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Mr. Gales & Seaton:—Since my letter to you, two or three
weeks ago, I've had another long talk with Uncle Joshua
about the rickety consarn of our politics all over the country,
and about contrivin' a new platform to stand on. Uncle
Joshua takes hold of the business like an old apostle of liberty.


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He says something must be done, or we are a gone-goose
people; we can't never get along in this way, split up
into twenty parties, and every one fightin' agin all the rest.
When we didn't use to have but two parties, he says, one or
t'other most always stood a chance to beat, and they that
wasn't beat could take command of the ship, and trim the
sails as they thought best, and man the helm, and keep her
movin' on the voyage. But now it's one agin nineteen everywhere,
all over the country; and if the good old ship don't get
ashore in the squabble, or run on the rocks somewhere, it
must be a miracle that'll save her.”

“Ye see, Major,” says Uncle Joshua, “we must 'malgamate
these twenty parties into two parties agin, somehow or other.
I can't exactly see yet how to do it; but the thing must be
done, or I say it's gone goose with us. All parties always
run out after awhile, and have to begin anew. It can't be
helped—it's the nater of the thing. All crops will run out if
you keep 'em too long in the same field; and when you find
the land don't bear hardly nothin' but weeds, it's the best way
to change the crop at once. It was so with the first two
old parties—the Federalists and Republicans; they had something
to fight about and keep 'em alive for some years. One
was afraid the Federal Government wasn't strong enough to
get along well, and t'other was afraid it was too strong.
And so they fit that battle out, year after year, till at last
they got used to the working of the Government, and found
it didn't want any tinkerin' either way. And so they left off
fightin', except a little once in a while, for the fun of it; and
the two parties begun to be social like, and to talk together
across from one rank to t'other, and wasn't afraid to come up
so near as to reach a chaw of tobacco across to one another
at the pint of the baganut. At last, they got kind of mixed
up like, and some went one side, and some t'other, and forgot


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which side they belonged to. And so when Mr. Monroe come
and looked round to see how his ranks stood, his first words
was, `Why, fact, what Jefferson once said—we are all Federalists,
we are all Republicans
—has come to pass.' And here the
first two old parties died out, and new ones sprouted up and
took their places.”

Here Uncle Joshua got up and went to the fire, and knocked
the ashes out of his pipe, and put in a little more tobacco, and
sot down agin.

“Well, now, Major,” says he, “it's been jest so with the
last two great parties, the Whigs and Democrats. As long
as they had anything to fight about, they could keep their
ranks straight, and tell who was who; and they did do it for
a good many years. One wanted a great national bank, and
t'other didn't; one wanted a very high tariff, and t'other
didn't; one wanted to drive ahead, like all possessed, with
making roads and canals, and the like, and t'other didn't want
to go a step that way. And so they drew the lines, and fit it
out. How long and how hard they fit I needn't tell you,
Major; for you and Gineral Jackson had a hand in it, and
know all about it. Well, arter awhile, both parties found out
they could do as well without a great national bank as they
could with one. So they dropped that quarrel. Then some
of them that wanted a very high tariff begun to think they
had pitched it rather too high, and were willing to take one
considerable lower. And some of them that wanted a very
low tariff begun to think, and to feel, too, that they had
pitched it too low, and begged for one considerable higher.
So the jig was up about any more figtin' on that score. Well,
as for roads and canals, everybody found at last that them
sort of things would go ahead anyhow, party or no party, and
it was no sort of use to fight agin 'em. So here was the end
on't. The old parties have had their day; and I tell you,


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Major, they are both as dead as herrins—they've died a natural

“Why, Uncle Joshua,” says I, “it seems to me you are
getting wild. Do you say the old parties are dead? Why,
an't Whigs and Democrats in everybody's mouth from morning
till night? Haven't we got Whig papers and Democrat
papers from one end of the country to t'other? Don't we every
day hear of Whig meetings and Democrat meetings in all
the States? Haven't Mr. Donaldson and Green got all things
cut and dried for a Democrat Baltimore Convention, to
nominate a President? And an't the Whig papers all the
time talking about a National Convention, to nominate a
President on their side? Then how can you say the Whig
and Democrat parties are dead?”

Here Uncle Joshua laid his pipe down, and I see he was in
arnest; and Aunt Keziah laid her nittin'-work down, for she
see he was in arnest, too. And Uncle Joshua turned round
to me, and says he, “I tell you the old Whig and Democrat
parties are as dead as two old stumps. Their names may be
alive yet, and some folks may think for a good while to come
that they are fightin' agin the Whig party, or agin the Democrat
party, jest as Mr. Ritchie thought he was fightin' agin
the old Federal party for more than twenty years after they
was all dead. But what signifies the names when the life is
gone? The two parties can't never be straitened out into a
line agin, and fight each other as they used to. Folks may
keep mumbling the names over, but the Whig and Democrat
parties are dead and gone, and dried up, and about twenty
parties have sprouted up to take their places. This is the
reason why some Whig States, now-a-days, choose Democrats
for Governors, and some Democrats choose Whigs for Governors,
and why some Whig papers take sides with Democrats,
and some Democrat papers take sides with Whigs. It's all


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nothin' else but jest the crowdin' of these twenty young
sproutin' parties to see which shall get the most ashes out of
the two old stumps, to spread round their own roots to make
'em grow and overtop the rest.

“Now, suppose some folks,” says he, “thinkin' the Whigs
and Democrat parties was alive yet, should go ahead and call
the national conventions as they used to, and should let nobody
in but jest the two old parties, and nominate their
Presidents. Each party would then have jest about nineteen
parties fightin' agin 'em, and nobody would stand any chance
to choose a President. There would be the Union Whigs, and
the Abolition Whigs, and the Union Democrats, and the Abolition
Democrats, and the Silver Gray Whigs, and the Woolyhead
Whigs, and the Hunker Democrats, and the Barnburner
Democrats, and the Seward party, and the Union Safety Committee
party, and the old Abolition party, and the regular
Free-Sile party, and the regular Vote-Yourself-a-Farm party,
and the old Secession party, and the Co-operation Secessionists,
and the Out-and-out unqualified Go-alone Secessionists,
all in the field, and every one fightin' on their own hook. If
anybody can tell where a ship is likely to go to when the
crew is in mutiny and nobody at the helm, they can guess
where we shall be likely to go to if things go on in this way.”

“Well,” says I, “Uncle Joshua, accordin' to your account,
I think we are in a pickle.”

“That's what we be,” says he; “and there's nothing will
get us out of it but to go back to the old fashion of two
parties again. These twenty parties must be 'malgamated
down into two parties, and we must begin anew, get on to a
new platform, and go ahead. But how it's to be done, puzzles
me and worries me a good deal. I wish, Major, you would
set your wits to work, and see if you can't contrive some


Page 346

“Well, Uncle Joshua,” says I, “I never got so fur into the
woods yet but what I found the way out again; and I don't
see any difficulty here. It seems to me the road out is jest as
plain as the road to mill.”

At that, Uncle Joshua gin me a slap on the shoulder that
e'n a'most fetched me over, and says he, “Major, that makes
me feel as if a flash of lightning went through me. If anybody
else had said it, I should say 'twas all humbug; but if
you say it, I believe it. Now, in the name of Old Hickory,
du go to work and show us the way out of the woods.”

“Well,” says I, “Uncle, I don't think we can 'malgamate
the twenty parties down into two, but I think we can sift 'em
into two parties, and make clean, square work of it. In
the first place, we must get a principle to fight about, for you've
jest proved that that's the whole life of parties, and the greater
the principle is, the straighter will the parties draw the
lines, and the harder they'll fight. Now, let us go right to
work and hew out a new platform, that shall reach clear from
Maine to t'other end of Texas, and from New York to Californy,
and run up our flag on it, with letters large enough for
all to read—


“Then we'll call out to the twenty parties and say: `Here,
look up there; that's our flag, and them's our sentiments.
Now, all of ye that an't got tired of them things, and don't
want to see 'em all upset and smashed to pieces, and sunk to
the bottom of the sea, jest come out of your twenty quarreling
parties, and get up onto this platform and fight for the Union
and the Constitution.'

“I tell you what 'tis, Uncle Joshua, there's always a majority
in every ship that had rather get safe through the voyage
than to be upset and go to the bottom. And I an't a bit afraid


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[Description: 688EAF. Page 347. In-line image. Three men stand on a raised dais and hoist a large flag above themselves on a flagpole. On the flag is written "The Union and The Consitution Now and Forever."]
but what there would soon be a party of Come-outers on that
platform that would be big enough to take care of the ship.

“It might not be big enough to go over to Europe and whip
all Russia, but I'll wager my head it would be big enough to
keep Russia from coming over here and whipping us. Now,
what do you think of my plan, Uncle Joshua! Don't you
think it'll work?”

`Well, I don't doubt but that would be a good way to get
up one party,” says Uncle Joshua; “but I don't see how that
would get us out of the difficulty after all; for there would
still be as many parties left as there is now. It would still
have to be one agin nineteen; and I'm afraid your Come-outer


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party would have hard work to get a President if they had to
fight agin the nineteen or twenty quarreling parties. I can't
see much chance to do anything unless we can come down to
two parties as we used to.”

“Well, that is jest what I've done,” says I; “I have come
down to two parties.”

“How do you make that out?” says Uncle Joshua, opening
his eyes about half an inch wider. “When you had got some
out of all the twenty parties to make up your Come-outer party,
wouldn't there still be twenty parties left?”

“No,” says I, “Uncle Joshua, there wouldn't be but one
party left.”

“How do you make that out?” says he; “I've cyphered as
fur as the rule of three, but that sum beats me. You say, substract
one from twenty and one remains. Now, the way I always
used to do the sum was, one from twenty leaves nineteen.

“No,” says I, “Uncle Joshua, that an't right. One from
twenty leaves one. There wouldn't be but one party left.”

“Well, what party would that be?” says Uncle Joshua,
with his eyes and mouth both pretty well open.

“Well,” says I, “Uncle Joshua, it would be the regular Fillibuster
for, when all that are willing to stand up for the
Union and the Constitution had come out from the twenty
parties, you may depend on't that all that was left would be
fillibusters. Then it would be the `National Come-outers' on one
side, and the `Fillibusters' on t'other; and if one or t'other
wouldn't get licked I'm mistaken.”

At that Uncle Joshua hopped up like a boy and ketched hold
of my hand, and says he, “Major, you've hit it; that's the
road; go ahead. I see now there's a good chance to have two
parties agin, and a fair scratch for President; and, old as I
be, I'm in for another campaign.”

Here Sargent Joel, who had been setting in the room all


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the time, and hadn't said a word, straightened himself up, and
smit his fists together, and says he, “Hoorah for Gineral

“Well, now,” says Uncle Joshua, “set right down, Major,
and write to Mr. Gales and Seaton, and to Mr. Ritchie tu, and
ask them what they think of it. If they'll set it agoing down
South we'll set it agoing away down East, and have the platform
right up.”

So, hoping to hear from you soon, I remain your old friend,