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fects, was made a ground of calumny and reproach; the most splendid public services were forgotten in the rancor of political animosity; and a warfare, too ruthless for the sanctions of any barbarian code, was resorted to without compunction, for the wanton purpose of carrying desolation to the most sacred affections of the heart.
It was under these circumstances that Gen. Jackson was elected President of the United States. The people had long reposed unwavering confidence in his patriotism and purity. They believed him capable of introducing the reform, which was imperiously demanded by the condition of the country and the government; and they knew he had the firmness to meet all the responsibilities incident to the crisis. Against the most violent efforts of an opposition, powerful in numbers and talents, and sustained by the whole patronage of the government-against a torrent of enmity, overwhelming all the laws of honorable warfare, and all the distinctions of sex and condition-he was carried triumphantly through the contest by the people; and the triumph will stand, in the annals of the country, a perpetual monument of the impotence of authority under our institutions to defeat the execution of the popular will.
The same individuals, who in 1828 were united in support of Mr. Adams, are now arrayed in opposition to Gen. Jackson's re-election, animated with new hostility and violence, and with the single difference that they are now the assailants. The same principles are at issue, the same results to be accomplished by the success of one party, and the same dangers to be apprehended from the success of the other. That the friends of the constitution will again triumph no doubt need be entertained. Although the numbers of the opposition have been augmented by the accession of the nullificationists, it is one of those additions which carry with them neither moral nor physical strength. There is not to be found in the respective codes of the nullificationists and national republicans, a single principle common to both. The basis of one is a concentration of power in the hands of the federal government, and of the other, a submission of all its power to the will of a state. It is true, they are capable of combining, notwithstanding the repugnance of their political tenets, for the annoyance of their antagonists, but not for the attainment of a common advantage.The elements of which they are composed, are far more wide of union with each other than with those, against whom they are combined: if their success were possible, it would be the signal of a more vindictive warfare among themselves, than that which they are waging against the friends of the constitution.
The truth unquestionably lies between the extremes of these two parties. The conceded powers of the general government should be exercised with moderation, and in that spirit of compromise in which the constitution was framed. Concession and forbearance lie at the very foundation of the political fabric, and it is only through concession and forbearance that the structure can be upheld. If the acknowledged powers of the general government are pushed to extremes, the independence of the states is put at hazard. On the other hand, the reserved powers of the states must be exercised with a just and patriotic regard to the fact that all are members of a confederacy, bound together by common interests and reciprocal obligations. It is the duty of the general government to respect the States as the safest depositaries of all that concerns their internal administration : and it is equally the duty of the States to look to the Union as the palladium of the freedom and prosperity of the whole. The nullificationists offend as much against the necessary authority of the general government as the nationals against the unquestionable rights of the States. The republican party hold the middle ground between these two opposite regions of error. In these divisions there is nothing new, excepting the position of the nullificationists, who have pushed to a fatal extreme the salutary doctrine of State rights. The national republicans, under a new designation, occupy precisely the ground of the federalists of 1800 and 1828. In our position, also, there is no change: it is the one which the republican party has always occupied, and to which it should be our pride to adhere—the position so happily described by Mr. Jefferson, as looking to the support of the state governments in all their rights as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns, and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies; and the preservation of the general government, in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet-anchor of our peace at home and safety
aproad.” On this ground, if victory were not always certain, defeat would be more honorable than success on either of the others.
We have already adverted to the circumstances under which Gen. Jackson was elected President—the embarrassed state of our relations with foreign countries, the progress of false principles at home, and the disrepute into which his immediate predecessors had fallen in the estimation of a large majority of the people. He stands at the head of a political revolution as thorough, as important in its bearings on the policy and action of the government, and as fruitful of admonition to the enemies of popular freedom, as that which was accomplished by the election of Mr. Jefferson. There is a remarkable analogy in the distinguishing features of the two eras of reform—an analogy not confined to measures, but extending also to results, and to the promise which it holds out to succeeding administrations. General Jackson has realized as fully the expectations of those who elevated him to power as Mr. Jeffer
So far as depended on him alone, the measures of reform contemplated in his elevation have been fearlessly executed, and they have been uniformly well chosen for the public good. Faithless public servants have been dismissed, and their trusts confided to more worthy successors; frauds in the disbursement of public moneys have been detected and punished ; minute examinations have been instituted into the management of the subordinate departments of the government; and a rigid supervision over all has been vigilantly maintained. In the practical administration of the government nothing has been neglected, which was within the reach of his executive authority; and the result is visible in a more orderly and efficient discharge of public duty. Official station is no longer regarded as private property, but as a trust to be continued at the pleasure, and administered for the benefit, of those who created it.
In the accomplishment of this internal reform it has been the ambition of Gen. Jackson to tread in the footsteps of Mr. Jefferson. He has aimed at no higher honor than that of restoring the administration to the simplicity of the first political revolution, correcting the same abuses, eradicating the same errors, and setting up, as a guide to his successors, the same standard of principles.
In the vigor and success with which he has managed our negotiations with foreign states, and procured indemnity for the aggressions (with one or two inconsiderable exceptions,) with which we have in all past time been visited, Gen. Jackson stands unrivalled. There is no hazard in asserting that he has accomplished what no other man could have accomplished : and his election is, in this view alone, to be regarded as one of the most fortunate events which has occurred in the history of the country. It is impossible to foresee in what difficulties we might not have been involved, by a continued denial of justice on the part of the nations, which have during his administration acknowledged and satisfied our claims. That much of our success is to be ascribed to the influence of Gen. Jackson's public character, no man can doubt. His fearlessness, resolution and energy were as well known abroad as at home: and these qualities carry with them in other countries a greater weight of authority than almost any other. His character for justice and honesty was equally well understood by those, with whom our negotiations were entertained ; and there was a universal conviction that he would demand of others no more than we could rightfully claim, and accept nothing less. He was known also to enjoy in an eminent degree the confidence of the people of the United States, and it could not have been overlooked that the whole physical power of the nation would, if necessary, be placed at his disposal to enforce any just demand which should have no prospect of adjustment on other grounds. It may be said, without derogating in the slightest degree from the character of those to whom our appeals were addressed, that claims thus supported are sure to be listened to with respect, if not adjusted with promptitude. The negotiations themselves have been as honorable to us as their results. They have been conducted with an honest frankness, which, having nothing to conceal, has sought to gain nothing by artful management, but, relying solely on truth and justice, has secured a corresponding frankness on the part of others, and a ready acquiescence in the reasonableness of our claims. The consequence is, that we stand, in relation to the powers of Europe, in an attitude altogether new in our history-on
terms of friendly intercourse, with scarcely a demand to be satisfied or an injury to be redressed, and with a national character, which constitutes the highest security against invasions of our sovereign rights. The restoration of the West India trade has added new vigor to our commercial and agricultural industry; the indemnities obtained from France, Denmark and Brazil have furnished us with the means of restoring to comfort and happiness many of our citizens, who have long been borne down by the weight of their losses ; our commercial conventions with almost every country with which commercial intercourse holds out the promise of advantage, have extended our trade and are rapidly multiplying our resources and the elements of our physical strength. Our condition is, in a word, one of unrivalled prosperity; it has been wrought more rapidly than any change, whether for good or evil, since our existence as an independent people ; and it is principally to be ascribed to the influence of the distinguished individual, who holds the reins of government. This attitude it is a part of our policy to maintain. We are happily at a distance from the agitations of European countries, without any concern in their internal or international dissentions. Our position is one of rigid neutrality; our only object to enjoy commercial intercourse with all, and to maintain with all the relations of peace and honest friendship, content with the possession of our own strict rights and submitting to no invasion of them. On this ground we may securely stand, so long as our political system shall be administered for the happiness of the people, and not merely for the power and splendor of the government.
That other measures for the general good have not been adopted is not the fault of Gen. Jackson, but of those who alone have the power, under the constitution, to execute his recommendations. It will be remembered that in one of his earliest communications to Congress he earnestly suggested such amendments of the constitution as should render the President ineligible after one term of service, and deprive him of the power of appointing members of Congress to official stations during the term for which they are elected. If these suggestions had been favorably received and carried into execution, the effect would have been to deprive him of a re-election, and to close up against him what has always been deemed a source of influence with the legislative branch of the government. The disinterestedness with which this sense of duty was obeyed, by inviting the attention of Congress to the subject, should have secured him against any imputation to his disadvantage. But it has been made a ground of objection by the opposition, that he did not adopt and carry into practice himself the principles which he recommended to Congress, and through Congress to the people. With regard to the appointment of members of Congress to executive trusts, it is a sufficient reply, that he could not with propriety throw without the pale of selection any class of men, which the existing terms of the constitution and the universal practice of the government had placed within it. If the disqualification were made a inatter of constitutional provision, members of Congress would have it in view in accepting their legislative trusts, and it would, therefore, be voluntarily incurred. But, without such a sanction, it would have been unjust to them not to consider their claims equally with those of every other class of citizens, more especially as his recommendation had not been acted on. It would, in fact, have been a virtual disfranchisement by his own act of a class, which the only competent authority had declined to disfranchise. The reply to the objection raised in the other case to an acceptance of a nomination for a re-election, is equally conclusive. By bringing the subject before Congress he did all that could have been expected of him : he did more, by voluntarily proposing to surrender up his official influence and station, and to present in his own case the first example of the change proposed. His recommendation was not acted on : on the contrary, he was called, by a general expression of opinion, to continue in the station in which he had been placed: and to decline on the ground referred to, would have been to set up his own opinion in opposition to the opinions and wishes of his countrymen. They had a right to his services, which he, in common with every other citizen, was bound to recognize and obey by a surrender of his own individual judgment and wishes on a mere question of policy. In this case, as in all others, he has honored himself by submitting to the direction of the people.
It is due to Gen 'l Jackson to refer also to his repeated recommendations in relation to that great question, which more than any other disturbs the present peace of the country—a question, on the determination of which the hopes of all true friends of the Union are yet suspended. We forbear to enter into the details of this topic; but we cannot refrain from the expression of our belief that the expectation of the people of the United States will be disappointed, if the present session of congress shall terminate without such a readjustment of the existing tariff of duties, in contemplation of the extinguishment of the national debt, as shall reduce the public revenues to the economical wants of the government, and deprive every section of the Union of all just motive for disturbing the readjustment made, until a new crisis in our fiscal affairs shall render an alteration indispensable.
We will now proceed to notice some of the prominent objections raised by the opposition to his re-election. We do this with the more satisfaction, as some of the very measures of which they complain, reflect the highest credit upon his political course: we do it, not so much for his defence, as for the purpose of setting forth the value of the services which he has rendered to the public.
1. Removals from Office. The general principles are incontrovertible, that all offices belong to the people ; that they are to be administered for their benefit, and that whatever of emolument and influence they bring, is due, in the estimation of the people, to those who concur, and not to those who are at war with them on great questions of government or policy. It follows, that whenever a change of measures is sought by the people, a change of men to a certain extent is also expected. Even if the latter were not necessary to give full effect to the former, it would be to a certain degree indispensable as a matter of self preservation ; for the people could not carry into execution their own purposes, if all offices were left in the hands of political opponents, The truth of this position cannot be disputed. The only question, therefore is, to what extent a change of men shall follow a change of measures. We make an assertion, of the truth of which we are well assured, when we say that the
power of removal has been exercised with more forbearance by Gen'l Jackson, when our growth in population, the development of new sources of revenue, and the necessary augmentation of the number of offices are considered, than the only one of his predecessors, who, like himself, came into the administration by force of a political revolution. In the leading and most lucrative offices, both at the seat of government and throughout the country, removals were expected ; and no one can doubt that the people, if they had the right under the constitution to elect and remove, would by the same vote which secured Gen'l Jackson's election, have made a far more extensive change. But in the subordinate departments of the government at Washington, no individual has been removed, whatever his political predilections, unless he was incompetent or unfaithful, or unless there was good reason to believe that he had perverted his official trust to political uses. To these cases, then, the exercise of the power of removal has been restricted ; and in these it was not only defensible, but a matter of imperious duty. Gen'l Jackson would not have fulfilled the expectations of the people if he had exercised it more sparingly; he would not have exceeded their expectations if he had carried it to a far greater extent ; and there is no assignable limit to which he might not have carried it without the slightest injustice to his opponents, who have on all occasions met his forbearance with implacable bitterness. Of 228 political opponents in possession of subordinate places in the departments at Washington, only 40 have been removed; and 173 still retain their posts, although politically opposed at this moment to the administration, from which they receive their subsistence. Of the removals, there is no case which does not come within the exceptions above specified : and it is worthy of remark, that the loudest complaints have been made by those who have been removed on the ground of a perversion of their trusts to political uses, or a defalcation in their pecuniary transactions with the public. It is equally remarkable that some, who had been convicted of plundering the treasury and of resorting to fraud to conceal their defalcations, have been held up as examples of unnecessary rigor in the government, and as objects of commisseration to their political friends.
In connexion with this topic, it may not be improper briefly to notice the dissolution of the cabinet, which was for a time the cause of so much clamor on the part of the opposition and of those who were the unwilling victims of that reform. There never has been a moment when the friends of Gen'l Jackson, throughout the Union, were not satisfied with the change. It is true that two of the members of the cabinet, who yielded their places against their own wishes to the wishes of the President, immediately assailed him with rude personal invectives : but this only proved, by exposing their secret hostility, the urgent necessity which called for the measure. It would be superfluous to enter into a detail of the facts connected with a political event, upon which the people have long since pronounced judgment. It may, however, be remarked that those who, in the performance of their duties, fulfilled all the obligations of fidelity and honor, voluntarily resigned their trusts to maintain the harmony of the administration ; while those, who were the only obstacles to a preservation of its harmony, abandoned with reluctance posts, which they held for the annoyance of him to whose mistaken partiality they owed them. The former have received from the public the full measure of justice, which was due to their magnanimity, and the latter the full measure of sympathy, which was due to their wrongs.
2. Veto on the Maysville road bill. Although there is no act, which has more strongly excited the hostility of the opposition to Gen'l Jackson than this, none has furnished to the true friends of the constitution more grateful and convincing evidence of the restoration of the government to its original principles on an important branch of internal policy. There is no danger so imminent as that, which has for several
of constructive power. It is, indeed, the danger which, more immediately than any other, tends to the subversion of the constitution. We have already had occasion to remark its progress during the brief career of the men, who came into power in 1825. It is well known that the power of internal improvement, in the opinion of one of them at least, was derived by the general government, not from any express compact entered into by the parties to the constitution, but from the expediency of its exercise as connected with the general good. Their elevation was followed, as might have been expected from their avowed sentiments, by numberless applications for money to be appropriated to the improvement of roads, canals, &c. within the territorial limits of different states. During the session of the first congress after Gen’l Jackson's election, these applications had swollen to such an amount that they would, if all granted, have exhausted the entire revenue of the government, absorbed that portion of it which was necessary to meet the payment of the public debt, and left a deficiency to be supplied by loans or direct taxation. Under these circumstances, the President imposed his veto upon a bill sent to him for concurrence, providing for the appropriation of a sum of money to the construction of a road extending, not from one state to another, but from one town to another in the same state. The limits of this address will not allow us to recapitulate the reasons assigned by him for withholding his assent. It is sufficient to say that the main ground of objection was, that the improvement could not, by any perversion of reasoning, be shown to be of a national character; and to works of this nature, the exercise of the power by the general government had uniformly been construed to be restrained by Mr. Jefferson and his immediate successors. The
power of internal improvement under the authority of the general government, even if it exist, is at least of exceedingly doubtful extent. It has been rescued by Gen'l Jackson from the evils of arbitrary construction and unlimited extent, and placed on the safe ground of strict construction and limited extent: and in so doing he has effectually arrested the progress of a heresy, which had a direct tendency not only to the exercise of a jurisdiction dangerous to the independence and sovereignty of the states, but to enlarge the powers of the general government, and to corrupt public opinion by the disbursement of millions for objects of local utility. However unacceptable it may be to the advocates of a loose interpretation of the constitution, or to others, who may have expected to build up a vast political influence upon the basis of the contemplated expenditures, the decision of Gen'l Jackson reflects the highest