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at the commencement of the present war meant to be only a little politic, by claiming the merit of voting against their conscience rather than withhold aid to Gen. Taylor, became soon, by their minority opposition, sufficiently factious to procrastinate subsequent supplies of troops, till the sickly season destroyed more of our new recruits than the arms of Mexico. Opposition extended thus far in the first year of the war. A second year found the procrastination of supplies converted into an almost certainty of their being withheld, conjoined with incipient threats of impeaching the President, and of coercing a relinquishment of all our Mexican conquests ; with aid and comfort to the public enemy in every way, compatible with exemption from the laws of treason. The actors in this sad spectacle must, in prospect of the present peace, feel like the Committee of the Hartford Convention, who, when they arrived at Washington to compel the Government to surrender to Great Britain, found peace had left them nothing for their errand but ceaseless shame. Peace left, however, something to be performed by the people—the condemnation of those who had arrayed themselves against their country in its hour of need. A similar duty will devolve upon the people now, and before another year history will again record, for the benefit of the country in all future times, that the wages of political sins is political death—and all who love their country more than their party will say, Amen.
THE VICES OF POLITICAL MINORITIES.* Self-PRESERVATION characterizes all the regular formations of nature. Caterpillars have ever cankered trees, but the injury is only individual, while trees, as a class of existences, continue unabated. Wolves and owls have ever preyed on flocks and birds, but the species preyed on continue as numerous as ever.
Domestic malcontents have ever struggled against social order, but civil societies preserve their organization-nature being more conservative than destroyers are destructive. And in addition to this general preservative energy which pervades nature, Providence fortifies the principle in men, by everywhere and at all times connecting our personal interests with the interests of the society of which we are members. What God has thus joined together, men sometimes try to separate. History records occasionally an Arnold, who attempts to benefit himself by the sacrifice of the interests of his nation, but so conscious are men of the impracticability of such attempts, that even the attempts are only sufficiently numerous to exėmplify their hopelessness.
Rulers, Legislative and Executive, being thus almost constrained by Providence to govern wisely and justly, they present to opposing partisans no means of opposition, but to condemn measures that are not wrong, and to advocate alternatives that are not right; every political minority occupies thus a false position, like a lawyer in a cause where law and equity are against him. The indiscriminate advocacy of right and wrong by lawyers, is supposed to impair their ability to discern right from wrong; and the like self-abuse of the intellect that is practiced by minority politicians, is still more pernicious, because it is more unremitting. With no fixed principle but opposition, they are like children who play the game of contrary, never letting go but when they are told to hold fast, and never holding fast but when they are told to let go; consequently, by a remarkable sympathy which exists between our feelings and our words, such politicians soon become the dupes of their own opposition-like persons spoken of in Holy Writ, who, by a like process, are said “to be delivered up to a strong delusion, that they believe a lie;" or as Shakspeare paraphrases the idea, “when we in our viciousness grow hard, the wise gods seal our eyes,-in our own filth drop
*Published in 1848.
—in our clear judgments, making us adore our errors.” They deem the country ever on the brink of destruction, uncorrected by experience, which is continually teaching them the falsity of preceding predictions ; for, like monomaniacs, they impute the failures to any cause but their diseased misconceptions. We have seen that when the world would not burn up, as Miller had predicted it would, the failure occasioned only the assignment of a new period for the predicted catastrophe. So, we possess everywhere multitudes of politicians, who, though old, have never known the Gov. ernment perform a worthy action, or act from a worthy motive. The whole political course of our nation they deem a series of misdemeanors, for the perpetration of which the offenders escape punishment by only some strange infatuation of the people—the very doctrine of every Lunatic Asylum, whose inmates deem themselves sane, and that the insane are at large. Nor can they learn by experience that political power cannot in nature result from offences against patriotism; hence they thus offend continually, but continually see power within their reach. Their ascension robes are ever kept ready, but the millenium will not come, and instead thereof, public odium is showered on the unnecessary alarmists, till they have repeatedly abandoned their political name in the hope of losing their own identification therewith; but exhibiting an entire childlike unsuspicion that, without a change of conduct, every new name must soon become as odious as the old. When only last year England and our country, tired of the old experiment of trying which could most harm the other, began to try whether they cannot reciprocate benefitsshe by relaxing in our favor the qualified monopoly enjoyed by her agriculturists, and we relaxing in her favor the qualified monopoly enjoyed by our manufacturers—the benevolent experiment was assailed by the madness of party, and, as usual, every conceivable calamity was predicted from it. But again, as usual, the predictions are falsified. Manufactures, which were to perish, increase, despite of prophecy, till even our Utica, not easily stimulated to new enterprises, is allured by the yet great profits of such operations, and resounds with new factories. Why should not two kindred countries relieve each other? Our agriculturists were becoming impoverished by the over-abundance of nature's bounties, while English manufacturers were becoming impoverished by an excess of the productions of art. Why should not the full breast of exuberant youthful America be turned to the famished lips of its aged mother? and why should we not receive from her superabundant wardrobe, the articles of which we are deficient?
All the events of history which constitute epochs in our career of glory, were ushered into being under denunciations like the foregoing. And if we turn from the events of our history to the historical heroes and statesmen by whom the events were achieved, we shall find that they
struggled against the denunciations of contemporary political monomaniacs. Nothing, indeed, is more intellectually healthful than to note how the Mr. Polks of the day, whom we are invoked to hate and oppose, mellow by time into the patriots whom our descendants are to adore. Jackson, who barely escaped from being murdered to rid the world of a monster, is already less than half a monster deserving assassination, and more than half a patriot to be revered; while Jefferson, once the base truckler to Napoleon in the purchase of Louisiana, in despoliation of poor, prostrate Spain, is so rectified by death and time, that the farmer of Marshfield, the great expounder of existing political monomania, is, if we may believe report, about to perform a pilgrimage from Massachusetts to the tomb of the sage of Monticello, an event with only one similitude in history, the pilgrimage of Henry II. to the shrine of Thomas a Becket.
Events also meliorate by time. The war with England, which in its prosecution, was deemed so unnecessary and wicked, that pulpits preached against it, States nullified it, and Hartford Conventions contemplated treason to arrest it, is now so traditionally glorious, as to be surpassed in public estimation by only the War of Independence. Even the recent obloquy against Texas' annexation is fading; while indications are so fast accumulating of a succeeding universal popularity, that men who failed to be early in hailing the risen star, are beginning to feel in relation to their heresy, as the lukewarm friends of young Napoleon, when they saw him looming irresistibly into imperial splendor. And, doubtless, the war with Mexico, wicked, infamous, and unnecessary as it is deemed by political monomaniacs, who can see nothing in their country's victories but murder, and nothing in Mexican aggressions but the