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Transcription contributed by Martie Callihan 17 January 2005
|The History of Warren County Ohio
Part III. The History of Warren County by Josiah Morrow
Chapter VII. Military History
(Chicago, IL: W. H. Beers Co, 1882; reprint, Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1992)
|The Mexican War|
The war with Mexico aroused but little of the martial spirit of the people of Warren County. There was a prevalent sentiment among the people that the war was unnecessary; many believed that their Government was in the wrong. The county was strongly Whig in politics, and the majority were not enthusiastic in their support of the war measures of a Democratic administration. There were but few men from the county in the war.
No event during the progress of the war aroused more interest among the
people of every class in the county than the memorable speech of their
Corwin, against the further prosecution of the war, delivered in the
Senate of the United States February 11, 1847, just before Gen. Scott
began the last campaign, which completely broke the military power of
Mexico, and after Taylor had won his most brilliant victories. Perhaps
no speech ever delivered in Congress was so much talked about. On one
side, its sentiments were approved; on the other, they were denounced
as treasonable. The orator himself, in after years, with some rhetorical
exaggeration, said the speech had caused him to be burned in effigy in
every town and hamlet from Maine to Texas that had sent a soldier to fight
against Mexico. The famous expression of "Welcome you with bloody
hands" caused the Senator in his own county to be represented on
banners carried in the processions of his political opponents with his
hands and arms to the elbows painted blood red, and underneath the picture,
the word "Traitor." Considering the unpopularity of the sentiments
uttered, the mere politician regarded the orator as unwise. Looking at
the strength and boldness of his language, some of his friends reproached
him for imprudence, and his opponents denounced him as a traitor. But
time has already marked it as the greatest and best speech of the eminent
orator. Portions of it have become familiar to school-boys, and have taken
their place among the most eloquent passages in the English language.
The memorable expressions, "bloody hands" and "hospitable
graves" occur in a passage which is frequently incorrectly quoted.
The exact language of Senator
Corwin will be found below:
|What is the territory, Mr. President, which you propose to
wrest from Mexico? It is consecrated to the heart of the Mexican by many
a well-fought battle with his old Castilian master. His Bunker Hills and
Saratogas and Yorktowns are there. The Mexican can say, There I bled for
liberty, and shall I surrender that consecrated home of my affections to
the Anglo-Saxon invaders?
Sir, had one come and demanded Bunker Hill of the people of Massachusetts, had England's lion ever showed himself there, is a there a man over thirteen and under ninety who would not have been ready to meet him—is there a river on this continent that would not have run red with blood—is there a field but would have been piled high with the unburied bones of slaughtered Americans before these consecrated battlefields of liberty should have been wrested from us?
If I were a Mexican, I would tell you, "Have you not room in your
own country to bury your dead men? If you come into mine, we will
greet you with bloody hands and welcome you to hospitable graves."
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This page created 17 January 2005 and last updated
15 March, 2005
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