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wholly artificial; and made, like all other legal fictions, by common agreement.”
or in a state of rude nature, there is no such thing as a people!” I would fain learn in what corner of the earth, rude or civilized, men are to be found, who are not a people, more or less improved. " A number of men in themselves have no collective capacity !" I would gladly be told where, in what region, I will not say of geography, I know there is none such, but of poetry or romance, a number of men has been placed, by nature, each standing alone, and not bound by any of those ties of blood, affinity and language, which form the rudiments of a collective capacity. “The idea of a people is the idea of a corporation, it is wholly artificial, and made like all other legal fictions, by common agreement.” Indeed, is the social principle artificial? Is the gift of articulate speech, which enables man to impart his condition to man, the organized sense, which enables him to comprehend what is imparted—is that sympathy, which subjects our opinions and feelings, and through them our conduct, to the influence of others and their conduct to our influence is that chain of cause and effect, which makes our characters receive impressions from the generations before us, and puts it in our power, by a good or bad precedent, to distil a poison or a balm into the characters of posterity-are these, indeed, all by-laws of a corporation ? Are all the feelings of ancestry, posterity, and fellow citizenship; all the charm, veneration, and love, bound up in the name of country; the delight, the enthusiasm, with which we seek out, after the lapse of generations and ages, the traces of our fathers' bravery or wisdom, are these all 6 a legal fiction?” Is it, indeed, a legal fiction, that moistens the eye of the solitary traveller, when he meets a countryman in a foreign land ? Is it a 66 common agreement,” that gives its meaning to my mother tongue, and enables me to speak to the hearts of my kindred men, beyond the rivers and beyond the mountains? Yes, it is a common agreement; record
ed on the same registry with that, which marshals the winged nations, that,
In common, ranged in figure, wedge their way,
The mutual dependence of man on man, family on family, interest on interest, is but a chapter in the great law, not of corporations, but of nature. The law, by which commerce, manufactures, and agriculture support each other, is the same law, in virtue of which the thirsty earth owes its fertility to the rivers and the rains; and the clouds derive their high-travelling waters from the rising vapors; and the ocean is fed from the secret springs of the mountains; and the plant that grows derives its increase from the plant that decays; and all subsist and thrive, not by themselves but by others, in the great political economy of nature. The necessary cohesion of the parts of the political system is no more artificial, than the gravity of the natural system, in which planet is bound to planet, and all to the sun, and the sun to all. Insulate an interest in society, a family, or a man, and all the faculties and powers they possess will avail them little toward the great objects of life; in like manner, as not all the mysteriously combined elements of the earth around and beneath us, the light and volatile airs, that fill the atmosphere; not the electric fluid, which lies condensed and embattled in its cloudy magazines, or subtilely diffused through creation; not the volcanic fires that rage in the earth's bosom, nor all her mines of coal, and nitre and sulphur; nor fountains of naphtha, petroleum, or asphaltus ,—not all, combined and united, afford one beam of that common light, which sends man forth from his labors, and which is the sun's contribution to the system, in which we live. And yet the great natural system, the political, intellectual, moral
But ntences Thaore than
system, is artificial, as a legal fiction! “O that mine enemy had said it,” the admirers of Mr. Burke may well exclaim. O that some impious Voltaire, some ruthless Rousseau had uttered it. Had uttered it! Rousseau did utter the same thing; and more rebuked than any other error of this misguided genius, is his doctrine of the Social Contract, of which Burke has reasserted, and more than reasserted the principle, in the sentences I have quoted.
But no, fellow citizens; political society exists by the law of nature. Man is formed for it; every man is formed for it; every man has an equal right to its privileges, and to be deprived of them, under whatever pretence, is so far to be reduced to slavery. The authors of the Declaration of Independence saw this, and taught that all men are born free and equal. On this principle, our constitutions rest; and no constitution can bind a people on any other principle. No original contract, that gives away this right, can bind any but the parties to it. My forefathers could not, if they had wished, have stipulated to their king, that his children should rule over their children. By the introduction of this principle of equality it is, that the Declaration of Independence has at once effected a before unimagined extension of social privileges. Grant that no new blessing (which, however, can by no means with truth be granted,) be introduced into the world on this plan of equality, still it will have discharged the inestimable office of communicating, in equal proportion, to all the citizens, those privileges of the social union, which were before partitioned in an invidious gradation, profusely among the privileged orders, and parsimoniously among all the rest. Let me instance in the right of suffrage. The enjoyment of this right enters largely into the happiness of the social condition. I do not inean, that it is necessary to our happiness actually to exercise this right at every election ; but I say, the right itself to give our voice in the choice of public servants, and the management of public affairs, is so precious, so inestimable, that there is not
a citizen who hears me, that would not lay down his . life to assert it. This is a right unknown in every country but ours; I say unknown, because in England, whose institutions make the nearest approach to a popular character, the elective suffrage is not only incredibly unequal and capricious in its distribution; but extends, after all, only to the choice of a minority of one house of the legislature. Thus then the people of this country are, by their constitutions of government, endowed with a new source of enjoyment, elsewhere almost unknown; a great and substantial happiness; an: unalloyed happiness. Most of the desirable things of life bear a high price in the world's market. Every thing usually deemed a great good, must, for its attainment, be weighed down, in the opposite scale, with what is as usually deemed a great evil-labor, care, danger. It is only the unbought, spontaneous, essential circumstances of our nature and condition, that yield a liberal enjoyment. Our religious hopes, intellectual meditations, social sentiments, family affections, political privileges, these are springs of unpurchased happiness; and to condemn men to live under an arbitrary government, is to cut them off from nearly all the satisfactions, which nature designed should flow from those principles within us, by which a tribe of kindred men is constituted a people.
But it is not merely an extension to all the members of society, of those blessings, which, under other systems, are monopolized by a few;-great and positive improvements, I feel sure, are destined to flow from the introduction of the republican system. The first of these will be, to make wars less frequent, and finally to cause them to cease altogether. It was not a republican, it was the subject of a monarchy, and no patron of novelties, who said,
War is a game, which, were their subjects wise,
Kings would not play at. A great majority of the wars, which have desolated VOL. v.
mankind, have grown either out of the disputed titles and rival claims of sovereigns, or their personal character, particularly their ambition, or the character of their favorites, or some other circumstance evidently incident to a form of government which withholds from the people the ultimate control of affairs. And the more civilized men grow, strange as it may seem, the more universally is this the case. In the barbarous ages the people pursued war as an occupation; its plunder was more profitable, than their labor at home, in the state of general insecurity. In modern times, princes raise their soldiers by conscription, their sailors by impressment, and drive them at the point of the bayonet and dirk, into the battles they fight for reasons of state. But in a republic, where the people, by their representatives, must vote the declaration of war, and afterwards raise the means of its support, none but wars of just and necessary defence can be waged. Republics, we are told, indeed, are ambitious,-a seemingly wise remark, devoid of meaning. Man is ambitious; and the question is, where will his ambition be most likely to drive his country into war; in a monarchy where he has but to cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war,' or in a republic, where he must get the vote of a strong inajority of the nation ? Let history furnish the answer. The book, which promised you, in its title, a picture of the progress of the human family, turns out to be a record, not of the human family, but of the Macedonian family, the Julian family, the families of York and Lancaster, of Lorraine and Bourbon. We need not go to the ancient annals to confirm this remark. We need not speak of those, who reduced Asia and Africa, in the morning of the world, to a vassallage from which they have never recovered. We need not dwell on the more notorious exploits of the Alexanders and the Cæsars, the men who wept for other worlds to visit with the pestilence of their arms. We need not run down the bloody line of the dark ages, when the barbarous North disgorged her ambitious savages on Eu