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THE WAR BETWEEN THE U, STATES AND MEXICO ;
"PREACHED IN THE SECOND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, IN SPRINGFIELD,
Sabbatli, Utli July, 184%
B 1 j\ Ljbt.ii L HALE, Pastor of the Cnuuoxi.
PUBLISHED BY REQUEST,
PMNTED AT THE OFFICE OF THE SANGAMO JOURNAL— AUGUST, 1847.
Rev. Mr. Hale,
Dear Sir,— -The sermons delivered by you on the 11th July, in pursuance of the recommendation of
the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, on the existing war between this country and Mexico,
having been made the subject of extraordinary debate and action in the Constitutional Convention, now
in session in this city, we request of you a copy of said sermons for publicationj that all who feel an
interest in the matter may be able to form a correct opinion.
SILAS W. ROBBINS,
BENJAMIN S. EDWARDS,
E. B. PEASE,
E. R. WILEY,
J. L. LAMB,
Springfield, August 10, 1847.
We deem it proper to append the following statement of facts, for the reasons which have induced
us to ask for the publication of these sermons :
On Monday, the 12th July, Mr. G. W. Akin, delegate from Franklin county, introduced the following
in the Convention :
"Whereas, Mr. Hale, in a sermon on the 11th day of July, in the 2d Presbyterian Church, denounced
the existing war with Mexico, as being unjustj and whereas, such declarations ought not to be tolerated,
more especially in a republican government; and whereas, it is unbecoming a minister of the gospel to
use such language in a gospel sermon, or before the young and rising generation ; therefore,
"Resolved, That said Mr. Hale be excused from holding prayers in this Convention for the future."
Mr. Thompson Campbell, of Jo Daviess, moved "that the Rev. Mr. Hale be excused in future from pray-
ing in this Convention."
After considerable debate, these resolutions were laid ©n the table.
On Monday morning, July 19th, Mr. Hale being about to open the session of the Convention with
prayer, as requested, was, during the ceremony, interrupted by hissing and clapping of hands, by Mr.
Akin, the member from Franklin, who then left the hall.
After Mr. Hale had concluded his prayer, he left the hall, and was retiring from the Capitol, when
Mr. Akin took occasion to insult him, by saying to him that "if he did not wish to be hurt, he must not
come there again."
The next day, on motion of Mr. Knapp, of Jersey, the following preamble and resolution were
adopted by the Convention, viz :
" Whereas, a respectable minister of the gospel, whilst attending the Convention to open the session
by prayer, under the resolution of the Convention, has been grossly insulted and menaced with bodily
injury, by a member of the Convention ; and whereas, it is alike due to the Convention and the ministers,
that we should not invite them to perform that duty unless we could secure them against such indigni>
ties ; therefore,
" Resolved, That the resolution, inviting the clergymen of Springfield to open the sessions of the Con-
vention with prayer, be rescinded ; and that the secretary inform the said clergymen of the same, with
the assurance of the Convention tliat this step is not adopted from any dissatisfaction of the manner in
which they have discharged their sacred duty, but solely from an unwillingness to subject them to the
repetition of such indignities."
That portion of the above preamble, implying that the Convention could not protect clergymen from
insult while attending to open their sessions with prayer, having been rescinded, the preamble and
resolution were adopted. ^
Believing that these facts form an instance of official interference with the freedom of speech, and
of religious discussion and belief, which is totally at variance with our free institutions, we have
deemed it proper to make them public, in connection witli the sermons which gave rise to them, that
the community may be able to form a correct opinion in the case.
The following discourses were prepared; and preached, agreeably to a request of the Gene-
ral Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. The same resolution, substantially, inviting the
ministers and churches to observe the 2d Sabbath in July as a day of humiliation and prayer, on
account of the existing war with Mexico, and to supplicate the speedy return of peace, was
passed by the General Assembly of each branch of the Presbyterian Church in the United States.
For the sentiments advanced in the discourses, no General Assembly or other ecclesiastical
bodyj or church, is responsible. Whether the sentiments are true, and in accordance with the
teaching and spirit of the gospel and its glorious Author j and whether the preaching of them,
at the time and under the circumstances, was wise and a duty ; are matters for which the writer
expects to answer at the tribunal of conscience and of God.
The author belongs to no political party whatever. No political party, as such, now in ex-
istence, maintains such sentiments. They were preached on the Sabbath day, as gospel truth.
To the gospel — and to that alone — is the reader referred, as the unerring standard by which
they are to be tried. If, by that standard, they are approved, the author will be satisfied.
It is proper to state that the second discourse was, as delivered, to a great extent, extempore;
and has been written out since. A portion of it, which was omitted in the preaching for want
of time, is retained in print. The passage which, by being misunderstood, gave special offense,
is given almost verbatim as delivered. The slight verbal changes only give the statements more
clearness and intensity.
James 4: 1. — From tvhence come wars and fightings among you ? Come they not
hence, even of your lusts which war in your members ?
It is not purpose to inquire whether the aposile, in this text, refers to wars bc"
tween stales and nations, or to the contests which early arose between different portions
of the church of God. J\Iy purpose is to address you, on this occasion, on the general
subject of war, its causes, and its essential injustice and iniquity.
I. What is a war? War is an armed contest to settle a disputed question of right.
In the language of another* — incomparably the best living writer, on the subject —
*« War is a public, armed contest, between nations, in order to establish justice be-
Lord Bacon calls war "one of the highest trials of right, when princes and states
put themselves upon the justice of God for the deciding of their controversies, by such
success as it shall please him to give on either side." Which, considering the nature
of the means employed to conduct this " highest trial of right" to issue, is about the
same as the old adage, " might gives right."
Now, whatever may be said of a portion of ancient warS' — many of which were
little better than open piracies, with scarcely the poor and pitiful pretence that accom-
panies a modern war — all modern wars, between what are termed christian nations,
are included in the definition just given. Any war waged between civilized nations,
for the last thousand years, will perfectly illustrate it. The wars of Bonaparte, which
even he declares were wars of defense; the wars of England with China, and the East
generally, were wars in which those who waged them claimed something, as a right,
which their enemies refused to yield. The war declared by America against England,
in 1812, was to settle the disputed right of the British to search our vessels.
The war threatened between this country and England, in reference to the boundariea
of Maine and Oregon, had we gone to vvar, would have been to settle, by an armed con-
test between the two nations, this disputed question of right.
. It is called an appeal to arms ; an appeal to the sword ; an appeal to the God of bat-
tles. The language is of common U3e in courts; implying that other means had been
resorted to, in vain, to establish justice between the contending parties.
In this view of the nature of war, there is little room for dispute on the subject of
wars usually styled 'defensive as the only question is, with what kind and degree of
occasion, and excuse for it, a nation may make this appeal to " the last reason of kings."
Those who resort to war, as a means of settling disputed questions between nations,
commonly endeavor to show that it is occasioned by the injustice and violence of their
enemies — that it is a war of defense. In every such instiument as a declaration of war,
you will find set forth the insults received ; the evils threatened ; the rights invaded; tho
justice demanded; and, perhaps, the war actually raging. And then, with these things
as their justification, they appeal to force — to arms — to violence — to settle the question
of right, and establisli justice between them and their enemies.
Such is war — nil war — waged by civilized nations. The view is somewhat abstract,
but true to ihe nature of the subject. It is bringing the physical power of two or more
nations into fearful collision for the wasting of their treasures, their resources, their vir-
tue, their happiness and their life blood; till by the awful preponderance of power on
the one hand, and destruction on the other, the mysterious balance rises, and the ques-
tion of right is decided !
It is the same in its nature as the judicial combats which originated in Germany, in
the dark ages, where one of the parties challenged the other; and, instead of a judicial
investigation, the parties fought in the presence of the court, and by "might," and not
by reason and truth, they established ^ws^/ce between the litigants. This custom pre'-
vailed long and extensively in France and England; the law for which, in the latter
country, was not repealed till the year 1817.
It is the same sort of an affray between nations as a duel between individuals; and is
so much the greater evil and crime as the power brought into action is greater, the in*
terests concerned more important and diversified, the dangers more appalling, and the
evils, in all respects, more overwhelming. The one is an individual evil, danger, crime,
with its attendants and consequences; the other is national, and, in all its relations and
consequences, is on the scale of nations.
II. Let us notice the causes of war :
1. The text informs us that the origin, the causes of war, are to be found in the cor-
rupt passions of human nature : Come they not hence, even of your lusts which war
in your members ?"
Our regrets at the sad issues of events are often alleviated by the reflection that they
were the product of important aud worthy causes. The friend of man, whose premature
death we mourn, as the result of severe toil and exposure, to relieve his suffering fellow
men, furnishes us the deppest consolation in the thought that he wasted the energies of
life in deeds of humanity; but in surveying the causes of war, as they are traced by the
historian, we are cheered by no such consolations. The most trivial and insignificant
as well as the most unworthy causes, have given rise to the wars of mankind.
According to Prof. Upham, the wars of civilized nations since the spread of ChriS"
tianity, or since the time of Constantino, amount to 286 wars ; at this time, to more
than 290. In this statement, a vast number of petty wars between small nations of
antiquity, temporary insurrections, and a large number of wars between christians and
savages, are omitted.
Of the 286 wars, mentioned above, whose causes were inquired into by some of the
most competent minds in the land, 44 were strictly wars of ambition; 22 wars of plun-
der ^ tribute, &c.; 24 wars of retaliation and revenge; 8 wars to settle some question of
honor or prerogative; 6 wars arising from disputed claims to territory; 41 wars arising
fronf disputed titles to crowns ^ to settle the mighty question which of two despots should
crush the millions of their abject and oppressed subjects; — 30 wars commenced under
pretence of aiding an ally; 23 wars originating in jealousy of rival greatness; 5 wars
have grown out of commerce; 55 civil wars; 28 wars on account of religion, including
the crusades against the Turks and heretics.
A very large portion of these wars, it can be seen at a glance, are the product of
avarice; others, of pride, ambition and revenge. There is not a war among them all
but has originated in passions, the indulgence of which is opposed to the will of God,
destructive of human virtue, and plainly prohibited in the sacred scriptures.
Even admitting that war under some peculiar circumstances might be justified, the
causes of the wars which have been waged by civilized nations are such as condemn
them; not merely because they were impolitic, but because they were inhuman and im-
mensely wicked. Flow trivial, for instance, must the causes of ihoso wars appear, in
which tens of thousands of human beings have been hurried into eternity, amidst all
the horrors of the camp and the battle-field, merely because rival princes or rival gov-
j ernmonts could not, or rather would not, ngree as to the division of their power, or terri-
tory ? It is a fact of accredited history, that two states of southern Europe* werc em-
broiled in a long and bloody war, in consequence of some soldiers of the state running
away with a bucket belonging to a public well. A distinguished foreign writer has
given an account of a dispute about the making of a pair of gloves, in which a royal
•personage was engaged, and which had the effect to change the aspect of affairs in all
The sarcastic language of Dean Swift is none too strong, v^rhen he remarks that
" sometimes a war between two princes is to decide which of them shall dispossess a
third of his dominions, whereto neither of them pretend to any right;'* (one can scarcely
read this passage without thinking of unhappy, injured Poland, whose life was quenched
in blood — a sacrifice to the selfish and malignant passions of surrounding despots) —
»' sometimes one prince quarreleth with another for fear the other should quarrel with
him. Sometimes a war is entered upon because an enemy is too strong — (in the plau-
sible modern language of ambition and lust of dominion^ * to preserve the balance of
power.') Sometimes, because he is too weak. Sometimes our neighbors want the
things we have, or have the things we want; and we both fight till they take ours [or
Nor should it ever be forgotten that the causes of war lie in one, or at most, in a very
few minds. The nation itself — the great mass of the people — seldom plunges itself
into a war of its own choice. It is the work of their rulers, and the demagogues, and
the speculators, who expect to grow rich by its chances and its spoils. Nor is it always
the easiest part of the work, when the war is actually begun, to stimulate the people to
the deeds of cruelty and death which arc the inevitable result, and the common work,
t'* We are shocked to read that Louis XIV. gave orders to lay waste the whole Pala-
tinate, a beautiful countrj^m the heart of Europe. He signed the order, says Vol-
taire, at his palace in Versailles, ' because he saw nothing in such a command but his
own power and the unhappy right of war. Thus it is,' he continues, « rulers, in the
midst of abundance drawn from the toil of the people, and surrounded by the allure-
ments of festival and song, by a mere dash of the pen, have crushed innumerable
hearts, and sent the deepest sorrow and desolation into the innumerable dwellings of
their people.' "
III. But we are to notice, in the third place, the essential iniquity of war.
Il may here be asked, is it ever right for nations to attempt to settle their disputes by
an appeal to the sword 1 Is war ever to be justified 1 I reply that, when God reveals
his will to any people, and commands them to go to war, then it is right, as in all other
cases of unusual and specific requirement, to go to war. It is only saying that men
should obey the will of God, clearly made known to them. It is on this ground alone
that we justify the wars of the conquest of Canaan, and certain other wars (not all)
named in the Old Testament. He who knows how and when to employ storms, earth-
quakes and volcanoes; famine, pestilence and death, as agents to execute His judgments
on mankind, can tell when it is riffht for Him to open the gates of war, to let loose
its furies. But for man, weak, and short-sighted — with his reason clouded by selfish-
ness and ambition — to presume to do it, without the clear^ revelation of the will of
heaven, is to arrogate to himself a degree of knowledge, of wisdom, and impartial
benevolence, truly prodigious !
In reference then to all wars which God has not authorized, by revealing his will
distinctly in favor of waging them, I answer, they are crime on the largest scale; and
no friend of God and man, >viih a mind and conscience properly enlightened by the gos-
pel, can fail to oppose them and seek their removal.
The ground taken by the early christians generally (not universally), is the only true
ground on which christian men can consistently stand, viz: "Christianity is opposed
* Bologna and Modena.
to war, therefore we do not fight." " Christ is the Prince of Peace,'' *' His kingdom
is not of the world; it is the reign of love; therefore his servants do not fight."'
If it be said that the Old Testament is a part of the revealed will of God, and that
it IS pervaded with the sentinments and the spirit of the war, it is enough to reply,
(1.) This may all be accounted for on the ground of the well-known peculiarities of
that age and that dispensation, while the moral principles of the Old Testannent are
identical with those of the New, and demand universal and impartial benevolence be-
tween nations and individuals, and thus would utterly remove all wars from among
men, by preventing the adoption of its principles, and the exercise of its spirit , but,
(2 ) It is from the Old Testament we have announced, in prophecy, the coming of
another dispensaiion, in the midst of which we are living, which was to introduce a
universal peace among the nations; when men, under the influence of the gospel, would
lay aside the arts of war — would beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears
into pruning-hooks, and learn war no more.
(3.) The teachings of Christ and his apostles are diametrically opposed to war; and
no man can receive them to his heart, with a mind and conscience duly enlightened,
and still go to war ; for,
1. The gospel utterly forbids the indulgence of those passions which are universally
the Cause of war; such as pride, envy, vanity, hatred, avarice, ambition, partiality,
prejudice, suspicion, and every other passion out of which wars always arise. If?
therefore, the gospel is obeyed, a war becomes impossible. Christianity prevents it, by
removing the causes of war ; just so far as the spirit of Christ prevails, (and without it
we are none of his.) wars are prevented by removing all the causes of war.
2. The law of Christianity — which is the law of God, and binding on all men —
treats men as belonging to one family; commands all men to love each other as they
love themselves. That law allows no distinction of age, nation, language, clime, color,
profession or pursuit, to repeal or modify the obligation to love, and only lovo, every in«
dividual of the human race, with the sincerest regard to all their real interests and
rights, personal, domestic, social, public, temporal and spiritual. The law of Christ
allows no circumstance of insult, irritation, injustice, provocation; no criminal act of
any kind, on the part ot others, to set us free from its obligation. Its design is to pro*
tect the rights, the virtue, the happiness of all the race; by forbidding to each individ-
ual whatsoever would sacrifice either, and by requiring in each individual all those prin-
ciples, dispositions and acts, which will, according to truth, promote every real interest
of every fellow-being in the universe; so that the rights, privileges, virtue, and interests
of every kind, can never be invaded, even temporarily, without the violation of this law
on the part of some one, never utterly sacrificed without his own violation of it.
But what is war, in its relation to this law ] I reply, it is not merely the violation of
it; it is virtually, and for the time, its repeal. It is a requisition, on the part of a hu-
man government, of hatred of a portion of the human family whom the law of God re-
quires us to love. It is a requisition to destroy that life which the law of God requires
us to save. It is a command to rob the aged father of his children — the wife of her hus-
band — the sister of her brother — the children of their father; — and to do this, when God
never required it in the execution of his righteous judgments; but forbade it, in the abun-
dance of his mercy and hie truth.
It is a command to sack — to rob and burn — towns, villages, cities; to ravage empires
and kingdoms; and to murder, send into captivity, to prison and to bondage, their popu-
It is a requirement, by state authority, to storm castles, sink ships, destroy commerce,
and put an end to all peaceful and fraternal intercourse between man and his fellow-
It is a command to reduce whole communities to starvation and despair; to seize upon
their property, their conveniences and privileges of every description; and, if they cannot
be appropriated to ourselves, to suspend their use, or devote them wantonly to ruin. In
a word, it is a command to produce, on the largest possible scale, sorrow, mourning, pov-
erty, vice, wretchedness and deatii.
If it is said these things are done on account of crimes committed, and to establish
justice, then let the man, or the men, who caused the war, be sought out, their guilt
established, and due punishment inflicted; and no christian will complain. But let not
the ruthless hand of indiscriminate destruction be raised over whole communities of men,
convicted of no fault, merely because the state allows it^
It is in vaiu to say these things are done by public authority, and individuals are not
accountable. Unless the passage in the gospel can be shown, where God has authorized
man to hate his neighbor on account of the state; to kill his fellow-men when his country
is at war; to burn, destroy; to produce misery, sorrow, and death; whenever a civil ruler
is pleased to get angry enough, or be insulted; ambitious, covetous, proud, or revengeful
enough, to issue a declaration of war, — we must still be allowed to think, and to say,
that war is not only a crime against God and man, but that the individual acts of war-
ring men are so much the more criminal as they are, by public authority and the cif^
cumstances of the case, and the means and instruments they employ, enabled to accom-
plish a much larger amount of evil than would be possible to them without these helpa.
Viewed, then, as a sort of repeal — a universal license to violate the law of God's
kingdom — war is universally wrong and wicked. The only way to evade this conclusion
is to assert, that what is crime in the individual, is righteousness in the nation. Who-
ever wishes to maintain this proposition, let him do it.
3. The law of war is the law of honor. War is conceived in the spirit of this law;
and all its horrid crimes are only acts of obedience to its precepts, and the exhibitions
of its spirit.
By this code, pride, ambition and revenge, are virtues! — while to be humble, meek,
and self-denying, is to be mean and despicable.
The code of honor — of war — requires revenge for injuries and insults. The gospel
requires us not to "avenge ourselves;" but to be followers of Him " who made himself
of no reputation," and who never employed violence to redress his wrongs.
The code of honor — of war. — is blow for blow; insult for insult; injury for injury.
The gospel says " resist not evil;" if a man smile thee on the one cheek, turn to him
the other also; — render to no man evil for evil, or railing for railing. Being reviled,
revile not again; but commit yourself to Him who judgeth righteously. " Love your
enemies; bless them that curse you; bless, and curse not." But 1 need not pursue this
comparison. The fact that war in its origin, and iis acts, is only so much obedience to
the law of honor — is the most perfect proof that it is essential crime and iniquity in the
view of God. If among devils and damned spirits there are moral regulations, they
doubtless are "summarily comprehended " in the code of honor.
4. The precious interests war inevitably sacrifices, indicate its deeply criminal na-.
ture and tendencies. These will be more fully noticed in the following discourse, on
the particular war in which this nation is involved.
I close this discourse, with a smgle reflection: — the existence of war is reason for
deep humiliation before God.
Mat. 26: 8. — To what purpose is this loaste 1
I HAVE no pleasure in speaking of the war between the United States and Mexico.
I have ever avoided all public mention of it, only as duty has seemed to demand it.
The whole subject, in all its bearings and relations, is fraught with the deepest sorrow
I am quite aware, too, of the prejudice against a minister of Christ, who, fearlessly
and honestly, speaks the truth against tho acta of the govornmcnt, and the policy of our
public men. The power of party pride and intolerance is very great, and a lover of
peace might well desire to avoid all collision with it. A political friend of the present
administration recently complained, on the floor of Congress, that " the religious senti-
ment of the nation had been invoked against the war." It may be asked, in astonish-
ment, what that religion is, that needs to be '« invoked," or evoked against such a war ?
The tone of the political press, too, on this subject, is sufficiently threatening ; not a
few, through this channel, taking the ground that it is equivalent to treason to denounce
the war with Mexico — together with the measures which originated it, and the men who
brought it about and carry it on. But the feelings of men, and the tone and spirit of
the press, can be no rule of speech or action for the servant of Christ. I am not here
as a politician, and if I were, it would not change my views of the impolicy and injus-
tice of this war ; but as the humble servant of Him who was hated of the world, be-
cause He testified that its works were evil.
In seeking the occasions of humiliation before God, on account of the war between
this Republic and Mexico, let us, as suggested in the text, notice,
f. The waste. The cost of the war with Mexico, and
II. The reasons why it is waged. The causes of the war, and the reasons of its
prosecution ; and,
III. The occasion for humiliation and prayer to the God of peace, that He would
stay the further effusion of blood, and restore peace and tranquillity between
the two nations.
1. The waste. The cost of the war with Mexico :
1. Its cost in money. As this is the least valuable of all the items of cost, it shall
first demand our attention.
The amount of treasure consumed in this war is variously estimated. One, on whose
intelligence and accurate judgment great reliance may be placed, early announced that
it would cost, to carry on the war with Mexico, a half million of dollars per day ; or
more than 180 millions of dollars yer year. At this rate, the cost is now to our nation
more than 200 millions of dollars.
Another, whose accuracy is generally to be relied on, estimates the cost, up to this
time, at 100 to 200 millions — say 150 millions of dollars.
Other estimates vary from 50 millions to 15(? millions of dollars. The actual cost it
is at this time impossible to ascertain; nor is it to be expected that the whole truth will
ever be fairly laid before the American people. I doubt whether there is a politician
in the land, who is a friend of the war, who would risk his reputation to tell the whole
truth on this subject, if he knew it.
In any view of it, the sum wasted is immense; amounting to from five to ten dollars,
each, for every man, woman and child in this nation.
But this is only the cost to our own government and people. The cost and losses
occasioned by the destruction of their property, to the MexicQ.ns, is not likely to be less
than our own. If we estimate the whole sacrifice of money and property, to both the
United States and Mexico, to the present time, it will not be likely to fall short of
But this is not all. The withdrawing of 20,000 to 50,000 men, all able-bodied and
in the prime of life, from the ranks of productive industry, and causing them to be-
come the most destructive and voracious consumers, adds an item of incalculable
value to the pecuniary cost of the war.
Besides this, the injury done to commerce and the business of the country, by di-
verting the circulating medium from its accustomed channels, is immense.
Whether these estimates are correct or incorrect, is nothing to my purpos%, The
whole object is to show, by referring to various items of cost, and to the estimates
made of them by others, that the pecuniary cost of the war is immensely great.
2. But the waste of treasure, though immense, is small, when compared with the
sacrifice of human life. At the lowest estimate, 10,000 Mexicans and 5,000 Ameri-
cans have already fallen, and are numbered with the dead. Each of these soldiers-
was connected, as we all are, by the tender ties of kindred, love and friendship. Each
of them was formed by his Maker for all the high ends of the present life, and of a fu-
ture endless existence. Each of them was summoned from the warm embrace of fami-
ly, and the claims of duty in peaceful life. Go, survey the camp, and the hospital,
where they sickened, suffered and died. Gaze on their torn, shattered carcasses, and
their bones bleacliing in the sun. Count their graves; and as you muse silently in these
scenes, reflect — " These are the human sacrifices of the war, thus far, between this
Republic and Mexico !"
3. This war, like all other wars, has occasioned the most barbarous and inhuman
cruelties. Think of the sufferings from inadequate and bad provisions and bad water;
to say nothing of the suffering from these when no water could be obtained. Think of
the suffering occasioned by long and tedious marches over bad roads, in a sultry clime,
and, in many instances, with feeble health, or even with acute disease. One of the
generals of the American army is. just at this lime, accused by the public press of
marching his men over the burning sand, and under the scorching sun, at mid-day; as
a natural consequence, numbers were overcome by heat and fatigue, and several of
them fell down and died by the way !
The sufferings, too, from inadequate clothing. Large numbers — if I mistake not —
whole regiments were, at times, so utterly unprovided for in this respect, as to be ex-
posed to severe sufferings. Young men of intelligence and education, accustomed to
the luxuries of life, are, by the neglect of government, absolutely turned naked in a
wild country, and exposed to the rigors of the climate, and suffering from the weather,
without care on the part of the government they serve.''
1 might proceed with similar details to any extent. The ordinary history of the
war, as of all wars, is filled with the accounts of these sufferings. But these are small
when compared to the sacrifice of happiness, the severe sufferings of the sick, the
wounded and the dying. Unless the sick soldier has the singular good fortune to get
admission to a hospital, his blanket and the ground are his only couch. Kind feeling
there doubtless will be in the warm breast of his comrades; but their power to aid him,
or even to soothe his sorrows, is extremely limited. For the most part, he must suffer
alone, and die alone.
But what tongue or pen can describe the pains and sufferings of the wounded and
the dying? The stoutest hearts, the most hardened men, have relented at the sight of
the mangled bodies on the battle-field. The pains, the groans and the agonies, of
wounded and dying men, scattered over the plain, or crowded into the hospital, may be
"imagined, but can never be adequately described !
And the soldier does not suffer alone. He is bound to kindred and sympathizing
hearts all over the land, who are the partners of his anguish. What scores and thous-
ands await the coming and the opening of the mails, with silent but dreadful agony !
The father, the mother, the wife, the children and friends, have trembled as they lis-
tened to the rattling of the wheels of the mail coach; and trembled again, as they open-
ed the letters from the scene of strife and war. Thousands of innocent and peaceful
citizens, who never drew a breath in favor of the war, have mourned the death of those
cut off in battle or who perished by disease; and hundreds of thousands more have suf-
fered an untold amount of anguish, in the apprehension of tho sufferings of friends
exposed to the horrors of war. •
4. But there are individual acts of cruelty and barbarity, occasioned by the war with
Mexico, which must have a place among the items of waste — the cost of the war.
In how many instances have small parlies-'-sometimes, soldiers — somelimes, team-
sters, or travellers and traders — quietly pursuing their way, as quietly as is possible in
a country infested with war, been overtaken and cut to pieces'! Go to the place
where such a company is on its way; on a sudden they are surprised by a company of
fierce-looking armed men; — then follows the begging for life on the part of defonseleas
men, women and children; — see their butchery, their blood flowin^;^-.hear the faint,
faltering accents of the dying; — witness the last struggle; — listen to the last groan, and
gaze on their lifeless, mangled corpses, when their spirits are fled. Mark the men who
have perpetrated this deed of savage cruelty, as they move off in triumph, bearing in
their hands the spoils of war — the price of blood ! As you pause and reflect on this
scene, take the guage and dimensions of the frightful miseries inflicted; of the happiness
sacrificed; and coolly calculate the cost — the waste — of the Mexican war I
Go to the town, where a man is walking with others on the open plaza. In a mo-
ment, the lasso is thrown around his neck, by a horseman, and he is dragged at full
speed to a retired place, where he is robbed of his papers and left a mangled corpse !
Mark that angel of mercy, in the evening after the battle of Monterey; — a Mexican
woman, busily engaged in carrying bread and water to the wounded and dying of both
armies. Says an eye witness : " i saw her raise the head of a wounded man, give him
water and food; and ihen carefully bind up his ghastly wound with a handkerchief from
her own head. After she had exhausted her supplies, she returned to her house to get
bread and water for others. As she was returning on her mission of mercy, I heard the
report of a gun, and saw the poor, innocent creature fall dead. It m.ade me sick at heart,
and, turning from the scene, I involuntarily raised my eyes to heaven, and thought, O,
God ! this is war. Passing the spot the next day, 1 saw her body still lying there, and
the bread by her side, and the broken gourd, with a few drops of water still in it — em-
blems of her merciful errand !"
In the accounts of one of the battles fought since this war begun, it is stated by one
who professed to know, that among the dead was found a woman, staked through the
breast to the earth J!'''^
To these, and many other similar acts of cruelty at the bare recital of which humanity
shudders, might be added the needless, wanton, and brutal acts, by which, in the storm-
ing of towns, the conducting of sieges, and other warlike movements, human life and
happiness have been trifled with, and profusely sacrificed. But such is war 1
5. There is another waste — a Joss, of a far more important kind, to be enumerated.
It is a loss, too, on the largest scale. I mean — the sacrifice of a good conscience, and
of religious principle.
Many, it is believed, by enlistment—or becoming responsibly connected with the war
at all — violated the plainest dictates of conscience.
How many, who went to fight the Mexicans— are now there, or on their way — retain
the principles and practice of temperance, which they had previously adopted ?
How many, who were not habituated to the use of profane and impure language, soon
learned to give greater license to the tongue, and profane the name of God 1
How many, who were trained in the lap of piety at home; were conscientious and
pure minded youth and men — became abandoned to gaming, profanity, and more de-
grading vices ?
How many, who regarded the book and the day of God, forgot both ?
How many, who were once nsembers of the church of Christ, have not only fallen
away, but becam.e the most abandoned and wicked of their company ?
What numbers of them have been enticed from the paths of virtue, and encouraged
in wickedness, by the example of their officer^, by whose influence they were induced
to forsake the peaceful employments of private life, for the trials, exposures and
temptations, of the camp and the* field?
Who, that fairly estimates the worth of virtue, of a good conscience, and of the
hopes and consolations of religion, can calculate the waste — the loss — where thousands
sacrifice them all ? VVho, that understands the value of strict temperance — the value
of any single virlue, and how indispensable it is to human happiness — can calculate
the loss sustained in these respects, by meanss of the Mexican war ? Habits of indus^
try and economy, lost; habits of temperance and sobriety, abandoned; habits of truth
.and conscientiousness, given up. The habit of thought and care for the honor of
God, and the eternal vv^jll-bQing of the soul; the dearest habits of mind, and qualitica
of the heart, perished; the soul and its happiness for ever lost ! — who can estimate the
waste ? Noble exceptions, doubtless, there are to all this; but either the war with Mex-
ico is an exception to ail the wars ever waged by civilized nations, or these things are
anriong the itenns of its enormous and useless waste.
And, when *.he war is over, the multitudes that remain — that have been schooled
amidst its immoralities, its cruelties and its crimes — will operate, like a moral pestilence,
over the length and breadth of the lafid. It is perfectly natural it should be so. It is
of the very nature of their employment, to make them feel that the claims of humani-
ty, of virtue, and of God, are a mere name.*
6. Again: there is the robbery of many families of their most valuable members,
and the land, of those who had it in their power to do much for the general good. Ma-
ny, who might have done essential service to their country , and to their species, have
been sent to an untimely grave. The whole land feels the loss of some of her ablest
sons. Our own state, at this very hour, mourns the death of one, just rising to the
strength and maturity of his power to do good. The country, and the human family,
is robbed of whatever good they might have done.
A large number of modest, obscure and virtuous families have been robbed of their
chief solace and support. The aged mother is robbed of the son, on whose more youth-
ful form she leaned for support. The young wife, whose life had just entwined insepa-
rably with that of her husband, weeps in solitary widowhood. Brothers, sisters, chil-
dren, are robbed of their best friends, and the dearest solace of social life. But they
are retiring, and modest. Their sorrows will remain unknown, and unnoticed on earth,
though recorded on the book of God's remembrance, among the cost of the Mexican
II. Let us, in the second place, notice the reason for this waste. "To what pur-
pose is this waste
In stating the reasons why we are at war with Mexico — the causes of the war — I
am under no necessity, nor am I inclined at all, to submit any opinions of my own. —
The causes of the war are variously stated, some of vvhich are as follows :
1. It is said that Mexico was indebted to the U. States in about the sum of $3,000,000.
That she had promised to pay it; and, either she would not or could not — at all events,
she did not — pay it. And, moreover, she had not always acted very courteously to-
ward our government. In plain language — she had insulted us; and, for these causes,
we are at war with her.
2. It is said that the annexation of Texas, in contravention of the expressed will
of Mexico, and other acts connected with it, were the germ or the cause of the war.
3. It is slated that a disputed claim to the territory lying between two rivers — the
Nueces and the Rio Grande — was the occasion of the war.
4. It has been asserted, often, that the war was caused by the order of the president
* This is the passage which has caused such serious offense. It has been objected to, chiefly, as an attack
on " the character of the returned volunteers." Any person can sec at a glance, that, to construe the lan-
guage in that way, is to wrest it from its obvious import. The men, generally, of all sorts and grades, who
are engaged in the war, and who suffer its trials amd temptations, are the objects of the remarks. For
aught that the passage declares to the contrary, every "returned volunteer" may be even purer in virtue
than before he went. Besides, there are not above a half dozen persons, who went to Mexico and have
returned, with whose morals and habits I am, or ever was, acquainted ; and therefore could not, had 1 been
disposed, have given a particle of testimony on the subject. The fact that thei/ are returned, and refused a
second enlistment, is, in my view, greatly in favor of their morals. But the reported results of the war, on
the morals and habits of those who engage in it, it is not very ditlicult to obtain. There is one way, and
one only, in which any ''returned volunteer" can, with fairness, apply the statements to himself. It is by
acknowledging himself a sufferer in his morals, by his connection with the war. In this case, though not
thought of by me when the discourse was preached, I acknovcledge, the statements fairly apply.
But it seems quite probable that my faults are greater, and less likely to be forgiven, because I did not ren-
der suitable praise for their deeds of valor and courage. I have not a particle of doubt that they fought as
bravely, and as destructively, as any fighting men ever did; and that they deserve all the praise, and glory,
that belongs to men who engage in the deadly strife of the battle-field. But, for a minister of Christ to unite
in praising the military hero, it seems proper to ascertain where — in the gospel, martial courage — valor dis-
played in fighting the enemies of one's country in war is counted a christian virtue. The Illinois volunteers
were doubtless as brave— and fought as well— as any fighters in any age of the world ; but it surely is not
needful, in order to fight well, to have a good moral character — or to preserve it.
to ihe army, to occupy the disputed territory; and therefore it is the pi-esident's war,
and he alone is responsible for it. If this be true, the president may well tremble at
the fearful responsibility assumed, and the dread account he must render to God !
5. It is claimed in a famous executive docun?ent, that Mexico actually commenced
hostilities; while in other portions of the same document is a long argument, to show
that, according to the usages of na'ions, the United States had good reasons for com-
mencing them, and tacitly admits that such was actually ihe case; or, that we were the
aggressors. For the truih of such statements and reasonings, it is not for me to be
6. It is asserted that the -.var was brought on, as the result of executive policy, to favor
a section nf the Union, with no impartial regard to the true interests of the whole.
7. It is regarded by many as a master stroke of policy, on the part of our govern-
ment, to protect, perpeluate and extend slavery, by the acquisition of new territory to
be formed into new slave states.
8. It is quite likely that intimations, often thrown before the public mind — sometimes
by speeches in Congress; sometimes through the columns of a newspaper, in the re-
ports of the agents of the government, by travellers and speculators — that imrwense
wealth was treasured up in the churches of Mexico, and in the hands of the priests and
prominent wealthy men; and that vast resources would be derived from the mines, pro-
vided they were subjected to Anglo-Saxon skill and enterprize; have had theiv full
share of influence to produce the war, by preparing all the covetous, and through them
thousands of others, in all parts of the land, to welcome the war, who would otherwise
have utterly opposed it.
9. It is said to be prosecuted with vigor, to obtain the boon of peace. Because we
so greatly desire a peace^ therefore we prosecute the war with murderous ferocity.
Whether any or all or none, of these are the true causes of the war, it is not in my
power to say. They are the reasons, alleged by men of various sentiments, and par-
ties, in the country. And this, it is presumed, is about all that can be said in favor of
the war. .Let us then,
III. As christians, bring these causes of the war into comparison with its waste;
and thus see the occasion for unfeigned humiliation before God, and earnest prayer to
Him, to stop the effusion of blood and bestow, speedily, the blessings of peace.
1. This war, like all other wars, is a crime against God and man. V^iewed in the
light of christian truth, it is of the same nature, originated in the same law, and is waged
under Ihe influence of the same criminal passions, and has the same malignant relations
to humanity, and to the government of God, as other wars. It enjoys but a single sad
pre-eminence, the utter want of any plausible excuse for it. Even allowing that war
Uiight ever be justified or excused, the reasons given for this are its condemnation ; out
of its own mouth is v. judged* 1 ask, then,
2. Is it right — can this waste be justified, by an enlightened public conscience, and
by the principles of the gospel of God, our Savior] If not, then have we sinned in
entering upon the war; sinned in prosecuting it, and and are sinning still; sinning na-
tionally, and grievously, by not withdrawing at once, from all belligerent action, and
trusting to other and peaceful means to settle our controversy, and establish justice be-
tween us and Mexico.
We have sunk fifty — one hundred — perhaps, two hundred millions of dollars; the gift
of God, through the productive industry of the nation. We have, by this war, occa-
sioned enormous sufierings, and inhuman cruelties. The virtue of multitudes, the
most precious of human possessions, we have freely sacrificed. Thousands of families
we have robbed of their chief solace and support; we have tilled thousands of dwellings
with mourning, and tens of thousands of hearts with unutterable anguish and woe!
We have caused the cry of the poor, the widow and the orphan, to go up to avenging
heaven. We have robbed the land of some of her choicest sons, her brightest orna--
ments; and humanity of those who had it in their power to do much for the well-being
of the human race. We have already sent to the g^rave lifteen thousand human beings!
By the ruthless hand of war, they have been torn from the tender ties of domesiic and
social affinity and love; and led up, in solemn procession, to the great bloody altar; the
human sacrifices to the relentless and insatiable god of war !
And will it justify us; will conscience— will heaven—justify us, in doing these
deeds, directly or indirectly, because Mexico owed us ^3,000,000, and would not pay
it! — or, that she insulted us, and we had not grace to bear it! Will it justify us in
such deeds, to say we wanted Texas, and endeavored to think we had a claim to it,
and were determined to have it! Or, will it answer to say that the war was the fruit
of a rash act of the president, in ordering the armed occupation of the disputed ter-
ritory, and the country thus involved in war without our fault, we go for the country,
right or wrong ? Will conscience, will God justify us, in these deeds of darkness, for
such a reason ? Or will it do, in view of the well-known facts of the case, to protend
that iMexico provoked the war, by acts of aggression and hostility ! Who will be-
lieve it ?
And when these wrongs to humanity are to be accounted for; when the voice of
bereaved homes, and bereaved hearts, and the voice of blood, cries from 15,000 graves,
to heaven, against us; will it do to reply that we needed more territory to make new
slave states, to preserve the balance of power between the north and the south; or to
perpetuate and extend slavery! Is that institution so fraught with blessings to the
country, and the race, so beneficial to either master or slave, to the oppressor or the
oppressed; is it in such excellent odor among civilized nations, and so approved by a
just and benevolent God, that to foster and protect it, we may be justified in squander-
ing hundreds of millions of dollars, in producing the most enormous and wide-spread
miseries, and in the offering of 15,000 human sacrifices! If this language seem se-
vere, it is because the facts themselves are severe.
But the question returns : are we justified — or, are we, as a nation, guilty, and
bound by every consideration of truth and right, to humble ourselves before God, and
seek his forgiveness, and ask his interposition, to enable us to retrace our steps, and
thus " bring forth fruits meet for repentance!"
3. Reflect, too, what ends — worthy of humanity, and approved of heaven — -might
have been attained, by the proper use of the treasure we have ingloriously wasted.
Our gifts to the starving population of Ireland, have astonished the civilized world.
But the whole amount of our charities, to the famishing millions of other lands, would
scarcely equal the expenditure for the Mexican war a sirigle week. It was a humane
and noble deed, done by our own state legislature, at its last session- — the granting of
$60,000 to found a hospital for the insane; to restore to home and friends, and kin"
dred, and society; to themselves, to virtue, and to God, the unfortunate, whose lamp
of reason had gone out. But this sum would pay the expenses of the Mexican war —
three hours! And the cost of all similar insiitutions, in the whole land; the institu-
tions for the relief of the poor and the suffering, of every name; the Hospitals, the
Asylums, the Retreats, the Homes; by means of which, comfort and happiness are
freely provided for thousands, would be consumed by this war in a very few days!
The combined expense of the hundreds of colleges and seminaries; of the thousands
of acadenr.ies, and tens of thousands of common schools, which are justly accounted
the glory of the land;— the entire cost of all the means of education, enjoyed by the
American people, is but a mere pittance compared to the amount squandered annually
in the war with Mexico.
The cost of the administration of justice, in the courts of the general government,
by which justice is carried to the door of twenty millions of people, for a whole year,
would scarce sustain the expense of this war a single day !
The entire cost of all the benevolent and philanthropic institutions, and societies, in
the land; the cost of all the means of education of every description; the cost of sus-
taining all the churches, and all the means of moral and religious improvement put to-
^lelher, would equal the expense of tlie war but for a few short weeks !! So wide is the
difference between the cost of virtue and vice; — between ihe nneans to destroy life,
and the means of its preservation. And is it right, to waste the treasures which a
beneficent God has provided and entrusted to us, as his stewards, to swell the tide Of
human happiness, in such an unhallowed enterprize as the Mexican war ?
*^ Were half the power that keeps the world in terror —
Were half the wealth, bestowed on camps and courts —
Given to redeem the human mind from error,
There were no need of arsenals and forts.
The warrior's name would be a name abhorr'd,
And every nation, that should lift aj^ain
Its hand against its brother — on its forehead
Would wear, for evermore, the curse of Cain.-' — Longfellow.
4. Look at the law of God; seeking, by the use of his authority, to bind all his in-
telligent creatures, made of one blood, in one harmonious and blissful brotherhood —
seeking to make every heart beat in unison with his own, and to make every hand
*' a consecrated channel for his love to flow in;" — look seriously, at that law, and ask,
is it right tor the American nation — a nation exalted to heaven in intellectual and
moral advantages — to employ her mighty energies in such an enterprise of blood, of
woe and death, as the Mexican war f
5. Look to Calvary — where the Son of God is dying, amid the agonies of the Cross,
for the redemption of men"-and as you gaze on that scene, read, from the word of
Him who cannot lie, «* Ye are bought with a price." Remember that ihe ransom price
is there freely paid, and the door of hope freely opened to all. And can we, a chris-
tian nation, be guiltless, when we send to the battle-field, and to premature death,
thousands for whom the Savior died, and to whom we are commanded to bear the mes-
sage of his mercy, that they may live?
6. Nor let it be forgotten that there is a reckoning day. As a nation, God will
deal with us in due time. He requires of us justice, mercy, and good will, to the vast
brotherhood of nations. No nation on earth ever was placed in circumstances better
to understand and appreciate her duty, and her true glory, in these respects, than our
own. We owe it to ourselves — we owe it to the human family, so long torn and dis-
tracted,^ and enfeebled, by wars; — we owe it to God, the author of all our privileges,
to set before all nations an example of forbearance, of peace, of love, in aU our national
intercourse and relations. He that created us — He that sustains us — against whom
we have sinned, and who is "giving us blood to drink because we are worthy;'* re-
quires us to humble ourselves before Him for our sins, in warring against our feeble
sister Republic; and to retrace our steps, and thus avert His righteous judgments.
Let the Church of God — His acknowledcjed servants and children — cease not to
confess their -sins, and the sins of the people, and seek the return of peace; that His
name may be glorified, and the true interests of these warring nations be promoted,
on the largest scale, and on the permanent foundation of truth and right.