« AnteriorContinuar »
Senate, but to receive from the hands of the leaders of the respective paties their share of the spoils, and to shout for one or the other, as those collected in Gaul or Egypt and the lesser Asia would furnish the larger dividend. The spirit of liberty had fled, and avoiding the abodes of civilized man had sought protection in the wilds of Scythia Scandinavia. And so under the operation of the same causes and influences it will fly from our Capital and our forums. A calamity so awful, not only to our country, but to the world, must be deprecated by every patriot, and every tendency to a state of things likely to produce it immediately checked. Such a tendency has existed— does exist. Always the friend of my countrymen, never their flatterer, it becomes my duty to say to them, from this high place to which their partiality has exalted me, that there exists in the land a spirit hostile to their best interests-hostile to liberty itself. It is a spirit contracted in its views-selfish in its objects. It looks to the aggrandizement of a few even to the destruction of the interest of the whole.
The entire remedy is with the people. Something, however, may be effected, by the means which they have placed in my hands. It is union that we want, not of a party for the sake of that party, but a union of the whole country, for the sake of the whole country. For the defence of ita interests and its honor against foreign aggression for he defence of those principles for which our ancestors so gloriously contended. As far as it depends upon me, it shall be accomplished. All the influence that I possess shall be exerted to prevent the formation at least of an Executive party in the halls of the legislative body. I wish for the support of no member of that body to any measure of mine that does not satisfy his judgment and his sense or duty to those from whom he holds his appointment. Nor any confidence in advance from the people but that asked for by Mr. Jefferson, “to give firmness and effect to the legal administration of their affairs."
I deem the present occasion sufficiently important and solemn to justify me in expressing to my fellow-citizens a profound reverence for the Christian religion and a
thorongh conviction that sound morals, religious liberty, and a just sense of religious responsibility, are essentially connected with all true and lasting happiness. And to that good Being who has blessed us by the gifts of civil and religious freedom—who watched over and prospered the labors of our fathers, and has hitherto preserved to us institutions far exceeding in excellence those of any other people, let us unite in fervently commending every interest of our beloved country in all future time. [Oath administered.]
Fellow-citizens : Being fully invested with that high office to which the partiality of my countrymen has called me, I now take an affectionate leave of you. You will bear with you to your homes the remembrance of the pledge I have this day given, to discharge all the high duties of my exalted station according to the best of my ability; and I shall enter upon their performance with entire confidence in the support of a just and generous people.
APRIL 9, 1841.
Before my arrival at the seat of Government, the painful communication was made to you by the officers presiding over the several Departments, of the deeply regretted death of WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, late President of the United States. Upon him you had conferred your suffrages for the first office in your gift, and had selected him as your chosen instrument to correct and reform all such errors and abuses as had manifested themselves from time to time in the practical operation of the Govemment. While standing at the threshold of this great work, he has, by the dispensation of an all-wise Providence, been removed from amongst us, and by the provie sions of the Constitution the efforts to be directed to the
accomplishing of this vitally important task have devolved upon myself. This same occurrence has subjected the wisdom and sufficiency of our institutions to a new test. For the first time in our history the person elected to the Vice Presidency of the United States, by the happening of a contingency provided for in the Constitution, has had devolved upon him the Presidential office. The spirit of faction, which is directly opposed to the spirit of a lofty patriotism, may find in this occasion for assaults upon my administration. And in succeeding, under circumstances so sudden and unexpected, and to responsibilities so greatly augmented, to the administration of public affairs, I shall place in the intelligence and patriotism of the people my only sure reliance. My earnest prayer shall be constantly addressed to the all-wise and all-powerful Being, who made me, and by whose dispensation I am called to the high office of President of this confederacy, understandingly to carry out the principles of that Constitution which I have sworn to protect, preserve, and defend.'
The usual opportunity which is afforded to a Chief Magistrate upon his induction to office of presenting to his countrymen an exposition of the policy which would guide his administration, in the form of an inaugural address, rot having, under the peculiar circumstances which have brought me to the discharge of the high duties of President of the United States, been afforded to me, a brief exposition of the principles which will govern me in the general course of my administration of public affairs would seem to be due as well to myself as to you. In regard to foreign nations, the groundwork of my policy will be justice on our part to all, submitting to injustice from none. While I shall sedulously cultivate the relations of peace and amity with one and all, it shall be my most imperative duty to see that the honor of the country shall sustain no blemish. With a view to this, the condition of our military defences will become a matter of anxious solicitude. The Army, which has in other days covered itself with renown, and the Navy not inappropriately termed the right arm of the public defence, which has spread a light of glory over the American standard in all the waters of the earth, should be rendered replete with efficiency.