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That rule is found in the historical circumstances and exigencies in which the constitution of the United States was formed. It is decisive. For surely there is no juster measure of a grant of political powers than the necessity which originated it, if that necessity be at once intelligible and precise.

Such was the necessity which originated the constitution of the United States. It was a necessity for purely economical purposes. It could not have been intended as a revolution in the sense of a proclamation of new civil polity; for the civil institutions of the States, as derived from the common law of England, were already perfect and satisfactory, and have remained without material change for nearly a century. The constitution of the United States was thus not a political revolution. It was a convenience of the States, growing out of their wants of a system by which they might have a common agent and a uniform code on concerns common between themselves. Is it too much to conclude, therefore, that the new Union had no mission apart from the States; that it was the government of the States; that, in short, it could not have been intended to destroy the very bodies which invoked it as a benefactor to each as well as to all?

It is in this sense that the moral grandeur of the American Union is interpreted: in this sense that its great political virtue was contained. There was put before the eye of man

Congress of delegates of the United States; that the Declaration of Independence emanated from "the representatives of the United States of America," and that the style of the subsequent confederation was declared in its first article to be, "The United States of America." So, if the words “United States" are at all to be considered, their natural force and their precedent use are alike in direct opposition to the dogma of consolidation.

Of a similar style of puerile argument for this dogma is this: Whereas, the preamble of the constitution recites, "We, the people of the United States," the people are, therefore, represented as one corporation. Daniel Webster, who was always ready to catch at sophomorial crudities, actually descended to an argument so absurd. The explanation of this phraseology is simple to the last degree. The names of the contracting States were first inserted in the preamble of the constitution. They were suppressed because it was still uncertain what States would adopt it; and as it was impossible to know which might be the first nine States of the Union-that number being necessary to establish the constitution as between themselves-it was agreed to use the corporate style we have quoted in the preamble, that it might include those anly who adhered to it.

kind, not a consolidated nationality; not a simple republic, with an anomalous and indefinable appendage of "States," which were not provinces, or cantons, or territories, and yet subordinate; not some undefined and misshapen political mongrel; but a spectacle such as it had never seen-an association of coequal and sovereign States, with a common authority, the subjects of which were yet sufficient enough to give it the effect of an American and national identity; "a republic of republics;" a government which derived its entire life from the good-will, the mutual interests, and the unconstrained devotion of the States which at once originated and composed it.

It may be said that the admission of the sovereignty of the States breaks at once the bond of their association. Yet, this can be said only in a low and narrow sense. The wants and

hopes of men operate with the same effect in political bodies as in the social community. Men will scarcely withdraw from a society in which they are alike happy and fortunate. Nor was it to be supposed that any of the American States would be so mad as to withdraw from a Union through which they were to be profited and to ascend, as long as it fulfilled its designs of affording them protection against foreign powers, commercial interchanges, justice and welcome among themselves, the charms and benefits of social intercourse; or that after these, its essential designs might have, within the exigencies of history or the possibilities of human depravity, ceased to be fulfilled, any State could be held in it without violating quite as well the spirit of republican institutions, and the obligations of public morals, as the written text of a compact.

Such undoubtedly were the designs and the law of the American Union. It was a compact which covered only the interests which it specified; yet quite large enough to stand as an American nationality for all practical purposes. It had no dynastic element; it had no mission separate from the States; it had no independent authority over individuals, except within the scope of the powers delegated to it by the States. The States retained the power to control their own soil, their own domestic institutions, and their own morals. In respect to the powers which they prohibited to the General Government, they retained, of necessity, the right of exclusive

judgment. That Government was not a mere league; it did have the power to reach individuals within the scope of powers delegated by the States; and as to these powers, its own courts —the Federal judiciary—were made the exclusive judge. In this sense-only in this sense-it had the qualities of a government; but a government founded exclusively on the good of the States, resting in their consent, and to which the law of force was as foreign in respect of its maintenance, as it had been in respect of its ordination.

The Union was beautiful in theory. It might have been beautiful in practice. If it did prove in the history of America rather a rough companionship, scarcely ever a national identity in the common concerns intrusted to it, such was not the result of inherent defects, but of that party abuse and usurpation, in which have been wrecked so many of the political

fabrics of mankind.

The right of secession, whether involved or not by the principle of State sovereignty, was not necessarily the weak point of the Union. We shall see hereafter that the development of this Union was two hostile sections-a political North and a political South-and not disintegration of States; that the Union was sacrificed, not to the dogma of secession, but to the overruling event of a sectional rupture. In view of, and in connection with, these events, it will be wholly unnecessary to discuss "the right of secession."

Forty years after the ordination of the constitution of the United States, we shall see how there sprung up the profound invention of the greatest political scholar of America-John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina-to avoid this very issue of secession; how it was designed to erect over the Union a council of States, and to submit it to their august guardianship; how it represented the true and sublime theory of the association of the States; and how, avoiding the issue of secession, it proposed a measure that would have perpetuated the Union, carried the constitution of the United States to the highest point of development, perfected the American system, introduced into it the principle of adaptability to all circumstances, and given it that elasticity which is the first virtue of wise governments, and the best element of their endurance. We shall see how this scheme of the South Carolina statesmen

-emphatically a Union measure was rejected by the Northern States under a shallow clamor and the coarsest and most ignorant of all party libels in America-" Nullification;" and how this rejection left no other resource to dissatisfied States than what Mr. Calhoun of all men most deplored, and most sought to avoid-disunion. These assertions may already sound strange to those who have got their political history of America from Northern sources. But we must not anticipate too much here what is undoubtedly the most interesting period in American history, between the dates of Union and Disunion -the era of Calhoun.

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II.

What the American colonies contended for.--Burke's idea.-The first American Congress.--Its demands.-How the question of independence was developed.-Virginia the first to move for independence.-The Declaration of Independence.-The Articles of Confederation.-Diverse character and circumstances of the colonies.— The gentry of Virginia and the Carolinas.-Early type of the Yankee.-Difference of races.—Its value in historical inquiries.—Commercial spirit of New England in the revolution.-The nature and the value of "the Confederation."-John Adams' idea." Perpetual Union."-The Confederation a makeshift of the war."State-rights" in the treaty of 1788.-How the revolution succeeded. Its illustration of the value of endurance.—Liberty invariably the fruit of rebellion.—The two conditions of all history.

In their dissatisfaction with the British government, the American colonies did not at first propose the experiment of independence. They only claimed equality with Englishmen at home in respect of rights; contending that the ancient and existing charters of Englishmen-the guaranties of Magna Charta, and the later muniments acquired under the Stuarts -were theirs by birthright; and resenting the idea that they were an inferior class of British subjects, to be governed as Charles I. proposed, and as even that luminary of the lawBlackstone-with curious obtuseness justified, as the denizens of a conquered country.

No man in England better understood the temper of the colonists, or better divined the future as containing the question of peace and war between Great Britain and America, than did Edmund Burke. This illustrious man, who was not only a superb artist of words, but an orator in action, defended the cause of the colonies with a happiness of expression, and a measure of zeal, that have since confirmed to the world his reputation as the most acute and eloquent of English statesmen. "Freedom," said he, "and not servitude, is the cure of anarchy." He declared in the House of Commons a plan of pacification alike simple, generous, and effective. "My idea," he said, "without considering whether we yield as matter of right, or grant as matter of favor, is, to admit the people of our colonies into an interest in our constitution."

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