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with the Modern Anti-Federalists,” — a was the principal defect of the system, humorous allegory, which may have sug- and were for adding new buttresses to gested to the Senator from Ohio his the Constitutional edifice. It is curious excellent conceit of the Israelite with to remark that neither party believEgyptian principles. “Many," wrote ed in the permanency of the Union. Franklin, “ still retained an affection for Then came into use the mighty adjecEgypt, the land of their nativity, and tives " constitutional” and “unconstituwhenever they felt any inconvenience tional,” — words of vast import, doing or bardship, though the natural and un- equally good service to both parties in avoidable effect of their change of situa- furnishing a word to express their opintion, exclaimed against their leaders as ion of the measures they urged and of the authors of their trouble, and were those they objected to. And then began not only for returning into Egypt, but to be strained and frayed that much-abus for stoning their deliverers. ....... ed piece of parchment which Thomas Many of the chiefs thought the new Paine called the political Bible of the Constitution might be injurious to their American people, and foolishly thought particular interests,—that the profitable indispensable to liberty in a representaplaces would be engrossed by the fami- tive government. “Ask an American if a lies and friends of Moses and Aaron, certain act be constitutional,” says Paine, and others, equally well born, excluded.” “he pulls out his pocket volume, turns to
Time has decided this first point in page and verse, and gives you a correct favor of the Unionists. None of the answer in a moment.” Poor Mr. Paine! evils prophesied by their opponents have if you had lived fifty years longer, you as yet appeared. The independence of would have seen that paper constitutions, the individual States remains inviolate, like the paper money you despised so and, although the central executive has justly, depend upon honesty and configrown yearly more powerful, a mon- dence for their value, and are at a sad archy seems as remote as ever. Local discount in hard times of fraud and cordistinctions are now little prized in com- ruption. Unprincipled men find means parison with federal rank. It is not ev- of evading the written agreement upon ery man who can recollect the name of their face by ingenious subterfuges or the governor of his own State ; very downright repudiation. An arbitrary few can tell that of the chief of the majority will construe the partnership neighboring Commonwealth. The old articles to suit their own interests, and boundaries have grown more and more stat pro constitutione voluntas. It is true indistinct; and when we look at the that the litera scripta remains, but the present map of the Union, we see only meaning is found to vary with the interthat broad black line known as Mason preter. and Dixon's, on one side of which are In 1791, when the two parties were fairneatness, thrift, enterprise, and educa- ly formed and openly pitted against each tion, and on the other, whatever the other, a new element of discord had enternatives of that region may please to ed into politics, which added the bitterness call it.
of class-feeling to the usual animosity of After 1789, the old Egypt faction contention. Society in the Middle and ceased to exist, except as grumblers ; Southern States had been composed of a but the States-Rights men, though obliged few wealthy and influential families, and to acquiesce in the Constitution, endeav- of a much more numerous lower class ored, by every means of " construction" who followed the lead of the great men. their ingenuity could furnish, to weaken These lesser citizens had now determinand restrict the exercise and the range ed to set up for themselves, and had enof its power. The Federalists, on the listed in the ranks of the Anti-Federalists, other hand, held that want of strength who soon assumed the name and style of Democrats, an epithet first bestowed up- free enough for all purposes”; and judgon them in derision, but joyfully adopted, ing from what they saw at home, they - one of the happiest hits in political looked upon Anti-Federalism not only as nomenclature ever made. In hoc verbo erroneous in theory, but as disreputable vinces : In that word lay victory. If in practice. The name of Democrat," any one be tempted, in this age, to re- writes a fierce old gentleman to his son, peat the stupid question, “What's in a “is despised; it is synonymous with infaname?” let him be answered,-Every- my.” Out of New England a greater sothing: place, power, pelf, perhaps we cial change was going forward. Already may add peculation. “The Barons of appeared that impatience of all restraint Virginia," chiefs of State-Rights, who at which is so alarming a symptom of our home had been in favor of a governor times. Every rogue, “who felt the haland a senate for life, and had little to fear ter draw," wanted to know if it was for from any lower class in their own neigh- tyranny like this that the Colonies had borhood, saw how much was to be gain- rebelled. “ Such a monster of a governed by “taking the people into partner- ment has seldom or never been known on ship,” as Herodotus phrases it, and com- earth. A blessed Revolution, a blessed menced that alliance with the proletaries Revolution, indeed !-- but farmers, meof the North which has proved so profit- chanics, and laborers had no share in it. able to Southern leaders. In New Eng. We are the asses who pay." This was land, the land of industry, self-control, the burden of the Democratic song. and superior cultivation, (for the Ameri- But the real issue between the two parcan Parnassus was then in Connecticut, ties, which underlay all their proposed either in Hartford, or on Litchfield Hill,) measures and professed principles, was there was, comparatively speaking, no the old struggle of classes, modified of lower class. The Eastern men, whose course by the time and the place. The levelling spirit and equality of ranks had Democrats contended for perfect equalbeen so much disliked and dreaded by ity, political and social, and as little powthe representatives from other Colonies in er as possible in the central government the Ante-Revolutionary Congresses, had so long as their party was not in comundergone little or no social change by the mand. The Federalists, who held the war, and probably had at that period a reins, were for a strong conservative admore correct idea of civil liberty and free ministration, and a wholesome distincgovernment than any other people on tion of classes. The two parties were the face of the earth. General Charles not long in waiting for flags to rally Lee wrote to an English friend, that the around, and fresh fields on which to New-Englanders were the only Ameri- fight. The French Revolution furnished cans who really understood the meaning both. In its early stages it had excited of republicanism, and many years later a general sympathy in America; and, inDe Tocqueville came to nearly the same deed, so has every foreign insurrection, opinion :-“C'est dans la Nouvelle-Angle- rebellion, or riot since, no matter where terre que se sont combinées les deux ou or why it occurred, provided good use trois idées principales, qui aujourd'hui has been made of the sacred words Rev.
forment les bases de la théorie sociale des olution and Liberty. This cry has never Etats-Unis." In this region Federalism been echoed in this country without exreigned supreme. The New-Englanders citing a large body of men to mass-meetdesired a strong, honest, and intelligent ings, dinners, and other public demonstragovernment; they thought, with John Ad- tions, who do not stop to consider what it ams, that “true equality is to do as you means, or whether, in the immediate inwould be done by," and agreed with stance, it has any meaning at all. John Hamilton, that “a government in which Adams said in his “ Defence of American every man may aspire to any office was constitutions,” “ Our countrymen will -
never run delirious after a word or a festivals and the discharge of cannon; the name.” Mr. Adams was inuch mistak- English flag was burned as a sacrifice to en. If, according to the Latin proverb, the Goddess of Liberty; a French frigate a word is sufficient for a wise man, so, in took a prize off the Capes of the Delaanother sense, it is all that is needful for ware, and sent her in to Philadelphia ; fools. But as the Revolution advanced thousands of the populace crowded the in France towards republicanism, the wharves, and, when the British colors Federalists, who thought the English sys- were seen reversed, and the French flytem, less the king and the hereditary ing over them, burst into exulting hurras. lords, the best scheme of government, When a report came that the Duke of began to grow lukewarm. When it be- York was a prisoner and shown in a cage came evident that the New Era was to in Paris, all the bells of Philadelphia rang end in bloodshed, instead of universal peals of joy for the downfall of tyrants. peace and good-will towards men,—that Here is the story of a civic fete given at the Rights of Man included murder, con- Reading, in Massachusetts, which we exfiscation, and atheism,- that the Sover- tract from a newspaper of the time as a eignty of the People meant the rule of specimen of the Gallo-Yankee absurdities King Mob, who seemed determined to perpetrated by our grandfathers :carry out to the letter Diderot’s famous “The day was ushered in by the couplet,
ringing of the bells, and a salute of fif“Et des boyaux du dernier prêtre
teen discharges from a field-piece. The Serrez le cou du dernier des rois," – American flag waved in the wind, and then the adjective French became in the flag of France over the British in Federal mouths an epithet of abhorrence inverted order. At noon a large numand abuse ; up went the flag of dear Old ber of respectable citizens assembled at England, the defender of the faith and Citizen Raynor's, and partook of an eleof social order. The opposition party, on gant entertainment. After dinner, Capthe contrary, saw in the success of the tain Emerson's military company in uniFrench people, in their overthrow of form assembled and escorted the citizens kings and nobles, a cheerful encourage to the meeting-house, where an address ment to their own struggle against the ar- pertinent to the occasion was delivered istocratic Federalists, and would allow no by the Rev. Citizen Prentiss, and united sanguinary irregularities to divert their prayers and praises were offered to God, sympathy from the great Democratic tri- and several hymns and anthems were well umph abroad. The gay folds of the tri- sung; after which they returned in procolor which floated over them seemed to cession to Citizen Raynor's, where three shed upon their heads a mild influence farmers, with their frocks and utensils, of that Gallic madness that led them into and with a tree on their shoulders, were absurdities we could not now believe, escorted by the military company formed were they not on record. The fashions, in a hollow square to the Common, where sartorial and social, of the French were the tree was planted in form, as an emaffected; amiable Yankees called each blem of freedom, and the Marseillaise other citizen, invented the feminine citess, Hymn was sung by a choir within a cirand proposed changing our old calendar cle round the tree. Major Boardman, for the Ventose and Fructidor arrange- by request, superintended the business ment of the one and indivisible republic. of the day, and directed the mancu(We wish they had adopted their admi- vres." rable system of weights and measures.) In the Gallic jargon then fashionaDivines are said to have offered up thanks ble, England was “an insular Bastille to the Supreme Being for the success of of slaves," and New England "the the good Sans-culottes. At all events, Vendée of America.” On the other their victories were celebrated by civic side, the Federalists returned cheer for cheer,- looked with true British con- Richmond, Virginia, full of the true tempt on the warlike struggles of the modern South Carolina “ sound and restless Frenchman,-chuckled over the fury,” gave public notice, that, if the disasters which befell " his little popgun treaty entered into by“ that damned fleets," — and damned the Democrats for arch traitor, John Jay, with the British a pack of poor, dirty, blasphemous cut tyrant should be ratified, a petition will throats. Hate one another was the or- be presented to the next General Asder of the day. The religious element, sembly of Virginia praying that the said which always exasperates dissension, was State may recede from the Union, and present. French Democrats had set up be left under the government and prothe Goddess of Reason (in private life tection of one hundred thousand free Mme. Momoro) as an object of worship; and independent Virginians!” A meetAmerican Democrats were accused of ing at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, resolved, making Tom Paine's “ Age of Reason" " that it was weary of the tardiness of their Bible; “Atheist” and “Infidel” were Congress in not going to war with Engadded to the epithets which the Federal- land, and that they were almost ready ists discharged at their foes. So fierce to wish for a state of revolution and the and so general was the quarrel on this guillotine of France for a short space, in European ground, that a distinguished order to punish the miscreants who enerforeigner, then travelling in this coun- vate and disgrace the government.” Mr. try, said that he saw many French and Jefferson's opinion of the treaty is well English, but scarcely ever met with an known from his rhetorical letter to RutAmerican. Weld, a more humble tour- ledge, which, in two or three lines, conist, put into his book, that in Norfolk, tains the adjectives, unnecessary, impolVirginia, he found half the town ready itic, dangerous, dishonorable, disadvantato fight the other half on the French geous, humiliating, disgraceful, improper, question. Meanwhile, both French and monarchical, impeachable. The Mazzei English treated us with ill-disguised con- letter, written not long after the ratificatempt, and inflicted open outrages upon tion, displays the same bitter feeling. our commerce. But it made little dif- The Federalists had a powerful ally ference. One faction was willing to be in William Cobbett, who signed himkicked by England; and the other took self Peter Porcupine, adopting for his a pleasure in being souffleté by France. literary alias a nickname bestowed by The rival flags were kept Aying until the his enemies. This remarkable writer, close of the war of 1812.
who, like Paine, figured in the political An outbreak of Democratic fury bor- conflicts of two nations, must have come dering upon treason took place, when into the world bristling with pugnacity. Senator Mason of Virginia violated the A more thorough gaine-cock never crowoath of secrecy, and sent a copy of Jay's ed in the pit. He had been a prirate treaty with England to the “Aurora." in the English army, came to the UnitMeetings passed condemnatory resolu- ed States about 1790, and taught French tions expressed in no mild language. to Americans, and English to FrenchJay was “a slave, a traitor, a coward, men, (to Talleyrand among others,) unwho had bartered his country's liberties til 1794, when the dogmatic Dr. Priestfor British gold.” Mobs burned Jay in ley arrived here, fresh from the scene of effigy, and pelted Alexander Hamilton. his persecutions. The Doctor losing no At a public meeting in Philadelphia, time in laying his case before the AmerMr. Blair threw the treaty to the crowd, ican public, Cobbett answered his puband advised them to kick it to hell. lication, ridiculing it and the Doctor's They carried it on a pole in procession, political career in a pamphlet which beand burned it before the English minis- came immediately popular with the Fedter's house. A Democratic society in eralists. From that time until his departure for England, in 1800, Cobbett's publishing his mistrust and dislike. It pen was never idle. His “Little Plain must be confessed that the gentlemen English in Favor of Mr. Jay's Treaty” who directed the Administration party was altogether the best thing published were no match as tacticians for such fileon that side of the question. Cobbett leaders as Jefferson and Burr. Many had more than one point of resemblance of their pet measures were ill-judged, to to Paine, the object of his early invec- say the least. The provisional army furtive, but later of his unqualified admi- nished a fertile theme for fierce declaration. These two men were the best mation. The black cockade became the English pamphleteers of their day. In badge of the supporters of government, shrewdness, in practical sense, Cobbett so that in the streets one could tell at a was fully Paine's equal. He was as glance whether friend or foe was apcoarse and as pithy in expression, but proaching. The Alien and Sedition Laws with more wit, a better education, more caused much bitter feeling and did great complete command of language, and a damage to the Federalists. To read these greater variety of resources. Cobbett acts and the trials under them now exwas a quicker and a harder hitter than cites somewhat of the feeling with which Paine. His personal courage gave him we look upon some strange and clumsy a great advantage in his warfaring life. engine of torture in a mediæval museum. In 1796, in the hottest of the French and How the temper of this people and their English fight, the well-known Porcupine endurance of legal inflictions have changopened a shop in Philadelphia. He fill ed since then! There was Matthew Lyed his show-window with all the prints on, a noted Democrat of Irish origin, who of English kings, nobles, and generals had published a letter charging the Preshe could collect, and “then,” he says, ident with “ ridiculous pomp, idle parade, “ I took down the shutters, and waited.” and selfish avarice.” He was found guilty
Party-feeling reached the boiling-point of sedition, and sentenced to four months' when Washington retired to Mount Ver- imprisonment and a fine of one thousand non. Mr. Adams, his successor, had none dollars. There was Cooper, an Englishof that divinity which hedged the Father man, who fared equally ill for saying or of his Country to protect him. Under writing that the President did not posthe former administration, he had been sess sufficient capacity to fulfil the duties as Senator Grayson humorously called of his office. What should we think of him, “ his superfluous Excellency,” and the sanity of James Buchanan, should he out of the direct line of fire. He could prosecute and obtain a conviction against easily look down upon such melancholy some Black-Republican Luther Baldwin squibs as Freneau's “Daddy Vice” and of 1859, for wishing that the wad of a “ Duke of Braintree.” But when raised cannon, fired in his honor, might strike above every other head by his high of- an unmentionable part of his august perfice, he became a mark for the most bit son ? What should we say, if Horace ter personal attacks. Mr. Adams unfor- Greeley were to be arrested on a wartunately thought too much about himself rant issued by the Supreme Court of to be the successful chief of a party. He New York for a libel on Louis Napoleon, allowed his warm feelings to divert him as was William Cobbett by Judge Mcfrom the main object and end of his fol. Kean of Pennsylvania for a libel on the lowers. He was jealous of Hamilton, King of Spain ? unwilling, in fact, to seem to be governed Fiercer and more bitter waxed partyby the opinion of any man, and half in- discord, and both sides did ample injusclined to look for a reëlection outside of tice to one another. Mr. Jefferson wrote, his own party. Hamilton, the soul of the that men who had been intimate all their Federalists, mistrusted and disliked Mr. lives would cross the street and look the Adams, and made the sad mistake of other way, lest they should be obliged to