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THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

ASTOR, LENOX AND TILDEN FOUNDATIONS.

POLITICAL ADJUSTMENTS.

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domestic policy ; a policy of taxation, an human benefit and enjoyment, every virinequality in the means of meeting it; tue and every prudent act, is founded on a rivalry between the seaboard and the compromise and barter. We balance ininterior, between army and navy, be- conveniences; we give and take ; we retween one mi thod of internal improve- mit some rights that we may enjoy others; ment and another. While, if we should and we choose rather to be happy citizens admit into the arena the discussion of than subtle disputants.” But he adds, new forms of government, or make re- however, that while we may part with ligion in any way a state question, the some civil liberties, "for the advantages opportunities of controversy would be to be derived from the communion and indefinitely and intensely multiplied. fellowship of a great empire," we must

, Now, the first principle of all combi- take care that “the thing bought bear nations in society whatever, is that men some proportion to the purchase paid."* must regulate their differences by adjust- Applying these principles to the regulament and concession in some way. It is tion of our political affairs on this conthe most imperative of all social and po- tinent, we find them already recognized litical doctrines, without which neither a in that great instrument, one of the subfamily, a club of friends, a city, a state, tlest contrivances of human wisdom, the an empire, in fact, any form of human Constitution of the United States. That organization whatever, can exist. The organizes a government of balanced powfull recognition of this paramount truth ers and mutual duties. It prescribes is the great distinction between wisdom limitations where they are necessary, and and charlatanism in statesmanship. It is leaves action free in the path of progress. the difference between theory and prac- It has been found hitherto, and will be tice, between mathematics and morals— found again, that where its provisions are the acceptance of a fate which is a law honestly received and maintained, we to the whole world. When material shall have a free, liberal and enlightened forces simply are to be dealt with, pro- government. vided their qualities are well understood, Is there anything which necessarily a result only of long experience, they interferes with this ? Has the Constitumay be handled according to a definite, tion failed to meet any question which fixed rule or prescription. A formula has arisen, either of domestic or foreign of the chemist or the mechanician may policy? On the contrary, under its guidbe carried out to the letter. Not so with ance and protection we have advanced human dealing. There our action and in honer and influence abroad, in wealth progress must be politic. We must, and happiness at home. Why, then, within certain limits, be pliable and have not all alike acknowledged its adyielding, and leaving ideal abstractions vantages, and been faithful in their alleand inflexible resolutions, get all the giar.ce ? good we can under the circumstances. In answer to this question, which inTisely, treating of this very subject, and volves the considerations of the essential in connection too with American affairs, conditions of union in the government saj the great English statesman, Edmund of the whole number of states, we may Burke, “All government, indeed every * Speech on Conciliation with America, March 22, 1775.

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with satisfaction turn from the tumult of the national government. Nor did and consusion of the hour, to the calm, he find any physical causes calculated accurately-pronounced judgment of De to favor such a dissolution. The AlleTocqueville. He is universally accredi- ghanies presented no formidable difted as a philosophical observer, of nice ficulty, and the differences of soil and powers of discrimination in all that re- climate, with their corresponding varielates to the constitution and government ties of production, so far from creating of political bodies, and the qualifications hostilities, were rightly considered bonds for their well being. He has shown a of union. He observed the almost exremarkable sagacity and insight in his clusive agricultural employments of the treatment of the affairs of America, and Southern States ; the equally engrossing he wrote, moreover, at a time when the commercial and manufacturing pursuits subject was fairly open to his view, am- of the North, and the mingled agricultuply illuminated by the experience of ral and manufacturing industry of the half a century of the history of the West. But he saw no opposition in these country, and quite unobscured by any diverse forms of wealth. He perceived mists of passion or prejudice belonging no unhappy disagreement between the to the day. From 1835 to 1840, when production of tobacco, of cotton, or rice, M. De Tocqueville was engaged in com- and that of wheat or Indian corn ; nor mitting to writing his great work on did he see why one region might not yield American Democracy, the results of his with propriety what another with equal observations made a few years previously felicity should distribute to the world in the United States, the nation was pros- The central regions of the West could perous and in repose. The cloud which have no ships, and the South might cerhad gathered on the political horizon, in tainly benefit by the hardy commercial a small region of South Carolina, in the adventure of the North. As for slavery, Nullification proceedings of 1832, had so far from looking upon it at that time as been dissipated ; and the political ma- a means of disintegration, he saw the chinery of the general and state govern- South dependent upon the North for proments was working with its accustomed tection against the possible dangers of ease and. regularity. What were then an alarmingly increasing negro populahis observations and deductions ? Look- tion, dangerous to the safety of the ing first to the material interests de- whites in the minority. pending upon the permanent existence Turning from material, he regarded of the Union, he found a powerful plea those moral instincts which, stronger than for its safety in the advantages gained all physical ties, are the bonds of good by the States in strength in maintaining citizenship in civil societies. He found their commercial and public rights with in the United States a remarkable agree. other nations ; .while at home he saw, in ment on those leading social and politithe continuance of the confederacy, the cal principles, which make men to be of absence of those evils of custom-houses, one mind in a house. "A government,' standing armies, taxes, and burdensome says he, “retains its sway over a great restrictions of all kinds, sure to arise number of citizens, far less by the volunon the Continent, on the breaking up | tary and rational consent of the multi

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tude, than by that instinctive and, to a the South, which at that time, under the certain extent, involuntary agreement, impulses given to European emigration, which results from similarity of feelings was rapidly yielding in population to the and resemblances of opinion.” The peo- hitherto unpeopled West. The instituple of the United States, though cherishing tion of slavery he saw also, not so much a great variety of sects, in general, he producing a diversity of interest, as a remarked, exhibited great uniformity of difference of manners; opposing the feelhelief. Emphatically they had but one ings and sentiments attached to a comnotion of politics, that of self-govern- paratively idle, luxurious mode of living ment, with all its claims or pretensions to the thoughts and habits induced by to wisdom, justice and virtue ; while na- the stern industry and resolute persistional pride, lifting them above the mon- tence of the occupants of regions in some archies of the old world, which regarded respects less favored by nature. them with distrust, bound them together “The inhabitants of the Southern as one people. “They perceive that, for States are, of all the Americans,” is the

. the present," said he, “their own demo- language of this acute writer, “those eratic institutions succeed, while those of who are most interested in the maintenother countries fail ; hence they conceive ance of the Union ; they would assuran overweening opinion of their superior- edly suffer most from being left to themity, and they are not very remote from selves; and yet they are the only citibelieving themselves to belong to a dis- zens who threaten to break the tie of tinct race of mankind."

confederation. But it is easy to perceive These, it must be admitted, are pow- that the South, which has given four erful links of agreement, both of interest presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Madiand sympathy. But man is not always son, and Monroe, to the Union ; which

. steadily governed by his interests, and perceives that it is losing its federal in. his sympathies on great subjects may fluence, and that the number of its repbe disturbed by very inferior motives. resentatives in Congress is diminishing The philosophical De Tocqueville saw from year to year, while those of the some of these at work. Glancing at the Northern and Western States are indanger of some one portion of the coun- creasing ; the South, which is peopled

: try getting so powerful as to do without with ardent and irascible beings, is bethe rest, and the difficulties which might coming more and more irritated and result in some undefined way from the alarmed. The citizens reflect upon their vast and unwieldy growth of a people rap- present position, and remember their idly spreading on a huge continent, with past influence, with the melancholy unsingular sagacity, as the event has proved, easiness of men who suspect oppression : he dwelt at length on the jealousy which if they discover a law of the Union might arise from the comparative inferior- which is not unequivocally favorable ity of a portion--a comparison, by the to their interests, they protest against way, which ought never to arise where it as an abuse of force ; and if their inevitable sectional differences should be ardent remonstrances are not listened lost in the general welfare of the whole. to, they threaten to quit an associa. That cause of embarrassment he found at tion which loads them with burdens

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