Benson John Lossing.

Harper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) online

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of fealties and obligations running through

* Arnold, Roman Provincial Administra- the fabric of society in every direction,

tion, 237. \vas by no means purely disintegrative in



its tendencies. The mutual relations of of Savoy were seized by the canton of Frei-
rival baronies were J>y no means like those burg; and after awhile all these subjects
of rival clans or tribes in pre-Roman days, and allies were admitted on equal terms
The central power of Rome, though no into the confederation. The result is that
longer exerted politically through cura- modern Switzerland is made up of what
tors and prefects, was no less effective in might seem to be most discordant and un-
the potent hands of the clergy and in the manageable elements. Four languages-
traditions of the imperial jurisprudence German, French, Italian, and Rhaetian
by which the legal ideas of mediaeval so- are spoken within the limits of the con-
ciety were so strongly colored. So power- federacy; and in point of religion the can-
ful, indeed, was this twofold influence of tons are sharply divided as Catholic and
Rome that in the later Middle Ages, when Protestant. Yet in spite of all this,
the modern nationalities had fairly taken Switzerland is as thoroughly united in
shape, it \vas the capacity for local self- feeling as any nation in Europe. To the
government in spite of all the Teutonic German-speaking Catholic of Altdorf the
reinforcements it had had that had suf- German Catholics of Bavaria are foreign-
fered much more than the capacity for ers, while the French-speaking Protestants
national consolidation. Among the great of Geneva are fellow-countrymen. Deeper
modern nations it was only England down even than these deep-seated differ-
which in its political development had ences of speech and creed lies the feeling
remained more independent of the Roman that comes from the common possession of
law and the Roman church than even the a political freedom that is greater than
Teutonic fatherland itself it was only that possessed by surrounding peoples.
England that came out of the mediaeval Such has been the happy outcome of the
crucible with its Teutonic self-government first attempt at federal union made by men
substantially intact. On the mainland of Teutonic descent. Complete indepen-
only two little spots, at the two extremi- dence in local affairs, when combined with
ties of the old Teutonic world, had fared adequate representation in the federal
equally well. At the mouth of the Rhine council, has affected such an intense co-
the little Dutch communities were pre- hesion of interests throughout the nation
pared to lead the attack in the terrible as no centralized government, however
battle for freedom with which the drama cunningly devised, could ever have secured,
of modern history was ushered in. In the Until the nineteenth century, however,
impregnable mountain fastnesses of upper the federal form of government had given
Germany the Swiss cantons had bid de- no clear indication of its capacity for hold-
fiance alike to Austrian tyrant and to ing together great bodies of men, spread
Burgundian invader, and had preserved in over vast territorial areas, in orderly and
its purest form the rustic democracy of peaceful relations with one another. The
their Aryan forefathers. By a curious empire of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius
coincidence, both these free peoples, in still remained the greatest known example
their efforts towards national unity, were of political aggregation; and men who
led to frame federal unions, and one of argued from simple historic precedent
these political achievements is, from the without that power of analyzing prece-
stand-point of universal history, of very dents which the comparative method has
great significance. The old League of supplied, came not unnaturally to the con-
High Germany, which earned immortal elusions that great political aggregates
reno\vn at Morgarten and Sempach, con- have an inherent tendency towards break-
sisted of German-speaking cantons only, ing up, and that great political aggregates
But in the fifteenth century the League cannot be maintained except by a strongly
won by force of arms a small bit of Ital- centralized administration and at the
ian territory about Lake Lugano, and in sacrifice of local self-government. A cen-
the sixteenth the powerful city of Bern tury ago the very idea of a stable federa-
annexed the Burgundian bishopric of tion of forty powerful states, covering a
Lausanne and rescued the free city of territory nearly equal in area to the whole
Geneva from the clutches of the Duke of Europe, carried on by a republican gov-
of Savoy. Other Burgundian possessions ernmont elected by universal suffrage, and



guaranteeing to every tiniest village its full able to found durable and self-supporting

meed of local independence the very idea colonies. I have now to add that it was

of all this would have been scouted as a only England, among the great nations ot

thoroughly impracticable, Utopian dream. Europe, that could send forth colonists

And such scepticism would have been capable of dealing successfully with the

quite justifiable, for European history did difficult problem of forming such a politi-

not seem to afford any precedents upon cal aggregate as the United States have

which such a forecast of the future could become. For obviously the preservation of

be logically based. Between the various local self-government is essential to the

nations of Europe there has certainly very idea of a federal union. Without the

existed an element of political community, town - meeting, or its equivalent in some

bequeathed by the Homan Empire, mani- form or other,, the federal union would

fested during the Middle Ages in a com- become ipso facto converted into a cen-

mon relationship to the Church, and in tralizing imperial government. Should

modern times in a common adherence to anything of this sort ever happen should

certain uncodified rules of international American towns ever come to be ruled

law, more or less imperfectly defined and by prefects appointed at Washington, and

enforced. Between England and Spain, should American States ever become like

for example, or between France and the administrative departments of France,

Austria, there has never been such utter or even like the counties of England at

political severance as existed normally the present day then the time will have

between Greece and Persia, or Rome and come when men may safely predict the

Carthage. But this community of political break-up of the American political system

inheritance in Europe, it is needless to say, by reason of its overgrown dimensions and

falls very far short of the degree of com- the diversity of interests between its parts,

munity implied in a federal union; and States so unlike one another as Maine

so great is the diversity of language and and Louisiana and California cannot be

of creed, and of local historic development held together by the stiff bonds of a cen-

with the deep-seated prejudices attendant tralizing government. The durableness of

thereupon, that the formation of a Eu- the federal union lies in its flexibility, and

ropean federation could hardly be looked it is this flexibility which makes it the

for except as the result of mighty though only kind of government, according to

quiet and subtle influences operating for modern ideas, that is permanently applica-

a long time from without. From what ble to a whole continent. If the United

direction, and in what manner, such an States were to-day a consolidated republic

irresistible though perfectly pacific press- like France, recent events in California

ure is likely to be exerted in the future, might have disturbed the peace of the

I shall endeavor to show elsewhere, country. But in the federal union, if Cali-

At present we have to observe that the fornia, as a State sovereign within its own

experiment of federal union on a grand sphere, adopts a grotesque constitution

scale required as its conditions, first, a that aims at infringing on the rights of

vast extent of unoccupied country which capitalists, the other States are not di-

could be settled without much warfare rectly affected. They may disapprove, but

by men of the same race and speech, and they have neither the right nor the desire

secondly, on the part of settlers, a rich to interfere. Meanwhile the laws of

inheritance of political training such as nature quietly operate to repair the

is afforded by long ages of self-government, blunder. Capital flows away from Cal-

The Atlantic coast of North America, ifornia, and the business of the State is

easily accessible to Europe, yet remote damaged, until presently the ignorant

enough to be freed from the political com- demagogues lose favor, the silly constitu-

plications of the Old World, furnished the tion becomes a dead-letter, and its formal

first of these conditions: the history of the repeal begins to be talked of. Not the

English people through fifty generations smallest ripple of excitement disturbs the

furnished the second. It was through Eng- profound peace of the country at large. It

lish self-government that England alone, is in this complete independence that is

among the great nations of Europe, was preserved by every State, in all matters



save those in which the federal principle received at that time in England with a
itself is concerned, that we find the surest derision like that which a proposal for
guarantee of the permanence of the Ameri- a permanent federation of European
can political system. Obviously no race of states would excite in many minds to-
men, save the race to which habits of self- day. It was confidently predicted that if
government and the skilful use of political the common allegiance to the British crown
representation had come to be as second were once withdrawn, the colonies would
nature, could ever have succeeded in found- forthwith proceed to destroy themselves
ing such a system. with internecine war. In fact, however,
Yet even by men of English race, work- it was the shaking off of allegiance to the
ing without let or hinderance from any British crown, and the common trials and
foreign source, and with the better part sufferings of the war of independence,
of a continent at their disposal for a field that at last welded the colonies together
to work in, so great a political problem and made a federal union possible. As
as that of the American Union has not it was, the union was consummated only
been solved without much toil and trouble, by degrees. By the Articles of Confeder-
The great puzzle of civilization how to ation, agreed on by Congress in 1777, but
secure permanent concert of action with- not adopted by all the States until 1781,
out sacrificing independence of action is the federal government acted only upon
a puzzle which has taxed the. ingenuity of the several State governments, and not
Americans as well as of older Aryan peo- directly upon individuals; there was no
pies. In the year 1788 when our federal federal judiciary for the decision of con-
union was completed, the problem had al- stitutional questions arising out of the
ready occupied the minds of American relations between the States ; and the Con-
statesmen for a century and a half that gress was not provided with any efficient
is to say, ever since the English settle- means of raising a revenue or of enforcing
ment of Massachusetts. In 1643 a New its legislative decrees. Under such a gov-
P^ngland confederation was formed between ernment the difficulty of insuring concert-
Massachusetts and Connecticut, together ed action was so great that, but for the
with Plymouth, since merged in Massa- transcendent personal qualities of Wash-
chusetts, and New Haven, since merged ington, the bungling mismanagement of
in Connecticut. The confederation was the British ministry, and the timely aid
formed for defence against the French in of the French fleet, the war of indepen-
Canada, the Dutch on the Hudson River, dence would most likely have ended in
and the Indians. But owing simply to the failure. After the independence of the
inequality in the sizes of these colonies colonies was acknowledged, the formation
Massachusetts more than outweighing the of a more perfect union was seen to be
other three combined the practical work- the only method of securing peace and
ing of this confederacy was never very making a nation which should be respect-
successful. In 1754, just before the out- ed by foreign powers; and so in 1788, after
break of the great war which drove the much discussion, the present Constitution
French from America, a general Congress of the United States was adopted a Con-
of the colonies was held at Albany, and stitution which satisfied very few people
a comprehensive scheme of union was pro- at the time, and which was from beginning
posed by Benjamin Franklin, but nothing to end a series of compromises, yet which
came of the project at that time. The has proved in its working a masterpiece
commercial rivalry between the colonies, of political wisdom.

and their disputes over boundary - lines, The first great compromise answered to
were then quite like the similar phenom- the initial difficulty of securing approxi-
ena with which Europe had so long been mate equality of weight in the federal
familiar. In 1756 Georgia and South councils between States of unequal size.
Carolina actually came to blows over the The simple device by which this difficulty
navigation of the Savannah River. The was at last surmounted has proved effect-
idea that the thirteen colonies could ever ual, although the inequalities between the
overcome their mutual jealousies so far States have greatly increased. To-day the
as to unite in a single political body was population of New York is more than



eighty times that of Nevada. In area To insure the stability of the federal
the State of Rhode Island is smaller than union thus formed, the Constitution cre-
Montenegro, while the State of Texas is ated a " system of United States courts
larger than the Austrian Empire, with extending throughout the States, empow-
Bavaria and Wtirtemberg thrown in. Yet cred to define the boundaries of federal
New York and Nevada, Rhode Island and authority, and to enforce its decisions by
Texas each send two Senators to Washing- federal power." This omnipresent federal
ton, while on the other hand in the lower judiciary was undoubtedly the most impor-
House each State has a number of repre- tant creation of the statesmen who framed
sentatives proportioned to its population, the Constitution. The closely knit reia-
The upper House of Congress is therefore tions which it established between the
a federal, while the lower House is a na- States contributed powerfully to the
tional body, and the government is brought growth of a feeling of national solidarity
into direct contact with the people with- throughout the whole country. The United
out endangering the equal rights of the States to-day cling together with a cohe-
several States. rency far greater than the coherency of any
The second great compromise of the ordinary federation or league. Yet the
American Constitution consists in the primary aspect of the federal Constitu-
series of arrangements by which sover- tion was undoubtedly that of a perma-
eignty is divided between the States and nent league, in which each State, while
the federal government. In all domestic retaining its domestic sovereignty intact,
legislation and jurisdiction, civil and crim- renounced forever its right to make war
inal, in all matters relating to tenure of upon its neighbors, and relegated its in-
property, marriage and divorce, the ful- ternational interests to the care of a cen-
filment of contracts and the punishment tral council in which all the States were
of malefactors, each separate State is as alike represented and a central tribunal
completely a sovereign state as France endowed with purely judicial functions
or Great Britain. A concrete illustration of interpretation. It was the first attempt
may not be superfluous. If a criminal is in the history of the world to apply on
condemned to death in Pennsylvania, the a grand scale to the relations between
royal prerogative of pardon resides in the States the same legal methods of proced-
governor of Pennsylvania: the President lire which, as long applied in all civilized
of the United States has no more authori- countries to the relations between indi-
ty in the case than the Czar of Russia. Nor viduals, have rendered private warfare
in civil cases can an appeal lie from the obsolete. And it was so far successful
State courts to the Supreme Court of the that, during a period of seventy-two years
United States, save where express pro- in which the United States increased four-
vision has been made in the Constitution, fold in extent, tenfold in population, and
Within its own sphere the State is su- more than tenfold in wealth and power,
preme. The chief attributes of sovereignty the federal union maintained a state of
with which the several States have part- peace more profound than the pax ro-
ed are the coining of money, the carrying mana.

of mails, the imposition of tariff dues, the Forty years ago this unexampled state

granting of patents and copyrights, the of peace was suddenly interrupted by a

declaration of war, and the maintenance tremendous war, which in its results,

of a navy. The regular army is supported however, has served only to bring out

and controlled by the federal government, with fresh emphasis the pacific implica-

but each State maintains its own militia, tions of federalism. With the eleven

which it is bound to use in case of inter- revolted States at first completely con-

nal disturbance before calling upon the quered and then reinstated with full rights

central government for aid. In time of and privileges in the federal Union, with

war, however, these militias come under their people accepting in good faith the

the control of the central government, results of the contest, with their leaders

Thus every American citizen lives under not executed as traitors, but admitted

two governments, the functions of which again to seats in Congress and in the

are clearly and intelligibly distinct. cabinet, and with all this accomplished



without any violent constitutional changes
I think \ve may fairly claim that the
strength of the pacific implications of
federalism has been more strikingly de
monstrated than if there had been no war
at all. Certainly the world never beheld
such a spectacle before.

Federalist, THE, a series of remarkable
essays in favor of the national Consti
tution which were written by Alexander
Hamilton with the assistance of Madison,
Jay, and others. Hamilton wrote the
larger half of these essays, which were
probably the determining cause resulting
in the adoption of the Constitution of the
United States. They were subsequently
published in book form under the above

Federalists. While the national Con
stitution was under discussion through
out the Union, in 1788, and it was pass
ing the ordeal of State conventions, its
advocates were called Federalists, because
the effect of the Constitution would be to
bind the several States more closely as
a so-called confederation. They formed a
distinct party that year, and held su
preme political power in the republic
until the close of the century. The lead
ing members of the party were Washing
ton, Hamilton, Adams, Jay, and many of
the less distinguished patriots of the Revo
lution. Their opponents were called Anti-
Federalists. In the contests of the French
Revolution,, which had influence upon pub
lic opinion in the United States, the Fed
eralists leaned towards England, and the
Anti-Federalists or Republicans towards
France. In the Presidential election of
1800, the Federalists were defeated and
Jefferson was elected. The party became
unpopular because of its opposition to
the War of 1812; and it fell into fatal
disrepute because of the Hartford Con-
vmtion, whose proceedings, done in secret,
were supposed to be treasonable. The
party had become so weak in 1816 that
Monroe, the Republican candidate for
President, received the electoral votes of
all the States but two. At his re-election,
in 1820, the vote of the States was unani
mous for him. Then the party was dis

Feds and Confeds, nicknames used dur
ing the Civil War for the Union and Con
federate soldiers respectively.

in. z 3

Feeble-minded, SCHOOLS FOR THE. At
the close of the school year, 1898, the
number of these schools which reported
to the bureau of education was twenty-
nine, which had 259 instructors in the
regular school department, 180 in the 4
industrial department, and 610 in caring
for inmates. The total number of pupils
reported was 9,232, and of these 1,749
were receiving instruction in music and
943 were taking the kindergarten course.
There were nineteen State public schools
for this class of defectives, which report
ed 904 instructors in all the branches, and
8,866 pupils. The State institutions had
grounds and buildings valued at $4,922,-
537, and the expenditures of the year
were $1,414,451. There were ten private
institutions with 161 instructors in all
departments and 366 pupils.

Fellows, JOHN, military officer; born
in Pomfret, Conn., in 1733; was in the
a member of the Massachusetts Provincial
Congress in 1775; led a company of min
ute-men to Cambridge after the skirmish
at Lexington, and was made brigadier-
general of militia ill June, 1776. He com
manded a brigade in the battles of Long
Island, White Plains, and Bemis s Heights,
and was very active in the capture of
Burgoyne, October, 1777. After the war
he was high sheriff of Berkshire county.
He died in Sheffield, Mass., Aug. 1, 1808.

Felt, JOSEPH BARLOW, historian; born
in Salem, Mass., Dec. 22, 1789; grad
uated at Dartmouth in 1813, and entered
the ministry. In 1836 he was asked to
arrange, the state papers of Massachu
setts, which at that time were in confu
sion. He was librarian of the Massachu
setts Historical Society in 1842-48, and
president of the New England Historico-
Genealogical Society in 1850-53. He was
the author of Annals of Salem; History of
Ipsicich, Essex, and Hamilton; Historical
Account of Massachusetts Currency; Me
moirs of Roger Conant, Hugh Peters, and
William S. Shaw: also of The Customs of
~Ncw Enf/land. He died in Salem, Mass.,
Sept. 8/1869.

Felton, CORNELIUS CONWAY, educator;
born in West Newbury, Mass., Nov. 6,
1807; graduated at Harvard in 1827; ap
pointed Latin tutor there in 1829, and
Professor of Greek Literature in 1839;


and was president of Harvard from 1860 Civil War, the latter was ever faithful

till his death in Chester, Pa., Feb. 26, to its treaty stipulations. The large num-

1862. He is the author of Life of William bers of Irish soldiers disbanded in 1865

Eaton in Sparks s American Biographies, were greatly excited by the Fenian trou-

and many books on general literature. bles at that time prevalent in Ireland.

Felton, SAMUEL MORSE, engineer; born In October, 1865, at a convention of
in West Newbury, Mass., July 17, 1809; Fenians in New York, the invasion of
graduated at Harvard in 1834; connect- Canada was determined upon. In the
ed with the Fitchburg Railroad until following February another convention
1851, when he became president of the was held, at which there was a strong
Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore sentiment in favor of the invasion. Short-
Railroad. It was he who successfully ly after this, the former head-centre of the
planned the secret passage of Mr. Lincoln organization was displaced from office by
from Harrisburg to Washington, and the election of Col. William R. Roberts,
thereby defeated a deep-laid plot to capt- arid this change interfered seriously with
ure the President-elect. When commu- the unanimity of action in the body,
nication through Baltimore was impossi- Early in April an attempt was made to
ble (in April, 1861), he devised a plan for gather arms and men for an advance
transporting troops via Annapolis. He upon New Brunswick, and 500 Fenians
died in Philadelphia, Pa., Jan. 24, 1889. assembled at Eastport, Me. The United

Fendall, JOSIAS, colonial governor. In States authorities interfered, however;
1655 Governor Stone ordered him to seize aid which was expected from New York

Online LibraryBenson John LossingHarper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) → online text (page 55 of 76)