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a fearful admiration. Its deep and awful anxiety is to learn, whether free states may be stable as well as free; whether popular power may be trusted as well as feared; in short, whether wise, regular, and virtuous self-government is a vision, for the contemplation of theorists, or a truth, established, illustrated, and brought into practice, in the country of Washington. Gentlemen, for the earth which we inhabit, and the whole circle of the sun, for all the unborn races of mankind, we seem to hold in our hands, for their weal or woe, the fate of this experiment. If we fail, who shall venture the repetition ? If our example shall prove to be one, not of encouragement, but terror, not fit to be imitated, but fit to be shunned—where else shall the world look for free models? If this great Western Sun be struck out of the firmament, at what other fountain shall the lamp of liberty hereafter be lighted? What other orb shall emit a ray to glimmer, even, on the darkness of the world !
Among other admonitions, Washington left us, in his last communication to his country, an exhortation against the excesses of party spirit. A fire not to be quenched, he yet conjures us not to fan or feed the flame. Undoubtedly, gentlemen, it is the greatest danger of our system, and of our time. Undoubtedly, if that system should be overthrown, it will be the work of excessive party spirit, acting on the government, which is dangerous enough, or acting in the government, which is a thousand times more dangerous ; for government then becomes nothing but organized party, and in the strange vicissitudes of human affairs, it may come at last, perhaps, to exhibit the singular paradox, of government itself being in opposition to its own powers, at war with the very elements of its own existence. Such cases are hopeless. As man may be protected against murder, but cannot be guarded against suicide, so government may be shielded from the assaults of external foes, but nothing can save it when it chooses to lay violent hand on itself.
UNION IN MASSACHUSETTS.
At least, sir, let the star of Massachusetts be the last which shall be seen to fall from heaven, and to plunge into the utter darkness of disunion. Let her shrink back —let her hold others back, if she can ; at any rate, let her keep herself back from this gulf, full at once, of fire and blackness : yes, sir, as far as human foresight can scan, or human imagination fathom, full of the fire and the blood of civil war, and of the thick darkness of general political disgrace, ignominy, and ruin. Though the worst may happen that can happen, and though she may not be able to prevent the catastrophe, yet let her maintain her own integrity, her own high honor, her own unwavering fidelity, so that with respect and decency, though with a broken and a bleeding heart, she may pay the last tribute to a glorious, departed, free constitution.
THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE.
The hours of this day are rapidly flying, and this occasion will soon be passed. Neither we nor our children can expect to behold its return. They are in the distant
regions of futurity, they exist only in the all creating power of God, who shall stand here, a hundred years hence, to trace through us their descent from the pilgrims, and to survey, as we have surveyed, the progress of their country, during the lapse of a century. We would anticipate their concurrence with us in our sentiments of deep regard for our common ancestors. We would anticipate and partake of the pleasure with which they will then recount the steps of New England's advancement. On the morning of that day, although it will not disturb usin our repose, the voice of acclamation and gratitude, commencing on the Rock of Plymouth, shall be transmitted through millions of the sons of the pilgrims, till it lose itself in the murmurs of the Pacific seas. We would leave, for the consideration of those who shall then occupy our places, some proof that we hold the blessings transmitted from our fathers in just estimation; some proof of our attachment to the cause of good government, and of civil and religious liberty ; some proof of a sincere and ardent desire to promote every thing which may enlarge the understandings and improve the hearts of men. And when, from the long distance of an hundred years, they shall look back upon us, they shall know, at least, that we possessed affections, which, runing backward, and warming with gratitude for what our ancestors have done for our happiness, run forward also to our posterity, and meet them with cordial salutation, ere yet they have arrived on the shore of being. Advance, then, ye future generations ! We would hail you, as you rise in your succession to fill the places which we now fill, and to taste the blessings of existence, where
we are passing and soon shall have passed, over our own human duration. We bid you welcome to this pleasant land of the fathers. We bid you welcome to the healthful skies and the verdant fields of New England. We greet your accession to the great inheritance, which we have enjoined. We welcome you to the blessings of good government, and religious liberty. We welcome you to the treasures of science, and the delights of learning. We welcome you to the transcendent sweets of domestic life, to the happiness of kindred, and parents, and children. We welcome you to the immeasurable blessing of rational existence—the immortal hope of Christianity, and the light of everlasting truth !
DUTY OF REPRESENTATIVES.
We have been taught to regard a representative of the people as a sentinel on the watch-tower of liberty. Is he to be blind, though visible danger approaches 7 Is he to be deaf, though sounds of peril fill the air Is he to be dumb, while a thousand duties impel him to raise the cry of alarm 1 Is he not, rather, to catch the lowest whisper which breathes intention or purpose of encroachment on the public liberties, and to give his voice breath and utterance at the first appearance of danger ? Is not his eye to traverse the whole horizon, with the keen and eager vision of an unhooded hawk, detecting, through all disguises, every enemy advancing, in any form, towards the citadel which he guards Sir, this watchfulness for public liberty, this duty of forseeing danger and proclaiming it, this promptitude and boldness in resisting attacks on the Constitution from any quarter, this defence of established landmarks, this fearless resistance of what
ever would transcend or remove them, all belong to the representative character, are interwoven with its very nature, and of which it cannot be deprived, without converting an active, intelligent, faithful agent of the People, into an unresisting and passive instrument of power. A representative body which gives up these rights and duties, gives itself up. It is a representative body no longer. It has broken the tie between itself and its constituents, and henceforth is fit only to be regarded as an inert, self-sacrificed mass, from which all appropriate principle of vitality has departed forever.
SPIRIT OF LIBERTY.
The first object of a free people is the preservation of their liberty ; and liberty is only to be preserved by maintaining constitutional restraints and just divisions of political power. Nothing is more deceptive, or more dangerous, than the pretence of a desire to simplify government. The simplest governments are despotisms; the next simplest, limited monarchies; but all republics, all governments of law, must impose numerous limitations and qualifications of authority, and give many positive and many qualified rights. In others words, they must be subject to rule and regulation. This is the very essence of free political institutions. The spirit of liberty is indeed a bold and fearless spirit; but it is also a sharpsighted spirit; it is a cautious, sagacious, discriminating, far-seeing intelligence; it is jealous of encroachment, jealous of power, jealous of man. It demands checks, it seeks for guards, it insists on securities; it entrenches itself behind strong defences, and fortifies with all possible care, against the assaults of ambition