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a sense of duty, it is uncharitable and unjust to ascribe his actions to unworthy motives.
We turn with satisfaction from the contemplation of such a character, however much we may admire his intellectual powers, and however grateful we may be to him for his gifts to the cause of science, to one, whose mental abilities were much inferior, but whose moral character was above reproach. Lord Coke, we are free to admit, was penurious, a failing which was more excusable then, when preferment and influence depended so much on the possession of wealth, than it would be now. He was harsh and overbearing, a natural accompaniment of his conscious superiority in his profession, and he was selfopinionated and conceited, a not unusual failing of those who are regarded and treated by their associates as oracles. But he still was steadfast and immovable in the maintainance of what he believed to be the right. It ought not to be expected that such a toad-eater, as Mr. Dixon was designed for by nature, should be able to comprehend the dignity of such rough independence of thought and action, as characterized that noble specimen of humanity, whom it seems to be one principal design of his work to depreciate and denounce. Ile reiterates over and over again the charge of avarice, yet he admits that Coke made all his money by the labors of his profession, and by his rigid economy, and not, as did the hero of his romance, by subserviency and bribery. Both aspired to offices of high distinction, and both obtained them, but by very different means. In their day, there were two ways of obtaining officeone through the favor, and the other through the fears of the monarch, --one by gratifying his wishes, and the other by obtaining the confidence of the people. Bacon depended on the former, and Coke on the latter. Bacon obtained office by fawning and promises, Coke by demanding it as a matter of right, and threatening the consequences of a refusal.
That Coke never would stoop to be the tool of the Court, we have the strongest evidence from Bacon's own letters, in which he repeatedly warned King James of the danger to his prerogative if he ever conferred much power upon his rival. In one instance he wrote to the king, apparently apologizing for his treatment of Lord Coke, "I was sometimes sharp, it may be too much, but it was with the end to have your Majesty's will performed,” evidently implying that his antagonist was resisting the king's pleasure. At another time, Bacon wrote to the king with reference to Lord Coke, showing at the same time his own subserviency and his adversary's firmness, “I am omnibus omnia for your majesty's service; but he (Coke) is by nature unsocial, and by habit popular,” (that is, a friend of the people)," and too old now to take a new ply."
He was a true patriot. His devotedness to the common law of England increased his attachment to the country in which alone it prevailed. He resembled one of its gnarled oaks, whose roots strike the deeper into the soil, the more it is twisted by storms. He loved the people of England, and was always the champion of their rights, in opposition to the encroachments of royal power. He manifested this by his course in the House of Commons; by his carrying through it the Petition of Right, one of the great safeguards of liberty ; and by that noble refusal to which we have referred, to pledge himself in advance to allow any interference by the king in the administration of justice, although he must have known that by so doing he was almost sure to lose the highest object of his ambition.
It is an unfortunate time to bring forward, in this country at least, the political and moral example of Lord Bacon for the admiration and imitation of the American people, and to hold up the stern and rigid characteristics of Lord Coke, as objeets of ridicule and reproof. We have suffered quite enough from hypocritical office seekers, and ravenous office holders. We have no need of giving encouragement to such men as Buchanan and Floyd, not to name that son of New England who has made the cheeks of the descendants of the Pilgrims burn with shame, of each of whom, when found in places of honor and trust, it might be said, as of the worm in the fable, when found on the topmost branch of a lofty tree, he crawled there.
Well is it for the citizens of this great republic, that occasionally one may be found of whom it may be said as of VOL. XXI.
Abdiel, “among the faithless, faithful only he;" a few such men as Dickinson and Holt, who, like Lord Coke, are governed by principle and not by interest, and who are as ready to resist the demands of a dominant party, when opposed to the rights of the people, as he was to resist the demands of an arbitrary sovereign. If Coke, overcome by the pernicious influence of Bacon, had tamely yielded, and thereby secured for himself that seat which was the goal of his ambition, and the pride of his life, there is no certainty that England would not now have been under a rule as despotic as that of Austrian tyranny, or that any Pilgrims would ever have planted the seed of liberty in the soil of America. If Dickinson and Holt, and their noble compeers, had sacrificed their principles at the shrine of party, there is a strong probability that the American government, if sustained at all, would have lost its most essential element, and would have been a hissing and a byword, instead of a glory among the nations of the earth.
No arithmetic is sufficient to calculate the amount of evil, which in the course of centuries may be done by the omissions and commissions of such a gigantic time-serving politician as Bacon; no human intellect can comprehend the extent of blessings that may be heaped, not only on a single nation, but upon the whole family of nations, by the acts and example of such a noble champion of the right as Coke. Ilonor then to whom honor is due! Let the votaries of science twine a laurel wreath around the imperishable column erected to the memory of Lord Bacon, for the unspeakable benefits which he has conferred upon it, but let no one, especially let no American, hold him up as an example, either of integrity or patriotism !
ARTICLE V.-ADEQUACY OF THE CONSTITUTION.
Message of the President of the United States, at the opening
of the first session of the thirty-seventh Congress, July 4, 1861.
Laws of the United States, passed at the first session of the
thirty-seventh Congress. Washington, 1861.
The Convention that framed our present Constitution and form of government, was authorized and convened for this express purpose, to "render the federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government, and the preservation of the Union." That they had done this, however, they never alleged or attempted to prove. Their work was immediately attacked, even before it was promulgated under their hands, not on the ground of its inadequacy for the purposes in view, but on the more popular ground, that the liberties of the people were in danger. So that its friends were called upon at once, to defend the Constitution against the allegations of its adversaries, that. it had too much, rather than too little strength; and were thus placed in a position to endanger an acquiescence in any assumed weakness, rather than to desire a full display of all its actual strength. When this crisis was passed, and the Constitution was accepted by the people, and went into actual operation, the same class of politicians that had objected to its acceptance because it had some power, now endeavored to make it, by construction, as destitute of power as they had before insisted that it ought to be, but was not. For this cause, almost every act of Congress and of the government was impugned and resisted, not only before, but often after its enactment, on the assumed ground, that it was not warranted by the powers of the Constitution. To avoid or modify these contests, the friends of the Constitution were still kept under a constant temptation to claim and exercise as little power as possible, instead of being
driven to assert and defend its plenary adequacy to all the purposes of its creation. By the successful progress of the government, this state of things has been prolonged to the present time, so that the adequacy of the Constitution to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union, has not hitherto been exhibited and proved in practice, nor fully asserted and insisted on by its friends, even in theory. But the time has arrived when the practical test is being applied, and when of course the theory should be more particularly examined, with a view to its capacity for the endurance. It may result in a more perfect assurance that the prize is worth the contest. If it is not, perhaps the sooner it is given up the better. There should be no waste of strength and resources in a vain contest.
Government and Union were the objects to be preserved. They were old ideas in the minds of our ancestors, having existed together from the time of the first settlement of the country. Though not identical, they were so essential to each other that neither could exist alone. Such governments as the States could have had without Union, or such Union as they could have had without a government for it, were not what the experience and the aspirations of the people rendered desirable. They had lived under a general or national government for national purposes, and with special or local governments for local purposes, in every stage of their previous existence as a people. They were in this manner united under the royal government of Great Britain before the revolution. They continued the same under the Revolutionary government, exercising generally all the powers they admitted rightfully belonged to their predecessors. They called themselves “The United Colonies of America,” and as such they levied war, raised armies, equipped navies, contracted alliances, and regulated commerce; and before the Declaration of Independence, they suppressed the exercise of every kind of authority under the British crown, and all oaths necessary for the support thereof, and authorized the people of the respective Colonies to exercise all the powers of government for the preservation of internal peace, virtue, and good order, under the authority of the peo