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Conscious we are that our humble tribute can add but little either to your pleasure or your fame. But taught from infancy to respect worth, we could not be silent when we see in our midst one in whom are blended the finished scholar, the able statesman, the pure patriot; one 'whose fame can no more be hemmed in by stateliness,' than the consecrated histories of Boston, Bunker Hill, and Lexington. However warm may be our gratitude to those who sustain our country's honor on the battle-field, we are not forgetful of those whose names are interwoven in the history of the councils of state and the debates of senates. And whilst we weave a willing wreath around the victor's brow, we equally offer the homage of our hearts and our understandings to men illustrious as you are, Sir, in civil life. Be assured, Sir, on our part, of a most hearty welcome amongst us."
To which Mr. Webster replied : —
Young Gentlemen Of The South Carolina College,— I thank you for the manner in which you have been pleased to receive me, and for the respect which you have manifested. You are of the generation which is to come after us, and your judgments are to form part of the opinion of posterity, in respect to those who are now active in the scenes of life. It will be happy for me, if the mature sentiments of your manhood shall correspond with those thus expressed in your youth.
My young friends, I may well congratulate you on your present condition, and your prospects. You are members of a nourishing institution. You enjoy the teachings of a learned faculty, with a name at its head beloved in private life, highly distinguished in public life, and which confers grace as well as usefulness on these academic groves. Private and family affections cluster round you all; a thousand hopes are cherished for you; all good auspices hover over you. Every one of you may take to himself, in this respect, the language of the poet,
"Non sine Dis animosus infans."
Let me, then, say to each of you, " Carpe diem." Art is long and science is profound, and literature, in our day, is variou and extensive. But you have youth, and health, and the means of culture and improvement, and can accomplish great objects. With you it is the bright and breezy morn of life. A long day, I trust, is before you. Let me advise you to be early in prosecuting the great work, which in that day is to be done. Like the morning of the natural day, let the morning of life begin with devotion to the Great Giver of all good; and let every succeeding hour of that life be filled with acts of duty, and friendship, and private and public beneficence. The evening of such life will be full of hopes for a better; and all will be cheered and consoled by
"that which should accompany old age, As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends."
Young Gentlemen, all my good wishes attend you! May you here sow, with liberal broadcast, the seeds of a future harvest of honor to yourselves, gratification to your friends, and usefulness to your country!
RECEPTION AT SAVANNAH.*
Agreeably to previous arrangements, at eleven o'clock on the morning of Wednesday, the 26th ultimo, the committee of thirteen waited upon Mr. Webster at his lodgings, and escorted him to the platform erected against the Greene and Pulaski monument, in Monument Square. A very large audience of both sexes was in attendance. We have seldom seen a brighter or more interesting spectacle in this city.
Mr. Webster having taken his place upon the stage, and quiet prevailing among the audience, he was addressed by Mr. Justice Wayne as follows: — B
"Sir,— The people of Savannah, mindful of the services which you have rendered to our common country, welcome you to our city. We mean it to be a hearty welcome.
"Unaided by those accidents of fortune which give to some men temporary notoriety, you have achieved for yourself, and mostly in the. service of your country, lasting reputation as a jurist, orator, and statesman. But, more than this, and that which we think you value most, you have also, in working your way to such distinction, won as much of the confidence and friendly regards of your contemporaries as in our day any public man can hope to enjoy. Proofs of it have been given to you everywhere. They were awaiting your arrival, if sickness had not shortened your journey, wherever you might have gone. Those kindly influences are worth a thousand other triumphs. It is in such a spirit we now address you, and, if the hundreds in our view could hear my voice, theirs would respond with the same feeling.
"All that you have done, Sir, and the manner in which it has been done, will be told in our history. More than thirty years of public service have identified you with the leading political incidents of that time. Memorable things have happened. The prominent actors in them will be judged, not alone by the parts they may have taken, but by the con
• From the Savannah Republican of the 3d of June, 1847.
sequences and results of measures. Time removes contemporary misconstruction. Posterity will give its judgment free from the misguiding interests and prejudices of a past generation. History is God's providence in human affairs, and it is a part of it to triumph over error, and to assign to the actors in great events their proper places.
"Yours, Sir, we believe, will be with those master-spirits who framed the Constitution of our Union. It has already made us a great nation and a numerous people. "VVith it, we shall become all that a nation can be; without it, nothing that a people should be. The eflbrt of your life has been to maintain that Constitution in all that you believe to be its legitimate powers. Others, and some of them our ablest men, differ from you. But whenever those differences have been discussed, you have never failed to gain the respect of those who did not agree with you; because your own opinions have always been openly avowed, and maintained with signal ability and conceded patriotic intention. All, too, admit that no man has been truer than yourself to the compromises of the Constitution. In the House of Representatives, in the Senatechamber, in the courts, in your official despatches, and upon popular occasions, at home and elsewhere, when you have spoken, and when it was proper to say so, you have said that these compromises were to be kept as they were meant by the States which ratified it. We do not doubt that you will continue to think and to act so, with all that fervor of feeling with which you once exclaimed, in reference to the union of the States,' Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable.'
"From one of your constitutional suggestions every man in the land has been more or less benefited. We allude to it with the greater pleasure because it was in a controversy begun by a Georgian in behalf of the constitutional rights of the citizen. When the late Mr. Thomas Gibbons determined to hazard a large part of his fortune in testing the constitutionality of the laws of New York, limiting the navigation of the waters in that State to steamers belonging to a company, his own interest was not so much concerned as the right of every citizen to use a coasting license upon the waters of the United States, in whatever way their vessels were propelled. It was a sound view of the law, but not broad enough for the occasion. It is not unlikely that the case would have been decided upon it, even if you had not insisted that it should be put upon the broader constitutional ground of commerce and navigation. The court felt the application and force of your reasoning, and it made a decision releasing every creek and river, lake, bay, and harbor, in our country, from the interference of monopolies, which had already provoked unfriendly legislation between some of the States, and which would have been as little favorable to the interest of Fulton as they were unworthy of his genius.
"Nor must we permit this occasion to pass without noticing your administration of the State Department. We of the South as a very large portion of your fellow-citizens did everywhere, recognize in what was then done practical ability remarkably suited to the time of action, with a comprehensive support of every American interest and right, domestic and foreign.
"One word more, Sir. The place from which we give you our welcome has been consecrated by us to the memory of Greene and Pulaski. It is a fit place for a people's welcome to be given to one who has deserved well of the republic. It reminds us of those Revolutionary events which excite in all Americans a common sympathy. It should be cultivated by all of us. It has hitherto resisted the contentions of interest and the passion of party. And if, at any time hereafter, some dark cloud shall threaten our harmony, it will be made harmless by holding up to the people the remembrance of their fathers, united in the cause of American freedom. Upon our part, we shall never forget that Georgia gave an early response to the earlier remonstrance of Massachusetts against those acts of Parliament of which she was the immediate victim, but which were levelled against the liberties of all the Colonies. When the language of Suffolk, bolder than any which had been used before,* proclaimed, for the first time, that the Colonies were only a part of the realm of England by compact, which would be dissolved, if the acts of which Massachusetts complained were not repealed, it was repeated here with pledges to our sister Colonies to join them in any and every measure of resistance. The patriots of Georgia were not slow in showing that they were in earnest. Their sons, and grandsons, and great-grandsons, bearing the honors of their paternity gracefully and unobtrusively, but with all the sympathies of their fathers, are here to-day to unite with the rest of us to give you our welcome. Accept it, Sir, and should you, upon your return home, be called upon to tell any thing of your visit to the South, tell those to whom you may speak that you have been among a people who, in the real respect which they feel and have shown to yourself, intended also to manifest their attachment to their Northern and Eastern brethren, and to show that their prevailing political feeling is devotion to our Union.
"May God animate all the people of all States with the same sentiment, and impress upon their hearts that it is a duty which we owe to him, to our fathers, and our posterity, to maintain, defend, and preserve the Union, and to transmit it entire to future generations!"
* See resolutions of "the County of Suffolk in the Province of Massachusetts Bay," of the 6th of September, 1774, laid before the Continental Congress on the 17th of that month.