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moral, which have occurred since you left us. | illustrious associates in the field and in the cabiEven this very city, bearing a venerated name, net, for the multiplied blessings which surround alike endeared to you and to us, has since us, and for the very privilege of addressing you emerged from the forest which then covered its which I now exercise. This sentiment, now site. In one respect you behold us unaltered, fondly cherished by more than ten millions of and this is in the sentiment of continued devo- people, will be transmitted, with unabated tion to liberty, and of ardent affection and pro- vigor, down the tide of time, through the countfound gratitude to your departed friend, the less millions who are destined to inhabit this father of his country, and to you, and to your continent, to the latest posterity.
REPLY TO JOHN RANDOLPH.*
Sır, I am growing old. I have had some I have experienced this magnanimity from some little measure of experience in public life, and quarters of the House. But I regret, that from the result of that experience has brought me to others it appears to have no such consideration. this conclusion, that when business, of what. The gentleman from Virginia was pleased to ever nature, is to be transacted in a deliberative say, that in one point at least he coincided with assembly, or in private life, courtesy, forbear-me-in an humble estimate of my grammatical ance, and moderation, are best calculated to and philological acquirements. I know my debring it to a successful conclusion. Sir, my age ficiencies. I was born to no proud patrimonial admonishes me to abstain from involving my estate; from my father I inherited only infancy, self in personal difficulties; would to God that ignorance, and indigence. I feel my defects; I could say, I am also restrained by higher mo- but, so far as my situation in early life is contives. I certainly never sought any collision cerned, I may, without presumption, say they with the gentleman from Virginia. My situa- are more my misfortune than my fault. But, tion at this time is peculiar, if it be nothing however I regret my want of ability to furnish else, and might, I should think, dissuade, at to the gentleman a better specimen of powers least, a generous heart from any wish to draw of verbal criticism, I will venture to say, it is me into circumstances of personal altercation. not greater than the disappointment of this TRISTAM BURGES.
committee as to the strength of his urgu* Made in the House of Representatives in 1824. ment.
TristaM BURGES was of a poor but worthy family, who for many years resided in the old colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts. His father settled at Rochester in that colony, where he managed a small farm; devoting the intervals of his agricultural pursuits to the employments of his trade, which was that of a cooper. On the commencement of the Revolution, he was appointed a lieutenant, and rendered important and valuable assistance in recruiting, and raising clothing for the army. After the battle of Lexington, he returned to his farm, much shattered in health, and, failing gradually, died in 1792.
At Rochester, Tristam was born on the twenty-sixth of February, 1770. The indigence of his parents, added to the illness of his father, rendered it necessary for him to assist in the labors of the farm and the shop, and thus the first fifteen years of his life were passed, without receiving any instruction, except such as was imparted to him by his eldest sister, “in the long winter evenings,” and occasional lessons from his father in writing and arithmetic. At the age of fifteen he received six weeks' tuition in the village school, and, two years after, studied mathematics six weeks more, under the charge of one Hugh Montgomery. This was all the "schooling” he received until he attained the age of twenty-one. His youth, however, was not spent unprofitably. In the leisure he could command from his double duties as farmer and cooper, he was devoted to his books,“ begging and borrowing” those he could not buy; and, as soon as he was capable of writing join-hand, many of his hours were employed in composition. Among the earliest books he read were the Pilgrim's Progress, and the life of Joseph, works to which he often reverted with pleasure, in the later period of his life. Soon after he reached his twenty-first year, he made every preparation to start on a whaling voyage, but the unexpected departure of the vessel in which he was to serve, altered his plans of life, and he determined to study medicine and prepare himself “to ride with a country doctor.” To this end he borrowed Chesselden's Anatomy and Cullen's Theory, from the family physician, and applied himself with the greatest assiduity to study; but his medical career was of short duration. In 1793, having sold his share in the farm, to afford him & support during his collegiate course, he entered Rhode Island College, now Brown University, and, after spending three years there, graduated with the honors of his class. He then opened a school in Providence, and at the same time continued the study of law, to which he had devoted a portion of the time while in the University.
In 1799 he commenced practice in the Rhode Island courts, and soon rose to distinction. He attained a great influence as an advocate. “ The powers of his mind, and his enthusiastic feelings, were enlisted in every cause in which he took part, and so deeply was he interested, so persuaded of the justice of his side of the question, that he never was known to admit his client to be in the wrong. If doubts were suggested by the opposite party, before trial, he would repel them in an instant, as if they reflected upon his own honor and judgment. His practice was very extensive; and few important causes were argued, in which he was not engaged. The power of his eloquence was supreme over judges, juries and spectators; when he spoke, the court was often thronged, and none listened without a tribute of admiration." He continued his duties at the bar, with a constantly increasing reputation, until 1825, when he was elected to the United States House of Representatives. In connection with his legal duties, he held a seat in the Rhode Island Legislature, in 1811, was appointed Chief Justice of his adopted State, And for a short time occupied the chair of Oratory and Belles-Lettres, in Brown University.
Mr. Burges appeared in Congress in December, 1825. His first speech, which is spoken of as one of the greatest displays of eloquence ever made in the House of Representatives, was delivered during the debate on the Judiciary Bill, and placed him in the first rank of the orators and statesmen of his country. Again in 1827 he was elected to Congress, and continued there by re-election until 1835, taking an active part in all its deliberations, and always manifesting the deepest solicitude for the welfare of the country. His argument on the claim of Marigny D'Auterive for indemnity for injury sustained by a slave during the battle of New Orleans, gained him great applause, as did his eloquent appeal for the surviving soldiers of the Revolution; for whom he implored that the protecting arm of government might, “like the bright bow of Heaven," visit them with tokens of relief—that their descendants, for whom was established the broad basis of independence, "might give them one look of kindness, and pour one beam of gladness on the melancholy twilight of their days.” But the most celebrated of his efforts, while in Congress, was the reply to John Randolph, during the debate on the Tariff.
Mr. Randolph had taken every opportunity, before that occasion, to ridicule and abuse the character, habits and institutions of New England, and to oppose any and every measure calculated to advance her interests.
Mr. Burges, in his remarks on the Tariff, observed, that there was a disposition among some gentlemen to support the interests of Great Britain rather than those of the United States; when Mr. Randolph rose, and interrupted him, saying, “This hatred of aliens, sir, is the undecayed spirit which called forth the proposition to enact the Alien and Sedition Laws: I advise the
gentleman from Rhode Island to move a re-enactment of those laws, to prevent the impudent : foreigner from rivalling the American seller. New England—what is she? Sir, do you remember that appropriate exclamation,-Delenda est Carthago ? "
Mr. Burges now continued—“Does the gentleman mean to say, sir, New England must be destroyed? If so, I will remind him that the fall of Carthage was the precursor of the fall of Rome. Permit me to suggest to him to carry out the parallel. Further, sir, I wish it to be distinctly understood, that I am not bound by any rules to argue against Bedlam;—but when I hear any thing rational in the hallucinations of the gentleman, I will answer them.” Here the Speaker interposed, and Mr. Burges resumed his seat, saying, “Perhaps it is better, sir, that I should not go on.”
On the following day he continued his remarks, and after devoting some time to the refutation of the assertions made by Mr. Randolph a few days previous, on the subject of the Tariff, he concluded with the following :
“Whence all this abuse of New England, this misrepresentation of the North and the West ? It is, sir, because they, and all the patriots in the nation, would pursue a policy calculated to secure and perpetuate the national independence of Great Britain. It is because they are opposed by another policy, which, by its entire, and by every part of its operation, will inevitably bring the American people into a condition of dependence on Great Britain, less profitable, and not more to our honor, than the condition of colonies. I cannot, I would not look into the secrets of men's hearts: but the nation will examine the nature and tendencies of the American, and the anti-American systems; and they can understand the arguments offered in support of each plan of national policy; and they too can read, and will understand the histories of all public men, and of those two systems of national policy. Do we, as it has been insinuated, support the American policy, in wrong, and for the injury and damage of Old England? I do not; those with whom I have the honor to act, do not pursue this course-No, sir,
* Not that I love England less,
Who, sir, would wrong; who would reduce the wealth, the power of England? Who, without a glorious national pride, can look to that as to our mother country? It is the land of comfort, accommodation, and wealth; of science and literature ; song, sentiment, heroic valor, and deep, various, political philosophy. Who is not proud, that our fathers were the compeers of Wolfe; that Burke, and Chatham spoke our mother tongue? Who does not look for the most prosperous eras of the world, when English blood shall warm the human bosom over the habitable breadth of every zone—when English literature shall come under the eye of the whole world—English intellectual wealth enrich every clime; and the manners, morals, and religion, of us and our parent country, spread civilization under the whole star-lighted heaven; and, in the very language of our deliberations, the hallowed voice of daily prayer shall arise to God, throughout every longitude of the sun's whole race.
"I would follow the course of ordinary experience; render the child independent of the parent; and from the resources of his own industry, skill, and prudence, rich, influential, and powerful, among nations. Then, if the period of age and infirmity shall, as God send it may never, but if it shall come, then, sir, the venerated parent shall find shelter behind the strong right hand of her powerful descendant."
“The policy of the gentleman from Virginia calls him to a course of legislation resulting in the entire destruction of one part of this Union. Oppress New-England until she shall be compelled to remove her manufacturing labor and capital to the regions of iron, wool, and grain ; and nearer to those of rice and cotton. Oppress New-England until she shall be compelled to remove her commercial labor and capital to New York, Norfolk, Charleston, and Savannah. Finally oppress that proscribed region, until she shall be compelled to remove her agricultural labor and capital—her agricultural capital ? No, she cannot remove that. Oppress and compel her, nevertheless, to remove her agricultural labor to the far-off West; and there people the savage valley, and cultivate the deep wilderness of the Oregon. She must, indeed, leave her agricultural capital ; her peopled fields; her hills with culture carried to their tops; her broad deep bays; her wide, transparent lakes, long-winding rivers, and populous waterfalls; her delightful villages, flourishing towns, and wealthy cities. She must leave this land, bought by the treasure, subdued by the toil, defended by the valor of men, vigorous, athletic, and intrepid; men, god-like in all, making man resemble the moral image of his Maker; a land endeared, oh! how deeply endeared, because shared with women pure as the snows of their native mountains ; bright, lofty, and overawing, as the clear, circumambient heavens, over their heads; and yet lovely as the fresh opening bosom of their own blushing and blooming June. "Mine own romantic country,' must we leave thee? Beautiful patrimony of the wise and good; enriched from the economy, and ornamented by the labor and perseverance of two hundred years! Must we leave thee, venerable heritage of ancient justice and pristine faith? And, God of our fathers ! must we leave thee to the demagogues who have deceived, and traitorously sold us ? We must leave thee to them; and to the remnants of the Penobscots, the Pequods, the Mohicans, and Narragansetts; that they may lure back the far retired bear, from the distant forest, again to inhabit in the young wilderness, growing up in our flourishing cornfields and rich meadows, and spreading, with briars and brambles, over our most pleasant places.'
“All this shall come to pass, to the intent that New-England may again become a lair for wild beasts, and a hunting-ground for savages. The graves of our parents be polluted; and the place made holy by the first footsteps of our pilgrim forefathers become profaned by the midnight orgies of barbarous incantation. The evening wolf shall again howl on our hills, and the echo of his yell mingle once more with the sound of our waterfalls. The sanctuaries of God shall be made desolate. Where now a whole people congregate in thanksgiving for the benefactions of time, and in humble supplication for the mercies of eternity, there those very houses shall then be left without a tenant. The owl, at noonday, may roost on the high alter of devotion, and the 'fox look out the window,' on the utter solitude of a New-England Sabbath.
*New-England shall, indeed, under this proscribing policy, be what Switzerland was under that of France. New-England, which, like Switzerland, is the eagle nest of Freedom; NewEngland, where, as in Switzerland, the cradle of infant liberty was rocked by whirlwinds, in their rage;' New-England shall, as Switzerland was, in truth, be “the immolated victim, where
nothing but the skin remains unconsumed by the sacrifice ;' New-England, as Switzerland had, shall have nothing left but her rocks, her ruins, and her demagogues.'
"The mind, sir, capable of conceiving a project of mischief so gigantic, must have been early schooled, and deeply imbued with all the great principles of moral evil.
“What, then, sir, shall we say of a spirit, regarding this event as a 'consummation devoutly to be wished ??—a spirit without one attribute, or one hope, of the pure in heart; a spirit which begins and ends every thing, not with prayer, but with imprecation; a spirit which blots from the great canon of petition, 'Give us this day our daily bread ;' that, foregoing bodily nutriment, he may attain to a higher relish for that unmingled food, prepared and served up to a soul 'hungering and thirsting after wickedness;' a spirit, which, at every rising sun, exclaims, Hodie ! hodie ! Carthago delenda !' "To-day, to-day! let New-England be destroyed !'
“Sir, Divine Providence takes care of his own universe. Moral monsters cannot propagate. Impotent of every thing but malevolence of purpose, they can no otherwise multiply miseries, than by blaspheming all that is pure, and prosperous, and happy. Could demon propagate demon, the universe might become a Pandemonium; but I rejoice that the father of Lies can never become the father of liars. One 'adversary of God and man' is enough for one universe. Too much! Oh! how much too much for one nation.”
Mr. Burges's labors were not alone confined to legal and political pursuits. He was often called upon to appear as the orator of popular assemblies, and, in addition to these duties, he contributed extensively to the periodical publications of the day. Among his occasional orations, The Spirit of Independence, delivered before the Providence Association of Manufacturers, in 1800, and another entitled, Liberty, Glory, and Union, or American Independence, pronounced at Providence, on the fourth of July, 1810, were highly commended, and obtained an extensive circulation.
At the close of Mr. Burges's term in Congress, he retired to his home, where he spent the rest of his life, free from any participation in public affairs, and chiefly devoted to rural and literary occupations. He died on the thirteenth of October, 1853
SPEECH ON THE JUDICIARY.
In December, 1825, Mr. Mercer, of Virginia, ceed. Abandoning myself, therefore, to your introduced a resolution in relation to the Ju- candor, sir, and that of the House, I will Yook diciary of the United States, in the House of to the question for that support which a great
question never fails to afford. Representatives, which was subsequently modi
This great question is the entire Judiciary of fied as follows:-“ Resolved, That the bill be the United States. It was placed before Conrecommitted to the committee, that brought gress by the President; has been by this House it in, with an instruction so to amend it
, as they have detailed to us the great judicial dis
referred to the appropriate committee; and to discharge the Judges of the Supreme Court eases of the country, and proposed by this bill, from attendance on the Circuit Court of the a remedy for them. It, therefore, concerns the United States; and further, to provide an uni- administration of national justice, and our atform efficient system for the administration of tention is, moreover, loudly called to it by a
great and respectable portion of the American justice in the inferior Courts of the United people. States.” Mr. Burges addressed the House as The resolution moved by the honorable genfollows:
tleman from Virginia, (Mr. Mercer,) proposes &
recommitment of the whole subject, to the inMr. SPEAKER: Unused to occasions like the tent that, the Judiciary, built at several times, present, and without any practice, other than and in distinct parcels, may be re-edified into forensic, I find myself, unadvisedly, engaged in one great whole, and accommodated to the predeliberative debate, where nothing is worthy of sent and future wants of the nation. The sysattention, unless most valuable in material, and tein of the bill is a Supreme Court, holding one in detail 'most finished. If I could now fairly term only, each year, sitting at Washington retreat, it would be impossible for me to pro- ! only; and beginning that term on the first Non