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h it were necessary to choose between party well led but without principles, nd a party well principled but without sders, we should not be slow in the deia'on; for it is not the men, however dmirahle, but the principles they repreent, that give dignity and interest to a ar of opinion.
A party without principles is no party, ut a combination of interested office-seek■s, enticing the weak and ignorant to vote f them. It is a body without a soul, an "ganization without laws, and must alays vacillate in a contemptible medium.
cannot change its policy with a just yard to circumstances, without sufferg by the charge of inconsistency; all i measures are selfish, and all its admis)ns are compromises; it is disreputable d without force.
It becomes then a part of self-respect well as of prudence in the Whig party, let it always be distinctly known, why, d on what suggestion, they advocate rticular men, and particular policies. ley may advocate a tariff, or a tax, suited the year or to the age; but if, with the aiige of circumstance, they think it best
dispense with these, they have not before ceased to be Whigs. The difference between the parties lies
VOL. I. NO. IV. NEW SERIES. 22
deeper than the reasons of a temporary policy. At different times parties will change their ground, and even alternate opinions, because the necessity of the times demands it. It would not be any subject of wonder, if, at some future day, hypothetical pedants should be heard crying up free trade principles, on the side of the present opposition, and the good sense and prudence of the party permit them to do so. A regular army may allow ancient Pistol and the blackguards to follow the camp. Ancient Pistol, that battered hypothesis of valor, may help to terrify the weak among the enemy.
But, as we now stand, and for this century at least, free trade is not a Whig measure. The labor of the freeman, be it in the shop, the mine, or the field, continues to require protection.
We repeat it, the differences of party are not mere temporary differences of policy; they arise rather from general views of human nature, and its necessities. The better to explain our meaning, let us endeavor to characterize the opposite parties, as they are actuated by adverse motives, and mark the contrast. This contrast is in nothing more marked than in the doctrine concerning liberty :— For, your Whig refers all rights and liberties back to their original source in the individual, and holds that society is established for the protection of those rights and liberties. Whereas, your ultra Democrat believes, or affects to believe, that each person gives up or resigns his free mind, on entering into the social compact, to the decision of caucusses and majorities.
The one side holds, that this very decision by majorities is not established by any merely natural law, but by a constitutional regulation; while the other side contends, that the majority, assembling when and where they please, can assume power over individuals—to govern the few by the many—to keep each one in fear of a multitude, and to make right and wrong by acclamation. That way tends ultra Democracy.
Hence, too, arises the extreme doctrine of instructions: for, while your Whig distinguishes in his national legislator a twofold relation, one to the people he represents, and one to the nation as a whole; holding also, that he is a lawful legislator, not only for those who voted for him, but for those, also, who voted against him, and in brief, for every man, woman, and child in his district; and that, notwithstanding this, he is also a law-maker for the nation at large, and bound to protect and foster it;—your ultra Democrat, deriving all the power of the legislator from the voices that chose him, and not from the Constitution, requires that he shall not dare expand his thought, so as to become a protector of the nation, but shape every opinion by the narrow interest of his Constituents. They make no distinction between the honor of the man who has tacitly pledged himself, by his election, to certain principles, and the duty of the national legislator who is bound by the superior law of conscience and the Constitution, to promote the honor and prosperity of his nation.
From the beginning, the one party has been characterized by a constant endeavor to identify the interests of the people with those of the government; while the other has as clearly opposed every national measure, which should call the creative and protective functions of the government into action.
More remarkable still does this differ
ence between the two parties appear, in popular judgments on the conduct of the Executive ; for, while your ultra Democrat approves of every step of his Executive, no matter how unconstitutional, while he is supported and encouraged by the opinion of his party, your Whig looks to the Constitution, and expects the Executive to keep within the letter and within the spirit of that instrument. This difference, it is evident, proceeds directly from the different ideas of liberty entertained by the two parties; one regarding the government as unchangeable except by a solemn decision of the nation in convention, the other treating it as inferior in authority to the public opinion of a day. From these last, therefore, it meets with little favor and less respect; and they are rather gratified than otherwise, by the encroachments of a popular President. They do not make that distinction between the private honor of the President, which binds him, by the pledge of election, to the opinions and measures of his party, and that superior relation which he holds to the nation, without distinction of party. as its executive head, under the laws.
The doctrine of the one party, that the whole people, as sole and sovereign source of power, established the Constitution for a guarantee of individual freedom, and a source of all authority, is the doctrine of liberty ; it places each citizen in a free relation to his neighbor, and affords a rule for public opinion to judge by, in weighing men and measures. Ultra Democrat*doctrine, on the contrary, indulges men in a perpetual revolution, cutting off thf past from the present, and the present from the future; making its own decrees utterly forceless and contemptible, h> deriving their authority from acclamation instead of placing it where it belongs, undci the Constitution of the whole people.
It is the desire of the Whig party t< establish an accurate though not « illiberal Construction of the la-ws; am that every public act shall be done utv der the spirit of the Constitution. Th" u maxim is, that the laws cannot be tci much improved, and cannot be too we? observed: they would have no man c body of men, majorities or minorities, e«" a shudow of real powerover their neighbor and they refer all power and author^ whatsoever back to its original source, the will of the nation as a whole, expressed in the Constitution. This is the real sovereignty of the people.
These principles, drawn out into various conclusions, create a body of opinion and policy:—the right or rather the duty of internal improvement, which obliges the government to facilitate internal and exjernal commerce, by sufficient roads, harbors, and means of intercommunication; the support of credit by such an employment of the public funds as shall equalize and regulate exchanges—a measure suggested by the pure spirit of nationality, and defended on the ground that it is the duty of the nation to regulate and facilitate all transactions not of a merely local character; the protection of every species of industry by such a discrimination in duties as shall sustain a competition of domestic with foreign products; the maintenance of a high rate of wages for every species of labor, that the free laborer may feel the superior advantages of free government, and not find himself depressed by the unrestrained competition of the capital and labor of foreigners. In a word, legislating for no part as a part, but for all parts as members of the whole, the party of the tTnkm and the Constitution judge every measure by its bearings upon the common »ood, viewing all propositions in the spirit "i a liberal legislation, as far as possible removed from that of a tyrannous and usurping many. It seems unnecessary to irge, that such opinions and policy would low from none but the most elevated Tews of humanity, such as reject all secional and private arguments.
Are there any weak enough to think, hat a party to which the Union owes its xistence and safety, and from which have onstantly flowed all measures for the enefit of the whole, can cease, or lose its ni/y for an instant? No! a consciousness f a common purpose, and a steady aderence to the form and spirit of a governlent which took its birth from the bosom f the nation, renders their dissolution npossjble. They began with the Union; »ey so along with it, and gather strength ith it, contending successfully, though »t without reverses, against the most foridable enemy that can threaten a State, imely, a false social philosophy, set up • hide the true sources and purposes of
government, and confounding the sovereign will of a great nation, expressed in its laws and forms of power, with a sudden decision of a jealous crowd, whose ears tingle with the lies and flatteries of wily politicians.
Since the adoption of the Constitution, no crisis has occurred so important, or which has developed so clearly the real principles of the opposition, as the war with Mexico. Begun with deliberation and carried on with ardor by the leaders of the party in power, it was checked and denounced by their opposcrs, because it seemed to be a departure from that just and equitable line in which wc had been moving. The collected arguments against the war establish the surprising fact, that we enjoy a form of government whose fundamental maxims differ in no particular from those of the law of nations, or, as it has been styled, the law of conscience— and that to sin against our law is to sin against humanity; that it is impossible to step beyond its limits, without trespassing upon some natural right, either of men or nations; and that we shall seek in vain for better principles than those imbodied in our fundamental laws.
It is not now to be settled by a controversy between Pacificus and Hclvedius, whether "the powers of declaring war and making treaties are, in their nature, executive powers." Those powers are well understood and established in their proper place : had the deliberative reason of the nation been in a badly ascertained opinion of a majority, or in an Executive able to construct at pleasure the opinion of such a false majority, this government could not boast itself a popular government, nor claim to be settled upon any undisputable maxims. The Executive stands, in a true theory of the Republic, as the agent of the naked will, and Congress as the instifjalinsr. heart and guiding reason, of the nation; a division invented to escape from despotism, and of a nature so profound and real, the disposition to neglect or disregard it, betrays at once an ignorance of the necessities, or a contempt for the character of the government. A tainted school of Federalism formerly wished to confound these powers : time and circumstance have established the absolute necessity of making the separation as distinct and clear in practice as in theory. If the naked will of ^ the Executive moves one step of itself, in national enterprises, either with or without the aid of public opinion, it violates the right of Congress, to whom the people have committed the consulting and predetermining power. Should the Executive employ the army in making harbors or canals, without consent of Congress, the cry of usurpation would have come from those very men, who now contend that the President did right when he sent an army into Mexico, in time of peace: had he sent the same troops to Lake Ontario, to build a harbor there for the aid of commerce, would any have been found so bold as to excuse him? And is the will of the Executive freer in the perilous enterprises of war, than in the harmless works of peace? It will never satisfy or save this people, to commit such questions to a few learned lawyers, to try if they can find a precedent for this or that usurpation in the books: Whig principles, party principles, familiar to the people, must determine them; we must resolve that our State shall not split upon that rock; we will have no usurpers, at least; we will have a President who knows how to keep within bounds. To decide and to act, are things different in nature; and usurpation is merely assuming to decide and act together, where it is only given to us to act. Our Executive must not plan enterprises for the nation; the people have conferred that power upon Congress—upon their deliberative assemblies; the Executive cannot, without usurpation, do more than execute, or refuse to execute, what is proposed by the council of the whole.
Are we wrong, therefore, in saying of the Flture Policy Of The Whigs, that this point, of Executive usurpation, is one of the most important issues? What next to this, and perhaps of equal importance, have they to keep in view?
Next to suppression of present evils, is the adoption of plans for future good. The party in opposition have raised up every obstacle before the mad ambition of the war party, to compel them, if possible, to bring hostilities to a close. So far, only, they were successful, as to rouse the better spirit of the nation against the spirit of aggression and conquest. The mere drain and cxhauii^jpn of life and treasure, have done ^^*© end the war as all other
cf of a public debt, was one |
which might be cast upon posterity, or which, at worst, was not difficult to bear; the loss of valuable lives in battle, was not an argument of much weight with a people notoriously careless of their lives; the supply of the treasury by foreign funds, prevents any serious drain upon the moveable capital of the cities; the gains of the great harvest and the famine are not yet exhausted or forgotten; it is hard to show the people that disasters lie in wait for them; their ears are occupied with philanthropical discourses and all the pathos of successful war; they dare not believe that their rulers are doing wrong: it is a thought too painful and troublesome to be entertained by a prosperous people. We must be made miserable before we can begin to be wise.
The policy of the party in power appears first in the getting up and management of the war; second, but not less marked, in the management and collection of the revenue. To defend the first, they advance certain doctrines of "right of conquest," "progress of the species," "Anglo-Saxon destinies," and the like, veiling their designs with these philanthropical pretences. A philanthropical hypothesis seems to be the ace card in the modern game of politics, and the player has one ready in his sleeve, to whip out upon occasion. If you argue with a becoming spirit against killing and robbing, your ears are deafened with a ranting discourse on your destinies, as if there were any comfort to be derived from that. Destiny! my friend—do you say it is my destiny to be a thief? Perhaps it may be with you to lead; but the path is one in which it fits not my disposition to follow you.
If you contend, with a becoming directness and warmth, for the protection of free labor, and of the interests of the country, you are interrupted, and talked down, by a genius with long hair, who politely assures you that you mean well, but err through simplicity: the philanthropists to whom all human affairs have been intrusted by a special decree of Providence, have resolved that all nations ought to be treated as one nation, and no regard be had to petty differences of race, climate, manners, morals, industry, or liberty. The occupations of life are to be divided up amongst them; England is to make all the wearing apparel, machinery, and movea