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but the turbulent spectators within the hall, awed and controlled the French Assembly. With this lesson and its consequences before us, the time will never come when the deliberations of the Senate shall be swayed by the blandishments or the thunders of the galleries.
It is impossible to disconnect from an occasion like this a crowd of reflections on our own past history, and of speculations on the future. The most meagre account of the Senate involves a summary of the progress of our country. From year to year you have seen your representation enlarge; time and again you have proudly welcomed a new sister into the Confederacy; and the occurrences of this day are a material and impressive proof of the growth and prosperity of the United States. Three periods in the history of the Senate mark, in striking contrast, three epochs in the history of the Union.
On the 3d of March, 1789, when the Government was organized under the Constitution, the Senate was composed of the représentatives of eleven States, containing three million people.
On the 6th of December, 1819, when the Senate met for the first time in this room, it was composed of the representatives of twenty-one States, containing nine million people.
To-day it is composed of the representatives of thirty-two States, containing more than twenty-eight million people, prosperous, happy, and still devoted to constitutional liberty. Let these great facts speak for themselves to all the world. The career of the United States cannot be measured by that of any
other people of whom history gives account; and the mind is almost appalled at the contemplation of the prodigious force which has marked their progress. Sixtynine years ago, thirteen States, containing three millions of inhabitants, burdened with debt and exhausted by the long war of Independence, established for their common good a free Constitution, on principles new to mankind, and began their experiment with the good wishes of a few doubting friends and the derision of the world. Look at the result to-day; twenty-eight millions of people, in every way happier than an equal number in any other part of the globe; the centre of population and political power descending the western slopes of the Alleghany mountains, and the original thirteen States forming but the eastern margin on the map of our vast possessions! See, besides Christianity, civilization, and the arts given to a continent, the despised Colonies grown into a Power of the first class, representing and protecting ideas that involve the progress of the human race; a commerce greater than that of any other nation; every variety of climate, soil, and production, to make a people powerful and happy; free interchange between the States; in a word, behold present greatness, and, in the future, an empire to which the ancient mistress of the world in the height of her glory could not be compared. Such is our country; ay, and more-far more than my mind could conceive or my tongue could utter. Is there an American who regrets the past? Is there one who will deride his country's laws, pervert her Constitution, or alienate her people? If there be such a man, let his memory descend to posterity laden with the execrations of all mankind.
So happy is the political and social condition of the United States, and so
accustomed are we to the secure enjoyment of a freedom elsewhere unknown, that we are apt to undervalue the treasures we possess, and to lose, in some degree, the sense of obligation to our forefathers. But when the strifes of faction shake the Government and even threaten it, we may pause with advantage long enough to remember that we are reaping the reward of other men's labors. This liberty we inherit; this admirable Constitution, which has survived peace and war, prosperity and adversity; this double scheme of Government, State and Federal, so peculiar and so little understood by other Powers, yet which protects the earnings of industry, and makes the largest personal freedom compatible with public order; these great results were not acquired without wisdom and toil and blood. The touching and heroic record is before the world; but to all this we were born, and, like heirs upon whom has been cast a great inheritance, have only the high duty to preserve, to extend, and to adorn it. The grand productions of the era in which the foundations of this Government were laid reveal the deep sense its founders had of their obligations to the whole family of man. Let us never forget that the responsibilities imposed on this generation are by so much the greater than those which rested on our revolutionary ancestors, as the population, extent, and power of our country surpass the dawning promise of its origin.
It would be a pleasing task to pursue many trains of thought not wholly foreign to this occasion, but the temptation to enter the wide field must be vigorously curbed; yet I may be pardoned perhaps for one or two additional reflections.
The Senate is assembled for the last time in this chamber. Henceforth it will be converted to other uses; yet it must remain forever connected with great events, and sacred to the memories of the departed orators and statesmen who here engaged in high debates and shaped the policy of their country. Hereafter the American and the stranger, as they wander through the Capitol, will turn with instinctive reverence to view the spot on which so many and great materials have accumulated for history. They will recall the images of the great and the good, whose renown is the common property of the Union; and chiefly, perhaps, they will linger around the seats once occupied by the mighty three, whose names and fame, associated in life, death has not been able to sever; illustrious men, who in their generation sometimes divided, sometimes led, and sometimes resisted public opinion—for they were of that higher class of statesmen who seek the right and follow their convictions.
There sat Calhoun, the Senator, inflexible, austere, oppressed but not overwhelmed by his deep sense of the importance of his public functions; seeking the truth, then fearlessly following it; a man whose unsparing intellect compelled all his emotions to harmonize with the deductions of his vigorous logic, and whose noble countenance habitually wore the expression of one engaged in the performance of high public duties.
This was Webster's seat. He, too, was even such a Senator. Conscious of his own vast powers, he reposed with confidence on himself; and scorning the contrivances of smaller men, he stood among his peers all the greater for the simple dignity of his Senatorial demeanor. Type of his Northern home, he rises before the imagination, in the grand and granite outline of his form and intel
lect, like a great New England rock repelling a New England wave. As a writer, his productions will be cherished by statesmen and scholars while the English tongue is spoken; as a Senatorial orator, his great efforts are historically associated with this chamber, whose very air seems yet to vibrate beneath the stroke of his deep tones and his weighty words.
On the outer circle sat Henry Clay, with his impetuous and ardent nature, untamed by age, and exhibiting in the Senate the same vehement patriotism and passionate eloquence that of yore electrified the House of Representatives and the country. His extraordinary personal endowments, his courage, all his noble qualities, invested him with an individuality and a charm of character which, in any age, would have made him a favorite of history. He loved his country above all earthly objects. He loved liberty in all countries. Illustrious man!-orator, patriot, philanthropist—his light at its meridian was seen and felt in the remotest parts of the civilized world; and his declining sun, as it hastened down the west, threw back its level beams in hues of mellowed splendor to illuminate and to cheer the land he loved and served so well.
All the States may point, with gratified pride, to the services in the Senate of their patriotic sons. Crowding the memory, come the names of Adams, Hayne, Mason, Otis, Macon, Pinckney, and the rest—I cannot number them—who, in the record of their acts and utterances, appeal to their successors to give the Union a destiny not unworthy of the past. What models were these, to awaken emulation or to plunge in despair! Fortunate will be the American statesmen who, in this age, or in succeeding times, shall contribute to invest the new hall to which we go with historic memories like those which cluster here.
And now, Senators, we leave this memorable chamber, bearing with us, unimpaired, the Constitution we received from our forefathers. Let us cherish it with grateful acknowledgments to the Divine Power who controls the destinies of empires and whose goodness we adore. The structures reared by men yield to the corroding tooth of time. These marble walls must moulder into ruin ; but the principles of constitutional liberty, guarded by wisdom and virtue, unlike material elements, do not decay. Let us devoutly trust that another Senate, in another age, shall bear to a new and larger chamber this Constitution, vigorous and inviolate, and that the last generation of posterity shall witness the deliberations of the Representatives of American States still united, prosperous, and