The papers are full of “War with Mexico.” The Slave republic of the United States, going to war with the anti-slavery republic of Mexico, and calling it a contest for liberty! Our government had better take care of what territory she already posses instead of fighting for more.
The following sarcastic recommendations were given by Dr. Benjamin Rush, an eminent physician and philanthropist. Considering them quite appropriate to the present day, we give them an insertion.
“In order to impress more deeply the minds of the citizens of the United States with the blessings of peace, by contrasting them with the evils of war, let the following inscription be painted on the sign which is placed over the door of the war office at Washington, namely:
An office for butchering the human species.
A widow-and-orphan making office.
A broken-bone-making office.
A wooden-leg-making office.
An office for creating public and private vices.
An office for creating public debt.
An office for creating famine.
An office for creating pestilential diseases.
An office for creating poverty, and for the destruction of liberty and national happiness.
In the lobby, let there be painted representations of the common instruments of death; also human skulls, broken bones, hospitals crowed with sick and wounded soldiers, villages on fire, ships sinking in the ocean, rivers dyed with blood, and extensive plains without a tree or fence, or any other object but ruins of deserted farm houses.
Above this group of woful figures let the following words be inserted in red characters, to represent human blood—National Glory!”
If Christian nations were nations of Christians, they would not make war
War – One of the most evil consequences of war is, that it tends to render the hearts of mankind callous to the feelings and sentiments of humanity. When we daily hear of the massacres of such numbers of individuals that memory cannot even recollect their names; when we contemplate the slaughters at Lyons, at Marseilles, at Bordeaux, at Toulen! the effect must be injurious to the morals of Europe.
The Glories of War - The poets step forward to celebrating what they denominate warlike virtues. Let us reply to the poets by the howling of the wolves, and the screams of the vultures, that gather the dreadful harvest of battles; or by the lamentations of widows and orphans, expiring with hunger on the tombs of their husbands and fathers. Writers have endeavored to to dazzle us with the glories of war: but unfortunate are the people who shine with the greatest splendour in the pages of history! Like the heroes of the drama, their celebrity is acquired at the expense of their happiness.
War. – I have been as enthusiastic and joyful as any one after a victory, but I confess that even the sight of a field of battle has not only struck me with horror, but even turned me sick, and now that I am advanced in life I cannot understand any more than I could at fifteen years how beings who call themselves reasonable, and who have so much foresight, can employ this short existence not in loving and aiding each other, and passing through ti as gently as possible, but on the contrary, in endeavoring to destroy each other, as if Time did not do this himself with sufficient rapidity, what I thought at fifteen years I still think, war which society draws upon itself is but an organized barbarism, and an inheritance of the savage state, however disguised or ornamented.
Getting killed in the Mexican war, would be almost as glorious as getting run over by a swill cart.
It is said of the Marquis of Townsend, that when a young man and engaged in battle, he saw a drummer at his side killed by a cannon ball, which scattered his brains in every direction. His eyes were at once fixed on the ghastly object, which seemed wholly to engross his thoughts. A superior officer observing him, supposed the was intimidated by the sight, and addressed him in a manger to cheer his spirits. “Oh!” said the young Marquis, with calmness but severity, “I am only puzzled to make out how any man with such a quantity of brains, ever came to be here!”
The Mexican War – Let those who make the war, do all the fighting, make themselves marks for all the bullets, and receive all the glory.
The War! – Our readers have all heard, before this time of the war of this country with Mexico; and probably they know, too, what has been done, thus far, by both parties, so we need not, like all the rest of the papers, religious as well as secular, fill up our columns with war news. The upshot of the whole matter will be, that the Mexicans will get most soundly whipped; the Americans lose many valuable lives; the Treasury be drained of its spare money; business deranged; and, finally, after much hard fighting, the difficulty between the two nations will be settled as it would be better to have had it settled in the first place – by negotiation. War is a bad concern, when one looks at the evils it occasions, but we don’t know how it is to be avoided so long as it is considered the honourable way for nations to settle disputes. The most curious part of war is, that both parties, before they begin to kill each other, most solemnly invoke the Lord to bless the work and lend a hand to help it on, just as if they relied upon him for victory, instead of depending upon their powder and balls.
Christianity and War - If some pestilence were now raging on our South Western border, moving down a hundred or two human beings per day, and threatening to overspread the land, what profession of players, and fastings, and deprecations of God’s wrathful justice, would be heard from all our ten thousand churches! If news had but arrived that the inhabitants of the valley of the Rio Grande, no matter on which bank residing, were pinning and dying for food what thrilling appears would be made to Christian benevolence through all our newspapers! what meetings would be held to raise supplies of corn and cattle for our suffering, dying fellow men!
Yes now, when we hear of hundreds after hundreds recklessly slaughtered there – dying in agony and scorching thirst, their life blood oozing gradually away into the burning sands, and their bodies tumbling hurriedly into holes like carrion, mobs assemble to shout and dance over the glorious’ tidings; and every ear is strained for more bulletins of butchery. We hear that the Mexican Army is starving, after being subsisted for days on barley corn and salt, in a region where fresh water is often a rarity, and we think not or care not that when an army begins to starve the People must have starved already, and our patriots hurrah ‘That’s right! Give it to ‘em! Block up the mouth of the Rio Grande! Let them have nothing to eat! Humble them! Chastise them! Cut them down!’ Such is War – such the devilish spirit which creates and is cherished by it. And what is our Christianity; what is the Church (in which term we include all organized societies of Christians) doing to arrest this complication of crimes and horrors?
—New York Tribune
How one feels in Battle – A soldier at Monterey writes to the Baltimore Sun:
“You may probably wish to know how a young soldier feels when he smells powder for the first time – I will tell you. At first I felt as though I should like to have been out of the party – I felt decidedly ‘mean,’ and looked from one end of the line to the other, to see if any one run. Yes, I felt like running, I must acknowledge, but all stood like men, and I could not bear the idea to be the first to run, and therefore, kept on with the rest.”
‘The dogs of war, let loose are howling.’
President Polk is getting wrathy; Secretary Marcy is issuing his mandates: Uncle Sam is in a bad pickle; Mexico is showing her teeth, and all creation looks astonished. More men are wanted, to butcher and be butchered; and if all accounts are true, there will soon be a chance for all those who wish to distinguish themselves by cutting the throats of their fellows. One regiment only is wanted from Massachusetts at present. ‘Who’ll enlist?’ is the cry. Not the Workingmen, for they have nothing to fight for; not an inch of land is theirs, though the United States should acquire the whole of the western continent – let their blood flow free as water, let them murder their thousands, still they will be men without homes. There is nothing to be gained – much to be lost in this infamous war, by those who are so foolish as to engage in it.
That clique of demagogues at Washington, speculators, gamblers in stocks and Texas script, only will reap the spoils: those who do the murderous work may pocket what little glory there is, but precious little of anything else will get; save hard knocks, mutilated bodies, broken constitutions and seared consciences; all of which can be obtained at a cheaper rate and nearer home, if necessary; then let the President Polk, Secretary Marcy and Governor Briggs give their orders and issue their proclamations, and all the ‘Bombastes Furiosos’ in the land reiterate the call, and tell what a glorious thing is ‘war,’ and how willing they are to die for their country! – Stand back and give them a chance – stay at home and attend your own affairs; - they can be spared as well as not. Most of them can say as did the man sentenced to Botany Bay, that they leave their country for their country’s good.’ But no; when the pinch comes, these valiant souls, so ready to speak ‘war, pestilence and famine,’ find their, ‘courage has oozed out at their fingers ends,’ and they, ‘beg to be excused,’ by paying a [line] or procuring a substitute. But the poor laborer cannot raise ‘the ready,’ and must either fight or go to jail. Brother workingmen, at this time choose the lesser evil, and patronize that ‘peculiar institution,’ the prison rather than pay a visit to that ‘human slaughter house’ and cripple manufactory in Mexico, to help sustain that ‘very peculiar institution of our free and glorious Republic, Negro Slavery. We have concluded to spend a season (should we be drafted) at Samuel’s romantic villa, near Mechanics Mills, for we think that ‘skilly’ and a clear conscience is better than all the glory that can be obtained by murdering our fellow beings in any war, much more such a thieving, abominable, unjust one as is the present. Mechanics, laborers, and everybody else, don’t enlist.
We praise men for fighting, and punish children for doing the same thing precisely.
The losses of some forty lives by the wreck of the Atlantic appalled the whole community. The sufferings of the unfortunate passengers and crew of the ill-fated steamer during the thirty-six hours preceding the final catastrophe, awakened universal sympathy, and, tears of bitter regret have been shed over the bodies of the lost. The Pulpit regarding the event as full of solemnity has sought to derive from it lessons of instruction and warning for the living. Every body sees and acknowledges the property of these manifestations of sorrow for the dead and of consolence for those who have been called to mourn the loss of relatives and friends. No one questions the wisdom of our religious teachers in embracing the opportunity thus afforded to awaken the attention of the community to their spiritual wants and necessities.
Now looking at another picture. Thousands of our fellow men within the last six months have been killed on the battle field; wives have been made dependent widows and children hapless orphans, in a war waged for the perpetuation of Slavery! And yet strange to any, the mass of human suffering thus occasioned awakens comparatively little thought and calls forth little sympathy. We shed the blood of our fellow Christians, calling on God, to aid us in the murderous work, and shout exultingly over victories which carry desolation and woe into thousands of families; Is it not strange that the same men who are so deeply moved by the loss of a comparatively small number of persons in a calamity like that which has befallen the Atlantic can read the details of sanguinary war as coolly as they examine their price current or their bills, of trading? Do they believe that Armstrong and [Dristan] would have found surer prospect to Heaven if, instead of falling before the power of the elements, they had died struggling to destroy the lives of others?
Alas! what a stupendous crime is War, which thus perverts the intellect and smothers those feelings of humanity by which God has sought to bind the human race together as a family of brothers! It surely cannot much longer endure the light which reveals its hideous deformity. Where are the ministers of the Prince of Peace that they do not utter a testimony against it?
Fighting for a Living. The celebrated Capt. Tobin, writing from Mexico, says, “If the war be brought to a premature close – which Heaven forbid – I don’t know what we’ll do for a living; as they say the penitentiaries at home have shut up for want of business; and we’ll be too lazy to work.”
An Artificial Man – The Memorial Bordelais says, that near St. Sevier, there lives an old soldier, with a false leg, a false arm, a glass eye, a complete set of false teeth, a nose of silver, covered with a substance resembling flesh, and a silver plate replacing part of his skull. He was a soldier under Napoleon, and these are his trophies.
War Immoral – “One murder makes a Villain, Millions a Hero.” – If a man steal a horse, morality requires his transportation for life; to herd amongst felons, and breathe the atmosphere of unmitigated vice; but if his avarice takes a higher flight, and he steal a kingdom from its rightful owners, morality wreathes his brow with laurel, and royally creates “him and his heirs for ever” the possessors of noble blood! Vice is legally odius when associated with grovelling objects; but extremely dignified when the pursuit is sufficient to tempt the cupidity of thrones. If a man pilfer on his own account, let the immoral rogue be punished; but if on the account of his government, let the patriot be praised! Smith and Jones, being private citizens, must obey the moral precept, “Though shalt not covet;” but Ellenborough and Napier are public men, and therefore subject to no such law. The former are miserable smugglers and quacks; the latter are trained to the trade, and are licensed practitioners on a respectable scale!
—War Immoral, by the Rev. W. Leake, Dover.
Sickness in the Army – The New York Freemen’s Journal contains a letter from a Clergyman now in Matamoras, which says the war now being waged is far more disastrous to us that is generally supposed in the United States. We are always victorious and lose much less men in action than the Mexicans, but then climate comes to their aid, and cuts down more of our men than loss on the battle field! Were the number of our men forever disabled by the service, with the deaths in every form which have thinned our ranks, since the commencement of the campaign accurately presented, our loss, considering the smallness of the army, would appear great almost without a parallel.
Terms of Peace. The writer of the leading article in the Democratic Review for June, professing to speak authoritatively of the purposes of the administration, declares the following to be the terms which the administration will accept of Mexico.
“As to the cession of territory demanded of the Mexicans, the administration will not claim it as a forfeit, but offer to pay for it, so as to acquire it by purchase. We want a clear title of it; and the administration considers purchase the very best of all titles.
The expense of the war we will not claim from the Mexicans; and the indemnity which she owes our citizens will be assumed by the government of the United States. We shall then claim no money of Mexico in any shape, and are willing to accept land in payment of our just demands.
As to the territory to be ceded or sold to us by Mexico, we are of the opinion that it will not comprise more than Upper California and New Mexico, and that our government will not insist, as a condition of peace, on the right of way across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; but rather make this a subject for subsequent friendly negotiations between the two sister republics.”
The dismemberment of Mexico, and the appropriation of her territory, then, is put forth by the administration as the object of the war. For what is this, territory wanted? Let the defeat of the Wilmot provide the answer.
—Democrat and the Freeman
Address of the Industrial Congress to the Citizens of the United States.
The Industrial Congress, deeply impressed with your fatal connexion with the war system, deem it their duty to address you on the subject.
It is obvious that there is implanted in the human organization, both physical and mental; propensities of combativeness; and that evidently these elements were destined as sources of protection to our race, at least against the aggressions of the lower animals, and, not improbably, against the violence of our own race, individually and collectively. But, notwithstanding this admission, it is due to consistency, and to the intelligence, civilization, and humanity of the day, to say that, in our opinion an enlightened people should not make the lowest propensities of the race the justification of National acts, and schemes of aggrandizement and War, emanating from the highest councils known to our laws and constitutions. We cannot, however, conceal from our own, nor the eyes of the public – nor would we – that the whole organization of society, as at present existing, is a State of War, in which fundamental rights are invaded, and men are made the victims of injustice and wrong with the sanction of Law.
The working men of the United States should ever keep in mind that they belong to the class who bear all the burthens of War, which draws it supplies from industry, and loads with taxation the producers of wealth. That the poor are mainly exposed to its dangers, and receive few of its so called honors. Working men, Resolve, Never to fight for despots to enslave you, or for territory which, without a change in our governmental policy, you will only be permitted to occupy as serfs or slaves.
A Standing Army must meet your decided disapprobation. Ever subservient to despotism, it endangers your liberty, keeps from you the enjoyment of your just rights, is a chief item in the expense of government, corrupts the morals of the people, encourages idleness, is a gross departure from the principles on which our government was founded, destructive of the social equality that ought to exist between citizens of a Republic, by all the difference there is in the absolute authority of the Officer, and the slavish obedience of the soldier.
Famine, the Plague and War are said to be the three greatest calamities that can befall the human race. But War, in which the evils of famine and plague are concentrated, in addition to the horrors and vices peculiar to itself, occurs oftener and is frequently of longer duration than either Famine or Plague, and as a necessary consequence more prolific of suffering and destructive of life and property, as the pages of History, abundantly testify.
Our friends who approve of war, under “certain circumstances,” and who think the existing contest with Mexico a just an glorious one, may be pleased to see something in the Voice advocating their side of the question. This would perhaps be nothing more than justice, so we give below an extract from a letter, written by one of the Massachusetts Volunteers, and dated Monterey, July 16, 1847. Of course the writer cannot testify against himself and hi friends. We find the extract in the Chronotype.
“I will tell you how we spent the Fourth of July here, just to let you know how we are treated. In the morning, at 9 o’clock, the drums beat and the battalion was formed, consisting of Companies E, B, G, and I, and we marched to General Taylor’s camp, five miles from the city, where we stood in the open sun to listen to an oration by Gen. Cushing. The command of the different Companies was then given to the 1st Sergeants, and, while the officers stopped behind to get drunk, we were marched back to the city - getting nothing to eat from 9 in the morning till 6 at night! - That’s the way we spent the 4th of July, and it is the truth. I thought of the time we had last 4th of July.
“A month’s pay goes about as far here as one dollar would go in Boston. For a glass of grog we pay 12 1-2 cents, 12 1-2 cents for a pipe, $1.50 for a pound of tobacco, 5 cents for a sheet of writing paper, and other things in proportion.
“If a man ever asks you to enlist, knock him down with a club. I have seen as much of Mexico as I want to. There is as much difference between this regiment and the ones that have gone home, as there is between chalk and cheese.