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individual who now addressed the house. Yet, faithless Ferdinand refuses to ratify his own treaty, on the pretext of violations of our neutrality; but, in fact, because we will not basely surrender an important attribute of sovereignty. Two years ago, he said, would, in his opinion, have been the proper time for recognising the independence of the south. Then the struggle was somewhat doubtful, and a kind office on the part of this government would have had a salutary effect. Since that period, what had occurred? Any thing to prevent a recognition of their independence, or to make it less expedient? No; every occurrence tended to prove the capacity of that country 10 maintain its independence. He then successively adverted to the baitles of Maipu, and Bojaca, their great brilliancy, and their important consequences. Adverting to the union of Venezuela and New Grenada in one republic, he said one of their first acts was, to appoint one of their most distinguished citizens, the vice president Zea, a minister to this country. There was a time, he said, when impressions are made on individuals and nations, by kindness towards them, which lasts for ever, when they are surrounded with enemies, and embarrassments present themselves. Ages and ages may pass away, said be, before we forget the help we received in our day of peril, from the hands of France. Her injustice, the tyranny of her despot, may alienate us for a lime; bui, the moment it ceases, we relapse into a good feeling towards her. Do you mean to wait, said he, until these republics are recognised by the whole world, and then step in and extend your hand 10 them, when it can no longer be withheld ? If we are to believe general Vives, we have gone about among foreign powers, and consulted with lord Castlereagh and count Nesselrode, 10 seek some aid in recognising the indepen. dence of these powers. Whai! after the president bas told us that the recognition of the independence of nations is an incontestable right of sovereignty, shall we lag behind till the European powers think proper to advance? The president has assigned, as a reason for abstaining from the recognition, that the congress of Aix-laChapelle might take offence at it. So far from such an usurped interference being a reason for stopping, he would have exerted the right the sooner for it. But, the congress of Aix-la-Chapelle had refused to interfere, and on that point the president was inisiaken. Spain, it was true, had gone about begging the nations of Europe not to interfere in behalf of the South Americans; but the wishes of the whole unbiassed world must be in their favor. And while we had gone on, passing neutrality bill after neutrality bill, and bills to punish piracy — with respect to unquestioned piracy, no one was more in favor of punishing it than be; but he had no idea of imputing piracy to men fighting under the flag of a people at war for independence – whilst we pursued this course, even in advance of the legitimates of Europe, what, he asked, had been
the course of England herself on this head? Here he quoted a few passages from the work of Abbé de Pradt, recently translated by one of our citizens, which, he said, though the author was not very popular among crowned heads, no man could read without being enlightened and instructed. These passages dwelt on the importance of the commerce of South America, when freed from its present restraints, and so forth. What would I give, exclaimed he, could we appreciate the advantages which may be realized by pursuing the course which I propose! It is in our power to create a system of which we shall be the centre, and in which all South America will act with us. In respect to commerce, we shall be most benefited; this country would become the place of deposit of the commerce of the world. Our citizens engaged in foreign trade at present were disheartened by the condition of that trade; they must take new channels for it, and none so advantageous could be found, as those which the trade with South America would afford. Mr. Clay took a prospective view of the growth of wealth, and increase of population of this country and South America. That country had now a population of upwards of eighteen millions. The same activity in the principle of population would exist in that country as here. Twenty-five years hence it might be estimated at thirty-six millions; fifiy years hence, at seventy-two millions. We now have a population of ten millions. From the character of our population, we must always take the lead in the prosecution of commerce and manufactures. Imagine the vast power of the two countries, and the value of the intercourse between them, when we shall have a population of forty millions, and they of seventy millions! In relation to South America, the people of the United States will occupy the same position as the people of New England do to the rest of the United States. Our enterprise, industry, and habits of economy, will give us the advantage in any competition which South America may sustain with us, and so forth.
But, however important our early recognition of the independence of the south might be to us, as respects our commercial and manufacturing interests, was there not another view of the subject, infinitely more gratifying? We should become the centre of a system which would constitute the rallying point of human freedom against all the despotism of the old world. Did any man doubt the feelings of the south towards us? In spite of our coldness towards them, of the rigor of our laws, and the conduct of our officers, their hearts still turned towards us, as to their brethren; and he had no earthly doubt, if our government would take the lead and recognise them, they would become yet more anxious to imitate our institutions, and to secure to themselves and to their posterity the sarne freedom which we enjoy.
On a subject of this sort, he asked, was it possible we could be content to remain, as we now were, looking anxiously to Europe, watching the eyes of lord Castlereagh, and getting scraps of letters doubtfully indicative of his wishes; and sending to the czar of Russia and getting another scrap from count Nesselrode? Why not proceed to act on our own responsibility, and recognise these governments as independent, instead of taking the lead of the holy alliance in a course which jeopardizes the happiness of unborn millions. He deprecated this deference for foreign powers. If lord Castlereagh says we may recognise, we do; if not, we do not. A single expression of the British minister to the present secretary of state, then our minister abroad, he was ashamed to say, had moulded the policy of our government towards South America. Our institutions now make us free; but how long shall we continue so, if we mould our opinions on those of Europe? Let us break these commercial and political fetters; let us no longer watch the nod of any European politician; let us become real and true Americans, and place ourselves at the head of the American system.
Gentlemen all said, they were all anxious to see the independence of the South established. If sympathy for them was enough, the patriots would have reason to be satisfied with the abundant expressions of it. But something more was wanting. Some gentlemen had intimated, that the people of the south were unfit for freedom. Will gentlemen contend, said Mr. Clay, because those people are not like us in all particulars, they are therefore unfit for freedom? In some particulars, he ventured to say, that the people of South America were in advance of us. On the point which had been so much discussed on this floor, during the present session, they were greatly in advance of us. Grenada, Venezuela, and Buenos Ayres, had all emancipated their slaves. He did not say that we ought to do so, or that they ought to have done so, under different circumstances; but he rejoiced that the circumstances were such as to permit them to do it.
Two questions only, he argued, were necessarily preliminary to the recognition of the independence of the people of the south; first, as to the fact of their independence; and, secondly, as to the capacity for self-government. On the first point, not a doubt existed. On the second, there was every evidence in their favor. They had fostered schools with great care, there were more news. papers in the single town of Buenos Ayres (at the time he was speaking) than in the whole kingdom of Spain. He never saw a question discussed with more ability than that in a newspaper of Buenos Ayres, whether a federative or consolidated forin of gorernment was best.
But, though every argument in favor of the recognition should be admitted to be just, it would be said, that another revolution had occurred in Spain, and we ought, therefore, to delay. On the
contrary, said he, every consideration recommended us to act now. If Spain succeeded in establishing her freedom, the colonies must also be free. The first desire of a government itself free, must be to give liberty to its dependencies. On the other hand, if Spain should not succeed in gaining her freedom, no man can doubt that Spain, in her reduced state, would no longer have power to carry on the contest. So
millions of men could not be • subjugated by the enervated arm and exhausted means of aged Spain. In ten years of war, the most unimportant province of South America had not been subdued by all the wealth and the resources of Spain. The certainty of the successful resistance of the attempts of Spain to reduce them, would be found in the great extent of the provinces of South America of larger extent than all the empire of Russia. The relation of the colonies and mother country could not exist, from the nature of things, under whatever aspect the government of Spain might assume. The condition of Spain was no reason for neglecting now to do what we ought to have done long ago. Every thing, on the contrary, tended to prove that this, this was the accepted time.
With regard to the form of his proposition, all he wanted was, to obtain an expression of the opinion of the house on this subject; and wh ther a minister should be authorized to one or the other of these governments, or whether he should be of one grade or of another, he cared not. This republic, with the exception of the people of South America, constituted the sole depository of political and religious freedom; and can it be possible, said he, that we can remain passive spectators of the struggle of those people to break the same chains which once bound us? The opinions of the friends of freedom in Europe is, that our policy has been cold, heartless, and indifferent, towards the greatest cause •which could possibly engage our affections and enlist our feelings in its behalf.
Mr. Clay concluded by saying that, whatever might be the decision of this house on this question, proposing shortly to go into retirement from public life, he should there have the consolation of knowing that he had used his best exertions in favor of a people inhabiting a territory calculated to contain as many souls as the whole of christendom besides, whose happiness was at stake, and which it was in the power of this government to do so much towards securing.
ON THE GREEK REVOLUTION.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, JANUARY 20, 1824.
[The house being in committee of the whole, on the resolution offered by Mr. Websier, of Massachusetts, in the words following:
Resolved, That provision ought to be made by law, for defraying the expense incident to the appointment of an agent or commissioner to Greece, whenever the president shall deem it expedient to make such appointment:
Mr. Clay addressed the committee in the following speech in support of the resolution, in which it will be seen he was true to the principles which he had so often vindicated when the independence of South America was under consideration. Notwithstanding the combined efforts of Mr. Clay and Mr Webster, the resolution was noi sustained by a majority of the house, although there is no doubt that the measure proposed was in accordance with public opinion, in the sympathies then selt for the cause of the Greeks.]
In rising, let me state distinctly the substance of the original proposition of the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Webster), with that of the amendment of the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Poinsett). The resolution proposes a provision of the means to defray the expense of deputing a commissioner or agent to Greece, whenever the president, who knows, or ought to know, the disposition of all the European powers, Turkish or Christian, shall deem it proper. The amendment goes to withhold any appropriation to that object, but to make a public declaration of our sympathy with the Greeks, and of our good wishes for the success of their cause. And how has this simple, unpretending, unambitious, this barmless proposition, been treated in debate? It has been argued as if it offered aid to the Greeks; as if it proposed the recognition of the independence of their government; as a measure of unjustifiable interference in the internal affairs of a foreign state, and, finally, as war. And they who thus argue the question, whilst they absolutely surrender themselves to the illusions of their own fervid imaginations, and depict, in glowing terms, the monstrous and alarming consequences which are to spring out of a proposition so simple, impute to us, who are its humble advocates, quixotism, quixotism! Whilst they are taking the most extravagant and boundless range, and arguing any thing and every thing but the question before ihe committee, ihey accuse us of enthusiasın, of giving the reins to excited feeling, of being