Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

posed, or performed, as the chosen chief magistrate of this great people ? Coming into power, and called upon to declare his purposes, at a moment when that whole Republic was wrapped in thick, wide-spread, midnight gloom, and that whole people bowed down beneath a weight of affliction almost unprecedented in the history of the commercial world, what light did he throw in upon that darkness? what consolation did he offer to that allliction ? Light! Sir, it was the light of another night, newfallen upon midnight. Consolation! Sir, it was the consolation of that angel-voice in Revelation, which, after four trumpets of wrath had already sounded, after the third part of the trees were scathed and withered, and all the green grass was burnt up, after the third part of the sea had become blood, and the third part of the ships were destroyed, after the third part of the glorious sun and stars were smitten and had ceased to shine, was heard crying in Heaven, —“ Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabit

ers of the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpets which are yet to sound!”

Happily, Sir, this voice was not uttered, in the present case, under any sanction of Divine right. Happily, the inhabiters of the earth to whom it related, were not, in this instance, the doomed subjects of a supreme, original, unquestionable authority. The power from which it proceeded was a mere human power - an entirely derivative power—an easily controllable power. And more than all, it was a power derived from that very people, and responsible to that very people, upon whom all these past woes had fallen, and all these future woes were about to fall. If that people would, they could hear the voice. If they would, they could interpret its tones. If they would, they could avert its dreadful denunciations, and put it to shame and to silence forever. And, Sir, it is the very event upon which we have been sent to congratulate you this day, that the people of this great State of New York have heard it, have understood it, and have, as far as on them depends, condemned it to share and to silence for the future.

Mr. Mayor, the triumph of this day, neither in itself nor in its influences, relates to your own State only. No, Sir, I see the whole people of this country rising up to claim a share in it.

The State of New York, by its wide-spread territory and thicksettled population, by the inexhaustible resources of its soil, by the indomitable, and, I had almost said, illimitable, enterprise of its seaboard, and by all the countless attributes of wealth and pride and power with which it is crowded, exerts an influence over the concerns of this Republic, to which not even its great number of actual votes in the national councils furnishes any adequate index. But this is not all. It has been reserved to this great State to give that last finishing stroke to a series of strokes, that last crowning victory to a series of victories, without which all the rest would have been wellnigh wasted, but with which the cause of the Constitution and of the people is secure!

And there is still another view, Sir, in which the whole country may be said to claim a share in this triumphal jubilee. Many of the States of this Union, almost all of those which are represented here to-day, and many of those which are not represented, have already asserted that claim for themselves at the polls. Maine has done it; Rhode Island has done it; Vermont has done it; Massachusetts, I need not say, has done it. It has been asserted by Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio; by New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and, I had almost added, Michigan; but I have this instant learned that Michigan has at length been ascertained to have given a majority of nearly four hundred votes in favor of our adversaries,

“Oh, mighty Cæsar! dost thou lie so low,
Are all thy conquests, triumphs, glories, spoils,
Shrunk to this little measure!”

But, Sir, with this single exception, if, indeed, an exception it can be called, all the States which I have named have asserted by their own noble acts, an indisputable claim to a share in the triumphs of this day. But why should we stop there, Sir? Who shall fix the limits of that great tide of regeneration which is now washing over the land? Who shall say unto it, - thus far shalt thou go and no further? Who shall declare that here its proud waves shall be stayed? For one, Mr. Mayor, I am content with no enumeration of the States which are at this

say, they have

moment, by great majorities of the people, in favor of Whig principles and a Whig policy, which does not embrace the whole six-and-twenty of our beloved Union. New York and Massachusetts have had an opportunity to show and make clearly manifest what they are in favor of, and so have all the other States to which I have referred. But let us be slow to shut out from this glorious company of patriot States, those to whom no such opportunity has yet been afforded. Their time and their turn will yet come, and that shortly; and let us have no fear for the results. Depend upon it, Sir, the people, the whole people, are coming;- I should rather

come; come to their own senses; come to their own salvation; come to the pulling down of the strongholds of corruption; come to the restoration of fallen liberty; come to the reëstablishment, in all their beauty and in all their strength, of the old constitutional bulwarks of this Republic!

But I must not trespass longer on your time. Once more, in behalf of the Whigs of Boston, I congratulate you on your success; once more, I thank you for your exertions. And not in their behalf only. In behalf of the whole great body of Mas- . sachusetts Whigs — I know all their hearts, and am not afraid to speak for them all — in behalf of them all, of every occupation and profession; in behalf of Whig mechanics, who have taken the measure of true patriotism from the rule of a Paul Revere; in behalf of Whig farmers, who have ploughed the straight furrow of a Prescott and a Hawley ; in behalf of Whig merchants, who have learned to sum up the great account of public duty from the ledger of a John Hancock;- in behalf of them all, of every county, town, and district of the State, whether scattered over the plains of Lexington and Concord, or clustered at the foot of Bunker Hill, or crowded within the precincts of Faneuil Hall; — wherever they are, from the furthest reach of either Cape to the line where their territory embraces and becomes one with your own;- in behalf of every one of them — all and everywhere true, all and everywhere triumphant- I congratulate you, , I thank you, and in the name of them all, I offer you the right hand of a hearty, genuine, Whig fellowship.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]




[ocr errors]


It is not without a good deal of distrust, Mr. Chairman, that I find myself on the floor of the House. During the early part of the session, I will confess, I more than once desired to be there. More than once did I find the opening line of the old Roman Satirist rising to my lips — semper ego auditor tantum ? nunquamne reponam ?- must I always be a mere hearer ? shall I never have a chance to reply? And sometimes I was almost disposed to quarrel with the unmerited honor which had seemingly doomed me to a perpetual silence. But these feelings have now been so long restrained, that I fear something beside the disposition to mingle in debate may have passed away. Certainly, Sir, it would have been any thing but a matter of regret to me if the yeas and nays had been called on these resolutions a week or more ago, when they first came up in the orders of the day. Discussed as the Sub-Treasury system had been, almost without intermission for six months past, in Congress, in caucus, in the newspapers, and at the fireside, I should have been quite content, for one, to have let it pass here, at so late an hour of the session, entirely without debate.

It was suggested by the gentleman from Gloucester, (Mr. Rantoul,) in opposition to such a course, that the House was utterly ignorant of the merits of the measure — that not thirty of them knew what the Sub-Treasury system was.

I am inclined to believe, Mr. Chairman, that a large majority of the members pretty well understood and appreciated that system. I have no idea that any considerable number of them were then, or are now, desirous of a nearer or more familiar acquaintance with it. At any rate, I believe that the minds of the whole House are made up upon it. I believe the minds of the whole people are made up upon it. I have no hope, certainly, of changing a single shade of public or private sentiment by any thing I can say in favor of these resolutions; and I will add that I have no particular apprehension that any thing that has been said, or that may be said, against them, will work any very material change in that public or that private sentiment. I heartily wish, therefore, that we had come to the vote a week ago, and had speeded the resolutions on their errand to the Capitol, to do whatever of good or evil they inay be designed or destined to effect.

But it has been ordered otherwise. The opponents of the resolutions demanded, claimed, insisted on, a discussion. And in conformity with their convenience and agreeably to their sug. gestion, if not directly upon their motion, a time for that discussion was assigned. Four days have now nearly elapsed since that time arrived, and we all know how they have been occupied. The first was taken up by the gentleman from Gloucester, in proposing and pressing sundry amendments to the resolutions, all of which were rejected by large majorities. The first hour or more of the second day was employed by the gentleman from Marblehead, (Mr. Robinson,) in an effective speech against the resolutions; and the gentleman from Gloucester, rising again as his friend from Marblehead took his seat, has held the floor from that time to this. I cannot help hoping, Mr. Chairman, under all these circumstances, that the whole waste of public time and public money which this protracted controversy will have cost, is not destined to be charged to the account of the majority in this House. If it be, however, there will only be another warning added to a list of warnings already neither short nor unedifying, against the manifestation of an excessive courtesy and the accordance of too many indulgences to political opponents.

The gentleman from Gloucester, in his remarks on Thursday,

« AnteriorContinuar »