Page images

loyal ever to entertain the idea that she she thought she did. She had grace and could interrupt an engagement founded beauty, `love and youth, nobility and upon her plighted word. Affianced to fortune ; all around her seemed charmed Raoul from the day when she first com with sweet looks and fresh smiles. Life prehended the meaning of the word, the promised only caresses and enchantnoble girl had since regarded herself, be- ments. Why was her


heart fore God, as his spouse. The marriage also heavy? Why her beaming eyes veiled was in accordance with the wishes of the with sadness? Like the delicate and marquis ; Raoul concealed his nullity under sensitive flower at the approach of the a brilliant varnish of grace and eloquence; storm, did she shudder under the presentiwas deficient neither in the seductions ment of her destiny ? which belong to his age, nor the chivalrous That same evening a cavalier of whom qualities of his race; and, to say the truth, no one thought, was following the right Madame de Vaubert, whose watchful eye bank of the Clain. Arrived at Poitiers never lost sight of her interest, was always less than an hour before, he had only ready, when occasion required, to lend him delayed long enough for a fresh horse the intelligence and vivacity which he him to be saddled, and then departed at full self had not. All was going smoothly on, gallop, up the river. The night was and nothing seemed to disturb the current dark, without moon or stars. At a turn of their prosperity, when an unexpected of the path, on discovering the castle of event broke in upon their happiness. La Seigliere, whose illuminated front lay

They were celebrating on the same in gleaming lines along the sombre ground day, at the castle, the king's birthday, of the heavens, he suddenly checked his the third anniversary of the marquis' horse by a strong pull at the bit. At return to his lands, and the espousals of this instant a sheaf of fire shot into the Raoul and Helen. This triple celebra- heavens, burst in the clouds, and fell in tion had brought thither all the higher golden rain, in amethyst and emeralds, nobility of the city and the surrounding upon the towers and belfries. Like a neighborhood. At nightfall the castle bewildered traveller who had lost his way, and the park were brilliantly illuminated, our cavalier threw around him an unand fireworks were sent up from the top quiet look; then, as if reassured upon of the hill; then followed the dance in his route, he gently pulled at his bridle the saloons, while without, the villagers, and proceeded. He soon dismounted swains and damsels, hopped merrily to at the gate of the park, and, leaving his the sound of the bagpipe underneath the horse, entered just at the moment when green boughs. Madame de Vaubert, who the rustic revellers, in a paroxysm of now touched the end of her ambition, made enthusiasm, were mingling their shouts of no effort to conceal the satisfaction which vive le roi !" with those of “vive le marshe at this moment experienced. The quis !All the windows were encased presence alone of her daughter sufficient with foliage and decorated with transly justified the pride and pleasure which, parencies--the most remarkable, a cheflike a double halo, beamed from the d’æuvre which had exhausted all the brow of Raoul. As to the marquis, the artistic skill of the castle, offered to the cup of his joy was full and unadulterated. ravished eyes the august head of Louis Whenever he presented himself on the XVIII., surmounted by two allegoric balcony, his vassals made the air resound divinities who were wreathing his brow with grateful and boisterous vivats, a with olive branches. At the foot of the thousand times repeated, and with an steps leading to the portico, the band of energetic earnestness that proved their the regiment in garrison at Poitiers were sincerity. Stamply had been dead some vigorously playing the national air of

Who thought of him? Nobody Vive Henri Quatre. Doubting whether -- but Helen; she had piously guarded he was awake, observing all and comprehis memory; she had sincerely loved him. hending nothing, impatient to know and This evening she was distracted, dreamy, fearing to ask, the stranger lost himself pre-occupied. Why? She could not in the crowd without being remarked. tell herself. She loved Raoul—at least, After having wandered about for some

time, like a shadow, among the different, host's return, the death of Stamply, and groups, in passing along one of the tables other fortunes and misfortunes of which which had been set in the garden, he the castle had been the scene for the last heard some words which attracted his few years. The stranger leaned over attention. He accordingly seated himself upon the table, and partly concealing his at the end of a bench - not far from a face in his hands, remained thus for a couple of venerable looking peasants, who, long time. When he arose to depart, having been especially assiduous in their the park was deserted, the castle was attentions to the marquis' wine, were silent, the last lamp had gone out, and very loquacious upon the subject of their the cock was hailing the day.

[blocks in formation]



We now see what the government was

what concerned their local line of business. at first, when the few and evil days of The common law stood sponsor for this. “the confederacy" were at length suc- The government of the Union, designed as ceeded by a real union between the thir- it was for a sphere of action limited to teen primary States.

the foreign or international relations of the And first, it was a true government, as country, and the inter-state relations (so well in the general as the particular econo- to call them) of its interior subdivisions, mies, and no longer a confederacy of States had no authority but by special grants in the former, more than of counties in looking mainly to that sphere. Still, withthe latter. Above and below, at Wash- in the prescribed limits, federal functionington and throughout the territorial de- aries had the same common law to adjust partments, it made laws for the people as the measure of their powers, that State individuals, and gave effect to its laws, not officers had in their departments for the by negotiation or entreaty, much less by like important service. Nor was there to military force, but by court process. be a particle of difference in the rule of

Secondly, it was a pure agency govern- construction applicable to the two cases. ment, a republic; with a guaranty in the Finally, it was a government distributed, federal charter that it should continue balanced, checked, guarded, and accommosuch. A part of the sovereignty was del dated to the actual state of society, in a egated for purposes of direct administra- very remarkable manner. On the one tion, and the residue lodged with a very hand, its founders were afraid of public large, but not promiscuous body of the power. They knew the views of that kind citizens, at once to maintain the personal of power. They knew it had been the organization of the system, and to keep great oppressor of mankind in all ages, watch and ward by night and by day over and they had nothing more at heart than the uses made of its powers in the man lo secure themselves and their posterity agement of its affairs ; the two sovereign- from its grasping, overreaching, perverting ties, (if I may call them so,) being both tendencies. On the other hand, they alike functionary under the Constitution, meant it to be decently accommodated to though in provinces of duty quite distinct social facts. Exact equality of treatment from each other, and separated by a wall might be unattainable as regarded the of partition never to be passed, the one various classes, callings, and conditions of way or the other, for any purpose of re men; but an effort of approach towards ciprocal interference.

it was both just and prudent; it was pracIn the third place, it was a government tising, in the construction of the system, homogeneously framed in the relative con the very principle that was to form the stitutions of the head and the members ; | characteristic merit of its subsequent opeits agents everywhere acting for and rep- ration. resenting the people, and nowhere, corpo As to power, the first thing done was rations of the people. Nor was there that of cutting it up into jurisdictional any known disparity of endowment among parts. the several agency groups of the system The making, interpreting, and executive in the matter of power, save what arose oversight of the law, were assigned to difnecessarily, or at least naturally, out of its ferent agencies, with strong lines of demarscheme of divided jurisdictions. The pow- cation between them. This was the funoer of the State governments was ample for tionary division.


A territorial division was added, by estates, the usual fruit of industry, good which the details of government business habits, and good principles, and should were scattered over the country among have maintained, or have been ready to thousands of political corporations. The profess, the character of Christians, the lowest grade of these, were townships and choice would be as likely to result well, villages. Over the townships there were as in human circumspection it could be counties, for concerns of corresponding ex- made to do. These, at any rate, were fair tent. Over the counties, there were States; grounds of popular judgment, and they and over the States, a Union. The town were made indispensable conditions in the ships bad some powers each that were ultimate, and consequently sovereign. So Nor did paternal solicitude stop here. had the counties. But for the most part, So vital were the interests involved, that appeals lay upward from township to other precautions were resorted to. If all county, and from county to State. The the people were to be constituted electors, powers of the States were nearly all sover- nothing could well save the majority from eign. Like those of the smaller districts, mischances in the use of their power. It however, they looked only to internal and was therefore deemed expedient to put domestic matters ; having no bearing that conditions on the right of suffrage itself, was properly national, nationality belonged and so to restrain the possession of it to to the Union alone.

the stauncher portion of society ; making This scheme of jurisdictions adjusted, not only years of manhood, and a short the policy of the lawgivers descended next local commorancy, but even a pittance of to the minuter features of the system. property in general a freehold) necessary

And they began, here, with limiting qualifications for the function of the polls. rigidly the order or description of persons By which arrangement the number of alfrom among whom the more considerable lowed electors, compared with the entire agents of the government were to be se- popular mass of both sexes, must have lected. The door of office might, they been limited to a sixth or seventh, more apprehended, be opened too wide for the probably a tenth, of the whole. A striking general safety. It was necessary, there fact in several bearings. How it illustrates fore, to be cautious. Precise rules of the doctrine of representation, as dependeligibility must be fixed upon, to guard ing on duty, not constituency. Were the against mistakes. “Is he honest, is he men of straw unrepresented in those days? capable,” was the great practical inquiry Are women and children unrepresented for the electors in all cases; but to bring now? How it exhibits the franchise of them to just or prudent conclusions on the elections as a thing of trust for the good of subject, marks of probable honesty, proba- all, apart entirely from the claims or preble capability were wanted, that might tensions of special interest in those honorafford invariably some reasonable chance ed with the use of it! Away with the of safe judgment. To which end, mature preposterous folly of scrambling or conage, a term of residence, some property, tending as individuals for a right which at and a religious profession, perhaps the the best is but fiduciary, and no object of most reliable circumstances that could be selfish demand to any one! How it shows hit upon as practical indications in the off the slow and thoughtful and painstakmatter, were made conditions of access to ing husbandry of the patriarchal statespublic life in its more eminent stations. men, as contrasted with our modern steamOutward, sensible tokens were necessary, ploughing! There are things which it is and these answered that description. Clear more important to do well than quickly. certainty was out of reach ; probability Thus then, to reach the great objects was all that could be hoped for; and it of a safe personal organization of the was thought that if the people were re- Government, the population of the country quired to choose for the public service per was to be doubly sifted : first, for a class sons of from twenty-one to thirty-five years of persons fit to stand before the people of age, who should have lived from one to as candidates for election; and next, for a ten years under their eyes without re- community of voters, who might be exproach, should have acquired considerable pected to act independently, conscien

tiously, wisely, in putting forward the talents and qualities into public life as a best of those candidates to serve the term of three or four ? The term of office commonwealth.

is one of its dimensions. Curtail the term No doubt the fathers (the greater part unduly, and you belittle the office. Inof them) thought it desirable to keep cumbents may be found undoubtedly, their men somewhat longer in office than there are placemen of all calibres; but a single year. And such exceeding care in to think of getting petty offices filled by choosing them might render this admis- men fit for the greatest is idle, unless insible. The fathers meant to have a decent deed you are prepared to buy their condetone of government—a decent consist scension with enormous salaries. ency and vigor of administrative policy. It is pleasant to trace the old harmonies In order to which if public sentiment of the republic as between the head and required that some officers (the larger the members. There are breaks in some houses of legislation for example) should of those harmonies now, but the recoldie out annually, others (such as chief lection of what they once were is music to magistrates and senators) must have a a patriotic ear. longer lease of life-a lease that might Take, as a further specimen, the great bring them acquainted with two or three principles of a completely independent generations of their more transient breth- judiciary, once common to the federal and ren, so that some sort of connection might State economies, and sustained alike in be kept up between the past and pres- each by what is called the good-behavior ent, and the notable principle of rotation tenure. It was a glorious sight to look at, in office might not have a speed and when the dispensers of human justice sweep of action that should put every- went forth erect in their full stature, unthing in a whirl. Change, doubt it who swayed by government, unindebted to will, is the besetting curse of free institu- political parties, judging the cause of the tions. This desperate evil was to be put, fatherless and widow, as well as of princiif possible, under some restraint. The palities and powers, without respect of tossing floods were to have shores to beat persons, and only liable to be judged upon. Accordingly, while members of themselves, as God judges men, by their assembly in the State legislatures were deeds. allowed to hold an incessant correspon The Union and the States had also, in dence with the popular mind by annual fair proportion with each other, the pa. elections, governors and senators, for the tronage of many appointments, and were most part, had terms of from two to five aggrandized by it exceedingly in the pubor six years assigned them. Federal lic eye. Not only the States and the Union agents were similarly dealt with ; the as bodies politic, but the people at large President holding for four years, and the were the better for this. Appointments upper house of Congress for six, while were better made for many purposes by members of the representative chamber government officers than it was possible were restricted to two. In which respect, they should be in the way of popular as in most others, the whole system of the elections. country was symmetrical, and the policy Indeed the agreement between the of its arrangements uniform.

larger and smaller economies was general. Can a question be raised as to the Both were concise in the written expresadvantage of all this? Who will confess sions of their plans and principles. Both, a doubt, for instance, whether the execu- with a few local exceptions, rejected bills tive administration of a State is likely to of rights as useless, perhaps hurtful subbe better managed, or, at least, with more stitutes, of form for spirituality! Both consistency and dignity, for a dozen years preferred to rest upon the people's comtogether, by three successive chief magis- mon lawthe unwritten code of usage trates than by twelve, even admitting the and common sense—as the true basis of men to be all of a stamp? And then is men's rights, the rock of their liberties. this admission likely to be true in matters To both, religion was a first element of of fact? Is it likely that an official term life. It was deemed a main support of of one year will attract the same rate of all civil and political obligations ; a guar

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »