In every nation, a disregard of the moral character of a candidate for office, has accompanied the progress of national decline, and been the prelude to great public calamities, or total destruction…all history is a witness of the truth of the principle that good morals are essential to the faithful and upright discharge of public functions. The moral character of a man is an entire and indivisible thing—it cannot be pure in one part and defiled in another. A man may indeed be addicted, for a time, to one vice and not to another; but it is a solemn truth that any considerable breach in the moral sense facilitates the admission of every species of vice. The love of virtue first yields to the strongest temptation; but when the rampart [resistance] is broken down, it is rendered more accessible to every successive assailant… Corruption of morals is rapid enough in any country without a bounty [an encouragement] from government. And… the Chief Magistrate of the United States [the President] should be the last man to accelerate its progress.

Noah Webster, Miscellaneous papers on political and commercial subjects, printed by E. Belden & Co., New York, 1802.

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