The historian evidently decomposes Alexander's power into the components: Talleyrand, Chateaubriand, and the rest- but the sum of the components, that is, the interactions of Chateaubriand, Talleyrand, Madame de Stael, and the others, evidently does not equal the resultant, namely the phenomenon of millions of Frenchmen submitting to the Bourbons.
Peasants having no clear idea of the cause of rain, say, according to whether they want rain or fine weather: "The wind has blown the clouds away," or, "The wind has brought up the clouds." And in the same way the universal historians sometimes, when it pleases them and fits in with their theory, say that power is the result of events, and sometimes, when they want to prove something else, say that power produces events.
But even admitting as correct all the cunningly devised arguments with which these histories are filled- admitting that nations are governed by some undefined force called an idea- history's essential question still remains unanswered, and to the former power of monarchs and to the influence of advisers and other people introduced by the universal historians, another, newer force- the idea- is added, the connection of which with the masses needs explanation.
The powers of the convention ought, in strictness, to be determined by an inspection of the commissions given to the members by their respective constituents.
Let the most scrupulous expositors of delegated powers; let the most inveterate objectors against those exercised by the convention, answer these questions.
As this objection, therefore, has been in a manner waived by those who have criticised the powers of the convention, I dismiss it without further observation.
And as the lesser surrendereth himself to the greater that he may have delight and power over the least of all, so doth even the greatest surrender himself, and staketh--life, for the sake of power.
By by-ways doth the weaker then slink into the fortress, and into the heart of the mightier one--and there stealeth power.
Rather would I succumb than disown this one thing; and verily, where there is succumbing and leaf-falling, lo, there doth Life sacrifice itself--for power!
If the circumstances of our country are such as to demand a compound instead of a simple, a confederate instead of a sole, government, the essential point which will remain to be adjusted will be to discriminate the OBJECTS, as far as it can be done, which shall appertain to the different provinces or departments of power; allowing to each the most ample authority for fulfilling the objects committed to its charge.
These powers ought to exist without limitation, BECAUSE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO FORESEE OR DEFINE THE EXTENT AND VARIETY OF NATIONAL EXIGENCIES, OR THE CORRESPONDENT EXTENT AND VARIETY OF THE MEANS WHICH MAY BE NECESSARY TO SATISFY THEM.
Whether there ought to be a federal government intrusted with the care of the common defense, is a question in the first instance, open for discussion; but the moment it is decided in the affirmative, it will follow, that that government ought to be clothed with all the powers requisite to complete execution of its trust.