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ever be conscious of having omitted a most solemn and important duty. On the other hand, the condemned murderer having violated the dearest right of a fellow man in taking his very life, is placed beyond the pale of those motives which induced the rescue of the drowning man, and instead of having help he is gibbetted without remorse and receives only the commisseration of the surrounding multitude.
Upon these and like considerations it is at once seen how well applied the word compact is to the social code. But there is another view which illustrates the difference between the social and all other compacts. In the every day intercourse of life, in all our social relations, it is absolutely essential, both to the existence of society and the realization of our common ideas of justice, that a very considerable degree of confidence must be reposed by every man in his neighbor. There are a vast number of natural or social laws which look to the opinion of society alone for their execution and these go to make up the social code or compact. And the great difference between this and all other compacts is that in this there is a degree of obligation beyond the reach of all arbitrary or conventional law, and can only be enforced by the public opinion of society as developed in the social intercourse of the community; while in all others this involuntary obligation is not the grand essential element, but conventional law is sufficient to enforce the contract. The penalty of violating a great international law, or the severity of the civil code may ensure the strictest observance of a compact between the parties to which there is no confidence or sense of moral obligation what
It is true, in the progress of civilization, it has become the duty of legislatures to “provide for special cases, to establish certain forms, and to fix according to rules founded upon experience the effects of each promise;" but legislation can do no
The law may require a certain ceremony before marriage but it is an obligation beyond the reach of all human law that alone can effect the observance of the contract. The law may give the parent ample authority over the child and require the strictest filial obedience, yet it is purely that engrafted principle of our nature, which is refined by our social intercourse, and
guarded by the public sentiment of mankind, which forces the wild, turbulent, and impetuous youth to regard the commands of his feeble and helpless old mother. Like these are those sentiments which bind men to their country and convert the mere citizen of yesterday into the brave patriot of to-day. Like these are those noble principles of allegiance and loyalty which draw the faithful subject closer and still closer to the side of his sovereign as adversity, danger and perplexity gather in sombre gloom over his State. Like these are those startling impulses of reckless daring which hurry men through the hazards of the bloodiest field for the romantic honor of a flag, or light up the torches of a Moscow for the expulsion of a conquering foe. Like these, in short, are all the ties and principles of the social compact-immutable, unalterable and far above the mere drudgery of obedience to laws and observance of promises, which only at great risk we can venture to violate. In fine, we must understand by the social compact not a mere regular agreement in which all the individuals of the community have assembled together, and given their hand and seal as gages of their acquiescence--but a system of obligations, recognitions of right and establishments of duty, which has thrust itself upon mankind independently of, and even in spite of arbi
The word “Sovereign " has perhaps more than any other been indiscriminately misapplied by political writers. It is that which at this day should be most thoroughly understood, at least in this country. The “sovereign" means the source from which all acknowledged political power emanates. Sovereignty is, humanly speaking, supreme power. A power from which there is no appeal-over which there is no supervisor—and between which and another there is no arbiter. Every community having within itself supreme power, together with the other essentials enumerated, has already been described as a State, but since the commencement of the American Revolution, the term “Sovereign State,” has got into common use, as though a State, properly speaking, could be otherwise than sovereign. “Free, sovereign and independent” State, means nothing more than the simple word State. They are beautiful pre-fixtures to be sure, and were
copiously used, as they now are, to impress upon men's minds the fact, that what were once King George's Provinces, have now become States, and are, in consequence, free, sovereign and independent. They are not necessary, and only objectionable on the ground that their use would seem to imply the existence of States which are not free, sovereign and independent, just as the expression, cold, frozen ice, would induce the enquiry, whether there was any ice which is not cold and frozen. Sovereignty, abstractly speaking, is that power by virtue of which a community “may adopt whatever laws it pleases for the regulation of its domestic concerns, and as to its external relations, is not bound to acknowledge any superior.” The result of civilization and Christianity is a wholesome tempering of this supreme power, and States are now considered as “having duties to perform, as well as rights to enforce, and are bound to the observance of the great principles of justice, which are applicable to the relations which subsist between each nation and its own subjects, and between each nation and every other nation."
In States like ours, where the supreme power is in the hands of the franchised men-the people—and which are significantly called popular sovereignties in contradistinction to monarchies, the people have the inalienable right to exercise supreme power over themselves and whatever belongs to them, without responsibility, under the limitations mentioned above, to any other people. Such exercise of power cannot rightfully be questioned, unless it occasions manifest injury to the people or government which undertakes to question it; and in such an event there is no common arbiter, for all sovereigns are equal, from the very nature of their existence, and inasmuch as there is no earthly power superior to any. And this brings us to the consideration of the abuses of the word which so many have fallen into.
We constantly hear of “domestic sovereignty” and “foreign sovereignty,” the sovereignty of government, and even of government being partly sovereign and partly not. These errors all flow from a mistaken notion of the attributes of supremacy-from the idea that sovereignty is a thing capable of subdivision and qualification. Sovereignty must, from its very nature, be indivisible.
It is true, powers must be delegated in trust to governments for the preservation and development of society, but we must not forget, they are delegated for certain purposes only, and are not taken from the sovereign, the great source of all legal power. So far from these being a division of sovereignty, the delegated powers remain under the immediate supervision of the sovereign, and revert back whenever the term for which the agency was granted has expired, the purposes have failed to be accomplished, or, in any other case, under the circumstances of which, the sovereign sees fit to recall them.
But it is not even optional whether the supreme power in States shall be indivisible. It would be as idle to attempt to demonstrate the propriety of separating a man's heart from his lungs in order that he may live and be better for it, as to attempt to show how sovereignty can exist in fractional parts. The very supposition of a division is irreconcilable with the meaning of supreme power. How can anything be supreme which is not complete, and how can anything be complete which is divided ? Besides, if a division is possible who is to set limits to it? We have seen, and our senses admonish us, that all sovereigns stand upon a footing of perfect equality ; and we must remember, if sovereignty can be divided in one respect it can be in another. If one part can be sundered forever so can another, and if two parts can be taken away and the sovereign continue upon the same footing of equality with those whose parts have not been taken away, there is no reason why a third part could not be lopped off and the equality be still preserved. This process may be continued till all the other parts are gone except one and the result would be a State with but one part of sovereignty equal to others which have all the parts, or again : Let us suppose a State to have divided its supreme power into two equal parts with the same care and precision that a yankee fisherman would divide one of his mackerel in the curing process. Whatever becomes of one half, the other remaining with the State, continues equal with those which are entire. But suppose the other half given to a company of men. Since one half is always equal to the other, this company must be as sovereign as the State. But we have just seen, upon the es
tablished principle of equality between States, that this State, with its half sovereign, is equal to all others, and since “ things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other,” and we have the company equal to the State, and the State equal to all other States, it follows, the company is equal to any State in Christendom-a
-a proposition quite as absurd to the political reasoner, as it would be to the fisherman that his half mackerel is equal to any of the whole ones he has in his assortment. But the absurdity would not end with having two parts, each equal to the whole. By the same process these halves may be divided into quarters, the quarters into eighths, and so on, ad infinitum, until the unprecedented result is attained—an infinite number of parts each equal to the whole. The idea of divisibility is thus clearly reduced to an absurdity, and it follows thence that no part of sovereignty can be taken from a State without annihilating the equality it had, virtually divesting it of its entire sovereignty. In short sovereignty is indivisible.
It was the result of this conviction when Alexander Hamilton declared, in the Federal Convention, “ Two sovereignties cannot co-exist within the same limits," and when Governor Morris, before the same body, said, “In all communities there must be one supreme power, and one only.” Mr. Calhoun says, “ There is no difficulty in understanding how powers, appertaining to sovereignty, may be divided, and the exercise of one portion delegated to one set of agents, and another to another; or how sovereignty may be vested in one man, or in a few, or in many. But how sovereignty itself—the supreme power—can be divided, how the people of the several States can be partly sovereign and partly not sovereign-partly supreme and partly not supreme, it is impossible to conceive. Sovereignty is an entire thing—to divide is to destroy it.” Rousseau goes a step further: “La souveraineté ne peut être representée, par la même raison qu'elle ne peut être alienée; elle consiste essentiellement dans la volonté generale, et la volonté ne se represente point : elle est la même, ou elle est autre; il n'y a point de milieu. Les deputés du peuple ne sont donc point ses representans, ils ne sont que ses commissaires ; ils ne peuvent rien conclure definitivement. Toute loi que le peuple en personne