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pact ;” Pierce, of the “sole reliance of the Confederacy ;” Buchanan, of the “ construction of the Federal Constitution;" and Arthur, speaking to a foreign embassy, used the plural “them” and “their” when alluding to the United States.
Noah Webster, in the first preface to his great Dictionary, ignores a centralized government. He says: “With our present constitutions of government, escheat can never have its feudal sense in the United States."
“In many cases, the nature of our governments and of our civil institutions requires an appropriate language in the definition of words, even when the words express the same thing in Eng
land.” : “A great number of words in our language re
quire to be defined in a phraseology accommodated to the condition and institutions of the people of these States,” etc.
“The United States commenced their existence under circumstances wholly novel and unexampled in the history of nations. They commenced with civilization, with learning, with science, with constitutions of free government, and with that best gift of God to man, the Christian religion. Their population is now equal to that of England.”
It will be observed that Dr. Webster regards our Union of sovereign States as a confederation. His suggestive preface is not to be found in some editions of his Dictionary to-day! He left it ; the enemies of free governments have omitted it.
What are abuses of the Constitution ?
It is common now to speak and write of the United States as “this government” and “the nation," and supplement the abuse of the Constitution by the use of such misnomers as “national Executive” and “Chief Magistrate of the nation,” for simple President of the United States; and to prefix “your Excellency” or “his Excellency,” when at the First Congress under the new Constitution, held in the city of New York, a joint resolution was passed, which has never been repealed, utterly ignoring the above titles, and enacting that the choice of the electors of the States shall be simply addressed as the “ President of the United States.” It is common in some quarters to speak of the President as the “ruler of the nation ” or the “ruler of a free people,” as if any people can be said to be free who tolerates a ruler or master. It is common to speak of Congress as the “national Congress” and “national legislature,” when the name of that body is simply the Congress of the United States; and no other name is to be found in the Constitution.
In the convention of 1787 “national legislature” was proposed as a name for Congress, and at once rejected. We have the kindred errors of the national Capitol,” meaning the edifice in which the Congress meets annually, and also “ capital " instead of the “ seat of government of the United States," the words of the Constitution; and of “ Congressmen," as distinguished from Senators in Congress. The Constitution knows only the equality and co-equality of “members of Congress," or Senators and Representatives.
The aristocratic title “ Honorable" applied to Congressmen is as unconstitutional as the title “your Honor” applied to judges of courts, and that of “ Excellency" applied to governors of States. The Constitution abhors titles. See prohibition in Article I., sections 9 and 10.
As it is common to use language not found in the Constitution, we hear and read of the “national Supreme Court,” instead of the Supreme Court of the United States; also “national banks ;” and Senator Blair did his best to establish a “national” system of education! The “ National Soldiers' Home” is a modern misnomer. But : perhaps the misnomer of misnomers is found in the use of the words “ National State Guards," which is applied to State troops for local or home rule defence, and “ National Insane Asylum "!
What is the crowning nationalisın ?
Arlington, the former home of George Washington Parke Custis, the adopted son of George Washington, was converted into a cemetery for the burial of United States soldiers, and named “National Cemetery.” The battle-field of Chickamauga has become a “National Military Park,” and belongs to the United States by the consent of Georgia.
Even the magnificent domain which ought to be known as Yellowstone Park is called the “ National Park.” And alike over the sad graves of soldiers, and over the wonderful parkland in the heart of this confederation of equal and coequal sovereign States, waves the “national flag" as the symbol of the “nation”!
Long after this protest was written, the Supreme Court of the United States said that in speaking of the United States the plural should be used ; and “it is entirely proper to speak of these United States.” What else could be said ? It is worthy of remark that in receiving Ambassador Eustis at the Elysée, Paris, President Carnot spoke of the “ United States nation”! Europe has been badly taught by the centralists.
What is a President of the United States ? Simply an executive agent and servant of the States for a term of four years. He is not called by his countrymen to the presidential chair, but by the States, through their appointed electors.
George Mason, of Gunston Hall, Va., argued in the convention that the President should hold his official trust for seven years, and thereafter be ineligible. Jefferson said: “I wish that at the end of four years the convention had made the President forever ineligible for a second term.” Had Mr. Jefferson been elected by the States, through their electors, instead of by the House of Representatives, it is fair to say that one term would have completely satisfied him. The controversy with Burr stirred him to seek a vindication by the States, through the electoral college. So he served a second term.
One term would help to make a faithful President. We have, instead, save in a few instances, huckstering politicians. Mr. Lowndes of South Carolina well said that the “ Presidency is an honor which is neither to be sought nor declined.”
What is a present remedy for a growing presidential evil ?
Article II., section 2, says that “the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers as they think proper in