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tranquillity, that the controlling power neighbors from without, and, from within the State was on each side so wisely in, of the more dangerous free opinions 80 actuated; but, fortunately for the encour rapidly growing up in the minds of the agement of those who hope for the com- people. Sweden and Norway have neiing of an age which shall know how ther fleets nor armies, nor a treasury by to regulate the world without war, the which they could be created ; Italy and great body of the people in both coun- Spain, impoverished, oppressed, dispirittries were plainly impatient of any dis- ed, are only able to lament and bleed; turbance of the peace of Christendom. Turkey, broken in her pride and without This is evident from the congratulations resources, will hereafter see the cres80 widely exchanged in both countries, cent of Islam gleam only on the minarets congratulations arising not altogether of her mosques, no longer over the front from calculations of interest, but as well of battle; Mexico and the South Ameri. from a feeling every day more generally can States, are plainly unequal to any diffused, that a war which should have prolonged efforts of hostilities on a grand been avoided is crime. And this satis- scale; and the nations of Asia, inert and faction is not entirely confined to the inefficient, as they have been for 2,000 Iwo nations more immediately concerned years, can never greatly disturb, with in the controversy. France also, vola- demonstrations of war, the affairs of more tile, ambitious, fond of glory and excite- civilized powers. Thus the vast interment-qualities of temper which renderests of general peace lie practically in her the most dangerous of all the com the keeping of only four governments. munities of Europe-has given unequi- Hostilities may be carried on by half vocal proofs of her gratification that the barbarous nations among
themselves; or civilized world is not again to be con some one of the great powers spoken of vulsed with general hostilities. A few may wage a desultory war on the outParisian journals, which from opposition skirts of civilized life; but, as power is to a ministry disposed to maintain friend now divided, no great struggle, breaking ly relations toward the English Govern- the repose of Christendom, and checking ment, are accustomed to denounce all the the progress of civilization, can be entered movements of Great Britain, feel it of into, if France, Russia, England and course their duty to be dissatisfied; but America, should stand against it. We the French people, it is evident, are may go farther; for if the other three, mainly in favor of peace among civilized especially France and England, should nations. This community of sentiment manifest strong and united opposition, is an important fact;-evidently, by a sin- Russia, without such an accession to her gle reflection. There are four great na naval and military skill as cannot be tions, that virtually rule the affairs, not looked for, will hardly feel disposed to only of Christendom, but of the world. disturb the peace of Europe. That those They are England, France, the United two governments, therefore, which can, States and Russia. Unquestionably, any together, practically hold the balance of one of these great powers-of itself, un- power in the eastern hemisphere, should aided by any other—would dare to break share with this republic, growing every up
the present peace of nations, and would day more powerful and important, so be able to carry on the war for a pe- manifest a gratification that a warlike riod, in the face of any combination. But question has been peacefully settled, is it is nearly as certain that no other State, a thing worthy of consideration among without the countenance of one of these, the signs of the times. would dare to enter into a struggle of any It is true, that this expression is not to moment. Austria would not: she has be relied on as implying any determinapo vessels, nor even sea-board, to enable tion, in the minds of these governments, her to acquire power upon the ocean, to have no more to do with Christian and her position midway between France warfare. They have by no and Russia would “give her pause” be- reached such a point. They are as yet fore she would undertake a war without content with desiring it, in a manner, the assistance, or at least the guarantied without coming at all to any clear purforbearance, of either. Prussia would pose, or even to any definite perception not: having no ships, she is but the of what is attainable. They have hardly worse at present for her sea.coast; and, begun fairly to lay aside old animosities, though a military state by education, she and the remembrances of ancient hattles ; stands too much in awe of her powerful much less have they brought themselves
to contemplate the possibility of three or a concession as could have been confour leading powers actually resolving ceived of. It offered to arbitrate—which that there shall be no more great wars in was fair; but in the way of negotiation Christendom, and keeping their resolution. it had always been unreasonable.
It is, indeed, wonderful, how rapidly an Such was the matter-of-fact acqui. enlightened people, in this age even, come escence of Christian communities in the to accustom themselves to the idea of alternative of blood! It shows their con
“ Possible,” “ probable," " inevi- gratulations of peace to be based, as yet, table,” is the development of appellatives somewhat less on principle than could be in their minds. First, they indulge wished. A feeling, however, is evidentthemselves in talking largely, and with ly present, on which a received principle no great clearness, of certain injuries re may finally be established as a line of ceived from a foreign nation, insulted conduct for Christendom. And in this claims, or some offensive position as- point of view, the fact that another consumed by them : it is declared not un- troversy between nations has been setlikely, if things go on so, that hostilities tled by honorable concession, is of large may grow out of it. Next, the speech- importance. For its inherent nature, the making leaders opportunely delegated to moral effect of such an occurrence is be rulers, patriotic men in power, and great, and tends to produce in the minds the unpurchasable press, take pains to of men that state of sentiment which shall show the country aggrieved, talk strong. be the perennial well-spring of the peace ly as a government, and contrive by a of humanity. With nations, moreover, bold front and skillful diplomacy to con as with individuals, custom, habit, rules, vert a previous measurably good under- everything ;-each new example of a standing into uneasiness and rancor. question so settled, will render it more Their warlike tone being naturally re- easy and natural for another to follow, echoed, the sober part of the community by one step more, towards that condition begin then to denounce the blundering of the world when “ the loudness of the government which has brought things to trumpet and the shock of armies ” shall such a pass :—they acknowledge the na be forgotten. And in this conviction we tion partly in the wrong, but what of cannot but advert to the tone in which right there is in the case must be defend the first men of both countries have ex. ed ! Diplomatic issues, oblique as usual, pressed themselves on this occasion. The shoot past each other-negotiation con- language used by Mr. Webster, Mr. Manfuses itself— friendly argument is thrust gum, Mr. Crittenden, and other eminent aside as not sufficiently independent, members of the American Senate, was military preparations begin to be made- unequivocal and exalted :-It deprecated and both nations, settling down into the -and for higher reasons than the burnfeeling that there is “no help for it,” ing of cities and the ruin of commercephilosophically“ prepare their hearts for that useless intervention of arms, which, war.” At length, after a long suspense, at the end of a long struggle, would but and a general checking of all prosperous leave both nations impoverished and debusiness, the dominant parties in the re- moralized, and the question still to be spective States discover that no political settled—by treaty! Similar terms bad capital can be manufactured by a war been uttered by the leaders of the British fever; a few mutual concessions are then Parliament. Especially noble is the lanmade, a treaty summarily follows, and guage used by Sir Robert Peel—a man both countries congratulate themselves, of generous and enlarged views, whom the each other and the world, that they did world is very justly coming to consider not invoke the aid of arms, when they one of the most enlightened statesmen of ought only to be ashamed that war was
In that noble and elevated ever dreamed of between them. This, it speech, in wbich he has just taken leave will not be denied, has been too much of official power, he bestows a lofty enthe history of the public mind in this comium npon Lord Aberdeen for “the country ; and in England, the body of the exertions which he had made in the mainpeople were gradually and coolly adopt- tenance of peace.”. « He has dared to ing the opinion that as the Americans avow," says the British Minister, “ that “ would have war," war it must be :-it he thinks in a Christian country there is a seems never to have entered their minds moral obligation upon a Christian minister that their own government might not to exhaust every effort before incurring the have offered altogether so liberal, or just, risk of war." And afterwards, having
announced, amid the cheers of the House by two centuries and a half of “ prescripof Commons, that the last proposals of tion” along the whole Pacific shore, conthe English Government for the division sidered herself as having exclusive right of Oregon had been accepted by America, to that entire region. England, having Sir Robert Peel added a few impressive made, after 1768, several explorations, in words, which are worth remembering. the high latitudes below the 58th', more
accurate than the Spanish-landing, more“Thus, sir, these two great nations, im- over, and trading with the natives-conpelled, I believe, by the public opinion, ceived that she also had claims on that which ought to guide and influence states.
coast. Difficulties arose, and were rapidmen, have by moderation by the spirit of ly ripening into war, when the Treaty of calamity of a war between two nations of the Escurial, called the Nootka Convenkindred race and common language, the tion, was entered into, by which, saying breaking out of which would have involved nothing of the original claims asseried by the civilized world in calamities to an ex either party, the north-west coast and seas tent which it is difficult to foresee.” were to be open to the subjects both of
England and Spain, in a kind of common We have thus spoken of the event it- occupancy. So much was wrested, as self. It is worthy of all the congratula- we showed more fully in the February tions that the country can bestow upon article, from Spanish weakness. Still, it. Against its provisions very little can once obtained, it was, undoubtedly, in be said. But in the manner of its accom some sort, an English acquisition. plishment we have not been so fortunate. The first transaction entered into by As a party, indeed-if anything about our government affecting the Oregon the matter ever ought, as we have before question, was the purchase of Louismentioned, to have been looked at in a iana from the French, in 1803. This vast partisan light-the more sober portion of region, as originally held by Spain, and the community have nothing to regret in afterwards by France, seems never to the transaction. The Whigs, with here have had any conceivable limits. Lying and there a moderate mind from the oppo- west of the Mississippi, and stretching site ranks, were always in favor of just north and north-west to an undefined exthe partition which has taken place. But tent, it gave us, as against England, some what have the Democratic party to felici- indefinite claims on the Pacific. The distate themselves upon in the whole affair, covery of the Columbia river, and subsefrom first to last? The history of their quent explorations of the branches, gave entire conduct on the question throughout us, as against her, a still farther title to that is sufficiently sickening, and the country region. Great Britain, meantime, followhas heard enough of it. It is necessary, ing up the advantage she had won from however, to open up a page or two here, Spain, had begun to occupy, with trading that our own position may be placed on posts, and—what is the strongest point record. But we will promise to be brief. in her final claim-had discovered and
That a clear view of the whole case explored the second great river and valmay be had, we present a short statement ley of Oregon, Frazer's river, running of the proposals made, at different times, from above the 54th degree south nearly by our government, and those offered by to the 49th parallel. England, in return, together with the pro The first distinct proposition made by us visions of the present treaty. It will then to the English government, bearing upon be seen, what we have gained or lost by this question, was that in a prospective this treaty over our own former proposi- treaty, drawn up with their Commissiontion, and which party in the Republicers, soon after our acquisition of Louisistands on the most favorable ground in ana, for the purpose of settling the northrelation to this great national question. ern boundary of that territory. It had
It will be remembered, that the first been commonly believed—and the point convention entered into between any two is not yet wholly cleared up—that Comnations respecting the north-west coast, missioners, appointed according to the having any influence on our final claims, provisions of the Treaty of Utrecht, in was that of Nootka Sound, in 1790. Spain, 1713, had already adopted the 49th paralby early discoveries from the year 1513, lel as the dividing line between the then by occupation of the coasts as high as French possession of Louisiana and Canthe Californias, by farther explorations ada and the British Hudson's Bay terriin 1774-5, as high up as latitude 58°, and tories; and in the treaty now proposed, it
was agreed, that the boundary between Goulburn and Robinson, being anxious the United States and British possessions to secure to English subjects the free on the north should run from the Lake navigation of the Mississippi. , This was of the Woods to the 49th degree, and fol- steadily refused on our part, the more low that parallel westward “as far as firmly that we had been denied access to their said respective territories extend in the St. Lawrence, to which we had a tbat quarter: provided that nothing in far greater right. The proposed line was the present article shall be construed to finally acceded to as far west as the extend to the north-west coast of America, Rocky Mountains. They then discussed, or to territories belonging to, or claimed by itself, the subject of respective claims by, either party, on the Continent of Ame- to territories on the Pacific. The several rica, to the westward of the Stony (Rocky) grounds of title, with which the public Mountains.”* This article in the intended are now familiar, were set forth on each treaty was approved of by both govern. side. No distinct proposition for a bounmenis. But President Jefferson wished dary was made by the British Commis. the proviso respecting the north-west coast sioners, but it was intimated that the should be omiited, as it “could have lit- river was the most proper, and that no tle other effect than as an offensive inti- articles would be agreed to that did not mation to Spain, that the claims of the give them the harbor at the mouth in United States extend to the Pacific ocean. common with the United States. This However reasonable,” continues Mr. Jef was decided enough, and of course preferson, “such claims may be compared cluded further argument. The alternative with those of others, it is impolitic, espe- agreed upon was the convention of cially at the present moment, to strengthen joint-occupancy, which stipulated, in Spanish jealousies of the United States, substance, that “all the territories and which it is probably an object with Great their waters, claimed by either power, Britain to excite, by the clause in ques- should be free and open to the vessels, tion."! We do not suppose that Jeffer- citizens and subjects of both, for ten son's idea of England's wishing to “ex years; provided, however, that no claim cite Spanish jealousies” of us, had any of either, or of any other nation to any foundation whatever, or was excusable, part of these territories should be prejuexcept from the disturbed state of feelings, diced by the arrangement.” at that time, between the United States So far, the American Commissioners and Great Britain ; but the passage shows had conducted the negotiation without how completely that statesman, sagacious reference at all to the Spanish title. This in many things, was possessed of the has been made by the English press and true idea of the nature and condition of diplomatists the ground of the accusation, our claims on the Pacific coast-that, by that we had no real belief in the validity our discoveries there, and by the indefi. of that title. Nothing could well be nite extent of the Louisiana territories, more unfounded. The relation of Spain our title was tenable, not wholly as and the United States to each other and against Spain, who had a prior title, but to England, was at that time precisely as agninst England. This was the pro- analogous to that of England and the posed treaty of 1807-8; but the disturbed United States to each other and to Russia, relations of the two countries, from other in the negotiation that took place five causes, prevented its ratification. years afterwards with that power. Rus.
After the war, negotiation on the sub- sia had arrogated extensive rights on the ject of north-west boundaries was re north-west coast farther south than either newed. The American Plenipotentiaries, England or the United States, who had Messrs. Rush and Gallatin, in 1818 pro- then acquired the Spanish title, was disposed, in effect, the same dividing line as posed to allow. Our government was before—that it should run from the north- desirous of settling the matter by a triple west extremity of the Lake of the convention, which should confine each Woods to latitude 49°, and thence with power within certain latitudes. Both that parallel westward; but with this England and Russia, however, taking addition, that it should be continued to offence at President Monroe's declaration the Pacific ocean. The discussion was against European intervention or coloniprotracted—the British Commissioners, zation on this continent, refused the pro
* Greenhow's Oregon and California.
posal. But instead, Russia treated with from the Rocky Mountains along the 49th each power separately-agreeing with parallel, till it struck the great northern each that as to her own claims, they branch of the Columbia, thence down the should be conceded to her as far south as middle of the river to the ocean-both 54° 40', leaving any conflicting claims nations being at liberty, for ten years, to which England and the United States pass by land or water through the termight assert below that latitude, to be ritories on both sides of the boundary. settled between themselves. But if it This proposal was, of course, rejected. was competent to England to negotiate Great Britain, it was declared, would for certain claims, as against Russia, make no other, and the negotiation was knowing the necessity of afterwards stopped. settling with us about the same claims, The original period of joint occupation, manifestly it was equally competent for however, was drawing to a close, and the United States to negotiate with Eng- our government again, in 1826, pressed land abont similar claims held by us, as for a settlement of the question. During against her, though aware that the same this period, the “ joint occupancy” had must subsequently be treated about with been all on one side. We had neglected Spain, as holding a title prior to that of the country. Scarcely an American was both. And there are, besides, two other seen in the whole region, while through considerations bearing upon this case. It the vast extent of wilderness, from Labrahad long been evident to American dor to the Pacific, the Hudson's Bay Statesmen, that the ancient vast domin- Company had established trading-posts, ion of Spain on this continent was rapid- and extended the laws, usages and interly breaking up. A few years longer of ests of Great Britain. This strengthened indolent efforts and misguided counsels for England that kind of secondary claim would see it in fragments. It was but the recognized in law as created by occupa. part of common foresight so to interposetion, use :- but it did not at all affect the contingent grounds of title, that such original title. The American right, by parts of her immense territories as were the Spanish title and by our own disgreatly more valuable to us than to any coveries, was still, on the whole, paraforeign power should not fail of falling mount. In this negotiation, the British to our share: A second important fact is Commissioners made, in effect, the same that, while our negotiations with England proposal as before. Mr. Gallatin, in rewere pending, in 1818, we had already turn, repeated the offer made in 1818— been treating with Spain two or three viz.: the 49th parallel, from the Rocky years for all her rights in the Oregon re- Mountains to the Pacific, but with this gion. That treaty was all the while ex- important addition, that “ if the said line pected to be first consummated, but it should cross any of the branches of the was not till four months later; and this Columbia at points from which they are we think matter of regret ; for had we, navigable to the main stream, the naviganegotiating with Great Britain, definitely tion of said branches of the main stream possessed the Spanish title, we might should be perpetually free to the citizens of at that time have attained some settle- both nations.”* England refused to give ment of the question, and saved all fur- up the territory on the north bank of the ther altercation.
Columbia ;-she offered, however, to give Having strengthened our claim by the up“a detached territory, extending on acquisition of the rights of Spain, we the Pacific and the Straits of Fuca, from opened the negotiation again in 1824. Bulfinch’s Harbor to Hood's Canal,” and Mr. Rush, on our part, proposed that that “no works should be erected by any part of the territory claimed by ei- either power at the mouth or on the ther power, should be open to both na banks of the Columbia, calculated to imtions for ten years: Provided, that in pede free navigation.” But the United that time the British were to make no States very justly resolved to yield no settlements north of the 55th or south of part of the country south of the 49th parthe 51st parallel. For the 51sto, Mr. allel. They had offered, uniformly and Rush afterwards substituted the 49tbo. consistently, a line of compromise quite The British Commissioners, Huskisson below the claims of their abstract title, and Canning, proposed, on the other and they were resolved to abide by it. hand, that the boundary-line should pass The provisions for jointoccupancy, there
* Greenhow, p. 346.