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tresses, the privation of their stipends, while the distresses of their country disabled it from bestowing them; and who even now ask for no more than such a portion of their dues as will enable them to retire from the field of victory and glory into the bosom of peace and private citizenship, and for such effectual security for the residue of their claims as their country is now unquestionably able to provide. The remaining class of creditors is composed partly of such of our fellow-citizens as originally lent to the public the use of their funds, or have since manifested most confidence in their country by receiving transfers from the lenders, and partly of those whose property has been either advanced or assumed for the public service. To discriminate the merits of these several descriptions of creditors would be a task equally unnecessary and invidious. If the voice of humanity plead more loudly in favor of some than of others, the voice of policy, no less than of justice, pleads in favor of all. A wise nation will never permit those who relieve the wants of their country, or who rely most on its faith, its firmness, and its resources, when either of them is distrusted, to suffer by the event. Let it be remembered, finally, that it has ever been the pride and boast of America, that the rights for which she contended were the rights of human nature. By the blessing of the Author of these rights on the means exerted for their defence, they have prevailed against all opposition, and form the basis of thirteen independent States. No instance has heretofore occurred, nor can any instance be expected hereafter to occur, in which the unadulterated forms of republican government can pretend to so fair an opportunity of justifying themselves by their fruits. In this view, the citizens of the United States are responsible for the greatest trust ever confided to a political society. If justice, good faith, honor, gratitude, and all other qualities which ennoble the character of a nation, and fulfil the ends of governments, be the fruits of our establishment, the cause of liberty will acquire a dignity and lustre which it has never yet enjoyed, and an example will be set which cannot but have the most favorable influence on the rights of mankind. If, on the other side, our government should be unfortunately blotted with the reverse of these cardinal and essential virtues, the great cause which we have engaged to vindicate will be dishonored and betrayed; the last and fairest experiment in favor of the rights of human nature will be turned against them, and their patrons and friends exposed to be insulted and silenced by the votaries of tyranny and usurpation.
THE LANDING AT PLYMOUTH.”
The great Pilgrim festival was celebrated on the 22d of December, 1843, by the New England Society of New York, with uncommon spirit and success. A commemorative oration was delivered in the morning by Hon. Rufus Choate, in a style of eloquence rarely equalled. The public dinner of the Society, at the Astor House, at which M. H. Grin. nell, Esq., presided, was attended by a very large company, composed of the members of the Society and their invited guests. Several appropriate toasts having been given and responded to by the distinguished individuals present, George Griswold, Esq., rose to offer one in honor of Mr. Webster. After a few remarks complimentary to that gentleman, in reference to his services in refuting the doctrine of nullification and in averting the danger of war by the treaty of Washington, Mr. Griswold gave the following toast: —
“DANIEL WEBSTER, - the gift of New England to his country, his whole country, and nothing but his country.”
This was received with great applause, and on rising to respond to it, Mr. Webster was greeted with nine enthusiastic cheers, and the most hearty and prolonged approbation. When silence was restored, he spoke as follows: —
MR. PRESIDENT: — I have a grateful duty to perform in acknowledging the kindness of the sentiment thus expressed towards me. And yet I must say, Gentlemen, that I rise upon this occasion under a consciousness that I may probably disappoint highly raised, too highly raised expectations. In the scenes of this evening, and in the scene of this day, my part is an humble one. I can enter into no competition with the fresh
* A Speech delivered on the 22d of December, 1843, at the Public Dinner of the New England Society of New York, in Commemoration of the Landing of the Pilgrims.
er geniuses of those more eloquent gentlemen, learned and reverend, who have addressed this Society. I may perform, however, the humbler, but sometimes useful, duty of contrast, by adding the dark ground of the picture, which shall serve to bring out the more brilliant colors. I must receive, Gentlemen, the sentiment proposed by the worthy and distinguished citizen of New York before me, as intended to convey the idea that, as a citizen of New England, as a son, a child, a creation of New England, I may be yet supposed to entertain, in some degree, that enlarged view of my duty as a citizen of the United States and as a public man, which may, in some small measure, commend me to the regard of the whole country. While I am free to confess, Gentlemen, that there is no compliment of which I am more desirous to be thought worthy, I will add, that a compliment of that kind could have proceeded from no source more agreeable to my own feelings than from the gentleman who has proposed it, -an eminent merchant, the member of a body of eminent merchants, known throughout the world for their intelligence and enterprise. I the more especially feel this, Gentlemen, because, whether I view the present state of things or recur to the history of the past, I can in neither case be ignorant how much that profession, and its distinguished members, from an early day of our history, have contributed to make the country what it is, and the government what it is. Gentlemen, the free nature of our institutions, and the popular form of those governments which have come down to us from the Rock of Plymouth, give scope to intelligence, to talent, enterprise, and public spirit, from all classes making up the great body of the community. And the country has received benefit in all its history and in all its exigencies, of the most eminent and striking character, from persons of the class to which my friend before me belongs. Who will ever forget that the first name signed to our ever-memorable and ever-glorious Declaration of Independence is the name of John Hancock, a merchant of Boston 2 Who will ever forget that, in the most disastrous days of the Revolution, when the treasury of the country was bankrupt, with unpaid navies and starving armies, it was a merchant, — Robert Morris of Philadelphia, – who, by a noble sacrifice of his own fortune, as well as by the exercise of his