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in all white nations of the Caucasian tribe ; Amid these reflections suggested by the and of that tribe, which embraces a vast Senator, himself a great example of repubportion of the human race, only here and lican and native virtue, one is startled by there a free nation, inconsiderable in num- the following remarks :bers but powerful in character and intelli
“ It has been the work of fortunate circumgence, has been able to establish liberty.
stances or a combination of circumstances, a But, leaving untouched the question of the
succession of fortunate incidents of some kind, capability of various races, we know that which give to any people a free government
. republican institutions are the most difficult It is a very dificult task to make a Constitution of all others to be preserved, because they to last, though it may be supposed by some that rest upon a certain moral superiority of they can be made to order and furnished at the the people, or rather of the majority of the shortest notice. Sir, this admirable Constitupeople, which appears in their Constitu- tion of our own was the result of a fortunate tions, their Manners , and their Religion. combination of circumstances. It was superi
or to the wisdom of the men who made it. It It has never happened in any age that a
was the force of circumstances which induced stupid, cowardly, and faithless nation have them to adopt many of its wise provisions. attained to permanent freedom. Free Well, sir, of the few nations who have had the institutions are not proper to the white good fortune to adopt self-government, few man, therefore, but to the courageous,
have had the good fortune long to preserve that upright and moral man; and if a race of government; for it is harder to preserve than
to form it. Few people, after years of prosmongrels or negroes, educated so far as to organize a society, were found to have liberiy is held ; and I fear, Senators, that is our
perity, remember the tenure by which their these qualities, it could not be denied that
own condition; 1 fear that we shall continue to they were capable of free institutions. involve ourselves untilour own system becomes We, a nation derived from the Saxon, ruin." Norman and Celtic races, claim to be capable of liberty, because we and our ances This observation of the Senator, that tors have always discovered more or less our admirable Constitution was the work of the republican virtues—and for no other of fortunate circumstances; that it stands, reason—not inquiring whether those virtues so to speak, in the palm of fortune, to be were an immediate gift of Heaven, or a cast down as it was raised up, at her pleasnatural inheritance, or an effect of education. ure; agrees better with the rhetoric of a
The framers of the Constitution did not military adventurer, than of a grave and extend liberty to the enslaved colored wise legislator. Nor does it add the least population of the States: the liberation force to that prediction of the destiny of of slaves was a right which all the States, this Union, uttered in the same breath with whether of the North or South, reserved it. Predictions, if they be not inspired, to for their private exercise, to hasten, de- gain respect, must rest upon a knowledge of lay, or refuse, at their private pleasure. history and of the laws that govern human The slave must be freed before he could events; if we believe that fortune presides sustain a relation of freedom to the Nation over those events, it shows more vanity itself, and his liberty lay in the gift of his than discretion in us, to predict their issue, master, and of the Individual State. or even to raise a finger to control them.
It is necessary, therefore, to protest But it is not so: the agents in the affairs against this doctrine of the Senator, that of men are themselves men, or rather the "ours is the government” (solely) “ of the passions and the reason of men; and those wbite man,” for by the admission of this who predict their course, predict from doctrine he would deny to the Individual their estimate of the force of passion States that great power to confer liberty and reason in men themselves, be they a and free suffrage upon whom they pleased, | legislative body or a nation. Had not the be they Indian, African, or mongrel, ac Senator known this, he would not have cording to the Sovereign Will of the peo- ventured to predict the fall of this Union. ple. This government is not merely a Was it by a mighty and incommunicable government of the white man, but of logic, that he ventured in the same breath whomsoever the Individual State shall see to predict the fall of our institutions, and fit to make free.
declare them the work of happy accidents ?
to raise them on lawless chance, and then come as certainly as I am now addressing the declare the law of their continuance ? to Senate, and when it does come, awful will be give them first to fortune and then to the the reckoning; heavy the responsibility somegods?
where." Absurd conclusion of the Senator! This
This warning comes from no noisy denation have fortune in their hands, and can claimer, or heated enthusiast. It is the whirl her idle wheel backward or forward voice of years and of experience. It is at their pleasure. They have but to agree not a trope, or stroke of rhetoric ; it is that honor and honesty shall rule, and the plain announcement of a fact. We they rule—that the Constitution shall re have secured our liberty, and believe that main, and it remains. On that side they it will remain secure, while we are occuhave a divine, an omnipotent authority ; pied in destroying that of other nations. on the other they are powerless. On the We think that by augmenting our power one side, they have fortune-on the other, we shall only perfect our freedom; forgetdivinity ; here chance, there reason ; here fal that not power, merely, but lawful favor, there honor; here lying, there truth; forms of power, are the support of freedom. here robbery, peculation, conquest, fear, Our power may indeed fret and spend itand the sinking of all in mere despond; self in vast enterprises ; but we are losing there law observed, credit, equity, hope, the grand privilege of freemen, to control and the fruit of all the past.
the councils of the nation: we may retain And yet-it was only by a figure of rhet our domestic freedom, but we are powerless oric that the orator appealed to Fortune, in the affairs of our country. Party Orto inspire us with a salutary terror; and ganization, the sole lever of the politician, when he afterward points out the true neglected by one party, and skillfully emcause of our danger, and shows that it is ployed by the other, has wrested the sceprather through forgetfulness that we are
tre from our gripe; we have allowed ourfalling, it is evident that he is truly no selves to believe in Public Opinion, until, worshipper of Fortune, but a firm believer too late, it is discovered that Party Organin the laws of Reason and of Nature. izations are manufactories of public opinion.
“Sir, there is no solicitude now for liberty. We have neglected to manufacture a quanWho talks of liberty when any great question tum of true and liberal opinion on the side comes up? Here is a question of the first of Justice and the Constitution, and the magnitude as to the conduct of this war; do you hear anybody talk about its effect upon our
consequences are just beginning to be felt liberties and our free institutions ? No, sir. by ourselves and by the world. That was not the case formerly. In the early As it was not by fortune nor the constages of our government the great anxiety currence of fortunate accidents, that we was, how to preserve liberty. The great anx- | arrived at our present condition, but by iety now, is for the attainment of mere military strenuous and virtuous endeavor for our glory. In the one we are forgetting the other. country and kind, so it will not be by The maxim of former times was, that power is always stealing from the many to the few; the evil fortune that we fall, if fall we must, price of liberty was perpetual vigilance. They but by the neglect of those means by were constantly looking out and watching for which we rose. And what were those danger. Not so now. Is it because there has means ? The purifying first of our own, been any decay of liberty among the people ? and next of other minds ; the banishment Not at all. I believe the love of liberty was never more ardent, but they have forgotten the trial of all public questions by the rule of
of all but the most elevated passions, the tenure of liberty by which alone it is preserved. private morality; the fearless and spiritthing with impunity, as if we held our charter ed declaration of right opinion, in the face of liberty by " right divine”--from heaven itself. of unpopularity and false enthusiasm, by Under these impressions we plunge into war, all who can speak or write with force or we contract heavy debts, we increase the pat- with discretion; the constant inculcation ronage of the Executive, and we talk of a cru- of the faith in principles,—that principles sade to force our institutions, of liberty, upon all people. There is no species of extravagance
are strictly the expression of divine laws which our people imagine will endanger their “which execute themselves,” and must be liberty in any degree. Sir
, the hour is approach- proclaimed and obeyed by all men and ing--the day of retribution will come." It will nations who are ambitious of power, or of
permanent and universal wealth :--these and public men. To accomplish this end, means, well used, cannot fail to effect their every spirited citizen will strain every ends. “But it is also necessary to have thought. If he has accumulated wealth, faith in the people.” What is meant by he will apply his acquired knowledge of faith in the people ? A question worth economy and finance to the consideration answering Put the case that the same of the public finance. If he is a lawyer, multitude were addressed by two orators, his knowledge of the nice differences of and on the same question and occasion; rights will serve him to detect the fallacies that the first of these orators considered and dishonesties of men in power. If he in his mind that the people he addressed is a clergyman, he has the law of God, were to be controlled by several passions, “which fulfills itself," written in his mind fear, vanity, admiration, interest, envy, the in a clear and legible scripture, easily lust of power, and the enthusiasm of a applied to all events and all actions as a novel enterprise ; that accordingly, hav- rule. If he is a farmer, or an independent ing this opinion of the men he addressed, mechanic, he knows that individual liberty an opinion drawn necessarily from the begins with him—that representative govstudy of his own heart, he begins by a ernment is sustained by him--in its original skillful fattery,--throws in arguments to purity and force, and that in his place he the purse, to national vanity, to the admi- is the main pillar of the state, on whom ration of great names, to popular enmities depends finally the Union and the public
prejudices, the love of domination and security ; but being no linguist nor much the love of change,-and rousing in his read in the law, he will be compelled to hearers' hearts a tumultuous, uneasy enthu- shape his estimate of public men and siasm, which then he and his colleagues measures by those plain rules from which direct to their ends :—this orator may be all laws spring, and which come to him fairly said to have no faith in the people ; direct from heaven. he rather believes that they are creatures But especially, at this crisis, when the of passion, and subject to none but base polity of the nation is being settled for a and selfish impulses. But now the second course of centuries, by the establishment orator rises, a Chatham, a Webster, a Peri- of new forms of opinion and new modes cles, a Clay; his generous spirit expands of government, it becomes the men of itself through the vast audítory, and he leisure and of letters to throw themselves believes that he is addressing a company into the strife; not like gladiators shining of high-spirited men, citizens. They see with the oil of sophistry, and wielding an the grandeur in his eye, and before a unscrupulous sword, but rather firm and word has escaped his lips, they are struck sure, organized, with the modern obedience with an irresistible sympathy with the and the modern discipline. If, instead of man. Then, he speaks. When he says degrading themselves by idle and aimless “ fellow-citizens,” they believe him, and production, the frivolous trifling of boys, at once, from a tumultuous herd, they are they would remember that they are citiconverted into men-into a nation, for the zens of a Republic more magnificent than time being ; the universal voice is speak- | Athens, and that soon must be the irreing, and every man's soul is attuned by sistible power of the world—that in it; a common purpose seizes them, a com this Republic there is no aristocracy but mon energy,--and by a wonderful effect, that which rests in native uprightness and their thoughts and feelings rise to an sincerity, no fame but that of usefulness, heroical height, beyond that of common no respectability but in the public service ; men or common times. This second orator they would cease from their trifling, and “ had faith in the people;" he addressed unite their exertions and labors to overthe better part of each man's nature, sup- throw the ambitious man who usurps, the posing it to be in him ;--and it was in him. impostor who misleads, and the coward
The great problem of our politics is, who sells himself. If, despising toil and to bring the minds of the majority up resigning the poor privilege of a little to a pitch of knowledge and confidence fretful originality, a thing smiled upon and that will enable them to use their pri- pitied by the truly great, they would join vate judgment upon public questions as true fellow-soldiers against lying,
quackery, and tyranny, of whatever kind ; | but because it is in human nature to err. in less than an age, the Union would be It is, therefore, always necessary for a settled upon eternal foundations, and the free people to watch their rulers, and men of this age be remembered as the check the career of their ambition. We, second founders of the Republic.
the private citizens, must make the man Men do not respect that which is a in place respect and fear our free vote, growth of accident or fortune, and could and our free opinion. On perpetual vigithey bring themselves to regard the insti- lance, and not on a curiously adjusted systutions of their fathers as the fruit merely tem of checks and balances, must we rely of happy concurrences, they would despise for the vindication of our rights. their very liberty, and wish to defy for But first, before attempting to check or tune, and let her do her will. Regarding limit any power, it is necessary to know, the Union as transitory and fortuitous, to feel, its exact weight and importance. we are less grieved with the thought of It is idle to argue against it, or pretend corruption in the general state : we become not to see it—to smile at, or disrespect it ; accustomed to contemplate its decay, and we must estimate it, measure it, take its are less indignant when it is proposed full dimension, compare it with others and to reduce it to an association for gain. with itself
, and finally, consider its growth, That despair, too, which sometimes affects permanency, and tenacity of life. A dry good men of a feeble temper, may well study of the Constitution, or of historical spring out of this opinion, that we lie commentaries, will not give a true idea, at the mercy of chance. To know the much less a true feeling, of the central obstacle is half to conquer it; to know the power. It springs from each one of us, danger is almost to escape it, with a spirit as from millions of living roots. We conof that temper of which freemen are cede to it, in the economy of the whole, a made. Let it, therefore, be fairly seen power original and forever established ; it and defined : different men will see it dif- is the most efficient and unobstructed Exferently and with different degrees of ecutive Power in the world, and able, by apprehension ; but he cannot be esteemed keeping a vast number of persons in the worthless, or unserviceable, who gives his hope, or in the fearful and conditional ensole attention to that shape of the public joyment, of office, to exercise a direct perdanger which affects him most, and which sonal power over one half the people. threatens the most immediate peril.
When supported by a strong minority The Senator has distinctly indicated the in Congress, it can initiate any law it present danger of the Republic—“the pleases, and suppress any which it thinks increasing power of the Executive,” its may be injurious to itself. It is not afraid assumption of an authority and an influence of impeachment, for it will always control beyond the spirit, if not beyond the letter a strong minority in the Senate and the of the Constitution, its aggression upon the House. It is not disposed to encroach liberties of the States and of the nation. openly upon the Constitution, but bas It is discovered at last, that in our own, as always advocates and excuses to defend in the English Constitution, the only effec- itself against the direct charge. It is intual control over an Executive backed stinctively ingenious with the people, and by a powerful minority, is by the refusal takes care never to seem to injure the of supplies, or by the affixing of condi- landed interests. It never touches, or tions to appropriations.
seems to touch, the liberty of the individIt is necessary to thelife of all great pow
ual, or of the State, of which the northern ers, that they should tend to burst their and southern Democracy are so exclusively bonds, and seem continually to threaten jealous; but it reaches over the heads of tyranny: the power of wrong must be coin both, and eludes both. Its immense powcident in them with the power of right; and er rests unmoved upon the tumultuous sea few men there are—there is no man, of a of opposing interests and passions ; the spirit fit to be the chief servant of the small waves (if we may so speak) of local nation, who will not sometimes encroach tumults cannot overturn it. The broader upon liberty; not because he does not love the base the more securely it stands ; and liberty, or that he means to be tyrannical, should its power ever be extended over
both continents, and over the islands, it It cannot ratify treaties without the would almost inevitably perpetuate itself consent of two-thirds of the Senators preand rise to an imperial height.
sent. The first symptom of the rise of an Its patronage may be diminished by imperial power is in the ambition of con- Congress, who have power to vest the apquest. The ambition of the people is pointment of inferior officers in the courts roused, a secret influence everywhere urges of law, or the heads of departments. them. It emanates from the Central Pow It is liable to impeachment; and the er, and the body of intriguers which sustain power to be taken away by the decision of and use it. The head wishes to feel itself the Senate. the head, and out of an ambitious wan It is founded on an oath, by which it tonness, puts the body in motion. The swears to become the defender of the Conevil passions of the multitude respond to stitution. the ambition of the central faction, and These defences are such as would be the whole force of the government is pre- erected against a power naturally inclined cipitated upon enterprises of war. This to become absolute. it does without impairing the liberties of The conflict in future is not to be that the States, or of the citizens; but these old traditional one of State Rights. What powers forget, that as the head is exalted do those vast crowds of foreigners, and the body is diminished and debased. migratory persons that people the new
Government is in its very nature aggres- lands of the West, know or care about the sive and usurping ; tending toward unlim- old jealousies of State Rights? They are ited power and unlimited territory. The under the protection of the Central Govchecks which hem it in and restrain it, re ernment, and their first desire and
respect quire to be kept up with a lively jealousy. is toward the nation ; the State with them Weaken or impoverish your aristocracy, is secondary ; their sons may understand it, and your king becomes a despot; yield the but they never will. Every foreigner who powers of the House and of the Senate in sets foot upon this continent, increases the the least particulars, and your President importance of the Central Government, has moved so far toward supreme authority. and diminishes the jealousies of the States.
The limitation of the Presidential term We repeat, that it is our firm belief, that to four years is no security against the the danger with us lies not in the fear of a steady increase of the power, in the hands revolt of individual States-our Union of a succession of intriguers, usurpers, having at length become, or fast becoming, and well-managed weaklings. The party a nation—but in a want of perception and now effectually in power have maintained foresight, to guard against the excessive a succession of Presidents, who have each influence of the Executive itself. added a little to the power of the office. Under such convictions, what are we to This party, the original opposers of the think of the party now in power? That Constitution, always insisting upon State their policy and doctrines will defend us rights and democratic liberty, has elected against evils approaching from that quara series of Presidents who have made every ter ? use of the Central Power, and showed the They know that it is necessary for a nagreatest readiness to abuse and extend it. tion to be engaged in great enterprises, but Democracy, meanwhile, wisely jealous for they prefer the enterprises of war, and its individual rights, but near-sighted, has turn the forces of government upon foreign not observed, and perhaps cannot perceive objects, how the stature of the Executive swells They cry out against a paper currency,
against credit, and indirect taxation; while The WILL OF THE NATION, permanently they are issuing millions of Treasury Notes, expressed in the Constitution, while it es secured only by the credit of the nation, tablished this power, established also cer and dare not propose a tax adequate to tain checks upon it, even within its proper the payment of the mere interest of the limits. The Executive cannot declare war, public debt. nor march an army upon a neighbor's ter They oppose the creation of a Bank for ritory, without permission from Congress. the economical management of the public