ships of a county; it is therefore natural that they should be satisfied by a central authority. In the State of Massachusetts this authority is vested in the hands of several magistrates, who are appointed by the Governor of the State, with the advice of his council. The officers of the county have only a limited and occasional authority, which is applicable to certain predetermined cases. The State and the townships possess all the power requisite to conduct public business. The budget of the county is drawn up by its officers, and is voted by the legislature, but there is no assembly which directly or indirectly represents the county. It has therefore, properly speaking, no political existence.
A twofold tendency may be discerned in the American constitutions, which impels the legislator to centralize the legislative, and to disperse the executive power. The township of New England has in itself an indestructible element of independence; and this distinct existence could only be fictitiously introduced into the county, where its utility has not been felt. But all the townships united have but one representation, which is the State, the centre of the national authority: beyond the action of the township and that of the nation, nothing can be said to exist but the influence of individual exertion.
- See the Act of the 20th February 1819. Laws of Massachusetts, vol. ii. p. 494.
- The council of the Governor is an elective body.