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An Avowed Christian.
His Reverential Spirit
nected with bis obsequies at Washington was the placing on his coffin of a wreath of flowers, sent from Boston by the sister of a young man whom he had pardoned when sentenced to death for some military offence.
Honored as a private citizen, happy in his domestic relations, successful as a statesman, he was, moreover, an avowed Christian. He often said that his reliance in the gloomiest hours was on bis God, to whom he appealed in prayer, although he had never become a professor of religion. To a clergyman who asked him if he loved his Saviour, be replied :
“When I was first inaugurated I did not love him; when God took my son I was greatly impressed, but still I did not love bim; but wben I stood upon the battle-field of Gettysburg I gave my heart to Christ, and I can now say I do love the Saviour."
Attention has already been called to the reverential spirit which pervades bis official papers; and this was the index of the man. Leaving home, he invoked the prayers of his townsmen and friends; during the excitements of bis Washington life, he leaned upon a more than human arm; against his pure moral character not even his bitterest enemy could truthfully utter a word.
Such-imperfectly sketched, and at best but in rude outline—was Abraham Lincoln. The manner of his death invests his name with a tragic interest. This will be but temporary. But the more the man as he was is known, the more completely an insight is obtained into his true character, the more his private and public life is studied, the more carefully his acts are weighed, the higher will be rise in the estimation of all whose esteem is desirable.
Coming years will detract nought from him. He has passed into history. There no lover of honesty and integrity, no admirer of firmness and resolution, no sympathizer with conscientious conviction, no friend of man need fear to leave
A BRAHAM LINCOLN.
Speech in Congress.
The Mexican War.
MR. LINCOLN'S SPEECHES IN CONGRESS AND ELSEWHERE, PROCLAMATIONS, LETTERS, ETC., NOT INCLUDED IN THE BODY OF THE WORK.
SPEECH ON THE MEXICAN WAR.
(In Committee of the Whole House, January 12, 1848.)
Mr. Lincoln addressed the Committee as follows:
“MR. CHAIRMAN :—Some, if not all, of the gentlemen on the other side of the House, who have addressed the Committee within the last two days, have spoken rather complainingly, if I have rightly understood them, of the vote given a week or ten days ago, declaring that the war with Mexico was unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President. I admit that such a vote should not be given in mere party wantonness, and that the one given is justly censurable, if it have no other or better foundation. I am one of those who joined in that vote; and did so under my best impression of the truth of the case. How I got this impression, and how it may possibly be removed, I will now try to show. When the war began, it was my opinion tha all those who, because of knowing too little, or because of knowing too much, could not conscientiously approve the conduct of the President in the beginning of it), should, nevertheless, as good citizens and patriots, remain silent on that point, at least till the war should be ended. Some leading Democrats, including ex-President Van Buren, have taken this same view, as I understand them; and I adhered to it,
Speech in Congress, Jan. 12, 1848.
On the Mexican War.
and acted upon it, until since I took my seat here; and I think I should still adhere to it, were it not that the Presi. dent and his friends will not allow it to be so. Besides, the continual effort of the President to argue every silent vote given for supplies into an indorsement of the justice and wisdom of his conduct; besides that singularly candid paragraph in his late message, in which he tells us that Congress, with great unanimity (only two in the Senate and fourteen in the House dissenting) had declared that ‘by the act of the Republic of Mexico a state of war exists between that Government and the United States ;' when the same journals that informed him of this, also informed him that, when that declaration stood disconnected from the question of supplies, sixty-seven in the House, and not fourteen, merely, voted against it; besides this open attempt to prove by telling the truth, what he could not prove by telling the whole truth, demanding of all who will not submit to be misrepresented, in justice to themselves, to speak out; besides all this, one of my colleagues (Mr. Richardson), at a very early day in the session, brought in a set of resolutions, expressly indorsing the original justice of the war on the part of the President. Upon these resolutions, when they shall be put on their passage, I shall be compelled to vote; so that I can not be silent if I would. Seeing this, I went about preparing myself to give the vote understandingly, when it should come. I carefully examined the President's messages, to ascertain what he himself had said and proved upon the point. The result of this examination was to make the impression, that, taking for true all the President states as facts, be falls far short of proving his justification; and that the President would have gone further with bis proof, if it had not been for the small matter that the truth would not permit bim. Under the impression thus made I gave the vote before mentioned. I propose now to give, concisely, the process of the examination I made, and how I reached the conclusion I did.
speech in Congress, Jan. 12, 1848.
On the Mexican War,
"The President, in his first message of May, 1846, declares that the soil was ours on which hostilities were commenced by Mexico; and he repeats that declaration, almost in the same language, in each successive annual message_thus showing that be esteems that point a bigbly essential one. In the importance of that point I entirely agree with the President. To my judgment, it is the very point upon which he should be justified or condemned. In his message of December, 1846, it seems to have occurred to him, as is certainly true, that title, ownership to soil, or any thing else, is not a simple fact, but is a conclusion following one or more simple facts; and that it was incumbent upon him to present the facts from which he concluded the soil was ours on which the first blood of the war was shed.
“Accordingly, a little below the middle of page twelve, in the message last referred to, he enters upon that task ; forming an issue and introducing testimony, extending the wbole to a little below the middle of page fourteen. Now, I propose to try to show that the whole of this-issue and evidence -is, from beginning to end, the sheerest deception. The issue, as he presents it, is in these words : ‘But there are those who, conceding all this to be true, assume the ground that the true western boundary of Texas is the Nueces, instead of the Rio Grande ; and that, therefore, in marching our army to the east bank of the latter river, we passed the Texan line, and invaded the territory of Mexico.' Now, this issue is made up of two affirmatives and no negative. The main deception of it is, that it assumes as true that one river or the other is necessarily the boundary, and cheats the superficial thinker entirely out of the idea that possibly the boundary is somewhere between the two, and not actually at either. A further deception is, that it will let in evidence which a true issue would exclude. A true issue made by the President would be about as follows: 'I say the soil was oure
Speech in Congress, Jan. 12, 1848.
On thu Mexican War.
on which the first blood was shed; there are those who say it was not.'
“I now proceed to examine the President's evidence, as applicable to such an issue. When that evidence is analyzed it is all included in the following propositions :
“1. That the Rio Grande was the western boundary of Louisiana, as we purchased it of France in 1803.
“2. That the Republic of Texas always claimed the Rio Grande as her western boundary.
“ 3. That, by various acts, she had claimed it on paper.
“4. That Santa Anna, in his treaty with Texas, recognized the Rio Grande as her boundary.
“5. That Texas before, and the United States after annexation, had exercised jurisdiction beyond the Nueces, between the two rivers.
“6. That our Congress understood the boundary of Texas to extend beyond the Nueces.
“Now for each of these in its turn :
“His first item is, that the Rio Grande was the western boundary of Louisiana, as we purchased it of France in 1803; and, seeming to expect this to be disputed, he argues over the amount of nearly a page to prove it true; at the end of which he lets us know that, by the treaty of 1819, we sold to Spain the whole country, from the Rio Grande eastward to the Sabine. Now, admitting for the present, that the Rio Grande was the boundary of Louisiana, what, under heaven, had that to do with the present boundary between us and Mexico ? How, Mr. Chairman, the line that once divided your land from mine can still be the boundary between us after I have sold my land to you, is, to me, beyond all comprehension. And how any man, with an honest purpose only of proving the truth, could ever have thought of inuroducing such a fact to prove such an issue, is equally incomprehensible. The outrage upon common right, of seizing as our own what we have once sold, merely because it was ours before we sold it,