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The Western Opposition Movement

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From th N'. V. W ,1-1.1 F, ii i-.'. We h;;ve puniosoly forfkorne il! ! hieut ou itie oüt.ic;ii movemett rli inanguration was ntteinpted in t lio ll!iïiois Legislatures, anti] it shoul'l cither nssume the ddinite sbape of' a proposal tn otber States oï t'ail in the place whcre it originated While it was under discussion in the West wc kept the attitudo of fntcre.-ted spoetatörs, watchihg, uoli without oqnsi i'vr:ib!c solicitado, (he ' voljunent of We.sU'in opinión, but j serVfeg what we hü.l to sy on tho posed üiovemont nnti! it should bo oftcred as a proposición to olhor States, ttlicn the cjoestion of its accpptanoe or rojeetion wo'ild rnakeit a logitiuiato i ie of discuj-sioii without any seeming wish to ïnterfere with tho freest expresa ot' opinión in any part ot'thn country. But since it bas beeouie apparent tliat the morement is to Uike 110 practical shape, ! it seems due to tho West tliat the ! KervativG presa of the Eastern States should itidioate their views of the maoncr in which the opposiliou should be eondueted. We think, then - and we are confident tliat in this we expresa the sentiments of the most discreet and iufluential duraocrats of the State of New York - that any nttempt to hold a convention of the States wae, in the present aspect of affairs, premature and ill-sdvised. We can üow express this sentiment with entire courtesy to the West, foT in doinr so we uierely echo its own conclusión. - It is clear that none of tho rebel States wculd particípalo in such a convention. They claim to h:ive forined a new coufedoracy, of which tlie central government at liichrnond is the exclusive orgau for cominunicatiou with foreign Pow ors, and it would be a practical renuneiution of the seces-ion movement to regard or treat us otherwise than as a foreign Power. If the proposed convention consisted oí representativos of all the Northern otates, it would stlll have do authority to speak in the name of the Federal governmeut. No proposal it might make cou'd be considered by the rebel government, because, if accepted, nobody would be bound by it. But wheu wo consider that there are, as yet, only two or threo States in which the democrats have both branches of the State Lcgislature, it is obvious that Davis would have nothing to do with a convention got up under such auspices. It is only the government at Washington that eau bind the American peoplo, and, considering the pretensions of the Richmond governmont, it would lowerits dig nity and demoralize lts supporters if it desnended to negotiate with subordinates whose action was certaiu to be disap proved by their principal. It is the mision of the opposition party not to break dewn or enfeeble the Federal government, but to get possession of it and administer it on constitu-. tional principies. If we earry the Spring eleetions in Oonnecticut and New j shire, as we hope to do, we shall have a i handsoine tnajority in the national House of Representativos, and a complete check on mischievous logislatien. But eveu then we shall have no power in shaping a positivo policy. and while we are out of power it is absurd to assume respousibílity for a policy. When the Presideutial canvass opeos in 186-1 it will bo proper for the opposition to define the principies on which they proposo to administer the goveniment if they earry the election. But for the present it is wiser to confine our efforts to simple opposition; au opposition not captious, not petulant, but directed only against measures clearly inexpedient or clearly unconstitutional. Why shoulJ we encumber ourselvcs with a positivo policy while as yet we have no power to put it in force? Very likely the West and the East might uot to-day agree as to what ench a poliey should be, while the progress of events may produce perfect unanimity respecting the points on which they would now differ. Why should the patriotic opposition present the unseemly spectacle of jarring debates when time wi!l probably mend their difFerences in season for concerted action? What the opposition will do when they become the administraron must depend upon the condition of the country when they come ínto pos.session of the goverument. If we take a farm in September we may put in a erop of winter wheat, but not if we take it in January : if the price of cottoa eontiuues high we may plant flax, but not if the Southern porta are opened; if wool briaga a good price we may rear all our lambs, but otherwise seud them to market. Just so the poliey of the oppositiou must depeud on the actual circuiBstauces of the country when they come iato power. The condition of the treasury, the stat of our foreign relations, the degrue of exhaustion in which w-e find the rebels, the military advanta■ges which will have been gained or lost, are eircurnstances in reference to which the policy of the goverument must then beadjusted; aud it would be iuexpedient for the opposition to commit themselvcs to a set of ineasures which, though wise in present circumstanees, may have become improper when the opposition comes to have some other power in relation to them than that of iucurring responsifeiíity for their advocaey. The fuuction of an oppositinn party is negatiTO. It is to exposé administrativo corruptioa, resist bad measures, and Btand up against infractions of the constituUon. In all casus where time and the inevitable progress of oveuts are veorking in our favor, we should profit, as far as possiblc, by "a wise and masterly inactivity." We must have the coolness, self-possession and fofesight not to botch by precipítate aetion matters that if left atoue vvül come out right of theraselves. If arbiirary arresta and interference with the freedom of' the press are persisted in they will reuder the admiuistratiou more and more odiouj ; time will more demónstrate tlií emaneipation proclamation to have been a picce of folly; t'ie frauds and abuses of the administnition will be eonstantly coming forth to the light; and f the, present incompetent Oabinet ia retained the eurront of pubüe opinión will eet all the while more strongly against ii. If Mr. Lincoln changes bis policy aad Cabinet nobody will rejoice more sincerclv tiian the patriolic oppositiou, who have nothing eo sineeroly at heart as tho good of tbc country. But if he pensists iu bis misguided course the opjjosition nood have no ppprehonsion repctiag tbeir suocess ia 1864, ualess tliey theinselves en '.langer i-t b.y misdireett'd activity and premature or.imittala iu.advance of eveiiis wliicli do foresight o;ni anticípate. Our duties are vigilaucc, prompt cxposure of abusos, earnest and veüeinent opp,asition to bad raeasures, aud tlie practica of a large toleranoe wbich iuvitus tlio co-operation of all virtuüus and pa triol ie men. ]3ut let us, foi' the present, assume t'ue respousibihty for no otlier polioy than steady ad hertmoe to the coustitutiou in its obvious nieuuing, and vigorous daiense of the rights whioh it guarantees.


Old News
Michigan Argus