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Act of 11th Feb., 1847,) $13,000,000, making $16,233,075 more. The whole thus far amounts to $78,774,324.10. About 25,000 more land warrants, it is thought, will be required, at a cost of $5,000,000. No man can now estimate the sum which will be required for pensions. If we set down the whole direct cost to the nation at $200,000,000, we think we shall not be far out of the way. This is a tax of $10 on each person in the United States, bond or free, old or newly born, rich or poor; like all other taxes, it is ultimately to be paid by the labor of the country, by the men who work with their hands, chiefly by poor men. The twenty million-headed nation, blindly led by guides not blind, little thought of this when they shouted at each “famous victory," and denounced humble men who both considered the “natural justice” of the war, and counted its cost.
Mr. Polk refused his signature to three bills passed by Congress; one making, “ appropriations for the improvement of certain harbors and rivers," one for the ascertainment and satisfaction of " claims of American citizens" on France before the 31st of July, 1801, a third " for continuing certain works in the territory of Wisconsin, and for other purposes. It is a little remarkable to find a man who commenced war upon Mexico, by invading her territory, seized with such scruples about violating the Constitution while paying an honest debt. The Constitution which can be violated to promote Slavery, can easily afförd an excuse for the neglect of justice.
Facile invenit fustem qui vult cædere canem. Mr. Polk found the nation with a debt of $17,075,445.52, he left it with a debt of $61,938,400.70. That was the debt on the 4th of March, 1849, including the $2,193,500 of the loan of 1818, subsequently paid in.
Mr. Polk has gone to the Judge of all men, who is also their Father. The hurra of the multitude, and the applause of an irresponsible party are of no more value than the water which a Methodist minister sprinkled on the head of the dying man. Ilis wealth became nothing; his power and his fame went back to those that gave; at the grave's mouth his friends, and he had friends, forsook him, and the monarch of the nation, the master of negro slaves, the author of a war, was alone with his God. Not a slave in the whole wide world would have taken his place. But God sees not as man. Here let us leave him, not without pity for his earthly history - not without love for a brother man whose weakness, not his wickedness, wrought for our nation such shame and woe.
* See his Special Messages of August 3d, 1846, August 8th, 1846, and December 15th, 1847.
Of his administration in general, we would say little. He proved by experiment that his was "a nomination not fit to be made ;” not fit to be confirmed after the convention had made it; he demonstrated by experiment the folly of putting a little man into a great man's place; the folly of taking the mere creature of a party to be the President of a nation. It was not the first time this had been done, not the last. Yet such is the structure of government and society in America, such the character of the people, so young, so free, so fresh, and strong — that not even such an administration as Mr. Polk's can permanently impede the nation's march. Cattle and corn were never more abundant. Foreigners came here in great numbers, 229,483 in the year ending 30th September, 1848. Our total increase must have been considerably more than half a million a year. Not long ago men sneered at America — a Republic could not hold its own, or only with men like Washington at its head. But in 1848, when the nations of Europe were convulsed with revolutions, whose immediate failure is now the joy of the enemies of mankind, west of the ocean not less than east thereof — America stood firm, though her nominal guide was only James K. Polk. Ours is the most complicated government in the world, but it resembles the complication of the human body, not that of a fancy watch. Our increase in wealth was greater far than our proportionate growth of numbers. When trade is free, and labor free, and institutions for all men, there is no danger that men will multiply faster than bread to fill their mouths. This is God's world and not the Devil's.
We are a new people in a new world ; flexible still, and ready to take the impress of a great Idea. Shame on us that we choose such leaders ; men with no noble gifts of leader
ship, no lofty ideas, no humane aims; men that defile the · continent with brother's blood most wickedly poured out!
The President of the Democrats showed himself the ally of the Autocrats of the East who
“ wade through slaughter to a throne, And shut the gates of mercy on mankind.”
The good things of Mr. Polk's administration we have spoken of and duly honored; the abomination thereof whence came that? From the same source out of which so much evil has already come : from Slavery. A nation, like a man, is amenable to the Law of God; suffers for its sin, and must suffer till it ends the sin. In the North National Unity of Action is preserved with little sacrifice of individual Variety of Action; the Union of the People and the Freedom of the Person are carefully kept secure.
Hence each man has as much freedom as he can have in the present state of physical, moral, and social science. But in the South it is not so ; there in a population of 7,334,431 persons, there are 2,486,326 slaves ; so if the average amount of freedom in the North be represented by one, in the South it will be but about twothirds ; * it is doubtful that the inhabitants of any part of Europe, except Russia and Turkey have less. Think you, oh reader, while we thus trample on the rights of millions of men, we shall not suffer for the crime? No! God forbid that we should not suffer.
There are two things the nation has to fear — two modes of irresponsible power. One is the powER OF PARTY ; one the POWER OF GOLD. Mr. Polk was the creature of a party ; his Ideas were Party Ideas, his Measures Party Measures, his Acts Party Acts, himself a Party man. A Party can make a President, as a heathen his idol, out of any thing; no material is too vulgar; but a Party cannot make a great man out of all the little ones which can be scented out by the keenest convention which ever met. The Democratic party made Mr. Polk; sustained him; but no huzzas could make him a great man, a just man, or a fair man. No King is more tyrannical than a Party when it has the power; 'no despot more irresponsible. The Democrats and Whigs are proof of this. One has noble instincts and some noble ideas — so had the other once; but consider the conduct of the Baltimore convention in 1844; their conduct for five years after. Consider the convention of Philadelphia in 1848, and the subsequent conduct of the Whigs! This irresponsible Power of Party has long been controlled by the South, for various reasons named before.
The irresponsible Power of Gold appears in two forms, as it
is held by Individuals or Corporations. The Power of Gold when vast sums are amassed by a single individual, who owns more property than five counties of Massacousetts, is certainly dangerous, and of an evil tendency. But yet as the individual is transient, it is not presently alarming; a wise law, unwelcome often to the rich man, limits his control to a few years. His children may be fathers of poor men. But when vast sums are held by a Corporation, permanent in itself, though composed of fleeting elements, this power, which no statute of Mortmain here holds in check, becomes alarming well as dangerous. This Power of Gold belongs to the North and is likewise irresponsible.
Sometimes the two help balance, and counteract one another. It was so in the administration of Jackson and Van Buren. Jackson set the Power of Party to smite the Power of Gold. Even Mr. Polk did so in two remarkable instances. But this is not always to be expected: the two are natural allies. The Feudalism of Birth - depending on a Caucasian descent, and the Feudalism of Gold, depending on its dollars, are of the same family, only settled in different parts of the land; they are true yoke-fellows. The Slaveocracy of the South, and the Plutocracy of the North, are born of the same mother. Now, for the first time for many years, they have stricken hands; but the Northern Power of Gold at the Philadelphia Convention was subjugated by the Southern Power of Party, and lent itself a willing tool. Together they have selected the man of their choice, confessedly ignorant of politics, of small ability, and red with war; placed him on the throne of the nation. The Slaveocracy and the Plutocracy each gave him its counsel.
his experiment he is to demonstrate his fitness, his impotence, or his crime. He is on trial before the nation. It is not ours to judge, still less to prejudge him. Let General Taylor be weighed in an even balance. We trust that some one, four years hence, will report on his administration with as much impartiality as we have aimed at, and with more power to penetrate and judge. We wish there might be a more honorable tale to tell of the first mere military chief the nation ever chose. There are great problems before the nationinvolving the welfare of millions of men. We pause, with hope and fear, for the Whigs to solve them as they can.
ART. IX. - SHORT REVIEWS AND NOTICES.
1. - Ten Discourses on Orthodoxy. By Joseph HENRY ALLEN,
Pastor of the Unitarian Church, Washington, D. C. Boston : Crosby & Nichols. Washington : Taylor & Maury.
This is a very strong book; we hardly know one so strong on the subjects which it treats. Although the community may have been well nigh surfeited, the last thirty years, with discourses longer or shorter, wise or foolish, profound or shallow, on the Trinity, Human Depravity, Atonement, Endless Punishment, and the Infallibility of the Bible, we would yet advise that Mr. Allen's volume should be read, yes, studied. It is a small book, but it will take time to peruse it thoroughly. It is full of great thoughts, of large, discriminating views of divine truth, and of the attempts that have been made to apprehend and express that truth. We cordially commend it to all who, whether orthodox or heterodox, really wish to be enlightened upon subjects of the highest moment; subjects which may have been made distasteful to many by the servile manner in which they have been too often treated.
With all his modesty, - and that is apparent on every page, – Mr. Allen is a courageous man.
He seems to be afraid of nothing but error. He has evaded nothing that came in his way; and has exposed himself, on every hand, to the abettors of many longcherished opinions. We honor him for his frankness, as much as we love him for his kindliness. He has, in almost every instance, done strict and even justice to the opinions he has brought under examination.
S. J. M.
LIST OF NEW PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED. J. P. Romang, Der neueste Pantheismus. Berne. 1848. 8vo.
Karl Eckermann, Lehrbuch der Religionsgeschichte und Mythologie der vorzüglicher Völker des Alterthums. Halle. 1848. 2te Auflage. 4 vols. 8vo.
Chr. Keferstein, Ansichten über die Keltischen Alterthümer, &c., &c. Halle. 1846–48. 2 vols. 8vo.
W. Adolf Schmidt, Geschichte der Denk- und Glaubenfreiheit im ersten Jahrhundert
des Christenthums. Berlin. 1847. 2 vols. 8vo. F. A. Staudenmaier, Die Christliche Dogmatik. Freiburg im Breisgau. 1844 --1849, 3 vols. 8vo.
Gustav Klemm, Allgemeine Cultur-Geschichte der Menscheit, Vol. VI (China und Japan) VII. (Das Morgenland.) 8vo.
J. Scheible, Das Kloster, Weltlich und Geistlich. Stuttgart. 1849. Vol. XI. and XII. 12mo.