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western hemisphere those censures, which are in different degrees applicable to the federal systems of the old world.
In premising, that the constitution of the United States differs most essentially from that of any ancient or modern confederacy, we shall at once perceive, that any judgment respecting its future prospects must be attended with great and peculiar difficulties. We shall perceive, that we possess no standard of reference; no examples, by which to try the validity of our conclusions ; no analogous cases, to which we may turn for illustration or authority. Their government is a new creation in politics, and must be tried solely and singly on its own merits. But the experience of less than half a century, replete as it is with matter for reflection, for admiration, and for hope, is far too scanty to allow us to appeal with confidence to its results, or to regard them as even tolerably certain indications of what is yet to come.
It is a presumption indeed prior to all positive argument in favor of the American union, that it has avoided the glaring errors of former confederacies. The free and enlightened framers of the constitution of
87 appear to have studied the models of antiquity in the true spirit of political wisdom. Uniting their own experience of the manifold and incurable evils of a partial union to the lessons of history, they directed their whole energies to the establishment of a permanent and effective government. They considered, that if the association of the states were at all an object, it was clearly one of the most vital and paramount importance: that in all questions, therefore, of co-existing powers, the first point was to settle the national authority on a secure basis, by placing in its hands every thing which could be conceded consistently with the preservation of the independence of the states, With this principle for their guide, they proceeded with deliberate caution and consummate sagacity to blend together and adjust an immense mass of complicated and partly conflicting interests. The result of their patriotic labors was that constitution, which, if they never considered it as perfect, as indeed may easily be gathered from their speeches and recorded opinions, was still unquestionably the best that the views and circumstances of the country would permit; and few men, we should conceive, however they may doubt its ultimate success, can refuse to it the tribute of admiration and respect.
We cannot attempt to offer in this place any detailed account of the provisions of this famous constitution; but must content ourselves with observing, that it partakes largely of the national as well as of the federative character. A government purely federal, would have no vested power of control over the individual citizens of the several states composing the confederacy, but simply over the legislatures of those states. Now an adherence to this principle is clearly incompa, tible with a due regard for effective government; and the American acted with temperance and true wisdom, in abandoning an unprofitable independence for the real and tangible advantages of national union.
Again, it is hardly necessary to employ discussion to prove the existence of political power in the United States. If we look around the world, where shall we find a people who have made within the same period the same advances in all the essentials of national great,
1 i. e. From the date of the present constitution in 1787.
ness and national prosperity? And although we must'in fairness assign a large portion of what is enjoyed by them as a nation, to the century which elapsed prior to the date of their independence, when, to use the words of Burke, “ a free and generous nature was left to take its own course to perfection,” there will still remain a vast aggregate of national advantages, which can only be referred to their form of go. vernment, to its admirable adaptation to the spirit of enterprise and the love of freedom.
It would evince a bigh degree of presumption in the writer of these pages, if with bis very limited acquaintance with the social and poli. tical circumstances of the United States, he were to offer any positive opinion on the probable fortunes of that great confederacy. But there are certain considerations, arising immediately from the nature of the case, which indeed can have escaped no one, who has at all interested himself in the history of America ; but which appear too important to pass unnoticed, since they relate to principles, on which the permanence of the existing union would seem mainly to depend.
The old confederation, under wbich the United States had achieved their independence, ceased naturally with the conjunctures of the revoJution, which had first called it into existence. It was not, it is true, annulled by any formal act; but its insufficiency to answer any good end in time of peace bad become so manifest, that no alternative remained, but a dissolution of the confederacy on the one hand, or a union constructed on entirely new principles on the other. It was fortunate for America, that the sound views and enlightened patriotism of the friends of union prevailed over the selfish ambition of men, who would fain have reared the edifice of their own power on the ruins of the confederacy.
The constitution then of 1787 commenced its career under the happiest auspices. The circumstances of the country and the people were all favorable to a republican form of government, and the consolidation of civil and religious liberty. But the extreme difficulty of providing for an ever varying and increasing country a permanent and settled government, could not escape the statesmen of America. They were well aware, that the peculiar advantage at that time enjoyed by their republic in the absence of an impoverished and idle population, could not in the nature of things continue, for any very lengthened period, the same and unimpaired : and although the facilities for obtaining subsistence, and many of the comforts of life, have as yet prevented any very serious evil from the rapid increase of the population, coupled with the extended principle of the elective franchise, it is impossible not to foresee, that sooner or later the time must come, when the antidote will cease to operate, and the poison begin to work; when the republican constitution, founded on the basis of equal representation, will degenerate into the turbulent and ungovernable licentiousness of a wild democracy. It will then remain to be seen how far the popular election of the chief magistrate is compatible with the internal quiet and stability of the union. Even at the present day these elections give occasion for a display of faction and party-hostility, which in any country of Europe possessing a more condensed population and a standing army, would inevitably terminate in a civil war. In America the spirit evaporates and dics away, owing to the absence of these motives to excitement.
The distinction between the manufacturing and commercial
interests, so long as a due mean and equitable proportion is preserved in their adjustment, would rather tend to unite more closely the members of the confederacy, than permit any adequate reasons for a separation. But if the spirit of legislation, which prescribed the adoption of the tariff of 1824, continue to exert its influence, the groundwork will be laid for substantial differences between the states; and these again, promoted, as they cannot fail to be, by geographical (or in the language of America, by territorial) distinctions, may pave the way for a premature dissolution of the confederacy. This unwise measure has excited, especially among the southern states, an extreme degree of dissatisfaction. Hints at further and more important consequences have been loud and frequent; and the wouud must isdeed have sunk deep into the vitals of the constitution, when we find one of the most distinguished advocates' of the existing union declaring, “that a dissolution of the confederacy would be a preferable alternative to the endurance of evils, which must spring from this odious act of the federal legislature."
There is yet another danger arising from the rapid acquisition of new territory, and the consequent accumulation of local interests. These are every day increasivg; and it cannot be denied, that there is a prospect of their becoming too numerous and too widely diffused to : admit of regulation by one central congress. It is important also to bear in mind, that the final decision of any question, which may involve the stability of the confederacy, must almost entirely depend on the light in which a national union is regarded by the several states as a source of domestic benefits, and a means of promoting and securing their internal prosperity. External pressure there can be done ; for they are happily placed in circumstances, in which, even supposing them dissevered into two or more confederacies, they may bid defiance to foreign arms; and thus it is, that the strongest inducement to the preservation of a federal union, that of mutual defence, so far from being constantly present to the mind of the American, is in danger of being overlooked or disregarded in the eager pursuit of local interesis. There is indeed room for apprehension, lest their security at home should prompt them to an undue interference in the affairs of Europe. But if there be any one line of policy which is clearly marked out for the United States, it is unquestionably that of peace. Should it be their ill fortune or ill conduct to plunge themselves into a protracted war, the high wages of labor would necessarily render the expense of an extensive naval and military establishment very great; while the antipathy to taxes would beget a still more alarming difficulty in defraying that expense. It is a disadvantage also, which is inseparable from the constitution of a federal government, that, as it possesses no strong hold on the affections of the people, the slightest disaster is sufficient to insure its unpopularity, and give the signal for its overthrow.
The causes, however, which may create hostility between the people of the United States and the nations of continental Europe, are too remote to excite apprehension, and can hardly indeed be said to possess any separate existence. On one fair land alone, which the voice of nature and of interest unite in declaring the fitting object of friendship and alliance, the western horizon at times appears to lower with
1 Mr. Jefferson. Vide Edinburgh Review, No. XCVI. pp. 488, 489.
the signs of tempest. But, wbile we fear no consequences in the defence or assertion of our rights, we acknowlege with gratitude and hope that there exist but few and decreasing indications of an approaching storm. England and America are both too wise, and one at least swayed by councils too moderate, to allow the prosecution of a spirit of rivalry and petty jealousies to disturb the barmony of the Christian world. Let us not indulge in gloomy anticipations, or torment ourselves with imagining the possible occurrence of more serious causes for offence. England may justly be proud of her child; America may regard her parent with affection and respect : both may concur in displaying to ihe world the power of enterprise and active industry; the inestimable benefits of popular representation in government, of equal and impartial laws: both may diffuse over either hemisphere, and, if united, with tenfold power, tbe light of civilization and the blessings of freedom.
GEORGE ANTHONY DENISON,
FELLOW OF ORIEL.
No. XXV.—Continued from No. LXXVIII.]
REMAINS OF SANCHONIATHO. The learned Athavasius Kircher, in his treatise on the “Obeliscus Pamphilius," mentions no less than three collections of Mss. amongst which remains of the lost work of Sanchoniatho were extant in his tine. One of these remains, which was in his own possession, was written in the Phænician or Syriac dialect. Kircher's words, (Obelisc. Pamphil. p. 111.) as they are curious, and the work not very common, I have transcribed. After having cited several Greek writers concerning the Phænician historian, he proceeds :--
Hucusque Porphyrius. Scripsit autem hic Sanchuniathon, teste Philone Biblio, libros sequentes : Historiam Phoenicum, in qua de origine mundi, de principiis rerum naturalium, de theologia Phoenicum et Ægyptiorum, de mirabilibus Taauti sive Mercurii, de inventis ab eo in mundi bonum prolatis, de sacrarum institutione sculpturarum, de Deorum cultu : ex quibus ad nos non nisi pauca quædam fragmenta, quorum nonnulla in bibliotheca Magni Ducis Hetruriæ superesse non ita pridem intellexi, adhuc pervenerunt. Est et apud me fragmentum non nisi paucorum foliorum hujus auctoris, lingua Aramæa, hoc est, Phoenicia lingua, cum Chaldaica et Syriaca fere eadem, conscriptum, vel potius ex Philone Biblio in Aramæam linguam traductum: tractat de institutis Ægyptiorum, et Mercurii potissimum mysteria attingit; in quo men nibil adeo singulare occurrit, quod jam alii auctores non tradiderint. Acceperat vero hoc fragmentum
- amicorum industria ex bibliotheca Damascena, vulgo Schàm, toto Oriente celeberrima, magnus vir, Nicolaus Peresius, cujus et copiam mihi Romam, anno 1637, pro suo erga bonarum literarum promotionem zelo, ultimo videlicet anno vitæ suæ, transmittere voluit interpretandum; ex quo nonnulla in sequentibus depromamus. Vocatur autem a Syris hic auctor Sanchuniotho-izolacabo, quod idem in dicta dialecto significat, ac fulciunt me portenta. Retulit mibi celeberrimus vir, Leo Allatius, fuisse hujus Philonis Biblii Sanchuniathonem non ita pridem deprehensum in quadam Romæ vicini monasterii bibliotheca; quem cum doctorum virorum commendatio, ardentissimumque desiderium pretiosiorem fecissent quam imperiti ejus possessores prius sibi persuaserant, furto intempestive subreptum, ita ex dicta bibliotheca evanuisse, ut in hunc diem omne summa cura et aviditate eum inquiren. tium studium eluserit. In page
403 of the same work Kircher has given us an extract from the Ms. Sanchoniatho which he possessed: he compares it with a passage from the Arabian philosopher Abenephius :
kuk۸o mTeة Habemus itaque triplicem divinitatis form am in uno
pouoppu symbolo exhibitam, hoc est, unun Numen triplici virtute expositum. Quod dictis symbolis adumbratum expressissimis verbis ostendit Abenephius lib. de Religione Ægyptiorum :
اولين فلما كانوا يديدون ان يخبر واعلي القوه ومنه
وا الدايره مع حناحان ومنه تخرج
ويصور الله مثلثه الحية وبصورة الدايرة كانوا يدلون علي الطبيعه الله غير
که وغير مفرقه وهي ازلية وغير مبدية وغير مكدودة وبصورة الذكية الحكمة الله الذي خلق فيه كل ما يره
کته تعطي الحياة وبصورة الكناحان القوة التي هي بكر لكل ما في الدنيا و
Hoc est: Cum vellent indicare tres divinas virtutes seu” proprietates, scribebant circulum, ex quo serpens egrediebatur ; per figuram circuli significantes naturam Dei incomprehensibilem, inseparabilem, æternam, omnis principii et finis expertem ; per figuram serpentis, virtutem Dei créatricem omnium; per figuram alarum duarum, virtutem Dei motu, omnium, quæ in mundo sunt, vivificatricem. Quibus verbis quid clarius dici possit, non video. His totidem fere verbis astipulatur Sanchuniatonis fragmentum de Religione Phænicum antiqua Chaldaica sen Phoenicia lingua conscriptum :
ܗܘ ܐܤܦܝܪܐ ܐܟܐܐܢܫܬܐ ܡܢܗ ܐܪܐ ܚܘܝܐ. ܐܤܟ݂ܝܪܐ ܗܘ ܟܝܢܐ ܕܐܠܗܐ ܕܝܠܗ ܠܐ ܫܘܪܐ ܘܠܐ ܫܘܠܡܐ ܘܐܟܕܐܗܢ ܡܨܠܗ ܘܚܘܝܐ ܗܘ ܪ̈ܘ̈ܝܐ ܕܐܠܗܐ ܕܡܚܝܢܐܟܘܠ ܠܠܡܐ