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stand, in the end, by the side of that cradle in which its infancy was rocked; it will stretch forth its arm, with whatever of vigor it may still retain, over the friends who gather round it; and it will fall at last, if fall it must, amidst the proudest monuments of its own glory, and on the very spot of its origin. Speech in reply to Hayne.
LIBERTY AND UNION.
Mr. President, I have thus stated the reasons of my dissent to the doctrines which have been advanced and maintained. I am conscious of having detained you and the Senate much too long. I was drawn into the debate with no previous deliberation such as is suited to the discussion of so grave and important a subject. But it is a subject of which my heart is full, and I have not been willing to suppress the utterance of its spontaneous sentiments. I cannot, even now, persuade myself to relinquish it, without expressing once more my deep conviction that, since it respects nothing less than the union of the States, it is of most vital and essential 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 that we owe our safety at home, and our consideration and dignity abroad. It is to that union that we are chiefly 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 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 us all a copious fountain of national, social, and personal happiness. I have not allowed myself, sir, 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 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 counsellor 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 the condition of the people when it shall be broken up and destroyed. While
the Union lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospect, 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. God grant that on my vision never may be 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 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 lustre, not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured, bearing for its motto no such miserable interrogatory as What is all this worth 2 nor those other words of delusion and folly, Liberty first, and Union afterwards; but everywhere, spread all over in characters 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 heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart, Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable.
JOSEPH STORY, 1782–1845.
This eminent jurist and scholar was born in Marblehead, Mass., September 18, 1782, and graduated at Harvard College, in 1798. He studied law under Judge Putnam, and established himself in the practice of it at Salem. He soon entered into political life, and was chosen a member of the Massachusetts Legislature in 1805. In 1809, he was chosen by the Democratic party a representative to Congress from Essex, South District. In 1811, he was nominated by President Madison to the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States, and he then severed himself entirely from all political connections. In 1830, he was appointed Dane Professor in the Law School of Harvard University, on the munificent foundation of his friend, Hon. Nathan Dane, of Beverly; and he continued to discharge the duties of this office with great ability and success till the day of his death, which took place on the 10th of September, 1845.
For profound legal learning, acuteness of intellect, soundness of judgment, and general knowledge, Judge Story has had few superiors in our country. As a teacher of jurisprudence, he brought to the important duties of the Professor's chair, besides his exuberant learning, great patience, a strong delight in the subjects which he expounded, a copious and persuasive eloquence, and a contagious enthusiasm, which filled his pupils with love for the law, and for the master who tuught it so well.
As an author, Judge Story began his career early in life, by publishing an excellent edition of Abbott on the Lane of Shipping. Soon after his appointment to the Dane Professorship, he published his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, in three volumes, octavo. These were followed by a succession of treatises on different branches of the law, the extent and excellence of which, with the vast amount of legal learning displayed in them, leave it a matter of astonishment that they could be prepared, within the short space of twelve years, by a man who was all the while discharging, with great assiduity, the onerous duties of a Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, and a Professor in the Law School of the University. But in his devotion to the science of the law, he did not forget the claims of literature and general scholarship; and his addresses on public occasions, his contributions to the “North American Review,” and other miscellaneous writings, show a mind imbued with sound and varied learning.
As a man, and a member of society, he was remarkable for his domestic virtues, his warm affections and generous temper, and the purity, elevation, and simplicity of his life. The members of the Suffolk Bar, in their resolutions upon the occasion of his death, declare “that the death of one so great as a judge, as an author, as a teacher, and so good as a man, is a loss which is irreparable to the bar, to the country, and to mankind.”
The IMPORTANCE OF CIASSICAL LEARNING.
The importance of classical learning to professional education is so obvious, that the surprise is that it could ever have become matter of disputation. I speak not of its power in refining the taste, in disciplining the judgment, in invigorating the understanding, or in warming the heart with elevated sentiments, but of its power of direct, positive, necessary instruction. Until the eighteenth century, the mass of science, in its principal branches, was deposited in the dead languages, and much of it still reposes there. To be ignorant of these languages is to shut out the lights of former times, or to examine them only through the glimmerings of inadequate translations. What should we say of the jurist who never aspired to learn the maxims of law and equity which adorn the Roman codes? What of the physician who could deliberately surrender all the knowledge heaped up for so many centuries in the Latinity of continental Europe 7. What of the minister of religion who should choose not to study the Scriptures in the original tongue, and should be content to trust his faith and his hopes, for time and for eternity, to the dimness of translations which may reflect the literal import, but rarely can reflect, with unbroken force, the beautiful spirit of the text?
I pass over all consideration of the written treasures of antiquity which have survived the wreck of empires and dynasties, of monumental trophies and triumphal arches, of palaces of princes and temples of the gods. I pass over all consideration of those admired compositions in which wisdom speaks as with a voice from heaven ; of those sublime efforts of poetical genius which still
freshen, as they pass from age to age, in undying vigor; of those finished histories which still enlighten and instruct governments in their duty and their destiny; of those matchless orations which roused nations to arms and chained senates to the chariot-wheels of all-conquering eloquence. These all may now be read in our vernacular tongue. Ayl as one remembers the face of a dead friend, by gathering up the broken fragments of his image; as one listens to the tale of a dream twice told; as one catches the roar of the ocean in the ripple of a rivulet; as one sees the blaze of noon in the first glimmer of twilight.
I know not what more munificent donation any government can bestow than by providing instruction at the public expense, not as a scheme of charity, but of municipal policy. If a private person deserves the applause of all good men, who founds a single hospital or college, how much more are they entitled to the appellation of public benefactors who, by the side of every church in every village, plant a school of letters! Other monuments of the art and genius of man may perish, but these, from their very* nature, seem, as far as human foresight can go, absolutely immortal. The triumphal arches of other days have fallen ; the sculptured columns have crumbled into dust; the temples of taste and religion have sunk into decay; the pyramids themselves seem but mighty sepulchres hastening to the same oblivion to which the dead they ... have long since passed. But here, every successive generation becomes a living memorial of our public schools, and a living example of their excellence. Never, never may this glorious institution be abandoned or betrayed by the weakness of its friends or the power of its adversaries . It can scarcely be abandoned or betrayed while New England remains free, and her representatives are true to their trust. It must forever count in its defence a majority of all those who ought to influence public affairs by their virtues or their talents; for it must be that here they first felt the divinity of knowledge stir within them. What consolation can be higher, what reflection prouder, than the thought that in weal and in woe our children are under the public guardianship, and may here gather the fruits of that learning which ripens for eternity
THE DANGERS THAT THREATEN OUR REPUBLIC.
The fate of other republics—their rise, their progress, their de cline, and their fall—are written but too legibly on the pages of history, if indeed, they were not continually before us in the
startling fragments of their ruins. Those republics have perished, and have perished by their own hands. Prosperity has enervated them, corruption has debased them, and a venal populace has consummated their destruction. The people, alternately the prey of military chieftains at home and of ambitious invaders from abroad, have been sometimes cheated out of their liberties by servile demagogues, sometimes betrayed into a surrender of them by false patriots, and sometimes they have willingly sold them for a price to the despot who has bidden highest for his victims. , They have disregarded the warning voice of their best statesmen, and have persecuted and driven from office their truest friends. They have listened to the counsels of fawning sycophants or base calumniators of the wise and the good. They have reverenced power more in its high abuses and summary movements than in its calm and constitutional energy, when it dispensed blessings with an unseen but a liberal hand. They have surrendered to faction what belonged to the common interests and common rights of the country. Patronage and party, the triumph of an artful popular leader, and the discontents of a day, have outweighed, in their view, all solid principles and institutions of government. Such are the melancholy lessons of the past history of republics down to our own. * * * If our Union should once be broken up, it is impossible that a new constitution should ever be formed, embracing the whole territory. We shall be divided into several nations or confederacies, rivals in power, pursuits, and interests; too proud to brook injury, and too near to make retaliation distant or ineffectual. Our very animosities will, like those of all other kindred nations, become more deadly, because our lineage, our laws, and our language are the same. Let the history of the Grecian and Italian republics warn us of our dangers. The National Constitution is our last and our only security. United, we stand; divided, we fall. Let, then, the rising generation be inspired with an ardent love of their country, an unquenchable thirst for liberty, and a profound reverence for the Constitution and the Union. Let the American youth never forget that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capable, if wisely improved and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, of property, of religion, and of independence. The structure has been erected by architects of consummate skill and fidelity, its foundations are solid, its compartments are beautiful as well as useful, its arrangements are full of wisdom and order, and its defences are impregnable from without. It has been reared for immortality, if the work of