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for the documents expressly bearing on the question, yesterday communicated, to be printed and laid before the House. After conversation respecting it, this motion was negatived. The House then having again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, on the general appropriation bill; and Mr. CLAY's motion to insert an appropriation for a Minister to Buenos Ayres being yet under considerationMr. Lowndes addressed the House in a speech of about an hour and a half, in opposition to the motion. Mr. Robertson, of Louisiana.-I should not have risen to express my opinion on the present occasion, if I had not, at an early period of the session, indicated my intention to do so, whenever a proper opportunity should occur; but for this circumstance, I should have been contented to give a silent vote, for I am well aware, from my more than usual ill health, that there will be nothing in either the manner or the matter of my address to compensate the Committee for that attention which their indulgence may induce them to bestow. I unite with the gentleman from South Carolina in considering the proposition of the Speaker as involving in its decision the views of this House, in respect to the independence of the Government of Rio de la Plata, and as to the expediency of acknowledging it. On both these points, my opinions are formed, and I shall give them utterance, without equivocation or hesitation, notwithstanding certain cabalistic words, of great efficacy with old women, and men of weak minds, of the use of which the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Lowndes) has availed himself. I allude, sir, to his remarks on the danger of war, and the impropriety of casting censure on the conduct of the Executive. I beg leave to assure the Committee, that I have no wish to involve the country in war; that I agree in everything my friend from South Carolina has said as to the inappreciable advantages of peace. I would even go further; I almost think that peace is necessary to the existence of liberty. Rarely indeed does the freedom of nations survive the expensive and bloody contests in which they are too prone to indulge ; liberty, morals, prosperity, all depend upon peace; they are too precious to be wantonly hazarded; I would sanction no measure that would endanger them but under the most imperious circumstances. Nothing, too, is further from my intention than to censure the conduct of the Executive; so far from it, I wish to give to the President the strongest proof of my agreeing with him in opinion, by furnishing him with the means of executing his wishes in regard to the people of South America. Has he not told us, sir, that he feels the sincerest sympathy in their behalf, and has he not told us further that they were a people engaged in civil war, and entitled to equal rights with their enemies; and can it be otherwise than gratifying to him, that this House should concur in his views, and enable, nay, more, encourage
him with the cheering influence of its approbation, to give effect to his benevolent and kind feelings, and to do justice to the revolutionists, by o their independence, sending them an Ambassador, and placing them in that situation of equality which, he says, they are entitled to enjoy 7 Sir, it cannot be otherwise than agreeable to the President to know the opinion of Congress on so momentous a subject; if that opinion, independently expressed, shall concur with his own, he will act conformably to it; on the other hand, if, from the position he occupies in the Government, from his better information, or from any other circumstances, unknown to the public, he shall think it best to continue, unchanged, the state of our relations with South America, he will do so. For one I shall not object, if he does but exercise his right to judge and decide for himself; and I am too much in the habit of pursuing my own opinion, to blame others, whether in public or private stations, for exhibiting a like independence. But, the gentleman from South Carolina seems to contend, that it is the exclusive right of the Executive to manage our foreign relations; that he is better informed on these subjects, and that this House ought not to interfere so far as to suggest an opinion or a wish, unless it is meant to be understood, that strong disapprobation is felt towards the course which has been pursued. I think, too, it may be inferred from the remarks of the gentleman, that the President is not only better informed on all questions of this kind than Congress or the nation, but that it is right and proper that he should keep his information to himself, and not part with it too freely or too frequently. Now, I dissent from all such doctrine; I look upon it to be the duty of Congress to express its opinion freely upon all questions which concern our domestic or foreign affairs, and I consider it as the solemn duty of the Chief Magistrate of a popular Government to disseminate among the people all information that can instruct them on points so important as their situation in regard to other Governments. I would ask, sir, how else can the wise measures of a virtuous administration receive rational approbation, or how a vicious Government be arrested in its mad career ? Shall it be justified in managing in secret the whole interests of the public, in plunging into war after a long concatenation of events, which, if known, might have been prevented, or in allowing the nation to repose in security, when, from its own acts, or those of other Governments, it stands on the brink of a precipice 7 Ought there not rather, in such a Government as ours, to be the most unreserved and frank communication of facts, of whatever kind they may be 7 Ought there not to be felt and evidenced, towards the people, the most entire and unaffected confidence 3 Will the people long continue to confide in those who manifest distrust, by covering their proceedings, whether of an external or internal nature, with a veil of mystery and secrecy 3 I cannot approve of the observations of the
gentleman from South Carolina, and I do hope that the present Administration will act on no such principles. In the examination of the present subject, I shall not indulge myself in so wide a range as some of the gentlemen who have preceded me. I will endeavor to show that the Government of Rio de la Plata is independent, and that it is expedient to acknowledge that independence. To establish the fact of its inde
endence, let us inquire whether it has declared itself independent 3 Of this there is no doubt; this fact is not disputed by any one. I state it thus specifically, because it is far from being itself an unimportant circumstance. In our own case, it was not so considered. In the language of one historian, Ramsey, after that event “we * no longer appeared in the character of subjects ‘in arms against their sovereign, but as an inde‘pendent people, repelling the attacks of an in‘vading foe.” And Marshall says, “we changed “our situation by the Declaration of Independ‘ence, and were no longer considered as subjects “in rebellion.” From that time, too, we date our actual independence. It has not been permitted to be deferred till its acknowledgment by other nations, nor until the peace; and so has the fact been established, as well by political as judicial decisions, both in England and in the United States. Buenos Ayres remained faithful to Spain under circumstances extremely favorable to her throwing off the yoke. When the Peninsula was overrun by a foreign army and torn by domestic faction, the people of Buenos Ayres submitted to be governed as a colony; they were willing to continue their former connexion, while the Government was in the hands of Charles, or Ferdinand, or Juntas, having the semblance of power; but, when the whole of the Peninsula, except Cadiz, fell into the possession of France, they declared themselves independent; this was done by the Viceroy Cissneros. But the final and great act of 1816 flowed from the people; they then declared themselves, independent of Spain and the Bourbons; established a Government for themselves, and have ever since o: the most perfect exemption from everything like foreign control. They now appoint their own Executive Magistrate, their legislators, their judges, lay taxes, raise armies, and build navies, with which they not only secure their own indeendence, but diffuse that blessing over the neighj Governments of Chili and Peru. They are more independent than we were at any one moment previously to the peace of 1783. Their soil is free from the pollution of a foreign hostile foot; and, if it be said that they have their factions, so had we ours. We had, in addition to our foreign foes, our tories and domestic traitors. But it is objected that the provinces are not all united under one Government, and that Artigas is in possession of the province of Montevideo. But the possession of Artigas is not the possession of Ferdinand; the whole of the Banda Oriental is as free from his authority as Buenos Ayres itself; and the sole question at present is as to the independence of Rio de la Plata of its
former European master. The freedom of Venezuela, New Grenada, and Mexico, is, unhappily, less assured; but they, too, have declared them. selves absolved from the tyrant’s yoke. Many years ago the Executive of the United States laid before this House the Constitution of Venezuela, and a resolution was adopted by the committee to whom it was referred, declaratory of the interest this House felt in their success, and promising to recognise them as independent when they should take a stand among the nations of the world. . In regard to Buenos Ayres, that happy period has arrived; and it becomes us to realize the hopes to which our promises have given rise. The fate of New Grenada has been various; it has sometimes enjoyed self-government, and has been again subject to the temporary control of the usurpers of its rights. The gentleman from Georgia tells us, that Mexico has been preserved to the royal cause by its own native population; that it has not been found necessary to send over foreign troops to secure its allegiance to its sovereign. But the gentleman forgot to inform us that Mexico has been always filled with European troops, and that the number already there rendered any augmentation unnecessary. But for the Europeans in Mexico, a dissolution of its connexion with Spain would long ago have taken place. But, sir, for what purpose has the gentleman from Georgia dwelt so long and so earnestly on the motives of the people of South America for declaring themselves independent, and on the manner in which the struggle has been conducted? The only question is, whether they are or are not independent. But the gentleman is as mistaken in his views on these subjects, as it is unkind in him, professing, as he does, to wish success to their cause, to pass their conduct, distorted as it is, in review before us, when nothing renders such investigation necessary. The gen: tleman says, that their revolution did not begin on principles favorable to individual liberty; but I would ask, sir, what revolution ever did? What revolution ever stopped at the point to reach which it commenced ? What revolution, at its origin, ever advanced the principles on which, in its progress, it was conducted ? What revolution ever terminated where the particular grievances were removed which gave it birth 7 A candid examination of our own history will sufficiently elucidate these views. We did not commence our contest with the mother country with any avowal, whatever might have been the intention of the intelligent and virtuous, of a wish to throw off colonial subjection; far from it; our professions of attachment and fidelity to the monarch were never, before so frequent nor so strong... We complained of trifling grievances; proceeded cautiously to remonstrances, then to resistance; declared ourselves, after a lapse of some years, independent, and ultimately overturned the entire fabric of that Government, which, in the beginning, we so often praised, and merely affected to disapprove in some comparatively immaterial points. So the South Ameri
can patriots act cautiously in regard to their former masters; profess. for a convenient time, entire devotion to their will, and take advantage of circumstances to effect the liberation of their country. But I acknowledge that individual freedom does not seem to be with their leaders a subject of sufficient concern, and perhaps on this point it is no more difficult to excuse them, than on that connected with their national independence. Let it be kept in view that they have two great objects to attain—the one, obnoxious to Spain, their national independence—the other, hateful to all Governments, except our own, individual liberty. As they, in common with all revolutionists, have found it necessary to mask their designs on the first point, so may it be politic in them to be as silent as possible in regard to the other. Where, throughout this enslaved world, are they to look for countenance or support, if they should dare to announce too openly their attachment to democratic forms of government? Will the combined despots of Europe smile upon their efforts? Can they look across the Atlantic for the cheering influence of approbation, when even here, in this Republic, they meet with cold indifference? Do they not perceive that the nations of Europe, although friendly to their independence, are hostile to their freedom? And may not this account, if it be true indeed, for the carelessness exhibited by them, according to the gentleman from Georgia, on the subject of individual rights?
#. it is objected that the Provinces of La Plata are not united under one Government; and the gentleman from South Carolina suggests that whole districts of country are probably still subject to royal authority, or governing themselves independently of Buenos Ayres; this may or may not be the fact; but this is certain, that their distance, their want of population, their obscurity, are too apparent to have any effect on the present question. The gentleman from South Carolina adverts to a mistake of the Speaker, as to the number of the provinces of La Plata, and tells us that there are no more than thirteen, instead of twenty. Exclusive of the inconsequence of this difference, I would observe, that it is far from being certain that both the gentlemen are not in error. Like them, I have paid some attention to the geographical history of that country. My researches have led me to suppose that the Audiencia of Charcas, which includes the whole of the country sometimes called the Government of Buenos Ayres, and now the Government of Rio de la Plata, is divided into provinces, districts, and jurisdictions; that there are nine provinces, seven districts, and four jurisdictions— making twenty grand divisions, and some of these again are subdivided into smaller provinces. But it is not wondersul that these differences should exist on this and many other questions respecting Spanish America. It was the policy of the Royal Government to keep the world ignorant of that country, and to keep the inhabitants ignorant of each other. But, however all this may be, the inquiry as to the geographical divis
ion of Buenos Ayres, is of no importance in settling the question of its independence; this rests on broad facts, some of which I have mentioned, and which are known to the whole world; they establish the independence of the Government of Rio de la Plata beyond all dispute, and it remains now to be asked, whether we ought or ought not to acknowledge that independence 2 The first question that naturally presents itself, is, whether it is the custom of our Government to acknowledge the independence of independent nations 7 There is no doubt of this fact. Is there a monarchy in the world, whose independence we have not recognised, or are not prepared to recognise? However little they may merit respect; however insignificant they may be in the scale of nations; however odious the principles and practices of their Government, their Representatives are greeted here at Wash. ington with an attention, the most flattering. Have we not an Ambassador from Ferdinando I mention him as an odious monarch; and have we not one also from Louis XVIII? And will it be for a moment contended, that Rio de la Plata is not more independent than France? Is Rio de la Plata in the possession of a foreign Power, and kept down by foreign bayonets, or is it self-governed ?...Yet France has her Representative here, while a more independent people are excluded from that attention and respect. Sir, if the Government of Rio de la Plata was monarchical, three months would not elapse before its independence would be recognised by the United States. I do not mean to say on account of its being monarchical; but in that case it would not be an object of hate and jealousy to the despots of Europe. They would acknowledge its independence, and we would then come in lagging on behind: we would follow their example. But the political institutions of that State are not legitimate; and, although the legitimates of Europe have no objection to their independence of Spain, they do object to their undertaking to govern themselves, without the paternal assistance of Kings. For my part, I should wish, on such an occasion, to take the lead ; I would exult, as a Republican, in viewing my own Government proudly taking ground for itself, and disdaining the most indirect dictation, or even imitation, of their sacred Majesties of Europe. I should like to perceive among us a little more of that sympathy for Republics, which they so strongly feel for each other; and as I think their policy wise in surrounding themselves with Governments like their own, I cannot help being of opinion, that we should be strengthened by the establishment of free governments in this Western hemisphere. Justice to ourselves requires this course. We ought not to hazard the loss of the affections of a nation struggling to be free. If we are cold and indifferent towards them, finding themselves utterly abandoned, when they had a right at least to respect and countenance, they will adopt the principles which, however injurious to their civil rights, secure them the smiles of monarchs, and separate them from the
infernal despotism of Ferdinand. Sir, under circumstances much more perilous, we have acted with more manliness; we have disdained to be drawn from that course which a due regard to ourselves, as well as to others, required. When France rose in the majesty of her strength, and broke the chains of a monarch's sway; when the Kings of Europe, terrified and enraged, combined to strangle in its birth the infant freedom of the world; when, so far from recognising, they clad themselves in armor to annihilate the Republic; when our aristocratic Minister at Paris gave us to understand that an acknowledgment of the Republic would prove fatal to our own; then, even then, comparatively feeble as we were, destitute of the population and resources which we now possess, the Executive formed the magnanimous resolution to receive the French Minister. I beg leave to call the attention of the Committee to the very words of the immortal man who then presided over the Executive department; o deserve to be deeply engraved on the memory of every American statesman. In a letter at that time written to Mr. Morris, our Ambassador at Paris, General Washington observes: “That the right of every nation to govern itself ‘ according to its own will; to change its Consti“tution at discretion, and to transact its business ‘through whatever agents it might think proper, ‘were principles on which the American Gov‘ernment itself was founded, and the application of which could be denied to no other people.” Do we not deny the application of this principle to the people of Buenos Ayres 3 And if it be the principle on which our Government was founded, do we not abandon it 7 Were they not provinces like ourselves? Have they not changed their institutions and their agents? If the principle be true in respect to ourselves, is it not equally so in regard to others? And do they not present_precisely the case, on the happening of which General Washington considers the recognition of them as necessarily growing out of the elementary principles on which our own Government stands 7 Sir, there was a party at that time opposed to the acknowledgment of the French Republic; the question whether a Minister should or should not be received, was submitted by the President to his Cabinet, as it is called. Mr. Hamilton and General Knox were opposed to receiving a Minister; Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Randolph in favor of doing so., General Washington, who had previously made up his own opinion, pursued the course recommended and sustained by the latter gentlemen. Mr. Genet was received. We did not wait for other nations to set us the example; we were not afraid of their displeasure, although they were all combined in arms to put down that Government; we acted as we chose, we acted as became the dignity of a free people; then the cry of danger, the alarm of war, which were incessantly rung in the ears of the public, were disregarded; we scorned the fear of punishment for exercising a right, sor performing a duty. But it is a curious fact, and one that places our
present course of procedure in a most singular and unfavorable aspect, that the policy of Washington was denounced as timid and unfriendly to France. The Republicans of that day, at the head of whom stood our two last, and our present Chief Magistrates, were dissatisfied with the coldness and indifference of the then President towards a people struggling to establish the great principles for which we had so nobly contended. Who were right and who were wrong, it is not for me to decide, but General Washington received a Minister from France, when a political war was waged against her by all Europe combined. He recognised that Republic when it was outlawed throughout all the world, when our population was comparatively small, when our resources were insignificant; while we, at the resent day, when there is no war against the independence of the people of Buenos Ayres, while they are not denounced or outlawed, when indeed their independence would be to the interest of all other nations; when our strength, physical and moral, is augmented to boundless resources; and above all, when there is no danger, we, I say, do not by any means go as far as that Administration, whose caution, as it was then called, was so offensive to the Republicans of that day; for what reasons and from what motives, I can neither comprehend nor conjecture. But, although I have succeeded in proving the independence of Buenos Ayres, and in showing that it is agreeable to the usages of the United States to recognise the independence of independent Governments, yet it will be said that, in this case, we should deviate from our accustomed course, for fear of involving our country in war. If this were a sufficient reason, if it were very honorable to acknowledge ourselves deterred from doing what we have a right to do, from what we are accustomed to do, yet the reason is utterly unfounded in truth; for why are we to be involved in war, and with whom, no one can tell; there will be no war, there is no danger of war; in truth, war rages nowhere but in distempered imaginations. Is it a cause of war that we acknowledge, the independence of any Government whatever? It never was so considered. Consult jurists and historians-examine facts and theory-I venture to assert, that the simple recognition of independence, without aid or compact, was never deemed a cause of war, and never did produce it; the declaration of war by England against France, during our Revolution, has been frequently mentioned as proving the position for which our adversaries contend. A brief statement of facts will show how fallacious is such a conclusion. That France did not content herself with simply acknowledging our independence, but at the same time that she guarantied that independence, and entered into treaties with us, that it was for her effrontery in making treaties with her revolted colonies that England resolved on vengeance, are facts as notorious as any in the history of that interesting era. Ramsey tells us that, aster the capture of BurMARch, 1818.
goyne's army, the King of France determined to take us by the hand and publicly to espouse our cause, and that our Commissioners at Paris, Franklin, Dean, and Lee, were informed by Mr. Garrard, one of the Secretaries of the Council of State, “that it was decided to acknowledge the * independence of the United States, and to make * a treaty with them; that his most Christian Ma‘jesty desired the treaty once made should be du“rable; that he was fixed in his determination not * only to acknowledge, but to support their inde‘pendence, and that the only condition he should * require and rely on, would be, that the United * States, in no peace to be made, should give up * their independence, and return to their obedi* ence to the British Government.” Conformably with these preliminaries, Louis XVI., on the 6th of February, 1778, entered into treaties of amity, commerce, and alliance, with the United States, and became the guarantee of their sovereignty, independence, and commerce. The alliance between France and America was soon known to the British Ministry, and the King and Parliament resolved to punish, France for treating with their subjects. It will not be denied that here there was cause enough for war; but how different from all this is the proposition for the simple recognition of the independence of La Plata | But from whom are we to apprehend war—from the Spaniards? The idea is too ridiculous to be for a moment entertained. The Administration has given them quite cause enough for war already, by taking possession of, and holding a part of their territory, and that, too, in spite of the protest of their Minister. We are at this moment, too, invading their country in pursuit of Indians; the truth is, they cannot make war against us, and our Government know it. How can they do so—have they troops to spare? Why, they are unable to send a single regiment against some of their provinces; and their troops in those where they have any are diminishing daily. I do think we are in no imminent danger from Spain; but perhaps France may resent our sending a Minister to La Plata. Poor France, trampled, humbled, and subdued—I will pass by her— but England may be disposed to chastise us, if we countenance the rebel Americans. Now, I will venture to assert that there is not an intelligent man in the United States, that does not know that England is as much interested in the independence of South America as we are, that she has done more to promote it, and that, from everything that we can observe, she is as liberal, in all respects, to the great cause in which they are engaged as we can pretend to be. We may hush our alarms on that score—England will not make war upou us; from the present state of Europe, I believe we shall not have another war with that nation ; I am sure we shall not, unless for a better cause than our recognition of the independence of La Plata. Mr. Chairman, the combined despots of Europe cannot, as formerly, indulge themselves in the royal sport of arms; they cannot wage wars of amusement or ambition; they are sufficiently em
Spanish American Provinces.
H. of R. ployed in keeping their own subjects in subordination. Admirable as their Governments may be, something like coercion seems necessary to impress that opinion on the minds of their people. The armies of Europe are not now intended to guard against, or to make foreign conquests; they are to keep their inhabitants in slavery, and the kings on their thrones; three millions of soldiers in arms are all necessary for that purpose; they have no occasion to look abroad for employment; they need not come across the Atlantic. Sir, the impulse given to the human character by the American and French Revolutions still survives; the principles of despotism and superstition are dead-they do not suit the age; they may be sustained a little longer by the force of bayonets, but the love of liberty lives in the heart, will again before long have utterance, and ultimately succeed and triumph. Blind, indeed, must that man be, who does not see in the large standing armies of the Governments of Europe, the fear—the just fear—in which they stand of those whom they rule and oppress. Sir, we may manage our own affairs in our own way, without the fear of kings before, our eyes. . They have enough to do to keep things in order at home; their vigilance is more and more necessary every day; if they relax, they are hurled from their usurped dominion. I rejoice in this state of terror and alarm, and I most seriously wish that many years may not pass away before sufficient proof may be given that their fears are not unfounded and visionary. But, sir, admitting, as is, on the main, generally admitted, that war would not be the consequence of sending a Minister to Buenos Ayres, yet it is contended that we have no interest, commercial or political, in their independence—indeed, it is pretended that it would be better for us, that they should continue in a state of colonial subjection. Sir, I feel an aversion seriously to combat so vile a proposition. I cannot believe that the happiness of others is incompatible with our own—such a principle does not enter into the great scheme of nature—it is the pitiful emanation of counting-house calculation, and is as untrue, as it is unworthy of anything but contempt. Sir, the independence of South America is the common cause of all commercial Powers— for the question is, whether its trade, by the subversion of its independence, will be again monopolized by Spain; or, by the establishment of it, laid open on equal terms to all the world; whether it is our interest to participate in the commerce of the colonial possessions of Spain, amounting in exports and imports to two hundred millions of dollars, or to be excluded from it entirely. This is the view of the subject; for it must not be forgotten that a return of these countries to the state of colonies, brings along with it the concomitant effects of the monopoly enjoyed by the Metropolitan government. The commerce which we now enjoy would be lost to us; and when we take into consideration the number of our vessels already engaged in trade with the Atlantic orts, as well as those with, and without licenses, interchanging their cargoes with those on the