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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 any person 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
from its own mismanagement, and to throw on others the consequence of its own conduct. We heard nothing of all this in the early part of General Jackson's administration, nor until his measures had brought the currency of the country into the utmost disorder. We know that, in times past, the present chief magistrate has, of all men, had most to do with the systems of State banks, the most faith in their usefulness, and no very severely chastened desire to profit by their influence. We believe that the purpose of exercising a money influence over the community has never departed from the administration. What it could not accomplish by an attempt to bend the Bank of the United States to its purposes, we believe it has sought, and now seeks, to effect by its project of the sub-treasury. We believe that, in order to maintain the principles upon which the system of the sub-treasury is founded, the friends of the administration have been led to espouse opinions destructive of the internal commerce of the country, paralyzing to its whole industry, tending to sink its labor, both in price and in character, to the degraded standard of the uninformed, the ignorant, the suffering labor of the worst parts of Europe. Led by the same necessity, or pushing the same principles still farther, and with a kind of revolutionary rapidity, we have seen the rights of property not only assailed, but denied; the boldest agrarian notions put forth; the power of transmission from father to son openly denounced; the right of one to participate in the earnings of another, to the rejection of the natural claims of his own children, asserted as a fundamental principle of the new democracy; and all this by those who are in the pay of government, receive ing large salaries, and whose offices would be nearly sinecures, but for the labor performed in the attempt to give currency to these principles and these opinions. We believe that the general tone of the measures of the administration, the manner in which it confers favors, its apparent preference for partisans of extreme opinions, and the readiness with which it bestows its confidence on the boldest and most violent, are producing serious injuries upon the political morals and general sentiments of the country. We believe that to this cause is fairly to be attributed the most lamentable change which has taken place in the temper, the sobriety, and the wisdom with which the high public counsels have been hitherto conducted. We look with
alarm to the existing state of things, in this respect; and we would most earnestly, and with all our hearts, as well for the honor of the country as for its interests, beseech all good men to unite with us in an attempt to bring back the deliberative age of the government, to restore to the collected bodies of the people's representatives that self-respect, decorum, and dignity, without which the business of legislation can make no regular progress, and is always in danger either of accomplishing nothing, or of reaching its ends by unjustifiable and violent means.
We believe the conduct of the administration respecting the public revenue to be highly reprehensible. It has expended twenty millions, previously accumulated, besides all the accruing income since it came into power; and there seems at this moment to be no doubt, that it will leave to its successors a public debt of from five to ten millions of dollars. It has shrunk from its proper responsibilities. With the immediate prospect of an empty treasury, it has yet not had the manliness to recommend to Congress any adequate provision. It has constantly spoken of the excess of receipts over expenditures, until this excess has finally manifested itself in an absolute necessity for loans, and in a power conferred on the President, altogether new, and in our judgment hostile to the whole spirit of the Constitution, to meet the event of want of resources by withholding, out of certain classes of appropriations made by Congress, such as he chooses to think may be best spared. It lives by shifts and contrivances, by shallow artifices and delusive names, by what it calls “facilities," and the “ exchange of treasury notes for specie"; while, in truth, it has been fast contracting a public debt, in the midst of all its boasting, without daring to lay the plain and naked truth of the case before the people.
We protest against the conduct of the House of Representatives in the case of the New Jersey election. This is not a local, but a general question. In the union of the States, on whatever link the blow of injustice or usurpation falls, it is felt, and ought to be felt, through the whole chain. The cause of New Jersey is the cause of every State, and every State is therefore bound to vindicate it.
That the regular commission, or certificate of return, signed by the chief magistrate of the State, according to the provisions of law, entitles those who produce it to be sworn in as members
of Congress, to vote in the organization of the House, and to hold their seats until their right be disturbed by regular petition and proof, is a proposition of constitutional law, of such universal extent and universal acknowledgment, that it cannot be strengthened by argument or by analogy. There is nothing clearer, and nothing better settled. No legislative body could ever be organized without the adoption of this principle. Yet, in the case of the New Jersey members of Congress, it was entirely disregarded. And it is of awful portent, that on such a question, - a question in its nature strictly judicial, — the domination of party should lead men thus flagrantly to violate first principles. It is the first step that costs. After this open disregard of the elementary rules of law and justice, it should create no surprise, that, pending the labors of a committee especially appointed to ascertain who were duly elected, a set of men calling themselves representatives of the people of New Jersey, who had no certificates from the chief magistrate of the State or according to the laws of the State, were voted into their seats, under silence imposed by the previous question, and afterwards gave their votes for the passage of the sub-treasury law. We call most solemnly upon all who, with us, believe that these proceedings alike invade the rights of the States, and dishonor the cause of popular government and free institutions, to supply an efficient and decisive remedy, by the unsparing application of the elective franchise.
We protest against the plan of the administration respecting the training and disciplining of the militia. The President now admits it to be unconstitutional; and it is plainly so, on the face of it, for the training of the militia is by the Constitution expressly reserved to the States. If it were not unconstitutional, it would yet be unnecessary, burdensome, entailing enormous expenses, and placing dangerous powers in executive hands. It belongs to the prolific family of executive projects, and it is a consolation to find that at least one of its projects has been so scorched by public rebuke and reprobation, that no man raises his hand or opens his mouth in its favor.
It was during the progress of the late administration, and under the well-known auspices of the present chief magistrate, that the declaration was made in the Senate, that, in regard to public office, the spoils of victory belong to the conquerors; thus
boldly proclaiming, as the creed of the party, that political contests are rightfully struggles for office and emolument. We protest against doctrines which thus regard offices as created for the sake of incumbents, and stimulate the basest passions to the pursuit of high public trusts.
We protest against the repeated instances of disregarding judicial decisions by officers of government, and others enjoying its countenance; thus setting up executive interpretation over the solemn adjudications of courts and juries, and showing marked disrespect for the usual and constitutional interpretation and execution of the laws.
This misgovernment and maladministration would have been the more tolerable, if they had not been committed, in most instances, in direct contradiction to the warmest professions and the most solemn assurances. Promises of a better currency, for example, have ended in the destruction of all national and uniform currency; assurances of the strictest economy have been but preludes to the most wasteful excess; even the Florida war has been conducted under loud pretences of severe frugality; and the most open, unblushing, and notorious interference with State elections has been systematically practised by the paid agents of an administration, which, in the full freshness of its oath of office, declared that one of its leading objects should be, to accomplish that task of reform which particularly required the correction of those abuses by which the patronage of the federal government was brought into conflict with the freedom of elections.
In the teeth of this solemn assurance, it has been proved that United States officers have been assessed, in sums bearing proportion to the whole amount they receive from the treasury, for the purpose of supporting their partisans even in State and municipal elections.
Whatever, in short, has been most professed, has been least practised; and it seems to have been taken for granted, that the American people would be satisfied with pretence, and a fulltoned assurance of patriotic purpose. The history of the last twelve years has been but the history of broken promises and disappointed hopes. At every successive period of this history, an enchanting, rose-colored futurity has been spread out before
he people, especially in regard to the great concerns of revenue, finance, and currency. But these colors have faded, as the ob