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brethren as may have found themselves obliged to disapprove acts of their party, or to leave it, rather than do violence to their sentiments ?
The last of these abuses which we shall mention, is the despotism which parties are prone to exercise, and which they do in fact exercise, over the minority. The opinion is now very prevalent, that the rights of the minority are not adequately protected. Whence does this arise, but from observation of the facts in our own days? There is a disposition to look at the matter in the most favorable view. We do not readily adınit, that any rights are not among us sufficiently secured. It is the fact, too apparent to be mistaken, that the whole patronage of government is generally used for party purposes. Nearly one half of the people are industriously excluded from any direct participation in the administration of the government. Who does not see, that by this course the rights of not merely the minority, but of the whole people, are violated ? They have all a claim to the services of the best citizens in public stations. Offices are trusts for the benefit of the people. A system, therefore, which excludes any of them, lessens the number of candidates, and may deprive the country of the services of her best children. But it is not merely the course of administration; the course of legislation is sometimes perverted. Laws have been passed, as party measures, which the minority believed to be hostile to their interests; and we all know that politicians have had few scruples, concerning the lengths to which they might go for their party, however prejudicial to their antagonists.
Such are the uses, and such the abuses of party. While we preserve the good, it is in our power to mitigate the evil. This is not inseparable from party. By no means.
It is not so ordered by Providence, that liberty must of necessity be followed by this train of evils. The remedy is in our own hands; and this time of comparative quiet, this short season of repose, after the fatigue and excitement of a hotly-contested general election, may be most fitly devoted to prevent a recurrence of the scenes through which we have but just passed.
This paper has been already extended too far, to allow us to develop at this time our views, respecting the remedies which we should propose. We may recur to it hereafter. Suffice it for the preseni to say, that the patronage of the government
should be diminished; the action of the government itself confined within its appropriate limits, and permitted to interfere less with private concerns; there must be a juster view of the nature of public offices; and a better understanding of the rightful claims of party upon its members.
There must also be an utter rejection of the wicked and detestable maxim, that “all is fair in politics.” On this point, there must be a complete purification of public sentiment, or nothing else can save us. There is not in the history of all the frauds, by which men have been cheated of their happiness, a more fatal maxim than this. If adopted and acted upon, it would convert the partisan into a rogue, and a rogue once is likely to be a rogue always. The right would ever be postponed to the expedient, and the expediency would be the expediency not of an age or of years, but of the moment. Farewell to the peaceful order of former times, to virtuous legislation, to the honest conduct of public affairs, to the purity of private morals, to the heroic sentiment of honor, if this poisonous maxim is suffered to take root in the ininds of this people.
There are few men amongst us who are not, in some sense, party men. The connection may be more or less strict, but the instances are very rare in which it does not exist at all. Some such cases there may be. We have known some studious, busy, or over-sensitive men, who had no party affinities whatever ; but they were very few, and they made a great mistake.
Every man who wishes to have any influence in the political concerns of the country, (and who, that soberly reflects on the stake he himself has in the working of our system, does not wish it?) must act with one party or the other. He cannot be alone, or he will be heard by neither. It is not necessary that he should sacrifice his independence ; and least of all, that he should compromise his moral principles. On the contrary, he may do much by his influence with his associates, to moderate their violence and guide their judg
As party men, we have all serious duties to perform. To preserve our faith towards our party, and at the same time our self-respect, and the purity of our principles, is not always an easy task. · Men of honor may well hesitate when the question of separation from a party comes before them. The step is not to be taken without great consideration. Yet
there are occasions when such a step is honorable, when not to take it should cover one with dishonor. Every member is called upon to make some sacrifices of feeling and opinion, in deference to the will of others, just as in a community an individual sacrifices some rights to secure the
These sacrifices to party have, however, a limit. They may be made in matters of expediency rather than of principle. Slight differences ought certainly not to produce rupture ; and a wise man will scarcely separate from his brethren on a question of mere expediency. But a question of principle admits of no compromise.
We have all an interest in mitigating the fierceness of party contests, in quelling the fury of party spirit, in checking its interference with private concerns, in refusing to mere partisans the public stations, and in discontinuing the practice of mixing with every public question a question of party. The rage for office must be abated— men must be placed there for public not party reasons, because they are fit for it, not because they have earned it by partisan labors. All this must be done, and done speedily, if we would preserve to our institutions the health and the beauty of their origin.
Art. V.–1. Webster on the Currency. Speech at the Mer
chants' Meeting in Wall Street, New York, on Monday,
September 28, 1840. 2. Resolutions of the Legislatures of Kentucky, Georgia, etc. in fuvor of a United States Bank.
“ What security is there,” Bishop Butler used to ask, “ that nations, like individuals, may not suddenly go mad ?" We will not stop to look into the philosophy of this question ; it is sufficient for our purpose, as philosophic reasoners, to note its truth, and, as citizens, to bear in mind its warning, seeing that we, as a nation, have been twice within the present century, in the sad condition of those whom the law deems non compos. National insanity, however, always is what individual is but sometimes, monomania, leaving men sane on all points save “the one fixed idea.”
In the case before us that related to a United States Bank, on which subject, as already said, twice within the last forty years has the nation been « mad as a March hare.” The first melancholy crisis endured for the space of five years, namely, from the fourth of March, 1811, coinciding with the expiration of the charter of the first Bank of the United States, until the tenth of April, 1816, when it exhibited its first act of completely recovered sanity, by the reconstruction of a new one-the monomania consisting in the mad experiment of attempting to steer the ship without a rudder, and to regulate, without a regulator, the vast and complex machinery of currency and exchanges throughout our extended country, and persisting in it, notwithstanding the resulting crashing, and breaking of its weaker parts, until the ship stranded, and the whole machinery lay a heap of ruins; and among them lay, too, the nation itself for two long years, before it could gather strength sufficient to rise up and put its hand to the work, as already said, of constructing another. No man now doubts but that that was “a mad crisis." The second, however, is a still more pitiable one, in that it exhibits “ fatuity,” as well as “insanity” in the patient—the nation having lost its memory, as well as its judgment, flying in the face of its own experience, as well as of reason, walking a second time straight into the fire with its eyes open ; exhibiting, therefore, a more raving crisis than the first, as well as a more fatal one—then bui scorched, now flayed alive in the process.
Were it noi that nations generally, and republics, above all, have but short memories, ours, one would think, might have been saved this second fatal experiment. But the wisdom of experience comes slow, it seems, to masses of men. The easy lesson of childhood is not to be learned at once ; and we have yet to see, whether, even being twice burnt, it will yet “ dread the fire:” for that, in truth, is the hard question now about to be answered by a wise nation of freemen.
Perhaps in no juster, certainly in no milder terms can we adequately express our sense of the folly and madness, above all, of this second course of experiment, arbitrarily made by power and ignorance, and tamely submitted to by the servility of party for these five years past, on the currency and exchanges of the country; experiments which, evidently baseless in themselves, had, moreover, within the memory of half the living population, been tried and exhibited, fully, faithfully, and fatally, until they wrought wreck and ruin on what they arrogantly pretended to mend; until they had reduced a prosperous and high-credited people unto the condition of a bankrupt and distrusted one ; and that not
only at home, but in the eyes of all Europe. To try such experiment again upon the implicit faith of party, in the face of all science, all experience, all analogy, argues, surely, some lack of wisdom ; or rather, for we return to our first solution, it argues MADNESS.
Madness in the administration that tried it, and madness in the people that permitted it. “Hæc populos, hæc magnos formula reges. Excepto sapiente tenet.”
But as we know the disease, so too do we know the remedy. Once, twice, three times, we may say, have we been cured by it; for our national experience on this point, contrary to that of individuals, goes beyond the date of our constitutional existence. Thrice, may we say, has a national bank lifted us up out of bankruptcy, and a fourth time will it now do it, and it alone can do it, if we are as yet sufficiently sane voluntarily to apply it.
Before entering on the more practical questions, to which, ere closing, we propose to bring our discussion, it may be well to fortify this our citadel - the necessity and the efficacy of a national bank, by looking into the teachings of our own past experience. Of the fifty-one years of our national existence, forty have been passed with a United States Bank, as a fiscal agent to government, and a regulator to the currency, and an engine for equalizing exchanges, (in each of which three characters do we hold its necessity,) and twelve years without one, viz. two previous to the establishment of the first United States Bank, from the fourth of March, 1789, to same date, 1791; an interval, secondly, of five years, from the termination of the first charter, fourth of March, 1811, to the tenth of April, 1816. And, lastly, a period also of five years, from the tenth of April, 1836, the termination of the late charter, to the present time.
Now, let him who doubts the voice of our national experience on this point but take the trouble of drawing out the above series of years into a tabular form or scale of periods, in such manner as that he can note opposite to each year or period its commercial and financial character, with the average rates of foreign and domestic exchanges, and then fairly sum it up as he would do any other arithmetical calculation. This once carefully done, the argument of experience is complete ; and such a man, we think, need read no other document on the subject: for his first exclamation will be, " call a special session, and let us have a United States Bank tomorrow, for I see it to be our only security against undue expansion, against ruinous fluctuation, against the total over