The North American Review/Volume 1/Titular Rewards



It has been the policy of all nations to encourage their citizens, to the performance of great actions, by some species of honourable distinction. The nature of these has varied with the genius of their governments. In modern Europe, whose institutions are principally monarchical, titles of different degrees, chiefly hereditary, are the most common mode of rewarding brilliant or useful services, and one the main supports of this form of government. The nations of antiquity whose institutions were less complicated, the Romans for instance, rewarded illustrious citizens with titles which were only an additional name, and were not hereditary. Names thus given accord strictly with the spirit of republicks. The lovers of economy will not object to making use of this portion of the “cheap defence” of nations: and more generous and enlarged minds would gladly decree to a statesman, or hero, a surname, which would only be a glorious distinction to him, and not being hereditary as in monarchies, would not make his descendants burthensome to the publick. Such a name should be given only by a unanimous or nearly unanimous vote of both houses of Congress. Thus, for example, Perry Erie, Mc Donough Champlain, Jackson Louisiana.