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and when abused become pernicious. The precious metals, by similar arguments, may be proved to be injurious. It is certain that the moneys of South America have had great influence in banishing industry from Spain, and sinking it in real wealth and importance. Great power, commerce, and riches-or, in other words, great national prosperity-may, in like manner, be denominated evils; for they lead to insolence, an inordinate ambition, a vicious luxury, licentiousness of morals, and all those vices which corrupt a government, enslave the state, and precipitate the ruin of a nation. But no wise statesman will reject the good from an apprehension of the ill. The truth is, in human affairs there is no good pure and unmixed. Every advantage has two sides; and wisdom consists in availing ourselves of the good, and guarding as much as possible against the bad
The tendency of a national bank is to increase public and private credit. The former gives power to the state for the protection of its rights and interests, and the latter facilitates and extends the operations of commerce among individuals. Industry is increased, commodities are multiplied, agriculture and manufactures flourish; and herein consists the true wealth and prosperity of a state. Most commercial nations have found it necessary to institute banks; and they have proved to be the happiest engines that ever were invented for advancing trade. Venice, Genoa, Hamburg, Holland, and England, are examples of their utility. They owe their riches, commerce, and the figure they have made at different periods, in a great degree to this source. Great Britain is indebted for the immense efforts she has been able to make in so many illustrious and successful wars, essentially to that vast fabric of credit raised on this foundation.
THE EXCELLENCY OF OUR CONSTITUTION.'
After all our doubts, our suspicions and speculations, Mr. Chairman, on the subject of government, we must return at last to this important truth, that when we have formed a constitution upon free principles, when we have given a proper balance to the different branches of administration, and fixed representation upon pure and equal principles, we may with safety furnish it with all the powers necessary to answer, in the most ample manner, the purposes of government. The great objects to be desired are a free representation and mutual checks. When these are obtained, all our apprehensions of the extent of powers are unjust and imaginary. What, then, is the structure of this constitution? One
1 From a speech delivered in the New York Convention, 1788.
branch of the legislature is to be elected by the people,-by the same people who choose your State representatives. Its members are to hold their office two years, and then return to their constituents. Here, sir, the people govern; here they act by their immediate representatives. You have also a senate, constituted by your State legislatures, by men in whom you place the highest confidence, and forming another representative branch. Then, again, you have an executive magistrate, the president, created by a form of election which merits universal admiration. In the form of this government, and in the mode of legislation, you find all the checks which the greatest politicians and the best writers have ever conceived. What more can reasonable men desire? Is there any one branch in which the whole legislative and cutive powers are lodged? No. The legislative authority is lodged in three distinct branches, properly balanced; the executive authority is divided between two branches; and the judicial is still reserved for an independent body, who hold their offices during good behavior. This organization is so complex, so skilfully contrived, that it is next to impossible that an impolitic or wicked measure should pass the great scrutiny with success. Now, what do gentlemen mean by coming forward and declaiming against this government? Why do they say we ought to limit its powers, to disable it, and to destroy its capacity of blessing the people? Has philosophy suggested, has experience taught, that such a government ought not to be trusted with every thing necessary for the good of society? Sir, when you have divided and nicely balanced the departments of government; when you have strongly connected the virtue of your rulers with their interest; when, in short, you have rendered your system as perfect as human forms can be,-YOU MUST PLACE CONFIDENCE, YOU MUST
CHARACTER OF MAJOR ANDRE.
There was something singularly interesting in the character and fortunes of Andre. To an excellent understanding, well improved by education and travel, he united a peculiar elegance of mind and manners, and the advantage of a pleasing person. 'Tis said he possessed a pretty taste for the fine arts, and had himself attained some proficiency in poetry, music, and painting. His knowledge appeared without ostentation, and embellished by a diffidence that rarely accompanies so many talents and accomplishments, which left you to suppose more than appeared. His sentiments were elevated, and inspired esteem; they had a softness that conciliated affection. His elocution was handsome; his address easy, polite, and insinuating. By his merit, he had
acquired the unlimited confidence of his general, and was making a rapid progress in military rank and reputation. But in the height of his career, flushed with new hopes from the execution of a project the most beneficial to his party that could be devised, he was at once precipitated from the summit of prosperity, and saw all the expectations of his ambition blasted, and himself ruined.
The character I have given of him is drawn partly from what I saw of him myself, and partly from information. I am aware that a man of real merit is never seen in so favorable a light as through the medium of adversity; the clouds that surround him are shades that set off his good qualities. Misfortune cuts down the little vanities that, in prosperous times, serve as so many spots in his virtues, and gives a tone of humility that makes his worth more amiable. His spectators, who enjoy a happier lot, are less prone to detract from it through envy, and are more disposed, by compassion, to give him the credit he deserves, and perhaps even to magnify it.
I speak not of Andre's conduct in this affair as a philosopher, but as a man of the world. The authorized maxims and practices of war are the satires of human nature. They countenance almost every species of seduction as well as violence; and the general who can make most traitors in the army of his adversary is frequently most applauded. On this scale we acquit Andre, while we could not but condemn him if we were to examine his conduct by the sober rules of philosophy and moral rectitude. It is, however, a blemish on his fame that he once intended to prostitute a flag; about this, a man of nice honor ought to have had a scruple; but the temptation was great; let his misfortunes cast a veil over his error.
CHARACTER OF GENERAL GREENE.1
As a man, the virtues of Nathaniel Greene are admitted; as a patriot, he holds a place in the foremost rank; as a statesman, is praised; as a soldier, he is admired. But in the two last characters, especially in the last but one, his reputation falls far below his desert. It required a longer life, and still greater opportunities, to have enabled him to exhibit, in full day, the vast-I had almost said the enormous-powers of his mind.
1 Nathaniel Greene, a major-general in the Revolutionary army, was born in Warwick, R. I., in 1742, and died in 1785. In the tenth volume of the second series of "Sparks's American Biography" will be found a well-written life, by his grandson, George Washington Greene, who is engaged in preparing a much fuller biography, to be completed in six volumes.
The termination of the American war-not too soon for his wishes, nor for the welfare of his country, but too soon for his glory-put an end to his military career. The sudden termination of his life cut him off from those scenes which the progress of a new, immense, and unsettled empire could not fail to open to the complete exertion of that universal and pervading genius which qualified him not less for the senate than for the field. **
General Greene, descended from reputable parents, but not placed by birth in that elevated rank which, under a monarchy, is the only sure road to those employments that give activity and scope to abilities, must, in all probability, have contented himself with the humble lot of a private citizen, or, at most, with the contracted sphere of an elective office in a colonial and dependent government, scarcely conscious of the resources of his own mind, had not the violated rights of his country called him to act a part on a more splendid and more ample theatre.
Happily for America, he hesitated not to obey the call. The vigor of his genius, corresponding with the importance of the prize to be contended for, overcame the natural moderation of his temper; and though not hurried on by enthusiasm, but animated by an enlightened sense of the value of free government, he cheerfully resolved to stake his fortune, his hopes, his life, and his honor, upon an enterprise of the danger of which he knew the whole magnitude;-in a cause which was worthy of the toils and of the blood of heroes.
The sword having been appealed to at Lexington as the arbiter of the controversy between Great Britain and America, Greene shortly after marched, at the head of a regiment, to join the American forces at Cambridge, determined to abide the awful decision.
He was not long there before the discerning eye of the American Fabius marked him out as the object of his confidence.
His abilities entitled him to a pre-eminent share in the councils of his Chief. He gained it, and he preserved it, amidst all the chequered varieties of military vicissitude, and in defiance of all the intrigues of jealous and aspiring rivals.
As long as the measures which conducted us safely through the first most critical stages of the war shall be remembered with approbation; as long as the enterprises of Trenton and Princeton shall be regarded as the dawnings of that bright day which afterwards broke forth with such resplendent lustre; as long as the almost magic operations of the remainder of that memorable winter, distinguished not more by these events than by the extraordinary spectacle of a powerful army straitened within narrow limits by the phantom of a military force, and never permitted to transgress those limits with impunity, in which skill supplied the
place of means, and disposition was the substitute for an army; as long, I say, as these operations shall continue to be the objects of curiosity and wonder, so long ought the name of Greene to be revered by a grateful country.
FISHER AMES, 1758-1808.
FEW statesmen of this or any other country have passed through the perilous arena of politics with a character and reputation so unsullied as Fisher Ames. He was the youngest son of Dr. Nathaniel Ames, of Dedham, Massachusetts, and was born in that ancient town, April 9, 1758. He was but six years old when he lost his father; but his mother, as if "anticipating the future lustre of the jewel committed to her care," struggled bravely with her narrow circumstances in order to give him a literary education. She lived to be a witness of his eminence, to receive the expressions of his filial piety, and to weep over his grave.
At the completion of his twelfth year, he was admitted to Harvard College, where he distinguished himself, young as he was, by his studious habits and his classical attainments; and he passed through that ordeal, so trying for young men, with a character unstained by any vice. After leaving college, he engaged in the business of instruction, and for three or four years employed his time partly in teaching others, and partly in reviewing his studies and adding new stores to his stock of knowledge. At length he entered the office of William Tudor, Esq., of Boston, and in the autumn of 1781 commenced practice at Dedham.
Mr. Ames entered upon his professional duties at a very eventful period of our history. From the outset of his career he was ever the warm, consistent, and able friend of constitutional liberty; and when resistance to law, in Massachusetts, broke out into open rebellion, he wrote a series of essays in the "Independent Chronicle," published in Boston, under the signatures of Lucius Junius Brutus" and "Camillus," to animate the Government to decision and energy. These pieces were pronounced to be the production of no common mind; and when traced to Mr. Ames, the eyes of leading men in the State were turned to him as one destined to render the most important services to his country.
In 1788 he was chosen a member of the Massachusetts Convention for ratifying the Federal Constitution. In this body he displayed so much talent and sound political wisdom that he was selected by the friends of the then new Government to assist in its organization, and he was accordingly chosen the first representative to Congress from the district of Suffolk, which included the capital of the State. During the whole of Washington's administration, he continued a member of the House of Representatives; and though his health was feeble, he took an active and responsible part in every important question, giving all his time and all his powers to public business; and such were his abilities and such his enlarged views, united to sound moral and Christian principles, that no member of the House exerted a greater influence. The greatest speech that he delivered in that body—and, indeed, the speech of that session of the fourth Congress-was that on the appropriation for the British treaty,-more generally known as "Jay's