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are questions which would be differently decided by the landed and the manufacturing classes, and probably by neither with a sole regard to justice and the public good.The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice.The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society.
By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.
No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity.
With equal, nay with greater reason, a body of men are unfit to be both judges and parties at the same time; yet what are many of the most important acts of legislation, but so many judicial determinations, not indeed concerning the rights of single persons, but concerning the rights of large bodies of citizens?
Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.
However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence, of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true.And what are the different classes of legislators but advocates and parties to the causes which they determine? It is a question to which the creditors are parties on one side and the debtors on the other. Yet the parties are, and must be, themselves the judges; and the most numerous party, or, in other words, the most powerful faction must be expected to prevail.Shall domestic manufactures be encouraged, and in what degree, by restrictions on foreign manufactures?Further, he argued that the large size of the country would actually make it more difficult for factions to gain control over others.“The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States.” AMONG the numerous advantages promised by a wellconstructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction.As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves.The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests.There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease.Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pockets.It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good.