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tion would consider the Annexation of Texas!“ Free Trade and Sailors' Righte," against the to the United States as producing a state of intolerable and oppressive acts of British war. But all this was denied by t
enied by the parti-power on the ocean. The justice of the sans of Annexation. They insisted we should War, far from being denied or controverted. have no War, and even imputed to those who was admitted by the Federal party, which foretold it sinister motives for their ground- only questioned it on considerations of policy. less prediction.
Being deliberately and constitutionally del | Bui, notwithstanding a state of virtual War clared, it was, I think, their duty to have given necessarily resulted from the fact of annexa- to it their hearty cooperation. But the mass tion of one of the belligerents to the United of them did not. They continued to oppose States, actual hostilities might have been and thwart it, to discourage loans and enlistprobably averted by prudence, moderation, ments, to deny the power of the Genera and wise statesmanship. If General Taylor Government to march the militia beyond our had been permitted to remain, where his own limits, and to hold a Hartford Convention. good sense prompted him to believe he ought which, whatever were its real objects, bore to remain, at the point of Corpus Christi ; and the aspect of seeking a dissolution of the it a negotiation had been opened with Mexi-Union itself. They lost and justly lost the co, in a true spirit of amity and conciliation, public confidence. But has not an apprehenWar possibly might have been prevented. sion of a similar fate, in a state of a case
1 ot this pacific and moderate widely ditterent, repressed a fearless expres course, while Mr. Slidell was bending his sion of their real sentiments in some of our way to Mexico, with his diplomatic creden- public men? tials, General Taylor was ordered to trans- How totally variant is the present War! port his cannon, and to plant them, in a war. This is no War of Defence, but one unneces. like attitude, opposite to Matamoros, on the sary and of offensive aggression. It is Mexieast bank of the Rio Bravo, within the very co that is defending her firesides, her castles disputed territory the adjustment of which and her altars, not we. And how different was to be the object of Mr. Slidell's mission. also is the conduct of the Whig party of the What else could have transpired but a con- present day from that of the major part of flict of arms?
the Federal party during the War of 1812! Thus the War commenced, and the Presi- Far from interposing any obstacles to the dent, after having produced it, appealed to prosecution of the War, if the Whigs in of 1 Congress. A bill was prepared to raise fice are reproachable at all, it is for having 50,000 volunteers, and in order to commit all lent too ready a facility to it, without careful who should vote for it, a preamble was in- examination into the objects of the War. serted falsely attributing the commencement And, out of office, who have rushed to the of the War io the act of Mexico. I have no prosecution of the War with more ardor and doubt of the patriotic motives of those who, alacrity than the Whigs? Whose hearts after struggling to divest the bill of that fla- have bled more freely than those of the grant error, found themselves constrained to Whigs? Who have more occasion to mourn vote for it. But I must say that no earthly the loss of sons, husbands, brothers, fathers consideration wonld have ever tempted or than Whig parents, Whig wives and Whig provoked me to vote for a bill with a palpa-brothers, in this deadly and unprofitable strife? ble falsehood stamped on its face. Almost But the havoc of War is in progress, and idolizing truth as I do, I never, never could the no less deplorable havoc of an inhospitahave voted for that bill.
ble and pestilential climate. Without in The exceptionable conduct of the Federal dulging in an unnecessary retrospect and party, during the last British War, has ex- useless reproaches on the past, all hearts and cited an influence in the prosecution of the heads should unite in the patriotic endeavor present War, and prevented a just discrimi- to bring it to a satisfactory close. Is there no nation between the two Wars. That was a way that this can be done ? Must we blind War of National defence, required for the ly continue the conflict without any visible vindication of the National rights and honor, object, or any prospect of a definite termina and demanded by the indignant voice of the tion? This is the important subject upon people. President Madison himself, I know, which I desire to consult aud to commune at first reluctantly and with great doubt and with you. Who, in this free government, is hesitation, brought himself to the conviction to decide upon the objects of a War, at ite that it ought to be declared A leading, and commencement, or at any time during its experhaps the most influential member of his istence? Does the power belong to collecCabinet, (Mr. Gallatin,) was, ap to the time tive wisdom of the Nation in Congress asof its declaration, opposed to it. But nothing sembled, or is it vested solely in a single funcIcould withstand the irresistible force of pub-tionary of the Government? llic sentiment. It was a just War, and its A declaration of War is the highest and great object. as announced at the time, was,lmost awful exercise of sovereignty. The
Convention, which framed our Federal Con-If the President possess it and may prosecute
defence, Congress, then, in our system of Government, rendered it unnecessary that Congress should is the sole depositary of that tremendous particularize, in the act, the specific objects power.
for which it was proclaimed. The whole The Constitution provides that Congress world knew that it was a War waged for shall have power to declare War, and grant Free Trade and Sailors' Rights. letters of-marque and reprisal, to make rules. It may be urged that the President and concerning captures on land and water, to Senate possess the treaty-making power, raise and support armies, and provide and without any express limitation as to its exermaintain a navy, and to make rules for the cise; that the natural and ordinary termination government of the land and naval forces. of a War is by a treaty of peace; and thereThus we perceive that the principal power, fore, that the President and Senate must posin regard to War, with all its auxiliary atten- sess the power to decide what stipulations dants, is granted to Congress. Whenever and conditions shall enter into such a treaty. Icalled upon to determine upon the solemn But it is not more true that the President and question of Peace or War, Congress must Senate possess the treaty-making power, consider and deliberate and decide upon the without limitation, than that Congress pos. motives, objects and causes of the War. sesses the War-making power, withont re
ar be commenced without any striction. These two powers then ought to be previous declaration of its objects, as in the so interpreted as 10 reconcile the one with case of the existing War with Mexico, Con- the other; and, in expounding the Constitugress must necessarily possess the authority, tion, we ought to keep constantly in view the at any time, to declare for what purposes it nature and structure of our Free Governlshall be farther prosecuted. If we suppose ment, and especially the great obiect of thel Congress does not possess the controlling au- Convention in taking the War-making power thority attributed to it; if it be contended that out of the hands of a single man and placing a War having been once commenced, the it in the safer custody of the representatives President of the United States may direct it of the whole nation. The desirable reconto the accomplishment of any objects he ciliation between the two powers is effected pleases, without consulting and without any by attributing to Congress the right to declare regard to the will of Congress; the Conven- what shall be the objects of a War, and to tion will have utterly failed in guarding the the President the duty of endeavoring to obNation against the abuses and ambition of altain those objects by the direction of the nasingle individual. Either Congress, or the tional force and by diplomacy. President, must have the right of determining I am broaching no new and speculative upon the objects for which a War shall be theory. The statute-book of the United States prosecuted. There is no other alternative.lis full of examples of prior declarations by|| Congress of the objects to be attained by ne-cline or refuse to do so, and, in contempt of gotiations with foreign powers, and the ar- the supreme authority of Congress, should chives of the Executive Department furnish persevere in waging the War, for other obabundant evidence of the accomplishmentjects than those proclaimed by Congress, of those objects, or the attempt to accomplish then it would be the imperative duty of that them by subsequent negotiation. Prior to the body to vindicate its authority by the most declaration of the last War against Great stringent and effectual and appropriate measBritain, in all the restrictive measures which ures. And, if on the contrary, the enemy Congress adopted, against the two great bel- should refuse to conclude a treaty, containing ligerent powers of Europe, clauses were in- stipulations securing the objects designated
I acts establishing them by Congress, it would become the duty of tendering to both or either of the belligerents the whole Government to prosecute the War the abolition of these restrictions if they would with all the national energy, until those ob. repeal their hostile Berlin and Milan Decrees jects were attained by a treaty of peace. and Orders in Council, operating against our There can be no insuperable difficulty in commerce and navigation. And these acts Congress making such an authoritative dec. of Congress were invariably communicated, laration. Let it resolve, simply, that the through the Executive, by diplomatic notes, War shall or shall not be a War of Conquest ; to France and Great Britain, as the basis and, if a War of Conquest, what is to be conupon which it was proposed to restore friend- quered. Should a resolution pass, disclaimly intercourse with them. So after the ter- ing the design of Conquest, peace would folmination of the War, various acts of Con- low in less than sixty days, if the President gress were passed, from time to time, offering would conform to his constitutional duty. to foreign powers the principle of reciprocity Here,
night pause, hav in the commerce and navigation of the United ing indicated a mode by which the nation, States with them. Out of these acts have through its accredited and legitimate repre. sprung a class, and a large class, of treaties sentatives in Congress, can announce for (four or five of which were negotiated while what purposes and objects this War shall be I was in the Department of State,) commonly longer prosecuted, and can thus let the whole called Reciprocity Treaties, concluded under people of the United States know for what all the Presidents from Mr. Madison to Mr. end their blood is to be farther shed, and Van Buren, inclusive. And with regard to their treasure farther expended, instead of commercial treaties, negotiated with the sanc- the knowledge of it being locke
ocked up and tion of prior acts of Congress, where they concealed in the bosom of one man. We contained either appropriations, or were in should no longer perceive the objects of the conflict with unrepealed statutes, it has been War varying from time to time, according to
doctrine. from the changing opinions of the Chief Magis. Mr. Jay's treaty down to the present time, trate charged with its prosecution. But I do that the passage of acts of Congress was ne- not think it right to stop here. It is the priv. cessary to secure the execution of those trea- ilege of the people, in their primary assemties. If, in the matter of foreign commerce, blies, and of every private man, however lin respect to which the power vested in Con-humble, to express an opinion in regard to gress to regulate it and the treaty-making the purposes for which the War should be power may be regarded as concurrent, Con- continued; and such an expression will regress can previously decide the objects to ceive just so much consideration and consewhich negotiation shall be applied, how much quence as it
quence as it is entitled to, and no more. stronger is the case of War; the power to Shall this War be prosecuted for the pur. declare which is confided exclusively to Con-pose of conquering and annexing Mexico, in gress?
all its boundless extent, to the United States ? I conclude, therefore, Mr. President and I will not attribute to the President of the fellow-citizens, with entire confidence, that United States any such design; but I confess Congress has the right, either at the begin- I have been shocked and alarmed by manining, or during the prosecution of any War, festations of it in various quarters. Of all the to decide the objects and purposes for which dangers and misfortunes which could befall lit was proclaimed, or for which it ought to thie nation, I should regard that of its becombe continued. And I think it is the duty ing a warlike and conquering power the of Congress, by some deliberate and authen- most direful and fatal. History tells the tic act. to declare for what objects the pres- mournful tale of conquering nations and con lent War shall be longer prosecuted. I sup-querors. The three most celebrated conquer pose the President would not hesitate to reg. ors, in the civilized world, were Alexander. ulate his conduct by the pronounced will of Cæsar, and Napoleon. The first, after overCongress, and to employ the force and the running a large portion of Asia, and sighing diplomatic power of the nation to execute and lamenting that there were no more that will. But, if the President should de-worlds to subdne, met a premature and
ble death. His lieutenants quarreled and a population of not less than nine millions, in|| warred with each other as to the spoils of his a state of constant military subjection ? victories, and finally lost them all. Cæsar, Shall it be annexed to the United States ? after conquering Gaul, returned with his tri-|Does any considerate man believe it possible amphant legions to Rome, passed the Rubi- that two such immense countries, with terricon, won the battle of Pharsalia, trampled tories of nearly equal extent, with populaupon the liberties of his country, and expired tions so incongruous, so different in race, in by the patriot hand of Brutus. But Rome language, in religion and in laws, could be ceased to be free. War and conquest had blended together in one harmonious mass, enervated and corrupted the masses. The and happily governed by one common author spirit of true liberty was extinguished, and a lity ? Murmurs, discontent, insurrections, long line of emperors succeeded, some of rebellion would inevitably ensue, until the whom were the most execrable monsters that incompatible parts would be broken asunder, ever existed in human form. And that most and possibly, in the frightful struggle, our extraordinary man, perhaps, in all history, present glorious Union itself would be dissevafter subjugating all continental Europe, oc- ered or dissolved. We ought not to forget cupying almost all its capitals-seriously the warning voice of all history, which teaches threatening, according to M. Thiers, proud the difficulty of combining and consolidating Albion itself—and decking the brows of va- together conquering and conquered nations. rious members of his family with crowns torn After the lapse of eight hundred years, durfrom the heads of other monarchs, lived to ing which the Moors held their conquest of behoid his own dear France itself in the pos- Spain, the indomitable courage, perseverance session of his enemies, and was made himself and obstinacy of the Spanish race finally tria wretched captive, and, far removed from umphed over and expelled the African invacountry, family, and friends, breathed his last ders from the Peninsula. And even within on the distant and inhospitable rock of St. our own time, the colossal power of Napo. Helena. The Alps and the Rhine had been leon, when at its loftiest hight, was incompeclaimed as the natural boundaries of France, tent to subdue and subjugate the proud Casbut even these could not be secured in the tilian. And here in our own neighborhood, treaties to which she was reduced to submit. Lower Canada, which, near one hundred Do you believe that the people of Macedon years ago, after the conclusion of the Seven or Greece, of Rome, or of France, were ben-Years' War, was ceded by France to Great efited, individually or collectively, by the tri. Britain, remains a foreign land in the midst amphs of their great Captains ? Their sad of the British provinces, foreign in feelings lot was immense sacrifice of life, heavy and and attachment, and foreign in laws, language intolerable burdens, and the ultimate loss of and religion. And what has been the fact liberty itself.
with poor, gallant, generous, and oppressed That the power of the United States is com- Ireland ! Centuries bave passed since the petent to the conquest of Mexico is quite pro- overbearing Saxon overran and subd bable. But it could not be achieved without Emerald Isle. Rivers of Irish blood have frightful carnage, dreadful sacrifices of human flowed, during the long and arduous contest. life, and the creation of an onerous National Insurrection and rebellion have been the orDebt; nor could it be completely effect- der of the day; and yet, up to this time, Ireed, in all probability, until after the lapse land remains alien in feeling, affection and of many years. It would be necessary to sympathy toward the power which has so occupy all its strongholds, to disarm its inhab- long borne her down. Every Irishman hates, itants, and keep them in constant fear and with a mortal hatred, his Saxon oppressor. subjection. To consummate the work, I pre-Although there are great territorial differsume that Standing Armies, not less than a ences between the condition of England and hundred thousand men, would be necessary Ireland, as compared to that of the United to be kept perhaps always in the bosom of States and Mexico, there are some points of their country. These standing armies revel- striking resemblance between them. Both ing in a foreign land, and accustomed to tram- the Irish and the Mexicans are probably of ple upon the liberties of a foreign people, at the same Celtic race. Both the English and Bome distant day, might be fit and ready in the Americans are of the same Saxon origin. struments under the lead of some daring and The Catholic Religion predominates in both anprincipled chieftain, to return to their the former; the Protestant among both the country and prostrate the public liberty. latter. Religion has been the fruitful cause
Supposing the conquest to be once made, of dissatisfaction and discontent between the what is to be done with it? Is it to be gov- Irish and the English nations. Is there no erned, like Roman Provinces, by Proconsuls? reason to apprehend that it would become so Would it be compatible with the genius, between the people of the United States and character, and safety of our free institutions, those of Mexico, if they were united together? to keep such a great country as Mexico, with Why should we seek to interfere with them
in their mode of worship of a common Sa-Iproaching the others with thwarting and disviour? We believe they are wrong, espe- appointing them. The Mexican representacially in the exclusive character of their faith, tion, in Congress, would probably form a sep-1 and that we are right. They think that they arate and impenetrable corps, always ready are right and we wrong. What other rule to throw itself into the scale of any other parcan there be than to leave the followers of ty, to advance and promote Mexican interests. each religion to their own solemn convic. Such a state of things could not long endure. tions of conscientious duty toward God?- Those, whom God and geography have proWhó, but the Great Arbiter of the Universe, nouced should live asunder, could never be can judge in such a question ? For my own permanently and harmoniously united to part, I sincerely believe and hope that those gether. who belong to all the departments of the Do we want for our own happiness or great Church of Christ, if, in truth and purity, greatness the addition of Mexico to the exist. they conform to the doctrines which they ing Union of our States? If our population profess, will ultimately secure an abode in were too dense for our territory, and there those regions of bliss which all aim finally to was a difficulty in obtaining honorably the reach. I think that there 19 no potentate in means of subsistence, there might be some Europe, whatever his religion may be, more excuse for an attempt to enlarge our dominenlightened or at this moment so interesting ions. But we have no such apology. We as the liberal head of the Papal See.
have already, in our glorious country, a vast|| But I suppose it to be impossible that those and almost boundless territory y. Beginni who favor, if there be any who favor, the an- at the North, in the frozen regions of the Britnexation of Mexico to the United States, can ish Provinces, it stretches thousands of miles think that it ought to be perpetually governed along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and the by military sway. Certainly no votary of Mexican Gulf, until it almost reaches the human liberty could deem it right that a vio. Tropics. It extends to the Pacific Ocean, lation should be perpetrated of the great prin- borders on those great inland seas, the Lakes, ciples of our own Revolution, according to which separate us from the possessions of which, laws ought not to be enacted and Great Britain, and it embraces the great Fataxes ought not to be levied, without repre-ther of Rivers, from its uppermost source to sentation on the part of those who are to obey the Belize, and the still longer Missouri, from the one and pay the other. Then, Mexico is its mouth to the gorges of the Rocky Moun. to participate in our councils and equally tains. It comprehends the greatest variety share in our legislation and government. But, of the richest soils, capable of almost all the suppose she would not voluntarily choose productions of the earth, except tea and cof. representatives to the National Congress, is fee and the spices; and it includes every our soldiery to follow the electors to the bal- variety of climate which the heart could wish lot-box, and by force to compel them, at the or desire. We have more than ten thousand point of the bayonet. to deposit their ballots? millions of acres of waste and unsettled lands And how are the nine millions of Mexican -enough for the subsistence of ten or twenty people to be represented in the Congress of times our present population. Ought we not the United States of America and the Con- to be satisfied with such a country? Ought gress of the United States of the Republic of we not to be profoundly thankful to the Giver Mexico combined ? Is every Mexican, with of all good things for such a vast and bountil out regard to color or caste, per capitum, to ful land ? Is it not the hight of ingratitude toll exercise the elective franchise? How is the Him, to seek by war and conquest, indulging quota of representation between the two Re-in a spirit of rapacity, to acquire other lands, publics to be fixed ? Where is their seat of the homes and habitations of a large portion common government to be established ? And of His common children ? If we pursue the who can foregee or foretell, if Mexico, volun-object of such a conquest, beside mortgaging tarily or by force, were to share in the com- the revenue and resources of this country for mon government, what would be the conse ages to come, in the form of an onerous Naquence to her or to us? Unprepared, as I tional Debt, we should have greatly to aus fear her population yei is, for the practical ment that Debt by an assumption of ihe sixty enjoyment of self-government, and of habits, or seventy millions of the National Debt of customs, language, laws, and religion so to- Mexico. For I take it that nothing is more|| tally different from our own, we should pre- certain than that, if we obtain voluntarily or sent the revolting spectacle of a confused, by conquest a foreign nation, we acquire distracted, and motley Government. We it with all the incumbrances attached to it. would have a Mexican Party, a Pacific Ocean In my humble opinion, we are now bound in Party, an Atlantic Party, in addition to the honor and morality to pay the just debt of Tex other parties which exist, or with which we as. And we should be equally bound by the are threatened, each striving to execute its same obligations, to pay the debts of Mexico own particular views and purposes, and re-if it were annexed to the United States.