Imágenes de páginas

of the three fortresses of Patras, Coron, and Modon; all Candia, but one fortress; and most of the other islands. They possess the citadel of Athens, Missolonghi, and several other places in Livadia. They have been able to act on the offensive, and to carry the war beyond the isthmus. There is no reason to believe their marine is weakened; more probably, it is strengthened. But, what is most important of all, they have obtained time and experience. They have awakened a sympathy throughout Europe and throughout America; and they have formed a government which seems suited to the emergency of their condition.

Sir, they have done much. It would be great injustice to compare their achievements with our own. We began our Revolution, already possessed of government, and, comparatively, of civil liberty. Our ancestors had from the first been accustomed in a great measure to govern themselves. They were familiar with popular elections and legislative assemblies, and well acquainted with the general principles and practice of free governments. They had little else to do than to throw off the paramount authority of the parent state. Enough was still left, both of law and of organization, to conduct society in its accustomed course, and to unite men together for a common object. The Greeks, of course, could act with little concert at the beginning; they were unaccustomed to the exercise of power, without experience, with limited knowledge, without aid, and surrounded by nations which, whatever claims the Greeks might seem to have upon them, have afforded them nothing but discouragement and reproach. They have held out, however, for three campaigns; and that, at least, is something. Constantinople and the northern provinces have sent forth thousands of troops; - they have been defeated. Tripoli, and Algiers, and Egypt, have contributed their marine contingents; - they have not kept the ocean. Hordes of Tartars have crossed the Bosphorus; — they have died where the Persians died. The powerful monarchies in the neighborhood have denounced their cause, and admonished them to abandon it and submit to their fate. They have answered them, that, although two hundred thousand of their countrymen have offered up their lives, there yet remain lives to offer; and that it is the determination of all, "yes, of all,” to persevere until they shall have established their

liberty, or until the power of their oppressors shall have relieved them from the burden of existence.

It may now be asked, perhaps, whether the expression of our own sympathy, and that of the country, may do them good? I hope it may. It may give them courage and spirit, it may assure them of public regard, teach them that they are not wholly forgotten by the civilized world, and inspire them with constancy in the pursuit of their great end. At any rate, Sir, it appears to me that the measure which I have proposed is due to our own character, and called for by our own duty. When we shall have discharged that duty, we may leave the rest to the disposition of Providence.

I do not see how it can be doubted that this measure is entirely pacific. I profess my inability to perceive that it has any possible tendency to involve our neutral relations. If the resolution pass, it is not of necessity to be immediately acted on. It will not be acted on at all, unless, in the opinion of the President, a proper and safe occasion for acting upon it shall arise. If we adopt the resolution to-day, our relations with every foreign state will be to-morrow precisely what they now are. The resolution will be sufficient to express our sentiments on the subjects to which I have adverted. Useful for that purpose, it can be mischievous for no purpose. If the topic were properly introduced into the message, it cannot be improperly introduced into discussion in this House. If it were proper, which no one doubts, for the President to express his opinions upon it, it cannot, I think, be improper for us to express ours. The only certain effect of this resolution is to signify, in a form usual in bodies constituted like this, our approbation of the general sentiment of the message. Do we wish to withhold that approbation? The resolution confers on the President no new power, nor does it enjoin on him the exercise of any new duty; nor does it hasten him in the discharge of any existing duty.

I cannot imagine that this resolution can add any thing to those excitements which it has been supposed, I think very causelessly, might possibly provoke the Turkish government to acts of hostility. There is already the message, expressing the hope of success to the Greeks and disaster to the Turks, in a much stronger manner than is to be implied from the terms of this resolution. There is the correspondence between the Secretary of State and the Greek Agent in London, already made public, in which similar wishes are expressed, and a continuance of the correspondence apparently invited. I might add to this, the unexampled burst of feeling which this cause has called forth from all classes of society, and the notorious fact of pecuniary contributions made throughout the country for its aid and advancement After all this, whoever can see cause of danger to our pacific relations from the adoption of this resolution has a keener vision than I can pretend to. Sir, there is no aug. mented danger; there is no danger. The question comes at last to this, whether, on a subject of this sort, this House holds an opinion which is worthy to be expressed.

Even suppose, Sir, an agent or commissioner were to be immediately sent, -a measure which I myself believe to be the proper one, - there is no breach of neutrality, nor any just cause of offence. Such an agent, of course, would not be accredited; he would not be a public minister. The object would be inquiry and information; inquiry which we have a right to make, information which we are interested to possess. If a dismemberment of the Turkish empire be taking place, or has already taken place; if a new state be rising, or be already risen, in the Mediterranean,-- who can doubt, that, without any breach of neutrality, we may inform ourselves of these events for the government of our own concerns ? The Greeks have declared the Turkish coasts in a state of blockade; may we not inform ourselves whether this blockade be nominal or real? and, of course, whether it shall be regarded or disregarded? The greater our trade may happen to be with Smyrna, a consideration which seems to have alarmed some gentlemen, the greater is the reason, in my opinion, why we should seek to be accurately informed of those events which may affect its safety. It seems to me impossible, therefore, for any reasonable man to imagine that this resolution can expose us to the resentment of the Sublime Porte.

As little reason is there for fearing its consequences upon the conduct of the Allied Powers. They may, very naturally, dislike our sentiments upon the subject of the Greek revolution; but what those sentiments are they will much more explicitly learn in the President's message than in this resolution. They might, indeed, prefer that we should express no dissent from the doctrines which they have avowed, and the application which they have made of those doctrines to the case of Greece. But I trust we are not disposed to leave them in any doubt as to our sentiments upon these important subjects. They have expressed their opinions, and do not call that expression of opinion an interference; in which respect they are right, as the expression of opinion in such cases is not such an interference as would justify the Greeks in considering the powers at war with them. For the same reason, any expression which we may make of different principles and different sympathies is no interference. No one would call the President's message an interference; and yet it is much stronger in that respect than this resolution. If either of them could be construed to be an interference, no doubt it would be improper, at least it would be so according to my view of the subject; for the very thing which I have attempted to resist in the course of these observations is the right of foreign interference. But neither the message nor the resolution has that character. There is not a power in Europe which can suppose, that, in expressing our opinions on this occasion, we are governed by any desire of aggrandizing ourselves or of injuring others. We do no more than to maintain those established principles in which we have an interest in common with other nations, and to resist the introduction of new principles and new rules, calculated to destroy the relative independence of states, and particularly hostile to the whole fabric of our government.

I close, then, Sir, with repeating, that the object of this resolution is to avail ourselves of the interesting occasion of the Greek revolution to make our protest against the doctrines of the Allied Powers, both as they are laid down in principle and as they are applied in practice. I think it right, too, Sir, not to be unseasonable in the expression of our regard, and, as far as that goes, in a manifestation of our sympathy with a long oppressed and now struggling people. I am not of those who would, in the hour of utmost peril, withhold such encouragement as might be properly and lawfully given, and, when the crisis should be past, overwhelm the rescued sufferer with kindness and caresses. The Greeks address the civilized world with a pathos not easy to be resisted. They invoke our favor by more moving considerations than can well belong to the condition of any other people. They stretch out their arms to the Christian communities of the earth, beseeching them, by a generous recollection of their ancestors, by the consideration of their desolated and ruined cities and villages, by their wives and children sold into an accursed slavery, by their blood, which they seem willing to pour out like water, by the common faith, and in the name, which unites all Christians, that they would extend to them at least some token of compassionate regard.

« AnteriorContinuar »