Puslapio vaizdai

weak, distracted, the prey of military tyrants. She “ has had nothing that deserved to be called a government;" and America is strong and united. In making war, the President had"

very much nullified an important provision of the constitution. Yet Mr. Webster could say, at Philadelphia, Dec. 20, 1846,

“ Nevertheless, war is upon us, armies are in the field, navies are upon the sea. We believe that the government ought immediately, in an honorable and satisfactory manner, to bring the war to a conclusion, if possible. . . . But while the war lasts, [this unjust and unconstitutional war,] while soldiers are on the land, and seamen on the sea, upholling the flag of our country, you feel, and I feel, and every American feels, that they must be succoured and sustained. . They have done honor to the country to which they belong. . : Where can we look for such steadiness, calmness, bravery, and modesty, as in these volunteers ! The most distinguished incident in the history of our country of the good conduct of the militia - of new raised levies from amongst the people, is, perhaps, that of the battle of Bunker Hill. I might go further and say, that at Bunker Hill the newly raised levies and recruits sheltered themselves behind some temporary defences, but at Monterey the volunteers assailed fortified city.

[ocr errors]

Nor was that all; but the day before, addressing a body of volunteers, misguided young men who probably had never considered the justice of the war, nor asked whether they were to fight for slavery or freedom— he could cheer and encourage them to fight in a war which he declared “illegal,” and threatened to impeach the President for beginning; could bid them go and uphold the stars of their country's banner!

Such was the conduct of that man on whom nature has lavished so prodigally her gifts — a kingly intellect, a heart of noble make.” In the Senate what did he to end the war?- to “impeach” the President? Nothing. So far as opposition to the war is concerned no mouse in the wall could have lain stiller or more snug. All winter he sat in his seat busy - but with other things. The instigators of the invasion passed by and said : “ See, Webster is the friend of the war.” Had he not a son invested in that enterprise ?

[ocr errors]

Such is the conduct of the four most eminent men of Amer

* We have followed the report of this speech in Niles's Register. The language in the Pennsylvania Inquirer is a little more intense.

[ocr errors]

ica. No one of them opposes the war. Does any one say a good word against it. - he is sure to eat that word the next day. The war is thought“ glorious," and called “patriotic ;" men are bid to fight the war of their country,“ right or wrong.” How few remember that to fight on the wrong side is to fight against the country. The “ glory" of the enterprise, what does it amount to? Why, if the United States were to conquer all Mexico, viewed as a military exploit the glory of the deed would be nothing. As well might the Horseguards at London claim glory because they had chased a crowd of women from Billingsgate, and driven them up Ludgate hill. We make no doubt, that a private company for the conquest of Mexico might be got up in Boston, which in two years' time would conquer the whole of that country, and keep it - perhaps for ever. The glory which twenty millions of “ Anglo-Saxons” are likely to get from conquering the miserable population of Mexico is glory in the wrong column, even when looked at merely with the unscrupulous eyes of a soldier. It seems surprising all men cannot see that such a glory is only a shame. One day the people must awaken. Justice will at last hold a stern reckoning with the memories of our famous men.

But what is the real cause which lay at the bottom of the national design, produced annexation, and made and prosecutes the war for the partition of Mexico ? There is a power behind the constitution, but greater than the constitution itself, rising above and projecting beyond it; yes, greater than Congressovershadowing the unalienable rights” of man; we mean the institution of domestic slavery. Despotic monarchs of the

. old world are too liberal and enlightened to allow it any longer in their domain. It is cleared off from the soil of western Europe. The Bey of Tunis solemnly says to the world, “ It is a very cruel thing, and our heart shrinks from it."

6 We have abolished men's slavery in all our dominions." " All slaves that shall touch our territory shall become free.” Even Mexico, weak, semibarbarous Mexico, will have no slaves on her soil. But in democratic America it has found an asylum, a home. The egg was laid surreptitiously in the nest of the American Eagle, who now loves its ghastly and hideous disclosure better than all her legitimate brood, whose food that young cormorant devours apace, defiling what is not destroyed. The American Eagle broods over this Harpy with fond delight,

[ocr errors]


caressing it with beak and wing. For that she plunders the living and tears the dead — slain for its insatiate craw.

The constitution of the United States in spirit and letter defends slavery; the laws are on its side. There is not a state in the Union which dares say with that Mohammedan prince—“All slaves that touch our territory shall become free.” Neither political party is opposed to it; both favor, both love it — now with open ardor, now with longings in secret. A resolution refusing to extend the area of slavery is consistently hissed down at a convention of political democrats in the heart of Massachusetts. Scarce a prominent man in the whig party is prominently opposed to this. The great politicians who reach to the upper currents of the popular air all point that way; the little politicians whose stature does not exceed the range gusts and eddies in the street, tell mainly the same tale. Certainly the politicians of America -- the large dealers and the little hucksters of politics — are its friends. They oppose it; how could they? With here and there an exception, the American churches are also on its side, and can quote scripture for their purpose, defending it in the name of God. “ Southern chivalry," with its boasting tone, and the “morality of the north,” with its cringing gait, are united in its defence. The press supports it, — the newspapers, with their thin but continuous talk, and the grave, sober literature, an imitation of English models in all besides —is American only in its support of slavery! It is this which annexed Texas, this which began the war.

Slavery is the idol of America. Men of ablest intellectwho differ on most other matters of national concern -agree in defence of this. But its subtlest apology - as of all evil

- is in the name of God. “No man," said Mr. Simms, of South Carolina, in his speech in Congress, “No man who reads his Bible and who is a Christian, can denounce slavery as immoral. ... The very first steps taken by the French encyclopedists for overthrowing the authority of the Bible was to publish to the world . . . that slavery was wrong in principle, and then that the Bible was the advocate of slavery.“It is founded on the laws of God, written in the climate and soil of the country.

." “It is your inferior clergy,” says an able writer, a “northern man with southern citizenship,

*** " that are teaching ... that slavery is contrary


* See letters in the New York Courier and Enquirer to Hon. George P. Marsh, by “a northern man with southern citizenship."


to the laws of God ;”.“ you cannot abolish slavery, for God is pledged to sustain it."

The idol is popular; to refuse its worship is found dangerous; to oppose it is “ fanaticism;" but to be on its side, to feed it with money and blood, is “honorable,” “patriotic,” “ popular.” Well said the father of his country, in his farewell address : “Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the fanatic, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests."

The slaveholders wanted new territory, for slaves were falling in value on the soil of the old states. In 1839, Mr. Upshur said in the Virginia convention, “ If it should be our lot to acquire Texas, . . their price will rise.” In 1842, Mr. Gholson, of the same state, thought “the acquisition of Texas would raise their price fifty per cent.It was feared, or pretended, that Texas might abolish slavery; so in 1843, Mr. Upshur, then American Secretary of State, wrote officially to our minister in Texas, “the establishment in the very midst of our slaveholding states of an independent government forbidding the existence of slavery, . . could not fail to produce the most unhappy effects.” “ There could not be any security for that species of property.” Annexation" is absolutely necessary to the salvation of the South.” In 1844, he wrote to our minister in England, “ If Texas should not be attached to the United States, we cannot maintain that institution [of slavery) ten years, and probably not half that time.”

So the South must have Texas, and extend slavery over that soil whence the Mexicans had scourged it out. Could the North prevent it? Most certainly ; even little New Eng. land could have prevented it. Mr. Webster, who gratuitously thanks God that he did not slumber over that danger,” says, “ New England might have prevented it if she would, but her people woULD not be roused.' But, long before, New England learned

"To crook the pregnant hinges of the knee,

That thrift may follow fawning." The most disinterested enthusiasm of this day-long directed againt slavery in general, fought against this special act, and a few noble men spoke loud and long, but to reluctant

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

ears and cold hearts. Had their counsel been followed, we should have had no annexation, no invasion, no war! But a false idea had gone abroad in New England — that southern slavery is profitable to the North. The “chivalry" and the

” “ morality" have one common affection - not the love of their country, nor the love of Right, but the love of gain! So New England assented to annexation, the North assented, a whig Senate annexing Texas, the fatal dower of slavery in her land, with the expectation of a war. The South has its wish, the North its reward. The Nation laments the violation of her constitution, the debasement of her great men,- it was violated by slavery, and to that her sons have bowed the neck; she beholds the betrayal of her honor, -- it was betrayed by slavery; she mourns for thousands of her children slain, — they were murdered by slavery — which clamors still for more.

Behold the beginning of the end — which is not the end itself.



The appearance of Mr. Powers' statue among us, and the feeling of earnest admiration with which it has been received, afford us an occasion to say a few words, not so much with reference to the sculptor and his work, as to Art in general; of which it may be said, that there is no one side of human knowledge concerning which the ideas of men are so vague, varying, and inadequate. To explain what it truly is, to place it in its true relations, to make every man feel that it is of importance to him, and that its concurrence is essential to the highest development of mankind, will be the future work of genius through many ages. If we cannot give a reason for the faith that is in us, we can still protest against skepticism and indifference. It will assist

It will assist us in our endeavour if we classify the views and feelings with which Art is regarded among men.

I. We have the large class who have no thought on the subject, but to whom music, poetry, or any work of art not beyond the range of their sympathies, is a source of the highest gratification.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »