Washington (DC) National Era, "The Administration," June 25, 1857

    Source citation
    “The Administration - Signs of the Times,” Washington (DC) National Era, June 25, 1857, p. 104: 1.
    Original source
    Richmond (VA) Whig
    Newspaper: Publication
    Washington (DC) National Era
    Newspaper: Headline
    The Administration - Signs of the Times
    Newspaper: Page(s)
    Newspaper: Column
    Date Certainty
    Carolina Jimenez, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

    From the Richmond (Va) Whig, June 8


    From present indications, the Administration of President Buchanan is doomed to encounter storms and hurricanes not a few. The elements of distrust and opposition are already gathering about it, and we shall not be surprised to see it a by-word and a reproach in less than six months from the present time. Indeed, we are unable to perceive how it is possible for it to steer clear of the breakers that lie in its way. There are several important questions for it to settle, either one of which will be difficult of a satisfactory solution. The next Congress, if we mistake not the signs of the times, will develop an irreconcilable division of opinion among the Democracy, and show them to be anything but homogeneous and national. We shall have the Pacific Railroad, to which the President and all his Northern and Western supporters are committed; while his friends in Virginia and several other Southern States will be compelled to take grounds against it unless they intend to renounce the cherished doctrine of their lives, and make a sudden and complete somerset.

    We have never yet been able to perceive how the Democracy could disentangle themselves from the perplexity in which the Pacific Railroad question has involved them, consistently with their adherence to the principles so solemnly proclaimed in the Cincinnati Platform. In that Platform, we have it distinctly and emphatically announced that Internal Improvements by the General Government is outrageously unconstitutional. And yet, in the face of such declaration, we find Mr. Buchanan boldly assuming the position that Congress has the undoubted power, under the war-making clause of the Constitution to construct a railroad to the Pacific, which is acknowledged on all hands to be the most gigantic enterprise which any Government or people has ever undertaken. And the question naturally recurs—if Congress may properly enter upon a work of such magnitude, what may it not do in the matter of public improvements?

    It appears to us to be evident that, under the war-making power of the Constitution, the authority of Congress over the whole subject of Internal Improvements is unlimited, if, under the clause referred to, it has the power to construct the great Pacific railroad.

    All that any good, strict-construction Democrat, either in the North or in the South, has to do, is to convince himself–a thing easily accomplished–that any proposed improvement would be necessary and useful in time of war, and he is at once at liberty to vote appropriations for it, without being guilty of violating the principles of his party, or trampling under foot the authority of the Constitution. In truth, if Congress may build the Pacific Railroad, it may properly undertake any and all inferior works, and we shall soon see the Government embarked in a general system of Internal Improvements in all the States and territories of the union.

    The Pacific Railroad question, therefore, is destined to utterly denationalize the triumphant Democracy, and split them into two distinct and discordant factions. For we cannot believe that the Virginia and Southern Democracy will ever give in their adhesion to so damnable a heresy, and we are equally certain that Mr. Buchanan and his Northern and Western supporters are resolutely bent upon making it a part of the Democratic creed, and of securing to it the sanction of the party and of Congress.

    In addition to this perplexing and troublesome question, the course of the Administration in regard to Kansas is developing a sentiment of determined hostility to it in the mind of the Southern people, without distinction of party. And properly, for never have any people been so deceitfully and outrageously dealt by, as are the Southern people at present by Mr. Buchanan and his Governor, in tier management and intrigue to exclude Slavery from Kansas, and force that Territory into the Union as a free State. We stand not alone in this opinion; but leading Democratic journals at the South are beginning to speak out in stern and indignant reprobation of the conduct of the Administration in relation to this important subject. Like ourselves, they see manifested a deliberate purpose on the part of Buchanan and Walker to prevent the South from having fair play in Kansas–a deliberate purpose to make Kansas a free State, whether the forthcoming Convention there shall so determine or not. And with this fact so palpable to every eye, how can the Virginia or Southern Democracy uphold and sustain the present Administration? If sincere and honest in their professions of devotion to the interests and rights of the South, they will soon be found side by side with us in denouncing and warring upon the powers that be at Washington–upon a President and Cabinet who are shamefully prostituting the power and influence of the Government to cripple and injure the South, and to strengthen and aggrandize the North.

    While on this subject, it gives us pleasure to express our earnest commendation of the manly and straight-forward course of the Richmond South, touching the policy of Buchanan and Walker in regard to Kansas. That paper fully concurs with us in the opinion that it is the deliberate purpose of Gov. Walker to make a free State out of Kansas; and it consequently condemns and denounces him and his policy in unmeasured terms.

    Thus, the signs of the times all portend that the present Administration will experience a fall as rapid and complete as that of poor Pierce. Let the Southern people of all parties watch its conduct closely, and they will be compelled, as loyal and Southern patriots, to turn their backs upon it, and look elsewhere for the protection of their rights and the vindication of their honor.

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