صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

TO MY DAUGHTER:

The beloved memory of my mother, whose name you bear; and of your son, whose name was mine, and that of my venerated father, who aided the independence and constitution of his country, and taught me their principles; together with the sympathy and encouragement bestowed by yourself and husband during the progress of these labors, — entitle their result to be affectionately inscribed to

ANNA BANCROFT FARRAR CRANE.

TO THE

STUDENT OF THE CONSTITUTION.

THE formation and establishment of the American Union constituted the origin and result, the cause and the effect, the beginning and the end, of the American Revolution. By that Revolution, the British Empire was divided into two (not fourteen) independent nations. The Union first arose from the necessities of the common defence.When these necessities were

answered, it was found that international relations, and the interests of commerce, internal and external, were scarcely less peremptory in their claims to a similar provision for the "general welfare." The emergencies of war and of peace had thus united in demanding " a firm national governernment, adequate to the preservation of the Union and the exigencies of government; ” and, in answer to that demand, the people ordained and established this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The infancy of the nation, the sparseness of the population, the severe pressure of daily toil, the immaturity of our institutions, and the remoteness of neighbors, afforded a favorable opportunity for trying an experiment on the minimum of government, by which civil society could, under any circumstances, be maintained. The subsequent growth of the nation, the expansion of their domains, the collisions of intercourse, the complications of business, and the alternations of peace and war, at home and abroad, demanded, from time to time, a corresponding change in the operations of the government, and an adaptation of its machinery to constantly recurring new exigencies.”

The difference between a community of three millions of people, scattered along a narrow belt of sea-coast, inclosed by impenetrable forests; and thirty or forty millions, occupying half a continent, and pursuing all the objects, and by all the arts and means, which the reason or passions, the interest or ambition, the virtues or vices, of men could invent, — must soon make itself apparent in the inevitable development of those powers of regulation which were expressly designed and intended to provide for just such increasing claims for their exercise. period of our history has the trial of our insti

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

At no

tutions, and their adaptation to expand with the augmented demands of a great and increasing nation, been so thoroughly tested, and so cautiously and intelligently accepted, as during the late civil war, which can hardly yet be considered at an end.

It was in the midst of its events, and with a particular view to the practical operation of our government, under all the varieties of its circumstances, and to the principles on which the questions evolved by them have been or should be decided, that this treatise has been compiled. Its position in this respect is different from any prior exposition of the Constitution. The results of our marked experience should be noted and studied, as well to enable us to trace the footsteps of Divine Providence in the development of the destinies of a great people, as for the permanent use of those who may enjoy the future blessings of our institutions. In the hope of exciting the diligent attention of inquirers to ascertain and understand these results, the following work is submitted to their consideration.

MOUNT BOWDOIN,

June, 1867.

« السابقةمتابعة »