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6 4. That justice and sound policy forbid the federal government to foster one branch of industry to the detriment of another, or to cherish the interest of one portion to the injury of another portion of our common country; that every citizen, and every section of the country, has a right to demand, and insist upon an equality of rights and privileges, and to a complete and ample protection, of persons and property, from domestic violence or foreign aggression.
“5. That it is the duty of every branch of the government to enforce and practise the most rigid economy in conducting our public affairs, and that no more revenue ought to be raised than is required to defray the necessary expenses of the government, and for the gradual but certain extinction of the debt created by the prosecution of a just and necessary war, after peaceful relations shall have been restored.
“6. That Congress has no power to charter a national bank; that we believe such an institution one of deadly hostility to the best interests of the country, dangerous to our republican institutions and to the liberties of the people, and calculated to place the business of the country within the control of a concentrated money power, and above the laws and the will of the people; and that the results of democratic legislation, in this and all other financial measures, upon which issues have been made between the two political parties of the country, have demonstrated to candid and practical men of all parties, their soundness, safety, and utility in all business pursuits.
“7. That Congress has no power under the constitution to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several states, and that such states are the sole and proper judges of every thing appertaining to their own affairs not prohibited by the constitution; that all efforts of the abolitionists or others, made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery, or to take incipient steps in relation thereto, are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences; and that all such efforts have an inevitable tendency to diminish the happiness of the people, and endanger the stability and permanency of the Union, and ought not to be countenanced by any friend to our political institutions.
“8. That the separation of the moneys of the government from banking institutions is indispensable for the safety of the funds of the government, and the rights of the people.
“9. That the liberal principles embodied by Jefferson in the declaration of independence, and sanctioned in the constitution, which makes ours the land of liberty, and the asylum of the oppressed of every nation, have ever been cardinal principles in the democratic faith, and every attempt to abridge the privilege of becoming citizens and owners of soil among us ought to be resisted with the same spirit which swept the alien and sedition laws from our statute books.
“Resolved: That the proceeds of the public lands ought to be sacredly applied to the national objects specified in the constitution; and that
we are opposed to any law for the distribution of such proceeds among the states, as alike inexpedient in policy and repugnant to the constitution.
“Resolved: That we are decidedly opposed to taking from the President the qualified veto power, by which he is enabled, under restrictions and responsibilities amply sufficient to guard the public interest, to suspend the passage of a bill whose merits cannot secure the approval of two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, until the judgment of the people can be obtained thereon, and which has saved the American people from the corrupt and tyrannical domination of the bank of the United States, and from a corrupting system of general internal improvements.”
Then follow several resolutions relative to the war with Mexico, the recent revolutions in France, and approving the present administration.
The Whig Convention which met at Philadelphia in June, and nominated General, Taylor, deemed it most prudent not to make any formal exposition of its principles. The candidate whom they had selected to receive the suffrages of their party, while he had repeatedly declared that he was a whig, had also professed great moderation in his political sentiments, and had affirmed in his letters, expected to be published, that, if elected, his purpose was to be the president of the American people, and not of a party. He had even gone so far as to declare that, adhering to his political opinions and predilections, he would accept the nomination of any party:
The convention, content with the evidence thus afforded of his general concurrence with them in sentiment, and which had the more weight for the not very conciliatory avowals which accompanied it, did not wish, in tendering their nomination to General Taylor, to subject him to the alternative of either discountenancing, perhaps disclaiming, any of the principles they cherished, or of seeming to abandon the elevated ground he had taken. To his published letters, then, we must look for the principles, which the whig party, by adopting him as their candidate, may be considered mainly to have supported and approved on the present occasion. We say mainly, because absurd to maintain, as has often been done, that every single political principle or opinion which a presidential candidate has avowed, has, by the election, received the popular sanction; since on that particular question he might have been in a minority, and, consequently, have been elected not by reason of it, but in spite of it.
Many letters of General Taylor have been published in answer to those who have importuned him for his opinions; but two, addressed to a friend and relative, Mr. J. S. Allison, of Louisiana, may garded as an exposition of his political sentiments, and seem to have been so intended by him. Acquiring additional importance from the recent election, they will be given at length.
The first is dated April 22d, 1848, and is in these words: “Dear Sir,
“Baton Rouge, April 22, 1848. “My opinions have so often been misconceived and misrepresented, that I deem it due to myself, if not to my friends, to make a brief exposition of them upon the topics to which you have called my
“I have consented to the use of my name as a candidate for the presidency. I have frankly avowed my own distrust of my fitness for this high station; but having, at the solicitation of many of my countrymen, taken my position as a candidate, I do not feel at liberty to surrender that position until my friends manifest a wish that I should retire from it. I will then most gladly do so. I have no private purposes to accomplish, no party projects to build up, no enemies to punish,-nothing to serve but my country. I have been very often addressed by letter, and my opinions have been asked upon almost every question that might occur to the writers, as affecting the interests of their country or their party. I have not always responded to these inquiries, for various reasons.
“I confess, while I have great cardinal principles which will regulate my political life, I am not sufficiently familiar with all the minute details of political legislation to give solemn pledges to exert myself to carry out this or defeat that measure. I have no concealment. I hold no opinion which I would not readily proclaim to my assembled countrymen; but crude impressions upon matters of policy, which may be right to-day and wrong to-morrow, are, perhaps, not the best tests of the fitness for office. One who cannot be trusted without pledges cannot be confided in merely on account of them.
“I will proceed, however, now to respond to your inquiries.
“ First. I reiterate what I have so often said. I am a whig. If elected, I would not be the mere president of party. I would endeavour to act independent of party domination. 'I should feel bound to administer the government untrammelled by any party schemes.
“Second. The veto power. The power given by the constitution to the Executive to interfere his veto, is a high conservative power; but in my opinion should never be exercised except in cases of clear violation of the constitution, or manifest haste or want of consideration by Congress. Indeed, I have often thought that, for many years past, the known opinion and wishes of the executive have received an undue and injurious influence upon the legislative department of the government, and for this cause I have thought our system was in danger of undergoing a great change from its true theory. The personal opinions of the individual who has happened to occupy the executive chair ought not to control the action of Congress upon questions of domestic policy; nor ought his objections to be interposed where questions of constitutional power have been settled by the general government, and acquiesced in by the people.
“Third. Upon the subject of the tariff, the currency, the improvement of our great highways, rivers, lakes, and harbours, the will of the people, as expressed through their representatives in Congress, ought to be respected and carried out by the executive.
« Fourth. The Mexican war. I sincerely rejoice at the prospect of peace. My life has been devoted to arms, yet I look upon war, at all times, and under all circumstances, as a national calamity, to be avoided if compatible with the national honour. The principles of our government, as well as its true policy, are opposed to the subjugation of other nations, and the dismemberment of other countries by conquest. In the language of the great Washington, “Why should we quit our own to stand on foreign ground?'. In the Mexican war our national honour has been vindicated; and, in dictating terms of peace, we may well afford to be forbearing and magnanimous to a fallen foe.
“ These are my opinions on the subjects referred to by you, reports or publications, written or verbal, from any source, differing in any essential particular from what is here written, are unauthorized and untrue.
“I do not know that I shall again write upon the subject of national politics. I shall engage in no schemes, no combinations, no intrigues. If the American people have not confidence in me, they ought not to give me their suffrages. If they do not, you know me well enough to believe me, when I declare I shall be content. I am too old a soldier to murmur against such high authority.
“Z. TAYLOR. “To Capt. J. S. Allison.”
General Taylor's first letter having set forth his political principles, he afterwards found it necessary to write another to the same correspondent, to correct some misrepresentations, and to deny opinions imputed to him.
After noticing at some length the circumstances that induced him to become a candidate for the presidency, and to accept nomination from one or all of the great political parties, he adds:
“The Democratic convention met in May, and composed their ticket to suit them. This they had a right to do. The National Whig Convention met in June, and selected me as their candidate. I accepted the nomination with gratitude and with pride. I was proud of the confidence of such a body of men, representing such a constituency as the Whig party of the United States,-a manifestation the more grateful because it was not cumbered with exactions incompatible with the dignity of the presidential office, and the responsibilities of its incumbent to the whole people of the nation. And I may add, that these emotions were increased by associating my name with that of the distinguished citizen of New York, whose acknowledged abilities and sound conservative opinions might have justly entitled him to the first place on the ticket.
“The convention adopted me as it found me—a Whig-decided, but not ultra in my opinions, and I should be without excuse if I were to shift the relationships which subsisted at the time. They took me with the declaration of principles I had published to the world, and I should be without defence if I were to say or do any thing to impair the force of that declaration.
“I have said that I would accept a nomination from Democrats; but in doing so I would not abate one jot or tittle of my opinion as written down. Such a nomination, as indicating a coincidence of opinion on the part of those making it, should not be regarded with disfavour by those who think with me; as a compliment personal to myself, it should not be expected that I would repulse them with insult. I shall not modify my views to entice them to my side: I shall not reject their aid when they join my friends voluntarily.
“I have said that I was not a party candidate, nor am I, in that straightened and sectarian sense which would prevent my being the president of the whole people in case of my election. I did not regard myself as one before the convention met, and that body did not seek to make me different from what I was. They did not fetter me down to a series of pledges, which were to be an iron rule of action in all, and in despite of all the contingencies that might arise in the course of a presidential term. I am not engaged to lay violent hands indiscriminately upon public officers, good or bad, who may differ in opinion with me. I am not expected to force Congress, by the coercion of the veto, to pass laws to suit me, or to pass none.
This is what I mean by not being a party candidate; and I understand this to be good Whig doctrine – I would not be a partisan president, and hence should not be a party candidate in the sense that would make one. This is the sum and substance of my meaning, and this is the purport of the facts and circumstances attending my nomination, when considered in their connexion with, and dependence upon one another.
“I refer all persons, who are anxious on the subject, to this statement for the proper understanding of my position towards the presidency and the people. If it is not intelligible, I cannot make it so, and shall cease to attempt it.
“In taking leave of the subject, I have only to add, that my two letters to you embrace all the topics I design to speak of pending this canvass. If I am elected, I shall do all an honest zeal may effect to cement the bonds of our Union, and establish the happiness of my countrymen upon an enduring basis.
“Z. TAYLOR. “To Capt. J. S. ALLISON."
The convention which met at Buffalo, in New York, on the 10th of August, not approving of either of the other nominees, as not being sufficiently opposed to the extension of domestic slavery, indicated their particular principles, or “platform,” in the six following resolutions: