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ents, we, ourselves, meant not to do otherwise; and should we succeed, we have then failed of reforming the great evil, and have inflicted another blow on the fallen body of our liberty.
By the second method, we shame our adversaries, and compel them to take a new position before the people; and by a series of successful efforts on our part, we shall finally re-establish the power of Congress on a basis, more stable than the laws, —the basis of a national precedent, and a national opinion.
By electing a pledged President, we admit that we mean to have the nation governed by a minority, headed by a despotical executive. For should it happen, as it will surely happen, that the transient majority disappears after the election, we should then present the singular spectacle of a government, professedly founded on majorities, wielded by a faction with a despot at its head. Our president, elected to carry out certain measures, remains bound to them by an oath of honor, through the entire course of his administration, notwithstanding the extremest changes of public opinion. If elected to support a war policy, he remains bound to a war policy, even when the causes of a just war are no longer in existence. If elected to support a tariff, he must continue to support a tariff, notwithstanding an entire change of opinion in his party. A pledged President will be almost invariably at war with the majority, before his term of office shall expire.
But because the terms of his election authorize him to employ the powers of the government to such ends as fall within the line of a certain policy, though now left without a popular suppor , he is not left without power. His power is not impaired by his unpopularity ; he is as able as ever, and readier than ever, to create a party for himself. He knows that at the und of his term, he will drop into obscurity and contempt, and, therefore, he improves tiie time; and so manages the purse and the sword as it likes him to manage them.
Should it happen, on the other hand, that finding that those who elected him have lost consideration and influence, and ceased to be a majority, he may easily and for a light pretext, break his pledges; under the democratic excuse, that as
*-»najority is in all cases to be obeved,
in office and out of office, he must know and execute the will of the majority of the nation, whether that agree or disagree with that of those who elected him. And thus it will happen, that a pledged President, at liberty to ascertain for himself what public opinion is, will either desert his party, if they fall into a minority—pretending uledience to the popular will—or he will be the President of a minority, obliged to use unlawful means to carry out the measures ot that minority.
I cannot, therefore, but approve and respect the course taken by General Taylor, in his refusal to undergo the pledges of the party who are striving to elect him. And by this step he has shown a degree of foresight and of courage, that speaks » mind and character suitable and able to the greater responsibilities of government. He showed, in this course, not only a solicitude for his own honor, but a remarkable foresight.
To appreciate this more fully, let us east an eye, in imagination, over the future ad ministration of a President, elected, » many would have him, under the pledge of a party. Notwithstanding that he h*.pledged himself to support every measure even the most ultra and violent—notwithstanding this, his popularity carries bin: into office, he rides into the presiden-T upon a popular wave, that leaves him * the instant he is seated in the executive chair; when it is remembered that be is no longer the head of a nation, ba; the pledged executive of a faction. Ti' first act of his administration is the s. discriminate ejectment from office—sact to which a pledged President f bound by the nature of his election— of the whole body of office holders, h';which, already, he has created a po-a-tr ful opposition, destined to grow rapjdfr into a real majority.
His next step is to establish a ale* committee of information, in which are iscluded all the trusted and able member of the government, for the control of «&■holders, editors, and citizens ha\ ingclne^.or favors to ask of the government. •" this arrangement, an almost irnesst'! power is established over opinion, ami ;■elections are affected in such a nmon«r ecreate an artificial majority in niuny pu of the nation. The government i
on the leaders, who expect offices, honors, or treasury jobs. They, in turn, operate each upon a crowd of the second rate: these again come in contact with and move each a little crowd of voters; and thus the whole machine is kept in working order, and works as it is moved from the centre. Public opinion is manufactured on a grand scale by the executive press. Letters are sent from Washington to remote country editors, advising to make such and such demands, as if coming from the people ; these writings are then quoted together in the central papers, as though they were a free expression of the national opinion, coming simultaneously from all quarters of the continent. In the middle of this tissue of lies sits the editor of the Executive Organ, at Washington, like a vast spider in the middle of his web.
Next follows the management of the Territories. A pledged President distributes over all the territories such governors, lieutenants and judges, as will wrest the law to carry out the will of the faction. The old set of governors and managers are turned off, unless, like the valiant ex-govvernor of Michigan, they can fall into a " fit of easy transmission," and suffer the light of the new policy suddenly to illuminate their ancient ignorance.
Next "we have the army and navy, and the military academy, to be officered—as vacancies occur—with the friends of the Presidential policy.
No less does Congress itself demand the proper care of the government; elections ire to be managed by custom-house officers, and other retainers of the centre, so 13 to return members to swell a corrupt md artificial majority in the house. Last of all, but not least in importance, the ■Supreme Court of the United States, liould a vacancy occur upon its bench, nust be strengthened with a pliable udge, or a "judicious" judge, who will not nil to discover what is and what is not nconstitutional, just as the Executive may uggest.
I have not enumerated all the means of lfiuence that may be employed by an inenious and enterprising intriguer. The rstem itself has not yet been perfected. t needs a Machiavelli to do that, and to ave us a testament of the art of governig republics by fraud, fear, falsehood,
and bribery. The London press and the English Ministry may be acted on with facility, by an intriguer managing the affairs of the wealthiest and most powerful nation on the earth, as the United States are now well known to be. As they act upon us, so they may be acted on by us. And as things are going on, we shall by and by see more of this.
Add then to this sea of patronage the power of forcing such bills through Congress, as the Executive may see fit, together with the power of stopping such as displease him, by the use or previous threat of the veto, and you have a grand idea of the power of a Party President, elected with a full understanding that he is to carry out every measure of his party; and when that falls away from him, every measure of his Congressional and patronage clique, or of his private ambition.
All these means of influence, the growth of a corrupt age, General Taylor has laid aside, by giving his word of honor that he will not use the power of his office to carry out the measures of any faction; that in office he will imitate the conduct of Washington in a dignified forbearance, and in deferring all to the will of a lawful and deliberate majority in Congress. I cannot but say of this act, when I reflect upon the wisdom that must have prompted it, and the consequences that must flow from it, that it is one of those great instances of public virtue that are handed down to posterity for the admiration, and for the good, of future ages.
Entering unpledged upon his great trust, General Taylor, should he be elected, will become indei d the head and leader of the nation, and the great defender and restorer of the Republic. He will be there to execute the laws, to preserve peace, to temper by a mild and wise conduct, though not without a salutary vigor, the violence of sectional rage. The part)' who elect him will not be able to sway him as a tool, or to reproach him ,should he not go all lengths with them in the unrestrained employment of a political victory. To defend the honor of the nation, to keep the boundary, to protect the colonist and the emigrant in the far West, to maintain the dignity and peace of the Empire, he will find a great task, and when to that s added, the management of a just and lawful patronage, and the care of the navy and army, and of all national interests at home and abroad, his capacious intellect and ripe judgment will find their natural and legitimate field. We shall respect and honor him as our elected head and defender.
General Taylor, in a letter* which every one must have seen, has refused to reply to minute inquiries regarding his opinions on topics of political economy, and particular constructions of the Constitution; because he does not regard the precise opinions of a President, or of a candidate for the presidency, as of any weight, compared with that of Congress and the nation. He does not regard the executive as a law giving or governing, but as only a law executing and moderating power :—it is the balance wheel, and not the prime mover, of the government.
Let us reflect, then, to what end we must come, if the system of electing pledged presidents is permitted to go on, as it has been going since the election of Martin Van Buren. At each period of four years, the powers of the executive will be advanced, and severer and more stringent pledges exacted of him. Each candidate fortified in a course of arbitary rule, by the example of his predecessors, will have less regard than they, for the rights of Congress and the limits set upon him by the Constitution. The great ends of government lost sight of more and more, the executive must be more and more converted into an instrument of bigotry, of selfishness and of ambition. Congress, losing gradu
* Baton Rouoe, La., March 29, 1848.
Sir :—I have to acknowledge the receipt of your polite communication of the 7th instant, asking my views on certain questions of domestic policy.
I beg to inform you that I have uniformly declined yielding to similar requests, in the belief that my opinions, even if 1 were President of the United States, are neither important nor necessary ; and I regret to add, that I see no'reason for departing, in the present instance, from that course.
With sentiments of much respect, I am, sir, your obedient servant. Z. TAYLOR.
ally, not only its own respect, but that U the people, ceases to originate law, and becomes the passive agent of the one-rut power. Instead of legislation comes » domination. Laws originate in the cabinet, and stand for the will of a minontj. A popular outcry raised by a disafftcwi: faction in any part of the Union, intimidate a President on the verge of re-election, uti immediately laws are passed injurious to tit liberty of the nation. The Constitution becomes a dead letter. Civil war begin* u: show its bloody front, and the emergan vests a dictatorial and imperial authority in the executive. The crisis is passed by. rebellion is suppressed—but the nation t enslaved. The power of the natural asa jority appears no longer in the opinion* u; Congress. Laws are originated under iL* eye of the President. A bench of jud^e in the supreme court receives instructions how to act, what principles to admit, »»: parties to favor and what to condemn. TVe army and the navy depend, from the exeeative chair, suspended by a golden chaia Taxes begin to increase. Wars becon* expedient. The nation, losing sight oljb true interest, becomes ambitious and <**r like. It has become a monarchy, and thr monarch is an emperor; he re-elects bisself, and suppresses the rebellion of ti* provinces against himself by force of arnt Such, my dear sir, is the picture of osr destiny, if we continue to exact pledge from our presidential candidates. Yarn friends will, perhaps, believe that what I have said has an air of reason; that il is, * least, an approximation to the truth. they think so, let them go to the polls si*! vote for an unpledged candidate. Tbe* can do it with a good conscience. H«x*forth, let it be the duty and the care -' the people to govern themselves, by th<* lawful representatives. The opinion of natural, unforced majority of the peopk fc always better than that of one man. Let the people establish what is right—a Pitadent cannot do it.
I am, truly yours, Ac.
BATTLE OF BUENA VISTA.*
There is perhaps no single question of ict which usually involves so much diverity of opi ion and of description, as that f a military engagement, the particulars f which may be derived solely from actors i the scene, and yet be found to differ in umberless details, and frequently in the lost important elements. No two indiiduals will observe the incidents from recisely the same point of view, and, as i gazing upon the rainbow, every specta>r sees a different one from his neighbor,
> it would appear from the conflicting arratives of battles, that there are as lany combats as there happen to be naritors. Hence every account of such hisjrical events gives us an additional degree f approximation nearer to the truth, and le final historian, by taking a mean of the hole, is enabled to extract enough for ractical purposes, of the "philosophy -hich teaches by example." Whether le work of Captain Carleton, like his let;r to a distinguished general, (p. 184,) >uching a point not yet fully disposed of,
settles the question" of the battle of iuena Vista for all time, we are not preared to affirm, but that it is a valuable ddition to the facts already communicated
> the public, in relation to what he is leased to consider the great battle par rcellence of the war, we think few will be isposed to deny. As set forth in his reface, Captain Carleton's facilities for ualifying himself for the task were unaestionable, and if he has not fully tunned the object of his aspirations, the ict must not be attributed to want of ;al or of good intentions, but rather to le causes to which we have just briefly d verted.
The events preliminary to the battle are etailed by the author with commendable linuteness and perspicuity. The reasons
for occupying Agua Nueva, which developed the consummate strategic talent of the American general, and the ease with which he baffled the well-laid plans of General Santa Anna, by discovering the purposes of that able and crafty commander, and concealing his own, are set forth with a clearness worthy of the subject, and with an apparent fidelity to truth worthy of the historian. Even the reconnoissances three days before the battle are described so faithfully as to include the most trivial incidents, in which the author evinces his determination not only to give the truth, but the whole truth. But for this desire to include all the events of one month, we do not see the importance of relating so particularly the events of both reconnoissances, as that under Major M'Culloch seems alone to have resulted in any practical consequence, that intrepid officer having actually passed within the Mexican lines, while Colonel May's command appears only to have lost by capture one officer and one private. With the manoeuvres, numbers, and position of the enemy, Captain Carleton has also made himself equally familiar, and in detailing his corps, divisions, and battalions, gives us the names of their several commanders, even down to the ranchero Colonels Blanco and Aguierra, those old friends and patrons of the Centre Division, who relieved its necessities by liberal supplies of forage at liberal prices, and whose good dinners will doubtless long be remembered by the most distinguished officers of the Chihuahua column. If we were disposed to cavil, we might feel inclined to question the declaration "that nothing more is necessary than a simple array of the facts which constituted the elements and characterized the movements of the two armies on that occasion, "to enable any individual" to understand how it (the battle) was fought and how won, (p. 1.) If "nothing more is necessary" than this, why not be satisfied with the official report of the commanding general? . The facts are there set forth with classical simplicity and unrivalled perspicuity, and in the compass of a few pages, instead of a volume. We are inclined to believe, therefore, that some persons, less amiable than ourselves, would not be unwilling to point the small end of an insinuation that our author was not altogether indifferent to a display of his literary abilities, even if he were not actuated by a desire to give a certain arm of the service a position somewhat more conspicuous than that which it occupies in the official reports, and in the opinions of many who participated actively in the conflict. We distinctly disclaim any reflection, direct, collateral, or remote, upon the corps referred to. Its chivalric gallantry is too well known, and has been too well tested to render it liable to suspicion; and if it failed on this occasion to contribute as much to the result as might have been anticipated, those who were mortified at the fact will know where to look for the -ause.
I. The Battle of Buena Vista, with the operations of the "Army of Occupation," for one month. ty James Henry Carleton, Captain in the first regiment of Dragoons. New York: Harper and thers.
IL Documents accompanying the President's Message, First Session Thirtieth Congress.
nTtnn 1 ft.17
Without entering upon an elaborate discussion of the point, we are yet unwilling to admit the unqualified assertion that "of the numerous triumphs of our arms, it Lthe battle of Buena Vista] is by far the greatest." (p. 1.) With deference to the superior military judgment, experience, and acquirements of Captain Carleton, we retrained to believe that, tested by purely rational or military principles, with reference to the numbers engaged, the duration of the conflict, and the immediate consequences of the victory, that of Buena Vista is a less brilliant achievement than that of Resaca de la Palma. The odds in both engagements were nearly the same, eighteen hundred to seven or eight thousand in one case, and about forty-five hundred to eighteen or twenty thousand in the other; but here the resemblance ceases. In one case, the enemy selected his position; in the other this advantage, and a great one, was with the opposite party. In one case the victory was decisive and complete, t'.e enemy's camp eapfith a large quantity of militarv nd himself driven across th~
Grande; while in the other, the victory was at best a negative one, known oah when the sun revealed the retreating fof and in its results preserving only what« had already gained, without adding Mtthing to our acquisitions save natioMj glory. We have neither space nor disposition to continue farther a comparison d the two battles; but conceive that evei this brief statement affords a thorongt refutation of a popular error, having it origin in the circumstances which attendti the two events. But while we contend that the victory of Buena Vista, as a mer* military triumph, is inferior to that of Resaca de la Palma, it cannot be denied ih»i the lofty genius and moral power of titf Commanding General were more eminently conspicuous in the conflict with General Santa Anna, than in the earlier one witi General Arista. On the heights of Buetu Vista, General Taylor constituted in himself the main body of the Americans, aad under any other commander we have » doubt that even ten thousand America* would have been defeated. One victor was due to the combined efforts of it but it is scarcely too much to affirm th»s the other was due to the' presence at » single individual. All that we have bean: or seen on the subject, forces upon ns th> conclusion that no one but Zachary Txy'.^ would have fought the battle, and no cot but Zachary Taylor could have won t And we hope that, if any of our read*-? do not now concur in this opinion, we tht. be able to convince them of its corm'ness before bringing this article to a conclusion. In our narrative, while we skit endeavor to adhere rigidly to facts, wedkaT not, of course, indulge in that minnteaar of detail, which belongs to the historic and shall consult not only Captain Carkton's work, and the official reports, bat A descriptions written at the time by th* engaged; to the authors of which we aa» beg leave to make a general acknowlear ment of our indebtedness.
There has been considerable discaaaa in relation to the discoverer of the ajea* of Buena Vista as a battle-field, tl claimants to which are a iliiliiiiiiaiha* general officer of the army, and a Cafftav of Topographical Engineers. M
■ition to enlist under the banner party; the fight, as it