delivered July 4th, 1838,
at the Plymouth county
held at Middleborough Four Corners,
in the tenth congressional district,
by Benjamin Franklin Hallett.
Middleborough, July 4th, 1838.
Dear Sir--- The Committee of Arrangements for the Plymouth County Democratic Celebration, having in common with the numerous assemblage of their fellow-citizens, heard with great pleasure the eloquent and instructive Oration delivered by you this day, request that it may be furnished them for publication.
Your fellow citizen,To B.F. Hallett, Esq.
Chairman of the Committee of Arrangements.
Boston, July 10th, 1838.
Dear Sir--- Believing that the partial estimate the Committee have made of the hasty production which a very brief notice obliged me to offer to the numerously assembled Democracy of Plymouth County, may be relied on with more safety than my own impressions, I cheerfully submit it to your kind disposal.
To have been their organ, on that occasion, and to be assured of their concurrence in the sentiments of the Address, will ever be among the most cherished of my recollections. The town of Middleborough is preeminently democratic, and worthy to be the head quarters of the Democracy of the County. I remember it as such in the times that tried men's souls in the last war, when I was a school boy politician, at the Academy on the pleasant Green where now stands the neat Church in which we were assembled. In manhood I find it steady to the same Republican doctrines that then tested the division of parties; and as wholesome in its moral and political atmosphere, as in the pure air and virtuous industry that give health and vigor to its people.
It was peculiarly pleasant to revive the familiar associations of boyhood, by meeting and addressing, on the very spot where years ago I tried my first efforts at school-boy declamation; so great a multitude of the substantial yeomanry, the intelligent, frugal and thriving population of the country, gathered together, from no temptations to excessive indulgence of appetite, but for the love of Republican principles alone. It was a proud occasion, to see this assembled mass from twenty-three towns of Plymouth and Bristol, actuated by one mind, and animated in the cause of genuine democracy, by a patriotic spirit, that needed not and therefore cheerfully dispensed with, any other stimulus, in the temperate festivities of the day.
To the Committee of Arrangements and to the generous and cordial people who gave efficiency and enthusiasm to the observance of the day, I cannot sufficiently express my thanks for having been a sharer in its enjoyments.
Your fellow citizen,To Eliab Ward, esq.,
Chairman of Committee of Arrangements.
It is pleasant and good for us to be here to-day; to have come up hither, to the house of worship, in a peaceful village of New England, in full assembly of the virtuous population of the soil, to keep our great National Festival.
It is good to be here to-day, in the midst of Freemen in a free land, --surrounded by all the green and growing things of earth that make fresh and glad the face of Nature; and secured in their enjoyment by civil and social Institutions, that light up with intelligence and contentment the countenances of those whom the peaceful pursuits of agriculture and the useful arts have best fitted to enjoy these blessings --blessings so well earned by wholesome industry, and so rightly used with generous frugality.
Permit me but for a moment, to turn aside from the Genius of the Day, to pay a passing homage to the Genius of the Place.
Here on this Green, --there in that still unchanged School Room; and all around, are the highly improved but well remembered scenes of my early study. This spot was the nursery and home of my boyish intellect. I hear again the familiar tone of the Academic bell that daily called me to my tasks when I knew no care, was impelled by no ambition, but the pleasant toils and generous emulation of the schoolboy. And I almost wish I were again a boy, to live over scenes that after a lapse of years come fresh and green, as your lovely landscape, upon memory, as if they bore the impress of but yesterday.
It is good for us, my friends, sometimes to pause in the eager course of matured life, and look back upon the peaceful scenes of youth and childhood --to step over the stream of years that flows between us and them, and seem to "people the present with the past."
And after all, the ambitious man is but the impatient boy of larger growth. His feverish pursuit of wealth is but, (matured to avarice,) the boyish grasping of all the marbles and apples. His repinings at the mysterious ways of Providence, are but the fretfulness of childhood at the corrections of a benevolent teacher, who chastens to improve. His devices to cheat his conscience into charging upon ill-luck, or others, the misfortune and humiliation his own selfish indolence, reckless extravagance or vicious indulgence have brought upon him; are but the schoolboy's tricks to put upon his fellows the disgrace that follows his own neglect of duty and disobedience of wholesome discipline.
How worthless seem to us now, the most impassioned pursuits of childhood --how trifling the little disappointments that then pierced deepest ! How much of that we once most longed for, we now least desire: how few of our most cherished plans have been found worth pursuing: how much of useless toil and weariness of spirit have we self-inflicted for that which, when obtained, satisfieth not, and but perisheth in the using !
And from the long lessons of the forgotten hopes, idle fears and changed purposes of life, let us draw instruction for the future. Let us look more steadily at the higher destinies of man, and learn to value less the worldly pursuits of perishable existence, that make him forget he has an imperishable soul !
Reflect a moment ! What to us now, are the little ills of childhood that once fretted us so grievously ? What then ought to be our estimate of the seeming ills of matured life ? For we feel and know, more distinctly than the boy could realize he ever should be a man, that there is a higher state of existence, where this whole fitful dream of manhood seems now to the spirits of the justified, as puerile as do to us the joys and griefs of infancy --where, if thought can look back on earth, we shall as much marvel that we could once have acted and felt as men do, as we now wonder how we could ever have felt and acted as children do.
But though life, at best, is a poor player that frets his hour upon the stage, yet while life lasts it becomes every man, and especially every freeman who is acting not for himself alone, but for the hopes of humanity, to
"Act well his part: there all the honor lies."
To do this wisely and well in a government where the popular will is the Sovereign; either acting in its own intelligence or under false and deceptive impulses; it becomes a concern of public welfare that every citizen should rightly understand the principles of popular government, the measures most essential to sustain them in their purity, and the reasons of the choice he is called on to make between men and measures, in the selection of the public functionaries.
I shall therefore, on this occasion, speak plainly, but I trust not intemperately, so as in aught unwisely to offend. I come here as a Democrat, to give you a democratic discourse. My object is not fine writing, but wholesome truths. We have had, on this day, enough of eloquent flourishes about our "glorious Institutions," with but little of practical application to the measures that shall bring these institutions the nearest to universality in their beneficial influences. It is time now, to take a new departure, and see which of the courses that the two great parties are pursuing, will lead us aright. We may have Declarations of Independence and Constitutions fairly engrossed on parchment, but they avail nothing if their true and honest principles are not written on the hearts of the people.
It is time, then, to inquire how the sons shall maintain, rather than how the sires achieved, republican independence. It is time to rally to sustain republican institutions, in republican simplicity; and above all, it is time, in the conflicting constructions that political leaders are putting upon the Constitution, to be sure that we understand the fundamental principles of our free institutions.
Institutions ! Already the very name has become perverted. Dearest to Republicans once, as meaning only the great institutions of civil and religious freedom, proclaimed this day, sixty-two years ago, to be the inalienable rights of man; this sacred appellation has been narrowed down to signify modern inventions of monopoly and money making.
When the orators and expounders of the Constitution, who claim to be the exclusive conservatives of free institutions, exhort the people to stand by these institutions, and threaten them with ruin and the loss of liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness if they do not, they only mean Bank Charters and special Corporations of exclusive privileges !
Such are not the "Institutions" that sprung from the first free Constitution, framed on board the May Flower. Such are not the "Institutions" that were planted and cherished by the Pilgrims here in the Old Colony. A Charter, with exclusive privileges to the few, could not seduce them from their love of liberty. Will Bank Charters seduce their descendants ? If they are indeed worthy of their ancestors, let history answer.
When Charles Second, in 1665, sent over his Commissioners to save the Colonies the trouble of governing themselves, some yielded. But Plymouth, noble Plymouth, though the weakest Colony of all, stood firm for her independence. In vain the Commissioners promised them a Charter, if they would set an example of compliance, and just allow the King to select their Governor. The General Assembly, after many thanks to the commissioners, informed them, they "chose to be as they were."
Certain political leaders now, wish to manage the concerns of the people of the United States, by irresponsible Corporations, just as King Charles did the concerns of the Colonies, through his irresponsible Commissioners; and they offer to create all sorts of Charters, if the people will only consent to let the money power select one Bank, or twenty-five Banks, to be the great "Regulator" of the currency, and manage the money concerns of the people, to save them the trouble ! It remains to be seen whether the people will submit to this demand, by giving "an example of compliance;" or whether, being now well rid of the union of Bank and State, they will tell King Biddle, as the General Assembly of Plymouth did King Charles, with many thanks, that "they choose to be as they are."
Hitherto, Fellow-Citizens, in most of the struggles of party, you have been more called on to decide upon men and incidental measures, than upon fundamental principles of Government. But the people have now got to decide between two systems of Government, supported by two parties, essentially, fundamentally differing.
These two systems can be traced directly to the original formation of the Government. The friends of republican principles, who prevailed in the adoption of the Constitution, and insured its true construction, by the election of Jefferson, had so long and so steadily triumphed, that those who originally struggled for the ascendancy, in order to establish a stronger and less popular Government, had retired from the main contest, and seemed almost to acquiesce in the decision of the people. Within a few years they have found a new lever power, Bank Charters and exclusive privileges, and with these they hope to make the old minority the strongest. We find, therefore, the same spirit and the same principles at work now, that struggled to exclude popular rights from the Constitution, and to place Burr, instead of Jefferson, at the head of the nation.
This great dividing line of parties has run through our whole political history, and never was it more distinctly traced than at this moment, when a moral revolution is going on, in the matter of exclusive privilege, as important to republican institutions as was the physical revolution that led to the independence, not merely of a nation, but of a people, sixty-two years ago.
Shall Government be based on the mere rights of property, or on the rights of person, and the security of property ?
Call parties by what names you please, they will be found on one or the other side of this great problem in Government:-- whether power shall be trusted to the few or the many; whether legislation shall have for its end and aim the maxim, "take care of the rich, and the rich will take care of the poor," or the doctrine shall prevail, that "no man, nor Corporation of men, have any title other than public services, to obtain advantages or exclusive privileges, distinct from those of the community."
Every political movement of the day is now made with direct reference to this issue. The test has come, and it must be met. Every man must take one side or the other, if he claims to be a citizen. He cannot escape it, though he should shrink from his duty as a freeman, and never give a vote at the polls. Still he has some influence, moral, personal, direct or incidental, which he is throwing into the scale.
Will you have a government of Money, or will you have a government of the Many ? These are the systems on which the two great parties in this country take their stand now, as they did at the origin of parties subsequent to the adoption of the Constitution. One party is based on public virtue, the other on political corruption. One has abiding faith in the capacity of the many for self-government, the other believes that the few are alone to be trusted, and must be protected against the many.
Both sides may be equally honest in their views; both may sincerely aim at the good of their country, as they understand it; but it is as directly a question of fundamental principle in Government, as was the question of representation in taxation, which gave rise to the Revolution.
There were two distinct classes of patriots and statesmen engaged in that Revolution, and that distinction has come down to our times, and is now stirring up all the elements of political strife. A considerable portion of the foremost men of the Revolution, labored mainly to secure the rights of property in the few. They were ready to make the most disinterested sacrifices to the welfare of the country, but while they nobly resisted the encroachments of the King and Parliament, they did not less fear what they supposed was the natural tendency of the people to anarchy and injustice. Hence their efforts, in framing the Constitution, were to merge the States in a supreme, National or consolidated Government, and to take from the people, by implication, what could not be directly conferred upon an absorbing central power. Jefferson and his associates resisted and defeated this design. They had greater confidence in the discretion of the people, and more apprehension of a tendency to despotic power, in a consolidated government, than was felt by a large portion of not less devoted and patriotic friends of National Independence. When the Constitution was adopted, this difference of opinion distinctly developed itself, and it subsequently placed Jefferson at the head of the Democratic party, and Hamilton at the head of the Federal party. Both loved their country, and both detested tyranny; but the one trusted while the other feared the people. The one made equal rights and just laws a paramount principle, the other regarded the rights of person as secondary to the rights of property.
The aristocratic party were for restraining the people, under a sincere apprehension that they were incapable of governing themselves; and this party embodied a great portion of the wealth and talent of the nation, under the designation of the Federal party. The other party, of which Jefferson was the great Representative, regarded the facilities of making money as less important than the security of fundamental rights. They loved individuals better than they loved corporations. They cherished humanity as a purer element in Government, than exclusive privileges, --they valued general prosperity widely diffused, as a greater national blessing than individual wealth; and their predominating fear was, not that private property would not be sufficiently guarded against encroachment, but that the rights of the people would be disregarded.
In the Continental Congress, Jefferson uttered this memorable sentiment, which was an emphatic prophecy of the very issue we now are testing, in government:
"It can never be too often repeated," said he, "that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis, is while our rulers are honest and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war, we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will be in danger of forgetting themselves but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long; will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire, in a convulsion."
The convulsion then prophesied, is now going on, not, thank Heaven, in a physical struggle, but in a great moral revolution, a struggle between the money power and the popular will, to be decided by the peaceable and constitutional means of the ballot box.
At the formation of the Constitution, the aristocratic party, who estimated the rights of property as superior to personal rights, were opposed to introducing a Bill of Rights, and the first draft of the Constitution was adopted without recognizing a single fundamental principle of popular right, except the principle of representation, which was introduced into the details of the constituent parts of Government.
Jefferson, who was abroad when the Constitution was formed by the National Convention of 1787, regarded a Bill of Rights as indispensable. In a letter to Mr. Madison, dated Paris, December 20th, 1787, he urged the adoption of a Bill of Rights, "providing clearly, and without the aid of sophism, for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction of monopolies, the unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by Jury."
All the defects in the original frame of the Constitution, were in fact on the side of power. The people were justly jealous of a consolidated Government, that might crush the masses in building up the favored few; and were, for these reasons, at first strongly inclined to reject the Constitution. The sturdiest and truest Republicans of that day in Massachusetts, as well as Virginia, viewed the powers conceded to Congress, as of alarming tendency, and it was only on the condition of the adoption of certain amendments, similar to those recommended by Jefferson, that the Massachusetts Convention accepted the Constitution, by a vote of 187 to 168, a majority of but 19.
Had Massachusetts or Virginia decided against the Constitution, it would have wanted the requisite number of States; and the single voice of Jefferson, (such was the confidence of the people in him,) could have turned the scale against that happy instrument of our Union. The Federal party of that day received its name from its earnest efforts to get the Constitution adopted without the qualifications which Jefferson and Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry and other patriots deemed indispensable to the rights of the people.
The Federalists, comprising those who individually possessed the most property, looked mainly to protection for property in the Constitution, and thought less of personal and political rights. They looked more to the sanctity of bills of sale, than Bills of Rights --of deeds of land, than charters of Freedom; and this is precisely the character of that same party now, under the assumed name of Whigs. All their panics grow out of the interference of some great principle of equal rights, with their monopolies and exclusive means of money-making.
Every attempt made to restore the constitutional currency, to re-establish a Constitutional Treasury, to divest the Banks of the brokerage of the Government funds, to collect and keep the people's money merely to pay the people's debts, and not to be loaned out in paper expansions, to give false capital and ruinous credit to gamblers in stocks and speculators in lithographed cities; is denounced as a ruinous Experiment.
Many sensible people are alarmed at the bare suggestion of an experiment, as if it involved some terrible risk of calamity and ruin, when, in fact, our whole Government was an experiment; and the only really ruinous experiment that has been tried, is the experiment the United States has made of going into partnership with failing Banks and desperate stock jobbers, on the condition that she was to furnish all the capital and incur all the losses, and they receive all the profits; an experiment, the results of which we have seen in this Commonwealth in an especial manner. The Democratic party are satisfied with one failure of this experiment, and insist upon going back to a Constitutional Treasury. The opposition insist on trying the failed experiment over again.
Alexander Hamilton, the father of the Federal party, viewed the experiment of a Popular Government with much greater alarm than his followers of this day affect to regard the independent Treasury system. The experiment he proposed, in the Convention that framed the Constitution, was a compromise between the two principles of monarchy and republicanism. His plan was a President and a Senate for life, and the Governors of the States to be appointed by this irresponsible Executive and Senate; and when his project to establish a Supreme National Government failed, by the rejection of every proposition to that end submitted to the Convention, and debated nearly four months, Hamilton seems to have quitted the Convention in despair.
Happily, that favorite experiment of Hamilton, which is not without its advocates even now, (and has been recently urged by an approved writer of the modern Whig school, under the guise of "Sydney,") was never tried; the proposition was rejected; but it is easy to perceive how, when Hamilton and his party were disposed to go so far toward monarchy, they succeeded in the first instance in excluding from the Constitution a Bill of Rights to protect the people.
On the other hand, Mr. Jefferson and the Republicans persevered in efforts to obtain a supplementary Bill of Rights to the Constitution. Mr. Madison, the pupil and friend of Jefferson, to whom, in 1787, he had written, earnestly urging upon him the necessity of such a guarantee, in 1789 submitted to Congress a series of amendments, which, together with those recommended from the States, particularly Massachusetts and Virginia, embraced the main principles of a Bill of Rights, as desired by Jefferson, with the exception of an express prohibition in terms, of all grants of Monopolies in any form.
It was after the adoption of those amendments in favor of personal rights, that the leader of the Federal party, Alexander Hamilton, gave vent to his alarm at the experiment of a popular Government, just as the leaders of the Federal party of to-day, Clay and Webster, give vent to their assumed terrors at the experiment of a Constitutional Treasury; an experiment coeval with the Constitution itself, and which is nothing more than keeping and using the people's money, by the responsible agents and officers of the people, to pay the people's debts.
"I own it is my own opinion," said Hamilton in 1791, "though I do not publish it in Dan or Beersheba, that the present Government is not that which will answer the ends of society, by giving stability and protection to its rights; and that it will probably be found expedient to go into the British form. However, since we have undertaken the experiment, I am for giving it a fair course, whatever my expectations may be."
On another occasion he said, that the "British Constitution, as it stands at present, with all its supposed defects, is the most perfect government which ever existed."
These are the real doctrines, though concealed under professions of regard to the people, which have come down, not only unimpaired, but strengthened, and are promulgated in the creeds of the leaders of the opposition and their papers. Distrust and contempt of the people, is the fundamental doctrine of that creed.
Let us not do injustice to Hamilton, while condemning his errors of theory. He was at heart a patriot, though mistaken in his views of popular Government. He distrusted, but never despised the people. Jefferson, his great opposite, as truly as magnanimously, said of him, in reference to the period when they were both members of the Cabinet of Washington, and openly separated from each other in their views of Government, submitted to the President,
"Hamilton was indeed a singular character. Of acute understanding, disinterested, honest, and honorable in all private transactions, amiable in society, and duly valuing virtue in private life, yet so bewitched and perverted by the British example, as to be under thorough conviction that corruption was essential to the government of a nation."
Hence, believing that the people were to be governed only by force or by deception, he was, from his own sense of honor, which scorned deception, compelled to be a monarchist rather than a republican. His followers of the present day hold a similar creed; but with less honor and less patriotism to guide them, they aim to impose a system of Government, founded on corporations and money influence, upon the people, through the medium of deception; to seduce them from their love of liberty, through their love of making money; and thus get their votes to sacrifice a widely diffused national prosperity, wholesome equal laws, and well balanced State Rights, to corporate and individual wealth, and a splendid consolidated Government.
The opponents of a Democratic government in fact, as well as name, have no longer any just grounds for the honest fears which Hamilton and Fisher Ames and John Adams sincerely entertained, that the experiment of a popular government based on general suffrage, would fail; and that no government could stand unless protected from the reach of the popular will; and yet the whole aim of modern atheists in popular virtue, is to excite panic and terror and discontent in the public mind; not lest personal rights should be violated, or possessions plundered, but lest the few should not enjoy the exclusive privileges of acquiring wealth without labor, by appropriating, through the machinery of money corporations, and a false credit system, the labor of others.
They are ever the prophets of woe, and as soon as one panic fails, another is got up. They believe the people, like naughty children, are to be governed by conjuring up hobgoblins, and not by an innate sense of right. If the people elect a President who is not of the aristocratic and privilege school, Mr. Clay doles out "war, pestilence and famine!" If a Bank Charter is vetoed, "relief or revolution" is the war cry, and Mr. Clay exclaims, "We are in the midst of a revolution, bloodless as yet;" while Mr. Webster harangues a mob in the streets of a city on the Sabbath, and approvingly listens to the avowal by one of his followers on that occasion, who apologized for breaking the Sabbath by declaring "there were no Sundays in Revolutionary times, and these were revolutionary times !"
Nor are the followers behind the leaders in marching up to the line of treason; for we find them tumultuously assembled in the desecrated "Cradle of Liberty," and preparing to vote, in the approved formula of the Hartford Convention School, "peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must," to mob down the Government officers if they would not violate their oaths to maintain the supremacy of the Laws, and consent to receive broken Bank Bills, in payment of postage and the receipts of customs.
All this indecent violence, all this perpetual cry of ruin to a country whose history in each crisis of threatened calamity, has inscribed falsehood on the political tomb of every prophet of woe who has croaked through the land; proceeds from political infidelity --want of faith in the popular principle of self-government: an unbelief that could be pardoned in Hamilton and his associates who had never seen popular government tested, but which argues a settled perversity or weakness of intellect, or deficiency in virtue, in the man who now doubts, and tries to poison the public mind with doubts, after more than sixty years happy experience.
Alexander Hamilton did not act thus. Though he conscientiously believed that the Constitution, unless restricted by the money power, would not answer the ends of society by giving stability and protection to property, he did not travel through the country, denouncing the Government, at barbecues, horse races and Whig revelries. He did not threaten war, pestilence, famine, panic or revolution. He was for giving the "experiment," as he termed it, a fair trial, and two years after the adoption of the Constitution which he believed would fail, he candidly declared that the success, so far, was greater than he had expected, and therefore, at present, success seemed more possible than it had done heretofore. He added too,
"There are still other stages of improvement, which, if the present does not succeed, may be tried and ought to be tried, before we give up the Republican form altogether; for that mind must be really depraved, which would not prefer the equality of political rights, which is the foundation of pure Republicanism, if it can be obtained consistently with order."
Instead of imitating the candor of Hamilton when he found his fears not realized at the end of two years, his disciples of the present day, with the experience of a prosperous and glorious Republic of more than sixty years duration, seem bent on practising upon but one maxim, "rule or ruin." If they cannot govern the people, they are resolved that the people shall not govern themselves.
Although the severest test of time and circumstances has demonstrated that the "equality of political rights," which even their distinguished Chief declared to be the foundation of pure republicanism, can be obtained consistently with order, yet the leaders of the Opposition insist upon exclusive privileges, inequality of laws as well as of condition, and a great paramount money power, as the only safeguards of the splendid government which they wish to establish for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. They regard inequality of political rights as indispensable to the accumulation of wealth; and the preservation of the rights of property as the only legitimate aim of government, irrespective of the rights of person, wherever they are supposed to interfere with individual and corporate acquisition of riches.
In their political creed, the vital labor of the industrious yeoman and the hard working mechanic ranks no higher than mere inanimate labor-saving machinery. The uses of both are to accumulate wealth, and the aim of the system of government supported by the Federal leaders, is to give them the secret springs that control and move the living and the dead labor power. Those secret springs are moneyed corporations and exclusive privileges, the main spring of all being a great National Bank.
This is the reason why you find that party refusing and denouncing all remedies save a National Bank. They want that power, not to regulate the currency of the country, (which, so far as Banking paper is concerned, belongs only to the States), but to control its productive labor and its politics. They want it, not to employ industry, but to appropriate the fruits of industry. In their system of political economy and government, he who appropriates, not he who produces, is the true source of national wealth --Credit, not labor, is capital, and capital is the employer and master of labor, not labor the employer and creator of capital. Hence they want a system of false credit, by which he who can contrive to obtain that credit by accident, false pretences, exclusive privileges or special favor, no matter how, so he but gets the name of it; can appropriate to himself all the profits of labor beyond the bare subsistence of the machine employed in that labor.
If it be a steam engine, fuel and oil must be paid for, to keep its wheels in motion; if it be a man, food and clothing and shelter must be provided to keep his muscles going. All beyond this is to go to the owner or employer of the machine.
I do not exaggerate, fellow-citizens, in stating this as the present doctrine of the supporters of a National Bank. It runs through all the arguments of the Bank advocates. It was avowed in the most precise terms, in a Lecture on political economy, delivered by the Hon. Daniel Webster before the Boston Lyceum, and repeated before the Lyceums of several Counties in this State. Labor, he maintained, was mere machinery, and it was immaterial whether it was performed by an engine or a man. The great end of government, on this theory, is to amass national wealth; the foundation of government is to be based on property, not on men: the physical energies of a people are only so much horse power, to be applied to amassing this national wealth, and as a component part of the labor-saving machinery this muscular power is to aid in its operations !
A puff of steam, which sets an engine in motion to twirl a spindle, is as noble an agent in this system as the impulse that moves the arm of the day laborer, while he plies his task beyond his strength, that he may minister to the wants of a sick wife and helpless children !
It is this tendency to degrade labor by regarding it as mere machinery, which brought about the extravagances, the speculations, the gambling and the subsequent ruin that have convulsed society. Every man wished to live, not by producing any thing himself, but by shifting and turning and appropriating the property produced by others. All the world, like the three boys, took to swapping jackets for a living, and calculating how much they had made by the exchange and re-exchange; when, after all, there were but three ragged jackets between them ! So the speculators have been swapping Bank credit for lands and merchandize, and counting their gains, and calling all this immense prosperity and activity in business, when, in point of fact, it was nothing more than a struggle of cunning between players with false dice, to see who should strip the rest.
We have seen the operations of this inordinate love of acquiring wealth without honest labor, transforming a people, which of all others should be a laboring people, into a nation of speculators and stock-jobbers --until, with a country vast enough and sufficiently fertile to feed all Europe, we have been even obliged to import our own bread stuffs !
And why was this ? Had it been deemed as honorable to dig as to speculate, would it ever have happened that these United States, with a single State, New York, possessing more acres than all England, should have come to be dependant on that country for bread !
No, Fellow-Citizens. It is not a merely accidental combination of things or pressure of times, that has brought about the recent convulsion in the business concerns of this great people. It is no removal of Bank deposits from the vaults of a Bank on one side of a street, to the vaults of Banks on the other side, that has careened and nearly upset the ship. It is no veto of a National Bank that has prevented honest people paying their debts and living within their means; it is no Specie Circular that has seduced all the world to throw down the hoe and the hammer, and stick a pen behind their ears to calculate the rise and fall of fancy stocks.
The evil lies deeper and farther back. It is in the system of Government which the party who regard labor as machinery, and false credit as capital, have been striving and are now struggling to fasten on the country.
It has been long working and coming to a crisis, and now that it has exploded, the great contest is whether it shall be again revived, to be again exploded. Its foundation was laid by Hamilton in the funding system and a national debt. He went out of the Constitution to make the Constitution stronger, and prop it up by a National Bank, which has continued the system until its final overthrow in the eruption of the Deposite Banks.
Trace it from that period when Jefferson and Hamilton presented their views of Government to Washington; and the two systems of a Government of property and a Government of people will be found distinctly marking the lines between the two great parties that have ever divided and now divide the Nation. It had its origin in the European system of politics, which required that the Government should always be protected against the people, as its most dangerous enemy.
Many of the most profound men, at the organization of our Government, had formed their political opinions on the writings of European statesmen, and they regarded the experience of England as vastly safer than any theory that could be started of a Government depending on popular will. The doctrine was, "that men in numerous associations could not be restrained within the limits of order and justice, but by forces physical and moral wielded over them by authorities independent of their will."
The people, as a mass, were regarded as mere muscular machinery, a brute force, which could be restrained only by keeping them down to hard labor, of the fruits of which they were to receive just enough to keep the labor machine going, and the rest to be applied to the sustenance, and contribute to the refinement of a more intelligent and higher order of men, who were to live without labor, and direct the concerns of society to their own best liking.
In all other countries this system of classification had been brought about directly, by hereditary orders, with exclusive privileges. The advocates of the funding system and national debt doctrines of the Hamilton school, never tried that openly upon the temper of this people. They have found a substitute in the wild expansions of the paper credit and Banking system, which they call property; and on this property, based upon credit without labor or capital, derived from exclusive legislation, they found Government.
This is the fundamental doctrine of the foremost and ablest among the leaders in the modern Whig school of politics. We have seen how Hamilton feared the people while framing the Constitution of the United States, in 1789. Let us see how Daniel Webster distrusted the people, in precisely the same way, while amending the Constitution of Massachusetts, in 1820. These were his sentiments on the question which had divided Jefferson and Hamilton, viz: whether Government should be founded on men or on things.
"Property is the true basis and measure of power. To this sentiment I entirely agree. It seems to me to be plain, that in the absence of military force, political power naturally and necessarily goes into the hands which hold the property.
"Universal suffrage could not long exist in a community where there was great inequality of property. The holders of estates would be obliged, in such case, either in some way to restrain the right of suffrage, or else such right of suffrage would, ere long, divide the property. In the nature of things, those who have not property, and see their neighbors possess much more than they think them to need, cannot be favorable to laws made for the protection of property. When this class becomes numerous, it grows clamorous. It looks on property as its prey and plunder, and is naturally ready, at all times, for violence and revolution.
"It would seem, then, to be the part of political wisdom, to found Government on property."
With these views proclaimed in 1820, we have found their author and the party he leads, striving to build up a system of high duties and exclusive privileges, compacted together by a National Bank, the tendency of which is directly to produce that "great inequality of property" which the healthful competition of unrestricted industry and substantial credit could never create in a free state, without hereditary distinctions of classes. This is the anti-Republican doctrine that, from the beginning, has threatened to destroy the principle of equal rights and equal laws, which were happily made the basis of the Constitution.
The notion that property should be the measure of political power, that a man with little should not count as much at the ballot box as a man with a great deal, has clung to a portion of our leading politicians from those who, like Hamilton, were "bewitched with the British example," down to the present time, when we find such leaders as Clay, and Webster, and Biddle, at the head of the school of exclusive privileges for the few, and distrust of the many.
Another and a precisely opposite class of practical expounders of the Constitution, have followed in unbroken line from Jefferson to Van Buren. They have never feared universal suffrage, and never distrusted the people or felt the necessity of guarding property against them, as if, in the language of Webster, it was naturally their prey and plunder ! They have feared danger to equal rights from the selfish few, more than from the corrupt many. Jefferson, with the intuition that distinguished the great mind of that great man, foresaw the tendency of this doctrine, and he sought to guard all the avenues through which exclusive privileges might intrude to the subversion of equal rights. Hence his efforts to establish a Bill of Rights. Unfortunately he failed in getting introduced into the amendments a distinct prohibition of monopolies, and an express denial of any power in Congress to create corporations.
The only reason why such a provision was not incorporated, clearly was that the Constitution conferred no powers not expressly given, but reserved them to the States. Consequently the absence of a grant of power to create corporations, negatived such power, and left it where it had been previously exercised, with the States. The Convention that framed the Constitution, refused, in the most emphatic manner, to confer upon Congress this power.
"It is known that the power [to establish incorporations] was rejected by the Convention that framed the Constitution. A proposition was made to them to authorize Congress to open canals, and an amendatory one to empower them to incorporate. But the whole was rejected, and one of the reasons of rejection urged in debate, was that they then would have power to create a Bank."
This assertion of Mr. Jefferson is distinctly proved by the Journals of the Convention, a fact which seems to be entirely disregarded by those who now pretend to find in the Constitution, what Mr. Clay once happily termed "the vagrant power" to establish a National Bank.*
* Mr. Clay, with all the clairvoyance Mr. Biddle's paper magnetism has conferred upon him, cannot find this "vagrant power" where Mr. Webster finds it. The two great leaders disagree entirely as to the clause which gives the power; and if they cannot see it in the same place, it is pretty evident either that they see double, or that they "see what is not to be seen."
---[By 1838 Henry Clay was able to find this vagrant power: on March 23, 1838, in response to Senator Garret Wall, Clay remarked he found "this vagrant power" in the late war and in the necessities of the country.]
In the Convention that framed the Constitution in 1787---
"August 18--- It was proposed to empower the Legislature of the United States to grant Charters of incorporation in cases where the public good may require them, and the authority of a single State may be incompetent."
"September 14--- Question, to grant letters of incorporation for canals, et cetera, negatived."
Thus two propositions on the 18th of August, and a third on the 14th of September, to grant to Congress the power to create corporations, were distinctly rejected by the Convention, including also a refusal to grant power "to emit bills on the credit of the United States."
New Jersey and Maryland were the only States for granting the power. Massachusetts was foremost among the nine States that rejected the power. Strange that she should now be at the head of the States demanding of Congress the exercise of the very power she then denied !
A contemporaneous exposition of the intention of the framers of the Constitution, settles this question. Luther Martin, a delegate from Maryland in the Convention, subsequently explained at home the views taken on this power, and in the Legislature of that State objected to the Constitution, because it did not authorize corporations and a Bank. He said, that---
"When a motion was made to strike out 'emit bills of credit,' it was urged (by him and his associates,) that it would be improper to deprive Congress of that power; that we doubted whether, if a war should take place, it would be possible for this country to defend itself, without having recourse to paper credit; and that considering the administration of the Government would be principally in the hands of the wealthy, there could be little reason to fear an abuse of the power; but a majority of the Convention, being wise beyond every event, and being willing to risk any political evil rather than admit the idea of a paper emission in any possible case, refused to trust this authority to a Government on which they were lavishing the most unlimited powers of taxation, and to the mercy of which they were willing blindly to trust the liberty and the property of the citizens of every State in the Union, and they erased that clause from the system."
Another interesting and conclusive fact as to the contemporaneous construction of the framers of the Constitution, against a United States Bank, is found in the proceedings of that illustrious body of patriots, the Massachusetts Convention for the adoption of the Constitution.
The Constitution came before them without the Bill of Rights that Jefferson had insisted upon. Great was the opposition to its adoption, which would not have prevailed, had not Samuel Adams suggested, and John Hancock proposed, a series of amendments embracing the principles of a Bill of Rights, and enlarging the popular reservations.
Five States had adopted the Constitution, without amendments. Massachusetts was the first State to propose a Bill of Rights to be annexed to the Constitution, and one of the amendments which was expressly introduced by Hancock and Adams, was "to remove the fears and quiet the apprehensions of many" who dreaded a great overshadowing and central power in Congress, by expressly declaring, that---
"Congress shall erect no Company with exclusive advantages of Commerce."
"That it shall be explicitly declared that all powers not expressly delegated by the Constitution, are reserved to the States, to be exercised by them."
It is now contended by him who claims to be the supreme "expounder" of the Constitution for Massachusetts, that Congress, under its powers "to regulate Commerce," is solemnly bound by the Constitution to create a company "with exclusive advantages of commerce," in issuing a National paper currency, as an instrument to carry on commerce.
But here we have Hancock and Adams and the whole Convention for Massachusetts, agreeing to the Constitution only on the express condition, that all power should be denied to Congress to create such a corporation as a National Bank, in any form; but especially that Congress should give to no company "exclusive advantages of commerce," such as are derived from trading upon the public deposites, and furnishing, in its own notes, the very instrument of commerce which Mr. Webster and his followers now contend for, viz. the paper medium of payment of the revenue.
The importance attached to the restriction against corporations, with commercial advantages, in the mind of that illustrious patriot and pure republican, Samuel Adams, (the fearless man who meant Revolution, long before his associate patriots had thought of any thing beyond redress of grievances,) is seen from the declaration made by him in the Convention, after the adoption of this restriction of monopoly and corporations.
"I have had my doubts of this Constitution, but the propositions submitted will have a tendency to remove such doubts, and conciliate the minds of the Convention and of the people out doors."
In one of his factious speeches against raising and paying troops to defend the frontiers from the scalping knife of the merciless savage, incited by British barbarity to butcher defenceless women and children, (made in Congress during the war,) Mr. Webster affirmed, that if John Hancock had foreseen that such a war would have been the practical result of that Constitution, he would have committed the parchment to the flames rather than have assented to its adoption by Massachusetts !
Of that seditious sentiment its author is now most anxious to divest himself, and gladly would he blot it from the memory of his indignant countrymen. To escape from the reproaches of men, has he not, recently in the Senate, disregarding the reproaches of conscience, flatly denied that he was opposed to the last war! and this, too, in the face of the unerased records of that opposition, (marching boldly up to the very limit of treason,) in every political sentence uttered or written, and in every vote given by him, during the second struggle for National Independence !
But false as that picture was, it would have been true to life, had he put the Bank, instead of the War, into the foreground.
Had the Constitution contained a power for Congress to create a great National Bank, and establish paper money as a currency, John Hancock, with his amendment against such a power in his hand, sooner than agree to it, would literally have committed the parchment to the flames, and Samuel Adams would have ground its burning embers under his heel !
Who, then, best expounds the Constitution, Mr. Webster and his Bank associates; or John Hancock, Samuel Adams and the Convention of 1788 that adopted it ?
The whole of the clamor of desperate opposition now raging against President Van Buren, grows out of the simple fact, that instead of yielding up the Many, a sacrifice to the cupidity and avarice and lust of power of the Few, he has (and posterity will thank Heaven for it) the moral firmness to walk in the footsteps of Hancock and Adams and Jefferson, in denying the power of Congress to create a National corporation. Not a leader of the opposition dare affirm such a direct power, and yet they chant funeral dirges over the buried and bleeding Constitution, and denounce the President as false to his trust, for what ? For not recommending the exercise of a power which the men of the Revolution never found in the Constitution, which the greatest clamorers for a Bank now could not find there a few years ago, which no two of their leaders agree in finding in the same place, and which the very man whom that party seek to make their President, that he may exercise this power, himself once scouted at as a "vagrant power" vainly hunted after in the Constitution.
The advocates of the money power as the only safe and supreme agent in carrying on the Government, are driven to utter extremities by the position the Democracy has now taken, of an entire separation of the Government from the Banks as fiscal agents.
Jefferson was assailed, just as Jackson and Van Buren have been, for maintaining the rights of the many over the privileges of the few. He was charged with being the libeller of Washington, of implacable hostility to the Constitution, of aiming at the annihilation of all law, order and government, and the introduction of general anarchy and licentiousness. He was denounced as an atheist, as a demagogue and disorganizer, a visionary radical, industriously sapping the foundations of religion and virtue, and paving the way for the establishment of a legalized system of infidelity and libertinism.
Similar charges are now made against President Van Buren and his supporters, by the very men, who after denouncing Jefferson in these gross terms, appointed Daniel Webster as their organ, to strew the choicest flowers of eulogy upon his grave, when the whole people assembled together, to join in the funeral obsequies of the departed patriot.
The most desperate strifes of party always have been, and always will be, upon measures relating to the fiscal concerns of the country. The tendencies of such a struggle always are, to develope arbitrary and corrupting doctrines, in contempt of popular rights, and pervert and demoralize the national character. It is these doctrines which should alarm a people jealous of their liberties, and make them distrustful of any party whose leaders and presses avow their contempt of the common understanding, and doubt the common capacity for self-government. The leaders and presses of the Federal party formerly, and of its successor the Whig party now, have uniformly shown this contempt of the people, and by this rule the people can never fail to learn, if they will but apply the test, which is the party of Right and which the party of Privilege.
I have endeavored to point out this strongly marked line of division, which began with Hamilton and Jefferson, and their associates, at the formation of the Constitution. To make it more distinct, let us take the Federal doctrines on popular government, from the lips and the presses of the Federal leaders. In the Convention that framed the Constitution, Hamilton said---
"All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and the well born, the other the mass of the people. The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God, and however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true in fact. The people are turbulent and changing. They seldom judge or determine right. Give, therefore, to the first class, a distinct, permanent share in the Government."
Fisher Ames, in 1801, said---
"Jacobinism ever seeks plunder as the end, and confusion as the means. The best informed of this mighty people are lazy or ambitious, and go over to the cause of confusion; or are artfully rendered unpopular because they will not go over. The sense, the virtue and the property of the country, therefore, will not govern it; but every day shows that its vice, and poverty, and ambition will."
On another occasion he said---
"Our Federal Republic was manifestly founded on a mistake; on the supposed existence of sufficient political virtue in the people, and on the permanency and authority of public morals."
George Cabot, the President of the Hartford Convention, declared, that---
"This country must sooner or later, submit (as in ancient Republics) to the termination of freedom, through popular delusion."
Daniel Webster, when a member of the Convention to amend the Constitution of Massachusetts, in 1820, said---
"In the nature of things those who have not property, and see their neighbors possess much more than they think them to need, cannot be favorable to laws made for the protection of property. When this class becomes numerous, it grows clamorous. It looks on property as its prey and plunder, and is naturally ready at all times for violence and revolution."
Nicholas Biddle, in 1835, thus arrogantly denounced the public functionaries, chosen by the people to take care that the Republic receive no detriment, and to enforce the laws---
"The avenging hour will at last come. It cannot be that our free nation will long endure the vulgar dominion of ignorance and profligacy. You will live to see the laws re-established. These banditti will be scourged back to their caverns. The penitentiary will reclaim its fugitives in office, and the only remembrance which history will preserve of them, is the energy with which you resisted and defeated them."
And this man who talked of re-establishing the laws, has himself violated all the laws of property and the charter of his own Bank, by refusing to pay his debts, by breaking millions of promises and withholding from thousands their property, while boasting at the same time, that he had ample means to perform his obligations. And after having insolently denounced the President and the people's public agents, as fugitives from the Penitentiary, he stands before the nation, proclaimed by the Senate of the United States, as himself deserving to be sent to the Penitentiary for re-issuing, as money, the notes of the old United States Bank, and using the credit of the Government under false pretences.*[* Since this discourse was delivered, the act making it a Penitentiary offence to re-issue the bills of the late United States Bank, has become a law of the land.]
When a mob of infuriated men took possession of Fanueil Hall, in the famous ten cent Rebellion, May, 1837, to resist the law requiring specie or its equivalent for postages, (a law introduced by Mr. Webster, in 1816,) Hon. Abbott Lawrence, (a member of the last Congress,) exclaimed---
"No people on God's earth has been so trampled on and abused by their rulers, as the people of the United States !"
At another meeting in Fanueil Hall, another ex-member of Congress, Honorable Rufus Choate, declared that, as now administered,
"Our government was the worst government on the face of God's earth !"
In the Massachusetts Legislature, last March, while the motion to bring in a bill declaring the forfeited Bank charters subject to future amendment or repeal, was under discussion, Dr. Charles W. Wilder, member from Leomister, affirmed---
"It will not do to trust the people with the power to do wrong"
And when called to account for this monstrous doctrine, by one of the minority, he rose and re-affirmed it !
These extravagant avowals, made by men of estimable character, of intelligence and great quietude of disposition in other things, and received with approbation by the foremost men in the party, show the extent to which the Federal party, of which Boston is the head quarters, have been bitten by this demophobia of Hamilton and Fisher Ames --this fear of the people.
Of course, the presses of the party, "the little dogs and all," bark at the people on the same key.
"If Andrew Jackson is re elected, we shall doubt the capacity of the people for self-government," (said the Boston Atlas, in 1832.)
"No man can deny that universal suffrage has been left without adequate control, a prey to corruption," (says "Sydney" in the N.Y. Commercial.)
"Free suffrage is a curse to any people," (says the Providence Journal.)
These are but the small echoes of the great men of the Federal party.
"It is a mistake, and a most mischievous one, (said Fisher Ames,) to suppose that annual or frequent elections, are the proper corrections of mal-administration in Judges and Executive officers."[* The papers of 'Sydney,' containing these doctrines, were published in a pamphlet form by the Federalists of New York, and twenty-five thousand copies, it is said, circulated. The editor of the New York Commercial said of it, "we have never published an article which was more cordially welcomed among the intelligent Whigs of this city."]
"One of the prominent reasons for the defects in the Constitution, (says 'Sydney' in the New York Commercial,) is the credulous reliance of the men who framed the Constitution, on the virtue and intelligence, of the people." "The chances of having a good Chief Magistrate by birth, are about equal to the chances of obtaining one by popular election." "It is a fundamental mistake that the people may be governed, or will govern themselves, by reason." "The history of nations cannot present an example of such total want of intelligence, as our country now affords."*
This is but a reiteration of the declaration of Mr. Webster in the Massachusetts Convention for amending the Constitution, that where free suffrage prevails, the people naturally look upon property as their prey and plunder.
It is the same doctrine avowed in the manifesto of the Whig Merchants assembled in Masonic Hall, New York, to demand an extra session of Congress; "the possession of property is the evidence of merit!"
And that this is the old Federal and the modern Whig doctrines identified, we have another proof in the boast of Judge Hopkinson a modern Whig and an ancient Federalist, who recently exclaimed in the Convention for amending the Constitution of Pennsylvania---
"Notwithstanding all the calumnies which have been uttered against the Federal party, yet they are always at their post in the hour of danger. They are now again coming into power."
The notions of liberty and law entertained by modern Whig leaders, is exemplified by another act of that party. On this very day, consecrated to republican freedom --to the protection of the citizen in whatever the law allows, the Municipal authorities of Boston are listening to a Reverend orator [Hubbard Winslow], who has been selected apparently for no reason but because he is the author of the following definition:
"Republican liberty is not the liberty to say and do what one pleases, but liberty to say and do what the prevailing voice and will of the brotherhood will allow and protect."
Thus has civil liberty retrograded in the hands of Boston Federalists. It is now reduced to a slavish submission to the mere caprice and will of the domineering and prevailing power of the day in a community, according to the City Fourth of July orator.
One hundred and eighty-eight years ago, liberty was better understood and better defined in Boston than it now is.
"Civil, moral and federal liberty, consists in every man enjoying his property and having the equal benefit of the laws of his country," (said Governor Winthrop, in 1650.)
The Federalists are enlisting political parsons to anathematize the Government now, as they did in the war of 1812, when the Tory priests of that day declaimed in their pulpits against loaning money to defend the country. They held Fasts then, not to humble themselves, but to execrate the Government; and one of their presses (the Boston Gazette, now united with the Columbian Centinel,) exclaimed---
"Let no man who wishes to continue the war by active means, by vote or lending money, dare to prostrate himself at the altar on Fast day. The judgment of God will await him."
Many of you, Fellow-Citizens, well remember the violence of the opposition to the Administration, in the last war. That was a war which sacrificed immediate gains in traffic, to permanent National Independence. It was a war for the defence of personal rights: for the real as well as nominal independence of the flag of the Union; for the redress of the wrongs, not of rich corporations, but of poor and injured American seamen. Hence, it drew the line between the old parties, because it checked the money-making of the few, to look after the rights of the many.
The same parties now divide on the great question of a Constitutional Treasury, or a National Bank. The party that opposed the war, with Daniel Webster at their head, now, under the same leader, oppose a Constitutional Treasury, because the want of a great absorbing Money Charter seems for the moment, to derange exchanges, checks insane speculations, and defers the prospects of great individual gains for the sake of preventing future ruinous fluctuations, and securing a great popular right.*[* "They know the limit of Constitutional opposition. Up to that limit, at their own discretion they will walk, and walk fearlessly. If they should find in the history of their country, a precedent for going over, I trust they will not follow it." (Daniel Webster, in 1814.)
We look back now, with amazement, at the excitements of that period, as the young men of to-day will hereafter look back at the virulence of the present opposition to the Government.
In those days, the Federalists were violently opposed to the celebration of the 4th of July, by Democrats. Then they called us Jacobins, as they now do Loco Focos. Then they cut down our liberty poles, and now, in the same spirit of annoyance, they board up our pews !**[ The use of the church in which the Democrats of Plymouth held this celebration, was formally granted by the proper authorities. When they came to make use of the building, three of the pews were found boarded up, and offensively painted over with fish oil and red ocre, to prevent their being occupied. The nuisance was quietly and promptly removed. It was traced to a few individuals of the Federal party. One of them has since commenced an action for trespass, now pending.
Even here, in this peaceful and virtuous community, the spirit of party is found to exist now, in some individual cases, as it did then. But though the old Federalists are famed in history for burning blue lights to invite the enemy to take possession of their towns, it was left to modern Whigs to resort to red ocre and lamp oil, to keep Democrats out of their pews !
The Federalists, during the war, never had any stomach for boarding the enemy, and it is no where recorded in history, that like some of their brave descendants of these daring times, they ever went so far, in the pursuit of fame and glory, as even to board pews !
Let the authors of this mighty deed, Fellow-Citizens, enjoy the triumph of little minds. If it gives them pleasure, it shall not mar ours. The petty spite of the few, who cannot bear to see freemen assembling this day in our sacred Temples, to offer their devotions on the altar of Liberty, should not be suffered for a moment, to disturb, save with a smile of pity at such "want of decency and want of sense," the philosophic calm, the patriotic glow, the generous exultation of a people enjoying the temperate festivities of a day consecrated to the rights of the many, the progress of humanity, and the freedom of the soul.
And now, Fellow-Citizens, where are we as a free people on this sixty-second anniversary of our National Jubilee ? Which of these two distinct classes of political teachers can you best confide in ? You have heard the notions of popular government avowed, in an unbroken line of succession, by the leaders and the presses of the old and the new opposition to the Government. Can this be accidental, and not the result of fixed and settled convictions ? "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh."
Can you find any sentiments like those I have quoted, in the speeches or the presses of prominent men in the Democratic party ? Is not he who would make the people distrust Liberty, an enemy to Liberty?for the moment a majority of a people doubt their capacity for self-government, they are fitted to be made slaves. Hence, those teachers who directly or indirectly, seek to create that distrust, are as much enemies to liberty, as the heartless atheist is to religion, who insidiously labors to infuse the doubts of his own dark and sunless soul into the mind of the humble believer.
Democracy never distrusts the people, never threatens the people, never scornfully or pityingly assumes to protect the people from themselves as their worst enemies. It is of the people and with the people, and ever rejoices in the progress of humanity.
Now I do not, by any means, charge upon the great body of those who compose the opposition to the Government, dishonest or base views, as individuals, nor a deficiency in that patriotism which constitutes mere love of country, aside from abiding faith in public virtue.
The design of the Federal party in marching up to the line of treason in the last war, was not really to sink their country, but to elevate themselves to power; and therefore they were willing to call in England as an ally to help them conquer their enemy at home, the Republican party; regardless of the natural result of all such co-operations, that the ally would first help one part of the country to subdue the other, and then subject both to its own despotism. For the same reason and with the same recklessness, the same party now, are eager to call in the aid of a great despotic Money Power, an uncontrollable, absorbing National Bank, as their ally to help them put down the Administration.
Hence their leaders dread the return of prosperity now, as they did the return of peace in 1815, lest it should come too soon for them; before the people have been taught, by suffering, submission to a paper moneyed aristocracy.
Oh yes! the Opposition love their country ! Why else should they be so eager to govern it, and take it out of the hands of the people ? Pity, we know, is the next of kin to love, and the Federalists have pitied the poor country so long, they surely must love it by this time. Mr. Biddle says that he loves it best when it is worst governed. We, therefore, most fortunately, have an infallible receipt for preserving love of country in the Opposition, and in Mr. Nicholas Biddle, as he understands Government; --keep them in a minority, and keep the people in power !
To be sure Mr. Biddle loves his country. So the Sultan loves his country, but it must be a country ruled by the Sultan. That is so important an element in its prosperity, according to his notion, that a civil war, a sweeping pestilence, a devouring famine which should exterminate half his subjects, would be no evil to be compared to the loss of it, a moment !
Mr. Henry Clay agrees exactly with the Sultan in this love of country. He believed "war, pestilence and famine," a vastly better regimen for the refractory people, than that he should be turned out of "the safe line of precedent," by General Jackson, and Martin Van Buren take his place !
There is, nevertheless, much to be said in favor of Mr. Clay's patriotism. He used to entertain the vulgar notion that the people were capable of self-government, and then he trusted them, and faithfully urged the arguments of the many against the few, as long as he hoped that the many would make him the head of the few, to rule over them. But the people have three times, very distinctly told Mr. Henry Clay, that they have no belief in his capacity to govern them, and now Mr. Henry Clay doubts the capacity of the people to govern themselves ! This is very natural.
It it not an uncommon case, in pathology, that those who feign madness have gone mad in earnest. The old crone of a fortune teller who begins by duping others, at last dupes her own senses, and believes herself a Pythoness. Let us be charitable, then, to the leaders of the despair party, and admit that having, since the foundation of the Republic, feigned and foretold all manner of ruin to the country, while they were out of power, they have finally got to believe verily, that the country must be ruined, or at all events, that it ought to be ruined, if it obstinately persists in refusing to have them rule it ! They are quite sure that the people, for forty years, have not known how to make Presidents, and they have observed that the more prosperous the country was, the more obstinate it was in passing by the merits of the panic statesmen, who have no confidence in the people; and persisting in electing to the Presidency such men as Jackson and Van Buren, who are so presumptuous as to distrust the leaders of the "privilege hunting party," and so credulous as always to confide in the "generous patriotism, and sound common sense of the great mass of the people."
For this reason it has been the great effort of the Opposition, to make the people believe they are ruined, and induce them to consent to stay ruined until 1840, in order to bring the industrious classes under wholesome discipline, and make them feel the necessity of employing Mr. Nicholas Biddle to take care of their money, and Messrs. Clay and Webster to take care of the rich, and let the rich take care of the poor ! From the hour of the concerted suspension of the Banks, up to the present time, ruin has been the cry and threat of the Opposition and their presses.
"The time for reasoning, (said the National Gazette, Mr. Biddle's chief organ.) has gone by, and it is not by argument, but by suffering, that conviction will be forced on the minds of the people."
Bicknell's Philadelphia Reporter, another of Mr. Biddle's presses, exclaimed---
"If the appeals made to the virtue, morality and intelligence of the people, cannot prevail, money can be used, and that will obtain votes and favor when all other arts and appliances are found abortive."
To which the Virginia Times (Wheeling) adds---
"The people must suffer what they now suffer for the balance of four years, or they must revolt and demand justice at the point of the bayonet !"
The Olive Branch well said of the Federal party, in the last war, "it rises as the country sinks, and sinks as the country rises." "The Whig party thrives most in times of distress" was the avowal of one of the Boston Whig Representatives in the House [J.C. Park], last April, in the debate upon the currency. When the news came that the Bank Convention at New York had voted to resume in January, another Boston member, a veteran leader in the party [George Blake], exclaimed in the House---
"January will come, and there will be no resumption, if the Government is not changed."
And then comes Mr. Clay, who is to be the candidate of the distress party, and in open Senate, in one of his speeches against the Constitutional Treasury, he threatens the people that unless they succumb to a National Bank, they shall be put to a money panic torture,--
Compared to which, all the calamities of a war with the most potent nation of the globe, would be a blessing !
This is literally the threat of Mr. Clay, echoed by Mr. Webster, who declared it "unaccountable, monstrous, criminal," in Congress not to make paper money ! And this is "the entertainment," (as Mr. Webster called the savage butcheries on the frontiers in the last war,) to which the people are "invited" by the great leaders of the panic makers, Clay, Webster and Biddle !
Do you doubt that Henry Clay would rather see his country withering and bleeding under the most awful physical visitations, than that the people should succeed in establishing their National Independence of Banking corporations ? Look at his speech pronounced in the Senate, as late as the 21st day of June last, re-affirming his old threat of "war, pestilence and famine."
"I am proud, (said he,) to have used the language, when I exclaimed, send us war, pestilence and famine, rather than curse us with a military rule; and could I have foreseen that this execrable measure, the Sub-Treasury Bill, would have been introduced, by the influence I then deprecated, I would have denounced it, as I do now, as not at all preferable to war, pestilence and famine, and as not inferior to any one of them, in its malign effects on the welfare and prosperity of the country."
Do you wonder that with such sentiments avowed by their political chief, Mr. Clay, and practically enforced by their irredeemable money chief, Mr. Biddle, the Opposition have continued to this day to resort to every artifice in their power to keep up panic and suspension; to stave off resumption and returning prosperity, in order to force the country into the next election with the cry of ruin still ringing through its wide and fertile borders ?
But business is reviving, and the Banks resuming in spite of them, and that too without a National Bank; and you may prepare next to hear these same leaders and their echoes insisting on specie as the only specific, and claiming to be the exclusive hard money men !
President Van Buren well understood this policy of the Opposition, which was avowed by Mr. Webster in his New York speech just before the suspension --to shut up the Banks in order to shut up the Treasury, and thus bring about a sort of national pauperism, that should force the people to cry out for a paper money Government through a National Bank.
"The most potent spell (said Mr. Van Buren to the people) which has been resorted to, to alarm your fears and pervert your understandings, is the distresses of the country. No falsehood is considered too glaring, no misrepresentation too flagitious, to impose on your credulity."
"The time is not far off", when the American people will rid themselves of Mr. Jefferson's heresies," said Wm. Sullivan, in the Bank panic of 1834.*[* See Familiar Letters. In the war panic of 1814, this gentleman (now a prominent Whig) was the Special Ambassador of the Hartford Convention, sent to Washington to treat with James Madison for a separation of New England from the Government, in carrying on the war !
Nevertheless, the "Jefferson heresies" have still been cherished with abiding hope and faith by the people.
The same party and the same leaders now exult in the hope of putting down the heresies of Jefferson by the panic of 1838, and the rejection of the Constitutional Treasury. Rely on it, they are as far from final success now, as they were in 1814 or 1834.
And what are these "heresies" that are to be got rid of, if Federalism can get the rule ? Here is one of them: the testimony of the author of the Declaration of National Independence of Great Britain, in favor of a declaration of national independence of Banks.
"This institution [the U.S. Bank] is one of the most deadly hostility existing against the principles and forms of our Constitution. The nation is at this time so strong and united in its sentiments, that it cannot be shaken at this moment. But suppose a series of untoward events should occur, sufficient to bring into doubt the competency of a republican government to meet a crisis of great danger, or to unhinge the confidence of the people in the public functionaries; an institution like this, penetrating by its branches every part of the Union, acting by command and in phalanx, may, in a critical moment, upset the government. I deem no government safe which is under the vassalage of any self-constituted authorities, or any other authority than that of the nation, or its regular functionaries. What an obstruction could not this Bank of the United States, with, all its branch banks, be in time of war ? It might dictate to us the peace we should accept, or withdraw its aids. Ought we then to give farther growth to an institution so powerful, so hostile ? Now while we are strong, it is the great duty we owe to the safety of our Constitution, to bring this powerful enemy to a perfect subordination under its authorities. The first measure would be to reduce them to an equal footing only with other banks, as to the favor of the government. But in order to be able to meet a general combination of the banks against us, in a critical emergency, could we not make a beginning toward an independent use of our own money."
On the other hand, Webster and Clay and their followers, denounce "the independent use of our money," as an "execrable measure," and expound the Constitution as enjoining upon Congress the duty to provide a paper currency, and loan the revenue to the Banks ! Here, then, either Jefferson or Webster are wrong in expounding the Constitution, for they flatly contradict each other. Which will you follow ?[ "Resolved, That the Sub-Treasury Bill by making no provision for furnishing a currency in and between the several States, fails of performing a duty authorized by the Constitution." (where?) --Resolves of Massachusetts Legislature, March 30, 1838.
Where can you find, in the long and devoted public services of Martin Van Buren, a sentence or an act which implies aught of the doubt, the contempt, the scorn, the distrust, the fear of the people, that is traced through the acts and avowals of the leaders of the present Opposition to the Democracy of the country ?
"I repose with unwavering reliance, (said Mr. Van Buren in his inaugural address,} on the patriotism, the intelligence and the kindness of a people who never yet deserted a public servant, honestly laboring in their cause; and above all, I humbly hope for the sustaining support of an ever watchful and beneficent Providence."
On another occasion, when the Democratic party in New York was threatened with defeat, Mr. Van Buren calmly and relyingly said, looking straight forward, and disclaiming incidental expedients---
"The Republican party succeeds best and only well, when it reposes upon its original elements. They have stood the test of time and persecution; have their foundation in the habits, feelings and judgments of the people, and will (whatever may be the hopes and fears of others) maintain its ascendency long beyond our day. The past has disappointed all calculations which have been made upon a different result, and the future will do the same. The sober, second thought of the people, is never wrong and always efficient."
On that "sober second thought," the party which sustains a Constitutional Treasury, relies with certain confidence. We date a new Declaration of Independence from this day, and the Democracy must carry it out. No matter what may be the aspect of changes now; the fears of friends or hopes of foes, the results of local or general elections; still, eventually, this great measure of National Independence, the separation of Bank and State, will as surely be sustained by this free people, as that we stand here Freemen, to-day --as surely as that the sun in his course shall, on the morning of this glorious day, again and again look abroad upon a nation of Freemen !
The appeal is made to the people, and they will now look at the question deliberately. The result will strengthen and confirm the Democracy. From the moment the President proposed this measure of permanent relief, the country has been in a feverish excitement --the Babels of false credit, built to the skies, have been falling about the ears of those who reared them, and of all who passed by, and a confusion of tongues has prevailed among the bankers, brokers and stock-jobbers who were the builders.
There has been no space for the people to reflect, free from the clamor of the panic makers. The dealers in stocks have labored to make it appear that they are the country, and the Banks the people; and they have contrived to prevent the access of truth to the common mind, especially to those who labor in the earth, of whom Mr. Jefferson justly said---
"Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue."
In their virtues, Fellow-Citizens, shall be made the deposit of the liberties of the country, and not in the vaults of National or State Banks. We have come back now to a test question, based on the original elements of Republican Government. The issue of no such question, in this country, ever has failed, ultimately to be on the side of the Democracy.
"As long as public sentiment, the great lever of our political machine, remains as now, intelligent and patriotic, we need not fear that any measure with which the public interest is essentially connected, will fail of support."
This was the confiding trust in the people, expressed by Mr. Van Buren, just before the question of the re-charter of the United States Bank came to an issue.
Heard you not then, Fellow-Citizens, as you have now, the threats of "war, pestilence and famine," the exultations of fancied triumphs over the people, the prolonged shouts of Whig victories, the feasting and drinking, "five fathoms deep," the clamor for relief or revolution ? Saw you not the spectral illusions conjured up by the Bank partizans --the long line of the funeral processions, with which, in their conventions and assemblies, they regularly followed to the grave, the bleeding Constitution, and buried it under the ruins of the United States Bank ?
Did not their great defender of the Constitution [Daniel Webster], on the 11th of July, 1832, declare in Congress---
"If the Veto Message of the United States Bank shall receive general approbation, the Constitution will have perished. It will not have survived to its fiftieth year."
Did he not, again, at the Worcester Convention of 1832, most lugubriously dress up poor "solitary Massachusetts," in long weeds of woe, (like the wax figure in the Museum, of Charlotte weeping at the tomb of Werter)--
"So that with respect and decency, though with a broken and bleeding heart, she may pay the last tribute to a glorious, departed, free Constitution !"
But the people did sustain the Veto Message, and the Constitution still survives !
The same false prophets of woe are now foretelling that the Constitution will not survive to its sixtieth year, if the people sustain an Independent Treasury. Again the "dies atri" (the black days of the black cockade) are upon us, and the "conclamatio" of an other Federal panic is howled over the Constitution, as the Romans, at their funerals, set up a general outcry over the corpse, to fright the living and wake the dead.
Again we hear the wailings of grief of the panic makers, the money changers, the hired mourners, over a National Bank; and the long funeral procession again sweeps by, in all the mockery of woe, with the mimics and players, following the "bleeding Constitution" to the tomb! and poor Massachusetts will again be brought out, (like the last year's transparency,) to figure in the procession, and enact the part of chief mourning woman.*[Suetonius tells a story of an arch mimic who acted at the funeral of Vespasian. But that hired mourner was not a Senator nor a candidate for the Presidency. "After the musicians went the præficæ or the mourning women, hired on purpose to sing the funeral song."
But the Constitution will survive it, the Democracy will survive it, and will again triumph in 1840, as it did in 1836. The panic of 38 will go to its long home, in the same grave with its twin brother, the panic of 34, and the Whig mourners will go about the streets. Nay, we may some of us yet live to hear the "Defender" (or I should rather say the Undertaker) of the Constitution, (since he has buried it so often,) stoutly denying that he ever was opposed to an Independent Treasury, as we now hear him denying that he was opposed to the war !
What, then, ought every true friend to his country to decide upon as the proper measure for future prevention, which is now more needed than present relief ?
The Government has tried a National Bank as the fiscal agent, and the people put it down when they had barely strength left to prevent being put down by it. You have tried State Banks, and they have put themselves down. Would a sound statesman try either of these experiments again, or take the third and only alternative, a Constitutional Treasury ?
A National Bank is so utterly a political impossibility, that not a leader of the Opposition dare move it. What then ? The sincere Democrats who supported the pet Bank system, now honestly own it was a bad one, and they mean to profit by experience. On the other hand, how stand the Opposition ? In 1834, Mr. Webster tauntingly said---
"I venture to predict, that the longer gentlemen pursue the experiment of collecting the public revenue by State Banks, the more perfectly will they be satisfied that it cannot succeed."
It certainly did fail in 1837, and where is the prophet of that failure now ? Behold him in the Senate, coming forward to relieve the nation, and with what ? Will you believe it of the man who made the hard money speeches in 1816 and 1832 ? With literally his "Small Bill," as it is well called, proposing to try over again this same exploded experiment of State Banks; with the paltry addition, that the Government shall "go down to low water mark," and take one dollar bills ! A noble measure truly, for a great statesman, who in 1832, proposed as a principal measure of relief, to banish all bills under five dollars !
This was the healing prescription of the "Defender" in 1832, and in 1838 we find him again weeping over his "bleeding Constitution;" spreading his quack plaster of one dollar bills,
"And telling us, the sovereign'st thing on earth,
"Is parmaceti for an inward bruise."
"Tell Mr. Pitt, (said Burke, in 1797,) that if he consents to issue one pound notes, he will never see a guinea again."
Tell Mr. Woodbury, says Mr. Webster, in 1838, that if he does not consent to take one dollar bills of all the specie paying Banks, this country will never see prosperity again !
To which Mr. Clay adds--- Tell him he must take all the bills of all the Banks, whether they pay specie or not, and he must circulate this paper currency to every body he can persuade to take it !
With these two exceptions, the party in Congress who opposed every thing and proposed nothing, have not suggested a measure of relief or prevention; and these utterly frivolous propositions are literally the only substitutes the profound statesmen and leaders of the opposition can offer for a Constitutional Treasury !
We live in a glorious country, in a progressive age, and in the midst of a generous and free people. Providence is smiling upon us, through the rich meadows, the fertile fields, the genial skies. Heaven is most bountiful, and shall man be ever repining and ungrateful ? With peace in all our borders; with domestic happiness around our hearths; with moral and religious culture, in all the forms of social improvement, lighting with intelligence and hope, the whole face of society; with the highest destinies of man, the great experiment of free government, the dearest hopes of humanity entrusted to our keeping; with the vast problem in government of the greatest good of the greatest number to be solved by our institutions --shall we now sink all into a mere question of money making; of irredeemable paper money,
"And sell the mighty space of our large honors,
"For so much trash, as may be grasped thus ?"
With all the exhaustless physical resources around us, and with all the moral energies of an enlightened people to develope them, the want of wealth will be the last possible evil that can assail us. The danger to our beloved country, is not from poverty, individual or national, but from too much wealth! especially that wealth, not the long maturing fruit of patient industry, but the sudden acquisition, based on an expanded system of false credit --the riches that of all others, soonest take to themselves wings and fly away.
The lessons of adversity are sweet and profitable, after too much prosperity. We have had ours as a nation. Let them not be lost, by seeking again the same means of unnatural prosperity, to be followed by a like reverse. Let us not, as a people, be content to be less free, that as individuals we may be more rich. Let us not, in the haste to be rich, distrust our own industry, our own energies, and rely solely on artificial creations of wealth, which add no more to real wealth, than would the multiplied images of a dollar, in broken fragments of a mirror, add to the real dollar.
The same party that has always distrusted the people, now doubt the honesty and capacity of officers appointed by them, and prefer even broken Banks as more faithful agents. In their creed of morals, honesty, as well as a Bank, requires a special charter to make it worth any thing.
The party that has always confided in the people, now regard them as better depositories than irresponsible and soulless corporations. And why should not the people be trusted to appoint their own agents to take care of their own money ? Why, when the people are the Government, and can change their rulers as they please, are they to be taught to distrust their own Government as an enemy, and regard monied corporations as their best guardians and friends ?
All Governments but this, are devised and man aged to defend the rulers against the ruled, and guard the privileges of the few against the many. Our Government was framed to protect the people against Government, and preserve them from being preyed upon by the privileged few. In other Governments, the rulers are the privileged few, whom the many can never change or reach, but by revolution. There the Government is one thing, the people another. Here the people are the Government, and the Government the people.
Resolve that you will keep it so. Confiding in yourselves, trust not to agencies which the Constitution never created, to manage your public concerns. Preserve the public faith, to corporations as well as individuals; but do not be driven to confide in corporations rather than your own public functionaries, from the fear of being called hostile to Banks.
The Democratic party has no hostility to well conducted State Banks, as useful agents in the concerns of trade and commerce. It is in fact the Opposition who would destroy State Banks, by an absorbing National institution. It is Mr. Webster who denies the constitutional power of the States to make Banks of circulation, and claims all the paper money manufacture for Congress.
The Democracy would be just to Banks, not subservient to them. But when a party comes forward allied with the Banks as a political engine, and demanding as a right, the control of the moneys of the Government, it becomes a free people to rise in their strength and resist it, as if it were a demand from a foreign power to pay tribute or surrender the treasury.
This is a point from which the Democracy of the country, while it exists as a party, can never swerve. Whatever may be the issue of elections, whoever may come in or go out of power, let the Democracy firmly resolve, in this matter of resuming the connexion of Bank and State, as their great apostle Jefferson did, in a matter of like vitality to freedom, when in the Convention of Virginia, in 1775, it was proposed that the Colony should resume its connexion with Great Britain !
"By the Creator that made me, (he exclaimed,) I will cease to exist before I yield to a connexion on such terms as the British Parliament propose."
In those times that tried men's souls, as these times try their principles, the timid and the selfish would have yielded and lost all. Jefferson stood fearless, and in one year from that day, he drafted, and Congress adopted, the Declaration of entire Independence of Great Britain; and the people, though often baffled and beaten, at last carried it out to a glorious triumph.
Be this our example, let who will faulter or who will fly; and before the National Anniversary of 1840, the people will have carried out, to another glorious triumph, the Declaration of National Independence of Banks.
Note.--- Having had occasion to allude so frequently to the opinions of Jefferson, it may not be unprofitable to show the precise estimation in which Mr. Jefferson is held by the modern Whigs. This is curiously illustrated by a recent occurrence. A Whig Convention at Utica, New York, of inexperienced youths, have recently put forth in their Address, the following: "To the success of Mr. Jefferson's exertions, may we justly ascribe the subsequent prosperity which distinguished our country's career."
The adult leaders of the Opposition have castigated the young gentlemen severely, for this indiscretion. The New York Commercial Advertiser, (the publisher of "Sydney,") says that Jefferson was elected by "a short sighted and misguided people," and adds: "Alas for the youth of our land, if such be the accuracy of their political knowledge ! To Mr. Jefferson's exertions do we owe the reign of Jackson and Van Buren ! He it was who, like Absolam, corrupted the people ! He it was who sowed the wind which has brought the whirlwind. He it was who stimulated the hostility to the old National Bank, which resulted in its overthrow in 1814," etc. &c.
The National Gazette is not less indignant at this assault upon "Federalism;" and the United States Gazette falls upon the youths as "Van Buren young men;" discourses of "the unhallowed zeal of Jacobins," and sneeringly adds, "to-day they mention Jefferson with respect, but to-morrow it may be Fanny Wright !"
This is the result of a recent attempt of a sort of Committee of the Whig party on change of names, to try to assume the pretentions and name of Democrats. It has called out more than mere newspaper indignation. The highest sources of Whig literature are invoked to put down the "heresy." The American Monthly Magazine for August, a zealous champion of the Whig cause, in a labored article, denounces the "ultra democratic principles," right strongly, and says:
"Thomas Jefferson may be considered as the earliest apostle of the principle. Latitudinarian in his doctrines of every kind, he went to the very verge of ultra democracy, and under the baleful influence of his talents, the people began to believe that they were not yet sufficiently free. His specious doctrines of the direct and absolute responsibility of all agents of the people, to the people themselves, and his direct assaults upon all those features of the Constitution which, in his view, partook of Aristocraticism, took deep root among the people, and prepared the way for the complete developement of the principle."
Another sign. In the oration before the Whig City authorities of Providence, R.I. this 4th of July, John Whipple, Esq. a distinguished leader of the Opposition, a lawyer of preeminent ability, omitted to mention the name of Thomas Jefferson in a list he gave of those who had been the greatest benefactors of this nation ! The whole oration was eminently Hamiltonian, utterly discouraging to the conviction that this Republic can continue long; denunciatory of general suffrage, and relying solely on keeping power as much as possible from the many, and confining it to the few.
Mr. Clay [paid attorney of the Bank of the United States], having visited Philadelphia for the purpose of holding a consultation with medical gentlemen on the state of his health, (which is exceedingly delicate), was invited by a committee, in behalf of the friends of the administration in Baltimore, to remain here a short time on his return. And it being known that he would arrive on Monday afternoon last, the steam boat Patuxent, crowded with citizens, proceeded down the river to meet the boat United States. When the boats approached each other, and it was ascertained that Mr. Clay was a passenger, nine cheers from the Patuxent gave to that gentleman the first intimation of the presence of so many of his friends. The Patuxent now changed her course, and, taking the lead of the United States, afforded the committee and citizens, an opportunity of being on the wharves to receive Mr. Clay at his landing. The crowd by this time was uncommonly dense, and some have supposed that not less than 2,000 persons were present. Mr. Clay was conducted to the City Hotel, and the next day, from 11 o'clock in the morning until 2, and from 7 until 9 in the evening, received the visits of all who were pleased to call upon him; and during these 5 hours there was one continued throng of people passing through the room which he occupied. Those who attended, say that the pressure was much greater than on any similar occasion in this city. In the interval, Mr. Clay, having declined a public dinner, partook of one in company with the committee who attended upon him and the chairmen of committees of the several wards, when the following, among other toasts were drunk.1. The president of the United States. [J.Q. Adams, bosom friend of Nicholas Biddle]
Mr. Clay then rose, (evidently laboring under debility from indisposition, probably increased by the ceremonies of the day) and said:
"Although I have been required, by the advice of my physicians, to abstain from an social entertainments, with their consequent excitements, I cannot leave Baltimore without saying a few words by way of public acknowledgment for the cordial congratulations with which I have been received during my present visit: I am not so vain, indeed, as to imagine that any personal considerations have prompted the enthusiastic demonstrations by which my approach to this city, and my short sojourn, have been so highly distinguished. Their honored object, has, it is true, some claims upon the justice, if not the sympathy, of a generous, intelligent, and high-minded people. Singled out for proscription and destruction, he has sustained all the fury of the most ferocious attacks. Calumnious charges, directed against the honor of his public character, dearer than life itself, sanctioned and republished by one who should have scorned to lend himself to such a vile purpose have been echoed by a thousand profligate or deluded tongues and presses. Supported by the consciousness of having faithfully discharged his duty, and defended by the virtue and intelligence of an enlightened people, he has stood firm and erect amidst all the bellowings of the political storm. What is a public man, what is any man worth, who is not prepared to sacrifice himself, if necessary, for the good of his country ?
"But, the demonstrations which I have here witnessed, have a higher and a nobler source than homage to an individual; they originate from that cause with which I am an humble associate --the cause of the country --the cause of the constitution --the cause of free institutions. They would otherwise be unworthy of freemen, and less gratifying to me. I am not, I hope, so uncharitable as to accuse all the opponents of that cause with designs unfriendly to human liberty. I know that they make, many of them sincerely, other professions. They talk, indeed, of republicanism, and some of them impudently claim to be the exclusive republican party ! Yes! we find men who, but yesterday, were the foremost in other ranks, upon whose revolting ears the grating sound of republicanism ever fell, and upon whose lips the exotic word still awkwardly hangs, now exclaiming, or acquiescing in the cry, that they are the republican party ! I had thought, if any one more than all other principles, characterized the term republican party, it was their ardent devotion to liberty, to its safety, to all its guarantees. I had supposed that the doctrines of that school taught us to guard against the danger of standing armies, to profit by the lessons which all history inculcates, and never to forget that liberty, and the predominance of the military principle were utterly incompatible.
"The republican party ! In this modern, new fangled, and heterogeneous party, Cromwell and Cæsar have recently found apologists. The judgment of centuries is reversed; long established maxims are overturned; the Ethiopian is washed white; and the only genuine lovers of liberty were the Philips, the Cæsars, the Cromwells, the Mariuses, and the Syllas, of former ages. It is time for slumbering patriotism to awake, when such doctrines as these are put forth from the capitol, and from popular assemblies. It is time that the real republican party, (I speak not of former divisions, springing from causes no longer existing, and which are sought to be kept up by some men in particular places, only for sinister purposes) --that party, under whatever flag its members may have heretofore acted, that party which loves freedom, for freedom's sake-- justly to estimate the impending perils, and to proceed with an energy, and union, called for by the existing crisis in the re public.
"Regardless of all imputations, and proud of the opportunity of free and unrestrained intercourse with all my fellow-citizens, if it were physically possible, and compatible with my official duties, I would visit every state, go to every town and hamlet, address every man in the union, and entreat them, by their love of country, by their love of liberty, for the sake of themselves and their posterity --in the name of their venerated ancestors, in the name of the human family, deeply interested in the fulfilment of the trust committed to their hands-- by all the past glory which we have won --by all that awaits us as a nation --if we are true and faithful in gratitude to Him who has hitherto so signally blessed us-- to pause --solemnly pause-- and contemplate the precipice which yawns before us ! If, indeed, we have incurred the divine displeasure, and it be necessary to chastise this people with the rod of his vengeance, I would humbly prostrate myself before Him, and implore his mercy, to visit our favored land with war, with pestilence, with famine, with any scourge other than military rule [Andrew Jackson], or a blind and heedless enthusiasm for mere military renown.
"Gentlemen, I wish I had strength to expatiate upon this interesting subject; but I am admonished by the state of my health to desist. I pray you to accept my thanks for the sentiment with which you have honored me, and your permission to offer one which I hope will be approved by you.
"Genuine republicans, of every faith, who, true to the cause of liberty, would guard it against all pernicious examples."
Mr. Clay left Baltimore early on Wednesday morning.