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Mr. Calhoun's Speech

Mr. Calhoun's Speech image Mr. Calhoun's Speech image
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Mr. Calhou.v rose and said - ín offering these resolutions, Senators, to your consideraíion, 1 have been governed by thft same reason which induced me to oppose th war- from the sartíe coniiJerations which have ever since guiclod me. In alluding to my opposition to the war, I do not iníend to advert lo the reasons which governed me on thnt occasion, further than is necessarv (o explain rny object on the present. I oppose the war then, not only becnuse I consider t unnecessary, and easily to be averted - not only because the President, without authority, ordered the United Slates troops to enter adisputed territory, at that time ocdüpied by the Mexicans - not only because the declaration of Congress was anfounded in truthbut from higher considerations of policy , because I foresaw that it must lead lo great and serious evils to the country, and greatly endanger its free insliiuiions. The wnr wasdeclared, and recognised as such, by íhe government, wlien it was too late to nvert t. I then felt it to be my duty to shape my course so as to prevent, as far as possible, ihe danger which was threatening dur free instituiions. Such was my object n proposing the defensivo line, at the lnst sesion - such is my object in n;w ofFeiing tliese resolutions ; but I shaU express my opinión at all timss, boldly and I independent] y, sucli as becomes a Senator who has nothing to osle or gain, and whose only object is to do whnt is good for his country. VVhen í proposed, in ihe Senate of the United Slates, at the last seasion, a differtrtii link of policy; we hnd a large portion of country in our possession ; we stood in a beiter position thnn at any other time since, to mnke it}for I hola it to be a fair principie, that we may receive ndfemnity, in the shape of unoceüpiëd terriiory, from Woods, but ; nöt from tho cultivated homes of Mexicans. Idid it because I thought it would be a great saving in men and money ; but nbove all, because I saw it would save tl- from being involved to the extent we now are. The President took a different view ; he recommetlded a vigorous prosecution of the war lö Corgress, to "conquer a peacë ;" that is to c ,mpel the Mexicans to make us indemnity, and also to pny up the expenses of the wnr, I oppnsed it, because Í thought there was great hnz.trd ifthewarwas continued. Congress thought differently ; it voied men nnd money. At Ilueri.i Visla we were victorious; Vera Cruz feil ; Cerro Gordo was conquered - brilliant victories, that do great honor to ouraimy; and finally, the gatesof the city of Mexico feil prostrate to onrconquering arms. Well, sir, have the avowed objects of the war been efTected ? Have we conquered a pefloe ? Have we sucde'-ded in efTectingatrealy? Are we offcred indemnity ? No, sir, nol a single object avowed by the President, has been nccompiished. No, Mr. Presidenthe objpet is farther off thai ever. Now, si", I ask (vhat lins caused ihe complete oiscomfiture of our measures 1 We can hot charge the fnilure upon our troops. Il is not oharged to Ui is ; but to Ine fact, that the plan of the campnign wns laid in error and founded on amistake. VVe aimed at indemniiy. If we wanled t, we shmild have enfurced it when we had the power in our hands VVe, ho.vever, endeavored to ai'rive at it by a trealy, which, had the Mexicans refused to sign, would have completcly uset the arrangement. They did refuse, and notwithütanding all our brüliant victories, the war is still upon our hands. - Afieran outlay of $40,000,000 we are worse oiF than ever. I nm not looking at the conqut.'st - I throw that aside. - We have lost 7000 or 8000 men, besides, and all this for nothing at all. Out Mr, President, it is said that a defensive line would have been ascoatly as the prosecution of the war. The President nnd the Öecretary of War have said t ; bui I must say, to my mind, it is utterly impossible. The line which I proposed would have been covered wiih lioMile Indians. and would have required only a single regiment and a ship of war to guard its coasi. For 7 years, Texas remained unconquered by Mexico, and tliat, too when the Alexican resources and power were greater and more powerful than they are now ; and can any man believe it would cost us more to defend ihut line, than to carry on the present war 1 We now come, Mr. President, to the consideraron of another campnigti. Sir, the same mnasures are propósed as were at the last session. We are told it is not forconquest; that is expliciíy disavowed. It s not an urder (o blot out the nationality of Mexico, for the President avowes distitictly he wishes to reiain its nationality. Now, sir we come to the practical question : Shall we carry on the war ? I have inquired cnrefully inlo the matler, and I must say there are many reasons now exisüng ngainsl it, stronger than at the last sessinn. A bilí has been proposed authorizing the President to raiso au addil ional force of not less than twenty five thousand men, muking, in all, not less than seventy thlousand t roo pa for the nest Campaign, and at the expense of iully 860,000,000. Now, what is the condition of the money market nt present? Last year, in consequnce of the unfortunnte famine in Europe, we had a large balance of trade in our favor, and money was plentiful. VVe are now encumbered with a large drain both ways. We have 10 send large sum, both to Englnnd and Mexico. If drafts are sent here ihtfy are cashed, and in the present state of the market the money goes to England. I see trensury notes qiioted beldw par, nnd stocks stil! lower. Thë end will be that the treasury notes will go into ïhe subtreasury, and specie be giverl out - thus draining both. The end will be a great commercial crisis and the failure of our banks. There is d;mger now of all this, which did not exist at the beginning of the last session. Men you may get, but rrioney you cannot. I have conversed with a gentleman well versed in commercial mntters, and he has given tas his opinión, that treasury notes, and they nre nothing more or less thnn loans, which must be repaid - would not hring more than 90 dollarsj for every 100 dollars ; which is rather moret 1 think than 7 per cent. But, sir these are nol the only objections, formidable ns they are, against thewn1-. I do not see the slightest chance of obiaitiing nhy thing by it, if we should be successful in our arras, which I don't believe j but if We sliould, the avowed object would be defented. - But, Sir, I take the other side. The more victories we gain, the greater will be our difficuliy in arriving at a peace, as avowed. VVhat is to be the eíTect if we proceed to repress all resistance in Mexico ? VVe overthrow her civil government, ad leave her without any power. Mr. President, if that is done, how are you to obtain a peace ? One power can make war - it requíres two t. mnke a peace. If you deslroy the government of Mexico, where is your sëcond party toa peace 1 You are defeated bv youi own success. Bul what do you nccomplish by the very object you disown 1 - Where will be her nalionalityi The free republic you wish to sen will be gne - blotted out - a mere .nass of what she was, Bnd her sovereignty, for ths time, conveyed tö her conquerors. The President hns very much the same convictioh of what is the vigorous prose(iution öf the war, as I have. He saysi that ïhe people of Mexico are divided into factions, governed by military rulers, and the only way to arrive at what wedesire, is to put thom all down. Well, sir, then we are to build üp a republican forrn of goven ment f rom those cit'zens who are well disposed towards us, and who are desirous of a peace. Mr. President, 1 confess I nm at a loss to understiind how au independent republic can grotv up under the prstection nnd auspices of itconqueror. I can well see how an aristocratie, or despotic grtvernmeni ou!ri be thus formpd ; but how a free government can, I cannot see. I had always understood such a government must spring from tlie hearts of the people; but, sir, I see these notiotis nre ar.tiqunted, and we can now make free republics. Tlie peop'e of Mexico do not wish it. The great body of the intelligence and wealth is coi.centmted in the clergy, and ihfey are disinclined to it. The other large bo!y, the owners of the haciendas, in other words, the planters, might, perhaps, favor it ; but they are scattered, without the means of forming a firm government, and if put up, would tumblo down in n day, the moment our truops should bc wilhdrawn. The only olher coui-sp, then, would be to support and foster the existing government. But it is said that would be uscless, and it would fall the moment our troops were withdrawn. - Mr. President, I protest aginst building up any power in Mexico, for we shall thereby be obliged to support it again and again. unlil nt last we should be comoelled lo take t ourselves. Tho conquei ing of Hindostán, which we have so long deprecated carne on in this very way. - There was no intention at first to conquor it. Thai caine on by dogrees, til! al Inal It nppenred a matter of course. So il would ba witli Mexico, if ihat government sliould agree to mnke a trealy on suclj terms as we ak. The President himselï ngrees we shnll tnke the very course 1 have foreshadowed. ÍJe says, in so many words, if all mensirea fai!, we must enforce terms which llie honor of the country demnnds. Is not this an ncknowledgment, ih;it iP the faciionül governrnent is nnt built up, we must conquer and occupy the country, lhus eufurcing terms, not upon ihe goVSfnment, but upon the people. Wel!, the President is right. - Tliis wil] be the Every nrgunient agn'nst laking a defensive line, will have - a doublé foree when we havp spentsixtv millions of dollars more, and occupy n still greatpr extent ofierrilory. The men eugnged in the wnr - ho contractors, the several parties engaged, diroctly or indifectly - nll th is large body will be adverse to return : and the:r influence in , favor of n continuation of tho war, wil! be found too powerfu! to nppose. We]], sir, now tliat we hnve ndded sixty millions of dollars to the former amount expended, what will yon get to indemnify il 1 Witli the populalion, which you will have to i sustain, and the army of forty or fifty ' thousand men, as the Secretnry of War j says, you will' never getenough to pay it; : and it will hnve 'o come out ofpockets of! tho people of the Uniled Sta'es. This I and the next generation wil) have to bear this burden. We now come to the solemn conideration proposed by the i lution. 1 have shown the course proposed by the President. It is to blot out the ] nationality of Mexico, nnd throw eeven i or eiglit millions of people On our hands, ! Bither a a province or incorporated into ; rur Union. Shall we do either 1 No, Mn President, reither ; and for these realons : First, it will be against the , &d object of the war. No message has been sent to Congress which has not dislinctly den ied the object to be the extinction of the nationality of Mexico ; and yet, sir, what we disavow will have been accomplished, and what we avowed will have been defeated. This, sir, at leist, will he an impeachrnent ol the abilitv of our government to manage itsown adair?. [ ackríowledge the full amount of glory nur army has nequired nrxd shed on the country ; but, Mr. President, I om af raid all our applauss will be confined tp our army. Every civilized nation looks uoon us as a hard-hearted peop!e, who are more given to war than modern nations. However m'ich Ve might rejoice at the cour.ige, bravery and skill of our troops, and the astohishing victories they have, nchieved, he was yet sorry tnconfess that the government had lost that reputation for moderatioh and justice whiih had been its crovvning attributes in its early days. If we shall altempt to hold Mexico as a province, or incorpórate it into the U nion, we shall find it utterly impracticable. We had never assimilated tiny of the Indian tribes with our people when ncorpornted their territory into our Union. WhV removed ihëm farther away. We have never ncorporated any people into this Union üut the Caurasian race - the free white man ; and shall we now orrupt this free white pnpulation by introducing into our confederation the Indian and mixed races of México? He protested nrst earnesily against such a policy. Our government is for tlio fvee white min. This feature was the secret of iis stab'Iiiy. The Spanish republicson ihis continent had failed, becauso they had maiiily attempted to place the colored race on an equslity with the white, in assuming that by nature, all men were equ.illy adapted to free government ; 5 el it was proposed tonnnex the Mexican States as terrilories, and place them on equaltiy with he rest of the States. He uüerly prolested ngainst the ado])tion of any such policy, in any form. He ndverted to ihe proofs of h story to show ihat the colored races could not be b'ended in the same governmen',!ind in the same tfrni. ; with the white races; thnt the cjI fed I races are always degraded, nnd that the ! whitPS. even in a snvage state, maintain some of tlie elemerits of free institutions. He carne next to consider the Hvo poinls in one : that the holding of Mexico in subjection, would, in the end, be stibversive to our free institutions, and thit no such line ofpoücy ought to be adopted. - It would be a wastu of time to nrgue that the incorporution of' Mexico would be dangerons to our free instituiions. - He who understood the American j tution; he who hadstudied its charncter; 1 he who had profited from the examples 1 ofhistory, and had marked the consequences where largi conqlJets had been held by a hostile nation, as territorial posessions, would need no otlier proof tocónvince him that to hold the republic of Mexico, either as n province or ;n toiies, must lead to the subversión and overthrow of our fice insliiutions. In alt '-lie examples n wliicb such ineorporation of terriioiies of foreign people, benring inything near the proporfions which Mrtcico bears to ihe United Slates, the end had heen the riownfall of the conquering party. With us, Mexico would add so much to the patronage of the general governmom tbat it would nbsorb all the powers of the Slates, it would becorne imperial; it would ueurp the powers of the legislativo depnrtment ; all the powers of the government would fall into the hands of the executive, nnd with the prevniling rule of party proscrij.t'o'i, and the increasing patronage of the executive, our institutions would not be able to comhet the Presidential elections; thoy could not re9ist tlie eheek.- Mr. Cülhoun admonished the gentterrtïn not to fl.itter themselves with the delusiva idaa that we, as well as Great Oritain, could hold great empires under suhjection and hold them in safety. Ofall the overnrnents that ever existed, England is posse-sed of the grentest power of expansión, without reducing her people to annrchy, or her officials to corruption ; ibis was, in part, because the executivO branch of the government, und the conservative, the House of Lords, were hereditary. Rome never had such a capacity for expansión. When the Roman empire extended east and west beyond the barrriers of Italy, the central power began to weaken, and joon il became corrupt, and nnarchy and violence were the order of the day. Yet, England had Leen going nii in the extensión, of her dominions, without any visible symptoms ofdecny. Yet she could not long escape. She was even now paving the penalty; she is pnying a penalty for her two hundred millions of dependanis; which, like disproportionate, superincutnbent weight, tbreatens to crush the foundations of tlie superstruciure. - Yes, sir, inslend of indemnity fraai her conquests, they are a burden to her ; and even rie'ghboring Ireland taxed her rpsources for its support, and the labor of lier people, almost bevond their power to bear. Shall we go on and follow this e.tsmpla for territorial ndemnities tor the xprns of our wars! Let us, row, c nrder the ineorporation of Mexico into thia Ünion. There are twenty States n Mexico; these we should first hare to initiale os territories. The governors, the magistrales, the juslices, would all have to be nppoinied by the Executiv as in aur own territories, made up of our own people, or fröm Ihe same foreign stock as ourselve. We have in this first formation of a governmetit to take care of them, and they are glad of it , bit when they reach the age of twenty-one; when they come to years of maturity, they cniii3 in arnong us ns our equals, and in all respecta the s-amp. so wiih Mexico. You may cali it annesntion ; but it wi'.l Le forced annexntion. You will be compelled, nhatever form ofgevernmint you niay establish, io hold it as aprovince; nnd it will be but a prowncal government at last. How long will vou have to hold tin suljection lef -re il is reduced to obedience; before it is in truth and in chnracter a part of this confederacy? It will tnke a long time. - England has held Ireland for sume several htindred years past, nnd stijl they are a hostile people. Canada has been in the posi-ession of the Critish government for one hondred years pst, and slill the Cnnadians aren hostile people. Never will the time come, from all exampies, when Mexico will ngree to be hlended with the laws and people of this Union. The nucleus of her ruling population are from the old stook; eqxnl in every sense to the original Anglo-Saxon, and superior lo it in 'hal mie.onquerable atlnehment to their soil and their own instilutions. But let us ndmit thai a'l ihese difficullies are reni(-vd, ho' willit effect iijsto introduce some twenty-five foreign Slates into ihe Uniui, with a basis of one or two millions of pure bittod, and all the rest - some seven or eight niillions - Indiar.s or mixed races, inferior in every respect to our Chocklaws or Cherokees? We are unier a great mistake, if we suppose all this population nrercady for our peculiar institutions. - I heard a gentleman of high character say, but the ether day, that he jelieved it was our uppoinled niis--ion to extend oiir institulions of civil nnd reügiou.s fnedotn over the beniglitei) nalions of this continent. is a greai misakp. Our institutions aie onlv ntla; ted to a people higtily i'.dvnnced n intelligcnce and cítilizaiion; and it was remarkablo that in ! all the revolutions of nntions, the ppople I had been more indebled fr nny advan' tages they had Aecured in ihtir forms of i government, more to accident, or a combinatioti of circumstances, than to any forctasle or previous decisión of the man mind. We re hvl"b!ed our conitlllllioD more lo n conjundion of eircumsianoe?, lo the. superior wsd'm r.nd intelligence uf nur for-!atWs ; and herein lies nr greit danger - llmí a conjunctidn of f.ircu tincas i whi'-hwe! may I ndifíe-ent för tl. e t me, may overthrow our iimtitutions. We .seem tu ti ave ni fear of ilieir (-tdblli'y: the pro-, MfTOtinn of oirr Überly nuw. ll in Iho g'orv oí onr nrm. Nbdy tilksnow o'"ihe blpxsitigs of libeny. In ur early hito-ry, the g''eat anxiety wan " reiain our lil.erty. Now, the. gren anxie'y is, t.i conviiïce ilie world of our military ptiwer. The m .no used lo be, tha! 'h power wasahvays stenüng fftWB the m.-inv tn the 'ew. and that ilie price of l.berty was perpetual vigüance. Now, we seem j to resemble those maxims not ni all , bot tiie opinión nppear to lie that we hold tiurhherty by divine right. 1 fear thai fwedonot be vigünnt, we'shall finn ibis to be the ereatet mitake f 11; and it ii great mistake ti puppnse tiisl it n our divine mfísion to carry the principien oí' our liberty, by forcé of arms, over this conlinent ; and that noihing can aíleci oiir'seöurily. lf we in ;h's dclusinn, lhe day of r-tritiitiin -wiJl c me ; aní'it will bring with it destructivo conequences, assurely ns 1 now am addríng this American Senftte. I am. iliereAir, opio ed to thp oolicy of holding Mexico by righl of conque-t, and of nnr.exing it, eithr rs a roinre, nr trrritonps, or States, of t'v's govoiinneni. - Hut whMnre todo? After Rptktijt of hs efTut lo air'.í-t ilie w.-ir and its cor requpiíces, Mr. Calhoun snid he snw nol the srnnllpst chance of ri!;en'nngling nurselveí;sive bv the rlrfensive lite; hv taking, in thiswny, lie dfcis o:i and indernnity ínto ciiir own hunrfs flal timo bern allowed when the Piesidrnt sint in his rnesfaaf, declan'n a stnteofwnr, Mr. C. siid lie should hve vindicated a plnn to be [inisupd. He would hnv relieved Gen. Taylor ; he would tiave hirl n corrmii!ee ti enquire nnd repoit on lie relminns'iig between usnnd Me.v co, s!iowin-g that as yet there wa no ac'ual state ofwnr. Hnd that failed of iiid:icing negotiatinn, he should have held t'ie trritorirs on thi x'xdt of the Rio Grap.e, and maintained h's position un the btundry whieh it might hnve been Heeme 1 proper lo claim, which would embrace, lands of sorne vnlie to ijs, and of no use to Mexi'-o. But hft had been overruled. Where the Hefjnsive line should now le, he h-d n opinión now f gie. He was not now preparad tó sny where we ould d-signate the bist line; but he woulJ sny, that we should encuate the central provine, - f Mr. Reverdy Johnson - W hai's trrat.M r. C.ilhoun, we shoul J ev.ncume 1] We phould evafuats the central pi ris of the States now occupied, nnd c 11 back the troops to n Hefined lioundarVj rfceivi' g sufficient territon Cnr hl proper im'em nitie-, ihe final drc'mon lo be subject lo negotimion, ns ell ns the ex; ei.se3 o! the wor. It iftñy.lake yeArs to secure a jeace, ■ ion tiuon thi ilan; bui onegreai point would l;e giinr-d - we shall di en langle oiirselvcf. We me now tieri to a dr-ad c'iqwe, and we sh'iuld disentnngle ourselves fiom il as s.ion as possihle. li we should ón!v b'. kept quiet, aml purgue our true policv, wiih masterly innclivity. and wnit tl. e d.'y forour dfitinwe shall do beller tnnn to giin ten thou-and victories in bat;le. Mr. Calhoun snid he was nn o'd man; he as olmnKt nmong sMangers; and ihnt if he had urged anythiig that was slrange or prculiarj oipon the Sena'e, ihcv mut ailribute it tu the iwpressions f tlrri vfive yenr$ ago. Tlus was not :he fi.r' time hfc had opposed tl.e policy of war. - In the case of Ihe proposed reprimí opon France, he had stoud almost alone in the Srnate to resit it. IIo was utierly oposrd to it. Erig'and hnd n'erfere.i.nnd rowar.tnok plaoo. He admonished h:s frler.ds of the odministratinn ihat ihere mipht be S'imo contii gencirs t' ome. which they iüd not spe - something inile igoroua. rentnil proseiutiin if iliigWnr, froin yeñr lo' ypar, wh'ch wnihi se:l,th ■ iJes h arrant if ourbrlo-ed instiiuiofis: stid vetthéinr'y npp'enred lobc reversii.g 'he oif'cr of ileir rli cuin's ; ihev ere fi.ose I to the nptioiKil '"'ehl; and the progppi.t on of thi? wur was l.ouilv ddng, to ihe 1 deht. Tl e expenpes of this cama;gn would he fouiid :eq".il to the exptes of tlie Revolution. Tl ev were oj.pos'd to n incrense of the pationnge of ihe Kxecu tv# Governmeni; vel wlint couM ripdly iüCfPMe it a thn policy now purtued? Tliey were in fivor "f a pure rr.etalic currency ; yet did we not all know jliat our treanirv noti and piper stock were lea ming more snd umre the staple of mr country' They were in fnror of ree tnde; yet the war thus proscuted, has nlreaiy rendered it impasible to make ny jrogress in fiee trade for many yents to come. Tl:e nlternn. live is {Jressing ; it is magnnnimous !o iglrnce your steps when you are in err"r ; it i nn ac'. "f roscón t "crifinp vour mere pride for ihe good of the Country. In gay ing thnt th#pJ is r,o nllernative between thi deffnsive line t f.olicy lo tnat of tne Piesideni, I ay so, beauss pu'jhc opinión is msde up, &nd there c;in be nr jeace vi:h Mexi' o s'iort of a;i nrquisiiion of lerritory. Mr. C. only spoke t" his fnends on ile Whg sic'e ofihe Iïoue, and bie trstimony, ihat. ihuugh tl iy h'id votrd t'ir the ■■!, which !i Imd o,'pnsed, t ey hnd d n:( it nnrW proteU, .in ] fjrth rel of nfGen. Tnylor ; Lul il.ey tad vteJ tn gjt teirilnry at Ihfl l-s: esin ; nn I, l i his session, hen Iho puhllc niimei.t wa-i ma 'e iti, th only way Pr safety nwj was lli. defensivo Hui, nuá it must 1)P nd'ipted at th is fe-sinn, "r we shal! hvi' ingo on, nnd met Ihe liHzar.1 "f en'ire ncenpntiun, lor lietter or lor voio. Hp wu'J pro, oso noiirng now. luit f he fonnl th.n ha shuulii l)e kupportnl in tliose views, hPhhouIJ vet, fierlinps, tnnve fnr a conv mi te to conlei witb ihe riistingu: -hfd Gerreral bow in tuwn, on the proper and lpst line to lie aJopted. It nsay ivt be this ytnr ; it ma not be for many years ; but we s!m!l t-ecure a peace ; c shall secure tho greut objoet ofdiseti'atigüng onrs hes.