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were inserted into the Constitution to secure. Thus will the Union last longest and do most good. To exercise a contested power without necessity on a notion of keeping up the tone of government is not much better than tyranny, and very improvident and impolitic tyranny, too. It is turning “extreme medicine into daily bread.” It forgets that the final end of government is not to exert restraint, but to do good. Within this general view of the true mode of administering contested powers, I think the measure we propose is as wise as it is conciliatory; wise because it is conciliatory; wise because it reconciles a sound and a strong theory of the Constitution with a discreet and kind administration of it. I desire to give the country a bank. Well, here is a mode in which I can do it. Shall I refuse to do it in that mode, because I cannot at the same time, and by the same operation, gain a victory over the settled constitutional opinions, and show my contempt for the ancient and unappeasable jealousy and prejudices of not far less than half of the American people? Shall I refuse to do it in that mode, because I cannot at the same time, and by the same operation, win a triumph of constitutional law over political associates, who agree with me on nine in ten of all the questions which divide the parties of the country; whose energies and eloquence, under many an October and many an August sun, have contributed so much to the transcendent reformation which has brought you into power? Shall I refuse to the people their rights, until and unless, by the mode of conferring those rights, I can also plant a wound in the side of one who has stood shoulder to shoulder with me in the great civil contest of the last ten years? Do you really desire that the same cloud of summer which pauses to pour out its treasures, long withheld, on the parched and dreary land, should send down a thunderbolt on the head of a noble and conspicuous friend ? Certainly nobody here can cherish such a thought for a moment.
There is one consideration more which has had some influence in determining my vote. I confess that I think that a bank established in the manner contemplated by this amendment stands, in the actual circumstances of our time, a chance to lead a quieter and more secure life, so to speak, than a bank established by the bill. I think it worth our while to try to make, what never yet was seen, a popular National Bank. Judging from the past and the present, from the last years of the last bank, and the manner in which its existence was terminated; from the tone of the debate and of the press, and the general indications of public opinion, I acknowledge an apprehension that such an institution, created by a direct exertion of your . power, throwing off its branches without regard to the wishes or wants of the States, as judged of by themselves, and without any attempt to engage their auxiliary co-operation, diminishing the business and reducing the profits of the local banks, and exempted from their burdens—I confess that such an institution may not find so quiet and safe a field of operation as is desirable for usefulness and profit. I do not wish to see it standing like a fortified post on a foreign border—never wholly at peace, always assailed, always belligerent, not falling perhaps, but never safe, the nurse and the prize of implacable hostility. No, sir. Even such an institution, under conceivable circumstances, it might be our duty to establish and maintain in the face of all opposition and to the last gasp. But so much evil attends such a state of things, so much insecur
ity, so much excitement; it would be exposed to the pelting of such a pitiless storm of the press and of public speech; so many demagogues would get good livings by railing at it; so many honest men would really regard it as unconstitutional, and as dangerous to business and to liberty, that it is worth an exertion to avoid it. Why, sir, notice has been formally given us by the eloquent
Senator from Ohio, that on the day you grant this char
ter he lays a resolution on your table to repeal it. Sir, I desire to see the Bank of the United States become a cherished domestic institution, reposing in the bosom of our law and of our attachments. Established by the concurrent action or on the application of the States, such might be its character. There will be a struggle on the question of admitting the discount power into the States; much good sense and much nonsense will be spoken and written; but such a struggle will be harmless and brief, and when that is over, all is over. The States which exclude it will hardly exasperate themselves further about it. Those which admit it will soothe themselves with the consideration that the act is their own, and that the existence of this power of the branch is a perpetual recognition of their sovereignty. Thus might it sooner cease to wear the alien, aggressive, and privileged aspect which has rendered it offensive, and become sooner blended with the mass of domestic interests, cherished by the same regards, protected by the same and by a higher law.
W A D E
ENJAMIN FRANKLIN WADR was born near Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1800. Such education as he received seems to have been mainly obtained at home. There is no record of his graduation from any university. He became a lawyer and began to practice at the Ohio bar in 1827. Ten years later, he entered the State Senate as a Whig, and was elected to the same body in 1841. In 1847 he was made a judge of the Third Judicial District in Ohio, and, while occupying this position, was sent in 1851 to the United States Senate, and remained there until 1869. The speech which we subjoin is said to have made Judge Wade the leader of the Radical Republicans. It certainly affords an index of the sentiment of the great mass of the Republicans with regard to the threatened secession of many slaveholding States. He died 1878.
ON SECESSION, AND THE STATE OF THE UNION; REPUBLICAN OPINION
SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, DECEMBER 17, 186e Mr. President : T a time like this, when there seems to be a wild and unreasoning excitement in many parts of the country, I certainly have very little faith in the efficacy of any argument that may be made; but at the same time, I must say, when I hear it stated by many Senators in this Chamber, where we all raised our hands to Heaven, and took a solemn oath to support the Constitution of the United States, that we are on the eve of a dissolution of this Union, and that the Constitution is to be trampled underfoot—silence under such circumstances seems to me akin to treason itself.
I have listened to the complaints on the other side patiently, and with an ardent desire to ascertain what was the particular difficulty under which they were laboring. Many of those who have supposed themselves aggrieved have spoken; but I confess that I am now totally unable to undertand precisely what it is of which they complain. Why, sir, the party which lately elected their President, and are prospectively to come into power, have never held an executive office under the general government, nor has any individual of them. It is most manifest, therefore, that the party to which I belong have as yet committed no act of which anybody can complain. If they have fears as to the course that we may hereafter pursue, they are mere apprehensions—a bare suspicion; arising, I fear, out of their unwarrantable prejudices, and nothing else.
I wish to ascertain at the outset whether we are right; for I tell gentlemen that, if they can convince me that I am holding any political principle that is not warranted by the Constitution under which we live, or that trenches upon their rights, they need not ask me to compromise it. I will be ever ready to grant redress, and to right myself whenever I am wrong. No man need approach me with a threat that the government under which I live is to be destroyed; because I hope I have now, and ever shall have, such a sense of justice that, when any man shows me that I am wrong, I shall be ready to right it without price or compromise.
Now, sir, what is it of which gentlemen complain When I left my home in the West to come to this place, all was calm, cheerful, and contented. I heard of no discontent. I apprehended that there was nothing to interrupt the harmonious course of our legislation. I did not learn that, since we adjourned from this place at the end of the