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not be a machine. He takes care not to add to his own natural selfishness the selfishness of ten thousand other persons; for he will not be a blind leader of the blind. He is for his party, indeed, but yet more for his country; and for God above all.

* God and my right, is the motto engraven on the arms of a king; but upon his living bosom is stamped the impress of a nobler motto, * God and my country!"

There is also a theory of opposition to the government--the beau ideal of an opposition-man, which, it were to be wished, were more considered than it is. To pull down and destroy is not, in ordinary circumstances, the legitimate end of an opposition ; but it is to limit, to control, to correct, and thus ultimately to assist. It is not to look upon the government as a hostile power, that has made a lodgment in the country, and is to be expelled by a party war; but as a lawfully constituted power, that is to be watched, restrained, and kept from going wrong. Still, it is the government of our country, and is to be respected. Still, it is the government of our country, and is to be regarded with a candid, and, I had almost said, a filial spirit. Its officers are not to be assailed with scurrilous abuse, nor its departments to be degraded by vile epithets. There is a certain consideration and dignity to be preserved by an opposition: if not—if its spirit is altogether factions and faultfinding; if it rejoices over the errors of an administration—it so far loses all respectability ; it shows that it is not so anxious for a good government, as to be itself the government.

Oppositions, then-parties, party arguments and measures, all have their legitimate sphere. But now, I say, in the second place, that when they transcend their sphere, when they overleap the bounds of morality, they become engines of evil and peril to the country.

The only sound and safe principle, I must continually insist, is that which binds morals and politics in indissoluble union; which admits of no compromise, exception, or question; which will hear of nothing as expedient that is at variance with truth and justice. Politics are to have no scale of morality graduated to their exigencies. That which is wrong everywhere else, is wrong here; that which is wrong for every other body of men, is wrong for a party. A bad man, in every other relation, is a bad man for the country; he may, indeed, chance to espouse some right measure; but he who is devoid of all principle in private life, can give no satisfactory pledge that he will be governed by any principle in public life.

The evils of forsaking the moral guidance in political affairs, are various and vast, and they demand the most serious consideration; they more deeply concern the country than any peril to its visible prosperity; they are such, that they demand our most solemn meditation in our holiest hours and places.

The tendency of political action, when set free from moral restraint, is to break down all personal independence in the country. Parties, then, demand, not honesty, but service, of their votaries. Governments strengthen themselves by bribery and corruption. Oppositions take the same arms, and, in their hour of success, retort the same measures. Abuses become precedents, and precedents multiply abuses. Every new administration, every generation of politicians, becomes not wiser, but worse than their predecessors, their fathers. The tendency of things, without moral restraint, is ever downwards. Already have we


arrived at that stage of deterioration, when you will find many respectable and honest men in the country, blinded by reasonings like these : “Why should not an administration,” they say, “reward its friends and supporters? What is it, but righting the wrongs done by a previous administration? What is it, in fact, but choosing its friends, rather than its enemies, to help it to carry on the government?” I will grant, that this must be done, in regard to its immediate council, its cabinet. But when it extends beyond this to subordinate officers, what is it but a system of favouritism and proscription, fatal to all public virtue? Honesty then becomes a discarded and persecuted virtue; and mere blind, unscrupulous party zeal becomes the only passport to honours and emoluments. Honourable citizenship is sunk in base partisanship: The entire national dignity, so far as it is connected with its political action-freedom, franchise, patriotism, self-respect—all is merged in a vile scramble for office. The national conscience is sold in the market; the national honour is all bowed down to the worship of interest; the corrupted nation sets up a golden calf, in place of the Divinity of pristine and holy truth; and not the Israelites at the footstool of God's manifested presence were more debased and sacrilegious idolaters.

The destruction of mutual confidence and respect is another evil connected with our party strifes, and to me it is one of the most painful.

Pass through the different party circles of the country, and what shall you hear? In the course of a single day, you shall hear every public man in the country charged with a total want of principle ; you shall hear this coustantly from men of the greatest sobriety and weight of character. Not one man in public life, high enough to be a mark for observation, shall escape this tremendous proscription. If you open the newspapers, in the hope, by some patient reading and investigation, to ascertain what the truth is, you find yourself immediately launched upon a sea of doubts. Every fact, every measure, every man,

is represented in such different lights, that you are totally at a loss, so far as that testimony goes, what to believe. You are in a worse condition than a juror, vexed by contrary pleadings; you have no judge to help you, and the whole country is filled with party pleadings, without law or precedent, without rule or restraint. You soon come to feel, as if nothing less than the devotion of a whole life can enable you thoroughly to understand the questions that are brought before

stions that are brought before you; but you have no life to give; you have something else to do. There is, indeed, one way to find relief; and it is the common way. It is to believe everything that one party says, and nothing that another says: but he must altogether abjure his reason, who believes that this is the way to come at the truth. And yet this is the course usually adopted; and men are reading their favourite journals the year round, not to get their minds enlightened, and their judgments. corrected, but only to have their passions inflamed and their prejudices confirmed.

Thus, the grand instrument of public opinion is broken. A sound and virtuous public opinion is the only safeguard of the country; and yet men lay their hands upon it as recklessly as if it were given them to practice upon, and to pervert and poison at their pleasure; as if this great surrounding atmosphere of thought, which invests and sustains the people, were but a laboratory for the experiments of ingenuity and tricks of legerdemain.


Thus, I say, confidence is fallen, and with it is fallen mutual respect. What respect can there be between parties, who are constantly accusing one another of fraud and perjury, of the worst practices, and the basest ends? What respect between editors of journals, who are daily charging each other with intrigue, malignity, and wilful falsehood? Can any honourable mind desire this state of things? Can nothing be done to introduce a new morality, a new courtesy into our discussions ? Must our conflicts always be of this bad and brutal character? Is it not the inevitable tendency of this fierce and blasting recrimination to blunt the sense of honour? Instead of feeling “a stain like a wound," a man is likely to come out of such conflicts seared and scaled all over, as with the mail of leviathan. I confess, that I look with more respect upon the gentle courtesy of the old chivalry, upon the mad sense of honour defended in the tournament, upon the bloody battling of national pride and jealousy, than upon the abusive and outrageous language of our party strifes. All this, too, in a time of peace! All this for difference of opinion, on grave and difficult questions, upon which men may lawfully and honestly differ! Opponents for such cause treating one another like ruffians! Reputation, the life, the more than life of a man, stabbed and slain in the shambles of this political butchery! Tell us not, men of the world! of our religious disputes. Talk not of our odium theologicum. Say nothing of the contentions of professional men, or of the quarrels of authors. Their sound is scarcely heard now, nor is it likely any more to be audible in this land; for it is all lost in the loud strife and fierce battle of politics that is, every year and every month, rising and raging around us.

And the tendency of all this, in fine, is to debase and brutalize the country. Personal independence beaten down; mutual confidence and respect prostrated; moral deterioration follows as a natural consequence. I do not forget to limit the observation. I know that political action is not the whole action of the country. I do not say, that the national character is all sunk to the point of its political derelictions; by no means: but this I say, that immorality in politics, so far as it can take effect, tends to debase and brutalize the country; it tends to corrupt the public sentiment, and to degrade private virtue. No man is so pure, but he is vilified without mercy by the opposite party; no man is so base, so vicious, and criminal, but he is sustained without conscience by his own. It tends to divest the franchise of all dignity, and the government of all venerableness. Let politics be separated from principle, from a high and commanding morality, and, instead of the calm majesty of a free people at the polls, we shall see the brawls of a vulgar election; and, instead of a magnanimous and self-poised government, a miserable, timeserving, place-keeping faction!

But I must check myself. I ought not, for your patience' sake, to enlarge on this topic; though, alas! it were too easy to do so. Is it not possible, I have said, to introduce a new morality, a new courtesy into our political disputes? And little as you may imagine that this question is thought of, yet I am persuaded, that there are thousands of lofty minds that ask it, with eagerness it may be, with sighing, and almost with despair. But I am persuaded that it is possible. Even if the pulpit would do its duty, I persuade myself, that much would be accomplished. If, leaving barren polemics and useless abstractions, it would address itself to this momentous theme of the nation's moral well-being; if, among the duties which men owe to men, it would, solemnly and emphatically, place the duties they owe to their country, it could not be without some effect. Sad and lamentable, that, in a country like this, the pulpit should be wanting to such a trust! Yes, it is possible to do something, to do everything. Possible, did I say? How easy were it! It is but for every writer and speaker to the country to charge himself to speak and write with fairness, candour, and courtesy; for every citizen to vote honestly; for every legislator and ruler to act as one who has sworn at the altar of truth, in the sight of Heaven. Oh! come, holy truth, easier than falsehood! primeval virtue, better than victory! and that which the sages of the world, the prophets of human hope, looking over the ages, have sighed to behold, shall appear-a free and happy community—a free, lofty, and selfgoverned people!



JEREMIAH XXX, 21 : “And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their gover

nors shall proceed from the midst of them.”

The subject on which I am about to address you, is the blessing of freedom; the advantages of that political condition in which we are placed.

There are various causes in operation which tend to lessen in us the due sense of these advantages. Extravagance of praise; asserting too much with regard to any principle; overdrawn statements of its nature, and perpetual boasting of its effects, are likely in all cases, sooner or later, to bring about a reaction. I think we are now witnessing something of this reaction. The abuses of the principle of liberty also; the outbreakings of popular violence, mobs, and tumults, prostrating the law under foot; and the tyranny moreover of legal majorities; and, withal, the bitter animosities of party strife, and the consequent incessant fluctuations of public policy, constantly deranging the business of the country; all these things are leading some to say, but with more haste and rashness than wisdom, “ I must think, that even political oppression and injustice, which should make all strong, and firm, and permanent, would be better than that state of things in which we live.” Add to all this, that the blessings which are common, like the air we breathe and the light of day-blessings which are invested with the familiar livery of our earliest and most constant experience--are apt to pass by us unregarded; while the evils of life, calamities and concussions of the elements, shipwrecks, and storms, and earthquakes, rise into portentous and heart-thrilling significance; and we see another and final reason why the advantages of our political condition are liable to be undervalued. We have departed just far enough from those days in which the battle for freedom was fought, to substitute indifference and complaint for the old enthusiasm and devotion. Indeed, it

appears to me, that the time has come, not only in this country, but on the theatre of the world's public opinion, when the merits of popular representative government are to be thoroughly examined. In fact, they were never brought into such controversy all over the world, as they are at this moment. Nay, even in this country, strange as it may seem, there is, in some minds at least, such a contro versy. But, in England, the question about giving supreme dominion to the public will, is the great, the ultimate, and vital question of the day. That question, too, is penetrating into France and Germany;

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