previous next

Extemporizing Parties.

when pestilence is raging, the manufacturers of infallible pills are always uncommonly ingenious and busy; but thus far, through our terrible political troubles, the political quack-salvers have kept remarkably quiet. The Republican party was good enough to go ahead, to take the chances of praise and blame, of success and failure, of life and death — a good party enough to grumble at, after that subdued fashion of faultfinding which was moderate enough to keep the querulous out of custody. Now that the Rebellion is in a fair way of being crushed, we predict an immense uprising of old gentlemen from their virtuous couches, an extraordinary putting off of night-caps, and an absolute hurricane of propositions. Some people naturally see no safety for the Union except in the resurrection of old-fashioned Democracy — but upon that we do not intend to waste many words. The wildest vagaries of mad Millerism are rigid common sense, when compared with this notion of the vivification of a party of which the principles are absolutely obsolete, and of which the members are mostly in the church-yard. All hope of a modern miracle being therefore absurd, it is sagaciously proposed, by one of the newspapers in this city, to reconstruct the Republican party--to purge it, to wash it, to rehabilitate it, to make it respectable, by casting out what are called its “radical” elements. The volunteer washerwoman on this occasion has kindly printed her soap-and-water programme. With eminent [243] prudence, she condescends to allow the President of the United States to remain in the party. Also, all other persons, public or private, who will give their solemn word to refrain from “rampant radicalism” --couchant radicalism being, we suppose, permitted. Only “a conservative policy” is to be tolerated; and it is anticipated that “the radical,” finding this “intolerable,” will “become outrageous and bolt,”
And leave the spoils to Crittenden and me.

Of course, after this “radical bolting, the Republican party will be the natural nucleus for all the conservative men in the country.” A respectable wing of the Slaveholders will be attached, and we shall all go along again beautifully in a mild muddle of Pro-Slavery Compromises, until our sweet “Southern brethren” are quite ready for another bloody and costly insurrection.

Now, in the first place, we should like to have it specifically stated what this Radical Element in the Republican party is. It must, to begin with, be something to which not only is the President not committed, but something to which he is absolutely opposed; because, in the new arrangement, he is not to be left out in the cold, but benevolently taken in and done for. Therefore, as he is understood to favor the confiscation of the Slaves of Rebels, and. is known to approve the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia, and is also pledged to the doctrine of Non-Extension, we do not really see why he should not be turned out with the rest of us. We presume [244] that he is to be kept in, only because he will not be an easy personage to expel. It is truly a most sagacious stroke of policy to seize the President in the very beginning; for the king's name is a tower of strength. But whether he will stay seized; whether he will exactly relish this summary disposition. of his person and his principles, is more than we, not being a court-organ, can pretend to foretell, any more than we can foresee. what in this regeneration, transmutation, and transmogrification, will be done with the Secretary of State. We think that we have, in our time, heard him called “a radical” --of course, by his enemies; and as so many of them will be found in the same conservative boat with him, it may take all the influence of The Journal, which professes to serve the country, to prevent his being cast into the sea — which would be painful.

We have not ventured to say one word of the Republican party as a mass. What ordinary private people may think of such gigantic operations as these, is not of the least consequence. What is to become of the great body of the Northern voters? Will they do as they are told to do? Have they a passion for being disposed of by wholesale? chaffered for and cheapened by cliques? stuffed full of other men's opinions? completely exenterated as to their own? Ah! but we are all to be graciously allowed the Chicago Platform! We should much like to know who has asked for anything else — except, indeed, Mr. Crittenden, who, in the new arrangement, is to be allowed, we presume, a private platform of his [245] own. And if he, why not other people who may fall into the regenerated ranks? Why not insert a polygamical plank, and rope in Brigham Young! Really, since these gentlemen are to take possession of us, of our souls, our bodies, our President, our Congress, our constituencies, our clubs, and our newspapers, it behooves us to be enquiring, with all due civility, what we are to believe after all the arrangements have been completed? Will the reconstructors leave us our name? or will they filch it from us? or will they call themselves the Reformed Republican Party? Has not that word, “Reformed,” an ugly sound? to say nothing of that other word, “Republican?” Pray, how will dear Mr. Crittenden like that?

The whole scheme, it must be allowed, argues great kindness of nature in the schemers. We are not only to welcome home the Prodigal Son, but we are to have the heaviest calf all killed and dressed, and ready for him. To be sure, his highly improper conduct has cost us a great deal of money — but we must not be radical! He has well nigh ruined the nation for a whim — but we must not be radical! He has emulated the maddest red-republicanism of France-but we must not be radical! He has cost us millions of money and thousands of lives-but we must not be radical! We must leave to him the fantastic tricks, the humors, the whims, and the manias of politics — but we must not be radical! He has been all wrong, but we must not be radical in setting him right — not radical in enforcing justice, in measuring [246] penalties, in probing swindles, in redressing injuries in providing for the future. Oh no! When we deal with him, we must deal tenderly, maugre the dreadful trouble which he has brought upon us, and himself. We must bate our breath! We must whisper our humbleness! We must return good for evil, and in doing so we must not only be good, but goodies!

Finally, we protest once for all against the assumption that the Republican party has, in any bad. sense of the word, been “radical.” Considering all things, the world has reason to be astonished at the moderation which it has exhibited. The glib talk about “fanaticism” had no meaning when it was so freely indulged in during the late Presidential canvass, no more than it has now, when it is quite as freely employed by some of our professed associates. Offensive and meaningless nicknames are quite out of place in discussions so grave as these are. The Republicans do not profess to love Slavery-no, nor Slaveholders as such; they do not pretend to devise any patched — up treaties, or to seek for hollow truces; they would gladly see the cause of this wicked Rebellion vanish with the Rebellion itself; they desire not only a present triumph of the laws, but security for the future good behavior of men who have shown themselves to be reckless and desperate; yet, with all their stiffest opinions, and with all their most ardent hopes, they have never dreamed for a moment of transcending Constitutional limits, or of indulging an unworthy revenge. All speculations, therefore, which presuppose that any considerable body of the members [247] of our Party can be drawn out of its organization by a predominance in its councils of a moderate policy, are at once absurd and insulting; and so they will be regarded, no matter by whom they may be undertaken.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Crittenden (3)
Brigham Young (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: