The representative, in this case, is bound, by every possible tie, to consult the advantage of his constituents. Gratitude for the high and honorable trust reposed in him demands a return of attention and regard to the advancement of their happiness. Self-interest, that most powerful incentive of human actions, points and attracts toward the same object.
The third charter is a still farther enlargement of their territory and privileges, and is that by which their present form of government is modelled. The following extract will show the nature of it: “We do hereby ordain and grant, that the said treasurer and company of adventurers and planters aforesaid shall and may, once every week, and oftener, at their pleasure, hold and keep a court or assembly, for the better order and government of the said plantation; and that any five persons of our council for the time being, of which company the treasurer, or his deputy, to be always one, and the number of fifteen persons, at the least, of the generality of the said company assembled together in such a manner as hath been heretofore used and accustomed, shall be reputed to be, and shall be, a sufficient court for the handling, ordering, and dispatching of all such casual and particular occurrences, as shall, from time to time, happen, touching and concerning the said plantation. And, nevertheless, for the handling, ordering, and disposing of the matters and affairs of greater weight and importance, such as shall, concern the public weal and the general good of the said plantation, as, namely, the from time to time, to be used, the ordering and disposing of the lands and possessions, and the or such like, there shall be held and kept, every year one great general and solemn assembly. In all and every of which said great and general courts, so assembled, our will and pleasure is, and we do, for us, our heirs and successors for ever, give and grant to the said treasurer and company, or the greater number of them, so assembled, that they shall and may have full power and authority, from time to time, and at all times hereafter, to and discreet persons to be of our said council, for the first colony of Virginia; and to nominate and appoint such officers as they shall think fit and requisite for the government, managing, ordering, and dispatching of the affairs of the said company; and shall likewise have full power and authority to ordain and make such laws and ordinances for the good and welfare of the said plantation as to them, from time to time, shall be thought requisite and meet; ”
The public, for the different purposes that have been mentioned, must always have large demands upon its constituents, and the only question is, whether these shall be satisfied by annual grants perpetually renewed, by a perpetual grant once for all, or by a compound of permanent and occasional supplies. The last is the wisest course. The Federal Government should neither be independent nor too much dependent. It should neither be raised above responsibility or control, nor should it want the means of maintaining its own weight, authority, dignity, and credit. To this end, permanent funds are indispensable, but they ought to be of such a nature and so moderate in their amount as never to be inconvenient. Extraordinary supplies can be the objects of extraordinary emergencies, and in that salutary medium will consist our true wisdom.
This was doubtless the chief cause of its rapid growth.
You will not be at a loss, sir, in what part of this picture to look for your own resemblance; nor have I the least apprehension that you will mistake it on the affirmative side. The happy indifference with which you view those qualities most esteemed for their usefulness to society will preserve you from the possibility of an illusion of this kind. Content with the humble merit of possessing qualities useful only to yourself, you will contemplate your own image on the opposite side with all the satisfaction of conscious deformity.
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To form useful alliances abroad—to establish a wise government at home—to improve the internal resources and finances of the nation—would be the generous objects of his care. He would not allow his attention to be diverted from these to intrigue for personal connections to confirm his own influence; nor would he be able to reconcile it, either to the delicacy of his honor or to the dignity of his pride, to confound in the same person the representative of the commonwealth and the little member of a trading company. Anxious for the permanent power and prosperity of the state, he would labor to perpetuate the union and harmony of the several parts. He would not meanly court a temporary importance by patronizing the narrow views of local interest, or by encouraging dissensions either among the people or in C——ss. In council or debate he would discover the candor of a statesman zealous for truth, and the integrity of a patriot studious of the public welfare; not the cavilling petulance of an attorney contending for the triumph of an opinion, nor the perverse duplicity of a partisan devoted to the service of a cabal. Despising the affectation of superior wisdom, he would prove the extent of his capacity by foreseeing evils, and contriving expedients to prevent or remedy them. He would not expose the weak sides of the States to find an opportunity of displaying his own discernment by magnifying the follies and mistakes of others. In his transactions with individuals, whether foreigners or countrymen, his conduct would be guided by the sincerity of a man, and the politeness of a gentleman; not by the temporizing flexibility of a courtier, nor the fawning complaisance of a sycophant.
: The history of the original 13 colonies
It frequently happens that the excess of one selfish passion either defeats its own end, or counteracts another. This, if I am not mistaken, is your case. The love of money and the love of power are the predominating ingredients of your mind; cunning, the characteristic of your understanding. This has hitherto carried you successfully through life, and has alone raised you to the exterior consideration you enjoy. The natural consequence of success is temerity. It has now proceeded one step too far, and precipitated you into measures from the consequence of which you will not easily extricate yourself. Your avarice will be fatal to your ambition. I have too good an opinion of the sense and spirit, to say nothing of the virtue, of your countrymen, to believe they will permit you any longer to abuse their confidence or trample upon their honor. Admirably fitted in many respects for the meridian of St. James, you might there make the worthy representative of a venal borough, but you ought not to be suffered to continue to sully the majesty of the people in an American C——ss.