« PreviousContinue »
or neighbourhood; when I refuse, for any such cause, or for any cause, the homage due to American talent, to elevated patriotism, to sincere devotion to liberty and the country; or if I see an uncommon endowment of heaven-if I see extraordinary capacity and virtue in any son of the south --and if, moved by local prejudice, or gangrened by state jealousy, I get up here to abate the tithe of a hair from his just character and just fame, may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!
Sir, let me recur to pleasing recollections—let me indulge in refreshing remembrance of the past—let me remind you, that in early times, no states cherished greater harmo ny, both of principle and of feeling, than Massachusetts and South Carolina. Would to God, that harmony might again return. Shoulder to shoulder they went through the revolution-hand in hand they stood round the administration of Washington, and felt his own great arm lean on them for support. Unkind feeling, if it exist, alienation and distrust, are the growth of false principles since sown. They are weeds, the seeds of which that same great arm never scattered.
Mr. President, I shall enter on 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. 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 England to Georgia; and there they will lie forever.
And, Sir, where 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 at and tear it; if folly and madness, if uneasiness, under salutary and necessary restraint, shall succeed to separate 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 of vigor it may still retain, over the friends who gather round it; and it will fall at last, if fall it must, amidst the proudest monuments of its own glory, and on the very spot of its origin.
CONCLUSION OF THE SAME SPEECH.
I PROFESS, Sir, in my career hitherto, to have kept steadily in view the prosperity and honour of the whole country, and the preservation of our federal union. It is to that union we owe our safety at home, and our consideration and dignity abroad. It is to that union, that we are chiefly 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 of disordered finance, prostrate commerce, and ruined credit. Under its benign influences, these great interests immediately awoke, as from the dead, and sprang forth with newness of life. Every year of its duration has teemed with fresh proofs of its utility and its blessings; and although our territory has stretched out wider and wider, and our population spread farther and farther, they have not outrun its protection, or its benefits. It has been to us all, a copious fountain of national, social, and personal happiness.
I have not allowed myself, Sir, to look beyond the union, to see what might lie hidden in the dark recess behind. I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty, when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder. I have not accustomed myself to hang over the precipice of disunion, to see whether, with my short sight, I can fathom the depth of the abyss below; nor could I regard him as a safe counsellor in the affairs of this government, whose thoughts should be mainly bent on considering, not how the union should be best preserved, but how tolerable might be the condition of the people, when it shall be broken up and destroyed.
While the union lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before us, for us and our children. Beyond that I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that, in my day, at least, that curtain may not rise. God grant, that on my vision never may be opened what lies behind. When my eyes shall be turned to behold, for the last time, the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonoured fragments of a once glorious union; on states dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance, rather, behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now known and honoured throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original lustre, not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured-bearing for its motto, no such miserable interrogatory as—What is all this worth? Nor those other words of delusion and follyLiberty first, and Union afterwards—but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart—Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!
FOX ON AMERICAN AFFAIRS
Extract from a Speech of Mr. Fox in the British Parliament, 1778.
You have now two wars before you, of which you must choose one, for both you cannot support. The war against America has hitherto been carried on against her alone, unassisted by any ally whatever. Notwithstanding she stood alone, you have been obliged uniformly to increase. your exertions, and to push your efforts to the extent of your power, without being able to bring it to an issue. You have exerted all your force hitherto without effect, and you cannot now divide a force, found already inadequate to its object.
My opinion is for withdrawing your forces from America entirely; for a defensive war you can never think of there. A defensive war would ruin this nation at any time; and in any circumstances, offensive war is pointed out as proper for this country; our situation points it out; and the spirit of the nation impels us to attack rather than defend. Attack France, then, for she is your object. The nature of the wars is quite different: the war against America is against your own countrymen; you have stopped me from saying against your fellow subjects; that against France is against your inveterate enemy and rival. Every blow you strike in America is against yourselves; it is against
all idea of reconciliation, and against your own interest, though you should be able, as you never will be, to force them to submit. Every stroke against France is of advantage to you: America must be conquered in France; France never can be conquered in America.
The war of the Americans is a war of passion; it is of such a nature as to be supported by the most powerful virtues, love of liberty and of their country; and, at the same time, by those passions in the human heart which give courage, strength, and perseverance to man; the spirit of revenge for the injuries you have done them; of retaliation for the hardships you have inflicted on them; and of opposition to the unjust powers you have exercised over them. Every thing combines to animate them to this war, and such a war is without end; for whatever obstinacy, enthusiasm ever inspired man with, you will now find in America. No matter what gives birth to that enthusiasm; whether the name of religion or of liberty, the effects are the same; it inspires a spirit which is unconquerable, and solicitous to undergo difficulty, danger, and hardship; and as long as there is a man in America, a being formed such as we are, you will have him present himself against you in the field.
The war of France is a war of another sort; the war of France is a war of interest: it was her interest which first induced her to engage in it, and it is by that interest that she will measure its continuance. Turn your face at once against her; attack her wherever she is exposed; crush her commerce wherever you can; make her feel heavy and immediate distress throughout the nation: the people will soon cry out to their government. Whilst the advantages she promises herself are remote and uncertain, inflict present evils and distresses upon her subjects: the people will become discontented and clamorous; she will find it a bad bargain, having entered into this business; and you will force her to desert any ally, that brings so much trouble and distress upon her.
BONAPARTE TO THE ARMY OF ITALY.
SOLDIERS,—You are precipitated like a torrent from the heights of the Appennines; you have overthrown and dispersed all that dared to oppose your march. Piedmont, rescued from Austrian tyranny, is left to its natural sentiments of regard and friendship to the French. Milan is yours; and the republican standard is displayed throughout all Lombardy. The dukes of Parma and Modena, are indebted for their political existence only to your generosity.
The army, which so proudly menaced you, has had no other barrier than its dissolution to oppose your invincible courage. The Po, the Tessen, the Adda, could not retard you a single day. The vaunted bulwarks of Italy were insufficient. You swept them with the same rapidity that you did the Appennines. Those successes have carried joy into the bosom of your country. Your representatives decreed a festival dedicated to your victories, and to be celebrated throughout all the communes of the republic. Now your fathers, your mothers, your wives, and your sisters, will rejoice in your success, and take pride in their relation to you.
Yes, soldiers, you have done much; but more still remains for you to do. Shall it be said of us, that we know how to conquer, but not to profit by our victories? Shall posterity reproach us with having found a Capua in Lombardy? But already I see you fly to arms. You are fatigued with an inactive repose. You lament the days that are lost to your glory! Well, then, let us proceed; we have other forced marches to make, other enemies to subdue; more laurels to acquire, and more injuries to avenge.
Let those who have unsheathed the daggers of civil war in France; who have basely assassinated our ministers, who have burnt our ships at Toulon; let them tremble, the knell of vengeance has already tolled!
But to quiet the apprehensions of the people, we declare ourselves the friends of all, and particularly of those who are the descendants of Brutus, of Scipio, and those other great men whom we have taken for our models.
To re-establish the capital; to replace the statues of those heroes who have rendered it immortal; to rouse the Roman people entranced in so many ages of slavery; this