« PreviousContinue »
there exhibited in the history of the world higher examples of 30 noble daring, dreadful suffering, and heroic endurance than by
the Whigs of Carolina during the Revolution. The whole state, from the mountains to the sea, was overrun by an overwhelming force of the enemy. The fruits of industry perished on the spot
where they were produced, or were consumed by the foe. 35 The "plains of Carolina" drank up the most precious blood of
her citizens. Black and smoking ruins marked the places which had been the habitations of her children. Driven from their homes into the gloomy and almost impenetrable swamps, even there the
spirit of liberty survived, and South Carolina, sustained by the 40 example of her Sumters and her Marions, proved, by her conduct,
that, though her soil might be overrun, the spirit of her people was invincible.
Historical: In January of 1830, Senator Foote of Connecticut intro. duced into the Senate a resolution regarding the sale of public lands. The subject of state rights being uppermost in their minds, the debaters wandered off into a discussion of the Constitution. Senator Robert Y. Hayne of South Carolina, in a brilliant speech set forth the doctrine of nullification, and Daniel Webster answered him in one of the greatest speeches ever delivered. This extract and the following are taken from this memorable debate, when for the first time the two opposing theories of the Cons the "state" and the "national,” were clearly set forth.
REPLY TO HAYNE
I shall not acknowledge that the honorable member goes before me in regard for whatever of distinguished talent or distinguished character South Carolina has produced. I claim part of the honor,
I partake in the pride, of her great name. I claim them for 5 countrymen, one and all. The Laurenses, the Rutledges, the
Pinckneys, the Sumters, the Marions-Americans all—whose fame is no more to be hemmed in by state lines than their talents and
patriotism were capable of being circumscribed within the same
narrow limits. In their day and generation, they served and hon. 10 ored the country, and the whole country; and their renown is of the treasures of the whole country.
Mr. President, I shall enter upon no encomium upon Massachusetts; she needs none. There she is. Behold her, and judge
for yourselves. There is her history; the world knows it by heart. 15 The past, at least, is secure. There is Boston, and Concord, and
Lexington, and Bunker Hill; and there they will remain forever. The bones of her sons, fallen in the great struggle for independence, now lie mingled with the soil of every state from New Eng
land to Georgia; and there they will lie forever. And, sir, where 20 American liberty raised its first voice, and where its youth was
nurtured and sustained, there it still lives, in the strength of its manhood, and full of its original spirit. If discord and disunion shall wound it; if party strife and blind ambition shall hawk and
tear it; if folly and madness, if uneasiness under salutary and 25 necessary restraint, shall succeed in separating it from that Union
by which alone its existence is made sure,-it will stand, in the end, by the side of that cradle in which its infancy was rocked; it will stretch forth its arm, with whatever vigor it may still retain,
over the friends who gather round it; and it will fall at last, if fall 30 it must, amidst the proudest monuments of its own glory and on the very spot of its origin.
I cannot persuade myself to relinquish this subject without expressing my deep conviction, that, since it respects nothing less
than THE UNION OF THE STATES, it is of most vital and essential 35 importance to the public happiness. I profess, sir, in my career
hitherto, to have kept steadily in view the prosperity and honor of the whole country and the preservation of our federal Union. It is to that Union we owe our safety at home and our considera
tion and dignity abroad. It is to that Union that we are chiefly 40 indebted for whatever makes us most proud of our country.
That Union we reached only by the discipline of our virtues in the severe school of adversity. It had its origin in the necessities
of disordered finance, prostrate commerce, and ruined credit.
Under its benign influences, these great interests immediately 45 awoke, as from the dead, and sprang forth with newness of life.
Every year of its duration has teemed with fresh proofs of its utility and its blessings; and, although our territory has stretched out wider and wider, and our population spread farther and farther,
they have not outrun its protection or its benefits. It has been to 50 us a copious fountain of national, social, and personal happiness.
I have not allowed myself to look beyond the Union, to see what might lie hidden in the dark recess behind. I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty, when the bonds that
unite us together shall be broken asunder. I have not accustomed 55 myself to hang over the precipice of disunion, to see whether, with
my short sight, I can fathom the depth of the abyss below; nor could I regard him as a safe counselor in the affairs of this government, whose thoughts should be mainly bent on considering, not
how the Union should be best preserved, but how tolerable might be 60 the condition of the people when it shall be broken up and destroyed.
While the Union lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before us, for us and our children. Beyond that, I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that, in my day, at
least, that curtain may not rise, that on my vision never may be 65 opened what lies behind.
When my eyes shall be turned to behold, for the last time, the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union—on States dissevered, ,
discordant, belligerent, on a land rent with civil feuds, or 70 drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and
lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original luster,
not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured, bearing 75 for its motto, no such miserable interrogatory as, "What is all this
worth ?” nor those other words of delusion and folly, “Liberty first and Union afterward”; but everywhere, spread all over in char
acters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float
over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole 80 heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart,
-LIBERTY AND UNION, NOW AND FOREVER, ONE AND INSEPARABLE!
DEDICATION SPEECH AT GETTYSBURG
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war; testing whether 5 that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can
long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that
nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we 10 should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it far above
our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, 15 nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget
what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to
be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that 20 from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that
cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotionthat we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth
of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, 25 for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Historical: At the dedication of the national cemetery at Gettysburg, November 19, 1863, President Lincoln was asked to be present and
say a few words. This address has become a classic. Edward Everett, the orator who had delivered the long address of the day wrote to Mr. Lincoln, “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes."
Several versions of the speech have appeared, but the one here printed was given out by President Lincoln himself as the authorized version. See “Lincoln's Gettysburg Address,” Century Magazine, Feb., 1894.
LINCOLN, THE GREAT COMMONER
WHEN the Norn-Mother saw the Whirlwind Hour,
And so he came.