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himself belongs, and I doubt not that, in his sojourn among us, in the acquaintances he may form, the notions he may naturally imbibe, he will go home to his own country somewhat better satisfied with what he has seen and learned on this side of the Atlantic, and somewhat more convinced of the great importance to both countries of preserving the peace that at present subsists between them. I propose to you, Gentlemen, the health of Mr. Aldham.

Mr. Aldham rose and said : —" Mr. President and Gentlemen of the New England Society, I little expected to be called on to take a part in the proceedings of this evening; but I am very happy in being afforded an opportunity of expressing my grateful acknowledgments for the very cordial hospitality which you have extended to me, and the very agreeable intellectual treat with which I have been favored this evening. It was with no little astonishment that I listened to the terms in which I was introduced to you by a gentleman whom I so much honor (Mr. Webster). The kind and friendly terms in which he referred to me were, indeed, quite unmerited by their humble object, and nothing, indeed, could have been more inappropriate. It is impossible for any stranger to witness such a scene as this without the greatest interest. It is the celebration of an event which already stands recorded as one of the most interesting and momentous occurrences which ever took place in the annals of our race. And an Englishman especially cannot but experience the deepest emotion as he regards such a scene. Every thing which he sees, every emblem employed in this celebration, many of the topics introduced, remind him most impressively of that community of ancestry which exists between his own countrymen and that great race which peoples this continent, and which, in enterprise, ingenuity, and commercial activity, — in all the elements indeed of a great and prosperous nation, — is certainly not exceeded, perhaps not equalled, by any other nation on the face of the globe. Gentlemen, I again thank you for the honor you have done me, and conclude by expressing the hope that the event may continue to be celebrated in the manner which its importance and interest merit."

Mr. Aldham sat down amid great applause.


VOL. II. 19


Among the numerous political meetings in the summer and autumn of 1844, none, perhaps, surpassed that which was held at Albany on the 27th of August. It was attended by an immense number of the inhabitants of that city and of the neighboring counties, and by many thousands of persons from a distance. By some estimates the numbers present exceeded fifty thousand. Among the distinguished persons present by invitation were Mr. Webster, Messrs. Dawson and Berrien of Georgia, Messrs. Granger, Hasbrouck, and Greely, of New York, and others of political eminence from several parts of the country. The meeting, of course, was held in the open air. Samuel Stevens, Esq., of Albany, presided, and, after a few appropriate remarks by him on the nature of the occasion, Mr. Webster was introduced to the meeting and delivered the following speech.

In the history of states and of governments, as in the lives of individuals, there are epochs at which it is wise to pause, to review the past, to consider attentively the present, and to contemplate probable futurity. We are, fellow-citizens, upon the eve of a general election, full of importance and of interest, involving questions which rise far above all considerations of the personal qualities of the candidates for office, questions of the greatest and the nearest bearing upon present and existing interests, and likely to affect the prosperity of the country for a long time to come.

In my judgment, therefore, it is highly proper, in such a state of things and on such an occasion, that we should bring the past into our immediate presence, and consider and examine it; that we should ponder assiduously existing interests and exist

• A Speech delivered at a very large Meeting held at Albany, on the 27th of August, 1814, with Reference to the Presidential Election of that Year.

ing duties, and that we should exercise whatever of forecast and sagacity we possess, in endeavoring to discern what is, or what may be, yet before us.

On the 3d of March next, fifty-six years will have expired since we began our national character and existence under the present Constitution of the United States. In the lapse of that period, we have gone through fourteen Presidential elections, and have chosen eight-and-twenty successive Congresses of the United States. Of these fourteen Presidential elections, twelve have been effected by the popular vote, according to the provisions of the Constitution; and two have taken place, in pursuance of other constitutional provisions, by the House of Representatives in Congress, and in default of an election in the primary mode by the people of the Union. These several elections have all been legal and regular. Every successive incumbent of the Presidential office has been acknowledged, in succession, to be rightfully in possession of that office. All these elections have been conducted without violence or disorder, without the interference of an armed force, and by the regular, peaceable, constitutional exertion of the public will.

In my estimation, Gentlemen, this is a fact of the highest importance to us, and of great interest and importance to the whole civilized world; because it proves that a republican government is capable of existing over a great country, of various interests, connections, associations, and pursuits; that it has a possible permanence; that it may. be continued and exercise its functions. For such a government has existed, has continued itself, has exercised its functions, as I have said, for more than half a century; and that half-century, be it always remembered, has been a marked period in history,— for during its progress fierce wars have afflicted the nations of Europe, and revolutions, without parallel for convulsion and violence, have shaken the dynasties of the elder world.

It is true, therefore, that on a great area there has existed, during this period, a republican and popular form of government. Its officers have been renewed during this period, by the choice of the people, and the succession of power has been as peaceable and regular as in any of the established monarchies or dynasties of the ancient world.

In the second place, our history proves, that not only is such

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