Popular Government, Democratic Review for May 1843
[From the Democratic Review for May, 1843.]
The editor of the Democratic Review appended a "Note" to my article on Democracy and Liberty inserted in this journal for April last. I am glad that he did, because it shows that he considered the questions I raised to be of no slight importance, and because by so doing he will draw more attention to my statements, and thus further the purpose for which they were made. I must ask him, without making any claim upon the "special agreement" there may be between us, to suffer me to offer through his pages a few comments in explanation and in justification of the doctrine I sought to bring out and establish.
It is too early. I hope, by many years, for my friends to take up a lamentation over my fall from the cause of popular government or popular freedom : and especially quite too early to build my tomb and write my epitaph. The editor has entirely mistaken the tone and bearing of the essay he so severely criticises. Had I not felt my bosom glowing with love of freedom, and my heart so enlisted in the cause of the people as to be willing to suffer reproach both with them and for them, I could not have written it. I had nothing to gain by pulling the sovereign's beard, and telling him he was no better than he should be. I feel all too deeply the importance of the experiment in political science which we are trying, and have suffered too much reproach for years of devotion to the great and glorious cause of freedom and progress, to be willing now, as the "snow-flakes" are beginning to fall upon my head, to "slough off" into a cold and heartless conservatism. I belong to the Movement; I have struggled for it, in good report and in evil, in sickness and in health, in poverty and want; and in it and for it, let others do what they will, I feel in my heart and soul, I shall live and die. So a truce to all hopes, fears, or predictions of my deserting it. My expectations may be sobered by time and experience; and young enthusiasm, as I grow older and mingle more with the world, may be tempered with I more of prudence and practical wisdom; but never was I further than now from forgetting the dreams of my youth. Men of progress! I assure you I am with you, heart and soul, for life and death, and ready to serve you in any capacity within my power, and against any enemy, or any odds.
I wish to say, also, that, though I have been, I believe, on several occasions formally excommunicated from the Democratic party, I am still in that party, as my home, heartily in favor of its leading measures, sincerely believing the good of the country, and the progress of free principles, imperiously demand their adoption, and therefore am determined to do all that an individual so humble and obscure as I can do to secure their adoption. I was not born to be a Whig; into a Whig no earthly or unearthly power can transform me; and into one I am sure no heavenly power would wish me, or wish any one else, to be transformed. I hope this is enough to "define my position." So I pray my Democratic friends to make no more insinuations.
One word as to the statement with which the editor commences his note. He says my article severely tested "his firmness and good faith in adhering to the special agreement" made with me, when I consented to discontinue the Boston Quarterly Review, and to become a regular contributor to the Democratic. I am not sure that this statement is made in sober earnest; I am disposed to take it as a little pleasantry; but if made in downright earnest, I must say that it implies a reflection against the justice of which I must needs protest. Does the editor mean to imply, that, taking advantage of a special agreement, I have crowded into his journal an article which I had reason to believe would be highly repugnant to his feelings and convictions, or at least altogether different from what he might reasonably have expected from me as an honorable man? If so, he wrongs me. The essay in question is conceived and written in the very spirit of several articles which had appeared in my own Review before I had any connection, or any thought of a connection, with the Democratic; and its leading doctrine is one that I have uniformly maintained. I put it forth in the J Boston Reformer, in 1836, when assigning reasons for not supporting Mr. Van Buren for the presidency; I repeated it at great length, and sustained it in an essay on Democracy, one of the most elaborate essays I have ever written, inserted in the very first number of the Boston Quarterly Review, January, 1838; also under some of its aspects in the essays on the Abolition Proceedings, and on the Sub-Treasury Bill, in the same journal, in the course of the same year; again, July, 1841, in an article on Executive Patronage, and some remarks on the President's Message; and again, in January following, in an essay on Constitutional Government, and in some remarks on the Distribution Bill. Now, I can hardly conceive how an essay embodying a doctrine which I had so uniformly, and so constantly, maintained, and which I can hardly suppose the editor did not know I entertained, and was in the habit of insisting on, when he enlisted me in his corps of contributors, could have severely tested his firmness and good faith in adhering to his engagements. Surely he could hardly have expected me to keep silence on so favorite a doctrine; nor that I should change my faith with my medium of publication. I cannot feel that in sending the article I acted dishonorably, or at all ungenerously. Men who have devoted their lives to some great objects, are very likely to have some kind of doctrines, and life is all too serious an affair with them, to allow them to write without bringing out such doctrines as they believe true and important. They cannot write to order, for their bread, but must write out from their own hearts and minds, what they believe to be essential to the welfare of their fellow-men. I have done my best, since I have been connected with the Democratic Review, to avoid saying anything which should be unpleasant to my highly esteemed friend, its conductor; and in order to do so, I have for the most part kept so far in the regions of abstract philosophy as to interest but few of his readers; he himself has grown tired of these philosophical essays; but, if I*may not come into the concrete world and speak of practical matters, as I feel an honest man and a patriot should speak of them, it will go hard with me but I shall be unable to say any thing that will not try my friend's "firmness and good faith" in keeping his engagement. But enough of this. What is merely personal concerns not the public.
In my essay, I spoke of 1840 as having worked a revolution in my opinions. I was not then careful to state with exactness in what that revolution consisted. I was willing to leave the matter in some obscurity; for I chose to refer my readers to an event which should justify the change I wished to see effected in them, permitting them to suppose it had effected a corresponding change in me, rather than to assume the superiority of saying to them, "I always told you so, and now you must see that I was right." But, since the point has been made, I wish now to be more explicit, and more exact. The doctrine of my essay, so far as it concerns the origin of government, the sovereignty of the people, and the right of the majority to govern, is with me an old doctrine, and the only doctrine, so far as I can recollect, that I have ever really entertained on those subjects in my life. But on two or three questions of very great importance, the election of 1840 helped revolutionize my opinions. As the statement of the changes implied, with the reasonings which led to them, may have more than merely personal bearings, I will ask the privilege of being allowed to make it with frankness and at some little length.
In 1824, during the canvass of that year for president, I was in the then territory of Michigan, and of course had no vote; but my sympathies during that contest were for Mr. Calhoun ; but when I learned that he would be the candidate for the vice-presidency, and not for the presidency, 1 was for Mr. Crawford. During the latter part of that year and a considerable portion of the following year, I was confined to my room and even to my bed with a severe illness from which it was hardly expected I should ever recover. When I recovered, I entered the Christian ministry, and paid little or no attention to politics, till 1828, when I foolishly voted for electors in favor of the reelection of Mr. Adams. The year following and through 1830, I was one of those who helped get up and sustain, in the state of New York, what was called the Working-men's party; but I sustained that party with moral and social views, rather than with political. In 1831,1 returned to my labors as a clergyman, and mingled not in the political world again for several years. In 1836, I came to the city of Boston, mainly for the purpose of resuscitating the cause of the working men, but morally and religiously, rather than politically. The wickedness of the banks in 1837, in refusing to pay their debts, and the moral obtuseness of the community which could tolerate, nay defend, in these moneyed corporations, conduct which would have been severely censured and even punished in the case of private individuals, brought me for the first time fairly into practical politics; for I felt that a system of special legislation had been adopted and fostered, which, if not arrested, would bring us under the absolute control of associated wealth; and seeing, during the extra session of congress called by Mr. Van Buren, that the Democratic party, which I had hitherto for the most part eschewed, as not being sufficiently radical and in earnest to carry out the true principle of what I called social democracy, must from the circumstances in which it was placed, adopt, on the one hand, the state rights doctrines of the South,—to which I had been made a convert, by the famous discussion of Messrs. Webster and Hayne in the senate of the United States,—and, on the other, accept the Locofoco doctrines concerning banks and banking, privilege, monopoly, and equal rights, I felt that I ought to cease my opposition to it, and give it all the support in my power, which I did and have since continued to do, as the true party of progress, and in the success of which must henceforth be involved the success of true republican principles and measures, and therefore of our experiment in behalf of freedom and good government.
During the whole of the period from the formation of the Working-men's party down to 1840, I had felt and acted on the policy of making up as distinctly as possible before the country, the direct issue, as Mr. Benton expressed it, between Man And Money. The real question was between the interests of associated or corporate wealth, or more strictly perhaps of business, on the other hand, and the interests of labor, agricultural, mechanical, &c., on the other, and I felt that whenever we could get this question fairy before the country, and the partisans of money on one side, and the partisans of labor on the other side, these last, as being altogether the most numerous, could at any time out-vote the others. Hence, I struggled as earnestly as I could, and perhaps not without some effect, to make up the issue directly on this ground.
Well, the canvass for president came on in 1840, and we all went into it, with the precise issue made up that I and my friends had wished; and we went into it, under as favorable circumstances as can ever be looked for in the history of this country, and more favorable than we can in my opinion ever look for again. We had our full share of the scholars and literary men of the country; also, of all that was distinguished for eminent services in practical political life; we had the whole patronage of the federal government, and that of twenty states out of twenty-six. Who when the campaign opened could have doubted of our success? But we were defeated, and driven in disorder from the field. This defeat, after I had had time to investigate its causes, I found to be a lucid commentary on the policy which I, in common with many others, had recommended and urged. I saw, then, as now, that if we make up the issue, as Mr. Benton has it, between Man and Money, we necessarily bring about a horizontal division of parties, in which the party of money will always carry the day. The history of the world offers no instance in which,—man on one side, and money on the other,—money has not triumphed. The Haves carry it always over the Have-nots. It is then sheer madness to insist on the making up this issue; and as friends of labor, and simple humanity, we must avoid coming to a direct vote on the question so stated, and study to make up other and more favorable issues Instead of separating the interests of wealth from the interests of man, the interests of business from those of labor, we must study so to unite them, that the partisans of wealth, in promoting their own interests, shall contribute to the promotion of the equal rights and equal chances for which we as true democrats are struggling. This much, I for one learned from the result of the campaign of 1840.
Up to 1840, I, with not a few of my friends, bred to the church as several of us had been, and few or none of us having ever been in practical political life, looked upon most of the questions we were discussing mainly from the point of view of the ideal. I felt that if we did but put forth our views, did but give prevalence to true doctrines concerning men's social rights and duties, we need not to trouble ourselves about their practical organization. The organization would follow from the supposed inherent virtue of the doctrines themselves. At any rate, moral and spiritual guaranties would be amply sufficient for their practical working. I did not see that in this, I was on the declivity to no-governmentism, and that if I but pushed my principles to their last consequences, I must oppose all government but such as should spring from conviction and moral suasion. The memorable 1840, with the help of some hints from a distinguished statesman, corrected me also of this most dangerous error. I saw that while we were preaching our social doctrines and dreaming, by conviction and moral suasion, to bring back the long lost Eden, the partisans of privilege, monopoly, special legislation, would possess themselves of the government, and fasten a system of measures upon the country, which would for a long series of years, if not for ever, render impotent all our efforts to bring about a just and truly democratic state of society. Consequently, something more than moral, that is to say ideal, guaranties must be sought, and true wisdom commands us to labor incessantly to establish such practical guaranties, as shall render it impossible for any party, whatever its doctrines or tendencies, even if in power, to make the government an instrument of doing any serious injury to the individual citizen, or of throwing any serious impediment in the way of the continuous progress of liberty and equality.
On one other point also, I confess to having been enlightened by the campaign of 1840 ; namely, as to the practical tendency of the doctrine which makes the essence of democracy to consist in the sovereignty of the people, and the practical formula, " The majority must govern. I had never embraced this doctrine; I had uniformly in all my writings,—bating some few incautious expressions, now and then escaping me in the hurry of composition, and when I had some special object in view, — opposed it as rank political heresy; but after all, I had opposed it more as a speculative error than as a practical evil. Its real character I never clearly saw, till I found Henry Clay and his Whig friends preaching it with great unction, and urging it with great effect, in support of a series of measures from beginning to end as unconstitutional, and fraught with as much mischief to freedom and good government, as the father of mischief himself could desire. When we find the enemies of political truth and righteousness preaching our own doc: trines. and making them the legitimate basis of measures which we must needs hold in utter abhorrence, it is high time for us to pause, and ask, "Into what mischievous error have we fallen?" I confess that when I heard Mr. Clay, and the Whig members of the "Tip. and Ty." congress, talking of the sovereignty of the people, and reiterating, what our own party had always insisted on, "the majority 'must govern," I saw that the doctrine was something more than a speculative error; and I could not but loathe it as I would some foul steam sent up from the world below.
How stood the case? In the summer of 1840, we went into the canvass for president. Each party had its distinctive measures; and both asserted "the people are sovereign," and "the majority must govern." We all knew what measures the Whigs would attempt to carry if they prevailed; and we, the writers, essayists, declaimers, orators, lecturers, &c., in our addresses to the people, distinctly stated what these measures were, and opposed the Whigs on the ground of their unconstitutionality and wickedness. If the Whigs did not formally avow them, nobody was deceived. At all events, the real questions at issue between the two parties were as well understood as they ever are, or can be, with the present degree of popular intelligence. Well, what was the result? Why, the people, by an overwhelming majority, decided for the Whigs, and therefore—my friend of the Democratic Review to the contrary notwithstanding—for the measures advocated by the Whig leaders. Never, in any case, can we look for a clearer or more decisive expression of the popular will. It is useless to question this obvious fact.
Now, acting on the principle that the people are sovereign, and the majority must govern—a principle common to both parties—I ask, what could Henry Clay do, what had he even a right to do, when congress came together, but to bring forward and insist on his famous "programme"? The people had clearly decided for the measures brought forward; the question had been decided by the highest tribunal ; and Mr. Clay, I insist, but acted on what both parties called the true democratic principle, when he said in the senate chamber, "The matter is decided; we want action, not discussion." Those measures would have lost this country to freedom and progress, had they been adopted; but what then? Are not the people through the majority sovereign? Must not the majority govern? If so, by what authority, by what right, I demand, did the Democratic minority in both houses oppose, and so nobly and energetically oppose, the adoption of those measures? If the majority must govern, then when its will is once clearly expressed, it is and must be binding on the minority, who be, must yield to it.
But this was not all. When the Whig leaders found themselves thwarted by constitutional provisions in carrying out their favorite measures, and measures for which they had obtained the majority in and out of congress, what then did they do? Precisely what men, believing that they had the majority with them, and that the majority has the right in a democracy to govern, must do, and always will do; they brought forward a series of amendments to tire constitution itself—amendments which would make that instrument always flexible to the will of the majority for the time being, and therefore as good as no constitution at all. True, these amendments could not as yet be adopted; but when it should become fairly settled as the creed of the country, that the form of our government is a democracy instead of a constitutional republic, and that the majority has always the right to rule, then would there be the very popular faith or opinion necessary to insure the adoption of those amendments, and to prevent the constitution from being retained with any provision that should impose restraints on the will of the majority, the legitimate sovereign, as all would then acknowledge and contend.
I confess that when I saw these amendments, and with what thought they were framed, when I read the very able but insidious address of the Whig members of congress, put forth at the close of the extra session, I felt a lively alarm for the fate of my country, especially for the fate of constitutional government. I saw, or seemed to see, all the popular tendencies of both parties hurrying us all on directly to the very end proposed by the projectors of the aforementioned amendments; and that if not arrested in time, we oppose it, but, whatever it should come under the absolute rule of the majority, with no protection against the tyranny it might choose to exercise. I looked at the relations of business and labor as they are and needs must be, and had no difficulty in determining which party, or what party would be the ruling majority, when there should be any thing at stake, and therefore what interest must always predominate; and also in determining that unless we could retain the constitution as an effectual restraint on the will of the majority, so as necessarily to confine the action of the government to those measures alone which should practically affect all classes of our citizens alike, we should lose all security for civil freedom, and be obliged to abandon for ever all hope of meliorating the moral, intellectual, and physical condition of mankind, especially of the poorer and more numerous classes. I saw, then, that the great mass of our citizens, instead of being interested in having the coast clear for the unchecked predominance of the will of the majority, as too many of our politicians seemed to fancy, were specially and most deeply interested in having the will of the majority restrained; so that the government could get no power ever to act on any matters but those for the common weal of all classes of I citizens. ^What we must most sedulously guard against is, I leaving to any class, no matter what class, or which class, I even if having possession of the government, the power to make the government an instrument for plundering the other classes for its own profit.
I felt that here was the vital question but what could I do? A private citizen, branded as an infidel, an agrarian, a disorganizer, from one end of the Union to the other; a proscribed man, whom all parties eschewed more carefully, I fear, than they did even Satan himself? Nobody would heed my voice; and most of those who could command public attention were, unhappily, engrossed with other views and aims. Never till that moment had I felt the full evil of not having the confidence of 'the public. Nevertheless, no man knows what he can do till he tries, and no one has a right to say that he can do nothing. The smallest pebble cast into the lake may spread the circles that succeed over the whole surface. I came forth and called in all tones, and through all mediums at my command, upon my Democratic friends to change their tactics, and rally around the constitution, to make themselves a true Constitutional Party against the revolutionary and mobocratic doctrines preached by Mr. Clay and his Whig friends, both in and out of congress. They have, it is true, paid little heed to my call, nay, no heed but to abuse me for making it. No matter. I am not, for that, out of humor with them, nor am I discouraged. They will hear me one of these days, and, I trust, before it is too late. Good may come out of Nazareth, and therefore they need not reject a good thing because they find me advocating it. But if they hear not me, I trust some one will be found to make the same call whom they will hear.
The doctrine which I have wished to see my Democratic friends insisting on, instead of the doctrine taken up by Mr. Clay and his friends, is,
1. That there is no security under any absolute government, whether its form be monarchical, aristocratic, or democratic;
2. That the sovereign power, wherever lodged, in the one, the few, or the many, should be limited, restricted in its action to matters of common weal, leaving the whole sphere of what is purely individual, to individual conscience and responsibility, and to moral and spiritual influences and restraints alone;
3. That the constitution intended to restrain the sovereign power, and confine it to a prescribed sphere of action, cannot answer its end, if it be a mere grant from the sovereign, revocable at will; or in popular governments a mere ordinance of the people, alterable at the pleasure of the majority;
4. That the constitution, in order to answer its end, must be such a constitution, or organization of the state—such a real, not merely prescribed distribution of the active and passive, the positive and negative powers of government, as will enable a constituted minority—not to rule the majority, but—to hinder effectually the majority, when so disposed, from encroaching in its acts or measures on the rights of minorities and individuals;
5. And lastly, that our first duty is to labor to introduce such a constitution where it is not, and to preserve it as the apple of the eye where it is; whence it follows that we must frown down every attempt to advance even liberty and social well-being, save in and through forms authorized by the constitution.
The only point of doctrine here involved on which my Democratic friends and I can have any controversy, concerns the power lying back of the constitution. In my theory of government, the constitution is itself ultimate: for it is not the written instrument, but is the actual constitution or organization of the state. It is the sovereign, and, when wisely adapted to the real character of the country, the genius and pursuits of the people, it is always self-sufficing. But my Democratic friends who oppose me seem to me to regard the constitution merely as a written instrument drawn up by the people, and alterable at their pleasure, and, as some of them have contended in the case of Rhode Island, alterable at the pleasure of a bare majority ; and this] bare majority coming together informally, and acting with out any regard to its provisions. If this be so, what restraint can the constitution impose on the will of the majority? A constitution that cannot govern the people as well as the individual, the city as well as the citizen, obviously is no restraint on the sovereign power; but, whatever its provisions, does in reality leave the sovereign power absolute, and therefore is, as I have said, as good as no constitution at all. The will of the people, not the constitution, nor the will of the people expressed only through the constitution, but the will of the people unorganized, independent of the constitution, is in this case the true sovereign, and therefore may at any time rightfully override the constitution itself. This is to bring us under absolute government, from which nothing but a constitution in the other sense, a constitution or organization of the body politic, can relieve us. The point here involved I wish my Democratic friends would reexamine.
But, when I talk of governing the people, I am asked, "What, would you have a monarchy or an aristocracy placed over the people to govern them l" Not at all, my good friends ^I am no monarchist, no aristocrat: and if we had a monarchy or an aristocracy, I should have the same reason as now to demand a limit to the sovereign power. Assuredly, one may as well trust to the absolute rule of the whole people as to that of one or of a few. The intimation of the editor in his note, that I propose to control the democratic element by introducing the aristocratic or monarchical element, which was the damning sin of old Federalism, is unjust to me, unwarranted by a single word I have ever written or uttered, and not what I bad a right to expect from his known candor and his personal friendship. I have said already that the power that is to control the people must be found, not merely in the written instrument called a constitution, but in the actual constitution of' the state. If my friends will not misunderstand me, and say that I contradict myself, I will say that the whole governing power is and should be vested in the people, but in the people organized; yet not organized in one consolidated body, but so organized that the action of the whole is always through the parts, or at least can never transcend what all the parts will tolerate.
I nave no faith, as I have often said, in the intelligence of the people, and I have no assurance of good government when I have nothing but their intelligence and virtue, as a consolidated mass, on which to rely. But the pursuits and interests of the people are various—each of these interests has, as it were, an instinct of self-preservation and self-advancement. Take an illustration given me in conversation by Mr. Calhoun. We will suppose a town composed wholly of tanners and shoemakers. It will require more men to work up the leather into shoes than it will to tan it. In every case then in which they come to vote, the shoemakers, being the numerical majority, can carry it over the tanners, and have it all their own way, and therefore impose any burden on the tanners they please. What will you do? Suffer the shoemakers to tyrannize over the tanners? Not at all. Introduce the system of concurring majorities place against the majority of the shoemakers the majority of the tanners. These majorities will cancel one the other. If the tanners seek to carry it over the shoemakers, they will he resisted by the opposing majority of the shoemakers; if the shoemakers undertake to carry it over the tanners, they will he defeated by the opposing majority of tanners. "A Then each finds itself unable to proceed, the moment it attempts to gain an exclusive advantage, and both are obliged to desist and fall back on those measures on which they can both agree. These measures will be only those which concern them, not in their distinctive capacity of tanners and shoemakers, but in their simple capacity of men and citizens—the only capacity in which government should ever know us. Apply the principles here illustrated to the whole people, and you have in the whole people, regarded as minorities, a force that will compel the government, or whatever party has the control of it, to fall back on such matters as concern all alike,—the parts, minorities, in regard to the whole, but represented by the majority of each part. This would be democracy as defined by the Massachusetts state convention some years since, "The supremacy of man over his accidents" that is, the constitution or frame of government, which not only says it ought to confine itself, but which actually does and cannot but confine itself to the wants and interests of men in their simple capacity of human beings, and legislates for them solely as men and as citizens, and not for them as rich men or poor men; learned men or ignorant; as merchants, manufacturers, shoemakers or tanners; or according to any other of the accidents of social or individual life, bin reality this theory of government, which is not mine, but which I have learned from men at whose feet I count it an honor to sit and learn, is much more popular, and secures a much larger share of individual freedom, and leaves altogether a larger field to "Free-Will, Conscience, Reason, and the Bible," than the consolidated democracy against which I have so often and so indignantly protested—and for protesting against which I am called a conservative and an aristocrat.
Having said so much in defence and explanation of my own views of government, I must say one or two words concerning my friend's defence of the people in his note appended to my furious attack on them. Nearly all the instances, save so far as speculative errors were concerned, which I adduced in defence of my position, I adduced from the conduct of the Whigs. The editor I am sure agrees with me in my estimate of them. Wherein, then, could I have offended my Democratic brother, save in calling the Whigs people? This may go hard, I know; but, if we are democrats, we must not be too aristocratic, and therefore, however much it may go against the grain, must admit that even Whigs are People. In apparently denying this, the editor, I must think, was not wholly democratic. The editor says, "the people have their moments de vertige" that they "are not infallible; that they both can do and have done, and will often continue to do, very wrong—very foolishly, aye, and sometimes very wickedly, wrong." This from an apologist for the people? Pray, what more have I said in my wrath against them, when obviously intending to say the worst of them that I could? Really, the apologist leaves the people worse by his admissions, than I by my accusations. But suppose the people, in one of these moments de vertige, should fasten upon themselves such a series of measures as, but for the intervention of a merciful Providence, they would have done in 1841? These moments de vertige are arrant rogues, and the wise, practical statesman will always study to give us some guaranty against the mischief they may do. I wish not to be too near Alexander when over his cups.
The editor accuses me of recanting, and striking from the S old flag under which we fought in 1840, one of its brightest mottoes, and he protests as a brave knight against the alleged desecration of our glorious old Oriflamme. Will he allow me, as an humble squire, who did his duty as he could in the memorable campaign, and who certainly received some wounds if he gave none, to protest also against his admission that the Whigs "did just about right," nay, that "they served us just about right"? I confess that I was not prepared for this admission from the Democratic Review. Thank God! that whatever else I may have done, whatever desecration to "our glorious old Oriflamme" I may have been guilty of, I have never yet so far recanted as to admit that the conduct of the party, much less the 'cause of the party I then opposed was just, and that I and my party deserved to be defeated. I went into that campaign, feeling that I was there to fight the battle of freedom and truth, for the cause of my country and my race; and whatever changes have come over me, no change has come over this feeling. I feel to-day as I did then. To the then Democratic candidate for the presidency, I had and have no strong personal attachment. He was not, and never can be, the man of my choice; but I regarded then, and I regard now, his defeat as a serious calamity to the country, —a defeat, from the disastrous effects of which on the country, it will require our most strenuous and wisely directed efforts for years, under the most favorable auspices, to recover. I believe there are crimes recorded in history, and I cannot bring myself to believe that all events that fall out are for the best. Providence may overrule man's folly and wickedness, but man himself should profit under a humiliating sense of his short-comings, and be thankful that he is not always left to reap the natural fruits of his doings.
But enough. If I have made too liberal a use of the personal pronoun I, it is not because I do not feel my own insignificance, but because I could better bring out the views I have set forth in connection with my own action, and place more distinctly before the public the doctrines I wished to inculcate in this than in any other way. What I want is to get these doctrines fairly considered, and if they are but so considered, it is matter of little consequence to me in what estimation I may he held, or the charges that may or may not be brought against me. For my own reputation, any further than a good name is needed to enable one to serve his country, and as a legacy which every man is bound to leave to his children, I care nothing at all. "Strike, but hear!"