« ZurückWeiter »
"I can not go as far as the senator from South Carolina. I can not recognize England as our mother. If so, she is and ever has been a cruel and unnatural mother. I do not find the evidence of her affection in her watchfulness over our infancy, nor in her joy and pride at our ever-blooming prosperity and swelling power since we assumed an independent position.
“The proposition is not historically true. Our ancestry were not all of English origin. They were of Scotch, Irish, German, French, and of Norman descent as well as English. In short, we inherit from every branch of the Caucasian race. It has been our aim and policy to profit by their example-to reject their errors and follies—and to retain, imitate, cultivate, perpetuate all that was valuable and desirable. So far as any portion of the credit may be due to England and Englishmen-and much of it is let it be freely awarded and recorded in her ancient archives, which seem to have been long since forgotten by her, and the memory of which her present policy toward us is not well calculated to revive. But, that the senator from South Carolina, in view of our present position and of his location in this confederacy, should indulge in glowing and eloquent eulogiums of England for the blessings and benefits she has conferred and is still lavishing upon us, and urge these considerations in palliation of the wrongs she is daily perpetrating, is to me amazing. He speaks in terms of delight and gratitude of the copious and refreshing streams which English literature and science are pouring into our country and diffusing throughout the land. Is he not aware that nearly every English book circulated and read in this country contains lurking and insidious slanders and libels upon the character of our people and the institutions and policy of our government? Does he not know that abolitionism, which has so seriously threatened the peace and safety of this republic, had its origin in England, and has been incorporated into the policy of that government for the purpose of operating upon the peculiar institutions of some of the states of this confederacy, and thus render the Union itself insecure ? Does she not keep her missionaries perambulating this country, delivering lectures, and scattering broadcast incendiary publications, designed to incite prejudices, hate, and strife between the different sections of this Union? I had supposed that South Carolina and the other slaveholding states of this confederacy had been sufficiently refreshed and enlightened by a certain species of English literature, designed to stir up treason and insurrection around his own fireside, to have excused the senator from offering up praises and hosannas to our English mother! (Applause in the galleries.) Is not the heart, intellect, and press of England this moment employed in flooding America with this species of English literature ?' Even the wives and daughters of the nobility and the high officers of government have had the presumption to address the women of America, and in the name of philanthropy appeal to them to engage in the treasonable plot against the institutions and government of their own choice in their native land, while millions are being expended to distribute 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' throughout the world, with the view of combining the fanaticism, ignorance, and hatred of all the nations of the earth in a common crusade against the peculiar institutions of the state and section of this Union represented by the senator from South Carolina;, and he unwittingly encourages it by giving vent to his rapturous joy over these copious and refreshing streams with which England is irrigating the American intellect.” (Renewed applause in the galleries.)
REPELLING FOREIGN AGGRESSIONS.
Mr. Douglas has always been in favor of a strict maintenance of all the rights of nations, and of the respect and obliga
tions properly due from one nation to another. He has always declared that the best way to preserve peace was to enforce a respect for American rights, and the surest way to invite a war was to submit to outrage and injustice, and thus provoke a state of circumstances from which war must necessarily result. In all things Mr. Douglas expresses his views so clearly and distinctly that no language can be employed that will so readily inform the reader as to his opinions as his own.
In the Senate, in a debate on the Naval Appropriation Bill, on the 7th of June, 1858, he discussed the whole subject of foreign aggressions, and thus distinctly stated his views :
“I agree, Mr. President, with most that has been said by my friend from Georgia (Mr. Toombs), and especially that we ought to determine what we are to do in reference to the outrages upon our flag in the Gulf of Mexico and the West Indies, before we decide the amount of money we shall vote for war purposes. If we are going to content ourselves with simple resolutions that we will not submit to that which we have resolved for half a century should never be repeated, I see no use in additional appropriations for navy or for army. If we are going to be contented with loud-sounding speeches, with defiances to the British lion, with resolutions of the Senate alone, not concurred in by the other House, conferring no power on the executive-merely capital for the country, giving no power to the executive to avenge insults or prevent their repetition, what is the use of voting money? I find that patriotic gentlemen are ready to talk loud, resolve strong; but are they willing to appropriate the money? Are they willing to confer on the executive power to repel these insults, and to avenge them whenever they may be perpetrated ? Let us know whether we are to submit and protest, or whether we are to authorize the President to resist and to prevent the repetition of these offenses. If senators are prepared to vote for a law reviving the act of 1839, putting the army, the navy, volunteers, and money at the disposal of the President to prevent the repetition of these acts, and to punish them if repeated, then I am ready to give the ships and the money; but I desire to know whether we are to submit to these insults with a simple protest, or whether we are to repel them.
“Gentlemen ask us to vote ships and money, and they talk to us about the necessity of a ship in China, and about outrages in Tampico, and disturbances in South America, and Indian difficulties in Puget's Sound. Every enemy that can be found on the face of the earth is defied except the one that defies us. Bring in a proposition here to invest the President with power to repel British aggressions on American ships, and what is the response ? High-sounding resolutions, declaring in effect, if not in terms, that whereas Great Britain has perpetrated outrages on our flag and our shipping which are intolerable and insufferable, and must not be repeated, therefore, if she does so again, we will whip Mexico, or we will pounce down upon Nicaragua, or we will get up a fight with Costa Rica, or we will chastise New Granada, or we will punish the Chinese, or we will repel the Indians from Puget's Sound [laughter], but not a word about Great Britain. What I desire to know is whether we are to meet this issue with Great Britain ? I am told we shall do it when we are prepared. Sir, when will you be prepared to repel an insult unless when it is given?
“Sir, I tremble for the fame of America, for her honor, and for her char
acter, when we shall be silent in regard to British outrages, and avenge ourselves by punishing the weaker powers instead of grappling with the stronger. I never did fancy that policy nor admire that chivalry which induced a man, when insulted by a strong man of his own size, to say that he would whip the first boy he found in the street in order to vindicate his honor, or, as is suggested by a gentleman behind me, that he would go home and whip his wife [laughter] in order to show his courage, inasmuch as he was afraid to tackle the full-grown man who had committed the aggression. Sir, these outrages can not be concealed; they can not have the go-by; we must meet them face to face. Now is the time when England must give up her claim to search American vessels, or we must be silent in our protests, and resolutions, and valorous speeches against that claim. It will not do to raise a navy for the Chinese seas, nor for Puget's Sound, nor for Mexico, nor for the South American republics. It may be used for those purposes, but England must first be dealt with. Sir, we shall be looked upon as showing the white feather if we strike a blow at any feeble power until these English aggressions and insults are first punished, and security is obtained that they are not to be repeated.”
After referring to the unanimous action of Congress in 1839 investing Mr. Van Buren with power and means to resist aggressions during the controversy respecting the northeastern boundary, he said:
“The vote in the Senate was unanimous, and in the House of Representatives it was one hundred and ninety-seven against six. This unanimity among the American people, as manifested by their representatives, saved the two countries from war, and preserved peace between England and the United States upon that question. If the Senate had been nearly equally divided in 1839, if there had been but half a dozen majority for the passage of the measure, if the vote had been nearly divided in the House of Representatives, England would bave taken courage from the divisions in our own councils, she would have pressed her claim to a point that would have been utterly inadmissible and incompatible with our honor, and war would have been the inevitable consequence.
“I tell you, sir, the true peace measure is that which resents the insult and redresses the wrong promptly upon the spot, with a unanimity that shows the nation can not be divided.”
He thus closed his remarks:
“Besides, sir, as has been intimated by the senator from Massachusetts, England has given pledges for her good behavior on this continent. She is bound over to keep the peace. She has large possessions upon this continent of which she could be deprived in ninety days after war existed; and she knows that, the moment she engages in war with us, that moment her power upon the American continent and upon the adjacent islands ceases to exist. While I am opposed to war-while I have no idea of any breach of the peace with England, yet I confess to you, sir, if war should come by her act and not ours—by her invasion of our right and our vindication of the same, I would administer to every citizen and every child Hannibal's oath of eternal hostility as long as the English flag waved or their government claimed a foot of land upon the American continent or the adjacent islands. Sir, I would make it a war that would settle our disputes forever, not only of the right of search upon the seas, but the right to tread with a hostile foot upon the soil of the American continent or its appendages. England sees that these consequences would result. Her statesmen understand these results as well as
we, and much better. Her statesmen have more respect for us in this particular than we have for ourselves. They will never push this question to the point of war. They will look you in the eye, march to you steadily, as long as they find it is prudent. If you cast the eye down she will rush upon you. If you look her in the eye steadily, she will shake hands with you as friends, and have respect for you.
“Mr. Hammond. Suppose she does not? “Mr. Douglas. Suppose she does not, my friend from South Carolina asks
If she does not, then we will appeal to the God of battles-we will arouse the patriotism of the American nation-we will blot out all distinctions of party, the voice of faction will be hushed, the American people will be a unit; none but the voice of patriotism will be heard, and from the north and the south, from the east and the west, we will come up as a band of brothers, animated by a common spirit and a common patriotism, as were our fathers of the Revolution, to repel the foreign enemy, and afterward differ as we please, and discuss at our leisure matters of domestic dispute. Sir, I am willing to suppose the case which is suggested by the senator from South Carolina: suppose England does not
respect our rights ? To fight her now“Mr. Hammond. I said, suppose England would not submit to be bullied. “Mr. Douglas. Who proposes to bully England ?
“ Mr. Hammond. I understood the senator to say that if we looked down she would rush on us, but if we looked up she would give way. I consider that bullying.
“Mr. Douglas. Precisely; that is the case of a bully always. He will fix his eye on his antagonist's, and see if it is steady. If it is not, he will approach a little nearer. If it is, he stops ; but if his eye sinks, he rushes on him; and that is the parallel in which I put England, playing the bully with
The question is, whether we will look her steadily in the eye, and maintain our rights against her aggressions. We do not wish to bully England. She is resisting no claim of ours. She sets up the claim to search our vessels, stop them on the high seas, invade our rights, and we say to her that we will not submit to that aggression. I would ask to have the United States act upon the defensive in all things—make no threat, indulge in no bullying, but simply assert our right; then maintain the assertion with whatever power may be necessary, and the God of our fathers may have imparted to us for maintaining it—that is all. I believe that is the true course to peace. I repeat that, if war with England comes, it will result from our vacillation, our division, out hesitation, our apprehensions lest we might be whipped in the fight. Perhaps we might. I do not believe it. I believe the moment England declares war against the United States, the prestige of her power is gone. It will unite our own people; it will give us the sympathy of the world; it will destroy her commerce and her manufactures, while it will extend our own. It will sink her to a second-rate power upon the face of the globe, and leave us without a rival who can dispute our supremacy. We shall, however, come to that point early through the paths of peace. Such is the tendency of things now. I would rather approach it by peaceable, quiet means, by the arts and sciences, by agriculture, by commerce, by immigration, by natural growth and expansion, than by warfare. But if England is impatient of our rising power, if she desires to hasten it, and should force war upon us, she will seal her doom now; whereas Providence might extend to her, if not a pardon, at least a reprieve for a few short years to come.”
FILIBUSTERISM. On the 7th of January, 1858, President Buchanan communicated to the Senate, in obedience to a resolution of that body,
copies of the orders, instructions, and correspondence with reference to the arrest of William Walker on the coast of Central America. On the motion to refer these documents, a debate took place involving the propriety of Commodore Paulding's conduct, and the course of the President in relation thereto, and also as to the views expressed by him in his communication accompanying the papers. In this debate, Messrs. Davis and Brown of Mississippi, Pugh of Ohio, and Toombs of Georgia, sharply criticised the message, and repudiated the existence of the power claimed by the President in his message. The President was ably defended, and with much warmth, by Mr. Seward, and by Mr. Doolittle of Wisconsin. During this debate Mr. Douglas expressed his views upon the affair, and upon filibusterism generally, in the following terms :
Mr. Douglas. I do not rise to prolong the debate, but to return the compliment which my friend from Mississippi [Mr. Brown] paid me when he said he admired my pluck in speaking my sentiments freely, without fear, when I differed from the President of the United States. He has shown his pluck, and various others have shown theirs, on the present occasion. According to the doctrine announced the other day, each senator who has done so has read himself out of the party. I find that I am getting into good company; I have numerous associates; I am beating up recruits a little faster than General Walker is at this time. (Laughter.] I think, however, it will be found, after a while, that we are all in the party, intending to do our duty, expressing our opinions freely and fearlessly, without any apprehension of being excommunicated, or having any penalties inflicted on us for thinking and speaking as we choose. If my friend from Louisiana [Mr. Slidell] were in his seat, I should say to him, inasmuch as he declared in his Tammany Hall letter that he was going to fill by recruits from the Republicans all the vacancies caused by desertions in the Democratic party on account of differences with the President in opinion, that he seems to have been very successful to-day in getting leading Republicans on his side, and recruiting his ranks just about as rapidly as there are desertions on this side of the house. (Laughter.] The senator from New York, I believe, has the command of the new recruits. Well, sir, strange things occur in these days. Men rapidly find themselves in line and out of line, in the party and out of the party.
Mr. Seward. Will the honorable senator allow me to interrupt him ?
Mr. Seward. I have an inducement on this occasion which is new and peculiarly gratifying to me, which will excuse me for being found on the side of the administration. The message announces that, in the judgment of the President, this expedition of Mr. Walker was in violation of the laws of the land, and therefore to be condemned. So far I agree with him ; but he goes further, and pronounces it to be in violation of "the higher law;" and I am sure I should be recreant to my sense of “the higher law" itself if I did not come to his support on such an occasion. [Laughter.]
Mr. Douglas. I perceive the consistency of the senator from New York in the ground on which he bases his support of this message. Now, sir, so far as the President pronounces this arrest of General Walker to have been a violation of the law of the land, I concur with him. As to the allusion to