« PreviousContinue »
be expected that political power, in such hands, can be exercised with safety to the government, or with benefit to the community
In the education of youth for the business of life, it seems almost to be forgotten, that they are ever to assume the duties of citizens-duties of paramount importance, on the due performanee of which, their individual happiness, as well as the happiness and prosperity of the nation, mainly depends.
The last annual report of the superintendent of common schools of the state of New York, contains the following just observations on this subject:
“On our common schools we must rely to prepare the great body of the people for maintaining inviolate the rights of freemen. If the political fabric cannot find in the public intelligence, a basis broad and firm enough to uphold it, it cannot long resist the shocks to which, through the collision of contending interests, it is continually exposed. Forty nine out of every fisty of our citizens, receive their education in the common schools.
As they advance to manhood, they are, for the most part, devoted to manual employments. Looking to their own industry as their only resource, and to its fruits as the boundaries of their personal desires, the object nearest their hearts is to see their country prosperous, the laws administered with order and regularity, and the political importance, which the constitution has secured to them, maintained undiminished The controversies to which conflicting interests give birth, are to be put at rest by their decisions. In the questions of policy which are presented to them, constitutional principles are frequently involved, and the relation they bear, and may in all future time bear to the government, is directly or indirectly affected. How important is it that their decisions should be as enlightened as they will be honest; that with every motive to be upright and conscientious in the exercise of their political rights, they should combine also the capacity to maintain them with independence and discretion ! If they shall ever cease to bring to the settlement of these great questions a sound and enlightened discrimination, they cannot fail to become the dupes of artful leaders, and their courtry a
prey to internal discord. From the genius of our polit'cal institutions, popular education is our only security against present and future dangers. Ignorance is said to be the parent of vice. With us it would also be the parent of those fatal disorders in the body politic, which have their certain issue in anarchy.”
In presenting this work to the public, the compiler intends to supply, in some measure, a deficiency that has too long existed in the course of education in this country. Several excellent treatises on the principles of government, and constitutional jurisprudence, have been published within a few years. But it is believed that of those which are intended as class books, none are well adapted to the condition of our common schools.
To be in the highest degree useful, a work of this character should be adapted to the state in which it is to be used. This work has accordingly been made to embrace the constitution of the state of New York, together with a portion of its jurisprudence.
But it is not for common schools exclusively, that this work is intended. It is believed that there are individuals in almost every family, who will find in it much valuable information to which they have not before had access.
Originality in a work of this kind is hardly to be expected. Whatever of merit, therefore, may be awarded to this unpretending volume, is chiefly due to other and abler authors. Among the works to which the compiler is indebted, he would particularly mention, Sullivan's “Political Class Book," Chipman's “Principles of Government," Duer's "Outlines of Constitutional Jurisprudence," and the invaluable “ Commentaries” of Story and Kent
With the hope that this treatise, notwithstanding its imperfections, will be found in some degree useful, it is respectfully offered to the patronage of a liberal community.
Admission of new states, power of congress for, 160.
their powers, duties, and salaries, 203, 204;
privileges secured to them, 146, 147
cessity of such power, 162, 163; restrictions
upon it, 162, when ic has been exercised, 163,
of raising and equipping, 149, restrictions
on the states relating to them, 179.
jects of power, 132; when it has been exer-
Bills of attainder, defined, 172; power to pass, prohibi
ted to congress, 172.
149; captured property, how distributed, 149;
what court has cognizance of, 149.
the state of New York, 228.
diction and different capacities, 207.
vessels employed in, to be licensed, 125; pen-
alty for omission, 125.
134, 135; value of coins, 136, counterfeiting
of, 137, 138.
Colonies, settlement of, 35; government of, 36-48; New
England colonies, when confederated, 43;
colonies declared independent, 48.
116; propriety of power, 116; includes navi-
regulating Indian trade, i 26.
of land-office, 194, 195.
and duties, 260, 262.
privileges, 102; when to assemble, 98; pres-
may in certain cases convene elsewhere,
their defects, 48, 83, 85.
state government, 212, 213.
of the United States, 60— 82; differently in-
terpreted, 85; supreme law of the land, 208.