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infatuated policy, such a desperate' expedient, might, by the multiplication of petty offices, auswer the views of men, who possess not qualifications to extend their influence boyond the narrow circles of personal intrigue; but it could never promote the greatness or happiness of the people of America.
Referring the examination of the principle itself to another place, as bas been already mentioned, it will be sufficient to remark here, that in the sense of the author who has been most emphatically quoted upon the occasion, it would only dictate a reduction of the size of the more considerable MEMBERS of the union; but would not militate against their being all comprehended in one confederate government. And this is the true question, in the discussion of which we are at present interested.
So far are the suggestions of Montesquieu from standing in opposition to a general union of the states, that he explicitly treats of a CONFEDERATE REPUBLIC as the expedient for extending the sphere of popular government, and reconciling the advantages of monarchy with those of republicanism.
“It is very probable,” says he,* " that mankind would have been obliged, at length, to live constantly under the government of a SINGLE PERSON, had they not contrived a kind of constitution, that has all the internal advantages of a republican, together with the external force of a monarchical government. I mean a CONFEDERATE REPUBLIO.
“This form of government is a convention, by which several smaller states agree to become members of a larger one, which they intend to form. It is a kind of assemblage of societies, that constitute a new one, capable of increasing by means of new associations, till they arrive to such a degree of power as to be able to provide for the security of the united body.
“A republic of this kind, able to withstand an external force, may support itself without any internal corruption. The form of this society prevents all manner of inconveniences.
* Spirit of Laws, Vol. I. Book IX. Chap. I.
“If a single member should attempt to usurp the supreme authority, he could not be supposed to have an equal authority and credit in all the confederate states. Were be to have too great influence over one, this would alarm the rest. Were he to subdue a part, that which would still remain free might oppose him with forces, independent of those which he had usurped, and overpower him before he could be settled in his usurpation.
“Should a popular insurrection happen in one of the confederato statos, the others are able to quell it. Should abuses creep into one part, they are reformed by those that remain v sound. The state may be destroyed on one side, and not on the other; the confederacy may be dissolved, and the confederates preserve their sovereignty.
“As this government is composed of small republics, it enjoys the internal happiness of each, and with respect to its external situation, it is possessed, by means of the association, of all the advantages of large monarchies."
I have thought it proper to quote at length these interesting passages, because they contain a luminous abridgment of the principal arguments in favour of the union, and must effectu. ally remove the false impressions, which a misapplication of the other parts of the work was calculated to produce. They have, at the same time, an intimate connection with the more immediate design of this paper; which is to illustrate the tendency of the union to repress domestic faction und insurrection.
A distinction, more subtle than accurate, has been raised between a confederacy and a consolidation of the states. The essential characteristic of the first, is said to be the restriction of its authority to the members in their collective capacities, without reaching to the individuals of whom they are composed. It is contended that the national council ought to have no concern with any object of internal administration. An exact equality of suffrage between the members, has also been insisted upon as a leading feature of a confederate government. There positious are, in the main, arbitrary; they are
supported neither by principle nor precedent. It has indeed happened, that governments of this kind have generally operated in the manner which the distinction taken notice of supposes to be inherent in their nature; but there have been in most of them extensive exceptions to the practice, which serve to prove, as far as example will go, that there is no absoluto rule on the subject. And it will be clearly shown, in the course of this investigation, that, as far as the principle contended for has prevailed, it has been the cause of incurable disorder and imbecility in the government.
The definition of a confederate republic seems simply to be, "an assemblage of societies," or an association of two or moro states into one state. The extent, modifications, and objects, of the federal authority, are mere matters of discretion. So long as the separate organization of the members be not abolished, so long as it exists by a constitutional necessity for local purposes, though it should be in perfect subordination to the general authority of the union, it would still be, in fact and in theory, an association of states, or a confederacy. The proposed constitution, so far from implying an abolition of the state governments, makes them constituent parts of the national sovereignty, by allowing them a direct representation in the senate, and leaves in their possession certain exclusive, and very important, portions of the sovereign power. This fully corresponds, in every rational import of the terms, with the idea of a federal government.
In the Lycian confoderacy, which consisted of twenty-throo CITIES, or republics, the largest were entitled to three votes in the common COUNCIL, those of the middle class to two, and the smallest to one. The common COUNCIL had the appointment of all the judges and magistrates of the respective cities. This was certainly the most delicate species of interference in their internal administration; for if there be any thing that seems exclusively appropriated to the local jurisdictions, it is the appointment of their own officers. Yet Montesquieu,
speaking of this association, says, “Were I to give a model of an excellent confederate republic, it would be that of Lycia.” Thus we perceive, that the distinctions insisted upon, were not within the contemplation of this enlightened writer; and we shall be led to concludo, that they are the novel refinements of an erroneous theory.
NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 24, 1787.
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
AMONG the numerous advantages promised by a well constructed union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments, never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice. He will not fail, therefore, to set a due value on any plan which, without violating the principles to which he is attached, provides a proper cure for it. The instability, injustice, and confusion, introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhero perished; as they continue to be the favourite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations. The valuable improvements made by the American constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarrantable partiality, to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side, as was wished and expected. Complaints are every where heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are