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Title: Tomorrow

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: April 11, 1842

Publication information: New York Aurora 11 April 1842: [2].

Source: Original issue held at the Paterson Free Public Library, Paterson, NJ. Our transcription is based on a digital image of an original issue.

Whitman Archive ID: per.00407

Contributors to digital file: Kevin McMullen, Nolan Shan, Amanda Kapper, and Jason Stacy




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Tomorrow.

The great political dance is to be led off tomorrow. In consequence of the "Independent Democratic Republican,"1 candidate for mayor having withdrawn, Morris will probably receive the votes of many of the Catholics.2 We question, however, whether a much larger number of his own party will not remain away from the polls—disgusted with the total want of principle which has characterised the Tammany leaders in their bargaining with the Catholics.3 Every democrat, certainly, who is not of the Hughes clique,4 or who does not think that "expediency" is palliation enough for basely truckling to reverend insolence will withhold his support from the whole ticket, from mayor down to collector.

There is still a good deal of discord among the rival factions. Each seeks to embarrass the other. And about the flimsiest of all the manœuvres "got up" for that purpose, is the late attempt to nominate a Tyler whig for the mayoralty.5 A new paper, the Arena, and the democratic New Era, have been laying their heads together to do something that shall distract the whigs, and therefore advantage the democrats. The Arena, it seems, has taken upon itself to claim to be considered as a "Tyler organ;" and the New Era affects to speak of it as such.

Through the help of the conductors of those papers, and a few other bastard democrats, the Washington Hall meeting was convened,6 and James Monroe nominated.7 The plain truth is, that no whigs (except false ones—as false to the whig party, as their associates are to theirs) were engaged in the movement. It was a bare faced, contemptible trick—worthy of its parentage on both sides. If any whig, therefore, is gulled by this stupid piece of bungling deception, he may thank his own ignorance and credulity.

The democratic party wants regenerating. If it wishes to keep any of its former purity, strength, and power, it will have to kick out several time serving unprincipled men, who have within the past few years poisoned its counsels, and dishonored its reputation.


Notes:

1. This independent slate of candidates was used as leverage by Bishop John Hughes and his allies in the Democratic Party as leverage to force the New York Democratic Party to support the Maclay Bill, which would have provided public support for parochial education. See Joann Krieg, Walt Whitman and the Irish (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press), 40-45. The slate was repealed by Hughes when the Tammany Hall voted to support the bill as a way to preserve support of the Irish in the mayoral election. [back]

2. Robert H. Morris (1808–1855) was the Democratic candidate and the incumbent for the New York City Mayoral election of 1842. His opponent was J. P. Phoenix, the same Whig he defeated for the office in 1841 (Gustavus Myers, The History of Tammany Hall [New York: Boni and Liveright, 1917], 130). [back]

3. Tammany Hall, the headquarters of the Democratic political machine in New York that dominated the city's party politics for over a century. Tammany Hall is well known for its corruption and Whitman was highly critical of Tammany throughout his career. For further reading, see: Oliver E. Allen, The Tiger: the Rise and Fall of Tammany Hall (Boston: Addison-Wesley, 1993). [back]

4. Bishop John Hughes (1797–1864) led the fight in New York City for parochial schools to be publicly funded. Hughes' "clique" consisted almost exclusively of politicians fighting for publicly funded parochial schools for Catholic Irish immigrants. For further reading, see: Jason Stacy, "Becoming Illuminated: New York City's Public School Society and Its Religious Discontents, 1805-1840," American Education History Journal 37, no. 2 (2010): 455–471. [back]

5. Whitman here is referring to John Tyler, who became the tenth President of the United States (1841–1845) when President William Henry Harrison died in April 1841. He was the first Vice President to succeed to the Presidency after the death of his predecessor. Tyler was a Democrat who was nominated on the Whig Presidential ticket with Harrison in the election of 1840 and by the end of his term in office was hated by both parties. For further reading, see: John M. Belohlavek, "John Tyler: The Accidental President," The Journal of American History 93, no. 4 (2007): 1235. [back]

6. Washington Hall was a popular meeting place in New York for members of the American Temperance Union (established 1836). According to the 1841 Journal of the American Temperance Union, regular meetings were held at Washington Hall on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday evenings (Journal of the American Temperance Union, Volumes 5-8 [1841]: 64). [back]

7. James Monroe here is not in reference to the fifth President of the United States but his nephew of the same name. James Monroe (1821-1898) was a New York Politician, who served as a New York Alderman from 1833–1835 and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Whig in 1839, but lost his re-election bid. This left him available to run for office in 1842 ("Monroe, James, [1799–1870]," Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress, http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=M000856, [accessed October 23, 2016]). [back]


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