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the defence of disputed rights, and to wage the horrors of this barbarous war against our brethren? My Lords, these enormities cry aloud for redress and punishment. But, my Lords, this barbarous measure has been defended, not only on the principles of policy and necessity, but also on those of morality ; "for it is perfectly justifiable,” says Lord Suffolk, “ to use all the means which God and nature have put into our hands.” I am astonished ! - I am shocked ! — to hear such principles confessed ; – to hear them avowed in this House, or in this country. My Lords, I did not intend to encroach so much on your attention, but I cannot repress my indignation – I feel myself impelled to speak. My Lords, we are called upon as members of this House, as men, as Christians, to protest against such horrible barbarity! — “ That God and nature have put into our hands”! What ideas of God and nature that noble lord may entertain, I know not; but I know, that such detestable principles are equally abhorrent to religion and humanity. What! to attribute the sacred sanction of God and nature to the massacres of the Indian scalping-knife ! to the cannibal savage, torturing, murdering, derouring, drinking the blood of his mangled victims! Such notions shock every precept of morality, every feeling of humanity, every sentiment of honor. These abominable principles, and this more abominable avowal of them, demand the most decisive indignation.
I call upon that right reverend, and this most learned bench, to vindicate the religion of their God, to support the justice of their country. I call upon the bishops to interpose the unsullied sanctity of their lawn; upon the learned judges to interpose the purity of their ermine, — to save us from this pollution. I call upon the honor of your Lordships, to reverence the dignity of your ancestors, and to maintain your own. I call upon the spirit and humanity of my country, to vindicate the national character. I invoke the genius of the Constitution! From the tapestry that adorns these walls, the immortal ancestor of this noble lord frowns with indignation at the disgrace of his country. In vain did he defend the liberty, and establish the religion of Britain, against the tyranny of Rome, if these worse than popish cruelties, and inquisitorial practices, are endured among us.
To send forth the merci. less cannibal, thirsting for blood ! - against whom? — your Protestant brethren! to lay waste their country, to desolate their dwellings, and extirpate their race and name, by the aid and. instrumentality of these horrible hounds of war! Spain can no longer boast preëminence in barbarity. She armed herself with bloodhounds, to extirpate the wretched natives of Mexico, and we improve on the inhuman example even of Spanish cruelty; we turn loose these savage hell-hounds against our brethren and countrymen in America, endeared to us by every tie that can sanctify humanity. I again call upon your Lordships, and upon every order of men in the State, to stamp upon this infamous procedure the indelible stigma of the public abhorrence. And I again implore those holy prelates of our religion to do away this iniquity ; let them perform a lustration, to purify the country from this deep and deadly sin. My Lords, I am old and weak, and at present unable to say more ; but my feelings and indignation were too strong to have said less. I could not have slept this night in my bed, nor even reposed my head upon my pillow, without giving vent to my eternal abhorrence of such enormous and preposterous principles.
ambition, inordinate ambition. If I had thought of myself only, I should have never brought it forward. I know well the perils to which I expose myself: the risk of alienating faithful and valued friends, with but little prospect of making new ones, if any new ones could compensate for the loss of those we have ‘long tried and loved ; and the honest misconception both of friends and foes. Ambition? If I had listened to its soft and seducing whispers ; if I had yielded myself to the dictates of a cold, calculating, and prudential policy, I would have stood still and unmoved. I might even have silently gazed on the raging storm, enjoyed its loudest thunders, and left those who are charged with the care of the vessel of State to conduct it as they could.
I have been, heretofore, often unjustly accused of ambition. Low, grovelling souls, who are utterly incapable of elevating themselves to the higher and nobler duties of pure patriotism,
beings who, forever keeping their own selfish ends in view, devide all public measures by their presumed influence on their aggrandizement — judge me by the venal rule which they prescribe to themselves. I have given to the winds those false accusations, as I consign that which now impeaches my motives. I have no desire for office, not even the highest. The most exalted is but a prison, in wbich the incarcerated incumbent daily receives his cold, heartless visitants, marks his weary hours, and is cut off from the practical enjoyment of all the blessings of genuine freedom. I am no candidate for any office in the gift of the people of these States, united or separated ; I never wish, never expect to be.
Pass this bill, tranquillize the country, restore confidence and affection in the Union, and I am willing to go home to Ashland, and renounce public service forever. I should there find, in its groves, under its shades, on its lawns, midst my flocks and herds, in the bosom of my family, sincerity and truth, attachment and fidelity, and gratitude which I have not always found in the walks of public life.
Yes, I have ambition! but it is the ambition of being the humble instrument, in the hands of Providence, to reconcile a divided people ; once more to revive concord and harmony in a distracted land, - the pleasing ambition of contemplating the glorious spectacle of a free, united, prosperous, and fraternal people.
TAE NOBLEST PUBLIC VIRTUE.
it — I do not lay claim ; a boldness to which I dare not aspire; a valor which I cannot covet. I cannot lay myself down in the way of the welfare and happiness of my country. That, I cannot, I have not the courage to do. I cannot interpose the power with which I may be invested, — a power conferred, not for my personal benefit or aggrandizement, but for my country's good, – to check her onward march to greatness and glory. I have not courage enough, - I am too cowardly for that!
I would not, I dare not, lie down, and place my body across
the path that leads my country to prosperity and happiness. This is a sort of courage widely different from that which a man may display in his private conduct and personal relations. Personal or private courage is totally distinct from that higher and nobler courage which prompts the patriot to offer himself a voluntary sacrifice to his country's good.
Apprehensions of the imputation of the want of firmness sometines impel us to perform rash and inconsiderate acts. It is the greatest courage to be able to bear the imputation of the want of courage.
But pride, vanity, egotism, so unamiable and offensive in private life, are vices which partake of the character of crimes in the conduct of public affairs. The unfortunate victim of these passions cannot see beyond the little, petty, contemptible circle of his own personal interest. All his thoughts are withdrawn from his country, and concentrated on his consistency, his firmness, himself.
The high, the exalted, the sublime emotions of a patriotism which, soaring toward heaven, rises far above all mean, low, or selfish things, and is absorbed by one soul-transporting thought of the good and glory of one's country, are never felt in his impenetrable bosom. That patriotism which, catching its inspiration from on high, and, leaving at an immeasurable distance below all lesser, grovelling, personal interests and feelings,animates and prompts to deeds of self-sacrifice, of valor, of devotion, and of death itself, that is public virtue ; that is the noblest, the sublimest of all public virtues.
PLEA FOR THE UNION.
T a moment when the White House itself is in danger of
conflagration, instead of all hands uniting to extinguish the flames, we are contending about who shall be its next occupant. When a dreadful crevasse has occurred, which threatens inundation and destruction to all around it, we are contesting and disputing about the profits of an estate which is threatened with total submersion.
Mr. President, it is passion, passion — party, party, and in
that is all I dread in the adjustment of the great questions which unhappily at this time divide our distracted country. Sir, at this moment we have in the legislative bodies of this Capitol and in the States, twenty-odd furnaces in full blast, emitting heat and passion, and intemperance, and diffusing them throughout the whole extent of this broad land. Two months
all was calm in comparison to the present moment. All now is uproar, confusion, and menace to the existence of the Cuion, and to the happiness and safety of this people. Sir, I implore Senators, I entreat them, by all that they expect hereafter, and by all that is dear to them here below, to repress the ardor of these passions, to look to their country, to its interests, to listen to the voice of reason.
Mr. President, I have said — what I solemnly believe — that the dissolution of the Union and war are identical and inseparable; that they are convertible terms. Such a war, too, as that would be, following the dissolution of the Union! Sir, we may search the pages of history, and none so furious, so bloody, so implacable, so exterminating, from the wars of Greece down, including those of the Commonwealth of England, and the revolution of France none, none of them raged with such violence, or was ever conducted with such bloodshed and enormities, as will that war which shall follow that disastrous event — if that event ever happen the dissolution of the Union.
And what would be its termination ? Standing armies and navies, draining the revenues of each portion of the dissevered empire, would be created ; exterminating war would follow not a war of two or three years, but of interminable duration ur til some Philip or Alexander, some Cæsar or Napoleon, would rise to cut the Gordian Knot, and solve the problem of the capacity of man for self-government, and crush the liberties of buth the dissevered portions of this Union. Can you, sir, lightly contemplate these consequences ? Can you yield yourself to a torrent of passion, amidst dangers which I have depicted in colors far short of what would be the reality, if the event should ever happen?
I implore gentlemen — I adjure them from the South or the North, by all they hold dear in this world — by all their love of liberty, by all their veneration for their ancestors