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and you do your part in arresting it. Pass this bill, and you place a shield between the man who refuses a challenge and the public opinion that would disgrace him. Pass this bill, and you raise a barrier in the road to honor and preferment, at which the ambitious man will pause and reflect, before engaging in a duel. As fathers, as brothers, as men, and as legislators, I call on this House to suppress an evil which strikes at you in all these relations. I call on you to raise your hands against a crime, the disgrace of our land, and the scourge of our peace !
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. – J. Q. Adams. John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States, and son of John Adams, the srcond President, was born at Quincy, Massachusetts, July 11th, 1767. After studying law, he entered political life, was appointed minister to the Netherlands by Washington, and filled many high offices, till he reached the highest, in 1825. He died in the Capitol, at Washington, while a member of the House of Representatives, 1848. His last words, as he fell in a fit, from which he did not recover, were, “This is the last of earth!”
Tue Declaration of Independence! The interest which, in that paper, has survived the occasion upon which it was issued, the interest which is of every age
the interest which quickens with the lapse of years, spreads as it grows old, and brightens as it recedes, – is in the principles which it proclaims. It was the first solemn declaration by a Nation of the only legitimate foundation of civil Government. It was the corner-stone of a new fabric, destined to cover the surface of the globe. It demolished, at a stroke, the lawfulness of all Governments founded upon conquest. It swept away all the rubbish of accumulated centuries of servitude. It announced, in practical form, to the world, the transcendent truth of the inalienable sovereignty of the People. It proved that the social compact was no figment of the imagination, but a real, solid, and sacred bond of the social union. From the day of this declaration, the People of North America were no longer the fragment of a distant empire, imploring justice and mercy from an inexorable master, in another hemisphere. They were no longer children, appealing in vain to the sympathies of a heartless mother; no longer subjects, leaning upon the shattered columns of royal promises, and invoking the faith of parchment to secure their rights. They were a Nation, asserting as of right, and maintaining by war, its own existence. A Nation was born in a day.
“How many ages hence Shall this, their lofty scene, be acted o'er,
In States unborn, and accents yet unknown ?” It will be acted o'er, fellow-citizens, but it can never be repeated. It stands, and must forever stand, alone; a beacon on the summit of the mountain, to which all the inhabitants of the earth may turn their eyes, for a genial and saving light, till time shall be lost in eternity, and this globe itself dissolve, nor leave a wreck behind. It stands forever, a light of admonition to the rulers of men, a light of salvation and redemption to the oppressed. So long as this planet shall be inhabited by human beings, so long as man shall be of a social nature, so long as Government shall be necessary to the great moral
purposes of society, so long as it shall be abused to the purposes of oppression, - so long shall this declaration hold out, to the sovereign and to the subject, the extent and the boundaries of their respective rights and duties, founded in the laws of Nature and of Nature's God.
158. WASHINGTON'S SWORD AND FRANKLIN'S STAFF.-J. Q. Adams, in the U.S.
House of Representatives, on reception of these memorials by Congress. The sword of Washington! The staff of Franklin! O, Sir, what associations are linked in adamant with these names ! Washington, whose sword was never drawn but in the cause of his country, and never sheathed when wielded in his country's cause ! Franklin, the philosopher of the thunderbolt, the printing-press, and the ploughshare! — What names are these in the scanty catalogue of the benefactors of human kind! Washington and Franklin ! What other two men, whose lives belong to the eighteenth century of Christendom, have left a deeper impression of themselves upon the age in which they lived, and upon all after time?
Washington, the warrior and the legislator! In war, contending, by the wager of battle, for the independence of his country, and for the freedom of the human race, ever manifesting, amidst its horrors, by precept and by example, his reverence for the laws of peace, and for the tenderest sympathies of humanity; in peace, soothing the ferocious spirit of discord, among his own countrymen, into harmony and union, and giving to that very sword, now presented to his country, a charm more potent than that attributed, in ancient times, to the lyre of Orpheus.
Franklin ! - The mechanic of his own fortune ; teaching, in early youth, under the shackles of indigence, the way to wealth, and, in the shade of obscurity, the path to greatness ; in the maturity of manhood, disarming the thunder of its terrors, the lightning of its fatal blast; and wresting from the tyrant's band the still more afflictive sceptre of oppression: while descending into the vale of years, traversing the Atlantic Ocean, braving, in the dead of winter, the battle and the breeze, bearing in his hand the charter of Independence, which he had contributed to form, and tendering, from the self-created Nation to the mightiest monarchs of Europe, the olive-branch of peace, the mercurial wand of commerce, and the amulet of protection and safety to the man of peace, on the pathless ocean, from the inexorable cruelty and merciless rapacity of war.
And, finally, in the last stage of life, with fourscore winters upon his head, under the torture of an incurable disease, returning to his native land, closing his days as the chief magistrate of his adopted commonwealth, after contributing by his counsels, under the Presidency of Washington, and recording his name, under the sanction of devout prayer, invoked by him to God, to that Constitution under the authority of which we are here assembled, as the Representatives of the North American People, to receive, in their name and for them,
these venerable relics of the wise, the valiant, and the good founders of our great confederated Republic, these sacred symbols of our golden age. May they be deposited among the archives of our Gov. ernment! And may every American, who shall hereafter behold them, ejaculate a mingled offering of praise to that Supreme Ruler of the Universe, by whose tender mercies our Union has been hitherto preserved, through all the vicissitudes and revolutions of this turbulent world; and of prayer for the continuance of these blessings, by the dispensations of Providence, to our beloved country, from
age to age, till time shall be no more!
159. UNION LINKED WITH LIBERTY, 1833. — Andrew Jackson. B. 1767 ; d. 1845.
WITHOUT Union, our independence and liberty would never have been achieved ; without Union, they can never be maintained. Divided into twenty-four, or even a smaller number of separate communities, we shall see our internal trade burdened with numberless restraints and exactions; communication between distant points and sections obstructed, or cut off; our sons made soldiers, to deluge with blood the fields they now till in peace; the mass of our People borne down and impoverished by taxes to support armies and navies; and military leaders, at the head of their victorious legions, becoming our lawgivers and judges. The loss of liberty, of all good Government, of peace, plenty and happiness, must inevitably follow a dissolution of the Union. In supporting it, therefore, we support all that is dear to the freeman and the philanthropist.
The time at which I stand before you is full of interest. The eyes of all Nations are fixed on our Republic. The event of the existing crisis will be decisive, in the opinion of mankind, of the practicability of our Federal system of Government. Great is the stake placed in our hands; great is the responsibility which must rest upon the People of the United States. Let us realize the importance of the attitude in which we stand before the world. Let us exercise forbearance and firmness. Let us extricate our country from the dangers which surround it, and learn wisdom from the lessons they inculcate. Deeply impressed with the truth of these observations, and under the obligation of that solemn oath which I am about to take, I shall continue to exert all my faculties to maintain the just powers of the Constitution, and to transmit unimpaired to posterity the blessings of our Federal Union.
At the same time, it will be my aim to inculcate, by my official acts, the necessity of exercising, by the General Government, those powers only that are clearly delegated; to encourage simplicity and economy in the expenditures of the Government; to raise no more money from the People than may be requisite for these objects, and in a manner that will best promote the interests of all classes of the community, and of all portions of the Union. Constantly bearing in mind that, in entering into society, “individuals must give up a share of liberty *0
preserve the rest,” it will be my desire so to discharge my duties as to foster with our brethren, in all parts of the country, a spirit of liberal concession and compromise; and, by reconciling our fellow-citizens to those partial sacrifices which they must unavoidably make, for the preservation of a greater good, to recommend our invaluable Government and Union to the confidence and affections of the American People. Finally, it is my most fervent prayer to that Almighty Being before whom I now stand, and who has kept us in his hands from the infancy of our Republic to the present day, that he will so overrule all my intentions and actions, and inspire the hearts of my
fellow-citizens, that we may be preserved from dangers of all kinds, and continue for
ever a UNITED AND HAPPY PEOPLE.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A RECOMMENDATION OF WAR. – Horace Binney. What are sufficient causes of war, let no man say, let no legislator say, until the question of war is directly and inevitably before him. Jurists may be permitted, with comparative safety, to pile tome upon tome of interminable disquisition upon the motives, reasons and causes, of just and unjust war; metaphysicians may be suffered with impunity to spin the thread of their speculations until it is attenuated to a cobweb; but, for a body created for the government of a great nation, and for the adjustment and protection of its infinitely diversified interests, it is worse than folly to speculate upon the causes of war, until the great question shall be presented for immediate action, until they shall hold the united question of cause, motive, and present expediency, in the very palm of their hands. War is a tremendous evil. Come when it will, unless it shall come in the necessary defence of our national security, or of that honor under whose protection national security reposes, it will come too soon ; – too soon for our national prosperity ; too soon for our individual happiness; too soon for the frugal, industrious, and virtuous habits of our citizens; too soon, perhaps, for our most precious institutions. The man who, for any cause, save the sacred cause of public security, which makes all wars defensive, the man who, for any cause but this, shall promote or compel this final and terrible resort, assumes a responsibility second to
nay, transcendently deeper and higher than any, - which man can assume before his fellow-men, or in the presence of God, his Creator.
Horace Binney. 161. THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES.
What, Sir, is the Supreme Court of the United States ? It is the august representative of the wisdom and justice and conscience of this whole People, in the exposition of their Constitution and laws. It is the peaceful and venerable arbitrator between the citizens in all questions touching the extent and sway of constitutional power. It is the great moral substitute for force in controversies between the People, the States and the Union. It is that department of Adminis
tration whose calm voice dispenses the blessings of the Constitution, in the overthrow of all improvident or unjust legislation by a State, directed against the contracts, the currency, or the intercourse of the People, and in the maintenance of the lawful authority and institutions of the Union, against inroads, by color of law, from all or any of the States, or from Congress itself. If the voice of this tribunal, created by the People, be not authoritative to the People, what voice can be ? None, my fellow-citizens, absolutely none, but that voice which speaks through the trumpet of the conqueror.
It has been truly said, by an eminent statesman,“ that if that which Congress has enacted, and the Supreme Court has sanctioned, be not the law, then the reign of the law has ceased, and the reign of individual opinion has begun.” It may be said, with equal truth, that if that which Congress has enacted, and the Supreme Court has sanctioned, be not the law, then has this Government but one department, and it is that which wields the physical force of the country. If the Supreme Court of the Union, or its authority, be taken away, what remains ? Force, and nothing but force, if the Union is to continue at all. The world knows of no other powers of Government, than the power of the law, sustained by public opinion, and the power of the sword, sustained by the arm that wields it. I hold it, Sir, to be free from all doubt, that wherever an attempt shall be made to destroy this Union, if it is under the direction of ordinary understanding, it will begin by prostrating the influence of Congress, and of the Supreme Court of the United States.
162. THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES NOT AN EXPERIMENT, 1837.
Hugh S. Legaré. Born in South Carolina, 1797; died, 1843. We are told that our Constitution — the Constitution of the United States — is a mere experiment. Sir, I deny it utterly; and he that says so shows me that he has either not studied at all, or studied to very little purpose, the history and genius of our institutions. The great cause of their prosperous results a cause which every one of the many attempts since vainly made to imitate them, on this continent or in Europe, only demonstrates the more clearly — is precisely the contrary. It because our fathers made no experiments, and had no experiments to make, that their work has stood. They were forced, by a violation of their torical, hereditary rights under the old common law of their race, to dissolve their connection with the mother country. But the whole constitution of society in the States, the great body and bulk of their public law, with all its maxims and principles, - in short, all that is republican in our institutions, remained, after the Revolution, and remains now, with some very subordinate modifications, what it was from the beginning.
Our written constitutions do nothing but consecrate and fortify the "plain rules of ancient liberty,” handed down with Magra Charta, from the earliest history of our race. It is not a piece of paper, Sir