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the people. Such a sum might have spread a net-work of railroads and telegraphic wires over the country, uniting in bonds of interest and intercourse the remotest inhabitants of our vast empire. It would have opened through Oregon a channel by which the commerce of India and China would in a few days have reached every portion of our Confederacy. Or it might have given security and facility to our magnificent inland navigation, and formed safe and capacious harbors on our mediterranean seas.

Or it might have carried science and useful knowledge to the inmates of every dwelling in our Republic; and in various ways have been made conducive to the diffusion of virtue and religion. The mere interest of this sum is vastly greater than is annually contributed by Christendom to evangelize the world. The disposal of this treasure was a talent which, in the providence of God, was entrusted to our rulers: whether the use they have made of it proves them to have been good and faithful servants will be declared on that day in which they shall give an account of their stewardship. We sho

d, however, take a most erroneous and limited view of the cost of this war to the United States, were we to confine our estimates to the millions which have been expended in its prosecution, or to the personal sufferings it has occasioned. Before we can sum up the total cost, we must add to the blood, the groans, the treasure, we have bartered for victory and conquest, the political and moral evils the war has bequeathed to the nation—evils as extensive as the bounds of the Republic, and whose effects upon the happiness of individuals will continue to be felt when time shall be no more.



All war is necessarily unfavorable in its tendencies to the liberties and prosperity of a State, even when waged for the defence or recovery of freedom. The burthens it imposes, the arbitrary authority it confers, and the dispositions it fosters, are all adverse to popular rights. These tendencies are, of course, controlled and modified by circumstances. The late war, having been carried on wholly without the limits of our own country, did not inflict upon our citizens those violations of right and those oppressive exactions which are ever experienced on the theatre of hostilities. It has nevertheless shown itself a dangerous foe to constitutional liberty.

We have seen in the preceding pages that most provident and ample preparations were made for the commencement of the war on the Rio Grande, and for the seizure of California, not only without the sanction, but even without the knowledge of Congress. It is utterly impossible that Congress would have issued, or the people have tolerated, a declaration of war against Mexico, either to compel her to pay our alleged claims, or to withdraw her troops and magistrates from her villages on the Rio Grande. Hence, it was deemed necessary first to provoke a collision, and then to appeal to Congress to defend the country from invasion! The war, therefore, although recognized and prosecuted by Congress after its commencement, was in fact and in truth begun in consequence of orders issued by the President on his own responsibility, and not in pursuance of any constitutional or legal authority. He had, indeed, as Commander-in-Chief, a right to direct the movements of the troops, but not in such a manner as necessarily and designedly to involve the country in war. Most truly, therefore, did the House of Representatives declare that the war had been unconstitutionally begun by the President.

Yet has this usurpation of power, leading to the sacrifice of thousands of lives and millions of treasure, been unvisited with punishment. The offence has found an apology in the triumphs to which it has led ; and thus a sanction has been given to a precedent, that invests the President of the Republic with the royal prerogative of bringing upon the nation the calamities of war.

Nor is this the only instance, in which the President in his own person has exercised powers belonging only to the legislative branch of the Government. Although not permitted by the Constitution to appoint of his own will and pleasure, a single officer, or to take from the treasury a single cent, he established a system of tariffs and internal taxation in Mexico, appointing a horde of collectors, and accumulating at his own disposal, all the revenue that could be extorted at the point of the bayonet, from the miserable and impoverished Mexicans ; and all this without the slightest warrant from Congress.*

*“I am under a deep conviction, that the President has no right whatever, to impose taxes internal and external on the people of Mexico. It is an act without the authority of the Constitution or laws, and eminently dangerous to the country. If the President can exercise, in Mexico, a power expressly given to Congress, which he cannot exercise in the United States, I would ask where is the limit to his power in Mexico ? Has he also the power of making appropriations of money collected in Mexico, without the sanction of Congress ? This he has already done. Has he the power to apply the money to whatever purposes he may think proper, and, among others, to raise a military force in Mexico, without the sanction of Congress ? This also he has already done."-Speech nf Mr. Calhoun in Senate, March, 1848.

He has also, by his sovereign will and pleasure, established civil Governments in New Mexico and California, appointed Governors, organized courts of justice, commissioned magistrates, &c., without even consulting Congress, and with no law whatever, authorizing the exercise of these high prerogatives, or providing for the salaries of the numerous civil officers he has seen fit to appoint. It appears from the Report of the Secretary of War, Dec. 4, 1847, that the duties collected in California, “have been applied towards the support of the civil Government.” Thus has the President, of his own will and pleasure, not only appointed officers, but paid them salaries at his discretion. Thus have a people, jealous of their liberties permitted, in the delirium of victory and conquest, their chief magistrate to assume over vast regions the most unlimited and despotic authority, grasping at once the sword and the purse. Henceforth it is to be part of our theory of Government, that during war, the President of the United States is released from all constitutional restrictions, so far as he acts without the limits of the country, and that he is wholly beyond the control of Congress. The immense power and patronage thus conferred on the President by a state of war, may hereafter prove a strong inducement with that officer to plunge his country into hostilities, and to postpone the return of peace.

The course pursued by Congress has apparently been directed by the principle, that when the country has once been involved in war, no matter by what means, or for what objects, it is the duty of the representatives of the people to afford to the President every facility he demands for its prosecution, however wicked or injurious it may be.

“Is the establishment of a code of customs in Mexico, an act of war, or derived from war, or an art of legislation? Why, clearly it is the latter. I want to know how the President of the United States can overturn the revenue law of Mexico, and establish a new one in its stead, any more than he can overturn the law of the descent of property, the law of inheritance, the criminal code, or any other portion of Mexican law?"-Mr. Webster's Speech in Senate, March, 1848.

Not only has the public mind become accustomed to executive usurpation, but it has lost, in its admiration of military success, that jealousy of military power, which is a most powerful safeguard of republican liberty. We have been utterly heedless of the melancholy example exhibited by Mexico herself, of the disastrous influence of a thirst for martial renown. The astonishing facility with which that country was overrun and prostrated by our troops, cannot be accounted for solely by the paralyzing effect of the Mexican church on the progress of science and civilization. Ever since her independence, Mexico has fostered a military spirit; but it was a spirit that consumed her very vitals. The resources of the State were squandered on the army, and the army through its generals governed the Stale. The blessings of peace were despised, and the citizens, instead of combining for the common welfare, were divided into partisans of rival Generals. Revolution succeeded revolution in rapid succession, one chieftain supplanting another. A civilian was scarcely ever placed at the head of the State, the reins of government being almost invariably committed to hands that grasped the sword. The history of the Republic of Mexico has been a history of military insurrections and usurpations. Even when invaded by a foreign enemy, military factions and rival chiefs paralyzed the strength of the nation, and rendered her an easy prey. All the records of the past bear witness to the fact, that popular Generals have been the chief destroyers of Republics. Yet the American people, deaf to the warnings of his

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