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90. The Shire or County. This was an aggregation of hundreds. The head-man of the shire was at first styled the elderman or alderman ; afterwards the shire-reeve, or the sheriff, appeared as the special representative of the King. The shire-moot was rather a judicial than a political body. Mr. Green thus describes the latter forni of the shire-moot:
“The local knighthood, the yeomanry, the husbandmen of the county, were all represented in the crowd that gathered round the sheriff, as, guarded by his liveried followers, he published the King's writs, announced his demands of aids, received the presentment of criminals and the inquest of the local jurors, assessed the taxation of each district, or listened solemnly to appeals for justice, civil and criminal, from all who held themselves oppressed in the lesser courts of the hundred or the soke. . . In all cases of civil or criminal justice the twelve sworu assessors of the sheriff, as members of a class, though not formerly deputed for that purpose, practically represented the judicial opinion of the county at large. From every hundred came groups of twelve sworn deputies, the jurors through whom the presentments of the district were made to the royal officer, and with whom the assessment of its share in the general taxation was arranged.
91. The Kingdom of England.—The Saxon invaders founded many dominions in Britain ; in due time, these dominions were united into one kiugdom under the name of England, the completed union dating from the ninth century. This kingdom was composed of the shires or counties, and was governed by the King and his Council, which was a representative body consisting of the aldermen, the bishops, whose dioceses at first coincided with the shires, and the royal thegus, or nobles whom the King had created. The Council was called the Witenagemot, or Council of the Wise. From this simple government, the present imperial system of Great Britain was progressively developed. The council proper became the lawmaking authority, the King the law-executing authority. The single assembly became the two legislative houses, the House of Lords and the House of Commons, the one representing the aristocratic and the other the popular elements of the State. A wellknown statute in the 25th Edward I. declared that “no tallage or aid” (that is, tax) should be taken or levied without the good will and assent of Parliament, composing the archbishops, bishops, earls, barons, knights, burgesses, and other freemen of the land. In time the power to vote all supplies was expressly limited to the Commons. The power to decide certain cases at law that the King and Council at first possessed, passed to a cycle of courts, except that the House of Lords continued to retain a certain appellate jurisdiction. When this evolution was completed, the three functions of government had been committed to three separate branches or departments: the legislative to Parliament, the executive to the Crown, and the judicial to the Courts of Law. The Crown finally lost its veto on legislation; but about the time when the veto became obsolete, a practical working connection between the Legislature and the Executive was effected by meaus of the device called the Ministry, and sometimes the Administration and the Government. It is to be said, however, that all these lines had not been clearly drawu when the English Plantations were established.
1 History of ihe English People, I., 353.
92. The English System Free.-It will be seen that the Saxons established in England a free system of government. It was carried øn partly by the freemen themselves, and partly by their representatives. The King was not regarded as ruling by Divine right, but as the delegate of the nation. It combined therefore both democratic and republican elements. Time wrought its changes; the monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic elements varied in strength at different times; but the great features of the Saxon constitution were never lost, and the government progressively became the freest in the world.
93. Likeness of the Colonies to England.—This recital of facts shows how like the thirteen Colonies were to the parent state. With variations of detail, they all reproduced the political institutions of England ; and, save that they were not sovereign states, they were Erglands in miniature. The Town, County, and Mixed systems of local government were an outgrowth, under new conditions, of the local institutions of England. Their Legislative, Executive, and Judicial departments were copies of the Parliament, King, and Courts of England. The houses of representatives and the councils were the House of Commons and the House of Lords over again. In fact, in some of the Colonies the lower house was called the House of Commons. The people in England voted for members of the House of Commons only; and in the Colonies, with the exception of the two republican Colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Island, they voted only for members of the popular branch of the Legislature. An appointed Council had taken the place of the hereditary House of Lords, and an appointed Governor the place of the hereditary King. More men relatively exercised the right of suffrage in the Colonies than in England, but their suffrage did not directly affect, with the exceptions named, more departments of the government. Hence, the common statement that the Colonists came to America with 11ew political ideas cannot be true of governmental forms and processes. In this respect they brought nothing new and established nothing new. They wished to give the people more weight in conducting the gove ernment according to the old forms, and this they accomplished. Besides, they were more interested in enlarging their civil and religious rights than their political rights.
94. New Modes of Govern ent Rejected. At first some new modes of government, or at least modes unknown to the English people, were attempted. In Virginia the first local government was a despotism centered in the Council, limited only by the Company and the King in England. Plymouth and Massachusetts both tried democracy for a few years. Moreover government by commercial companies such as the charters of 1606 and 1620 contemplate, or by a benevolent association, as in Georgia, was foreign to the English mind and habit. The thoroughness with which these devices were swept away, and the uniformity and promptness with which forms and modes of government familiar to the people were established, show the strength of political habit. Perhaps, too, proprietary government would have gone with the others, only it was simple and easily understood, the proprietary being merely a lieutenant-king.
95. The Dual System. Circumstances, however, made one important departure from English precedent necessary. This was dual government, the double jurisdiction of the Crowu and the Colony. If the planters had not insisted upon being admitted to participation in public affairs, they would not have been Englishmen. If the King had not insisted upon extending his authority over the Plantations, he would have had no colonies. Mr. Bryce says the American of to-day has “two loyalties and two patriotisnus." His Colonial ancestors had them also. At Jamestown and Boston are found the roots of our federal system.
96. (The Governments Growths.—These well defined governments, although they conformed so closely to the English model, were not set up at given places or times. Like all really useful political institutions, they were progressively developed. Not one of the charters fully describes the government existing in the Colony organized under it. The Declaration of Independence charged the King with conspiring with others to subject the Colonies to a jurisdiction foreign to their constitution. This language relates to the Colonies collectively, as one. But the Colonies as one had no constitution in the sense that the United States have one to-day. They did, however, have a constitution in a wider and less definite sense. The forms of government transplanted from England; the rights and usages belonging to all Englishmen and expressly guaranteed to the Colonies,—these, modified by American conditions, made up the constitution that the King sought to overthrow.
97. English Colonies Compared With New Spain and New France.- Nothing could more clearly show the remarkable political genius of the English Colonists than such a comparison carefully wrought out. The Spanish and French colonies were established by patronage or power, and they were ruled in the spirit of absolutism by royal governors. They did not desire self-government; in fact, did not know what it is; and the more paternal the government became the more content they were. When Count Frontenac took steps in the direction of establishing municipal institutions at Quebec, Colbert, the great French minister, reproached him, saying:“ It is well for you to observe that you are always to follow, in the government of Canada, the forms in use here; and since our kings have long regarded it as good for their service not to convoke the States-General of the kingdom, in order, perhaps, to abolish insensibly this ancient usage, you on your part, should very rarely, or, to speak more correctly, never give a corporate form to the inhabitants of Canada. You should even, as the colony strengthens, suppress gradually the office of the syndic, who presents petitions in the name of the inhabitants ; for it is well that each should speak for himself, and no one for all."1 Political life is impossible under such a regime as this. The thirteen Colonies came up in a very different way; and, save in times of war, they were never so happy as when Crown and Parliament left them most severely alone.
1 Parkman : Count Frontenac, page 20.
NOTE.--Within a few years a disposition has been shown, and notably by M: Douglas Campbell (See "The Puritan in Holland, England, and America") to emphasize Dutch influence in the development of American institutions, largely to the exclusion of English influence. To repel the extreme claim that has been made, it is not necessary to deny Dutch influence altogether. A recent writer sums up the contention as follows:
"(1) It is claimed that America was influenced by Holland, because Holland exerted an influence over England. But it is evident that this particular line of influence, whatever it may have been, reached America through England. Little is said by these one-sided writers of any influence exerted by England over Holland. (2) It is claimed that because the Pilgrims and some of the early Puritans passed through Holland on their way to America, they were controllingly influenced by the Dutch. But there is practically an ignoring of the fact that these men had spent the greater part of their lives in England, and were by birth and blood Englishmen. (3) It is claimed that by means of commercial transactions, Holland and New Amsterdam influenced the social life of the Colonists. But the long and bitter hostility of the Colonists toward the Dutch is unmentioned. And the fact is left out of sight, that the main contact and commerce of the Colonies, down to the very last, was with England." Stevens: Sources of the Constitutiou, page 19
Celer than state
I. HISTORIES OF THE UNITED STATES. —Bancroft, Vols. II.-V, (The American Revolution in Five Epochs), Hildreth, Vols. II.,
III., Winsor, Vol. VI., particularly Crap. I., (The Revolution Impending); Pitkin, Chaps. VI.-IX.; Johnston, The U. S., III., IV.; Hart, Chap. III.
II. SPECIAL WORKS, ARTICLES, ETC.—Greene, Historical View of the American Revolution, I.; Goodloe, The Birth of the Republic (A Compilation of Documents); Johnston, Congress, Continental, and Declaration of Independence (in Lalor); Story, Book II., Chap. I.; Frothingham, Chaps. V.-XI.; Woodburn, Causes of the American Revolution (J. H. 17. Studies, Tenth Series, XII.); Curtis, History of the Constitution, Book I., Chaps. II., III.; Wilson, The State, XI.; Burke, Speech on Taxation of America, and Speech on Conciliation of America.
III. ENGLISH WRITERS.Smith, Goldwin, The United States, etc., Chaps. I., II.; Seeley, The Expansion of England, Course I., Leclure 8; Lecky, History of England in the Eighteenth Century, Chaps. XII., XVIII.; Green, History of the English People, Book IV., Chap. 11.
98. (Growth of the Colonies. At first this was slow, afterwards rapid. This growth included all the material and moral elements of power—territory, population, wealth, intelligence, and religion. In the war that transferred the French dominions on the continent east of the Mississippi to England, the Colonies were a prominent factor. Colony, which first meant a single feeble settlement on the seashore, now meant a vigorous and thriving commonwealth. The Virginia of 1775, for example, was no longer Jamestown, but a noble province that extended to the Ohio River, embracing many hundreds of plantations and containing half a million of people.