Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

is capable of feeling', he suffers already all that humanity can suffer'. Suffers', and wherever he may fly', will suffer with the poignant recollection of having taken the life of one who was too magnanimous in return to attempt his own'. Had he known this', it must have paralyzed his arm while it pointed', at so incorruptiblé a bosóm', the instrument of death'. Does he know this now', his heart', if it is not adamant, must soften'; -if it is not ice', it must melt'.

But', on this article I forbear'. Stained with blood as he is', if he is penitent', I forgive him'; and if he is not', before these altars where all of us appear as suppliants', I wish not to excite your vengeance', but', rather', in behalf of an object rendered wretched and pitiable by crime', to wake your prayers'. But I have said', and I repeat it', there are those whom I cannot forgive'. I cannot forgive that minister at the altar who has hitherto forborne to remonstrate on this subject'. I cannot forgive that publick prosecutor who', ntrusted with the duty of avenging his country's wrongs', has seen those wrongs', and taken no measures to avenge them'. I cannot forgive that judge upon the bench', or that governour in the chair of state', who has lightly passed over such offences'. I cannot forgive the publick', in whose opinion the duellist finds a sanctuary'.

I cannot forgive you', my brethren', who', till this late hour', have been silent', whilst successive murders were committed'. No'; I cannot forgive you', that you have not', in common with the freemen of this state', raised your voice to “ the powers

that be'," and loudly and explicitly demanded an execution of your laws'. Demanded this in a manner which', if it did not reach the ear of government',' would', at least', have reached the heavens', and have plead your excuse before the God that filleth them', in whose presence', as I stand', I should not feel myself innocent of the blood which crieth against us', had I been silent'. But I have not beeno silent'. Many of you who hear me', are my witnesses', the walls of yonder temple where I have heretofore addressed you', are my witnesses', how freely I have animadverted on this subject in the presence', both of those who have violated the laws', and of those whose indispensable duty it is to see the laws executed on those who violate them'.

aPde'nånt. bMézh'árez. Bin-not, béén-nor, ben-nor, jo! nor tom! Gův'ůrn'ment. In'no'sènt-not, in'nd'sunt.

SECTION XVII.

Extract from Mr. Webster's Speech in reply to Mr. Hayne,

in the Senate of the U.S. 1830. The honourable gentleman argues', that if this government is the sole judge of the extent of its own powers', whether that right of judging is in congress', or the supreme court', it equally subverts state sovereignty'. This the gentleman sees', or thinks he sees', although he cannot perceive how the right of judging', in this matter', if left to the exercise of state legislatures', has any tendency to subvert the government of the Union'. The gentleman's opinion may be', that the right ought not to have been lodged with the general government'; he may like better', such a constitution as we should have under the right of state interference'; but I ask him to meet me on the plain matter of fact-I ask him to meet me on the constitution itself -I ask him', if the power is not found there'---clearly and visibly found there'.

But', sir', what is this danger', and what the grounds of it'? Let it be remembered', that the constitution of the United States', is not unalterable'. It is to continue in its present form', no longer than the people who established it', shall choose to continue it. If they shall become convinced', that they have made an injudicious or inexpedient partition and distribution of powers between the state governments and the general government', they can alter that distribution at will'.

If any thing be found in the national constitution', either by original provision', or subsequent interpretation', which ought not to be in it', the people know how to get rid of it'. If any construction be established', unačceptable to them', so as to be. come', practically', a part of the constitution', they will amend it at their own sovereign pleasure'. But while the people choose to maintain it as it is'; while they are satisfied with it', fuse to change it'; who has given', or who can give', to the state legislature', a right to alter it', either by interference', construction', or otherwise'? Gentlemen do not seem to recollect', that the people have any power to do anything for themselves'; they imagine there is no safety for them', any longer than they are under the close guardianship of the state legislatures'. Sir', the people have not trusted their safety', in regard to the general constitution', to these hands'. They have required other security', and taken other bonds'. They have chosen to trust themselves', first', to the plain words of the instrument', and to such construction as the government itself", in doubtful cases', should

and re

put on its own powers', under their oaths of office', and subject to their responsibility to them': just as the people of a state', trust their own state governments with a similar power'. Secondly, they have reposed their trust in the efficacy of frequent elections', and in their own power to remove their own servants and agents', whenever they see cause'. Thirdly', they have reposed trust in the judicial power', which', in order that it might be trustworthy', they have made as respectable', as disinterested', and as independent', as was practicable'. Fourthly', they have seen fit to rely', in case of necessity', or high expediency', on their known and admitted power to alter or amend the constitution', peaceably and quietly', whenever experience shall point out defects or imperfections'. And', finally', the people of the United States have', at no time', in no way', directly or indirectly', authorized any state legislature to construe or interpret their high instrument of government'; much less to interfere by their own power', to arrest its course and operation'.

If', sir', the people', in these respects', had done otherwise than they have done', their constitution could neither have been preserved', nor would it have been worth preserving': And', if its plain provisions shall now be disregarded', and these new doctrines interpolated in it', it will become as feeble and helpless a being as its enemies', whether early or more recent', could possibly desire'. It will exist in every state', but as a poor dependant on state permission'. It must borrow leave to BE, and will be', no longer than state pleasure', or state discretion', sees fit to grant the indulgence', and to prolong its poor exist

But', sir', although there are fears', there are hopes also'. The people have preserved this', their own chosen constitution', for forty years', and have seen their happiness', prosperity', and renown', grow with its growth', and strengthen with its strength'. They are now', generally', strongly attached to it'. Overthrown by direct assault, it can not be'; evaded', undermined', NULLIFIED', it will not be', if we, and those who shall succeed us here', as agents and representatives of the people', shall conscientiously and vigilantly discharge the two great branches of our publick trust'— faithfully to preserve and wisely to administer it'.

Mr. President', I have thus stated the reasons of my dissent to the doctrines which have been advanced and maintained'. I am conscious of having detained you and the senate much too long'. I was drawn into the debate with no previous delibera.

ence'.

tion', such as is suited to the discussion of so grave and impor. tant a subject. But it is a subject of which my heart is full'; and I have not been willing to suppress the utterance of its spontaneous sentiments'.

I cannot', sir', even now', persuade myself to relinquish this subject' without expressing', once more', my deep conviction', that since it respects nothing less than the Union of the States', it is of the most vital and essential importance to publick happiness'. I profess', sir', in my career hitherto', to have kept steadily in view the prosperity and honour 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 that 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 has 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', and 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

ир

and destroyed'. While the Union lasts', we have high', exciting', gratifying prospects spread out before us', for ourselves and our children'. Beyond that', I seek not 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 the heavens', may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonoured fragments of a once glorious Union',

on States dissevered', discordant', belligerant'; 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 Republick", now known and honoured throughout the earth', still full high advanced', its arms and trophies streaming in their original lustre', with 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 afterward'-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 true American heart'-Liberty AND Union', now and FOREVER', one and inseparable'!

SECTION XVIII.

The Broken Heart.-IRVING.

EVERY one must recollect the tragical story of young Emmet', the Irish patriot': it was too touching to be soon forgotten'. During the troubles m Ireland, he was tried', condemned', and exeouted', on a charge of trea800'. * His fate made a deep impression on publick sympathy'. He was so young' -so intelligent'—so generous'--so brave'

'-so every thing that we are apt to like in a young man'. His conduct under trial', too', was so lofty and intrepid'. The noble indignation with which he repelled the charge of treason against his country'—the eloquent vindication of his name—and his pathetick appeal to posterity', in the hopeless hour of condemnation' -all these entered deeply into every generous bosom', and even his enemies lamented the stern policy that dictated his execution'.

But there was one heart', whose anguish it would be impossible to describe'. In happier days and fairer fortunes', he had won the affections of a beautiful and interesting girl', the daughter of a late', celebrated Irish barrister'it She loved him with the disinterested fervour of a woman's first and early love! When every worldly maxim arrayed itself against him'; when blasted in fortune', and disgrace and danger darkened around his name', she loved him the more ardently for his very sufferings! If', then', his fate could awaken the sympathy even of his foes', what must have been the agony of her whose whole soul was occupied by his image'? Let those tell who have had the portals of the tomb suddenly closed between them and the being they most loved on earth'-who have sat at its threshold', as one shut out in a cold and lonely world', from whence all that was most lovely and loving had departed'. * In 1803.

of Mr. Curran.

« AnteriorContinuar »