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salt overwhelms him ; he trembles, as if it were still uncertain, and seems to doubt whether he may consider Socrates and Plato, Demosthenes, Sophocles, and Phidias, as secure, yet, to himself and to the world.
THE FUTURE OF AMERICA.
FELLOW-CITIZENS, the hours of this day are rapidly
flying, and this occasion will soon be passed. Neither we nor our children can expect to behold its return. They are in the distant regions of futurity, they exist only in the all-creating power of God, who shall stand here, a hundred years hence, to trace, through us, their descent from the Pilgrims, and to survey, as we have now surveyed, the progress of their country during the lapse of a century. We would anticipate their concurrence with us in our sentiments of deep regard for our common ancestors. We would anticipate and partake the pleasure with which they will then recount the steps of New England's advancement. On the morning of that day, although it will not disturb us in our repose, the voice of acclamation and gratitude, commencing on the rock of Plymouth, shall be transmitted through millions of the sons of the Pilgrims, till it lose itself in the murmurs of the Pacific seas. We would leave, for the consideration of those who shall then occupy our places, some proof that we hold the blessings transmitted from our fathers in just estimation ; some proof of our attachment to the cause of good government, and of civil and religious liberty ; some proof of a sincere and ardent desire to promote everything which may enlarge the understandings, and improve the hearts, of men. And when, from the long distance of a hundred years, they shall look back upon [IS, they shall know, at least, that we possessed affections, which, running backward and warming with gratitude for what our ancestors have done for our happiness, run forward also to our posierity, and meet them with cordial salutation, ere yet they have arrived on the shore of being.
Advance, then, ye future generations! We would hail you, 28 you rise in your long succession, to fill the places which we aow fill, and to taste the blessings of existence, where we are
passing, and soon shall have passed, our human duration. We bid you
welcome to the healthful skies and the verdant fields of New England. We greet your accession to the great inheritance which we have enjoyed. We welcome you to the blessings of good government, and religious liberty. We welcome you to the treasures of science, and the delights of learning. We welcome you to the transcendent sweets of domestic life, to the happiness of kindred, and parents, and children. We welcome you to the immeasurable blessings of rational existence, the immortal hope of Christianity, and the light of everlasting truth.
LIBERTY OF SPEECH.
, as I deem it to discuss, on all proper occasions, the policy of the measures at present pursued, it is still more important to maintain the right of such discussion in its full and just extent. Sentiments lately sprung up, and now growing fashionable, make it necessary to be explicit on this point. The more I perceive a disposition to check the freedom of inquiry by extravagant and unconstitutional pretences, the firmer shall be the tone in which I shall assert, and the freer the manner in which I shall exercise it.
It is the ancient and undoubted prerogative of this people to canvass public measures, and the merits of public men. It is a “home-bred” right, a fireside privilege. It hath ever been enjoyed in every house, cottage, and cabin, in the nation. It is not to be drawn into controversy. It is as undoubted as the right of breathing the air, or walking on the earth. Belonging to private life as a right, it belongs to public life as a duty; and it is the last duty which those whose representative I am shall find me to abandon. Aiming at all times to be courteous and temperate in its use, except when the right itself shall be questioned, I shall then carry it to its extent. I shall place myself on the extreme boundary of my right, and bid defiance to any arm that would move me from my ground.
This high constitutional privilege I shall defend and exercise within this house, and in all places ; in times of peace, and in
all times. Living, I shall assert it; and, should I leave no other inheritance to my children, by the blessing of God I will leave them the inheritance of free principles, and the example of a manly, independent, and constitutional defence of them.
WASHINGTON TO THE PRESENT GENERATION. FELLOW-CITIZENS, — What contemplations are awak
ened in our minds, as we assemble here to reënact a scene like that performed by Washington! Methinks I see his venerable form now before me, as presented in the glorious statue by Houdon, now in the capital of Virginia. He is dignified and grave; but his concern and anxiety seem to soften the lineaments of his countenance. The government over which he presides is yet in the crisis of experiment. Not free from troubles at home, he sees the world in commotion and arms, all around him. He sees that imposing foreign powers are half disposed to try the strength of the recently established American government. We perceive that mighty thoughts, mingled with fears as well as hopes, are struggling within him. He heads a short procession over these then naked fields; he crosses yonder stream on a fallen tree ; he ascends to the top of this eminence, whose original oaks of the forest stand as thick around him as if the spot had been devoted to Druidical worship, and here he performs the appointed duty of the day.
And now, fellow-citizens, if this vision were a reality, — if Washington actually were now amongst us,
and if he could draw around him the shades of the great public men of his own days, patriots and warriors, orators and statesmen, and were to address us, in their presence, would he not say to us, “Ye men of this generation, I rejoice, and thank God for being able to see that our labors, and toils, and sacrifices, were not in vain. You are prosperous, you are happy, — you are grateful. The fire of liberty burns brightly and steadily in your hearts, while duty and the law restrain it from bursting forth in wild and destructive conflagration. Cherish liberty, as you love it;
- cherish its securities, as you wish to preserve it. Maintain
the Constitution which we labored so painfully to establish, and which has been to you such a source of inestimable blessings. Preserve the Union of the States, cemented as it was by our prayers, our tears, and our blood. Be true to God, to your country, and to your duty. So shall the whole Eastern world follow the morning sun, to contemplate you as a nation ; so shall all succeeding generations honor you as they honor us; and so shall that Almighty Power which so graciously protected us, and which now protects you, shower its everlasting blessings upon you and your posterity."
Great father of your country! we heed your words; we feel their force as if you uttered them with life of flesh and blood. Your example teaches us ; your affectionate addresses teach us; your public life teaches us your sense of the value of the blessings of the Union. Those blessings our fathers bave tasted, and we have tasted, and still taste. Nor do we intend that those who come after us shall be denied the same high fruition. Our honor as well as our happiness is concerned. We cannot, we dare not, we will not, betray our sacred trust. We will not filch from posterity the treasure placed in our hands to be transmitted to other generations. The bow that gilds the clouds in the heavens, the pillars that uphold the firmament, may disappear and fall away, in the hour appointed by the will of God ; but, until that day comes, or so long as our lives may last, no ruthless hand shall undermine that bright arch of Union and Liberty, which spans the continent from Washington to California.
THE PLATFORM OF THE CONSTITUTION.
A PRINCIPAL object, in his late political movements, the
gentleman himself tells us, was to unite the entire South; and against whom, or against what, does he wish to unite the entire South ? Is not this the very essence of local feeling and local regard? Is it not the acknowledgment of a wish and object to create political strength, by uniting political opinions geographically? While the gentleman wishes to unite the entire South, I pray to know, sir, if he expects me to turn toward the polar star, and, acting on the same principle, to utter a cry of Rally! to the whole North ? Heaven forbid ! To the day of my death, neither he nor others shall hear such a cry from me.
Finally, the honorable member declares that he shall now march off, under the banner of State rights! March off from whom? March off from what ? We have been contending for great principles. We have been struggling to maintain the liberty and to restore the prosperity of the country; we have made these struggles here, in the national councils, with the old flag the true American flag, the Eagle and the Stars and Stripes – waving over the chamber in which we sit. He now tells us, however, that he marches off under the State-rights banner !
Let him go. I remain. I am, where I ever have been, and ever mean to be. Here, standing on the platform of the general Constitution, - a platform broad enough, and firm enough, to uphold every interest of the whole country, — I shall still be found. Intrusted with some part in the administration of that Constitution, I intend to act in its spirit, and in the spirit of those who framed it. Yes, sir. I would act as if our fathers, who formed it for us, and who bequeathed it to us, were looking on me, as if I could see their venerable forms, bending down to behold us from the abodes above! I would act, too, as if the eye of posterity was gazing on me.
Standing thus, as in the full gaze of our ancestors and our posterity, having received this inheritance from the former to be transmitted to the latter, and feeling that, if I am born for any good, in my day and generation, it is for the good of the whole country, - no local policy, no local feeling, no temporary impulse, shall induce me to yield my foothold on the Constitution and the Union. I move off under no banner not known to the whole American People, and to their Constitution and laws. No, sir! these walls, these columns,
I came into public life, sir, in the service of the United States. On that broad altar my earliest and all my public vows have been made. I propose to serve no other master. So far as depends on any agency of mine, they shall continue United