for the want of that form of structure and principle of combination that would reconcile absolute sovereignty in the nation with sovereignty in the States, as parts of one nation-as consistent and harmonious parts of one supreme sovereignty. This principle, unexplored and unknown before, was developed and displayed, most happily so, in the structure of our confederate and national republic.

“The work, now proposed to be published, will unfold to us all the steps of that diversified analysis and discovery which led to this happy and splendid result.

“Those who think (if any think) that the result itself, namely, the Constitution-of itself and by itself-will be enough for the instruction of mankind on this subject are much mistaken. For there is a vast difference between the knowledge which is acquired analytically, and that which is acquired synthetically; the latter is but isolated knowledge; the former is knowledge that is the consequence of other knowledge. Synthesis gives to us a general truth, but acquired in a mode that is barren of other fruit; analysis not only gives to us the same general truth, but puts us on the track of invention and discovery, and is always fertile of other, and often of better fruit: synthesis carries us to a fountain head, but never beyond ; but analysis carries us beyond, and to the fountain of that fountain ; it places us upon an eminence that

overtops looks the general truth in the wide survey it commands and gives to us; and as to that general truth, it enables us not only to comprehend it more perfectly, but to apply it more successfully. This is at once a branch and the general instrument of that primal philosophy of which Bacon speaks, and whose cultivation he so highly recommends—the philosophy of philosophy ; the common mother of all the sciences, and by which alone their boundaries can be extended. He compares

and over

it to Berecynthia, whom the poets of old fabled to be the mother of all the Gods:

« Omnes cælicolas, omnes supera alta tenentes.

Of such is the nature, and such will be the fruits to mankind, of the work now proposed to be given to the world.

“Further to awaken our sensibility on this subject, I need not remind the Senate how much we owe to a name that is to render the name of this country respectable in every other on this globe; the clarum et venerabile nomen. Nations have lived upon the earth who have become extinct, and been lost to the memory of mankind; but never when the clarum et venerabile nomen had illustrated their annals. The clarum et venerabile nomen is the true elixir of national immortality. What has this country-what can she ever have, that would be an equivalent to her in exchange for the name of her WASHINGTON—that star of stars in the diadems that sparkle on the brow of nations ? Not the diadem that sparkles on the brow of Greece, not the diadem that sparkles on the brow of Rome, has one of equal brilliancy. No: it stands peerless on the earth, and alone in glory. Though it never can be a contest whose name is to do the most honour to our country, and more than all others, to carry her name associated with his, and emblazoned by his, down through all the endless generations of mankind to follow, and all the endless ages of time to come, yet among the names to cluster around his, and to form the constellation (may it multiply to a galaxy) of American worthies, not one will ever shine with a purer, with a brighter, or more inextinguishable lustre than that of MADISON.

"If, then, this appropriation was merely to express a nation's gratitude to a nation's benefactor, it would be the least it would become her to make. But, besides that, we are to consider that it is to purchase for this country, and for mankind, a treasure of instruction, whose value no money can measure, no figures can express.”

This resolution not being finally acted upon before the close of the session, a clause was introduced into the general appropriation bill, and passed on the 3d March, 1837, by which the sum of thirty thousand dollars was appropriated for the purchase of the manuscripts.

In accordance with this law, Mrs. Madison, on the 1st April, 1837, delivered to the Secretary of State, for the United States, the manuscripts described in her conveyance in the following terms: “The Debates of the Convention which framed the Constitution of the United States, prepared by Mr. Madison, together with the Debates taken by him in the Congress of the Confederation in 1782, 1783 and 1787, and selections made by himself, and prepared under his eye from his letters narrating the proceedings of that body during the periods of his service in it, with the Debates in 1776 on the Declaration of Independence by THOMAS JEFFERSON prefixed.” These manuscripts in duplicate were placed in the Department of State.

At the first session of the twenty-fifth Congress, on the 12th September, 1837, on motion of Mr. LINN of Missouri, a resolution was passed by the Senate, instructing the Joint Library Committee to inquire into the expediency of causing the manuscripts deposited in the Department of State to be published. In compliance with these instructions, Mr. PRESTON of South Carolina, reported to the Senate, and Mr. Patton of Virginia to the House of Representatives, a resolution from the Joint Library Committee, instructing them to ascertain whether the purchase of Mr. Madison's work, authorized by

the appropriation of the preceding session of Congress had been made ; and if so, directing them to inquire into and report a plan for the publication of the same. These resolutions were passed on the 27th September, 1837.

At the same session, and on the 14th October following, an act was passed to carry into effect the last provision of the resolution reported at the preceding session, and the President was authorised to reconvey to Mrs. Madison the right to publish in foreign countries, and for her own benefit, the manuscript Debates of the Convention which formed the Constitution; but she was not to withdraw from the possession of the Government either of the copies of the Debates which had accompanied her conveyance; and on the 5th February, 1838, Mr. Preston of South Carolina submitted a motion that the Committee on the Library be authorized to cause the MADISON Papers to be printed and published. This resolution, after being considered by the Senate as in Committee of the Whole, was, on the 7th February, on the motion of Mr. Sevier of Arkansas, referred to the Library Committee. On the 4th of July following, Mr. Wall of New Jersey, from that committee, reported it back as a joint resolution, and recommended the necessary appropriation for the printing and publication of the papers. In that shape it passed the Senate, and was sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

On the 9th July the House of Representatives, after having had under consideration the resolution of the Senate, amended it by changing it into an act, in which form, it was passed, and being concurred in by the Senate and approved by the President on the same day, became a law in the following terms:

An act authorizing the printing of the Madison Papers.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the


Joint Committee on the Library be authorized to cause the Madison Papers to be printed and published; and that a sum not exceeding five thousand dollars be appropriated for that purpose out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appriated."

On the 28th January, 1839, Mr. WALL of New Jersey, reported to the Senate, a contract made in pursuance of the act of Congress, by Messrs. ROBBINS of Rhode Island, and Pope of Kentucky, the Chairmen of the Joint Library Committee for the publication of the work in its present form, to be executed under the superintendance of Mr. Gilpin, the Solicitor of the Treasury. For this purpose, one of the duplicate manuscript copies, deposited by Mrs. Madison, was withdrawn by the Library Committee from the Department of State, and delivered to the publishers.

In the publication thus directed it has been deemed to be a primary and indispensable duty to follow the manuscript with scrupulous care. It was not thought proper to admit any note or comment, even explanatory; and all those that are found, were in the manuscript deposited in the Department of State. No alteration of any sort from the copy furnished and revised by Mrs. Madison, has been permitted, except the correction of a few slight and evident clerical errors, and the insertion of some dates and formal parts of official documents, for which blanks had been left.

The character of Mr. Madison's work, however, and especially that part of it relating to the Congress of the Confederation, seemed to render a reference to cotemporary documents indispensable—at all events, it was necessary to save the reader much perplexity and trouble. The Debates and the Correspondence refer with brevity to a variety of subjects in the order of their occurrence, and also to the remarks, conduct

« ForrigeFortsett »