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Henry Clay and John Sergeant, as President and Vice President of the United States. The Convention does not deem it necessary to enlarge upon the merits of these distinguished individuals, already adopted as their candidates by the people of the Commonwealth, by whom we are ourselves delegated, and by the National Republican Convention assembled at Baltimore. In Mr. Clay the people of the United States behold a statesman of the most distinguished talents, of long and various experience in the public service, and of the most devoted and generous patriotism. In early youth and in maturer years, as a citizen and as a representative, at home and abroad, in peace and in war, in the chair of the House of Representatives, in a most important diplomatic capacity, in the cabinet and in the Senate, he has been the strenuous, indefatigable, eloquent and triumphant supporter of those principles of government and policy on which the union of the Siates and prosperity of the People depend. Mr. Sergeant is eminent among the first jurists and statesmen of the country. His professional respectability, and public services both at home and abroad, are such as to entitle him to the
support of the People of the United States for the high station to which he has been nominated by the National Republican party.
The entire political lives of these distinguished statesmen are a guaranty to the country that, beneath their auspices, the reign of violence, of arbitrary discretion, of secret influence and peremptory dictation will pass away, and that of civil rule will return. Under their Administration, the people of the United States will enjoy, what they are now deprived of,— the benefit of a government of law. The directory of the Administration will be sought in the statute book, and the other constitutional depositaries of the law, and not in a private executive construction. Offices, whose uncorrupt discharge is essential to the welfare of the people, will no longer be regarded as spoils of victory. Appointments repeatedly negatived by the constitutional advisers of the President will not be renewed, by his sole will, the moment that the Senate adjourns. The execution of laws will not be suspended on the pretence of their unconstitutionality. The countenance of the Administration will not be extended to an unprincipled press, nor offices of trust and emolument bestowed as the reward of the slanderer. The patronage of the Government will not yet be exerted to defeat the will of the People. The great domestic
interests of the country will be upheld, by a steady, unequivocal support. Its industry will be spared the shock of a disordered currency. The faith of treaties will be kept sacred ; and the honor of the United States be sustained in their intercourse with foreign governments; and the union of the States, the precious legacy we have inherited from our fathers, will be preserved unimpaired for our children.
These are the objects for which we contend. If we succeed in the noble effort, we shall enjoy the satisfaction of having contributed to rescue our beloved country in the hour of her dearest peril.
If we are destined to fail and it is appointed by an all-wise Providence, that our country shall be abandoned to a continuance of that misrule, which has brought it to the verge of ruin, we shall have the consolation that we, at least, were not wanting to our duty. The interests at stake are beyond all power of description. Mighty battles of nations arrayed against each other, may be lost or won, with no other effect than to decide by what name of tyranny both shall be oppressed. But if in the great civil warfare now waged, the friends of the country are defeated; if, by the divisions of those who march beneath it, the banner of the Constitution is cloven down, the cause of liberty protected by law is sacrificed for all nations, and for all time. The crisis is fearful, the danger impending, the responsibility tremendous; and this Convention calls upon every man, as he loves his country, to come forward and do his duty.
NATHANIEL SILSBEE, President.
MR. WEBSTER'S SPEECH.
MR. PRESIDENT, I offer no apology for addressing the meeting. Holding, by the favor of the people of this Commonwealth, an important public situation, I deem it no less than a part of my duty, at this interesting moment, to make my own opinions on the state of public affairs known ; and, however I may have performed other duties, this, at least, it is my purpose, on the present occasion, fully to discharge. Not intending to comment, at length, on all the subjects which now attract public attention, nor to discuss any thing, in detail, I wish, nevertheless, before an assembly so large and respectable
present, and through them to the whole people of the State, to lay open, without reserve, my own sentiments, hopes, and fears, respecting the state, and the fate, of our common country.
The Resolutions which have been read from the Chair express the opinion that the public good requires an effectual change in the administration of the General Government, both of measures, and of men. In this opinion, I heartily concur.
Mr. President,—there is no citizen of the State, who, in principle and by habitual sentiment, is less disposed than myself to general opposition to Government ; or less desirous of frequent changes in its administration. I entertain this feeling strongly, and at all times, towards the Government of the United States; because I have ever regarded the Federal Constitution as a frame of Government so peculiar, and so delicate in its relations to the State Governments, that it might be in danger of overthrow, as well from an indiscriminate and wanton opposi
tion, as from a weak or a wicked Administration. But a case may arise, in which the Government is no longer safe, in the hands to which it has been entrusted. It may come to be a question, not so much in what particular manner, or according to what particular political opinions, the Government shall be administered, as whether the Constitution itself shall be preserved and maintained. Now, sir, in my judgment, just such a case, and just such a question, are at this moment before the American People. Entertaining this sentiment, and thoroughly and entirely convinced of its truth, I wish, as far as my humble power extends, to awaken the People to a more earnest attention to their public concerns.
With the People, and the People alone, lies any remedy for the past, and any security for the future. No delegated power is equal to the exigency of the present crisis. No public servants, however able or faithful, have ability to check, or to stop the fearful tendency of things. It is a case for sovereign interposition. The rescue, if it come at all, must coine from that power, which no other on earth can resist. I earnestly wish, therefore, unimportant as my own opinions may be, and entitled, as I know they are, to no considerable regard, yet, since they are honest and sincere, and since they respect nothing less than dangers which appear to me to threaten the Government and Constitution of the country, I servently wish, that I could now make them known, not only to this meeting, and to this State, but to every man in the Union. I take the hazard of the reputation of an alarmist ; I cheerfully submit to the imputation of over-excited apprehensions ; I discard all fear of the cry of false prophecy, and I declare, that, in my judgment, not only the great interests of the country, but the Constitution itself is in imminent peril, and that nothing can save, either the one or the other, but that voice, whiclı bas authority to say, to the evils of misrule and misgovernment, Hitherto shall ye come, but no farther.
It is true, sir, that it is the natural effect of a good constitution to protect the people. But who shall protect the Constituition? Who shall guard the guardian? What arm but the mighty arın of the People itself, is able, in a popular government, to uphold public institutions ? The Constitution itself is but the creature of the public will, and in every crisis wbich threatens it, it must owe its security to the same power to which it owes its origin.
The appeal, therefore, is to the People. Not to party, nor to partizans ; not to professed politicians ; not to those who have an interest in office and place, greater than their stake in the country ; but to the People, and the whole People ; to those, who, in regard to political affairs, have no wish but for a good government, and who have power to accomplish their own wishes.
Mr. President,—are the principles and leading measures of the Administration hostile to the great interests of the country?
Are they dangerous to the Constitution, and to the Union of the States ?
Is there any prospect of a beneficial change of principles and measures, without a change of men ?
Is there reasonable ground to hope for such a change of men ?
On these several questions, I desire to state my own convictions, fully, though as briefly as possible.
As government is intended to be a practical institution, if it be wisely formed, the firsi and most natural test of its administration is the effect produced by it. Let us look, then, to the actual state of our affairs. Is it such as should follow a good administration of a good Constitution ?
Sir, we see one State openly threatening to arrest the execution of the revenue laws of the Union, by acts of
This proceeding is threatened, not by irresponsible persons, but by those who fill her chief places of power and
In another State, free citizens of the country are imprisoned, and held in prison, in defiance of a judgment of the Supreme Court, pronounced for their deliverance. Immured in a dungeon, marked and patched as subjects of penitentiary punishment, these free citizens pass their days in counting the slow revolving hours of their miserable captivity, and their nights in feverish and delusive dreams of their own homes and their own families ; wbile the Constitution stands, adjudged to be violated, a law of Congress is effectually repealed by the act of a State, and a judgment of deliverance, by the Supreme Court, is set at nought and contemned.
Treaties, importing the most solemn and sacred obligations, are denied to have binding force.
A feeling, that there is great insecurity for property, and the stability of the means of living, extensively prevails.