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not of what complexion, white or brown; I care not under what circumstances of climate or cultivation, if I can find a race of men on an inhabitable spot of earth whose general sentiment it is, and whose general feeling it is, that government is made for
man, as a religious, moral, and social being - and not man for government, there I know that I shall find prosperity and happiness.
Gentlemen, I forbear from these remarks. I recur with pleasure to the sentiment which I expressed at the commencement of my observations. I repeat the gratification which I feel at having been referred to on this occasion by a distinguished member of the mercantile profession; and without detaining you further, I beg to offer as a sentiment,
“ The mercantile interest of the United States, always and everywhere friendly to a united and free government."
Mr. Webster sat down amid loud and repeated applause ; and immediately after, at the request of the President, rose and said :
Gentlemen, I have the permission of the President to call your attention to the circumstance that a distinguished foreigner is at the table to-night, Mr. Aldham; a gentleman, I am happy to say, of my own hard-working profession, and a member of the English Parliament from the great city of Leeds. A traveller in the United States, in the most unostentatious manner, he has done us the honor, at the request of the Society, to be present tonight. I rise, Gentlemen, to propose his health. He is of that Old England of which I have been speaking; of that Old Eng. land with whom we had some fifty years ago rather a serious family quarrel, — terminated in a manner, I believe, not particularly disadvantageous to either of us. He will find in this, his first visit to our country, many things to remind him of his own home, and the pursuits in which he is engaged in that home. If he will go into our courts of law, he will find those who practise there referring to the same books of authority, acknowledging the same principles, discussing the same subjects, which he left under discussion in Westminster Hall. If he go into our public assemblies, he will find the same rules of procedure— possibly not always quite as regularly observed - as he left behind him in that house of Parliament of which he is a member. rate, he will find us a branch of that great family to which he
himself belongs, and I doubt not that, in his sojourn among us, in the acquaintances he may form, the notions he may naturally imbibe, he will go home to his own country somewhat better satisfied with what he has seen and learned on this side of the Atlantic, and somewhat more convinced of the great importance to both countries of preserving the peace that at present subsists between them. I propose to you, Gentlemen, the health of Mr. Aldham.
Mr. Aldham rose and said : 66 Mr. President and Gentlemen of the New England Society, I little expected to be called on to take a part in the proceedings of this evening; but I am very happy in being afforded an opportunity of expressing my grateful acknowledgments for the very cordial hospitality which you have extended to me, and the very agreeable intellectual treat with which I have been favored this evening. It was with no little astonishment that I listened to the terms in which I was introduced to you by a gentleman whom I so much honor (Mr. Webster). The kind and friendly terms in which he referred to me were, indeed, quite unmerited by their humble object, and nothing, indeed, could have been more inappropriate. It is impossible for any stranger to witness such a scene as this without the greatest interest. It is the celebration of an event which already stands recorded as one of the most interesting and momentous occurrences which ever took place in the annals of our race. And an Englishman especially cannot but experience the deepest emotion as he regards such a scene. Every thing which he sees, every emblem employed in this celebration, many of the topics introduced, remind him most impressively of that community of ancestry which exists between his own countrymen and that great race which peoples this continent, and which, in enterprise, ingenuity, and commercial activity, - in all the elements indeed of a great and prosperous nation, - is certainly not exceeded, perhaps not equalled, by any other nation on the face of the globe. Gentlemen, I again thank you for the honor you have done me, and conclude by expressing the hope that the event may continue to be celebrated in the manner which its importance and interest merit.”
Mr. Aldham sat down amid great applause.
MASS MEETING AT ALBANY.*
Among the numerous political meetings in the summer and autumn of 1844, none, perhaps, surpassed that which was held at Albany on the 27th of August. It was attended by an immense number of the inhabitants of that city and of the neighboring counties, and by many thousands of
persons from a distance. By some estimates the numbers present exceeded fifty thousand. Among the distinguished persons present by invitation were Mr. Webster, Messrs. Dawson and Berrien of Georgia, Messrs. Granger, Hasbrouck, and Greely, of New York, and others of political eminence from several parts of the country. The meeting, of course, was held in the open air. Samuel Stevens, Esq., of Albany, presided, and, after a few appropriate remarks by him on the nature of the occasion, Mr. Webster was introduced to the meet. ing and delivered the following speech.
In the history of states and of governments, as in the lives of individuals, there are epochs at which it is wise to pause, to review the past, to consider attentively the present, and to contemplate probable futurity. We are, fellow-citizens, upon the eve of a general election, full of importance and of interest, involving questions which rise far above all considerations of the personal qualities of the candidates for office, questions of the greatest and the nearest bearing upon present and existing interests, and likely to affect the prosperity of the country for a long time to come.
In my judgment, therefore, it is highly proper, in such a state of things and on such an occasion, that we should bring the past into our immediate presence, and consider and examine it; that we should ponder assiduously existing interests and exist
* A Speech delivered at a very large Meeting held at Albany, on the 27th of August, 1844, with Reference to the Presidential Election of that Year.