The American Review: A Whig Journal of Politics, Literature, Art, and Science/Volume 01/February 1845/The Result of the Election

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The American Review: Volume 1, February  (1845) 
The Result of the Election
Article reviewing the victory of James Polk (Democrat) over Henry Clay (Whig) in the 1844 United States Presidential election.






Vol. I.
No. II.


Victrix causa diis placuit, sed victa catoni.Lucan.

The serious alarm for the national welfare, swallowing up, as it were, all inferior regrets of party defeat and personal chagrin, with which the great Whig Party throughout the whole Union look back upon the result of the Presidential Election, is but consistent with the grave importance which, with one consent, they had openly and earnestly attributed to the mighty contest when impending. It evinces, at once, the sincerity of our opinions respecting the dignity of the crisis, justifies the magnitude of the preparations which we set on foot to achieve its prosperous issue. It teaches, that the solemnity of the juncture was neither the dream of an inflamed imagination, nor the stale trick of political bankruptcy—that the enthusiasm which stimulated our exerting was no mountebank extravagance, and the patriotism which sustained our labors was neither a cunning device to delude others, nor an illusion which deceived ourselves.

We are aware that the earnest sorrow which pervades the feelings of the whole mass of the defeated party, and gves a severe and almost gloomy tone to every public and private expression of them, while it is extremely annoying to the self-satisfaction of the victors, is utterly unintelligible to their comprehension. Trained in a discipline which deems politics an arena, not a battle-field, deals with its conflicts as mere prolusions of arms, and not an honest and serious warfare-bred in a school of absolute political scepticism, they, one and all, leaders and followers, masters and disciples regard the late struggle as simply a game of mingled skill and chance, in which "the spoils" were the highest stake at risk, and look upon the result as one which, while it gives the winner leave to laugh, neither justifies nor excuses any depth of grief on the part of the loser. It fills them, then, both with amazement and vexation, that so vast a body of their fellow citizens, in spite of the decorous moderation with which they bear their success, and when, as they flippantly express it, "the excitement being over, there should be a renewal of good feeling"—should persist in imparting to their triumphal shows the aspect of funereal processions and in shadowing the glories of their party victory with the dark drapery of national calamity.

That we have expressed the prevalent feelings of the Whig party at the result of the election, without exaggeration, we appeal to the consciousness and observation of every one of our readers. When the last ray of hope had faded out of our hearts, regret for the past, and foreboding for the future, did indeed take possession of us: they were natural, they were manly emotions, and from friend or foe we cared not to conceal them. But the lapse of time has somewhat blunted the keenness of these impressions, and a calm contemplation of our actual position greedy assuaged their bitterness. The matter in hand does not require us to prolong or exasperate them. It has rather for its objects to set forth some of the features in the contest which should not be overlooked—to explore some of the causes of the result which may furnish lessons of wisdom or of courage—to estimate carefully the real Aveight of the decision against us, and to cast, as sagaciously as may be, the horoscope of our future fortunes.

The great political contests, hitherto, for tlie possession and control of the general government, by whatever names significant of their principles the parties therein may have been designated, have been, in fact and in profession, carried on between the Administration and Opposition; and from these relations the combatants have drawn much towards their organization and their strength. It was a remarkable feature in the late election, that from a most peculiar concurrence in political events, and an equally peculiar combination of political influences, this element was so modified in its operation, as to produce most singular and, to the Whig party, most disastrous results. The existing administration, elected by the Whigs, had been controlled by their principles and had carried out their measures only to a very limited extent, and for a very brief period. Long before the marshalling of the array for the decisive struggle, it had alienated itself from our principles and been driven with scorn from our confidence; and, after a feeble experiment upon its capacity of standing alone, it had finally transferred its favor and its patronage, its means for, and its material of, corruption, its whole disposable mercenary force, into the hands of our opponents.

The history of previous national elections shows, that the active force of the party in power, necessarily incident to its position, combined with the natural vis inertiæ, when the eople have been at all closely divided in political opinions, has not only served as an important makeweight in the scale, but has generally proved decisive in turning it. The same history also teaches that when the party in power, in despite of the advantages of its position, has been in fact supplanted by its rival, it has been overborne as much by its own misdeeds and the accession of negative strength, which they gave to the opposition, as by the proper vigor derived by the latter from its own positive principles. Besides, the opposition has always relied much upon the lust of change, ever an effective element in all popular movements—much more upon the selfish arguments which the prospect of new political arrangements always offers to the large and apparently increasing body of voters who make politics a trade. These influences compensate somewhat for the capital of the actual possession of power, in which the administration, of course, have the advantage. The "Outs" have a vast speculative capital, upon which they can issue abundant promises, to be redeemed when success shall have furnished the means. The "Ins" have exhausted their resources in the satisfaction of past services; they can alarm with the fear of losing, but can afford no stimulus to the hope of gain.

The application of these remarks to the position of the two great parties, relatively to Mr. Tyler's administration, will exhibit the remarkable influence which the latter, so utterly feeble and insignificant in every moral point of view, was enabled to exert and did exert, under the novel circumstances of the case. Neither the Whigs nor the Democrats could properly be called the Administration party; neither, the Opposition. But mark how unequally the qualities of these antagonist positions, so important for the battle which we were approaching as to have often alone decided the field, were divided between the two parties. The Democrats had all the power of administration, all the prestige of opposition; the Whigs, all the burdens of administration—all the obstacles of opposition. If John Tyler could have thrust upon our opponents all the imbecilities, all the ineffable perfidies and scarce imaginable meannesses which compose the history of his dynasty, by the same transfer which conveyed to them the whole resources of government influence and patronage, we should have been for once his debtors. No strength which he could have imparted with all his accidental power, would have sufficed to bear up the load of inbred and accumulated sins which would thus have devolved upon his luckless legatees. His political testament did not so equitably provide; he left to us all his monstrous debts, to others all the substantial value which he had to bequeath. Of his ragged army, the impedimenta, the vile baggage, fell to our share — the armory and military chest were betrayed to our enemies. This position of things was entirely unparalleled in the course of political contests in our country: we fervently pray that it may never occur again. The defunct carcass of Tylerism bred a political pestilence, congenial to the vitality of Locofocoism, and it throve upon it—fatal to healthier organs, and we were enfeebled by the malaria. The facts of this case transcend the wisdom of the apologue—the dead ass has here triumphed over the living lion.

The precise weight in the determination of the conflict, which this novel and unhappy influence was enabled to exert, we cannot pretend to estimate; but we say with confidence, that, all other things remaining as they were, this disturbing cause rendered the fight any thing but a fair one, and would alone have accounted for a vastly more unfavorable result than we now have occasion to deplore.

But there is another characteristic of the late cau'paign, so deeply branded with infamy, so full of woful menace to the very existence of free institutions, that nothing but the clearest evidence could have proved its prevalence to ourselves, nothing but a stern sense of duty lead us to expose its deformity to our readers. We regard the presence, activity, and vigilance of great political parties, in this country, as alike essential to the permanence of liberty and the best security for the virtual and beneficent dominion of constitutional government. Faction and cabal are very different agents in a political system, and fraught with far other tendencies. A party is an organized union upon the basis of a principle or a system of principles, and proposes the good of the country; opposing parties differ in their principles, and of course in their measures, but agree in their object—the common weal. A faction confines its aims and objects within itself; "its be all and its end all," is self-aggrandizement. Factions, then, are as much the foes of popular governments, as parties are their ministers and defenders. The generous spirit of party, vehement though it be, invigorates and warms, cherishes and sustains, the whole fabric of the State; the gnawing tooth of faction corrodes every prop, and its insatiate thirst exhausts every spring of public prosperity. Little parties, operating within narrow circles, dealing with small interests, and, of necessity, confounding somewhat personal and public concerns, are constantly in danger of sinking into factions. But the dignity, amplitude, and diversity of the elements which make up the character and the substance, the soul and the body, of a great national party, have hitherto been supposed to present sufficient obstacles to a general degradation of its objects, and an universal profligacy in its means and measures. Such a general degradation and such an universal profligacy, when they once thoroughly obtain in a powerful party of an empire or a state, augur a decay of public virtue in the leading minds of a people, and a coldness of patriotism in its common mass, which, unchecked, must precipitate its ruin.

With these opinions, and in spite of our sincere desire to avoid a conclusion so painful to our national vanity, and so pregnant with ill omens for our national well-being, a candid examination of all the points of the case cannot spare us the conviction, that the late Presidential election was a struggle between a party and a faction—that our opponents, deliberately and systematically, abandoned every man, renounced every measure, and abjured every principle, to which they had been, however sacredly, committed; and this too, with a carelessness of disguise, a scorn of dissimulation, and a contempt of the decencies of knavery, which laugh at description and defy exaggeration. They adapted the motto of kingly pride—"L' Etat, c'est Moi"—to the purposes of democratic humility. "The Republic—it is our party"; and this great postulate gained, they strode with hasty logic through the necessary deductions, and with a shrewd practical philosophy, expressed the results of their "pure reason" in most definite and forcible action. Some guilty mind, capacious of such things, suggested the bold experiment of setting up for the suffrages of a free and enlightened people Democracy in the abstract, not embodied in any system of principles, nor yet shaped into any project of measures, not even incarnate in the form of any man. The omnipotence of the "popular element" was to be illustrated and established beyond all cavil, for out of nothing it should create something:—the right and the capacity of the people to choose their own rulers were to be vindicated by the extremest test—requiring them to vote for nobody knew whom, for nobody knew what, and as nobody knew why.

The first great step in reducing this novel plan to practice, was the summary disposition which was made of Mr Van Buren by the Nominating Convention, and the magical elevation of Mr. Polk,—a man entirely inconsiderable before this event, and whom his recent fortunes cannot be said to have rendered any thing more than notorious. Apply for a moment to this proceeding the discrimination which we have above attempted to draw between the distinctive features of a party and a faction, and say whether this quiet substitution of candidates was not the act of the latter. What principle of the genuine democracy was not outraged both in the act itself and in the mode of its accomplishment? Pledges were scattered to the wind—the will of the majority supplanted by concerted fraud—and the "martyr to Democratic principles" overwhelmed with contumely. Why was all this? If this band of politicians represented an honest party, having principles and proposing measures valuable to the commonwealth, who so fit an exponent of them, who so skillful an administrator of them, as Martin Van Buren? No, it was the vile work of a faction, which knew no motive and sought no end beyond its own triumph. The Ex-President had some political history, some political principles, some political responsibility hanging about him—there was bone and muscle, there were qualities and tendencies in him, and they might interfere with the scheme of running Democracy in the abstract. But that the whole cause and object of this management might not be left to argument or inference, that it might not be said that any repugnance was felt to Mr. Van Buren's principles, or his personal connections, Silas Wright, the mirror of the one and the most ultimate of the other, is immediately nominated for the Vice-Presidency. Does not, then, this transaction sustain the charge, that our opponents entered upon the campaign, with an entire abnegation of every thing but the success of the faction, and that they did this without caring to conceal the deformity of their designs with the thin veil of hypocrisy.

The foul marks of faction are not less deeply imprinted upon the management of all questions of public policy and of fundamental principle, by the Democrats, throughout the whole period of the late contest.

The Sub-Treasury, that shrewd project of finance, by which the "progress party" would throw our money system some several centuries backward; that golden-calf of Democracy, at whose shrine its selectest priesthood were wont to minister, and its haughtiest votaries to kneel; whose mystic name was erst the Shibboleth, and its "specie clause" the touchstone of the true, unadulterate faith; how, we say, did the scheme of Democracy in the absract deal with this matter? The idol, like Dagon in the house of the Philistines, "had fallen upon his face to the ground," and the foot-prints of the pilgrims to its altar were all reversed, as if in hasty flight Throughout the length and breadth of the land its name was not heard; there was "none so poor to do it reverence"; there was not virtue enough left in it even to conjure with. Has, then, the infallible spirit of Democracy spoken false oracles? Has its wisdom become folly in its own eyes? Was this suppression of the Sub-Treasury, during the canvass, an honest renunciation of an error, and was its reinstatement as sincerely abandoned as its discussion was peremptorily forbidden? Here again we are saved the labor of argument, and spared the doubt of inference. They have made haste to enact, what they were slow to discuss, and in that branch of Congress in which they have the power, the re-establishment of this same Sub-Treasury is the sole result of its exercise, and the accredited "organ of concentrated Democratic sentiment" claims the late election decisive in its verdict of popular opinion upon this point alone, of prime importance,—a point not mooted in the trial. Is the course which this matter has taken, the upright action of a party, or the impudent juggle of a faction?

The adverse policies of a protective tariff and unrestricted freedom of trade are the most important which can divide a commercial people, and upon these, long before the actual collision of the parties in the contest, it had become manifest the fight, if an honest one, was mainly to be made. It was well known, too, that, however the independent militia of the hostile army might straggle, all the "Chivalry" on this point were united and puissant. The stupendous forces of the great kingdom of South Carolina could be drawn from their armed neutrality only by a most stringent covenant on this head. The noble leader of our own array had fought his way up from the ranks to his exalted post, mahily in the service of the American system. This warfare had been to him, what the Italian campaigns were to Napoleon—the foundation of, and the preparation for, his eventual supremacy. Foreign nations looked upon the impending election as the decision of the question, whether our political independence was to be rendered complete and impregnable, or to be practically annulled by commercial and social subservience. This, whichever opinion had the right of it, was a question in our national condition not modal, but essential—not of health merely, but of life. It touched all domestic arrangements, it reached to all foreign relations; it was conversant with the subtlest speculative theories and with the commonest employments of men; it laid its hand upon the amassed treasure of the capitalist and the daily bread of the laborer. It was a question on which parties, if divided at all, must have been so by distinct and impassable lines of demarcation, on which the trumpets of mutual defiance should have uttered no doubtful note. Was the Democratic party true to its principles, and did it present a united front on this question? There is no pretence of it. It is conceded, that on the tariff policy the order was given to the bands of the faithful, to assume every local opinion, and court every sectional prejudice. Silence and obscurity were seen to be of no avail; loud and vehement clamor, sounding as many voices as there were popular opinions, was substituted. An ambuscade we were armed against, and they donned our colors and stole our standards. At the North, they were more protective than the protectionists; at the South, less restrictive than the free-traders; at the West, they would foster the interests of the farmer; at the East, of the manufacturer. Who disputes, then, that on the tariff, our opponents roamed throughout the land, a lying faction, seeking whom they might devour?

On Annexation, however, this newborn issue, produced for the crisis, making now its first appearance on any stage, the "lone star" of the play, which was to atone for all awkwardness, supply all deficiencies, reconcile all incongruities in the minor parts, and smooth all troubles in the plot—on this project, at least, we shall see unity and concord. This position, so firmly taken, and to hold which so much else has been given away, our foes are surely willing to abide by, and on it to stake the chances of defeat. The history of the canvass, on this topic also, shows the reverse. The progress of discussion educed the fact, that principles on this subject, too, must be accommodated to various shades of public sentiment, or an adhesion to them must cripple the force of the party and jeopard its success. The Catholicity of their political church is disturbed by a band of Protestants, and this dogma of "Immediate Annexation" is challenged. These heretics prefer, however, to protest in the church, and not to protest themselves out of it—they are very great patriots, but their ambition does not aspire to the crown of martyrdom for conscience' sake. Accordingly, they vote for the candidate, protesting against his opinions—they sustain the party, protesting against its measures—they entrust with power men sworn to a specific exercise of it, protesting against such exercise. There was even a large class of voters at the north who could be induced to lend their aid to the election of the Democratic candidates, only by the consideration that a Whig Senate would preclude the possibility of their mad schemes of Annexation being carried out! The depth of such poltroonery is unfathomable—

"The force of faction could no further go,"

and upon this as the climax of proof we rest the demonstration of our proposition.

We have thus portrayed, and we believe truthfully, the main elements of the late Presidential election, which distinguish it from all preceding popular contests, which controlled its character and produced its result;—we pass to a brief examination of the result itself, and a consideration of some of the particular modes in which the above influences manifested themselves, and of some less dignified agencies which co-operated with them. We cannot be expected to present calculations in extenso, nor to support the opinions which we have formed and may express by all the evidence by which we have arrived at them. This is the province of the newspapers; upon the information, which they supply to us, corrected and filtered in the fierce collisions between them, we are all mostly dependent for our political facts and statistics.

Figures, it is said, cannot lie, but a particular arrangement of them may speak the truth more forcibly than another. The following table compiled from the official returns, may, perhaps, exhibit some points in the nunierical result, not generally noticed.

States. Clay. Polk. Birney. Aggregate. Plurality Whig[1] Dem.[1] El. Vo.
Clay. Polk. Maj. Def. Maj. Def. C. P.
Maine 34,379 45,719 4,836 81,933 —— 11,341 —— 8,039 3,252 —— —— 9
New Hampshire 17,866 27,160 4,161 49,187 —— 9,294 —— 6,728 2,566 —— —— 6
Vermont 26,770 18,041 3,954 48,765 8,729 —— 2,387 —— —— 6,342 6 ——
Massachusetts 67,418 32,846 10,360 131,124 14,572 —— 1,856 —— —— 12,716 12 ——
Rhode Island 7,322 4,867 —— 12,139 2,455 —— 1,227 —— —— 1,227 4 ——
Connecticut 32,832 29,841 1,943 64,616 2,991 —— 524 —— —— 2,467 6 ——
New York 232,482 237,588 15,812 485,882 —— 5,106 —— 10,459 —— 5,353 —— 36
New Jersey 38,318 37,495 131 75,944 823 —— 346 —— —— 477 7 ——
Pennsylvania 161,203 167,535 3,138 331,876 —— 6,332 —— 4,735 1,597 —— —— 26
Delaware 6,258 5,971 —— 12,229 287 —— 144 —— —— 144 3 ——
Maryland 35,984 32,676 —— 68,660 3,308 —— 1,654 —— —— 1,654 8 ——
Virginia 43,677 49,570 —— 93,247 —— 5,893 —— 2,946 2,946 —— —— 17
North Carolina 43,232 39,287 —— 82,519 3,945 —— 1,972 —— —— 1,972 11 ——
Georgia 42,100 44,147 —— 86,247 —— 2,047 —— 1,023 1,023 —— —— 10
Alabama 26,084 37,740 —— 63,824 —— ll,656 —— 5,828 5,828 —— —— 9
Mississippi 19,208 25,126 —— 44,332 —— 5,920 —— 2,960 2,960 —— —— 6
Louisiana 13,083 13,782 —— 26,865 —— 699 —— 349 349 —— —— 6
Arkansas 5,504 9,546 —— 15,050 —— 4,041 —— 2,021 2,021 —— —— 3
Tennessee 60,030 59,917 —— 119,947 113 —— 56 —— —— 56 13 ——
Kentucky 61,255 51,988 —— 113,243 9,267 —— 4,633 —— —— 4,633 12 ——
Missouri 31,251 41,369 —— 72,620 —— 10,118 —— 5,059 5,059 —— —— 7
Illinois 45,528 57,920 —— 103,448 —— 12,392 —— 6,196 6,196 —— —— 9
Indiana 67,867 70,131 2,106 140,154 —— 2,314 —— 2,210 104 —— —— 12
Ohio 155,057 149,117 8,050 312,224 5,940 —— —— 1,055 —— 6,995 23 ——
Michigan 24,237 27,703 3,632 55,572 —— 3,466 —— 3,549 —— 83 —— 5
South Carolina[2] 9
1,298,942 1,337,132 59,623 2,694,697 52,430 90,578 14,799 63,207 33,901 44,119 105 170
  1. 1.0 1.1 These columns express the excess over, or deficiency from, a majority in each state, obtained by the Whigs and Democrats respectively. They are important to show the precise amount of disturbance created by the third party, wherever it intervened. Where but two tickets were run, the majority for one is, of course, equal to the deficiency of the other, and each is half the plurality.
  2. South Carolina does not entrust the choice of Presidential Electors to the people, and we have therefore omitted all further notice of her in estimating the popular elements of the numerical result. She took no part in the Convention which nominated Mr. Polk, and has, since the election, expressed her distrust of the principles which are to govern his administration. She stands pretty much aloof from our national politics, and is both inconsiderable and but little considered in our party combinations.

It will be perceived by a reference to the above table, that in three of the states of the Union, New York, Ohio and Michigan, casting together sixty-four electoral votes, neither Mr. Clay nor Mr. Polk received an actual majority. Of the remaining twenty-two states in which electors were chosen directly by the people, ten gave majorities for Mr. Clay, and twelve for Mr. Polk. Of the whole aggregate popular vote of 2,694,697, the Whig candidate fell short of an actual majority by 48,407 votes; and the President elect by 10,217 votes; the plurality of the latter over the former being 38,190. The largest numerical majority cast in any state was 6,196, in Illinois for Mr. Polk—the largest numerical plurality in any state was 14,572 in Massachusetts for Mr. Clay.

The first important deduction to be drawn from the above tlata is, that Mr. Polk, on no basis of calculation, received the suffrages of a majority of the actual voters at the election. In the aggregate vote we have already seen how far he fell short of this. But if a majority of ballots had been necessary to the choice of electors in the several states, he would also have been defeated; the twelve states in which his party polled majorities, furnished but one hundred and twenty electors, eighteen less than the requisite number.

Another notable fact, apparent upon the figures, is the smallness of the majorities thrown for either candidate in all the states which can fairly be said to have been contested. Leaving out Missouri, Alabama, Illinois and Kentucky, (where no third party intervened, and where the state of opinions was so unequal as to offer no motive for a close contest,) the largest majority in any state was but 3,252, in Maine.

Again, it is worthy of remark, that in three instances at least, a very small change of votes throughout a most extensive territory and among a vast population, would have reversed the result. Thus in the State of New York, a change of 2,554 votes—but little over one-half per cent. of the aggregate of that State, and less than one-thousandth of the entire vote of the Union,—would have elected our candidate; in Pennsylvania and Georgia together a change of one per cent. of their aggregate vote would have produced the same result; in Virginia, Indiana and Louisiana collectively, a not much more considerable variation was needed for the success of Mr. Clay.

It is also noticeable, that at the close of the elections of the year 1843, the governments of but eight States, including only seventy-one electoral votes, were controlled by the Whigs; in the remaining eighteen States, with two hundred and four electoral votes, the adverse party was dominant.

This, so to speak, is the "materiel" of the result, and upon its face it appears that the withdrawal of the votes cast for the Abolitionist candidate from the issue between the two contending parties, has prevented the complete ascertainment of popular opinion upon that issue. That under a form of government, which reposes all ultimate power in the people, and acknowledges as its fundamental principle "that the will of the majority shall rale,"—every administration of which depends for its v/hole moral force in the country upon the fact of its resting upon the will of such a majority, and its constitutionally expressing that will—that under such a form of government the dominancy should be gained, and held, and swayed by a minority, is an anomaly. That there should be found in our midst a large body of voters so indifferent to the great systems of policy which divide the nation, as to throw away their franchise on an issue desperate in itself and entirely extrinsic to that on which their country commanded their voices, is matter of grave astonishment. We have neither time nor temper to discuss that sorry compound of weakness and arrogance, simplicity, malice and profligacy of which this mischievous faction is made up. The pity and disdain of all right-minded men rest upon them, and the cause which they have espoused shows more and wider wounds of their own infliction, than it could ever have suffered from its foes.

But aside from all the influences to which we have adverted, we find a sincere conviction that great actual as well as moral fraud in the election was perpetrated by the Radical faction, and that to this cause our defeat may be fairly set down. The Placquemines transaction, by which, within a narrow precinct, there were cast more democratic suffrages than the entire population of men, women and children, has never been explained; and the charge of direct and concerted fraud based thereon never rebutted. "Ex pede Herculem,"—if this footprint be so broad and deep, how vast and monstrous the body, could we but trace its form and lineaments! We cannot encumber our pages with extended tables, or we would exhibit the evidence upoa which we base our opinion, that New-York, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Louisiana were carried by fraud; not deceptive argument, not lying as.sertion, not trick nor bribery do we speak of now, but the downright and violent frauds of illegal, false, spurious votes.

Time was, when the Democratic party seemed to have "taken a bond of fate" for the security and permanence of their ascendency, and the ranks of a watchful and fearless opposition were the only line of public service open to the conservative patriotism of the country. The intrinsic worthiness of our principles, and the patient and disinterested adhesion to them, of the best and ablest men of the nation, through long adversity, gradually won upon popular favor, and the Whig party, year by year, gained strength in the country. The catastrophe to public credit and prosperity, which the wicked principles and perverse measures of the Radicals wrought out under Mr. Van Buren's administration, hastened their downfall, and gave us a triumph, complete in appearance, but perhaps premature. The death of Harrison and the treason of Tyler swept away the fruits of our success, and under accumulated discouragements the battle was to be fought over again. It has been fought, and nobly fought; and if our discomfiture were complete and final, if with our party's disaster the sun of our country's destiny had gone down forever, we do not know that any just self-reproaches would have embittered our pangs at defeat.

A survey of the whole matter, however, in its length and breadth, and from its beginning to its end, forbids us to attribute any such important character, or to impute any such serious consequences to the issue of the late struggle. We cannot but regard it as evincing a fortitude, solidity, and concord in the Whig organization, to which it has been for a long time growing, indeed, but which it never until now has reached—as evidence of a diffusion of sound political opinions, and a prevalence of active patriotism throughout the land, which recall, almost, the heroic age of our history—as showing a general popularity and a confirmed numerical strength on the side of conservative principles which they have never before regained since the close of Washington's administration. We look upon the success of our opponents as the last, the feeble, the hollow victory of a waning power—a victory which has exhausted their resources and crippled their strength, and yet has given them no new stronghold, secured them no more advantageous position for the continuance of the war. As the bold experiment of wholesale profligacy, of absolute subjection of every thing in the shape of views, tenets, opinions and principles to the smooth working of party machinery, has never been tried before; so, we predict, it can never in this generation succeed again. Nor has the end of this late experiment yet transpired—it is too early to predicate of it complete success even for the immediate purposes. The fierce accusation of the ruined Macbeth is yet to be sounded, by an incensed constituency in the ears of these political wizards, in solemn retribution for their frauds:

"And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
That palter with us in a double sense,
That keep the word of promise to our ear
And break it to our hope."

To conclude, we recur to the stern sentiment of our motto, and inquire whether there is enough of "the Cato" about us to abide by a beaten cause. This is the whole purpose of our present reflections, and the entire aim which every discussion of the late political events should propose to itself. The public press, the popular assemblies, the voices of our wise and great men, all return no doubtful answer. Stupendous and sudden as was the defeat, no interval, however short, of despondency followed it. A firmer stand, a closer union, a more solemn devotion, for the furtherance of the right, are our watchwords for the future, and the mustering for the encounter has begun already. The eminent, the able, the veteran, are crowding to the front of the battle, and the long array is forming again on the very field of its reverses.

The Whig party is contented with its principles, its measures, and its name. To whatever extent the Radical party may boast of their favor with the populace, we are the party of the people. The sober, industrious, thriving masses of the citizens are Whig in feeling and in action. The word "Democracy" has had a potent charm about it; it is beautiful in its theories, sublime in its abstractions, but it has lost credit of late by its modes of action. Indeed some have ventured to suspect that modern "Democracy" when loudest-mouthed is most insincere, and when most magnificent in its professions, is most paltry in its performance. But let that pass; it is not the first time a good name has lost repute from the degeneracy of its inheritors. The name of Whig is broad enough and popular enough for our need. With no proper meaning of its own, it expresses more torcibly than any word in the language, the party of liberty and patriotism and loyalty to constitutional government, and includes in its history nobler illustrations of all these, than the annals of Greek or Roman freedom can display. All parties who have borne it, whether in our mother country or our own, have been eminently practical, and have maintained a shrewd consistency between their words and deeds. In England, the Whigs professed a hatred of kingly usurpation and oppression, and on the first occasion cut off the head of a tyrant—in this country they wrote the Declaration of Independence, and then wrought out its sentiments in the battles of the revolution.

Let us then abide by our organization, our principles, our leaders and our name. Let us cherish the conviction that whatever good can be hoped for our country, must be accomplished through the agency of the Whig party, in its present form and constitution. Let new light illuminate our counsels, new vigor confirm cur strength, new ardor inflame our spirit—but let no shortsighted policy commit us to merely local interests in prejudice of our duties to the whole country—let no false sympathy, on the one hand, enlist us in a crusade of philanthropy through regions which the Constitution has forbidden us to invade; nor, on the other, let a fatal lust of acquisition engage us in a league which may rend asunder the bonds of our present Union.

In the past we see nothing to dishearten, in the future every thing to cheer. Vigilance now and until the end, lest the enemy "sow tares while we sleep"; active energy from the start until the goal be won, lest he thrive in our idleness; these we must resolve on, and these will ensure our triumph. The altar on which the fire of our enthusiasm is kindled is the altar of Principle—its flames are fed with the pure oil of Patriotism—and the vestal guardians, Liberty and Law, keep holy watch over its embers—they shall not die.