the merchants are too numerous for the
laborers, the importations of the former will exceed the wants of the
latter; of course goods will not find vent; and the merchant who owes
nothing may lie and sleep in indolence, while the merchant who deals on
credit _must fail_. The experience of almost every day proves the _truth
of this reasoning_. I will suppose that the number of merchants, and the
quantity of goods in Baltimore, are double to what they were two years
ago; and the market for goods is nearly the same. The effect will be,
that the same profit of business will be divided among double the number
of men, while, at the same time, rents and the price of provision in
market will be double. The clear profit of the merchant will therefore
be reduced to one fourth part of what it was two years ago. I submit to
the inhabitants of this _flourishing_ town, whether this is a mere
supposition, or a moderate state of facts; and whether this reasoning
will not, in a greater or less degree, apply to every commercial town in
the United States.

But is not money scarce? With respect to the quantity of goods in store,
_money is very scarce_: With respect to the produce of the country,
there is _money enough_. Almost every article of home produce will
command cash; but the merchant cannot get cash for his goods. Money is
the representativ of goods bought and sold. I will suppose, for the sake
of argument, that two years ago there was cash enough in the country to
purchase all the goods in market at the usual advance. I will suppose
that the quantity of goods has been trebled since that time. In this
case, had the quantity of money continued the same, there would have
been cash enough to purchase just one third of the goods. But suppose
what is true, that at the time the quantity of goods increases in this
proportion, the quantity of money in circulation diminishes in the same
proportion. In this case there will be but one third of the cash to
purchase three times the goods. Thus but one sixth part of the goods can
be purchased by the circulating cash. The merchant must then lower the
price of his goods to one sixth of their value, or keep them on hand.
This reasoning, however mathematical, is just, and applies to all
commercial countries. It is a fair state of facts in America. But though
the quantity of money is greatly diminished, yet there is sufficient to
represent the produce of the country, which in quantity continues the
same. The price is however lowered by the diminution of the quantity of
circulating cash.

Whether the quantity of cash is diminished, and the quantity of goods
increased in the exact proportion above stated, is not material, the
foregoing reasoning being sufficient to illustrate the principle. The
probability is, that the disproportion between the goods in market and
the cash in circulation, is greater than I have supposed.

The following propositions, I venture to assert, are generally, if not
universally, true:

1. That the imports of a country should never exceed its exports. In
other words, the value of the goods imported should never exceed the
value of the superfluous produce, or that part of the produce which the
inhabitants do not want for their own consumption.

2. That too great a quantity of cash in circulation, is a much greater
evil than too small a quantity.

3. That too much money in a commercial country will inevitably produce a

4. That the wealth of a country does not consist in cash, but in the
produce of industry, viz. in agriculture and manufactures.

5. That in a commercial country, where people are industrious, there can
never be, for any long time, a want of cash sufficient for a medium.

The first proposition is universally acknowleged to be true.

The second is less obvious, but equally true. Too much money raises the
price of labor and of its effects; deprives us consequently of a foreign
market; produces indolence and dissipation; than which greater evils
cannot happen to a State. The sudden increase of money, by large
emissions of paper credit, at the beginning of the late war, produced
more luxury, indolence, corruption of morals, and other fatal effects,
than all other causes that ever took place in America. We feel these
evils to this moment. On the other hand, a scarcity of cash, tho it
cramps commerce for a moment, always checks the evils before mentioned,
lowers the price of labor, and produce will of course find a profitable
market; it produces economy and industry, and consequently preserves the
morals of the people; for industry goes further in preserving purity of
morals, than all the sermons that were ever preached.

This leads to an illustration of the third proposition. If too much
money in a country raises the price of labor and of produce, the
consequence is, that people will go abroad for articles, because they
are cheaper in foreign markets, and they will purchase as long as they
can get cash. Importations will be multiplied till the country is
drained of cash, and then business will return to a new channel. The
history of trade in America, the last two years, is an illustration of
this proposition.

The fourth proposition, also, is illustrated by facts. I will suppose
that ten millions of dollars are sufficient for a medium in America: Let
that sum be instantaneously augmented to twenty millions, and the
country is not a farthing richer, for the price of goods will be
immediately doubled. _Two_ dollars, in the latter case, purchase no more
than _one_ in the former. People ignorantly suppose that goods rise in
value; when the fact is, money falls in value. Continental currency was
a proof of this. There was cash enough for a medium in the country
before the war; and the addition of two hundred millions of dollars did
not increase the wealth of the country one farthing; nor would the whole
purchase more than the ten millions of specie which circulated before
the war. Had the paper all been Spanish milled dollars, the effect would
have been the same, had they continued in the country, and not been

The fifth proposition depends on this simple fact, that money is a fluid
in the commercial world, rolling from hand to hand wherever it is
wanted, and there is any thing to purchase it. Let the produce of a
country excel, in the least degree, the consumption, and it will never
want money.

Admitting the foregoing observations to be true, both the necessity and
policy of emitting paper, vanish at once. Supposing paper currency to
preserve its credit, still so far from increasing the medium of trade,
that in a few months it will drive all the specie from the country. Bank
notes and bills of exchange are useful in facilitating a change or
conveyance of property; but to issue paper credit, merely with a view to
increase the circulating medium, in a country where the people may have
just as much gold and silver as they are pleased to work for, is the
height of folly. If people are indolent, or extravagant, all the paper
currency under heaven will not make them rich, or supply their wants of
cash. If people are industrious and frugal, and purchase no more foreign
goods than they can pay for in superfluous produce, they will ever have
cash enough. Their whole system of commerce stands on these single

If the merchants bring more goods than people want, business _must be
dull_; money with them _must be scarce_. At the close of the war, cash
was plentiful and goods scarce. This made business lively, till people
had procured a supply. Remittances were made in cash, so long as it
could be obtained. That period is past, and the merchant must now look
for remittances where alone they ought ever to be found, in the produce
of the country. Business is just now returning into its proper channel,
from which it had been diverted by the violence of war, and the
fluctuations of paper credit. The rapid population of a country is an
agreeable circumstance; but every profession ought to increase in a due
proportion. Supposing ten thousand carpenters were to land in Baltimore
at once, would they have business? Or would they not exclaim, _business
is dull_, _money is scarce_? Every one might have a trifle of business,
but they could not _all make fortunes_.

An event similar to this has taken place in Baltimore. The reputation
for business which Baltimore had acquired just at the close of the war,
brought merchants here from every part of the world, and almost one half
of the town has been built within two years. How, in the name of common
sense, do the merchants expect to find business? The people who come to
this market, multiply gradually, and double in about thirty years. But
the merchants who supply the goods have doubled, if not trebled, in
numbers and stock, within three years. There is, however, an expedient
which will yet enable them all to liv by trade. Let every merchant send
abroad to Ireland or Germany, and bring over his hundred able
industrious farmers, and fix them on the fertile lands of Maryland,
which now lie useless and uncultivated in the hands of the Nabobs: Or
let three fourths of the traders quit the business. Either of these
expedients will make cash plentiful; and one of them must take place.

I will just make one further remark; the want of a proper _union_ among
the States, will always render our commerce fluctuating and
unprofitable. We may do as much business as we please; but if the duties
and restrictions on our trade remain, and the flag of the United States
is insulted as it has been, and each State is laying duties on the trade
of its neighbor, our commerce cannot be reduced to a system, and our
profits must be uncertain. The want of a _Continental Power_ to guard
the honor of the whole body, and reduce our measures to one uniform
system, is the great source of endless calamities. We shall feel
national abuse, till Congress are vested with powers sufficient to
_govern_ and _protect_ us; and till that period, foreigners, like so
many harpies, will prey upon our commerce, and disappoint the exertions
of our industry.



                         NEWBURY PORT, 1786.

By some resolves of the discontented people of this State,
(Massachusetts) it appears that the true cause of public grievances is
mistaken, and consequently the mode of redress will be mistaken. It is
laughable enough to hear the people gravely resolving, that the sitting
of the general court at Boston is a grievance, when every body may
recollect that about twelve years ago, the removal of the Legislature to
Cambridge, was a grievance; an unconstitutional stretch of power, that
threw the province into a bustle. A great change, since Hutchinson's
time! Boston then was the only proper seat of the Legislature.

Lawyers, too, are squeezed into the catalogue of grievances. Why, sir,
lawyers are a consequence; not a cause of public evils. They grow out of
the laziness, dilatoriness in payment of debts, breaches of contract,
and other vices of the people; just as mushrooms grow out of dunghills
after a shower, or as distilleries spring out of the _taste_ for New
England rum. The sober, industrious, frugal Dutch, in New York, and the
Quakers and Germans in Pensylvania, have no occasion for lawyers; a
collector never calls upon them twice, and they feel no grievances.
Before the war, there was, in Orange county, New York, but one action of
debt tried in eighteen years. O happy people! happy times! no

Mr. Printer, I saw a man the other day, carrying a bushel or two of
flaxseed. Flaxseed is a cash article, and cash pays taxes. The man
wanted cash to pay his taxes; he _must_ have cash; but, Mr. Printer,
half an hour afterwards, I saw him half drunk, and his saddle bags
filled with coffee. But, sir, coffee pays no taxes.

Another, a few days ago, brought a lamb to market. Lambs command cash,
and cash pays taxes; but the good countryman went to a store, and bought
a feather; five shillings for a feather, Mr. Printer, and feathers pay
no taxes. Is it not a _grievance_, sir, that feathers and ribbands, and
coffee and new rum, will not pay taxes?

Now, Mr. Printer, in my humble opinion, there are but two effectual
methods of redressing grievances; one depends on the people as
individuals, and the other on the Supreme Executiv authority.

As to the first, let every person, whether farmer, mechanic, lawyer, or
doctor, provide a small box, (_a small box_ will be big enough) with a
hole in the lid. When he receives a shilling, let him put six pence into
the box, and use the other six pence in providing for his family; not
rum or feathers, but good bread and meat. Let this box remain untouched,
until the collector shall call. Then let it be opened, the tax paid, and
the overplus of cash may be expended on gauze, ribbands, tea, and New
England rum. Let the box then be put into its place again, to receive
pence for the next collector. This method, Mr. Printer, will redress all
grievances, without the trouble, noise and expense of town meetings,
conventions and mobs.

As to the other method, sir, I can only say, were I at the head of the
Executiv authority, I should soon put the question to a decisiv issue.
It should be determined, on the first insurrection, whether our lives
and our properties shall be secure under the law and the constitution of
the State, or whether they must depend on the mad resolves of illegal
meetings. Honest men then would know whether they may rest in safety at
home, or whether they must seek for tranquillity in some distant

No. X.

_The_ DEVIL _is in you_.[39]

    [39] Published in Rhode Island, shortly after the preceding

                         PROVIDENCE, 1786.

That the political body, like the animal, is liable to violent diseases,
which, for a time, baffle the healing art, is a truth which we all
acknowlege, and which most of us lament. But as most of the disorders,
incident to the human frame, are the consequence of an intemperate
indulgence of its appetites, or of neglecting the most obvious means of
safety; so most of the popular tumults, which disturb government, arise
from an abuse of its blessings, or an inattention to its principles. A
man of a robust constitution, relying on its strength, riots in
gratifications which weaken the _stamina vitæ_; the surfeiting pleasures
of a few years destroy the power of enjoyment; and the full fed
voloptuary feels a rapid transition to the meagre valetudinarian. Thus
people who enjoy an uncommon share of political privileges, often carry
their freedom to licentiousness, and put it out of their power to enjoy
society by destroying its support.

_Too much health_ is a _disease_, which often requires a very strict
regimen; _too much liberty_ is the worst of _tyranny_; and _wealth_ may
be accumulated to such a degree as to _impoverish_ a State. If _all_ men
attempt to become _masters_, the _most_ of them would necessarily become
_slaves_ in the attempt; and could _every man_ on earth possess millions
of joes, _every man_ would be _poorer_ than _any man_ is now, and
infinitely more wretched, because they could not procure the necessaries
of life.

My countrymen, it is a common saying now, that _the devil is in you_. I
question the influence of the devil, however, in these affairs. Divines
and politicians agree in this, to father all evil upon the devil; but
the effects ascribed to this prince of evil spirits, both in the moral
and political world, I ascribe to the wickedness and ignorance of the
human heart. Taking the word _Devil_ in this sense, he is _in_ you, and
_among_ you, in a variety of shapes.

In the first place, the _weakness of our federal government is the
devil_. It prevents the adoption of any measures that are requisit for
us, as a nation; it keeps us from paying our honest debts; it also
throws out of our power all the profits of commerce, and this drains us
of cash. Is not this the devil? Yes, my countrymen, an empty purse is
the _devil_.

You say you are jealous of your rights, and dare not trust Congress.
Well, that jealousy is an evil spirit, and all evil spirits are
_devils_. So far the devil is in you. You act, in this particular, just
like the crew of a ship, who would not trust the helm with _one_ of
their number, because he might _possibly_ run her ashore, when by
leaving her without a pilot, they were _certain_ of shipwreck. You act
just like men, who in raising a building, would not have a master
workman, because he _might_ give out wrong orders. You will be masters
yourselves; and as you are not all ready to lift at the same time, one
labors at a stick of timber, then another, then a third; you are then
vexed that it is not raised; why let a master order thirteen of you to
take hold together, and you will lift it at once. Every family has a
_master_ (or a _mistress_--I beg the ladies' pardon.) When a ship or a
house is to be built, there is a master; when highways are repairing,
there is a master; every little school has a master; the continent is a
great school; the boys are numerous, and full of roguish tricks, and
there is no _master_. The boys in this great school play truant, and
there is no person to chastise them. Do you think, my countrymen, that
America is more easily governed than a school? You do very well in small
matters; extend your reason to great ones. Would you not laugh at a
farmer who would fasten a cable to a plough, and yet attempt to draw a
house with a cobweb? "And Nathan said unto David, _thou art the man_."
You think a master necessary to govern a _few_ harmless children in a
school or family; yet leave thousands of great rogues to be governed by
_good advice_. Believe me, my friends, for I am _serious_; you _lose
rights_, because you will not giv your magistrates authority to _protect
them_. Your liberty is despotism, because it has no control; your power
is nothing, because it is not united.

But further, luxury rages among you, and luxury is _the devil_. The war
has sent this evil demon to impoverish people, and embarrass the public.
The articles of rum and tea alone, which are drank in this country,
would pay all its taxes. But when we add, sugar, coffee, feathers, and
the whole list of baubles and trinkets, what an enormous expense? No
wonder you want paper currency. My countrymen are all grown very tasty!
Feathers and jordans must all be imported! Certainly gentlemen, the
devil is among you. A Hampshire man, who drinks forty shillings worth of
rum in a year, and never thinks of the expense, will raise a mob to
reduce the governor's salary, which does not amount to three pence a man
per annum. Is not this the devil?

My countrymen--A writer appeared, not long ago, informing you how to
redress grievances.[40] He givs excellent advice. Let every man make a
little box, and put into it _four pence_ every day. This in a year will
amount to six pounds one shilling and eight pence, a sum more than
sufficient to pay any poor man's tax. Any man can pay three or four
pence a day, though no poor man can, at the end of a year, pay six
pounds. Take my advice, every man of you, and you will hardly feel your

    [40] See page 125.

But further, a _tender law_ is the _devil_. When I trust a man a sum of
money, I expect he will return the full value. That Legislature which
says my debtor may pay me with _one third_ of the value he received,
commits a deliberate act of villany; an act for which an _individual_,
in any government, would be honored with a whipping post, and in most
governments, with a gallows. When a man makes dollars, one third of
which only is silver, and passes them for good coin, he must lose his
ears, &c.

But Legislatures can, with the solemn face of rulers, and guardians of
justice, boldly give currency to an _adulterated coin_, enjoin it upon
debtors to cheat their creditors, and enforce their systematic knavery
with legal penalties. The differences between the man who makes and
passes counterfeit money, and the man who tenders his creditor one third
of the value of the debt, and demands a discharge, is the same as
between a thief and a robber. The first cheats his neighbor in the dark,
and takes his property without his knowlege: The last boldly meets him
at noon day, tells him he is a rascal, and demands his purse.

My countrymen, the devil is among you. Make _paper_ as much as you
please; make it a tender in all _future contracts_, or let it rest on
its own bottom: But remember that past contracts are _sacred things_;
that Legislatures have no right to interfere with them; they have no
right to say, a debt shall be paid at a discount, or in any manner which
the parties never intended. It is the business of justice to fulfil the
intention of parties in contracts, not to defeat them. To pay _bona
fide_ contracts for cash, in paper of little value, or in old horses,
would be a dishonest attempt in an individual; but for Legislatures to
frame laws to support and encourage such detestable villany, is like a
judge who should inscribe the arms of a rogue over the feat of justice,
or clergymen who should convert into bawdy-houses the temples of
Jehovah. My countrymen, the world says, the devil is in you: Mankind
detest you as they would a nest of robbers.

But lastly, mobs and conventions are devils. Good men love law and legal
measures. Knaves only fear law, and try to destroy it. My countrymen, if
a constitutional Legislature cannot redress a grievance, a mob never
can. Laws are the security of life and property; nay, what is more, of
liberty. The man who encourages a mob to prevent the operation of law,
ceases to be _free or safe_; for the same principle which leads a man to
put a bayonet to the breast of a judge, will lead him to take property
where he can find it; and when the judge dare not act, where is the
loser's remedy? Alas, my friends, too much liberty is no liberty at all.
Giv me any thing but mobs; for mobs are the devil in his worst shape. I
would shoot the leader of a mob, sooner than a midnight ruffian. People
may have grievances, perhaps, and no man would more readily hold up his
hand to redress them than myself; but mobs rebel against laws of their
own, and rebellion is a crime which admits of no palliation.

My countrymen, I am a private, peaceable man. I have nothing to win or
to lose by the game of paper currency; but _I revere justice_. I would
sooner pick oakum all my life, than stain my reputation, or pay my
creditor one farthing less than his honest demands.

While you attempt to trade to advantage, without a _head_ to combine all
the States into systematic, uniform measures, the world will laugh at
you for fools. While merchants take and giv credit, the world will call
them idiots, and laugh at their ruin. While farmers get credit, borrow
money, and mortgage their farms, the world will call them fools, and
laugh at their embarrassments. While all men liv beyond their income,
and are harrassed with duns and sheriffs, no man will pity them, or giv
them relief. But when mobs and conventions oppose the courts of justice,
and Legislatures make paper or old horses a legal tender in all cases,
the world will exclaim with one voice--_Ye are rogues, and the devil is
in you!_

No. XI.

                         NEW LONDON, OCTOBER, 1786.


No government has preserved more general and uninterrupted tranquillity
for a long period, than that of Connecticut. This is a strong proof of
the force of habit, and the danger that ever attends great alterations
of government or a suspension of law. Every system of civil policy must
take its complexion from the spirit and manners of the people.

Whatever political constitutions may be formed on paper, or in the
philosopher's closet, those only can be permanent which arise out of the
genius of the people.

A jealous uneasy temper has sometimes appeared, among the people of this
State; but as this has always proceeded from restless, ambitious men,
whose designs have been reprobated as soon as detected, this uneasiness
has always subsided without any violence to the Constitution. We do not
advert to the time when the course of law has been forcibly obstructed
in Connecticut.

In the middle and southern States the corrupt English mode of elections
has been adopted: We see men meanly stoop to advertise for an office, or
beg the votes of their countrymen. In those States elections are often
mere riots; almost always attended with disputes and bloody noses, and
sometimes with greater violence. In Connecticut, a man never advertises
for an office, nor do we know that a man ever solicited a vote for
himself. We cannot name the election that produced a dispute, even in

It belongs to the unprincipled of other States and countries to deride
religion and its preachers. It belongs to the coxcombs of courts, the
productions of dancing schools and playhouses, to ridicule our bashful
deportment and simplicity of manners. We revere the ancient institutions
of schools and churches in this State. We revere the discipline which
has given such a mild complexion to the manners of its inhabitants, and
secured private satisfaction and public tranquillity.

_Paper money_ is the present hobby horse of the States, and every State
has more or less of the _paper madness_. What a pity it is mankind will
not discern their right hands from their left. _Cash is scarce_, is the
general cry. Well, this proves nothing more than that the balance of
trade is against us, and that we eat, drink, and wear more foreign
commodities than we can pay for in produce: That is, we spend more than
we earn; or in other words, _we are poor_.

But nothing shows the folly of people more, than their attempts to
remedy the evil by a _paper currency_. This is _ignorance_, it is
_absurdity_ in the extreme. Do not people know that the addition of
millions and millions of money does not increase the value of a
circulating medium one farthing. Do they not know that the value of a
medium ought not to be increased beyond a certain ratio, even if it
could be? and that to increase the circulating cash of one State beyond
the circulating cash of other States, is a material injury to it. These
propositions are as demonstrable as any problem in Euclid. Ten millions
of dollars in specie were supposed to be the medium in America before
the war. Congress issued at first five millions in bills. As these came
_into_ circulation, specie went _out_; consequently they held their
nominal and real value on par, for the nominal value of the medium was
not much increased. Congress sent out another sum in bills; the nominal
value of the medium was doubled, the bills sunk one half, and the real
value of the medium remained the same. This was the subsequent progress;
every emission sunk the real value of bills, and two hundred millions of
dollars were, in the end, worth just ten millions in specie, and no
more. Towards the close of the war, the specie in America was more than
doubled; it sunk to less than half its former value, and the paper
bills sunk in the same proportion; from forty to eighty for one, nearly.
We had too much specie in the country, in the years 1782 and 1783; it
ruined hundreds of merchants, and injured the community.

But it is said, we want a circulating medium. This is not true; we have
too much in circulation. The specie and paper now circulating in
America, amounts to fifty or sixty millions of dollars; whereas we want
not more than ten or fifteen millions. The paper is therefore sunk in
real value, so as to reduce the real value of the whole medium to that
sum which is wanted. We may make millions of paper if we please; but we
shall not add one farthing to the property of the State. Money is not
wealth in a State, but the representativ of wealth. A paper currency may
answer a temporary purpose of enabling people to pay debts; but it is
not an advantage even to the debtor, unless it is depreciated; and in
this case it is an injury to the creditor. If the paper retains its
value, the debtor must sooner or later purchase it with the produce of
his labor; and if it depreciates, it is the tool of knaves while it
circulates; it ruins thousands of honest unsuspecting people; it gives
the game to the idle speculator, who is a nuisance to the State; it
stabs public credit and private confidence; and what is worse than all,
it unhinges the obligations which unite mankind. A fluctuation of medium
in a State makes more fatal ravages among the morals of people, than a
pestilence among their lives. O America! happy would it have been for
thy peace, thy morals, thy industry, if, instead of a depreciation of
paper bills and securities, stamped with public faith, millions of
infernal spirits had been let loose among thy inhabitants! Never, never
wilt thou experience the return of industry, economy, private confidence
and public content, till every species of depreciated and fluctuating
medium shall be annihilated; till Legislatures learn to revere justice,
and dread a breach of faith more than the vengeance of vindictiv

Americans! you talk of a scarcity of cash. Well, the only remedy is, to
enable Congress to place our commerce on a footing with the trade of
other nations. Foreign States have nothing to do with Massachusetts or
New York. They must make treaties with _United America_, or not make
them at all. And while we boast of the independence of particular
States, we lose all the benefits of independence. For fear that Congress
would abuse their powers and enrich themselves, we, like the dog in the
manger, will not even enrich ourselves. We complain of poverty, and yet
_giv_ the profits of our trade to foreign nations. Infatuated men! We
have one truth to learn--_That nothing but the absolute power of
regulating our commerce, vested in some federal head_, can ever restore
to us cash, or turn the balance of trade in our favor. New York alone,
by its advantageous situation, is growing rich upon the spoils of her
neighbors, and impoverishing the continent to fill her own treasury.

Lawyers, you say, O deluded Americans! are an evil. Will you always be
fools? Why lawyers are as good men as others: I venture to say further,
that lawyers in this country have devised and brought about the wisest
public measures that any State has adopted. My countrymen, the expense
of supporting a hundred lawyers is a very great and a very needless
expense. You pay to lawyers and courts every year thirty or forty
thousand pounds. A great expense, indeed! But courts and lawyers are not
to be blamed. The people are the cause of the evil, and they alone, as
individuals, are able to remedy it. And yet the remedy is very simple.
_Cease to run in debt_, or _pay your debts punctually_; then lawyers
will cease to exist, and court houses will be shut. If you wish or
expect any other remedy than this, you certainly will be disappointed. A
man, who purposely rushes down a precipice and breaks his arm, has no
right to say, that surgeons are an evil in society. A Legislature may
unjustly limit the surgeon's fee; but the broken arm must be healed, and
a surgeon is the only man to do it.

My friends, learn wisdom. You are peaceable yet, and let the
distractions of your neighbors teach you to preserve your tranquillity.

Spend less money than you earn, and you will every day grow richer.
Never run in debt, and lawyers will become farmers. Never make paper
money, and you will not cheat your citizens, nor have it to redeem.
Above all, pay your public debts, for independence and the confederation
require it.

No. XII.

                         NEW HAVEN, DECEMBER, 1786.


          MY FRIENDS,

Times are hard; money is scarce; taxes are high, and private debts push
us. What shall we do? Why, hear a few facts, stubborn facts, and then
take a bit of advice.

In the year 1637, our good forefathers declared an offensiv war against
the Pequot Indians. Their troops were ninety men. Weathersfield was
ordered to furnish a hog for this army, Windsor a ram goat, and Hartford
a hogshead of beer, and four or five gallons of strong water.[41]

    [41] See the records of this State, where rum is called
    strong water. This was soon after the first distilling of
    spirits, and rum was not then named. It seems, however, that
    our pious ancestors had a taste for it, which their posterity
    have carefully improved.

This was ancient simplicity! Let us make a little estimation of the
expenses annually incurred in Connecticut. (I say incurred, for we can
contract debts, though we cannot pay them.)

I will just make a distinction between necessary and unnecessary

                                               Necessary.  Unnecessary.
                                         £.        £.           £.
  Governor's Salary,                      300       300
  Lieutenant governor's,                  100       100
  Upper house, attendance and travel,
    60 days a year, at 10l. a day,        600       600
  Lower house, attendance and travel,
    170 members, at 6s. a day,
    60 days,                            3,060     1,530        1,530
  Five judges of the Superior Court,
    at 24s. a day, suppose 150 days,      900       900
  Forty judges of Inferior Courts,
    at 9s. a day, suppose 40 days,        720       720
  Six thousand actions in the year,
    the legal expense of each,
    suppose 3l.                        18,000     1,000       17,000
  Gratuities to 120 lawyers,
    suppose 50l. each,                  6,000     1,000        5,000
  Two hundred clergymen,
    at 100l. each,                     20,000    20,000
  Five hundred schools,
    at 20l. a year,                    10,000    10,000
  Support of poor,                     10,000    10,000
  Bridges and other town expenses,     10,000    10,000
  Contingencies and articles not
    enumerated,                        10,000    10,000
                                     --------  --------     --------
                                     £.89,680  £.66,150     £.23,530
                                     --------  --------     --------

Now comes RUM, my friends.

  400,000 gallons of rum, at 4s. a gallon,           80,000
  Allow for rum drank, on which excise is not paid,
    50,000 gallons, at 4s.                           10,000

Ninety nine hundredths unnecessary.

This is a fact: Deny it if you can, good folks. Now, say not a word
about taxes, judges, lawyers, courts, and women's extravagance. Your
government, your courts, your lawyers, your clergymen, your schools, and
your poor, do not all cost you so much as one paltry article, which
does you little or no good, but is as destructiv of your lives as fire
and brimstone.

But let us proceed.

  A million of pounds of sugar, estimated by the returns       £.
    of excise masters, at 8d.                                 33,333
  (This is double the quantity we want; but  as it is
    pernicious neither to health nor morals, I let it pass.)
  200,000lb. of tea, at 3s. 6d.                               35,000
  2,000 ditto hyson, at 14s. (Most of these unnecessary.)      1,400
  Coffee, molasses, spices, &c.                               10,000
  Dry goods,                                                 250,000

The whole settlement will stand thus:

  Necessary expenses,                            66,150
  Unnecessary, ditto,                            23,530
  Rum, and other distilled spirits,              90,000
  Other foreign articles,                       329,733
  Interest of the federal and State debts,    £.130,000

Now, good people, I have a word of advice for you. I will tell you how
to pay your taxes and debts, without feeling them.

1st. Fee no lawyers.

You say lawyers have too high fees. I say they have not. They cost me
not one farthing. Do as I have always done, and lawyers' fees will be no
trouble at all. If I want a new coat, or my wife wants a new gown, we
have agreed to wear the old ones until we have got cash or produce to
pay for them. When we buy, we pay in hand; we get things cheaper than
our neighbors; merchants never dun us, and we have no lawyers' fees to
pay. When we see sheriffs and duns knocking at the doors of our
neighbors, we laugh at their folly. Besides, I keep a little drawer in
my desk, with money enough in it to pay the next tax; and I never touch
a farthing until the collector calls. Now, good folks, if you will take
the same method, you will save out of lawyers' fees and court charges,
on the most moderate calculations, 20,000l. a year.

2dly. I allow my family but two gallons of rum a year. This is enough
for any family, and too much for most of them. I drink cyder and beer of
my own manufacture; and my wife makes excellent beer, I assure you. I
advise you all to do the same. I am astonished at you, good folks. Not a
mechanic or a laborer goes to work for a merchant, but he carries home a
bottle of rum. Not a load of wood comes to town, but a gallon bottle is
tied to the cart stake to be filled with rum. Scarcely a woman comes to
town with tow cloth, but she has a wooden gallon bottle in one side of
her saddle bags, to fill with rum. A stranger would think you to be a
nation of Indians by your thirst for this paltry liquor. Take a bit of
advice from a good friend of yours. Get two gallons of rum in a year;
have two or three frolics of innocent mirth; keep a little spirit for a
medicine, and let your common drink be the produce or manufacture of
this country. This will make a saving of almost 400,000 gallons of rum,
or 80,000l. a year.

3dly. Never buy any useless clothing.

Keep a good suit for Sundays and other public days; but let your common
wearing apparel be good substantial cloths, and linens of your own
manufacture. Let your wives and daughters lay aside their plumes.
Feathers and fripperies suit the Cherokees or the wench in your kitchen;
but they little become the fair daughters of America.[42] Out of the dry
goods imported, you may save 50,000l. a year.

    [42] I would just mention to my fair readers, whom I love and
    esteem, that feathers and other frippery of the head, are
    disreputable in Europe.

These savings amount to 150,000l. a year. This is more than enough to
pay the interest of all our public debts.

My countrymen, I am not trifling with you: I am serious. You feel the
facts I state; you know you are poor, and ought to know, the fault is
all your own. Are you not satisfied with the food and drink which this
country affords? The beef, the pork, the wheat, the corn, the butter,
the cheese, the cyder, the beer, those luxuries which are heaped in
profusion upon your tables? If not, you must expect to be poor. In vain
do you wish for mines of gold and silver. A mine would be the greatest
curse that could befal this country. There is gold and silver enough in
the world, and if you have not enough of it, it is because you consume
all you earn in useless food and drink. In vain do you wish to increase
the quantity of cash by a mint, or by paper emissions. Should it rain
millions of joes into your chimnies, on your present system of expenses,
you would still have no money. It would leave the country in streams.
Trifle not with serious subjects, nor spend your breath in empty wishes.
Reform; economize. This is the whole of your political duty. You may
reason, speculate, complain, raise mobs, spend life in railing at
Congress and your rulers; but unless you import less than you export,
unless you spend less than you earn, you will eternally be poor.


                         NEW YORK, DECEMBER, 1787.



Your long and elaborate publication, assigning the reasons for your
refusing to subscribe the ratification of the _new Federal
Constitution_, has made its appearance in the public papers, and, I
flatter myself, will be read throughout the United States. It will feed
the flame of opposition among the weak, the wicked, the designing, and
the factious; but it will make many new converts to the proposed
government, and furnish the old friends of it with new weapons of
defence. The very attempt to excite uneasiness and disturbance in a
State, about a measure legally and constitutionally adopted, after a
long and ample discussion in a convention of the people's delegates,
will create suspicions of the goodness of your cause. My address to you
will not be so lengthy as your publication; your arguments are _few_,
altho your harangue is _long_ and _insidious_.

You begin with telling the world, that _no defect was discovered in the
present confederation, till after the war_. Why did you not publish the
truth? You know, gentlemen, that during six years of the war, we had _no
confederation at all_. You know that the war commenced in April, 1775,
and that we had _no confederation_ till March, 1781. You know (for some
of you are men of abilities and reading) or ought to know, a principle
of _fear_, in time of war, operates more powerfully in binding together
the States which have a common interest, than all the parchment compacts
on earth. Could we, then, discover the defects of our present
confederation, with _two years'_ experience only, and an enemy in our
country? You know we could not.

I will not undertake to detect the falsehood of every assertion, or the
fallacy of all your reasoning on each article. In the most of them the
public will anticipate any thing I could say, and confute your arguments
as fast as they read them. But, gentlemen, your reasoning against the
_new Constitution_ resembles that of Mr. Hume on miracles. You begin
with some _gratis dicta_, which are denied; you assume _premises_ which
are _totally false_, and then reason on them with great address. Your
whole reasoning, and that of all the opposers of the federal government,
is built on this _false principle_, that the _federal Legislature_ will
be a body _distinct from_ and _independent of_ the people. Unless your
opposition is grounded on _that principle_, it stands on _nothing_; and
on any _other_ supposition, your arguments are but _declamatory

But the principle is false. The Congress, under the proposed
constitution, will have the _same interest_ as the people; they are _a
part_ of the people; their interest is _inseparable_ from that of the
people; and this union of interest will eternally remain, while the
right of election shall continue in the people. Over this right Congress
will have no control: The time and manner of exercising that right are
very wisely vested in Congress; otherwise a delinquent State might
embarrass the measures of the Union. The safety of the public requires
that the federal body should prevent any particular delinquency; but the
_right of election_ is above their control; it _must_ remain in the
people, and be exercised once in two, four or six years. A body thus
organized, with thirteen Legislatures watching their measures, and
several millions of jealous eyes inspecting their conduct, would not be
apt to betray their constituents. Yet this is not the best ground of
safety. The first and almost only principle that governs men, is
_interest_. _Love of our country_ is a powerful auxiliary motiv to
patriotic actions; but rarely or never operates against _private
interest_. The only requisit to secure liberty, is to connect the
_interest_ of the _governors_ with that of the _governed_. Blend these
interests; make them inseparable, and both are safe from voluntary
invasion. How shall this union be formed? This question is answered. The
union is formed by the equal principles on which the people of these
States hold their property and their rights. But how shall this union of
interests be perpetuated? The answer is easy; bar all perpetuities of
estates; prevent any exclusiv rights; preserve all preferment dependent
on the choice of the people; suffer no power to exist independent on the
people or their representativs. While there exists no power in a State,
which is independent of the will of the electors, the rights of the
people are secure. The only barrier against tyranny, that is necessary
in any State, is _the election of legislators_ by the yeomanry of that
State. Preserve _that_, and every privilege is safe. The legislators
thus chosen to represent the people, should have all the power that the
people would have, were they assembled in one body to deliberate upon
public measures. The distinction between the powers of the _people_ and
of their _representativs_ in the Legislature, is as absurd in _theory_,
as it proves pernicious in _practice_. A distinction, which has already
countenanced and supported _one rebellion_ in America; has prevented
many _good_ measures; has produced many _bad_; has created animosities
in many States, and embarrassments in all.[43] It has taught the people
a lesson, which, if they continue to practise, will bring laws into
contempt, and frequently mark our country with blood.

    [43] Some of the bills of rights in America declare, that the
    people have a right to meet together, and consult for the
    public safety; that their legislators are responsible to
    them; that they are servants, &c. Such declarations give
    people an idea, that as individuals, or in town meetings,
    they have a power paramount to that of the Legislature. No
    wonder, that with such ideas, they attempt to resist law.

You object, gentlemen, to the powers vested in Congress. Permit me, to
ask you, where will you limit their powers? What bounds will you
prescribe? You will reply--_we will reserve certain rights, which we
deem invaluable, and restrain our rulers from abridging them_. But,
gentlemen, let me ask you, how will you define these rights? would you
say, _the liberty of the press shall not be restrained_? Well, what is
this liberty of the press? Is it an unlimited licence to publish _any
thing and every thing_ with impunity? If so, the author and printer of
any treatise, however obscene and blasphemous, will be screened from
punishment. You know, gentlemen, that there are books extant, so
shockingly and infamously obscene and so daringly blasphemous, that no
society on earth would be vindicable in suffering the publishers to pass
unpunished. You certainly know that such cases _have_ happened, and
_may_ happen again: Nay, you know that they are _probable_. Would not
that indefinite expression, _the liberty of the press_, extend to the
justification of every _possible publication_? Yes, gentlemen, you know,
that under such a general license, a man who should publish a treatise
to _prove his Maker a knave_, must be screened from legal punishment. I
shudder at the thought! But the truth must not be concealed. The
constitutions of several States _guarantee that very license_.

But if you attempt to define the _liberty of the press_, and ascertain
what cases shall fall within that privilege, during the course of
centuries, where will you _begin_? Or rather, where will you _end_?
Here, gentlemen, you will be puzzled. Some publications certainly _may_
be a breach of civil law: You will not have the effrontery to deny a
truth so obvious and intuitivly evident. Admit that principle; and
unless you can define precisely the cases, which are, and are not a
breach of law, you have no right to say, the liberty of the press shall
not be restrained; for such a license would warrant _any breach of law_.
Rather than hazard such an abuse of privilege, is it not better to leave
the right altogether with your rulers and your posterity? No attempts
have ever been made by a legislativ body in America, to abridge that
privilege; and in this free enlightened country, no attempts could
succeed, unless the public should be convinced that an abuse of it would
warrant the restriction. Should this ever be the case, you have no right
to say, that a future Legislature, or that posterity shall not abridge
the privilege, or punish its abuses.

But you say, that trial by jury is an unalienable right, that ought not
to be trusted with our rulers. Why not? If it is such a darling
privilege, will not Congress be as fond of it, as their constituents? An
elevation into that council, does not render a man insensible to his
privileges, nor place him beyond the necessity of securing them. A
member of Congress is liable to all the operations of law, except during
his attendance on public business; and should he consent to a law,
annihilating any right whatever, he deprives himself, his family and
estate, of the benefit resulting from that right, as well as his
constituents. This circumstance alone, is a sufficient security.

But, why this outcry about juries? If the people esteem them so highly,
why do they ever neglect them, and suffer the trial by them to go into
disuse? In some States, _Courts of Admiralty_ have no juries, nor Courts
of Chancery at all. In the City Courts of some States, juries are rarely
or never called, altho the parties may demand them; and one State, at
least, has lately passed an act, empowering the parties to submit both
_law_ and _fact_ to the court. It is found, that the judgment of a court
gives as much satisfaction, as the verdict of a jury; for the court are
as good judges of fact, as juries, and much better judges of law. I have
no desire to abolish trials by jury, altho the original design and
excellence of them, is in many cases superseded. While the people remain
attached to this mode of deciding causes, I am confident, that no
Congress can wrest the privilege from them.

But, gentlemen, our legal proceedings want a reform. Involved in all the
mazes of perplexity, which the chicanery of lawyers could invent, in the
course of five hundred years, our road to justice and redressis
tedious, fatiguing and expensiv. Our judicial proceedings are capable of
being simplified, and improved in almost every particular. For mercy's
sake, gentlemen, do not shut the door against improvement. If the people
of America, should ever spurn the shackles of opinion, and venture to
leave the road, which is so overgrown with briers and thorns, as to
strip a man's clothes from his back as he passes, I am certain they can
devise a more easy, safe, and expeditious mode of administering the
laws, than that which harasses every poor mortal, that is wretched
enough to want _legal_ justice. In States where very respectable
merchants, have repeatedly told me, they had rather lose a debt of fifty
pounds, than attempt to recover it by a legal process, one would think
that men, who value liberty and property, would not restrain any
government from suggesting a remedy for such disorders.

Another right, which you would place beyond the reach of Congress, is
the writ of _habeas corpus_. Will you say that this right may not be
suspended in _any_ case? You dare not. If it may be suspended in any
case, and the Congress are to judge of the necessity, what security have
you in a declaration in its favor? You had much better say nothing upon
the subject.

But you are frightened at a standing army. I beg you, gentlemen, to
define a _standing army_. If you would refuse to giv Congress power to
raise troops, to guard our frontiers, and garrison forts, or in short,
to enlist men for any purpose, then we understand you; you tie the hands
of your rulers, so that they cannot defend you against any invasion.
This is protection, indeed! But if Congress can raise a body of troops
for a year, they can raise them for a _hundred years_, and your
declaration against _standing armies_ can have no other effect, than to
prevent Congress from denominating their troops, a _standing army_. You
would only introduce into this country the English farce of mechanically
passing an annual bill for the support of troops which are never

You object to the indefinite power of taxation in Congress. You must
then limit the exercise of that power by the sums of money to be raised;
or leaving the sums indefinite, must prescribe the _particular mode_ in
which, and the _articles_ on which the money is to be raised. But the
sums cannot be ascertained, because the necessities of the States cannot
be foreseen nor defined. It is beyond even _your_ wisdom and profound
knowlege, gentlemen, to ascertain the public exigencies, and reduce them
to the provisions of a constitution. And if you would prescribe the mode
of raising money, you will meet with equal difficulty. The different
States have different modes of taxation, and I question much whether
even _your_ skill, gentlemen, could invent a uniform system that would
fit easy upon every State. It must therefore be left to experiment, with
a power that can correct the errors of a system, and suit it to the
habits of the people. And if no uniform mode will answer this purpose,
it will be in the power of Congress to lay taxes in each State,
according to its particular practice.

You know that requisitions on the States are ineffectual; that they
cannot be rendered effectual, but by a compulsory power in Congress;
that without an efficient power to raise money, government cannot secure
person, property or justice; that such power is as safely lodged in your
_Representativs_ in Congress, as it is in your _Representativs_ in your
distinct Legislatures.

You would likewise restrain Congress from requiring _excessiv bail_ or
imposing _excessiv fines_ and _unusual punishment_. But unless you can,
in every possible instance, previously define the words _excessiv_ and
_unusual_; if you leave the discretion of Congress to define them on
occasion, any restriction of their power by a general indefinit
expression, is a nullity--mere _formal nonsense_. What consummate
arrogance must you possess, to presume you can _now_ make _better_
provision for the government of these States, during the course of ages
and centuries, than the future Legislatures can, on the spur of the
occasion! Yet your whole reasoning on the subject implies this
arrogance, and a presumption that you have a right to legislate for

But to complete the list of unalienable rights, you would insert a
clause in your declaration, _that every body shall, in good weather,
hunt on his own land, and catch fish in rivers that are public
property_. Here, gentlemen, you must have exerted the whole force of
your genius! Not even the _all important_ subject of _legislating for a
world_, can restrain my laughter at this clause! As a supplement to that
article of your bill of rights, I would suggest the following
restriction:--"That Congress shall never restrain any inhabitant of
America from eating and drinking, _at seasonable times_, or prevent his
lying on his _left side_, in a long winter's night, or even on his back,
when he is fatigued by lying on his _right_." This article is of just as
much consequence as the eighth clause of your proposed bill of rights.

But to be more serious, gentlemen, you must have had in idea the forest
laws in Europe, when you inserted that article; for no circumstance that
ever took place in America, could have suggested the thought of a
declaration in favor of hunting and fishing. Will you forever persist in
error? Do you not reflect that the state of property in America, is
directly the reverse of what it is in Europe? Do you not consider, that
the forest laws in Europe originated in _feudal tyranny_, of which not a
trace is to be found in America? Do you not know that in this country
almost every farmer is lord of his own soil? That instead of suffering
under the oppression of a monarch and nobles, a class of haughty
masters, totally independent of the people, almost every man in America
is a _lord himself_, enjoying his property in fee? Where then the
necessity of laws to secure hunting and fishing? You may just as well
ask for a clause, giving license for every man to till _his own land_,
or milk _his own cows_. The barons in Europe procured forest laws to
secure the right of hunting on _their own land_, from the intrusion of
those who had no property in lands. But the distribution of land in
America, not only supersedes the necessity of any laws upon this
subject, but renders them absolutely trifling. The same laws which
secure the property in land, secure to the owner the right of using it
as he pleases.

But you are frightened at the prospect of a _consolidation of the
States_. I differ from you very widely. I am afraid, after all our
attempts to unite the States, that contending interests, and the pride
of State sovereignties, will either prevent our union, or render our
federal government weak, slow and inefficient. The danger is all on this
side. If any thing under heaven now endangers our liberties and
independence, it is that single circumstance.

You harp upon that clause of the new constitution, which declares, that
the laws of the United States, &c. shall be the supreme law of the land;
when you know that the powers of the Congress are defined, to extend
only to those matters which are in their nature and effects, _general_.
You know, the Congress cannot meddle with the internal police of any
State, or abridge its sovereignty. And you know, at the same time, that
in all general concerns, the laws of Congress must be _supreme_, or they
must be _nothing_.

No. XIV.

                         PHILADELPHIA, MARCH, 1787.


To change the current of opinion, is a most difficult task, and the
attempt is often ridiculed. For this reason, I expect the following
remarks will be passed over with a slight reading, and all attention to
them cease with a hum.

The revisal of the test law has at length passed by a respectable
majority of the Representativs of this State. This is a prelude to wiser
measures; people are just awaking from delusion. The time will come (and
may the day be near!) when all test laws, oaths of allegiance,
abjuration, and partial exclusions from civil offices, will be
proscribed from this land of freedom.

Americans! what was the origin of these discriminations? What is their

They originated in savage ignorance, and they are the instruments of
slavery. Emperors and generals, who wished to attach their subjects to
their persons and government; who wished to exercise despotic sway over
them, or prosecute villanous wars, (for mankind have always been
butchering each other) found the solemnity of oaths had an excellent
effect on poor superstitious soldiers and vassals; oracles, demons,
eclipses; all the terrifying phenomena of nature, have at times had
remarkable effects in securing the obedience of men to tyrants. Oaths of
fealty, and farcical ceremonies of homage, were very necessary to rivet
the chains of feudal vassals; for the whole system of European tenures
was erected on usurpation, and is supported solely by ignorance,
superstition, artifice, or military force. Oaths of allegiance may
possibly be still necessary in Europe, where there are so many
contending powers contiguous to each other: But what is their use in
America? To secure fidelity to the State, it will be answered. But where
is the danger of defection? Will the inhabitants join the British in
Nova Scotia or Canada? Will they rebel? Will they join the savages, and
overthrow the State? No; all these are visionary dangers. My countrymen,
if a State has any thing to fear from its inhabitants, the constitution
or the laws must be wrong. Danger cannot possibly arise from any other

Permit me to offer a few ideas to your minds; and let them be the
subject of more than one hour's reflection.

An oath creates no new obligation. A witness, who swears to tell the
whole truth, is under no new obligation to tell the whole truth. An oath
reminds him of his duty; he swears to do as he ought to do; that is, he
adds an express promise to an implied one. A moral obligation is not
capable of addition or diminution.

When a man steps his foot into a State, he becomes subject to its
general laws. When he joins it as a member, he is subject to all its
laws. The act of entering into society, binds him to submit to its laws,
and to promote its interest. Every man, who livs under a government, is
under allegiance to that government. Ten thousand oaths do not increase
the obligation upon him to be a faithful subject.

But, it will be asked, how shall we distinguish between the friends and
enemies of the government? I answer, by annihilating all distinctions. A
good constitution, and good laws, make good subjects. I challenge the
history of mankind to produce an instance of bad subjects under a good
government. The test law in Pensylvania has produced more disorder, by
making enemies in this State, than have cursed all the union besides.
During the war, every thing gave way to force; but the feelings and
principles of war ought to be forgotten in peace.

Abjuration! a badge of folly, borrowed from the dark ages of bigotry. If
the government of Pensylvania is better than that of Great Britain, the
subjects will prefer it, and abjuration is perfectly nugatory. If not,
the subject will have his partialities in spite of any solemn
renunciation of a foreign power.

But what right has even the Legislature to deprive any class of citizens
of the benefits and emoluments of civil government? If any men have
forfeited their lives or estates, they are no longer subjects; they
ought to be banished or hung. If not, no law ought to exclude them from
civil emoluments. If any have committed public crimes, they are
punishable; if any have been guilty, and have not been detected, the
oath, as it now stands, obliges them to confess their guilt. To take the
oath, is an implicit acknowlegement of innocence; to refuse it, is an
implicit confession that the person has aided and abetted the enemy.
This is rank despotism. The inquisition can do no more than force
confession from the accused.

I pray God to enlighten the minds of the Americans. I wish they would
shake off every badge of tyranny. Americans!--The best way to make men
honest, is to let them enjoy equal rights and privileges; never suspect
a set of men will be rogues, and make laws proclaiming that suspicion.
Leave force to govern the wretched vassals of European nabobs, and
reconcile subjects to your own constitutions by their excellent nature
and beneficial effects. No man will commence enemy to a government which
givs him as many privileges as his neighbors enjoy.

No. XV.

SKETCHES _of the_ RISE, PROGRESS _and_ CONSEQUENCES _of the late_

Written in the years 1787, 1788, and 1789; now republished, with
material corrections, and a LETTER from the late COMMANDER in CHIEF,
explaining the Circumstances and Proceedings, preparatory to the Capture

America was originally peopled by uncivilized nations, which lived
mostly by hunting and fishing. The Europeans, who first visited these
shores, treating the nativs as wild beasts of the forest, which have no
property in the woods where they roam, planted the standard of their
respectiv masters where they first landed, and in their names claimed
the country by _right of discovery_.[44] Prior to any settlement in
North America numerous titles of this kind were acquired by the English,
French, Spanish, and Dutch navigators, who came hither for the purposes
of fishing and trading with the nativs. Slight as such titles were, they
were afterwards the causes of contention between the European nations.
The subjects of different princes often laid claim to the same tract of
country, because both had discovered the same river or promontary; or
because the extent of their respectiv claims was indeterminate.

    [44] As well may the New Zealanders, who have not yet
    discovered Europe, fit out a ship, land on the coast of
    England or France, and, finding no inhabitants but poor
    fishermen and peasants, claim the whole country by _right of

While the settlements in this vast uncultivated country were
inconsiderable and scattered, and the trade of it confined to the
bartering of a few trinkets for furs, a trade carried on by a few
adventurers, the interfering of claims produced no important controversy
among the settlers or the nations of Europe. But in proportion to the
progress of population, and the growth of the American trade, the
jealousies of the nations, which had made early discoveries and
settlements on this coast, were alarmed; ancient claims were revived;
and each power took measures to extend and secure its own possessions at
the expense of a rival.

By the treaty of Utrecht in 1713, the English claimed a right of cutting
logwood in the Bay of Campeachy, in South America. In the exercise of
this right, the English merchants had frequent opportunities of carrying
on a contraband trade with the Spanish settlements on the continent. To
remedy this evil, the Spaniards resolved to annihilate a claim, which,
though often acknowleged, had never been clearly ascertained. To effect
this design, they captured the English vessels, which they found along
the Spanish Main, and many of the British subjects were doomed to work
in the mines of Potosi.

Repeated severities of this kind at length (1739) produced a war between
England and Spain. Porto Bello was taken from the Spaniards, by Admiral
Vernon. Commodore Anson, with a squadron of ships, sailed to the South
Seas, distressed the Spanish settlements on the western shore of
America, and took a galleon, laden with immense riches. But in 1741 a
formidable armament, destined to attack Carthagena, under the command of
Lord Cathcart, returned unsuccessful, with the loss of upwards of twelve
thousand British soldiers and seamen; and the defeat of the expedition,
raised a clamor against the minister, Sir Robert Walpole, which produced
a change in the administration. This change removed the scene of war to
Europe, so that America was not immediately affected by the subsequent
transactions; except that Louisburgh, the principal fortress of Cape
Breton, was taken from the French by General Pepperell, assisted by
Commodore Warren and a body of New England troops.

This war was ended in 1748 by the treaty of peace signed at Aix la
Chapelle, by which restitution was made on both sides of all places
taken during the war.

Peace, however, was of short duration. The French possessed Canada, and
had made considerable settlements in Florida, claiming the country on
both sides of the Missisippi, by right of discovery. To secure and
extend their claims, they established a line of forts, on the English
possessions, from Canada to Florida. They had secured the important pass
at Niagara, and erected a fort at the junction of the Allegany and
Monongahela rivers, called Fort Du Quesne. They took pains to secure the
friendship and assistance of the nativs, encroachments were made upon
the English possessions, and mutual injuries succeeded. The disputes
among the settlers in America, and the measures taken by the French to
command all the trade of the St. Lawrence river on the north, and of the
Missisippi on the south, excited a jealousy in the English nation, which
soon broke forth in open war.

In 1756, four expeditions were undertaken in America against the French.
One was conducted by General Monckton, who had orders to drive the
French from the encroachments on the province of Nova Scotia. This
expedition was attended with success. General Johnson was ordered, with
a body of troops, to take possession of Crown Point, but he did not
succeed. General Shirley commanded an expedition against the fort at
Niagara, but lost the season by delay. General Braddock marched against
fort Du Quesne, but in penetrating through the wilderness, he
incautiously fell into an ambuscade and suffered a total defeat. General
Braddock was killed, but a part of his troops were saved by the prudence
and bravery of General Washington, at this time a Colonel, who then
began to exhibit proofs of those military talents, by which he
afterwards conducted the armies of America to victory, and his country
to independence. The ill success of these expeditions left the English
settlements in America exposed to the depredations of both the French
and Indians. But the war now raged in Europe and the East Indies, and
engaged the attention of both nations in those quarters.

It was not until the campaign in 1758, that affairs assumed a more
favorable aspect in America. But upon a change of administration, Mr.
Pitt was appointed Prime Minister, and the operations of war became more
vigorous and successful. General Amherst was sent to take possession of
Cape Breton; and after a warm siege, the garrison of Louisburgh
surrendered by capitulation. General Forbes was successful in taking
possession of fort Du Quesne, which the French thought fit to abandon.
But General Abercrombie, who commanded the troops destined to act
against the French at Crown Point and Ticonderoga, attacked the lines at
Ticonderoga, where the enemy were strongly entrenched, and was defeated
with a terrible slaughter of his troops. After his defeat, he returned
to his camp at Lake George.

The next year, more effectual measures were taken to subdue the French
in America. General Prideaux and Sir William Johnson began the
operations of the campaign by taking the French fort near Niagara.[45]
General Amherst took possession of the forts at Crown Point and
Ticonderoga, which the French had abandoned.

    [45] General Prideaux was killed by the bursting of a mortar,
    before the surrender of the French.

But the decisiv blow, which proved fatal to the French interests in
America, was the defeat of the French army, and the taking of Quebec, by
the brave general Wolfe. This hero was slain in the beginning of the
action, on the plains of Abram, and Monsieur Montcalm, the French
commander, likewise lost his life. The loss of Quebec was soon followed
by the capture of Montreal, by General Amherst, and Canada has remained
ever since in possession of the English.

Colonel Grant, in 1761, defeated the Cherokees in Carolina, and obliged
them to sue for peace. The next year, Martinico was taken by Admiral
Rodney and General Monkton; and also the islands of Grenada, St.
Vincents, and others. The capture of these was soon followed by the
surrender of the Havanna, the capital of the island of Cuba.

In 1763, a definitiv treaty of peace was concluded at Paris, between
Great Britain, France and Spain, by which the English ceded to the
French several islands in the West Indies, but were confirmed in the
possession of all North America on this side the Missisippi, except New
Orleans, and a small district of the neighboring country.

But this war, however brilliant the success, and glorious the event,
proved the cause of great and unexpected misfortunes to Great Britain.
Engaged with the combined powers of France and Spain, during several
years, her exertions were surprising, and her expense immense. To
discharge the debts of the nation, the parliament was obliged to have
recourse to new expedients for raising money. Previous to the last
treaty in 1763, the parliament had been satisfied to raise a revenue
from the American Colonies by monopoly of their trade.

At the beginning of the last war with France, commissioners from many of
the colonies had assembled at Albany, and proposed that a great council
should be formed by deputies from the several colonies, which, with a
general Governor to be appointed by the crown, should be empowered to
take measures for the common safety, and to raise money for the
execution of their designs. This proposal was not relished by the
British ministry; but in place of this plan, it was proposed, that the
Governors of the colonies, with the assistance of one or two of their
council, should assemble and concert measures for the general defence;
erect forts, levy troops, and draw on the treasury of England for monies
that should be wanted; but the treasury to be reimbursed by a tax on the
colonies, to be laid by the English parliament. To this plan, which
would imply an avowal of the right of parliament to tax the colonies,
the provincial assemblies objected with unshaken firmness. It seems,
therefore, that the British parliament, _before_ the war, had it in
contemplation to exercise the right they claimed of taxing the colonies
at pleasure, without permitting them to be represented. Indeed it is
obvious that they laid hold of the alarming situation of the colonies
about the year 1754, and 1755, to force them into an acknowlegement of
the right, or to the adoption of measures that might afterwards be drawn
into precedent. The colonies however, with an uncommon foresight and
firmness, defeated all their attempts. The war was carried on by
requisitions on the colonies for supplies of men and money, or by
voluntary contributions.

But no sooner was peace concluded, than the English parliament resumed
the plan of taxing the colonies; and to justify their attempts, said,
that the money to be raised, was to be appropriated to defray the
expense of defending them in the late war.

The first attempt to raise a revenue in America appeared in the
memorable _stamp act_, passed March 22, 1765; by which it was enacted
that certain instruments of writing, as bills, bonds, &c. should not be
valid in law, unless drawn on stamped paper, on which a duty was laid.
No sooner was this act published in America, than it raised a general
alarm. The people were filled with apprehensions at an act which they
supposed an attack on their constitutional rights. The colonies
petitioned the king and parliament for a redress of the grievance, and
formed associations for the purpose of preventing the importation and
use of British manufactures, until the act should be repealed. This
spirited and unanimous opposition of the Americans produced the desired
effect; and on the 18th of March, 1766, the stamp act was repealed. The
news of the repeal was received in the colonies with universal joy, and
the trade between them and Great Britain was renewed on the most liberal

The parliament, by repealing this act, so obnoxious to their American
brethren, did not intend to lay aside the scheme of raising a revenue in
the colonies, but merely to change the mode. Accordingly the next year,
they passed an act, laying a certain duty on glass, tea, paper, and
painters' colors; articles which were much wanted, and not manufactured,
in America. This act kindled the resentment of the Americans, and
excited a general opposition to the measure; so that parliament thought
proper in 1770, to take off these duties, except three pence a pound on
tea. Yet this duty, however trifling, kept alive the jealousy of the
colonists, and their opposition to parliamentary taxation continued and

But it must be remembered that the inconvenience of paying the duty was
not the sole, nor principal cause of the opposition, it was the
_principle_ which, once admitted, would have subjected the colonies to
unlimitted parliamentary taxation, without the privilege of being
represented. The _right_, abstractly considered, was denied; and the
smallest attempt to establish the claim by precedent, was uniformly
resisted. The Americans could not be deceived as to the views of
parliament; for the repeal of the stamp act was accompanied with an
unequivocal declaration, "that the parliament had a right to make laws
of sufficient validity to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever."

The colonies therefore entered into measures to encourage their own
manufactures, and home productions, and to retrench the use of foreign
superfluities; while the importation of tea was prohibited. In the royal
and proprietary governments, the Governors and people were in a state of
continual warfare. Assemblies were repeatedly called, and suddenly
dissolved. While sitting, the assemblies employed the time in dating
grievances and framing remonstrances. To inflame these discontents, an
act of parliament was passed, ordaining that the Governors and Judges
should receive their salaries of the crown; thus making them independent
of the provincial assemblies, and removeable only at the pleasure of the

These arbitrary proceedings, with many others not here mentioned, could
not fail of producing a rupture. The first act of violence, was the
massacre at Boston, on the evening of the fifth of March, 1770. A body
of British troops had been stationed in Boston to awe the inhabitants,
and enforce the measures of parliament. On the fatal day, when blood was
to be shed, as a preclude to more tragic scenes, a riot was raised among
some soldiers and boys; the former aggressing by throwing snow balls at
the latter. The bickerings and jealousies between the inhabitants and
soldiers, which had been frequent before, now became serious. A
multitude was soon collected, and the controversy became so warm, that
to disperse the people, the troops were embodied and ordered to fire
upon the inhabitants. This fatal order was executed, and several persons
fell a sacrifice. The people restrained their vengeance at the time; but
this wanton act of cruelty and military despotism fanned the flame of
liberty; a flame that was not to be extinguished but by a total
separation of the colonies from their oppressiv and hostile parent.

In 1773, the spirit of the Americans broke out into open violence. The
Gaspee, an armed schooner, belonging to his Britannic Majesty, had been
stationed at Providence, in Rhode Island, to prevent smuggling. The
vigilance of the commander irritated the inhabitants to that degree,
that about two hundred armed men entered the vessel at night, compelled
the officers and men to go on shore, and set fire to the schooner. A
reward of five hundred pounds, offered by government for apprehending
any of the persons concerned in this daring act, produced no effectual

About this time, the discovery and publication of some private
confidential letters, written by the royal officers in Boston, to
persons in office in England, served to confirm the apprehensions of the
Americans, with respect to the designs of the British government. It was
now made obvious that more effectual measures would be taken to
establish the supremacy of the British parliament over the colonies. The
letters recommended decisiv measures, and the writers were charged, by
the exasperated Americans, with betraying their trust and the people
they governed.

As the resolutions of the colonies not to import or consume tea, had, in
a great measure, deprived the English government of a revenue from this
quarter, the parliament formed a scheme of introducing tea into America,
under cover of the East India company. For this purpose an act was
passed, enabling the company to export all sorts of teas, duty free, to
any place whatever. The company departed from their usual mode of
business and became their own exporters. Several ships were freighted
with teas, and sent to the American colonies, and factors were appointed
to receive and dispose of their cargoes.

The Americans, determined to oppose the revenue system of the English
parliament in every possible shape, considered the attempt of the East
India company to evade the resolutions of the colonies, and dispose of
teas in America, as an indirect mode of taxation, sanctioned by the
authority of parliament. The people assembled in various places, and in
the large commercial towns, took measures to prevent the landing of the
teas. Committees were appointed, and armed with extensiv powers to
inspect merchants' books, to propose tests, and make use of other
expedients to frustrate the designs of the East India company. The same
spirit pervaded the people from New Hampshire to Georgia. In some
places, the consignees of the teas were intimidated so far as to
relinquish their appointments, or to enter into engagements not to act
in that capacity. The cargo sent to South Carolina was stored, the
consignees being restrained from offering the tea for sale. In other
provinces, the ships were sent back without discharging their cargoes.

But in Boston the tea shared a more violent fate. Sensible that no local
measures could prevent its being landed, and that if once landed, it
would be disposed of; a number of men in disguise, on the 18th of
December 1773, entered the ships and threw overboard three hundred and
forty chests of it, which was the proportion belonging to the East India
company. No sooner did the news of this destruction of the tea reach
Great Britain, than the parliament determined to punish that devoted
town. On the king's laying the American papers before them, a bill was
brought in and passed, "to discontinue the landing and discharging,
lading and shipping of goods, wares and merchandizes at the town of
Boston, or within the harbor."

This act, passed March 25, 1774, called the Boston port bill, threw the
inhabitants of Massachusetts into the greatest consternation. The town
of Boston passed a resolution, expressing their sense of this oppressiv
measure, and a desire that all the colonies would concur to stop all
importation from Great Britain. Most of the colonies entered into
spirited resolutions, on this occasion, to unite with Massachusetts in a
firm opposition to the unconstitutional measures of the parliament. The
first of June, the day on which the port bill was to take place, was
appointed to be kept as a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer
throughout the colonies, to seek the divine direction and aid, in that
critical and gloomy juncture of affairs.

During the height of the consternation and confusion which the Boston
port bill occasioned; at the very time when a town meeting was sitting
to consider of it, General Gage, who had been appointed to the
government of Massachusetts, arrived in the harbor. His arrival however
did not allay the popular ferment, or check the progress of the measures
then taking, to unite the colonies in opposition to the oppressiv act of

But the port bill was not the only act that alarmed the apprehensions of
the Americans. Determined to compel the province of Massachusetts to
submit to their laws, parliament passed an act for "the better
regulating government in the province of Massachusetts Bay." The object
of this act was to alter the government, as it stood on the charter of
king William, to take the appointment of the executiv out of the hands
of the people, and place it in the crown; thus making even the judges
and sheriffs dependent on the king, and removeable only at his pleasure.

This act was soon followed by another, which ordained that any person,
indicted for murder, or other capital offence, committed in aiding the
magistrates in executing the laws, might be sent by the governor either
to another colony, or to Great Britain for his trial.

This was soon followed by the Quebec bill; which extended the bounds of
that province, and granted many privileges to the Roman Catholics. The
object of this bill was, to secure the attachment of that province to
the crown of England, and prevent its joining the colonies in their
resistance to the laws of parliament.

But these measures did not intimidate the Americans. On the other hand
they served to confirm their former apprehensions of the evil designs of
government, and to unite the colonies in their opposition. A
correspondence of opinion with respect to the unconstitutional acts of
parliament, produced a uniformity of proceedings in the colonies. The
people generally concurred in a proposition for holding a Congress by
deputation from the several colonies, in order to concert measures for
the preservation of their rights. Deputies were accordingly appointed,
and met at Philadelphia, on the 26th of October, 1774.

In this first Congress, the proceedings were cool, deliberate and loyal;
but marked with unanimity and firmness. Their first act was a
declaration, or state of their claims as to the enjoyment of all the
rights of British subjects, and particularly that of taxing themselves
exclusivly, and of regulating the internal police of the colonies. They
also drew up a petition to the king, complaining of their grievances and
praying for a repeal of the unconstitutional and oppressiv acts of
parliament. They signed an association to suspend the importation of
British goods, and the exportation of American produce, until their
grievances should be redressed. They sent an address to the inhabitants
of Great Britain, and another to the people of America; in the former
of which they enumerated the oppressiv steps of parliament, and called
on their British brethren not to aid the ministry in enslaving their
American subjects; and in the latter, they endeavored to confirm the
people in a spirited and unanimous determination to defend their
constitutional rights.

In the mean time, every thing in Massachusetts wore the appearance of
opposition by force. A new council for the Governor had been appointed
by the crown. New judges were appointed, and attempted to proceed in the
execution of their office. But the juries refused to be sworn under
them; in some counties, the people assembled to prevent the courts from
proceeding to business; and in Berkshire they succeeded, setting an
example of resistance that has since been followed, in violation of the
laws of the State.

In this situation of affairs, the day for the annual muster of the
militia approached. General Gage, apprehensiv of some violence, had the
precaution to seize the magazines of ammunition and stores at Cambridge
and Charlestown, and lodged them in Boston. This measure, with the
fortifying of that neck of land which joins Boston to the main land at
Roxbury, caused a universal alarm and ferment. Several thousand people
assembled, and it was with difficulty they could be restrained from
falling upon the British troops.

On this occasion, an assembly of delegates from all the towns in Suffolk
county, was called; and several spirited resolutions were agreed to.
These resolutions were prefaced with a declaration of allegiance; but
they breathed a spirit of freedom that does honor to the delegates. They
declared that the late acts of parliament and the proceedings of General
Gage, were glaring infractions of their rights and liberties, which
their duty called them to defend by all lawful means.

This assembly remonstrated against the fortification of Boston neck, and
against the Quebec bill; and resolved upon a suspension of commerce, and
encouragement of arts and manufactures, the holding of a provincial
Congress, and a submission to the measures which should be recommended
by the Continental Congress. They recommended that the collectors of
taxes should not pay any money into the treasury, without further
orders; they also recommended peace and good order, as they meant to act
merely upon the defensiv.

In answer to their remonstrance, General Gage assured them that he had
no intention to prevent the free egress and regress of the inhabitants
to and from the town of Boston, and that he would not suffer any person
under his command to injure the person or property of any of his
majesty's subjects.

Previous to this, a General Assembly had been summoned to meet; and
notwithstanding the writs had been countermanded by the Governor's
proclamation, on account of the violence of the times and the
resignation of several of the new counsellors, yet representativs were
chosen by the people, who met at Salem, resolved themselves into a
provincial Congress, and adjourned to Concord.

This Congress addressed the Governor with a rehearsal of their
distresses, and took the necessary steps for defending their rights.
They regulated the militia, made provision for supplying the treasury,
and furnishing the people with arms; and such was the enthusiasm and
union of the people, that the recommendations of the provincial Congress
had the force of laws.

General Gage was incensed at these measures; he declared, in his answer
to the address, that Britain could never harbor the black design of
enslaving her subjects, and published a proclamation in which he
insinuated that such proceedings amounted to rebellion. He also ordered
barracks to be erected for the soldiers; but he found difficulty in
procuring laborers, either in Boston or New York.

In the beginning of 1775, the fishery bills were passed in parliament,
by which the colonies were prohibited to trade with Great Britain,
Ireland or the West Indies, or to take fish on the banks of

In the distresses to which these acts of parliament reduced the town of
Boston, the unanimity of the colonies was remarkable, in the large
supplies of provision, furnished by the inhabitants of different towns
from New Hampshire to Georgia, and shipped to the relief of the

Preparations began to be made, to oppose by force, the execution of
these acts of parliament. The militia of the country were trained to the
use of arms; great encouragement was given for the manufacture of
gunpowder, and measures were taken to obtain all kinds of military

In February, Colonel Leslie was sent with a detachment of troops from
Boston, to take possession of some cannon at Salem. But the people had
intelligence of the design, took up the draw bridge in that town, and
prevented the troops from passing, until the cannon were secured; so
that the expedition failed.

In April, Colonel Smith, and Major Pitcairn were sent with a body of
about nine hundred troops, to destroy the military stores which had been
collected at Concord, about twenty miles from Boston. It is believed,
that another object of this expedition, was to seize on the persons of
Messrs. Hancock and Adams, who, by their spirited exertions, had
rendered themselves very obnoxious to General Gage. At Lexington, the
militia were collected on a green, to oppose the incursion of the
British forces. These were fired upon by the British troops, and eight
men killed on the spot.

The militia were dispersed, and the troops proceeded to Concord; where
they destroyed a few stores. But on their return, they were incessantly
harrassed by the Americans, who, inflamed with just resentment, fired
upon them from houses and fences, and pursued them to Boston. The loss
of the British in this expedition, in killed, wounded and prisoners, was
two hundred and seventy three men.

Here was spilt the _first blood_ in the late war; a war which severed
America from the British empire. _Lexington_ opened the first scene of
this great drama, which, in its progress, exhibited the most illustrious
characters and events, and closed with a revolution, equally glorious
for the actors, and important in its consequences to mankind.

This battle roused all America. The militia collected from all quarters,
and Boston, in a few days was besieged by twenty thousand men. A stop
was put to all intercourse between the town and country, and the
inhabitants were reduced to great want of provisions. General Gage
promised to let the people depart, if they would deliver up their arms.
The people complied; but when the General had obtained their arms, the
perfidious man refused to let the people go.

In the mean time, a small number of men, to the amount of about two
hundred and forty, under the command of Colonel Allen, and Colonel
Easton, without any public orders, surprised and took the British
garrisons at Ticonderoga and Crown Point, without the loss of a man on
either side.

During these transactions, the Generals Howe, Burgoyne, and Clinton,
arrived at Boston from England, with a number of troops. In June
following, our troops attempted to fortify Bunker's hill, which lies
near Charlestown, and but a mile and an half from Boston. They had,
during the night, thrown up a small breast work, which sheltered them
from the fire of the British cannon. But the next morning, the British
army was sent to drive them from the hill, and, landing under cover of
their cannon, they set fire to Charlestown, which was consumed, and
marched to attack our troops in the entrenchments. A severe engagement
ensued, in which the British, according to their own accounts, had seven
hundred and forty killed, and eleven hundred and fifty wounded. They
were repulsed at first, and thrown into disorder; but they finally
carried the fortification, with the point of the bayonet. The Americans
suffered a small loss, compared with the British; the whole loss in
killed, wounded, and prisoners, being but about four hundred and fifty.

The loss most lamented on this bloody day, was that of Dr. Warren, who
was at this time a Major General, and commanded the troops on this
occasion. He died like a brave man, fighting valiantly at the head of
his party, in a little redoubt at the right of our lines.

General Warren, who had rendered himself conspicuous by his universal
merit, abilities, and eloquence, had been a delegate to the first
general Congress, and was at this time President of the provincial
Congress of Massachusetts. But quitting the humane and peaceable walk of
his profession as a physician, and breaking through the endearing ties
of family connexions, he proved himself equally calculated for the
field, as for public business or private study.

About this, time, the Continental Congress appointed George Washington,
Esq. a nativ of Virginia, to the chief command of the American arm. This
gentleman had been a distinguished and successful officer in the
preceding war, and he seemed destined by heaven to be the savior of his
country. He accepted the appointment with a diffidence which was a proof
of his prudence and his greatness. He refused any pay for eight years
laborious and arduous service; and by his matchless skill, fortitude and
perseverance, conducted America thro indescribeable difficulties, to
independence and peace.

While true merit is esteemed, or virtue honored, mankind will never
cease to revere the memory of this Hero; and while gratitude remains in
the human breast, the praises of WASHINGTON shall dwell on every
American tongue.

General Washington, with other officers appointed by Congress, arrived
at Cambridge, and took command of the American army in July. From this
time, the affairs of America began to assume the appearance of a regular
and general opposition to the forces of Great Britain.

In autumn, a body of troops, under the command of General Montgomery,
besieged and took the garrison at St. John's, which commands the
entrance into Canada. The prisoners amounted to about seven hundred.
General Montgomery pursued his success, and took Montreal; and designed
to push his victories to Quebec.

A body of troops, commanded by General Arnold, was ordered to march to
Canada, by the river Kennebeck, and through the wilderness. After
suffering every hardship, and the most distressing hunger, they arrived
in Canada, and were joined by General Montgomery, before Quebec. This
city, which was commanded by Governor Carleton, was immediately
besieged. But there being little hope of taking the town by a siege, it
was determined to storm it.

The attack was made on the last day of December, but proved
unsuccessful, and fatal to the brave General, who, with his aid, was
killed in attempting to scale the walls.

Of the three divisions which attacked the town, one only entered, and
that was obliged to surrender to superior force. After this defeat,
General Arnold, who now commanded the troops, continued some months
before Quebec, altho his troops suffered incredibly by cold and
sickness. But the next spring, the Americans were obliged to retreat
from Canada.

About this time, the large and flourishing town of Norfolk, in Virginia,
was wantonly burnt by order of lord Dunmore, the then royal Governor of
that province.

General Gage went to England in September, and was succeeded in the
command, by General Howe.

Falmouth, a considerable town in the province of Maine, in
Massachusetts, shared the fate of Norfolk; being laid in ashes by order
of the British admiral.

The British king entered into treaties with some of the German princes
for about seventeen thousand men, who were to be sent to America the
next year, to assist in subduing the colonies. The parliament also
passed an act, forbidding all intercourse with America; and while they
repealed the Boston port and fishery bills, they declared all American
property on the high seas, forfeited to the captors. This act induced
Congress to change the mode of carrying on the war; and measures were
taken to annoy the enemy in Boston. For this purpose, batteries were
opened on several hills, from whence shot and bombs were thrown into the
town. But the batteries which were opened on Dorchester point had the
best effect, and soon obliged General Howe to abandon the town. In
March, 1776, the British troops embarked for Halifax, and General
Washington entered the town in triumph.

In the ensuing summer, a small squadron of ships commanded by Sir Peter
Parker, and a body of troops under the Generals Clinton and Cornwallis,
attempted to take Charleston, the capital of South Carolina. The ships
made a violent attack upon the fort on Sullivan's Island, but were
repulsed with great loss, and the expedition was abandoned.

In July, Congress published their declaration of independence, which
separated America from Great Britain. This great event took place two
hundred and eighty four years after the first discovery of America by
Columbus; one hundred and sixty six, from the first effectual settlement
in Virginia; and one hundred and fifty six from the first settlement of
Plymouth, in Massachusetts, which were the earliest English settlements
in America.

Just after this declaration, General Howe with a powerful force arrived
near New York, and landed the troops upon Staten Island. General
Washington was in New York with about thirteen thousand men, who were
encamped either in the city or the neighboring fortifications.

The operations of the British began by the action on Long Island, in the
month of August. The Americans were defeated, and General Sullivan and
lord Sterling, with a large body of men, were made prisoners. The night
after the engagement, a retreat was ordered, and executed with such
silence, that the Americans left the island without alarming their
enemies, and without loss.

In September, the city of New York was abandoned by the American army,
and taken by the British.

In November, Fort Washington, on York Island, was taken, and more than
two thousand men made prisoners. Fort Lee, opposit to Fort Washington,
on the Jersey shore, was soon after taken, but the garrison escaped.

About the same time, General Clinton was sent with a body of troops to
take possession of Rhode Island; and succeeded. In addition to all these
losses and defeats, the American army suffered by desertion, and more by
sickness, which was epidemic, and very mortal.

The northern army at Ticonderoga, was in a disagreeable situation,
particularly after the battle on Lake Champlain, in which the American
force, consisting of a few light vessels, under the command of Generals
Arnold and Waterbury, was totally dispersed. But General Carleton,
instead of pursuing his victory, landed at Crown Point, reconnoitered
our posts at Ticonderoga and Mount Independence, and returned to winter
quarters in Canada.

The American army might now be said to be no more. All that now remained
of an army, which at the opening of the campaign, amounted to at least
twenty five thousand men, did not now exceed three thousand. The term of
their engagements being expired, they returned, in large bodies, to
their families and friends; the few, who from personal attachment, local
circumstances, or superior perseverance and bravery, continued with the
Generals Washington and Lee, were too inconsiderable to appear
formidable in the view of a powerful and victorious enemy.

In this alarming and critical situation of affairs, General Lee, through
an imprudent carelessness, which ill became a man in his important
station, was captured by a party of the British light horse, commanded
by Colonel Harcourt; this unfortunate circumstance gave a severe shock
to the remaining hopes of the little army, and rendered their situation
truly distressing.

While these things were transacting in New Jersey, General Washington,
far from being discouraged by the loss of General Lee, and always ready
to improve every advantage to raise the drooping spirits of his handful
of men, had made a stand on the Pensylvania side of the Delaware. Here
he collected his scattered forces, called in the assistance of the
Pensylvania militia, and on the night of the 25th of December, (1776)
when the enemy were lulled into security by the idea of his weakness,
and by the inclemency of the night, which was remarkably boisterous, as
well as by the fumes of a Christmas eve, he crossed the river, and at
the breaking of day, marched down to Trenton, and so completely
surprised them, that the greater part of the detachment which were
stationed at this place, surrendered after a short resistance. The
horsemen and a few others made their escape at the opposit end of the
town. Upwards of nine hundred Hessians were taken prisoners at this

This successful expedition first gave a favorable turn to our affairs,
which, after this, seemed to brighten thro the whole course of the war.
Soon after, General Washington attacked the British troops at Princeton,
and obtained a complete victory; not, however, without being bravely
opposed by Colonel Mawhood.

The address in planning and executing these enterprises, reflected the
highest honor on the commander, and the success revived the desponding
hopes of America. The loss of General Mercer, a gallant officer, at
Princeton, was the principal circumstance that allayed the joys of

The following year, 1777, was distinguished by very memorable events, in
favor of America. On the opening of the campaign, Governor Tryon was
sent with a body of troops, to destroy the stores at Danbury, in
Connecticut. This plan was executed, and the town mostly burnt. The
enemy suffered in their retreat, and the Americans lost General Wooster,
a brave and experienced officer.

General Prescot was taken from his quarters, on Rhode Island, by the
address and enterprise of Colonel Barton, and conveyed prisoner to the

General Burgoyne, who commanded the northern British army, took
possession of Ticonderoga, which had been abandoned by the Americans. He
pushed his successes, crossed Lake George, and encamped upon the banks
of the Hudson, near Saratoga. His progress, however, was checked, by the
defeat of Colonel Baum, near Bennington, in which the undisciplined
militia of Vermont, under General Stark, displayed unexampled bravery,
and captured almost the whole detachment.

The militia assembled from all parts of New England, to stop the
progress of General Burgoyne.

These, with the regular troops, formed a respectable army, commanded by
General Gates. After two severe actions, in which the Generals Lincoln
and Arnold, behaved with uncommon gallantry, and were wounded, General
Burgoyne found himself enclosed with brave troops, and was forced to
surrender his whole army, amounting, according to some, to ten thousand,
and according to others, to five thousand seven hundred and fifty two
men, into the hands of the Americans. This memorable event happened on
the 17th of October, 1777; and diffused an universal joy over America,
and laid a foundation for the treaty with France.

But before these transactions, the main body of the British forces had
embarked at New York, sailed up the Chesapeak, and landed at the head of
Elk river. The army soon began their march for Philadelphia. General
Washington had determined to oppose them, and for this purpose made a
stand, first at Red Clay Creek, and then upon the heights, near
Brandywine Creek. Here the armies engaged, and the Americans were
overpowered, and suffered great loss. The enemy soon pursued their
march, and took possession of Philadelphia towards the close of

Not long after, the two armies were again engaged at Germantown, and in
the beginning of the action, the Americans had the advantage; but by
some unlucky accident, the fortune of the day was turned in favor of the
British. Both sides suffered considerable losses; on the side of the
Americans, was General Nash.

In an attack upon the forts at Mud Island and Red Bank, the Hessians
were unsuccessful, and their commander, Colonel Donop, killed. The
British also lost the Augusta, a ship of the line. But the forts were
afterwards taken, and the navigation of the Delaware opened. General
Washington was reinforced, with part of the troops which had composed
the northern army, under General Gates; and both armies retired to
winter quarters.

In October, the same month in which General Burgoyne was taken at
Saratoga, General Vaughan, with a small fleet, sailed up Hudson's river,
and wantonly burnt Kingston, a beautiful Dutch settlement, on the west
side of the river.

The beginning of the next year, 1778, was distinguished by a treaty of
alliance between France and America; by which we obtained a powerful and
generous ally. When the English ministry were informed that this treaty
was on foot, they dispatched commissioners to America, to attempt a
reconciliation. But America would not now accept their offers. Early in
the spring, Count de Estaing, with a fleet of fifteen sail of the line,
was sent by the court of France to assist America.

General Howe left the army, and returned to England; the command then
devolved upon Sir Henry Clinton.

In June, the British army left Philadelphia, and marched for New York.
On their march they were annoyed by the Americans; and at Monmouth, a
very regular action took place, between part of the armies; the enemy
were repulsed with great loss, and had General Lee obeyed his orders, a
signal victory must have been obtained. General Lee, for his ill conduct
that day, was suspended, and was never afterwards permitted to join the

General Lee's conduct, at several times before this, had been very
suspicious. In December 1776, he lay at Chatham, about eleven miles from
Elizabeth Town, with a brigade of troops, when a great quantity of
baggage was stored at Elizabeth Town, under a guard of only five hundred
Hessians. General Lee was apprised of this, and might have surprised the
guard and taken the baggage. But he neglected the opportunity, and after
several marches and counter marches between Troy, Chatham and
Morristown, he took up his quarters at or near White's tavern, where he
was surprised and taken prisoner by a party of the British horse. He was
heard to say repeatedly, that General Washington would ruin a fine army.
It was suspected that he had designs to supplant the General, and his
friends attempted to place him at the head of the army. General
Washington's prudent delays and cautious movements afforded General
Lee's friends many opportunities to spread reports unfavorable to his
character. It was insinuated, with some success, that General Washington
wanted courage and abilities. Reports of this kind, at one time,
rendered General Lee very popular, and it is supposed he wished to
frustrate General Washington's plans, in order to increase the
suspicions already entertained of his generalship, and turn the public
clamor in his own favor. His conduct at Monmouth, must have proceeded
from such a design; for he commanded the flower of the American army,
and was not destitute of courage.

In August, General Sullivan, with a large body of troops, attempted to
take possession of Rhode Island, but did not succeed. Soon after, the
stores and shipping at Bedford in Massachusetts, were burnt by a party
of the British troops. The same year, Savannah, then the capital of
Georgia, was taken by the British, under the command of Colonel

In the following year (1779) General Lincoln was appointed to the
command of the southern army.

Governor Tryon and Sir George Collier made an incursion into
Connecticut, and burnt, with wanton barbarity, the towns of Fairfield
and Norwalk. But the American arms were crowned with success, in a bold
attack upon Stoney Point, which was surprised and taken by General
Wayne, in the night of the 15th of July. Five hundred men were made
prisoners, with little loss on either side.

A party of British forces attempted this summer, to build a fort on
Penobscot river, for the purpose of cutting timber in the neighboring
forests. A plan was laid by Massachusetts, to dislodge them, and a
considerable fleet collected for the purpose. But the plan failed of
success, and the whole marine force fell into the hands of the British,
except some vessels which were burnt by the Americans themselves.

In October, General Lincoln and Count de Estaing made an assault upon
Savannah; but they were repulsed with considerable loss. In this action,
the celebrated Polish Count Pulaski, who had acquired the reputation of
a brave soldier, was mortally wounded.

In this summer, General Sullivan marched with a body of troops, into the
Indians' country, and burnt and destroyed all their provisions and
settlements that fell in their way.

On the opening of the campaign, the next year, (1780) the British troops
left Rhode Island. An expedition under General Clinton and Lord
Cornwallis, was undertaken against Charleston, South Carolina, where
General Lincoln commanded. This town, after a close siege of about six
weeks, was surrendered to the British commander; and General Lincoln,
and the whole American garrison were made prisoners.

General Gates was appointed to the command in the southern department,
and another army collected. In August, Lord Cornwallis attacked the
American troops at Camden, in South Carolina, and routed them with
considerable loss. He afterwards marched through the southern States,
and supposed them entirely subdued.

The same summer, the British troops made frequent incursions from New
York into the Jersies; ravaging and plundering the country.

In July, a French fleet, under Monsieur d'Ternay, with a body of land
forces, commanded by Count de Rochambeau, arrived at Rhode Island, to
the great joy of the Americans.

This year was also distinguished by the infamous treason of General
Arnold. General Washington having some business to transact at
Wethersfield, in Connecticut, left Arnold to command the important post
of West Point; which guards a pass in Hudson's river, about sixty miles
from New York. Arnold's conduct in the city of Philadelphia, the
preceding winter, had been censured; and the treatment he received in
consequence, had given him offence.

He determined to take revenge; and for this purpose, he entered into a
negociation with Sir Henry Clinton, to deliver West Point, and the army,
into the hands of the British. While General Washington was absent, he
dismounted the cannon in some of the forts, and took other steps to
render the taking of the post easy for the enemy.

But by a providential discovery, the whole plan was defeated. Major
Andre, aid to General Clinton, a brave officer, who had been sent up the
river as a spy, to concert the plan of operations with Arnold, was
taken, condemned by a court martial, and executed. Arnold made his
escape, by getting on board the Vulture, a British vessel, which lay in
the river. His conduct has stamped him with infamy; and, like all
traitors, he is despised by all mankind. General Washington arrived in
camp just after Arnold had made his escape, and restored order in the

After the defeat of General Gates in Carolina, General Greene was
appointed to the command in the southern department. From this period,
things in that quarter wore a more favorable aspect. Colonel Tarleton,
the activ commander of the British legion, was defeated by General
Morgan, the intrepid commander of the rifle men.

After a variety of movements, the two armies met at Guilford, in
Carolina. Here was one of the best fought actions during the war.
General Greene and Lord Cornwallis exerted themselves at the head of
their respectiv armies; and although the Americans were obliged to
retire from the field of battle, yet the British army suffered an
immense loss, and could not pursue the victory. This action happened on
the 15th March, 1781.

In the spring, Arnold the traitor, who was made a Brigadier General in
the British service, with a small number of troops, sailed for Virginia,
and plundered the country. This called the attention of the French fleet
to that quarter; and a naval engagement took place between the English
and French, in which some of the English ships were much damaged, and
one entirely disabled.

After the battle of Guilford, General Greene moved towards South
Carolina, to drive the British from their posts in that State. Here Lord
Rawdon obtained an inconsiderable advantage over the Americans, near
Camden. But General Greene more than recovered this advantage, by the
brilliant and successful action at the Eutaw Springs; where General
Marian distinguished himself, and the brave Colonel Washington was
wounded and taken prisoner.

Lord Cornwallis, finding General Greene successful in Carolina, marched
to Virginia, collected his forces, and fortified himself in Yorktown. In
the mean time Arnold made an incursion into Connecticut, burnt a part of
New London, took Fort Griswold by storm, and put the garrison to the
sword. The garrison consisted chiefly of men suddenly collected from the
little town of Groton, which, by the savage cruelty of the British
officer who commanded the attack, lost, in one hour, almost all its
heads of families. The brave Colonel Ledyard, who commanded the fort,
was slain with his own sword, after he had surrendered.

The Marquis de la Fayette, the brave and generous nobleman, whose
services command the gratitude of every American, had been dispatched
with about two thousand light infantry, from the main army, to watch the
motions of lord Cornwallis in Virginia. He prosecuted this expedition
with the greatest military ability. Although his force was much inferior
to that of the enemy, he obliged them to leave Richmond and
Williamsburgh, and to seek protection under their shipping.

About the last of August, Count de Grasse arrived with a large fleet in
the Chesapeak, and blocked up the British troops at Yorktown. Admiral
Greaves, with a British fleet, appeared off the Capes, and an action
succeeded; but it was not decisiv.

General Washington had before this time moved the main body of his army,
together with the French troops, to the southward; and as soon as he
heard of the arrival of the French fleet in the Chesapeak, he made rapid
marches to the head of Elk, where embarking, the troops soon arrived at

A close siege immediately commenced, and was carried on with such vigor,
by the combined forces of America and France, that lord Cornwallis was
obliged to surrender. This glorious event which took place on the 19th
of October, 1781, decided the contest in favor of America; and laid the
foundation of a general peace.[46]

    [46] It has been controverted whether the capture of General
    Cornwallis was the result of a plan preconcerted between
    General Washington and Count de Grasse; or rather whether the
    arrival of the Count in the Chesapeak was predetermined and
    expected by General Washington, and consequently all the
    preparations to attack New York a mere finesse to deceive the
    enemy; or whether the real intention was against New York,
    and the siege of Yorktown planned upon the unexpected arrival
    of the French fleet in the bay. The following letter will let
    the matter in its true light.

              _Mount Vernon, July 31, 1788._


    I duly received your letter of the 14th instant, and can only
    answer you briefly and generally from memory; that a combined
    operation of the land and naval forces of France in America,
    for the year 1781, was preconcerted the year before; that the
    point of attack was not absolutely agreed upon,[b] because it
    could not be foreknown where the enemy would be most
    susceptible of impression; and because we (having the command
    of the water with sufficient means of conveyance) could
    transport ourselves to any spot with the greatest celerity;
    that it was determined by me, nearly twelve months before
    hand, at all hazards, to give out and cause it to be believed
    by the highest military as well as civil officers, that New
    York was the destined place of attack, for the important
    purpose of inducing the eastern and middle States to make
    greater exertions in furnishing specific supplies, than they
    otherwise would have done, as well as for the interesting
    purpose of rendering the enemy less prepared elsewhere; that
    by these means, and these alone, artillery, boats, stores,
    and provisions, were in seasonable preparation to move with
    the utmost rapidity to any part of the continent; for the
    difficulty consisted more in providing, than knowing how to
    apply the military apparatus; that before the arrival of the
    Count de Grasse, it was the fixed determination _to strike
    the enemy in the most vulnerable quarter_, so as to ensure
    success with moral certainty, as our affairs were then in the
    most ruinous train imaginable; that New York was thought to
    be beyond our effort, and consequently that the only
    hesitation that remained, was between an attack upon the
    British army in Virginia and that in Charleston: And finally,
    that, by the intervention of several communications, and some
    incidents which cannot be detailed in a letter, the hostile
    post in Virginia, from being a _provisional and strongly
    expected_, became the _definitiv and certain object_ of the

         [b] Because it would be easy for the Count de
         Grasse, in good time before his departure from the
         West Indies, to giv notice, by expressing at what
         place he could most conveniently first touch to
         receive advice.

    I only add, that it never was in contemplation to attack New
    York, unless the garrison should first have been so far
    degarnished to carry on the southern operations, as to render
    our success in the siege of that place, as infallible as any
    future military event can ever be made. For I repeat it, and
    dwell upon it again, some splendid advantage (whether upon a
    larger or smaller scale was almost immaterial) was so
    essentially necessary, to revive the expiring hopes and
    languid exertions of the country, at the crisis in question,
    that I never would have consented to embark in any
    enterprise, wherein, from the most rational plan and accurate
    calculations, the favorable issue should not have appeared as
    clear to my view as a ray of light. The failure of an attempt
    against the posts of the enemy, could, in no other possible
    situation during the war, have been so fatal to our cause.

    That much trouble was taken and finesse used to misguide and
    bewilder Sir Henry Clinton, in regard to the real object, by
    fictitious communications, as well as by making a deceptiv
    provision of ovens, forage, and boats, in his neighborhood,
    is certain: Nor were less pains taken to deceive our own
    army; for I had always conceived, where the imposition did
    not completely take place at home, it could never
    sufficiently succeed abroad.

    Your desire of obtaining truth, is very laudable; I wish I
    had more leisure to gratify it, as I am equally solicitous
    the undisguised verity should be known. Many circumstances
    will unavoidably be misconceived and misrepresented.
    Notwithstanding most of the papers, which may properly be
    deemed official, are preserved; yet the knowlege of
    innumerable things, of a more delicate and secret nature, is
    confined to the perishable remembrance of some few of the
    present generation.

    With esteem, I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,

              G. WASHINGTON.

    To ----.

A few months after the surrender of Cornwallis, the British evacuated
all their posts in South Carolina and Georgia, and retired to the main
army in New York.

The next spring, (1782) Sir Guy Carleton arrived in New York, and took
the command of the British army, in America. Immediately on his arrival,
he acquainted General Washington and Congress, that negociations for a
peace had been commenced at Paris.

On the 30th of November, 1782, the provisional articles of peace were
signed at Paris; by which Great Britain acknowleged the independence and
sovereignty of the United States of America; and these articles were
afterwards ratified by a definitiv treaty.

Thus ended a long and arduous conflict, in which Great Britain expended
near an hundred millions of money, with an hundred thousand lives, and
won nothing. America endured every cruelty and distress from her
enemies; lost many lives and much treasure; but delivered herself from a
foreign dominion, and gained a rank among the nations of the earth.

Holland acknowleged the independence of the United States on the 19th of
April, 1782; Sweden, February 5th, 1783; Denmark, the 25th of February;
Spain, in March, and Russia in July, 1783.

No sooner was peace restored by the definitiv treaty, and the British
troops withdrawn from the country, than the United States began to
experience the defects of their general government. While an enemy was
in the country, fear, which had first impelled the colonies to associate
in mutual defence, continued to operate as a band of political union. It
gave to the resolutions and recommendations of Congress the force of
laws, and generally commanded a ready acquiescence on the part of the
State legislatures. Articles of confederation and perpetual union had
been framed in Congress, and submitted to the consideration of the
States, in the year 1778. Some of the States immediately acceded to
them; but others, which had not unappropriated lands, hesitated to
subscribe a compact, which would giv an advantage to the States which
possessed large tracts of unlocated lands, and were thus capable of a
great superiority in wealth and population. All objections however had
been overcome, and by the accession of Maryland in March, 1781, the
articles of confederation were ratified, as the frame of government for
the United States.

These articles, however were framed during the rage of war, when a
principle of common safety supplied the place of a coerciv power in
government; by men who could have had no experience in the art of
governing an extensiv country, and under circumstances the most critical
and embarrassing. To have offered to the people at that time, a system
of government armed with the powers necessary to regulate and control
the contending interests of thirteen States, and the possessions of
millions of people, might have raised a jealousy between the States or
in the minds of the people at large, that would have weakened the
operations of war, and perhaps have rendered a union impracticable.
Hence the numerous defects of the confederation.

On the conclusion of peace, these defects began to be felt. Each State
assumed the right of disputing the propriety of the resolutions of
Congress, and the interest of an individual State was placed in
opposition to the common interest of the union. In addition to this
source of division, a jealousy of the powers of Congress began to be
excited in the minds of people.

This jealousy of the privileges of freemen, had been roused by the
oppressiv acts of the British parliament; and no sooner had the danger
from this quarter ceased, than the fears of people changed their object,
and were turned against their own rulers.

In this situation, there were not wanting men of industry and talents,
who had been enemies to the revolution, and who embraced the opportunity
to multiply the apprehensions of people and increase the popular
discontents. A remarkable instance of this happened in Connecticut. As
soon as the tumults of war had subsided, an attempt was made to convince
the people, that the act of Congress passed in 1778, granting to the
officers of the army, half pay for life, was highly unjust and
tyrannical; and that it was but the first step towards the establishment
of pensions and an uncontrolable despotism. The act of Congress, passed
in 1783, commuting half pay for life for five years full pay, was
designed to appease the apprehensions of people, and to convince them
that this gratuity was intended merely to indemnify the officers for
their losses by the depreciation of the paper currency; and not to
establish a precedent for the granting of pensions. This act, however,
did not satisfy the people, who supposed that the officers had been
generally indemnified for the loss of their pay, by the grants made them
from time to time by the legislatures of the several States. Besides the
act, while it gave five years full pay to the officers, allowed but one
year's pay to the privates; a distinction which had great influence in
exciting and continuing the popular ferment, and one that turned a large
share of the public rage against the officers themselves.

The moment an alarm was raised respecting this act of Congress, the
enemies of our independence became activ in blowing up the flame, by
spreading reports unfavorable to the general government, and tending to
create public dissensions. Newspapers, in some parts of the country,
were filled with inflammatory publications; while false reports and
groundless insinuations were industriously circulated to the prejudice
of Congress and the officers of the late army. Among a people feelingly
alive to every thing that could affect the rights for which they had
been contending, these reports could not fail of having a powerful
effect; the clamor soon became general; the officers of the army, it was
believed, had attempted to raise their fortunes on the distresses of
their fellow citizens, and Congress become the tyrants of their country.

Connecticut was the seat of this uneasiness; altho other States were
much agitated on the occasion. But the inhabitants of that State,
accustomed to order and a due subordination to the laws, did not proceed
to outrages; they took their usual mode of collecting the sense of the
State; assembled in town meetings; appointed committees to meet in
convention, and consult what measures should be adopted to procure a
redress of their grievances. In this convention, which was held at
Middletown, some nugatory resolves were passed, exploiting a
disapprobation of the half pay act, and the subsequent commutation of
the grant for five years whole pay. The same spirit also discovered
itself in the assembly, at their October session, in 1783. A
remonstrance against the acts in favor of the officers, was framed in
the house of representativs, and notwithstanding the upper house refused
to concur in the measure, it was sent to Congress.

During this situation of affairs, the public odium against the officers,
was augmented by another circumstance. The officers, just before the
disbanding of the army, had formed a society, called by the name of the
_Cincinnati_, after the Roman Dictator, Cincinnatus, which, it was said,
was intended to perpetuate the memory of the revolution, the friendship
of the officers, and the union of the States; and also to raise a fund
for the relief of poor widows and orphans, whose husbands and fathers
had fallen during the war, and for their descendants. The society was
divided into State societies, which were to meet on the 4th of July, and
with other business, depute a number of their members to convene
annually in general meeting. The members of the institution were to be
distinguished by wearing a medal, emblematical of the design of the
society, and the honors and advantages were to be hereditary in the
eldest male heirs, and in default of male issue, in the collateral male
heirs. Honorary members were to be admitted, but without the hereditary
advantages of the society, and provided their number would never exceed
the ratio of one to four of the officers or their descendants.

Whatever were the real views of the framers of this institution, its
design was generally understood to be harmless and honorable. The
ostensible views of the society could not however skreen it from popular
jealousy. A spirited pamphlet appeared in South Carolina, the avowed
production of Mr. Burke, one of the judges of the supreme court in that
State, in which the author attempted to prove that the principles, on
which the society was formed, would, in process of time, originate and
establish an order of nobility in this country, which would be repugnant
to the genius of our republican governments, and dangerous to liberty.
This pamphlet appeared in Connecticut, during the commotions raised by
the half pay and commutation acts, and contributed not a little to
spread the flame of opposition. Nothing could exceed the odium which
prevailed at this time, against the men who had hazarded their persons
and properties in the revolution.

Notwithstanding the discontents of the people were general, and ready to
burst forth in sedition, yet men of information, viz. the officers of
government, the clergy, and persons of liberal education, were mostly
opposed to the unconstitutional steps taken by the committees and
convention at Middletown. They supported the propriety of the measures
of Congress, both by conversation and writing, proved that such grants
to the army were necessary to keep the troops together, and that the
expense would not be enormous nor oppressiv. During the close of the
year 1783, every possible exertion was made to enlighten the people, and
such was the effect of the arguments used by the minority, that in the
beginning of the following year, the opposition subsided, the committees
were dismissed, and tranquillity restored to the State. In May, the
legislature were able to carry several measures which had before been
extremely unpopular. An act was passed, granting the import of five per
cent. to Congress; another giving great encouragement to commerce, and
several towns were incorporated with extensiv privileges, for the
purpose of regulating the exports of the State, and facilitating the
collection of debts.

The opposition to the Congressional acts in favor of the officers, and
to the order of the Cincinnati, did not rise to the same pitch in the
other States as in Connecticut; yet it produced much disturbance in
Massachusetts, and some others. Jealousy of power had been universally
spread among the people of the United States. The destruction of the old
forms of governments, and the licentiousness of war had, in a great
measure, broken their habits of obedience; their passions had been
inflamed by the cry of despotism; and like centinels, who have been
suddenly surprised by the approach of an enemy, the rustling of a leaf
was sufficient to giv them an alarm. This spirit of jealousy, which has
not yet subsided, and which will probably continue visible during the
present generation, operated with other causes to relax the energy of
our federal operations.

During the war, vast sums of paper currency had been emitted by
Congress, and large quantities of specie had been introduced, towards
the close of the war, by the French army, and the Spanish trade. This
plenty of money enabled the States to comply with the first requisitions
of Congress; so that during two or three years, the federal treasury
was, in some measure, supplied. But when the danger of war had ceased,
and the vast importations of foreign goods had lessened the quantity of
circulating specie, the States began to be very remiss in furnishing
their proportion of monies. The annihilation of the credit of the paper
bills had totally stopped their circulation, and the specie was leaving
the country in cargoes, for remittances to Great Britain; still the
luxurious habits of the people, contracted during the war, called for
new supplies of goods, and private gratification seconded the narrow
policy of State interest in defeating the operations of the general

Thus the revenues of Congress were annually diminishing; some of the
States wholly neglecting to make provision for paying the interest of
the national debt; others making but a partial provision, until the
scanty supplies received from a few of the rich States, would hardly
satisfy the demands of the civil list.

This weakness of the federal government, in conjunction with the flood
of certificates or public securities, which Congress could neither fund
nor pay, occasioned them to depreciate to a very inconsiderable value.
The officers and soldiers of the late army were obliged to receive for
wages these certificates, or promissary notes, which passed at a fifth,
or eighth, or a tenth of their nominal value; being thus deprived at
once of the greatest part of the reward due for their services. Some
indeed profited by speculations in these evidences of the public debt;
but such as were under a necessity of parting with them, were robbed of
that support which they had a right to expect and demand from their

Pensylvania indeed made provision for paying the interest of her debts,
both State and federal; assuming her supposed proportion of the
continental debt, and giving the creditors her own State notes in
exchange for those of the United States. The resources of that State are
immense, but she has not been able to make punctual payments, even in a
depreciated paper currency.

Massachusetts, in her zeal to comply fully with the requisitions of
Congress, and satisfy the demands of her own creditors, laid a heavy
tax upon the people. This was the immediate cause of the rebellion in
that State, in 1786. But a heavy debt lying on the State, added to
burdens of the same nature, upon almost every incorporation within it; a
decline, or rather an extinction of public credit; a relaxation and
corruption of manners, and a free use of foreign luxuries; a decay of
trade and manufactures, with a prevailing scarcity of money; and, above
all, individuals involved in debt to each other: These were the real,
though more remote causes of the insurrection. It was the tax which the
people were required to pay, that caused them to feel evils which we
have enumerated: This called forth all their other grievances; and the
first act of violence committed, was the burning or destroying of a tax
bill. This sedition threw the State into a convulsion which lasted about
a year; courts of justice were violently obstructed; the collection of
debts was suspended; and a body of armed troops, under the command of
General Lincoln, was employed during the winter of 1786, to disperse the
insurgents. Yet so numerous were the latter in the counties of
Worcester, Hampshire and Berkshire, and so obstinately combined to
oppose the execution of law by force, that the Governor and Council of
the State thought proper not to intrust General Lincoln with military
powers, except to act on the defensiv, and to repel force with force, in
case the insurgents should attack him. The leaders of the rebels however
were not men of talents; they were desperate, but without fortitude; and
while they were supported with a superior force, they appeared to be
impressed with that consciousness of guilt, which awes the most daring
wretch, and makes him shrink from his purpose. This appears by the
conduct of a large party of the rebels before the magazine at
Springfield; where General Shepard with a small guard, was stationed to
protect the continental stores. The insurgents appeared upon the plain,
with a vast superiority of numbers, but a few shot from the artillery
made the multitude retreat in disorder, with the loss of four men. This
spirited conduct of General Shepard, with the industry, perseverance
and prudent firmness of General Lincoln, dispersed the rebels, drove the
leaders from the State, and restored tranquillity. An act of indemnity
was passed in the Legislature for all the insurgents, except a few
leaders, on condition they should become peaceable subjects, and take
the oath of allegiance. The leaders afterwards petitioned for pardon,
which, from motivs of policy, was granted by the Legislature.

But the loss of public credit, popular disturbances, and insurrections,
were not the only evils which were generated by the peculiar
circumstances of the times. The emissions of bills of credit and tender
laws, were added to the black catalogue of political disorders.

The expedient of supplying the deficiencies of specie, by emissions of
paper bills, was adopted very early in the colonies. The expedient was
obvious and produced good effects. In a new country, where population is
rapid, and the value of lands increasing, the farmer finds an advantage
in paying legal interest for money; for if he can pay the interest by
his profits, the increasing value of his lands will, in a few years,
discharge the principal.

In no colony was this advantage more sensibly experienced than in
Pensylvania. The emigrants to that province were numerous; the natural
population rapid; and these circumstances combined, advanced the value
of real property to an astonishing degree. As the first settlers there,
as well as in other provinces, were poor, the purchase of a few foreign
articles drained them of specie. Indeed for many years, the balance of
trade must have necessarily been greatly against the colonies.

But bills of credit, emitted by the State and loaned to the industrious
inhabitants, supplied the want of specie, and enabled the farmer to
purchase stock. These bills were generally a legal tender in all
colonial or private contracts, and the sums issued did not generally
exceed the quantity requisit for a medium of trade; they retained their
full nominal value in the purchase of commodities. But as they were not
received by the British merchants, in payment for goods, there was a
great demand for specie and bills, which occasioned the latter at
various times to appreciate. Thus was introduced a difference between
the English sterling money and the currencies of the colonies which
remains to this day.[47]

    [47] A dollar, in sterling money, is 4_s_6. But the price of
    a dollar rose in New England currency to 6_s_; in New York to
    8_s_; in New Jersey, Pensylvania and Maryland to 7_s_6; in
    Virginia to 6_s_; in North Carolina to 8_s_; in South
    Carolina and Georgia to 4_s_8. This difference, originating
    between paper and specie, or bills, continued afterwards to
    exist in the nominal estimation of gold and silver.

              _Franklin's Miscel. Works, p. 217._

The advantages the colonies had derived from bills of credit, under the
British government, suggested to Congress, in 1775, the idea of issuing
bills for the purpose of carrying on the war. And this was perhaps their
only expedient. Money could not be raised by taxation; it could not be
borrowed. The first emissions had no other effect upon the medium of
commerce, than to drive the specie from circulation. But when the paper
substituted for specie, had, by repeated millions, augmented the sum in
circulation, much beyond the usual sum of specie, the bills began to
lose their value. The depreciation continued in proportion to the sums
emitted, until seventy, and even one hundred and fifty nominal paper
dollars, were hardly an equivalent for one Spanish milled dollar. Still
from the year 1775 to 1781, this depreciating paper currency was almost
the only medium of trade. It supplied the place of specie, and enabled
Congress to support a numerous army; until the sum in circulation
amounted to two hundred millions of dollars. But about the year 1780,
specie began to be plentiful, being introduced by the French army, a
private trade with the Spanish islands, and an illicit intercourse with
the British garrison at New York. This circumstance accelerated the
depreciation of the paper bills, until their value had sunk almost to
nothing. In 1781, the merchants and brokers in the southern States,
apprehensiv of the approaching fate of the currency, pushed immense
quantities of it suddenly into New England, made vast purchases of goods
in Boston, and instantly the bills vanished from circulation.

The whole history of this continental paper is a history of public and
private frauds. Old specie debts were often paid in a depreciated
currency, and even new contracts for a few weeks or days were often
discharged with a small part of the value received. From this plenty and
fluctuating state of the medium, sprung hosts of speculators and
itinerant traders, who left their honest occupations for the prospect of
immense gains, in a fraudulent business, that depended on no fixed
principles, and the profits of which could be reduced to no certain

To increase these evils, a project was formed to fix the prices of
articles, and restrain persons from giving or receiving more for any
commodity than the price stated by authority. These regulating acts were
reprobated by every man acquainted with commerce and finance; as they
were intended to prevent an effect without removing the cause. To
attempt to fix the value of money, while streams of bills were
incessantly flowing from the treasury of the United States, was as
ridiculous as an attempt to restrain the rising of water in rivers
amidst showers of rain.

Notwithstanding all opposition, some States framed and attempted to
enforce these regulating acts. The effect was, a momentary apparent
stand in the price of articles; innumerable acts of collusion and
evasion among the dishonest; numberless injuries done to the honest; and
finally a total disregard of all such regulations, and the consequential
contempt of laws and the authority of the magistrate.

During these fluctuations of business, occasioned by the variable value
of money, people lost sight, in some measure, of the steady principles
which had before governed their intercourse with each other.
Speculations followed and relaxed the rigor of commercial obligations.

Industry likewise had suffered by the flood of money which had deluged
the States. The prices of produce had risen in proportion to the
quantity of money in circulation, and the demand for the commodities of
the country. This made the acquisition of money easy, and indolence and
luxury, with their train of desolating consequences, spread themselves
among all descriptions of people.

But as soon as hostilities between Great Britain and America were
suspended, the scene was changed. The bills emitted by Congress had long
before ceased to circulate; and the specie of the country was soon
drained off to pay for foreign goods, the importations of which exceeded
all calculation. Within two years from the close of the war, _a scarcity
of money_ was the general cry. The merchants found it impossible to
collect their debts, and make punctual remittances to their creditors in
Great Britain; and the consumers were driven to the necessity of
retrenching their superfluities in living and of returning to their
ancient habits of industry and economy.

This change was however progressiv and slow. In many of the States which
suffered by the numerous debts they had contracted, and by the
distresses of war, the people called aloud for emissions of paper bills
to supply the deficiency of a medium. The depreciation of the
continental bills, was a recent example of the ill effects of such an
expedient, and the impossibility of supporting the credit of paper, was
urged by the opposers of the measure as a substantial argument against
adopting it. But nothing would silence the popular clamor; and many men
of the first talents and eminence, united their voices with that of the
populace. Paper money had formerly maintained its credit, and been of
singular utility; and past experience, notwithstanding a change of
circumstances, was an argument in its favor that bore down all

Pensylvania, although one of the richest States in the union, was the
first to emit bills of credit, as a substitute for specie. But the
revolution had removed the necessity of it, at the same time that it
had destroyed the means by which its former credit had been supported.
Lands, at the close of the war, were not rising in value; bills on
London could not so readily be purchased, as while the province was
dependent on Great Britain; the State was split into parties, one of
which attempted to defeat the measures most popular with the other; and
the depreciation of continental bills, with the injuries which it had
done to individuals, inspired a general distrust of all public promises.

Notwithstanding a part of the money was loaned on good landed security,
and the faith of that wealthy State pledged for the redemption of the
whole at its nominal value, yet the advantages of specie as a medium of
commerce, especially as an article of remittance to London, soon made a
difference of ten per cent. between the bills of credit and specie. This
difference may be considered rather as an appreciation of gold and
silver, than a depreciation of paper; but its effects, in a commercial
State, must be highly prejudicial. It opens the door to frauds of all
kinds, and frauds are usually practised on the honest and unsuspecting,
especially upon all classes of laborers.

This currency of Pensylvania is receivable in all payments at the custom
house, and for certain taxes, at its nominal value; yet it has sunk to
two thirds of this value, in the few commercial transactions where it is

North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, had recourse to the same
wretched expedient to supply themselves with money; not reflecting that
industry, frugality, and good commercial laws are the only means of
turning the balance of trade in favor of a country, and that this
balance is the only permanent source of solid wealth and ready money.
But the bills they emitted shared a worse fate than those of
Pensylvania; they expelled almost all the circulating cash from the
States; they lost a great part of their nominal value; they impoverished
the merchants, and embarrassed the planters.

The State of Virginia had too much wisdom to emit bills; but tolerated a
practice among the inhabitants of cutting dollars and smaller pieces of
silver, in order to prevent it from leaving the State. This pernicious
practice prevailed also in Georgia.[48]

    [48] A dollar was usually cut in five pieces, and each passed
    by toll for a quarter; so that the man who cut it gained a
    quarter, or rather a fifth. If the State should recoin this
    silver, it must lose a fifth.

Maryland escaped the calamity of a paper currency. The house of
delegates brought forward a bill for the emission of bills of credit to
a large amount; but the senate firmly and successfully resisted the
pernicious scheme. The opposition between the two houses was violent and
tumultuous; it threatened the State with anarchy; but the question was
carried to the people, and the good sense of the senate finally

New Jersey is situated between two or the largest commercial towns in
America, and consequently drained of specie. This State also emitted a
large sum in bills of credit, which served to pay the interest of the
public debt; but the currency depreciated, as in other States.

Rhode Island exhibits a melancholy proof of that licentiousness and
anarchy which always follows a relaxation of the moral principles. In a
rage for supplying the State with money, and filling every man's pocket
without obliging him to earn it by his diligence, the Legislature passed
an act for making one hundred thousand pounds in bills; a sum much more
than sufficient for a medium of trade in that State, even without any
specie. The merchants in Newport and Providence opposed the act with
firmness; their opposition added fresh vigour to the resolution of the
assembly, and induced them to inforce the scheme by a legal lender of a
most extraordinary nature. They passed an act, ordaining that if any
creditor should refuse to take their bills, for any debt whatever, the
debtor might lodge the sum due, with a justice of the peace, who should
giv notice of it in the public papers; and if the creditor did not
appear and receive the money within six months from the first notice,
his debt should be forfeited. This act astonished all honest men, and
even the promoters of paper money making in other States, and on other
principles, reprobated this act of Rhode Island, as wicked and
oppressiv. But the State was governed by faction. During the cry for
paper money, a number of boisterous ignorant men, were elected into the
Legislature, from the smaller towns in the State. Finding themselves
united with a majority in opinion, they formed and executed any plan
their inclination suggested; they opposed every measure that was
agreeable to the mercantile interest; they not only made bad laws to
suit their own wicked purposes, but appointed their own corrupt
creatures to fill the judicial and executiv departments. Their money
depreciated sufficiently to answer all their vile purposes in the
discharge of debts; business almost totally ceased; all confidence was
lost; the State was thrown into confusion at home, and was execrated

Massachusetts Bay had the good fortune, amidst her political calamities,
to prevent an emission of bills of credit. New Hampshire made no paper;
but in the distresses which followed her loss of business after the war,
the Legislature made horses, lumber, and most articles of produce a
legal tender in the fulfilment of contracts. It is doubtless unjust to
oblige a creditor to receive any thing for his debt, which he had not in
contemplation at the time of the contract. But as the commodities which
were to be a tender by the law of New Hampshire, were of an intrinsic
value, bearing some proportion to the amount of the debt, the injustice
of the law was less flagrant, than that which enforced the tender of
paper in Rhode Island. Indeed a similar law prevailed for some time in
Massachusetts; and in Connecticut it is optional with the creditor,
either to imprison the debtor, or take land on an execution, at a price
to be fixed by three indifferent freeholders; provided no other means of
payment shall appear to satisfy the demand. It must not however be
omitted, that while the most flourishing commercial States introduced a
paper medium, to the great injury of honest men, a bill for an emission
of paper in Connecticut, where there is very little specie, could never
command more than one eighth of the votes of the Legislature. The movers
of the bill have hardly escaped ridicule; so generally is the measure
reprobated as a source of fraud and public mischief.

The Legislature of New York, a State that had the least necessity and
apology for making paper money, as her commercial advantages always
furnish her with specie sufficient for a medium, issued a large sum in
bills of credit, which support their value better than the currency of
any other State. Still the paper has raised the value of specie, which
is always in demand for exportation, and this difference of exchange
between paper and specie, exposes commerce to most of the
inconveniencies resulting from a depreciated medium.

Such is the history of paper money thus far; a miserable substitute for
real coin, in a country where the reins of government are too weak to
compel the fulfilment of public engagements; and where all confidence in
public faith is totally destroyed.

While the States were thus endeavoring to repair the loss of specie, by
empty promises, and to support their business by shadows, rather than by
reality, the British ministry formed some commercial regulations that
deprived them of the profits of their trade to the West Indies and to
Great Britain. Heavy duties were laid upon such articles as were
remitted to the London merchants for their goods, and such were the
duties upon American bottoms, that the States were almost wholly
deprived of the carrying trade. A prohibition was laid upon the produce
of the United States, shipped to the English West India Islands in
American built vessels, and in those manned by American seamen. These
restrictions fell heavy upon the eastern States, which depended much
upon ship building for the support of their trade; and they materially
injured the business of the other States.

Without a union that was able to form and execute a general system of
commercial regulations, some of the States attempted to impose
restraints upon the British trade that should indemnify the merchant for
the losses he had suffered, or induce the British ministry to enter into
a commercial treaty, and relax the rigor of their navigation laws. These
measures however produced nothing but mischief. The States did not act
in concert, and the restraints laid on the trade of one State operated
to throw the business into the hands of its neighbor. Massachusetts, in
her zeal to counteract the effect of the English navigation laws, laid
enormous duties upon British goods imported into that State; but the
other States did not adopt a similar measure; and the loss of business
soon obliged that State to repeal or suspend the law. Thus when
Pensylvania laid heavy duties on British goods, Delaware and New Jersey
made a number of free ports to encourage the landing of goods within the
limits of those States; and the duties in Pensylvania served no purpose,
but to create smuggling.

Thus divided, the States began to feel their weakness. Most of the
Legislatures had neglected to comply with the requisitions of Congress
for furnishing the federal treasury; the resolves of Congress were
disregarded; the proposition for a general import to be laid and
collected by Congress was negatived first by Rhode Island, and
afterwards by New York. The British troops continued, under pretence of
a breach of treaty on the part of America, to hold possession of the
forts on the frontiers of the States, and thus commanded the fur trade.
Many of the States individually were infested with popular commotions or
iniquitous tender laws, while they were oppressed with public debts; the
certificates or public notes had lost most of their value, and
circulated merely as the objects of speculation; Congress lost their
respectability, and the United States their credit and importance.

In the midst of these calamities, a proposition was made in 1785, in the
house of delegates, in Virginia, to appoint commissioners, to meet such
as might be appointed in the other States, who should form a system of
commercial regulations for the United States, and recommend it to the
several Legislatures for adoption. Commissioners were accordingly
appointed and a request was made to the Legislatures of the other States
to accede to the proposition. Accordingly several of the States
appointed commissioners, who met at Annapolis in the summer of 1786, to
consult what measures should be taken to unite the States in some
general and efficient commercial system. But as the States were not all
represented, and the powers of the commissioners were, in their opinion,
too limited to propose a system of regulations adequate to the purposes
of government, they agreed to recommend a general convention to be held
at Philadelphia the next year, with powers to frame a general plan of
government for the United States. This measure appeared to the
commissioners absolutely necessary. The old confederation was
essentially defectiv. It was destitute of almost every principle
necessary to giv effect to legislation.

It was defectiv in the article of legislating over States, instead of
individuals. All history testifies that recommendations will not operate
as laws, and compulsion cannot be exercised over States, without
violence, war and anarchy. The confederation was also destitute of a
sanction to its laws. When resolutions were passed in Congress, there
was no power to compel obedience by fine, by suspension of privileges or
other means. It was also destitute of a guarantee for the State
governments. Had one State been invaded by its neighbor, the union was
not constitutionally bound to assist in repelling the invasion, and
supporting the constitution of the invaded State. The confederation was
further deficient in the principle of apportioning the quotas of money
to be furnished by each State; in a want of power to form commercial
laws, and to raise troops for the defence and security of the union; in
the equal suffrage of the States, which placed Rhode Island on a
footing in Congress with Virginia; and to crown all the defects, we may
add the want of a judiciary power, to define the laws of the union, and
to reconcile the contradictory decisions of a number of independent

These and many inferior defects were obvious to the commissioners, and
therefore they urged a general convention, with powers to form and offer
to the consideration of the States, a system of general government that
should be less exceptionable. Accordingly in May, 1787, delegates from
all the States, except Rhode Island, assembled at Philadelphia; and
chose General Washington for their president. After four months
deliberation, in which the clashing interests of the several States,
appeared in all their force, the convention agreed to recommend a plan
of federal government, &c.

As soon as the plan of the federal constitution was submitted to the
Legislatures of the several States, they proceeded to take measures for
collecting the sense of the people upon the propriety of adopting it. In
the small State of Delaware, a convention was called in November, which,
after a few days deliberation, ratified the constitution, without a
dissenting voice.

In the convention of Pensylvania, held the same month, there was a
spirited opposition to the new form of government. The debates were long
and interesting. Great abilities and firmness were displayed on both
sides; but, on the 13th of December, the constitution was received by
two thirds of the members. The minority were dissatisfied, and with an
obstinacy that ill became the representativs of a free people, published
their reasons of dissent, which were calculated to inflame a party
already violent, and which, in fact, produced some disturbances in the
western parts of the State. But the opposition has since subsided.

In New Jersey, the convention which met in December, were unanimous in
adopting the constitution; as was likewise that of Georgia.

In Connecticut there was some opposition; but the constitution was, on
the 9th of January, 1788, ratified by three fourths of the votes in
convention, and the minority peaceably acquiesced in the decision.

In Massachusetts, the opposition was large and respectable. The
convention, consisting of more than three hundred delegates, were
assembled in January, and continued their debates, with great candor and
liberality, about five weeks. At length the question was carried for the
constitution by a small majority, and the minority, with that manly
condescension which becomes great minds, submitted to the measure, and
united to support the government.

In New Hampshire, the federal cause was, for some time doubtful. The
greatest number of the delegates in convention, were at first on the
side of the opposition; and some, who might have had their objections
removed by the discussion of the subject, instructed to reject the
constitution. Altho the instructions of constituents cannot, on the true
principles of representation, be binding upon a deputy, in any
legislativ assembly, because his constituents are but a _part_ of the
State, and have not heard the arguments and objections of the _whole_;
whereas, his act is to affect the _whole_ State, and therefore is to be
directed by the sense or wisdom of the whole, collected in the
legislativ assembly; yet the delegates in the New Hampshire convention
conceived, very erroneously, that the sense of the freemen in the towns,
those little districts, where no act of legislation can be performed,
imposed a restraint upon their own wills.[49] An adjournment was
therefore moved, and carried. This gave the people opportunity to gain a
farther knowlege of the merits of the constitution, and at the second
meeting of the convention, it was ratified by a respectable majority.

    [49] This pernicious opinion has prevailed in all the States,
    and done infinit mischief.

In Maryland, several men of abilities appeared in the opposition, and
were unremitted in their endeavors to persuade the people, that the
proposed plan of government was artfully calculated to deprive them of
their dearest rights; yet in convention it appeared that five sixths of
the voices were in favor of it.

In South Carolina, the opposition was respectable; but two thirds of the
convention appeared to advocate and vote for the constitution.

In Virginia, many of the principal characters opposed the ratification
of the constitution with great abilities and industry. But after a full
discussion of the subject, a small majority, of a numerous convention,
appeared for its adoption.

In New York, two thirds of the delegates in convention were, at their
first meeting, determined to reject the constitution. Here, therefore,
the debates were the most interesting, and the event extremely doubtful.
The argument was managed with uncommon address and abilities on both
sides of the question. But during the session, the ninth and tenth
States had acceded to the proposed plan, so that by the constitution,
Congress were empowered to issue an ordinance for organizing the new
government. This event placed the opposition on new ground; and the
expediency of uniting with the other States; the generous motivs of
conciliating all differences, and the danger of a rejection, influenced
a respectable number, who were originally opposed to the constitution,
to join the federal interest. The constitution was accordingly ratified
by a small majority; but the ratification was accompanied here, as in
Virginia, with a bill of rights, declaratory of the sense of the
convention, as to certain great principles, and with a catalogue of
amendments, which were to be recommended to the consideration of the new
Congress, and the several State Legislatures.

North Carolina met in convention in July, to deliberate on the new
constitution. After a short session they rejected it, by a majority of
one hundred and seventy six, against seventy six.

Rhode Island was doomed to be the sport of a blind and singular policy.
The Legislature, in consistency with the measures which had been before
pursued, did not call a convention, to collect the sense of the State
upon the proposed constitution; but in an unconstitutional and absurd
manner, submitted the plan of government to the consideration of the
people. Accordingly it was brought before town meetings, and in most of
them rejected. In some of the large towns, particularly in Newport and
Providence, the people collected and resolved, with great propriety,
that they could not take up the subject; and that the proposition for
embracing or rejecting the federal constitution, could come before no
tribunal but that of the _State_ in convention or legislature.

From the moment the proceedings of the general convention at
Philadelphia transpired, the public mind was exceedingly agitated, and
suspended between hope and fear, until nine States had ratified the plan
of a federal government. Indeed, the anxiety continued until Virginia
and New York had acceded to the system. But this did not prevent the
demonstrations of joy, on the accession of each State.

On the ratification in Massachusetts, the citizens of Boston, in the
elevation of their joy, formed a procession in honor of the happy event,
which was novel, splendid and magnificent. This example was afterwards
followed, and in some instances improved upon, in Baltimore, Charleston,
Philadelphia, New Haven, Portsmouth and New York, successivly. Nothing
could equal the beauty and grandeur of these exhibitions. A ship was
mounted upon wheels, and drawn thro the streets; mechanics erected
stages, and exhibited specimens of labor in their several occupations,
as they moved along the road; flags with emblems, descriptiv of all the
arts and of the federal union, were invented and displayed in honor of
the government; multitudes of all ranks in life assembled to view the
majestic scenes; while sobriety, joy and harmony marked the brilliant
exhibitions, by which the Americans celebrated the establishment of
their empire.

In March, 1789, the delegates from the eleven ratifying States, convened
in New York, where convenient and elegant accommodations had been
furnished by the citizens. On opening the ballots for President, it
appeared that the late Commander in Chief of our armies was unanimously
elected to the dignified office. This event diffused universal joy among
the friends to the union.

The deliberations of the first American Legislature were marked with
wisdom, spirit, and generally with candor. The establishment of a
revenue and judiciary system, with other national measures; the wise
appointments to offices; the promptness and energy of the executiv, with
a growing popular attachment to the general government, open the fairest
prospect of peace, union and prosperity to these States; a prospect that
is brightened by the accession of North Carolina to the government in
November, 1789.

No. XVI.

REMARKS _on the_ METHOD _of_ BURYING _the_ DEAD _among the_ NATIVS _of
this_ COUNTRY; _compared with that among the ancient_ BRITONS.

Being an Extract of a Letter to the Rev. Dr. STILES, President of Yale
College, dated New York, January 20, 1788.

[NOTE. _I had embraced the idea, that the remarkable fortifications on
the Muskingum, might be justly ascribed to the Spaniards, under
Ferdinand de Soto, who penetrated into Florida, about the year 1540;
which opinion I endeavored to maintain as probably well founded, and
wrote three or four letters on the subject, to Dr. Stiles, which were
published in 1789. It is now very clear that my opinion was_ not _well
founded; but that_ Chicaca, _which I had supposed to be Muskingum, ought
to have been written_ Chicaça, _with a cedilla, as it is in the original
Spanish; and pronounced_ Chikesaw. _This determins the place of Soto's
winter quarters, the second year after landing, to be in the territories
of the present_ Chikesaws. _Those letters, therefore, are not worth
republishing; but the following extract, on a different subject, may be
considered as worthy of preservation._]

But how shall we account for the mounts, caves, graves, &c. and for the
contents, which evince the existence of the custom of burning the dead
or their bones; can these be ascribed to the Spaniards? I presume, Sir,
you will be of opinion they cannot. Capt. Heart says,[50] these graves
are small mounts of earth, from some of which human bones have been
taken; in one were found bones in the natural position of a man, buried
nearly east and west, and a quantity of ising glass on his breast; in
the other graves, the bones were irregular, some calcined by fire,
others burnt only to a certain degree, so as to render them more
durable; in others the mouldered bones retain their shape, without any
substance; others are partly rotten and partly the remains of decayed
bones; in most of the graves were found stones evidently burnt, pieces
of charcoal, Indian arrows and pieces of earthen ware, which appeared to
be a composition of shells and cement.

    [50] Columbian Magazine for May, 1787.

That these mounts and graves are the works of the nativ Indians, is very
evident, for such small mounts are scattered over every part of North
America. "It was customary with the Indians of the West Jersey," says
Mr. Smith, page 137, "when they buried the dead, to put family utensils,
bows and arrows, and sometimes wampum into the grave, as tokens of their
affection. When a person of note died far from the place of his own
residence, they would carry his bones to be buried there. They washed
and perfumed the dead, painted the face, and followed singly; left the
dead in a fitting posture, and covered the grave pyramidically. They
were very curious in preserving and repairing the graves of their dead,
and pensivly visited them."

It is said by the English, who are best acquainted with the manners of
the nativs, that they had a custom of collecting, at certain stated
periods, all the bones of their deceased friends, and burying them in
some common grave. Over these cemetaries or general repositories of the
dead, were erected those vast heaps of earth or mounts, similar to those
which are called in England _barrows_, and which are discovered in every
part of the United States.

The Indians seem to have had two methods of burying the dead; one was,
to deposit one body (or at most but a small number of bodies) in a
place, and cover it with stones, thrown together in a careless manner.
The pile thus formed would naturally be nearly circular, but those piles
that are discovered are something oval. In the neighborhood of my
father's house, about seven miles from Hartford, on the public road to
Farmington, there is one of those _Carrnedds_ or heaps of stone. I
often passed by it in the early part of my youth, but never measured its
circumference or examined its contents. My present opinion is, that its
circumference is about twenty five feet. The inhabitants in the
neighborhood report, as a tradition received from the nativs, that an
Indian was buried there, and that it is the custom for every Indian that
passes by to cast a stone upon the heap. This custom I have never seen
practised, but have no doubt of its existence; as it is confirmed by the
general testimony of the first American settlers.[51]

    [51] The existence of a custom of paying respect to these
    _Indian heaps_, as they are called, is proved by a ludicrous
    practice, that prevails among the Anglo Americans in the
    vicinity, of making strangers pull off their hats as they
    pass by this grave. A man passing by with one who is a
    stranger to the custom, never fails to practise a jest upon
    him, by telling him that a spider, a caterpillar, or some
    other insect is upon his hat; the unsuspecting traveller
    immediately takes off his hat, to brush away the offending
    insect, and finds by a roar of laughter, that a trick is put
    upon him. I have often seen this trick played upon strangers,
    and upon the neighbors who happen to be off their guard, to
    the great amusement of the country people. The jest, however,
    is a proof that the aborigines paid a respect to these rude
    monuments, and in ridicule of that respect, probably,
    originated the vulgar practice of the English, which exists
    to this day.

The other mode of burying the dead, was to deposit a vast number of
bodies, or the bones which were taken from the single scattered graves,
in a common cemetary, and over them raise vast _tumuli_ or barrows, such
as the mount at Muskingum, which is 390 feet in circumference, and 50
feet high. The best account of these cemetaries may be found in Mr.
Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, which will appear the most satisfactory
to the reader in his own words.

"I know of no such thing existing as an Indian monument, for I would not
honor with that name, arrow points, stone hatchets, stone pipes, and
half shapen images. Of labor on the large scale, I think there are no
remains as respectable as would be a common ditch for the draining of
lands, unless it be the barrows, of which many are to be found all over
this country. These are of different sizes, some of them constructed of
earth, and some of loose stones. That they were repositories of the dead
has been obvious to all; but on what particular occasion constructed,
was matter of doubt. Some have thought they covered the bones of those
who have fallen in battles, fought on the spot of interment. Some
ascribe them to the custom, said to prevail among the Indians, of
collecting at certain periods the bones of all their dead, wherever
deposited at the time of death. Others again supposed them the general
sepulchre for towns, conjectured to have been on or near these grounds,
and this opinion was supported by the quality of the lands in which they
are found, (those constructed of earth being generally in the softest
and most fertile meadow grounds on river sides) and by a tradition said
to be handed down from the aboriginal Indians, that when they settled in
a town, the first person who died was placed erect, and earth put about
him so as to cover and support him; that when another died, a narrow
passage was dug to the first, the second reclined against him, and the
cover of earth replaced, and so on. There being one of these in my
neighborhood, I wished to satisfy myself whether any, and which of these
opinions were just; for this purpose I determined to open and examin it
thoroughly. It was situated on the low grounds of the Rivanna, about two
miles above its principal fork, and opposit to some hills on which had
been an Indian town. It was of a spheroidical form, of about forty feet
diameter at the base, and had been of about twelve feet altitude, tho
now reduced by the plow to seven and a half; having been under
cultivation about a dozen years.

"Before this, it was covered with trees of twelve inches diameter, and
round the base was an excavation of five feet depth and width, from
whence the earth had been taken, of which the hillock was formed. I
first dug superficially in several parts of it, and came to collections
of human bones at different depths, from six inches to three feet, below
the surface. These were lying in the utmost confusion; some vertical,
some oblique, some horizontal, and directed to every point of the
compass, entangled and held together in clusters by the earth. Bones of
the most distant parts were found together; as for instance, the small
bones of the foot in the hollow of a scull; many sculls were sometimes
in contact, lying on the face, on the side, on the back, top or bottom,
so as on the whole, to giv the idea of bones emptied promiscuously from
a bag or basket, and covered over with earth, without any attention to
their order. The bones, of which the greatest numbers remained, were
sculls, jaw bones, teeth, the bones of the arms, thighs, legs, feet and
hands. A few ribs remained, some vertibræ of the neck and spine, without
their processes, and one instance only of the bone which serves as the
base to the vertebral column (the os sacrum)."

After making some remarks on the state of putrefaction in which the
bones appeared, and on the discovery of the bones of infants, Mr.
Jefferson goes on, "I proceeded then to make a perpendicular cut thro
the body of the barrow, that I might examin its internal structure. This
passed about three feet from its center, was opened to the former
surface of earth, and was wide enough for a man to walk thro and examin
its sides.

"At the bottom, that is on the level of the circumjacent plain, I found
bones; above these a few stones brought from a cliff, a quarter of a
mile off, and from the river one eighth of a mile off. Then a large
interval of earth, then a stratum of bones, and so on. At one end of the
section, were four strata of bones plainly distinguishable; at the
other, three; the strata in one part not ranging with those in another.
The bones nearest the surface were least decayed. No holes were
discovered in any of them, as if made with bullets, arrows or other
weapons. I conjectured that in this barrow might have been a thousand
skeletons. Every one will readily seize the circumstances above related,
which militate against the opinion, that it covered the bones only of
persons fallen in battle; and against the tradition also which would
make it the common sepulchre of a town, in which the bodies were placed
upright, and touching each other. Appearances certainly indicate, that
it has derived both origin and growth from the accustomary collection of
bones and deposition of them together; that the first collection had
been deposited on the common surface of the earth, that a few stones
were put over it, and then a covering of earth, that the second had been
laid on this, had covered more or less of it in proportion to the number
of bones, and was then also covered with earth, and so on. The following
are the particular circumstances, which giv it this aspect. 1 The number
of bones. 2 The strata in one part having no correspondence with those
in another. 3 The different states of decay in these strata, which seem
to indicate a difference in the time of inhumation. 4 The existence of
infant bones among them.

"But on whatever occasion they may have been made, they are of
considerable notoriety among the Indians; for a party passing about
thirty years ago, thro the part of the country where this barrow is,
went thro the woods directly to it, without any instructions or inquiry,
and having staid about it some time, with expressions which were
construed to be those of sorrow, they returned to the high road which
they had left about half a dozen miles, to pay this visit, and pursued
their journey. There is another barrow, much resembling this, in the low
grounds of the south branch of the Shenandoah, where it is crossed by
the road leading from the Rockfish Gap to Staunton. Both of these have
within these dozen years, been cleared of their trees and put under
cultivation, are much reduced in their height, and spread in width, by
the plow, and will probably disappear in time. There is another on a
hill in the blue ridge of mountains, a few miles north of Wood's Gap,
which is made up of small stones thrown together. This has been opened,
and found to contain human bones, as the others do. There are also
others in other parts of the country."

From this account of Mr. Jefferson, to whose industry and talents the
sciences and his country will ever be indebted, we may fairly conclude
that the mounts at Muskingum are the work of the nativ Indians. It is
however necessary to notice two or three particulars, in the appearance
of those at Muskingum, which are not discovered (or not mentioned by Mr.
Jefferson) in the structure of that which he examined. These are the
ising glass, the earthen ware, the charcoal, and the calcination of the
bones by fire. As to the first it is well known that the ising glass is
found only in particular parts of America, and the savages in other
parts could not obtain it. Mr. Jefferson mentions no discovery of
earthen ware, but it was used by the Indians in every part of America.
The piece you once shewed me, sir, is a specimen of what is found
wherever there has been an Indian town. Pieces of it are dug up
frequently in the meadows on Connecticut river. It appears to be formed
of pure clay, or of shells and cement, hardened by fire, and as we might
naturally suppose, without glazing. By sections of vessels which remain,
it is evident they were wrought with great ingenuity, and into beautiful
and convenient forms.

The charcoal and calcination of some bones are a proof that there has
existed, among the savages of America, a custom of burning the dead, or
their bones, after the dissolution of the flesh. It does not appear that
this custom was general, but it is not at all surprising to find that
such a practice has existed in this country; since it has been frequent
among the uncivilized nations on the eastern continent.

I am sensible, sir, that you have entertained an opinion that the story
of Madoc, the Welch Prince, may be true, and that it is possible the
fortifications at Muskingum may be the work of his colony. Of the truth
of this conclusion there is perhaps no direct evidence, and yet
collateral evidence may be obtained, that it is not chimerical. There is
such a surprising affinity between the Indian mounts and the barrows or
cemetaries which are remaining in England, but particularly in Wales and
Anglesey, the last retreat of the original Britons, that we can hardly
resolve it into a common principle of analogy that subsists between
nations in the same stage of society; but incredulity itself will
acknowlege the probability, that the primitiv inhabitants of Britain and
America had a common stock from which they were derived, long since the
age of the first parent: Not that I believe North America to be peopled
so late as the twelfth century, the period of Madoc's migration, but
supposing America to have been settled two or three thousand years
before that period, a subsequent colony might pass the Atlantic and
bring the Roman improvements in fortification.

Waving further conjectures, I beg leave to describe the analogy between
the barrows in England and Wales, and in America. This will be striking,
and cannot fail to entertain a curious reader, because it is attended
with positiv proofs.

In England, Scotland, Wales, and the island Anglesey, there are numbers
of monuments erected by the ancients; but the most remarkable are
generally found in the two latter, whither the old Britons retreated
from their Roman and Saxon conquerors; and _Anglesey_, the ancient
_Mona_, is supposed to have been the chief seat of the Druids. The
remains of most consequence are the _cromlechs_, the _tumuli_, and the
_cumuli_ or _carrnedds_. _Cromlech_, if the word is derived from the
British roots _krom laech_, signifies a _bending stone_.[52] This is the
common opinion, as Rowland observes.[53] If we trace the origin to the
Hebrew, the root of the old British,[54] we shall find it not less
significativ; for _cærem luach_ signify _devoted stone_, or _altar_.
These _cromlechs_ consist of large stones, pitched on end in the earth,
as supporters, upon which is laid a broad stone of a vast size. The
supporters stand in a bending posture, and are from three to seven feet
high. The top stone is often found to be of twenty or thirty tons
weight, and remains to this day on the pillars. Numbers of these are
found in Wales and Anglesey; but none is more remarkable than that in
Wiltshire, called _stone henge_, for a full description of which I must
beg leave to refer you to Camden's Britannia, vol. I, page 119. These
cromlechs are doubtless works of great antiquity; but for what purpose
they were erected, at such an immense expense of time and labor as would
be necessary to convey stones of thirty tons weight a considerable
distance, and raise them several feet, is not easily determined. The
probability is that they were altars for sacrifice, as pieces of burnt
bones and ashes are found near them. They might also be used in other
ceremonies, under the druidical system, as the ratification of
covenants, &c. As this kind of monuments is not found in America, I will
wave a further consideration of it; observing only, that it was an
ancient practice among the eastern nations, to raise heaps of stones, as
witnesses of agreements, and sacrifice upon them, as a solemn
ratification of the act of the parties. Many instances of this ceremony
are mentioned in the old testament. The covenant between Jacob and Laban
was witnessed by a heap of stones, which served also as a boundary
between their respectiv claims. "_And Jacob offered sacrifice upon the
mount_, that is, the heap, _and called his brethren to eat bread_." Gen.
xxxi, 54. A similar custom seems to have prevailed among the primitiv

    [52] Camden's Britannia, volume II, page 759.

    [53] Mona Antiq. Restaur, page 47.

    [54] That the primitiv Britons may claim a very direct
    descent from the ancient inhabitants of Syria and Phenicia,
    whose languages were but branches from the same common stock,
    with as Hebrew, may be made to appear probable by a
    comparison of their customs; but may be almost demonstrated
    by a collation of the old British language with the Hebrew
    roots. _See my Dissertations on the English Language,

But the _tumuli_, barrows or mounts of earth, which remain in multitudes
in England and Wales, are constructed exactly in the manner of the
barrows, described by Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Heart. One of these in
Wiltshire, Camden thus describes.[55] "Here Selbury, a round hill,
rises to a considerable height, and seems by the fashion of it, and the
sliding down of the earth about it, to have been cast up by mens hands.
Of this fort there are many in this country, round and copped, which are
called _burrows_ or _barrows_; perhaps raised in memory of the soldiers
slain there. For _bones are found in them_, and I have read, it was a
custom among the northern people, that every soldier who survived a
battle, should bring a helmet full of earth towards the raising of
monuments for their slain fellows."

    [55] Britannia, volume I, page 127.

This is said to be the largest and most uniform barrow in the country,
and perhaps in England; and I regret that the height and circumference
are not mentioned. I am however informed verbally by a gentleman who has
visited England, that some of these tumuli appear to have been nearly
one hundred feet high.[56] There are also in the same country several
kinds of barrows of different sizes; some surrounded with trenches;
others not; some with stones set round them, others without any; the
general figure of them is nearly circular, but a little oval.

    [56] One as large as that is said to be found at Grave Creek,
    about eighty miles above Muskingum.

In Penbrokeshire, in Wales, Camden informs us[57] "there are divers
ancient tumuli, or artificial mounts for urn burial, whereof the most
notable I have seen, are those four, called _krigeu kemaes_, or the
burrows of _kemeas_. One of these a gentlemen of the neighborhood, out
of curiosity, and for the satisfaction of some friends, caused lately to
be dug; and discovered therein five urns, which contained a considerable
quantity of burnt bones and ashes." If there is any difference between
these barrows, and those at Muskingum, it is this, that in Wales the
bones were lodged in urns; probably this was the fate of the bodies of
eminent men only, or it proves a greater degree of improvement in
Britain than appears among the American savages.

    [57] Volume II, page 763.

In Caermardhinshire, there is a barrow of a singular kind. It is called,
_krig y dyrn_ (probably the king's barrow[58].) The circumference at
bottom is sixty paces, and its height about six yards. It rises by an
easy ascent to the top, which is hollow. This is a heap of earth, raised
over a _carrnedd_ or pile of stones. In the center of the cavity on the
top, there is a large flat stone, about nine feet by five; beneath this
was found a _kist vaen_, a kind of stone chest, four feet and a half by
three, and made up of stones, and within and about it were found a few
pieces of brick and stones. This might have been the tomb of a druid, or

    [58] Camden, volume II, page 751.

The _cumuli_ of stones or _caernedds_, as they are called by the Welsh,
from _keren nedh_, a _coped heap_, are scattered over the west of
England and Wales, and appear to have been raised in the manner of our
Indian heaps, and for the same purpose, viz. to preserve the memory of
the dead. Every Indian in this country that passes one of these heaps,
throws a stone upon it. Rowland remarks that the same custom exists
among the vulgar Welch to this day; and if I mistake not, Camden takes
notice of the same practice. Rowland says, "in these _coel ceithic_,
(certain festivals) people use, even to this day, to throw and offer
each one his stone, tho they know not the reason. The common tradition
is, that these heaps cover the graves of men, signal either for eminent
virtues, or notorious villanies, on which every person looked on himself
obliged as he passed by, to bestow a stone, in veneration of his good
life, or in detestation of his vileness." This practice now prevails in
Wales and Anglesey, merely as a mark of contempt.

The _carrnedds_ in America answer exactly the description of those in
Wales, and the practice of throwing upon the heap each man his stone as
he passes by, exists among the Indians, in its purity; that is, as _a
mark of respect_.

It is said by authors that mounts and piles of stones, are found
likewise in Denmark and Sweden; but in construction they differ from
those found in Britain. Yet from the foregoing descriptions, taken from
authentic testimony, it appears, that between the barrows in England
and America, the manner of constructing them in both, and the purposes
to which they were applied, there is an analogy, rarely to be traced in
works of such consequence, among nations whose intercourse ceased at
Babel; an analogy that we could hardly suppose would exist among nations
descended from different stocks. This analogy however, without better
evidence, will not demonstrate the direct descent of the Indians from
the ancient Celts or Britons. But as all the primitiv inhabitants of the
west of Europe were evidently of the same stock, it is natural to
suppose they might pass from Norway to Iceland, from Iceland to
Greenland, and from thence to Labrador; and thus the North American
savages may claim a common origin with the primitiv Britons and Celts.
This supposition has some foundation, and is by no means obviated by
Cook's late discoveries in the Pacific ocean.[59]

    [59] Mons. Mallet, in his Northern Antiquities, has produced
    unquestionable testimony, from the Chronicles of Iceland and
    others histories of the north, that the American continent
    was discovered about the tenth century; and the esquimaux are
    clearly of the same race as the Greenlanders.

These are however but conjectures. Future discoveries may throw more
light upon these subjects. At present, a few facts only can be collected
to amuse a contemplativ mind, and perhaps lead to inquiries which will
result in a satisfactory account of the first peopling of America, and
of the few remains of antiquity which it affords.


                         NEW YORK, FEBRUARY, 1788.


"Well, how do you like Boston?" said an American to a Londoner, who had
just arrived, and walked thro the town. "Extremely," replied the
Englishman; "it resembles London in the crookedness and narrowness of
the streets; I am always pleased with a careless irregularity and

"How do you like Boston," says a nativ of the town to a Philadelphian.
"I am much pleased with the people," replies the gentleman; "but the
streets are so crooked, narrow and irregular, that I have good luck to
find my way, and keep my stockings clean."

An Englishman and a Bostonian, walking together in Philadelphia, were
heard to say, "how fatiguing it is to pass thro this town! such a
sameness in the whole! no variety! when you have seen one street, you
have seen the whole town!"

These remarks, which are heard every day, illustrate most strikingly the
force of habit and tradition. The influence of habit is every where
known and felt; any prepossessions therefore in favor of our nativ town,
is not a matter of surprise. But that a traditionary remark or opinion
should be handed from one generation to another, and lead nations into
error, without a detection of its falsity, is a fact as astonishing as
it is real. Such is the opinion of the writers on the fine arts; "that
variety is pleasing;" an opinion embraced without exception, and applied
promiscuously to the works of nature and of art. I have rarely met with
a person, not an inhabitant of Philadelphia, who would not say he was
disgusted with its regularity; and I am confident that the opinion must
proceed from that common place remark, _that variety is pleasing_;
otherwise men could not so unanimously condemn what constitutes its
_greatest beauty_.

That in the productions of nature, variety constitutes a principal part
of beauty, and a fruitful source of pleasure, will not be denied: But
the beauty and agreeableness of works of art depend on another
principle, viz. _utility or convenience_. The _design_ of the work, or
the end proposed by it, must be attentivly considered before we are
qualified to judge of its _beauty_.

This kind of beauty is called by Lord Kaim,[60] _relativ beauty_. He
observes very justly, that "_intrinsic_ beauty is a perception of sense
merely; for to perceive the beauty of a spreading oak, or of a flowing
river, no more is required but singly an act of vision. _Relativ beauty_
is accompanied with an act of understanding and reflection; for of a
fine instrument or engine, we perceive not the _relativ_ beauty, until
we are made acquainted with its use and destination." A plow has not the
least _intrinsic_ beauty; but when we attend to its _use_, we are
constrained to consider it as a _beautiful instrument_, and such a view
of it furnishes us with agreeable sensations.

    [60] Elements of Criticism. Vol. I, page 198.

The single question therefore, with respect to a town or city, is this:
_Is it planned and constructed for the greatest possible convenience_?
If so, it is completely beautiful. If wide and regular streets are more
useful and convenient than those that are narrow and crooked, then a
city constructed upon a regular plan is the most beautiful, however
uniform the streets in their directions and appearance.

I have often heard a comparison made between the level roads of Holland
and the uniform streets of Philadelphia. A _dull sameness_ is said to
render both disagreeable. Yet if a person will attentivly consider the
difference, I am persuaded he will be convinced that his taste is but
_half correct_; that is, that a just remark with respect to a level open
country, is improperly applied to a commercial city. _Variety_ in the
works of nature is pleasing; but never in the productions of art,
unless in copies of nature, or when that variety does not interfere with
_utility_. A level champaign country is rarely convenient or useful; on
the other hand, it is generally more barren than a country diversified
with hills and vales. There is not generally any advantage to be derived
from a wide extended plain; the principle of _utility_, therefore does
not oppose and supersede the taste for variety, and a tedious _sameness_
is left to have its full effect upon the mind of a spectator. This is
the fact with respect to the roads in Holland.

But it is otherwise in a city, which is built for the express purpose of
accommodating men in business. We do not consider it as we do a
landscape, an imitation of a natural scene, and designed to please the
eye; but we attend to its uses in artificial society, and if it appears
to be calculated for the convenience of all classes of citizens, the
plan and construction must certainly be beautiful, and afford us
agreeable sensations.

The regularly built towns in America are Philadelphia, Charleston, in
South Carolina, and New Haven. All these may be esteemed beautiful, tho
not perfectly so. Philadelphia wants a public square or place of resort
for men of business, with a spacious building for an exchange. This
should be near Market street, in the center of business. The gardens at
the State House are too small for a public walk in that large city. The
whole line of bank houses[61] is the effect of ill timed parsimony. The
houses are inconvenient, and therefore not pleasing to the eye; at the
same time they render Water street too narrow.

    [61] A line of houses built on the descent of land to the
    river, with a street adjacent to the houses on both sides.

But whatever faults may be found in the construction or plan of the
city, its general appearance is agreeable, and its _regularity_ is its
greatest beauty. Whenever I hear a person exclaim against the uniformity
that pervades that city, I suppose him the dupe of a common place
remark, or that he believes a city built merely to please the eye of a

_Charleston_ is situated upon low ground; but just above high water
mark. The soil is sand, which, with a scarcity of stone, has prevented
the streets from being paved. The plan of the city is regular, but some
of the streets are too narrow. As it is almost surrounded with water and
low marshy ground, it was necessary to attend to every circumstance that
should contribute to preserve a pure air. For this purpose, it was the
original design of the citizens, to prevent any buildings from being
erected on the wharves, in front of the town; thus leaving a principal
street, called the bay, open to the sea breezes. Since the revolution,
this design has been partially dispensed with; and some buildings
erected on the water side of the bay, and particularly one in front of
the Exchange, which stands at the head of Broad street, and commands an
extensiv view of the town on one side, and of the harbor on the other.
Should stores and warehouses be raised on the wharves, to such a height
as to intercept a view of the harbor from the bay, they would diminish
the beauty of the town, and in some degree prevent the agreeable effect
of the cool breezes from the sea.

_New Haven_ was laid out on a most beautiful plan, which has however
suffered in the execution. The streets cross each other at right angles,
as in Philadelphia; and divide the city into convenient squares. But in
the center is a large public square, the sides of which are more than
three hundred yards in length, and adorned with rows of trees. Thro the
center of this square runs a line of elegant public buildings, viz. the
state house, two churches and a school house. This square is a capital
ornament to the town; but is liable to two exceptions. First, it is too
large for the populousness of the city, which contains about 500
buildings. In so small a town, it must generally be empty, and
consequently givs the town an appearance of solitude or dullness. In the
second place, that half of the square which lies west of the public
buildings, is occupied mostly by the church yard, which is enclosed with
a circular fence. This reduces the public ground on the opposit side to
a paralellogram, which is a less beautiful figure than a square; and
annihilates the beauty of the western division which it occupies.
Notwithstanding these circumstances, the green or public ground in the
center of New Haven, renders it perhaps the most beautiful small
settlement in America.


                         NEW YORK, MAY, 1788.

_and of_ OPINIONS _on_ LANGUAGE.[62]

    [62] This title, and many of the following ideas, are
    borrowed from a treatise of Mr. Michaelis, director of the
    Royal Society of Gottingen.

The design of this dissertation is to show how far truth and accuracy of
thinking are concerned in a clear understanding of _words_. I am
sensible that in the eye of prejudice and ignorance, grammatical
researches are the business of school boys; and hence we may deduce the
reason why philosophers have generally been so inattentiv to this
subject. But if it can be proved that the _mere use of words_ has led
nations into error, and still continues the delusion, we cannot hesitate
a moment to conclude, that grammatical enquiries are worthy of the labor
of _men_.

The Greek name of the Supreme Being, _Theos_, is derived from _Theo, to
run, or move one's self_. Hence we discover the ideas which the Greeks
originally entertained of God, viz. that he was the _great principle of
motion_. The same word, it is said, was primarily appropriated to the
stars, as moving bodies; and it is probable that, in the early ages of
Greece, the heavenly bodies might be esteemed Deities, and denominated
_Theoi, moving bodies_ or _principles_. The Latin word _Deus_ was used
to denote those inferior beings which we call _spirits_ or _angels_, or
perhaps _one God_ among several. To giv the true idea of _Deus_ in
French and English, the word should be rendered _le Dieu, the God_. This
at least may be said of the word, in its true _original_ sense; however
it may have been used in the later ages of Rome.

The English word _God_, is merely the old Saxon adjectiv _god_, now
spelt and pronounced _good_.

The German _Gott_ is from the same root. The words _God_ and _good_
therefore are synonimous. The derivation of the word leads us to the
notions which our ancestors entertained of the Supreme Being; supposing
him to be the principle or author of good, they called him, by way of
eminence, _Good_, or _the Good_. By long use and the progress of
knowlege, the word is become the name of the great Creator, and we have
added to it ideas of other attributes, as justice, power, immutability,
&c. Had our heathen ancestors entertained different ideas of the Deity;
had they, for instance, supposed justice to have been his leading
attribute, if I may use the term, they would have called him _the just_;
and this appellation, by being uniformly appropriated to a certain
invisible being, or supposed cause of certain events, would in time have
lost the article _the_, and _just_ would have become the _name_ of the
Deity. Such is the influence of opinion in the formation of language.

Let us now compare the names of the Deity in the three languages; the
Greek, _Theos_, denoting a _moving being_, or the _principle of action_,
evinces to us that the Greeks gave the name to the _cause of events_,
without having very clear ideas of the nature or attributes of that
cause. They supposed the great operations of nature to have each its
cause; and hence the plurality of causes, _theoi_, or moving principles.

The Romans borrowed the same word, _Deus_, and used it to denote the
celestial _agents_ or _gods_ which they supposed to exist, and to
superintend the affairs of the universe.

Our northern ancestors had an idea that all favorable events must have
an efficient cause; and to this cause they gave the name of _God_ or
_good_. Hence we observe that the English and German words _God_ and
_Got_ do not convey precisely the same idea, as the _Theos_ and _Deus_
of the Greeks and Romans. The former cannot be used in the plural
number; as they are the names of a single indivisible being; the latter
were used as names common to a number of beings.

The word _Demon_, in Greek, was used to signify subordinate deities,
both good and evil. The Jews, who had more perfect ideas of the Supreme
Being, supposed there could be but one good Deity, and consequently that
all the _demons_ of the Greeks must be _evil_ beings or _devils_. In
this sense alone they used the word, and this restricted sense has been
communicated thro Christian countries in modern ages. The opinion of the
Jews, therefore, has had a material effect upon language, and would lead
us into an error respecting the Greek mythology; unless we should trace
the word _demon_ to its primitiv signification.

The word _devil_, in English, is merely a corruption of _the evil_,
occasioned by a rapid pronunciation. This will not appear improbable to
those who know, that in some of the Saxon dialects, the character which
we write _th_ is almost invariably written and pronounced _d_. Hence we
learn, the notion which our ancestors entertained of the _cause of
evil_, or of unfortunate events. They probably ascribed such events to a
malignant principle, or being, which they called, by way of eminence,
_the evil_; and these words, corrupted by common use, have given name to
the being or principle.

I would only observe here that the etymology of these two words, _God_
and _devil_, proves that the Manichean doctrine of a _good_ and _evil_
principle prevailed among our northern ancestors. It has prevailed over
most of the eastern countries in all ages, and Christianity admits the
doctrine, with this improvement only, that it supposes the _evil_
principle to be subordinate to the _good_. The supreme cause of events,
Christians believe to be _good_ or _God_, for the words are radically
the same; the _cause of evil_ they believe to be subordinate; yet,
strange as it may seem, they suppose the _subordinate evil_ principle to
be the most prevalent.

We are informed by Ludolph, that the Ethiopeans, having but one word for
_nature_ and _person_, could not understand the controversy about
Christ's two natures. This is not surprising; nations, in a savage
state, or which have not been accustomed to metaphysical disquisitions,
have no terms to communicate abstract ideas, which they never
entertained; and hence the absurdity of attempting to christianize
savages. Before men can be Christians they must be civilized; nay, they
must be philosophers. It is probable that many who are called
Christians, are in the state of the Ethiopians, with respect to the same
doctrin; and that they pass thro life, without ever having any clear
ideas of the different natures of Christ. Yet the distinction is
constantly made in words; and that distinction passes for a difference
of ideas. Such is the influence of language on opinion.

The words _soul_, _mind_ and _spirit_, are constantly used by people,
and probably the difference of words has given rise to an opinion that
there is an actual difference of things. Yet I very much question
whether the persons who use these words every day, annex any distinct
ideas to them; or if they do, whether they could explain the difference.

The Greeks believed in the doctrin of transmigration. They had observed
the metamorphosis of the caterpillar, and supposing the same soul to
animate the different bodies, and believing the soul to be perpetual or
immortal, they made the butterfly the hieroglyphic of the soul: Hence
the Greek word for soul, _psuke_, came to signify also a _butterfly_.

For want of attending to the true etymology of the word _glory_, false
opinions have gained an establishment in the world, and it may be
hazardous to dispute them. It is said that the _glory_ of God does not
depend on his creatures, and that the glory of the good man depends not
on the opinion of others. But what is glory? The Greek word _doxe_
explains it. It is derived from _dokeo, to think_; and signifies the
_good opinion of others_. This is its _true_ original meaning; a man's
glory therefore consists in having the good opinion of men, and this
cannot generally be obtained, but by meritorious actions. The _glory_ of
God consists in the exalted ideas which his creatures entertain of his
being and perfections. His _glory_ therefore depends _wholly on his
creatures_. The word is indeed often used to signify the greatness,
splendor or excellence of the divine character. In this sense the
_divine glory_ may be independent of created beings; but it is not the
primitiv sense of the word, nor the sense which answers to the original
meaning of the Greek _doxe_, and the Latin _gloria_.

No right in England and America is so much celebrated as that of _trial
by peers_; by which is commonly understood, _trial by equals_. The right
is valuable, but is not derived from the primitiv custom of _trial by
equals_; on the contrary, it is very questionable whether such a custom
existed prior to Alfred. Yet the _trial by peers_ existed long before,
and can be traced back to the date of the Christian era. The truth is,
the word _peer_ is not derived from the Latin _par_, equal; but from the
German, or Teutonic _bar_ or _par_, which signified a landholder,
freeman or judge. The _bars_ were that class of men who held the _fees_
or property in estates; and from whom the word _baron_ and the attendant
privileges are derived. We have the same root in _baron_, _baronet_,
_parliament_, _parish_, and many other words, all implying some degree
of authority, eminence or jurisdiction. From the same word _bar_ or
_par_, (for _B_ and _P_ are convertible letters) the word _peer_ is
derived, as it is used in the common expressions _house of peers_,
_trial by peers_. It signified originally, not _equals_, but _judges_ or
barons. The _house of peers_ in England derives its appellation and its
jurisdiction from the ancient mode of trial by _bars_ or barons; for it
is the final resort in all judicial cases. Yet the ancient English
lawyers, supposing the word to be from the Latin _par_, equal, have
explained it in that sense, and multiplied encomiums without end upon
the excellence of the privilege. The privilege is valuable, but its
excellence, if it consists in a _trial by equals_, is modern, compared
with the original custom, which was a _trial by barons_, or principal

It is probable that our modern writers, misunderstanding the term
_voluptas_, have passed too severe censures upon epicures. The true
primitiv meaning of _voluptas_ was that of _pleasurable sensations_
arising from innocent gratifications. Our modern word _voluptuousness_
carries with it a much stronger idea, and hence we are led into an error
reflecting the doctrine of Epicurus, who might confine his ideas of
pleasure to innocent gratifications.

We have been accustomed from childhood to hear the expressions, _the dew
falls_; _the dews of heaven_; and it is probable that nine people out of
ten, have never suspected the inaccuracy of the phrases. But _dew_ is
merely the perspiration of the earth; it _rises_ instead of _falling_,
and rises during the night.[63]

    [63] Any person may prove this by a trifling experiment. Let
    him place a glass receiver or bowl over the grass in a
    summer's day, and the next morning he will find as much dew
    _under_ it as around it.

    The truth is this; the particles of water are constantly
    exhaled from the earth by the heat of the sun. During the day
    time, these particles ascend in an imperceptible manner, and
    furnish the atmosphere with the materials of clouds and rain.
    But in the night, the atmosphere grows cool, while the earth,
    retaining a superior degree of heat, continues to throw off
    the particles of water. These particles, meeting the colder
    atmosphere, are condensed, and lodge upon the surface of the
    earth, grass, trees and other objects. So that the
    expression, _the dew falls_, is in a degree true, altho it
    _first rises_ from the earth.

It was also supposed that _manna_ in the eastern countries, came from
above, and it is called in scripture _bread from heaven_. Yet _manna_ is
a gum, exuding from plants, trees and bushes, when pierced by certain
insects. The truth of this fact was not discovered, till the middle of
the sixteenth century.

Every man knows, when the prices of goods rise, it is said they become
_dear_; yet when the prices rise in consequence of an overflowing sum of
money in circulation, the fact is that the _value of money falls_, and
the value of goods remains the same. This erroneous opinion had an
amazing effect in raising popular clamor, at the commencement of the
late revolution.

I will name but one other instance, which has a material influence upon
our moral and religious opinions. It is said in scripture that _God
hardened Pharaoh's heart_. How? Was there a miracle in the case? By no
means. The manner of speaking leads us into the mistake. The first cause
is mentioned, and not the intermediate cause or causes. So we should
say, that _General Washington attacked the British troops at Monmouth_;
altho he was at a great distance when the attack was commenced, and only
_ordered_ the attack. I suspect that similar modes of speaking in
scripture often lead superficial minds into mistakes, and in some
instances, giv occasion to infidels to scoff at passages, which, if
rightly understood, would silence all objections.

This is a fruitful theme, and would lead an ingenious inquirer into a
wide field of investigation. But I have neither time nor talents to do
it justice; the few hints here suggested may have some effect in
convincing my readers of the importance and utility of all candid
researches into the origin and structure of speech; and pave the way for
further investigations, which may assist us in correcting our ideas and
ascertaining the force and beauty of our own language.

No. XIX.

                         PHILADELPHIA, 1787.


The establishment of schools for teaching psalmody in this city is a
pleasing institution; but people seem not to understand the design, or
rather are not aware of the advantages which may result from it, if
properly conducted and encouraged. Most people consider music merely as
a source of pleasure; not attending to its influence on the human mind,
and its consequent effects on society. But it should be regarded as an
article of education, _useful_ as well as ornamental.

The human mind is formed for activity; and will ever be employed in
business or diversions. Children are perpetually in motion, and all the
ingenuity of their parents and guardians should be exerted to devise
methods for restraining this activ principle, and directing it to some
_useful_ object, or to _harmless trifles_. If this is not done, their
propensity to action, even without a vicious motiv, will hurry them into
follies and crimes. Every thing innocent, that attracts the attention of
children, and will employ their minds in leisure hours, when idleness
might otherwise open the way to vice, must be considered as a valuable
employment. Of this kind is vocal music. There were instances of youth,
the last winter, who voluntarily attended a singing school in preference
to the theatre. It is but reasonable to suppose, that if they would
neglect a theatre for singing, they would neglect a thousand amusements,
less engaging, and more pernicious.

Instrumental music is generally prefered to vocal, and considered as an
elegant accomplishment. It is indeed a pleasing accomplishment; but the
preference given to it, is a species of the same false taste, which
places a son under the tuition of a _drunken clown_, to make him a
gentleman of _strict morals_.

Instrumental music may exceed vocal in some nice touches and
distinctions of sound; but when regarded as to its effects upon the mind
and upon society, it is as inferior to vocal, as sound is inferior to
sense. It is very easy for a spruce beau to display a contempt for vocal
music, and to say that human invention has gone beyond the works of God
Almighty. But till the system of creation shall be new modelled, the
human voice properly cultivated will be capable of making the most
perfect music. It is neglected; sol faing is unfashionable, and that is
enough to damn it: But people who have not been acquainted with the
perfection of psalmody, are incapable of making a suitable comparison
between vocal and instrumental music. I have often heard the best vocal
concerts in America, and the best instrumental concerts; and can
declare, that the music of the latter is as inferior to that of the
former, as the merit of a _band box macaroni_ is to that of a Cato.

Instrumental music affords an agreeable amusement; and as an amusement
it ought to be cultivated. But the advantage is private and limited; it
pleases the ear, but leaves no impression upon the heart.

The design of music is to awaken the passions, to soften the heart for
the reception of sentiment. To awaken passion is within the power of
instruments, and this may afford a temporary pleasure; but society
derives no advantage from it, unless some useful sentiment is left upon
the heart.

Instruments are secondary in their use; they were invented originally,
not to supercede, but to assist the voice. The first histories of all
nations were written in verse, and sung by their bards. In later ages,
the _oaten reed_, the _harp_ and the _lyre_, were found to improve the
pleasures of music; but the neglect of the voice and of sentiment was
reserved for modern corruption. Ignorant indeed is the man, and
possessed of a wretched taste, who can seriously despise the humble
pleasures of vocal music, and prefer the bare harmony of sounds.
Sentiment should ever accompany music; the sounds should ever correspond
with the ideas, otherwise music loses all its force. Union of
sentiment, with harmony of sounds, is the perfection of music. Every
string of the human heart may be touched; every passion roused by the
different kinds of sounds; the courage of the warrior; the cruelty of
the tyrant; anger; grief; love, with all its sensibilities, are subject
to the influence of music. Even brutes acknowlege its effects; but while
they in common with man feel the effects of a harmony of mere sounds,
man enjoys the superior felicity of receiving sentiment; and while he
relishes the pleasures of chords in sound, he imbibes a disposition to
communicate happiness to society.

Seldom indeed do men reflect on the connexion between the chords of
music and the social affections. Morality is to immorality, what harmony
is to discord. Society detests vice, and the ear is offended with
discordant sounds. Society is pleased and happified with virtue, and the
ear is delighted with harmony. This beautiful analogy points out the
utility of cultivating music as a science. Harsh discordant sounds
excite the peevish malevolent passions; harmonious sounds correct and
soften the rougher passions.

Every person will acknowlege, that love refines the heart, and renders
it more susceptible, and more capable of social virtue. It is for this
reason that men who have particular attachments to women, or associate
much with ladies of delicacy, are more disposed to do acts of kindness,
in every sphere of life, than those who seldom frequent ladies company.
On the other hand, anger, jealousy, envy, are dissocial passions; and
even when they are excited by a single object, they poison the heart,
and disqualify it for exciting the social affections towards any of the
human race. Every institution, therefore, calculated to prepare the
human heart for exerting the social virtues, and to suppress or check
the malignant passions, must be highly beneficial to society; and such I
consider establishments in favor of vocal music. Happy, indeed, should I
feel, could I see youth devoted every where to the refinement of their
voices and morals; to see them prefer moral or religious pieces to the
indecent songs or low diversions which taint the mind in early life, and
diffuse their pernicious influence through society.

If the poison of the tarantula may be counteracted by music; if the
Spanish ladies are won by nocturnal serenades; if the soldier is
inspired with courage by the martial sounds of the trumpet, and the
Christian impressed with devout sentiments by the solemn tones of the
organ; what advantage may society derive from the softening harmony of
choirs of voices, celebrating the praises of social virtue! Happy days!
when _false taste_ and _false opinions_ shall vanish before the progress
of _truth_; when princes shall resume their ancient and honorable task
of teaching the young to be _good_ and _great_; when an Addison shall be
preferred to a Chesterfield; when the wealth of nations shall be no
longer lavished upon fiddlers and dancers; when the characters of a
_Benezet_ and a WASHINGTON shall obscure the glories of a Cæsar; and
when no man shall be ashamed to be _good_, because it is unfashionable.

No. XX.

                         NEW YORK, JUNE, 1788.


"The principles of morality are little understood among savages," says
Lord Kaimes, "and if they arrive to maturity among enlightened nations,
it is by slow degrees."

With submission to that writer, I would advance another position equally
true, "that the principles of eating and drinking are little understood
by savages, and if they arrive to maturity among civilized nations, it
is by slow degrees."

The truth is, morality consists in discharging the social duties of
life; and so far as the state of savages requires an intercourse of
duties, the moral principles seem to be as perfect in them as in more
enlightened nations. Savages in a perfectly rude state have little or no
commerce; the transactions between man and man are confined to very few
objects, and consequently the laws which regulate their intercourse and
distribute justice, must be few and simple.[64] But the crime of murder
is as severely punished by savages, as by civilized nations. Nay, I
question whether it is possible to name the barbarous tribe, which
suffers an individual to take the life of another, upon as easy terms as
the modern feudal Barons in Europe may do that of a vassal; or with the
same impunity that a planter in the West Indies takes the life of a
slave. I speak of a time of peace, and of the conduct of savages towards
their own tribes. As to war, every nation of savages has its arbitrary
customs, and so has every civilized nation. Savages are generally
partial and capricious in the treatment of their prisoners; some they
treat with a singular humanity; and others they put to death with the
severest cruelty. Well, do not civilized people the same? Did a savage
ever endure greater torments, than thousands of prisoners during the
late war? But not to mention the practice of a single nation, at a
single period; let us advert to a general rule among civilized nations;
that it is lawful to put to death prisoners taken in a garrison by
storm. The practice grounded on this rule, is as direct and as enormous
a violation of the laws of morality, as the slow deliberate tortures
exercised by the most barbarous savages on earth.

    [64] It is a fact, supported by unquestionable testimony,
    that the savage nations on the frontiers of these States,
    have fewer vices in proportion to their virtues, than are to
    be found in the best regulated civilized societies with which
    we are acquainted.

Well, what are the ideas of savages respecting _theft_? How do they
differ from those of an enlightened people? Many things are possessed in
common, as provisions taken in hunting, corn, &c. Ferdinand de Soto
relates, that the tribes (and he visited hundreds in Florida) had public
granaries of corn laid up for winter, which was distributed by authority
to each family, according to its number. But for an individual to take
from this common stock without license, was considered as a criminal
defrauding of the public. And with regard to the few articles, in which
individuals acquire private property, the savages have as correct ideas
of _meum_ and _tuum_, of theft, trespass, &c. and are as careful to
guard private property from invasion, by laws and penalties, as any
civilized people. The laws of the Creeks, the Cherokees, the Six
Nations, &c. with regard to these and many other crimes, in point of
reason and equity, stand on a footing with those of the most civilized
nations; and in point of execution and observance, their administration
would do honor to any government. Among most savage nations there is a
kind of monarchy which is efficient in administration; and among those
tribes which have had no intercourse with civilized nations, and which
have not been deceived by the tricks of traders; the common arts of
cheating, by which millions of enlightened people get a living or a
fortune, are wholly unknown. This is an incontrovertible fact. I lately
became acquainted with a lad of about twelve years old, who was taken
captiv by the Indians in 1778, while a child, and had continued with
them till about ten years old. He had no recollection of the time when
he was taken, and consequently his mind could not have been corrupted
among the English. When he was restored, agreeable to the treaty, he was
a perfect savage; but what I relate the circumstance for, is this; the
lad was not addicted to a single vice. He was instant and cheerful in
obeying commands; having not even a disposition to refuse or evade a
compliance. He had no inclination to lie or steal; on the other hand, he
was always surprised to find a person saying one thing and meaning
another. In short, he knew not any thing but honesty and undisguised
frankness and integrity. A single instance does not indeed establish a
general rule; but those who are acquainted with the nativs of America
can testify that this is the general character of savages who are not
corrupted by the vices of civilized nations.

But it is said savages are revengeful; their hatred is hereditary and
perpetual. How does this differ from the hatred of civilized nations? I
question much whether the principle of revenge is not as perfect in
enlightened nations, as in savages. The difference is this; a savage
hunts the man who has offended him, like a wild beast, and assassinates
him wherever he finds him; the _gentleman_ pursues his enemy or his
rival with as much rancor as a savage, and even stoops to notice little
affronts, that a savage would overlook; but he does not stab him
privately; he hazards his own life with that of his enemy, and one or
both are very _honorably_ murdered. The principle of revenge is equally
activ in both cases; but its operation is regulated by certain arbitrary
customs. A savage is open and avows his revenge, and kills privately;
the polite and well bred take revenge in a more _honorable_ way, when
_life_ is to be the price of satisfaction; but in cases of small
affronts, they are content with privately stabbing the reputation or
ruining the fortunes of their enemies. In short, the passions of a
savage are under no restraint; the passions of enlightened people are
restrained and regulated by a thousand civil laws and accidental
circumstances of society.

But it will be objected, if savages understood principles of morality,
they would lay such passions under restraint. Not at all: Civil and
political regulations are not made, because the things prohibited are in
their own nature wrong; but because they produce inconveniencies to
society. The most enlightened nations do not found their laws and
penalties on an abstract regard to _wrong_; nor has government any
concern with that which has no influence on the peace and safety of
society. If savages, therefore, leave every man to take his own revenge,
it is a proof that they judge it the best mode of preventing the
necessity of it; that is, they think their society and government safer
under such a license, than under regulations which should control the
passions of individuals. They may have their ideas of the nature of
revenge independent of society; but it will be extremely difficult to
prove, that, abstracted from a regard to a Deity and to society, there
is such a thing as _right_ and _wrong_. I consider _morality_ merely as
it respects _society_; for if we superadd the obligations of a divine
command, we blend it with _religion_; an article in which Christians
have an infinit advantage over savages.

Considering moral duties as founded solely on the constitution of
society, and as having for their sole end the happiness of social
beings, many of them will vary in their nature and extent, according to
the particular state and circumstances of any society.

Among the ancient Britons, a singular custom prevailed; which was, a
community of wives by common consent. Every man married one woman; but a
number, perhaps ten or twelve, relations or neighbors, agreed to possess
their wives in common. Every woman's children were accounted the
children of her husband; but every man had a share in the common
defence and care of this little community.[65] Was this any breach of
morality? Not in the least. A British woman, in the time of Severus,
having become intimate with Julia Augusta, and other ladies, at the
court of Rome, had observed what passed behind the curtain; and being
one day reproached for this custom of the Britons, as infamous in the
women, and barbarous in the men; she replied, "We do that _openly_ with
the _best_ of our men, which you do _privately_ with the _worst_ of
yours." This custom, so far from being infamous or barbarous, originated
in public and private convenience. It prevented jealousy and the
injuries of adultery, in a state where private wrongs could not easily
be prevented or redressed. It might be an excellent substitute for penal
laws and a regular administration of justice. But there is a better
reason for the custom, which writers seem to have overlooked; and this
is, that a community multiplied the chances of subsistence and security.
In a savage life, subsistence is precarious, for it depends on
contingent supplies by hunting and fishing. If every individual,
therefore, should depend solely on his own good luck, and fail of
success, his family must starve. But in a community of twelve, the
probability that some one would procure provisions is increased as
twelve to one. Hence the community of provisions among most savage

    [65] Uxores habent deni, duodenique inter se communes; et
    maxime fratres cum fratribus, et parentes cum liberis. Sed si
    qui sunt ex his nati; eorum habenter liberi a quibus primum
    virgines quæque ductæ sunt.---- _Cæsar de bell. Gall. Lib.

    [66] Let an individual depend solely on his own exertions for
    food, and a single failure of crops subjects him to a famin.
    Let a populous country depend solely on its own produce, and
    the probability of a famine is diminished; yet is still
    possible. But a commercial intercourse between all nations,
    multiplies the chances of subsistence, and reduces the matter
    to a certainty. China, a well peopled country, is subject to
    a famin merely for want of a free commerce.

The Britons, when the Romans first visited their island, did not attend
much to the cultivation of the earth. "Interiores plerique," says Cæsar,
"frumenta non serunt, sed lacte et carne vivunt." By establishing a
community of goods, they secured themselves against the hazard of want;
and by a community of wives and offspring, they confirmed the
obligations of each to superintend the whole; or rather, changed into a
natural obligation what might otherwise depend on the feebler force of
positiv compact. Besides, it is very possible that personal safety from
the invasion of tribes or individuals, might be another motiv for
establishing these singular communities. At any rate, we must suppose
that the Britons had good civil or political reasons for this custom;
for even savages do not act without reason. And if they found society
more safe and happy, with such a custom than without it, it was most
undoubtedly right.

Should it be said, that a community is prohibited by divine command; I
would answer that it is not presumable that the old Britons had any
positiv revelation; and I do not know that the law of nature will decide
against their practice. The commands given to the Jews were positiv
injunctions; but they by no means extend to all nations, farther than as
they are founded on _immutable principles_ of right and wrong in all
societies. Many of the Mosaic precepts are of this kind; they are
unlimited in their extent, because they stand on principles which are
unlimited in their operation.

Adultery is forbidden in the Jewish laws; and so it is in the codes of
other nations. But adultery may be defined differently by different
nations; and the criminality of it depends on the particular positiv
institutions, or accidental circumstances of a nation. The same reasons
that would render a similar custom in civilized modern nations highly
criminal, might render it innocent and even necessary among the old
Britons. A prohibition to gather sticks on the Sabbath, under a penalty
of death for disobedience, might be founded on good reasons among the
ancient Jews; but it would be hard to prove that a modern law of the
same kind, would be warrantable in any nation.

No. XXI.

                         NEW YORK, JUNE, 1788.

_A_ LETTER _from a_ LADY, _with_ REMARKS.


As you have, in your writings, discovered that you take a particular
interest in the happiness of ladies, I hope you will not deem it a
deviation from delicacy, if one of them offers you her grateful
acknowlegements, and requests you to giv your sentiments upon what will
be here related.

About four years ago, I was visited by a gentleman who professed an
unalterable attachment for me. He being a genteel, sensible and handsome
man, I thought myself justifiable in treating him with complacency.
After I was convinced by his constant attention and frequent
professions, that I was a favorite, he used frequently to upbraid me,
for being so silent and reserved: It shewed, he said, a want of
confidence in him; for I must be sensible he derived the greatest
pleasure imaginable in my conversation, and why would I then deprive him
of the greatest happiness by absenting myself, when he paid a visit,
refusing to chat with my usual freedom. Tho he professed himself to be
an admirer of candor, and a strict adherer to the rules of honor, still
I could not but doubt his sincerity from the extravagance of his
expressions. This he considered as an affront, saying that no man of
_honor_ would express sentiments that were not genuine. I found myself
unwilling to say any thing that should be disagreeable, and disposed to
make him understand by an attention that I supposed him entitled to,
that he was prefered to any other person. He continued his visits in
this manner for about eighteen months, conducting himself with the
greatest delicacy, affection and respect. During this time, he never
expressed a wish to be united, which made me uneasy, as I knew that all
my friends thought us engaged. At last I told him his attention was too
particular; I knew not what construction to put upon it. He replied that
I was too particular in my ideas; it was a convincing proof to him, with
my resenting _trifling liberties_, that I had not an affection for him,
and that he was not the man I wished to be connected with; therefore he
would not trouble me any longer with his company, and wished me a good

This, Sir, you must suppose, distressed me greatly; I viewed myself
injured and trifled with, but knew not how to obtain redress. My
attachment and pride were so great that I would not allow my friends to
call him to an account for his behavior; tho I now despise his conduct,
and would refuse him the hand of which he has proved himself unworthy,
still I feel hurt at the treatment I have received. You, Sir, as a
friend to our sex, and one who wishes to preserve the peace of mind of
unsuspecting girls, will do them an essential service, by your
animadversions on these facts, and guarding our sex from similar

These circumstances would not have been related, were I not rendered
discontented and wretched at home, in consequence of refusing the offers
of three other gentlemen; either of whom would doubtless have been
acceptable, had not my affections been preengaged to one who has proved
himself worthless. Their characters and situations in life are equal to
my wishes; but I cannot do them so much injustice and myself so much
injury, as to giv my hand unaccompanied with my heart. In consulting my
own inclinations I have incurred the displeasure of all my family; they
treat me with great inattention, and are continually reflecting on my
want of spirit and resolution. I am confident, Sir, that every generous
mind will pity your unhappy and distressed friend,



While I acknowlege myself honored by your correspondence, and happy in
an opportunity of rendering you or your sex the least service, permit
me, in compliance with your request, which shall be to me a sacred law,
to offer my sentiments with a frankness, corresponding with that which
marks the relation of your misfortunes. For altho I feel the warmest
indignation at every species of deception, and particularly at that long
continued inexplicitness which is _deliberate deception_, and which is
the cause of your wretchedness, candor and truth require that censure
should fall where it is due.

If the slightest blame can fall on you, it is that you indulged the
visits of a gentleman for _eighteen months without an explicit and
honorable declaration of his intention_. A _delicate_, _affectionate_
and _respectful_ attention to a lady, for one quarter of that period, is
sufficient to make an impression on her mind, and decide her choice: At
the same time, it might not render an attachment on her part, so strong
as to make a separation very painful; it might not giv the world an
opinion that an engagement exists, or subject the lady to the necessity
of dismissing other suitors. It is therefore prudent at least for a lady
to conduct herself in such a manner as to bring her admirer to an
explicit declaration of his designs. A man of _real honor_ and principle
would not wait for a stratagem on the part of the lady, or for a frank
demand of an explanation of his conduct. A tolerable acquaintance with
the human heart would enable him to discover when a declaration would be
_agreeable_ to the lady, and after this discovery, he would not keep her
a moment in suspense. A man of generous feelings, who has a lively
attachment, looks with anxiety for some proof that his addresses are
agreeable, and that a declaration of his intentions will be well
received. No sooner does he find this proof, than he hastens to unbosom
himself to the dear object of his wishes, and communicate the happiness
he so ardently desires to receive. When therefore a man neglects such a
declaration, after he has had convincing proofs that his offers would be
well received, it may and should be taken for granted that his
intentions are not honorable, and the lady should treat him accordingly.
If therefore, my unhappy friend, you deserve the least degree of
censure, it is because you delayed too long to take measures for
undeceiving yourself. Yet this delay is a proof of your unsuspecting
confidence and sincere attachment; and faults, proceeding from such
amiable causes, are almost changed to virtues; in your sex, they entitle
the sufferer to forgivness and to love.

You inform me, Constantia, that the man who has injured you, professed
to _adhere to the rules of honor_. Never, Constantia, trust a man who
deals largely in that hackneyed virtue, _honor_. _Honor_, in the
fashionable sense of the word, is but another name for _villany_. The
_man of honor_ would not be guilty of the least impropriety in public
company; he would not for the world neglect the least punctilio of the
customary etiquette, but he would, without hesitation or remorse, blow
out the brains of a friend, for treading on his toe, or rob an amiable
woman of her reputation and happiness to gratify his vanity.

If a man talks too much of his _honor_, he is to be avoided, like the
midnight ruffian. He that really possesses a virtue never boasts of it,
for he does not suspect the world think him destitute of it. Numerous
professions are commonly mere substitutes for what is professed.

The man, who has given you so much uneasiness, never deserved the
confidence he won; he must be destitute of principle, of virtue, and of
attachment to you. His deliberate ill usage proves him to be callous to
every tender emotion, and to deserve your contempt. Will not a generous
pride and detestation expel the least sentiment of respect for him from
your breast? Can you not forget that you have been misled, and will not
your innocence buoy you above misfortunes? That you have refused good
offers, is to be regretted; but your friends, if they know the reason,
as they ought, will not pain you by disingenuous reflections. On the
other hand, they will assist you in finding objects to amuse you and
dissipate your own melancholy reflections. Smile away the anxiety that
shuts your heart against other impressions. Base as men are, there may
be some found who despise the character of him who has given even an
hour's pain; there may be one who knows _your_ worth, and may be
disposed to reward your _constancy_.

It is a mortifying reflection to an honest mind, that _bad_ hearts are
so often suffered to giv pain to the _good_; that the _trifling_ and the
_base_ of our sex are not constrained, by necessity, to associate only
with the _trifling_ and the _base_ of yours, and that the good, the
generous and the constant should be exposed to the abuses of the fickle
and designing. But such is the constitution of society, and for the
evils of it, we have no remedy, but cautious circumspection to prevent,
or patient fortitude to support the adverse events of our conditions.

No man can entertain a more cordial detestation of the smallest
disposition to annoy the peace of mind and disturb the tranquillity of
mankind, than myself; the design of existence here is to sooth the
evils, and multiply the felicities of each other, and he must be a
villain indeed, who can deliberately attempt to poison the sources of
pleasure, by crossing and disappointing the social passions.

To your sex, Constantia, permit me to giv a word of caution; never to
make any inquiries about a man's family, fortune or accomplishments,
till you know whether he is a man of _principle_. By _principle_, I
mean, a disposition of heart to conduct with strict propriety, both as a
moral being and as a member of civil society; that is, a disposition to
increase the happiness of all around him. If he appears to wish for his
own gratification, at the expense even of a servant's happiness, he is
an unsocial being, he is not a fit associate for men, much less for
amiable women. If he is a man of _principle_, then proceed to inquire
into his standing in life. _With_ principle he may make a woman happy in
almost any circumstances; _without_ it, _birth_, _fortune_ and
_education_ serve but to render his worthlessness the more conspicuous.
With sentiments of esteem, I am your obliged friend, and humble servant,



                         NEW YORK, JULY, 1788.

_A_ LETTER _to the_ AUTHOR, _with_ REMARKS.


I beg leave to relate to you a few circumstances respecting the conduct
of a young friend of mine in this city, and to request your own remarks
and advice on the occasion. Should any other person similarly situated,
be disposed to receive benefit from the advice, I shall be much
gratified, and my design more than answered.

This young friend to whom I allude, has been till within a few years,
under the watchful eyes of very attentiv parents; from whom he received
much better advice and much more of it, than the generality of parents
in this city are wont to bestow on their children; they taught him to
regard truth with a steady attachment; in short his education, till
their deaths, was such as might with propriety have been called rigidly
virtuous. Since that instructiv period, he has been under the guidance
of no one but himself; his former associates with whom he grew up, and
for whom he still feels a degree of schoolmate attachment, are almost
universally debauched characters. The force of example is great, and let
it be mentioned to his honor, that in general he has had sufficient
virtue to resist their importunities, and to follow a line of conduct
directly contrary to the one they would gladly have marked out for his
pursuance. He possesses many of the social virtues, and is warmly
attached to the amiable part of the female world. This attachment has
preserved him from the fashionable vices of the age, and given him a
relish for domestic happiness, which I think he will never lose. A young
gentleman so capable of making himself agreeable to good and virtuous
characters, ought not, in my opinion, to indulge himself in any
practices, that shall tend in the least to depreciate his general merit.
The practices I would mention, are few and not very considerable; still
I think he should dismiss them entirely, or at least not indulge them to
his disadvantage. He sings a _good song_, and he knows it tolerably
well; he is often urged into company on that account; he can make
himself agreeable withal, and is really a _musical companion_; he pays
so much attention to _learning_ and _singing songs_, that he has but
little leisure time on his hands; he reads part of the day, but he reads
principally _novels_ or _song books_. I would not be understood to
consider _singing songs_ as criminal; far from it; I am often delighted
with a song from him; but the query with me is, whether he ought not to
devote part of the time which he now employs about what may be called
genteel trifling, to the improvement of his mind in a manner that may be
of lasting benefit to him; I wish you to giv him your advice, and direct
him what books to read. He has another _fault_, which, altho it
originates in the benevolence of his disposition, may still be called a
fault. He has a very susceptible heart, and opens it with a generous
freedom, so much so that he sometimes forgets himself, and opens it
where he ought not to do. A stranger with a specious outside might
easily impose on him. I just throw out these hints, that he may be on
his guard against those whose business it is to deceive. There are
several smaller faults dependant upon, or rather consequent to, those I
have mentioned, which I at first intended to have enumerated, but if the
first are amended, the others will forsake him of course.



By the description you have given of your young friend, it appears that
he is rather _trifling_ and _inconsiderate_ than _profligate_. His
faults are, _his spending too much time in learning and singing songs_;
and too _much frankness of heart_, which exposes him to impositions. But
you have not, Sir, informed me whether he was _bred to business_; and by
his character, I judge that he was not. He has had good precepts indeed;
but of how little weight are precepts to young people! Advice to the
young sometimes does good; but perhaps never, except good habits have
been previously formed by correct discipline in manners, or by a
mechanical attention to honest employments. The truth is, advice or
serious council is commonly lavished where it does no good, upon the
young, the gay, the thoughtless; whose passions are strong, before
reason begins to have the smallest influence. I am young myself, but
from the observations I have hitherto made, I venture to affirm, that
grave advice never yet conquered a passion, and rarely has restrained
one so as to render a sprightly youth, in any degree serious. How should
it? Instructions are transient; they seldom touch the heart, and they
generally oppose passions that are vigorous, and which are incessantly
urging for indulgence.

I have ever thought that advice to the young, unaccompanied by the
routine of honest employments, is like an attempt to make a shrub grow
in a certain direction, by blowing it with a bellows. The way to
regulate the growth of a vegetable is to _confine_ it to the proposed
direction. The only effectual method perhaps is to keep young persons
from childhood busy in some employment of use and reputation. It is very
immaterial what that employment is; the mind will grow in the direction
given it at first; it will bend and attach itself to the business, and
will not easily lose that bent or attachment afterwards: The mind _will_
attach itself to something; its natural disposition is to pleasure and
amusement. This disposition may be changed or overcome by keeping the
mind, from early life, busy in some useful occupation, and perhaps by
_nothing else_. Advice will not produce the effect.

I suspect, Sir, that your young friend has been bred a trifler; that he
has had money to support him without the labor of acquiring it; that he
has never been anxious about his future subsistence. If so, his
education must be pronounced erroneous. Whether worth twenty pounds or
twenty thousand, it should make no difference in his attention to
business while young. We are the creatures of habit; a habit of
_acquiring_ property should always precede the _use_ of it, otherwise it
will not be used with credit and advantage. Besides, business is almost
the only security we have for moral rectitude and for consequence in
society. It keeps a young person out of vicious company; it operates as
a constant check upon the passions, and while it does not destroy them,
it restrains their intemperance; it strengthens the mind by exercise,
and puts a young person upon exerting his reasoning faculties. In short,
a man bred to business loves society, and feels the importance of the
principles that support it. On the other hand, mankind respect him; and
whatever your young friend may think of the assertion, it is true that
the ladies uniformly despise a man who is always dangling at their apron
strings, and whose principal excellence consists in singing a good song.

If, Sir, your friend is still so young, as to undergo the discipline of
a professional or other employment, his habits of trifling may be
changed by this means; but if he is so far the gentleman as to disdain
business, his friends have only to whistle advice in his ears, and wait
till old age, experience, and the death of his passions, shall change
the man.

Accept of my thanks, Sir, for this communication, and be assured that my
opinion on any subject of this kind will always be at your service.



                         BOSTON, MARCH, 1789.


In the course of my etymological investigations, I hav been led to
suspect that all the writers on the laws and constitution of England,
hav mistaken the origin and primitiv signification of several words of
high antiquity, and in consequence of the mistake, hav adopted some
erroneous opinions, respecting the history of parliaments and trial by
peers. Whether my own opinions are wel supported by history and
etymology, must be hereafter decided by able and impartial judges of
this subject.

_Dome book_, or _domesday book_, iz a word wel understood by English
lawyers. _Dome book_, or _dom bec_, az it waz formerly spelt, waz the
name given to the Saxon code of laws compiled by Alfred. Some other
codes of local customs or laws were also denominated _dom becs_, but
theze are all lost. After the conquest, a general survey of all the
lands in England, except a few counties, waz made by order of William,
and recorded in a volum which iz stil extant, and called _domesday_.
This survey waz begun by five justices assigned for the purpose in each
county, in the year 1081 and completed 1086.

Our pious ancestors were not a little frightened at the name of this
book, which iz usually pronounced _doomsday_; supposing it to hav some
reference to the final doom, or day of judgement. In order to quiet such
apprehensions, lawyers of less credulity undertook to refute the common
opinion. Jacob, after Cowel, very gravely asserts, that the termination
_day_ in this word does not allude to the general judgement. "The
addition of _day_ to this dome book, waz not ment with any allusion to
the final day of judgement, az _most persons hav conceeved_, but waz to
strengthen and confirm it, and signifieth the judicial decisiv record,
or book of _dooming_ judgement and justice."[67] The same author defines
_domesmen_ to be _judges_, or men appointed to _doom_.

    [67] _Jacob Dict._ word, _domesday_.

Cowel, a compiler of considerable authority, says, "day or dey," (for
_dey_ iz the true spelling) "does not augment the sense, but only
doubles and confirms the same meening. It does not, in this composition,
really signify the mesure of time, but the administration of justice; so
that _domesday_ iz more emphatically the judicial decisiv record, the
book of _dooming_ judgement."[68] According to this author, then,
_domesday_ iz _a judgement of judgements_, for he quotes Dr. Hammond to
proov that _day_, _dies_, ημερα, in all idioms, signifies judgement.
However tru this may be, I beleev our Saxon forefathers could find a
better name for a code of laws, than _a judgement of judgements_.

    [68] Cowel Dict. _Daysman_.

"_Domesday_," says Coke, "dies judicii," day of judgement.[69] Such is
the influence of sounds upon credulous, superstitious minds.

    [69] Coke Litt. 3. 248.

The truth seems to be this; _domesday_ is a compound of _dom_,
judgement, decree or authority; and _dey_, a law or rule.[70] Or
_domes_, in the plural, may signify _judges_. The name of the book then
will signify, ether _the rules of judging_, or _deciding_, in questions
relating to the real property of England; or what is more probable, _the
rules and determinations of the judges_ who surveyed the lands in the

    [70] It iz singular that the last syllable of this word
    _domesday_, should hav been mistaken for _day_, a portion of
    time; for the latter in Saxon waz written _daeg_ and
    _daegum_, az in the Saxon version of the Gospels; whereaz the
    termination of _domesday_ waz formerly, and ought now to be,
    spelt _dey_.

That _dom_ had the signification here explained iz capable of proof. The
homager's oath, in the black book of Hereford, fol. 46, ends thus, "So
helpe me God at his holy _dome_ (judgement) and by my trowthe," (troth,
that is truth.)[71] This explanation coincides with the meening of the
same syllable in other languages, and confirms the hypothesis of the
common origin of the languages of Europe, laid down in the Notes to my
Dissertations on the English Tung. We see the syllable in the Greek
δαμαω, the Latin _dominus_, (domo) and in the English word _tame_; az
also in _doom_, _deem_, king _dom_.[72] In all theze words we observe
one primitiv and several derivativ significations. Its primitiv sense is
that of power or authority, az in Greek and Latin. In English, it stands
for jurisdiction, a judge, or a sentence. In _deem_, it denotes the act
of the mind in judging, or forming its determinations.

    [71] Cowel, Law Dict. _dome_.

    [72] In some words _dom_ is substituted for the ancient
    termination _rick_; and in one sense, it iz equivalent to
    _rick_, which implies jurisdiction or power. _King rick_ waz
    used az late az Queen Elizabeth: _Bishop-rick_ iz stil used,
    denoting the territory or jurisdiction of a bishop.

The other syllable _dey_ iz probably the same word az _ley_, law, with a
different prepositiv article; for etymologists tel us, that the radical
syllable waz often found in the muther tung _ey_. Cowel informs us it
waz not _day_, but _dey_; and another author writes it _d'ey_. The word
_daysman_, or az it ought to be spelt _deysman_, stil used both in
England and America, is composed of _dey_ and _man_, and signifies an
arbitrator or judge, appointed to reconcile differences. In this country
I hav often heerd it applied to our Savior, az mediator between God and

The ancient lawyers translate the Saxon _dom bec_ and _domesdey_ by
_liber judicialis_; words which seem not to convey the ful meening of
the original. I should translate them, _liber judicum_, the Judges book;
or _lex judicum_, the Judges law or rule.

The old Saxon word _ley_, before mentioned, waz, in different dialects,
or at different periods, written _ley_, _lah_, _lage_, _laga_. It iz
doubtless from the same root az the Latin _lex_, _lege_; and it is
remarkable, that the same word anciently signified _peeple_; and from
this are derived _lay_ and _laity_, the peeple as opposed to the
_clergy_.[73] It iz probable that the primitiv sense of the word, in
remote antiquity, waz _people_; and az the peeple made the laws in
general assembly, so their orders or decrees came to be called by the
same name. This conjecture iz not groundless, and is no trifling proof
of the ancient freedom of our Gothic ancestors. Tacitus says expressly
of the Germans, "De minoribus rebus principes consultant; de majoribus
_omnes_." De Mor Germ. 11. The princes deliberate upon small matters, or
perhaps decide private controverses of small moment; but laws of general
concern are enacted in an assembly of all the peeple.

    [73] Johnson derives _lay_ from the Greek λαος; as he does
    all other words which hav some resemblance to Greek words in
    sound or signification. I beleev the Saxon or Gothic original
    and the Greek may be the same, and of equal antiquity.

The origin of _Parishes_ haz puzzled all the lawyers and antiquaries of
the English nation. Johnson, after his usual manner, recurs to the
Greek, and derives the word from παροικια, accolarum conventus, an
assemblage or collection of peeple in a naborhood. Others content
themselves with deriving it from the Latin _parochia_ or French
_paroisse_. These etymologies do not satisfy me. It is improbable that
our ancestors went to the Greek for names of places or divisions of
territory, that existed in England az erly az the Heptarchy; especially
az the Greek word before mentioned waz never used in the sense of
_parish_. _Parochia_ cannot be the origin of parish; for it waz not a
Roman word; on the other hand, it is merely a Gothic or Saxon word
latinized by the erly writers on law; and to derive _parish_ from the
French _paroisse_ is trifling; for we might as well derive _paroisse_
from _parish_, which iz at leest az ancient.

"It iz uncertain at what time England waz divided into parishes," say
most of the law writers. Camden, in hiz Britannia, page 104, says, the
kingdom waz first divided into parishes by Honorius, archbishop of
Canterbury, in 636. This opinion iz controverted. Sir Henry Hobart
thinks parishes were erected by the council of Lateran, in 1179. Selden,
followed by Blackstone, supposes both to be rong, and shows that the
clergy lived in common, without any distinction of parishes, long after
the time mentioned by Camden; and it appeers by the Saxon laws, that
parishes were known long before the council of Lateran.[74]

    [74] Blackstone Com. vol. I. 112.

The truth probably iz, the kingdom was not divided into parishes at any
one time, but the original ecclesiastical division grew, in a great
measure, out of a prior civil division. _Parish_ iz the most ancient
division of the ecclesiastical state, and originally denoted the
_jurisdiction of a bishop_, or what iz now called a _diocese_. For this
opinion, we hav the authority of the Saxon laws and charters. "Ego
Cealwulfus, dei gratia rex Merciorum, rogatus a Werfritho, Episcopo
Hwicciorum, istam libertatem donavi, ut _tota parochia Hwicciorum_ a
pastu equorum, regis et eorum qui eos ducunt, libera sit, &c." Charta
Cealwulfi regis, Anno 872. "Episcopus, congregatis omnibus clericis
totius _parochiæ_, &c." in a passage quoted by Cowel tit. _parish_. Here
the _bishoprick_ iz explicitly called a _parish_, parochia; and
Blackstone remarks, "it is agreed on all hands, that in the erly ages of
christianity in this island, parishes were unknown, or at leest
signified the same az a _diocese_ does now." Com. Vol. I. 112.

This, being a settled point, wil perhaps furnish a clue by which we may
find the true origin of the word and of the division.

It iz certain that there waz an ancient word among the Gothic nations,
and probably among the Celtic, which signified originally _a man_,
afterwards a freeman, or landholder, in opposition to that class of men
who had no real property. This word waz spelt by the Romans _vir_, and
signified _a man_, by way of eminence, az distinguished from _homo_; az
also a husband or householder. It answered to the ανηρ of the Greeks, az
distinguished from ανθροπος, a word denoting the human race in general.
The same word in the Gothic or ancient German waz spelt _bar_;[75] and
probably in some dialects _par_, for the convertibility of _b_ with _p_
iz obvious to every etymologist.[76] In the Erse language, az Mc Pherson
testifies, _bar_ signifies a man. The word iz also pronounced _fer_ or
_fear_, which approaches nearer to the Latin _vir_: _Fergus_ or
_Ferguth_ signifies a _man of word_ or command. In modern Welsh, which
iz the purest relict of the old Celtic, _bar_ is a son, and _barn_ a
judge. In the ancient Irish, _brehon_ or _barhon_, which iz merely
_baron_ with an aspirate, signified a judge. See Lhuyd, Mc Pherson,
Ossian, p. 4. and Blackstone's Commentaries, Vol. I.

    [75] Camden's Britannia. _Baron._

    [76] Let no one question the probability of such changes of
    consonants which are formed by the same organs; for to this
    day _b_ and _v_ are often used promiscuously. In the Spanish
    language, we are at liberty to pronounce, _b_ az _v_, or _v_
    az _b_; and with us, _marble_ is often pronounced _marvle_.
    It is also certain that the Roman _vir_ is found in the word
    mentioned by Cesar. Com. 11. 19. _Vergo bretus_, an annual
    magistrate among the Ædui, a nation of Germany. This word is
    derived from _vir_, and _guberno_, altho Cesar and Tacitus
    never suspected it. The same word iz mentioned by Mc Pherson,
    az stil existing in the Erst language, _Fergubreth_; and its
    meaning iz the same az in Cesar's time: A decisiv argument
    that _vir_, _fer_, and _bar_, are radically the same; and
    that the ancient Celtic language had a common origin with the
    Latin. A similar change of consonants iz observable in the
    words _volo_ and _bull_ (the Pope's decree) which are
    radically the same; az also the German _woll_ and the English
    _will_. So the ancient _Pergamus_ iz called by the modern
    Turks, _Bergamo_. See Masheim's Eccle. Hist. Vol. I. and my
    Dissertations on the Eng. Language, Appendix.

This word iz the root of the modern word _baron_; for in ancient
manuscripts, it iz sometimes spelt _viron_, denoting its _derivation_
from _vir_. For this we hav the authority of Camden and Du Cange under
the word _baron_.

So far we tred on sure ground. That theze words hav existed or do stil
exist in the sense above explained, wil not be denied; and it iz almost
certain that they all had a common origin.

The word _Baron_ iz evidently derived from the German _bar_ or _par_,
and under the feudal system, came to signify the proprietors of large
tracts of land, or thoze vassals of the Lord Paramount, who held lands
by honorable service.[77]

    [77] The feudal system iz commonly supposed to hav originated
    in the conquest of the Roman empire by the northern nations.
    The rudiments of it however may be discovered az erly az the
    Cimbric invasion of Italy, a century before the Christian
    era. Se Florus. lib. 3. c. 3. The Cimbri and Teutones were
    tribes of the same northern race, az the Germans and Saxons.

I shall hereafter attempt to proov that several modern words are derived
from the same root; at present I confine my remarks to the word
_parish_, which, I conjecture, iz a compound of _par_, a landholder, and
_rick_ or _rich_, which haz been explained, az denoting territory or
jurisdiction: _Parick_ or _parich_, the jurisdiction of a par or baron.
It iz true the words _baron_ and _parliament_ seem not to hav been used
among the Saxons before the conquest; but they were used by most of the
nations of the same original, on the continent; az in Germany, Burgundy,
Sweden and Normandy: And the use of the word _parochia_ in England,
before the conquest, or at leest by the first lawyers and translators of
the Saxon laws, iz to me the strongest proof that some such word az
_parick_ existed among the erly Saxons, or which waz latinized by thoze
writers. Even if we suppose the word borrowed from nations on the
continent, my supposition of the existence of such a word iz equally wel
founded, for they all spoke dialects of the same tung.

The first knowlege we hav of the word _parish_ or rather _parochia_, iz
in the Saxon laws, copied and translated into Latin by thoze erly
writers, Bracton, Britlon, Fleta, or others of an erlier date. In that
erly period, _parochia_ waz a _diocese_ or _bishoprick_.

I suspect the jurisdiction of the bishop waz originally limited by an
erldom, county shire, or territory of a great lord. This waz probably
the general division; for sometimes a clergyman or bishop, in the zerude
ages, had cure of souls in two or more adjoining lordships; and it
often happened that a lord had much waste land on hiz demesne, which waz
not comprehended in the original _parish_, and thus came, in later
times, to be called _extraparochial_. But whatever particular exceptions
there might be, the remark az a general one, will hold true, with
respect to the original jurisdiction of a bishop.

The number of counties in England iz at present forty, and that of the
dioceses, twenty four; but the number of counties haz been different at
different times; and some changes, both in the civil and ecclesiastical
state, hav doubtless, in a course of a thousand years, destroyed the
primitiv division. It iz however some proof of my hypothesis, that most
of the bishops in England are stil called by the names of counties, or
of cities which are shires of themselves; az the bishop of Durham, of
Worcester, of London, of Norwich, &c. or by the names of the cheef towns
in counties; az bishop of Winchester, of Chichester, &c.

Selden's account of the ancient divisions of the kingdom, confirms this
opinion. See Bacon's Selden, ch. 11. The province or jurisdiction of an
archbishop, waz prior to the origin of diocesses or parishes. Selden haz
given an account of a division of diocesses by archbishop Theodore in
the seventh century; by which it appears, that in some instances, a
diocese or parish waz one shire or county; and in others, a parochia
covered two, three, or more shires: But in almost every instance, the
limits of a parish were the limits of a shire or shires. And however
strange the reader may think it, the word _church_ and _shire_ are
radically the same. The Saxon word waz _cyrick_ or _cyrk_;[78] and the
Scotch pronounce and write it _kirk_. It iz, like _shire_, derived from
the Saxon _Sciran_, cir, or _seyre_, to divide. The church or kirk waz
the ecclesiastical division, answering to shire, and come to signify the
jurisdiction of the cathedral church; the primaria ecclesia or mother
church; and hence the Saxon term _cyrick sceate_, church scot or fees,
paid by the whole diocese.

    [78] So it iz spelt in the Saxon laws; but its root waz
    probably _circe_, from _sciran_, to divide. _C_ before _i_
    and _e_ was in Saxon pronounced _ch_ or neerly; hence _circe_
    is _chirche_.

In later times, the original _parochia_ or diocese was divided or
extended by the _Mickle-mote_, _Witenagemote_ or national assembly, by
advice of the bishops, nobles, and cheef men.

From all I can collect respecting this subject, it appeers probable,
that on the first conversion of the Saxons to christianity, each
_earle_, _earlederman_, or erl, whoze manor or jurisdiction waz the
origin of a county, had hiz clergyman or chaplain to perform divine
service. Hiz residence waz probably in the vicinity of the erl; and this
waz the origin of the _cathedral_, or mother church, _primaria
ecclesia_, to which the tenants of the whole district or erldom
afterwards paid tithes. On the first establishment of theze churches,
the tenants paid tithes where they choze; but fraud or delay on the part
of the tenant, and the encreasing power of the clergy, occasioned a law
of king Edgar, about the year 970, commanding all the tithes to be paid
to the mother church, to which the parish belonged.[79] This must hav
augmented the welth of the cathedral churches, and given them a superior
rank in the ecclesiastical state.

    [79] Blackstone Com. vol. I, 112. That each shire had its
    bishop, seems to be obvious from a law of Edgar, c. 5, where,
    respecting the county court, it iz ordered, "celeberrimo huic
    conventui episcopus et aldermannus intersunto;" not _unus
    episcoporum_, but _the bishop_ and _erl_.

Previous, however, to this period, the _thanes_ or inferior lords, had
their chaplains and private chapels; and it waz a rule, that if such
chapel had a consecrated cemetery or burying ground belonging to it, the
lord might appropriate one third of the tithes to the support of hiz
private chaplain. The clerks or bishops who belonged to the cathedral
churches, and were the officiating ministers of the erls or princes, at
that time the first ranks of noblemen, acquired an influence in
proportion to their property and the extent of their jurisdictions.
Hence the powers of modern bishops in superintending the clergy of their
dioceses. In later times, they acquired large tracts of land, ether by
purchase, gift or devise, and in right of their _baronies_ gained a seet
among the lords of the kingdom in parliament.

The inferior clergy were multiplied in proportion az the peeple wanted
or could support them, and the jurisdiction of an earl's chaplain, being
limited originally by his cure of souls, and being founded on a
_parrick_ or territory of a lord, afterwards gave name to all the
jurisdictions of the inferior clergy. Hence the name of _parish_, as
denoting the extent of a parson's[80] ecclesiastical authority.

    [80] _Parson_ iz said, by Coke and others, to be derived from
    _persona_, because this officer represents the corporation or
    church, _vicem seu personam ecclesiæ gerere_. This reezon
    seems to be obscure and unsatisfactory. It iz possible the
    word may proceed from the same root az _parish_, viz. _par_.

The jurisdiction of a bishop lost the name of parish, parochia, at a
very erly period; but stil the subordinate divisions of the
ecclesiastical state continued to be regulated by prior civil divisions.
For this assertion, we hav an indisputable authority, which confirms my
opinion respecting the origin of parishes. "It seems pretty clear and
certain," says the learned and elegant Blackstone, Com. vol. I, 114,
"that the boundaries of _parishes_ were originally ascertained by thoze
of a _manor_ or _manors_; since it very seldom happens that a manor
extends itself over more parishes than one, tho there are often many
manors in one parish." This iz the present state of facts, for
originally the parish, like the modern diocese, covered many manors, or
estates of the inferior feudatories.

_Parliament_ iz said to be derived from the French, _parlement_, which
iz composed of _parler_, to speak, and _ment_ or _mens_, mind. Cowel
tit. _Parliament_.

"Parliament," says Johnson, "parliamentuns, law Latin; parlement,
French." Dict. fol. Edit.

"It is called parliament," says Coke Litt. p. 110. Ed. Lond. 1778,
"because every member of that court should sincerely and discretely
_parler le ment_," (speek hiz mind) "for the general good of the
commonwelth; which name it also hath in Scotland; and this name before
the conquest waz uzed in the time of Edward the Confessor, William the
Conqueror, &c. It waz anciently, before the conquest, called
_michel-sinath_,[81] _michel-gemote_; _ealla_, _witena-gemote_; that is
to say, the great court or meeting of the king and all the wisemen;
sometimes of the king, with the counsel of hiz bishops, nobles and
wisest of hiz peeple. This court, the French men call _les estates_; or
_l'assemble des estates_. In Germany it is called a diet. For thoze
other courts in France that are called _parliaments_, they are but
ordinary courts of justice, and az Paulus Jovius affirmeth, were first
established with us."

    [81] Great synod--great meeting.

The late editor of Cokes Institutes, remarks, in a note on this passage,
that the latter part of this etymology iz justly exploded, and
apologizes for hiz author by saying, "it iz to be found in preceding
authors of eminence." He discards the _ment_, and considers it, not az
an essential, but an adventitious part of the word; deeming it
sufficient to derive the word from _parler_, to speak. This opinion he
receives from Lambard.

Such a definition, with great deference to theze venerable authorities,
iz a disgrace to etymology. Coke waz a great lawyer, and Johnson a good
Latin and Greek scholar; but neether of them waz versed in the Teutonic
language and institutions, where alone we should look for the origin of
our laws and the English constitution. Johnson indeed waz a mere
compiler of other mens etymologies, and Cowel, Selden, Junius and others
from whom he copied, tho deeply lerned, sometimes fell into very
whimsical mistakes. I am bold to assert that the English derivation of
_parliament_, or _parlement_ from the French _parler_, haz no better
authority than a mere whim or notion of theze writers. We might az well
derive _parler_ from _parliament_, and both from a _parcel_ of gossips,
because they are loquacious.

The true etymology of the word iz _par_, or _bar_, a landholder or
baron, and _le mote_, the meeting. I say _mote_, for this waz the Saxon
spelling of the word, after the prepositiv _ge_ waz dropped. It waz
originally _gemote_, az in _witena-gemote_; afterwards the _ge_ waz
disused, az in _falk-mote_. What the original French orthography waz, I
am not certain; but the word came to England from France, and we find
the French article prefixed, _par-le-ment; a meeting of the barons_. The
same sound waz used in Germany, Burgundy, and other parts of Europe, and
in all, it had the same meening, which it, in some mesure, retains in
France to this day.

The _commune concilium_ of England, before the conquest, consisted of
the _witena_, or wise men. It retained the name of _witena-gemote_, til
after the Norman invasion. It iz perhaps impossible, at this distance of
time, to ascertain exactly the manner of summoning this national
assembly, or whether the commons or lesser nobility were entitled to a
seet. In old charters, the king iz said to hav passed laws by advice of
the archbishops, bishops, abbots, erls and wise men of the relm;
seniorum sapientium populi. But we are not able to determin whether
theze seniores sapientes were admitted on account of their age and
wisdom; or whether possession of real estate waz a requisit
qualification. So much iz certain, that in France and Germany, where we
first heer of _parliaments_, all the _barons_, that iz, all the
nobility, were entitled to a seet in the national council, in right of
their baronys; and this iz asserted to hav been the case in England.[82]
This fact, so well attested in history az to be undeniable, ought long
ago to hav led the critical enquirer to the true origin of the French
word, parlement. The name of parliament took its rise under the feudal
system, when the assembly of men, so called, consisted solely of barons
or bars. It iz from this circumstance that the provincial assemblies of
France are properly denominated _parliaments_. The erly Norman princes,
who introduced the name into England, summoned none to their council but
the clergy and nobility, and sometimes a few only of the greater barons.
The house of lords iz strictly a _parliament_, according to the original
of the word, altho since the commons hav made a part of the legislature,
the name iz extended to the whole body.

    [82] Stuarts English Constitution, p. 275.

The word _peer_ iz said to be derived from the Latin _par_ equal; and
this circumstance haz been the occasion of innumerable encomiums on the
English _trial by peers_. So far az equality in the condition of judges
and parties, iz an excellence in any judicial system, the present
practice of trial by jury iz esteemable among a free peeple; for
whatever may be the origin of the word _peer_, a trial by men of the
naborhood may often proov a capital security against a court devoted to
party. But it iz at least doubtful whether _peers_, az used for jurors,
came from the Latin _par_; for it iz almost certain that the word
_peer_, az used for nobles, iz derived from the German _par_, a
landholder, and this iz undoubtedly the tru primitiv sense of the word.
That there waz such a word in ancient Germany, iz unquestionable; and
_paramount_, which signifies the lord of highest rank, iz from the same
root; _par-amount_, the _par_ or _baron above_ the rest. The jurists on
the continent latinized the word, calling the lords _pares_; and this,
in later ages, waz mistaken for the plural of the Latin _par_.

Az the pares or barons claimed almost exclusiv jurisdiction over their
manors, and held courts of justice, ether in person or by their
bailiffs, they came to be considered az the supreme judges in the last
resort of all civil and criminal causes. _Pares_ or _barons_ became
equivalent to _judges_. Hence the _house of peers_ in England iz the
supreme judicatory of the nation. Hence the _parliaments_ (meetings of
peers) in France are supreme courts of justice.

_Twelv_ waz a favorit number with our Saxon ancestors, and the king, or
lord paramount, with twelv judges, constituted the supreme court or
council among the ancient Germans. It will hardly be considered a
digression to examin this institution with more attention; for if I
mistake not, the rudiments of it are visible az far back az the
Christian era; or even az the Gothic migrations to the west and north of

In the Edda, or system of Gothic mythology, compiled by Snorro
Sturleson, supreme judge of Iceland, about the year 1220, we may discern
the principles which would naturally giv rise to the practice of trial
by _twelv men_. The Edda will indeed be said to be a collection of
fables. To this I answer, fable iz generally, perhaps always, founded on
fact; whatever additions may be made in a course of time by imperfect
tradition. The Edda iz acknowledged to contain an authentic account of
the opinions of the northern nations at the time it waz written. This iz
all I ask.

Snorro, and Torfæus the historian of the north, inform us that even in
Scythia, "Odin, the supreme god of the Goths, performed the functions of
cheef preest, assisted by _twelv pontiffs, who distributed

    [83] Mallets North. Antiq. Vol. I. 61. The northern nations
    had, like the Greeks, _twelv_ principal deities, and this
    article in their religious beleef might originate the
    institution of _twelv preests_, _twelv judges_, &c. Many
    civil institutions among rude nations, may be traced to their
    religious opinions; and perhaps the preference given to the
    number _twelv_, in Germany, in Greece, and in Judea, had its
    origin in some circumstances az ancient az the race of the

    _Odin_, which in Anglo Saxon, waz _Woden_, waz the supreme
    god of the Goths, answering to the Jupiter of the Greeks: And
    it iz remarkable that the words, _god_, _good_, _odin_ and
    _woden_, all sprung from one source. We shall not be
    surprized that the same word should begin with such different
    letters, when we reflect that such changes are very common.
    The Danes omit _w_ in _word_; a dictionary they call
    _ord-bog_, a word book; and the Spaniards, in attempting to
    pronounce _w_, always articulate _g_. See my Dissertations,
    p. 335.

Let us attend to a fact confirming the account. Mallet, a historian of
credit, testifies that the hall or seet of justice, may be stil seen in
different parts of Sweden and Denmark. "Theze monuments, whoze rude bulk
haz preserved them from the ravages of time, are only vast unhewn
stones, commonly _twelv_ in number, set upright, and placed in form of a
circle. In the middle iz a stone, much larger than the rest, on which
they made a seet for their king. The other stones served az a barrier to
keep off the populace, and marked the place of thoze whom the peeple had
appointed to make the election (of king.) They treeted also in the same
place of the most important affairs."[84] There iz one neer Lunden,[85]
in Scania, another at Leyra, in Zealand, and a third neer Viburg, in

    [84] North. Antiq. Vol. I. 169.

    [85] London, in England, probably had its name from this

This being a well attested fact, we are disposed to beleev what iz
related in the Edda, Fable 7th, where it iz asked, "what the universal
father did when he bilt Asgard, (the divine abode.") It iz answered,
agreeable to the receeved opinion of the Goths, "he in the beginning
established governors, and ordered there to decide whatever differences
should arize among men, and to regulate the government in the plain,
called Ida, wherein are _twelv_ seets for themselves, besides the throne
which iz occupied by the universal father."[86]

    [86] North. Antiq. Vol. II. 41.

On this passage, the translator of Mallets History haz the following
note. "Theze judges were twelv in number. Waz this owing to there being
twelv primary deities among the Gothic nations, az there were among the
Greeks and Romans? This I shall not take upon me to decide; but I think
one may plainly observe here the first traces of a custom, which hath
extended itself to a great many other things. Odin, the conqueror of the
north, established a supreme court in Sweden, composed of twelv members,
to assist him in the functions of the preesthood and government. This
doubtless gave rise to what waz afterwards called the senate. And the
same establishment in like manner took place in Denmark, Norway, and
other northern States. Theze senators decided in this last appeal, all
differences of importance; they were, if I may say so, the assessors of
the prince; and were in number twelv, az we are expressly informed by
Saxo, in hiz life of king Regner Lodbrog. Nor are other monuments
wanting, which abundantly confirm this truth. We find in Zealand, in
Sweden, neer Upsal, and if I am not mistaken, in the county of Cornwal,
large stones, to the number of twelv, ranged in the form of a circle,
and in the midst of them, one of a superior height. Such in thoze rude
ages, waz the hall of audience; the stones that formed the
circumference, were the seets of the senators; that in the middle, the
throne of the king. The like monuments are found also in Persia, neer
Tauris. Travellers frequently meet there with large circles of hewn
stones; and the tradition of the country reports, that theze are the
places where the _caous_ or giants formerly held their councils.[87] I
think one may discover vestiges of this ancient custom, in the fable of
the _twelv peers_ of France, and in the establishment of twelv jurymen
in England, who are the _proper judges_, according to the ancient laws
of that country."

    [87] See Chardin's Travels, Vol. III.

It iz certain that some outlines of this mode of deciding controversies
by _twelv_, may be seen in the customs of the Cimbri and Teutones, long
before the Christian era. But I cannot find that the idea of _equality_
ever entered into the original institution. On the other hand, every old
authority that I hav consulted confirms me in the opinion, that the
_twelv men_ were chosen from among the landholders or better classes of
peeple; that they were the _judges_ of the court, and that the
distinction between judges and jury, law and fact, iz a refinement or
improovment on the original constitution, and comparativly of modern

It iz certain that a difference of rank existed among the Germans in the
time of Tacitus. "Reges ex nobilitate, duces ex virtute sumunt."[88] The
same writer expressly declares, that matters of inferior concern and
private justice came within the jurisdiction of their _princes_. "De
minoribus rebus principes consultant, de majoribus, omnes."[89] In
another passage, he is more explicit: "Principes jura per pagos vicosque
reddunt."[90] Cesar iz still more explicit: "Principes regionum atque
pagorum inter suos jus dicunt, controversiasque minuunt."[91] Theze
_principes regionum atque pagorum_, Blackstone says, we may fairly
constur to be lords of hundreds and manors;[92] they were originally
electiv, az we are informed by Tacitus, "eliguntur in conciliis
principis," and each had a hundred comites, or assistant judges, who
were chosen from among the peeple. "Centeni singulis, explebe comites,
concilium simul et auctoritas, adsunt."[93] Theze hundred assistants, or
companions, were chosen _ex plebe_; but when chosen formed the
_concilium principis_. The prince waz their president, chosen by
themselves, _eliguntur in conciliis principes_, and had _auctoritatem_,
authority or jurisdiction in the town or district.

    [88] Tac. de Mor. Germ. c. 7.

    [89] Tac. de Mor. Germ. c. 11.

    [90] C. 12.

    [91] De Bello Gallico. lib. VI. c. 21.

    [92] Com. Vol. III. 35. This cannot be strictly true; for the
    _principes_ were electiv; and therefore could not hav owned
    the land (pagus) or exercised the office of judge in right of
    their property. The kings, princes, and generals of the
    ancient Germans were elected; some for their _nobility_, that
    iz, the respectability of their families, arising from the
    valor and merits of their ancestors; others, az their
    _duces_, military commanders, were chosen for their
    _virtues_, their personal bravery. This I take to be the
    meening of that passage in Tacitus, "Reges ex nobilitate,
    duces ex virtute sumunt."

    "The _Comites ex plebe_," says Selden, chap. 18, "made one
    rank of freemen superior to the rest in wisdom." The Saxon
    nobles were called _adelingi_, or wel born; the freemen,
    _frilingi_, or free born; the latter might be assistants in
    the judicial department. The lower ranks were called _lazzi_
    or slaves; and indolence iz so necessary a consequence of
    bondage, that this word _lazzi_, or _lazy_, haz become
    sinonimous with _indolent_, _sluggish_. This word iz a living
    national satire upon every species of slavery. But the effect
    of slavery iz not merely indolence; its natural tendency iz
    to produce _dishonesty_; "almost every slave, being, says Dr.
    Franklin, from the nature of hiz employment, a theef." Az a
    striking proof of this, we may instance the change of meening
    in the words _villain_ and _knave_, which at first denoted
    _tenant_ and _plowman_, but during the oppressions of the
    feudal system, come to signify, _a rogue_. _Vassal_ also
    denoted originally, a _tenant_ or _feudatory_ of a superior
    lord. It waz an honorable name, the barons being called the
    kings _vassals_. But servitude iz to natural a consequence of
    the tenure of lands under a proprietor, in see, that _vassal_
    haz become sinonimous with slave.[c] The change of meening in
    theze words iz a volum of instruction to princes and
    legislators. Reduce men to bondage, and they hav no motiv but
    feer to keep them industrious and honest, and of course, most
    of them commence rogues and drones. Why hav not the tyrants
    of Europe discovered this truth? Good laws, and an equal
    distribution of the advantages and the rights of government,
    would generally be an effectual substitute for the bayonet
    and the gallows. Look thro Europe; wherever we see poverty
    and oppression, there we find a nursery of villains. A
    difference in the property, education and advantages,
    originates the difference of character, between the nobleman
    of nicest honor, and the culprits that swing at Tyburn.

         [c] Blackstone, Vol. II. 52, says, "we now uze the
         word _vassal_ opprobriously, az sinonimous to slave
         or bondman, on _account of the prejudices we hav
         justly conceived against the doctrins grafted on
         the feudal system_." So good a man ought not to hav
         uzed the word _prejudice_; and so great a man ought
         to hav assigned a better reezon for this
         _opprobriousness_ of the modern word _vassal_.

    [93] De Mor. Germ. c. 13.

The idea of equality iz no where suggested; on the contrary; the
hundredors when chosen became a court or legislature in the district,
competent to the general purposes of government. No mention iz made of a
distinction between the legislativ and judicial departments; on the
other hand, we may safely conclude, from the passeges of Cesar and
Tacitus before quoted, that the powers of making laws and deciding
causes were vested in the same men. Cesar says, "nullus est in pace
communis magistratus," nor could the Germans, in their primitiv simple
mode of living, need such a magistrate. The princes _jus dicunt,
controversiasque minuunt_, distributed justice, by the assistance of
their _comites_, and according to the circumstances of the peeple.[94]
This at leest waz the case with respect to matters of small magnitude.

    [94] The practice of choosing assistant judges in the Roman
    commonwealth, waz something similar to our mode of
    impannelling a jury. Theze assistants were sometimes a
    hundred, and it iz not improbable, the Roman and German
    customs of electing that number might be derived from the
    same original.

The Prætor, (cheef justice) or princeps judicum appointed by him,
summoned a number of persons, who were called _judices selecti_, select
judges. Theze were to giv their verdict in criminal matters, like our
juries. On the day of trial, the first thing after opening the court,
waz the _sortitio judicum_, or impannelling of the jury, performed by
the _judex quæstionis_ or cheef judge on the trial, who took by lot such
a number of the _judices selecti_, or jurymen, az the law, on which the
accusation waz founded, had determined. Liberty waz given to the parties
to reject, (challenge) and the places of thoze rejected, were filled by
new appointments.--_Kennetts Antiq. of Rome_, 138.

The number of _comites principis_, or assistants, waz originally a
_hundred_. This gave name to the district which they governed, and which
afterwards consisted of any indefinit number, still retaining the
primitiv name. In later ages, the number of assistant judges waz
reduced; a grand jury still consists of twenty four; a petit jury
commonly consists of twelv, but on certain occasions, and by the custom
of particular places in England, may be composed of sixteen, eight or

    [95] See Coke Litt. and Hargraves notes on this subject.

Such waz the constitution of the ancient Germans, in which we may
discover the principles of the system which they every where
established, after their conquests in Gaul, Spain, Italy and Britain.

_Twelv_ waz a favorit number, not only with the Saxons, but with all the
nations of northern original. They had twelv principal deities; they
numbered the units up to _twelv_, instead of stopping at ten, like other
nations;[96] they had twelv judges to assist their kings or princes;
their hall for the election of their kings consisted of twelv huge
stones, placed in a circle. Hence we discover the origin of the twelv
senators of Sweden,[97] Denmark and Norway; the twelv counsellors of
state in ancient times; the fable, az it iz called, of the twelv peers
in France; the twelv judges in England, and the trial by twelv peers or
jurors, which waz formerly common to all the northern nations of

    [96] Mallets North. Antiquities.

    [97] Mentioned in the preceding note, copied from Mallet.

    [98] These facts gave rise to Cokes quaint remarks, "that the
    law delighteth herself in the number of twelv;" and he adds,
    "the number of twelv iz much respected in holy writ; as 12
    apostles, 12 stones, 12 tribes, &c." On juries, fol. 155.

On the Gothic establishments in the south and west of Europe, government
took a military complection. The kings parcelled out the conquered lands
among their generals, called _duces_ or _principes_, by the Latin
writers; and by the Saxons, _heretoga_. The generals of first rank
receeved or acquired whole provinces, az Burgundy, and the
principalities of Germany. Theze territories they distributed among
their inferior officers and _comites_ or retainers, of whom every lord
had great numbers about hiz person. Theze constituted a secondary, but
very numerous class of nobility; and altho there might be differences of
rank and property among them, they were called by one general
appellation. In England, they were called _thanes_, from a word
signifying _to serve_, because they held their lands by the condition of
military service. On the continent, they were called _barons_, that is
freemen, or tenants of land, upon condition of rendering certain
military and honorable service to their superior lord, who waz called
lord _paramount_.

Blackstone remarks, that "a baron's iz the most general and _universal_
title of nobility; for originally every one of the peers of superior
rank had also a barony annexed to hiz title."[99] The origin of this
title haz occasioned great enquiry among antiquaries; but the difficulty
vanishes upon my hypothesis, which derives the word from _bar_, a
landholder and freeman; for on the establishment of the feudal tenures,
all the lands were held by a few men; the proprietors were all called
_barons_, and this accounts for the _universality_ of the title just
mentioned. Thus the bishops, after they had obtained gifts of large
tracts of land or manors, resigned them to the conqueror, William;
accepted them again subject to the conditions of lay fees, claimed rank
with the nobility, and took their seets in the English house of lords.
Actual possession of a barony waz originally requisit to constitute a
lord of parliament; but the title iz now granted by the king without the

    [99] Com. Vol. I. 398.

Blackstone mentions the difficulty of tracing the word _baron_ to its
primitiv sense; but confirms the foregoing explanation when he says,
"the most probable opinion iz that _barons_ were the same az our _lords
of manors_."[100] The name indeed waz not used in England (so far as can
be collected from English writers) till after the conquest. But it iz
certain that the feudal system, tho not in all its severity, waz
established in England before that period; and degrees of nobility were
cotemporary with the Saxon establishments in the island. The first class
were called in Saxon _heretoga_, that iz generals or military
commanders. But the most ancient and perhaps the most important civil
title waz that of _earles_ or _ealdormen_. Theze erls were called also
in Saxon _schiremen_, for they exercised supreme jurisdiction in the
_shires_. After the conquest they were called by the corresponding
Norman title _counts_, from _comites_, because they were the king's
companions in war; and their jurisdiction waz called a _county_.[101]

    [100] Com. Vol. I. 399.

    [101] I am by no meens certain that this derivation of
    _counts_ from _comites_, iz just; it iz at leest az probable
    az otherwise, that _contees_ may be a Gothic word. But this
    iz conjecture.

Inferior to theze in rank were the Saxon _thanes_, who were so called
from the Saxon _thanian_ ministrare, because they were the _comites_ or
attendants of the ancient kings or earls. Theze were numerous, and after
the conquest called by the equivalent continental title, _barons_. Of
theze there were different ranks, _thani majores_ or _thani regis_, who
served the king in places of high importance, and took rank next to the
bishops and abbots. Theze had inferior thanes under them, called _thani
minores_, who were also _lords of manors_.[102] The word _peer_ I
suppose to be derived from the same root az _baron_, bar or par, and to
be equivalent in sense. It iz cleer to me that _landholder_, or man by
way of eminence, waz its original meening; and that it iz a proper name
of the ancient nobility, given them az proprietors of vast tracts of
land, and that it had no reference to _equality_ of rank.

    [102] See Cowel on the word _thane_; and in Domesday,
    "thanus, est tenens, qui est caput manerii."

But there are better proofs of this point than that drawn from this
supposed derivation. The true original signification of the word we hav
in the phrases, _house of peers_, _peers of the relm_, _peerage_. And
for this assertion we hav the best authorities in the language. Cowel,
from whom Johnson and most modern lawyers have borrowed their
definitions of law terms, after explaining the word _peer_ az denoting
jurors, says expressly, "but this word iz _most principally used for
thoze that be of the nobility of the relm and lords of the parliament_."
Here the author haz mentioned a well supported fact, and quotes ancient
authorities. But he immediately leevs fact, and runs into conjecture, az
to the reezon of this appellation, which he deduces from a preconceeved,
but probably erroneous, opinion. "The reezon whereof iz, that altho
there be a distinction of degrees in our nobility, yet in all public
actions they are equal; az in their votes of parliament, &c." Here the
author takes it for granted that the word _peer_ signifies _equal_, and
assigns, az a cause of its _most principal_ appropriation to the
nobility, that the men, tho of different ranks, hav an _equal vote_ in
parliament. This a curious reason indeed! A man must be more credulous
than I am, to beleev this slight circumstance would giv rise to such a
particular appropriation of a name. One would think that the same reezon
would hav given the name to the clergy in convocation and other
ecclesiastical courts. Yet the learned and candid Blackstone haz copied
the same reezon. "The commonalty, like the nobility, are divided into
several degrees; and, az the lords, tho different in rank, yet all them
are _peers_ in respect of their nobility; so the commoners, tho some are
greatly superior to others, yet all are in law _peers_, in respect of
their _want_ of _nobility_."[103] This appeers very extraordinary, that
an _equality of suffrage_ should giv an appellation in preference to
_difference of rank_, which iz, so much more obvious and more flattering
to the haughty barons. But if the commoners are _peers_ or _equals in
suffrage_ az well az the lords; that iz, on the _same principle_; or as
Blackstone states it, if the _lords_ are _peers_ because they are
_noble_, and the commoners are _peers_, because they are _not noble_,
why hav not the commoners the same appellations of _peers of the relm_?
The lords are not _equally_ noble, by Blackstone's own statement, for
they are of very different ranks; and the commons are not equally
_ignoble_, (this word iz used merely for contrast) for they are of
different ranks: Yet the vote of one commoner iz az good in the house of
commons, az that of another; and the vote of one lord, in the other
house, iz az good az that of another. If the _equality of suffrage_ iz a
proper ground for the title of _peers_ in one house, the reezon extends
to the other. Yet commoners are not _peers of the relm_; and until a
good reezon can be assigned for the distinction of titles between the
houses, I shall beleev that the word _peer_ had originally no reference
to _equality_.[104]

    [103] Com. Vol. I. 403. "But the same author, in page 399,
    says, the right of _peerage_ seems to hav been originally
    territorial, that iz, annexed to lands, manors, &c. the
    proprietors of which were, in right of thoze estates, allowed
    to be _peers of the relm_;" that iz, in plain English,
    certain men, in right of their estates, were allowed to be
    _equals_ of the relm. This will not pass for reezon and truth
    on this side of the Atlantic.

    [104] Horne, in hiz Mirror of Justices, chap. I. sect. 2.
    says, "altho the king ought not to hav any _peer_ (that iz,
    _equal_) in the land, yet because he cannot be a judge in a
    case where he iz a party, it waz behovefull by the law that
    he should hav _companions_ to heer and determin of all writs
    and plaints of all wrongs, &c. Theze companions are now
    called _countees_, _earles_, according to the Latin
    _comites_, &c." This iz singular! The king ought to hav no
    _equal_; therefore he ought to hav _companions_ for judges;
    or, in plainer words, if possible, the king ought not to hav
    _equals_ in the kingdom, therefore he should hav _peers_ to
    heer and determin criminal causes. Common sense at leest, if
    not etymology, will say, "the king ought not to hav _equals_,
    but he must hav _judges_."

But say the English lawyers and antiquaries, "the bishops are not in
strictness held to be _peers of the relm_, but only _lords of
parliament_."[105] Why not? What is the distinction? Here our authors
leev us in the dark; but perhaps the foregoing clu will leed us to the
light. Bishops were not the original proprietors of baronies; they were
not _bars_ or _pars_, the hereditary lords of manors, consequently not
_peers of the relm_. This iz such an obvious solution of the question,
that I am surprized it should hav been overlooked. Under the papal
hierarchy, the clergy gained vast influence over the minds of men, and
by a variety of expedients, became possessed of large estates, and some
of them, of ancient baronies. But their acquisitions were comparativly
of modern date, and many of them usurpations, altho in consequence of
their estates they obtained a seet in the house of lords. They are
therefore _lords of parliament_; but the ancient peers, priding
themselves upon the antiquity of their families, and claiming certain
prescriptiv rights, would not admit the clergy to an equal share of
authority and honor; for to this day, a vote of the temporal lords iz
good against every vote of the clergy.[106]

    [105] Blackstone, Vol. I. 157, from Staunford P C. 153.

    [106] It iz now held that _e converso_, a vote of the
    spiritual lords, if a majority, iz good against all the
    temporal lords; but Coke douts it. Supposing this to be
    admitted, the privilege is modern, and makes nothing against
    my supposition.

"The appellation _peer_," says Cowel, "seems to be borrowed from France,
and from thoze _twelv peers_ that Charlemagne instituted in that
kingdom." The same word waz used by other nations. Theze twelv peers
constituted a great council or supreme court, and the members were all
_barons_, or of the nobility.[107] Can the word, applied to the members
of this council, signify _equal_? By no meens. Here we trace the word
to a remote period of antiquity, and find it used by the emperor of
Germany; or at leest an appellation given to one of the first councils
in hiz dominions. This iz the pure primitiv sense of the word _peers_,
_barons_, that iz, in the full latitude of its signification, all the
ancient nobility; who held lands of him ether immediately or mediately;
who formed hiz supreme judicial court, and in some countries, hiz
legislativ assembly; who were hereditary councillors of the crown; and
cheef _judges_ of all causes arising on their own manors, except such az
were of great consequence.

    [107] It haz been remarked that _baron_ iz the most general
    title of nobility; indeed every nobleman waz originally a
    _baron_. Coke. I. 74. The lords of manors, both in England
    and on the continent, were the suitors in the king's court,
    and called _pares curtis_ or _curiæ_. The lords tenants were
    called the _peers_ of hiz court baron. See Blackstone, Vol.
    I. ch. 4.

This explanation accounts for what Selden has remarked, chap. 65, that
"the barons of England, before the reign of Edward I, were rather the
_great_ and _richer sort_ of men, than _peers_, altho they were of the
number." That iz, the Saxon thanes, who were great landholders, but
inferior to the erls, had, after the conquest, receeved the appellation
of _barons_ from the continent; but, being a secondary class of
nobility, had not claimed or acquired the power and privileges of the
German and French princes and nobles who had the title of _peers_, until
the Norman kings had introduced, into the kingdom, the oppressiv and
invidious distinctions of the feudal tenures, in the full extent of the

It will be enquired, if this iz the sense of the word, how came juries
of common freeholders to be called _peers_? The answer iz eesy; the
jurors were the _judges_ of the inferior courts, and not merely the
equals of the parties, az iz commonly supposed. The _erl_ or _baron_, in
strictness; but more commonly, the vice-comes, sheriff or lords deputy,
waz the president or cheef justice, and the jurors, the _assistant
judges_. For this opinion, numberless authorities may be produced. The
barons were the assistant judges, _peers_, in the court of the lord
paramount or king, and thus became judges by prescription; so the word
_peer_ or _baron_, in time, became equivalent to _judge_. Az the nobles
were judges in the kings court, and decided on appeels in the last
resort, so the freeholders who constituted the court in the county,
hundred or manor, came to be denominated _peers_, that iz, _judges_.

Reeve, in hiz history of the English Law, remarks, that "the
administration of justice in the days of William the conqueror, waz so
commonly attendant on the rank and character of a baron, that _baro_ and
_justiciarius_ were often used _synonimously_." Blackstone says, "it iz
probable the barons were the same az our lords of manors, to which the
name of court baron (which iz the lords court, and incident to every
manor) givs some countenance." Vol. I. 398. It iz surprizing, theze
writers should approach so neer the tru original and meening of the
word, _baron_, and not reech it.

Most writers on the ancient state of government in Europe, hav remarked
that the nobility held the office of judges. "Les mesmes comtes," says
Mezeray, "et ducs, qui jugeoint les François, les menoient a la guerre."
tom. I. p. 118. The counts and dukes were both judges and generals.

"Duo--comitum munera fure; unum videlicet justitiæ populis ministrandæ,
alterum militiæ sibi subjectæ, quando in bellum eundum erat, educendæ
atque regendæ." Muratori. Antiq. Ital. tom. I. p. 399. The counts had
two offices or departments of business; the administration of justice,
and command of the troops in war.

Stuart, in hiz English Constitution, remarks, "that the erls presided in
the courts of law. Their jurisdiction extended over their feefs: In all
causes, civil and criminal, they judged without appeel, except in cases
of the utmost consequence." Part 3. Sect. 3.

I presume it iz needless to multiply authorities. The strongest argument
in favor of my opinions iz drawn from the supreme judiciary powers of
the house of lords in England. The lords are _peers_ of the relm; that
iz, the ancient prescriptiv judges or barons, who claim the privilege by
hereditary right or immemorial usuage. The _house of peers_, iz
literally and in fact, _a house of judges_; an assembly of all the
ancient judges in the kingdom. So Selden relates of the Saxons, whom he
supposes to be descended from the same original az the Greeks, and long
prior to the ages of Roman glory; "their country they divided into
counties or circuits, all under the government of _twelv lords_, like
the Athenian territory under the Archontes. Theze, with the other
_princes_, had the _judicial power of distributiv justice_ committed to
them, with a hundred commoners out of each division." Tit. Saxons. The
same writer declares, chap. 58, that the nobles "were in their most
ordinary work, _meetings of judges_, or _courts of judicature_; that the
king and hiz barons made many laws and constitutions which hav obtained
the name of statutes," (which he supposes may hav been equitable
decisions of new causes, which afterwards had the force of laws) "that
the judges of this supreme court are the _baronage_ of England; and that
the house of lords still retain their supreme judiciary powers by
ancient prescriptiv right."

In addition to this authority, I would remark that the modern supreme
judiciary of Scotland iz copied almost exactly from the ancient Saxon
trial by laghmen or thanes. The lords of session, or president and
fourteen judges, are a court of law and fact, without a jury; and this
iz exactly the _old_ trial by _peers_.

The parliaments in France are justly said by lord Coke, to be _ordinary
courts of justice_; another striking evidence of what I hav advanced.
The word _parliament_ came from France, where it denotes that assembly
of barons, which constitutes the supreme _court of justice_ in each of
the several provinces. This iz the original import of the word, and the
parliaments in France still retain that signification. This name waz
introduced into England, under the Norman princes, and superseded the
Saxon name of the national assembly, _witena-gemote_. Indeed, during the
depression of the peeple, under the first princes of the Norman line,
when the military tenures were established with rigor, national
assemblies were called but seldom, and when summoned, consisted
principally of the bishops and peers (barons) of the relm. They however
acquired the name of _parliament_, and retain it to this day; altho one
branch of that body iz composed of commoners. The tru meening of
_parliament_ iz a _meeting_ of _barons_ or _peers_, and their principal
business waz to decide controversies: They had original jurisdiction
over causes in which the nobles were parties, az men of rank would not
seek redress before an inferior tribunal; and they had an appellate
jurisdiction over other causes in the last resort. The parliament of
England iz a legislativ body; but the _house of lords_ retains the
primitiv privilege of finally deciding controversies. This branch of the
legislature alone answers to the _parliaments_ in France, which approach
neer the ancient institution.[108]

    [108] The Norman princes might well call their councils
    _parliaments_, _meetings of barons_; for they often summoned
    none but the barons and clergy, and sometimes but a few of
    the barons. Henry the third, once summoned but twenty five
    barons of two hundred and fifty, then in the kingdom, and one
    hundred and fifty of the clergy. Yet this meeting waz a
    _parliament_. Selden, chap. 67.

So in England, the house of lords, and even the temporal lords alone,
were called formerly a _parliament_. Blackstone, b. IV, c. 19, upon the
authority of ancient books and records, repeetedly denominates the house
of peers, when acting az a court of supreme judicature, a _parliament_,
a _full parliament_; and the spiritual lords are not permitted to giv
any vote upon _gilty_ or _not gilty_, for they are not ancient _peers_
(that iz, barons, prescriptiv judges) of the relm. It haz been douted
whether the spiritual lords had a right to sit in the house on the trial
of a peer; but by a determination of the lords in the erl of Danby's
case, 1679, they were permitted "to stay and sit in court in capital
cases, till the court proceeds to the vote of gilty or not gilty." Still
they form no part of the court; the temporal lords constituting a _full
parliament_, that iz, az I hav explained the tru primitiv meening of the
word, _a meeting of barons or judges_.[109]

    [109] Thoze who wish to see a more particular account of the
    extensiv judicial powers of the barons in Europe, may consult
    Robertson's Charles V. Vol. I. page 49, and note [Z] page
    250, where the authorities are referred to.

I would just add on this head, that the institution of _twelv judges_ in
England, iz copied from the ancient mode of trial in Germany. The old
_Curia Regis_ consisted of the king, hiz grand justiciary, the officers
of hiz palace and _his barons_. This court followed the kings person
wherever he went. Out of this were formed the several courts now
established at Westminster. But the title of _barons of the exchequer_
and _barons_ of the cinque ports, who are judges, furnishes an
additional argument in favor of my opinions.

The foregoing explanation of the words, _baron_ and _peer_, leeds to a
probable account of the _trial by peers_. It can be prooved that the
jurors were the _judges_ of the county, hundred and manor courts, and
the probability iz that the suitors in theze courts receeved the
appellation of _peers_, from the circumstance of their being
landholders. Several authorities seem at leest to favor this opinion.

"Concerning the institution of this court by the laws and ordinances of
ancient kings, and especially of Alfred, it appeereth that the first
kings of this relm had all the lands of England in demesne, and les
grand manors et royalties, they reserved to themselves; and of the
remnant, they, for the defence of the relm, enscoffed the barons of the
relm, with such jurisdiction az the court baron now hath, and instituted
the freeholders to be _judges of the court baron_."[110]

    [110] Coke Litt. 74. That the freeholders were judges iz tru;
    but that the barons and freeholders derived their authority
    from kings, iz wholly a mistake.

"The manor courts are of two sorts. The first iz by the common law, and
iz called the court baron, az some hav said, for that it iz the
freeholders or freemens court, (for _barons_ in one sense signifie
_freemen_) and of that court the _freeholders_, being suitors, be
_judges_. The second iz the copyholders court, which iz called a court
baron, because among the laws of king Edward the confessor, it iz said:
"Barones vero qui suam habent curiam de suis hominibus," taking the name
of the baron who waz lord of the manor, or for that properly in the eye
of the law, it hath relation to the _freeholders who are judges of this
court_. And in ancient charters and records, the _barons_ of London and
the cinque ports do signify the _freemen_ of London and the cinque
ports."[111] Theze passages are express to my purpose. Indeed it must
hav been that the freeholders, now called _jurors_, were judges; for the
lord of the manor waz cheef judge or president merely, and we heer
nothing, at this erly period of Saxon jurisprudence, of a distinction
between law and fact.

    [111] 1. Coke Litt. 73.

Horne, in the Mirror of Justices, asserts[112] "that by the
constitutions of Alfred, the free tenants in every county, hundred and
manor, were to meet together and _judge their nabors_." "Every free
tenant hath ordinary jurisdiction in theze courts." "The lords and
tenants shall incur certain penalties by the _judgement of the
suitors_." "Theze courts are called county courts, where the _judgement
iz by the suitors_, if there be no writ, and iz by warrant of ordinary
jurisdiction." That iz, when there waz no special court held by the
justices in eyre.[113] So also in a book called the "Diversity of
Courts," written in Henry the eighth's time, it iz said, "in the court
baron the _suitors are the judges_, and _not_ the _steward_."

    [112] Cap. I. Sect. III.

    [113] He must speak of the state of things after the
    conquest, otherwise _justices in eyre_ would not hav been

Cowel tels us, "the court baron iz more properly _curia baronum_, i. e.
the court of _freeholders_, (for so barones does also signify) over whom
the lord of the manor presides. In this court the _freeholders are

    [114] Law Dict. _Court baron._

Selden's authority confirms this fact. He says, "neether waz the bishops
nor sheriffs work, in the folk-mote or county court, other than
directory or declaratory; for the _freemen_ were judges of the fact, and
the other did but _edocere jura populo_."[115] Here a distinction iz
cleerly made beetween the _freemen_ and the _populus_; the freemen were
the judges, and the bishop or sheriff edocuit jura, proclaimed the
decision to the multitude. The freemen, or landholders, then were the
_peers_ of the court; they were not the _equals_ of the multitude, for
the _populus_, the laborers of all descriptions, were considered az
belonging to an inferior class of men, and had no voice in the

    [115] Bacon's Selden chap. 24.

To sum up the whole, we hav the authority of the correct and judicious
Blackstone, who expressly asserts, book III. chapters IV and V, that in
the court baron, the hundred court and county court, the freeholders or
suitors are _the judges_, and the steward in the two former, and the
sheriff in the latter, are _the registrars or ministerial officers_. Now
it iz well known that before the conquest, theze included _all the
courts_ that were in the kingdom, except the _witena-gemote_, in which
there waz nothing like a jury, separate from the members of that
council. So that the freeholders or jurors were not only _judges_, but
they were the _sole judges_ in all the inferior courts in the kingdom;
and of course there could be little or no distinction between _law_ and
_fact_. Nay, more, the suitors were the _witnesses_ also; and the
principal reezon for summoning _freeholders of the vicinage_ waz
originally this; it waz supposed they were acquainted with the facts in
dispute. Hence laws were made to compel the jurors to _tell the truth,
if they knew the facts_, which waz always supposed, till the contrary
appeered. In theze courts small causes were decided; and the county
court had cognizance of ecclesiastical causes, az well az civil, and
often determined disputes between the nobles, about real estates of
immense value.

But important matters were generally brought before the _witena-gemote_,
or assembly composed of the king, bishops, erls and wise men. This waz a
national council, which united in itself all powers, legislativ,
judicial, civil and ecclesiastical, in law and equity. Such a thing az a
jury waz never known in this supreme court. William the conqueror first
separated the civil from the ecclesiastical authority, and substituted
the _aula regiæ_, a high court, consisting of hiz cheef officers and
barons, in place of the Saxon _witena-gemote_. This court waz the
supreme judicature in the nation; a jury waz no part of it, and it
followed the king wherever he went, till it waz fixed by Magna Charta in
Westminster Hall. Afterwards, in the reigns of Henry III and Edward I,
several courts were carved out of the _Aula Regis_; az the common pleas,
the court of kings bench, the exchequer and chancery courts; and it does
not appeer that a jury, distinct from the judges, formed any part of the
important common law courts, till after this period. The distinction
therefore between judges and jury, law and fact, seems not to hav been
known, till the dissolution of the _Aula Regis_, at the cloze of the
thirteenth century.

Let us enquire what kind of men theze freeholders were, who were
summoned az jurors or judges at theze courts.

Lord Coke iz express, and quotes Glanvil and Bracton for authorities,
that "in ancient times the jurors were _twelv knights_," (that iz,
probably, persons holding land amounting to a knights see.)[116]

    [116] Some say this see waz eight hundred akers of land;
    others, six hundred and eighty, or 20l. a year, which,
    considering the difference in the value of money, waz equal
    perhaps to 300l. or 400l. at the present time. Here seems to
    be a confusion of ancient and modern ideas. The ancient
    knights see waz a certain tract of land; in later times that
    see was valued at 20l. in money.

Henry III issued writs to the several counties to enquire into the
liberties of hiz subjects, by _twelv good and lawful knights_.[117] The
Saxon laws are more explicit. "Habeantur placita in singulis
wapentachiis, ut exeantur _duodecem thayni_ et præpositus cum eis, et
jurent super sanetuarium, quod eis dabitur in manu, quod neminem
innocentem velint accusare, vel noxium concelare."[118] Here the law of
Ethelred iz explicit in ordaining a court of twelve _thayni_, thanes or
barons, with their præpositus or president, who waz the officer of the
hundred. Cowel remarks on this passage, "that this may seem to intend
the number of _judges_, and not of the _jury_; but the jury themselves,
in some cases, are judges, that iz, they are _judges_ of the _fact_, and
the judge iz bound to giv sentence according to their verdict." This
writer here supposes the _thayni_ to be really _jurors_ and _judges_;
but _judges_ only of the _fact_. This iz _the fundamental error_ of most
lawyers who hav written on the subject; they take it for granted, that
the distinction of _law_ and _fact_ waz coeval with the trial by twelv
freeholders. Yet a single circumstance, mentioned by Cowel in the same
page, with the passage quoted, might hav undeceeved him, which iz, that
"trial by jury waz anciently called _duodecem virale judicium_," the
_judgement_ of twelv men. Their sentence or decision waz called a
_judgement_; the distinction between the _verdict_ of a jury, and the
_judgement_ of the court, waz unknown in the erly ages of the Saxons;
nor can I find it mentioned, till after the conquest.

    [117] Hale's Hist of Com. Law, 154.

    [118] L L Ethel. c. 4.

This, and similar passages, hav however occasioned much dispute among
other English lawyers and antiquaries. They hav adopted the opinion,
that a jury must consist of twelv equal commoners, and cannot explain
what iz ment by summoning _twelv thanes_. "Brady and Hicks," says
Stuart, "contended that theze thanes were _not jurors_, but _judges_ or
_lawyers_. Coke and Spelman were of a different opinion." The truth iz,
they were both _jurors_ and _judges_; and a knowlege of the tru primitiv
sense of one little monosyllable in our language, would hav unravelled
the whole mystery to theze learned enquirers.

The most usual word for jurors, in the Saxon laws, iz _lahmen_ or
_lagemen_; a word that haz puzzled the law writers, az it seems to meen
something more than _equals_; and they hav no idea of any thing in a
jury, but _equality_. Hicks supposed them to be judges, "duodeni jure
consulti," men versed in law. Spelman rendered the word, _legales
homines_, good and lawful men; very inadequate words indeed; but the
error haz been copied times without number, and still prevails. _Lahman_
iz literally a _law man_, man of the law, a judge. Law waz in a rude
state, at that period; but the thanes were both _lawyers_ and _judges_;
_jure consulti_.[119] Professional distinctions could not be but little
known, amidst an unlettered peeple, who had few positiv laws, and fewer
records and precedents; and the _lahmen_, the _seniores thani_, or
_meliores viri_, az they were called, were summoned at certain times to
decide controversies, according to law, where a law waz provided;
otherwise according to their discretion. The decisions of theze _lahmen_
were held in esteem; many of them were preserved and handed down by
tradition, and I hav no dout, theze, rather than statutes, gave rise to
the general and particular customs, which are called the common law of

    [119] We find by ancient records, that the clergy, before the
    conquest, were sometimes summoned az jurors or judges in the
    temporal courts.[d] But the _thanes_ were the most usual
    judges in the courts baron. The proper Saxon name of this
    court waz _halimate_ or _halmote, hallmeeting_; "Omnis causa
    terminetur vel hundredo, vel comitatu, vel _halimote_, socam
    habentiam, vel dominorum curia."[e] And in W. Thorn, Anno
    1176, the judges of this court are expressly said to be
    thanes, "_thanenses, qui_ in _Halimoto_ suo, in Thaneto,
    omnia sua judicia exerceri," (debent.) Selden, chap. 47,
    mentions a law of Henry I, which recites a custom of that
    time, by which "the _bishops_ and _erls_, with _other the
    cheef men_ of the county, were present in the county court az
    assistants in directory of judgement." Nothing can be more
    explicit. And altho Selden, in a passage hereafter quoted,
    mentions a compromise between Gunthrune, the Dane, and the
    Saxon king, that men of a rank inferior to lords should be
    tried by their _equals_, yet this inferior rank could extend
    only to _freemen_; for others were never admitted upon

         [d] See Selden, tit Sax. bishops.

         [e] L. L. Hen. I. cap. 10.

    [120] "And the sheriffs and bailiffs caused the free tenants
    of their bailiwicks to meet at the counties and hundreds, at
    which justice waz so done, that every one so judged hiz nabor
    by such judgement az a man could not elsewhere receev in the
    like cases, until such times az the customs of the relm were
    put in writing, and certainly established."---- Mirror. chap
    1. sect. 3.

Coke defines _lahman_ to be one, "habens socam et sacam super homines
suos;" that iz, liberty of holding a court over hiz tenants: Which
explanation he quotes from Bracton. "Soke,(or soc) significat libertatem
curiæ tenentium quam _socam_ appellamus."[121]

    [121] Fleta. lib. I. c. 47.

This word iz found in domesday and in the laws of Edward the confessor.
Cowel quotes a passage from an ancient book, where Ulvet, the Son of
Forno, iz called _lagaman_ of the city of York, where, he says, it
doutless signified some cheef officer, az judge or recorder. Thoze who
had _socam_ et _sacam_, or jurisdiction over the persons and estates of
their tenants, were the _thanes_ or barons; and this iz agreed by
Lambard, Somner, Coke, Cowel, and most writers on law.[122] Lambard,
whoze authority iz very respectable, speeks of a jury thus: "In singulis
Centuriis comitia sunto, atque liberæ conditionis viri duodeni ætate
superiores unà cum præposito, sacra tenentes juranto, &c." Of a jury
_per medietatem linguæ_, he says, "Viri duodeni _jure consulti_, Angliæ
sex, Walliæ totidem, Anglis et Wallis jus dicunto." Fol. 91. 3. Here
Lambard not only describes jurors az men of _free condition_ and
respectable for age, but az _jure consulti_, the _judges_ of the court;
and _jus dicunto_; they were men who administered law and justice. This,
it appeers from all ancient testimonies, waz the uniform practice among
the Saxons. The jurors were twelv _thanes_ or men of free condition;
_lahmen_, _jure consulti_, or judges, and constituted the _court_; with
the præpositus, or proper officer of the district, az their president,
who sat az the deputy of the erl, in the county court; the deputy of the
lord of the manor, in the court baron; or az the cheef magistrate of the
hundred. And one source of error in understanding this ancient
institution, haz been the wrong translation of _lahman_, by Spelman and
others, who rendered the word, _legalis homo_; a good and lawful man.
The meening iz not so indefinit az a _lawful man_, which could not be
redily understood or explained. Rude nations do not deal in such vague
ideas. The meening iz, _man of law_, whoze business it waz to know the
law and administer justice.[123]

    [122] _Laghman_, to this day, iz the name of a judge or
    magistrate, both in Sweden and Iceland. In theze countries it
    retains its primitiv and tru English meening.--Mallets North.
    Antiq. Vol. I.

    [123] Selden waz forced to confess the _jure consulti_ and
    _ætate superiores_, so often mentioned in the Saxon laws, az
    composing the homage or jury of twelv, to hav been _cheef men
    both for experience and knowlege_. To such as _stumble at
    this conceet_, as he expresses it, he remarks that the work
    of jurors requires them to be cheef men, az they _judge of
    matter of fact_; (a reezon drawn from the modern notions of
    jurymen's province.) And he adds, the jurors, who were
    co-assessors, with the bishop or sheriff in the court, were
    seeted in the most eminent place, and might hav held it to
    this day, az they do in Sweden, had the _cheef men_ still
    holden the service. But the great became negligent of such
    public duties, and left the business to thoze of a meener
    condition, who would not or durst not take the bench; and
    therefore took their seets on the floor--(took separate
    seets.) He says further, that the Danes, on their settlement
    in England, would not associate with men of this condition;
    so that a compromise took place between Alfred, the Saxon
    king, and Gunthrune, the Dane, by which it waz decreed, that
    a lord or baron should be tried by twelv lords, and one of
    inferior rank, by _eleven of his equals_ and _one lord_. This
    waz in the case of homicide only; tho afterwards the law
    might extend to other cases and civil suits. By hiz own
    account of the matter, this writer supposes the trial by
    _twelv_ waz originally a trial by the _cheef men_, (_thanes
    lahmen_) and the idea of equality waz never suggested in the
    practice till the ninth or tenth century. But juries existed
    az courts for centuries before; and the word _peers_ iz
    acknowleged to hav had its origin on the continent, where it
    signified the lords or members of the high court instituted
    by Charlemagne. In modern use, trial by _peers_ iz trial by
    equals _generally_; for men are mostly become freemen and
    landholders; but this waz not the primitiv practice; nor was
    _equality_ the basis of the institution. Even if we suppose
    the word peer to hav signified _equal_, as uzed originally on
    the continent, it extended no privilege on that account to
    the body of the nations where it waz used; for it ment only
    the _kings equals_, hiz _comites_, hiz dukes, erls and
    barons, among whom he waz merely _primus inter pares_. In
    England Bracton, who wrote under Henry III, declares the king
    waz considered in this light; and that the "_erls and barons
    are his associates_, who ought to bridle him, when the law
    does not."[f] The courts then which Charlemagne instituted in
    France and Germany, consisted merely of the kings _peers_ or
    _equals_; and in theze countries, the courts remain mostly on
    the ancient footing; so that none but the nobility can be
    tried by their _equals_. In this sense of the word therefore
    juries were not used in England, till the compromise between
    Alfred and Gunthrune, about the year 900. Before that period,
    the jurors were not called or considered az _equals_; but
    they were _thanes_, _jure consulti_, _lahmen_ and
    _clergymen_. A distinction afterwards took place, and lords
    were tried by _their_ equals, and commoners by _theirs_.

         [f] L. I. c. 16.

But if we suppose the word to meen _legalis homo_, and that the only
requisit in a juror, iz freedom; or that he should be _liber homo_; this
would exclude a vast proportion of the English nation from the
privilege. I know that Magna Charta repeetedly mentions theze freemen,
_liberos homines_, and secures to them certain rights, among which iz,
trial _per pares suos_, which I suppose to hav been originally, _by
their judges_; altho at this period, the idea of equality in the
condition of judges might hav prevailed: And indeed the _freemen_ were
mostly tried by men of equal rank. I am sensible also that the modern
construction of Magna Charta extends this privilege to every man in the
relm of England; _omnis liber homo_ iz said to comprehend every English
subject. I rejoice that by the struggles of a brave peeple, this
construction of that compact haz actually taken effect in a
considerable degree. But I cannot think all the English nation were
comprehended in the words of the instrument; or that the privilege of
_trial by peers_ waz extended, or ment to be extended, to all the
peeple. Magna Charta waz merely a convention between the king and hiz
barons, assembled at Runing-mead; and the laboring part of the peeple,
debased by servitude under an oppressiv aristocracy, seem hardly to hav
been in the contemplation of the parties. The villeins, rustics, or
tenants at will, who probably composed a majority of the peeple, had one
privilege indeed secured to them: It waz stipulated that they should not
be deprived, by fine, of their carts, plows, and other instruments of
husbandry; that iz, they should not be deprived of the meens of laboring
for their masters. Further than this, a large proportion of the English
were not noticed in Magna Charta, but were considered az a part of
their lords property, and transferable, like moveables, at their

The _freemen_, or thoze classes of peeple which came within the
description of _liberi homines_ in that famous convention, were the
nobility and clergy tenants _in capite_, or such at most az had a life
estate in lands, and could serve on juries. The lazzi, villeins, or
modern copyholders, were not at that time capable of serving; they were
below the rank of freemen; they had not the right of trial by peers,
even in the common acceptation of the word; nor were they admitted to
the privilege till the reign of Richard III. Multitudes of them are not
_peers_ of _the commons_, even on the principle of equal suffrage, for
they hav not the property requisit to qualify them for the privilege of
voting at elections. Blackstone's assertion therefore, that every
subject of the kingdom haz a right by Magna Charta, to trial by hiz
equals, cannot be tru, for vast numbers of the nations are not, and
never were, entitled to be jurors. But in the sense I understand and hav
explained the word, every man haz a right to _trial by hiz peers_; that
iz, by freeholders of the vicinity, who are _his judges_. The propriety
of calling them _hiz judges, pares suos_, iz discovered in the gradation
of courts established in England. The _peers of the relm_, or barons,
were originally the suitors or judges in the kings court, where alone
the nobility were tried; hence the barons were always tried by _their_
judges, _pares suos_. The clergy, the thanes of the lower class, or
other freeholders who had life estates in lands, were the suitors in the
courts of the counties, the hundreds and manors. Theze were the _judges_
of theze courts, and called _peers_. The freemen might be said to be
tried by their _equals_; but the villeins were not; yet both were tried
by _their_ peers; that iz, by the peers of theze inferior courts, who
were exclusivly _the judges_.[124]

    [124] "The division of the county waz done by _freemen_, who
    are the _sole judges thereof_."[g] Selden, Matthew, Paris,
    and others, testify that the _folk-mote_, peeple's meeting or
    county court, waz a county parliament, invested with
    legislativ or discretionary powers in county matters. In
    theze small districts, they appeer to hav been competent to
    decide all controversies, and make all necessary local
    regulations. The legislativ, judicial and executiv powers,
    both civil and ecclesiastical, were originally blended in the
    same council; the witena-gemote had the powers of a
    legislature, of a court of law, and of a court of equity over
    the whole kingdom, in all matters of great and general
    concern. But this court waz composed of lords, bishops, and
    _majores natu_ or _sapientes_, men respected for their age
    and lerning, who were of the rank of _freemen_. All the
    freemen were bound also to do suit in the lords court, and to
    attend the _folk-mote_ on the sheriffs summons; but _twelv_
    were usually selected to sit az judges in common cases.

         [g] Selden on the authority of Polydore.

    The cast powers of the county court, when the freeholders
    were all summoned and actually sat in judgement, may be
    understood by two facts. One, the conquerors half-brother,
    and Lanfrank, archbishop of Canterbury, had a dispute about
    certain lands and tenements in Kent. The archbishop
    petitioned the king, who issued hiz writ, and summoned the
    freemen of the county, to take cognizance of the suit. After
    three days trial, the freemen gave judgement for the
    archbishop, and the decision waz final.

    In like manner, two peers of the relm, a Norman and an
    Italian, submitted a title in fifteen manors, two townships,
    and many liberties, to the freeholders of the county, whose
    judgement waz allowed by the king.[h]

         [h] Selden. Chap. 48.

From what haz been advanced on this subject, if we may rely on
substantial authorities, and at leest probable etymologies, the
following conclusions may be safely deduced. That in ancient Germany,
the _principes pagorum et regionum_, with a certain number of
assistants, originally a hundred, sometimes twenty four, but commonly
twelv, elected by the peeple, (not _pro re nata_, but for a stated
period) formed a council (concilium) for the government of a district:
That in their military expeditions, the _duces_, or generals, had their
_life guards_, or comites, who attached themselves to the person of
their cheef, and fought by hiz side:[125] That theze retainers, in some
of the Teutonic dialects on the continent, were called _barons_, az they
were called _thanes_ by the Saxons in England: That after the irruption
of the northern nations into the south of Europe, the conquered lands
were divided among the great officers and their retainers, az fees or
stipendiary feuds, on the honorable tenure of military service: That the
princes, erls and barons, hav been, from time immemorial, the assistant
judges in the kings courts, and eech of them, a cheef judge, with power
of holding courts, on hiz own demesnes: That parliaments on the
continent were _assemblies of barons_, and originally _courts of
justice_, az they are still in France: That the word _peers_ waz first
used on the continent, to denote the members of this supreme judicial
court, and in its primitiv sense, az derived from _bar_ or _par_, it
signified freemen or landholders; and thence came to denote _judges_,
who were originally the proprietors of lands or manors: That this latter
sense iz its tru meening, whether applied to the house of lords or to a
common jury, who were anciently the _judges_ of the inferior courts, and
are still, in many cases, judges of law az well az fact, notwithstanding
the modern distinction, which haz taken place in consequence of an
extensiv and vastly complicated system of jurisprudence: That the house
of lords in England retains the primitiv sense of the word _peers_, az
well az the original right of _judging_ in the last resort, and this
house alone iz a _parliament_, according to the ancient meening of the
word on the continent: That the _freemen_ mentioned in Magna Charta and
all the old law writers, were thoze who held their lands by honorable
service, for term of life, or had estates of inheritance; and that the
lazzi, villiens or bondmen, who constituted the major part of the
nation, were not comprehended under the words _liberi homines_, were not
entitled to be jurors themselves, and consequently could not be tried by
their _equals_: That the twelv jurors among the Saxons were the _cheef
men_ of the county and judges: That the idea of _equality_ in the jurors
or judges waz introduced by the pride of the nobility, and the humble
condition of their tenants, under the invidious distinctions of ranks
created by the feudal system: That this idea however haz been the meens
of preserving the rights of both in England; while the nations on the
continent, having been less successful in their struggles, and not
having wrested the _right of judging_ from the barons, the original
_peers_ or proprietors of that right, hav not acquired a privilege,
inestimable in a country where distinctions of rank prevail, and do not
enjoy the blessings of equal liberty: That this privilege haz been
considerably extended in England, by the abolition of military tenures,
and the diffusion of property among the commons: But that America haz
given the privilege its utmost extension, by making laws of inheritance
that enable _every man_ to be a freeholder; thus reducing the English
theory to practice, and entitling every man literally to the right of
_trial by hiz equals_.

    [125] "Magnaque et comitum æmulatio, quibus primus apud
    principem suum locus; et principum, cui plurimi et acerrimi
    comites."[i] The princes kept az many of these retainers in
    their service in time of peace, az they could support. "Hæc
    dignitas, hæ vires, magno semper elestorum juvenum globo
    circumdari, in pace, decus, in bello, præsidium. Ibid."

         [i] Tacitus de mor Germ. c. 13.

How far theze conclusions are supported by the foregoing authorities and
arguments, every reeder will judge for himself. I hav ventured my
opinions with my usual frankness, in opposition to thoze of the sages of
the law, which hav been receeved for centuries. The vast weight of
authority, and long established prepossessions of men in favor of a
different theory, make me diffident of my own opinions on this subject;
but there are many passages in ancient law writings, and many customs
and laws still existing in the English constitution and government,
which I cannot explain and reconcile on any other hypothesis.

The excellence of trial by peers, in ancient times, appeers to me to hav
consisted in this; that twelv indifferent men of the naborhood, with the
power of judges, were the guardians of life and property against the
rapacity of the lord of the manor or hiz deputy. It iz a fact well known
that _sheriffs_, the deputies of the erls, were in several counties
hereditary officers; but when they were not, they had almost-unlimitted
powers in the shire, which they often abused to oppress the peeple.
Under the feudal system they appeer to hav been almost absolute tyrants;
and the undue exercise of their powers, probably gave rise to thoze
articles of Magna Charta, which declare, that "no freeman shall be
taken, imprisoned, or diseized of hiz freehold, liberties, or free
customs, but by the lawful judgement of hiz peers, or by legal process;
that sheriffs should not hold county courts above once a month; that
sheriffs, castellans, coroners, and kings bailiffs, should be restrained
from holding pleas of the crown; that sheriffs, who had the management
of the crown revenues, within their several districts, should not raize
the farms of counties, hundreds and tythes, according to their plezure."
Theze provisions were evidently designed to remedy actual evils; the
violence and usurpations of the executiv officers, who acted under the
king, or the great lords, with powers almost uncontrolled.[126] Against
such petty tyrants, the revival or confirmation of the right of trial by
twelv freeholders of the vicinage, must hav been a capital security: But
freeholders alone could be impannelled on a jury; _freeholders_ alone
could be diseized of _freeholds_; consequently the privilege of being
tried by _equals_, could extend to freeholders only. With respect to all
others, the excellence of the institution could not consist in the
_equality of condition_ in the jurors; but in having twelv substantial
freemen, impartial, independent men, unaccustomed to oppression, to
check and control the ministers of justice.

    [126] In the time of Henry II, there were in England eleven
    hundred and fifteen castles, and az many tyrants az lords of
    castles. William of Newbury says, in the reign of Stephen,
    "Erant in Anglia quodammodo tot reges, vel potius tyranni,
    quot domini castellorum." It waz the tyranny of theze lords
    or their deputies, which rendered the intervention of twelv
    judges of the naborhood, highly necessary to preserve the
    peeple from the impositions of their rapacious masters. Hence
    the privilege of this mode of trial derived an inestimable

Since the separation of court and jury, law and fact, juries, in civil
cases, hav become of less consequence. Judges are appointed by the
representativs of the peeple, ether in legislature or some other form,
and are removeable for misbehavior. They are usually az good judges of
fact as a jury, and better judges of law. One state[127] haz a statute
empowering the parties to submit fact az well az law to the court. This
places the court on its Saxon institution, except az to the number of
judges. It iz also a common practice for the parties to agree on the
facts, and submit the law to the court. The practice supersedes a jury.
On commercial questions an ordinary jury are altogether unfit to decide;
they are incompetent judges, because commerce iz regulated by peculiar
laws, best known by merchants. Hence the institution of chambers of
commerce, and the practice of referring causes to arbitrators of the
mercantile profession.

    [127] Connecticut.

But the principal valu and excellence of juries are preserved in
criminal causes. Judges, by long custom, become hardened in the business
of condemning, and may sometimes pronounce sentence, which, even when
legal, may be unnecessary. Jurors, less accustomed to the cruel task,
retain thoze feelings which sometimes pleed against evidence, in favor
of humanity, and soften the rigor of penal laws.

I shall cloze theze remarks with two quotations from very respectable

What Camden haz collected concerning the word _baron_, serves to
illustrate and confirm my opinions on this subject; and the reeder will
be pleezed with the following passage from his Britannia, Vol. I, page

"Among the greater nobility, the barons hav next place. And here, tho I
am not ignorant what the lerned write concerning the signification of
this word in Cicero; yet I am willing to cloze with the opinion of
Isidore, and of an ancient grammarian, who will hav _barons_ to be
mercenary soldiers. This seems to be pretty plain from that known place
of Hirtius in the Alexandrian war; "they run to the assistance of
Cassius; for he always used to hav _barons_, and a good number of
soldiers for sudden occasions, with their weapons reddy, about him, and
separate from the rest." Nor iz the old Latin and Greek Glossary against
us, when it translates _baro_ by ανηρ a man; az always in the laws of
the Longobards, _baro_ iz used for a man.

The etymologies of this name which some hav fancied, do not by any meens
please me. The French heralds will hav barons to be so called from
_par-hommes_ in French; that iz, of equal dignity; the English lawyers
say it iz from _robora belli_, the sinews of war; some Germans think it
a contraction of banner-heirs, i. e. standard bearers; and Isidore
derives it from bareis, i. e. grave or weighty. Alciatus thinks the name
comes from the _berones_, an ancient peeple of Spain, which he says were
formerly stipendiaries; but that other, from the German _bar_, i. e. _a
free man_, pleezes me better.

The precise time when this name came into our island, I hav not yet
discovered: The Britons disown it; and there iz not the leest mention
made of it in the Saxon laws, nor iz it reckoned in Alfrick's Glossary
among the titles of honor; for there, _dominus_ iz translated _laford_,
which we hav contracted into _lord_. And among the Danes, the free
lords, such az our barons are at this day, were called thanes, and (and
az Andreas Velleius tells us) are termed so still. In Burgundy, the use
of this name iz very ancient;[128] for Gregory of Tours says thus, "the
barons of Burgundy, az well bishops az others of the laity, &c." The
first mention of a baron in England, that I hav met with, iz in a
fragment of the laws of Canutus, king of England and Denmark, and even
there, according to different copies, it iz read vironus, baronus, and
thani. But that the barons are there ment, iz plain from the laws of
William the conqueror; in which that word in the laws of Canutus iz
translated by _baro_. Take the whole passage. "Let the exercitals[129]
be so moderated, az to be tolerable. An erl shall provide such things az
are fitting, eight horses, four saddled and four unsaddled; four steel
caps, and four coats of mail; eight javelins,[130] and az many shields;
four swords, and two hundred mancae[131] of gold. But a kings _viron_ or
_baron_, who iz next to him, shall hav four horses, two saddled and two
unsaddled; two swords, four javelins, and az many shields, one steel
cap, and fifty mancae of gold."

    [128] About the year 580.

    [129] Heriots or reliefs.

    [130] Lancæe.

    [131] Possibly for _Mancusæ_, i. e. thirty pence.

In the beginning of the Norman times, the valvasors and thanes were
reckoned in order and dignity, next to the erls and barons, and the
greater valvasors (if we may beleev thoze who hav written concerning
feudal tenures) were the same that barons are now. So that baro may seem
to hav come from that name; which time haz, by little and little, made
somewhat smoother. But even then it was waz not a title of any great
honor; for in thoze times there were erls who had their barons under
them: And I remember, I hav red in the ancient constitutions of France,
that there were ten barons under one erl, and az many cheeftans[132]
under a baron. It iz likewise certain, that there are charters since the
Norman conquest, wherein the erls write thus: "To all my barons, az well
French az English, greeting, &c." Nay, even citizens of the better rank
were called _barons_; so in domesday book the citizens of Warwick are
stiled _barons_; and the citizens of London, with the inhabitants of the
cinque ports, had the same title given them. But a few years after, az
senators of Rome were chosen according to their estates, so they were
accounted _barons_ with us, who held their lands by an entire barony, or
thirteen knights fees, and one third of a knights fee, every fee (az we
hav had it in ancient book) being computed at twenty pounds, which in
all make four hundred marks; for that waz the value of one entire
barony; and they who had land and revenues to this value, were wont to
be summoned to parliament. It seems to _hav been a dignity, with
jurisdiction, which our court-barons in some mezure show.[133] And the
great number of barons iz an argument that they were such lords who
could hold pleez within their own jurisdiction_, (like thoze whom the
Germans call free-heirs) especially if they had their castles; for then
they answered the definition of Baldus, the famous lawyer, who calls him
a baron, that had a mere and mixt government in some castle, by the
grant of the prince. And (az some would hav it) all who held baronies,
seem to hav claimed that honor; so that some of our lawyers think, that
baron and barony, erl and erldom, duke and dukedom, king and kingdom,
were in the nature of conjugates. It iz certain, that in that age, king
Henry III, reckoned one hundred and fifty baronies in England. From
hence it iz, that in the charters and histories of that age, almost all
noblemen are stiled barons; a name, which in thoze times waz exceeding
honorable; the baronage of England including in a manner all the prime
orders of the kingdom, dukes, marquisses, erls and barons.

    [132] Capatanei.

    [133] This opinion of the lerned Camden, adds no small weight
    to my conjectures reflecting the origin of trial _per pares_.

But that name haz been much more honorable since king Henry III, out of
such a multitude, which waz seditious and turbulent, summoned to
parliament by writ, some of the best[134] only; "for he," (the words are
taken out of an author of considerable antiquity) "after thoze great
disturbances and heart-burnings between himself, Simon de Montefort, and
other barons, were laid; appointed and ordained, that all such erls and
barons of the kingdom of England, to whom the king should vouchsafe to
direct hiz writs of summons, should come to hiz parliament, and no
others, unless their lord the king should pleeze to direct other writs
to them also." And what he began a little before hiz deth, waz strictly
observed by Edward the I, and hiz successors. From that time they were
only looked on as barons of the kingdom, whom the king by such writs of
summons had called to parliament; until Richard the II, in the eleventh
year of hiz reign, created John de Beauchamp of Holt, baron of
Herderminster, by the delivery of a diploma, bearing date the tenth of
October. From which time, the kings hav often conferred that honor by
diploma, (or rather honorary letters) and the putting on of an honorary
long robe. And that way of creating barons by diploma, and the other of
writs of summons, are in use at this day; tho they are mentioned therein
not by the name of _baron_, but of _chevalier_. They who are thus
created, are called barons of parliament, barons of the kingdom, and
barons honorary, to distinguish them from thoze who are commonly called
barons according to the ancient constitution; az thoze of Burford and
Walton, and such az were barons to the counts Palatine of Chester, and
of Penbroch, who were feudal, and barons by tenure only."

    [134] Optimos.

This account of Camden's, iz alone sufficient to convince me, that my
opinions are right respecting the origin and signification of the word
_baron_. But this author cleerly mistakes the meening in the passage
quoted from Hirtius. "Cassius used to hav _barons_, and a good number of
_soldiers_, for sudden occasions." Insted of mercenary soldiers,
_barons_ here meens the _comites_, retainers, who were chosen men, and
who served their cheef voluntarily. Theze attached themselves to the
person of the cheef, az a military guard; at the same time, they served
to gratify the pride of the hero: Hæc dignitas, hæ vires, says Tacitus.

I hav before remarked that it iz probable _bar_ and _vir_ are the same
word. Camden tells us, the Greek Glossary translates _baro_ by ανηρ, and
in the laws of William, the Norman, the _vironus_, _baronus_ and
_thanus_, found in the laws of Canute, are translated by _baron_ or
_viron_. _B_ and _v_ are convertible letters, and theze facts amount to
a convincing proof that _bar_ and _vir_ are the same word, or from the
same root. The progress of the word iz this. First it denoted a man or
husband, _vir_; afterwards a freeman or proprietor of land, _bar_,
_baron_, _viron_; in proportion az the valu of lands encreesed in
Europe, the proprietors acquired welth and influence; they claimed
exclusiv judicial powers on their manors, and thus the words _baron_ and
_peer_ came to signify _judge_. Under the feudal system, theze barons
became princes on their territories, subordinate only to the king or
lord paramount. Power attends property, and theze barons finally assumed
the right of controlling kings, and trampling on their tenants. Where
the barons and princes combined, they established despotic authority
over the peeple; when they quarrelled, one party or the other had
recourse to the commons for assistance, and waz compelled to grant them
considerable privileges.

The foregoing explanation of _baron_ iz confirmed by another fact now
existing. In law, a _husband_ iz called _baron_ to this day, _baron_ and
_femme_, husband and wife. Agreeable to this idea, the terms used in
ancient infeudations by the tenant or vassal, were, _devenio vester
homo_; I become your _man_; that iz, your _baron_, in the feudal sense
of the word. And a jury, in conformity with the same idea, were
anciently called _homagium_, the _homage_, or manhood; that iz, a court
of _barons_, landholders or free tenants.

I would only remark further, that Camden iz probably mistaken in saying
the Britons disown the word _baron_. In Welsh, _barn_ signifies a judge,
and there can be little dout that the word iz from the same original;
being written without the vowel _o_, agreeable to the Hebrew manner.

Different nations are more or less inclined to uze the vocal sounds and
aspirates, according to the different genius of their languages. So in
Irish the word waz pronounced with an aspirate, _barhon_, or _brehon_;
for there iz little room to dout this old Irish word iz from the same
root. At the time of the conquest of Ireland by Henry II, the Irish were
governed by the _brehon law_, so stiled from _brehon_, the Irish name of
judges.[135] We are also told that the ancient Irish had a custom of
deciding causes by _twelv_ men[136]; and authors testify that the same
practice existed in ancient Britain.[137] Their decision iz called by
the erly writers, _duodecem virale judicium_. In short the universality
of this word and the trial by twelv, iz a strong proof, that all the
nations of Europe sprang from a common stock.[138]

    [135] Blackstone Com. Vol. I. 100.

    [136] Lelands Introd. to Hist. of Ireland.

    [137] L. L. Hoeli.

    [138] See my Dissertations on the English language, 313.

Sir William Temple derives _barons_ from the Russian _boiarons_, and
supposes the word to be of Gothic original. Hiz only inaccuracy iz, that
he takes a modern derivativ for the primitiv root; whereas the Russian
_boiarons_ itself iz derived from _bar_, az wel az _baron_. The
authority of this judicious and lerned writer wil however confirm what I
hav advanced in the foregoing pages; I shal therefore cloze my remarks
with a passage from hiz works, vol. III. 363.

"I know very well how much critic haz been employed by the most lerned,
az Erasmus, Selden, Spelman, az well az many others, about the two words
_baro_ and _feudum_; and how much pains hav been taken to deduce them
from the Latin and Greek, and even the Hebrew and Egyptian tungs; but I
find no reezon, after all they hav said, to make any doubt of their
having been both the original of the Gothic or northern language; or of
barons having been a term of dignity, of command, or of honor, among
them, and feudum of a soldier's share of land. I find the first used
abuv eight hundred years ago, in the verses mentioned of king Lodbrog,
when one of hiz exploits waz to hav conquered eight _barons_. And tho
fees or feuda were in use under later Roman emperors, yet they were
derived from the Gothic customs, after so great numbers of thoze nations
were introduced into the Roman armies. Az to the word _baro_, it iz not,
that I find, at all agreed among the lerned, from whence to derive it;
but what that term imports, it iz easy to collect from their several
accounts, and confirm by what stil remains in all the constitutions of
the Gothic government. For tho by _barons_ are now ment in England such
az are created by patent, and thereby called to the house of lords; and
_baron_ in Spanish signifies only a man of worth or note, and the
quality denoted by that title be different in the several countries of
Christendom; yet there iz no question, but they were originally such
persons az, upon the conquest of any country, were, by the conquering
prince, invested in the possession of certain tracts or proportions of
free lands, or at leest az they held by no other tenure but that of
military service, or attendance upon their prince in war with a certain
number of armed men. Theze in Germany, France, Scotland, seem to hav
had, and some stil to retain, a sovereign power in their territories, by
the exercise of what iz called high and low justice, or the power of
judging criminal az well az civil causes, and inflicting capital
punishments. But I hav not found any thing of this kind recorded in
England, tho the great barons had not only great number of knights, but
even petty barons holding under them.

I think the whole relm of England waz, by William the conqueror, divided
into baronies,[139] however the distinctions may hav been long since
worn out; but in Ireland they still remain, and every county there iz
divided into so many baronies, which seem to hav been the shares of the
first barons. And such as theze great proprietors of land, composed, in
all the north west regions (of Europe) one part of the states (estates
general) of the country or kingdom."

    [139] This iz not accurate. The thaneships or lordships of
    the Saxons, at the conquest, took the title of _baronies_;
    but the divisions probably existed before.

Sir William Temple proceeds then to giv hiz conjectures respecting the
origin of the word _baron_. He remarks that Guagini, in hiz description
of Sarmatia, printed in 1581, calls all thoze persons who were cheef
possessors of lands and dignities, next to the prince, duke or palatine,
in the vast empire of Muscovy, by the common appellation of _boiarons_,
now contracted into _boiars_. From this he supposes _baron_ to be
derived. It iz however much more probable that _baron_ and _boiaron_ had
a common root in some period of remote antiquity; which afterwards
spread into all parts of Europe.

With respect to trial by jury, Sir William remarks, Vol. III. 130, that
this waz undoutedly of Saxon institution, and continued thro all the
revolutions in England. He says there are some traces of it in the first
institutions of Odin, the first great leeder of the Asiatic Goths or
Getæ into Europe. He mentions the council of twelv, established by Odin,
and thinks it probable theze twelv men were at first both _judges_ and
_jurors_; that iz, they were a court of arbitrators or referees, az we
should now style them, empowered to decide all causes according to
equitable principles and the circumstances of each case; and their
determinations afterwards grew into precedent for their successors. In
process of time and multiplicity of business, the matter of fact
continued to be tried by twelv men of the naborhood; but the adjudgement
of punishment and the sentence waz committed to one or two persons of
lerning or knowlege in the ancient customs, records and traditions.
Thus, he observes, in the Saxon reigns, causes were adjudged by the
aldermen and bishop of the several shires, with the assistance of twelv
men of the same county, who are said to hav been judges or assistants.
He allows, the terms _jury_ and _verdict_ were introduced by the
Normans; but asserts very justly that trials by twelv men, with that
circumstance of their unanimous agreement, were used not only among the
Saxons and Normans, but are known to hav been az ancient in Sweden, az
any records or traditions in the kingdom; and the practice remained in
some provinces of that country, til the late revolution.


On further examination of this subject, I am led to subjoin the
following remarks, which are supported by the indisputable authority of
Glanville and Bracton.

I hav before suggested that the Saxons, prior to the conquest, conducted
most of their important affairs in the county or sheriffs court, where
all the free tenants were bound to attend. Theze free tenants consisted
of the lesser barons, the knights and fokemen, or foccage tenants who
had freehold estates. Theze freeholders, were, by the nature of their
estates, the _pares curtis_; they were the proper and sole _judges_ of
all causes triable at the county court, which included almost all civil
actions, and they were denominated in Saxon, _lahmen_, lawmen. The
county court, thus composed of all the freeholders in the shire, waz a
tribunal of great consequence, and inferior only to the witena-gemote,
or national assembly. The Latin riters called theze freemen _pares
curtis_ and _sectatores_, _peers of court_ and _suitors_. _Curtis_ iz a
Saxon word latinized,[140] like _warrantizo murdrum_, and hundreds of
other law terms; and there iz little dout that _pares_ iz a word of
similar origin.

    [140] _Curtis_, _court_ and the Spanish _Cortez_ are all the
    same word.

But what places the point I would establish, beyond controversy, iz, the
_pares curtis_ were in fact of different ranks. The knights or lesser
barons, az well az the common foccage tenants, were included in the term
_pares curtis_; for they were bound to do suit and service in the court
of the lord paramount. Another fact, iz of equal weight in the argument:
Theze _pares_, in the county court, tried all real actions between the
nobility. In the cause of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and archbishop
Lanfranc, in the reign of William the conqueror, the king directed
_totum Comitatum considere_. Many similar instances might be cited, were
it necessary. Theze noblemen were tried by the _pares curtis_, the peers
of the county court; but who ever said they were tried by their

The Norman princes attempted to discountenance theze shire motes of the
Saxons, and substitute the trial of facts by twelv _juratores_, men
sworn to speek the truth. In the reign of Henry II, the trial by jurors
had become common, if not general. Questions of _seisin_ were tried by
twelv common freeholders; but questions of _right_ were tried by twelv
knights; the sheriff summoning _four_ knights who elected the _twelv_.

I would here remark that the principal original reezon for summoning
freeholders _of the vicinage_, waz that of their supposed personal
knowlege of the fact in dispute. The _jurors_ were properly the
_witnesses_. This iz evident from circumstances and from the positiv
testimony of the erly law-riters. The first mention of a proper jury, in
any public act, iz in the constitutions of Clarendon, 1164, where the
sheriff iz directed, _quòd faciat jurare duodecim legales homines de
vicineto, seu de villa, quòd inde veritatem secundum conscientiam suam
manifestabunt_. It iz said in old writers that the jury _must speek the
truth, if they know it_. If the twelv men first summoned knew the truth,
they were compelled to declare it, under the penalty of perjury. If some
knew the facts and others did not, the latter were dismissed and others
summoned, till twelv were found who knew the facts, ether by what they
had seen and heerd themselves, or from such testimony of their fathers
and others, az gained full credit.

Without attending to juries in this light, the laws respecting them
appeer beyond measure absurd and tyrannical. Their being _sworn to speek
the truth_, would be absurd on any other ground; for had they judged of
facts on _testimony_, they would hav been sworn to declare _their
opinion_, and not the _truth_. Their _verdict, vere dictum_, derives its
name and propriety from the same circumstance; and the present practice
of swearing them to "a tru verdict giv," when they judge of facts only
by the perhaps contradictory testimony of several witnesses, iz,
strictly speeking, absurd.

The keeping juries, without meet, drink or fire, can be accounted for
only on the same idea; it waz a method to compel an agreement among men,
who were _acquainted with facts_, some of whom might at times be
obstinate, and not willing to disclose them. But how ridiculous would it
be to punish men for not agreeing _in opinion_, about what others

All this iz still more evident from the manner in which many questions
respecting real estates were ascertained and determined. It waz
customary for the jurors, after they were chosen, to go upon the land
to find the tru state of the fact in question, and then deliver their
verdict. Hence the propriety of the expression in closing issues; _and
this he prays may be enquired of by the country_.

I would observe further, that the reezon, why appeels from the verdict
of a jury were not allowed, iz simply this, that the jurors were
supposed to hav decided from their _own knowlege_. It waz certainly a
wise provision that the solemn declaration of men under oath, living in
the naborhood, and eye or eer witnesses of the recent transactions
between the parties, should not be overthrown by other testimony; for
all other evidence must hav necessarily been of an inferior nature. But
the reezon haz ceesed, and there iz now nothing more sacred in the
verdict of a jury, given on the testimony of others, than there iz in
the opinions of arbitrators, referees or auditors under oath. The laws
respecting juries are all founded on the idea that the men were
acquainted with the facts in dispute. Their verdict waz formerly a
_declaration of facts_; it iz now a mere _matter of opinion_. In short,
the original design of the institution iz totally changed, and mostly
superseded. Since juries rely on testimony, they need not be collected
from the _vicinage_; it iz even safer to hav men who are strangers to
both plaintiff and defendant. Jurors cannot be punished for _perjury_,
for how can a man _perjure_ himself in giving hiz _opinion_? They cannot
be starved to deth, nor carted about town for disagreement; for how iz
it possible for twelv men always to _think alike_, when they hav to form
their opinions on clashing testimonies? In short, juries do not now
answer one of the purposes for which they were at first instituted; and
however necessary they may be deemed to the preservation of civil
liberty, it appeers to me they are, in a great measure, useless.

I cannot leev this subject without remarking the influence of habit, in
maintaining _forms_, when the _substance_ no longer exists. This iz
neerly the case with the whole institution of juries; but particularly
in the manner of administering the oath to them. The practice of
swearing the foreman and the other jurors separately, still exists in
some of theze states, altho the reezon no longer remains. It originated
in the manner of delivering the verdict, which waz, for every juror
separately to answer the interrogatories of the judge. While this
practice remained, it waz very proper that eech juror should take a
separate oath; altho this formality iz dispensed with, in administering
the oath to witnesses, in modern courts; the words, "_you_ and _eech of
you_ swear," being substituted for a separate administration of the


                         HARTFORD, SEPTEMBER, 1789.


Usury, in the primitiv sense of the word, signifies any compensation
given for the use of money; but in modern legal acceptation, it iz the
taking an exorbitant sum for the use of money; or a sum beyond what iz
permitted by law. The municipal laws of different states and kingdoms
hav fixed different rates of interest; so that what iz usury in one
country or state, iz legal interest in another. The propriety of such
laws iz here called in question.

1. It iz presumed that such laws are _unjust_. Money iz a species of
commercial property, in which a man haz az complete ownership, az in any
other chattel interest. He haz therefore the same _natural_ right to
exercise every act of ownership upon money, az upon any other personal
estate; and it iz contended, he ought to hav the same _civil_ and
_political_ right. He ought to hav the same right to trade with money az
with goods; to sell, to loan and exchange it to any advantage whatever,
provided there iz no fraud in the business, and the minds of the parties
meet in the contracts. The legislature haz no right to interfere with
private contracts, and say that a man shall make no more than a certain
profit per cent on the sale of hiz goods, or limit the rent of hiz house
to the annual sum of forty pounds. This position iz admitted for self
evident, az it respects every thing but money; and it must extend to
money also, unless it can be proved that the privilege of using money in
trade or otherwise without restraint, and making what profit a man iz
able by fair contract, with gold and silver, az well az with houses and
lands, will produce some great public inconvenience, which will warrant
the state in laying the use of such gold and silver under certain

    [141] In a conversation I had at Dr. Franklin's on this
    subject, the doctor admitted the principle, and remarked,
    that a man who haz 1000l. in cash, can loan it for six per
    cent. profit only; but he may bild a house with it, and if
    the demand for houses iz sufficient, he may rent hiz house
    for fifteen per cent. on the value. This iz a fair state of
    the argument, and I challenge my antagonists to giv a good
    reezon for the distinction which the laws make in the two
    cases; or why a man should hav an unrestrained right to take
    any sum he can get for the use of hiz house, and yet hiz
    right to make profit by the loan of money, be abridged by

The only reezon commonly given for limiting the interest of money by
law, iz, that monied men will otherwise take advantage of the distresses
of the poor and needy, to extort from them exorbitant interest. Admit
the proposition in its utmost latitude, and it furnishes no argument in
favor of the restraint, _because the restraint iz no remedy for the
evil_. On the other hand, it generally increases the evil; for when the
law forbids a man to take more than six per cent. for the use of hiz
money, it, at the same time, leevs him the right of withholding hiz
money from hiz distressed nabor, and actually lays before him the
strongest motivs for withholding it. The law tuches the pride of a man,
by restraining what he deems an unalienable right, and this
consideration, added to a certainty of employing hiz money to greater
advantage, impels the man to turn a deef eer to hiz nabors calamities,
when he would be otherwise disposed to afford relief. The law therefore,
so far from furnishing a remedy, actually doubles the evil.

To proov this assertion more cleerly, let me call the attention of my
reeders to facts within their knowlege. Every man knows that there are
persons in every state, who, thro imprudence, idleness or misfortune,
become involved, and unable to pay their dets when du. Theze persons
seldom make provision for discharging their dets, till they are pressed
by their creditors. When they are urged by just demands or legal
process, they are under a necessity of raising money immediately: But
money iz scarce; it iz in a few men's hands, who will not pay the full
valu of lands or personal estate. The poor detor iz then obliged to sell
hiz farm or hiz cattle, or both, at private sale or at auction, for any
price they will fetch, which iz commonly but a small part of the valu.
Now, if the detor could hav borrowed a sum of money, at ten, fifteen, or
even twenty per cent. he might hav been a gainer by the loan; for by
being prohibited by law from borrowing money, at a high interest, he haz
been obliged to sacrifice twenty, perhaps fifty or a hundred per cent.
Laws against usury do not help such men; on the contrary they oppress
them. Could such men get money even at twenty per cent. they would often
be benefited by the loan; they might save their estates and avoid misery
and ruin. A prohibition of high interest only compels the distressed to
seek releef by sacrificing property in a way not guarded against by law.
Nay, I beg leev to assert that such laws are the very meens of
producing, supporting and enriching a host of oppressors in every state
in America. There are a few men, in every state, who are what iz called
_beforehand_; theze men will not loan money at legal interest, for this
very good reezon, they _can do better with it_, az they say; and no man
can blame another for making the most profitable use of hiz money. Theze
men therefore keep their money, till their distressed nabor iz forced by
det to sell hiz farm; then iz the time to lay out their money; they get
the farm at their own price, which iz generally less than half its valu.
In most states, lands are sold at auction, where they are sacrificed;
and the poor owner haz all the charges of a legal suit to pay, az wel az
the det; and the land sold for a small part of its valu. This iz the
common practice, authorized by law; so that laws against usury only
_create_ an evil in one way, by endevoring to _prevent it_ in another.

The evil and hardships of this law, of selling real estate on execution,
hav been so great, az to giv rise to a different mode of satisfying
executions in Connecticut. In this state, a man's person and estate are
both liable for det; but if the personal estate iz insufficient, the
creditor haz hiz election, ether to confine the dettor in prison, or
take hiz lands. But the law, which iz so far in favor of the creditor,
here steps in to prevent a sacrifice of the real property at public
sale; and ordains that the creditor shall take it at a value, which
shall be apprized by three indifferent freeholders. This law does
injustice to the creditor; for it interferes with the contract, and
obliges him to take that for pay which he did not engage to receev. But
it favors the dettor, in a state where money iz scarce and cannot be
eezily raized on an emergency. So far one law, by doing injustice to
creditors, corrects some of the ill effects of the law against high
interest in Connecticut; but the remedy iz partial, for men in distress
for money, generally sell their estates at private sale, for one half
their valu; and a few monied men and rich farmers are constantly taking
advantage of their nabors calamities, to enrich themselves. Such men
make more than fifty per cent. per ann. on their money by theze
speculations, and no law can wholly prevent them. Now laws against usury
create this very evil: They drive money from a country; they create a
necessity for it; and then a few welthy men enrich themselves, not by
loaning at fifteen or twenty per cent. but by purchasing lands at half
price, which are sold to keep men from jail, who, if they could hav got
money for a few months, at twenty per cent. might hav sold their estates
to advantage, or otherwise paid their dets. In general then we may
obzerv, when a man iz reduced to the necessity of asking money at twenty
per cent., hiz situation iz such that it iz better to giv that interest,
than to risk a sale of property on a sudden to raize the money. Laws
against usury do not save such men; it iz idle to suppose it; on the
contrary, they multiply instances of oppression, az all America can

But the argument, if good, proovs too much. If legislators hav a right
to fix the profit on money at interest, to prevent exorbitant demands
from injuring the necessitous, wil not the same reezon warrant a
restriction on the profits of every commodity in market? If my rulers
hav a right to say, my annual profit on money loaned, shal be but six
per cent. hav they not a right to say the advance on my wheet shal be
but six per cent.? Where iz the difference? A poor man may indeed be
distressed by a demand of high interest, and so he may by the high price
of flour; and I beg leev to say, that distresses from the last cause are
infinitely the most numerous, and the most deserving of legislativ
remedies. It wil perhaps be said that the price of bred, in all cities,
iz fixed by law--tru; but if the price of wheet iz not likewise fixed,
there are times of scarcity when the law must vary the price, or the
baker must be ruined, and the poor be destitute of bred. In an extensiv
fertile country, like America, such cases may not happen frequently; but
the actual existence of the fact proovs that such laws rather _follow_
the state of the market, than _regulate_ it. And indeed it iz a
question, whether in this country, the citizens of our large towns would
not be supplied with bred at a cheeper rate, without any regulations at

2. But the _absurdity_ and _bad policy_ of laws against usury, are so
obvious, that it iz surprizing scarcely an attempt haz been made to
abolish them in any country. Such laws are absurd and impolitic, because
they actually and always produce and multiply the distresses they are
designed to remedy. It iz impossible it should be otherwise: The very
laws of nature and commerce require that such restraints should
necessarily counteract their own design. It iz necessary that
commodities should be sometimes plenty and sometimes scarce; and it iz
equally necessary that money, the representativ of all commodities,
should be liable to the same fluctuations. In the commercial world,
money and commodities wil always flow to that country, where they are
most wanted and wil command the most profit. The consequence iz that a
high price soon produces a low price, and vice versa.

Let us apply the principle to the present question. When money can bear
its own profit, its profit or the interest arising on loans, wil be in
proportion to the profit made in commercial transactions. If a man can
make _twelv per cent._ on hiz stock, in any kind of trade or
speculation, he wil not convert that stock into cash, and loan it at
_six per cent._ While therefore commerce or speculation wil afford a man
greater profits, than the law affords him on hiz loans of cash, he wil
hav no money to lend. The consequence iz, while the law fixes the rate
of interest lower than the annual profits of other business, a country
wil be destitute of money.

This iz precisely the case in America. Our remittances to Europe and the
East Indies require considerable sums in specie to be exported; and the
merchant wil not import specie, except to facilitate the purchase of hiz
cargoes in America. He will not import it for the purpose of loaning,
because hiz stock in trade affords a better profit. The few landholders
who hav a little cash abuv their annual expenditures, wil not loan it;
for they can make twelv, fifteen, eighteen per cent. on their money by
the purchase of certificates, and more on the purchase of lands. There
are therefore no motivs, no inducements, for the welthy citizens to loan
money, and consequently when a man iz distressed to make a payment, he
iz compelled to sacrifice property to perhaps five times the valu of the
det; because the law will not permit hiz nabor to take twelv or fifteen
per cent. per ann. for the loan of money, a few months; when he haz the
money, and would gladly releev hiz frend, if he could receev an adequate

Thus laws against usury drive cash from a country. They really and
continually create a scarcity of an article, and then restrain men from
raizing the price, in proportion to that scarcity. They create
distresses of the poor, and at the same time, create an impossibility of
releef. Were money left, like all kinds of commodities, to command its
own price in market; whenever its price should rize abuv the usual cleer
profit of other business, men would import specie, or turn their stock
into cash, and loan it on good security; for no man would submit to the
drudgery of business, if he could make money az fast by lying stil, with
hiz money at interest. Had money been permitted to bear its own price
according to the demand for it in America since the war, it would hav
been kept in the country, or introduced til the rate of interest had
fallen, even below the legal standard. Limit the profit on any article
of life, and set the price so low that peeple can make more by deeling
in other articles, and the articles so fixed wil become scarce and deer.
Were the legislatures of the several states to say that our traders
should make but one per cent. on salt, they would not bring cargoes of
it to the country. It would be az scarce az money iz now. Let the price
of wheet be fixed at half a dollar a bushel, and in two years we should
not hav a bushel in market. It iz the same case with money. The low
profits on the use of money, expel it from the country, and none can be
obtained at the legal price. Let the interest rize to any sum which can
be obtained, and in two years, it would be az eezy to borrow money at a
low interest, az it iz now difficult to command it at any price. The
laws of nature wil continue to opperate, in spite of the feeble
opposition of human power.

Another consideration demands our notice. The laws against usury
increase the distresses of the needy, by enhancing the risk, and
consequently the insurance on loans.[142] It iz fruitless to attempt to
prevent loans of money. When men are pressed for money, they can always
find persons to supply them, upon _some_ terms. But az a loan of money
at a higher rate of interest than iz allowed by law, exposes the lender
to a loss of the money, and a fine or forfiture besides, hiz demand for
the use of hiz money wil rize in proportion to that risk. This haz
always been one of the most pernicious effects of such laws. So that the
law, not only creates a scarcity in the first instance, but actually
raizes the demand of interest much abuv the natural demand required by
that scarcity. In short, insted of releeving the detter, it multiplies
hiz distresses four fold.

    [142] See Blackstone on this subject, Com. Vol. II. 455,
    where the author's reezoning holds good, whether against
    fixing the value of horse hire or money lent. All exorbitant
    demands are unjust _in foro conscientiæ_; but what right haz
    a legislature to fix the price of money loaned, and not of

Besides, such laws, like all national restrictions on trade, tend to
make men dishonest, in particular things, and thus weeken the powers of
the moral faculty. There are ten thousand ways of evading such laws, and
slight evasions gradually produce a habit of violating law, and harden
the mind against the feer of its penalties. Indeed, such laws tend to
undermine that confidence which iz the basis of social intercourse. Laws
which encourage _informations_, should be enacted with caution. Such are
laws against usury. A man haz often the strongest temptation to be a
treecherous rascal, by inducing hiz frend to loan him money, on illegal
interest, and then betraying him. This species of villany waz lately
carried so far in Massachusetts, az to induce the legislature to repeel
a clauze of their law against usury. And a man of morality must shudder,
while he reeds the legal prosecutions and adjudications in England upon
their statutes of usury.

The absurdity of attempting to _fix the valu of money_ iz another
objection to it of no small consequence. The valu of it depends wholly
on the quantity in circulation and the demand. In this respect it
resembles all other articles of trade; and who ever thought of fixing
the price of goods by law?[143] It iz almost impossible for a
legislature to ascertain exactly the valu of money at any one time; and
utterly impossible to say that the valu when ascertained, shall continu
the same for six months. Nay, two slates adjoining eech other may
estimate the use of money very differently at the same period. In New
York the legal interest iz seven per cent. in New England but six. A man
may therefore do that legally in one state, which in the others would
expoze him to a severe penalty.

    [143] The legislatures of several states during the late war,
    were rash enough to make the attempt; and the success of the
    scheme waz just equal to the wisdom that planned it.

In ancient Rome, the interest waz twelv per cent. The emperor Justinian
reduced it to four, but allowed higher interest to be taken of
merchants, on account of the risk. In Holland, when Grotius wrote, the
common interest waz eight per cent.; but twelv to merchants. In England,
the statute 37th, Henry VIII, confined interest to _ten_ per cent. By
the 21st James I, it waz reduced to eight; by the 12th Charles II, to
six; and by 12th Ann, to five, the present legal interest in that

    [144] Blackstone Vol. II. 462.

Postlethwaite remarks very justly that theze laws hav not ascertained
the real valu or interest of money; for when the legal interest haz been
six per cent. the real interest haz sometimes been four; and when the
legal interest haz been five, the real interest haz sometimes been
seven. Indeed the interest of money depends on such a combination of
circumstances, az the scarcity of money, the demand in market, and the
hazard, that an attempt to find and fix a permanent rate, iz one of the
most visionary schemes that a public body can undertake. To proov the
impossibility of such a scheme, I would only mention the continual
practice of violating laws against usury; which would not be the case,
if the real valu of money had been ascertained and fixed.[145] If
legislatures had found the tru valu of the use of money, there would hav
been fewer violations of their laws: If they hav, in any case, fixed a
rate of interest lower than the real valu, they hav violated the rights
of their subjects. This iz a serious consideration; and perhaps in no
instance are the laws of England and America more strongly marked with
the traces of ancient prejudice and barbarity, than in the prohibition
which prevents a man from using hiz _money_ az he pleezes, while he may
demand any sum whatever for the use of hiz other property.

    [145] What are marine insurances, bottomry, loans at
    respondentia and annuities for life, but exceptions to the
    general law against usury? The necessity of higher interest
    than common iz pleeded for theze exceptions. Very good; but
    they proov the absurdity of attempting to fix that, which the
    laws of nature and commerce require should be fluctuating.
    Such laws are partial and iniquitous.

The only power, I conceev, a legislature haz to determin what interest
shall arize on the use of money, or property, iz where the parties hav
not determined it by agreement. Thus when a man haz taken up goods upon
credit, or where, by any other legal meens, a man becomes possessed of
anothers money or estate, without a specific stipulation for interest,
the law very properly steps in and ascertains the sum which the detter
shall pay for the use of that money. But to make a law that a man shall
not take but six per cent. for the use of money, when the borrower iz
willing to giv more, and the lender cannot part with hiz money at that
rate of interest, iz a daring violation of private rights, an injury
often to both parties, and productiv of innumerable embarrassments to

We are told that such laws are necessary to guard men from the
oppression of the rich. What an error! Waz a monied man ever compelled
to assist a distressed nabor, by the forfitures incurred by such laws?
Iz not hiz money hiz own? Wil he lend it all, if it should not be for
hiz benefit? Besides, cannot a man in necessity alienate hiz property
for one fourth of its valu? Are not such bona fide contracts made every
day to raize money to answer a temporary purpose? Nay, hav not the laws
of all commercial states authorized _sales by auction_, where any man
may part with hiz property for a fourth of its valu? Iz there any remedy
in law against such a sacrifice of a man's estate? Wherein then consists
the security of laws against usury? In the name of common sense and
common equity, let legislators be consistent. If men are improvident,
lazy and careless, a loss of property wil be their punishment, and no
mezures of government wil prevent it.

To what then shall we ascribe the severe laws against high interest,
which hav been and stil are existing in most commercial countries? I
presume the cause may be easily assigned. The Jewish prohibition, not
to take interest, except of strangers, first gave rise to douts in the
minds of our pious christian forefathers, with respect to the legality
of any interest at all. This produced, in the dark ages, severe
ecclesiastical laws against taking any thing for the use of money; and
theze laws originated a general prejudice against it, thro the Christian

In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, commerce began to revive; but
az there waz but little money, and trade waz lucrativ, because in few
hands, money bore a very high interest. In some parts of Europe, the
interest waz forty per cent. Even with this interest, certain Italian
traders could make an annual profit, and therefore it waz for their
benefit to giv it. It however rendered them very unpopular.[146]

    [146] Robertsons Charles V. Vol. I. 280.

The Jews, for their infidelity, had been considered by the Christians az
outcasts on earth. Severe laws were enacted against them in almost every
country; depriving them of the rights of citizens, and forbidding them
to hold real estates. Proscribed and insulted, the poor Jews were
compelled to turn their _hand against every man_ in their own defence.
They commenced strolling traders and bankers, and by theze meens
commanded a large share of the money in every kingdom.

With this command of cash, the Jews very justly compensated themselves
for the injuries they suffered from the tyrannical laws which existed
against them. They loaned money at the highest rate of interest they
could obtain. Hence the general karacter of the Jews, and the prejudice
against them that survives to this enlightened period.

It iz very probable, that before the discovery of the American mines,
money waz so scarce in Europe, that a few brokers in eech kingdom might
engross such a share, az to hav it in their power to oppress peeple.
This waz evidently the case in England, about the reign of Edward I, and
the parliament thought proper to interfere and restrain the evil. Laws
against usury were doutless necessary and useful at that time. But
since the world haz been filled with gold and silver from South America,
and nations hav opened an intercourse with eech other, there never can
be a want of specie, where a country can supply produce enough to
exchange for it. It haz become a mere fluid in the commercial world; and
in order to obtain a supply, in a country abounding with produce and
manufactures, the legislature haz nothing to do, but let it bear its own
price; let it command its own valu, ether at interest, or in exchange
for commodities.

Laws against usury therefore I consider az originating ether in the
necessity of the times, which long ago ceesed, or in a bigotted
prejudice against the Jews, which waz az barbarous formerly, az it iz
now infamous. Laws restraining the interest of money I now consider, in
the same light, az I do laws against freedom of conscience. And were it
not for the force of habit, I should az soon expect to see a modern
legislature ordering a pious sectary to the stake for hiz principles, az
to see them gravely passing a law, to limit the profit on the use of hiz
money. And unless the legislatures of this enlightened age should repeel
such laws, and place money on a footing with other property, they will
be considered az accessory to a direct violation of the deerest rights
of men, and will be answerable for more frauds, perjuries, treechery and
expensiv litigations, than proceed from any other single cause in
society. I am so firmly persuaded of the truth of theze principles, that
I venture to predict, the opinions of men will be changed in less than
half a century, and posterity will wonder that their forefathers could
think of maintaining a position so absurd and contradictory, az that men
hav no right to make more than six per cent. on the _loan of money_,
while they hav an indefeezable right to make unlimited profit on their
money in any other manner. They will vew laws against usury in the same
light that we do the inquisition in Spain, the execution of gypsies and
witches in the last century, or thoze laws of England which make 100l.
annual income necessary to qualify a man for killing a partridge, while
they allow _forty shillings_ only to qualify him for electing a knight
of the shire.


                         HARTFORD, OCTOBER, 1789.


Writers on law divide allegiance into two kinds, _natural_ and _local_.
"Natural allegiance iz such az iz du from all men born within the kings
dominions, immediately upon their berth. For immediately upon their
berth, they are under the kings protection; at a time too when (during
their infancy) they are incapable of protecting themselves. Natural
allegiance iz therefore a det of gratitude, which cannot be forfeited,
cancelled or altered, by any change of time, place or circumstances; nor
by any thing but the united concurrence of the legislature. An
Englishman who remoovs to France or to China, owes the same allegiance
to the king of England there az at home, and twenty years hence az wel
az now. For it iz a principle of universal law, that the natural born
subject of one prince cannot by any act of hiz own, no, not by swearing
allegiance to another, put off or discharge hiz natural allegiance to
the former; for hiz natural allegiance waz intrinsic and primitiv and
antecedent to the other, and cannot be devested, without the concurrent
act of that prince to whom it waz first du. Indeed the natural born
subject of one prince, to whom he owes allegiance, may be entangled by
subjecting himself absolutely to another; but it iz hiz own act that
brings him into theze straits and difficulties, of owing service to two
masters; and it iz unreezonable that, by such voluntary act of hiz own,
he should be able at plezure to unloose thoze bands by which he iz
connected to hiz natural prince."[147]

    [147] Blackstone Com. Vol. I. 369.

I mistake much, however, if the natural born subject would be so much
_entangled with hiz straits and difficulties_, az lord Coke, Hale and
Blackstone, would be, to support their assertions and obviate the
absurdities of their reezoning.

It iz astonishing to observe how slowly men get rid of old prejudices
and opinions. The feudal ideas of allegiance, which make _fidelity in
the subject an obligation or grateful return for the protection of the
prince_, stil prevail, and are made the basis of all modern reezoning on
the subject. Such ideas in the dark ages, and in the days of feudal
despotism, are not to be wondered at. Every baron waz a tyrant on hiz
manor, and az hiz only safety consisted in hiz castle and hiz vassals,
it waz necessary to bind hiz subjects to him by oaths and superstition,
az wel az by a demand upon their gratitude. But wil our sage writers on
government and law, forever think by tradition? Wil they never examin
the grounds of receeved opinions? Let me enquire.

What iz the real ground of _allegiance_? Iz it not _protection_? Not at
all. We may just az wel invert the proposition, and say, that
_allegiance_ iz the ground of _protection_. A prince iz the
representativ of a nation or state, so that allegiance to him, iz merely
allegiance to a state or body politic.[148] According to our ideas,
allegiance to a king, and fidelity to a state, are the same thing; for
detach a king from all connection with a nation or state, and he becumes
a private man, and entitled only to the rights of such. This at leest iz
the opinion of an _American_, whose mind iz not biassed by personal
attachments to a sovereign.

    [148] Blackstone remarks that allegiance iz applicable, not
    only to the political capacity of the king, or regal office,
    but to hiz _natural person_ and _blood royal_. I would ask
    then what _blood royal_ there can be in a man, except in hiz
    _kingly capacity_?

What then iz the ground of fidelity to a state? The answer iz eezy; the
_moral law_, which haz for its object the _good of society_. This iz the
basis of all obligations in a state, whether express or implied; yet
writers on this subject hav hardly mentioned it. Blackstone indeed takes
notice of an implied, original allegiance, antecedent to any express
promis; but seems rather to consider it az a return for the duties of
the sovereign, which he owes before coronation, than az an obligation
arising from the very constitution of society.

Taking the moral law or the good of society for the ground of all
allegiance, we discuver two species of duties to be performed by every
man; the _moral duties_, which exist at all times and in all places; and
certain _political duties_, required by the municipal laws of eech
state. The first are the basis of natural or perpetual allegiance; the
last, of local allegiance. The first or moral duties create an
obligation upon every man, the moment he iz born, which cannot be
cancelled or discharged by any act of an individual, or by any agreement
between prince and subject; the last, or political duties, impoze an
obligation upon every member of a state or body politic, the moment he
steps within its jurisdiction, to submit peaceably to such positiv
injunctions of that state, az hav been judged necessary for its welfare.

Now to maintain that an oath of allegiance wil bind a man to perform all
the last class of duties, or the positiv duties enjoined by a particular
state, and not required by the general laws of society, when the man haz
perhaps become a member of another state, three thousand miles distant,
iz to defend the wildest notions that can possess any man's brain. Every
man iz bound always and in all places to _do right, and avoid doing
rong_; and this with, or without taking an oath of fidelity to any
state. This iz implied allegiance, universal and perpetual; and I deny
that there iz any other ground of this allegiance, except the universal
principles of right and rong.

Should it be said, that a man may bind himself _by oath_ to perform the
positiv or political duties required by a state, altho he may remoov and
become a citizen of another state; I answer, this wil involv him in the
_straits_ and _difficulties_ mentioned by Blackstone; for the political
duties of the two states may interfere with eech other. The truth iz, a
man haz no right to take such an oath, nor haz a state any right to
require it. He may swear, when he enters into any kingdom or state,
that he wil be a good citizen, and submit to all the laws of the state,
_while he iz a member of it_; and further, that he wil observe the moral
law in hiz conduct towards that society, after _he haz ceesed to be a
member of it_. Further than this, he haz no right to swear. Az to every
duty, not required by the laws of society in general, but only by the
municipal laws of a state, a man's allegiance commences when he enters
that state; and ceeses the moment he leeves it.[149] The doctrin of a
perpetual allegiance iz wholly a feudal idea; inculcated, when every
lord waz at war with hiz nabor; and waz compelled by self preservation
to attach hiz vassals to himself by oaths, the penalties of perjury and
the forfeitures of treezon.

    [149] Except the case of Ambassadors or other agents.

Blackstone says, in the passage already quoted, "that natural allegiance
iz a det of gratitude," because the subject iz under the kings
protection while an infant. He might just az wel say, _protection iz a
det of gratitude_ du from the prince, because the subject iz born in hiz
dominions. On this principle of gratitude, a child iz obliged to obey
and serve hiz parent, after he haz left hiz family, and while he livs.
This det, according to the same author, cannot be cancelled, but _by
"concurrence of the legislature."_ How in the name of reezon, can an act
of the legislature dissolv a _natural tie_? How can it _cancel a det of
gratitude_? Common sense looks with disdain on such week and futile
reezoning. But if there iz such a thing az natural and perpetual
allegiance, an Englishman, who remoovs to France, cannot take arms to
defend France against an invasion from England. Is this agreeable to the
laws of nature and society, that a man should not protect himself and
hiz property? It wil be said that the man iz within the English king's
liegeance, and entitled to hiz protection. But the king cannot protect
him; it iz beyond hiz power, and the Englishman iz not obliged to leev
France and seek protection in England. Hiz estate and hiz family may be
in France, and if he chooses to reside there, it iz hiz unalienable
right and duty to defend both against any invasion whatever. Every war,
except a defensiv one, iz a breech of the moral law; but when a natural
born subject of England, haz become a citizen of France, he iz subject
to the laws of France, and bound to assist, if required, in defending
the kingdom against hiz natural prince.


                         HARTFORD, JULY, 1789.


Much haz been said and written to ascertain between what relations
marriage ought to be permitted. The civil, the canon, and the English
laws, differ az to the degrees of consanguinity necessary to render this
connection improper. A detail of the arguments on this subject, and even
a recapitulation of the decrees of ecclesiastical councils, in the erly
ages of the church, would be tedious and uninteresting. I shall only
offer a few thoughts of my own on the question, with a view to
illustrate a single point, which haz been agitated in modern times, and
on which the different American states hav passed different decisions.
The point iz, whether a man should be permitted to marry hiz former
wife's sister. In some states this iz permitted; in others, prohibited.

Thoze who favor the prohibition, ground their reezon on the Levitical
law, which says a man shall not marry hiz wife's sister, during the life
of hiz wife, to vex her. This prohibition, while it restrains a man from
having two sisters for wives at the same time, among a peeple where
poligamy waz permitted, iz a negativ pregnant, and a strong argument
that a man waz allowed, after the deth of a wife, to marry her sister.

The Jewish law, however divine, waz designed for a particular nation,
and iz no farther binding upon other nations, than it respects the
natural and social duties. In no one particular, hav men been more
mistaken, than in explaining divine commands. It haz been sufficient for
them to reseiv a law into the wil of God, without examining into the
reezons for which the law waz revealed. They seem to hav inverted the
foundation of moral obligation, in supposing the moral law to derive its
propriety and fitness originally from the wil of Deity, rather than from
the nature of things. They talk about the fitness and unfitness of
things, independent, not only of society, but of God himself. Such wild
notions, I presume, are not common. There could be no fitness nor
unfitness of things, before things were made; nor could right and rong
exist without social beings. The moral duties therefore are not right,
merely because they are commanded by God; but they are commanded by him,
because they are right. The propriety or fitness of them depends on the
very nature of society; and this fitness, which waz coeval with
creation, waz the ground of the divine command.[150]

    [150] It may be said, that _moral right_ and _rong_ must
    ultimately be resolved into the wil of Deity, because society
    itself depends on hiz wil. This iz conceded; I only contend
    that moral fitness and unfitness result _immediately_ from
    the state of created beings, with relation to eech other, and
    not from any arbitrary rules imposed by Deity, subsequent to

The law of Moses, regulating marriages, waz founded on this propriety or
fitness of things. A divine command givs a sanction to the law; but the
propriety of it existed prior to the command. The reezons for
prohibiting marriage between certain relations are important; yet they
seem not to be understood. It haz been sufficient, in discussing this
point, to say, _such iz the law of God_; and few attempts hav been made
to find the reezons of it, by which alone its extent and authority can
be ascertained.

There are two rules, furnished by the laws of nature, for regulating
matrimonial connections. The first iz, that marriage, which iz a social
and civil connection, should not interfere with a natural relation, so
az to defeet or destroy its duties and rights. Thus it iz highly
improper that an aunt should marry her nephew, or a grandfather hiz
grand daughter; because the duties and rights of the natural relation,
would be superseded by the positiv duties and rights of the civil

The other rule iz much more important. It iz a law of nature that
vegetables should degenerate, if planted continually on the same soil.
Hence the change of seeds among farmers. Animals degenerate on the same
principle. The physical causes of this law of nature, are perhaps among
the arcana of creation; but the effects are obvious; and it iz
surprizing that modern writers on law and ethics should pass over almost
the only reezons of prohibiting marriage between blood relations.
Consanguinity, and not affinity, iz the ground of the prohibition.[151]

    [151] By the ancient laws of England, relations in the same
    degree, whether by consanguinity or affinity, were placed
    exactly on a footing. See the suttle reezoning by which the
    prohibitions were supported, in Reeve's History of the
    English Laws, Vol. IV.

It iz no crime for brothers and sisters to intermarry, except the fatal
consequences to society; for were it generally practised, men would soon
become a race of pigmies. It iz no crime for brothers and sisters
children to intermarry, and this iz often practised; but such near blood
connections often produce imperfect children. The common peeple hav
hence drawn an argument to proov such connections criminal; considering
weakness, sickness and deformity in the offspring az judgements upon the
parents. Superstition iz often awake, when reezon iz asleep. It iz just
az criminal for a man to marry hiz cousin, az it iz to sow flax every
year on the same ground; but when he does this, he must not complain, if
he haz an indifferent crop.

Here then the question occurs, iz it proper for a man to marry hiz
wife's sister? The answer iz plain. The practice does not interfere with
any law of nature or society; and there iz not the smallest impropriety
in a man's marrying ten sisters of hiz wife in succession. There iz no
natural relation destroyed; there iz no relation by blood; and _cessante
ratione, cessat et ipsa Lex_; the law ceeses when the reezon of it


                         HARTFORD, FEBRUARY, 1790.


The laws which respect property, hav, in all civilized communities,
formed the most important branch of municipal regulations. Of theze, the
laws which direct the division and desent of lands, constitute the first
class; for on theze, in a great mezure, depend the genius of guvernment
and the complection of manners.

Savages hav very few regulations respecting property; for there are but
few things to which their desires or necessities prompt them to lay
claim. Some very rude nations seem to hav no ideas of property,
especially in lands; but the American tribes, even when first
discuvered, claimed the lands on which they lived, and the hunting
grounds of eech tribe were marked from thoze of its nabors, by rivers or
other natural boundaries. The Mexican and Peruvian Indians had indeed
advanced very far towards a state of civilization; and land with them
had acquired almost an European valu; but the northern tribes, yet in
the hunter state, would often barter millions of akers for a handful of
trinkets and a few strings of wampum.

In the progress of nations, land acquires a valu, proportioned to the
degree of populousness; and other objects grow into estimation, by their
utility, convenience, or some plezure they afford to the imagination.

In attending to the principles of guvernment, the leeding idea that
strikes the mind, iz, that political power depends mostly on property;
consequently guvernment will take its complection from the divisions of
property in the state.

In despotic states, the subjects must not possess property in fee; for
an exclusiv possession of lands inspires ideas of independence, fatal to
despotism. To support such guvernments, it iz necessary that the laws
should giv the prince a sovereign control over the property az wel az
the lives of hiz subjects. There are however very few countries, where
the guvernment iz so purely arbitrary, that the peeple can be deprived
of life and estate, without some legal formalities. Even when the first
possession waz the voluntary gift of the prince, grants or concessions,
sanctioned by prescription, hav often established rights in the subject,
of which he cannot be deprived without a judicial process.

In Europe the feudal system of tenures haz given rise to a singular
species of guvernment. Most of the countries are said to be guverned by
_monarkies_; but many of the guvernments might, with propriety, be
called _aristocratic republics_. The barons, who possess, the lands, hav
most of the power in their own hands. Formerly the kings were but lords
of a superior rank, _primi inter pares_; and they were originally
electiv. This iz stil the case in Poland, which continues to be what
other states in Europe were, an _aristocratic republic_. But from the
twelfth to the sixteenth century, the princes, in many countries, were
struggling to circumscribe the power of the barons, and their attempts,
which often desolated their dominions, were attended with various
success. What they could not accomplish by force, they sometimes
obtained by stratagem. In some countries the commons were called in to
support the royal prerogativs, and thus obtained a share in legislation,
which haz since been augmented by vast accessions of power and
influence, from a distribution and encreese of welth. This haz been the
case in England. In other countries, the prince haz combined with the
barons to depress the peeple. Where the prince holds the privilege of
disposing of civil, military and ecclesiastical offices, it haz been
eezy to attach the nobility to hiz interest, and by this coalition,
peece haz often been secured in a kingdom; but the peeple hav been kept
in vassalage. Thus by the laws of the feudal system, most of the commons
in Europe are kept in a state of dependence on the great landholders.

But commerce haz been favorable to mankind. Az the rules of succession
to estates, every where established in Europe, are calculated to
aggrandize the _few_ at the expense of the _many_, commerce, by creating
and accumulating personal estate, haz introduced a new species of power
to ballance the influence of the landed property. Commerce found its way
from Italy and the eest, to Germany and England, diffusing in its
progress freedom, knowlege and independence. Commerce iz favorable to
freedom; it flurishes most in republics; indeed a free intercourse by
trade iz almost fatal to despotism; for which reezon, some princes lay
it under severe restrictions: In other countries it iz discuraged by
public opinion, which renders trade disreputable. This iz more fatal to
it, than the edicts of tyrants.

The basis of a democratic and a republican form of government, iz, a
fundamental law, favoring an equal or rather a general distribution of
property. It iz not necessary nor possible that every citizen should hav
exactly an equal portion of land and goods, but the laws of such a state
should require an equal distribution of intestate estates, and bar all
perpetuities. Such laws occasion constant revolutions of property, and
thus hold out to all men equal motivs to vigilance and industry. They
excite emulation, by giving every citizen an equal chance of being rich
and respectable.

In no one particular do the American states differ from European nations
more widely, than in the rules which regulate the tenure and
distribution of lands. This circumstance alone wil, for ages at leest,
prezerve a government in the united states, very different from any
which now exists or can arize in Europe.

In New England, intestate estates desend to all the children or other
heirs in equal portions, except to the oldest son, who haz two shares.
This exception in favor of the oldest son, waz copied from the levitical
code, which waz made the basis of the first New England institutions.
The legislature of Massachusetts, at their May session, 1789, abolished
that absurd exception; and nothing but inveterate habit keeps it alive
in the other states.[152]

    [152] Lands in Connecticut desend to the heirs in the
    following manner: First to children, and if none, then to
    brothers and sisters or their legal representativs of the
    whole blud; then to parents; then to brothers and sisters of
    the half blud; then to next of kin, the whole blud taking the
    preference when of equal degree with the half blud.

In consequence of theze laws, the peeple of New England enjoy an
equality of condition, unknown in any other part of the world. To the
same cause may be ascribed the rapid population of theze states; for
estates by division are kept small, by which meens every man iz obliged
to labor, and labor iz the direct cause of population. For the same
reezon, the peeple of theze states, feel and exert the pride of
independence. Their equality makes them mild and condesending, capable
of being convinced and guverned by persuasion; but their independence
renders them irritable and obstinate in resisting force and oppression.
A man by associating familiarly with them, may eezily coax them into hiz
views, but if he assumes any airs of superiority, he iz treeted with az
little respect az a servant. The principal inconvenience arizing from
theze dispositions iz, that a man who happens to be a little
distinguished for hiz property or superior education iz ever exposed to
their envy, and the tung of slander iz bizzy in backbiting him. In this
manner, they oppoze distinctions of rank, with great success. This
however iz a private inconvenience; but there iz an evil, arising from
this jealousy, which deeply affects their guvernment. Averse to
distinctions, and reddy to humble superiority, they become the dupes of
a set of artful men, who, with small talents for business and no regard
for the public interest, are always familiar with every class of peeple,
slyly hinting something to the disadvantage of great and honest men, and
pretending to be frends to the public welfare. The peeple are thus
guverned at times by the most unqualified men among them. If a man wil
shake hands with every one he meets, attend church constantly, and
assume a goodly countenance; if he wil not swear or play cards, he may
arrive to the first offices in the guvernment, without one single talent
for the proper discharge of hiz duty; he may even defraud the public
revenu and be accused of it on the most indubitable evidence, yet by
laying hiz hand on hiz brest, casting hiz eyes to heaven, and calling
God to witness hiz innocence, he may wipe away the popular suspicions,
and be a fairer candidate for preferment than before hiz accusation. So
far az the harts of the peeple are concerned, the disposition here
mentioned iz a high recommendation, for it proves them mild,
unsuspecting and humane: But guvernment suffers a material injury from
this turn of mind; and were it not for a few men who are boldly honest,
and indefatigable in detecting impositions on the public, the guvernment
of theze states would always be, az it often iz, in the hands of the
weekest, or wickedest of the citizens.

The same equality of condition haz produced a singular manner of
speeking among the peeple of New England.[153] But the inhabitants of
all the large towns, wel bred citizens, are excepted from this remark.

    [153] See my Dissertations on the English Language, page 106.

Altho the principle iz tru that a general distribution of lands iz the
basis of a republican form of guvernment, yet there iz an evil arising
out of this distribution, which the New England states now feel, and
which wil increase with the population of the country. The tracts of
land first taken up by the settlers, were not very considerable; and
theze having been repeetedly divided among a number of heirs, hav left
the present proprietors almost without subsistence for their families.
Vast numbers of men do not possess more than thirty or forty akers eech,
and many not half the quantity. It iz with difficulty that such men can
support families and pay taxes. Indeed most of them are unable to do it;
they involve themselves in det; the creditors take the little land they
possess, and the peeple are driven, poor and helpless, into an
uncultivated wilderness. Such are the effects of an equal division of
lands among heirs; and such the causes of emigration to the western
territories. Emigration indeed iz a present remedy for the evil; but
when settlements hav raized the valu of the western lands neerly to that
on the Atlantic coast, emigrations wil mostly ceese. They wil not
entirely ceese, until the continent iz peepled to the Pacific ocean; and
that period iz distant; but whenever they ceese, our republican
inhabitants, unable to subsist on the small portions of land, assigned
them by the laws of division, must hav recourse to manufactures. The
holders of land wil be fewer in number, because monied men wil hav the
advantage of purchasing lands very low of the necessitous inhabitants,
who wil be multiplied by the very laws of the state, respecting landed
property. Other laws however could not be tolerated in theze states. In
Europe, provision iz made for younger sons, in the army, the church, the
navy, or in the numerous manufactures of the countries. But in America,
such provision cannot be made; and therefore our laws eezely provide for
all the children, where they are not provided for by the parents.

By extending our views to futurity, we see considerable changes in the
condition of theze republican states. The laws, by barring entailments,
prevent the establishment of families in permanent affluence; we are
therefore in little danger of a hereditary aristocracy. But the same
laws, by dividing inheritances, tho their first effect iz to create
equality, ultimately tend to impoverish a great number of citizens, and
thus giv a few men, who commanded money, an advantage in procuring lands
at less than their real valu. The evil iz increased in a state, where
there iz a scarcity of cash, occasioned by the course of trade, or by
laws limiting the interest on money loaned. Such iz the case in
Connecticut. A man who haz money may purchase wel cultivated farms in
that state for seventy, and sometimes for fifty per cent. of the real
valu. Such a situation iz favorable to the accumulation of great
estates, and the creation of distinctions; but while alienations of real
estates are rendered necessary by the laws, the genius of the guvernment
wil not be materially changed.

The causes which destroyed the ancient republics were numerous; but in
Rome, one principal cause waz, the vast inequality of fortunes,
occasioned partly by the stratagems of the patricians and partly by the
spoils of their enemies, or the exactions of tribute in their conquered
provinces. Rome, with the _name_ of a republic, waz several ages loozing
the _spirit_ and _principle_. The Gracchi endevored to check the growing
evil by an agrarian law; but were not successful. In Cesar's time, the
Romans were ripened for a change of guvernment; the _spirit_ of a
commonwelth waz lost, and Cesar waz but an instrument of altering the
_form_, when it could no longer exist. Cesar iz execrated az the tyrant
of hiz country; and Brutus, who stabbed him, iz applauded az a _Roman_.
But such waz the state of things in Rome, that Cesar waz a better ruler
than Brutus would hav been; for when the spirit of a guvernment iz lost,
the form must change.

Brutus would hav been a tyrannical demagogue, or hiz zeel to restore the
commonwelth would hav protracted the civil war and factions which raged
in Rome and which finally must hav subsided in monarky. Cesar waz
absolute, but hiz guvernment waz moderate, and hiz name waz sufficient
to repress faction and prezerve tranquillity. The zeel of Brutus waz
intemperate and rash; for when abuses hav acquired a certain degree of
strength; when they are interwoven with every part of government, it iz
prudence to suffer many evils, rather than risk the application of a
violent remedy.

How far the Roman history furnishes the data, on which the politicians
of America may calculate the future changes in our form of guvernment,
iz left to every man's own opinion. Our citizens now hold lands in fee;
this renders them bold in independence: They all labor, and therefore
make hardy soldiers; they all reed, and of course understand their
rights; they rove uncontrolled in the forest; therefore they know the
use of arms. But wil not poor peeple multiply, and the possessions of
real estates be diminished in number, and increesed in size? Must not a
great proportion of our citizens becum manufacturers and thus looz the
bodies and the spirit of soldiers? While the mass of knowlege wil be
increesed by discuveries and experience, wil it not be confined to fewer
men? In short, wil not our forests be levelled, or confined to a few
proprietors? and when our peeple ceese to hunt, will not the body of
them neglect the use of arms? Theze are questions of magnitude; but the
present generation can answer them only in prospect and speculation. At
any rate, the genius of every guvernment must addapt itself to the
peculiar state and spirit of the peeple who compose the state, and when
the Americans looz the _principles_ of a free guvernment, it follows
that they wil speedily looz the _form_. Such a change would, az in Rome,
be ascribed to _bad_ men; but it is more rational to ascribe it to an
imperceptible progress of corruption, or thoze insensible changes which
steel into the best constitutions of government.

New England waz originally settled by a religious sect, denominated
_puritans_, who fled from the severe restraints imposed upon dissenters
in the reign of king James I. Placed beyond the feer of control, they
formed sistems of civil and ecclesiastical government, exactly suited to
their rigid notions. All their institutions wear marks of an
enthusiastic zeel for religion. Removed from the tyranny of one church,
they vibrated to the other extreme, and with an ardor to bild up
Christ's kingdom, in what they quaintly call, _a howling wilderness_,
they established a tyranny of the severest kind over the consciences and
rights of their own society, and by arbitrary decrees banished thoze
who dissented from them upon the most metaphisical points. It waz a law
of the first settlers at Boston, that none could be free men and
entitled to vote for civil rulers, who were not in full communion with
the church; and none could be admitted to full communion, without the
recommendation of a clergyman. Theze laws threw all the power of the
state into the hands of the clergy.[154] It iz equally astonishing and
ridiculous to the posterity of thoze godly peeple, to find the church
and state, in the infancy of the settlement in America, rent with
discord upon the simple question, whether "sanctification preceeds
justification." Yet hundreds of councils were held upon this or similar
points, and a dissent from the common opinion on such trifling
questions, waz heresy, punishable with excommunication and banishment.

    [154] See Winthrop's Journal, Mather's Magnalia, and
    Hutchisons Collection of papers.

But candor requires some apology to be made for our ancestors. Bigotry
waz not confined to the New England settlers; it waz the characteristic
of the age. The first settlers in New Jersey, Virginia and Pensylvania,
and indeed in most of the colonies, prohibited witchcraft under penalty
of deth; tho the laws seem not to have been executed any where except in
Massachusetts. But the fame gloomy superstition reigned in England. The
statutes of Henry VIII. and James I. making witchcraft and sorcery
felony without benefit of clergy, upon which many persons suffered deth,
were not repeeled, till the ninth yeer of George II. or about 1736. Just
before the restoration in 1660, no less than thirteen _gypsies_ were
condemned at one Suffolk assizes, and executed.

But why should I go to former times and other states for apologies? Iz
it not eezy to find superstition and prejudices among ourselves equally
absurd and indefensible? Does not a law against playing with cards
proceed from theze prejudices? What iz the difference between playing
with _spotted papers and spotted boards_? Chequers, back-gammon and
chess are not prohibited, and the games are az enticing az thoze which
are prohibited. Are not such games az capable of conceelment az any
domestic concerns? Wil laws ever reech them? Haz the legislature any
right to control my family amuzements? In short, do laws ever suppress
or restrain any species of game? By no meens; on the other hand, I can
testify from actual observation, that prohibited games are practized az
much az others, and in states where penalties against them are most
severe, gaming iz the most frequent.

Again, are laws against witchcraft more absurd than laws against usury?
Did not both originate in ages of monkish bigotry, and in the same
religious scruples? Iz it not az illiberal a prejudice to say, that a
man shall hav but six per cent. profit on money loaned, yet may make
fifty per cent. if he can, on the same valu in goods, houses or lands;
az it iz to say, that a man shal not be a fanatic, or a woman hav the
hysterics? Haz not any man az good a right to be whimsical or
superstitious, az a legislature to be inconsistent? Az to the right, I
see no difference. A man who iz oppressed to an obvious degree by a rich
creditor, wil find releef against the oppressor, in a court of equity. A
fanatic, who should keep a naborhood in an uproar by hiz religious
worship, would be punishable for a misdemeenor. But when two men can
make a voluntary contract for eight per cent. interest, a contract which
eech deems favorable for himself, that he should be punishable with a
hevvy forfiture, iz a curosity in legislation, which ought to be placed
on the catalog of papal bulls.

Superstition appeers in all ages under different aspects. The sailor who
repozes confidence in the horse-shoe on hiz mast, the Roman who counts
hiz beeds, the judge who gravely sentences a witch to the gallows, and
the legislator who thinks it a crime to receev great profits for the use
of money, may be equally conscientious, and to posterity in some future
time, wil appeer to be equally mistaken.

But while we contemplate the censurable laws of the first New England
settlers, let us not pass by many excellent regulations which proceed
from their religious zeel, and which hav been the basis of institutions
the most favorable to morals, to freedom and happiness.

In the first place, our ancestors made provision for supporting
preechers of the gospel in every village. Abating some rigid maxims,
which were propagated and maintained for the first century, with too
much zeel, the influence of the clergy, in New England, haz been
productiv of the happiest effects. The clergy, being wel informed men,
and scattered among the peeple at large, hav been instrumental in
diffusing knowlege. Frends to order, and respected by their
parishioners, they hav at times saved the states from turbulence and
disorder. The advocates of liberty, they espoused the American
revolution with firmness, and contributed to unite the peeple in a
steddy opposition to British mezures; and since the establishment of
peece, they hav had no small influence in oppozing mezures, fatal to
good faith and the rights of freemen.

The effects of their influence are the most generally vizible in
Connecticut, where every town iz well settled and supports a clergyman.
This state never experienced an insurrection; its opposition to the
British power, during the war, waz steddy and unanimous; and tender laws
and paper currency hav been uniformly reprobated since the revolution.

The old settlements in Massachusetts may fall under the same character;
but the western and northern counties are exceptions. In a great
proportion of the townships, which hav been lately settled, there iz no
clergyman or other person of superior information, to direct the popular
councils and check a rizing opposition. It waz obzerved, during the late
insurrections in thoze counties, that the towns which were destitute of
any wel informed men, furnished the most numerous and most turbulent
hosts of insurgents. The wel informed counties on the see coast
furnished scarcely a man.

In addition to this, it may be remarked, that the mildness of manners
and the hospitality which prevail among the yemanry of New England, are
ascribeable in a great meazure, to a general administration of religious
ordinances. The distinction in this respect, iz so great between New
England and some other parts of America, that in travelling among the
settlers on the frontiers of Vermont, a man may ascertain where the
settlers were born and educated, merely by their manner of receeving and
treeting him. This iz asserted from actual obzervation.

The State of Rhode Island furnishes full proofs of what iz here said in
favor of the clergy. That state waz settled by refugees from
Massachusetts, who were banished or persecuted by the first settlers,
for their religious tenets. Roger Williams and hiz adherents imbibed an
inveterate hatred against the colony of Massachusetts, and in particular
against the clergy, whoze rigid zeel occasioned their expulsion from the
colony. The prejudice continued among their desendants, and to this day
the inhabitants boast of their liberality of sentiment and their freedom
from the bigotry of clergymen, which, they say, enslaves the peeple of
Massachusetts and Connecticut. This aversion to the clerical order haz
however had a pernicious effect in the state. The body of the peeple,
unaccustomed to the sobriety and decent deportment necessary in
religious worship, and despizing the puritanical manners of their
nabors, are educated in licentiousness and void of principle. To this
source may be traced the most unjust and tyrannical laws that ever
disgraced a popular assembly, and a perseverance in executing them,
which can proceed only from obstinate ignorance and dishonest views. The
large trading towns are excepted from this description; the inhabitants
of which are well informed, polite, liberal, and firm supporters of good
government; _but they encourage schools and support a respectable

In the second place, our ancestors discuvered their wizdom in
establishing public schools and colleges. The law of Connecticut
ordains, that every town, or parish containing seventy householders,
shall keep an English school, at leest eleven months in a yeer; and
towns containing a less number, at leest six months in a yeer. Every
town keeping a public skool iz entitled to draw from the trezury of the
state, a certain sum of money, proportioned to its census in the list of
property which furnishes the rule of taxation. This sum might hav been
originally sufficient to support one skool in each town or parish; but
in modern times, iz divided among a number, and the deficiency of money
to support the skools iz raised upon the estates of the peeple, in the
manner the public taxes are assessed. To extend the benefits of this
establishment to all the inhabitants, large towns and parishes are
divided into districts; eech of which iz supposed able to furnish a
competent number of skolars for one skool. In eech district a house iz
erected for the purpose by the inhabitants of that district; who hire a
master, furnish wood, and tax themselves to pay all expenses, not
provided for by the public money. The skool iz kept during the winter
months, when every farmer can spare hiz sons. In this manner every child
in the state haz access to a school. In the summer, a woman iz hired to
teech small children, who are not fit for any kind of labor. In the
large towns, skools, ether public or private, are kept the whole yeer;
and in every county town, a grammar school iz established by law.

The state of Massachusetts haz also public schools on similar
principles. The colleges and academies are too well known to need any
description or remarks.

The beneficial effects of theze institutions will be experienced for
ages. Next to the establishments in favor of religion, they hav been the
nurseries of wel-informed citizens, brave soldiers and wize legislators.
A peeple thus informed are capable of understanding their rights and of
discuvering the meens to secure them.

In the next place, our forefathers took mezures to prezerve the
reputation of skools and the morals of yuth, by making the business of
teeching them an honorable employment. Every town or district haz a
committee whoze duty iz to procure a master of talents and karacter;
and the practice iz to procure a man of the best character in the town
or naborhood. The welthy towns apply to yung gentlemen of liberal
education, who, after taking the bachelor's degree, usually keep skool a
yeer or two, before they enter upon a profession. One of the most
unfortunate circumstances to education in the middle and suthern states,
iz, an opinion that skool keeping iz a meen employment, fit only for
persons of low karacter. The retches who keep the skools in thoze
states, very frequently degrade the employment; but the misfortune iz,
public opinion suppozes the employment degrades the man: Of course no
gentleman will undertake to teech children, while, in popular
estimation, he must forfit hiz rank and karacter by the employment.
Until public opinion iz corrected by some great examples, the common
schools, what few there are in thoze states, must continu in the hands
of such vagabonds az wander about the country.

Neerly connected with the establishment of skools, iz the circulation of
newspapers in New England. This iz both a consequence and a cause of a
general diffusion of letters. In Connecticut, almost every man reeds a
paper every week. In the yeer 1785, I took some pains to ascertain the
number of papers printed weekly in Connecticut, and in the suthern
states. I found the number in Connecticut to be neerly eight thousand;
which waz equal to that published in the whole territory, south of
Pensylvania.[155] By meens of this general circulation of public papers,
the peeple are informed of all political affairs; and their
representativs are often prepared to deliberate on propositions, made to
the legislature.

    [155] During the late war, eight thousand newspapers were
    published weekly at one press in Hartford.

Another institution favorable to knowlege, iz the establishment of
parish libraries. Theze are procured by subscription, but they are
numerous, the expense not being considerable, and the desire of reeding
universal. One hundred volums of books, selected from the best writers
on ethics, divinity and history, and red by the principal inhabitants of
a town or village, wil hav an amazing influence in spreding knowlege,
correcting the morals and softening the manners of a nation. I am
acquainted with parishes, where almost every housholder haz red the
works of Addison, Sherlock, Atterbury, Watts, Young, and other similar
writings; and wil converse handsomely on the subjects of which they

Still further, the wisdom of the erly settlers in New England iz
remarkable in the division of their territorial jurisdictions into
townships, and incorporating them with certain powers of a subordinate
nature. Every town iz a corporate body, with power to appoint, at an
annual meeting, certain town magistrates, called _selectmen_, who hav
the charge of providing for the poor, superintending the town property,
dispozing of the monies &c. rendering an account to the town at the
annual meeting. The towns also appoint constables, _collectors of
taxes_,[156] surveyors of roads, tithing men, whoze business iz to
prezerve order on Sundays, inspectors of various denominations, &c. The
towns are obliged to bild and repair their own bridges, repair roads,
and defray the expense by a tax impozed by themselves. They also support
their own poor. This system of subordinate legislation haz the advantage
of saving the legislature much trubble, and the corporations can hardly
abuse powers, which are limited to their own territories; nor wil they
probably neglect their duty, az it iz for their interest and convenience
to perform it.

    [156] This iz an evil of great magnitude.

In the general organization of guvernment, the New England states differ
widely; thoze of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, being formed since the
revolution, are wel known; thoze of Connecticut and Rhode Island are
moddled upon the charters of Charles II, and have suffered but little
alteration, since their first establishment.

The New England colonies were originally guverned by a cheef magistrate
or guvernor, a deputy, and a certain number of assistants, all chosen by
the peeple. They were called the court of assistants, and for a
considerable time, exercized all powers, legislativ and judicial. The
clergy were uzually associated with them, and they seem to hav taken
cognizance likewise of ecclesiastical matters. The rulers of peeple in
small societies, in erly settlements, and in the simple state of nature,
uzually hav discretionary powers to act for the common good. This waz
the case with the ancient witena-gemote, and folk-motes or county
meetings in England; and with the first legislatures in theze colonies.

The towns soon began to send representativs to the court; but for
several yeers in Boston, they sat in the same house with the assistants;
in the same manner az the knights of shires, or representativs of the
inferior barons, sat in parliament with the lords on their first
introduction into the legislature. But az the towns multiplied, this
practice waz found inconvenient, and the deputies were separated from
the assistants. When this took place the assistants rezerved to
themselves the judiciary powers, which at first were lodged in the whole
assembly. In Connecticut, the assistants or upper house of assembly
retained theze powers in effect, till the late revolution; only for the
sake of convenience, five of their number were appointed by both houses,
to the immediate exercize of the office and to ride the circuit. Still
the assembly were a court of appeels in the last rezort, to all intents
and purposes; for on petition, any judgement or decree might be heerd
and reversed by the legislature. Since the revolution, a supreme court
of errors iz constituted, but on an exceptionable plan, and the
legislature continues to exercize supreme judicial power on petitions.
This iz a remnant of the old administration, which was once harmless, if
not necessary; but in a large community, may be considered az a faulty
part of the guvernment. The whole legislature likewise acts az a court
for the trial of public delinquents. This iz an evil of unbounded
magnitude. When charges are exhibited against any public officer, or any
objections made to hiz re-appointment, he iz admitted to a hearing,
council iz employed, the charges are red, witnesses examined, and the
delinquent makes hiz defence in person or by attorney. This mode of
impeachment and trial iz the worst that can be invented. It iz difficult
or impossible for a large popular assembly to be good judges; they
cannot perfectly understand a case; they are credulous; and their
compassion eezily moved. A pathetic harang, especially from the accused
himself, with teers in hiz eyes, and the misfortunes of hiz family
painted in discription, wil skreen from punishment any knave, however
numerous hiz crimes, or however convincing the proofs of hiz gilt. A
popular assembly should not sit in judgement upon delinquents, for the
same reezon that wimen would be improper judges, and for the same
reezons that the mother and wife of Coriolanus were the only persons who
could save Rome from his vengence.[157]

    [157] Uxor deinde ac liberi amplexi; fletusque ab omni turba
    mulierum ortus, et comploratio sui patriæque, _fregere tandem
    virum_.--Liv. lib ii. 40.

The constitution of Connecticut iz if possible, more defectiv in the
trezury or finance department. The trezurer iz annually appointed by the
freemen in the state at large. This makes him dependent on them. The
collectors are scattered in every part of the state; and if the trezurer
iz not agreeable to them, az he wil not be, if he iz rigorous in
enforcing collections, they can render him unpopular and throw him out
of office. This iz an evil; besides, the constables, who are collectors,
are appointed by the towns; if they are rigorous in their duty, they are
liable to looz their office; or what iz worse, they may set up az
candidates for the legislature, and by an influence arizing from their
power in exacting taxes with a greater or less degree of rigor, procure
an election to an employment for which they are wholly unqualified.
When a considerable number of collectors hav obtained seets in the
legislature, they are ever reddy to delay or suspend the collection of
taxes. This iz not the worst part of the system. The method of obtaining
the money in default of the collectors, iz tedious, expensiv,
ineffectual, and in short ridiculous. When a collector iz in arreer, a
distress issues from the trezury against hiz estate. Upon a return of
_non est_, or in case of the collector's insolvency, execution issues
against the selectmen of the town, whose estates are liable for the
arreerages of taxes. The selectmen then levy a tax upon the inhabitants
to indemnify themselves.

It would be endless to enumerate the evils arizing out of this mode of
collection. If the trezurer was appointed by the legislature, with power
to name his collectors and call them to account; and if collectors were
obliged to giv bonds with sufficient security to save the state from
loss, which security should be liable to distress immediately on failure
of the collector, the taxes would be collected with promptitude and a
great saving of expense.

It may be obzerved, that the faults of the constitution are ascribeable
to the ancient simplicity of the New England peeple, and the corruptions
of the administration hav grown out of the long tranquillity of the
state. While the peeple had perfect confidence in their rulers, they
were not disposed to disobey the laws; and while there were few
opportunities of corruptions, there might be no instance of
maladministration, so obvious or atrocious az to alarm enquiry, and
excite peeple to change laws and forms, to which they had been
familiarized. The inconveniencies resulting from a union of the
legislativ and judicial powers in the same hands, were not so great az
to be sensibly felt by the public; and habits of respect for men in
office, and submission to law, had rendered men credulous and
unsuspecting. To this day, it iz difficult to make the inhabitants
beleev that their rulers and magistrates can betray a public trust. Till
within two yeers, the guvernor, deputy guvernor, judges of the superior
court, or two justices of the peece, could draw upon the trezury of
Connecticut, without their accounts being examined by any controller or

Before the legislature could be persuaded to institute a controller's
office az a check upon the trezury, it waz necessary to exhibit to them
strong proofs of maladministration in that department; and the evils
arizing from the prezent mode of collecting taxes, must be obvious and
great, before they wil make any change in the system. Men are guverned
by habit. The first laws of a country take their complection from the
peculiar cast and circumstances of the peeple; and then the laws in turn
contribute to form the manners of succeeding generations. The state of
Connecticut iz an illustrious example of this truth. By its situation,
it can never be expozed to sudden changes by an influx of foreigners. It
haz no great capital, no general mart where all business centers; it haz
very little intercourse with Europe; and the communication by water
between New York and Rhode Island iz so direct, eezy and cheep, that for
nine months in the yeer, few peeple travel thro Connecticut. For theze
reezons, ancient manners and habits will be prezerved longer in this
state than in most of the others.

There iz one article in the constitution of this state that merits
notice and imitation, because it iz equally singular and excellent. It
iz the manner of electing the assistants or senators of their own
legislature, and the members of congress. Theze are elected by the
freemen at large in the whole state. The number of senators iz twelve,
and chosen annually in this manner. In September, the _freemen_ assemble
in the towns and vote for twenty persons, by ballot; the votes are all
returned to the legislature in October, and numbered; and the twenty
names that hav the most votes are said to stand in _nomination_, and are
published by order of assembly. The next April, the freemen assemble
again, and vote by ballot for _twelv_ of the _twenty_, and the _twelv_
persons who hav the most votes, are elected. Representatives in congress
are chozen in a similar manner. The great excellence of this mode of
choozing iz, it holds up to public view, six months before election,
the karacters who are candidates; peeple hav an opportunity of enquiring
into their merits, that they may select from the whole thoze who are the
leest exceptionable.

It iz also a singular advantage that one branch of the legislature
stands upon the suffrages of the whole. If a man's nabors take a dislike
to hiz public or private conduct, they wil, if possible, dismiss him
from office. This iz the great misfortune of small district elections,
for it often happens that a man's integrity and independence in public
mezures, are most likely to render him unpopular among hiz nabors; and
sometimes small domestic occurrences may turn the tide of favor against
him. But when a man iz elected by a large district, he iz not expozed to
this evil; and nothing short of a general opposition to popular mezures
will shake him from hiz elevation. Theze remarks hav been repeetedly
verified in Connecticut. The independence of the senate, owing mostly to
this article in the constitution, haz several times saved the state from
the most disgraceful acts.

The representativs are chozen twice a yeer, for there are two regular
sessions of the legislature. This iz an inconvenience, but not so great,
az it appears to our suthern nabors; for the freemen meet in towns,
which are but about six miles square; so that they can go from home,
make a choice, and return in three hours.

The regularity of theze meetings iz incredible to strangers, accustomed
to the tumultuous elections in England and the suthern states. No man
dare solicit for the votes of hiz nabors, nor ever offers himself a
candidate by advertizing. The freemen meet in some public bilding,
uzually a church, seet themselves, heer the law red respecting
elections, and proclamation iz made that they prepare their ballots for
the officer to be chozen. The constables then carry a hat to every
freeman and take the votes, which are counted by the civil authority,
and the choice declared in the meeting. Thus the representativs are
elected; but the ballots for guvernor, deputy guvernor, senators, and
delegates to congress, are seeled up, and sent to Hartford, where they
are numbered at the annual election in May. The choice iz conducted with
neerly the same sobriety az public worship on Sunday. How different the
elections in the suthern states, where I hav seen candidates march at
the hed of their adherents, armed with clubs, and force their way to the
place of election, and by violence thrusting away their rivals! It is a
misfortune in thoze states, that the freemen of a _whole county_
assemble at elections. This iz one principal cause, why the elections
are attended with tumults, riots, quarrels, bloody nozes, and in a few
instances, with deth. The laws of a republic should gard against all
large collections of peeple either for good or bad purposes: They are
always dangerous. Rome furnishes innumerable lessons on this subject;
and if the suthern legislatures attend to facts, they wil doubtless
divide their counties into small districts for the purpose of election,
and hav the choice completed in one day; that the candidates might not
be able to hed their frends in more places than one. It iz of infinit
consequence that the pernicious influence of elections should be

Religion in Connecticut haz the support of law. Contracts with clergymen
are valid in law, and every man iz compelled to pay hiz proportion of
taxes to pay the salary of the minister of the parish where he resides,
unless he produces du proof that he attends worship with some dissenting
congregation; in which case he iz excuzed. This iz considered by
strangers az a hardship: But it produces few inconveniencies in a state
where there are few dissenters from the common worship; and theze few
are exempted, if they attend _any_ religious worship. Every person iz
indulged in worshiping az he pleezes; and whatever modern liberality may
pretend, the regular preeching of the gospel, az a _civil_ institution,
iz az necessary and useful, az the establishment of skools or courts of
justice. Without any regard to compulsion over consciences, or any
reference to a future life, a legal provision for the moral instructors
of men, iz az beneficial in society, az any civil or literary
institution whatever; and a commonalty, who hav not the benefit of such
instruction, wil, I presume to assert, always be ignorant, and of ruf
uncivil manners. It iz an article of some constitutions in America, that
clergymen shal hold no civil office. This exclusion iz founded on just
az good reezons, az the old laws against witchcraft; a clergyman being
no more dangerous in a civil office, than a witch in civil society. It
iz said that the business of clergymen iz divine and spiritual, and that
they should hav no concern with politics. The objection iz equally good
against merchants, mechanics and farmers, who hav no immediate concern
with legislation. The truth iz, every citizen haz a concern in the laws
which guvern him; and a clergyman haz the same concern with civil laws,
az other men. There hav been bad clergymen and tyrannical hierarkies in
the world; but the error lies in separating the civil from the
ecclesiastical government. When separated they become rivals; when
united, they hav the same interest to pursu. A clergyman's business iz
to _inform_ hiz peeple, and to make them _good men_. This iz the way to
make them _good citizens_. The clergymen in Boston take the right method
to accomplish this business; they throw aside all _divine airs_ and
imperious grave superiority; they mingle in the most familiar manner,
with other peeple; they are social and facetious, and their parishoners
delight to hav them at all entertainments and concerts. This conduct
remoovs the awful distance between them and other descriptions of men;
they are not only esteemed and respected, but luved; their decent
deportment iz imitated; their churches are crowded, and their
instructions listened to with plezure. Such men are blessings to
society. That clergymen ought not to meddle with politics, iz so far
from truth, that they ought to be _well_ acquainted with the subject,
and _better_ than most classes of men, in proportion to their literary
attainments. Religion and policy ought ever to go hand in hand; not to
raize a system of despotism over the consciences, but to enlighten the
minds, soften the harts, correct the manners and restrain the vices of
men. If men are to be fitted for heaven, it _must_ be by theze meens;
there iz no other way. The separation of religion and policy, of church
and state, waz owing at first to the errors of a gloomy superstition,
which exalted the ministers of Christ into Deities; who, like other men,
under similar advantages, became tyrants. The way to check their
ambition, and to giv full efficacy to their administrations, iz to
consider them az _men_ and _citizens_, entitled to all the benefits of
guvernment, subject to law, and designed for _civil_ az wel az
_spiritual_ instructors.

The state of New York waz settled with views, widely different from
thoze which actuated the New England puritans. Some Dutch merchants
first established factories at Albany and on Manhattans, now York
Island, for the purpose of opening a fur trade. When the province came
into the possession of the English, several gentlemen of property took
up large tracts of lands, which, being regulated by the English laws of
descent, continued unbroken, til the late revolution. But many of the
proprietors of theze manors, espousing the royal cause in the late
contest, left their estates, which were of course confiscated and sold
by the state. This circumstance waz fatal to many large manors; and a
law of the state, enacted about the yeer 1781, which breaks the present
and bars all future entailments, wil in time divide the large estates
which remain unbroken. The Dutch possess the most fertile parts of the
old settlements; az Ulster and Claverak counties, part of Albany and
Kings county, on Long Island. They are honest and economical, but
indolent, and destitute of enterprize; so that the state wil be mostly
indetted to emigrants from New England, for its future population and

New York city iz the most favorable stand for a great commercial port on
the united states. Men may indulge themselves in rapsodies, about the
Potomack, the Ohio and the Missisippi; but no part of theze states,
eest of the Allegany, wil ever rival New York, and it iz doutful whether
the same conveniencies for business unite on any part of the Missisippi.
New York iz the center of the commerce of all the territory, between the
western boundary of Rhode Island and the middle of New Jersey, from the
Atlantic neerly to the borders of Canada; a district of two hundred
miles by two hundred and fifty. And the geography of the country tells
us, that no part of Atlantic America can claim the same extensiv
advantages. New York iz not eezily defended in time of war, and
therefore, without a navy, iz not a safe place for an arsenal; but West
Point, sixty miles abuv the city, on the Hudson, iz the most impregnable
fortress in America.

Before the revolution, the guvernment of New York waz under the
influence of the crown of Great Britain, the guvernor and council being
appointed by the king. It waz illiberal in the preference given to the
episcopal church; no other denomination of Christians being able to
obtain any corporate establishment. The same illiberal preference waz
discuverable in the institution and guvernment of the college, now
called Columbia college, in which dissenters of any description could
not hav a share. The revolution haz effected a change in theze
particulars. Dissenting churches, which are the most numerous in the
state, are or may be incorporated; and education begins to be encuraged
by the laws. A university iz established, with a power of superintending
and regulating skools throughout the state; but provision iz not made
for maintaining common skools in every quarter of the state. Ignorance
stil prevails among the yemanry; and this enables certain designing
karacters to exercise a pernicious influence in the guvernment.

The territory of New Jersey originally belonged to two, and afterwards
to many proprietors, who appointed the guvernors. But in the reign of
queen Ann, the guvernment waz resigned to the crown, and for a number of
yeers, the guvernor of New York waz also guvernor of the Jersies, altho
eech province had a distinct assembly. The heirs of the original
proprietors, or their purchasers, stil hold the soil. There are in this
state many large estates, but an entailment iz good only to the first
donee in tail; the estate, on hiz deth intestate, being divided equally
among hiz heirs. In general the laws of New Jersey are highly
republican; but they make no provision for a general diffusion of
knowlege. Many of the yemanry are extremely ignorant. The college at
Princeton iz a very valuable institution; but so little concern haz the
legislature for the interest of lerning, that the funds of that college
are taxed by law.

The present constitution of New Jersey iz liable to few exceptions; but
the state iz divided into two parties which often agitate the
guvernment. Az the cause and effects of the controversy which began and
stil continues theze parties, are little known to their nabors, I beg
leev here to offer a concise state of the facts from unquestionable

James, duke of York, in June 1664, conveyed New Jersey to John, lord
Berkeley, and Sir George Carteret, in fee. The bounds of the territory
granted were, the main see and Hudson's river on the eest, Delaware bay
or river on the west, Cape May on the south, and on the north _the
northernmost branch of Delaware bay, or river, which iz forty one
degrees and forty minutes of latitude, crossing over thence in strait
line to Hudson's river, in forty one degrees of latitude_.

Some intermediate conveyances of lord Berkeley's undivided half part
were made, but need not be here recited. On the first of July, 1676, waz
executed a quintipartite deed, between Sir George Carteret, and the
grantees of lord Berkely, by which the territory waz divided; Sir George
Carteret releesing all the western part to the grantees of Berkeley, and
the latter releesing the eestern part to Sir George. The line of
partition, which originated all the subsequent disputes, iz thus
described in the deed: "Extending eestward and northward along the see
coast and the said river, called Hudson's river, from the eest side of a
certain place or harbor, lying on the suthern part of the same tract of
land, and commonly called and known in a map of the same, by the name of
_Little Egg Harbor_, to that part of the said Hudson's river, which iz
in forty one degrees of latitude, being the furthermost part of said
tract of land and premises, which iz bounded by the said river, and
crossing over from thence in a strait line, extending from that part of
Hudson's river aforesaid, to the northernmost part or branch of the
before mentioned river, called Delaware river, and to the most northerly
point or boundary of the said tract of land and premises, granted by hiz
royal highness, James, duke of York, to lord Berkeley and Sir George

A difficulty aroze about the northern point of partition; the duke of
York's grant making the northernmost branch of Delaware bay or river to
be in _forty one degrees and forty minutes_ of latitude; and declaring a
line from this point to the latitude of _forty one_ on Hudson's river,
to be the northern boundary of New Jersey. Disputes aroze, and the
legislature of New Jersey, in 1719, passed an act, declaring that a
partition line between Eest and West Jersey, shall be run _from the most
northerly point or boundary of the province, on the northernmost branch
of Delaware river_, to the most sutherly point of Little Egg Harbor.
Commissioners were appointed for this purpose, and also for running the
line between New York and New Jersey. They met with commissioners from
New York, but could not agree, and left the business unfinished. In
1741, another attempt waz made by Mr. Alexander, surveyor general of
both divisions, but obnoxious to the West Jersey proprietors. He began
to run the line, but some errors he committed, or bad instruments,
prevented the completion of the business; he stopped half way. Disputes
ran high, and were attended with riots, till the yeers 1762 and 1764,
when by a law of New York and another of New Jersey, it waz agreed the
line between the provinces should be run by commissioners to be
appointed by the crown. To this agreement the proprietors of West
Jersey az well az Eest, were parties. The commissioners met, fixed the
two station points between New York and New Jersey, one at a rock on
Hudson's river, in forty one degrees of latitude, the other at the forks
of the Delaware, at the mouth of the river Makhakamak, in latitude 41°.
21'. 37". This point on Delaware iz _eighteen minutes twenty three
seconds_, to the suthward of the _northern boundary_ of New Jersey, az
described in the duke of York's grant to the first proprietors; which
waz, on the _northernmost branch of Delaware river, which iz forty one
degrees forty minutes_ of latitude.

Both parties appeeled to the crown, but without success. Acts were
afterwards passed, both by New York and New Jersey, confirming the line
between the provinces, and theze acts receeved the approbation of the
king in council. This waz an amicable settlement between the two
provinces; and it waz expected that the _northern limits of New Jersey_
and the _station points_ on both rivers, being fixed by law, nothing waz
necessary to quiet all parties, but to run the line from the north
station point on Delaware to Little Egg Harbor.

A correspondence for this purpose took place between the proprietors of
Eest and West Jersey; but before the matter waz completed the war
commenced. Since the war, the controversies hav been revived, and
divided the state into violent parties. It seems the proprietors of Eest
Jersey expected the _north station point on Delaware_ would hav been
fixed az high az _forty one degrees forty minutes_, the point described
by the original grant from the duke of York. This would hav carried the
limit of the state about eighteen miles further north on the Delaware
side. Now there iz a bend in the Delaware, at the forks, so that the
station point az now fixed, iz carried further eest than it would be,
had it been fixed in _forty one degrees forty minutes_; so the decision
of the commissioners waz in favor of the West Jersey proprietors. From
the forks, the river bends its course westerly of north, and from a
point eighteen miles north, a line to Little Egg Harbor, would leev an
angle containing several thousand akers of land, in Eest Jersey. This iz
a short state of the origin and progress of a controversy, which stil
agitates the state and disturbs the peece of their guvernment; the
jealousies between Eest and West Jersey being almost az great az between
the northern and suthern states, upon a question respecting the seet of
guvernment, or any other matter of little consequence to the union. The
contest however iz of magnitude to both parties in New Jersey, az the
lands in dispute hav been settled upon doutful titles; and altho an act
of the legislature may establish theze, yet the loozing party wil expect
a compensation.[158]

    [158] The foregoing facts are taken from Leaming and Spicer's
    Collection; a concise view of the controversy, &c. published
    in 1785; and from the acts of the legislature of New Jersey.

The commerce of New Jersey iz almost wholly carried on thro New York and
Philadelphia. Its situation, between two large commercial towns,
resembles that of Connecticut; but in one respect, the latter haz the
advantage, viz. that of a butiful navigable river, penetrating the state
and affording the best conveniences for a trade to the West Indies. The
legislature of New Jersey hav attempted to call home the trade of the
state, by holding out liberal encouragement for direct importations from
abroad, and making free ports. Perth Amboy affords a fine harbor, but it
iz difficult, perhaps impossible, to raize a rival in the naborhood of
New York. New Jersey and Connecticut wil find their interest in
encuraging manufactures.

Pensylvania waz settled by a religious sect, remarkable for their
sobriety, industry and pacific disposition. Mr. Penn, the first
proprietor of the province, waz a man of superior talents. The free
indulgence given to all religious denominations, invited settlers from
England, Germany and Ireland, and the population of the province, with
the consequential increese of the valu of lands, waz rapid beyond any
thing known in the other colonies. The province however waz harrassed
with disputes between the acting guvernors and the commons. The
proprietary, who waz the guvernor, usually rezided in England;
appointing a deputy with a council, to act for him in the province. The
proprietaries were often selfish, and made demands upon the peeple,
which their sense of liberty and right would not permit them to grant.
The quit-rents, paper currency, and some other matters, were constant
subjects of altercation, whenever the assembly convened.[159]

    [159] See Dr. Franklins Review of the guvernment of

The long and violent opposition to the influence of their proprietaries,
who were abroad, and often considered az hostile to popular privileges,
together with the beneficial effects of a paper currency, during the
infant state of the province, may be the reezons why the constitution of
Pensylvania, formed at the revolution, verged too much towards an
extreme of democracy;[160] and why the legislature of that state waz the
first to issue a paper currency, after the war. The old republican
patriots, who had resisted, with success, the encroachments of arbitrary
guvernors and kings, determined to frame a constitution, which should
prevent the interference of a guvernor and council in acts of
legislation; and men who had seen the _good_ effects of paper currency,
without its _evils_, would be the first to recommend it. It iz natural;
men are guverned by habit.

    [160] The powers of legislation by the late constitution,
    were designed to be vested in the peeple; but in fact were
    vested no where. The pretended legislature consisted of but
    one house; and no bill, except on pressing occasions, could
    be passed into a law, until it had been published for the
    assent of the peeple.

At the revolution in 1776, the representativs of the province, acting on
the principle that public good transcends all considerations of
individual right, assumed the reigns of government, formed a
constitution for the purpose, and divested the proprietaries of both
territory and jurisdiction. They gave them however, 130,000l. sterling
in lieu of all quit-rents, and rezerved to them considerable tracts of
land. The first constitution, like that of the Netherlands, waz framed
upon the ruins of oppression, and with a too jealous attention to
popular rights. It waz defectiv in the most material articles, and a few
yeers experience induced the peeple to adopt another form, more
analogous to thoze by which her sister states are guverned.

The laws of Pensylvania, respecting inheritances, hav not barred
entails; but az entails may be docked by the English finesse of common
recoveries; az the divisions of lands favor equality, az wel az the
genius of the peeple, there can be no apprehensions of an aristocratical
influence from large possessions of real estate. A single man may hold
real or personal estate to such an amount, az to hav an undu influence
in politics and commerce. When a man haz become so powerful that hiz
nabors are afraid to demand their rights of him in a legal way; or when
a town or city iz so far under hiz control, that the citizens are
generally afraid of offending him, he iz or may be a dangerous man in a
free state, and a _bad_ man in any state. A Clive and a Hastings are az
dangerous in a state, az an Arnold or a Shays, if they hav the same evil
propensities; for thoze who oppoze law, are generally punished; but
thoze who are abuv law, may do injustice with impunity.

The peeple in Pensylvania may be included under the three denominations
of _Frends_, _Germans_, and _Irish desendants_. The _Frends_ and
_Germans_ were the first settlers, and for the most part liv between the
Delaware and Susquehanna. Theze are peeceable and industrious peeple.
The Irish or their desendants, inhabit the western counties; they are
industrious, but not so wel informed in general, az the inhabitants of
some older counties, and at times hav been turbulent citizens. It waz
the misfortune of this, az of all the suthern states, that no provision
for public skools waz incorporated into the original fundamental laws.

Without such a provision, it iz not possible that a body of freemen
should hav the reeding necessary to form just notions of liberty and
law. This defect wil probably be supplied by the new constitution and
the future laws of the state. The number of colleges and academies
alreddy founded and endowed, proov the disposition of the legislature to
encurage science. The only difficulty iz to persuade an agricultural
peeple to settle in villages or clans, for the purpose of maintaining a
clergyman and skoolmaster; and thus to carry into effect the wise and
benevolent designs of their rulers.

Philadelphia iz a great commercial city; but it iz questioned whether
commerce wil giv it a future growth equal to that of New York. The
future population of the suthern part of New Jersey, and the peninsula
between the Chesapeek and the Atlantic, wil not add much to the trade of
Philadelphia. The naborhood of the city and most of the lands towards
Lancaster and Bethlehem, are alreddy wel settled. About seventy three
miles west of Philadelphia runs the Susquehanna; a river not indeed
navigable at the mouth, but with some portages, capable of opening a
communication by water from Wioming to the Chesapeek; and should canals
be opened to avoid the falls and rapids, the trade of the state, quite
to the bed of that river, wil center in Baltimore. At any rate Baltimore
and Alexandria wil command most of the trade west of the Susquehanna; so
that Philadelphia must depend mostly, for the increese of her business,
on the population northward, about the hed of the Deleware. The commerce
however wil always be considerable, and the spirit of the citizens in
establishing manufactures, promises a great extension of the city.

The state of Pensylvania waz, for many yeers, agitated by a territorial
controversy with Connecticut; the history of which iz breefly this.

King James I. in 1620, made a grant to a number of gentlemen, called the
_Plimouth Company_, of all the lands in North America, included between
the 40th and 48th degrees of latitude, _throughout all the main land
from see to see_; except such lands az were then settled by some
Christian prince or state. The only settlements at that time north of
Virginia, were at New York and Albany, on the Hudson.

In 1628, a number of gentlemen obtained from the company a grant of
lands, bounded on the north, by a line three miles north of Merrimak
river, and on the south, by a line three miles south of Charles river,
_throughout the main lands from the Atlantic on the eest, to the South
See, on the west_. This waz the first grant of Massachusetts.

In the yeer 1631, Robert, erl of Warwick, president of the Plimouth
company, granted to lord Say and Seal, and lord Brook, all that part of
New England, extending from Naraganset river, the space of forty leegs
on a strait line, neer the see coast, north and south in latitude and
bredth, and in length and longitude of and within all the aforesaid
bredth, _throughout all the main lands from the western Ocean to the
South See_. This grant waz confirmed by the charter of Charles II. dated
April 23, 1662, with a similar description of the territory.

In 1664, king Charles II. gave hiz brother a tract of land in America,
the description of which iz not wholly consistent or intelligible; but
one part of the grant interfered with the Connecticut patent, and
disputes aroze, which were amicably settled by commissioners in 1683;
the line between Connecticut and New York being fixed at Byram river,
about twenty miles eest of the Hudson.

In 1680, Sir William Penn obtained from the crown a tract of land,
extending from twelv miles north of New Castle, on the Delaware, to the
forty third degree of latitude, and from the Delaware westward five
degrees of longitude. This grant interfered with the patent of
Connecticut, provided the grant to the guvernor and company of
Connecticut should be extended west of New York, according to the words
of that and the other grants of New England. Mr. Penn took care to gain
a just title to hiz patent by bona fide purchases of the Indians, who
possessed the soil. But the question iz, whether he had a right of
pre-emption to lands before granted to other men; and whether the king's
grant to him could be valid, so far az it cuvered lands alredy conveyed
by the crown to a company, which had begun settlements upon the grant.

The Pensylvanians contended that, the geografy of this country being
little known in England, az all the maps and charts at that time were
imperfect and erroneous, it must hav been owing to an ignorance of the
distance from the Atlantic to the South See, that the grants were made
to run thro the continent: That Mr. Penn had acquired the best of titles
to the lands in dispute by fair purchase from the nativ proprietors: And
that Connecticut, by a settlement of her boundary with New York, had
fixed her western limits, and relinquished all claim to lands west of
New York.

While any part of Connecticut, eest of New York, remained unlocated, the
inhabitants suffered their claims westward to lie dormant. But about the
yeer 1750, the whole of this territory waz located, and the peeple began
to think of forming a settlement west of Delaware river. They however
knew that the lands were claimed by Pensylvania, and to remoov all douts
az to the validity of their own title, requested the opinions of the
most eminent council in England, upon their right by charter to the
lands in question. They receeved for answer, that the grant to the
Plimouth company, did extend to the westward of New York: That the
settlement of the boundary line between New York and Connecticut, did
not affect their claims to lands in other parts: And that, the charter
of Connecticut being of a prior date to that of Sir William Penn, there
waz no ground to contend, that the crown could make an effectual grant
to him of that country which had been so recently granted to others.
This answer waz so decisiv and cleer in favor of their claim, that they
proceeded to locate and settle the lands on the Susquehanna river,
within the latitude of the Connecticut charter. It seems however that a
few scattering settlements had been made within the same latitude, on
the opposit side of the river, under Pensylvania locations. The settlers
soon came to an open quarrel, and both states became interested in the
controversy. The dispute however subsided a few yeers during the war,
til finally both states submitted their claims to the _jurisdiction of
the territory_, to a federal court, which waz held at Trenton, in
November, 1782. The decision of this court waz in favor of Pensylvania,
and Connecticut acquiesced.

Dissatisfied with this decree, the settlers under Connecticut and
individual claimants, determined to maintain their _right to the soil_,
which they had possessed more than twenty five yeers; and to submit this
also to a federal court. No court however waz ever held for the purpose;
the claimants not finding any support from the guvernment of
Connecticut. The settlers, amounting to many hundreds, remained upon the
soil. Pensylvania, by a precipitancy arising out of an imperfect frame
of guvernment, resolved to take possession of the lands, and sent an
armed force for the purpose. This mezure waz rash, especially az the
principal settlers had taken the oath of allegiance to that state, and
were willing, if they could be quieted in their possessions, to becum
good and peeceable citizens. Tumults followed; the history of which
would be disagreeable to most reeders. At length, Pensylvania passed a
law to quiet thoze who were actual settlers before the decree at
Trenton, in the possession of their farms, amounting to about three
hundred akers eech. The territory waz erected into a county, by the name
of Luzerne, in honor of the French minister of that name. Colonel
Pickering waz appointed Prothonotary[161] of the county. This gentleman
haz suffered much in reconciling parties; but hiz integrity, zeel,
prudence, and indefatigable industry, bid fair to meet with merited
success in quieting disorders and establishing guvernment.

    [161] Clerk or register.

In this controversy, several questions arize. First, What right had the
crown of England to the lands in North America?

I answer, the _right of discuvery_. This right, however the law of
nations may hav considered it, does not in fact entitle a prince or
state to the soil, even of an uninhabited territory; much less, of
lands possessed by any of the human race. It entitles the discuvering
nation to a preference in forming settlements or occupying vacant lands.
And this right iz derived rather from the common convenience of nations,
or the necessity of some principle by which to prevent controversy, than
from any connection between _discuvery_ and a _title to property_.

Secondly, What right could the grantees derive from a royal grant of
lands in America?

I answer, merely a _right of pre-emption_, or a preference in purchasing
the lands of the proprietors, the nativ Indians.

Thirdly, The guvernor and company of Connecticut, by the prior date of
their charter, having the right of pre-emption to all the lands cuvered
by the charter, could Mr. Penn acquire a title to any of the same lands
by pre-emption?

On legal principles he certainly could not.

The only substantial ground of title which Pensylvania could hav to the
controverted lands, waz, that Connecticut, by neglecting to purchase of
the Indians, might forfit their right of pre-emption, and leev the
territory open to any purchaser whatever; so that Mr. Penn or hiz heirs
might acquire a good title by first purchase. Whether Mr. Penn actually
acquired such a title or not, I am not possessed of documents to decide.
That the first grant of New England actually extended to the Western or
Pacific Ocean, cannot be denied; and congress hav admitted the claim, by
accepting from Connecticut a cession of lands west of Pensylvania.
Connecticut however stil holds a tract of one hundred and twenty miles,
west of that state, which iz now for sale. The state of Massachusetts
haz a similar claim to lands west of New York state; and the line
between the two states haz lately been settled by commissioners. At any
rate, the controversy between Connecticut and Pensylvania waz finally
terminated by the decree of Trenton, and it iz to be wished no future
altercation may disturb the states or individual proprietors.

The small state of Delaware resembles Pensylvania in respect to its
history and guvernment.

Maryland waz settled by Roman Catholic emigrants, from England and
Ireland, under lord Baltimore. Large grants of land were carved out to
individuals, and slaves purchased from Africa to cultivate the soil.
Some of the largest estates in America lie in Maryland. The guvernment
waz formerly in the hands of the proprietary; but the peeple, at the
revolution, assumed it. Mr. Harford, the natural son of lord Baltimore,
inherited hiz property in Maryland; but being an absentee during the
war, hiz estates were confiscated, and on petition, the legislature
refuzed him even the arreerages of rent, du at the commencement of

    [162] See the proceedings of the legislature of Maryland in

The present constitution iz in general excellent; and particularly in
the establishment of an independent senate. In a popular state, nothing
contributes so much to stability and safety, az an independency and
firmness in one branch of the legislature. This state however, like its
nabors, iz remarkable for tumultuous elections; a malpractice that haz
existed from its first settlement; a practice which wil sooner or later
proov fatal to the attempts of merit in obtaining offices, and sap the
foundation of a free guvernment.

The body of the peeple are ignorant. I once saw a copy of instructions
given to a representativ by hiz constituents, with more than a hundred
names subscribed; three fifths of which were marked with a cross,
because the men could not write. Two or three colleges, and some
academies and private skools, constitute the principal meens of
instruction in this state, and most of theze are of a modern
establishment. A few large towns only giv good encuragement to skools
and the clergy.

Maryland continues to receev multitudes of emigrants from Europe, and
many of them are of the poorest class. From several months rezidence in
Maryland, I am inclined to beleev, there are more vagabonds in
Baltimore and the vicinity, than in all New England. But Maryland must
decide upon the public benefit derived from this unrestrained admission
of foreigners.

Virginia waz settled _eight_ yeers before New York, and _fourteen_
before New England. This circumstance haz given the state the quaint
appellation of the _ancient dominion_. The divisions of property are
large, and the lands cultivated by slaves. Entailments of land were
barred before the revolution; but real estate iz not liable for det upon
an execution. It appeers strange at first view, that men should exempt
their lands from this liability, and at the same time, suffer their
persons to be imprizoned for det: The singularity however iz eezily
accounted for, by their karacteristic attachment to _large estates_, or
rather to the _name_ of possessing them. When a man's consequence and
reputation depend principally on the quantity of land and number of
negroes _he iz said to possess_, he will not risk both for the sake of
hiz creditors. The passion for the _name of a planter_, absorbs all
other considerations. I waz once present at an entertainment, given by a
_yung planter_ in Virginia, who had _much land_ and _many slaves_. He
aroze at two o'clock next morning, pawned hiz knee buckles and some
other articles, gave hiz landlord a note for about sixty dollars, and
rode off without paying hiz hair-dresser. But he waz _said_ to be a man
of property. Many of the planters are indeed nominally rich; but their
dets are not paid. I waz told by wel informed planters, that some whole
counties in Virginia would hardly sel for the valu of the dets du from
the inhabitants. The Virginians, it iz tru, owe immense sums to British
merchants, and the difficulty of paying them might be a principal reezon
for suspending the collection by law, at the cloze of the war; but that
the real estates of a whole county would not discharge the dets of it,
iz not to be beleeved.

A large part of the peeple in Virginia hav not the meens of education.
The dispersed situation of the planters in the suthern states, renders
it impossible for all to hav access to skools. The university of
Williamsburg, and a few academies in large towns, constitute the
principal meens of education in Virginia; and the same remark iz
applicable to all the suthern states. But a small proportion of the
white children can reep any advantage from theze institutions. Since the
revolution, the legislatures of all the suthern states hav shown a
dispozition to giv liberal encuragement to the education of every rank
of citizens; but the local circumstances or habits of the peeple throw
innumerable obstacles in the way of executing their patriotic designs.
Gentlemen of property, reziding on their plantations at a distance from
a village, wil sometimes hire a private instructor in their families;
but theze instructors must be vagabonds, for the most part; az the
gentlemen wil not admit that a _skoolmaster_ can be a _gentleman_; in
consequence of which opinion, most or all teechers are excluded from
genteel company. While this iz the case, men of good breeding wil not be
found to teech their children. An exception must be made of _grammar
masters_, az they are called; for a man who can teech Latin, they
suppoze, may be a _decent_ man, and fit for gentlemen's company.

Religion fares worse in Virginia than education. Before the war, the
episcopal waz the established religion of the province, and the churches
were liberally endowed by law. A parish usually contained four churches,
in eech of which a clergyman officiated in rotation, one Sunday in a
month. But this greevous burthen waz remooved by the revolution, and
great numbers of parishes hav no officiating minister. A motion waz brot
forward in 1785, to make some legal provizion for supporting clergymen;
but the proposition waz suspended til the next session of the
legislature. In the meen time a pompous retorical memorial waz
circulated and subscribed, in oppozition to the mezure. The arguments
uzed against any ecclesiastical establishments were splendid, _liberal_
and efficacious; and at the following session, the legislature passed a
declaratory argumentativ resolv against giving religion any
establishment and protection.[163]

    [163] Virginia however iz not alone in this mezure. Rhode
    Island formerly took the same steps, and stil adheres to its

When men hav thrown off a restraint that iz disagreeable and
unreezonable, it iz to be expected that they wil run into the extreme of
licentiousness. Yet it iz one of the most difficult problems in the
history of theze states, that the liberal and eminently lerned men, who
conduct the guvernment of Virginia, (and many of their leeding karacters
are of this description) should not view the ministers of religion, in
America, az destitute of that odious and tremendous authority over human
consciences, which waz assumed under the papal hierarky. I can hardly
beleev a man of reeding and reflection to be serious, when he asserts
that legislatures hav no right to compel the subject to _contribute to
the support of clergymen_, because they hav no authority _over men's
consciences_. Neether clergymen nor human laws hav the leest authority
over the conscience; nor iz any such power implied in a law compelling
every citizen to contribute annually to the support of a clergyman. But
any sovereign authority may justly command the citizens to establish and
attend religious assemblies, az wel az to meet for the choice of
representativs, or send their children to a skool; powers which were
never questioned. A man iz not bound in conscience to beleev all the
instructions of hiz preceptor; nor are the citizens compellable to
beleev the opinions and decisions of a court of justice; but the
legislature haz a right to compel every citizen to pay hiz proportion of
taxes to maintain preceptors and judges. This iz precisely the fact with
respect to a legal support of clergymen.

No man iz bound in law or conscience to beleev all a preecher says; but
the whole question iz this; are clergymen, az moral instructors, a
beneficial order of men? Haz their ministration a good effect upon
society? If this should be admitted, there iz no more dout of the right
of a legislature to support such men by law, than there iz of their
right of instituting universities or courts of justice. That enormous
error which seems to be rivetted in popular opinion, _that the functions
of clergymen are of a spiritual and divine nature, and that this order
of men should hav no concern with secular affairs_, haz laid the
foundation of a separation of interest and influence between the civil
and ecclesiastical orders; haz produced a rivalship az fatal to the
peece of society az war and pestilence, and a prejudice against _all
orders_ of preechers, which bids fair to banish the "gospel of peece"
from some parts of our empire. The Kristian religion, in its purity, iz
the best institution on erth for softening the ferocious tempers, and
awakening the benevolent affections of men. To this religion, Europe and
America are indetted for half their civilization. There hav been
periods, when mankind hav suffered from ecclesiastical tyranny; but
information iz demolishing all systems of despotism, civil and
ecclesiastical. And when the clergy themselves leev all rangling about
speculativ points, which neether they nor philosophers understand, and
confine themselves to publishing and enforcing the benevolent precepts
of a gospel which breethes nothing but universal luv and peece to all
mankind, they wil remoov the prejudices against their order, they wil be
_really_ the messengers of peece, they wil conciliate affection, and
thus open the harts of men to receev impressions of virtue, they wil
make men good citizens here, without which they are never prepared to be
members of a heavenly society; and finally they wil establish a
_rational moral influence_ over an enlightened peeple, equally fatal to
the declamation of ranting fanatics, and the pernicious amusement of
gambling at inns and horse-races.

In the Carolinas and Georgia, we find the state of property, literature
and religion, resembling that in Virginia and Maryland. Charleston iz
remarkable for its hospitality and good order. But in the states south
of Pensylvania and Delaware, the divisions of property, the habits of
the peeple, and the dispersed local situation of the planters, are all
unfavorable to improovments of any kind. Men who liv remote from
society, surrounded only by slaves, acquire manners singular and often
disagreeably imperious, ruf and clownish. Urbanity iz acquired only in
societies of wel bred peeple. They cannot hav the benefit of skools and
churches, without which the body of a peeple _cannot_ be wel informed,
and _wil_ not acquire social and virtuous habits. This manner of
settlement therefore, tho it may be necessary and beneficial to
individuals, may be considered az highly inauspicious in a yung country,
whoze constitutions of guvernment are founded on the principle of
equality, and cannot flurish without mildness of manners and a general
diffusion of knowlege.

In the agricultural improovments of the united states, there iz a
remarkable difference, which must hav proceeded principally from the
slavery of the suthern. In Virginia and Maryland, I should question
whether a tenth of the land iz yet cultivated. In New England, more than
half the whole iz cultivated, and in Connecticut, scarcely a tenth
remains in a wild state. Yet Virginia haz been settled longer than New

I once heerd the _Prezident_ remark, "that from the northern to the
suthern states, the agricultural improovments are in an inverse
proportion to the number of slaves." This remark, like the actions of
that illustrious karacter, dezerves to be engraven on monuments of
marble. Slaves hav no motiv to labor; at leest, none but what iz common
to horses and cattle. They want the only stimulus that unites industry
with economy, viz. the prospect of a permanent advantage from their

It haz been obzerved in Europe, that land rented on long leeses, iz
better cultivated, than that which iz farmed on short leeses. A man who
holds lands in fee, will uze them to the best advantage, for he expects
hiz children wil enjoy the benefit. A man who haz lands on very long
leeses, haz neerly the same motivs to improov them. Tenants for life
wil make the most of lands for themselves; but wil probably leev them in
the most impoverished condition. Lessees for a yeer hav few motivs to
keep a farm in good repair; and slaves are the worst cultivaters on
erth, az they hav the leest interest in the fruits of their labor. One
yeman, who iz master of himself and hiz labors, and eets substantial
food, wil perform the work of four slaves.

This iz not the whole evil. Slaves not only produce _less_ than freemen,
but they waste _more_; every slave, az Dr. Franklin haz remarked in hiz
Miscellaneous wurks, being, from the nature of situation, a _theef_. In
addition to this, wherever slavery exists, a great proportion of
inhabitants are rendered indolent, and indolence iz followed by vices
and dissipation.

Suppoze twenty thousand men to do no productiv business; what an immense
difference wil this make in the cultivation of a state and in the annual
income. In New England every man does some kind of business: In the
suthern states, the proprietors of large plantations do little or no
business. The reezon why the planters make such a profit on the labor of
their slaves iz, that the subsistence of negroes iz not very expensiv.
The northern yemanry not only require more clothing than the suthern,
but they liv on expensiv food and drinks. Every man, even the poorest,
makes use of tee, sugar, spirits, and a multitude of articles, which are
not consumed by the laborers of any other country.[164]

    [164] The consumption of beef in New England iz the reezon
    why the exports of that article do not exceed thoze of
    Ireland. Most of the laboring peeple in New England eet meet
    twice a day, and az much az their appetites demand. Suppose
    eech person to eet but six ounces a day on an average, which
    iz a low estimate, and the inhabitants of New England consume
    more than _one hundred million_ pounds of meet, in a yeer. I
    do not know what proportion of this iz beef, but the greatest
    part iz beef and pork, worth _two pence_, and _two pence half
    penny_ a pound. By the best accounts from Ireland, it iz
    probable the inhabitants do not consume a _twentieth part_ of
    the meet, consumed in the northern states, in proportion to
    their numbers. But suppoze they consume a _tenth_; let the
    New England peeple reduce the consumption of meet in the same
    proportion, and they would save _ninety millions_ for
    exportation. This at two pence a pound makes the sum of _two
    million five hundred thousand dollars_, which iz a very
    handsome commercial income. Let the reduction proceed to all
    kinds of food and clothing; let our common peeple liv like
    the poor of Ireland in _all respects_, and they would save
    twice the sum. I would not recommend this to my countrymen; I
    wish them to enjoy good eeting and drinking. But I make theze
    estimates to show them that they never wil hav much _money_;
    for they eet and drink all they ern.

But however cheep may be the subsistence of slaves, while every thing iz
left to a mercenary unprincipled overseer and to lazy negroes, a state
wil never be wel cultivated. In autumn, 1785, a gentleman in Richmond
informed me he had just carried some manure upon a field _to make an
experiment for the first time_. This fact wil hardly be beleeved in the
northern states. In travelling thro Virginia, from Alexandria to
Williamsburg, and also to Petersburg, I saw not one mill dam, except
what consisted of mere sand, thrown across a streem. The idea of
constructing dams of timber and planks, laid so az to make an angle of
forty five or fifty degrees with the horizon, that it might gain
strength and stability in proportion to the pressure of the incumbent
water, seemed not, at that time, to hav prevailed in Virginia. In a
variety of particulars, the slow progress of invention in the suthern
states, waz equally remarkable.

Slavery iz an evil of the worst kind; this iz generally acknowledged.
But what remedy can be applied? To liberate the slaves at once would be
madness; it would ruin both masters and slaves. To liberate them
gradually, and suffer the freed men to liv with the whites, might giv
rise to discord and tumults. Colonization, by a gradual exportation, iz
an expedient that would be safe and effectual, but cannot be put in
execution. The probability iz, that, in the lapse of time, the blacks
wil all be blended with the whites; the mixed race wil acquire freedom,
and be the predominant part of the inhabitants. This event haz taken
place in Spanish America, between the nativs and Spaniards; and, to a
great degree, in some of the West India islands. The same event iz
rapidly taking place in the suthern states. A propozition waz once made
in the house of delegates, in Virginia, for granting the rights of
freemen to the free blacks; it waz not carried; but I do not see how any
state can deny theze rights to blacks that hav the legal qualifications
of property and residence. This privilege once granted, would facilitate
the intercourse between the whites and blacks, and hasten the abolition
of slavery.

In the climate of the united states, there are several particulars that
dezerv notice. In the first place, every circumstance in the local
position of Atlantic America, concurs to render the wether variable.
Theze states extend thro fifteen degrees of latitude, in the temperate
zone; consequently must always experience the extremes of winter and
summer. Every part of this territory experiences sudden changes of
wether; but the most numerous and violent changes, are between the 36th
and 43d degrees of latitude, on the Atlantic coast. Within this
district, the most frequent variations seem to be in Pensylvania and
Maryland. Four months in the winter season, the wether in Pensylvania,
Maryland and Virginia, resembles the March wether in New England; almost
every week exhibiting the varieties of cold, heet, frost, snow and rain.
For two months in the spring, and one in autumn, New England iz expozed
to eesterly winds and rain; except in theze months, the changes of
wether, tho sometimes sudden and violent, are not very frequent. The
eesterly winds, which uzually bring rain, ceese about the 20th of May.

The variations of wether in the united states, arizing from the latitude
of their situation, are multiplied by their position on the ocean. Water
in an ocean iz of a very uniform temperature; whereas land iz eezily
heeted and cooled. This circumstance creates an incessant contest
between heet and cold, on an extensiv see coast; and of course an
everlasting variableness of winds. This iz true in all countries.
According to this theory, Atlantic America must always hav a variable

The south eest winds from the ocean, falling upon the continent at right
angles with the shore, invariably produce rain; the opposit, or north
west winds, proceeding from the high lands in the back country,
invariably produce cold cleer wether. North eest winds, running parallel
with the shore, produce storms of snow in winter, and long cold storms
of rain in spring and autum. Our most violent gales blow from the north
eest. A south westerly wind sometimes brings rain, and when it first
blows in winter, iz chilly; but it soon moderates cold wether, and in
summer it iz the _gentle zepher_ of the poets.

In speeking of winds, it iz necessary to correct a vulgar error. It iz
commonly said, that north west winds contract their coldness from the
vast lakes in the north west regions of the united states. This iz an
unphilosophical opinion, for water always moderates the temperature of
the air; and it iz a wel known fact that the large lakes do not freeze
at all; so that if we were to feel the wind immediately after passing
over them, we should find it always temperate. The truth iz, our
westerly winds come from high mountains and high regions of the
atmosphere, which are always cool. The top of the blu ridge, or first
range of mountains in Virginia, iz about four thousand feet abuv its
base. The top of the Allegany or middle ridge, which iz the height of
land between the Atlantic and the Missisippi, tho not so far from its
base, must be much higher in the atmosphere. How far the base of the blu
ridge iz abuv the surface of the ocean, haz not been ascertained; but
suppoze it five thousand feet, and the top of the Allegany, two thousand
feet abuv the blu ridge, and the greatest elevation of land iz eleven
thousand feet abuv the waters of the Atlantic.

The air on the tops of theze mountains iz never heeted to the degree it
iz in the low countries. The cold regions of the atmosphere are much
neerer to such hights, than to a vast extended plain. Thus the tops of
mountains are often cuvered with snow, when the land at the feet of
them, iz fit for plowing. From the regions of air abuv theze mountains,
proceed the serene cold winds which sweep the Atlantic states, purifying
the atmosphere and bracing the bodies of animals.

I would just remark here, that the climate of the trans-alleganean
country, wil never be expozed to the frequent changes of air and violent
tempests which harrass the inhabitants of the Atlantic shore. The force
and disagreeable effects of eesterly winds from the ocean, are broken by
the mountains; and the northerly winds wil be tempered by passing over
the lakes; while the sutherly winds wil be az refreshing in summer az on
this eestern coast. Theze remarks are now verified by facts; altho by
being cleered from forests, the country wil become more expozed to
variations of wind.

In the second place, it iz obzervable that the climate of America grows
more variable, in proportion to the cultivation of the land. Every
person obzerves this effect of cleering the lands in the eestern and
middle states. The heet in summer, and the cold in winter, are not so
steddy az formerly, being interrupted by cool rains in summer, and
moderate wether in winter. Our springs and autums are longer, the former
extending into summer, and the latter into winter. The cause of this
change iz obvious: By levelling the forests, we lay open the erth to the
sun, and it becumes more impressible with heet and cold. This
circumstance must multiply changes of wether. The cultivation necessary
to produce this effect, haz proceeded about one hundred miles from the
Atlantic, or perhaps a little farther. But in Vermont and other back
settlements, the wether iz yet steddy; there being few violent storms,
especially in winter. The snow falls gently, and lies til spring;
whereas neer the Atlantic, moderate wether for three or four days, or a
warm rain, often sweeps away the snow in January or February.

But altho the wether iz growing more variable from the cleering of
lands, yet the salutary effects of cultivation are vizible in the
increesing salubrity of the climate. The agu and fever iz a disorder
that infests most new settlements. Cultivation wil totally remoov the
causes of this disorder, from every tract of country, which iz capable
of being drained. Forty yeers ago, this diseese prevailed in the state
of Connecticut, in the same manner it now does in Maryland. But for
twenty or thirty yeers past, it haz hardly been heerd of in the state.
There are a few places expozed to the effluvia of marshy grounds, where
the disorder stil infests the inhabitants.

Some parts of the suthern states can never be drained; the land iz so
low that the freshes in the rivers, or the tides, are almost constantly
cuvering it with water. Vegetable putrefaction may be considered az
furnishing the miasmata in any country; and the greatest quantities of
putrid effluvia are exhaled from lands constantly expozed to a flux and
reflux of water.

But all countries, except the very mountanous, when first cleered, are
infested with intermittants. Peeple on the fronteers of New York and
Vermont, are trubbled with it, especially in low flat tracts of land.
The surface of a wilderness iz cuvered with leevs and rotten wood; at
the same time, it iz moist, the rays of the sun being excluded by the
trees. Therefore when peeple first settle in a wilderness, they are not
immediately attacked with intermittents. They must lay open the surface
of the erth to the action of heet and wind; the noxious effluvia then
begin to rize, and wil infect the air, til the whole surface of the erth
iz dry and sweetened by the heet of the sun. The amazing difference in
the state of a cultivated and uncultivated surface of erth, iz
demonstrated by the number of small streems of water, which are dried up
by cleering away forests. The quantity of water, falling upon the
surface, may be the same; but when land iz cuvered with trees and leevs,
it retains the water; when it iz cleered, the water runs off suddenly
into the large streems. It iz for this reezon that freshes in rivers
hav becume larger, more frequent, sudden and destructiv, than they were
formerly. This fact should be attended to by the settlers in a new
country, that they may gard against sudden and extraordinary freshes in
the erection of mills and bridges.

It iz vulgarly suppozed that the wether in summer iz hotter in the
suthern states than in the northern. This opinion iz not accurate. The
truth iz, at particular times, the northern states experience a greater
degree of heet than iz ever known in the suthern. In the summer munths,
the mercury in Farenheit often rizes, in the middle of the day, much
higher at Boston, than at Charleston, in South Carolina. Thus in July,
1789, the mercury roze to 90° or upwards no less than six days, and once
to 93°, in the vicinity of Boston; whereas at Charleston, it roze but
once to 88° during the same munth, and but four days to 87°. Besides the
meteorological obzervations I hav, were made at Boston, at _one_
o'clock, P. M. and in Charleston, at _two_ o'clock, when the heet iz
usually the greatest. In August, the same yeer, the mercury roze at
Boston[165] four days to 90, and once to 95°; but in Charleston, it roze
but once to 89°. The remark then ought not to be, that the heet at the
suthward iz _greater_; but that it _continus longer_; that iz, the
aggregate quantity of heet in the suthern latitudes, exceeds that in the
northern. I hav taken some pains to ascertain the difference, and
omitting decimals, here giv the result of my enquiries.

    [165] I say Boston, but I beleev the observations to be made
    at Cambridge.

The meen degree of heet for the whole munth of July, 1789, in
Charleston, South Carolina, by Farenheit's thermometer, waz az follows:

  At  6 o'clock, A. M. 74° }
  At  2 o'clock, P. M. 83  } Total meen of the
  At 10 o'clock, P. M. 77  } month 78.

For _AUGUST, 1789_.

  At  6 o'clock, A. M. 75  }
  At  2 o'clock, P. M. 83  } Total meen 77 neerly.
  At 10 o'clock, P. M. 72  }

The meen degree of heet, at Spring-Mill, a few miles from Philadelphia,
for _July_, waz 74.

The meen degree of heet, at Boston, for July, waz

  At  7 o'clock, A. M. 67 }
  At  1 o'clock, P. M. 80 } Total meen 71° neerly.
  At  9 o'clock, P. M. 67 }


  At  7 o'clock, A. M. 62 }
  At  1 o'clock, P. M. 77 } Total meen 68 neerly.
  At  9 o'clock, P. M. 66 }

Theze facts, tho they cannot be the foundation of exact calculations,
because the observations were not made at the same hour of the day, and
perhaps the thermometers were not exactly alike or in the same situation
az to heet, the facts I say may stil establish the following conclusion:

That tho the middle of the days in summer may be az warm and even warmer
in New England, than in Carolina, yet the nights are much cooler.

In July, the meen temperature at Boston, at seven o'clock in the
morning, waz seven degrees less than at Charleston at six o'clock. At
one o'clock, P. M. the meen heet at Boston waz within three degrees of
the heet in Charleston at two o'clock. At ten o'clock at night, the meen
heet at Charleston, waz ten degrees abuv that at Boston at nine o'clock.
The meen temperature for the whole month in Charleston, exceeded that in
Boston, seven degrees. Similar remarks may be made of the munth of

Meen heet at Charleston, for January, 1789.

  At  7 o'clock, A. M. 50 }
  At  2          P. M. 55 } Total meen 52-1/3.
  At 10          P. M. 52 }

At Boston, for the same munth.

  At  7 o'clock, A. M. 21 }
  At  1          P. M. 29 } Total meen 25 neerly.
  At  9          P. M. 24 }

Meen heet at Philadelphia, for January, 1789, 30°.

Here we may remark, that altho the meen heet of New England, in the
summer munths, approaches within seven, eight, or nine degrees of that
in Charleston, yet in winter, it iz less than _half_ the heet at
Charleston; the meen degree in Boston being twenty five, and in
Charleston, fifty two.

The meen temperature in Charleston, for March, 1789, waz about sixty
one; and in Boston, for the same munth, a little less than thirty five,
which iz more than half. In Pensylvania, the same munth, the meen waz

So far az I am able to calculate on obzervations in my possession, I
find the aggregate quantity of heet in South Carolina, for a whole yeer,
iz to that in New England, az twenty to eleven; yet there are several
days almost every yeer, when the mercury in New England rizes higher at
noon than it ever does in Carolina at any time. This may be ascribed to
the superior length of the days in the northern latitudes.

The heet of the suthern latitude iz suppozed to produce fevers and other
fatal disorders which prevail in the Carolinas and Georgia. But heet iz
not very often pernicious, unless when operating upon a low, wet, marshy
surface of earth. All hilly countries are helthy; and the air of the
mountanous parts of Carolina, two or three hundred miles from the see,
iz in general salubrious. But the marsh-effluvia iz not the only cause
of diseese; bad water iz a cause that should be mentioned, and this
abounds in a flat country; whereas the water on hills and mountains iz
generally pure. In a great number of towns to the suthward of the
Delaware, and in some to the northward, the want of good water iz a
capital inconvenience.

On the whole, the climate of America iz az salubrious, az that of any
country in the same state of cultivation. The European naturalists,
with more spleen than knowlege, hav condemned the climate of America, az
unfavorable to animal growth and perfection; but if their ideas are
founded on facts, the facts must be taken from the naborhood of an
Indigo plantation. America, like all new countries, haz been expozed to
certain annual epidemic disorders; but wherever the surface of the erth
haz been, for a few yeers, cultivated, theze disorders hav ceesed to
rage. I am confident that Connecticut, the most cultivated state in the
union, iz now az helthy az the south of France. I am confident that the
inhabitants enjoy az general helth, and liv az long. Az to size, no part
of the world can boast of larger and more robust men than the northern
states. If I mistake not, the English estimate the meen hight of their
men to be _five feet, seven inches_; but I am confident the average
hight of the men in New England, iz not less than _five feet nine, or
ten inches_.

I could wish to ascertain the difference in the weight of the atmosphere
at Boston and Charleston; but hav no obzervations on the barometer from
the latter place. The difference between the weight at Boston and
Philadelphia, upon an average of thirty days, appeers to be very
trifling, altho at any given day or hour, it may be considerable.

There are some curious facts respecting the coast of North America,
which dezerve notis.

The Missisippi iz a river of great length, running from the high
northern latitudes, in neerly a south direction. It iz deep and rapid.
It resembles the Nile in Africa, particularly in making land where it iz
discharged into the ocean. By the most accurate obzervations of Mr.
Huchins and others, the distance from the Balize to New Orleans, iz
something more than two hundred miles, the whole of which iz land formed
by the discharge of the river. The Nile, in the time of Herodotus, had
formed considerable ilands, which were then inhabited. Theze ilands stil
exist, between the several channels by which that river iz discharged.
It iz probable, that by an accurate calculation of the desent of the
waters of the Missisippi, in certain places, taking into account the
most rapid and most moderate flow, and ascertaining the distance of the
mouth from the most northerly sources, we might find, to a tolerable
degree of accuracy, the elevation of the land at the sources of that
river, abuv the level of the ocean.

Perhaps it wil be found that the mountains and lands at the north west,
are much higher in America than in the north of Europe. Iz not this
probable from the hight of the Allegany, and the rapidity of the river
Missisippi? And would not the fact, if prooved, in conjunction with
other causes, which are wel known, fully account for the superior degree
of cold in America under the same parallels? It iz wel known that there
are no considerable mountains to the north eest of Great Britain, thro
Denmark, Sweden and Russia.

On the Atlantic shore of America, the Gulf Streem iz a curious
phenomenon. It iz however wel accounted for, on the suppozition that the
trade winds drive the waters of the ocean westward into the spacious
gulf of Mexico, where meeting the continent, they are forced between the
Bahama ilans and the coast of Florida, and take their direction along
the shore of the united states. Such an immense body of waters, flowing
at the rate of three miles an hour, must produce innumerable currents
neer the shore; for every point of land wil occasion an eddy, which wil
be in proportion to the extent of the point or cape from main coast.
Hence the variety of currents, in all directions, between the streem and
the American coast, which are obzerved by our seemen.

Theze currents and eddies, at the same time _produce_ and _add to_, the
points of land shooting into the ocean. The cape of Florida iz probably
produced between a vast eddy of waters in the Mexican gulf, and the
streem which flows between the shore and Bahamas. For theory indicates
that the principal body of water, carried along the Spanish main, or
between that and the West India ilans, must be forced to bend its course
on the Mexican shore, and by the coast of West Florida, be thrown into a
circular motion, so az to form a vast eddy to the suthward and westward
of Eest Florida. Where this iz met by the streem, a point of land must
necessarily be formed.

It iz not improbable that Cape Roman, Cape Fear, Cape Hatteras, and Cape
Cod, may be formed by similar currents, within the main Gulf Streem. A
considerable extent of land on the coast of Carolina and Georgia,
appeers to be made by the washing down of sand from the high country,
and the washing up of sand by the Atlantic, whoze surges almost
incessantly beet the shore. But this alone wil not account for the
extension of points of sand, ten, fifteen or twenty leegs into the

It iz a fact that capes and promontories are more frequently harrassed
with tempests, lightning and thunder, than other parts of the shore or
continent. This haz been remarked of New York and Cape Hatteras. Can a
philosophical reezon be assigned for this phenomenon? Perhaps there may
be some attractiv power in land thus situated; and perhaps tempests are
generated by the agitation of the air, produced by a flux and reflux of
water, or a variety of opposit currents. A storm hangs over Cape
Hatteras, every day, for a considerable part of the yeer. I hav been
witness to the fact, for a number of days in succession. This
circumstance increeses the terror of navigating that coast; otherwize so
formidable to seemen for shoals and breakers.[166]

    [166] I once passed the cape at _five_ or _six leegs_ from
    the breakers, and found but seven fathoms of water.

In examining the harbors of North America, we find most of them prezent
a channel or entrance neerly at right angles with the shore. The
entrance into most of them iz between the points of west and north. The
entrance into Newport, iz the safest in America, and this iz almost the
only harbor in the united states which can be made with a northwesterly
wind. This circumstance iz highly favorable to ships coming upon the
coast in winter. This harbor iz capacious enough to admit all the navees
in Europe, and, if defensible, may be the proper Portsmouth of America.


_The following iz part of an "Essay on the Dets of the United States,"
written in 1787, but never before published. The question haz been ably
discussed in Congress, and the proposition for a discrimination between
original and purchasing holders of certificates, which I had started,
without the prospect of support, haz been maintained by very powerful
arguments in our federal legislature. Az the question now appeers to my
mind, I should vote against the proposition, yet merely on the ground
that from the manner in which the certificates were issued, it iz
impossible to discriminate, without multiplying the instances of
hardship and injustice. But I hav no more dout, that legislatures hav a
right to interfere, in certain extreme cases, and suspend or counteract
the operation of legal principles, than I hav of any reveeled truth or
intuitiv proposition; and were it possible to ascertain the original
holders of certificates, I conceev our legislators could not hav
neglected a provision for their losses, without violating their oaths,
the constitution and public faith. The following extract iz published,
because I am desirous my opinion on this subject should be known and


_On a_ DISCRIMINATION _between the_ ORIGINAL HOLDERS _and the_

OBJECTION 1. It iz said that _public faith_ requires the payment of the
certificates, according to contract; that iz, to the bearers. Let me ask
the men who contend for promise, what they meen by _public faith_? Did
the public ever promise to do rong? The money waz du to men who erned
it; the money waz not paid. The full valu expressed on the certificates
waz du, and the certificates were worth but a fourth, or perhaps an
eighth part of that valu. The public promised the creditors their full
demands; but theze promises, at the time of issuing the certificates,
were actually worth but a small part of that demand. Ought the creditors
to be dismissed with this part of their money, and then compelled to pay
the full valu of the certificates to their nabors, who purchased them at
their current price? If this iz right, my ideas of justice are _rong_.
Public faith iz suppozed to be founded on justice. The public engaged to
do justice to its creditors; but this justice _haz_ not been done; and
it appeers to me az plain az the shining of the sun, that if the
certificates should be paid to the bearers, justice _wil_ not be done.
The creditors at the time of contract, expected to receev gold and
silver, or something equivalent; they hav receeved neether the one nor
the other. They receeved articles which were worth but a fourth part of
their demands; for the remainder of their money, the public iz stil
their detor. Public faith therefore requires, that the full valu of the
alienated certificates should not be paid to the bearer. It appeers to
me that the principles of equity, rather than of law, should decide this
important question. It iz the design of the contract, not the words,
which should be pursued; for it must be remembered, that the design of
the public haz been counteracted. The intention of the public, expressed
on the certificates, haz been defeated by the public exigences; and to
pursue the words of the engagement, wil now produce an effect which waz
not designed, viz. _extensiv injustice_.

In this situation the public haz an undouted right to call in the
evidences of the det, and form a system that shall be effectual in the
distribution of justice. If the public suppoze that any arrangement for
this purpoze can be made, they certainly hav a right to attempt it; for
the object of the attempt would be public justice. The sticklers for
paying the det to the present holders, hav the same object in view,
_national faith_; but their ideas of this faith, seem to be derived from
the practice of other nations, the situation of whoze dets bears very
little analogy to that of ours. They therefore advance an argument
against their own cauze; for the faith of the public iz prezerved by
fulfilling _the intention_, rather than the _words_, of the contract.

Every dollar of old continental currency, promises a Spanish milled
dollar. This promise waz founded on the supposition that the valu would
be neerly the same, or waz designed to prezerve the valu. But the
depreciation of that currency, by the enormous sums in circulation,
rendered the fulfilment of the promise impracticable; and had it been
attempted, it would hav thrown the united states into confusion. The
redemption of the bills, at their nominal valu, would hav done justice
to a few, whoze money had depreciated in their hands, but would hav
ruined fifty times the number. Thoze who lost their property by
continental bills, ought to be indemnified, if the persons and sums lost
could be ascertained; but this iz impossible. The case of the
certificates iz different. Theze are promissory notes, expressing the
sums du, and the persons names to whom they were given. If in some
instances the purchasers hav returned alienated certificates to the
office, and taken out new ones in their own names, stil the public books
may remedy this inconvenience.

2. But it iz said the creditors of the public parted with their
certificates voluntarily. It waz at their own option, whether to keep
them or not; and if they choze to alienate them at a discount, the
public iz not responsible for the loss. _A_ owes _B_ 100l. he cannot
make immediate payment, but haz property to secure _B_, who takes a
promissory note. _B_ wants the money, and rather than wait for _A_'s
ability to pay it, he assigns the note to _C_ for 50l. In this case, _A_
cannot refuse to pay the full sum of 100l. because _C_ gave but fifty
for the note. This reezoning iz applied to the case of the public det;
and yet a skool boy ought to be ashamed of the application. The case iz
not parrallel, and the reezoning iz defectiv and inapplicable in every

In the first case, it iz not tru that the alienation of the certificates
waz a voluntary act; but in most cases, waz an act of necessity. Most of
the original creditors were ether _rich_ men who loaned money, or poor
men who did personal service. In many instances, thoze who loaned money,
loaned all their estates; and when they found no provizion made for
paying the interest, or when the interest waz paid in paper of less valu
than specie, they were left destitute of the meens of subsistence. Some
of theze hav been obliged to part with their certificates at a great
loss. But a large number of creditors were poor peeple, who had little
or no property, but their certificates, who had performed service, and
were under a necessity of negociating them on az good terms az they
could. Most of the alienations hav therefore been a necessary
consequence of public delinquency. Many of the creditors hav experienced
a degree of distress, which, in a court of chancery, would entitle them
to a consideration and redress. When a number of losses iz so great az
to effect the public, the legislature then becumes a court of equity,
where the sufferers must seek reparation. The legal principle must be
suspended, and special provision made for this particular case. Thoze
creditors who were able to keep their certificates, hav generally done
it, and on every principle are entitled to the full nominal valu.

In the second place, the case of an individual assignee of a bond wil
not apply; for _B_, in the suppozition, takes the bond voluntarily. _A_,
the dettor, haz property, and it iz optional with _B_, whether to bring
a suit for the money, recover a judgement, and take _A's_ property, or
take a bond on interest. This iz generally the case with individuals,
but not with the public creditors. Theze hav no alternativ; they must
take promises, which the subject cannot compel the public to fulfil,
when the money iz wanted. In another particular, the two cases are
widely different. _A_, _B_, and _C_, are three distinct persons. _A_ iz
the dettor, and it iz indifferent whether he pays the det to _B_ or _C_.
But when _B_ haz sold the note for half the valu, he cannot be called
upon for the money, nor for any part of it. In the other case, the
creditors and the public are, in some mezure, the same person. The same
persons who looze their property by public delinquency, are afterwards
taxed to pay their proportion to the purchasers. But I wil for a moment
suppoze the two cases exactly similar; for I am willing to giv my
antagonists the fairest field of argument; and what conclusion can be
drawn in favor of paying the certificates to the bearers? Can that
reezoning be just which draws general consequences from particular
propozitions? Such bad logic ought not to impeech a man's heart; but it
can do very little honor to hiz head.

Do men, who reezon in this manner, consider that a principle with
respect to individuals, may be perfectly _just_, and yet pursued to a
certain degree, it may become entirely false? That the same principle
which may be good in a certain degree, may, in the extreme becume
criminal, iz tru not only in politics, but in the natural and moral
systems. Heet and water, prouduce vegetables; but too large portions of
either, destroy plants. Every passion, natural to man, iz good in
itself, and the wurk of a perfectly wise being; but any passion indulged
to a certain degree, becumes criminal and destructiv to social
happiness. Self-love, the spring of all action, and in the tru sense of
the word, the most necessary principle in creation, when it becumes
excessiv, iz az criminal and pernicious, az the most malignant passion.
Eeting and sleeping are essential to helth; but beyond a certain degree,
they are hurtful, and may be fatal to the human body.

In politices, the greatest possible good iz the end of guvernment. Any
principle, which may be tru, in particular instances, but which, when
extended to the public, does not produce the greatest good to society,
iz certainly false in legislation. A law which may be good and necessary
in a community, may stil bear hard upon individuals. This iz generally
tru of all laws. If a man takes a note of another, and sells it for half
its valu, he haz no remedy in law, nor ought the law to make provision
for hiz case; for laws are, in their nature and use, general; they do
not desend to particular cases. The reezon iz obvious. Were laws to
notice every inconvenience, which may flow from their operation, they
would produce confusion rather than order, and occasion greater injuries
to the public, than would result from the losses of individuals. But
when such particular losses becume general, the principle loozes its
force. Sufferings, multiplied to a certain number, becume public, and
then require the interference of the legislature. If a man iz in det,
and cannot pay, he iz at the disposal of the law; the law cannot be
suspended nor relaxed for hiz particular benefit. But when the body of a
peeple becume involved, the public safety requires a suspension or
relaxation of law. If an individual settles upon land of another man, he
iz considered az a trespasser, and iz liable to an ejectment. But let
thirty thousand men settle thus upon land that iz not their own, and a
wize legislature wil confirm them in their possessions. Necessity or
general good, in such cases, suspends the operation of legal right, or
rather changes _private rongs_ into _public right_. Or to express the
idea differently; when evils are increesed and extended to a certain
degree, it iz better to let them remain, than to risk the application of
a violent remedy. Instances of this kind occur so frequently, that it iz
needless to multiply examples. Nothing betrays greater weekness, than
the reezoning of peeple, who say, if a principle iz just, it extends to
all cases. I should however be very unhappy to hav such men for my
legislators. It may be asked, where iz the line of distinction? I
answer, it may be impossible to determin. Where the _right_ ends, and
the _rong_ begins; where the legal principle should ceese to operate,
and special legislativ interference becumes necessary, it may be
difficult to discuver; but the extreme iz always obvious. Whenever the
operation of a receeved maxim or principle givs general uneasiness, it
iz a demonstrativ proof that it iz rong: that it produces public evil;
and a wize legislator wil restrain the operation, or establish a
different principle: On the suppozition therefore that the present
holders of the public det, are precisely in the situation of the
assignees of bonds, stil the principle wil not apply nor warrant the
same conclusion in both cases; becauze we cannot reezon from particulars
to generals, especially on political subjects.

Suppoze the original creditors to be five, and the present holders two;
more than half the number of creditors hav lost the money which waz due
to them; the loss affects them in the first instance, and the hevy taxes
which are necessary to appreciate the certificates in other hands,
double their injuries and complaints. Theze loozing creditors hav an
idea that they are really cheeted, and their murmurs foment that popular
jealousy which iz ever bizzy to check large and sudden revolutions of
property. The certificates fall into the hands of rich men, at a great
discount, and the body of the peeple say, "we wil not suffer our own
losses to enrich our welthy nabors."

This outcry, it iz said, proceeds from a levelling principle, which aims
to destroy all distinction of rank and property. But in the present
case, the popular complaints proceed from equitable principles; nor do I
know of any instance of public jelousy, excited by an acquizition of
property in the course of honest industry. Fortunes may be suddenly
raized in private business, by commercial speculations, and no notice
taken of the event; but when public delinquency haz thrown numberless
advantages into the hands of a particular class of men, which the peeple
know are made at their own expense, it iz impossible that they should
behold such a change of property, without questioning the propriety of
it, and the justness of the principle by which it iz defended. When the
common sense of mankind iz oppozed to such a change, it ought to be
considered az a good proof that it iz not just.

Whatever conclusions therefore may be drawn from a principle,
established in _courts_ of _law_, or among nations in different
circumstances, the public sense of justice must, after all, decide the
question. A lawyer may wurk himself up to convictions, in wire-drawing
principles; but hiz reezoning iz oppozed to the sense of mankind. Peeple
may not be able to _discuver_ the fallacy of the reezoning, but they can
_feel_ it. They may be _silenced_, but cannot be _convinced_.

One grain of common sense iz worth a thousand cobweb theories; and
however peeple may be abuzed for refining upon justice, we rarely find
them generally dispozed to do rong.

The domestic det of America furnishes a new era in the history of
finance. We hav no examples to follow; we must pursu some practicable
system, with our eyes invariably fixed on public justice. I know it iz
said that the original creditors can purchase certificates now, at the
same or a less price than they took for them. But this iz not strictly
tru. Individuals might purchase at a low rate; but a general demand for
them would raize their valu much abuv their current valu at any past
period: For it should be considered that hitherto the sellers hav been
numerous, and the purchasers, few; that iz, a full market, with little
demand for the articles. Reverse the case. Let the sellers becume the
purchasers; the demand would at once raize the valu of the certificates
neerly to the face of them.

But if the certificates were to pass at their present low valu, few of
thoze who hav alienated them, could re-purchase; for the same necessity
which obliged them to sell at a loss, now prevents their repurchasing.
Peeple hav not grown rich since the revolution; especially thoze who
were faithful in the service of their country. At any rate it iz to be
wished that the certificates might ceese to circulate az objects of
speculation. They are a Pandora's box to this country.

Almost the whole activ specie of the country iz employed in speculation.
Laws prohibiting usury, restrain the loan of money, while the certain
profits of speculation amount to five or ten times the legal interest.
No money can be borrowed; no capitals can be raized to encurage
agriculture and manufactures: Lucrativ industry iz checked; land iz sunk
to two thirds of its real valu, and multitudes of industrious peeple are
embarrassed. From such evils, good Lord deliver us.


                         HARTFORD, JANUARY, 1790.


At a time of life when the passions are lively and strong, when the
reezoning powers scarcely begin to be exercised, and the judgement iz
not yet ripened by experience and obzervation, it iz of infinit
consequence that yung persons should avail themselves of the advice of
their frends. It iz tru that the maxims of old age are sometimes too
rigorous to be relished by the yung; but in general they are to be
valued az the lessons of infallible experience, and ought to be the
guides of youth. The opinions here offered to your consideration hav not
the advantage of great age to giv them weight, nor do they claim the
authority of long experience: But they are formed from _some_
experience, with much reeding and reflection; and so far az a zeel for
your welfare and respectability in future life merits your regard, so
far this address haz a claim to your notis.

The first thing recommended to your attention iz, the care of your helth
and the prezervation of your bodily constitution. In no particular iz
the neglect of parents and guardians more obvious and fatal, than in
suffering the bodies of their children to grow without care. My remark
applies in particular to thoze who design their children to get a living
without manual labor. Let yung persons then attend to facts, which are
always before their eyes.

Nature seldom fails to giv both sexes the materials of a good
constitution; that iz, a body complete in all its parts. But it depends
mostly on persons themselves to manage theze materials, so az to giv
them strength and solidity.

The most criticcal period of life, in this respect, iz the age of
puberty, which iz usually between thirteen and seventeen, or eighteen.
Before this period, you are very much in the power of parents or
masters, and if they wish to see you strong and robust, they wil feed
you with coarse substantial food of eezy digestion. But at fourteen
yeers old, yung persons are capable of exercising their reezon, in some
degree, and ought to be instructed in the mode of living, best
calculated to secure helth and long life. It iz obzervable that yung
persons of both sexes grow tall very rapidly about the age of thirteen,
fourteen, fifteen or sixteen; but they do not acquire muscular strength
in du proportion. It should then be the bizziness of yung persons to
assist nature, and strengthen the growing frame by athletic exercises.

Thoze persons who leed a sedentary life, should practis some amusement
which requires considerable exertion of the lims; az running, foot ball,
quoit; taking care not to injure themselves by too violent exertion; for
this would defeet the salutary purpose of such exercizes. But the
exercize I would most recommend, iz _fencing_; for the art itself iz
highly useful at times, and the practice tends more to render the body
firm and vigorous than almost any exercize whatever. It braces the
muscles of the arm, spreds the brest, opens the chest to giv the lungs
play; an effect of great consequence to persons about the age of
puberty. For, az waz before obzerved, persons of this age, shoot up very
fast; the body grows tall, but narrow; the mass of flesh and blood iz
increesed much faster than the tone of the vessels and muscular
strength; the chest iz two narrow for the lungs to perform their office,
and the blood vessels hav not sufficient elasticity to produce a brisk
free circulation; the system iz often too week to carry on the necessary
secretions of the juices; and the consequence of the whole iz, an
obstructed circulation produces ulcers upon the lungs, which bring on a
decay, or some infirmities of body, which last for many yeers, and not
unfrequently for life.

To avoid theze ills, much exercise of the arms and body iz not only
useful, but necessary; and when it iz not the lot of yung persons to
labor, in agriculture or mekanic arts, some laborious amusement should
be constantly and daily pursued az a substitute, and none iz preferable
to fencing. A fencing skool iz perhaps az necessary an institution in a
college, az a professorship of mathematics; for yung men usually enter
college about the age of puberty; and often leev a laborious occupation,
to commence a sedentary life, at the very time when labor or other
exercize iz the most necessary to giv firmness and vigor to their
constitutions. In consequence of this change and an academic life, they
often run up into long, slender, effeminate bodies, which a slight cold
may throw into a consumption; or by intense application to books, add,
to a debilitated frame of body, a week nervous system, which keeps them
always dying, tho it may not end life til old age.

Dancing iz an excellent amusement for yung peeple, especially for thoze
of sedentary occupations. Its excellence consists in exciting a
cheerfulness of the mind, highly essential to helth; in bracing the
muscles of the body, and in producing copious perspiration. Az the two
first effects are very visibly beneficial, they are the subject of
common obzervation; but the last, which iz perhaps the most generally
beneficial, iz rarely mentioned.

Experience haz led me to the following ideas on this subject. Our bodies
are so constituted that a large portion of the juices should be thrown
off by insensible perspiration; nor can the process be abated without
danger, nor wholly obstructed without occasioning diseese. The body must
perspire, or must be out of order. A violent cold iz a sudden
obstruction of the process, which throws the matter, intended for
evacuation thro the pores of the skin, back upon the _intestines_,
taking the word, not in a tecknical, but in its original extended sense.
All that iz necessary to cure a cold, which iz not attended with
symptoms of inflamation, iz to open the pores of the body; which may be
done by bracing, az by drinking cold water, which excites circulation by
its tonic power; or by relaxing the system, az by the warm bath and warm
teas. The first wil answer, where the body haz vigor enough to giv the
tonic its full effect; but iz not so efficacious, nor so generally
practicable az the last. It iz not so eezy to force thro a wall, az to
open a gate.

The common house-wifely remedies, consisting of butter or other oily
substances, mixed with spirits, usually hav no effect upon a cold, or a
bad one. Flannel, warm teas, or simple warm water, hav the best effect
in relaxing; but if they fail of producing a perspiration, the patient
should hav recourse to exercise. Dancing in a warm room, or other
violent exercise, wil generally throw a person into a copious swet in a
few minutes; and this, two or three times repeeted, wil usually releev
the person, however obstinate the cold. If every thing else fails, the
warm bath should be resorted to az an almost infallible remedy.

But there iz another species of obstructed perspiration more dangerous
perhaps than sudden colds, because less perceptible; I meen, that which
proceeds from a week habit of body. Whenever the tone of the vessels iz
lost, the circulation of the blood becumes languid, the animal heet iz
diminished, and the system haz not strength sufficient to throw off the
perspirable matter. The consequence iz, the skin becumes dry and rigid,
and the person usually feels a dull pain in hiz hed and the back part of
hiz neck. Wimen, literary men, clerks, &c. are most expozed to theze
symptoms. The remedy for them iz, free perspiration; but the most
effectual remedy iz dancing, or other vigorous exercise, which
increeses, at the same time, animal heet and the tone of the vessels.
Dancing indeed unites to theze, the other advantage of cheerfulness and
good spirits, which iz of singular use to persons accustomed to close
application to bizziness or contemplation. The only caution to be
obzerved iz, not to go into the cold air, without considerable
additional clothing.

In cases where persons cannot hav recourse to dancing or other exercize
in a warm room, the warm bath may be uzed to great advantage. At first
thought, one would imagin, that the cold bath should be prescribed for
giving tone to a week system; but on reflection, this would appeer to be
generally, tho not always hazardous. The truth iz, a general relaxation
of the body checks perspiration; and the first effect of cold, in such
cases, iz to brace the exterior parts of the body, and throw the
offending matter, lodged in the skin by the debility of the system, back
upon the lungs, or other interior parts. If the system haz strength
enough, or can receev enough by the operation of cold, to force open the
pores and produce a copious perspiration, the cold bath wil hav an
excellent effect. But when the person iz of a week frame, the experiment
iz extremely dangerous. The safest remedy iz the warm bath, which
remooves the obstructing matter by a gentle relaxation of the surface;
thus enabling the vessels to recuver their tone, in a degree, and keep
up a brisk circulation. The warm bath then iz the most safe and
efficacious remedy for obstructed perspiration, occasioned by debility;
and this iz an evil to which all sedentary peeple are expozed, and by
which most of them suffer.

I hav been often suprized that the moderns hav so generally neglected
the meens of prezerving helth, which were uzed by the ancients. A little
attention to the structure of the human body, and the effect of heet and
cold upon it, led the ancients to the obvious and almost infallable
meens of garding themselves from diseeze. Their method waz to bathe
almost daily; and then oil their bodies. By bathing, they kept their
perspiration free, and their bodies of course, in vigor and clenly; and
by the use of oil, they secured the body from the fatal effects of
sudden cold. In the later ages of Rome, warm baths indeed became a
luxury, and were uzed to excess; but this waz only an abuse of a good
thing, the excellent effects of which had been experienced for ages. The
neglect of the same meens, of preventing diseese, haz obliged the
modern to hav recourse to physic, a substitute, more expensiv and
trublesome, and not always effectual.[167]

    [167] It iz evident, from the silence of all ancient
    monuments, that the heeling art waz not cultivated, and
    scarcely known among the old Romans. For several ages from
    the bilding of Rome, there iz hardly any mention made of a
    physician. Pliny relates, that Rome flurished, six hundred
    yeers, without physicians; that iz, the profession waz not
    honorable, being confined to servants or other low karacters.
    In Seneca's time, many of theze had acquired estates by the
    bizziness; but they were stil held in no estimation. "Bona in
    arte medendi humillimisque quibus contingere videmus." After
    the conquest of Greece and Asia, the manners of the Romans
    were corrupted by the luxuries of the eest; diseeses
    multiplied, and the practice of physic became more necessary
    and more reputable; but the art of surgery waz not separated
    from that of medicin, til the times of the emperors.

Whether in bizziness or amusement, let your whole conduct be guided by
temperance. Are you students? Eet moderately, and let your food be of
the nutritiv kind, but not oily, high seesoned and indigestible. Drink
but little, or rather no distilled liquors; wine and fermented liquors
are much to be preferred. A good cup of tee, iz sometimes a cordial;
coffee may be uzed freely; but the constant use of hot liquors seldom
fails to debilitate the system and impair the digestiv powers.

Whether you reed or rite, accustom yourselves to stand at a high desk,
rather than indulge an indolent habit of sitting, which always weekens,
and sometimes disfigures the body. The neerer you can keep every part of
the body to an eezy strait posture, the more equable wil be the
circulation of the fluids; and in order to giv them the most
unconstrained flow to the extremities of the lims, it iz very useful to
loosen thoze parts of dress that bind the lims closely.

There iz another kind of temperance which I would warmly recommend; that
iz, temperance in study. Little does a helthy robust yuth reflect upon
the delicate texture of the nervous system, which iz immediately
affected by close mental application. The full fed muscular man may
spurn the caution, that warns him against the danger of hypocondriacs;
but it iz next to impossible that the hard student, who clossets himself
seven or eight hours a day, in deep meditation, should escape the
deplorable evil, which makes men valetudinarians for life, without hope
of a radical cure, and with the wretched consolation of being
perpetually laughed at.

Four hours of uninterrupted study in a day iz generally sufficient to
furnish the mind with az many ideas az can be retained, methodized and
applied to practice; and it iz wel if one half of what are run over in
this time are not lost. It may sometimes be necessary to study or reed
_more_ hours in a day; but it wil az often be found useful to reed

When you exercize at any diversion, or go into company, forget your
studies, and giv up yourselves entirely to the amusement. It wil do you
no good to leev your books behind, unless you dismiss your attention or
train of thinking. Attend to experience. You find it very fateeging to
stand, sit or even to lie in one fixed posture, for any length of time,
and change affords releef. The same iz tru of the mind. It iz necessary,
if I may indulge the expression, to change the pozition of the mind;
that iz, vary the train of thought; for by a variety of ideas, the mind
iz releeved, in the same degree az the body by a change of posture.

When you reed, always endevor to reed with some particular object. You
wil find many books that ought to be red in course; but in general when
you take up a treetis upon any science, or a volum of history, without a
view to inform yourself of some _particular_ in that wurk, you are not
likely to retain what you reed. The object iz too general; the mind iz
not capable of embracing the whole. For instance, if you reed Hume's
England in course, with design to acquaint yourself with the whole
story, you wil find, at the end of your labor, that you are able to
recollect only a few of the most remarkable occurrences; the greatest
part of the history haz escaped you. But if you confine yourself to
_one point of history_ at a time, for example, the life and policy of
Alfred, or the account of Mary, queen of Scots, and reed what every
author you can lay your hand on, haz said upon that subject, comparing
their different accounts of it, you wil impress the history upon the
mind, so az not to be eezily effaced. Law students should attend to
theze remarks.

There iz another kind of temperance of more consequence than thoze
mentioned, viz. temperance in plezure: For to all the personal evils of
an excessiv indulgence of the animal appetite, we may add innumerable
evils of a moral and social nature. No intercourse should take place
between the sexes, til the body haz attained to full strength and
maturity. In this respect, ancient barbarous nations hav set an example,
that ought to make moderns blush for their effeminacy of manners, and
their juvenile indulgences. The old Germans accounted it shameful and
disreputable for yung men to hav any intercourse with the other sex,
before the age of twenty.[168] To this continence were they much
indetted for their muscular bodies, their helth and longevity. But such
an abstinence from plezure waz not maintained by law; the Germans knew
that positiv prohibitions would be ineffectual to restrain this
indulgence; they had recourse to the only certain method; they made it
_dishonorable_. How different iz the case in modern times! So far iz
debauchery from being scandalous, that it iz frequently the boast of men
in the first offices of state; and a karacter of licentiousness iz
little or no objection in a candidate for preferment.[169]

    [168] Qui diutissime impuberes permanserunt, maximam inter
    suos ferunt laudem: Hôc ali staturam, ali vires, nervosque
    confirmari putant. Intra annum vero xx feminæ notitiam
    habuisse, in turpissimis habent rebus.---- Cesar De Bel. Gal.
    lib. 6. 19.

    [169] The ancients were wiser than the moderns in many
    respects; and particularly in restraining certain vices by
    _opinion_, rather than by _positiv injunctions_. Duelling and
    profane swearing are prohibited by the laws of most
    countries; yet penalties hav no effect in preventing the
    crimes, whilst they are not followed by loss of reputation.
    Vices which do not immediately affect the lives, honor or
    property of men, which are not _mala in se_, which are eezily
    conceeled, or which are supported by a principle of honor or
    reputation, are not restrainable by law. Under some of theze
    description fall, duelling, profane swearing, gambling, &c.
    To check such vices, public opinion must render them
    infamous.[j] Thoze who hav the distribution of honors and
    offices, may restrain theze vices by making the commission of
    them an insuperable bar to preferment. Were the _Prezident_
    and the executivs of the several states, to be az particular
    in enquiring whether candidates for offices are given to
    gambling, swearing or debaucheries; whether they hav ever
    given or receeved a challenge, or betrayed an innocent
    female; az they are in enquiring whether they are men of
    abilities and integrity; and would they, with undeviating
    resolution, proscribe from their favor and their company,
    every man whoze karacter, in theze particulars, iz not
    unimpeechable, they would diminish the number of vices,
    exclude some wholly from society, banish others from genteel
    company, and confine their contagion to the herd of mankind.
    But where iz the man of elevated rank, of great talents, of
    unshaken firmness, of heroic virtue, to begin the glorious
    reformation? America may now furnish the man, but where shall
    hiz successor be found?

         [j] See Vattels Law of Nations, b. I. ch. 13.

Oppozed to passion and to false pride, caution wil perhaps be
unavailing. But men who wish for permanent happiness, should be
persuaded to take the meens for securing it. Wil you then run the risk
of erly indulgence in illicit plezure? Some of you _may_ escape the
evils which generally follow; but the chances are against you. In nine
cases of ten, you wil destroy the vigor of your bodies, and thus impair
the ability of enjoyment by excess; or what iz an additional evil, you
wil contract diseese. What iz the consequence? Eether your taste for the
vilest plezures wil grow into habit and make abandoned rakes of you,
averse to the innocent enjoyments of the married life, and of course bad
members of society; or you wil perhaps marry amiable wimen, with your
strength and helth impaired, and your minds debauched, fickle, prone to
jelousy. In this case, you are neether secure of your partners
affections, nor wil you be likely to know the valu of their virtues.
Having broken over the barriers of virtue, you are forever liable to
stray; and the probability iz, you destroy the happiness of your wives,
and the peece of your families. Perhaps with some art, and the forgiving
temper of your wives, you may conceel the family discord, and the
wretched state of your minds, from a censorious world; pride,
reputation, every motiv would urge you to this precaution; but iz not
this a poor substitute for happiness? A poor consolation for the
multiplied evils that follow, in an endless train, from the unreezonable
and criminal indulgences of a few yeers? You may be assured also that a
woman of good principles cannot feel a pure satisfaction, in the company
even of a reformed husband, when she reflects, az she frequently wil,
that he haz wasted hiz helth and substance upon the vilest of her sex.
My yung frends, it iz idle, it iz weekness and folly to expect any kind
of happiness or plezure, which shal indemnify you for the trubble of
seeking it, except in the pursuance of the principles which morality
prescribes. Whenever you pursu an object, at the expense of any moral
principle; when the attainment of your end must injure the person, the
property, the reputation or the feelings of one child of Adam, the
acquisition of that object wil not giv you happiness; you are pursuing a
fantom. This leeds me to say something on one of the most hanous crimes
a man can commit, and which the laws of society cannot or at leest do
not punish; that iz, seduction.

Fashion, which iz often founded on moral propriety, and oftener on
political convenience, iz sometimes an enemy to both; and public
opinion, enlisted in the cauze of vice, iz a greater scurge to society
than war or pestilence. It iz one of the evils, or rather of the curses
of civilization, that certain crimes, az malignant in their nature, and
az fatal in their consequence, az murder and robbery, becume
fashionable, and to a certain degree, reputable. Of this kind, iz
deliberate seduction. It iz az malignant in its nature az murder, for
it iz accompanied with the same aggravation, malice pretense, or a
premeditated design: It iz az fatal to society; for reputation iz az
deer az life; and the wretched victims of deception, if they lay violent
hands on themselves, or linger out a life of disgrace, are equally
murdered, equally lost to society. And the only reezon why the seducer
and the murderer hav not been placed on a footing by the laws of
society, must be, the difficulty of proof, or of ascertaining the
degrees of gilt, where there iz a possibility or a presumtion of assent
on the part of the woman.

There are however certain instances of this crime which are az capable
of proof az, arson, burglary or murder; and why the laws of a state,
which prohibit under severe penalties, the taking or giving more than
six per cent. interest on the loan of money, even on the fairest
contract, should yet permit the seducer to take another's reputation, to
doom to indelible infamy the helpless female, whoze reputation iz all
her portion, iz one of thoze problems in society, which the philosopher
wil impute to human imperfection, and the Kristian number among the
inscrutable mysteries of providence.

But I am not addressing legislators; I am reezoning with individuals.
Waving the baseness of the crime, let us attend to its consequences in
families and society. You wil doutless acknowlege, for I do not see how
you can deny, that when you deliberately commit a crime that affects
your nabor, you explicitly admit that your nabor haz an equal right to
commit the same crime against yourselves; for I presume no man wil
arrogate to himself an exclusiv privilege of being a villan.

You attempt then to seduce the wife, the sister, or the dawter of your
frend; but hav you none of theze relations? Hav you not a wife, a
sister, a dawter, whoze reputation iz deer to you; whoze honor you would
die to defend? You hav attacked the honor of your nabor; haz he not the
same right to assail your family, in the same delicate point? But if you
has none of theze neer connections, hav you no female frend whoze
reputation iz deer to you? Now by attempting the honor of any woman, you
wage war with the whole human race; you break down the barriers which
nature and society hav established to gard your _own_ family and frends,
and leev _their_ honor and happiness, and consequently your _own_,
expozed to the intreegs of every unprincipled retch: You even invite an
attempt upon your family and frends; you beet a challenge, and bid
defiance to any man who haz the spirit to revenge the rongs of the
helpless. Theze are serious considerations, in which men of principle
and of no principle are equally interested; for an abandoned rake iz
usually az fond of hiz own and hiz family's honor, az the man of the
chastest life.

Mingle with your superiors in age and wizdom, whenever you can do it
with propriety. If your parents are wize, they wil associate with you az
much az possible in your amusements; they wil be cheerful and facetious,
and thus make you az happy az you wish to be at home. A morose crabbed
old man iz not inviting company for the yung and sprightly; and you
ought rather to shun the illnatured, if possible. But whenever your
parents are of a cheerful dispozition, and luv their children, they make
the most agreeable and most useful companions. They wil find amusements
for you at home, and you wil be happier there than any where else. If
your parents are thus dispozed to make themselves your principal
companions, always indulge their inclination. You wil thus avoid the
contagion of vicious company, you wil form a habit of contentment and
satisfaction at home; and remember, if you do not find happiness there,
you wil never find much satisfaction abroad.

In choosing society however, be careful not to push yourself into
company. Yung men are often impatient of the restraints which modesty
and decorum impoze upon them. They are anxious to associate with thoze
of greater age and rank than themselves; and expect more notis than
mankind in general suppoze they dezerv. This proceeds from the ambition
and fire of youth; the motivs I beleev to be often innocent and
laudable; the ambition therefore should be guverned, rather than
repressed. A little experience wil dictate patience and a modest
deportment, which, with yeers and information, wil always ensure
respectability. I once knew a man of twenty two chagrined even to
petulence, becauze he could not be admitted a trustee of a college. I
waz surprized at hiz severe remarks on the venerable body of gentlemen
who rejected him. He thought himself a man of more science than some of
the corporation; and therefore better qualified to direct a literary
institution. Admit the fact, that he excelled in scientific attainments,
yet the vexation he felt at hiz disappointment waz proof enough that he
waz destitute of the first requisits in the overseers of yuth,
_coolness_ and _judgement_.

In the world, avoid every species of affectation, and be az fashionable
az convenience wil warrant. Yet never be the first to invent novelty,
nor run to excess in imitation. This advice, _to be fashionable_, should
however be qualified, and restrained to things indifferent, in point of
morality. Az the moral karacter of men does not depend on the shape of
their garments, it iz generally best to wear our clothes in the model
that fashion prescribes; unless your circumstances forbid, or the
fashion itself iz inconvenient: For if you are not able to afford the
expense, it iz criminal in you to follow the customs of the welthy; and
if the shape of a garment makes it uneezy upon you or cumbersome, the
fashion iz ridiculous, and none but week peeple, the common coxcombs and
butterflies of the world, wil adopt it. For this reezon follow lord
Chesterfield's maxims with great caution. His letters contain a strange
compound of the _best_ and _worst_ instructions ever given to a yung
man; indeed it would be expected of a man, whoze object waz not to make
hiz son _good_, but to make him _showy_.

Hiz lordship, I think, recommends to hiz son to wear _long nails_; in
consequence of which advice, long nails are very fashionable wherever
hiz letters are red. But a man ought to be consistent. Why did he not at
the same time recommend long beards? Both are very proper among savages,
who hav no ideas of neetness; and one would think, they should always go
together; but among civilized peeple, both are equally slovenly. Hiz
lordship givs an excellent reezon for hiz advice; that mekanics pare
their nails, and _gentlemen_ ought to be distinguished from _laborers_.
Why did not he add, that az mekanics walk on two feet, gentlemen, for
sake of distinction, ought to walk on all fours? But hiz lordship had
better reezons for hiz advice. Long nails are a most commodious
substitute, or at leest furnish a reddy alleviation of the evils arizing
from a sparing use of ivory. Besides, hiz lordship waz a courtier, fond
of royal examples, &c. He found a princely one in the Assyrian monark,
who, when he waz a beest, wore hiz nails in the same manner.
Nebuchadnezzer however waz under the direction of a divine impulse; an
authority that hiz lordship could not claim for _all_ hiz injunctions
and maxims.

Never let fashion blind you to convenience and congruity. Do not
introduce foreign customs, without reezon, or by the halves. The French
feed themselves with forks, uzing knives merely to cut their meet;
therefore knives with sharp points, are for them the most convenient.
But it iz really laughable to see the Americans adopting the use of
sharp pointed knives, without the practice of feeding themselves with
forks. They do not see the particular convenience of the custom in
France, where it originated; but it iz _the fashion to uze them_, and
this iz all they think of. They are however well punished for their
servile apishness, especially when they are hungry; for a man may az wel
feed himself with a bodkin, az with a knife of the present fashion.

Be equally careful of affectation in the use of language. Uze words that
are most common and generally understood. Remember that sublimity and
elegance do not consist principally in words; az the modern stile of
writing would make us beleev. Sublimity consists in grand and elevated
ideas; and elegance iz most generally found in a plain, neet, chaste
phraseology. In pronunciation be very cautious of imitating the stage,
where indeed nature _should be represented_, but where in fact we find
too much strutting, mouthing, rant, and every kind of affectation. The
modern pronunciation of our language on the English stage iz, beyond
mezure, affected and ridiculous. The change of _t_, _d_ and _s_ into
_ch_, _j_ and _sh_, in such words az _nature_, _education_,
_superstition_, originated in the theatrical mouthing of words; and iz,
in language, what the stage-strut iz in walking. The practice haz indeed
spred from the stage among our polite speekers, who hav adopted it, az
peeple do other fashions, without knowing why. Were it a matter of
indifference, like the shape of a hat, I would recommend it to your
imitation; but I hav cleerly prooved in another place,[170] that the
practice iz not vindicable on any good principles; that on the contrary,
it materially injures the language, both in orthography and the melody
of speeking. There iz such a thing az tru and false taste, and the
latter az often directs fashion, az the former. The _nachure_ and
_edjucation_ of modern times are to purity of language, what red fethers
and yellow ribbons are to elegance in dress; and could the practice be
represented with a pencil, it would be az boldly caricatured, az the
enormous hed-dresses of 1774.

    [170] See my Dissertations on the English Language, 4.

Do not adopt such phrases az _averse from_, _agreeably to_, _going
past_, and other modern alterations of the usual idiom; for they are
gross violations of the principles of the language, az might be eezily
prooved, were this the place. If you are a lawyer, do not confound such
terms, az, _witness_, _testimony_ and _evidence_, calling a _witness_,
an _evidence_. _Witness_ iz the person testifying; _testimony_ iz what
he declares in court; and _evidence_ iz the effect of that testimony in
producing conviction. Do not confound such words az, _genius_ and
_capacity_, or _sense_, _lerning_ and _knowlege_. _Genius_ iz the power
of _invention_; _capacity_, the power of _receeving_ ideas. _Sense_ iz
the faculty of perception; _lerning_ iz what iz obtained in _books_;
_knowlege_ iz what iz acquired by _observation_.

Attach yourselves to bizziness in the erly part of life. Shun idle
dissipated karacters az you would the plague. Listen to nature and
reezon, and draw just ideas of things from theze pure sources; otherwize
you wil imbibe _fashionable sentiments_, than which a more fatal evil
cannot happen to you. You wil often heer bizziness condemned az drudgery
and disgrace. Despize the sentiment. Nature speeks a different language.
Nature tells you, "that she haz given you bodies, which require constant
exercize; that labor or some other exercize iz essential to helth; that
employment iz necessary to peece of mind; and industry iz the meens of
acquiring property." Nature then haz rendered _bizziness_ necessary to
_helth and happiness_, az wel az to _interest_; and when men neglect her
dictates, they are usually punished with poverty, diseeze and
retchedness. It sometimes happens that a man's ancestors hav accumulated
such an estate, that he iz wel secured from _poverty_; but the very
estate he possesses, iz the meens of entailing upon him diseeze and all
its consequential evils: For a rich man iz strongly tempted to be lazy;
and indolence, by debilitating the animal system, destroys the power of
enjoyment. Besides, a man of eezy circumstances iz very apt to looze the
virtu of self denial; he indulges hiz appetite too freely; he becumes an
epicure in eeting, and perhaps a bakkanalian; he iz then a slave of the
worst kind, a slave to hiz own desires, and hiz faithful services to
himself are rewarded with the gout.

In addition to this, he may squander away hiz estate; and then he iz
poor indeed! For a man who iz bred in affluence, seldom haz the
resolution or the knowlege requisit to repair a broken fortune. The way
to _keep an estate_, iz to lern in youth how to _acquire one_; and the
way to _enjoy_ an estate, iz to be constantly in some bizziness which
shal find employment for the faculties of the mind. Idleness and plezure
fateeg az soon az bizziness; and indeed when bizziness haz becume
habitual, it iz the first of plezures.

In forming a matrimonial connection, bridle fancy, and reduce it to the
control of reezon. You wil perhaps be in luv at sixteen; but remember,
you cannot rely on the continuance of the passion. At this erly period
of life, a man's passions are too violent to last; he iz in raptures and
ecstacy; but _raptures and ecstacy_ never continu _thro life_. While a
man talks of raptures and paradise on erth, he iz not fit to be married;
for hiz passion, or rather hiz frenzy, warps hiz judgement; he iz az
unqualified to form a just estimate of a woman's karacter, az a blind
man to judge of colors. The probability iz, in all such cases, that a
man wil make a bad choice; at leest the chances are ten to one against
him. Before a man marries, he should liv long enuf to experience the
fallacy of hope, and to moderate hiz expectations down to real life. He
wil then meet with fewer disappointments, and be better prepared to
realize the happiness that iz within hiz power.

If you feel a _violent_ passion for a young lady, the chance iz that the
first opportunity you hav, you wil discloze it, and assure her you are
dying for her. Should passion hurry you to such a declaration, before
you hav much acquaintance with her, and before you hav, by your
attentions, made some favorable impressions on her hart, you may be sure
of a repulse; for your sudden professions frighten the lady, and ladies
are never frightened into luv. A widow wil sometimes surrender to the
most unexpected attack; but yung coy maidens are to be taken only by
gradual approaches. To ensure success, take the advice of a very
sensible woman; "first be the frend, and then the luver." Be polite and
attentiv; show yourself a particular frend, for ladies are not alarmed
at professions of esteem; be neether bashful, nor discuver uncommon
solicitude; and the lady's hart wil probably be yours before she knows

Do you ask, how you shal discuver the tru karacter of a woman, so az not
to be deceeved? I answer, this must depend mostly on obzervations of
your own, or of thoze that are more acquainted with the sex than
yourself. The virtues of good nature, delicacy, modest rezervedness,
prudence, &c. are discuverable only by considerable acquaintance. I
would however advize you to be cautious of connecting yourselves with
the following karacters: First, wimen who hav been accustomed to indulge
familiarities, even in company, such az kissing, playing with their
hands, and the like. Secondly, thoze who wil never be seen in the
morning; for if a lady runs out of a room, and avoids you in a morning
dress, the suspicion iz that she iz a slut, and that she iz conscious of
her unfitness to be seen. A neet woman wil never be ashamed of her
dishabille, for in this she wil show her neetness to the best advantage.
A slut may look tolerably wel in silks; but a neet woman only wil appeer
wel in a kitchen or at a brekfast table in her own family.

Thirdly, never connect yourselves with a very loquacious or fretful
woman; such a partner wil teeze you thro life. Fourthly, avoid one who
haz a slanderous tung; she wil keep your family and the naborhood in
perpetual discord. Fifthly, form no connection with a woman, who haz no
acquaintance with a kitchen. She wil trust every thing to servants, who
wil waste more than you consume; she wil not know how to reform abuses
or guvern domestics; the clothes wil be ill washed, the food wil be
badly cooked; you wil be harrassed with disorders and irregularity in
the family; and you wil be ashamed of your wife, if she iz not ashamed
of herself. A master of a vessel should not _come in at the cabin
windows_; nor should a man be placed at the hed of an army, without an
intimate knowlege of the duty of a private soldier. How then can a lady
be qualified for the care of a family, without being acquainted with
every part of domestic bizziness? Sixthly, marry, if possible, a lady of
virtu and religion; for religion iz her best gard from temptation and
the allurements of vice. At any rate, _marry_. A _married man_,
especially a _father_, iz a better citizen than a bachelor. Hiz
benevolent affections are called in to exercize in hiz family; and he iz
thus prepared to luv and to bless society in general.

No. XXX.

                         NEW YORK, 1788.



Altho men in general are expozed to the suspicion of your sex, and their
opinions are often construed into flattery or stratagem, yet the tenor
of the following remarks wil, it iz presumed, bear such marks of
sincerity az to giv them a place in your confidence. They are not the
precepts of a morose instructor, nor the opinions of a hoary sage who
haz lost all relish for the joys of life, and wishes to restrain the
innocent plezures of sense. They do not proceed from a peevish old
bachelor, whom a phlegmatic constitution, or repeeted disappointments,
hav changed into a hater of your sex; but they come from a heart capable
of being softened by your charms or your misfortunes; a heart that never
harbored a wish but to see and make you happy. They are the sentiments
of a yung _frend_; one who haz lived long enuf, if not to feel his _own_
faults, at leest to _discuver_ thoze of others; and to form a tolerable
estimate of your worth in social life.

Our Saviour, when on erth, took a child in hiz arms and said, "of such
iz the kingdom of heaven." I never view a circle of little misses
without recollecting the divine comparison. A collection of sweet little
beings, with voices az melodious az the notes of the nightingale, whoze
cheeks even a whisper wil cuver with blushes, and whoze hearts are az
pure az the falling snow drop; iz heaven in miniature. Such iz the
description of my little female frends in the bloom of childhood. To
prezerve that delicacy of mind, which nature furnishes; which
constitutes the glory of your sex, and forms the principal gard of your
own virtue, iz the bizziness of education. In this article, you hav an
opportunity to display the excellence of your character, and to exert
your talents most successfully in benefitting society.

A woman without delicacy, iz a woman without reputation; for chastity
really exists in the mind; and when this fountain iz pure, the words and
actions that flow from it, wil be chaste and delicate. Yung misses
therefore should be remooved az far az possible from all company that
can taint their minds, or accustom them to indecency of any kind. Their
nurses, their companions, their teechers, should be selected from peeple
of at leest uncorrupted morals and amiable manners.

But a more advanced stage of life, the time when yung ladies enter into
society, iz, with respect to their future reputation, a period extremely
critical. Little, my deer friends, do you reflect, how important iz the
manner in which you enter into life. Prudery and coquetry are extremes
equally to be shunned, becauze both are equally disagreeable to our sex,
and fatal to your reputations. It haz been said that coquetts often
looze their reputation, while they retain their virtu; and that prudes
often prezerve their reputation, after they hav lost their virtu. I
would only add this remark, that coquetts are _generally_, but prudes
_almost always_ suspected; and suspicion iz az fatal to a female
karacter, az a crime. Iz this unjust? Coquetry and prudery are both
affectation; every species of affectation dezerves punishment; and when
persons relinquish their own natural karacters for thoze which are
borrowed, iz it unjust to suspect their motivs, az a punishment for the

You are taught to suspect the man who flatters you. But your good sense
wil very eezily distinguish between expressions of mere civility and
declarations of real esteem. In general one rule holds, that the man who
iz most lavish in declarations of esteem and admiration, luvs and
admires you the leest. A profusion of flattery iz real ground for
suspicion. Reel esteem iz evinced by a uniform course of polite
respectful behaviour. This iz a proof on which you may depend; it iz a
flattery the most grateful to a lady of understanding, because it must
proceed from a real respect for her karacter and virtues.

Permit me here to suggest one caution. You are told that unmeening
flattery iz an insult to your understandings, and sometimes you are apt
to resent it. This should be done with great prudence. Precipitate
resentment iz dangerous; it may not be dezerved at the time; it may make
you an enemy; it may giv uneeziness to a frend; it may giv your own
harts pain; it may injure you by creating a suspicion that it iz all
affectation. The common place civilities of dangling beaux may be very
trifling and disagreeable, but can rarely amount to an insult, or
dezerve more than indifference and neglect. Resentment of such trifles
can hardly be a mark of tru dignity of soul.

At this period of life, let the prime excellence of your karacters,
_delicacy_, be discuvered in all your words and actions. Permit me, az
one acquainted at leest with the sentiments of my own sex, to assure
you, that a man never respects a woman, who does not respect herself.
The moment a woman suffers to fall from her tung, any expressions that
indicate the leest indelicacy of mind; the moment she ceeses to blush at
such expressions from our sex, she ceeses to be respected; becauze az a
lady, she iz no longer respectable. Whatever familiarity of conversation
may be vindicable or pardonable in ether sex alone, there iz, in mixed
companies, a sacred decorum that should not be violated by one rude
idea. And however dispozed the ladies may be to overlook small
transgressions in our sex, yet unforgiving man cannot eezily forget the
offences of yours, especially when thoze offences discuver a want of all
that renders you lovely.

If your _words_ are to be so strictly watched, how much more attention
iz necessary to render your _conduct_ unexceptionable. You charge our
sex, with being the seducers, the betrayers of yours. Admit the charge
to be partially tru, yet let us be candid. Az profligate az many of our
sex are acknowleged to be, it iz but justice to say, that very few are
so abandoned az to attempt deliberately the seduction of an artless and
innocent lady, who shows, by her conduct, that she iz conscious of the
worth of her reputation, and that she respects her own karacter. I hav
rarely found a libertine who had impudence enuf to assail virtue, that
had not been expozed by some improprieties of conduct. There iz
something so commanding in virtu, that even villans respect her, and
dare not approach her temples but in the karacter of her votaries.

But when a woman iz incautious, when she iz reddy to fall into the arms
of any man that approaches her, when she suffers double entendres,
indecent hints and conversation to flow from her lips in mixed
companies, she remooves the barriers of her reputation, she disarms
herself, and thousands consider themselves at liberty to commence an

When so much depends on your principles and reputation; when we expect
to derive all the happiness of the married life from that source, can it
be a crime to wish for some proof of your virtu before the indissoluble
connection iz formed? Iz that virtu to be trusted which haz never been
tempted? Iz it absurd to say that an attack may be made even with
honorable intentions? Admit the absurdity; but such attempts are often
made, and may end in your ruin. The man may then be retched in hiz
mistake becauze he iz disappointed in hiz opinion and expectations. Be
assured, my frends, that even vile man cannot but esteem the woman who
respects herself. We look to you, in a world of vice, for that delicacy
of mind, that innocence of life, which render _you_ lovely and
_ourselves_ happy.

Do you wish for admiration? But admiration iz az transient az the blaze
of a meteor. Ladies who hav the most admirers, are often the last to
find valuable partners.

Do you wish to be esteemed and luved? It iz eezy to render yourselves
esteemable and lovely. It iz only by retaining that softness of manners,
that obliging and delicate attention to every karacter, which, whether
natural or acquired, are at some period of life, the property of almost
every female. Beauty and money, without merit, will sometimes command
eligible connections; but such connections do not answer the wishes of
our hearts; they do not render us happy. Lerning, or an acquaintance
with books, may be a very agreeable or a very disagreeable
accomplishment, in proportion to the discretion of the lady who
possesses it. Properly employed, it iz highly satisfactory to the lady
and her connections; but I beleev obzervation wil confirm my conjecture,
that a strong attachment to books in a lady, often deters a man from
approaching her with the offer of hiz heart. This iz ascribed to the
pride of our sex. That the imputation iz always false, I wil not aver;
but I undertake to say, that if pride iz the cauze, it iz supported by
the order of nature.

One sex iz formed for the more hardy exercizes of the council, the field
and the laborious employments of procuring subsistence. The other, for
the superintendance of domestic concerns, and for diffusing bliss thro
social life. When a woman quits her own department, she offends her
husband, not merely becauze she obtrudes herself upon _hiz_ bizziness,
but becauze she departs from that sphere which iz assigned _her_ in the
order of society; becauze she neglects _her_ duty, and leeves _her own_
department vacant. The same remark wil apply to the man who visits the
kitchen and gets the name of a _betty_. The same principle which
excludes a man from an attention to domestic bizziness, excludes a woman
from law, mathematics and astronomy. Eech sex feels a degree of pride in
being best qualified for a particular station, and a degree of
resentment when the other encroaches upon their privilege. This iz
acting conformably to the constitution of society. A woman would not
willingly marry a man who iz strongly inclined to pass hiz time in
seeing the house and furniture in order, in superintending the cooks,
or in working gauze and tiffany; for she would predict, with some
certainty, that he would neglect hiz proper bizziness. In the same
manner, a man iz cautious of forming a connection with a woman, whoze
predilection for the sciences might take her attention from necessary
family concerns.

Ladies however are not generally charged with a too strong attachment to
books. It iz necessary that they should be wel acquainted with every
thing that respects life and manners; with a knowlege of the human hart
and the graceful accomplishments. The greatest misfortune iz, that your
erly studies are not always wel directed; and you are permitted to
devour a thousand volumes of fictitious nonsense, when a smaller number
of books, at less trubble and expense, would furnish you with more
valuable trezures of knowlege.

To be _lovely_ then you must be content to be _wimen_; to be mild,
social and sentimental; to be acquainted with all that belongs to your
department, and leeve the masculine virtues, and the profound researches
of study, to the province of the other sex.

That it may be necessary, for political purposes, to consider man az the
superior in authority, iz to me probable. I question whether a different
maxim would not destroy your own happiness.

A man iz pleezed with the deference hiz wife shows for hiz opinions; he
often loves her even for her want of information, when it creates a kind
of dependence upon hiz judgement. On the other hand, a woman always
despises her husband for hiz inferiority in understanding and knowlege,
and blushes at the figure he makes in the company of men who possess
superior talents. Do not theze facts justify the order of society, and
render some difference in rank between the sexes, necessary to the
happiness of both? But this superiority iz comparativ, and in some
mezure, mutual. In many things, the woman iz az much superior to her
husband, az he iz to her, in any article of information. They depend on
eech other, and the assumption of any prerogativ or superiority in
domestic life, iz a proof that the union iz not perfect; it iz a strong
evidence the parties _are_ not, or _wil_ not be happy.

Ladies are often ridiculed for their loquaciousness. But ridicule iz not
the worst punishment of this fault. However witty, sprightly and
sentimental your conversation may be, depend on it, az a maxim that
holds without exception, that the person who talks incessantly, wil soon
ceese to be respected. From congress to private families, the remark iz
tru, that a man or woman who talks much, loozes all influence. To your
sex, talkativness iz very injurious; for a man wil hardly ever chooze a
noizy loquacious woman for hiz companion. A delicate rezerv iz a
becuming, a commanding characteristic of an amiable woman; the want of
which no brilliant accomplishments wil supply. A want of ability to
converse, iz scarcely so much censured, az a want of discretion to know
when to speek and when to be silent.

In the choice of husbands, my fair reeders, what shall I say? It haz
been said or insinuated, that you prefer men of inferior talents. This
iz not tru. You are sensible that a good address and a respectful
attention, are the qualities which most generally recommend to the
esteem of both sexes. A philosopher, who iz absent and stupid, wil not
please az a companion; but of two persons equal in other respects, the
man of superior talents iz your choice. If my obzervations hav not
deceeved me, you pride yourselves in being connected with men of
eminence. I mention this to contradict the opinion maintained in the
Lounger, that ladies giv a sort of preference to men of inferior
talents. The opinion wants extension and qualification; it extends to
both sexes, when tru, but iz never tru, except when men of talents are
destitute of social accomplishments.

Money iz the great object of desire with both sexes; but how few obtain
it by marriage? With respect to our sex, I confess, it iz not much to a
man's credit to seek a fortune without any exertions of hiz own; but
the ladies often make a capital mistake in the meens of obtaining their
object. They ask, _what iz a man's fortune_? Whereas, if they are in
pursuit of welth, solid permanent welth, they should ask, _is he a man
of bizziness_? _Of talents?_ _Of persevering industry?_ _Does he know
the use of money?_ The difference in the two cases iz this: The man of
fortune, who haz not formed a habit of acquiring property, iz generally
ignorant of the use of it. He not only spends it, but he spends it
without system or advantage, and often dies a poor man. But the man who
knows how to _acquire_ property, generally keeps hiz expenditures within
hiz income; in exerting hiz talents to _obtain_, he forms a habit of
_uzing_ hiz property to advantage, and commonly enjoys life az wel in
_accumulating_ an estate, az the man of fortune does in _dissipating_
one. My idea iz breefly this; that the woman who marries a man of
bizziness, with very little property, haz a better chance for a fortune
in middle life and old age, than one who marries a rich man who livs in

After all, ladies, it depends much on yourselves to determin, whether
your families shall enjoy eezy circumstances. Any man may acquire
something by hiz application; but _economy_, the most difficult article
in conducting domestic concerns, iz the womans province.

You see with what frankness and candor I tell you my opinions. This iz
undoutedly the best mode of conducting social intercourse, and
particularly our intercourse with the fairest part of the creation.

I rite from feeling; from obzervation; from experience. The sexes, while
eech keep their proper sphere, cannot fail to render eech other social
and happy. But frail az yours iz commonly represented, you may not only
boast of a superior share of virtu yourselves, but of garding and
cherishing ours. You hav not only an interest in being good for your
_own_ sakes, but _society_ iz interested in your goodness; you polish
our manners, correct our vices, and inspire our harts with a love of
virtue. Can a man who loves an amiable woman, abandon himself to vices
which she abhors? May your influence over our sex be increesed; not
merely the influence of beauty and gay accomplishments, but the
influence of your virtues, whoze dominion controls the evils, and
multiplies the blessings of society.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

The text on page 37 has been moved to a footnote after the second
paragraph on page 5 as the author suggests.

In some essays the writer makes extensive use of phonetical
spelling. Inconsistencies in spelling have therefore not been

Missing punctuation has been silently corrected. Unmatched double
quotation marks in the text were not corrected.


  page    original                       correction
  xvi     marrying a Wife's Sister._     marrying a Wife's Sister._  322
  21      of so frightful mein,          of so frightful mien,
  24      where governments is           where government is
  28      very abandonded men,           very abandoned men,
  57      An important dictinction       An important distinction
  125     a man ... crying  a bushel     a man ... carrying a bushel
  153     government of Pensylvavia      government of Pensylvania
  160     and removeaable only           and removeable only
  164     people generally concurrred    people generally concurrred
  196     were of an intrisic value,     were of an intrinsic value,
  221     Nothwithstanding these         Notwithstanding these
  242     that hackeyned virtue,         that hackneyed virtue,
  262     my be stil seen                may be stil seen
  265n    lands under a propietor,       lands under a proprietor,
  279     brought be-before the          brought before the
  302     in clossing issues;            in closing issues;
  323     without examinining into       without examining into
  333     The statues of Henry VIII.     The statutes of Henry VIII.
  333     thoze which are prohited.      thoze which are prohibited.
  376     north eest of Great Brirain,   north eest of Great Britain,
  377     westward of Eeest Florida.     westward of Eest Florida.
  395n    not _'ma la in se_,            not _mala in se_,
  397     malice prepense,               malice pretense,
  398     frend whoze reputatation       frend whoze reputation

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