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All that we have ever required of the Government is, that it should administer the affairs of the confederacy in good faith and with a truly paternal impartiality, within its ascertained constitutional sphere. We remember with a melancholy pleasure, what a romantic enthusiasm, what a generous and confiding spirit of hope and brotherly love, once warmed the bosom of this whole State in relation to our glorious republic. It is but a very few years since the word “sectional” was even heard among us. Would to God that our lips had never been forced to pronounce the barbarous and ill-omened sound!
It results, we contend, from the very nature of all confederacies, however intimate and permanent, that their common concerns should be adıninistered with exceeding moderation. Whoever looks into the theory of such political associations will be satisfied of this. The great difference between a Consolidated and a Federal Government is, that in the former, the body politic is supposed to constitute one integral, indivisible whole, in which all the separate parts are completely merged and melted away; while, in the latter, they are allowed for all purposes but those falling within the casus fæderis, to retain their individuality and independence. In the one case, the interests of the whole and the interests of every single part are in theory so completely identified, as to be incapable of being separated, even in imagination. In the other, they are so far from being identified, that it is the very object of the fundamental compact (whatever it may be) to keep them carefully distinguished. It is the law of all simple corporate bodies, that ubi est major pars ibi est tota, as the books express it, and it follows, in the absence of any express regulation, that in a consolidated government, the majority represents the whole, to all intents and purposes whatsoever— feels, thinks, speaks, acts for the whole without reserve-and sacrifices, without scruple, to the conceived interests of the whole, those of any individual part. So say all publicists. In a Federal Union, however, be it never so intiinate, this unbounded control over the interests and resources of the society, is inconsistent with the separate exis-. tence, the individuality of the parts. As to all purposes, not designated in the compact, it is supposed, by the very theory of the government, that there is no community of interests among thein. Each has its own peculiar policy to pursue, ils individual prosperity to take care of. The meaning of this is, that a citizen of Virginia, for instance, is supposed by the very frame of the Constitution, to be more concerned in the well-being of Virginia, than in that of New-York or PennVOL. VI.-N0. 11.
sylvania. If, therefore, the well-being of Virginia be sacrificed
say that whatever reliance some of our politicians may feel in the strength of our Federal System, the day is coming when its great original sin—its centrifugal tendencies--will be acknowledged on all hands, to be its daily besetting danger. Let our rulers reflect how easy it is to destroy—what a sinall stock of talent may raise a man to a conspicuous place among the most mischievous revolutiopists-and that a single State might, with the aid of a fortuitous, but not impossible combination of circumstances, succeed in pulling down this mighty fabric, though she should be herself buried beneath its ruins! Let them beware of giving any good ground for local jealousies-- let them stand in awe of a high-spirited people—iet them feel it as a dreadful responsibility, to sting any considerable portion of such a people almost to madness with a sense of wrong, only to give a fair trial, as it is called, to a most hazardous and questionable scheme of merely possible, ideal good.
But if this moderation would seem to be called for by the theory of our government, it is still more strongly recommended to us by the circumstances and extent of the country. An empire as vast as that of Trajan and the Antonines, and including as great a variety of soil, climate and pursuits, cannot be governed by a representative assembly, gathered from every part of it, changed in its composition every two years, without information, without experience, unless the objects of the social union be as few and simple, as its structure is vast and multifarious. The very excellence of the representative form, on a small scale—the sympathiy and connexion between the deputy and constituent—is its great evil in such an extension, or rather misapplication of it. The delegates from remote parts do not, and cannot represent those with whom they have not a common interest. Whether reasonably or not, they will naturally and inevitably look at home in estimating the probable effects of any measure. If they be faithful to heir trust--if they be true to those who depute them, they will do so. Even, therefore, in the most conscientious performance of their duty, there is so far from being any security to the interests of those whom they do not represent, that the very reverse is the fact. The danger of error and injustice is great, in p.oportion to this zeal in the performance of duty, unless it be accompanied with a degree of knowledge quite extraordinary, and therefore not to be looked for in the great majority of public men. When to this natural tendency of the system, are added all the sinister influences which deceive and mislead mankind, mistaken ideas of local interest, the intrigues of demagogues, corrupt political arrangements, &c. it appears very romantic to look for a comprehen
sive national policy from such an assembly, if it be invested with powers, capable of being casily abused for partial ends.
This subject is placed in a very striking light by Mr. M’Duffie, in his able speech upon the tariff, at the last session of Congress. We differ with him, to a certain extent, in applying his conclusions, to the existing state of things. We are very loth to believe that there is any ascertained, unchangeable and infamous majority in this country. We are willing to concede, because we have no reason to deny, that those who support the American System, act upon mistaken views both of its policy and its constitutionality. Yet it inust be admitted that so long as their opinions prevail, the minority can, for the reason given, have no guaranty against unequal and oppressive legislation-not so much as is afforded to the unrepresented cities of England, by the members of neighbouring close boroughs.
The truth is, the founders of the government, as we shall hereafter shew, never expected it to deviate from its original simplicity. They gave it no important power, that had not been trusted to the old confederation, with the single exception of the power to regulate commerce. Their great end was to preserve the peace, order, morality and liberty of the country. They embodied these sublime principles in the covenant which they established. They were careful to prevent mischief-to restrain power--to throw obstacles in the way of legislationand to give scope, as it were, to a young and flourishing people, to grow up to prosperity and greatness under equal laws, by the spontaneous resources of the country, and the vigour, activity and intelligence of untrammelled enterprize. Liberty, justice, peace-these we repeat, were the great cardinal objects of the men of '89. These they saw could not be maintained without a more perfect union, and they met together to make their union more perfect, with a view to these. They strengthened the hands of the government—they gave it more effectial power of enforcing its edicts—they substituted laws for requisitionsbut they added to the extent of its powers, they changed its essential character, only by vesting in it the right to regulate commerce with foreign nations and between the States. The powers vested in the new confederacy, like those ascribed to the old, were such as Congress might exercise with advantage to all, because in their very nature they comprehend the interests of all. Thus, such an assembly was very fit to be trusted with the power of coining money, and fixing the standard of weights and measures-far more fit than the many local assemblies of the country. So the discretion of making war might safely be confided to it-because, except to ambitious
people, there is seldom any thing tempting in war and its causes, and still more, its consequences are apt to be common to all concerned in it. Omnis belli Mars communis et semper incerti exitus præliorum. And so of all the others powers vested in Congress-and so, especially, as we contend, with the power to regulate commerce, properly understood. Restricted, as we think it ought to be, that power was wisely vested in Congress-far more sately and profitably for the nation, in the long run, than if it had remained in the States. Extended, on the contrary, so as to be equivalent to a control over all the resources and the whole productive industry of the country, no hands could be so unfit to exercise it, as those of such a representative assembly. The commercial policy of an enlightened age, is the simplest thing imagmable. It consists in doing as little as possible, only now and then adopting restrictive measures to bring other nations to fair terms in a commercial treaty. The policy of a protecting system, on the contrary, is, of all others, the most complicated and perplexing; weighing multifarious interests against each other, calling for the most accurate statistical information, and embarrassing those concerned in the conduct of it, with all the proverbial uncertainties of political arithmetic. But we shall return to this topic hy and by.
There is another point of view in which the same moderation should seem to be the peculiar policy of our government. We have adverted to the dangers which it has to encounter from the centrifugal tendency of the different parts of the confederacy. But this danger, great as it is proved to be by the history of nations, is not the only one that besets us. There is another rock, infamous for a thousand shipwrecks, upon which we are just as likely to split. We allude to the Presidential election. We need not say, that all experience shews elective monarchy to be the worst form of monarchy—perhaps, the very worst of all forms of polity. Now-without comparing the real influence of a President of the United States with that of the King of Great Britain, as it is by no means absurd to do-it is too evident to be dissembled, that the choice of our Federal Executive, is already producing the most deplorable effects in every part of the country, and in every department of public affairs. Need we mention the prostitution of our boasted free press to the infamous purposes of party, the disgusting scramble for office among all classes of politicians, the base subserviency and caballing, the libertinism in conduct and opinion, the agitation, disorder and misrule, of which that great contest is so prolific? For our own parts, we have seen so much of these things lately, that we hesitate not to say, that the true democratic plan (as