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jealousies and fears. So numerous indeed and so powerful are the causes
which serve to give a false bias to the judgment, that we, upon many
occasions, see wise and good men on the wrong as well as on the right
side of questions of the first magnitude to society. This circumstance,
if duly attended to, would furnish a lesson of moderation to those who
are ever so much persuaded of their being in the right in any
controversy. And a furt her reas on for caution, in this respect, might be
drawn from the reflection that we are not always sure that those who
advocate the truth are influenced by purer principles than their
antagonists. Ambition, avarice, personal animosity, party opposition,
and many other motives not more laudable than these, are apt to operat e
as well upon those who support as those who oppose the right side of a
question. Were there not even these inducements to moderation, nothing
could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit whic h has, at all
times, characterized political parties. For in politics, as in religion,
it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword.
Heresies in either can rarely be cured by pers ecution.
And yet, however just these sentiments will be allowed to be, we have
already sucient indications that it will happen in this as in all
former cases of great national discussion. A torrent of angry and
malignant passions will be let loose. To judge from the conduct of the
opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually
hope to evince the justness of their opinions, and to increase the
number of their converts by the loudness of their declamations and the
bitterness of their invectives. An enlightened zeal for the energy and
eciency of government will be stigmatized as the ospring of a
temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty.
An over-scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which
is more commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be
represented as mere pretense and artifice, the stale bait for popularity
at the expens e of the public good. It will be forgotten, on the one
hand, that jealousy is the usual concomitant of love, and that the noble
enthusiasm of liberty is apt to be infected with a spirit of narrow and
illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that
the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that,
in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their
interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more
often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the
people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and
eciency of government. History will teach us that the former has been
found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the
latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of
republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an
obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending
In the course of the preceding observations, I have had an eye, my
fellow-citizens, to putting you upon your guard against all attempts,
from whatever quarter, to influence your decision in a matter of the
utmost moment to your welfare, by any impressions other than those which
may result from the evidence of truth. You will, no doubt, at the same
time, have collected from the general scope of them, that they procee d
from a sourc e not unfriendly to the new Constitution. Yes, my
countrymen, I own to you that, after having given it an attentive
consideration, I am clearly of opinion it is your interest to adopt it.
I am convinced that this is the safest course for your liberty, your