Page 4144

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