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accomplished, there will be real cause for the alarm now affected. Sir, I believe that the days of the bank are numbered. It is for the welfare of the country, and not on account of that institution that I regret it. That institution has sustained the government, and enabled it to pay its immense debt; it has given us a sound currency and brought foreign capital to be tributary to our use; thus enabling us to increase our own, and to develop our resources a hundred fold. Its benefits are seen everywhere over this widely-extended country. That institution is now to be made a sacrifice, I would fain hope the last sacrifice, to party spirit. The experiment is to be made, whether this sacrifice is wise and expedient. If I see cause to despair in the condition of depression and distress to which this nation is to be reduced, I still can look upon it without an entire sinking of the heart, for I here and elsewhere have discharged the duty devolved upon me, as a freeman, and the representative of freemen. There still remains a painful hope, that in the midst of suffering the nation will rouse from its delusion. In the depth of distress will come the teachings of prudence, and the purification of patriotism. Then will come the mighty energies which will work out the redemption of our country; for she is yet too young, too vigorous, to sink into a dishonored grave. Then will come, too, the hour of mutual congratulations that all had awaked from their error, before it was too late, and then looking back with humility and gratitude upon the abyss from which we shall have escaped, we shall return again to the counsels of our fathers, and be content for the future to be guided by their precepts, and to imitate their example.
[In reply to Mr. Dodge.]
My honorable friend from the IVth, [Mr. DODGE] has reviewed our long and agreeable acquaintance as members of this body, and frankly expressed his opinion of the manner in which I have discharged my duties here. He has been pleased to add, that while he has seen much in my conduct to admire and respect, there have been two incidents which, in all the frankness of an honest nature, he says he has been compelled to disapprove.
The first of these offences is, that two years ago, in a debate similar to this, I defended the principles of anti-masonry in this house. Now, sir, with all my solicitude to secure the unreserved esteem of my honorable friend, the act of which he complains is precisely that one for which, of all others, I cannot admit his cen
sure to be just. Sir, my honorable friend will recollect that I was then, as I am now, an anti-mason. I was sent here by antiI am not, as the gentleman well knows, the man to profess principles in one place I am afraid or ashamed to avow in another. I am not the man, when sent here because I am known to entertain political principles approved by my constituents, to abandon those principles for any which shall be more popular in this place. Under such circumstances, when "the blessed spirit” of anti-masonry was traduced in the Senate, I could not sit by in silence. Nor should I now; and however I should regret the loss of my friend's favorable opinion, I should commit the same offence, were an attack upon those principles made by my honorable friend, or any other member of this house, whose assault should be made with sufficient dignity and self-respect to justify me in replying to him.
But it was less the act of defending anti-masonry, than the manner of the act, that my honorable friend condemned. He says, that on the occasion alluded to, I profanely declared I wished to leave anti-masonry as a legacy to my children. And this profanity shocked the pure and pious feelings of my honorable friend. Sir, were the report which he gives of my speech on that occasion correct, I know not that I should have any desire to change it. Secret societies, composed of members bound together by unlawful oaths, and extended over the whole land, are opposed to the genius of our government, subversive of the laws, and inconsistent with private rights and the public welfare. Having assumed, and still intending to maintain, the responsibility of opposing such institutions during the period of my action as a citizen, both morally and politically, as long as moral or political action shall be necessary and shall promise to avail, I should feel that I ought to inculcate upon those the gentleman has referred to, among other lessons, the same duty, if occasion shall remain, when they come upon the stage of public action. I would not swear them, as Hannibal did his son; but I would leave my injunction upon them to contribute all that might lie in their power to eradicate so great an evil from the land. But what on that occasion I did say was, in speaking of the names enrolled in the cause of antimasonry, that there were among them some which had acquired a fame for talents, purity, and public service, which any member of this Senate might be proud to leave to his children; for myself,
I wished to leave to mine no better legacy. And is it not so? Are there not such names?
Sir, with this explanation, which would have been unnecessary had the gentleman consulted his own memory rather than a certain organ of doubtful veracity, which has furnished too many of the facts relied upon in his speech, my honorable friend will, I trust, no longer have occasion to complain of my profanity. But the gentleman inquires whether I am not satisfied that this legacy has lapsed. I can console myself that if it be so, it has probably gone into the same oblivion with his ancient federalism and freemasonry.
But my honorable friend is distressed by an apprehension that I have acquired the principles expressed by me in this debate not among "the "the green mountains and valleys of my native county," nor yet among the beautiful plains and lakes of my adopted residence, but among certain "aristocratical associations in Europe." Sir, I confess that my principles relating to this subject, however derived, are diametrically opposed to those proclaimed here by the gentleman from the IVth. It is my principle that it is the business of the legislature to confine themselves within the sphere of duties prescribed by the Constitution. It is his that the legislature may safely transcend that sphere to assume the duties and responsibilities of Congress. It is my principle that it is the duty of the legislature to resist usurpation of legislative powers by the executive. It is his that it is safer to trust to executive discretion than to legislative wisdom. It is mine that the governing and sole motive in all legislation ought to be the security of the government and the good of the people. It is his that the powers of government ought to be so wielded as to subserve the ambition of him who happens to be the favorite of the predominant party of the day. Sir, these principles were not acquired, although they may have been confirmed by my observations or associations in foreign countries. If my honorable friend had taken occasion to inform himself of my progress from more authentic sources than the questionable organ before alluded to, he would have found that, during a recent and rapid journey abroad, undertaken from motives which need not here be mentioned however much they may have been misunderstood, I kept
* Mr. S. had recently returned from a visit to Europe. See Letters from Europe, Vol. III.-ED.
as far aloof from courts and the great who dispense favor abroad, as I do from the administration and those who dispense power and political preferment at home. I kissed no queen's hand. I bowed to no court favorites there, more than I have fashioned my principles to the standard established here. If I have learned anything by foreign travel, it has been from the universal subjection, suffering and despair, which I witnessed in Ireland, to sympathize with the agitators of that country, and know the fate which awaits a people who surrender their legislature, the only safeguard against executive oppression: from the general acquiescence in the exclusive privileges and immunities of the great, which I witnessed in England, to learn the importance of resisting every measure calculated to increase the overwhelming power and influence of those who are charged with the duties of government from the Prussian and Austrian armies which I met in what were called the free cities and states of Germany, the folly and madness of those nations which, under the pretext of public convenience and public interest, place in the same hand the purse and the sword: from the boldness, intelligence, and patriotism of the republicans of Switzerland, the value of that democracy which spends itself, not in lauding the servants of the people, but in watching their conduct with a jealous and wakeful eye. eye. And from my intercourse with him who dwells in the shades of La Grange, the value of a consistent and enduring devotion to the principles of republicanism, not only when the people hail the champion of those principles as their deliverer, but even when they desert him in his solitude to gaze upon and be satisfied with the insignia of their deliverance, while the popular constitution is undermined, and the popular executive usurps the same despotic power over the press which had sent his ministers to prison, and his predecessor into banishment. Sir, although then, I have been exposed to the seductive influences of foreign manners and opinions, while my honorable friend was more safely relaxing himself amid the democratic associations of Montgomery county, he may rest assured that I have returned to love my country better, and to understand better the value of her institutions; and as far as the responsibility rests on me, to take care that the welfare of my countrymen be not sacrificed in the conflict of contending parties, and that the Constitution be transmitted unimpaired to posterity. But enough, sir, upon a topic which nothing but allusions, ungenerous and unfounded, could justify me in introducing here.
THE SIX MILLION LOAN.*
APRIL 10, 1834.
MR. PRESIDENT: What our eyes have seen, our ears have heard, and our hearts have felt without these walls, is now brought home to us in this place. The title of this bill proclaims that an alarming crisis has occurred in our commercial condition, and that a mighty effort is necessary to rescue the people of this state from imminent unbearable suffering. I would, above every other offence, avoid that of bringing to this debate a contentious, an interested, or selfconfident spirit, and would, on the other hand, invoke the spirit of mutual conciliation, that we may reason together upon the causes, nature, and extent of the calamities experienced and apprehended, and search out and apply a proper and adequate remedy.
The proposition to which I shall first call the attention of the Senate, is, that the message of the governor, and the report of the committee, are erroneous and unsatisfactory in regard to the nature and extent of the evils existing in the country. Those documents assert the existence of "a state of commercial embarrassment," "a pressure," "a shock to business." But neither of them assumes that the evils now existing are so great as to require immediate relief. The bill which they recommend is intended to provide for more serious evils expected to occur during the recess of the legislature, and to be produced by some hostile action of the United States Bank. While I see no cause to apprehend any danger from the future action of that institution, I maintain that the pressure under which the people of this state are now suffering, is one altogether unnecessary, and demands immediate relief.
Sir, there may have been prudence hitherto in keeping silence ·
* Speech in the Senate of New York, on the bill to loan six millions of dollars on the credit of the state.