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MADE TO THE CITIZENS OF BUFFALO, JUNE, 1833.
In the summer of 1833, Mr. Webster made a visit to Ohio. On his way thither, while at Buffalo, New York, he was invited by the citizens of that place to attend a public dinner, which his engagements, and the necessity of an early departure, compelled him to decline. He accepted, however, an invitation to be present at the launching of a steam-boat, to which the proprietors had given the name of DANIEL WEBSTER, and, in reply to an address of one of them, made the following remarks :
I avail myself gladly of this opportunity of paying my acknowledgments to the proprietors of this vessel, for the honor conferred upon me by allowing her to bear my name. Such a token of regard, had it proceeded from my immediate friends and neighbors, could not but have excited feelings of grateful respect ; and it is more calculated to waken these sentiments, when coming from gentlemen of character and worth, with whom I have not had the pleasure of personal acquaintance, and whose motive, I may flatter myself, is to be found in an indulgent opinion towards wellintentioned services in a public situation.
It gives me great pleasure, also, on the occasion of so large an assembly of the city of Buffalo, to express to them my thanks for the kindness and hospitality with which I have been received in this young, but growing and interesting city. The launching of another vessel on these inland seas, is but a fresh occasion of congratulation on the rapid growth, the great active prosperity, and the exciting future prospects of this city. Eight years ago, fellow-citizens, I enjoyed the pleasure of a short visit to this place. There was then but one steam-boat on Lake Erie: it made its passage once in ten or fifteen days only; and I remember that persons in my own vicinity, intending to travel to the far West by that conveyance, wrote to friends to learn the day of the commencement of the contemplated voyage. I understand that there are now eighteen steam-boats plying on the lake, all finding full employment; and that a boat leaves Buffalo twice every day for Detroit, and the ports in Ohio. The population of Buffalo, now four times as large as it was then, has kept pace with the augmentaVOL. II.
An address was also made to Mr. Webster in behalf of the mechanics and manufacturers of Buffalo, to which he returned the following reply:
I NEED hardly say, Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen, that it gives me much satisfaction to receive this mark of approbation of my public conduct, from the Manufacturers and Mechanics of Buffalo. Those who are the most immediately affected by any measures of the Government, are naturally the earliest to perceive their operation, and to foresee their final results. Allow me to say, Gentlemen, that the confidence you express in my continuance in the general course which I have pursued, must rest, and may rest safely, I trust, on the history of the past. Desiring always to avoid extremes, and to observe a prudent moderation in regard to the protective system, I yet hold steadiness and perseverance, in maintaining what has been established, to be essential to the public prosperity. Nothing can be worse than that what concerns the daily labor and the daily bread of whole classes of the people, should be subject to frequent and violent changes. It were far better not to move at all than to move forward and then fall back again.
My sentiments, Gentlemen, on the tariff question, are generally known. In my opinion, a just and a leading object in the whole system is the encouragement and protection of American manual labor. I confess, that every day's experience convinces me more and more of the high propriety of regarding this object. Our Government is made for all, not for a few. Its object is to promote the greatest good of the whole; and this ought to be kept constantly in view in its administration. The far greater number of those who maintain the Government belong to what may be called the industrious or productive classes of the community. With us labor is not depressed, ignorant and unintelligent. On the contrary, it is active, spirited, enterprising, seeking its own rewards, and laying up for its own competence and its own support. The motive to labor is the great stimulus to our whole society; and no system is wise or just which does not afford this stimulus, as far as it may. The protection of American labor against the injurious competition of foreign labor, so far, at least, as respects general handicraft productions, is known historically to have been one end designed to be obtained by establishing the Constitution ; and this object, and the Constitutional power to accomplish it, ought never to be surrendered or compromised in any degree.
Our political institutions, Gentlemen, place power in the hands of all the people; and, to make the exercise of this power, in such hands, salutary, it is indispensable that all the people should enjoy, first, the means of education, and, second, the reasonable