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And how many errors and follics would she not have avoided, if the justice, and propriety of her measures had, in every instance, been previously tried by the light in which they would probably appear to the unbiassed part of mankind.
Yet however requisite a sense of national character may be, it is evident that it can never be sufficiently possessed by a numerous and changeable body. (It can only be found in a number so small, that a sensible degree of the praise and blame of public measures, may be the portion of each individual; or in an assembly so durably invested with public trust, that the pride and consequence of its members may be sensibly incorporated with the reputation and prosperity of the community. The half-yearly representatives of Rhode Island, would probably bave boen little affected in their deliberations on the iniquitous measures of that state, by arguments drawn from the light in which such measures would be viewed by foreign nations, or even by the sister statos; whilst it can scarcely be doubted, that if the concurrence of a select and stable body bad been necessary, a regard to national character alone, would have prevented the calamities under which that misguided people is now labouring.
I add, as a sixth defect, the want in some important cases of a due responsibility in the government to the people, arising from that frequency of elections, which in other cases produces this responsibility. The remark will, perhaps, appear not only new, but paradoxical. It must nevertheless be acknowledged, when explained, to be as undeniable as it is important.
Responsibility, in order to be reasonable, must be limited to objects within the power of the responsible party; and in order to be effectual, must relate to operations of that power, of which a ready and proper judgment can be formed by the constituents. The objects of government may be divided into two general classes; the one depending on measures, which have singly an immediate and sensible operation; the other depending on a succession of well chosen and well connected measures, which bave a gradual and perhaps unobserved operation. The
importance of the latter description to the collective and per. manent welfare of every country, needs no explanation. And yet it is evident, that an assembly elected for so short a term as to be unable to provide more than one or two links in a chain of measures, on which the general welfare may essentially depend, ought not to be answerable for the final result, any more than a steward or tenant, engaged for one year, could be justly made to answer for plans or improvements, which could not be accomplished in less than half a dozen years. Nor is it possible for tho people to estimate tho share of influence, which their annual assemblios may respectively have on events rosulting from the mixed transactions of soveral years. It is sufficiently difficult, at any rate, to preserve a personal responsibility in the members of a numerous body, for such acts of the body as have an immediate, detached, and palpable operation on its constituents.
The proper remedy for this defect, must be an additional body in the legislative department, which, having sufficient permanency to provide for such objects as require a continued attention, and a train of measures, may be justly and effectually answerable for the attainment of those objects.
Thus far I have considered the circumstances, which point out the necessity of a well constructed senato, only as they relate to the representatives of the people. To a people as little blinded by prejudice, or corrupted by flattery, as thoso whom I address, I shall not scruplo to add, that such an institution may be sometimes necessary, as a defence to the people against their own temporary errors and delusions. As the cool and deliberate sense of the community ought, in all governments, and actually will, in all free governments, ultimately prevail over the views of its rulers; so there are particular moments in public affairs, when the people, stimulated by somo irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn. In these critical moments, bow salu
tary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens, in order to check the misguided career, and to suspend the blow meditated by the people against them. selves, until reason, justice, and truth, can regain their authority ovor tho public mind? What bittor anguish would not the people of Athens have often avoided, if their government bad contained so provident a safeguard, against the tyranny of their own passions ? Popular liberty, might then have escaped the indeliblo reproach, of decreeing to the same citizens, the hemlock on one day, and statues on the next. (it may be suggested, that a people spread over an extensive region, cannot, like the crowded inhabitants of a small district, be subject to the infection of violent passions; or to the danger of combining in the pursuit of unjust measures. I am far from denying, that this is a distinction of peculiar importance. I have, on the contrary, endeavoured in a former paper to show, that it is one of the principal recommendations of a confederated republic. At the same time, this advantage ought not to be considered, as superseding the use of auxiliary precautions. It may even bo remarked, that the same extended situation, which will exempt the people of America from some of tho dangers incident to lesser republics, will expose them to the inconveniency of remaining for a longer time, under the influence of those misrepresentations which the combined industry of interested men may succeed in distributing among them.
It adds no small weight to all these considerations, to recollect, that history informs us of no long-lived republic, which had not a senate. Sparta, Rome, and Carthage, are, in fact, the only states to whom that character can be applied. In each of the two first, there was a senate for life. The constitution of the senate in the last, is less known. Circumstantial evidence makes it probable, that it was not different in this particular from the two others. It is at least certain, that it had some quality or other, which rendered it an anchor against popular fluctuations; and that a smaller council, drawn out of
the wenute, was appointed not only for life, but filled up vacancies itself. These examplos, though as unfit for the imitation, as they are repugnant to the genius, of America, are, notwithstanding, when compared with the fugitive and turbulent existence of other ancient republics, very instructive proofs
of the necessity of some institution, that will blend stability - with liberty. I am not unaware of the circumstances which
distinguish the American, from other popular governments, as well ancient as modern; and which render extreme circumspection necessary, in reasoning from the one case to the other. But after allowing due weight to this consideration, it may still be maintained, that there are many points of similitudo, which render these examples not unworthy of our attention. Many of the defects, as we have seen, which can only be supplied by a senatorial institution, are common to a numerous assembly frequently elected by the people, and to the people themselves. There are others peculiar to the former, which require the control of such an institution. The people can never wilfully betray their own interests: but they may possibly be betrayed by their representatives, and the danger will be evidently greater, where the whole legislative trust is lodged in the hands of one body of men, than where the concurrence of separate and dissimilar bodies is required in every public act:
The difference most reliod on, between the American, and other republics, consists in the principle of representation, which is the pivot on which the former move, and which is supposed to have been unknown to the latter, or at least to the ancient part of them. The use which has been made of this difference, in reasonings contained in former papers, will bave shown that I am disposed neither to deny its existence, nor to undervalue its importance. I feel the less restraint therefore in observing, that the position concerning the ignorance of the ancient governments on the subject of representation, is by no means precisely true, in the latitude commonly given to it. Without entering into a disquisition which would here be
misplaced, I will refer to a few known facts in support of what I advance.
In the most pure democracies of Greece, many of the executive functions were performed, not by the people themselves, but by officers elocted by the people, and representing them in their executive capacity.
Prior to the reform of Solon, Athens was governed by nine archons, annually elected by the people at large. The degree of power delegated to them, seems to be left in great obscurity. Subsequent to that period we find an assembly, first of four, and afterwards of six hundred members, annually elected by the people ; and partially representing them in their legislative capacity, since they were not only associated with the people in the function of making laws, but had the exclusivo right of originating legislative propositions to the people. The senate of Carthage, also, whatever might be its power, or the duration of its appointment, appears to have been elective by the suffrages of the people. Similar instances might be traced in most, if not all the popular governments of antiquity.
Lastly, in Sparta we meet with the Ephori, and in Rome with the Tribunes; two bodies, small indeed in number, but annually elected by the whole body of the people, and considered as the representatives of the people, almost in their plenipotentiary capacity. The Cosmi of Crete were also annually elected by the people; and have been considered by some authors as an institution analagous to those of Sparta and Rome, with this difference only, that in the election of that representative body, the right of suffrage was communicated to a part only of the people.
From these facts, to which many others might be added, it is clear, that the principle of representation was neither unknown to the ancients, nor wholly overlooked in their political constitutions. The true distinction between these, and the American governments, lies in the total exclusion of the people in their collective capacity from any share in the latter, and not in the total exclusion of the representatives of the people from the administration nf the former. The distinction, however, thus qualified, must