Abbildungen der Seite

and when flourishing under the countenance of the best friends of religion, learning, and liberty in the state; she cannot but promise herself the continued patronage of the evening of that life, which divine Providence has so eminently distinguished.

May the same indulgent Providence yet continue your protracted life, enriched and crowned with the best of blessings, to nurse and cherish this favorite child of your youth; that the future sons of science in this western world may have additional reason to remember the name of FRANKLIN with gratitude and pleasure.

Signed, in the name and by order of the Faculty, by JOHN EWING, Provost.

Philadelphia, September 16th, 1785.


I am greatly obliged, Gentlemen, by your kind congratulations on my safe arrival.

It gives me extreme pleasure to find, that seminaries of learning are increasing in America, and particularly that the University over which you preside, continues to flourish. My best wishes will always attend it.

The instruction of youth is one of those employments, which to the public are most useful; it ought, therefore, to be esteemed among the most honorable. Its successful exercise does not, however, always meet with the reward it merits, except in the satisfaction of having contributed to the forming of virtuous and able men for the service of their country.



June 26th, 1787.

THAT the legislatures of the several States shall choose and send an equal number of delegates, namely, who are to compose the second branch of

[ocr errors]

the general legislature.

That, in all cases or questions wherein the sovereignties of the individual States may be affected, or whereby their authority over their own citizens may be diminished, or the authority of the general government within the several States augmented, each State shall have equal suffrage.

That, in the appointment of all civil officers of the general government, in the election of whom the second branch may, by the Constitution, have part, each State shall have equal suffrage.

That, in fixing the salaries of such officers, in all allowances for public services, and generally in all appropriations and dispositions of money, to be drawn out of the general treasury, and in all laws for supplying the treasury, the delegates of the several States shall have suffrage in proportion to the sums their respective States had actually contributed to that treasury from their taxes or internal excises.

That, in case general duties should be laid by impost on goods imported, a liberal estimation shall be made of the amount of such impost paid in the price of the

commodities by those States that import but little, and a proportionate addition shall be allowed of suffrage to such States, and an equal diminution of the suffrage of the States importing.


THE steady course of public measures is most probably to be expected from a number.

A single person's measures may be good. The successor often differs in opinion of those measures, and adopts others; often is ambitious of distinguishing himself by opposing them, and offering new projects. One is peaceably disposed; another may be fond of war, &c. Hence foreign States can never have that confidence in the treaties or friendship of such a government, as in that which is conducted by a number.

The single head may be sick; who is to conduct the public affairs in that case? When he dies, who are to conduct till a new election? If a council, why not continue them? Shall we not be harassed with factions for the election of successors; and become, like Poland, weak from our dissensions?

Consider the present distracted condition of Holland. They had at first a Stadtholder, the Prince of Orange, a man of undoubted and great merit. They found some inconveniences, however, in the extent of powers annexed to that office, and exercised by a single person. On his death, they resumed and divided those powers among the states and cities; but there has been a constant struggle since between that family and the nation. In the last century, the then Prince of Orange found means to inflame the populace against their magistrates, excite a general insurrection, in which an excellent minister, Dewitt, was murdered, all the old

magistrates displaced, and the Stadtholder re-invested with all the former powers. In this century, the father of the present Stadtholder, having married a British princess, did, by exciting another insurrection, force from the nation a decree, that the stadtholdership should be thenceforth hereditary in his family. And now his son, being suspected of having favored England in the late war, and thereby lost the confidence of the nation, is forming an internal faction to support his power, and reinstate his favorite, the Duke of Brunswick; and he holds up his family alliances with England and Prussia to terrify opposition. It was this conduct of the Stadtholder, which induced the states to recur to the protection of France, and put their troops under a French, rather than the Stadtholder's German general, the Duke of Brunswick. And this is the source of all the present disorders in Holland, which, if the Stadtholder has abilities equal to his inclinations, will probably, after a ruinous and bloody civil war, end in establishing an hereditary monarchy in his family.




It is with reluctance that I rise to express a disapprobation of any one article of the plan, for which we are so much obliged to the honorable gentleman who laid it before us. From its first reading, I have borne a good will to it, and, in general, wished it success. In this particular of salaries to the executive branch, I happen to differ; and, as my opinion may appear new and chimerical, it is only from a persuasion that it is right,

and from a sense of duty, that I hazard it. The committee will judge of my reasons when they have heard them, and their judgment may possibly change mine. I think I see inconveniences in the appointment of salaries; I see none in refusing them, but, on the contrary, great advantages.

Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but, when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects. Place before the eyes of such men a post of honor, that shall at the same time be a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it. The vast number of such places it is, that renders the British government so tempestuous. The struggles for them are the true source of all those factions which are perpetually dividing the nation, distracting its councils, hurrying it sometimes into fruitless and mischievous wars, and often compelling a submission to dishonorable terms of peace.

And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable preeminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government, and be your rulers. And these, too, will be mistaken in the expected happiness of their situation; for their vanquished competitors, of the same spirit, and from the same motives, will perpetually be endeavouring to




« ZurückWeiter »