Page 4143

4143 HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes

of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which,

nevertheless, ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common

and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make

it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the

public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded

jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against

another; foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the

door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated

access to the government itself through the channel of party passion. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected

to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties, in free countries, are useful

checks upon the administration of the government, and serve to

keep alive the spirit of liberty. This, within certain limits, is probably true; and, in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism

may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party.

But in those of popular character, in governments purely elective,

it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency,

it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every

statutory purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess,

the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and

assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming,

it should consume.

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain

would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor

to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest

props of the destinies of men and citizens. The mere politician,

equally with the pious man, ought to respect and cherish them. A

volume could not trace all their connection with private and public

felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property,

for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the

oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?

And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can

be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to