Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

the Declaration was signed, in 1776, the perils of the country were wholly from without. In 1832 they were entirely from within.

“One people” was the term used in reference to the citizens of the Thirteen United States of America in the Declaration of Independence. “We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States, in Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world, declare that these United States are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States," was the closing of that document. “That the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union," are the words under which our Constitution was written. Washington received his sword from the Congress of the United Colonies, and returned it when triumphant to the Congress of the United States. All who were born and all who accepted citizenship under that Declaration and that Constitution came into the inalienable inheritance of all the rights, the powers, and the liberties of the Union of the States. The danger to the Union from the conflicting ideas of State rights and nationality, which clouded the last days of CHARLES CARROLL, culminated in 1861 into the bloodiest civil war of modern times.

That struggle it is now clearly seen was a providential interposition in our affairs, not only to extirpate slavery, but to perpetuate the Union. We witness the unprecedented spectacle of the victors and of those who failed, both fighting as our blood only can fight for an ideal, now sitting side by side in this Congress, equally loyal to the flag and to the Union. The passions of civil war have died while the generation which fought it is living. With this question settled the progress and development of the country in all that constitutes the wealth and power of a nation has been five times greater in the thirty-seven years since the civil war than in the preceding eighty-nine years.

We can place among the immortals John HANSON, who has also been selected by the Commonwealth of Maryland as her representative in the gallery of State patriots in this Capitol, as President of the Congress of the Confederation during the later years of the struggle, and he had appended to his name the unique title of “President of the United States in Congress Assembled.” As the signers, from above, note the honor this day conferred upon the one of their number who lingered longest on this side they recognize that, great as were their aspirations, fond as were their hopes, mighty as were their dreams of the future of their country, yet in every element which makes a happy people enjoying the blessings of the largest liberty and a nation foremost in the affairs of the world, the Republic which they created has surpassed all they hoped or dreamed or prayed for. [Applause in the galleries]

ADDRESS OF MR. BACON, OF GEORGIA.

Mr. PRESIDENT: I am unwilling that the exercises of this most interesting occasion shall close without any word being spoken from either of the four original States lying south of the Potomac. In the arrangements made for these exercises it was not designed that this should be so. Of these four States, if not of the entire thirteen, in Revolutionary times, Virginia will be recognized as easily the first.

And thus it was that it was deemed proper that a Senator from Virginia should be heard upon this occasion. It seemed to be peculiarly fitting that this should be so on the presentation of these two statues.

JOHN HANSON was the first President of the United States in Congress assembled, and a Virginian was the first President of the United States under the Constitution.

CHARLES CARROLL was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and the framer of the Declaration of Independence was a Virginian, while the soldier who made that Declaration good was also a Virginian.

Recognizing all this, the senior Senator from Virginia (Mr. Daniel] had been selected to speak as the representative, in a sense, of these four original States. All will agree that no more happy selection could have been made. Unhappily, since these exercises have begun and within a few minutes just past, the information has been brought to us that the illness of the Senator from Virginia will prevent his being heard to-day, and, at this last moment, the duty has been unexpectedly devolved upon me.

Mr. President, I would not undertake at any time to supply the place of this eloquent Virginian, and in any event extemporaneous speech would not be fitting here to-day. But without attempting more than a word, I will be pardoned for saying that the failure of Virginia, or of North Carolina, or of South Carolina, or of Georgia, to be heard to-day would be misconstrued, if from such failure it was understood that the fact that statues to John HANSON and CHARLES CARROLL were to be presented here to-day had been passed over by them as a matter not worthy of attention or of speech from them; for it can be confidently said that not only now but at all times since the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence the people of those four States have been loyal and true to every utterance of that great instrument. They are not only loyal to its great principles, but they revere the memory of its great authors.

Mr. President, not only in sentiment, but so far as might be expressed in acts, the devotion of the people of these States to the principles of that instrument has been manifested, and they have united in the effort to do honor to those who framed that immortal instrument, and plighted their lives and fortunes to its maintenance.

Among other things, it may be mentioned that in my own State of Georgia there are a number of counties which have been named for framers and signers of the Declaration of Independence. I can not enumerate all of them, but I will mention as pertinent to this occasion that not only are there in Georgia the counties of Jefferson and Hancock and Franklin and Gwinnett and Hall and Walton, and others bearing the names of these illustrious signers, and named in their honor, but there is also in the State the county of Carroll, named in honor of the renowned Marylander.

Mr. President, if I may be pardoned the suggestion, as I have sat here and listened to these eloquent speeches I have noticed in the niches of this Chamber the busts of all the Vice-Presidents of the United States, and the thought has occurred to me that it would be fitting if at some time the Government of the United States would erect a hall for the immortals—the consecrated band who proclaimed the great Declaration which challenged the political dogmas of a thousand years and defied the greatest military power of all the earth.

We have the Chamber of the old House of Representatives, in which each State is authorized to place the statues of two of its most illustrious citizens. But, sir, this work of thus commemorating these founders of the Republic should not be left to the States alone. The time may come when the old Senate Chamber will be vacated by the Supreme Court when a fitting building may be erected for the judicial department of the Government.

When that time comes, Mr. President, it will be fitting that that historic chamber shall be chosen for the hall of these immortals, and that therein shall be placed, to be forever preserved, the effigies in marble and bronze of the deathless framers and signers of the Declaration of Independence.

« ПредишнаНапред »