4142 HISTORIC DOCUMENTS
the duty of every individual to obey the established government.
All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations
and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real
design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation
and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this
fundamental principle and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force, to put in
the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community;
and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to
make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and
incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent
and wholesome plans, digested by common councils and modified
by mutual interests.
However combinations or associations of the above description
may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the
course of time and things, to become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert
the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of
government; destroying afterward the very engines which have
lifted them to unjust dominion.
I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the
States, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discrimination. Let me now take a more comprehensive
view, and warn you, in the most solemn manner, against the baneful
effects of the spirit of party generally.
This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having
its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists
under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed. But in those of the popular form it is seen
in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened
by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissensions, which, in
different ages and countries, has perpetuated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a
more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries
which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security
and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and, sooner or
later, the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more