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office-holder or office-seeker, was found to set up a faint and hypocritical cry for ‘justice to John Tyler' . How utterly hollow, forced and awkward . Two Tyler Democrats, engaged in manufacturing public sympathy or party support for the National Calamity, if by any chance they had been brought to look each other full in the face, must have yielded to a more imperative necessity for laughter than ever constrained two Roman augurs.
At last, when the time came for testing the sincerity of words by deeds, even the empty vanity of lip-service was refused, or very grudgingly given. Mr. Tyler's office-holders and Treasury-fed presses kept up a fussy show of activity and zeal in his cause, which had no other effect than that of proving his utter destitution of the confidence or good will of any part of the American people. His
tory has no parallel for the pungency of this man's rebuke, for the depth of his humiliation. A President in secure and undisputed possession of the patronage and power of the Government, holding and exercising the power to dismiss at pleasure, some twenty or thirty thousand functionaries distributed through every township of the Union, who had abandoned the party which elevated him, and thrown himself and all he had into the arms of its deadly antagonist, because the former would not and the latter did flatter him with hopes and promises of a reelection, was unable to obtain a single vote, for a nomination even, in the National Convention of that party for whose deceitful smiles he had sacrified truth, fidelity, character, the hope of honorable renown—in short, all that a good man holds dear, and a bad man cannot affect to
man, discoursing thereafter in this fashion: That “the invaluable practical services recently rendered by Mr. Tyler to the cause of those principles which have always been advocated by this Review, and sustained by its political friends, have attached to his position an interest which necessarily extends in no slight degree to his person also.”
And afterwards, in a labored sketch of his life, it defendeth him in every point at issue between him and the party that put him into power—declaring in the course of it that “the firmness of Mr. Tyler had dispelled the gathering gloom (of the democrats) and the meed of approval awarded him by the patriot at the Hermitage met with a willing response from the Democracy of the whole Union, until its echoes were lost in the caverns of the Rocky Mountains” ---(an expression imlying that all those moveable persons who É. escaped from civilization into the the wilderness, belong to the ‘right sort’--as they undoubtedly do.)
And again,---That “Mr. Tyler is now searated from the Federal (meaning the HIG) party, by an impassable gulph”--and would he only go on so, the Democracy would think much of him :
has left his chair of authority, but conscientiously seizes this “hybrid novelty’ four days in advance, for the express purpose of riding him (or it) summarily on a rail--which it does, to the ‘admiration', as before, of all its readers.
“For even though the hour,” saith the Review, “has not yet arrived, which is to be brightened by the reflection that Tylerism has ceased to exist, in any other than the past tense,” &c.
And afterwards it declareth, “the blaze
of a “Lone Star”, streaming up over our south-western horizon, alone sheds a certain degree of feebly reflected light on his retiring person, to redeem it from the entire darkness in which it would otherwise have gone down”---refusing to allow that those former “fiery passages' with the Whigs, once so highly estimated, reflect now any light on himseif or his antique friends, the Democracy. Also it observes: “Men rarely love a treason so well as to forget to despise the traitor”--which is remarkably true, for the authorityl; only that Loco-focoism, in those times, not only did “love the treason,” but ArFECTED not to “despise the traitor.”
He pronounceth, too, this “hybrid tertium quid” a double traitor, as having originally deserted from their ranks to the Whigs, – then back #. to them; (Scripture urgeth the same thing against the dog and the sow); and that, also, is most true, as we are happy to recognize; for surely no such man could well have arisen anywhere else. As John Tyler was born in the Democratic ranks, so has he naturally returned to die there : it is hard to say whether his political birth or death will do them the more honor.
despise. He had filed his mind' to make everything else subservient to this con: suming passion for a second term, and his Postmasters, Revenue Officers, Land Officers, and every species of Executive pensioners, had strained or seemed to strain every nerve to secure Justice to John Tyler” Many of the States had chosen their delegates by Congress Districts, so as to afford the most liberal oprtunity for the play of intrigue and the }. of accident. One must have anticipated that amid the fierce, though subdued, struggles of the friends of Van Buren, Calhoun, Cass, Buchanan, at least one Tyler delegate might have been slipped in, by playing off one strong saction against another, and so securing the vote to a man so weak as to be feared by neither, as a sort of compromise or drawn battle. Aaron Burr, in his most obnox: ious days, with Mr. Tyler's position and patronage, would have secured a fair show of strength in a Democratic Nominating Convention. But the convention met; the satellites of the Executive also held a convention at the same time and place They would exerta happy influence by their presence. They would designate by their promptunanimity the man best calculated to heal the fierce discord which reigned in the camp of the Democracy. All labor lost! The real convention guarreled and struggled for days, unhorsed the old party leaders, and considered the claims of many aspirants to the succession, but never gave a thought to those of John Tyler. Many persons were proposed for President, many voted for, but John Tyler was never among them. From first to last, in calm or in storm, in days when all was hopeless anarchy, and in hours of relative harmony, jo, condescended to throw away a vote on John Tyler. And when the nomination was made, though the name of the candidate was a revelation to most of those who finally supported him, and many were at first disposed to rebel ainst a choice so strange and unexpected, none of them contemplated the deserate alternative of supporting John Tyler. Yes: after a brief interval had been allowed for the expression of public sentiment, the unwelcome, but indisputable truth overcame even the stubborn infatuation of this man himself. He found that he had no strength, no popularity, no party, not even a faction. Beyond his own office-holding dependents, nobody
talked of supporting him, and these did not mean it. They were even now speculating on the relative chances of the two real candidates, and taking their positions respectively according to their predictions of the result. They alone labor. ed under the necessity of preserving a show of regard for him, and they alone did it. Through the long agony of the succeeding desperate struggle, every man who possessed any power, moral or intellectual, of influencing the opinions or the conduct of men, was eagerly pressed into the arena—was called out by letters, his views solicited, his sayings repeated, his judgment relied on—but who asked, who thought, of the opinions of Mr. Tyler And when the struggle was over, and the election of Polk proclaimed, there were cheers and congratulations for all the leaders and champions of the victorious host—there was an almost universal and profoundly sincere sympathy for the great statesman, who, by calumny and fraud, by concealment and evasion, by falsehood and misrepresentation, had been overborne in the vehement contest. Thousands of determined adversaries, now that the struggle was over, bore a cheerful and hearty testimony to his loftiness of character, unequaled practical ability, and chivalrous magnanimity of soul. But who congratulated, who condoled with, President Tyler Who but his valiant trencher-men wished that the fortune of the victor, or the honor of the vanquished, had been his 2 Who cared whether he grieved or rejoiced at the isSue 2 The closing scene of his miserable public life—the gradual wasting away of the ravenous crowd which so recently besieged the portals of the Executive Mansion—the shameless transfer of their sycophancy to the prospective dispenser of Treasury manna—the solitude (save when entertainment was provided) of those dreary hours of waning, vanishing greatness—why should we attempt to portray? Personally, Mr. Tyler has passed into a fitting obscurity, which his friends must hope may be disturbed by no future accident. Be reflection and penitence the companions of his future years. The moral of this strange, instructive history is one which cannot be too early or too deeply impressed on the understandings and hearts of our aspiring, eager youth. From the grave of Mr. Tyler's reputation there rises a warning voice, which says to every attentive soul, “BE TRUE * Falsehood, unfaithfulness, dissimulation, treachery—these may seem to prosper for the moment, but the eternal laws of the Universe are against them and must prevail. A brief hour of hollow and tottering triumph is all that the most brilliant . perfect success in ill-doing can hope for. Had Mr. Tyler been a true man, he could not have overruled and defeated the action of Congress on nearly every important measure, except on the most imperative and powerful convictions of duty. He must have realized that the representatives of the People, (not by accident, but by deliberate selection,) elected either simultaneously or subsequently to the choice of President and Vice President, were far more likely to understand the wants and requirements of the country than he alone could be. He must have felt that the unprecedented manner of his unexpected elevation to the Presidency, instead of the man designated for that #. by the People, and who stood pubicly pledged" to unite in perfecting such measures, with regard to the currency, as the wisdom of Congress should devise, furnished a strong additional reason for his forbearing the exercise of the extreme power of the Veto. He must have been tortured by the thought that the act which he meditated was certain to send a pang of disappointment and chagrin to nearly every heart that had beat with joy at the tidings of his election, and be hailed with shouts of exultation and delight by every relentless adversary of that cause which had so honored him, and to which he had professed devotion. He must have known that wherever his Wetoes should reach a rude opening in the wilderness, a saw-mill, or a shingle shanty, the ready instinct of every Whig, however unversed in public affairs or the verbal plausibilities whereby infidelity to lofty trusts may be varnished, would proclaim him a designing traitor. Must not an upright man have shrunk from the confusion of his friends, and the exultation of his adversaries, thus foreshadowed, as more to be dreaded than death Must he not have sought, if need were, in the resignation of his accidental position an escape from an alternative so full of horror 2 But admit that the Weto of the first Bank bill was impelled by Mr. Tyler's cherished convictions—admit that he knew
not what he did, when, in the terror excited by the first appalling burst of popular indignation, he urged the preparation and dictated the provisions of a Bank bill which he would assent to—(and this is to stretch charity beyond the bounds of W. that the second Bank
eto may in some way be justified—who can attempt to justify his Veto of that most important and patiently elaborated measure, the first Tariff bill of 1842, because it provided for the continuance of the Land distribution to the States ? That Land distribution had formed one of the great practical tests of party affinity for the preceding ten years. The Distribution was originated, and ably, untiringly ad
vocated by Mr. Clay, whom Mr. Tyler had professed so zealously to support in 1839; it had been advocated by Mr. Ty
ler himself, in a Report to the Virginia Legislature; in his letter (1840) to Mr. Robinson, jun., of Pittsburg, Pa., and at other times. The Whig party and he were alike committed to that measure; and his letter to Mr. Robinson, rebutting a charge preferred against him of AntiTariffism, plainly set forth the entire Whig doctrine on the subject, viz: sufficient Revenue to be raised by means of a Tariff exclusively, and the Land proceeds to be fairly and permanently divided among the States oft. Union. And yet this same John Tyler vetoed the great beneficent measure of the Whig Congress, solely on the ground of its providing for this distribution and Congress was compelled to surrender it, or leave the Government without the means of subsistence. This was the second time that this benign measure of harmony and peace with regard to the Public Lands has been crushed beneath the weight of a Presidential Veto, purely because its author was Henry Clay. Butlet us imagine that some mind can be found so peculiarly constructed as to find no difficulty in reconciling with ino good faith the whole series of r. '''. Vetoes—to discover some principle on which he may be justified in accepting a nomination as a Whig, and yet using the power thence resulting to thwart and defeat the Whigs on every important measure on which they had appealed to the country—how shall he, how can he, justify Mr. "... sweeping removal from office of Whigs to make room for their inveterate opponents The Whigs had been rigidly excluded from office during the twelve preceding years; they had labored faithfully with and for Mr. Tyler in the great contest of 1840; they had been appointed to office in part by General Harrison, the remainder by himself. But Mr. Tyler sees fit to differ from the Whig majority of Congress on a most vital administrative measure— crimination and alienation ensue—and he proceeds to remove from office nearly all those who had supported, and put in their laces men who had vehemently opposed im, some of whom were the very men he had previously supplanted. as not here a palpable confession on his part, not merely of treachery, but of conscious treachery! The character of Mr. Tyler may be read by every one in his actions; but the following summary, by one of the most able and eloquent political writers of the day, is so pointedly, so tersely, and withalso justly written, we present it as the most fit conclusion of all we could wish to say. We quote from the “Defence of the Whigs, by a Member of the twentyseventh Congress.” “His few partisans in the nation are clamorous in demanding justice to John Tyler. Justice, assuredly, he will obtain from the o of History. “It will represent him as a President accidentally brought into power, who, while the sudden honors of his station were yet new, manifested a heart full of gratitude to his friends and replete with good resolutions to serve the great public interests which had combined to place him where he was. It will describe him as vainglorious, weak and accessible to any extravagance of flattery; of a jealously quickly provoked by the ascendency of superior minds, and nervously sensitive against the o of being under their influence. That, from the fear of such an imputation, he had thrown himself into evil associations, and surrounded himself with private and irresponsible counsellors, who, neither by station nor capacity, were entitled to give him advice, and who fatally drove him into an open rupture with those whom it should have been his pride to call his friends. “Variable and infirm of purpose, he will be exhibited as ever halting between opposite opinions. Anxious to impress the world with a reputation for inflexibility, he will be shown to be, in fact, without a judgment of his own, and resolute
* See General Harrison's speech at Dayton, Ohio, Sept. 10th, 1840
only in avoiding that obvious road which, with least embarrassment to himself and least difficulty in the selection, it was his plainest duty to pursue. It will be truly said of him, that it cost him more trouble to find the wrong way, than ordinarily perplexes other men to discern the right. That, in seeking excuses to differ from his friends and gratify his enemies, he was perpetually shifting from one awkward and difficult device to another, without the least attention even to the appearance of consistency, until he succeeded, at length, in alienating from his society every man whose support he should have desired; at the same time imbittering the separation with an unhappy distrust of his fidelity to those principles to which he was bound by plighted honor. That, while he was ever changing his round, conceding, retracting, affirming, enying, his concessions were made without sincerity, his retractions without excuse, and his conduct in all distinguished for its want of dignity. That, with a fair, though moderate reputation for capacity, before he came to the Presidency, he lost this in the first few months of his service; disappointed the hopes of his friends; raised his enemies from the despondency of recent defeat into the highest tone of exultation, and diffused through all ranks of the community an opinion of his want of fitness for the i. station to which he had been called. That, emphatically the accident of an accident, without popularity, without a mind to conceive or a heart to execute great undertakings, he had chosen a position of intense responsibility and univerfal observation, and committed himself to a hazard which even the wisest and boldest might contemplate with apprehenSion.” “We may say of this President what Milton has said of another unhappy ruler, whose melancholy fate furnishes the most awful example on record of the danger in a Chief Magistrate violating his promises to the people, “that for the most part, he followed the worser counsels, and, almost always, of the worser men.” Enough. This is a melancholy chapter of history; but it teaches one great lesson, which had better be learned thus early in our national existence—never again to set up for exalted political station any other than thoroughly upright men, whose integrity has stood the test of time and temptation.
THE horrors of the French Revolution stand out in such terrible relief in the history of that great event, that the mind is often unable to see anything else, and the strong undercurrent is lost sight of. The whole revolution is regarded as the lawless action of an excited mob, which having once grasped the power, hurled every thing into chaos with the incoherency and madness of passion. The king, the aristocracy, and the clergy, are looked upon as silent sufferers, till borne under by this wild power which swept throne, crown, and titles into one blood grave. We hear the tocsin sounded, the générale beat, and see the flying crowds with pikes and lances, swarming around the royal palace, rending the air with shouts and curses, while human heads are rolled by hundreds into the utters, and this we call “the Revoution.” The waking up the human mind from the sleep of ages—the manner in which liberty grew step by step, till Europe shook on . feudal throne at the sudden daylight poured on her oppressions; and the immutable law of retributive justice working amid all those mutations, hold but a secondary place in our contemplations. We forget also to place the blame of the acts of violence and atrocity where it ought to rest, not considering that the agents themselves are not alone guilty, but those also who forced them by pride and tyranny to their execution. The number of histories written of the French Revolution are legion, and yet we do not remember one which escapes the charge of prejudice or incompleteness. Scott wrote of it with a blindness and recklessness of truth wholly unworthy of him—Alison with a love for the tragic and horrible, and hatred of republicanism, that sunk him below even Sir Walter Scott. The different memoirs given us by those who were actors amid its scenes, or those whose friends suffered in prison or under the #. are necessarily colored by the eelings of the writers. Mignet is perhaps an exception to the great class of authors who have written of this period,
but he is a speculating Frenchman, thinking more of his theories than of facts. Thiers' work is a fair offset to this whole class of histories. The freezing details of crime and ferocity are left out, and he moves straight on through his narrative with his one main object constantly in view, viz: the progress of the struggle. To him the wholesale murders and massacres are accidents, while the history of the Revolution is a statement of its rise, progress, and termination. The causes leading to each step, and its result in effecting political changes are the main thing—the disasters that accompanied these steps, but secondary matters. He is a statesman, and very naturally contemplates every thing in a business-like spirit. He would follow the government not the mob. Mr. Alison, On à. contrary, is a romancer, when he is not a ridiculous philosopher. The great objections to Mr. Thiers' work is, that were it the only one we possessed of that period, we should get no adequate idea of the horrors that were committed in the name of liberty. The matter of fact way he has of stating every thing prevents us from being excited where we should be, and leaves us in darkness respecting many of the details. His descriptive powers are evinced far more in sketching a spirited or riotous debate in the Assembly or National Convention, than in a guillotine scene. He is a cool-blooded man, whose feelings never run away with his judgment. The editor of the work supplies by frequent notes the details M. Thiers has omitted, and though they are badly arranged, often confusing the reader as he attempts to keep the thread of the narrative, yet we would not do without them. In his long preface he declares the history to exhibit “the adroit, keen, clear-headed man of the world,” while at the same time, it is of “an animated, practical, and dramatic character.” We rather suspect the word “dramatic” was put in to complete a full period, for it not only contradicts the former part of the sentence, but is untrue in every way. If one seeks a “ dramatic” history, let
* The History of the French Revolution, by M. A. Thiers, late Prime Minister of France. Translated, with Notes and Illustrations, by Frederick Schoberl. Complete in Four Wols., with Engravings. Philadelphia: Cary, Lea, and Hart.