The Effects of Universal Vice

Benjamin Rush, Letter to John Dunlap, July 3 1779:

“I have fears within me that I am almost afraid to utter. None of you can be unacquainted with the depravity of morals and manner that preceded the overthrow of the Commonwealth of Rome. The effects of universal vice are the same whether produced by plentiful emissions of money or by the artful designs of a Marius or Sylla. Are you sure we have no Caesars nor Cromwells in this country? Are your new governments equal to all the exigencies of the states? Have not the committees now establishing among us arisen from the mischiefs that have been introduced by the quantity of your money? What is their tendency? Do they not lead to the necessity of more arbitrary governments than by fixed laws and constitutions? But I must quit this subject. Let your own knowledge in history and of human nature supply the rest.”

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