Rights of American Citizens: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to commerce

DoCThe Rights of an American Citizen: With a Commentary on State Rights, and on the Constitution and Policy of the United States by Benjamin Lynde Oliver published 1832

Continued from RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to manufactures

PART III; OF THE POLICY WHICH OUGHT TO BE PURSUED BY THE GENERAL GOVERNMENT IN RELATION TO AGRICULTURE, MANUFACTURES, AND COMMERCE.

CHAPTER III; Commerce.

On this exhaustless subject, a few passing remarks only will be hazarded. Not because, as some suppose, the principles of science in relation.to it, can be comprehended by merchants only; but because the minute details, which alone require prolonged discussion, are of little consequence to general readers, and yet can only be obtained by a practical acquaintance with trade.

It is somewhat singular, that merchants of long experience and supposed sagacity, who have acquired and amassed great fortunes in youth, sometimes lose their property and fail, at a time of life, when, if ever, the judgment ought to be in its highest perfection. On the other hand, it is not less singular, that some persons of small acquirements and very moderate capacity, sometimes acquire great wealth by commerce in a very few years. The bad result in the former case, and the good one in the latter, however, are sufficient to show, that, in commerce, sagacity and experience, are not absolutely necessary to obtain success, and, what is worse, are not sufficient to insure it. It follows, that no infallible principles are derivable from mercantile experience, which will guaranty invariable prosperity even to the merchant’s private affairs; and much less, to those of the public.

The reason is, that the knowledge acquired by experience, consists only of those facts and details, which are necessary to carry on the particular branch of trade in which the individual happens to be engaged, but which have no general application to the interests of the public. For, the interest of the merchant, and that of the public are two different things, having no necessary connexion, any further than that the wealth of a a merchant is a constituent part of the whole wealth of the community, of which he is a member.

In order to have distinct ideas on this subject, as well as to form a correct opinion how far commerce is advantageous to a country, it will very shortly be considered under the heads of domestic trade, importation, exportation, and the carrying trade. These will be considered as entirely distinct, though it may very well happen, that two or more of these operations, may be performed in any single extensive commercial transaction.

1. Domestic trade is obviously of the highest importance to a community. Without it society could not well continue at all, but men would exist merely as solitary savages, in a state of perfect independence. For, it is almost impossible, that intercourse should be kept up among mankind, without those mutual dealings and contracts, in all of which some principle of exchange and barter, is necessarily more or less involved. If a hatter should barter a hat to a shoemaker for a pair of shoes; if a carpenter should contract, with a farmer to build him a shed, for a certain number of bushels of wheat; or, if two farmers should agree to exchange work, it might be considered as constituting an operation of internal trade, as much as a direct purchase for money.

It is of the utmost consequence to society, that this home trade should be as free from restraint as possible; because it is more convenient, that the citizens should supply each other with the respective products of their labor, than that each individual should undertake to be his own carpenter, batter, blacksmith, &c, and thus vainly attempt to supply his wants by his own personal labor in those various trades. For, in this way, each individual would be able to do but little work, and that would be done badly. But the division and distribution of labor, enable each individual to have an abundance of every kind of work, and well executed. The policy of taxing sales by auction, or of licensing auctioneers, retailers, inn-holders, pedlars, &c., does not come within the scope of this work. On the subject of home trade, therefore, it seems superfluous to enlarge, because, with the above suggested exceptions, it is left in perfect freedom.

2. Foreign trade; exportation, &c. With regard to foreign trade, its value to the country depends entirely upon the comparative value in use, between the articles exported and those imported in return.

In commerce, exportation as well as importation may be either advantageous or disadvantageous to the country.; and consequently in a single exchange of exports for imports, either a double loss, or a double gain may arise to it.

The most disadvantageous trade to a state that can be carried on, is where the exported articles are the necessaries of life, and the imports are not only incapable of supporting life, but tend to destroy it. It is not to be expected, that any country will long continue to increase in population, where a trade of this kind is carried on. If, therefore there should be exported from a country beef, pork, fish and corn, though, at the highest price in money, and that money should immediately be re-invested in brandy, wine, rum, gin, and other things equally incapable of supporting life, and equally injurious to health which should be brought back for home consumption, though at the cheapest rates, such commerce would be the most destructive to the prosperity of a state, that can be conceived. It is true, the merchant might be accumulating immense sums from such a business, and might suppose, from his own prosperity, that he was doing the public a great service; but, it is equally true, that he could not, if he were disposed, do a greater mischief to the public, than to buy up the necessaries of life and ship them abroad, and bring back such articles as have been named and expose them for sale throughout the country. In such a case as this, the merchant, if he grew rich, would fatten on the ruin of his country. For, by buying up the necessaries of life, and paying for them, directly or indirectly, in such commodities, supposing them to be merely useless, though they are in fact pernicious, he renders the production of the necessary articles exported, wholly vain, the labor bestowed on them being thrown away. The delusion which the producer would labor under would be this, that he should get a high price for his produce; but he forgets that it is paid in an article which is worthless in use. If it should be replied, that be can sell it to his neighbor and get a high price for it; still it is obvious the injury to the state is the same, though the loss falls on the thoughtless, and not on the designing and guarded. Any rich and powerful state, that finds its population at a stand, or increasing in too slow a ratio on account of emigration, would do well to look to this. For, in no case whatever, is the prosperity of the merchants, a test of the advantage of trade to the country. But this test will always be found in the consequent prosperity of the producer of exported articles, whether manufacturer or husbandman, &c., and the prosperity of the consumers of the imported ones.

That the prosperity of a merchant, is no test of the advantage of the trade he carries on, to the state, may easily be shown; because, however profitable a trade might be to the state, all the merchants concerned in it may lose money by it and be compelled to abandon it. On the other hand, however ruinous any trade may be to the state, it is very possible that the merchants may grow rich by it. The direct foreign trade, therefore, ought never to be encouraged for the sake of the interest of the merchants, but, for the sake of the public interest, which are two very distinct things. Where they are compatible—where the trade is for the advantage of the public, it should be encouraged; but, where incompatible, and where the trade is pernicious to the public interest, the interests of the state ought not to be sacrificed to favor those of a comparatively small number of persons. The hackneyed expression, laissez nous faire, in this case, would be as absurd as unbecoming; the merchant here is a mere carrier, and not a party in interest, any further than his commissions or profits are concerned. The trade is carried on for the advantage of the community, and not for the sake of giving him an opportunity to make money.

2. Where the merchant exports the surplus manufactures of a country, beyond what is necessary for home consumption, and brings back the necessaries or conveniences of life, he carries on a trade which is highly advantageous to the country. In the first place, he increases the demand for the home manufactures; consequently he enables more persons to support themselves by manufacturing; in this way, he increases population. In the next place, by bringing back the necessaries of life, he increases the supply in the slate, which operates in the same manner as a blessing would do, which should increase the annual produce of the soil; this also would tend to increase the population; for, wherever the necessaries of life are cheap, population will increase. If it should be said, this would discourage agriculture; the answer is, it would not prevent any man from cultivating his farm. On the contrary, as he found produce cheap, he would endeavor to raise more, so as to compensate in quantity for the lowness of the price; its tendency, therefore, would rather be to increase the production of agriculture. But, if the products of agriculture, on account of their abundance, became very low in price, many persons, who otherwise would have engaged in it, will betake themselves to other occupations, as the various trades, or manufactures, or commerce,, which, in consequence of the cheapness of necessary articles, would afford them opportunities of getting a living with very moderate labor. Thus, there would be a permanent increase of population, distributed equally in all the various classes of society, which always soon finds its level in this respect.

For, the high price of manufactures is attributable in part, at least, to the high price of labor; the high price of labor is owing to the high price of the necessaries of life. The high price of the necessaries of life, must necessarily follow extensive purchases of them for exportation and returns made in luxuries, superfluities or foreign goods generally, not being necessaries. If then the necessaries of life are retained, labor will become cheap in comparison with every thing but those necessaries. Consequently manufactures will grow cheaper, and there will be less necessity for protection against the competition of foreigners. Manufacturing companies therefore ought not to despair, even if the tariff should be taken off, as a measure might be suggested, which it is thought would be a palliative far its removal, if not a substitute for its continuance.

But, though such a trade would be highly advantageous to the state, it obviously might or might not, be ruinous to the merchants engaged in it, according to the state of the markets at home and abroad, and their prudence or imprudence in the management of their business. This is another proof, that the prosperity of the merchant, is not the slightest test of the public benefit of the trade, in which he is concerned.

Whence does the merchant derive his wealth in this case? Certainly it consists in the profits, which he receives from the consumer of the goods which he imports. The consumer endeavors to obtain the foreign goods as cheap as possible, the merchant endeavors to obtain for them as high a price as possible. In this particular the interests of the two are incompatible, and either may grow rich at the expense of the other. But, it is the interest of the state, that the surplus over consumption should be exported, and a return made of other articles, of equal utility, and not easily obtained otherwise. In this respect the interests of the merchants, and those of the producers of exports, and the consumers of imports, and consequently, of the whole state, strongly coincide. Commerce is here of the highest importance. It creates a new value. It performs in effect the operation of production. There is no measure of encouragement or protection, that commerce of this kind can reasonably require, that should not immediately be bestowed; and, here there is no danger, that laissez nous fuire, would ever be heard.

USChamberBut, a duty on the necessaries of life, imported from abroad, is a very great absurdity. For, what can be the object of it? Political partisans perhaps will say, that it is laid for the purpose of protecting national industry from the competition of foreigners. This is done by laying so heavy a duty on foreign production, that it will be wholly excluded from the market, and thus domestic produce will have the whole market secured to itself. But, the consequence will be, that the prices of the necessaries of life, will rise higher than before. The farmers will sell their produce at almost any price they please, unless the competition among them keeps it down. It will gradually, however, come to a level with other kinds of business; because so many will betake themselves to the cultivation of the soil, that they will fully supply the market, if the territory of the state, which can be come at, is sufficient for that purpose.

The farming business, in this case, will .have a great advantage secured to them in this monopoly; but, it will be at the expense of the manufacturers and the rest of society. This is clear; because, if foreign produce were admitted, the domestic produce would conform to it in price. But, if the foreign is excluded, then domestic produce rises to whatever the producers shall agree among themselves to demand. For, the necessaries of life must be had, if possible, from some source or other. And this necessity, if the producers can agree in demanding an exorbitant price, will put the rest of society at their mercy. For, the tendency of such a law is to reduce the rest of society under the control of the producers, in the same manner as the whole nation of the Egyptians were reduced by the policy of Joseph.

It is inexpedient, therefore, to impose any duty on foreign produce of the necessaries of life, because it so far checks an increase of population. Further, if home production is sufficiently abundant, then such an import would be superfluous; because, then the price of foreign produce would not pay for importing. On the other hand, if the price of foreign produce would pay for importing, then the domestic must be proportionally scarce. But true policy requires that the necessaries of life, should be as cheap and abundant as possible.

There is a strange error prevailing in the minds of some politicians, who assume that whatever increases consumption, increases production also, in the same proportion. For, they reason thus, whatever consumes an article in the market, raises the price of it. The increase of price, enables those who produce the article, to get more money for their labor than they can in other productions; they therefore bestow more labor in producing it, and others also .are induced to neglect other business, and to bestow their labor in the same way, and with the same expectations. But, notwithstanding this plausible theory, if the consumption is not for some valuable purpose, the labor of producing what is consumed, is entirely thrown away. The production consequently is of no use whatever. Suppose a state, capable of producing the necessaries of life, for 10,000,000 of people, were unhappily bound by a necessity to export 9-10ths of its whole produce, and receive a return in imports of jewelry, brandy, rum, wine, and other articles not capable of sustaining life, is it not clear that such commerce, though it might enrich the inhabitants with an abundance of expensive and perhaps ornamental articles, would yet so completely check its prosperity, that it could never reach more than one tenth of the population, which it could sustain. Such commerce would therefore be highly ruinous to the state, though the merchants, if they carried it on would grow rich by the profits they made by it. But though such state would thus check its growth and throw away the advantages which nature had given it, by selling its birthright in effect like the ignorant Indians for a string of beads, or a cask of brandy, the foreign producer or manufacturer of such worthless articles, would fatten on the folly or wretchedness of the inhabitants of such state. For,’the population which might be sustained here, would be supported abroad by supplies drawn from this country. And the seven lean kine would thus devour the seven well favored; and the most barren and unfruitful country, incapable of itself of sustaining a single inhabitant, might by such commerce, become as populous as China, and the country with which it traded, though as fertile as the garden of Eden, would never contain more inhabitants, than enough to till it for the sake of those foreign consumers.

To what extent these remarks are applicable to the commerce of any of the United States, let each reader judge for himself.

In 1822, there was exported from the United States, in fish, $930,000; in flour, $5,300,000; in rice, $1,000,000;’in pork, 1,400,000; in corn, meal, rye, he, $1,100,000; in butter and cheese, 220,000. Total $10,550,000.

In the same year there was imported into the United States, exclusive of what was re-exported, in wine, $1,700,000; in spirits, $2,300,000; in teas, $ 1,200,000; in cigars, $ 174,000. Total $5,374,000.

As these last articles were the balances remaining after re-exportation, they must he considered as designed for consumption. Now, to the United States, it is of no sort of consequence whether these imports were purchased with the proceeds of those exports or not, because, the result is the same. For, so far as the exportation of these necessaries of life, and the importation of these pernicious or useless articles, the produce of the United States is wasted; the productive labor has been employed for the mere benefit of those foreigners whose . wines, &c, have been purchased, and who have been supported abroad, instead of an equal number of people who would be supported in the United States, if the necessaries of life had not been exported. This species of commerce, it should be remembered, is to be considered as perpetual; consequently the United States are always to be taxed in this extraordinary manner for the support of foreigners, and the fertility of the soil is to be changed for sterility, and sterility upon which annual labor is thus thrown away.

3. There is another species of commerce, which consists of what is called the carrying trade. Though this is usually combined with the other operations of exporting and importing, yet, as it is so far subject to the remarks made in relation to them; and, as it may be carried on in a manner entirely independent of those operations, so far as the merchant’s own country is concerned, it will here be considered simply as the carrying trade.

Where a merchant in this country employs his capital in carrying merchandize backwards and forwards between two foreign countries, the public here derive the following advantages from it. 1. Though he makes his money abroad, yet he spends it here; as he increases in wealth, therefore, he adds proportionally to the wealth of the state where he resides, without any drawback whatever on the part of the state. 2. All those citizens, whom he employs in the management of his affairs at home or abroad, he supports out of the profits of his trade. He, therefore, so far increases the population of the society, by furnishing these citizens with the means of earning a living, without the least expense whatever to the state. This is evident, because if he saw fit, he might remove to some other country and employ others in their room; in which case, those citizens who are now employed. by him, would be obliged to derive it from some other source either at home or abroad. If at home, they would be obliged to come into competition with others. If abroad, the population would be diminished by their number. Merchants so circumstanced, it is obvious, deserve every countenance and encouragement to reside in the state. Because, their prosperity or adversity, to a certain degree, affects that of the state; and they bear part of its burdens, but add nothing to them.

CONCLUSION: On the Future Prospects of the United States.

Perhaps no country can, with more propriety, be said to have its destiny in its own power, than the United States. Having a local situation, remote from all nations, which are sufficiently powerful to endanger its independence; a population already sufficiently numerous for a great empire, yet rapidly increasing and spreading over its extensive territory; a climate, temperate and generally salubrious; a soil, fertile, and abundant in variety and production; a people, bold, enterprising and intent upon their interests; a frame of government, in which the choice of rulers depends on popular suffrages, and mild and indulgent; containing within itself a power to reform and amend, without any necessity of resorting to primary assemblies; which imposes few or no restraints, merely arbitrary, or which are grounded on policy alone; and consequently secures to its citizens the enjoyment of liberty to its utmost rational extent; under such circumstances, it would seem impossible that the United States should ever fall from their elevated rank among nations, into a state of weakness and contempt, unless they should occasion their own. decline, by the imprudence or rashness of their national policy, or should bring upon themselves ruin and destruction, as a judgment from heaven.

The advantage which a free elective government has over others, presupposes, in the majority of the electors, sufficient discernment to compare the characters and capacities of candidates for office, and requires, that in making a selection, they should be actuated by proper motives. If the former is wanting, there can be no certainty that they will elect the best candidate; if the people vote under unsuitable influence, it is almost certain that a bad choice will be the result.

Among the motives which frequently govern the popular choice, perhaps there is none worse than the influence of party. For, it is characteristic of this influence, as sometimes exhibited both in elections by the people, and appointments by rulers, that it does not seek either for a man of talents, and integrity, great acquirements, or industry, or well acquainted with the duties of the office. Such qualifications without more, though amply sufficient for the purposes of the public, are no qualifications at all in a party view. For, here the only necessary qualifications are, that the character of the candidate should not be so bad, nor his incapacity so flagrant, as to disgrace his party; but he must be the right kind of man to serve the turn of the party, and in case of appointments through party influence, he must either have rendered party services, or be recommended by some one who has, Sec.

The country of a partisan, to which he considers himself as owing the duty of patriotism, will be found, on examination, to mean nothing more than the party to which he belongs. It is this false god, that, in political affairs, governs his conscience, and constitutes his standard of right and wrong. The mental subjection of the followers of party, is therefore most miserable. For, until they know what their leaders think, they must not venture to form an opinion for themselves, for fear they may afterwards be obliged to recant it. Their ruling principle therefore is, neither truth, justice, or the interests of the country, but it is, To Be True To The Party.

And by what motives does party induce the citizens thus to follow her through right and wrong indiscriminately? The leaders are actuated by the hopes of personal distinction, or other advantage; the partisans are governed chiefly by the gregarious principle, though the personal influence of those leaders, exerted in numberless ways, must not be omitted. But, it may be asked, may not the citizens unite together for the purpose of attaining some object of general utility, without being obnoxious to the charge of forming a party or faction? Undoubtedly they may do so; for their acts are then for the good of the country; and not for the advancement of party purposes; and therefore in such a case there is no necessity for party names or distinctions.

In many instances, parties have originated with ambitious individuals, who, conscious of a want of desert for the distinctions at which they aim, have resorted to cabals and intrigues to induce persons who were not well informed, to join themselves to them as his followers. One of the earliest factions on record, is that of Abimelech. See Judges, Ch. ix. The direful effects of factions and parties in Rome, Carthage, Jerusalem, &tc. in ancient times, and in Italy, France, England and Ireland, &c. from the middle ages down to the present day, warrant the opinion, that as they are almost inseparable from governments under which any portion of liberty is enjoyed, and are violent in proportion to that liberty, so they are one of the greatest evils that can infest society.

As soon as any combination of persons become a permanent body, begin to act separately from “the rest of society, assume a peculiar designation, are organized with officers, and under the guidance of leaders, they are factious, and are dangerous to the public tranquility according to the proportion which their numbers bear to all the rest of society. It is true, so long as there is nothing more to excite them, than the usual contests at elections, they may do no great harm; but, experience shows, that whenever anything uncommon occurs, to rouse their passions, there is no act of violence or excess, to which they may not be incited. And whenever the country shall be so completely divided into factions, that every one shall find himself compelled to side with one or another, in order to escape incivility, the moral sentiments of society will, be proportionally degraded and debased. Should its violence ever rise to a great height, the only safety for the peaceful citizens will be to stand by the constitution and laws, and take care that they are not violated, under a pretense of reforming abuses.

What palliative can be found for this evil? Take away from the president the sole power of removing, appointing or even nominating public officers, any further than it is expressly bestowed in the constitution. Disqualify members of congress for all other public offices, during the term for which they are elected, not merely during their term of office. Suffer no removals from one public office to another.

These regulations would diminish in some measure the prize of ambition, would take away some of the subject matter of promises, intrigue and corruption, and consequently would cool the patriotism of the leaders of factions, and perhaps hush that eloquence, which so much attracts the less informed part of the people.

So long as the different parties are completely intermingled with each other throughout the country, there will be but little danger of public commotions from factions, however unfavorably the peace and tranquility of private intercourse may be affected by angry discord; but, as soon as the parties come to be defined by the limits of states and territories, there will be immediate danger of public disturbances. The minority, out of power, in any such case, will always be apt to consider the public measures of the majority, in power, as tyrannical and oppressive, and contrary to law and the constitution; and when things have come to this pass, there never will be wanting demagogues to excite sedition, insurrection, and civil war, and dupes and disorderly persons, to follow such leaders in their career of violence and wickedness, from a hope of obtaining that distinction, in times of public disturbance, which they are conscious will otherwise be unattainable.

It is the duty, therefore, of every conscientious citizen, and the interest of every peaceable one, to discountenance, as much as possible, all party distinctions and divisions generally; but especially, to prevent their becoming sectional. It is for this reason, the majority in congress, when not urged by some paramount obligation of justice, should be extremely cautious of exercising any power, of the constitutionality of which there exists a doubt, from mere considerations of general expediency, when the minority consists of one or more states, the citizens of which may consider themselves injured by it. For, if such a case should ever occur, there is hardly an argument, that was formerly urged against the oppression of the British government before the revolution, which state patriots will not revive, and apply, whether right or wrong, to excite the people of their states to resist the general government. The people also would do well, to thrust back into private life those office seekers, who personally, or by the agency of political partisans, under patriotic pretenses, obtrude themselves upon the citizens, and seek their suffrages at elections, but who care not what evils they bring upon their country, so that they obtain their own ends. But though, agreeably to the theory of the admirable constitution under which we live, every fault in legislation, and every deficiency in itself, may be easily corrected or amended, without disturbing the public tranquility; yet, in practice a degree of intelligence is required in the people, to perceive the necessity of such, amendments and corrections, and agree in the choice of legislators who will make them, that history and observation teach us, is too much to expect of a numerous population. This defect, therefore, where it exists, will probably be found incurable; because the want of intelligence and discernment is not obviated by the mere exercise of the will. For, it is not infrequent to find that individuals, of contracted minds and small information, take an envious satisfaction in opposing the measures of persons, whom they know to possess more discernment.

It is on persons of such a character, as well as the ignorant and imbecile generally, that designing men operate, by flattering their prejudices, tantalizing their envy, and exciting their suspicions; and by such arts become popular with them. If the time should ever come, therefore, when the majority of the people shall be of this class, and be under such guidance, how will it be possible, that any fault in its legislation, or defect in its frame of government should be remedied, when the very defect itself, will furnish food for the ambition of the leaders of the majority and the means of rewarding their followers? For, that no such defect will ever be corrected or amended, where those, who have the power, consider it inconsistent with their interests to do it, requires no proof. Let us turn our eyes abroad. The British empire has been for many years laboring under the pressure of a number of great political evils and embarrassments. Yet, instead of removing the true causes of those evils, they have been endeavoring to procure a reform of certain minor abuses and corruptions, which, if removed, will improve the condition of the country in a small degree only. Yet this inconsiderable reform has been most strenuously urged and opposed, and great eloquence and oratory has been exhibited on both sides.

But measures, the policy of which is obvious to every intelligent person, and which would remedy many of the evils under which that mighty empire languishes, are hardly mentioned. To pay the national debt of Great Britain; abolish tythes; enable the industrious to earn a living by moderate labor; to improve the pauper system, by employing the poor in such a manner as to support themselves; to reform the cruel criminal code, and at the same lime render it unnecessary; to convert the vicious population of the larger cities into honest and industrious citizens, by furnishing them with sufficient employment; measures which would naturally assist each other and contribute to the same end, one would suppose to be such that in comparison with either of them, a reform in parliament, would amount to nothing at all. Yet, if the parliament were willing that these measures should be adopted, it is believed these objects might all be effected within a moderate number of years. Tythes might be gradually and completely abolished in one generation, by passing a law to discontinue them at the death of the present clerk of each parish respectively. The evils arising from an unequal distribution of property, would be gradually diminished by enabling all children to inherit equally. The application of a just principle, but which perhaps is not thought of, would immediately put the British National Debt in a state of liquidation; to the great relief of the nation’s taxes, yet without defrauding the public creditor of one farthing of his due, &c. But, if measures like these, should be repugnant to the feelings, or considered inconsistent with the interests of men in power, it would be vain to expect they wotdd be adopted, though they would cause the British nation to be one of the happiest as well as most powerful on earth, and would render the reign of William IV, the most glorious since the conquest.

The case in this country is analogous. The people will never be able to get back power or influence from the hands of their rulers, if once intrusted with it. For, abuses, corruptions, &c. always tend to continue themselves until they destroy their subject, and then all perish together. For instance, suppose the people should think the president’s official patronage conferred on him by the laws of the United States, too great and of a pernicious tendency, how can they take it away? By law? The president may not consent, and the direct or indirect influence of that very patronage, may very possibly prevent the passage of the law by a majority of two thirds. This demonstrates the propriety of rendering all members of congress, incapable of any other office during the term for which they are elected, which would render them entirely free from the slightest bias. But will the people ever be able to induce the members of congress, to consent to make this alteration? On the contrary, though the expediency of it is evident to every person’ of ordinary information, the people will1 sooner be persuaded by their representatives, that such alteration would be bad policy. For similar reasons, h is hardly to be expected, that any president will ever consent that his power of removal from certain offices, should be taken away from him; of, that the people should ever be able to choose legislators, the majority of whom will be sufficient to effect that measure. For, office seekers, who, indirectly or directly, manage so as to control the voice of the people of their party, would lose all motive to elect or to remove any president, if the office of president should lose the power of removing officers; because1 a new president would have no offices to distribute among his’ supporters.

If, therefore, the people would wish to be liberated from indirect thraldom of this kind, by which they so often find themselves hampered and shackled, without knowing how it happens, or in what it consists, they must throw off the livery of party, and not suffer office seekers or office holders, to influence their conduct; and, if ever an opportunity presents to reclaim those powers, take care for the future to grant no more such.

An unfortunate circumstance, attending all popular governments where the people choose their own rulers, is, that the choice is frequently grounded on no other merit or qualification, than an acceptable manner of haranguing the populace. It is very singular that volubility, fluency, and loquacity, which, with men of observation, are considered a proof of any thing but wisdom or ability, should be the only criterion of those qualifications, which the people have. In consequence of this wrong estimate, these accomplishments are made too much the objects of ambition, and any further knowledge and acquirements than may be used in flights of oratory, are considered superfluous. Those persons, however, who expend so much time in learning to speak well, must evidently do it at the expense of more valuable acquisitions. And what would be the consequence if all members of the general legislature, were great orators? 1. The sessions of congress would be very much prolonged, because every member must have an opportunity of making one or more, vainglorious speeches. 2. Business would consequently be delayed; yet finally be hurried through, or else left half done and postponed to the next session. 3. Emulation, degrading strife, and angry and indecent contention would unnecessarily consume a great part of the time, which should be devoted to the public service. 4. Though many long speeches would be made, about a subject, yet there would be very little discussion, because declamation is altogether unfavorable to rational investigation. No one, therefore,would ever be convinced by, or be the wiser for tiresome harangues; on the contrary, as the speeches were longer, the impressions would grow fainter and less distinct. For, it is found that the excitement occasioned by the most impassioned eloquence, lasts but a short time, and, when it has once begun to subside into languor and apathy, cannot be renewed by a mere fountain of lofty words, even though inexhaustible and though animated by the most spirited action, and uttered in a loud voice and with energetic gestures. The characteristics of eloquence itself seem to be very much changed from what they formerly were. It no longer consists of just arguments forcibly expressed, but of pointless descant, dealt out without any other limits than such as nature has set to the continuance of all bodily exertion; for, though the time of congress ought not to be valued at less than $200 or $300 per hour, yet those, who wish to be considered as eminent speakers, seldom declaim less than three or four hours; though probably there never was a speech more than half an hour long, that would not be improved by reducing it within that compass. What an ungrateful advantage then does a declaimer at irregular assemblies of the people, take of the patient admiration of his followers, when he keeps them in a state of petrifaction for a whole evening, with polished periods and rhetorical flourishes, pronounced with dignified self-complacency!

There is another mistake, that is sometimes made by the people. They are afraid to elect to office a man of superior abilities for fear he should not be honest; and prefer to him some person of correct character as far as the public knows, but of very moderate capacity, on the supposition that he will be more likely to be honest than the other, and, at any rate, will not be able to do much mischief. Experience shows, that such suppositions are frequently very incorrect. The ruling passion of men of great abilities, is ambition; that of men of small abilities who are conscious of it, is either envy or avarice. The sense of character of the former, will therefore preserve them honest, unless this quality should be in the way of their advancement. But honesty is necessarily at continual war with avarice. There is, therefore, great odds, that men of moderate abilities will sooner be dishonest, than those of great talents. For one Lord Bacon, there have been thousands of persons of moderate abilities, who have been corrupted, or, would have been, if they had been thought of sufficient consequence. It is true, that men of small abilities can do no great harm directly, and can do no great good, at all, unless, by accident; but, they may by their vote, prevent a great deal of good, and thus indirectly do much mischief. But, such persons are always a dead weight upon the public councils. If ignorant, every thing must be explained to them; if conceited, slow of apprehension, uncomplying and obstinate; nothing must be done without their seeing, knowing, attempting to understand, and expressing an insipid opinion upon it, whether they understand it or not. When envious of superior abilities in another, as is frequently the case, their sole aim is to create difficulties, in order to make themselves of consequence. In order to obtain a character for discernment, and because conscious of their ignorance and imbecility, they are full of suspicion and mistrust; and, from want of knowledge, often halt most miserably, between the extremes of credulity and incredulity; sometimes believing falsehood and ridiculous absurdities, and frequently disbelieving probability, truth, and even demonstration itself, because they cannot understand it. Their whole ability may be reduced to one single measure. They find out what others are desirous to effect, and oppose it for that reason. When they practice deceit, they use direct falsehood, and, in this way, they often succeed with persons, whom they never could have overreached by subtilty. Such is the man of moderate abilities and noiseless character, that sometimes creeps into office instead of a man of talents and experience; and, if he has an occasion, will sacrifice not his country only, but even his party, to gain his own ends.

It was remarked, that the United States seem to have their destiny in their own hands. If they would become a great nation, they must continue united. If they should separate, their importance would immediately vanish; and their jealousies and dissensions with each other, if they did not break out into border wars and predatory incursions, would render each of them comparatively weak, and little regarded with other nations; and would cause them to be less willing to assist each, and at the same time less able to stand alone. The necessity and advantage of union, will however never be able to preserve it, if injustice is practiced by the United States upon one or more of the individual states, or, what will, in the result, amount to the same thing, if the influential men in any state, with whatever views, can persuade the people of their state, that such is the case; and, it is apprehended also, that if the leading men of any state should feel satisfied, that, by seceding from the Union, they will be able to gain distinction and power among their own citizens, in consequence of supposed advantages resulting to their state from such measures, a patriotic pretext will never be wanting for that purpose.

The states are advancing so rapidly in population, wealth and power, that there is great danger that the common bond of union, the constitution of the United States, though sufficient, when the country was less flourishing, and there was more danger from foreign powers, than at present, will be found too weak to hold the states together much longer. The wise citizens, therefore, and those who have a regard for the true interests of the country, at the same time that they support the constitution, and endeavor to give it additional strength by amendments, will be very cautious of giving cause of disaffection, by attempting to increase its power by doubtful constructions. But, there is good reason to believe, that there is a faction already formed within the United States, whose aim is to separate themselves from the Union; and, if they can bring the people of the state to which they belong, to believe that the constitution is violated} and that they have a right to resist, their object so far will be obtained. To strain the powers of the constitution by a doubtful construction, is to do half of their work for them. It is true, if such is their object, they will unquestionably persist in it, though every possible cause of jealousy should be removed, and every thing that they ask, should be conceded; because any pretext, however groundless In reality, if sufficient to persuade the people of their state, will answer their purpose. Still, if, by avoiding every act that can furnish occasion for complaint, the wiser citizens among them can be induced to see, that there is no just cause for it whatever, it is hoped, they will have sufficient influence over the rest, to counterbalance that of unprincipled and designing demagogues. In this way the evil day will be postponed, and such persons will be left without any excuse or extenuation for their conduct.

Before taking leave of his readers, the author will submit one further consideration, which, though it would come with far better grace from a teacher of religion, he hopes will not be considered improper in one who is a firm believer in Christianity; since it is addressed to those only, who make the same profession.

It is remarked in substance by Bishop Atterbury, that one of the reasons of God’s interposing so remarkably in the sudden depression or advancing of kingdoms and states, is because this conduces to the manifestation of his political justice, towards public bodies and communities of men; and which is very different from that, by which he punishes the sins or rewards the virtues of private persons. The justice of his dealing with particular men may be manifested here or hereafter, as he thinks fit; for their duration is eternal, and should their successful crimes or unmerited afflictions be winked at in this world, it suffices if such irregularities are set right in another. But, as to the societies, and combinations of men, the justice of his administration towards them, must be manifested either in this world, or not at all.

If, therefore, borrowing the hint from this excellent divine, we contemplate the fall of the ancient empires, which once flourished in the highest state of splendor and magnificence, but are now almost forgotten, in connexion with the reasons assigned by the inspired writers for their destruction, and keep in mind the immutability of the divine nature, it will furnish no irrational or unphilosophical ground, to conjecture the fate of any nation, which shall transgress in a similar manner.

It is the opinion of many very worthy and conscientious persons, that, from the first settlement of this country, the Indians have had great cause of complaint against the white inhabitants; and, if there does not appear in the history of early times any particular instances of ill treatment, fraud, injustice, or imposition upon them, it is ascribed to the partiality of the historian, or his ignorance of the real causes of Indian aggressions, which, on account of the omission of their causes, sometimes appear to be wholly unprovoked and most barbarous. But, in later times, we cannot so easily shut our eyes to the light. For there is an internal evidence in certain transactions, which he must be a very inattentive observer, who cannot perceive. The United States have purchased or extinguished the Indian title to 200 millions of acres of land, for less than four millions of dollars. The lowest price which the United States demand for these lands, at the rate of $ 1,25 per acre, is 250 millions of dollars. The Indian nations are in a state of pupillage, or under guardianship to the United States, a relation which is regarded with so much suspicion by a Court of Equity, that it sets aside all purchases made by a guardian of his ward, because of the temptation the former is under, to take an unfair advantage of the latter. These treaties, however, though so advantageous to the United States, the Indians complain have not always been so scrupulously observed, on the part of the white inhabitants, as they ought to have been. Previous to the independence of the United States, the intrusions upon the Indian lands by new settlers of the most lawless character, was a frequent subject of complaint by the Indians from the year 1768 at least, when the six nations remonstrated to the commissioners of Pennsylvania, that, it would be time enough to settle their lands, when they had purchased them, &c: and, afterwards, when the Delawares and other tribes thus pathetically, but fruitlessly remonstrated with the Governor of Pennsylvania, ‘ We want to live in friendship with you: you have always told us you have laws to govern your people by; but we do not see that you have: we find your people very fond of our rich land; we do not know how soon they may come over the river Ohio and drive us from our villages; nor do we see you, brothers, take any care to stop them.’ What the conduct of the settlers was, is clearly shown by the report of the commissioners for trade and plantations, in which they remark, ‘ if the settlers are suffered to continue in the lawless state of anarchy and confusion, they will commit such abuses as cannot fail of involving us in quarrels and disputes with the Indians,’ he. There is reason to suspect, that in all the Indian wars which have taken place, from the confederacy under King Philip to the war with Black Hawk, which is just concluded, the first provocation consisted in some act of injustice, fraud, imposition or violence, perpetrated by some of the white inhabitants. But the truth will never be come at, by hearing one side only.

About the year 1771, the white settlers infringed the Indian boundary and killed several Indians, and encroached on the lands on the opposite side of the Ohio. The intruders could never be effectually removed. Governor Gage twice sent parties of soldiers to remove them from Redstone Creek, but in vain. That Indian wars should arise in this way, is not to be wondered at. But, when they do arise, it would be much more humane to send commissioners to the Indians, to demand their grievances, make them reparation and punish all who molested them, rather than to march troops against them to destroy them, right or wrong. It would also be more magnanimous in a nation containing twelve millions of people, against a few thousands, the remnant left by the evils brought on them by the whites, ardent spirits, and the small pox; to say nothing of the slaughter of them, which is frequently made a subject of boast, without much reason.

Some of the Indian tribes make grievous complaints, that their treaties are violated. Are not the bargains made with them advantageous enough, without resorting to such measures as these? They have appealed to the government of the United States,—they have appealed to the people of the United States, for redress. Shall it be in vain? Let no presumptuous confidence in the consciousness of superior power, and their comparative weakness, dictate the answer. The Amalekites, who were the first of nations, were sentenced to be utterly put out under heaven, because they attacked the Israelites when on their march, faint and weary, and slew those who were in the rear, and’ feared not God.’ Exo. ch. xvii. v. 14. Deut. ch. xxv. v. 18. If any one should answer, that the Israelites were under the immediate protection of the Deity; the reply is, that Babylon, the wonder of the world for its magnificence, was brought to utter ruin for the pride and arrogance of the people and rulers, and the oppressions which they practiced on other nations.

What was the cause of the judgments denounced against Damascus? It was, among other things, because they had threshed Gilead with threshing instruments; which is supposed by interpreters to mean, that they had greatly oppressed the Hebrews on the east of Jordan.

What was the cause of the judgment against Tyre? Was it not for cruel treatment of the Hebrews, and ‘ because they remembered not the brotherly covenant?’

What was the cause of the judgment against Edom? Was it not pitiless cruelty and unceasing revenge and hatred of the Jews?

When Saul slaughtered the Gibeonites in violation of the treaty, made with them in the time of Joshua, he committed an act highly offensive to the Supreme Being, which was followed many years afterwards, in the time of David, by the infliction of a famine for three successive years, until atonement was made. When David sinned in numbering the Israelites, there was a pestilence sent on the people from Dan to Beersheba, and seventy thousand of them died. These instances are deserving attention, because in them, it appears, the people were afflicted for the wickedness of their rulers, though they had no control over them whatever. As respects the people, therefore, in these instances, the infliction must be considered as merely natural evil, though brought on by the crimes of their rulers. But, if the people choose their own rulers, and thus sanction their measures with their approbation or tacit acquiescence, if those measures are unjust, wicked and oppressive, with how much less reason can they hope to escape, under the pretense that those measures are the acts of the government, and not the acts of the people. For, that those, who adopt the unjust act of another and screen him from punishment, are made answerable for his sins, is apparent from the narration of the Levite’s wrong mentioned in Judges, ch. xx., where it appears, that when the Israelites demanded, that the perpetrators should be delivered up, but the Benjaminites would not suffer them to he punished and took up arms to oppose the Israelites, the whole tribe was exterminated with the exception of six hundred only.

In these general visitations it must be an unwarrantable presumption to hope to escape, from a mere supposition that innocence will be a protection; since this would be to expect a miracle to take place. It is therefore made the temporal interest of every one, to endeavor to prevent injustice from being committed by his rulers; since he may suffer the infliction of natural evil, if he is entirely free from participating in the unjust act, for which the nation is punished.

If the United States therefore should commit acts of injustice and oppression upon the Indians, upon what ground can they hope to escape a visitation for it? If the rulers oppress them, or suffer any of their agents or any of the people under their government, to do so, it is national sin, and, if visited by some national calamity, what individual has a right to expect that a miracle shall be wrought to save him from it? He may be innocent or he may not be so; but when the pestilence comes, or the earthquake, or tempests, or floods, or famine, or foreign war, or civil commotions, sent as judgments upon the whole people for national transgressions, he must bear his lot, whatever it may be. For, there is no pretense, that those upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, were worse than others.* *

It is a sufficient refutation of the fatal error of those persons, who suppose they may commit wickedness with impunity in this world, by using proper precautions, and so avoiding those direct, probable, and natural consequences, which they foolishly believe are the only punishments to be expected for their flagitiousness, that those immediate consequences are rather to be considered as warnings to desist from offending, than the punishments of offenses. If these consequences are avoided, and the warning is not taken, and the offender hardens himself in the confidence of impunity, the result will infallibly show, in the language of revelation, that ‘ God is not mocked;’ and the offender will find in the result, that though for a time, he goes on in a course of unrivaled prosperity, and, from all appearances, might seem to be favored above others, yet in reality he is but adding wrath to wrath, until his iniquity is filled to the full; when he will find destruction come suddenly upon him from a quarter, whence it was least expected. Such was the fall of Hainan, and the Amalekites with him.* * *

Is it not then worth while for the people of the United States to examine, whether they have always acted justly, mercifully and humanely towards the Indian tribes; or, whether they have not directly or indirectly, by their agents, or, by not restraining lawless intruders, or, by not observing the Indian treaties, grievously oppressed them? Are the honest and worthy citizens of the United States, willing to run the risk of suffering some infliction of the divine displeasure. rather than that such violators of the public peace, should be controlled or punished?

It is true, that, while the Indians remain not wholly driven out or exterminated, it is possible, that no severe requital may be made; because, a season for a change of conduct, may perhaps be mercifully allowed. But, after the Indians are dispersed or annihilated, and there is no longer any opportunity remaining to do them justice or to make reparation for their wrongs, it is then, in the false security of worldly prosperity, that there will be most reason to dread a day of evil visitation.* *

Are there not sources enough, from whence such an evil may come, notwithstanding the present apparent prosperity of the United States, without the necessity of going out of he ordinary course of nature? This nation introduced ardent spirits and perhaps the small pox too, among the Indians. Have they not suffered by intemperance and pestilence, themselves? Is it not possible, that the same disposition, that can countenance a violation of Indian treaties, may lead to a violation of the constitution, and that the consequences of the latter may be a most awful infliction and retaliation for the former?

What then does prudence, as well as, religion, justice and humanity dictate with regard to the treatment of the Indians. Fence off the Indian territories with a wall of iron against lawless intruders. Send missionaries among them, men, who, as experience shows, may be depended on, in whatever they undertake, to instruct, and with power to protect them. If hostilities arise, instead of marching an armed force to massacre them, send commissioners with power to hear their complaints, redress their wrongs and relieve their necessities. This is all that is asked, and it will cost the United States nothing in comparison with the profit, derived from the purchases already made of the Indian territories. But, until this is done, it does not look well to speak of Russia and Poland; nor, it is believed, will a national fast be of any avail to avert any infliction, if it should be a punishment for injustice, so long as the injustice is continued.

Let not then the appeal of the Indians to the citizens of the United States be made in vain, lest they be compelled to appeal to a tribunal, from which it is believed they will not be sent away unredressed; but whatever shape it may appear in, whether war, pestilence, famine, civil commotions, or insurrection, the injured sooner or later will be avenged, and the justice of heaven vindicated.

FINIS.

See the other parts of this series:
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; Division One
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; Division Two
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; The Social Compact
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Powers delegated to the General Government in the Federal Constitution
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Powers delegated to the State Governments
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Independence of the States
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The rights reserved to the people of the United States
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Of the right of suffrage and of elections
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Liberty of Speech and of the Press
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Power of Courts to punish for Contempts
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Law of Libel in relation to Public Officers
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Rights of Juries
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Rights of Witnesses
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Of the mode of obtaining redress for any infringement of civil or political rights, committed either by the officers of the General Government, or of any of the State Governments.
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to agriculture
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to manufactures
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The policy which ought to be pursued by the federal government in relation to commerce

RISE OF CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY by Dr. Richard Salter Storrs July 4 1876

RS StorrRise Of Constitutional Liberty An Oration Delivered By The Rev. Dr. R. S. Storrs, At The Academy Of Music, New York, July 4, 1876.

Mr. President—Fellow-citizen : The long-expected day has come, and passing peacefully the impalpable line which separates ages, the Republic completes its hundredth year. The predictions in which affectionate hope gave inspiration to political prudence are fulfilled. The fears of the timid, and the hopes of those to whom our national existence is a menace, are alike disappointed. The fable of the physical world becomes the fact of the political; and after alternate sunshine and storm, after heavings of the earth which only deepened its roots, and ineffectual blasts of lightning whose lurid threat died in the air, under a sky now raining on it benignant influence, the century-plant of American Independence and popular government bursts into this magnificent blossom of a joyful celebration illuminating the land!

With what desiring though doubtful expectation those whose action we commemorate looked for the possible coming of this day, we know from the records which they have left. With what anxious solicitude the statesmen and the soldiers of the following generation anticipated the changes which might take place before this Centennial year should be reached, we have heard ourselves, in their great and fervent admonitory words. How dim and drear the prospect seemed to our own hearts fifteen years since, when, on the fourth of July 1861, the XXXVIIth Congress met at Washington with no representative in either House from any State south of Tennessee and Western Virginia, and when a determined and numerous army, under skillful commanders, approached and menaced the capital and the government—this we surely have not forgotten; nor how, in the terrible years which followed, the blood and fire, and vapor of smoke, seemed oftentimes to swim as a sea, or to rise as a wall, between our eyes and this anniversary.

“It cannot outlast the second generation from those who founded it,” was the exulting conviction of the many who loved the traditions and state of monarchy, and who felt them insecure before the widening fame in the world of our prosperous Republic. “It may not reach its hundredth year,” was the deep and sometimes the sharp apprehension of those who felt, as all of us felt, that their own liberty, welfare, hope, with the brightest political promise of the world, were bound up with the unity and the life of our nation. Never was solicitude more intense, never was prayer to Almighty God more fervent and constant— not in the earliest beginnings of our history, when Indian ferocity threatened that history with a swift termination, not in the days of supremest trial amid the Revolution—than in those years when the nation seemed suddenly split asunder, and forces which had been combined for its creation were clenched and rocking back and forth in bloody grapple on the question of its maintenance.

The prayer was heard. The effort and the sacrifice have come to their fruitage; and to-day the nation—still one, as at the start, though now expanded over such immense spaces, absorbing such incessant and diverse elements from other lands, developing within it opinions so conflicting, interests so various, and forms of occupation so novel and manifold—to-day the nation, emerging from the toil and the turbulent strife, with the earlier and the later clouds alike swept out of its resplendent stellar arch, pauses from its work to remember and rejoice; with exhilarated spirit to anticipate its future; with reverent heart to offer to God its great Te Deum.(1)

Not here alone, in this great city, whose lines have gone out into all the earth, and whose superb progress in wealth, in culture, and in civic renown, is itself the most illustrious token of the power and beneficence of that frame of government under which it has been realized; not alone in yonder, I had almost said adjoining, city, whence issued the paper that first announced our national existence, and where now rises the magnificent Exposition, testifying for all progressive States to their respect and kindness toward us, the radiant clasp of diamond and opal on the girdle of the sympathies which interweave their peoples with ours; not alone in Boston, the historic town, first in resistance to British aggression, and foremost in plans for the new and popular organization, one of whose citizens wrote his name, as if cutting it with a plowshare, at the head of all on our great charter, another of whose citizens was its intrepid and powerful champion, aiding its passage through the Congress; not there alone, nor yet in other great cities of the land, but in smaller towns, in villages and hamlets, this day will be kept, a secular Sabbath, sacred alike to memory and to hope.

Not only, indeed, where men are assembled, as we are here, will it be honored. The lonely and remote will have their part in this commemoration. Where the boatman follows the winding stream, or the woodman explores the forest shades; where the miner lays down his eager drill beside rocks which guard the precious veins; or where the herdsman, along the sierras, looks forth on the seas which now reflect the rising day, which at our midnight shall be gleaming like gold in the setting sun —there also will the day be regarded, as— a day of memorial. The sailor on the sea will note it, and dress his ship in its brightest array of flags and bunting. Americans dwelling in foreign lands will note and keep it.

London itself will today be more festive because of the event which a century ago shadowed its streets, incensed its Parliament, and tore from the crown of its obstinate King the chiefest jewel. On the boulevards of Paris, in the streets of Berlin, and along the leveled bastions of Vienna, at Marseilles and at Florence, upon the silent liquid ways of stately Venice, in the passes of the Alps, under the shadow of church and obelisk, palace and ruin, which still prolong the majesty of Rome; yea, further East, on the Bosphorus, and in Syria; in Egypt, which writes on the front of its compartment in the great Exhibition, “The oldest people of the world sends its morning-greeting to the youngest nation;” along the heights behind Bombay, in the foreign hongs of Canton,(2) in the “Islands of the Morning,” which found the dawn of their new age in the startling sight of an American squadron entering their bays—everywhere will be those who have thought of this day, and who join with us to greet its coming.

No other such anniversary, probably has attracted hitherto such general notice. You have seen Rome, perhaps, on one of those shining April days when the traditional anniversary of the founding of the city fills its streets with civic processions, with military display, and the most elaborate fire-works in Europe; you may have seen Holland, in 1782, when the whole country bloomed with orange on the three-hundredth anniversary of the capture by the sea-beggars of the city of Briel, and of the revolt against Spanish domination which thereupon flashed on different sides into sudden explosion. But these celebrations, and others like them, have been chiefly local. The world outside has taken no wide impression from them. This of ours is the first of which many lands, in different tongues, will have had report. Partly because the world is narrowed in our time, and its distant peoples are made neighbors, by the fleeter machineries now in use; partly because we have drawn so many to our population from foreign lands, while the restless and acquisitive spirit of our people has made them at home on every shore; but partly, also, and essentially, because of the nature and the relations of that event which we commemorate, and of the influence exerted by it on subsequent history, the attention of men is more or less challenged, in every centre of commerce and of thought, by this anniversary. Indeed it is not unnatural to feel—certainly it is not irreverent to feel—that they who by wisdom, by valor, and by sacrifice, have contributed to perfect and maintain the institutions which we possess, and have added by death as well as by life to the luster of our history, must also have an interest in this day; that in their timeless habitations they remember us beneath the lower circle of the heavens, are glad in our joy and share and lead our grateful praise. To a spirit alive with the memories of the time, and rejoicing in its presage of nobler futures, recalling the great, the beloved, the heroic, who have labored and joyfully died for its coming, it will not seem too fond an enthusiasm to feel that the air is quick with shapes we cannot see, and glows with faces whose light serene we may not catch! They who counseled in the Cabinet, they who defined and settled the law in decisions of the Bench, they who pleaded with mighty eloquence in the Senate, they who poured out their souls in triumphant effusion for the liberty which they loved in forum or pulpit, they who gave their young and glorious life as an offering on the field, that government for the people, and by the people, might not perish from the earth—it cannot be but that they too have part and place in this Jubilee of our history! God make our doings not unworthy of such spectators! and make our spirit sympathetic with theirs from whom all selfish passion and pride have now forever passed away!

The interest which is felt so distinctly and widely in this anniversary reflects a light on the greatness of the action which it commemorates. It shows that we do not unduly exaggerate the significance or the importance of that; that it had really large, even world-wide relations, and contributed an effective and a valuable force to the furtherance of the cause of freedom, education, humane institutions, and popular advancement, wherever its influence has been felt.

Yet when we consider the action itself, it may easily seem but slight in its nature, as it was certainly commonplace in its circumstances. There was nothing even picturesque in its surroundings, to enlist for it the pencil of the painter, or help to fix any luminous image of that which was done on the popular memory.

In this respect it is singularly contrasted with other great and kindred events in general history; with those heroic and fruitful actions in English history which had especially prepared the way for it, and with which the thoughtful student of the past will always set it in intimate relations. Its utter simplicity, as compared with their splendor, becomes impressive.

When, five centuries and a half before, on the fifteenth of June, and the following days, in the year of our Lord 1215, the English barons met King John in the long meadow of Runnemede, and forced from him the Magna Charta—the strong foundation and steadfast bulwark of English liberty, concerning which Mr. Hallam has said in our time that “all which has been since obtained is little more than as confirmation or commentary,”—no circumstance was wanting, of outward pageantry, to give dignity, brilliance, impressiveness, to the scene. On tho one side was the King, with the Bishops and nobles who attended him, with the Master of the Templars, and the Papal legate before whom he had lately rendered his homage.(3) On the other side was the great and determined majority of the barons of England, with multitudes of knights, armed vassals, and retainers, (4) With them in purpose, and in resolute zeal, were most of those who attended the King. Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the English clergy, was with them; the Bishops of London, Winchester, Lincoln, Rochester, and of other great sees. The Earl of Pembroke, dauntless and wise, of vast and increasing power in the realm, and not long after to be its Protector, was really at their head. Robert Fitz-Walter, whose fair daughter Matilda the profligate king had forcibly abducted, was Marshal of the army—the “Army of God, and the Holy Church.” William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury, half-brother of the King, was on the field; the Earls of Albemarle, Arundel, Gloucester, Hereford, Norfolk. Oxford, the great Earl Warenne, who claimed the same right of the sword in his barony which William the Conqueror had had in the kingdom, the Constable of Scotland, Hubert de Burgh, seneschal of Poictou, and many other powerful nobles—descendants of the daring soldiers whose martial valor had mastered England, Crusaders who had followed Richard at Ascalon and at Jaffa, whose own liberties had since been in mortal peril. Some burgesses of London were present, as well; troubadours, minstrels, and heralds were not wanting; and doubtless there mingled with the throng those skillful clerks whose pens had drawn the great instrument of freedom, and whose training in language had given a remarkable precision to its exact clauses and cogent terms.

Pennons and banners streamed at large, and spearheads gleamed, above the host. The June sunshine flashed reflected from inland shield and muscled armor. The terrible quivers of English yeomen hung on their shoulders. The voice of trumpets, and clamoring bugles, was in the air. The whole scene was vast as a battle, though bright as a tournament; splendid, but threatening, like burnished clouds, in which lightnings sleep. The king, one of the handsomest men of the time, though cruelty, perfidy, and every foul passion must have left their traces on his face, was especially fond of magnificence in dress; wearing we are told, on one Christmas occasion, a rich mantle of red satin, embroidered with sapphires and pearls, a tunic of white damask, a girdle lustrous with precious stones, and a baldric from his shoulder, crossing his breast, set with diamonds and emeralds, while even his gloves, as indeed is still indicated on his fine effigy in Worcester cathedral, bore similar ornaments, the one a ruby, the other a sapphire.

Whatever was superb, therefore, in that consummate age of royal and baronial state, whatever was splendid in the glittering and grand apparatus of chivalry, whatever was impressive in the almost more than princely pomp of prelates of the Church,—

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth can give,—

all this was marshaled on that historic plain in Surrey, where John and the barons faced each other, where Saxon king and Saxon earl had met in council before the Norman had footing in England; and all combined to give a fit magnificence of setting to the great charter there granted and sealed.

The tower of Windsor—not of the present castle and palace, but of the earlier detached fortress which already crowned the cliff, and from which John had come to the field—looked down on the scene. On the one side, low hills enclosed the meadow; on the other, the Thames flowed brightly by, seeking the capital and the sea. Every feature of the scene was English save one; but over all loomed, in a portentous and haughty stillness, in the ominous presence of the envoy from Rome, that ubiquitous power surpassing all others, which already had once laid the kingdom under interdict, and had exiled John from church and throne, but to which later he had been reconciled, and on which he secretly relied to annul the charter which he was granting.

The brilliant panorama illuminates the page which bears its story. It rises still as a vision before one, as he looks on the venerable parchment originals, preserved to our day in the British Museum. If it be true, as Hallam has said, that from that era a new soul was infused into the people of England, it must be confessed that the place, the day, and all the circumstances of that new birth were fitting to the great and the vital event.

That age passed away, and its peculiar splendor of aspect was not thereafter to be repeated. Yet when, four hundred years later, on the seventh of June,(5) 1628, the Petition of Right, the second great charter of the liberties of England, was presented by Parliament to Charles the First, the scene and its accessories were hardly less impressive.

Into that law—called a Petition, as if to mask the deadly energy of its blow upon tyranny—had been collected by the skill of its framers all the heads of the despotic prerogative which Charles had exercised, that they might all be smitten together, with one tremendous destroying stroke. The king, enthroned in his chair of state, looked forth on those who waited for his word, as still he looks, with his fore-casting and melancholy face, from the canvas of Van Dyck. Before him were assembled the nobles of England, in peaceful array, and not in armor, but with a civil power in their hands which the older gauntlets could not have held, and with the memories of a long renown almost as visible to themselves and to the king as were the tapestries suspended on the walls.

Crowding the bar, behind these descendants of the earlier barons, were the members of the House of Commons, with whom the law now presented to the king had had its origin, and whose boldness and tenacity had constrained the peers, after vain endeavor to modify its provisions, to accept them as they stood. They were the most powerful body of representatives of the kingdom that had yet been convened; possessing a private wealth it was estimated, surpassing three-fold that of the Peers, and representing not less than they the best life, and the oldest lineage, of the kingdom which they loved.

Their dexterous, dauntless, and far-sighted sagacity is yet more evident as we look back than their wealth or their breeding; and among them were men whose names will be familiar while England continues. Wentworth was there, soon to be the most dangerous of traitors of the cause of which he was then the champion, but who then appeared as resolute as ever to vindicate the ancient, lawful, and vital liberties of the kingdom; and Pym was there, the unsurpassed statesman, who, not long afterward was to warn the dark and haughty apostate that he never again would leave pursuit of him so long as his head stood on his shoulders.(6) Hampden was there, considerate and serene, but inflexible as an oak ; once imprisoned already for his resistance to an unjust taxation, and ready again to suffer and to conquer in the same supreme cause. Sir John Eliot was there, eloquent and devoted, who had tasted also the bitterness of imprisonment, and who after years of its subsequent experience, was to die a martyr in the Tower. Coke was there, seventy-seven years of age, but full of fire as full of fame, whose vehement and unswerving hand had had chief part in framing the Petition. Selden was there, the repute of whose learning was already continental. Sir Francis Seymour, Sir Robert Phillips, Strode, Hobart, Denzil Holies, and Valentine—such were the commoners; and there, at the outset of a career not imagined by either, faced the king a silent young member who had come now to his first Parliament at the age of twenty-nine, from the borough of Huntingdon, Oliver Cromwell.

In a plain cloth suit he probably stood among his colleagues. But they were often splendid, and even sumptuous, in dress; with slashed doublets, and cloaks of velvet, with flowing collars of rich lace, the swords by their sides, in embroidered belts, with flashing hilts, their very hats jeweled and plumed, the abundant dressed and perfumed hair falling in curls upon their shoulders. Here and there may have been those who still more distinctly symbolized their spirit, with steel corslets, overlaid with lace and rich embroidery.

So stood they in the presence, representing to the full the wealth, and genius, and stately civic pomp of England, until the king had pronounced his assent, in the express customary form, to the law which confirmed the popular liberties; and when, on hearing his unequivocal final assent, they burst into loud, even passionate acclamations of victorious joy, there had been from the first no scene more impressive in that venerable Hall, whose history went back to Edward the Confessor.

In what sharp contrast with the rich ceremonial and the splendid accessories of these preceding kindred events, appears that modest scene at Philadelphia, from which we gratefully date to-day a hundred years of constant and prosperous national life!

In a plain room, of an unpretending and recent building—the lower east room of what then was a State-house, what since has been known as the “Independence Hall”—in the midst of a city of perhaps thirty thousand inhabitants—a city which preserved its rural aspect, and the quaint simplicity of whose plan and structures had always been marked among American towns —were assembled probably less than fifty persons to consider a paper prepared by a young Virginia lawyer, giving reasons for a Resolve which the assembly had adopted two days before. They were farmers, planters, lawyers, physicians, surveyors of land, with one eminent Presbyterian clergyman. A majority of them had been educated at such schools, or primitive colleges, as then existed on this continent, while a few had enjoyed the rare advantage of training abroad, and foreign travel; but a considerable number, and among them some of the most influential, had had no other education than that which they had gained by diligent reading while at their trades or on their farms.

The figure to which our thoughts turn first is that of the author of the careful paper on the details of which the discussion turned. It has no special majesty or charm, the slight tall frame, the sun-burned face, the gray eyes spotted with hazel, the red hair which crowns the head; but already, at the age of thirty-three, the man has impressed himself on his associates as a master of principles, and of the language in which those principles find expression, so that his colleagues have left to him, almost wholly, the work of preparing the important Declaration. He wants readiness in debate, and so is now silent; but he listens eagerly to the vigorous argument and the forcible appeals of one of his fellows on the committee, Mr. John Adams, and now and then speaks with another of the committee, much older than himself—a stout man, with a friendly face, in a plain dress, whom the world had already heard something of as Benjamin Franklin. These three are perhaps most prominently before us as we recall the vanished scene, though others were there of fine presence and cultivated manners, and though all impress us as substantial and respectable representative men, however harsh the features of some, however brawny their hands with labor. But certainly nothing could be more unpretending, more destitute of pictorial charm than that small assembly of persons for the most part quite unknown to previous fame, and half of whose names it is not probable that half of us in this assembly could now repeat.

After a discussion somewhat prolonged as it seemed at the time, especially as it had been continued from previous days, and after some minor amendments of the paper, toward evening it was adopted, and ordered to be sent to the several States, signed by the president and the secretary; and the simple transaction was complete. Whatever there may have been of proclamation and bell-ringing appears to have come on subsequent days. It was almost a full month before the paper was engrossed, and signed by the members. It must have been nearly or quite the same time before the news of its adoption had reached the remoter parts of the land .

If pomp of circumstances were necessary to make an event like this great and memorable, there would have beeu others in our own history more worthy far of our commemoration. As matched against multitudes in general history, it would sink into instant and complete insignificance. Yet here, to-day, a hundred years from the adoption of that paper, in a city which counts its languages by scores, and beats with the thread of a million feet, in a country whose enterprise flies abroad over sea and land on the rush of engines not then imagined, in a time so full of exciting hopes that it hardly has leisure to contemplate the past, we pause from all our toil and traffic, our eager plans and impetuous debate, to commemorate the event. The whole land pauses, as I have said; and some distinct impression of it will follow the sun, wherever he climbs the steep of Heaven, until in all countries it has more or less touched the thoughts of men.

Why is this? is a question, the answer to which should interpret and vindicate our assemblage.

It is not simply because a century happens to have passed since the event thus remembered occurred. A hundred years are always closing from some event, and have been since Adam was in his prime. There was, of course, some special importance in the action then accomplished—in the nature of that action, since not in its circumstances—to justify such long record of it; and that importance it is ours to define. In the perspective of distance the small things disappear, while the great and eminent keep their place. As Carlyle has said: “A king in the midst of his body-guards, with his trumpets, warhorses, and gilt standard-bearers, will look great though he be little; only some Roman Carus can give audience to satrap ambassadors, while seated on the ground, with a woolen cap, and supping on boiled peas, like a common soldier.”(7)

What was, then, the great reality of power in what was done a hundred years since, which gives it its masterful place in history—makes it Roman and regal amid all its simplicity?

Of course, as the prime element of its power, it was the action of a People, and not merely of persons; and such action of a People, has always a momentum, a public force, a historic significance, which can pertain to no individual arguments and appeals. There are times, indeed, when it has the energy and authority in it of a secular inspiration; when the supreme soul which rules the world comes through it to utterance, and a thought surpassing man’s wisest plan, a will transcending his strongest purpose, is heard in its commanding voice.

It does not seem extravagant to say that the time to which our thoughts are turned was one of these.

For a century and a half the emigrants from Europe had brought hither, not the letters alone, the arts and industries, or the religious convictions, but the hardy moral and political life, which had there been developed in ages of strenuous struggle and work. France and Germany, Holland and Sweden, as well as England, Scotland, and Ireland, had contributed to this. The Austrian Tyrol, the Bavarian highlands, the Bohemian plain, Denmark, even Portugal, had their part in this colonization. The ample domain which hero received the earnest immigrants bad imparted to them of its own oneness; and diversities of language race, and custom, had fast disappeared in the governing unity of a common aspiration, and a common purpose to work out through freedom a nobler well-being.

The general moral life of this people, so various in origin, so accordant in spirit, had only risen to grander force through the toil and strife, the austere training, the long patience of endurance, to which it here had been subjected. The exposures to heat, and cold, and famine, to unaccustomed labors, to alternations of climate unknown in the old world, to malarial forces brooding above the mellow and drainless recent lands—these had fatally stricken many; but those who survived were tough and robust, the more so, perhaps, because of the perils which they had surmounted Education was not easy, books were not many, and the daily newspaper was unknown; but political discussion had been always going on, and men’s minds had gathered unconscious force as they strove with each other, in eager debate, on questions concerning the common welfare. They had had much experience in subordinate legislation, on the local matters belonging to their care; had acquired dexterity in performing public business, and had often had to resist or amend the suggestions or dictates of Royal governors. For a recent people, dwelling apart from older and conflicting States, they had had a large experience in war, the crack of the rifle being never unfamiliar along the near frontier, where disciplined skill was often combined with savage fury to sweep with sword or scar with fire their scattered settlements.

By every species, therefore, of common work, of discussion endurance, and martial struggle, the descendants of the colonists scattered along the American coast had been allied to each other. They were more closely allied than they knew. It needed only some signal occasion, some summons to a sudden heroic decision, to bring them into instant general combination; and Huguenot and Hollander, Swede, German, and Protestant Portuguese, as well as Englishman, Scotchman, Irishman, would then forget that their ancestors had been different, in the supreme consciousness that now they had a common country, and before all else were all of them Americans.

That time had come. That consciousness had for fifteen years been quickening in the people, since the “Writs of Assistance ” had been applied for and granted, in 1761, when Otis, resigning his honorable position under the crown, had flung himself against the alarming innovation with an eloquence as blasting as the stroke of the lightning which in the end destroyed his life. With every fresh invasion by England of their popular liberties, with every act which threatened such invasion by providing opportunity and the instruments for it, the sense of a common privilege and right, of a common inheritance in the country they were fashioning out of the forest, of a common place in the history of the world, had been increased among the colonists. They were plain people, with no strong tendencies to the ideal. They wanted only a chance for free growth; but they must have that, and have it together, though the continent cracked. The diamond is formed, it has sometimes been supposed, under a swift enormous pressure, of masses meeting, and forcing the carbon into a crystal. The ultimate spirit of the American colonists was formed in like manner; the weight of a rocky continent beneath, the weight of au oppression only intolerable because undefined pressing on it from above. But now that spirit, of inestimable price, reflecting light from every angle, and harder to be broken than anything material, was suddenly shown in acts and declarations of conventions and assemblies from the Penobscot to the St. Mary’s.

Any commanding public temper, once established in a people grows bolder, of course, more inquisitive and incentive, more sensible of its rights, more determined on its future, as it comes more frequently into exercise. This in the colonies lately had had been the most significant of all its expressions, up to that point, in the resolves of a popular ass3mblies that the time had come for a final separation from the kingdom of Great Britain. The eminent Congress of two years before had given it powerful reinforcement . Now, at last, it entered the representative American assembly, and claimed from that the ultimate word. It found what it sought. The Declaration was only the voice of that supreme, impersonal force, that will of communities, that universal soul of the State.

The vote of the colony then thinly covering a part of the spaces not yet wholly occupied by this great State, was not, indeed, at once formally given for such an instrument. It was wisely dejayed, under the judicious counsel of Jay, till a provincial Congress could assemble, specially called, and formally authorized, to pronounce the deliberate resolve of the colony; and so it happened that only twelve colonies voted at first for the great Declaration, and that New York was not joined to the number till five days later. But Jay knew, and all knew, that numerous, wealthy, eminent in character, high in position as were those here and elsewhere in the country—in Massachusetts, in Virginia, and in the Carolinas—who were by no means yet prepared to sever their connection with Great Britain, the general and governing mind of the people was fixed upon this, with a decision which nothing could change, with a tenacity which nothing could break. The forces tending to that result had wrought to their development with a steadiness and strength which the stubbornest resistance had hardly delayed. The spirit which now shook light and impulse over the land was recent in its precise demand, but as old in its birth as the first Christian settlements; and it was that spirit—not of one, nor of fifty, not of all the individuals in all the conventions, but the vaster spirit which lay behind—which put itself on sudden record through the prompt and accurate pen of Jefferson.

He was himself in full sympathy with it, and only by reason of that sympathy could give it such consummate expression Not out of books, legal researches, historical inquiry, the careful and various studies of language, came that document; but out of repeated public debate, out of manifold personal and private discussion, out of his clear sympathetic observation of the changing feeling and thought of men, out of that exquisite personal sensibility to vague and impalpable popular impulses which was in him innately combined with artistic taste, an idea nature, and rare power of philosophical thought. The voice of the cottage as well as the college, of the church as well as the legislative assembly, was in the paper. It echoed the talk of the farmer in home-spun, as well as the classic eloquence of Lee, or the terrible tones of Patrick Henry. It gushed at last from the pen of its writer, like the fountain from the roots of Lebanon, a brimming river when it issues from the rock ; but it was because its sources had been supplied, its fullness filled, by unseen springs; by the rivulets winding far up among the cedars, and percolating through hidden crevices in the stone; by melting snows, whose white sparkle seemed still on the stream; by fierce rains, with which the basins above were drenched ; by even the dews, silent and wide, which had lain in stillness all night upon the hill.

The Platonic idea of the development of the State was thus realized here; first Ethics, then Politics. A public opinion, energetic and dominant took its place from the start as the chief instrument of the new civilization. No dashing maneuver of skillful commanders, no sudden burst of popular passion, was in the Declaration; but the vast mystery of a supreme and imperative public life, at once diffused and intense—behind all persons, before all plans, beneath which individual wills are exalted, at whose touch the personal mind is inspired, and under whose transcendent impulse the smallest instrument becomes of a terrific force. That made the Declaration; and that makes it now, in its modest brevity, take its place with Magna Charta and the Petition of Right, as full as they of vital force, and destined to a parallel permanence.

Because this intense common life of a determined and manifold People was not behind them, other documents, in form similar to this, and in polish and cadence of balanced phrase perhaps its superiors, have had no hold like that which it keeps on the memory of men. What papers have challenged the attention of mankind within the century, in the stately Spanish tongue, in Mexico, New Granada, Venezuela, Bolivia, or the Argentine Republic, which the world at large has now quite forgotten! How the resonant proclamations of German or of French Republicans, of Hungarian or Spanish revolutionists and patriots, have vanished as sound absorbed in the air! Eloquent, persuasive, just, as they were, with a vigor of thought, a fervor of passion, a fine completeness and symmetry of expression, in which they could hardly be surpassed, they have now only a literary value. They never became great general forces. They were weak, because they were personal; and history is too crowded, civilization is too vast, to take much impression from occasional documents. Only then is a paper of secular force, or long remembered, when behind it is the ubiquitous energy of the popular will, rolling through its words in vast diapason, and charging its clauses with tones of thunder.

Because such an energy was behind it, our Declaration had its majestic place and meaning; and they who adopted it saw nowhere else

So rich advantage of a promised glory,
An smiled upon the forehead of their action.

Because of that, we read it still, and look to have it as audible as now, among the dissonant voices of the world, when other generations, in long succession, have come and gone!

But further, too, it must be observed that this paper, adopted a hundred years since, was not merely the declaration of a People, as distinguished from eminent and cultured individuals—a confession before the world of the public State-faith, rather than a political thesis—but it was also the declaration of a People which claimed for its own a great inheritance of equitable laws, and of practical liberty, and which now was intent to enlarge and enrich that. It had roots in the past, and a long genealogy; and so it had a vitality inherent, and an immense energy.

They who framed it went back, indeed, to first principles. There was something philosophic and ideal in their scheme, as always there is when the general mind is deeply stirred. It was not superficial. Yet they were not undertaking to establish new theories, or to build their state upon artificial plans and abstract speculations. They were simply evolving out of the past what therein bad been latent; were liberating into free exhibition and unceasing activity, a vital force older than the history of their colonization, and wide as the lands from which they came. They had the sweep of vast impulses behind them. The slow tendencies of centuries came to sudden consummation in their Declaration; and the force of its impact upon the affairs and the mind of the world was not to be measured by its contents alone, but by the relation in which these stood to all the vehement discussion and struggle of which it was the latest outcome.

This ought to be, always, distinctly observed.

The tendency is strong, and has been general, among those who have introduced great changes in the government of states, to follow some plan of political, perhaps of social innovation, which enlists their judgment, excites their fancy, and to make a comely theoretic habitation for the national household, rather than to build on the old foundations—expanding the walls, lif ting the height, enlarging the doorways, enlightening with new windows the halls, but still keeping the strength and renewing the age of an old familiar and venerated structure. You remember how in France, in 1789, and the following years, the schemes of those whom Napoleon called the “ideologists” succeeded each other, no one of them gaining a permanent supremacy, though each included important elements, till the armed consulate of 1799 swept them all into the air, and put in place of them one masterful genius and ambitious will. You remember how in Spain, in 1812, the new Constitution proclaimed by the Cortes was thought to inaugurate with beneficent provisions a wholly new era of development and progress; yet how the history of the splendid peninsula, from that day to this, has been but the record of a struggle to the death between the Old and the New, the contest as desperate, it would seem, in our time as it was at the first.

It must be so, always, when a preceding state of society and government, which has got itself established through many generations, is suddenly superseded by a different fabric, however more evidently conformed to right reason. The principle is not so strong as the prejudice. Habit masters invention. The new and theoretic shivers its force on the obstinate coherence of the old and the established. The modern structure fails and is replaced, while the grim feudal keep, though scarred and weather-worn, the very cement seeming gone from its walls, still scowls defiance at the red right-hand of the lightning itself.

It was no such rash speculative change which here was attempted. The People whose deputies framed our Declaration were largely themselves descendants of Englishmen; and those who were not, had lived long enough under English institutions to be impressed with their tendency and spirit. It was therefore only natural that even when adopting that ultimate measure which severed them from the British crown, they should retain all that had been gained in the mother-land through centuries of endurance and strife. They left nothing that was good; they abolished the bad, added the needful, and developed into a rule for the continent the splendid precedents of great former occasions. They shared still the boast of Englishmen that their constitution “has no single date from which its duration is to be reckoned,” and that “the origin of the English law is as undiscoverable as that of the Nile.” They went back themselves, for the origin of their liberties, to the most ancient muniments of English freedom. Jefferson had affirmed, in 1774, that a primitive charter of American Independence lay in the fact that as the Saxons had left their native wilds in the North of Europe, and had occupied Britain—the country which they left asserting over them no further control, nor any dependence of them upon it—so the Englishmen coming hither had formed, by that act, another state, over which Parliament had no rights, in which its laws were void till accepted.(8)

But while seeking for their liberties so archaic a basis, neither he nor his colleagues were in the least careless of what subsequent times had done to complete them. There was not one element of popular right, which had been wrested from crown and noble in any age, which they did not keep; not an equitable rule, for the transfer or the division of property, for the protection of personal rights, or for the detection and punishment of crime, which was not precious in their eyes. Even Chancery jurisdiction they widely retained, with the distinct tribunals, derived from the ecclesiastical courts, for probate of wills; and English technicalities were maintained in their courts, almost as if they were sacred things. Especially that equality of civil rights among all commoners, which II all am declares the most prominent characteristic of the English Constitution— the source of its permanence, its improvement, and its vigor— they perfectly preserved; they only more sharply affirmatively declared it. Indeed, in renouncing their allegiance to the king, and putting the United Colonies in his place, they felt themselves acting in intimate harmony with the spirit and drift of the ancient constitution. The Executive here was.to be elective, not hereditary, to be limited and not permanent in the term of his functions; and no established peerage should exist. But each State retained its governor, its legislature, generally in two houses, its ancient statute and common law; and if they had been challenged for English authority for their attitude toward ;the crown, they might have replied in the words of Bracton, the Lord Chief-Justice five hundred years before, under the reign of Henry the Third, that ” the law makes the king;” “there is no king, where will, and not law, bears rule;” “if the king were without a bridle, that is the law, they ought to put a bridle upon him.”(9) They might have replied in the words of Fox, speaking in Parliament, in daring defiance of the temper of the House, but with many supporting him, when he said that in declaring Independence, they “had done no more than the English had done against James the Second.”(10)

They had done no more; though they had not elected another king in place of him whom they renounced. They had taken no step so far in advance of the then existing English Constitution as those which the Parliament of 1640 took in advance of the previous Parliaments which Charles had dissolved. If there was a right more rooted than another in that Constitution, it was the right of the people which was taxed to have its vote in the taxing legislature. If there was anything more accordant than another with its historic temper and tenor, it was that the authority of the king was determined when his rule became tyrannous. Jefferson had but perfectly expressed the doctrine of the lovers of freedom in England for many generations, when he said in his Summary view of the Rights of America, in 1774, that “the monarch is no more than the chief officer of the people, appointed by the laws, and circumscribed with definite powers, to assist in working the great machine of government, erected for their use, and consequently subject to their superintendence;” that “kings are the servants, not the proprietors of the people;” and that a nation claims its rights, “as derived from the laws of nature not as the gift of their chief magistrate.” (11)

That had been the spirit, if not as yet the formulated doctrine, of Raleigh, Hampden, Russell, Sydney—of all the great leaders of liberty in England. Milton had declared it, in a prose as majestic as any passage of the Paradise Lost. The Commonwealth had been built on it; and the whole Revolution of 1688. And they who now framed it into their permanent organic law, and made it supreme in the country they were shaping, were in harmony with the noblest inspirations of the past. They were not innovating with a rash recklessness. They were simply accepting and re-affirming what they had learned from luminous events and illustrious men. So their work had a dignity, a strength, and a permanence which can never belong to mere fresh speculation. It interlocked with that of multitudes going before. It derived a virtue from every field of struggle in England; from every scaffold, hallowed by free and consecrated blood; from every hour of great debate. It was only the complete development into law, for a separated people, of that august ancestral liberty, the germs of which had preceded the Heptarchy, the gradual definition and establishment of which had been the glory of English history. A thousand years brooded over the room where they asserted hereditary rights. Its walls showed neither portraits nor mottoes; but the Kaiser-saal at Frankfort was not hung around with such recollections. No titles were worn by those plain men; but there had not been one knightly soldier, or one patriotic and prescient statesman, standing for liberty in the splendid centuries of its English growth, who did not touch them with unseen accolade, and bid them be faithful. The paper which they adopted, fresh from the pen of its young author, and written on his hired pine table, was already in essential life, of a venerable age; and it took immense impulse, it derived an instant and vast authority, from its relation to that undying past in which they too had grand inheritance, and from which their public life had come.

Englishmen themselves now recognize this, and often are proud of it. The distinguished representative of Great Britain at Washington may think his government, as no doubt he does, superior to ours; but his clear eye cannot fail to see that English liberty was the parent of ours, and that the new and broader continent here opened before it, suggested that expansion of it which we celebrate to-day. His ancestors, like ours, helped to build the Republic; and its faithfulness to the past, amid all reformations, was one great secret of its earliest triumph, has been one source, from that day to this, of its enduring and prosperous strength.

The Congress, and the People behind it, asserted for themselves hereditary liberties, and hazarded everything in the purpose to complete them. But they also affirmed, with emphasis and effect, another right, more general than this, which made their action significant and important to other peoples, which made it, indeed, a signal to the nations of the right of each to assert for itself the just prerogative of forming its government, electing its rulers, ordaining its laws, as might to it seem most expedient. Hear again the immortal words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; * * that to secure these [unalienable] rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to altar or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundations in such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

This is what the party of Bentham called “the assumption of natural rights, claimed without the slightest evidence of their existence, and supported by vague and declamatory generalities.” This is what we receive as the decisive and noble declaration, spoken with the simplicity of a perfect conviction, of a natural right as patent as the continent; a declaration which challenged at once the attention of mankind, and which is now practically assumed as a premise in international relations and public law.

Of course it was not a new discovery. It was old as the earliest of political philosophers; as old, indeed, as the earliest communities, which, becoming established in particular locations, had there developed their own institutions, and repelled with vehemence the assaults that would change them. But in the growth of political societies, and the vast expansion of imperial states, by the conquest of those adjacent and weaker, this right, so easily recognized at the outset, so germane to the instincts, so level with the reason, of every community, had widely passed out of men’s thoughts; and the power of a conquering state to change the institutions and laws of a people, or impose on it new ones,—the power of a parent state to shape the forms and prescribe the rules of the colonies which went from it,—had been so long and abundantly exercised, that the very right of the people, thus conquered or colonial, to consult its own interests in the frame of its government, had been almost forgotten.

It might be a high speculation of scholars, or a charming dream of political enthusiasts. But it was not a maxim for the practical statesman; and whatever its correctness as an ideal principle, it was vain to expect to see it established in a world full of kings who claimed, each for himself, an authority from God, and full of states intent on grasping and governing by their law adjacent domains. The revolt of the Netherlands against Spanish domination had been the one instance in modern history in which the inherent right of a People to suit itself in the frame of its government had been proclaimed, and then maintained; and that had been at the outset a paroxysmal revolt, against tyranny so crushing, and cruelties so savage, that they took it out of the line of examples. The Dutch Republic was almost as exceptional, through the fierce wickedness which had crowded it into being, as was Switzerland itself, on the Alpine heights. For an ordinary state to claim self-regulation, and found its government on a Plebiscit, was to contradict precedent, and to set at defiance European tradition.

Our fathers, however, in a somewhat vague way, had held from the start that they had right to an autonomy; and that act of Parliament, if not appointments of the crown, took proper effect upon these shores only by reason of their assent. Their characters were held to confirm this doctrine. The conviction, it first practical and instinctive, rather than theoretic, had grown with their growth, and had been intensified into positive affirmation and public exhibition as the British rule impinged more sharply on their interests and their hopes. It had finally become the general and decisive conviction of the colonies. It had spoken already in armed resistance to the troops of the King. It had been articulated, with gathering emphasis, in many resolves,of assemblies and conventions. It was now, finally, most energetically, set forth to the world in the great Declaration; and in that utterance, made general, not particular, and founding the rights of the people in this country on principles as wide as humanity itself, there lay an appeal to every nation:—an appeal whose words took unparalleled force, were illuminated and made rubrical, in the fire and blood of the following war.

When the Emperor Ferdinand visited Innsbruck, that beautiful town of the Austrian Tyrol, in 1838, it is said that the inhabitants wrote his name in immense bonfires, along the sides of the precipitous hills which shelter the town Over a space of four or five miles extended that colossal illumination, till the heavens seemed on fire in the far-reflected upstreaming glow. The right of a people, separated from others, to its own institutions—our fathers wrote this in lines so vivid and so large that the whole world could see them ; and they followed that writing with the consenting thunders of so many cannon that even the lands across the Atlantic were shaken and filled with the long reverberation.

The doctrine had, of course, in every nation, its two-fold internal application, as well as its front against external powers. On the one hand it swept with destroying force against the nation, so long maintained, of the right of certain families in the world, called Hapsburg, Bourbon, Stuart, or whatever, to govern the rest; and wherever it was received it made the imagined divine right of kings an obsolete and contemptible fiction. On the other hand, it smote with equal energy against the pretensions of any minority within the state—whether banded together by the ties of descent, or of neighborhood in location, or of common opinion, or supposed common interest —to govern the rest; or even to impair the established and paramount government of the rest by separating themselves organically from it.

It was never the doctrine of the fathers that the people of Kent, Cornwall, or Lincoln, might sever themselves from the rest of England, and, while they had their voice and vote in the public councils, might assert the right to govern the whole, under threat of withdrawal if their minor vote were not suffered to control . They were not seeking to initiate anarchy, and to make it thenceforth respectable in the world by support of their suffrages. They recognized the fact that the state exists to meet permanent needs, is the ordinance of God as well as the family; and that He has determined the bounds of men’s habitation, by rivers, seas, and mountain chains, shaping countries as well as continents into physical coherence, while giving one man his birth on the north of the Pyrenees, another on the south, one on the terraced banks of the Rhine, another in English meadow or upland. They saw that a common and fixed habitation, in a country thus physically defined, especially when combined with community of descent, of permanent public interest, and of the language on which thought is interchanged— that these make a People; and such a People, as a true and abiding body-politic, they affirmed had right to shape its government, forbidding others to inter-meddle.

But it must be the general mind of the People which determined the questions thus involved; not a dictating class within the state, whether known as peers or associated commoners, whether scattered widely, as one among several political parties, or grouped together in some one section, and having a special interest to encourage. The decision of the general public mind, as deliberately reached, and authentically declared, that must be the end of debate; and the right of resistance, or the right of division, after that, if such right exist, it is not to be vindicated from their Declaration. Any one who thought such government by the whole intolerable to him was always at liberty to expatriate himself, and find elsewhere such other institutions as he might prefer. But he could not tarry, and still not submit. He was not a monarch, without the crown, before whose contrary judgment and will the public councils must be dumb. While dwelling in the land, and having the same opportunity with others to seek the amendment of what he disapproved, the will of the whole was binding upon him and that obligation he could not vacate by refusing to accept it. If one could not, neither could ten, nor a hundred, nor a million, who still remained a minority of the whole.

To allow such a right would have been to make government transparently impossible. Not separate sections only, but counties, townships, school districts, neighborhoods, must have the same right; and each individual, with his own will for his final law, must be the complete ultimate State.

It was no such disastrous folly which the fathers of our Republic affirmed. They ruled out kings, princes, peers, from any control over the People; and they did not give to a transient minority, wherever it might appear, on whatever question, a greater privilege, because less defined, than that which they jealously withheld from these classes. Such a tyranny of irresponsible occasional minorities would have seemed to them only more intolerable than that of classes, organized, permanent, and limited by law. And when it was affirmed by some, and silently feared by many others, that in our late immense civil war the multitudes who adhered to the old Constitution had forgotten or discarded the principles of the earlier Declaration, those assertions and fears were alike without reason. The People which adopted that Declaration, when distributed into colonies, was the People which afterward, when compacted into states, established the Confederation of 1781—imperfect enough, but whose abiding renown it is that under it the war w as ended It was the same People which subsequently framed the supreme Constitution. “We, the people of the United States,” do ordain and establish the following Constitution,—so runs the majestic and vital instrument. It contains provisions for its own emendation. When the people will, they may set it aside, and put in place of it one wholly different; and no other nation can intervene. But while it continues, it, and the laws made normally under it, are not subject to resistance by a portion of the people, conspiring to direct or limit the rest. And whensoever any pretension like this shall appear, if ever again it does appear, it will undoubtedly as instantly appear that, even as in the past so in the future, the people whose our government is, and whose complete and magnificent domain God has marked out for it, will subdue resistance, compel submission, forbid secession, though it cost again, as it cost before, four years of war, with treasure uncounted and inestimable life.

The right of a People upon its own territory, as equally against any classes within it or any external powers,this is the doctrine of our Declaration. We know how it here has been applied, and how settled it is upon these shores for the time to come We know, too, something of what impression it instantly made upon the minds of other peoples, and how they sprang to greet and accept it. In the fine image of Bancroft, “the astonished nations, as they read that all men are created equal, started out of their lethargy, like those who have been exiles from childhood, when they suddenly hear the dimly-remembered accents of their mother-tongue.”(12)

The theory of scholars had now become the maxim of a State. The diffused intellectual nebulous light had got itself concentrated into an orb; and the radiance of it, penetrating and hot, shone afar. You know how France responded to it; with passionate speed seeking to be rid of the terrific establishments in church and state which had nearly crushed the life of the people, and with a beautiful though credulous unreason trying to lift, by the grasp of the law, into intelligence and political capacity the masses whose training for thirteen centuries had been despotic. No operation of natural law was any more certain than the failure of that too daring experiment. But the very failure involved progress from it; involved, undoubtedly, that ultimate success which it was vain to try to extemporize. Certainly the other European powers will not again intervene, as they did, to restore a despotism which France has abjured, and with foreign bayonets to uphold institutions which it does not desire. Italy, Spain, Germany, England—they are not Republican in the form of their government, nor as yet democratic in the distribution of power. But each of them is as full of this organific, self-demonstrating doctrine, as is our own land; and England would send no troops to Canada to compel its submission if it should decide to set up for itself. Neither Italy nor Spain would maintain a monarchy a moment longer than the general mind of the country preferred it. Germany would be fused in the fire of one passion if any foreign nation whatever should assume to dictate the smallest change in one of its laws. The doctrine of the proper prerogative of kings, derived from God, which in the last century was more common in Europe than the doctrine of the centrality of the sun in our planetary system, is now as obsolete among the intelligent as are the epicycles of Ptolemy. Every government expects to stand henceforth by assent of the governed, and by no other claim of right. It is strong by beneficence, not by tradition; and at the height of its military successes it circulates appeals, and canvasses for ballots. Revolution is carefully sought to be averted, by timely and tender amelioration of the laws. The most progressive and liberal states are most evidently secure; while those which stand, like old olive-trees at Tivoli, with feeble arms supported on pillars, and hollow trunks filled up with stone, are palpably only tempting the blast. An alliance of sovereigns, like that called the Holy, for reconstructing the map of Europe, and parceling out the passive peoples among separate governments, would to-day be no more impossible than would Charlemagne’s plan for reconstructing the empire of the West. Even Murad, Sultan of Turkey, now takes the place of Abdul the deposed, “by the grace of God, and the will of the people;” and that accomplished and illustrious Prince, whose empire under the Southern Cross rivals our own in its extent, and most nearly approaches it on this hemisphere in stability of institutions and in practical freedom, has his surest title to the throne which he honors, in his wise liberality, and his faithful endeavor for the good of his people. As long as in this he continues, as now, a recognized leader among the monarchs—ready to take and seek suggestions from even a democratic Republic—bis throne will be steadfast as the water-sheds of Brazil; and while his successors maintain his spirit, no domestic insurrection will test the question whether they retain that celerity in movement with which Dom Pedro has astonished Americans.

It is no more possible to reverse this tendency toward popular sovereignty, and to substitute for it the right of families, classes, minorities, or of intervening foreign states, than it is to arrest the motion of the earth, and make it swing the other way in its annual orbit. In this, at least, our fathers’ Declaration has made its impression on the history of mankind.

It was the act of a People, and not of persons, except as these represented and led that. It was the act of a People, not starting out on new theories of government, so much as developing into forms of law and practical force a great and gradual inheritance of freedom. It was the act of a People, declaring for others, as for itself, the right of each to its own form of government without interference from other nations, without restraint by privileged classes.

It only remains, then, to ask the question how far it has contributed to the peace, the advancement, and the permanent, welfare, of the People by which it was set forth; of other nations which it has affected . And to ask this question is almost to answer it. The answer is as evident as the sun in the heavens.

It certainly cannot be affirmed that we in America, any more than persons or peoples elsewhere, have reached as yet the ideal state, of private liberty combined with a perfect public order, or of culture complete, and a supreme character. The political world, as well as the religious, since Christ was on earth, looks forward, not backward, for its millennium. That Golden Age is still to come which is to shine in the perfect splendor reflected from Him who is ascended; and no prophecy tells us how long before the advancing race shall reach and cross its glowing marge, or what long effort, or what tumults of battle are still to precede.

In this country, too, there have been immense special impediments to hinder wide popular progress in things which are highest. Our people have had a continent to subdue. They have been, from the start, in constant migration. Westward, from the counties of the Hudson and the Mohawk, around the lakes, over the prairies, across the great river—westward still, over alkali plains, across terrible canons, up gorges of the mountains where hardly the wild goat could find footing— westward always, till the Golden Gate opened out on the sea which has been made ten thousand miles wide, as if nothing less could stop the march—this has been the popular movement, from almost the day of the great Declaration. To-morrow’s tents have been pitched in new fields; and last year’s houses await new possessors.

With such constant change, such wide dislocation of the mass of the people from early and settled home-associations, and with the incessant occupation of the thoughts by the great physical problems presented—not so much by any struggle for existence, as by harvests for which the prairies waited, by mills for which the rivers clamored, by the coal and the gold which offered themselves to the grasp of the miner—it would not have been strange if a great and dangerous decadence had occurred in that domestic and private virtue of which Home is the nursery, in that generous and reverent public spirit which is but the effluence of its combined rays. It would have been wholly too much to expect that under such influences the highest progress should have been realized, in speculative thought, in artistic culture, or in the researches of pure science.

Accordingly, we find that in these departments not enough has been accomplished to make our progress signal in them, though here and there the eminent souls “that are like stars and dwell apart” have illumined themes highest with their high interpretation. But History has been cultivated among us, with an enthusiasm, to .in extent, hardly, I think, to have been anticipated among a people so recent and expectant; and Prescott, Motley, Irving, Ticknor, with him upon whose splendid page all American history has been amply illustrated, are known as familiarly and honored as highly in Europe as here. We have had as well distinguished poets, and have them now ; to whom the nation has been responsive ; who have not only sung themselves, but through whom the noblest poems of the Old World have come into the English tongue, rendered in fit and perfect music, and some of whose minds, blossoming long ago in the solemn or beautiful fancies of youth, with perennial energy still ripen to new fruit as they near or cross their four-score years. In Medicine, and Law, as well as in Theology, in Fiction, Biography, and the vivid Narrative of exploration and discovery, the people whose birth-day we commemorate has added something to the possession of men. Its sculptors and painters have won high places in the brilliant realm of modern art. Publicists like Wheaton, jurists like Kent, have gained a celebrity reflecting honor on the land; and if no orator, so vast in knowledge, so profound and discursive in philosophical thought, so affluent in imagery, and so glorious in diction, as Edmund Burke, has yet appeared, we must remember that centuries were needed to produce him elsewhere, and that any of the great Parliamentary debaters, aside from him, have been matched or surpassed in the hearing of those who have hung with rapt sympathetic attention on the lips of Clay, or of Rufus Choate, or have felt themselves listening to the mightiest mind which ever touched theirs when they stood beneath the imperial voice fn which Webster spoke.

In applied science there has been much done in the country, for which the world admits itself our grateful debtor. I need not multiply illustrations of this, from locomotives, printing presses, sewing machines, revolvers, steam-reapers, bank-locks. One instance suffices, most signal of all.

When Morse, from Washington, thirty-two years ago, sent over the wires his word to Baltimore, “What hath God wrought,” he had given to all the nations of mankind an instrument the most sensitive, expansive, quickening, which the world yet possesses. He had bound the earth in electric network.

England touches India to-day, and France Algeria, while we are in contact with all the continents, upon those scarcely perceptible nerves. The great strategist, like Von Moltke, with these in his hands, from the silence of his office directs campaigns, dictates marches, wins victories; the statesman in the cabinet inspires and regulates the distant diplomacies ; while the traveler in any port or mart is by the same marvel of mechanism in instant communication with all centres of commerce. It is certainly not too much to say that no other invention of the world in this century has so richly deserved the medals, crosses, and diamond decorations, the applause of senates, the gifts of kings, which were showered upon its author, as did this invention, which finally taught and utilized the lightnings whose nature a signer of the great Declaration had made apparent.

But after all it is not so much in special inventions, or in eminent attainments made by individuals, that we are to find the answer to the question, “What did that day a hundred years since accomplish for us?” Still less is it found in the progress we have made in outward wealth and material success. This might have been made, approximately at least, if the British supremacy had here continued. The prairies would have been as productive as now, the mines of copper and silver and gold as rich and extensive, the coal-beds as vast, and the cotton-fields as fertile, if we had been born the subjects of the Georges, or of Victoria. Steam would have kept its propulsive force, and sea and land have been theatres of its triumph. The river would have been as smooth a highway for the commerce which seeks it; and the leap of every mountain stream would have given as swift and constant a push to the wheels that set spindles and saws in motion. Electricity itself would have lost no property, and might have become as completely as now the fire-winged messenger of the thought of mankind .

But what we have now, and should not have had except for that paper which the Congress adopted, is the general and increasing popular advancement in knowledge, vigor, as I believe in moral culture, of which our country has been the arena, and m which lies its hope for the future. The independence of the nation has reacted, with sympathetic force, on the personal life which the nation includes. It has made men more resolute, aspiring, confident, and more susceptible to whatever exalts. The doctrine that all by creation are equal,—not in respect of physical force or of mental endowment, of means for culture or inherited privilege, but in respect of immortal faculty, of duty to each other, of right to protection and to personal development, —this has given manliness to the poor, enterprise to the weak, a kindling hope to the most obscure. It has made the individuals of whom the nation is composed more alive to the forces which educate and exalt.

There has been incessant motive, too, for the wide and constant employment of these forces. It has been felt that, as the People is sovereign here, that People must be trained in mind and spirit for its august and sovereign function. The establishment of common-schools, for a needful primary secular training, has been an instinct of Society, only recognized and repeated in provisions of statutes. The establishment of higher schools, classical and general, of colleges, scientific and professional seminaries, has been as well the impulse of the nation, and the furtherance of them a care of governments. The immense expansion of the press in this country has been based fundamentally upon the same impulse, and has wrought with beneficent general force in the same direction. Religious instruction has gone as widely as this distribution of secular knowledge.

It used to be thought that a Church dissevered from the State must be feeble. Wanting wealth of endowments and dignity of titles—its clergy entitled to no place among the peers, its revenues assured by no legal enactments—-it must remain obscure and poor; while the absence of any external limitations, of parliamentary statutes and a legal creed, must leave it liable to endless division, and tend to its speedy disintegration into sects and schisms. It seemed as hopeless to look for strength, wealth, beneficence, for extensive educational and missionary work, to such churches as these, as to look for aggressive military organization to a convention of farmers, or for the volume and thunder of Niagara to a thousand sinking and separate rills.

But the work which was given to be done in this country was so great and momentous; and has been so constant, that matching itself against that work, the Church, under whatever name, has realized a strength, and developed an activity, wholly fresh in the world in modern times. It has not been antagonized by that instinct of liberty which always awakens against its work where religion is required by law. It has seized the opportunity. Its ministers and members have had their own standards, leaders, laws, and sometimes have quarreled, fiercely enough, as to which were the better. But in the work which was set them to do, to give to the sovereign American people the knowledge of God in the Gospel of His Son, their only strife has been one of emulation—to go the furthest, to give the most, and to bless most largely the land and its future.

The spiritual incentive has of course been supreme; but patriotism has added its impulse to the work. It has been felt that Christianity is the basis of Republican empire, its bond of cohesion, its life-giving law; that the manuscript copies of the Gospels, sent by Gregory to Augustine at Canterbury, and still preserved on sixth century parchments at Oxford and Cambridge—more than Magna Charta itself, these are the roots of English liberty; that Magna Charta, and the Petition of Right, with our completing Declaration, were possible only because these had been before them. And so on in the work of keeping Christianity prevalent in the land, all earnest churches have eagerly striven. Their preachers have been heard where the pioneer’s fire scarcely was kindled. Their schools have been gathered in the temporary camp, not less than in the hamlet or town. They have sent their books with lavish distribution, they have scattered their Bibles like leaves of autumn, where settlements hardly were more than prophesied. In all languages of the land they have told the old story of the Law and the Cross, a present Redemption, and a coming Tribunal The highest truths, most solemn and inspiring, have been the truths most constantly in hand. It has been felt that, in the highest sense, a muscular Christianity was indispensable where men lifted up axes upon the thick trees . The delicate speculations of the closet and the schools were too dainty for the work; and the old confessions of Councils and Reformers, whose undecaying and sovereign energy no use exhausts, have been those always most familiar, where the trapper on his stream, or the miner in his gulch has found priest or minister on his track.

Of course not all the work has been fruitful. Not all God’s acorns come to oaks, but here and there one. Not all the seeds of flowers germinate, but enough to make some radiant gardens. And out of all this work and gift, has come a mental and moral training, to the nation at large, such as it certainly would not have had except for this effort, the effort for which would not have been made, on a scale so immense, except for this incessant aim to fit the nation for its great experiment of self-regulation. The Declaration of Independence has been the great charter of Public Education; has given impulse and scope to this prodigious Missionary work.

The result of the whole is evident enough. I am not here as the eulogist of our People, beyond what facts justify. I admit, with regret, that American manners sometimes are coarse, and American culture often very imperfect; that the noblest examples of consummate training imply a leisure which we have not had, and are perhaps most easily produced where social advantages are more permanent than here, and the law heredity has a wider recognition. We all know, too well, how much of even vice and shame there has been, and is, in our national life; how sluggish the public conscience has been before sharpest appeals; how corruption has entered high places in the government, and the blister of its touch has been upon laws, as well as on the acts of prominent officials. And we know the reckless greed and ambition, the fierce party spirit, the personal wrangles and jealous animosities, with which our Congress has been often dishonored, at which the nation— sadder still—has sometimes laughed, in idiotic unreason.

But knowing all this, and with the impression of it full on our thoughts, we may exult in the real, steady, and prophesying growth of a better spirit, toward dominance in the land. I scout the thought that we as a people are worse than our fathers! John Adams, at the head of the War Department, in 1776, wrote bitter laments of the corruption which existed in even that infant age of the Republic, and of the spirit of venality, rapacious and insatiable, which was then the most alarming enemy of America. He declared himself ashamed of the age which he lived in! In Jefferson’s day, all Federalists expected the universal dominion of French infidelity. In Jackson’s day, all Whigs thought the country gone to ruin already, as if Mr. Biddle had had the entire public hope locked up in the vaults of his terminated bank. In Polk’s day, the excitements of the Mexican War gave life and germination to many seeds of rascality. There has never been a time—not here alone, in any country—when the fierce light of incessant inquiry blazing on men in public life, would not have revealed forces of evil like those we have seen, or when the condemnation which followed the discovery would have been sharper. And it is among my deepest convictions that, with all which has happened to debase and debauch it, the nation at large was never before more mentally vigorous or morally sound.

Gentlemen: The demonstration is around us!

This city, if anyplace on the continent, should have been the one where a reckless wickedness should have had sure prevalence, and reforming virtue the least chance of success. Starting in 1790 with a white population of less than thirty thousand —growing steadily for forty years, till that population had multiplied six-fold—taking into itself, from that time on, such multitudes of emigrants from all parts of the earth that the dictionaries of the languages spoken in its streets would make a library—all forms of luxury coming with wealth, and all means and facilities for every vice—the primary elections being the seed-bed out of which springs its choice of rulers, with the influence which it sends to the public councils—its citizens so absorbed in their pursuits that oftentimes, for years together, large numbers of them have left its affairs in hands the most of all unsuited to so supreme and delicate a trust—it might well have been expected that while its docks were echoing with a commerce which encompassed the globe, while its streets were thronged with the eminent and the gay from all parts of the land, while its homes had in them uncounted thousands of noble men and cultured women, while its stately squares swept out year by year across new spaces, while it founded great institutions of beneficence, and shot new spires upward toward heaven, and turned the rocky waste to a pleasure ground famous in the earth, its government would decay, and its recklessness of moral ideas, if not as well of political principles would become apparent .

Men have prophesied this, from the outset till now. The fear of it began with the first great advance of the wealth, population, and fame of the city; and there have not been wanting facts in its history which served to renew, if not to justify the fear.

But when the war of 1861 broke on the land, and shadowed every home within it, this city,—which had voted by immense majorities against the existing administration, and which was linked by unnumbered ties with the vast communities then rushing to assail it,—flung out its banners from window and spire, from City Hall and newspaper office, and poured its wealth and life into the service of sustaining the Government, with a swiftness and vehement energy that were never surpassed. When, afterward, greedy and treacherous men, capable and shrewd, deceiving the unwary, hiring the skillful, and moulding the very law to their uses, had concentrated in their hands the government of the city, and had bound it in seemingly invincible chains, while they plundered its treasury,—it rose upon them, when advised of the facts, as Samson rose upon the Philistines; and the two new cords that were upon his hands no more suddenly became as flax that was burnt than did those manacles imposed upon the city by the craft of the Ring.

Its leaders of opinion to-day are the men—like him who presides in our assembly—whom virtue exalts, and character crowns. It rejoices in a Chief Magistrate as upright and intrepid in a virtuous cause, as any of those whom he succeeds. It is part of a State whose present position, in laws, and officers, and the spirit of its people, does no discredit to the noblest of its memories. And from these heights between the rivers, looking over the land, looking out on the earth to which its daily embassies go, it sees nowhere beneath the sun a city more ample in its moral securities, a city more dear to those who possess it, a city more splendid in promise and in hope.

What is true of the city is true, in effect, of all the land. Two things, at least, have been established by our national history, the impression of which the world will not lose. The one is, that institutions like ours, when sustained by a prevalent moral life throughout the nation, are naturally permanent . The other is, that they tend to peaceful relations with other states. They do this in fulfillment of an organic tendency, and not through any accident of location. The same tendency will inhere in them, wheresoever established.

In this age of the world, and in all the states which Christianity quickens, the allowance of free movement to the popular mind is essential to the stability of public institutions. There may be restraint enough to guide, and keep such movement from premature exhibition. But there cannot be force enough used to resist it, and to reverse its gathering current. If there is, the government is swiftly overthrown, as in France so often, or is left on one side, as Austria has been by the advancing German people; like the Castle of Heidelberg, at once palace and fortress, high-placed and superb but only the stateliest ruin in Europe, while the rail-train thunders through the tunnel beneath it, and the Neckar sings along its near channel as if tower and tournament never had been. Revolution, transformation, organic change, have thus all the time for this hundred years been proceeding in Europe; sometimes silent, but oftener amid thunders of stricken fields; sometimes pacific, but oftener with garments rolled in blood.

In England the progress has been peaceful, the popular demands being ratified as law whenever the need became apparent. It has been vast, as well as peaceful; in the extension of suffrage, in the ever-increasing power of the Commons, in popular education. Chatham himself would hardly know his own England if he should return to it. The Throne continues, illustrated by the virtues of her who fills it; and the ancient forms still obtain in Parliament. But it could not have occurred to him, or to Burke, that a century after the ministry of Grenville the embarkation of the Pilgrims would be one of the prominent historical pictures on the panels of the lobby of the House of Lords, or that the name of Oliver Cromwell, and of Bradshaw, President of the High Court of Justice, would be cut in the stone in Westminster Abbey, over the places in which they were buried, and whence their decaying bodies were dragged to the gibbet and the ditch. England is now, as has been well said, “an aristocratic Republic, with a permanent Executive.” Its only perils lie in the fact of that aristocracy, which, however, is flexible enough to endure, of that permanence in the Executive, which would hardly outlive one vicious Prince.

What changes have taken place in France, I need not remind you, nor how uncertain is still its future. You know how the swift untiring wheels, of advance or reaction, have rolled this way and that, in Italy, and in Spain; how Germany has had to be reconstructed; how Hungary has had to fight and suffer for that just place in the Austrian councils which only imperial defeat surrendered. You know how precarious the equilibrium now is, in many states, between popular rights and princely prerogative ; what armies are maintained, to fortify governments; what fear of sudden and violent change, like an avalanche tumbling at the touch of a foot, perplexes nations. The records of change make the history of Europe. The expectation of change is almost as wide as the continent itself.

Meanwhile, how permanent has been this Republic, which seemed at the outset to foreign spectators a mere sudden insurrection, a mere organized riot! Its organic law, adopted after exciting debate, but arousing no battle and enforced by no army, has been interpreted, and peacefully administered, with one great exception, from the beginning. It has once been assailed, with passion and skill, with splendid daring and unbounded self-sacrifice, by those who sought a sectional advantage through its destruction. No monarchy of the world could have withstood that assault. It seemed as if the last fatal Apocalypse had come, to drench the land with plague and blood, and wrap it in a fiery gloom. The Republic,

“pouring like the tide into a breach.
With ample and brim fulness of its force.”

subdued the rebellion, emancipated the race which had been in subjection, restored the dominion of the old Constitution, amended its provisions in the contrary direction from that which had been so fiercely sought, gave it guaranties of endurance while the continent lasts, and made its ensigns more eminent than ever in the regions from which they had been expelled. The very portions of the people which then sought its overthrow are now again its applauding adherents—the great and constant reconciling force, the tranquillizing Irenarch, being the freedom which it leaves in their hands.

It has kept its place, this Republic of ours, in spite of the rapid expansion of the nation over territory so wide that the scanty strip of the original states is only as a fringe on its immense mantle. It has kept its place, while vehement debates, involving the profound^st ethical principles, have stirred to its depths the whole public mind. It has kept its place, while the tribes of mankind have been pouring upon it, seeking the shelter and freedom which it gave. It saw an illustrious President murdered, by the bullet of an assassin. It saw his place occupied as quietly by another as if nothing unforeseen or alarming had occurred. It saw prodigious armies assembled, for its defence. It saw those armies, at the end of the war, marching in swift and long procession up the streets of the Capital, and then dispersing into their former peaceful citizenship, as if they had had no arms in their hands. The General before whose skill and will those armies had been shot upon the forces which opposed them, and whose word had been their military law, remained for three years an appointed officer of that government he had saved. Elected then to be the head of that government, and again re-elected by the ballots of his countrymen, in a few months more he will have retired, to be thenceforth a citizen like the rest, eligible to office, and entitled to vote, but with no thought of any prerogative descending to him, or to his children, from his great service and military fame. The Republic, whose triumphing armies he led, will remember his name, and be grateful for his work; but neither to him, nor to any one else, will it ever give sovereignty over itself.

From the Lakes to the Gulf, its will is the law, its dominion complete. Its centripetal and centrifugal forces are balanced, almost as in the astronomy of the heavens. Decentralizing authority, it puts his own part of it into the hand of every citizen. Giving free scope to private enterprise, allowing not only, but accepting and encouraging, each movement of the public reason which is its only terrestrial rule, there is no threat, in all its sky, of division or downfall. It cannot be successfully assailed from within. It never will be assailed from without, with a blow at its life, while other nations continue sane.

It has been sometimes compared to a pyramid, broad-based and secure, not liable to overthrow as is obelisk or column, by storm or age. The comparison is just, but it is not sufficient. It should rather be compared to one of the permanent features of nature, and not to any artificial construction:—to the river, which flows, like our own Hudson, along the courses that nature opens, forever in motion, but forever the same; to the lake, which lies on common days level and bright in placid stillness, while it gathers its fullness from many lands, and lifts its waves in stormy strength when winds assail it; to the mountain, which is shaped by no formula of art, and which only rarely, in some supreme sun-burst, flushes with color, but whose roots the very earthquake cannot shake, and on whose brow the storms fall hurtless, while under its shelter the cottage nestles, and up its sides the gardens climb.

So stands the Republic:

Whole as the marble, founded as the rook,
As broad and general as the casing air.

Our government has been permanent, as established upon the old Declaration, and steadily sustained by the undecaying and molding life in the soul of the nation. It has been peaceful, also, for the most part, in scheme and in spirit; and has shown at no time such an appetite for war as has been familiar, within the century, in many lands.

This may be denied, by foreign critics; or at any rate be explained, if the fact be admitted, by our isolation from other states, by our occupation in peaceful labors, which have left no room for martial enterprise, perhaps by an alleged want in us of that chivalric and high-pitched spirit, which is gladdened by danger and which welcomes the fray. I do not think the explanation sufficient, the analysis just .

This people was trained to military effort, from its beginning. It had in it the blood of Saxon and Norman, neither of whom was afraid of war; the very same blood which a few years after was poured out like water at Marston Moor, and Naseby, and Dunbar. Ardor and fortitude were added to its spirit by those whose fathers had followed Coligni, by the children of those whom Alva and Parma could not conquer, or whom Gustavus had inspired with his intense paramount will. With savages in the woods, and the gray wolf prowling around its cabins, the hand of this people was from the first as familiar with the gunstock as with mattock or plough; and it spent more time, in proportion to its leisure, it spent more life, in proportion to its numbers, from 1607 to 1776, in protecting itself against violent assault than was spent by France, the most martial of kingdoms, on all the bloody fields of Europe.

Then came the Revolution, with its years of war, and its crowning success, to intensify, and almost to consecrate this spirit, and to give it distribution; while, from that time, the nation has been taken into its substance abounding elements from all the fighting peoples of the earth. The Irishman, who is never so entirely himself as when the battle-storm hurtles around him; the Frenchman, who says “After you Gentlemen,” before the infernal fire of Fontenoy ; the German, whose irresistible tread the world lately heard at Sadowa and Sedan —these have been entering representatives of two of them entering by millions, into the Republic. If any nation, therefore, should have a fierce and martial temper, this is the one. If any people should keep its peaceful neighbors in fear, lest its aggression should smite their homes, it is a people born, and trained, and replenished like this, admitting no rule but its own will, and conscious of a strength whose annual increase makes arithmetic pant.

What has been the fact? Lay out of sight that late civil war which could not be averted, when once it had been threatened, except by the sacrifice of the government itself, and a wholly unparalleled public suicide, and how much of war with foreign powers has the century seen? There has been a frequent crackle of musketry along the frontiers, as Indian tribes, which refused to be civilized, have slowly and fiercely retreated toward the West. There was one war declared against Tripoli, in 1801, when the Republic took by the throat the African pirates to whom Europe paid tribute, and when the gallantry of the Preble and Decatur gave early distinction to our navy. There was a war declared against England, in 1812, when our seamen had been taken from under our flag, from the decks of our national ships, and our commerce had been practically swept from the seas. There was a war affirmed already to exist in Mexico, in 1846, entered into by surprise, never formally declared, against which the moral sentiment of the nation rose widely in revolt, but which in its result added largely to our territory, opened to us California treasures, and wrote the names of Buena Vista and Monterey on our short annals.

That has been our military history; and if a People, as powerful and as proud, has anywhere been more peaceable also, in the last hundred years, the strictest research fails to find it. Smarting with the injury done us by England during the crisis of our national peril, in spite of the remonstrances presented through that distinguished citizen who should have been your orator to-day—while hostile taunts had incensed our people, while burning ships had exasperated commerce, and while what looked like artful evasions had made statesmen indignant —with a half-million men who had hardly yet laid down their arms, with a navy never before so vast, or so fitted for service— when a war with England would have had the force of passion behind it, and would at any rate have shown to the world that the nation respects its starry flag, and means to have it secure on the seas—we referred all differences to arbitration, appointed commissioners, tried the cause at Geneva, with advocates, not with armies, and got a prompt and ample verdict . If Canada now lay next to Yorkshire it would not be safer from armed incursion than it is when divided by only a custom-house from all the strength of this Republic

The fact is apparent, and the reason not less so. A monarchy, just as it is despotic, finds incitement to war; for preoccupation of the popular mind; to gratify nobles, officers, the army; for historic renown. An intelligent Republic hates war, and shuns it. It counts standing armies a curse only second to an annual pestilence. It wants no glory but from growth. It delights itself in arts of peace, seeks social enjoyment and increase of possessions, and feels instinctively that, like Israel of old, “its strength is to sit still.” It cannot bear to miss the husbandman from the fields, the citizen from the town, the house-father from the home, the worshipper from the church. To change or shape other people’s institutions is no part of its business. To force them to accept its scheme of government would simply contradict and nullify its charter. Except, then, when it is startled into passion by the cry of a suffering under oppression which stirs its pulses into tumult, or when it is assailed in its own rights, citizens, property, it will not go to war; nor even then, if diplomacy can find a remedy for the wrong. “Millions for defence,” said (Jotesworth Pinckney to the French Directory, when Talleyrand in their name had threatened him with war, “but not a cent for tribute.” He might have added, “and not a dollar for aggressive strife.”

It will never be safe to insult such a nation, or to outrage its citizens; for the reddest blood is in its veins, and some Captain Ingraham may always appear, to lay his little sloop of war along-side the offending frigate, with shotted guns, and a peremptory summons. There is a way to make powder inexplosive; but, treat it chemically how you will, the dynamite will not stand many blows of the hammer. The detonating tendency is too permanent in it. But if left to itself, such a People will be peaceful, as ours has been. It will foster peace among the nations. It will tend to dissolve great permanent armaments, as the light conquers ice, and summer sunshine breaks the glacier which a hundred trip-hammers could only scar. The longer it continues, the more widely and effectively its influence spreads, the more will its benign example hasten the day, so long foretold, so surely coming, when

The war-drum throbs no longer, and the battle-flags are furled.
In the Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World.

Mr. President: Fellow-Citizens:—To an extent too great for your patience, but with a rapid incompleteness that is only too evident as we match it with the theme, I have outlined before you some of the reasons why we have right to commemorate the day whose hundredth anniversary has brought us together, and why the paper then adopted has interest and importance not only for us, but for all the advancing sons of men. Thank God that he who framed the Declaration, and he who was its foremost champion, both lived to see the nation they had shaped growing to greatness, and to die together, in that marvelous coincidence, on its semi-centennial! The fifty years which have passed since then have only still further honored their work. Mr. Adams was mistaken in the day which he named as the one to be most fondly remembered. It was not that on which Independence of the empire of Great Britain was formally resolved. It was that on which the reasons were given which justified the act, and the principles were announced which made it of secular significance to mankind. But he would have been absolutely right in saying of the fourth day what he did say of the second: it “will be the most remarkable epoch in the history of America; to be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival, commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God, from one end of the continent to the other.”

It will not be forgotten, in the land or in the earth, until the stars have fallen from their poise; or until our vivid morningstar of Republican liberty, not losing its luster, has seen its special brightness fade in the ampler effulgence of a freedom universal!

But while we rejoice in that which is past, and gladly recognize the vast organific mystery of life -which was in the Declaration, the plans of Providence which slowly and silently, but with ceaseless progression, had led the way to it, the immense and enduring results of good which from it have flowed, let us not forget the duty which always equals privilege, and that of peoples,, as well as of persons, to whomsoever much is given, shall only therefore the more be required. Let us consecrate our selves, each one of us, here, to the further duties which wait to be fulfilled, to the work which shall consummate the great work of the Fathers!

From scanty soils come richest grapes, and on severe and rocky slopes the trees are often of toughest fibre The wines of Rudesheim and Johannesburg cannot be grown in the fatness of gardens, and the cedars of Lebanon disdain the levels of marsh and meadow. So a heroism is sometimes native to penury which luxury enervates, and the great resolution which sprang up in the blast, and blossomed under inclement skies, may lose its shapely and steadfast strength when the air is all of summer softness. In exuberant resources is to be the coming American peril; in a swiftly increasing luxury of life. The old humility, hardihood, patience, are too likely too be lost when material success again opens, as it will, all avenues to wealth, and when its brilliant prizes solicit, as again they will, the national spirit.

Be it ours to endeavor that that temper of the Fathers which was nobler than their work shall live in the children, and exalt to its tone their coming career; that political intelligence, patriotic devotion, a reverent spirit toward Him who is above, an exulting expectation of the future of the “World, and a sense of our relation to it, shall bs, as of old, essential forces in our public life; that education and religion keep step all the time with the Nation’s advance, and the School and the Church be always at home wherever its flag shakes out its folds. In a spirit worthy the memories of the Past let us set ourselves to accomplish the tasks which, in the sphere of national politics, still await completion. “We burn the sunshine of other years, when we ignite the wood or coal upon our hearths. “We enter a privilege which ages have secured, in our daily enjoyment of political freedom. While the kindling glow irradiates our homes, let it shed its luster on our spirit, and quicken it for its further work.

Let us fight against the tendency of educated men to reserve themselves from politics, remembering that no other form of human activity is so grand or effective as that which affects, first the character, and then the revelation of character in the government, of a great and free People. Let us make religious dissension here, as a force in politics, as absurd as witchcraft.(13) Let party names be nothing to us, in comparison with that costly and proud inheritance of liberty and of law, which parties exist to conserve and enlarge, which any party will have here to maintain if it would not be buried, at the next cross-roads, with a stake through its breast. Let us seek the unity of all sections of the Republic, through the prevalence in all of mutual respect, through the assurance in all of local freedom, through the mastery in all of that supreme spirit which flashed from the lips of Patrick Henry, when he said, in the first Continental Congress, “I am not a Virginian, but an American.” Let us take care that labor maintains its ancient place of privilege and honor, and that industry has no fetters imposed, of legal restraint or of social discredit, to hinder its work or to lessen its wage. Let us turn, and overturn, in public discussion, in political change, till we secure a Civil Service, honorable, intelligent, and worthy of the land, in which capable integrity, not partisan zeal, shall be the condition of each public trust; and let us resolve that whatever it may cost, of labor and of patience, of sharper economy and of general sacrifice, it shall come to pass that wherever American labor toils, wherever American enterprise plans, wherever American commerce reaches, thither again shall go as of old the country’s coin—the American Eagle, with the encircling stars and golden plumes! In a word, Fellow-Citizens, the moral life of the nation being ever renewed, all advancement and timely reform will come as comes the burgeoning of the tree from the secret force which fills its veins. Let us each of us live, then, in the blessing and the duty of our great citizenship, as those who are conscious of unreckoned indebtedness to a heroic and prescient Past:—the grand and solemn lineage of whose freedom runs back beyond Bunker Hill or the Mayflower, runs back beyond muniments and memories of men, and has the majesty of far centuries on it! Let us live as those for whom God hid a continent from the world, till He could open all its scope to the freedom and faith of gathered peoples, from many lands, to be a nation to His honor and praise! Let us live as those to whom He commits the magnificent trust of blessing peoples many and far, by the truths which He has made our life, and by the history which He helps us to accomplish.

Such relation to a Past ennobles this transient and vanishing life. Such a power of influence on the distant and the Future, is the supremest terrestrial privilege. It is ours if we will, in the mystery of that spirit, which has an immortal and a ubiquitous life. “With the swifter instruments now in our hands, with the land compacted into one immense embracing home, with the world opened to the interchange of thought, and thrilling with the hopes that now animate its life, each American citizen has superb opportunity to make his influence felt afar, and felt for long!

Let us not be unmindful of this ultimate and inspiring lesson of the hour! By all the memories of the Past, by all the impulse of the Present, by the noblest instincts of our own souls, by the touch of His sovereign spirit upon us, God make us faithful to the work, and to Him! that so not only this city may abide, in long and bright tranquility of peace, when our eyes have shut forever on street, and spire, and populous square; that so the land, in all its future, may reflect an influence from this anniversary; and that, when another century has passed, the sun which then ascends the heavens may look on a world advanced and illumined beyond our thought, and here may behold the same great Nation, born of struggle, baptized into liberty, and in its second terrific trial purchased by blood, then expanded and multiplied till all the land blooms at its touch, and still one in its life, because still pacific, Christian, free!

Footnotes:
(1) Te Deum also known as Ambrosian Hymn or A Song of the Church is an early Christian hymn of praise, joy and thanksgiving.
O God, we praise Thee, and acknowledge Thee to be the supreme Lord.
Everlasting Father, all the earth worships Thee.
All the Angels, the heavens and all angelic powers,
All the Cherubim and Seraphim, continuously cry to Thee:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
The glorious choir of the Apostles,
The wonderful company of Prophets,
The white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Holy Church throughout the world acknowledges Thee:
The Father of infinite Majesty;
Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When Thou tookest it upon Thyself to deliver man,
Thou didst not disdain the Virgin’s womb.
Having overcome the sting of death, Thou opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou willst come to be our Judge.
We, therefore, beg Thee to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy
Precious Blood.
Let them be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.
Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thy inheritance!
Govern them, and raise them up forever.
Every day we thank Thee.
And we praise Thy Name forever, yes, forever and ever.
O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.
O Lord, in Thee I have put my trust; let me never be put to shame.

(2) The Hongs were major business houses in Canton, China and later Hong Kong with significant influence on patterns of consumerism, trade, manufacturing and other key areas of the economy. They were originally led by Howqua as head of the cohong

(3) May 15, A.D. 1213.
(4)  “Quant a ceux qui se tronvaient du cOte des barons, il n’est ni nccessaire ni possible de les enumerer, puisque toute la noblesse d’Angletree r6unie en un seul corps, ne pouvait tomber sous le ealcul. Lorsque les pretentions des revoltes eurent ete debattues, le roi Jean, comprenunt son inf6riorite vis-a-vis des forces de ses barons, accorda sans resistance les lois et libertes qn’on lui demandait, et les conflrma par la cbarte.”
Chronique de Matt. Paris, trad, par A. Huillard Breholles. Tome Troisieme, pp. C, 7.
(5) Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, Charles L, 1628-9.
Rushworth’s Hist. Coll. Charles I., 625.
It is rather remarkable that neither Hume, Clarendon, Hallam, De Lolme, nor Macaulay, mentions this date, though nil recognize the capital importance of the event. It does not appear in even Knight’s Popular History of England. Miss Aikin, in her Memoirs of the Court of Charles I., gives it as June 8, [Vol. I, 216 ]; and Chambers’ Encyclopaedia, which ought to be careful and accurate in regard to the dates of events in English history, says, under the title “Petition of Rights:’ “At length, on both Houses of Parliament insisting on a fuller answer, he pronounced an unqualified assent in the usual form of words, – Soi’ fait comme il est d6sirj,’ on the 26th of June, 1628.”‘ The same statement is repeated in the latest Revised Edition of that Encyclopaedia. Lingard gives the date correctly.
(6) Welwood’s Memorials, quoted in Forster’s Life of Pym, p. 62.
(7) Essay on Schiller. Essays: Vol. II, p. 301.
(8) Works, Vol I p. 125.
(9)  Ipse autem rex, non debet esse sub homine, sed sub Deo et sub Lege, quia Lex facit regent. Attribuat igitur rex Legi quod Lex attribuit ei, videlicet dominationem et potestatem, non est enim rex ubi domiuatur voluntas et non Lex De Leg, et Cons. Angliae; Lib. I., chap 8, P. 5.
Rex autem habet superiorem, Deum. Item, Legem, per quam factus est rex. Item, curiam suam, videlicet comites, Barones, quia, comites dicuntur quasi socii regis, et qui habet socium habet magiatrum; et ideo si rex fuerit sine fraeno, i. e sine Lege, debent ei fraenum ponere; etc. Lib. II., chap. 16, P. 3.
The following is still more explicit: “As the head of a body natural cannot change its nerves and sinews, cannot deny to the several parts their proper energy, their due proportion and ailment of blood; neither can a King, who is the head of a body politic, change the laws thereof, nor take from the people what is theirs by right, against their consent. For he is appointed to protect his subjects in their lives, properties, and laws; for this very end and purpose he has the delegation of power from the people, and he has no just claim to any other power but this.” Sir John Fortescue’s Treatise, De Laudibus Legum Angliae, c. 9, (about A. D. 1470,) quoted by Hallam, Mid. Ages, chap. VIII., part III
(10) Speech of October 31, 1776: “The House divided on the Amendment. Yeas, 87; nays, 242.”
(11)  Rulers are no more than attorneys, agents, trustees, for the people, and if the cause, the interest and trust, is insidiously betrayed, or wantonly trifled away, the people have a right to revoke the authority that they themselves have deputed, and to constitute abler and better agents, attorneys, and trustees. —John Adams. Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law; 1766. Works : Vol. III, pp. 456-7.
(12) Vol. VIII., p. 473
(13) Cromwell in sometimes considered a bigot. His rule on this subject is therefore the more worthy of record: “Sir, the State, in choosing men to serve it, takes no notice of their opinions; if they be willing faithfully to serve it, that satisfies. Take heed of being sharp, or too easily sharpened by others, against those to whom you can object little, but that they square not with you in every opinion concerning matters of religion. If there be any other offence to be charged upon him, that must, in a judicial way, receive determination.”—Letter to Major-General Crawford, 10th March, 1643.
Earls of Albemarle, Arundel, Gloucester, Hereford, Norfolk
See also:Christianity and the Founding of the United States the Simple Truth
The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation
Wide Spread And Growing Corruption In The Public Service Of The States And Nation
THE FIRST CENTURY OF THE REPUBLIC by Judge Isaac W Smith 1876
THE PERPETUITY OF THE REPUBLIC by Joseph Kidder July 4th 1876
Open Letter to ALL Politicians and Bureaucrats, we’re coming for you
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English so even Politicians, Lawyers and Bureaucrats can understand)
THE SOURCE AND SECURITY OF AMERICAN FREEDOM AND PROGRESS by Courtlandt Parker 1876 
THE DESTINY OF THE REPUBLIC by Lewis W. Clark 1876 New Hampshire
THE COST OF POPULAR LIBERTY by Brooks Adams July 4th 1876
The Practical Advance Of Human Freedom Under The Trumpet Call Made In 1776 by Charles F Adams
THE GRAND MISSION OF AMERICA by Joseph H. Twitchell, July 4, 1876
 

Open Letter to ALL Politicians and Bureaucrats, we’re coming for you

Abuse of Power

Wide Spread And Growing Corruption In The Public Service Of The States And Nation

“When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation

Letter written to a Senator

Washington , DC , 20510

Dear Senator

I have tried to live by the rules my entire life.  It was my brothers who instilled in me those virtues they felt important – honesty, duty, patriotism and obeying the laws of God and of our various governments.They and my husband have served our country, paid our taxes, worked hard, volunteered and donated my fair share of money, time and artifacts.

Today, as I approach my 68th birthday, I am heart-broken when I look at my country and my government. I shall only point out a very few things abysmally wrong which you can multiply by a thousand fold. I have calculated that all the money I have paid in income taxes my entire life cannot even keep the Senate barbershop open for one year! Only Heaven and a few tight-lipped actuarial types know what the Senate dining room costs the taxpayers. So please, enjoy your haircuts and meals on us.

Last year, the president spent an estimated 1.4 $billion on himself and his family. The vice president spends $millions on hotels. They have had 8 vacations so far this year! And our House of Representatives and Senate have become America’s answer to the Saudi royal family. You have become the “perfumed princes and princesses” of our country.

In the middle of the night, you voted in the Affordable Health Care Act, a.k.a. “Obama Care,” a bill which no more than a handful of senators or representatives read more than several paragraphs, crammed it down our throats, and then promptly exempted yourselves from it substituting  your own taxpayer-subsidized golden health care insurance.

You live exceedingly well, eat and drink as well as the “one percenters,” consistently vote yourselves perks and pay raises while making 3.5 times the average U.S. individual income, and give up nothing while you (as well as the president and veep) ask us to sacrifice due to sequestration (for which, of course, you plan to blame the Republicans, anyway).

You understand very well the only two rules you need to know – (1) How to get elected, and (2) How to get re-elected. And you do this with the aid of an eagerly willing and partisan press, speeches permeated with a certain economy of truth, and by buying the votes of the greedy, the ill-informed and under-educated citizens (and non-citizens, too, many of whom do vote) who are looking for a handout rather than a job. Your so-called “safety net” has become a hammock for the lazy. And, what is it now, about 49 or 50 million on food stamps – pretty much all Democrat voters – and the program is absolutely rife with fraud with absolutely no congressional oversight?

I would offer that you are not entirely to blame. What changed you is the seductive environment of power in which you have immersed yourselves. It is the nature of both houses of Congress which requires you to subordinate your virtue in order to get anything done until you have achieved a leadership role. To paraphrase President Reagan, it appears that the second oldest profession (politics), bears a remarkably strong resemblance to the oldest.

As the hirsute first Baron John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (1834 – 1902), English historian and moralist, so aptly and accurately stated, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”  I’m only guessing that this applies to the female sex as well. Tell me, is there a more corrupt entity in this country than Congress?

While we middle class people continue to struggle, our government becomes less and less transparent, more and more bureaucratic, and ever so much more dictatorial, using Czars and Secretaries to tell us (just to mention a very few) what kind of light bulbs we must purchase, how much soda or hamburgers we can eat, what cars we can drive, gasoline to use, and what health care we must buy. Countless thousands of pages of regulations strangle our businesses costing the consumer more and more every day.

The chances of you reading this letter are practically zero as your staff will not pass it on, but with a little luck, a form letter response might be generated by them with an auto signature applied, hoping we will believe that you, our senator or representative, have heard us and actually care.  This letter will, however, go on line where many others will have the chance to read one person’s opinion, rightly or wrongly, about this government, its administration and its senators and representatives.

I only hope that occasionally you might quietly thank the taxpayer for all the generous entitlements which you have voted yourselves, for which, by law, we must pay, unless, of course, it just goes on the $17 trillion national debt for which your children and ours, and your grandchildren and ours, ad infinitum, must eventually try to pick up the tab.
My final thoughts are that it must take a person who has either lost his or her soul, or conscience, or both, to seek re-election and continue to destroy this country I deeply love and put it so far in debt that we will never pay it off while your lot improves by the minute, because of your power. For you, Senator, will never stand up to the rascals in your House who constantly deceive the American people. And that, my dear Senator, is how power has corrupted you and the entire Congress. The only answer to clean up this cesspool is term limits. This, of course, will kill the goose that lays your golden eggs. And woe be to him (or her) who would dare to bring it up.

Sincerely,
Kathleen M. Sadowski

Wide Spread And Growing Corruption In The Public Service Of The States And Nation

Justice of Massachusetts Supreme Court and United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts

Justice of Massachusetts Supreme Court and United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts

THE NEW CENTURY AN ABSTRACT FROM BENJAMIN FRANKLIN THOMAS ADDRESS. DELIVERED AT THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION, MECHANICS HALL, WORCESTER, MASS., JULY 4th, 1876.

With what emotions, with what convictions, did we hail the dawning light of the new century! Were the wings of the morning those of the angel of death or of life, of despair or of hope? I answer for myself, of life and of hope; nay, more, of faith and of trust. We have causes for anxiety and watchfulness, none for despair. The evils of the times are not incurable, and the remedies, simple and efficient are in our hands.

Is there not, I am asked, wide-spread and growing corruption in the public service of States and nation? There is corruption, but not, I think, increasing—indeed we have reason to hope it is already checked in its progress; nor are the causes of the evil permanent in their nature, save that we always hold our “treasures in earthen vessels.”

We have passed through a period of expenditure almost without limit, and, therefore, of infinite temptations. Wars, it would seem, especially civil wars, loosen the moral ties of society. “The state of man suffers, then, the nature of an insurrection.” Civil convulsions always brings more or less bad men to the surface, and some are still afloat—men whose patriotism, not exhausted in contracts for effete muskets, spavined horses and rotten ships, are ready and waiting for like service. In the feverish delirious haste to get rich which a currency of indefinite expansion always excites, we find another cause; though this has disastrous results, more direct and palpable, in unsettling values and the foundations of public and private faith, trust and confidence.

The evils are curable, but not by noise of words, not by sonorous resolutions without meaning, or only the meaning the simple reader injects into them.

We may put an end to corruption by leading ourselves honest lives, by refusing to put any man into a public trust, no matter what his qualifications or past services, who is corrupt, or suffers himself to walk on the brink, or winks at those who are wading in; by using the old-fashioned prescriptions for rulers: “Men of truth, hating covetousness.” “Thou shalt take no gift.” “Ye shall not be afraid of the face of man.”

The evils of a vile currency can be remedied only by return to the path of the Constitution and of commercial integrity. The principles are simple and elementary. The “lawful money” of the United States is the coin of the United States, or foreign coin whose value has been regulated by Congress: that is the constitutional doctrine. Money is a thing of intrinsic value, and the standard and measure of value; that is the economical doctrine.

A promise to pay a dollar is not a dollar: that is the doctrine of morality and common sense. The difficulty with the legal tender law was and is that it sought to vitalize a falsehood, to make the shadow the substance, to sign the thing signified, the promise to pay, itself payment. Great as is the power of Congress, it cannot change the nature of things.

So long as the power is left, or assumed to be left, to make a promise to pay payment, there will be no permanent security.

One other cure of corruption is open to us,—the stamping out of the doctrine that public trusts are the spoils of partisan victory. The higher councils may perhaps be changed. An administration cannot be well conducted with a cabinet, or other officers in confidential relations, opposed to its policy; but no such reason for change applies to ninety-nine hundredths of the offices now exposed in the market as rewards for partisan service. Other than in these evils I fail to see proofs of the degeneracy of the times.

Whether the men and women of this generation had fallen from the standard of their fathers and mothers, we had satisfactory evidence in the late war, I care not to dwell upon its origin or to revive its memories. The seceding States reaped as they had sown; having sown to the wind, they reaped the whirlwind. Against what was to them the most beneficent of governments, known and felt only in its blessings, they waged, it seemed to us, causeless war, for their claim to extend slavery into the new States and Territories never had solid ground of law or policy or humanity to rest upon; they struck at the flag in which were enfolded our most precious hopes for ourselves and for mankind. They could not expect a great nation to be so false to duty as not to defend, at every cost, its integrity and life.

But while, as matter of good sense and logic, the question seemed to us so plain a one, that the Union meant nothing if a State might at its election withdraw from it; that under the Articles of Confederation the Union had been made perpetual; that the Constitution was adapted to form a more “perfect union than that of the Confederation, more comprehensive, direct, and efficient in power, and not less durable in time; that there was no word in it looking to separation; that it had careful provisions for its amendment, none for its abrogation; capacity for expansion, none for contraction; a door for new States to come in, none for old or new to go out; we should find that, after all, upon the question of legal construction, learned and philosophical statesmen had reached a different conclusion; we should find, also, what as students of human nature we should be surprised not to find, that the opinions of men on this question had, at different times and in different sections of the country, been more or less molded, biased and warped by the effects, or supposed effects, which the policy of the central power had on the material interests and institutions of the States. Each examination, not impairing the strength of our convictions, might chasten our pride.

But aside from the logic, men must be assumed to be honest, however misguided, who are ready to die for the faith that is in them.

But not dwelling upon causes, but comparing the conduct of the war with that of the Revolution, I do not hesitate to say that in the loyalty and devotion of the people to country; in the readiness to sacrifice property, health and life for her safety; in the temper and spirit in which the war was carried on; in the supply of resources to the army, men as well as money; in the blessed ministrations of women to the sick, wounded or dying soldier; in the courage and pluck evinced on both sides; in the magnanimity and forbearance of the victors, the history of the late war shows no touch of degeneracy, shows, indeed, a century of progress.

If its peculations and corruptions were more conspicuous, it was because of the vaster amounts expended, and the vastly greater opportunities and temptations to avarice and fraud. The recently published letters of Col. Pickering furnish additional evidence of the frauds and peculations in the supplies to the armies of the Revolution, and of the neglect of the states to provide food and clothing for the soldiers, when many of the people, for whose liberties they were struggling, were living in comparative ease and luxury. The world moves.

There is one criterion of which I cannot forbear to speak, the conduct of the soldiers of the late war upon the return of peace. How quietly and contentedly they came back from the excitements of the battle-field and camp to the quiet of home life, and to all the duties of citizenship; with a coat, perhaps, where one sleeve was useless, with a leg that had a crutch for a comrade, but with the heart always in the right place!

The burdens of the war are yet with us; the vast debt created these heavy taxes, consuming the very seed of future harvests; the vacant seats at the fireside. Fifteen years and half a generation of men have passed away since the conflict of opinion ripened into the conflict of arms. They have been years of terrible anxiety and of the sickness of hope deferred; yet if their record could be blotted from the book of life, if the grave could give up its noble dead, and all the waste spots, moral and material, resume the verdure of the spring-time, no one of us would return to the state of things in 1860, with the curse of slavery hanging over us and the fires of discord smouldering beneath us. The root of alienation, bitterness, and hate has been wrenched out, and henceforth union and peace are at least possible.

But there is left to us a great and solemn trust,—four millions of people, whose civil status has been fixed by the organic law, but whose education and training for the duties of citizenship and all the higher duties of life, at whatever cost, is demanded alike by humanity, our sense of justice, and our sense of safety.

We have no right, and no cause, to despair of the republic.

The elements of material prosperity are all with us; this magnificent country, resonant with the murmurs of two oceans, with every variety of soil climate, and production to satisfy the the tastes or wants of man; with its millions of acres of new lands beckoning for the plough and spade; with its mountains of coal and iron and copper, and its veins of silver and gold waiting like Encaladus to be delivered; its lakes, inland seas, its rivers the highways of nations. We have .bound its most distant parts together with bands of iron and steel; we send the lightnings over it “that they may go, and say unto us, Here we are.”

We have all the tools of the industries, and arts which the cunning brain of man has invented and his supple fingers learned to use, and abundant capital, the reserved fruits of labor, seeking a chance for planting and increase.

The means of intellectual growth are with us. We have in most of the States systems of education opening to every child the paths to knowledge and to goodness; destined, we hope, to be universal. He who in our day has learned to read in his mother-tongue may be said to have all knowledge for his empire.

And our laws, though by no means perfect, were never so wise, equal, and just as now, never so infused with the principles of natural justice and equity, nor their administration more intelligent, upright, less a respecter of persons, than today. Indeed, in no department of human thought and activity has there been in the last century more intelligent progress than in our jurisprudence.

Whatever may be said of creeds and formulas of faith, there never was so much practical Christianity as now; as to wealth, so large a sense of stewardship; as to labor, so high a recognition of its rights and dignity; into the wounds of suffering humanity never the pouring of so much oil and wine; never was man as man, or woman as woman, of such worth as today.

In spite of criticism we have yet the example and inspiration of that life in which the human and the divine were blended into one.

In spite of philosophy, God yet sits serenely on his throne, His watchful providence over us, His almighty arm beneath us and upholding us.

For an hundred years this nation, having in trust the largest hopes of freedom and humanity, has endured. There have been whirlwind and tempest, it has ridden through them, bending only, as Landor says, the oak bends before the passing wind, to rise again in its majesty and in its strength. It has come out of the fiery furnace of civil war, its seemingly mortal plague-spot cauterized and burnt out, leaving for us today a Republic capable of almost infinite expansion, in which central power may be reconciled with local independence, and the largest liberty with the firmest order.

Staunch, with every sail set, her flag with no star erased, this goodly Ship of State floats on the bosom of the new century.

In her we “have garnered up our hearts where we must either live or bear no life.”

And now, God of our fathers, what wait we for but thy blessing? Let thy breath fill her sails, thy presence be her sunshine. If darkness and the tempest come, give her, as of old, pilots that can weather the storm.

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. ~ King Solomon

See also: Corruption In Politics and Society: Corrupters Of America! by John Hancock 1770
Political Evils and the Remedy for them by Noah Webster 1834
A REPUBLIC! A LIVING BREATHING CONSTITUTION DEFINED! by Alphonse De Lamartine 1790-1869
A PRAYER FOR THE NATION by Rev. William Bacon Stevens July 4, 1876
AMERICA! FAIREST OF FREEDOM’S DAUGHTERS by Jeremiah E. Rankin 1828-1903
NO SLAVE BENEATH THE FLAG by George Lansing Taylor 1835-1903
THE DUTY AND VALUE OF PATRIOTISM by John Ireland 1894
Founders & forefathers pledged their Sacred Honor, what did they mean?
CHRISTIANITY AS A POLITICAL FORCE by Senator John A. Dix 1798-1879

Obamanomics: Democrat economic plan

Obamanomics: Democrat economic plan; put as many people out of work, and on the government dole as possible. So you can then, heavily tax those who still have income, to then give subsistence money, to all the people you put out of work! Simple and smart, right?

Obamanomics: The Final Nail In the Discredited Keynesian Coffin

Did Buffett Bet Against Obamanomics? Liberal Hypocrisy at its best

Obamanomics: Fewer jobs, more welfare

Remember Cash for Clunkers! The “Party of Treason” at work!

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) released calculations that show the economic failure of the “Cash for Clunkers” government sponsored program.

ATR President Grover Norquist said, “This is nothing more than the President using the guise of ‘green energy’ to cover-up yet another massive multi-billion dollar spending project. When are these people going to learn throwing money at the economy is not the answer?”

The analysis on the “Cash for Clunkers” program is below and can also be found on the web at www.atr.org.

Interesting analysis …  Oil field math by Stephen Wilkinson, CompleteRX Ltd

From the book “Totally Pissed Off: At Our Corrupt Progressive Unconstitutional Government”  By Robert “Bobeye” Inabinette.

“A clunker that travels 12,000 miles a year at 15 mpg uses 800 gallons of gas a year. A new vehicle that travels 12,000 miles a year at 25 mpg uses 480 gallons of gas a year.  So, the average Cash for Clunkers transaction reduced gasoline consumption by 320 gallons per year. The government claims 700,000 clunkers have been replaced so that is 224 million gallons saved per year.  That equates to a bit over 5 million barrels of oil. 5 million barrels is about 5 hours worth of US consumption. More importantly, 5 million barrels of oil at $70 per barrel costs about $350 million dollars.  So, the government paid $3 billion of our tax dollars to save $350 million. They spent $8.57 for every $1.00 they saved.

I’m pretty sure they will do a much better job with our health care though.”

Obama Tax Increases on the Middle Class

Democrats Have Increased Taxes by $670 Billion and Counting information from before 2010 election

Commitee on Ways & Means Republicans Ranking Member Dave Camp Report from April 14th, 2010 Go here to download your own copy of the report

Information contained in the report follows:

List Includes 14 Tax Hikes Totaling Over $316 Billion on Middle Class Families
April 14, 2010

Since January of 2009, President Obama and Congressional Democrats have enacted into law gross tax increases totaling more than $670 billion, or more than $2,100 for every man, woman and child in the United States. The list of tax increases includes at least 14 violations of the President’s pledge not to raise taxes on Americans earning less than $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for married couples.

LEGISLATION: Health Care Bill, Public Law 111-148, Public Law 111-152

TAX INCREASES ENACTED   followed by AMOUNT IN BILLIONS OVER 10 YEARS

New tax on individuals who do not purchase government-approved health insurance * $17.0

New tax on employers who fail to fully comply with government health insurance mandates* $52.0

New 40% excise tax on certain high‐cost health plans * $32.0

New ban on the purchase of over‐the‐counter drugs using funds from FSAs, HSAs and HRAs* $5.0

Increase the Medicare tax on wages and self‐employment income by 0.9% and impose a new 3.8% surtax on certain investment income (for individuals over $200,000 and couples over $250,000) $210.2

Increase, from 7.5% to 10% of income, the threshold after which individuals can deduct out of pocket medical expenses* $15.2

Impose a new $2,500 annual cap on FSA contributions * $13.0

New annual tax on health insurance * $60.1

New annual tax on brand name pharmaceuticals * $27.0

New 2.3% excise tax on certain medical devices * $20.0

New 10% tax on indoor UV tanning services * $2.7

New tax on insured and self‐insured health plans * $2.6

Double the penalty for non‐qualified HSA distributions * $1.4

Eliminate the deduction for expenses allocable to Medicare Part D subsidy $4.5

Limit the deduction for compensation to officers, employees and directors of certain health insurance providers $0.6

Require information reporting on payments to corporations $17.1

Impose additional requirements for section 501(c)(3) hospitals $0.4

Make “black liquor” ineligible for cellulosic biofuel producer credit $23.6

Codify economic substance doctrine and impose penalties for underpayments $4.5

Other revenue effects $60.3

LEGISLATION: SCHIP Public Law 111-3; Tobacco tax increase and expanded enforcement authority* $65.515 billion

LEGISLATION: “Stimulus” Public Law 111-5; Repeal guidance allowing certain taxpayers to claim losses of an acquired corporation $6.977 billion

LEGISLATION: UI Benefits, NOL Relief & Homebuyer Credit Public Law 111-92; Federal Unemployment surtaxes extended through June 2011 * $2.578 billion & Delay of rules to reduce the double taxation of worldwide American employers until 2018 (worldwide interest allocation) $20.123 billion

LEGISLATION: HIRE Act Public Law 111-147; Delay of rules to reduce the double taxation of worldwide American employers until 2021 (worldwide interest allocation) $5.948 billion

TOTAL = $670.341 BILLION AND COUNTING…
*VIOLATES PRESIDENT’S PLEDGE TO NOT INCREASE TAXES ON MIDDLE CLASS

Another of a continuing series of articles on taxes by Tea Party Patriot and Proud Hobbit, Robert Davis, 2011

Congressman Davy Crockett on “Spreading the wealth”

The public good is in nothing more essentially interested, than in the protection of every individual’s private rights. So great moreover is the regard of the law for private property, that it will not authorize the least violation of it; no, not even for the general good of the whole community.” – William Blackstone

“Not Yours to Give” Speech before the U.S. House of Representatives                 by Congressman David (Davy) Crockett

One day in the House of Representatives, a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The Speaker was just about to put the measure to question when Mr. Crockett arose:

“Mr. Speaker — I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this house, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him.

“Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and, if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.

“He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and of course, was lost.

“Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett gave this explanation:

“Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be one for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.

“The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly.

“I began: ‘Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and–‘

” ‘Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.’

“This was a sockdolager… I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

” ‘Well, Colonel, it is hardly worth-while to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intended by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest….But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.’

“I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any Constitutional question.

” ‘No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings in Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some suffers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?’

“Well, my friend, I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.’

” ‘It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be intrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any thing and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the suffers by contributing each one week’s pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditable; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitu- tion, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution. So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch it’s power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you..’

“I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go to talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, for the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him: Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I did not have sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.

“He laughingly replied: ‘Yes Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around this district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied that it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and perhaps, I may exert a little influence in that way.’

“If I don’t [said I] I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am earnest in what I say I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.

” ‘No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute to a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting up on Saturday week.. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.’

“Well, I will be here. but one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name.

” ‘My name is Bunce.’

“Not Horatio Bunce?

” ‘Yes.’

“Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before though you say you have seen me, but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend.

“It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

“At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before. Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before. I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him — no, that is not the word — I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times a year; and I will tell you sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian, lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

“But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted — at least, they all knew me. In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered up around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

“Fellow-citizens — I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only.

“I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

“And now, fellow-citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

“It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit for it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.

“He came upon the stand and said: ” ‘Fellow-citizens — It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.’

“He went down, and there went up from that crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.

“I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the reputation I have ever made, or shall ever make, as a member of Congress.

“Now, sir,” concluded Crockett, “you know why I made that speech yesterday. There is one thing now to which I wish to call to your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week’s pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men — men who think nothing of spending a week’s pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased — a debt which could not be paid by money — and the insignificance and worthlessness of money, particularly so insignificance a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.” David Crockett was born August 17, 1786 at Limestone (Greene County), Tennessee. He died March 06, 1836 as one of the brave Southerners defending the Alamo.

Crockett had settled in Franklin County, Tennessee in 1811. He served in the Creek War under Andrew Jackson. In 1821 and 1823 he was elected to the Tennessee legislature. In 1826 and 1828 he was elected to Congress. He was defeated in 1830 for his outspoken opposition to President Jackson’s Indian Bill – but was elected again in 1832.

In Washington, although his eccentricities of dress and manner excited comment, he was always popular on account of his shrewd common sense and homely wit; although generally favoring Jackson’s policy, he was entirely independent and refused to vote to please any party leader.

At the end of the congressional term, he joined the Texans in the war against Mexico, and in 1836 was one of the roughly 180 men who died defending the Alamo. Tradition has it that Crockett was one of only six survivors after the Mexicans took the fort, and that he and the others were taken out and executed by firing squad.

See liberals/progressives want government to take other peoples money to give to their pet projects. They are well known for their do as I say, not as I do attitude. It is a known fact that conservatives give much more to charity % to income than any liberal/progressive/statist does. If anyone doesn’t believe this I can provide the numbers. Liberals/progs/statist are only generous when they are being generous with your money, not their own!! There is nothing stopping the libs from paying more taxes on April 15th, the Government will except anything the libs want to give. Thing is the libs create tax breaks for themselves so that they have loopholes to get out of “paying their fair share”. Do not be fooled by their rhetoric they hate paying taxes just like everyone else, this is evidenced by all the tax cheats in democratic leaders!!

by Conservative Genealogist, Historian, Tea Party Patriot & Proud Hobbit, Robert Davis, 2011

History of the Federal Gas Tax

The gas tax was first imposed by the federal government in 1932, at a mere 1 cent per gallon. It has increased 10 times since President Herbert Hoover authorized the creation of such a tax to balance the budget. Drivers now pay 18.4 cents a gallon in the federal gas tax. Oil companies make 2 cents per gallon, compare that to the 18.4 cents the Federal Govt. gets, who are the greedy ones?

Here are the gas tax rates per gallon through the years, according to U.S. Department of Transportation and Congressional Research Service reports:

1 centJune 1932 through May 1933

Hoover authorized the first ever gas tax as a way to close an anticipated $2.1 billion federal deficit in the fiscal year 1932, a time of severe depression when the government saw revenue in steep decline.

According to the Congressional Research Service report The Federal Excise Tax on Gasoline and the Highway Trust Fund: A Short History by Louis Alan Talley, the government raised $124.9 million from the gas tax in fiscal year 1933, which represented 7.7 percent of the total Internal Revenue collection of $1.620 billion from all sources.

1.5 centsJune 1933 through December 1933

The National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933, signed by Hoover, extended the original gas tax and increased it to 1.5 cents.

1 centJanuary 1934 through June 1940

The Revenue Act of 1934 (fn.1) rescinded the half-cent gas tax increase.

1.5 centsJuly 1940 through October 1951

Congress raised the gas tax by half a cent in 1940, just before the United States entered World War II, to help boost national defense. It also made the gas tax permanent in 1941.

2 centsNovember 1951 through June 1956

The Revenue Act of 1951 (fn. 2) increased the gas tax to generate additional revenue after the Korean War began.

3 centsJuly 1956 through September 1959

The Highway Revenue Act of 1956 established the federal Highway Trust Fund to pay for the construction of an Interstate System, Talley wrote, as well as financing primary, secondary and urban routes. The gas tax was hiked to help generate revenue for the projects.

4 centsOctober 1959 through March 1983

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1959 (fn. 3) boosted the gas tax by 1 cent.

9 centsApril 1983 through December 1986

This kind blows away the myth that GOP are friends with big oil. In the largest single gas tax increase, President Ronald Reagan authorized a 5 cent hike in the rate spelled out in the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, “A proponent of “New Federalism,” President Reagan wanted to adjust the roles of Federal and State governments to give the States greater authority. His State of the Union Address in 1982 proposed to turn back most of the Federal-aid highway program, except the Interstate System, and all transit programs to the States.” (fn. 4) which helped to fund both highway construction and mass transit systems across the country. While Reagan raised taxes on things like gasoline, he dramatically reduced the income tax on all Americans. You could say he raised certain taxes so that everyone had, “skin in the game” as we hear politicians refer to income tax increases on tax payers including small business owners who make $200, 000.00 dollars a year and who already pay the majority of the federal income tax. (fn. 5) (fn.6)

9.1 centsJanuary 1987 through August 1990

The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 tacked on a tenth of a cent to help pay for repairing leaking underground storage tanks.

9 centsSeptember 1990 through November 1990

The Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund had reached its revenue goal for the year and the gas tax was reduced by a tenth of a cent.

14.1 centsDecember 1990 through September 1993

President George H. W. Bush‘s signature on the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, which was designed to help close the federal budget deficit, increased the gas tax by 5 cents. Half of the new gas tax revenue went to the Highway Trust Fund and the other went to deficit reduction, according to the Transportation Department.

18.4 centsOctober 1993 through December 1995

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, (fn.7) signed by President Bill Clinton, increased the gas tax by 4.3 cents to again reduce the federal deficit. None of the additional revenue was put into to the Highway Trust Fund, according to the Transportation Department.

18.3 centsJanuary 1996 through September 1997

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, also signed by Clinton, redirected revenue from the 1993 gas tax increase of 4.3 cents to the Highway Trust Fund. The gas tax dropped a tenth of a cent because the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund expired.

18.4 centsOctober 1997 through today

A tenth of a cent was tacked back onto the gas tax because the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund was reinstated. (fn. 8)

Footnotes:

1. From Tax Almanac Organization

2. Statement by President Truman on signing Revenue Tax act of 1951

3. From digital documents Interstate Highway System

4. Highway History: In Memory of Ronald Reagan

5. about 49% of Americans pay no income tax at all.

6. Fair tax proposal FAQ’s and homepage

7. from Meet the facts organization

8. Highway History from Federal Highway Administration