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ma is either a government, a branch of measures of war 'between those States government, or a confederacy of govern- and Spain. On the contrary, it was made ments ; and that the United States, by known to Spain through our minister attending there, united themselves with there, that one of the objects of the atsuch confederacy. The Congress is not tendance of the United States at Panama what it is thus described, but simply a was to use our influence in behalf of consultative meeting of diplomatic agents peace and humanity, and for the terminafrom independent governments. But tion of the contest between Spain and were it what it is described, the attend- her former colonies, on terms mutually ance there of a minister from the United honorable and advantageous. States would no more bind us to such a Nor do the Committee attach weight confederacy, than the attendance of a to the apprehension expressed, that, by minister at the court of any single power, attendance at the Congress, the United binds us to that power.
States may be involved in entangling al: To the objection that all the objects liances with some of the new States. In aimed at by the Congress could be the first place, all project or purpose of attained by separate negotiation with said alliance is expressly disclaimed by each State there represented, it is replied the President; butif it were not, alliances that neither so convenienly, so rapidly, cannot be framed with any nation, exnor so surely, could separate negotiations cept with the consent and approbation of be concluded between States so geo- the Senate; and if there be no danger of graphically remote, and 'in various re- entangling alliances by sending a minisspects so politically different, as in an ter direct to a foreign power, much less assembly of diplomatic agents promptly can there be in sending one to join in a communicating with each
other, counsel, mere assembly of other ministers—mere information and argument.
agents, and not themselves powers or Another objection that neither the sub- governments. jects of discussion, the power of the min. But, says another objection, this Conisters, the mode of organizing the Con- gress is an unprecedented measure. Truly gress, nor of deciding questions in it, were so—and alike unprecedented are the podefined with sufficient distinctness to sition of this hemisphere and the cir. justify the United States in attending, is cumstances which have suggested the met by the statement that this is merely Congress—eight new States suddenly a consultative assembly—where no one taking a place among nations. But bewithout his consent, is to be bound by cause unprecedented, is it therefore wrong the decision made—and as from the very or dangerous ? Far otherwise. It is an nature and circumstances of the meeting, assembly, not of banded oppressors—not it would be impossible to define before- of conquerors and kings, to cut and hand the precise topics to be discussed, carve a world among themselves, without or the precise form in which the body regard to any popular rights—but of the should be organized or deliberate, it was representatives of free States, anxious not reasonable to expect or require that to establish a common basis for civil, sothe whole programme should be arranged cial and international intercourse. It is and agreed upon in advance.
an assembly to assert and secure the rights The bazard to our neutrality by attend. of the people, and not to strengthen the ance—so far as Spain was concerned— power of monarchs—the ministers who could not be as great as hy the more posi- will be present are of limited power-of tive act, long before adopted, of acknow no authority to commit their governments ledging the new States, and trading with to any measures—but bound to refer back them on the footing of independence, in to the authority which delegated them, direct contravention of the colonial laws whatever propositions or plan of mutual of Spain. If this were not, as it could or general operation may be suggested. not justly be, considered by Spain a The reasoning drawn from a fancied anbreach of our neutrality, assuredly the alogy between this Congress and the fact of sending representatives to a Con- Congress of European Sovereigns and gress of diplomatic agents from those Ambassadors, is wholly fallacious. It is States, could not be so considered-more not the act of assembling and treating especially as it was expressly stipulated together that constitutes the danger of on our behalf, and agreed to by the other these last-named Congresses, but the States, that our ministers were not to take character and quality of those assembled, any part in the discussion or adoption of and the objects effected or aimed at.
Having thus disposed of all the objec- tion, in all such cases, the United States tions to the mission, the Committee go would come as the most disinterested, as on to expatiate on the advantages to be well as powerful party; and the chance, anticipated from it.
in a single instance, of being able to avert From the nature of the case, as well as or terminate a war, would of itself confrom the terms of the invitation, the dis- stitute a sufficient motive for accepting cussions of Panama would embrace all the invitation. We do not obtrude oursubjects of importance
selves as umpires; but being invited To the new States as among each where sectional differences are to be dis. other
cussed, and the benefit of our presence, Or as between them and Spain - counsel and experience being invoked, no
Or of interest directly to us, in our con maxim of the most cautious prudence bids nection with them.
us stand aloof. Next to peace on our own These three classes of subjects, in dif- part, the peace and prosperity of these ferent degrees, are all of deep concern to new States are our leading interest, and the United States. With the second, in the policy of maintaining peace through deed, except as mediators, we could have friendly mediation is entirely congenial no connection, for it was of express stip- with the principles and feelings of the ulation that we were not to take part in people of the United States, and sancany matter that might hazard our amica- tioned by their practice. ble relations with Spain.
Among the topics calculated deeply to But in the other two classes we have engage our attention, in the existing state many and strong common interests. As of affairs, is the condition of Cuba and near neighbors, several of these states, Porto Rico. Those rich islands, the foraccordingly as they are prosperous and mer so near our very borders, that the peaceful in their intercourse with each Moro, which commands the entrance to other and with ourselves, or otherwise, Havana, may be considered a fortress at become objects of great solicitude to us. the mouth of the Mississippi. The probaOne of these has an immense landed fron- bility that this island may become the tier on our territory, and, together with scene of a struggle between Spain and the next two in geographical position, one or more of the new States—and of lies on those waters into which the great all the horror of such a struggle, coninternal communications of the United ducted with forces inadequate on either States are discharged. With these and side to complete success, but sufficient to with the other new States we have high- lead to anarchy and a servile war-would ly important commercial connections, and alone justify the United States in attendit is therefore matter of great interest to ing a Congress where their presence and us how they shall stand towards each exhortations might avert so great a caother. If a common feeling of mutual in- lamity—so imminent a danger. It is terests and mutual friendships shall pre- well said by the Committee that, “ if the vail, all will increase in prosperity. On United States, after being invited to atthe other hand, dissension between them tend a conference of ministers of the respecting boundaries or other vexed powers by whom that invasion is proquestions, would at once be injurious to jected, had declined to be present, they the parties engaged, and to the other would have incurred a deep responsiStates, as well as to the United States, bility for whatever disastrous effects our from the interruption of that commerce friendly interposition might have averted, which their peaceful growth and industry or delayed.” could not fail to foster and enlarge. The direct intercourse between the new These obvious truths could not fail of Republics and ourselves, would form a producing marked effect in such a Con- special subject of deliberation at the Congress ; and it is not too much, probably, gress. Our aim, from the earliest foundato say, that if it had been in session with tion of the government, in our interthe general concurrence of the new States, course with foreign nations, has been to and the full coöperation of this country, establish reciprocal, liberal and uniform the unhappy war actually existing be- commercial relations with all. The benetween Brazil and the Provinces of La fit of our experience in this cause bas Plata, respecting the possession of the been specially invoked, and “ to refuse Banda Oriental, would have been pre an attendance when urged, on this vented by the mediation of the ministers ground, would be to neglect, perhaps, there assembled. To the work of media- the fairest opportunity which the history
of the world has offered, of giving a posed mission to its consummation, it wide and prompt diffusion to liberal doc was opposed on party grounds; and trines of public law.”
those who were already organizing to put After thus considering the whole case down the administration of J. Q. Adams, on the grounds of political expediency, though it should be “pure as the angels,” and the principles of our diplomatic seized upon this topic as one concerning intercourse, the Committee add the ex- which, regardless of the high interests of pression of their concurrence in the senti- country which it involved, they hoped to ments of the President, that sufficient make an unfavorable impression on the inducement, independent of all other, people. to accept the invitation, would be found In the Senate, Mr. Benton, Mr. Branch, in the desire “to meet, in the spirit of Mr. Randolph, Mr. Van Buren, Mr. kindness and friendship, an overture Woodbury, Mr. Tazewell, Mr. Hayne, made in that spirit, by three sister re- Mr.W.R. King, (now minister in France,) publics of this hemisphere.”
were strenuous in opposition. They and Towards these republics our policy their associates, in executive session, infrom the outset has been frank, liberal, terposed all the obstacles which party and disinterested. Dismissing all jealous- tactics and party discipline could suggest; ies, and disdaining all fears—instead of and when defeated there after the nomiholding back when those States cast off nations were confirmed, but while the apthe safe and enervating despotism of propriation bill was pending in the House Spain, which rendered them such harm--they transferred the subject to the leess neighbors for us—we, the first, gislative session, and therein indulged in stretched our hands out to welcome them most acrimonious and vindictive debate. among the nations. We ourselves as In these debates John Randolph, the out. sisted to break down the barrier which pourings of whose unhinged mind and position had heretofore given us of be. ill-regulated heart have, in some quarters, ing alone on this continent without rivals received the apotheosis of genius! was or dangerous neighbors. We have aided particularly prominent and particularly the growth of Republics, some of which abusive; and from one of the speeches must be great and strong. The policy he then made arose the duel between him thus entered upon we must pursue, and and Mr. Clay. bind to us by the bonds of common in The machinations and devices of Mr. terest, of similar institutions, and of a Van Buren were more conspicuous than frank and liberal intercourse, those who his arguments, in the effort to thwart the under a different treatment, might become mission. In executive session he first dangerous rivals or enemies.
moved a call on the President for the From all which considerations, the communication in confidence to the Senate Committee thus conclude :
of all documents and instructions relative “ As our attendance at the Congress, in- to the mission. Having obtained these, stead of being prejudicial to the public he then moved resolutions, which were interests, is, in the judgment of the Com- adopted, that the whole subject be dismittee, a measure of the most obvious cussed with open doors, unless the Presipolitical expediency; as it is stipulated to dent should object to the publicity of the bring into no hazard the neutrality of the correspondence, and asking him to say United States; as all fears of an entangling whether such publicity would be injurialliance have been shown to be unfounded; in a word, as the Congress will be regarded replied, that, the papers having been
To these resolutions the President by the Executive of the United States, as purely a consultative meeting; and as the communicated by him in confidence to the objects of consultation are of primary im- Senate, upon their request so to receive portance to the country, the Committee of them, and believing such confidential inForeign Affairs are of opinion, that the tercourse between the Executive and the mission to Panama ought to receive the Senate essential to the public interests, sanction of the House of Representatives.” be deemed it his indispensable duty to
Having thus laid before the readers of leave to the Senate itself the decision of the Review the substance of the two con a question involving a departure, hitherto, flicting Reports, we shall devote the resi- as he is informed, without example, from due of our space to an exhibition of the that usage.” course of some of the prominent members This reply furnished a new topic of of both Houses.
opposition. Mr. Rowan, of Kentucky, From the first annunciation of the pro- proposed resolutions of censure on the
President for declining to decide whether establish the mission to Panama, seeing or not the Senate ought to sit with open that no “new political associations or doors upon executive business! and confederacy” were then contemplated. refusing to consider farther the subject Finding all expedients vain, and that of the mission until the President should factious opposition in executive session give his opinion as to the propriety of a produced no capital out of doors, the vote public discussion! This resolution, after was taken on the same day, on the reso. debate, was modified in various ways, lution of the Committee on Foreign Reall, however, designed to cast censure on lations, declaring the mission inexpedient. the Executive, and to thwart his views; It was negatived—ayes 19, noes 24. till at length, stripped of the offensive fea- The ayes were Messrs. Benton, Berrien, tures, it was passed in a form asserting Branch, Chandler, Cobb, Dickerson, Eathat, although “ the Senate have the right ton, Findlay, Hayne, Holmes, Kane, to publish communications confidentially King, Macon, Randolph, Rowan, Van made, and to discuss the same with open Buren, White, Williams, Woodbury. doors, without the consent of the Presi. The nominations were then confirmed. dent,”—-yet, in this case, as the President The length to which this paper has seemed to have objections thereto, and been already protracted forbids our going no present exigency required the exercise into detail, and furnishing, as we intendof that right-the Senate would proceeded, extracts from the speeches of the as heretofore, with closed doors.
Senators who opposed the mission. It Nothing daunted by defeat, Mr. Van must therefore suffice to say, that Mr. Buren, on the 14th of March, submitted Hayne of South Carolina, Mr. White of a series of resolutions adverse to the Tennessee, Mr. Van Buren of New York, President's constitutional authority to in- and Mr. Woodbury of New Hampshire, stitute the mission. We quote the second particularly, resisted that object, which, of these resolutions because of its remark- among others, was to be embraced in the able application to the recent “associa. deliberations of the Congress—the retion” of Texas with this Union-an newed and more emphatic expression of association now supported by the very Mr. Monroe's declaration that this contimen who supported the annexed resolu- nent, under the reservation of existing tion, which, as will be seen, denies all rights, was henceforth to be exempt from authority to Congress to bring about such European interference or European coloa result!
Any agreement on our part with the “Resolved, That the power of framing or South American nations to proclaim this entering. (in any manner whatever) into as the policy and resolute purpose of each any political association, or confederacies, and all, was denounced as a total debelongs to the people of the United States parture from the established policy of our in their sovereign character, being one of country—as beyond the constitutional the powers which, not having been dele- authority of this government, and as the States or people, and that it is not offensive to the nations of Europe. Mr. within the constitutional power of the Fed- Randolph, who, in the legislative seseral Government to appoint deputies or re
sion, spoke hour after hour and day after presentatives of any description to represent day about the mission, magnified the the United States in the Congress of Pana- power of the European nations as unduly ma, or to participate in the deliberation, or and unreasonably as he depreciated the discussion, or recommendation of acts of character and insulted the feelings of the that Congress.”
new American States. This resolution, with the others, was By all the opponents of the mission, lost; but it received the votes of Messrs. a system of American republics, framed Dickerson, Benton, Hayne, Wm. R. King, for the protection of freedom--for the adMacon, Randolph, Van Buren, Rowan, vancement of mutual, harmonious and Woodbury, &c.
liberal intercourse—and defensive, not It is, taken altogether, a complete non by arms, but in spirit and purpose, against sequitur ; for, admitting as we do entirely, the pretensions of the monarchical system and as was probably done by those who of Europe—the Holy Alliance—were ridivoted against the resolution as a whole, culed or denounced. No sympathy for the truth of the first deduction, it has no struggling freemen on our own continapplication whatever to the second, re ent-no generous sentiment of a new. specting the constitutional authority to world destiny, and of corresponding
new-world duties—no self-relying con and which, among other prohibitions, sciousness that, as Americans, we are forbade them even to discuss, consider sufficient unto ourselves, and competent or consult on any stipulation, compact or to discuss and to determine whether, and declaration binding the United States in in how far, we will be governed by an any way, or to any extent, to resist interold international code, adopted without ference from abroad with the domestic our concurrence, and adapted to political affairs of the aforesaid governments, or conditions and circumstances widely dif- any measure which shall commit the preferent from our own. Party disguised sent or future neutral rights or duties of from patriotism its true path-and though the United States, either as may regard happily defeated in the main efforts, it European nations, or between the several did, indirectly, have the effect of paralyz- States of Mexico and South America,” ing a proceeding which it could not was adopted by the House of Representawholly prevent.
tives by a vote of ninety-nine to ninetyIn the House of Representatives, the five-Mr. Polk, Mr. McDuffie, Mr. Hoffsame narrow spirit, the same factious op- man, (now naval officer of New York,) position—claiming to speak in the name Mr. Cambreleng, Mr. Verplanck, Mr. of country, and seeking to shelter itself Ingham, and Mr. Kremer of Pennsyl. under the mantle of Washington-was vania, together with the whole opposimanifested. We select, by reason of his tion, being in the affirmative. present eminence—then as little antici The next day Mr. Polk addressed the pated as now it is likely to be justified by House concerning his purpose to vote results—for special citation, the part against the resolution, even with the taken by Mr. Polk.
amendment adopted at the previous sitOn the 11th April, Mr. Polk offered the ting. That amendment did indeed assert following resolutions :
the right of the House to a voice in the “ Resolved, That it is the constitutional institution of a new foreign mission, and right and duty of the House of Represen- did declare that the ancient policy of the tatives, when called on for appropriations country to keep clear of all “entangling to defray the expenses of foreign missions, alliances” was not to be departed from. to deliberate on the expediency or inexpe- To these views Mr. Polk said he willingdiency of such missions, and to determine ly adhered, and that, “ however strong and act thereon, as in their judgment may his sympathies in favor of liberty and be most conducive to the public good.
“ Resolved, That it is the sense of this republican institutions, in whatever part House that the sending of Ministers on the of the world they might make their appart of the United States to take part in the pearance, the peace, the quiet and the deliberations of the South American nations prosperity of his own country were paraat Panama, would be a total departure from mount to every other consideration." the uniform course of policy pursued by this Mr. Polk then argued the right of the government from the adoption of the Fede. House of Representatives to a voice in ral Constitution to the present period; and the institution of foreign missions; and might, and in all probability would, have a having insisted (contrary to the welltendency to involve the nation in “entan- established practice of the government) gling alliances,” and endanger the neutral, that such was the true construction of the ity and relations of amity and peace, which at present happily subsist between the Uni. Constitution, he again reverted to the ted States and the belligerent powers-Old dangerous nature of the Panama ConSpain and the Southern Republics on this gress.
“We have heard,” said Mr. P., Continent.
during this debate, a great deal about “ Resolved, therefore, That it is inexpe. the fraternity of the · Republics of the dient to send ministers on the part of the South ; about the necessity of signifying United States, to take part in the delibera our good feeling, and sympathies for the tions of the said Congress of South Ameri cause of freedom in which they are encan nations at Panama, and that it is inex- gaged, by extending to them the counsels pedient to grant any appropriations to de- of our experience, and uniting with them fray the expenses of the said mission.”
in the deliberations at Panama.
We These resolutions were, on Mr. Polk's have been repeatedly told, not only by motion, referred to the Committee of the gentlemen on this floor, but the idea bas Whole on the state of the Union.
been held forth in the documents which . On the 20th, Mr. McLane's amend- have lumbered our table, that this Conment, which went to cripple the mission gress at Panama was an American, a reby restricting the powers of the ministers, publican policy.” Mr. Polk, after this