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ernment, but goes to endanger the rights of the either case, carries the vote of the whole State. people, by permitting sudden alterations on the In New-York, thirty-six electors are chosen ; eve of an election, and to annihilate the right of nineteen is a majority, and the candidate receiving the small States, by enabling the large ones to this majority is fairly entitled to count nineteen combine, and to throw all their votes into the votes; but he counts in reality, thirty-six : bescale of a particular candidate. These obvious cause the minority of seventeen are added to the evils make it certain that any uniform rule majority. These seventeen votes belong to sevenwould be preferable to the present state of teen masses of people, of 40,000 souls each, in all things. But, in fixing on one, it is the duty of 680,000 people, whose votes are seized upon, statesmen to select that which is calculated to taken away, and presented to whom the majority give to every portion of the Union its due share pleases. Extend the calculation to the seventeen in the choice of the Chief Magistrate, and to States now choosing electors by general ticket every individual citizen, a fair opportunity of or legislative ballot, and it will show that three voting according to his will. This would be millions of souls, a population equal to that effected by adopting the District System. It which carried us through the Revolution, may would divide every State into districts, equal to have their votes taken from them in the same the whole number of votes to be given, and the way. To lose their votes, is the fate of all mipeople of each district would be governed by norities, and it is their duty to submit; but this its own majority, and not by a majority existing is not a case of votes lost, but of votes taken in some remote part of the State. This would away, added to those of the majority, and be agreeable to the rights of individuals: for, in given to a person to whom the minority was entering into society, and submitting to be bound opposed. by the decision of the majority, each individual " He said, this objection (to the direct vote of retained the right of voting for himself wherever the people) had a weight in the year 1787, to which it was practicable, and of being governed by a it is not entitled in the year 1824. Our governmajority of the vicinage, and not by majorities ment was then young, schools and colleges were brought from remote sections to overwhelm him scarce, political science was then confined to few, with their accumulated numbers. It would be and the means of diffusing intelligence were both agreeable to the interests of all parts of the inadequate and uncertain. The experiment of a States; for each State may have different inter- popular government was just beginning; the ests in different parts; one part may be agricul- people had been just released from subjection to tural, another manufacturing, another commer an hereditary king, and were not yet practised cial; and it would be unjust that the strongest in the art of choosing a temporary chief for should govern, or that two should combine and themselves. But thirty-six years have reversed sacrifice the third. The district system would this picture. Thirty-six years, which have probe agreeable to the intention of our present con- duced so many wonderful changes in America, stitution, which, in giving to each elector a sepa- have accomplished the work of many centuries rate vote, instead of giving to each State a con- upon the intelligence of its inhabitants. Within solidated' vote, composed of all its electoral that period, schools, colleges, and universities suffrages, clearly intended that each mass of have multiplied to an amazing extent. The persons entitled to one elector, should have the means of diffusing intelligence have been wonright of giving one vote, according to their own derfully augmented by the establishment of six sense of their own interest.
hundred newspapers, and upwards of five thou" The general ticket system now existing in ten sand post-offices. The whole course of an AmerStates, was the offspring of policy, and not of ican's life, civil, social, and religious, has become any disposition to give fair play to the will of one continued scene of intellectual and of moral the people. It was adopted by the leading men improvement. Once in every week, more than of those States, to enable them to consolidate eleven thousand men, eminent for learning and the vote of the State. It would be easy to prove for piety, perform the double duty of amending this by referring to facts of historical notoriety. the hearts, and enlightening the understandings, It contributes to give power and consequence to of more than eleven thousand congregations of the leaders who manage the elections, but it is a people. Under the benign influence of a free departure from the intention of the constitution; government, both our public institutions and priviolates the rights of the minorities, and is at- vate pursuits, our juries, elections, courts of justended with many other evils. The intention of tice, the liberal professions, and the mechanic the constitution is violated, because it was the arts, have each become a school of political sciintention of that instrument to give to each mass ence and of mental improvement. The federal of persons, entitled to one elector, the power of legislature, in the annual message of the Presigiving an electoral vote to any candidate they dent, in reports from heads of departments, and preferred. The rights of minorities are violated, committees of Congress, and speeches of membecause a majority of one will carry the vote of bers, pours forth a flood of intelligence which the whole State. This principle is the same, carries its waves to the remotest confines of the whether the elector is chosen by general ticket republic. In the different States, twenty-four or by legislative ballot; a majority of one, in State executives and State legislatures are annu
ally repeating the same process within a more history to be the most glorious in arms, the limited sphere. The habit of universal travel most renowned in arts, the most celebrated in ling, and the practice of universal interchange of letters, the most useful in practice, and the most thought, are continually circulating the intelli- happy in the condition of the people, in which gence of the country, and augmenting its mass. the whole body of the citizens voted direct for The face of our country itself, its vast extent, its the chief officer of their country. Take the grand and varied features, contribute to expand history of that commonwealth which yet shines the human intellect, and to magnify its power. as the leading star in the firmament of nations. Less than half a century of the enjoyment of of the twenty-five centuries that the Roman liberty has given practical evidence of the great state has existed, to what period do we look for moral truth, that, under a free government, the the generals and statesmen, the poets and orapower of the intellect is the only power which tors, the philosophers and historians, the sculprules the affairs of men; and virtue and intelli- tors, painters, and architects, whose immortal gence the only durable passports to honor and works have fixed upon their country the admirpreferment. The conviction of this great truth ing eyes of all succeeding ages ? Is it to the has created an universal taste for learning and reigns of the seven first kings ?-to the reigns for reading, and has convinced every parent that of the emperors, proclaimed by the prætorian the endowments of the mind, and the virtues of bands ?-to the reigns of the Sovereign Pontiffs, the heart, are the only imperishable, the only chosen by a select body of electors in a conclave inestimable riches which he can leave to his of most holy cardinals? No-We look to none posterity.
of these, but to that short interval of four cen“ This objection (the danger of tumults and turies and a half which lies between the expulviolence at the elections) is taken from the his- sion of the Tarquins, and the re-establishment tory of the ancient republics ; from the tumultu- of monarchy in the person of Octavius Cæsar. ary elections of Rome and Greece. But the It is to this short period, during which the conjustness of the example is denied. There is no suls, tribunes, and prætors, were annually elected thing in the laws of physiology which admits a by a direct vote of the people, to which we look parallel between the sanguinary Roman, the ourselves, and to which we direct the infant volatile Greek, and the phlegmatic American. minds of our children, for all the works and There is nothing in the state of the respective monuments of Roman greatness; for roads, countries, or in their manner of voting, which bridges, and aqueducts, constructed; for victomakes one an example for the other. The Ro- ries gained, nations vanquished, commerce exmans voted in a mass, at a single voting place, tended, treasure imported, libraries founded, even when the qualified voters amounted to mil- learning encouraged, the arts flourishing, the lions of persons. They came to the polls armed, city embellished, and the kings of the earth and divided into classes, and voted, not by heads, humbly suing to be admitted into the friendship, but hy centuries. In the Grecian Republics all and taken under the protection, of the Roman the voters were brought together in one great people. It was of this magnificent period that city, and decided the contest in one great strug- Cicero spoke, when he proclaimed the people of gle. In such ass -mblages, both the inducement Rome to be the masters of kings, and the conto violence, and the means of committing it, were querors and commanders of all the nations of prepared by the government itself. In the Uni- | the earth. And, what is wonderful, during this ted States all this is different. The voters are whole period, in a succession of four hundred assembled in small bodies, at innumerable voting and fifty annual elections, the people never once places, distributed over a vast extent of country. preferred a citizen to the consulship who did not They come to the polls without arms, without carry the prosperity and the glory of the Reodious distinctions, without any temptation to public to a point beyond that at which he had violence, and with every inducement to harmony. found it. If heated during the day of election, they cool off “It is the same with the Grecian Republics. upon returning to their homes, and resuming Thirty centuries have elapsed since they were their ordinary occupations.
founded; yet it is to an ephemeral period of one “* But let us admit the truth of the objection. hundred and fifty years only, the period of popuLet us admit that the American people would lar elections which intervened between the disbe as tumultuary at their presidential elections, persion of a cloud of petty tyrants, and the as were the citizens of the ancient republics at coming of a great one in the person of Philip, the election of their chief magistrates. What king of Macedon, that we are to look for that then ? Are we thence to infer the inferiority galaxy of names which shed so much lustre upon of the officers thus elected, and the consequent their country, and in which we are to find the degradation of the countries over which they first cause of that intense sympathy which now presided? I answer no. So far from it, that I burns in our bosoms at the name of Greece. assert the superiority of these officers over all “ These short and brilliant periods exhibit the others ever obtained for the same countries, great triumph of popular elections ; often tueither by hereditary succession, or the most se- multuary, often stained with blood, but always lect mode of election. I affirm those periods of ending gloriously for the country. Then the
right of suffrage was enjoyed; the sovereignty the liberties of the people. They are not useful, of the people was no fiction. Then a sublime because they have no power over their own vote, spectacle was seen, when the Roman citizen and because the people can vote for a President advanced to the polls and proclaimed: 'I vote as easily as they can vote for an elector. They for Cato to be Consul ;' the Athenian, 'I vote are dangerous to the liberties of the people, befor Aristides to be Archon ;' the Theban, 'I cause, in the first place, they introduce extranevote for Pelopidas to be Beotrach ;' the Lace- ous considerations into the election of President; demonian, 'I vote for Leonidas to be first of and, in the second place, they may sell the vote the Ephori.' And why may not an American which is intrusted to their keeping. They incitizen do the same? Why may not he go up troduce extraneous considerations, by bringing to the poll and proclaim, I vote for Thomas their own character and their own exertions Jefferson to be President of the United States?' | into the presidential canvass. Every one sees Why is he compelled to put his vote in the hands this. Candidates for electors are now selected, of another, and to incur all the hazards of an not for the reasons mentioned in the Federalist, irresponsible agency, when he himself could im- but for their devotion to a particular party, for mediately give his own vote for his own chosen their manners, and their talent at electioneering. candidate, without the slightest assistance from The elector may betray the liberties of the peoagents or managers ?
ple, by selling his vote. The operation is easy, But, said Mr. Benton, I have other objec- because he votes by ballot; detection is impostions to these intermediate electors. They are sible, because he does not sign his vote; the the peculiar and favorite institution of aristocratic restraint is nothing but his own conscience, for republics, and elective monarchies. I refer the there is no legal punishment for his breach of Senate to the late republics of Venice and Genoa; trust. If a swindler defrauds you out of a few of France, and her litter; to the kingdom of dollars in property or money, he is whipped and Poland; the empire of Germany, and the Pon- pilloried, and rendered infamous in the eye of tificate of Rome. On the contrary, a direct the law; but, if an elector should defraud 40,000 vote by the people is the peculiar and favorite people of their vote, there is no remedy but to institution of democratic republics; as we have abuse him in the newspapers, where the best just seen in the governments of Rome, Athens, men in the country may be abused, as much as Thebes, and Sparta; to which may be added the Benedict Arnold, or Judas Iscariot. Every principal cities of the Amphyctionic and Achaian reason for instituting electors has failed, and leagues, and the renowned republic of Carthage every consideration of prudence requires them when the rival of Rome.
to be discontinued. They are nothing but “I have now answered the objections which agents, in a case which requires no agent; and were brought forward in the year '87. I ask no prudent man would, or ought, to employ an for no judgment upon their validity at that day, agent to take care of his money, his property, but I affirm them to be without force or reason or his liberty, when he is equally capable to in the year 1824. Time and EXPERIENCE have take care of them himself. so decided. Yes, time and experience, the only “But, if the plan of the constitution had not infallible tests of good or bad institutions, have failed--if we were now deriv ng from electors now shown that the continuance of the electoral all the advantages expected from their institusystem will be both useless and dangerous to tion—I, for one, said Mr. B., would still be in the liberties of the people, and that the only favor of getting rid of them. I should esteem effectual mode of preserving our government the incorruptibility of the people, their disinte
from the corruptions which have unulermined rested desire to get the best man for President, the liberty of so many nations, is, to confide to be more than a counterpoise to all the advanthe election of our chief magistrate to those tages which might be derived from the superior who are farthest removed from the influence intelligence of a more enlightened, but smaller, of his patronage; ** that is to say, TO THE and therefore, more corruptible body. I should WHOLE BODY OF AMERICAN CITIZENS !
be opposed to the intervention of electors, be“ The electors are not independent; they cause the double process of electing a man to have no superior intelligence; they are not left elect a man, would paralyze the spirit of the to their own judgment in the choice of President; people, and destroy the life of the election itself. they are not above the control of the people; on Doubtless this machinery was introduced into the contrary, every elector is pledged, before he our constitution for the purpose of softening the is chosen, to give his vote according to the will action of the democratic element; but it also of those who choose him. He is nothing but an softens the interest of the people in the result agent, tied down to the execution of a precise of the election itself. It places them at too trust. Every reason which induced the conven- great a distance from their first servant. It intion to institute electors has failed. They are terposes a body of men between the people and no longer of any use, and may be dangerous to the object of their choice, and gives a false di
rection to the gratitude of the President elected. * Report of a Committee of the House of Representatives He feels himself indebted to the electors who on Mr. McDuitio's proposition.
collected the votes of the people, and not to the
people, who gave their votes to the electors. It afterwards) General Pike inflamed this spirit, enables a few men to govern many, and, in time, and induced new adventurers to hazard the enit will transfer the whole power of the election into the hands of a few, leaving to the people terprise, only to meet the fate of their predecesthe humble occupation of confirming what has sors.
It was not until the Independence of been done by superior authority:
Mexico, in the year 1821, that the frontiers of “Mr Benton referred to historical examples to this vast and hitherto sealed up country, were prove the correctness of his opinion. “ He mentioned the constitution of the French
thrown open to foreign ingress, and trade and
The Republic, of the year III. of French liberty. intercourse allowed to take their course. The people to choose electors; these to choose State of Missouri, from her geographical posithe Councils of Five Hundred, and of Ancients; tion, and the adventurous spirit of her inhabitand these, by a further process of filtration, to
and choose the Five Directors. The effect was, that ants, was among the first to engage in it; the people had no concern in the election of the “Western Internal Provinces "—the vast their Chief Magistrates, and felt no interest in region comprehending New Mexico, El Paso del their fate. They saw them enter and expel Norte, New Biscay, Chihuahua, Sonora, Sinaloa, each other from the political theatre, with the and all the wide slope spreading down towards same indifference with which they would see the entrance and the exit of so many players on the Gulf of California, the ancient “Sea of Corthe stage. It was the same thing in all the subal-tez”-was the remote theatre of their courtern Republics of which the French armies were ageous enterprise—the further off and the less delivered, while overturning the thrones of Eu- known, so much the more attractive to their
rope. The constitutions of the Ligurian, Cisal: pine, and Parthenopian Republics, were all daring spirits. It was the work of individual
duplicates of the mother institution, at Paris; enterprise, without the protection or counteand all shared the same fate. The French con- ance of the government—without even its knowsular constitution of the year VIII. (the last ledge—and exposed to constant danger of life year of French liberty) preserved all the vices of the electoral system; and from this fact,
and property from the untamed and predatory alone, that profound observer, NECKAR, from savages, Arabs of the New World, which roamthe bosom of his retreat, in the midst of the ed over the intermediate country of a thousand Alps, predicted and proclaimed the death of miles, and considered the merchant and his Liberty in France. He wrote a book to prove that · LIBERTY WOULD BE RUINED BY PROVIDING
goods their lawful prey. In three years it had ANY KIND OF SUBSTITUTE FOR POPULAR ELEC- grown up to be a new and regular branch of inTIONS :' and the result verified his prediction interior commerce, profitable to those engaged in four years."
it, valuable to the country from the articles it carried out, and for the silver, the furs, and the inules which it brought back; and well entitled to the protection and care of the government. That protection was sought, and in the form
which the character of the trade required-a CHAPTER XVI.
right of way through the countries of the tribes
between Missouri and New Mexico, a road INTERNAL TRADE WITH NEW MEXICO. marked out and security in travelling it, stipula
tions for good behavior from the Indians, and a The name of Mexico, the synonyme of gold and consular establishment in the provinces to be silver mines, possessed always an invincible traded with. The consuls could be appointed charm for the people of the western States. by the order of the government; but the road, Guarded from intrusion by Spanish jealousy the treaty stipulations, and the substantial proand despotic power, and imprisonment for life, tection against savages, required the aid of the or labor in the mines, the inexorable penalty for federal legislative power, and for that purpose a every attempt to penetrate the forbidden coun- Bill was brought into the Senate by me in the try, still the dazzled imaginations and daring session of 1824–25; and being a novel and spirits of the Great West adventured upon the strange subject, and asking for extraordinary enterprise; and failure and misfortune, chains legislation, it became necessary to lay a founand labor, were not sufficient to intimidate dation of facts, and to furnish a reason and an others. The journal of (the then lieutenant, argument for every thing that was asked. I
produced a statement from those engaged in the books! no newspapers ! iron a dollar a pound ! trade, among others from Mr. Augustus Storrs, cultivating the earth with wooden tools! and late of New Hampshire, then of Missouri-a spinning upon a stick! Such is the picture of a
people whose fathers wore the proud title of gentleman of character and intelligence, very Conquerors ;” whose ancestors, in the time of capable of relating things as they were, and in- Charles the Fifth, were the pride, the terror, and capable of relating them otherwise; and who the model of Europe; and such has been the had been personally engaged in the trade. In power of civil and religious despotism in accom
plishing the degradation of the human species ! presenting his statement, and moving to have it to a people thus abased, and so lately arrived printed for the use of the Senate, I said : at the possession of their liberties, a supply of
merchandise, upon the cheapest terms, is the " This gentleman had been one of a caravan of least of the benefits to be derived from a comeighty persons, one hundred and fifty-six horses, merce with the people of the United States. The and twenty-three wagons and carriages, which consolidation of their republican institutions, had made the expedition from Missouri to Santa the improvement of their moral and social conFé (of New Mexico), in the months of May dition, the restoration of their lost arts, and the and June last. His account was full of interest development of their national resources, are and novelty. It sounded like romance to hear among the grand results which philanthropy of caravans of men, horses, and wagons, travers- anticipates from such a commerce. ing withr their merchandise the vast plain which "To the Indians themselves, the opening of a lies between the Mississippi and the Rio del road through their country is an object of vital Norte. The story seemed better adapted to Asia importance. It is connected with the preservathan to North America. But, romantic as it tion and improvement of their race.
For two might seem, the reality had already exceeded the hundred years the problem of Indian civilization visions of the wildest imagination. The journey has been successively presented to each generato New Mexico, but lately deemed a chimerical tion of the Americans, and solved by each in the project, had become an affair of ordinary occur same way. Schools have been set up, colleges
Santa Fé, but lately the Ultima Thule founded, and missions established; a wonderful of American enterprise, was now considered as success has attended the commencement of every a stage only in the progress, or rather, a new undertaking; and, after some time, the schools, point of departure to our invincible citizens. the colleges, the missions, and the Indians, hare Instead of turning back from that point, the all disappeared together. In the south alone caravans broke up there, and the subdivisions have we seen an exception. There the nations branched off in different directions in scarch of have preserved themselves, and have made a new theatres for their enterprise. Some pro- cheering progress in the arts of civilization. ceeded down the river to the Paso del Norte; Their advance is the work of twenty years. It some to the mines of Chihuahua and Durango, dates its commencement from the opening of in the province of New Biscay; some to Sonora roads through their country. Roads induced and Sinaloa, on the Gulf of California ; and separate families to settle at the crossing of some, seeking new lines of communication with rivers, to establish themselves at the best springs the Pacific, had undertaken to descend the west- and tracts of land, and to begin to sell grain ern slope of our continent, through the unex- and provisions to the travellers, whom, a few plored regions of the Colorado. The fruit of years before, they would kill and plunder. This these enterprises, for the present year, amounted imparted the idea of exclusive property in the to $190,000 in gold and silver bullion, and coin, soil, and created an attachment for a fixed resiand precious furs; a sum considerable, in itself, dence. Gradually, fields were opened, houses in the commerce of an infant State, but chiefly built, orchards planted, flocks and herds acquired, deserving a statesman’s notice, as an earnest of and slaves bought. Thé acquisition of these what might be expected from a regulated and comforts, relieving the body from the torturing protected trade. The principal article given in wants of cold and hunger, placed the mind in a exchange, is that of which we have the greatest condition to pursue its improvement. This, Mr. abundance, and which has the peculiar advantage President, is the true secret of the happy adof making the circuit of the Union before it vance which the southern tribes have made in departs from the territories of the republic - acquiring the arts of civilization; this has fitted cotton-which grows in the South, is manu- them for the reception of schools and missions ; factured in the North, and exported from the and doubtless, the same cause will produce the West.
same effects among the tribes beyond, which it “ That the trade will be beneficial to the has produced among the tribes on this side of inhabitants of the Internal Provinces, is a pro- the Mississippi. position too plain to be argued. They are a “The right of way is indispensable, and the people among whom all the arts are lost-the committee have begun with directing a bill to be ample catalogue of whose wants may be inferred reported for that purpose. Happily, there are from the lamentable details of Mr. Storrs. No no constitutional objections to it. State rights