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tions, let the hickory-poles and log-cabins, let the pilgrimages of popular orators, some of them too men well versed in the theory of the Constitution, declare. The intervention of the electoral colleges has notoriously become a mere pageant. The people, when the election comes round, vote in their primary assemblies for a president, and not for a set of men capable of choosing a president, though this, to be sure, is the sham. The candidates for the office of elector are pledged beforehand. Maelzel's automaton, with a ballot in his wooden hand, could execute their trust as well. Inferior men have been repeatedly charged with that once venerable trust, avowedly on the ground of its being only a ministerial office. So it has been, is, and will be. If forms of the Constitution were transgressed by the present practice, there would be either a correction of the latter, or, what is much more likely, as things now stand, - a remodelling of the former. But, as only its spirit is violated, there is no chance of a remedy on the one hand, and no occasion for reform on the other. All that remains to be said is, that either the framers of the Constitution were mistaken, or we of this age are wiser and better than the contemporaries for whom they devised a government, or else, once more, we are so far on our road to mischief.
The same remark, of a proved want of adaptation, on the part of the tastes and preferences of the people, to the theory of their government, holds good, in a considerable portion of the country, as to another point, — the control of the constituent body over the discretion of the public servants in office. With a distinctness, which occasions us unspeakable surprise in one so well acquainted with the Constitution and its history, Mr. Butler, among other “broad principles laid by the builders of our institutions, as the foundationstones of all their political architecture," specifies this, “that the people have the right to inspect the conduct of their representatives, to instruct them, from time to time, and to hold them accountable for their acts." the Constitution contemplated that the people should “inspect the conduct of their representatives,” and “ hold them accountable for their acts,” dismissing them, if unworthy, from office, when its constitutional term should expire. The capacity of the people to choose a suitable representative, and their power to displace him again, should he prove
treacherous or incompetent, at a fixed period before he would have time enough to do much harm, — these were what the framers of the Constitution relied upon to secure to the people a legislature worthy of its trust. But where does Mr. Butler read, that they proposed further to limit the representative's discretion, or rather to divest him of discretion, and of all elevated responsibility, by making his course in office subject to be determined by « instructions from time to time' ? On the contrary, one of the problems which engaged their most anxious deliberation was, how to give to the representative, especially to the representative in the branch most relied upon to contribute a character of stability to the government, a sufficient independence, while in office, of temporary influences. Even as to the most popular branch, some were for extending the term of service of its members to three years ;
some would have had them elected by the State legislatures ; † and others would have disqualified them for reëlection for a specified period. I In respect to the office of senator, some members of the Convention, and among them individuals too of the liberal school, would have had its tenure for life, or during good behaviour ; § and others, for a longer term than that finally determined on. || Some would have had them derive their appointment from the president, 1 some from the representatives, **
some from electors chosen by the people for that purpose. It But, whatever the particular arrangement should be, there was a general agreement upon the point, that their tenure of office should be such as would be " sufficient
* Madison Papers, pp. 858, 890, &c. † Ibid., pp. 753, 756, 800, &c. # Ibid., p. 731.
s Ibid , pp. 887, 890, 960, 1019, &c. 11“ Mr. Madison considered seven years as a term by no long. What he wished was, to give to the government that stability which was everywhere called for, and which the enemies of the republi. can form alleged to be inconsistent with its nature. He was not afraid of giving too much stability by the term of seven years. His fear was, that the popular branch would still be too great an overmatch for it.
He conceded it to be of great importance, that a stable and firm government, organized in the republican form, should be held out to the people. If this be not done, and the people be left to judge of this species of government by the operations of the defective systems under which they now live, it is much to be feared, the time is not distant, when, in universal disgust, they will renounce the blessing which they have purchased at so dear a rate, and be ready for any change that may be proposed to them.” Ibid., T Ibid., 814, 1020, &c.
** Ibid., pp. 732, 737, 744, &c. tt Ibid., p. 890.
pp. 852, 853.
to ensure their independency ;'* that their number should be so constituted as to be a check against " the turbulence and follies of democracy,” † and against “ the precipitation, changeableness, and excesses of the first branch." And on this basis, the matter was firmly and frankly debated before the people, on the question of the adoption of the scheme by the State Conventions. Mr. Madison, in bis argument, in the 62d and 63d numbers of “ The Federalist,” that the Senate “ought to possess great firmness, and consequently ought to hold its authoriiy by a tenure of considerable duration," has shown how a rising politician of the year 1788, could venture to reason with the people about the way of protecting their own interests.
“ Such an institution may be sometimes necessary, as a defence to the people against their own temporary errors and delusions. As the cool and deliberate sense of the community ought, in all governments, and actually will, in all free governments, ultimately prevail over the views of its rulers ; so there are particular moments in public affairs, when the people, stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn. In these critical moments, how salutary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens, in order to check the misguided career, and to suspend the blow meditated by the people against themselves, until reason, justice, and truth can regain their authority over the public mind. What bitter anguish would not the people of Athens have often escaped, if their government had contained so provident a safeguard against the tyranny of their own passions ? Popular liberty might then have escaped the indelible reproach of decreeing to the same citizens the hemlock on one day, and statues on the next. Federalist, pp. 394, 395.
“ Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter ?" Yet so it was, that, in a strikingly short time after the Virginia school of politicians represented by Mr. Madison had been in the ascendant, there succeeded another, much wiser or more foolish, as the event may prove ; and now, in no small number of the States, a vital, we were
and so it was considered by the framers,
about to say,
* Madison Papers, pp. 732, 758, &c. # Ibid., pp. 758, 887, &c.
| Ibid., p. 1018. VOL. LIV.
NO. 114. 29
all events, a prominent provision of the Constitution is constantly nullified in spirit without any departure from the forms. By a scarcely pleasant fiction, a legislature chooses a Federal Senator to serve for six years, when all the world knows that he is chosen only to serve till such time as the same legislature or another shall please to instruct him out. In the theory of the Constitution, a Federal Representative holds his place for two years, a Senator for six. In practice,since a Representative will hardly give unpardonable offence before one session has expired, and then only another session remains before the regular time comes to supersede him, so that to invite him to resign would be to incur the trouble of an extraordinary popular election for a small benefit, — in the practice of some States, the Representative is already the more permanent officer of the two. He holds his place for two years ; the Senator, during the State legislature's pleasure. It is as if, after all the solemn parade of discussion of the subject, the Constitution had said, the State legislatures shall choose, not every six years, but as often as they shall be pleased to choose. And, unless public opinion is brought into greater sympathy with the Constitution, the same abuse will continue in the same quarters, as long as candidates for the Senate can be found, whose opinions or whose consciences will allow them to take the official oath of fidelity to the Constitution, while they hold themselves ready to abandon on demand the high conservative function, which the Constitution his committed to that department of authority.
But we must stop where we are. We were attracted by the title of Mr. Butler's pamphlet, and by the reputation of its author, to express a few hasty thoughts upon matters which he treats ; but we have already exhausted our little space, and other topics hinted at by him so open before us, as to forbid the attempt to pursue them at present. Mr. Butler concludes his address with a judicious course of remarks upon the necessity of "a wise internal regimen, to render representative bodies efficient,” which well deserves the careful consideration of our sages now in Congress assembled.
ART. IX.-CRITICAL NOTICES.
1. — The Life and Times of SA-Go-YE-WAT-HA, or Red-Jacket;
being the Sequel to the History of the Six Nations. By William L. STONE. New York and London : Wiley & Putnam. 1841. 8vo. pp. 484.
Ecce iterum Crispinus ! Behold the indefatigable editor again on the trail of the Indian, whom he follows on the war-path, and to the wigwam and the council-fire, eager to chronicle his deeds and speeches, and to preserve, for the benefit of posterity, his character and euphonious appellations! The zeal and good faith with which he has prosecuted the task, we have no doubt will be duly appreciated by the public. The present volume, which appears with a luxury of paper, typography, and engravings, that the dilettanti of book-making might well approve, is the second of a series devoted to the history and character of the “ Six Nations.” The “ Life of Brant was the first, and we learn from the author's Preface, that two other works are to follow ; the one upon the Life and Times of Sir William Johnson, so long the agent of the English government with these tribes, and the other to contain the early history of the Confederacy, from the discovery of America down to the year 1735. The undertaking of Mr. Stone is a laudable one, and has thus far been carried on with good
It was high time, indeed, that the memorials of the race should be sought out and preserved ; for, as the ocean of civilized life rolled westward, the few bubbles that marked the spot where this once large and powerful league of red-men went down amidst its waters, were fast breaking and disappearing from the surface. The last of their tiny reservations of land, the poor remnant of the broad hunting-grounds, that once covered the territory of several States, is just slipping from their grasp, and a new home in the wilds west of Missouri is offered to the handful of Indians, who are now the only representatives of the “ United People.”
The immediate hero of this volume, in point of character and respectability, was not a very promising subject for the historian. In fact, the great Sa-go-ye-wat-ha, for a long tine the most distinguished sachem of the Six Nations, was, as his biographer frankly owns, an arrant coward. His general reputation among his own people may be inferred from a