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These lines, dearer to me from associa troubled expression of her eye gave me tion than from any intrinsic merit, I have much uneasiness. My horse, as I had never forgotten : on that evening, like directed, was at the gate, and as I rode Zelica's mournful lay, their effect was en home in the clear moonlight I felt the hanced by the thrilling tone and the hour. first chill mist settle on hopes hitherto so
Thus ended a day of mingled pain and bright and cloudless. pleasure. As I took leave of Emily the
NO. III.—THE PRIMARY PLATFORM.
The founders of our system did much law acts only upon evidence, and seldom more than they are apt to have credit for fails of arriving at just conclusions. having done, in a policy of conservation But when at length the particular State looking to the future. And as power in organizations were to be combined in a one form or another was the Pandora's larger economy for national purposes, the box of the subject, so it will be found upon question of official endowment became examination, that to adjust the measure more embarrassing, forasmuch as the agenand distribute the jurisdiction of power; cies now to be instituted were confined and to keep it from excess in every quarter special in their objects, and could only be and prevent abuses; to stay its natural invested with their needed authority by growth, control its tendencies, and provide a sort of cession from the pre-existing aptidotes for the poison of its temptations, governments, or from the people in derowas the main drift of that policy.
gation of those governments. A comproA government may be too strong or too mise was necessary. The States were as weak; may have too much power in it or yet sovereign in the absolute sense of this too little.
Here was a problem to begin term. And as no new government could with.
be set up over them without a consequent In the early State constitutions it is re- reduction of their power and dignity, the markable that with few exceptions the enterprise had some vanities and jealousies measure of power allotted to rulers was to contend with, and instead of being left nowhere specified. Not even words of as before to common-law adjustments, grant were used in most cases; much less must depend in great measure upon exact words of definition. The fathers simply verbal provisions. said, let there be such and such depart The result might have been guessed bements, with such and such officers in each, forehand. The first experiment was a comand there they stopped. The rest was to plete failure. The thing was gone about be settled by implication--common law too timidly, (too grudgingly perhaps,) in implication.
the very point of ceded power. There And upon second thought, what better was not power enough given to the new could they do? Those governments were economy to keep it alive. The prepure republics. There had been no such existence of the local organizations may governments before. It was impossible to or may not explain the fact. At any rate, foresee all exigencies. To attempt to dole it was a severe tax upon the magnanimity out in advance, statute fashion, the precise of the States, to be called upon to curtail modicum of power that would be certainly their own consequence by contributing to enough in every instance, and as certainly the erection of a government, which must not more than enough, would have been necessarily overshadow them in certain realike gratuitous and empirical, when the spects. Whether from this cause or from common law presented a so much safer sheer misjudgment in apportioning means alternative. Legislation and the common to ends, the important fact is, that they law are very different things. That goes went no further for the time than to sign before events, while this applies its judg- " articles of confederation,” establishing ments to them in the detail of their occur what in the first paragraph of the instru
Legislation is conjectural often, ment was accordingly termed “a confedand shoots wide of the mark; the common 'eracy,” while the second paragraph led
off with these ominous words, “ each Stale | 1787 left us one mouth of communication relains its sovereignty."
with foreign countries, and no more; one Well, as sovereignty, taken absolutely, head of counsel and of empire for purposes is a whole of political power; if the States of general interest among ourselves. As kept all, the Union of course got nothing; to these objects, the States no longer exand so it proved. The new government isted. They retained, indeed, besides their (such by courtesy of speech) was too organism, many important powers; just as, weakly constituted to be good for any- while they were yet completely sovereign, thing. The men appointed to administer important powers remained vested in the it, tried to get on by overstepping their smaller corporations, the counties, cities, authority. That could not save the system. townships of their territories.
But as Nothing could save it or make it worth those corporations were voiceless in the saving. And good reason : it was a con halls of the State legislatures, so were the federacy, and nol properly u government. States to be voiceless for the future in the It had no subjects. Can there be a gov- councils of the nation. Nor was the union trnment without subjects? Are not the of county with county more perfect, nor two ideas correlative, implying each other? | the individuality of their corporate existThe federal Congress were to do everything ence more entirely merged in the supreby requisitions on the local legislatures. macy of a State government as to general To the people as individuals, they had no State affairs, than the union of the States access. They did not represent the peo- is perfect and their separate individuality ple. It was not directly for the people melted down to a mass, in the one subsistihat they acted in any respect. The or- ing sovereignty of the federal government ganic States were the parties they had to as to all concerns of a strictly national do with, the masters they served. They character. The two cases are precisely voted by States. They held office at the parallel. pleasure of the States, and were liable to And this parallel may be run yet furhe recalled by them at any time, or dicta- ther. That we are one nation, and have torially instructed, like ambassadors. In but one government, so far as the union of short, their functions and whole character the States is thus consolidated, no man, were rather diplomatic than governmental. who has not a supposed interest of his own Rulers they were not in any legitimate to serve by contradiction, will deny. The sense of the term.
framework is complex, but the political Fortunately, this poor contrivance of a entity is single. And here the question confederacy, in lieu of a government, going arises as to what we are in other respects; very soon, as was meet, to its own place, that is to say, whether we have properly it worthier effort of statesmanship was put one government or thirty, as regards those forth, “a more perfect union ” formed. points of jurisdiction which have not been The federal Constitution (loosely, but con made over to the central economy, but are veniently so called, the word federal hav left where they were of old (under the ing come down to us in a modified sense, confederacy) for local management. The equivalent to general, national, central, as answer would of course depend upon the applied to that Constitution) was truly a bearing in which the question is put. In gorernment, and consequently not a con- reference to the particular objects of the federacy. Both it could not be. The local jurisdictions, we naturally say there union formed by it was a real, not a merely are thirty governments. And indeed, for ostensible union. The States retained their special county purposes, township purseparate organism, but in a very altered poses, city and village purposes, there are position, and with a total loss of national
as many governments as there are political power. Everything national was trans- corporations for conducting the detailed ferred to the new economy, and there con business of the people's affairs. But insolidated. They very design of the ar- stead of looking microscopically inwards, rangement was to substitute one govern let us turn our eyes upon the circumferment nationality for many. The State ence of things, and contemplate the broad sovereignties (absolutely speaking) were area of the country as a whole. Can we therefore at an end. The Constitution of say in that view, that we have a score and
ten governments for ends of internal ad- that duty, to continue their functions ? The ministration; or is it better theory to say, \ jurisdiction of the States, in all matters of the government is one even for those ends, domestic concern to their inhabitants, was the States being thus far unconsolidaled accordingly preserved under the new orparts of the union system, just as the der of things, and has ever been regarded union corporations, as to what concerns as an essential feature of that order. their special walks of privilege and power, It may be from a vague misconception are unconsolidated parts of the States ? of this circumstance that some well
Surely there ought to be no controversy meaning persons have allowed themselves on this point. Does the discretion vested to be imposed upon by the pretense, in a board of supervisors make them a which men of another stamp are incesgovernment, absolutely speaking, apart santly putting forward, that the governfrom the constitution of the State they ment of the country is still what it was live in? And why not? Because that at first, “a confederacy.” They seem to constitution recognizes the organic arrange think that because the State organisms ments of the counties as auxiliary to its are not laid aside, it is plausible to regard own design ; wheels within wheels of its the States as only brought into joint own mechanism indeed, though not ap- action in the federal system. And they parently connected with its larger and more employ a language corresponding with conspicuous movements. The states and this error. Have they considered how the counties are one. They do not exer far the argument would carry them ? cise identically one authority in the matter Would not the very same kind of logic of direct administration, but there is a per- make each particular State by itself a confect harmony of action between them, a federacy ? nay, each county, too? For perfect coincidence of aims, so far as the not only the organisms of the counties are county policy goes, although the State preserved entire in the State systems, but looks further, and with a wider field of those of the townships also have an invision. So in the economy of the federal tegrity and a life of their own in the system; the States, even as regards their county systems. reserved powers, are but a sort of counties Besides, how can the notion of “a conon a vast scale of magnitude, holding these federacy" be indulged in reference to the powers in subordination to the general general government, without the comscope and purpose of the union govern- panion whim of a parcel of independent ment, as designing the welfare of the re Stale sorereigntics figuring as high conpublic at large, and thus of all the states, tracting parties to the league ? Accordcounties, townships in particular, that com- ingly, this whim is rife in certain places, pose it. The States are recognized by that and heads of senatorial dignity are turned government as standing in this relation to with it. The position is, that the States it. Union government would not be what are yet sovereign in absolute phrase. A the phrase imports if they were not. It position depending mainly, I should think, was never intended to merge them alto- upon the analogy of that proverb of mugether. Far from it. Their nationality, nicipal heraldry, “Once an alderman, aland the powers it especially rested on, ways such.” Ours,” they say, "is a were merged. But there was infinite mo- confederacy of sovereign States !" As ment in preserving their home agency un- lately as last winter, in a grave written touched. This agency was wanted for address of certain members of Congress conservative purposes.
to the good people of the South upon a great object. It was wanted also for the peculiarly Southern topic,* it was called direct convenience and utility of its ap a government in which not individuals, plication to the details of administrative but Stales, as distinct sovereignties, are the business throughout the country. The constituents." I do not ask, it would not framers of the system looked to these de- be courteous to ask, after the health of tails ; and what so hopeful a provision these gentlemen's understandings. We could they make for having them everywhere duly dispatched, as by leaving the
* Commonly called Mr. Calhoun's Address State organizations, already in charge of | upon the subject of slavery extension.
must take for granted that they are as represented by its officers. I suppose they usual in that respect.
And they are
mean, by this, that the Constitution of serious, too; they mean what they say. 1787 was really the work of the States Let me appeal, however, from their reason in their capacity of bodies politic. A as sectional politicians to their reasou as proposition just as fair to assert, as it men; from their judgment as persons bred would be to say that the present constituand schooled in the assertion of a par- tion of New York was formed by the ticular dogma, to their judgment as men counties of that State in a similar capaof mind and character, on the indisputable city; but not nearly so fair or colorable as facts of the case.
If the States are it would be to affirm that the counties, or sovereign, as they were at first, they can, yet smaller districts, of the several States of course, do the same things; for sover of the Union were the constituent authorieignty is power-national power. And ties from whence that Union arose, forasso the question is, can they do the same much as the final ratification of the union things ? To give an instance or two: Can deed was there consummated. There is they make war, raise and support armies, no limit to the extravagance of sectional equip and send out fleets? Can they hold politics. When men are already committed diplomatic relations, commission or receive in character to the absurdity of “nullificaambassadors, negotiate treaties? Can they tion," upon principle, it might even be coin money, emit bills of credit, or make unkind to censure harshly their proceeding their own scrip a lawful tender for the to other cognate absurdities, and thus payment of debts ? Can they regulate relieving the pressure of one shame upon commerce, even among themselves ? Can their minds by the concurrent pressure of they fix the terms on which a single several. Perhaps I judge them harshly ; foreigner shall be admitted to citizenship? but I confess I think there are some truths Can they exclude from that privilege a which no man is at liberty to question, or foreigner who has been admitted to it by to claim charitable construction of his conUnion laws ? All these (to borrow a duct in the matter if he does. The federal forensic term) are droits of sovereignty, system is a government, and not a conof nationality. Do the States possess federacy or “ league of friendship.” This them? Is there a power of any kind is one of those truths. It is a governbelonging to the category of things at ment established by the people, as its own once national and sovereign, of which the caption declares, and as the historical fact States can severally say, It is mine? of its ultimate adoption shows conclusively.
But, it seems, a thing may continue to This is another. "So far as the federal subsist in gross, when all the ingredients jurisdiction goes, it is supreme; and, being necessary to compose it are gone. The supreme, it merges that of the States by sovereignty prattle is still heard, and in a consolidated union, leaving them not high places. There was a very singular only not sovereign as they were at first, specimen of it not long since at Washing- but no longer capable of being parties to ton. A venerable father from “the sunny a confederacy, and for the very reasonSouth” rose suddenly to order in the that their sovereignty, their nationality, federal Senate, because another senator their capacity of independent intercourse had spoken of one of these territorial sub- with the nations of the earth, and with governments with a less awful deference each other even, is gone. This is a third than was thought due to the majesty of truth, which no decent critic of our polity "a sovereign State!" Such was the pre- can expect indulgence for a cavil upon. cise form of this interposition. And what Does not Blackstone tell us (and we knew is alike creditable to the decorous manners it just as well before) that “the very and to the nerves of the honorable cham- notion” of a superior authority anywhere pion of the distinct sovereignties," he destroys the idea of sovereignty” in the kept his countenance !
inferior ?* Apply this to the relation of These gentlemen will have it, moreover, the federal and State jurisdictions in rethat the States (and not the people) are gard to national affairs. Does it not show, to be regarded as "the constituents” of the general government, and so the parties
* 1 B. C., 244.