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When I shall be found, sir, in my place here in the senate, or elsewhere, to sneer at public merit, because it happened to spring up beyond the little limits of my own state and neighborhood; when I refuse, for any such cause, or for any cause, the homage due to American talent, to elevated patriotism, to sincere devotion to liberty and the country; or if I see an uncommon endowment of heaven—if I see extraordinary capacity and virtue in any son of the south—and if, moved by locak prejudice, or gangrened by state jealousy, I get up here to abate the tithe of a hair from his just character and just fame, may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!
Sir, let me recur to pleasing recollections_let me indulge in refreshing remembrances of the past—let me remind you that in early times no states cherished greater harmony, both of principle and of feeling, than Massachusetts and South Carolina. Would to God, that harmony might again return. Shoulder to shoulder they went through the revolution-hand in hand they stood round the administration of Washington, and felt his own great arm lean on them for support. Unkind feeling, if it exist, alienation and distrust are the growth, unnatural to such soils, of false principles since sown. They are weeds, the seeds of which that same great arm never scattered.
Mr. President, I shall enter on no encomium upon Massachusetts—she needs none. There she is—behold her and judge for yourselves. There is her history—the world knows it by heart. The past, at least, is secure. There is Boston, and Concord, and Lexington, and Bunker's Hill; and there they will remain for ever. The bones of her sons, fallen in the great struggle for independence, now lie mingled with the soil of every state, from New-England to Georgia; and there they will lie for ever.
And sir, where American liberty raised its first voice, and where its youth was nurtured and sustained, ihere it still lives, in the strength of its manhood, and full of its original spirit. If discord and disunion shall wound it—if party strife and blind ambition shall hawk at and tear it; if folly and madness, if uneasiness, under salutary and necessary restraint, shall succeed to separate it from that union, by which alone its existence is made sure, it will stand in the end, by the side of that cradle in which its infancy was rocked; it will stretch forth its arm with whatever of vigor it may still retain, over the friends who gather round it: and it will fall at last, if fall the proudest monuments of its own glory, and on the very spot of its origin.
In the structure of their characters ; in the course of their action; in the striking coincidences which marked their high career; in the lives and in the death of these illustrious men, and in that voice of admiration and gratitude which has since burst, with one accord, from the twelve millions of freemen who people these states, there is a moral sublimity which overwhelms the mind, and hushes all its powers into silent amazement.
The European, who should have heard the sound without apprehending the cause, would be apt to inquire,—“What is the meaning of all this? What have these men done to elicit this unanimous and splendid acclamation? Why has the whole American nation risen up, as one man, to do them honor, and offer to them this enthusiastic homage of the heart ? Were they mighty warriors, and was the peal that we have heard, the shout of victory? Were they great commanders, returning from their distant conquests, surrounded with the spoils of war, and was this the sound of their triumphal procession? Were they covered with martial glory in any form, and was this “the noisy wave of the multitude rolling back at their approach ?!” Nothing of all this : No; they were peaceful and aged patriots, who, having served their country together, through their long and useful lives, had now sunk together to the tomb. They had not fought battles ; but they had formed and moved the great machinery of which battles were only a small, and comparatively, trivial consequence.
They had not commanded armies; but they had commanded the master-springs of the nation, on which all its great political, as well as military movements, depended. By the wisdom and energy of their counsels, and by the potent mastery of their spirits, they had contributed pre-eminently to produce a mighty revolution, which has changed the aspect of the world. A revolution which, in one-half of that world, has already restored man to his "long lost liberty;" and government to its only legitimate object, the happiness of the people: and, on the other hemisphere, has thrown a light so strong, that even the darkness of despotism is beginning to receds. Compared with the solid glory of an achievement like this, what are battles, and what the pomp of war,
but the poor
and fleeting pageants of a theatre? What were the selfish and petty strides of Alexander, to conquer a little section of a savage world, compared with this generous, this magnificent advance towards the emancipation of the entire world!
And this, be it remembered, has been the fruit of intellectual exertion! The triumph of mind! What a proud testimony does it bear to the character of our nation, that it is able to make a proper estimate of services like these? That while, in other countries, the senseless mob fall down in stupid admiration, before the bloody wheels of the conqueror—even of the conqueror by accident—in this our people rise, with one accord, to pay their homage to intellect and virtue? What a cheering pledge does it give of the stability of our institutions, that while abroad, the yet benighted multitude are prostrating themselves before the idols which their own hands have fashioned into kings, here, in this land of the free, our people are every where starting up, with one impulse, to follow with their acclamations the ascending spirits of the great fathers of the republic! This is a spectircle of which we may be permitted to be proud. It honors our country no less than the illustrious dead. And could these great patriots speak to us from the tomb, they would tell us that they have more pleasure in the testimony which these honors bear to the character of their country, than in that which they bear to their individual services. They now see as they were seen, while in the body, and know the nature of the feeling from which these honors flow. It is love for love. It is the gratitude of an enlightened nation to the noblest order of benefactors. It is the only glory worth the aspiration of a generous spirit. Who would not prefer this living tomb in the hearts of his countrymen, to the proudest mausoleum that the genius of sculpture could erect !
Jefferson and Adams were great men by nature. Not great and eccentric minds “shot madly from their spheres” to affright the world and scatter pestilence in their course, but minds whose strong and steady lights, restrained within their proper orbits, by the happy poise of their characters, came to cheer and gladden a world that had been buried for ages in political night.They were heaven-called avengers of degraded man. They came to lift him to the station for which God had formed him, and to put to flight those idiot superstitions with which tyrants had contrived to inthrall his reason and his liberty. And that Being, who had sent them upon this mission, had fitted them, pre-eminently, for his glorious work. He filled their hearts with a love of country which burned strong within them, even in death. He gave them a power of understanding which no sophistry could baffle, no art elude ; and a moral heroism which no dangers could appall. Careless of themselves, reckless of all personal consequences, trampling under foot that petty ambition of office and honor, which constitutes the master-passion
of little minis, they bent all their mighty powers to the task for which they had been delegated—the freedom of their beloved country, and the restoration of fallen man. They felt that they were apostles of human liberty; and well did they fulfill their high commission. They rested not till they had accomplished their work at home, and given such an impulse to the great ocean of mind, that they saw the waves rolling on the farthest shore, before they were called to their reward. And then left the world, hand in hand, exulting as they rose, in the success of their labors.
ADDRESS IN BEHALF OF THE GREEKS.
The calamities of unhappy Greece are not only great, but without a parallel. Collect, my brethren, for a moment, the powers of your fancy, and fix them on that afflicted country. What a sad and revolting spectacle stands before you! The warrior repairs to the field of battle, not like his adversary, in " the pride and pomp, and circumstance of glorious war”—but in the deep miseries of poverty and consuming care: the matron and her lovely daughter are torn from the sanctuary of their home, driven into hopeless captivity, or forced into lonely deserts to subsist on acorns, and seek a shelter from the storm, in the caverns of the earth: the lisping infant, clinging with convulsive grasp to its flying mother, is overtaken by the savage Turk, and slaughtered without remorse ; a country once verdant with vines, and olives, and generous crops, is blasted by the breath of war, and left “without agriculture, without commerce,
and without arts :" the traces of a desolating foe are marked, not only on the site of lamented Scio, on the ramparts of Ipsara, Missolonghi, and the Acropolis; but in every city, and village, and hamlet, and portion of this devoted country. The winds which sweep along the fields, once blooming with groves, sacred to the muses, and over the ruins of temples erected for the arts and sciences, bear on their wings the sighs of expiring widows, and moans of vanquished heroes, and the beseechings of starving infants ! And do you not, in the view of such a picture, yield to pity ? Oh, can there be a heart so hard, as to remain unmoved by scenes so sad as these? No, exclaims the philanthropist: all—all I have, is at the service of this afflicted country!
And will not the scholar respond in the same notes? I am sure he will. There is not a living soul, who ever reveled on the creations of inspired fancy, or hung enchanted upon the
strains of oratory, or followed with swelling and delicious admiration the flowing periods of eloquence, or beheld the magic transformation of the chisel, or the enrapturing beauties of the pencil, who does not feel himself indebted to unhappy Greece. Oh Greece! Venerated and beloved Greece! Often have we, kneeling at thy shrine, rendered the homage of admiration to thy transcendent genius! It was thy maternal bosom that nourished him, whose immortal song has been the wonder of the world; him, whose voice shook the throne of Macedon, controlled the passions of fierce democracy, and perpetuated to the present moment the power and soul of eloquence ;-him who bodied forth forms of beauty from the rugged rock, and gave them, as it were, sentiment and feeling ;-hini whose moral science the virtuous still revere :-“For her seat is the bosom of God, and her voice the harmony of the world.”.
Say, then, ye men of letters—shall Greece be given up ?Shall the Turk still pollute the soil sanctified by the brightest genius ? desecrate the groves, the temples, and the porticoes, from which have issued living streams that have often laved and refreshed
your souls? extinguish the etherial fire which quickened the mighty minds of Burke, and Chatham, and Adams, and Henry? Oh, ye who boast of refined and elevated minds, prove I beseech you, the reality of your pretensions, by contributing to the redemption of a country, from whose brilliant genius you have derived your brightest ornaments.
But the contributions of men of letters will not suffice. I would, if possible, render the resources of heaven and earth tributary to amicted Greece. Permit me, then, to address the friends of freedom.
But for whom do I address them? For the high-born sons of Leonidas, of Themistocles, of Aristides, of Epaminondas !
And for what do I address them? For the emancipation of the Greeks.
Oh, ye friends of liberty! ye who have been nursed in the lap of freedom, and cradled in the storms of emancipation, will you not contribute to the release of such a people? Will you look on, without concern, and see the sons of Sparta, of Athens, of Thermopylæ, crushed beneath the sceptre of the Porte ? Will you make no effort for their redemption? Shall they still bend their neck to the cruel yoke for the want of your assistance ? Oh, if this be the fact, the time will come, when you will repent of your present apathy. When the sighs of expiring hope, the clank of chains binding the Greeks to the car of tyranny, shall be wasted over the wide wastes of the Atlantic, and sink into your reluctant. ears, you will lament, (but, alas!