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to it consists his true interests and glory; for it is this which elevates him above a state of barbarism, and secures him from the wild misrule of passion and prejudice; which enables him to attain the true end of his being, and accomplish the wise designs of God for his welfare. It is on this ground that the Scriptures place it. Submission is enjoined, because in the wise administrations of his providence God has ordained government as an institution tending to promote the highest good of man. Jesus, our Redeemer, knew no disloyalty. He, though the King of kings, was prompt to perform the exactions of the government, nay, he was ready to do more than could be justly required. “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's,” he said to the Herodians who tempted him. “ Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, give them the tribute,” he said to Peter, as he sent him to the sea for the piece of money. The apostle of the Gentiles was like his master. He was ready to lay down his life if he had done ought worthy of death. “I appeal to Caesar,” he boldly said to his bitter persecutors. “The dark, unrelenting Tiberius, the profligate and cruel Nero, the timid, inhuman Domitian,” may bear the sword, submission is still a duty. Better is it to suffer under the sway of a base, and profligate, and tyrannical administration,-better endure persecution, and sorrow, and evil, than to undermine the fabric of civil society, and introduce disorder, and anarchy, and lawless violence, and the wild play of passion, and every evil work, and gloomy forebodings, and the dark uncertainty of a favorable issue. II. Another method of attaining and perfecting the ends of government, is a proper use of the right of suffrage. This is a subject interesting from its intrinsic importance, and from
the peculiar position of affairs in this country at the present time. The full discussion of it would open too wide a field for this place: a few points only, which are most naturally suggested by what has already been said, will be noticed. Upon proper views of this right and corresponding action, next to the blessing of God, depends the fate of the Ination. It was an era pregnant with destiny, when, in the cabin of the Mayflower, moored on the rock-bound coast of New England, those Pilgrims from a far land formed that compact which was to be their guide during days of fierce and terrible trial, and the germ of those institutions which not only grace and bless this western republic, but have attracted the notice and deep interest of the potentates of the eastern world and their groaning subjects. In the blessings of which those times were the morning and those men the heralds, it is our privilege to participate. By the good hand of their God upon them, they committed to their descendants the prerogative of self-government, so that in the hands of the citizens of this country is centered the moral power and efficac of the government. What shall be the nature of the laws, the tone of public sentiment, the character of the rulers, the influence of the nation,-it is for them to decide by their individual suffrages. Hence it becomes a matter of no small moment and importance how they can best fulfill their trust. From what has already been advanced, a general answer is apparent, they must vote so as to promote the greatest public good. In the selection of candidates for the high offices of trust and duty, care should be taken to choose those who will aim to administer government according to its great design ; to promote the true prosperity and wellbeing of society, and disseminate among the people the principles of virtue. History tells us how dangerous it is to trust the administration of the state to the hands of the licentious and unprincipled. The record that has come down to us from other nations, written with their own blood, should be a warning to the free citizens of this republic to guard, with a jealous eye, the chair of office and trust. Virtue and principle in the rulers will lead to virtue and welfare among the people. There is a growing neglect on this subject in some of the commonwealths, which forebodes disaster and public evil. In the zeal and strife for success, when partisans of lofty talents are borne on by the tide of feeling, and the great assemblies of the people are excited by the voice of eloquence, there is danger that the vital principles of government will be sacrificed to the rancor and prejudice of party. It must be engrafted into the minds of the nation that government is a divine institution, whose ultimate end is the good of mankind. God intended that by it the best interests of society should be promoted,—that it should send forth from its fountains streams of life and happiness through all the domain over which its influence should extend. He enjoined its constitution by no express command, but by the universal nature and necessities of the creatures whom he made. He committed to men the privilege of forming such a framework of government as their peculiar condition demanded, or
their intelligence could devise; while at the same time he wrote it as a fundamental law for their observance, that in its formation and execution it should tend to and perfect the exalted design of man's highest good. Hence, it is plain that when the administration of the govern. ment is dependent on the suffrages of the people, those suffrages should be given in the manner that will best secure the great ends of society, —the highest welfare of the subjects. Principles, not spoils, should be the price of votes. The ballots of the citizens should be the instruments of exalting the nation's character; of infusing the elements of virtue into all the departments of the state; of imparting vigor and life to its moral actions; of sending abroad to other nations the influence and the light of an exalted patriotism and a disinterested philanthropy. There are many other subjects of a practical nature to which this dis. cussion naturally leads, and which, by reason of the importance thrown around them at the present time, it would be interesting to examine. But the principles which have been laid down, if true, are sufficient to direct aright in all those particular questions which may be brought be: fore the citizen. It becomes him, above all other things on this subject, to remember that government is a divine institution, whose end is the good of mankind, and to act for the promotion of that end.
thought that the subject, which when we first treated it was comparatively new, has now become trite and is well enough understood in all quarters. Nay, have we not already carried our point, to the extent of obtaining a satisfactory reform 2 Such a feeling, we are aware, is extensively prevalent; but it is not our feeling, and we are unwilling that it should be the feeling of any whom we can influence. We rejoice indeed in the change which has been effected, and we accept it as an omen of ultimate and entire success. But such a law as that which went into operation on the first of July last, ought not to be regarded for a moment as having the character of “finality.” It should be considered in no other light than as the commencement of a reform which can never be truly successful till it has become radical and complete. The continued discussion of this subject in every form, and in every place, in which it can be advantageously exhibited to the public mind, is the only way to secure the necessary measure of reform. No matter what party may hold the reins of government, no matter who may be President, or who may be Post-Master General, a thorough reform will never proceed from the administration, or from Congress as influenced by the motives which ordinarily govern public men—certainly not till such time as the people shall decree it, in all its particulars, with a distinctness which shall preclude the possibility of misunderstanding or evasion on the part of their servants. We have no reason to doubt that the stern politician now at the head of the department intends to give the new system a fair trial; but we have not one particle of confidence in his disposition to carry the reform a step farther. The dead weight of every administration will be opposed to a thorough reform. It was so in England. There all the officials of the postVol. III. 68
office department, from the PostMaster General downward, resisted to the last the whole system of penny postage, with a resoluteness and stiffness which even our own memorable Mr. Wickliffe was not able to surpass. They were perfectly sure that the proposed reduction of postage would annihilate the revenues of the department. Their partial acquaintance with the subject made them know infallibly, as they thought, that the entire scheme which Rowland Hill had invented, would prove to be chimerical. But the people of Great Britain did not wait for the Post-Master General and his subordinates to be convinced of the necessity or the practicability of the proposed new system. They took the matter into their own hands. Arrangements were made by voluntary combination, in every part of the United Kingdom, and especially at all the great centers of business, to promote the object by the investigation of facts, and by diffusing the knowledge which was necessary to make all classes understand the multiplied absurdities and wrongs of the old system. The result was, in a few months, such a demand on the part of the public for the penny postage, that the party which was then in power was constrained to comply with that demand, though in so doing the administration expected to be under the odious necessity of imposing new taxes in order to make up that deficiency in the revenue which the abolition of an enormous tax on letters was likely to occasion. A similar system of combined inquiry and general agitation here, if kept clear of all connection with party politics, would soon accomplish the same result. It is in the hope of contributing something to this great public interest, that we again introduce the subject into our pages. It is not our design to examine the provisions of the new law in detail, but rather to propose and illustrate certain leading principles, disregarded by the old system and not sufficiently regarded in that modification of the old system which has just gone into operation, but which we are confident will commend themselves to the common sense of our readers as principles which ought to be disregarded no longer. If the principles on which the question of reform ought to be settled are fairly understood and carried out, there will be comparatively little difficulty about the details. First, then, we lay down this principle. The question in regard to postage is primarily and chiefly a question of simple justice. In some countries, and indeed in most countries, postage is professedly a tax— a mode of raising money for the general uses of the government. In such countries the post-office is like the custom house, an establishment by means of which the government gets its hands into the pockets of its subjects. The government claims a monopoly of the business of carrying letters, and sometimes a monopoly of the business of carrying passengers as a branch of the same concern; and this monopoly is claimed and exercised as a means of getting money into the treasury. Of course, under such a theory of the post-office, the question in regard to the assessment of postage will not be, What is just 2—nor, What will afford the greatest accommodation to the greatest number of people 2– but only, What will be most productive in the way of revenue to the government But in this country we have a different theory. With us, the government is expected to organize and maintain the post-office system, not as a government monopoly for the sake of imposing a tax upon the correspondence of the people, but only as a matter of public convenience. The idea that the government, or any branch of it, is to be supported in whole or in part by the post-office department; the
idea that the department is to be saddled with any burthen whatever beyond the support of its own necessary expenses—is an idea which needs only to be fairly and frankly proposed in order to be indignantly rejected. The true theory here is that every man has a right to the use of the post-office for the transmission of whatever the post-office undertakes to transmit, on the one condition of his paying his just share of the expenses of the post-office department. The question in regard to the assessment of postage on any paper or package, written or printed, is simply, What is just what share of the expenses of the department justly belongs to this paper or package 2 Of course the question, What is the just charge of postage on a given paper or package, written or printed 2–or in other words, What share of the expenses of the post-office establishment does justly belong to that paper or package 2–must be decided by some general rules of easy application; and those general rules must be formed with a view to the accommodation of the greatest possible number of customers, and thus with a view to the reduction of the average expense of each paper or package, written or printed, to the lowest possible rate. Justice in such a case, is neither more nor less than the nearest practicable approximation to such an assessment of postage as shall divide the expenses of the establishment, among those who use it, in exact proportion to the use which they make of it. In other words, justice requires that every thing which enters the mail should pay, in the form of postage, as nearly as may be, just what it costs the department for reception, conveyance and delivery. Whatever inequalities there are in the assessment, should be such only as are incidental to the best general rules. If the rule is formed for the sake of inequality—if one sort of paper or package is assessed above its known cost .
for the very purpose that another sort of paper or package may be conveyed and delivered at a rate below the known cost—that is palpable injustice. There are numberless illustrations of this kind of injustice in that old system which has been reformed in part, but which the parties interested in the maintenance of injustice will probably struggle hard to restore. All the franking privileges, for example, of that old system were simply gross injustice. They were nothing but an arrangement to carry and deliver, without any charge whatever, all that a certain class of men might put into the mails, and in effect also, all that they might authorize their friends and hangerson to put into the mails in their names, while the whole expense of this was to be defrayed by an assessment upon what might be put into the mails by other men. Under the system as now modified, the franking privilege is retained in the hands of a somewhat smaller number of individuals, but without any very eflectual curtailment, except what may arise from the reduction of postage, which makes the fraudulent use of the privilege less of an object than it has been. The injustice of the privilege, however, is to be somewhat diminished,—or at least the injustice is to be made less gross and less offensive, by paying the postage of franked letters out of the general and more legitimate revenues of the government, instead of paying it by an oppressive tax on the letters of other and more honest Inen. Another and a much grosser injustice in the old system, and one which till a recent period was quite unsuspected by the mass of those who felt the burthen of it most oppressively, is by the new law entirely abolished. The old system, as administered before the reform, was a system by which the unfranked
correspondence of the country was taxed exorbitantly, not only for the sake of carrying the correspondence of the privileged orders for nothing, but also for the sake of maintaining lines of four-horse stage-coaches upon routes on which there were not travelers enough to support them, and in those regions of the country where the people are too lazy or too uncivilized to make roads on which a carriage of that kind can run with safety and economy. The post-office department has not merely undertaken to provide for the conveyance of the mails from one point to another, leaving it to the contractor to convey them in the way which he shall find most economical, and only regulating the number of hours which shall be allowed for the performance of the task, it has undertaken the much more expensive work of providing that the mails shall be transported on certain lines of communication in a particular kind of vehicle for the accommodation of travelers. No matter for the superior expedition and cheapness with which the mails might be conveyed between those two points on the back of a mule, or on the shoulders of an Indian, or in the lightest kind of two-wheeled vehicle drawn by a single horse; the coach with the four horses, for the accommodation of here and there a passenger who would otherwise be obliged to travel on horseback, is the main thing; and under the pretense of being paid for the conveyance of the mail, the contractor must be paid in fact for running a line of stage-coaches. Thus the people of the Northern and Middle States have been taxed by the general government for the support of lines of coaches in the South and Southwest upon roads, or rather upon routes, where stages can not be supported in any other way. And this is held to be perfectly constitutional —nay, it is contended for to the last ditch by statesmen from that part of