They soon perceived that the indispensably needed powers were such as no State government, no combination of them, was by the principles of the Declaration of Independence competent to bestow.
And on that day, of which you now commemorate the fiftieth anniversary--on that thirtieth day of April, 1789--was this mighty revolution, not only in the affairs of our own country, but in the principles of government over civilized man, accomplished.
Even in our own country there are still philosophers who deny the principles asserted in the Declaration, as self-evident truths--who deny the natural equality and inalienable rights of man--who deny that the people are the only legitimate source of power--who deny that all just powers of government are derived from the consent of the governed.
If we resort for a criterion to the different principles on which different forms of government are established, we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behavior.
The mode provided by the plan of the convention is not founded on either of these principles. In requiring more than a majority, and principles.
As soon as the points of value of the new sub-breed are once fully acknowledged, the principle, as I have called it, of unconscious selection will always tend,--perhaps more at one period than at another, as the breed rises or falls in fashion,--perhaps more in one district than in another, according to the state of civilisation of the inhabitants--slowly to add to the characteristic features of the breed, whatever they may be.
On this principle Marshall has remarked, with respect to the sheep of parts of Yorkshire, that 'as they generally belong to poor people, and are mostly in small lots, they never can be improved.' On the other hand, nurserymen, from raising large stocks of the same plants, are generally far more successful than amateurs in getting new and valuable varieties.
And if you suppose something which pulls a thirsty soul away from drink, that must be different from the thirsty principle which draws him like a beast to drink; for, as we were saying, the same thing cannot at the same time with the same part of itself act in contrary ways about the same.
And so of the individual; we may assume that he has the same three principles in his own soul which are found in the State; and he may be rightly described in the same terms, because he is affected in the same manner?
All these things seem to make it plain, that none of these principles
are justly founded on which these persons would establish their right to the supreme power; and that all men whatsoever ought to obey them: for with respect to those who claim it as due to their virtue or their fortune, they might have justly some objection to make; for nothing hinders but that it may sometimes happen, that the many may be better or richer than the few, not as individuals, but in their collective capacity.
It may be said, that these oppositions would be useful both in making me aware of my errors, and, if my speculations contain anything of value, in bringing others to a fuller understanding of it; and still farther, as many can see better than one, in leading others who are now beginning to avail themselves of my principles, to assist me in turn with their discoveries.
Their fashion of philosophizing, however, is well suited to persons whose abilities fall below mediocrity; for the obscurity of the distinctions and principles of which they make use enables them to speak of all things with as much confidence as if they really knew them, and to defend all that they say on any subject against the most subtle and skillful, without its being possible for any one to convict them of error.