Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

and its tone has been correspondingly lowered. In view of these things, is it unreasonable to demand that self-respect and common sense shall rule in the ordering of family life, yielding no precedence to the illusory ambitions which we have just now endeavored to characterize? The dignity of the household can be upheld only by character, which is lost equally in the dishonest pursuit of gain, and in the vulgar display of its results.

Let husband and wife agree, not only regarding the distribution of the income, but also upon the state and surroundings which properly become them. While the extent of their resources should, in a degree, determine these, and wbile salutary and necessary economy should be exercised, the money question ought to be a secondary one in the thoughts and affections of both of them.

Such genuine culture as can be obtained, such good companionship as can be commanded, charity, hospitality, good feeling, and good taste—these things bring honor to the home. Money does not, in all cases, stand for the same thing. Well employed, it means the opportunities of education, and the leisure to profit by them. It means the best hygienic conditions, or, at least, the power to enforce thein. It opens the portals of art, it seconds and fructifies the impulse of benevolence. And one especial truth about it we must not lose sight of. We are familiar with the saying that time is money; but let us also remember that money is time, and that its unequal repartition gives to the rich more of this than they know how to employ, and takes from the poor the leisure which the very process of thought demands. What reason can be shown for circumscribing the woman's share in these great goods ? None surely in morals, none in economics.

On the other hand, money to some may mean vicious and demoralizing extravagance. It may mean license to disregard all rational rules of conduct, the intoxications of vanity and luxury, the indulgence in all that undermines the moral life of society. Such abuses of wealth are less frequent on the part of women than on that of men, and yet the discrimination which the laws make against woman would seem to imply the contrary.

[ocr errors]

The conclusion to which these remarks lead may be thus stated in brief: To secure a fair adjustment of financial relations between husband and wife, the man and woman contem. plating matrimony must enter into it as equal sharers in the responsibilities of their new condition, and in the means by which these responsibilities should be met. They must have rational views of the uses of money, and of the objects which it should be made to forward and attain. They must also have worthy views of life and of its true ends, in the compassing of which money plays an important, though a secondary, part. They should be careful to come to an understanding of each other's views on these subjects before marriage, and should seek afterward and always to better this understanding by free and fearless conference and discussion. Lastly, their household should be held and made to represent family life in its substantial dig. nity and happiness, as the foundation of the state and the concomitant of the church universal. Where these conditions are complied with the money question between husband and wife will never be a vexed one. Each will vie with the other in a generous economy and in the sacrifice of merely personal , whims and predilections to the common good. While exacting from each other no unjustifiable act of confidence, each will trust the other, because both equally revere the high ideals of justice and honor. In following these their labor may be great, but, let us say, its recompense will be more than commensurate.

JULIA WARD HOWE.

1

GOVERNMENT REGULATION OF RAILWAYS.

The scheme of government which has so successfully carried this republic through the years of its first century, was most concisely and forcefully stated in the preamble to the Constitution :

“We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

This is the scheme, and the whole of it. All the powers granted by the Constitution to the several departments of the gov. ernment, in express terms or by necessary implication, are there defined. These powers, for the purposes of the present discussion, may be termed primary and secondary. The first relate to such functions of government as are essential, the second to those which are incidental. The former powers are plenary, the latter regulative. Certain things must be wholly subject to the will of the government. Hence, when it was provided in the Constitution that “Congress shall bave power.

.. to declare war,” care was taken to render effective every exercise of this governmental function which the exigencies of the nation might require. The framers of the Constitution were not content to allow the effectiveness of the government to depend on the assumption of implied powers. To declare war is one thing; to prosecute it is quite another, and, in all practical respects, a different thing. War cannot be prosecuted without the use of armies and navies. The power to create these necessary instrumentalities of war might have been claimed by Congress as inci. dental to the express grant of power to declare war. But the framers of the Constitution did not elect that this should be so. Having conferred the power to declare war, they followed it with definite grants of power “ to raise and support armies," "to

[ocr errors]

provide and maintain a navy,” to levy taxes, to borrow money, and “to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces."

The war power of a nation is for it what the right of selfdefense and of self-preservation is for an individual. But inasmuch as this republic is a governmental organism of peculiar structure and character, it was deemed essential that its power of defense and self-preservation should be declared with a definite comprehensiveness, leaving nothing to be implied; and no one can give careful study to the text of the Constitution without being impressed with the caution observed by the framers of that instrument to give like definiteness of expression in respect of all of the primary powers of the government.

This rule of expression was not pursued relative to other powers of the government. An illustration of this statement may be found in the power granted to Congress to establish post-offices and post-roads." This was not followed by express declarations defining the instrumentalities through which it should be made effective. The power to do the thing named is clearly expressed. A power granted to a government innposes the implied duty of performance; and this gives to the government the right to do such things as may be "necessary and proper” to effect the purpose involved. A postal system was deemed a necessary function of government, and so its creation, operation, and regulation were wholly intrusted to Congress, to be effected by “necessary and proper" legislation ; and the case is the same with regard to many of the other enumerated powers of Congress, but not with regard to all of them. And between the former and the latter runs the line of distinction dividing the plenary and regulative powers defined in the Constitution, which has always been recognized by the courts.

Take the power of Congress "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, and with the Indian tribes." This is not a power to create the thing on which it is to operate. It was not designed that commerce should wait upon the action of Congress before it could make manifest its presence in the affairs of the people. Taken in its broadest sense it then included, and now embraces, all of the employ.

ments of the people which involve production and exchange. It was not to be raised and supported as the Constitution provides in respect of armies. It was not to be established after the manner of post-offices and post-roads. It was a present fact when the Constitution was framed and the government was organized. Its presence and importance were recognized; but there is no intimation of a purpose, on the part of the framers of the Constitution, that the government should possess itself of the commerce of the people. But the subject was not overlooked. On the contrary, comprehensive provision was made for its encouragement and development, by the ordination of an express power in Congress to surround the movements of commerce with the best possible conditions. This is the significance of that declaration of the Constitution which granted to Congress the power to regulate commerce.

It is not difficult to see the broad distinction wbich separates this power from the others that have been cited. This is not a power to originate the subject on which it is to act, but to conserve and regulate an interest or thing whose existence antedated the organization of the government under the Constitution. And is it not fortunate for all concerned that this distinction was written in the Constitution by the wise and patriotic men who frarned it? Were it not so written should we not now be nearing the danger line in the progress of this nation? If Congress had been intrusted with the same unlimited power over the comprehensive field of commerce and the business pursuits of the people that it has in respect of the other subjects that have been mentioned, and could enact laws to enable the gov. ernment to create new factors therein, or possess itself of those already existing, what dangers might not be apprehended to our institutions from the existing tendency to magnify the functions of government. Remove the limitation on the power of Congress relative to commerce implied in the phrase "to regulate, " and who can say where congressional control of trade and transportation would end? There is, in some quarters, a marked tendency toward the enlargement of the functions of Congress in this direction. Suppose that, by the action of Congress and the courts, the general government were to absorb all the commercial

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »