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These objects are all important. cerns, and to announce its policy They afford a suflicient reason to to the world; but not to negotiate, send some kind of agents. There as to what it shall be. are other subjects of minor import. It is for us to say that our policy ance; and it is proposed to discuss is pacific and neutral ; that we are all these subjects by our ministers; determined to steer clear, of all difbut we are not to be bound by their ficulties growing out of the situadecisions, until they have been rati- tion and circumstances of other fied by the senate.
nations ; and that we will never There are, however, subjects consent to negotiate, whether we connected with this country, which will take part in their concerns he would not consent should even or not. If, however, any gentlebe discussed or considered; and to man would say, that he was willprevent that, he had proposed his ing to stipulate, that we should irreamendment. .
vocably take part in any disputes There are questions of interna between foreign nations; he was detional law--the abolition of the sirous distinctly to say that he slave trade--the condition of Hay- would not consent to any such stiti, Porto Rico, and Cuba--the re- pulation. He would not go abroad sistance of any attempts to form to make an agreement, which he new colonial establishments on this would not assent to at home. He continent-and any interference would not even discuss those with the domestic relations of the points; and therefore he thought it new republics.
. due to ourselves and to these goHe did not object to the discus- vernments, that if we determine to sion of any of these topics, but the remain free from any such pledge, last ; though he did not believe that they should know our determinaany one of these objects would be tion. gained by the mission. We have He did not mean to say, that it is nothing to give, or to concede ; the intention of the executive to and, therefore, nothing to gain: enter into any alliances, or stipulastill they may be discussed. Any tions on this subject. Still, the treaty as to foreign nations, is in- subject will be discussed : these compatible with our policy, and, powers expect it will ; and this extherefore, ought not to be discuss- pectation, is a reason why our ed. The system of policy adopted opinions should be declared. by a nation, is not a subject of ne- He then quoted from the letters gotiation. It is the duty of a go- of Messrs. Salazar, Obregon, and vernment to regulate its own con- Canaz, to Mr. Clay; and his answer accepting the invitation ; kindled the sympathies of the people and also from the president's mes. -it was an acclamation of the whole sage, to show that this was one of country, but the course adopted by the prominent objects of the mis- the government, checked and qualision; and then proceeded to say, fied it. So also in relation to the that it was not by treaty alone, South American states, the policy that alliances and obligations were which we have adopted towards entered into : they might be assum- them, was the act of the government ed by proclamation, and by many on the people. other modes. He would not enter The message of the president into this subject. The settled poli- takes the valedictory address of cy of this country is not only neu- general Washington, as the foundatral ; but to avoid all political con- tion of the neutral policy of the nections, all entangling alliances, country. It is not so. The poliand all associations which are not cy existed before that address; it necessary to effect commercial ob- had its origin in the very infancy of jects. It is the interest of the coun- our country, and that valedictory try that this policy should prevail ; address came to confirm it. That and it is the duty of the government address was not so much in favor of to make it prevail. The govern- the policy itself; as of its continument indeed cannot be insensible ance. If he had not totally misunto the public opinion. It is founded derstood the spirit of that address, it on public opinion; but when a related not to our policy as to a parfeverish excitement has been crea- ticular people or a particular time; ted by adventitious causes, it is the but to all people, and to all time : duty of the government to repress to preserve our 'neutral attitude, it. The moment the government and thus to disconnect ourselves loses sight of this principle, we are from the broils of other nations, all afloat. The policy of the act of wherever they may be situated. 1793 was, the moderation of the The great spirit of this policy is, to government, acting on public ex- leave the government untrammelcitement. The sympathies of the led, to act according to our best inpeople were strongly and justly ex- terests, whenever we may be called cited in favor of the French nation ; on to do so. This might have been and this violence of feeling would the motive to recommend it, in rehave hurried us into war, but for the lation to European and other nainterposition of the power of the go- tions. What is there in the characvernment. Again, on a more recent ter of the South American governoccasion, the efforts of the Greeks ments, to induce any change in this policy towards them. He had no to pass through various trials, bewish, to undervalue that part of the fore they can reach their proper continent. He would not wish it elevation among nations. He was to be supposed, that he had no sym- desirous that all their best hopes pathy for the South American might be realised ; but they are yet people : he had deeply sympathized new, and may be involved by a mulin all their struggles and privations tiplicity of circumstances. . in quest of their independence; but He would not go farther into in their institutions themselves, an argument, as to general topics. there was nothing to excite any The simple object he had in view, particular sympathy. He felt all was to offer his amendment. It due respect for their character ; he appeared to him, that we cannot was as great an admirer of the vote the appropriation ; unless we courage and constancy they had come to an expression of the opiexhibited, as any gentleman could nion contained in the amendment, be; but he would not suffer that without committing ourselves. It feeling to drag him from his moor- is avowed in the message and the ings, nor to set the country afloat. documents, that we must have poIf there be any thing in the proxi- litical relations. He would not say, mity of those nations to influence, that we would not have these politiit should rather strengthen our at-' cal relations. It is the opinion of tachment to this policy, and induce the ruling statesmen of our day and us to cling with still greater cir- of our country, that we are an cumspection to our anchorage. It American family of governments, is here the European nations are and have common interests and a detached and distant, and the facili- common cause. When that opinion ties for the preservation of a neu- is acted on, and we are called to tral character are greater ; but be- send ministers, he would say, it is cause a nation is nearer, and the a subject not to be discussed. It difficulty of sustaining that cha- will not satisfy to bring forward as racter is greater, the more difficult an argument, that we cannot comit is to preserve neutrality, the promit our neutrality. Our truc greater necessity is there for cir- ground is—we cannot go into the cumspection. Would a war on our discussion at all. If the executive borders be less injurious to us, than wish to avoid the expression of an a difficulty with a remote antago- opinion—if the house will sustain nist? These governments are yet him in his amendment, we will tell in their infancy—they are still in these governments that we will go so their chrysalis state-they have yet far; but the people and their representatives say we must not go so the whole continent; so that we far, as to commit the interests of must maintain the principle over the country.
the whole continent. But, even In offering his amendment, he if restricted, great dangers might had no disposition to embarrass the ensue. On the Northwest Coast, measure. He should propose to the claims of the United States and leave the whole constitutional pow- Great Britain are in direct coner to the president; but he could flict. Between the 42d and the not reconcile it to his sense of duty 54th degree of north latitude, to give the appropriation without (which is the limit of the Russian the opinion.
claim,) there was a dispute as to To the amendment of Mr. the boundary of our possessions. M’Lane, Mr. Rives of Virginia, Our claims to the disputed territory, proposed to add after the 25th line are founded on the prior discovery the following :
of captain Gray, in 1790. This " Or any compactor engage- claim is denied by Great Britain. ment by which the United States Our claims to the rest of the coast, shall be pledged to the Spanish rest on the Spanish grants. How American states, to maintain, by is our claim received by Great Briforce, the principle that no part of tain ? Our minister informs us that the American continent is hence- she is not prepared to relinquishi forward subject to colonization by her claim, and would not admit any European power.”
ours. This shows that Great BriMr. Rives said, that this subject tain is resolved to dispute our was a prominent object of the de- claim; and it becomes us, before. liberations of the Panama con- we involve ourselves in a contest, gress; and he was unwilling to to satisfy ourselves that the princicommit the country to any engage- ple is just. We had not been able ment with the South American to sustain our demand upon any states on this point. He thought good ground; and he was unwilling he could satisfy the committee, to place ourselves in collision with that by so doing, we should di- Great Britain, upon such a sharectly endanger the peace of the dowy foundation of right. country, and be placed in a hos- He was not satisfied that no Eutile position, with one of the most ropean power could introduce a powerful nations of the earth. He cominercial intercourse into this referred to Great Britain.
territory; and such an intercourse, The president stated, in general necessarily accompanied territorial terms, that our territory covered dominion.
Another reason alleged was, that to do away, the application of the United States had a sort of po- Washington's advice to these litical supremacy over the whole times. continent. This could not be sus. He differed with the executive tained. The principle itself, was on this point. He thought the adstill a matter of controversy be. vice even more applicable now, tween Great Britain and this coun- than when delivered. Then we try; and if we pledge ourselves to were in a state of infancy, and it sustain it, we probably rush into might have been desirable to have an actual war. This is not a mere had the aid of older powers. Now, question of boundaries. No per- we are strong enough to defend son will believe, that the president ourselves. He considered the gomeant that we should pledge our vernment to have pledged itself by selves to maintain our territorial this mission on two points, viz. to boundaries as we claimed them. resist any farther colonization of The fact is, it is a controverted this continent; and the interference question between ourselves and of any European powers in the conGreat Britain, and it was unwise in test between Spain and her former us to give such a pledge.
colonies; and that the house was We had no motive for it. We bound to step in, and release them want no aid from these states to from the dilemma in which it had vindicate our own boundaries; and involved itself. . if we did, we could not obtain it In reply, Mr. Webster said, that in in the mode proposed.
his opinion these amendments preMr. Rives also objected to this sented two questions; the first, whefraternal system, which, he said, ther the house of representatives will seemed to have been lately adopt- withhold the ordinary appropriation, ed towards the South American for carrying into effect an executive states. All its consequences were measure, which the executive deto be referred to the secretary of partment has constitutionally instistate. The present executive, tuted? The second, whether, it whatever was his original bias, has will take the responsibility of interbecome a proselyte. The caba- posing, with its own opinions, dilistic phrases of this system, “ sis- rections or instructions, as to the ter republics,” “new-born na- manner in which this particular extions,”' &c. recurring in his mes- ecutive measure shall be conducted ? sage, show that the president had "He was in the negative, on both adopted it.
these propositions. He was neither Another evidence is, the attempt willing to refuse the appropriation,