Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

VALEDICTORY ADDRESS.

To the Electors of the Seventh

necessity which has controlled my decision. Congressional District of Kentucky: But, among the many embarrassments with Fellow-CITIZENS-I have this day re- which, in coming to this decision, I have signed my seat in the Congress of the United been perplexed, I have derived gratification States. This I considered proper, after the and encouragement from the conviction that, most grave and deliberate reflections on my if my services could, at any time, be conduties to you, and to those to whom I am bound sidered of any value, there is nothing in the by other and more sacred ties; and I hope you present condition of the country that could will believe that I have not taken this course oppose my retirement now; and that all the from motives of interest or convenience, nor circumstances of the time I have selected, are without the most respectful attention to your as favorable to it, as any that might ever elaims on my services, and a becoming occur. I am happy on this occasion in being sense of gratitude for your kindness and in- able to congratulate you on the enviable condulgence. If my circumstances and private dition of our country in all its great interests duties would have permitted me to consult free- and relations. Never did more tranquility, ly my own inclination, I would have romained peace and concord pervade the Union than at in your service as long as my conduct should this moment; and never was there, in any obtain your approbation and your suffrage. country in my opinion, less necessity for naNo situation under the Federal Constitution tional legislation. I believe that the less we could present as many attractions to my taste, legislate, under existing circumstances, the my patriotism, or my ambition, as the one more we shall consult the substantial and perwhich I have now abandoned; and no ordina- manent good of the community. If we rely, ry consideration could have induced me to re- as becomes us, on our physical and moral calinquish it; but the health and condition of pacities for the principal means of happiness my family—their increasing claims on my care and competence--if we encourage industry, and attention and circumstances of business economy and public spirit, and by a liberal and fortune, left me no prudent alternative. and diffusive system of education, literary and I determined, therefore, after some hesitancy, moral, bring into useful operation the latent and the most anxious endeavors to ascertain energies of the rising generation—if we will my duty, to retire from a station in which adopt and inculcate enlightened, liberal and I believed that I could not much longer con elevated notions of government, and of the sotinue without a violation of the most sacred cial, religious and political rights and dutiesand paramount duties. And having formed such is the benign genius of our institutions, this resolutiou, I considered it my duty to ex- and such is the happy posture of the affairs ecute it without longer delay, for the purpose that concern our welfare as a nation, that we of giving you sufficient time to select with full may reach thc proudest destiny with which discretion a successor, and without unnecessa- hope has ever flattered us, without the conry inconvenience, at the next annual election stant multiplication of laws, or an habitual of State Representatives. I hope that the time depenpence on the supposed magic of legislawhich I have given you will be amply sufficient. tion. All things duly considered, we have I would have given you even more, if I had very little cause of despondence or complaint, not felt it my duty to give a respectful con- and much of exhiliration and mutual felicisideration to the opinions and solicitations of station. Never, (I believe,) could the people friends.

of the United States say with more sincerity When you duly appreciate the motives and truth to the national legislature, “LET which, (and which alone) influenced me on US ALONE.” The most prominent circumthis occasion, I have the fullest confidence, stances, international and domestic, which from the liberality and indulgence with which have for some time agitated our counsels, and you have always considered my conduct, that menanced the harmony and integrity of the you will approve my resolution, and acquiesce Union, having been satisfactorily arranged without censure, in my decision. It is under during the last session of Congress, the prosthis hope, and for this purpose that I now, for pect before us for years to come, in the most the last time address you. It is, I assure comprehensive survey, presents, in the great you, with reluctance and regret, that I leave outline of national prosperity an encouraging your service; reluctance produced by a recol- view, and anthorizes the most animating lection of the strong obligations to serve you, hopes of the longevity of our institutions, and which your repeated acts of favor have imposed of the independence and happiness of our peoon me; and deep regret resulting from the ple. I am happy, therefore, in believing, that Bature of the circumstances constituting the if, under any circumstances, my feeble talents and the little experience which I may have ruins without emotions of sorrow, surprise or acquired in national legislation, could be con- resentment, looking in triumph to its day of sidered by my warmest friends of any advan- resurrection. All who engage in political tage to your rights, your interests, or your warfare should be thus shielded, if they wish honor, the auspicious circumstances under to avoid ultimate discomfiture and disgrace. which I retire, diminish their utility so much, A firm and honest man should always be conthat whether I remain longer in your service tented under the consciousness, if he fall, of or not. becomes of very little concern, except having done his duty. He has also for his to myself, especially as you will have no diffi- encouragement an assurance from the testimoculty in finding others willing and able to py of all experience, that is, in the storms of serve you, who have stronger claims on your shall be, for awhile, overwhelmed, and lighter

faction or momentary popular commotion he confidence and favor than I can have any bodies should be permitted, for a moment, to hope of possessing or deserving to enjoy. In taking leave of you, I have the satisfac- reason and the calm of sober judgment will soon

mouut the bursting wave, the sunshine of tion of a strong assurance that, whilst in your return and find him on a proud eminence high service, I have done my duty. I know I above those ephemeral favorites who could honestly endeavored to do it, by an undeviating vegetate and flourish only in the beams of popadherence to those maxims of public policy ular favor, and Caneleot-like, live by snuffing and public duty which my own judgment and air-the breath of popular applause. “Popuo conscience recommended to me as best adapted lar applause” is gratifying to all good men, but to promote the honor of the government and there is danger, if pursued too eagerly, of its the good of the people; disregarding as far as becoming an ignis futuus to decoy us into error. possible, personal and local considerations. No wise man will be insensible to the approMany could have served you more ably, but bation of his fellow-men, or indifferent about none more faithfully. That I have frequently obtaining it; but no honest map will ever aterred is probable, but I Hatter myself that my tempt to obtain it in any other way than by errors were venial; and I am proud in being endeavoring to deserve it. The popularity able to say that I have no recollection of having which is gratifying to an honorable and elevabeen reproached either by you, or a disappro- ted mind, is not that evanescent capricious ving conscience, with any aberration from thing that must be conciliated by caresses, the principles of political rectitude, or any de- and purchased by dishonest compliances, but reliction of public duty. My public life has that high and constant sentiment of esteem been short and humble; it furnishes no which follows virtuous actions, and is their incidents to flatter pride or gratify ambition. best reward, next to the approbation of a sound If in the stormy and difficult times in which it conscience, which it will, sooner or later, gratwas spent, it has been disinterested, firm and ify and prosper. straight-forward, I shall have fulfilled in its 1 bave been anxious to obtain your approresults, all my expectations, and have de. bation, but more so to secure that of my own served as much commendation as I have ever consciencc. The last I know I enjoy-the desired. If, in reviewing it, I see nothing to first I have endeavored to deserve. And I enbe vain of, or to extort the applause or admi- Ijoy a sentiment the most gratifying to my feelration of others, I see, what is more grateful to ings, in having good reason. to believe that my my feelings, that it exhibits nothing of which feeble efforts to do my duty, in your service, lam ashamed, or of which on mature reflection while they excite no sensation of remorse in I repent. But while I recollect no act of my my own bosom, have been crowned with your public life which I would alter, I confess, approbation which is the consummation of my that I have, more than once, done that which bopes, and the highest achievement wbich my I regretted, and still regret, being compelled ambition ever sought or my vanity expected. to do by convictions of public duty. In other The connexion which has hitberto subsisted words, my votes have not always been in ac- between us as constituents and representative accord with my feelings. Political life, how. being now dissolved, I avail myself of this first over humble or uuambiiions, is beset with many moment after becoming a private citizen, lo difficulties, trials and perplexities; it is the cru- tender you, in the plenitude of upmixed gratcible of merit, the ordeal of virtue and energy: itude, my warmest acknowledgments for the He who expects to pass through unhurt and friendship and good opinion which you have self-satisfied, and wishes to be able, when at so frequently and so signally manifested tohis journeys' end, to look back, without shame wards me. I shall long cherish a grateful reor remorse, on the various meanderings and collection of those flattering testimonials. Ser. multiform incidents of the mazy path which vices which my capacity and situation will he has followed, must be prepared to do many permit me to perform, you may at any time things incompatible with his individual inter command. ests, and repugnant to his personal and local Accept my most earnest wishes for your predilections. He must expect to be instructed welfare, individually and collectively, and by the suggestions of an unbiased judgment, believe me to be, with sentiments of the most frequently to do that which, while his head profound respect, approves, his heart abjures. He must be pre- Your friend, and your humble servant, pared too, to smile with unmixed contempt at

G ROBERTSON. causeless abuse, and to see his popularity in LANOASTIR, 1st May, 1821.

CONTENTS.

1. Argument on “New Election" of Governor of Kentucky, (1817.)

2. Speech in Congress (1819) against interdicting Slavery in Arkansas,

3. Speech in Congress (1820) in favor of establishing the present system

of selling the Public Lands,

4. Report (1823) on Popular Education in Kentucky,

5. Speech against resolutions condemnatory of the Court of Appeals in

Kentucky,

6. Speech on the Bill for re-organizing (abolishing) the Court of Appeals,

7. Protest against the Re-organizing Act,

8. Manifesto of the old Court Party, (1826)

9. Plebeian Letters,

10. Circular Address to Kentucky on the principle and policy of protecting

domestic capital and labor,

11. Letter (1823) to Ohio Legislature in favor of Mr. Clay for President,

12. Invitation (1827) to Mr. Clay to a Garrard dinner,

13. Garrard Address on Presidential election, (1828)

14. Speech at the Clay Festival, (1842,)

15. Address on the reception of Mr. Clay's dead body at Lexington, (1852,)

16. Anniversary Address at Centre College,

17. Introductory Lecture (1835) to Law Class of Transylvania,

18. Lecture against Nullification,

19. Lecture on Equity,

20. Biographical Sketch of Chief-Justice Boyle,

21. Lecture on Marriage and Divorce,

22. Valedictory Address to Law Class of Transylvania,

23. Lecture on the Powers of Congress and the Resolutions of “'98,"

24: Lecture on Legislative and Popular Instructions,

35. Anniversary Address on the Settlement of Kentucky,

26. Trial of Dr. Abner Baker,

27. Speech on said Trial,

28. Speech against the Repeal of the Non-Importation Act of 1833,

29. Address to the People of Fayette on Slavery,

90. Valedictory to the Kentucky Legislature, (1853,)

31. Address to Fayette against the New Constitution,

32. Speech on the 22nd February, 1852,

34. Judicial Opinion on the Power to establish Post Roade,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »