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النشر الإلكتروني

Apprehension of the imputation of the want of firmness sometimes impels to the performance of rash and inconsiderate. acts. It is the greatest courage to be able to bear the imputation of the want of courage. But pride, vanity, egotism, so unamiable and offensive in private life, are vices which partake of the character of crimes in the conduct of public affairs. The unfortunate victim of these passions cannot see beyond the little, petty, contemptible circle of his own personal interests. All his thoughts are withdrawn from his country, and concentrated on his consistency, his firmness, himself. The high, the exalted, the sublime emotions of a patriotism, which, soaring toward heaven, rises far above all mean, low, or selfish things, and is absorbed by one soul-transporting thought of the good and the glory of one's country, are never felt in his impenetrable bosom. That patriotism which, catching its inspirations from the immortal God, and leaving at an immeasurable distance below all lesser, grovelling, personal interests and feelings, animates and prompts to deeds of self-sacrifice, of valor, of devotion, and of death itself that is public virtue; that is the noblest, the sublimest of all public virtues !



THE honorable senator* has arrayed before us, the mighty naval power of England, the number of her ships of war, her sailors, and her guns, and the comparatively diminutive force we present. If that senator, by this, intended to awe us into a compromise, by the surrender of our own territory, it was certainly both ill-timed and ill-planned; that would have better become a secret session. The idea of surrendering without an effort, because of the numerical superiority of the enemy, whether in guns or men, is new to me in military history. I admit that it is right and proper to examine the force of Great Britain, but at the same time we ought not to forget or undervalue our own. The American people cannot be alarmed; they are not to be awed by any such representations.

But the senator of South Carolinat is wedded to a different plan -a plan which avoids all action. He is for leaving the whole matter to the silent, quiet, noiseless operation of time,

* Mr. Clayton, of Delaware. † Mr. Calhoun.



and the gradual encroachments of our hardy and enterprising settlers, who have gone, and are going, into the territory.

But do gentlemen flatter themselves that we can thus take Oregon, and England know nothing of it? Will the English not understand this policy as well as we? And when they perceive the plan likely to take effect, will they not be on their guard? If we press our population upon them, will they not, in turn, press their pauper population upon us? Which of the two plans will most consult the honor of this country? Which story shall we rather have on record as a heritage to our posterity—the plan of the honorable senator, to get the territory by silent encroachment, or that advocated by gentlemen on the other side, who are for demanding the territory, because it is ours? Shall we take it openly and boldly, by a straight-forward, manly course?- or shall we get it covertly, slily, stealthily? No! I will not say stealthily; I will not employ any term that may imply the slightest disrespect to the honorable senator; I will not say stealthily, but I will say circuitously; yes, that is the word, -circuitously. I would not say anything that could be a cause of offence to the honorable gentleman from South Carolina. I have no such feelings toward him. I hold that honorable senator in too much respect; I have too much esteem and regard for him. I would not, for the world, pluck one leaf from the laurel that enwreaths his venerated brow. He has ably served his country in many and various important stations.. I hope and trust he will do nothing that shall mar the page in this nation's history which he is destined to fill. I respect his acquisitions; above all, I venerate his virtues the spotless purity of his private life. But the senator's course is circuitous; ours is direct. Which, I ask, will do most honor to a country like this? Which will read the best? Sir, how will it read along side of the history of "76? Then the whole population of a range of Atlantic colonies, sooner than submit to the exactions of a slight tax, took up arms, and went into the appeal of battle. They stood for their rights in many a bloody field; and they conquered those rights from the mightiest and the haughtiest power the world ever saw. Such was the first chapter of our history, read and studied by the nations of the Old World. But what is to be the second chapter? At first we had but three millions of people; now we have twenty millions. Our wealth, our power, our energy, have increased in more than a like proportion. And now the same old enemy claims a great empire

on our western coast· and the descendants of the same people

resolve, sooner than resist, to surrender their rights, and let her take it. I trust no such chapter is to be written in our history.

Mr. President, I have but uttered the rights of my country; and by their side I plant myself, ready to abide the issuecome peace, come war.



MR. PRESIDENT, we must distinguish a little. That there exists in this country an intense sentiment of nationality; a cherished energetic feeling and consciousness of our independent and separate national existence; a feeling that we have a transcendent destiny to fulfil, which we mean to fulfil; a great work to do, which we know how to do, and are able to do; a career to run, up which we hope to ascend, till we stand on the steadfast and glittering summits of the world; a feeling, that we are surrounded and attended by a noble historical group of competitors and rivals, the other nations of the earth, all of whom we hope to overtake, and even to distance; such a sentiment as this exists, perhaps, in the character of this people. And this I do not discourage; I do not condemn. It is easy to ridicule it. But "grand, swelling sentiments" of patriotism, no wise man will despise. They have their uses. They help to give a great heart to a nation; to animate it for the various conflicts of its lot; to assist it to work out for itself a more exceeding weight, and to fill a larger measure of glory. But, sir, that among these useful and beautiful sentiments, predominant among them, there exists a temper of hostility towards this one particular nation, to such a degree as to amount to a habit, a trait, a national passion—to amount to a state of feeling which “is to be regretted," and which really threatens another war this I earnestly and confidently deny. I would not hear your enemy say this.

Sir, the indulgence of such a sentiment by the people supposes them to have forgotten one of the counsels of Washington. Call to mind the ever seasonable wisdom of the Farewell Address: "The nation which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is, in some degree, a slave. It is a slave to its animosity, or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest."


No, sir! no, sir! We are above all this. Let the Highland clansman, half naked, half civilized, half blinded by the peat-smoke of his cavern, have his hereditary enemy and his hereditary enmity, and keep the keen, deep, and precious hatred, set on fire of hell, alive if he can; let the North American Indian have his, and hand it down from father to son, by Heaven knows what symbols of alligators, and rattlesnakes, and war-clubs, smeared with vermilion and entwined with scarlet; let such a country as Poland, cloven to the earth, the armed heel on the radiant forehead, her body dead, her soul incapable to die, let her remember the "wrongs of days long past;" let the lost and wandering tribes of Israel remember theirs - the manliness and the sympathy of the world may allow or pardon this to them; - but shall America, young, free, prosperous, just setting out on the highway of heaven, "decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just begins to move in, glittering like the morning star, full of life and joy," shall she be supposed to be polluting and corroding her noble and happy heart, by moping over old stories of stamp act, and tea tax, and the firing of the Leopard upon the Chesapeake in a time of peace? No, sir! no, sir! a thousand times no! Why, I protest I thought all that had been settled. I thought two wars had settled it all. What else was so much good blood shed for, on so many more than classical fields of revolutionary glory? For what was so much good blood more lately shed, at Lundy's Lane, at Fort Erie, before and behind the lines at New Orleans, on the deck of the Constitution, on the deck of the Java, on the lakes, on the sea, but to settle exactly these "wrongs of past days?" And have we come back sulky and sullen from the very field of honor? For my country, I deny it. The senator* says, that our people still remember these "former scenes of wrong, with, perhaps, too deep" a sensibility; and that, as I interpret him, they nourish a "too extensive" national enmity. How so? If the feeling he attributes to them is moral, manly, creditable, how comes it to be too deep? and if it is immoral, unmanly, and unworthy, why is it charged on them at all? Is there a member of this body, who would stand up in any educated, in any intelligent and right-minded circle which he respected, and avow that, for his part, he must acknowledge, that, looking back through the glories and the atonement of two wars, his views were full of ill blood to England; that in peace he could not help being her enemy;

* Mr. Buchanan, of Pennsylvania.

that he could not pluck out the deep-wrought convictions and "the immortal hate" of the old times? Certainly, not one. And then, sir, that which we feel would do no honor to ourselves, shall we confess for our country?

Mr. President, let me say, that in my judgment this notion of a national enmity of feeling towards Great Britain belongs to a past age of our history. My younger countrymen are unconscious of it. They disavow it. That generation, in whose opinions and feelings the actions and the destiny of the next are unfolded, as the tree in the germ, do not at all comprehend your meaning, nor your fears, nor your regrets. We are born to happier feelings. We look to England as we look to France. We look to them, from our new world,

not unrenowned, yet a new world still, and the blood mounts to our cheeks; our eyes swim; our voices are stifled with emulousness of so much glory; their trophies will not let us sleep: but there is no hatred at all; no hatred — no barbarian memory of wrongs, for which brave men have made the last expiation to the brave.




MR. SPEAKER: The mingled tones of sorrow, like the voice of many waters, have come unto us from a sister state- Massachusetts, weeping for her honored son. The state I have the honor in part to represent once endured, with yours, a common suffering, battled for a common cause, and rejoiced in a common triumph. Surely, then, it is meet, that in this the day of your affliction, we should mingle our griefs.


When a great man falls, the nation mourns; when a patriarch is removed, the people weep. Ours, my associates, is no common bereavement. The chain which linked our hearts with the gifted spirits of former times has been suddenly snapped. The lips from which flowed those living and glorious truths that our fathers uttered are closed in death. my friends, Death has been among us! He has not entered the humble cottage of some unknown, ignoble peasant; he has knocked audibly at the palace of a nation! His footstep has been heard in the halls of state! He has cloven down his victim in the midst of the councils of a people. He has borne in triumph from among you the gravest, wisest, most reverend head. Ah! he has taken him as a trophy who was

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