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PERSONAL GOVERNMENT UNREPUBLICAN.
PERSONAL Government is autocratic. It is the OneMan Power elevated above all else, and is therefore in direct conflict with republican government, whose consummate form is tripartite, being executive, legislative, and judicial, each independent and coëqual. From Mr. Madison, in "The Federalist," we learn that the accumulation of these powers "in the same hands" may justly be pronounced "the very definition of Tyranny.”1 And so any attempt by either to exercise the powers of another is a tyrannical invasion, always reprehensible in proportion to its extent. John Adams tells us, in most instructive words, that "it is by balancing each of these powers against the other two that the efforts in human nature towards tyranny can alone be checked and restrained, and any degree of freedom preserved in the Constitution." 2
Then, again, the same authority says that the perfection of this great idea is "by giving each division a power to defend itself by a negative." In other words, each is armed against invasion by the others. Accordingly, the Constitution of Virginia, in 1776, famous as an historical precedent, declared expressly: "The legislative, executive, and judiciary departments shall be separate and distinct, so that neither exercise the powers properly belonging to the other; nor shall any person exercise the powers of more than one of them at the same time." 4
1 The Federalist, No. XLVII.
2 Letter to Richard Henry Lee, November 15, 1775: Works, Vol. IV. p.186.
8 Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States, Preface: Ibid., p. 296.
4 Statutes at Large, ed. Hening, Vol. IX. p. 114.
The Constitution of Massachusetts, dating from 1780, embodied the same principle in memorable words: "In the government of this Commonwealth, the legislative department shall never exercise the executive and judicial powers, or either of them; the executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them; the judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them: to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men." 1
A government of laws and not of men is the object of republican government; nay, more, it is the distinctive. essence without which it becomes a tyranny. Therefore personal government in all its forms, and especially when it seeks to sway the action of any other branch or overturn its constitutional negative, is hostile to the first principles of republican institutions, and an unquestionable outrage. That our President has offended in this way is unhappily too apparent.
THE PRESIDENT AS A CIVILIAN.
To comprehend the personal government that has been installed over us we must know its author. His picture is the necessary frontispiece, - not as soldier, let it be borne in mind, but as civilian. The President is titular head of the Army and Navy of the United States, but his office is not military or naval. As if to exclude all question, he is classed by the Constitution among "civil officers." Therefore as civilian is he to be seen. Then, perhaps, may we learn the secret of the policy so adverse to republicanism in which he perseveres.
1 Constitution of Massachusetts, Part I.: Declaration of Rights, Art. XXX.
To appreciate his peculiar character as a civilian it is important to know his triumphs as a soldier, for the one is the natural complement of the other. The successful soldier is rarely changed to the successful civilian. There seems an incompatibility between the two, modified by the extent to which one has been allowed to exclude the other. One always a soldier cannot late in life become a statesman; one always a civilian cannot late in life become a soldier. Education and experience are needed for each. Washington and Jackson were civilians as well as soldiers.
In the large training and experience of Antiquity the soldier and civilian were often united; but in modern times this has been seldom. The camp is peculiar in the influence it exercises; it is in itself an education; but it is not the education of the statesman. To suppose that we can change without preparation from the soldier to the statesman is to assume that training and experience are of less consequence for the one than the other,- that a man may be born a statesman, but can fit himself as a soldier only by four years at West Point, careful scientific study, the command of troops, and experience in the tented field. And is nothing required for the statesman? Is his duty so slight? His study is the nation and its welfare, turning always to history for example, to law for authority, and to the loftiest truth for rules of conduct. No knowledge, care, or virtue, disciplined by habit, can be too great. The pilot is not accepted in his trust until he knows the signs of the storm, the secrets of navigation, the rocks of the coast,all of which are learned only by careful study with charts and soundings, by coasting the land and watching the crested wave. But can less be expected of that other pilot who is to steer the ship which contains us all?
The failure of the modern soldier as statesman is exhibited by Mr. Buckle in his remarkable work on the "History of Civilization." Writing as a philosopher devoted to liberal ideas, he does not disguise that in Antiquity "the most eminent soldiers were likewise the most. eminent politicians "; but he plainly shows the reason when he adds, that "in the midst of the hurry and turmoil of camps these eminent men cultivated their minds to the highest point that the knowledge of that age would allow."1 The secret was culture not confined to
In modern Europe few soldiers have been more conspicuous than Gustavus Adolphus and Frederick sometimes called the Great; but we learn from our author that both "failed ignominiously in their domestic policy, and showed themselves as short-sighted in the arts of peace as they were sagacious in the arts of war."2 The judgment of Marlborough is more pointed. While portraying him as "the greatest conqueror of his age, the hero of a hundred fights, the victor of Blenheim and of Ramillies," the same philosophical writer adds that he was "a man not only of the most idle and frivolous pursuits, but was so miserably ignorant that his deficiencies made him the ridicule of his contemporaries," while his politics were compounded of selfishness and treachery. Nor was Wellington an exception. Though shining in the field without a rival, and remarkable for integrity of purpose, an unflinching honesty, and high moral feeling, the conqueror of Waterloo is described as "nevertheless utterly unequal to the complicated exigencies of political life." This judgment of the philos
1 History of Civilization in England, (London, 1868,) Vol. I. pp. 199, 200.
2 Ibid., p. 200.
8 Ibid., p. 201.
opher is confirmed by that of Metternich, the renowned statesman, who, after encountering Wellington at the Congresses of Vienna and Verona, did not hesitate to write of him as the great Baby."1 Such are the examples of history, each with its warning.
It would be hard to find anything in the native endowments or in the training of our chieftain to make. him an illustrious exception; at least nothing of this kind is recorded. Was Nature more generous with him than with Marlborough or Wellington, Gustavus Adolphus or Frederick called the Great? or was his experience of life a better preparation than theirs? And yet they failed, except in war. It is not known that our chieftain had any experience as a civilian until he became President, nor does any partisan attribute to him that double culture which in Antiquity made the same man soldier and statesman. It has often been said that
he took no note of public affairs, never voting but once in his life, and then for James Buchanan. After leaving West Point he became a captain in the Army, but soon abandoned the service, to reappear at a later day as a successful general. There is no reason to believe that he employed this intermediate period in any way calculated to improve him as a statesman. One of his unhesitating supporters, my colleague, [Mr. WILSON,] in a speech intended to commend him for reëlection, says: "Before the war we knew nothing of Grant. He was earning a few hundred dollars a year in tanning hides in Galena." 2 By the war he passed to be President; and such was his preparation to govern the Great Republic, making it an example to mankind! Thus he
1 Sir H. L. Bulwer, Historical Characters, (4th edit.,) Vol. II. p. 331. 2 Speech at Great Falls, N. H., February 24, 1872, pp. 6, 7.