Gazette of the United-States. (New-York [N.Y.]) 1789-1793, May 16, 1789, Page 40, Image 4
THE T'A-TS LE T. No. X. " Faff fort may find a mail horeft, but it field am leaves him fib." "> , [The two following numbers, reletting party disputes, contain the lubttance ot an epistle adiirelltd to a young friend, who \vifhed to form rules, that might dire£Ui« condufl in life, viz.j NO fubjeft, perhaps, can be considered in more different lights, than that of faction. It may be declaimed againlt, as the moll monstrous evil, that ever convulsed or overtitrned States. It can be proved to the highest degree of demon stration, to have occalioned more frequently, the total loss of morals 11 individuals, and to have produced more calamitous effects in society, than any other circv.mlinjice that can be named. On the other hand, we can hardly conceive how a government can exist, with any vigor or reputation, without the forcible influence of par ty spirit. It is one of the main springs of politi cal motion, wliofe elastic power gives the .noil: eilential wheels of,the machine, their force and direction. It has been the prime mover, in ori ginating some of tlie 11:0 ft celebrated eftabliih ments, that are at this day admired for their excellence, or effeemed for their, utility. To draw a jult comparison between the nfeful and pernicious conl'equences, that flow from faction would be impracticable. We should, after the fairelt investigation, remain at a lofb in fixing precise limits, so as to determine all the cases in which the" good or evil preponderated. My view, in entering upon the fubjeft, is to mark out such a plan of conduct, as an honest, judicious individual would be apt to observe re speCting party dlfpurcs. And here again it will be difficult to prescribe definite rules, i here ma v, however, be feme conclulions, tolerably just and fatisfaCtory. Were a man only to conl'ult his personal tranquility, and the dignity and in fluence of his character iii a general view he would doubtless refrain from taking any part in the discords and tumults which agitate society. But there are ltrongreafons that counteract a dis position to neutrality. Few men are so situated in life, as not to be greatly dependent on a par ticular set of connections. It is almoftimpoflible, therefore, for any man, to ast in every instance, npon principles of ftrift propriety, independent of circumflances, that are extriniic from the re al merits of Ihe queflion. By obfervinga line of conduct totally just and impartial, he would often, but not always, fuftai-i a greater incosvtniencej in losing the good will of his particular friends' than he would derive benefit, by being character ized in the general eflimation of mankind, as a person of moderation and impartiallity. " For thofe,who continue neutre in any civil diffentions under the denomination of moderate men, who keep aloof and wait quietly in order to follow the fortune of the prevailing fide are gene rally stigmatized with the oppi obious name of tim'prvefs, and consequently neither esteemed nor tiitfted by either party." In this dilemma, what advi« would be proper to give a young adventurer, jolt entering a ca reer of'political lite ? Shall we warn hijn against taking any part, in tlie diflentions of the times ! No !—>hall we tell him, to declare himfelf a decided partizan, iu every difpure, that occurs in public affairs >. No ! It would be .eq.iifTte to exhibit to his view, the nature of several kinds of cortroverfies, and fliew him, in a general way, how far he may fafely venture, and where he should come to a Hand. In attempt, we could not, however, fix exact boundaries. Part of his conduct must be governed by his iudgment and integrity, in acting,as theo-cafion may make eligible. For although the extremes, either way, may be so obviously marked out, as to render precise directions practicable ; yet as we ap proach towards that central point, where the lines of right and wrong meet, we cannot alwavs determine beforehand, where one will end, and the other be« in. There is a certain space, where the lines so run into eadiother, that thc'fhades of both are blended. We can only observe, that under a consideration of all circumltaiicefe in this intermediate traCt, a person may act, 3S his convenience may direst. if he commits an error, i: will be f'» immaterial, as will not be very dan' gerous "or difHdnorable. >ome cjueftions of so important a nature are agitated, that the community at large are inter efced in the dccifton. When the form qf govern nient is proposed to be altered ■ or when fyflcms are to be introduced, that afferft every part of a nation, no person should cor.fider himfelf an in different speCtator, in the fcerte. It is the ditty of every man to take" his Tide and make known his ferinrriehta, He should not ast with duplici ty, undffr the itlea of beingtlie fiiendof all par ries. No- fliouid In's conduct be mean and over bearing towards his "opponents f 0111 a defti e of populai Jty in that party, which he advocates. IJe should, in no poifible instance, deny Iris princi ples ; but i> is neither modest rtrp- udent, in all fi'tt&tidßS to declare them. In a large company <<; his antagonists, an unfolicired "declaration of his sentiments v/ill have no-good cfeft. It will be more likely to procure enemies thali conver'ts , J lis pcportment fliculd be equally civil, as if they -were all of the fame way of thinking. In this manner,he avoids the charge of being a time ferver, promotes the influence of his party ; and as far as that is right, tjie intercll of his coun try. Before he has c hoi'en his fide, it must be prefum ed, he has deliberately weighed the fub jedt, and that he a efts from aConvicftion of duty ; or at any rate, that he does not eilentially atft contrary to it. His confcicnce should bear liim witness, that he is serving his country as v.xll as his party. But if the young adventurer, after the most mature examination, feels incompetent to deter mine, which party has the right of die queltion, liowfliall he govern himfelf.' ohall he follow the iteps of his moll intimate acquaintance, on whose advice he can bell rely ; and whole friendship he most needs ? Perhaps even this will not be al together attainable, as aflociates, equally dear to him in private life, have ranged tlienlfelves on different fides. He is nowin adelicate/ituation. 1 pity hint with all my heart. Those very friends and allociates, who are taking different parrs, will, before the <Jifpute is over, become invete rate enemies. The bands of private friendlhip pre seldom lufficient to Hand the Ihock of party hnimofities. The cmbarrafled youth, after all, will b? obliged to judge for himfelf. To aid his decisions, in a cafe, where from inexperience or incapacity, he is at a loss how to determine the hierits of the qucllion, he Ihould carefully efti- Snare the characters who are engaged, on the opposite fides. Wherever he finds the most sub stantial information, and the greatest weight of [private reputation, it is a tolerable presumption, that that party is the bell and will finally prevail. Men, who have the greatest advantages in gain ing information, and the strongest inducements to make an lioneft application of their knowledge, will, in the general run of affairs, carry their point and establish their cause. But unfortunate ly even this resource may fail our youthful in quirer. It is not impoflible he may find the vir tuous and sensible so nearly divided, that he may be utterly at a loss which fide has the bell fup poit. W hen the ill'ue of the matter is fubjeift to so much chance and contingence, and truth so difficult to ascertain, a good man will scarce know how to proceed. As a general rule howe ver, I think he had better attach himfelf to one fide or the other, than to remain in a state of neutrality. Having taken a pofwion, it is to be hoped, our young friend wDI defend it, with honelty and firmnefs. It should not be required of him to become a bad man, in order to become a politician. Has he been accustomed to view cer tain acrions as mean, vicious or inconliftent ; let him still view them so. Has he, in times pall, lelt confidence restraining liini, when he was tempted to do wrong ; lie need not now throw oil those rellraluts. Has he formerly considered veracity, honesty and candor as ufeful or amia ble ; 1 »ntreat lliat he would not nowneglecTc or disown them. His personal friends may be fele(fl ed from either party, and Ihould consist of such characters as are most refpetftable and worthy,and as bell accord with his particular humour. There is an exception to this indulgence, when the matter in dispute is to be decided by arms. In such f tuation a person ihould restrain his inter view v itli those opposed to him, until the con tell is over. The intercourse of private fiiend fhipwill iubjecTt him to the odium and fulpicion of those in concert with him ; and will diminifn Us zeal and exertions in favor of a cause, which by his actions, he supposes to be j nil. If I may be allowed to proceed any further, in advising him, I would even expostulate with him, never to place himfelf at the head of a par ty. it will infallably destroy his happiness, and blunt all his feelings of natural rectitude. He will bring every tiling to the llandard of his party views. No virtue or talents can secure a man against his ill will and persecution, who is on the opposite fide. No deformity of character will difqualify those. who are engaged in his in te.r.^.L' che y re wrong in every thing else he wnl infill upon it, they are right, in that in ltance._ They cease to be knaves or fools, who fly to him for sanctuary. He acquires an habit of making declarations, which he does not believe are true ; and engagements, which lie does not mean to fulfil. Notwithstanding I have aliened that, in all clifputes which concern the public at large, no man Ihould Hand neuter, yet thfere are often in ferior or subordinate parties in the community, which, it may be optional, whether a man joins or not : If hearts prudently he will seldom enter with virulence into such contentions; aild if he arts conjeientioufly,his services will be toocold and circumspeCt to gain him popularity with any party. In all unimportant altercations,a benevolent man will have a view to reconciliation, rather than vic tory. Perhaps inforne inftances,by takintr a parti cular fide, and conducting in a mild conciliatory manner, he may reconcile the difference, and bnug the parties into a union of ineafures. Whenever he can do'tliis, it is a most meritorious action. Many difpvJres are so trivial, that nnlefs a person Itronglv participates of party spirit, he car.not feel inie'rpftediii the event. Every rt .. fob concerned in them, fullains a greater by the loss of general influence in focietv, lie gains advantages from the friendlhip of hu partizans. It may evenbedoubted whether those who are advocating the fame cauf», do not h> rc ' ality view him with less refped. than if he ] la j let the matter alone. This is a difficult' point to decide, and brings the discernment to a critical ted. 1 know very few persons, noted for partv contention, that have ever acquired the general confidence and cftecm of their fellow men. It is often a very certain method of loiing ufeful ir fluence. Men, from the bell of principles, may shun each fide of a controversy ; not fcecaufe they seek the favor, or fear the censure of either, but becanfe they despise the actions of both!' from the whole, this conaJufion may be drawn • that in any great and general question, no inhs! bi;ant of the country where it operates should hide his sentiments or deny his party ; 'in any low, or dilgraceful cOntest, no perfen of a good judgaient or a good heart will make himfelf busy—but in a great variety of disputes, that come within these extremes, a man must act from the impulses of the occasion : He will how ever more fafely err, by joining too few, than too many paities. NATIONAL MONITOR No. IV. " From righteous Laws life's choicdl bleflings comt," " Hono* abroad, and Liberty at home." THE Creator of the Unherfe, whose wtrks jtrt the effeCl oj perfeCl wisdom, and boundless Igjttvi ience, has ffamped his own divinity upon the Jlienct °f government, by inseparably conueCling with it, every facial and public blejfing. ]f we look back to the times of the groffefi ignorance and barbarism, we Jhall find that our [pedes have, always been indebted to the rude ideas of government, which spring almost spontaneous in the human mini, for the few enjoyments v 'ich fall to the lot of uniif tip lined nature. And though mankind, wild and untutored, discover only detached and partial fptcimeni of ihe efells of taws—Tet without rules and orders, even btupagu cannot ex if}. In forlorn, solitary, wandering independent fav.i lies of thewildcrnrfs —you may trace theproortfs ana influence of government in farming them into lriLs,ar.l thofe again i,ito a Union of different hards, under oni particular chief—combining for mutual deftnee, and the more effectually obtaining those objefls which require united exertions for their acquisition. As mankind begin to realize the advantages of go vernment in the Jurprijing difference, it ere ts be tween savage and civilized nature, they are natural ly led to extend their ideas, and look forward to im provements in this science, with a rational hope of concurring ejjtfls: This consequence is congenial to the e terprifng nature of our species—to this principle, under the in fluence of that wisdom which cannot err, more than to any other cause, may be afribed the progress of so ciety, the improvement and perfection of laws and go vernment. That government comprifs, confers and- infurts all the bJeffuigs of life, has been the prevailing fenti tnent of all mankind from the earliest accounts of so ciety.—This hai been evinced by thousands of inciityU which might be adduced. As the retreat from every public misfortune—as tbi reward of every toil, hazard and fnfferivg, to repoft ■on the bosom of their native country, vnder the, avf pices of good government, has been the ultimate of jefi of the exertions of patriots, heroes and Jlatefmen. 7 his sentiment has been so utiiverfal, that it no] be justly fuppofd to be inspired into the human mini by its creator—lt is an impulse founded on principles, that are perfeCt in their nature—though perhaps the) remain to be fully exemplified. Civilized and polifhei Jociety, owes its exiflence to the transforming power of government; for it is a given point that habits,fci ence, and morals are subsequent to laws andfalutar) regulations. I revious to the late revolution, the people of Ame rica were the happiejl on the sacs of the earth, would have continued so under the benign infiui e "J of loyalty, and a ficred regard to jufl and eqnat If had not the power of avarice, and the lust of domi nation dijlurbed their tranquility and deranged all their plans of happiness. The late war, however, with all its horrid trtin of consequences, were but momentary evils—The le nient hand of time would have soon obliterated them, and like Mariners efcapinga Jhip - wreck, contemplating the profpeCl before us—we Jhould have " smiled 6n the ruins, and enjoyed theftorm," —but there inert confluences to be apprehended from the triumph of independence, which were of a more durable and f<- tio 7 is nature.•—-Tire wife and discerning forefaw trev' •and warned' their countrymen-—I mean the univerfa! relaxation of the principles of government, which W' a more alarming circumfiance than all the ether ej if(-Ct> of the war—because mora! evils at'e more difl"' cult to remove, than natural.—lVe have beer, on tee verge of ruin, but the force of early prejudices ani habits here interposed, arid directed our lie pi to the only retreat from deflruClhn —a firm, a just arul efficient govc -iimcnt, Published by JOHN FENNO, No. 'oV Maiden i-ANE, near the Oswego-Market, New-Voik.