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sibilities from which arise the systems of Internal extend to them the right of citizenship with all Improvement and Education.
its inestimable franchises. We must secure to Our country is rich, beyond all she now enjoys, in them, as largely as we ourselves enjoy, the immulatent, unappropriated wealth. The minerals nities of religious worship. And we should not within the earth are not more truly wealth hidden act less wisely for ourselves than generously toand unused, than the capabilities of its surface to ward them, by establishing schools in which their yield immeasurable fruits to sustain the steps and children shall enjoy advantages of education equal gladden the hearts of the children of men. Emi- to our own, with free toleration of their peculiar gration tending Westward with constantly increas- creeds and instructions. ing numbers manifests the resources of native labor The year 1838 has been signalized by the mowe possess to render these capabilities productive. mentous confirmation of the highest hopes excited There is another resource which is ours neither by by the successful application of steam power to the inheritance, nor by purchase, nor by violence, nor propulsion of boats. But this wonderful agent has by fraud. It is the labor, the incalculable surplus achieved, alınost unobserved, a new triumph, which labor, of the European States. This is wealth, and is destined to effect incalculable results in the social the moral energies of those who bring it hither are system. This is, its application to locomotion upon an element of national greatness. They come to the land. Time and money are convertible. Hus. us under the same law which controlled the colo- bandry of the one is economy of the other, and nists in their emigration and settlement here. They is equivalent to the economy of labor. Railroads force themselves upon us even though we inhospita- effect a saving of time and money; and, notwithbly resist them. The surplus capital of Europe, too, standing all the incredulity and opposition they enis seeking our shores with the same certainty and counter, they will henceforth be among the comin obedience to the same aw. Anathematized mon auxiliaries of enterprise. Happily, it is not in though it be from our high places, and denounced our power to fetter the energies of other States, alby those who, removed by fortune beyond the ge- though we may repress our own. This useful inneral necessities, desire to maintain the power de- vention, like all others, will be adopted by them, rived from what remains of inequality in our social although it gain no favor with us; and they who condition, it still flows unseen over our land, and are willing that New-York shall have no Railabounding prosperity vindicates its presence and its roads must be ready to see all the streams of usefulness.
prosperity seek other channels, and our State sink This tide is now acquiring increased volume into the condition of Venice, prostrate and powerand velocity from the reduction of the distance be- less among the monuments of her earlier greatness. tween the two continents by Atlantic steam navi- A glance at the map would render obvious the gation. They who would roll it back must change utility of three great lines of communication not merely the relations existing between this by Railroads between the Hudson River and the country and Europe, but the condition of so- borders of the State. One of these would traciety on both continents. They must re-invigorate verse several of the Northern Counties, and reach the energies of Europe, substitute democracies for with its branches to Lake Ontario and the St. her thrones, and religious toleration for her hier- Lawrence. A second, keeping the vicinity of the archies. They must subvert the institutions and Erie Canal, would connect Albany and Buffalo. break down the altars of Liberty in America, ar- A third would stretch through the Southern Counrest the prosperity of the nation, deprive enter- ties, from New York to Lake Erie. prise of its motives, and deny to labor its rewards. It is certain that neither one or two of these If all this is not done, the settlement of our West- improvements would accomplish the useful ends ern regions will go on; new States will demand of all; and, when the growing wealth and importadmission into the Union ; their trade and com- ance of the several regions directly interested in merce will continue to augment our wealth, and these improvements are considered, it is not less their citizens, no matter whence they spring, to clear that, however delayed, all must eventually claim us as brethren. If the energies of the new be completed. It remains, then, to be decided States already planted adjacent to the shores of the whether it is wiser to regard them as trivial enterlakes be seconded and sustained by a wise and prises, each by the operation of local jealousies magnanimous policy on our part, our State, within hindering and delaying the others, or whether all twenty years, will have no desert places-her com- shall be considered as parts of one system and mercial ascendancy will fear no rivalry, and her equally entitled to the consideration and patronhundred cities renew the boast of ancient Crete. age of the State. The policy of this State includes every measure Action is the condition of our existence. Our which tends to develope our own resources, or form of government chastens military ambition. those of the regions which can be made tributary The action of the people must be directed to purto our commerce, and every measure which in- suits consistent with public order and conducive to vites the labor and capital of Europe. It requires the general welfare. Our country will else be that we welcome emigrants among ourselves, or rent by civil commotions or our citizens will seek speed them on their way to a Western destination, other regions, where society is less tranquil, amwith all the sympathy which their misfortunes at bition enjoys greater freedom, enterprise higher home, their condition as strangers here, and their motives, and labor richer rewards. devotion, to liberty ought to excite. If their incli- We are required to carry forward the policy of nation leads them to remain among us, we must Internal Improvement, by the abounding expeassimilate their principles,habits, manners and opin- rience of its benefits already enjoyed ;, by its incalions to our own. To accomplish this, we must culable benefits yet to be realized ; by all our obli
gations to promote the happiness of the people, to ness of mankind ; and the utility and beauty of multiply and raise their social enjoyments, to what is already known, should incite to the endmaintain the fame of the State, inestimably dear to less investigation of what remains concealed. If its citizens, to preserve the integrity of the Union ; Education could be conducted upon principles like and by the paramount duty we owe to mankind, these, the attainments of our collegiate instruction to illustrate the peacefulness, the efficiency, the might become the ordinary acquirements in our beneficence and the wisdom of Republican Institu- Common Schools; and our Academies and Coltions.
leges would be continually enjoying new revelaThe Colleges, Academies and Common Schools tions of that philosophy which enlightens the way, constitute our system of public instruction. The and attaining higher perfection in the arts which pervading intelligence, the diminution of crime, alleviate the cares of human life. the augmented comforts and enjoyments of society If these reflections seem extravagant, and the and its progressive refinement, the ascendancy of results they contemplate unattainable, it need only order and the supremacy of the laws, testify that be answered that the improvability of our race is the system has been by no means unsuccessful in without limit, and all that is proposed is less wondiffusing knowledge and virtue.
derful than what has already been accomplished. It must nevertheless be admitted that its efficien- To the standard I have indicated, I do not hesitate cy is much less than the State rightfully demands, to invite your efforts. Postponed, omitted, and both as a return for her munificence and a guaran- forgotten, as it too often is, amid the excitement of ty for her institutions. Some of our Colleges and other subjects and the pressure of other duties, Academies languish in the midst of a community Education is, nevertheless, the chief of our responabounding in genius and talent, impatient of the sibilities. The consequences of the most partial ignorance which debases, and the prejudices improvement in our system of Education will be which enslave. The Common School System, wider and more enduring than the effects of any but partially successful in agricultural districts, is change of public policy, the benefits of any new represented as altogether without adaptation to principle of jurisprudence, or the results of any encities and populous villages. The standard of terprise we can accomplish. These consequences Education ought to be elevated, not merely to will extend through the entire development of the that which other States or Nations have attained, human mind, and be consummated only with its but to that height which may be reached by culti- | destiny." vation of the intellectual powers, with all the facilities of modern improvements, during the en- These extracts will seem long to those tire period when the faculties are quick and active, who take care not to read them; to those the curiosity insatiable, the temper practicable, and
who earnestly seek to know who and what the love of truth supreme. The ability to read and write, with the rudiments of arithmetic
, generally than a greater extent of narrative and as
Gov. Seward is they will be more valuable constitute the learning acquired in Common Schools. To these our Academies and Colleges sertion. This Message was his first offiadd superficial instruction in the dead languages, cial exposition of his views on the chief without the philosophy of our own; scientific facts, topics of National and State without their causes ; definitions, without practical by the light of these sentiments you may
concern; application ; the rules of rhetoric, without its spirit ; and history divested of its moral instructions. easily and clearly read his whole public
; It is enough to show the defectiveness of our en- career. Other extracts press for insertion, tire system, that its pursuits are irksome to all, ex
and are put aside only because they would cept the few endowed with peculiar genius and
swell this memoir beyond all reasonable fervor to become the guides of the human mind,
bounds. and that it fails to inspire either a love of science or passion for literature.
Amid a very general defection and disScience is nothing else than a disclosure of the comfiture the Whigs of New York mainbounties the Creator has bestowed to promote the
tained their ascendency in their State happiness of man, and a discovery of the laws by
Election of 1839, choosing an Assembly, which mind and matter are controlled for that benignant end. Literature has no other object than
70 to 58, and so considerable a majority to relieve our cares and elevate our virtues. That of the Senators as to give them for the first the pursuits of either should require monastic se- time a decided preponderance in the upper clusion, or be enforced by pains and penalties upon House also. The Canals and every rereluctant minds, is inconsistent with the generous purposes of both. Society cannot be justly cen
maining department of the Government sured for indifference to education, when those who
except the Judicial now passed into Whig enjoy its precious advantages manifest so little of hands. Many of the Reforms for which the enthusiasm it ought to inspire. All the asso- the Whigs had vainly struggled for years ciations of the youthful mind, in the acquisition of
were now effected with little opposition. knowledge, must be cheerful, its truths should be presented in their native beauty and in their natural
Gov. Seward's second Message, in Januaorder: the laws it reveals should be illustrated al- ry, 1840, was in good part devoted to an ways by their benevolent adaptation to the happi- eloquent and powerful vindication of the
Internal Improvement policy, to suggest- guages instead of the English, and drilled ing and urging recommendations of Law in Catholic catechisms instead of spellingReform, to Education, the Currency, the books and readers; and yet such a conPolitical action of the Federal Govern- struction of the Governor's suggestions ment, &c., &c. Space willl not permit was very generally proclaimed and doggedeven a synopsis of his positions and argu- ly persevered in, to his temporary but ments. The following passage, however, serious injury. The above paragraphs, tooccasioned so much controversy and en- gether with his urgent advocacy of Chancountered so very general a prejudice and cery and Law-Practice Reform, cost him hostility that it cannot well be omitted : at least Five Thousand votes in the ensu.
Although our system of Public Education is ing Election. But, Time at last sets all well endowed, and has been eminently successful,
things even. there is yet occasion for the benevolent and en
The first outbreak of “ Anti-Rent” relightened action of the Legislature. The advan- sistance to legal process during the last tages of Education ought to be secured to many, twenty years had taken place a month beespecially in our large cities, whom orphanage, the fore the transmission of this Message. depravity of parents, or some form of accident or misfortune, seems to have doomed to hopeless Gov Seward had instantly called out an poverty and ignorance. Their intellects are as adequate Military force, whose simple presusceptible of expansion, of improvement, of re- sence in the excited district at once vanfinement, of elevation and of direction, as those quished all show of resistance to the laws, permitted to develop themselves under the influ- though it was powerless against the spirit ence of better fortunes ; they inherit the common
in which the disturbances originated. The lot to struggle against temptations, necessities and Governor stated the facts in his Message, vices; they are to assume the same domestic, and added : social and political relations; and they are born to the same ultimate destiny.
« The resistance to the Sheriff arose out of a “ The children of foreigners, found in great controversy between the tenants of the Manor of numbers in our populous cities and towns and in the Rensselaerwick and its proprietors. The lands in vicinity of our public works, are too often deprived that Manor are held under ancient leases, by of the advantages of our system of public educa
which mines and hydraulic privileges, rents payation, in consequence of prejudices arising from dif- ble in kind, personal services, and quarter-sales ferences of language or religion. It ought never are reserved. Such tenures, introduced before the to be forgotten that the public welfare is as deeply Revolution, are regarded as inconsistent with exconcerned in their education as in that of our chil- isting institutions, and have become odious 10 dren. I do not hesitate, therefore, to recommend those who hold under them. They are unfavorathe establishment of Schools in which they may ble to agricultural improvement, inconsistent with be instructed by teachers speaking the same lan- the prosperity of the districts where they exist, and guage with themselves, and professing the same opposed to sound policy and the genius of our infaith. There would be no inequality in such a stitutions. The extent of territory covered by the measure, since it happens from the force of cir- tenures involved in the present controversy, and cumstances, if not from choice, that the responsi- the great numbers of our fellow-citizens interested bilities of Education are in most instances confided in the questions which have grown out of them, by us to native citizens, and occasions seldom render the subject worthy of the consideration of offer for a trial of our magnanimity by commit- the Legislature. While full force is allowed to ting that trust to persons differing from ourselves the circumstance that the tenants enter voluntarily in language or religion. Since we have opened into such stipulations, the State has always recog. our country and all its fullness to the oppressed of nized its obligation to promote the general wel. every nation, we should evince wisdom equal to fare, and guard individuals against oppression. such generosity by qualifying their children for the The Legislature has the same power over the high responsibilities of citizenship."
remedies upon contracts between landlord and
tenant as over all other forms of legal redress. It would seem difficult honestly to mis- Nor is the subject altogether new in the legislaunderstand this wise suggestion of the em
tion of the State. It was brought under considployment of teachers for the ignorant and
eration in 1812, by a bill reported by three Jurists
of distinguished eminence and ability. I trust, vagrant children of our cities able to speak
therefore, that some measure may be adopted, a language that those children could un- which, without the violation of contracts, or inderstand and prepared to overcome their justice to either party, will assimilate the tenures in natural distrust of and aversion to stran- / question to those which experience has proved to gers by the sympathy of a common reli-be more accordant with the principles of Republic
can Government, and more conducive to gengious faith, as a proposition that the chil- eral prosperity, and the peace and harmony of dren should be taught in foreign lan- 'Society."
These suggestions, though generally de- of the Legislature of that State, and declared that cried when made, have since been, if not my construction of the Constitution of the United
States could not be acquiesced in nor submitted to. literally adopted, yet in effect surpassed. He added, that if it were allowed to prevail, and Successive Legislatures have directed the no relief could be obtained against what he desigState's Attorney-General to institute pro- pated as a flagrant invasion of the rights of Virginceedings for the recovery of lands held ia, either by an amendment of the Constitution of
the United States, or by the action of the Legislaunder Manorial grants, where it shall seem to him that said grants were invalidated by important and solemn duty of Virginia to appeal
ture of Virginia, it might ultimately become the fraud or by want of due authority in the from the canceled obligations of the National grantor. The Convention of 1847 en- compact to original rights and the laws of selfgrafted upon our Reformed Constitution preservation.
“ I confess my surprise that it should in any part provisions intended to prevent the creation
of the Union be regarded as a new and startling of new and ultimately to extirpate all ex- doctrine that the Constitutional power of the Existing Manorial rights or privileges within ecutive of any other State to demand the surrender any State. And, by a late decision, our of a citizen of this State, to be carried to the forSupreme Court has distinctly pronounced mer and tried for an offence committed there, is the exaction of Quarter Sales, as stipulated recognized as criminal by the statute laws of this
limited to cases in which the offence charged is in most of the Manorial Leases, illegal and State, by the common law, or by the universal laws void, being contrary to fundamental law of mankind. Nor can I withhold the expression and Republican policy. The time is evi- of my sincere regret that a construction of the dently at hand when the securing of a
Constitution, manifestly necessary to maintain the Homestead to each Family, of Land
to each sovereignty of this State and the personal rights of
her citizens, should be regarded by the Executive Cultivator, and of Opportunity and full of Virginia as justifying in any contingency a Recompense to each individual willing to menace of secession from the Union." Labor, will be recognized and acted on as cardinal principles of a genuine Democracy.
The Election of 1840, which followed, The controversy between the Executives resulted in an overwhelming Whig victory of New-York and Virginia respecting the Gen. Harrison was chosen President by 234 nature and extent of the constitutional ob- Electoral votes to 60 for Van Buren, the ligation to deliver up fugitives from justice Whigs fully maintained their ascendancy in had mainly taken place the preceding sea
our State, and Gov. Seward was re-elected, son, though it was not then concluded. - though by a majority seriously diminished
He Gov. Seward refers to it in his Message in by the influences already alluded to. the following terms:
declined to stand for a third term. We
have had four Governors since, but as yet, “ A requisition was made upon me in July last,
no one of them has been re-elected. by the Executive of Virginia, for three persons as fugitives from justice, charged with having felon- Internal Improvement, Law Reform, Land iously stolen a negro slave in that State. I de- Distribution, Educational Progress, and clined to comply with the requisition, upon the diminution of the expense of and impedigrounds that the right to demand and the reciprocal obligation to surrender fugitives from justiee ments to Naturalization, were the chief between sovereign and independent nations, as de topics of his third Annual Message, transfined by the law of nations, include only those mitted on the 5th of January, 1841. The cases in which the acts constituting, the offence following paragraphs alluding to Gen. Harlaws of all civilized countries ; that the object of rison, the elected but not yet inaugurated the provision contained in the Constitution of the President, have a concise félicity of expresUnited States, authorizing the demand and surren- sion, of which time has not yet denuded der of fugitives charged with treason, felony, or them: other crime, was to recognize and establish this principle of the Law of Nations in the mutual re- “ The Chief Magistrate of the Union will enter lations of the States as independent, equal and upon his trust with favorable auspices. The public eovereign communities; that the acts charged upon good requires, and the public mind consents to rethe persons demanded were not recognized as crim- pose. Fortunate in experience of public services in inal by the laws of this State, nor by the universal the Senate and the field, in executive and diplomatic laws of all civilized countries; and that conse- stations ; fortunate in exemption from prejudice in quently the case did not fall within the provision favor of any erroneous policy hitherto pursued; forof the Constitution of the United States.
tunate in the enjoyment of his country's veneration “The Governor of Virginia, id his last Annual and gratitude ; and especially fortunate in having Message, referred the subject to the consideration at once defined and reached the boundary of his
ambition, the President can have no other objects law; but that this State will cheerfully return to a than the public welfare and an honorable fame. discussion of the subject, with a sincere desire to ar
“ The People expect that he will preserve peace, rive at the conclusion mutually satisfactory and maintain the integrity of our territory and the in- conducive to the general harmony, whenever the violability of our flag, co-operate with Christian effect of that unfortunate statute shall be remedied nations in suppressing piracy and the Slave-Trade, by the action of our sister State, or by an overru. avoid alliances for every other purpose, conduct ling decision of the Supreme Court of the United our foreign relations with firmness and fairness, States. The Legislature will decide whether the terminate our controversies with the Indian tribes, trial by jury shall be relinquished, and whether a regain their confidence, and protect them against State which acknowledges no natural inequality cupidity and fraud ; confine the actions of the of man, and no political inequality which may not Executive Department within constitutional bounds; ultimately be removed, shall wrest that precious abstain from interference with elections and the shield from those only whose freedom is assailed, domestic concerns of the States; defer to the wis- not for any wrong-doing of their own, but because dom of Congress, and submit to the will of the the greatest of all crimes was committed against people ; observe equal and exact justice to all men their ancestors. Taught as we have been by the and classes of men, and conduct public affairs with founders of the Constitution, and most emphaticalsteadiness, that Enterprise may not be disappointed ; ly by the Statesmen of Virginia, we cannot rewith economy, that Labor may not be deprived of nounce the principle that all men are born free and rewards; and with due accountability of public equal, nor any of its legitimate consequences. But agents, that Republican institutions may suffer no we can, nevertheless, give to Virginia, and to the reproach.
whole American family, pledges of peace, affec** If he shall endeavor to meet these expectations, tion and fidelity to the Union, by relying upon leno discontents can affect-no opposition can em- gal redress alone, and by waiting the returning barrass him ; for he will act in harmony with the magnanimity of a State whose early and self-sacspirit of the Constitution, and with the sentiment of rificing vindication of the Rights of Man has entithe People. And when, like him whose fame is tled her to enduring veneration and gratitude." unapproachable, but whose wisdom and moderation this distinguished citizen has adopted as his
At the close of his second term, Gov. great example, he shall have healed his country's Seward returned to Auburn and resumed wounds, and restored her happiness and prosperity, with ardor the pursuit of his long neglecthe will enjoy the rare felicity of a retirement more ed profession, to which his next six years honored than even his distinguished station.”
were assiduously and most successfully deGov. Seward's fourth and last Annual voted. An extensive and lucrative pracMessage was transmitted in January, 1842. tice in the Courts of the United States, esThe trial of McLeod for the alleged murder pecially in cases arising under the Patent of a citizen of our State at the time of the Laws, was rapidly acquired, and had inburning of the steamboat Caroline at Schlos- creased to an embarrassing extent when he ser, in the Niagara River ; the Public relinquished, so far as practicable, his pracSchool system of our city and its grave
de- tice in 1849, to devote himself to his new fects; the General Banking Law and its Senatorial duties, and to settling the large deficiencies, as shown by experience, were,
estate of his father, who died late in that after Internal Improvement, its more prom- year. Though not a candidate for office at inent topics. On the subject of his still any time during these years, he yet devounsettled controversy with the Executive ted a portion of 1844 to an active canvass of Virginia, he says:
of our State in behalf of the Whig cause
and of Mr. Clay's election as President, “I lay before you a law of Virginia calculated
and in 1848 he addressed large assemblages to embarrass our Commerce. The effect of the act is postponed until May next, and the Governor is
not only in this State but also in Pennsylauthorized further to suspend it whenever the Ex- vania and Ohio in advocacy of the election ecutive authority of this State shall surrender three of Taylor and Fillmore. persons heretofore demanded by the Lieutenant- Gov. Seward, though ardently engaged Governor of the Commonwealth as fugitives from jnstice, and the Legislature shall repeal the law
in the canvass of 1844, through almost the extending the trial by jury. I have respectfully
entire Summer and Fall, was unable to acinformed the authorities of Virginia that my con- cept half the imposing invitations to speak victions of the illegality of that requisition are un- that urgently solicited his consent; and the changed; and that although New-York, from mo- brief letters he addressed to those whose tives of self-respect and devotion to the Union, will not retaliate, nor even remonstrate, yet she cannot
solicitations he was compelled to decline, are consent to remain a respondent, since Virginia has among the most effective appeals of that seen fit to transcend the sphere assigned her by memorable contest. In reply to the Whigs the Federal Constitution, and to pass an aggressive of Orleans County, he wrote :