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Mr. DeJARNETTE, of Virginia, offered the following resolution:
WHEREAS, All nations have ever witnessed with alarm the establishment of any formidable power in their vicinity; and whereas , the people of the Confederate States, as well as the people of the United States, have ever cherished the resolve that any further acquisition of territory in North America, by any foreign power, would be inconsistent with their prosperity and development; and whereas, the invasion of Mexico by France has resulted, as alleged, in the establishment of a government founded on the consent of the governed; we, nevertheless having reason to believe that ulterior designs are entertained against California and other Pacific States, which we do not regard as parties to the war now waged against us, as they have neither furnished men nor money for its prosecution; therefore, the Congress of the Confederate States of America do
Resolve, That the time may not be far distant when we will be prepared to unite, on the basis of the independence of the Confederate States, with those most interested in the vindication of the Monroe doctrine, to the exclusion of all seeming violations of those principles on the continent of North America.
Mr. DEJARNETTE said:
Mr. Speaker--Impelled by convictions of public duty, as well as in deference to the counsels of those whose opinions I cannot disregard, I have offered this resolution. I am fully aware, sir, of the responsibility that I have assumed in proposing a platform, at this juncture, (pending the efforts of our Peace Commissioners) upon which to base negotiations for peace and independence, and I appreciate, to their full extent, the difficulties that environ the grave
question at issue. Whatever may be the results to me, personally, of the responsibility that I have thus assumed, I shall cheerfully embrace them, if I can thereby be the instrument of directing the minds of the members of this House to that channel of thought and action which, in my judgment, can alone lead speedily to the desired consummation.
And let me say here, sir, before proceeding further, in behalf of the people I have the honor to represent on this floor, that they are willing to tolerate no alliance nor arrangement with the United States Government that is not based upon the unqualified recognition of their independence. This is their ultimatum, and to this they have solemnly pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
Success in all undertakings depends upon preserving a proper proportion between the means employed and the ends to be attained; therefore, in order to obtain a recognition of the independence of the Confederate States, it is indispensably necessary to demonstrate that it is to the interest of those at whose hands we ask such recognition to grant it. When this is done negotiations will commence, and not before; for the history of the world has given evidence of the truth that the actions of nations are not guided by sentiments of favor or affection, but are the result of selfish motives, looking to their own aggrandizement.
Indeed, sir, governments, the mere agents or representatives of the people, and charged with the preservation of the rights, liberties, peace and prosperity of those whom they represent, cannot, in justice to those for whom they stand in stead, afford to be generous. Their actions should be directed alone to the accomplishment of the object for which they were instituted.
Success, therefore, in negotiations for peace, recognition, aid or intervention, depends on the amount of benefit conferred on the power approached and not on the advantages gained by the party that seeks them. If peace be sought, I hold that the only chance or hope of success depends on the fact that it is demonstrably to the interest of those with whom we are at war to make peace; if recognition or aid be sought, the chances of success are in exact proportion to the amount of benefit which is received for such aid or recognition.
The merit of the resolution which I have offered consists in making it to the interest of the Government of the United States to recognize the independence of the Confederate States in order to secure a union of their arms with ours for the expulsion of England and France from the continent of North America. This would give the United States commercial supremacy and the control of the seas, and would place them far beyond the hostile reach of these, their hitherto successful rivals. A union of our arms on this basis would be fatal to the policy and interest of England, because her power is based on the influence of her commerce, and on the dominion that she exercises upon the ocean; and the rising hopes of commercial
power indulged in by France would be crushed from the fact that she would be driven from our Pacific coast--a position which she must hold if she would successfully grapple with England in the great struggle which must soon come between the rivals for the Pacific trade--a trade which is paramount at present and which ever has been the source of commercial power and wealth in all ages, springing as it does from the labor of the eight hundred millions of inhabitants of Asia.
The union of our arms and those of the United States would give that power all, and more than all, than they can hope to accomplish by our subjugation, even supposing that there are any at the North who are so wilfully blind as not to see the utter impossibility of subduing eight millions of freemen; and hence is it to their interest to recognize us. In the same proportion that the United States would be benefitted will France and England suffer. In the case of the former power, the new born hopes of commercial prosperity that have developed themselves in the policy of France would be crushed in the bud; in the case of the latter, the traditional domination in commerce that has fed the arrogance and ministered to the grandeur of England, would pass away with her expulsion from the avenues of commercial wealth; and hence is it, that in the case of these two powers--thirsting as they are for the complete and bloody destruction of this people--is the path of their duty to their own interests open plainly before them: to prevent by a recognition of the independence of these Confederate States, and a preservation, if needs be, of that independence, the consolidation of our arms with those of the United States, a consolidation that would bear with it the irresistible motive power wielded by a million of veteran soldiery inflamed with the lessons that the perfidy, ill-disguised malice and unseemly self-congratulations of France and England, exhibited during the course of this war, have taught them.
To use these conflicting relations and antagonistic agencies in the work of our independence, and to stop the further effusion of blood, is the object sought to be gained by the resolution that I have offered. To show its adaptation to this end, is the argument in favor of its adoption.
It is unquestionably to the interest of the Government of the United States to recognize our independence on the basis of reciprocal free trade and the free navigation of our rivers and harbors, because this would give them all the advantages that the Union formerly gave them. But they desire the re-establishment of the Union now, in order that they may obtain that protection which its consolidated power would afford. Peace on the basis proposed would give them that consolidated power, and they would enter at once into the full fruition of all the advantages it would secure. For then would the opulent English province of Canada fall into their hands, a result at this time more satisfactory to the Northern mind than would be even the subjugation of the South, if such subjugation
could enter into the probabilities of the day; and, at the same time, that consolidation would ensure the breaking of England's hold upon the Pacific which, as I shall demonstrate, it is necessary for her to retain if she is longer to control the trade of the Pacific. It will enable the United States to hold California and their Pacific States--which will lapse from their possession if this war continues for six months longer--by consummating the expulsion of the French power from Mexico, a power which has been planted in that distracted country by France, so that when this war shall have thoroughly exhausted the United States, she may be in readiness to hold and occupy the Pacific States with a view of coping successfully with England for the empire of the seas. Mexico will be left as France found her, to be absorbed, by contact and association, with us, and the African will resume his march to the Equator, there to work out his destiny on the Amazon and the La Plata.
From the union of arms proposed to be brought about by the resolution that I have offered, the United States will become possessed of the sceptre of commercial power, and the commercial centre of the world will be changed from London to New York. The South, in the peaceful enjoyment of her independence, will devote herself to agriculture, and thus furnish food and clothing for the world, and the North with its ships and factories will realize the fact that agriculture is the hand maid of commerce.
This result, sir, will be obtained without further bloodshed, because a union of our arms, on the basis proposed, would present eight hundred thousand men, the heroes of a hundred bloody fields, in line of battle; the respective nations on the best possible war footing, and on the war path. This spectacle would intimidate, as it has astonished, the world. Presenting, this consolidated power, recognition of our independence would be freely accorded us by the rest of the world, because nations look to their interests alone and direct their actions to that end.
I am confident that this result will follow if this resolution be adopted as a basis upon which we propose to rest present negotiations. But I do not doubt but that the adoption of such a resolution will urge England and France to recognize our independence in order to prevent the consolidation of such a power, on the basis contemplated, as will prove fatal to their commercial prosperity.
This war, sir, if not created, was instigated by England to destroy her most formidable rival for the trade of the Pacific. She had watched our every movement and noted every stop that we had taken to commercial importance. She had thrown every obstruction in the way of our progress and in vain endeavored to crush our navy and diminish our commercial tonnage. That tonnage she saw steadily advance until it had assumed proportions greater than her own. This increase admonished her that soon our power would become supreme, and would win for that tonnage its proper influence in controlling the commerce of the world, I and she must destroy it or resign her sway over the seas. She had not the power
to accomplish this destruction by the brute force of arms, and, therefore, she had to resort to her diplomacy. The abolition sentiment which she manufactured for this purpose is about to do its work, and, unless it can be arrested, as in this manner is proposed, her object will be accomplished.
The struggle, Mr. Speaker, which has been going on in Europe since the establishment of the Saracenic power on the Bosphorus, which thus closed the western gate of Asia, has, for the last two hundred years, been repeated on this continent. Spain, with stronger ships and more adventurous navigators, first reached the Pacific and secured the trade of Asia. From Spain this trade fell to Portugal, and from Portugal, through the bigotry of Ferdinand II, to Holland, and from Holland to Denmark. By the wealth and power which that trade created, those nations, whilst they possessed it, held the dominion of the seas. England, by the appliance of the arts of treachery, obtained it from Denmark, and for the last hundred years, England and France have been the competitors for that trade.
The first war of independence would not have ended when it did had not the King of France extended one hand to our assistance in order the more fully to engage England's attention, whilst with the other, he grasped the British possessions in India. The armies raised by England for our subjugation were sent, after the surrender at Yorktown, to drive the French from India, as she preferred losing her colonies to allowing the French to establish supremacy in the East. Thus the rivalry between England and France in the pursuit of the trade of the Pacific was the means of achieving our independence, and will as certainly be the means of preserving it if we make a judicious use if the peculiar advantages we hold and the power that this war has developed. This is a commercial war, waged for commercial supremacy, and its influence cannot be confined to this continent. The effort to stem with the hand the tide that leaps in lordly majesty over the rock of Niagara would be as fruitless as the effort to shield France and England from the disastrous results of this terrible and comprehensive war; provided they do not move promptly for their own protection. I would not, Mr. Speaker, upon the floor of this House, utter a threat that hostile criticism might attack on the plea of our present condition of war; but I will say, and in speaking the warning I but re-echo the sentiments of this people, whose record is written in letters of blood with the point of the avenging sword, that those nations who have supinely and with callous indifference held aloof from this quarrel, by reason that it was none of theirs--callously, if we may judge them by their words and actions, but with a savage glee at witnessing this carnival of blood, if the secrets of their governmental charnal house were but laid bare--those nations, I say, that have thus plotted their aggrandizement, at the expense of the blood of the people of these Confederate States, may learn at some future day, when, under God's good Providence, we have earned our
title to freemen, that the revenges that Time holds in its keeping are not always forgotten, and that a proud and high spirited race while biding their time, do not fail to remember, with a fitting remembrance, those who, in their days of seeming adversity, slurred them with the open taunt or the half-disguised words of hatred. But, sir, to proceed to the subject-matter of my remarks.
Since the formation of artificial society, commerce has been the great Archimedean lover which has moved the world. It has been the great king-maker and law-giver of the Universe. Kingdoms and empires exist dependent, alone, on its capricious will. When its laws are obeyed and its presence courted, it scatters its bounty with a prodigal hand, but when its influence is disregarded, or it becomes lost to States by the hand of change or ill-fortune, it leaves behind it the wrecks of a vanished glory and the memory of a greatness fallen. Upon the shores of the Mediterranean, along the once opulent Levant, the old seats of commerce are marked by the mouldering ruins which speak at once of its pomp, its greatness and its decline. The world's history is filled with the glories of its reign. In the picture of human progress and civilization, the great marts of commerce fill up the centuries with the spectacle of their splendor, their luxuries and their final decay. In the mysterious centuries before the Christian era--centuries splendid with the records of flourishing arts--the almost fabulous beauty of Carthage and Tyre and Sidon seems but the creation of a poet's fancy; and but for the recorded magnificence of Genos the Superb, and Venice the Beautiful--Genos and Venice, whereof the argosies whitened the waters of all discovered seas--we might be led to believe as almost apocryphal the story of the greatness of the old seats of trade.
In its various changes of dominion, commerce has rested upon the Isles of the sea, and there it enables them to demand and receive tribute of the world. The highest hopes and aspirations of all nations have been to possess and control it, because they know that no wealth can be acquired, nor power preserved, without it. To possess the trade of Asia, Europe has been made, in every generation for two thousand years, to tremble under the shock of contending armies, beneath whose tread vanquished nations have disappeared.
And now, sir, England, to preserve that trade, has, by the cunning tricks of her tortuous diplomacy, instigated this war which has drenched our once happy land with precious blood. This war, sir, has developed a power here which, on the basis proposed, can be united, and the advantages of our geographical position would enable us to drive England from the Pacific without a struggle. When England is thus deprived of her colonies and her commerce, her government cannot survive save beneath the burden of her four thousand millions of debt, and the wreck of her now splendid empire will not be less complete than that of the Eastern Empire of Rome. The most powerful engine ever constructed lies still and immovable until touched by the master-hand, when its ponderous wheels spring to life and move with resistless force; thus the weight of a finger
properly applied accomplishes what the most powerful agents could not achieve. England has witnessed the horrors of this desolating war with savage indifference, because her most dangerous rival was wasting her strength in its prosecution. But adopt this resolution, and you touch the secret of her power, and she will move with promptitude for her own preservation.
Should this war end in our defeat or in re construction, in either event the result to her would be the same. She will discover in this movement a design to fall in with the current popular sentiment at the North for her expulsion from this continent, not so much from a desire to possess Canada as from a wish to drive her from her position on the Pacific coast, which it is absolutely necessary that she should hold in order to possess the trade of Asia.
The government of the United States is waging this war for commercial advantages. By subjugating the South they would hold a monopoly of cotton. An export duty on that article would be so arranged that all the cotton factories of England would be closed. The cheapness of the raw material to them would, notwithstanding the cheap labor and capital of England, enable the United States to undersell the English manufacturers in the markets of the world. It would also give them consolidated power, but not to the extent contemplated by this resolution, as this would be voluntary--but power sufficient to enable them to assume their legitimate position--that of mistress of the seas.
The only line of conduct for England to follow is to carry out, on this continent, her balance-power European system--that is, preserve the independence of the Confederate States as a balance-power to the United States and prevent a consolidation of those powers, as that would certainly prove fatal to her.
We, holding this position, would accept the proposition most beneficial to us. The independence of the South, on the basis proposed, would not, in any matter, affect the North injuriously; but, on the contrary, it would strengthen that government by promptly yielding the support of our military arm to preserve its commercial supremacy, and by removing the cause of domestic discontent--that conflict which must exist where free labor and slave labor are confederated in the same social system. These two principles are naturally antagonistic, and, from opposite natures, must move in opposite directions. Free labor has, by the oppression of capital in all governments and in all ages, diminished in value daily; and thus it is constantly failing until it reaches the fundamental principle of the government, which, for its own preservation it must assail, and the government must be destroyed. Slave labor, being capital, moves in the opposite direction. Every day adds to its value; and the basis of all governments being labor, which is the only revolutionary element, they must fall unless that labor is interested in their preservation, which cannot be in free society, because in such a society labor diminishes in value, and, the necessaries of life advancing, an irrepressible conflict ensues which must destroy the government.
This war has proved that these opposing elements of free and slave labor cannot remain in harmony in the same Confederation. To separate them would be mutually beneficial. Successful agriculture, the handmaid of commerce, demands the absolute control of labor. In free society, labor naturally leaves the less intellectual avocations of the plough and the furrow for the higher employments afforded in the mechanical arts or commercial pursuits.
The natural tendency of free labor is to make a nation commercial in its pursuits, whilst slave labor is from its nature adapted to the requirements of agriculture. They move in distinct orbits, but they can, by conventional agreement, be made with reciprocal good will, mutually to sustain and support each other. It is thus that the United States and the Confederate States can move on to the fulfilment of that destiny which I truly believe is written for our accomplishment.
If this bright prospect for such glorious results be disregarded by the United States, England and France are not insensible to the advantages which a coalition with us would afford them. France is now reduced to a great extremity. The taxes on her people have been doubled, whilst not a sou has been added to their wealth. The present Emperor, having determined to profit by the example of his uncle, and in order to secure the succession for his son, must endear himself to his people. He is devoted to France, and he seeks her prosperity in order to earn the gratitude of the French nation. Mindful of the powerful influence of commerce in securing a nation's wealth, he united with England in the Crimean war in order to prevent Russia from opening the Western gate of Asia, through which until it was closed, flowed that tide of commerce that built up and sustained the Roman empire.
Asia can only be reached now through the Pacific, and France has planted the eagles of the Empire in Mexico that she may obtain a footing on that shore. She is without coal which is as necessary, in this age of steam, upon the water as gunpowder is upon land. If she would contend for the Pacific trade, with any hopes of success, she must have coal upon the Pacific coast. England now holds all the coal in South America, and France is without that indispensable article at home and abroad. She is in search of it for the reason that unless she, can obtain supplies elsewhere than from England--where she now obtains her coal, she can never hope to win commerce from that power.
The nation that holds the coal in the Pacific will possess the commerce in that quarter. Without this element all the navies that ever floated could not control that commerce. And I will go further, and say that the nations which, in this age, holds the depots of coal on the Pacific coast, holds and controls the commerce of the world. A mere deposit of coal on that coast would not be of advantage, because the nation that has established its power there can and will prevent such accumulations of coal as would enable a rival to become dangerous.
It is with this view, then, of controlling the Pacific trade, that France has established her power in Mexico. To provide for a re-construction of the map of Europe--a re-construction which has always followed when the trade of Asia has changed hands--she has, with great sagacity, taken a prince of the house of Austria and placed him upon the throne of Mexico--Austria being the balance power which has always been used to restore the equilibrium when the map of Europe has undergone the process of reconstruction. The possession of California and the Pacific States would give to France the control of the Pacific ocean; and, should she desire it, those States could fall into her hands without a struggle, because the United States cannot send a steamer to the Pacific. No war steamer can carry coal enough to reach the Pacific from any United States port.
The United States have not been allowed by England to deposit a ton of coal on the Atlantic or Pacific side of South America since the use of steam on the ocean. Hence, when France shall have obtained coal from the coast range of mountains in Lower California--which she has appropriated to her use, as well as the Gulf of California, in which she can shelter her fleet--she will be ready to seize California and the Pacific States, which will be powerless to resist her. To this consummation does her present occupancy of Mexico tend, and if the war should continue a few months longer, those States which she menaces at present will fall under her control, and all the power of the United States, were it a thousand times as great as it is, could not prevent her from holding the Pacific coast. Possessed of this territory, she could easily destroy the coal deposits which England has constantly kept on the Pacific, and she would thus be enabled to drive England from that ocean, and so wrest from that power the empire of the seas. Under this catastrophe England would lose her commercial supremacy, and would fall never to rise again; the memories of Waterloo and St. Helena would be avenged; the dark record of vengeance against "perfidious Albion" would be cancelled in the triumphs of a bloodless retribution, and the inscrutable man who to-day directs the destinies of France, panoplied in the cloak of a stern seclusiveness, would become the founder of a dynasty.
In the course of my remarks I have referred to the controlling influence that the trade of Asia has exerted upon the wealth and prosperity of nations in every era of the world's history, and have indicated that the possessor of that trade, among the nations of the earth, prospered with its continuance and decayed with its loss. Sir, the people of the Confederate States are essentially agricultural, and nothing is more difficult than to convince them that agriculture is not the great and absorbing interest which should control the actions of governments. Impressed with the belief in the paramount influence of agriculture, the people of the South convinced themselves that cotton was king.
Sir, everything is great by comparison only. Cotton being our
valuable production, and an article from the manufacture of which England derived a large annual income, it was supposed that she would not permit the sources of supply to be interrupted. But, sir, the profit which England derives from her cotton trade, when compared with the value of possession and control of the trade of Asia, and the continuance of her maritime supremacy, cannot be regarded as worthy of notice or concern. In her estimation, our cotton bears the same relation to her Pacific trade that a rivulet does to the ocean.
What is this trade of Asia, that it should have so long engaged the enterprise and tempted the avarice of the world?
If this House will only bear with me patiently, and consent to step beyond the mere circle of agriculture, and take in review the mighty movements of commerce, they will be the better prepared to appreciate the nature of the great struggle in which we are now engaged, and the effect which its results must necessarily produce upon the commercial interests of the world.
Let us but turn our attention to Asia, the magnitude and wealth of its trade, and the controlling influence it has, from time to time, exerted over the nations of the earth.
Before the foundation of Rome the Pyramids of Africa were lost in antiquity. They were wrought by the hands of the refluent wave of population which moved from Eastern Asia to the shores of the Mediterranean. When Adam was axpelled from the garden of Eden, the history of the human race was transferred from Messopotamia to the East. Their posterity penetrated Asia to the Pacific, until the superabundance of the races of men urged the tide once more to the West, and in that direction it has continued to move until it has reached the Pacific.
The early history of those great nations that rose after the deluge is lost in the mists of time, or, at best, is but vaguely recorded; but the Pyramids still survive the wrecks of centuries, vast monuments of the progress, genius, industry and skill of those who conceived and built them. It is recorded in the Bible that Solomon derived all his wealth from the trade of the East, and that Book also furnishes data upon which to base an estimate of the value of that trade. Solomon, we are told, built Tadmor, the Palmyra of the Plains, as a water station, whereat his caravans, laden with the rich productions of the East, might rest and refresh themselves. This city, whereof the splendor and opulence were almost unparalleled, stood in the desert waste, with its hundred thousand of inhabitants, its vast reservoirs filled with water, and its population supplied with food brought on the backs of camels from a distance of five hundred miles. From the fact of the necessity that brought forth this city, and from its pomp and prosperity, we can form a proper conception of the value and magnitude of the trade to which it owed its existence.
The fabulous wealth thus acquired was distributed by Solomon along the Mediterranean, and thence arose the power of Rome,
Greece and Carthage. Carthage, resting on the road to India, was the formidable rival of Rome and Greece for the trade of the East. But this rivalry passed away, when, by the vicissitudes of war, the Roman empire absorbed these two powers, and the legionary eagles were carried far into Asia, whose untold wealth was brought to aggrandize and enrich the Mistress of the World.
As a sequence to this destruction of the power of Carthage and Greece, and the monopoly of the trade of the East, Rome, bloated with power and invincible in her arms, continued her encroachments until Spain, Gaul and Britain fell beneath her yoke, and her conquests extended high up on the Baltic. As long as she preserved her trade with Asia, her strength was irresistible; but when she lost that trade by the establishment of the Eastern empire, her power disappeared and she fell an easy prey to the barbarians of the North.
The rise of the Saracenic power forms one of the most momentous chapters in history. Under the pretence of a Divine, mission, Mohamet gathered about him a few restless adventurers and crazy fanatics, and began his wonderful career by plundering the defenceless villages of Eastern Asia. Attracted by the fame of these plundering forays, the nomadic tribes of the desert flocked to his standard, until, with a powerful army, he penetrated into Asia. Returning thence with the spoils of four thousand cities, he established a power that increased with centuries, until the votaries of Islamism planted the crescent upon the spires of Constantinople, thus extinguishing in the fall of the Eastern empire, the last vestige of that authority which for hundreds of years Rome had impressed upon tributary nations, possessing themselves of the monopoly of the rich trade with Asia, and establishing a barrier between Christendom and the productive region beyond the Bosphorus, which has never been removed.
With the lapse of years, and still controlling the trade with the East, the power of Mahometanism was subjected to the politico religious war of the Crusades on the part of Christian Europe. But, sustained by the wealth that that trade gave, the Saracens waged successful war.
The descendants of the Goths and Vandals, taking lessons from the vanquished, by the wealth which they acquired from the ruins of the Westren Empire, were enabled to cultivate the arts and indulge in intellectual pursuits; they adopted the religion, literature and architecture of Rome; and the wave of progress again moved to the West.
Europe thus occupied and reclaimed from Nature, where next the march of Empire? To restore Europe to its former prosperity, it was necessary to win supremacy from the Saracen in turn, and to recover the trade of Asia. Where now may the adventurous, impatient European extend his way? Restless under, and urged forward by, the progressive instincts of his higher nature and nobler destiny, ancestral Europe seems too narrow, too contracted, too small a sphere.
Mysterious ocean! thou unknown world of waters!--must thy dread barrier hold its rule forever? The Teuton and the Celt meet upon thy confines and gaze in awe upon the vast expanse of brine before them. They marvel at thy grandeur, thy vastness and thy mystery. Their souls are filled with strange thoughts. Anon the shadowy vision of an undiscovered shore, far, far beyond, rises from the swelling waves before them. Glorious vision! glorious land! It is the dimly revealed outline of gorgeous India--dreamed of in palace and hut--with its marvelous store of gold, spices and precious stones. Yea, proud waves that dash your waters mockingly and defiantly at their feet, your mysteries will be explored. For were there not staunch ships wherewith to cross the waste, and had not God given the wonderful magnet? What more was needed than a bold and adventurous leader? As if in answer to the mysterious yearnings of the times, there arose among men one, whose far-sighted vision no space could contract--whose fearless heart no peril could appal. I doubt, Mr. Speaker, whether, in the whole range of benefactors of the human race, there can be found one to approach, in his faith in his mission, and the modesty with which he urged his cause, this calm, earnest, thinking man--no more divine in his attributes than you or I--who, trailing the sword in the ante-chambers of princes and potentates, and knocking with a heroic persistency at the palace-gates of kings, to meet with rebuffs and laughter at his visionary schemes, still breasted the ignorance and prejudices of those who understood him not-- pleading, with outstretched hands: "Give me but ships, and I will tempt this perilous main; give me but ships, and I will lead you to El Dorado!" In this latter age we can scarcely conceive of the solemnity of the spectacle that San Palos witnessed when the bold navigator tempted the illimitable ocean with his three frail barks; but it was a grander spectacle in its humble and apparently hopeless venture than ever the sun of Europe shone upon--greater, by far, than the array of armed men who went forth a gorgeous multitude of kings, princes, knights and men-at-arms, to rescue the Holy Sepulchre from the hands of the infidel; for, by its immortal sequel, a higher and nobler civilization was given to man; and the veil that concealed the luminous face of Truth was torn away, when, in the vast distance, the blue outlines of the forests of the New World fell upon the eager gaze of Christopher Columbus and his followers!
The discovery of this continent and its appropriation by the Europeans were the result of the eager pursuit of the trade of Asia. In the halls of the Montezumas, under the burning sun of Mexico, the cavaliers of Spain and Portugal drew tribute from the Aztecs, the Children of the Sun. The whole of South America, Florida, and Louisiana acknowledged their supremacy. The Atlantic slope east of the Alleghanies, fell to the lot of Teutonic Anglo-Saxon, and the Celtic race of France redeemed from barbarism the Canadas, carrying their emprise far into the Mississippi basin, until they were compelled to yield the whole of their vast American. possessions to their hated foe, the indomitable mistress of the seas.
England obtained a footing in India in the manner before alluded to, and at that early period of which I speak, saw that the trade of Asia could be controlled from this continent alone. Thus was it that, on this continent, commenced the struggle between England and France for the trade of the Pacific--France endeavoring, by the establishment of a chain of forts between the Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico, to prevent the entrance of England into the West.
France was driven from her possessions, and England chartered The Hudson Bay Company, so that it might push its explorations and hold the Pacific coast. The first war for our independence afforded France another opportunity to obtain the trade of India. She took part in that struggle, as I have shown, with the results before stated.
England had always regarded the United States as her most formidable rival for the trade of the Pacific, and she made every effort to retard her development. Her claim to the right of search was but a pretext upon which to wage war whenever the rising power of the United States should assume formidable proportions. When Napoleon Bonaparte sold Louisiana and all the country west of the Mississippi, held by the United States prior to the war with Mexico, he gave as his reason for selling the whole, (when we only offered to buy Louisiana) that he could not hold it as England had driven him from the seas; but that he desired the young giant America to possess it, because he knew that, at no distant day, America would break England's power by driving her from the Pacific. This was in 1801. In 1802 Captain Grey discovered the mouth of the Columbia river. In 1806 Mr. Jefferson sent Lewis and Clarke to explore the Missouri river and cross the Rocky Mountains, and descend the Columbia to the Pacific.
In 1808 Mr. Astor, a merchant of New York, established Astoria, a trading port at the mouth of the Columbia. This alarmed England, and the war of 1812 was the result, as the first act of hostilities was committed by the Tonquin, an English war-vessel, which entered the harbor and took possession of Astoria and a vessel loaded with furs, belonging to Mr. Astor. That vessel remained there until the treaty of Ghent, by which peace was declared between England and the United States. England declared that peace could only be concluded on the este posseditis principle, which would give her that harbor as she had possessed it during the war.
Mr. Adams and Mr. Clay, who negotiated that treaty, were instructed to demand as the condition of peace the statu quo antebellum. For six weeks negotiations were suspended on the claim of England, as before stated, to the harbor of Astoria. The treaty was at last made by agreement to hold the Pacific coast in joint occupancy.
In 1824 the United States began to appreciate the value of her Pacific possessions, and being unwilling to continue the joint occupancy, she sent Mr. Rush ostensibly to negotiate for the navigation of the St. Lawrence river, and to provide more effectually for the suppression of the slave trade, but the primary object was to settle
the difficulty in regard to the Northwestern boundary. As soon as Mr. Rush made known the claim of the United States, and that she was determined to hold the Columbia river, Mr. Canning, the Premier of England, with great earnestness vehemently stated that England would never consent to the abandonment of her claim to that river. This, it will be remembered, was the only harbor owned at that time by the United States on the Pacific, and, if England could have held it, her Pacific trade would never have been endangered. But it was held by the United States, and it was England's policy to throw every obstacle in her way to prevent communication with her Pacific coast. She required of the South American Provinces--hopelessly in her debt--that they should not allow the United States Government to establish a depot of coal on either the Atlantic or Pacific side of South America, and that if war should occur between her and the United States, no vessels of the latter should be allowed to enter a harbor on either coast for shelter from storms. By this means England hoped to retard the development of the power of the United States on the Pacific coast, and, also, that if it attempted to interfere with her trade, she would be enabled easily to drive it from that ocean.
A vessel of war leaving a European or a United States port cannot carry coal enough to reach the Pacific, and, unless depots of coal are established on that coast, steam vessels cannot be used on that ocean.
England has her depots, no other nation has; and hence she can hold the Pacific against the nations of the world, unless their power is firmly established on that coast by the construction of dock-yards, foundries, &c. This the United States was rapidly bringing about; England saw that the moment had come to check her progress, and hence this war.
But let us look again at the watchful anxiety that England has manifested in regard to the development of the power of the United States on the Pacific. After the war with Mexico, we acquired eight hundred additional miles of coast on the Pacific, and the harbor of San Francisco. Soon gold was discovered in California, and the tide of immigration tended rapidly to the Pacific. The Isthmus of Panama had become a highway for the United States, and a railroad was about to be constructed connecting the two oceans at that point, which, if owned by a United States company and controlled by the United States, would have given it great advantages, not only in protecting its coast, but might have enabled it to become a rival for the Pacific trade. This England could not allow. Let us see how ingenious she was in her devices to control the transit of the Isthmus.
On that coast there was a tribe of Indians consisting of several hundred miserable, half-starved wretches, who were known as the Musquito Indians. These she took under her protection, and claimed for them the right to control the transit facilities, which were settled on her own conditions--she obtaining equal facilities on the contemplated
railroad with the United States during peace; but if war should occur between them, then the United States would not be allowed to use it. To this the United States assented, because it was seen that England was terribly in earnest, and would have gone to war rather than allow any approach to India which she could not control.
The Congress of the United States orders a survey for a railroad from the Mississippi to the Pacific. England immediately orders the construction of a continuous railroad from New Foundland to Puget's Sound; and to-day that railroad has crossed the Mississippi, and soon--perhaps, during this war--it will be finished to the Pacific.
Alarmed by the rapidly developing power of the United States on that coast, England purchased one of the Sandwich Islands on the line of the trade to India, and, in 1860, was constructing a Gibraltar, filling it with naval stores.
This I have stated in order to give this House some conception of the estimate in which she holds her position on the Pacific coast, and with what jealousy she has ever regarded the approach of the United States to what she knows to be the secret of her power.
England will grant you recognition and independence and anything that you may ask, sooner than permit the United States to hold the undisputed possession of the Pacific coast, which, she knows, will cost her the empire of the seas.
Whilst England has been busy watching the movements of the United States in America, there has been in Europe another power which has given her as much uneasiness, and that power is Russia. To check the movements of Russia, since the age of railroads, has cost her great expenditure of blood and treasure. Since the days of Peter the Great, Russia has sought to obtain the trade of India. Resting on the Arctic Circle, her territory extends far down into Asia, Europe and America; her Southern line, in Asia, resting on the Chinese empire for 2,000 miles. Driven by England from the seas, Russia had made some progress into India before the railroad came to her aid. Over a land portage of more than 2,000 miles, on the backs of mules, she transported the rich productions of the East, and supplied half of Europe with the product of the labor of India. Repeated efforts have been made by Russia to open her way to the ocean; but England has stood with one hand on the Danish Belt and with the other on the Dardanelles, and has kept her from the Pacific. But the steam horse came to her relief, and in 1840 she commenced her system of railroads.
With a grand trunk, double track railroad from St. Petersburg to Moscow, there branching off--one going into Siberia, and the other going down in the direction of the Black sea, and stretching across to the Caspian in Asia--she bad obtained of the Shah of Persia a right of way to extend her road to Kelat, the capital of Beloochistan, thus penetrating farther into Asia than any European power had done before.
This was alarming to England. To meet Russia on that ground, she obtains the right of way from the Germanic Confederacy to construct a railroad up the Rhine, down the Danube, crossing the Dardanelles at Constantinople, and through Turkey in Asia to the Persian Gulf. To prevent the construction of this railroad, Russia determined to drive the Turks from Constantinople, and the Crimean war was the result. England took part in this war against Russia--not from any maudlin sympathy with a weaker power, but because she was aware that if Russia should succeed in opening the western gate of Asia, the wealth of India would flow back to its former channels, and that whilst she was in condition to meet united Europe on the water, she could not resist the combined power or Europe on the land. Therefore was it that, in order to ensure her continued possession of her Pacific trade, she made common cause with Turkey and France against Russia, knowing, as she did, that that trade would be lost to her by the expulsion of the Turkish power from the Bosphorus; for, with the establishment of Russian authority upon the ruins of Constantinople, the Asiatic trade would desert the highway of the Pacific, and would seek its old and natural channel of outlet.
When England's trade with India was endangered, her hypocrisy was laid bare, and her abolition sentimentalism did not stand as an obstacle to her countenancing and preserving a slave power in Europe, in the chief city and capital of which--Constantinople--white men and women, the hapless but beautiful maids of Circassia, and the wretched captives torn from their homes in the razzias of the Turcoman, were exposed for sale daily in the markets. No sir; rather than put her cherished trade with India in jeopardy, she went to war with Russia and preserved a pro-slavery government that owes its existence to day only to the moral protection afforded by her countenance.
By an exercise of the cunning diplomacy which has ever distinguished her, and in order to make sure that France should not have the opportunity for gathering her strength for another attempt at securing the Pacific trade, whilst hers should be exhausted in a war of such magnitude, England induced that power to espouse the Turkish cause in the attempt to prevent Russia's establishing a foothold upon the Bosphorus. The bribe, by the means of which the co-operation of France was secured, was the promise of the division, between herself and England, of the trade of Asia. France accepted the proposal, for while she greedily coveted this lucrative and strength-giving trade, she was well aware that she could never wrest it from her old-time rival by the arbitrament of war--her naval power being useless against the staunch ships and mariners of England.
After the fall of Sabastopal, the "holy alliance" was maintained. The victors of Balaklava and the Alma, in pursuance of the entente cordiale that had been inaugurated upon the battle fields of the Crimea--the descendants of the "Old Guard" of the days of the
Empire, and the inheritors of the fame and uniform of the "Enniskillen Greys," who had fought and bled at Waterloo--marched away to storm the exclusiveness of the Celestial Empire--to batter down its forts--to enter its Capital, and, on the wrecks of Chinese arrogance and mystery, to extort a commercial treaty, whereby the ports of China were opened up to the trade of the world. With this consummation of her hopes and wishes, came the ultimate triumph of England's policy. Fresh from victorious war with the "giant liar" of the North, she gave the finishing stroke to Russian progress by sending Sir James Outram, with 12,000 men, to Ispahan to demand of Persia the revocation of the right-of-way to construct the railroad to which I have referred, granted by her to Russia; and, with Persia's submission to this demand, Russia was again driven out of Asia.
As an additional bribe to France, England proposed that that power should open the Suez canal, connecting the Mediterranean with the Red sea, which would give France the trade of one half of Asia. But, in so doing, her own purposes would be accomplished; for France, seated upon the Bosphorus, would perform England's mission, by vicariously watching Russia and deterring that power from an attempted completion of the railroad to India. Of the uselessness of the task undertaken by France, England was well aware; for she knew, before the work of digging the canal was commenced, that the shifting sand of the desert would fill it up as before, and obliterate even the line of its construction. France, however, for twelve years has persevered in her labor of digging, and with a barren result.
Coming down in my argument to the question of the present war, I will show how England, having hastened the consummation of her designs in creating the abolition sentiment, was now placed in a most critical condition. On the one hand, the United States was in a condition to assert her claim to the Pacific trade; on the other the complications of her European policy would, again, soon give her trouble. Therefore, in order the better to be prepared for what might follow, it was necessary that some of her rivals should be destroyed.
A war of sections in the United States would destroy her most powerful rival; and, by a further exercise of her peculiar arts of intrigue, the present bloody war was brought about--it being, as we are all aware, the natural result of that pragmatic and intrusive spirit, instigated by England, which the North has, for the past twenty years, evinced towards the South.
Whilst this war, then, was the easy result of England's diplomacy, France did not fail to avail herself of the opportunities that it afforded her. Comprehending England's motives, she established herself in Mexico, in order that she might be ready to enact her part in the bloody drama that was progressing in America, when, by mutual exhaustion, the combatants would be unable to offer a vigorous resistance to the attempt of England to seize the Pacific
States. France has no coal, and hence the coast range of mountains in Lower California (which, I learn, abounds in that mineral as well as in iron,) was necessary for her designs. Having no harbor on that coast, she took the Gulf of California, which she retains as her possession.
Thus, as I have shown, Mr. Speaker, the policy and diplomacy of France and England stand revealed.
In this progressive age, when countless steam vessels cross the Atlantic, as once sailing vessels crossed the Straits of Dover, that ocean has become the Mediterranean of the world, and old Europe, with her history, her commerce and her traditions, is, as it were, transferred to our very midst. Have we not the same language, the same religion, the same literature and the same architecture? Are not our facilities for crossing the Atlantic greater than were the facilities for crossing the Mediterranean in the days of Rome? Are not nations as eager for wealth and power now as they were then? Is it not the same India that rises before their longing eyes--the same land of fabulous plenty to obtain which they have braved so much, and squandered such oceans of blood? Are not Russia, England, the United States, France and Austria collecting their strength to-day on the Pacific in an armed preparation for the giant struggle which must come sooner or later, where India shall be the stake, and the dominion of the world--commercial supremacy, and the wealth of the richest land on the globe the guerdon?
We hold the balance of power in our hands; shall we use it? If we would do so, adopt this resolution. Let these encroaching nations of Europe, intent only on their own aggrandizement, feel that we understand their purposes, and that, in order to gain the end of our independence, we are prepared to use the power that has been delegated to us by the inexorable march of events.
How, then, should we make use of this power? By saying to the United States: We will unite our power to yours for the purpose of driving England and France from this Continent, to secure our independence. Those nations would not dare to test this power thus united. Can they send a million of men to these shores and keep them supplied with food and munitions of war? If they cannot do this they would have no hope of preserving their hold on the Pacific.
But, admit that they have the men and the ships to wage such a war. What would be the condition of Europe when France and England withdrew all their armies? Would not Russia drive the trembling Osmanli from the gate of Western Asia, before which he has so long squatted, and forever establish her power there?
Sir, they will never attempt war on this Continent, but will rather hasten to offer you better terms than the United States, in order to prevent the consolidation of power contemplated by this resolution. Those terms would be, in my judgment, such as to cause us to reject any that Lincoln is likely to give, and will be worthy of consideration.
It may be said that England and France would, if compelled to
leave the Pacific shore of America, descend to the coast of South America and establish their power by subjugating some of the provinces on the Pacific. This, sir, can never be done. South America is under the ban. A glance at the map will show that the Andes, or Rocky Mountains, rise from the waves of the Pacific, leaving scarcely enough water shed to support the miserable inhabitants who dwell there. At one point, in Chili, the mountains recede from the shore and leave a strip of land which is barren, and the necessaries of life can be obtained by irrigation only. Another great obstacle is that the people there are a mongrel race--an unhappy fusion of the Americo-Celtic race with the Indians, which has, as in all cases of fusion between a superior and an inferior race, resulted disastrously to both. The people are incapable of progress and development. They have made scarcely any progress for a century--scarcely enough energy being left them to drive the serpent from their doors.
Sir, I repeat, South America is under the ban, and can never be redeemed.
But, sir, if it were otherwise--if the inhabitants of South America were of the Teutonic Anglo-Saxon race, the physical geography of the seas, as mapped out by the immortal Maury, who, to use a figure of speech, has blazed the trees on the ocean, revealing to the navigator all its paths--would preclude her adaptability to commerce. Her ports cannot command the trade of Asia.
A ship starting from any South American port would strike the Humboldt current, which forms an elipse moving southwest, reaching the East Pacific south of Australia, and moving back to the coast of South America. The winds along this current are not strong and steady, and to reach China by this route would be 1,500 miles further than from a California port. Again, in order for a vessel to reach the China seas from a South American port, the Zone of Calms, extending several degrees above and below the Equator, has to be passed on the outward and inward bound vessel. This necessitates, in the case of a sailing vessel, thirty or sixty days delay. These natural obstacles can never be overcome, and it must forever close those ports to the Asiatic trade.
What are the advantages of our Pacific coast? Between the Rocky Mountains and the coast, there is one of the finest Deltas in the world, with magnificent rivers and harbors, with climate and productions and mineral wealth enough to support a population of two hundred millions, and the irrepressibly progressive Teuton holds it and knows its advantages.
What are the advantages in winds and currents from our shores? The great Equatorial current, starting high up on the coast of California, moves southwest and strikes Central Asia, and returning, moves northwest and returns to our shore. So steady and constant is this current, that a vessel from California would be carried, without rudder, to the coast of India, and returning, would strike the coast of Oregon. These winds move as constantly as the tide. The east winds take out the vessels and the west winds bring them back.
The winds move as constantly as the currents, and move as unchangeably as the earth around the sun. Commercial nations know this and have gone there in pursuit of these advantages.
And now, Mr. Speaker, having concluded this argument which I had proposed to myself to submit to this House in support of the resolution which I have offered to-day, let me speak briefly of the wonderful future that is marked out for the western coast of this Continent. Under the guiding hand of Providence, the efforts and struggles of nations are but links in the mysterious chain of the manifest destiny of the human race. That was no poetical fancy that urged the poet to say that to the West the Star of Empire takes its way. For it is a truth as solemn as it is mysterious--uncertain to our moral eyes as may be the march of human events-- that the standards of civilization, gathering beneath them the devotees of literature, science and the arts, have poured, for the last eighteen hundred years, from the lands of the East to the lands of the West. Ever with their faces turned to the setting sun, have the children of men treaded westward, throwing no look backward, and developing themselves as they have moved in a higher and more progressive being. From the towers of Chaldæa and the marvellous masonry of Assyria's Capital; from the splendors of Tyre and power of Carthage; from the glories of Byzantium to the civilization of Europe; from the civilization of Europe, across the vastness of the ocean, the races of men have abandoned their old landmarks and have sought a new destiny in the West. And when, with a prophetic eye, we look out upon the future of this Continent, our mental gaze fastens upon a spectacle of an Empire that shall arise upon the slope of the Pacific, surpassing in grandeur the most opulent nation whereof history has preserved the record; and it is a part of the wise legislation of our country to see that the language of this great Empire shall be our language, that its principles shall be our principles, and that the history whereto it shall look back as its early annals shall be the history that we are making to-day.