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opinion of their capabilities, and I know that in many cases it is well that it should be so; but, when they tell me that although they are convinced that this system of voting has, in other countries, failed, still they think that Englishmen could devise means to make it effectualwhen they tell me this, I think they furnish me with an instance in which self-esteem is to be regretted, because I believe, under the same circumstances, human nature is much the same all over the world. For instance, I find that in the United States Englishmen are full as ready as any other men to join in with, and to support the wild doings that have brought that country to its present condition. I have read the plan of balloting recommended by Major Cartwright, which is attended with a pathetic and excellent prayer for its success; but I am certain that if such a plan, perfect as it appears to be, was adopted in the United States, it would, in twenty-four hours, be made of none effect, and would no more prevent the doings that I am about to relate to your lordship, than the many schemes, to mature which so racked the brains of the wise men of the American revolutionary times. If Washington, Jefferson, Paine, Franklin, and such like characters, chiefly English, or descended immediately from England—if such men could find out nothing that would do, I see no great reason to expect that our leading “Chartists,” or that a parliament emanating from universal suffrage, should be more successful. - I will try to explain to your Lordship how these things work in the republic, and I will take the city of Philadelphia as an example where they have annual elections, universal suffrage, and vote by ballot; except that by the late amended constitution of Pennsylvania the blacks are excluded from the franchise. In other respects the qualification of voters is, I believe, the same as usual, or agreeable to the following abstract, which I take from Art. 1, Sect. 1, of the late constitution.
" In elections by the citizens, every freeman of the age of twenty-one years, having resided in the state two years next before the election, and within that time paid a state or county tax, which shall have been assessed at least six months before the election, shall enjoy the right of an, elector: provided that the sons of persons qualified as aforesaid, between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-two years, shall be entitled to vote although they shall not have paid taxes.” The city of Philadelphia is divided into fifteen wards. On the second Monday of every August there are meetings called by each party: it is seldom that there are more than two parties, and at these meetings they elect seventy-five delegates each, that is, five from each ward-meeting. These delegates all meet the next Saturday ; of course each "party" by themselves. Then they meet and adjourn, from time to time, until they have agreed upon persons to fill all the offices for the ensuing year. This done, the
politicians, or office-hunters, form their “ block committees," the duty of each of which committees is to organise and drill all the whigs, or democrats, as the case may be, that live in a certain number of houses adjoining each other, which they are pleased to call "blocks." And now all sorts of lying, cheating, and deception commence in earnest; each of those that live by politics cheats and is cheated, from the lowest to the highest. The election machinery of the whole Union is frequently directed by one man to each party. For instance, those that are a little more cunning or obstinate than the rest of the dupes, are flattered and won by various tricks-some of the smallest by being chosen on these committees, and having their names exhibited as such trustworthy democrats in the partisan newspapers : it is astonishing the effect that is produced by this simple contrivance. Next the whole "party," every man in the blocks that professes democracy (if that be the party), is requested to sign a call for a town-meeting; and the next day all their names are displayed in the papers. Then each captain of the block enters down in a book the name of every man belonging to his party. Then, night after night, they hold ward and often townmeetings, where they spout away at a tremendous rate; extolling their own ticket and denouncing that of their opponents. If there be ten or a dozen speakers following each other, their speeches are always exactly alike, in substance if not in manner; and, whatever else is said from year to year, the following phrases are on no occasion left out :-" The blood of our forefathers. The star-spangled banner. The sons of liberty. The old independent hall. The Boston tea party. The hero of New Orleans. The Hartford conventionists. The blue lights. The gallant ship United States. The glorious sovereignty of the people. Bunker's Hill. Yorktown. Warren. Montgomery.
Montgomery. Tories. Federalists. Republicans. Democrats, and the ever-glorious 76.” These, and a few others that I forget, always form the bases of their spiritstirring" eloquence," which is generally concluded by calling upon the dear people to think of these things, and to give for the faithful democrats the “ long pull, the strong pull, and the pull all together."
Thus, by adjournment, they go on till October, when, about a week before the general election, each party has a ward-meeting for the purpose of choosing inspectors--that is, judges to decide whether a man's vote is good or not when he offers it at the general election.
There is, however, to be but one set of judges; and, to decide which shall have that all-important advantage, they stand out in the open street, facing each other, and this is what they call “ toeing the curb-stone;" the strongest evidence of a genuine democrat that can possibly be given. They boast of this voluntary open method of doing it, while the English democrats are clamouring for secresy. Well,
they are now in regimental order, and a person from each side is appointed to count them; that having the greatest number sends inspectors immediately into the ward voting-room, and the voters outside proceed to vote by ballot, through a hole from which a pane of glass has been removed. This voting is for the final judges at the general election. It is rare, indeed, if the party having the lead in the first instance does not keep it till the end of the race.
The party defeated in the “ stand out” sends one of its members under the window, where he stands with the roll-call in his hand, containing the names of all " the party" in the ward, and, when they make their appearance to vote, he crosses them off: by this means he knows how many have voted his ticket, and how many have voted the other ; but do what he will, he cannot, nor does not expect, to prevent those who have possession from cheating. So that the knowledge he gains on the subject is only calculated to irritate him and his party. The other party having the authority, officially declare the state of the poll, to which all must submit. Over this business there is generally rioting, confusion, and, of late years, bloodshed and murder. This excitement then continues to increase till after the general election. There is some late alteration as to the manner of voting in Philadelphia, which works worse than before. In all other parts of the State it continues as I have described.
We have now seen the order in which the sovereigns are brought to their “ duty." If a single one of them were to attempt deception, so as not to vote at all, it is known by the man under the window : he is marked, and has forfeited all claim to the patronage of “ the party.”! And if he votes for the opposite side there are a thousand ways of detecting him. The tickets are printed by order of a trustworthy committee, and they are not delivered till the last hour, poked under the doors in the night, previous to their voting, which commences at eight o'clock the next morning. This is done to prevent the managers of the parties finding out each other's tricks in time to benefit by them. The duty of the “ ticket committee” is to see that they are printed on a peculiar kind of paper; a shade lighter or darker, coarser or finer, to be folded up a little longer or wider; tied with a thread and a knot so as by themselves to be known at first sight; and if a man tenders any other than this, it is instantly known by the appointed watch.
The inside judges, by the same kind of tricks, know their own men, whom they pass without scrutiny; hundreds of them at a time, that have no right to vote, coming frequently from other towns to give a lift to “the party.” There is no law to prevent a man having his own ticket printed, or even writing it himself, but to do that would be to get the displeasure of both parties; and if he were to vote for a set of men of
his own choosing, distinct from the delegated ticket, such vote, of course, would be a scattering vote, and amount to nothing ; so that there is no choice but to vote for one of two sets of men, either of which is composed of the worst men in society: their trade is politics, and they are everlastingly employed in devising means to corrupt and to deceive the people. They are of all grades ; and in every filthy grog-shop at all times they may be found busy in their various departments. It is upon these disgusting grog-shops, which, in many parts of the city, are almost every other house, and sometimes two or three of them together it is upon these that the office-hunters chiefly rely; and when a party is in power, and have any doubt of being routed, they license a batch of “groggeries." For these last eight or ten years, to keep in place, they have been obliged to resort to every kind of “job” calculated to feed a sufficient number to carry the elections. The city of Philadelphia has, within these few years, become millions in debt, contracted by the authorities for no other purpose, nor with any other intent, than that of commanding this kind of force in time of need. The county of Philadelphia is in the hands of the opposite party, and they, in the same manner, fortify and defend themselves. They now think nothing of borrowing, on the credit of the city or county, half a million of dollars each every year, which they lay out and waste in some worse than useless job. Under this state of things those that attend the polls are become so corrupt and selfish, that they anxiously look for these annual bribes as their daily bread. And either party that should cease to feed them, and do that which was lawful and right, would, at the ensuing election, surely be removed from office. " I have no account by me of the population of the city of Philadelphia, but I think it cannot be much, if any, less than eighty thousand; out of which there are only about eight thousand come to the polls to vote; so that there are seventy-two thousand souls that are the the remaining eight thousand, and that suffer from the vicious administration of their public affairs.
The following letter will show your Lordship what are the qualifications of a first-rate American politician. That letter, by some means or other, got intercepted by the enemy, notwithstanding which, the fellow that wrote it has since been in the assembly, in the senate, been speaker of the house, frequently a member of congress, is now a judge, and never has for one hour been out of the service of the people, from the date of that letter to the present day. There is not a man that knows him, of his own or any other party, but what knows him to be as vile as he represented himself to be: he depends entirely upon trick and bribery, and always openly laughs at all other means of electioneering: his opponents, who are not a jot better than himself, annually
publish this letter, with such remarks as the following, an edition of which I happen to possess :
“ The Creed of a bold and designing Demagogue. “ Are you an American ?-Read the following letter, whether you will not for ever renounce all fraternity with the author, as an alien to freedom, purity, honour, and patriotism ?
“ Are you a Democrat?~Read this creed of a traitor politician, and say, can you hold communion with, and give support to, a man who would betray his friends, bargain with his enemies, stab his neighbour in the back, and rob every man of his reputation, to further and promote his own interest ?
“ Are you a virtuous and honest man ?--Read this letter, and then say, can you remain one, if you support the author of this scoundrel's creed?
“Do you wish the freedom of your country to endure ?—Read this letter, and then say, whether a party of such cold-blooded demagogues would not soon plunge it in irretrieveable ruin?
“ Are you a friend to the rights of the people ?--Read this letter, and then say, are those villanous principles compatible with those rights ?
“ Do you value your independence as a freeman ?-Read this letter, and say, are you independent, or free, when supporting such a man and such principles ?
“ This letter may be divided into the following heads :“ 1. Unprincipled intrigue for a governor.
“ 2. The qualification required was the underhand work that marks the bold and designing politician.
“ 3. Distrust of all friends, and the determination to read their hearts, in order to detect the same villany that actuated his own.
“4. Vacillating between candidates, until you discover the strong side.
“ 5. That all politicians are men of principle in proportion to their interest.
“6. To form coalitions with any party to carry a candidate. “ 7. To join the candidate most likely to succeed."
“ The entire history of politics does not present a parallel to this infamous, demoralising, and corrupting creed. It calls a blush to the cheek of every freeman. It causes the bosom of every patriot to swell with indignation!What! that our votes are to be bought and sold like so much merchandise! That our rights may be bought by any scoundrel who sets up for office! That virtue is a name, liberty a shadow, and conscience a marketable commodity! And shall this man