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3580. GOVERNMENTS (American), Energy of.—

It has been said that our governments,
both Federal and particular, want
energy; that it is difficult to restrain both
individuals and States from committing
wrong. This is true, and it is an inconvenience.
On the other hand, that energy which
absolute governments derive from an armed
force, which is the effect of the bayonet constantly
held at the breast of every citizen, and
which resembles very much the stillness of
the grave, must be admitted also to have its
inconveniences. We weigh the two together,
and like best to submit to the former. Compare
the number of wrongs committed with impunity
by citizens among us with those committed
by the sovereign in other countries,
and the last will be found most numerous,
most oppressive on the mind, and most degrading
of the dignity of man.—
To M. de Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 292. Ford ed., iv, 147.
(P. 1786)