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munities imparts in the pursuit of with their own kingdoms. Their wealth and knowledge, they lan- pretensions and principles with reguished for nearly two centuries, gard to the dependency of the ignorant alike of their rights, their western world, had become a part resources, and their own strength. of their law of nations.
The dissolution of the colonial The exclusive enjoyment of the connection between the United Newfoundland fisheries, was the States and Great Britain, gave the right of Europeans. The unoccufirst blow to this system. A power pied shores of the American contiindependent of Europe, and at liber- nent were subject to European ty to adopt such measures as might colonization, and the inhabitants advance its interests and enforce of the neighboring countries might, its rights, arose on this side of the at any moment, be shut out from Atlantic. It had succeeded, after all intercourse with them, by the an obstinate struggle, in extorting will of a trans-atlantic power. The from England a relinquishment of vast wilderness, which extended its claims to sovereignty over its from the back settlements on the territory; and after a long nego- Atlantic shores to the Pacific tiation, in the course of which, its ocean, belonging to Europe, by rights were betrayed by its ally virtue of that right, which was France, and resisted by Great Bri- sometimes derived from the spirittain, had prevailed in maintaining ual authority of its monarchs, and its right to fish on the banks of sometimes from the inestimable Newfoundland, beyond the territo- privilege of some wandering adrial jurisdiction of any power, and venturers having first sailed by a to dry their fish, as its seamen had jutting promontory, or entered the been accustomed to do, on the un- mouth of a navigable river. occupied adjacent shores : a right The United States, even after which would have scarcely been the acknowledgment of their indequestioned in any European power, pendence by Great Britain, found similarly circumstanced with regard themselves surrounded by the reto these fisheries ; but which was strictions of the colonial system. opposed, as an unwarrantable pre- Their North Western posts were tension, in one just emerged from still held by England, and the St. a state of colonial toleration. Lawrence, the great outlet for the
The statesmen of Europe could commerce of the inland lakes, was not at once bring themselves to shut by the jealousy of that power. regard an American state as en- On the other hand, the Mississippi, tirely independent, and of equal rank the great channel of the trade of
the west, was closed by Spain, and monious and well balanced governan indefinite claim was advanced ment, adopted a system of policy, by her to the fertile valley water- well designed to complete the ed by that stream.
emancipation of their country from All commerce with the neigh- all its colonial burdens. boring countries, a
They felt that its independence which is the natural right of man- was but partially achieved, until kind in all regions, subject only to this object was accomplished. such modifications as the inhabi- They had, indeed, gained political tants of the respective countries freedom, but their commercial demay impose, was prohibited by the pendence still existed, and their European powers, and the trade of intercourse with the world was the United States was 'coerced into hampered by the arbitrary and opthe ports of Europe, as it had been pressive rules which had been apbefore the revolution confined to plied to American commerce. The the ports of England. The colo- fundamental principle of this sysnial system excluded us from all tem was reciprocity-Free trade trade with America, and rendered with those powers which would our commerce the monopoly of agree to abolish all restrictions and Europe, instead of the monopoly countervailing restrictions, to meet of Great Britain.
those imposed by other nations. Even when in war, the colonial The adoption of this maxim, at ports of any power were opened to once enlisted the inhabitants of the our vessels, the other belligerent American colonies in their cause, claimed the right to prohibit that and they became interested in the trade, on account of its being a triumph of the policy of the United departure from the colonial system, States. So long as American vesand the rule of 1756, was invented sels were excluded from their ports, and applied with increased rigor to and their own vessels from the colothe commerce of the United States, nies were excluded from the United to retard the progress of America States, they were prevented from in the career of prosperity and in- supplying themselves with those , dependence.
staple productions, which are so To meet this state of things, the necessary to their prosperity. The sagacious men, who established the prohibition of this intercourse bore American confederacy, and recon- severely upon the West India colociled the discordant interests of its nists in particular, and they warmly different members under one har- advocated, and partially effected a
relaxation of the ancient colonial commerce, and circumscribing our restrictions, in behalf of the United trade, were resisted by the governStates.
ment of the United States, and the The North Western posts, upon enforcing of these prineiples, conthe possession of which, in a great nected with some other causes of measure, depended the fur and pel- irritation, led to hostilities at diftry trade, were yielded to the ener- ferent periods with France and getic remonstrances of Washington, Great Britain. An unexampled rewho also obtained from Spain an volution in the affairs of Europe, by admission of our right to descend to removing the causes of the war, the ocean by the Mississippi. This brought that, with the latter power, right was afterwards placed beyond to a conclusion, without any formal all question, by the acquisition of adjustment of those principles, and Louisiana, under the administration they still remain subjects of future of Jefferson.
controversy The right to the Newfoundland The discussion of all these quesfisheries, was secured by the energy tions was forced upon the Ameriand skill of the American negocia- ean goverment by the peculiar potors, who concluded the treaty of sition of the country, and could not '83, and was afterwards successfully have been avoided, without virtumaintained at Ghent, and may be ally surrendering its claims to najustly considered as one of those tional independence. There were, privileges, which being founded in however, other questions that grew the nature of things, will, in no out of the changes which the states event, be yielded by the people of of this continent underwent, as the United States. The guaranty they gradually assumed the rank of which had been given by this repub- independent powers. The great lic, during the revolutionary war, to alteration in the condition of AmeFrance, for the protection of her - rica, occasioned by the erection of colonies, was invalidated by the the Portuguese and Spanish colobreaking out of hostilities between nies, into eight separate free comthe two countries, and was formally munities, presented several quesrelinquished for an equivalent by tions between the conflicting intethe convention of 1800.
rests of the new and the old world. The principles which had been on all these occasions, the United adopted by the colonial powers of States, as the oldest of the western Europe, with the view of perpetua- nations, have been the first to asting their monopoly of American sert the rights of the powers of this
continent, and to enforce them which its inhabitants have to a free whenever their own interests re. intercourse with the different porquired it.
tions of it. It did not interfere In 1823, the threatening aspect of with colonies already established, the Holy Alliance,presented a proper but merely entered a protest against motive and justification for the peo- the establishment of new ones. ple of the United States to express
Independent, therefore, of the their sentiments in respect to the superior validity of the American contest then existing between Spain claim to free intercourse over the and her former colonies. Through European claim to monopoly, this their executive, they accordingly de- declaration merely regarded in the clared their determination not to light of a claim to unoccupied terinterfere in that dispute themselves, ritories, would be equal in degree, and not to permit the interference and prior in time, to any step on of any other power on the part of the part of the European powers Spain. This declaration was based to appropriate them as colonies. upon two grounds—our interests Being, then, in common with prescribed, that we should not per- the rest of the world, possessed of mit any extraneous aid to Spain, in the right to visit these regions, and her efforts to re-establish her colo- to bring away their productions, nial dominion, and our security re- we then declared our determinaquired, that the principles of the tion not to submit to any diminuHoly Alliance should not be intro- tion of that right, by the imposition duced into this hemisphere. It of new disabilities and burdens was only under one of these pre- upon this continent. The emancitences, that
any interference could pation of so great a part of Amebe attempted, and our true policy rica as the success of the Spanish was consulted in proclaiming the colonies had then effected, made determination of the country not to that the proper moment to issue submit to it, either under the pre- that declaration. By it a limit was tence of the permanent obligation put to the pretensions of the coloof colonial allegiance, or the divine nial powers, and the continent, right of legitimacy.
with the exception of the Guyana's, At the same time, a declaration from the northern boundary of the was made in behalf of the United United States to its southern exStates, that this continent was no tremity, was declared free as the longer to be considered subject to bounty of Providence had created future colonization. This declara- it, to the commerce and enterprise tion was founded upon the right of the human race.
This republic, extending from on debarring us from all access to the river St. Croix, where it falls the ocean through the St. Lawinto the Atlantic, through the great rence. The southern boundary of inland lakes, and along the 51st these colonies, she contends, runs degree of north latitude to the Pa- along the 49th degree of north cific ocean, forms a barrier against latitude to the Columbia river, and the colonial claims of Europe to down that river to the Pacific the rest of the continent, and is ocean. Her West India possessions pledged, by its interest and its po- are numerous and valuable. She sition, to resist any new encroach- still claims a right of colonizing ment.
the unoccupied shores of this conGreat Britain is the only power tinent, and by a late order in couninterested in sustaining these anti- cil, she has virtually erected the setquated claims. Those of Russia tlements of her subjects, who were are limited by treaty to the permitted to cut logwood in the degree of north latitude. By the bay of Honduras, into colonial acknowledgment of the indepen- establishments, and undertakes to dence of Brazil, those of Portugal exclude the vessels of the United are relinquished.
States from that bay. Spain is disabled by the anarchy In the court of Brazil, she has and weakness prevailing in her acquired a predominating influCouncils, from enforcing hers, and ence, through her intimate conthe rapid increase of the strength nection with Portugal, and her and power of her former colonies share in the establishment of the has placed their subjugation be- Brazilian government, and in the yond the range of possibility. The dissolution of its connection with claims of France to the American the mother country. The effects continent were limited by the ces
of that influence have already apsion of Louisiana to the United peared in discriminating duties imStates to Guyana, which is divided posed in Brazil, in favor of British between that power and the Nether- goods. lands. Great Britain alone feels a The attention of the British godeep interest in maintaining the vernment has been lately directed principles of the colonial system. towards the new Spanish republics. She possesses colonies on the north- The opening of such extensive and ern frontier of the United States, valuable markets, was an event of and she avails herself of these colo- the highest importance to a great nies, to encroach on our limits, maritime and manufacturing nation, while, at the same time, she insists and no means have been neglected