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simply proving that the author has assigned no sufficient reason for the opinion he has advanced. The subject demands of us the still farther proof that his opinion is, in fact, erroneous, and that it cannot be sustained by any other reasons. In order to constitute “one people,” in a political sense, of the inhabitants of different countries, something more is necessary than that they should owe a common allegiance to a common sovereign. Neither is it sufficient that, in some particulars, they are bound alike, by laws which that sovereign may prescribe; nor does the question depend on geographical relations. The inhabitants of different islands may be one people, and those of contiguous countries may be, as we know they in fact are, different nations. By the term “people,” as here used, we do not mean merely a number of persons. We mean by it a political corporation, the members of which owe a common allegiance to a common sovereignty, and do not owe any allegiance which is not common; who are bound by no laws except such as that sovereignty may prescribe; who owe to one another reciprocal obligations; who possess common political interests; >k who are liable to *common political duties; and who can [*15] exert no sovereign power except in the name of the whole. Any thing short of this, would be an imperfect definition of that political corporation which we call “a people.” Tested by this definition, the people of the American colonies were, in no conceivable sense, “one people.” They owed, indeed, allegiance to the British king, as the head of each colonial government, and as forming a part thereof; but this allegiance was exclusive, in each colony, to its own government, and, consequently, to the king as the head thereof, and was not a common allegiance of the people of all the colonies, to a common head.* These colonial governments were clothed with the sovereign power of making laws, and of enforcing obedience to them, from their own people. The people of one colony owed no allegiance to the government of any other colony, and were not bound by its laws. The colonies had no common legislature, no common treasury, no common military power, no common judicatory. The people of one colony were not liable to pay taxes to any other colony, nor to bear arms in its defence; they had no right to vote in its elections; no influence nor control in its municipal government, no interest in its municipal institutions. There was no prescribed form by which the colonies could act together, for any purpose whatever; they were not known as “one people” in any one function of government. Although they were all, alike, dependencies of the British crown, yet, even in the action of the parent country, in regard to them, they were recognized as separate and distinct. They were established at different times, and each under an authority from the crown, which applied to itself alone. They were not even alike in their organization. Some were provincial, some proprietary, and some charter governments. Each derived its form of government from the particular instrument establishing it, or from assumptions of power acquiesced in by the crown, without any connexion with, or relation to, any other. They stood upon the same footing, in every respect, with other British colonies, with nothing to distinguish their relation either to the parent country or to one another. The charter of any one of them might have been destroyed, without in any manner affecting the rest. In point of fact, the charters of nearly all of them were altered, from time to time, and the whole character *of their governments changed. These changes were r, de in each colony for itself alon times by its [*16] Isla, colony elt alone, some y own action, sometimes by the power and authority of the crown; but never by the joint agency of any other colony, and never with reference to the wishes or demands of any other colony. Thus they were separate and distinct in their creation; separate and distinct in the forms of their governments; separate and distinct in the changes and modifications of their governments, which were made from time to time; separate and distinct in political functions, in political rights, and in political duties. The provincial government of Virginia was the first established. The people of Virginia owed allegiance to the British king, as the head of their own local government. The authority of that government was confined within certain geographical limits, known as Virginia, and all who lived within those limits were “one people.” When the colony of Plymouth was subsequently settled, were the people of that colony “one’’ with the people of Virginia? When, long afterwards, the proprietary government of Pennsylvania was established, were the followers of William Penn “one” with the people of Plymouth and Virginia? If so, to which government was their allegiance due 2 Virginia had a government of her own, Pennsylvania a government of her own, and Massachusetts a government of her own. The people of Pennsylvania could not be equally bound by the laws of all three governments, because those laws might happen to conflict; they could not owe the duties of citizenship to all of them alike, because they might stand in hostile relations to one another. Either, then, the government of Virginia, which originally extended over the whole territory, continued to be supreme therein, (subject only to its dependence upon the British crown,) or else its supremacy was yielded to the new government. Every one knows that this last was the case; that within the territory of the new government the authority of that government alone prevailed. How then could the people of this new government of Pennsylvania be said to be “one" with the people of Virginia, when they were not citizens of Virginia, owed her no allegiance and no duty, and when their allegiance to another government might place them in the relation of enemies of Virginia? In farther illustration of this point, let us suppose that some one of the colonies had refused to unite in the declaration of independence; what relation would it then have held to the others? Not having disclaimed its allegiance to the British crown, it would still have continued to be a British colony, sub[*17] ject to the authority of the parent *country, in all respects as before. Could the other colonies have rightfully compelled it to unite with them in their revolutionary purposes, on the ground that it was part and parcel of the “one people,” known as the people of the colonies? No such right was ever claimed, or dreamed of, and it will scarcely be contended for now, in the face of the known history of the time. Such recusant colony would have stood precisely as did the Canadas, and every other part of the British empire. The colonies, which had declared war, would have considered its people as enemies, but would not have had a right to treat them as traitors, or as disobedient citizens resisting their authority. To what purpose, then, were the people of the colonies “one people,” if, in a case so important to the common welfare, there was no right in all the people together, to coerce the members of their own community to the performance of a common duty 2 It is thus apparent that the people of the colonies were not “one people,” as to any purpose involving allegiance on the one hand, or protection on the other. What then, I again ask, are the “many purposes” to which the author alludes : It is certainly incumbent on him who asserts this identity, against the inferences most naturally deducible from the historical facts, to show at what time, by what process, and for what purposes, it was effected. He claims too much consideration for his personal authority, when he requires his readers to reject the plain information of history, in favor of his bare assertion. The charters of the colonies prové no identity between them, but the reverse; and it has already been shown that this identity is not the necessary result of their common relation to the mother , country. By what other means they came to be “one,” in any intelligible and political sense, it remains for the author to explain. If these views of the subject be not convincing, the author himself has furnished proof, in all needful abundance, of the incorrectness of his own conclusion. He tells us that, “though the colonies had a common origin, and owed a common allegiance, and the inhabitants of each were British subjects, they had no direct political connexion with each other. Each was independent of all the others; each, in a limited sense, was sovereign within its own territory. There was neither alliance nor confederacy between them. The assembly of one province could not make laws for another, nor confer privileges which were to be enjoyed or exercised in another, farther than they could be in any independent foreign state. As colonies they were also excluded from all connexion with foreign states. They were known only as dependencies, and they followed the [*18] fate of the parent country, *both in peace and war, without having assigned to them, in the intercourse or diplomacy of nations, any distinct or independent existence. They did not possess the power of forming any league or treaty among themselves, which would acquire an obligatory force, without the assent of the parent State. And though their mutual wants and necessities often induced them to associate for common purposes of defence, these confederacies were of a casual and temporary nature, and were allowed as an indulgence, rather than as a right. They made several efforts to procure the establishment of some general superintending government over them all; but their own differences of opinion, as well as the jealousy of the crown, made these efforts abortive.” The English language affords no terms stronger than those which are here used to convey the idea of separateness, distinctness and independence, among the colonies. No commentary could make the description plainer, or more full and complete. The unity, contended for by the author, nowhere appears, but is distinctly disaffirmed in every sentence. The colonies were not only distinct in their creation, and in the powers and faculties of their governments, but there was not even “an alliance or confederacy between them.” They had no “general superintending
* The resolutions of Virginia, in 1765, show that she considered herself merely as an appendage of the British crown; that her legislature was alone authorized to tax her; and that she had a right to call on her king, who was also king of England, to protect her against the usurpations of the British. parliament.
government over them all,” and tried in vain to establish one.
Each was “independent of all the others,” having its own legislature, and without power to confer either right or privilege beyond its own territory. “Each, in a limited sense, was sovereign within its own territory;” and to sum up all, in a single sentence, “they had no direct political connexion with each other l’” The condition of the colonies was, indeed, anomalous, if our author's view of it be correct. They presented the singular spectacle of “one people,” or political corporation, the members of which had “no direct political connexion with each other,” and who had not the power to form such connexion, even “by league or treaty among themselves.” This brief review will, it is believed, be sufficient to convince the reader that our author has greatly mistaken the real condition and relation of the colonies, in supposing that they formed “one people,” in any sense, or for any purpose whatever. He is entitled to credit, however, for the candor with