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to be patriotic was to endanger houses and homes, and wives and children, and to be ready also, to pay for the reputation of patriotism, by the sacrifice of blood and of life?
Not farther to refer to her revolutionary merits, it may be truly said that New England did her part, and more than her part, in the establishment of the present government, and in giving effect to the measures and the policy of the first President. Where, sir, did the measures of Washington find the most active friends, and the firmest support? Where are the general principles of his policy most widely spread, and most deeply seated?-If, in subsequent periods, different opinions have been held, by different portions of her people, New England has, nevertheless, been always obedient to the laws, even when she most severely felt their pressure, and most conscientiously doubted, or disbelieved their propriety. Every great and permanent institution of the country, intended for defence, or for improvement, has met her support. And if we look to recent measures, on subjects highly interesting to the community, and especially some portions of it, we see proofs of the same steady and liberal policy. It may be said, with entire truth, and it ought to be said, and ought to be known, that no one measure for internal improvement has been carried through Congress, or could have been carried, but by the aid of New England votes. It is for those most deeply interested in subjects of that sort to consider in season, how far the continuance of the same aid is necessary for the further prosecution of the same objects. From the interference of the general government in making roads and canals, New England has as little to hope or expect as any part of the country. She has hitherto supported them, upon principle, and from a sincere disposition to extend the blessings and the beneficence of the government. And, sir, I confidently believe that those most concerned in the success of these measures, feel towards her respect and friendship. They feel that she has acted fairly and liberally, wholly uninfluenced by selfish or sinister motives. Those, therefore, who have seen, or thought they saw, an object to be attained by exciting dislike and odium towards New England, are not likely to find quite so favorable an audience as they have expected. It will not go for quite so much as wished, to the disadvantage of the President, that he is a native of Massachusetts. Nothing is wanting, but that we, ourselves, should entertain a proper feeling on this subject, and act with a just regard to our own rights and our own duties. If I could collect around me the whole population of New England, or if I could cause my voice to be heard over all her green hills, or along every one of her pleasant streams, in the exercise of true filial affection, I would say to her, in the language of the great master of the maxims of life and conduct.
“This above all,-To thine own self be true
Mr. President, I have delayed you too long. I beg to repeat my thanks for the kindness which has been manifested towards me, by my fellow citizens, and to conclude by reciprocating their good wishes. The City of Boston. Prosperity to all her interests, and happiness to all her citizens.
IN THE CASE, THE TRUSTEES OF DARTMOUTH COLLEGE vs. WILLIAM H. WOODWARD, BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, ON THE 10th DAY OF MARCH, 1818.
[The action, The Trustees of Dartmouth College vs. William H. Woodward, was commenced at the Court of Common Pleas, Grafton County, State of New Hampshire, February Term, 1817. The declaration was Trover for the Books of Record, original Charter, common Seal and other corporate property of the College. The conversion was alleged to have been made on the 7th day of October, 1816. The proper pleas were filed, and by consent, the cause was carried directly to the Superior Court, by Appeal, and entered May Term 1817. The general issue was pleaded by the defendant and joined by the plaintiffs. The facts in the case were then agreed upon, by the parties, and drawn up in the form of a Special Verdict, reciting the Charter of the College and the acts of the Legislature of the State, passed June and December 1816, by which the said Corporation of Dartmouth College was enlarged and improved and the said Charter amended.
The question made in the case was, whether those acts of the Legislature were valid and binding upon the Corporation, without their acceptance or assent, and not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States. If so, the verdict found for the defendant; otherwise, it found for the plaintiffs.
The cause was continued to the September Term of the Court in Rockingham County, where it was argued; and at the November Term of the same year, in Grafton County, the opinion of the Court was delivered by Chief Justice Richardson, in favor of the validity and constitutionality of the acts of the Legislature; and judgment was accordingly entered for the defendant on the Special Verdict.
Thereupon a Writ of Error was sued out by the original plaintiffs to remove the cause to the Supreme Court of the United States; where it was entered at the Term of the Court holden at Washington on the first Monday of February, A. D. 1818.
The cause came on for argument on the 10th day of March 1818, before all the judges. It was argued by Mr. Webster and Mr. Hopkinson for the plaintiffs in error, and by Mr. Holmes and the Attorney General for the defendant in error.
At the Term of the Court holden February 1819, the opinion of the judges was delivered, declaring the acts of the Legislature unconstitutional and invalid, and reversing the judgment of the State Court.]
ARGUMENT OF MR. WEBSTER FOR PLAINTIFFS IN ERROR.
The general question is, whether the acts of the 27th of June, and of the 18th and 26th of December, 1816, are valid and binding on the rights of the plaintiffs, without their acceptance or assent.
The charter of 1769 created and established a corporation, to consist of twelve persons, and no more; to be called the "Trustees of Dartmouth College." The preamble to the charter recites, that it is granted on the application and request of the Rev. Eleazer
Wheelock: That Dr. Wheelock, about the year 1754, established a charity school, at his own expense, and on his own estate and plantation: That, for several years, through the assistance of well disposed persons in America, granted at his solicitation, he had clothed, maintained, and educated a number of the native Indians, and employed them afterwards as missionaries and schoolmasters among the savage tribes: That his design promising to be useful, he had constituted the Rev. Mr. Whitaker to be his attorney, with power to solicit contributions, in England, for the further extension and carrying on of his undertaking; and that he had requested the Earl of Dartmouth, Baron Smith, Mr. Thornton, and other gentlemen, to receive such sums as might be contributed, in England, towards supporting his school, and to be trustees thereof, for his charity; which these persons had agreed to do. And thereupon Dr. Wheelock had executed to them a deed of trust, in pursuance to such agreement, between him and them, and for divers good reasons, had referred it to these persons, to determine the place in which the school should be finally established: And to enable them to form a proper decision on this subject, had laid before them the several offers which had been made to him by the several governments in America, in order to induce him to settle and establish his school within the limits of such governments for their own emolument, and the increase of learning in their respective places, as well as for the furtherance of his general original design. And in as much as a number of the proprietors of lands in New Hampshire, animated by the example of the governor himself and others, and in consideration that without any impediment to its original design, the school might be enlarged and improved, to promote learning among the English, and to supply ministers to the people of that province, had promised large tracts of land, provided the school should be established in that province, the persons before mentioned, having weighed the reasons in favor of the several places proposed, had given the preference to this province, and these offers; that Dr. Wheelock therefore represented the necessity of a legal incorporatio, and proposed that certain gentlemen in America, whom he had already named and appointed in his will, to be trustees of his charity after his decease, should compose the corporation. Upon this recital, and in consideration of the laudable original design of Dr. Wheelock, and willing that the best means of education be established in New Hampshire, for the benefit of the province, the king grants the charter, by the advice of his provincial council.
The substance of the facts thus recited, is, that Dr. Wheelock had founded a charity, on funds owned and procured by himself; that he was at that time the sole dispenser and sole administrator, as well as the legal owner of these funds; that he had made his will, devising this property in trust, to continue the existence and uses of the school, and appointed trustees; that, in this state of things, he had been invited to fix his school, permanently, in New Hampshire, and to extend the design of it to the education of the youth of that province; that before he removed his school, or accepted this invitation, which his friends in England had advised him to accept, he applied for a charter, to be granted, not to whomsoever the king or govern
with a feeling of brotherhood, and put forth a claim of kindred. The South American States, especially, exhibit a most interesting spectacle. Let the great men who formed our constitutions of government, who still survive, and let the children of those who have gone to their graves console themselves with the reflection, that whether they have risen or fallen in the little contests of party, they have not only established the liberty and happiness of their own native land, but have conferred blessings beyond their own country, and beyond their own thoughts, on millions of men, and on successions of generations. Under the influence of these institutions, received and adopted in principle, from our example, the whole southern continent has shaken off its colonial subjection.-A new world, filled with fresh and interesting nations, has risen to our sight. America seems again discovered; not to geography, but to commerce, to social intercourse, to intelligence, to civilisation, and to liberty. Fifty years ago, some of those who now hear me, and the fathers of many others; listened in this place, to those mighty masters, Otis and Adams. When they then uttered the spirit stirring sounds of Independence and Liberty, there was not a foot of land on the continent inhabited by civilized man, that did not acknowledge the dominion of European power. Thank God, at this moment, from us to the south pole, and from sea to sea, there is hardly a foot that does.
And, sir, when these States, thus newly disenthralled and emancipated, assume the tone, and bear the port of independence, what language, and what ideas do we find associated, with their new acquired liberty? They speak, sir, of Constitutions, of Declarations of Rights, of the Liberty of the Press, of a Congress, and of Representative Government. Where, sir, did they learn these? And when they have applied, to their great leader, and the founder of their States, the language of praise and commendation, till they have exhausted it-when unsatisfied gratitude can express itself no otherwise, do they not call him their WASHINGTON? Sir, the Spirit of Continental Independence, the Genius of American Liberty, which in earlier times tried her infant voice in the halls and on the hills of New England, utters it now, with power that seems to wake the dead, on the plains of Mexico, and along the sides of the Andes. "Her path, where'er the Goddess roves,
Glory pursues, and generous shame,
The unconquerable mind, and Freedom's holy flame."
There is one other point of view, sir, in regard to which I will say a few words, though perhaps at some hazard of misinterpreta
In the wonderful spirit of improvement and enterprise which animates the country, we may be assured that each quarter will naturally exert its power in favor of objects in which it is interested. This is natural and unavoidable. Each portion, therefore, will use its best means. If the West feels a strong interest in clearing the navigation of its mighty streams, and opening roads through its vast forests; if the South is equally zealous to push the production and
augment the prices of its great staples, it is reasonable to expect, that these objects will be pursued by the best means which offer. And it may therefore well deserve consideration, whether the commercial, and navigating, and manufacturing interests of the North do not call on us to aid and support them, by united counsels, and united efforts. But I abstain from enlarging on this topic. Let me rather say, sir, that in regard to the whole country, a new era has arisen. In a time of peace, the proper pursuits of peace engage society with a degree of enterprise, and an intenseness of application, heretofore unknown. New objects are opening, and new resources developed, on every side. We tread on a broader theatre; and if instead of acting our parts, according to the novelty and importance of the scene, we waste our strength in mutual crimination and recrimination about the past, we shall resemble those navigators, who having escaped from some crooked and narrow river to the sea, now that the whole ocean is before them, should, nevertheless, occupy themselves with the differences which happened as they passed along among the rocks and the shallows, instead of opening their eyes to the wide horizon and them, spreading their sail to the propitious gale that woos it, raising their quadrant to the sun, and grasping the helm, with the conscious hand of a master.