Gazette of the United-States. (New-York [N.Y.]) 1789-1793, December 09, 1789, Image 1

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[No- LXIX.j
" Experience is of greater use, in procuring good lazoi, than genius."
AS no human affairs require more knowledge than the art of
governing, it is not to be wondered at, that so few able le
•■iflatori have exilled in any age or country. The moll ufeful at
tainments in the science of government mull be founded on fact
and observation. This coniiitutes the difficulty of the talk. No
man, who does not possess good talents, can gain wisdom by ex
perience ; and many men, whose talents are eminent, feel a pride
of genius,that makes them dildain lo watch experiments. Ittherc
forc happens that those people, who have not the sagacity to make
iuft observation? for themselves, are fiaves to imitation, and are
perpetually liable to err in their application ot borrowed rules
and precedents : While thofe,on the other hand, who depend on
the light of genius to dirtft their operations, are seduced into wild,
impracticable measures. Thus it appears that thereare two four
ccs of illulion and mistake, into which moll men plungej whoen
ter a career of political life;
One of them c.mfiftst in originating fchemcs, or conceiving the
ories, not warranted byexpeiience ; and the other, in being I'way
ed by too complying a temper of imita! ion. No man Ihould im
plicitly imitate another in his conduct ; because, every man is
often actuated by motives, which others do not feci ; and attended
bv circumstances, which others do not observe. Nor Ihould any
irian be totally inattentive to the conduit of others ; bccaufe there
are many common points, in which all men Ihould think and ast
alike 4 and in which, the experience of one man may be profita
ble to all other men. To determine in what cases imitation is
proper, requires a dif-ernmcnl which few men possess. Exper
ience is the only fafe criterion by which to try opinions or actions.
Abftraft reasoning may be ufelul, but it often produces conclusions
which experiment will not authorize. Though it mull be con-
that every person should be governed by some fixed princi
ples, and ast in a great degree under the controulof some system ;
vet those principles, and this system, mull he the effect ol exper
ience, rather than theory or imitation. Men of a bold, afpn ing
genius, form their fyllctns too soon and too rashly ; and servile
imitators never form any fyllems at all. But a person, who has
capacity enough to derive profit from his experience, will in food
i'eafon form his rules of conduct ; and he can also determine when
circumftanees require an alteration.
From these flight (ketches, it is evident that the formation of a
good government is a flow, progrcflivc work. Theoretic men may
build fyllems of their own ; men fond of imitation may look
abroad for inllruftion, and perhaps neither con, in the tirft in
fiance hit the true points of legislative wisdom. The wisest law's
and regulations are generally owing to an experiment lefultmg
from the operation of those ordinances, that were originally fra
med with laultsand defects. Hie people ofthe United States have
gone through the firll llagcs of then difficulties. They have com
mitted many errors, which have proved a valuable source of ex
perience. But we ihould not yet suppose ourselves perfect in the
art of government. Many important objects of legiftation are yet
untried and unexplored. In tome of these, we may readily adopt
proper expedients ; but we mud dependon a courle ot experience
to carry us forward to perfection. In this view i.f the fubjeft, it
will occur to sveiy reflecting mind, that candor and patience
Ihould be cultivated among our citizens; and that our rulers Ihould
contemplate', that they Hand on new and critical ground. Their
mod illustrious talents; their roofl persevering indullry ; their
most acute arid attentive observation will not be more than com
petent to the taflc they have to accomplilh. It in this arduous
filiation, they have to contend with any great degree of clamor
and impatience among their cohftituents, tliey will find an addi
tional difficulty in furmountitig the obstacles, that inevitably at
tend ler-iflating over so vail and various a people.
A o-entleman having favored us with a Charles
ton "paper of Nov. 12, it is with great pleasure
that we prelent our readers with the following
excellent, patriotic, and truly federal Addrels:
The Hon. Judge CHARGF. to the
GRAND JURY, Oader SeJJio/u, 1789.
THE grand inquest of this diltrid; has been of
late years so nnaccurtomcd to receive any
charge from the magiltrate prcfidingin this court,
that were I to prxtermit the ceremony or duty
of addrelling you, it could not be considered as
an innovation introduced in the prefentterm.
The chief reason which renders a charge to a
grand jury neceflary or requisite is, that they
maybe more fttlly inltrutfted 111 the duties of their
office, and be familiarized with the of
proceeding to execute those duties ; that tney
may not only be enabled confeientioufly, as well
as legally, to form a just opinion of the nature of
the clinics with which offenders fhallbe charged,
but also ofthc legality of evidence which may be
produced before them : In fine that they may
have every opportunity of doing justice to theii
country and fellow citizens, by having explain
ed to them how they may bring the guilty to con
dign pnnifhment, and discharge the innocent
from the apprehensions of a public trial. Hence
the result of fucli information would be, a legal
verdict. But-as the practice of these principles
and this procefsare so lrequently Submitted to a
jury of this diftritff, this part of the duty of the
judges in the court of general sessions becomes
in some degree lets urgent and neceflary, than in
the more dillant tribunals ; the common and re
ciprocal intercourse of mankind with each otnci,
furniflies them with more ample and frequent
means of obtaining information ; teache; them
to weiph with caution and candor lubjecfts lub
mitted to their difculfion, and leads them "J'"''"
luntarily through apparent intricacies and subtle
refinements, to decilions formed 011 the ba.ia of
truth, juitice and impartiality. Such is the Ittu
ation of the inhabitants of this diftrtv't and
fll rely it is an advantage which they will ever con
tinue jealous of maintaining, whillt iheflame o
liberty burns with purity, and with
its lately acquired vigor and brilliancy, .o. as
WEDNESDAY, December I'Sg.
knowledge is the distinguishing criterion between
man and the subservient brute creation, so is free
dom the genuine charadleriftic of that part of
mankind, who from their superior intelligence
and more adtive and daring spirit have not fear
ed the resentment of tyrants, but rifqueing their
wealth and their lives have intrepidly encounter
ed a thoxifad difficulties to obtain the object of
their admiration. In this partial view of mankind,
the mind is pleafet! with its reflexions, and the
heartjanimatedby itsfenfations. But when wecon
iider but for a moment, how few nations are pof
fefled of this idol, how do our feelings changing,
recoil upon us, and how do our fympatliy and
joy alternately excite commiseration and grateful
sentiments. For what earthly transport can ex
ceed the state of an independent freeman—what
sublunary misery equal to the wrenched existence
of the Have.
But let us hope that as we have been recom
pencedby the almighty decrees of Heaven in ref
cuingus from our tyrants, that the example of
our success will lead other nations to imitate lb
glorious an enterprise, to aflert their just rights
as men, and to unfetter themselves from the
bondage with which they have been so long op
prefied. Nevertheless in the height of our zeal
for the rights of mankind,and amidftourfincerell
wiflies for the general consummation of then
welfare and liappinefs, we muil not forget thetri
bute so juftlydue for our deliverance, or neglect
the improvement of our own affairs. Whene
to point out a WASHINGTON among their
Let our hearts then, in the firft place, never
cease to direct our thanksgivings to the throne of
that Grace which has illustrated our nation by such
unexampled beneficence ; andlet thegrateful ac
knowledgments of our just remembrance of past
services perpetuate theunblemilhed honors of oar
chofenhero. The confidence of the people of A
merica, instead of the jealousy and dijtrujl inci
dent to the various European forms of govern
ment ; and truth instead of that flattery, lhall
weave a wreath of heartfelt fatisfa<tion for him ;
and gratitude instead of the boajied loyalty of the
subjects of princes, and their blind fubmiffian to the
will of a superior, fliall ere«t in the hearts of the
citizens of the United States, the most honorable
monument that ever graced the memory of man.
This elogium of our great and good commander,
has been long iinprelled upon our minds ; and
time but serves to encreafe our admiration of
his excellent qualities, and to supply us with ad
ditional motives of gratitude for his disinterest
ed and patriotic conduct.
Our next care, gentlemen of the grand jury,
will be to watch the motions of our internal ene
mies, to anticipate their various intrigues, and to
disappoint thofefecret combinations, into which
they nmy have entered. It may perhaps, be mat
ter of curious enquiry, though of tinf'atisfactory
inference, to conlider the motives of many of the
objectors to the new constitution ; but this would
lead me into a difcullion too prolix for the pre
sent moment. I will content myfelf, therefore,
with barely enumerating a few of tliefe causes.
Some men feared the loling of that influence,
they had assumed and established to them!el\es,
under the weak and divided governments of the
several States ; some again apprehended that they
would be deprived of the benefits and emolu
ments of certain lucrative offices, which they
held under the refpe<ftive legillatuies of then
country ; the appointments ol which were to be
resigned into the hands of the President of the
Union: A wifh,perhaps, to involve this coilntry
in foine dellructive resolution, might influence
others ; for to men of no property, ortotliofe
who are so embari affecl in their circumstances, as
to hope for no relief from their own labor, or the
arts of peace, or who are tormented with a un
contented factious heart, rebellion and confufion
would yield a rich liarveft : For the honor of the
human race, I hope, there are but few, it any
such among us ; but such have been found in o
thcr nations, and we mult not flatter ouiicHcs
that mankind are more perfect in our time, than
they have been heretofore :—An obflinate fu
perciliousfelf-fufliciency, (therefult of the want
of proper information and candid enquiry) and
a capricious ostentatious vanity of not thinking
like other people, will have its weight and influ
ence with weak minds.—Popularity also has en
creafed its votaries, and afforded men one more
opportunity of declaiming on the danger in
which the liberty of the citizen is likely to be
involved, and of exhibiting their attachment to
this ideal idolatry Nor has jealousy, which
rankles in the hearts of ethers, had less effctt in
\_PubliJbei? on IV edmfday and Saturday A
diff'ufing thispoifon ; for it is observable through
out the whole of the United States, a majority
of the leaders of the oppofitiou of our newly
adopted government, are not natives of our foil ;
hence this pernicious quality of the mind dilplays
itfelf more widely in America ; for doubtlels
there are many among us, who being mere adven
turers, and meaning to return to their native
country, cannot bi-oolc that a rival nation should
bepofiefled of advantages superior to their own :
but, gentlemen, there is another fort of jealou
sy that agitates the foul of others ; I speak of that
mean invidious quality, of its own
demerits and want of worth, endeavors to estab
lish itfelf a character by calumniating the conduce
of others, and by finding fault with what it was
not consulted to "frame : we inaft also expect to
find emiflaries amongst us,who will seek to obtain a
temporary favor of the peoj>le, and who by court
ing and adulating—their weaknesses, will ensure
to themselves frequent opportunities of sowing
discontent and sedition among our inhabitants.
There is,gentlemen,one rank of persons unfriend
ly to the present views of America, who deserve
our real esteem tho we are adversaries in opinion.
I mean those well intentionedingenious citizens,
who arc actuated by the purest motives—the real
love of their country, and its freedom. Jull es
caped from the galling manacles of one tyrant,
they are, perhaps, too overweeningly zealous in
their opposition. But the bed of men will differ
with thechafteft intentions. Let us therefore do
justice to their passionate ardor in the cause of li
berty—anddifcriininate the licentious intemper
ance of a party, from the jealous integrity of a
true republican. For if men have never been a
ble to agree upon the great and solemn truths rev-
Vealed to us in th£ Chriflian dispensation, what
flattering hope can we fofter in our bosoms, that
we fhoulcl be all reconciled in one political pro
blem. Vain hope! Wliilft men are poflelied of
different views of interest—on ambitious aggran
dizement, are actuated by other principles
those of honor or philanthropy—and are encum
bered with the frailnefs of humanity, it would be
foreign to, and inconsistent with our natures, to
expert a concurrence cis sentiment. But as the
noblest religion ever profefled in this world by
mankind, has thriven, and established itfelf under
the intolerant fpiritof its opponents, let us hope
that the work (which future ages, I doubt not, will
honor as the niafter-piece of political wisdom)
shall thrive also under the auspices and modera
tion of its present champions, and the perfecutioii
ofits enemies. The learned and ingenious author
of the Federalist, gentlemen, justly observes :—•
" That a dangerous ambition oftener lurks be
" hind the fpeciousmafk of zeal for the rights of
" the people, than under the forbidding appear
" ance of enthusiasm for the firmnefs and cffi
" cicncy of government. History will teach us
" that the former has been found a much more
" certain road to the introduction of defpotlfin,
" than the latter—and that of those men who
" have overturned the liberties of republics, the?
'< greatest number have begun their career, by
" paying an obsequious court to the people—com
" mencing demagogues, and ending tyrants."—
Since, therefore, there are so many evil and mis
chievous principles meditating against us, and but
one which is truly honorable, how much ought
we to be upon our guard to disappoint or resist a
secret adversary. It is said, that a fettled train
of correspondence was very early established in
this bufmefs, and that it still continues to flowun
interruptibly from its impure source. When fucli
means are adopted, where shall we find wisdom
enough to detect, and prudence fufficient to de
fend us from its evil machinations. Let us, how
ever exert ourselves, trusting that Providence ne
ver will abandon those, whom it has been pleased
to divert from the crooked paths of speculation,
private dishonor, and national infamy, into the
highroad leading to dignity, virtue,and honor ;
aud that this will bo the consequence of our hav
ing happily adopted the Conftitufion, and of our
continuing to persevere (I hope fuccefsfully) to
maintain it unsullied and unimpaired, against the
struggle of our opponents, I could easily de
monltrate to you. This will probably be the sub
ject of another charge, and at a future day. For
the present I will quit this topic, which is so tru
ly dear and intereftingto us all—l mean the wel
fare of our country—and apologizing for having
withdrawn fomuch of your time from the parti
cular official duties of the station you now appear
in, I will proceed briefly to lay before you some
of the more general principles which must guide
your present decisions.
[Having pointed out as usual the common du
ties of the grand jury, he proceeded as follows.]
At the fame time that you are empowered to
examine witnefles against theprifoner, and none