Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]

Our democratic brethren are upon the tle of themselves, and why should we whole a fine set of fellows, and rarely waste our time and substance in trying fail to take whatever turns up with 10 hinder them from making themgreat good humor; otherwise we should selves cattle ?" expect to lose our ears, if not our head, for the many severe things we intend in An instructive year, that 1840, to all the course of our essay to say to them who have sense enough to read it aright. and about them. We shall try them Wbat happened then may happen severely; for we intend to run a thwart again, if not in the same form, in some many of their fondly cherished preju. other form equally foolish, and equally dices, and to controvert not a few of pernicious; and, iherefore, if we wish their favorite axioms; but we trust to secure to ourselves and our posterity they will be able to survive the trial, the blessings of freedom and good gov. and to come forth as pure and as bright ernment, we must procure stronger as they have from that which the guaranties than popular suffrage and Whigs gave them in 1810.

popular virtue and intelligence. We

for one frankly confess,-and we care Mentioning this 1840, we must say not who knows it,—that what we saw that it marks an epoch in our-wespeak during the presidential election of personally, not for the Democratic Re. 1840, shook, nay, gave to the winds, view-political and social doctrines. all our remaining confidence in the The famous election of that year popular democratic doctrines-not wrought a much greater revolution in measures-of the day; and we confess, us than in the Government; and we con- furthermore, that we have seen nosess, here on the threshold, that since thing in the conduct of either party then we—that is the writer of this-- since, that has tended to restore it. have pretty much ceased to speak of, or During the extra session of Congress to confide in, the “intelligence of the in the summer of 1841, the Demopeople.” The people, the sovereign peo- cratic delegations in both Houses beple, the sovereigns, as our friend Gove haved nobly, and acquitted themselves ernor Hubbard calls them, during that like men ; they won the victory for campaign presented but a sorry sight. their country, as well as lasting honor Truih had no beauty, sound argument and gratitude for themselves from the no weight, pairiotism no influence. wise and good everywhere; but our They who had devoted their lives to friends seem to have been more sucthe cause of their country, of truth, cessful in gaining the victory than in justice, liberty, humanity, were looked securing its fruits. The rapid and upon as enemies of the people, and overwhelming successes which have were unable to make themselves heard followed in the State elections, seem amid the maddened and maddening 10 have intoxicated the whole Demohurrahs of the drunken mob that went cratic party, and unless God sends us for “ Tippecanoe, and Tyler too.” It some sudden and severe rebuke, there was a sorry sight, to see the poor fel. is great danger that we shall go into lows rolling huge balls, and dragging power again in 1845, without hav. log cabins at the bidding of the dema- ing been in the least instructed by de. gogues, who were surprised to find feat, or purified by adversity. Adverhow easily the enthusiasm of the peo- sity is easy to bear; it is prosperity' ple could be excited by hard cider and that tries the man. But enough of this. doggerel rhymes. And we confess that we could hardly forbear exclaiming, in From the fact that popular suffrage, vexation and contempt, “Well, after and popular virtue and intelligence, all, nature will out; the poor devils, if have proved, and are likely to prove, we but let them alone, will make cat- insufficient to secure the blessings of

freedom and good government, it must mocracy has hitherto failed, no reason not be inferred that popular suffrage for deserting its standard, but of seekis an evil, and should therefore be aban- ing to recruit its forces; or, without a doned; much less that popular forms figure, we see in our ill success hitherto, of government have proved a failure, simply the necessity of obtaining new and that we should therefore go back and stronger guaranties than popular to aristocracy or to monarchy. We suffrage can offer, even though coudraw for ourselves no such inference. pled with popular intelligence. We We have lost no confidence in nor love would not, we cannot dispense with for popular institutions. The struggle popular suffrage and intelligence, and for democratic forms of government, we pray our readers to remember this; has, moreover, been 100 long and too but they are not alone sufficient, and severe, has enlisted too many of the we must have something else in adwise and the good, and been consecrat- dition to them, or we shall fail to se ed by too many prayers, sufferings, cure those results from the practical and sacrifices, to permit us, even if our working of the Government, which confidence of ultimate success were every true-hearted democrat is laboraltogether less than it really is, to think ing with all his might to secure. even for one moment of ceasing to continue it. Humanity never does, and We have not erred in laboring to never should, retrace her steps. Her extend popular suffrage,-though ihus course is onward through the ages. far its extension has operated almost In this career, we have left aristocracy exclusively in favor of the business and monarchy behind us; and there classes, or rather of the money let them remain, now and for ever. We power,—but in relying on it as alone may encounter both hunger and thirst sufficient. There is not a tithe of that in the wilderness; let us trust that the virtue in the hallot-box which we, in God of our fathers will rain manna our Fourth of July orations and caucus upon us, and make water gush from speeches, are in the habit of ascribing the rock, if need be, rather than like to it. The virtue we have been accusthe foolish Israelites sigh to return to tomed to ascribe to it, we have claimed the “flesh pots of Egypı,” for we can for it on the ground that the people alreturn to them only by returning to the ways know what is right, and will slavery from which we have just always act up to their knowledge. escaped. No: our faces are forward; That is to say, suffrage resis for its the promised land is before us; and let basis, as a guaranty of freedom and the command run along our ranks, good government, on the assumed Forward, march !

intelligence and virtue of the people.

Its grand maxim is, “ The people can We assure our democratic brethren, do no wrong." Now, this may be then, in the old world as well as in the very beautiful in theory, but when we new, that if we have words of rebuke come to practice, this virtue and intelfor them, we have no words of conso- ligence of the people is all a humbug. lation or of hope for their enemies. We beg pardon of the sovereign peoThank God, we are neither traitors nor ple for the treasonable speech; but it deserters; we stand by our colors, and is true, true as Holy Writ, and ihere is will live or die, fighting for the good old neither wisdom nor virtue in pretend. cause, the CAUSE OF THE PEOPLE. But ing to the contrary. Perhaps, however, if our General made an unsuccessful our remark is not quite true, in the attack yesterday, and was repulsed sense in which it will be taken, without a with heavy loss, and all in consequence word or two by way of explanation. of not choosing the best position, or of not taking the necessary precautions To the explanation, then. We are for covering his troops from the ene- in this country, we democrats and all, mies' battery, we hope we may in the most incorrigible aristocrats. We are council held to-day, without any dere- always using the word people in its liction from duty, advise that ihe at- European sense, as designating the untack be renewed under an officer better privileged many, in distinction from skilled to conduct it, or at least that it the privileged few. But this sense of be renewed from a more advantageous the word is with us really inadmissi. position. We see in the fact that De ble. We, we the literary, the refined,


the wealthy, the fashionable, we are priate and true. There it would simpeople as well as our poorer and more ply mean that the unprivileged classes coarsely mannered and clad neighbors. -ihe commons-are as able to manWe are all people in this country, the age the affairs of the government, and merchant, the banker, the broker, the as worthy of confidence, as are the nomanufacturer, the lawyer, the doctor, bility, they who are born legislators; ihe office-holder, the office-seeker, the which we hold to be a great and scholar, and the gentleman, no less than glorious truth, worthy and needing to the farmer, the mechanic, and the fac- be preached, even to martyrdom, in tory operative. We do not well to every country in which the law recog. forget this. For ourselves, we al. nizes a privileged class. But bere it ways remember it, and therefore has no meaning, or one altogether inwhen we speak slightingly of the appropriate; and, because inapprointelligence and virtue of the people, priate, false and pernicious. To it is of the whole people, noi of praise the people here for their virtue any particular class; in

sense and intelligence is either to show that which includes necessarily us who we feel ourselves above them, and speak as well as those to whom we 'praise them solely because we wish to speak. When, then, we call what is use them; or it is simply praising our. usually said about the virtue and in- selves, boasting of our own virtue, intelligence of the people all a humbug, telligence, and capacity. The people we do not use the word in its European should beware of the honeyed voices sense, and mean to speak disparagingly perpetually sounding their praise. He of the intelligence of plebeians as dis- who in a monarchy will flatter the tinguished from patricians, of the“ base. monarch, or in an aristocracy will fawn born” as distinguished from the “well-round the great, will in a democracy born;" for the distinctions here implied flatter the people; and he who will do not exist in this country, and should flatter the people in a democracy, would not be recognized even in our speech. in an aristocracy fawn round the great, When it comes to classes, we confess and in a monarchy, flatter the monthat we rely as much on the intelligence arch. The demagogue is the courtier of proletaries as on the virtue and intel. adapting himself io circumstances. ligen of capitalists, and would trust And yet, flattery is so sweet, that he our mechanics as quick and as far as we who can scream loudest in praise of would our merchants and manufac- the sovereign people, and whose conturers.

science does not suick even at the blas

phemy of “Vox populi est vox Dei," There is, if we did but know it, ar- will be pretty sure of receiving the rant aristocracy in this talk which we largest share of their confidence and hear, and quite too frequently in our favor,--another proof of their virtue, own ranks, about the virtue and in- intelligence, and capacity! telligence of the people. Who are we who praise, in this way, the people ? One thing, by the way, we must Are we ourselves people? And when own,—the people will bear with more we so praise them, do we feel our- equanimity to be told of their faults selves below them, and looking up to than will other sovereigns, or we ourthem with reverence? Or do we feel selves should be drawn and quartered that we are above them, and with for our reiterated treason. But, if they great self-complacency, condescending would only lay our treason 10 heart, io pat them on the shoulder, and say, and profit by it, we would willingly “after all, my fine fellows, you are by consent to be drawn and quartered. no means such fools as your betters But alas! we may speak, and our sometimes think."

If we were in good-natured sovereign will merely England, where there is a recognized, smile, call for his coffee and pantoufles, hereditary aristocracy, and where the sip the beverage, throw himself back word people is used to designate all in his easy-chair, and-doze. It is a who do not belong to the nobility or virtue to commend him, and whoso privileged class, we could understand does not, he disregards. Whoever and even accept what is said about the among us expresses any want of confivirtue, intelligence, and capacity of the dence in the people, notwithstanding people; for there it would be appro- their apparent forbearance, is supposed

to be their enemy, and is sure to be land? What need of swords, pistols, read out of the Democratic Party; or bowie knives, jails, penitentiaries, to be laid up on the shelf, till some dif- pains, penalties, laws, judges, and exeficulty occurs in which his strong sense cutioners ? What need of schools, and stern integrity become indispensa. churches, teachers, preachers, proble. But after all, what is the ground phets, and rulers? Nobody is so mad of this confidence in the people? A as really to pretend that nothing strong party is springing up among us, among us is wrong. Let alone priwhich builds entirely upon this confi.vate life, go merely into public life, dence, and says that if the people were enter the halls of justice and legisonly left to themselves they would al- lation—is all right here? No: everyways do right; and that all the mis- body complains; everybody finds somechief arises from our attempting to what to condemn; some one thing, govern the people, and to prevent them some another. And yet who has done from having their own way. Hence, this of which everybody is complainsay they, let us have as little govern- ing? The people. What hear we ment as possible, or rather let us have from every quarter, but denunciations no government. “All we want gov- of this or that measure of public poliernment for,” said Dr. Channing one cy; of the profligacy of the Governday to the writer, “ is simply to undo ment, or of its administration ? And what government has done." If the after all who is in fault? Whose is people are worthy of all the confidence the government? The people's. The demanded, why not yield it? Why not people are sovereign, and of course rely on the people? Why seek to bind the government and its administration, them by constitutions, and to control the laws and their execution, are just them by laws, which in the last resort what the people will they should be. the military may be called in to en- Is it not strange, if the people alforce? If the people always know the ways perceive ihe right, and perceivright, and always act up to their intelli- ing, always do it, that nevertheless gence, government is a great absurdity. where they are supreme, and whatBut we do not find our friends gene- ever is done, is done by them, there rally confiding in the people to this ex- yel should be so much wrong done? teni, though the doctrine they preach goes thus far. As much as they con But touching the intelligence of our fide in the people, they do not feel will. American people, we would ask with ing to leave them to vote in their own still more emphasis, Where have they way.

We have our caucuses, and shown it? Was it in the presidential various and complicated machinery, campaign of 1840 ? Have they shown without which we feel very sure that it in the several States in contracting the people would not vote at all, or if abroad some two hundred millions of voting, not on our side. In a majority dollars or more of State and corporaof cases, we are so afraid that the tion debts? Have they shown it in people will not vote, or not vote aright, introducing, extending and sustaining ihai we, through committees, cau- almost from their iniancy the ruinous cuses, conventions, nominations, party system of paper money


Do they usages, &c., so do up all the work, that show it by advocating the falsely-sothe voting becomes a mere form, al- called American system-the“ proiectmosi a farce,-yet we preach confidence ive policy,” thereby crippling comin the people!

merce, and enslaving the operative, sor

the very questionable benefit of a few But once more. What is the ground manufacturing capitalists? Do they of this confidence in the virtue, intelli- show it in their insane support of the gence, and capacity of the people? immense system of corporations which Do we really mean to say that the peo- spread over the country like a vast ple acting individually or collectively net-work, and which, flooding the marnever do, and never can do any wrong? ket with stock, gives to a few indiviWhence, then, comes all this wrong of duals who have contrived to maintain which everybody is complaining ? The their credit, the means of controlling people are virtuous,-whence, then, the and laying under contribution the whole vice, the crime, the immorality, the industrial activity of the country? irreligion which threaten to deluge the Have they shown it, in their very geVOL. XII.NO. JIMUI.


neral condemnation of the only measure public policy, than the act of Congress which would separate the revenues of distributing the proceeds of the sales of the government from the general busi- the public lands among the several ness operations of individuals, and se- States? And yet where has it aroused cure to the government that financial any popular indignation? How many independence, without which it ceases of even the Democratic States have to be government, and becomes merely had the virtue to fling back the bribe an instrument in the hands of one por- that was offered them? Has New tion of the community for plundering York? Pennsylvania ? Ohio? Illinois ? the other? We demand of ihe states. Missouri? Mississippi? Georgia? men who publicly boast, that during Virginia ? Maine? We recollect now, their whole continuance in office, “they out of all the Democratic States, only have made it their duty to ascertain three-South Carolina, Alabama, and and how to the will of the people;": New Hampshire--that have had the we demand of them, wherein they find virtue to refuse to receive their portion this infallible popular intelligence on of the spoils. A good democrai introwhich they bid us rely? The people, duced resolutions into the Massachuwe shall be told, rejected the elder seits Legislature declaring the act unAdams, elected and susiained Mr. Jef- constitutional, and that the State ought ferson. Be it so, and yet, will any one not to accept its portion of the money; tell us, wherein the policy of Mr. Jef- but he was induced by his own party, ferson, so far as it bore on the practical while agreeing with him in the onrelations of the people, and their every- constitutionality of the act, to amend day business interests, differed essen- his resolutions so as to leave out the tially from that of Mr. Adams? They clause which required the State to rejected the old Federal theory of govo refuse to receive money unconstitutionernment, it is true, and adopted the ally distributed. And what is remarkDemocratic; but it may be a very seri- able, the amendment was proposed ous question, whether the latter theory, and urged by one of the most influenas the people understand it, is so much tial members of the party in the Legisin advance of the former as we some- lature, and who has been regarded for times imagine. We shall be told that years as the leader of the ulira or radithe people sustained General Jackson cal portion of the Democratic party in in his anti-bank policy; but it was the State. So little popular opposition General Jackson and not his policy; has this measure encountered, a meafor they refused to sustain his successor sure which would have been, we make who pursued with singular consistency no doubt, cheerfully acquiesced in by a and firmness the same policy; and they large majority of the people, as ihe would have sustained a new bank, had setiled policy of the country, had it not not Mr. Biddle's bank failed ai the been defeated by the presidential velo. very moment it did, spreading alarm and distress through the land. Nine We might go even further, and redtenths of our business men even now ture to predict that the assumption of fancy that we can add to the wealth of the Staie Debis by the Federal Governthe country by increasing the paper ment, all unconsiitutional and wicked circulation, and attribute the present as such assumption would be, will yet embarrassments of the country to the be adopted. There are so many stockwant of confidence, when in fact these holders both at home and abroad, inernbarrassments have resulted almost terested in its adoption, that it must solely from an excess of confidence: come at last, unless Providence interand can be relieved, not by any in- pose in our behalf. The people,-we crease of confidence, but of that which mean the mass of the people, of the gives to confidence a solid basis--solid constituencies,-are now, we fear, precapital.

pared for it, and nothing but the virtue

of a few public men now delays it. If In fact, no measure of public policy it be ultimately defeated, it will be can be proposed, so absurd or so wicked through the influence of these few pabut it shall find popular support. triotic individuals; perhaps, nay, most What could be a more bare-faced vio- likely, by the executive veto. The lation of the Constitution, more profii- merchants to a considerable extent will gate, or more absurd as a measure of sustain the measure, because it is one

« AnteriorContinuar »