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REVIEW—POLITICAL IDEAS IN THE NORTH, &c.
The Dogma of Numerical Majorities...Its Date in the Yankee Mind... Demoralization of the Idea of the Sovereignty of Numbers...Experience of Minorities in American Politics...Source of the Doctrine of "consolidaTion "...The Slavery Question the Logical Result of Consolidation...Another Aspect of Consolidation in the Tariff...Summary of the Legislation on the Tariff...A Yankee Picture of the Poverty of the South...John C. Calhoun... President Davis' Opinion of his School of Politics..."Nullification," as a Union Measure...Mr. Webster's "Four Exhaustive Propositions "...The True Interpretation of the Present Struggle of the South...The Northern Idea of the Sovereignty of Numbers,..Its Results in this War...President Lincoln's Office...The Revenge of the Yankee Congress Upon the People...The Easy Surrender of their Liberties by the Yankees...Lincoln and Cromwell...Explanation of the Political Subserviency ;n the North...Superficial Political Education of the Yankee...His "Civilization "...The Moral Nature of the Yankee Unmasked by the War...His New Political Systefe...Burnside's "Death Order",..A Bid for Confederate Scalps...A New Interpretation of the War... The North as a Parasite...The Foundations of the National Independence of the South...Present Aspects of the War...Its External Condition and Morals... The Spirit of the South and the Promises of the Future.
The chief value of history is the moral discoveries it makes. What is discovered in 'the records of the old Union and the events of the present war, of that portion of the American people commonly known as the Yankees, furnishes not only food for curiosity, but a valuable fund of philosophy.
In exploring the character and political experience of the people of the North, much of what is generally thought to be a confusion of vices may be traced to the peculiar idea that people have of the nature and offices of government. Their idea of government may be briefly stated as the sovereignty of numbers. This conception of political authority is of no late date with the people of the North; it came in their blood and in their traditions for centuries; it was part of the Puritanical idea; it was manifest in the Revolution of 1776 (the issues of which were saved by the conservatism of the South); and it is to-day exhibited in the passionate and despotic populace that wages war upon the Confederacy.
The peculiarities of this idea of government are very interesting, and its consequences are visible in every part and fibre of the society of the North. It excludes all the elements of virtue and wisdom in the regulation of political authority; it fegards numbers as the great element of free government; it represents a numerical majority as infallible and omnipotent; and it gives opportunity to the flattery of demagogues to proclaim the divine rights and sagacity of numbers, and to denounce all constitutions which restrict liberty as most unrighteous inventions.
It is unnecessary to comment at length upon the errour and coarseness of this idea of government. According to the interpretation of the Yankees, the body politic ought simply to have a political organization to bring out and enforce the will of the majority; qiid such an organization was supposed to be the general government made by our forefathers. But while it is unnecessary to discuss the fallacy of this view, it is entertaining and instructive to observe the train of demoralization it introduced into the society of the North and the consequences it involved.
The Northern idea of government was materialistic; it* degraded political authority because it despoiled it of its moral offices and represented it as an accident determined by a comparison of numbers. It destroyed the virtue of minorities; compelled them to servile acquiescence; and explains that constant and curious phenomenon in much of American politics— the rapid absorption of minorities after the elections. It laid the foundations of a despotism more terrible than that of any single tyrant; destroyed moral courage in the people; broke down all the barriers of conservatism; and substituted the phrase, "the majority must govern" fox the conscience and justice of society.
This idea, carried out in the early political government of America, soon attained a remarkable development. This development was the absurd doctrine of Consolidation. It denied the rights of the States; refused to interpret the Union from the authority of cotemporaries or from the nature of the circumstances in which it was formed, or from the objects which it contemplated; and represented it as a central political organization to enforce the divine pleasure of a numerical majority. The Union was thus converted, though with difficulty, into a remorseless despotism, and the various and conflicting interests and pursuits of otie of the vastest political bodies in the world were entrusted to the arrogant and reckless majority of numbers.
The slavery question wTas the logical and inevitable result of Consolidation. It is remarkable how many minds in America have proceeded on the supposition that this agitation was accidental and have distracted themselves with the foolish inquiry why the Yankees assailed the domestic institutions of the South while they neglected to attack the similar institutions of Cuba and Brazil. These minds do not appreciate the fact that the slavery agitation was a necessity of the Northern theory of government. Duty is the correlative of power; and if the government at Washington in Yankee estimation was a consolidated organization, with power to promote the general welfare by any means it might deem expedient, it was proper that it should overthrow the hated institution of slavery in the South. The central government ffis responsible for its continuance or existence in proportion to its power over it. Under these circumstances the duty of acting upon the subject of slavery was imperious and amounted to a moral necessity.
But the slavery agitation was not the only remarkable consequence of the Northern idea of the divine rights of majorities. It may be said that every political maxim of the North has its practical and selfish application as well as its moral and sentimental aspect. The same idea of the power of numerical majorities that kindled the slavery disputes gave birth to the tariff and other schemes of legislation to make the Southern minority subservient and profitable to those who were their masters by the virtue of numbers.
The slavery and tariff issues are singularly associated in American politics; for one at least was an important auxiliary to the other. It was necessary for the Northern people to make their numerical power available to rule the Union; and as slavery was strictly a sectional interest, it only had to be made the criterion of the parties at the North to unite this section and make it master of the Union. When the power of the North could thus be united, it was easy to carry out its measures of sectional ambition, encroachment and aggrandizement. The history of the enormous despotism of Yankee tariffs is easily summed up.
The war of 1812 left the United States with a debt of one hundred and thirty millions. To provide for the payment of this debt, heavy duties were laid on foreign goods; and as in the exigencies of the war some home manufactures had sprung up, which were useful and deserving, and which were in danger of sinking under foreign competition, on the return of peace it was proposed to regulate the tariff so as to afford them some assistance. Protection was an incidental feature in the tariff of 1816, and as such was zealously recommended even by John C. Calhoun, who was a conspicuous advocate of the bill. But the principle of protection once admitted, maintained its hold and enlarged its demaWRs. In the tariffs of 1820, '24 and '28, it was successively carried further; the demand of the North for premiums to its manufacturing interests becoming more exacting and insolent.
In 1831 the public debt had been so far diminished as to render it certain that, at the existing rate of revenue, in three years the last dollar would be paid. The government had been collecting about twice as much revenue as its usual expenditures required, and it was calculated that if the existing tariff continued in operation, there would be after three years an annual surplus in the treasury of twelve or thirteen millions. Under these circumstances, the reduction of the tariff was a plain matter of justice and prudence; but it was resisted by the North with brazen defiance. Unfortunately, Mr. Clay was weak enough to court popularity in the North by legislative bribes, and it was mainly through his exertions that enough was saved of the protection principle to satisfy the rapacity of the Yankee; for which the statesman of Kentucky enjoyed a brief and indecent triumph in the North.
As an engine of oppression of the South, the tariff did its work well; for it not only impoverished her, but fixed on her a badge of inferiority which was an unfailing mark for Yankee derision. The South had no great cities. Their growth was paralyzed, and they were scarcely more than the suburbs of Northern cities. The agricultural productions of the South were the basis of the foreign commerce of the United States; yet Southern cities did not carry it on. The resources of this unhappy part of the country were taxed for the benefit of the Northern people, and for forty years every tax imposed by Congress was laid with a view of subserving the interests of the North.
The blight of such legislation on the South was a source of varied gratification to the Yankee; especially that it gave him the conceit that the South was an inferiour. The contrast between the slow and limited prosperity of the South and the swift and noisy progress of the North, was never more remarkable than at the period of the greaP tariff #controversy of 1831-2. The condition of the country at this time is described by Parton, the Yankee biographer of Andrew Jackson, with flippant self-complacency. He says:
"The North was rushing on like a Western high-pressure "steamboat, with rosin in the furnace and a man on the safety u valve. All through Western New York, Ohio, Indiana and "Illinois, the primeval wilderness was vanishing like a mist, u and towns were springing into existence with a rapidity that "rendered necessary a new map every month, and spoiled the