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government, in all its departments, with admirable fulness and force. The latter has expounded the application and limits of its powers and functions with unrivalled profoundness and felicity.”* To these are to be added the Reports of Dallas, Crank, and Wheaton, of the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States; other collections of judicial reports, and the statutes of the various States; Rawle on the Constitution; and the journals of Congress. I have found in the British Museum all of the above which I had not at hand.

Of the works of M. de Tocqueville,t it is unnecessary to speak. Their accuracy and impartiality are as universally acknowledged as the high powers of observation and analysis which they display.

I shall have occasion to notice more recent facts which have come before the public since the date of these several writers, partly collected by myself in that country in 1851, partly obtained since, chiefly from public sources of information.

From the materials derived from the above sources, I shall draw any inferences and institute any comparisons which may strike me as instructive, and desirable to be borne in mind in this country.

January, 1854.

* Story. Preface, p. 1.

+ De la Démocratie en Amérique, published in 1835, Translated by Henry Reeve, Esq. 2nd Edition, 1836. Second Part of M. de Tocqueville's Work, Paris, 1840.









POLITICAL reasonings upon the state of a country, and speculations as to its future course, are too apt to be conducted without sufficient reference to its previous history. This appears to be frequently, and perhaps not altogether unnaturally, the case with respect to the United States; for the present vast proportions of that great community have, in their rapid growth, shut out the view, and very nearly extinguished the thought, of all


that lies in the obscurity of the past beyond them.

But neither the state of society in the United States, nor the spirit of its Constitution, can be thoroughly understood or properly appreciated without a previous knowledge of the different principles of government which prevailed in the different States while they remained under British rule.

I propose, therefore, in this introductory chapter, to give a very summary sketch of the constitutional arrangements that existed in the American colonies before their separation from the mother country.

The Governments of the original thirteen States are described by Judge Blackstone in his “Commentaries," as Provincial, Proprietary, and Charter Governments. But this description, though correct in an historical point of view, and interesting in reference to the various steps and processes in the settlement of that country, affords no key to those causes, which, in the words of Mr. Justice Story, “have impressed upon each colony

peculiar habits, opinions, attachments, and even prejudices.”

The existence of those different " habits, opinions, and attachments,” in different parts of the Union, is very generally overlooked in a superficial view of the state of things in that country. That they exercised great influence at the time of the separation from us, in determining the kind of government then adopted, there can be no doubt. And they have not ceased to act powerfully, in a social, as well as a political point of view, up to the present day.

Those differences are traceable to the different forms of government originally given to, or adopted by, the different States; and further, to their adoption with greater or less strictness, or their rejection, of the principle of the English common law in regard to the descent of property.

Ten out of the original thirteen States possessed, down to the time of the Revolution, forms of government, all of which, with some

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varieties of detail, bore as strict a resemblance to our own as was possible under the circumstances of a new country. They may all be described as moderate constitutional governments. The governor was the king's representative; and the Crown also appointed a council, which was to a certain extent an upper house of legislature; not invested, however, with independent legislative power, but acting as a consultative body and in concurrence with the executive. On the other hand, the principle of popular freedom was recognised, in the authority given to the governor “to convene a general assembly of representatives of the freeholders and planters.” The provincial assembly thus constituted, had

power (in the words of the different charters) “to make local laws and ordinances not repugnant to the laws of England, but as near as may be agreeable thereto, subject to the ratification or disapproval of the Crown.”

The States that possessed this form of government were Virginia, Massachusetts (including New Hampshire and Maine), Mary

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