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for, in the first place, every man has a right to give an opinion, but no man has a right that his opinion should govern the rest. In the second place, it is not supposed to be known before-hand on which side of any question, whethere for or against, any man's opinion will fall. He may happen to be in a majority upon some questions, and in a minority upon others; and by the same rule that he expects obedience in the one case, he must yield it in the other. All the disorders that have arisen in France, during the progress of the revolution have had their origin, not in the principle of equal rights, but in the violation of that principle. The principle of equal rights has been repeatedly violated, and that not by the majority, but by the minority and that minority has been composed of men possessing property, as well as of men without property; property, therefore, even upon the experience already had, is no more a criterion of character than it is of rights. It will sometimes happen that the minority are right, and the majority are wrong, but as soon as experience proves this to be the case, the minority will increase to a majority, and the error will reform itself by the tranquil operation of freedom of opinion and equality of rights. Nothing therefore can justify an insurrection, neither can it ever be necessary, where rights are equal and opinions free.

Taking then the principle of equal rights as the foundation of the revolution, and consequently of the constitution, the organical part, or the manner in which the several parts of the government shall be arranged in the constitution, will, as is already said, fall within the province of opinion.

Various methods will present themselves upon a question of this kind; and though experience is yet wanting to determine which is the best, it has, I think sufficiently deIcided which is the worst. That is the worst, which in its deliberations and decisions is subject to the precipitancy and passion of an individual; and when the whole legislature is crowded into one body, it is an individual in mass. In all cases of deliberation it is neccesary to have a corps of reserve, and it would be better to divide the representation by lot into two parts, and let them revise and correct each other, than that the whole should sit together and debate at once.

Representative government is not necessarily confined to any one particular form. The principle is the same in all the forms under which it it can be arranged. The equal rights of the people is the root from which the whole


springs, and the branches may be arranged as present opinion or future experience shall best direct. As to that hospital of incurables, (as Chesterfield calls it) the British House of Peers, it is an excrescence growing out of corruption; and there is no more affinity or resemblance between any of the branches of a legislative body originating from the rights of the people, and the aforesaid house of peers, than between a regular member of the human body and an ulcerated wen.

As to that part of government that is called the executive, it is necessary in the first place to fix a precise meaning to the word.

There are but two divisions into which power can be arranged. First, that of willing or decreeing the laws; secondly, that of executing, or putting them in practice. The former corresponds to the intellectual faculties of the human mind, which reasons and determines what shall be done; the second, to the mechanical powers of the human body, that puts that determination into practice. If the former decides, and the latter does not perform, it is a state of imbecility; and if the latter acts without the predetermination of the former, it is a state of lunacy. The executive department therefore is official, and is subordinate to the legislative, as the body is to the mind in a state of health; for it is impossible to conceive the idea of two sovereignties, a sovereignty to will, and a sovereignty to act. The executive is not invested with the power of deliberating whether it shall act or not; it has no discretionary authority in the case; for it can act no other thing than what the laws decree, and it is obliged to act conformably thereto; and in this view of the case, the executive is made up of all the official departments that execute the laws, of which, that which is called the judiciary is the chief.

But mankind have conceived an idea that some kind of authority is necessary to superintend the execution of the laws, and to see that they are faithfully performed; and it is by confounding this superintending authority with the official execution, that we get embarrassed about the term executive power.-All the parts in the government of the United States of America that are called THE EXECUTIVE, are no other than authorities to superintend the execution of the laws; and they are so far independent of the legislative, that they know the legislative only through the laws and cannot be controuled or directed by it through any other medium.

In what manner this superintending authority shall be appointed or composed, is a matter that falls within the province of opinion. Some may prefer one method, and some another; and in all cases, where opinion only, and not, principle, is concerned, the majority of opinions forms the rule for all. There are, however, some things deducible from reason, and evinced by experience, that serve to guide our decision upon the case. The one is, never to invest. any individual with extraordinary power; for besides his being tempted to mis-use it, it will excite contention and commotion in the nation for the office. Secondly, never to invest power long in the hands of any number of individuals. The inconveniencies that may be supposed to accompany frequent changes, are less to be feared than the danger that arises from long continuance.

I shall conclude this discourse with offering some observations on the means of preserving liberty; for it is not only, necessary that we establish it, but that we preserve it.

It is, in the first place, necessary that we distinguish between the means made use of to overthrow despotism, in order to prepare the way for the establishment of liberty, and the means to be used after the despotism is overthrown.

The means made use of in the first case are justified by necessity. Those means are in general, insurrections; for whilst the established government of despotism continues in any country, it is scarcely possible that any other means can be used. It is also certain that in the commencement of a revolution, the revolutionary party permit to themselves a discretionary exercise of power, regulated more by circumstances than by principle, which were the practice to continue, liberty would never be established, or if established would soon be overthrown. It is never to be expected in a revolution, that every man is to change his opinion at the same moment. There never yet was any truth or any principle so irresistibly obvious, that all men believed it at once. Time and reason must co-operate with each other to the final establishment of any principle; and therefore those who may happen to be first convinced have no right to persecute others, on whom conviction operates more slowly. The moral principle of revolutions is to instruct; not to destroy.

Had a constitution been established two years ago, (as ought to have been done) the violences that have since desolated France, and injured the character of the revolution, would, in my opinion, have been prevented. The nation

would then have been a bond of union, and every individual would have known the line of conduct he was to follow. But instead of this, a revolutionary government, a thing without either principle or authority, was substituted in its place; virtue and crime depended upon accident; and that which was patriotism one day became treason the next. All these things have followed from the want of a constitution; for it is the nature and intention of a constitution to prevent governing by party, by establishing a common principle that shall limit and controul the power and impulse of party, and that says to all parties, THUS FAR SHALT THOU GO AND NO FARTHER. But in the absence of a constitution men look entirely to party; and instead of principle governing party, party governs principle.

An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.



Agrarian Law,






A National Fund,

To pay to every Person, when arrived at the Age of Twenty-one Years, the Sum of Fifteen Pounds Sterling, to enable him, or her, to begin the World.


Ten Pounds Sterling per Annum during Life to every Person now living, of the Age of Fifty Years, and to all Others when they shall arrive at that Age, to enable them to live in Old Age without Wretchedness, and go decently out of the World.





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