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tion of Oregon and the re-annexation of alike to the theory of our institutions, to Texas, at the earliest practicable period, the sworn fidelity of the President, and to are great American measures, which the the high and solemn responsibilities of Convention recommend to the cordial sup- his office, to assume, or to assert, that in port of the democracy of the Union.”' shaping the foreign policy of the nation,
In his first message, President Polk or in any other great national manifestaadopted verbatim and repeated the first tion, the Executive head of this Repubparagraph of this resolution, and for so lic acknowledges any other obligation, doing he is vindicated, on the ground that any other allegiance, than to the whole the fact of his election upon the doctrines people of the United States, and to the put forth at Baltimore, is to be taken as Constitution, which is their common deconclusive evidence that they expressed fence and law. the popular will. But if so, why did the For this government is one of compact message stop short with the first para- and mutual agreement, where all, numergraph, and why is not the second as obli- ically, at least, have equal rights and an gatory, according to this logic, as the equal interest; and it is not a device first ? If the people of the United States whereby a party majority shall have the meant to be understood, in electing Mr. right to dispose at pleasure of the interPolk, as declaring that “our title to the est and happiness of others. whole of the territory of Oregon is clear Party, indeed, under institutions like and unquestionable,” they must be con ours, will ever mingle, and, within reasonsidered as in like manner declaring “that able limits, may without danger mingle, no portion of the same ought to be ceded in the contests for the possession of to England.” But the message made no power, and of the fruits of power after such declaration. So far, indeed, is Mr. it is acquired ; but beyond that, it can Polk from entertaining any such view, never rightfully go. More especially in that he has actually entered into negotia. our relations with foreign nations and tion with Great Britain concerning the in the suggestion or adoption of our very territory, which he could not have foreign policy, is it plainly manifest that done if he considered himself bound in Party should always be contemned as an no event “to cede any portion of it to unwise and unworthy counselor. Great Britain.”
It is the great blot in the career of Mr. It is therefore illogical, upon the pre- Van Buren, that when Secretary of State mises relied on, to contend that the of the United States, he degraded the President is only carrying out the popular country in whose name he spoke, by diswill as indicated by this resolution. avowing the acts of the Administration to
But were it otherwise, and that it could which that whereof he formed part sucbe made out satisfactorily that in all points ceeded—and songht favor from a foreign the resolutions of a party meeting were government by representing as unfounded suffered by the President of the United pretensions which the then President States to control his official views and hastened to recall-the honest assertion conduct, in respect of great national in- by his predecessors, of claims, wbich terests—interests involving the honor, were only distasteful to that foreign govhappiness and peace of the whole coun ernment, because they were as clear as try, possibly those of the civilized world they were honest. --would the case be in any wise better The overwhelming and disastrous popfor him?
ularity of General Jackson covered up The President, when he takes his seat, and glossed over this enormity, as it did makes solemn appeal to Heaven, that he so many others; but in the future annals “ will faithfully execute the office of Press of the country, it will be recorded to the ident of the United States, and will to the lasting discredit of Mr. Van Buren, that hest of his ability, preserve, protect and he, for the first time in our diplomatic indefend the Constitution of the United tercourse with another nation, introduced States."
and sought to make party capital out of It is nowhere said that he shall be the our domestic differences. President of a party, and it is nowhere In the actual posture of the Oregon written in the Constitution, which is to question, therefore, it is, above all things, be the guide, the measure, and the rule of desirable that party should not be perhis conduct, that the President must, or mitted to determine the issue, and that all should, or honestly can, shape his course mere appeals to partisans as such should by the lights of conventions unknown to be discouraged. that Constitution. It is therefore a wrong
There is need of the considerate wis.
dom and patriotism of all to give to this seem, against any change in a policy requestion a proper direction, and to insure specting that region, which is working so to it a satisfactory solution.
well, and by natural causes is tending to It cannot, we would fain hope, be bring about, without shock or violence, wrong to assume that the nation does not but peacefully and surely, that result, seek to do injustice-nor prefer the ways which some among us seem so intensely of violence, to those of moderation-nor to covet, as to be willing to rush into war wish for war, while war can be honor. for its attainment. ably avoided.
A new element, moreover, has recently Upon this hypothesis the anxiety entered into the speculations and calculawhich undeniably now agitates the pub- tions concerning Oregon-the possibility lic mind respecting Oregon, can only arise that, while the United States and Great from distrust of the administration. We Britain are debating to whom it shall beconfess ourselves to share in this distrust, long, the actual occupants of the country and yet the course for us is so plain and may claim it for themselves, and seek to smooth for escaping all difficulties on the establish there a great Pacific Republicsubject, by persevering in what Mr. bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, Calhoun so justly characterized as “a and yet not identified with us. In such a wise and masterly inactivity,” that we contingency, who is there prepared to say cannot comprehend, on any sound prin- that it would not be for the best that the ciples of reasoning, why the country controversy should be thus resolved? should be urged to deviate from it.
Is there not much to excite and soothe We do not want the territory merely the patriotic mind, in the idea of a new as territory; and if we did, it would be no Republic-planted by our hands on the more accessible to us, nor as far as can opposite side of the continent, bound to be discerned, any more tempting for us by descent, by language, by similarity settlers, than now it is. For many years of institutions, by multiplying interests of after the renewal in 1828 of the con mutual intercourse--growing up to greatvention for the joint occupation of that ness under the shadow of our Eagle's territory by the citizens of both countries wings--and ready, when need shall come, without prejudice to the rights of either, to unite its arms with ours, in defence of there was no attempt at, or tendency to, the institutions, the principles and liberemigration and permanent settlement ties, alike dear, and alike common to there from the United States. The first both; and especially for the assertion of colony for settlement that went forth was that great American principle which shall in 1834. It consisted of a band of Meth- forbid the intervention of European naodists, under their ministers, and they tions in American affairs ? established themselves in the valley of We do not say that the people of Oregon the Willamette river, where a few retired would be more likely to prefer being a servants of the Hudson Bay Company, Republic by themselves to becoming a (British) were previously residing. Next part of this Union. But we do say, it in order, according to Greenough, colo- would be altogether wiser and more libenies of Presbyterians or Congregation- ral, to let that people determine this matalists were planted in the Waila Walla ter for themselves. It is more honorable and Spokan countries. In 1839, a print- for all concerned—but especially for ouring press was set up in Walla Walla, on selves. There would be, in such a sowhich were struck off the first sheets lution of the question—and this is a point ever printeil on the Pacific side of Amer- of view which we gladly entertain--a triica north of Mexico. The Jesuits from St. umphant refutation of ihe charge which, Louis soon after sent our missionaries to not England only, but France, and, indeed, that region :o convert and instruct the Europe, seem disposed to bring against us, Indians; but, according to the usage of of seeking unlimited territorial aggranthat order, they ma le no seitlement.
dizement. If it shall appear that, with Since that period, emigration to Oregon claims so strong to Oregon as we think has received a great impulse, and now those of this country, it shall yet acquiesce there are some thousand American settlers in, and not only acquiesce in, but en. in its different valleys, outnumbering, in courage, promote and protect, the formathe proportion probably of six to one, the tion there of an independent nation, English and all other European colo- bound to ns by none other than moral nisis.
and natural ties, there can be pune to In this one fact, if duly weighed, is to gainsay the disinterestedness of the act. be found an argument conclusive, it would Whether during the sitting of Con.
gress this inchoate project of the inhabit- the leading European governments might ants of the valleys of the Columbia river offer their aid to Spain for the purpose of to assert their right to self-government pacifying or reducing her revolted coloand independence, will be sufficiently nies. Such an interposition in the affairs matured to be made a matter of serious of this hemisphere, could not be regarded deliberation, it is impossible now to con with indifference by the government of the jecture. Meantime, the appearances are, United States—the great power of this that the party which professes the great. Continent, with all its sympathies natuest respect for the doctrine of the right of rally enlisted in behalf of a neighboring self-government, will be found discoura- people struggling for their freedom—this ging, if not resisting, the exercise of that government had nevertheless studiously right, in its full extent, by the ultra-mon- maintained its neutrality between Spain tane Americans, and that it will be de- and her revolted colonies. Having thus sired rather to hold them as colonists, evinced its own self-denial and its scruwhose fate must ultimately be united pulous respect for the principle, that to with ours under one and the same gov. each people it belongs to decide upon and ernment, than to assist or encourage adopt the form of government best suited them in asserting their own separate na to it, and that no foreign nation can righttionality and entire independence. fully control by arms such free choice
In every aspect, therefore, which this and decision, the American governsubject may assume, it will appeal strong- ment was manifestly in a position to say ly to the feelings, the principles, the sound authoritatively to Europe, that the prinjudgment, the wise forecast, and the un- ciple of non-intervention, so faithfully, shrinking firmness of the Whig party. and under such trying circumstances, ob
In throwing out the reflections we here served by it, must not be departed from present, we design them as suggestions nor violated by other governments, esmerely—not counsels—for the occur- pecially by those removed by position rences of the next hour may overthrow, out of the American system. Uiterance in an instant, all present combinations in was accordingly given to this sentiment calculation.
by the then President, Mr. Monroe, in his One point only may, we think, be stated seventh annual message to Congress, in as incontrovertible, and upon that point this passage: we trust the Whigs will be found united to a man-and that is, that war for Ore
“ Of events in that quarter of the globe
with which we have had so much intergon, unless an attempt be made to wrest it forcibly from our possession, is an ab- gin, we have always been anxious and in
course, and from which we derive our orisurdity at once and a crime.
terested spectators. The citizens of the There still remains one great question United States cherish sentiments in favor of for examination which has not fallen with- the liberty and happiness of their fellow in the domain of ordinary politics or of men on that side of the Atlantic. In the merely local or domesticinterests, and pre wars of the European powers, in matters sents many new and complicated features. relating to themselves, we have never taken It is that of the independence of the any part, nor does it comport with our American Continent from the control, po- policy so to do. It is only when our rights litical or physical, of European nations.
are invaded or seriously menaced, that we It is now almost a quarter of a century defence. With the movements in this bemi
resist injuries or inake preparations for our since this idea was first formally enuncia- sphere, we are of necessity more immedited on this side of the Atlantic, and then ately connected, and by causes which must it seemed to speak the general sentiment be obvious to alí enlightened and impartial of the country. Circumstances connected observers. The political system of the alwith the emancipation of the Spanish lied powers is essentially different in this American colonies from the dominion of respect froin that of America. This difierthe mother country, and with the long, ence proceeds from that which exists in and for a time uncertain, struggle which their respective governments. And to the some of them were called upon to main- defence of our own, which has been achievtain, led to an apprehension in this coun
ed by the loss of so much blood and trea
sure, and matured by ihe wisdom of their try that, under the plea of putting a stop
most enlightened citizens, and under which to the waste of human life, and to the
we have enjoyed unexampled felicity, this blooily and remorseless wartare which whole nation is devoted. characterizes in a special manner civil “ We owe it therefore to candor, and to contests among the Spanish race, some of the amicable relations existing between the
United States and those powers, to declare, these truly American sentiments—appealthat we should consider any atteinpt on their ing as they did, and do, to a feeling of part to extend any portion of their system comprehensive nationality, founded on to this hemisphere, as dangerous to our peace und safety. With the existing colo- and identity of political aims. As a mat
position or similarity of political features, nies or dependencies of any European pow
ter of fact, in South, as in North, Amerier, we have not interfered, and shall not interefere. But with the governments who
ca, the new nations were all of European have declared their independence and main. origin; had been planted as colonies, tained it, and whose independence we have oppressed as colonies, as colonies had on great consideration and on just principle rebelled; and through much carnage and acknowledged, we could not view any in- suffering had turned rebellion into sucterposition for the purpose of oppressing cessful revolution. Everywhere the them, or controlling in any other manner rights of human nature, and the capacity their destiny, by any European power, in of men for self-government, were asany other light than as the manifestation serted, and made the basis of the new of an unfriendly disposition towards the forms of government; and hence there United States. “In the war between those new govern
arose a common American interest to ments and Spain, we declared our neutral- oppose any and every attempt, on the ity at the time of their recognition, and to part of European powers, other than this we have adhered, and shall continue Spain, to reduce or revolutionize the to adhere, provided no change shall occur, country. which, in the judgment of the competent Fortified by the concurrence of public authorities of this government, shall make opinion, at the next session, in December, a corresponding change on the part of the 1824, President Monroe, in the last anUnited States indispensable to their security.”
nual message he delivered, thus returned
to the subject : In a subsequent part of the same mes. sage the President, after referring to the “ The disturbances which have appeared then recent armed interposition by the Al- in certain portions of that vast territority lied Powers,“ on a principle satisfactory have proceeded from internal causes, which to themselves,” in the internal concerns of had their origin in their former governSpain, contrasts therewith the policy of the ment, and have not yet been thoroughly United States in regard to Europe, and removed. It is manifest that these causes distinctly intimates that we should require are daily losing their effect, and that these a like policy towards this continent from new states are settling down under govEurope. This is the explicit language ernments elective and representative in used:
every branch, similar to our own. In this
course we ardently wish them to persevere, “Our policy in regard to Europe, which
under a firm conviction that it will prowe adopted at an early stage of the wars inote their happiness. In this, their cawhich have so long agitated that quarter of reer, however, we have not interfered, the globe, nevertheless remains the same
believing that every people have a right to which is, not to interfere in the internal institute for themselves the government concerns of any of its powers; to consider which, in their judgment, may suit them the government de facto as the legitimate best. Our example is before them, of the government for us; to cultivate friendly good effect of which, being our neighbors, relations with it, and to preserve those re they are competent judges, and to their lations by a firm, frank and manly policy; judgment we leave it, in the expectation meeting in all instances the just claims of that other powers will pursue the same every power, submitting to injuries from policy. The deep interest which we take
But in regard to these continents, in their independence, which we have accircumstances are eminently and conspicu- knowledged, and in their enjoyment of all ously different. It is impossible that the the rights incident thereto, especially in allied powers should extend their political the very important one of instituting their system to any portion of either continent own governments, has been declared, and without endangering our peace and happi. is known to the world. Separated as we ness; nor can any one believe that our are from Europe by the great Atlantic Southern brethren, if left to themselves, Ocean, we can have no concern in the wars would adopt it of their own accord. It is of European governments, nor in the causes equally impossible, therefore, that we should which produce them. The balance of behold such interposition in any form with power between them, into whichever scale indifference."
it may turn in its various vibrations, can
not affect us. It is the interest of the The nation seemed generally to adopt United States to preserve the most friendly
relations with every power, and on con congress, of engaging the European alliditions fair, equal, and applicable to all. ance in actual operations against the But in regard to our neighbors our situ- South Americans; as it is well known ation is different. It is impossible for the
that a plan for their joint mediation beEuropean governments to interfere in their
tween Spain and her colonies, for reconcerns, especially in those alluded to, which are vital, without affecting us ; in storing them to her authority, was acdeed, the motive which might induce such tually matured, and finally failed at that interference in the present state of the war place, only by the refusal of Great Bripetween the parties, if war it may be called, tain to accede to the condition of employwould appear to be equally applicable to ing force, eventually, against the South
It is gratifying to know that some of Americans, for its accomplishment. the powers with whom we enjoy a very Desirous of so shaping the policy of this friendly intercourse, and to whom these government both towards the new nations views have been communicated, have ap- springing up on this continent, and topeared to acquiesce in them.”
wards Spain, with which our relations It is apparent, from the language here were those of friendship, as to avoid just used, that the feeling of an American cause of offence to either, the President, system-as distinct from, and independ. early in March, 1822, in an explicit deent of, the European system-had made 'claration to Congress, expressed the progress; and that, as this hemisphere opinon that “ the time had arrived when, interposed, neither by counsels nor by in strict conformity to the law of nations, arms, in the arrangements of the allied and in the fulfilment of the duties of European powers, it had a right to ex- equal and impartial justice to all parties, pect, and meant to require, that Europe the acknowledgment of the independshould be, in like manner, abstinent in ence declared by the Spanish American respect of America.
colonies could no longer be withheld.” From the concluding paragraph, more- Congress, prepared by information comover, it is obvious that the views ex municated in answer to its calls, acted on pressed in the preceding message had this declaration, and, in May of the same been made the subject of diplomatic com year, appropriated funds for such mismunication to some of the friendly pow. sions to the independent American naers of Europe, and been, apparently, tions as the President should determine acquiesced in by them.
to institute. It was not from any sudden or incon In this actual recognition of those nasiderate impulse that the government tions, this government took precedence of of the United States assumed this attitude; all others; and it was a necessary comnor without ample evidence that some plement of the just policy then proclaimsuch European interposition as Mr.ed, that in the following year the PresiMonroe, in his message, foreshadowed dent should distinctly make known to and reproved, had been contemplated. Europe and the world, that the nations
As early as 1818, the American gov- thus recognized by us as independent, ernment had invited that of Great Britain and the continent which we and they in
coöperate with it, in acknowledging habit, were no longer to be looked upon the independence of Buenos Ayres—he as subject to European colonization. only one of the Spanish-American states It has been already stated, that the which at that time had succeeded in en- people of the United States adhered to tirely expelling the Spanish forces from and approved the ground thus taken by its soil. It did not comport with the the Executive, and that the European policy of Great Britain to unite in this powers to whom it was explained appameasure; but the fact, that it was medi- rently acquiesced in it and its moral tated, and indeed determined on, by the effects. United States, exercised an important The influence, at the time, of this high influence on the deliberations of the con and manly course, and its moral effect, gress of Aix-la-Chapelle, held in October, upon the counsels of allied Europe, and 1818.
upon the destinies of the new States of The purpose of the United States to America, cannot probably be exaggerated. acknowledge, as governments de facto, If it have lost much of its weight and such of the new South American states consideration, as it would seem to have as should succeed in driving out and done from the speech of the French keeping out the Spanish forces, did, premier, M. Guizot, about a balance of there is reason to believe, disconcert pro- power on this continent, to be superinjects which were entertained at that tended and maintained through Euro