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wherever due, without regard to the persons by whom it is held, or the purposes to which it may have been devoted! Not a syllable of all this. Nothing of that manly, honest, high-toned assertion of the inviolability of State Faith, which has been accustomed to be heard, and which always ought to be heard, from the high places of Massachusetts. But, on the contrary, the idea is deliberately held out, that if the Railroads should not pay, the scrip would become worthless, the School Fund would be lost forever, and the only relief for the cause of Education, would rest on the discretion of the Legislature, manifesting itself by annual appropriations in its behalf. Gentlemen, I was about to say that this was repudiation in disguise ; but the more I think of it, and the oftener I read it, the more it seems to be repudiation without any disguise whatever - so plain and so
palpable, that he who runs may read, -so naked and so unblushing, that he who reads would almost be ready to run!
Indeed, there is a refinement on the common and ordinary doctrine of repudiation, in this message of Governor Morton, which has had no precedent, and which I venture to say, will have no parallel, elsewhere. What is the real gist of this suggestion as to the School Fund, when stripped of its specious phraseology, and presented nakedly to the view? It is nothing less than this, - that the State should take measures, without delay, to get rid of any of its own scrip, which it may happen to have on hand, in contemplation of voluntary bankruptcy, in the very view, and almost with the purpose of repudiation; — that the State should put off, as fast as possible, upon others, its own notes of hand, for fear they should become worthless! idea is this, for the Governor of Massachusetts to advance. Why, the beauties of modern banking afford nothing richer than this! The raciest annals of modern financiering, furnish nothing more racy! Change the investment of your School Fund, says the Governor, and sell off to others — to the ignorant or unwary
foreigner, whose friendship to your country and its liberties, may have given him a confidence in its credit - your own stock, which you are afraid to keep yourself! What a recommendation! And this under cover of a most laudable concern for Educa. tion and the Public Schools. In Heaven's name let not the holy cause of Education be associated with such dishonor! Do not let it be heard of, that our common schools, the pride and glory of the State, have been sustained and saved from overthrow,- if indeed their preservation depends at all upon the School Fund, by such an indirection! Let not, above all things, our children hear it even whispered, that the funds by which they are educated, were not only considered unsafe while invested in the solemn obligations of the State, but that the investment was changed in order to shift the losses of State bankruptcy and State repudiation on other shoulders. Rather than such an example of dishonest thrift should be connected with the sacred institutions of education, let the School Fund perish, and I had almost said the schools with it. I would not undervalue the cause of sound scholarship, nor depreciate the importance of any foundation for disseminating it among our children; but if the alternative be whether the fund shall be lost forever, or such an act of dishonor be committed, I cannot hesitate for an instant. The education which should come from a fund so saved, would come, like the knowledge of good and evil to our first parents, clothed with a curse!
Sir, the character of our Commonwealth; its ancient reputation and renown; its hitherto unsullied and unsuspected honesty; its unimpeached and unimpeachable good faith; the examples of its good men and its good deeds ; — these are themselves an education to our children! They constitute a part, and no inconsiderable part, of that high moral education, compared with which the best learning of the schools is hardly worth the sweepings of the halls in which it is communicated. Let not the force of these influences and these examples be impaired. Let the School Fund stay where it is, and if there be any danger - which I totally deny — that repudiation could ever become the policy of Massachusetts, this very investment may arrest such a danger. Our interest in education will come in aid of our State pride. Our love for our children will mingle with our love of honor and our obligations of conscience, and will save us from plunging the State into such irretrievable disgrace. And, let me add, that if the School Fund be not safe in the scrip of the State, it is safe nowhere. If our love of honor is once lost, our love of education
will soon follow. Once repudiate our honest debts, and, even were this School Fund saved from the wreck now, at the very next temptation it would be diverted from the purposes of its establishment. Repudiation, once admitted and entertained, will contaminate our whole system, — will infect our entire policy. It will be that first step which costs, and its cost will be our whole character.
Let us, then, rebuke the first suggestion of such a doctrine. Let us prove to Governor Morton, at the next election, that he cannot cast suspicions upon the good name of the Commonwealth, and propose measures which would more than justify those suspicions, with impunity. Let the man who desires something safer than our State scrip, be taught that he must seek some safer place than the Executive Chair for saying so!
Mr. Chairman, the course of remark of his Excellency, in relation to the credit of the State and the safety of the School Fund, is, after all, only a fair illustration of the spirit which pervades his whole message ;-a spirit, which I cannot characterize in more courteous terms, than to say that it is one of unscrupulous perversion and misrepresentation for mere party purposes ; a spirit, which sticks not at defaming the Commonwealth itself, and dishonoring it before the world, for the sake of casting reproach upon other parties and previous administrations, and of attempting to magnify the merits and to prolong the period of his own; a spirit which seems to regard truth, honor, faith, even the old trophies of our fathers' glory, every thing, as indifferent, save personal or party supremacy, and which considers these as cheaply purchased, by almost any amount of imposition and pretence.
We see this spirit displayed again in relation to the annual expenditures of the State, -in that flagrant misstatement, more especially, that the State had expended more than twelve hundred thousand dollars, during the last eight years, over and above its receipts, and was actually in debt to that amount; a declaration which has no other shadow of truth to rest upon, than the fact that the Commonwealth, during one of those eight years, saw fit to subscribe for a million dollars' worth of stock in the Western Railroad. And this act, which took place under the
lead of one of Governor Morton's own friends, now, by some extraordinary political legerdemain, installed in the office which had been vacated by the proscription of the faithful and patriotic Lincoln, — this subscription, forsooth, is set down as an ordinary expenditure, and is relied upon as justifying the reproach upon the State, of having vastly exceeded her income.
Sir, I have no idea of following the Governor through all these exaggerations and perversions on the subject of our State expenditures, but there is one view of these expenditures which I desire briefly to present to you.
How is it, let me ask, how is it, that the aggregate of State outlay and State liability have been so augmented within the last eight or ten years? It has been, as every body knows, by appropriations to the erection of Insane Hospitals, to the support of Asylums for the blind and the deaf and dumb, to the encouragement of our volunteer militia, to the agricultural, geological, and territorial surveys of the State, and to the construction of that system of railroads, which has made every man in the State the neighbor of every other man, and the State itself the neighbor of every other State. These have been the objects upon which the public liberality has been so largely bestowed.
Now, Sir, our opponents are not to be permitted to sit on two stools, or to ride on two hobbies at the same time. It is against reason, it is against nature. They are not to be permitted to justify and eulogize the object of an expenditure, and yet to disavow and denounce the expenditure itself. They must either approve both, or condemn both. They cannot be permitted to claim the credit of parsimony and liberality, of economy and generosity, in the same breath. They must either hate the one and love the other, or they must hold to the one and despise the other. It is as true of institutions and of improvements as of individuals, “ you take my life when you take the means I have to live.” And they are to be allowed no credit for the existence of public works, on the strength of mere vague and indefinite eulogies of them, after they are completed, who cease not to decry the means by which alone they could have been undertaken. Let, then, the friends of Governor Morton choose which horn of the dilemma they will. Will they be content to be stig. matized as the enemies of these noble charities, of these beneficent institutions, of these magnificent public improvements, which have illustrated the policy of the Commonwealth during the last ten years,
or will they consent to take their share of the responsibility for whatever of liability or outlay they may have cost? One thing or the other they must do.
And for one, as a Massachusetts Whig, I care not a straw which. I wish to divide the responsibility of this portion of our State policy with no party that is not willing - nay, that does not desire — to share it. It is as much as ever that I am willing to divide it with those who do. I adopt the idea of a celebrated ancient lawgiver, who, when he was arraigned for extravagance, declared that he would gladly submit to the charge, if all the noble works to which the public moneys had been appropriated could be inscribed with his own name, instead of being called by the name of the city over which he had presided! Yes, let all the noble institutions, and edifices, and enterprises, and improvements, which have been aided by the appropriations of State money or State credit, be called by the name of the Whig party, and be admitted as exclusively the results of Whig policy, and our opponents may carp and cavil and rail at the cost as much as they please. Why, what is the paltry debt, or even the more considerable liability of Massachusetts, when compared with the value of the objects for which they have been incurred and contracted ? Is there a man here, is there a man in Massachusetts, who would undo all that has been done for the relief of suffering, for the promotion of science, for the ascertainment of the real resources and rightful boundaries of the State, and for facilitating the intercourse of our citizens and the interchange of their commodities, for the sake of wiping off the little debt of the State ? There are many men who will say that they would do so, for mere party effect. But if the thing were possible; if by the rubbing of some Aladdin's lamp, our hospitals and asylums could be razed to the ground, and their now happy inmates be remanded to the destitution and the dungeons from which they have been rescued ; if by the utterance of some magic phrase, some "presto - change," our railroads could be annihilated, the