Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 9.djvu/140

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THE WORLD'S FAMOUS ORATIONS


Over this vast expanse of territory your population is now so sparse that I believe we provided, at the last session, a regiment of mounted men to guard the mail from the frontier of Missouri to the mouth of the Columbia; and yet you persist in the ridiculous assertion, "I want room." One would imagine, from the frequent reiteration of the complaint, that you had a bursting, teeming population, whose energy was paralyzed, whose enterprise was crushed, for want of space. Why should we be so weak or wicked as to offer this idle apology for ravaging a neighboring Republic? It will impose on no one at home or abroad.

Do we not know, Mr. President, that it is a law never to be repealed that falsehood shall be short-lived? Was it not ordained of old that truth only shall abide for ever? Whatever we may say to-day, or whatever we may write in our books, the stern tribunal of history will review it all, detect falsehood, and bring us to judgment before that posterity which shall bless or curse us, as we may act now, wisely or otherwise. We may hide in the grave (which awaits us all) in vain; we may hope there, like the foolish bird that hides its head in the sand, in the vain belief that its body is not seen; yet even there this preposterous excuse of want of "room" shall be laid bare and the quick-coming future will decide that it was a hypocritical pretense under which we sought to conceal the avarice which prompted us to covet and to seize by force that which was not ours.

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