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the same rights all over the Union. The mechanic and the labourer do not remain unemployed in their native township, to establish their right to the poor's rates; for industry is not taxed in paying bounties to idleness. The landholders of England may quietly enjoy the obeisances of their pauper dependants, and pay in return their poor's rates. They may be assured, that the more equalized citizens of America are not ambitious of this interchange of benefits; and that the excess of public burdens has not yet rendered it customary for Americans to desert their own country, and to resort to France, on account of the cheapness of provisions.

The present state of North America affords the most conclusive testimony of the sound policy of a free and unrestricted trade. The United States allow commerce to regulate itself, according to its own interests, except in cases where the conduct of other nations imposes the necessity of following another course. Under legislative forbearance on this subject, the country has made unexampled progress in improvements and population. Under the jealous and illiberal government of Spain, Florida remains a contemptible province, that has scarcely a name amongst colonies. Under the fostering care and restrictions of England, Canada continues to be but a mere remnant of this great continent.

LETTER XV.

Outline of the American Constitution-From the frequency of Revolutions in Europe, the instability of the American Republic is not to be inferred.

Jeffersonville, Indiana,) Feb. 27, 1820.

THE Constitution of the United States is not that ephemeral erection, which the enemies of free government would represent it to be. Its fundamental principles may be partially traced through the modern theoretical maxims, and the ancient usages of England. This consideration, however, does not derogate from the wisdom of the founders of the Republic, who have so successfully availed themselves of the experience of other countries and other ages, in organizing the system; and maturing it by the most unremitting diligence through peace and war. A review of the progress of American politics, and of the reasonings which guided the patriotic legislators, would be a work of much interest. It would lay before us a large portion of the best abilities, and the most tried virtue of the country, engaged in inquiries conducive to the general interests of the nation. It would disclose at every important crisis a venerable assembly, which neither announced their proceedings as the greatest efforts of human ingenuity, nor assumed the lofty tone of an "omnipotent" legislature, but recurred to the will of their constituents for ratification, and, keeping a view to the future as well as to the present circumstances, provided the

means of revising and amending their decisions. It was in consequence of this philosophical mode of proceeding, that the present admirable fabric was gradually erected. It was thus that the declaration of independence of 1776, a temperate, but energetic manifesto, intimating the determination of the colonies to throw off the foreign yoke, was succeeded by the articles of confederation in 1778. This compact, although efficient in time of public danger, was, during the succeeding peace, found to be defective in not admitting the dignity and promptitude necessary to the general government, and not furnishing a sufficient guarantee for the permanence of the Union. Under the articles of confederation, each State retained the right of voting its own supplies for the common benefit, and to lay taxes on such articles as were found most convenient; also, to impose such imposts and duties on foreign trade as they thought proper. The amount of supplies furnished by each State was apportioned to the value of the lands, -a criterion that could never be applied with accuracy. In this state of things, the acts of Congress could in various cases be only complied with, through the intervention of thirteen separate State Assemblies. The power given to Congress to adjust the affairs of foreign relations, was rendered almost nugatory by the diversity of commercial regulations of separate States. It became possible, that a separate State might be at variance with a foreign nation, on affairs not at all interesting to the other members of the Union, and that internal discord might arise from opposite interests, rivalship in commerce, the distribution of territory, and a variety of other latent causes *. To avoid

*Those who would wish to have a collected view of the principles of this subject, may consult the Federalist, a collec

these inconveniences and dangers, the constitution was framed by a convention of delegates from the States, whose session ended on the 17th of September, 1787. A Congress was elected on the new establishment, and General Washington was unanimously appointed President in the succeeding year*.

The constitution vests the legislative power in a Congress, consisting of a House of Representatives, and a Senate, and the executive power in the President. The members of the House of Representatives are elected biennially by the people. Each State has at least one representative, and not more than one for every thirty thousand persons in it, and two Senators, who are elected by the state legislature, at intervals of six years, and are distributed into three classes, so that the seats of a third part of them are vacated biennially. The President, and Vice-President are elected for four years by the ballot of electors appointed by the legislatures of the States; the number of electors in each State being equal to that of the representatives and senators, whom the same state has a right to send to Congress.

Bills for raising revenue originate in the House of Representatives; and every bill that passes both tion of interesting essays on the new constitution, written in 1788, by Messrs. Hamilton, Jay, and Madison.

* Some pious observers of the occurrences of Providence, have remarked that the Spanish Armada, equipped for the invasion of Britain, was destroyed in the year 1588; that the Revolution in that country happened in 1688; and, in seeking for an event to mark the commencement of another century, it has been observed by the loyal in Britain, that his Majesty, George the Third, recovered from a most deplorable visitation in 1788. If there be any American descendants of Britain, who are pleased with a system of chronology that contemplates the great events of Providence as revolving in a centenarian orbit, they may also notice a corresponding occurrence in the consummation of their liberties in the otherwise memorable year 1788.

houses, must be presented to the President for his approbation. In the event of his disapproving of a bill, it must be returned to the house where it was originated, and if two thirds of the members of both houses agree, on re-consideration, to pass it, then the bill becomes a law. The President is commander-in-chief of the army, navy, and militia, and may in certain cases, grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States. With the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senate, he appoints ambassadors, and other public ministers, consuls, judges of the supreme court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not provided for by the constitution; but the Congress has the power of making future laws for vesting appointments in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments. The President may fill up vacancies in the Senate during recess, by granting commissions terminating at the end of next session. Whenever two-thirds of both houses deem it necessary, they shall propose amendments of the constitution; or shall call a convention for that, on the application of two-thirds of the state legislatures.

The duties and powers of the general government are concisely defined by the constitution, and may be expressed summarily, as embracing the subjects of commerce, finance, negociation, and war. All other objects are reserved, as falling under the jurisdiction of the separate state assemblies. These include local legislation, administration of justice between persons in the same states, and the supervision of agriculture.

Although it appears, that much care has been bestowed in drawing the line that separates the prerogatives of the general government, from those

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