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successful enterprises of commerce; in the progress of manufactures and useful arts; in the increase of the public revenue and the use, made of it in reducing the public debt; and in the valuable works and establishments every where multiplying over the face of our land.
It is a precious reflection, that the transition from this prosperous condition of our country to the scene, which has for some time been distressing us, is not chargeable on any unwarrantable views, nor, as I trust, on any involuntary errors in the public councils. Indulging no passions which trespass on the rights or the repose of other nations, it has been the true glory of the United States to cultivate peace, by observing justice, and to entitle themselves to the respect of the nations at war by fulfilling their neutral obligations with the most scrupulous impartiality. If there be candor in the world, the truth of these assertions will not be questioned. Posterity at least will do justice to them.
This unexceptionable course could not avail against the injustice and violence of the belligerent powers. In their rage against each other, or impelled by more direct motives, principles of retaliation have been introduced, equally contrary to universal reason and acknowledged law. How long their arbitrary edicts will be continued in spite of the demonstrations, that not even a pretext for them has been given by the United States, and of the fair and liberal attempts to induce a revocation of them, cannot be anticipated. Assuring myself, that under every vicissitude, the determined spirit and united councils of the nation will be safeguards to its honor, and its essential interests, I repair to the post assigned me with no other discouragement than what springs from my own inadequacy to its high duties. If I do not sink under the weight of this deep conviction, it is because I find some support in a consciousness of the purposes, and a confidence in the principles which I bring with me into this arduous service.
To cherish peace and friendly intercourse with all nations having correspondent dispositions; to maintain sincere neutrality towards belligerent nations; to prefer, in all cases, amicable discussions and reasonable accommodation of differences, to a decision of them by an appeal to arms; to exclude foreign intrigues and foreign partialities, so degrading to all countries and so baneful to free ones; to foster a spirit of independence, too just to invade the rights of others, too proud to surrender our own, too liberal to indulge unworthy prejudices ourselves, and too elevated not to look down upon them in others; to hold the union of the states as the basis of their peace and happiness; to support the constitution, which is the cement of the union, as well in its limitations as in its authorities; to respect the rights and authorities reserved to the states and to the people, as equally incorporated with and essential to the success of the general system; to avoid the slightest interference with the rights of conscience or the functions of religion, so wisely exempted from civil jurisdiction; to preserve, in their full energy, the other salutary provisions in behalf of private and personal rights, and of the freedom of the press; to observe economy in public expenditures; to liberate the public resources by an honorable discharge of the public debts; to keep within the requisite limits a standing military force, always remembering, that an armed and trained militia is the firmest bulwark of republics, that without standing armies their liberty can never be in danger, nor, with large ones, safe; to promote, by authorized means, improvements friendly to agriculture, to manufactures, and to external, as well as internal commerce; to favor, in like manner, the advancement of science and the diffusion of information, as the best aliment to true liberty; to carry on the benevolent plans which have been so meritoriously applied to the conversion of our aboriginal neighbors, from the degradation and wretchedness of savage life, to a participation of the improvements of
which the human mind and manners are susceptible in a civilized state:-as far as sentiments and intentions such as these can aid the fulfilment of my duty, they will be a resource which cannot fail me.
It is my good fortune, moreover, to have the path in which I am to tread, lighted by examples of illustrious services, successfully rendered in the most trying difficulties, by those who have marched before me. Of those of my immediate predecessor, it might least become me here to speak; I may, however, be pardoned for not suppressing the sympathy, with which my heart 'is full, in the rich reward he enjoys in the benedictions of a beloved country, gratefully bestowed for exalted talents, zealously devoted, through a long career, to the advancement of its highest interest and happiness. But the source to which I look for the aids, which alone can supply my deficiences, is in the well tried intelligence and virtue of my fellow-citizens, and in the councils of those representing them in the other departments associated in the care of the national interests. In these, my confidence will, under every difficulty, be best placed; next to that, we have all been encouraged to feel in the guardianship and guidance of that Almighty Being, whose power regulates the destiny of nations, whose blessings have been so conspicuously dispensed to this rising republic, and to whom we are bound to address our devout gratitude for the past, as well as out fervent supplications and best hopes for the future.
SPEECH OF JOSIAH QUINCY,
DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED
STATES JANUARY 14, 1911,
On the passage of the bill to enable the people of the territory of
Orleans, to form a constitution and state government; and for the admission of such state into the union.
MR. SPEAKER, I ADDRESS you, sir, with an anxiety and distress of mind, with me, wholly unprecedented. The friends of this bill seem to consider it as the exercise of a common power; as an ordinary affair; a mere municipal regulation, which they expect to see pass without other questions than those concerning details. But, sir, the principle of this bill materially affects the liberties and rights of the whole people of the United States. To me it appears, that it would justify a revolution in this country; and that, in no great length of time, may produce it. When I see the zeal and perseverance, with which this bill has been urged along its parliamentary path, when I know the local interests and associated projects, which combine to promote its success,
opposition to it seems manifestly unavailing. I am almost tempted to leave, without a struggle, my country to its fate. But, sir, while there is life, there is hope. So long as the fatal shaft has not yet sped, if heaven so will, the bow may be broken and the vigor of the mischief-meditating arm withered. If there be a man in this House or nation, who cherishes the constitution, under which we are assembled, as the chief stay of his hope, as the light which is destined to gladden his own day, and to soften even the gloom of the grave, by the prospect it sheds over his children, I fall not behind înim, in such sentiments. I will yield to no man, in
attachment to this constitution, in veneration for the sages, who laid its foundations in devotion to those principles, which form its cement and constitute its proportions. What then must be my feelings; what ought to be the feelings of a man, cherishing such sentiments, when he sees an act contemplated, which lays ruin at the root of all these hopes? When he sees a principle of action about to be usurped, before the operation of which, the bands of this constitution are no more than flax before the fire, or stubble before the whirlwind. When this bill passes, such an act is done; and such a principle usurped.
Mr. Speaker, there is a great rule of human conduct, which he who honestly observes, cannot err widely from the path of his sought duty. It is, to be very scrupulous concerning the principles you select as the test of your rights and obligations; to be very faithful in noticing the result of their application; and to be very fearless in tracing and exposing their immediate effects and distant consequences. Under the sanction of this rule of conduct, I am compelled to declare it as my
deliberate opinion, that, if this bill passes, the bonds of this union are, virtually, dissolved : that the states, which compose it, are free from their moral obligations, and that as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some to prepare, definitely, for a separation : amicably, if they can, violently, if they must.
[Mr. Quincy was here called to order by Mr. Poindexter, delegate from the Mississippi territory, for the words in italics. After it was decided, upon an appeal to the House, that Mr. Quincy was in order, he proceeded.]
I rejoice, Mr. Speaker, at the result of this appeal. Not from any personal consideration, but from the respect paid to the essential rights of the people, in one of their representatives. When I spoke of the separation of the states, as resulting from the violation of the constitution, contemplated in this bill, I spoke of it as a necessity, deeply to be deprecated; but as re