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PRE-EMINENCE OF AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS.
THE United States of America constitute an essential portion of a great political system, embracing all the civilized nations of the earth. At a period when the force of moral opinion is rapidly increasing, they have the precedence in the practice and the defense of the equal rights of man. The sovereignty of the people is here a conceded axiom, and the laws, established upon that basis, are cherished with faithful patriotism. While the nations of Europe aspire after change, our constitution engages the fond admiration of the people, by which it has been established. Prosperity follows the execution of even justice; invention is quickened by the freedom of competition; and labor rewarded with sure and unexampled returns. Domestic peace is maintained without the aid of a military establishment; public sentiment permits the existence of but few standing troops, and those only along the seaboard and on the frontiers. A gallant navy protects our commerce, which spreads its banners on every sea, and extends its enterprise to every clime. Our diplomatic relations connect us on terms of equality and honest friendship with the chief powers of the world; while we avoid entangling participation in their intrigues, their passions, and their wars.
Our* national resources are developed by an earnest culture of the arts of peace. Every man may enjoy the fruits of his industry; every mind is free to publish its convictions. Our govern
ment, by its organization, is necessarily identified with the interests of the people, and relies exclusively on their attachment for its durability and support. Nor is the constitution a dead letter, unalterably fixed; it has the capacity for improvement; adopting whatever changes time and the public will, may require, and safe from decay, so long as that will retains its energy. New states are forming in the wilderness; canals, intersecting our plains and crossing our highlands, open numerous channels to internal commeree; manufactures prosper along our watercourses; the use of steam on our rivers and railroads annihilates distance by the acceleration of speed. Our wealth and population, already giving us a place in the first rank of nations, are so rapidly cumulative, that the former is increased fourfold, and the latter is doubled, in every period of twentytwo or twenty-three years. There is no national debt; the community is opulent; the government economical; and the public treasury full. Religion, neither persecuted 'nor paid by the state, is sustained by the regard for public morals and the convictions of an enlightened faith. Intelligence is diffused with unparalleled universality; a free press teems with the choicest productions of all nations and ages. There are more daily journals in the United States than in the world beside. A public document of general interest is, within a month, reproduced in at least a million of copies, and is brought within the reach of every freeman in the country. An immense concourse of emigrants of the most various lineage is perpetually crowding to our shores; and the principles of liberty, uniting all interests by the operation of equal laws, blend the discordant elements into harmonious union. Other governments are convulsed by the innovations and reforms of neighboring states ; our constitution, fixed in the affections of the people, from whose choice it has sprung, neutralizes the influ. ence of foreign principles, and fearlessly opens an asylum to the virtuous, the unfortunate, and the oppressed of every nation.
And yet it is but little more than two centuries, since the oldest of our states received its first permanent colony. Before that time the whole territory was an unproductive waste. Throughout its wide extent the arts had not erected a monument. Its only inhabitants were a few scattered tribes of feeble barbarians, destitute of commerce and of political connection. The axe and the ploughshare were unknown. The soil, which had been gathering fertility from the repose of centuries, was lavishing its strength in magnificent but useless vegetation. In the view of civilization, the immense domain was a solitude.
FATE OF THE INDIANS.
THERE is, indeed, in the fate of these unfortunate beings, much to awaken our sympathy, and much to disturb the sobriety of our judgment; much which may be urged to excuse their own atrocities; much in their characters which betrays us into an involuntary, admiration. What can be more melancholy than their history? By a law of their nature, they seem destined to a slow, but sure extinction. Every where, at the approach of the white man, they fade away. We hear the rustling of their footsteps, like that of the withered leaves of autuinn, and they are gone forever. They pass mournfully by us, and they return no more. Two centuries ago, the smoke of their wigwams and the fires of their councils rose in every valley, from Huilson's Bay to the farthest Florida, from the ocean to the Mississippi and the lakes. The shouts of victory and the war-dance rang through the mountains and the glades. The thick arrows and the deadly tomahawk whistled through the forests; and the hunter's trace and the dark encampment startled the wild beasts in their lairs. The warriors stood forth in their glory. The young listened to the songs of other days. The mothers played with their infants, and gazed on the scene with warm hopes of the future. The aged sat down; but they wept not. They should soon be at rest in fairer regions, where the Great Spirit dwelt, in a home prepared for the brave, beyond the western skies. Braver men never lived; truer men never drew the bow. They had courage, and fortitude, and sagacity, and perseverance, beyond most of the human race. They shrank from no dangers, and they feared no hardships. If they had the vices of savage life, they had the virtues also. They were true to their country, their friends, and their homes. If they forgave not injury, neither did they forget kindness. If their vengeance was terrible, their fidelity and generosity were unconquerable also. Their love, like their hate, stopped not on this side of the grave.
But where are they? Where are the villages, and warriors, and youth; the sachems and the tribes; the hunters and their families? They have perished. They are consumed. The wasting pestilence has not alone done the mighty work. No,-nor famine, nor war. There has been a mightier power, a moral canker, which hath eaten into their heart-cores-a plague, which the touch of the white man communicated—a poison, which betrayed them into a lingering ruin. The winds of the Atlantic fan not a single region, which they may now call their own. Already the last feeble remnants of the race are preparing for their journey beyond the Mississippi. I see them leave their miserable homes, the aged, the helpless, the women, and the warriors, “few and faint, yet fearless still.” The ashes are cold on their native hearths. The smoke no longer curls round their lowly cabins. They move on with a slow, unsteady step. The white man is upon their heels, for terror or despatch; but they heed him not. They turn to take a last look of their deserted villages. They cast a last glance upon the graves of their fathers. They shed no tears; they utter no cries; they heave no groans. There is something in their hearts, which passes speech. There is something in their looks, not of vengeance or submission ; but of hard necessity, which stifles both; which chokes all utterance; which has no aim or method. It is courage absorbed in despair. They linger but for a moment. Their look is onward. They have passed the fatal stream. It shall never be repassed by them-no, never. Yet there lies not between us and them an impassable gulf. They know and feel, that