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As, at no period of its history had the Democratic party to contend with such Solemn and momentous embarrassments as during the past two years-so, never did it occupy a firmer, a nobler, a more gratifying position, than at the present time. We have emphatically passed through a crisis, in the progress of our principles, of the most dangerous character, and passed it not merely with safety, but with renewed vigor.
The crisis was, indeed, solemn and dangerous. To the accustomed opposition of our adversaries was superadded an unparalleled defection of former friends, and the intensest enmity of alarmed prejudice. The force of the latter, the most dangerous enemy that political doctrine can possibly encounter, was increased to an animosity that seemed to bode a long and disastrous overthrow of our party, and the inexpressible calamity of a correspondent retrogression of the great principles for which we are contending, by the prevalence of a commercial disaster so profound as to be classed with the most serious national calamities—a state of affairs that has always been found to operate more injuriously against any attempted popular reform than the most strenuous opposition in prosperous times. Its own principle was found omnipotent for the salvation of the Democratic party in that crisis. By a resolute effort it was disencumbered of all the corrupting influence engendered by a long course of political ascendency. A voluntary self-purification was effected, which has at once regenerated and re-invigorated it. With calm resolution the Democracy, in all the States, prepared to go at once from their accustomed position into a minority rather than for sake principles that were vital to their cause; and already does it reap the reward of that uncalculating disinterestedness, by seeing, on all sides, victory return to its ranks on its own terms.
The political campaign for the next Congress is now nearly over, and what do we see? Why, the loss of false friends has been more than made up already by zealous, sincere, and pure recruits. In that we have gained a more than victoryand cheaply earned for our cause the noblest lesson of all political experience; while in every direction the combined exertions of our own deserters, and the reanimated efforts of our habitual opponents, have been unable to retain even the old ground occupied by the opposition, much less to produce the slightest impression on our own impregnable position. We have not merely held our own against fearful odds-but we have gained solid ground, they never can re-occupy, from the strong holds of our adversaries. Far from the prospect of being a hopeless and lean minority in the Twenty-Sixth Congress, the Democratic party will stand nearly equal, if not superior, in numbers to their opponents of every creed, and have the additional and triumphant consolation of reflecting that every member of their representation will be found a true and faithful professor of the original, broad, and simple principles of American Republican Democracy. The noble phalanx that will ally under that sacred banner in the next Congress—even should they be in a minority-will not appear there as a defeated, but as a regenerated party. Our representatives have been elected on clear, ascertained, and defined principles, and will form a nucleus, certain of powerful and permanent increase in succeeding elections. It is on this ground we see the brightest and proudest cause of hope in the future. Democracy in this country cannot be put down if the people are but true to themselves, and the signs of the times assuredly portend a more certain and universal success to its cause than the condition of parties ever permitted it to attain before.
SUCH of our readers as have turned their attention to the social and political condition of France during the last few years, must be aware of the influence exercised upon the temper of that mercurial people by the Charivari-a satirical periodical embellished with caricatures. Its malicious wit became so formidable to the Government, that the famous September laws against seditious publications owe their origin in a great measure to its success. Repeated prosecutions and convictions at last compelled its conductors to confine their talents to the illustration of the social profligacy with which Paris abounds in common with other great cities.
The most amusing scenes of the Charivari are composed of only two characters, who are exhibited as the heroes of all kinds of speculations and adventures. These are Robert Macaire, and his friend Bertrand, who have both served under the penal laws. Equally knaves, in accordance with the uniform practice of combined rascality, the ingenuity of one of these worthies is continually devoted to the contrivance of schemes, of which the other becomes the victim.
Among the most characteristic interviews between Robert and Bertrand is one, where the former, with ringlets of seducing luxuriance around his face-his green coat ornamented with alternate patches and perforations his red inexpressibles similarly embellished—and his hat carrying unquestionable evidence of time and hard usage, knowingly perched on one side of his head;-presenting to the spectator that air of complacent swagger and indescribable consequence, which we frequently witness in those distinguished personages in our cities, who, with more ample means bestowed with greater taste and refinement upon their external appointments, manage to derive immense profits from the industry of individuals of more humble pretensions by similar schemes;
*The highly interesting and important trial of Dr. T. W. DYOTT, THE Banker, for fraudulent bankruptcy, with the speeches of counsel, &c., Philadelphia, 1839.
Robert thus undertakes to explain to Bertrand his projects for becoming a Banker solely for the public advantage:
"Bertrand," says our ingenious financier, "J'adore l'industrie. Si tu veux, nous creons une Banque-mais la, une vraie Banque; Capital cent millions de millions, cent milliards de milliards d'actions. Nous enfonçons la Banque de France, les Banquiers, les Banquistes; nous enfonçons tout le monde."
"Oui," replies Bertrand, with some misgiving after his experience of the genius of his friend, "mais les gendarmes!"
"Que tu es bête, Bertrand, est ce qu'on arrête un millionaire?"
In the case which has recently attracted so much public attention, the principal fact referred to by this shrewd operator, as affording the most perfect indemnity against unpleasant results, unfortunately was wanting. It seems that Dr. Dyott's means of information had not been so extensive as that of his neighbors engaged in the same line of business in the city of Brotherly Love. While they took John Law as the model in their measures for regulating both the currency and commerce of the nation, he contented himself with endeavoring to ape their manœuvres. He accordingly issued paper money in abundance-speculated largely in real estate-established manufactories on a great scale-bought merchandise in enormous quantities-purchased newspaper establishments, hired editors and patronized brokers-but, unluckily for his success, did not fully learn the great secret of the traffic in which he had embarked his fortunes. Vulgar minds are prone to overlook the importance of the secret and concealed springs of action. Had Dr. Dyott, instead of clumsily grasping at the immense fortune which the unlimited manufacture of paper money presented to his excited fancy, only obtained a charter, and adopted the liberality of the members of good society towards each other, by erecting a nominal capital stock for his bank, and divided it into shares, judiciously distributing a suitable number among the élite, there seems to be no reason for doubting but his bank would have been sustained until he could have robbed the public to his utmost content. At any rate, he would have been secure from all indictments for fraud. A corporation has no soul, and cannot be guilty of an offence. Under the shelter of a corporate name, his newspaper puffs might have enabled him to embark to any extent in the cotton and stock markets. Whenever he should contemplate a suspension, by adopting which his credit might become endangered, he could easily have sent an agent with an ample salary to London, where paragraphs suited to that meridian might have been constantly presented to newspaper readers there for the purpose of sustaining his operations in that great emporium. But unfortunately for the credulous, who relied upon the fashionable doctrines of Philadelphia
A milliard denotes a thousand millions. Those of our readers who are acquainted with the bubbles which have been blown for operation in our stock markets, will not fail to appreciate the genius manifested in organizing an "institution" upon the basis of one franc of capital to ten thousand shares of stock.
-that gold and silver were mere humbugs, and that shin-plasters are the true currency for the industrious classes-Dr. Dyott wholly overlooked these measures of necessary precaution. His nearest approach to such strokes of financial skill seems to have been an extensive counterfeit of Swaim's Panacea!
But in all soberness-the system of banking introduced into this country by the genius which has long been so abundant in Philadelphia, has become a subject of the most vital importance to the public safety. Having entwined itself completely into all the commercial and industrial transactions of the country, no man of reflection can bestow his thoughts upon the probable consequences without dismay. It has been the source of most of the calamities which, during a long series of years, have continually shaken the comfort and security of wide circles of society by its sudden and destructive revulsions, and bids fair at no distant period to produce an extent of suffering and distress by its convulsive struggles, far beyond any thing lately witnessed. The managers and supporters of this system of banking, flushed with their immense profits and uncontrolled power, now appear to regard the people-the industrious producers of the country-as their actual property, only to be fed and fleeced as may best subserve their views of advantage. Not satisfied with the monopoly with which their absolute power over the currency has invested them— enabling them to control the subsistence and commerce of the Unionthey now claim the right to compel the people to elect such legislators as shall perpetuate their tyranny, and only act in blind and implicit subservience to their immediate and direct profit.
This subject has, therefore, reached a magnitude and importance which forces itself upon the notice of every individual who appreciates the blessings which equality of rights, laying at the very foundation of our Republican System of Government, is intended to diffuse and perpetuate, and which can only be secured and enjoyed by an untiring vigilance directed towards the preservation of the original principles of our political institutions. We shall attempt to offer some remarks upon the fundamental departure from those principles, which has repeatedly produced the very consequences which the Framers of the Constitution were most anxious to guard against, as leading to a perversion of the great object they had in view-the security and comfort of the people at large.
From the final prostration of the continental paper money in 1780, until about 1793, gold and silver coin formed by far the largest portion of currency employed in ordinary transactions throughout the United States. Had the use of metallic currency been continued by a rigid abstinence, in accordance with the precepts of the Constitution, on the part of our legislators, both State and National, from all measures sanctioning the circulation of a false and factitious currency, what an example of security, both of personal rights and political institutions, would this nation have now presented! Possessing a territorial extent of vast magnitude and unrivalled fertility-producing in the greatest abundance the neces
saries of life, with a profusion of some of the most important commercial staples enjoying almost the entire carrying trade of Europe during a general war of more than twenty years duration-nothing can be more certain than that, under these circumstances, the energy, enterprise, and industry of our citizens would have increased our national and individual wealth to an extent unparalleled in the history of mankind, but for the continual disasters growing out of the false and delusive stimulus of paper money.
The article upon the "Credit System," in our number for November last, contained a brief notice of the intrigues by which the first Bank of the United States, like a parasitical plant attached to the trunk of a young and vigorous tree, was fastened upon the country, and made to thrive at the expense of the productive energies of the people. Throughout the several criticisms which have been published from time to time upon some of the positions taken in that article by the Philadelphia paper money school, not a syllable can be found expressing the slightest doubt or question as to the accuracy of our statements relative to the establishment of the bank. The individuals whose doctrines and practices in the debasement of the currency of the country it was our main object to expose, have not, in various formal replies to that article, ventured to gainsay our explanations of the corrupt views with which that charter was carried through Congress in despite of the opposition of the leading members of the Convention which formed the Constitution, nor of the circumstances under which the reluctant assent of Washington was obtained. We may, therefore, consider them as admitted facts. Here, then, was a machine created for the purpose of controlling the industry and commerce of the country, and regulating its financial and political affairs wholly independent of the people. Its control was exercised as Omnipotence alone can employ power justly, because inseparable from Omniscience. The naked fiat of the irresponsible managers of the bank were enabled to call into existence, from nothing, that which possesses the greatest influence and estimation among mankind. By the laws of the land, a few individuals, wholly exempted from personal liability, were empowered to acquire at once objects of the highest value without industry, and to control the proceeds of the labor of the whole community. Was an extent of power so awful, placed by general acclamation in the hands of the wisest and most disinterested citizens, to be employed under the most soleinn sanctions for the general benefit? Alas! no. It was a partizan measure carried through Congress by appliances of a similar character to those by which the re-charter of the late bank was carried through the Legislature of Pennsylvania. Its design was to invest a small number of active individuals belonging to the speculating class with authority to choose twenty-five persons, who were clothed, for their own profit and aggrandizement, with plenary power over the lives and fortunes of the rest of the community-since the complete control over the currency and means of subsistence of the whole people necessarily includes an absolute power over their lives and fortunes.