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It has been affirmed, that this measure, and the sentiments expressed by the executive relative to its objects, are an acknowledged departure from the neutral policy of the United States. Sir, I deny that there is an acknowledged departure, or any

departure at all, from the neutral policy of the country. What do we mean by our neutral policy? Not, I suppose, a blind and stupid indifference to whatever is passing around us; not a total disregard to approaching events, or approaching evils, till they meet us full in the face. Nor do we mean, by our neutral policy, that we intend never to assert our rights by force. No, Sir. We mean by our policy of neutrality, that the great objects of national pursuit with us are connected with peace. We covet no provinces; we desire no conquests; we entertain no ambitious projects of aggrandizement by war. This is our policy. But it does not follow from this, that we rely less than other nations on our own power to vindicate our own rights. We know that the last logic of kings is also our last logic; that our own interests must be defended and maintained by our own arm; and that peace or war may not always be of our own choosing. Our neutral policy, therefore, not only justifies, but requires, our anxious attention to the political events which take place in the world, a skilful perception of their relation to our own concerns, and an early anticipation of their consequences, and firm and timely assertion of what we hold to be our own rights and our own interests. Our neutrality is not a predetermined abstinence, either from remonstrances, or from force. Our neutral policy is a policy that protects neutrality, that defends neutrality, that takes up arms, if need be, for neutrality. When it is said, therefore, that this measure departs from our neutral policy, either that policy, or the measure itself, is misunderstood. It implies either that the object or the tendency of the measure is to involve us in the war of other states, which I think cannot be shown, or that the assertion of our own sentiments, on points affecting deeply our own interests, may place us in a hostile attitude toward other states, and that therefore we depart from neutrality; whereas the truth is, that the decisive assertion and the firm support of these sentiments may be most essential to the maintenance of neutrality.

An honorable member from Pennsylvania thinks this congress will bring a dark day over the United States. Doubtless, Sir, it is an interesting moment in our history; but I see no great proofs of thick-coming darkness. But the object of the remark seemed to be to show that the President himself saw difficulties on all sides, and, making a choice of evils, preferred rather to send ministers to this congress, than to run the risk of exciting the hostility of the states by refusing to send. In other words, the gentleman wished to prove that the President intended an alliance; although such intention is expressly disclaimed.

Much commentary has been bestowed on the letters of invitation from the ministers. I shall not go through with verbal criticisms on these letters. Their general import is plain enough. I shall not gather together small and minute quotations, taking a sentence here, a word there, and a syllable in a third place, dovetailing them into the course of remark, till the printed discourse bristles in every line with inverted commas. I look to the general tenor of the invitations, and I find that we are asked to take part only in such things as concern ourselves. I look still more carefully to the answers, and I see every proper caution and proper guard. I look to the message, and I see that nothing is there contemplated likely to involve us in other men's quarrels, or that may justly give offence to any foreign state. With this I am satisfied.

I must now ask the indulgence of the committee to an important point in the discussion, I mean the declaration of the President in 1823.* Not only as a member of the House, but as a citizen of the country, I have an anxious desire that this part of our public history should stand in its proper light. The country has, in my judgment, a very high honor connected with that occurrence, which we may maintain, or which we may sacrifice. I look upon it as a part of its treasures of reputation; and, for one, I intend to guard it.

In the message of President Monroe to Congress at the commencement of the session of 1823 – 24, the following passage occurs :-“In the wars of the European powers, in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded, or seriously menaced, that we resent injuries or make preparations for defence. With the movements in this hemisphere we are of necessity more immediately connected, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers. The political system of the Allied Powers is essentially different, in this respect, from that of America. This difference proceeds from that which exists in their respective governments. And to the defence of our own, which has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and matured by the wisdom of their most enlightened citizens, and under which we

Sir, let us recur to the important political events which led to that declaration, or accompanied it. In the fall of 1822, the allied sovereigns held their congress at Verona. The great subject of consideration was the condition of Spain, that country then being under the government of the Cortes. The question was, whether Ferdinand should be reinstated in all his authority, by the intervention of foreign force. Russia, Prussia, France, and Austria were inclined to that measure; England dissented and protested; but the course was agreed on, and France, with the consent of these other Continental powers, took the conduct of the operation into her own hands. In the spring of 1823, a French army was sent into Spain. Its success was complete. The popular government was overthrown, and Ferdinand reestablished in all his power. This invasion, Sir, was determined on, and undertaken, precisely on the doctrines which the allied monarchs had proclaimed the year before, at Laybach; that is, that they had a right to interfere in the concerns of another state, and reform its government, in order to prevent the effects of its bad example; this bad example, be it remembered, always being the example of free government. Now, Sir, acting on this principle of supposed dangerous example, and having put down the example of the Cortes in Spain, it was natural to inquire with what eyes they would look on the colonies of Spain, that were following still worse examples. Would King Ferdinand and his allies be content with what had been done in Spain itself, or would he solicit their aid, and was it likely they would grant it, to subdue his rebellious American provinces ?

Sir, it was in this posture of affairs, on an occasion which has already been alluded to, that I ventured to say, early in the session of December, 1823, that these allied monarchs might possibly turn their attention to America; that America came within have enjoyed such unexampled felicity, this whole nation is devoted. We owe it, therefore, to candor, and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers, to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power, we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have on great consideration and on just principles acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, in any other light than as the mani. festation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.”'

their avowed doctrine, and that her examples might very possibly attract their notice. The doctrines of Laybach were not limited to any continent. Spain had colonies in America, and having reformed Spain herself to the true standard, it was not impossible that they might see fit to complete the work by reconciling, in their way, the colonies to the mother country. Now, Sir, it did so happen, that, as soon as the Spanish king was completely reëstablished, he invited the coöperation of his allies, in regard to South America. In the same month of December, of 1823, a formal invitation was addressed by Spain to the courts of St. Petersburg, Vienna, Berlin, and Paris, proposing to establish a conference at Paris, in order that the plenipotentiaries there assembled might aid Spain in adjusting the affairs of her revolted provinces. These affairs were proposed to be adjusted in such manner as should retain the sovereignty of Spain over them; and though the coöperation of the allies by force of arms was not directly solicited, such was evidently the object aimed at. The king of Spain, in making this request to the members of the Holy Alliance, argued as it has been seen he might argue. He quoted their own doctrines of Laybach; he pointed out the pernicious example of America; and he reminded them that their success in Spain itself had paved the way for successful operations against the spirit of liberty on this side of the Atlantic.

The proposed meeting, however, did not take place. Eng. land had already taken a decided course; for as early as October, Mr. Canning, in a conference with the French minister in London, informed him distinctly and expressly, that England would consider any foreign interference, by force or by menace, in the dispute between Spain and the colonies, as a motive for recognizing the latter without delay. It is probable this determination of the English government was known here at the commencement of the session of Congress; and it was under these circumstances, it was in this crisis, that Mr. Monroe's declaration was made. It was not then ascertained whether a meeting of the allies would or would not take place, to concert with Spain the means of reëstablishing her power; but it was plain enough they would be pressed by Spain to aid her operations; and it was plain enough, also, that they had no particular liking to what was taking place on this side of the Atlantic, nor any great disinclination to interfere. This was the posture of affairs; and, Sir, I concur entirely in the sentiment expressed in the resolution of a gentleman from Pennsylvania," that this declaration of Mr. Monroe was wise, seasonable, and patriotic.

It has been said, in the course of this debate, to have been a loose and vague declaration. It was, I believe, sufficiently studied. I have understood, from good authority, that it was considered, weighed, and distinctly and decidedly approved, by every one of the President's advisers at that time. Our government could not adopt on that occasion precisely the course which England had taken. England threatened the immediate recognition of the provinces, if the Allies should take part with Spain against them. We had already recognized them. It remained, therefore, only for our government to say how we should consider a combination of the Allied Powers, to effect objects in America, as affecting ourselves; and the message was intended to say, what it does say, that we should regard such combination as dangerous to us. Sir, I agree with those who maintain the proposition, and I contend against those who deny it, that the message did mean something; that it meant much; and I maintain, against both, that the declaration effected much good, answered the end designed by it, did great honor to the foresight and the spirit of the government, and that it cannot now be taken back, retracted, or annulled, without disgrace. It met, Sir, with the entire concurrence and the hearty approbation of the country. The tone which it uttered found a corresponding response in the breasts of the free people of the United States. That people saw, and they rejoiced to see, that, on a fit occasion, our weight had been thrown into the right scale, and that, without departing from our duty, we had done something useful, and something effectual, for the cause of civil liberty. One general glow of exultation, one universal feeling of the gratified love of liberty, one conscious and proud perception of the consideration which the country possessed, and of the respect and honor which belonged to it, pervaded all bosoms. Possibly the public enthusiasm went too far; it certainly did go far. But, Sir, the sentiment which this declaration inspired was not confined to ourselves. Its force was felt everywhere, by all those who could understand its object and foresee its effect. In that

Mr. Markley.

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