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- NEW YORK - 4/6 -


North, there is no disposition to disturb the legislative compromise that has been made of this matter. It is true that the North still owes the South a great deal more, though it may be questioned if the machinations of demagogues and the ravings of fanaticism will permit it to discharge the obligation. Penal laws should be passed, punishing those who meddle with this grave interest out of the limits of the State in which the parties reside; and energy should be shown in rendering such an act of justice effective and sure. Good-neighborhood, alone, would exact some such provision from every well-disposed community, and there cannot be a doubt that good policy coincides. The abolitionists, beyond a dispute, have only had a tendency to rivet the fetters of the slave, and to destroy the peace of the country. Emancipation has not been extended a single foot by any of their projects; while the whole South has been thrown into an attitude of hostile defiance, not only towards these misguided persons, but to their innocent and disgusted fellow-citizens. There might be a hope that the well-intentioned portion of these people, and it is both numerous and respectable, could be induced to adopt a wiser mode of procedure, were it not that dissolute politicians, who care only for the success of parties, and who make a stalking-horse of philanthropy, as they would of religion or patriotism, or any other extended feeling that happened to come within their influence, interpose their sinister schemes to keep agitation alive for their benefit. This, then, is the actual state of things, as between the North and the South; and we will take a hasty view of its probable consequences on the growth and commerce of the towns at the mouth of the Hudson.

{California = California, newly conquered from Mexico and where gold had been discovered in 1848, had in 1849 adopted a Constitution banning slavery, at the same time that it applied for admission to the Union as a free State; it was admitted in 1850 as part of the so-called Compromise of 1850, which included the Fugitive Slave Act empowering the Federal Government to seize and return slaves fleeing from slave to free States}

It is undeniable that any serious derangement of the political institutions of the country, would produce a very injurious effect on its prosperity generally; and perhaps in its immediate influence, primarily on its commerce. But the first reverses of such a calamity overcome, we do not see reason for believing that the well-established principle, that trade will make its own laws, should not apply to these towns as well as to any other place known in the history of the world. New York, as has already been intimated, at this moment contributes quite as much to the prosperity of London, as it would probably have done had the political connection between England and her colonies never been severed. Making allowances for the greater prosperity induced by the political independence of America, it is not improbable that she even contributes more. Society and trade enact their own laws. The first is found to be mainly independent of the influence of political power, and the same, with certain qualifications, may be said to be equally true of the last.

But we see little to apprehend from this source of danger. If the slave-holding interest would be rendered really more secure by separation or secession, then, indeed, such a result might be looked for with some degree of confidence. But it is very certain that the measure would lead to an escape of most of the slaves near the northern frontiers of the Southern Confederacy, as well as of a vast number of those who live at a greater distance from what would probably be the dividing line. The North has been aroused to the necessity of being just, and of adhering to the conditions of the Constitution; and the recent measures of the country go to prove there is no real disposition, in the masses, to do otherwise. The attachment to the Union is very strong and general throughout the whole of this vast country, and it is only necessary to sound the tocsin to bring to its maintenance a phalanx equal to uphold its standard against the assaults of any enemies. The impossibility of the North-western States consenting that the mouth of the Mississippi should be held by a foreign power, is in itself a guaranty of the long existence of the present political ties. Then, the increasing and overshadowing power of the nation is of a character so vast, so exciting, so attractive, so well adapted to carry with it popular impulses, that men become proud of the name of American, and feel unwilling to throw away the distinction for any of the minor considerations of local policy. Every man sees and feels that a state is rapidly advancing to maturity which must reduce the pretensions of even ancient Rome to supremacy, to a secondary place in the estimation of mankind. A century will unquestionably place the United States of America prominently at the head of civilized nations, unless their people throw away their advantages by their own mistakes--the only real danger they have to apprehend: and the mind clings to this hope with a buoyancy and fondness that are becoming profoundly national. We have a thousand weaknesses, and make many blunders, beyond a doubt, as a people; but where shall we turn to find a parallel to our progress, our energy, and increasing power? That which it has required centuries, in other regions, to effect, is here accomplished in a single life; and the student in history finds the results of all his studies crowded as it might be into the incidents of the day.

A great deal that has been done among us of late, doubtless remains to be undone; but we are accustomed to changes of this nature, and they do not seem to be accompanied by the same danger here as elsewhere. The people have yet to discover that the seeming throes of liberty are nothing but the breath of their masters, the demagogues; and that at the very moment when they are made to appear to have the greatest influence on public affairs, they really exercise the least. Here, in our view, is the great danger to the country--which is governed, in fact, not by its people, as is pretended, but by factions that are themselves controlled most absolutely by the machinations of the designing. A hundred thousand electors, under the present system of caucuses and conventions, are just as much wielded by command as a hundred thousand soldiers in the field; and the wire-pullers behind the scenes can as securely anticipate the obedience of their agents, as the members of the bureaux in any cabinet in Europe can look with confidence to the compliance of their subordinates. Party is the most potent despot of the times. Its very irresponsibility gives it an energy and weight that overshadows the regular action of government. And thus it is, that we hear men, in their places in the national legislature, boasting of their allegiance to its interests and mandates, instead of referring their duties to the country.

All large commercial towns are, in their nature, national in feeling. The diversity and magnitude of their interests are certain to keep them so; and, as we have already said, New York forms no exception to the rule. She belongs already more to the country than she does to the State, and every day has a tendency to increase this catholic disposition among the votaries of commerce.

That some extravagant notions, in which interest has thrown its mists before the reason of our people, exist, is, we think undeniable; and we concede that the two recently promulgated figments of the equilibrium and the rights of persons over the property and Territory of the United States have a character of feebleness and obvious delusion that would excite our wonder, did we not have so many occasions to observe and comment on the frailty of human judgment when warped by motives of this nature. To us it would seem, that the people of any particular State have just the same claim to use the ships of war, and forts, and public buildings of the United States, as they have, unpermitted by the sovereign power, to occupy any of its lands. That which is the property of the public is no more the property of individuals, in law or reason, than the estate of any one man is the estate of his neighbor. Carry out the doctrine in spirit, and it would lead to general confusion, and a state of things so impracticable as to disorganize society. If the people are thus intrinsically masters and owners of all around them, why are they not the proprietors of the banks and other corporations created by themselves? They made the government, if you will, though in a very limited capacity; and they made these corporations, much more directly and unequivocally; and, admitting the truth of this copartnership principle, in which every man is so far a member of the firm that he may take his share of the assets, we cannot see that he is not equally entitled to lay his hands on all the other progeny of the popular will. In a word, the doctrine would seem to be not only weak, but absurd; and we find a difficulty in believing that any cool-headed and reflecting man can feel the necessity for refuting it.

{just the same claim = Cooper is again ridiculing John C. Calhoun's assertion that, because the new Territories of the West acquired from Mexico belonged to the people rather than the Federal Government, Southerners had an inherent right to bring and keep their slaves in them regardless of Federal law}

But other dangers undeniably beset the country, that have no connection with this question of Slavery. However repugnant it may be to the pride of human nature, or the favorite doctrines of the day, there can be little question that the greatest sources of apprehension of future evil to the people of this country, are to be looked for in the abuses which have their origin in the infirmities and characteristics of human nature. In a word, the people have great cause to distrust themselves; and the numerous and serious innovations they are making on all sides, on not only the most venerable principles in favor with men, but on the divine law, must cause every reflecting man to forbode a state of things, far more serious than even that which would arise from a separation of the States into isolated parts.

The particular form in which this imminent danger is now, for the first time seriously since the establishment of the Government, beginning to exhibit itself, is through the combinations of the designing to obtain a mercenary corps of voters, insignificant as to numbers, but formidable by their union, to hold the balance of power, and to effect their purposes by practising on the wilful, blind, wayward, and, we might almost add, fatal obstinacy of the two great political parties of the country. Here, in our view, is the danger that the nation has most to apprehend. The result is as plain as it is lamentable. In effect, it throws the political power of the entire Republic into the hands of the intriguer, the demagogue, and the knave. Honest men are not practised on by such combinations; but, with a fatality that would seem to be the very sport of demons, there they stand, drawn up in formidable array, in nearly equal lines of open and deriding hostility, leading those who no longer conceive it necessary to even affect the semblance of respect to many of the plainest and most important of the principles of social integrity that have ever been received among men.

Anyone familiar with the condition of Europe must know, that under the pressure of society in that quarter of the world, and toward which we are fast tending by a rapid accumulation of numbers, the present institutions of America, exercised under the


NEW YORK - 4/6

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