« ПредишнаНапред »
able district, confers a more despo- improvements he projected were, tic authority than any form of law indeed, of such a nature as to rehas ever directly conferred. The quire an unlimited authority. Nolandlord can, at pleasure, and with body can, in their own opinion, have out the least regard to consistency too much power, and luckily, in this or equity, deprive a tenant of his case, for those subjected to it, it was field and habitation, from which he impossible for sir A- to possess obtains food and shelter, and banish too much, since its whole energies him from haunts familiar, perhaps, were directed to nothing but the to his infancy, and dear to his heart. happiness of others. To the ignorant and simple, this This unbounded authority only banishment is proportionally severe, could enable him to do as much as he and though apparently a mere ex- did: but this power alone would have clusion from the precincts of a sin- been insufficient. Had not his de. gle estate, may in reality condemn signs been seconded by a very large the victim to despair or famine, by revenue, his good purposes would his inability to procure a subsist. have availed nothing. ence by other means, or in other The rents of
h ad been places, than that to which he has entirely expended, by the ancient been accustomed. This power is family, on the unmeaning luxury particularly absolute and terrible, and barren ostentation of a London because more liable than other kinds life. Sir A- appropriated the of authority to abuse. Public opi. whole of them to his plans of imnion does not controul or restrain its provement. His reformations imexercise, since it is cloaked by the mediately increased the income to privilege allowed to every man of eight thousand pounds, and all his doing what he will with his own. improvements were of such a kind,
In addition to his power as a as immediately, in some degree, to landlord, his wealth and influence augment this income. gave him of course the power of When it is considered, that the naming the justice of the peace for greater part of these improvements this district. In this capacity he required nothing more than well. exercised the right of naming and directed labour on the spot, that commissioning all the subordinate ten thousand pounds a year will officers of justice, of enforcing the purchase all the industry and inpayment of debts from one tenant genuity of four hundred workmen, to another, by the sale of the debt. and that a sum much larger than or's effects, or the imprisonment of this was annually employed in dig. his person, of punishing all offences ging, planting, and building, for less than capital, by hard labour thirty years together, we shall not and imprisonment, at his own disc much wonder at the great effects cretion. By such direct and indi.. that have been produced. rect means, you may easily imagine These improvements were gene. that no power could be more despo- rally, in themselves, though highly tic than that of the lords of
useful and magnificent, yet not of a within the precincts of their own costly nature. He built solid, lofty, estate. The life, liberty, and pro- and spacious edifices, full of the perty of their subjects were held, grandeur and grace of proportion in fact, by no other tenure than and convenience, but the materials their lord's pleasure, controuled by are produced upon the spot, and cost no other circumstance than that nothing but the labours of the quarwhich is incident to every political ry. A fine white free-stone, easily tyranny, the chance of running into wrought, but acquiring great hardvoluntary banishment.
ness and solidity in the air, every All these privileges sir A. receiv. where abounded. ed in right of his wife, with a reso- Sir A. was not more anxious to lution not to impair them. The keep his own property and power
VOL, III. NO, XVII.
unimpaired, and to raise the condi- laging, the harbour was open and tion of his tenants to a certain de- defenceless, but sir A- thought gree of opulence, than to keep them it necessary to protect his city by a stationary. To have suffered any of fortification. Except at the entrance them to raise himself considerably of this harbour, the whole coast of above his equals, would have been C is formed by a rocky preto mar the very foundation of his cipice, which bounds a shallow schemes. The accumulation of mo- strand, on which the waves break ney and stock could not be easily in a tremendous surf. The harprevented, but the whole landed bour opens between two lofty points, property remaining in his own one of which juts out towards the hands, it was optional whether to other, so as to allow a narrow paspermit any other individual to ob- sage to the waters of about four huntain the rights of a landlord or not. dred feet wide. On this point a
In consequence of this system, he complete bastion was erected, with was able to give what face he thought the permission of the government, proper to the whole district. He at sir A 's expence. He and regulated, at will, the situation of his successors are, by patent, contowns and villages, and gave what stables or keepers of this fort, which form his fancy preferred to dwel- is garrisoned by thirty men, and lings and avenues. The old crazy supplied with artillery and ammunitown in a short time disappeared, tion, at his own expence. and a new one rose in a different in the heights above the town situation. A simple, elegant, homo. there is a very exuberant spring, geneous plan was contrived, which called Holwell. It bursts in a very has rendered the future town the powerful torrent from the side of a most beautiful in Europe.
rock, and forms a considerable rivuThe town received accessions of let, which falls into the harbour, at inhabitants faster than accommoda- the upper end. From this well the tions could be supplied them. Sir town is supplied, in the greatest A- limited the population to ten abundance, with the purest water. thousand, and was obliged to exert The soil is a dry firm gravel, overhis utmost authority and steadiness laying a solid freestone rock. in restraining the concourse of The town consists of twelve rows strangers. The number of houses of contiguous buildings. The length amounted to a thousand, and the of each row or block is twenty-five rental amounts, at present, at only hundred feet, its breadth fifty feet, twenty-five pounds from each house, and its height from seventy-five to a to twenty-five thousand per annum. hundred feet. It is divided into five,
The scite of this town is a lofty six, and seven stories, from twelve and level space, forming pretty to fifteen feet in height, and into senearly a parallelogram, on the nor- parate dwellings from thirty to fifty thern side of
bay. It is feet in width. bounded by the sea-shore on the Each row is separated from the south, and sheltered on the north by ones adjacent by a street or avenue some rising grounds. It is a little from seventy-five to a hundred feet more than half a mile in length, and broad. This space is divided into about fifteen hundred feet broad. two footways and a middle way. There is no other situation equally The footways are paved with square extensive within the bounds of the stones, and are ten feet wide. The estate, so favourable for a town as middle way has a double row of this. It is placed at the bottom of trees, and is composed of the native one of the safest harbours in the gravel, cemented together by morkingdom ; safe not only from the tar. fury of the elements, but from all The plan, both internal and ex. external attacks. Formerly, as the ternal, of these buildings is simple village contained nothing worth pil- and uniform, and solid to a degree stone,
that would generally be deemed su- sent, to be the chief topic of political perfluous. The walls in no case are conversation, and engrosses the at. less than three feet thick, and are tention of congress. The motives composed of large blocks of free- of politicians are generally behind
the screen, and public orators are The scite of each row is three accustomed to make use of every feet above the next one to the south argument, in favour of their motions, of it, so as to form a kind of amphi- except the one which really influtheatre of twelve steps, each step ences their own belief, and directs being not less than one hundred and their own conduct. Thus it may be twenty-five feet broad, and three reasonably suspected, that those who feet high.
recommend a recession desire a This extensive mass of buildings change in the seat of government. is the absolute property of sir A- , The extreme inconvenience of the and all the inhabitants are merely present seat of government could tenants from quarter to quarter. not be imagined or forseen by those So precarious a tenure, and the im. who formed the constitution, or by possibility of purchasing real estate those who chose the banks of the of any kind within the district, Potowmack for this seat. If they might be expected to operate very had been imagined, they would have powerfully against the progress of effectually prevented the clause in industry and population : but these the constitution relative to a new disadvantages were amply counter. metropolis. These inconveniences balanced, by the cheapness, conve- induce some of the members of connience, and luxury of personal pro- gress to wish for removal, but a vision and accommodation, by the certain tenderness or veneration for invariable equity with which the what is called public faith hinders great power of the landlord was ex- them from proposing this removal ercised, and the facility, among the in direct terms. middling and lower class of adven- Those, the value of whose proturers, of acquiring competence, of perty is supposed to depend, in some accumulating stock in goods and degree, upon the continuance of the money.
government at Washington, are, of In 1790, the following estimate course, strenuous opposers of any was formed of the annual revenue motion, which has any tendency, derived by the landlord from this however indirect, to this removal. estate :
Without any great breach of cha
rity, may we not consider this as Woods
750 the true state of the controversy, Cattle farms
3,000 carried on with so much warmth Sheep farms
2,300 and eloquence? I think we may. Cottage farms
2,500 It seems to be generally admitted, Large farms
10,000 that a removal would be a manifest Houses
28,500 breach of public faith, and that no
considerations of public convenience f. 47,050 will justify a breach of public faith.
To call in question either the first or last of these positions will, no doubt, be thought a very rash proceeding,
and yet it really seems to me very For the Literary Magazine. difficult to establish the truth of
either of them, in relation to the ON THE RECESSION OF THE DIS- present instance. TRICT OF COLUMBIA.
The plain state of the case ap
pears to be this. The constitution THE recession of part of the dise permits the future congress to chuse trict of Columbia appears, at pre. its own place of residence. The congress fixes on a certain spot of pointment. His houses are unteground, on the banks of the Potow. nanted and going to ruin, and his mack, which it declares, by law, to land either lies a dead burthen in be hereafter the perpetual metro. his hands, or he disposes of it, if polis of the United States. Virginia not at a less price than he gave, at and Maryland transfer all their least at a much less price than his political jurisdiction over the envi- fond imagination had anticipated. rons of the new metropolis to the The present proprietor is obliged to general government, this being a moderate his views of profit, and condition prescribed by the consti- to centre all his hopes in the contitution.
nuance of the government where it As the residence of government is, for this, he knows, will operate will naturally, in time, generate a to the creation of a town, slowly and city, and as a previous plan will gradually perhaps, but certainly, contribute somewhat to the symme. whereas the removal will make mattry and splendour of the future city, ters still worse than at present, and a plan is drawn, and the scite dis- crush the city in its infancy. tinctly distributed into building lots It is by no means wonderful that and avenues. As the population of those who have property, liable to America is in a rapidly progressive be depreciated by a removal, should state, as the new city is expected to clamour very loudly against it; but advance, under such favourable aus- it is very strange to me, I confess, pices, with even greater rapidity that a removal should be reproached than the other cities of the country, as a breach of public faith. In these and the value of its ground and simple and obvious facts, which aphouses to advance in the same pro- pear to be the whole truth, what portion, an inviting field is imme- materials can be found for raising diately opened for the schemes of such a charge? what contract has those who seek wealth by specula- the nation entered into with its citition. Land, within the pomaria of zens, on this head, by whch the futhe new city, is greedily purchased, ture resolutions of its representaand houses hastily erected, the buy- tives are over-ruled or cramped ? ers and builders expecting to be Let it be admitted that some peramply remunerated for their pains sons purchased land and built houses and expence, by the rapidly increas- in the city or its neighbourhood, in ing value of their property.
the belief that the law, fixing the It is quickly discovered, however, seat of government there, would that these hopes were too sanguine. never be repealed, a belief founded The progress of the new city proves on the terms of this law, which deto be even less rapid than that of clares this place to be the perpetual some settlements, which are sup- metropolis of the states : but why ported by nothing but trade; that was that place originally chosen for the stimulus, arising from the pre- the seat of government? Because sence of the government, is an arti. it was thought, at that time, to be ficial and unnatural one, and far most eligible. Why was it made from supplying the place of those the perpetual seat? Because nomore ordinary agents, trade and body could then forsee or imagine commerce ; that the necessary ac- the circumstances which might commodations for the government hereafter render it ineligible. Why must be raised and kept up at an did the citizens rely on the perpeunlooked for and enormous expence; tuity of this law, and buy and build and that, with all their efforts, a on that persuasion ? Precisely for residence in the new city is incom- the same reasons which influenced patible either with comfort or their representatives to make the health.
law: a total ignorance, beforehand, The golden dreams of the specu- of any inconveniences which might lator consequently end in disap- attend its execution. Nothing but experience could possibly unfold gislature is not fettered by any oblithese inconveniences, and therefore gation arising from their predeces. it was impossible for those who sors having pledged the public faith were obliged to judge and act with- for the fulfilment of their views by out experience, to judge and act, future legislatures. Some of the otherwise than they did. This law occasions in which public faith is is precisely like any other law which supposed to be engaged for the condeclares the obligations it creates to tinuance of a law, arise when the be perpetual. Such declarations nation borrows money of its citizens, either imply a manifest absurdity, and promises to repay it in a certain that one set of representatives have time, or charges itself with the payreally more constitutional powers ment of a certain annual interest than any future set, or they amount upon the sum; and when certain merely to this, that these obligations individuals are told, that if they conshall be annulled and abrogated by tribute money and build a bridge no power less than that by which over a certain river, the state will they were imposed.
not allow any other bridge to be Every body knows that the early built in their vicinity, and will permit purchasers and improvers presum- them to levy toll for a fixed period ed not only on the ultmiate progress on all that pass their bridge ; in of the place to the grandeur of a these and similar cases a contract large city, but on its rapid progress is made between the state and its to this point. They purchased and citizens, supposed to be binding on built not properly on the first sup- successive legislatures. But the position, because few or none lay law, fixing the seat of government out their money for the benefit of at Washington, contains no contract, their remote posterity, but on the express or implied, with any of the latter supposition. In this they have citizens. The residence of congress been wholly disappointed ; and they is supposed to benefit the owners of might, with the same propriety, real property, wherever that resiconsider the public faith as bound to dence is placed, and their removal, build a city, and to fill their houses by occasioning this property to sink with tenants, in a certain limited to its former value, is supposed to time, as at a distant and indefinitę be detrimental to the owners. Thus period. They are not, however, New York and Philadelphia were guilty of this absurdity. They as supposed to be successively benefited cribe their losses hitherto to physic and injured by the arrival and decal and inevitable evils. To these, parture of the general government. and not, as yet, to any breach of In the same way, though, perhaps, public faith, their injury already in- to a greater extent, the owners of curred is to be traced. A removal real property in Washington have can add but little to the positive been benefited by the residence of evil. By preventing the growth of congress among them, and may be the place into a great metropolis, it injured by their departure. But will materially affect the value and these consequences are of the same condition of the earth, circumscribed nature in all the three cases. They within certain limits, in a distant are merely incidental, and the go. age, but the evil to the present ge vernment is no more answerable for neration will be found, upon a care them to the inhabitants of Washingful examination, to be very incon- ton, than to those of New York and siderable.
Philadelphia. I am far, however, from intend. The residence of congress was ing to depreciate the losses which a declared to be temporary at New removal from Washington may oc- York and Philadelphia, and to be casion to individuals. I mean only perpetual at Washington. The conto maintain, that, in repealing or sequences of removal from Washcontinuing the present law, the le. ' ington may therefore be more inju