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cruise about on the boiling waters, and pick up all that is left undestroyed. When I have seen the adherents of the administration rejecting, so far as they ventured, the salutary measures proposed or supported by our distinguished guest and his associates, for the restoration of the currency and the reëstablishment of the public credit, and clinging to all that events have spared of their discredited measures, they have seemed to me to resemble the sun-stricken victims of a moody madness, who, instead of thankfully embracing the proffered relief, would prefer to float about on the weltering waters, clinging to the broken planks and the shivered splinters of their exploded policy, sure as they are, at the very best, if they reach solid ground, to do so beneath the overwhelming surge of popular indignation.
“ I should take up a great deal more time than belongs to me, did I attempt even to sketch the distinguished services of our friend and guest in this constitutional warfare. They are impressed on your memories, and on your hearts. In the thickest of the conflict, his plume, like that of Henry the Fourth of France, discerned from afar, has pointed out the spot where, to use his own language, “the blows fall thickest and hardest"; and there he has been found, with the banner of the Un. ion above his head, and the flaming cimeter of the Constitution in his hand. If the public mind has been thoroughly awakened to the incon. sistency of the government policy with the genius of our institutions, if, to the experience we have all had of the pernicious operation of this policy, there has been added a clear understanding of the false principles, as well of constitutional law as of political economy, on which it rests, how much of this is not fairly to be ascribed to the efforts of our distinguished guest, efforts never stinted in or out of Congress, repeated in every form which can persuade the judgment or influence the conduct of men, never less than cogent, eloquent, irrefutable, but in the last session of Congress, perhaps more than ever before, grand, masterly, and overwhelming. It has indeed been a rare, I had almost said a sublime spectacle, to see him, unsupported by a majority in either house, opposed by the entire influence of the government, denounced by the administration press from one end of the Union to the other, yet carrying resolution after resolution against the administration, carrying them alike against the old guard and the new recruits, and, notwithstanding their abrupt and ill-compacted alliance, compelling them, in spite of themselves, to afford some relief to the country.
“ These are the services, fellow-citizens, for which you this day tender your thanks to your distinguished guest. These are the services for which, Sir, on behalf of my fellow-citizens, I thank you; for which they thank you themselves. Behold, Sir, how they rise to pay you a manly homage.* The armies of Napoleon could not coerce it ; the wealth of the Indies could not buy it; but it is freely, joyously paid, by fifteen hundred freemen, to the man of their affections. They thank you for having stood by them in these dark tim at all times. They thank you, because they think they are beginning to feel the fruit of your exertions in the daily round of their pursuits. They ascribe it in no small degree to you, that the iron grasp of the government policy has been relaxed; that its bolts and chains, relics of a barbarous age, have been shivered as soon as forged, and before they were riveted on the necks of the people. They thank you for having stood by the Constitution, in which their all of human hope for themselves and their chil. dren is enshrined. They thank you as one of themselves; and because they know that your affections are with the people from which you sprung. They thank you because you have at all times shown, that, as the Whig blood of the Revolution circles in your veins, the Whig prin: ciples of the Revolution are imprinted on your heart. They thank you for the entire manliness of your course ; that you have never joined the treacherous cry of the hatred of the poor against the rich,' - a cry raised by artful men, who think to flatter the people, while in reality they are waging war against the people's business, the people's prosperity, and the people's Constitution. They are willing that this day's offering should be remembered, when all this mighty multitude shall have passed from the stage. When that day shall have arrived, history will have written your name on one of her brightest pages ; fame will have encircled your bust with her greenest laurels ; but neither history nor fame will have paid you a truer, heartier tribute, than that which now, beneath the arches of this venerable hall, in the approving pres. ence of these images of our canonized fathers, is tendered you by this great company of your fellow-citizens.
* The entire audience rose at this moment.
“I give you, Gentlemen,
" DANIEL WEBSTER, the statesman and the man ; whose name is engraven alike on the pillars of the Constitution and the hearts of his fellow-citizens. He is worthy of that place in the councils of the nation which he fills in the affections of the people.”
Mr. Webster then rose, amidst enthusiastic cheering, and addressed the meeting in the following speech.
PUBLIC DINNER IN FANEUIL
GENTLEMEN :- I shall be happy indeed, if the state of my health and the condition of my voice shall enable me to express, in a few words, my deep and heartfelt gratitude for this expres.
. sion of your approbation. If public life has its cares and its trials, it has occasionally its consolations also. Among these, one of the greatest, and the chief, is the approbation of those whom we have honestly endeavored to serve. This cup of con
. solation you have now administered, -full, crowned, abundantly overflowing
It is my chief desire at this time, in a few spontaneous and affectionate words, to render you the thanks of a grateful heart. When I lately received your invitation in New York, nothing was farther from my thoughts or expectations, than that I should meet such an assembly as I now behold in Boston.
But I was willing to believe that it was not meant merely as a compliment, which it was expected would be declined, but that it was in truth your wish, at the close of the labors of a long session of Congress, that I should meet you in this place, that we might mingle our mutual congratulations, and that we might enjoy together one happy, social hour.
The president of this assembly has spoken of the late session as having been not only long, but arduous; and, in some respects, it does deserve to be so regarded. I may indeed say, , that, in an experience of twenty years of public life, I have never yet encountered labors or anxieties such as this session brought with it.
Speech delivered at a Public Dinner in Faneuil Hall, given by the Citizens of Boston to Mr. Webster, at the Close of the Session of Congress, on the 24th of July, 1838.
With a short intermission in the autumn, so short as not to allow the more distant members to visit their homes, we have been in continual session from the early part of September to the 9th of July, a period of ten months." On our part, during this whole time, we have been contending in minorities against majorities; majorities, indeed, not to be relied on for all measures, as the event has proved, but still acknowledged and avowed majorities, professing general attachment and support to the measures, and to the men, of the administration. My own object, and that of those with whom I have had the honor to act, has been steady and uniform. That object was, to resist new theories, new schemes, new and dangerous projects, until time could be gained for their consideration by the people. This was our great purpose, and its accomplishment required no slight effort. It was the commencement of a new Congress. The organization of the two houses showed clear and decisive administration majorities. The administration itself was new, and had come into its fresh power with something of the popularity of that which preceded it. It was no child's play, therefore, to resist, successfully, its leading measures, for so long a period as should allow time for an effectual appeal to the people, pressed, as those measures were, with the utmost zeal and assiduity.
The president of the day has alluded in a very flattering manner to my own exertions and efforts, made at different times, in connection with the leading topics. But I claim no particular merit for myself. In what I have done, I have only acted with others. I have acted, especially, with my most estimable, able, and excellent colleague,f and with the experienced and distinguished men who form the delegation of Massachusetts in the House of Representatives, a delegation of which any State might be justly proud. We have acted together, as men holding, in almost all cases, common opinions, and laboring for a common end. It gives me great pleasure to have the honor of seeing so many of the Representatives of the State in Congress here to-day; but I must not be prevented, even by their presence, from bearing my humble but hearty testimony to the
An extra session of Congress had been called by President Van Buren, in September, 1837, in consequence of the general suspension of specie payments by the banks.
† Hon. John Davis.
fidelity and ability with which they have, in this arduous struggle, performed their public duties. The crisis has, indeed, demanded the efforts of all; and we of Massachusetts, while we hope we have done our duty, have done it only in concurrence with other Whigs, whose zeal, ability, and exertions can never be too much commended.
This is not an occasion in which it is fit or practicable to discuss very minutely, and at length, the questions which have been chiefly agitated during this long and laborious session of Congress. Yet, so important is the great and general question, which, for the last twelve or fifteen months, has been presented to the consideration of the legislature, that I deem it proper, on this, as on all occasions, to state, at the risk of some repetition, perhaps, what is the nature of that important question, and briefly to advert to some of the circumstances in which it had its origin.
Whatever subordinate questions may have been raised touching a sub-treasury, or a constitutional treasury, or a treasury in one, or in another, or in yet a third form, I take the question, the plain, the paramount, the practical question, to be this ; namely, whether it be among the powers and the duties of Congress to take any further care of the national currency than to regulate the coinage of gold and silver. That question lies at the foundation of all. Other questions, however multiplied or varied, have but grown out of that.
If government is bound to take care that there is a good currency for all the country, then, of course, it will have a good currency for itself, and need take no especial pains to provide for itself any thing peculiar. But if, on the other hand, government is at liberty to abandon the general currency to its fate, without concern and without remorse, then, from necessity, it must take care of itself; amidst the general wreck of currency and credit, it must have places of resort and a system of shelter; it must have a currency of its own, and modes of payment and disbursement peculiar to itself. It must burrow and hide itself in sub-treasury vaults. Scorning credit, and having trust in nobody, it must grasp metallic money, and act as if nothing represented, or could represent, property, which could not be counted, paid piece by piece, or weighed in the scales, and made to ring upon the table; or it must resort to special deposits in banks,