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twenty millions who now people free America, with energies unfathomed, and as I believe unfathomable, with resources unsurpassed in the history of nations; shall we, thus endowed, abandon a position in defence of which Spain was willing to hazard a contest, the result of which to her was not even doubtful, and upon it was staked her national existence ? Even the effeminate mind of Charles IV. held his nation's honour as dear as his nation's existence. I know it is sometimes sneeringly asked, what has honour to do with Oregon ? and why should there be so much talk
honour ? Mr. Fox, whose authority I dearly
o quote, for I reverence his memory, said in the debate in Parliament I have before quoted
“Honour to nations was perhaps the only justifie able or rational ground of contest. Wars for the sake of conquest, of acquiring dominion or exten ding trade, were equally unjust and impolitic. He who vindicated the honour of a country was the advocate of its dearest interests, because to vindicate its honour was to secure its
And this authority will stand good when the
memory of those who ask “why talk of honour?" shall be forgotten.
The honourable senator* has arrayed before us the mighty naval power of England, the number of her ships of war, her sailors and her guns, and the comparatively diminutive force we present. I think a close scrutiny would lessen the exhibit of her available force, and increase that of ours; but that is not to my purpose at present. If that senator by this intended to awe us into a compromise, by the surrender of our territory, it was certainly both ill timed and ill planned: that would better have become a secret session. The idea of surrendering without an effort, because of the numerical superiority of the enemy, whether in guns or men, is new to me in military history. I admit that it is right and proper to examine the force of Great Britain, but at the same time we ought not to forget or undervalue our own. The American people cannot be alarmed; they are not to be awed by any such representations.
Were all the fleets of England gathered in one body, their approach would create no terror in the
* Mr. Clayton, of Delaware.
American heart. Our people remember, that, more than sixty years ago, one small American frigate, commanded by John Paul Jones, made its way through her navies, to ravage England's coasts and pillage her palaces, and returned in triumph. They have not forgotten the names of Decatur, Hull, Perry, Porter, the Joneses, M'Donough, Stewart, and a glorious host beside, who united to indomitable courage and lofty herois
m, a burning love for their country and its free and happy institutions. Though England's guns were a hundred to one, the heart of the nation would not tremble, while her eye was on the roll of these bright and undying names, and her memory full of their deeds of noble daring.
But the senator from South Carolina* is wedded to a different plan—a plan which avoids all action. He is for leaving the whole matter to the silent, quiet, noiseless operation of time, and the gradual encroachments of our hardy and enterprising settlers, who have gone, and are going, into the
Does not every one know, that all the while they are making these very noiseless and
quiet encroachments, they are exposed to the British bayonet ? And whilst so exposed, you refuse them the protection of American laws, and American tribunals. Such a state of things would inevitably produce repetitions of the Caroline affair.
But do gentlemen flatter themselves that we can thus take Oregon, and England know nothing of it. Will they not understand this policy as well as we? And when they perceive the plan likely to take effect, will they not be on their guard ? If we press our population upon them, will they not, in turn, press their pauper population upon us? Which of the two plans will most consult the honour of this country? Which story shall we rather leave on record as a heritage to our posterity—the plan of the honourable senator, to get the territory by silent encroachment, or that advocated by gentlemen on the other side, who are for demanding the territory, because it is ours? Shall we take it openly and boldly by a straightforward manly course?-or shall we get it covertly, slily, stealthily? No, I will not say stealthily; I will not employ any term that may imply the
slightest disrespect to the honourable senator; I will not say stealthily, but I will say circuitously ; yes, that is the word—circuitously. I would not say anything that could be a cause of offence to the honourable gentleman from South Carolina. I have no such feeling toward him. I hold that honourable senator in too much respect; I have too m uch esteem and regard for him. I would not for the world pluck one leaf from the laurel that e nwreathes his venerated brow. He has ably served his country in many and various important static
I hope and trust he will do nothing that shall mar the page in this nation's history which he is destined to fill. I respect his acquisitions; above all, I venerate his virtues—the spotless purity of his private life. It is on these that
the future American Plutarch will most delight to dwell. But the senator's course is cir
us; ours is direct. Which, I ask, will do mos t honour to a country like this? Which will read the best? Sir, how will it read along side of the
history of '76? Then the whole population of a range of Atlantic colonies, sooner than submit to the exaction of a slight tax, took up arms and