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could acquire, our clearest conceptions are involved in doubt, A thousand things may happen which it is impossible to conjecture, and which will influence the course of events. The wise Governor of all things hath hidden the future from the ken of our feeble understanding. In committing ourselves, therefore, to the examination of what may hereafter arrive, we hazard reputation on contingencies we cannot command. And when events shall be past, we shall be judged by them, and not by the reasons which we may now advance.
There are many subjects which it is not easy to understand, but it is always easy to misrespresent, and when arguments cannot be controverted, it is not difficult to calumniate motives. That which cannot be confuted, may be mistated.
The purest intentions may be blackened by malice; and envy will ever foster the foulest imputations.... This calumny is among the sore evils of our country. It began with our earliest success in seventy-eight, and has gone on with accelerated velocity and encreasing force to the present hour. It is no longer to be checked, nor will it terminate but in that sweep of general destruction, to which it tends with a step as sure as time, and fatal as death. I know that what I utter will be misunderstood, misrepresented, deformed, and distorted ; but we must do our duty.... This I believe is the last scene of my public life; and it shall, like those which preceded it, be performed with candor and truth. Yes, my noble friends, addressing himself to the federal senators near him) we shall soon part to meet no more. But however separated, and wherever dispersed, we know that we are united by just principle and true sentiment. A sentiment, my country, ever dovoted to you, which will expire only with expiring life, and beat in the last pulsation of our hearts.
Mr. President, my object is peace. I could assign many reasons to shew that this declaration is sincere. But can it be necessary to give this senate any other assurance than my word? Notwithstanding the acerbity of temper which results from party strife, gentlemen will believe me on my worci. I will not pretend, like my hon. colleague (Mr. CLINTON) to describe to you, the waste, the ravages, and the horrors of war. I have not the same harmonious periods, nor the same musical tones; neither shall I boast of christian charity, nor attempt to display that ingenuous glow of benevolence so decorous to the cheek of youth, which gave a vivid tint to every sentence he uttered; and was, if possible, as impressive even as his eloquence. But though we possess not the same pomp of words, our hearts are not insensible to the woes of humanity. We can feel for the misery of plundered towns, the conflagration of defenceless villages, and the devastation of cultured fielas. Turning from these features of general distress, we can enter the abodes of private affliction, and behold the widow weeping, as she traces, in the pledges of connubial affection, the resemblance of him whom she has lost forever. We see the aged matron bending over the ashes of her son. He was her darling; for he was generous and brave, and therefore his spirit led him to the field in defence of his country. We can observe another oppressed with unutterable anguish: condemned to conceal her affection ; forced to hide that passion which is at once the torment and delight of life ; she learns that those eyes which beamed with sentimeut, are closed in death ; and his lip, the ruby harbinger of joy, lies pale and cold, the miserable appendage of a mangled corse. Hard, hard indeed, must be that heart which can be insensible to scenes like these, and bold the man who dare present to the Almighty Father a conscience crimson'd with the blood of his children.
Yes, sir, we wish for peace; but how is that blessing to be preserved ? I shall repeat here a sentiment I have often had occasion to express. In my opinion, there is nothing worth fighting for, but national honor: for in the national honor, is involved the national independence. I know that a state may find itself in such unpropitious circumstances, that pru. dence may force a wise government to conceal the sense of indignity. But the insult should be engraven on tablets of brass, with a pencil of steel. And when that time and chance, which happen to all, shall bring forward the favourable moment, then let the avenging arm strike home. It is by avowing and maintaining this stern principle of honor, that peace can be preserved. But let it not be supposed, that any thing I say, has the slightest allusion to the injuries sustained from France, while suffering in the pangs of her revolution. As soon should I upbraid a sick man for what he might have done in the paroxisms of disease. Nor is this a new sentiment: it was felt and avowed at the time when these wrongs were heaped on us, and I appeal for the proof to the files of your Secretary of State. The destinies of France were then in the hands of monsters. By the decree of heaven she was broken on the wheel, in the face of the world, to warn mankind of her folly and madness. But these scenes have past away. On the throne of the Bourbons, is now seated the first of the Gallic