« ПредишнаНапред »
There is yet one topic on which I must detain you for a moment, and I will then relieve you. We have the good fortune, under the blessing of a benign Providence, to live in a country which we are proud of for many things, — for its independence, for its public liberty, for its free institutions, for its public spirit, for its enlightened patriotism. But we are proud also, — and they are among the things we should be the most proud of,— we are proud of its public justice, of its sound faith, of its substantially correct morals in the administration of the government, and the general conduct of the country, since she took her place among the nations of the world. But among the events which most threaten our character and standing, and which are so greatly at war with the moral principles that have hitherto distinguished us, are certain sentiments which have been broached among us, and, I am sorry to say, have more supporters than they ought, because they strike at the very foundation of the social system. I do not speak especially of those which have been promulgated by some persons in my own State, but of others which go yet deeper into our political condition. I refer to the doctrine, that one generation of men, acting under the Constitution, cannot bind another generation who are to be their successors; on which ground it is held, among other things, that State bonds are not obligatory. What! one generation cannot bind another? Where is the line of separation? It changes hourly. The American community to-day is not the same with the American community to-morrow. The community in which I began this day to address you was not the same as it is at this moment.
How abhorrent is such a doctrine to those great truths, which teach us that, though individuals flourish and decay, states are immortal, that political communities are ever young, ever green, ever flourishing, ever identical! The individuals who compose them may change, as the atoms of our bodies change, but the political community still exists in its aggregate capacity, as our bodies still exist in their natural capacity; with this only difference, that we know that our natural frames must soon dissolve, and return to their original dust; but for our country, she yet lives, she ever dwells in our hearts, and it will, even at the last solemn moment, go up as our final aspiration to Heaven, that she may be immortal.
WHIG CONVENTION AT RICHMOND.*
Virginians, — The wisdom of our fathers has established for us a Constitution of government which enables me to appear before you to-day, and to address you as my fellow-citizens; and half a century of experience has shown how favorable to our common interest, how conducive to our common renown and glory, is that Constitution by which we are thus united. I desire to pay due honor to those illustrious men who made us, the children of those who fell at Bunker Hill and Yorktown, members of the same political family, bound together by the same common destiny, and awaiting the same common prosperity, or common adversity, in all time to come. It is the extraordinary nature of the times, together with a long-cherished desire to visit Virginia, which has procured me the pleasure I enjoy of being in the midst of you all to-day. I have come more for the purpose of seeing and hearing you than of speaking to you myself. I have come to mingle myself among you, to listen to the words of your wise and patriotic men, that I may improve my own patriotic feeling by communication with the chivalrous spirits of this Ancient Dominion. But, inasmuch as there are. or may be, some questions of national policy, or of constitutional power, on which you and I differ, there are some amiable persons who are so very considerate of your reputation, and of my reputation, as to signify that they esteem it a great breach of propriety that you should invite me to come here, or that I should accept your invitation. Let us hope that these amiable persons will allay their fears.
If there be any question or questions on which you and I differ in opinion, those questions are not to be the topics of dis
* A Speech delivered on the 5th of October, 1840, in the Capitol Square at Richmond, Virginia, before the Whig Convention.