Imagens das páginas

their detraction can kindle, and even the smell of fire shall not be upon their garments. Yet it does raise one's indignation to see men, certainly not the greatest of all benefactors of their country, thus attempt to blight the fame of men both then and ever since universally adınitted to have been among her greatest and her best of friends.

While speaking of the attacks of this Administration on State Rights, I should not do my duty if I omitted to notice the outrage recently perpetrated on the most sacred rights of the State and People of New Jersey. By the Constitution of the United States, New Jersey, like the other States, is entitled to have a certain quota of Representatives in Congress; and she chooses them on general ticket or in districts, as she thinks fit. The right to have a specific number of Representatives is a State Right under the Constitution. Under the constitutional guaranty of this right, New Jersey sends up to the House of Representatives her proper number of men. Now, I say that, by universal principles, although Congress be the judge, in the last resort, of the election return and qualification of her own members, those who bring in their hand the prescribed evidence of their election, by the people of any State, are entitled to take their seats upon the floor of that House, and to hold them until disturbed by proof preferred on petition. That this is so, must be apparent from the fact that those meinbers who voted them out of their seats possessed no better or other means of proving their own right to sit and to vote on that question, than that held by any one of those whom they excluded. Were there other States situated precisely in this respect as New Jersey, would it not be as fair for the New Jersey members to vote these Representatives out of the Representative Hall as it was for them to vote hers out? I think it is Virginia law — it is at least plantation law, that is to say, the law of common sense, and that is very good law — that, until the House is organized, he who has the evidence of his return as a Representative elected by the people of his district, is entitled to take his seat. But the Representatives of New Jersey, with this evidence in their hand, were voted out of their seats ; their competitors, while the evidence was still under examination, were voted in, and immediately gave their complacent voles for the sub-Treasury bill.

Gentlemen, I cannot forget where I am. I cannot forget how often you have heard these subjects discussed by far abler hands than miné. I will not further dwell upon these topics. The time has come when the public mind is nearly made up, and is very shortly about to settle these questions, together with the prosperity of the country for many years to come. I am only desirous of keeping myself to the line of remark with which I commenced. I say, then, that the enemy has been driven to his last citadel. He takes to himself

a popular name, while beneath its cover he fires all manner of abuse upon his adversaries. That seems to be his only remaining mode of warfare. , If you ask him what are his pretensions to the honors and confidence of, his answer is, “I am a Democrat.” But are you not in love with Mr. Poinsett's bill? The answer still is, “ I am a Democrat, and support all the measures of this Democratic Administration.”] But do you approve of the turning out of the members from New Jersey ? “O yes, because the words are written on our banner, (words actually placed on one of the Administration flags in a procession in the interior of New York,) · The Democracy scorns the Broad Seal of New Jersey.'| My friends, I only desire that the professions and principles of this Administration may be examined. We are coming to those times when mere professions can no longer deceive. Virginia has once been deceived by them; but that day is past; the times are coming — they are, I trust, just at hand — when that distinguished son of Virginia, that eminent and patriotic citizen who has been put in nomination for the Chief Executive office under this Government, will be elected by the unbought, unconstrained suffrages of his countrymen. To that event I look forward with as much certainty as to the duration of his life. )

My acquaintance with the feelings and sentiments of the North has been extensive; and I believe that, from Pennsylvania east, New Jersey, New York, and the whole of New England, with the solitary exception, probably, of New Hampshire, --I say, I have not a doubt that the whole of this part of the country will go for the election of William Henry Harrison for the Presidency. Of my native State of New Hampshire I shall always speak with respect. I believe that the very foundations of her granite hills begin to shake; indeed, my only fear for her is, that she will come into the great family of her sister States only when her aid is no longer needed, and therefore too late for her own reputation. ( Fellow-citizens : We are on a great march to the triumphant victory of the principles of liberty over Executive power. If we do not accomplish it now, the future, I own, appears to me full of darkness and of doubt. If the American People shall sanction the course and the principles of this Administration, I, for one, though I have been thought hitherto of rather a sanguine temperament, ' shall begin not a little to despair of the Republic. But I will not despair of it. The public mind is aroused; men are beginning to think for themselves; and, when they do this, they are not far from a right decision. There is now an attempt on the part of the Administration, who seem beginning, at length, to fear for the perpetuity of their power, to excite a feeling of acrimony and bitterness among neighbors. Have you not seen this, particularly of late, in the Administration papers? Be above it. Tell your neighbors that we are VOL. III. 69


all embarked in one cause, and that we must sink or swim together. Invite them, not in a taunting, but in a generous and a temperate spirit, to come forth and argue the great questions of the day, and to see if they can give good and solid reasons why there should not be a change. Yes, a CHANGE. I said when I was in Baltimore, in May last, and I repeat it here, the cry, the universal cry, is for a change. However well many may think of the motives and designs of the existing Administration, they see that it has not succeeded in securing the well-being of the country, and they are for a change. Let us revile nobody ; let us repel nobody. They desire but light; let us give it to them. Let us discuss with moderation and coolness the great topics of public policy, and endeavor to bring all men of American heart and feeling into what I sincerely believe to be the true AMERICAN CAUSE. How shall 1–0, how shall I — express to you my sense of the obligation which rests upon this generation to preserve from destruction our free and happy republican institutions ? Who shall spread fatal dissensions among us? Are we not together under one common Government, to obtain which the blood of your fathers and of mine was poured out together in the same hard-fought fields ? Nay, does imagination itself, in its highest flight, suggest any thing in ihe form of political institutions for which you would exchange these dearly-bought constitutions of our own ? For my part, having now arrived at that period of life when men begin to reflect upon the past, I love to draw around me in thought those pure and glorious spirits who achieved our Revolution, and established our forms of Government. I cannot find a deeper or more fervent sentiment in my heart than that these precious institutions and liberties which we enjoy may be transmitted unimpaired to the latest posterity ; that they may terminate only with the termination of all things earthly, - when the world itself shall terminate —


“ When, wrapped in flames, the realms of ether glow,

And Heaven's last thunders shake the world below." ,



MR. WEBSTER addressed the Virginia Convention, at Richmond, on the 5th of October. During his short visit to the city, several friends called on him, of course ; but he was unable to return their visits, or to pay his respects to their families, for want of time. It was suggested that the ladies who might desire to do so should assemble in the “ Log Cabin," and that he should there pay his respects to them. The meeting was large, and the building quite full. On being introduced to them, in a few appropriate remarks, by Mr. LYONS, Mr. WEBSTER addressed them in the following speech :

LADIES: I am very sure I owe the pleasure I now enjoy to your kind disposition which has given me the opportunity to present my thanks and my respects to you thus collectively, since the shortness of my stay in the city does not allow me the happiness of calling upon those, severally and individually, frorn members of whose families I have received kindness and notice. And, in the first place, I wish to express to you my deep and hearty thanks, as I have endeavored to do to your fathers, your husbands, and your brothers, for the unbounded hospitality I have received ever since I came among you. This is registered, I assure you, on a grateful heart, in characters of an enduring nature. The rough contests of the political world are not suited to the dignity and the delicacy of your sex; but you possess the intelligence to know how much of ihat happiness which you are entitled to hope for, both for yourselves and for your children, depends on the right administration of Government, and a proper tone of public morals. That is a subject on which the moral perceptions of woman are both quicker and juster than those of the other sex. I do not speak of that administration of Government whose object is merely the protection of industry, the preservation of civil liberty, and the securing to enterprise its due reward. I speak of Government in a somewhat higher point of view; I speak of it in regard to its influence on the morals and sentiments of the community. We live in an age distinguished for great benevolent exertion, in which the affluent are consecrating the means they possess to the endowment of colleges and academies, to the building of churches, to the support of religion and religious worship, to the encouragement of schools, lyceums, and athenæums, and other means of general popular instruction. This is all well; it is admirable; it augurs well for the prospects of ensuing generations. But I have sometimes thought that, amidst all this activity and zeal of the good and the benevolent, the influence of Government, on the morals and on the religious feelings of the community, is apt to be overlooked or underrated. I speak, of course, of its indirect influence, of the power of its example, and the general tone which it inspires.

A popular Government, in all these respects, is a most powerful institution; more powerful, as it has sometimes appeared to me, than the influence of most other human institutions put together, either for good or for evil, according to its character. Its example, its tone, whether of respect or disrespect to moral obligation, is most important to human happiness; it is among those things which most affect the political morals of mankind, and their general morals also. I advert to this, because there has been put forth, in modern times, the false maxim that there is one morality for politics, and another morality for other things; that, in their political conduct to their opponents, men may say and do that which they would never think of saying or doing in the personal relations of private life. There has been openly announced a sentiment, which I consider as the very concrete of false morality, which declares that “all is fair in politics.” If a man speaks falsely or calumniously of his neighbor, and is reproached for the offence, the ready excuse is this: “It was in relation to public and political matters; I cherished no personal ill-will whatever against that individual, but quite the contrary; I spoke of my adversary merely as a political man.” In my opinion, the day is coming when falsehood will stand for falsehood, and calumny will be treated as a breach of the commandment, whether it be committed politically or in the concerns of private life.

It is by the promulgation of sound morals in the community, and, more especially, by the training and instruction of the young, that woman performs her part towards the preservation of a free Government. It is generally admitted that public liberty, the perpetuity of a free constitution, rests on the virtue and intelligence of the community which enjoys it. How is that virtue to be inspired, and how is that intelligence to be communicated ? Bonaparte once asked Madame de Staël in what manner he could most promote the happiness of France. Her reply is full of political wisdom. She said, “ Instruct the mothers of the French people." Mothers are, indeed, the affectionate and effective teachers of the human race. The mother begins her process of training with the infant in her arms. It is she who directs, so to speak, its first mental and spiritual pulsations. She conducts it along the impressible years of childhood and youth, and hopes to deliver it to the rough con

« AnteriorContinuar »