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prefer those republics to the dozing slavery of the modern Greece, where the degraded wretches have suffered scorn till they merit it, where they tread on classic ground, on the ashes of heroes and patriots, unconscious of their ancestry, ignorant of the nature, and almost of the name of liberty, and insensible even to the passion for it. Who, on this contrast, can forbear to say, it is the modern Greece that lies buried, that sleeps forgotten in the caves of Turkish darkness? It is the ancient Greece that lives in remembrance, that is still bright with glory, still fresh in immortal youth. They are unworthy of liberty, who entertain a less exalted idea of its excellence. The misfortune is, that those, who profess to be its most passionate admirers, have, generally, the least comprehension of its hazards and impediments: they expect, that an enthusiastic admiration of its nature will reconcile the multitude to the irksomeness of its restraints. Delusive expectation! WASHINGTON was not thus deluded. We have his solemn warning against the often fatal propensities of liberty. He had reflected, that men are often false to their country and their honor, false to duty and even to their interest, but multitudes of men are never long false or deaf to their passions: these will find obstacles in the laws, associates in party. The fellowships thus formed are more intimate, and impose commands more imperious, than those of society.
Thus party forms a state within the state, and is animated by a rivalship, fear and hatred, of its superior.
When this happens, the merits of the government will become fresh provocations and offences, for they are the merits of an enemy. No wonder, then, that as soon as party found the virtue and glory of WASHINGTon were obstacles, the attempt was made, by calumny, to surmount them both. For this, the greatest of all his trials, we know that he was prepared. He knew, that the government must possess sufficient strength from within or without, or fall a victim to
faction. This interior strength was plainly inadequate to its defence, unless it could be reinforced from without by the zeal and patriotism of the citizens; and this latter resource was certainly as accessible to president Washington, as to any chief magistrate that ever lived. The life of the federal government, he considered, was in the breath of the people's nostrils : whenever they should happen to be so infatuated or inflamed, as to abandon its defence, its end must be as speedy, and might be as tragical as the constitution for France.
While the President was thus administering the government in so wise and just a manner, as to engage the great majority of the enlightened and virtuous
citizens to co-operate with him for its support, and while he indulged the hope that time and habit were confirming their attachment, the French revolution had reached that point in its progress, when its terrible principles began to agitate all civilized nations. I will not, on this occasion, detain you to express, though my thoughts teem with it, my deep abhorrence of that revolution; its despotism, by the mob or the military, from the first, and its hypocrisy of morals to the last. Scenes have passed there which exceed description, and which, for other reasons, I will not attempt to describe ; for it would not be possible, even at this distance of time, and with the sea between us and France, to go through with the recital of them, without perceiving horror gather, like a frost, about the heart, and almost stop its pulse. That revolution has been constant in nothing but its vicissitudes, and its promises; always delusive, but always renewed, to establish philosophy by crimes, and liberty by the sword. The people of France, if they are not like the modern Greeks, find their
cap of liberty is a soldier's helmet; and with all their imitation of dictators and consuls, their exactest similitude to these Roman ornaments, is in their chains. The nations of Europe perceive another resemblance, in their all-conquering ambition.
But it is only the influence of that event on America, and on the measures of the President, that belongs to my subject. It would be ingratefully wrong to his character, to be silent in respect to a part of it, which has the most signally illustrated his virtues.
The genuine character of that revolution is not even yet so well understood, as the dictates of self-preservation require it should be. The chief duty and care of all
governments is to protect the rights of property, and the tranquillity of society. The leaders of the French revolution, from the beginning, excited the poor against the rich. This has made the rich poor, but it will never make the poor rich. On the contrary, they were used only as blind instruments to make those leaders masters, first of the adverse party, and then of the state. Thus the powers of the state were turned round into a direction exactly contrary to the proper one, not to preserve tranquillity and restrain violence, but to excite violence by the lure of power, and plunder, and vengeance. Thus all France has been, and still is, as much the prize of the ruling party, as a captured ship; and if any right or possession has escaped confiscation, there is none that has not been liable to it.
Thus it clearly appears, that, in its origin, its character, and its means, the government of that country is revolutionary: that is, not only different from, but directly contrary to, every regular and well-ordered society. It is a danger, similar in its kind, and at least equal in degree, to that, with which ancient Rome menaced her enemies. The allies of Rome were slaves; and it cost some hundred years' efforts of her policy and arms, to make her enemies her allies. Nations, at this day, can trust no better to treaties; they cannot even trust to arms, unless they are used with a spirit and perseverance becoming the magnitude of their danger. For the French revolution has been, from the first, hostile to all right and justice, to all peace and order in so. ciety; and therefore, its very existence has been a state of warfare against the civilized world, and most of all against free and orderly republics, for such are never without factions, ready to be the allies of France, and to aid her in the work of destruction. Accordingly, scarcely any but republics have they subverted. Such governments, by showing in practice what republican liberty is, detect French imposture, and show what their pretexts are not.
To subvert them, therefore, they had, besides the facility that faction affords, the double excitement of removing a reproach, and converting their greatest obstacles into their most efficient auxiliaries.
Who, then, on careful reflection, will be surprised, that the French and their partizans instantly conceived the desire, and made the most powerful attempts, to revolutionize the American government? But it will hereafter seem strange, that their excesses should be excused, as the effects of a struggle for liberty; and that so many of our citizens should be flattered, while they were insulted with the idea, that our example was copied, and our principles pursued. Nothing was ever more false, or more fascinating. Our liber. ty depends on our education, our laws and habits, to which even prejudices yield; on the dispersion of our people on farms, and on the almost equal diffusion of property; it is founded on morals and religion, whose authority reigns in the heart; and on the influence all these produce on public opinion, before that opinion governs rulers. Here liberty is restraint; there it is violence: here it is mild and cheering, like the morning sun of our summer, brightening the hills and making the vallies green; there it is like the sun, when its rays dart pestilence on the sands of Africa. American liberty calms and restrains the licentious passions, like an angel that says to the winds and troubled seas, be still. But how has French licentiousness appeared to the wretched citizens of Switzerland and Venice? Do not their haunted imaginations, even when they wake, represent her as a monster, with eyes that flash wildfire, hands that hurl thunderbolts, à voice that shakes the foundation of the hills ? She stands, and her ambition measures the earth; she speaks, and an epidemic fury seizes the nations.
Experience is lost upon us, if we deny, that it had seized a large part of the American nation. It is as sober and intelligent, as free, and as worthy to be free, as any in the world; yet, like all other people, we have passions and prejudices, and they had received a violent impulse, which, for a time, misled us.
Jacobinism had become here, as in France, rather a sect than a party, inspiring a fanaticism that was equally intolerant and contagious. The delusion was general enough to be thought the voice of the people, therefore, claiming authority without proof, and jealous enough to exact acquiescence without a murmur of contradiction. Some progress was made in training multitudes to be vindictive and ferocious. To them nothing seemed amiable, but the revolutionary justice of Paris ; nothing terrible, but the government and justice of America. The very name of patriots was claimed and applied, in proportion as the citizens had alienated their hearts from America, and transferred their affections to their foreign corrupter. Party discerned its intimate connexion of interest with France, and consummated its profligacy by yielding to foreign influence.
The views of these allies required, that this country should engage in war with Great Britain. Nothing less would give to France all the means of annoying this dreaded rival: nothing less would ensure the subjection of America, as a satellite to the ambition of France: nothing else could make a revolution here perfectly inevitable.
For this end, the minds of the citizens were artfully inflamed, and the moment was watched, and impatiently waited for, when their long heated passions should be in fusion, to pour them forth, like the lava of a volcano, to blacken and consume the
government of our country.
The systematic operations of a faction, under for