Address to the Republican electors of the state of New York, 10 September 1834
TO the REPUBLICAN ELECTORS OF THE STATE of NEW YORK.
The approach of our regular election of a Governor and Lieutenant Governor and the established usages of the Republican Party, have again brought together the delegates of your choice, to discharge the important and responsible duty of selecting and presenting to the public suitable candidates for those high offices. This duty upon ordinary occasions delicate and difficult, has been to the present Convention plain and easy. A common feeling has pervaded the republicans of every portion of the State; and that feeling, brought together by delegates from the various counties, has indicated a unanimous preference for the two distinguished individuals, who now fill the offices of Governor and Lieutenant-Governor, with so much credit to themselves and satisfaction to the public. The present incumbents, therefore, without a dissenting voice in the Convention, are again presented for your support.
When before you upon a former occasion, their firmness, intelligence and honesty as men, their patriotism as politicians, and their fidelity and ability in the various important public stations in which they had previously served, were their only recommendations.
At this time they come before you, as tried and faithful public servants in the offices for which they are re-nominated, fearlessly challenging the severest scrutiny, and only asking the award of your approbation upon the evidence they have given that their motives have been pure and elevated, and their measures such as were best calculated to promote the public interests.
William L. Marcy, fellow-citizens, is again offered for your acceptance as the republican candidate for Governor. If he merited your approbation in 1832, he has since added the strong recommendation of a practical and most successful trial in administering to the government: He has added two years to his previous public services, peculiarly marked by aptitude of talent, purity of purpose, devotion to the public good, firmness to meet any crisis, and by promptness and efficiency in maintaining the great interests of the State, and in protecting the individual interests of all its citizens.
John Tracy is also again presented to you as the republican candidate for the office of Lieutenant-Governor. This sound and unwavering democrat has been long and favorably known to the republican party. If, upon the former canvass he shared less of the abuse of a malignant opposition than Governor Marcy, it was not because his principles were less sound or less obnoxious to the aristocracy of the state. He was triumphantly sustained by the people, and the manner in which he has discharged his official duties, furnishes the highest evidence of his fitness for the station to which he is re-nominated.
If the pending contest involved merely a preference as to men, we could say to you, fellow-citizens, with entire confidence, that none could be presented offering stronger claims to your support, in the purity of their private character, the soundness of their political principles, their mental qualifications, business habits, plain republican manners, and their strong attachment to our happy form of government in the purity and simplicity inculcated by the immortal Jefferson. But when the principles involved in the present political divisions of the country are considered, mere preferences for men are merged in the more important question–who will best sustain these great and vital principles?
To answer this inquiry shall be our object; and to do so satisfactorily it will be necessary to see what are some of the most important of those principles, and to review briefly some of the political events of the last two years.
What, let us ask, are the causes of the recent excitement in the public mind?—What has embarrassed our commerce, interrupted our trade, shaken public confidence, and threatened a total prostration of business throughout the country? Were we involved in foreign wars? No. We were at peace with the whole world. —Were our relations of intercourse with other nations disturbed? Never was there a period during the existence of the government when our foreign relations were on so favorable a footing. Had Providence withheld from us the usual bounties of the season? No. The internal condition of the country was one of universal prosperity. Whence, then, this unnatural alarm in the midst of peace and plenty? The answer is an easy one. We have a gigantic moneyed institution, with a capital of thirty-five millions of dollars, and an annual business of one hundred millions, controlling the foreign and domestic exchanges and the currency of the country, and boasting of its power to shut up the state banks at pleasure. It is unnecessary to review in detail the operations of this institution during the last two years for the purpose of securing a renewal of its charter, which expires by its own limitation in the year 1836. The history of these operations is familiar to you all.—In the disclosures which have been made to the public through legislative investigations and the reports of the Government Directors, you have seen profuse expenditures of money, shameless purchases and prostitutions of the press, and an excessive exercise of the creditor power to accomplish its object. You have seen the money of the people placed at the disposal of the President of the Bank by the directors of that corrupt institution, to be applied to the publication of political documents for the purpose of defeating the re-election of Andrew Jackson to the Presidency of the United States. When you had passed judgment of condemnation, in conjunction with your republican coadjutors throughout the Union, upon these political enormities and upon the institution by which they were practised, the country had a right to suppose, and did suppose, that the question of a renewal of its charter was put at rest forever.
Not so easily, as experience has shown, is that controversy closed in which money struggles for power; in which a moneyed incorporation rises against its creators, and contends for the mastery; in which cupidity struggles against patriotism.
The session of Congress next following the presidential election of 1832, passed away without any open public movement on the part of the Bank; but the watchfulness of the veteran at the head of the government discovered, in the course of the ensuing vacation, the wanton waste of the moneys of the Bank and the people in the political expenditures already referred to, and that an extended authority had been given, by the board of directors, to a single officer of the Bank, at his own discretion, to make similar expenditures to the whole extent of the capital and means of the institution. He also discovered that a system of policy had been adopted, and was gradually going into operation, calculated to lead to partial curtailments of the outstanding and ordinary accommodations furnished by the Bank, to the interruption of domestic exchanges in one section of the Union, and the oppression of the local banks in another by the same operation, and calculated to disturb the currency, embarrass business, endanger the State Banks, and produce general distress and alarm, and consequent pressure. At this period, the Bank, in addition to its other immense means, was uniformly in possession of about ten millions of dollars of the public moneys as a deposite; and, as these moneys were principally the product of receipts from imposts, and paid in the large commercial cities by the customers of the State Banks, no portion of the means in the power of the institution could so easily be made instrumental in controlling or crushing these local banks as the public deposites. The merchants must draw the funds to pay their duties principally from these institutions in their respective cities; and as the payments made were to be deposited in the Bank of the United States, or its branch at the place where the duties were collected, it would be in the power of that bank daily to draw in silver and gold from the local banks, at any given point, an amount nearly equal to the daily collections of revenue.
The President found abundant manifestation of a disposition to control or ruin the State Banks, by means of the power thus possessed by the Bank of the United States, and a train of operations in progress to accomplish either object, as might best subserve the policy of this great and irresponsible corporation. His whole life had taught him that danger was to be best averted by being met, not waited for; and with that promptness and firmness which have ever characterized his official acts, he immediately made preparations to change the public deposites from the Bank of the United States to the State Banks. While a system of curtailments was going on under the direction of the officers of the former Bank, he saw clearly that these deposites could not be made useful to the mercantile community, if they were left in the vaults of that institution, but, if changed, they might serve the double purpose of sustaining the local institutions against the attempted oppressions of the Bank of the United States, and of enabling them to extend to the merchants and business men some relief against its rapid contractions. In the month of September, 1833, the Secretary of the Treasury, in pursuance of the policy, exercised the power reserved to him in the sixteenth section of the bank charter, and directed the deposites of the public moneys, from and after the first day of October then next, to be made in certain State Banks.
This measure was announced to the public nearly two months before the last annual election in this State; and was immediately seized upon by the purchased presses of the Bank, as a topic which they might turn to the favorable account of the opposition. The conduct of the President was canvassed with a freedom and severity surpassing former example. The removal of Mr. Duane, and the subsequent change of the deposites, were represented as cumulative acts of oppression and tyranny; and we were gravely told that the liberties of the country were gone, and that a military despot had seized the reins of government. The prompt rejection by the Senate of the United States of the Secretary of the Treasury, who had dared to make the order, was foretold with a confidence by the Bank press, which would seem to imply either a knowledge of the feelings and views of a majority of that body, or a power existing somewhere to bring those feelings and views to that result. The President and Secretary were threatened with early impeachment by the House of Representatives, for a pretended violation of the vested rights of this moneyed institution. Alarms for the trade and commerce and currency of the country were loudly and constantly sounded, and ruin and bankruptcy throughout the land were confidently predicted.
Under these circumstances our general election came on, and the result was a more sweeping and triumphant victory to the friends of the administration than had ever before characterized any election. After the election, every part of the State relapsed into its usual quiet, and the citizens of all classes resumed their accustomed occupations.
Such was the condition of the State of New-York, when Congress met in December last. No unusual excitement of any kind existed in the public mind; no unusual pressure on the money market was felt or known; no interruption of trade and commerce had been experienced; no shock to public confidence had been given. All was quiet in the body politic, and business of every description was lively and prosperous.
Scarcely, however, had a single day of that session of Congress passed, when it was gravely announced on the floor of the Senate, from a high source, and with the utmost "pomp and circumstance," that "all the powers of the government were in the hands of one man;" that "the purse and the sword of the nation were united, and that both had been violently seized by the President;" that "he had subverted the very pillars of the Constitution, and that the sacred instrument then lay bleeding at his feet;" that "the laws had been violated and trampled upon by him, and that his will had become paramount to the constitution and laws of the land;" in short, that "the country was in the midst of a revolution, bloodless as yet, but a revolution." These and similar declarations were repeated and reiterated upon the floor of both houses for months, by all the branches of the opposition.
Simultaneously with the commencement of "the panic" in the houses of Congress, movements of a purely political and partizan character were made in the large commercial cities. Public meetings were held, and memorials to Congress were circulated, bearing a striking and remarkable resemblance in thought and language to the congressional speeches which filled the public prints and flooded the country, and portraying not only with equal eloquence, but almost in the very same terms as the congressional orators, the usurpations of the President, the merits of the Bank, and the distresses of the country. To give effect to this machinery, the memorials were usually borne to the seat of government by some twenty or thirty citizens composing a committee for that sole purpose.
Proceedings of this character in and out of Congress, daily and constantly repeated, began to arouse the public attention. The Bank was playing its part of the game with less noise and more effect. The government directors had been for months shut out from a knowledge of its operations, by a transfer of its business from the board of directors to mere committees of that board, appointed by the president of the bank, and upon which no one of these directors was allowed a place; but now the time had arrived when their terms of office were to expire, and they were re-nominated by the President to the Senate. There the nomination slept from the 17th December until the 27th February following, when, although the same gentlemen had the year before been approved by the Senate, they were rejected. During this interval, the pressure in the Atlantic cities was brought to its maximum, and the curtailments by the Bank at those points had been nearly or quite completed. The local banks had felt its power, and been compelled to put themselves upon the defensive, by an almost entire suspension of discounts, by calling in their means, and preparing themselves for whatever blow might come. Thus the predicted pressure was produced; a scarcity of money necessarily followed this suspension of accommodations and these curtailments by the banks, and the mercantile and trading community were embarrassed, and their business temporarily interrupted.
Thus far the prophecies of ruin to the country were experiencing a most rapid and successful fulfilment, and the prophets were promising themselves honor even in their own country. The season was favorable. The frosts of winter had locked up the channels of internal commerce, and that portion of the business of the country was at a stand. The pressure upon the local banks of the cities must necessarily extend itself to the country institutions, and in proportion as they could be made to feel the necessity of contraction, the business men of the country towns would experience the truth of the prediction. The note of alarm was raised louder and higher in Congress; the Bank gave the screw another turn, the federal and bank merchants in the cities became "whigs," and practically closed their shops upon such great occasions as a distress meeting or a charter election, because this would give to the solemn farce a greater appearance of a "revolutionary" movement; the excitement increased, and songs of triumph began to be sung in high places.
The state of New-York, previous to this period, had been distinctly designated as the intended theatre for this "panic" war. Her political sins were many and aggravated, and she must be made to renounce and abjure them, or pay the severe expiation of the prostration of her credit, the suspension of her trade and commerce, the destruction of her local institutions, and the conversion of her internal communications to "solitudes and desert wastes of waters." She had increased in population and wealth beyond any of her sister states; she had constructed canals and rail-roads, and aided the enterprize of her citizens; she had set apart funds for the support of schools and seminaries of learning; she had placed her banking system upon a safe and secure foundation, and taken into her own hands the security of the innocent bill-holder; she had several times expressed her voice through the legitimate channel of her Legislature, decidedly against the re-charter of the Bank of the United States; she had, for nearly the whole period since the great struggle of 1798, sustained the democratic principles of Jefferson, with a firmness and energy second to few if any of the states in the Union; she had stood by the country during the late war with Great Britain, and shed her blood and expended her treasure in its defence; she had aided by her vote in the elevation of Andrew Jackson to the Presidency in 1828 and again in 1832, and had continued to yield her firm and cordial support to the great leading measures of his administration; one of her distinguished and favorite sons had been proscribed by the Senate of the United States, from sheer political hostility and rivalship, and she had yielded him to the republicans of the country to preside over the same Senate, and what was more aggravating, had given him her full and willing support for that elevated station; her delegation in the House of Representatives were too numerous and the republican portion of them too numerous and the republican portion of them too faithful to the wishes of their constituents; her last annual election had exhibited a greatly increased and rapidly increasing republican strength, and her legislature, then in session, had, by an almost unanimous voice, sustained the President in the removal of the deposites, and with the same unanimity condemned the Bank.
Could all these things, think you, fellow citizens, be forgiven? Could an American System and a Nullification leader combined, forgive the state of New-York? Could a Hartford Convention federalist forgive her? Could a party more deeply interested and more powerful than either and all of these, the Bank of the United States, forgive her? Could she under these circumstances of full prosperity, under these evidences of a stern determination, to adhere to sound republican principles, to oppose the bank, to oppose unprincipled political combinations, to oppose the artificial pressure and panic attempted to be excited for the benefit of both, and to stand by the Union, the constitution and the country? Could she, we ask, be left to the undisturbed protection of her own interests and the interests of her citizens? No! No! it was not to be hoped. A panic was to be raised to favor certain political objects, among which the re-charter of the Bank of the United States was by no means secondary, and such is the commanding position of our State, such its commerce and wealth and enterprise, that it must be moved, or the needful excitement could not be raised.
Hence have we seen our institutions assailed upon the floors of the two houses of Congress, and predictions of distress and poverty, bankruptcy and ruin held up to our fears, almost daily, for months together: hence have we heard our banks proclaimed to the public as insolvent, and their bills pronounced worthless rags in the pocket of the holder: hence have we seen 200 per cent deducted by a figure of oratory from our internal trade: our noble river stripped of its whitened sails and its smoaking steam-boats, and left a dreary solitude; our canals deserted, and their revenues diminished below the ordinary expenses of annual repairs; hence have we heard our political usages declaimed against and vilified as cunningly devised systems of chicanery and fraud, and our most worthy and faithful public officers unblushingly branded with insincerity and falsehood: hence have we seen our respectable citizens, when visiting the seat of the National Government, upon their business or for their pleasure, made the subjects of debate and invidious remark in that body which once was considered the most dignified in the world: and hence, have we witnessed, for a considerable portion of a long session of Congress, a whole political party, led on by a triumvirate of desperate and disappointed politicians, and supported by a moneyed institution, with a capital of thirty-five millions of dollars at its command, concentrating its efforts and making its utmost exertion to destroy the confidence of our citizens in their moneyed institutions, to produce runs upon our banks, to embarrass and destroy our trade, and thus to reduce our free republican electors to an unwilling submission to aristocratic dictation, and to abject dependence upon a single central monied power.
These efforts, thus commenced and thus persisted in, and seconded as they were by numbers of our own deluded citizens who seemed madly determined to achieve the political success in prospect, or to overwhelm themselves, their fellow-citizens and their State in one common ruin, called loudly for counteraction. Our worthy Governor, with the firmness and promptitude of the able and faithful magistrate, addressed a special message to the Legislature recommending to that body to extend the broad shield of the credit of the State over its citizens and institutions, by authorizing such a loan of money upon that credit as should enable the State Banks and the citizens generally to sustain themselves and the public confidence against any measures of the United States Bank and its political allies. The Legislature, with most commendable promptness, adopted the recommendation of the Governor, and passed a law authorizing, upon certain conditions, a loan of six millions of dollars, and providing for its disposition as seemed best calculated to accomplish the object in view. None of the money has, as yet, been borrowed, and there is no reason to believe that the interests to be protected will require one dollar of the loan. The greatest object, the prompt arrest of the panic and the restoration of public confidence, was effected by the firm and manly message of the Governor and the passage of the law. At that point the pressure in the State of New York abated. At that point the panic ceased. And at that point the Bank turned off, in despair, from any further efforts to shut the doors of the Safety Fund Banks.
That there has been a scarcity of money in the country, that there has been a pecuniary pressure, more or less severely felt in all parts of the Union, cannot be denied.-What caused it? Do you believe it has been a necessary consequence of the change of the deposits? Do you believe that the transfer of any sum of money from one side of the other side of Wall-street, in the city of New-York, would lessen the amount of money in New-York, or produce a scarcity of money in that city?-Do you believe that the change of any deposite, no matter what the amount, from the United States Bank in Philadelphia, to the Girard Bank in that city, would diminish the amount of deposites in the bank of Philadelphia, or produce a pecuniary pressure there? In short, do you believe that the mere change of the public money, from one bank to another, in the same town or village, each bank having the same power to use the money for banking purposes, and being under the same liability to pay when called upon, could, by any necessary consequence, materially affect the aggregate amount of banking facilities at the given place, or be an assignable cause for a scarcity of money at such place? Your answers to all the questions must be in the negative; and if so, you conclusively answer that the change of the deposites cannot have produced the pressure which was experienced during the past winter and spring. Permit us further to ask, do you believe, if there had been no such institution in existence as the Bank of the United States, that the pressure referred to would have been felt? Do you believe, if the charter of that bank had not been about to expire, and if it had not been a paramount object with its friends to obtain an extension of its banking powers and privileges beyond the time allowed by its present charter, that the distress, of which so much has been said within the last year, would ever have been heard of at all? Do you believe, if the bank had held the decision of the people of the United States, at the presidential election of 1832, conclusive against a renewal of its charter, as it should have done, and had proceeded quietly to wind up its business within the time allowed by its present charter, that the panic and pressure, which have so deeply agitated the whole community within the year past, would ever have had an existence? And finally, do you believe, if the question of a re-charter of the Bank of the United States had not been forced into a connection with the political strifes of the country, and seized upon by certain desperate politicians, with whom the end sanctifies the means, and who, if their schemes of personal ambition can be gratified, care not at what expense to our political institutions, or to the liberties of the people, that you would ever have witnessed the excitement and alarm which have so lately swept over this whole Union, threatening for a time the general and universal destruction of public and private credit and confidence? These questions, too, fellow citizens, we think you must answer in the negative; and thus answering them, you point out, as clearly as language can do it, the causes of the pecuniary pressure which has been experienced, the causes of the panic which has been felt, and the causes of the excitement which so strongly agitated the public mind. If there could have been any doubt on this subject, that doubt must be completely dispelled by the recent avowal of the Bank of its ability to increase its accommodations to from five to ten millions of dollars, thereby admitting that its previous curtailments were not necessary to the safety of the institution, and could have had no other object than to produce the evils which the country has suffered.
The Bank is yet in existence and in the political field. When rejected by the President in 1832, it appealed to the people. When rejected by the People at the fall election of that year, it appealed to Congress, and during the late session laid its case before that body. When rejected by the immediate representatives of the people in that body, it vauntingly repudiated the authority of Congress, shut its doors in the face of a committee of the house of representatives, and again, through its advocates on the floors of the respective branches of the national legislature, most solemnly entered another appeal to the American people-Pending this last appeal, it has erected itself into a judicial tribunal; adjudged itself entitled to the exorbitant sum of one hundred and fifty-eight thousand dollars as damages sustained in consequence of the nonpayment of a bill drawn by the United States upon the French government, and not paid upon presentment, though the purchase money of the bill remained in the vaults of the Bank from the time the bill was drawn until it was returned protested, so that not one dollar was ever paid out by the Bank in consequence of the purchase of the bill; has taken the one hundred and fifty-eight thousand dollars from the money of the United States in its possession, and passed it to its own credit, and refuses to pay the amount into the public treasury. It has also given to the secretary of the treasury formal notice that it will institute a claim against the government for the money it might have made out of the public deposites during the time they have been lodged in the State Banks, and it is but just to assume that this claim also will be adjudicated by itself, and that being so settled by the party in interest, violent hands will be laid upon the dividends due to the government, upon its stock in the Bank, or upon the stock itself, to satisfy this demand. From these proceedings it would seem that this daring institution is determined not to go down to trial upon this second appeal to the people without means, and not only so, but that, whatever may be the result, the people themselves shall pay liberally towards the costs. These last steps of the Bank directors throw every thing which has preceded them into the shade, and leave the mind in doubt whether these infatuated men have come to the conclusion to possess themselves, by force, of all the public treasure remaining within their reach, and then to urge the necessity of a prolongation of their banking powers to enable them to repay the money thus seized, or whether they have fully imbibed the revolutionary spirit so much talked of by their political allies, and have concluded to sit in judgment upon and confiscate the public money in their vaults, and openly enter into their contest with the people, supported by the means thus acquired.
In any event, whatever attempts may be made to cover up the true issue, the leading question in the present contest is, shall this institution be suffered longer to exist amongst us? Shall we create a central monied power, and continue it in being, which boasts of its power to crush our State Banks; which may at pleasure destroy credit and confidence throughout the country; interrupt exchanges; cripple commerce; annihilate trade; and finally, set itself up against the people and the government of the country? This great question, fellow citizens, is to be settled, so far as the State of New-York is concerned, at the coming election. Then are our members of the next Congress to be elected; and upon the successors of the present members of the House of Representatives will the decision of this great question, in all human probability, rest. We are fully aware that this convention has nothing to do with the election of members of Congress; that the selection of persons to fill those important situations, belongs to the respective districts; but we are also aware that the State should place such men before the people for its first officers, that the congressional districts may see from their known characters and principles, that its ground in relation to this dangerous institution is neither to be changed nor abandoned.
Hence, fellow citizens, we feel peculiar pleasure in repeating to you the names of William L. Marcy and John Tracy as the candidates selected for the two first offices in our State government. They are men known to the democracy of the State, and known never to have entertained or cherished an anti-republican feeling. They have been at the head of our government during the late fearful struggle with this great monied power and its political coadjutors, and by their wisdom, their firmness and their vigilance, sustained by the enlarged and statesman-like views of our legislators, our State has been rescued from the heavy visitation which those mad incendiaries were endeavoring to inflict upon it.
We have already said that the contest is not yet ended, but that the Bank is still in existence and in the field; and can we, fellow citizens, act more wisely than again to commit our ship of state to the guidance of those able officers who have so skillfully and safely directed it through the storm we have just encountered?
But, fellow citizens, the very idea of a change in our State Administration, brings up another great principle, not less important to be settled, and to be settled correctly, than that of a central controlling monied power. If we were to abandon the broad republican ground assumed by Jefferson in 1798, and ever since occupied by the republicans of New-York, what ground could we occupy? If we were to take a National Republican for our leader, then we should league with Nullification: for national republicanism and nullification are in a solemn league, offensive and defensive. Witness the harmonious action of their two great founders and the leaders in the Senate of the United States, Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun. If we were to take a Nullifier, then we should choose but the other side of the same alliance, and we must adopt high tariff measures to-day and dissolve the Union to-morrow to get rid of them. If we were to take a Hartford convention federalist, then we should get the third party to the same league, and should only add the principles of Consolidation to the compound. If we were to take this alternative, it would remain for us first to convert our present republican system into a strong national government, then to protect our domestic interests by an ultra tariff of duties, then to bind each portion of the union to the rest by a grand scheme of internal improvements, then to cap the whole with a Bank with an immense capital, unrestricted powers, and no accountability; and by the simple process of nullification, to dissolve and destroy the entire fabric, (the Bank always excepted as being equally the favorite of all the allied parties) as a mere practical exercise of our reserved rights. That such are the elements of the present opposition to our national administration, and that such would be the results of the contradictory principles professed and advocated by different portions of that opposition, if these principles were reduced to successful practical operation, cannot be denied.
Of the Anti-masonic Party we desire to speak in the spirit which its present condition is calculated to excite.
Our business is with existing combinations which are in principle and practice hostile to the nature of our institutions and the just rights of the people. When men or parties are about to retire from the field, it is honorable to political controversy that their exit is seldom marked by hostile comments on the part of their opponents. It is as a disbanding political interest that it has suited the views of the leaders of the Anti-masonic party in this State to place it before the country: it is in that light that they deal with it themselves, and in that light will it consequently be regarded by us. That no Anti-masonic convention is to be held in the State appears to be certain, and it is equally certain that no Anti-masonic nomination for State officers, as such, is to be made. A candidate for Governor or Lieutenant-Governor will probably be taken from their ranks, but it will be done as a stroke of policy, to obtain the support of the Anti-masons, not for the purpose of upholding the distinctive principles of that party. The fact of withdrawing him from his old associates, and presenting him to the people under a new name, will evince a deliberate design on the part of those, who concur in the measure, to abandon Anti-masonry as a distinct interest. That every effort which political craft can invent will be made to disguise the act of dissolution, and to make it palatable to sincere. Anti-masons, there can be no doubt; but that the measure will ultimately be accomplished is as certain as that Anti-masonry has existed at all. Of the motives to this step, and the purposes to be accomplished by it, we propose to take a brief notice hereafter. At present we will confine ourselves to the question, how far it will be practicable to incorporate the Anti-masons with the old federal interest of the state.
We deceive ourselves as to the character and principle of a portion at least of that party if this transfer can be as easily and as effectually made as the leading National Republicans have supposed. The reasons for this belief will be frankly and truly stated. That what we say will be subjected to misconstruction and perversion, we are well aware; but that shall not deter us from speaking with freedom and candor. Our object will be that what we say is not only true in itself, but so manifest that no sincere Anti-mason who respects himself can refrain, in his moments of reflection, from feeling and admitting its justice. The effect it may have upon individuals of that party is a matter for their exclusive consideration. No ingenuous mind can fail to admit that the outrage to which Anti-masonry owes its existence as a separate political interest, was of a nature to shock the moral feelings of the community, and to excite the indignation of the people. The persons most likely to be affected by it, were those in the vicinity of the scene of action, and of them none more strongly than the republicans of the old school. Accustomed to reverence the principle which inculcates responsibility to the people, for every act that may in its consequences affect the general interests of the people, their jealousies and their resentments were naturally and readily excited by a violation of the public order, which they believed to have emanated from a conclave, the secrecy of whose movements rendered prevention impossible and avoided all responsibility. It is the same feeling which leads so many Anti-masons to condemn the conduct of a board of bank directors, whose unjust and oppressive proceedings have been shrouded in impenetrable secrecy. It would be unprofitable now to inquire what the effect might have been had the original actors in the anti-masonic excitement confined themselves to proper and reasonable efforts to satisfy the public mind of the dangers of free masonry and impropriety of its longer continuance. One thing is certain, that no one could have questioned their right to do so, or have impugned their motives in its exercise. The fault committed by those who became anti-masons from the convictions of moral duty, was in yielding to the temptation by which anti-masonry was made a political creed and its cause associated with the sinister views and passions and prejudices of political partisanship. But however objectionable their subsequent course, we have never doubted that the great body of the democratic anti-masons acted in good faith. We cannot say as much of the whole party. On the contrary, we are well satisfied, that, with few and honorable exceptions, the accessions which anti-masonry received from the national republican ranks, were induced by considerations with which hostility to the masonic institution had nothing to do. The great number of republicans who were separated from their old associates, in consequence of a difference of opinion as to the effect which the abduction and probable death of Morgan ought to have upon the course of the democratic party, afforded to the federal leaders too tempting an opportunity to increase the number of their followers, not to be embraced with alacrity. Not a moment was therefore lost in the adoption of the scheme. Where the democratic anti-masons were the strongest, the national republicans went over in a body, and where the latter were the strongest, a different course was pursued. In the Eighth Senate district, where anti-masonry originated, the national republican party ceased to maintain a separate organization. But whatever was the order of proceeding, the fact that, with few exceptions, those who went over from that party to anti-masonry, did so only in name and for sinister purposes, has been rendered too clear to be for a moment doubted by any rational mind. Of the truth of the general remark, every important movement of the combined interest affords the most palpable proof, and recent developments reduce the matter to demonstration. A dispassionate review of the course which has been pursued by their party since its first organization, cannot fail to satisfy the democratic anti-masons that this is so. In making it, they will find that the conduct of those national republicans who have taken upon themselves so large a share of the direction of its affairs, has been uniform in two particulars, viz:-always to insist upon the selection as candidates for prominent places, of such anti-masons as were national republicans before 1826, (the year of the Morgan affair,) and in never giving a sincere support to any anti-masonic nomination which did not suit them, or when stronger inducements were presented for pursuing a different course.
The result of the Governor's election in 1828, affords a striking proof of the justice of this remark. It is well known that the sincere original anti-masons took a deep interest in the nomination of Solomon Southwick, and that if all who professed anti-masonry had been really such, he would have received almost the entire opposition vote in the Eighth Senate district, and a very large one elsewhere. But the ballot boxes, a better test of the real state of men's hearts, shewed a different result. They shewed that the democratic anti-masons, although many of them were not satisfied with the man, were nevertheless sincerely attached to their principles, and consequently gave him their votes. It shewed also, that the federal anti-masons cared more for their old political feelings than they did for anti-masonry, and that while professing anti-masonry, they had by thousands silently put in their votes for the national republican candidate, Smith Thompson. The suggestion we have thrown out with regard to the motives by which the National Republicans were influenced in becoming Anti-masons, is also strikingly corroborated by the political complexion of the individuals who have been selected to places of honor and profit by Anti-masonic votes. If the democratic Anti-masons will take the trouble to make a list of the state senators and representatives to Congress, and to the State Legislature, who have been elected by their votes, we venture to predict that they will be astounded by the very inconsiderable number of their own class, who have in these respects found favor in the eyes of their own party. It is in perfect keeping with the aristocratic feelings of their federal allies, to confine the democratic Anti-masons to the enjoyment of town offices, whilst they themselves are permitted to fill the high places within the reach of Anti-masonic votes.
In 1832, it is true, the National Republicans supported the nominations of the Anti-masons for Governor and Lieutenant-Governor. Into the pretensions to anti-masonry of the gentlemen whose selection proved acceptable to the National Republicans, it is not our intention to inquire. The Anti-masons were satisfied on that point, and that is sufficient. But the truth of one remark they will not controvert, and it is this, that neither of those gentlemen had ever been identified with the Democratic Party; and that the time never was when their support was more acceptable to the National Republicans, whether masons or not, on account of their imputed anti-masonry. A part, and a most disgraceful part of that transaction, was, that the National Republicans at the same time condescended to permit the Anti-masons to nominate an electoral ticket also, for the joint support of both parties. That the sincere Anti-masons were induced to believe that the electors so nominated would, if elected, carry out the principles of anti-masonry, by voting for Wirt and Ellmaker, and that they voted for that ticket in that belief, no one will deny. That in that whole affair they were most wickedly and foully imposed upon, no one who has a regard for his reputation ought to deny. What at the time was suspicion, has become a fact so palpable that it would be but affectation in the Anti-masons to pretend to doubt it. What they now know, they should then have suspected. The whole transaction bore upon its face indelible marks of fraud. If it had been seriously intended that the electors should vote for Clay or for Wirt, or part for one and part for the other, honesty and fair dealing required that the truth as it was should have been distinctly stated by the electors themselves. The very fact of presenting a dumb ticket for the joint support of two parties, differing essentially in their politics, and upon at least one cardinal point, afforded the strongest presumption that one of them was to be cheated. Recent revelations have removed the veil from that disreputable proceeding, and have cast a light upon it which should mantle the cheeks of the guilty actors in it with shame and confusion.
It would be idle to waste words about it. The anti-mason who is not now satisfied that a conspiracy was formed in 1832 to cheat him of his electoral vote, would not believe it though one should rise from the dead. Nor could any animadversion consistent with decorum be considered too severe in pourtraying the disgusting profligacies of an act, which, in attempting to practise so great a fraud on so large a portion of our fellow citizens, was so well calculated to expose the politics of the State to obloquy and reproach, and to put an argument in the mouths of the enemies of free government against the right of suffrage itself. Volumes could not have more clearly shown, than did this foul deed, the true estimation in which anti-masonry was held by those who conceived it, as well as by those who contributed to its execution. The feelings then manifested are now in the act of being carried out to their legitimate result, by the design, to which we have already referred, of breaking up the Anti-masonic Party altogether. It was policy that induced the National Republicans to connive at the spread of political anti-masonry, and it is policy which now induces them to labor for its extinction. Experience has shown that political anti-masonry cannot be made a national interest. Of the various presidential candidates of the opposition, there is not one of them who is an anti-mason, or who would not regard it as reproach to be so considered. The support of the Anti-masons for one of them-most probably for a high adhering mason-is, nevertheless, anxiously desired. Indeed so important is it, that without it, they cannot even save appearances in the defeat that awaits them. How to obtain that support, is the desideratum that has occupied wiser heads than those of the leaders of the opposition in this state. A second resort to stratagem would, under existing circumstances, be certainly hazardous, and most probably, from the excited suspicions of the Anti-masons, hopeless. The attempt to dissolve the party in season for the next presidential election, has therefore been determined upon as the only resort. It is believed that the line of separation between the Democratic Anti-masons and their former political associates, has been so long kept up, and that their local contests have occasioned so much alienation of feeling between them, as to justify the attempt to amalgamate the Anti-masons with the old Federal Party. The accomplishment of the measure has therefore been decided upon at Washington during the last winter, by the opposition leaders, and every engine is at work to fulfil the high behest. The Bank lends its aid, and is to come in for its share of the advantages. Such of the anti-masonic presses as are in the market, are to be purchased, and the residue are to be forced to co-operate. The best devised measures to enlist the acquiescence of leading anti-masons have been promptly and efficiently taken; and it depends altogether upon the Democratic Anti-masons, whether the accomplishment of the scheme shall be as effectual as its contrivers and abettors anticipate; whether, having cajoled Anti-masonry in its day, they shall also dishonor it in its exit.
To the Democratic Anti-masons the question is one of no common interest. Hitherto they have at least believed they were occupying democratic ground; the time is now come, when they are to decide whether or not they will go unreservedly into the old federal ranks. To Anti-masons of this description, we have this and this only to say, and having no occasion for concealment, we say it from the house-top. Your former political brethren entertain kind and grateful recollections of by-gone days and events—they remember, with pride and pleasure, the many arduous conflicts for the maintenance of republican principles, which they have encountered with you-they remember above all, how they stood, shoulder to shoulder, with you in the most gloomy periods of the late war, to protect the interests and sustain the honor of the country, against the combined efforts of foreign foes and domestic traitors. The whole course of the democratic party shows that it is neither intolerant nor unjust. Its character is too deeply impressed upon the history of our country to be unknown. Its friendship for the people requires neither guaranty nor profession, for the simple reason, that it is composed of the people themselves. Separate from the great mass of the people the tories of the revolution and most of their descendants-the Hartford convention men of the late war and most of theirs-the church and state men-the bankites and monopolists of every description-the operators in money who see in government nothing but a business transaction, more or less valuable in proportion to the share they get of the profits, and who find more virtue in a price-current than they can in the Declaration of Independence-in fine all who wish to work with other men's hands, and who stand ready booted and spurred to jump into the public saddle-and you have in the residue, the Democratic Party. If we are asked for the evidences of its faith, we reply, that having sprung from the same germ which produced the revolution of '76, it has always sustained the principles upon which that greatest of all political movements was founded, against the assaults of king-craft, priest-craft, and bank-craft, the chief ingredients of toryism, ancient and modern. Its first struggle after the revolution was in the convention of '87. It was on that interesting theatre that the Tory spirit of the revolution, backed by new supporters, re-appeared and endeavored to gain by diplomacy what it had lost by arms. Its designs were defeated by the republicans of that period, and from that day to the present, this same tory spirit has, under all sorts of names and by all sorts of devices, been carrying on an unceasing and unsparing warfare against the republican principles of our government. In this unholy warfare, its disciples have been met and overthrown at every point by the Democratic Party of the state and nation, and hence the deadly hate they bear to it and to all its sincere adherents. So successful was this same Tory spirit in seducing the supporters of the revolution from the principles they had espoused, that in 1798 it had obtained the actual control of the government; and mistaking the apostacy of some for the evidence of subserviency in all, it went boldly and recklessly to work, to carry the country back to its former state of vassalage. But, fortunately for the cause of civil liberty, the result falsified its calculations; degeneracy had not made such rapid strides as had been anticipated. The true spirit of '76 was roused from its slumbers by the excesses of the day; its followers burst the fetters by which it had been attempted to bind them; drove from the councils of the nation those who had abused the confidence of the people; once more unfurled the true republican banner, and committed it to the hands of the father of American democracy-Thomas Jefferson. The perilous state of the country during the late war, afforded another opportunity to this Tory spirit, of manifesting its hostility to republican institutions. It was, of consequence, every where seen and felt, in the obstructions which it threw in the way of government, and in the "aid and comfort" which was extended by its instruments to the enemies of the country. If there was any other restraint upon their paricidal efforts, than that which the fear of the halter imposed, the history of those eventful days bears no record of it. Even that limitation was in a fair way to be thrown aside, and will without doubt have soon been thrown aside, if the disasters of the country had kept pace with their wishes, and if the designs of the traitorous assemblage congregated at Hartford, had not been frustrated by the virtue of the people and the recurrence of peace. Drawing good from evil, the country has been occasionally relieved from the machinations of that restless spirit, by the extreme anxiety which has been felt by its disciples to clear their skirts of the deep damnation of that proceeding. To accomplish this object, they have professed every principle and assumed every name known to political contests. But it is all in vain. Hartford Convention men and Hartford Convention principles to the end of the chapter-they will be remembered only to be abhorred; and those misguided men, and their equally criminal adherents and abettors, may be assured that the political nomenclature of the whole world does not afford a name under the disguise of which they can hope to escape the detection and detestation of the people. When any of their leaders profane the name of Whig, it only serves to revive the recollection of their misdeeds, and to afford a healthful stimulus to that righteous judgement by which they were made perpetual exiles from the affections and confidence of the American people. To recount the political offences of this mischievous spirit, would require a volume. Whether it occupies its adherents in the affairs of the state or general government, it is ever the same, and always true to its Tory character-always distrusting-always hating the mass of the people, and ever ready to oppose all improvements of their condition. Until a late day, there were large masses of the people of this state, who contributed to the public burthens, and were especially charged with the public defence, but who had nevertheless been, through aristocratic influence, kept out of the possession of the highest privilege of a freeman. The democratic party in the legislature passed a bill for the call of a convention to amend the constitution in this and other respects of the same tendency. The bill was vetoed by a federal council of revision. A new election took place, and a new bill was passed-the aristocracy became alarmed by the manifestations of public feeling, and the bill was allowed to become a law. The convention was held, and against the most strenuous efforts of the aristocracy, thousands were enfranchised and fully admitted within the pale of the constitution. How was the Tory Spirit of the country demeaned itself in regard to this salutary extension of the blessings of political freedom? Has it abated a particle in its hostility?-Far! very far, from it! After having in vain endeavored to dishonor the character and paralize the influence of the new voters, by heaping upon them every species of contumely and reproach; after having in vain attempted to seduce them by all the means which wealth affords-its disciples have thrown off all reserve, and have resorted to the most barefaced coercion, to break down the right of opinion in this free and happy land. Never before has such high and culpable ground been taken any where upon this most delicate of all points-for the right it invades is our only security for the protection of all other rights, religious as well as political. If an English nobleman were but suspected of having done half as much as is unblushingly avowed by the scrub nobility of this country, and their miserable adherents, he would not dare to show his face upon an English election ground. If he did, he would be sure to meet with the hootings and hissings, and the still more efficient marks of the indignation of an offended people. A more deadly blow could not be aimed at the very existence of republican governments. The man who can contemplate it without horror, has nothing of the spirit of our institutions in his composition; and to suppose that the guilty authors of this daring outrage will not be branded with perpetual infamy, and forever excluded from the confidence of the people, is to suppose the people themselves to be unfit for freedom. And where do we find this same tory spirit at the present moment? Arrayed on the side of the Bank of the United States-an institution by nature, habit and design, the deadliest foe to liberty-under its broad panoply battling against the rights of the people-using this great lever of aristocracy to subvert the government of the People, and establish on its ruins the government of the Bank. That nothing may escape profanation, and no cause or name be exempted from their impure embraces, the disciples of this same tory spirit, unmixed as it came from the revolutionary crucible, dare to outrage the feeling of the people, and to violate the sanctity of revolutionary recollections by assuming to themselves the sacred name of Whig, the only one, save that of Democrat, which had hitherto escaped the defilement of their adoption.
It is against arts and designs like these that the democratic party is now in the field-wielding its saving powers on the side of the country and the constitution, overthrowing faction and sustaining the just rights of the people. It is with this great party that all sincere anti-masons, who are unwilling to be transferred to the Bank, and who are disposed to join it with honest motives, may now associate themselves.
Whether they will do so or not depends upon their own free will: but whether they do or not, of one thing they may be certain-that the course of this great party will still be onward;-having no other object than the public good, and employing no other weapon than truth, its successful career cannot be arrested.
We have thus presented to you, fellow citizens, a plain view of the whole field of controversy under its most important aspects, and now we confidently appeal to every republican to say if he finds a single position in it preferable to the broad ground of Jeffersonian democracy upon which he stands? Does he see a laborer in his whole view more worthy of his thanks, his gratitude and his firm support, than the venerable Patriot whom the people have placed at the head of this nation? Does he discover hands, to which he is more willing to entrust the destinies of his State than those which now conduct its affairs? Is he ready to change the government of the People for the government of the Bank?-Is he ready to change tried and faithful officers, who have always practised the liberal principles of the republican school, for any or all of the combined and conflicting interests which mark the opposition.
Rally then to the polls, Republicans, and support the candidates who have served you faithfully, and protected your interests and the interests of your State against the mad and incendiary efforts of a desperate opposition, and an equally desperate moneyed power. Attend your primary meetings, and see that your candidates for Congress and the Legislature are true and faithful men, sound in principle, and free from the contaminating influence of the Bank and its mercenaries. Let all your tickets be composed of such men, and the State will be safe: the Country will be freed from the corruptions of a political bank; from the baneful influence of politicians supporting and supported by such a bank; the days of forced panics, artificial pressures and deliberately provoked distresses will be at an end; and our usual prosperity, heightened by the circulation of a fair proportion of constitutional currency, the gold and silver currency of our mint and our laws, will, with the favor of Providence, be exempt from the rude and unhallowed invasions of an insolent and tyrannical Monied Aristocracy.
|John A. Dix,||Asa B. Brown,|
|Chas. L. Mulford||Henry A Foster,|
|Ephraim Andrus,||John G. Floyd,|
|Judson Allen,||Alfred Munson,|
|Richard Wright,||Amasa Rowe,|
|Rowland Day,||Luke Hitchcock,|
|David S. Titus,||Benj. F. Williams,|
|Levi Lewis,||David C. Lytle|
|Andrews Preston,||Freeborn G. Jewett|
|Oliver Lee,||Oliver Phelps,|
|Dexter Barnes,||Lansing B. Mizner,|
|Augustus C. Welch,||David McNeil,|
|Samuel McKoon,||David M. Westcott,|
|Squire Smith,||William Hurtin|
|William F. Haile,||David G. Finch,|
|William H. Wilson,||S.M. Potter,|
|John W. Edmonds,||Orris Hart,|
|Henry C. Barnes,||John H. Prentiss,|
|Sam'l G. Hathaway||Charles Walker,|
|Lewis Riggs,||Lyman J. Walworth,|
|Stoddard Stevens,||Wm. W. Dean,|
|Matthew Halcott,||John Garrison,|
|Nath. P. Tallmadge,||Singlet'n Mitchell|
|Abraham Bockee,||Henry Vail,|
|Joseph I. Jackson,||A.G. Hammond,|
|Henry Flagler,||Abiel Buckman,|
|James Stryker,||A.O. Spencer,|
|E.D. Efner,||Jacob Crocheron,|
|Augustus C. Hand,||Wm. F. Fraser,|
|August C. Stevens,||Herm'n Ganesvoort|
|Lowell Hall,||Coddington W. Swan|
|W.C. Gardner,||Wm. Shepherd,|
|John Adams,||George McQueen,|
|Zadock Pratt,||William Mann,|
|David R. Carrier,||Abr'm L. Lawyer,|
|Standish Barry, jr.,||Israel W. Squier,|
|Fred. P. Bellinger,||John De Mott,|
|John Burch,||Preston King,|
|Robert Lansing,||Horace Allen,|
|Wm. McCullock,||Henry W. Rogers,|
|Stephen Haynes,||John D. Higgins,|
|Ela Merriam,||Wm. Sydney Smith,|
|Eli Hill,||Arch'd C. Niven,|
|Bennet Bicknell,||Hiram Gray,|
|Thomas Spencer,||Hiram White,|
|Amos Crocker,||Nicoll Halsey,|
|James Smith,||A.D.W. Bruyn,|
|E. Smith Lee,||Sylvanus Larned,|
|Samuel Mead,||Henry Tappan,|
|Nathan Brown,||Peter Crispell, jr.|
|David Hamilton,||John Sudam,|
|P. Reynolds, jr.||Ja. J. Schoonmaker,|
|Daniel Jackson,||John Willard,|
|John Lori. Craham,||Darius Sherrill,|
|Jas. I. Roosevelt, jr.||Luther Wait,|
|Charles G. Ferris,||Allen Anderson,|
|J.R. Rhinelander,||Andrew S. Pond,|
|David Vandevoort,||Pomeroy Tucker,|
|Chas. A. Van Zandt,||Thomas Platt,|
|M.M. Quackenboss,||Robert Bartow,|
|Orville Nash,||John Haff,|
|Wm. W. Holly,||William M. Oliver,|