Изображения страниц

ing the Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated at the age of nineteen, and entered the corps of engineers as lieutenant.

He accompanied General Jackson as an aid-de-camp when he received the surrender of Florida from the Spaniards, which position he resigned in 1822, and qualified himself for the bar. After attending law lectures at the Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky., he again became an inmate in the family of his foster-father, and contributed not a little by his pen and counsels to the subsequent elevation of the old hero, who, after entering upon his duties as President, appointed Mr. Donelson his private secretary. At the expiration of the General's second term, he returned with him to Nashville, where he continued for several years to assist him in the management of his correspondence, which was still extensive and onerous.

In 1844 Mr. Donelson became conspicuous for the active part he took in discussing the Texas question-the great issue at that time between Mr. Clay and Mr. Polk; and, at the earnest desire of Mr. Tyler, then President, he undertook to bring that state into our Union an object which he accomplished in a manner highly satisfactory to the friends of that measure.

Under the administration of Mr. Polk, he served some time as minister to Prussia, and was afterwards transferred to Austria, from whence he was recalled by General Taylor towards the latter part of 1849.

In 1850 he attended the famous Southern Convention at Nashville, as a Union man- -alleging that if propositions to dissever the confederacy were brought forward in that body, they ought to be exposed and denounced to the country.

His decided course as a friend to the Compromise measures of 1850 induced some of the Democratic leaders to secure his services as editor of the Washington Union; but as he failed to accomplish impossibilities to unite the ultraists of the North and South--he retired from this position at the commencement of the last Presidential campaign. The policy early indicated by President Pierce, in the formation of his Cabinet, was not such as Mr. Donelson could approve, and he forthwith became an active member of the American party, whose cause he has six ce zealously supported.


I. An humble acknowledgment to the Supreme Being who rules the universe, for His protecting care vouchsafed to our fathers in their revolutionary struggle, and hitherto manifested to us, their descendants, in the preservation of the liberties, the independence and the union of these states.

II. The perpetuation of the Federal Union, as the palladium of our civil and religious liberties, and the only sure bulwark of American independence.

III. Americans must rule America, and to this end, native-born citizens should be selected for all state, federal or municipal offices or government employment, in preference to naturalized citizens-nevertheless,

IV. Persons born of American parents residing temporarily abroad, shall be entitled to all the rights of native-born citizens; but

V. No person should be selected for political station (whether of native or foreign birth), who recognises any alliance or obligation of any description to any foreign prince, potentate or power, who refuses to recognise the federal and state constitutions (each within its sphere), as paramount to all other laws, as rules of particular action.

VI. The unqualified recognition and maintenance of the reserved rights of the several states, and the cultivation of harmony and fraternal good-will between the citizens of the several states, and to this end, non-interference by Congress with questions appertaining solely to the individual states, and non-intervention by each state with the affairs of any other state.

VII. The recognition of the right of the native-born and naturalized citizens of the United States, permanently residing in any territory thereof, to frame their constitution and laws, and to regulate their domestic and social affairs in their own mode, subject only to the provisions of the Federal Constitution, with the right of admission into the Union whenever they have the requisite population for one representative in Congress. Provided always, that none but those who are citizens of the United States, under the Constitution and laws thereof, and who have fixed residence in any such territory, ought to participate in the formation of the constitution, or in the enactment of laws for said territory or state.

VIII. An enforcement of the principle that no state or territory can admit others than native-born citizens to the right of suffrage, or of holding political office, unless such persons shall have been naturalized according to the laws of the United States.

IX. A change in the laws of naturalization, making a continued residence of twenty-one years, of all not heretofore provided for, an indispensable requisite for citizenship hereafter, and excluding all paupers and persons convicted of crime from landing on our shores; but no interference with the vested rights of foreigners.

X. Opposition to any union between Church and State; no interference with the religious faith or worship, and no test oaths for office, except those indicated in the 5th section of this platform.

XI. Free and thorough investigation into any and all alleged abuses of public functionaries, and a strict economy in public expenditures. XII. The maintenance and enforcement of all laws until said laws shall be repealed, or shall be declared null and void by competent judicial authority.

XIII. Oppositiou to the reckless and unwise policy of the present administration in the general management of our national affairs, and more especially as shown in removing" Americans" (by designation) and consevatives in principle, from office, and placing foreigners and ultraists in their places; as shown in a truckling subserviency to the stronger, and an insolent and cowardly bravado towards the weaker powers; as shown in re-opening sectional agitation, by the repeal of the Missouri Compromise; as shown in granting to unnaturalized foreigners the right of suffrage in Kansas and Nebraska; as shown in its vacillating course on the Kansas and Nebraska question; as shown in the removal of Judge Bronson from the Collectorship of New York upon false and untenable grounds; as shown in the corruptions which pervade some of the departments of the governments; as shown in disgracing meritorious naval officers through prejudice or caprice; as shown in the blundering mismanagement of our foreign relations.

XIV. Therefore, to remedy existing evils, and prevent the disastrous consequences otherwise resulting therefrom, we would build up the "American party" upon the principles hereinbefore stated, eschewing all sectional questions, and uniting upon those purely national, and admitting into said party all American citizens (referred to in the 3d, 4th, and 5th sections) who openly avow the principles and opinions heretofore expressed, and who will subscribe their names to this platform.-Provided, nevertheless, that a majority of those members present at any meeting of a local council where an applicant applies for membership in the American party, may, for any reason by them deemed sufficient, deny admission to such applicant.

XV. A free and open discussion of all political principles embraced in our platform.




FOR the high position he has so long maintained in the political affairs of this country, Mr. Buchanan is not alone indebted to his early and thorough education, but his entire devotion to whatever he undertakes, and his perseverance in surmounting obstacles which would

intimidate less determined minds, has had a large share in promoting his advancement. He is of Irish parentage, and was born at Stony Batter, Franklin county, Pa., April 23, 1791. At the age of seven years he removed with his father's family to Mercersburg, and there received an education that fitted him for entering Dickinson college in 1805, where he graduated two years afterwards with the highest honors. He then studied law with James Hopkins, of Lancaster, and in 1812 was admitted to the bar, at which he attained a high rank and commanded an extensive practice.

In 1814 he commenced political life as a member of the Pennsylvania state legislature, and in 1820 was sent as representative to Congress, where he remained for ten years-at the expiration of which, he declined a re-nomination.

In 1831 he was appointed minister to Russia by President Jackson, of whom he was always the consistent friend and supporter, and he negotiated a commercial treaty which proved of great advantage to American commerce.

In December, 1834, having been elected to the United States Senate, he took his seat in that body, and continued one of its most efficient members until 1845, when he accepted the office of Secretary of State under Mr. Polk. He held this responsible place until the expiration of Mr. Polk's term of service, when he returned home to repose awhile. But he did not by any means become an idle spectator in passing events: his letters and speeches show that he was no less vigilant as a private citizen, than as a counsellor in the Cabinet, or a representative and senator in Congress.

On the accession of Mr. Pierce to the Presidency, in 1853, Mr. Buchanan was appointed minister to England, with which country questions were then pending that required great prudence and discrimination for their satisfactory adjustment. In his intercourse with the British diplomatists he was not only discreet, but displayed sound sense, courtly forbearance, a just assertion of our rights, and the true dignity of the American character. So entirely unexceptionable was his whole course while abroad, that on his return to this country last April-he landed in New York on the sixty-fifth anniversary of his birth-day-he was received with an almost universal enthusiasm, seldom accorded to political men.

In his letter accepting the nomination of the Democratic Convention, Mr. Buchanan distinctly states "that he no longer regards his position as that of an individual in the approaching campaign; that he has merged all personal identity in that of his party, of which he is but the representative and embodiment.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »