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prolong or exasperate them. It has rather an effective element in all popular movefor its objects io set forth some of the ments—much more upon the selfish arfeatures in the contest which should not guments which the prospect of new be overlooked—to explore some of the political arrangements always offers to causes of the result which may furnish the large and apparently increasing body lessons of wisdom or of courage—to es of voters who make politics a trade. timate carefully the real weight of the These influences compensate somewhat decision against us, and to cast, as saga- for the capital of the actual possession ciously as may be, the horoscope of our of power, in which the administration, future fortunes.
of course, have the advantage. The The great political contests, hitherto, “Outs” have a vast speculative capital, for the possession and control of the upon which they can issue abundant general government, by whatever names promises, to be redeemed when success significant of their principles the parties shall have furnished the means. The therein may have been designated, · Ins” have exhausted their resources in have been, in fact and in profession, car the satisfaction of past services; they ried on between the Administration and can alarm with the fear of losing, but Opposition; and from these relations the can afford no stimulus to the hope of combatants have drawn much towards gain. their organization and their strength. It The application of these remarks was a remarkable feature in the late elec to the position of the two great parties, tion, that from a most peculiar concur. relatively to Mr. Tyler's administration, rence in political events, and an equally will exhibit the remarkable influence peculiar combination of political influen- which the latter, so utterly feeble and ces, this element was so modified in its insignificant in every moral point of operation, as to produce most singular view, was enabled to exert and did exert, and, to the Whig party, most disastrous under the novel circumstances of the results. The existing administration, case. Neither the Whigs nor the Demoelected by the Whigs, had been controlled crats could properly be called the Adminby their principles and had carried out istration party; neither, the Opposition. their measures only to a very limited ex But mark how unequally the qualities of tent, and for a very brief period. Long these antagonist positions, so important before the marshalling of the array for for the battle which we were approachthe decisive struggle, it had alienated ing as to have often alone decided the itself from our principles and been driven field, were divided between the two parwith scorn from our confidence; and, ties. The Democrats had all the power after a feeble experiment upon its capa- of administration, all the prestige of opcity of standing alone, it had finally position; the Whigs, all the burdens of transferred its favor and its patronage, its administration-all the obstacles of oppomeans for, and its material of, corruption, sition. If John Tyler could have thrust its whole disposable mercenary force, into upon our opponents all the imbecilities, the hands of our opponents.
all the ineffable perfidies and scarce imaThe history of previous national elec- ginable meannesses which compose the tions shows, that the active force of the history of his dynasty, by the same transparty in power, necessarily incident to its fer which conveyed to them the whole position, combined with the natural vis resources of government influence and inertia, when the people have been at all patronage, we should have been for once closely divided in political opinions, has his debtors. No strength which he could not only served as an important make- have imparted with all his accidental weight in the scale, but has generally power, would have sufficed to bear up proved decisive in turning it. The same the load of inbred and accumulated sins history also teaches that when the party which would thus have devolved upon in power, in despite of the advantages of his luckless legatees. His political tesits position, has been in fact supplanted by tament did not so equitably provide; he its rival, it has been overborne as much by left to us all his monstrous debts, to its own misdeeds and the accession of ne others all the substantial value which he gative strength, which they gave to the had to bequeath. Of his ragged army, opposition, as by the proper vigor derived the impedimenta, the vile baggage, fell to by the latter from its own positive princi- our share—the armory and military chest ples. Besides, the opposition has always were betrayed to our enemies. This posirelied much upon the lust of change, ever tion of things was entirely unparalleled
in the course of political contests in our make up the character and the substance, country: we fervently pray that it may the soul and the body, of a great national never occur again. The defunct carcass party, have hitherto been supposed to of Tylerism bred a political pestilence, present sufficient obstacles to a general congenial to the vitality of Locofocoism, degradation of its objects, and an uni. and it throve upon it-fatal to healthier versal profligacy in its means and mea. organs, and we were enfeebled by the Such a general degradation and malaria. The facts of this case transcend such an universal profligacy, when they the wisdom of the apologue—the dead ass once thoroughly obtain in a powerful has here triumphed over the living lion. party of an empire or a state, augur a
The precise weight in the determina- decay of public virtue in the leading tion of the conflict, which this novel and minds of a people, and a coldness of unhappy influence was enabled to exert, patriotism in its common mass, which, we cannot pretend to estimate; but we unchecked, must precipitate its ruin. say with confidence, that, all other things With these opinions, and in spite of remaining as they were, this disturbing our sincere desire to avoid a conclusion cause rendered the fight any thing but a so painful to our national vanity, and fair one, and would alone have accounted so pregnant with ill omens for our nafor a vastly more unfavorable result than tional well-being, a candid examination we now have occasion to deplore. of all the points of the case cannot spare
But there is another characteristic of us the conviction, that the late Presiden. the late campaign, so deeply branded tial election was a struggle between a with infamy, so full of woful menace to party and a faction—that our opponents, the very existence of free institutions, that deliberately and systematically, abandonnothing but the clearest evidence could ed every man, renounced every measure, have proved its prevalence to ourselves, and abjured every principle, to which nothing but a stern sense of duty lead us they had been, however sacredly, comto expose its deformity to our readers. mitted ; and this too, with a carelessness We regard the presence, activity, and of disguise, a scorn of dissimulation, and vigilance of great political parties, in this a contempt of the decencies of knavery, country, as alike essential to the perma which laugh at description and defy nence of liberty and the best security for exaggeration. They adapted the motto the virtual and beneficent dominion of of kingly pride—“ L'Etat, c'est Moi”constitutional government. Faction and to the purposes of democratic humility: cabal are very different agents in a po “ The Republic--it is our party'' ; and litical system, and fraught with far other this great postulate gained, they strode tendencies. A party is an organized with hasty logic through the necessary union upon the basis of a principle or a deductions, and with a shrewd practical system of principles, and proposes the philosophy, expressed the results of their good of the country; opposing parties pure reason” in most detinite and differ in their principles, and of course in forcible action. Some guilty mind, capatheir measures, but agree in their object- cious of such things, suggested the bold the common weal. A faction confines experiment of setting up for the sufits aims and objects within itself;“ its be frages of a free and enlightened people all and its end all,” is self-aggrandize- Democracy in the abstract, not embodied ment. Factions, then, are as much the in any system of principles, nor yet foes of popular governments, as parties shaped into any project of measures, not are their ministers and defenders. The even incarnate in the form of any man. generous spirit of party, vehement though The omnipotence of the“ popular element” it be, invigorates and warms, cherishes was to be illustrated and established beand sustains, the whole fabric of the yond all cavil, for out of nothing it State ; the gnawing tooth of faction cor should create something :—the right and rodes every prop, and its insatiate thirst the capacity of the perf.le to choose their exhausts every spring of public pros own rulers were to be vindicated by the experity. Little parties, operating within tremest test-requiring them to vote for narrow circles, dealing with small in- nobody knew whom, for nobody knew terests, and, of necessity, confounding what, and as nobody knew why: somewhat personal and public concerns, The first great step in reducing this are constantly in danger of sinking into novel plan to practice, was the summary factions. But the dignity, amplitude, disposition which was made of Mr Van and diversity of the elements which Buren by the Nominating Convention,
and the magical elevation of Mr. Polk, shrine its selectest priesthood were wont a man entirely inconsiderable before this to minister, and its haughtiest votaries to event, and whom his recent fortunes can- kneel; whose mystic name was erst the not be said to have rendered any thing Shibboleth, and its “specie clause” the more than notorious. Apply for a mo- touchstone of the true, unadulterate ment to this proceeding the discrimina- faith ; how, we say, did the scheme of tion which we have above attempted to Democracy in the absract deal with this draw between the distinctive features of matter? The idol, like Dagon in the a party and a faction, and say whether house of the Philistines, « had fallen this quiet substitution of candidates was upon his face to the ground,” and the not the act of the latter. What principle foot-prints of the pilgrims to its altar of the genuine democracy was not out were all reversed, as if in hasty flight. raged both in the act itself and in the Throughout the length and breadth of the mode of its accomplishment? Pledges land its name was not heard ; there was were scattered to the wind—the will of “none so poor to do it reverence"; there the majority supplanted by concerted was not virtue enough left in it even to fraud—and the « martyr to Democratic conjure with. Has, then, the infallible principles" overwhelmed with contume. spirit of Democracy spoken false oracles ? ly. Why was all this? If this band of Has its wisdom become folly in its own politicians represented an honest party, eyes? Was this suppression of the Subhaving principles and proposing mea. Treasury, during the canvass, an honest sures valuable to the commonwealth, renunciation of an error, and was its rewho so fit an exponent of them, who instatement as sincerely abandoned as its so skillful an administrator of them, as discussion was peremptorily forbidden ? Martin Van Buren? No, it was the vile Here again we are saved the labor of arwork of a faction, which knew no mo- gument, and spared the doubt of infertive and sought no end beyond its own ence. They have made haste to enact, triumph. The Ex-President had some what they were slow to discuss, and in political history, some political principles, that branch of Congress in which they some political responsibility hanging have the power, the re-establishment of about him—there was bone and muscle, this same Sub-Treasury is the sole result there were qualities and tendencies in of its exercise, and the accredited “organ him, and they might interfere with the of concentrated Democratic sentiment" scheme of running Democracy in the ab- claims the late election decisive in its stract. But that the whole cause and verdict of popular opinion upon this object of this management might not be point alone, of prime importance,-a left to argument or inference, that it point not mooted in the trial. Is the might not be said that any repugnance course which this matter has taken, the was felt to Mr. Van Buren’s principles, upright action of a party, or the impudent or his personal connections, Silas Wright, juggle of a faction? the mirror of the one and the most inti The adverse policies of a protective mate of the other, is immediately nomi. tariff and unrestricted freedom of trade nated for the Vice-Presidency Does are the most important which can divide not, then, this transaction sustain the a commercial people, and upon these, charge, that our opponents entered upon long before the actual collision of the the campaign, with an entire abnega parties in the contest, it had become tion of every thing but the success of the manifest the fight, if an honest one, was faction, and that they did this without mainly to be made. It was well known, caring to conceal the deformity of their too, that, however the independent militia designs with the thin veil of hypocrisy. of the hostile army might straggle, all
The foul marks of faction are not the “ Chivalry" on this point were united less deeply imprinted upon the manage- and puissant. The stupendous forces ment of all questions of public policy of the great kingdom of South Carolina and of fundamental principle, by the could be drawn from their armed neuDemocrats, throughout the whole period trality only by a most stringent covenant of the late contest.
on this head. The noble leader of our The Sub- Treasury, that shrewd pro own array had fought his way up from ject of finance, by which the “ progress the ranks to his exalted post, mainly in party” would throw our money system the service of the American system. This some several centuries backward; that warfare had been to him, what the Italian golden-calf of Democracy, at whose campaigns were to Napoleon—the foun
dation of, and the preparation for, his The progress of discussion educed the eventual supremacy. Foreign nations fact, that principles on this subject, too, looked upon the impending election as must be accommodated to various shades the decision of the question, whether our of public sentiment, or an adhesion to political independence was to be ren them must cripple the force of the party dered complete and impregnable, or to be and jeopard its success. The Catholicity practically annulled by commercial and of their political church is disturbed by social subservience. This, whichever a band of Protestants, and this dogma of opinion had the right of it, was a ques “ Immediate Annexation” is challenged. tion in our national condition not modal, These heretics prefer, however, to protest but essential--not of health merely, but in the church, and not to protest themof life. It touched all domestic arrange- selves out of it-they are very great ments, it reached to all foreign relations; patriots, but their ambition does not asit was conversant with the subtlest specu- pire to the crown of martyrdom for conlative theories and with the commonest science' sake. Accordingly, they vote for employments of men; it laid its hand the candidate, protesting against his upon the amassed treasure of the capital- opinions--they sustain the party, protestist and the daily bread of the laborer. ing against its measures —they entrust It was a question on which parties, if with power men sworn to a specific dividel at all, must have been so by dis- exercise of_it, protesting against such tinct and impassable lines of demarcation, exercise. There was even a large class on which the trumpets of mutual defiance of voters at the north who could be should have uttered no doubtful note. induced to lend their aid to the elecWas the Democratic party true to its tion of the Democratic candidates, only principles, and did it present a united by the consideration that a Whig Senate front on this question? There is no pre- would preclude the possibility of their tence of it. It is conceded, that on the mad schemes of Annexation being carried tariff policy the order was given to the out! The depth of such poltroonery is bands of the faithful, to assume every unfathomable-local opinion, and court every sectional “The force of faction could no further go,” prejudice. Silence and obscurity were seen to be of no avail; loud and vehe- and upon this as the climax of proof we ment clamor, sounding as many voices rest the demonstration of our proposition. as there were popular opinions, was sub We have thus portrayed, and we hestituted. An ambuscade we were armed lieve truthfully, the main elements of the against, and they donned our colors and late Presidential election, which distinstole our standards. At the North, they guish it from all preceding popular conwere more protective than the protection- tests, which controlled its character and ists ; at the South, less restrictive than produced its result;-we pass to a brief the free-traders; at the West, they would examination of the result itself, and a foster the interests of the farmer; at the consideration of some of the particular East, of the manufacturer. Who dis modes in which the above influences putes, then, that on the tariff, our oppo- manifested themselves, and of some less nents roamed throughout the land, a dignified agencies which co-operated with lying faction, seeking whom they might them. We cannot be expected to present devour?
calculations in extenso, nor to support the On Annexation, however, this new. opinions which we have formed and may born issue, produced for the crisis, express by all the evidence by which we making now its first appearance on any have arrived at them. This is the province stage, the “ lone star” of the play, which of the newspapers ; upon the information was to atone for all awkwardness, sup- which they supply to us, corrected and ply all deficiencies, reconcile all incon- filtered in the fierce collisions between gruities in the mind parts, and smooth them, we are all mostly dependent for all troubles in the plot-on this project, our political facts and statistics. at least, we shall see unity and concord. Figures, it is said, cannot lie, but a This position, so firmly taken, and to particular arrangement of them may hold which so much else has been given speak the truth more forcibly than away, our foes are surely willing to another. The following table compiled abide by, and on it to stake the chances from the official returns, may, perhaps, of defeat. The history of the canvass, exhibit some points in the numerical reon this topic also, shows the reverse. sult, not generally noticed.
Birney. / Aggre
4,836 4,161 3,954 10,560
Plurality: Whig* Dem.* El Vo.
Def. Maj. Def. C.P.
2, 167 6
5,353 - 36.
56 13 113,243 9,267
93) - 5
59,623 2,694,697 52,430 90,578 14,799 63,207 33,901 44,119 105 170
* These columns express the excess over, or deficiency from, a majority in each state, obtained by the Whigs and Democrats respectively. They are important to show the precise amount of disturbance creat. ed by the third party, wherever it intervened. Where but two tickets were run, the majority for one is, of course, equal to the deficiency of the other, and each is half the plurality.
| South Carolina does not entrust the choice of Presidential Electors to the people, and we have therefore omitted all surther notice of her in estimating the popular elements of the numerical result. She took no part in the Convention which nominated Mr. Polk, and has, since the election, expressed her distrusl of the principles which are to govern his administration. She stands pretty much aloof from our national politics, and is both inconsiderable and but little considered in our party combinations.
It will be perceived by a reference to the several states, he would also have been the above table, that in three of the states defeated; the twelve states in which his of the Union, New York, Ohio and party polled majorities, furnished but one Michigan, casting together sixty-four hundred and twenty electors, eighteen electoral votes, neither Mr. Clay nor less than the requisite number. Mr. Polk received an actual majority.
Another notable fact, apparent upon Of the remaining twenty-two states in the figures, is the smallness of the majoriwhich electors were chosen directly by ties thrown for either candidate in all the the people, ten gave majorities for Mr. states which can fairly be said to have Clay, and twelve for Mr. Polk. Of the been contested. Leaving out Missouri, whole aggregate popular vote of 2,694, Alabama, Illinois and Kentucky, (where 697, the Whig candidate fell short of an no third party intervened, and where the actual majority by 48,407 votes; and the state of opinions was so unequal as to President elect by 10,217 votes ; the plu- offer no motive for a close contest,) the rality of the latter over the former being largest majority in any state was but 38,190. The largest numerical majority 3,252, in Maine. cast in any state was 6,196, in Illinois Again, it is worthy of remark, that in for Mr. Polk—the largest numerical plu- three instances at least, a very small rality in any state was 14,572 in Massa- change of votes throughout a most exchusetts for Mr. Clay.
tensive territory and among a vast popu. The first important deduction to be lation, would have reversed the result, drawn from the above data is, that Mr. Thus in the State of New York, a change Polk, on no basis of calculation, received of 2,554 votes—but little over one-half per the suffrages of a majority of the actualvo- cent. of the aggregate of that State, and ters at the election. In the aggregate vote less than one-thousandth of the entire we have already seen how far he fell short vote of the Union,—would have elected of this. But if a majority of ballots had our candidate; in Pennsylvania and Georbeen necessary to the choice of electors in gia together a change of one per cent. of