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than to be united under the same Government. But this conclusion is premature; and the decision must be left to posterity.
It is certainly true that England is very powerful, and has often abused her power, in no case in a more outrageous manner than by the impressment of seamen, whether American, English, or other foreigners, sailing under and protected by the American flag. I am not aware that there has ever been any powerful nation, even in modern times, and professing Christianity, which has not occasionally abused its power. The United States, who always appealed to justice during their early youth, seem, as their strength and power increase, to give symptoms of a similar disposition. Instead of useless and dangerous recriminations, might not the two nations, by their united efforts, promote a great object, and worthy of their elevated situation?
With the single exception of the territory of Oregon, which extends from 42° to 54° 40' north latitude, all the American shores of the Pacific Ocean, from Cape Horn to Behring's Straits, are occupied, on the north by the factories of the Russian Fur Company, southwardly by semi
civilized States, a mixture of Europeans of Spanish descent, and of native Indians, who, notwithstanding the efforts of enlightened, intelligent, and liberal men, have heretofore failed in the attempt to establish governments founded on law, that might ensure liberty, preserve order, and protect persons and property. It is in Oregon alone that we may hope to see a portion of the western shores of America occupied and inhabited by an active and enlightened nation, which may exercise a moral influence over her less favoured neighbours, and extend to them the benefits of a more advanced civilization. It is on that account that the wish has been expressed that the Oregon territory may not be divided. The United States and England are the only Powers who lay any claim to that country, the only nations which may and must inhabit it. It is not, fortunately, in the power of either Government to prevent this taking place ; but it depends upon them whether they shall unite in promoting the object, or whether they shall bring on both countries the calamities of a useless war, which may retard, but not prevent, the ultimate result.
It matters but little whether the
inhabitants shall come from England or from the United States. It would seem that more importance might be attached to the fact that, within a period of fifteen years, near one million of souls are now added to the population of the United States by migrations from the dominions of Great Britain ; yet, since permitted by both Powers, they may be presumed to be beneficial to both. The emigrants to Oregon, whether Americans or English, will be united together by the community of language and literature, of the principles of law, and of all the fundamental elements of a similar civilization.
The establishment of a kindred and friendly Power on the northwest coast of America is all that England can expect, all perhaps that the United States ought to desire. It seems almost incredible that, whilst that object may be attained by simply not impeding the effect of natural causes, two kindred nations having such powerful motives to remain at peace, and standing at the head of European and American civilization, should, in this enlightened age, give to the world the scandalous spectacle, perhaps not unwelcome to
some of the beholders, of an unnatural and unnecessary war; that they should apply all their faculties and exhaust their resources in inflicting, each on the other, every injury in their power, and for what purpose? The certain consequence, independent of all the direct calamities and miseries of war, will be a mutual increase of debt and taxation, and the ultimate fate of Oregon will be the same as if the war had not taken place.
If it be any consolation, it is certain that, although we may not invade England, the evils arising from the war will be as sensibly and more permanently felt by Great Britain than by the United States. Her efforts must be commensurate with those of the United States, should be much greater by sea in order to be efficient, and will be in
every respect more expensive on account of her distance from the seat of war. Such is the rapidly progressive state of America, that the industry of the people will, in a few years of peace, have repaired the evils caused by the errors of Government. England will remain burthened with additional debt and taxation.
An aged man, who has for the last thirty years
been detached from party politics, and who has now nothing whatever to hope or to fear from the world, has no merit in seeking only the truth and acting an independent part. But I know too well, and have felt too much the influence of party feeling, not to be fully aware that those men will be entitled to the highest praise, who, being really desirous of preserving peace, shall on this momentous occasion dare to act for themselves, notwithstanding the powerful sympathies of party. Yet no sacrifice of principles is required: men may remain firmly attached to those on which their party was founded and which they conscientiously adopted. There is no connexion between the principles or doctrines on which each party respectively was founded, and the question of war or peace with a foreign nation which is now agitated. The practice which has lately prevailed to convert every subject, from the most frivolous to the most important, into a pure party question, destroys altogether personal independence, and strikes at the very roots of our institutions. These usages of party, as they are called, make every man a slave, and transfer the legitimate authority