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construction; and, in the other (New Jersey), where females formerly voted, in high party times, they are now excluded by act of the legislature, amending the constitution. Thirteen of the States expressly exclude all people of color. The other eleven, namely, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, admit, or do not expressly exclude them. But one of these, (New York,) makes a marked distinction between her white and her colored voters; requiring of the latter freehold estates, for which they pay taxes of two hundred and fifty pounds value, and three years' instead of one year's residence. One State excludes paupers; another, paupers and persons under guardianship; a third adds Indians not taxed to these exclusions. Connecticut requires the qualification of a good moral character; and Vermont requires peaceble and quiet behaviour, and an oath. Pennsylvania and Delaware allow the sons of voters to vote for one year after coming of age. Every State requires a residence of a shorter or longer time, from three months up to three years. Every State excludes all under twenty-one years of age. Five of them only require citizenship of the United States." pp. 18, 19.

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"But the feature in the constitutions we of, least in harmony with the doctrine of universal right of suffrage, (which, in other respects, is carried to such extremes in those instruments,) is the striking difference they make in the qualifications of the electors, and of those whom they are allowed to elect. In none of those States (except Connecticut) can a single one of the electors, who is barely qualified to act as such, be himself elected a representative, much less a senator. most of those States, a senator or representative (with some difference as to amount) must possess a clear freehold estate of very considerable extent, from one hundred to five hundred acres; and, of value, from one hundred pounds to one thousand dollars. In one State, the freehold must be worth five hundred pounds sterling; and, in another, a thousand pounds sterling, clear of debt. And where real and personal property together make the qualification, the amount required is still much greater. In one State, in addition to a freehold of five hundred acres, the candidate must own ten negroes. The term of residence, also, must be much longer than is required for voters, namely, from one to seven years; and the candidates must be of more mature age, namely, from twenty-two up to thirty-five years, in different States." pp. 21, 22.

The truth is, that in the United States, and in every

other country on earth, wherein the right of the people to manage their own affairs and govern themselves is asserted and exercised, "the people" is understood to be a specific and peculiar phrase, not comprehending "all persons," but assuming by prescription to represent all. Otherwise, it would be impossible for the machinery of a government to exist. Non omnia possumus omnes. We cannot all be governors, legislators, and voters at the same time. There must be delegations, and organized bodies, and deputed trusts, and virtual representations; or the wheels of government must stop short, and men must go back to a state of nature, to reside in caverns and forests, in the condition described in the expressive language of Hobbes; "no arts, no letters, no society, and, which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." The most perfect democracy that now exists, or of which there is any record in history, is that of a town meeting in a New England country village. But even there, are moderators, and rules of proceeding, and qualified voters, and business confined to the matters mentioned in the warrant. So it must ever be. The very idea of a government is that of something which is stable, that proceeds by fixed rules, and in which one person represents many, and binds them by his acts. Not even the sovereign power in a state, which has any pretensions to freedom, can modify or abolish it at his own pleasure. "It is contrary to reason," said the citizens of Boston, in May, 1764, to their representatives in the General Court, instructing them to remonstrate against some of the offensive Acts of Trade, "it is contrary to reason, that the supreme power should have right to alter the constitution." If it could be so, it would be a despotism instead of a free government, no matter whether the despotic power were lodged in the hands of a king or a mob, a Louis the Fourteenth or a Jacobin club at Paris.

Name and define our form of polity as you please; call it a republic, a democracy, or any thing else; it is still a government. It must embrace, then, those elements of permanency and stability, which mark the distinction between organized society and the natural state of man, because they enable men to see what they are to expect, and to regulate their conduct for the future by some fixed rules, without de

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pending on the caprice of individuals, or the whim of a moment. It must not be changed without grave deliberation, much delay, and the consentaneous operation of all the parts. Allow the principles of the Suffrage party to prevail, and the constitution of no State in the union is safe. A body of individuals may at any time come together, declare that they are "the people," pull down the whole structure of the government, and put one of their own fashioning in its place. The question is, therefore, whether we really have a permanent habitation, or are only tenants at will of a crazy building, of which the walls may crumble, and the roof topple down on our heads at any moment.

In this connexion, some of the weighty and magnificent sentences of Burke, in which the depth of thought and solemnity of sentiment are equalled only by the splendor of the diction, are so appropriate, that we cannot withstand the temptation to lay them before our readers.

"Society is indeed a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects of more occasional interest may be deposited at pleasure. But the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico or tobacco, or some such other low concern, to be taken up for a little temporary interest, and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties. It is to be looked on with other reverence; because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence, of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primeval contract of eternal society, linking the lower with the higher natures, connecting the visible and invisible world, according to a fixed compact, sanctioned by the inviolable oath, which holds all physical and all moral natures, each in their appointed place. This law is not subject to the will of those, who; by an obligation above them and infinitely superior, are bound to submit their will to that law. The municipal corporations of that universal kingdom are not morally at liberty, at their pleasure, and on their speculations of a contingent improvement, wholly to separate and tear asunder the bands of their subordinate community, and to dissolve it into an unsocial,

uncivil, unconnected chaos of elementary principles. It is the first and supreme necessity only, a necessity that is not chosen but chooses, a necessity paramount to deliberation, that admits no discussion, and demands no evidence, which alone can justify a resort to anarchy. This necessity is no exception to the rule; because this necessity itself is a part, too, of that moral and physical disposition of things, to which man must be obedient by consent or force. But if that, which is only submission to necessity, should be made the object of choice, the law is broken, nature is disobeyed, and the rebellious are outlawed, cast forth, and exiled from this world of reason, and order, and peace, and virtue, and fruitful penitence, into the antagonist world of madness, discord, vice, confusion, and unavailing sorrow." *


To justify the proceedings of Dorr and his associates, it is necessary to go the extravagant length of affirming, that when they commenced their operations, no legal government existed in Rhode Island, that their fundamental laws went into effect in default of any competition, and that they merely established a new society, instead of breaking up an old The absurdity of this statement appears from the brief sketch that we have given of the history of the charter. We have shown, that the founders of Rhode Island formed themselves into a body politic, and declared that their form of government was a democracy, or rule of the people; that they subsequently obtained from the king, at their own solicitation, a charter confirming them in the exercise of these rights, and permitting them to choose all their own officers, and make all their own laws; that this charter, though sanctioned by the monarch, derived its whole binding force within the colony from the voluntary acceptance and ratification of it by the people; that it was acknowledged and hated by the royal governors and the other partisans of prerogative, during the whole Colonial period, as establishing a confessed republic or democracy; that it continued in force, because, having once been established by the people, the people never abrogated it; that under its provisions, and acting through the legal authorities constituted by it, the State became a party to the American Revolution, entered the Confederacy of 1778, and accepted the Federal Constitution of 1787; and that it continued after the Revolution in undisputed

* Reflections on the Revolution in France.

VOL. LVIII. No. 123.


force, and subject to no complaint or doubt, for at least forty years. We question whether there was ever a government on the face of the earth, which had a better claim to be considered as existing "by the grace of God" and by the will of the people.

The rightful authority of this system is further strengthened by the consideration, that the government of Connecticut, down to the year 1818, stood on precisely similar foundations, and its legal power was never impugned. In confirmation of our own argument on this point, we make a short extract from Judge Swift's admirable digest of the laws of Connecticut. The remarks are so apposite, that they may be applied to the Rhode Island case without the alteration of a word; and as the book was published in 1795, its author must be regarded as an independent and impartial wit


"It is unquestionably true, that in consequence of the dissolution of the political connexion with Great Britain, the people of this State had a right, if they had thought proper to have exerted it, to have met in convention, and established a different form of government. But at the declaration of independence, the subject was considered in a different light. The authority of the government was supposed to have originated from the assent of the people, and never to have been dependent on the royal charter. During the whole period of the existence of the Colonial government, Connecticut was considered, as having only paid a nominal allegiance to the British crown, for the purpose of receiving protection and defence, as a part of the British empire; but always exercised legislation respecting all the internal concerns of the community, to the exclusion of all authority and control from the king and parliament, as much as an independent State. Acts of parliament were not deemed binding here, and the assent of the king and parliament was not necessary to give efficacy to our statutes. The necessary consequence was, that the renunciation of allegiance to the British crown, and the withdrawing from the British empire, did not in any degree affect, or alter, the constitution of the government. The constitution which originated from the people, and had been practised upon, continued in operation, after the declaration of independence, in the same manner as before, and was equally valid. The people were only discharged from a nominal allegiance to the British crown, which they had recog. nized for the purpose of protection and defence. These being

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