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A MERICAN REVIEW,
FOR OCTOBER, 18 49.
A HISTORY OF PARTIES. *
The publication of the Statesman's Man- | himself with these, is like studying theoloual, which contains, besides the Addresses gy in the primer. A great many, indeed, and the Messages of the Presidents, a me- of the class called politicians, are formed moir of each and the history of their ad- upon the labor-saving principle, and with ministration, will probably have the effect some few, certain clever points of statesin future to give a more solid and accurate manship may be developed on the basis of character to political writings upon ques- the science made easy; but most of these tions of the day. After giving our read- cases serve chiefly to reveal the distinction ers a brief review of this new and valuable between the profession of politics and a work, and pointing out a few statistical political education. errors, which have escaped the notice of To understand fully and clearly the printhe author and compiler, it is our intention ciples on which our government has been to enter upon a brief history of the rise administered—to comprehend the relations and progress of the two parties, which of the various policies with the circumstanoriginated during the formation of the ces of the nation—to trace their connecConstitution.. We believe that most of tion with later events,—we must know not our political readers, if they will follow us merely what has been done, but why it was in this history, will confess that the cur- done—must know what was thought by rent opinions of the day, and which are the actors : to know this, and to make the studiously maintained by the opposition lesson of experience available to the prespresses, in regard to the origin of the present, we must resort to the cotemporaneous ent Whig Republican party, are false opin- exposition from the voices and pens of the ions; and they will have the satisfaction statesmen who conceived, who debated, of finding that the line of policy at present or who executed, the systems that have taken by the Whigs is an unbroken line, prevailed. transmitted to them by their republican A compilation the most important of founders from the time of the origin of the any which could be made, in a selection of Constitution.
American State papers, is given us in the A first want in every nation in which work of Mr. Williams. The Messages of politics is a profession of free choice, is a the Presidents are dignified and intelligent collection of the documentary history of treatises on the national interests, containthe government. Politicians are, no more ing, generally, sound definitions (in the abthan scholars, made by the study of epit-, stract view, at least,) of the theory of our omes. A narrative history of the admin- Republican system, and so far as they istration of public affairs may answer very reason debatable points, make use only of well the purpose of those who seek nothing i dispassionate and logical arguments. At beyond general ideas; but for one who is the same time, they contain better expresin search of a political education to content sions of the sentiments of the parties by
* The Addresses and Messages of the Presidents of the United States; Inaugural, Annual and Special, from 1789 to 1846. By Edwin WILLIAMS. New York: Edward Walker. VOL IV. NO. IV. NEW SERIES.
whom, respectively, the Presidents were political information. The Messages of each elected, than can be found in the speeches President are preceded by a tolerably full of members of Congress, or in the writings biography, and followed by a history of of the partisan editors. The President has his administration, detailing a considerable always been regarded as the only author- portion of the party operations, and other ized single exponent of the party princi- influences at work upon the government. ples, and however more conspicuous in It thus brings together matter naturally point of leadership, active advocacy, or connected, explains the causes of events talent others may have been, their expo- which are mentioned in bare detail in forsitions receive but a limited respect com- mal histories, and to the ordinary reader, pared with the general consideration at adds intelligibility and interest to the Mestached to the Messages as authoritative sages. party manifestoes. Nothing, certainly, In addition to these matters, the comcould have been farther from the design of pilation contains the Declaration of Indethose who compounded the theory of our pendence; the Articles of Confederation ; government, than that, in its practical ope- the present Constitution, with the decisions ration, the President should be the official of the Supreme Court on all contested head of a party. They intended for him points submitted to its jurisdiction; epitoan independent position, similar to that of mes of the State Constitutions; lists of the the British sovereign; but it is impossible members of the Continental and Constituthus to isolate any office from party influ- tional Congresses, extending from 1774 to ence, which rests on popular election. An 1846; votes of the States at the Presideningeniously-compounded electoral system tial elections ; lists of the several Cabinets ; was devised as the only partition practica- Ministers abroad; chronological table, &c. ble between the people and the President; | An analytical index is added. but in the first instance, the people select- In the matter of errors and defects, so ed the President in advance of the elect- important in a work of this character, we ors, and as soon as the system placed an notice but a limited proportion.
The impediment in the way of the popular will, copies of the messages from which it is it was broken through by a constitutional printed are pure, the typographical revisamendment; and we have now electoral ion well made, the mechanical execution colleges only to show the futility of an very fair. We notice one omissioneffort to base a high office in a Republic proclamation of Washington (other procfounded on universal, or nearly universal lamations being inserted) in relation to the suffrage, on any other foundation than that resistance to the excise on distilled spirits, of popular choice. The evils which our issued Sept. 1792, and which is referred fathers might have feared from this reduc- to in the message of November of that tion in the position intended for the chief year, does not appear.
Several errors magistrate have not wholly overtaken us, meet us in the historical part of the work. and there are good reasons, considering Page 378, it is stated that Mr. Clay was the dignity, restraint, and caution, seeming elected Speaker of the House for the inseparable from the office, why the Presi- “ second time,” in Dec. 1815; it was the dent should, in preference, be considered third time, as he had been previously the annunciator of the general sentiments, Speaker of the 12th and 13th Houses. On at least, held by the dominant party—in page 354 is a considerable error, for which other words, the majority of the people.
one of the “authentic writers on AmeriThe “Statesman's Manual,” of which the can history” appears responsible. It is Presidents' Messages form the principal stated that of the 79 Representatives wbo part, should be on the table of every political voted for the War bill, in 1812, 62 were editor, and in the library of every profes- from the Southern and but 17 from the sional politician ; and it is adapted to other Northern States; and that in both Houses uses than those of a mere book of reference. only 21 voted for the bi!). This is deciIt is compiled upon such a design that it is dedly bad history. The list of yeas and entirely suited to the purpose of general nays shows that on the passage of the War reading, and could not fail to interest any bill in the House, of the 79 yeas, 33 were man moderately inquisitive on matters of from the North, and 46 from the South
and West; and that instead of the war and in our view this feature gives a most being altogether “a measure of the South decided addition to the value of the work. and West,” it was voted for by a majority We regret only that it has not been carof the Representatives of the Middle States ried to a farther extent, and that on cer(21 to 18,) and that the whole North gave tain important points, in particular, the nearly as many votes for (33) as against (38) action and motives of parties are not more the measure. There are rather too many elaborately set forth. The history of errors in the Election Tables, pages 1544- parties in the United States is to be writ1546. In the election of 1796, Jefferson's ten. At the proper time it will be done, vote is given at 69 in one place, 68 in and if the proper historian undertakes the another; it was neither, but 67, the whole work, it will be found that few books of vote being 138, and John Adams's 71.- greater interest, or better calculated for Election of 1800, nine States are named instruction, have been written. It will as voting for Jefferson on the 36th ballot open all the machinery of administration, in the House : Vermont should be added, will reveal the secret sources of motion, making ten. 1817-John Marshall had and trace their connection to apparent four instead of five votes as Vice-President events. It will be regarded as an adjunct in Connecticut. 1820—the vote for Mon- to the national history as necessary as the roe is given at 231, without that of Mis- glossaries to the old writers. souri: the vote as counted by the tellers, We are tempted, having the subject and declared by the President of the Sen- before us, to annex a compendious acate (see all the papers of the day,) was 231 count of the parties that have hitherto for Monroe with, or 228 without Missouri's divided the Union. vote. To make up 231, while excluding Missouri, the table gives one role too many In the divisions upon the question of to each of these States, Pennsylvania, Mis- the acceptance of the Constitution framed sissippi, Tennessee. The stray vote for John by the Convention of 1787, we discover Quincy Adams is credited to Massachu- the origin of the parties that have consetts ; it was New Hampshire, however, tinued, with various modifications, to the and not Massachusetts, which broke the present time. Of the 55 members who unanimity of Monroe's re-election. 1824– attended the deliberations of the convenin the election of President by the House, tion, 39 signed the constitution it had preAlabama looks very much out of place in pared, and 16 declined affixing their the support of Mr. Adams; her three votes names. In the discussions following, bewere cast for Jackson. 1836—Col. John-fore the people, and in State conventions, son's vote for Vice-President is made 144, the friends and opponents of the Constitubut should be 147, exactly half the whole tion were in most of the larger States vote. These errors corrected, as we hope nearly balanced. The votes by which it they will be in a future edition, this ta- was finally ratified in the several convenble will be the only full and correct one tions, amendatory recommendations and of the Presidential elections we have seen other considerations disarming much of published. Page 1547-Geo. Cabot's ap- the opposition, were as follows: pointment as Secretary of the Navy is
unanimously. stated to have been made in 1789, which
2. Pennsylvania, could not have well been; the department 3. New Jersey,
unanimou-ly. not being created until 1798. In the list
unanimously. of Secretaries of the Navy, Jacob Crown
128 to 40 inshield, of Mass., is omitted ; and Robert
187 to 168 7. Maryland,
62 to 12 Smith, of Md., in the list of Attorney
8. South Carolina,
149 to 73 Generals. In a work not intended for a
9. New Hampshire,
57 to 46 standard character, these errors might be 10. Virginia,
89 to 79 11. New York,
30 to 25 12. North Carolina,
193 to 75 13. Rhode Island, .
2 majority. With the idea of incorporating the histories of the political parties in that of the The Constitution being adopted, an imadministration, we are particularly pleased, mediate struggle would have ensued forthe
46 to 23
allowed to pass.