Boston Herald, March 4, 1861
Four years since, the American people elevated James Buchanan to the Presidential chair, and the nation rejoiced that the candidate of the Anti-Slavery party was defeated. The people trusted James Buchanan because he was supposed to be a true man—one that would honestly administer the affairs of the nation and pursue a mild, conservative policy. They believed he would be true to his friends, true to the fundamental principles of his party, and above all, true to the country. The party which placed him in nomination and elected him President, planted themselves upon the Constitutional doctrine that Congress had no power to legislate upon the subject of Slavery, and referring all matters in dispute to the people, where differences of opinion existed. Mr. Buchanan was elected and inaugurated upon this doctrine and he proclaimed in his inaugural his determination to administer the government upon this principle. But here he changes front. He called into his Cabinet ambitious, intriguing men, and the work of political knavery commenced. The great principles which had become the settled policy of the country were ignored, and a reign of terror made its appearance. The truest men of the party were hunted down and humiliated to gratify the malignity of a disappointed and sour temper, intensified by the unprincipled men in his Cabinet. He inaugurated the Kansas policy, which destroyed the party, and convulsed the country. He has visited every Democrat with his displeasure who adhered to the very principles upon which he was elected. He has corrupted public men and presses with government patronage, and called about him and into his Councils political adventurers who are ready upon every opportunity to plunder the government and do the dirty work of ambitious demagogues. His constitutional advisers have—with his knowledge—broken down the party and its cherished principles, rather than yield their power back to those who gave it. The rankest treason has manifested itself in all the high places of the nation, until the country is brought to the verge of dissolution and bankruptcy. Millions have been squandered upon favorites, or stolen from the public vaults, to aid in the work of destruction, and the public mind is exercised to thwart the dangers which threaten to destroy this fair governmental fabric, which it cost so much blood and treasure to establish. The rights of the citizens have been disregarded, and appeals to Mr. Buchanan's sense of patriotism and justice have been insultingly refused and derided.
He has remained unconcerned while the great business interests of the country were paralyzed by his wicked acts, and "laughed when their fear cometh." He has hardened his heart, and worshipped those false idols which his fawning sycophants had set up; and to-day he retires from the proudest position on earth—that of President of thirty millions of free men—to the shades of private life, with "none so poor as to do him reverence;" while the great heart of the nation will rejoice that the day of their deliverance has come, that James Buchanan no longer wields the sceptre of power, and that his presence no longer pollutes the atmosphere once breathed by a Washington, a Jefferson, and a Jackson. He will stand out in the future as a monument of all that is hideous and deformed, while the historian will give him a place with those in times gone by, who first deceived and then betrayed the people.—Such, in brief, is James Buchanan. It will tend much to assuage the sufferings under which the people labor, to know that after this 4th day of March, 1861, they will no longer be called upon to tolerate this man in any other capacity than that of a private citizen, unworthy of confidence or respect. We do not envy such a man when left to his own reflections. The averted look of his early friends and the cold shoulder he will receive from an outraged and betrayed constituency, will tell him the story of their wrongs, and embitter his declining years. The last days of that man will be worse than the first.
Let his fate be a warning to those who come after him, for the way of the transgressor is hard.