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Chapter IV.



A man deceives himself oftener than he misleads others; and he does injustice from his errors, when his principles are all on the side of rectitude. To exhort him to overcome his prejudices, is like telling a blind man to see. He may be disposed to overcome them, and yet be unable because they are unknown to himself. When prejudice is once known, it is no longer prejudice, it becomes corruption; but so long as it is not known, the possessor cherishes it without guilt; he feels indignation for vice, and pays homage to virtue; and yet does injustice. It is the apprehension that you may thus mistake-that you may call your prejudices principles, and believe them such, and that their effects may appear to you the fruits of virtue; which leads us so anxiously to repeat the request, that you would examine your hearts, and ascertain that you do not come here with partial minds. In ordinary cases there is no reason for precaution. Jurors are so appointed by the institutions of our country, as to place them out of the reach of improper influence on common occasions; at least as much so as frail humanity will permit.

But when a cause has been a long time the subject of party discussion-when every man among us belongs to one party or the other, or at least is so considered the necessary consequence must be, that opinion will progress one way that the stream of incessant exertion will wear a channel in the public mind; and the current may be strong enough to carry away those who may be jurors, though they know not how, or when, they received the impulse that hurries them forward.

I am fortunate enough not to know, with respect to most of you, to what political party you belong. Are you republican federalists?, I ask you to forget it; leave all your political opinions behind you; for it would be more mischievous, that you should acquit the defendant from the influence of these, than that an innocent man, by mistake, should be convicted. In the latter case, his would be the misfortune, and to him would it be confined; but in the other, you violate the principle, and the consequence may be ruin. Consider what would be the effect of an impression on the public mind, that in consequence of party opinion and feelings, the defendant was acquitted. Would there still be recourse to the laws, and to the justice of the country? Would the passions of the citizen, in a moment of phrenzy, be calmed by looking forward to the decision of courts of law for justice? Rather every individual would become the avenger of imaginary transgression-Violence would be repaid with violence: havoc would produce havoc ; and instead of a peaceable recurrence to the tribunals of justice, the spectre of civil discord would be seen stalking through our streets, scattering desolation, misery and crimes.

Such may be the consequences of indulging political prejudice on this day; and if so, you are amenable to your country and your God. This I say to you who are federalists; and have I not as much right to speak thus to those who are democratic republicans? That liberty which you cherish with so much ardour depends on your preserving yourselves impartial in a court of justice. It is proved by the history of man, at least of civil society, that the moment the judicial power becomes corrupt, liberty expires. What is liberty but the enjoyment of your rights, free from outrage or danger? And what security have you for these, but an impartial adminis tration of justice? Life, liberty, reputation, property, and domestic happiness, are all under its peculiar protection. It is the judicial power, uncorrupt

ted, that brings to the dwelling of every citizen, all the blessings of civil society, and makes it dear to man. Little has the private citizen to do with the other branches of government. What to him are the great and splendid events that aggrandize a few eminent men and make a figure in history? His domestic happiness is not less real because it will not be recorded for posterity: but this happiness is his no longer than courts of justice protect it. It is true, injuries cannot always be prevented; but while the fountains of justice are pure, the sufferer is sure of

a recompense.

Contemplate the intermediate horrors and final despotism, that must result from mutual deeds of vengeance, when there is no longer an impartial judiciary, to which contending parties may appeal, with full confidence that principles will be respected. Fearful must be the interval of anarchy; fierce the alternate pangs of rage and terror; till one party shall destroy the other, and a gloomy despotism terminate the struggles of conflicting faction. Again, I beseech you to abjure your prejudices. In the language once addressed from Heaven to the Hebrew prophet, "Put off your shoes for the ground on which you stand is .holy." You are the open friends, the devoted worshippers of civil liberty; will you violate her sanctuary? Will you profane her temple of justice? Will you commit sacrilege while you kneel at her altar?

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Section II.


It is the opinion of many, that self-love is the grand impelling spring in the human machine. This sentiment is either utterly false, or the principle, as displayed in some actions, becomes so exceedingly refined, as to merit a much more engaging name. For, D d

if the man, who weeps in secret for the miseries of others and privately tenders relief; who sacrifices his ease, his property, his health, his reputation, and even his life, to save his country, be actuated by self love; it is a principle inferior only to that, which prompted the Saviour of the world to die for man; and is but another name for perfect disinterestedness.

Patriotism, whether we reflect upon the benevolence which gives it birth, the magnitude of its object, the happy effect which it produces, or the height to which it exalts the human character, by the glorious actions of which it is the cause, must be considered as the noblest of all the social virtues. The patriot is influenced by love for his fellow men, and an ardent desire to preserve sacred and inviolate their natural rights. His philanthropic views, not confined to the small circle of his private friends, are so extensive, as to embrace the liberty and happiness of a whole nation.That he may be instrumental under heaven to maintain and secure these invaluable blessings to his country, he devotes his wealth, his fame, his life, his all; glorious sacrifice! what more noble !

To the honour of humanity, the histories of almost every age and nation are replete with examples of this elevated character. Every period of the world has afforded its heroes and patriots: men who could soar above the narrow views and grovelling principles, which actuate so great a part of the human species, and drown every selfish consideration in the love of their country. But we need not advert to the annals of other ages and nations, as the history of our own country points with so much pleasure, veneration, and gratitude, to the illustrious WASHINGTON. Before him the heroes of antiquity, shorn of their beams, like stars before the rising sun, hide their heads with shame. Uniting in his own character, the courage and enterprising spirit of Hannibal, the prudent wisdom of Fabius, the disinterestedness of Cincinnatus, and the virtues and military talents of the Scipios, he could not fail to succeed in the glorious undertaking

of giving liberty and happiness to a people who dared to be free. Whilst he lived, he proved a rich blessing to his country, a bright example to the dawning patriotism of the old world, the terror of despotism, and the delight and admiration of all mankind.

Section III.


Had it pleased God to continue to me the hopes of succession, I should have been, according to my mediocrity, and the mediocrity of the age I live in, a sort of founder of a family; I should have left a son, who, in all the points in which personal merit can be viewed, in science, in erudition, in genius, in taste, in honour, in generosity, in humanity, in every liberal sentiment, and every liberal accomplishment, would not have shewn himself inferior to the duke of Bedford, or to any of those whom he traces in his line. His grace very soon would have wanted all plausibility in his attack upon that provision which belonged more to mine than to me. He would soon have supplied every deficiency, and symmetrized every disproportion. It would not have been for that successor to resort to any stagnant wasteing reservoir of merit in me, or in any ancestry. He had in himself a salient, living spring, of generous and manly action. Every day he lived he would have re-purchased the bounty of the crown, and ten times more, if ten times more he had received. He was made a public creature; and had no enjoyment whatever, but in the performance of some duty. At this exigent moment, the loss of a finished man is not easily supplied.

But a Disposer whose power we are little able to resist, and whose wisdom it behoves us not at all to dispute; has ordained it in another manner, and

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