© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill digital library,
Documenting the American
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Originals are in the University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
DocSouth staff created a 600 dpi uncompressed TIFF file for each image. The TIFF images were then saved as JPEG images at 100 dpi for web access.
Page images can be viewed and compared in parallel with the text.
Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
Letters, words and passages marked as deleted or added in originals have been encoded accordingly.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as ".
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as '.
All em dashes are encoded as —.
Indentation in lines has not been preserved.
Taylor's debate speech favors a military background in a President because he can defend the rights of the people against invasion and tyranny.
The gentleman who has just addressed the house, after a slight
reversion to the happy condition of our as yet infant though prosperous
republic, has with great propriety dwelt more fully, upon the great importance
of the office of its chief-magistrate—& of the extreme care &
circumspection, to be exercised in his selection. As the last great experiment
of democracy, its course is ever watched with anxious solicitude, by the
advocates of true liberty, as the "bright autumnal star" whose
ascent, or whose fall, will irrevocably decide the momentous question,
"whether the people are capable of self-government". As the beacon
that guides the few rising republics of the present day, which its rays have
warmed into life,
its fate will ever embrace
their fortunes. To give perpetuity to our free
institutions, prosperity & happiness to our country, is the great end which
we have in view—in filling the responsible office of President. But
sir,—as to the most proper means of effecting this great object—I am compelled to differ with
the gentleman. Our chief magistrate ought in my opinion- to be a military
character. The combination of the civil & military powers of a government
constitute the basis of its national freedom. Though they when united, procure
for us,—peace happiness & security—yet when viewed
apart—their claims to equal contribution are by no means indefeasible. A
wise civil administration is indeed indispensibly necessary to the prosperity
of a government;—but without that security, which is alone procured by
military power—the personal safety of its citizens would ever continue a
source of uneasiness—and2 it looks to the
military chief[t]ain4 as the proper
person, in whom to confide its fortunes. And it is in accordance with the
strictest policy- that it should be so. It is to the military chieftain, that
we look for that firmness & descision of character—that promptitude
of action, which should ever distinguish him, who rules the destinies of a
nation. What, sir, would we presage to be the fate of a government, devoid of
this most essential qualification? What sir, I would ask, has
history already shown us? Its unerring page records
in letters of blood its dismal train of calamity bloodshed & devastation.
The want of this one principle in one man oftentimes
involves his whole country in ruin;—"opens the flood-gates of
faction & discord"—whose swelling torrent rushes throughout the
land, impregnating the pure air of heaven with its baleful &
peace-destroying vapour; he sees the sacred name of his country, mocked by
foes—its ambassadors treated with indignity—the sacred principle of
treaty violated—and his own citizens impressed into foreign
service.—And what sir, I would again ask, would have been the condition
of our own glorious republic; in those trying times of its present
administration, when the brand of infamy was menaced
to to the first patriot of his age, had not his unwavering firmness carried him
through the conflict—unawed & undismayed—his own bright
character, rendered more burnished; Cicero, Demosthenes cabinet, (which is generally is but the misnomer for skill in intrigue &
cabal) he is entitled to take charge of the " vessel
of state" and guide it through the stormy seas, which shake the
nerves of the stoutest veteran. In short sir, the ruler of a free people should
be as it were its panoply of defence;—the bulwark which defies insult
& the sword that avenges it;—at once its
military despotism" and has adduced several
instances to sanction Liberty; we
are unavoidably led into his conclusion.—and see with shrinking
hearts—the imminent risque—the appalling danger- we incur- in
hazarding our liberties upon so delicate a tenure—But sir, listen not to
the deceptive voice of eloquence. Let us for a moment trace effects to their
generating causes—and see how one could thus subvert the liberties of his
country. Examine the history of every age- & you will find the cause to be
in the state of the people themselves. It is when a nation becomes a prey to
corruption—when it is torn by civil dissentions—when the sacred
office of government is prostituted to venal purposes—it is sir, when the
temple of Liberty is beginning to totter,—that
the bloody standard of the usurper can be planted
over its ruins. And not till then. The independance of
masters were as numerous as its different
factions; and the small thread which bound together
the multifarious states of the Republic—so seperate in their
interests—seemed ready to burst. The occassion seemed imperiously to
demand some master-spirit, to quiet the jarring elements—and unite them
into one body. Let us now examine the position of the gentleman, with respect
patriots which "would have
been crowned with success but for the usurpation of
Bonaparte". That the French people ardently
Sir, the gentleman has inveighed with much severity against the [l]icentiousness10 of the camp;—which he identifies with a sink of corruption—& school of vice. Such anathemas might well suit the undisciplined & profligate mercinaries of the despot;—but will by no means apply to the soldiery of our Republic. What sir, was the charac[t]eristic11 feature, that distinguished our Patriotic citizens, from the hirelings of
"Unless corruptionfirst deject the pride And guardian vigor of the free-bornsoul All crude attempts of violence are vain Too firm—within—& while at heart untouched Ne'er yet by forcewas Freedom overcame" Thompsons Liberty9
in reply to
a on top of
6. During the
inquiry on top of several
extenuate on top of
several unrecovered characters.
Taylor ends in a flourish.