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causes which were likely to spring up to endanger it, and which, if once they should overthrow the present system, would leave little hope of any future beneficial reünion. Of all the presumptions indulged by presumptuous man, that is one of the rashest which looks for repeated and favorable opportunities for the deliberate establishment of a united government over distinct and widely extended communities. Such a thing has happened once in human affairs, and but once; the event stands out as a prominent exception to all ordinary history; and unless we suppose ourselves running into an age of miracles, we may not expect its repetition.
Washington, therefore, could regard, and did regard, nothing as of paramount political interest, but the integrity of the Union itself. With a united government, well administered, he saw we had nothing to fear; and without it, nothing to hope. The sentiment is just, and its momentous truth should solemnly impress the whole country. If we might regard our country as personated in the spirit of Washington, if we might consider him as representing her, in her past renown, her present prosperity, and her future career, and as in that character demanding of us all to account for our conduct, as political men or as private citizens, how should he answer him who has ventured to talk of disunion and dismemberment? Or how should he answer him who dwells perpetually on local interests, and fans every kindling flame of local prejudice ? How should he answer him who would array state against state, interest against interest, and party against party, careless of the continuance of that unity of government which constitutes us one people?
Gentlenien, the political prosperity which this country has at tained, and which it now enjoys, it has acquired mainly through the instrumentality of the present government. While this
. agent continues, the capacity of attaining to still higher degrees of prosperity exists also. We have, while this lasts, a political life capable of beneficial exertion, with power to resist or over come misfortunes, to sustain us against the ordinary accidents of human affairs, and to promote, by active efforts, every public interest. But dismemberment strikes at the very being which preserves these faculties. It would lay its rude and ruthless hand on this great agent itself. It would sweep away, not only what we possess, but all power of regaining lost, or acquiring new possessions. It would leave the country, not only be.
, reft of its prosperity and happiness, but without limbs, or organs, or faculties, by which to exert itself hereafter in the pursuit of that prosperity and happiness.
Other misfortunes may be borne, or their effects overcome. If disastrous war should sweep our commerce from the ocean, another generation may renew it; if it exhaust our treasury, future industry may replenish it; if it desolate and lay waste our fields, still, under a new cultivation, they will grow green again, and ripen to future harvests. It were but a trifle even if the walls of yonder capitol were to crumble, if its lofty pillars should fall, and its gorgeous decorations be all covered by the dust of the valley. All these might be rebuilt. But who shall reconstruct the fabric of demolished government? Who shall rear again the well proportioned columns of constitutional liberty? Who shall frame together the skillful architecture which unites national sovereignty with state rights, individual security, and public prosperity? No, gentlemen, if these col. umns fall, they will be raised not again. Like the Coliseum and the Parthenon, they will be destined to a mournful, a melancholy immortality. Bitterer tears, however, will flow over them, than were ever shed over the monuments of Roman or Grecian art; for they will be the remnants of a more glorious edifice than Greece or Rome ever saw—the edifice of constitutional American liberty.
But, gentlemen, let us hope for better things. Let us trust in that gracious Being who has hitherto held our country as in the hollow of his hand. Let us trust to the virtue and the in
telligence of the people, and to the efficacy of religious obligation. Let us trust to the influence of Washington's example, Let us hope that that fear of Heaven which expels all other fear, and that regard to duty which transcends all other regard, may influence publio men and private citizens, and lead our country still onward in her happy career. Full of these gratifying anticipations and hopes, let us look forward to the end ofrthat century which is now commenced, A hundred years hence, other disciples of Washington will celebrate his birth, with no less of sincere admiration than we now commemorate it. When they shall meet, as we now meet, to do themselves and him that honor, so surely as they shall see the blue sum. mits of his native mountains rise in the horizon, so surely as they shall behold the river on whose banks he lived, and on whose banks he rests, still flowing on toward the sea, so surely may they see, as we now see, the flag of the Union floating on the top of the capitol; and then, as now, may the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!
Gentlemen, I propose-"THE MEMORY OF GEORGE WASHINGTON."
Ir is the custom in England for a candidate for any public office to explain his principles to his constituents, either verbally or in writing, generally by the former mode, on the day of the election; and his opponent or opponents, of course, can exercise the same privilege. This not unfrequently leads to a general discussion, in which the leading partisans on both sides take their share. From England the practice was long ago imported into this country; and here it has been so interwoven into our customs, that scarcely an election takes place without a general contest of this description, which is sometimes accompanied by very serious and disgusting personalities. Mr. Webster's political addresses to the people, bowever, were always dignified and courteous. Here, as everywhere else, he was a worthy model; and the speech selected as specimen, delivered in Niblo's Saloon, New York, at the age of fifty-five, has never been matched in this country, on any similar occasion, even by himsell