Page:The American Review Volume 02.djvu/570

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552
[Dec.
The Whig Party:

it can be re-affirmed and established. For, according to all present appearances and information, the President, antecedent to negotiation, has decided the issue of that concerning which negotiation was to be had; and when diplomatic intercourse with Mexico shall be restored, and the President shall have occasion to ask the consent of the Senate, either to the appointment of ministers to Mexico or to any treaty that may be framed with that country, he will have forestalled both their judgment and action by a sweep of the Executive sword.

This surely must be deemed an "encroachment," even by those who may not dislike the result thus attained, and therefore, we say again, an opportunity is presented under very favorable circumstances, of reviewing and revising, if so it shall be deemed wise, the practice under this provision of the Constitution.

Some subordinate questions connected with Annexation will occasion discussion. Among these is the pretension that officers of the army and navy of Texas shall be transferred with like rank to our service. This seems a claim at once so impudent and so preposterous, that we do not know that it will be seriously urged. If it should be, it will, it is quite safe to assume, be summarily rejected.

At a time when hundreds of our own highly educated and accomplished young army officers, who have not thought it necessary to qualify themselves for true allegiance and conscientious and intelligent service to their own country, by taking up arms in another land and in a quarrel not their own, are eagerly waiting their time to exchange their brevets for commissions—and when, in the naval service, midshipmen are growing gray for lack of promotion, and when no degree of past service or present merit can advance an officer a single grade, and when, notwithstanding such discouragements, the applications for warrants are counted by hundreds, not to say thousands, for every vacancy,—at such a time to propose to incorporate with our military and naval corps, composed of picked men—educated, intelligent, moral, modest and brave—a promiscuous band of soldiers of fortune, who, looking upon war as a trade, and indifferent in what cause, or in what service, or with or against whom it is waged, so only that the trade flourishes, and its wages are to be duly paid—to poison our gallant and patriotic service with an admixture, on any fooling, of such ingredients, were a crime alike against Honor, Justice and Courtesy. With such a crime,, the Whig party can, under no circumstances, have any participation.

It is, however, plain, from the considerations thus hastily enumerated, that although to a certain extent accomplished and irrevocable. Annexation yet presents many questions that will seriously occupy Congress, and that will appeal to the Whigs in particular for their most considerate attention and fearless judgment.

The next great issue of the Presidential election, which, it is now insisted, was determined against the Whigs, is the Tariff. We hold still, as during the contest we held, and without abating one jot, that Protection—direct Protection—is a legitimate object of legislation; and the merit of the existing Tariff in our eyes is, that it is directly, and not merely incidentally Protective. Others may hold a more qualified doctrine on this head; but, deriving ours, both from the justice and necessity of the case, and from the explicit avowal of those who framed the Constitution, and of those who sat in the first Congress under it, that it was designed and desired to lay duties for the encouragement and protection of domestic manufactures, we shall not, even on the ground of expediency, take up with the equivocal phraseology of the day about a tariff for revenue with incidental protection.

According, however, to the manifestations of the party papers, except in Pennsylvania, even incidental protection is now to be denounced and renounced, and the favorite theorem of the ultra free-trader is to be adopted, that revenue, and revenue only, is the legitimate object of a tariff, and that, if there be any discrimination, it should be against, and not in favor of, articles produced or manufactured at home.

While writing these remarks there are indications that Pennsylvania—whose interests in coal and iron made and keep her a Tariff State, and who voted for Mr. Polk upon assurances; who was credulous enough to believe that he was a tariff man—is becoming alarmed at the signs of the times; and meetings are in progress, affirming that the undivided voice of the State is against any interference with, or disturbance of, the existing tariff.

To these manifestations, it may be found politic to yield; and if so, it will be easy enough, on the score of the increased expenditure rendered necessary by the military and naval movements in Texas and the Gulf of Mexico—and by