A post-election word on parties

This early American Thinker’s voice is largely forgotten today, but he was once more Jeffersonian than Jefferson.

John Taylor of Caroline (1753-1824) was a graduate of William & Mary College, a Virginia lawyer and plantation owner, a Revolutionary War veteran, and a friend of Thomas Jefferson. He represented Virginia in the U.S. Senate on four occasions, during 1792-1824, for a total of about four years.

In 1794, his first, and shortest, of six major writings appeared in “An enquiry into the principles and tendency of certain public measures.” 

In 1814, a much longer work appeared entitled “An Inquiry into the Principles and Policy of the Government of the United States.”

His last book, “New Views of the Constitution,” came out in 1823, the year before he died.  

Taylor’s personal library is said to have rivaled Jefferson’s – which became the basis for The Library of Congress – but with fewer scientific works than Jefferson owned.

Taylor was not a “Founder,” but he knew many of them.  And they knew him, too, as an early American Thinker.

In his first work, Taylor wrote what is offered herein, on his behalf, as something of a cautionary note in the inevitable frenzy of spinning the consequences of Tuesday’s elections.

“The Present State of Parties Considered

From a collision of parties truth flashes forth, and the community is the great arbiter between them.  Parties are counsel on opposite sides, capable, by argument and reasoning, of enlightening, or by buffoonery, sophisms, and perplexity, of insulting the judge.  A song in the place of an explanation, or farcical newspaper ebullitions, instead of definitions and illustrations, must awaken the idea of a merry Andrew, entertaining a mob by his tricks and grimace, whilst his accomplices are picking their pockets.

A party however must signify a confederation of individuals for the private and exclusive benefit of themselves, and not for the public good.  If then the object of this confederation is in conflict with the public good, those who oppose it deserve rather the appellation of “a band of patriots,” than the epithet of “a party,” they are not contending for the benefit of a part, but of the whole community.”  (Printed by Thomas Dobson, No. 41, South Second-Street, Philadelphia, MDCCXCIV, p. 85)

This early American Thinker’s voice is largely forgotten today, but he was once more Jeffersonian than Jefferson.

John Taylor of Caroline (1753-1824) was a graduate of William & Mary College, a Virginia lawyer and plantation owner, a Revolutionary War veteran, and a friend of Thomas Jefferson. He represented Virginia in the U.S. Senate on four occasions, during 1792-1824, for a total of about four years.

In 1794, his first, and shortest, of six major writings appeared in “An enquiry into the principles and tendency of certain public measures.” 

In 1814, a much longer work appeared entitled “An Inquiry into the Principles and Policy of the Government of the United States.”

His last book, “New Views of the Constitution,” came out in 1823, the year before he died.  

Taylor’s personal library is said to have rivaled Jefferson’s – which became the basis for The Library of Congress – but with fewer scientific works than Jefferson owned.

Taylor was not a “Founder,” but he knew many of them.  And they knew him, too, as an early American Thinker.

In his first work, Taylor wrote what is offered herein, on his behalf, as something of a cautionary note in the inevitable frenzy of spinning the consequences of Tuesday’s elections.

“The Present State of Parties Considered

From a collision of parties truth flashes forth, and the community is the great arbiter between them.  Parties are counsel on opposite sides, capable, by argument and reasoning, of enlightening, or by buffoonery, sophisms, and perplexity, of insulting the judge.  A song in the place of an explanation, or farcical newspaper ebullitions, instead of definitions and illustrations, must awaken the idea of a merry Andrew, entertaining a mob by his tricks and grimace, whilst his accomplices are picking their pockets.

A party however must signify a confederation of individuals for the private and exclusive benefit of themselves, and not for the public good.  If then the object of this confederation is in conflict with the public good, those who oppose it deserve rather the appellation of “a band of patriots,” than the epithet of “a party,” they are not contending for the benefit of a part, but of the whole community.”  (Printed by Thomas Dobson, No. 41, South Second-Street, Philadelphia, MDCCXCIV, p. 85)