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The opposite qualities of the first confederation were rather caused by than the cause of two parties, which from its first existence began and have continued their operations, I believe, unknown to their country and almost unknown to themselves-as really but few men have the capacity or resolution to develop the secret causes which influence their daily conduct. Those who were merely confederal in their views, were for dividing the public debt.The old Congress was a national government and an union of States, both brought into one political body, as these opposite powers-I do not mean parties were so exactly blended and very nearly balanced, like every artificial, operative machine where action is equal to reaction. Those who were for national government, were for increasing of it. assisted those who thought it our only safety-to put everything as wrong as possible.But even then the advantages and disadvantages of national government operated so strongly, although silently, on each individual, that the conflict was nearly equal.
As this second class never can include any of the yeomanry of the union, who never affect superior wisdom, and can have no interests but the public good, it can be only said to exist at the birth of government, and as soon as the first and third classes become more decided in their views, this will divide with each and dissipate like a mist, or sink down into what are called moderate men, and become the tools and instruments of others.
These people are prevented by a cloud from having any view; and if they are not virtuous, they at least preserve the appearance, which in this world amounts to the same thing. At the head of the third class appear the old rigid republicans, who although few in number, are still formidable.
Such has been hitherto the progress of party; or rather of the human mind dispassionately contemplating our separate and relative situation, and aiming at that perfect completion of social happiness and grandeur, which perhaps can be combined only in ideas.
Every description of men entertain the same wishes (excepting perhaps a few very bad men of each)-they forever will differ about the mode of accomplishment-and some must be permitted to doubt the practicability.
This [first] class is nearly at the height of their power; they must decline or moderate, or another revolution will ensue, for the opinion of America is becoming daily more unfavorable to those radical changes which high-toned government requires. The second class is composed of those descriptions of men who are certainly more numerous with us than in any other part of the globe.
A conflict would terminate in the destruction of this class, or the liberties of their country. First, those men who are so wise as to discover that their ancestors and indeed all the rest of mankind were and are fools.This essay follows a theme similar to Federalist No.10,and appeared in the Maryland Gazette and Baltimore Advertiser, March 18, 1788.We have a vast overproportion of these great men, who, when you tell them that from the earliest period at which mankind devoted their attention to social happiness, it has been their uniform judgment, that a government over governments cannot exist- that is two governments operating on the same individual-assume the smile of confidence, and tell you of two people travelling the same road-of a perfect and precise division of the duties of the individual.Still, however, the political apothegm is as old as the proverb-That no man can serve two masters-and whoever will run their noddles against old proverbs will be sure to break them, however hard they may be.Our old native merchants have been almost universally ruined by the receipt of their debts in paper during the war, and the payment in hard money of what they owed their British correspondents since peace.Those who are not bankrupts, have generally retired and given place to a set of young men, who conducting themselves as rashly as ignorantly, have embarrassed their affairs and lay the blame on the government, and who are really unacquainted with the true mercantile interest of the country-which is perplexed from circumstances rather temporary than permanent.Time must elapse before the mercantile interest will be so organized as to govern themselves, much less others, with propriety.And lastly, to this class I suppose we may ultimately add the tory interest, with the exception of very many respectable characters, who reflect with a gratification mixed with disdain, that those principles are now become fashionable for which they have been persecuted and hunted down-which, although by no means so formidable as is generally imagined, is still considerable. They are generally, though with very many exceptions, openly for the proposed, but secretly against any American government. But should they see any fair prospect of confusion arise, these gentry will be off at any moment for these five and twenty years to come.The public creditors of the continent, whose interest has been heretofore sacrificed by their friends, in order to retain their services on this occasion.A large majority of the mercantile people, which is at present a very unformed and consequently dangerous interest.