The root of the evil.
The great curse of free government is Demagogism.
It is the rot at the heart of our American oak. It is the root of all political evil in a Republic.
It has been the instrument of the overthrow of every experiment of self-government that was ever made, and if the Republic
of the United States
is added to the list, this, the old Satan
, who has blighted every political Eden
that ever bloomed in this fallen world, will be the responsible and infernal agent.
That man is a fallen being, we hear every Sunday from the pulpits, and if the Bible
did not teach it, we could see it every day with our own eyes.
Not only the times are "out of Joint," but humanity is "out of joint," and always has been ever since the fall.
This may be carted preaching, if you choose, but it is none the less truth.
Men are neither so wise nor so virtuous as the smooth flatterers, who fawn upon them that ‘" thrift may follow fawning,"’ would have them believe.
A great statesman once bade his son go travel and see with how little wisdom the world is governed.
It is true that even the most educated and the most practised hands find it an undertaking of supreme difficulty to steer the ship of State successfully and triumphantly, and yet we are to believe that the collective ignorance of a nation is equal to an achievement that the choicest abilities of the world finds perplexing and often overwhelming.
In the public honesty and sincerity of the masses one may have faith without stultifying himself, but the infallibility of their political action is an absurdity which they themselves would not countenance for a moment but for the persistent flatteries of the place-hunters.
It is not the institution of slavery that is the source of the weakness and distractions of our country.
The cause of these troubles lies deeper, and we may as well open our eyes to that fact first as last.
So long as human nature is influenced by passions and prejudices, its weaknesses will be played upon by all who have an interest in beclouding its judgment and leading it astray.
The slavery question in this country has been made a hobby of for demagogues to ride into power, and has been pushed to the perilous extreme that it has now reached, to serve political and personal purposes.
Party spirit has attained such a reckless pitch of animosity and vindictiveness that, if necessary to strike down an enemy, it would strike without remorse through the heart of the country.
The deplorable results of this undeniable fact are fearfully evident at this very moment.
The masses of the Northern
people have been rallied to the support of a candidate for the Presidency on sectional and anti-slavery grounds, not, it is now declared by those who enlisted them in this crusade, with any real intention to carry out either a sectional or an abolition policy, but solely to ensure a party triumph.
The result is that some of the calamities of actual warfare are already felt, in the paralysis of trade, the check given to private industry and enterprise, and to public improvements, and the deep and serious alienation of the people from each other.
The popular heart of this country pants for quiet, for repose and for stability. --Men are tired and worn out with this eternal restlessness and this constant fear of change.
They are desirous to know whether the Republic
, as Fisher Ames
described it, is ‘"like a raft, in which the feet are always to be in water,"’ or a stout ship, subject to occasional gales, strong and seaworthy, and holding out reasonable chances for the security of life and property.
If additional limitations of popular power are necessary in order to secure the great objects of all government, we are sure there are multitudes of good men in the country who would rejoice to see such limitations imposed, even if they had themselves to sacrifice for the public good, for order and stability, the glorious prerogative of voting for everything and everybody.