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the very objects, for which it is introduced into the constitution.


455. But the president might effectually defeat the wholesome restraint, thus intended, upon his qualified negative, if he might silently decline to act, after a bill was presented to him for approval or rejection. The constitution, therefore, has wisely provided, that "if any "bill shall not be returned by the president within ten 'days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been pre"sented to him, it shall be a law, in like manner, as if "he had signed it." But if this clause stood alone, congress might, in like manner, defeat the due exercise of his qualified negative by a termination of the session, which would render it impossible for the president to return the bill. It is therefore added, "unless "the congress, by their adjournment, prevent its return, "in which case it shall not be a law."

§ 456. The remaining clause merely applies to orders, resolutions, and votes, to which the concurrence of both houses may be necessary; and as to these, with a single exception, the same rule is applied, as is by the preceding clause applied to bills. If this provision had not been made, congress, by adopting the form of an order or resolution, instead of a bill, might have effectually defeated the president's qualified negative in all the most important portions of legislation.

§ 457. A review of the forms and modes of proceeding in the passing of laws cannot fail to impress upon every mind the cautious steps, by which legislation is guarded, and the solicitude to conduct business. without precipitancy, rashness, or irregularity. Frequent opportunities are afforded to each house to review their own proceedings; to amend their own errors; to correct their own inadvertences; to recover


from the results of any passionate excitement; and to reconsider the votes, to which persuasive eloquence, or party spirit, has occasionally misled their judgments. Under such circumstances, if legislation be unwise, or loose, or inaccurate, it belongs to the infirmity of human nature in general, or to that personal carelessness and indifference, which is sometimes the foible of genius, as well as the accompaniment of ignorance and prejudice.

§458. The structure and organization of the several branches, composing the legislature, have also (unless my judgment has misled me) been shown by the past review to be admirably adapted to preserve a wholesome and upright exercise of their powers. All the checks, which human ingenuity has been able to devise, (at least all, which, with reference to our habits, institutions, and local interests, seem practicable, or desirable,) to give perfect operation to the machinery of government; to adjust all its movements; to prevent its eccentricities; and to balance its forces ;- all these have been introduced, with singular skill, ingenuity, and wisdom, into the structure of the constitution.


§ 459. Yet, after all, the fabric may fall; for the work of man is perishable, and must for ever have inherent elements of decay. Nay; it must perish, if there be not that vital spirit in the people, which alone can nourish, sustain, and direct all its movements. will be in vain, that statesmen shall form plans of government, in which the beauty and harmony of a republic shall be embodied in visible order, shall be built up on solid substructions, and adorned by every useful ornament, if the inhabitants suffer the silent power of time to dilapidate its walls, or crumble its massy supporters into dust; if the assaults from without are never resist

ed, and the rottenness and mining from within are never guarded against. Who can preserve the rights and liberties of the people, when they are abandoned by themselves? Who shall keep watch in the temple, when the watchmen sleep at their posts? Who shall call upon the people to redeem their possessions, and revive the republic, when their own hands have deliberately and corruptly surrendered them to the oppressor, and have built the prisons, or dug the graves of their own friends? Aristotle, in ancient times, upon a large survey of the republics of former days, and of the facile manner, in which they had been made the instruments of their own destruction, felt himself compelled to the melancholy reflection, which has been painfully repeated by one of the greatest statesmen of modern times, that a democracy has many striking points of resemblance with a tyranny. "The ethical character," says he, "is the same; both exercise despotism over the better class of citizens; and the decrees are in the one, what ordinances and arrets are in the other. The demagogue, too, and the court favourite are not unfrequently the same identical men, and always bear a close analogy. And these have the principal power, each in their respective governments, favourites with the absolute monarch, and demagogues with a people, such as I have described."

§ 460. This dark picture, it is to be hoped, will never be applicable to the republic of America. And yet it affords a warning, which, like all the lessons of past experience, we are not permitted to disregard. America, free, happy, and enlightened, as she is, must rest the preservation of her rights and liberties upon the virtue, independence, justice, and sagacity of the people. If either fail, the republic is gone. Its shad

ow may remain with all the pomp, and circumstance, and trickery of government; but its vital power will have departed. In America, the demagogue may arise, as well as elsewhere. He is the natural, though spurious growth of republics; and like the courtier he may, by his blandishments, delude the ears, and blind the eyes of the people to their own destruction. If ever the day shall arrive, in which the best talents and the best virtues shall be driven from office by intrigue or corruption, by the ostracism of the press, or the still more unrelenting persecution of party, legislation will cease to be national. It will be wise by accident, and bad by system.



§ 461. WE have now arrived, in the course of our inquiries, at the eighth section of the first article of the constitution, which contains an enumeration of the principal powers of legislation confided to congress. A consideration of this most important subject will detain our attention for a considerable time; as well, because of the variety of topics, which it embraces, as of the controversies, and discussions, to which it has given rise. It has been, in the past time, it is in the present time, and it will probably in all future time continue to be, the debateable ground of the constitution, signalized, at once, by the victories, and the defeats of the same parties.

§ 462. The first clause of the eighth section is in the following words: "The congress shall have power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, "to pay the debts and provide for the common defence, "and general welfare of the United States; but all "duties, imposts, and excises, shall be uniform through"out the United States."

§ 463. Before proceeding to consider the nature and extent of the power conferred by this clause, and the reasons, on which it is founded, it seems necessary to settle the grammatical construction of the clause, and to ascertain its true reading. Do the words, "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises," constitute a distinct, substantial power; and the words, "to pay debts, and provide for the common defence, "and general welfare of the United States," constitute Abr.


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