The Junius Tracts, Vol. 1: The Test: Or, Parties Tried by Their Acts, March, 1843 (Classic Reprint)
It was a singular one in history - perfectly so in the annals of this country. The Government had been for a longtime in the hands of their political opponents, till a once prosperous nation had been reduced to an extremity of misfortune, and rose at last to demand a change in public policy. With a majority unparalleled, the Whigs came into power, and a suffering people looked to them for relief. It was fair they should, for it had been promised, though the expectations of immediate result were doubtless unreasonable.
The first inauspicious blow.
None can deny that the death of their Chieftain was an astounding event. It was striking the sun from the political heaven.
The second blow.
The constitutional successor was little known, altogether untried, and was never expected to be called to that place. Diffidence towards him was the first state of feeling: concern the next: which ended in utter and hopeless disappointment. All know how that turned out: and we need not dwell on the painful history.
An unforeseen result.
In the constitution of our Government, the Executive occupies a commanding position in relation to the other branches. It seems never to have been anticipated, that he could be opposed to the legislature appointed by the same constituency, nor would such an event occur, if good faith in these high relations could at all times be relied on. It is manifest, however, that an Executive, not acting in harmony with the legislative branch of the Government, but opposing it, is a derangement of the machinery as to its intended operation. His power is sufficient to paralyze legislation, and to nullify any system of policy aimed to be established by legislative functions.
A thing to be considered.
Since it has been discovered, that the second on the Presidential ticket of 1840, who succeeded as principal by the death of the Chief, is not the man he was taken for, but utterly opposed to the great and leading principles of the party that raised him to power - if he has any principles at all - it must be considered, that the legislative branch of the Government, the majority of whom were true to those principles, were rendered powerless as to that system of policy that was designed to be established by the political revolution of 1840.
The question to be tried.
It will follow, therefore, that the 27th Congress cannot fairly be put on trial for not having done impossibilities, but only for what they could do and have done, under the peculiar circumstances in which they were placed, to redeem the pledges by which they were bound.
The difficulties of the Whig Congress.
In the grave of General Harrison was buried the Whig administration. Could any one expect, that the effects of many years misrule could be repaired in thirty days? There was not time to begin to do it, before the adverse winds of Executive power were blowing strong against the tide of reform. Treason was hatched, and began to peep and strut abroad, before the successor of the Fallen had been in his seat ten days.
The expectations of the nation were great, and the people demanded relief speedily, earlier than in any case it could possibly be obtained. A country which for an eighth of a century had been operated upon by causes of ruin, till it was prostrate, could not be raised again suddenly.
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The Federation Of The Railroad System: Argument Of Charles Francis Adams, Jr., February 27, 1880 .......