The Ashburton Grardian Magna est Veritas, et Prevalebit. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1882. The Latest Political News from the United States.
According to the latest news from America, received by cable message a few days ago, the Democratic party in the United States, for the first time since the great war of Secession, has been victorious in the biennial elections for the Lower House of Congress by 50 votes out of a total of 293. It is probable, therefore, that in the whole Congress next year their’s will be the more powerful side. After the Confederate war, which lasted from 1861 to 1865, and shook the Great Republic to its very foundations, the large majority of them were among the conquered, and the opposing party, the Republicans, were completely victorious. At the close of that war the Democrats were for a time entirely crushed. Betweert seven and eight hundred thousand men had fallen on various battle fields, and out of these, the very prime of the manhood of the country, fully halt had been soldiers of the South. The losses of the Southern States in other ways had been serious, Their property in the “ black chattel ” had disappeared, f or their negroes were freed without compensation to the owners. In many cases their plantations were wrecked, either through the casualties of war, or from the vengeance of the enemy. Soldiers were quartered in their dwelling-houses, and at New Orleans General Butler issued orders intended to apply to the first ladies of the city, that if any women showed, by word or gesture, tire slightest disrespect to the Federal troops, they would be imprisoned in the common gaol and treated as drunkards or prostitutes. The money losses of the South were enormous. Besides the cost ot their own material of war, the Confederate bonds representing the amount raised for their defence had become utterly worthless. And even this was not all. In every State their former slaves, the negroes, had been admitted to the full right to exercise the franchise, and the planters and upper classes were completely swamped and powerless. All State appointments were given by the negroes to their countrymen or friends, and all laws were made by them for their own benefit. To use the graphic language of one of their own popular songs, De bottom rail’s on de top, And we’s gwine to keep it dar. The check on the unbridled tyranny of an ignorant mob, which might have been, and usually would have been applied by the Senate, or Upper House of Legislature, was withdrawn, because it was not settled whether there should be a re-construction of the Southern States. As might have been expected, for years there was no such thing as prosperity in the South, and many of the first families, accustomed previously to every luxury, were brought literally to poverty. With a manly independence which did them infinite credit, the Confederate generals and officers asked for no assistance from the Government of the day, but helped themselves as well. as they could. General Lee, the Commander-in-chief, returned to his native State (Virginia), and supported himself by giving lessons in mathematics, a study in which, during his early years at View Point, he had distinguished himself. General Johnston and General Beauregard, now one of the most distinguished military men of the day in America, entered into partnership and embarked in the ham, bacon, and pickled pork trade, and succeeded, if not in making fortunes, at any rate in maintaining themselves and their families. There were some indeed in the South who acted with less dignity and with bitter animus against the party which had the upper hand. In Georgia and South Carolina the secret society of the Ku-Klun-Klaus plotted for vengeance, caught some of the negroes, flogged some, and murdered others. At length, partly through the general love of fair play, and partly through the efforts of successive Presidents, the Southern States were re-constructed, and once more began to raise their heads and slowly retrieve their enormous losses. The wiser among the Southern ladies went vigorously to work to educate the negroes; the wiser among the men to associate with them, and prove to them that their prosperity, as fellow cultivators of the soil, was bound up with their own. At last the re-action in political opinion set in with the result we have just learnt. It has been said for years past that there is no perceptible difference between the views of the Republicans from those of the Democrats. There has been much truth in this ; the free expression of opinion on the part of those who were conquered seventeen years ago would have been very unpopular, and the Democrats have been wisely reticent, expressing their political creed when necessary to speak, in almost the same terms as those used by their oppenents. In fact, of late years their real political faith has not been an expression of their belief of what is best for the present, but rather a recollection of the past and a hope for the future. At the time when the Civil War broke out, it was not so, and the difference of sentiment between the opposing parties was as united as that between the Liberals and the Conservatives in England; perhaps more so. To the Republicans then the unity of the Republic was the paramount article of political faith just as State sovereignity was with the Democrats. Subordinate beliefs were grouped round each of these cardinal principles. The large majority of the Republicans were protectionists in fiscal matters; the large number of Democrats at heart freetraders. The Republicans believed in a national bank, and an inconvertible currency j
the Democrats in specie payments' The slavery question has been settled, but whilst it lasted, the South heartily approved of it, maintaining with some show of reason, that under good masters it was an excellent thing for the slaves themselves. In the North slavery was condemned, but by no means with that thorough-heartedness which their representatives afterwards claimed for themselves. It was in the North that the anti-slavery advocates, William Lloyd Garrison and George Thomson were mobbed and insulted, and,Miss Mastineau threatened that she would be tarred and feathered, and Mrs Stowe was admired rather as a clever romancer than as an exponent ot American thought. That question of slavery has been settled now for ever; the others which have been specified remain. It seems from the last accounts that the Democratic views are at last uppermost again; that they have won in New York, Pennsylvania, and the New England States, and that even if the Republicans have been more successful than before in the South, their gains there, have not balanced their losses elsewhere.