« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
should once be adopted. They talk of the perfectability of man, of the dignity of his nature ; and entirely forgetting what he is, declaim perpetually about what he should be. Thus they allure and seduce the visionary, the superficial, and the unthinking part of mankind. They are for the most part honest, always zealous, and always plausible; whereby they become exceedingly formidable. Of the three classes employed in the work of revolution, they are infinitely the most to be dreaded; for until they have shaken the foundations of order, and infused a spirit of discontent and innovation into the community, neither the jacobins nor the sans-culottes can produce any considerable effect. The army cannot find entrance, until the forerunners have corrupted the garrison to open the gates. Of these men, we, in this country, have enough, and more than enough.
Of Xacobins we also have a plenty. They follow close in the train of Philosophers, and profit by all their labours. This class is composed of that daring, ambitious, and unprincipled set of men, who, possessing much courage, considerable talents, but no character, are unable to obtain power, the object of all their designs, by regular means, and therefore perpetually attempt to seize it by violence. Tyrants when in power, and demagogues when out, they lay in wait for every opportunity of seiz. ing on the government per fas ant nefas, and for this purpose use all implements which come to their hands, neglect no nieans which promise success. Unable to enter at the door of the sheepfold, they climb in at the windows, and destroy the flock. Although they use the assistance of the philosophers in gaining entrance, they dread their honesty, their zeal, and their influence with the public; and accordingly the first use they make of power, when they can obtain it, is to destroy the philosophers themselves.
As the philosophers are the pioneers, these men are the generals of the army of revolution ; but both pioneers and generals are useless without an army; and, fortunately, the army does not exist in this country.
The army is composed of the sans-culottes, that class of idle, indigent, and profligate persons, who so greatly | abound in the populous countries of Europe, especially
the large towns; and being destitute of every thing ; having no home, no families, no regular means of subsistance, feel no attachment to the established order, which they are always ready to join in subverting, when they find any one to pay them for their assistance. These were the men, who, in the pay of a wealthy Jacobin, and under the guidance of fanatic philosophers, overturned all order and government in France, and will overturn it in every other country where they exist in great numbers, and are not opposed with great force and unceasing vigilance. But fortunately for America, there are few sans-culottes among her inhabitants, very few indeed. Except some small portions of rabble in a few towns, the character is unknown among us; and hence our safety. Our people are all, or very nearly all, proprietors of land, spread over a vast extentof country, where they live in ease and freedom ; strangers alike to oppression and want. Those who reside in the largest towns are possessed of property, have homes, families, and regular occupations; and among such a people the principles of sans-culottism never did, and never will make much progress. If a new duke of Orleans were here, with Mirabeau for his privycounsellor, and an annual revenue of three hundred thousand guineas, to supply the means of corruption, he could not raise a mob sufficient to drive this body from their seats, or overawe their deliberations. We have Jacobins in plenty, and Philosophers not a few ; but while we are free from sans-culottes, and it is probable that the nature of our government, and the abundance of untilled land in our country, will secure us from them for ages, we need not apprehend great danger. We ought, no doubt, to watch and withstand the enterprizes of the pioneers and generals ; but while they remain without troops they are not much to be dreaded.
Having made these observations on the purity of gen. tlemen's motives, observations which were due not only to candour and truth, but to the respect I fell for their
personal characters, I hold myself at full liberty to exdi plain the tendency of the present amendment, and of that
system of policy whereof it is a part, and I mean not to
impute any ill intentions to gentlenien, when I declare, % and attempt to prove, that this tendency is to the utter subversion of the present government. It is my firm and most deliberate opinion, that the amendment now under consideration, and the principles of that system to which it belongs, lead directly to the introduction of anarchy and revolution in this country, and if not steadily opposed, must sooner or later produce that effect. This opinion it is my purpose to support by the observations which I am about to offer; and it is by a full conviction of its truth, that I have been induced to consider it as a most sacred duty, to combat the system at all times, and by all the means in my power.
Speech of the Hon. RICHARD STOCKTON, delivered in the
House of Representatives of the United States, on the 10th December, 1814, on a bill“ to authorise the President of the United States to call upon the several states and territories thereof, for their respective quotas of eighty thousand four hundred and thirty militia for the defence of the frontiers of the United States, against invasion."
I HAVE moved for the indefinite postponement of this bill, before the amendments made in the committee of the whole house are disposed of not with any wish to interpose artificial obstructions to its passage through the house, but to secure to myself, and to other gentlemen, the common privilege of expressing our opinions upon a great political subject-a precaution made the more necessary, by the intimations thrown out yesterday of an intention of stopping further discussion by a resort to the previous question. I can assure you, sir, that I rise to advocate this motion in no spirit of party or of opposition ; but because I feel myself constrained by all the ties which bind me to my constituents and country, to make use of every exertion to prevent the passage of the bill. I know the difficulties which at this moment surround the government and the nation. I know and I feel, as sensibly, as any member can feel the crisis the awful crisis, at which our public affairs have arrived.
I know, sir, that we are engaged in a war with a power
ful, irritated and revengeful enemy. Since the late disu patches from Europe have been submitted to us, I have s been induced to believe that the administration could not 300at this moment make a just and honourable peace if it ci were now really disposed so to do. I admit that there is o too much ground to apprehend that if this war is contin27 ued for another campaign, it will require a great exertion
to maintain the just rights and integrity of the United Jara States. I know that our treasury is empty, and must be
filled that our public credit is gone, and must be restored—that the ranks of our army are thin, and must be encreased-all this I know-and, without stopping now to inquire why or wherefore these things are, I am ready to act accordingly. I am willing to accept the invitation of an honourable member from Kentucky (Mr. Duval and to sacrifice for the good of the public. I am willing at this moment to forget all that I have ever thought and believed of this terrible war-I am willing to forget the folly, the political insanity, in which it was declared the neglect, the culpable neglect to provide the necessary means of carrying it on the waste the profuse and shameful waste of blood and treasure, which has marked its progress. Although every event since that fatal step was taken, has confirmed me in these opinions, I am willing to forget them all, and to act as if they did not exist. . I am willing to place them upon the altar of public safer ty, and there to immolate them. I am willing for my
self to go further, and to refrain from all irritating expresenn sions in reference to those who hold the reins of governpment, and control the destinies of the nation. I most
sincerely pray that our gloomy forebodings as to the is
sue of affairs in their hands may not be realised. That al they may be able to extricate the country from the dan
gers which surround it, and to make a speedy, lasting and - honourable peace. I have already acted in conformity
with these professions, by voting during this session for Du every measure intended to increase your revenues or ar
mies, which appeared to me to be constitutional, and e me founded on principles of justice and equality-and I shall - 36 continue so to act. But, Mr. Speaker, there are bounds -js, which every man of principle must observe. There are
some limits, which neither arguments, difficulties, or dangers can induce me to exceed. The limits which I have prescribed to myself in providing for the exigencies of the day are just and indispensible--they are, the constitution, the general principles of political expediency; the eternal immutable principles of justice, equal justice, to all the community. These principles I must and will adhere to at all hazards. To me, sir, public wants can afford no inducement to vote for an act which my best judgment informs me transcends the legitimate powers of Congress. To me, state necessity can be no plea for resorting to wild and visionary plans, which though they may be honestly intended to redeem the public credit, I conscientiously believe will sink it deeper into ruin. Nor, sir, will necessity ever induce me in the imposition of taxes to violate the great principles of justice and equality. With these exceptions I am willing to go as far as any other member in providing the proper means of defending the rights and interests of these United States. In regard to the bill now on the table, I have read it with attention, bestowing upon it all the consideration its importance demanded. I have endeavoured to analize its object and provisions. I have listened with the most respectful attention to every thing which has been said in its favour. The result is a solemn conviction, that we have no constitutional right to pass the bill in its present shape--and that it will be destructive of the best interests of this country to enact it. Will you listen to me, Mr. Speaker, whilst I state as concisely as I can, the reasons which have induced me to form this opinion? In performing this task, I shall endeavour to adhere strictly to the bill. There are, indeed, other most important mat• ters intimately connected with it, which, as parts of the same general plan, would be proper objects of rèmark; but from these I shall refrain at present-I allude parti cularly to the proposed draft of the militia to fill the ranks of the regular army. On this monstrous device I shall make no remarks now. That bill may never be called up. It is already damned in public estimation, I trust that it is sleeping the sleep of death, and that it will never be roused to affright and afflict us. Mr. Speaker, there are certain general principles which lie at the bot