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of the majority of the people, and there is a demand that the mode of election be changed. A restraint upon the will of the majority of the House was found in the minority, and new rules of procedure were adopted with the purpose of lessening as much as possible the power of the minority. The Constitution acts as a restraint upon the majority in Congress and among the people at large, and the tendency of the majority in Congress at any rate, is to disregard the Constitution as far as may be.
For a long time there existed a sort of superstitious reverence for the framers of the Constitution, which attributed to them a sort of superhuman wisdom in political matters, but now the tendency is the other way, and less than justice is done to their insight and originality. There may be more political wisdom, using the words in a good sense, now than there was in 1789, but if so, less than a fair portion has found its way into the present Congress. True, the members of that body are animated by different motives from those which prevailed in the Federal Convention, but this will hardly account for all the contrasts in the debates of the two bodies.
"A mere sentiment of respect for traditional principles, or for private rights, may for a time have some effect in protecting a minority from hostile legislation, but in a progressive country, where public affairs are fearlessly discussed, it will not long stand the strain to which it is constantly subjected; and even if this sentiment is embodied in a formal document, set up as a caution to the government, and as a code of moral precepts which ought to be followed, there will be no difficulty in finding most excellent reasons for violating its principles. Danger to the State, imperative political necessity, etc., are excuses which commend themselves readily to any one who desires a change. The refusal, by the possessor of political power to make use of it, requires the excrcise of great self-restraint."
That the exigencies of partisanship should form an excuse for disregarding the spirit of the Constitution would hardly have been expected by the framers of that instrument. The self-control of majorities certainly does not increase as the country grows older.
But there can be no practice so bad that it will not have its defenders. Mr. Edward Stanwood comes forward in the North American Review with a defence for this. His defence is negative; probably the time is not ripe for a positive defence; he merely enters his protest against "fretting about the Constitution." He succeeds in showing that very foolish objections have been made to some laws on what were intended to be Constitutional grounds, and that very foolish support has been given to others. But there is no way to keep foolish men from talking and acting foolishly. Frivolous Constitutional objections against or arguments for proposed measures will have no weight, and the fact that they are made is no reason why measures should not be considered in their Constitutional aspects. These men whose Constitutional utterances Mr. Stanwood derides make just as absurd arguments of other kinds; that they attempt, though with poor success, to get light from the Constitution is really in their favor.
The ultimate interpretation of the Constitution, to be sure, rests with the Supreme Court; that is, the Court has acquired the authority to pronounce a statute un constitutional. But this, at best, amounts only to a negative interpretation, and cannot excuse legislators from attempting to make their measures embody the spirit of the Constitution as far as possible. The exercise of its power by the Court is to be praised anything is to be welcomed which restrains temporary majorities from foisting upon the country, even for a time, their crude political nostrums; but more than this is necessary.
This is not intended to be a guide-book or a history of the town, but a richly illustrated and daintily bound "remembrancer" of Wellesley, and something that the residents, and all who are interested in the town or college, will want. It contains illustrations of all the college buildings and points of interest on the grounds, and also engravings of the principal buildings in the town, and valuable reading matter, making it a desirable hand-book as well as a pleasing souvenir. Publishers' Circular.
Wellesley is a pretty set of leaflets tied into a cover of white and gold by a ribbon of the college blue, and describing the institution with gentle enthusiasm, and giving an interesting sketch of the town. "The College Beautiful" and a " College Song" by Miss Katharine Lee Bates, are also included in the book. Boston Herald.
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