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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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5344. MONARCHY, Hamilton and.—
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5344. MONARCHY, Hamilton and.—

[Alexander] Hamilton's financial system had
then [1790] passed. It had two objects. First,
as a puzzle, to exclude popular understanding
and inquiry. Secondly, as a machine for the
corruption of the Legislature; for he avowed
the opinion, that man could be governed by one
of two motives only, force or interest. [332] Force,
he observed, in this country was out of the
question; and the interests, therefore, of the
members must be laid hold of, to keep the
Legislature in unison with the Executive. And
with grief and shame it must be acknowledged
that his machine was not without effect; that
even in this, the birth of our government, some
members were found sordid enough to bend
their duty to their interests, and to look after
personal, rather than public good. * * * [The measures of Hamilton's financial system,—the Funding and United States Bank Acts,


Page 569
&c.,] added to the number of votaries to the
Treasury, and made its Chief the master of
every vote in the Legislature, which might
give to the government the direction suited to
his political views. I know well, and so must
be understood, that nothing like a majority in
Congress had yielded to this corruption. Far
from it. But a division, not very unequal, had
already taken place in the honest part of that
body, between the parties styled republican
and federal. The latter being monarchists in
principle, adhered to Hamilton of course, as
their leader in that principle, and this mercenary
phalanx added to them, ensured him always
a majority in both Houses; so that the
whole action of the Legislature was now under
the direction of the Treasury. * * * By
this combination, legislative expositions were
given to the Constitution, and all the administrative
laws were shaped on the model of England,
and so passed. * * * Here then was
the real ground of the opposition which was
made to the course of administration. Its
object was to preserve the Legislature pure
and independent of the Executive, to restrain
the administration to republican forms and
principles, and not permit the Constitution to
be construed into a monarchy, and to be warped
in practice into all the principles and pollutions
of their favorite English model. Nor
was this an opposition to General Washington.
He was true to the republican charge confided
to him; and has solemnly and repeatedly protested
to me, in our conversations that he would
lose the last drop of his blood in support of it;
and he did this the oftener, and with the more
earnestness, because he knew my suspicions
of Hamilton's designs against it, and wished
to quiet them. For he was not aware of the
drift, or of the effect of Hamilton's schemes.
Unversed in financial projects, and calculations
and budgets, his approbation of them was bottomed
on his confidence in the man.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 91. Ford ed., i, 160, 164, 165.


The subjoined extracts from Hamilton's Works set forth his principles of government in this respect:

“A vast majority of mankind is naturally biased
by the motives of self-interest.”—Hamilton's Works, ii, 10.

“The safest reliance of every government is on
men's interests. This is a principle of human nature
on which all political speculation, to be just, must
be founded.”—Hamilton's Works. ii, 298.

“We may preach until we are tired of the theme
the necessity of disinterestedness in republics, without
making a single proselyte.”—Hamilton's Works. ii, 197.

“A small knowledge of human nature will convince
us that with far the greatest part of mankind
interest is the governing principle, and that almost
every man is more or less under its influence. Motives
of public virtue may for a time, or in particular
instances, actuate men to the observance of a conduct
purely disinterested, but they are not sufficient
of themselves to produce a conformity to the refined
dictates of social duty. Few men are capable of
making a continual sacrifice of all views of profit,
interest, or advantage, to the common good. It is
in vain to exclaim against the depravity of human
nature on this account; the fact is so, and we must in
a great measure change the constitution of man
before we can make it otherwise. No institution
not built on the presumptive truth of these maxims
can succeed.”—Hamilton's Works. ii, 140.—Editor.