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House and nation. If it be about to introduce a condition of things absolutely insupportable, it becomes wise and honest men to anticipate the evil, and to warn and prepare the people against the event. I have no hesitation on the subject. The extension of this principle to the States contemplated beyond the Mississippi, cannot, will not, and ought not to be borne. And the sooner the people contemplate the unavoidable result the better; the more hope that the evils may be palliated or removed.
Mr. Speaker, what is this liberty of which so much is said ? Is it to walk about this earth, to breathe this air, to partake the common blessings of God's providence? The beasts of the field and the birds of the air unite with us in such privileges as these. But man boasts a purer and more ethereal temperature. His mind grasps in its view the past and future, as well as the present. We live not for ourselves alone. That which we call liberty is that principle on which the essential security of our political condition depends. It results from the limitations of our political system, prescribed in the Constitution. These limitations, so long as they are faithfully observed, maintain order, peace, and safety. When they are violated, in essential particulars, all the concurrent spheres of authority rush against each other; and disorder, derangement, and convulsion are, sooner or later, the necessary consequences.
With respect to this love of our Union, concerning which so much sensibility is expressed, I have no fears about analyzing its nature. There is in it nothing of mystery. It depends upon the qualities of that Union, and it results from its effects upon our and our country's happiness. It is valued for “that sober certainty of waking bliss” which it enables us to realize. It grows out of the affections, and has not, and cannot be made to have, any thing universal in its nature. Sir, I confess it: the first public love of my heart is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. There is my fireside ; there are the tombs of my ancestors
* Low lies that land, yet blest with fruitful stores,
The love of this Union grows out of this attachment to my native soil, and is rooted in it. I cherish it, because it affords the best external
hope of her peace, her prosperity, her independence. I oppose this bill from no animosity to the people of New Orleans; but from the deep conviction that it contains a principle incompatible with the liberties and safety of my country. I have no concealment of my opinion. The bill, if it passes, is a death-blow to the Constitution. It may, afterward, linger; but, lingering, its fate will, at no very distant period, be consummated.
(BORN 1777, DIED 1852.)
ON THE WAR OF 1812-HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
JAN. 8, 1813.
SIR, gentlemen appear to me to forget that they stand on American soil ; that they are not in the British House of Commons, but in the chamber of the House of Representatives of the United States; that we have nothing to do with the affairs of Europe, the partition of territory and sovereignty there, except so far as these things affect the interests of our own country. Gentlemen transform themselves into the Burkes, Chathams, and Pitts of another country, and, forgetting, from honest zeal, the interests of America, engage with European sensibility in the discussion of European interests. If gentlemen ask me whether I do not view with regret and horror the concentration of such vast power in the hands of Bona* For notes on Clay see Appendix, p. 376.
parte, I reply that I do. I regret to see the Emperor of China holding such immense sway over the fortunes of millions of our species. I regret to see Great Britain possessing so uncontrolled a command over all the waters of the globe. If I had the ability to distribute among the nations of Europe their several portions of power and of sovereignty, I would say that Holland should be resuscitated and given the weight she enjoyed in the days of her De Witts. I would confine France within her natural boundaries, the Alps, Pyrenees, and the Rhine, and make her a secondary naval power only. I would abridge the British maritime power, raise Prussia and Austria to their original condition, and preserve the integrity of the Empire of Russia. But these are speculations. I look at the political transactions of Europe, with the single exception of their possible bearing upon us, as I do at the history of other countries and other times. I do not survey them with half the interest that I do the movements in South America. Our political relation with them is much less important than it is supposed to be. I have no fears of French or English subjugation. If we are united we are too powerful for the mightiest nation in Europe or all Europe