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[388] to destruction from internal causes, so long as the people preserved the recollection of the miseries and calamities which led to its adoption.

Under this beneficent Constitution the progress of the nation was unexampled in history. The rights and liberties of its citizens were secure at home and abroad; vast territories were rescued from the control of the savage and the wild beast and added to the domain of civilization and the Union. The arts, the sciences, and commerce, grew apace: our flag floated upon every sea, and we took our place among the great nations of the earth.

But under the smooth surface of prosperity upon which we glided swiftly, with all sails set before the summer breeze, dangerous reefs were hidden, which now and then caused ripples upon the surface and made anxious the more cautious pilots. Elated by success, the ship swept on, the crew not heeding the warnings they received, forgetful of the dangers they escaped in the beginning of the voyage, and blind to the hideous maelstrom which gaped to receive and destroy them. The same elements of discordant sectional prejudices, interests, and institutions which had rendered the formation of the Constitution so difficult, threatened more than once to destroy it. But for a long time the nation was so fortunate as to possess a series of political leaders who to the highest abilities united the same spirit of conciliation which animated the founders of the Republic; and thus for many years the threatened evils were averted. Time and long-continued good fortune obliterated the recollection of the calamities and wretchedness of the years preceding the adoption of the Constitution. Men forgot that conciliation, common interest, and mutual charity had been the foundation and must be the support of our government,--as is, indeed, the case with all governments and all the relations of life. At length men appeared with whom sectional and personal prejudices and interests outweighed

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