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cannot deny that all may be swept away. it, I, too, may be; bow to it, I never will.
"The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a course we believe to be just. It shall not deter me.
"If ever I feel the soul within me elevate and expand to those dimensions, not wholly unworthy of its Almighty architect, it is when I contemplate the cause of my country deserted by all the world beside, and I standing up boldly alone, hurling defiance at her victorious opposers.
"Here, without contemplating the consequences, before heaven and in the face of the world, I swear eternal fealty to the just cause, as I deem it, of the land of my life, my liberty, and my love.
"And who that thinks with me will not fearlessly adopt that oath that I take? Let none falter who thinks he is right, and we may succeed. But if, after all, we may fail, be it so; we shall still have the proud consolation of saying to our conscience, and to the departed shade of our country's freedom, that the cause approved of our judgment and adored of our hearts in disaster, in chains, in torture, in death, we never faltered in defending."
A GREAT CONGRESSIONAL SPEECH.
Abraham Lincoln on the Presidency and general politics. Delivered in the House of Representatives, Washington, D. C., July 27, 1848.
"Mr. Speaker: Our Democratic friends seem to be in great distress because they think our candidate for
the Presidency don't suit us. Most of them cannot find out that General Taylor has any principles at all, some, however, have discovered that he has one, but that one is entirely wrong. This one principle is his position on the veto power.
"The gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Stanton), who has just taken his seat, indeed, has said there is very little if any difference on this question between General Taylor and all the Presidents; and he seems to think it sufficient detraction from General Taylor's position on it, that it has nothing new in it. But all others, whom I have heard speak, assail it furiously.
"A new member from Kentucky (Mr. Clarke), of very considerable ability, was in particular concern about it. He thought it altogether novel and unprecedented for a President, or a Presidential candidate, to think of approving bills whose Constitutionality may not be entirely clear to his own mind. He thinks the ark of our safety is gone, unless Presidents shall always veto such bills as, in their judgment, may be of doubtful Constitutionality. However clear Congress may be of their authority to pass any particular act, the gentleman from Kentucky thinks the President must veto if he has doubts about it.
"Now, I have neither time nor inclination to argue with the gentleman on the veto power as an original question; but I wish to show that General Taylor, and not he, agrees with the earliest statesmen on this question. When the bill chartering the first Bank of the United States passed Congress, its Constitutionality was questioned; Mr. Madison, then in the House of Representatives, as well as others, opposed it on that ground. General Washington, as President, was
called on to approve or reject it. He sought and obtained, on the Constitutional question, the separate written opinion of Jefferson, Hamilton and Edmund Randolph, they then being respectively Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, and AttorneyGeneral. Hamilton's opinion was for the power; while Randolph's and Jefferson's were both against it. Mr. Jefferson, after giving his opinion decidedly against the Constitutionality of that bill, closed his letter with the paragraph I now read:
"It must be admitted, however, that unless the President's mind, on a view of everything which is urged for and against this bill, is tolerably clear that it is unauthorized by the Constitution; if the pro and the con hang so even as to balance his judgment, a just respect for the wisdom of the Legislature would naturally decide the balance in favor of their opinion; it is chiefly for cases where they are clearly misled by error, ambition or interest, that the Constitution has placed a check in the negative of the President. "Thomas Jefferson.
66 February 15, 1791.'
"General Taylor's opinion, as expressed in his Allison letter, is as I now read:
""The power given by the veto is a high conservative power; but, in my opinion, should never be exercised, except in cases of clear violation of the Constitution, or manifest haste and want of consideration by Congress.'
"It is here seen that, in Mr. Jefferson's opinion, if on the Constitutionality of any given bill, the President doubts, he is not to veto it, as the gentleman from
Kentucky would have him to do, but is to defer to Congress and approve it. And if we compare the opinions of Jefferson and Taylor, as expressed in these paragraphs, we shall find them more exactly alike than we can often find any two expressions having any literal difference. None but interested fault-finders can discover any substantial variation.
"But gentlemen on the other side are unanimously agreed that General Taylor has no other principle. They are in utter darkness as to his opinions on any of the questions of policy which occupy the public attention. But is there any doubt as to what he will do on the prominent questions, if elected? Not the least. It is not possible to know what he will, or would do in every imaginable case; because many questions have passed away, and others doubtless will arise which none of us have yet thought of; but on the prominent questions of currency, tariff, internal improvements, and Wilmot proviso, General Taylor's course is at least as well defined as is General Cass'. Why, in their eagerness to get at General Taylor, several Democratic members here have desired to know whether, in case of his election, a bankrupt law is to be established. Can they tell us General Cass' opinion on this question? (Some member answered: 'He is against it.') Aye, how do you know he is? There is nothing about it in the platform, or elsewhere, that I have seen. If the gentleman knows anything which I do not, he can show it. But to return: General Taylor, in his Allison letter, says: "Upon the subject of the tariff, the currency, the improvement of our great highways, rivers, lakes, and harbors, the will of the people, as expressed
through their Representatives in Congress, ought to be respected and carried out by the Executive.'
"Now, this is the whole matter-in substance it is this: The people say to General Taylor:
"If you are elected, shall we have a National Bank?'
"He answers: 'Your will, gentlemen, not mine.' "'What about the tariff?'
'Shall our rivers and harbors be improved?'
Just as you please. If you desire a bank, an alteration of the tariff, internal improvements, any or all, I will not hinder you. Send up your members to Congress from the various districts, with opinions according to your own, and if they are for these measures, or any of them, I shall have nothing to oppose; if they are not for them, I shall not, by any appliance whatever, attempt to dragoon them into their adoption.'
"Now, can there be any difficulty in understanding this? To you, Democrats, it may not seem like principle; but surely you cannot fail to perceive the position plainly enough. The distinction between it and the position of your candidate is broad and obvious, and I admit you have a clear right to show it is wrong, if you can; but you have no right to pretend you cannot see it at all. We see it, and to us it appears like principle, and the best sort of principle at that-the principle of allowing the people to do as they please with their own business.
"My friend from Indiana (Mr. C. B. Smith) has aptly asked: 'Are you willing to trust the people?' Some of you answered, substantially: 'We are willing