The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 12, July 1908 - April, 1909 Page: 242
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Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
been used by most historians in dealing with the Mexican war,
and challenges their conclusion as to its injustice. The method
which he condemns consists in using unsupported opinion and
assertion as determinative evidence; and his allegations against
many prominent writers that have somehow been led to use it are
convincingly sustained. Another feature of the method in ques-
tion which might well have been criticized more severely is that
of using uncertain interpretations of such statements as Polk's
remark to Bancroft forecasting the work of his administration,
or such documents as the instructions to Larkin concerning the
policy to be pursued in California, as if they were not open to
doubt. The conclusion that the war was unjustifiable Mr. Owen
refuses to accept because it has been reached only by the use of
the method against which he inveighs.
In order to make it possible to judge how far the personal
equation appears in his work, Mr. Owen tells something of his
antecedents. The son of a Free-Soiler, and himself an employe
of the "underground railroad," a Federal soldier during the Civil
War, a supporter of Fr6mont, and of Lincoln, Grant, and several
other Republican presidents, he sees nothing in his personal experi-
ences to give him "an undue liking for the ways of the slavehold-
ers," or any prejudice for or against any National administration
"Unless it be a strong impression made by General Hawley's re-
peated expression, 'Uncle Sam is a gentleman.' " And he adds con-
cerning Uncle Sam: "Only when anything said against him is
proved can it be received in silence-and with sadness." From such
utterances can be judged the spirit in which the book is written.
One chapter is given to the opinion of Senator John M. Niles.
A brief discussion of Niles's personality and antecedents, showing
his anti-slavery tendencies, as well as his courage and strength
of character, is summed up in the statement, "It is difficult to
imagine a man more fit in 1848 to form a deliberate and intelli-
gent judgment upon this subject [the causes of the war with
Mexico], or more absolutely to be relied on for an honest and
fearless one, than Senator Niles." Then is quoted from a speech
delivered by Niles in the Senate, February 9, 1848, an expression
of his judgment concerning the justice of the war, the essence of
which is in the following words: "We stand well in relation to
this war before the world, and have nothing to fear from the im-
partial judgment of posterity."
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 12, July 1908 - April, 1909, periodical, 1909; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101048/m1/270/: accessed March 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.