Xxv.His last speech in the Senate—the Friday before his death—was on the subject of the Centennial Celebration, strongly urging that it should be made simply a National, and not an International affair—fearing it would be attended with corruption, and end in failure; and in doing so, he laid down the following propositions, which he commended to the attention of the Senate and the country, and which he intended subsequently to enforce by further argument:
The Centennial celebration of 1876 should be first and foremost, and I think it scarcely too much to say, only a grateful vindication of 1776. It should be severely and grandly simple, not ostentatious or boastful. It should be inexpensive, for a thousand obvious reasons; but, above all, because it does not become a nation any more than an individual on the verge of bankruptcy to be extravagant, especially at the moment when the attention of the world is invited to the study and imitation of her methods of management. It should be national and not provincial. It should be so conducted that all, and not a few only, can participate in it. It should not involve the displacement of large masses of people, which is perilous to the health, expensive, and more or less demoralizing. It should be free from every feature calculated to sectionalize or divide  the country, and be so managed as to secure the greatest possible harmony and unanimity. It should be as educating and elevating in its influences as possible, both in this and foreign countries. All these results may be secured by proper instrumentalities. I think none of them will be if the Philadelphia scheme is encouraged by the Federal Government any further. Of the international part of it, the converting it into a European Fair, with an American corner for Yankee notions, I will not trust myself to speak. To all these considerations I add yet another. A World's Fair is essentially governmental in character. Such it has been in other countries, and such I fear it must be in ours. The Government invites, the Government is host; the Government, therefore, must guide and shape its conduct, and must pay the expenses, as if it were the army or navy.