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it has shed around us and our fathers; and are we at liberty to abandon it, in the hour of its peril, or to make for it but a faint and heartless struggle, for the want of encouragement, and the want of hope ? Sir, if no state comes to our succor, if elsewhere the contest should be given up, here let it be protracted to the last moment. Here, where the first blood of the revolution was shed, let the last effort, for that which is the greatest blessing obtained by it, a free and united government, be made. Sir, in our endeavors to maintain our existing forms of government, we are acting not for ourselves alone, but for the great cause of constitutional liberty all over the globe. We are trustees, holding a sacred treasure, in which all the lovers of freedom have a stake. Not only in revolutionized France, where there are no longer subjects, where the monarch can no longer say, he is the state ; not only in reformed England, where our principles, our institutions, our practice of free government are now daily quoted and commended; but in the depths of Germany, and among the desolate fields, and the still smoking ashes of Poland, prayers are uttered for the preservation of our union and happiness. We are surrounded, sir, by a cloud of witnesses. The gaze of the sons of liberty, every where, is upon us, anxiously, intently, upon us. It may see us fall in the struggle for our constitution and government, but heaven forbid that it should see us recreant.
At least, sir, let the star of Massachusetts be the last which shall be seen to fall from heaven, and to plunge into the utter darkness of disunion. Let her shrink back, let her hold others back, if she can; at any rate let her keep herself back, from this gulf, full, at once, of fire and of blackness; yes, sir, as far as human foresight can scan, or human imagination fathom, full of the fire, and the blood of civil war, and of the thick darkness of general political disgrace, ignominy, and ruin. Though the worst happen that can happen, and though we be not able to prevent the catastrophe, yet, let her maintain her own integrity, her own high honor, her own unwavering fidelity, so that with respect and decency, though with a broken and a bleeding heart, she may pay the last tribute to a glorious, departed, free constitution.
36. THE OBLIGATIONS OF AMERICA TO LA FAYETTE.—Hayne.
I had hoped, Mr. President, that this bill would have met with no opposition. I had hoped that the world would see, that against a proposition for showing our gratitude, as a nation, in something more than mere words to general La Fayette, not a voice would be raised. But, sir, I am disappointed'; and it is therefore the irksome task of this committee to go into detail, and to show how much we are absolutely indebted to this great man.
It appears from some documents, sir, in possession of the committee, that the general, during six years of our revolutionary war, sacrificed one hundred and forty thousand dollars of his private fortune, in the service of this country. And how sir, was this sacrifice made ? Under what circumstances ? Was he one of our own citizens—one of those whose lives and fortunes were necessarily exposed during the vicissitudes of a contest for the right of self-government ? No, sir, no such thing. He tore himself away from his country and his home, to fight the battles of freedom in a foreign land, and to make common cause with a people to whom he owed no duty. Nor was he satisfied with the devotion of his personal services. It is a matter of record on the pages of your history, that he armed a regiment for you: that he sent a vessel laden with arms and munitions of war for you: that he put shoes on the feet of your barefoot and suffering soldiers. For all these services he asked no recompense—he received none. He spent his fortune for you; he shed his blood for you; and without acquiring any thing but a claim upon your gratitude, he impoverished himself.
sir, what would be thought of us in Europe, if, after all that has passed, we should fail to make a generous and liberal provision for our venerable guest? We have, under circumstances calculated to give to the event great celebrity, invited him to our shores. We have received him with the utmost enthusiasm. The people have every where greeted him in the warmest terms of gratitude and affection. Now what will be thought of us in Europe, and, what is much more important, how shall we deserve to be thought of, if we send · back our venerable guest without any more substantial proof
of our gratitude, than vague expressions of regard? You have made him a spectacle for the world to gaze on. He cannot go back to France and become the private citizen he was when he left it. You have, by the universal homage of your hearts and tongues, made his house a shrine, to which every pilgrim of liberty, from every quarter of the world, will repair
. At least, let him not, after this, want the means of giving welcome to the Americans, who, whenever they visit the shores of France, will repair in crowds to his hospitable mansion, to testify their veņeration to the illustrious compatriot of their fathers. I regret,
sir, that I have been compelled to say thus much upon the subject. But, sir, I have full confidence that there cannot in this house, there cannot in this nation, be but one universal feeling of gratitude and affection for La Fayette.
BATTLE THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE-Henry.
Mr. President,—I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I have no way of judging the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I
. wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the house? Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received ? Trust it not, sir ; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation ? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love ? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation—the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission ? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain an enemy in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies ? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us : they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains, which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument ? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we any thing new to offer upon the subject ? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable ; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted ? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done every thing that could be done, to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned—we have remonstrated-we have supplicated-we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded ; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne.
In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free—if we wish to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending—if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon, until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained—we must fight-I repeat it, sir, we must fight!! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts, is all that is left us.
THE INSTABILITY OF HUMAN GOVERNMENTS.-Rutledge.
Sir,--The gentleman from Virginia has repeated the observation of his colleague, that the people are capable of taking care of their own rights, and do not want a corps of judges to protect them. Sir, human nature is the same every where ; and man is precisely the same sort of being in the new world that he is in the old. The citizens of other republics were as wise and valiant, and far more powerful than we are. The gentleman knows full well, that wherever the Roman standard was unfurled, its motto, " Senatus Populusque Romani," proclaimed to a conquered world, that they were governed by the senate and the people of Rome. But now, sir, the Roman lazaroni, who, crouching at the gate of his prince's palace, begs the offals of his kitchen, would never know that his ancestors had been free-nor that the people had counted for any thing in Rome, or that Rome ever had her senate, did he not read of them on the broken friezes and broken columns of the ruined temples, whose fragments now lie scattered over the Roman forum. Sir, the mournful histories of the republics of Rome and Greece, are not the only beacons which warn us of the dangers of instability and innovation. All Europe was once free. But where now is the diet of Sweden ? Where are the states of Holland and Portugal, and the republics of Switzerland and Italy? The people of those countries were once free and happy, but their governments, for the want of some protecting check, some inherent principle to defend themselves, have all been subverted; they have all traveled the same road; it is as plain as a turnpike: it is pointed out by the ruins of other republics. Every where the same causes have produced the same effects. The honorable gentleman says, he does not want to seek examples across the Atlantic. Sir, is this wise—are we to shut our eyes to the light of history, and turn away from the voice of experience ? Sir, the untutored Indian marks on his tomahawk great events as they pass, and augurs what will happen from knowing what has happened; and shall we travel on without noticing the finger-boards erected by historians for our security? The gentleman censures our having noticed France, and read a passage from a speech of the illustrious Washington, where he called the French a great and wise people. What has been
a the fate of this gallant people? Where is their constitution? We have seen La Fayette in the Champ de Mars, at the head of fifty thousand warriors, who, with one hand grasping their swords, and the other laid on the altar, swore, in the presence of Almighty God, they never would desert their constitution. Through all the departments of France, similar pledges were given. Frenchmen received their constitution as the followers of Mahomet did the alcoran, and thought it came to them from heaven. They swore on their standards and their sabres, never to abandon it. But, sir, this constitution has vanished ; their
1 swords, which were to have formed a rampart around it, are now worn by the consular janizaries, and the republican standards are among the trophies which decorate the vaulted roof of the consul's palace.
EXTENT OF COUNTRY NOT DANGEROUS TO THE UNIOX.
I submit to you, my fellow-citizens, these considerations, in full confidence that the good sense which has so often marked your decisions, will allow them their due weight and effect; and that you will never suffer difficulties, however formidable in appearance, or however fashionable the error on which they may be founded, to drive you into the gloomy and perilous scenes into which the advocates for disunion would conduct you. Hearken not to the unnatural voice which tells you
that the people of America, knit together as they are by so many cords of affection, can no longer live together as members of the same family; can no longer continue the mutual guardians of their mutual happiness; can no longer be fellow-citizens of one great, respectable, and flourishing empire. Hearken not