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"We contend for a wpU regulated deinocraKy."— 7b//?j Marshall.










In a review of the political life and opinions of one who has attained to the suinniit of official
honors in the gift of his counlryineii, it is deemed both proper in itself, and a duty we owe to
the dignity of the office, at least, to give some general description of the authorities from vvhich
we have derived the lacts st^ited. Of these authorities, that which is entitled, by courtesy,*to
the first notice, is

"The Life and Political OpiTiions of Map.tin Van- Bukf.jt, by William M. Holland,"
published at Hartford, Ct., 1835, liy Btlknap & Hamcrsley. This liook was written with the
avowed f l)ject, in part, "to contribute to the poliiic'al elevation of Mr. Van Buren." In the
preface, (pa^e ix,) the writer expresses his " great obligntions to the H^n. Benjamin F. Butler
for the ability and zeal with \'ihiih he has on several occasions defended tiie character of his dis-
tinguished friend ;" and tenders his " particular thanks to the Hon. James Vanderpoel, who
has facilitated the collection of ntaterials for his work," which he professes to subn)it to the pub-
lic also as "a contribution to support democratic principles." The Life of Mr. Van Buren, thus
boastfully ushered before the public, and greatly bepraised by the (jlobe and other party presses
at the time of its appearance, must have entitled it to be considered aiilhenticand satisfactory to
the friends of Mr. Van Buren and to himself at the time of its publication, l^ut many of the
facts stated in this book with the expectation of advancing his ambition then, having at length
commenced to act against him, have given occasion to some of his IViends recently to declare it
to be "a forgery." 'J'his attempt, however, to discreilit their uvvn jiroduction, at this late day,
has entirely fallen to the ground, as a considerable leward offered by the editors of the Madison-
ian for a "forged copy,'' has failed to produce one, or any evidence of such "forgery."

"The Political Mirror," «fec., published by .1. P. Peaslee, No. 49, Cedar street, .\ew York,
18-35, has also aflorded an ample source of information, such, too, as is not contained in Hol-
land's memoir. This is a work of great merit, and bears an internal evidence that traces its
authorshi]) to one of the most profound statesmen of the ])resenl day. It is a magazine of astound-
ing facts and astute deductions, so extensive in details and admirable m method as to have drawn
from an eminent Senator the complimentary e.\prcssion that "it w'lW i'orin the basis of the future
history of these disjointed times."

Also, "A Memoir of Martin Van Buren, comprising an account of the intrigues by 'vhich he
sought and acquired the nomination and election to the office of Chief .Magistrate, together witf»
develo])nients of his jiolitical character, by .\ Citizkx of New Youk, printed by IJ. W. Ro-
berts, New York, 1828," has afforded us much additional light.

A large portion of the facts stated are also derived from public documents in the Secretary's
and Clerk's offices of the two Houses of Congress, as well as from various other authentic
sources, vvhich are referred to, respectively, when the facts are stated.

We have arranged the whole review in three periods of time.

The First Pkkiod commences with Master Van Buren's apprenticeship to the study of law
at 14 years of age, and runs to the time of his attaining a seat in the United States Senate in
1821, giving- a summary of liis political tergiversations, his perfidy, and his intrigues for politi-
cal advancement during that period.

The Second Period runs from the time of his taking his scat in the Senate til! he attained
to the Presidential chair, as the nominee and successor of General Jackson, giving the com-
mencement of his elfort.-i, and the history of his success, in transferring the spoils .«ystem to the
General Government ; his clandestine devices and influences to facilitate executive eticroachments
on the other departments of the Government; and the concen/ratiun of all poicer in the Presi-
descy before his election to that office, which he confidently anticipated and steadily puisued
while he was Senator of the United States, Secretary of State, minisier to England, and Vice
President. t ' \.x. »•• *»

The Third Pkn^di) cxhrnte the (w^^^nd abides he. has mada^of thoSg.JiONCE.VTiiATKD
Ens, in the shoTt Inne \v!ut*i Tias'cIapsea'sirf(*eJ?i*'eiecti"on to th* ■Pre..*rd<'ncy •vvas'consumn

ro w-

3pse"8'siiff(*c J?i*'eiecti"on to th#"Pre..*rd<'ncy •vvas''consummaled,
by certa^ clandestine artifices that prostratej the elective franchise of twelve millions of freemen
at the fee\of a military despot in the civic garb, lor the benefit of a favorite politic at, adven-

TlTilEIi. ■>,

Each of these periods of time are divided into several sections, according to the diversity of
the subjects they embrace, .ind they i-eciprocally run into each other as the elucidation of their
connecting subjects recpiire ; so that the thikd peuiod is for the most part anticipated by the
recitals and allusions incident to the details of the rinsr and second.

'J'hc whole is premised with an exposition of the principles of true democracy in contradistinc-
tion from those of an ambitious faction who attempt to cheat and decoy the people to their sup-
port by assuming that honored and popular name.

Washington, September 15, 1840.


" We coinend for a wpl!.rP!:;ulaie(l Denioiraty."

\_John Marshall's speech in the Virginia Convention on the adoption of the Coitstilulion.

The true Democracy — uf Statesmen, Patriots, and lovers of the Constitution — contracted with
the false Demucracy of restless, ambitious innovators, and enemies of the Constitution.

One who professes to labor in the cause of Democracy might well be expected, certainly per- ;
mitted, to explain what he conceives to be the true meaning of Dv.mocuacy, and in what con-
sists THE Demockatic Cause, particularly as he wholly dissents to the gross perversion of those
terms in latter limes. 1 will, theieiore, previously to entering upon the proper subject of this
review, devote this pREi-iMiNAUir skctiox to a statement of my sentiments of these terms,
showing that they are the same with those of the wisest and purest patriots of the better days of
the rei)ublic, contiasted with those disorganising, revolutionary sentiments of the ambitiotjs,
upstart, radical, and false pretending "democratic leaders" of the present degenerate times.

A Democracy, in the true American sense, is a well-regulated Government of the People,
through their representatives and agents — from demos, the people, and kraieo, to govern.

The Democratic Cacse is the cause of Justice in any community, whether between man
and man individually, or by classes, callings, sections, or associations, legally, geographically,
or otherwise formed.

True Democracy is necessarih- based upon Jisttck, because it is an intrinsic principle of
human rights, which should be held in strict observance as the indispensable iii^i.K of the difler-
ent departments of Government in prosecuting the public good, which could not be attained
without it; and, especially, it should be unabated in its supremacy over the enact/tent of laws
under ilie Constitution, as well as in the adjudicution and the udininistration of them. Against •
the cause of Democracy and .Instice, which are thus shown to be identical, it is clear that all
violent or suilden innovations on the business operations of society are as disparaging and de-
rogatory, by the indirect operations of such policy in impoverishing some and enriching others,
as if the property of the one were violently seized and transferred to the other.

The cause of .Justice, then, strictly so considered, is the true Democratic cause, because it
sustains the C(juitable interests and rijj^hts of all. And whatever ixnivinuAi,, or class, or
coMBj NATION, of socicty mav seek politically to advance his or Ihcir interests by wilfully in-
fringing or disparaging the general interests of the connnunit}', is a presumptuous nionocrat in
principle, in the individual capacity, and, in the case of the combination, is ^faction, a conspi-
racy, or a despotism of the. many over the fetv, according to the extent of its numbers, and the
success of the schemes of injustice.

Playing entertained these sentiments for years, upon now reducing them to paper a reminis-
cence comes upon my mind, that 1 have high authority for them, as old as our revolutionary
history, when all our patriotic ancestors, the Revoluttonaut Wnins, were considered and
treated as Democrats, and the Tories alone were excluded or exempted from the honor or the
odium of the appellation, as it was held on this or the other side of the Atlantic. It does appear,
however, that, at a later period, when our present federal Constitution vvas under discussion in
the several 8lates for adoption, there were some symptoms of restricting the term Democracy to
narrower limits: that is, to the friends of the Constitution, for a time at least, until it became
the fundamental law of the land ; after which, its veriest enemies may charitably be considered
as ac^juieic'ii!^ Democrats. But during the discussion of th^Constitutfon," the advocates of its
adoption, the friends of the Union, called themselves "Democrats," declaring that "they con-
tended for a well-regulated Democracy ;' while the opponents of its adoption, the enemies of
the Union, and advocates of separate State sovereignties, called themselves "Stale Rights Re-
publicans." How unjustly the former have been since stigmatized as federal consolidationists
by the latter, who have at the same time filched from them their good old name of Democrats,
and appropriated it to themselves, I must for the present leave it to the reader to judge.

I shall give one or two authorities only, to show how universally the friends of the Constitu-
tion, previous to its adoption, were considered as the true lovers of Democracy, and how all its
former friends and foes have, since its adoption, been considered to be hf,-itmtei> as one great
Democratic Party.

The immortal John Marshall, that learned jurist and profound statesman, the late Chief Jus-
tice of the United Sta'es, when advocating the merits of the Constitution, in debate on its adop-
tion in the Virginia Convention, said :

"Mr Chairman, I conceive that the objecl uf ihe discupsion now before us is, whether democracy or despotism
be most eligible. I am sure that those who framed the svstem svil)iiiiued to our investigation, and ihose who now
support it, intend the establishment and secunly of the I'ormer. Tlie supporters of the constitution claim the title
ol ueing firm friends of ihe liberty and the rights of ma,nkind. They say that they consider it as the best means of
protecting litieriy. We, sir, idolize democracy. Those who oppose it [the constitution] have bestowed eulogiums
on monarchy. We yirefer this system to any monarchy, because we are convinced that it has a great tendeitcy to
secure i;ur liberty and promote our happiness. We adiiiire it. because we think it a well-regulated democracy. It
is recommended to the good people of ihio coimtry— they are, through us, to declare whetKer it be such a plan of
Governpient as will establish and secure their freedom.

" The honorable gentleman (Mr. Henry) has expatiated on the necessity of a due attention to certain maxims —
to certain fundamental princi|iles from which a free people ought, never to depart. 1 concur wiih him in the pro-
priety of the observance of such maxims They are necessary in any Government, but more essential to a democ-
racy than to any other. What are the favorite maxims of democracy ? Astkict observance of JUSTICE and
PUBLIC FAITH, and a steady adherence to VIRTUE."— jBZ/joi's Eclilion Va. Debates, puge -222.

"There are in this Slate, and in every S'ate in the Union, many who are decided enemies of the Union. Reflect
on the probable conduct o( such men. What will they do ") They will brine amendments which are local in their
nature, ami which they know will not be accepted. They will never propose such amendments as they think
would be obtained. Disunion will be their object. We contend for a well-regulated democracy V— Ibid., p. 224.

Long after the adoption of the Constilufion, rmd even when party spirit was wrought up to
the highest state of ferment on merely controversial points, but when all professed to be equal
friends of the Constitution, Mr. Jefl'erson, in his inaugural address, illustiated our democratic
political identity in the following appropriate manner. He said :

" During the contests of opinion through which we have passed, the animation of discussions and of exertions has
sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on straneers unused to think freely, and to speak and to write what
ihey think ; Ijut this being now decided by the voice of ih nation, announced according to the rules of the consti-
tution, all will of course arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efPjitB for the common
good. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred princi|ile, that, though the will of the rnajortiy is in all cases to pre-
vail, thai will, to be richtful, must be reasonal 'le ; tliat the minority po.isess their equal rigliis, which equal laws
must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one hand and one mind ;
let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and alTeclion without which liberty, and even life itself, are but
dreary things. And let us reflect that, having Banished from our land that religious intolerance under which man-
kind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little, if we countenance a'political intolerance as despotic, as
wicked, and ca|ialjle of as bitter and bloody persecutions. During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world,
during the agonizing spasms of infuriated man, seeking through l)lood and slaughter his long lost liberty, it was not
wonderful that the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant and peaceful shore — that this should be
more fell and feared by some and by others — and should divide opinions as to measures of safety ; but evei7 dif-
ference of opinion is not a riifTereiice of principle. We liave called by different names bret'.iren of the same prin-
ciple. WE ARE ALL REPUBLICANS ; WE ARE ALL FEDERALISTS. If there be any among us who would
wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safe-
ly with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it."

Now is it not obvious, from the solemn asseveration of these eminent men, conspicuous as
ihey were for their op[)osing controversial opinions, that it never entered the heads of our revo-
lutionary patriots to exclude any portion of the friends of our inde]>endence and of the constitu-
tion from the great political fold of democracy, and denounce them as aristocrats, as enemies of
democract/, as an anii-deniocratic part I/, and that, merely because they may have attained superior
intelligence, education, ivealih, integrity, and consideration in society 1 Nay, who ever dream-
ed of such injustice until this age of political huinbuggery, emanating from a fraudulent and
wicked "spoils dynasty 1" Will those political quacks and imposters have the impudence to
pretend that Stephen Girard, in passing from the obscure state of a poor boy to the enviable
condition of a " millionaire," b}' his own industry and economy, was at the same time necessa-
rily transformed into an aristocrat or " an enemy to the cause of democracy ]" His whole life
and his last act in death — /lis loill — fully attest the contrary. He was hum and died a demo-
crat ! The poor logic by which these men would argue the exclusion of the wealth and intel-
ligence of society from the democratic cause, would operate to the exclusion of Mr. Van Buren
himself and most of his adherents, who have contrived this humbug to deceive and flatter those
who may not possess these advantages; but, being considered as constituting the most numerous
portion of our citizens, would be likely to subserve their political purposes by the success of the
trick. They also calculate that, by denouncing all the opponents of Mr. Van Buren as enemies
of the democratic cause, they may decoy many into his ranks on account of their partiality for
true democratic principles, and may frighten many others from abandoning him, lest they be
read out of the democratic school. But fortunately for the salvation of the country, the good
sense of vast numbers is daily undeieiving them by aid of the Hood of light that is continually
revealing the wickedness of his own anti-deniocratic course, and teaching them that to abandon
him is the best evidence of their adhesion to the cause of democraci/. But let the partisans of
Mr. Van Buren speak for him and themselves. William M. Holland, his favored biographer,
explicitly says that all \he, opponents of Mr. Van Buren's administration are enemies to democra-
cy. At page 357, he makes the following precious adiuissiuns by way of boasting, viz:

1. "It may be safely staled that two-thirds of the public presses in this country arc opposed to the principles
of tlie present administration.

2. " The periodical reviews and literary journals lean aqainst the democratic cause, without a single ex-

3. " Public .seminaries of instruction are under tite same bias.

4. " The learned professions are under ihe same bias.

5. " And a vast jireponderance of the literary and oratorial talent of the country are under the same bias.

6. " Wealth, fashion, &c., are, to a great extent, arrayed against the democratic cause.

" How, then," he vauntingly and significantly asks, " does it happen that the people [minus the above] are guided
by opposite sentiments ?"

Presuming Lliat the reader has a curiosity to know what these seiUinienls are, I place before
him the following brief extract from the same book, (page 9 of the preface,) where those senti-
ments, which have been generally altribuleil tu the supporters of Mr. Van Buren, and those of
Jiis opponents in relation to theui, arc clearly contrasted in a few words. He says:

'• In submilling to ihe public this coiuribuUou to ilio support of democratic principlps, Uio author is well aware
tliat he shall not escape the censure of those who anticipate the desiniciion of all political and religioua truth, by
the leveling spirit of democracy."

He then adds, with levity, that he makes no question of "the sincerity of their nielanclioly
forebodings," and displays a frivolous atlem{>t to escape from the just censure to which he al-
ludes, by alleging that " if, hy democracy, you understand" what Mr. Roger Coliard says of it,
he is "well pleased with such democracy." Now the democracy which Roger Coliard speaks
of, is precisely the democracy which the whole American people aimed at when they adopted
the constitution, as described in the foregoing extracts from Marshall and .lefl'erson, and quite
the reverse of the destructive schemes of that misnomer and humbug called " Van Buren de-
mocracy," of whose doctrines, in common with his party, the following is a sunuiiary, as alleged
to have been "always cherishcil by him," on the united authority, direct and indirect, of the
JVew York Evening Post, the Boston Quarterly Review, the Democratic Review, and the
Globe, viz :

1. That " anarchy is but a slate of traiisiliou."'

2. That '• human regulations [law and justice) produce an urlilicial and distriljuiion of property.''

3. That "the only real enemies to workingmen are their own employers."

4. Thai " wages are worse than slave labor ;" thai " the Northern system of labor is more oppressive than that of
the youth."

5. Tliut "tiniveigal education is a mockery, and promises no relief for poverty."

(j. That " poverty is only to be remedied by war and bloodshed, of the poor against the rich."

7 . That " the suliTreasury is paving the way for that catastrophe to come up."

S. That " the cause of the inetiualiiy of conditions is auributable to religion and the clergy."

0. That " the complete and filial destruction of the clergy is necessary to elevate the laboring classes."

10. Thai " the evils of society are not to be cured by coiiverting men to the Christianity of Ihe church."

11. That 'uncompromising hostility to the whole banking system, and all incorporations, is the 'first step' of
llieir reform."

12. That " every friend to ' corporations' is an enemy to the laborer."

13. That " hereditary properly is a great evil ;" that ' 'at a man's death, his property nnist go to the State."

14. Finally, that " the riles ol marriage should be abolij'lied ;" and give jilace to the licrntToiisncss of the natural
state, of course.

Of the destructive tendency of the "leveling spirit" of Van Burenism, vol democracy, ac-
cording to the sentiments just quoted, we have thousands of evidence ; the very atmosphere we
breathe is pregnant with them ; the resolutwns of Van Buren meetings held in the hearts ot
our cities, previously prepared by designing leaders, testify to it ; and the speeches by which such
proceedings are urtjed in various quarters, show the direction whence they come. Take the
single resolution f-om many others like it, pa.^sed at a Van Buren nieeting in Philadelphia not
a year ago, viz: " That the doctrine of vinled rig/i/s is at vatiance with the dcm<icratic princi-
ple ; that chartered privileges (or corporations) are incompatible with freedom and equality !"
Take the declaration of Mr. Senator Wright, of New York, in a speech delivered in his own
•State during the last summer, and republished in the Richmond Enquirer, viz: that "we have
iiov: reached the period when it is believed to be a common t.ukoh tu suppose that the revolu-
Una U'fis complete ,■" that " it is timic, therefore, that we should inquiie for what u:us that revc-
liilion undertaken ?'' that "it ivus to dismiss monarchy, AUisTOcnACY, and nrnpoxisM !"
Now the drift of all this, and a thousand other similar announcements and prodamatioiis, is too
obvious to be blinked — we cannot close our eyes upon them ; if we do, they are thundered in
our ears; and if we stufi' them uji to exclude the odious sound, this reve7umt of Jacobinism
haunts our most inward tlioughts. We all kimw that monarchy has been driven from these
shores — what, then, remains of the enumerated objects above, to complete the revolution, "to
l)e dismissed," (or rather " to he despatched" in the technicality ot the guillotine,") but the
■" aristocracy," as Mr. Wright terms it, of wealth, intelligence, and civilization itself, exemplified,
or rather iiersonilied, in the thrifty, industrious, moral, and religious portions of the community;
they still " remain," and are characterized by Mr. Wright as a "despotism yet to be dismissed ;"
and " vested rights," by which every man of property holds his lands, his houses, and other
efTect.'!, arc, in set tertns, made war upon by the \^in Buren partisans of Philadelphia and New
York; in which latter city diliereiit classes of them have, in advance, adopteil the appropriate

name of HVfiE-P.iWS, BUTT-F.XllKns, l'01N-] - l,NnKRS, &,c.

All of these and other demonstrations made on the public mind at a distance, are but emana-
lions from tl'.c central executive machinery at Washington, where publii- seiitiin<mt is manufac-
tured by a conclave under the superintendence of Amos Kendall, and the clandestine influence
of Mr. V\fi BuKKJf. Some of the outgivings of th»t Junta, were made by Amos Kendall and
Mr. Benton, in short speeches at the Hickory Club festival given on the 5th December, 1832.
Among otlier things in the same strain, Kendall said :

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Online LibraryRobert MayoA word in season; (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 12)