November 16, 2011

Editorial on Democratic Party & Whig Party Politics, 1838

This comes from the Kentucky Gazette of Lexington, KY on April 5, 1838.   To show that the Whig party are unworthy of their votes, the author traces the origins of that party as beginning with the Federalist party, arguing that they are different in name only.   This articles includes denouncement of the politics of John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Alexander Hamilton, argument against the chartering of a third national bank, argument against Henry Clay for President in the upcoming election, and discussion of strict versus broad interpretations of the U.S. Constitution.

My favorite part of the below address is this fable, which the author uses to illustrate how a broad interpretation of the Constitution's general welfare clause will be used to 'hack away' at citizen's liberties:

It has an excellent moral, that old fable of the woodman and the forest.  A certain woodman (it must have been in those early days of poetry when flowers spoke and trees reasoned)--a woodman one fine morning, humbly begged of the forest, that she would be so obliging as to give him some spare limb or other from one of her trees--quite a small one would answer his purpose--merely to make a handle for his axe.  The good tempered forest thoughtlessly agreed to his proposal; the axe handle was made; and the next day, the woodman having thus obtained the means of executing his project without further leave returned, and fell to work with so much effect, that in a few days the poor forest saw the noblest of her trees levelled with the ground, the death knell of the others, as one by one they sunk beneath the murderous axe, sounded hourly in her ears.  How bitterly then did she repent of her easy compliance!




The article has over ten footnotes that go along with it, but I had such a difficult time distinguishing symbols from smudges on the page, and then trouble figuring out which note corresponded with which symbol, so I left them out of my transcription.  Therefore, please see the original article (page 1 and page 2) to view the footnotes.





ADDRESSTO THE PEOPLE OF INDIANA 
FELLOW CITIZENS: 
It was Thomas Jefferson who said "A frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty."  And even Thomas Jefferson seldom uttered a maxim more true or a truth more important.  When around the veteran seaman the gloom of the storm darkens; when murky clouds obscure the guiding stars, and the blinding spray drifts athwart his vessel, he yet turns undoubting to his faithful compass, and learns, with as much accuracy as in the brightest noonday, whither through the elemental war his own course tends.  And thus will the experienced statesmen when the tempest of party strife is loud around him, when the mists of faction cover up the heaven of liberty, and the dust of prejudice is cast into the eyes of honest men--then and thus will the steady politician recur to the next book of his principles, and in the eternal truth there contained, find a sure guide through the ephemeral difficulties that surround him. 
And there is yet another reason for such recurrence.  It is the natural tendency of things, that a party, especially a party in power, should from time to time, somewhat fall off from the integrity of its first principles.  And thus it behooves us as enlightened politicians, having a single eye to the advancement of the Great Cause, to mistrust ourselves as well as our opponents, to guard against the enemy within as zealously as against the enemy without; to pluck the mole out of our own eye, not less than the beam out of our brother's. 
To deny that the Democratic Party of these United States has, in its long season of power and prosperity, even afforded its opponents just ground of animadversion or complaint; to say that all those who claim to be its members, are to a man, clean of hand and pure of heart, single of purpose; that no abuse has ever crept into its ranks, nor any cause of reproach ever sullied its history; this would be to assert for that party an exemption of all human errors and frailties. 
But that is no fair issue.  The honest question involved in the contest between the great political parties, is not whether either is, in its conduct, free from flow or invulnerable to attack, but which of the two acknowledges as its rule, and seeks to carry out in its practice, those political maxims which the best conduce to the liberty and welfare of mankind. 
Clearly to distinguish the actual principles of the two contending parties, is no very easy matter now-a-days. Times change and men change with them.  And such is the shuffling of feet over the line of political demarcation, that it frequently seems to the casual observer, almost entirely obliterated.  But there is still the line; and there a careful recurrence to the history of the past will over enable us to distinguish and define it. 
Time was, when those who dared and distrusted the people--those who held that the "many are born with saddles on their backs, and a favored few booted and spurred ready to ride them by the grace of God"--time was when these lovers of Aristocracy spoke out, and acted out, without veil or restraint.  In the words of an ancient distich: 
The good old rule sufficed them; the simple plan,
That he shall take who has the power, and he shall keep who can. 
The arguments against democracy in those earlier days of the world's history were very forcible if not very convincing.  Reason was cogently answered by a buffet from the guantletted fist and matters of political difference were quickly decided by the thrust of a lance or the blow of the broad sword. 
Those were the days,
When proud Prerogative, untaught to creep,
With Bribery's silent foot, on Freedom's sleep,
Frankly avowed his bold enslaving plan,
And claimed a right from God to trample man. 
And those were honest, even if bloody days.  Men's necks to be sure, were in some danger; but their eyes, at least were open and undeceived.  He who struck the blow pretended not to the name of a friend. 
In our more civilized times, when Aristocracy and Democracy have declared a truce and sounded a parley, it is with the tongue or the pen, not with the lance or battle axe, that the combat is fought, our lot has fallen upon those latter times, 
When sly prerogative, like Jove of old,
Has turned his thunder into showers of gold;
Taints by degrees and ruins without noise. 
For the sword our modern Nobles have substituted the purse; and for the gauntlet of the Knight, the strong box of the broker.  It is not from within the embattled fortress, but from behind a mercantile counter that the war is now waged; and it is waged in defense not of the Feudal, but only of the Funding system.  The offense weapon are checks at sight and bills of exchange; and if a very indifferent pun may be pardoned the only notes of defiance that herald the affray are those from under the hand of a bank President and Cashier.  In fine the men who now stand up in array against Democracy, are not a steel clad aristocracy of Barons, but a monied aristocracy of Bankers. 
Banks and Bankers! Oh, what a rallying cry is that! How surely does it call up in defence of a monied privilege and corporate power, the Lords of the Counting room--the chiefs of the Exchange! And how accusation upon accusation pours upon us! We aim to ruin commerce, to destroy credit, to fetter enterprise!--these are the least of the many crimes eagerly laid to our charge.  How honest these accusations are we will not enquire; how true they are is a more important question, and to that we speak. 
We say then, that here is no war waged against commerce or credit; no nor against banks.  Here is no assertion, that in their proper place, and under due restriction, Banks are not a benefit to the community. When money changers set up the tables and drive the trade within the Temple of Freedom, it is a Democratic duty to upset the encroaching tables and expel the intruders thence but it does not follow because such unhallowed encroachment is resisted, that Money changers, in their own proper sphere, are useless or mischievous. 
It is not then the question in debate between the two present political parties, whether the numerous family of Banks shall exist, but only whether Government out of that family shall select one as a bride.  The Whig party contends, that such a marriage is suitable and expedient, while the Democrats assert that the proposed union is a virtual divorce of our Republican Government from its early love--from its first fair bride, LIBERTY.  They appeal to history in proof, that any alliance of a Government, save with Liberty alone, any unconstitutional concubinage, be it with Church or with Bank -results in injury to itself and in evil to the Great Family over which it presides.  The Democratic party protests, therefore, against this governmental polygamy. 
To effect this ill assorted alliance on the one hand and to resist it on the other, are, respectively, the great objects of the Political Parties that now divide the United States.  Other differences, broad and important, there are, indeed, between these parties, but non that constitute more clearly the party S[h]ibboleth than this; none that more distinctly stamp the principles which still divide, as fifty years ago they divided, the Democratic party and their political opponents. 
And here again there will be an out cry.  Fifty years ago! The very sound is offensive! It calls up visions of secret Conventions and of Federalism.  Be it so! It points us, at least, to the time and place of birth of the two parties; and it is useful thus to revert to our political parentage. 
Let us go back fifty years, then, and as certain, what at the first birth of these parties, were the feelings and objects of each. 
What a bold, broad line was drawn, in those days, between Democrat and Federalist!  There was no distinction without a difference then.  When, in May 1787, the Convention of Delegates met in the old State House of Philadelphia to frame a Constitution for these United States, plainly and ably did the two distinct parties state their principles, advocate their projects.  Hamilton, Morris, Pickney--these were the Champions the one side, Franklin, Madison--these one leaders on the other. 
And what were Alexander Hamilton's principles?--Hamilton, the elegant and the profound.  Hamilton, the candid and fearless Statesman, the amiable and honorable citizen, the idol and boast of the party, whose brightest ornament and best support he was.  What were his views in politics and plan for government?  There are to be found, in careful detail, at pages 73-4 and 5 of the Fourth Volume of Elliot's Debates, and well worth reading and remembering they are.  It was on the 19th of June 1787 he laid before the Convention, and thus they read: A Senate to be elected for life.  A House of Representatives to be elected by those voters only in each State possessed of a freehold qualification of two Hundred and Fifty Dollars; to serve for seven years.--These two Houses to have the power of passing all laws without exception.  The President to be elected for life; and to have an unconditional veto, beyond the reach of a vote, even of two thirds of Congress-- The State Legislatures to be abolished; and the Governors of the States to be appointed by the president. 
These were the wishes and projects of the great Apostle of the then Anti-Democratic Party.  And skillfully and eloquently did he support them, in the debate that ensued upon their proposal.  After alluding to the fact, that other and very different proposals were before the Convention, he adds: "My situation is disagreeable, but it would be criminal not to come forward on a question of such magnitude.  I have well considered the subject, and am convinced, that no amendment of the articles of Confederation can answer the purpose of a good government, so long as the State Governments do, in any shape, exist."  And after going into a history of the governments of ancient Greece, in proof that no alliance of the States could be made effectual, he adds; "I despair that a republican form of government can remove the difficulties.  I believe the British Government forms the best model the world ever produced; and such has been its progress in the minds of many, that this truth gradually gains ground."  Again: "All communities divide themselves into the few and the many.  The first are the rich and well born; the other the mass of the people.  The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God: and however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true in fact.  The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right.  Give, therefore, to the Senate a distinct, permanent share in the government.  They will check the unsteadiness of the House of Representatives; and, as they cannot receive any advantage from exchange, they therefore will ever maintain good government.  Can a Democratic House, who every two years revolve in the mass of the people,b e supposed steadily to pursue the public good?  Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of Democracy." And, a little further on: "It is admitted that you cannot have a good Executive upon a Democratic plan.  See the excellency of the British Executive.  He is placed above temptation; he can have no interest distinct from the public welfare.  Nothing short of such an Executive can be efficient."  And still further: "I confess the plan proposed is very remote from the idea of the people.  But the people are gradually rispending in their opinions of government; they begin to be tired of an excess of Democracy." 
Such were Hamilton's plans; and such his reasons in support of them.  Others of the party followed on the same side; among them, Morris of Pennsylvania, who plainly declared: "The Senate ought to be composed of men of great and established property,--an Aristocracy; men who from pride will support consistency and permancency; and to make them completely independent, they must be chosen for life, or they will be a useless body.  Such an Aristocratic Body will keep down the turbulency of Democracy." 
These doctrines constitute the true, honest, original creed of the Federal Party.  To his dying day they were openly held and avowed by him whom the whigs still delight to honor--their first mover, Alexander Hamilton.  Even after the Democratic plan had been adopted and was found to work, Hamilton talked about a "trial being made of this thing of a Republic," and predicted that ere long the people, as he expressed it, would "tire of their excess of democracy."  That they have not yet tired of it, is not the fault of that Party which under the various names of Federalists, National Republicans, Conservatives and Whigs, has ever, following in the footsteps of its Great Champion, leaned to the side of aristocracy. 
Do we charge then upon the Whig party of 1837, the same designs as were broached by their predecessors in the Convention of 1787?  No.  They would sanction, just at present certainly, no such aristocratical innovations.  Yet would it be very unsafe to endorse for some of the master-spirits among them--the Elders of the Family, as a Shaking Quaker would call them--or to say, that such dreams do not even now mingle with their ulterior views.  Not that even they ever avow and such intentions, except now and then, under some such excitement as the late vaunted New York victory.  Oh, no, they are not clumsy enough for that.--However, to do them justice, they commonly obey one half of the Apostle's injunction.  If they are no "harmless as doves," they are at least "wise as serpents."  They know just how much to put forward, and how much for the present to keep back.  And the federal doctrines which they do put forward, they dress out so democratically or else cover up with such careful skill, that Alexander Hamilton, if he rose from the dead, might well fail to recognize the legitimate offspring of his own powerful and ambitious brain!  Sometimes they say not a word about their own principles,and fill up the blank--who does not recollect a recent example?--with abuse of their opponents.  In a word whatever we may say of the uninitiated, the leaders will deserve the character which some rhymester has attributed, to the Egyptian sages of former days, in the stanza: 
The wise men of Egypt were secret as dummies,
And, even when they most condescended to teach,
They packed up their meaning as they did their mummies,
In so many wrappers, 'twas out of one's reach, 
But if it be the interest of the Anti-Democratic Party thus to hush up the history of its first rise and its early doings and of the Democratic opposition to the same, it is not our interest to do so.  If it be good policy in them to forget our mutual origin, it is not good policy in us.  We, at least, are not ashamed of our political birth place--no, nor of our political foster fathers.  It was not by their vote, but by that of their Federal opponents, that the doors of the Convention of '87 were closed, debates carried on in secret, and only given to the world at last through the pages of Elliot's Reports.  And it shall not be without consent, if, once published, they are ever again consigned to oblivion. 
Yet, be it here remarked, it is with no wish to stir up slumbering party animosities that we desire to perpetuate these historical recollections.  We desire their perpetuation because it aids us to identify, in spirit if not in detail, the Federalists of 1787 and the Whigs of 1837, as one and the same party, with such modifications only as the spirit of the times naturally forces upon them. 
Is this an offensive remark? It is not intended to offend? In support of its truth, be a few facts submitted to the People of Indiana. 
Our political opponents have succeeded twice, and twice only, in electing as President a candidate of their selection. Who were these candidates, and what were their opinions?  John Adams was the first; and if uprightness in public conduct and integrity of private character qualify a man as President, the Federal candidate was well qualified for the station.  But if democracy in political views be an additional and essential qualification, what shall we say then, when we read John Adams' Work on the Principles of Government, written in England just after the close of the Revolutionary War!  That work is so well known, that it seems hardly necessary to remind our fellow citizens that he there boldly advocated the doctrine "that it is necessary for a good government that the Executive Chair should be hereditary, or at least, held for life; that the rich, the wise and the well-born should be formed into one hereditary legislative chamber, and the commons into one elective one; that all governments are, and eternally will be, defective, precisely as far as they differ from the British; and that though, from our peculiar situation, we may go on for a few years electing our President and Senate, yet the time will come, when we shall find it necessary to make them hereditary, or at least, elect them for life."  Again, it was the expressed opinion of the same statesman, that "the people in all nations are naturally divided into two sorts, the gentleman, and the simpleman, a word which is here" (in England he then was) "used to signify the common people, or laborers, husbandmen, mechanics and merchants in general!--and the gentlemen will ordinarily be richer and born of more noted families." He says, again: "The mass of the people was, and ever must be, foolish and corrupt" and he talks of "the absurdity of every project for intrusting the poor ignorant and vicious husbandman, mechanic and laborer with the care of making their own laws by their own representatives." 
These are recorded opinions of the first Federal President; expressed after the "thing of a Republic" had been dried, and had, so far, succeeded.  It may be an old story--it is an oft repeated one--but reminiscences so important can hardly be too frequently recalled. 
The second and only other Anti-Democratic candidate, who succeeded in reaching the Presidential chair, was the younger Adams.  Pending his election for President, Thomas Jefferson wrote, under date November 4th 1823, to Gen. Lafayette as follows: "The question will be ultimately reduced to Messrs. Adams and Crawford.  The former (Adams) will get every Federal vote in the Union; the latter (Crawford) will get all those Democratic denominated of the old school, for you are not to believe that these two parties are amalgamated--that the lion and the lamb are lying down together.  The Hartford Convention, the victory of Orleans, the peace of Ghent prostrated the name of Federalism.  Its votaries abandoned it through shame and mortification and now call themselves Republicans.--But the name alone is changed; the principles are the same.  For in truth, the parties of Aristocrats and Democrats are those of nature.  They exist in all countries, whether called by these names, or by those of Tories and Whigs, Ultras and Radicals.  The line of division is now the preservation of States Rights, as reserved in the Constitution, or by strained constructions of that instrument, to merge all into a consolidated government.  The Federalists are for strengthening the powers of the General Government.  The Democrats cherish the representative branch and the rights reserved to the States as the bulwark against consolidation, which must immediately generate monarchy." 
If further proof were necessary that the younger Adams held to all the aristocratical principles of his father, it may be found in his entire political career, both before and after he reached the Presidential Chair.  During the Canvass of 1824, he wrote, to a citizen of Ohio, a letter, afterwards published in the "Ohio National Crisis" on the subject of National Internal Improvements, in which he claims for the General Government, the unlimited right to engage in such works, on the principle, (to employ his own words) that this is in fact a question whether the People of this Union, in forming their common social Compact, as avowedly for the purpose of promoting their general welfare; have performed their work in a manner so ineffably stupid, as to deny themselves the means of bettering their condition." 
It is impossible to misconstrue this.--John Quincy Adams here declares, that whatever shall appear to Congress "a means of bettering the condition of the People" is therefore constitutional.  A national bank, alien and sedition laws, (originally recommended by the elder Adams) every aristocratical encroachment which the most ultra federalism has ever sough to inflict upon us, may be justified by the same sophistry.  This doctrine that Congress has a right to pass any law which it may deem conducive to the General welfare is, in fact, the broad and ancient line of demarcation between the Federal and the Democratic Parties; the very essence and moot point of their difference; the test question which has always divided--which, at this day, divides them. The Federalist claims for Congress implied or construc[ted] powers, of an undefined and indefinable nature.  The Democrat denies to Congress any powers, except those expressly and specially granted to it in the Constitution. 
The able author of an excellent political pamphlet recently published at Richmond in this State, justly remarks, in commenting upon this favorite construction doctrine of John Quincy Adams.--"This was the position taken by Colonel Alexander Hamilton, in the debates in the General Convention; this was the position taken by him in his Report on Manufactures and the U States Bank; the same position was assumed by the ultra federal Committee of the House of Representatives in 1796; no other position is necessary to convert these United States into one National Consolidated Government, under one hereditary chief and one hereditary Senate, as the elder Adams urged on Messrs. Taylor and Giles.  No, not one.  The warmest friend of the Holy Alliance could not desire safer or broader ground to stand upon.  If Congress may enact whatever it may deem expedient for the general welfare, its powers are unlimited, absolute and despotic." 
We have thus received the opinions of the only two candidates for the Presidency whom the Federal or National Republican Whig Party of the United States has ever succeeded in electing as Chief Magistrate; both of whom showed their hands so plainly during the first term of administration, that when they asked a re-election, the people, in both cases, denied it to them: while every democratic President, without a single exception has received that mark of popular approbation. 
Is yet further proof required to identify, in its general spirit, and the favorite views and feelings of its leaders, the present Whig party with the Federal party of 1787?  This question of identify, taken in strictness, is often a difficult one to determine.  Physiologists say, that in the course of every seven years of a man's life, every atom or particle composing his body passes off, and is gradually replaced by new and fresh substance.  Thus, in one sense, the identity of John Doe, aged twenty seven, with the John Doe, aged twenty, who existed seven years before, might by casuists be called in question.  But it would be by idle casuists only.  And thus, though Hamilton and Morris and Pinkney are now removed beyond the bourne whence no traveller returns, the most zealous of their political disciples still reverence their memory--still follow up their efforts--still labor with zeal and talent worthy of a better cause in support of some of the leading doctrines of the old Federal creed.
Is this denied? If it be true the repelling proof is before our eyes.  What great question now divides the two contending parties?  The question of National Bank or no National Bank!  Upon what principle do the Whigs support the constitutionality of such a measure?  Upon any specific power granted to Congress by the Constitution?  Oh, no.  They support its constitutionality upon Hamilton's old doctrine, as revived by John Quincy Adams, that Congress has a right to pass any law that it may deem conducive to the general welfare.  The constitutionality of that measure can be defended upon no other principle.  Nay, more.  A proposal was expressly made, in the Convention which framed the U.S tates Constitution, to grant to Congress the power to incorporate banks.  It was warmly debated; and on the 14th September 1787, was finally rejected. And that very power, expressly voted down, after full debate, by the framers of the Constitution--that very rejected power is now unblushingly claimed by the party who takes offense if we call them Hamilton's disciples. 
Who, in the early days of Federalism, supported the plan of a National Bank? Hamilton, Morris, Pinkney.  Who opposed it? Jefferson, Franklin, Madison.  Which then is the Federal, and which the Democratic side of this great question? 
Naturalists tell us, that the ostrich, when hotly pursued, buries her head in the sand, vainly imagining thus to conceal her whole body and escape her pursuers.  The modern Whig party leaders who advocate the principles of Federalism, while they disclaim the name, are about as clear-sighted in their plans, and as likely ultimately to effect their purposes of concealment as is the poor foolish ostrich. 
It will be said--it has been said--that this modern demand of the Whig party for a National Bank is a modest and innocent demand; a small matter which a republican is justified to ask, and a reasonable man will scruple to refuse. 
Little have they who may believe such protestations examined the subject.  A more aristocratical encroachment on the Constitution it would be difficult to find.  Its proposers know that as well as we do.  They would say it too, if they dared.  Where they think they are safe, they have dared.  Sir Henry Baring & Co., a wealthy English banking house, and the former owners of a large part of the stock of the United States Bank, issued a circular to the English stockholders of the Bank, in which the following remark occurs. "From its nature, the influence of a bank must be allied to the Aristocracy of wealth, and not to the Democracy of numbers; and this is more especially the case with great chartered banks having immense power.  The late Bank of the Untied States was of this description, and its political influence was prodigious." 
It is not its leading advocates then, who require to have their eyes opened to the effect of their proposal.  They know its effects, and they desire them.  Many of their followers, indeed, are led blindfolded and do not share the ultimate intentions of their leaders.  Their situation reminds one of an ingenious mode of catching seagulls, alluded to by some English satsrsst [satirist?].  A board, baited with a sprat, is placed upon the water.  The gull, as he wheels about int he air, sees the fish; and pouncing upon it, strikes his silly head on the board, and thus kills himself.  Let the followers of the Whig party look to it, that their leaders do not bait them in similar manner and consign them to a similar fate.  Let them pause in time and ask themselves what all the protestations about the innocent nature of the bank proposal are worth. 
And even suppose these protestations well founded.  Grant that this proposal were a trifle, a thousand facts go to prove that it is no trifle, but for the sake of argument, be it so!  Be this demand for a National Bank but a cloud on the Democratic horizon, no bigger than a man's hand; such a cloud was the forerunner of a storm; it rose and spread and darkened, until the whole heavens were shrouded up, and these was a great tempest. So may it be again.  Why does a wise parent so earnestly warn his child first short step in vice?  Because he knows, that in evil as in good, it is the first step that costs a pang or asks an effort.  The second and third, on each successful step, in the downward or in the upward road, follows, as of course.-- The iron gate is at the very entrance; and, that once forced, the way beyond is open, even in its whole length. 
It has an excellent moral, that old fable of the woodman and the forest.  A certain woodman (it must have been in those early days of poetry when flowers spoke and trees reasoned)--a woodman one fine morning, humbly begged of the forest, that she would be so obliging as to give him some spare limb or other from one of her trees--quite a small one would answer his purpose--merely to make a handle for his axe.  The good tempered forest thoughtlessly agreed to his proposal; the axe handle was made; and the next day, the woodman having thus obtained the means of executing his project without further leave returned, and fell to work with so much effect, that in a few days the poor forest saw the noblest of her trees levelled with the ground, the death knell of the others, as one by one they sunk beneath the murderous axe, sounded hourly in her ears.  How bitterly then did she repent of her easy compliance! 
And thus, too, it is with the now thrifty and flourishing forest of our liberties-- Let the people, in indolent carelessness, suffer but the first encroachment--let them but permit but the small axe handle to be taken, and who shall say where the destructive ravages shall cease, yes, or whether they shall cease at all, until that fair and ancient forest itself under whose sheltering foliage our forefathers have lived in prosperity and died in peace, and fall three by tree, and the scorching sun of despotism pour its blasting rays upon the fresh green sward beneath. 
Loudly does all history teach us, that the first deviations from republican principle--those deviations which have resulted in the very subversion of republics and the establishment of Empires on their ruins--were small and plausible; not startling to the friends of liberty, however fatal to her very existence in the hands of her enemies.  But there are further arguments employed against us.  This small encroachment, we are told, is not only innocent, is a great convenience to have a uniform currency. 
Convenient! Yes, it is convenient.  It is a desirable result--it is a great convenience to have a uniform currency.  Every man feels; but ought we not to feel also, that there is such a thing as purchasing too dearly a convenience?  A mess of pottage is an excellent thing in its place, but our birthright is somewhat too much to pay for it.  And what sort of bargain is it we are making, when we trade off those rights and privileges that have been purchased by patriot blood and treasure in exchange for a mere matter of pecuniary convenience?  Would it not have been far more convenient in 1776, to pay the paltry tax on tea, than to peril life and forfeit property, in a deadly struggle for independence?  Yet what true republican shrunk from the contest on that account?  Liberty first, convenience afterwards! that is the free man's motto. 
Akin to that argument of convenience is that other argument--a strong and serviceable one--which imputes to the action of the commercial difficulties under which the country has lately labored and from which, even yet she is not relieved.  Is a man sued for debt and payment roughly insisted upon?--he is told that Van Buren's foolish plans have produced the distress and rendered necessary the collection.  Has another by imprudence or speculation brought himself to ruin?  He is comforted by the assurance that but for governmental interference with the national prosperity he would still be a rich and fortunate man.  In short, whatever of prostrate credit, bankrupt commerce, stagnated business and worthless currency there is around us, is brought p in judgement against and administration which its opponents would have us believe, can and should cure every ill flesh is heir to. 
Such accusations are easily made; but where is the proof to support them?  Did the government instruct the individual States to go on chartering bank after bank, with their tens of millions--their hundreds of millions of capital?  Did the government cause these local banks to flood the country with this issues until men forgot that the flood could not go swelling and sweeping on without ebb or bound through all time?  Was it the government that opened up the floodgates of speculation, and run up the property in a few short months, to ten times its intrinsic value?  Did Martin Van Buren bid the citizens of New York lay off within a dozen miles of their city, and put up to auction within her marts, town lots enough to furnish residences for half the population in the United States?  Or was it expected that such folly should proceed unchecked--that such bubble projects should be realized?  As well might we expect a balloon to remain in the air forever, or a blaze from a pile of wood shavings to last from Christmas until Midsummer.  In the very nature of things a speedy reaction was inevitable, such bubbles must quickly burst, and the only wonder to a reflecting mind in this case is, that they should have floated unbroken in the air so long. 
Let us not then idly lay on the shoulders of Martin Van Buren errors which are our own, nor vainly impute to governmental measures evils which justly lie at the door of individual speculation alone. 
It is but idle invective to denounce the Administration as the destroyer of commerce, the enemy of enterprise.  If any enterprise had ever been checked by the government it was enterprise which threatened seriously to injure arts manufactures, even agriculture itself, by which drawing thousands from the steady production of real wealth to engage in the hocuspocus trickery of inflated speculation. 
Of a somewhat similar character to this loading down of the administration in scape goat fashion, with the entire sins of the community, are the various panic cries of Disorganization! Agrarianism! Loco Focoism! and fifty other rallying war sounds as false as unmeaning.  To a Democrat well read in the history of the Republic these abusive epithets furnish not unwelcome evidence of the identity of the democracy of 1838 with that which in 1787, voted down the monarchical proposals of Hamilton, and that which in 1800, placed Thomas Jefferson in the presidential seat.  The same poisoned arrows that were shot, with fruitless industry, in those days, against Him, who penned America's Declaration of Inkependence [sic], are aimed, at his consistent followers.--Were no such missiles thrown at us, we might well look round and ask one another by what blunder of ours the immunity of our was purchased? by what departure from democratic principle we escaped the abuse those who have never yet been known to spare the persons or the opinions of politicians of the old Jeffersonian school. 
To such abuse we reply, as Jefferson replied; not by retaliation in kind; not dishonorable and unworthy weapons of detraction and personality--weapons that break in the hand and pierce the flesh of him who employs them, far more frequently than they injure those against whom they are employed--to outcries or insinuations accusing us of a design to subvert social order, or destroy commercial prosperity, we reply by a calm statement of our true political principles, their first origin, their gradual growth and their natural tendency.  When we speak of our political opponents, we speak of them as a body of men holding doctrines that seem to us dangerous to liberty, repugnant to republican institutions and infringing on the Constitution.  If we advert to individuals, who have held or now hold prominent stations among the whigs, it is with a sincere desire, while we will not extenuate, to set down aught in malice. 
In such a spirit, let us ask, who is there most prominent and probably candidate now? Henry Clay.  How many mixed associations does the name call up?  What Henry Clay is this, the daring candidate of the modern Whig party?  Not the Democratic Speaker of a Democratic House of Representatives; not the noble Champion of South American freedom, the defender of the Constitution against federal encroachment, the uncompromising opponent of a National Bank in every form and under any circumstances; not a man who on the 8th of January 1813, in a reply to Mr. Quincy, and speaking of the Federalists declared: "You find them, sir, tacking with every gale, displaying the colors of every party and of all nations, steadily only in one unalterable purpose, to steer, if possible, into the haven of power;" not the statesman, democratic as gifted, and consistent as eloquent, to whom an admiring nation eagerly applied the lines of the poet; 
His mind was an essence, compounded with art,
Of the brightest and best of all other men's powers,
He could rule, like a wizard, the world of the heart;
And call up its sunshine, and bring down its showers! 
Not that Henry Clay! but another--how fallen and changed from the first!-- a politician, who, when the fate of a Republic hung upon his vote and interest, cast both for a Federal President, first electing him against the wish of a majority of his fellow citizens, and then accepting office at the hands of the man, whom, by such turncoat policy, he had succeeded in electing; a Henry Clay who, instead of asserting the independence of other nations, tampers with the liberties of his own; who now aids in supporting the very Bank he once denounced; a Henry Clay, who has consented to become the Champion of that Proteus party, which had lost all hopes of electing a candidate originally its own; and who now sits at the helm of the crazy whig vessel, himself "tacking with every gale," himself "dismaying the colours of every party;" himself "steady now only in one unalterable purpose, to steer, if possible, into the haven of power." 
Henry Clay, the changed, the fallen, will never reach that haven.  He has been tried in the balance and found wanting.  He fell--alas! that such a man should!--in the hot hour of trial.--He has lost his proud place in the hearts of the Democracy of the land.  Lawyers and Bankers cannot place even Kentucky's gifted Son in the Presidential Chair of America!
A better man, an honester statesman, now occupies that chair; one who, for sterling talent is not second to Henry Clay himself; one who, even in his earliest youth, stood firm and fought well, in the Democratic ranks, one who has never wavered in his political predilections, nor suffered the syren voice of interest to win him from his first and only choice; one who has been the author of his own fortunes; one who, in every successive station to which he has risen.  Whether in his forensic life, at first in its humbler walks, then as a Councellor in the Supreme Court, and at last as Attorney General; or in his political career as a demacratic elector, as State Senator, a Senator of the United States, as Governor of New York, as Secretary of State, or finally, as President--one who, in all these various offices, has ever fulfilled his duty, not with credit only, but with distinction; the successful and generous rival of Williams and of Emmet and of Henry; the firm supporter and personal friend of Jefferson and of Crawford and of Jackson.  Among those American statesman whose political integrity is even above suspicion; among those American Presidents, who when dark gloom inveloped the vessel of State, have steadied her helm with unflinching firmness, well and justly may we number--Martin Van Buren! 
Nor, while we speak of Democratic Candidates, must we forget the Hero of the Thames.  If to our President we are indebted for a noble effort to prevent the unholy alliance of Bank and State, to our Vice President we own an effort not less worthy of all commendation, to prevent the yet more dangerous union of Church and State.  Beside the ablest manifestoes of American principle, on the same page with the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions of 1798,--yes, as a not unworthy supplement to the Declaration of Independence itself, may stand the Sabbath Mail Reports of Richard M. Johnson. 
With such principles and such candidates to boast of, it were but faint heartedness to doubt success.  Shall we succeed in re-electing Van Buren to the Presidential Chair?  Was Jefferson, was Madison, was Monroe, was Jackson, re-elected?  Let the answer to the one question be the answer to the other. 
As our fore fathers once struggled, so let us now struggle--so shall we now succeed.  But to succeed, as they did, we must not sit down, with folded hands, in indolent security.  If the contest, now a days, be less deadly, it is, perhaps, more dangerous.  Hannibal, in defiance of the elements, crossed the wintry Alps; and, in despite of the Roman arms, penetrated into startled Italy; there at last to experience defeat from the facinations of pleasure and the blandishments of wealth.  Let us see to it, that his case is not ours; that, after having surmounted the rocky barrier of revolution and conquered the smiling plains of liberty, we lose not at last, in some enervating Capua, the fair heritage so nobly fought for and so bravely won! 
Every man to his post, then! every Democrat to his duty!  Let us support our President; let us stand by one another! We give a reason for the faith that is in us; and as we value, not our own welfare alone, but that of our children and their descendants, we must sustain and perpetuate that Democratic faith.  Thus, when this generation passes away and another succeeds to its place, Liberty shall yet survive and endure.  Our children may be poor; by the labor of their hands they may earn their daily bread.  They shall at least have, what is better than a world's riches--a birth place in the soil of freedom--a citizen's rights in the Land of Independence! 
The question was then taken on adopting the address; it was agreed to without a dissenting voice.

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