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heart and in principle! - you are ready, I am sure, to fulfil all the duties imposed upon you by your situation, and demanded of you by your country. You have a central position; your city is the point from which intelligence emanates, and spreads in all directions over the whole land. Every hour carries reports

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your sentiments and opinions to the verge of the Union. You cannot escape the responsibility which circumstances have thrown upon you. You must live and act, on a broad and conspicuous theatre, either for good or for evil to your country. You cannot shrink from your public duties; you cannot obscure yourselves, nor bury your talent. In the common wel. fare, in the common prosperity, in the common glory of Americans, you have a stake of value not to be calculated. You have an interest in the preservation of the Union, of the Constitution, and of the true principles of the government, which no man can estimate. You act for yourselves, and for the generations that are to come after you; and those who ages hence shall bear your names, and partake your blood, will feel, in their political and social condition, the consequences of the manner in which you discharge your political duties.

Having fulfilled, then, on your part and on mine, though feebly and imperfectly on mine, the offices of kindness and mutual regard required by this occasion, shall we not use it to a higher and nobler purpose ? Shall we not, by this friendly meeting, refresh our patriotism, rekindle our love of constitutional liberty, and strengthen our resolutions of public duty ? Shall we not, in all honesty and sincerity, with pure and disinterested love of country, as Americans, looking back to the renown of our ancestors, and looking forward to the interests of our posterity, here, to-night, pledge our mutual faith to hold on to the last to our professed principles, to the doctrines of true liberty, and to the Constitution of the country, let who will prove true, or who will prove recreant? Whigs of New York! I meet you in advance, and give you my pledge for my own performance of these duties, without qualification and without reserve. Whether in public life or in private life, in the Capitol or at home, I mean never to desert them. I mean never to forget that I have a country, to which I am bound by a thousand ties; and the stone which is to lie on the ground that shall cover me, shall not bear the name of a son ungrateful to his native land.



The following toast having been proposed, “Our distinguished guest, - his manly and untiring, though unsuccessful, efforts to sustain the supremacy of the Constitution and the laws against the encroachments of executive power, and to avert the catastrophe that now impends over the country, have given him a new claim to the gratitude of his countrymen, and added a new lustre to that fame which was already imperishably identified with the history of our institutions,” — Mr. Webster rose and responded, in substance, as follows.

MR. CHAIRMAN AND Fellow-CITIZENS :- I cannot be indifferent to the manifestations of regard with which I have been greeted by you, nor can I suffer any show of delicacy to prevent me from expressing my thanks for your kindness. .

I travel, Gentlemen, for the purpose of seeing the country, and of seeing what constitutes the important part of every country, the people. I find everywhere much to excite, and much to gratify admiration; and the pleasure I experience is only diminished by remembering the unparalleled state of distress which I have left behind me, and by the apprehension, rather than the feeling, of severe evils, which I find to exist wherever I go.

I cannot enable those who have not witnessed it to comprehend the full extent of the suffering in the Eastern cities. It was painful, indeed, to behold it. So many bankruptcies among great and small dealers, so much property sacrificed, so many industrious men altogether broken up in their business, so many families reduced from competence to want, so many hopes crushed, so many happy prospects for ever clouded, and such

* A Speech delivered on the 17th of May, 1837, at a Public Dinner given to Mr. Webster by the Citizens of Wheeling, Virginia.

fearful looking for still greater calamities, - all united form such a mass of evil as I had never expected to see, except as the result of war, a pestilence, or some other external calamity.

I have no wish, in the present state of things, nor should I have, indeed, if the state of things were different, to obtrude the expression of my political sentiments on such of my fellow-citizens as I may happen to meet; nor, on the other hand, have I any motive for concealing them, or suppressing their expression, whenever others desire that I should make them known. Indeed, on the great topics that now engage public attention, I hope I may flatter myself that my opinions are already known.

Recent evils have not at all surprised me, except that they have come sooner and faster than I had anticipated. But, though not surprised, I am afflicted; I feel any thing but pleasure in this early fulfilment of my own predictions. Much injury is done, which the wisest future counsels can never repair, and much more that can never be remedied but by such counsels and by the lapse of time. From 1832 to the present moment, I have foreseen this result. I may safely say I have foreseen it, because I have foretold and proclaimed its approach in every important discussion and debate in the public body of which I am a member. In 1832, I happened to meet with a citizen of Wheeling, now present, who has this day reminded me of what I then anticipated, as the result of the measures which the administration appeared to be adopting in regard to the currency. In the summer of the next year, 1833, I was here, and suggested to friends what I knew to be resolved upon by the executive, namely, the removal of the deposits of the public funds from the Bank of the United States, which was announced two months afterwards. That was the avowed and declared commencement of the “experiment." You know, Gentlemen, the obloquy then and since cast upon those of us who opposed this “experiment.” You know that we have been called bank

" agents, bank advocates, bank hirelings. You know that it has been a thousand times said, that the experiment worked admirably, that nothing could do better, that it was the highest possible evidence of the political wisdom and sagacity of its contrivers, and that none opposed it or doubted its efficiency but the wicked or the stupid. Well, Gentlemen, here is the end, if this is the end, of this notable experiment.” Its singular wis

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