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which came over us, – who, Gentlemen, can learn, without a glow of enthusiasm, that the great champion of the Constitution, that DANIEL WEBSTER, is now in the midst of us. To his mighty intellect, the nation, with one voice, confided its cause, – of life or death. Shall there be withheld from the triumphant advocate of the nation a nation's gratitude 2 Ours, Gentlemen, is a government not of force, but of opinion. The reason of the people must be satisfied before a call to arms. The mass of our peaceful and conscientious citizens cannot, and ought not, except in a clear case, to be urged to abandon the implements of industry for the sword and the bayonet. This consideration it is that imparts to intellectual prečminence in the service of truth its incalculable value. And hence the preciousness of that admirable and unanswerable exposition, which has put down, once and for ever, the artful sophisms of nullification.
“If, Gentlemen, we turn to other portions of the public history of our distinguished guest, it will be found that his claims to grateful acknowledgment are not less imposing. The cause of domestic industry, of internal improvement, of education, of whatever, in short, is calculated to render us a prosperous, united, and happy people, has found in him a watchful and efficient advocate. Nor is it the least of his merits, that to our gallant Navy Mr. Webster has been an early, far-sighted, and persevering friend. Our interior position cannot render us cold and unobservant on this point, whilst the victory of Perry yet supplies to us a proud and inspiring anniversary. And such is the wonderful chain of mutual dependence which binds our Union, that, in the remotest corner of the West, the exchangeable value of every product must depend on the security with which the ocean can be traversed.
“Gentlemen, I have detained you too long; yet I will add one word. I do but echo the language of the throngs that have crowded round Mr. Webster in declaring, that the frank and manly simplicity of his character and manners has created a feeling of personal regard which no mere intellectual ascendency could have secured. We approached him with admiration for the achievements of his public career, never supposing for a moment that our hearts could have aught to do in the matter; we shall part as from a valued friend, the recollection of whose virtues cannot pass away.”
MR. Webster then addressed the assembly as follows:-
WOL. I. 25
RECEPTION AT PITTSBURG."
MR. MAyor AND GENTLEMEN: — I rise, fellow-citizens, with unaffected sensibility, to give you my thanks fol the hospitable manner in which you have been kind enough to receive me, on this my first visit to Pittsburg, and to make all due acknowledgments to your worthy Mayor, for the sentiments which he has now seen fit to express.
Although, Gentlemen, it has been my fortune to be personally acquainted with very few of you, I feel, at this moment, that we are not strangers. We are fellow-countrymen, fellow-citizens, bound together by a thousand ties of interest, of sympathy, of duty; united, I hope I may add, by bonds of mutual regard. We are bound together, for good or for evil, in our great political interests. I know that I am addressing Americans, every one of whom has a true American heart in his bosom ; and I feel that I have also an American heart in my bosom. I address you, then, Gentlemen, with the same fervent good wishes for your happiness, the same brotherly affection, and the same feelings of regard and esteem, as if, instead of being upon the borders of the Ohio, I stood by the Connecticut or the Merrimack. As citizens, countrymen, and neighbors, I give you my hearty good wishes, and thank you, over and over again, for your abundant hospitality.
Gentlemen, the Mayor has been pleased to advert, in terms beyond all expectation or merit of my own, to my services in defence of the glorious Constitution under which we live, and which makes you and me all that we are, and all that we desire to be. He has done much more than justice to my efforts; but he has not overstated the importance of the occasion on which those efforts were made. Gentlemen, it is but a few short months since dark and portentous clouds did hang over our heavens, and did shut out, as it were, the sun in his glory. A new and perilous crisis was upon us. Dangers, novel in their character, and fearful in their aspect, menaced both the peace of the country and the integrity of the Constitution. For forty years our government had gone on, I need hardly say how prosperously and gloriously, meeting, it is true, with occasional dissatisfaction, and, in one or two instances, with ill-concerted resistance to law. Through all these trials it had successfully passed. But now a time had come when the authority of law was opposed by authority of law, when the power of the general government was resisted by the arms of State government, and when organized military force, under all the sanctions of State conventions and State laws, was ready to resist the collection of the public revenues, and hurl defiance at the statutes of Congress. Gentlemen, this was an alarming moment. In common with all good citizens, I felt it to be such. A general anxiety pervaded the breasts of all who were, at home, partaking in the ... prosperity, honor, and happiness which the country had enjoyed. And how was it abroad? Why, Gentlemen, every intelligent friend of human liberty, throughout the world, looked with amazement at the spectacle which we exhibited. In a day of unparalleled prosperity, after a half-century's most happy experience of the blessings of our Union; when we had already become the wonder of all the liberal part of the world, and the envy of the illiberal; when the Constitution had so amply falsified the predictions of its enemies, and more than fulfilled all the hopes of its friends; in a time of peace, with an overflowing treasury; when both the population and the improvement of the country had outrun the most sanguine anticipations; —it was at this moment that we showed ourselves to the whole civilized world as being apparently on the eve of disunion and anarchy, at the very point of dissolving, once and for ever, that Union which had made us so prosperous and so great. It was at this moment that those appeared among us who seemed ready to break up the national Constitution, and to scatter the twenty-four States into twenty-four unconnected communities.
* Address delivered to the Citizens of Pittsburg, on the 8th of July, 1833
Gentlemen, the President of the United States was, as it seemed to me, at this eventful crisis, true to his duty. He comprehended and understood the case, and met it as it was proper to meet it. While I am as willing as others to admit that the President has, on other occasions, rendered important services to the country, and especially on that occasion which has given him so much military renown, I yet think the ability and decision with which he rejected the disorganizing doctrines of nullification create a claim, than which he has none higher, to the gratitude of the country and the respect of posterity. The appearance of the proclamation of the 10th of December inspired me, I confess, with new hopes for the duration of the republic. I regarded it as just, patriotic, able, and imperiously demanded by the condition of the country. I would not be understood to speak of particular clauses and phrases in the proclamation; but I regard its great and leading doctrines as the true and only true doctrines of the Constitution. They constitute the sole ground on which dismemberment can be resisted. Nothing else, in my opinion, can hold us together. While these opinions are maintained, the Union will last; when they shall be generally rejected and abandoned, that Union will be at the
mercy of a temporary majority in any one of the States. I speak, Gentlemen, on this subject, without reserve. I have not intended heretofore, and elsewhere, and do not now intend here, to stint my commendation of the conduct of the President in regard to the proclamation and the subsequent measures. 1 have differed with the President, as all know, who know any thing of so humble an individual as myself, on many questions of great general interest and importance. I differ with him in respect to the constitutional power of internal improvements; I differ with him in respect to the rechartering of the Bank, and I dissent, especially, from the grounds and reasons on which he refused his assent to the bill passed by Congress for that purpose. I differ with him, also, probably, in the degree of protection which ought to be afforded to our agriculture and manufactures, and in the manner in which it may be proper to dispose of the public lands. But all these differences afforded, in my judgment, not the slightest reason for opposing him in a measure of paramount importance, and at a moment of great public exigency. I sought to take counsel of nothing but patriotism,