« ПретходнаНастави »
18. We proceed to examine what is right in regard to the so called Internal improvements, and will speak first of,
1. Roads. Roads of all kinds should be built by those who are most in want of them. We do not comprehend how Congress ever can be in want of a road, or obliged to build one, so long as we have towns or counties to take care of this business. To build what is termed a national road, is no more the business of Congress, than it would be to establish a national shoe factory, or to erect our town halls or county court houses. Such national chimeras and playthings of politicians remind us of the pyramids in Africa, and similar useless governmental works in Asia and Europe. What is generally the end of such works, we have seen, of late, in several of our sister states, viz., state bankruptcy.
2. Canals. If canals are needed, and the subject is well brought before the people, they will be executed without state interference. Governments generally build either badly or expensively, and more for political interests than for those of the people, so that it is more important to have whig, democratic, native or liberty party canal commissioners elected, than men who understand the business. If state works of this kind come into competition with private enterprise, as is the case in New York with the state canals and private rail-roads, the same outrageous policy is followed as we noticed under the caption of Post." All these works should be sold as soon as possible. They are a disgrace to self-governing freemen, because they apparently imply a reproach, as if the people were not capable of doing this business for themselves.
3. Improvements in Rivers. If rivers are navigable, they are water-roads. Therefore, the same is right here, which is right about land-roads. People who live in the river towns and counties, who get wealthy by making use of these water-roads, fisheries, sand and other products of rivers, are the ones who ought to keep the navigation in
styles himself Postmaster General? How will a government purchase of this telegraph alter the case? Will the telegraph in the hands of the government not do the same business that it now performs? or will Mr. Johnson only allow one kind of correspondence, and intercept, according to his sovereign pleasure, all other kinds?
The arrogance which pervades this document, when touching pri vate competition, is contemptible. But the reader may judge for himself, and if he does not feel it, we cannot help him.
order. It is their business, not that of States or Congress. If Congress takes care of it, revenues will be applied to it, to which all, rich and poor, contribute equally. The injustice of taxing in this way, the poor inhabitants of the prairies of the West equally with the rich inhabitants of the shores of navigable rivers in the East, needs only to be mentioned, to be at once fully appreciated.
4. Harbors. Some Presidents have approved harbor appropriation bills, others not This uncertainty of the question is caused by locating the business where it does not belong. According to the principle of self-government, the inhabitants of the harbor towns, and not Congress, should take care for the harbors, because they are the source of their wealth, and benefit them in many regards, so that they ought to bear the expenses of improving and keeping them in order. They are, for ships, what stables and sheds, &c. are for teams. With as good reason might
we ask Congress to build these.
The jurisdiction over harbors and all kinds of ships coming in and going out, belongs also more properly to the County courts, (or respective justices of the peace,) than to Congress. Crimes are crimes, whether committed on board ship, in harbor, or on the high sea, and in neither case do they differ from those committed on land. We see not, that water can have any influence upon the trial and judgement; and why may not a County court, organized according to our plan of a State Constitution, try a case of mutiny, as well as that of a homicide or riot? If Congress or States undertake to build new harbors, they will, more or less, affect the business of the neighboring harbors. This may be justly done with private means, but not with public funds.
5. Light-houses. These are large lanterns on waterroads, for which harbor, river, and sea towns should provide, because they are most directly for their benefit. There is no good reason for committing such Town or County business to States or Congress. As well might inland town people ask Congress to take care of their lanterns on streets and in squares. In consequence of the daily increasing extension of our Union, a speedy change in these things, for the better, is imperatively necessary. The centralization of such business in Congress leads to serious consequences. It swells the public expenses beyond need, produces patronage which creates corrupting
power, and is so much against the plain principle of selfgovernment, that we need only to add, that merely by such business, and the influence, patronage, and corrupting power which it produces, the European governments are prolonging their baneful existence more than by their theories that they have, by the grace of God, a right to do such things. It is such improperly located business, which produces constant embarrassments in our Union. Congress has nobler business to perform than the building of roads or the putting up of lanterns. On this point we refer to the plan of a Federal Constitution, in the Appendix, which differs only in this respect from the present Constitution, that it gives to Congress only such business as rightfully belongs to it, and no more.*
19. We proceed now, in our examination of the public business, to slavery.
Slavery exists among us as something like a public business, in consequence of the interference of states, and, to a certain extent, of Congress, in behalf of it. As we have noticed at another place, it is but a private business, like that of keeping horses and sheep; contrary to that, the slaveholders have placed it among the public business and mentioned it in their constitutions. This, as well as § 3, section 2, article 1, of the Federal Constitution, is improper, and against the rules which are to be followed in making constitutions. We add, in the Appendix, under Note c, this section, and that part of the constitution of the state of Kentucky which applies to slavery, for the informa
*The intentions of the late Chicago Convention are against the principle of self-government, and not supported by the Federal Constitution of the United States. If Congress would be constitutionally bound to carry on banking, build roads, canals, shore lanterns, and improve rivers, &c., there would not be among us any need of much talking or conventing about these subjects. Besides, governments are generally too prone to embark in business. The passage of the Federal Constitution which shall authorize Congress to do such business, reads thus: "Congress shall have power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indians." This is diplomatic business, in consequence of which Congress has the right to make treaties with foreign governments, to protect the liberty of commerce at home, and between states and Indians, which are a kind of foreign nations. It is obvious, that this passage cannot be understood by self-governing freemen that it authorizes Congress to carry on banking, build bridges and roads, and improve harbors or establish shore lanterns, and more of such business, which belongs to individuals or towns, and not to states or Congress.
tion of the reader. By means of these constitutional, or rather unconstitutional, enactments, slavery is elevated to what is called a domestic institution. In the Federal Constitution slaves are politely termed bound servants. They figure there together with presidents, senators, embassadors, representatives, generals, &c., on the same political platform. This ought to be altered. Slaves may be considered as members of the families of slaveholders; but millions of them cannot, as such, represent a fracton of a self-governing freeman. To count them in voting, and thus give them the weight of freemen, is more than unreasonable. Instructions how to treat laborers and servants, bound, or born, or hired, do not belong to constitutions. We may as well insert rules there for the treatment of apprentices, students, ladies and gentlemen. These passages in the Southern constitutions ought to be obliterated. We may dispense with them easily by adopting uniformly, all over the Union, the mode of voting proposed in section 2, of our projected State Constitution.
In regard to the chattel principle of American slavery, we appeal to the courts, chiefly to the Supreme Court of the United States, to decide, that it is against reason that a slave can be born in America. Otherwise, we may as well have born shoemakers, lawyers, merchants, and presidents, and why not knights, barons, and kings too! No man can be born a slave, or to a station, where liberty of education, instruction and industry reigns, by means of which alone a man becomes what he is. The courts have the power to annihilate this fatal, shameless factory system of making slaves, which exists no where but in America. And if the courts are asked for positive legal reasons, they may bring forth the Declaration of Independence, signed by Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, (District of Columbia,) North and South Carolina, and Georgia, wherein it is said, "that all men are created equal, "which simply means,
that men are not born to stations.
After the constitutions are purified, and the courts have annulled the monstrous slave birth-right, the necessary steps are taken, which lead gradually but effectually, to the termination of slavery. It first must be made what it really is, a mere private affair. If a man grown up as a slave, prefers to be one, let him do so; but his offspring ought not therefore to be doomed to the same station. It is an unpardonable sin of the North American Congress,
that it has not, in this way, laid hands a long time since to the work in the District of Columbia. But we are aware that little will be done in this grave matter, by this body, until the Federal Constitution is altered.
20. There is another business left which is opposed to self-government; we mean the process of Naturalization. We shall find that all laws referring to it become superfluous by adopting the natural suffrage principle laid down by us. The present naturalization laws are imitations of European laws, which regard birth and landed property as necessary qualifications for a citizen. But, according to the principle of self-government, personal qualifications, and neither birth nor earthly possessions, make a freeman. If that is true, and who will deny it, there cannot be a difference between a freeman born south of the St. Lawrence, and one born north of that river. These qualifications must be the same in all civilized countries, i. e., where there are freemen. We consider our requisites of voting capable of superseding the oaths of allegiance. This procedure, together with this oath, are inventions of Eastern politicians for purposes which are strangers to us. After having
adopted the idea, that only a born American is a citizen, we were under the necessity of ordaining, that a man, who happens to be born on the other side of the St. Lawrence river, and immigrates into our Union, must be born over again, and swear to become a citizen, &c. All this is. superfluous, and indeed, trash. No man can be born a citizen, or slave, or freeman. We are, indeed, born equal, but God alone knows for what station. A man may be free, but he is not therefore what we call a self-governing freeman. A man who steals, kills, and cheats, is, although born in America, a criminal-nothing else. A man who comes from abroad with a family, or settles a family here, and resides for a certain time in a town, and complies with the often mentioned natural conditions of voting, exhibits himself as a self-governing, free, and useful member of society. From these self-evident facts it follows, that he can be no longer a subject of other governments, otherwise he would not be here. That he must obey our laws from the moment he enters our states, is matter of course, with or without the formality of naturalization. Or will naturalization alter the case, if he is acting wrong? Will not naturalized rogues meet the same punishment as unnaturalized ones? An American in foreign countries is in the