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in its application to the commercial and shipping interests. They believe the power is in the Constitution; and doubtless they mean, so far as depends on them, to keep it there. Desirous of no extravagant measure of protection ; desirous of oppressing or burdening nobody, seeking nothing as a substitute for honest industry and hard work; as a part of the American family, having the same interests as other parts,—they will continue their attachment to the Union and the Constitution, and to all the great and leading interests of the country.
Gendemen, your worthy mayor has alluded to the subject of internal improvements. Having no doubt of the power of the General Government over various objects comprised in that denomination, I confess I have felt great pleasure in forwarding them, to the extent of my ability, by means of reasonable Government aid. It has seemed strange to me, that, in the progress of human knowledge and human virtue (for I have no doubt that both are making progress), the objects of Government should so long have been principally confined to external affairs, and to the enactment of the general laws, without considering how much may be done by Government, which cannot be done without it, for the improvement of the condition of the people. There are many objects, of great value to man, which cannot be attained, by unconnected individuals, but must be attained, if attained at all, by association. For many of them, Government seems the most natural and the most efficient association. Voluntary association has done much, but it cannot do all. To the great honor and advantage of your own State, she has been forward in applying the agency of Government to great objects of internal utility. But even States cannot do every thing. There are some things which belong to all the States; and, if done at all, must be done by all the States. At the conclusion of the late war, it appeared to me that the time had come for the Government to turn its attention inward; to survey the condition of the country, and particularly the vast Western Country; to take a comprehensive view of the whole; and to adopt a liberal system of internal improvements. There are objects not naturally within the sphere of any one State, which yet seemed of great importance, as calculated to unite the different parts of the country, to open a better and shorter way between the producer and consumer, to be also of the highest advantage to Government itself, in any exigency. It is true, Gentlemen, that the local theatre for such improvement is not mainly in the East. The East is old, pretty fully peopled, and small. The West is new, vast, and thinly peopled. Our rivers can be measured—yours cannot. We are bounded—you are boundless. The West was, therefore, most deeply interested in this system, though, certainly, not alone interested, even in such works as had a western locality. To clear her rivers was to clear them for the commerce of the whole country; to construct harbors, and clear entrances to existing harbors, whether on the Gulf of Mexico or on the lakes, was for the advantage of that whole commerce. And if this were not so, he is but a poor public man, whose patriotism is governed by the cardinal points; who is for or against a proposed measure, according to its indication by compass, or as it may happen to tend farther from, or come nearer to, his own immediate connections. And look at the West—look at these rivers—look at the lakes—look especially at Lake Erie, and see what a moderate expenditure has done for the safety of human life, and the preservation of property, in the navigation of that lake; and done, let me add, in the face of a fixed and ardent opposition.
I rejoice, sincerely, Gentlemen, in the general progress of internal improvement, and in the completion of so many objects near you, and connected with your prosperity. Your own canal and rail-road unite you with the Atlantic. Near you is the Ohio Canal, which does so much credit to a younger state, and with which your city will doubtless one day have a direct connection. On the south and east approaches the Baltimore and Ohio Rail-road, a great and spirited enterprise, which I always thought entitled to the aid of Government, and a branch of which, it may be hoped, will yet reach the head of the Ohio.
I will only add, Gentlemen, that for what I have done, in the cause of internal improvement, I claim no particular merit, having only acted with others, and discharged, conscientiously and fairly, what I regarded as my duty to the whole country.
Gentlemen, the Mayor has spoken of the importance and necessity of education. And can any one doubt, that to man—as a social and an immortal being, as interested in the world that is, and vastly more concerned for that which is to be—education, that is to say, the culture of the mind and the heart, is an object of infinite importance? So far as we can discern the designs of Providence, the formation of the mind and character, by instruction in knowledge, and instruction in righteousness, is a main end of human being. Among the new impulses which society has received, none is more gratifying than the awakened attention to public education. That object begins to exhibit itself to the minds of men, in its just magnitude, and to possess its due share of regard. It is but in a limited degree, and indirectly only, that the powers of the General Government have been exercised in the promotion of this object. So far as these powers extend, I have concurred in their exercise with great pleasure. The Western States, from their recency of settlement, from the great proportion of their population which are children, and from other circumstances, which must, in all new countries, more or less, curtail individual means, have appeared to