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commodated each other patiently, and generously addressed themselves, in their respective spheres, to recommend the fruit of their joint counsels to the public acceptance, and make it as far as possible an instrument of the public good, this was their admirable merit. Providence is apt to smile upon labors of a disinterested wisdom, and with a most bountiful benignity did it smile upon theirs. History will remark the beautiful coincidence of the sudden establishment of social order with sufficient safeguards on this continent, just in season to watch the pompous social fabric of the older world tumbling into a sudden ruin. The little craft was just put into perfect trim, her complete suit of new gear had been strongly set up, her stout crew were posted at their stations, and the world's best pilot had grasped the wheel, just before an unlooked for hurricane swept the surface of the great deep. She was only in the skirts of the storm, but near enough, had there been any thing weak about her, to be sucked in and engulfed, like so many prouder vessels. gered and reeled, as it was, but she minded her helm like a beauty ; not a rope parted; not a spar was sprung; and presently she was seen under all sail for as prosperous a voyage as ever good fortune and good management conducted.
Mr. Adams, a younger contemporary and coadjutor of the patriots, who set the American government in motion, himself experienced in its highest trusts, and in the anxieties of its most perilous trials, looks back on its operation through half a century, to congratulate his countrymen upon the signal success of the great experiment. The Historical Society of the State of New York, having resolved to celebrate, with suitable ceremonies, the Jubilee of the Constitution, with unquestionable propriety selected the veteran statesman of New England to address them on that occasion. Mr. Adams profited by the opportunity to lay before the people of the United States some weighty comments upon the Declaration of Independence, by the Congress of 1776, and Federal Constitution of 1787, which embodied and practically applied its principles. He urged, in particular, that “this Union was formed by a spontaneous movement of the one people of the thirteen English colonies ;” that it was by this one people, through their representatives, and for them, as one, that Independence was declared ; that the subsequent “ Articles of Confederation,” in their full recognition of the princi
ple of state sovereignty, contained a fatal departure from the principle of the Declaration ; that the League of States, under those articles, was not entered into by the people, but was an act of usurpation on the part of their delegates in Congress ; that the misfortunes which followed were but the proper consequence of such an unnatural state of things, and of the adoption of such a vicious form of government ; further ;
“That the tree was made known by its fruits. That after five years wasted in its preparation, the confederacy dragged out a miserable existence of eight years more, and expired like a candle in the socket, having brought the Union itself to the verge of dissolution.
“ That the Constitution of the United States was a return to the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and the exclusive constituent power of the people. That it was the work of the one PEOPLE of the United States ; and that those United States, though doubled in numbers, still constitute, as a nation, but ONE PEOPLE.
“ That this Constitution, making due allowance for the imperfections and errors incident to all human affairs, has, under all the vicissitudes and changes of war and peace, been administered upon those same principles, during a career of fifty years.
“That its fruits have been, still making allowance for human imperfection, a more perfect union, established justice, domestic tranquillity, provision for the common defence, promotion of the general welfare, and the enjoyment of the blessings of liberty by the constituent people, and their posterity to the present day.” — p. 118.
Mr. Adams concludes in the following tone of patriarchal exhortation.
“And now the future 'is all before us, and Providence our
" When the children of Israel, after forty years of wanderings in the wilderness, were about to enter upon the promised land, their leader, Moses, who was not permitted to cross the Jordan with them, just before his removal from among them, commanded, that, when the Lord their God should have brought them into the land, they should put the curse upon Mount Ebal, and the blessing upon Mount Gerizim. This injunction was faithfully fulfilled by his successor, Joshua. Immediately after they had taken possession of the land, Joshua built an altar to the Lord, of whole stones, upon Mount Ebal. And there he wrote upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written in the presence of the children of Israel; and all Israel, and their elders and officers, and their judges, stood on the two sides of the ark of the covenant, borne by the priests and Levites, six tribes over against Mount Gerizim, and six over against Mount Ebal. And he read all the words f the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that was written in the book of the law.
“Fellow-citizens, the ark of your covenant is the Declaration of Independence. Your Mount Ebal, is the confederacy of separate State sovereignties, and your Mount Gerizim is the Constitution of the United States. In that scene of tremendous and awful solemnity, narrated in the Holy Scriptures, there is not a curse pronounced against the people upon Mount Ebal, not a blessing promised them upon Mount Gerizin, which your posterity may not suffer or enjoy, from your and their adherence to, or departure from, the principles of the Declaration of Independence, practically interwoven in the Constitution of the United States. Lay up these principles, then, in your hearts, and in your souls, — bind them for signs upon your hands, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes, teach them to your children, speaking of them when sitting in your houses, wh n walking by the way, when lying down and when rising up, write them upon the door-posts of your houses, and upon your gates, cling to them as to the issues of life, adhere to them as to the cords of your eternal salvation. So may your children's children at the next return of this day of jubilee, after a full century of experience under your national Constitution, celebrate it again in the full enjoyment of all the blessings recognised by you in the commemoration of this day, and of all the blessings promised to the children of Israel upon Mount Gerizim, as the reward of obedience to the law of God.”
pp. 118 - 120. Assuming a similar point of view, Mr. Cushing (now Chairman of the Representatives' Committee of Foreign Relations) addressed the citizens of Springfield, on the Material Growth and Territorial Progress of the United States."
“Material growth,” though not a certain or unalloyed, is of course a very desirable good, and a legitimate and primary object of government. The questions, how great a good a given “territorial progress » of these United States may be, and under what conditions it will prove any good at all, are among the deepest which an American statesman and patriot has to weigh. The acquisition of Louisiana, the largest item of “territorial progress” which Mr. Cushing has to exbibit, was obtained by a proceeding, which, in calling it a flagrant violation of the Constitution, we scarcely characterize in stronger language than was used in private by Mr. Jefferson himself, the great champion of the measure. Much immediate good has followed it; we hope that all the good will be permanent ; though we cannot but see, that no other act of the government has treated the Constitution so much as if it were but waste paper, or gone so far towards making it so for the future. At all events, the picture which Mr. Cushing presents is a striking one to the imagination.
“ At the conclusion of the War of Independence, the nominal limits of the United States were the British Provinces, as now, on the north, the Mississippi on the west, and Louisiana and Florida on the southwest and south. But the practical limits were much less. Stretched along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean were the thirteen original United States, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, which, by the Treaty of Peace, the King of Great Britain acknowledges to be free, sovereign, and independent states ; that he treats with them as such, and relinquishes all claims to the government, property, and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof Massachusetts, her actual limits reaching only a hundred miles inland from the sea, and Virginia, scarcely settled further, were then foremost among the States in wealth and population. New York, her rich interior yet unoccupied, was very far short of her present empire dimensions. sylvania was but just proceeding to occupy the slope of the Alleghanies. The hardy pioneers of Kentucky and Tennessee, offshoots of Virginia and North Carolina, had scarcely begun to cross the mountains, and to acquire, in the long struggle with the savages around them, the qualities of courage, hardihood, gallantry, and spirit, which they have transmitted to their
Vermont, though not yet recognised as a separate State, had, by the patriotism of her children, secured the right to be so considered, and as such admitted in due time into the Union. Maine, known only as a portion of Massachusetts, was, in the chief part of it, an untrodden wilderness. Thus, over a space of fifteen hundred miles along the Atlantic Ocean, were the then United States scattered, covering, in comparison with the vast interior of the Continent, only as it were a riband of sea beach.” — pp. 8, 9.
“ The population of the United States, which in 1790 was but four millions, is now sixteen or seventeen millions. The revolutionary debt, of near eighty millions of dollars, has been wholly discharged without any sensible inconvenience to the people, and that in the face of a maritime war with France, a general war with England, conflicts with the Barbary States, many Indian wars, and the perpetual progress of most expensive establishments of education, commerce, and internal communication ; while in the same period the war debts of other nations have been devouring their private substance and crippling their public energies. The annual current revenues of the United States have in the same period increased from five millions to twenty-five ; our commercial tonnage from half a million to two millions ; our annual foreign exports from twenty millions of dollars, to one hundred and forty millions ; and our trading ships, then chiefly confined in their range to a portion of Europe and the West Indies, now dispute with those of Great Britain the palm of maritime ascendency in every quarter of the globe. Nor has our national growth in territory been less remarkable ; for, straitened no longer in the narrow strip between the Alleghanies and the Atlantic Ocean, our population has swarmed into the valley of the Mississippi, occupied the region of the Lakes, possessed itself of Louisiana and Florida, and is now looking beyond the Rocky Mountains to the shores of the great Pacific Sea ; and everywhere it has carried with it the laws, the institutions, the religion, the combined love of order and love of freedom, the industrial energy and activity, and the monuments of art, knowledge, and commerce, and the general civilization, which our European forefathers brought hither with them, and which, wherever their children are found, testify to the blood and the principles of the original colonists of the United States.” — pp. 11, 12.
Mr. Butler, lately Attorney-general, in his recent Address at Schenectady on “Representative Democracy in the United States,” glances at yet another subject, suggested by the ffty years' operation of the Federal Government, and one which it would afford us the highest satisfaction to see treated at large by so competent a pen. The judicious lover of his country not only inquires what good fruit her institutions have hitherto produced, but how they are actually operating so as to hold out happy pledges for the future. He looks not only at the wealth of the product, but at the condition of the machinery. Suppose it has wrought wonders of social prosperity ; still, if it has itself meanwhile been VOL. LIV.
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