Gazette of the United-States. (New-York [N.Y.]) 1789-1793, August 15, 1789, Image 1
(bazcffc [No. XXXVI.] THE TABLE T.—No. XXXVI. a Whether the winner laughs or not, the lofsr wih complain." THE sources of clamor and disquietude in any society multiply in proportion as it becomes opulent and civilized. Nothing is more evident than that competition is a very for cible spring at - r ti° n • unless there are more n)e u than bufinel's, more candidates than offices, private as well as public affairs will be managed v itli and inattention. The competitors are of course engaged in a kind of warfare with each other ; and are only reflraiued from violent hostilities by thole fenriments of politeness and propriety, which are inspired by good-breeding aid a knowledge of the world. It is eaiy how ever to distinguish the different lides in which men range tliemfelves, and the different objects tbev are pursuing. Those who are rivals may carry external marks of good-willand confidence, but the disguise is easily penetrated. As those ■who are dilappointed and discontented form a more numerous class, than those who are fatisfied andfucccfsful, it mull be expedled that complaints and reproaches will give the predominating tone toconverfation. In whatever company one falls itmcft not therefore agitate him to find a strong propensity to complain. In creating the various branches of the execu tive department of government, it is natural to expedthe number of candidate;, will far exceed the places that are to be filled. This opens a great scene of competition. The inevitable re fultcf such a situation is, that many persons must be disappointed, and foi.ie will be difgulted. It would be paying too great a compliment to hu man nature to imagine that, in the great num ber whole expectations are fruftrated, there will be none who secretly wish, and even openly de monstrate theirwifhes, to impede the success, and blur the reputation of our national government. There is however a circumftaVice that will mueh, though perhaps not totally restrain a dilpofition tocenfure and oppofc the adminifbration. Itisfo universally believed that our chief ma gistrate, in all his measures aild appointments is actuated by just and impartial motives,that few of the disappointed will think it worth while to raise clamors. The public ear will be shut against the infiiroations of the artful, and the reproaches of the petulant. As reltlefs and discontented men are more adtive and vigilant, than those who en joy a fatisfacftion of mind, either from fortunate affairs, or from a natural calmness of spirits, there will of course be more people to vex and difturh the government, than to applaud and vindicate its proceedings. From this view of the matter, honest and moderate men, who have the public prosperity at heart, should guard themselves a gainllimproper impressions from those, who will be apt to grumble through envy and disappoint ment. There are unavoidably a great proportion of persons in every society, who may be denomi nated unfortunate. Whether their ill luck is the elreCt of imprudence, or merely adverse fortune it may have the fame influence on their temper, andjudging by their own feelings,they may seri ously imagine every thing is going wrong. In every community fucli men are capable of doing great mifchief. Thepeopleof the United States are too well experienced in political tranfatftions to be easily deceived, and drawn into tumult and (Mentions. But still there is in human nature a strong propensity to take part with the unfortu nate, and to believe their complaints have some foundation. (To be continued.) We are happy to have it in our power to enrich the Mifccllanj of the Gazette, by the f allowing specula tion on the interesting jtibi. Sis of REPRESENTATION and COMPENSATION. I RECOLLECT but one good reason for a nu merous representation of the people-—that is, the greater certainty of having their interests and faitiments understood in the representative af lembly. The objects of the national government we not the local, but the general concerns. Of fourfe, a moderate number is fufficient. Refpon "bility decreases as the body increases. In a small embly a member has more to do, and more to answer for. He is more in public view, and feels 'Sindnftry, and his generous paflions excited by Mroiiger ftimutus. In a numerous aflcmbly he eels his personal weight and influence diminifh c ■ The members will a<sl less as individuals, ? more by combinations and parties. If a man « not great talents, singly, he can do little. If e has, he gains an ascendency, and attaches many ,? ' s Viexv s. Their aflociation is cemented by los ac ting together—by the fear of o ing a tavovite point—by the anger ori having Jj.- 1 P^ted— by the joy of gaining it, or the cha a By degrees the two SATURDAY, August lij3g. fides are divided, strongly marked and agitated by the spirit of their body (l'efprit de corps, as the trench term it.) In faCt, all great afleniblies have been led astray by the spirit of party. Per haps all parties are nearly equally^-indiCtive,vio lent and blind. The true check upon them is the interpofitionof the public sentiment. A free press, and an enlightened people will form a con foul over all parties ; and oblige them to seek the means of superiority and power by the pro motion of the public good. Party spirit is an evil ; but it is the inevitable confequence.of a nu merous aflembly. It is not, however, impoilible to draw good from evil. These are the confe rences which result from the principles; but it is obviously preferable to exclude the evil, if pofli ble. 1 hough parties may promote the public good, they often do infinite mifchief. Tlieydif turb the tranquility, impair the happiness, and endanger the fafety of lociety. Whether it is polfible so to constitute a small aflembly as wholly to banilh, or in a considerable degree to restrain this spirit, is a problem of some nicety. Its solution is highly important to man kind, and especially to the United States. A go vernment strong by the means of a rich treasury, by troops, and by the habits of a people broken to lubjection may be disturbed, but will not be en dangered by party disputes. But in Ameriea, government reds on public opinion, and we lhould carefully avoid those causes which are powerful enough to subvert its foundations. In forming a legillative aflembly, we should counteract as much as poflible the gregarious dis position of the members, which is the aliment of faction. It will be neceflary to analyze the hu man character, and to lay open the motives which lead public men to combine together, and to act in parties. It is true that a public life calls forth the strongest paflions of the heart. But it is also true that these paflions are not continually in ac tion. On great and rare occasions, they are rou sed to aCt with violence. But ordinarily they are held suspended by motives oflefs strength, but of a more uniform and permanent influence. These motives are the fenfeof weakness, the love of ease, and the love of power. Suppose a member of csmmon ability in an as sembly of fifty. He has a fiftieth part of the du ty, as well as of the weight of the body. Increase the aflembly to two hundred members. His voice will lose three fourili's of its influence. He will lose more of his responsibility—be further removed from public view—and as party influence will be more active, he will probably loose nine tenths of his personal weight, and his vote will become proportionably oflefs consequence to his conflituents, and to the public. Suppose him a weak but well intentionedman, hisfenfe of weak ness and sense of duty will combine to subject him to the influence of some leading member. Know ing that his voice will not govern the vote of any other, and doubting how to give his own, he will relieve his fufpence by following the guide in whom he places most confidence. The love of ease is a more powerful agent than is generally fuppoled. It is the greatelt impedi ment to eminence. Reft is the reward of labor, and the hope of this reward is probably one ofthe springs of action, even with those men who seem to abhor repose. We compare action with reft. We calculate the value of the object proposed to be attained by our exertions, and the price of those exertions. A member conscious of being able to effect little, singly, will not make the at tempt. He will be obliged to add his strength to a party. There is something unaccountable in the fympathv of many minds. Probably a large aflembly of the wisest men would not be wholly exempt from that distrust of their own under standings, and that complacency towards the er rors and wishes of one another which has been found totally to banish reason, and even human ity, from mobs and riotous meetings. That the administration of a government should correspond with its principles, and be secured from faction and commotion, it seems to be im portant that the legislative powers should be lod ged in as few hands as may be neceflary for pro curing information of the stare of the society, and that they fliould be carefully selected from the best informed and best disposed citizens—men, who understand, and are able to manage business, and who, in a body of fifty, are individually im portant, will act more according to the dictates of tlieir own understandings, and be less influen ced by party paflions than the aflembly of two hundred. The great question of the Conftituiion had divided the community. It was natural to expect the newCongrefs would be tinctured with the hue of the rival parties. It is not owing to any miracle, suspending the human paflions, that the national legislature has been so remarkably rPublijhid on Wednesday and Saturday. diftingiiiilied by the spirit of candor and mode l " ation. Nothing like faction or cabal and intrigu e has been charged upon that body—and the pub lic are disposed to think favorably of their patri otism and independency of fentiinent. Two events may be contemplated, either of which would wholly change the character and conduct of the aflembly ; increasing the number of the members would expose the government to fac tion—it would diminilh the agency of the under- Handing, and augment that of the paflions. Im proper persons would more easily get elected. For the number of suitable perlons is not great in any country—of these, many will be indisposed to the duty. Probably, this country is as little deficient in this refpedt as any whatever. If how ever more representatives are to be elected than a due proportion of those who are willing and qualified to serve, the probability of inferior can didates being elecled will rife. Learned men have disputed whether so large a territory could remain united under one government, even if the administration lhould beentrufted to men of con summate wisdom and incorruptible virtue. The chance would be made considerably more unfa vorable by the appointment of men of a different character. To make the people happy, and the govern ment permanent, two principles mult be regard ed. That the members of the legislature be few, and that provision should be made for drawing forth the belt qualified citizens to serve. In a republic, it is not neceflary, perhaps not fafe, that a citizen lhould be allowed, and surely he lhould not be obliged to lay the public under obligations of gratitude to him by serving at a loss. Pay for services is as republican as it is equitable. Adequate compensation may be un derstood very varioully in its application to parti cular cases. It niuft always mean such compen sation as will secure to the public the perform ance of the services in question. If the pay of the members of the Legislature is eftablilhed at an higher rate than is neceflary to secure the atten dance of men belt qualified to serve, it is impro per. The interest of the people requires the a doption of the principle infilled upon. Many will dispute the application of the doctrine to the cale, though none will deny the docftrine itfelf. The dispute, if any lhould arise, will be of the left consequence, because as it is a question of fa<ft only, no inference unfavorable to the intentions of thehoufe could be drawn from the tenor of the bill which has palled the house of representatives. Those who may happen to be violent on the fub jetft, will be sorry tofind anyreafons to vindicate what has been done, because it will disappoint their pallions of an expeCted gratification. But candid men will conlider the principles which have been difcufled in this speculation, and they will not overlook the rate of compensation which has been allowed to members of the former Con gress by the refpcclive States—the average of which is said to be equal to the fuin proposed by the bill. They will alio note that that body being in feflion the whole year was better paid than the new Congress, which, probably, after the firft year will not fit more than one fourth of the time, and that the recefles, and the diminiflied bufmefs of eighteen hundred members of tlje State Legi (latures will make a saving by the national go vernment. Perhaps, however, it would have been advifableto have reduced the pay, as it is not an objeCl which the members will deem a balance for any fubtraiflion of the approbation and con fidence of the people. Another circumstance is worthy of being men tioned. The difficulty of preserving a govern ment over a great traCl of country is principally in proportion to the inconvenience of aflembling the members from the extreme parts to the feat of government. Very low pay would render this inconvenience speedily intolerable, and produce a general desire for a division of the Union. The distant members fubniit to a kind of banilhment, and cannot regulate their private concerns. This furnilhes 110 reason for profufion and extravagance —but it is hereby a caution against extreme par simony. There is a just medium which is to be prefered—it will extend the principle of Union to the extremities, and bring the outside of the circle nearer to the centre. The people will con lider, therefore, whether the Union is not more valuable than any other objedt, and whether they would delire to have any small savings of money, which, in any future period, lhould endanger that blelling. Thele observations are submitted to the candid public. If upon an impartial ex amination, they lhould be found to have less weight than the writer has given them, the voice of the public will unquestionably reach the walls of the Legislature. For in this country, the general sentiment of the wife and worthy is law.