Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 1.djvu/215

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204
Ch. 7.
HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.

the vital principle of republics, from which there is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism; a well-disciplined militia,—our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority; economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burdened; the honest payment of our debts, and sacred preservation of the public faith; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid; the diffusion of information, and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of public reason; freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected;—these principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and the blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment; they should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety."

From the metaphors in which these principles appeared as a constellation, a creed, a text, a touchstone, and a road, the world learned that they had already guided the American people through an age of revolution. In fact, they were mainly the principles of President Washington, and had they been announced by a Federalist President, would have created little remonstrance or surprise. In Jefferson's