[Click here for our notes and the beginning of this treatise. In-text bold emphases ours, in-text italics come from the original work.]
FREE INSTITUTIONS OF THE UNITED STATES THROUGH
PRESENT STATE OF THE NATURALIZATION LAWS.
The great question regarding Foreigners, and a change in our Naturalization laws, is a National question, and at this time a very serious one. It is therefore with deep regret that I perceive an attempt made by both parties, (however to be expected,) to turn the just National excitement on this subject each to the account of their own party. The question, Whether Foreigners shall be subjected to a new law of naturalization? which grave circumstances have recently made it necessary to examine, is one entirely separate at present from party politics, as parties are now constituted, and is capable of being decided solely on its own merits. The organs of the two parties, however, are noticing the subject, and both engaged in their usual style of recrimination. Neither of them can see the other, nor any measure however separated from party principle, if proposed or discussed by its opponent, except through the distorted medium of prejudice. So degraded in this particular has the party press become, in the view of the intelligent portion of the community, that no one seems to expect impartiality or independence, when any question is debated that affects, or even but seems to affect, the slightest change in the aspect of the party, or in the standing of the individual, whose cause it advocates. The exclusive party character of a great portion of the daily press, its distortion of facts, its gross vituperative tone and spirit, its defence of dangerous practices and abuses, if any of these but temporarily favour mere party designs, is a serious cause of alarm to the American people. To increase the evil, each party adopts the unlawful weapons of warfare of its antagonist, thinking it an ample justification of its conduct, if it can but show that they have been used by its opponent. I cannot but advert to this crying evil at a moment when a great and pressing danger to the country demands the attention of Americans of all parties, and their cool and dispassionate examination of the evidence in the case.
The danger to which I would call attention is not imaginary. It is a danger arising from a new position of the social elements in the onward march of the world to liberty. The great struggle for some years has till now been principally confined to Europe. But we cannot exclude, if we would, the influence of foreign movements upon our own political institutions, in the great contest between liberty and despotism. It is an ignorance unaccountable in the conductors of the press at this moment, not to know, and a neglect of duty unpardonable, not to guard the people against the dangers resulting from this source. To deny the danger, is to shut one's eyes. It stares us in the face. And to seek to allay the salutary alarm arising from a demonstration of its actual presence among us, by attributing this alarm to any but the right cause, is worse than folly, it is madness, it is flinging away our liberties, not only without a struggle, but without the slightest concern, at the first appearance of the enemy.
Before entering upon this subject, I would premise that the course of the Courier and Enquirer, and the Star, on the one side, and that of the Evening Post, the Times, and their coadjutors, on the other, are equally hostile to the safety of the country. I am for an American party, but not that American party advocated by the Evening Star, which Journal, while announcing its formation upon principles "distinct from party," in the same breath gives it an anti-administration character, and attempts to wield it against the principles of Mr. Van Buren. Neither on the other had will the stanch supporters of the Democratic principles which have governed the present Administration, and who still mean to support Mr. Van Buren, as the representative of their sentiments, be turned from their course of determined and persevering resistance to foreign interference, by the unfounded charge that the American party which they support is exclusively, or even at all, of Whig origin. The writer of this will give his own political views, solely for the purpose of silencing the unfounded charges made against a cause in its commencement which he feels assured is to connect in its support all true Patriots, whatever may be their party predilections. His own political principles have been the same for more than 20 years, and they are those now so ably represented by Mr. Van Buren and the present Administration. They are the Democratic principles of the Jefferson school, as they stand opposed to Aristocracy in all its shapes, to ruinous Monopolies, to a union of Church and State, and to all kindred evils; they are, in short, the principles which are distinctive of American institutions, principles opposed most thoroughly to absolute or priestly power. And the stand he now takes, results from the firm conviction, that these very principles are all endangered by the present state of our naturalization laws, which have assumed a new aspect in consequence of political movements in Europe, and the undue influence which naturalized citizens in their foreign capacity have been made to exert in the political contests of the country. The political state of Europe; the particular movements which have caused this stand to taken; the dangers of the State in consequence of these foreign movements; and the Remedy proposed, will be briefly discussed in future numbers; and it is believed that the necessity of a true American party, uniting Americans of every party, will be found necessary to ward off a blow aimed at the very foundations of our government; and before either party commits itself on a question, which in spite of all they can do will agitate this whole land, let them examine carefully its merits. Let those who have been so hasty to condemn before the cause is tried, suspend their judgement awhile, nor rashly take a course which will oblige them either to incur the humiliation of defeat, or the almost equally unpleasant task of retraction.
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