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independence is now within our grasp. We have but to reach forth to it, and it is ours. Why, then, should we defer the declaration ?
If we postpone independence, do we mean to carry on or to give up the war? Do we mean to submit, and consent that we shall 10 be ground to powder, and our country and its rights trodden down
in the dust? I know we do not mean to submit. We never shal) submit!
The war, then, must go on; we must fight it through. And if the war must go on, why put off the declaration of independ15 ence? That measure will strengthen us. It will give us character
abroad. Nations will then treat with us, which they never can do while we acknowledge ourselves subjects in arms against our sovereign.
If we fail, it can be no worse for us. But we shall not fail. 20 The cause will raise up armies; the cause will create navies. The
people—the people, if we are true to them, will carry us, and will carry themselves, gloriously through this struggle. I care not how fickle other people have been found. I know the people of
these colonies; and I know that resistance to British aggression is 25 deep and settled in their hearts, and cannot be eradicated.
Sir, the declaration of independence will inspire the people with increased courage. Instead of a long and bloody war for the restoration of privileges, for redress of grievances, set before them
the glorious object of entire independence, and it will breathe into 30 them anew the spirit of life.
Read this declaration at the head of the army; every sword will be drawn, and the solemn, vow uttered to maintain it or perish on the bed of honor. Publish it from the pulpit; religion will
approve it, and the love of religious liberty will cling around it, 35. resolved to stand with it, or fall with it. Send it to the public
halls; proclaim it there; let them see it, who saw their brothers and their sons fall on the field of Bunker Hill, and in the streets of Lexington and Concord, and the very walls will cry out in its
support. 40 Sir, I know the uncertainty of human affairs, but I see, I see clearly through this day's business. You and I, indeed, may rue it. We may not live to see the time this declaration shall be made good. We may die; die colonists; die slaves; die, it may be igno
miniously, and on the scaffold. Be it so: be it so. If it be the 45 pleasure of Heaven that my country shall require the poor offering
of my life, the victim shall be ready at the appointed hour of sacrifice, come when that hour may. But while I do live, let me have a country, or at least the hope of a country, and that a free
country. 50 But whatever may be our fate, be assured—be assured that
this declaration will stand. It may cost treasure, and it may cost: blood; but it will stand, and it will richly compensate for both. Through the thick gloom of the present I see the brightness of the
future, as the sun in heaven. We shall make this a glorious, an 55 immortal day. When we are in our graves, our children will honor
it. They will celebrate it with thanksgiving, with festivity, with bonfires, and illuminations. On its annual return they will shed tears, copious, gushing tears; not of subjection and slavery, not
of agony and distress, but of exultation, of gratitude, and of joy. 60 Sir, before God, I believe the hour is come. My judgment
approves the measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it; and I leave off as I began, that, live
or die, survive or perish, I am for the declaration. It is my 65 living sentiment, and, by the blessing of God, it shall be my dying
sentiment; independence now, and independence forever.
Historical: Boston was deeply moved, on July 4, 1826, by the news of the death of John Adams, just fifty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He was not only conscious of the significance of the day, but had spoken of his colleague, Thomas Jefferson, and the fact that Jefferson would survive him. A few days later, news came from Virginia that Jefferson had died on the same day, a few hours earlier than Adams. The whole country was deeply affected by this remarkable coincidence. On the second of August a public memorial meeting was held in Faneuil Hall, Boston, at which Daniel Webster delivered an oration on “Adams and Jefferson.” In this speech, merely
a part of the oration, Webster represents what Adams might have said at the time of the Declaration of Independence.
SOUTH CAROLINA AND THE UNION
I SHALL make no profession of zeal for the interests and honor of South Carolina. If there be one state in the Union that may challenge comparison with any other, for a uniform, zealous,
ardent, and uncalculating devotion to the Union, that state is 5 South Carolina. From the very commencement of the Revolu
tion up to this hour, there is no sacrifice, however great, she has not cheerfully made, no service she has ever hesitated to perform. She has adhered to you in your prosperity; but in your adversity
she has clung to you with more than filial affection. No matter 10 what was the condition of her domestic affairs, though deprived
of her resources, divided by parties, or surrounded with difficulties, the call of the country has been to her as the voice of God. Domestic discord ceased at the sound; every man became at once
reconciled to his brethren, and the sons of Carolina were all seen 15 crowding together to the temple, bringing gifts to the altar of their common country.
What was the conduct of the South during the Revolution? I honor New England for her conduct in that glorious struggle.
But great as is the praise which belongs to her, I think at least 20 equal honor is due the South. They espoused the quarrel of their
brethren with a generous zeal which did not suffer them to stop to calculate their interest in the dispute. Favorites of the mother country, possessed of neither ships nor seamen to create a com
mercial rivalship, they might have found in their situation a 25 guaranty that their trade would be forever fostered and protected
by Great Britain. But, trampling on all considerations either of interest or of safety, they rushed into the conflict, and, fighting for principle, periled all in the sacred cause of freedom. Never were
there exhibited in the history of the world higher examples of 30 noble daring, dreadful suffering, and heroic endurance than by
the Whigs of Carolina during the Revolution. The whole state, from the mountains to the sea, was overrun by an overwhelming force of the enemy. The fruits of industry perished on the spot
where they were produced, or were consumed by the foe. 35 The "plains of Carolina” drank up the most precious blood of
her citizens. Black and smoking ruins marked the places which had been the habitations of her children. Driven from their homes into the gloomy and almost impenetrable swamps, even there the
spirit of liberty survived, and South Carolina, sustained by the 40 example of her Sumters and her Marions, proved, by her conduct,
that, though her soil might be overrun, the spirit of her people was invincible.
Historical: In January of 1830, Senator Foote of Connecticut introduced into the Senate a resolution regarding the sale of public lands. The subject of state rights being uppermost in their minds, the debaters wandered off into a discussion of the Constitution. Senator Robert Y. Hayne of South Carolina, in a brilliant speech set forth the doctrine of nullification, and Daniel Webster answered him in one of the greatest speeches ever delivered. This extract and the following are taken from this memorable debate, when for the first time the two opposing theories of the Constitution, the “state” and the “national,” were clearly set forth.
REPLY TO HAYNE
DANIEL WEBSTER I shall not acknowledge that the honorable member goes before me in regard for whatever of distinguished talent or distinguished character South Carolina has produced. I claim part of the honor,
I partake in the pride, of her great name. I claim them for 5 countrymen, one and all. The Laurenses, the Rutledges, the
Pinckneys, the Sumters, the Marions-Americans all-whose fame is no more to be hemmed in by state lines than their talents and patriotism were capable of being circumscribed within the same
narrow limits. In their day and generation, they served and hon10 ored the country, and the whole country; and their renown is of the treasures of the whole country.
Mr. President, I shall enter upon no encomium upon Massachusetts; she needs none. There she is. Behold her, and judge
for yourselves. There is her history; the world knows it by heart. 15 The past, at least, is secure. There is Boston, and Concord, and
Lexington, and Bunker Hill; and there they will remain forever. The bones of her sons, fallen in the great struggle for independence, now lie mingled with the soil of every state from New Eng
land to Georgia; and there they will lie forever. And, sir, where 20 American liberty raised its first voice, and where its youth was
nurtured and sustained, there it still lives, in the strength of its manhood, and full of its original spirit. If discord and disunion shall wound it; if party strife and blind ambition shall hawk and
tear it; if folly and madness, if uneasiness under salutary and 25 necessary restraint, shall succeed in separating it from that Union,
by which alone its existence is made sure,—it will stand, in the end, by the side of that cradle in which its infancy was rocked; it will stretch forth its arm, with whatever vigor it may still retain,
over the friends who gather round it; and it will fall at last, if fall 30 it must, amidst the proudest monuments of its own glory and on the very spot of its origin.
I cannot persuade myself to relinquish this subject without expressing my deep conviction, that, since it respects nothing less
than THE UNION OF THE STATES, it is of most vital and essential 35 importance to the public happiness. I profess, sir, in my career
hitherto, to have kept steadily in view the prosperity and honor of the whole country and the preservation of our federal Union. It is to that Union we owe our safety at home and our considera
tion and dignity abroad. It is to that Union that we are chiefly 40 indebted for whatever makes us most proud of our country.
That Union we reached only by the discipline of our virtues in the severe school of adversity. It had its origin in the necessities