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earth. Nine armies at once entered Hungary on various sides, charged to complete its subjugation by concentrating on the banks of the Theiss. Not one of them reached that beautiful river. All were assaulted, routed and repulsed ; and on the nineteenth day of April, 1819, only one year after the nation had become free by the act of her prince, the Diet deposed and banished the House of Hapsburg, pronounced the connection between Hungary and Austria at an end, and declared Hungary an independent state, and committed its government under due responsibilities to its deliverer, Louis Kossuth, as Governor and President. Three days afterward the last of the invading armies withdrew, and thus the war ceased, and Hungary was then in fact and by success of arms, as well as in law and by the voice of justice, independent and free. Nine months later, that independence was overthrown by two hundred thousand Russian troops, with one hundred and forty thousand Austrian auxiliaries, at the command of the czar, on no better pretext than this : that the successful example of Hungary was dangerous to order and religion in Europe. But this was nothing less (in the words of Grotius) than
a deprivation” of Hungary of “what belonged to her," by Russia, “for her own advantage;" and such acts have been universally condemned as criminal by all writers on the Law of Nations from the dawn of that science until its present noon. When, in this fresh and accumulated invasion and intervention, the national armies, not without extraordinary and cheering successes, were at last hemmed in and around the national fortresses, and there remained only a hope that terms of capitulation might be obtained, Gorgey, the victorious and popular military chief, became contumacious toward the civil authorities. He was deposed, but was restored as an indispensable alternative; and then, holding in his own hands the only available means of effective resistance, he exacted an absolute dictatorship as a condition of using them. Invested with supreme power, he used it to complete a surrender of the country in pursuance of previous concert with the enemy, without conditions, except in one instance, and without striking a blow. The civil leader, with a small but heroic band, escaped into Turkey; and now, after undergoing long surveillance there, restored to freedom and activity, he is amongst us, with a soul unsubdued by treachery, misfortune, poverty, reproach, and exile, preparing a new revolution for his fatherland, which, as soon as it was surrendered to the czar, was by him delivered over to the emperor, and at once submerged in the Austrian Empire.
Sir, on the grounds of these principles and these facts, I submit to the Senate and to the people of the United States that certain propositions implied in the protest offered by the honorable Senator from Michigan, [Mr. Cass,] and fully and distinctly expressed in that presented by myself, are established, namely:
1. That the people of Hungary, in the exercise of rights secured to them by the Law of Nations, in a solemn and legitimate manner asserted their national independence, and established a government by their own voluntary act, and successfully maintained it against all parties lawfully interested in the question.
2. That the Emperor of Russia, without just or lawful right, invaded Hungary, and by fraud and armed force subverted the national independence and political constitution thus established, and thereby reduced that country to the condition of a province ruled by a foreign and absolute power.
3. That although the United States, from the necessities of political society, recognize the existing rule in Hungary, yet they are not indifferent to the usurpation and conquest by which it was established.
4. That they may lawfully protest against that conquest and usurpation, and against any new armed intervention by Russia to uphold it against the will of the people of Hungary, if it shall be expressed.
Sir, this being the whole of our case, and it being thus established, I ask why shall we not proclaim that just and lawful protest?
An honorable Senator Mr. MILLER) answers that we shall not speak because “the matter is foreign.” But how is it foreign ? Does it not arise in the family of nations, and are we not a member of that family, and interested in its welfare, and therefore in the laws by which that welfare is secured? There was a senate two thousand years ago, in which that objection provoked a rebuke from one who never indulged a thought of the republic that was not divine. “Hæc lex socialis est,” said Cicero, “ hoc jus nationum exterarum est: Hanc habent arcem, minus aliquanto nunc quidem munitam quam antea ; verumtamen, si qua reliqua spes est, quor sociorum animos consolari possit, ea tota in hac lege posita est; cujus legis non modo a Populo Romano, sed etiam ab ultimis nationibus jampridem severi custodes requiruntur.”
Another Senator [Mr. CLEMENS) tells us that interest is the first law of nations, and that an enlightened sense of interest offers no argument for such a course. Sir, granting the extraordinary rule thus assumed, the value of the objection depends on what consti
tutes an interest. While it is true that this proceeding will not be directly compensated by either treasure or territory, it is equally clear that we need neither, and that the promise of both would constitute no adequate motive. The commerce of Hungary is, however, an interest to be secured by us; and inconsiderable as it must be under a despotism, it would expand under a republic. But as it is written for individual guidance, “Man shall not live by bread alone,” so is it true of nations, that riches and aggrandizement are only means and not objects of government, and that states live and flourish not on merely physical elements, but just in the proportion that law, order, peace, justice, and liberty, are maintained in the commonwealth of nations. What expenses do we not incur, what armaments do we not sustain, to protect our national rights against apprehended injustice! How much more must we not expend, what greater armaments must we not provide, if we by silence or pusillanimity encourage attacks on the common welfare of nations? It was such an objection that the honorable and distinguished Senator from Kentucky [Mr. ClAy] reproved on an occasion like this in the House of Representatives, twenty years ago, when he said: “I see, and I own it with infinite regret, a tone and a feeling in the councils of the country in finitely below that which belongs to the country.” Sir, it is enough for us if there be a duty, for the great Lawgiver has never subjected either individuals or societies to an obligation, without attaching to the law a penalty for its neglect, and a reward for its fulfilment.
It has already appeared that there is a duty resting upon us, unless, indeed, the act proposed would involve an injury to some real interest of our own. The question, then, is not, what shall we gain, but what shall we lose, by the protest? In reply to this inquiry, the Senate Chamber and the country resound with alarms of war, and we are frightened with estimates of the boundless cost of the controversy, and with pictures of its calamities, fearful indeed if we are to be overborne, and still more terrible if we shall come off conquerors. Sir, I need no warnings of that kind. War is so incongruous with the dictates of reason, so ferocious, so hazardous, and so demoralizing, that I will always counsel a trial of every other lawful and honorable remedy for injustice, before a resort to that extreme measure of redress; and, indeed, I shall never counsel it except on the ground of necessary defence.
But if war is to follow this protest, then it must come in some way, and by the act of either ourselves or our enemy. But the protest is not a declaration, nor a menace, nor even a pledge of war in any contingency. War, then, will not come in that way, nor by or in consequence of our act. If war is nevertheless to come, it must come in retaliation of the protest, and by the act of Russia, or of Austria, or of both. Assume now that it shall so come, will it be just? The protest is a remonstrance addressed to the conscience of Russia, and, passing beyond her, carries an appeal to the reason and justice of mankind. As by the Municipal Law no remonstrance or complaint justifies a blow, so by the Law of Nations no remonstrance or complaint justifies a war. The war then would be unjust, and so the protest would be not a cause, but a pretext. But a nation that will declare war on a pretext, will either fabricate one or declare war without any. Let no one say that I misstate the character of this measure. It is neither untried nor new. Austria protested against the mission of Dudley Mann, and President Taylor's avowal of it. Did we go to war? Did anybody think that we ought or could go to war for that? No! we made a counter protest by the celebrated letter of the Secretary of State, [Mr. WEBSTER.) Did Austria maintain her protest by a declaration of war? No; we are at peace with Austria yet, and I hope we shall be so forever. And now, honorable senators, I ask, if we are to shrink from this duty through fear of unjust retaliation, what duty shall we not shrink from under the same motive? And what will be the principle of our policy, when thus shrinking from obligations, but fear instead of duty ?
And who are we, and who are Austria and Russia, that we should fear them when on the defence against an unjust war? I admit, and I hope all my countrymen will learn it without a trial, that we are not constituted for maintaining long, distant wars of conquest or of aggression. But in a defensive war levied against us on such a pretext, the reason and the sympathies of mankind would be on our side, co-operating with our own instincts of patriotism and self-preservation. Our enemies would be powerless to harm us, and we should be unconquerable.
Why, then, I ask, shall we refrain from the protest? The answer comes up on all sides. “Since, then, the measure is pacific, Russia will disregard it, and so it will be useless." Well, what if it should ? It will at least be harmless. But Russia will not disregard it. It is true that we once interpleaded between the belligerents of Europe twenty-five years by protests and remonstrances in defence of our neutral rights, and vindicated them at last by resistance against one party, and open, direct war against the other. But all that is changed now. Our flag was then a stranger on the seas, our principles were then unknown. Now, both are regarded with respect and affection by the people of Europe. And that people, too, are changed. They are no longer debased and hopeless of freedom, but, on the contrary, are waiting impatiently for it, and ready to second our expressions of interest in their cause. The British nation is not insensible to our emulation. If we only speak out, do you think that they will be silent? No, sir. And when the United States and Great Britain should once speak, the ever-fraternizing bayonets of the army of France, if there should be need, would open a passage for the voice of that impulsive and generous nation. Who believes that Russia, despotic as she is, would brave the remonstrances of these three great powers, sustained as they would be by the voice of Christendom? Sir, I do not know that this protest will do Hungary or European Democracy any good. It is enough for me that, like our first of orators [Mr. WEBSTER] in a similar case, I can say, "I hope it may."
I But it is replied that, if our protest shall be disregarded, we must resort to war to maintain it, and that Louis Kossuth has confessed so much. I shall not stay long on the quibble of the lawyers who claim to have circumvented the guest at the feast to which they had bidden him. It was so that some of old sought to entangle in constructions of their national traditions the Great Teacher, who came, not to dispute with doctors, but to call all men to repentance. This proceeding is mine, not that of the Hungarian neophyte in American politics. It is to be settled upon arguments here, not on concessions elsewhere. And now, sir, why must we go to war to sustain our protest ? You may say, because we should be dishonored by abandoning an interest :50 solemnly asserted. Sir, those who oppose the protest are willing to forsake the cause of Hungary now. Will it be more dishonorable to relinquish it after an earnest effort, than to abandon it without any effort at all in its behalf ? Sir, if it be mere honor that is then to prick us on, let the timid give over their fears.