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It is possible, however, that, in a experiments which have since taken government like ours, where the place in Europe may suggest matacts and resolves of the legislature ter for warning, they afford nothing are sometimes passed with great fa- for imitation. If, notwithstanding, cility and expedition, the laws may it is found by experience, that the be too numerous, and be extended to constitution operates very unequally, cases too minute and particular. or the construction of any part is The unnecessary interference of doubtful, amendments may be negovernment with the private con- cessary to alter or explain it. But cerns of the people, will always be it is vain to expect that all will be a source of mischief; their under satisfied. Free governments admit standing is competent to the direc- of an endless variety of modification of their own affairs; and, when tions, and the opinions entertained left to itself, will generally lead of their respective merits are equal. them to measures the most benefi- ly various. When the constitution cial, both to themselves and the pub. was established, perhaps no man lic.
that became subject to it was perFrequent alterations of the law fectly pleased with every part. It are likewise attended with inconve- was the result of mutual concession, nience, as they sometimes produce and such indeed must always be the effects which were not foreseen, and case, when a form of government is occasion greater evils than they were voluntarily accepted by a community. designed to remedy. They tend to Almost every nation, at some pe. weaken the government, by dimi. riod of their existence, have enjoyed nishing the confidence of the people the privileges of a free state ; but in the stability of its councils; for how few have preserved them! uniform measures alone can pre- they have been lost by the inconserve its reputation, or procure du- stancy of the citizens, or forfeited rable advantages to the state. It is by their vices. In many republics, of importance, too, that the laws repeated variations in the modes of should be understood by the citizens; government have taken place, as but, if they are often changed, they different parties happened to predowill not be understood, nor, indeed, minate, until the people became weawill their real tendency be always ry of changes, and preferjed the known. The most judicious plans quiet of absolute power to the tuof improvement may require a num mults of perpetual revolution. In ber of years to produce their bene- the minds of some men, there seems ficial effects; and the want of con to be a restlessness, which renders sistency in the measures of govern- them dissatisfied with any uniform ment would defeat the purposes course of things, and makes them which they are intended to accom- eager in the pursuit of novelty ; plish. It would therefore be unwise they abound in projects, and are ever to substitute new and opposite sys- meditating some fanciful change in tems, until experience has proved the plan of government, which that those which are already in use their imaginations represent as useare manifestly inconvenient. ful. But men of great ambition are
But changes in the constitution of still more dangerous ; they comgovernment are more injurious than monly make the fairest pretences in the system of laws; even a small to principle, though they are actuinnovation may destroy its princi- ated only by self-interest. If the ples. The framers of the national constitution or laws of their country constitution had before them, not present obstacles to the accomplishonly the forms which had been pre- ment of their wishes, they employ ferred by the several states, but every artifice to alter or abolish those also which before that time them; and if individuals oppose had been devised in other ages and their attempts, they are equally art nations: and though the repeated ful and solicitous to destroy their in.
fluence, and render them odious to the citizens, and preserve their their fellow-citizens.
tranquillity as long as they are vir. Few men, even in a prosperous tuous; and no constitution that has community, are fully satisfied with been, or can be formed, will secure their condition ; a great part are those blessings to a depraved and easily induced to believe, that there vicious people. is something wrong in the govern The unanimity which appeared ment or laws, which might be recti- in both branches of the legislature fied to their advantage ; they there. when a proposed amendment to the fore easily embrace any specious national constitution was disapprovproposal to effect an alteration. The ed by you at the last session, may seem crafty and ambitious know how to to render these remarks superfluavail themselves of this disposition ous; but, as the constitution of this to change, and encourage their fol- state does not require that such lowers to expect, that the amend- amendments shall be laid before the ments they propose will perfectly. executive for approbation, and as suit their case, and produce the very other questions of this kind are blessings they wish; in this way likely to arise, I trust there is no they not only effect their immediate impropriety in suggesting these reobject, but acquire an influence flections, or in adding my testimony wirich enables them afterwards to in favour of the principles you adopt, accomplish the most destructive in- in the instance to which I refer. novations. Such persons encourage You, gentlemen, I presume, will hopes that can never be realized, do all in your power to preserve and excite complaints which the and perpetuate the advantages enmost wise and benevolent adminis- joyed by our fellow-citizens; by tration is unable to remove.
supporting the good order of society, Indeed, we are generally apt to and encreasing the influence of vir. ascribe too much to the efficacy of tuous manners; and by cherishing laws and government, as if they schools and seminaries of learning, alone could secure the happiness of where our youth may be instructed the people ; but no laws will be suf. in the rights and benefits of equal ficient to counteract the influence government, and strengthened in of manners which are corrupted by their abilities to assert and preserve vice and voluptuousness; and it is them. As the university of Harbeyond the power of any govern. vard college is placed by the conment to render the circumstances of stitution under the peculiar patronthe citizens easy and prosperous, if age of government, and as it is made they want the habits of industry and the special duty of the legislature frugality. Government is necessary and magistrates of the state at all to preserve the public peace, and times to cherish it, you will, in a peprotect the persons and property of culiar manner, be disposed to afford individuals; but our social happi- that institution such encouragement ness must chiefly depend upon other and support as its circumstances causes : upon simplicity and purity may render necessary. of manners; upon the education The spirit of candour and of mu. that we give our children ; upon a tual deference, which were manifeststeady adherence to the customs ed in both houses at your former and institutions of our ancestors; session, afford the best assurance upon the general diffusion of know- that your views will continue to be ledge; and upon the prevalence of directed to the common good. If, piety and benevolent affections from the state of the public mind, among the people.
there is danger of the impulse of Our forms of government are, party spirit, you will be convinced doubtless, like all other human in that every unnecessary dispute, stitutions, imperfect; but they will which would have a tendency to ensure the blessings of freedom to infiame that passion, should be
avoided ; and I hope and trust that use, a GOLD MEDAL, value FIFTY
The dissertations to be sent to the
secretary of the society, post paid,
be written in the En
glish, French, or Latin language, to For the Literary Magazine. be accompanied with a sealed paper,
containing the author's name and PRIZE MEDALS OFFERED BY THE
place of residence, which is not to be HUMANE SOCIETY OF
opened, unless the prize is decreed. DELPHIA.
They shall be submitted to the THE society have observed, with judgment and decision of the medigratitude and admiration, the labours cal professors of the University of of the many learned and ingenious Pennsylvania. benefactors of mankind, who have The society entertain the pleasadvanced, to a high degree of im- ing hope, that to some of their felprovement, the means to be employ- low citizens is reserved the hearted in restoring to life those who have felt satisfaction and honourable rebeen apparently deprived thereof. ward of improving this truly interBut they have, at the same time, to esting part of useful knowledge, and regret, that notwithstanding much of announcing to the world an imgood hath been done, yet these means portant addition to the means alreavery often fail of success. In order dy in use for restoring suspended to excite public attention towards animation. the further improvement of so im By order of the managers of the portant a part of medical science, Humane Society, the society is induced to offer,
JOSEPH CRUKSHANK, For the best dissertation on the
President. means of restoring to life persons
ISAAC SNOW DEN, jun. apparently dead from drowning,
Secretary, und more effectual than any yet in Philadelfinia, Dec. 11th, 1805.
The hearts of all round you might break, The unsodded grave of a friend
While you are enwrapt in a dream. Taught something like numbers to Too long, O too long, you have slept,
To the meltings of pity unknown, Nor favour I look'd to attend, While I with the mourner have wept, My heart was alive but to woe. And made all his sorrows my own.
My pen since a solace has prov'd, • The voice of sweet pity assume, Though weak, it imparted relief,
It may something like comfort convey, It was the companion I lov d, At least it may steal from the gloom I found it a rival to grief.
That's wearing our kinsman away. Fate destines to some paths of flow'rs, Let echo reply to a strain,
I prove one with brambles o'ergrown, The tend'rest that sympathy knows: Yet alive to sweet sympathy's pow'rs, It fails not to soften our pain,
The woes of my friends are my own. When others partake of our woes.
“ The sorrow, Maria, that wears “ Sure sympathy warm from the heart The form of Alexis away May easily dictate the lay,
My bosom in sympathy shares, Nor eloquence fail to impart
I've wept them by night and by day: What ambition might seek to pour. Yet sympathy warm from my heart tray.
Will not lull his sorrows to rest, O let him not sorrow alone,
Nor strains, though enflower'd by art, The desolate victim of fate ;
Give ease to his tortured breast.
“ To cheer his disconsolate mind,
The sea I as soon could becalm; “ Maria, nay tempt me no more,”
Or stay by my hand the strong wind, Said Mira, “ my pen to resume ;
As find for his sorrows a balm. Those days of indulgence are o'er,
Oh, no! there is none to be found, I've wrapt me in apathy's gloom.
Where a sensitive mind is possessid, The verse, the employment of hours
For cruel ingratitude's wound While all those around me have slept,
On the core of the bosom imprest. The world, by its censuring powers, Of every charm have bereft.
“ The power that meant he should feel “ They deem it the offspring of pride,
So deeply, by giving the mind, Of a daring and arrogant mind;
That power his sorrows must heal, Ambition, 'tis said, is my guide,
The heart that is broken must bind. My talents are light as the wind.
Then tenipt me, Maria, no more Perhaps they may make it appear:
The strain once so lov'd to resume, Yet little I know of my heart
Those days of indulgence are o'er, If it shelters a thought insincere,
I've wrapl me in apathy's gloom. Or wears the entrappings of art.
“ Should heaven a favour bestow,
This boon, and this only I crave, « To error I feel I am prone,
Let me pass through this valley of woe, I feel it each morning I see ;
Uncensur'd, unknown, to the grave. Yet a treasure there is to atone,
Yet let not my foes, who abound, A mercy unbounded and free.
Once think I crave mercy from them; Though frailties and many are mine, I am not ambitious of fame,
Is mercy with hyenas found ? I never have bow'd at its shrine,
Know they justice who love to con
demn?" From the world I have nothing to claim.
She ceas’d; and I saw through the
bow' " The talent that nature bestow'd Through parting of leaves I could Is feeble, most feeble, I own,
trace Afar from the muse's abode,
The aching heart's eloquent power I've ponder'd, unsmild on, alone. On a sorrow and time-injur'd face.
She ceas'd, and Maria replied,
Who, while he press'd me to his heart, But her voice was so soften'd and A bosom void of guile or art, low,
Said all affection could impart? The sound ere it reach'd me had died,
My guardian. I heard but the sobbings of woe.
And, though the soil was far from kind,
My guardian. For the Literary Magazine.
Who soul-amending lessons drew,
And held Truth's mirror to my view, IMITATION OF COWPER'S MARY.
With his own bright example too?
My guardian. “ Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
Who bade me pray, for prayer, he said,
Would make me soon of sin afraid, WHO, when my father's fixed eye And heal the wound that sin had made? Proclaim'd the hour of death was nigh,
My guardian. Kneel'd agonized with sorrow by?
And still he lives, and opens wide
His door to all the orphan tribe,
And every child of woe beside.
The weary wanderer, and oppressid,
Knows where to find a place of rest,
And always is a welcome guest.