Page:The Voice of Truth.djvu/38

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
28
VIEWS OF THE POWERS AND POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT.

restrictions of right, which too often appear as acts of legislators to pave the way to some favorite political schemes, as destitute of intrinsic merit as a wolf’s heart is of the milk of human kindness: a Frenchman would say, "prosqué tout àimer richesses êt pouvoir;" (almost all men like wealth and power.)

I must dwell on this subject longer than others, for nearly one hundred years ago that golden patriot, Benjamin Franklin, drew up a plan of union for the then colonies of Great Britain that now are such an independent nation, which among many wise provisions for obedient children under their father’s more rugged hand, had this:—"they have power to make laws, and lay and levy such general duties, imports, or taxes as to them shall appear most equal and just, (considering the ability and other circumstances of the inhabitants in the several colonies,) and such as may be collected with the least inconvenience to the people, rather discouraging luxury than loading industry with unnecessary burthens." Great Britain surely lacked the laudable humanity and fostering clemency to grant such a just plan of union—but the sentiment remains, like the land that honored its birth, as a pattern for wise men to study the convenience of the people more than the comfort of the cabinet.

And one of the most noble fathers of our freedom and country’s glory, great in war, great in peace, great in the estimation of the world, and great in the hearts of his countrymen, the illustrious Washington, said in his first inaugural address to Congress: "I behold the surest pledges that as, on one side, no local prejudices or attachments, no separate views or party animosities will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests, so, on another, that the foundations of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality, and the pre-eminence of free government be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens and command the respect of the world." Verily, here shines the virtue and wisdom of a statesman in such lucid rays, that had every succeeding Congress followed the rich instruction in all their deliberations and enactments, for the benefit and convenience of the whole community and the communities of which it is composed; no sound of a rebellion in South Carolina; no rupture in Rhode Island; no mob in Missouri expelling her citizens by Executive authority; corruption in the ballot-boxes; a border warfare between Ohio and Michigan; hard times and distress; outbreak upon