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its support, and the other to pay less; and this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning of the princes or enslaving of the people. Generally, indeed, the ruling power carries its point; and we see the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more. The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes, the greater need the prince has of inoney to distribute among his partisans, and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure. There is scarce a king in a hundred, who would not if he could, follow the example of Pharaoh; get first all the people's money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants for ever. It will be said, that we do not propose to establish kings. I know it. But there is a natural iuclination in mankiud to kingly government. It sometimes relieves them from aristocratic domination. They had r'a. ther have one tyrant than five hundred. It gives more of the appearance of equality among citizens; and that they like. I am apprehensive, therefore, perhaps too apprehensive, that the government of these states may in future times end in a monarchy : but this catastrophe, I think, may be long delayed, if in our proposed system we do not sow the seeds of contention, faction, and tumult, by making our posts of honour places of profit. If we do, I fear that though we employ at first a number, and not a sin. gle person, the number will in time be set aside; it will only vourish the fætus of a king, (as the ho. nourable gentleman from Virginia very aptly ex
pressed it,) and a king will the sooner be set over
may be imagined by some that this is an Utopian idea, and that we can never find men to serve us in the executive department, without paying them well for their services. I conceive this to be a mistake. Some existing facts present themselves to me, which incline me to a contrary opinion. The high sheriff of a county in England is an honourable office; but it is not a profitable one : it is rather expensive, and therefore not sought for : but yet it is executed, and well executed, and usually by some of the principal gentlemen of the county. In France, the office of counsellor, or member of their judiciary parliaments, is more honourable : it is therefore pur. chased at a high price: there are indeed fees on the law proceedings, which are divided among them; but these fees do not amount to more than 3 per cent. on the sum paid for the place. Therefore, as legal interest is there at 5 per cent. they in fact pay 2 per cent. for being allowed to do the justiciary bu. siness of the nation, which is at the same time en. tirely exempt from the burthen of paying them any salaries for their services. I do not, however, mean to recommend this as an eligible mode for our jus. ticiary department; I only bring the instance to show that the pleasure of doing good and serving their country, and the respecí such conduct entitles them to, are sufficient motives with some minds to give up a great part of their time to the public, without the inducement of pecuniary satisfaction.
Another instance is that of a respectable society, who have made the experiment, and practised it
with success now more than a hundred years : 1 mean the Quakers. It an established rule with them not to go to law; but in their controversies they must apply to their monthly, quarterly, or yearly meetings. Committees of these sit with patience to hear the parties, and spend much time in composing their differences.
In doing this, they are supported by a sense of duty, and the respect paid to usefulness. It is honourable to be so employed, but it was never made profitable by salaries, fees, or perquisites : and indeed, in all cases of public services, the less the profit the greater the honour,
To bring the matter nearer home; have we not seen the greatest and most important of our offices, that of general of our armies, executed for eight years together without the smallest salary, by a patriot, whom I will not now offend by any other praise ; and this through fatigues and distresses in common with the other men, his military friends and com. panions, and the constant anxieties peculiar to his situation ? and shall we doubt finding three or four men in the United States, with public spirit enough to bear sitting in peaceful council, for perhaps an equal term, merely to preside over our civil concerns, and see that our laws are duly executed ? Sir, I have a better opinion of our country. I think we shall never be without a sufficient number of wise and good men, to undertake, and execute well and faith. fully, the office in question.
Sir, the saving of the salaries that may at first be proposed is not an object with me. The subsequent mischiefs of proposing them are what I apprehend;
and therefore it is that I move the amendment. If it is not seconded or accepted, I must be contented with having delivered my opinion frankly, and done my duty.
MOTION FOR PRAYERS IN THE CONVEN
MR. PRESIDENT, The small progress we have made after four or five weeks' close attendance and continual reasonings with each other, our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes as ayes, is, methinks, a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the human understandivg. We, indeed, seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running all about in search of it. We hare gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those republics, which having been originally formed with the seeds of their own dissolution, now no longer exist; and we have viewed modern states all round Europe, but find none of their constitutions suitable to our circumstances.
In this situation of this assembly, groping as it were in the dark, to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us ; how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights, to illuninate our understandings? In the beginuing of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the divine protection ! Qur prayers, sir, were heard ;
and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle, must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favour : to that kind of Proridence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend ? or do we no longer need his assistance ? I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth; that God governs in the affairs of men : and if a spårrow cannot fall without his notice, is it probable that au empire can rise without his aid? We have been as. sured, sir, in the Sacred Writings, that“ Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe, with, out his concurring aid, we shall proceed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel : we shall be divided by our little partial local in. terests, our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a by-word down to future ages; and what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, de. spair of establishing government by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest. I there. fore beg leave to move,
“ That henceforth, prayers, imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our delibera. tions, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business; and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service."