페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

of the Legislature, "the Executive thereof may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the Legislature, wbich shall then fill such vacancies."

By the seventeenth clause of the eighth section of the first article, “Congress may exercise jurisdiction over all places purchased, by the consent of the Legislature of the State in which the same shall be," &c.

So by the fourth section of the fourth article, a Republican form of Government is guaranteed to each State, &c. "and on application of the Legislature, or of the Executive, (when the Legislature cannot be convened) they are guaranteed against domestic violence."

We have never yet seen it denied that the Senate of the United States represented the State Legislatures.

After this minute examination into the formation of the Constitution of the United States, we think it must be evident, to any one not prejudiced by party feelings, or professional opinions, that the compact is one between States (thereby meaning the Constitutional Government of such States) and not a form of Government established immediately by the people of the territory over which it extends; or rather that it still remains as at first, a Confederation of State Governments, which State Governments immediately hold from the people. And moreover, that in almost every instance, the Legislatures of the States have been throughout the transactions, and even in the Constitution itself, regarded as the constituents which that Gorernment represents.

We take it for granted that we have made out the position that the present Constitution was established not by a revolution, but by a legal mode of enactment, provided by the Constitution itself, for amendments of its own provisions. We shall take it also for granted, that without a revolution, a mere amendment cannot be said to extinguish the fundamental principles of the government, for this can alone be effected by a revolution-and, that the mere extension of the means of carrying more fully into operation the former powers of the Constitution, formed by a confederation of States, cannot, by any authorized mode of construction, be considered as a change of the federative nature of the alliance; nor can a consolidated government be implied from the fact of there being but one set of officers to enforce the laws of the Federal Union. We have clearly shewn that throughout the Constitution, the Legislatures of the different States, as representing the sovereignties of those States, are regarded as the constituents and as the contracting powers. The Old Articles of Confederation, as they are commonly called, but which

in fact should be called our first Constitution, expressly states, that Congress represented the Legislatures of the States. They, in their turn, represented the people; and it was only through them (the Legislatures) that any n,eans could be obtained to cominunicate with, or to operate on the people. That was at last obtained by their permission-by the express terins of the Constitution, it could not be done otherwise. The permission on the part of the State Governments, that the delegates for the lower House should be immediately elected by the people, proves nothing more than that the State Governments had the right to restrain that permission. It was, to be sure, the will of the people; but it was the legitimate voice of the people heard through their legally authorized government; and until that for in of government was changed, no voice of the people could be said to be heard but through the organs which they themselves had declared should alone convey their will. To deny this, would be to deny every obligation of obedience to the laws, and it would sap the very power of the people, in abstracting from them the right of declaring through what constitutional organs their sentinents should be uttered. According to the first clause of the ninth article of the Constitution of SouthCarolina, “ All power is originally vested in the people; and all fiee governments are founded on their authority, and are instituted for their peace, safety and happiness.” Here it will be plainly seen that the Constitution recognises the difference between the original power being in the people, and that power being in a free government founded on their authority. Whilst a free government founded on that authority exists, all power is in that government, and it represents the sovereignty of the people. Otherwise, every individual might claim bis share of the sovereignty. The highest tribunal of justice in South-Carolima bas, upon this point, given an important opinion. When speaking of the “eminent domain," Judge Nott, in the case of Dunn vs. the City Council,* remarks—" This power, I have already said is an essential attribute of sovereignty. Wherever the sovereign power is lodged, that constitutes a part. In South-Carolina, I think, it is lodged in the legislative body, which consists of a Senate and House of Representatives. The Legislature, therefore, possesses all the power which the people themselves possess, where it is not restricted by the Constitution, and where the power is not delegated to any other branch or department of the Government."

Harper's Law Reports, p. 196.

How then can it be maintained that the State Legislatures have no right to interfere with the transactions of the General Government. If that government be an union of States, (and if not an union of States, we should be glad to know of what it is an union ?) and the Legislatures of those States, by the delegated power of the people, hold the sovereign powers of such people, and the National Government hold and derive their powers under and from such delegated sovereigntieshow can it be said, with any sort of reason or consistency, that such Legislatures, or State Governments, have no righi por power to watch over and interest themselves in the performance of the very trusts which they themselves have created? No powers belong to the General Government except those expressly given; all powers belong to the State Governments, except those expressly denied them. Here lies the difference.

No Convention, even of the people in the States, can be called, but by the Legislatures of the States. At least, it is so of South-Carolina, by the eleventh article of the Constitution ; and even the power to amend the Constitution, belongs alone to the Legislature. For the Legislature may amend it when it pleases, and may refuse to call a Convention when it pleases. (Art. XI. clauses 1 and 2.)

But, besides, the Constitution of the United States regards the Legislatures of the different States, in more points of view than one, as co-operating branches of the Confederation. How could the people control the power their State Constitutions had given to their State Legislatures, or, in other words, their State Governments, by any grant of power in the United States Constitution, if the Legislatures or State Governments had not consented to such restrictions of their power? What had the people to give, when it is admitted on all sides, that they had already given all power to their State Governments, except so much as was expressly denied to them in the State Constitution, which can in no manner interfere with the acts of the agents ? If so, what right have the people to meddle themselves with the acts and measures of their Legislature? The negation of the right strikes at the very root of the principles of representation. But will it be said that the State Legislatures are officious and intermeddling, because they busy themselves with the affairs of the General Government, and watch over and complain of attacks and breaches of the very Constitution which they themselves established, when by that very Constitution itself, the State Legislatures are fixed upon as the organs for proposing amendments to that document ? And if they are to propose amendments, we wonder how they can be denied the

power to consider the good and evil of the existing Constitution? And how are they to satisfy themselves but by inquiries into the actual effects of the Constitution as construed by the prevailing party, and into the transactions under it, of the General Government? And having inquired, are they to hold their peace, and not dare to express their opinions ? They are to elect a president, or if they please, permit their people to do it, and yet they are not to speak of the qualifications of the candidate, or the prevailing tone of his politics in reference to the Constitution! The Constitution of the United States guarantees to every State a republican form of government, yet the Legislatures of every State, notwithstanding the people have entrusted them with all power for their happiness and welfare, are not to open their mouths, should they see a Monarch or an Emperor forced upon

them!!. A State shall not be sued 'in the United States Court, says the Constitution, and yet if sued there, they dare not utter one word of complaint! The States are entitled to elect electors to choose the President, but they are to see Congress choose one before their votes have been received, and they must not object! A State may, with the consent of Congress, obtain leave to lay duties on their commerce, for what motive they may please, to encourage manufactures or not, and yet she dare not say one word, either to obtain this consent, or to complain of its refusal! The privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus may be suspended; a bill of attainder and ex post facto law may be passed ; a capitation and direct tax, not in proportion to the census, and a duty on exports may be laid; a preference to the ports of one State may be given over those of another; duties on vessels going from one State to another inay be imposed; and titles and appendages of nobility granted, and yet no State must open her mouth; and all, to maintain their existence, must live but to smother their degradation !!

In the course of argument in the Convention at Philadelphia, Mr. Madison asserted that “he would preserve the State rights with the saine care, that he would trials by jury.” During the same day, (June 30, 1787) Judge Elsworth expressed himself in language so entirely to our mind, that we cannot but close this article in the language of that venerable man. “I am asked by iny honourable friend from Massachusetts, whether by entering into a national government, I will not equally participate in national security? I confess I should; but I want domestic happiness as well as general security. A General Goveruvent will never grant me ihis, as it cannot know my wants or relieve my distress. My State is only one out of thirteen.

(now twenty-four!) Can they, the General Government, gratify my wishes? My happiness depends as much on the existence of my State Government, as a new-born infant depends upnu its mother for nourishment. If this is not an answer I have no other to give.”

Ву

ART. VI.The Course of Time. A Poem, in ten books.

ROBERT POLLOK, A. M. Second American from the third London edition, with an Index. New-York. 1828.

When Racine first published Athaliema work, with which, in our opinion, nothing that modern genius has produced in the same kind can be compared-it made no impression, and was very little read. It was thought that a tragedy, written by order of Madame de Maintenon, for the children of St. Cyr, could not possibly be just the thing for people of a fastidious taste, and men of the world wondered what could be made of a Jewish High Priest, a forgotten child, a furious beldame, surrounded by a host of Levites, preaching in the vestibule of the Temple of Jerusalem, through five mortal acts, about the house of David, and the atrocities of Jezabel. It is said to have crept into popularity from a singular incident. In one of those childish amusements, in which even the gravest and most distinguished personages of French society do not disdain to take a part, penalties were imposed for we know not what misdemeanors. Among others, a gentleman of some taste was sentenced, as we are bound to believe, for some flagrant act of omission or commission, to a couple of hours of ennui-a dreadful and almost unheard of decree in France, whose mercurial offspring "craignent l'ennui tout autant (plus?] que la douleur.” As the best means of executing this sentence in an exemplary manner, the unhappy culprit was commanded to read Athalie. We really do not remember whether his judges, tempering justice with mercy, allowed him more than one sitting to do it in, or whether the nauseous potion was all to be swallowed down at a single draught, without stopping to take breath. But so it was, that his punishment proved, as punishments often do, a blessing instead of a curse to him. The repugnance with which

« 이전계속 »