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graphical position removes them further from it; an effect, the same in quality with that, against which the constitution of the United States sought to guard, by giving to the national government exclusive legislation over the territory which it makes the seat of its deliberations.
If it be asked, what further injury can result from the exercise of this right by the legislatures of the respective states? The answer will be found, in an attentive consideration of the powers of legislation, which the people have delegated to the national legislature; in a view of the peculiar structure of the senate, in relation to those powers, and the policy of that structure. The nature of this inquiry precludes such a view of this part of the subject, as its importance merits. Let it suffice, therefore, to remark, that the objects which induced the establishment of the national government are all of a character to require the steady pursuit of consistent councils; and that the attainment of that stability and consistency is well secured by the constitution of the United States, through the medium of a senate, consisting of members, all of whom are above thirty years of age; have been nine years, at least, citizens of the United States; have been chosen from the whole population of the states of which they are respectively the inhabitants, by the legislatures thereof; who, when elected, are entitled to serve for six years; and who are, moreover, so classed, in relation to the period when their times of service expire, as to prevent the introduction of new members from producing, at any one instant, an entire change of their whole body. On this subject, Publius, who cannot be too frequently consulted, on whatever relates to the intention of the authors of the constitution of the United States, remarks, “ that the mutability in the public councils, arising from a rapid succession of new members, however qualified they may be, points out, in the strongest manner, the necessity of some stable institution in the government. Every new election in the states, he adds," is found to change one half of the representatives. From this change of men must proceed a change of opinions; and from a change of opinions, a change of measures." But he concludes, with great truth, “ that a continual change, even of good measures, is inconsistent with every rule of prudence, and every prospect of success.”
If the state legislatures, therefore, exercise an absolute control over the deliberations of that branch of the national legislature, by the peculiar structure of which, this essential quality “ of stability," was designed to be imparted to the national government, there is an end to all hope that such will be the result. The majority who instruct a senator may not be, will scarcely erer be, the same by whom he was elected; the instructions of one legislature may be countermanded, varied, or contradicted by its immediate successor. Is this improbable? Have not two of the largest states been known, in one year, to anathematize, and, in the very next, to eulogize, the very same federal administration, for the very same measures? And how often does it happen, in all legislative assemblies, that the success of the most important measures of national policy turns upon a few votes? The appropriations for carrying into effect a treaty, solemnly ratified by the president and senate, and that president “the father of his country," passed the house of representatives, in committee of the whole, by a majority of one, and in the house, by a majority of three votes. The very question, which has given rise to this investigation, “ whether the charter of the Bank of the United States should be renewed?” was lost, in the senate, by the ex-official casting vote of the vice president.
Setting aside the influence which the legislature of a single state, the least in the Union, or a mere majority of the state legislatures, might thus acquire in extending or reducing the constitutional powers of congress, which can be done, legitimately, only by amendments, sanctioned by a concurrence of three fourths of the whole number of legislatures; and then, only, where congress shall prefer to “conventions," that mode of taking the sense of a majority of the whole people; what will be the effect of this interference and absolute control of the legislatures of the states upon measures of national policy? To carry on a successful war, how many nicely adjusted and mutually dependent operations are required? Each of such operations may be regarded as a link in a chain of causes and effects. It is a chain, beginning in truth, and binding to heaven the destinies of the nation. Let a link but break, and the nation sinks. And shall the unskilful hand of one improvident legislature be allowed to endanger such an issue?
It is utterly impossible, that the members of an assembly, gathered from the comparatively narrow limits of a single state, can be well acquainted with the interests of the whole United States. With capacity to acquire such knowledge, which is not denied to them, they cannot be expected to combine the leisure and meditation necessary for its successful exertion. The very numerous, extremely minute, but highly important details of state legislation, if not neglected, in pursuit of distant objects beyond their sphere of action, will alone suffice to consume as much time as they can afford to spare, from their domestic avocations. If they insist upon legislating, by instructions, for the nation, they must neglect to make laws for the state. And to
use the language of Washington, applied to a similar subject, their instructions will be, “the miniature of ill-concerted and incongruous projects, rather than the organs of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common councils, and modified by mutual interests."
What will become of the character of the senate, of the feelings and character of its members? All responsibility of that branch of the legislature to the nation at large, will, at length, be utterly destroyed; as must be, in fine, all sensibility, among its members, to public opinion. The failure of
any system of policy, from whatever cause it may originate, will be imputed to the interference of external control. The love of glory will cease to inspire, men, who set out in a course of political action, not knowing when the mandate of instructions may overtake and arrest them.
What will become of the national government, and, indeed, the cause of freedom itself? Fluctuating councils, equally unsuited to peace as to war, have ever been the forerunners of national ruin. Should an unsteady policy distinguish the only fair experiment which has ever been, or is likely to be made, on a great scale, of representative government; how great will be the dismay of its friends, how great the exultation and triumph of its enemies! How many free governments have been already driven from the moorings of provident foresight, and cast by the tempest of passion on the gloomy and sullen shore of despotism!
To conclude, this assembly will remark, that, if many of these evils strike not the apprehension of a state, wherein the balance of party never fluctuates, where a preponderating influence in a settled majority, is capable of imparting a steady course to public measures, let its attention be aroused to the possibility of realizing, when this generation shall have passed away, another order of things, a new and more equal organization of parties; when, by the incessant fluctuations of the state councils, the same evils will be extended to those of the national government, where the operations of war and negotiation require equal firmness and consistency. When hostility to an existing administration, private pique and resentment, the love of power, the corruption of foreign influence, the ignoble speculations of sordid avarice, or the daring enterprise of a criminal ambition, the passions of a few individuals, but artful and insidious, and
possessed of abilities and eloquence, may become the hidden springs of a majority of a legislature, however well disposed themselves; and, in the short compass of a few days, or a few hours, the
whole policy of ages may be undone, the national character degraded, the nation itself enslaved and ruined.
Resolved, therefore, that it is the opinion of this assembly, that no state legislature has a right to instruct a senator of the United States; and that, if instructed, no senator is bound to obey such instruction.
The Partheneid. A Poem, from the German of M.
Baggessen. In turning over the leaves, of some late numbers of the Mercure de France, the chief literary journal of Paris, we observed an account of a new German poem, under the foregoing title, of which a translation had just been published in that capital. The article attracted our attention the more forcibly, as we saw subscribed to it, the name of Guingené, whom we regard as the most able, and who is far from being the most indulgent, of the Parisian critics. We were curious to know, how he would treat a German poem of the modern school, and what the nature of the poem was, which could draw from him a tolerably long, and seemingly elaborate review. We were not disappointed in our expectation, of finding it a work of genius, and of some originality, but were surprised at the unlimited favour, it appears to have found, in the eyes of a rigorous and enlightened censor, notwithstanding defects of the first magnitude, which are palpable, both in the plan and the execution. The employment of mythological machinery, and allegorical personages, as principal and constant actors, in a poem, of which the subject, is a love adventure, of two of our supposed cotemporaries, humble inhabitants of Switzerland, is a violation of probability and congruity, which no reasoning can justify, and no poetical excellence redeem. It must shock the reader throughout, and be sufficient to mar, in a considerable degree, the effect of the highest beauties of description or sentiment. In the present case, it is the more exceptionable, as it was not necessary, for the production of any one of the leading incidents of the poem, or the accomplishment of any of the purposes, which the author had in view. We took, nevertheless, an interest in the fable, and in the quotations made by Mr. Ginguené, sufficient to induce us to prepare, for our readers, an English version of his critique, under the impression, that they are likely to be affected in the same manner, by the conceptions of the poet. We were willing, moreover, to profit of an opportunity to lay before them, a favourable sample of the present style of periodical criticism in France, and, also, a complete specimen of the kind of poetry, which continues to be most popular with all classes in Germany. The work, of which we are about to publish Mr. Ginguené's account, has had the most unbounded success in the latter country:
It will be perceived, that there is a close affinity, as to tone and manner, between this production, and those of the school of