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both administrations, which were of durable importance, and which drew after them interesting and long remaining consequences, have received general approbation. Such was the organization, or rather the creation, of the navy, in the administration of Mr. Adams; such the acquisition of Louisiana, in that of Mr. Jefferson. The country, it may safely be added, is not likely to be willing either to approve, or to reprobate, indiscriminately, and in the aggregate, all the measures of either, or of any, administration. The dictate of reason and of justice is, that, holding each one his own sentiments on the points in difference, we imitate the great men themselves, in the forbearance and moderation which they have cherished, and in the mutual respect and kindness which they have been so much inclined to feel and to reciprocate.
No men, fellow citizens, ever served their country with more entire exemption from every imputation of selfish and mercenary motives than those to whose memory we are paying these proofs of respect. A suspicion of any disposition to enrich themselves, or to profit by their public employments, never rested on either. No sordid motive approached them. The inheritance which they have left to their children, is of their character and their fame.
Fellow-citizens, I will detain you no longer by this faint and feeble tribute to the memory of the illustrious dead. Even in other hands, adequate justice could not be performed, within the limits of this occasion. Their highest, their best praise, is your deep conviction of their merits, your affectionate gratitude for their labors and services. It is not my voice, it is this cessation of ordinary pursuits, this arresting of all attention, these solemn ceremonies, and this crowded house, which speak their eulogy. Their fame, indeed, is safe. That is now treasured up, beyond the reach of accident. Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored. Marble columns may, indeed, moulder into dust, time may erase all impress from the crumbling stone, but their fame remains; for with AMERICAN LIBERTY it rose, and with AMERICAN LIBERTY ONLY can it perish. It was the last swelling peal of yonder choir, "THEIR BODIES ARE BURIED IN PEACE, BUT THEIR NAME LIVETH EVERMORE." I catch that solemn song, I echo that lofty strain of funeral triumph, "THEIR NAME LIVETH EVERMORE."
Of the illustrious signers of the Declaration of Independence there now remains only CHARLES CARROLL. He seems an aged oak, standing alone on the plain, which time has spared a little longer, after all its contemporaries have been levelled with the dust. Venerable object! we delight to gather round its trunk, while yet it stands, and to dwell beneath its shadow. Sole survivor of an assembly of as great men as the world has witnessed, in a transaction, one of the most important that history records, what thoughts, what interesting reflections must fill his elevated and devout soul! If he dwell on the past, how touching its recollections; if he survey the present, how happy, how joyous, how full of the fruition of that hope, which his ardent patriotism indulged; if he glance at the fu
ture, how does the prospect of his country's advancement almost bewilder his weakened conception! Fortunate, distinguished patriot! Interesting relic of the past! Let him know that while we honor the dead, we do not forget the living; and that there is not a heart here which does not fervently pray, that Heaven may keep him yet back from the society of his companions.
And now, fellow citizens, let us not retire from this occasion, without a deep and solemn conviction of the duties which have devolved upon us. This lovely land, this glorious liberty, these benign institutions, the dear purchase of our fathers, are ours; ours to enjoy, ours to preserve, ours to transmit. Generations past, and generations to come, hold us responsible for this sacred trust. Our fathers, from behind, admonish us, with their anxious paternal voices, posterity calls out to us, from the bosom of the future, the world turns hither its solicitous eyes-all, all conjure us to act wisely, and faithfully, in the relation which we sustain. We can never, indeed, pay the debt which is upon us; but by virtue, by morality, by religion, by the cultivation of every good principle and every good habit, we may hope to enjoy the blessing, through our day, and to leave it unimpaired to our children. Let us feel deeply how much, of what we are and of what we possess, we owe to this liberty, and these institutions of government. Nature has, indeed, given us a soil, which yields bounteously to the hands of industry, the mighty and fruitful ocean is before us, and the skies over our heads shed health and vigor. But what are lands, and seas, and skies, to civilized man, without society, without knowledge, without morals, without religious culture; and how can these be enjoyed, in all their extent, and all their excellence, but under the protection of wise institutions and a free government? Fellow citizens, there is not one of us, there is not one of us here present, who does not, at this moment, and at every moment, experience, in his own condition, and in the condition of those most near and dear to him, the influence and the benefits of this liberty, and these institutions. Let us then acknowledge the blessing, let us feel it deeply and powerfully, let us cherish a strong affection for it, and resolve to maintain and perpetuate it. The blood of our fathers, let it not have been shed in vain; the great hope of posterity, let it not be blasted.
The striking attitude, too, in which we stand to the world around us, a topic to which, I fear, I advert too often, and dwell on too long, cannot be altogether omitted here. Neither individuals nor nations can perform their part well, until they understand and feel its importance, and comprehend and justly appreciate all the duties belonging to it. It is not to inflate national vanity, nor to swell a light and empty feeling of self-importance, but it is that we may judge justly of our situation, and of our own duties, that I earnestly urge this consideration of our position, and our character, among the nations of the earth. It cannot be denied, but by those who would dispute against the sun, that with America, and in America, a new era commences in human affairs. This era is distinguished by Free Representative Gove, "ments, by entire religious liberty, by improved systems of national intercourse, by a newly awakened,
and an unconquerable spirit of free inquiry, and by a diffusion of knowledge through the community, such as has been before altogether unknown and unheard of. America, America, our country, fellow citizens, our own dear and native land, is inseparably connected, fast bound up, in fortune and by fate, with these great interests. If they fall, we fall with them; if they stand, it will be because we have upholden them. Let us contemplate, then, this connexion, which binds the prosperity of others to our own; and let us manfully discharge all the duties which it imposes. If we cherish the virtues and the principles of our fathers, Heaven will assist us to carry on the work of human liberty and human happiness. Auspicious omens cheer us. Great examples are before us. Our own firmament now shines brightly upon our path. WASHINGTON is in the clear upper sky. These other stars have now joined the American constellation; they circle round their centre, and the heavens beam with new light. Beneath this illumination, let us walk the course of life, and at its close devoutly commend our beloved country, the common parent of us all, to the Divine Benignity.
DELIVERED AT A MEETING OF CITIZENS OF BOSTON, HELD IN FANEUIL HALL, ON THE EVENING OF APRIL 3d, 1825, PREPARATORY TO THE GENERAL ELECTION IN MASSACHUSETTS.
MR. WEBSTER said, he was quite unaccustomed to appear in that place; having, on no occasion, addressed his fellow citizens there, either to recommend or to oppose the support of any candidates for public office. He had long been of opinion, that to preserve the distinction, and the hostility, of political parties, was not consistent with the highest degree of public good. At the same time he did not find fault with the conduct, nor question the motives, of those who thought otherwise. But, entertaining this opinion, he had abstained from attending on those occasions, in which the merits of public men, and of candidates for office, were discussed, necessarily, with more or less reference to party attachment, and party organi
The present was a different occasion. The sentiment which had called this meeting together, was a sentiment of union and conciliation; a sentiment so congenial to his own feelings, and to his opinion of the public interest, that he could not resist the inclination to be present, and to express his entire and hearty approbation.
He should forbear, Mr. W. said, from all remarks upon the particular names which had been recommended by the committee. They had been selected, he must presume, fairly, and with due consideration, by those who were appointed for that purpose. In cases of this sort every one cannot expect to find everything precisely as he might wish it; but those who concurred in the general sentiment would naturally allow that sentiment to prevail, as far as possible, over particular objections.
On the general question he would make a few remarks, begging the indulgence of the meeting, if he should say anything which might with more propriety, proceed from others.
He hardly conceived how well disposed and intelligent minds could differ, as to the question, whether party contest, and party strife, organized, systematic, and continued, were of themselves desirable ingredients in the composition of society.-Difference of opinion, on political subjects, honorable competition, and emulous
rivalry, may, indeed, be useful. But these are very different things from organized and systematic party combinations. He admitted, even, that party associations were sometimes unavoidable, and perhaps necessary, to the accomplishment of other ends and purposes. -But this did not prove that, of themselves, they were good; or that they should be continued and preserved for their own sake, when there had ceased to be any object to be effected by them.
But there were those who supposed, that whether political party distinctions were, or were not, useful, it was impossible to abolish them. Now he thought, on the contrary, that under present circumstances, it was quite impossible to continue them. New parties, indeed, might arise, growing out of new events, or new questions; but as to those old parties, which had sprung from controversies now no longer pending, or from feelings which time and other causes had now changed, or greatly allayed, he did not believe that they could long remain. Efforts, indeed, made to that end, with zeal and perseverance, might delay their extinction, but, he thought, could not prevent it. There was nothing to keep alive these distinctions, in the interests and objects which now engage society. New questions and new objects arise, having no connexion with the subjects of past controversies, and present interest overcomes or absorbs the recollection of former controversies. All that are united on these existing questions, and present interests, are not likely to weaken their efforts to promote them by angry reflections on past differences. If there were nothing, in things, to divide about, he thought the people not likely to maintain systematic controversies about men. They have no interest in so doing. Associations formed to support principles, may be called parties; but if they have no bond of union but adherence to particular men they become factions.
The people, in his opinion, were at present grateful to all parties, for whatever of good they had accomplished, and indulgent to all for whatever of error they had committed; and, with these feelings, were now mainly intent on the great objects which affected their present interests. There might be exceptions to this remark; he was afraid there were; but nevertheless, such appeared to him to be the general feeling in the country. It was natural that some prejudices should remain longer than their causes, as the waves lash the shore, for a time, after the storm has subsided; but the tendency of the elements was to repose.-Monopolies of all sorts were getting out of fashion, they were yielding to liberal ideas, and to the obvious justice and expediency of fair competition.
An administration of the general government, which had been, in general, highly satisfactory to the country, had now closed. He was not aware that it could with propriety be said that that administration had been either supported, or opposed by any party associations, or on any party principles. Certain it was, that as far as there had been any organized opposition to the administration, it had had nothing to do with former parties. A new administration had now commenced, and he need hardly say that the most liberal and conciliatory principles had been avowed. It could not be doubted, that it would conform to those principles. Thus far, he believed, its course had given general satisfaction. After what they all had seen,