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point, its influence, in those quarters, was at an end. Without their support, the re-election of the present chief magistrate was hopeless. Now, sir, when continuance of power is put into the scale, as, in this instance, it was unquestionably, it is not for human nature to deny that it had not a material influence in determining the balance. For myself, I have never had but one opinion on this matter, I have never doubted that we should not have had war declared at the last session, if the presidential election had not been depending.
Just so with respect to the invasion of Canada. It was, in my judgment, a test, required by the state of opinion in the southern and western states, of the sincerity of the cabinet'; and of its heartiness in the prosecution of this war. This accounts for the strange and headlong haste, and the want of sufficient preparation, with which the invasion was expedited. This accounts for the neglect to meet the proposition for an armistice, when made by the governor of Canada after a knowledge of the revocation of the orders in council. This accounts for the obtrusive attempts to gain a footing in Canada, and the obstinate perseverance in the show of invasion, until the members of the electoral colleges had been definitively selected. Since which event, our armies have been quiet enough. When I see a direct dependence between the perpetuation of power in any hand, and the adoption of, and the perseverance in any particular course of measures, I cannot refrain from believing that such a course has been suggested and regulated by so obvious and weighty an interest. This subject is capable of much greater elucidation. But, according to your suggestion, sir, I shall confine myself to trace the connexion of this master passion of the cabinet with the bill, now under consideration.
The projects of the cabinet, for the present year, are loans to the amount, at least, of twenty millions ; an army of fifty-five thousand men; a grand scheme
of pacification, founded on some legislative acts, or resolves; and a perpetuation of the war. The loans are expected to be filled, partly from the popularity, derived, in the commercial cities, by the vote for building seventy-fours; partly by opening offices for receiving subscriptions in the interior. Whatever is received will be diverted to the army service. The grand scheme of pacification will be made to appear very fair in terms, but, in the state of irritation, which has been produced in Great Britain by the continuance of the war after the repeal of the orders in council, and by the pertinacious perseverance in the threats and preparation to invade Canada, will, it is expected, be rejected by her. This, it is supposed, will give popularity to the war in this country. The forty dollars bounty, will, it is hoped, fill the ranks. The army, for the conquest of Canada, will be raised. To be commanded by whom? This is the critical question. The answer is in every man's mouth. By a member of the American cabinet; by one of the three; by one of that “trio,” who at this moment, constitute in fact, and who efficiently have always constituted the whole cabinet. And the man, who is thus intended for the command of the greatest army, this new world ever contained ; an army, nearly twice as great, as was, at any time, the regular army of our revolution; I say the man, who is intended for this great trust, is the individual, who is, notoriously, the selected candidate for the next presidency!
Mr. Speaker, when I assert that the present secretary of state, who is now the acting secretary of war, is destined by a cabinet, of which he himself constitutes one third, for the command of this army, I know that I assert intentions to exist, which have not yet developed themselves by an official avowal. The truth is, the moment for an official avowal has not yet come. The cabinet must work along, by degrees, and only show their cards, as they play thern. The army must first be authorized. The bill for the new major-genc
rals must be passed. Then, upon their plan, it will be found necessary to constitute a lieutenant-general. • And who so proper,” the cabinet will exclaim, “ as one of ourselves?" And who so proper as one of the cabinet ?" all its retainers will respond, from one end of the continent to the other. I would, willingly, have postponed any animadversion upon this intention of the cabinet, until it should have been avowed. But, then, it would have been too late. Then, the fifty-five thousand men would have been authorized, and the necessity for a lieutenant-general inevitable. Sir, I know very well, that this public animadversion may possibly, stagger the cabinet in its purpose. They may not like to proceed in the design, after the public eye has been directed distinctly upon it. And the existence of it will be denied, and its partizans will assert that this suggestion was mere surmise. Be it so. It is, comparatively, of little importance, what happens to my person or character, provided this great evil can be averted from my country. I consider the raising such an army as this, and the putting it under the command of that individual, taking into view his connexion with the present cabinet, so ominous to the liberties of this country, that I am not anxious what happens to me, if by any constitutional responsibility, I can prevent it.
[Here Mr. Quincy proceeded to state the evidence, which had induced him to form the opinions relative to the intentions of the cabinet, which he had just advanced. He then continued.]
Mr. Speaker, what an astonishing and alarming state of things is this! Three men, who efficiently have had the command of this nation for many years, have so managed its concerns, as to reduce it from an unexampled height of prosperity to a state of great depression; not to say ruin. They have annihilated its commerce, and involved it in war. And now the result of the whole matter is, that they are about to raise an army of fifty-five thousand men, invest one of their own body with this most solemn command, and he, the man, who is the destined candidate for the president's chair! What a grasp at power is this ! What is there in history equal to it! Can any man doubt what will be the result of this project? No man can believe that the conquest of Canada will be effected in one campaign. It cost the British six years to acquire it, when it was far weaker than at present. It cannot be hoped that we can acquire it under three or four years. And what, then, will be the situation of this army and our country? Why then the army will be veteran; and the leader, a candidate for the presideney! And, whoever is a candidate for the presidency with an army of thirty thousand veterans at his heels, will not be likely to be troubled with rivals, or to concern himself about votes. A President, elected under such auspices, may be nominally a President for years; but really, if he pleases, a President for life.
I know that all this will seem wild and fantastical to very many, perhaps to all who hear me. To my mind, it is neither the one nor the other. History is full of events, less probable, and effected by armies far inferior to that, which is proposed to be raised. So far from deeming it mere fancy, I consider it absolutely certain; if this army be once raised, organized, and enter upon a successful career of conquest. The result of such a power as this, entrusted to a single individual, in the present state of parties and passions in this country, no man can anticipate. There is no other means of absolute safety, but denying it altogether.
I cannot forget, Mr. Speaker, that the sphere, in which this great army is destined to operate, is in the neighborhood of that section of country, where it is probable, in case the present destructive measures be continued in operation, the most unanimous opposition will exist to a perpetuation of power in the present hand; or to its transfer to its destined successor. I cannot forget, that it has been distinctly avowed, by
a member on this floor, a gentleman from Virginia too, (Mr. M. Clay,) and one very likely to know the views of the cabinet, that “one object of this army was to put down opposition.”
Sir, the greatness of this project and its consequences, overwhelm my mind. I know very well, to what obloquy I expose myself by this developement. I know that it is, always, an unpardonable sin, to pull the veil from the party deities of the day; and that it is of a nature not to be forgiven, either by them or their worshippers. I have not, willingly, nor without long reflection, taken upon myself this responsibility. But it has been forced upon me by an imperious sense of duty. If the people of the northern and eastern states are destined to be hewers of wood and drawers of water to men who know nothing about their interests, and care nothing about them, I am clear of the great transgression. If, in common with their countrymen, my children are destined to be slaves, and to yoke in with negroes, chained to the car of a southern master, they, at least, shall have this sweet consciousness as the consolation of their condition; they shall be able to say, “our father was guiltless of these chains.”