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applies in England, is applicable a multo fortiori here—where we have not only the law of the land and the trial by jury to look to, but the conflicts of state and federal jurisdiction to prevent or to reconcile.
In closing these remarks upon the constitutional jurisprudence of the United States, we repeat what we said at the beginning of them. We think the course which things are taking in this country must lead to a passive and slavish acquiescence under usurpation and abuse. Liberty is a practical matter—it has nothing to do with metaphysics—with entity and quiddity. It is a thing to be judged of altogether in the concrete. Like the point of honour, or the beauties of art, or the highest perfection of virtue, it addresses itself to the common sense and feelings of mankind. There is no defining it with mathematical exactness—no reducing it to precise and inflexible rules. What, for instance, does it signify, that a skilful disputant might possibly prove the tariff law to be within the words of the constitution; would that prevent its being a selfish and oppressive, and, therefore, a tyrannical measure? Is there any practical difference whatever, between the usurpation of a power not gianted, and the excessive and perverted exercise of one that is ? If a man abuses an authority of law under which he is acting, he becomes a trespasser ab initio and if it be an authority in fact, he is a trespasser for the excess. The master of a ship and other persons in authority, have a right to correct those who are subject to their controlis an act of immediate severity less a trespass and an offence on that account? What, if the government should suspend the habeas corpus act, without such an overruling necessity as could alone excuse the measure, and the courts would not control its discretion, would not the people, with reason, laugh at the man who should talk of such an outrageous abuse of power as constitutional, because the judges did not pronounce it otherwise ? Nor does this depend upon the express provision in the constitution. Not at all. In a free country, every act of injustice, every violation of the principles of equality and equity, is ex vi termini a breach of all their fundamental laws and institutions. In the ordinary administration of the law, indeed, the distinction between usurpation and abuse, may sometimes be important, but in great questions of public liberty, in reason, and in good faith, it is wholly immaterial. The moment that this sensibility to its rights and dignity is gone, a people, be its apparent or nominal constitution what it may, is no longer free. A quick sense of injustice, with a determination to resist it in every shape and under every name and pretext, is of the very essence and definition of liberty, political as well as personal. How far, indeed, this resistance is to be carried in any particular instance, is a question of circumstances and discretion. So dreadful are all revolutions in their immediate effects-so uncertain in their ultimate issues, that a wise man would doubt long—that a moderate and virtuous man would bear muchbefore he could be prevailed upon to give his consent to extreme measures. We would be any thing rather than apostles of discord and dismemberment, sorely as the government to which South-Carolina, and the south in general, have been so loyal and devoted, is beginning to press upon all our dearest interests and sensibilities. But we feel it to be our duty to exhort our fellow-citizens to renewed exertion, and to a jealous and sleepless vigilance upon this subject. The battle must be fought inch by inch—no concession or compromise must be thought of. The courage and constancy of a free people can never fail, when they are exerted in defence of right. It is, indeed, an affecting spectacle, to look around us at the decay and desolation which are invading our pleasant places and the seats of our former industry and opulence—there is something unnatural and shocking in such a state of things. A young country already sinking into decrepitude and exhaustion-a fertile soil encroached upon again by the forests from wbich it has been so recently conquered—the marts and sea-ports of what might be a rich country, depopulated and in ruins. Contrast with this our actual condition, the hope and the buoyancy, and the vigour and the life that animated the same scenes only twenty-five years ago, and which have now fled away from us to bless other and more favoured regions of this land. It is scarcely less discouraging to reflect upon the probable effects which the admission of an indefinite number of new states into the union, with political opinions, perhaps, altogether unsettled and unsafe, will produce. But we are yielding too much to feelings, with which recent events have, we own, made our minds but too familiar, and we will break off here.
We take our leave of Chancellor Kent, in the hope of soon meeting with him again. We have generally given him, throughout this article, the title which he honoured far more than it honoured him, and which it is an everlasting disgrace to the greatest state in the union, that he does not still bear. What a mean and miserable policy ! Lest it should have to pay their paltry salaries to a few superannuated public servants, to deprive itself of the accumulated learning, the diversified experience, and the ripe wisdom of such a man at the age of sixty! A commonwealth, flourishing beyond example or even imagination, wantoning and
rioting in the favours of fortune which have been poured upon it without stint, chaffering and haggling in by far the most important concern of society, like an usurious pawnbroker, for a few thousand dollars. In some of the poorer states, such stupid economy would be more excusable, or rather less unaccountable, for nothing can excuse it. The rarest thing in naturecertainly, the rarest thing in America—is a learned and able judge, at the same time, that he is not only, in the immediate administration of justice, but still more, if possible, by his immense influence over the bar, and the community at large, beyond all price. But we Americans do not think so, or rather we act as if we did not. The only means of having a good bench is to adopt the English plan-give liberal salaries to your judges, let them hold their offices during good behaviour, and when they begin to exhibit symptoms of senility and decay, hint to them that their pensions are ready to be paid them. The last is a necessary part of the system—but it is what the American people can never be brought to submit to. They are economical, (God save the mark !) and, therefore, will not spend money without a present and palpable quid pro quo—they are metaphysical, and, therefore, they will not violate what is called, we know not why, principle. They deem anything preferable. Extinguish the light of a Kent or a Spenser-submit to the drivellings of dotage and imbecility-nay, even resort to the abominations of an elective judiciary system-anything rather than adopt the plain, manly, and only sure means of securing the greatest blessing, but liberty, which civil society can attain to, the able administration of the laws!
In the present instance, the people of New-York alone are the sufferers. The distinguished person before us has laid up abundantly those miseris viatica canis, which wisdom and virtue, and they alone, confer upon the chosen few—which the world cannot give, neither take away.
ART. IV.-Voyage dans la Russie Méridionale, et particulièrement dans les provinces situées au-delà du Caucase. Par le Chevalier Gamba. Paris. 2 vols. 8vo. 1826. .
For the philized man has at have inha,
For the greater part of the last three thousand years, the history of civilized man has, in an extraordinary degree, been confined to those nations that have inhabited the shores of the Mediterranean. Nearly all that we possess of arts, of science, of religion, have been unfolded in those fortunate regions. It is upon them alone; that the uninterrupted light of traditionary or of recorded history has been permitted to shine. Until within a few centuries, the heroic song, the legendary tale, the historic chronicle, have generally dwelt upon the deeds transacted in this limited portion of the globe. All other regions and people arose to view occasionally, and have left only broken and interrupted memorials of their existence and of their
Within a few centuries, a wonderful change has been produced. Knowledge and wealth and power have been distributed over distant and scattered realms. Countries, unknown in ancient days, are becoming the seats of science and of arms, and it may be considered among the extraordinary incidents of modern times, that a nation, arising amidst the inhospitable deserts of Sarmatia, is gradually approaching the range of ancient civilization, overshadowing with its power the abodes of former magnificence and modern barbarity, is found exploring and illustrating provinces and kingdoms, which were only obscurely noticed in the legends of antiquity. · Among those districts which, at intervals, have broken on the view of civilized man with transient celebrity-one, remarkable for the fables which hang over its early history, for many circumstances which at distant periods have distinguished its more accurate annals, is that country which, to the north and east, encircles the Euxine sea, and more particularly, that mountainous isthmus placed between the Euxine and Caspian, which includes the declivities of the great chain of the Caucasus.
The Borysthenes, the Tanais, the Tauric Chersonesus, have all been the occasional theatre of memorable events. But the name of Colchos is still more strongly interwoven with the imagination of the scholar. It awakens the recollection of many of the tales of the heroic age of Greece, recals to our memory the names of Phryxus and of Helle, the misfortunes of
Medea, the adventures of the Argonauts, and the yet undetermined problem of the Golden Fleece. This rugged but beautiful country appears, at times, on the pages of history, as the cause or seat of war between surrounding empires, but like all the dependencies of Mount Caucasus, it has been inhabited by fierce, ignorant, and inhospitable tribes, whose annals are consequently obscure, and whose fortunes were rarely intermingled with those of surrounding empires. It is celebrated as that fortunate clime where the human race is most distinguished for perfection in its stature, its form and its proportion. The fairest variety of our species is now designated by naturalists, as the Caucasian race. It has also become remarkable for a traffic which has rarely been paralleled. On the coast of Africa, we have long been familiar with tribes, who sold their domestic slaves or captives into foreign bondage ; but in the districts around Mount Caucasus, has been exhibited for several centuries, the spectacle of a race, professedly Christian, selling their sisters or daughters, to supply the harems of Turkey and Persia, and their sons, to fill up the ranks of the Mamelukes of Egypt, or the Janisaries of Constantinople.
Within the last forty years, the empire of Russia, which has been enlarging its boundaries in so many directions, has extended over these mountain tribes its claims and its jurisdiction-is reducing to subordination a people hitherto lawless and independent—and is making known to the world, a country, heretofore wrapt in fiction and in fable.
It may be proper to sketch a brief outline of the geographical and political divisions of this country, even now so little known, before we enter into any details from the volume before us.
The central chain of Mount Caucasus, rising from the margin of the Euxine near the Straits of Taman or Enicale, runs south-east, at a distance of sixty or seventy miles from the shores of that sea until it reaches its eastern limit, then bending to the east, and again to the south-east, passes over to the Caspian. This chain is one of the loftiest and most unbroken on the surface of the globe-many of its peaks, particularly along the Euxine, are covered with perpetual snow, and Elbourous or Elbrus, has been ascertained to be more lofty than the highest of the Alps. In elevation, perhaps the Andes and the Himalaya mountains alone exceed it.
In its course of nearly 600 miles, it offers but one known road sufficient for the passage of an army. This is near its centre, so narrow, so enclosed, so commanded, that it is emphatically called the Gates of Dariel, gates that have been but rarely opened by a hostile power. At its eastern extremity, the moun