Abbildungen der Seite

unionists should be accomplished, the patriotic and intelligent of our generation would seek to hide themselves from the scorn of the world, and go about to find dishonorable graves. Fellow citizens, take courage; be of good cheer. We shall come to no such ignoble end. We shall live, and not die. During the period allotted to our several lives, we shall continue to rejoice in the return of this anniver. sary. The ill-omened sounds of fanaticism will be hushed; the ghastly spectres of Secession and Disunion will disappear; and the enemies of united constitutional liberty, if their hatred cannot be appeased, may prepare to have their eyeballs seared as they behold the steady flight of the American eagle, on his burnished wings, for years and years to come. President Fillmore, it is your singularly good fortune to perform an act such as that which the earliest of your predecessors performed fifty-eight years ago. You stand where he stood; you lay your hand on the cornerstone of a building designed greatly to extend that whose cornerstone he laid. Changed, changed is everything around. The same sun, indeed, shone upon his head which now shines upon yours. The same broad river rolled at his feet, and bathes his last resting place, that now rolls at yours. But the site of this city was then mainly an open field. Streets and avenues have since been laid out and completed, squares and public grounds inclosed and ornamented, until the city which bears his name, although comparatively inconsiderable in numbers and wealth, has become quite fit to be the seat of government of a great and united people. Sir, may the consequences of the duty which you perform so auspiciously to-day, equal those which flowed from his act. Nor this only; may the principles of your administration, and the wisdom of your political conduct, be such, as that the world of the present day, and all history hereafter, may be at no loss to perceive what example you have made your study.

Fellow citizens, I now bring this address to a close, by expressing to you, in the words of the great Roman orator, the deepest wish of my heart, and which I know dwells deeply in the hearts of all who hear me: “Duo modo haec opto; unum, ut moriens populum Romanum liberum relinquam; hoc mihi majus a diis immortalibus dari nihil potest: alterum, ut ita cuique eveniat, ut de republică quisque mereatur.”

And now, fellow citizens, with hearts void of hatred, envy, and malice toward our own countrymen, or any of them, or toward the subjects or citizens of other governments, or toward any member of the great family of man; but exulting, nevertheless, in our own peace, security, and happiness, in the grateful remembrance of the past, and the glorious hopes of the future, let us return to our homes, and with all humility and devotion offer our thanks to the Father of all our mercies, political, social, and religious.



Mr. President :

N FRIDAY a bill passed the Senate for raising ten O regiments of new troops for the further prosecution of the war against Mexico; and we have been informed that that measure is shortly to be followed, in this branch of the Legislature, by a bill to raise twenty regiments of volunteers for the same service. I was desirous of expressing my opinions against the object of these bills, against the supposed necessity which leads to their enactment, and against the general policy which they are apparently designed to promote. Circumstances personal to myself, but beyond my control, compelled me to forego, on that day, the execution of that design. The bill now before the Senate is a measure for raising money to meet the exigencies of the government, and to provide the means, as well as for other things, for the pay and support

of these thirty regiments. Sir, the scenes through which we have passed, and are passing, here, are various. For a fortnight the world supposes we have been occupied with the ratification of a treaty of peace, and that within these walls, “the world shut out,” notes of peace, and hopes of peace, nay, strong assurances of peace, and indications of peace, have been uttered to console and to cheer us. Sir, it has been over and over stated, and is public, that we have ratified a treaty, of course a treaty of peace, and, as the country has been led to suppose, not of an uncertain, empty, and delusive peace, but of real and substantial, a gratifying and an enduring peace, a peace which would stanch the wounds of war, prevent the further flow of human blood, cut off these enormous expenses, and return our friends, and our brothers, and our children, if they be yet living, from the land of slaughter, and the land of still more dismal destruction by climate, to our firesides and our arms. Hardly have these halcyon notes ceased upon our ears, when, in resumed public session, we are summoned to fresh warlike operations; to create a new army of thirty thousand men for the further prosecution of the war; to carry the war, in the language of the President, still more dreadfully into the vital parts of the enemy, and to press home, by fire and sword, the claims we make, and the grounds which we insist upon, against our fallen, prostrate, I had almost said, our ignoble enemy. If we may judge from the opening speech of the honorable Senator from Michigan, and from other speeches that have been made upon this floor, there has been no time, from the commencement of the war, when it has been more urgently pressed upon us, not only to maintain, but to increase, our military means; not only to continue the war, but to press it still more vigorously than at present. Pray, what does all this mean? Is it, I ask, confessed, then—is it confessed that we are no nearer a peace than we were when we snatched up this bit of paper called, or miscalled, a treaty, and ratified it? Have we yet to fight it out to the utmost, as if nothing pacific had intervened? I wish, sir, to treat the proceedings of this and of every department of the government with the utmost respect. The Constitution of this government, and the exercise of its just powers in the administration of the laws under it, have been the cherished object of all my unimportant life. But, if the subject were not one too deeply interesting, I should say our proceedings here may well enough cause a smile. In the ordinary transaction of the foreign relations of this and of all other governments, the course has been to negotiate first, and to ratify afterward. This seems to be the natural order of conducting intercourse between foreign States. We have chosen to reverse this order. We ratify first, and negotiate afterward. We set up a treaty, such as we find it and choose to make it, and then send two ministers plenipotentiary to negotiate thereupon in the capital of the enemy. One would think, sir, the ordinary course of proceeding much the juster; that to negotiate, to hold intercourse, and come to some arrangement, by authorized agents, and then to submit that arrangement to the sovereign authority to which these agents are responsible, would be always the most desirable method of proceeding. It strikes me that the course we have adopted is strange, is even grotesque. So far as I know, it is unprecedented in the history of diplomatic intercourse. Learned gentlemen on the floor of the Senate, interested to defend and protect this course, may, in their extensive reading, have found examples of it. I know of none. Sir, we are in possession, by military power, of New Mexico and California, countries belonging hitherto to the United States of Mexico. We are informed by the President that it is his purpose to retain them, to consider them as territory fit to be attached to these United States of America; and our military operations and designs now before the Senate are to enforce this claim of the Executive

« ZurückWeiter »