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destroyed by the great increase and necessary toleration of usury, it is an exclusive metallic currency.
Amongst the other duties of a delicate character which the President is called upon to perform, is the supervision of the government of the territories of the United States. Those of them which are destined to become members of our great political family, are compensated by their rapid progress from infancy to manhood, for the partial and temporary deprivation of their political rights.
It is in this district only, where American citizens are to be found, who, under a settled system of policy, are deprived of many important political privileges, without any inspiring hope as to the future. Their only consolation under circumstances of such deprivation, is that of the devoted exterior guards of a camp
that their sufferings secure tranquillity and safety within.
safety within. Are there any of their countrymen who would subject them to greater sacrifices, to any other humiliations, than those essentially necessary to the security of the object for which they were thus separated from their fellow-citizens ? Are their rights alone not to be guarantied by the application of those great principles, upon which all our constitutions are founded ?
We are told by the greatest of British orators and statesmen, that, at the commencement of the war of the revolution, the most stupid men in England spoke of “their American subjects." Are there, indeed, citizens of any of our states who have dreamed of their subjects in the District of Columbia ? Such dreams can never be realized by any agency of mine.
The people of the District of Columbia are not the subjects of the people of the states, but free American citizens. Being in the latter condition when the constitution was formed, no words used in that instrument could have been intended to deprive them of that character. If there is any thing in the great principles of inalienable rights, so emphatically insisted upon in our Declaration of Independence, they could neither make, nor the United States accept, a surrender of their liberties, and become the subjects, in other words the slaves, of their former fellow-citi
If this be true, - and it will scarcely be denied by any
one who has a correct idea of his own rights as an American citizen, - the grant to Congress of exclusive jurisdiction in the District of Columbia, can be interpreted, so far as respects the aggregate people of the United States, as meaning nothing more than to allow Congress the controlling power necessary to afford a free and safe exercise of the functions assigned to the general government by the constitution. In all other respects, the legislation of Congress should be adapted to their peculiar condition and wants, and be conformable with their deliberate opinions of their own interests.
I have spoken of the necessity of keeping the respective departments of the government, as well as all the other authorities of our country, within their appropriate orbits. This is a matter of difficulty in some cases, as the powers which they respectively claim are often not defined by very distinct lines. Mischievous, however, in their tendencies, as collisions of this kind may be, those which arise between the respective communities, which for certain purposes compose one nation, are much more so; for no such nation can long exist without the careful culture of those feelings of confidence and affection which are the effective bonds of union between free and confederated states. Strong as is the tie of interest, it has been often found ineffectual. Men, blinded by their passions, have been known to adopt measures for their country in direct oppo sition to all the suggestions of policy. The alternative, then, is, to keep down a bad passion by creating and fostering a good one; and this seems to be the corner-stone upon which our American political architects have reared the fabric of our government.
The cement which was to bind it, and perpetuate its existence, was the affectionate attachment between all its members. To insure the continuance of this feeling, produced at first by a community of dangers, of sufferings, and of interests, the advantages of each were made accessible to all. No participation in any good, possessed by any member of an extensive confederacy, except in domestic government, was withheld from the citizen of any other member. By a process attended with no difficulty, no delay, no expense but that of removal, the citizen of
the one might become the citizen of any other, and successively of the whole. The lines, too, separating powers to be exercised by the citizens of one state from those of another, seem to be so distinctly drawn as to leave no room for misunderstanding. The citizens of each state unite in their persons all the privileges which that character confers, and all that they may claim as citizens of the United States; but in no case can the same person, at the same time, act as the citizen of two separate states, and he is therefore positively precluded from any interference with the reserved powers of any state, but that of which he is, for the time being, a citizen. He may, indeed, offer to citizens of other states his advice as to their management, and the form in which it is tendered is left to his own discretion and sense of propriety.
It may be observed, however, that organized associations of citizens, requiring compliance with their wishes, too much resemble the recommendations of Athens to her allies supported by an armed and powerful fleet. It was, indeed, to the ambition of the leading states of Greece to control the domestic concerns of the others, that the destruction of that celebrated confederacy, and subsequently of all its members, is mainly to be attributed. And it is owing to the absence of that spirit that the Helvetic confederacy had been for so many years preserved. Never had there been seen in the institutions of the separate members of any confederacy more elements of discord. In the principles and forms of government and religion, as well as in the circumstances of the several cantons, so marked a discrepancy was observable as to promise any thing but harmony in their intercourse, or permanency in their alliance. And yet, for ages, neither has been interrupted. Content with the positive benefits which their union produced, with the independence and safety from foreign aggression which it secured, these sagacious people respected the institutions of each other, however repugnant to their own principles and prejudices.
Our confederacy, fellow-citizens, can only be preserved by the same forbearance. Our citizens must be content with the exercise of the powers with which the constitution clothes them. The attempt of those of one state to control
the domestic institutions of another, can only result in feelings of distrust and jealousy, the certain harbingers of disunion, violence, civil war, and the ultimate destruction of our free institutions. Our confederacy is perfectly illustrated by the terms and principles governing a common copartnership. There a fund of power is to be exercised under the direction of the joint councils of the allied members, but that which has been reserved by the individual members is intangible by the common government, or the individual members composing it. To attempt it finds no support in the principles of our constitution. It should be our constant and earnest endeavor mutually to cultivate a spirit of concord and harmony among the various parts of our confederacy. Experience has abundantly taught us that the agitation, by citizens of one part of the Union, of a subject not confided to the general government, but exclusively under the guardianship of the local authorities, is productive of no other consequences than bitterness, alienation, discord, and injury to the very cause which is intended to be advanced. Of all the great interests which appertain to our country, that of union — cordial, confiding, fraternal union - is by far the most important, since it is the only true and sure guaranty of all others. In consequence
of the embarrassed state of business and the currency, some of the states may meet with difficulty in their financial concerns. However deeply we may regret any thing imprudent or excessive in the
engagements into which states have entered for purposes of their own, it does not become us to disparage the state governments, nor to discourage them from making proper efforts for their own relief; on the contrary, it is our duty to encourage them, to the extent of our constitutional authority, to apply their best means, and cheerfully to make all necessary sacrifices, and submit to all necessary burdens, to fulfil their engagements and maintain their credit; for the character and credit of the several states form part of the character and credit of the whole country.
The resources of the country are abundant, the enterprise and activity of our people proverbial; and we may well hope that wise legislation and prudent administration, by the respective governments,
each acting within its own sphere, will restore former prosperity.
Unpleasant and even dangerous as collisions may sometimes be, between the constituted authorities or the citizens of our country, in relation to the lines which separate their respective jurisdictions, the results can be of no vital injury to our institutions, if that ardent patriotism, that devoted attachment to liberty, that spirit of moderation and forbearance for which our countrymen were once distinguished, continue to be cherished. If this continues to be the ruling passion of our souls, the weaker feelings of the mistaken enthusiast will be corrected, the Utopian dreams of the scheming politician dissipated, and the complicated intrigues of the demagogue rendered harmless. The spirit of liberty is the sovereign balm for every injury which our institutions may receive.
On the contrary, no care that can be used in the construction of our government, no division of powers, no distribution of checks in its departments, will prove effectual to keep us a free people, if this spirit is suffered to decay; and decay it will without constant nurture. To the neglect of this duty, the best historians agree in attributing the ruin of all the republics with whose existence and fall their writings have made us acquainted. The same causes will ever produce the same effects; and as long as the love of power is a dominant passion of the human bosom, and as long as the understandings of men can be warped and their affections changed by operations upon their passions and prejudices, so long will the liberty of a people depend on their own constant attention to its preservation
The danger to all well-established free governments arises from the unwillingness of the people to believe in its existence, or from the influence of designing men, diverting their attention from the quarter whence it approaches, to a source from which it can never come. This is the old trick of those who would usurp the government of their country. In the name of Democracy they speak, warning the people against the influence of wealth and the danger of aristocracy. History, ancient and modern,