Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/320

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

the "cheap defense of nations." It comes back to us like a picture of some far off, fabled, golden age. It is the story of a society, simply and soundly true; not a new affirmation, but a reaffirmation of those peaks of the past, which are freedom's Sinai. The ideal of that old day stood in direct relation to daily life. It was not a profession. It was a vocation. Men had faith in each other and were justified in having it. Love for Commonwealth and willingness to die for it made a moral unit of their minds. A whole world were the unfair exchange for that clean and wholesome soul. Will you compare it with the "prosperity" which, pointing to "rake off," "honest graft," and the like, says these are my jewels? There were free men once who held it prosperous to be just. A country which is loved for the honor, the noble sympathy, that is in it—ah! how much better than the country, which is loved for the corruption which is in it! After all, may not magnitude be a poor swap for magnanimity? It is the virtue, not the bigness, of a State which is greatness. To govern honestly is more than to misgovern widely.

The convention of 1829-30, in which Marshall's words were spoken, was the arena of contest between sections having, as they deemed, antagonistic interests; the West having the numbers, the East the property; a struggle of the W: est to acquire, of the East to retain, power; a geographical difference in which East and West stood to each other somewhat, as in another war of sections, the South stood to the North.


In that passionate debate, it was asked, in respect of all the men who had ever voted in the Commonwealth: "Has one of them ever been bribed for his vote? Has any gentleman ever heard of a single instance?" It was a memorable challenge. From the ocean to the Ohio no man could point to a single instance, nor to one abuse of the taxing power. And why? Because, as stated by one of the leaders of the West, they, who were invested with the power to tax, "were governed by the principles of justice and the feelings of honor." There was another reason. They who laid the taxes, paid the taxes. They who bore rule, bore the burden of rule.