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given us a Constitution which renders a foreign ecclesiastic eligible to the executive chair! No wonder then that they cry, “ Naturalize! naturalize !" They have browbeaten our legislators into a repeal of the recent Free School law, notwithstanding the twice-expressed will of the people to the contrary. To please them and court this influence, the Word of God has been torn from some of our common schools, and whole pages of history have been blotted from our good old reading books in those institutions of primary education. They have extorted from politicians a portion of the public treasury for the support of Jesuit colleges and other sectarian uses ; and by military organizations they are rapidly seizing upon the armament of the State, under a law of their own planning. In some of the Western States, eager for political power, they have, in violation of the Constitution of the United States, succeeded in securing the right of suffrage to their new-comers in the brief period of six months, and in others, of one year after their landing fresh from the superstitious fens of the Old World ; and in the western portion of Missouri especially, their political ascendency is already so complete as to prevent the dividing of the counties into common school districts, thus controlling themselves the education of the rising generations. In a word, that power, so opposite to liberty, already exercises, through the suffrage right, an influence on our public affairs that may
well excite the most earnest solicitude of our countrymen, and urge them also to “ draw closer the bonds of their unity.”
Time will not permit me to examine further the various influences now in active operation tending to national injury. Enough has been said to show that an insidious process is going forward, which, if not stayed, will whirl us out of existence. It is plain that the intelligent suffrage is squandered upon those who, not appreciating its value, are as ready to employ its power, ignorantly perhaps, against our liberties and their own as for them; that the mere possession of this power by the ignorant is a source of corruption with unprincipled American politicians, who, forgetting the lofty dignity of their character, prostrate themselves in humility before it, thereby encouraging the most dangerous influences. We have shown that foreigners thus encouraged begin to assume the reins of power in their distinct character as foreigners, and dictate to American statesmen ; we behold a treacherous enemy lurking in our midst, and, under the mantle of feigned sanctity, seizing gradually upon our laws and institutions; we see the American people becoming, through habit, rapidly inured to these influences, and blind to the necessities of home, casting their sympathies, moral, political, and financial, upon other lands and on baseless theories.
« 'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view."
Let not these indications be stigmatized as trivial or insignificant. All great events are but the fruit of small occurrences, and it is by seizing upon these occurrences as they spring up that direction is given to the event. Chemistry, that skilful miner in the lower earth, works slowly, steadily, and silently, crumbling the flinty granite piece by piece, creeping noiselessly through the deep, dark caverns, decomposing rocks, compiling gases, distilling sulphurous fumes and subtle combinations of imprisoned atmospheres; and thus, inch by inch, and step by step, plants her treacherous magazines, laying skilfully her combustive trains, and at length, when all is prepared in the vast laboratory of subterranean nature, she applies the torch, and the earthquake or the volcano belch forth at her command !
And yet, while the subtle process is going on, while the primary occurrences are taking place, preparatory to the awful catastrophe, how slight an influence, by chance
perhaps, thrown in, would neutralize the plan and cheat the work of all its desolating power.
It was to seize upon these primary occurrences in our political system, and to check their mischievous tendencies, that the Order of United Americans was established. Its object is not to pull down, nor plan experiments of amendment, but only to preserve that which is already so pure and perfect as to command the approval of the good, and the fears of the evil-disposed. We cannot, therefore, be charged as agitators, disorganizers, or fanatics. Our sympathies are with all good men every where; our hearts are open to the stranger and the needy of every clime; our sense of hospitality is limited only by the confines of our broad territory; but our warmest sympathies, our deepest sentiments, our most anxious solicitude, are given to our native land and its blessed code of civil and religious liberty.
I will now close with a brief statistical statement of Alpha Chapter, as affording a fair type of the Order at large. The Chapter was organized Dec. 21st, 1844. Since that time she has initiated 373 members; add to which the 13 framers, and we find her total membership to have been 386. Several Chapters have been drawn from her ranks, which, with other causes, have reduced her members to 243 now in full fellowship. She has received during that time into her treasury the sum of $6,623.58, and disbursed the sum of $5,597.97, leaving a balance in her treasury at the present time of $1,025.61. Of the moneys expended, the sum of $1,400 has been appropriated to the relief of the sick and the burial of the dead.
Thus, seven years ago, Alpha Chapter, the first of the Order, was organized by the adoption of a Constitution. It then numbered but thirteen individuals, but it constituted a nucleus around which have gathered a vast association, comprising in this State alone fifty-eight Chapters, numbering already its tens of thousands of members, and extending over five States of the Union. Already, though yet in its infancy, it has on several occasions put forth its conservative arm effectively in behalf of our Union and the Constitution ; and we are determined that its pure, patriotic influences shall not slumber, nor its efforts cease, until our national character is fully conserved through the awakening of the people and the purification of the suffrage.
At the close of the foregoing address, the members of Alpha Chapter, availing themselves of the appropriateness of the occasion, presented to their associate, Simeon Baldwin, Esq., one of the founders of the Order, a magnificent and costly service of silver plate, as a token of their appreciation of his long-tried industry in elevating the Order to its present commanding position, and his devotion to its patriotic purposes. The several pieces were elaborately chased with the devices of the Order, and bore the following inscription :
PRESENTED BY THE ORDER OF UNITED AMERICANS
SIMEON BALDWIN, ESQ., P.G.S.,
AS A TESTIMONIAL OF PERSONAL REGARD, AND THEIR APPRECIATION OF HIS ZEALOUS
AND PATRIOTIC EFFORTS IN THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE ORDER,
New York, December 22, 1851.
Mr. Whitney, in presenting the testimonial on behalf of the Chapter, addressed Mr. Baldwin as follows:
Past GRAND Sachem Baldwin: On me devolves the pleasing task of interpreter between your American brethren and yourself. During seven years of anxiety and personal sacrifice, you, sir, have toiled unceasingly in the good work of concentrating the American mind upon a political platform, higher and more ennobling than that which is occupied by the mere creatures of party. You perceived, sir, in common with a few others, in the blind attachment by which most of our people were bound to their partisan prejudices, the element of a danger which threatened the stability of our glorious institutions of liberty, and with the self-sacrificing principle of a true patriot, you resolved to use your best energies to avert the calamity, by awakening our fellow-countrymen to a right sense of their public duties.
The task, thus self-imposed, was one of most unthankful toil, because in assuming it you at once shut yourself from the political sympathies of the great mass of careless thinkers who surrounded you, and who, by their short-sightedness, contributed to render the field of your labors unpopular: those who wrought in it were stamped as the proscribed; the then present, to yourself and your co-workers, was as a bed of thorns, and in the future there appeared to you nothing that could feed your personal ambition, but only the earnest, fixed hope that your labors would turn the current of popular reflection to patriotic channels, and thus secure to posterity the happy inheritance of civil and religious liberty.
Yet during all these trying restraints and discouragements, under which many faltered and fell off by the wayside, we find, sir, by the chronicles of our Order, that you still pressed onward, gathering around you new associates, and by your zealous example, breathing into the minds of others the fervor, the industry, and the patriotism of your own.
Need I name the result, or cite the proofs of that success which has thus far crowned your efforts ? They are found in the vast thousands of our fellow-countrymen who have arrayed themselves under the proud banner of our Order, in this and other States; in the changes that have taken place in the public mind favorable to the American sentiment; in the influence that has been exercised by the Order itself toward the purification of the suffrage; and in the firm assurance which we now entertain, that a renewed spirit of nationality has taken hold of the public mind, which will remain watchful against all influences calculated either to destroy our happy Union, or subvert its institutions.
Grateful for your unwearied efforts, sir, in the accomplishment of this great moral work, and also as a slight testimonial of the estimation in which you are personally held by your brethren of the Order of United Americans, I am instructed to present to you this service of plate. Receive it, then, through me from them; and with it I pray you to accept also our united wishes for your individual prosperity and happiness.
To which Mr. Baldwin replied :
I am too deeply sensible of the great honor conferred upon me, and too embarrassed by this demonstration and by all its surrounding circumstances, to adequately express my feelings on this occasion.
You, sir, have been pleased to allude in terms of approval to the part I have taken in the organization and in the extension of the association, whose anniversary we this day celebrate, and which has, with characteristic American progress, advanced in the short period of seyen years, from a small band of thirteen original confederates, to become a grand national phalanx, spread over and throughout these United States, and numbering its tens of thousands.
If I have done any thing worthy of commendation in the structure of this great work, it has been prompted by my hearty approval of the objects, and my conviction of the necessity for such an organization as the Order of United Americans; and, sir, while I have been impelled to active efforts from these causes, and by my natural love for the “principle” of American Liberty, and an ardent desire for its perpetuity and extension, I cannot flatter myself that my humble exertions are worthy of the high encomiums you have been pleased to bestow upon them.
Having been placed, by the kind favors of the brothers, in various official positions, it has been my duty to carry out the plans designed by them. And if any merit is due for such plans, it is due to others, and not to him who was only their instrument for promulgating them. To none, sir, is such credit more justly due than to yourself; for through all the vicissitudes and trials necessarily attendant on the organization of this great undertaking, you, sir, have been a prominent and leading actor, and although some have faltered in their efforts and become weary and faint-hearted, you have been always ready, and on every necessary occasion your comprehensive mind has given a new impulse to the work, pushing it forward to its high destiny.
I thank the Order for this renewed act of kindness. They have often placed me under obligations for official favors; and now that my services have been deemed worthy of this substantial evidence of their approval, I have no language to convey to them my emotions of gratitude.
I accept this splendid memorial of their fraternal kindness, valuable for its intrinsic worth, more valuable for its source and the circumstances of its presentation ; to me a treasure of inestimable value, which I shall preserve and transmit to my children, an heir-loom emblematic of that glorious legacy of our patriot forefathers, to be cherished by them, as we, by our Order, would cherish and maintain the glorious liberties they bequeathed to us.