Page:Harvard Law Review Volume 2.djvu/374

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356

HARVARD LA W REVIEW,

note how State commerce encroaches upon and intermingles with it, crowding it in the same vehicles on the same roads, sharing with it in the same expenses, the rates which are imposed on the one necessarily affecting the rates that can be accepted on the other, and being handled at the same time by the same hands, under the same official control, will come to the conclusion that a separate regulation of State commerce must necessarily be, to some extent at least, and may be to a large extent, inconsistent with complete federal regulation of the commerce that is inter- state. Should that conclusion be reached, the federal legislature is not unlikely to take to itself complete regulation of the whole ; and, if it shall do so, it will but add another to the many illus- trations already to be seen in our history, which go to show how vast is the edifice that may rightfully be erected within the bounds of single federal powers, which at first seemed of little importance.

Briefly, in conclusion, we may be permitted to bring together for contrast certain varieties of fundamental law.

Of all the constitutions which may come into existence for the government of a people, the most excellent is obviously that which is the natural outgrowth of the national life, and which, having grown and expanded as the national thought has matured, is likely at any particular time to express the prevailing sentiment regard- ing government, and the accepted principles of civil and political liberty.

Of all the constitutions which a people ever accepts for its organic law, the least valuable is that which it suffers to be made for it on the principle of turning the back upon the national experience, dissevering the nation's future from its past, and laying the framework of government in ideal perfection. Such a consti- tution may possibly in time acquire permanence, but it can never antecedently be predicated of it that the people will so far appro- priate its ideas, adapt themselves to its methods, and allow it to take root in their every-day life as to convert it into an institution. In proportion as it differs from governmental thoughts and systems which are displaced by it, the probabilities are not only against its usefulness while it stands, but they are against its stability also.

Of all the constitutions which a people makes for itself, the best is that which is written with close hold on the past, but which, with foreseeing eye, prepares the way for appropriating