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New Haven Gazette Newspaper Archive: March 2, 1786 - Page 1

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Publication: New Haven Gazette

Location: New Haven, Connecticut

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   New Haven Gazette (Newspaper) - March 2, 1786, New Haven, Connecticut                                 ÜGUt  (Vol. i.) Thurfday, March 2, .  (No. 3.)  Now SIBI SED TOTO GENITOS SE CREDERE MuNDO.  NEW-FIAVEN: Printed ^nd PuWiflied by MEIGS & DANA, in Chapel-Street. Price Nine killings per Annum.  Observations on the Present Situation and Future Prospects of this and the United States. No. III.  'N my lail paper I endeavoured to ex-__ plain the principles of political which conftitute the government of ihe U-nited States, this fubjeél I have confidered ■as it refpeéls defence and commerce ; my prefent obfervations will be confined to their operation on our national charafer. Perhaps my zeal for the welfare of my country may induce me to wiih for fome regulations for which we arc not fully prepared, yet as there has been a political awakening, it may not be improper to divulge my fpecu-lations át this time. It is certain that no people are fo happily fjtuatedas thofe of A-raerica, their lands are fertile and produce every variety of the neceifaries of life, while their governments are diftinguiflied by the laft refinements of policy. One would al-moft believe that the Spartan legillator had arifen from the dead 10 illuminate the minds of our politicians ; for though our laws vary from his in the mode of operation, yet the effect finally produced is the fame. The ftera prohibitions by which he excluded gold and filver from his dominions, were not fo etíeáiual for this purpofe as our laws for promoting commerce: and the regulations by which he ellabliihed a comnmnity of property, did not enable his greatell: generals to live upon the public with half the elegance of our nieaneil colletìors. In thefe refpefts our governments are far fuperior to the Spartan ; and we have many fupcr-added excellencies of which the ancient Lycurgus had no idea. Yet this moft excellent 1 > Item of government is not exempt from imperfedlions :it has foftered a.numbcr of poltroon patriots who have conjured up. from chaos what they call a /«/'/A- dcAf, which they fay our national honour requires us to difcharge. Thefe men pretend to much learning, and quote Monteiquieu with great vanity and oilentation ; but it fliall be my duty to expofe the abfurdity of their opinions from Their fiivorite authors : Monteiquieu has aflorted that hmioio is the principle of monarchi al governments, and if this be true, it follows that nothing which tends to encourage a lenle of honour among the people, ought to bepernilttwd 10 e.virc in the  American democracies, as this would tend to introduce the baleful influence of defpot-ifm. This argument needs only to be Hated to have its abfurdity appear, and my taik would be compleated, could nothing more plaufible than this whim of national honour be urged as a reafon why the debt ihould be paid ; I muft own that when fome people have urged the juñice of difcharging the debt, I have fomewhat doubted the truth of my creed, efpecially as JtiJti<e and Virtue are faid to be eifentially neceifaiy to the exiilence of democratical governments, but after much painful ftudy, I have difcovered that no debt can poiTibly be due from the public to any individual, which I take to be the great defideratum in American politics, and as valuable a difcovery to mankind as the quantity of matter in comets, which has been dcfcrvedly ranked among the moll important /hierican in ventions.  Perhaps no man is uninformed that Brutus was a man of goo j fenfe, and the beil whig in Rorie, and that he in a letter to Cicero, blames him fornegledling the iater-eil of the public, merely on account of the valuable fervices he had already performed: He fays, that from thofe who have pei formed great anions, as great or greater may be required, and that the debt due to the public is increafed by the importance, and by the repetition of patriotic exertions. This was a wife faying of Brutus, and its truth can be demonitrated from the eilabliflied principles of human nature—for we find fome men arediílinguiíhed from their birth by marks of original genius and liberal minds. Thefe men arc few, becaufe few occurrencies happen in which fuch men are ufeful to fociety. 7"he great bulk of mankind is cornpofed of groveling, felfifh animals, who are ever ready to deprefs the other Order of men, from an iniUndive fenfe of their fuperiority. This inftinél as uni-verfally impels mankind in general to op-poie the propoials of the few who are capable of reflexion, as that which points out to the afs and the polecat the ofFenfive qualities of their feveral natures. This dais of men require, as a debt due to them, the ferviccs of ail who are capable of rendering them benefits, and indeed with very good rc;;ibn, as that is mofl icridly a debt, wLich a irian is bi. unJ uy 'he laws of nature to per  form, and for which he cannot receive a reward.  Thefe propoiitions being not generally known, need fome explanation, ior which purpofe, let us confider, that if we take money from mankind in general, v/e deprive them of every good, though money is by no means confidered by the virtuous as an adequate compenfation for patriotic exertions, and befides, by every mercantile rule, if money is paid for fervices, the value of thofe fervices belongs to the buyer, and the original proprietor is divefted of all property therein-Thus, by paying for public benefits, the moft fubftantial evil would accrue, thofe men who were the authors of the benefits would lofe the merit and honour of them, which would be to them a iore mortification, and the commodity of great virtues and benei'olent aftions which would thus be bought by the populace, would pe-rifti on hand, as it would neither buy rum in Jamaica, nor tea in England.  But thefe are not my only objeilions ag-ainit paying what is called the pi/hlic decHt nor did it altogether arife for fervices performed by individuals; many public prom-ifes have been made for monies loaned, and for beef, flour, and many other articles of this kind, which, though they arc the moit unexceptional demands that are made, yet ought not in general to be paid. It is well known that democracies ought to preferve an equality of property among their citizense as neceffary to this kind of government— Thofe men who performed fervices for the public, would in many injiances be entitled to fuch immenfe fums, that, confidering their abilities, they would be too powerful for citizens, and thofe who furnilhed fup^ plies muft have pbiTeiTed too great a lhare of property, otherwife they would have been unable to become creditors to the public, in either cafe the fafety ofthe government is interefted eidier not to pay at all, or at leail to pay in fuch a flow and defultory manner, that no real advantage accrue to the creditors.  Much might be faid in favour of both thefe modes of cancelling our engagementSp but as the difcuflion ofthe queltion would be an unpopular tafic for me who am a politician, I beg leave to fuggeil a few hints upon the fubjed, snd then leave the matter   

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