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ber,' greater intelligence than is to be discovered in any Eu
pean nation of our own time.' Their wives and children accompanied them.--those true Penates of domestic religion, where the face of God has smiled upon the soul, with his throne established in the affections. They had property also,-but they honored every species of manual'industry. Their best treasures lay in the elements of order, morality, good sense, and social liberty, which they brought with them. The call, which summoned them from their British homes might not have been without some touch of enthusiasm, but it was religiously intellectual; "and in ' facing the inevitable sufferings of exile, their object was the triumph of an idea !' Hence the difference between the northern and southern states. The former sprang from an immeasurably higher motive, or set of motives, than their fellows : but they now extend an influence over the entire Confederation.
The civilization of New England has been like a beacon lit upon the • hills, which after it has diffused its warmth around, tinges even
the distant horizon with its glow. Patriotism owes more to puritanism than a proud and selfish world will ever be brought to acknowledge. These colonists borrowed their penal code from Hebrew legislation, and doubtless erred in doing so: but their early laws,--their social contract-their genuine fervor of spirituality, their so intimately yet naturally uniting vital religion with political liberalism-rendered them benefactors to their race, and instructors for all posterity.
Should any one hesitate for an instant to admit this, let the preamble to their law for public education be cited from the code of 1650 : 'It being one chief project of Satan to keep men from the knowledge of the Scripture by dissuading from the use of tongues, and to the end that learning may not be buried in the 'graves of our forefathers, in church and commonwealth, the • Lord assisting our endeavors,' - there then follow clauses establishing good common schools in every township, as well as superior seminaries in the principal places of populous districts. Let these obscure legislators in Massachusetts be just contrasted with certain honorable, or right honorable, or even right reverend senators, whom one could easily name. Our philosopher nobly points out how religion perceives that civil liberty affords “a magnificent exercise to the faculties of man, and that the political world is a field prepared by the Creator for the efforts of intelligence. Contented with the freedom and powers which it enjoys in its own sphere, its empire is never more surely established than when it reigns in the hearts of men, unsupported by aught besides its native strength. It is no less the companion of liberty in all its battles, and its triumphs. It 'forms the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims. The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is
the best security of law, as well as the surest pledge of freedom.' So have the New Englanders concluded, the more deeply they have thought about the matter. Some remains indeed of contrary systems lingered long amongst them, nor are yet entirely obliterated. But we must sever what is puritanical, from what was merely of British origin in order to account for such anomalies. In portraying the social condition of America, much may be attributed to an alteration of the laws of inheritance. Our readers will do us the justice of remembering that we have asserted this again and again. De Tocqueville goes so far as to affirm, that when once the matter of descent has been settled, the legislator may rest from his labors! We have always felt that entails and primogeniture constitute the real roots of aristocracy: and that here the axe of our reformers must be aimed when public opinion shall execrate the Upas Tree, destroy its trunk, cut off its branches, shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit. Our transatlantic brethren, however, have but slightly suffered from it. They from the very first unfeudalized their institutions. They apprehended rightly enough that nobility was incompatible with popular sovereignty. The Revolution only enfoliated what had been for centuries in the bud of promise. Townships, counties, and states, expanded into blossom upon no other principle. Their municipal institutions were to liberty what primary schools are to science. It was conceived that every one is the best judge of his own interests; and that society has no right to control private actions, unless as they get involved in the common welfare. Hence townships in America all govern themselves. There are nineteen chief officers in each, appointed directly both by and from its own community ; so that upon an average, every two thousand persons, within well-understood limits, manage their affairs as a large family might do, of brothers and sisters, basking at their firesides! Such townships are to all intents and purposes little states; except so far, as that with a view to security, they have surrendered such a portion of their independence as may be necessary to knead them into the body politic of some one member of the Confederation; or as on a still larger scale, each member of that Confederation has surrendered a share of its independence to form the mighty Union! The states, in fact, form a fasciculus of townships, as the confederation forms a fasciculus of states. Townships are merely subordinate to the state in those interests, which may be termed social, as being common to all American citizens from Penobscot down to Pensacola. But they necessarily win the affections of their inhabitants, having about them nothing beyond the most touching characteristics of home! Authority wears no frown in its administration, except towards vice or impiety. The counties have considerable analogy with the arrondissements of France. They possess each
à court of justice, a sheriff, and a prison; but have properly speaking no political existence, as being without a representative assembly of any kind. There are, however, considerable differences in these respects between New England and other parts of the Confederation. The activity and perfection of the local authorities diminish towards the south. Magisterial power is stronger; electoral influence somewhat decreases. Administration also passes from the townships to the county; which thus becomes central and intermediate between government and its subjects.
The legislative power of each state is well known, as consisting of two houses; that of the Senate being generally elected for a longer term than that of the representatives. The executive is one supreme magistrate, with the title of governor, a suspensive veto, and the command of all military forces. His period of office is short, usually for one or two years. He can often do much good, but rarely any positive mischief. He is the mere mouth and arm of a political machine, being able to exercise very
little will of his own. It must be borne in mind that local administration is not centralized in the United States, although there is great general centralization of the government. All citizens have the right of indicting public functionaries before the ordinary tribunals. By political jurisdiction is understood that temporary right of pronouncing a legal decision, with which a political body may be invested. This, however, becomes a most powerful instrument in the hands of a majority, perhaps in consequence of the very great mildness with which it is exercised. In truth the genius of George Washington still pervades the entire Confederation; that is, as to the administration of the laws. As to legislation, or the making those laws, the spirit of Jefferson appears paramount. The people reign: the people obey; they originate the system which governs themselves; and that too, not with long intervals of uniformity, during which matters go on like clockwork,—but they modify the machine almost biennially. The federal constitution just turns upon the division of authority between it and the several states. They form the rule, with all their various powers, both numerous and indefinite: the Union is the exception, with its delegated powers, laid down with jealousy and preciseness, and to be principally exercised on external objects, such as war, peace, negociation, and foreign commerce. Taxation also remains of necessity amongst its prerogatives. As it was foreseen that in practice, questions would arise about the exact limits of this exceptional authority, a high federal court was erected to maintain the balance between the two rival elements of the constitution. The chief justice of this supreme court may remind us of the Ephors of Lacedæmon, or the Justiza of Aragon. He sits as the Minos of America. To strengthen the potency of
the states, and enlarge the distinct independency of each, is the darling object of the democrats, who number in their ranks nearly nineteen twentieths of their fellow countrymen. On the other hand, to put a bridle upon that potency, and yoke the states together in something like obedience to a central executive, is and was the purpose of the federalists, now almost attenuated to a shadow, bewailing its fate amidst the groves of Mount Vernon ! Legislation, as is well known, remains with the Senate and House of Representatives assembled in the metropolis. The former is nominated by the legislators of each state ; thus being elected by an elected body; and retaining office for six years. Here, therefore, the principle of the independence of the states prevails, Delaware or any other small member of the Union being on a par with the largest. In the latter chamber, the sovereignty of the collected nation predominates; the number of representatives for each state being proportioned to the population ; New York having thereby forty times the influence of Delaware ; and the representatives being chosen only for two years. The senate, however, not only cooperates in the work of legislation, but also tries those political offences which the other house submits to its decision. It further acts as a grand executive council; since the treaties concluded, or the appointments made by the President must receive its ratification, before they can become valid. The President is chosen for four years, and may be re-elected for a second term. To appoint him, a special electoral college is created. Every state names the same number of electors as it sends to congress; although it is after all a majority of the states, and not of the members, which decides the question. Rhode island, for instance, gives but a single suffrage in the matter : yet New York itself does no more; her forty representatives voting in solido. Neither is there any convocation of the electors to any particular place. The several votes, when decided on in twentyfour different cities, are transmitted under seal, before a given day, to the President of the Senate, who opens them and counts them in the presence of both chambers at Washington. If none of the candidates have a majority, the House of Representatives then proceeds to elect; being bound to fix upon one of the three candidates possessing the highest numbers. This mode, although obviously by no means complete, has certainly smoothed away all those obstacles which are not inherent in the elective
process. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Federal court is assisted by six colleagues, constituting perhaps the most august judiciary in the world,
• The peace, the prosperity, and the very existence of the Union, are vested in the hands of these seven judges. Without their active cooperation, the constitution would be a dead letter : the executive
appeals to them for assistance against the encroachments of the legislative powers : the legislature demands their protection from the designs of the executive: they defend the Union from the disobedience of the states, and the states from the exaggerated claims of the Union : they protect the public interest against the interests of private citizens, and the conservative spirit of order against the fleeting innovations of democracy. Their power is enormous, but it is clothed in the authority of public opinion. They are the all-powerful guardians of a people, which respects law: but they would be impotent against popular neglect or popular contempt. The force of public opinion is the most intractable of agents, because its exact limits cannot be defined; and it is not less dangerous to exceed, than to remain below the boundary prescribed.'-Vol. i. pp. 175—176.
M. de Tocqueville then proceeds to show that in America, the subjects of the Union are not states but private citizens; that the national government levies a tax not upon the members of the Confederation, but upon the inhabitants. He points out the advantages of federacy, as well as its special utility where it is now in operation. Circumstances have there favored it. Maine and Georgia, separated by a thousand miles, seem more naturally united beyond the Atlantic, than are Normandy and Brittany on this side of it. Their civilization is identical in its origin, opinions, and habits. Their constitution, indeed, allows them to carry on great wars, whenever necessary, whilst Providence has placed them in a geographical position, which will probably render such enterprises at least infrequent. Their parties moreover in politics may be compared to souls without bodies. They contend, like the shadowy images of poetical antiquity, with transcendental fury, yet without bloodshed. Spectators, unaccustomed to the fray, look on with horror, anticipating broken bones, or indiscriminate massacre; when lo ! the bottle bursts, some official, painted by his supporters as an angel from heaven, or by his opponents as a fiend from hell, is seated, rejected, or re-elected; and then all the fuss evaporates ceu fumus in auras. There is happily
, no aristocracy, nor can there ever be one, according to our author, in those felicitous realms. Plenty of individuals hate the democracy around them : but that very abhorrence is a secretum pectore vulnus. They would fain see judges in monstrous wigs of powdered horsehair,-beadles in three-cornered hats and liveries turned up with scarlet,--and above all, carriages blazing with coronets, or covered with the other fopperies of heraldry. But these trifles are pined for in vain. Common sense governs many millions of well fed, well clothed, well lodged, and well educated men, women, and children. Faults enough there are, indeed as plentiful and as black as blackberries. Despairing exclusives detest, but they endure. Nay, in some cases, they even do more; for it is a profound remark, that next to hating