« ZurückWeiter »
authority given to him, the effect will not be loft-he returns his objections, together with the bill, and unless two thirds of both branches of the legislatore are now found to approve it, it does not become a law. But even if his objections do not prevent its passing into a law, they will not be useless; they will be kept together with the law, and, in the archives of congress, will be valuable and practical materials, to form the minds of posterity for legislation—if it is found that the law operates inconveniently, or oppressively, the people may discover in the president's objections, the source of that inconvenience or oppression. Further; when objections shall have been made, it is provided, in order to secure the greatest degree of caution and responsibility, that the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the perfons, voting for and against the bill, shall be entered in the journal of each house respectively. Thus much, with regard to the Constitution tself, the distribution of the legislative authority, and the restraints under which it is exercised.
On the whole, though there are some parts of the constitution which we cannot approve; and which no doubt, by the powers vested in congress, and the legislatures of the different states, for that purpose, will in due time be altered or corrected, as prudence shall dictate; yet there is much, that entitles it to the respect of every friend to the freedom and happiness of mankind : -- the people retain the supreme power, and ex: ercise it by representation :--the legislative, executive and judicial powe ers, are kept independent and distinct from each other ;--the executive power, is so settled as to secure vigOUR and ENERGY with ACTUAL RESPONSIBILITY, in the person of the president; who so far from being above the laws, is amenable to them, in his private characters of a citizen. The line is drawn with accuracy between the powers of the general government, and the government of the particular states; fo that no distrust can arise to disturb the harmony of their union while the powers of both DERIVED BY REPRESENTATION FROM THE PEOPLE; muft effectually prevent any disagreement or discontent from taking place.Thus a principle of democracy being carried into every part of the constitution, and representation, and direct taxation, going hand in hand, the prosperity of the country and the stability of its govern. ment, will keep pace with each cther.
We cannot take leave of this subject, better than in the energetic and elegant language of Dr. Ramsey, with whose sentiments we agree, and with whose wishes we unite:
« Citizens of the United States ! you have a well-balanced conftitution established by general consent, which is an improvement on all reHh2
publican forms of government heretofore established. It possesses the freedom and independence of a popular assembly, acquainted with the wants and wishes of the people, but without the capacity of doing those mischiefs which result from uncontrouled power in one assembly. The end and object of it is public good. If you are not happy it will be your own fault. No knave or fool can plead an hereditary right to your property or your
liberties. Your laws and your lawgivers must all proceed from yourselves. You have the experience of nearly fix thousand years, to point out the rocks on which former republics have been dashed to pieces. Learn wisdom from their misfortunes. Cultivate justice both public and private. No government will or can endure, which does not protect the rights of its fubjects. Unless fuch efficient regulations are adopted, as will secure property as well as liberty, one revolution will follow another. Anarchy, monarchy, or despotism, will be the consequence. By just laws and the faithful execution of them, public and private credit will be restored, and the restoration of credit will be a mine of wealth to this young country. It will make a fund for agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, which will soon enable the United States to claim an exalted rank among the nations of the earth. Such are the resources of your country, and fo trilling are your debts, compared with your resources, that proper systems, wisely planned and faithfully executed, will soon fill your extensive territory with inhabitants, and give you the command of such ample capitals, as will enable you to run the career of national greatness, with advantages equal to the oldest kingdoms of Europe. What they have been fowly growing to, in the course of near two thousand years, you may hope to equal within one century. If you continue under one government, built on the folid foundations of public justice, and public virtue, there is no point of national greatness to which you may not aspire with a well-founded hope of speedily attaining it. Cherifh and support a reverence for government, and cultivate an union between the East and South, the Atlantic and the Mislissippi. Let the greatest good of the greateft number, be the pole-ftar of your public and private deliberations. Shun wars, they beget debt, add to the common vices of mankind, and produce others, which are almoit peculiar to themselves. Agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, are your proper business. Seek not to enlarge your territory by conquest; it is already sufficiently extensive. You hate ample scope for the employment of your most active minds, in promoting your own domestic happiness. Maintain your own rights, and let all others remain in quiet possession of theirs. Avoid discord, faction, luxury, and the other vices which have been the bane of com.
monwealths. Cherish and reward the philosophers, the statesmen, and the patriots, who devote their talents and time, at the expence of their private interests, to the toils of enlightening and directing their fellow citizens, and thereby rescue citizens and rulers of 'republics from the common, and too often merited, charge of ingratitude. Practise induftry, frugality, temperance, moderation, and the whole lovely train of republican virtues. Banish from your borders the liquid fire of the WestIndies, which, while it entails poverty and disease, prevents industry, and foments private quarrels. Venerate the plough, the hoe, and all the implements of agriculture. Honour the men, who with their own hands maintain their families, and raise up children who are inured to toil, and capable of defending their country. Reckon the necessity of labour not among the curses, but the blessings of life. Your towns will probably ere long be engulphed in luxury and effeminacy. If your liberties and future prospects depended on them, your career of liberty would probably be short; but a great majority of your country, muit, and will be yeomanry, who have no other dependence than on Almighty God for his usual blessing on their daily labour. From the great excess of the number of such independent farmers in these States, over and above all other classes of inhabitants, the long continuance of your liberties may be reasonably prefumed."
« Let the hapless African sleep undisturbed on his native shore, and give over wishing for the extermination of the ancient proprietors of this land. Universal justice is universal interest. The most enlarged happiness of one people, by no means requires the degradation or destruction of another. It would be more glorious to civilise one tribe of favages than to exterminate or expel a score, There is territory enough for them and for you. Instead of invading their rights, promote their hap piness, and give them no reason to curse the folly of their fathers, who suffered your's to fit down on a foil which the common Parent of us boch had previoully assigned to them: but above all, be particularly careful that your own descendents do not degenerate into favages. Diffuse the means of education, and particularly of religious instruction, through your remoteft settlements.' To this end, fupport and strengthen the hands of your public teachers. Let your voluntary contributions confute the dishonourable position, that religion cannot be supported but by compulsory establishments. Remember that there can be no political happiness without liberty; that there can be no liberty without morality; and that there can be no morality without religion."
“ It is now your turn to figure on the face of the earth, and in the annals of the world. You polless a country which in less than a century
will probably contain fifty millions of inhabitants. You have, with a great expence of blood and treasure, rescued yourselves and your poste rity from the domination of Europe. Perfect the good work you have begun, by forming such arrangements and inititutions, as bid fair for en furing, to the present and future generations, the blesings for which you have successfully contended."
“ May the Almighty Ruler of the Universe, who has raised you to independence, and given you a place among the nations of the earth, make the American Revolution an era in the history of the world, remarkable for the progressive increase of human happiness !"
Having considered the Constitution in its theory, it now remains to contemplate it as reduced to practice; or rather the government arising out of it: and here the United States present to our view, a picture very different, from any we behold in the various countries of Europe.
In the United States we see the people raised to their due importance, reforting to first principles, asserting their own independance and forming a government for themselves; and when eleven years experience had convinced them of its insufficiency to secure the important ends for which they designed it, we again behold them laying it aside, and difcarding the contemptable arguments that would render innovation for. midable, raising a new and more perfect system in its place, publishing it in their own name and giving it energy and effect, by their own willing submission to the laws and regulations it enjoins-here then we contemplate the government springing from its right fource; originating with the people, and exercised under the guidance of a conftitution formed agreeable to their sovereign will. , On the contrary, if we carefully examine the Constitutions, or what are so called, in Europe, we shall find that they have had their origin in governments, prior formed by conqueit and ufurpa:ion; and that what appearance of order they have assumed, what portion the people possess in them, or what provision they make for the security of their liberties or property, have all been gradually procured by the people, struggling against the severity and oppression of the feudal system. Such was the origin of our Magna Charta, Habeas Corpus Act, and Bill of Rights, and such has been the origin of the small portion of liberty, which the other European nations poffefs. It is to America we must look for the first and bright example, of a nation sitting down in peace, causing a defective government to pafs away out a groan, and erecting another in its stead more beneficial, and more congenial with its wishes.
The goodness of a government, must be estimated by the share which the people at large have in it, the benefits they derive from it, and the
small portion of individual liberty and property surrendered for its support. If we apply this criterion to the government of the American Empire, we fall find that it has a strong claim to our approbation, the whole of it may jaftly be considered as in the hands of the people. Its beneficial influence, may be fairly concluded from the rising importance, and rapid improvements of the United States ; and the small portion of property surrendered for its support will appear evident, if we consider the following estimates laid before the House of Representatives.
gether with the Incidental and Contingent Expences of the several Depart-
For compensation to the President of the United
43,200 NEM BERS