« AnteriorContinuar »
tive State. It is true a powerful aristocracy has pursued him with an implacable animosity through all the gradations of the public confidence, by force of which he has risen : but this honorable distinction he enjoys in common with the illustrious individual who holds the reins of government—in common with every political man, who, in defiance of their enmity, has ventured to stand forth the champion of popular rights. Throughout the war of 1812, he was always to be found at the side of Tompkins and his coadjutors, maintaining the principles and policy of the contest, supporting by his eloquence in debate, and by his exertions on all occasions, the gigantic efforts of New York to sustain the cause of the country, and to repel the invasions, which, at the same moment, were visited upon various points of her own frontier. A review of his patriotic course may well call up disquieting recollections in the minds of some who hesitate not to assail him, when the storm has passed and the current of prosperity is flowing afresh, but who, in the hour of their country's peril, found their highest causes of gratulation in the triumphs of the enemy over the arms of their own countrymen.
The principles by which Mr. Van Buren has been governed in his legislative course, are derived from the doctrine of a strict construction of the Constitution. We have the best authority for saying that, as a member of the cabinet, he concurred entirely in the leading measures of General Jackson's administration in the limitation of the power of the general government to execute works of internal improvement to such as are strictly of a national character—in the necessity of a rigid investigation of the affairs of the Bank of the United States, and an inquiry into the extent of its powers and the constitutional grounds on which it rests—and in an adoption of such measures of conciliation on questions of policy, with regard to which divisions of opinion prevail, as may be necessary not only to preserve the domestic tranquillity of the country, but to maintain that spirit of harmony, which alone can secure to us a happy and durable existence as an independent and united people.
The services of Mr. Van Buren as Secretary of State deserve a much higher eulogium than that, which we have passed upon other portions of his career. His best praise consists in the honorable testimony borne by the President himself to the zeal and ability, with which he co-operated in bringing to a happy termination our numerous and most important negotiations with foreign countries. But we are willing to leave his reputation in the hands of the people without further comment.
It has, indeed, ever been the habit of the republican party to set forth the claims of their candidates in terms which fall short of their merits, instead of exceeding them. We are the less inclined to depart from the usage of our predecessors, as we have so frequently had occasion to see the most enviable epithets dishonored by their misapplication to the persons of our political opponents—to behold individuals exalted by the encomiums of their friends far above the level of their fellow-men, when the testimony of their own actions should place them as much below it. It is enough for republicans to know, to use the language of Jefferson,ihat the candidates for their suffrages are “ honest, capable, and faithful to the Constitution.”
We should do injustice to the numerous and distinguished individuals who were associated with us in the Convention, as delegates from other states, if we were not to advert to the general feeling of harmony which prevailed among them, and the magnanimous determination on the part of all to sacrifice every personal and local consideration to the great object of presenting an undivided front to the numerous opponents of the administration. In taking our seats in that body, it was our firm and united resolution to make no effort to change the current of opinion from the direction which it should take. Deeply seated as is your confidence in Mr. Van Buren, we felt that we should not have represented faithfully your wishes or his own if we had pressed his claims upon the delegation of any other state. We felt that we could only do justice to you and him by uniting cordially upon the individual who should be the deliberate choice of the majority. We were aware that differences of opinion inseparable from personal predilections, and others which necess
essarily grow out of diversity of interests, the fruit in its turn of our vast territorial extent, were all to be reconciled in the selection of a candidate for the Vice-Presidency. We were apprehensive that there
might be great difficulty in reconciling them ; but that it was insuperable we never for a moment believed. The result has far exceeded our most sanguine expectations.
We met on all sides a warm response to our own feelings—a general determination to unite upon the individual who should be the choice of the greatest number. The Convention presented the animating spectacle of near three hundred and fifty individuals, representing the people of twenty-three states, coming
together in friendly communion, bringing in all their separate interests and prepossessions, irreconcileable as they might seem, to be weighed by the united judgment of all, and with the determination to surrender up, at the altar of the common good, so much of them as, in the deliberate judgment of all, should be due to the common safety. The domination of Mr. Van Buren is the spontaneous fruit of that spirit of conciliation and harmony: and it rests upon grounds, which cannot fail to ensure a signal triumph over all the elements of opposition, which can be combined against us.
We have thus placed before you, in a review as brief as the magnitude of the subjects would admit, the considerations which render it incumbent on us to put forth all our exertions in support of the re-election of General Jackson, as the individual best calculated to maintain the great principles which lie at the very basis of our political faith, to place by his side the distinguished individual, whose claims have been briefly presented, as best calculated to support, against the violence of the opposition, him, who is the first object of your choice, and to assert through their united elevation, the violated dignity of the country against an outrage offered to both in their official character. That ticket bearing such names will be elected by an overwhelming vote, we have not the slightest doubt. But it ought never to be forgotten, that no preponderance of numbers can safely be relied on without continued vigilance and activity. Let this conviction regulate our conduct, and our success will be certain and triumphant.
Let us then, fellow-citizens, profoundly impressed with a sense of the obligations which it is incumbent on us to fulfil, combine all our efforts with those of our republican friends throughout the Union, for our mutual encouragement and support. Let us bear constantly in mind that the elements of our growth are also elements of danger; that the possession of wealth and power carries with it strong temptations to misuse them ; and that it is only through unceasing watchfulness over the sources of evil, and a spirit of mutual conciliation in the exercise of our rights, that we shall be enabled to tread steadfastly in the path, which alone can conduct us to happiness and security.
JONATHAN S. CONKLIN,
RANSOM H. GILLETT,