Alas, Poor Yorick!
We see it stated that Messrs. Buchanan
are packing up their effects for removal from Washington
on the 5th of March, and it is lugubriously suggested that, ‘"in all human probability, neither of these two aged statesmen will ever again visit Washington
We dare say it becomes the whole country to be awfully melancholy under this doleful dispensation; but it strikes us that the day when they first came to Washington
was a great deal worse for the country than the day they will leave.
Either of them may adopt, with a slight modification, the remorseful ejaculation of an ‘"aged"’ English
‘ "statesman,"’ and declare that if they had ‘"served their God"’ as faithfully as they have served their ambition, He would not have left them thus desolate on the confines of eternity.
We desire to speak with all respect of grey hairs, even when they are not a crown of political righteousness, but we must be excused from indulging in any maudlin sentimentality over the closing scenes in the political or natural lives of two venerable demagogues, who have done as much as any other of their tribe, whether Democrat or Whig, Northern or Southern, Federal or State-Rights, to involve their country in its present ruin.
It is not slavery which has brought us all to the verge of that dismal abyss which is now yawning at our feet; it is that which has destroyed all Republics, the selfish and unholy ambition of politicians, and that which will destroy, sooner or later, all future experiments of self government, if men shall be found insane enough hereafter, after this grand wreck and crash, to attempt another enterprise of this kind, down to the day of doom.
We do not single out Messrs. Buchanan
as any worse than their class in general, but their late points a moral which is worth attending to by those at all given to sober contemplation as to the causes of the present state of things, as well as by youthful aspirants for political honors.
They are both fair specimens of politicians, have fed at the public crib all their born days, have waxed pecuniarily fat in the service of their country, and are now about to die with Roman dignity.--We would drop a tear over the falling of this curtain if we could; we would try to imagine in these political vampires' departure on the 5th the exodus of two aged lions from an ancient lair, but we cannot exalt these venerable foxes to that dignity.
The most selfish and corrupt vocation in the world is that of the politician, from the paltry aspirant for a seat in the Legislature, who is watching for some unfortunate vote of an incumbent, like a cat for a mouse, and is willing to deceive and humbug the people by a false representation of that vote for the purpose of getting his own little self into that little place, up, up, through all the gradations of a mighty host, to the candidate for the Presidency, who is willing to involve the whole land in civil war for the purpose of reaching the object of his ambition.
This is the bane of our country; the intense selfishness of political demagogues, who would sell themselves, their souls, and all mankind, for place; and who, at last, have brought us all to the verge of destruction, and from whom we have no earthly hope, except that some of them may see in the salvation of the country a hobby by which they can themselves ride into power.
Again, we say, let Messrs. Buchanan
depart in peace.
From the first of the Presidents
to the last there has been a steady progress downward, until, of late years, superior merit has been about the last qualification thought of for public office.
If the Republic
could always have been governed by men like George Washington
; if all incumbents for political position had been selected with reference to their intelligence and integrity; if, in a word, the public intelligence and virtue were as infallible and immaculate as is pretended, we might be still sailing on a smooth sea, with prosperous gales.
But the demagogues have destroyed our liberties and our hopes, and possibly, ere six months are gone, this whole land, once bright and peaceful as cloudless skies, will be converted into a Hell by the same unholy ambition and pride which cast the angels down from Heaven.