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governments, which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and
embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity 5 of those overgrown military establishments, which,
under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. In this sense it is, that
your union ought to be considered as a main prop of 10 your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.
These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the
continuance of the Union as a primary object of patri15 otic desire. Is there a doubt whether a common gov
ernment can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope, that a proper
organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency of 20 governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford
a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to union, affecting all parts of our
country, while experience shall not have demonstrated 25 its impracticability, there will always be reason to dis
trust the patriotism of those, who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands.
In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern, that any 30 ground should have been furnished for characterizing
parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart-burnings, which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien 5 to each other those, who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head; they have seen, in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate, of the 10 treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event, throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in 15 regard to the Mississippi; they have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties, that with Great Britain, and that with Spain, which secure to them every thing they could desire, in respect to our foreign relations, towards confirming their prosperity. Will it not be 20 their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the Union by which they were procured? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren and connect them with aliens ?
25 To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a Government for the whole is indispensable. No alliances, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions, which all alliances in all 30 times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a Constitution of Government better calculated than your former for an intimate Union, and for
the efficacious management of your common concerns. This Government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation
and mature deliberation, completely free in its princi5 ples, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, com
pliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are 10 duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true
Liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the constitution which at any time
exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of 15 the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The
very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government.
All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all com20 binations and associations, under whatever plausible
character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this funda
mental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to 25 organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordi
nary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and,
according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, 30 to make the public administration the mirror of the ill
concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.
However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of 5 the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requi- 10 site, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the constitu- 15 tion, alterations, which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments, as 20 of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety 25 of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that, for the efficient management of your common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will 30 find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine
each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.
I have already intimated to you the danger of parties 5 in the state, with particular reference to the founding
of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of
the spirit of party, generally 10 This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our
nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or re
pressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in 15 its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has
perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a fright20 ful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal
and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an
individual; and sooner or later the chief of some pre. 25 vailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his
competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out 30 of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the
spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
It serves always to distract the public councils, and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the