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hurly-burly of the next Presidential struggle. Not until that “ hurly-burly's done,” not until that “ battle's lost or won,” when it has once opened, shall we be in a condition to look to any issues less broad than those which concern the whole country. Now, then, while we have opportunity, let us look at home. Now, then, while we may, let us remember, that let what will happen to the Nation at large, - let who will be permitted, either by any dispensation of Providence, or by any delusion of the people, to defeat or disappoint the just expectations of the Nation, — we have here a community of our own, institutions of our own, an administration of our own, embracing within the sphere of its influence the nearest and dearest interests of ourselves and our children, for the purity and preservation of which we, and we alone, are responsible. Now then, I repeat it, if there be any thing wrong in the condition of old Massachusetts; if any breach has been made in the walls and fences of the old homestead; if any strip and waste has been committed on the old family premises; if any trespassers have invaded our firesides, and overthrown, or threatened to overthrow, our very altars and household gods; now, now is the time for restoration and redress.
And how is it with our beloved Commonwealth ? How has it fared with her during the past year, and how is it with her now? Who are in possession of her high places, how have they come there, and how have they manifested their title to the continued support and confidence of the people ?
Strange scenes - strange scenes, certainly, have been witnessed, and strange sounds heard, within the walls of the capitol of Massachusetts during the last year. It is my fortune, — I should rather say, I owe it to your favor, - to have witnessed these scenes from a distance; but distance, I assure you, has lent no enchantment to the view. No true son of Massachusetts, no one who has a true sense of what belongs to her character and her honor, could have read the proceedings of her Legislature, or of her Executive, during the last winter, however distant he may have been from the scene of action, and however free from any mere party preferences or prejudices, without feeling his blood burning in his cheek and tingling to his fingers ends. The cir
cumstances which attended the organization of the government; the utter disregard for the dignity of the Senate, manifested by the majority in forcing into the Presidential chair, against his will, a person confessedly incompetent to discharge its duties, and who was compelled to abandon his post within a week after his election; the systematic attempt to smuggle into the other branch of the Legislature an irregular and illegal vote, for the purpose of securing a party majority in the choice of a Speaker; the mingled corruption and treachery by which the majority in joint ballot was but too plainly procured; the summary expulsion from office of such men as then occupied the posts of Secretary and Treasurer, and the hunt which was obliged to be instituted for a responsible person to take charge of the public moneys, reminding us almost of the old philosopher with his lantern, hunting for an honest man ; – these, with their accompanying incidents, were enough to fill with disgust and indignation all, all, who had hearts for the prosperity and honor of the Old Bay State.
And yet they formed, after all, but the appropriate prelude to the mingled tragedy and farce which followed. They were but the fitting overture to that series of Legislative and Executive acts, which signalized the triumph of the false democracy over the true. They formed, especially, but the becoming introduc
. tion to that Executive message with which the serious business of the session commenced. Not soon shall I forget the emo
I tions with which I perused the late message of Governor Morton, on its arrival in Washington. Not soon shall I forget the indignant expressions of my honorable and excellent friend, the late member from Salem, (Mr. Saltonstall,) who chanced to be at my elbow when the mail brought it in to us at midnight, as I read it aloud to him. Five hundred miles away from home, associated with the representatives of other States, we had something of that sensitiveness on the subject of old Massachusetts, something of that jealousy as to every thing which might affect her reputation and renown, which travellers in a foreign country are wont to feel as to the native land they have left behind them. And what was our humiliation at hearing from her own Council Chamber, as from authority, such perversions of her past history, such reproaches upon her present condition, such an abuse of her previous rulers, such insinuations as to her credit, such imputations upon her integrity, such an impeachment of her honesty! If it had been a stranger who had said these things we could have borne it. No— let me not say so
we could not have borne it. If any citizen of another State had uttered such a tirade against old Massachusetts, if a member of Congress from any other part of the country had indulged in such reproaches upon her policy and principles, we should have felt, - every one of the Massachusetts members of Congress, (Mr. Parmenter, I am sure, not excepted,) would have felt, - that it must not pass unanswered and unrebuked. Our constituents, of both parties, would not have held us guiltless, for suffering it to go by in silence. But it was no stranger; it was our brother; our fellow-citizen ; our chosen Chief Magistrate, with the highest honors of the Commonwealth freshly cast upon him, — with the robes of office in their newest gloss upon his back. What a return for honors conferred! And what an inducement, too, - what a consideration, for a renewal of those honors now! Why, fellow-citizens, the citizen of Massachusetts who should now approach Governor Morton to lend him his support, as he presents himself again for our suffragesafter the libels he has uttered on the character of the Commonwealth - must approach him, I should imagine, in something of the spirit in which Shakspeare's Shylock represents himself as approaching the Merchant of Venice to lend him moneys:
“He should bend low, and in a bondman's key,
Mr. Chairman, I have no purpose to enter into any detailed analysis of the late Governor's Message, or of the Legislative proceedings by which it was followed. This work has been done, ably, admirably done, already, by those who have had far greater opportunities than myself
, — by those who have
related things which they saw, and part of which they were. But I shall be pardoned for dwelling on one or two of the points in the message of Governor Morton, and in the conduct of his party in the Legislature, which have impressed themselves most deeply on the mind of one who has looked on at a distance.
And first, I desire to say a word as to the language of the Governor, in relation to our State credit. Sir, if there has been any thing as to which the people of this Commonwealth have felt, and have had a right to feel, a true and lively satisfaction, a just and generous pride, during the past ten years, it has been the credit of Massachusetts at home and abroad. We have seen the scrip of the Commonwealth, as is well said in these resolutions, first among the foremost in the world; always com. mending itself to the confidence of capitalists; often selling where no other scrip could find a market; often sought for when it was not to be found; and, in the worst of times, commanding a higher price than that of any other State in the Union. No delay to pay interest, no denial of the obligation to pay principal, elsewhere, - no repudiation, expressed or implied, has sensibly affected its value. The mildewed ears of other States have not been able to blast their wholesome brother here! Let me recount a little incident, which is only one among a hundred within every body's knowledge, to illustrate the estimation in which Massachusetts stock is held. I remember being called from my seat by a distinguished foreigner, of great intelligence, last winter, to converse with him about the credit of the States; and I remember the pride I felt when he told me, that after a careful examination of the whole subject, he had come to the conclusion that Massachusetts stock was the best State stock in the world, and that, although he had invested his funds heretofore in the stock of a State in which the name of repudiation had never been breathed, and where interest and principal had always been punctually paid, he had determined to sell out this stock at a discount, and buy in Massachusetts stock, even at a premium. There was one other stock, he did, indeed, say that he should have preferred. It was not a State stock, and the mention of it in no degree alloyed my satisfaction or diminished my pride. It was the stock of the good old city of Boston, — which, he said, was the very best in the world; but as this could not be procured for love or money, and as he wished to feel perfectly safe and easy in leaving a little money behind him, while he made a visit to his own home, he was resolved to obtain the stock of Massachusetts at any sacrifice which might be necessary.
But what was the language of our own Governor in regard to this State stock of ours in his last message ?
66 I cannot refrain from the expression of my apprehension, (says he,) that the investment of it (the School Fund) in the scrip of the Commonwealth, may endanger its ultimate safety.” And he then proceeded seriously to submit to the wisdom of the Legislature, whether a different investment of that fund might not be safer. Something safer than the bond of Massachusetts! Something more reliable than the honor and faith of the old Puritan State! And this, too, from one who has had the undeserved distinction of affixing his signature to great numbers of these bonds, as Governor of the Commonwealth! I trust that his wish was not father to this thought! I trust that no willingness, no desire, no determination to have the old forebodings of himself and his party, as to these loans of credit, fulfilled, has led to such an expression. I trust in Heaven, that this idea has not been advanced in this message, to prepare the way for the doctrine of repudiation in the next! Prepare the way, do I say! With grief and shame I pronounce it, the late Message of Governor Morton seems to me not only to have prepared the way, but to have advanced the doctrine outright, — certainly to have implied it, with a distinctness which admits of no misinterpretation or mistake. What does he say further, in regard to this School Fund of ours ? Let me read the very words, for fear of being thought to misquote or pervert. “Should any of the Corporations (he says) to whom this scrip has been loaned, fail to pay the interest or the principal when due, the only security — mark it, "the only security" — which the School Fund would have, would consist in the will of the Legislature, to impose an annual tax, to be paid to the several towns for the support of the town schools.” Not a word here about the solemn obligation of the State to redeem her scrip, her whole scrip, — to pay interest and principal, both to the uttermost farthing, whenever and