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"Many great and good men, sufficiently qualified for any task they may undertake, may ever be found, whose ambition would aspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the lion, or the tribe of the eagle.
"What! Think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Cæsar, or a Napoleon? Never! Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.
"It seeks no distinction in adding story to story upon the monuments of fame, erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footpaths of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction, and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating the slaves or enslaving freemen.
"Another reason which once was, but which to the same extent is now no more, has done much in maintaining our institutions thus far. I mean the powerful influence which the interesting scenes of the Revolution had upon the passions of the people, as distinguished from their judgment. "But these histories are gone. They can be read no more forever. They were a fortress of strength. But what the invading foeman could never do, the silent artillery of time has done, -the levelling of the walls. They were a forest of giant oaks, but the all-resisting hurricane swept over them and left only here and there a lone trunk, despoiled of its verdure, shorn of its foliage, unshading and unshaded, to murmur in a few more gentle breezes and to combat with its mutilated
limbs a few more rude storms, then to sink and be no more. They were the pillars of the temple of liberty, and now that they have crumbled away, that temple must fall, unless we, the descendants, supply the places with pillars hewn from the same solid quarry of sober
"Passion has helped us, but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy.
"Reason-cold, calculating, unimpassioned reasonmust furnish all the materials for our support and defense. Let those materials be molded into general intelligence, sound morality, and, in particular, a reverence for the Constitution and the laws; and then our country shall continue to improve, and our nation, revering his name, and permitting no hostile foot to pass or desecrate his resting-place, shall be the first to hear the last trump that shall awaken our Washington.
"Upon these let the proud fabric of freedom rest as the rock of its basis, and as truly as has been said of the only greater institution, 'the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'"'
NATIONAL BANK VS. SUB-TREASURY.
Delivered in the Second Presbyterian Church, Springfield, Illinois, and published in the Sangamon Journal, March 6, 1840. The debaters on the question were Messrs. Logan, Baker, Browning and Lincoln, against Douglas, Calhoun, Lamborn and Thomas.
. "Fellow-citizens: It is peculiarly embarrassing to me to attempt a continuance of the discussion, on this
evening, which has been conducted in this hall on several preceding ones.
"It is so, because on each of these evenings there was a much fuller attendance than now, without any reason for its being so except the greater interest the community feel in the speaker who addressed them then than they do in him who addresses them now.
"I am, indeed, apprehensive that the few who have attended have done so more to spare me mortification than in the hope of being interested in anything J may be able to say.
"This circumstance casts a damp upon my spirits which I am sure I shall be unable to overcome during the evening.
"The subject heretofore and now to be discussed is the sub-treasury scheme of the present administration, as a means of collecting, safe-keeping, transferring and disbursing the revenues of the nation as contrasted with a national bank for the same purpose.
"Mr. Douglas has said that we (the Whigs) have not dared to meet them (the Locos) in argument on this question.
"I protest against this assertion. I say we have
again and again during this discussion urged facts and arguments against the sub-treasury which they have neither dared to deny nor attempted to answer.
"But lest some may be led to believe that we really wish to avoid the question, I now propose, in my humble way, to urge these arguments again, at the same time begging the audience to mark well the positions I shall take and the proof I shall offer to sustain them, and that they will not allow Mr. Douglas or his friends to escape the force of them by a round
of groundless assertions that we dare not meet them in argument.
"First. It will injuriously affect the community by its operation on the circulating medium.
"Second. It will be a more expensive fiscal agent. "Third. It will be a less secure depository for the public money.
"Mr. Lamborn insists that the difference between the Van Buren party and the Whigs is, that although the former sometimes err in practice, they are always correct in principle, whereas the latter are wrong in principle; and the better to impress this proposition he uses a figurative expression in these words:
"The Democrats are vulnerable in the heel, but they are sound in the heart and head.'
"The first branch of the figure-that the Democrats are vulnerable in the heel-I admit is not merely figurative, but literally true. Who that looks for a moment at their Swartwouts, their Prices, their Harringtons, and their hundreds of others scampering away with the public money to Texas, to Europe, and to every spot on earth where a villain may hope to find refuge from justice, can at all doubt that they are most distressingly affected in their heels with a species of running itch?
"It seems this malady of the heels operates on the sound-headed and honest-hearted creatures very much like the cork leg in the comic song did on its owner, which, when he had once got started on it, the more he tried to stop it the more it would run away.
"At the hazard of wearing this point threadbare, I will relate an anecdote which is too strikingly in point to be omitted:
"A witty Irish soldier who was always boasting of his bravery when no danger was near, who invariably retreated without orders at the first charge of the engagement, being asked by the captain why he did so, replied, 'Captain, I have as brave a heart as Julius. Cæsar ever had, but somehow or other, when danger approaches, my cowardly legs will run away with it!' "So with Mr. Lamborn's party.
"They take the public money into their own hands for the most laudable purposes that wise heads and willing hearts can dictate; but, before they can possibly get it out again, their rascally vulnerable heels will run away with them.
"Mr. Lamborn refers to the late elections in the States, and from the result predicts that every State in the Union will vote for Mr. Van Buren at the next Presidential election.
"Address that argument to cowards and knaves; with the free and the brave it will affect nothing. It may be true; if it must, let it. Many free countries have lost their liberty, and ours may lose hers; but if she shall, be it my proudest plume, not that I was the last to desert, but that I never deserted her.
"I know that the great volcano at Washington, aroused by the civil spirits that reign there, is belching forth the laws of political corruption in a current broad and deep, which is sweeping with frightful velocity over the whole length and breadth of the land, bidding fair to leave unscathed no green spot or living thing; while on its bosom are riding, like demons on the wave of hell, the imps of that evil spirit fiendishly taunting all those who dare resist its destroying course with hopelessness of their efforts; and. knowing this, I