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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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short, they fairly contended about the future forms of our government, whether it should be founded upon Aristocratic or Democratic principles.

'I stood in the balcony, and on my right hand were ranged all the people of property, with some few poor dependants, and on the other all the tradesmen, &c.  who thought it worth their while to leave daily labor for the good of the country.  The spirit of the English Constitution has yet a little influence left, and but a little.  The remains of it, however, will give the wealthy people a superiority this time, but would they secure it, they must banish all schoolmasters, and confine all knowledge to themselves.  This cannot be.  The mob begin to think and to reason.  Poor reptiles! it is with them a vernal morning, they are struggling to cast off their winter's slough, they bask in the sunshine, and ere noon they will bite, depend upon it.  The gentry begin to fear this.  Their committee will be appointed, they will deceive the people, and again forfeit a share of their confidence.  And if these instances of what with one side is policy, with the other perfidy, shall continue to increase, and become more frequent, farewell aristocracy.  I see, and I see it with fear and trembling, that if the disputes with Britain continue, we shall be under the worst of all possible dominions.  We shall be under the domination of a riotous mob.

'It is the interest of all men, therefore, to seek for reunion with the parent state.  A safe compact seems in my poor opinion to be now tendered.  Internal taxation to be left with ourselves.  The right of regulating trade to be vested in Britain, where alone is found the power of protecting it.  I trust you will agree with me, that this is the only possible mode of union.  Men by nature are free as the air.  When they enter into society, there is, there must be, an implied compact, for there never yet was an express one, that a part of this freedom shall be given up for the security of the remainder.  But what part? The answer is plain.  The least possible, considering the circumstances of the society, which constitute what may

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From The Life of Gouverneur Morris: With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers; Detailing Events in the American Revolution, The French Revolution, and in the Political History of the United States, by Jared Sparks, Volume 1, Boston: Gray & Bowen, 1832, p 25. Some minor edits may have been made, but an attempt has been made to preserve the original spelling. Although some effort has been made to correct the limitations of OCR technology, if you find an error please report it to


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