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the people can intervene only to do injury. In regard to these, save as to the organization of the courts, we needed no further legislation, and no further intervention of the legislator. The law had been settled from time immemorial, and only needed to be executed, and for its execution the executive and judiciary branches of the government sufficed. Least of all did we need the intervention of the popular element in the judgment of causes, especially in the shape of public opinion outside of the courts of law. The habit of appealing to the public on all occasions is so universal amongst us, and the practice of discussing all questions in public, and deciding them by a plurality of voices, has become so general, that nearly all manliness and independence of character have been lost amongst us. There is no country on earth where public opinion is so powerful and so intolerant as in these United States, or where men's souls are really so enslaved. It is not that dungeons and racks are prepared for the body, which were, after all, but a trifle, for it matters little what is done to the body if the soul be free; but it is that the mind itself, the very soul, is fettered and bound by the intangible tyrant called public sentiment. We do not dare act from principle, to follow the right from our own personal conviction, whether we go alone or with the crowd, but we are as a people continually asking, What will people say? We are so habituated to this, it has become so much a part of our American nature, that we regard it as the normal order of things, and are utterly blinded to the evils which spring from it, and the gross injustice it operates, and we little suspect its full influence in the administration of justice.
Whether there is any probability of correcting the evil, and excluding from our courts this outside influence, is more than we know. Certain it is that matters are growing worse and worse every day. The rage for innovation is so strong, and the tendency to sweep away all the guaranties of individual rights is so irresistible, we have gone so far, and are going with such an ever-increasing celerity, in a wrong direction, that we see little prospect of things becoming better. As long as radicalism confined itself to the constitution of power and the financial concerns of the country, and let the law, the courts, and the administration of justice alone, we could suffer it to go on, without any vital injury to personal liberty ; but now that it makes these the special objects of its care and solicitude, we see no hope for the country but in its conversion, which depends on God, not on man. The whole tendency we deplore results inevitably froin Protestantism, which destroys the conservative influence of religion, by subjecting it to popular control. Protestantism, instead of being able to resist the evil tendency, and recall the people to a just public sentiment, must itself yield to that tendency, and be, as we every day see it, carried away with it. In fact, there is no human help for us, and if God does not in his providence specially intervene to save us from our own madness, the country will ere long lapse into barbarism,
Our political parties might do something if they would, but they can do nothing so long as they all profess to be democratic. Democracy is a stronger word here than Constitution, and the term cannot now be generally adopted except in its Jacobinical sense. If all parties accept it, then all parties will only conspire to strengthen the destructive tendency we have pointed out. Properly there are but two parties in the country, conservatives or constitutionalists, and destructives or radicals. The free-soil party is an organization of the latter; and those not incorporated into that party should lay aside the name of Whig and Democrat, two names which refer to the constitution of government, and inappropriate here, because here government is already constituted, and rally around the constitution as a true conservative party, both in regard to the general government and the state governments. Were they to do so, the evil could be arrested. But they will not do so; old party animosities, personal rivalries, and petty jealousies will prevent them from doing so. Things will go on as they have been going, and those of us who sound the note of warning will be unheeded, laughed at, or denounced, while the multitude will continue to boast of the wisdom and progress of the age and country
Be it so. We have done our duty as a loyal American citizen in pointing out the evil, and the great body of our Catholic brethren will do theirs, we trust, and the responsibility must rest, where it belongs, on those who have the power, and only abuse it.
POLITICS AND POLITICAL PARTIES.
[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for October, 1852.)
It is not so easy to comprehend American politics, and to form a tolerable judgment of the respective merits or demerits of the two great political parties which have divided, or now divide, the country, as many of our learned newspaper editors appear to imagine. We live under a coinplicated political system,-a general government for certain specified purposes, and state governments for all the remaining purposes of government. Under one aspect we are one independent national sovereignty, with only a single government; under another, we are thirty-one independent sovereignties, with thirty-one independent governments. Foreigners, and even many native-born citizens, are very liable to mistake the mutual relation of the Union and the states, and to assume that the general is in all respects the supreme government of the country, and that the states are only prefectures or subordinate governments, dependent on the Union, deriving their powers from it, and instituted by it for the purposes of local administration. But such is not the case. The general government, both in law and in fact, is subsequent to the states, and in all respects their creature, It derives its existence, its constitution, and all its powers from them, not they theirs from it.
The two governments, again, rest on different bases, and demand different rules for the construction of their respective powers. The general government is founded by the states, originates in compact, and has only the powers expressed in the compact, and such incidental powers as are necessary to their exercise. The state governments originate in that social necessity in which all governments, in the last analysis, originate, and hold under the law of nature, or more properly, under the law of God, from which all human governments derive their legitimacy, their legal powers, or their right to command and to coerce obedience. They have all the rightful powers of government not denied them by their own constitutions or expressly delegated to the Union. The general government, before acting, must inquire whether the power it proposes to exercise has been granted; the state government, before exercising a power, has only to inquire whether it has been forbidden.
The state governments have a character of their own, as republican, democratic, aristocratic, free states or slave states; the general government has no character of its own, and takes whatever character it has from the states creating it. It is not necessarily democratic or aristocratic, in favor of popular freedom or opposed to it. True, congress is bound to guaranty to each state a republican constitution ; but whether the guaranty is to the Union that each state shall be republican, or a guaranty of the Union to each state of a republican constitution, if such be its choice, may perhaps be a question. If the latter interpretation be admissible, the states may, if they choose, adopt the monarchical form of government, and the Union be thus a union of monarchical instead of simple republican states, without any change in its own character or constitution. But if this interpretation, as generally held, and most likely correctly held, be inadmissible, and it is obligatory on every state to adopt and maintain the republican form of government, still no state is bound to adopt a democratic constitution. A republican government does by no means necessarily imply a democratic government. Rome was a republic, but it was never a democracy; Venice was a republic, but it was an aristocracy, nearly, if not quite, an oligarchy; Switzerland and Holland were both republics at the time of our revolution, but neither showed any inclination to a democracy. France, while we are writing, is a republic, but the whole positive power of the nation is vested in the prince-president, and the people have, even with universal suffrage, only a qualified negative on the acts of government, similar in its nature, though not in its form, to the tribunitial veto under the republican constitution of ancient Rome. ACcording to the usage of writers on government at the time the federal constitution was framed and adopted, a republican government is any government without a king or emperor. Under any interpretation of the constitution, then, the states have reserved to themselves the right to adopt any form of government not monarchical. They may vest the whole power of the state in an hereditary aristocracy, in the class of rich men, of poor men, in two or more classes combined, or governing as separate estates, or they may vest it in the whole people, whether noble or ignoble, learned or unlearned, rich or poor, and whichever they do the gor
ernment will be republican, and perfectly compatible both with the letter and the spirit of the constitution of the Union.
Political parties, consequently, under our system, are to be considered in a twofold relation,-in relation to the general government, and in relation to the state governments, or, as we may say, to government in general. The two relations have no necessary dependence on one another. The principles and policy of a party in relation to the constitution and administration of the general government do not necessarily determine its principles and policy in relation to the constitution and administration of the state governments, nor the principles and policy of a party with regard to the latter determine its principles and policy with regard to the former. The terms republican, democratic, aristocratic, when applied to the general government, have no meaning, as the terms federalist and state rights have no meaning when applied to the several state governments. A national democratic party is under our system an absurdity, for all the questions which pertain to the constitution of government in general are reserved to the several state gov. erninents. Questions of aristocracy, of democracy, oligarchy, of liberty or slavery, universal or restricted suffrage, social equality, and the like, belong to a party as a state party, not as a federal or national party. To a national party can belong only such questions as relate to the respective powers of the general and state governments, to foreign policy, to commerce, finance, national defence, and the general welfare of the Union. It would save some confusion, and many serious mistakes, if the two classes of questions were kept distinct, and parties were considered separately in relation to each, and not as necessarily right or wrong in regard to the one because right or wrong in regard to the other.
The parties in this country were at first, after the revolution, named in reference to the general government. From 1787 to 179S, they were named Federalists and AntiFederalists; from 1798 to 1820, Federalists and Republicans; from 1820 to 1824, Republicans only; from 1827 to 1832, National Republicans and simply Republicans or Democratic Republicans; from 1832 to the present time, the two great leading parties have been called Whigs and Democrats. Here the only party names in use since 1798 at all applicable to a national party, or a party in regard to the Union, are Federalist, and perhaps Whig. The other names