« ForrigeFortsett »
DEFENSE OF MR. MADISON.
erous soul to the worship of virtue. Tell them your choice is also made. Tell them, with the illustrious Roman orator, you would rather be in the wrong with Plato, than in the right with Epicūrus. Tell them that a mother in Sparta would have rather seen her son brought home from battle a corpse upon his shield, than dishonored by its loss. Tell them that your mother is America, your battle the warfare of life, your shield the breastplate of Religion.
A. II. EVERETT.
XXXV. - DEFENSE OF MR. MADISON.
You object to Mr. Madison, the want of energy. The want of energy! How has Mr. Madison shown it ? Was it in standing abreast with the van of our Revolutionary patriots, and braving the horrors of a seven years' war for liberty, while you were shuddering at the sound of the storm, and clinging closer with terror to your mothers' breasts? Was it, on the declaration of our independence, in being among the first and most effective agents in casting aside the feeble threads which so poorly connected the states together, and, in lieu of them, substituting that energetic bond of union, the Federal Constitution ? Was it in the manner in which he advocated the adoption of this substitute; in the courage and firmness with which he met, on this topic, fought hand to hand, and finally vanquished, that boasted prodigy of nature, Patrick Henry?
Is this the proof of his want of energy? Or will you find it in the manner in which he watched the first movements of the Federal Constitution ? He was then in a minority. Turn to the debates of Congress, and read his arguments : you will see how the business of a virtuous and able minority is conducted. Do you discover in them any evidence of want of energy? Yos; if energy consist, as you seem to think it does, in saying rude things, in bravado and bluster, in pouring a muddy torrent of coarse invective, as destitute of argument as unwarranted by provocation, you will find great evidence of want of energy in his speeches.
But, if true energy be evinced, as we think it is, by the calm and dignified, yet steady, zealous, and persevering pursuit object, his whole conduct during that period is honorably marked
And that energy rested on the most solid and durable basis — conscious rectitude; supported by the most profound and extensive information, by an habitual power of investigation, which unraveled, with intuitive certainty, the most
intricate subjects; and an eloquence, chaste, luminous, and cogent, which won respect, while it forced conviction.
But what an idea is yours of energy! You feel a constitutional irritability; - you indulge it, and you call that indulgence energy! Sudden fits of spleen, transient starts of passion, wild paroxysms of fury, the more slow and secret workings of envy and resentment, cruel taunts and sarcasms, the dreams of disordered fancy, the crude abortions of short-sighted theory, the delirium and ravings of a hectic fever, this is your notion of energy! Heaven preserve our country from such energy as this ! If this be the kind of energy which you deny to Mr. Madison, the people will concur in your denial. But, if you deny him that salutary energy which qualifies him to pursue his country's happiness and to defend her rights, we follow up the course of his public life, and demand the proof of your charge.
XXXVI. - LAW THE POWER OF ALL. Ir, fellow-citizens, whenever the pride of a state is offended, or her selfishness rebuked, she may assume an attitude of defiance, may pour her rash and angry menaces on her confederated sisters, may claim a sovereignty altogether independent of them, and acknowledge herself to be bound to the Union by no ties but such as she may dissolve at pleasure, we do indeed hold our political existence by a most precarious tenure, and the future destinies of our country are as dark and uncertain as the past have been happy and glorious.
Happy is that country, fellow-citizens, and only that, where the laws are not only just and equal, but supreme
and irresistible; where selfish interests and disorderly passions are curbed by an arm to which they must submit. We look back with horror and affright to the dark and troubled ages when a cruel and gloomy superstition tyrannized over the people of Europe; dreaded alike by kings and people, by governments and individuals; before which the law had no force, justice no respect, and mercy no influence. The sublime precepts of morality, the kind and endearing charities, the true and rational reverence for a bountiful Creator, which are the elements and the life of our religion, were trampled upon, in the reckless career of ambition, pride, and the lust of power. Nor was it much better when the arm of the warrior and the sharpness of his sword determined every question of right, and held the weak in bondage to the strong; and the revengeful feuds of the great involved in one common ruin FATE OF THE INDIANS.
themselves and their humblest vassals. These disastrous days are gone, never to return. There is no power but the Law, which is the power of all; and those who administer it are the masters and the ministers of all.
XXXVII. - FATE OF THE INDIANS.
In the fate of the Aborigines * of our country — the American Indians — there is much, fellow-citizens, to awaken our sympathy, and much to disturb the sobriety of our judgment; much which may be urged to excuse their own atrocities; much in their characters which betrays us into an involuntary admiration. If they had the vices of savage life, they had the virtues also. They were true to their country, their friends, and their homes. If they forgave not injury, neither did they forget kindness. If their vengeance was terrible, their fidelity and generosity were unconquerable also. Their love, like their hate, stopped not on this side of the
grave. But where are they? Where are the villages, and warriors, and youth? the sachems and tribes? the hunters and their families? They have perished! They are consumed. The wasting pestilence has not alone done the mighty work. No, nor famine nor war. There has been a mightier power, a moral canker, which hath eaten into their heart-cores - a plague, which the touch of the white man communicated
a poison, which betrayed them into a lingering ruin. The winds of the Atlantic fan not a single region which they may now call their own.
Already the last feeble remnants of the race are preparing for their journey beyond the Mississippi. I see them leave their miserable homes, the aged, the helpless, the women, and the warriors, “ few and faint, yet fearless still.” The ashes are cold on their native hearths. The smoke no longer curls round their lowly cabins. They move on with a slow, unsteady step. The white man is upon their heels, for terror or dispatch; but they heed him not. They turn to take a last look of their deserted villages. They cast a last glance upon the graves of their fathers. They shed no tears; they utter no cries; they heave no groans. There is something in their hearts which passes speech. There is something in their looks, not of vengeance or submission, but of hard necessity, which stifles both; which chokes all utterance; which has no aim or method. It is courage absorbed in despair. They linger but for a moment. Their look is onward. They have passed the fatal stream. It shall never be repassed by them, – no, never. Yet there lies not between us and them an impassable gulf. They know and feel that there is for them still one remove farther, not distant, not unseen : it is to the general burialground of their race.
* Pronounced ab-o-rij'i-nis.
XXXVIII. – MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF WASHINGTON.
Sir, it was not solid information or sound judgment, or even that rare combination of surpassing modesty and valor, great as these qualities are, which gave Washington his hold on the regard, respect, and confidence, of the American people. I hazard nothing in saying that it was the high moral elements of his character, which imparted to it its preponderating force. “ Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, conscience,” was one of a series of maxims which he framed or copied for his own use, when a boy. He kept alive that spark. He made it shine before men. He kindled it into a flame which illumined his whole life. No occasion was so momentous, no circumstances were so minute, as to absolve him from following its guiding ray,
Who ever thinks of Washington as a mere politician ? lever associates him with the petty arts and pitiful intrigues of partisan office-seekers or partisan office-holders? Who ever pictures him canvassing for votes, dealing out proscription, or doling out patronage ?
And there was as little of the vulgar hero about him, as there . was of the mere politician. At the head of a victorious army, of which he was the idol, - ạn army too often provoked to the very verge of mutiny, by the neglect of an inefficient government, we find him the constant counselor of subordination, and submission to the civil authority. With the sword of a conqueror at his side, we find him the unceasing advocate of peace. Repeatedly invested with more than the power of a Roman Dictator, we see him receiving that power with reluctance, employing it with the utmost moderation, and eagerly embracing the earliest opportunity to resign it. The offer of a crown could not, did not tempt him, for an instant, from his allegiance to liberty; He rejected it with indignation and abhorrence, and proceeded to devote all his energies, and all his influence, all his popularity, and all his ability, to the establishment of that republican system, of which he was, from first to last, the uncompromising advocate, and with the ultimate success of which he believed the best interests of America and of the world were inseparably connected.
NEW ENGLANDERS IN NEW ORLEANS.
It is thus that, in contemplating the character of Washington, the offices which he held, the acts which he performed, his suocess as a statesman, his triumphs as a soldier, almost fade from our sight. It is not the Washington of the Delaware or the Brandywine, of Germantown or of Monmouth; it is not Washington the President of the Convention, or the President of the Republic, which we admire. We cast our eyes over his life, not to be dazzled by the meteoric luster of particular passages, but to behold its whole pathway radiant, radiant everywhere, with the true glory of a just, conscientious, consum'mate man! Of him we feel it to be no exaggeration to say, that
all the ends he aimed at
Were his country's, his God's, and truth’s." Of him we feel it to be no exaggeration to say, that he stands, upon the page of history, the great modern illustration and example of that exquisite and divine precept, which fell from the lips of the dying monarch of Israël,
" He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God; and he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, - even a morning without clouds.”
ROBT. C. WINTHROP.
XXXIX. — NEW ENGLANDERS IN NEW ORLEANS. From an address before the New England Society, at New Orleans,
Dec. 22, 1845. While we devote this day to the remembrance of our native land, we forget not that in which our happy lot is cast. We exult in the reflection, that, though we count by thousands the miles which separate us from our birthplace, still our country is the same. We are no exiles, meeting upon the banks of a foreign river, to swell its waters with our homesick tears. Here floats the same banner which rustled above our boyish heads, except that its mighty folds are wider, and its glittering stars increased in number.
The sons of New England are found in every State of the broad Republic. In the East, the South, and the unbounded West, their blood mingles freely with every kindred current. We have but changed our chamber in the paternal mansion ; in all its rooms we are at home, and all who inhabit it are our brothers. To us, the Union has but one domestic hearth ; its household gods are all the same. Upon us, then, peculiarly de