The abuses, corruptions, or radical defects of any government may be reformed, without tumult or violation of private property, if firmly and honestly attempted by those who are entrusted with the administration of it, before they become too grievous for the people to bear.
Such was the reform of the government of Poland; and such is the reform which every honest man would recommend.
If the abuses of any government are suffered to accumulate till they become intolerable--if those who are entrusted with the administration appear anxious to perpetuate, instead of correcting them, the people will sooner or later resist, and take the business of reform into their own hands; and the inevitable consequences will be a sudden and violent dissolution of the old system, much public disorder, and much private injury, before another can be established.
Such was the revolution in France, and such were its necessary consequences.
All, therefore, who deprecate such consequences, instead of exclaiming against innovation, and clinging fast to existing abuses, ought to unite with firmness and moderation in the temperate and timely reform of whatever is defective, and the vigilant attention to preserve what is found in their present form of government; for nothing can be more certain, than that the decay of the parts will bring on the dissolution of the whole, and these grievances unredressed will beget resistance.