If not met promptly and decidedly, the two portions of the Union will gradually become thoroughly alienated, when no alternative will be left to us, as the weaker of the two, but to sever all political ties or sink down into abject submission.
Peace is, indeed, our policy. A kind Providence has cast our lot on a portion of the globe sufficiently vast to satisfy the most grasping ambition, and abounding in resources beyond all others, which only require to be fully developed to make us the greatest and most prosperous people on earth.
The surrender of life is nothing to sinking down into acknowledgment of inferiority.
Beware the wrath of a patient adversary.
The country is filled with energetic and enterprising men, rendered desperate by being reduced from affluence to poverty through the vicissitudes of the times. They will give an impulse to smuggling unknown to the country heretofore.
We ought not to forget that the government, through all its departments, judicial as well as others, is administered by delegated and responsible agents; and that the power which really controls, ultimately, all the movements, is not in the agents, but those who elect or appoint them.
There is but one nation on the globe from which we have anything serious to apprehend, but that is the most powerful that now exists or ever did exist. I refer to Great Britain.
By nature, every individual has the right to govern himself; and governments, whether founded on majorities or minorities, must derive their right from the assent, expressed or implied, of the governed,, and be subject to such limitations as they may impose.
Be assured that, as certain as Congress transcends its assigned limits and usurps powers never conferred, or stretches those conferred beyond the proper limits, so surely will the fruits of its usurpation pass into the hands of the Executive. In seeking to become master, it but makes a master in the person of the President.
I am aware how difficult is the task to preserve free institutions over so wide a space and so immense a population, but we are blessed with a Constitution admirably calculated to accomplish it. Its elastic power is unequaled, which is to be attributed to its federal character.
England has not wholly escaped the curse which must ever befall a free government which holds extensive provinces in subjection; for, although she has not lost her liberty or fallen into anarchy, yet we behold the population of England crushed to the earth by the superincumbent weight of debt and taxation, which may one day terminate in revolution.
It is admitted on all sides that we must equalize the revenue and expenditures. The scheme of borrowing to make up an increasing deficit must, in the end, if continued, prove ruinous.
What people can excel our Northern and New England brethren in skill, invention, activity, energy, perseverance, and enterprise?
So long as the Oregon question is left open, Mexico will calculate the chances of a rupture between us and Great Britain, in the event of which she would be prepared to make common cause against us. But when an end is put to any such hope, she will speedily settle her difference with us.
A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many and various and powerful interests, combined into one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in the banks.
It is a universal and fundamental political principle that the power to protect can safely be confided only to those interested in protecting, or their responsible agents - a maxim not less true in private than in public affairs.
I hold it to be the most monstrous proposition ever uttered within the Senate that conquering a country like Mexico, the President can constitute himself a despotic ruler without the slightest limitation on his power. If all this be true, war is indeed dangerous!
There is not an example on record of any free state holding a province of the same extent and population without disastrous consequences. The nations conquered and held as a province have, in time, retaliated by destroying the liberty of their conquerors through the corrupting effect of extended patronage and irresponsible power.
It is a remarkable fact in the political history of man that there is scarcely an instance of a free constitutional government which has been the work exclusively of foresight and wisdom. They have all been the result of a fortunate combination of circumstances.
None but a people advanced to a high state of moral and intellectual excellence are capable in a civilized condition of forming and maintaining free governments, and among those who are so far advanced, very few indeed have had the good fortune to form constitutions capable of endurance.