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us, possesses. . Yes, I say that those persons who have gone from our town-meetings to dig gold in California are nore fit to make a republican government than any body of nen in Germany or Italy; because they have learned this one (reat lesson, that there is no security without law, and that, under the circumstances in which they are placed, where there is no military authority to cut their throats, there is no sovercign will but the will of the majority; that, therefore, if they remain, they must submit to that will.” And this I believe to be strictly true.

Now, fellow-citizens, if your patience will hold out, I will venture, before proceeding to the more appropriate and particular duties of the day, to state, in a few words, what I take these American political principles in substance to be. They consist, as I think, in the first place, in the establishment of popular governments, on the basis of representation; for it is plain that a pure democracy, like that which existed in some of the states of Greece, in which every individual had a direct vote in the enactment of all laws, cannot possibly exist in a country of wide extent. This representation is to be made as equal as circumstances will allow. Now, this principle of popular representation, prevailing either in all the branches of government, or in some of them, has existed in these States almost from the days of the settlements at Jamestown and Plymouth; borrowed, no doubt, from the example of the popular branch of the British legislature. The representation of the people in the British House of Commons was, however, originally very unequal, and is yet not equal. Indeed, it may be doubted whether the appearance of knights and burgesses, assembling on the summons of the crown, was not intended at first as an assistance and support to the royal prerogative, in matters of revenue and taxation, rather than as a mode of ascertaining popular opinion. Nevertheless, representation had a popular origin, and savored more and more of the character of that origin, as it acquired, by slow degrees, greater and greater strength, in the actual gov: ernment of the country. The constitution of the House of Com. mons was certainly a form of representation, however unequal; numbers were counted, and majorities prevailed; and when our ancestors, acting upon this example, introduced more equality of representation, the idea assumed a more rational and distinct

51

VOL. II.

still it was a liberty of disconnected states, sometimes united, indeed, by temporary leagues and confederacies, but often involved in wars between themselves. The sword of Sparta turned its sharpest edge against Athens, enslaved her, and devastated Greece; and, in her turn, Sparta was compelled to bend before the power of Thebes. And let it ever be remembered, especially let the truth sink deep into all American minds, that it was the WANT OF UNION among her several states which finally gave the mastery of all Greece to Philip of Macedon.

And there has also been a Roman liberty, a proud, ambitious, domineering spirit, professing free and popular principles in Rome itself, but, even in the best days of the republic, ready to carry slavery and chains into her provinces, and through every country over which her eagles could be borne. What was the liberty of Spain, or Gaul, or Germany, or Britain, in the days of Rome? Did true constitutional liberty then exist? As the Roman empire declined, her provinces, not instructed in the princi. ples of free popular government, one after another declined also, and when Rome herself fell, in the end, all fell together.

I have said, Gentlemen, that our inheritance is an inheritance of American liberty. That liberty is characteristic, peculiar, and altogether our own. Nothing like it existed in former times, nor was known in the most enlightened states of antiquity; while with us its principles have become interwoven into the minds of individual men, connected with our daily opinions, and our daily habits, until it is, if I may so say, an element of social as well as of political life; and the consequence is, that to whatever region an American citizen carries himself, he takes with him, fully developed in his own understanding and experience, our American principles and opinions, and becomes ready at once, in coöperation with others, to apply them to the formation of new governments. Of this a most wonderful instance may be seen in the history of the State of California.

On a former occasion I ventured to remark, that " it is very difficult to establish a free conservative government for the equal advancement of all the interests of society. What has Germany done, learned Germany, more full of ancient lore than all the world beside ? What has Italy done? What have they done who dwell on the spot where Cicero lived? They have not the

power of self-government which a common town-meet

ing, with us, possesses. ..... Yes, I say that those persons who have gone from our town-meetings to dig gold in California are more fit to make a republican government than any body of men in Germany or Italy; because they have learned this one great lesson, that there is no security without law, and that, under the circumstances in which they are placed, where there is no military authority to cut their throats, there is no sovereign will but the will of the majority; that, therefore, if they remain, they must submit to that will.” And this I believe to be strictly true.

Now, fellow-citizens, if your patience will hold out, I will venture, before proceeding to the more appropriate and particular duties of the day, to state, in a few words, what I take these American political principles in substance to be. They consist, as I think, in the first place, in the establishment of popular governments, on the basis of representation; for it is plain that a pure democracy, like that which existed in some of the states of Greece, in which every individual had a direct vote in the enactment of all laws, cannot possibly exist in a country of wide extent. This representation is to be made as equal as circumstances will allow. Now, this principle of popular representation, prevailing either in all the branches of government, or in some of them, has existed in these States almost from the days of the settlements at Jamestown and Plymouth; borrowed, no doubt, from the example of the popular branch of the British legislature. The representation of the people in the British House of Commons was, however, originally very unequal, and is yet not equal. Indeed, it may be doubted whether the appearance of knights and burgesses, assembling on the summons of the crown, was not intended at first as an assistance and support to the royal prerogative, in matters of revenue and taxa. tion, rather than as a mode of ascertaining popular opinion. Nevertheless, representation had a popular origin, and savored more and more of the character of that origin, as it acquired, by slow degrees, greater and greater strength, in the actual gov: ernment of the country. The constitution of the House of Com. mons was certainly a form of representation, however unequal; numbers were counted, and majorities prevailed; and when our ancestors, acting upon this example, introduced more equality of representation, the idea assumed a more rational and distinct VOL. II.

51

shape. At any rate, this manner of exercising popular power was familiar to our fathers when they settled on this continent. They adopted it, and generation has risen up after generation, all acknowledging it, and all learning its practice and its forms.

The next fundamental principle in our system is, that the will of the majority, fairly expressed through the means of representation, shall have the force of law; and it is quite evident that, in a country without thrones or aristocracies or privileged castes or classes, there can be no other foundation for law to

stand upon.

And, as the necessary result of this, the third element is, that the law is the supreme rule for the government of all. The great sentiment of Alcæus, so beautifully presented to us by Sir William Jones, is absolutely indispensable to the construction and maintenance of our political systems:

“ What constitutes a state?

Not high-raised battlement or labored mound,
Thick wall or moated gate;
Not cities proud, with spires and turrets crowned;
Not bays and broad-armed ports,
Where, laughing at the storm, rich navies ride;
Not starred and spangled courts,
Where low-browed baseness wafts perfume to pride.
No: Men, high-minded Men,
With powers as far above dull brutes endued,
In forest, brake, or den,
As beasts excel cold rocks and brambles rude :
Men who their duties know,
But know their rights, and, knowing, dare maintain ;
Prevent the long-aimed blow,
And crush the tyrant while they rend the chain :
These constitute a state ;
And Sovereign Law, that state's collected will,
O'er thrones and globes elate
Sits empress, crowning good, repressing ill."

And, finally, another most important part of the great fabric of American liberty is, that there shall be written constitutions, founded on the immediate authority of the people themselves, and regulating and restraining all the powers conferred upon government, whether legislative, executive, or judicial.

This, fellow-citizens, I suppose to be a just summary of our American principles, and I have on this occasion sought to ex

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