Page images

or Cato, too tenacious of abstract truth to do tion by a select body of public men, instead of whatever may be practically best; but-en- the people themselves. The danger apprelightened by proper knowledge, and animated hended was that the members of the House of by a true American heart, throbbing for his Representatives would sometimes be so whole country-always doing that which he much under the influence of symathy with believes to be best for that country in all time. excited masses of their constituents, or so Such a public servant is a public blessing and much afraid of their resentment, as to be unwill always be honored, even in exile. The safe legislators. And to guard against misopposite character will be a curse to any peo-chief from that source, a Senate was instituted, ple, and his posthumous doom will be-infamy.

and its members were required to be of a grave and ripe age, and were placed by the constiThe Constitution of the United States con- tution so remote from the contagion or fear of templates a Congress of Statesmen: the con- popular ebulitions as to be presumed free, to tagious doctrine of instructions will make a conservative extent, from their influence. them sycophants-slaves-demagogues. We But this object would be frustrated, and this must speedily choose between the blessing and theory totally subverted by inculcating the the curse. Blind subservience to the apparent suicidal doctrine that Senators are bound, at will or feeling of the numerical majority has all times and under all circumstances, to exalready impaired the efficacy of our organic press, by their votes, the will of the Legisla institutions, and has even brought them to a tures or of a majority of the people of their state of fearful transition, It tends, more and respective States. And the Senator who will more, to the Utopian folly of unregulated and ever do it, against his own clear convictions of uncontrolled democracy-representative in his duty to his country, will be a cowardly form, but simple and unmixed in practice. It recreant from his post, and a traitor to the tends to exclude from the national councils, constitution. Nor could he, for his ease or our best and wisest men; and to fill them with comfort, at such a crisis, resign his seat witha lower race, unfit and untrustworthy-too out being a deserter from the very service many of them ignorant and noisy, and too many selfish, unscrupulous and profligate: and, by its entire process, it tends to degrade office, to shake the confidence of good and wise men in the value and long life of the Union, and to bring the general government itself to the lowest ebb.

which the Senate'was created to perform. To execute the great purpose of his commission, and exemplify the value of Senatorial firmness and experience, it is, on such an occasion, PRE-EMINENTLY his duty to stand at his post, and, in defiance of all personal considerations, fulfil his trust according to his own judgement. And he, who cannot, or will not do this, in times of trial, is unworthy of a seat in the venerable body of CONSCRIPT FATHERS, and would disgrace the Senatorial mantle.

But well settled public opinion should always so far influence Senators as to induce them to forbear the enactment of a law which the majority of the citizens of the United States would deliberately and perseveringly disapprove. Public policy forbids all such impracticable legislation. Law-to be practica! and useful-must be ultimately acceptable to the people for whom it is made.

In addition to the foregoing considerations, there is another peculiarly applicable to the Senate, and that is, that it was created and organized for the sole purpose of staying the occasional tides of popular sentiment until they may flow back or become harmless. This will not be denied; and if it should be, no other proofs can be required than the extracts already quoted. How absurd, then, must it be to assume that a Senator shall be bound to submit to a thing which he was appointed to resist, and, if needful, overcome? And what form of instruction to him could be generally more authentic than that implied by In opposing a measure also, a Senator, as the conduct of the more immediate represen- well as a Rpresentative, should respectfully tatives of the people? The act of this branch regard apparent public sentiment as an impormay, PRIMA FACIE, be presumed to be the off- tant fact entitled to more or less influence as spring of the popular will. Resolutions by an argument although to none as a command, State Legislatures would certainly not be bet-But, on all national questions, he should manter evidence of it. Then, if a Senator ought ifest a natioual tone of thought, of principle, to vote as the Legislature of his State may and of action. Elevating himself above the tell him to vote, he ought to vote as the clouds of vulgar ignorance and the lightnings House of Representatives, or that portion of local factions, he should, with national of it from his own State, had voted.- eyes and comprehensive patriotism, survey the But the office of the Senate is to check great and magnificent panorama of the Union, the other branch, and to prevent its acts from and feel that it is all his country, and his conbecoming laws, whenever the Senate deems stituency. And, whatever he sees to be the them inexpedient. And to afford an as- interest of the whole, he should resolutely ensurance that Senators would do this, the con- deavor to accomplish, even at the expense of stitution makes them comparatively independ- threatened political martyrdom at home. Ev ent of popular sentiment, by extending their ery such Statesman will, under all vicissitudes, terms to six years, and providing for their elec- ! enjoy his own approbation and be sustained by

third rate men to the injury of our people and the degradation of their national characterthe elective franchise is prostituted-the ballot

the respect of all good and wise men. And, if his heroic patriotism should doom him to a temporary ostracism, time will exalt his name to a proud eminence above the infectious at-box is defiled and corrupted-political demoralmosphere in which temporising politicians, like other ephemera of a day, flutter and die. According to the true theory and animating spirit of our American Constitution, such is a model of an American Senator. Such was DANIEL WEBSTER-and such was HENRY CLAY.

ization is consequently progressive in an alarm-
ing degree. Factions, local and personal, re-
ligious and political, distract our councils and
disturb our peace-NULLIFICATION and SE-
CESSION shake their Gordon heads in the face
of the Union-and names, and party pride,
and fugitive NON-ESSENTIALS, if not soon rem-
|edied, may subjugate the band of true Ameri-
can patriots, who, even yet, have the power
to save all that is in danger, and restore all
that is lost. Let them, forgetting the past,
and looking only at the present and the future,
magnanimously unite on a platform of VITAL
PRINCIPLES in which all true-hearted Ameri-
cans agree, and then, and not until then, the
work of rescue and reform will be hopefully

But our modern Senates have been dignified with only a few of that noble class. Too many of them, intoxicated with the popular breath, seem to have been uninspired by the genius of their place. The progress of degeneracy has been so rapid, that, already, the Senate-almost as much vulgarized as the other Branch of Congress-has lost its distinguished caste, and has nearly abandoned the high position of guardian umpirage for which it was created. This decline to the The call for such an union, for the sake of level of the popular body—as ominous as it is Liberty and Union, is loud and imperative. humiliating—is the effect chiefly of an abuse And, if it shall-before it will be too lateof the power of local majorities through the rally, as one man, the friends of a common direct and indirect agency of popular instruc- cause, that cause will yet gloriously triumph tions. And, without a speedy and general and long prevail. And whenever victory retrogade movement, the theory of the Consti- shall crown its banners and emblazon their tution will be changed, and undigested De-folds with the "CROSS and the EAGLE" mocracy, without check, will rule and ruin. on one side amd the "CONSTITUTION, The crisis is pregnant. We have been too UNION and LIBERTY," on the other, much ruled by politicians, whose idol is ephe- American independence will be redeemed, and meral popularity of the most vulgar stamp-American institutions regenerated. And then foreign influence, in both religion and politics, the Captain of the triumphant Christian Host, is paralyzing all pure American influence- that shall restore religion to its native purity, and foreign policy is overrunning American simplicity and fraternal love, will be canonpolicy-premature dogmas of free trade, invi-ized as a better missionary and greater reting excessive importations of foreign products to the discouragement of domestic capital and enterprise, have already greatly curtailed our circulation, crippled our resources, and involved our country in a heavy debt-places of trust at home and abroad, are filled with second and

former than Luther. And the leader of the great Army of the Constitution, which shall save and restore what the "Father of his Country" fought for and established, will deserve the title and receive the reward of a second WASHINGTON.


A large body of the elite of the organized melitia of Kentucky having encamped in Franklin county near the capital, for the purpose of discipline and in commemoration of our National Anniversary-Mr. ROBERT SON, nine days before the 4th of July, was invited to address the assemblage of at least 20,000 persons, male and female, old and yourg, citizens and soldiers-and the following address was accordingly delivered :

CAMP MADISON, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY., July 5, 1843. To the Hon. George Robertson:

SIR-By a resolution adopted at a meeting of the officers and troops assembled at Camp Madison, the undersigned were appointed a committee to express to you their warm thanks for the able and eloquent address delivered to them by you on our National Anniversary, and at the same time respectfully to request from you a copy for publication. We have the honor to be respectfully, your obedient servants,



C. M. CLAY, Col. Fayette Legion.

J. T. PRATT, Adj't. General.

T. L. CALDWELL, Surgeon Gen.

CAMP MADISON, 5th July, 1843.

Gentlemen-In answer to your polite and flattering communication requesting for publication a copy of the address delivered yesterday, at the instance and in behalf of yourselves and those you represent, I cheerfully consent to the proposed publication, and will, in a day or two, furnish you the desired copy. Yours respectfully,




Once more, my countrymen, we are permitted gratefully to behold the anniversary sun of American Independence; once more we salute the star-spangled banner, and rejoice that the cherished emblem of our union and liberty, spotless and peerless as ever, still waves over a nation now, as in time past, signally blessed by a benignant Providence; once more, on earth, the old and the young, of all classes, forgetting the distinctions of name, of fortune, and of faith, have assembled, under the canopy of a bright sky, to embalm the memory of "76," to remember the tribulations and triumphs of our pilgrim fathers and mothers, and to thank God that we are yet a free and united people.

At the call of those trumpets and those drums with short notice, and rather as a "minute-man"-the organ of that beautiful and gallant band of citizen soldiers-I appear before you on the forlorn hope of suggesting, for your contemplations, something befitting such an assemblage, on such a day. And, although the accustomed and more comprehensive to pics, however trite, can never be unacceptable to those who delight to commemorate the 4th of July," yet we have thought that a subject which, whilst it may be less directly applicable, is more local and novel, might be equally appropriate and more generally interesting. The birth, progress, and condition of our own Commonwealth, as an offspring of our glorious Revolution and a member of our blessed Union, are intimately associated with all that belongs to the becoming celebration of this day, and beautifully illustrate the beneficence of the principles of human right and civil government which have consecrated it as a national jubilee. Our theme, is KEN


ous emotions and resolutions, make us wiser as individuals, and as citizens more useful.

A bird's eye glance at Kentucky-physical, moral, and political-past, present, and prospective-may, and ought to, produce all those valuable results, as fruits of this day's commemoration. And if, in any degree, such should be the consequence, our assembling will have been neither barren nor vain; and it will be good for us all that we were here.

Time builds on the ruins itself has made. It destroys to renew and desolates to improve. A wise and benevolent Providence has thus marked its progress in the moral, as well as in the physical world. The tide which has borne past generations to the ocean of eternity, is hastening to the same doom the living mass now gliding downward to that shoreless and unfathomed reservoir. whilst the current, in its onward flow, sweeps away all that should perish, like the Nile, it refreshes every desert and fructifies every wild through which it rolls; and, fertilizing one land with the spoils of another, it deposits in


succeeding age the best seeds matured by the toil of ages gone before. Asia has thus been made tributary to Africa and to the younger Europe, ancient to modern times, and the middle ages to the more hallowed days in which we ourselves live. One generation dies that another may live to take its place. The desolation of one country has been the renovation of another-the downfall of one system has been the ultimate establishment of a better-and the ruin of nations has been the birth or regeneration of others both wiser and happier. The stream of moral light, with a western destination from the beginning, has, in all its meanderings, increased its volume, until, swollen by the contributions and enriched by the gleamings of ages, it has poured its flood on the cis-atlantic world.

America is a living monument of these con soling truths. When, within man's memory, it was blessed with the first footsteps of modern civilization, the germs of inductive philosophy, true liberty, and pure religion, sifted from the chaff and rectified by the experience of ages, were imported by our pilgrim ancestors to a land which seems to have been prepared by Providence for their successful development in the proper season for assuring to mankind an exalted destiny, at last, on earth.

We have not come here to recite the annals of our State. All this beauty, and chivalry, and intelligence, and piety, with religious rites and martial music and display, announce a purpose far more comprehensive and important. Feeling, as we this day must, that we are standing on a narrow isthmus between the great oceans of the eventful past and of the still more eventful future, we instinctively glance backward on the one and forward on the other, and embrace, in the transient vision, a panorama of the pregnant present. Such contemplations are peculiarly appropriate and affecting; and, when intelligent, must be profitable. Mixed with joy and sor- In less than 250 years from the first settlerow-hope and fear-gratitude and regret-ments at Jamestown and Plymouth, the temcomplacency and humiliation-they must help to exalt our minds and purify our hearts, awaken us to a proper sense of our duties and responsibilities, and, by inspiring more virtu

perate zone of North America already exhibits many signs that it is the promised land of civil liberty, and that the Anglo-Americans are the chosen depositories of principles and

institutions destined to liberate and exalt the few have been more eventful-and not one exhuman race.

hibits more of romance or of those qualities But our own Kentucky is, itself alone, a and deeds deemed chivalrous and noble among colossal tower of God's benevolence and time's men. And the adoption of Kentucky's or beneficence to man. Within three score years ganic law and her admission into the federoand ten-the short period allotted for all the national union of Anglo-American States, conworks and enjoyments of a human being here stitute an appropriate episode to the thrilling below this fair Commonwealth, now so bles-epic of her Herculean infancy. Our own insed and distinguished, was a gloomy wilder-terests, duty to the generations that shall sucness, the abode of wild beasts, and the hunt-ceed us, and respect for the memory of our ing ground and battle field of the still more illustrious predecessors-call Kentuckians, ferocious red men of the west. Its fertile soil one and all, to the consecration of an occawas unfurrowed by the plow, its gigantic for- sional day or days to the becoming celebration est untouched by the axe of civilized man. of those two most interesting events in our Within all its limits wild nature's solitude local history. And let these Kentuckiadswas unblessed by the voice of reason, religion like the saturnalia of the Romans, the Passor law-uncheered by one spire to Heaven-over of the Jews, and the Olympiads of the by one hearth of domestic charity, or by the curling smoke of a solitary cottage. But, in the fullness of time, the red man was to be supplanted by the white-the scalping knife by the sword of Justice-the savage war cry by the church bells of christian temples--the panther and the buffaloe by domestic herdsand the wilderness was soon to bloom with all the beauty and fragrance of "the rose of Sharon and lily of the valley."

Greeks-be sacred seasons, when all of every rank and denomination, animated by the same pervading sentiments and communing as one family, may refresh their patriotism, revive their civic virtues, and improve their social graces.

This, my countrymen, is a monumental land. Modern, as it is, in authentic history, it is covered with monuments of a remote antiquity-memorials, not only of successive In 1774, the tide of civilization, moving generations of long extinct vegetables and anwestward from the Atlantic, approached the imals whose transformed relics fill and fertilAlleghanies-the Anglo-Saxon race, destined ize the earth beneath us, but also of a race or to conquer and enlighten the earth, crossed the races of men as far advanced perhaps in mountain barrier--and Finley, and Boone, and knowledge and the arts of social life as their Harrod, and Logan, and Knox, and Whitley, contemporaries of Europe, Asia, or Africa; and Kenton, hunters of Kentucky-came, and but of whose origin, history, or doom, no traconquered. They brought with them the rifle,dition remains. "It contains monuments also the axe, the plough, and THE BIBLE. And, of more recent races less civilized, and by thus armed, this vanguard of their race led whom the more ancient and enlightened inthe forlorn hope of western civilization to vic-habitants may have been exterminated or abtory and to fortune. The Indians fell by their sorbed, as Southern Europe once was, and rifles, the forest by their axes, and savage idols perhaps about the same time, by wandertumbled before God's holy Book-until the ing tribes of Northern barbarians. By its current of population, rolling on, wave by central position as the heart of North Amerwave in rapid succession, soon made Ken-ica--its stupendous cliffs and labyrinths-its tucky a rich and powerful State-the first genial climate--its uusurpassed fertility-its born of the Union of 1788, and now. even now, unsurpassed by physical blessings and moral power- already the mother of younger Commonwealths in the great Valley of the Mississippi, and, in many respects, a fit exemplar to the nations of the whole earth.

physical beauty and magnificence—its institutions, its population, and its deeds-God has made it an everlasting monument as enduring as its own mountains and far more interesting than the Towers and Pyramids of the old world. And may we, of this generaThe birth and legal maturity of such a Com-tion, leave behind us memorials worthy of our monwealth are surely worthy of public com- country and our age. memoration. As Kentuckians, we should make periodical offerings of thanksgivings to God and of gratitude to our pioneer fathers and mothers for our enviable allotments in this age of light and in this land of liberty, plenty, and hope. Every nation leaves, on its pathway behind, some lasting memorial which it should never forget or neglect--some green spots in the waste of the past, around which memory lingers with ennobling emotions. And to commemorate, with grateful hearts, great national events either glorious or beneficent, is a double offering on the altar of patriotism and the altar of God. Few incidents in the history of nations have been more useful or can be more memorable than that of the first settlement of Kentucky by our own race;

Sites of large cities of the Cyclopean style; ruins of gigantic fortifications, temples, and cemeteries-perfect petrifactions of human be ings of the Caucasian form, with the accustomed habiliments of the civilized dead--all disinterred after a sleep of many centuries-prove, beyond dispute, that our continent was once the theatre of a crowded population resembling, and probably equalling, the most civilized of their cotemporaries of the transatlantic world. When and whence those buried and forgotten nations came to America we have no clue for determining with historic certainty. If, as may be probable, any of them were superior to the Itzacans-who emigrating probably from the Caspian sea, built Mexico and Cusco-they may have been Car

« PreviousContinue »