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lot of humanity, must make it necessary to renew the benches of justice. And how will they be filled ? Doubtless, sir, they will be filled by incumbents, agreeing with the President, in his constitutional opinions. If the Court is felt as an obstacle, doubtless the first opportunity, and every opportunity, will be embraced, to give it less and less the character of an obstacle. Sir, without pursuing these suggestions, I only say that the country must prepare itself for any change in the Judicial Department, such as it shall deliberately sanction, in other departments.
But, sir, what is the prospect of change? Is there any hope, that the national sentiment will recover its accustomed tone, and restore to the Government a just and efficient administration ?
Sir, if there be something of doubt on this point, there is also something, perhaps much, of hope. The popularity of the present Chief Magistrate, springing from causes not connected with his administration of the Government, has been great. Public gratitude for military service has remained fast to him, in defiance of many things, in his civil administration, calculated to weaken its hold. At length, there are indications, not to be denied, of new sentiments, and new impressions. At length, a conviction of danger to important interests, and to the security of the Government, has made its lodgement, in the public mind. At length, public sentiment begins to have its free course, and to produce its just effects. I fully believe, sir, that a great majority of the nation desire a change in the administration; and that it will be difficult for party organization, or party denunciation to suppress the effective utterance of that general wish. There are unhappy differences, it is true, about the fit person to be successor to the present incumbent, in the Chief Magistracy; and it is possible, that this disunion, may, in the end, defeat the will of the majority. But so far as we agree together, let us act together. Wherever our sentiments concur, let our hands cooperate. If we cannot, at present, agree, who should be President, we are at least agreed who ought not to be. I fully believe, sir, that gratifying intelligence is already on the wing. While we are yet deliberating, in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania is voting. This week, she elects her members to the next Congress. I doubt not, the result of that election will show an important change in public sentiment, in that
State ; nor can I doubt that the great States adjoining her, holding similar constitutional principles, and having similar interests, will feel the impulse of the same causes which affect her. The people of the United States, by a vast and countless majority, are attached to the Constitution. If they shall be convinced that it is in danger, they will come to its rescue, and will save it. It cannot be destroyed, even now,
if THEY will undertake its guardianship and protection.
But suppose, sir, there was less hope than there is, would that consideration weaken the force of our obligations ? Are we at a post, which we are at liberty to desert, when it becomes difficult to hold it? May we fly at the approach of danger ? Does our fidelity to the Constitution require no more of us than to enjoy its blessings, to bask in the prosperity which it has shed around us, and our fathers, and are we at liberty to abandon it, in the hour of its peril, or to make for it but a faint and heartless struggle, for the want of encouragement, and the want of hope? Sir, if no State come to our succor, if every where else the contest should be given up, here let it be protracted, to the last moment. Here, where the first blood of the Revolution was shed, let the last effort for that which is the greatest blessing obtained by the Revolution, a free and united Government, be made. Sir, in our endeavors to maintain our existing forms of Government, we are acting not for ourselves alone, but for the great cause of Constitutional liberty all over the globe. We are trustees, holding a sacred treasure, in which all the lovers of freedom have a stake. Not only in Revolutionized France, where there are no longer subjects, where the monarch can no longer say, he is the State, not only in reformed England, where our principles, our institutions, our practice of free Government are now daily quoted and commended; but n the depths of Germany, also, and among the desolated fields, and the still smoking ashes of Poland, prayers are uttered for the preservation of our Union and happiness. We are surrounded, sir, by a cloud of witnesses. The gaze of the sons of liberty, every where, is upon us, anxiously, intently, upon us. They may see us fall in the struggle for our Constitution and Government, but Heaven forbid that they should see us recreant.
At least, sir, let the Star of Massachusetts be the last which shall be seen to fall from heaven, and to plunge into the utter darkness of disunion. Let her shrink back, let her hold
others back, if she can; at any rate, let her keep herself back, from this gulf, full, at once, of fire, and of blackness; yes, sir, as far as human foresight can scan, or human imagination fathom, full of the fire, and the blood, of civil war, and of the thick darkness of general political disgrace, ignominy, and ruin. Though the worst may happen that can happen, and though she may not be able to prevent the catastrophe, yet, let her maintain her own integrity, her own high honor, her own unwavering fidelity, so that with respect and decency, though with a broken and a bleeding heart, she may pay the last tribute to a glorious, departed, free Constitution.