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but an abject fubmission to their occasional will ; extinguifhing thereby, in all those who ferve: them, all moral principle, all fense of dignity, all use of judgment; and all consistency of character, whilft by the very fame process they give tliemselves up a proper, a suitable, but a most contemptible prey to the servile ambition of popular fycophants or courtly flatterers. * When the people have emptied themselves of all the luft of felfish will, which without religion it is utterly impoffible they ever should, when they are conscious that they exercise, and exercife perhaps in an higher link of the order of delegation, the power, which to be legitimate muít be according to that eternal immutable law, in which will and reason are the fame, they will be more careful how they place power, in bafe and incapable hands. In their nomination to office, they will not appoint to the exercife of authority, as to a pitiful job, but as to an holy function; not according to their fordid felfish interest, nor to their wanton caprice, nor their arbitrary will; but they will confer that power (which any man may well tremble to give or to receive) on those only, in whom they may discern that predominant proportion of active virtue and wisdom, taken together and fitted to the charge, fuch, as in the great and inevitable mixed mass of human imperfections and infirmities, is to be found.
When they are habitually convinced that no evil can be acceptable, either in the act or the permilion, to him whose essence is good, they
will be better able to extirpare out of the minds of all magistrates, civil, ecclesiastical, or military, any thing that bears the least resemblance to a proud and lawless domination.
But one of the first and moft leading principles on which the commonwealth and the laws are confecrated, is left the temporary poffeffors and life-renters in it, unmindful of what they have received from their ancestors, or of what is due to their pofterity, should act as if they were the entire masters; that they should not think it amongst their rights to cut off the entail; or commit waste on the inheritance, by destroying at theit pleasure the whole original fabric of their fociety; hazarding to leave to those who come after them, a ruin inftead of an habitation and teaching these successors as little to respect their contrivances, as they had theinfelves respected the institutions of their forefathers. By this unprincipled facility of changing the state as often, and as much, and in as many ways as there are floating fancies or fashions, the whole chain and continuity of the commonwealth would be broken. No one generation could link with the other. Mén would become little better than the flies of a fummer.
And first of all the science of jurisprudence, the pride of the human intellect, which, with all its defects, redundancies, and errors, is the collected reason of ages, combining the principles of original justice with the infinite variety of human concerns, as a heap of old exploded errors, would be no longer studied.
Personal self-sufficiency and arrogance (the cere tain attendants upon all those who have never experienced a wisdom greater than their own) would usurp the tribunal. Of course, no certain laws, establishing invariable grounds of hope and fear, would keep the actions of men in a certain course, or direct them to a certain end. Nothing stable in the modes of holding property, or exercising function, could form a solid ground on which any parent could fpeculate in the education of his offspring, or in a choice for their future establishment in the world. No principles would be early worked into the habits, As foon as the most able instructor had completed his laborious course of institution, instead of fending forth his pupil, accomplished in a virtuous discipline, fitted to procure him attention and respect, in his place in society, he would find every thing altered; and that he had turned out a poor creature to the contempt and derision of the world, ignorant of the true grounds of estimation. Who would insure a tender and de. licate sense of honour to beat almost with the first pulses of the heart, when no man could know what would be the test of honour in a nation, continually varying the standard of its coin? No part of life would retain its acquisitions. . Barbarism with regard to science and literature, unskilfulness with regard to arts and manufactures, would infailibly succeed to the want of a steady education and settled principle ; and thus the commonwealth itself would, in a few generations, crumble away, be disconnected into the
dust and powder of individuality, and at length dispersed to all the winds of heaven.
To avoid therefore the evils of inconstancy and versatility, ten thousand times worse than those of obstinacy and the blindest prejudice, we have confecrated the state, that no man should approach to look into defects or corruptions but with due caution ; that he should never dream of beginning its reformation by its subversion; that he fhould approach to the faults of the state as to the wounds of a father, with pious awe and trembling follicitude. By this wise prejudice we are taught to look with horror on those children of their country who are prompt rashly to hack that aged parent in pieces, and put
him into the kettle of magicians, in hopes that by their poisonous weeds, and wild incantations, they may regenerate the paternal constitution, and renovate their father's life.
Society is indeed a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects of mere occasional interest may be dissolved at pleasure-but the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, callico or tobacco, or some other such low concern, to be taken up for a little temporary interest, and to be diffolved by the fancy of the parties. It is to be looked on with other reverence; because it is not a partnership in things fubfervient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art ; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the
ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those wlio are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primæval contract of eternal fociety, linking the lower with the higher natures, connecting the visible and invisible world, according to a fixed compact fanctioned by the inviolable oath which holds all physical and all moral natures, each in their appointed place. This law is not subject to the will of thofe, who by an obligation above them, and infinitely fuperior, are bound to submit their will to that law. The municipal corporations of that univerfal kingdom are not morally at liberty at their pleasure, and on their speculations of a contingent improvement, wholly to separate and tear afunder the bands of their subordi. nate community, and to diffolve it into an unfocial, uncivil, unconnected chãos. of elementary principles. It is the first and fupreme ne ceffity only, a necessity that is not chosen but choofes, a neceflity paramount to deliberation, that admies no discussion, and demands no evii dence, which alone can justify a resort to anarchy. This neceflity is no exception to the rule ; be cause this neceffity itself is a part too of that moral and physical disposition of things to which man must be obedient by consent or force ; but if that which is only submission to necessity hould be made the object of choice, the law is