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is full of such examples. Cæsar became the master of the Roman people and the senate, under the pretence of supporting the democratic claims of the former against the aristocracy of the latter; Cromwell, in the character of protector of the liberties of the people, became the dictator of England ; and Bolivar possessed himself of unlimited power with the title of his country's Liberator. There is, on the contrary, no single instance on record of an extensive and well-established republic being changed into an aristocracy.
The tendency of all such governments, in their decline, is to monarchy; and the antagonist principle to liberty there is the spirit of faction spirit which assumes the character, and, in times of great excitement, imposes itself upon the people as the genuine spirit of freedom, and like the false Christs whose coming was foretold by the Savior, seeks to, and, were it possible, would, impose upon the true and most faithful disciples of liberty.
It is in periods like this, that it behoves the people to be most watchful of those to whom they have intrusted power. And although there is at times much difficulty in distinguishing the false from the true spirit, a calm and dispassionate investigation will detect the counterfeit as well by the character of its operations, as the results that are produced. The true spirit of liberty, although devoted, persevering, bold, and uncompromising in principle, that secured, is mild and tolerant, scrupulous as to the means it employs; whilst the spirit of party, assuming to be that of liberty, is harsh, vindictive, and intolerant, and totally reckless as to the character of the allies which it brings to the aid of its cause. When the genuine spirit of liberty animates the body of a people to a thorough examination of their affairs, it leads to the excision of every excrescence which may have fastened itself upon any of the departments of the government, and restores the system to its pristine health and beauty. But the reign of an intolerant spirit of party amongst a free people, seldom fails to result in a dangerous accession to the executive power, introduced and established amidst unusual professions of devotion to democracy. The foregoing remarks relate almost exclusively to mat
ters connected with our domestic concerns. It may be proper, however, that I should give some indications to my fellow-citizens of my proposed course of conduct in the management of our foreign relations. I assure them, therefore, that it is my intention to use every means in my power to preserve the friendly intercourse which now so happily subsists with every foreign nation; and that although, of course, not well informed as to the state of any pending negotiations with any of them, I see in the personal characters of the sovereigns, as well as in the mutual interests of our own and of the governments with which our relations are most intimate, a pleasing guaranty that the harmony so important to the interest of their subjects, as well as our citizens, will not be interrupted by the advancement of any claim or pretension, upon their part, to which our honor would not permit us to yield. Long the defender of my country's rights in the field, I trust that my fellow-citizens will not see in my earnest desire to preserve peace with foreign powers any indication that their rights will ever be sacrificed, or the honor of the nation tarnished, by any admission on the part of their chief magistrate unworthy of their former glory.
In the intercourse with our aboriginal neighbors, the same liberality and justice which marked the course prescribed to me by two of my illustrious predecessors, when acting under their direction in the discharge of the duties of superintendent and commissioner, shall be strictly observed. I can conceive of no more sublime spectacle — none more likely to propitiate an impartial and common Creator - than a rigid adherence to the principles of justice on the part of a powerful nation in its transactions with a weaker and uncivilized people, whom circumstances have placed at its disposal.
Before concluding, fellow-citizens, I must say something to you on the subject of the parties at this time existing in our country. To me it appears perfectly. clear that the interest of that country requires that the violence of the spirit by which those parties are at this time governed, must be greatly mitigated, if not entirely extinguished, or consequences will ensue which are appalling to be thought of.
If parties in a republic are necessary to secure a degree of vigilance sufficient to keep the public functionaries within the bounds of law and duty, at that point their usefulness ends. Beyond that, they become destructive of public virtue, the parents of a spirit antagonist to that of liberty, and, eventually, its inevitable conqueror. We have examples of republics, where the love of country and of liberty at one time were the dominant passions of the whole mass of citizens. And yet, with the continuance of the name and form of free government, not a vestige of these qualities remained in the bosom of any one of its citizens. It was the beautiful remark of a distinguished English writer, that“ in the Roman senate, Octavius had a party, Anthony a party, but the Commonwealth had none." Yet the senate continued to meet in the Temple of Liberty, and to talk of the sacredness and beauty of the commonwealth, and gaze at the statues of the elder Brutus, and of the Curtii and Decii. And the people assembled in the forum, not, as in the days of Camillus and the Scipios, to cast their free votes for annual magistrates, or pass upon the acts of the senate, but to receive from the hands of the leaders of the respective parties their share of the spoils, and to shout for one or the other, as those collected in Gaul, or Egypt, and the Lesser Asia, would furnish the larger dividend. The spirit of liberty had fled, and, avoiding the abodes of civilized man, had sought protection in the wilds of Scythia or Scandinavia; and so, under the operation of the same causes and influences, it will fly from our capitol and our forums. A calamity so awful, not only to our country, but to the world, must be deprecated by every patriot; and every tendency to a state of things likely to produce it, immediately checked. Such a tendency has existed — does exist. Always the friend of my countrymen, never their flatterer, it becomes my duty to say to them, from this high place, to which their partiality has exalted me, that there exists in the land a spirit hostile to their best interests - hostile to liberty itself. It is a spirit contracted in its views, and selfish in its object. It looks to the aggrandizement of a few, even to the destruction of the interests of the whole. The entire remedy
is with the people. Something, however, may be effected by the means which they have placed in my
hands. It is union that we want, not of a party for the sake of that party, but of the whole country for the sake of the whole country — for the defence of its interests and its honor against foreign aggression, for the defence of those principles for which our ancestors so gloriously contended. As far as it depends upon me it shall be accomplished. All the influence which I possess shall be exerted to prevent the formation at least of an executive party in the halls of the legislative body. I wish for the support of no member of that body to any measure of mine that does not satisfy his judgment and his sense of duty to those froin whom he holds his appointment; nor any confidence in advance from the people, but that asked by Mr. Jefferson, "to give firmness and effect to the legal administration of their affairs.”
I deem the present occasion sufficiently important and solemn to justify me in expressing to my fellow-citizens à profound reverence for the Christian religion, and a thorough conviction that sound morals, religious liberty, and a just sense of religious responsibility, are essentially connected with all true and lasting happiness; and to that good Being who has blessed us by the gift of civil and religious freedom, who watched over and prospered the labors of our fathers, and has hitherto preserved to us institutions far exceeding in excellence those of any other people, let us unite in fervently commending every interest of our beloved country in all future time,
Fellow-citizens— Being fully invested with that high office to which the partiality of my countrymen has called me, I now take an affectionate leave of you. You will bear with you to your homes the remembrance of the pledge I have this day given to discharge all the high duties of my exalted station according to the best of my ability; and I shall enter upon their performance with entire confidence in the support of a just and generous people.
TYLER'S ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE.
APRIL 9, 1841.
In just one month after entering upon his duties as President of the United States, William Henry Harrison died — the first that has died in office since the formation of the government. Consequently it became the duty of the Vice-President, John Tyler, to assume the presidential chair; on which occasion he published the following
ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE OF THE U. STATES. Fellow-Citizens :
Before my arrival at the seat of government, the painful communication was made to you by the officers presiding over the several departments, of the deeply-regretted death of William Henry Harrison, President of the United States. Upon him you had conferred your gift, and had selected him as your chosen instrument to correct and reform all such errors and abuses as had manifested themselves from time to time in the practical operation of the government. While standing at the threshold of this great work, he has, by the dispensation of Providence, been removed from us, and by the provisions of the constitution the efforts to be directed to the accomplishment of this vitally-important task have devolved upon myself. The same occurrence has subjected the wisdom and sufficiency of our institutions to a new test.
For the first time in our history, the person elected to the vice-presidency of the United States, by the happening of a contingency provided for in the constitution, has had devolved upon him the presidential office. The spirit of faction, which is directly opposed to the spirit of a lofty patriotism, may find in this, occasion for assaults upon my administration. And in succeeding, under circumstances so sudden and unexpected, and to responsibilities so greatly augmented, to the administration of public affairs, I shall place in the intelligence and patriotism of the people my only sure reliance. My earnest prayer shall be constantly addressed to the all-wise and all-powerful Being who made