4144 HISTORIC DOCUMENTS
the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure,
reason and experience both forbid us to expect that natural morality
can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.
It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary
spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with
more or less force to every species of free government. Who that
is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts
to shake the foundation of the fabric?
Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions
for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential
that public opinion should been lightened.
As a very important source of strength and security, cherish
public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly
as possible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace,
but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for
danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it;
avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning
occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to
discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned,
not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we
ourselves ought to bear.
The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives;
but it is necessary that public opinion should co-operate. To
facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that
you should practically bear in mind that towards the payment of
debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be
taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment,
inseparable from the selection of the proper objects-which is always
the choice of difficulties-ought to be a decisive motive for a candid
construction of the conduct of the Government in making it, and
for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue
which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.
Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate
peace and harmony with all; religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it?
It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period,
a great nation to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel