The Popular Vote

The (N.Y.) Tribune

Citation Information:”The Popular Vote.” The Tribune. v. 4. n. 186. November 11, 1844.

The total Vote for President at the recent Elections is very great—probably twenty percent, highter in the contested States than it was in 1840, when our opponents accused the Whigs of fraudulent and double voting, but a scrutiny proved that the remarkably heavy votes had all been cast in their strongholds. So far as we can now judge, the Popular Majorities in the several States heard from are very nearly as follows:

For Clay
  For Polk  




OHIO 6,000 Eleactors-Polk 95
TOTAL, so far 18,700 Clay 58

KENTUCKY, judging from the few returns we have seen has given Mr. Clay a large majority. INDIANA has also gone for him, there seems hardly room to doubt, by a respectable majority.

Our Defeat in New-York

Early in the campaign, when it seemed to us impossible that the Van Buren men of this State could be rallied to the unanimous and hearty support of James K. Polk, in view of the circumstances of his nomination—when it seemed to us impossible that avowed and strenuous anti-Texas and Protective Tariff men should be brought to support an avowed Annexationist and notorious Free Trader, we estimated that Mr. Clay would carry New-York by 20,000. At a later period when we found that the party drill was stronger than we had deemed it, we estimated the majority for Mr. Clay at 10,000, and this we believed he would most assuredly get, down to the State Election in Pennsylvania, the course of the Natives and Whigs, and the defeat of Markle. These things made against us, yet we still believed and stated to friends, in reply to private letters of inquiry, that we must triumph in New-York. Yet we are beaten—but how?

1. By the throwing away of some 15,000 votes—nine-tenths of them Whig on all questions of National Policy—on the Birney ticket. We did believe that at least half these would finally vote so as to prevent the Annexation of Texas. Yet the false representation of Birney, Leavitt & Co. that Clay was as much for Annexation as Polk, and more likely to effect it, &c. &c. have carried all these votes obliquely in favor of Annexation, War, and eternal Slavery.

2. The Naturalized Citizens have all been carried for Polk by appeals to their Religious and old world feelings and prejudices. They have been told that they would be deprived of their Political Rights and reduced to vassalage in the event of Mr. Clay’s election; and this, with still more monstrous bugbears, has driven from us those who were formerly with us. In one little town in Tioga Co. nineteen voters of Irish birth and Catholic faith who had voted Whig for years turned against us only the day before Election. In every county there were some such. In Buffalo alone, there have been fourteen hundred naturalized since 1840. Of this class we have in other times had one-fourth or one-fifth with us; now they went in solid column against us, cutting down the majority in Erie county from Three Thousand to eighteen Hundred. Monroe and Niagara counties exhibit similar results; so do Albany and Cayuga. Our Whig strongholds where there are few Adopted Citizens have not fallen off, except under the influence of Abolition. But not merely is the Naturalized Vote against us, but it is many thousands stronger than it would have been but for the Philadelphia Riots and the Catholic dread of Nativism. All our Courts that could Naturalize were crowded with applicants for citizenship for weeks before election, and voters were turned out at some of them with astonishing celerity. We hear that some of the judges have been employed for days since the election in signing the affidavits, &c., which they appear on the record as having executed before the Election.

3. But even this would not have availed to defeat us but for an overwhelming Illegal Vote, beyond any precedent. Thousands of Irishmen employed on the Canada Public Works came over here to help their brethren in the contest, as they understood it, for Foreigner’s rights, and did help them most effectually. The Alien (unnaturalized) population of our own and other Cities gave a large vote, generally offering at least one ballot each, and many of them more than one. From the statements of those who know, but who could make public what they know only at the hazard of their lives, we infer that not less than Three Thousand votes for Polk were cast in our City alone by men who were not citizens of the United States. Right gladly would we risk our life on this, that a thorough sifting of the Polls, so as to throw out every illegal vote cast in the State, would give its Thirty-six Electors’ Vote to Clay and Frelinghuysen. But this cannot be had, and a South Carolina dynasty is by the foulest deception and most atrocious fraud, fastened upon the American People for four years to come. Bitterly will this be rued by many who cannot yet allow themselves to get sober joy at the consummation.