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vidual and his posterity, in competent portions, and, for the territory thus ceded by each tribe, some reasonable equivalent should be granted, to be vested in permanent funds for the support of civil government over them, and for the education of their children, for their instruction in the arts of husbandry, and to provide sustenance for them until they could provide it for themselves. My earnest hope is, that Congress will digest some plan, founded on these principles, with such improvements as their wisdom may suggest, and carry it into effect as soon as it may be practicable.
Europe is again unsettled, and the prospect of war increasing. Should the flame light up in any quarter, how far it may extend, it is impossible to foresee. It is our peculiar felicity to be altogether unconnected with the causes which produce this menacing aspect elsewhere. With every power we are in perfect amity, and it is our interest to remain so, if it be practicable on just conditions. I see no reasonable cause to apprehend variance with any power, unless it proceed from a violation of our maritime rights. In these contests, should they occur, and to whatever extent they may be carried, we shall be neutral; but as a neutral power, we have rights which it is our duty to maintain. For light injuries it will be incumbent on us to seek redress in a spirit of amity, in full confidence that, injuring none, none would knowingly injure us. For more imminent dangers we should be prepared ; and it should always be recollected that such preparation, adapted to the circumstances, and sanctioned by the judgment and wishes of our constituents, cannot fail to have a good effect, in averting dangers of every kind. We should recollect, also, that the season of peace is best adapted to these preparations.
If we turn our attention, fellow-citizens, more immediately to the internal concerns of our country, and more especially to those on which its future welfare depends, we have every reason to anticipate the happiest results. It is now rather more than forty-four
years since we declared our independence, and thirtyseven since it was acknowledged. The talents and virtues, which were displayed in that great struggle, were a sure presage of all that has since followed. A people who were able to surmount, in their infant state, such great perils, would be more competent, as they rose into manhood, to repel any which they might meet in their progress. Their physical strength would be more adequate to foreign danger and the practice of self-government, aided by the light of experience, could not fail to produce an effect, equally salutary, on all those questions connected with the internal organization. These favorable anticipations have been realized. In our whole system, national and state, we have shunned all the defects which unceasingly preyed on the vitals and destroyed the ancient republics. In them, there were distinct orders, a nobility and a people, or the people governed in one assembly. Thus, in the one instance, there was a perpetual conflict between the orders in society for the ascendency, in which the victory of either terminated in the overthrow of the government, and the ruin of the state. In the other, in which the people governed in & body, and whose dominions seldom exceeded the dimensions of a county in one of our states, a tumultuous and disorderly movement, permitted only a transitory exist
In this great nation there is but one order, that of the people, whose power, by a peculiarly happy improvement of the representative principle, is transferred from them without impairing, in the slightest degree, their sovereignty, to bodies of their own creation, and to persons elected by themselves, in the full extent necessary for all the purposes of free, enlightened and efficient government. The whole system is elective, the complete sovereignty being in the people, and every officer, in every department, deriving his authority from, and being responsible to them for his conduct.
Our career has corresponded with this great outline. Perfection in our organization could not have been ex
pected in the outset, either in the national or state governments, or in tracing the line between their respective powers. But no serious conflict has arisen, nor any contest but such as are managed by argument, and by a fair appeal to the good sense of the people; and many of the defects, which experience had clearly demonstrated in both governments, have been remedied. By steadily pursuing this course, in this spirit, there is every reason to believe that our system will soon attain the highest degree of perfection of which human institutions are capable, and that the movement, in all its branches, will exhibit such a degree of order and harmony, as to command the admiration and respect of the civilized world.
Our physical attainments have not been less eminent. Twenty-five years ago, the river Mississippi was shut up, and our western brethren had no outlet for their commerce.
What has been the progress since that time? The river has not only become the property of the United States, from its source to the ocean, with all its tributary streams, (with the exception of the upper part of the Red river only,) but Louisiana, with a fair and liberal boundary on the western side, and the Floridas on the eastern, have been ceded to us.
The United States now enjoy the complete and uninterrupted sovereignty over the whole territory from St. Croix to the Sabine. New states, settled from among ourselves in this, and in other parts, have been admitted into our union, in equal participation in the national sovereignty with the original states. Our population has augmented in an astonishing degree, and extended in every direction. We now, fellow-citizens, comprise within our limits the dimensions and faculties of a great power, under a government possessing all the energies of any government ever known to the old world, with an utter incapacity to oppress the people.
Entering, with these views, the office which I have just solemnly sworn to execute with fidelity, and to the utmost of my ability, I derive great satisfaction from a
knowledge that I shall be assisted in the several departments by the very enlightened and upright citizens from whom I have received so much aid in the
preceding term. With full confidence in the continuance of that candor, and generous indulgence, from my fellow-citizens at large, which I have heretofore experienced, and with a firm reliance on the protection of Almighty God, I shall forthwith commence the duties of the high trust to which you have call
SPEECH OF DANIEL WEBSTER,
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED
STATES, JANUARY 19, 1823;
On the following resolution, presented by himself: Resolved, That
provision ought to be made, by law, for defraying the expense incident to the appointment of an Agent or Commissioner to Greece, whenever the President shall deem it expedient to make such appointment.
I am afraid, Mr. Chairman, that, so far as my part in this discussion is concerned, those expectations which the public excitement, existing on the subject, and certain associations, easily connected with it, have conspired to raise, may be disappointed. An occasion which calls the attention to a spot, so distinguished, so connected with interesting recollections, as Greece, may naturally excite something of warmth and enthusiasm. In a grave, political discussion, however, it is necessary that that feeling should be chastised. I shall endeavor properly to repress it, although it is impossible that it should be altogether extinguished. We must, indeed, fly beyond the civilized world, we must pass the dominion of law, and the boundaries of knowledge; we must, more especially, withdraw ourselves from this place, and the scenes which here surround us, if we would separate ourselves, altogether, from the influence of all those memorials of herself which ancient Greece has transmitted for the admiration, and the benefit, of mankind. This free form of government, this popular assembly, the common council, held for the common good, where have we contemplated its earliest models? This practice of free debate, and public discussion, the contest of mind with mind, and that popular eloquence, which, if