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verting Bacon's advice from a rule of statesmanship to a curiosity of history. But in America, under a dissolution of the Union, its authority would for the first time be asserted. The new frontier would be but one long line of military border. Trade and Commerce would languish under the operation of hostile tariffs and the constant dread of civil war. Territorial disputes at home and entangling alliances abroad would create the necessity for standing armies, and impart an entirely new character to the policy hitherto pursued by the Republic both in its internal and external relations. Well may the statesmen of America hesitate before an alternative fraught with dangers such as these.

II.

THE COLONIAL GOVERNMENTS.

AMERICAN freedom is not indebted for its earliest manifestations to any union of the States. Its germs were thrown broadcast over all the various colonies established by the mother country. No matter what was the form of government-Royal, Proprietary, or Charter in every colony the principle of representative government was early adopted, more or less complete in its arrangement, but always modifying or controlling the encroachments of arbitrary power.

The royal governments comprised the colonies of New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. Their constitutions closely resembled that of the mother country. Governors and councils were appointed by the crown; representatives by the people. The council acted as an upper house, and the representatives as a lower house,

while the governor had a negative on all their proceedings.

The proprietary governments, comprising Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, only differed from the royal in this, that in the appointment of governors the proprietaries stood in the place of the crown and exercised, by federal right, all its powers and privileges.

The charter governments were the most democratic of all. They comprised the colonies of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. In the first the Governor was appointed by the Crown, the Representatives chosen by the people, and the general Council, after the first board, by all three. These constituted one general assembly. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, governor, representatives, and council were all elected by the people. In all these Colonies, however, the power of veto upon every law was reserved with certain conditions to the English Crown.

Thus, the enthusiastic Puritans of New England, the gay Cavaliers of Virginia, the quiet Quakers of Pennsylvania, all proceeding from one common stock, alike exhibited,

amid diversities of government, the old ancestral repugnance to irresponsible authority. Before the reign of King Charles II. all the colonies in America possessed legislatures in which the people had a distinct voice in the enactment of their own laws and the imposition of their own taxes.

No formal or extensive political connection had as yet been established between them. From this, indeed, they were prohibited by the very terms of their relation to the mother country. But, notwithstanding this, every circumstance seemed to conspire for their union. "All the people of this country," says Mr. Jay, "were the subjects of the King of Great Britain, and owed allegiance to him; and all the civil authority then existing or exercised here flowed from the head of the British Empire. They were, in a strict sense, fellow-subjects, and in a variety of respects one people.'

Each colony was independent of every other, and none could confer rights and privileges to be exercised elsewhere; but no

1 STORY'S “Com. Abridgment,” ch. xvii. p. 75. Boston, 1833.

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alien law had ever excited popular antagonism, -no war between them had left behind it the desire for future revenge. On the contrary, uninterrupted peace, and a free commercial intercourse, secured by the legislation of one parent State, had engendered feelings of mutual goodwill.

Thus drawn together by the cord of one common origin,-protected by one "common law," and acknowledging one common sovereignty, we are not surprised to note very early attempts at "Union " in spite of prohibitions.

In 1643 the New England Colonies formed a "perpetual" league, offensive and defensive. This league existed for forty years its interests were superintended by a delegated Congress. Again, in 1754, a Congress of Commissioners, representing the New England and several of the central colonies, resolved that a Union was absolutely necessary for their preservation; and in 1765, after the passing of the Stamp Act, nine of the Colonies sent delegates to a Congress at New York, and declared their inherent right of self-taxation and trial by jury.

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