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remedied, needs little insight into ance of a nominal sovereignty by the secret history of late years to the grant of a foreign prince ; unknow, and that this remedy may der conditions equivalent to the best be concerted at the Panama concession by them, of exclusive meeting, deserves, at least, the ex- commercial advantages to one naperiment of consideration. A con- tion, adapted altogether to the state cert of measures, having reference of colonial vassalage, and retaining to the more effectual abolition of little of independence but the name. the African slave trade, and the. Our plenipotentiaries will be inconsideration of the light in which structed to present these views to the political condition of the island the assembly at Panama : and, of Hayti is to be regarded, are also should they not be concurred in, to among the subjects mentioned by decline acceding to any arrangethe minister from the republic of ment which may be proposed upon Colombia, as believed to be suita- different principles. ble for deliberation at the congress. The condition of the islands of The failure of the negotiations Cuba and Porto Rico is of deeper with that republic, undertaken du- import and more immediate bearring the late administration, for the ing upon the present interests and suppression of that trade, in com- future prospects of our union. pliance with a resolution of the The correspondence, herewith house of representatives, indicates transmitted, will show how earthe expediency of listening with nestly it has engaged the attention respectful attention to propositions of this government. The invasion which may contribute to the ac- of both those islands by the united complishment of the great end forces of Mexico and Colombia, is which was the purpose of that re- avowedly among the objects to be solution, while the result of those matured by the belligerent states negotiations will serve as admoni- at Panama. The convulsions to tion to abstain from pledging this which, from the peculiar composigovernment to any arrangement tion of their population, they which might be expected to fail of would be liable, in the event of obtaining the advice and consent of such an invasion, and the danger the senate, by a constitutional ma- therefrom resulting of their falling jority to its ratification.
ultimately into the hands of some Whether the political condition European power, other than Spain, of the island of Hayti shall be will not admit of our looking at the brought at all into discussion at the consequences to which the conmeeting, may be a question for gress at Panama may lead with inpreliminary advisement. There difference. It is unnecessary to are in the political constitution of enlarge upon this topic, or to say government of that people, circum- more than that all our efforts, in stances which have hitherto forbid. reference to this interest, will be to den the acknowledgment of them preserve the existing state of by the government of the United things, the tranquillity of the isStates, as sovereign and indepen- lands, and the peace and security of dent. Additional reasons for with their inhabitants. holding that acknowledgment have And, lastly, the congress of Parecently been seen in their accept- nama is believed to present a fair occasion for urging upon all the ties to the meeting, they will be new nations of the south, the just authorized to conclude nothing, and liberal principles of religious unless subject to the definitive liberty. Not by any interference sanction of this government, in all whatever in their internal con- its constitutional forms. It has, cerns, but by claiming for our citi. therefore, seemed to me unneceszens, whose occupations or inte sary to insist, that every object to rests may call them to occasional be discussed at the meeting, should residence in their territories, the be specified, with the precision of inestimable privilege of worship- a judicial sentence, or enumerated ping their Creator according to the with the exactness of a mathemadictates of their own consciences. tical demonstration. The purpose This privilege, sanctioned by the of the meeting itself is to delibecustomary law of nations, and se rate upon the great and common cured by treaty stipulations in nu- interests of several new and neighmerous national compacts ; se- boring nations. If the measure is cured even to our own citizens in new and without precedent, so is the treaties with Colombia and the situation of the parties to it. with the Federation of Central That the purposes of the meeting America, is yet to be obtained in are somewhat indefinite, far from the other South American states being an objection to it, is among and Mexico. Existing prejudices the cogent reasons for its adoption. are still struggling against it, It is not the establisment of prinwhich may, perhaps, be more suc- ciples of intercourse with one, but cessfully combatted at this general with seven or eight nations at meeting than at the separate seats once. That, before they have had of government of each republic. the means of exchanging ideas,
I can scarcely deem it other and communicating with one wise than superfluous to observe, another in common upon these that the assembly will be, in its topics, they should have definitivenature, diplomatic, and not legis- ly settled and arranged them in lative. That nothing can be trans- concert, is to require that the efacted there obligatory upon any fect should precede the cause. It one of the states, to be represent is to exact, as a preliminary to the ed at the meeting, unless with the meeting, that for the accomplishexpress concurrence of its own ment of which the meeting itself representatives, nor even then, but is designed. subject to the ratification of its Among the inquiries which were constitutional authority at home. thought entitled to consideration The faith of the United States to before the determination was taken foreign powers cannot otherwise to accept the invitation, was that, be pledged. I shall, indeed, in whether the measure might not the first instance, consider the as- have a tendency to change the sembly as merely consultative ; and policy hitherto invariably pursued although the plenipotentiaries of by the United States, of avoiding the United States will be empow- all entangling alliances, and all ered to receive and refer, to the unnecessary foreign connections. consideration of their government, Mindful of the advice given by any proposition from the other par- the father of our country, in his farewell address, that the great pendent nation of this hemisphere; rule of conduct for us in regard to and we were surrounded by Euroforeign nations, is, in extending pean colonies, with the greater our commercial relations, to have part of which we had no more inwith them as little political con- tercourse, than with the inhabitants nection as possible ; and, faithfully of another planet. Those colonies adhering to the spirit of that admo- have now been transformed into nition, I cannot overlook the re- eight independent nations, extendflection, that the counsel of Wash- ing to our very borders. Seven ington, in that instance, like all the of them republics, like ourselves; counsels of wisdom, was founded with whom we have an immensely upon the circumstances in which growing commercial, and must our country and the world around have, and have already, important us were situated, at the time, when political connections. With referit was given. That the reasons ence to whom our situation is neiassigned by him for his advice ther distant nor detached. Whose were, that Europe had a set of political principles and systems of primary interests, which to us had government, congenial with our none, or a very remote relation. own, must and will have an action That hence she must be engaged and counter-action upon us and in frequent controversies, the cau- ours, to which we cannot be inses of which were essentially fo- different if we would. reign to our concerns. That our The rapidity of our growth, and detached and distant situation in the consequent increase of our vited and enabled us to pursue a strength, has more than realized different course. That, by our the anticipations of this admirable union and rapid growth, with an political legacy. Thirty years have efficient government, the period nearly elapsed since it was written, was not far distant, when we and in the interval, our population, might defy inaterial injury from our wealth, our territorial extenexternal annoyance; when we sion, our power, physical and might take such an attitude as moral, has nearly trebled. Reawould cause our neutrality to be soning upon this state of things respected; and with reference to from the sound and judicious prinbelligerant nations, might choose ciples of Washington, and must peace or war, as our interests, we not say, that the period which guided by justice, should counsel. he predicted, as then not far off,
Compare our situation and the has arrived ? That America has a circumstances of that time, with set of primary interests, which those of the present day; and have none or a remote relation to what, from the very words of Europe. That the interference of Washington, then, would be his Europe, therefore, in those concounsels to his countrymen now ? cerns, should be spontaneously Europe has still her set of primary withheld by her upon the same interests, with which we have little principles, that we have never inor no relation. Our distant and terfered with hers and that if she detached situation with reference should interfere, as she may, by to Europe, remains the same. measures which may have a great But, we were then the only inde- and dangerous recoil upon our
selves, we might be called in de- citizens, and under which we have tence of our own altars and fire- enjoyed unexampled felicity, this sides, to take an attitude which whole nation is devoted. We owe would cause our neutrality to be it, therefore, to candor, and to the respected, and choose peace or amicable relations subsisting bewar, as our interest, guided by tween the United States and those justice, shall counsel.
powers, to declare, that we should The acceptance of this invita consider any attempt on their part, tion therefore, far from conflicting to extend their system to any porwith the counsel or the policy of tion of this hemisphere, as dangerWashington, is directly deducible ous to our peace and safety. With from and conformable to it; nor the existing colonies or dependenis it less conformable to the views cies of any European power, we of my immediate predecessor, as have not interfered, and shall not declared in his annual message to interfere. But, with the governcongress, of the 2d of December, ments who have declared their in1823, to which I have already ad- dependence and maintained it, and verted, and to an important pas- whose independence we have, on sage of which, I invite the atten- great consideration, and on just tion of the house. “ The citizens principles, acknowledged, we could of the United States,” said he, not view any interposition, for the “ cherish sentiments the most purposes of oppressing them, or friendly in favor of the liberty and controlling in any other manner happiness of their fellow-men on their destiny, by any European that, (the European,) side of the power, in any other light than as Atlantic. In the wars of the Eu- the manifestation of an unfriendly ropean powers, in matters relating disposition towards the United to themselves, we have never States. In the war between those taken any part, nor does it com- new governments and Spain, we port with our policy so to do. It declared our neutrality at the time is only when our rights are inva- of their recognition; and to this ded, or seriously menaced, that we have adhered, and shall conwe resent injuries, or make pre- tinue to adhere, provided no change paration for our defence. With shall occur, which, in the judgment the movements in this hemisphere, of the competent authorities of this we are, of necessity, more imme government, shall make a corrediately connected, and by causes sponding change, on the part of which must be obvious to all en- the United States, indispensable to lightened and impartial observers. their securities." The political system of the allied To the question which may be powers, is essentially different in asked, whether this meeting and this respect from that of America. the principles which may be adThis difference proceeds from that justed and settled by it as rules of which exists in their respective intercourse between the American governments. And to the defence nations, may not give umbrage to of our own, which has been achie- the holy league of European powved by the loss of so much blood ers, or offence to Spain, it is deemand treasure, and matured by the ed a sufficient answer, that our atwisdom of their most enlightened tendance at Panama can give no :
just cause of umbrage or offence the nomination of commissioners to either-and that the United for the mission, should receive the States will stipulate nothing there advice and consent of the senate. which can give such cause. Here The concurrence of the house to the right of inquiry into our pur- the measure, by the appropriations poses and measures must stop. necessary for carrying it into effect, The holy league of Europe itself is alike subject to its free determiwas formed without inquiring of nation, and indispensable to the the United States whether it would fulfilment of the intention. or would not give umbrage to That the congress at Panama them. The fear of giving um will accomplish all, or even any of brage to the holy league of Eu- the transcendent benefits to the rope was urged as a motive for human race, which warmed the denying to the American nations conceptions of its first proposer, it the acknowledgment of their inde- were, perhaps, indulging too sanpendence. That it would be view. guine a forecast of events to proed by Spain as hostility to her, mise. It is, in its nature, a meawas not only urged, but direttly sure speculative and experimental. declared by herself. The congress The blessing of heaven may turn it and administration of that day con- to the account of human improvesulted their rights and duties, and ment. Accidents unforeseen, and not their fears. Fully determined mischances not to be anticipated, to give no needless displeasure may baffle all its high purposes, and to any foreign power, the United disappoint its fairest expectations. States can estimate the probability But the design is great, is benevoof their giving it, only by the right lent, is humane. It looks to the which any foreign state could have, melioration of the condition of man. to take it from their measures. It is congenial with that spirit which Neither the representation of the prompted the declaration of our United States at Panama, nor any independence ; which inspired the measure to which their assent may preamble of our first treaty with be yielded there, will give to the France; which dictated our first holy league, or any of its members, treaty with Prussia, and the instruc. nor to Spain, the right to take of- tions under which it was negotiafence. For the rest, the United ted; which filled the hearts and States must still, as heretofore, take fired the souls of the immortal counsel from their duties, rather founders of our revolution. than their fears.
With this unrestricted exposition Such are the objects in which it of the motives by which I have is expected that the plenipotentia- been governed, in this transaction, ries of the United States, when as well as of the objects to be discommissioned to attend the meet cussed, and of the ends, if possiing at the Isthmus, will take part; ble, to be attained by our repreand such are the motives and pur- sentation at the proposed congress, poses, with which the invitation of I submit the propriety of an appro- the three republics was accepted. priation, to the candid consideraIt was, however, as the house will tion, and enlightened patriotism of perceive from the correspondence, the legislature. accepted only upon condition that
Joun Quincy Adams.