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is your interest, and I feel it to be so; and there is not in this region, or beyond the Lakes, a city planned, a tree felled, a field of wheat planted, or any other mark of prosperity, in which I, for one, do not take an interest. But then, Gentlemen, one thing strikes me. You are all a young race here. Here is my friend near me.* We were young men together. It seems to me but a short time ago, and here we are. Now, whom do I see around me here? Why, the rising generation have taken possession of Buffalo. Ye fathers, be frightened! Ye grandfathers, be alarmed! The youth of Buffalo have taken possession of the city. But then, you unmarried women of Buffalo, and you, young wives of Buffalo, be neither frightened nor alarmed; for those who have taken possession will be your protectors. And I believe that this is true throughout the whole county of Erie.
The strong arms of young men till the soil. The vigorous resolution which takes hold of any improvement, and sustains every public project, takes counsel, no doubt, from age and experience; but young men in this country push forward every thing; complete every thing.
Gentlemen, I need not say that this great neighborhood of yours, and this great State of yours, are full of things most striking to the eye and to the imagination. The spectacle which your State presents, the waters of New York, the natural phenomena of New York, are exciting to a very high degree. There is this noble river, the Niagara; the noble lake from which it issues; there are the Falls of Niagara, the wonder of the world, and the numerous lakes and rivers of a secondary class. Why, how many things are there in this great State of New York that attract the wonder and draw the attention of Europe! I had the pleasure, some years ago, of being a few weeks in Europe, and every one asked me how long it took to go to Niagara Falls. New York, in all its relations, in its falls, its rivers, and secondary waters, is attractive to all the world. But then there is New York, in the State of New York. Gentlemen, the commercial character so far pervades the minds of commercial men all over the world, that there are many men, who are very respectable and intelligent, who do not seem to know there is any thing in the United States but New York.
Hon. Albert H. Tracy.
When I was in England, it was asked of me if I did not come from New York. I told them my wife came from New York. That is something. Well, Gentlemen, I had the honor, one day, to be invited to a state dinner, by the Lord Mayor of London. He was a portly and a dignified gentleman. He had a big wig on his head, all powdered and ribboned down behind, and I had the honor to sit between him and the Lady May. oress; and there were three hundred guests, with all the luxu. ries and gorgeousness of the Lord Mayor's dinner. Soon after the cloth was removed, his Lordship thought proper to take no. tice of his American guest. He seemed not to know exactly who I was. He knew I was a Senator; but he seemed to have but little idea of any place in the United States but New York. He arose : “ Gentlemen," said he, “ I give you the health of Mr. Webster, a member of the upper Senate of New York." Well, it was a great honor to be a member of any Senate of New York, but if there was an upper Senate, to be a member of that would be a great honor indeed.
Gentlemen, New York, the State of New York, — let me in. dulge in a moment's reflection on that great theme! It has so happened, in the dispensation of things, that New York stretches from east to west entirely across the country. Your fellow-citi. zens, to-day, are eating clams at Montauk Point, seven hundred miles from this spot, and you are regaling on lake trout. You stretch along and divide the whole country. New York extends from the frontier of Canada to the sea, and divides the Southern States from the Eastern. Here she is with two heads; one down at New York, and the other at Buffalo, like a double-headed snake. Well, what are you to do with her ? Fixed, firm, and immovable, there she is. It has pleased Heaven, in assigning her a position in the configuration of the earth's surface, to cause her to divide the whole South from the East, and she does so, physically and geographically. As she stretches here, in the whole length and breadth, she divides the Southern from the Eastern States. But that is her inferior destiny, her lower characteristic; for, if I do not mistake all auguries, her higher destiny is likewise to unite all the States in one political union.
Gentlemen, nothing so fills my imagination, or comes up so nearly to my idea of what constitutes a great, enterprising, and energetic state, as those things which have been accomplished by
New York in reference to commerce and internal improvements. I honor you for it.
for it. When I consider that your canal runs from the Lakes to tide-water; when I consider, also, that you have had for some years a railroad from the Lakes to tide-water; and when I examine, as I have just examined, that stupendous work, hung up, as it were, in the air, on the southern range of mountains from New York to Lake Erie; when I consider the energy, the power, the indomitable resolution, which effected all this, I bow with reverence to the genius and people of New York, whatever political party may lead, or however wrongly I may deem any of them to act in other respects. It takes care of itself, it is true to itself, it is true to New York; and being true to itself, it goes far, in my opinion, in establishing the interest of the whole country. For one, I wish it so to proceed. I know that there are questions of a local and State character with which I have nothing to do. I know there is a proposition to make this canal of yours greater and broader, to give to New York and its commerce, if I may say so, the power to send forth what it has with greater facility. I know not how that may comport with State politics or State arrangements, but I shall be happy to see the day when there shall be no obstruction or hinderance to any article of trade or commerce going out right, straight and strong, with breadth enough and margin enough and room enough to carry all to its market. May I say, Gentlemen, that a broad, deep, and ample canal realizes, and more than realizes, what the poet has said of the River Thames:
“ 0, could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
My great example, as it is my theme !
But, Gentlemen, there are other things about this State of yours. You are here at the foot of Lake Erie. You look out on the far expanse of the West. Who have come here?
Of whom are you composed? You are already a people of fifty thousand, a larger population than that of any New England city except Boston; and yet you are but of yesterday. Who are your inhabitants? A great many of them are my country. men from the East, and I see them with pleasure. But these are not all; there are also Irish and Germans. I suppose, on
the whole and in the main, they are safe citizens; at any rate, they appear well disposed, and they constitute a large portion of your population. That leads us to consider generally what is the particular position of our country, and of your city, as one of the great outlets to the West, in regard to this foreign immigration. The emigration to this country is enormous; it comes from Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, and almost every other part of Continental Europe. I remember it used to be a simile, when any thing of a sudden or energetic nature took place, to say that it “ broke out like an Irish rebellion, forty thousand strong, when nobody expected it.” Forty thousand strong does not begin to compare with the emigration to the United States. Emigration comes here with a perfect rush from every part of Ireland; from Limerick and the Shannon, from Dublin and from Cork, from the Northern ports, from Londonderry and Belfast. Into this country they come, and will continue to come; it is in the order of things, and there is no possibility of preventing it. Gentlemen, it is about three centuries and a half since Columbus discovered America, and he came here by authority of the Spanish government. He gathered up some gold, and went back with a great name. It is a much shorter time since the Irish discovered America, and they come in much greater numbers; but they don't come here with the idea of carrying back money, or fame, or a name; they mean to abide here. They come to remain among us, and to be of us, and to take their chances among us.
Let them come. There are also Germans. Your city, I am told, has a very large number of thrifty, industrious German people. Let them also come. If his Majesty of Austria, and the Austrian ministry, will allow them to come, let them come. All we desire, whoever come, is, that they will Americanize themselves; that, forgetting the things that are behind, they will look forward; and if they look as far as Iowa and Minnesota, they will not look a rod too far. I know that many from Europe come here who have been brought up to different pursuits, to different modes of life, and to different systems of agriculture from ours; but I believe it is generally true, that, when they are removed from the temptations of the Atlantic cities, and when they get into regions where trees are to be felled and land cleared, they prove themselves worthy and respectable citizens.
And here, perhaps, Gentlemen, you will excuse me, if, without too long a speech, I say a little relative to our American system on this subject of foreign immigration. In the Declaration of Independence, declared on the 4th of July, 1776, a solemn and formal complaint is made against the British king, that he sought to prevent emigration from Europe to the Colonies, by refusing his assent to reasonable laws of naturalization, in consequence of which, it was stated, the country did not fill up and the public lands were not purchased. It is worthy the attention of any gentleman who wishes to acquaint himself with the rly history of the country in this respect, to look back to the naturalization laws passed in the time of Washington. Every one can see what was the prevailing idea at that period. The idea of encouraging emigration from Europe was universal, and the only desire was, that those who wished to become naturalized should become acquainted with our system of government before they voted; that they should have an interest in the country; that they might not be led away by every designing demagogue. At that day, nobody foresaw such growth and such enlargement in the commerce of the country as we now see; and, therefore, in the early periods of Washington's administration, they were looking to see how they should pay the debt of the Revolution. Whatever we may think of it now, their great resource to pay their debt was, as they thought, the public domain. They had obtained from the separate States, before the Constitution was formed, a grant of the Northwest Territory, which was known to be capable of furnishing great products by agricultural labor. The Congress of that day looked to this. They had no idea how sudden would be the great increase of our commerce, or how plentiful would be the revenue from that source; and therefore their great care was to see how far they could encourage foreign immigration (which, it was expected, would bring capital into the country), consistently with such a conformity to our American system and our American institutions as would render immigration safe, and not dangerous, to the common weal.
Gentlemen, we are not arbiters of our own fate. Human foresight falters and fails. Who could foresee or conjecture at that day what our eyes now see and behold? We see this foi good or for evil. Nor could we stay this immigration if we