« AnteriorContinuar »
itions and ages :
( SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, JAN. 4, 1848.) The Whig Party hold at present a bet- opposed the annexation of Texas because
position than they have ever held; and of the difficulties it was to bring with it. or the following reasons :
When those difficulties were realized, they They occupy, as a party, a ground per- opposed the policy which aggravated them ; ctly defensible by the usual arguments and always upon moral and constitutional i morality, such as are common to all grounds. First, on the common instinct
and prejudice against inhumanities and They argue, also, from the Constitution wrongs of every description ; and second, self
, and from the Declaration of Equality because it is their settled conviction that od Liberty :
free institutions cannot be maintained by They are in the van of progress, while any but a just and equitable policy. They e opposite party are falling back upon believe, with certain politicians, that “suce barbarous and exploded notions of cess is the test of merit," and that this tiquity :
nation will have success in proportion to They defend our own rights and liber- its deserts. The success of our armies in s, in defending those of a neighbor : Mexico has proved that our “merit” in They endeavor to legislate for the future military and other matters is greatly supewell as for the present, and foresee dan- rior to that of the Mexicans ; but justice, 's which threaten the existence of our and not military prowess only, is the safee institutions :
guard of the nation. Posterity, reading They have predicted successfully the on the one page the history of our wars, isequences of the policy pursued by the will exclaim, " Providence is always on posite party; their predictions being the side of courage and discipline ; it favors 9 fairly recorded.
the strongest battalion :" and on the other, The first of these enumerated advanta- reading of the decline of liberty and the
of the Whig Party, in its present posi- increase of private and public corruption, 1, need not be dwelt upon in this article. it will add,“ Providence is also on the hey have opposed the whole policy of the side of order and equity; it favors the dministration, from the annexation of the strong constitution, and deserts the uncerar down to the present time. The Whigs tain and the corrupt.” The Americans are a warlike people, and know how to | American people, inferior to any nation join action with obedience. Where the that has ever existed, in referring the prinaim and purpose of a discipline is clear to ciples of our laws and social rights for every man, they organize themselves and their validity back to the common conpursue the common purpose with the science and common reason of humanity, greatest energy: be their aim political or to that law which the Creator has planted military, organization is their forte, and in the hearts of all men. It is in this orig success follows them. But, on the other inal law that we have based our free instihand, separate the American from his tutions. We refer back for the grounds laws, his religion, and his Constitution, and of the Constitution or rather for those who more harsh and inexorable; his rights about which it is erected as a native energy, converted into a destroy- convenient barrier—to the sovereignty of ing power, directed against humanity, Reason, or as we are accustomed to name makes him the most irresistible of pirates it, the sovereignty of the People. We, the and the most unscrupulous of oppressors. whole people, minority and majority, susHe is the only man that dares, in defiance of tain the government. It protects us all, all the world, proclaim doctrines peculiarly legislates for us all, and represents us all. harsh and aggressive, and with his Our only differences are on questions of native insolence mock Heaven itself, claim opinion, as to what men shall be chosen, evil for his good, and instinct for his god. and what measures be pursued—who can Constitutions of the most severe and con- best represent the whole, and what are the servative character are therefore necessary best modes of benefitting the whole. to the American, not only in military but Hence, under the Constitution, and expectin civil and religious matters; his freedom ed by it
, parties arise, sustaining opposite is conditional, and requires heavy barriers men and measures,—each party esteeming and severe laws; as the force of the im- its own measures the best for the good of petuous tide that moves in his veins, so both: the choice is thrown, by our fundamust be the laws that restrain it: con- mental laws, upon the vote of a majority, scious of this, he is a lover of law, an Such at least is the ideal system of our organizer, and takes a pride in obeying government; but the organization of this laws of his own enactment.
system, from various causes, some inhe Fearful of nothing but the excess of rent in our common nature, and some acci . his own passions, he is a respecter of dental and temporary, is imperfect. A
sincere opinion, and the consent of great this very moment, a party in power have minds; he listens to antiquity, and vener- formed within themselves another party ates the voice of age and of wisdom. which is rapidly corrupting the whole body His favorite characters are those States- in which it formed: this inner party, being men, who have risen by the force of opposed, not to certain measures of thei a real, God-given energy, to be the re- opposites, but to the spirit of the funda positories, or the sources, of true opinion. mental laws, their men and measures ar He never inquires about their birth, or alike inimical to the fundamental law, give their office, but only of their ability and by the Declaration of Rights and the Cor native grandeur of character; he does stitution of the Union, under which al not worship them, he only respects them parties are supposed to exist. for what they can do and say: and they, The intentions and principles of thi on their part
, when they speak, address, party within a party—of this rotten com not the passions nor the ignorance, but --are sufficiently well known, and hav the courage, the knowledge, and reason been sufficiently explained by the journal of their hearers. When they rise to speak, of the Whig Party. That party, as a they consider in their minds that they are have already said, occupies a superior posi addressing free citizens, who know and can tion, as the defender not only of the Cou judge their sentiments, however heroic, stitution, but of the principles of popula and never appeal to the meanness, the liberty, and of all law and organizatid conceit or the avarice of a rabble which whatsoever, they despise.
If ever the consent of great minds shou Nor, in another particular, are we, the be permitted to sway us in a question
3 purely moral nature, such as that of the defensive line upon a boundary to be deright or wrong of the measures proposed termined by ourselves. He protests against by the Administration, then was there the idea of extending the Union to include never any period when it should have more the wretched and barbarous Mexicans. force than at the present moment. The
The He affirms that they are incapable of libspinions and arguments of Clay, Gallatin, erty, and cannot be organized like educated Webster, Calhoun, and others,-men of and disciplined white men. He contends he first mark,--always valuable, is now farther against extending the power of the of the utmost importance to the cause Executive, and predicts that the Union will of right and of good policy ; for this not endure if the system of conquest is tation is now about resolving whether carried out. Mr. Calhoun does not indeed o adhere to the original grounds of the attempt to show, that a nation which vioSonstitution, or whether to commence a new lates first principles cannot endure, or be poch in its history, by subverting those endured, oi, that it follows of necessity Tounds and reducing it to a mere tempo- that if a people disregards the rights and ary and politic formula, to be changed, liberties of another people, it spurns down rrested and distorted at pleasure, to serve the sole barrier it has against internal he avarice or the ambition of a dominant oppression and anarchy; but looking at arty. The people of the Union are about the question rather in a scientific and his) resolve whether they will admit into torical light, he predicts a disarrangement heir fundamental law the fatal precedent of the system of the Union, either by the f conquest, by which all the nations of introduction of uncongenial powers, should ntiquity were corrupted, ruined, and new States be erected in Mexico, or by the xtinguished; a doctrine which includes overbalance of the Executive power in the nd sanctions every form and degree of nation as it now stands, by the additions of espotism, and which is of so evil a nature, conquered military dependencies and the not only renders the peace of the world patronage and power of a great army. enerally insecure, but insinuates itself To understand him better, let us for a to every part of life, produces a corrupt moment contemplate our position. nd tumultuous society, and is in turn Ilurried on by a false enthusiasm, and roduced by a dishonest and vicious life in the instigation of the contrivers of the le people themselves.
war, who have turned every accident to It is yet to be seen whether the public their own advantage, to delude and excite pinion of this nation is so far fallen as no the ignorant, and to astonish and disheartnger to be called the voice of God; for en the good, we have reached a point from e know well that then only is the voice which it is equally difficult to advance or
the people the voice of God, when it to recede. Our forces occupy the forts clares and enforces the laws of God; and cities of Mexico. We have broken i as the executioner declares them, or both the military and the civil arm of our the villain who destroys another villain, neighbor, and annihilated the little that as the vicious who are strong become remained to her of a regular government. struments of vengeance on the vicious The poor and half savage inhabitants, a ho are weak; but as declaring their corrupt, feeble people, weak in intellect herence to those broad and universal and weak in courage, cannot organize theminciples of humanity and equity, which, if selves for any effectual resistance. ything human is divine, are the divinest The question now arises, what shall be human things.
done with Mexico ? and to this, in answer, At separate times and with unlike argu- three distinct plans are offered. ants, our most eminent citizens have ar- The first is, to persevere in conquering ed against the scheme of conquest sup- and subduing, until the whole people are rted by the party in power. The argu- in our hands, and at our mercy; to rents of Mr. Calhoun are directed against duce them to the condition of vassals, and » poticy of the design. He predicts then offer them the liberty of forming im its adoption the ruin of our present States to be finally taken into the Union. titutions. He advocates the withdraw- The second proposition is, to fix upon a of our troops and the occupation of a new boundary, to be determined by ourselves ; to withdraw the troops from Mex- or subject to good advice and abiding by ico and to occupy that line, until such time a just conduct. Israel, Egypt, Rome, Tyre, as a peace can be established.
England, France—these names have an The third is, to retire behind the old individual character, as of moral beings, boundary, giving up northern California capable of right and wrong. The nations and all the territory offered to be ceded to are land-owners-possessors of the soil us by the Mexican commissioners, main of the globe, each with its boundaries and taining only such military posts as may de- rights; and whichever of them dares forfend us against marauders and guerilleros. get its character as a moral agent, becomes
Mr. Calhoun does not allude to this the enemy of the rest. The Law of Nathird proposition. It is entertained by tions is the equity used in the fraternity of those only who reason against the acquisi- nations ; it differs not from the fundamention of new territory upon abstract prin- tal equity of society. Its first principles ciples, who do not believe in the ability of are, liberty and equality; all the nations the Union to maintain itself over a territo- that enter into its League are free nations, ry much larger than that which it holds at holding, as such, equal rights before the present. And yet it is hard to perceive law, and entitled to an equal representation any reason why an hundred States such as in a court of International Law, were such Ohio, or Massachusetts, should not hold a court to be established. This law arose together as well as thirteen, or twenty- from the contemplation of rights between five. The solidity of the Union depends individuals, in free States. Despotical upon the unanimity of the States which States neither originated, nor do they compose it; and that unanimity is main abide by it. Witness the division of Potained by likeness of character. Likeness land, and the ravages committed by Algeof character will make all alike and har- rine and Turkish despots: it was impossimonious ; and were the whole continent ble for these States to originate Internaoccupied by the original race of the old tional Law, right and wrong with them Colonies, it could not but be one vast being determined by the event, or rather, Union. We dare not, therefore, oppose not inquired about. In this knowledge of the extension of the territory of this na- right and wrong, of mine and thine, or in tion by every just means, for it is our de- other words, of the conditions of liberty sire to see it grow in numbers and in pow- and equality, the basis of common and iner to the utmost that the bounds of nature ternational law, the fathers wished to form will allow. The nation may as lawfully the Constitution, and not in the vague desire to extend its limits as the citizen his idea that the Union would last so long as private bounds ; nor can any objection be the territory of the States was kept withurged against the one, not valid against the in certain limits. other. The nations of the world are a Even now, then, it is a consolation to community of nations. They have their know, that while a vestige of a governproperties, as individuals have theirs. The ment remains in Mexico, a peace may be boundaries of these properties may be ex- concluded, such as shall not violate the tended by all lawful means; and if one laws of nations, or the principles of equal nation is able to occupy more than anoth-ity and liberty. We have not yet set er, none need complain. What is theirs, the seal of the nation to any violation is theirs. Nor was it ever doubted that of the fundamental law of the nation : one nation could purchase territory of the grounds of the Constitution are not another. Purchase implies property-all yet destroyed by any deliberate act of the conditions of “ yours and mine "—just the whole people; and if an unhappy as in private bargains. If one nation at- necessity shall compel us to occupy the tempts to wrest land from another, resist- | territory originally offered us by Mexico, ance is a matter of course, and justified in through her commissioners, we have stál! all histories. A nation is treated by all left the miserable pretext of indemnity historians, but especially by the sacred and purchase, to save the honor of our chroniclers, as if it were an individual, principles. with but one head and one heart, doing Our credit is not wholly lost. We have
ht, or doing wrong, misled by passion, inflicted a dreadful wound upon our weal