« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
aided by new books and new inventions. But if everybody had the privilege of printing and selling every new book or other writing, and of reaping equal benefits from every new invention or discovery, there would be less encouragement for men of ability and genius to spend their time and money in preparing new works for the public.
7. Congress has therefore passed an act by which an author may get, for his writings, a copy-right, by which all other persons are prohibited, for twenty-eight years, from printing or publishing the same without the proprietor's consent. And the proprietor may, at the expiration of that time, get the right renewed for fourteen years longer. Patents for new inventions are granted for fourteen years: and may be renewed for a farther term of seven years, if the inventor shall not have been reasonably rewarded.
8. The powers relating to war and the public defence, are also given to congress. It would be dangerous to allow a single state to make war; and to depend on the state governments to provide the means of prosecuting a war, had already been found to be unsafe. And as the people of all the states become involved in the calamity and ex. pense of a war, the power to declare war ought to belong to the representatives of the whole nation. 9. So also the power “ to grant letters of
marque prisal.” Letters of marque and reprisal give to persons injured by citizens of another nation, the liberty to the bodies or goods of any of the citizens of such nation, and detain them till the injury shall be repaired. It is not clear that such license ought ever to be given. But the power to grant it ought to be vested in congress, if anywhere.
10. Congress has power to exercise exclusive legisla. tion,” (that is, congress only, has the power to make laws,) over the District of Columbia, in which is the seat of gov.
to promote the progress of science and useful arts ? 7. What privilege does a copy-right give to an author or proprietor of a book or other writing? What privilege does a patent confer upon an inventor? 8. For what reasons is the power given to congress to declare war, and provide for the defence of the nation ? 9. What are letters of marque and reprisal ? 10. Over what territory may congress exercise exclusive legisJation? What is meant by exclusive legislation? What is here said of
is the power
ernment. The “ten miles square,
as appears from the language of the clause, was not yet in possession of the national government; but it was in contemplation, by the states of Maryland and Virginia, to cede it to the United States for the purpose mentioned. As it is the property of the nation, it is proper that congress alone should be allowed to make laws for the people therein. 11. A very essential power of the general government
" to make treaties.” This power, however, is exercised by the president and senate. A treaty is an agreement between two nations. Treaties are made to restore or preserve peace, and sometimes to regulate trade, between nations. It is plain, therefore, that this power ought to be in the national governmet; and for wise reasons it is given to the president and senate alone. And for reasons equally strong, the power to appoint ambassadors and others, by whom treaties are negotiated, should be in the same hands. [See Cons. Art. 2, § 2, clause 2.]
12. In making a treaty, the terms are arranged and agreed upon by the agents of the two governments; and the articles of agreement are sent to their respective governments to be ratified. Hence, what is meant by the president and senate's making treaties, is their approving them, or giving them effect. Each civilized nation has some officer at home, and a representative at the seat of each foreign government, to transact business for his nation, and to keep his government advised of what is done abroad. There is, at the city of Washington, a minister from Great Britain, France, Russia, and other foreign countries. The person who corresponds with them on the part of our government, is the secretary of state. And we also have a minister in each of those countries.
13. Representatives at foreign courts are differently styled, ambassadors, envoys, ministers, and chargés d'affaires. The duties of all these several agents are not always precisely the same. An envoy, and sometimes an the district? Where is the seat of government ? 11. In whom is the power to make treaties vested? What is a treaty? 12. Describe the manner of making treaties? What practice of civilized nations is here spoken of? 13. What are the names of the different foreign represen
ambassador, is sent on a special occasion, and returns when the particular business on which he was sent is done. The others reside abroad, and act in obedience to instructions sent them from time to time. Chargés d'affaires are minis. ters of a lower grade. The name is French, and means a person having charge of the affairs of his nation. Consuls reside in foreign seaports, as much of their business relates to the commercial intercourse between nations, and is done with masters of vessels and with merchants.
14. Ministers of the United States receive a salary of $9,000 a year; chargés d'affaires, $4,500 : and both receive, besides, on going out of the United States, an outfit, equal to a year's salary.
Powers prohibited to Congress and the States. 1. While the constitution gives many important powers to the general government, there are many things which it expressly declares shall not be done. [See Art. 1, § 9.]
2. “No bill of aitainder or ex post facio law shall be passed.”. A bill of attainder is an act of the legislature, in. dicting the punishment of death upon a person pronounced guilty of some crime, without trial. If it inflicts a milder punishment, it is called a bill of pains and penalties.
3. An ex post facto law is, literally, a law which has effect upon an act after it is done. But the phrase here means a law to punish, as a crime, an act that was lawful when it was done. Thus, if a law should be passed, by which a man should suffer death for an act of justifiable homicide, committed before the law was made, such would be angex post facto law. A law is also an ex post facto law that in. flicts a more severe penalty for an unlawful act, than was imposed for such offence when committed. Thus, if a law
tatives? In what do their duties differ? What is a chargé d'affaires ? Why do consuls reside in seaports ? 14. What is the compensation of ministers, &c.?
2. What laws shall congress not pass ? Define bill of attainder. 3
were passed to-day, requiring that men now awaiting trial for petit larceny heretofore committed, should, on conviction, suffer death, or imprisonment in state prison, the law would be ex post facto.
4. “No capitation or other direct tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration hereinbefore directed to be taken.” [Cons. Art. 1, § 9.] The word capitation is derived from the same Latin word as capital, which has been defined. It is a tax of so much upon every head, or poll, without respect to property ; hence it is usually called a poll-tax. Taxes of this kind are not laid in this country. A portion of the highway laber, as we have seen, is thus assessed.
5. “No attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture, except during the life of the person attainted.” (Cons. Art. 3, § 3, cl.
2.] To the young reader this sentence may need explanation. Literally, attainder means a taint, or staining, or corruption; but it here signifies the same as judgment, or conviction. By the common law, the stain of treason was made to affect the blood of the traitor, so that he could neither inherit property himself, nor. could his heirs inherit from him; but his whole estate was forfeited. The constitution properly abolishes a law by which the innocent were made to suffer for the crimes of others.
6. Besides corruption of blood and forfeiture, the man. ner of inflicting the punishment was most disgraceful and inhuman. The offender was drawn to the gallows on a hurdle; hanged by the neck, and cut down alive; his entrails taken out and burned while he was yet alive ; his head cut off; and his body quartered. Power being given to congress, in the clause above referred to, “to declare the punishment of treason,” congress has abolished this barbarous practice. Hanging, simply, is the punishment.
7. Not congress only, but the states also, are properly prohibited from doing certain acts. [See Art. 1, § 10.] One of the things there forbidden is, to “make any thing but gold What is an ex post facto law? 4. What is a capitation tax ? 5. What is here meant by attainder of treason? Corruption of blood ? 6. How was punishment for treason formerly inflicted ? 7. The states shall not
and silver coin a tender in payment of debts.” This means that no person shall be compelled to take, in payment of a debt owing to him, any thing tendered or offered to him, but gold and silver coin.
8. Both during and after the war, a large amount of paper money, almost worthless, was put in circulation; and by some of the states, this money was declared to be a ten. der. Hence the propriety of this prohibition. But the constitution goes farther, and says, (in the same clause,) that no state shall “emit bills of credit;" that is, issue paper money on the credit of the state. Bank bills, it will be remembered, are not issued by the state, but by banking companies.
9. Most of the other things here forbidden to the states, congress has the power to do; and it would be improper to give these powers to both. Indeed, they were given to the general government for the very reason that it was not expedient that they should be exercised by the states.
10. Constitutions properly contain some provision for amending them, in case it may become necessary. The mode of amending the constitution of the United States, is prescribed in the 5th article. [Examine the article.] To get a majority of two-thirds of congress or of the states to propose amendments, and then to get the proposed amendments ratified, either by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states, or by conventions in three-fourths of them, is very difficult. This is right. If the constitution could be altered by a bare majority, there would be danger of its being too frequently altered—sometimes, perhaps, for the worse.
11. By the ad clause of the 6th article, the constitution, and the laws and treaties made under it, are declared to be binding above all state constitutions and laws. If it were not so-if all state authorities were not bound by the con.
make any thing but coin a tender in payment of debts : what does this mean! 8. What is here meant by bills of credit ? What in particular induced the framers to prevent their being issued ? What are some of the other things forbidden to the states? (See Constitution.] 10. How are amendments to be made to the constitution? 11. What is provided in the 2d clause of the 6th article of the constitution ? Why should the acts of the general government be binding upon the state authorities ?