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AT this important Crisis, the ideas that fill the mind, are preg
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WEDNESDAY, October 28, 1739.
THE TABLE T.—No. LVII.
" The inflinfl of sovereignty in our nature, am.
the waywardness of infanti which is the consequence
of it, discover themselves with the leajl glimmering of
underflanding ; and those children, which are mojl
ncgJetted and the leaf} taught, are always the mofl
jlubborn and obflinate ; and none are more unruly or
fonder of following their own will, than those that are
least capable of governing themselves
T HAVE, in more than one of my specula-
A tions, offered remarks much of the fame
nature with those contained in this number. The
subject, in my apprehension of it, is an intereft
ingone. Wherever we turn our eyes, we behold
striking demonstrations, that all men arc i>i nature
tyrants. It is so universal and instinctive a pro
pensity, as justly to be denominated one of the
llrongeft characteristics of human nature. If I
am enquired of, why I endeavor to enforce so
evident a truth, I will inform the reader, thrit it
is not so much to fix the doctrine itfelf, as to de
duce some ufeful inferences.
Men are perpetually calling government -a ne
ceflary evil. The epithet is not fairly applied.
Government is instituted as a remedy against an
unavoidable evil, which exists in the natural con
stitution of man. It is true the remedy does not
always produce the full effect intended ; but it is
only becanfe the evil is too deeply fixed to admit
of a cure. Government must not therefore itfelf
be called an evil, merely because there are some
evils, which it has not power to remove. If so
ciety is opprefled with tyranny, or agitated with
sedition, it only fliews that the lusts and paflions
of men are not altogether restrained by civil in
fti tut ions. Men are acting agreeably to the im
pulse of their nature. The government under
which such mifchiefs happen is not capable of
controling entiiely the excefles to which men are
naturally prone. The enormities however would
be tar greater, were they not subject to some re
flraint, by the operation of the government. We
are too fond of paying compliments to human
nature, and therefore transfer the blame from
ourselves to causes where it should not be fixed.
Man must be made an artificial being before it
can be fafe living with him. This inculcates the
neceflity of education. Ignorance is the founda
tion of molt of the political calamities whichever
overwhelmed the world. Ido not mean that ig
norant men have done the mifchief. They have
only fuffered it to be done. Wicked and artful
men, which are always to be found in all situations
of society, can give scope to their inclinations,
where the people are untaught in moral duties
and civil privileges. Unless men are ignorant
and unenlightened, no monstrous ihifcbief can
take place ; and in this view, ignorance may be
said to be the foundation of all political evil.—
There can be no danger of losing liberty where
the people have knowlege. A wife community
guards itfelf equally against tyrants and Incendiar
ies ; and it like wife guards individuals against the
oppressions which they are, by nature, prone to
exercise over one another. In such a situation
the positive hlelftngs of government are appar
ent ; because civilized, well-informed men are
capable of being well-governed. In a worse state
of society, men are a greater evil to each other,
and therefore they call the government an evil,
by way of compliment to themselves.
It is of importance that mankind become fenfi
ble of this truth ; that bad men can never have
a good government, and that men always will be
bad, till laws and education make them good.—
Nothingplaces the advantages of good laws and
institutions in a stronger point of light, than that
they are capable of encreafing the desire to pos
sess property, at the fame time that they create an
abhorrence to acquire it unjustly. In a state of
nature, the desires of a man are few, and it is well
they are so ; for few as they are, he often com
mits terrible outrages to gratify them. In a state,
any degree civilized, it is true the appetites of a
man are more keen, and the objects of his wishes
more numerous, and they fafely may be so ; for
he will seldom dare or desire to lay violent or un
just hands on the property of another, for the fake
of encreafing his own. And yet there are many
people who are incessantly stigmatizing govern
ment with odious epithets. If men will look in
to the subject, and trace effects to their proper
source, they will know better by what names to
TO the French Almanack for the year its 7, is
a Frontispiece representing France seated on the
Throne of Royalty, and Taking by the hand the
Genius of America, with the following expressive
Homage des Amtricaines a la France, sous la regne
de Lout! XVI, Pacificatenr des deux Moudes !
[.Publijhed Wcdusfday and Saturday.]
MR. ADAMS'S LETTERS.
Amsterdam, Oct. g, i 790.
fifth enquiry is, " Whether a voluntary re-
A " volt of any one or more of the States in the
" American Confederation is to he apprehended : And.
" if one or more mere to revolt, whether the others
" -would not he able to defend themfslves ?"
This is a very judicious and material question.
I conceive that the answer to it is easy and deci
sive. T here is not the least danger of a voluntary
revolt of any one State in the Union. It is diffi
cult to prove a negative, however ; and (till more
difficult to prove a future negative. Let us, how
ever, conlfder the subject a little.
Which State is the moil likely to revolt, orfub
mit ? Is it the uioft ancient colony, as Virginia,
or the Maflachufetts ? Is it the moll numerous
and powerful, as Virginia, Mallachufetts, orPenn
fylvania ? I believe nobody will fay, that any one
of tliefe great States will take the lead in a revolt,
or a voluntary submission.
Will it be the smallest and weakest States, that
will be molt likely to give up voluntarily ? In or
der to fatisfy ourselves of this, let us consider
what has happened ; and by the knowlege of
what has palled, we may judge of what is to come.
The three smallest States are Rhode-Island,
Georgia, and Delaware.
The Englifli have plainly had it in view ta
bring one of these States toa fubmiflion, and have
accordingly direcfted very great forces againlt
Let us begin with Rhode-Island. In the latter
end of the year 1776, General Howe sent a large
army of near seven thousand men, by sea, under
aftrong convoy of men of war, detached' by Lord
Howe, to take pofleflion of Newport, the capital
of Rhode Island. Newport Hands upon an island,
and was neither fortified nor garrisoned fufficient
ly to defend itfelf againftfo powerful a fleet and
army, and therefore the Englifli made themselves
malters of the place. But what advantage did
they derive from it ? Did the colony of Rhode-
Island', small as it is, submit ? So far from it,
that they were rendered the more eager to refill ;
and an army was aflembled at Providence, which
confined the English to the prison of Rhode-Island,
until the fall of the year r779, when they were
obliged to evacuate it, and our army entered it
The next little State which the Englifli attempt
ed was Delaware. This State confilts of three
counties only, situated upon the river Delaware,
below Philadelphia, and is most exposed to the
English men of war of any of the States, because
they are open to invallon not only upon the ocean,
but all along the river Delaware. It contains not
more than thirty thousand fouls. When the Elig
lifh got pofleflion of Philadelphia, and had the
command of the whole navigation of the Dela
ware, these people were more in the power of the
Englifli than any part of America ever was, and
the Englifli generals, admirals, commanders, and
all the tories, used all their arts to seduce this lit
tle State ; but they could not suCceed ; they never
could get the appearance of a government erecled
under the King's authority.—The people con
tinuedtheir delegation in Congress, and conti
nued to elecft their Governors, Senate, and Aflein
blies, under their new conflitution, and to furnifh
their quota to the continental army, and their
proportion to the militia, until the English were
obliged to evacuate Philadelphia.—There are
besides, in this little State, from various causes,
more tories, in proportion, than in any other.
And as this State flood immoveable, I think we
have no reason to fear a voluntary submission of
The next small State that was attempted was
Georgia.—This State is situated at the southern
extremity of all, and at such a distance from all
the reft, and such difficulties of communication,
being above an hundred miles from Charleston,
in South-Carolina, that it was impoflible for the
neighbouring States to afford them any assistance.
The English invaded this little State, and took
the Capital, Savanna, and have held it to this day :
But this acquisition has not been followed by any
fubmiflion of the province ; on the contrary, they
continue their delegates in Congress, and their
new officers of government. This province,
moreover, was more immediately the child of
England than any other ; the settlement of it cost
England more than all the reft, from whence one
might expecft they would have more friends here
than any where.
New-Jersey is one of themiddling-fized
—New-Jersey had a large British army in Phila
delphia, which is on one fide of them, and ano
ther in New-York, which is the other fide, and