History, 1838–1856, volume E-1 [1 July 1843–30 April 1844]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 1877
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<​February 7.​> Our common country presents to all men the same advantages; the same facilities; the same prospects; the same honors; and the same rewards: and without hypocrisy, the Constitution when it says “We, the people of the , in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure <​domestic​> tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the ,” meant just what it said, without reference to color or condition: ad infinitum.
The aspirations and expectations of a virtuous people, environed with so wise, so liberal, so deep, so broad, and so high a charter of equal rights, as appears in said Constitution, ought to be treated, by those to whom the administration of the laws are intrusted, with as much sanctity, as the prayers of the Saints are treated in heaven, that love, confidence and union, like the sun, moon and stars should bear witness.
(For ever singing as they shine,)
The hand that made us is divine!”
Unity is power, and when I reflect on the importance of it to the stability of all governments, I am astounded at the silly moves of persons and parties, to foment discord in order to ride into power on the current of popular excitement; nor am I less surprized at the stretches of power, or restrictions of right, which too often appear as acts of legislators, to pave the way to some favorite political scheme, as destitute of intrinsic merit, as a wolf’s heart is of the milk of human kindness: a Frenchman would say, ‘presque tout aimer richnesses richesses et pouvoir’: (almost all men like wealth and power.)
I must dwell on this subject longer than others, for nearly one hundred years ago that Golden patriot, Benjamin Franklin, drew up a plan of union for the then Colonies of Great Britain that now are such [HC 6:198] an Independent nation, which among many wise provisions for obedient children under their father’s more rugged hand, had this:— “they have power to make laws, and lay and levy such general duties, imports, or taxes, as to them shall appear most equal and just, (considering the ability and other circumstances of the inhabitants in the several colonies,) and such as may be collected with the least inconvenience to the people; rather discouraging luxury, than loading industry with unnecessary burthens.” Great Britain surely lacked the laudable humanity and fostering clemency to grant such a just plan of union— but the sentiment remains like the land that honor’d its birth, as a pattern for wise men to study the convenience of the people more than the comfort of the cabinet.
And one of the most noble fathers of our freedom and country’s glory: great in war, great in peace, great in the estimation of the world, and great in the hearts of his countrymen, the illustrious [George] Washington, said in his first inaugural address to Congress: “I behold the surest pledges that as, on one side, no local prejudices or attachments, no separate views or party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought [p. 1877]
February 7. Our common country presents to all men the same advantages; the same facilities; the same prospects; the same honors; and the same rewards: and without hypocrisy, the Constitution when it says “We, the people of the , in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the ,” meant just what it said, without reference to color or condition: ad infinitum.
The aspirations and expectations of a virtuous people, environed with so wise, so liberal, so deep, so broad, and so high a charter of equal rights, as appears in said Constitution, ought to be treated, by those to whom the administration of the laws are intrusted, with as much sanctity, as the prayers of the Saints are treated in heaven, that love, confidence and union, like the sun, moon and stars should bear witness.
(For ever singing as they shine,)
The hand that made us is divine!”
Unity is power, and when I reflect on the importance of it to the stability of all governments, I am astounded at the silly moves of persons and parties, to foment discord in order to ride into power on the current of popular excitement; nor am I less surprized at the stretches of power, or restrictions of right, which too often appear as acts of legislators, to pave the way to some favorite political scheme, as destitute of intrinsic merit, as a wolf’s heart is of the milk of human kindness: a Frenchman would say, ‘presque tout aimer richesses et pouvoir’: (almost all men like wealth and power.)
I must dwell on this subject longer than others, for nearly one hundred years ago that Golden patriot, Benjamin Franklin, drew up a plan of union for the then Colonies of Great Britain that now are such [HC 6:198] an Independent nation, which among many wise provisions for obedient children under their father’s more rugged hand, had this:— “they have power to make laws, and lay and levy such general duties, imports, or taxes, as to them shall appear most equal and just, (considering the ability and other circumstances of the inhabitants in the several colonies,) and such as may be collected with the least inconvenience to the people; rather discouraging luxury, than loading industry with unnecessary burthens.” Great Britain surely lacked the laudable humanity and fostering clemency to grant such a just plan of union— but the sentiment remains like the land that honor’d its birth, as a pattern for wise men to study the convenience of the people more than the comfort of the cabinet.
And one of the most noble fathers of our freedom and country’s glory: great in war, great in peace, great in the estimation of the world, and great in the hearts of his countrymen, the illustrious George Washington, said in his first inaugural address to Congress: “I behold the surest pledges that as, on one side, no local prejudices or attachments, no separate views or party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought [p. 1877]
Page 1877