Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

breaking out of the French Revolution ; who, in this abused and insulted country, have set up for political teachers, and whose disciples give no other proof of their progress in republicanism, except a blind devotion to the most ruthless military despotism that the world ever saw. These are the patriots, who scruple not to brand with the epithet of Tory, the men (looking toward the seat of Col. Stewart) by whose blood your liberties have been cemented. These are they, who hold in such keen remembrance the outrages of the British armies, from which many of them are deserters. Ask these selfstyled patriots where they were during the American war (for they are, for the most part, old enough to have borne arms), and you strike them dumb; their lips are closed in eternal silence. If it were allowable to entertain partialities, every consideration of blood, language, religion, and interest, would incline us toward England : and yet, shall they alone be extended to France and her ruler, whom we are bound to believe a chastening God suffers as the scourge of a guilty world !

of a guilty world! On all other nations he tramples; he holds them in contempt; England alone he hates; he would, but he cannot, despise her; fear cannot despise; and shall we disparage our ancestors ?

But the outrages and injuries of Englandbred up in the principles of the Revolution—I can never palliate, much less defend them. I 'well remember flying, with my mother and her new-born child, from Arnold and Philips ; and we were driven by Tarleton and other British Pandours from pillar to post, while her husband was fighting the battles of his country. The impression is indelible on my memory; and yet (like my worthy old neighbor, who added seven buckshot to every cartridge at the battle of Guilford, and drew fine sight at his man) I must be content to be called a Tory by a patriot of the last importation. Let us not get rid of one evil (supposing it possible) at the expense of a greater ; mutatis mutandis, suppose France in possession of the British naval power—and to her the trident must pass should England be unable to wield it—what would be your condition? What would be the situation of your seaports, and their seafaring inhabitants ? Ask Hamburg, Lubec ! Ask Savannah ! * * * 11

Shall republicans become the instruments of him who has effaced the title of Attila to the

scourge of God!” Yet, even Attila, in the falling fortunes of civilization, had, no doubt, his advocates, his tools, his minions, his paraIf per

sites, in the very countries that he overran; sons of that soil whereon his horse had trod; where grass could never after grow. fectly fresh, instead of being as I am, my memory clouded, my intellect stupefied, my strength and spirits exhausted, I could not give utterance to that strong detestation which I feel toward (above all other works of the creation) such characters as Gengis, Tamerlane, Kouli-Khan, or Bonaparte. My instincts involuntarily revolt at their bare idea. Malefactors of the human race, who have ground down man to a mere machine of their impious and bloody ambition ! Yet under all the accumulated wrongs, and insults, and robberies of the last of these chieftains, are we not, in point of fact, about to become a party to his views, a partner in his wars ?

I call upon those professing to be republicans to make good the promises, held out by their republican predecessors, when they came into power; promises which, for years afterward, they honestly, faithfully fulfilled. We have vaunted of paying off the national debt, of retrenching useless establishments; and yet have now become as infatuated with standing armies, loans, taxes, navies, and war as ever were the Essex Junto!

* 12

JOSIAH QUINCY,*

OF MASSACHUSETTS.'

(BORN 1772, DIED 1864.)

ON THE ADMISSION OF LOUISIANAP-HOUSE OF

REPRESENTATIVES, JAN. 14, 1811.

MR. SPEAKER:

I address you, sir, with 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 it 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, all 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 prospects it sheds over his children, I fall not behind him 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 foot 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 be.

* For notes on Quincy see Appendix, p. 372.

« PředchozíPokračovat »