Abbildungen der Seite

vernment has frequently offered, without regard to slight variations ; which may be left for settlement by “equivalents.” I do not measure my own or other people's patriotism by the “inch.” I shall not recognize that measurement in deciding upon the merits of the administration or the wisdom of a treaty—not at all, at all.

Mr. President: I disavow any authority to speak for the President. I have already said that he could not speak for himself, nor authorize another to speak for him, so long as negotiation was pending or not concluded. Oh! I wish it were so that he could speak out. But I must be allowed to speak for myself since the Administration has been so perseveringly put where I ought not to stand by it; and I will dare to speak to the President and of the President and his Messages, from my station upon this floor, as I judge him and them. And I say, in answer to certain Senators of my party, that the President did right, exactly right, in continuing this negotiation for a compromise which he found on foot, and in renewing the offer of 49° as a line of compromise. And in reply to them further, I say that he ought not, and my convictions are as strong as death itself that he cannot, will not, disgrace himself and his Administration by refusing his own offer, should it be returned upon him-refusing, I mean, to entertain it; repulsing it, and rashly putting a final termination to his negotiation for a peaceful compromise; and madly forcing his country into a war, without even consulting his constitutional advisers, the Senate, who are this day assembled. Yet that is said of him day after day in this Senate. A war for what? Why, Mr. President, a war between two great Christian nations upon the meaning of the word settlements in the Nootka convention! A war, perhaps, of twenty years, to determine which of these Christian Governments shall enjoy the privilege of cheating the poor Indians out of the largest portion of Oregon. No, sir; no sir. The President will not do that. As he loves his country, and values his own fame, he dare not think of it.

Again: He found that these persevering efforts to fix our northern boundary in Oregon at the forty-ninth parallel by a compromise—these well considered instructions to our Ministers, and often repeated propositions to the adverse claimants for a compromise, made before Spain had released her rights, and repeated afterwards, were long since exposed to the public eye; and that neither the People's Representatives in Congress, nor the States, nor the People themselves, had com

plained against the Presidents, and Statesmen and Senators who had been endeavouring to accomplish a compromise at 49° for nearly half a century. No, sir. Until very recently indeed, the complaints, when made at all, were aimed at Great Britain for refusing to accept this reasonable and just compromise of our conflicting claims. Memorials, when sent at all, were applications to settle and adjust the controversy; and our efforts to legislate over the subject were confined to the valley of the Columbia river, this side of 49o.

Well might the President pause then, notwithstanding his own individual opinion that our title to the whole of Oregon was “clear and unquestionable," ere he took the responsibility, in view of all this, of abruptly putting a stop to the negotiation which he found on foot, as it had been begun by his immediate predecessor upon a negotiation for a compromise. Well might he feel that the NATION was committed to a compromise. Well might he dread that for him to put his personal opinion upon the strength of our paper title, however “ clear and unquestionable,” against all these solemn acts of the Government, and against this concurrent action and acquiescence of all our Presidents from Jefferson inclusive, and of all our Statesmen, and of all our Senators, and of all our People and their Representatives for two generations, constituting, as it were, a NATION'S OPINION, would be sacrificing the faith, consistency, sincerity and honour of this country to preserve the personal consistency of himself—a single man! A mere POLITICIAN might have halted, but a STATESMAN could not. He lifted himself above himself, and showed how well he merits the office his country has appointed him to fill. God grant he may stand firm to his position !

I honour that Statesman who can go whither the honour of his country carries him, forgetful of himself and his

personal convenience, or the consistency of his mere opinion. Had Mr. Polk repeated his opinion of our clear and unquestionable” title for an Amen to his daily prayers for years and years together, it would still have been the duty of the PRESIDENT to go to the line of 49° as a compromise, if he believed, as he says he did, that his country was mitted, " and the honour and faith of the nation bade him go there.

Without going into our title to the territory, (which, if the Senate choose, can be done hereafter, and whenever the bill for taking jurisdiction over Oregon, or "any portion of it,"



comes up for consideration) I will tell you, in very few words, the ground of right upon which (if there were no other) I would put my vindication. I believe it is the political right of my country to stretch itself, without any interruption by foreign Governments, from the Atlantic to the Pacific—from sea to sea on this continent according as we ourselves shall judge it expedient or not. That we acquired that right upon this continent when our Independence was established, subject only to the proviso, that we must not do it so as to deny the like privilege to our neighbours, nor interfere with settlements permanently made before our Independence was established, nor with similar rights belonging to or acquired by them, nor act with injustice to the Aborigines. What we claim a RIGHT to do, we must not deny to the CANADAS. It is a sort of national pre-emption right to both. Great Britain cannot righteously complain so long

we do not deny to her, as the mother country of the CANADAS, the same right equally with ourselves. She cannot rightfully interrupt our enjoyment of that right. And if she does, then we cannot submit to it. Our dividing line is at 49° on this side of the mountains; and if it is straightened to the Pacific on the other in harmony, we ought to be satisfied. In settling that line between the two governments, the great law of “love and good will to man” requires concessions for equivalents, to be agreed for by mutual consent, and they should be mutually made for the convenience of each other; and these are fit subjects for friendly negotiation.

The bill for extending our jurisdiction over Oregon need not to be, as it ought not to be, adopted, until we see, what more the President will do, and what Great Britain means to do. And this Senate ought not to adjourn until we know whether we are to have peace or a sword. It shall not by my vote.

Mr. President: My hands are clean--my heart is easymy conscience is unburdened; and if I have done anything for good, I shall rejoice-if not, I have tried to do it. And having confidence in God stronger than any “confidence in princes,” I pray that He who rules the destiny of nations may guide our counsels so as to save the peace of my beloved country, and protect it forever by His mighty arm in the enjoyment of liberty and religion.






I pre

The history of Mr. White, as I have received it from himself, is the best clue to his character; developing, as it does at once, his honest independence and his success in

“ Until the age of nineteen,” said he, “I followed the plough. About that time an incident occurred which probably has contributed much to the formation of my character, and, by the aid of the free institutions of this country, to the attainment of my present position in life.

“I set off one summer morning in my best attire, and with a small knapsack on my back, to visit the Falls of Niagara. As a matter of course I took up my abode at the Hotel, and at dinner, as a matter of course also, I seated myself at the table, neither knowing nor heeding who were my neighbours. A gentleman (I believe I must acknowledge that he was an Englishman) immediately called the proprietor of the Hotel, and told him that he would not sit at the table with me. sume that the ungenteel cut of my coat, maybe my toilworn hands, offended his delicacy. Be this as it may, the host declared that he could not separate his guests; that I paid the same sum that others did, and that he could dismiss no man from his table except for ill conduct. The gentleman then desired his servant to send me off.' I rose from my seat to defend myself, and thus replied to the insolent stranger.

• I know not whom I address; but the moment your servant approaches me, I shall knock down his master, who is responsible for this gross insult to an honest man.' My sturdy rustic frame and determination recalled this gentleman to his senses; he retired from the contest, and reseated himself:

: we resumed our respective places. Dinner passed over; supper passed over in silence, but without annoyance on either side. In the morning the good sense of the man prevailed, and coming up to me, he apologised for his rudeness, and, in terms of friendship, requested my hand, which I need not say was given in the same spirit. By this trial I was strengthened in self-respect and the consciousness of worth, and I acquired a feeling of ambition. Returning

home, I applied with diligence to the improvement of my fortune and the advancement of my station. How far my efforts have been crowned with success, it is for others, not for me, to say.”

To this modest and truthful relation I have to add, that Mr. White, in personal appearance, dress, manners and mode of speaking, is truly a gentleman; that he is considered a man of perfect faith and integrity ; that he ever defends the absent ; that he blames none for holding opinions different to his own, and that he is a sincere lover and upholder of justice.

Mr. White is a Whig, and his principles are very strongly impressed upon his mind, and also very strongly put forth in argument. I have a suspicion that he thinks Whigs in general better men than Democrats; but if the cause of humanity or friendship is to be served, these feelings weigh not in the balance. He has warmly espoused the cause of the Indians, and proposed that they should be allowed to appoint their own preachers and officers; also that provision be made for paying the money appropriated for them faithfully, and securing it to their use. Dr. Loras, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Dubuque, in the Territory of Iowa, obtained his friendly aid in behalf of the hapless Winnebagos.




Mason is the idol of Washington; ever spoken of with respect and esteem, ever welcomed with pleasure. He is a Virginian by birth as well as by residence; hospitable, generous, and confiding. His conversation is replete with excellent sense and social gay good humour; and his countenance, without regularity of feature, or pretension to good looks, is lighted up by the most charming expression imaginable. The slightest attention which he offers derives, from the kindness of his manner, an inexpressible grace; and though my own acquaintance with the Judge has been less intimate than with many other distinguished men in Washington, I have found

« ZurückWeiter »