[ocr errors]

• These columns express the excess over, or deficiency from, a majority in each state, obtained by the

Whigs and Democrats respectively. They are im ed by the third party, wherever it intervened.

rtant to show the precise amount of disturbance createre 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. + South Carolina does not entrust the choice of Presidential Flectors to the people, and we have there

fore 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 distrist 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 sirty-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 #. 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 data 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 .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
}. polled majorities, furnished but one
undred and twenty electors, eighteen
less than the requisite number.
Another notable fact, apparent upon
the figures, is the smallness of the majori-
ties 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 ex-
tensive territory and among a vast popu-
lation, 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 Geor-
gia 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 rule,”—every administration of which depends for its whole 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 upon which we base our opinion, that NewYork, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Louisiana were carried by fraud; not deceptive argument, not lying assertion, 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. Wan 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 j 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 i. and in action. The word “Democracy” has had a potent charm about it; it is beautiful in its theo

ries, 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 loudestmouthed 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 forcibly 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 our 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.

[ocr errors][merged small]

IN the following relation of real occurrences there are several incidental matters it would be well to have understood. So much of exaggerated romance is to be observed pervading the narrative spirit of the times, that, with a due respect for the good nature of our readers, it has become indispensable that the story-teller should be very sure of his ground—that is, sufficiently so, to feel that he can establish a sympathetic confidence between his readers and himself, that he is not attempting to impose upon their credulity by sheer and egregious fabrications of his own, when he undertakes to tell what is called a “hard story.” To define in words what the process of establishing this sympathy consists in, is a difficult matter. The most that can be said of it is, that it forms itself. Mere assertions will not always answer. Where it is required that they alone should be taken, they must be accompanied by a nameless and inexpressible air, not of candor only, but of minute and piquant detail, such as personal familiarity with the incidents narrated can only give. It is easy enough to romance upon the ground work of a general knowledge of characteristics, but to the cool search of an accurate eye, there is a want of filling in, an absence of those finer touches which are better felt than described. A very unsatisfactory impression of doubt is the consequence, and the writer who establishes himself on so unfortunate terms with the reader, must altogether fail of producing the effect he aims at. Neither the careless use of round assertions, nor reiterations of one's own special claims to immaculacy in truth-telling will bring about that pleasant state of trustfulness so desirable in the mind of the hearer. There is another extreme—that of too much pretension to a bluff, straight-forward “I am not eloquent as Brutus is : " kind of manner . But the world is getting too old for this game. There is yet a medium which strikes me as the only true one. Make no protestations at all, one way or the other. If there is a story to to tell, tell it. Be carefully minute, and ask no favors:—the hard eyed public will rate what is said properly. A sen

sitive irritability at the idea of distrust is not a whit more persuasive than a narrative bullyism;-men like neither to be whined or bluffed out of their judgments. Before proceeding, it would not be amiss to give a more definite idea, than has generally obtained, of the social condition of the peculiar region in which these strange scenes were enacted. Every body io. that Texas has been the peculiar and favorite resort of restless, adventurous men, and not those of this stamp simply, but as well the vicious and unprincipled, of nearly all nations. A knowledge of this fact alone would naturally lead one to expect, that the commingling of so many passionate and opposite extremes would lead to many extravagances in the action of their antagonism—that excesses of all kinds, the unhesitating expression of unbridled impulses, would be ordinary incidents of life here—that the quick wrath and bloody hand should be often simultaneous, where the most formidable weapons were openly worn, law and its restraints little regarded, and general sentiment favored a resort to them on trivial occasions. Though this much of a vague knowledge of the state of things there, might prepare the anticipation for a good deal—even though a visit to the principal cities of the country should still farther prepare it for a realization of what may properly come within the scope of such forces, still it would be difficult to understand how the monstrous exhibitions of frontier life, with which those who have lived amidst it are familiar, can o be credible. One must see with is own eyes and hear with his own ears, before he can readily conceive that many things occurring there could be looked upon as matters of course. Yet outrages the most terrible succeed each other rapidly;-men are lynched and stabbed and shot with as little compunction as you would feel in spitting a goose ! The law of bloody force is alone recognized; there is no medium between the insult and the desperate retaliation. There is no interposition, of either general sentiment or civil organization, between the savagery of unreclaimed blood wreaking its worst and the stricken victim. Personal prowess, iron nerve and skill in the use of weapons, are the traits most calculated for insuring respect, and commanding power. How recklessly these are displayed may be appreciated by remembering the late notoriety of the Regulator wars, that raged so exterminatingly in this very county of Shelby, which is the scene of our story; and the answer given by President Houston to the first application which was made for his interposition with the civil forces under his command to put a stop to them, is entirely characteristic of the man and the country:-" Fight it out among yourrselves: The sooner you kill each other off the better | *

It was the period of the first organization of the Regulators to which our story refers. Shelby, in the latter part of —39, was a frontier county and bordering upon that region known as the Red Lands, was the receptacle of all the vilest men who had been driven across our borders, for crimes of every degree Horse-thieves and villains congregated there in such numbers, that the open and bare-faced effort had been made to convert it into a sort of “Alsatia” of the West—a place of refuge for all outlaws, who understood universally that it was only necessary to the most perfect immunity in crime, that they should succeed in effecting an escape to this, neighborhood, where they would be publicly protected and pursuit defied. The extent to which this thing was carried may be conjectured when it is known, that bands of men disguised as Indians would sally forth into the neighboring districts, with the view to visiting some obnoxious person with their vengeance—either in the shape of robbery or murder. Returning with great speed, and driving the valuable stock before them, till they were among their friends again, they would re-brand the horses and mules, resume their usual appearance, and laugh at retaliation. Even single men would, in the face of day, commit the most daring crimes, trusting to an escape here for protection. They seemed determined at any risk to hold the county good against the encroachments of all honest citizens; and it came to be notorious, that no man could move among them with any citizen-like and jo. motives, but at the expense of

is personal safety or his conscience— for the crime of refusing to take part with them was in itself sufficient to subject

all new comers to a series of persecutions, which soon brought them into terms or resulted in their extermination. We do not wish to be understood that the whole pulation of the county were avowedly orse-thieves and cut-throats. There was one class of wealthy Planters, another of the old stamp of restless, migrating Hunters, who first led the tide of population over the Alleghanies and are now leading it across the Rocky mountains. These two made some pretensions to outward decorum, and in various ways acted as restraints upon the worse disposed; while these last, with that utter intolerance of restraints which so unbounded license necessarily engenders, determined to submit to no presence which should in any way rebuke or embarrass their deeds. Most of these bad men were a kind of small landholders who only cultivated patches of ground dotting the spaces between the larger Fo but they kept very fine orses, and depended more upon their speed for acquiring plunder, than on any capacity of their own for labor. . were finally wrought up to the last pitc of restlessness by this closing around of unmanageable persons, and organized themselves into a band of Regulators, as they termed themselves. They proclaimed that the county limits needed purification, and that they felt themselves specially called to the work. Accordingly under the lead of a man who was himself a brutal monster, named Hinch, they commenced operations. . In this publicspirited and praiseworthy undertaking, they soon managed to reduce the county to the subjection of fear, if not to an affectionate recognition of the prerogatives they arrogated to themselves. The richer Planters they compelled to pay a heavy Black-mail rent, in fee-simple of a right to enjoy their own property and lives, with the farther understanding that they were to be protected in these immunities from all dangers from without of a similar kind. The Planters in return were to wink upon any deeds, whose coloring might otherwise chance to be offensive to eyes polite. The other class—a class of simplehearted, sturdy men—were goaded and tortured by the most aggravated annoyances, until, driven in despair to some act of retaliation, they furnished their tyrants with the shadow of excuse, which even they felt to be necessary, and were then either lynched and warned to leave the

« 上一頁繼續 »