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to the notice almost identical with that which he had proposed, and it was carried through both Houses by large majorities.
At the same session, he was entrusted by the Committee of which he was a member, with the duty of inquiring into the expediency of opening a communication with Europe by a line of Mail Steamers of our own, and he presented an elaborate report in favor of the enterprize, of which the House ordered five thousand extra copies to be printed; and a bill, framed in accordance with its views, was passed. Utterly opposed as he was to the usurpation of authority with which the President conducted the operations of our armies against Mexico, he steadfastly sustained the cause of the country, by voting on every occasion in favor of granting the supplies of men and money which the Administration asked for carrying on the war, from the first to the last, incurring with some others who thought as he did, the censure of those who felt it their duty to arrest hostilities by depriving our Government of the means of repelling them. In one of his speeches on the
"But first, as to the war. This is the great theme of the message-the prominent colossal figure in the foreground of the picture, about which the other objects are grouped in humbler and smaller proportions. I suppose it must be so; our foreign relations, with the single unhappy exception referred to, are all of the most amicable kind; our internal tranquillity is perfect; the vast resources of our country are in a course of prosperous development. There is but the one check to our prosperity; but for this, the President informs us, the public debt would have been discharged, and we might now have been engaged in plans for increasing the happiness of our people, and advancing in our high career of civilization. But, though it must be admitted that war is a calamity, yet I cannot bring myself to agree with those who think it best to arrest all our movements against Mexico. I concur in opinion with a distinguished Senator from Delaware, (Mr. J. M. CLAYTON,) who, some days since, took occasion to say, that he was decidedly in favor of sustaining the Government in the prosecution of the war. My honorable friend from Philadelphia, (Mr. J. R. INGERSOLL,) has avowed the same determination. I do not see that any other course is left us. The question is not now, whether we shall plunge into a war or not; the question is, a war having been commenced, shall we sustain it, or shall we let it go
down? Shall we infuse new vigor into the war, by voting the men and the money asked for, or shall we withdraw all support from the war, and arrest it before it has accomplished its objects?
If the question were now presented to me, between peace and war, I should undoubtedly be in favor of peace. But no such election is presented to us. The spectacle before us is a war in progress; our own country on one side, a foreign country on the other; our own country, at every step which our armies take, holding forth an offer of peace, an offer which the enemy as yet have shown no disposition to entertain. This is enough for me. I range myself on that side on which I see the standard of my country. The question before Congress is, "Shall we prosecute this war?" On that question I cannot hesitate for a moment. The Constitution has conferred on Congress the prerogative of declaring war. We have recognised the war, and by that vote we have made the Chief Magistrate responsible for the mode of conducting it. So long as the President is thus responsible, by the theory of our Government, he is charged with the conduct of the war. He is invested with all the authority which belongs to that important station. It is for us to say how far we will go in voting supplies; and it must be a great crisis, one such as I have never yet seen, and which has never occurred in our history, which would warrant me in refusing to vote them. Other gentlemen must of course decide for themselves; these are my convictions. I shall, therefore, while I should be happy to see this war brought to a speedy and honorable termination, continue to sustain the Government in its prosecution, till such terms of peace as we ought to accept can be secured. I trust, too, that this will be the sentiment of the whole country. So far, the progress of the war has been marked by a self-sacrificing and patriotic spirit, which illustrates our free institutions, and by victories as remarkable and brilliant as any which history records. Whatever regrets may be felt at the interruption of the long career of peace which our country has enjoyed, we have at least gratifying proof that it has left no enervating influence on the national character."
He added: "We ought not to strike with a view to dismember the possessions of a weaker people, but our operations ought to be characterized by unfaltering energy, and by such a putting forth of strength as shall teach those against whom they are directed that it is their interest to seek a speedy peace. I would accept the first sign of such a disposition on the part of Mexico; and so far from degrading or
crushing her, I would meet her with the most generous terms. They should be marked by the magnanimity of a great nation treating with a weak one."
Upon the proposition which has been more than once brought forward in Congress, to exclude slavery from the territory acquired from Mexico, Mr. Hilliard has expressed himself with great force and clearness. He regards the proposition as neither patriotic nor in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution. This question is one of acknowledged magnitude and difficulty. Mr. Hilliard views it as a southern representative, but he uniformly treats it as a great American question, involving our highest interests and appealing to the patriotism of the whole country. He insists that the principle of the Wilmot Proviso is unjust and dangerous-originating in no real concern for the condition of the slave, but prompted by a desire to aggrandize one section of the Union at the expense of the other. He has at all times vigorously resisted what he conceives to be a threatened encroachment upon the rights of the South, but he has as steadfastly contended for the preservation of the Union. His opinions of this great question are expressed with so much clearness in his speech viewing the policy of Mr. Polk's administration, in the House of Representatives on the 24th of July, 1848, that we quote a passage from it.
lation for the Territories, that power is by no means an unlimited one. It is just here that gentlemen often fall into error. Exclusive does not mean unlimited. The power to which I refer is exclusive, in that it acknowledges no co-ordinate jurisdiction; but it is restricted, as are all powers delegated to Congress. While Congress, then, undertakes to exercise the power of exclusive legislation for the Territories, it is bound to carry on its legisla tion in reference to the character of the States of this confederacy from which it derives the power. It must regard the rights of all the States, and cannot, without an abuse of power, legislate for the benefit of one section at the expense of another; it is an abuse of its power, as an agent for the States, I care not whether the legislation be for the benefit of the South at the expense of the North, or for the benefit of the North at the expense of the South.
"This brings me to my third proposition, which is, that Congress is not, in its legislation for the Territories, to look to their welfare alone, but is bound to regard the good of the parties interested in the ownership of the Territories. This, it will be perceived, is in direct opposition to the opinions advanced by the successor of Mr. Adams, (Mr. Mann,) in a distinguished gentleman from Massachusetts, his beautiful introductory speech in this hall
a speech which, I confess, I listened to with admiration, though I strongly dissented from some of its sentiments. The gentleman insists that Congress, in legislating for the Territories, must look to their good alone, and shape all measures so as to advance their prosperity without any regard to the rights of the people of the several States. This doctrine, though it has a certain charm about, is wholly erro"In regard to the authority of Congress neous. Let us apply this reasoning to the over the Territories of the United States I de- Territory of Oregon, which, stretching along sire to give my views. The question, at all the Pacific coast, fronts certain parts of times an interesting one, has now assumed Northeastern Asia. Would Congress have a great practical importance. The first proposi- right to say that this Territory should be occution which I shall state is, that Congress pos-pied only by colonists from China because a sesses exclusive power to legislate for the Territories of the United States. Of this I do not entertain a doubt; and, while I have heard various opinions expressed here in regard to this subject, I am at a loss to see how any one who examines it can reach any other conclusion. That the whole power over the Territories originally rests in Congress is perfectly clear, and it remains for those who assert that the right to legislate in respect to them belongs to the people who inhabit them to show at what time the power is transferred from Congress to the inhabitants. But, sir, this question has been so often examined here that I will not consume my limited time in considering it.
"My second proposition is, that while Congress possesses the exclusive power of legis
prosperous trade might be attained with the East, and the prosperity of Oregon rapidly advanced if that course were taken? Unquestionably not. Or, suppose that Congress should happen to conclude that it was important to the welfare of that Territory to allow only a manufacturing population to remove there, would it be proper to legislate for this object? Unquestionably not.
The gentleman from Massachusetts considers territory which we acquire as the property of this Government, and insists that Congress possesses the right to control it absolutely. This is a very common error. It results from a certain system of political training. If our Government were a monarchy, and all powers, or the sovereign power, centered in the crown, the argument might hold good; or it might be
maintained if the States which we represent were consolidated into one great empire. But, sir, ours is a federative republic; it bears no resemblance to an empire whatever; it is a structure unlike what the world ever saw, deriving its powers from sovereign States, who are members of this confederation; and this Government, this General Government, can exercise none but the powers which are clearly granted to it by the States. Whatever territory is acquired, is acquired for the people of the several States, and Congress must remember to exercise its legislative functions in regard to it as their agent."
There are other fully reported speeches of Mr. Hilliard's which we feel strongly disposed to examine and quote from, but our want of room will not allow it. He has participated in the debates which have arisen in Congress upon all the great questions affecting the country since he became a member, and his efforts have exhibited a thorough acquaintance with the subjects which they touch, while they are characterized by the spirit of the enlightened and christian age in which we live. In the speech from which we have just quoted, he
"California and New Mexico are ours, and costly acquisitions we must admit them to be; Yucatan has barely escaped our grasp; and what other neighboring provinces are next to be overrun, and conquered, and annexed, no man tell. Our true policy is peace. We are set apart by a dividing ocean from the Old World; we have nothing to do with its complicated system; we have no balance of power to preserve; no intervention to make in the affairs of other nations. We should desire friendly relations with every people, entangling alliances with none. When the rights or the honor of the country demand it we will go to war, as we have done twice with great Britain; but war is too great a calamity and too much opposed to the principles of Christian civilization for any insufficient cause. With the blessing of God we shall advance rapidly enough in a career of peace. Our political system is at once great and economical; it should be kept so; we need never go to war to extend our territory or to increase our wealth and power. Patrick Henry said, in the true American spirit, "Those nations which have gone forth in search of grandeur, power, and splendor, have also fallen a sacrifice and been victims to their own folly.
"I was struck last summer with an article which met my eye in one of the best reviews of our day, a French review, "La Revue des Deux Mondes," in which the writer says:
"The spectacle which North America offers us to-day is nothing less than the whole of the new continent learning to recognize its masters in the Anglo-Americans, in education; and the simple and beautiful constitution of 1789, after half a century only of existence, extending an influence under which all must come, sooner or later.'
"This great triumph, if we are true to our principles, will be accomplished without arms."
His speech in support of the appropriation for sending a minister to Rome is so deeply imbued with the spirit to which we have referred, that we cannot forbear from giving a short passage from it. He said—
"I regret that the opportunity was not afforded me of replying to the speech of my honorable friend from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Levin,) before the committee proceeded to vote on the appropriation, which provides the means of opening diplomatic intercourse with the Papal States. The speech was remarkable for the beauty of its language and the elevated tone of many of its sentiments, but it lacked one great quality-liberality. There was about it nothing of toleration; it disclosed none of the spirit of the beautiful sentiment of St. Augustine, 'Let there be charity in all things.'
"I cannot, of course, within the few minutes allowed me, attempt to reply to the speech of the honorable gentleman, but I shall seek an early occasion to do so, when I hope to be able to show that there is much in the present condition of Italy to awaken the hopes of all men who watch with interest the progress of reform throughout the world. In the meanwhile, let us not, in our impatience, forget that there is a mighty difference between reform and revolution. A reformation is brought truth; while a revolution, like the earthquake, about by the steady and gradual march of too often upheaves to overthrow and crush. That a reform has begun in Italy no man can doubt who will take the trouble to compare the present political state of that country with that which it exhibited previous to the accession of the present Pontiff. The spirit of reform is waked up in that beautiful and classic land. It can never be put down. While a representative of the freest Government on earth may be employed in observing the progress of liberal principles in that interesting and important part of Europe, and may serve to diffuse a better knowledge of our political system, I cannot discern that we can suffer any injury from such intercourse.
"In my judgment, neither Christianity nor free principles have anything to fear from a
conflict with opposing powers. I would send a minister to the Papal States, as I would to any other Power. I would encourage every reform in the Government. I would cheer the friends of freedom, in all Europe, by sending a minister from the United States of America, where the noblest toleration is granted to all opinions, to reside at a Court where hitherto the policy has been to crush all freedom of thought and action. It would be a spectacle of high moral interest, to such a representative from Republican America, taking his post amidst the ruined temples and arches of a country where in other days Republican Rome exhibited to the world its colossal proportions. * * * My honorable friend and myself do not differ in our horror of an intolerant and dangerous system; but we do differ in our views of the true policy to be pursued towards the Papal power. We both desire to
sustain the Bible, and to vindicate Protestant Christianity. I need not say that I am no partizan of the Pope; on the contrary there breathes not a man whose sympathy with the Protestant cause beats stronger or quicker than my own. I can never forget its battles nor its victories, its persecutions nor its triumphs. But, sir, I solemnly believe that toleration is the wisest as well as noblest policy. * Our true policy is to extend our peaceful relations with the world. We have nothing to fear from an intercourse of that kind with other Powers. Truth is clad in more than triple steel; and I would bid her to spread her standard in the very midst of the world, and take her station in front of the Vatican. By keeping the Papal See isolated, you strengthen it. It carries on its agencies in secret. Bring it upon the open field; do not shun it; bring it into open intercourse with a free Protestant nation, and civil and religious liberty will achieve new triumphs."
While, however, Mr. Hilliard has shown a disposition to recognize and encourage the first efforts made by every people to establish free institutions, his remarks upon the resolutions offered in the House upon the reception of the news of the overthrow of the government of Louis Philippe, show, at the same time, that he does not mistake every popular outbreak for a national struggle for liberty. He moved to refer the resolutions to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, saying, "He simply desired to secure a proper expression of the sympathy which we felt in that movement. The occasion," said he, "is one of no common moment-it must deeply affect the cause of mankind throughout the world. I am not ready to extend the
sympathy of this Government to any people who overturn a throne to plunge into the wild, unrestrained and reckless experiment of ideal liberty. Every kingless government is not of necessity a republican government. Liberty cannot exist without law; its elements must be consolidated, and its great principles be embodied in a Constitution. The great movement in France must develope institutions before it accomplishes any permanent good for the French people. I confess I am not free from apprehension with regard to the future. The convulsion which exhibits a form so attractive to-day, may yet upturn the foundations of society, and result in the wildest anarchy. On the other hand, there is in the great popular movement, which has so suddenly and so successfully expelled royalty from France, much of promise for that beautiful country and for mankind. I solemnly believe that the time has come when king-craft has lost its hold upon the human mind: the world is waking from its deep slumber, and mankind begin to see that the right to govern belongs not to crowned kings, but to the great masses.
"I think, sir, that we ought to sustain our Minister, Mr. Rush, who so promptly, without the opportunity of consulting his Government, hailed the popular movement which expelled a powerful dynasty and proclaimed a Republic. It was a generous impulse which prompted the act, and the country will applaud it. There are, certainly, some features in the scene that France presents, not wholly agreeable to a thoughtful observer, and which awakens the apprehension that the Provisional Government just established, has promised more than it can redeem. The fraternite which has been adopted may not be consistent with regulated liberty; it may be the dream of idealists and not the conception of a philosophical statesman. The measure, too, which has been adopted in regard to the labor and wages of operatives, doubling their compensation and undertaking to employ them on the part of the Government, is a very unsafe one. Every one accustomed to the order of a well regulated liberty must see the danger of such legislation. It partakes too much of a system of social reform-it is too impracticable to be easily realized. Still, these
may be but temporary arrangements, designed to give the new government time to adjust the complicated details of the great task which has been undertaken. These are circumstances that may awaken apprehension, but they cannot repress sympathy. No, sir, they cannot prevent the expression of our deep and full sympathy with a people struggling to make a free government like our own. I, for one, cannot look on such a spectacle unmoved. It may be premature-it may even be rash, but I should feel myself unworthy of a seat in an American Congress if I could refuse to cheer a people engaged in such a work. May they go on and prosper, and may they erect upon the soil of France a government resting upon the great principles of constitutional law, ensuring order at home, commanding respect abroad, and throwing over Europe the clear and steady light of rational liberty."
Mr. Hilliard possesses an acquaintance with Foreign Affairs that has made him a distinguished and useful member of the Committee to which they are referred for consideration in the House. His report on the subject of our Foreign Missions, made at the first session of the last Congress, is an elaborate review of the whole diplomatic system, full of information, and suggesting certain modifications in our intercourse with other nations, which seemed to him to be required by the dignity of the country and its growing power and resources. This course of study and his residence in Europe, both qualify him for usefulness in that department of public affairs.
His recent election is the most brilliant triumph of his life. One of the first to discover in Gen. Taylor those great qualities that fit him for places of high trust in the service of his country, he was conspicuous in giving impulse to the movement which resulted in his triumphant election. In the Philadelphia Convention he did his utmost to secure his nomination, and on the adjournment of Congress he threw his energies into the contest in Alabama, and contributed his efforts towards bringing that state so nearly to the support of the whig candidates. After Gen. Taylor's election, Mr. Hilliard, having unbounded confidence in his character and principles, was willing to confide to his administration
VOL. IV. NO. VI. NEW SERIES.
the settlement of all open questions, including that of providing governments for the new territories. Hence he refused to participate in any mode of action that seemed to imply distrust; and he declined to put his name to the address prepared by Mr. Calhoun, and issued by a portion of the southern members to their constituents. Faithful as a southern representative-steadfastly opposed, as he had shown himself to be, to any encroachment on the rights of the section from which he comes, he did not, it seems, think it his duty to co-operate in that movement. He had, besides, expressed it as his firm purpose to exert whatever power he possessed for effecting a settlement of the important question which so deeply interested the country and threatened its tranquillity, so as to secure the rights of the South without impairing the strength of the Union. This course subjected him to the fiercest assaults on his return to Alabama, and a canvass ensued which is described as far the most excited ever witnessed in that state or, perhaps, in the Union. The most formidable opposition was organized against him-an opposition to which talent, energy, and money were freely contributed as elements, and unparalleled efforts were made to ensure his defeat. press and the stump teemed with the most violent denunciations against him his speeches and votes were misquoted and misinterpreted to make him odious to the people. His refusal to sign the address sent out by some of the Southern members, was represented to be conclusive proof that he was faltering in the vindication of Southern rights; while certain appeals which he had made in Congress in behalf of the Union-appeals which were intended to rouse the patriotism of the representatives from every part of the country-were tortured into open renunciations of the section which had given him birth, and which had advanced him to honors. The contest, relentless, implacable and heated, drew the attention of the whole state, and was observed with interest in other parts of the Union. Eloquent and influential gentlemen of both parties entered the lists, and extraordinary exertions were made on either side. Mr. Hilliard is described as having borne himself throughout the protracded and trying