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shreds, which, however well in the whole piece, make no considerable addition to his stock who gathers them. Such borrowed wealth, like fairy money, though it were gold in the hand from which he received it, will be but leaves and dust when it comes
“How many men have no other ground for their tenets than the supposed honesty, or learning, or number, of those of the same profession! As if honest or bookish men could not err, or truth were to be established by the vote of the 'multitude; yet this, with most men, serves the turn."
« All men are liable to error, and most men are, in many points, by passion or interest, under temptation to it. If we could but see the secret motives that influenced the men of name and learning in the world, and the leaders of parties, we should not always find that it was the embracing of truth, for its own sake, that made them espouse the doctrines they owned and maintained. This at least is certain, there is not an opinion so absurd which a man may not receive upon this ground. There is no error to be named, which has not had its professors; and a man shall never want crooked paths to walk in, if he thinks
that he is in the right way wherever he has the footsteps of others to follow."
It is not hence to be inferred, however, that the opinions and the judgment of the wise and the good are to be disregarded, and more especially are we not permitted to treat with irreverence the political doctrines and maxims of the fathers of the republic, whose wisdom and counsel, and devoted patriotism, gave being to the Declaration of our independence and the Constitution of our country. In the fundamental principles of our Government, on what can the American mind and faith repose with as much confidence and safety as the expositions contained in the “Federalist, an incomparable commentary of three of the greatest statesmen of their age,” in the extraordinary judgments of the supreme judicial tribunal, and the solid wisdom embodied in the constitutional commentaries of those who have imparted dignity and purity to the moral ermine which ornaments that august tribunal.
Nor can the American people look to any source more entitled to their confidence, for an exposition of the essential principles of our Government, and, consequently, those which ought to shape its administration, than to the farewell address of the Father
of his country,” (contained in this compilation,) and to the principles proclaimed by the Fathers” of the memorable Declaration and of the immortal Constitution, when respectively “called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country.”
Thomas Jefferson declared those principles to be “Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political ; for having banished from our land that religious intolerance, under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little, if we countenance a political intolerance, as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions : peace, commerce, and honest friendship, with all nations, entangling alliances with none; the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns, and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies; the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad ; a jealous care of the right of election by the people ; a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution, where peaceable remedies are unprovided; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the major
ity, the vital principle of republics, from which 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 burthened; the honest payment of our debts, and sacred preservation of the public faith ; encouragement of
l agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid ; the diffusion of information, and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the 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
and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages, and 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 of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps, and to re
gain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety.”.
James Madison, equally pursuing the principles of the Constitution, declared the purposes of Government to be:
"To cherish peace and friendly intercourse with all nations having correspondent dispositions; to maintain sincere neutrality towards belligerent nations; to prefer, in all cases, amicable discussion and reasonable accommodation of differences, to a decision of them by an appeal to arms; to exclude foreign intrigues and foreign partialitics, so degrading to all countries, and so baneful to free ones; to foster a spirit of independence, too just to invade the rights of others, too proud to surrender our own, too liberal to indulge unworthy prejudices ourselves, and too elevated not to look down upon them in others; to hold the union of the States as the basis of their peace and happiness; to support the Constitution, which is the cement of the Union, as well in its limitations as in its authorities; to respect the rights and authorities reserved to the States and to the people, as equally incorporated with, and essential to the success of, the general system; to avoid the slightest interference with the rights of conscience, or the functions of re