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ridiculous customs of the self-styled higher circles of society; and we love him for writing poetry that comes homes home to our feelings and sympathies. In testimony of the truth of what we have said, we give the following passage from “ La Déesse :''
« Fair one ! how look you upon life
Its brief repose, its lengthen'd strife?
Of that sweet mixture, admiration
They speak in your unmatched grace :
E’en if in your repose of face
We'd see it there,-a certain case, -
Is it offensive most, or funny,
Or doth the jingle of the money,
The hours when roses wan and wasted
The empty cup, too fondly tasted!
Within thee swelling, freely, purely,
Protect thee surely !
Which robs thee of a charm—believing,
Howe'er they talk about deceiving.
Will bear thee brighter, sweeter flowers;
Our pray’rs are brief, as you may guess,
You're “all right," sweet Déesse."
A Brief Inquiry into the True Nature and Character of the Federal Government, being a Review of Judge Story's Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. By “ A VIRGINIAN.” Petersburg : E. & J. C. Ruffin. 1840.
Those who have read Judge Story on the Constitution, should also read “A brief Inquiry, &c., by a Virginian,” in which the views of that distinguished jurist, as to the nature and powers of the Federal Government are considered and discussed, and the political opinions entertained by him, are combatted with great force of argument. The author is the champion of state rights, but not, on that account, less ardently devoted to the Union of the States. Next to disabusing the Constitution of the political heresies which the Supreme Court School of interpretation has thrown around it, his principal object seems to be, to point out the means that are yet left to us, for the preservation of the Union against the various dangers that threaten its overthrow. If to believe that the Constitution of the United States is the result of a compact by and between the several States, constitutes the votary of such a creed a Federalist, then is our author a Federalist and a Conservative,—but his is not modern Federalism and Conservatism ; nor will he be likely to acquire much favor with their advocates, by the opinions he has expressed, and, as we think, triumphantly sustained, in the work before us. We are particularly pleased with it, because it exhibits intrinsic evidence of thorough research, because the author has consulted history, states facts, and in ascertaining the principles on which our Government rests, has discarded, popular opinions and party interests, and examined the subject for himself, with a clear and full understanding of all objections, which he meets ably, and answers satisfactorily, and finally, because he expresses the conclusions to which he has arrived, after patient investigation, with the clearness, strength and firmness which truth inspires. The work is a fine specimen of logical reasoning, is written with great beauty, vigor, and elegance of style, and should be in the hands of every individual, who wishes to study and understand the true theory of our Federal Government.
Our author, being an advocate of State sovereignty, maintains the right of State interposition, in the last resort, as a legitimate exercise of power, in all cases of a palpable violation of the Federal Compact, for which no remedy is provided in the Constitution. On this subject, let him speak for himself:
“A great variety of cases,” he says, "are possible, some of which are not unlikely to arise, involving the true construction of the Federal Constitution, but which
could not possibly be presented to the courts, in a form proper for their decision. The following are examples :
“ By the 4th section of the 4th article it is provided, that “ Congress shall guaranty to every state in the Union a republican form of government, and how shall the question be decided ? In its very nature, it is a political, and not a judicial question, and it is not easy to imagine by what contrivance it could be brought before a court. Suppose a state should adopt a constitution not republican, and direct the state to form a new one. And suppose that the state should refuse to do so, on the ground that it had already complied with the requisitions of the Federal Constitution in that respect? Could congress direct an issue to try the question at the bar of the supreme court ? This would, indeed, be an odd way of settling the rights of nations, and determinining the extent of their powers! Besides, who would be parties to the issue ? at whose suit should the state be summoned to appear and answer? Not at that of the United States, because a state cannot be sued by the United States, in a federal court; not at that of any other state, nor of any individual citizen, because they are not concerned in the question. It is obvious that the case does not present proper subject matter for judicial investigation; and even if it did, that no parties could be found authorized to present the issue.
Again, congress has authority to provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States; reserving to the States, respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress. Suppose that congress should usurp the right to appoint the militia officers, or the state should insist on training the militia in their own way, and not according to the discipline prescribed by congress.' How could this matter be brought before the supreme court ? and even if properly brought there, how could its sentence be executed ?
“Again. Suppose that congress should enact that all the slaves of the country should immediately be free. This is certainly not impossible, and I fear not even improbable, although it would be the grossest and most palpable violation of the constitutional rights of the slave-holder. This would certainly produce the most direct conflict between the state and the federal governments. It would involve a mere question of political power,—the question whether the act of congress forbiding slavery, or the laws and constitution of the state allowing it, should prevail. And yet it is manifest that it presents no subject matter proper for judicial decision, and that the parties to it could not be convened before the supreme court.
& These examples are sufficient to show, that there is a large class of constitutional controversies, which could not possibly be brought under the cognizance of any judicial tribunal, and still less under that of the federal courts. As to these cases, therefore, each state must of necessity, for there as ons already stated, be its own 'final judge or interpreter.' They involve the mere question of political power, as between the state and federal governments; and the fact, that they are clearly withheld from the jurisdiction of the supreme court, goes far to prove that the states, in framing the Constitution, did not design to submit to that court any question of the like kind, in whatever form or between whatever parties it might arise, except so far only as the parties themselves were concerned.” pp. 88, 89. Again :
“There is no case in which a judicial question can arise, before a federal court, between a state and the federal government. Upon what principle, then, are the states bound by the decisions of the federal judiciary? Upon no principle, certainly, except that, as to certain subjects, they have agreed to be so bound. But this agreement they made, in their character of sovereign states, not with
the federal government, but with one auother. As sovereign states they alone are to determine the nature and extent of that agreement, and, of course, they alone are to determine whether or not they have given the federal courts authority to bind them in any given case. This principle has frequently been asserted by the states, and always successfully.*" p. 90.
The work before us, is attributed to Judge Upshur, the present Secretary of the Navy, who deserves the thanks of his fellow-citizens, throughout the Union, for the masterly argument and statesmanlike views which he has presented to them through its pages. If the services he has rendered to his country, were confined to the publication of this work alone, it would be sufficient to transmit his name to after times with honor.
13.- History of Napoleon, from the French of M. LAURENT DE L'ARDECHE,
Member of the Institute of France, g-c., with Five Hundred Illustrations, after designs by Horace Vernet, and Twenty Original Portraits. In two volumes. Vol. 1. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 200, Broadway. 1842.
The volume before us embraces the period that elapsed from the birth and infancy of Napoleon, to the reünion of the Roman States with the French Empire. The author seems to be rather the encomiast of his hero, who, with all his faults, possessed, certainly, many great and noble qualities. We forbear expressing any opinion as to the literary merits of the work before us, until it is completed. Its typographical execution, portraits, and numerous illustrations, render it very attractive; and the highly respectable publishing house, from which it is issued, will afford it, for the present, without other recommendation, a sufficient passport to public favor. The work forms one specimen of a pictorial library of standard literature, now in course of publication by them.
Discourse on the Objects and Importance of the National Institution
This society was instituted at Washington, in 1840. Its name indicates its object. It contemplates the collection, at the seat of government, of a cabinet of curiosities, embracing specimens of geology, minerals, plants,
* Hunter and Martin, Cohen vs. State of Virginia, and other cases.
and animals, obtained from all the different states and territories of the Union; accompanied with documents and facts illustrative of the history of our country. Up to this date, we are happy to learn, that the society has been eminently successful in its efforts ; that, in its correspondence with other learned societies, embracing similar objects, it has met with sympathy and coöperation ; and that there is fair prospect of its doing much good in the cause of science and letters. One of the objects embraced in the plan of the institution, is, the delivery of a course of lectures on scientific subjects.
Mr. Poinsett, in the discourse before us, considers the effect produced by the sciences, on the physical, moral, and social condition of mankind. A topic embracing such various and important relations, required extensive research and acquirement, to do it full justice. We are well satisfied with the result, having seldom enjoyed a richer treat than has been furnished us by the perusal of this excellent discourse. It is a profound and luminous production, is pervaded by a truly patriotic spirit, and is written in a style of great purity and elegance.
Bacchus. An Essay on the Nature, Causes, Effects, and Cure of
This is a useful work, and deserves to be extensively read; particularly as intemperance is a prevalent vice, in our otherwise happy land. In 1838, the New British and Foreign Temperance Society, offered a premium of one hundred sovereigns for the best essay on the benefits of total abstinence from all intoxicating drinks. About twenty essays were forwarded for inspection, and the work before us, entitled, ‘Bacchus, Prize Essay,' received the award of the adjudicators; a fact which is, of itself, evidence of its literary merit and excellence. We have read it with great pleasure.
There is scarcely a topic connected with the subject of which it treats, that is not handled with masterly ability. The nature and characteristics of intemperance; its history among all nations; the moral and physiological causes which lead to it; its effects on national industry and wealth; on morals; on intellect and education; on health and longevity, are some of the subjects treated of. We commend the work to the perusal of all classes of citizens, whether they belong to temperance societies or not. It contains a rich fund of highly interesting and useful matter, and is written in a tone of candor and liberality, which entitle it to general approval.