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North before, when men of trade, who had sprung from behind the counter, bad been seated at their side! Senator Butler felt indignant that he had been compared to Don Quixote. But Don Quixote would have been ashamed to have been deemed a champion to enslave and not a champion to emancipate. [Applause.] Mediæval chivalry was not like the modern chivalry. Don Quixote, not the Senator, might, with good reason, have objected to the comparison. [Laughter.]
Mr. President, under the reign of this South Carolinianism, the state of things at Washington, so far as freedom of speech is concerned, is getting to be as bad as it is at the capital of Austria. I remember when in Vienna, some years ago, to have heard of a young Englishman who ventured to say, in a Café, “I love tea.” He spoke in German, and I know not exactly how he pronounced or mispronounced the German phrase for that fine sentiment; but it sounded in the ears of an Austrian officer there present somewhat like Liberty! The stranger was tapped on the shoulder with this ominous warning: “You must not talk about Liberty here!” [Laughter.] That seems all right in Austria. But now at Washington, Senator Sumner, having spoken of LIBERTY, was not gently accosted by an officer of the law, and cautioned against his teinerity, but he was brutally assailed by an armed ruffian, and, in the very sanctuary of the Republic, felled to the floor! That is all right at Washington, respond the chivalry! [Applause ]
Mr. President, it is the duty of this meeting to respond to that dastardly blow, and to express its just demand that the man who did this thing should be expelled from the House of Representatives. [Applause.] Morality, Religion, Freedom, the struggling Democracy of the Old World as well as the real Democracy here, require this act of atonement at the hands of the Representatives of the people. [Applause.]
But further, sir, in the territory of Kansas, the people should have been left unmolested by the border ruffians, who have invaded their free soil. Whatever may be said or thought of “Squatter Sovereignty,” about which I might but will not now make an argument—the settlers should have been secured fair play by the men in power. [Applause.] But this they have not had; and this they are not likely to have under the present administration. But, sir, we should not forget them in their hour of need. We should sustain them in their struggle; for all that is worth living for, as citizens and as men, is bound up in the sacred principle for which they are contending. With them, in this holy contest, let us stand, whether it be for life or for death. [Loud applause.)
Sir, if this South Carolina propagandism shall succeed, and we, for any reason, acquiesce in its ascendency—if Free Speech in Congress and Free Men in Kansas shall be cloven down, and we cry Peace,” “Peace," over the sacrifice, a state of things will be brought about which will not only prove that all manhood has gone out of us, but which will make us a by-word to all people, and render it impossible for us to look, without a blush, in the face of any civilized nation. [Applause.]
George Bancroft, the historian, is no extremist. Conservatism breathes through every line of his writings. Yet, in his miscellaneous works he has produced an essay—the ablest which ever emanated from his pen--to prove that the fall of the Gracchi was the fall of Rome. The Gracchi desired to elevate their country by dividing up her immense landed estates. They wished to raise up a free proprietorship, so as to identify th: mass of the people with the welfare of the country. The pri... ciple which they advocated was called “agrarianism”a term of reproach. It was, however, a principle the success of which would have saved Rome. But the aristocracy crushed the Gracchi, and Rome fell. Alison embodies the same idea in bis remark, that Rome fell because she was filled with proprietors who had no courage to defend their lands, and with slaves, who had no lands to stimulate their courage; and this was true.
In these ideas of these two eminent historians, there is much that is applicable to our own present condition. The policy of South Carolina propagandism is to wrest free soil from free labor -to break up the system of small landed proprietorships, which is one of the most important elements of Northern prosperity; and, after the slave soil of the old States is exhausted, to take possession of the virgin soil of the new territories, and, like the aristocracy of Rome, to occupy it in large estates, and by preventing their possession by small proprietors, render this nation what Rome became under a like system, but a hollow shell, hav
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ing no internal strength and susceptible of being crushed by the first assault of an invading power. [Applause.] This is the fate with which we are threatened by this system of propagandism. If not checked, it will become a mill-stone around the neck of the nation-an angel of destiny to sink us, like Rome, down and down into the vortex of ruin, to rise no more forever. [Applause.]
Mr. President, the elements of the power of our country are its free institutions—its almost universal land proprietorship and free labor. Who can think of the destruction of these elements (and they will be destroyed if this propagandism prevails) without exclaiming, “Let not mine eyes behold it,” and in reference to tbe agencies by which this ruin must be, if it be at all, con. summated, “ Come not, my soul, into their secret.” [Applause.]
An emperor of Rome once did a queer thing. He made his horse a consul. A distinguished man was once asked what kind of a people they must have been to have borne such a disgraceful exhibition of imperial power? • What kind of a people were they!" was the reply: “why, they were just such a people as we are; and it was not until he saw that he had people which would bear such an indignity that he offered it.” By gradual downward steps, the people of Rome became prepared for any humiliation ; and when this horse was declared their consul, they did not feel that it was an indignity. Sir, the people of this country may fall from their present high estate. If they shall neglect to repel the encroachments of the propaganda-if they shall not say to South Carolinianism, “ Thus far shalt thou come, but no farther"-—the law of gravitation will soon bear us down to so low a depth, that we will accept, from some insolent President, not, perhaps, a horse for a consul, but some Brooks or Butler for a Secretary of State. (Laughter and applause.) If such a humiliation should be offered us, it would be because, by our pusillanimous conduct, in submitting to and acquiescing in every encroachment and wrong which South Carolina and her Southern adjuncts and Northern allies might impose upon us, we would prove that we were prepared for it.
Mr. President, in conclusion, permit me to say, that I, with all my heart, approve the resolutions which have been read to us, Bernd commend them to the favorable suffrages of the meeting. Let them be adopted by all means; and let the voice of the people of the North, in view of what is passing around us, be heard in tones loud as the voice of many waters, crying out against the sacrilege perpetrated in our National Senate Chamber, and against the series of encroachments and outrages which have strewed, with violence and bloodshed, the pathway of a noble and manly people. [Applause.] Justice demands it. The dignity of our manhood demands it. The sacred principle o free speech demands it. And it is demanded by the inalienable rights of man, by our free institutions, and by the enduring glory of our beloved land.
The speaker retired amid the long-continued applause of his hearers.
SPEECH OF REV. DR. HALLEY,
At the Indignation Meeting in Albany, June 6, 1856.
This has been termed an indignation meeting; and do not the circumstances under which we meet warrant the term? As men, do we not feel indignant that the treatment which is due alone to the brute, should have been inflicted on one of our species! [Applause.] As citizens of this enlightened republic, should we not be indig nt that in the nineteenth century, and in the Capitol of our country, has been perpetrated an outrage worthy of a Mandarin in China, or the despotic autocrat of Russia ? [Applause.] And as Northerners, do we not feel indignant that one of our enlightened statesman-a man of refined taste, consummate talent, and commanding eloquence, should, for his generous philanthropy, and wbile within the sanctuary of justice, be beaten, bruised, and almost murdered—while the conduct of the cowardly caitiff who did the deed, is almost universally approved by that section of our country to which he belongs? [Applause.] Can we sit unmoved under such indignities ? Are we to permit the majesty of law to be profaned—the interests of humanity sacrificed, and the constitutional rights, which were purchased with blood, to be invaded thus ruthlessly? To remain silent under provocation like this, would be to hang up a defamatory Jabel on the institutions of our country—to make our forefathers blush on their thrones of glory for their degenerate offspring, and will only prepare for loading us with deeper insults and abuse. [Applause.] And if this flagrant outrage does not lead to prompt and momentous action, I fondly trust that the South will continue to scourge and oppress us, as we deserve, beyond the utmost pitch of human endurance. [Applause ]
Sir, let us look at the case. The right of free, unshackled discussion, is a necessary element in the liberty of any country. No evil can arise from the full exercise of this. I would even give full freedom to every one to express his sentiments on religious subjects. [Applause.] Some conscientious persons are alarmed lest the vital interests of religion should be endangered by the sophistry and wit with which it assailed. It is a groundless, unholy, and pernicious fear. Error alone has reason to recoil from investigation. Truth only becomes the more impregnable the longer it is assailed. [Applause.] How strikingly does this appear from the whole history of the Infidel controversy! The speculations of these writers called out, for the defence of Christianity, a host of advocates, unrivalled for their profouud learning, powerful reasoning, and philosophical analysis--the Lelands and the Lardners, the Warburtons, the Paleys, the Watsons—who have demolished entirely the arguments of their opponents, and laid the controversy forever at rest.
No writer of eminence now has the audacity to throw down the gauntlet as the advocate of infidelity, and those precious defences of Christianity owed their existence to the freedom allowed in religious discussion. [Applause.] And should not equal latitude be allowed on every subject connected with the interests of society and the rights of humanity? Is it not the guilty alone that need fear discussion, while truth and good order are sure to emerge from the collisions of debate? [Applause ] This right of free discussion has been so dearly valued that poets have sung it, patriots have toiled for it, martyrs have died in its defence. It is so essential to the moral dignity, the elevation, the happiness, and progress of society, that to arrest it would inflict as serious a calamity on our species, as to bottle up the rain in the clouds, or put an entire extinguisher upon the sun. [Applause.) Accordingly, it is the policy of every tyrant, not only to stop the