Anonymous to MVB, 5 May 1818
Anonymous to MVB, 5 May 1818
When we see men, high in station and public confidence, formally uttering the sentiment, that division is the anchor of our safety, and that party animosity in the life-blood of republics, it is natural to inquire by what process of reasoning that doctrine is established; and what are the motives that have induced the propagation of a sentiment so repugnant to our wishes, and so portentous in its consequences to our common country.
It is matter of public notoriety and rejoicing that party spirit has, in a great measure, disappeared. It has been a subject of mutual gratulation. When the moderate and the patriotic of all parties seem uniting, and resting from the turbulence of those contentions: when faction, destitute of foreign resource, seems consuming in her <own> fires; it is with amazement and concern we see a band separating themselves from the mass of their fellow citizens, and lighting up the expiring flames.
The page of history, always wise, always useful, never taught you this heretical lesson.
There you must have learned that factious divisions, and party animosities, roused into ope[n] violence, and wielded for the most sinister purpose by designing men, have uniformly preceded national ruin. Who has not heard of Greek genius in war and the arts?—Her con<illegible> republics carried the terror of her arms [. . .] the limits of civilization. Her bards and <illegible>ges were the instructors of succeeding generations. Even now, in the boasted age of imp[rove]ment, the relics of Greece are prized above <illegible> efforts of modern genius. — Yet she fell <illegible> by civil dissention. United, they might have extended their empire from the pillars of [Hercules] to the Indian Ocean; and like the Romans have fixed their boundaries at the sources of the <Nile> and the Danube.
How often did Rome, through internal commotion, stand on the verge of ruin? while her salvation is to be ascribed only to that Providence which shapes the destines of empires and <illegible>ces good from evil! At the era of the late stupendous commotions on the continent of Europe, Switzerland and Holland, both republics, were rent with factions; and fell an almost <illegible> prey. I refer you Sir, to the history of the tumultous republics of Italy; to the parties which distracted them during their whole existence, to the intrigue, the resort to foreign interference, the violence, slaughter and desolation which were the legitimate offspring of those animosities.
You, yourself, Sir, have painted the danger, to which our Country was exposed, during the late conflict, from internal division. With divided counsels, and factious citizens you think there was reason for alarm! Yes, Sir, parties here, like those in other nations, are full danger and <illegible>.
Witness those insidious attempts against [our] liberties at the era of the French Revolution,—when even the character of Washington was not spared by party rancour. I deprecate with you, the danger to which this political dissention [op]poses the Union of these Republics; and therefore rejoice that the spirit of party is allayed. Other nations can no longer find an auxiliary in our own bosoms; while the concentrated power of those States is too formidable to be met single handed on our own shores. Our navy, the child of Federalism, now the pride of both parties, is admired as the cradled Hercules. Convinced that <illegible> it goes attended with the undivided wishes of a people, that it sails not only under the banner, but the auspices of union; that its achievements [are] registered in the hearts of every citizen; <illegible> on its native element will be as proud as <illegible> who has grown old in the empire of the <illegible>.
Where are the instances of nations that perished because they were united? because hostilities were directed against others rather than against themselves!
Enlighten us, sir, in that portion of history, which belies the doctrine uttered by the wise Disposer of nations as well as families. "That a house divided against itself cannot stand."