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Surely, a popular government will not proceed more arbitrari. ly, as it is more free; nor with less shame or scruple in pro. portion as it has better morals. It will not proceed against the faith of treaties at all, unless the strong and decided sense of the nation shall pronounce, not simply, that the treaty is not advantageous, but that it ought to be broken and annulled.
Why, Mr. Chairman, do the opposers of this treaty com. plain, that the West Indies are not laid open ? Why do they lament, that any restriction is stipulated on the commerce of the East Indies? Why do they pretend, that if they reject this, and insist upon more, more will be accomplished ? Let us be explicit-more would not satisfy. If all was granted, would not a treaty of amity with Great Britain still be obnox. ious? Have we not this instant heard it urged against our envoy, that he was not ardent enough in his hatred of Great Britain ? A treaty of amity is condemned, because it was not made by a foe, and in the spirit of one. The same gentleman, at the same instant, repeats a very prevailing objection, that no treaty should be made with the enemy of France. No treaty, exclaim others, should be made with a monarch or a despot; there will be no naval security, while those sea. robbers domineer on the ocean : their den must be destroy. ed ; that nation must be extirpated.
I like this, sir, because it is sincerity. With feelings such as these, we do not pant for treaties. Such passions seek nothing, and will be content with nothing, but the destruction of their object. If a treaty left King George his island, it would not answer; no—not if he stipulated to pay rent for it. It has even been said, the world ought to rejoice, if Britain was sunk in the sea ; if, where there are now men and wealth, and laws and liberty, there was no more than a sandbank for the sea-monsters to fatten on; a space for the storms of the ocean to mingle in conflict.
LXXXVII.-THE OBLIGATIONS OF NATIONAL FAITU.
Extract from the same Speech.
Mr. Chairman, It is no bad proof of the merit of the treaty under consideration, that, under every unfavorable circumstance, it should be so well approved. In spite of first impressions, in spite of misrepresentation and party clamor, inquiry has multiplied its advocates; and, at last, the public sentiment appears to me clearly preponderating to its side. I ask, and I would ask the question significantly, what are the inducements to reject the treaty ? What great object is to be gained, and fairly gained by it? If, however as to the merits of the treaty, candor should suspend its approbation, what is there to hold patriotism, a moment, in balance, as to the violation of it? Nothing ; I repeat, confidently, nothing. There is nothing before us, in that event, but confusion and dishonor.
If, by executing the treaty, there is no possibility of dishonor, and if, by rejecting, there is some foundation for doubt and for reproach, it is not for me to measure, it is for your own feelings to estimate the vast distance that divides the one side of the alternative from the other.
This, sir, is a cause that would be dishonored and betray. ed, if I contented myself with appealing only to the under. standing. It is too cold, and its processes are too slow for the occasion. I desire to thank God, that since he has given me an intellect so fallible, he has impressed upon me an instinct that is sure. On a question of shame and honor, rea. soning is sometimes useless, and worse. I feel the decision in my pulse-if it throws no light upon the brain, it kindles a fire at the heart. • It is not easy to deny, it is impossible to doubt, that a treaty imposes an obligation on the American nation. What is the obligation-perfect or imperfect? If perfect, the debate is brought to a conclusion. If imperfect, how large a part of our faith is pawned ? Is half our honor put at risk, and is that half too cheap to be redeemed ? How long has this hair-splitting subdivision of good faith been discovered ? and why has it escaped the researches of the writers on the law
of nations ? Shall we add a new chapter to that law, or in. sert this doctrine as a supplement to, or more properly a re. peal of the ten commandments ?
On every hypothesis, sir, the conclusion is not to be resist. ed; we are either to execute this treaty, or break our faith.
To expatiate on the value of public faith, may pass with some men for declamation-to such men I have nothing to say. To others I' will urge-can any circumstance mark upon a people more turpitude and de basement ? Can any thing tend more to make men think themselves mean, or de. grade to a lower point their estimation of virtue, and their standard of action ?
It would not merely demoralize mankind, it tends to break all the ligaments of society, to dissolve that mysterious charm which attracts individuals to the nation, and to inspira in its stead a repulsive sense of shame and disgust.
What is patriotism? Is it a narrow affection for the spot where a man was born ? Are the very clods where we tread entitled to this ardent preference, because they are greener ? No, sir, this is not the character of the virtue, and it soars higher for its object. It is an extended self-love, mingling with all the enjoyments of life, and twisting itself with the minutest filaments of the heart. It is thus we obey the laws of society, because they are the laws of virtue. In their au. thority we seé, not the array of force and terror, but the venerable image of our country's honor. Every good citi. zen makes that honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious, but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defence, and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it. For, what rights of a citizen will be deemed in. violable, when a state renounces the principles that consti. tute their security ? Or, if his life should not be invaded, what would its enjoyments be, in a country odious, in the eyes of strangers, and dishonored in his own ? Could he look with affection and veneration to such a country as his parent ? The sense of having one would die within him; he would blush for his patriotism, if he retained any, and justly, for it would be a vice. He would be a banished man in his native land.
LXXXVIII.—THE RATIFICATION OF THE BRITISH TREATY, NE
CESSARY TO THE SAFETY OF THE WESTERN POSTS.
Extract from the same Speech. Mr. Chairman,- In the event of our breaking the treaty now under consideration, one most momentous consequence will follow the loss of the western posts. But if any should still maintain, that the peace with the Indians will be stable without the posts, to them I will urge another reply. From arguments calculated to produce conviction, I will appeal directly to the hearts of those who hear me, and ask, whether it is not already planted there? I resort especially to the convictions of the western gentlemen, whether, supposing no posts and no treaty, the settlers will remain in security ? Can they take it upon them to say, that an Indian peace, under these circumstances, will prove firm ? No, sir, it will not be peace, but a sword : it will be no better than a lure to draw victims within the reach of the tomahawk.
On this theme, my emotions are unutterable. If I could find words for them, if my powers bore any proportion to my zeal, I would swell my voice to such a note of remonstrance, it should reach every log-house beyond the mountains. I would say to the inhabitants, awake from your false security : your cruel dangers, your more cruel apprehensions, are soon to be renewed: the wounds, yet unhealed, are to be torn open again : in the day time, your path through the woods will be ambushed : the darkness of midnight will glitter with the blaze of your dwellings. You are a father—the blood of your sons shall fatten your cornfield : you are a mother-the war-whoop, shall wake the sleep of the cradle.
On this subject you need not suspect any deception on your feelings. It is a spectacle of horror, which cannot be overdrawn. If you have nature in your hearts, it will speak a language, compared with which, all I have said or can say will be poor and frigid.
By rejecting the posts, we light the savage fires, we bind the victims. This day we undertake to render account to the widows and orphans, whom our decision will make ; to the wretches that will be roasted at the stake; to our coun. try; and, I do not deem it too serious to say, to conscience and to God. We are answerable ; and if duty be any thing more than a word of imposture, if conscience be not a bug. bear, we are preparing to make ourselves as wretched as our country.
There is no mistake in this case, there can be none. Ex. perience has already been the prophet of events, and the cries of our future victims have already reached us. The western inhabitants are not a silent and uncomplaining sa. crifice. The voice of humanity issues from the shade of the wilderness. It exclaims, that while one hand is held up to reject this treaty, the other grasps a tomahawk. It summons our imagination to the scenes that will open. It is no great effort of the imagination to conceive, that events so near are already begun. I can fancy that I listen to the yells of savage vengeance, and the shrieks of torture. Already they seem to sigh in the west wind--already they mingle with every echo from the mountains.
LXXXIX.-THE DUELLIST UNFIT FOR OFFICES OF TRUST.
Extract from a Discourse, entitled, “The Remedy for Duelling;” by
Lyman Beecher, D. D.
PERMIT me now, my friends, to ask you, solemnly, will you any longer persist in your attachment to duellists ? Will you any longer, either deliberately or thoughtlessly, vote for them ? Will you renounce allegiance to your Maker, and cast the Bible behind your back? Will you confide in men, void of the fear of God, and destitute of moral principle? Will you intrust life to MURDERERS, and liberty to DESPOTS ? Are you patriots, and will you constitute those legislators, who despise you, and despise equal laws, and wage war with the eternal principles of justice ? Are you Christians, and, by uphold. ing duellists, will you deluge the land with blood, and fill it with widows and with orphans? Will you aid in the prostra. tion of justice--in the escape of criminals--in the extinction of liberty? Will you place in the chair of state in the