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Democracy In America, Volume 2 by Alexis de Toqueville

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it, the want of information, the imperfection of the
administrative system, and above all, the natural obstacles
caused by the inequality of conditions, would speedily have
checked the execution of so vast a design. When the Roman
emperors were at the height of their power, the different nations
of the empire still preserved manners and customs of great
diversity; although they were subject to the same monarch, most
of the provinces were separately administered; they abounded in
powerful and active municipalities; and although the whole
government of the empire was centred in the hands of the emperor
alone, and he always remained, upon occasions, the supreme
arbiter in all matters, yet the details of social life and
private occupations lay for the most part beyond his control.
The emperors possessed, it is true, an immense and unchecked
power, which allowed them to gratify all their whimsical tastes,
and to employ for that purpose the whole strength of the State.
They frequently abused that power arbitrarily to deprive their
subjects of property or of life: their tyranny was extremely
onerous to the few, but it did not reach the greater number; it
was fixed to some few main objects, and neglected the rest; it
was violent, but its range was limited.

But it would seem that if despotism were to be established
amongst the democratic nations of our days, it might assume a
different character; it would be more extensive and more mild; it
would degrade men without tormenting them. I do not question,
that in an age of instruction and equality like our own,
sovereigns might more easily succeed in collecting all political
power into their own hands, and might interfere more habitually
and decidedly within the circle of private interests, than any
sovereign of antiquity could ever do. But this same principle of
equality which facilitates despotism, tempers its rigor. We have
seen how the manners of society become more humane and gentle in
proportion as men become more equal and alike. When no member of
the community has much power or much wealth, tyranny is, as it
were, without opportunities and a field of action. As all
fortunes are scanty, the passions of men are naturally
circumscribed - their imagination limited, their pleasures
simple. This universal moderation moderates the sovereign
himself, and checks within certain limits the inordinate extent
of his desires.

Independently of these reasons drawn from the nature of the
state of society itself, I might add many others arising from
causes beyond my subject; but I shall keep within the limits I
have laid down to myself. Democratic governments may become
violent and even cruel at certain periods of extreme
effervescence or of great danger: but these crises will be rare
and brief. When I consider the petty passions of our
contemporaries, the mildness of their manners, the extent of
their education, the purity of their religion, the gentleness of
their morality, their regular and industrious habits, and the
restraint which they almost all observe in their vices no less
than in their virtues, I have no fear that they will meet with
tyrants in their rulers, but rather guardians. *a I think then
that the species of oppression by which democratic nations are
menaced is unlike anything which ever before existed in the
world: our contemporaries will find no prototype of it in their
memories. I am trying myself to choose an expression which will
accurately convey the whole of the idea I have formed of it, but
in vain; the old words "despotism" and "tyranny" are
inappropriate: the thing itself is new; and since I cannot name
it, I must attempt to define it.

[Footnote a: See Appendix Y.]

I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may
appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the
observation is an innumerable multitude of men all equal and
alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry
pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living
apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest - his
children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of
mankind; as for the rest of his fellow-citizens, he is close to
them, but he sees them not - he touches them, but he feels them
not; he exists but in himself and for himself alone; and if his
kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have
lost his country. Above this race of men stands an immense and
tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their
gratifications, and to watch over their fate. That power is
absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like
the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object
was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks on the contrary to
keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the
people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but
rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly
labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter
of that happiness: it provides for their security, foresees and
supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages
their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the
descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances - what
remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the
trouble of living? Thus it every day renders the exercise of the
free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it
circumscribes the will within a narrower range, and gradually
robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality
has prepared men for these things: it has predisposed men to
endure them, and oftentimes to look on them as benefits.

After having thus successively taken each member of the
community in its powerful grasp, and fashioned them at will, the
supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It
covers the surface of society with a net-work of small
complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most
original minds and the most energetic characters cannot
penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not
shattered, but softened, bent, and guided: men are seldom forced
by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting:
such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does
not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and
stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing
better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which
the government is the shepherd. I have always thought that
servitude of the regular, quiet, and gentle kind which I have
just described, might be combined more easily than is commonly
believed with some of the outward forms of freedom; and that it
might even establish itself under the wing of the sovereignty of
the people. Our contemporaries are constantly excited by two
conflicting passions; they want to be led, and they wish to
remain free: as they cannot destroy either one or the other of
these contrary propensities, they strive to satisfy them both at
once. They devise a sole, tutelary, and all-powerful form of
government, but elected by the people. They combine the
principle of centralization and that of popular sovereignty; this
gives them a respite; they console themselves for being in
tutelage by the reflection that they have chosen their own
guardians. Every man allows himself to be put in leading-strings,
because he sees that it is not a person or a class of persons,
but the people at large that holds the end of his chain. By this
system the people shake off their state of dependence just long
enough to select their master, and then relapse into it again. A
great many persons at the present day are quite contented with
this sort of compromise between administrative despotism and the
sovereignty of the people; and they think they have done enough
for the protection of individual freedom when they have
surrendered it to the power of the nation at large. This does not
satisfy me: the nature of him I am to obey signifies less to me
than the fact of extorted obedience.

I do not however deny that a constitution of this kind
appears to me to be infinitely preferable to one, which, after
having concentrated all the powers of government, should vest
them in the hands of an irresponsible person or body of persons.
Of all the forms which democratic despotism could assume, the
latter would assuredly be the worst. When the sovereign is
elective, or narrowly watched by a legislature which is really
elective and independent, the oppression which he exercises over
individuals is sometimes greater, but it is always less
degrading; because every man, when he is oppressed and disarmed,
may still imagine, that whilst he yields obedience it is to
himself he yields it, and that it is to one of his own
inclinations that all the rest give way. In like manner I can
understand that when the sovereign represents the nation, and is
dependent upon the people, the rights and the power of which
every citizen is deprived, not only serve the head of the State,
but the State itself; and that private persons derive some return
from the sacrifice of their independence which they have made to
the public. To create a representation of the people in every
centralized country, is therefore, to diminish the evil which
extreme centralization may produce, but not to get rid of it. I
admit that by this means room is left for the intervention of
individuals in the more important affairs; but it is not the less
suppressed in the smaller and more private ones. It must not be
forgotten that it is especially dangerous to enslave men in the
minor details of life. For my own part, I should be inclined to
think freedom less necessary in great things than in little ones,
if it were possible to be secure of the one without possessing
the other. Subjection in minor affairs breaks out every day, and
is felt by the whole community indiscriminately. It does not
drive men to resistance, but it crosses them at every turn, till
they are led to surrender the exercise of their will. Thus their
spirit is gradually broken and their character enervated; whereas
that obedience, which is exacted on a few important but rare
occasions, only exhibits servitude at certain intervals, and
throws the burden of it upon a small number of men. It is in vain
to summon a people, which has been rendered so dependent on the
central power, to choose from time to time the representatives of
that power; this rare and brief exercise of their free choice,
however important it may be, will not prevent them from gradually
losing the faculties of thinking, feeling, and acting for
themselves, and thus gradually falling below the level of
humanity. *b I add that they will soon become incapable of
exercising the great and only privilege which remains to them.
The democratic nations which have introduced freedom into their
political constitution, at the very time when they were
augmenting the despotism of their administrative constitution,
have been led into strange paradoxes. To manage those minor
affairs in which good sense is all that is wanted - the people
are held to be unequal to the task, but when the government of
the country is at stake, the people are invested with immense
powers; they are alternately made the playthings of their ruler,
and his masters - more than kings, and less than men. After
having exhausted all the different modes of election, without
finding one to suit their purpose, they are still amazed, and
still bent on seeking further; as if the evil they remark did not
originate in the constitution of the country far more than in
that of the electoral body. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive
how men who have entirely given up the habit of self-government
should succeed in making a proper choice of those by whom they
are to be governed; and no one will ever believe that a liberal,
wise, and energetic government can spring from the suffrages of a
subservient people. A constitution, which should be republican
in its head and ultra- monarchical in all its other parts, has
ever appeared to me to be a short-lived monster. The vices of
rulers and the ineptitude of the people would speedily bring
about its ruin; and the nation, weary of its representatives and
of itself, would create freer institutions, or soon return to
stretch itself at the feet of a single master.

[Footnote b: See Appendix Z.]

Chapter VII: Continuation Of The Preceding Chapters

I believe that it is easier to establish an absolute and
despotic government amongst a people in which the conditions of
society are equal, than amongst any other; and I think that if
such a government were once established amongst such a people, it
would not only oppress men, but would eventually strip each of
them of several of the highest qualities of humanity. Despotism
therefore appears to me peculiarly to be dreaded in democratic
ages. I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but
in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it. On the
other hand, I am persuaded that all who shall attempt, in the
ages upon which we are entering, to base freedom upon
aristocratic privilege, will fail - that all who shall attempt to
draw and to retain authority within a single class, will fail.
At the present day no ruler is skilful or strong enough to found
a despotism, by re-establishing permanent distinctions of rank
amongst his subjects: no legislator is wise or powerful enough to
preserve free institutions, if he does not take equality for his
first principle and his watchword. All those of our
contemporaries who would establish or secure the independence and
the dignity of their fellow-men, must show themselves the friends
of equality; and the only worthy means of showing themselves as
such, is to be so: upon this depends the success of their holy
enterprise. Thus the question is not how to reconstruct
aristocratic society, but how to make liberty proceed out of that
democratic state of society in which God has placed us.

These two truths appear to me simple, clear, and fertile in
consequences; and they naturally lead me to consider what kind of
free government can be established amongst a people in which
social conditions are equal. It results from the very
constitution of democratic nations and from their necessities,
that the power of government amongst them must be more uniform,
more centralized, more extensive, more searching, and more
efficient than in other countries. Society at large is naturally
stronger and more active, individuals more subordinate and weak;
the former does more, the latter less; and this is inevitably the
case. It is not therefore to be expected that the range of
private independence will ever be as extensive in democratic as
in aristocratic countries - nor is this to be desired; for,
amongst aristocratic nations, the mass is often sacrificed to the
individual, and the prosperity of the greater number to the
greatness of the few. It is both necessary and desirable that
the government of a democratic people should be active and
powerful: and our object should not be to render it weak or
indolent, but solely to prevent it from abusing its aptitude and
its strength.

The circumstance which most contributed to secure the
independence of private persons in aristocratic ages, was, that
the supreme power did not affect to take upon itself alone the
government and administration of the community; those functions
were necessarily partially left to the members of the
aristocracy: so that as the supreme power was always divided, it
never weighed with its whole weight and in the same manner on
each individual. Not only did the government not perform
everything by its immediate agency; but as most of the agents who
discharged its duties derived their power not from the State, but
from the circumstance of their birth, they were not perpetually
under its control. The government could not make or unmake them
in an instant, at pleasure, nor bend them in strict uniformity to
its slightest caprice - this was an additional guarantee of
private independence. I readily admit that recourse cannot be had
to the same means at the present time: but I discover certain
democratic expedients which may be substituted for them. Instead
of vesting in the government alone all the administrative powers
of which corporations and nobles have been deprived, a portion of
them may be entrusted to secondary public bodies, temporarily
composed of private citizens: thus the liberty of private persons
will be more secure, and their equality will not be diminished.

The Americans, who care less for words than the French,
still designate by the name of "county" the largest of their
administrative districts: but the duties of the count or lord-
lieutenant are in part performed by a provincial assembly. At a
period of equality like our own it would be unjust and
unreasonable to institute hereditary officers; but there is
nothing to prevent us from substituting elective public officers
to a certain extent. Election is a democratic expedient which
insures the independence of the public officer in relation to the
government, as much and even more than hereditary rank can insure
it amongst aristocratic nations. Aristocratic countries abound
in wealthy and influential persons who are competent to provide
for themselves, and who cannot be easily or secretly oppressed:
such persons restrain a government within general habits of
moderation and reserve. I am very well aware that democratic
countries contain no such persons naturally; but something
analogous to them may be created by artificial means. I firmly
believe that an aristocracy cannot again be founded in the world;
but I think that private citizens, by combining together, may
constitute bodies of great wealth, influence, and strength,
corresponding to the persons of an aristocracy. By this means
many of the greatest political advantages of aristocracy would be
obtained without its injustice or its dangers. An association
for political, commercial, or manufacturing purposes, or even for
those of science and literature, is a powerful and enlightened
member of the community, which cannot be disposed of at pleasure,
or oppressed without remonstrance; and which, by defending its
own rights against the encroachments of the government, saves the
common liberties of the country.

In periods of aristocracy every man is always bound so
closely to many of his fellow-citizens, that he cannot be
assailed without their coming to his assistance. In ages of
equality every man naturally stands alone; he has no hereditary
friends whose co- operation he may demand - no class upon whose
sympathy he may rely: he is easily got rid of, and he is trampled
on with impunity. At the present time, an oppressed member of
the community has therefore only one method of self-defence - he
may appeal to the whole nation; and if the whole nation is deaf
to his complaint, he may appeal to mankind: the only means he has
of making this appeal is by the press. Thus the liberty of the
press is infinitely more valuable amongst democratic nations than
amongst all others; it is the only cure for the evils which
equality may produce. Equality sets men apart and weakens them;
but the press places a powerful weapon within every man's reach,
which the weakest and loneliest of them all may use. Equality
deprives a man of the support of his connections; but the press
enables him to summon all his fellow- countrymen and all his
fellow-men to his assistance. Printing has accelerated the
progress of equality, and it is also one of its best correctives.

I think that men living in aristocracies may, strictly
speaking, do without the liberty of the press: but such is not
the case with those who live in democratic countries. To protect
their personal independence I trust not to great political
assemblies, to parliamentary privilege, or to the assertion of
popular sovereignty. All these things may, to a certain extent,
be reconciled with personal servitude - but that servitude cannot
be complete if the press is free: the press is the chiefest
democratic instrument of freedom.

Something analogous may be said of the judicial power. It
is a part of the essence of judicial power to attend to private
interests, and to fix itself with predilection on minute objects
submitted to its observation; another essential quality of
judicial power is never to volunteer its assistance to the
oppressed, but always to be at the disposal of the humblest of
those who solicit it; their complaint, however feeble they may
themselves be, will force itself upon the ear of justice and
claim redress, for this is inherent in the very constitution of
the courts of justice. A power of this kind is therefore
peculiarly adapted to the wants of freedom, at a time when the
eye and finger of the government are constantly intruding into
the minutest details of human actions, and when private persons
are at once too weak to protect themselves, and too much isolated
for them to reckon upon the assistance of their fellows. The
strength of the courts of law has ever been the greatest security
which can be offered to personal independence; but this is more
especially the case in democratic ages: private rights and
interests are in constant danger, if the judicial power does not
grow more extensive and more strong to keep pace with the growing
equality of conditions.

Equality awakens in men several propensities extremely
dangerous to freedom, to which the attention of the legislator
ought constantly to be directed. I shall only remind the reader
of the most important amongst them. Men living in democratic ages
do not readily comprehend the utility of forms: they feel an
instinctive contempt for them - I have elsewhere shown for what
reasons. Forms excite their contempt and often their hatred; as
they commonly aspire to none but easy and present gratifications,
they rush onwards to the object of their desires, and the
slightest delay exasperates them. This same temper, carried with
them into political life, renders them hostile to forms, which
perpetually retard or arrest them in some of their projects. Yet
this objection which the men of democracies make to forms is the
very thing which renders forms so useful to freedom; for their
chief merit is to serve as a barrier between the strong and the
weak, the ruler and the people, to retard the one, and give the
other time to look about him. Forms become more necessary in
proportion as the government becomes more active and more
powerful, whilst private persons are becoming more indolent and
more feeble. Thus democratic nations naturally stand more in need
of forms than other nations, and they naturally respect them
less. This deserves most serious attention. Nothing is more
pitiful than the arrogant disdain of most of our contemporaries
for questions of form; for the smallest questions of form have
acquired in our time an importance which they never had before:
many of the greatest interests of mankind depend upon them. I
think that if the statesmen of aristocratic ages could sometimes
contemn forms with impunity, and frequently rise above them, the
statesmen to whom the government of nations is now confided ought
to treat the very least among them with respect, and not neglect
them without imperious necessity. In aristocracies the
observance of forms was superstitious; amongst us they ought to
be kept with a deliberate and enlightened deference.

Another tendency, which is extremely natural to democratic
nations and extremely dangerous, is that which leads them ta
despise and undervalue the rights of private persons. The
attachment which men feel to a right, and the respect which they
display for it, is generally proportioned to its importance, or
to the length of time during which they have enjoyed it. The
rights of private persons amongst democratic nations are commonly
of small importance, of recent growth, and extremely precarious -
the consequence is that they are often sacrificed without regret,
and almost always violated without remorse. But it happens that
at the same period and amongst the same nations in which men
conceive a natural contempt for the rights of private persons,
the rights of society at large are naturally extended and
consolidated: in other words, men become less attached to private
rights at the very time at which it would be most necessary to
retain and to defend what little remains of them. It is
therefore most especially in the present democratic ages, that
the true friends of the liberty and the greatness of man ought
constantly to be on the alert to prevent the power of government
from lightly sacrificing the private rights of individuals to the
general execution of its designs. At such times no citizen is so
obscure that it is not very dangerous to allow him to be
oppressed - no private rights are so unimportant that they can be
surrendered with impunity to the caprices of a government. The
reason is plain: - if the private right of an individual is
violated at a time when the human mind is fully impressed with
the importance and the sanctity of such rights, the injury done
is confined to the individual whose right is infringed; but to
violate such a right, at the present day, is deeply to corrupt
the manners of the nation and to put the whole community in
jeopardy, because the very notion of this kind of right
constantly tends amongst us to be impaired and lost.

There are certain habits, certain notions, and certain vices
which are peculiar to a state of revolution, and which a
protracted revolution cannot fail to engender and to propagate,
whatever be, in other respects, its character, its purpose, and
the scene on which it takes place. When any nation has, within a
short space of time, repeatedly varied its rulers, its opinions,
and its laws, the men of whom it is composed eventually contract
a taste for change, and grow accustomed to see all changes
effected by sudden violence. Thus they naturally conceive a
contempt for forms which daily prove ineffectual; and they do not
support without impatience the dominion of rules which they have
so often seen infringed. As the ordinary notions of equity and
morality no longer suffice to explain and justify all the
innovations daily begotten by a revolution, the principle of
public utility is called in, the doctrine of political necessity
is conjured up, and men accustom themselves to sacrifice private
interests without scruple, and to trample on the rights of
individuals in order more speedily to accomplish any public

These habits and notions, which I shall call revolutionary,
because all revolutions produce them, occur in aristocracies just
as much as amongst democratic nations; but amongst the former
they are often less powerful and always less lasting, because
there they meet with habits, notions, defects, and impediments,
which counteract them: they consequently disappear as soon as the
revolution is terminated, and the nation reverts to its former
political courses. This is not always the case in democratic
countries, in which it is ever to be feared that revolutionary
tendencies, becoming more gentle and more regular, without
entirely disappearing from society, will be gradually transformed
into habits of subjection to the administrative authority of the
government. I know of no countries in which revolutions re more
dangerous than in democratic countries; because, independently of
the accidental and transient evils which must always attend them,
they may always create some evils which are permanent and
unending. I believe that there are such things as justifiable
resistance and legitimate rebellion: I do not therefore assert,
as an absolute proposition, that the men of democratic ages ought
never to make revolutions; but I think that they have especial
reason to hesitate before they embark in them, and that it is far
better to endure many grievances in their present condition than
to have recourse to so perilous a remedy.

I shall conclude by one general idea, which comprises not
only all the particular ideas which have been expressed in the
present chapter, but also most of those which it is the object of
this book to treat of. In the ages of aristocracy which preceded
our own, there were private persons of great power, and a social
authority of extreme weakness. The outline of society itself was
not easily discernible, and constantly confounded with the
different powers by which the community was ruled. The principal
efforts of the men of those times were required to strengthen,
aggrandize, and secure the supreme power; and on the other hand,
to circumscribe individual independence within narrower limits,
and to subject private interests to the interests of the public.
Other perils and other cares await the men of our age. Amongst
the greater part of modern nations, the government, whatever may
be its origin, its constitution, or its name, has become almost
omnipotent, and private persons are falling, more and more, into
the lowest stage of weakness and dependence. In olden society
everything was different; unity and uniformity were nowhere to be
met with. In modern society everything threatens to become so
much alike, that the peculiar characteristics of each individual
will soon be entirely lost in the general aspect of the world.
Our forefathers were ever prone to make an improper use of the
notion, that private rights ought to be respected; and we are
naturally prone on the other hand to exaggerate the idea that the
interest of a private individual ought always to bend to the
interest of the many. The political world is metamorphosed: new
remedies must henceforth be sought for new disorders. To lay
down extensive, but distinct and settled limits, to the action of
the government; to confer certain rights on private persons, and
to secure to them the undisputed enjoyment of those rights; to
enable individual man to maintain whatever independence,
strength, and original power he still possesses; to raise him by
the side of society at large, and uphold him in that position -
these appear to me the main objects of legislators in the ages
upon which we are now entering. It would seem as if the rulers
of our time sought only to use men in order to make things great;
I wish that they would try a little more to make great men; that
they would set less value on the work, and more upon the workman;
that they would never forget that a nation cannot long remain
strong when every man belonging to it is individually weak, and
that no form or combination of social polity has yet been
devised, to make an energetic people out of a community of
pusillanimous and enfeebled citizens.

I trace amongst our contemporaries two contrary notions
which are equally injurious. One set of men can perceive nothing
in the principle of equality but the anarchical tendencies which
it engenders: they dread their own free agency - they fear
themselves. Other thinkers, less numerous but more enlightened,
take a different view: besides that track which starts from the
principle of equality to terminate in anarchy, they have at last
discovered the road which seems to lead men to inevitable
servitude. They shape their souls beforehand to this necessary
condition; and, despairing of remaining free, they already do
obeisance in their hearts to the master who is soon to appear.
The former abandon freedom, because they think it dangerous; the
latter, because they hold it to be impossible. If I had
entertained the latter conviction, I should not have written this
book, but I should have confined myself to deploring in secret
the destiny of mankind. I have sought to point out the dangers to
which the principle of equality exposes the independence of man,
because I firmly believe that these dangers are the most
formidable, as well as the least foreseen, of all those which
futurity holds in store: but I do not think that they are
insurmountable. The men who live in the democratic ages upon
which we are entering have naturally a taste for independence:
they are naturally impatient of regulation, and they are wearied
by the permanence even of the condition they themselves prefer.
They are fond of power; but they are prone to despise and hate
those who wield it, and they easily elude its grasp by their own
mobility and insignificance. These propensities will always
manifest themselves, because they originate in the groundwork of
society, which will undergo no change: for a long time they will
prevent the establishment of any despotism, and they will furnish
fresh weapons to each succeeding generation which shall struggle
in favor of the liberty of mankind. Let us then look forward to
the future with that salutary fear which makes men keep watch and
ward for freedom, not with that faint and idle terror which
depresses and enervates the heart.

Book Four - Chapter VIII

Chapter VIII: General Survey Of The Subject

Before I close forever the theme that has detained me so
long, I would fain take a parting survey of all the various
characteristics of modern society, and appreciate at last the
general influence to be exercised by the principle of equality
upon the fate of mankind; but I am stopped by the difficulty of
the task, and in presence of so great an object my sight is
troubled, and my reason fails. The society of the modern world
which I have sought to delineate, and which I seek to judge, has
but just come into existence. Time has not yet shaped it into
perfect form: the great revolution by which it has been created
is not yet over: and amidst the occurrences of our time, it is
almost impossible to discern what will pass away with the
revolution itself, and what will survive its close. The world
which is rising into existence is still half encumbered by the
remains of the world which is waning into decay; and amidst the
vast perplexity of human affairs, none can say how much of
ancient institutions and former manners will remain, or how much
will completely disappear. Although the revolution which is
taking place in the social condition, the laws, the opinions, and
the feelings of men, is still very far from being terminated, yet
its results already admit of no comparison with anything that the
world has ever before witnessed. I go back from age to age up to
the remotest antiquity; but I find no parallel to what is
occurring before my eyes: as the past has ceased to throw its
light upon the future, the mind of man wanders in obscurity.
Nevertheless, in the midst of a prospect so wide, so novel
and so confused, some of the more prominent characteristics may
already be discerned and pointed out. The good things and the
evils of life are more equally distributed in the world: great
wealth tends to disappear, the number of small fortunes to
increase; desires and gratifications are multiplied, but
extraordinary prosperity and irremediable penury are alike
unknown. The sentiment of ambition is universal, but the scope
of ambition is seldom vast. Each individual stands apart in
solitary weakness; but society at large is active, provident, and
powerful: the performances of private persons are insignificant,
those of the State immense. There is little energy of character;
but manners are mild, and laws humane. If there be few instances
of exalted heroism or of virtues of the highest, brightest, and
purest temper, men's habits are regular, violence is rare, and
cruelty almost unknown. Human existence becomes longer, and
property more secure: life is not adorned with brilliant
trophies, but it is extremely easy and tranquil. Few pleasures
are either very refined or very coarse; and highly polished
manners are as uncommon as great brutality of tastes. Neither
men of great learning, nor extremely ignorant communities, are to
be met with; genius becomes more rare, information more diffused.
The human mind is impelled by the small efforts of all mankind
combined together, not by the strenuous activity of certain men.
There is less perfection, but more abundance, in all the
productions of the arts. The ties of race, of rank, and of
country are relaxed; the great bond of humanity is strengthened.
If I endeavor to find out the most general and the most prominent
of all these different characteristics, I shall have occasion to
perceive, that what is taking place in men's fortunes manifests
itself under a thousand other forms. Almost all extremes are
softened or blunted: all that was most prominent is superseded by
some mean term, at once less lofty and less low, less brilliant
and less obscure, than what before existed in the world.

When I survey this countless multitude of beings, shaped in
each other's likeness, amidst whom nothing rises and nothing
falls, the sight of such universal uniformity saddens and chills
me, and I am tempted to regret that state of society which has
ceased to be. When the world was full of men of great importance
and extreme insignificance, of great wealth and extreme poverty,
of great learning and extreme ignorance, I turned aside from the
latter to fix my observation on the former alone, who gratified
my sympathies. But I admit that this gratification arose from my
own weakness: it is because I am unable to see at once all that
is around me, that I am allowed thus to select and separate the
objects of my predilection from among so many others. Such is not
the case with that almighty and eternal Being whose gaze
necessarily includes the whole of created things, and who surveys
distinctly, though at once, mankind and man. We may naturally
believe that it is not the singular prosperity of the few, but
the greater well-being of all, which is most pleasing in the
sight of the Creator and Preserver of men. What appears to me to
be man's decline, is to His eye advancement; what afflicts me is
acceptable to Him. A state of equality is perhaps less elevated,
but it is more just; and its justice constitutes its greatness
and its beauty. I would strive then to raise myself to this
point of the divine contemplation, and thence to view and to
judge the concerns of men.

No man, upon the earth, can as yet affirm absolutely and
generally, that the new state of the world is better than its
former one; but it is already easy to perceive that this state is
different. Some vices and some virtues were so inherent in the
constitution of an aristocratic nation, and are so opposite to
the character of a modern people, that they can never be infused
into it; some good tendencies and some bad propensities which
were unknown to the former, are natural to the latter; some ideas
suggest themselves spontaneously to the imagination of the one,
which are utterly repugnant to the mind of the other. They are
like two distinct orders of human beings, each of which has its
own merits and defects, its own advantages and its own evils.
Care must therefore be taken not to judge the state of society,
which is now coming into existence, by notions derived from a
state of society which no longer exists; for as these states of
society are exceedingly different in their structure, they cannot
be submitted to a just or fair comparison. It would be scarcely
more reasonable to require of our own contemporaries the peculiar
virtues which originated in the social condition of their
forefathers, since that social condition is itself fallen, and
has drawn into one promiscuous ruin the good and evil which
belonged to it.

But as yet these things are imperfectly understood. I find
that a great number of my contemporaries undertake to make a
certain selection from amongst the institutions, the opinions,
and the ideas which originated in the aristocratic constitution
of society as it was: a portion of these elements they would
willingly relinquish, but they would keep the remainder and
transplant them into their new world. I apprehend that such men
are wasting their time and their strength in virtuous but
unprofitable efforts. The object is not to retain the peculiar
advantages which the inequality of conditions bestows upon
mankind, but to secure the new benefits which equality may
supply. We have not to seek to make ourselves like our
progenitors, but to strive to work out that species of greatness
and happiness which is our own. For myself, who now look back
from this extreme limit of my task, and discover from afar, but
at once, the various objects which have attracted my more
attentive investigation upon my way, I am full of apprehensions
and of hopes. I perceive mighty dangers which it is possible to
ward off - mighty evils which may be avoided or alleviated; and I
cling with a firmer hold to the belief, that for democratic
nations to be virtuous and prosperous they require but to will
it. I am aware that many of my contemporaries maintain that
nations are never their own masters here below, and that they
necessarily obey some insurmountable and unintelligent power,
arising from anterior events, from their race, or from the
soil and climate of their country. Such principles are false and
cowardly; such principles can never produce aught but feeble men
and pusillanimous nations. Providence has not created mankind
entirely independent or entirely free. It is true that around
every man a fatal circle is traced, beyond which he cannot pass;
but within the wide verge of that circle he is powerful and free:
as it is with man, so with communities. The nations of our time
cannot prevent the conditions of men from becoming equal; but it
depends upon themselves whether the principle of equality is to
lead them to servitude or freedom, to knowledge or barbarism, to
prosperity or to wretchedness.

Part I.

Appendix A

For information concerning all the countries of the West
which have not been visited by Europeans, consult the account of
two expeditions undertaken at the expense of Congress by Major
Long. This traveller particularly mentions, on the subject of
the great American desert, that a line may be drawn nearly
parallel to the 20th degree of longitude *a (meridian of
Washington), beginning from the Red River and ending at the River
Platte. From this imaginary line to the Rocky Mountains, which
bound the valley of the Mississippi on the west, lie immense
plains, which are almost entirely covered with sand, incapable of
cultivation, or scattered over with masses of granite. In summer,
these plains are quite destitute of water, and nothing is to be
seen on them but herds of buffaloes and wild horses. Some hordes
of Indians are also found there, but in no great numbers. Major
Long was told that in travelling northwards from the River Platte
you find the same desert lying constantly on the left; but he was
unable to ascertain the truth of this report. However worthy of
confidence may be the narrative of Major Long, it must be
remembered that he only passed through the country of which he
speaks, without deviating widely from the line which he had
traced out for his journey.

[Footnote a: The 20th degree of longitude, according to the
meridian of Washington, agrees very nearly with the 97th degree
on the meridian of Greenwich.]

Appendix B

South America, in the region between the tropics, produces
an incredible profusion of climbing plants, of which the flora of
the Antilles alone presents us with forty different species.
Among the most graceful of these shrubs is the passion-flower,
which, according to Descourtiz, grows with such luxuriance in the
Antilles, as to climb trees by means of the tendrils with which
it is provided, and form moving bowers of rich and elegant
festoons, decorated with blue and purple flowers, and fragrant
with perfume. The Mimosa scandens (Acacia a grandes gousses) is
a creeper of enormous and rapid growth, which climbs from tree to
tree, and sometimes covers more than half a league.

Appendix C

The languages which are spoken by the Indians of America,
from the Pole to Cape Horn, are said to be all formed upon the
same model, and subject to the same grammatical rules; whence it
may fairly be concluded that all the Indian nations sprang from
the same stock. Each tribe of the American continent speaks a
different dialect; but the number of languages, properly so
called, is very small, a fact which tends to prove that the
nations of the New World had not a very remote origin. Moreover,
the languages of America have a great degree of regularity, from
which it seems probable that the tribes which employ them had not
undergone any great revolutions, or been incorporated voluntarily
or by constraint, with foreign nations. For it is generally the
union of several languages into one which produces grammatical
irregularities. It is not long since the American languages,
especially those of the North, first attracted the serious
attention of philologists, when the discovery was made that this
idiom of a barbarous people was the product of a complicated
system of ideas and very learned combinations. These languages
were found to be very rich, and great pains had been taken at
their formation to render them agreeable to the ear. The
grammatical system of the Americans differs from all others in
several points, but especially in the following: -
Some nations of Europe, amongst others the Germans, have the
power of combining at pleasure different expressions, and thus
giving a complex sense to certain words. The Indians have given
a most surprising extension to this power, so as to arrive at the
means of connecting a great number of ideas with a single term.
This will be easily understood with the help of an example quoted
by Mr. Duponceau, in the "Memoirs of the Philosophical Society of
America": A Delaware woman playing with a cat or a young dog,
says this writer, is heard to pronounce the word kuligatschis,
which is thus composed: k is the sign of the second person, and
signifies "thou" or "thy"; uli is a part of the word wulit, which
signifies "beautiful," "pretty"; gat is another fragment, of the
word wichgat, which means "paw"; and, lastly, schis is a
diminutive giving the idea of smallness. Thus in one word the
Indian woman has expressed "Thy pretty little paw." Take another
example of the felicity with which the savages of America have
composed their words. A young man of Delaware is called pilape.
This word is formed from pilsit, "chaste," "innocent"; and
lenape, "man"; viz., "man in his purity and innocence." This
facility of combining words is most remarkable in the strange
formation of their verbs. The most complex action is often
expressed by a single verb, which serves to convey all the shades
of an idea by the modification of its construction. Those who
may wish to examine more in detail this subject, which I have
only glanced at superficially, should read: -

1. The correspondence of Mr. Duponceau and the Rev. Mr.
Hecwelder relative to the Indian languages, which is to be found
in the first volume of the "Memoirs of the Philosophical Society
of America," published at Philadelphia, 1819, by Abraham Small;
vol. i. p. 356-464.

2. The "Grammar of the Delaware or the Lenape Language," by
Geiberger, and the preface of Mr. Duponceau. All these are in
the same collection, vol. iii.

3. An excellent account of these works, which is at the end
of the sixth volume of the American Encyclopaedia.

Appendix D

See in Charlevoix, vol. i. p. 235, the history of the first
war which the French inhabitants of Canada carried on, in 1610,
against the Iroquois. The latter, armed with bows and arrows,
offered a desperate resistance to the French and their allies.
Charlevoix is not a great painter, yet he exhibits clearly
enough, in this narrative, the contrast between the European
manners and those of savages, as well as the different way in
which the two races of men understood the sense of honor. When
the French, says he, seized upon the beaver-skins which covered
the Indians who had fallen, the Hurons, their allies, were
greatly offended at this proceeding; but without hesitation they
set to work in their usual manner, inflicting horrid cruelties
upon the prisoners, and devouring one of those who had been
killed, which made the Frenchmen shudder. The barbarians prided
themselves upon a scrupulousness which they were surprised at not
finding in our nation, and could not understand that there was
less to reprehend in the stripping of dead bodies than in the
devouring of their flesh like wild beasts. Charlevoix, in
another place (vol. i. p. 230), thus describes the first torture
of which Champlain was an eyewitness, and the return of the
Hurons into their own village. Having proceeded about eight
leagues, says he, our allies halted; and having singled out one
of their captives, they reproached him with all the cruelties
which he had practised upon the warriors of their nation who had
fallen into his hands, and told him that he might expect to be
treated in like manner; adding, that if he had any spirit he
would prove it by singing. He immediately chanted forth his
death-song, and then his war-song, and all the songs he knew,
"but in a very mournful strain," says Champlain, who was not then
aware that all savage music has a melancholy character. The
tortures which succeeded, accompanied by all the horrors which we
shall mention hereafter, terrified the French, who made every
effort to put a stop to them, but in vain. The following night,
one of the Hurons having dreamt that they were pursued, the
retreat was changed to a real flight, and the savages never
stopped until they were out of the reach of danger. The moment
they perceived the cabins of their own village, they cut
themselves long sticks, to which they fastened the scalps which
had fallen to their share, and carried them in triumph. At this
sight, the women swam to the canoes, where they received the
bloody scalps from the hands of their husbands, and tied them
round their necks. The warriors offered one of these horrible
trophies to Champlain; they also presented him with some bows and
arrows - the only spoils of the Iroquois which they had ventured
to seize - entreating him to show them to the King of France.
Champlain lived a whole winter quite alone among these
barbarians, without being under any alarm for his person or

Appendix E

Although the Puritanical strictness which presided over the
establishment of the English colonies in America is now much
relaxed, remarkable traces of it are still found in their habits
and their laws. In 1792, at the very time when the
anti-Christian republic of France began its ephemeral existence,
the legislative body of Massachusetts promulgated the following
law, to compel the citizens to observe the Sabbath. We give the
preamble and the principal articles of this law, which is worthy
of the reader's attention: "Whereas," says the legislator, "the
observation of the Sunday is an affair of public interest;
inasmuch as it produces a necessary suspension of labor, leads
men to reflect upon the duties of life, and the errors to which
human nature is liable, and provides for the public and private
worship of God, the creator and governor of the universe, and for
the performance of such acts of charity as are the ornament and
comfort of Christian societies: - Whereas irreligious or
light-minded persons, forgetting the duties which the Sabbath
imposes, and the benefits which these duties confer on society,
are known to profane its sanctity, by following their pleasures
or their affairs; this way of acting being contrary to their own
interest as Christians, and calculated to annoy those who do not
follow their example; being also of great injury to society at
large, by spreading a taste for dissipation and dissolute
manners; Be it enacted and ordained by the Governor, Council, and
Representatives convened in General Court of Assembly, that all
and every person and persons shall on that day carefully apply
themselves to the duties of religion and piety, that no tradesman
or labourer shall exercise his ordinary calling, and that no game
or recreation shall be used on the Lord's Day, upon pain of
forfeiting ten shillings.

"That no one shall travel on that day, or any part thereof,
under pain of forfeiting twenty shillings; that no vessel shall
leave a harbour of the colony; that no persons shall keep outside
the meeting-house during the time of public worship, or profane
the time by playing or talking, on penalty of five shillings.

"Public-houses shall not entertain any other than strangers
or lodgers, under penalty of five shillings for every person
found drinking and abiding therein.

"Any person in health, who, without sufficient reason, shall
omit to worship God in public during three months, shall be
condemned to a fine of ten shillings.

"Any person guilty of misbehaviour in a place of public
worship, shall be fined from five to forty shillings.

"These laws are to be enforced by the tything-men of each
township, who have authority to visit public-houses on the
Sunday. The innkeeper who shall refuse them admittance, shall be
fined forty shillings for such offence.

"The tything-men are to stop travellers, and require of them
their reason for being on the road on Sunday; anyone refusing to
answer, shall be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding five
pounds sterling. If the reason given by the traveller be not
deemed by the tything-man sufficient, he may bring the traveller
before the justice of the peace of the district." (Law of March
8, 1792; General Laws of Massachusetts, vol. i. p. 410.)

On March 11, 1797, a new law increased the amount of fines,
half of which was to be given to the informer. (Same collection,
vol. ii. p. 525.) On February 16, 1816, a new law confirmed these
same measures. (Same collection, vol. ii. p. 405.) Similar
enactments exist in the laws of the State of New York, revised in
1827 and 1828. (See Revised Statutes, Part I. chapter 20, p.
675.) In these it is declared that no one is allowed on the
Sabbath to sport, to fish, to play at games, or to frequent
houses where liquor is sold. No one can travel, except in case
of necessity. And this is not the only trace which the religious
strictness and austere manners of the first emigrants have left
behind them in the American laws. In the Revised Statutes of the
State of New York, vol. i. p. 662, is the following clause: -

"Whoever shall win or lose in the space of twenty-four
hours, by gaming or betting, the sum of twenty-five dollars,
shall be found guilty of a misdemeanour, and upon conviction
shall be condemned to pay a fine equal to at least five times the
value of the sum lost or won; which shall be paid to the
inspector of the poor of the township. He that loses twenty-five
dollars or more may bring an action to recover them; and if he
neglects to do so the inspector of the poor may prosecute the
winner, and oblige him to pay into the poor's box both the sum he
has gained and three times as much besides."

The laws we quote from are of recent date; but they are
unintelligible without going back to the very origin of the
colonies. I have no doubt that in our days the penal part of
these laws is very rarely applied. Laws preserve their
inflexibility, long after the manners of a nation have yielded to
the influence of time. It is still true, however, that nothing
strikes a foreigner on his arrival in America more forcibly than
the regard paid to the Sabbath. There is one, in particular, of
the large American cities, in which all social movements begin to
be suspended even on Saturday evening. You traverse its streets
at the hour at which you expect men in the middle of life to be
engaged in business, and young people in pleasure; and you meet
with solitude and silence. Not only have all ceased to work, but
they appear to have ceased to exist. Neither the movements of
industry are heard, nor the accents of joy, nor even the confused
murmur which arises from the midst of a great city. Chains are
hung across the streets in the neighborhood of the churches; the
half-closed shutters of the houses scarcely admit a ray of sun
into the dwellings of the citizens. Now and then you perceive a
solitary individual who glides silently along the deserted
streets and lanes. Next day, at early dawn, the rolling of
carriages, the noise of hammers, the cries of the population,
begin to make themselves heard again. The city is awake. An
eager crowd hastens towards the resort of commerce and industry;
everything around you bespeaks motion, bustle, hurry. A feverish
activity succeeds to the lethargic stupor of yesterday; you might
almost suppose that they had but one day to acquire wealth and to
enjoy it.

Appendix F

It is unnecessary for me to say, that in the chapter which
has just been read, I have not had the intention of giving a
history of America. My only object was to enable the reader to
appreciate the influence which the opinions and manners of the
first emigrants had exercised upon the fate of the different
colonies, and of the Union in general. I have therefore confined
myself to the quotation of a few detached fragments. I do not
know whether I am deceived, but it appears to me that, by
pursuing the path which I have merely pointed out, it would be
easy to present such pictures of the American republics as would
not be unworthy the attention of the public, and could not fail
to suggest to the statesman matter for reflection. Not being
able to devote myself to this labor, I am anxious to render it
easy to others; and, for this purpose, I subjoin a short
catalogue and analysis of the works which seem to me the most
important to consult.

At the head of the general documents which it would be
advantageous to examine I place the work entitled "An Historical
Collection of State Papers, and other authentic Documents,
intended as Materials for a History of the United States of
America," by Ebenezer Hasard. The first volume of this
compilation, which was printed at Philadelphia in 1792, contains
a literal copy of all the charters granted by the Crown of
England to the emigrants, as well as the principal acts of the
colonial governments, during the commencement of their existence.
Amongst other authentic documents, we here find a great many
relating to the affairs of New England and Virginia during this
period. The second volume is almost entirely devoted to the acts
of the Confederation of 1643. This federal compact, which was
entered into by the colonies of New England with the view of
resisting the Indians, was the first instance of union afforded
by the Anglo-Americans. There were besides many other
confederations of the same nature, before the famous one of 1776,
which brought about the independence of the colonies.

Each colony has, besides, its own historic monuments, some
of which are extremely curious; beginning with Virginia, the
State which was first peopled. The earliest historian of Virginia
was its founder, Captain John Smith. Captain Smith has left us an
octavo volume, entitled "The generall Historie of Virginia and
New England, by Captain John Smith, sometymes Governor in those
Countryes, and Admirall of New England"; printed at London in
1627. The work is adorned with curious maps and engravings of
the time when it appeared; the narrative extends from the year
1584 to 1626. Smith's work is highly and deservedly esteemed.
The author was one of the most celebrated adventurers of a period
of remarkable adventure; his book breathes that ardor for
discovery, that spirit of enterprise, which characterized the men
of his time, when the manners of chivalry were united to zeal for
commerce, and made subservient to the acquisition of wealth. But
Captain Smith is most remarkable for uniting to the virtues which
characterized his contemporaries several qualities to which they
were generally strangers; his style is simple and concise, his
narratives bear the stamp of truth, and his descriptions are free
from false ornament. This author throws most valuable light upon
the state and condition of the Indians at the time when North
America was first discovered.

The second historian to consult is Beverley, who commences
his narrative with the year 1585, and ends it with 1700. The
first part of his book contains historical documents, properly so
called, relative to the infancy of the colony. The second
affords a most curious picture of the state of the Indians at
this remote period. The third conveys very clear ideas
concerning the manners, social conditions, laws, and political
customs of the Virginians in the author's lifetime. Beverley was
a native of Virginia, which occasions him to say at the beginning
of his book, that he entreats his readers not to exercise their
critical severity upon it, since, having been born in the Indies,
he does not aspire to purity of language. Notwithstanding this
colonial modesty, the author shows throughout his book the
impatience with which he endures the supremacy of the
mother-country. In this work of Beverley are also found numerous
traces of that spirit of civil liberty which animated the English
colonies of America at the time when he wrote. He also shows the
dissensions which existed among them, and retarded their
independence. Beverley detests his Catholic neighbors of
Maryland even more than he hates the English government: his
style is simple, his narrative interesting, and apparently

I saw in America another work which ought to be consulted,
entitled "The History of Virginia," by William Stith. This book
affords some curious details, but I thought it long and diffuse.
The most ancient as well as the best document to be
consulted on the history of Carolina, is a work in small quarto,
entitled "The History of Carolina," by John Lawson, printed at
London in 1718. This work contains, in the first part, a journey
of discovery in the west of Carolina; the account of which, given
in the form of a journal, is in general confused and superficial;
but it contains a very striking description of the mortality
caused among the savages of that time both by the smallpox and
the immoderate use of brandy; with a curious picture of the
corruption of manners prevalent amongst them, which was increased
by the presence of Europeans. The second part of Lawson's book
is taken up with a description of the physical condition of
Carolina, and its productions. In the third part, the author
gives an interesting account of the manners, customs, and
government of the Indians at that period. There is a good deal
of talent and originality in this part of the work. Lawson
concludes his history with a copy of the charter granted to the
Carolinas in the reign of Charles II. The general tone of this
work is light, and often licentious, forming a perfect contrast
to the solemn style of the works published at the same period in
New England. Lawson's history is extremely scarce in America, and
cannot be procured in Europe. There is, however, a copy of it in
the Royal Library at Paris.

From the southern extremity of the United States, I pass at
once to the northern limit; as the intermediate space was not
peopled till a later period. I must first point out a very
curious compilation, entitled "Collection of the Massachusetts
Historical Society," printed for the first time at Boston in
1792, and reprinted in 1806. The collection of which I speak,
and which is continued to the present day, contains a great
number of very valuable documents relating to the history of the
different States in New England. Among them are letters which
have never been published, and authentic pieces which had been
buried in provincial archives. The whole work of Gookin,
concerning the Indians, is inserted there.

I have mentioned several times in the chapter to which this
note relates, the work of Nathaniel Norton entitled "New
England's Memorial"; sufficiently, perhaps, to prove that it
deserves the attention of those who would be conversant with the
history of New England. This book is in octavo, and was
reprinted at Boston in 1826.

The most valuable and important authority which exists upon
the history of New England, is the work of the Rev. Cotton
Mather, entitled "Magnalia Christi Americana, or the
Ecclesiastical History of New England, 1620-1698, 2 vols. 8vo,
reprinted at Hartford, United States, in 1820." *b The author
divided his work into seven books. The first presents the
history of the events which prepared and brought about the
establishment of New England. The second contains the lives of
the first governors and chief magistrates who presided over the
country. The third is devoted to the lives and labors of the
evangelical ministers who, during the same period, had the care
of souls. In the fourth the author relates the institution and
progress of the University of Cambridge (Massachusetts). In the
fifth he describes the principles and the discipline of the
Church of New England. The sixth is taken up in retracing
certain facts, which, in the opinion of Mather, prove the
merciful interposition of Providence in behalf of the inhabitants
of New England. Lastly, in the seventh, the author gives an
account of the heresies and the troubles to which the Church of
New England was exposed. Cotton Mather was an evangelical
minister who was born at Boston, and passed his life there. His
narratives are distinguished by the same ardor and religious zeal
which led to the foundation of the colonies of New England.
Traces of bad taste sometimes occur in his manner of writing; but
he interests, because he is full of enthusiasm. He is often
intolerant, still oftener credulous, but he never betrays an
intention to deceive. Sometimes his book contains fine passages,
and true and profound reflections, such as the following: -

"Before the arrival of the Puritans," says he (vol.
i. chap. iv.), "there were more than a few attempts of the
English to people and improve the parts of New England which were
to the northward of New Plymouth; but the designs of those
attempts being aimed no higher than the advancement of some
worldly interests, a constant series of disasters has confounded
them, until there was a plantation erected upon the nobler
designs of Christianity: and that plantation though it has had
more adversaries than perhaps any one upon earth, yet, having
obtained help from God, it continues to this day." Mather
occasionally relieves the austerity of his descriptions with
images full of tender feeling: after having spoken of an English
lady whose religious ardor had brought her to America with her
husband, and who soon after sank under the fatigues and
privations of exile, he adds, "As for her virtuous husband, Isaac

He tryed
To live without her, liked it not, and dyed."

[Footnote b: A folio edition of this work was published in London
in 1702.]

Mather's work gives an admirable picture of the time and
country which he describes. In his account of the motives which
led the Puritans to seek an asylum beyond seas, he says: -
"The God of Heaven served, as it were, a summons upon the
spirits of his people in the English nation, stirring up the
spirits of thousands which never saw the faces of each other,
with a most unanimous inclination to leave all the pleasant
accommodations of their native country, and go over a terrible
ocean, into a more terrible desert, for the pure enjoyment of all
his ordinances. It is now reasonable that, before we pass any
further, the reasons of his undertaking should be more exactly
made known unto posterity, especially unto the posterity of those
that were the undertakers, lest they come at length to forget and
neglect the true interest of New England. Wherefore I shall now
transcribe some of them from a manuscript, wherein they were then
tendered unto consideration:

"General Considerations for the Plantation of New England
"First, It will be a service unto the Church of great
consequence, to carry the Gospel unto those parts of the world,
and raise a bulwark against the kingdom of Antichrist, which the
Jesuits labour to rear up in all parts of the world.

"Secondly, All other Churches of Europe have been brought
under desolations; and it may be feared that the like judgments
are coming upon us; and who knows but God hath provided this
place to be a refuge for many whom he means to save out of the
general destruction?

"Thirdly, The land grows weary of her inhabitants, insomuch
that man, which is the most precious of all creatures, is here
more vile and base than the earth he treads upon; children,
neighbours, and friends, especially the poor, are counted the
greatest burdens, which, if things were right, would be the
chiefest of earthly blessings.

"Fourthly, We are grown to that intemperance in all excess
of riot, as no mean estate almost will suffice a man to keep sail
with his equals, and he that fails in it must live in scorn and
contempt: hence it comes to pass, that all arts and trades are
carried in that deceitful manner and unrighteous course, as it is
almost impossible for a good upright man to maintain his constant
charge and live comfortably in them.

"Fifthly, The schools of learning and religion are so
corrupted, as (besides the unsupportable charge of education)
most children, even the best, wittiest, and of the fairest hopes,
are perverted, corrupted, and utterly overthrown by the multitude
of evil examples and licentious behaviours in these seminaries.
"Sixthly, The whole earth is the Lord's garden, and he hath
given it to the sons of Adam, to be tilled and improved by them:
why, then, should we stand starving here for places of
habitation, and in the meantime suffer whole countries, as
profitable for the use of man, to lie waste without any

"Seventhly, What can be a better or nobler work, and more
worthy of a Christian, than to erect and support a reformed
particular Church in its infancy, and unite our forces with such
a company of faithful people, as by timely assistance may grow
stronger and prosper; but for want of it, may be put to great
hazards, if not be wholly ruined?

"Eighthly, If any such as are known to be godly, and live in
wealth and prosperity here, shall forsake all this to join with
this reformed Church, and with it run the hazard of an hard and
mean condition, it will be an example of great use, both for the
removing of scandal and to give more life unto the faith of God's
people in their prayers for the plantation, and also to encourage
others to join the more willingly in it."

Further on, when he declares the principles of the Church of
New England with respect to morals, Mather inveighs with violence
against the custom of drinking healths at table, which he
denounces as a pagan and abominable practice. He proscribes with
the same rigor all ornaments for the hair used by the female sex,
as well as their custom of having the arms and neck uncovered.
In another part of his work he relates several instances of
witchcraft which had alarmed New England. It is plain that the
visible action of the devil in the affairs of this world appeared
to him an incontestable and evident fact.

This work of Cotton Mather displays, in many places, the
spirit of civil liberty and political independence which
characterized the times in which he lived. Their principles
respecting government are discoverable at every page. Thus, for
instance, the inhabitants of Massachusetts, in the year 1630, ten
years after the foundation of Plymouth, are found to have devoted
Pound 400 sterling to the establishment of the University of
Cambridge. In passing from the general documents relative to the
history of New England to those which describe the several States
comprised within its limits, I ought first to notice "The History
of the Colony of Massachusetts," by Hutchinson,
Lieutenant-Governor of the Massachusetts Province, 2 vols. 8vo.
The history of Hutchinson, which I have several times quoted in
the chapter to which this note relates, commences in the year
1628, and ends in 1750. Throughout the work there is a striking
air of truth and the greatest simplicity of style: it is full of
minute details. The best history to consult concerning
Connecticut is that of Benjamin Trumbull, entitled "A Complete
History of Connecticut, Civil and Ecclesiastical," 1630-1764, 2
vols. 8vo, printed in 1818 at New Haven. This history contains a
clear and calm account of all the events which happened in
Connecticut during the period given in the title. The author drew
from the best sources, and his narrative bears the stamp of
truth. All that he says of the early days of Connecticut is
extremely curious. See especially the Constitution of 1639, vol.
i. ch. vi. p. 100; and also the Penal Laws of Connecticut, vol.
i. ch. vii. p. 123.

"The History of New Hampshire," by Jeremy Belknap, is a work
held in merited estimation. It was printed at Boston in 1792, in
2 vols. 8vo. The third chapter of the first volume is
particularly worthy of attention for the valuable details it
affords on the political and religious principles of the
Puritans, on the causes of their emigration, and on their laws.
The following curious quotation is given from a sermon delivered
in 1663: - "It concerneth New England always to remember that
they are a plantation religious, not a plantation of trade. The
profession of the purity of doctrine, worship, and discipline, is
written upon her forehead. Let merchants, and such as are
increasing cent. per cent., remember this, that worldly gain was
not the end and design of the people of New England, but
religion. And if any man among us make religion as twelve, and
the world as thirteen, such an one hath not the spirit of a true
New Englishman." The reader of Belknap will find in his work more
general ideas, and more strength of thought, than are to be met
with in the American historians even to the present day.

Among the Central States which deserve our attention for
their remote origin, New York and Pennsylvania are the foremost.
The best history we have of the former is entitled "A History of
New York," by William Smith, printed at London in 1757. Smith
gives us important details of the wars between the French and
English in America. His is the best account of the famous
confederation of the Iroquois.

With respect to Pennsylvania, I cannot do better than point
out the work of Proud, entitled "The History of Pennsylvania,
from the original Institution and Settlement of that Province,
under the first Proprietor and Governor, William Penn, in 1681,
till after the year 1742," by Robert Proud, 2 vols. 8vo, printed
at Philadelphia in 1797. This work is deserving of the especial
attention of the reader; it contains a mass of curious documents
concerning Penn, the doctrine of the Quakers, and the character,
manners, and customs of the first inhabitants of Pennsylvania. I
need not add that among the most important documents relating to
this State are the works of Penn himself, and those of Franklin.

Part II.

Appendix G

We read in Jefferson's "Memoirs" as follows: -

"At the time of the first settlement of the English in
Virginia, when land was to be had for little or nothing, some
provident persons having obtained large grants of it, and being
desirous of maintaining the splendor of their families, entailed
their property upon their descendants. The transmission of these
estates from generation to generation, to men who bore the same
name, had the effect of raising up a distinct class of families,
who, possessing by law the privilege of perpetuating their
wealth, formed by these means a sort of patrician order,
distinguished by the grandeur and luxury of their establishments.
From this order it was that the King usually chose his
councillors of state." *c

[Footnote c: This passage is extracted and translated from M.
Conseil's work upon the life of Jefferson, entitled "Melanges
Politiques et Philosophiques de Jefferson."]

In the United States, the principal clauses of the English
law respecting descent have been universally rejected. The first
rule that we follow, says Mr. Kent, touching inheritance, is the
following: - If a man dies intestate, his property goes to his
heirs in a direct line. If he has but one heir or heiress, he or
she succeeds to the whole. If there are several heirs of the
same degree, they divide the inheritance equally amongst them,
without distinction of sex. This rule was prescribed for the
first time in the State of New York by a statute of February 23,
1786. (See Revised Statutes, vol. iii. Appendix, p. 48.) It has
since then been adopted in the Revised Statutes of the same
State. At the present day this law holds good throughout the
whole of the United States, with the exception of the State of
Vermont, where the male heir inherits a double portion. (Kent's
"Commentaries," vol. iv. p. 370.) Mr. Kent, in the same work,
vol. iv. p. 1-22, gives a historical account of American
legislation on the subject of entail: by this we learn that,
previous to the Revolution, the colonies followed the English law
of entail. Estates tail were abolished in Virginia in 1776, on a
motion of Mr. Jefferson. They were suppressed in New York in
1786, and have since been abolished in North Carolina, Kentucky,
Tennessee, Georgia, and Missouri. In Vermont, Indiana, Illinois,
South Carolina, and Louisiana, entail was never introduced. Those
States which thought proper to preserve the English law of
entail, modified it in such a way as to deprive it of its most
aristocratic tendencies. "Our general principles on the subject
of government," says Mr. Kent, "tend to favor the free
circulation of property."

It cannot fail to strike the French reader who studies the
law of inheritance, that on these questions the French
legislation is infinitely more democratic even than the American.
The American law makes an equal division of the father's
property, but only in the case of his will not being known; "for
every man," says the law, "in the State of New York (Revised
Statutes, vol. iii. Appendix, p. 51), has entire liberty, power,
and authority, to dispose of his property by will, to leave it
entire, or divided in favor of any persons he chooses as his
heirs, provided he do not leave it to a political body or any
corporation." The French law obliges the testator to divide his
property equally, or nearly so, among his heirs. Most of the
American republics still admit of entails, under certain
restrictions; but the French law prohibits entail in all cases.
If the social condition of the Americans is more democratic than
that of the French, the laws of the latter are the most
democratic of the two. This may be explained more easily than at
first appears to be the case. In France, democracy is still
occupied in the work of destruction; in America, it reigns
quietly over the ruins it has made.

Appendix H

Summary Of The Qualifications Of Voters In The United States As
They Existed In 1832

All the States agree in granting the right of voting at the
age of twenty-one. In all of them it is necessary to have
resided for a certain time in the district where the vote is
given. This period varies from three months to two years.

As to the qualification: in the State of Massachusetts it is
necessary to have an income of Pound 3 or a capital of Pound 60.
In Rhode Island, a man must possess landed property to the
amount of $133.

In Connecticut, he must have a property which gives an
income of $17. A year of service in the militia also gives the
elective privilege.

In New Jersey, an elector must have a property of Pound 50 a

In South Carolina and Maryland, the elector must possess
fifty acres of land.

In Tennessee, he must possess some property.

In the States of Mississippi, Ohio, Georgia, Virginia,
Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, the only necessary
qualification for voting is that of paying the taxes; and in most
of the States, to serve in the militia is equivalent to the
payment of taxes. In Maine and New Hampshire any man can vote
who is not on the pauper list.

Lastly, in the States of Missouri, Alabama, Illinois,
Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, and Vermont, the conditions of
voting have no reference to the property of the elector.

I believe there is no other State besides that of North
Carolina in which different conditions are applied to the voting
for the Senate and the electing the House of Representatives.
The electors of the former, in this case, should possess in
property fifty acres of land; to vote for the latter, nothing
more is required than to pay taxes.

Appendix I

The small number of custom-house officers employed in the
United States, compared with the extent of the coast, renders
smuggling very easy; notwithstanding which, it is less practised
than elsewhere, because everybody endeavors to repress it. In
America there is no police for the prevention of fires, and such
accidents are more frequent than in Europe; but in general they
are more speedily extinguished, because the surrounding
population is prompt in lending assistance.

Appendix K

It is incorrect to assert that centralization was produced
by the French Revolution; the revolution brought it to
perfection, but did not create it. The mania for centralization
and government regulations dates from the time when jurists began
to take a share in the government, in the time of Philippele-Bel;
ever since which period they have been on the increase. In the
year 1775, M. de Malesherbes, speaking in the name of the Cour
des Aides, said to Louis XIV: - *d

[Footnote d: See "Memoires pour servir a l'Histoire du Droit
Public de la France en matiere d'impots," p. 654, printed at
Brussels in 1779.]

". . . Every corporation and every community of citizens
retained the right of administering its own affairs; a right
which not only forms part of the primitive constitution of the
kingdom, but has a still higher origin; for it is the right of
nature, and of reason. Nevertheless, your subjects, Sire, have
been deprived of it; and we cannot refrain from saying that in
this respect your government has fallen into puerile extremes.
From the time when powerful ministers made it a political
principle to prevent the convocation of a national assembly, one
consequence has succeeded another, until the deliberations of the
inhabitants of a village are declared null when they have not
been authorized by the Intendant. Of course, if the community
has an expensive undertaking to carry through, it must remain
under the control of the sub-delegate of the Intendant, and,
consequently, follow the plan he proposes, employ his favorite
workmen, pay them according to his pleasure; and if an action at
law is deemed necessary, the Intendant's permission must be
obtained. The cause must be pleaded before this first tribunal,
previous to its being carried into a public court; and if the
opinion of the Intendant is opposed to that of the inhabitants,
or if their adversary enjoys his favor, the community is deprived
of the power of defending its rights. Such are the means, Sire,
which have been exerted to extinguish the municipal spirit in
France; and to stifle, if possible, the opinions of the citizens.
The nation may be said to lie under an interdict, and to be in
wardship under guardians." What could be said more to the purpose
at the present day, when the Revolution has achieved what are
called its victories in centralization?

In 1789, Jefferson wrote from Paris to one of his friends: -
"There is no country where the mania for over-governing has taken
deeper root than in France, or been the source of greater
mischief." (Letter to Madison, August 28, 1789.) The fact is,
that for several centuries past the central power of France has
done everything it could to extend central administration; it has
acknowledged no other limits than its own strength. The central
power to which the Revolution gave birth made more rapid advances
than any of its predecessors, because it was stronger and wiser
than they had been; Louis XIV committed the welfare of such
communities to the caprice of an intendant; Napoleon left them to
that of the Minister. The same principle governed both, though
its consequences were more or less remote.

Appendix L

The immutability of the constitution of France is a
necessary consequence of the laws of that country. To begin with
the most important of all the laws, that which decides the order
of succession to the throne; what can be more immutable in its
principle than a political order founded upon the natural
succession of father to son? In 1814, Louis XVIII had
established the perpetual law of hereditary succession in favor
of his own family. The individuals who regulated the
consequences of the Revolution of 1830 followed his example; they
merely established the perpetuity of the law in favor of another
family. In this respect they imitated the Chancellor Meaupou,
who, when he erected the new Parliament upon the ruins of the
old, took care to declare in the same ordinance that the rights
of the new magistrates should be as inalienable as those of their
predecessors had been. The laws of 1830, like those of 1814,
point out no way of changing the constitution: and it is evident
that the ordinary means of legislation are insufficient for this
purpose. As the King, the Peers, and the Deputies, all derive
their authority from the constitution, these three powers united
cannot alter a law by virtue of which alone they govern. Out of
the pale of the constitution they are nothing: where, when, could
they take their stand to effect a change in its provisions? The
alternative is clear: either their efforts are powerless against
the charter, which continues to exist in spite of them, in which
case they only reign in the name of the charter; or they succeed
in changing the charter, and then, the law by which they existed
being annulled, they themselves cease to exist. By destroying
the charter, they destroy themselves. This is much more evident
in the laws of 1830 than in those of 1814. In 1814, the royal
prerogative took its stand above and beyond the constitution; but
in 1830, it was avowedly created by, and dependent on, the
constitution. A part, therefore, of the French constitution is
immutable, because it is united to the destiny of a family; and
the body of the constitution is equally immutable, because there
appear to be no legal means of changing it. These remarks are
not applicable to England. That country having no written
constitution, who can assert when its constitution is changed?

Appendix M

The most esteemed authors who have written upon the English
Constitution agree with each other in establishing the
omnipotence of the Parliament. Delolme says: "It is a fundamental
principle with the English lawyers, that Parliament can do
everything except making a woman a man, or a man a woman."
Blackstone expresses himself more in detail, if not more
energetically, than Delolme, in the following terms: - "The power
and jurisdiction of Parliament, says Sir Edward Coke (4 Inst.
36), is so transcendent and absolute that it cannot be confined,
either for causes or persons, within any bounds." And of this
High Court, he adds, may be truly said, "Si antiquitatem spectes,
est vetustissima; si dignitatem, est honoratissima; si
jurisdictionem, est capacissima." It hath sovereign and
uncontrollable authority in the making, confirming, enlarging,
restraining, abrogating, repealing, reviving, and expounding of
laws, concerning matters of all possible denominations;
ecclesiastical or temporal; civil, military, maritime, or
criminal; this being the place where that absolute despotic power
which must, in all governments, reside somewhere, is intrusted by
the constitution of these kingdoms. All mischiefs and
grievances, operations and remedies, that transcend the ordinary
course of the laws, are within the reach of this extraordinary
tribunal. It can regulate or new-model the succession to the
Crown; as was done in the reign of Henry VIII and William III.
It can alter the established religion of the land; as was done in
a variety of instances in the reigns of King Henry VIII and his
three children. It can change and create afresh even the
constitution of the kingdom, and of parliaments themselves; as
was done by the Act of Union and the several statutes for
triennial and septennial elections. It can, in short, do
everything that is not naturally impossible to be done;
and, therefore some have not scrupled to call its power, by a
figure rather too bold, the omnipotence of Parliament."

Appendix N

There is no question upon which the American constitutions
agree more fully than upon that of political jurisdiction. All
the constitutions which take cognizance of this matter, give to
the House of Delegates the exclusive right of impeachment;
excepting only the constitution of North Carolina, which grants
the same privilege to grand juries. (Article 23.) Almost all the
constitutions give the exclusive right of pronouncing sentence to
the Senate, or to the Assembly which occupies its place.

The only punishments which the political tribunals can
inflict are removal, or the interdiction of public functions for
the future. There is no other constitution but that of Virginia
(p. 152), which enables them to inflict every kind of punishment.
The crimes which are subject to political jurisdiction are, in
the federal constitution (Section 4, Art. 1); in that of Indiana
(Art. 3, paragraphs 23 and 24); of New York (Art. 5); of Delaware
(Art. 5), high treason, bribery, and other high crimes or
offences. In the Constitution of Massachusetts (Chap. I, Section
2); that of North Carolina (Art. 23); of Virginia (p. 252),
misconduct and maladministration. In the constitution of New
Hampshire (p. 105), corruption, intrigue, and maladministration.
In Vermont (Chap. 2, Art. 24), maladministration. In South
Carolina (Art. 5); Kentucky (Art. 5); Tennessee (Art. 4); Ohio
(Art. 1,  23, 24); Louisiana (Art. 5); Mississippi (Art. 5);
Alabama (Art. 6); Pennsylvania (Art. 4), crimes committed in the
non-performance of official duties. In the States of Illinois,
Georgia, Maine, and Connecticut, no particular offences are

Appendix O

It is true that the powers of Europe may carry on maritime
wars with the Union; but there is always greater facility and
less danger in supporting a maritime than a continental war.
Maritime warfare only requires one species of effort. A
commercial people which consents to furnish its government with
the necessary funds, is sure to possess a fleet. And it is far
easier to induce a nation to part with its money, almost
unconsciously, than to reconcile it to sacrifices of men and
personal efforts. Moreover, defeat by sea rarely compromises the
existence or independence of the people which endures it. As for
continental wars, it is evident that the nations of Europe cannot
be formidable in this way to the American Union. It would be
very difficult to transport and maintain in America more than
25,000 soldiers; an army which may be considered to represent a
nation of about 2,000,000 of men. The most populous nation of
Europe contending in this way against the Union, is in the
position of a nation of 2,000,000 of inhabitants at war with one
of 12,000,000. Add to this, that America has all its resources
within reach, whilst the European is at 4,000 miles distance from
his; and that the immensity of the American continent would of
itself present an insurmountable obstacle to its conquest.

Appendix P

The first American journal appeared in April, 1704, and was
published at Boston. See "Collection of the Historical Society
of Massachusetts," vol. vi. p. 66. It would be a mistake to
suppose that the periodical press has always been entirely free
in the American colonies: an attempt was made to establish
something analogous to a censorship and preliminary security.
Consult the Legislative Documents of Massachusetts of January 14,
1722. The Committee appointed by the General Assembly (the
legislative body of the province) for the purpose of examining
into circumstances connected with a paper entitled "The New
England Courier," expresses its opinion that "the tendency of the
said journal is to turn religion into derision and bring it into
contempt; that it mentions the sacred writers in a profane and
irreligious manner; that it puts malicious interpretations upon
the conduct of the ministers of the Gospel; and that the
Government of his Majesty is insulted, and the peace and
tranquillity of the province disturbed by the said journal. The
Committee is consequently of opinion that the printer and
publisher, James Franklin, should be forbidden to print and
publish the said journal or any other work in future, without
having previously submitted it to the Secretary of the province;
and that the justices of the peace for the county of Suffolk
should be commissioned to require bail of the said James Franklin
for his good conduct during the ensuing year." The suggestion of
the Committee was adopted and passed into a law, but the effect
of it was null, for the journal eluded the prohibition by putting
the name of Benjamin Franklin instead of James Franklin at the
bottom of its columns, and this manoeuvre was supported by public

Appendix Q

The Federal Constitution has introduced the jury into the
tribunals of the Union in the same way as the States had
introduced it into their own several courts; but as it has not
established any fixed rules for the choice of jurors, the federal
courts select them from the ordinary jury list which each State
makes for itself. The laws of the States must therefore be
examined for the theory of the formation of juries. See Story's
"Commentaries on the Constitution," B. iii. chap. 38, p. 654-659;
Sergeant's "Constitutional Law," p. 165. See also the Federal
Laws of the years 1789, 1800, and 1802, upon the subject. For
the purpose of thoroughly understanding the American principles
with respect to the formation of juries, I examined the laws of
States at a distance from one another, and the following
observations were the result of my inquiries. In America, all
the citizens who exercise the elective franchise have the right
of serving upon a jury. The great State of New York, however,
has made a slight difference between the two privileges, but in a
spirit quite contrary to that of the laws of France; for in the
State of New York there are fewer persons eligible as jurymen
than there are electors. It may be said in general that the
right of forming part of a jury, like the right of electing
representatives, is open to all the citizens: the exercise of
this right, however, is not put indiscriminately into any hands.
Every year a body of municipal or county magistrates - called
"selectmen" in New England, "supervisors" in New York, "trustees"
in Ohio, and "sheriffs of the parish" in Louisiana - choose for
each county a certain number of citizens who have the right of
serving as jurymen, and who are supposed to be capable of
exercising their functions. These magistrates, being themselves
elective, excite no distrust; their powers, like those of most
republican magistrates, are very extensive and very arbitrary,
and they frequently make use of them to remove unworthy or
incompetent jurymen. The names of the jurymen thus chosen are
transmitted to the County Court; and the jury who have to decide
any affair are drawn by lot from the whole list of names. The
Americans have contrived in every way to make the common people
eligible to the jury, and to render the service as little onerous
as possible. The sessions are held in the chief town of every
county, and the jury are indemnified for their attendance either
by the State or the parties concerned. They receive in general a
dollar per day, besides their travelling expenses. In America,
the being placed upon the jury is looked upon as a burden, but it
is a burden which is very supportable. See Brevard's "Digest of
the Public Statute Law of South Carolina," vol. i. pp. 446 and
454, vol. ii. pp. 218 and 338; "The General Laws of
Massachusetts, revised and published by authority of the
Legislature," vol. ii. pp. 187 and 331; "The Revised Statutes of
the State of New York," vol. ii. pp. 411, 643, 717, 720; "The
Statute Law of the State of Tennessee," vol. i. p. 209; "Acts of
the State of Ohio," pp. 95 and 210; and "Digeste general des
Actes de la Legislature de la Louisiane."

Appendix R

If we attentively examine the constitution of the jury as
introduced into civil proceedings in England, we shall readily
perceive that the jurors are under the immediate control of the
judge. It is true that the verdict of the jury, in civil as well
as in criminal cases, comprises the question of fact and the
question of right in the same reply; thus - a house is claimed by
Peter as having been purchased by him: this is the fact to be
decided. The defendant puts in a plea of incompetency on the
part of the vendor: this is the legal question to be resolved.
But the jury do not enjoy the same character of infallibility in
civil cases, according to the practice of the English courts, as
they do in criminal cases. The judge may refuse to receive the
verdict; and even after the first trial has taken place, a second
or new trial may be awarded by the Court. See Blackstone's
"Commentaries," book iii. ch. 24.

Appendix S

I find in my travelling journal a passage which may serve to
convey a more complete notion of the trials to which the women of
America, who consent to follow their husbands into the wilds, are
often subjected. This description has nothing to recommend it to
the reader but its strict accuracy:

". . . From time to time we come to fresh clearings; all
these places are alike; I shall describe the one at which we have
halted to-night, for it will serve to remind me of all the

"The bell which the pioneers hang round the necks of their
cattle, in order to find them again in the woods, announced our
approach to a clearing, when we were yet a long way off; and we
soon afterwards heard the stroke of the hatchet, hewing down the
trees of the forest. As we came nearer, traces of destruction
marked the presence of civilized man; the road was strewn with
shattered boughs; trunks of trees, half consumed by fire, or
cleft by the wedge, were still standing in the track we were
following. We continued to proceed till we reached a wood in
which all the trees seemed to have been suddenly struck dead; in
the height of summer their boughs were as leafless as in winter;
and upon closer examination we found that a deep circle had been
cut round the bark, which, by stopping the circulation of the
sap, soon kills the tree. We were informed that this is commonly
the first thing a pioneer does; as he cannot in the first year
cut down all the trees which cover his new parcel of land, he
sows Indian corn under their branches, and puts the trees to
death in order to prevent them from injuring his crop. Beyond
this field, at present imperfectly traced out, we suddenly came
upon the cabin of its owner, situated in the centre of a plot of
ground more carefully cultivated than the rest, but where man was
still waging unequal warfare with the forest; there the trees
were cut down, but their roots were not removed, and the trunks
still encumbered the ground which they so recently shaded. Around
these dry blocks, wheat, suckers of trees, and plants of every
kind, grow and intertwine in all the luxuriance of wild,
untutored nature. Amidst this vigorous and various vegetation
stands the house of the pioneer, or, as they call it, the log
house. Like the ground about it, this rustic dwelling bore marks
of recent and hasty labor; its length seemed not to exceed thirty
feet, its height fifteen; the walls as well as the roof were
formed of rough trunks of trees, between which a little moss and
clay had been inserted to keep out the cold and rain.

"As night was coming on, we determined to ask the master of
the log house for a lodging. At the sound of our footsteps, the
children who were playing amongst the scattered branches sprang
up and ran towards the house, as if they were frightened at the
sight of man; whilst two large dogs, almost wild, with ears erect
and outstretched nose, came growling out of their hut, to cover
the retreat of their young masters. The pioneer himself made his
appearance at the door of his dwelling; he looked at us with a
rapid and inquisitive glance, made a sign to the dogs to go into
the house, and set them the example, without betraying either
curiosity or apprehension at our arrival.

"We entered the log house: the inside is quite unlike that
of the cottages of the peasantry of Europe: it contains more than
is superfluous, less than is necessary. A single window with a
muslin blind; on a hearth of trodden clay an immense fire, which
lights the whole structure; above the hearth a good rifle, a
deer's skin, and plumes of eagles' feathers; on the right hand of
the chimney a map of the United States, raised and shaken by the
wind through the crannies in the wall; near the map, upon a shelf
formed of a roughly hewn plank, a few volumes of books - a Bible,
the six first books of Milton, and two of Shakespeare's plays;
along the wall, trunks instead of closets; in the centre of the
room a rude table, with legs of green wood, and with the bark
still upon them, looking as if they grew out of the ground on
which they stood; but on this table a tea-pot of British ware,
silver spoons, cracked tea-cups, and some newspapers.

"The master of this dwelling has the strong angular features
and lank limbs peculiar to the native of New England. It is
evident that this man was not born in the solitude in which we
have met with him: his physical constitution suffices to show
that his earlier years were spent in the midst of civilized
society, and that he belongs to that restless, calculating, and
adventurous race of men, who do with the utmost coolness things
only to be accounted for by the ardor of the passions, and who
endure the life of savages for a time, in order to conquer and
civilize the backwoods.

"When the pioneer perceived that we were crossing his
threshold, he came to meet us and shake hands, as is their
custom; but his face was quite unmoved; he opened the
conversation by inquiring what was going on in the world; and
when his curiosity was satisfied, he held his peace, as if he
were tired by the noise and importunity of mankind. When we
questioned him in our turn, he gave us all the information we
required; he then attended sedulously, but without eagerness, to
our personal wants. Whilst he was engaged in providing thus
kindly for us, how came it that in spit of ourselves we felt our
gratitude die upon our lips? It is that our host whilst he
performs the duties of hospitality, seems to be obeying an
irksome necessity of his condition: he treats it as a duty
imposed upon him by his situation, not as a pleasure. By the
side of the hearth sits a woman with a baby on her lap: she nods
to us without disturbing herself. Like the pioneer, this woman
is in the prime of life; her appearance would seem superior to
her condition, and her apparel even betrays a lingering taste for
dress; but her delicate limbs appear shrunken, her features are
drawn in, her eye is mild and melancholy; her whole physiognomy
bears marks of a degree of religious resignation, a deep quiet of
all passions, and some sort of natural and tranquil firmness,
ready to meet all the ills of life, without fearing and without
braving them. Her children cluster about her, full of health,
turbulence, and energy: they are true children of the wilderness;
their mother watches them from time to time with mingled
melancholy and joy: to look at their strength and her languor,
one might imagine that the life she has given them has exhausted
her own, and still she regrets not what they have cost her. The
house inhabited by these emigrants has no internal partition or
loft. In the one chamber of which it consists, the whole family
is gathered for the night. The dwelling is itself a little world
- an ark of civilization amidst an ocean of foliage: a hundred
steps beyond it the primeval forest spreads its shades, and
solitude resumes its sway."

Appendix T

It is not the equality of conditions which makes men immoral
and irreligious; but when men, being equal, are at the same time
immoral and irreligious, the effects of immorality and irreligion
easily manifest themselves outwardly, because men have but little
influence upon each other, and no class exists which can
undertake to keep society in order. Equality of conditions never
engenders profligacy of morals, but it sometimes allows that
profligacy to show itself.

Appendix U

Setting aside all those who do not think at all, and those
who dare not say what they think, the immense majority of the
Americans will still be found to appear satisfied with the
political institutions by which they are governed; and, I
believe, really to be so. I look upon this state of public
opinion as an indication, but not as a demonstration, of the
absolute excellence of American laws. The pride of a nation, the
gratification of certain ruling passions by the law, a concourse
of circumstances, defects which escape notice, and more than all
the rest, the influence of a majority which shuts the mouth of
all cavillers, may long perpetuate the delusions of a people as
well as those of a man. Look at England throughout the
eighteenth century. No nation was ever more prodigal of
self-applause, no people was ever more self- satisfied; then
every part of its constitution was right - everything, even to
its most obvious defects, was irreproachable: at the present day
a vast number of Englishmen seem to have nothing better to do
than to prove that this constitution was faulty in many respects.
Which was right? - the English people of the last century, or the
English people of the present day?

The same thing has occurred in France. It is certain that
during the reign of Louis XIV the great bulk of the nation was
devotedly attached to the form of government which, at that time,
governed the community. But it is a vast error to suppose that
there was anything degraded in the character of the French of
that age. There might be some sort of servitude in France at
that time, but assuredly there was no servile spirit among the
people. The writers of that age felt a species of genuine
enthusiasm in extolling the power of their king; and there was no
peasant so obscure in his hovel as not to take a pride in the
glory of his sovereign, and to die cheerfully with the cry "Vive
le Roi!" upon his lips. These very same forms of loyalty are now
odious to the French people. Which are wrong? - the French of
the age of Louis XIV, or their descendants of the present day?

Our judgment of the laws of a people must not then be founded
Future Condition Of Three Races In The United States exclusively
upon its inclinations, since those inclinations change from age
to age; but upon more elevated principles and a more general
experience. The love which a people may show for its law proves
only this: - that we should not be in too great a hurry to change

Appendix V

In the chapter to which this note relates I have pointed out
one source of danger: I am now about to point out another kind of
peril, more rare indeed, but far more formidable if it were ever
to make its appearance. If the love of physical gratification
and the taste for well-being, which are naturally suggested to
men by a state of equality, were to get entire possession of the
mind of a democratic people, and to fill it completely, the
manners of the nation would become so totally opposed to military
tastes, that perhaps even the army would eventually acquire a
love of peace, in spite of the peculiar interest which leads it
to desire war. Living in the midst of a state of general
relaxation, the troops would ultimately think it better to rise
without efforts, by the slow but commodious advancement of a
peace establishment, than to purchase more rapid promotion at the
cost of all the toils and privations of the field. With these
feelings, they would take up arms without enthusiasm, and use
them without energy; they would allow themselves to be led to
meet the foe, instead of marching to attack him. It must not be
supposed that this pacific state of the army would render it
adverse to revolutions; for revolutions, and especially military
revolutions, which are generally very rapid, are attended indeed
with great dangers, but not with protracted toil; they gratify
ambition at less cost than war; life only is at stake, and the
men of democracies care less for their lives than for their
comforts. Nothing is more dangerous for the freedom and the
tranquillity of a people than an army afraid of war, because, as
such an army no longer seeks to maintain its importance and its
influence on the field of battle, it seeks to assert them
elsewhere. Thus it might happen that the men of whom a
democratic army consists should lose the interests of citizens
without acquiring the virtues of soldiers; and that the army
should cease to be fit for war without ceasing to be turbulent.
I shall here repeat what I have said in the text: the remedy for
these dangers is not to be found in the army, but in the country:
a democratic people which has preserved the manliness of its
character will never be at a loss for military prowess in its

Appendix W

Men connect the greatness of their idea of unity with means,
God with ends: hence this idea of greatness, as men conceive it,
leads us into infinite littleness. To compel all men to follow
the same course towards the same object is a human notion; - to
introduce infinite variety of action, but so combined that all
these acts lead by a multitude of different courses to the
accomplishment of one great design, is a conception of the Deity.
The human idea of unity is almost always barren; the divine idea
pregnant with abundant results. Men think they manifest their
greatness by simplifying the means they use; but it is the
purpose of God which is simple - his means are infinitely varied.

Appendix X

A democratic people is not only led by its own tastes to
centralize its government, but the passions of all the men by
whom it is governed constantly urge it in the same direction. It
may easily be foreseen that almost all the able and ambitious
members of a democratic community will labor without 2 ceasing to
extend the powers of government, because they all hope at some
time or other to wield those powers. It is a waste of time to
attempt to prove to them that extreme centralization may be
injurious to the State, since they are centralizing for their own
benefit. Amongst the public men of democracies there are hardly
any but men of great disinterestedness or extreme mediocrity who
seek to oppose the centralization of government: the former are
scarce, the latter powerless.

Appendix Y

I have often asked myself what would happen if, amidst the
relaxation of democratic manners, and as a consequence of the
restless spirit of the army, a military government were ever to
be founded amongst any of the nations of the present age. I
think that even such a government would not differ very much from
the outline I have drawn in the chapter to which this note
belongs, and that it would retain none of the fierce
characteristics of a military oligarchy. I am persuaded that, in
such a case, a sort of fusion would take place between the habits
of official men and those of the military service. The
administration would assume something of a military character,
and the army some of the usages of the civil administration. The

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