As I’m working toward a new release, how about a snippet?

From a project currently in edits toward release:


Starships do not run on Helium three, Li Zhang, owner and captain of the free trader Jin Long, thought, but on paper, or rather its electronic analog. At least the three hours he’d spent in his office had allowed him to finish the various forms he would need on arrival at Chiktaka, including fuel usage reports, a note on the wormhole trap flutter and the effect it had on fuel use, pingback readings from various navigational beacons along their route, all to show that they had not deviated from their flight plan.

The Eres did not want outsiders wandering.  The headaches were why most small traders preferred not to deal in Eres space.  That, of course, was what made runs into Eres space so profitable for traders like Li who would brave the shoals of bureaucracy.

The comm on his desk pinged.

“Li,” he said.

“Coll, Skipper,” Brenda Coll, Li’s engineering chief said. “We still haven’t heard anything from Chiktaka since the recorded message.  I’m getting a bit concerned.”

Li glanced up at the chrono. “I can see why.  Any explanations?”

“I kind of pointed our sensors insystem.”

“Uh, Brenda, Eres policy?  You want to bring a Lesser Claw down on our heads?”

“Passives only, I swear.  The system primary shows signs of recent flare activity which could have affected insystem comms but…look, could you switch on your office holo and let me slave it.”

Li tapped a few keys on the computer console built into his desk and the front half of his office filled with a holographic display.

That’s a lot of traffic,” Li said as he read the various icons. “More than I’d expect from what I know about Chiktaka.”

“More than that,” Coll said. “Let me put up the extracted course data.”

Coll had served as an engineer in the Terran fleet during the last war but had experience as a Tac officer as well.  She knew how to squeeze information out of a ship’s sensors.

Lines extruded from the icons representing ships.  More than half of those ships were headed outsystem, not just outsystem, but….

“They’re heading our way.”

“Close enough” Coll said, “contra-parallel to our course.  Now look as I project forward….”

The icons moved; the seemingly random positions and speeds coalesced into a clear formation by the time they reached….

“They’ll have us surrounded.”

“Yes, sir.” Coll paused. “Skipper, maybe I’m overreacting, but may I suggest we get the hell out of Dodge?”

“Thank you, Brenda.  I think you’re right.”

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On This Day: The Boston Tea Party

I was trying to do a cover render yesterday which tied up my computer (and ultimately failed) so no post yesterday.  Sorry.

Some years ago when A Certain Politician said “It’s not time to party like it’s 1773” media pundits laughed saying This Politician did not know when the revolution started.  However, That Politician did know when the Boston Tea Party occurred–something those media pundits apparently did not.

The road to to the Boston Tea Party began with The Townshend Acts of 1767 which established, among other things, a tax on tea imported to the American Colonies.  These acts were eventually repealed, but the tax on tea remained.  Fast forward to May 10, 1773.  The Tea Act permitted the British East India Company to sell tea without paying those taxes, giving it a competitive advantage over other merchants.  This was essentially a “bailout” of the British East India Company which was struggling, partly because of competition from tea smuggled from the Netherlands where taxes were much lower.  Rather than accept that this import tariff idea of 25% was just bad economics, they instead simply relieved the British East India company from the burden of the tax. (well, Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations was still a few years in the future and Mercantilism was in full swing.  Rather than counting the wealth of the nation as the sum total of goods and services available to its people it counted it as gold in the treasury and only counted the upper classes rather than the population as a whole.  So perhaps they could be forgiven for not understanding economics that had not yet been developed.)

In essence, what the Tea Act did was allow the British East India company to ignore the import duty in England, and to deal directly with the colonies.  The duties collected in the colonies, imposed by the Townshend acts, were retained.  Still, by reducing one level of taxation it reduced the overall cost allowing the British East India Company to sell its tea more cheaply, both in England and in the colonies, than competitors.

In the American Colonies there were two primary complaints about the Tea Act.  The first was the belief that the tax violated their rights as Englishmen to “no taxation without representation.” The taxes were passed by the British Parliament in which the colonies were not represented. The second problem was more practical:  the British East India Company was being given a special advantage over domestic colonial importers.

When the Tea Act was passed, retaining the tax on tea imported into the colonies, there were warnings that this might lead to another colonial controversy (said colonies already proving restive under what they considered rather high-handed British rule).  Former Chancellor of the Exchequer William Dowdeswell, for example, warned that the Americans would not accept the tea if the Townshend duty remained.

The warnings were not heeded.  The Tea Act went into force.

But notice something there.  The Tea Act did not increase the taxes paid by the American Colonists.  The tax on tea was simply retained.  Indeed, colonists could pay less if they simply bought the tea imported by the British East India company.  They were being given lower taxes…if they bought tea from that one company.

If.

So it wasn’t paying taxes the colonists objected to.  It was that dual pair of issues:  no taxation without representation and the bailout of the “official” corporation at the expense of others. (I guess Parliament thought the British East India Company was “too big to fail”. History doesn’t repeat, but it does rhyme.)

Protests continued from the passing of the Tea Act in May into the fall.  In late November, the tea ship Dartmouth arrived in Boston Harbor.  American Patriots, including Whig leader Sam Adams, met and organized essentially a boycott of the tea, watching to block any attempt to unload the cargo.  They argued to have the ship depart, with its tea, without paying the duty.  Loyalist governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, however, refused to allow them to depart.  Two more ships arrived.  They, too, were prevented from unloading or from leaving.  December 16th arrived, the last day before which the Dartmouth must either pay the duty or have its cargo confiscated, Governor Hutchinson again refused to allow the ships to depart.

A meeting of patriots led by Sam Adams broke up.  Contemporary reports indicate that he tried to stop people from leaving as the meeting was not yet over.  Claims that his statement “This meeting can do nothing further to save the country” being a signal to start the Tea Party appears to be something invented nearly a century later.  Many of those leaving donned costumes, dressing as Mohawk warriors.  This accomplished two things:  one is that it disguised the individual features of the protesters, the other was that by choosing Native American regalia instead of simple masks, they identified with the Americas and the country then undergoing its birthing throes.

Over the course of the evening, somewhere between 30 and 130 men boarded the three vessels and dumped every chest of tea into the water.  They were very careful not to damage anything else and indeed, in one case where they broke a lock to get access to the tea they replaced the lock afterward.

Sam Adams may or may not have actively planned the Tea Party.  He certainly did take a hand in publicizing and defending it afterward.  And as a result, the Boston Tea Party became one of the major stepping stones in the rising tide of discontent in the American Colonies that led to their eventual separation from Britain.

Herron High School

We did the paperwork to get Athena transferred to Herron High School and she was accepted.  So far, so good.  Tonight she had her placement tests to see which classes she should take.  Next Wednesday morning is when we go in to actually schedule her classes.  We’ll know then how she did no the placement tests when we see what classes they offer/recommend for her.

Herron is a public charter school that bills itself as a Classical Liberal Arts school.  It’s rated #1 in Indianapolis, #2 in the State.

As they say on their “About” page:

Our Vision

Herron High School is founded on the belief that a classical, liberal arts education, where students are steeped in great historical thought and invention, is the best preparation for a future life of leadership and service.

Herron High School’s curriculum is structured around an art history timeline which emphasizes the classic art and literature of many cultures. Presented through the lens of science, mathematics, and humanities, this unique approach to the organization of knowledge provides a means to integrate subjects, and leads students on a journey through the earliest human history right up to modern examples of human creativity.

Herron High School’s classical methodology relies on Socratic dialogue and the classical model of education called the Trivium as its academic corner stone. The three phases of the Trivium include:

  • Grammar – In this phase students acquire fundamental knowledge in all disciplines.

  • Logic– As students become world-class citizens, they learn how to reason and debate. Students apply their knowledge as they discern and evaluate, compare and contrast, and discover cause and effect relationships in any given subject.

  • Rhetoric – As students progress through the Trivium, they learn to apply the rules of logic to the information they have acquired. Students learn to think rationally and articulate ideas effectively.

Part of the reason for the move is, well, it’s #1 in the city, #2 in the State.  But there are other, personal reasons as well.

The buildings Herron are located in used to house the Herron School of Art and Design (part of Indianapolis University Purdue University Indianapolis–IUPUI).  Although it’s not affiliated with the art school, it still has a very strong arts program which should be good for Athena given her artistic talents (see the collection of some of her work I posted last year).

We’re looking forward to a good start at her new school.

 

“Tools for the Weak”

There is this quote that goes around attributed to American Entertainer Henry Rollins:

“Less Bullets, more brains.  The strong don’t need guns.  Guns are tools of the weak.  If you disagree with me, it’s OK, you’re wrong.”

Hidden in there is a presumption that “strong” = “good” and “weak” = “bad”.

Well, compared to the average violent thug, I am weak.  I am especially weak when it’s “thugs” plural or if the thug or thugs is/are armed whether that’s with a knife, a length of pipe, a bicycle chain, or yes, a gun.

And that’s me,  a big ugly guy who’s reasonably strong for my age and build.  But “age and build” do matter.  No, all the exercise in the world isn’t going to turn me into a world class powerlifter–the genes just aren’t there.  Even at that, it leaves aside my daughter.  5′ 4″ and 105 lbs wringing wet, as the old expression goes.  Other friends of mine range from the downright tiny to one friend who is, yeah a bit of a monster at 6′ 5″. Oh, and one guy who really is a competitive powerlifter.  But even the biggest and strongest is “weak” against a gang or even against one person who is armed.

“Weak” doesn’t mean undeserving of defense against the strong.  Do you really want to tell someone who hasn’t been blessed with a good skeletal frame and a body that responds really well to resistance training “Oh, too bad.  Sucks to be you”?

My friend, the rather slight man, does not deserve to be mugged simply because his mugger is stronger.  The boy in school doesn’t deserve to be bullied, simply because the bullies are more numerous and stronger.  And my daughter does not deserve to be raped, simply because the rapist is stronger.

Yes, guns are tools for the weak.  They are what give the weak a fighting stance against aggressors who are stronger than them.  If you really think that worshiping the strong over the weak is a good thing, I have only one thing to say to you:

Crack open a history book.

If, however, you think that justice demands that the weak, faced with a violent encounter, to return safely to their loved ones then you can’t ask for a better option than to allow them to be armed, to be armed with weapons that do not rely on strength or lifelong dedication in developing skill.

Guns take away the need for strength, for a lifetime of training.  They aren’t a panacea, of course.  They offer a fighting chance, that’s all.  But it’s a chance one wouldn’t have when faced with significantly stronger attackers.  That guns won’t always save you is no more an objection to them than that being killed in a car because debris came through your windshield is a reason for not wearing seatbelts.  They don’t have to be a panacea in order to be a good idea.

Guns are tools for the weak?  Yes.  And thank all the gods that they are.  Because they mean that the strong cannot dominate the weak.  They mean that the weak can hold their heads up and not live in fear that someone stronger might threaten them whether to take what they have or just for the perverse pleasure of doing so.

There’s a reason that the old Colt revolver was called an Equalizer.  As the couplet goes:

God made man short and tall;
Sam Colt made them equal

Or the old advertising jingle:

Be not afraid of any man
No matter what his size
When danger threatens call on me
And I will equalize.

Tools for the weak?

That, sir, is the point.

The Batman Rant

I had originally planned to do another gun control post today based on something that popped up on my feed in another forum.  But that kind of thing is always coming up and for various reasons I decided to do something different today.

So today it’s the Batman rant.

As I mentioned before, I grew up on comic books, stretching from when I was in the single digit age range up into just after the mid ’80s.  I read anything I could get my hands on.  I’d even read my sister’s “Young Love” and “Young Romance” type comics.  Yes, I’d even read the Archie comics.  But my first love was superheroes.

One of those heroes was Batman.  Now, the Batman I knew was quite a bit different from what most people seem to think of the character these days.  My reading spanned the late Silver Age and into the Bronze age and just a bit into the Modern Age which is where I started losing interest.  The Batman of this period was not, generally the costumed psychopath and certainly not the control freak who “refuses to play well with others” that I saw later.  Nor was it a Batman whose sole motivation is some kind of displaced revenge for the death of his parents.

Let’s take that “displaced revenge” part.  The Batman I grew up with had largely come to terms with his parents’ deaths.  He hadn’t gotten over it.  You never really get over something like that.  There are much lesser traumas that I still struggle with.  But you can come to terms with it and move on with your life.  The Batman I knew had.  This was a Batman who could laugh and joke with Robin (Dick Grayson then).  This was a Batman who, when Dick Grayson decided he had outgrown the “Robin” identity and passed it on to a younger protege (Jason Todd, at that time another circus performer whose parents were murdered–in one letter column a writer commented on the similiarity to Dick’s origin and in a later letter column another writer pointed out “where else are you going to find someone with the kind of acrobatic ability to be a “Robin”?), was able to accept that decision calmly. (A later retcon not only changed Jason’s origin so it didn’t make any sense at all but also had Batman “fire” Dick as “Robin” as if Dick couldn’t move out, put on the costume and go out on his own anyway.) This was a Batman who could be a close friend of Superman–with each of them respecting the others strengths and understanding their weaknesses–and a valued contributing member of the Justice League, working well with others.

Sure, Batman would have started with displaced revenge.  He would have started looking to enact revenge on criminals with his own hands for the deaths of his parents.  And the rampant corruption throughout politics and law enforcement in Gotham City would have seemed to shut off “conventional” means of fighting crime.  But only started.  By the point in his career when I came in he had other reasons reasons that could be summed up as that he was just that good at it.  He saved lives and protected people, whether it was stopping muggings in Crime Alley or fighting off world-threatening foes with the Justice League.  “The World’s Greatest Detective” in story was not hubris.  He simply was.

One of the common complaints people make about Batman is that he could do more to help people, and reduce crime, through his wealth than dressing up in a bat-motif costume and punching out a few criminals.  What these people apparently never realized is that the Batman I crew up with, in his “Bruce Wayne” guise did exactly that.  The Wayne Foundation was its own force for good in Gotham City.   Bruce Wayne used his wealth both to finance his activities as Batman and to help the people of Gotham in other ways, all while maintaining his “playboy” guise in an effort (that would never work in reality, but just go with it for story purposes) to keep his nocturnal activities secret.

The simple truth was that Bruce “Batman” Wayne was a good man who did a lot of good (at least within the strictures the story format and the writers allowed–popular villains could never be permanently removed).  He certainly didn’t keep other heroes from operating in Gotham City out of some territorialism.  Rather, those other heroes weren’t in Gotham City because they had their own areas, and their own problems, to deal with. (Yes, Superman could probably have swept the whole planet clean of crime in an afternoon if he exerted himself but, well, that’s another thing you just had to go with for the story.)

That’s the Batman I grew up with.

But then Frank Miller wrote the mini-series “The Dark Knight Returns.” It was an excellent story.  It was an excellent version of Batman–both returning in some ways to Batman’s more violent “Golden Age” roots and in others taking it in new directions.  An excellent version.  And in the comics Batman started getting a little bit of split personality.  The “Batman” we saw working in Gotham City with Jason Todd was more the Batman I grew up with.  The Batman working on the West Coast with the hero group he’d just formed “The Outsiders” was becoming more as one letter writer termed it “a cowled psychopath,” more the Batman from TDKR.

Then came the Crisis on Infinite Earths.  DC eliminated their multiverse with various versions of Batman, Superman, and others leaving only a single Earth behind.  That meant no different versions of Batman.  And when DC had Miller write “Batman:  Year One” it became clear that, while the events might not play out that way the Batman of TDKR was where that Batman was headed.  The erasing–it never happened–of the Superman/Batman friendship was another bit.  The retcon where Dick Grayson was “fired” instead of moving on with life and passing the mantle of Robin to Jason Todd, who know instead of being a circus acrobat was a street punk Batman found trying to boost the wheels from the Batmobile. This was a Batman who disliked and distrusted anybody who was not under his direct control (such as the series of “Robins” that would follow Dick’s departure).

This was not the Batman I knew and loved.

Look, Gotham City was a dark place.  The crime and corruption made it so.  Batman’s villains, where even the most “normal” of them was a little on the crazy side (Selina and her obsession with all things feline) and the worst (Joker and Two Face–’nuff said), were dark.  Batman’s costume was dark.

Batman was not dark.  On the contrary, Batman was a beacon of light in that sea of darkness.  Perhaps I’m in the minority in thinking this, but that’s the Batman I knew and loved.  I caught a glimpse of him in the cartoon Batman:  The Animated Series.  For the most part, though, he’s been missing in action.

I kind of miss him.

And that ends The Batman Rant.

Big Bad John

No, not the coal miner of song, but John Adams who is rapidly becoming one of my personal heroes as I learn more about him.

The public schools I attended did a great disservice in selling this man short.  All I learned there was that he was Vice President under George Washington, the second President after him, and the father of the sixth president, John Quincy Adams (and all I knew about him was that he was the son of the second president).  Some years later I learned that he was also the lawyer who defended the British officer and soldiers involved in the riot that became known as the Boston Massacre.

But he was involved in so much more.  He was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, and one of the major voices in the call for Independence.  While the Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson there is good reason to believe that a lot of the ideas within it came from the mind of John Adams.  Although his mission to France was, perhaps less than stellar in terms of accomplishment, he served an important role in moderating the extreme antipathy between Arthur Lee and Benjamin Franklin until Lee’s recall in 1779. (According to McCullough’s biography of John Adams, the documents recalling Lee and confirming Franklin as the Continental Congress’ representative to France did not mention Adams.  He chose to interpret that as what I would call a passive-aggressive recall).  And on Adams’ return from France he drafted the Constitution for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the oldest functioning written Constitution in the world today.

After the American War for Independence, John Adams was the first ambassador to Great Britain.  Due, perhaps in part to is overseas assignment at the time (like Thomas Jefferson), Adams was not able to take part in the Constitutional Convention that led to the drafting of the United States Constitution.

But of all Adams’ accomplishments it is perhaps is “Thoughts on Government” that loom largest.  While there are items to disagree with here, the recommendation of one year terms would soon prove to be impractical and Adams’ endorsement of “sumptuary laws” (laws restraining luxury or extravagance) should be anathema to anyone who truly endorces liberty.  Still, here in embryonic form we see much of what would find its way into the United States Constitution.

Thoughts on Government

John Adams

My dear Sir,
If I was equal to the task of forming a plan for the government of a colony, I should be flattered with your request, and very happy to comply with it; because, as the divine science of politics is the science of social happiness, and the blessings of society depend entirely on the constitutions of government, which are generally institutions that last for many generations, there can be no employment more agreeable to a benevolent mind than a research after the best.

Pope flattered tyrants too much when he said,

“For forms of government let fools contest, That which is best administered is best.”

Nothing can be more fallacious than this. But poets read history to collect flowers, not fruits; they attend to fanciful images, not the effects of social institutions. Nothing is more certain, from the history of nations and nature of man, than that some forms of government are better fitted for being well administered than others.

We ought to consider what is the end of government, before we determine which is the best form. Upon this point all speculative politicians will agree, that the happiness of society is the end of government, as all divines and moral philosophers will agree that the happiness of the individual is the end of man. From this principle it will follow, that the form of government which communicates ease, comfort, security, or, in one word, happiness, to the greatest number of persons, and in the greatest degree, is the best.

All sober inquirers after truth, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian, have declared that the happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue. Confucius, Zoroaster, Socrates, Mahomet, not to mention authorities really sacred, have agreed in this.

If there is a form of government, then, whose principle and foundation is virtue, will not every sober man acknowledge it better calculated to promote the general happiness than any other form?
Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.

Honor is truly sacred, but holds a lower rank in the scale of moral excellence than virtue. Indeed, the former is but a part of the latter, and consequently has not equal pretensions to support a frame of government productive of human happiness. The foundation of every government is some principle or passion in the minds of the people. The noblest principles and most generous affections in our nature, then, have the fairest chance to support the noblest and most generous models of government.

A man must be indifferent to the sneers of modern Englishmen, to mention in their company the names of Sidney, Harrington, Locke, Milton, Nedham, Neville, Burnet, and Hoadly. No small fortitude is necessary to confess that one has read them. The wretched condition of this country, however, for ten or fifteen years past, has frequently reminded me of their principles and reasonings. They will convince any candid mind, that there is no good government but what is republican. That the only valuable part of the British constitution is so; because the very definition of a republic is “an empire of laws, and not of men.” That, as a republic is the best of governments, so that particular arrangement of the powers of society, or, in other words, that form of government which is best contrived to secure an impartial and exact execution of the laws, is the best of republics.

Of republics there is an inexhaustible variety, because the possible combinations of the powers of society are capable of innumerable variations.

As good government is an empire of laws, how shall your laws be made? In a large society, inhabiting an extensive country, it is impossible that the whole should assemble to make laws. The first necessary step, then, is to depute power from the many to a few of the most wise and good. But by what rules shall you choose your representatives? Agree upon the number and qualifications of persons who shall have the benefit of choosing, or annex this privilege to the inhabitants of a certain extent of ground.

The principle difficulty lies, and the greatest care should be employed in constituting this representative assembly. It should be in miniature an exact portrait of the people at large. It should think, feel, reason and act like them. That it may be the interest of this assembly to do strict justice at all times, it should be an equal representation, or, in other words, equal interests among the people should have equal interests in it. Great care should be taken to effect this, and to prevent unfair, partial, and corrupt elections. Such regulations, however, may be better made in times of greater tranquility than the present; and they will spring up themselves naturally, when all the powers of government come to be in the hands of the people’s friends. At present, it will be safest to proceed in all established modes, to which the people have been familiarized by habit.

A representation of the people in one assembly being obtained, a question arises, whether all the powers of government, legislative, executive, and judicial, shall be left in this body? I think a people cannot be long free, nor ever happy, whose government is in one assembly. My reasons for this opinion are as follow:—
1. A single assembly is liable to all the vices, follies, and frailties of an individual; subject to fits of humor, starts of passion, flights of enthusiasm, partialities, or prejudice, and consequently productive of hasty results and absurd judgments. And all these errors ought to be corrected and defects supplied by some controlling power.
2. A single assembly is apt to be avaricious, and in time will not scruple to exempt itself from burdens, which it will lay, without compunction, on its constituents.
3. A single assembly is apt to grow ambitious, and after a time will not hesitate to vote itself perpetual. This was one fault of the Long Parliament; but more remarkably of Holland, whose assembly first voted themselves from annual to septennial, then for life, and after a course of years, that all vacancies happening by death or otherwise, should be filled by themselves, without any application to constituents at all.
4. A representative assembly, although extremely well qualified, and absolutely necessary, as a branch of the legislative, is unfit to exercise the executive power, for want of two essential properties, secrecy and dispatch.
5. A representative assembly is still less qualified for the judicial power, because it is too numerous, too slow, and too little skilled in the laws.
6. Because a single assembly, possessed of all the powers of government, would make arbitrary laws for their own interest, execute all laws arbitrarily for their own interest, and adjudge all controversies in their own favor.

But shall the whole power of legislation rest in one assembly? Most of the foregoing reasons apply equally to prove that the legislative power ought to be more complex; to which we may add, that if the legislative power is wholly in one assembly, and the executive in another, or in a single person, these two powers will oppose and encroach upon each other, until the contest shall end in war, and the whole power, legislative and executive, be usurped by the strongest.

The judicial power, in such case, could not mediate, or hold the balance between the two contending powers, because the legislative would undermine it. And this shows the necessity, too, of giving the executive power a negative upon the legislative, otherwise this will be continually encroaching upon that.

To avoid these dangers, let a distinct assembly be constituted, as a mediator between the two extreme branches of the legislature, that which represents the people, and that which is vested with the executive power.

Let the representative assembly then elect by ballot, from among themselves or their constituents, or both, a distinct assembly, which, for the sake of perspicuity, we will call a council. It may consist of any number you please, say twenty or thirty, and should have a free and independent exercise of its judgment, and consequently a negative voice in the legislature.

These two bodies, thus constituted, and made integral parts of the legislature, let them unite, and by joint ballot choose a governor, who, after being stripped of most of those badges of domination, called prerogatives, should have a free and independent exercise of his judgment, and be made also an integral part of the legislature. This, I know, is liable to objections; and, if you please, you may make him only president of the council, as in Connecticut. But as the governor is to be invested with the executive power, with consent of council, I think he ought to have a negative upon the legislative. If he is annually elective, as he ought to be, he will always have so much reverence and affection for the people, their representatives and counselors, that, although you give him an independent exercise of his judgment, he will seldom use it in opposition to the two houses, except in cases the public utility of which would be conspicuous; and some such cases would happen.

In the present exigency of American affairs, when, by an act of Parliament, we are put out of the royal protection, and consequently discharged from our allegiance, and it has become necessary to assume government for our immediate security, the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary, treasurer, commissary, attorney-general, should be chosen by joint ballot of both houses. And these and all other elections, especially of representatives and counselors, should be annual, there not being in the whole circle of the sciences a maxim more infallible than this, “where annual elections end, there slavery begins.”

These great men, in this respect, should be, once a year, “Like bubbles on the sea of matter borne, They rise, they break, and to that sea return.”

This will teach them the great political virtues of humility, patience, and moderation, without which every man in power becomes a ravenous beast of prey.

This mode of constituting the great offices of state will answer very well for the present; but if by experiment it should be found inconvenient, the legislature may, at its leisure, devise other methods of creating them, by elections of the people at large, as in Connecticut, or it may enlarge the term for which they shall be chosen to seven years, or three years, or for life, or make any other alterations which the society shall find productive of its ease, its safety, its freedom, or, in one word, its happiness.

A rotation of all offices, as well as of representatives and counselors, has many advocates, and is contended for with many plausible arguments. It would be attended, no doubt, with many advantages; and if the society has a sufficient number of suitable characters to supply the great number of vacancies which would be made by such a rotation, I can see no objection to it. These persons may be allowed to serve for three years, and then be excluded three years, or for any longer or shorter term.

Any seven or nine of the legislative council may be made a quorum, for doing business as a privy council, to advise the governor in the exercise of the executive branch of power, and in all acts of state.

The governor should have the command of the militia and of all your armies. The power of pardons should be with the governor and council.

Judges, justices, and all other officers, civil and military, should be nominated and appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of council, unless you choose to have a government more popular; if you do, all officers, civil and military, may be chosen by joint ballot of both houses; or, in order to preserve the independence and importance of each house, by ballot of one house, concurred in by the other. Sheriffs should be chosen by the freeholders of counties; so should registers of deeds and clerks of counties.

All officers should have commissions, under the hand of the governor and seal of the colony.

The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice, that the judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, as both should be checks upon that. The judges, therefore, should be always men of learning and experience in the laws, of exemplary morals, great patience, calmness, coolness, and attention. Their minds should not be distracted with jarring interests; they should not be dependent upon any man, or body of men. To these ends, they should hold estates for life in their offices; or, in other words, their commissions should be during good behavior, and their salaries ascertained and established by law. For misbehavior, the grand inquest of the colony, the house of representatives, should impeach them before the governor and council, where they should have time and opportunist y to make their defense; but, if convicted, should be removed from their offices, and subjected to such other punishment as shall be proper.

A militia law, requiring all men, or with very few exceptions besides cases of conscience, to be provided with arms and ammunition, to be trained at certain seasons; and requiring counties, towns, or other small districts, to be provided with public stocks of ammunition and entrenching utensils, and with some settled plans for transporting provisions after the militia, when.marched to defend their country against sudden invasions; and requiring certain districts to be provided with field-pieces, companies of matrosses, and perhaps some regiments of light-horse, is always a wise institution, and, in the present circumstances of our country, indispensable.

Laws for liberal education of youth, especially of the lower class of people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.

The very mention of sumptuary laws will excite a smile. Whether our countrymen have wisdom and virtue enough to submit to them, I know not; but the happiness of the people might be greatly promoted by them, and a revenue saved sufficient to carry on this war forever. Frugality is a great revenue, besides curing us of vanities, levities, and fopperies, which are real antidotes to all great, manly, and warlike virtues.

But must not all commissions run in the name of a king? No. Why may they not as well run thus, “The colony of to A.B. greeting,” and be tested by the governor?

Why may not writs, instead of running in the name of the king, run thus, “The colony of —to the sheriff,” &c., and be tested by the chief justice?

Why may not indictments conclude, “against the peace of the colony of — and the dignity of the same?”

A constitution founded on these principles introduces knowledge among the people, and inspires them with a conscious dignity becoming freemen; a general emulation takes place, which causes good humor, sociability, good manners, and good morals to be general. That elevation of sentiment inspired by such a government, makes the common people brave and enterprising. That ambition which is inspired by it makes them sober, industrious, and frugal. You will find among them some elegance, perhaps, but more solidity; a little pleasure, but a great deal of business; some politeness, but more civility. If you compare such a country with the regions of domination, whether monarchical or aristocratical, you will fancy yourself in Arcadia or Elysium.

If the colonies should assume governments separately, they should be left entirely to their own choice of the forms; and if a continental constitution should be formed, it should be a congress, containing a fair and adequate representation of the colonies, and its authority should sacredly be confined to those cases, namely, war, trade, disputes between colony and colony, the post-office, and the unappropriated lands of the crown, as they used to be called.

These colonies, under such forms of government, and in such a union, would be
unconquerable by all the monarchies of Europe.

You and I, my dear friend, have been sent into life at a time when the greatest lawgivers of antiquity would have wished to live. How few of the human race have ever enjoyed an opportunity of making an election of government, more than of air, soil, or climate, for themselves or their children! When, before the present epocha, had three millions of people full power and a fair opportunity to form and establish the wisest and happiest government that human wisdom can contrive? I hope you will avail yourself and your country of that extensive learning and indefatigable industry which you possess, to assist her in the formation of the happiest governments and the best character of a great people. For myself, I must beg you to keep my name out of sight; for this feeble attempt, if it should be known to be mine, would oblige me to apply to myself those lines of the immortal John Milton, in one of his sonnets:—

“I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs
By the known rules of ancient liberty,
When straight a barbarous noise environs me
Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs.”