Thoreau + other major figures & texts in history of civil disobedience
Thoreau’s politics are claimed by liberals and conservatives but may meet between either as radical or idealistic libertarian.
Civil disobedience may depend on Transcendentalism, where every individual has potential to govern oneself
Thoreau's influence on Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi
Resistance to Civil Government
(a.k.a. "Civil Disobedience")
I heartily accept the motto,
government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to
more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which
also I believe—"That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men
are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.
Government is at best but an expedient
[a convenience]; but most
governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient
objections which have been brought against a standing army
 This American government—what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves. But it is not the less necessary for this; for the people must have some complicated machinery or other, and hear its din [noise], to satisfy that idea of government which they have. Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed upon, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow.
 Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity [quickness] with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient, by which men would fain [gladly] succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. Trade and commerce, if they were not made of india-rubber, would never manage to bounce over obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads.
 But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.
 After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. But a government in which the majority rule in all cases cannot be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there not be a government in which the majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience?—in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.
 It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents on injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for the law is, that you may see a file [line] of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines [weaponries], at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? . . .
 The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus*, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others—as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders—serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as the rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few—as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men—serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. . . . [posse comitatus = population of able-bodied men above age of fifteen in a county whom the sheriff may summon to repress a riot, pursue felons, etc.]
 How does it become a man to behave toward the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave's government also. [Thoreau, an Abolitionist, writes in 1849, prior to the American Civil War, 1861-65]
 All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But almost all say that such is not the case now. But such was the case, they think, in the Revolution of '75 [the American Revolution]. If one were to tell me that this was a bad government because it taxed certain foreign commodities brought to its ports, it is most probable that I should not make an ado about it, for I can do without them. All machines have their friction [compare Mario Savio speech]; and possibly this does enough good to counter-balance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer. In other words, when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country [Mexico] is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is that fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army.
Paley*, a common authority with many on moral questions, in his chapter on the
"Duty of Submission to Civil Government," resolves all civil obligation into
expediency . . . . But Paley appears never to have contemplated those cases to
which the rule of expediency does not apply, in which a people, as well and an
individual, must do justice, cost what it may. If I have unjustly wrested a
plank from a drowning man, I must restore it to him though I drown myself. This,
according to Paley, would be inconvenient. But he that would save his life, in
such a case, shall lose it [Luke 9:24].
This people must cease to hold slaves, and to make
 Practically speaking, the opponents to a reform in Massachusetts are not a hundred thousand politicians at the South, but a hundred thousand merchants and farmers here [Massachusetts], who are more interested in commerce and agriculture than they are in humanity, and are not prepared to do justice to the slave and to Mexico, cost what it may. I quarrel not with far-off foes, but with those who, neat at home, co-operate with, and do the bidding of, those far away, and without whom the latter would be harmless. We are accustomed to say, that the mass of men are unprepared; but improvement is slow, because the few are not as materially wiser or better than the many. It is not so important that many should be good as you, as that there be some absolute goodness somewhere; for that will leaven the whole lump. There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them; who, esteeming themselves children of Washington and Franklin, sit down with their hands in their pockets, and say that they know not what to do, and do nothing. . . . At most, they give up only a cheap vote, and a feeble countenance and Godspeed, to the right, as it goes by them. . . .
 All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote. . . .
 It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even to most enormous, wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man's shoulders. I must get off him first, that he may pursue his contemplations too. See what gross inconsistency is tolerated. I have heard some of my townsmen say, "I should like to have them order me out to help put down an insurrection of the slaves, or to march to Mexico—see if I would go"; and yet these very men have each, directly by their allegiance, and so indirectly, at least, by their money, furnished a substitute. . . . Thus, under the name of Order and Civil Government, we are all made at last to pay homage to and support our own meanness. After the first blush of sin comes its indifference; and from immoral it becomes, as it were, unmoral, and not quite unnecessary to that life which we have made. . . .
Unjust laws exist:
shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey
them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men,
generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until
they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should
resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the
government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why
is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish
its wise minority? . . . Why does it always crucify Christ and excommunicate
Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and
 If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth—certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.
 As for adopting the ways the State has provided for remedying the evil, I know not of such ways. . . . [I]n this case the State has provided no way: its very Constitution is the evil. This may seem to be harsh and stubborn and unconciliatory; but it is to treat with the utmost kindness and consideration the only spirit that can appreciate or deserves it. So is all change for the better, like birth and death, which convulse the body.
 I do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves Abolitionists should at once effectually withdraw their support, both in person and property, from the government of Massachusetts, and not wait till they constitute a majority of one, before they suffer the right to prevail through them. I think that it is enough if they have God on their side, without waiting for that other one. Moreover, any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.
 I meet this American government, or its representative, the State government, directly, and face to face, once a year—no more—in the person of its tax-gatherer . . . . I know this well, that if one thousand, if one hundred, if ten men whom I could name—if ten honest men only—ay, if one honest man, in this State of Massachusetts, ceasing to hold slaves, were actually to withdraw from this co-partnership, and be locked up in the county jail therefor, it would be the abolition of slavery in America. For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. But we love better to talk about it: that we say is our mission. Reform keeps many scores of newspapers in its service, but not one man. . . .
Under a government which imprisons
unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.
[<King, Gandhi, Mandela & other
civil disobedience practitioners served time in prison]
The proper place today, the only place which
 I have contemplated the imprisonment of the offender, rather than the seizure of his goods—though both will serve the same purpose—because they who assert the purest right, and consequently are most dangerous to a corrupt State, commonly have not spent much time in accumulating property. [<”voluntary simplicity” as resistance technique] To such the State renders comparatively small service, and a slight tax is wont to appear exorbitant, particularly if they are obliged to earn it by special labor with their hands. If there were one who lived wholly without the use of money, the State itself would hesitate to demand it of him. But the rich man—not to make any invidious comparison—is always sold to the institution which makes him rich. Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue; for money comes between a man and his objects, and obtains them for him; it was certainly no great virtue to obtain it. . . . The opportunities of living are diminished in proportion as that are called the "means" are increased. . . .
 When I converse with the freest of my
neighbors, I perceive that, whatever they may say about the magnitude and
seriousness of the question, and their regard for the public tranquillity, the
long and the short of the matter is, that they cannot spare the protection of
the existing government, and they dread the consequences to their property and
families of disobedience to it. For my own part, I should not like to think that
I ever rely on the protection of the State. But, if I deny the authority of the
State when it presents its tax bill, it will soon take and waste all my
property, and so harass me and my children without end. This is hard. This makes
it impossible for a man to live honestly, and at the same time comfortably, in
outward respects. It will not be worth the while to accumulate property; that
would be sure to go again. You must hire or squat somewhere, and raise but a
small crop, and eat that soon.
live within yourself, and depend upon yourself always tucked up and ready for a
start, and not have many affairs
[business affairs; cf.
A man may grow rich in
 Some years ago, the State met me in behalf of the Church [taxes supported church in New England until early 1800s], and commanded me to pay a certain sum toward the support of a clergyman whose preaching my father attended, but never I myself. "Pay," it said, "or be locked up in the jail." I declined to pay. But, unfortunately, another man saw fit to pay it. . . . However, as the request of the selectmen [town council], I condescended to make some such statement as this in writing: "Know all men by these presents, that I, Henry Thoreau, do not wish to be regarded as a member of any society which I have not joined." This I gave to the town clerk; and he has it. The State, having thus learned that I did not wish to be regarded as a member of that church, has never made a like demand on me since; though it said that it must adhere to its original presumption that time. If I had known how to name them, I should then have signed off in detail from all the societies which I never signed on to; but I did not know where to find such a complete list.
I have paid no poll tax* for six years. I was put into a jail once on this
account, for one night; and, as I stood
considering the walls of solid stone, two or three feet thick, the door of wood
and iron, a foot thick, and the iron grating which strained the light, I could
not help being struck with the
foolishness of that institution which treated my as if I were mere flesh and
blood and bones, to be locked up. I wondered that it should have concluded
at length that this was the best use it could put me to, and had never thought
to avail itself of my services in some way.
I saw that, if there was a wall of stone between me and my townsmen, there was a
still more difficult one to climb or break through before they could get to be
as free as I was. I did nor for a moment feel confined, and the walls seemed
a great waste of stone and mortar. I felt as if I alone of all my townsmen had
paid my tax. They plainly did not know how to treat me, but behaved like persons
who are underbred
[ill-mannered]. In every threat and in every
compliment there was a blunder; for
thought that my chief desire was to stand the other side of that stone wall.
I could not but smile to see how industriously they locked the door on my
meditations, which followed them out again without let or hindrance, and they
were really all that was dangerous.
they could not reach me, they had resolved to punish my body; just as boys, if
they cannot come at some person against whom they have a spite, will abuse his
dog. I saw
that the State was
half-witted, that it was timid as a lone woman with her silver spoons, and
not know its friends from its foes, and I lost all my remaining respect for it,
and pitied it.
 Thus the state never intentionally confronts a man's sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior with or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest. What force has a multitude? They only can force me who obey a higher law than I [<Transcendentalist form + rhetoric of civil disobedience]. They force me to become like themselves. I do not hear of men being forced to live this way or that by masses of men. What sort of life were that to live? . . . I am not responsible for the successful working of the machinery of society. I am not the son of the engineer. I perceive that, when an acorn and a chestnut fall side by side, the one does not remain inert to make way for the other, but both obey their own laws, and spring and grow and flourish as best they can, till one, perchance, overshadows and destroys the other. If a plant cannot live according to nature, it dies; and so a man. [Romantic opposition of social machinery and organic nature]
 The night in prison was novel [unique] and interesting enough. The prisoners in their shirtsleeves were enjoying a chat and the evening air in the doorway, when I entered. But the jailer said, "Come, boys, it is time to lock up"; and so they dispersed, and I heard the sound of their steps returning into the hollow apartments. My room-mate was introduced to me by the jailer as "a first-rate fellow and clever man." When the door was locked, he showed me where to hang my hat, and how he managed matters there. The rooms were whitewashed once a month; and this one, at least, was the whitest, most simply furnished, and probably neatest apartment in town. He naturally wanted to know where I came from, and what brought me there; and, when I had told him, I asked him in my turn how he came there, presuming him to be an honest man, of course; and as the world goes, I believe he was. "Why," said he, "they accuse me of burning a barn; but I never did it." As near as I could discover, he had probably gone to bed in a barn when drunk, and smoked his pipe there; and so a barn was burnt. He had the reputation of being a clever man, had been there some three months waiting for his trial to come on, and would have to wait as much longer; but he was quite domesticated and contented, since he got his board for nothing, and thought that he was well treated.
 He occupied one window, and I the other; and I saw that if one stayed there long, his principal business would be to look out the window. I had soon read all the tracts [religious pamphlets] that were left there, and examined where former prisoners had broken out, and where a grate had been sawed off, and heard the history of the various occupants of that room; for I found that even there there was a history and a gossip which never circulated beyond the walls of the jail. Probably this is the only house in the town where verses are composed, which are afterward printed in a circular form, but not published. I was shown quite a long list of young men who had been detected in an attempt to escape, who avenged themselves by singing them.
 I pumped my fellow-prisoner as dry as I could, for fear I should never see him again; but at length he showed me which was my bed, and left me to blow out the lamp.
 It was like traveling into a far
country, such as I had never expected to behold, to lie there for one night.
It seemed to me that I never had heard the town clock strike before, nor the
evening sounds of the village; for we slept with the windows open, which were
inside the grating. It was to
see my native village in the light of the Middle Ages, and
 In the morning, our breakfasts were put through the hole in the door, in small oblong-square tin pans, made to fit, and holding a pint of chocolate, with brown bread, and an iron spoon. When they called for the vessels again, I was green enough to return what bread I had left, but my comrade seized it, and said that I should lay that up for lunch or dinner. Soon after he was let out to work at haying in a neighboring field, whither he went every day, and would not be back till noon; so he bade me good day, saying that he doubted if he should see me again.
 When I came out of prison—for some one interfered, and paid that tax—I did not perceive that great changes had taken place on the common [town square], such as he observed who went in a youth and emerged a gray-headed man [cf. Rip Van Winkle]; and yet a change had come to my eyes come over the scene—the town, and State, and country, greater than any that mere time could effect. I saw yet more distinctly the State in which I lived. I saw to what extent the people among whom I lived could be trusted as good neighbors and friends; that their friendship was for summer weather only; that they did not greatly propose to do right; that they were a distinct race from me by their prejudices and superstitions, as the Chinamen and Malays are that in their sacrifices to humanity they ran no risks, not even to their property; that after all they were not so noble but they treated the thief as he had treated them, and hoped, by a certain outward observance and a few prayers, and by walking in a particular straight through useless path from time to time, to save their souls. This may be to judge my neighbors harshly; for I believe that many of them are not aware that they have such an institution as the jail in their village.
 It was formerly the custom in our village, when a poor debtor came out of jail, for his acquaintances to salute him, looking through their fingers, which were crossed to represent the jail window, "How do ye do?" My neighbors did not this salute me, but first looked at me, and then at one another, as if I had returned from a long journey. I was put into jail as I was going to the shoemaker's to get a shoe which was mender. When I was let out the next morning, I proceeded to finish my errand, and, having put on my mended show, joined a *huckleberry party, who were impatient to put themselves under my conduct; and in half an hour—for the horse was soon tackled—was in the midst of a huckleberry field, on one of our highest hills, two miles off, and then the State was nowhere to be seen. [Romantic division: prison state vs. freedom of individual conscience and nature] [*huckleberry = like or related to a blueberry]
 This is the whole history of "My Prisons."
 I have never declined paying the highway tax, because I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject; and as for supporting schools, I am doing my part to educate my fellow countrymen now. It is for no particular item in the tax bill that I refuse to pay it. I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State, to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually. I do not care to trace the course of my dollar, if I could, till it buys a man a musket to shoot one with—the dollar is innocent—but I am concerned to trace the effects of my allegiance. In fact, I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion, though I will still make use and get what advantages of her I can, as is usual in such cases.
 If others pay the tax which is demanded of me, from a sympathy with the State, they do but what they have already done in their own case, or rather they abet injustice to a greater extent than the State requires. If they pay the tax from a mistaken interest in the individual taxed, to save his property, or prevent his going to jail, it is because they have not considered wisely how far they let their private feelings interfere with the public good.
 This, then is my position at present. But one cannot be too much on his guard in such a case, lest his actions be biased by obstinacy or an undue regard for the opinions of men. Let him see that he does only what belongs to himself and to the hour.
 I think sometimes, Why, this people mean well, they are only ignorant; they would do better if they knew how: why give your neighbors this pain to treat you as they are not inclined to? . . . I see that appeal is possible, first and instantaneously, from them to the Maker of them, and, secondly, from them to themselves. . . .
 I do not wish to quarrel with any man or nation. I do not wish to split hairs, to make fine distinctions, or set myself up as better than my neighbors. I seek rather, I may say, even an excuse for conforming to the laws of the land. I am but too ready to conform to them. Indeed, I have reason to suspect myself on this head; and each year, as the tax-gatherer comes round, I find myself disposed to review the acts and position of the general and State governments, and the spirit of the people to discover a pretext for conformity. . . .
 I believe that the State will soon be able to take all my work of this sort out of my hands, and then I shall be no better patriot than my fellow-countrymen. Seen from a lower point of view, the Constitution, with all its faults, is very good; the law and the courts are very respectable; even this State and this American government are, in many respects, very admirable, and rare things, to be thankful for, such as a great many have described them; seen from a higher still, and the highest, who shall say what they are, or that they are worth looking at or thinking of at all? [Transcendentalist form of higher law or perspective]
 However, the government does not concern me much, and I shall bestow the fewest possible thoughts on it. It is not many moments that I live under a government, even in this world. If a man is thought-free, fancy-free, imagination-free, that which is not never for a long time appearing to be to him, unwise rulers or reformers cannot fatally interrupt him.
 I know that most men think differently
from myself; but those whose lives are by profession devoted to the study of
these or kindred subjects content me as little as any. Statesmen and
legislators, standing so completely within the institution, never distinctly and
nakedly behold it. They speak of moving society, but have no resting-place
it. They may be men of a certain experience and
discrimination, and have no doubt invented ingenious and even useful systems,
for which we sincerely thank them; but all their wit and usefulness lie within
certain not very wide limits. They are wont to forget that the world is not
governed by policy and expediency.
never goes behind government, and so cannot
speak with authority about it. His words are
wisdom to those legislators who contemplate no essential reform in the existing
for thinkers, and those
who legislate for all time, he never once glances at the subject. I know of
those whose serene and wise speculations on this theme would soon reveal the
limits of his mind's range and hospitality. Yet, compared with the cheap
professions of most reformers, and the still cheaper wisdom and eloquence of
politicians in general, his
are almost the only sensible and valuable words, and we
thank Heaven for him. Comparatively, he is always strong, original, and, above
all, practical. Still,
his quality is not wisdom, but prudence
The lawyer's truth is not Truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency.
Truth is always in harmony with herself, and is not concerned chiefly to reveal
the justice that may consist with wrong-doing.
[*Daniel Webster, 1782-1852,
[Webster] well deserves to be
called, as he has been called, the Defender of the Constitution. . . . He is not
a leader, but a follower. His leaders are the men of '87
[the Constitution’s authors in 1787]. "I have never made an effort," he says, "and
never propose to make an effort; I have never countenanced an effort, and never
mean to countenance an effort, to disturb the arrangement as originally made, by
which various States came into the
They who know of no
purer sources of truth, who have traced up its stream no higher, stand, and
wisely stand, by the Bible and the Constitution, and drink at it there with
reverence and humanity; but they who behold where it comes trickling into this
lake or that pool, gird up their loins once more, and continue their pilgrimage
toward its fountainhead.
or religious imagery of "purer," "higher," "fountainhead"; "pilgrimage" =
romance narrative of quest?]
[Transcendentalist or religious imagery of "purer," "higher," "fountainhead"; "pilgrimage" = romance narrative of quest?]
No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in
 The authority of government, even such as I am willing to submit to—for I will cheerfully obey those who know and can do better than I, and in many things even those who neither know nor can do so well—is still an impure one: to be strictly just, it must have the sanction and consent of the governed. It can have no pure right over my person and property but what I concede to it. The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual. Even the Chinese philosopher was wise enough to regard the individual as the basis of the empire. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. I please myself with imagining a State at last which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose if a few were to live aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow men. A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which I have also imagined, but not yet anywhere seen.