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Senate. Of his speeches, while in the lower House of Congress, that in favor of the Greeks, one on the Congress of Panama, and that on the Tariff, are the most important. In 1825 he delivered the address at the laying of the corner-stone of Bunker Hill monument, and during the summer of the year following he pronounced the eulogy in commemoration of the lives and services of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; one of the most sublime and beautiful specimens of panegyrical eloquence in the English language. Mr. Webster entered the Senate of the United States in January, 1828, and continued a member of that assembly until 1841. Of the many oratorical efforts made by him during this portion of his senatorial career, no one has gained more celebrity than the reply to Mr. Hayne, delivered during the debate on the resolution of Mr. Foot. That speech, together with that of Mr. Hayne, will be found among the selections of this work. In the summer of 1839 he visited Europe, where he met with the most distinguished consideration, in all places, and from all classes of citizens. On his return to America, he took an active part in the presidential election of 1840, and, on the elevation of General Harrison to the chief magistracy of the nation, he was called to the head of the State Department, where he remained until 1843. The settlement of the protracted and long disputed question of the northeastern boundary, by the Ashburton treaty, was the prominent feature of his secretaryship. Soon after the adjustment of this question, he resigned his office and returned to Massachusetts, from whence he was elected again to the Senate in 1845. In 1850, on the accession of President Fillmore, he was once more elected to the State Department, in the occupancy of which he died on the twenty-fourth of October, 1852. Of the numerous tributes to his memory, and estimates of his public character and statesmanship, no one will have more interest to the reader than the following, by his friend and contemporary, Rufus Choate:—It was while Mr. Webster was ascending through the long gradations of the legal profession to its highest rank, that by a parallel series of display on a stage, and in parts totally distinct, by other studies, thoughts, and actions, he rose also to be at his death the first of American Statesmen. The last of the mighty rivals was dead before, and he stood alone. Give this aspect also of his greatness a passing glance. His public life began in May, 1813, in the House of Representatives in Congress, to which this State had elected him. It ended when he died. If you except the interval between his removal from New Hampshire and his election in Massachusetts, it was a public life of forty years. By what political morality, and by what enlarged patriotism, embracing the whole country, that life was guided, I shall consider hereafter. Let me now fix your attention rather on the magnitude and variety and actual value of the service. Consider that from the day he went upon the Committee of Foreign Relations, in 1813, in time of war, and more and more, the longer he lived and the higher he rose, he was a man whose great talents and devotion to public duty placed and kept him in a position of associated or sole command; command in the political connection to which he belonged, command in opposition, command in power; and appreciate the responsibilities which that implies, what care, what prudence, what mastery of the whole ground—exacting for the conduct of a party, as Gibbon says of Fox, abilities and civil discretion equal to the conduct of an empire. Consider the work he did in that life of forty years—the range of subjects investigated and discussed; composing the whole theory and practice of our organic and administrative politics, foreign and domestic: the vast body of instructive thought he produced and put in possession of the country; how much he achieved in Congress as well as at the bar; to fix the true interpretation, as well as to impress the transcendent value of the constitution itself, as much altogether as any jurist or statesman since its adoption; how much to establish in the general mind the great doctrine that the government of the United States is a government proper, established by the people of the States, not a compact between sovereign communities, that within its limits it is supreme, and that whether it is within its limits or not, in any given exertion of itself, is to be determined by the Supreme Court of the United States—the ultimate arbiter in the last resort—from which there is no appeal but to revolution; how much he did in the course of the discussions which grew out of the proposed mission to Panama, and, at a later day, out of the removal of the deposits, to place the executive department of the government on its true basis, and under its true limitations; to secure to that department all its just powers on the one hand, and on the other hand to vindicate to the legislative department, and especially to the Senate, all that belonged to them; to arrest the tendencies which he thought at one time threatened to substitute the government of a single will, of a single person of great force of character and boundless popularity, and of a numerical majority of the people, told by the head, without intermediate institutions of any kind, judicial or senatorial, in place of the elaborate system of checks and balances, by which the constitution aimed at a government of laws, and not of men; how much, attracting less popular attention, but scarcely less important, to complete the great work which experience had shown to be left unfinished by the judiciary act of 1789, by providing for the punishment of all crimes against the United States; how much for securing a safe currency and a true financial system, not only by the promulgation of sound opinions, but by good specific measures adopted, or bad ones defeated; how much to develope the vast material resources of the country, and push forward the planting of the West—not troubled by any fear of exhausting old States—by a liberal policy of public lands, by vindicating the constitutional power of Congress to make or aid in making large classes of internal improvements, and by acting on that doctrine uniformly from 1813, whenever a road was to be built, or a rapid suppressed, or a canal to be opened, or a breakwater or a lighthouse set up above or below the flow of the tide, if so far beyond the ability of a single State, or of so wide utility to commerce or labor as to rise to the rank of a work general in its influences—another tie of union because another proof of the beneficence of union; how much to protect the vast mechanical and manufacturing interests of the country, a value of many hundreds of millions—after having been lured into existence against his counsels, against his science of political economy, by a policy of artificial encouragement—from being sacrificed, and the pursuits and plans of large regions and communities broken up, and the acquired skill of the country squandered by a sudden and capricious withdrawal of the promise of the government; how much for the right performance of the most delicate and difficult of all tasks, the ordering of the foreign affairs of a nation, free, sensitive, self-conscious, . recognising, it is true, public law and a morality of the State, binding on the conscience of the State, yet aspiring to power, eminence, and command, its whole frame filled full and all on fire with American feeling, sympathetic with liberty every where; how much for the right ordering of the foreign affairs of such a state—aiming in all its policy, from his speech on the Greek question in 1823, to his letters to M. Hulsemann in 1850, to occupy the high, plain, yet dizzy ground which separates influence from intervention, to avow and promulgate warm, good will to humanity, wherever striving to be free, to inquire authentically into the history of its struggles, to take official and avowed pains to ascertain the moment when its success may be recognised, consistently, ever, with the great code that keeps the peace of the world, abstaining from every thing which shall give any nation a right under the law of nations to utter one word of complaint, still less to retaliate by war—the sympathy, but also the neutrality, of Washington; how much to compose with honor a concurrence of difficulties with the first power in the world, which any thirg less than the highest degree of discretion, firmness, ability, and means of commanding respect and confidence at home and abroad would inevitably have conducted to the last calamity—a disputed boundary line of many hundred miles, from St. Croix to the Rocky Mountains, which divided an exasperated and impracticable border population, enlisted the pride and affected the interests and controlled the politics of particular States, as well as pressed on the peace and honor of the nation, which the most popular administrations of the era of the quietest and best public feelings, the times of Monroe and of Jackson, could not adjust; which had grown so complicated with other topics of excitement that one false step, right or left, would have been a step down a precipice—this line settled for ever—the claim of England to search our ships for the suppression of the slave-trade silenced for ever, and a new engagement entered into by treaty, binding the national faith to contribute a specific naval force for putting an end to the great crime of man—the long practice of England to enter an American ship and impress from its crew, terminated for ever; the deck henceforth guarded sacredly and completely by the flag; how much, by profound discernment, by eloquent speech, by devoted life to strengthen the ties of Union, and breathe the fine and strong spirit of nationality through all our numbers; how
much most of all, last of all, after the war with Mexico, needless if his counsels had governed, had ended in so vast an acquisition of territory, in presenting to the two great antagonist sections of our country so vast an area to enter on, so imperial a prize to contend for, and the accursed fraternal strife had begun—how much then, when rising to the measure of a true, and difficult, and rare greatness, remembering that he had a country to save as well as a local constituency to gratify, laying all the wealth, all the hopes, of an illustrious life on the altar of a hazardous patriotism, he sought and won the more exceeding glory which now attends—which in the next age shall more conspicuously attend—his name who composes an agitated and saves a sinking land; recall this series of conduct and influences, study them carefully in their facts and results— the reading of years—and you attain to a true appreciation of this aspect of his greatness—his public character and life.”
MR. WEBSTER delivered this address at the laying of the corner-stone of the Bunker Hill Monument, on the seventeenth of June, 1825.
This uncounted multitude before me, and around me, proves the feeling which the occasion has excited. These thousands of human faces, glowing with sympathy and joy, and, from the impulses of a common gratitude, turned reverently to heaven, in this spacious temple of the firmament, preclaim that the day, the place, and the purpose of our assembling have made a deep impression on our hearts.
If, indeed, there be anything in local association fit to affect the mind of man, we need not strive to repress the emotions which agitate us here. We are among the sepulchres of our fathers. We are on ground distinguished by their valor, their constancy, and the shedding of their blood. We are here, not to fix an uncertain date in our annals, nor to draw into notice an obscure and unknown spot. If our humble purpose had never been conceived, if we ourselves had never been born, the 17th of June, 1775, would have been a day on which all subsequent history would have poured its light, and the eminence where we stand, a point of attraction to the eyes of successive generations. But we are Americans. We live in what may be called the early age of this great continent; and we know that our posterity, through all time, are here to suffer and enjoy the allotments of humanity. We see before us a probable train of great events; we know that our own fortunes have been happily cast; and it is natural, therefore, that we should be moved by the contemplation of occurrences which have guided our destiny before many of us were born, and settled the condition in which we
*Discourse delivered before the Faculty, Students and Alumni of Dartmouth College, on the day preceding Commencement, July 27, 1858, commemorative of Daniel Webster, by Rufus Choate, page 40.
should pass that portion of our existence, which God allows to men on earth. We do not read even of the discovery of this continent, without feeling something of a personal interest in the event; without being reminded how much it has affected our own fortunes, and our own existence. It is more impossible for us, therefore, than for others, to contemplate with unaffected minds that interesting, I may say, that most touching and pathetic scene, when the great Discoverer of America stood on the deck of his shattered bark, the shades of night falling on the sea, yet no man sleeping; tossed on the billows of an unknown ocean, yet the stronger billows of alternate hope and despair tossing his own troubled thoughts; extending forward his harassed frame, straining westward his anxious and eager eyes, till heaven at last granted him a moment of rapture and ecstasy, in blessing his vision with the sight of the unknown world. Nearer to our times, more closely connected with our fates, and therefore still more interesting to our feelings and affections, is the settlement of our own country by colonists from England. We cherish every memorial of these worthy ancestors; we celebrate their patience and fortitude; we admire their daring enterprise; we teach our children to venerate their piety; and we are justly proud of being descended from men who have set the world an example of founding civil institutions on the great and united principles of human freedom and human knowledge. To us, their children, the story of their labors and sufferings can never be without its interest. We shall not stand unmoved on the shore of Plymouth, while the sea continues to wash it; nor will our brethren, in another early and ancient colony, forget the place of its first establishment, till their river shall cease to flow by it. No vigor of youth, no maturity of manhood, will lead the nation to forget the spots where its infancy was cradled and defended. But the great event, in the history of the continent, which we are now met here to commemorate; that prodigy of modern times, at once the wonder and the blessing of the world, is the American Revolution. In a day of extraordinary prosperity and happiness, of high national honor, distinction, and power, we are brought together, in this place, by our love of country, by our admiration of exalted character, by our gratitude for signal services and patriotic devotion.
The society, whose organ I am, was formed for the purpose of rearing some honorable and durable monument to the memory of the early friends of American Independence. They have thought, that for this object no time could be more propitious than the present prosperous and peaceful period; that no place could claim preference over this memorable spot; and that no day could be more auspicious to the undertaking, than the anniversary of the battle which was here fought. The foundation of that monument we have now laid. With solemnities suited to the occasion, with prayers to Almighty God for his blessing, and in the midst of this cloud of witnesses, we have begun the work. We trust it will be prosecuted, and that springing from a broad foundation, rising high in massive solidity and unadorned grandeur, it may remain, as long as heaven permits the works of man to last, a fit emblem, both of the events in memory of which it is raised, and of the gratitude of those who have reared it.
We know, indeed, that the record of illustrious actions is most safely deposited in the universal remembrance of mankind. We know that if we could cause this structure to ascend, not only till it reached the skies, but till it pierced them, its broad surfaces could still contain but part of that, which, in an age of knowledge, hath already been spread over the earth, and which history charges itself with making known to all future times. We know that no inscription on entablatures less broad than the earth itself, can carry information of the events we commemorate, where it has not already gone; and that no structure, which shall not outlive the duration of letters and knowledge among men, can prolong the memorial. But our object is, by this edifice to show our own deep sense of the value and importance of the achievements of our ancestors; and, by presenting this work of gratitude to the eye, to keep alive similar sentiments, and to foster a constant regard for the principles of the Revolution. Human beings are composed not of reason only, but of imagination also, and sentiment; and that is neither wasted nor misapplied which is appropriated to the purpose of giving right direction to sentiments, and opening proper springs of feeling in the heart. Let it not be supposed that our object is to perpetuate national hostility, or even to cherish a mere military spirit. It is higher, purer, nobler. We consecrate our work to the spirit of national independence, and we wish that the light of peace may rest upon it for ever. We rear a inemorial of our conviction of that unmeasured
benefit, which has been conferred on our own land, and of the happy influences which have been produced, by the same events, on the general interests of mankind. We come, as Americans, to mark a spot which must for ever . be dear to us and our posterity. We wish, that whosoever, in all coming time, shall turn his eye hither, may behold that the place is not undistinguished where the first great battle of the Revolution was fought. We wish that this structure may proclaim the magnitude and importance of that event, to every class and every age. We wish that infancy may learn the purpose of its erection from maternal lips, and that weary and withered age may behold it. and be solaced by the recollections which it suggests. We wish that labor may look up here, and be proud, in the midst of its toil. We wish that, in those days of disaster, which, as they come on all nations, must be expected to come on us also, desponding patriotism may turn its eyes hitherward, and be assured that the foundations of our national power still stand strong. . We wish that this column, rising towards heaven among the pointed spires of so many temples dedicated to God, may contribute also to produce, in all minds, a pious feeling of dependence and gratitude. We wish, finally, that the last object on the sight of him who leaves his native shore, and the first to gladden his who revisits it, may be something which shall remind him of the liberty and the glory of his country. Let it rise, till it meet the sun in his coming; let the earliest light of the morning gild it, and parting day linger and play on its summit. We live in a most extraordinary age. Events so various and so important, that they might crowd and distinguish centuries, are, in our times, compressed within the compass of a single life. When has it happened that history has had so much to record, in the same term of years, as since the 17th of June, 1775? Our own revolution, which, under other circumstances, might itself have been expected to occasion a war of half a century, has been achieved ; twenty-four sovereign and independent States erected; and a general government established over them, so safe, so wise, so free, so practical, that we might well wonder its establishment should have been accomplished so soon, were it not for the greater wonder that it should have been established at all. Two or three millions of people have been augmented to twelve; and the great forests of the West prostrated beneath the arm of successful industry; and the dwellers on the banks of the Ohio and the Mississippi, become the fellowcitizens and neighbors of those who cultivate the hills of New England. We have a commerce, that leaves no sea unexplored; navies, which take no law from superior force; revenues, adequate to all the exigencies of government, almost without taxation; and peace with all nations, founded on equal rights and mutual respect. Europe, within the same period, has been
agitated by a mighty revolution, which, while it but your country's own means of distinction has been felt in the individual condition and and defence. All is peace; and God has granted happiness of almost every man, has shaken to you this sight of your country's happiness, ere the centre her political fabric, and dashed you slumber in the grave for ever. He has alagainst one another thrones, which had stood | lowed you to behold and to partake the reward tranquil for ages. On this, our continent, our of your patriotic toils; and he has allowed us, own example has been followed; and colonies your sons and countrymen, to meet you here, have sprung up to be nations. Unaccustomed and in the name of the present generation, in sounds of liberty and free government have the name of your country, in the name of reached us from beyond the track of the sun; liberty, to thank you! and at this moment the dominion of European But, alas! you are not all here! Time and power, in this continent, from the place where the sword have thinned your ranks. Prescott, we stand to the south pole, is annihilated for Putnam, Stark, Brooks, Read, Pomeroy, Bridge!
our eyes seek for you in vain amidst this broken In the mean time, both in Europe and America, band. You are gathered to your fathers, and such has been the general progress of knowl- live only to your country in her grateful rememedge; such the improvements in legislation, in brance, and your own bright example. But commerce, in the arts, in letters, and above all let us not too much grieve, that you have met in liberal ideas, and the general spirit of the the common fate of men. You lived, at least, age, that the whole world seems changed. long enough to know that your work had been
Yet, notwithstanding that this is but a faint nobly and successfully accomplished. You lived abstract of the things which have happened to see your country's independence established, since the day of the battle of Bunker Hill, we and to sheathe your swords froin war. On the are but fifty years removed from it; and we light of Liberty you saw arise the light of now stand here to enjoy all the blessings of our Peace, like own condition, and to look abroad on the brightened prospects of the world, while we
Risen on mid-noon; hold still among us some of those, who were active agents in the scenes of 1775, and who are and the sky, on which you closed your eyes, now here, from every quarter of New England, was cloudless. to visit, once more, and under circumstances so But-ah!-Him! the first great Martyr in affecting, I had almost said so overwhelming, this great cause! Him! the premature victim this renowned theatre of their courage and of his own self-devoting heart! Him! the head patriotism.
of our civil councils, and the destined leader of VENEP ABLE MEN! you have come down to us, our military bands; whom nothing brought from a former generation. Heaven has boun- hither, but the unquenchable fire of his own teously lengthened out your lives, that you spirit; him! cut off by Providence, in the hour might behold this joyous day. You are now, of overwhelming anxiety and thick gloom ; where you stood, fifty years ago, this very hour, falling, ere he saw the star of his country rise; with your brothers, and your neighbors, shoul- pouring out his generous blood, like water, beder to shoulder, in the strife for your country. tore he knew whether it would fertilize a land Behold, how altered! The same heavens are of freedom or of bondage! how shall I struggle indeed over your heads; the same ocean rolls with the emotions, that stitie the utterance of at your feet; but all else, how changed! You thy name! Our poor work may perish; but hear now no roar of hostile cannon, you see no thine shall endure! This monument may moulmixed volumes of smoke and flamo rising from der away; the solid ground it rests upon may burning Charlestown. The ground strewed sink down to a level with the sea; but thy with the dead and the dying; the impetnous nemory shall not fail! Wheresoever among charge; the steady and successful repulse; the men a heart shall be found, that beats to the loud call to repeated assault; the summoning transports of patriotism and liberty, its aspiraof all that is manly to repeated resistance; a tions shall be to claim kindred with thy spirit ! thousand bosoms freely and fearlessly bared in But the scene amidst which we stand does an instant to whatever of terror there may be not permit us to confine our thoughts or our in war and death; all these you have witnessed, sympathies to those fearless spirits who hazarded but you witness them no more. All is peace. or lost their lives on this consecrated spot. We The heights of yonder metropolis, its towers have the happiness to rejoice here in the presand roofs, which you then saw tilled with wives ence of a most worthy representation of the and children, and countrymen in distress and survivors of the whole Revolutionary Army. terror, and looking with unutterable emotions VETERANS ! you are the remnant of many a for the issue of the combat, have presented you well-fought field. You bring with you marks to-day with the sight of its whole happy popu- of honor from Trenton and Monmouth, from lation, come out to welcome and greet you with Yorktown, Camden, Bennington, and Saratoga. an universal jubilee. Yonder proud ships, by a Veterans OF HALF A CENTURY! when in your felicity of position appropriately lying at the youthful days, you put every thing at hazard in foot of this mount, and seeming fondly to cling your country's cause, good as that cause was, around it, are not incans of annoyance to you, I and sanguine as youth is, still your fondest hopes