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By ALDEN BRADFORD, LL. D.
Member of Historical Society of New York, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.
“The unity of government, which constitutes you one people, is now dear to you. It is
“ The State governments are an essential part of the federal system. Consolidation is an
“ By enlarging the basis of our system, and increasing the number of States, the system
FIRST OF JULY:
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1840,
By ALDEN BRADFORD,
TORREY & CLAIR, Printers.
WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON,
STATE OF OHIO :
SIR :-My limited personal intercourse with you would not fully justify me, perhaps, in the liberty I assume, by this public address to you; and by thus seeking, at least by implication, your patronage of a work intended for general circulation in all parts of the United States. And yet it has been my lot to witness your patriotic and honorable exertions, in the highest branch of the national councils, in favor as well of individuals, whose services, in the struggle for liberty and independence, so justly entitled them to the remuneration of the government, as of the welfare, honor, and prosperity of the nation. In the measure of a generous allowance to those worthy veterans, you took a conspicuous part, which neither they, nor their children, nor the country, can ever forget.
I perceive, in this act, your gratitude and sympathy towards those truly patriotic citizens; and, in your retirement, after a brilliant career in public life, to the duties and labors of a private station, your approbation of their exemplary conduct, "in laying down in peace, arms taken up in defence of the republic and its liberties." But
my respect and admiration for your character are
not confined to the consideration of any single act of your long lise; devoted, as it has been, from the days of your youth, to the public service, in various, responsible, trying, and honorable stations. And although the whole people are convinced of your bravery and heroism, on all occasions where the calls of patriotism and humanity were addressed to you, it is less from a regard for your military talents and services, than for your habitually benevolent and morally honorable conduct, that the wise and sober portion of your fellow-citizens, at present, unite in a voluntary tribute of gratitude and confidence in your political and civic virtues.
You were brave and resolute in war: But what is far higher praise, in the estimation of every true republican and every virtuous citizen, you have always manifested a paramount regard for the Constitution and the laws; and have preserved a reputation for probity, sustained in situations where you had power to become rich, even without justly incurring the charge of gross peculation. Nor is there a solitary instance on record, of the exercise of mere arbitrary power, in your public conduct, when you had great discretionary authority, and were accountable only to your conscience and your God.
Such rare patriotism, and such singular integrity demand public respect and eulogy. It reminds one of the memorable days of the Revolution, when Washington and his gallant army long devoted themselves to the defence of civil liberty, from purely patriotic motives, and without just and adequate reward: and of the distinguished band of patriots in the councils of the country, at that critical period, of whom, it might be almost literally said, "that they declared for independence, and consulted for its establishment, with halters
about their necks.” In later times, such proofs of political integrity and zeal are rare indeed.
By a life chiefly devoted to the welfare of the republic, you have given assurance of ability and judgment, and of upright and disinterested views, fully adequate to the successful and honorable discharge of the duties of the highest station, in which the people can place you. And most of all, your reverence for the Constitution, as a guide for rulers as well as for the people, is an auspicious guaranty of your just and faithful exercise of power, to any extent which may be given you, with a single desire to secure the blessings of liberty, and to promote the best interests of the republic.
The world has so often witnessed the abuse of power in the hands of rulers, that men of experience have just cause for apprehension, from the arbitrary conduct of those who are clothed with great authority over their fellow-citizens. Julius Cæsar, Oliver Cromwell, and Napoleon Buonaparte, professed to be the friends of liberty and of the commonwealth : but in the moment of their elevation they became tyrannical ; and, intoxicated with power, they forgot their just responsibilities, and their duty to the people. So did not the patriotic and illustrious WASHINGTON. And, without intending to flatter you, I may say with truth, that there is a general belief that your aim and ambition have always been to merit the praise of being his disciple and follower in political life. Few men, indeed, whether military commanders, or civil magistrates, may be justly compared to that wonderful man; but it is hoped that some who yet linger among us, are desirous of imitating his virtues, az well as of sharing in his fame.