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A man


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judgment and their vote. A very in all other cases where he acts of-
singular spectacle in truth, such a ficially.
legislature would present. The on- Our course of argument, if true,
ly point at issue, between a member overthrows the doctrine of instruc-
from Connecticut and one from Ten- tion in all its forms. The extreme
nessee, is regarding the wishes of of this doctrine alone wears the look
each other's constituents. Each of principle, and will be adopted by
knows the views and desires of his right-minded men who are led astray
own state or district infinitely better by wrong theories. Its more com.
than the other; and yet each must mon shape is that of a mongrel be-
stoutly contend that on this point, tween the two theories which we
where politicians have almost an un- have been considering.
erring instinct, the other is under a must obey explicit instructions, it is
mistake; and that he himself, though said ; but when they are not given,
living a thousand miles off, is better may presume that he is allowed to
informed with regard to the wishes follow the dictates of his own rea-
of a community, than the other, who It was with reference to this
by the supposition has his office on- view that we observed, that the mode
ly that he may convey those wishes by which the popular will is discov.
to Congress. Truly a silent vote is ered makes no difference, provided
the only fit one for a body such as it is the ground of duty.

. A “gag law” ought to be car- add the more general and fundamen. ried out physically upon their per tal remark, that if a man takes the sons; and the one hour" of speak. place of his constituents, he is bound ing by rule should be shortened six- in all cases to do what they would ly minutes.

be bound to do,—to act according And it may be fairly doubted, to his best judgment as to the public whether even on constitutional ques- good; and that thus the doctrine of tions, there can be an opening for instruction in all its aspects must be debate in such an assembly. For thrown to the winds. although its members may be bound In this way we can hope to have by oath" to support the constitution,” good legislators, men who will see still they may reasonably ask them the right and pursue it; but the othselves whether these words intend er theory looks like a device to throw the constitution as they, or as their conscience overboard, and to free constituents understand it. If their bad lawgivers and corrupt constitumain duty is the one supposed, and encies from all sense of guilt. It is if the constitution was formed by a scheme to transfer responsibility those who supposed so; it may be from those who are qualified to feel presumed that the private judgment it, who have had all sides of a mea. of the representatives was not thought sure held up before them during a of, and that they were considered debate, to those who can not and as mere instruments, like ministers should not feel responsible. The of a sovereign, appointed to express two parties are placed in a position the constitutional interpretations, as something like that of the two thieves well as to carry out the measures of in the fable. The representative their masters. The oath can have knows what is for the best, but is two meanings, and that meaning is not bound to vote for it; the constitto be preferred which takes away uents have not the same means of the burden of deciding constitu- judging, and yet bear all the weight tional points from the representa of obligation. A great deal of hu. tive, because on the supposition, man guilt would be prevented by a he is freed under the constitution like ingenious process applied in othfrom following his own judgment er cases.


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If our principles are sound, a re- take no pledge whatever. He was presentative may not pledge himself we believe dropped for this answer; beforehand to a particular course, being too good now to serve a party nor promise to obey instructions, nor that heard him nominated with apactually obey them when given, un plause. less they are intrinsically right. Gentlemen who hold to the duty We do not say,—and we beg those of obeying instructions, often resign who may read what we write in a rather than perform it. But upon captious spirit to notice this,-that their principles such conduct is veinstructions may not be given and ry strange and inconsistent. Why ought not to be respected. If they should they resign? Ought they to are regarded only in the light of ad- avoid doing what they own to be vice and of an expression of opin. right, because it is unpleasant? Can ion, they may be useful. If they there be any thing dishonorable in are looked on as mere wishes, they doing one's duty, in acting on prin. are not to be thrown away; for it is ciples which one has received long one part of legislation, though a mi- since, and perhaps used much to the nor one, to gratify the wishes of par. annoyance of an antagonist? Such ticular sections, when they interfere a representative too, should bethink with no greater good. But assur- himself of the wide range of the edly an honest man ought never to services he may render to his conpromise to vote in one way, when stituents : he has a larger sphere to the result of deliberation may be to act in, than a man has who feels convince him that the very opposite that he must look at the public good is the right one. Still less ought he in his vote. He can represent all to bind himself in a general way to parties and all combinations of opinobey his constituents, for he ihus ion as they happen to be uppermost. multiplies the probabilities that he He can be the “ jack on both sides,” will give a wrong vote, and admits and stay with the strongest until its a most hurtful principle. It becomes game is out; and all this in obediall good men to resist the spread of ence to a principle that binds his the doctrine of instruction, which conscience. Happy man, in whom was formerly confined to our south- the love of office and duty thus harern states, but which has of late be. moniously unite, and permit him, in gun to travel northward during these the course of “one revolving moon" times of shifting majorities and of perhaps, to say aye and no upon any party bitterness, owing to the facili. proposition whatsoever. But we fear ly with which it enables each newly that those who resign rather than victorious party to obliterate the tra. obey, have an obscure feeling that ces of its fallen rival. We admi- they thus avoid a degrading situared the course of a distinguished tion, or entertain a suspicion that lawyer of New York, when held up they can not obey without losing the for the state senate a year and a respect of upright men. They now half

ago. He was called upon to begin to be sensible that a man of pledge himself to vote, if elected, far-reaching views and long experiin favor of the system pursued byence is not wanted where any one the public school society, and against who can vote would do just as well; that which the Catholics desired. and that a man of great talent is He replied that his present opinion meanly employed in doing that to accorded with the proposed pledge, which a man of no talent is equal. but that as he would be, if chosen, If so, we respect them for their ho. a member of a deliberative body, norable feeling, and we receive with where he might hear reasons that thankfulness the light their conduct would alter his persuasion, he could throws on the subject before us; but



we also maintain that they are most gest views which they oppose, or inconsistent and most unjustifiable argue with them in his communicain declining to do an admitted duty. tions, they will suspect him of a dis

The tendency of the doctrine of obedient spirit, and perhaps remove instruction must now appear to be, him to put a more pliant man in his even in its most qualified forms, that place. Thus the few honest men of degrading a legislative assembly. that might remain in such an assemIt is not easy to see why men of bly would leave it, and be succeed. ability should wish to sit in a body ed by those who would not dare to upon which eloquence and argument rebuke or give advice, who would are wasted; where they can not ex- sit quiet spectators of the mistakes pect to persuade and ought not them of their employers, anxious only to selves to be persuaded. Upright avoid their wrath. It would be idle men, again, will not be returned, if to speculate upon the ultimate effect they hold the principle for which we on political institutions, when this have been contending. There re- principle had had its perfect work: main then only the second rate po- the probability is that a new wheel liticians, with a part of the weaker would be added to the machine, rensort of honest men, to compose a dering it only more complex ; that house, the proceedings of which may a body constituting itself the peoaffect the civil interests of millions ple's representatives, would meet in and the relations of a country to the caucus to decide what measures the world beside. And is this the place people should approve and what confrom which intelligence or upright- demn; and that thus, in the place ness ought to be driven? Such a of one body gathered in the center body would not probably long have with the ability to compare and adthe power to do great good or evil. just the interests of the whole nation, There is an inconsistency between would arise in every quarter knots its capacity and the constitutional of local politicians, who, if honest, powers left to it, which would make could not have looked beyond the itself felt. Or penalties might rea- bounds of their own horizons. sonably come in to prevent disobe. And how widely do the two theodience to instructions ; for surely the ries separate from one another, judge is no more justly impeached when viewed with reference to a and punished for a breach of his whole country. To the man who main duty, to decide according to feels bound to pursue the public law, than the representative would good, it is no matter who elects be for violating his chief obligation him ; he feels that his duties have a to express by his vote the popular permanent form. It is the same to will for the present time. And, him, whether he is chosen by a diswith this, clear specific instructions trict or by a general ticket, or must be written out to guide the whether the whole union should whole course of the representative. choose all its representatives in a He certainly would have a right to body. In all cases, he regards himdemand them, lest he might be pun self as the representative of the ished for mistakes as if they were whole nation ; appointed indeed to misdemeanors. Freighted with doc. take care of the interests of a certain uments which revealed to him his section, but still bound-as the secduty, his great aim would be to make tion itself is bound—to make those himself master of their contents; interests yield to more important and if doubts or new cases arose, ones, when they are inconsistent. the constituents must again be con- He perceives that in his person and sulted and relieve him from his em- that of his fellow representatives, barrassment. If he venture to sug- the country virtually meets together;


that there is no other place where system of parties as at present carthe interests of all can be compared ried out in practice ; under which and adjusted ; and that to make so the majority who choose the represacred a body, created to promote sentative, are his only constituents; the common good, powerless it may the party arrange the measures for be in that respect, and only pow. the state or country; the members erful to carry out the selfish plans of the party in the district are drag. of a petty district, is to poison legis- ged into those measures by force ; lation at its source. This being his and the representative himself is temper, his ear is not closed to any like the men in some armies, who suggestions that may come from are chained together to fight for any quarter, east, west, or south; their masters. and as his pledge is not given to Nor is it of any use to say, that oppose the best measures, he can by the doctrine of instruction you view every proposition with candor obtain representatives who will not and accept of it freely. The peo- be faithless to the interests of their ple too, feeling that this is the aim constituents. For whether they are of legislation, will select men who pledged or not, the fact still concan best secure the public weal, tinues the same, that they can vote men who have looked abroad over on which side they please, and unthe whole of the country, who un- der the influence of any kind of derstand every interest, and most motives. The impulse to follow clearly those of their constituents. the wishes of one's constituents, is

They will be confident that such surely stronger in ordinary cases men will not deceive them, nor than any other; and many a man, basely sacrifice their substantial wel, who has discarded the doctrines of fare. And they will soon find out obedience to them, has obeyed them that the good of all the parts is so in practice even against the conviclinked together, that their represen- tions of his own judgment. The tative, who seeks that good and se- possibility now remains on the one cures it, will secure their own. hand, that men professing to have

But upon the other theory, unless the highest interests of the whole the interests of all the districts shall country in view, will act from base be seen obviously to coincide, there motives, when they disregard the can be no broad or generous legis. interests of their constituents; and lation. Until the selfish interests on the other, that men who promise of the parts, by some magical sys- to mind their constituents in all tem of balances, shall turn into the things, will desert their cause for good of the whole ; until then will a the sake of filthy lucre or of office. country under such lawgivers, fail If what we have said above is true of prosperity and true progress. A respecting the kind of representakind of feudal principle will pre tives which the two theories in quesvail over the principles of free re- tion would bring into legislative as. publics, to keep the parts in a state semblies, there can not be much of isolation, and split that into frag. doubt on which side the greater evil ments whose excellence consists in would lie. being undivided. The nearest ap.

The principle which we have been proach to an enlarged system possi. advocating, but not the opposite one, ble under such a theory, is that of can be reconciled with the provis. log-rolling, as it is significantly ions of the Constitution. This incalled; which has tended to burden strument does not indeed, in express some of the United States with use. words, set forth the relation which less public works, ruinous expenses, it regards the representative as holdand disgrace; or the still worse ing. Our argument from it can only


reach the point of showing, that the argued, that they who receive such practice of obedience to constituents a power become obligated to use it ; tends to results certainly not looked that, as it requires the highest judgfor by the constitution, and is op- ment and oftentimes a disregard of posed to its spirit, so far as can be local interests, they are bound to argued from the analogies of other act accordingly? And which is provisions. We will give the con- most consistent with the spirit of an siderations which have occurred to instrument which was framed for us, without much regard to order. union and for the general welfare, It is expressly provided, that the to keep that welfare in view as the members of neither house shall be most important thing in every vote, questioned in any other place for or to keep it in view only when the any speech or debate. (Art. I, sect. selfish wishes of the parts do not 6.) But if so plain a thing as obe- oppose ? Our position again redience to the express will of con- ceives some support, from the disstituents is a duty, resulting from cretionary and advisory power of the only true theory of government, the President. This officer being the opposite is a crime and ought chosen by a majority of the people, to be punished as such by statutes, is bound according to the princiand not, as now, simply by the loss ples of the doctrine of instruction, of public favor.

Such a

so far as his relations to legislation tends too, to change the term of are concerned, * equally with the office allowed under the constitu- representatives, to obey the voice tion. And this it does the more of the people in every measure. effectually, because the same reason But when he is required “ to recomwhich requires obedience from the mend to the consideration of Conrepresentative during his office, will gress such measures as he shall more imperatively call on him to judge necessary and expedient,” it lay down his office if the people of is no doubt presumed, that he will his district should so wish. And afterwards also judge concerning hence, every oscillation of the ma- the necessity and expediency of jority, every change of a few voices, measures, when they are presented which in these days, like the clouds, to him for his sanction; that is, that are banked up and scattered by he will accept or reject them, as he alternate blasts of wind, must re- shall think the public good demands. quire a resignation and a new elec. (Art. I, sect. 7.) And so much tion. The constitution again allows weight is given to his objections, the two houses to place themselves that he has the questionable power in a situation where they can neither of impeding legislation by his veto; consult or guess at the will of the nay, in most cases, of preventing it people, by permitting secret ses. altogether. sions and the suppression of such We believe that this principle is parts of their journals, as in their distinctly recognized in the constijudgments may require secrecy. tutions of some of the states, but we (Art. I, sect. 5.) Why should it have no leisure to enquire whether increase or even make insurmount- this is really the case. It is rather able, the difficulty of finding out amusing, that when one party in that, upon which the duties of legis- one of the houses of the legislature lators depend ? It gives Congress also the power to “provide for Though the President has no legisthe general welfare of the United Jative power according to the constituStates,” (Art. I, 8,) within certain tion, (Art. !, sect. 1,) there can be no law

without him ; and that, as a judging, limits, which it attempts distinctly reflecting person, (Art. I, sect. 7,) not to mark out. May it not be fairly as a formality. Vol. I.


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