« PreviousContinue »
THOMAS F. MARSHALL 117
corporations of their own creation and invested in perpetuity with the revenues in future to be derived from this vast and most profitable expenditure, shall swell into populous, opulent and potent nations, the people waking up to them as the source from whence the facilities of commerce have been derived,—I can understand that such an one might apprehend that, under these circumstances, the more distant orb, the central sun, would grow dim and lose its just proportions to the planets which were destined to wheel round it. But how a States Rights man, one whose jealousies are all in the other direction, who dreads, from the centripetal tendency, the absorption of the smaller bodies and the consolidation of the system,-how such an one can see aught in this bill to threaten the power and independence of the States passes my understanding. For my part I see no danger on either hand. I see power, independence, and ample revenues for the States; but, as they swell, the nation which they compose cannot dwindle. The resources of the National Treasury expand in exact proportion to the expansion of the population, the wealth, the commerce, and the consumption of the States. Indeed, sir, as a mere measure of national finance, as a far-sighted means of deepening the sources, the exclusive and peculiar sources, into which the States are forbidden to dip, and from whence they as governments cannot drink, I should vote for this measure. Imagine the vast wilderness turned into cultivation, eight hundred millions of acres of fertile land teeming with people, studded with cities, and intersected and connected by highways and canals; compute the consumption, if you can ; imagine the revenue to be derived from it; concede, what is manifest, that, as the revenue increases, the burdens on commerce will diminish ; and tell me— no, sir, you will not tell me—that the effect of this bill is to weaken the national powers or to oppress the people.
[Mr. Marshall goes on to assert that peace is the natural policy of this country, and this policy is likely to be strengthened rather than invalidated by the increase in power and wealth. He refers to the demand of Mr. Wise, of Virginia, that New York should protect itself against certain Canadian encroachments upon its territory by its own power, and continues:]
If wrong has been done, New York has surer remedy in the united and constitutional guarantee of twenty-six States than she could find in her own arm, potent as it is. The soil of New York is the soil of the United States; the citizens of New York are citizens of the United States; the right and the power, constitutional and physical, have been surrendered to this Government to settle all questions touching the safety of either, in their collision with other countries, whether by negotiation or
118 THOMAS F. MARSHALL
the sterner arbitrament of the sword. . . . . That the rights and the honor of New York are secure from violation or insult in the hands where the Constitution has placed them, I should deem it akin to treason to doubt. Her rights, her honor, her territory, are the rights, the honor, the territory of the United States. She is part of my country. She is covered by the imperial flag; overshadowed, every inch of her, by the wings of the imperial eagle; protected by his beak and talons. For these sentiments I may be permitted to answer for at least one State in the Union. Kentucky is placed securely in the centre. So long as this Government lasts, her soil is virgin and safe from the imprint of a hostile foot. Her fields—thanks to the wisdom of our ancestors, the goodness of God, and the guardian power of this imperial Republic—her fields can never be wasted by ravage, her hearths can never taste of military violation. She knows full well the source of her security, the shield of her liberties. .
The frontier of New York is her frontier; the Atlantic seaboard is her seaboard; and the millions expended in defending the one or the other she regards as expended for herself. A blow aimed at New York is a blow aimed at herself; an indignity or an outrage inflicted on any State in this Union is inflicted upon the whole and upon each. To submit to such were to sacrifice her independence and her freedom—to make all other blessings valueless, all other property insecure. Not all the unsettled property of the Union. in full property and jurisdiction, could bribe her to such a sacrifice.
Orators of the Civil War Period
OLLOWING the period which was so largely dominated by the slavery controversy, and was distinguished by a brilliant galaxy of Congressional and popular orators, came four years of war, the logical result of the slavery contest and the fiercest and most destructive conflict of recent times. This was followed by a decade of reconstruction, during which the warfare of opinion was as virulent in its way as had been that of the combat in the field. In all this was plentiful food for oratory. In the few years preceding the war, when the coming conflict impended over the land like a dark thunder cloud whose lightnings were for a while withheld, the voice of the orator was heard in the land, dealing strenuously with the threatening issues which were soon to burst out in devastating storm, and after the war had ended and the thunder of the cannon was hushed, new and momentous questions arose. The States which had voted themselves out of the Union, and had failed to win independence by the sword, were left in an anomalous situation. That they must eventually be restored to the Union was, in the sentiment of the American people, a foregone conclusion, but the conditions of their restoration, the principles upon which reconstruction would be based, remained to be determined. The halls of Congress again became the arena of verbal tournaments, and stirring orations upon vital subjects of political expediency were once more the order of the day. The finest orations of the period under review, however, belong to the period preceding the shock of arms rather than to that which
ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809–1865)
THE MARTYR OF THE CIVIL WAR
HE two vital periods of American history, that in which the T people were struggling for independence and the formation of a stable Union, and that in which they were fighting for the preservation of this Union, were marked by two men of sublime altitude, as compared with their fellows, Washington, the hero of the Revolution, and Lincoln, the presiding genius of the Civil War. These two men, whom future history is likely to place on pedestals equally high, and to regard with equal veneration, were men of different aspect and character. Washington was stately, dignified, a man sufficient unto himself, commanding the respect and admiration rather than the personal affection, of the people. Lincoln was simple and approachable, a man full of “the milk of human kindness,” one who, while he also was respected and admired, was loved as well. In truth, no other man ever reached the topmost summit of our political structure while remaining so near to the hearts of the people as the simple-minded, great-souled, gentle-natured Abraham Lincoln, the earnest, honest, genial Father Abraham of slave and freemen alike.
Lincoln in the fullest sense began life at the bottom and climbed to the top. Where he got his genius it is not easy to say, but genius of a high and original type he possessed. He was one of those men whom the conditions of life, however adverse, could not keep down. Step by step his course was upward, until he rose from the ablest man of a neighborhood to the Republican leadership of his State, and from that to the highest position in the gift of the people of the United States.
In 1858 took place that memorable contest for the Senatorship with Douglas to which he owed the national reputation which two
ABRAHAM LIN COLN 121
years later brought him the Republican nomination for President. The versatility, the depth, the comprehensiveness of Lincoln's mind were first fully revealed in this oratorical contest, and his position as the natural leader of the anti-slavery hosts became assured. “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” he said. “I believe this country cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. It will become all one thing or all the other.” The march of events soon made his words good. The country went to war to make it “all the one thing or all the other,” and Abraham Lincoln was selected as the bannerbearer in the great struggle. He lived to see the country all free, a consummation he did more than any other man to bring about; and then he died, a martyr in the great cause to which he devoted his life.
Abraham Lincoln had the mind of a great statesman and the powers of a great orator. His gift of expression was equalled by the lucidity of his thoughts and the majesty to which he could rise upon a fitting occasion. His Gettysburg speech is a sublime effort which will never be forgotten by his countrymen ; and of his second inaugural speech it has been said: “This was like a sacred poem. No American President had ever spoken words like these to the American people. America never had a President who found such words in the depth of his heart.”
JOHN BROWN AND REPUBLICANISM
[Lincoln's first visit to the East was in the early months of 1860, and on the 27th of February he made a speech at Cooper's Institute, New York, which struck with surprise and filled with admiration his fellow-Republicans of that city. It may be said that but for this oratorical journey in the East he probably would never have been made President of the United States. We give a brief selection from this notable address.]
You charge that we stir up insurrections among your slaves. We deny it; and what is your proof? Harper's Ferry ! John Brown John Brown was no Republican ; and you have failed to implicate a single Republican in his Harper's Ferry enterprise. If any member of our party is guilty in that matter, you know it, or you do not know it. If you do know it, you are inexcusable to not designate the man and prove the fact. If you do not know it, you are inexcusable to assert it, and especially to persist in the assertion after you have tried and failed to make the proof. You need not be told that persisting in a charge which one does not know to be true, is simply a malicious slander.