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boldly proclaiming, as the creed of the party, that political contests are rightfully struggles for office and emolument. We protest against doctrines which thus regard offices as created for the sake of incumbents, and stimulate the basest passions to the pursuit of high public trusts.
We protest against the repeated instances of disregarding judicial decisions by officers of government, and others enjoying its countenance; thus setting up executive interpretation over the solemn adjudications of courts and juries, and showing marked disrespect for the usual and constitutional interpretation and execution of the laws.
This misgovernment and maladministration would have been the more tolerable, if they had not been committed, in most instances, in direct contradiction to the warmest professions and the most solemn assurances. Promises of a better currency, for example, have ended in the destruction of all national and uniform currency; assurances of the strictest economy have been but preludes to the most wasteful excess; even the Florida war has been conducted under loud pretences of severe frugality; and the most open, unblushing, and notorious interference with State elections has been systematically practised by the paid agents of an administration, which, in the full freshness of its oath of office, declared that one of its leading objects should be, to accomplish that task of reform which particularly required the correction of those abuses by which the patronage of the federal government was brought into conflict with the freedom of elections.
In the teeth of this solemn assurance, it has been proved that United States officers have been assessed, in sums bearing proportion to the whole amount they receive from the treasury, for the purpose of supporting their partisans even in State and municipal elections.
Whatever, in short, has been most professed, has been least practised; and it seems to have been taken for granted, that the American people would be satisfied with pretence, and a fulltoned assurance of patriotic purpose. The history of the last twelve years has been but the history of broken promises and disappointed hopes. At every successive period of this history, an enchanting, rose-colored futurity has been spread out before the people, especially in regard to the great concerns of revenue, finance, and currency. But these colors have faded, as the ob
VOL. II. 5
jcct has been approached. Prospects of abundant revenue have resulted in the necessity of borrowing; the brilliant hopes of a better currency end in general derangement, stagnation, and distress; and while the whole country is roused to an unprecedented excitement by the pressure of the times, every state paper from the Cabinet at Washington comes forth fraught with congratulations on that happy state of things which the judicious policy of the administration is alleged to have brought about! Judged by the tone of these papers, every present movement of the people is quite unreasonable, and all attempts at change are only so many ungrateful returns for the wise and successful administration of public affairs!
There is yet another subject of complaint to which we feel bound to advert, by our veneration for the illustrious dead, by our respect for truth, by our love for the honor of our country, and by our own wounded pride as American citizens. We feel that the country has been dishonored, and we desire to free ourselves from all imputation of acquiescence in the parricidal act. The late President, in a communication to Congress, more than intimates that some of the earliest and most important measures of Washington's administration were the offspring of personal motives and private interests. His successor has repeated and extended this accusation, and given to it, we are compelled to say, a greater degree of offensivencss and grossness. No man, with an American heart in his bosom, can endure this without feeling the deepest humiliation, as well as the most burning scorn. The fame of Washington and his immediate associates is one of the richest treasures of the country. His is that name which an American may utter with pride in every part of the world, and which, wherever uttered, is shouted to the skies by the voices of all true lovers of human liberty. Imputations which assail his measures so rudely, while they are abominable violations of the truth of history, are an insult to the country, and an offence against the moral sentiments of civilized mankind. Miserable, miserable indeed, must be that cause which cannot support its party predominance, its ruinous schemes and senseless experiments, without thus attempting to poison the fountains of truth, and prove the government of our country disgracefully corrupt, even in its very cradle. Our hearts would sink within us, if we believed that such efforts could succeed; but they must be impotent. Neither the recent nor the present President was born to cast a shade on the character of Washington or his associates. The destiny of both has been, rather, to illustrate, by contrast, that wisdom and those virtues which they have not imitated, and to hurl blows, which the affectionate veneration of American citizens, and the general justice of the civilized world, will render harmless to others, and powerful only in their recoil upon themselves. If this language be strong, so also is that feeling of indignation which has suggested it; and, on an occasion like this, we could not leave this consecrated spot without the consciousness of having omitted an indispensable duty, had we not thus given utterance to the fulness of our hearts, and marked with our severest rebuke, and most thorough reprobation and scorn, a labored effort to fix a deep and enduring stain on the early history of the government.
Finally, on this spot, the fame of which began with our liberty, and can only end with it, in the presence of these multitudes, of the whole country, and of the world, we declare our conscientious convictions, that the present administration has proved itself incapable of conducting the public affairs of the nation in such a manner as shall preserve the Constitution, f maintain the public liberty, and secure general prosperity. We declare, with the utmost sincerity, that we believe its main purpose to have been, to continue its own power, influence, and popularity; that to this end it has abandoned indispensable, but highly responsible, constitutional duties; that it has trifled with the great concerns of finance and currency; that it has used the most reprehensible means for influencing public opinion; that it has countenanced the application of public money to party purposes; that it endeavors to consolidate and strengthen party by every form of public patronage; that it laboriously seeks to conceal the truth from the people on subjects of great interest; that it has shown itself to be selfish in its ends, and corrupt in its means; and that, if it should be able to maintain itself in power through another term, there is the most imminent danger that it will plunge the country in still further difficulty, bring on still greater disorder and distress, and undermine at once the foundations of the public prosperity and the institutions of the country. Men thus false to their own professions, false to the principles of the Constitution, false to the interests of the people, and false to the highest honor of their country, are unfit to be the rulers of this republic.
The people of the United States have a right to good government. They have a right to an honest and faithful exercise of all the powers of the Constitution, as understood and practised in the best days of the republic for the general good. They have an inalienable right to all the blessings of that Liberty which their fathers achieved, and all the benefits of that Union which their fathers established.
And standing here, this day, with the memory of those fathers fresh on our hearts, and with the fields of their glory and the monuments of their fame full in our view, with Bunker Hill beneath us, and Concord, and Lexington, and Dorchester Heights, and Faneuil Hall all around us, we here, as a part of the people, pledge ourselves to each other, and to our country, to spare no lawful and honorable efforts to vindicate and maintain these rights, and to remove from the high places of the nation men who have thus contemned and violated them.
And we earnestly and solemnly invoke all good men and true patriots throughout the Union, foregoing all consideration of party, and forgetting all distinction of State or section, to rally once more, as our fathers did in 1775, against the common oppressors of our country, and to unite with us in restoring our glorious Constitution to its true interpretation, its practical administration, and its just supremacy.
In such a cause, principles are every thing; individuals nothing. Yet we cannot forget that we have worthy, honest, capable candidates for the offices from which we hope to remove the present incumbents.
Those who desire a change, throughout the whole country, have agreed, with extraordinary unanimity, to support General William Henry Harrison for the office of President. We believe him to be an honest and faithful citizen, who has served his country successfully, in divers civil trusts; and we believe him a veteran soldier, whose honor and bravery cannot be questioned. We give him our unhesitating confidence; and in that confidence we shall support him, and the distinguished citizen of Virginia who has been nominated for the Vice-Presidency, with all our efforts and all our hearts, through the present contest; convinced that by their election the true spirit of the Constitution will be restored, the prosperity of the people revived, the stability of our free institutions reassured, and the blessings of union and liberty secured to ourselves and our posterity.