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of a constitutional government should be be inevitably referred for a decision to the armed with a power of resistence suffi- well-ascertained opinion of the day. cient for its own preservation; nor do
For the formation of our own opinions, those
powers which have been granted by we must go back to first principles, as we the Constitution to each member of the may suppose them to have lain in the government, exceed what is necessary to minds of our founders; and deduce, as their independent existence. There could they deduced, opinions of the propriety hardly, nevertheless, be observed a more or impropriety of what is proposed. Let fatal symptom, either in the conduct of a this be done by each succeeding generagovernment or of a party, than a disposi- tion, and there will arise in time, out of the tion manifested by them to allow the en- united arguments and experience of many croachment of executive upon judicial or succeeding generations, a system of polity legislative power. As it would be impos- filling out the original design of our sible to over-estimate the dangers which founders, extending the power of the might follow upon an absorption of the Constitution where it is inoperative, interpower of the government by the legisla- preting its silence, and, in fine, executing tive body, aiming at its own aggrandize its intention in its own peculiar spirit. ment and the diminution of executive and Had the fathers inserted in that instrujudicial responsibility, so it would be ment any clause that might confer upon equally impossible to overrate the perils, the general government, the power of not only to State liberties, but even to in- engaging in works of prospective imdividual rights, from the repeated election provement, it would have exceeded its of a president, chosen, not for the admin- intention, and have incurred the danger istration of the laws, but for enforcing of violation by encroaching upon the new and partial constructions of those laws. changeable sphere of opinion.
When, therefore, we are called upon to If a class of powers had been given by examine the merits of new measures, it, under the general head of progress and either of public economy or of national improvement, authorizing Congress to apenterprise, we must withdraw ourselves propriate funds for scientific expeditions, from the atmosphere of interest; we must for the planting of colonies, for the conendeavor to place ourselves in sympathy struction of telegraphs, for the establishwith the genius and spirit of the nation. ment of colleges and schools of science, If the Constitution is silent or obscure for architectural outlay, for national roads, upon a point of authority or competency, for the protection of commerce; if a and we are pressed for a decision, there clause had been inserted in the Constiremains no other course but to go back to tution providing for works intended to our origin, and from that to trace the rise increase the value of public lands, by of our polity; to observe what courses railroads opening the western territories, have led to aggrandizement, to peace, and by the construction of harbors for the augprosperity, regarding always the fundamentation of trade, by naval expeditions mental laws as barriers and limits within to extend our commerce in the southern which we are free to act, in all cases, as and eastern seas; had these powers been it may seem best for the nation. The directly conferred, together with an inConstitution does not provide for nor junction upon congress to protect our establish a system of political economy; agriculture and our manufactures by tarit neither sustains nor forbids a tariff or a iffs, to collect the dues of government in free trade, a bank or a sub-treasury, the silver and gold, and to establish some annexation of a State, or the extension of particular form of bank or treasury, it public aid to national enterprises, It would not have the force, encumbered does not forbid the establishment of with such details, that it now has, as a slavery in new territories, nor does it body of fundamental law, fixing the command such an establishment. All framework merely, and unchangeable questions of this nature creating parties, powers of the government; leaving to the whose majorities change from year to majority of the nation to determine for year, and whose opinions vary, as passion itself, from time to time, what works it will and enthusiasm and interest compel
, must engage in, and what economy it will use.
We conceive that the great error of our extend aid to every species of enterprise politics has thus far lain in a continual that seemed likely to increase the wealth reference to the Constitution for decisions of the nation. We should, therefore, be in cases of mere expediency and policy, the last to advise any alteration or not contemplated by that instrument. amendment of the fundamental law; we Fundamental laws cannot be established, would not, with President Monroe, reor rather, will not stand, if they are made commend that a general sanction of the to specify what shall, or shall not be done, policy of internal improvements be incorin the detail of national economy. They porated in the Constitution, since that do not point out the aims, they do not would be to make law the slave, instead of designate the purposes, the objects, but the guide and master of opinion ; and show only the right and wrong, the rules, would be a step toward alteration and and fixed forms of public conduct. I am decline. It must be reckoned among the not assisted by the moral law in resolving dangers to which the State is always whether to engage in commerce or in liable, engaging too far, or in too great manufacture; nor can the laws of the a number of enterprises. We prefer to land determine whether the people shall draw all arguments for expenditure from become farmers or artisans. That is a bar- its evident necessity and propriety, and barous and unrefined minuteness in a State not from any amendments which ourselves constitution, which regulates the method have procured to the Constitution. of its treasury, the extent of its territory, We do not wish to tamper with that or the shape or extent of its taxation. It venerable instrument.
It would be a preis, perhaps, the most striking instance of cedent full of danger and ill omen. human wisdom upon record, that our found- If there be a point of policy upon
which ers carefully abstained from even nam- Considerate men of all parties will agree, ing what is transient in government, and it is on this of the inviolability of the Conthat they introduced into that instrument stitution. such things only as must always be ob- Ours is not yet a prescriptive Constiserved while the nation continues to be a tution, “whose sole authority is, that it republic.
has existed time out of mind.” At a In another view, and for other reasons, moment of our history when the equal we are to rejoice that we have a Constitu- necessity of an union of all the citizens, tion so liberal and so reserved. IIad any and the preservation of State liberties beparticular line of policy been recom- came intensely apparent, it sprang into mended as beneficial by the fathers, and life (almost perfect in its form) from the the recommendation clothed in the solemn brain of wisdom—a wisdom wbich, takand authoritative language of law, it ing into view all the circumstances of would have given an unnatural force in the time, and being itself personally, a that direction; it would have given one part of those circumstances, took the midparty too great an advantage over its dle results of all—a method which left opposite. Had it been a recommendation everything incomplete in the detail, and to engage in enterprises of improvement, gave only the forms and generalities; not our strong overruling tendency toward pretending to recommend particular poli
and splendid achievements would cies, but providing against the influence of have swept us like a torrent to our ruin. any one bias, interest or policy, whose exWith the Constitution clearly for us, that cess might weaken the system of the tendency would have been irresistible. whole. This form, impressed upon the We have seen how far we may be led government, and upon the nation at its toward ruin by a misstep in negotiation; birth, when a vigorous life presided in it, and, from this single instance, we may cannot, without great danger, be altered judge into what excesses we may yet be or disturbed, as its provisions were the plunged by a legislature acting under results of a deliberation, not upon any arbitrary constructions of the Constitu- transient circumstances and necessities, but tion; and if forced construction, even, upon those which are fixed and lasting ; have this power, what might we not have it can be altered and amended only by a to fear from a general precept, advising to wisdom, equal to that which constructed
it, in a position of equal dignity, and with priation of public moneys to the improvean equal moderation, calmness, and unan- ment of national harbors, to the removal imity. But in discussing the system of of snags from rivers, to the construction our national economy, on the other hand, of telegraphs or national railroads, we are we have to consider the exigency of the not, therefore, to conclude, that these time only—the wants, desires and aspira- measures are unconstitutional, nor are we to tions of the age—the particular benefit or ask, with President Monroe, for an amendinjury balanced against the general inter- ment to the Constitution authorizing such est. All this we have to consider in the appropriations. We are to inquire only light of that system of polity which has whether the government was established been established by the experience of our with full powers to do all that is required predecessors.
for the common good of all, and for the It was not possible, in the nature of common weal; and next, are we to satisfy things, for the fathers to have specified all ourselves that the measures proposed and every power of the general govern- are enterprises of national benefit, and ment, to the exclusion of all others not of a magnitude exceeding the power of named by them, but nevertheless neces- any individual, or of a State, to accomplish. sary to the existence and prosperity of the Nor will it be a sufficient objection to nation. It might become proper, in a any such measure, that its benefits will moment of extreme necessity, for the peo- not be immediately felt, in an equal deple, acting through their representatives, gree, over all parts of the Union. A railto invest the President with a dictatorial road connecting New Mexico with the power. It might become necessary for Southern States might indeed, be esteemed the same body, as the immediate agents an enterprise of much greater benefit to and defenders of private liberty, to assume the southern than to the northern memfor themselves a certain executive authori-bers of the Union. ty. It might become necessary for the A series of harbors along the northern general government to suffer for a while frontier might increase the trade of the unlawful encroachments upon its own au- North and West, while it conferred only a thority. It might be deemed expedient partial and remote advantage upon the to allow that clause of the Constitution South. Appropriations for improvements which "guaranties a republican govern- must be equitably distributed with a proment” to every State of this Union, or, in per regard to the commerce, the agriculother words, to every citizen of this nation; ture, and the defense of every part of the to rest unapplied, where it seemed proper Union. The farmer cannot, at once, and for the peace of all concerned, that cer- by one vast outlay, bring every acre of tain men, or bodies of men, should exclude his farm to that high perfection which themselves from the privileges of free- it will attain in time, after many years men. Many cases will arise where a para- of a divided and distributed care. Nor mount necessity will supercede that in can he, by a thin and feeble manuring of ferior necessity which gives its ordinary the whole, through successive seasons, form and power to the government; nor produce that desired fertility which he could the fathers have foreseen and pro- may communicate by confining his outlay vided for that vast increase of territory and his labor for a time to separate porwhich has raised the Union to the rank of an tions. imperial power, and has given us a dominion, and may yet farther extend that do
The Senate. minion over nations incapable of free institutions.
The house represents the people; in Still less could they have foreseen by number, and in aggregate as individuals, what courses, in particular ages, the wealth and as a nation. Certain persons are perof the nation might be increased. mitted by law, under certain restrictions,
When, therefore, we have examined the to select the members of the House. powers of the general government, and These persons so permitted, and under have not been able to discover among such restrictions, (i. e. voters,) represent them any clauses authorizing the appro- the interests of families, individuals, busi
nesses, partnerships, i. e. the aggregate a State representative; but a senator of the interests of the entire nation, taken by Union represents not so much a people, as villages, towns, and cities, being thus re- a system of government, an organization; presented in the House.
his function is strictly conservative; he is The Senate, on the other hand, seems bound to defend at every point the soveto represent organized and established reignty which he represents. The interforms of power, and not merely bodies of ests of the State from which he comes contending interests. In the House of are to be defended by him against the enLords we see represented the church, the croaching interests of other States. To judiciary establishment, and the great the Senate, perhaps, we owe the existence families ; promotions to lordships being of the State sovereignties, perhaps the chiefly for the maintenance of the ancient existence of the Union. In every State orders. The legal lords, the clerical lords, there is a governing body, a class of able and the social lords make up the body of and efficient men, who draw to themselves that House. They represent the great by merit, by property, by ability, and the powers, established in perpetuity by tra- arts of popularity, all the offices of governdition and usage over the heads of the ment. These men, from motives either of people. Formerly, we find the separate interest, of ambition or of patriotism, make governments, the dukedoms, earldoms, state affairs their proper care. They are the marches, and counties represented there. guides, the advisers, and defenders for the In the Senate, as in the House of Lords, time of the people, while the people respect powers established in perpetuity, name- them. They ascertain the desires of the ly, State sovereignties, are represented; people, ascertain or imagine for them, and we see, too, that the Senate is the their wants and wrongs, and originate for conservative body, and preserves the an
them all laws and measures of redress. cient liberties of States, as the House of They originated popular constitutions, and Lords does the ancient feudalities, from they advise or flatter, or persuade the popular and executive desecration. The people, that they are good and suitState sovereignties stand in our govern- able. These constitutions establish certain ment in place of lords of families, lords of offices and functions to be filled by men church, and law lords.
who make politics and offices their busiAn election of Senators by popular ness. These constitutions appoint also choice would break down the whole sys- certain citizens to a certain inferior functem, and for a government of State sover- tion (from which such persons only are eignties give us a mere tug of parties. excluded by law, as are deemed unfit,) The Senate would connive with the House; namely, the function of voting or electing senators and representatives elected on the certain persons to fill the higher offices, same ticket, and answerable to the same or in other words, to exercise more responconstituents, would act as one body, and sible functions, than those of a voter or the Senate itself prove only a useless in- elector. The system of the higher offices cumbrance.
of a State, being a body of functionaries The ground of aristocracy is privilege, appointed for the welfare of a particular the greatest privilege is the power of legis- portion or division of the whole people, lating for one's self and for one's family; and having the entire control over the there is, therefore, not the least tincture internal and domestic economy of that of aristocracy in the Senate of the Union ; portion or State, constitutes a perpetual for there is no privilege. The Senate of corporation, with a peculiar interest, a the Union, though superior in dignity, peculiar prejudice, and a peculiar pride. yet recedes as far as possible from aristoc- This power, or system of powers
in racy in being the defender of State liber- each State, represents interests often adties against both representative and execu- verse, and even hostile to those of other tive encroachments. It is the duty of the States; it is, therefore, absolutely necessenator to consider the interests of the sary, that in the general system of the government which he represents. The government these State interests and rights senator of a State legislature is elevated should receive a full and powerful repreonly in his grade and respectability, above sentation, lest in course of time they should be neglected and forgotten; and, exaspe- Old World, by as many political castes or rated by contempt, should draw off the orders. Although the division of a peomasses from their allegiance to the govern- ple by castes, is no longer tolerated, and ment of the whole. It need not, therefore an individual my occupy successively and excite our surprise, if we hear senators without disgrace, all stations in society, defending with vehemence the institutions still the occupations themselves remain as of the States of whose politics and cus- they were founded by nature. They have toms they are the representatives. While each their peculiar genius and necessities, these polities and customs exist in a and it rarely, if ever happens, that the State, the senator is bound by every same person excels, or is successful in all. law of honor and of duty to defend
The first and most remarkable occupathem against aggression. And, how- tion is that of instructors and schoolmasever much he may lament their existence, ters, of every rank and degree, from the he must not allow them to be interfered good dame who teaches children the A, with, by strangers, or even vilified without B, C, to the great savan who developes defense. Noris the senator less bound by the mysteries of life, and the harmony of virtue of his office to prevent inequitable ap- the heavenly spheres. The importance of propriations of the public means. Should this order of persons to the State need not it appear to him, that an unjust preference be dwelt upon. They are not the least had been given to the citizens, or to the influential body in the present condition of government of one State over another, or society. They include also, philosophers to one section of country over another, it and metaphysicians. is his peculiar duty to prevent such unjust The next who attract our attention are appropriations, in as much as he repre- those who cultivate and appeal to the sents a body to whose care the dignity imagination and the feelings, including all and property of his State had been en- that are employed in the offices of worship trusted. But, while the senator must be and religious instruction. These include continually on the watch for the interests also, professed poets, and inventors of ficand the dignity of his State, there is no tion, and all whose occupation is to affect reason why he should apply to every the moral nature through the imaginative measure which he thinks unjust, the test of faculty. The highest enthusiasm of reliunconstitutionality. Many measures may be gion indulges in the poetical form, and the be unjust, and yet constitutional. It may teachings of religion are oftener conveyed be unjust to forbid the introduction of by figures, symbols, and parables, than by slavery into a new territory, and it may direct proof; so that it becomes necessary be at the same time constitutional. The to place the occupation of priest, clergyimprovement of the Mississippi river may man, and man of letters, under one head; be a great hardship to the Eastern States, and in the greatest examples they are but the Eastern States will never oppose united in one; the literature of some nasuch improvements, on the ground that tions, that of the Hebrews for instance, is they are unconstitutional. Southern sena-exclusively religious. Artists are also of tors may oppose the appropriation of this order; and in the political system of money for the protection of maritime com- Egypt, we find the priests, artists, poets, merce, by ships of war, and naval expedi- and architects, included in one caste, called tions ; they may even oppose the opening the Sacred Order. of national harbors for a commerce and
Next in order we notice the artisans, revenue upon the Northern lakes, but mechanics, and men of business, (who are they are not obliged to account for this also the most numerous, in the present opposition by a constructive unconstitu- system of society,) including all who practionality set up against these measures. tice any art or handicraft for the physical
comforts of man. This order includes man
ufacturers, seamen, agriculturists, garPolitical Economy.
deners, inventors, bankers, tradesmen, merThe occupations of a civilized people, chants, negotiators, agents, and those who divide very naturally into several kinds, are devoted wholly to the care or ownerrepresented in the primeval States of the ship of any species of property, or to con