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portions of the public affairs were conducted with ability. But we have to lament that he was not proof against the insinu. ations and influences of evil counsellors, or perhaps against his own passions, when moved and excited. Hence, in one most important branch of the public interest, in that essential part of commercial regulation which respects the money, the currency, the circulation, and the internal exchanges of the country, accidental occurrences, acting on his characteristic love of rule, and uneasiness under opposition, led him to depart from all that was expected from him, and to enter upon measures which plunged both him and the country in greater and greater difficulties at every step, so that, in this respect, his whole course of administration was but a series of ill-fated experiments, and of projects framed in disregard of prudence and precedent, and bursting in rapid' succession; the final explosion taking place a few months after his retirement from office.
General Jackson was not elected with any desire or expectation, on the part of any of his supporters, that he would interfere with the currency of the country. We affirm this as the truth of history. It is incapable of refutation or denial. It is as certain as that the American Revolution was not undertaken to destroy the rights of property, or overthrow the obligation of morals.
But, unhappily, he became involved in a controversy with the then existing Bank of the United States. He manifested a desire, how originating or by whom inspired is immaterial, to exercise a political influence over that institution, and to cause that institution to exercise, in turn, a political influence over the community. Published documents prove this, as plainly as they prove any other act of his administration. In this desire he was resisted, thwarted, and finally defeated. But what he could not govern, he supposed he could destroy; and the event showed that he did not overrate his popularity and his power. He pursued the bank to the death, and achieved his triumph by the veto of 1832. The accustomed means of maintaining a sound and a uniform currency, for the use of the whole country, having been thus trampled down and destroyed, recourse was had to those new modes of experimental administration, to which we have already adverted, and which terminated so disastrously, both for the reputation of his administration and for the welfare of the country.
But General Jackson did not deny his constitutional obligations, nor seek to escape from their force. He never professedly abandoned all care over the general currency. His whole conduct shows that he admitted, throughout, the duty of the general government to maintain a supervision over the currency of the country, both metallic and paper, for the general good and use of the people; and he congratulated both himself and the nation, that, by the measures adopted by him, the currency and the exchanges of the country were placed on a better footing than they ever had been under the operation of a Bank of the United States. This confidence in his own experiments, we know, proved most illusory. But the frequency with which he repeated this and similar declarations establishes incontestably his own sense of the duty of government.
In all the measures of General Jackson upon the currency, the present chief magistrate is known to have concurred. Like him, he was opposed to the Bank of the United States; like him, he was in favor of the State deposit banks; and, like him, he insisted that, by the aid of such banks, the administration had accomplished all that could be desired on the great subjects of the currency and the exchange.
But the catastrophe of May, 1837, produced a new crisis, by overthrowing the last in the series of experiments, and creating an absolute necessity, either of returning to that policy of the government which General Jackson had repudiated, or of renouncing altogether the constitutional duty which it had been the object of that policy to perform. The latter branch of the alternative was adopted. Refuge was sought in escape. A duty, up to that moment admitted by all, was suddenly denied, and the fearful resolution announced, that government would hereafter provide for its own revenues, and that, for the rest, the people must take care of themselves.
Assembled here to-day, and feeling, in common with the whole country, the evil consequences of these principles and these measures, we pronounce against them all, from first to last, our deep and solemn sentence of condemnation.
We condemn the early departure of General Jackson from that line of policy which he was expected to pursue. We deplore the temper which led him to his original quarrel with the bank. We deplore the headstrong spirit which instigated him to pursue
that institution to its destruction. We deplore the timidity of some, the acquiescence of others, and the subserviency of all of his party, which enabled him to carry its whole, unbroken phalanx to the support of measures, and the accomplishment of purposes, which we know to have been against the wishes, the remonstrances, and the consciences of many of the most respectable and intelligent. We deplore his abandonment of those means for assuring a good currency, which had been successfully tried for forty years; his rash experiments with great interests; and the perseverance with which he persisted in them, when men of different temperament must have been satisfied of their uselessness and impotence.
But General Jackson's administration, authority, and influence are now historical. They belong to the past, while we have to do, to-day, with the serious evils, and the still more alarming portents, of the present. We remonstrate, therefore, most earnestly and emphatically, against the policy of the present administration upon this subject. We protest against the truth of its principles. We deny the propriety and justice of its measures. We are constrained to have too little respect for its objects, and we desire to rouse the country, so far as we can, to the evils which oppress and the dangers that surround us.
We insist that the present administration has consulted its own party ends, and the preservation of its own power, to the manifest neglect of great objects of public interest. We think there is no liberality, no political comprehension, no just or enlarged policy, in its leading measures. We look upon its abandonment of the currency as fatal; and we regard its system of sub-treasuries as but a poor device to avoid a high obligation, or as the first in a new series of ruthless experiments. We believe its professions in favor of a hard-money currency to be insincere; because we do not believe that
of common information and ordinary understanding can suppose that the use of paper, as a circulating medium, will be discontinued, even if such discontinuance were desirable, unless the government shall break down the acknowledged authority of the State governments to establish banks. We believe the clamor against State banks, State bonds, and State credits, to have been raised by the friends of the administration to divert public attention
Among the demonstrations of public opinion which preceded tion of General Harrison, in November, 1840, the convention held upon Bunker Hill, on the 10th of September, was perhaps the most imposing. The suggestion of a grand meeting upon this spot, to be attended by numerous delegates, not merely from Massachusetts and New England, but the other States of the Union, even those most remote, was received with great favor throughout the country, and was carried into full effect. Many persons from the distant States, travelling to the North, made their arrangements to be in Boston on this occasion. Respectable dele. gations from every section of the Union were specially appointed for this purpose, and every part of New England was fully represented. The number of strangers drawn to Boston to attend or witness the meeting was estimated by some persons as high as fifty thousand.
On the morning of the 10th, a vast procession was formed on the Common in Boston, and in the neighboring streets, and by eleven o'clock was ready to move. It was headed by one hundred and fifty truckmen, in white frocks, followed by more than a thousand well-mounted citizens. Fifty barouches and carriages succeeded, containing Revolutionary soldiers, gentlemen of distinction from other States, and persons specially invited. The different sections of the cavalcade were indicated by a variety of characteristic banners.
After the cavalcade came the pedestrian portion of the procession, the delegates from the New England States arranged in the rear, the others occupying places in the order in which the Constitution was adopted by their respective States. Appropriate banners, with significant devices, many of which were executed with great spirit, were borne by the seve eral delegations. The appearance of these respectable bodies from the extremest South and West was the peculiar feature of the day, and added much to its interest. It was the first occasion on which any similar display had taken place, to any thing like the same extent, in this part of the Union.
The delegations from the States were followed by those from the va