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formed the state not for his own oppression, but for the establishment of equity.
Those who look askance upon republican institutions will not deplore the degenerating influence of Hamilton's attacks upon the constitution. They imagine that his genius evolved a true government out of that constitution which was the product of the greatest assembly of men in the history of the United States. And, of course, they are thankful for that. But, moreover, it is urged that the means themselves which Hamilton employed to bring about that consolidation evinced a commanding genius for finance and political economy and as commercial polities were themselves as vital breath. But his national bank had its prototype in the Bank of St. George at Genoa, the Bank of Amsterdam and the Bank of England. Its interests like the Bank of England—were designed to be coincident with those of the government. Thereby the money of the country was to be brought to the side of the government. Even to details the bank was not an original conception. The charter contained many of the conditions which parliament had imposed upon the incorporators of the English bank. It was given a monopoly of the national banking business. It could issue paper money. For the virtue of this, Hamilton argued, was to keep the precious metals in the vaults, because when they circulated they became so much dead stock. Such were his ideas upon the subject of money. But they were in harmony with the zealous convictions which he held upon the solecism of a favorable balance of trade, which he worshiped with an ardor approaching the Egyptian reverence for onions
and cats. When Hamilton was called upon to defend his banking scheme to President Washington he submitted a written argument in answer to the objections of Jefferson, which, for ingenuity, subtlety and power, did credit to his peculiar mind. Indeed, it
it overmatched the somewhat desultory and
and inconclusive paper of Jefferson. The question was: Does the constitution permit congress to incorporate such a bank?
Today the question would be: Is banking a governmental function? Is a national bank an economic utility? Washington was seriously perplexed by the reasons urged for and against the bank, and while he was deliberating upon it the question arose how the ten days clause of the constitution for the president's approval of a bill was to be construed. Hamilton argued that the day of its presentation was to be excluded and the last day also. It resulted that Washington held the bill for eleven days and on the eleventh day approved it. And so a part of Hamilton's collateral plan to overthrow the constitution was accomplished.
Of Hamilton's funding scheme it is only necessary to say that he meant to create a permanent public debt. This was that reservoir into which the money of plutocracy was to be poured, so favorably built and placed as to draw to itself the wealth of the unsuspecting people. Historians relate in triumphant tones that England's prosperity has kept pace with her increasing debt. And the economists have been made the butt of ridicule by men who call themselves practical. The former assert that an increasing public debt will eventually overwhelm any nation. The latter re
ply that an increasing public debt is a means to prosperity and that it adds strength to the government. In olden times there was supposed to be a causal relation between the conjunction of planets and a national calamity. Sometimes national prosperity is attributed to national character; not taking into account abundant minerals and coal, a fertile soil and a favorable climate, national harbors and means of commerce.
Children associate fortune with a four-leafed clover. And all mercantilists of which Hamilton was a confirmed disciple believe that a national debt is a source of prosperity; that taxing ourselves makes us rich. So the protective tariff, also inaugurated by Hamilton, has clung to the United States in spite of all efforts to throw it off. Whenever the people have voted it out they repent the act and invite it back. When more men are wiser and when those who are wiser are more candid the attempt to confuse public thought on the questions of balance of trade, public debt, government banks, paper money, tariffs, subsidies, bounties and special privilege as efficient means of prosperity will decrease. There will then be an advance beyond the pale of the seventeenth century in economics. If the foregoing plans are constructive, then Hamilton is entitled to the immortal reverence of the American people.
But is not a spirit of justice pervading all systems and all polities the only constructive force? Can a
at nation be constructed except by building up its people as a whole? At least more than half of the people of both England and the United States believe that justice and equality applied to these subjects are
the only curatives. They are not sufficiently organized or cohesive, however, to push forward with much speed against casual undertows and countervailing currents.
While Hamilton and Jefferson were not political friends no man has spoken more favorably of the former than the founder of the democratic party. In the much abused "Anas" Jefferson wrote in 1818: “Hamilton was indeed a singular character. Of acute understanding, disinterested, honest and honorable in all private transactions, amiable in society and duly valuing virtue in private life, yet so bewitched and perverted by the British example as to be under thorough conviction that corruption was essential to the government of a nation." And to Benjamin Rush he wrote: "Hamilton believed in the necessity of either force or corruption to govern men.”
Hamilton and Burr had maligned each other for years. This hatred culminated in a duel. Hamilton fell. Gouverneur Morris pronounced his funeral oration, gliding with trepidation over the dark places in the great man's career. His body was buried in Trinity churchyard at the foot of Wall street, where imagination may picture his spirit hovering over the temple of English monarchy and peering down one of the greatest money centers of the world.
IMPLIED POWERS AND IMPERIALISM.
No "progressive development” of the constitution can ever obliterate its original character and meaning upon many of its important features. This is true because its authors employed language as a whole which is remarkably clear; and the proceedings of state conventions and the writings of contemporary statesmen furnish additional data for construction and exposition. Thus the federal principle of the United States government is one of the most conspicuous things in the constitution. The constitution was adopted by states, it was to be binding between states when nine had ratified it, and it was to be amended by states. The senators, first called ambassadors, were to represent states. The president was to be elected by electors from states. The federal courts were to decide controversies between citizens of different states, and controversies where conflicting claims of different states were involved. Though development may wipe out the practical effects of these principles of the constitution, history cannot be obscured. So long as writings exist the original nature of the government will be clear to any man who can read.
Nor can any ingenuity argue away the fact that the United States government was created as a government of special and limited powers. For the ninth amendment to the constitution reads: “The enumeration in