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[33] will hardly yield in importance to any measure of our Government since the adoption of the Federal Constitution. It is certainly the most wicked in our history, as it is one of the most wicked in all history. The recording Muse will drop a tear over its turpitude and injustice, while she gibbets it for the disgust and reprobation of mankind.

Such, Sir, is the Act of Congress to which, by your affirmative vote, the people of Boston have been made parties. Through you, they have been made to declare an unjust and cowardly war, with falsehood, in the cause of slavery. Through you, they have been made partakers in the blockade of Vera Cruz, in the seizure of California, in the capture of Santa Fe, in the bloodshed of Monterey. It were idle to suppose that the poor soldier, or officer only, is stained by this guilt. It reaches far back, and incarnadines the Halls of Congress; nay more, through you, it reddens the hands of your constituents in Boston. Pardon this language. Strong as it may seem, it is weak to express the aggravation of your act, in joining in the declaration of an unjust war. Oh! Mr. Winthrop, rather than lend your vote to this wickedness, you should have suffered the army of the United States to pass submissively through the Caudine Forks of Mexican power—to perish, it might be, irretrievably, like the legions of Varus. Their bleached bones, in the distant valleys where they were waging an unjust war, would not tell to posterity such a tale of ignominy as this lying Act of Congress.

Another apology, suggested by yourself, and vouchsafed by your defenders, is founded on the alleged duty of voting succors to General Taylor's troops, and the impossibility of doing this, without voting also for the Bill, after it had been converted into a Declaration of Falsehood and of War. It is said that patriotism required this vote. Patriotism! is not thy name profaned by this apology! Let one of your honored predecessors, Sir, a representative of Boston on the floor of Congress, Mr. Quincy, give the reply to this apology. On an occasion of trial not unlike that through which you have passed, and in the same place, he gave utterance to these noble words:—

But it is said this resolution must be taken ‘as a test of patriotism.’ To this I have but one answer. If patriotism ask me to assert a falsehood, I have no hesitation in telling patriotism, ‘I am not prepared to make that sacrifice.’ The duty we owe to our country is indeed among the most solemn and impressive of all obligations. But, high as it may be, it is nevertheless subordinate to that, which we owe to that Being, with whose name and character truth is identified. In this respect, I deem myself acting, upon this resolution, under a higher responsibility than either to this House, or this people.

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Robert C. Winthrop (2)
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