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and longer, and the turns less abrupt. A descent of three inches in a mile is sufficient to prevent filling up with sediment.
The bluffs of the Upper Missouri and Mississippi are high, as they are wearing down in these parts. In one place the Connecticut River has worn down forty feet since its settlement. There are old beaches of the present period around Lake Superior two hundred feet above the present level of the lake.
We have only touched on a few of the more important points adduced to prove the antiquity of man. If we have read the evidences on this point aright, the earth we tread, as to its present aspect, is new.
Sir C. Lyell's expressed opinion that the known rate of increase in our river deltas is the best chronometer we have to measure the lapse of past time, comes opportunely to our aid, though this is a point we had long and attentively studied. But the difficulty is, the measurements are not sufficiently exact to give us anything more than a rude approximation to the general result.
In the case of the river Nile, as near as we can learn from the best authorities within reach, the alluvial plain of this river, after it leaves the valley-beyond which the Mediterranean Sea never could have extended, as the hills or bluffs are only sixteen miles apart, and two hundred or so feet highfrom this point to the sea is now ninety miles, and the breadth of the delta along the sea is eighty miles. This delta has encroached on the sea seventeen miles since the days of Julius Cæsar. By measuring the actual area of the whole of the added land at the mouth of this river, we find that the last two thousand years have added about one third, thus making it accord sufficiently with the Mosaic chronology for all practical purposes.
In the case of the river Po, in Italy, the delta is long and narrow, and it has encroached on the Adriatic twenty miles in two thousand years. What was the seaport in the days of the Cæsars is now twenty miles inland. By measuring three or four times the known increase of this river delta in two thousand years, we come to a point beyond which the Adriatic never extended. The Yellow River in China has raised. embankments forty feet high, to prevent overflowing. This forty feet of embanking will represent an increased length in FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XVII.-37
this river delta of say one hundred and forty miles. If this delta is correctly laid down on our maps, three times one hundred and forty miles will take us beyond the point where this river first entered the Yellow Sea.
It is somewhere about three hundred or three hundred and fifty miles from where the Mississippi leaves the bluffs and enters the great alluvial plain of Louisiana to the Gulf of Mexico. At the rate of five miles increase in a century, we' get six thousand or seven thousand years for the age of this river. I have often taken measurements along the shores of our great lakes where the clay banks are wearing away.
By ascertaining as near as may be the actual rate of the encroachment of the lakes on the land, and then measuring out to where the water suddenly descends to great depths, which we take to be the original shore of the lake where first formed, we get just about the same testimony from these lake shores, as from the deltas of rivers, as to the age of the present order of things.
ART. VI.-THE SUFFRAGE QUALIFICATION.
HITHERTO in our national history no uniform principle has been adopted by the different states on which to rest the right of suffrage, and we have been governed mostly by expediency and the selfish interests of partisan leaders. Hence we have had in the different states almost every form of qualification for the ballot. In the organization of the state governments during and immediately subsequent to the Revolution the suffrage was almost universally based on property, with a wide diversity as to the amount and kind. In the northern states the freehold qualification early became the battle-ground of contending parties, and it gradually melted away under the force of adverse public opinion. The new states came into the union with the vote in the hands of all white male citizens; and South Carolina is, we believe, the only state in which the freehold qualification is still preserved.
The great interests of every democratic state are directed and controlled by the majority of its voters, and whoever par
ticipates in the suffrage is a part of the governing power, and the government will be just and competent in proportion to the intelligence and moral elevation of those who vote.
This point is too important to be lost sight of for a moment. In a democracy we can only have good government by having a good class of voters. It is true that a different theory has largely prevailed. The popular idea in America has been that democracy was a sovereign cure for all the evils of a state, and that all a people had to do to secure good government was to cast off monarchy and put on democracy. We have learned, however, by dear experience, that a people who govern themselves will not necessarily provide for their own best interests. Indeed we might as well expect that individuals who have the power to choose their own course in life would choose wisely, and take the ways of truth, integrity, industry, and honor. We know how deceptive any such expectation would be, and how many, against every consideration, take the paths of falsehood, dissipation, dishonesty, and self-indulgence to inevitable ruin. A nation is only an aggregate of individuals, and when governed by the majority cannot be expected to rise much above the level of morals represented by that majority.
When De Tocqueville's admirable book on American Democracy first appeared, his strictures on the "tyranny of the majority" called forth much severe criticism, and were generally regarded as very unjust to our government, and inspired by European prejudice. But we shall not have to go far to learn that the rule of the majority may be quite as unjust and tyrannical as that of a single despot. In the history of past ages some of the most heartless outrages against justice and the rights of men have been perpetrated by the majority under popular forms of government; and whoever is familiar with the story of the old Grecian and Roman republics will readily call up examples.
But we need not go so far back to illustrate our position. The republic of France was fairly reddened with the blood of the innocent, when her government was popular in form and administered under the provisions of a written constitution; but her laws afforded no more security to personal rights than the will of the bloodiest despot. Mexico was lately a republic, with a written constitution, and under the sway of the popular
will; but she was little better than a nation of outlaws. Utah is one of our own territories, and may ere long be numbered among the states; but the rule of the majority is an ecclesiastical despotism which makes a virtue of polygamy and tyranny. Even our own government, which is so often quoted as "the best that the world ever saw," has been the instrument of very cruel oppressions. It was by the tyranny of the majority that one eighth of our people were so long held as slaves, and in a condition a thousand times worse than the subjects of any foreign despot. In California the government of the majority, under the usual safeguards, proved so inadequate to the security of men's rights that the better class demanded its assumption by an irresponsible committee, which, with absolute dictatorial power, directed the government till the most grievous public abuses were corrected and the most corrupt instruments punished.
In our large commercial cities the rule of the majority has been scarcely less fortunate, if we accept as true the representations of their public organs. New York especially has been notorious for its bad government. A year or two before the rebellion the "New York Times," in speaking of it, said:
We believe we express the settled judgment of reflecting men when we say that self-government, with universal suffrage, in large cities, has proved a failure. It does not answer the purpose of government; it does not preserve order or prevent crime.
On the same day the "New York Herald" expressed a similar opinion. After enumerating the various demoralizing influences, and estimating the number of bruisers, vagabonds, swindlers, thieves, and outlaws, it goes on to say:
All these men vote, and some of them several times. They form the Prætorian cohort that rules the city of New York. It is in their hands that the government of the city really rests; and the natural consequence is that it is not governed at all. The laws are set at naught; the power of the mob is supreme.
The New York "Courier and Enquirer," since merged in the "World," held similar language, declaring that universal suffrage was only another name for universal corruption. Indeed, so general was the discontent, not only in New York but also in New Orleans, and, we think, one or two other cities,
that consultations were held with the view of adopting the California remedy against the corruptions and crimes which had grown up under the rule of the majority.
If these statements are correct, they force us to the conclusion that so far as democratic government has been a success it has succeeded, not because the people have ruled, but because the people who ruled were, in some sense, qualified to rule; and the failures have arisen because the suffrage had been extended to classes who either lacked intelligence or moral principle. It is not, therefore, republican forms, nor liberal constitutions, nor the rule of the majority, on which we must chiefly depend to secure good government. These are, indeed, most important; but the "democratic principle," the principle which insures success, is reliance upon an enlightened, just, honorable, conscientious, virtuous, high-minded people; and we assert, without fear of contradiction, that in just so far as our government has been a success, it has been owing to the superiority of its people; and where it has failed, it has been dragged down by the ignorance, selfishness, or vile passions of large classes of voters.
Popular government is the reflection of the voting majority; and if that majority be ignorant, selfish, or passionate, the government will be more or less despotic; if the majority be devoid of justice, the government will be grasping and overreaching; if the majority are without honor, the government will not be scrupulous about the public faith; and if the majority are Mormons or planters, the government will cherish and defend polygamy and slavery. In Virginia or Georgia it would be no objection to a judge that he was a duelist; in Missouri or California he might be a drunkard or a gambler; in Utah he must necessarily have his harem; and in South Carolina he would certainly have been the owner of slaves; but in New England neither a gambler, nor a drunkard, nor a duelist, nor a bigamist, nor a slaveholder, would stand much chance at the polls. The character of the voting majority *settles the character of the men who are to hold controlling positions in the state.
Hence we note, by the way, that every such government must lean much more on Christianity for its support than has generally been supposed. Its teachings are particularly calcu