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ize her government-cut the throats of all her royal familyand dreadful as would be the process, she would rise with renovated vigor from the fall, and present to her enemy a more imposing, irresistible front than ever. No, sir, Great Britain cannot be subjugated by France; the genius of her institutions; the genuine, game-cock, bull-dog spirit of her people, will lift her head above the waves, long after the dynasty of Bonaparte, the ill-gotten power of France, collected by perfidy, plunder, and usurpation, like the unreal image of old, composed of clay, and of iron, and of brass, and of silver, and of gold, shall have crumbled into atoms.
As Great Britain wrongs us, I would fight her. Yet I should be worse than a barbarian, did I not rejoice that the sepulchres of our forefathers, which are in that country, would remain unsacked, and their coffins rest undisturbed, by the unhallowed rapacity of the Goths and Saracens of modern Europe.
THE GHOST OF BANQUO.-Webster,
But, sir, the coalition! The coalition! Aye, “the murdered coalition!” The gentleman asks if I were led or frightened into this debate by the spectre of the coalition—"was it the ghost of the murdered coalition,” he exclaims, “which haunted the member from Massachusetts; and which, like the ghost of Banquo, would never down?” “The murdered coalition!” Sir, this charge of a coalition, in reference to the late administration, is not original with the honorable member. It did not spring up in the senate. Whether as a fact, as an argument, or as an embellishment, it is all borrowed. He adopts it, indeed, from a very low origin, and a still lower present condition. It is one of the thousand culumnies with which the press teemed, during an excited political canvass. It was a charge of which there was not only no proof or probability, but which was, in itself, wholly impossible to be true. No man, of common information, ever believed a syllable of it
. Yet it was of that class of falsehoods, which, by continued repetition through all the
organs of detraction and abuse, are capable of misleading those who are already far misled, and of further fanning passion, already kindled into flame. Doubtless, it served its day, and, in greater or less degree, the end designed by it. Having done that
, it has sunk into the general mass of stale and lothed calumnies. It is the very cast-off slough of a polluted and shameless press. Incapable of further mischief, it lies in the sewer,
lifeless and despised. It is not now, sir, in the power of the honorable member to give it dignity or decency, by attempting to elevate it, or to introduce it into the senate. He cannot change it from what it is, an object of general disgust and
On the contrary, the contact, if he choose to touch it, is more likely to drag him down, down to the place where it lies itself.
But, sir, the honorable member was not, for other reasons, entirely happy in his allusion to the story of Banquo's murder and Banquo's ghost. It was not, I think, the friends, but the enemies of the murdered Banquo, at whose bidding the spirit would not down. The honorable gentleman is fresh in his reading of the English classics, and can put me right, if I am wrong; but, according to my poor recollection, it was at those who had begun with caresses, and ended with foul and treacherous murder, that the gory locks were shaken. The ghost of Banquo, like that of Hamlet, was an honest ghost. It disturbed no innocent man. It knew where its appearance would strike terror, and who would cry out, a ghost ! It made itself visible in the right quarter, and compelled the guilty and the consciencesmitten, and none others, to start, with
“Prythee, see there! behold !-look! lo!
If I stand here, I saw him!” Their eyeballs were seared, (was it not so, sir,) who had thought to shield themselves, by concealing their own hand, and laying the imputation of the crime on a low and hireling agency in wickedness, who had vainly attempted to stifle the workings of their own coward consciences, by ejaculating, through white lips and chattering teeth, “thou canst not say I did it!" I have misread the great poet, if it was those who had no way partaken in the deed of the death, who either found that they were, or feared that they should be, pushed from their stools by the ghost of the slain, or who cried out to a spectre created by their own fears and their own remorse, “avaunt! and quit our sight.”
There is another particular, sir, in which the honorable member's quick perception of resemblances might, I should think, have seen something in the story of Banquo, making it not altogether a subject of the most pleasant contemplation. Those who murdered Banquo, what did they win by it? Substantial good? Permanent power? Or disappointment, rather, and sore mortification dust and ashes--the common fate of vaulting ambition, overleaping itself? Did not even-handed justice, ere long, commend the poisoned chalice to their own lips ?-Did they not soon find that for another they had “ filed their
mind ?”—that their ambition, though apparently for the moment successful, had but put a barren sceptre in their grasp? Aye, sir
A barren sceptre in their gripe,
No son of theirs succeeding." Sir, I need pursue the allusion no farther. I leave the honorable gentleman to run it out at his leisure, and to derive from it all the gratification it is calculated to administer. If he find himself pleased with the associations, and prepared to be quite satisfied, though the parallel should be entirely completed, I had almost said, I am satisfied also—but that I shall think of. Yes, sir, I will think of that.
66. VINDICATION OF SOUTH CAROLINA.—McDuffie. Mr. Chairman, --A great and solemn crisis is evidently approaching, and I admonish gentlemen, that it is the part of wisdom, as well as of justice, to pause in this course of legislative tyranny and oppression, before they have driven a high-minded, loyal, and patriotic people, to something bordering on despair and desperation. Sir, if the ancestors of those who are now enduring—too patiently enduring, the oppressive burdens, unjustly imposed upon them-could return from their graves, and witness the change which the federal government, in one quarter of a century, has produced in the entire aspect of the country, they would hardly recognize it as the scene of their former activity and usefulness. Where all was cheersul, and prosperous, and flourishing, and happy, they would behold nothing but decay, and gloom, and desolation, without a spot of verdure to break the dismal continuity, or even
“A rose of the wilderness left on its stalk,
To tell where the garden had been.” Looking upon this sad reverse in the condition of their descendants, they would naturally inquire what moral, or political pestilence had passed over the land, to blast and wither the fair inheritance they had left them. And, sir, when they should be told, that a despotic power of taxation, infinitely more unjust and oppressive than that from which the country had been redeemed by their toils and sacrifices, was now assumed and exercised over us by our own brethren, they would indignantly exclaim, like the ghost of the murdered Hamlet, when urging his afflicted son to avenge the tarnished honor of his house,
" If you have nature in you, bear it not."
Sir, I feel that I am called upon to vindicate the motives and the character of the people of South Carolina, from imputations which have been unjustly cast upon them. There is no state in this union distinguished by a more lofty and disinterested patriotism, than that which I have the honor, in part, to represent. I can proudly and confidently appeal to history for proof of this assertion. No state has made greater sacrifices to vindicate the common rights of the union, and preserve its integrity. No state is more willing to make those sacrifices now, whether of blood or treasure.
But, sir, it does not belong to this lofty spirit of patriotism, to submit to unjust and unconstitutional oppression, nor is South Carolina to be taunted with the charge of treason and rebellion, because she has the intelligence to understand her rights, and the spirit to maintain them. God has not planted in the breast of man, a higher and a holier principle, than that by which he is prompted to resist oppression. Absolute submission and passive obedience, to every extreme of tyranny, are the characteristics of slaves only.
The oppression of the people of South Carolina, has been carried to an extremity, which the most slavish population on earth would not endure without a struggle. Is it to be expected, then, that freemen will patiently bow down and kiss the rod of the oppressor ? Freemen, did I say? Why, sir, any one who has the form and bears the name of a man-nay, “a beast that wants discourse of reason,” a dog, a sheep, a reptile—the vilest reptile that crawls upon the earth, without the gift of reason to comprehend the injustice of its injuries, would bite, or bruise, or sting the hand, by which they were inflicted.
Is it, then, for a sovereign state to fold her arms and stand still in submissive apathy, when the loud clamors of the people, whom Providence has committed to her charge, are ascending to heaven for justice ? Hug not this delusion to your breast, I pray you.
It is not for me to say, in this place, what course South Carolina
may deem it her duty to pursue, in this great emergency; It is enough to say, that she perfectly understands the ground which she occupies; and be assured, sir, that whatever attitude she may assume, in her highest sovereign capacity, she will firmly and fearlessly maintain it, be the consequences what they may. The responsibility will not rest upon her, but upon her oppressors.
I will say in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, that in all I have uttered, there has not been mingled one feeling of personal unkindness to any human being, either in this house or out of
it. I have used strong language to be sure, but it has been uttered “ more in sorrow than in anger.” I have felt it to be a solemn duty, which I owed to my constituents, and to this nation, to make one more solemn appeal to the justice of their oppressors.
Let me, then, sir, beseech them, in the name of our common ancestors, whose blood was mingled together as a common offering, at the shrine of our common liberty—let me beseech them, by all the endearing recollections of our common history, and by every consideration that gives value to liberty and the union of these states, to retrace their steps as speedily as possible, and to relieve a high-minded and patriotic people from an unconstitutional and oppressive burden, which they cannot longer bear.
67. SOUTH CAROLINA DURING THE REVOLUTION.—Hayne.
Mr. President,—The honorable gentleman from Massachusetts, while he exonerates me personally from the charge, intimates that there is a party in the country, who are looking to disunion. Sir, if the gentleman had stopped there, the accusation would“ have passed by me as the idle wind which I regard not.” But when he goes on to give his accusation a local habitation and a name, by quoting the expression of a distinguished citizen of South Carolina,—" that it was time for the south to calculate the value of the union," and in the language of the bitterest sarcasm, adds,—“surely then the union cannot last longer than July 1831," it is impossible to mistake either the allusion or the object of the gentleman. Now, Mr. President, I call upon every one who hears me, to bear witness that this controversy is not of my seeking. The senate will do me the justice to remember, that at the time this unprovoked and uncalled for attack was made upon the south, not one word had been uttered by me in disparagement of New-England, nor had I made the most distant allusion either to the senator from Massachusetts, or the state he represents. But, sir, that gentleman has thought proper, for purposes best known to himself, to strike the south through me, the most unworthy of her servants. He has crossed the border, he has invaded the state of South Carolina, is making war upon her citizens, and endeavoring to overthrow her principles and her institutions. Sir, when the gentleman provokes me to such a conflict, I meet him at the threshold—I will struggle while I have life, for our altars and our firesides ; and if God give me strength, will drive back the