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mon interest, or common information, have, in the course of two centuries, totally changed the structure of society at large.
The strongest holds of regal authority and superstition have been happily pulled down. Men have become acquainted with their own rights, and have been enabled to associate, for their defence, or for acquiring that to which they are entitled.
England excluded, in the last century, the king, and discarded him and his family, as a well ordered family would exclude and discard the principal servant, who acted without its authority, and against its interest. But England was not sufficiently enlightened then to amend her faulty constitution; because a veneration for the old established forms pofsefsed the minds of the people. In the present age we have seen north America form herself into an independent nation, on the luminous principles of philosophy, after having thrown off the yoke of tyranny, without the intervention of religious zeal, or of superstition; and still more recently we have seen the great nation of France, difsolving altogether, and in one moment, a fabric of preposterous government, that had been erecting for three centuries, and replacing it, by a grand and beautiful structure, erected on the basis of general and equal liberty, which I trust will withstand the fhock of ages, unhurt by the subtilty of princes, or the imprudence of the people.
We have seen the unity of the legislative power established, by rejecting the project of a third estate, forming a body of janizaries, for the king and the
church, as in other countries; an institution by no means coeval with the free governments of Europe, but formed in England by Henry III. and in Scot-. land attempted by James 1. unsuccessfully.
We have seen the unjust and impolitic right of primogeniture, destroyed.
The distinctions of men preserved, but hereditary right to distinction and prerogative, abolished.
The power of the crown, to ruin the people by foolish wars, to flatter its ambition, or to defend the sullied reputation of an infamous relation, abrogated, and invested in the legislative body.
The right of trial by jury, judges both of the law and the fact, fully established.
Universal toleration of religious opinion.
All christians admitted to a share of the political liberty of the nation, by the capacity of being elected legislators, or appointed to offices in the state.
Corruption among the people for the election of representatives, obviated, by the diffusion of the right of suffrage.
Power of the first magistrate defined, and determined.
No power of remifsion of crimes against the state, but by recommendation of mercy from the juries and. judges.
A scale of punishments, suited to crimes.
The expence and delay of the law, and of justice, regulated and limited.
The revenue of the state, not to be raised in a way injurious to the morals of the people, or to their health and comfort.
Oaths on frivolous occasions, to be abolished. · Agriculture, as the foundation of national prospe rity, to be encouraged, and rendered honourable.
No man to suffer infamy, or lofs by the infamy or crimes of his ancestors, or relations.
These, Sir, and other institutions, connected with the principles upon which they were enacted, do sufficiently evince, that the era of scientific govern_ ment has arrived. Governments have been formed in America, and in France, upon the everlasting foun-dations of justice and truth; not as formerly, by collision of interests, and a jumble of fortuitous incidents, and by political and religious rage.
The power and wealth of the priesthood have been reduced to a standard, consistent with the good of the state.
The torture has been abolished, and slavery, not-withstanding the vile example of Britain, will be abolished in France as it has been in America.
The liberty of the prefs secured.
Wars of conquest and plunder prevented.
A system, formed in Europe, for a perpetual congrefs of deputies from the various states, to determine disputes, and thereby prevent expensive, bloody, and useless wars, on account of commercial or terri-torial differences.
An uniformity of general commercial laws.
And an uniformity of weights and measures, all over the world.
No fhelter to be given to criminals in any foreign:
Thus, Sir, have I endeavoured slightly to fketch the outlines of that scientific system of govern ment, which seems likely to be established for the happinefs of future generations; and fhall conclude this letter, by an extract from a writer who has been an old, sincere, and useful friend to its accomplish-
“The great instrument in the hand of divine providence, for the progrefs of mankind towards perfection, is society, and consequently government. In a state of nature, the powers of any individual are difsipated by an attention to a multiplicity of objects. The employments of all are similar. From generation to generation, every man does the same that every other does, or has done, and no person begins where another has ended; at least general improve-ments are exceedingly slow and uncertain. Whereas a state of more perfect society admits of a proper distribution and division of the objects of human attention. In such a state, men are connected with, and subservient to one another; so that, while one man confines himself to one single object, another may give the same undivided attention to another' object. Thus the powers of all have their full effect; and hence arise improvements in all the con-veniencies of life, and in every branch of knowledge.. In this state of things, it requires but a few years to comprehend the whole preceding progrefs of any one art or science; and the rest of a man's life, in which his faculties may be the most perfect, may be dedicated to the extension of it. If, by this means, one art or science fhould grow too large for an easy
comprehension, in a moderate space of time, a com* modious subdivision will be made. Thus all knowledge will be subdivided and extended; and knowledge, as Lord Bacon observes, being power, the human powers will in fact be enlarged; nature, including both its materials, and its laws, will be more at our command; men will make their situations in this world abundantly more easy and comfortable ; and will grow daily more happy, each in himself, and more able (and I believe more disposed) to communicate happiness to others."
Now, Sir, nothing can secure this wonderful, yet certain progress of human improvement, but the continuation of wise, just, and uniform governments, that shall neither be subject to injury from without nor within, as the crude governments of ancient nations were, that brought all of them, within the space of a thousand years, to utter destruction.
One great engine for raising and supporting the body politic, and preventing the deterioration of mankind, is education of youth, particularly of the female sex, which has never yet entered as a code into any constitution of government; and I observe, with deep regret, that it has escaped the notice, or at least the attention of America and of France.
It never can be too late to adopt one, and much. has been done lately in the republic of letters, to enable legislators to form one upon, principle, as well as upon experience of ages.
I shall not venture to hazard any opinion upon this infinitely important subject; but desire to suggest the contemplation of it to every friend of huma