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order, being something which government can do, and which will do good, the public voice is right in demanding that repeal. It is true, if repealed now, the relief will come late. Nevertheless its repeal or abrogation is a thing to be insisted on, and pursued, till it shall be accomplished. This executive control over the currency, this power of discriminating, by treasury order, between one man's debt and another man's debt, is a thing not to be endured in a free country; and it should be the constant, persisting demand of all true Whigs, “Rescind the illegal treasury order, restore the rule of the law, place all branches of the revenue on the same grounds, make men's rights equal, and leave the government of the country where the Constitution leaves it, in the hands of the representatives of the people in Congress.” This point should never be surrendered or compromised. Whatever is established, let it be equal, and let it be legal. Let men know, to-day, what money may be required of them to-morrow. Let the rule be open and public, on the pages of the statute-book, not a secret, in the executive breast. Gentlemen, in the session which has now just closed, I have done my utmost to effect a direct and immediate repeal of the treasury order. I have voted for a bill anticipating the payment of the French and Neapolitan indemnities by an advance from the treasury. I have voted with great satisfaction for the restoration of duties on goods destroyed in the great conflagration in this city. I have voted for a deposit with the States of the surplus which may be in the treasury at the end of the year. All these measures have failed; and it is for you, and for our fellowcitizens throughout the country, to decide whether the public interest would, or would not, have been promoted by their success. But I find, Gentlemen, that I am committing an unpardonable trespass on your indulgent patience. I will pursue these remarks no further. And yet I cannot persuade myself to take leave of you without reminding you, with the utmost deference and respect, of the important part assigned to you in the political concerns of your country, and of the great influence of your opinions, your example, and your efforts upon the general prosperity and happiness. Whigs of New York! Patriotic citizens of this great metropolis! Lovers of constitutional liberty, bound by interest and by affection to the institutions of your country, Americans in heart and in principle!—you are ready, I am sure, to fulfil all the duties imposed upon you by your situation, and demanded of you by your country. You have a central position; your city is the point from which intelligence emanates, and spreads in all directions over the whole land. Every hour carries reports of your sentiments and opinions to the verge of the Union. You cannot escape the responsibility which circumstances have thrown upon you. You must live and act, on a broad and conspicuous theatre, either for good or for evil to your country. You cannot shrink from your public duties; you cannot ob. scure yourselves, nor bury your talent. In the common wel. fare, in the common prosperity, in the common glory of Ameri. cans, you have a stake of value not to be calculated. You have an interest in the preservation of the Union, of the Constitution, and of the true principles of the government, which no man can estimate. You act for yourselves, and for the generations that are to come after you; and those who ages hence shall bear your names, and partake your blood, will feel, in their political and social condition, the consequences of the manner in which you discharge your political duties. Having fulfilled, then, on your part and on mine, though feebly and imperfectly on mine, the offices of kindness and mutual regard required by this occasion, shall we not use it to a higher and nobler purpose? Shall we not, by this friendly meeting, refresh our patriotism, rekindle our love of constitutional liberty, and strengthen our resolutions of public duty ? Shall we not, in all honesty and sincerity, with pure and disinterested love of country, as Americans, looking back to the renown of our ances. tors, and looking forward to the interests of our posterity, here, to-night, pledge our mutual faith to hold on to the last to our professed principles, to the doctrines of true liberty, and to the Constitution of the country, let who will prove true, or who will prove recreant? Whigs of New York! I meet you in advance, and give you my pledge for my own performance of these duties, without qualification and without reserve. Whether in public life or in private life, in the Capitol or at home, I mean never to desert them. I mean never to forget that I have a country, to which I am bound by a thousand ties; and the stone which is to lie on the ground that shall cover me, shall not bear the name of a son ungrateful to his native land.
RECEPTION AT WHEELING."
The following toast having been proposed, -“Our distinguished guest, — his manly and untiring, though unsuccessful, efforts to sustain the supremacy of the Constitution and the laws against the encroachments of executive power, and to avert the catastrophe that now impends over the country, have given him a new claim to the gratitude of his countrymen, and added a new lustre to that fame which was already imperishably identified with the history of our institutions,”—Mr. Webster rose and responded, in substance, as follows.
MR. CHAIRMAN AND FELLow-Citizens: — I cannot be indifferent to the manifestations of regard with which I have been greeted by you, nor can I suffer any show of delicacy to prevent me from expressing my thanks for your kindness.
I travel, Gentlemen, for the purpose of seeing the country, and of seeing what constitutes the important part of every country, the people. I find everywhere much to excite, and much to gratify admiration; and the pleasure I experience is only diminished by remembering the unparalleled state of distress which I have left behind me, and by the apprehension, rather than the feeling, of severe evils, which I find to exist wherever I go.
I cannot enable those who have not witnessed it to comprehend the full extent of the suffering in the Eastern cities. It was painful, indeed, to behold it. So many bankruptcies among great and small dealers, so much property sacrificed, so many industrious men altogether broken up in their business, so many families reduced from competence to want, so many hopes crushed, so many happy prospects for ever clouded, and such
* A Speech delivered on the 17th of May, 1837, at a Public Dinner given to Mr. Webster by the Citizens of Wheeling, Virginia.