Don’t Waste Your Powder, Gentlemen


The Whig party, by the help of the Almighty, has been totally defeated. Its end has come, and a grave stone may be spoken for it without any danger of loss. Why then should our members of Congress pour their heavy fire upon a dismasted — a blazing and sinking ship.

On the morning of March 4, 1841, the Whig frigate, with her sails swelling gracefully from royal to ring-tail, rode in majesty on her ocean way. Her hull was newly painted — her rigging nicely fitted — her decks were crowded with men — and her quarter deck was full of officers.

The Democracy stood upon the decks of their weather-beaten cruizer to look at her, and all seemed to unite in the opinion that she would perform a four years voyage in safety; but suddenly a tempest came, a thunderbolt splintered her mizen-mast, rent her flag to tatters, and killed her commander.

Then came upon the ear of the listener the heavy roar of the alarm gun and cry of sorrow.

A hurricane followed the thunder — sail after sail was rent to pieces — spar after spar came toppling down with the look-outs and the top-men — seaman after seaman pitched overboard, and floated to the Democratic cruiser, whose commander had watched for the squall, and had taken in sail. Louder and louder howled the wind. The rudder was wrenched from its fastenings, and the ship dashed on at the mercy of the contending elements.

The first Lieutenant had taken command, and the trumpet was in his hand. A cry of fire now spread through the ship; and then, while the wreck was blazing, the crew mutined. The pursers strong box was robbed — his books were burned to wipe out all debts — dreadful curses rang upon the night wind, and echoed along the deep.

And hark! what noise is that? It is a gun from the rival frigate — again it peals, and again all eyes are turned towards the sound. It is the cruizer under storm stay-sails beating to windward; and now behold, she pours a broadside into the blazing frigate — despair sits at the magazine and death by the bread room.

The ship of the Whig party is doomed, and her memory even will soon be blotted out forever.

Save your powder then gentlemen.

Why don’t you save your powder?

[Alex. Index.

The Experiment (Norwalk, Ohio) Apr 27, 1842

Note: Spelling differences/errors were in the original article.


The following is from Wikipedia:

1842 Election Results From Wikipedia

The U.S. House election, 1842 was an election for the United States House of Representatives in 1842.

Just one election cycle after the Whig Party gained control of Congress, they lost their majority. Whig president William Henry Harrison died within a month of taking office and his successor, John Tyler, was disliked by members of both parties. Tyler’s widespread unpopularity lead to an enormous defeat for his party, and the Whigs lost 70 seats, giving the Democrats a majority. With the economy rebounding, rural voters also chose the Democratic ticket to turn away from Whig policies of economic nationalism. The Law and Order Party, formed in response to the Dorr Rebellion in Rhode Island also took seats.

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One Response to “Don’t Waste Your Powder, Gentlemen”

  1. Mike Boozer Says:

    Nice post, pretty informative

    -Mike Boozer,

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