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have the opposition of the southern states on either side of the Alleghany mountains; but still the power is with you. You are situated where all powers have ever been, that have controlled the destiny of the nation to which they belonged. You are in the land which produces the wheat and the corn, the cereal grains-the land that is covered with the oak, and where they say the slave cannot live. They are in the land that produces cotton and sugar and the tropical fruits in the land where they say the white man cannot labor; in the land where the white man must perish if he have not a negro slave to provide him with food and raiment. They do, indeed, command the mouths of the rivers; but what is that worth, except as they derive perpetual supplies, perpetual moral reinvigoration, from the hardy sons of the north that reside around the sources of those mighty rivers?

I am sure that in this I am speaking only words of truth and experience. The northwest is by no means so small as you may think it; I speak to you because I feel that I am, and during all my mature life have been, one of you. Although of New York, I am still a citizen of the northwest. The northwest extends eastward to the base of the Alleghany mountains, and does not all of western New York lie westward of the Alleghany mountains? Whence comes all the inspiration of free soil which spreads itself with such cheerful voices over all these plains? Why, from New York westward of the Alleghany mountains.' The people before me-who are you but New York men, while you are men of the northwest? It is an old proverb, that men change the skies, but not their minds, when they emigrate; but you have changed neither skies nor mind.

I will add but one word more. This is not the business of this day alone. It is not the business of this year alone. It is not the business of the northwest alone. It is the interest, the destiny of human society on the continent. You are to make this whole continent, from north to south, from east to west, a land of freedom and a land of happiness. There is no power on earth now existing, no empire existing, or as yet established, that is to equal or can equal

At this point of the speech a large number of voices in the audience responded, indicating the different counties in New York, from which they had emigrated, "Cayuga," "Genesee, "Seneca,' "Yates, "Ontario," &c., so that Mr. Seward remarked: "Why, I thought I was midway between the Lakes and the Mississippi, but I find I am at home among old neighbors and friends."

in duration the future of the United States. It is not for ourselves alone; you have the least possible interest in it. It is, indeed, for those children of yours. Old John Adams, when, at the close of the revolutionary war, he sat down and counted up the losses and sacrifices that he had endured and made, rejoiced in the establishment of the independence which had been the great object of his life, and said: "I have gained nothing. I should have been even more comfortable, perhaps, and more quiet, had we remained under the British dominion; but for my children, and for their children, and for the children of the generation that labored with me, I feel that we have done a work which entitles us to rejoice, and call upon us by our successes to render our thanks to Almighty God."

THE CONSTITUTION INTERPRETED.'

It has been by a simple rule of interpretation that I have studied the constitution of my country. That rule has been simply this: That by no word, no act, no combination into which I might enter, should any one human being of the generation to which I belong, much less any class of human beings, of any nation, race or kindred, be repressed and kept down in the least degree in their efforts to rise to a higher state of liberty and happiness. Amid all the glosses of the times, amid all the essays and discussions to which the constitution of the United States has been subjected, this has been the simple, plain, broad light in which I have read every article and every section of that great instrument. Whenever it requires of me that this hand shall keep down the humblest of the human race, then I will lay down power, place, position, fame, everything, rather than adopt such a construction or such a rule. If, therefore, in this land there are any that would rise, I extend to them, in God's name, a good speed. If there are any in foreign lands who would improve their condition by emigration, or if there be any here who would go abroad in the search of happiness, in the improvement of their condition, or in their elevation to a higher state of dignity and happiness, they have always had, and always shall have, a cheering word and such efforts as I can consistently make in their behalf.

VOL. IV.

1 Extract from Mr. Seward's speech, at Madison, September 11, 1860.

42

POLITICAL EQUALITY THE NATIONAL IDEA.

SAINT PAUL, SEPTEMBER 18, 1860.

ONE needs to have had something of my own experience of living in a state at an early period of its material development and social improvement, and growing up with its growing greatness, to be able to appreciate the feeling with which I am oppressed, on this my first entrance into the capital of the state of Minnesota. Every step of my progress since I reached the Northern Mississippi has been attended by an agreeable and constantly increasing surprise. I had early read the works in which the geographer had described the scenes around me, and I had studied these scenes minutely in the finest productions of art; but still the grandeur, the luxuriance, the geniality of the region were but imperfectly conceived before I saw these sentinel walls that look down on the Mississippi-seen as I beheld them-just when the earliest tinges of the fall give the rich variety of hues to the American forest. I thought how much of taste and genius had been wasted in celebrating the highlands of Scotland and the mountains of Palestine, before civilized man had reached the banks of the Mississippi. And then that beautiful lake Pepin scene, at the close of the day, when the autumnal green of the shores was lost in a deep blue hue that emulated that of the heavens; the moistened atmosphere reflected the golden rays of the setting sun, and the skies above seemed to come down to complete the gorgeous drapery of the scene. It was a piece of upholstery such as no hand but that of nature could have made. This magnificent lake, I said to myself, is a fitting vestibule to the capital of the state of Minnesota-a state which I have loved, which I ever shall love, for more reasons than time would now allow me to mention, but chiefly because it was one of three states which my own voice had been potential in bringing into the Federal Union. Every one of the three was a free state, and I believe on my soul that, of the whole three, Minnesota is the freest of all.

I find myself now, for the first time, on the highlands in the center of the continent of North America, equidistant from the waters of Hudson's bay and the gulf of Mexico, from the Atlantic ocean to the ocean in which the sun sets-here on the spot where spring up, almost side by side, and so near that they may kiss each other, the two great rivers of the continent, the one of which pursuing its strange, capricious, majestic, vivacious course through rapids and cascade, lake after lake, bay after bay, and river after river, till, at last, after a course of two thousand five hundred miles, it brings your commerce into the ocean midway to the ports of Europe, and the other, which meandering through woodland and prairie a like distance of two thousand five hundred miles, taking in tributary after tributary from the east and from the west, bringing together the waters from the western declivity of the Alleghanies and the torrents which roll down the eastern sides of the Rocky mountains, finds the Atlantic ocean in the gulf of Mexico. Here is the central place where the agriculture of the richest regions of North America must begin its magnificent supplies to the whole world. On the east, all along the shore of lake Superior, and on the west, stretching in one broad plain, in a belt across the continent, is a country where state after state is yet to rise, and whence the productions for the support of human society in other crowded states must forever go forth. This is then a commanding field; but it is as commanding in regard to the commercial future, for power is not to reside permanently on the eastern slope of the Alleghany mountains, nor in the seaports of the Pacific. Seaports have always been controlled at last by the people of the interior. The people of the inland and of the upland, those who inhabit the sources of the mighty waters, are they who supply all states with the materials of wealth and power. The seaports will be the mouths by which we shall communicate and correspond with Europe, but the power that shall speak and shall communicate and express the will of men on this continent, is to be located in the Mississippi valley, and at the source of the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence. In other days, studying what might perhaps have seemed to others a visionary subject, I have cast about for the future the ultimate central seat of power of the North American people. I have looked at Quebec and at New Orleans, at Washington and at San Francisco, at Cincinnati and at St. Louis, and it has been the result of my best conjecture that the seat

of power for North America would yet be found in the valley of Mexico; that the glories of the Aztec capital would be renewed, and that city would become ultimately the capital of the United States of America. But I have corrected that view, and I now believe that the last seat of power on the great continent will be found somewhere within a radius not very far from the very spot where I stand, at the head of navigation on the Mississippi river and on the great Mediterranean lakes.

I have often seen, but never with great surprise, that on the occasion of a revival of religion, the oldest, the most devout, the most religious preacher-he whose life had seemed to me and to the world to be better ordered according to the laws of God and of affection to mankind, has discovered that he had been entirely mistaken in his own experience, and that he now found out, to his great grief and astonishment, that he had never before been converted, and that now for the first time he had become a Christian. While standing here, I almost fall into the notion that I am in the category of that preacher, and although I cannot charge myself with having been really a seditious or ever a disloyal citizen, I have yet never exactly and completely understood the duties that I owed to society and the spirit that belongs to an American citizen. I have never until now occupied that place whence I could grasp the whole grand panorama of the continent, for the happiness of whose present people and of whose future millions of millions, it is the duty of an American statesman to labor. I have often heard it said, and indeed I have thought that one could get a very adequate idea of the greatness of this republic of ours, if he could stand as I have stood on the deck of an American ship of war, as she crossed the Mediterranean, passed through the Ionian islands, ascended the Adriatic, bearing at the mast-head the stripes and stars that command respect and inspire fear equally among the semibarbarians of Asia and the most polite and powerful nations of Europe. I have often thought that I could lift myself up to the conception of the greatness of this republic of ours by taking a stand on the terrace of the capitol of Washington, and contemplating the concentration of the political power of the American people, and then fol lowing out in my imagination the dispatches by which that will, after being modified by the executive and legislative departments, went forth in laws, and edicts, and ordinances for the government and direction of a great people. But, after all, no such place as

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