Harper's Weekly 11/20/1869


THE MEANING OF DEMOCRATIC
SUCCESS.


THE result of the late election in New York
suggests the question, what does Demo-
cratic success in this State mean?


It means, in the first place, an arbitrary dis-
crimination against the equal political rights of
the citizens of the State. The question was sub-
mitted whether the property qualification should
be removed from a class of voters which, as a
class, is in no way inferior in industry, intelli-
gence, and good conduct to any other, and by
Democratic votes the property qualification was
continued. No one, however, was surprised
that those votes were cast against equal rights;
for as the Democratic policy ten years ago was
the most stolid submission to the dictation of
the slavery interest, so now it is a stupid effort
to retain as much as possible of the taint which
that system has left upon our national character
and professions. Every great measure looking
to the extension of freedom and fair play in this
country has been stubbornly resisted by the
Democratic party. Every encroachment made
upon the equal rights of innocent citizens has
been the work of the Democratic party. In
our history it will be known as the party of
slavery: the party to which the ignorant and
the prejudiced were sympathetically drawn,
and which, under the name of Democracy,
endeavored to obstruct liberty.


The Democratic success in this State means,
in the second place, the maintenance of the pow-
er of a ring, of which the Governor, by his proc-
lamation upon the frauds and his signing the
Erie Directors bill, is shown to be the instru-
ment, and which places upon the bench of the
Superior Court Mr. John H. M`Cunn. The
judicial bench is the last resort under the laws
in a free government. What the character of
American courts, what the fame of American
judges would be, if the party which selects
Mr. M`Cunn for one of the chief honors and
responsibilities of the judiciary could place Mr.
John H. M`Cunns upon all the benches of all
the courts in the land, may be readily seen by
contemplating the official career of that magis-
trate. If the judiciary of the city of New York is
an honor to the State and a glory to the coun-
try—if it is not a by-word and a derision—if it
is not understood that the bench is a market,
that rich men may have what judgments they
will, and the worst miscreants escape by the
connivance of the judges—if its ermine is un-
spotted even with suspicion, and its decisions
every where profoundly respected, it is because
of the men whom the Tammany Ring place
upon the bench. Every vote cast for the Dem-
ocratic party was cast for the power which has
made the present renown of the New York city
courts.


The Democratic success in this State means,
in the third place, if it should be complete, and
the Legislature in both branches should be of
that party, the overthrow of the best parts of
the present municipal government. The Met-
ropolitan Police system is bitterly opposed by
the Democrats. All the Commissions have
been rigorously denounced by them, and they
have sought power to restore the city, as they
claim, to its own control. That is to say, the
party following its policy and pledges will place
in the hands of the Tammany Ring the control
of all the great interests of the city—its po-
lice, its health, its Fire Department, its Croton
Board, its Central Park. It may be presumed
that a power which makes such judges as we
see will make a corresponding police.


Whether the order, the health, the personal
safety, the security of property will be better
cared for by the Tammany authorities, the ex-
perience and reflection of sober men will de-
clare. How long an election in the city will
be possible which will not be morally invalid
by the knowledge of a vast system of fraud, so
long as those authorities have unchecked con-
trol, may be inferred from what the most un-
scrupulous Democratic paper in the country
says of certain Tammany leaders: “He saw,”
says the editor, speaking of himself, “by what
shameless and cunning frauds such corruption-
ists of the Ring as William M. Tweed and
Oakey Hall cut down below its level the
rightful vote of the electors of Horatio Sey-
mour.
” A Democratic success means the as-
cendency of such persons in the political con-
trol of the State. Those who desire it, there-
fore, did wisely in co-operating with them at
the election.


The Democratic success means, in the fourth
place, a change in the Registry law, or the total
abolition of a registry, in order that frauds at
the polls may be facilitated and the State se-
curely held, with the hope of deciding the next
Presidential election in the city of New York.
No honest voter can object to a registry, be-
cause he is vitally interested in the inviolabili-
ty of the ballot-box. The more severely scru-
tinized the list of lawful voters, the more se-
cure is the country. The Democratic party,
always hostile to all methods for maintaining
the purity of the ballot, will break down every
barrier, and those who helped them at the polls
may congratulate themselves upon the result.


These are some of the consequences of the
continued Democratic success in the State of
New York, and, although not new, they may
be profitably studied by the country.



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