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among the people. The change is principally important, as evincing the growing discontent with Executive appointments, and a growing public opinion in favor of the people, who thereby acquired the election of sheriffs, county clerks, and militia officers. The people were not yet deemed competent to elect judicial functionaries, but a constitutional amendment soon overleaped this barrier, and made justices elective, and mayors of cities. Nor has the advance stopped, but running ahead of the Constitution, public opinion forces every Governor to appoint county judges and other local officers, not according to his own pleasure, or, as formerly, at the secret bidding of partisan chiefs, but at the recommendation of popular assemblages. Still, this is defective. The people never act anywhere so well as at the ballot-boxes. Every other gathering can be only a meeting of delegates, and every delegate adulterates the general interest by some commingling of his private interest. But these reasons in favor of conferring on the people all appointments, are the sturdiest obstacles against the measure. All who live by office are interested in keeping the trade as secure as possible, and nothing would be so destructive of this end as an appointing body like the people—too diversified for intrigue, too numerous to be swayed by personal motives, and too unwieldy to be managed. Who can avoid detecting an absence of these wholesome checks in the spectacle, everywhere apparent, of some men who are always in office, and with whom rotation is only the exchange of a high office for a higher, like a snake which parts from its old skin only to assume a new one and a better. Several such officers are grown old under the drippings of the Treasury, and are become dogmatical ; they have rotated till they are giddy, and the people are weary of them ; but the evil continues unabated
from personal delicacy towards the incumbents, and which susceptibility by the present appointing power constitutes one of its worst characteristics. The people are too indefinite for delicacy, and therefore are admirably fitted for the stern distri bution of patronage. The appointing powers, as at present organized in a Governor and Legislature, possess also an unwholesome prepossession towards men of their own order. Last winter, two aspirants for a high office were presented to a legislative caucus.
Both were young; one had nothing to recommend him but his merits; the other, with perhaps equal merits, had been conceived in a high office, brought forth in a higher, and reared in the highest, and he accordingly triumphed over his humble competitor. This sympathy, which every grade of society feels for the members of its own order, constitutes in aris. tocratic governments one of their most depressing features. Why should we not give to the humble the benefit of the same principle, by placing the appointing power in the people? The lowly, in their struggles upward, would then be aided by the sympathy of the appointing masses, and, at worst, not be oppressed by a sympathy against them. And what can be more benevolent and deserving of our favor, than a principle which thus levels upwards in all contests between persons equally qualified-raising the low, rather, than as now, making the high higher ?
And in the present appointing power, who can avoid seeing, also, that it is manageable to the precision of a barter, when occasionally a high officer is suddenly elevated higher, leaving his old place most opportunely for the necessities of some person whose agency, or his friends, was necessary in the transfer. Cases of this kind are so managed as to involve no gross immorality, but they evince the hopelessness of aspirations after office, when a man
possesses no support for his pretensions but a fitness for the station.
Nor have we yet enumerated all the vices of our present system, or all the interests that will struggle against its subversion. It is a powerful instrument of partisan leaders, to whom the two thousand appointments, and more, which are in the gift of the Executive, constitute a sort of prize money with which to stimulate the hopes and reward the zeal of personal adherents. No charity can avoid believing that a large portion of offices were created originally for no other purpose than the foregoing, and are preserved for no other end. Admirably, also, are they adapted in number to the exigency of the demand, and in quality to the capacity of the recipients-ranging from the solitary inspector of beef for the New York Jews, onwards through hosts of inspectors, measurers, and weighers of everything everywhere, and upwards, to notaries, examiners, registers, commissioners of many things, agents, appraisers, special justices, marshals, and judges, to the chancellor in single and solitary grandeur, who, when once seated for life at ambition's topmost round, wonders probably at the fortitude which can endure the toil of climbing ambition's dirty ladder. Each by our present bad organization, instead of looking to the people for support, is, with some few exceptions, a spoke in the politital wheel of some partisan chief, who is himself turned by some greater wheel, the whole being kept in its political orbit, not by patriotism, but by the centripetal force of an office in possession, or the centrifugal impulse of an office in expectation.
Finally, popular appointments will infuse a new interest into elections. The people act now so subordinate a part in their own affairs, that they require to be annually drummed into activity by monster meetings and travelling spoil hunters. By acting directly on appointments, and
thus deciding the destiny of their town and county acquaintances, ļas well as of public 'men everywhere, the increased dignity of the elective franchise will add to its interest, and our country will be benefitted by the expressed opinion at the polls of the whole people, on all questions of government, instead of the voice, as usual, of only a casually attending portion ; besides, while public officers are dependent for promotion on each other, they must serve two masters, and inspiration warns us, that men thus situated will cling to one and despise the other. Let the people, therefore, constitute themselves the sole master, lest occasionally they find themselves (as they have found more than once) that they are the master who is despised.*
SOVEREIGNTY OF THE PEOPLE. All governors when single, as in monarchies, or numerous as in aristocracies, may originate measures for their own benefit, and in derogation of their countrymen; hence the evil of such governments. The people collectively can never be benefitted by misgovernment; hence the excellency of making the whole people the governing power.
When all men are to eat of the same dish, they possess the
guarantee of each that the food shall be wholesome for all. But a democracy so pure as the above has never been realized; while our own deficiency therein, after seventy years of effort, invites us to scrutinize the causes of our failure. Foremost among them is the gain which individuals make by encroaching on the sovereignty of the people; and
These Amendments were all embodied in the new Constitution.
so substantial have been the encroachments on us, that we possess but a very uncertain voice in the selection of our own most immediate legislative representatives. They are practically selected for us (no matter to what party we belong) by a few managing men in every town, who compose the rank and file of an organized class throughout the State, that make politics a lucrative occupation. To enable themselves thus to control the people in the most vital act of popular sovereignty, politicians have artfully inculcated, that to vote adversely to nominations so concocted, or to be a conflicting candidate by self-nomination or by friends, as is wholesomely practised universally at the South, is the most heinous of political offences; hence the people possess rarely any alternative but to choose between candidates who, whatever may constitute their other differences, are alike in being less the representatives of the public than of some intrigue concerted in secret long previously to the public nomination of the candidates; and which nomination is often as much a mockery of the people, as the poll instituted in France by Napoleon to decide whether he should become Emperor. Our Government is thus converted into a sovereignty of political tacticians, rather than a sovereignty of the people; and, accordingly, it admits several of the vices that obtain where a few control the many. Offices are invented, with elaborate ingenuity, to create partisans sufficiently numerous to pervade society, and sufficiently dependent to obey leaders. Even the General Government (unconsciously we hope) is made to furnish a quota of the required machinery. At least one United States' office has for years been located in Utica, with an annual salary not small, and for ostensible duties so palpably illusory, that the incumbent is probably cautious to keep his office a secret. Like instances are more