The Great Speeches and Orations of Daniel Webster: With an Essay on Daniel Webster as a Master of English Style

By Edwin P. Whipple; Daniel Webster | Go to book overview

OBJECTS OF THE MEXICAN WAR.

A SPEECH DELIVERED IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, ON THE
23D OF MARCH, 1848, ON THE BILL FROM THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA
TIVES FOR RAISING A LOAN OF SIXTEEN MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

[ON the 2d of February, 1848, the treaty called a "treaty of peace, friendship, limits, and settlement, between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic," was signed at Guadalupe Hidalgo. This treaty, with the advice and consent of the Senate, was ratified by the President of the United States on the 16th of March. In the mean time, a bill, introduced into the House of Representatives on the 18th of February, to authorize a loan of sixteen millions of dollars for the purpose of carrying on the war, passed through that house, and was considered m the Senate. Other war measures were considered and adopted by the two houses, after the signature and ratification of the treaty. On the 23d of March, the Sixteen Million Loan Bill being under consideration, Mr. Webster spoke as follows.]

MR. PRESIDENT,--On Friday a bill passed the Senate for raising ten 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, comrelied 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

-551-

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