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deficiency in one or all of these, he will be liable to a deviation from right, and every deviation, by changing the force of habit to the weaker side, will strengthen and confirm the bias. He, therefore, who in life and action would persevere in a course of virtue, must beware, how he indulges any deception on his moral discernment, any bias upon his reason or any relaxation of his sense of accountability. Free a man from his sense of accountability only, he is left to the dominion of his passions and appetites, and driven precipitately into vice; it is like detaching the balance of a watch in motion.

That branch of the sense of accountability by which a man perceives that his actions are of right, subjected to the praise

censure of his fellow men, is not least efficacious in preserving the balance of his moral powers; yet his sense of accountability to them may become extinct, from the situation merely, in which he may be placed. Place him, in a situation to consider himself either above or below the regard of his fellow men, he will no longer feel himself accountable to them for his conduct. He, who in such a situation, can maintain the guard of his virtue, and successfully resist the solicitations of his passions and appetites, the covert approaches, and the open attacks of vice, must be something more than human. Such is the original adjustment of the moral constitution of man, its parts, connexions, and dependencies, mutually supporting and supported, that not a pin can be loosened, without endangering a derangement of the whole structure.

That political situation which places a man in any degree of independence on those, over whom he exercises a power, in the same degree cherishes the emotions of pride, and transforms that which before was only a contempt of what is low, mean and unworthy of the man, into haughtiness, under the name of grandeur. It engenders a contempt for men, and extinguishes those sentiments which ought to subject his conduct to their approbation or censure, according to his desert. Such has been more or less the situation of all hereditary monarchs on the globe ; of all aristocracts and aristocratical bodies ; of all men in authority; who have had, or have conceived themselves to bave the ability to continue their authority independent of those, over whom it was exercised; in a word such is the

situation of all who hold their power in contempt of the people, they govern. A situation not indulged to man by the laws of his nature, and which providence has often, though hitherto with little effect, warned him, by the pernicious consequences, not to intrust to any one of the race. The wonder is not that men, in such a situation, should have been guilty of so many vices, but that they should have exhibited even a few virtues; how few have been those virtues, could we strip the actions of princes and nobles of the false glare of character, we should learn from every page of their history.

Instances of constant and flagrant abuse of power, by men thus situated, demonstrably prove that it is dangerous to exceed the limits of our nature, to step beyond the limits of its laws, but they prove no original malignity in man. In a different situation within the limits assigned, by the laws of human nature, men have administered the powers of government, with the greatest abilities and the most exalted virtues, for the sole good of the community. May we not instance more than one, may we not instance many examples in these United States ? In situations in which rulers have held themselves fully accountable to the general sentiments of the people for the exercise of the powers, with which they were intrusted, they have condueted with as much integrity and virtue as have been exhibited in the more private scenes of life. It must be allowed that few such situations have been devised by political wisdom.

When any people are capable of forming a constitution of government, on natural principles, and establishing a power of administration within the limits of those principles, they will be able to secure themselves from the danger of all exorbitant abuses. Care must always be taken, that the ruler shall feel in a proper degree, his responsibility to the people, for his public conduct, and to provide, that he shall administer, not his own powers, but the powers of government intrusted to him as a sacred deposit.

If, then, the observations here made, upon this subject are just, and the reasoning correct, we may say, whatever human institutions have done, nature has not disqualified man for any of the functions of civil government.


Of the necessity of civil laws and government.

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Having in the preceding chapters shown, that men, by the constitution of their common nature, are fitted and designed for civil government, we shall conclude this part of the subject, by an inquiry into the nature and origin of the necessity by which they are compelled to enter into that state.

As was formerly observed, some have thought, the necessity arises, solely, from the perverseness of human nature. They assert, that men have, inherent in their nature, a relish for vice, an original propensity to evil, to restrain the malignity of which, they were laid under the necessity of civil government and laws; that true virtue, genuine benevolence, would haye carried them happily through the most complicated scenes, that could have fallen to their lot in society. How the account stands between them and their Maker, it is not my present purpose to inquire. I shall observe only, that their civil and political conduct does not avow a consciousness of such depravity of nature. They appear, in all cases, where no particular bias of passion or interest is discoverable, to have full reliance on the justice, integrity, and veracity of each other.

Some, who have entertained less gloomy views of human nature, have holden, that the necessity arises from the weakness only of individuals, requiring mutual aid for the supplying of their mutual wants, and protection against physical evils. This, however, would lead no farther than the social state. It would not, alone, induce the necessity of civil government, We have seen that man was, by nature, intended for the latter state, and we shall now find, arising from his nature, a necessity for adopting it; but, a necessity different from what has been



suggested. Although men have a relish for society; although it is the scene of their improvements, and the great source of their happiness; yet no goodness of heart can enable them to enjoy its benefits, without an establishment of laws. Perception, consciousness, and volition, or those powers which originate and direct external action in men, belong to them individually. A society consisting of a number of individuals, can have no common, united perception, consciousness, or volition. Could this be the case, a society might will, and, by the single act of volition, direct and control the actions of all and every member, with the same ease and regularity, with which an individual directs and controls the motions of his body and its members. But this is denied to man in the aggregate, and in every combination of society. The will of a society is made up of the wills of the individual members, collected. Had man been formed with faculties enabling him, with an intuitive glance, to penetrate and comprehend the individual wills of all the members of the society, and of all whose conduct might, in any way, affect it; to penetrate and comprehend the passions, appetites, and pursuits of every individual ; in a word to comprehend all the causes, by which God governs the actions of moral agents; were he endued with reason sufficient to arrange the whole, so as to prevent every interference in human pursuit ; goodness of heart and firmness of mind, to enable him to pursue the arrangement; in such a state both of knowledge and disposition, he would stand in no need of civil laws, or rules prescribed by common consent, for the regulation of social conduct. But such a state falls not to the lot of any finite being.

Our positive knowledge, both of the present and past, is partial and depends on actual and accurate observation. There is, however, given us some clue to the future. We are able to perceive certain relations of cause and effect; and as far as experience leads, we find a uniformity in the course of nature. We discover some of the causes and some of the laws, by which physical effects are produced in a chain; while of others we are wholly ignorant, or can at best, obtain but an imperfect glimpse. Much more imperfect is our knowledge of the causes that produce and vary human actions, subject to

the influence of motives, to the choice of the agent and to those causes that govern and connect the chain of human events. In an extensive society, individuals can have but a limited knowledge of the present actions of the whole. Their knowledge of the intentions and causes, upon which future actions depend, is 'much more limited; or rather is reduced to conjecture. We are able to gain some knowledge of the leading principles of action, of the motives, which generally prevail, and of the species of action, which they will produce, in certain characters and in certain situations. To descend to every situation, to every character, and thence to learn, fully, the particular influence of motives, and the individual actions that will follow in each, is far beyond the reach of human sagacity

In a society composed of any considerable number of individuals, and of any considerable activity, there will be many and very different situations. The influence of nature with different persons will be very different.' They will have a variety of distinct interests and pursuits, and those not at all, or very imperfectly, known to each other, in their origin. However innocent and right those interests and pursuits may be, when considered separately, they will by frequent, though unintentional, interferences and oppositions, form a scene too intricate for the powers of the human mind to evolve. Could we suppose every person in the society to be actuated by principles of the most disinterested benevolence, and the most accommodating spirit, the whole time must be consumed in compromise ; none would be left for action. Without a social perception, consciousness, and volition, with any goodness, and with any wisdom, short of infinite, the state of society would, at best, be a scene of inextricable confusion. To remedy this confusion, nature has pointed out to man the necessity of civil establishments, and the promulgation of laws. Here is a provision analogous to his nature. By the establishment of laws, which all the individuals of the community have become bound to observe, as the rules of their future conduct, each is enabled to foresee, with a sufficient degree of certainty, the future interests and pursuits of others. By following the line prescribed, all may avoid any considerable inconvenience, or

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