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“the higher law," I think that is well enough in its place, but it is not exactly appropriate in the execution of the neutrality laws of the United States. I would rather look into the statutes of the United States for the authority of the President to use the army and navy in enforcing the neutrality laws. By the statute of 1818 he has ample authority within the jurisdiction of the United States, and that jurisdiction is defined to extend as far as one marine league from the coast. If an arrest be made within that distance, the courts of the United States have jurisdiction, but there is no authority to arrest beyond that distance. The authority given in the eighth section of the act, to which reference is made, but which is not quoted in the message, is confined in terms to cases within the jurisdiction of the United States as defined in the act. How defined ? Defined in the previous sections as being within one marine league of the coast. It thus appears that the whole extent of the President's power to use the army and navy under the act of 1818 is within our own waters, and one marine league from the coast.
I did suppose that the President himself put that construction on his authority, for I understood him to ask for further and additional authority from Congress to enable him to put down filibustering expeditions. What further authority could he want, if the existing laws allowed him to roam over the high seas, and sail around the world, and go within one marine league of every nation on the earth? It might be supposed that his authority was extensive enough to employ his entire navy, and that, certainly, he would not ask for power to invade other nations.
For these reasons I supposed that the President, on reflection and examination, had come to the conclusion that his authority was full and ample within one marine league of our coast, and ceased the moment you passed beyond that on the high seas. That has been my construction of the neutrality laws. I believe it is the fair construction. I am in favor of giving those neutrality laws a fair, faithful, and vigorous execution. I believe the laws of the land should be vigorously and faithfully executed. There
may be public sentiment in certain localities unfavorable to the operation of the law, but prejudice should not be allowed to deter us from its execution. This is a government of law. Let us stand by the laws so long as they stand upon the statute-book, and execute them faithfully, whether we like or dislike them.
Sir, I have no fancy for this system of filibustering. I believe its tendency is to defeat the very object they have in view, to wit, the extension of the area of freedom and the American flag. The President avows that his opposition to it is because it prevents him from carrying out a line of policy that would absorb Nicaragua and the countries against which these expeditions are fitted
I do not know that I should dissent from the President in that object. I would like to see the boundaries of this republic extended gradually and steadily, as fast as we can Americanize the countries we acquire, and make their inhabitants loyal American citizens when we get them. Faster than that I would not desire to go. My opposition to the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, which pledges the faith of this nation never to annex Central America, or colonize it, or exercise dominion over it, was not based on the ground that I desired then to acquire the country; but inasmuch as I saw that the time might come when Nicaragua would not be too far off to be embraced within our republic, being just half way to California, and on the main road there, I was unwilling to pledge the faith of this nation that in all time we never would do that which I believed our interest and our safety would compel us to do. I have no objection to this gradual and steady expansion as fast as we can Americanize the countries. I believe the interests of commerce, of civilization, every interest which civilized nations hold dear, would be benefited by expansion; but still I desire to see it done regularly and lawfully, and I apprehend that these expeditions have a tendency to check it. To
that extent I have sympathized with the reasons which the President has assigned in his message for his opposition to them; but I desire that his opposition shall be conducted lawfully; for I am no more willing to allow him unlawfully to break them up than I am to permit them unlawfully to fit them
I am not willing to send out naval officers with vague instructions, and set them to filibustering all over the high seas and in the ports of foreign countries under the pretext of putting down filibustering. Let us hold the navy clearly within the law. Let the instructions that are given to our officers be clear and specific; and if they do not obey the law, cashier them, or, by other punishment, reduce them to obedience to the law.
Bút in this case it is a very strange fact that Captain Chatard is degraded and brought home for not arresting Walker on the identical spot where Commodore Paulding did arrest him. Paulding and Chatard are thus placed in a peculiar position. Paulding arrests him, we are told, in violation of law. Chatard is degraded for not arresting him in violation of law. This shows that the moment we depart from the path of duty, as defined by law, we get into difficulty every step we take. All the difficulties and embarrassments connected with the conduct of Paulding and Chatard arise from the fact that in our anxiety to preserve the good opinion of other nations, by putting a stop to filibustering, we have gone beyond the authority of law. I think it will be better for us to confine ourselves to the faithful execution of the neutrality laws as they stand, and stop these expeditions, if we can, before they are fitted out. If, notwithstanding our efforts, they escape, we are not responsible for them. I do not hold that every three men that leave this country with guns upon their shoulders are necessarily fitting out a military expedition against countries with which we are at peace. Each citizen of the United States has the same right under the Constitution to expatriate himself that a man of foreign birth has to naturalize himself under our laws. When the Constitution of the United States declares that foreigners coming here may be naturalized, it recognizes the universal principle that all men have a right to expatriate themselves and become naturalized in other countries. Walker had a right, under the Constitution of the United States, to become a naturalized citizen of Nicaragua. Nicaragua had the same right to make him a citizen of that country that we have to make a German or an Irishman a citizen of this. When Walker went from California, on his first expedition to Nicaragua, and became naturalized there, he was from that moment a citizen of Nicaragua, and not a citizen of the United States. You have no more right to treat Walker as a citizen of the United States than Great Britain has to follow an Irishman to this country, and claim that he is a British subject after he has been naturalized here. You have no more right to put your hands on Walker, after his naturalization by Nicaragua, than Austria or Prussia has to follow their former subjects here and arrest them on the ground that they were once Germans, Walker is a Nicaraguan, and not an American. Since he has been President of that republic, recognized as such, it is too late for us to deny that he is a citizen of that country, or to claim that he is an American citizen. We are not responsible for his action when he is once beyond our jurisdiction. If he violated our laws here, we can punish him; but we have no right to punish him for any violation of the laws of Nicaragua. If he invites men to join him, and they get their necks in the halter, they must not call upon us to untie the noose after they have expatriated themselves.
It is a modern doctrine that no citizen can leave our shores to engage in a foreign war. We filled the Russian regiments, during the Crimean war, with American surgeons, and only lately the Emperor of Russia has been delivering medals and acknowledgments of knighthood to these very men. We also allowed our men to go and join the Turks, the English, and the French, and
fight against the Russians. American senators were in the habit of giving to their friends letters to the Russian minister, in order to enable them to obtain from him commissions in the Russian army during the Crimean war. Did we suppose that we were violating the neutrality laws? We knew that each person that went on that service went on his own responsbility. If he got a leg shot off, he could not call upon us to protect him, or to punish the man who shot the gun.
So it is with those who choose to go to Nicaragua and try their fortunes there.
I had hoped that the feverish excitement in favor of these expeditions would have ceased long ago, and that we should be enabled to acquire whatever interest we desired in Central America in a regular, lawful manner, through negotiation rather than through these expeditions. But, sir, when I am called upon to express an opinion in regard to the legality of these movements, I must say that in my judgment the arrest of Walker was an act in violation of the law of nations and unauthorized by our own neutrality laws. To this extent, like the gentlemen around me who have spoken, I dissent from the President of the United States. I do so with deep regret, with great pain. My anxiety to act with that distinguished gentleman, and conform to his recommendations as far as possible, will induce me to give the benefit of all doubts in his favor; but where my judgment is clear, like my friend from Mississippi (Mr. Brown], I must take it upon myself to speak my own opinions and abide the consequences.
THE ACQUISITION OF CUBA. In December, 1858, after the election of that year in Illinois, Mr. Douglas visited the city of New Orleans. He was about closing his speech in explanation of his course upon Lecomptonism, when there were loud cries of " Cuba! Cuba !” from the audience. In response to these calls, Mr. Douglas said:
“It is our destiny to have Cuba, and it is folly to debate the question. It naturally belongs to the American continent. It guards the mouth of the Mississippi River, which is the heart of the American continent, and the body of the American nation. Its acquisition is a matter of time only. Our government should adopt the policy of receiving Cuba as soon as a fair and just opportunity shall be presented. Whether that opportunity occur next year or the year after, whenever the occasion arises and the opportunity presents itself, it should be embraced.
“The same is true of Central America and Mexico. It will not do to say we have territory enough. When the Constitution was formed there was enough, yet in a few years afterward we needed more. We acquired Louisiana and Florida, Texas and California, just as the increase in our population and our interests demanded. When, in 1850, the Clayton-Bulwer treaty was sent to the Senate for ratification, I fought it to the end. They then asked what I wanted with Central America. I told them I did not want it then, but the time would come when we must have it. They then asked what my objection to the treaty was. I told them I objected to that, among other clauses of it, which said that neither Great Britain nor the United States should ever buy, annex, colonize, or acquire any portion of Central America. I said I would never consent to a treaty with any foreign power pledging ourselves not to do in the future whatever interest or necessity might compel us to do. I was then told by veteran senators, as my distinguished friend well knows (looking toward Mr. Soulé), that Central America was so far off that we should never want it. I told them then, “Yes; a good way
off-half way to California, and on the direct road to it. I said it was our right and duty to open all the highways between the Atlantic and the Gulf States and our possessions on the Pacific, and that I would enter into no treaty with Great Britain or any other government concerning the affairs of the American continent. And here, without a breach of confidence, I may be permitted to state a conversation which took place at that time between myself and the British minister, Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer, on that point. He took occasion to remonstrate with me that my position with regard to the treaty was unjust and untenable; that the treaty was fair because it was reciprocal, and it was reciprocal because it pledged that neither Great Britain nor the United States should ever purchase, colonize, or acquire any territory in Central America. I told him that it would be fair if they would add one word to the treaty, so that it would read that neither Great Britain nor the United States should ever occupy or hold dominion over Central America or Asia. But he said, “You have no interests Asia.' 'No' answered I, and you have none in Central America.'
66.But,' said he, you can never establish any rights in Asia.' 'No,' said I, “and we don't mean that you shall ever establish any in America. I told him it would be just as respectful for us to ask that pledge in reference to Asia, as it was for Great Britain to ask it from us in reference to Central America,
“If experience shall continue to prove, what the past may be considered to have demonstrated, that those little Central American powers can not maintain self-government, the interests of Christendom require that some power should preserve order for them. Hence I maintain that we should adopt and observe a line of policy in unison with our own interests and our destiny. I do not wish to force things. We live in a rapid age. Events crowd upon each other with marvelous rapidity. I do not want territory any faster than we can occupy, Americanize, and civilize it. I am no filibuster. I am opposed to unlawful expeditions. But, on the other hand, I am opposed to this country acting as a miserable constabulary for France and England.
“I am in favor of expansion as fast as consistent with our interest and the increase and development of our population and resources; but I am not in favor of that policy unless the great principle of non-intervention and the right of the people to decide the question of slavery and all other domestic questions for themselves shall be maintained. If that principle prevail, we have a future before us more glorious than that of any other people that ever existed. Our republic will endure for thousands of years. Progress will be the law of its destiny. It will gain new strength with every state brought into the confederacy. Then there will be peace and harmony between the free states and the slave states. The more degrees of latitude and longitude embraced beneath our Constitution, the better. The greater the variety of productions, the better; for then we shall have the principles of free trade apply to the important staples of the world, making us the greatest planting as well as the greatest manufacturing, the greatest commercial as well as the greatest agricultural power on the globe."
THE COMPROMISE OF 1850. MR. Douglas took an active part in the proceedings which resulted in the measures of legislation known as the “Compromise of 1850." The general history of that compromise is well known to the American people. It has for a number of years been so thoroughly and so frequently discussed, that its history, as well as its provisions, have become familiar to all who take an interest in political matters.
A brief synopsis of the events preceding and attending the adoption of that compromise will not be uninteresting, at least to those whose interest in the history of Mr. Douglas's career has induced them to read thus far in these pages. By the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (voted against by Mr. Douglas), the United States acquired the territory of California, Utah, and New Mexico. That treaty was ratified in 1848, and Congress shortly after adjourned without making any provision for the government of the newly-acquired country. During the short session of 1848–9 several efforts were made, the most prominent of which was the Clayton Compromise, and the amendment of Mr. Walker of Wisconsin, which, though they both passed the Senate, failed to meet the approval of the House of Representatives. The struggle was between the friends and the opponents of the Wilmot Proviso. Congress adjourned on the 4th of March, 1849, without having made any provision for the government of the new territories. In the mean time the discovery of gold in California had drawn thousands to that state; a civil government was absolutely necessary. The only government there was that of General Riley, who, by virtue of his office as commander of the American forces, exercised to a limited extent the functions of a civil governor. During the summer of 1849, the people of California, aided by General Riley, who acted under instructions from Washington, called a convention, formed a state Constitution, elected state officers, put their state government in operation, elected two United States senators and two members of the