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Choice Specimens of American Literature, And Literary Reader by Benj. N. Martin

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peace; but there is no peace. The war is actually begun. The next
gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of
resounding arms. Our brethren are already in the field. Why stand we
here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life
so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains
and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may
take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

* * * * *

From a Speech on the Ratification of the Federal Constitution.


I exhort gentlemen to think seriously, before they ratify this
constitution, and to indulge a salutary doubt of their being able to
succeed in any effort they may make to get amendments after adoption.
With respect to that part of the proposal, which says that every power
not specially granted to Congress remains with the people; it must be
previous to adoption, or it will involve this country in inevitable
destruction. To talk of it, as a thing to be subsequently obtained,
and not as one of your unalienable rights, is leaving it to the casual
opinion of the Congress who shall take up the consideration of that most
important right. They will not reason with you about the effect of
this constitution. They will not take the opinion of this committee
concerning its operation. They will construe it even as they please.
If you place it subsequently, let me ask the consequences? Among ten
thousand implied powers which they may assume, their may, if we be
engaged in war, liberate every one of your slaves if they please. And
this must and will be done by men, a majority of whom have not a common
interest with you. They will, therefore, have no feeling for _your_
interests.... Is it not worth while to turn your eyes for a moment from
subsequent amendments, to the real situation of your country? You may
have a union, but can you have a lasting union in these circumstances?
It will be in vain to expect it. But if you agree to previous
amendments, you will have union, firm, solid, permanent. I cannot
conclude without saying, that I shall have nothing to do with it, if
subsequent amendments be determined upon. Oppressions will be carried on
as radically by the majority when adjustments and accommodations will
be held up. I say, I conceive it my duty, if this government be adopted
before it is amended, to go home. I shall act as I think my duty
requires. Every other gentleman will do the same. Previous amendments,
in my opinion, are necessary to procure peace and tranquility. I fear,
if they be not agreed to, every movement and operation of government
will cease, and how long that baneful thing, _civil discord_, will stay
from this country, God only knows. When men are free from restraint,
how long will you suspend their fury? The interval between this and
bloodshed is but a moment. The licentious and wicked of the community
will seize with avidity every thing you hold. In this unhappy situation,
what is to be done? It surpasses my stock of wisdom to determine. If you
will, in the language of freemen, stipulate that there are rights which
no man under heaven can take from you, you shall have me going along
with you; but not otherwise.

* * * * *

=_John Rutledge, 1739-1800._= (Manual, p. 484.)

From "Speech on the Judiciary Establishment."


While this shield remains to the states, it will be difficult to
dissolve the ties which knit and bind them together. As long as this
buckler remains to the people, they cannot be liable to much, or
permanent oppression. The government may be administered with violence,
offices may be bestowed exclusively upon those who have no other merit
than that of carrying votes at elections,--the commerce of our country
may be depressed by nonsensical theories, and public credit may suffer
from bad intentions; but so long as we have an independent judiciary,
the great interests of the people will be safe. Neither the president,
nor the legislature, can violate their constitutional rights. Any
such attempt would be checked by the judges, who are designed by the
constitution to keep the different branches of the government within
the spheres of their respective orbits, and say thus far shall you
legislate, and no further. Leave to the people an independent judiciary,
and they will prove that man is capable of governing himself,--they will
be saved from what has been the fate of all other republics, and they
will disprove the position that governments of a republican form cannot

We are asked by the gentleman from Virginia, if the people want judges
to protect them? Yes, sir, in popular governments constitutional checks
are necessary for their preservation; the people want to be protected
against themselves; no man is so absurd as to propose the people
collectedly will consent to the prostration of their liberties; but if
they be not shielded by some constitutional checks, they will suffer
them to be destroyed--to be destroyed by demagogues, who at the time
they are soothing and cajoling the people, with bland and captivating
speeches, are forging chains for them; demagogues who carry, daggers in
their hearts, and seductive smiles in their hypocritical faces, who are
dooming the people to despotism, when they profess to be exclusively the
friends of the people; against such designs and such artifices, were our
constitutional checks made, to preserve the people of this country.

* * * * *

=_Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826._= (Manual, pp. 486, 490.)

From his "Inaugural Address", March 4th, 1801.


Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc
of one quarter of the globe, too high-minded to endure the degradations
of the others, possessing a chosen country with room enough for our
descendants to the hundredth and thousandth generation, entertaining a
due sense of our equal right to the use of our own faculties, to the
acquisitions of our industry, to honor and confidence from our fellow
citizens, resulting not from birth but from our actions and their sense
of them, enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and
practised, in various forms, yet all of them including honesty, truth,
temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring
an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that
it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness
hereafter; with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us
a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens, a
wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one
another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own
pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth
of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government,
and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.

About to enter, fellow-citizens, on the exercise of duties which
comprehend everything dear and valuable to you, it is proper that
you should understand what I deem the essential principles of
our government, and consequently those which ought to shape its
administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they
will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations.
Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion,
religious, or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship, with
all nations, entangling alliances with none; the support of the state
governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations
for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against
anti-republican tendencies; the preservation of the general government
in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at
home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election by the
people, a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the
sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are unprovided; absolute
acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital, principle
of republics, from which there is no appeal but to force, the vital
principle and immediate parent of despotism; a well disciplined militia,
our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war, till
regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military
authority; economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly
burdened; the honest payment of our debts send sacred preservation of
the public faith; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its
handmaid; the diffusion of information and the arraignment of all abuses
at the bar of public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press;
freedom of person under the protection of the _habeas corpus_; and
trial by juries impartially selected; these principles form the bright
constellation which has gone before us, and guided our steps through an
age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and the blood
of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be
the creed of our political faith, the text of civil instruction, the
touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we
wander from them in moments of error or alarm, let us hasten to retrace
our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty,
and safety.

* * * * *


His mind was great and powerful, without being of the very first order;
his penetration strong, though not so acute as a Newton, Bacon, or
Locke; and as far as he saw no judgment was ever sounder. It was slow in
operation, being little aided by invention or imagination, but sure in
conclusion. Hence the common remark of his officers, of the advantage he
derived from councils of war, where hearing all suggestions, he selected
whatever was best; and certainly no General ever planned his battles
more judiciously. But if deranged during the course of the action, if
any member of his plan was dislocated by sudden circumstances, he was
slow in re-adjustment. The consequence was that he often failed in the
field, and rarely against an enemy in station, as at Boston and York.
He was incapable of fear, meeting personal dangers with the calmest
unconcern. Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence;
never acting until every circumstance, every consideration was maturely
weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but when once decided, going
through with his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity was
most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known; no motives
of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to
bias his decision. He was indeed in every sense of the words, a wise,
a good, and a great man. His temper was naturally irritable, and high
toned; but reflection and resolution had obtained a firm and habitual
ascendancy over it. If ever however it broke its bonds, he was most
tremendous in his wrath. In his expenses he was honorable, but exact;
liberal in contributions to whatever promised utility, but frowning and
unyielding on all visionary projects, and all unworthy calls on his
charity. His heart was not warm in its affections; but he exactly
calculated every man's value, and gave him a solid esteem proportioned
to it. His person, you know, was fine, his stature exactly what one
would wish, his deportment easy, erect, and noble; the best horseman of
his age, and the most graceful figure that could be seen on horseback.
Although in the circle of his friends, where he might be unreserved with
safety, he took a free share in conversation, his colloquial talents
were not above mediocrity, possessing neither copiousness of ideas, nor
fluency of words. In public, when called on for a sudden opinion, he was
unready, short, and embarrassed. Yet he wrote readily, rather diffusely,
in an easy and correct style. This he had acquired by conversation with
the world, for his education was merely reading, writing, and common
arithmetic, to which he added surveying at a later day. His time was
employed in action chiefly, reading little, and that only in agriculture
and English history. His correspondence became necessarily extensive,
and with journalizing his agricultural proceedings, occupied most of his
leisure hours within doors. On the whole, his character was in its mass,
perfect; in nothing, bad; in few points indifferent; and it may truly be
said that never did nature and fortune combine more perfectly to make a
man great.

* * * * *

From the "Notes on Virginia."


From the thirtieth degree of south latitude to the thirtieth of north
are nearly the limits which nature has fixed for the existence
and multiplication of the elephant known to us. Proceeding thence
northwardly to thirty-six and a half degrees, we enter those assigned
to the mammoth. The farther we advance north, the more their vestiges
multiply, as far as the earth has been explored in that direction; and
it is as probable as otherwise, that this progression continues to the
pole itself, if land extends so far. The centre of the frozen zone,
then, may be the acme of their vigor, as that of the torrid is of the
elephant. Thus nature seems to have drawn a belt of separation between
these two tremendous animals, whose breadth indeed is not precisely
known, though at present we may suppose it to be about six and a half
degrees of latitude; to have assigned to the elephant the regions
south of these confines, and those north to the mammoth, founding the
constitution of the one in her extreme of heat, and that of the other
in the extreme of cold. When the Creator has therefore separated their
nature as far as the extent of the scale of animal life allowed to this
planet would permit, it seems perverse to declare it the same, from a
partial resemblance of their tusks and bones. But to whatever animal we
ascribe these remains, it is certain such a one has existed in America,
and that it has been the largest of all terrestrial beings.

* * * * *


These must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our
people produced by the existence of slavery among us.... With the morals
of the people, their industry also is destroyed. For in a warm climate
no man will labor for himself who can make another labor for him. This
is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion
indeed are ever seen to labor. And can the liberties, of a nation be
thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis--a conviction
in the minds of the people that they are the gift of God? that they are
not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country
when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever;
that considering numbers, nature, and natural means only, a revolution
of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible
events; that it may become probable by supernatural interference.
The Almighty has no attribute which can take sides with us in such
a contest. But it is impossible to be temperate, and to pursue this
subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of
history, natural and civil. We must be contented to hope they will force
their way into every one's mind. I think a change already perceptible
since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master
is abating, that of the slave is rising from the dust, his condition
mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of Heaven, for
a total emancipation.

* * * * *

=_John Jay, 1745-1829._= (Manual, pp. 484, 486.)

From the "Address from the Convention." December 23, 1776.


Rouse, brave citizens! Do your duty like men; and be persuaded that
Divine Providence will not permit this western world to be involved in
the horrors of slavery. Consider that, from the earliest ages of the
world, religion, liberty, and reason have been bending their course
towards the setting sun. The holy Gospels are yet to be preached to
these western regions; and we have the highest reason to believe that
the Almighty will not suffer slavery and the gospel to go hand in hand.
It cannot, it will not be.

But if there be any among us dead to all sense of honor and love
of their country; if deaf to all the calls of liberty, virtue, and
religion; if forgetful of the magnanimity of their ancestors, and the
happiness of their children; if neither the examples nor the success of
other nations, the dictates of reason and of nature, or the great duties
they owe to their God, themselves, and their posterity have any effect
upon them; if neither the injuries they have received, the prize they
are contending for, the future blessings or curses of their children,
the applause or the reproach of all mankind, the approbation or
displeasure of the great Judge, or the happiness or misery consequent
upon their conduct, in this and a future state can move them,--then let
them be assured that they deserve to be slaves, and are entitled to
nothing but anguish and tribulation.... Let them forget every duty,
human and divine, remember not that they have children, and beware how
they call to mind the justice of the Supreme Being.

* * * * *

=_Alexander Hamilton, 1757-1804._= (Manual, pp. 484, 486.)

From "Vindication of the Funding System."


A person who, unacquainted with the fact, should learn the history
of our debt from the declamations with which certain newspapers are
perpetually charged, would be led to suppose that it is the mere
creature of the _present_ government, for the purpose of burthening the
people with taxes, and producing an artificial and corrupt influence
over them; he would, at least, take it for granted that it had been
contracted in the pursuit of some wanton or vain project of ambition or
glory; he would scarcely be able to conceive that every part of it was
the relict of a war which had given independence, and preserved liberty
to the country; that the present government found it as it is, in point
of magnitude (except as to the diminutions made by itself), and has done
nothing more than to bring under a regular regimen and provision, what
was before a scattered and heterogeneous mass.

And yet this is the simple and exact state of the business. The whole of
the debt embraced by the provisions of the funding system, consisted of
the unextinguished principal and arrears of interest, of the debt which
had been contracted by the United States in the course of the late war
with Great Britain, and which remained uncancelled, and the principal
and arrears of interest of the separate debts of the respective States
contracted during the same period, which remained, _outstanding, and
unsatisfied, relating to services and supplies for carrying on the war_.
Nothing more was done by that system, than to incorporate these two
species of debt into the mass, and to make for the whole, one general,
comprehensive provision. There is therefore, no arithmetic, no logic,
by which it can be shown that the funding system has augmented the
aggregate debt of the country. The sum total is manifestly the same;
though the parts which were before divided are now united. There is,
consequently, no color for an assertion, that the system in question
either created any _new_ debt, or made any addition to the _old_.

And it follows, that the collective burthen upon the people of the
United States must have been as great _without_ as _with_ the union of
the different portions and descriptions of the debt. The only difference
can be, that without it that burthen would have been otherwise
distributed, and would have fallen with unequal weight, instead of being
equally borne as it now is.

These conclusions which have been drawn respecting the non-increase of
the debt, proceed upon the presumption that every part of the public
debt, as well that of the States individually, as that of the United
States, was to have been honestly paid. If there is any fallacy in this
supposition, the inferences may be erroneous; but the error would imply
the disgrace of the United States, or parts of them,--a disgrace from
which every man of true honor and genuine patriotism will be happy to
see them rescued.

When we hear the epithets, "vile matter," "corrupt mass," bestowed upon
the public debt, and the owners of it indiscriminately maligned as the
harpies and vultures of the community, there is ground to suspect that
those who hold the language, though they may not dare to avow it,
contemplate a more summary process for getting rid of debts than that of
paying them. Charity itself cannot avoid concluding from the language
and conduct of some men, (and some of them of no inconsiderable
importance,) that in their vocabularies _creditor_ and _enemy_ are
synonymous terms, and that they have a laudable antipathy against every
man to whom they owe money, either as individuals or as members of the

* * * * *

From a "Letter to Lafayette," October 6, 1789.


I have seen, with a mixture of pleasure and apprehension, the progress
of events which have lately taken place in your country. As a friend to
mankind and to liberty, I rejoice in the efforts which you are making to
establish it, while I fear much for the final success of the attempts,
for the fate of those I esteem who are engaged in them, and for the
danger in case of success, of innovations greater than will consist with
the real felicity of your nation. If your affairs still go well when
this reaches you, you will ask why this foreboding of ill, when all the
appearances have been so much in your favor. I will tell you: I dread
disagreements among those who are now united (which will be likely to be
improved by the adverse party) about the nature of your constitution; I
dread the vehement character of your people, whom I fear you may find it
more easy to bring on, than to keep within proper bounds after you
have put them in motion. I dread the interested refractoriness of your
nobles, who cannot all be gratified, and who may be unwilling to
submit to the requisite sacrifices. And I dread the reveries of your
philosophic politicians, who appear in the moment to have great
influence, and who, being mere speculatists, may aim at more refinement
than suits either with human nature, or the composition of your nation.

* * * * *

=_Fisher Ames, 1738-1808._= (Manual, p. 487.)

From the "Speech on the British Treaty." April 15, 1795.


The consequences of refusing to make provision for the treaty are not
all to be foreseen. By rejecting, vast interests are committed to the
sport of the winds: chance becomes the arbiter of events, and it is
forbidden to human foresight to count their number, or measure their
extent. Before we resolve to leap into this abyss, so dark and so
profound, it becomes us to pause, and reflect upon such of the dangers
as are obvious and inevitable. If this assembly should be wrought into
a temper to defy these consequences, it is vain, it is deceptive, to
pretend that we can escape them. It is worse than weakness to say, that
as to public faith, our vote has already settled the question. Another
tribunal than our own is already erected; the public opinion, not merely
of our own country, but of the enlightened world, will pronounce a
judgment that we cannot resist, that we dare not even affect to despise.

... This, sir, is a cause that would be dishonored and betrayed if I
contented myself with appealing only to the understanding. It is too
cold, and its processes are too slow, for the occasion. I desire to
thank God that since he has given me an intellect so fallible, he has
impressed upon me an instinct that is sure. On a question of shame and
honor, reasoning is sometimes useless, and worse. I feel the decision in
my pulse; if it throws no light upon the brain, it kindles a fire at the

What is patriotism? Is it a narrow affection for the spot where a man
was born? Are the very clods where we tread entitled to this ardent
preference, because they are greener? No, sir, this is not the character
of the virtue, and it soars higher for its object. It is an extended
self-love, mingling with all the enjoyments of life, and twisting itself
with the minutest filaments of the heart. It is thus we obey the laws of
society, because they are the laws of virtue. In their authority we
see not the array of force and terror, but the venerable image of our
country's honor. Every good citizen makes that honor his own, and
cherishes it not only as precious, but as sacred. He is willing to risk
his life in its defence; and is conscious that he gains protection,
while he gives it. For what rights of a citizen will be deemed
inviolable, when a state renounces the principles that constitute
their security? Or, if his life should not be invaded, what would
its enjoyments be in a country odious in the eyes of strangers, and
dishonored in his own? Could he look with affection and veneration to
such a country as his parent? The sense of having one would die within
him; he would blush for his patriotism, if he retained any, and justly.
for it would be a vice; he would be a banished man in his native land.

I see no exception to the respect that is paid among nations to the law
of good faith. If there are cases in this enlightened period when it
is violated, then are none when it is decried. It is the philosophy of
politics, the religion of governments. It is observed by barbarians; a
whiff of tobacco smoke, or a string of beads, gives not merely binding
force, but sanctity, to treaties. Even in Algiers, a truce may be bought
for money; but when ratified, even Algiers is too wise or too just, to
disown and annul its obligation. Thus we see, neither the ignorance of
savages, nor the principles of an association for piracy and rapine,
permit a nation to despise its engagements. If, sir, there could be a
resurrection from the foot of the gallows, if the victims of justice
could live again, collect together, and form a society, they would,
however loath, soon find themselves obliged to make justice, that
justice under which they fell, the fundamental law of their state. They
would perceive it was their interest to make others respect, and they
would, therefore, soon pay some respect themselves, to the obligations
of good faith.

* * * * *

=_Gouverneur Morris, 1752-1816._= (Manual, p. 484.)

From a "Report to Congress in 1780."


A minister of foreign affairs should have a genius quick, lively,
penetrating; should write on all occasions with clearness and
perspicuity; be capable of expressing his sentiments with dignity, and
conveying strong sense and argument in easy and agreeable diction; his
temper mild, cool, and placid; festive, insinuating, and pliant, yet
obstinate; communicative, and yet reserved. He should know the human
face and heart, and the connections between them; should be versed
in the laws of nature and nations, and not ignorant of the civil and
municipal law; should be acquainted with the history of Europe, and with
the interests, views, commerce, and productions of the commercial and
maritime powers; should know the interests and commerce of America,
understand the French and Spanish languages, at least the former, and be
skilled in the modes and forms of public business; a man educated more
in the world than in the closet, that by use, as well as by nature, he
may give proper attention to great objects, and have proper contempt for
small ones. He should be attached to the independence of America, and
the alliance with France, as the great pillars of our politics; and this
attachment should not be slight and accidental, but regular, consistent,
and founded in strong conviction. His manners, gentle and polite;
above all things, honest, and least of all things, avaricious. His
circumstances and connections should be such as to give solid pledges
for his fidelity; and he should by no means be disagreeable to the
prince with whom we are in alliance, his ministers, or subjects.

* * * * *

=_William Pinkney,[21] 1764-1820._=

From "Speech in the Maryland Legislature." 1798.


For my own part, I would willingly draw the veil of oblivion over this
disgusting scene of iniquity, but that the present abject state of those
who are descended from these kidnapped sufferers, perpetually brings it
forward to the memory.

But wherefore should we confine the edge of censure to our ancestors,
or those from whom they purchased? Are not we equally guilty? _They_
strewed around the seeds of slavery; _we_ cherish and sustain the
growth. _They_ introduce the system; _we_ enlarge, invigorate, and
confirm it. Yes, let it be handed down to posterity, that the people of
Maryland, who could fly to arms with the promptitude of Roman citizens,
when the hand of oppression was lifted up against themselves; who could
behold their country desolated and their citizens slaughtered; who could
brave with unshaken firmness every calamity of war before they would
submit to the smallest infringement of their rights--that this very
people could yet see thousands of their fellow-creatures, within the
limits of their territory, bending beneath an unnatural yoke, and,
instead of being assiduous to destroy their shackles, be anxious to
immortalize their duration, so that a nation of slaves might forever
exist in a country whose freedom is its boast.

[Footnote 21: Highly distinguished as a lawyer, orator, and diplomatist;
a native of Maryland.]

* * * * *

From "Speech in the Nereide Case."


I throw into the opposite scale the ponderous claim of War; a claim of
high concernment, not to us only, but to the world; a claim connected
with the maritime strength of this maritime state, with public honor and
individual enterprise, with all those passions and motives which can be
made subservient to national success and glory, in the hour of national
trial and danger. I throw into the same scale the venerable code of
universal law, before which it is the duty of this Court, high as it is
in dignity, and great as are its titles to reverence, to bow down with
submission, I throw into the same scale a solemn treaty, binding upon
the claimant and upon you. In a word, I throw into that scale the rights
of belligerent America, and, as embodied with them, the rights of these
captors, by whose efforts and at whose cost the naval exertions of the
government have been seconded, until our once despised and drooping flag
has been made to wave in triumph, where neither France nor Spain could
venture to show a prow. You may call these rights by what name you
please. You may call them _iron_ rights:--I care not. It is more than
enough for me that they are RIGHTS. It is more than enough for me that
they come before you encircled and adorned by the laurels which we have
torn from the brow of the naval genius of England: that they come before
you recommended, and endeared, and consecrated by a thousand
recollections, which it would be baseness and folly not to cherish, and
that they are mingled in fancy and in fact with all the elements of our
future greatness....

We are now, thank God, once more at peace. Our belligerent rights may
therefore sleep for a season. May their repose be long and profound! But
the time must arrive when the interests and honor of this great nation
will command them to awake; and when it does arrive, I feel undoubting
confidence that they will rise from their slumber in the fullness of
their strength and majesty, unenfeebled and unimpaired by the judgment
of this high court.

The skill and valor of our infant navy, which has illuminated every sea,
and dazzled the master states of Europe by the splendor of its triumphs,
have given us a pledge which I trust will continue to be dear to every
American heart, and to influence the future course of our policy, that
the ocean is destined to acknowledge the youthful dominion of the West.

* * * * *

=_James Madison, 1751-1836._= (Manual, p. 486.)

From his "Report of Debates in the Federal Convention."


The close of the war, however, brought no cure for the public
embarrassments. The states relieved from the pressure of foreign danger,
and flushed with the enjoyment of independent and sovereign power,
instead of a diminished disposition to part with it, persevered in
omissions, and in measures, incompatible with their relations to the
federal government, and with those among themselves.

... It was known that there were individuals who had betrayed a bias
towards monarchy, and there had always been some not unfavorable to a
partition of the Union into several confederacies; either from a better
chance of figuring on a sectional theatre, or that the sections would
require stronger governments, or by their hostile conflicts lead to a
monarchical consolidation. The idea of dismemberment had recently made
its appearance in the newspapers.

Such were the defects, the deformities, the diseases, and the ominous
prospects, for which the convention were to provide a remedy, and
which ought never to be overlooked in expounding and appreciating the
constitutional charter--the remedy that was provided.

The curiosity I had felt during my researches into the history of the
most distinguished confederacies, particularly those of antiquity, and
the deficiency I found in the means of satisfying it, more especially
in what related to the process, the principles, the reasons, and the
anticipations, which prevailed in the formation of them, determined me
to preserve, as far as I could, an exact account of what might pass in
the convention whilst executing its trust--with the magnitude of which
I was fully impressed, as I was by the gratification promised to future
curiosity by an authentic exhibition of the objects, the opinions, and
the reasonings, from which the new system of government was to receive
its peculiar structure and organization. Nor was I unaware of the value
of such a contribution to the fund of materials for the history of a
constitution, on which would be staked the happiness of a people great
even in its infancy, and possibly the cause of liberty throughout the

Of the ability and intelligence of those who composed the Convention
the debates and proceedings may be a test, as the character of the work
which was the offspring of their deliberations must be tested by the
experience of the future added to that of nearly half a century that has

But whatever may be the judgment pronounced on the competency of the
architects of the Constitution, or whatever may be the destiny of the
edifice prepared by them, I feel it a duty to express my profound and
solemn conviction, derived from my intimate opportunity of observing and
appreciating the views of the Convention, collectively and individually,
that there never was an assembly of men, charged with a great, and
arduous trust, who were more pure in their motives, or more exclusively
or anxiously devoted to the object committed to them, than were the
members of the Federal Convention of 1787, to the object of devising and
proposing a constitutional system which should best supply the defects
of that which it was to replace, and best secure the permanent liberty
and happiness of their country.

* * * * *


The General Assembly of Virginia have caused this statue to be erected
as a monument of affection and gratitude to George Washington, who,
uniting to the endowments of the hero the virtues of the patriot, and
exerting both in establishing the liberties of his country, has rendered
his name dear to his fellow-citizens, and given to the world an immortal
example of true glory.

* * * * *

=_John Randolph, 1773-1832._= (Manual, p. 487.)

From a Speech in the Virginia Convention.


Sir, I see no wisdom in making this provision for future changes. You
must give Governments time to operate on the People, and give the People
time to become gradually assimilated to their institutions. Almost any
thing is better than this state of perpetual uncertainty. A People may
have the best form of Government that the wit of man ever devised, and
yet, from its uncertainty alone, may, in effect, live under the worst
Government in the world. Sir, how often must I repeat, that _change_ is
not _reform?_ I am willing that this new Constitution shall stand as
long as it is possible for it to stand; and that, believe me, is a very
short time. Sir, it is vain to deny it. They may say what they please
about the old Constitution,--the defect is not there. It is not in the
form of the old edifice,--neither in the design nor in the elevation; it
is in the _material_, it is in the People of Virginia. To my knowledge
that People are changed from what they have been. The four hundred men
who went out with David were _in debt_. The fellow-laborers of Catiline
were _in debt_. The partizans of Caesar were _in debt_. And I defy you
to show me a desperately indebted People, anywhere, who can bear a
regular, sober Government. I throw the challenge to all who hear me. I
say that the character of the good old Virginia planter,--the man who
owned from five to twenty slaves, or less, who, lived by hard work, and
who paid his debts,--is passed away. A new order of things is come. The
period has arrived of living by one's wits; of living by contracting
debts that one cannot pay; and above all, of living by office-hunting.

Sir, what do we see? Bankrupts,--branded bankrupts,--giving great
dinners, sending their children to the most expensive schools, giving
grand parties, and just as well received as anybody in society! I say
that, in such a state of things, the old Constitution was too good for
them,--they could not bear it. No, Sir; they could not bear a freehold
suffrage, and a property representation. I have always endeavored to do
the People justice; but I will not flatter them,--I will not pander to
their appetite for change. I will do nothing to provide for change. I
will not agree to any rule of future apportionment, or to any provision
for future changes, called amendments to the Constitution. Those who
love change,--who delight in public confusion, who wish to feed the
cauldron, and make it bubble,--may vote if they please for future
changes. But by what spell, by what formula, are you going to bind the
People to all future time? The days of Lycurgus are gone by, when we
could swear the People not to alter the Constitution until he should
return. You may make what entries on parchment you please; give me a
Constitution that will last for half a century; that is all I wish for.
No Constitution that you can make will last the one-half of half a
century. Sir, I will stake anything, short of my salvation, that those
who are malcontent now, will be more malcontent, three years hence, than
they are at this day. I have no favor for this Constitution. I shall
vote against its adoption, and I shall advise all the people of my
district to set their faces, aye, and their shoulders, too, against it.

* * * * *

From "Letters to a young Relative."


One of the best and wisest men I ever knew has often said to me that a
decayed family could never recover its loss of rank in the world,
until the members of it left off talking and dwelling upon its former
opulence. This remark, founded in a long and clear observation
of mankind, I have seen verified in numerous instances in my own
connections, who, to use the words of my oracle, will never thrive until
they can become poor folks. He added, they may make some struggles, and
with apparent success, to recover lost ground; they may, and sometimes
do, get half way up again; but they are sure to fall back, unless,
reconciling themselves to circumstances, they become in form, as well as
in fact, poor folks.

* * * * *

=_James Kent, 1763-1847._= (Manual, pp. 488, 504.)

From "Commentaries on American Law."


The judicial power of the United States is necessarily limited to
national objects. The vast field of the law of property, the very
extensive head of equity jurisdiction, and the principal rights and
duties which flow from our civil and domestic relations, fall within the
control, and we might almost say the exclusive cognizance, of the state
governments. We look essentially to the state courts for protection to
all these momentous interests. They touch, in their operation, every
chord of human sympathy, and control our best destinies. It is their
province to reward and to punish. Their blessings and their terrors will
accompany us to the fireside, and "be in constant activity before the
public eye." The elementary principles of the common law are the same
in every state, and equally enlighten and invigorate every part of our
country. Our municipal codes can be made to advance with equal steps
with that of the nation, in discipline, in wisdom, and in lustre, if the
state governments (as they ought in all honest policy) will only render
equal patronage and security to the administration of justice. The true
interests and the permanent freedom of this country require that the
jurisprudence of the individual states should be cultivated, cherished,
and exalted, and the dignity and reputation of the state authorities
sustained, with becoming pride. In their subordinate relation to the
United States, they should endeavor to discharge the duty which they
owe to the latter, without forgetting the respect which they owe to
themselves. In the appropriate language of Sir William Blackstone,
and which he applies to the people of his own country, they should be
"loyal, yet free; obedient, yet independent."

* * * * *

=_Edward Livingston,[22] 1764-1836._=

From the "Report on the Penal Code for Louisiana."


Judges are generally men who have grown old in the practice at the bar.
With the knowledge which this experience gives, they acquire a habit,
very difficult to be shaken off, of taking a side in every question that
they hear debated, and when the mind is once enlisted, their passions,
prejudices, and professional ingenuity are always arrayed on the same
side, and furnish arms for the contest. Neutrality cannot, under
these circumstances, be expected; but the law should limit as much as
possible, the evil that this almost inevitable state of things must
produce. In the theory of our law, judges are the counsel for the
accused, in practice they are, with a few honorable exceptions, his most
virulent prosecutors. The true principles of criminal jurisprudence
require that they should be neither. Perfect impartiality is
incompatible with these duties. A good judge should have no wish that
the guilty should escape, or that the innocent should suffer; no false
pity, no undue severity, should bias the unshaken rectitude of
his judgment; calm in deliberation, firm in resolve, patient in
investigating the truth, tenacious of it when discovered, he should join
urbanity of manners, to dignity of demeanor, and an integrity above
suspicion, to learning and talent; such a judge is what, according to
the true structure of our courts, he ought to be,--the protector, not
the advocate of the accused; his judge, not his accuser; and while
executing these functions, he is the organ by which the sacred will
of the law is pronounced. Uttered by such a voice, it will be heard,
respected, felt, obeyed; but impose on him the task of argument, of
debate; degrade him from the bench to the bar; suffer him to overpower
the accused with his influence, or to enter the lists with his advocate,
to carry on the contest of sophisms, of angry arguments, of tart
replies, and all the wordy war of forensic debate; suffer him to do
this, and his dignity is lost; his decrees are no longer considered as
the oracles of the law; they are submitted to, but not respected; and
even the triumph of his eloquence or ingenuity, in the conviction of the
accused, must be lessened by the suspicion that it has owed its success
to official influence, and the privilege of arguing without reply. For
these reasons, the judge is forbidden to express any opinion on the
facts which are alleged in evidence, much less to address any argument
to the jury; but his functions are confined to expounding the law, and
stating the points of evidence on which the recollection of the jury may

[Footnote 22: Was born in New York; eminent as a statesman, and as the
author of a code of laws for Louisiana, his adopted state.]

* * * * *

=_John Quincy Adams, 1767-1848._= (Manual, pp. 487, 504.)

From the "Speech on the Right of Petition."


Sir, it is well known, that, from the time I entered this House, down to
the present day, I have felt it a sacred duty to present any petition,
couched in respectful language, from any citizen of the United States,
be its object what it may; be the prayer of it that in which I could
concur, or that to which I was utterly opposed. It is for the sacred
right of petition that I have adopted this course.... Where is your law
which says that the mean, and the low, and the degraded, shall be
deprived of the right of petition, if their moral character is not good?
Where, in the land of freemen, was the right of petition ever placed on
the exclusive basis of morality and virtue? Petition is
_supplication_--it is _entreaty_--it is _prayer!_ And where is the
degree of vice or immorality which shall deprive the citizen of the
right to _supplicate_ for a boon, or to _pray for mercy!_ Where is such
a law to be found?... And what does your law say? Does it say that,
before presenting a petition, you shall look into it, and see whether it
comes from the virtuous, and the great, and the mighty. No, sir; it says
no such thing. The right of petition belongs to _all_. And so far from
refusing to present a petition because it might come from those low in
the estimation of the world, it, would be an additional incentive, if
such incentive were wanting.

* * * * *

From a "Discourse on the Jubilee of the Constitution."


When Solon, by the appointment of the people of Athens, had formed, and
prevailed upon them to adopt a code of fundamental laws, the best that
they would bear, he went into voluntary banishment for ten years, to
save his system from the batteries of rival statesmen working upon
popular passions and prejudices excited against his person. In eight
years of a turbulent and tempestuous administration, Washington
had settled upon firm foundations the practical execution of the
Constitution of the United States. In the midst of the most appalling
obstacles, through the bitterest internal dissensions, and the most
formidable combinations of foreign antipathies and cavils, he had
subdued all opposition to the Constitution itself; had averted all
dangers of European war; had redeemed the captive children of his
country from Algiers; had reduced by chastisement, and conciliated by
kindness, the most hostile of the Indian tribes; had restored the
credit of the nation, and redeemed their reputation of fidelity to
the performance of their obligations; had provided for the total
extinguishment of the public debt; had settled the union upon the
immovable foundation of principle; and had drawn around his head, for
the admiration and emulation of after times, a brighter blaze of glory
than had ever encircled the brows of hero or statesman, patriot or sage.

The administration of Washington fixed the character of the Constitution
of the United States, as a practical system of government, which it
retains to this day. Upon his retirement, its great antagonist, Mr.
Jefferson, came into the government again, as Vice-President of the
United States, and four years after succeeded to the Presidency itself.
But the funding system and the bank were established. The peace with
both the great belligerent powers of Europe was secured. The disuniting
doctrines of unlimited separate State sovereignty were laid aside.
Louisiana, by a stretch of power in Congress, far beyond the highest
tone of Hamilton, was annexed to the Union--and although dry-docks, and
gun-boats, and embargoes, and commercial restrictions, still refused the
protection of the national arm to commerce, and although an overweening
love of peace, and a reliance upon reason as a weapon of defence against
foreign aggression, eventuated in a disastrous though glorious war
with the gigantic power of Britain,--the Constitution as construed by
Washington, still proved an effective government for the country.

* * * * *

=_Henry Clay, 1777-1832._= (Manual, p. 486.)

From a "Speech in the United States Senate," March 24, 1818.


Our Revolution was mainly directed against the mere theory of tyranny.
We had suffered comparatively but little; we had, in some respects, been
kindly treated; but our intrepid and intelligent forefathers saw, in the
usurpation of the power to levy an inconsiderable tax, the long train of
oppressive acts that were to follow. They rose; they breasted the storm;
they achieved our freedom, Spanish America for centuries has been doomed
to the practical effects of an odious tyranny. If we were justified, she
is more than justified.

I am no propagandist. I would not seek to force upon other nations
our principles and our liberty if they did not want them. I would not
disturb the repose even of a detestable despotism. But if an abused and
oppressed people will their freedom; if they seek to establish it; if,
in truth, they have established it,--we have a right, as a sovereign
power, to notice the fact, and to act as circumstances and our interest
require. I will say, in the language of the venerated father of my
country, "born in a land of liberty, my anxious recollections, my
sympathetic feelings, and my best wishes, are irresistibly excited,
whensoever, in any country, I see an oppressed nation unfurl the banners
of freedom."

* * * * *

From the "Speech in the Senate on the Compromise Bill."


South Carolina must perceive the embarrassments of her situation. She
must be desirous,--it is unnatural to suppose that she is not,--to
remain in the Union. What! a State whose heroes in its gallant ancestry
fought so many glorious battles along with the other States of this
Union,--a State with which this confederacy is linked by bonds of such a
powerful character! I have sometimes fancied what would be her condition
if she goes out of this Union; if her five hundred thousand people
should at once be thrown upon their own resources. She is out of the
Union. What is the consequence? She is an independent power. What
then does she do? She must have armies and fleets, and an expensive
government; have foreign missions; she must raise taxes; enact this very
tariff, which has driven her out of the Union, in order to enable her to
raise money, and to sustain the attitude of an independent power. If she
should have no force, no navy to protect her, she would be exposed to
piratical incursions. Their neighbor, St. Domingo, might pour down a
horde of pirates on her borders, and desolate her plantations. She must
have her embassies; therefore she must have a revenue. And, let me tell
you, there is another consequence, an inevitable one. She has a certain
description of persons recognized as property South of the Potomac, and
West of the Mississippi, which would be no longer recognized as such,
except within their own limits. This species of property would sink to
one half of its present value, for it is Louisiana and the southwestern
States which are her great market.

* * * * *

If there be any who want civil war, who want to see the blood of any
portion of our countrymen spilt, I am not one of them. I wish to see war
of no kind; but, above all, I do not desire to see a civil war. When war
begins, whether civil or foreign, no human sight is competent to foresee
when, or how, or where it is to terminate. But when a civil war shall be
lighted up in the bosom of our own happy land, and armies are marching,
and commanders are winning their victories, and fleets are in motion on
our coast, tell me if you can tell me, if any human being can tell its
duration? God alone knows where such a war would end. In what a state
will our institutions be left? In what state our liberties? I want no
war; above all, no war at home.

* * * * *

=_John C. Calhoun, 1782-1850._= (Manual, p. 486.)

From his "Speech on the Bill to regulate the Power of Removal."


Let us not be deceived by names. The power in question is too great for
the chief magistrate of a free state. It is in its nature an imperial
power; and if he be permitted to exercise it, his authority must become
as absolute as that of the autocrat of all the Russias. To give him
the power to dismiss at his will and pleasure, without limitation or
control, is to give him an absolute and unlimited control over the
subsistence of almost all who hold office under government. Let him
have the power, and the sixty thousand who now hold employments
under government would become dependent upon him for the means of
existence.... I know that there are many virtuous and high-minded
citizens who hold public office; but it is not, therefore, the less true
that the tendency of the power of dismissal is such as I have attributed
to it; and that, if the power be left unqualified, and the practice be
continued as it has of late, the result must be the complete corruption
and debasement of those in public employment....

I have seen the spirit of independent men, holding public office, sink
under the dread of this fearful power, too honest and too firm to become
the instruments of the flatterers of power, yet too prudent, with all
the consequences before them, to whisper disapprobation of what, in
their hearts, they condemned. Let the present state of things continue,
let it be understood that none are to acquire the public honors or
to retain them, but by flattery and base compliance, and in a few
generations the American character will become utterly corrupt and

* * * * *

From the "Address on the relation of the States to the General


Happily for us, we have no artificial and separate classes of society.
We have wisely exploded all such distinctions; but we are not, on that
account, exempt from all contrariety of interests, as the present
distracted and dangerous condition of our country, unfortunately, but
too clearly proves. With us they are almost exclusively geographical,
resulting mainly from difference of climate, soil, situation, industry,
and production; but are not, therefore, less necessary to be protected
by an adequate constitutional provision, than where the distinct
interests exist in separate classes. The necessity is, in truth,
greater, as such separate and dissimilar geographical interests are more
liable to come into conflict, and more dangerous, when in that state,
than those of any other description: so much so, that _ours is the
first instance on record where they have not formed, in an extensive
territory, separate and independent communities, or subjected the whole
to despotic sway._ That such may not be our unhappy fate also, must be
the sincere prayer of every lover of his country.

So numerous and diversified are the interests of our country, that they
could not be fairly represented in a single government, organized so
as to give to each great and leading interest a separate and distinct
voice, as in governments to which I have referred. A plan was adopted
better suited to our situation, but perfectly novel in its character.
The powers of government were divided, not, as heretofore, in reference
to classes, but geographically. One General Government was formed
for the whole, to which were delegated all the powers supposed to be
necessary to regulate the interests common to all the States, leaving
others subject to the separate control of the States, being, from their
local and peculiar character, such that they could not be subject to the
will of a majority of the whole Union, without the certain hazard of
injustice and oppression. It was thus that the interests of the whole
were subjected, as they ought to be, to the will of the whole, while the
peculiar and local interests were left under the control of the States
separately, to whose custody only they could be safely confided. This
distribution of power, settled solemnly by a constitutional compact, to
which all the States are parties, constitutes the peculiar character
and excellence of our political system. It is truly and emphatically
_American, without example or parallel_.

To realize its perfection, we must view the General Government and those
of the States as a whole, each in its proper sphere independent;
each perfectly adapted to its respective objects; the States acting
separately, representing and protecting the local and peculiar
interests: and acting jointly through one General Government, with the
weight respectively assigned to each by the Constitution, representing
and protecting the interest of the whole, and thus perfecting, by an
admirable but simple arrangement, the great principle of representation
and responsibility, without which no government can be free or just. To
preserve this sacred distribution as originally settled, by coercing
each to move in its prescribed orbit, is the great and difficult
problem, on the solution of which the duration of our Constitution, of
our union, and, in all probability, our liberty depends. How is this to
be effected?

* * * * *

From his "Works."


It has been already shown, that the same constitution of man which leads
those who govern to oppress the governed,--if not prevented,--will, with
equal force and certainty, lead the latter to resist oppression, when
possessed of the means of doing so peaceably and successfully. But
absolute governments, of all forms, exclude all other means of
resistance to their authority, than that of force; and, of course, leave
no other alternative to the governed, but to acquiesce in oppression,
however great it may be, or to resort to force to put down the
government. But the dread of such a resort must necessarily lead the
government to prepare to meet force in order to protect itself; and
hence, of necessity, force becomes the conservative principle of all
such governments.

On the contrary, the government of the concurrent majority, where the
organism is perfect, excludes the possibility of oppression, by giving
to each interest, or portion, or order,--where there are established
classes,--the means of protecting itself, by its negative, against all
measures calculated to advance the peculiar interests of others at
its expense. Its effect, then, is to cause the different interests,
portions, or orders,--as the case may be, to desist from attempting to
adopt any measure calculated to promote the prosperity of one, or more,
by sacrificing that of others; and thus to force them to unite in such
measures only as would promote the prosperity of all, as the only
means to prevent the suspension of the action of the government;--and,
thereby, to avoid anarchy, the greatest of all evils. It is by means of
such authorized and effectual resistance, that oppression is prevented,
and the necessity of resorting to force superseded, in governments of
the concurrent majority;--and, hence, compromise, instead of force,
becomes their conservative principle.

It would, perhaps, be more strictly correct to trace the conservative
principle of constitutional governments to the necessity which compels
the different interests, or portions, or orders, to compromise,--as
the only way to promote their respective prosperity, and to avoid
anarchy,--rather than to the compromise itself. No necessity can be more
urgent and imperious, than that of avoiding anarchy. It is the same as
that which makes government indispensable to preserve society; and is
not less imperative than that which compels obedience to superior
force. Traced to this source, the voice of a people,--uttered under the
necessity of avoiding the greatest of calamities, through the organs of
a government so constructed as to suppress the expression of all partial
and selfish interests, and to give a full and faithful utterance to the
sense of the whole community, in reference to its common welfare,--may
without impiety, be called _the voice of God_. To call any other so,
would be impious.

* * * * *

=_Daniel Webster, 1782-1852._= (Manual, pp. 478, 486.)

From the "Reply to Hayne, in the United States Senate."


I cannot, even now, persuade myself to relinquish it, without expressing
once more my deep conviction, that, since it respects nothing less than
the union of the states, it is of most vital and essential importance
to the public happiness. I profess, sir, in my career hitherto, to have
kept steadily in view the prosperity and honor of the whole country, and
the preservation of our Federal Union. It is to that Union we owe our
safety at home, and our consideration and dignity abroad. It is to that
Union we are chiefly indebted for whatever makes us most proud of our
country. That Union we reached only by the discipline of our virtues in
the severe school of adversity. It had its origin in the necessities of
disordered finance, prostrate commerce, and ruined credit. Under its
benign influences, these great interests immediately awoke, as from the
dead, and sprang forth with newness of life. Every year of its duration
has teemed with fresh proofs of its utility and its blessings; and
although our territory has stretched out wider and wider, and our
population spread farther and farther, they have not outrun its
protection or its benefits. It has been to us all a copious fountain of
national, social, personal happiness. I have not allowed myself, sir, to
look beyond the Union, to see what might lie hidden in the dark recess
behind. I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty,
when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder, I have
not accustomed myself to hang over the precipice of disunion, to see
whether, with my short sight, I can fathom the depth of the abyss below;
nor could I regard him as a safe counsellor in the affairs of this
government, whose thoughts should be mainly bent on considering, not
how the Union should be best preserved, but how tolerable might be the
condition of the people when it shall be broken up and destroyed. While
the Union lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread
out before us, for us and our children. Beyond that I do not seek to
penetrate the veil. God grant that, in my day at least, that curtain may
not rise. God grant that, on my vision never may be opened what lies
behind. When my eyes shall be turned to behold, for the last time, the
sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored
fragments of a once glorious Union; on states dissevered, discordant,
belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be,
in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather
behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now known and honored
throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies
streaming in their original lustre, not a stripe erased or polluted,
nor a single star obscured,--bearing for its motto no such miserable
interrogatory as, _What is all this worth?_ nor those other words
of delusion and folly, _Liberty first, and Union afterwards_; but
everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on
all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and
in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to
every American heart--Liberty _and_ Union, now and forever, one and

* * * * *

From the "Speech at the Laying of the Corner Stone of the Bunker Hill


Let it not be supposed that our object is to perpetuate national
hostility, or even to cherish a mere military spirit. It is higher,
purer, nobler. We consecrate our work to the spirit of national
independence, and we wish that the light of peace may rest upon it
forever. We rear a memorial of our conviction of that unmeasured benefit
which has been conferred on our own land, and of the happy influences
which have been produced, by the same events, on the general interests
of mankind. We come, as Americans, to mark a spot which must forever be
dear to us and our posterity. We wish that whoever, in all coming
time, shall turn his eye hither, may behold that the place is not
undistinguished where the first great battle of the Revolution was
fought. We wish that this structure may proclaim the magnitude and
importance of that event to every class and every age. We wish that
infancy may learn the purpose of its erection, from maternal lips,
and that weary and withered age may behold it, and be solaced by the
recollections which it suggests. We wish that labor may look up here,
and be proud in the midst of its toil. We wish that in those days of
disaster, which, as they come upon all nations, must be expected to come
upon us also, desponding patriotism may turn its eyes hitherward, and be
assured that the foundations of our national power are still strong. We
wish that this column, rising towards heaven among the pointed spires of
so many temples dedicated to God, may contribute also to produce, in all
minds, a pious feeling of dependence and gratitude. We wish, finally,
that the last object to the sight of him who leaves his native shore,
and the first to gladden his who revisits it, may be something which
shall remind him of the liberty and the glory of his country. Let it
rise! let it rise, till it meet the sun in his coming; let the earliest
light of the morning gild it, and parting day linger and play on its

* * * * *

From his "Works."


Its benefits are not exclusive. What has it left undone, which any
government could do for the whole country? In what condition has it
placed us? Where do we now stand? Are we elevated, or degraded, by its
operation? What is our condition, under its influence, at the very
moment when some talk of arresting its power and breaking its unity? Do
we not feel ourselves on an eminence? Do we not challenge the respect of
the whole world? What has placed us thus high? What has given us this
just pride? What else is it, but the unrestrained and free operation
of that same Federal Constitution, which it has been proposed now to
hamper, and manacle, and nullify? Who is there among us, that, should
he find himself on any spot of the earth where human beings exist, and
where the existence of other nations is known, would not be proud to
say, I am an American? I am a countryman of Washington? I am a citizen
of that Republic, which although it has suddenly sprung up, yet there
are none on the globe who have ears to hear, and have not heard of
it,--who have eyes to see and have not read of it,--who know any
thing,--and yet do not know of its existence and its glory? And,
gentlemen, let me now reverse the picture. Let me ask, who is there
among us, if he were to be found to-morrow in one of the civilized
countries of Europe, and were there to learn that this goodly form of
Government had been overthrown--that the United States were no longer
united--that a death-blow had been struck upon their bond of Union--that
they themselves had destroyed their chief good and their chief
honor,--who is there, whose heart would not sink within him? Who is
there, who would not cover his face for very shame?

At this very moment, gentlemen, our country is a general refuge for the
distressed and the persecuted of other nations. Whoever is in affliction
from political occurrences in his own country, looks here for shelter.
Whether he be republican, flying from the oppression of thrones--or
whether he be monarch or monarchist, flying from thrones that crumble
and fall under or around him,--he feels equal assurance, that if he
get foothold on our soil, his person is safe, and his rights will be

And who will venture to say, that in any government now existing in the
world, there is greater security for persons or property than in that of
the United States? We have tried these popular institutions in times of
great excitement and commotion; and they have stood substantially firm
and steady, while the fountains of the great deep have been elsewhere
broken up; while thrones, resting on ages of prescription, have tottered
and fallen; and while in other countries, the earthquake of unrestrained
popular commotion has swallowed up all law, and all liberty, and all
right, together. Our Government has been tried in peace, and it has been
tried in war; and has proved itself fit for both. It has been assailed
from without, and it has successfully resisted the shock; it has been
disturbed within, and it has effectually quieted the disturbance. It can
stand trial--it can stand, assault--it, can stand adversity.--it can
stand every thing, but the marring of its own beauty, and the weakening
of its own strength. It can stand every thing, but the effects of
our own rashness, and our own folly. It can stand everything, but
disorganization, disunion, and nullification.

* * * * *

From his Correspondence with Lord Ashburton.


England acknowledges herself overburdened with population of the poorer
classes. Every instance of the emigration of persons of those classes is
regarded by her as a benefit. England, therefore, encourages emigration;
means are notoriously supplied to emigrants, to assist their conveyance,
from public funds; and the New World, and most especially these United
States, receive the many thousands of her subjects thus ejected from the
bosom of their native land by the necessities of their condition. They
come away from poverty and distress in over-crowded cities, to seek
employment, comfort, and new homes, in a country of free institutions,
possessed by a kindred race, speaking their own language, and having
laws and usages in many respects like those to which they have been
accustomed; and a country which, upon the whole, is found to possess
more attractions for persons of their character and condition, than any
other on the face of the globe. It is stated that, in the quarter of the
year ending with June last, more than twenty-six thousand emigrants left
the single port of Liverpool for the United States, being four or five
times as many as left the same port within the same period, for the
British Colonies and all other parts of the world. Of these crowds
of emigrants, many arrive in our cities in circumstances of great
destitution, and the charities of the country, both public and private,
are severely taxed to relieve their immediate wants. In time they mingle
with the new community in which they find themselves, and seek means of
living. Some find employment in the cities, others go to the frontiers,
to cultivate lands reclaimed from the forest; and a greater or less
number of the residue, becoming in time naturalized citizens, enter into
the merchant service under the flag of their adopted country.

Now, my Lord, if war should break out between England and a European
power, can any thing be more unjust, any thing more irreconcilable to
the general sentiments of mankind, than that England should seek out
these persons, thus encouraged by her, and compelled by their own
condition, to leave their native homes, tear them away from their
new employments, their new political relations, and their domestic
connections, and force them to undergo the dangers and hardships of
military service for a country which, has thus ceased to be their own
country? Certainly, certainly, my Lord, there can be but one answer to
this question. Is it not far more reasonable that England should either
prevent such emigration of her subjects, or that, if she encourage and
promote it, she should leave them, not to the embroilment of a double
and contradictory allegiance, but to their own voluntary choice, to form
such relations, political or social, as they see fit, in the country
where they are to find their bread, and to the laws and institutions of
which they are to look for defence and protection.

* * * * *

=_Joseph Story, 1779-1845._= (Manual, pp. 487, 531.)

From his "Miscellaneous Writings."


When can we expect to be permitted to behold again so much moderation
united with so much firmness, so much sagacity with so much modesty, so
much learning with so much experience, so much solid wisdom with so
much purity, so much of every thing to love and admire, with
nothing--absolutely nothing, to regret? What, indeed, strikes us as the
most remarkable in his whole character, even more than his splendid
talents, is the entire consistency of his public life and principles.
There is nothing in either which calls for apology or concealment.
Ambition has never seduced him from his principles, nor popular clamor
deterred him from the strict performance of duty. Amid the extravagances
of party spirit he has stood with a calm, and steady inflexibility,
neither bending to the pressure of adversity, nor bounding with the
elasticity of success. He has lived as such a man should live, (and yet,
how few deserve the commendation!) by and with, his principles. Whatever
changes of opinion have occurred in the course of his long life,
have been gradual and slow; the results of genius acting upon larger
materials, and of judgment matured by the lessons of experience.

If we were tempted to say, in one word, what it was in which he chiefly
excelled other men, we should say, in wisdom--in the union of that
virtue, which has ripened under the hardy discipline of principles,
with that knowledge which has constantly sifted and refined its old
treasures, and as constantly gathered new. The constitution, since its
adoption, owes more to him than to any other single mind, for its true
interpretation and vindication. Whether it lives or perishes, his
exposition of its principles will be an enduring monument to his fame,
as long as solid reasoning, profound analysis, and sober views of
government, shall invite the leisure, or command the attention, of
statesmen and jurists.... Yet it may be affirmed by those who have had
the privilege of intimacy with Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, that he
rises, rather than falls, with the nearest survey; and that in the
domestic circle he is exactly what a wife, a child, a brother, and a
friend would most desire. In that magical circle, admiration of
his talents is forgotten in the indulgence of those affections and
sensibilities which are awakened only to be gratified.

* * * * *

From his "Miscellanies."


The most delicate, and at the same time the proudest attribute of
American jurisprudence, is the right of its judicial tribunals to decide
questions of constitutional law. In other governments these questions
cannot be entertained or decided by courts of justice; and, therefore,
whatever may be the theory of the constitution, the legislative
authority is practically omnipotent, and there is no means of contesting
the legality or justice of a law, but by an appeal to arms. This can be
done only when oppression weighs heavily and grievously on the whole
people, and is then resisted by all because it is felt by all. But the
oppression that strikes at a humble individual, though it robs him of
character, or fortune, or life, is remediless; and, if it becomes the
subject of judicial enquiry, judges may lament, but cannot resist, the
mandates of the legislature. Far different is the case in our country;
and the privilege of bringing every law to the test of the constitution
belongs to the humblest citizen, who owes no obedience to any
legislative act which transcends the constitutional limits.

The discussion of constitutional questions throws a lustre round the
bar, and gives a dignity to its functions, which can rarely belong to
the profession in any other country. Lawyers are here emphatically
placed as sentinels upon the outposts of the constitution, and no nobler
end can be proposed for their ambition or patriotism than to stand as
faithful guardians of the constitution, ready to defend its legitimate
powers, and to stay the arm of legislative, executive, or popular
oppression. If their eloquence can charm, when it vindicates the
innocent, and the suffering under private wrongs; if their learning
and genius can, with almost superhuman witchery, unfold the mazes and
intricacies by which the minute links of title are chained to the
adamantine pillars of the law;--how much more glory belongs to them when
this eloquence, this learning, and this genius, are employed in defence
of their country; when they breathe forth the purest spirit of morality
and virtue in support of the rights of mankind; when they expound the
lofty doctrines which sustain and connect, and guide the destinies of
nations; when they combat popular delusions at the expense of fame, and
friendship, and political honors; when they triumph by arresting the
progress of error and the march of power, and drive back the torrent
that threatens destruction equally to public liberty and to private
property, to all that delights us in private life, and all that gives
grace and authority in public office.

* * * * *

=_Lewis Cass,[23] 1782-1866._=

From his "Report of the Secretary of War." December 1831.


The associations which bind the Indians to the land of their forefathers
are strong and enduring; and these must be broken by their emigration.
But they are also broken by our citizens, who every day encounter all
the difficulties of similar changes in pursuit of the means of support.
And the experiments that have been made satisfactorily show that,
by proper precautions and liberal appropriations, the removal and
establishment of the Indians can be effected with little comparative
trouble to them, or us.... If they remain, they must decline, and
eventually disappear. Such is the result of all experience. If they
remove, they may be comfortably established, and their moral and
physical condition ameliorated....

The great moral debt we owe to this unhappy race is universally felt and
acknowledged. Diversities of opinion exist respecting the proper mode of
discharging this obligation, but its validity is not denied.

Indolent in his habits, the Indian is opposed to labor; improvident
in his mode of life, he has little foresight in providing, or care in
preserving. Taught from infancy to reverence his own traditions and
institutions, he is satisfied of their value, and dreads the anger of
the Great Spirit, if he should depart from the customs of his fathers.
Devoted to the use of ardent spirits, he abandons himself to
its indulgence without restraint. War and hunting are his only
occupations.... Shall they be advised to remain, or remove? If the
former, their fate is written in the annals of their race; if the
latter, we may yet hope to see them renovated in character and
condition, by our example and instruction, and their exertions.

[Footnote 23: A native of New Hampshire, but for many years a citizen of
Michigan: conspicuous in public life, and a writer of high authority on
Indian and military affairs, and the settlement of the north-west.]

* * * * *

=_Rufus Choate, 1799-1859._= (Manual, p. 487.)

From his "Lectures and Addresses."


Is it not so that in its nature, in its functions, in the intellectual
and practical habits which it forms, in the opinions to which it
conducts, in all its tendencies and influences of speculation and
action, it is, and ought to be, professionally and peculiarly such an
element and such an agent, that it contributes, or ought to be held to
contribute, more than all things else, or as much as anything else, to
preserve our organic forms, our civil and social order, our public and
private justice, our constitutions of government, even the Union itself?
In these crises through which our liberty is to pass, may not, must not,
this function of conservatism become more and more developed, and more
and more operative? May it not one day be written, for the praise of the
American Bar, that it helped to keep the true idea of the state alive
and germinant in the American mind; that it helped to keep alive the
sacred sentiments of obedience, and reverence, and justice, of the
supremacy of the calm and grand reason of the law over the fitful
will of the individual and the crowd; that it helped to withstand the
pernicious sophism that the successive generations, as they come to
life, are but as so many successive flights of summer flies, without
relations to the past or duties to the future, and taught instead that
all--all the dead, the living, the unborn--were one moral person-one for
action, one for suffering, one for responsibility; that the engagements
of one age may bind the conscience of another; the glory or the shame
of a day may brighten or stain the current of a thousand years of
continuous national being?

* * * * *

From the "Address before the New England Society of New York."


I have said that I deemed it a great thing for a nation, in all the
periods of its fortunes, to be able to look back to a race of founders,
and a principle of institution, in which, it might seem to see the
realized idea of true heroism. That felicity, that pride, that help, is
ours. Our past--both its great eras, that of settlement, and that of
independence--should announce, should compel, should spontaneously
evolve as from a germ, a wise, moral, and glorious future. These heroic
men and women should not look down on a dwindled posterity. It should
seem to be almost of course, too easy to be glorious, that they who
keep the graves, bear the name, and boast the blood, of men in whom
the loftiest sense of duty blended itself with the fiercest spirit of
liberty, should add to their freedom, justice: justice to all men, to
all nations; justice, that venerable virtue, without which freedom,
valor, and power, are but vulgar things.

And yet is the past nothing, even our past, but as you, quickened by its
examples, instructed by its experiences, warned by its voices, assisted
by its accumulated instrumentality, shall reproduce it in the life of
to-day. Its once busy existence, various sensations, fiery trials,
dear-bought triumphs; its dynasty of heroes, all its pulses of joy and
anguish, and hope and fear, and love and praise, are with the years
beyond the flood. "The sleeping and the dead are but as pictures." Yet,
gazing on these, long and intently, and often, we may pass into the
likeness of the departed,--may emulate their labors, and partake of
their immortality.

* * * * *

=_William H. Seward,[24] 1801-1872._=

"Oration on Lafayette," July 16th, 1834.


There were indeed other and heroic volunteers from European countries,
but they were either exiles who had no homes, or they were soldiers by
profession, who followed the sword wherever a harvest was to be reaped
with it.... Lafayette's first act in America gave new evidence of
disinterestedness and magnanimity. He found the small patriot army rent
asunder by jealous feuds growing out of ambition for preferment. What
revolution, however holy, has not suffered by such evils! How many
a revolution has been lost by them! Schuyler, the brave, the
high-spirited, and wise, now the victim of an intrigue, was hesitating
whether to submit to a privation of rank justly due him, or to resign.
Putnam's recent promotion produced bitter complaints; and Gates was
laboring night and day, aided by a powerful faction, to displace
Washington from the chief command. The correspondence of the Father of
his country, now first published, reveals the fact that the compensation
attached to military rank was by no means an unimportant object of the
universal rage for preferment, which then threatened to break up the
army. Lafayette set a noble example to the republican chiefs. He
declined the tender of a commission as major-general, with the
emoluments, and stipulated, on the contrary, for leave to serve without
reward, and even without a command, until he should have made a title to
it by actual achievements. He won his commission by the blood he gave to
his adopted country in the battle of Brandywine, by rallying the troops
in the retreat at Chester Bridge, and by his brave resistance and
capture, with the aid of militia-men, of a superior force of British
and Hessian regulars; and thus, without exciting murmurs among his
compatriots, and with the thanks of Congress, he rose to the command of
a division in the army of the United States. Lavish of gold, as he had
already shown that he was lavish of blood, he clothed and equipped
these troops, numbering two thousand, at his own expense; and they soon
became, under his exact but affectionate discipline, the favorite corps
of the whole army.

Lafayette stood second to Washington in the affections of the American
people, and in the applauses of the friends of liberty throughout the
world. Certainly whatever honors that people could have conferred upon
any one would have been sure to wait on him. Let those who think that
preferment, power, and applause are always the chief objects of human
ambition, look now at this illustrious and yet youthful personage,
cheerfully resigning his command, and without one murmur of regret for
the honors laid down, or one glance towards the honors gathering before
him, taking affectionate leave of his companions in arms, and their
great chief, and returning to his native land, to resume there the
duties he owed as a subject and member of the State, in France.

[Footnote 24: A prominent statesman, formerly Governor of New York, of
which state he is a native. He is known in literature by many addresses,
speeches, and diplomatic papers, often of high merit.]

* * * * *

=_Abraham Lincoln,[25] 1809-1865._=

"Speech at the Dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg,"
November 19, 1883.


Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a
great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived
and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of
that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final
resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might
live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But
in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot
hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here,
have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. The world
will little note, nor long remember, what we say here; but it can never
forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be
dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here, have
thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to
the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we
take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full
measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall
not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new
birth of freedom, and that governments of the people, by the people, and
for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

[Footnote 25: Born in Kentucky; a prominent lawyer and statesman of
Illinois; was elected President of the United States in 1860; was
eminent for his profound appreciation of 'the subsequent struggle, and
for his patriotic appeals in behalf of the nation. Assassinated April
13, 1865.]

* * * * *

=_Charles Sumner, 1811-1874._= (Manual, p. 487.)

From the "Speech in the Senate on the Nebraska and Kansas Bill," May 25,


Sir, the bill which you are now about to pass is at once the worst and
the best bill on which Congress ever acted. Yes, sir, worst and best at
the same time.

It is the worst bill, inasmuch as it is a present victory of slavery. In
a Christian land, and in an age of civilization, a time-honored statute
of freedom is struck down, opening the way to all the countless woes and
wrongs of human bondage. Among the crimes of history, another is about
to be recorded, which no tears can blot out, and which, in better days,
will be read with universal shame.

But there is another side, to which I gladly turn. Sir, it is the best
bill on which Congress ever acted; for it annuls all past compromises
with slavery, and makes all future compromises impossible. Thus it puts
freedom and slavery face to face, and bids them grapple. Who can doubt
the result? It opens wide the door of the future, when, at last, there
will really be a North, and the slave power will be broken; when this
wretched despotism will cease to dominate over our government, no longer
impressing itself upon everything at home and abroad; when the national
government shall be divorced in every way from slavery, and according
to the true intention of our fathers, freedom shall be established by
Congress everywhere, at least beyond the local limits of the states.

Thus, sir, now standing at the very grave of freedom in Kansas and
Nebraska, I lift myself to the vision of that happy resurrection, by
which freedom will be secured, not only in these territories, but
everywhere under the national government. More clearly than ever before,
I now penetrate that "All-Hail-Hereafter" when slavery must disappear.
Proudly I discern the flag of my country, as it ripples in every breeze,
at last become in reality, as in name, the Flag of Freedom, undoubted,
pure, and irresistible. Am I not right, then, in calling this bill the
best on which Congress ever acted?

Sorrowfully I bend before the wrong you are about to commit. Joyfully I
welcome all the promises of the future.

* * * * *

From the "Speech for Union against the Slave Power," June 8, 1848.


There are occasions of political difference, I admit, when it may become
expedient to vote for a person who does not completely represent our
sentiments. There are some matters that come legitimately within the
range of expediency and compromise. The Tariff and the Currency are
unquestionably of this character. If a candidate differs from me, more
or less, on these, I may yet be disposed to vote for him. But the
question now before the country is of another character. This will not
admit of compromise. It is not within the domain of expediency. _To be
wrong on this is to be wholly wrong._ It is not merely expedient for us
to defend Freedom, when assailed, but our duty so to do, unreservedly,
and careless of consequences. Who is there in this assembly that would
help to fasten a fetter upon Oregon or Mexico? Who is there that would
not oppose every effort for this purpose? Nobody. Who is there, then,
that can vote for Taylor or Cass?

But it is said that we shall throw away our votes, and that our
opposition will fail. Sir! no honest, earnest effort in a good cause
ever fails. It may not be crowned with the applause of men; it may not
seem to touch the goal of immediate worldly success, which is the end
and aim of so much of life. But still it is not lost. It helps to
strengthen the weak with new virtue; to arm the irresolute with proper
energy; to animate all with devotion to duty, which in the end conquers
all. Fail! Did the martyrs fail, when with their precious blood they
sowed the seed of the Church? Did the discomfited champions of Freedom
fail, who have left those names in history which can never die? Did the
three hundred Spartans fail, when, in the narrow pass, they did not fear
to brave the innumerable Persian hosts, whose very arrows darkened the
sun? No! Overborne by numbers, crushed to earth, they have left an
example which is greater far than any victory. And this is the least we
can do. Our example shall be the source of triumph hereafter. It
will not be the first time in history that the hosts of Slavery have
outnumbered the champions of Freedom. But where is it written that
Slavery finally prevailed.

* * * * *

Returning to our forefathers for our principles, let us borrow, also,
something of their courage and union. Let us summon to our sides the
majestic forms of those civil heroes, whose firmness in council was
equalled only by the firmness of Washington in war. Let us listen
again to the eloquence of the elder Adams, animating his associates in
Congress to independence: let us hang anew upon the sententious wisdom
of Franklin; let us be enkindled, as were the men of other days, by the
fervid devotion to Freedom, which flamed from the heart of Jefferson.
Deriving instruction from our enemies, let us also be taught by the
Slave Power. The two hundred thousand slaveholders are always united in
purpose. Hence their strength. Like arrows in a quiver, they cannot be
broken. The friends of Freedom have thus far been divided. _Union_,
then, must be our watchword,--union, among men of all parties. By such a
union we shall consolidate an opposition which must prevail.

* * * * *

From a Speech, September 16, 1863.


It only remains that the Republic should lift itself to the height of
its great duties. War is hard to bear,--with its waste, its pains, its
wounds, its funerals. But in this war we have not been choosers. We have
been challenged to the defence of our country, and in this sacred cause,
to crush Slavery. There is no alternative. Slavery began the combat,
staking its life, and determined to rule or die. That we may continue
freemen there must be no slaves; so that our own security is linked with
the redemption of a race. Blessed lot, amidst the harshness of war, to
wield the arms and deal the blows under which the monster will surely

But while thus steady in our purpose at home, we must not neglect
that proper moderation abroad, which becomes the consciousness of our
strength and the nobleness of our cause. The mistaken sympathy which
foreign powers now bestow upon slavery,--or it may be the mistaken
insensibility,--under the plausible name of "neutrality," which they
profess,--will be worse for them than for us. For them it will be a
record of shame which their children would gladly wash out with tears.
For us it will be only another obstacle vanquished in the battle for
civilization, where unhappily false friends are mingled with open
enemies. Even if the cause shall seem for a while imperilled from
foreign powers, yet our duties are none the less urgent. If the pressure
be great, the resistance must be greater; nor can there be any retreat.
Come weal or woe this is the place for us to stand.

I know not if a republic like ours can count even now upon the certain
friendship of any European power, unless it be the republic of William
Tell. The very name is unwelcome to the full-blown representatives of
monarchical Europe, who forget how proudly, even in modern history,
Venice bore the title of _Serenissima Respublica_. It will be for us
to change all this, and we shall do it. Our successful example will be
enough. Thus far we have been known chiefly through that vital force
which slavery could only degrade, but not subdue. Now at last, by the
death of slavery, will the republic begin to live. For what is life
without liberty? Stretching from ocean to ocean,--teeming with
population, bountiful in resources of all kinds, and thrice-happy in
universal enfranchisement, it will be more than conqueror. Nothing too
vast for its power; nothing too minute for its care. Triumphant over the
foulest wrong ever inflicted, after the bloodiest war ever waged, it
will know the majesty of right and the beauty of peace, prepared always
to uphold the one, and to cultivate the other. Strong in its own mighty
stature, filled with all the fulness of a new life, and covered with a
panoply of renown, it will confess that no dominion is of value which
does not contribute to human happiness. Born in this latter day, and the
child of its own struggles, without ancestral claims, but heir of
all the ages,--it will stand forth to assert the dignity of man, and
wherever any member of the human family is to be succored, there its
voice will reach,--as the voice of Cromwell reached across France
even to the persecuted mountaineers of the Alps. Such will be this
republic;--upstart among the nations. Aye! as the steam-engine, the
telegraph, and chloroform are upstart. Comforter and helper like these,
it can know no bounds to its empire over a willing world. But the first
stage is the death of slavery.

* * * * *

From "Prophetic Voices about America."


Such are some of the prophetic voices about America, differing in
character and importance, but all having one augury, and opening one
vista, illimitable in extent and vastness. Farewell to the idea of
Montesquieu, that a republic can exist only in a small territory....

Such grandeur may justly excite anxiety rather than pride, for duties
are in corresponding proportion. There is occasion for humility also,
as the individual considers his own insignificance in the transcendent
mass. The tiny polyp, in its unconscious life, builds the everlasting
coral; each citizen is little more than the industrious insect. The
result is accomplished by continuous and combined exertion. Millions of
citizens, working in obedience to nature, can accomplish anything. Of
course, war is an instrumentality which a true civilization disowns.
Here some of our prophets have erred. Sir Thomas Browne was so much
overshadowed by his own age, that his vision was darkened by "great
armies," and even "hostile and piratical attacks" on Europe. It was
natural that D'Aranda, schooled in worldly affairs, should imagine the
new-born power ready to seize the Spanish possessions. Among our own
countrymen, Jefferson looked to war for the extension of dominion. The
Floridas he says on one occasion, "are ours on the first moment of war,
and until a war they are of no particular necessity to us." Happily
they were acquired in another way. Then again, while declaring that no
constitution was ever before so calculated as ours for extensive empire
and self-government, and insisting upon Canada as a component part,
he calmly says that "this would be, of course, in the first war."
Afterwards, while confessing a longing for Cuba, "as the most
interesting addition that could ever be made to our system of States,"
he says that "he is sensible that this can never be obtained, even with
her own consent, without war." Thus at each stage is the baptism of
blood. In much better mood the good Bishop recognized empire as moving
gently in the pathway of light. All this is much clearer now than when
he prophesied. It is easy to see that empire obtained by force is
unrepublican and offensive to that first principle of our Union
according to which all just government stands only on the consent of the
governed. Our country needs no such ally as war. Its destiny is mightier
than war. Through peace it will have every thing. This is our talisman.
Give us peace, and population will increase beyond all experience;
resources of all kinds will multiply infinitely; arts will embellish the
land with immortal beauty, the name of Republic will be exalted, until
every neighbor, yielding to irresistible attraction, will seek a new
life in becoming a part of the great whole; and the national example
will be more puissant than army or navy for the conquest of the world.

* * * * *

=_Alexander H. Stephens,[26] 1812-._=

From Appendix to "The Constitutional View."


The stars, as a matter of course, represent states. The origin of
the stripes, I think, if searched out, would be found to be a little
curious. All I know upon that point is, that on the 4th day of July,
1776, after the Declaration of Independence was carried, a committee was
appointed by Congress, consisting of Mr. Jefferson, Dr. Franklin, and
John Adams, to prepare a _device_ for a _seal_ of the United States....
This seal, as reported, or the _device_ in full, as reported, was
never adopted. But in it we see the emblems, in part, which are still
preserved in the flag.

The stripes, or lines, which, on Mr. Jefferson's original plan, were
to designate the six quarterings of the shield, as signs of the six
countries from which our ancestors came, are now, I believe, considered
as representations of the old thirteen states, and with most persons the
idea of a shield is lost sight of. You perceive that, by drawing six
lines or stripes on a shield figure, it will leave seven spaces of the
original color, and of course give thirteen apparent stripes; hence the
idea of their being all intended to represent the old thirteen states.
My opinion, is, that this was the origin of the stripes. Mr. Jefferson's
quartered shield for a seal device was seized upon as a national emblem,
that was put upon the flag. We have now the stars as well as the
stripes. When each of these was adopted I cannot say; but the flag, as
it now is, was designed by Captain Reid, as I tell you, and adopted by

[Footnote 26: One of the most eminent public men of the south; a native
of Georgia.]

* * * * *


=_Benjamin Rush,[27] 1743-1813._=

From "Essays, Literary, Moral," etc.


He saw and heard more of those events which are measured by time, than
have ever been seen or heard since the age of the patriarchs; he saw the
same spot of earth which at one period of his life was covered with wood
and bushes, and the receptacle of beasts and birds of prey, afterwards
become the seat of a city not only the first in wealth and arts in the
new, but rivalling, in both, many of the first cities in the old world.
He saw regular streets where he once pursued a hare; he saw churches
rising upon morasses, where he had often heard the croaking of frogs; he
saw wharves and warehouses where he had often seen Indian savages draw
fish from the river for their daily subsistence; and he saw ships of
every size and use in those streams where he had often seen nothing but
Indian canoes.... He saw the first treaty ratified between the newly
confederated powers of America and the ancient monarchy of France, with
all the formalities of parchment and seals, on the same spot, probably,
where he once saw William Penn ratify his first and last treaty with
the Indians, without the formality of pen, ink, or paper.... He saw the
beginning and end of the empire of Great Britain in Pennsylvania. He
had been the subject of seven successive crowned heads, and afterwards
became a willing citizen of a republic; for he embraced the liberties
and independence of America in his withered arms, and triumphed in the
last years of his life in the salvation of his country.

[Footnote 27: A native of Pennsylvania, eminent as a writer, and
especially as a teacher and practitioner of medicine.]

* * * * *

=_John Marshall, 1755-1835._= (Manual, p. 490.)

From the "History of the American Colonies."


During these transactions, General Amherst was taking measures for the
annihilation of the remnant of French power in Canada. He determined to
employ the immense force under his command for the accomplishment of
this object, and made arrangements during the winter to bring the armies
from Quebec, Lake Champlain, and Lake Ontario, to act against Montreal.

The junction of these armies presenting before Montreal a force not
to be resisted, the Governor offered to capitulate. In the month of
September, Montreal, and all other places within the government of
Canada, then remaining in the possession of France, were surrendered to
his Britannic majesty. The troops were to be transported to France, and
the Canadians to be protected in their property, and the full enjoyment
of their religion.

That colossal power which France had been long erecting in America, with
vast labor and expense; which had been the motive for one of the most
extensive and desolating wars of modern times, was thus entirely
overthrown. The causes of this interesting event are to be found in the
superior wealth and population of the colonies of England, and in
her immense naval strength; an advantage, in distant war, not to be
counterbalanced by the numbers, the discipline, the courage, and the
military talents, which may be combined in the armies of an inferior
maritime power.

The joy diffused throughout the British dominions by this splendid
conquest, was mingled with a proud sense of superiority, which did
not estimate with exact justice the relative means employed by the
belligerents. In no part of those dominions was this joy felt in a
higher degree, or with more reason, than in America. In that region, the
wars between France and England had assumed a form, happily unknown to
other parts of the civilized world. Not confined as in Europe to men in
arms--women and children were its common victims. It had been carried by
the savage to the fire-side of the peaceful peasant, where the tomahawk
and the scalping-knife were applied indiscriminately to every age, and
to either sex. The hope was now fondly indulged that these scenes, at
least in the northern and middle colonies, were closed forever.

* * * * *

=_John Armstrong,[28] 1759-1843._=

From the Life of General Wayne.


Wayne, believing that few things were impracticable to discipline and
valor, after a careful reconnoissance, adopted the project, and hastened
to give it execution. Beginning his march on the 15th from Sandy Beach,
he at eight o'clock in the evening took a position within a mile and
a half of his object. By the organization given to the attack, the
regiments of Febiger and Meigs, with Hull's detachment, formed the
column of the right; and the regiment of Butler and Murfey's detachment,
that of the left. A party of twenty men furnished with axes for pioneer
duty, and followed by a sustaining corps of one hundred and fifty men
with unloaded arms, preceded each column, while a small detachment was
assigned to purposes merely of demonstration.

At half after eleven o'clock, the hour fixed on for the assault, the
columns were in motion; but from delays made inevitable by the nature of
the ground, it was twenty minutes after twelve before this commenced,
when neither the morass, now overflowed by the tide, nor the formidable
and double row of _abattis_, nor the high and strong works on the summit
of the hill, could for a moment damp the ardor or stop the career of
the assailants, who, in the face of an incessant fire of musketry and
a shower of shells and grape-shot, forced their way through every
obstacle, and with so much concert of movement, that both columns
entered the fort and reached its centre, nearly at the same moment. Nor
was the conduct of the victors less conspicuous for humanity than for
valor. Not a man of the garrison was injured after the surrender; and
during the conflict of battle, all were spared who ceased to make

The entire American loss in this enterprise, so formidable in prospect,
did not exceed one hundred men. The pioneer parties, necessarily the
most exposed, suffered most. Of the twenty men led by Lieutenant Gibbons
of the Sixth Pennsylvania Regiment, seventeen were killed or wounded.
Wayne's own escape on this occasion was of the hair-breadth kind. Struck
on the head by a musket-ball, he fell; but immediately rising on one
knee, he exclaimed, "March on, carry me into the fort; for should the
wound be mortal, I will die at the head of the column." The enemy's
loss in killed and captured amounted to six hundred and seven men. This
affair, the most brilliant of the war, covered the commanding general
with laurels.

[Footnote 28: An officer of the revolutionary army, and a conspicuous
actor in the War of 1812; has written chiefly on military affairs.]

* * * * *

=_Charles Caldwell,[29] 1772-1853._=

From his "Autobiography."


At length, however, though the class of the winter, all told, amounted
to less than a hundred, a sufficient number had arrived to induce the
professors to commence their lectures; and the introductory of Dr. Rush
was a performance of deep and touching interest, and never, I think, to
be forgotten (while his memory endures), by any one who listened to it,

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