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time. The members of one department may in general be eligible to a place in another; but the acceptance of the latter ought to vacate the former. A separation into distinct bodies will be of little avail, if those bodies may be composed principally of the same individuals. The division of powers, will, in such case, be only matter of form ; they will remain substantially united. It may, however, be unnecessary to extend these distinctions to the lower grade of magistrates. It may be for them sufficient, that any office partaking of a judiciary nature, shall be incompatible with one that is in its nature executive.

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Most modern writers upon government, who have entertained any just notions of liberty, have contended for a distribution of the powers of government into three departments or branches, which are to constitute the legislature of the state. They would have one body of men representing the commonalty, a smaller body representing the more wealthy and honorable portion of the community, and an executive chief, whether king, president, or governor, representing the sovereignty of the state. These are to constitute three co-ordinate branches of the legislature, and for the purpose of maintaining an exact bala ance of the several interests in the state, are to have a mutual negative in passing all laws. The balance is to be supported


between these co-ordinate branches, and the liberties and happiness of the people secured by a mutual opposition of rights, interests and power.

These principles have been adopted from the form of the English government, where hereditary ranks and powers are coeval with the existence of the nation. But we are treating of a government formed by a people, where hereditary ranks and powers are happily unknown. For a people so situated, the first article of whose political creed is, that all men are born equal, and are by nature entitled to equal rights, to admit the necessity of such balance of opposing rights, powers, and interests, is to abandon their principles, and to confess that the laws of nature have indulged to certain classes of men different rights and privileges with distinct interests, and that the maintenance of those rights and privileges distinct and inviolable, is indispensably necessary to secure the liberty and happiness of the whole. This position is, on our principles, wholly inadmissible. There are inequalities among men; some have more bodily strength than others, some more strength of mind. Hence proceeds an inequality in power and in rich

The strong are able to trample on the weak, the cunning to circumvent the simple. But will it be maintained at this day, that they have a natural right to do this ? The right of acquisition is equal and common to all. The law of natural justice has laid it under this restriction only," so use your own right that you injure not the right of others.” My right of property, depending originally on my right of acquisition, is not injured, because another, by: the application of greater industry and economy, has brought more of the goods of fors tune within his right. If the law give a monopoly of riches, of power, and honors, and secure them to him against my claims of justice and of merit, it is an unjust violation of my rights. These are the darling principles of monarchy and aristocracy, Men are capable of being actuated by these principles. They are also capable of many vices. The one contributes no more to perfection in government than the other in moral conduct,one vice may be made to counteract another, and so one evil principle in government may be employed to divert the pernicious tendency of another evil principle. But surely, where dency,


they do not exist, it is better to prevent their very germination than to maintain a constant struggle against their evil ten

i In Great Britain, the balance of power maintained in the three branches of that government preserves that portion of liberty which is found among the people, a valuable portion indeed, compared with what is to be found in any other nation of the old world. That government, as we have seen, consist of a monarchy, an aristocracy and a popular branch with co-ordinate powers. Two of these branches claim distinct and hereditary rights. These rights, as far as they extend, place the claim only beyond the reach of one branch of the laws of nature, the law of accountability to man. If these orders have been established in a state, and are to be supported, power must be opposed to power, authority to authority, as a means of self-defence in each. The prerogatives of the crown, and the privileges of the nobility are in diminution of the rights of the people. They are hereditary, and law and custom deem them inherent in the very blood;-their honors, their privileges, and their crimes are held to be above the judgment of the people.

The powers and rights of the monarch are exercised on the same subject,--the people. The restraint of one, as between themselves, is an enlargement of the other. Both are, in their origin, unfounded in natural principles. It is, in some measure a matter of indifference to the people, which has the exercise. These claims of right and power are placed in opposition, and mutual jealousy, sometimes breaking forth into open enmity, is the natural consequence. Every union of their interests, every compromise of their power is à conspiracy against the rights of the people, who have, at times, been justly provoked to assert their injured rights against both. As the claims of the monarch and the nobles are hostile to the rights of the people, so the people are naturally hostile to both. Thus there is constituted in the government, a perpetual war of each against the other, or at best, an armed truce, attended with constant negotiations, and shifting combinations, as if to prevent mutual destruction ; each party in its turn uniting with its enemy against a more powerful enemy.

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The history of the English nation, from the time of William the Conqueror, furnishes an incontestable proof of this truth, It is little more than a history of the usurpation of the king and the nobles on the rights of the people; struggles between the king and the nobles for the greatest share in the usurpation and the opposition of the people to both. What a scene of treachery, faction, and all the horrors of civil war, the legitimate offspring of such principles in their progress is constantly exhibited to our view. At this day great advancement in knowledge has happily introduced into their constitution a better adjustment of opposing claims; and from the cultivation of the social virtues, those contests have lost their ferocity. What was formerly attempted by open violence is now often effected by the silent, though not less fatal means of corruption. It is the pestilence that walketh in darkness, succeeding to the destruction that wasteth at noon day.

By the constitution of that government, the demoeratic branch, the representatives of the commons, are become the only depository, and from interest, the only safe guardians of the people's rights. But with these, arising from the nature of the government and the frailties incident to human nature, temptations to betray their trust, and to desert to the opposite ranks, too often prevail. False notions of greatness, hope of office or of rising to the higher orders, and the desire of wealth, the necessary scaffolding of ambition, open wide the door to corruption. Hence, means are not unfrequently found to silence the boldest champion for liberty, and lay prostrate the stubborn virtues of the patriot. And why should a people, where such established orders do not exist, go so much out of their way to erect or cherish powers and interests hostile to each other, which cannot consist with common liberty, and are dangerous to virtue itself.

We, however, reject these principles, only for ourselves, and for those in a similar situation, among whom no such artificial distinctions exist. We readily admit, that with a people, where ranks and orders, a hereditary monarchy and a hereditary nobility, have so long existed, as to beeome interwoven with the constitution of the state, and of the human mind itself, the British constitution in its present improved state with its checks and balances, by intervening a third and popular branch, is for them the best form'; and indeed, --if we may trust to the experience of some of the first and most enlightened nations of the old world, the only form of government which can permanently secure to such a people, any considerable portion of happiness, any portion of civil and political rights and liberty.

I am well aware that the necessity of a balance, constituted by an opposition of powers, in every government whatever, has been advocated by an authority which will always be respected. It has been insisted that the distinction of the one, the few, and the many, exists naturally among mankind, that is, the principles of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, and that in our representative form of government, for the accommodation of these classes, the adjustment of their several interests, and to guard against an undue preponderance of either, that might prove injurious, a division has been inade of the governing powers into three co-ordinate branches; a single executive chief representing the monarch, a senate representing the aristocratic branch, and the representatives of the people, being the democratic - branch. But if we are not wholly deceived in the principles we have been endeavoring to establish, this opinion, although once and perhaps still entertained by some of our first and best men, is nevertheless erroneous. The opinion was, probably; derived from a habit of adducing the reasons of our institutions from British authorities, whence we have derived many of our forms, without sufficiently reflecting on the different nature of the governments, and that the same forms may be adopted in different institutions upon different principles and for very different reasons.

The distinctions insisted on, as forming a natural aristocracy among men, are birth, (or being descended of a respectable family,) wealth, and talents. These are certainly the occasion of individual distinctions; but they are incidental and fluctuating. The laws of nature have given them no permanency experience has proved, that neither birth nor riches, if not unduly favored by political institutions, give any permanent or dangerous pre-eminence, or create any real interest not in accordance with that of the whole. The pre-eminence of

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