Gazette of the United-States. (New-York [N.Y.]) 1789-1793, May 16, 1789, Page 40, Image 4

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    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
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.
" 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
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)
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.