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President-William Cullen Bryant. Vice-PresidentsWilliam H. Webb; Cornelius K. Garrison; Leonard W. Jerome; Hon. James W. Beekman; Peter Cooper; Danl. F. Tieman Rev. Joshua Leavitt; Hon. Robt. J. Walker; Major-General J. A, Garfield; Manton Marble; Hon. Horace Greeley; John E. Williams; Edward E. Dunbar; Major-General Rosecrans ; Hon. Hiram Walbridge; Hon. Theo. E. Tomlinson; General E. L. Viele; Hon. Charles D. Paston. Secretaries-J. B. Wheelock; Col. J. W. Watson; Col. A. H. Duganne ; Jas. L. Anthony; Joseph
SPEECH OF WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
FELLOW-CITIZENS: I cannot better state the purpose for which we have come together than it has been stated in the call and in the observations made by the gentleman of the committee who has just addressed you. We are here, as he very truly said, not for the purpose of creating public opinion, but of giving it a free, a full and enthusiastic expression. We have come here to assure the Government of our support in resisting such audacious attempts as we have lately seen to interfere in the politics of Mexico. (Applause.) It is with deep sorrow, my friends, that I find myself unable to introduce to you this evening one whom we expected to make the principal address here, Hon. Henry Winter Davis, of Maryland. He was engaged to be present, but death interposed between him and the fulfilment of the engagement, and that eloquent voice, to which you would have listened with so much pleasure, that voice which always spoke from a full mind, and which uttered the dictates of a sincere, manly, generous, and fearless heart, is silent forever. To Winter Davis, more than to any other man in Maryland, that State owes it that she choose the better part, and remained among the States that were faithful to the Union.(Applause.) If he had lived, he would have added to the obligations to him under which his country now rests, by maintaining and vindicating with all his eloquence and all the enthusiasm of his noble nature the cause which has called us together to-night.
Mr. Bryant then announced that it was the intention of the committee, after the reading of the resolutions and letters, to adjourn the meeting to some other evening,
when the attendance of prominent men, now detained by business in Washington, could be secured.
Mr. Squier then read the following letters:
FROM HON. MONTGOMERY BLAIR, LATE POSTMASTER.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 1865. To the Committee of the "Monroe Doctrine" Meeting, New York.
GENTLEMEN: I regret that my professional engagements prevent me from accepting your invitation to participate in your meeting. The recent concerted aggressions of European powers on the free States of this Continent, culminating in the outrage of Spain upon Chili, demand an outspoken expression of American feeling. The President in his recent Message has declared, in the calm and dispassionate tone becoming the gravity of the occasion and the dignity of his place, that these wrongs must cease.Our people should now meet and manifest their purpose to sustain him in upholding Republicanism in America. I rejoice that the people of New York intend to respond so promptly.
The late rebellion was the work of these European Powers. By their money and intrigue it was inaugurated.
They fomented, encouraged, and recognized it, with a view to suppress the growth of republicanism in Europe, and to resume their sway over this continent. We should, in my opinion, have sooner crushed the rebellion if we had boldly from the first confronted the instigators of it, and afforded the lovers of freedom in Europe an opportunity to help us, by striking at our enemies there. Shall we take longer counsel of an unreasoning dread of these Powers, and continue to tolerate their aggressions, which have cost us so dearly; or shall we imitate the wiser boldness of our fathers, whose manly courage saved our country and our sister republics from such wrongs, even whilst we were comparatively a feeble Power? Are those European tyrants so strong in the affections of their own peopie or in material resources that we must bow before them, and speak with bated breath of the right of the American people to be exempt from European conquest? Far from it. It is because we have sapped the foundations
of their thrones in the hearts of their people that they have conspired against us; and they have conspired only because they dared not offend their own people by striking us openly.
The people of France are still loyal to the traditions which allied them in feeling and in arms with our own people in the last century. They are as indignant almost as our own people at the blow thrust at us through Mexico by their Emperor. It is not the waste of their means or of their blood which makes the Mexican enterprise so odious to the people of France; it is the proof it affords that the third Napoleon is false to the policy and to the friends of that Napoleon whose name was his passport to the throne, and that he is doing the work of the allied despots who dethroned the great Napoleon, in seeking to destroy free government in America, which the founder of his dynasty aided in building up and strengthening as a bulwark of the freedom and power of France. No genuine Bonapartist can think the honor of France committed to the maintenance of a Hapsburg on an American throne. On the contrary, they feel dishonored by the attempt, and by the cruel and unjust war waged by the Emperor upon a distant and unoffending people to consummate it; and we shall but respond to the liberal and enlightened feeling of the French nation by remonstrating against it, and even by a resort to force, if that shall be necessary, to check the Emperor in his mad career in Mexico. The historian of the Empire assured them, from his place in the French Assembly, that we would do this when we had suppressed the Southern rebellion; and the liberals of France will rejoice, as we do, that the first Message of the President, after that event, makes it certain that they will not be disappointed.
I am, gentlemen, very respectfully,
FROM SENATOR NESMITH, OF OREGON.
HON. E. G. SQUIER, Chairman, &c.
SIR: I have received the communication of your com
mittee of the 20th instant, inclosing a call for a meeting at the Cooper Institute, New York, on the 6th proximo, having in view the public expression of sentiments upon the subject of "Foreign interference in the domestic affairs of this continent," In reply thereto, I regret to say that public duties in this city will prevent my compliance with the invitation with which you have honored me to be personally present.
I have much gratification, however, in saying to you that the purport of your meeting has my earnest sympathy and support. I can see no objection to the public agitation of a subject that has become, by recent events, so deeply interesting to the people and government of our country; and, on the contrary, I believe in the abundant cause and the appropriate occasion for announcing our opposition to any assaults upon, or interference with, the integrity of public institutions on this side of the Atlantic.
I have always been impressed with the correctness and propriety of the political theory enunciated in the annual Message of the President of the United States on the 2d of December, 1823, in allusion to this subject; and I am convinced that what was then uttered by President Monroe as pregnant with consequences, near and remote, to affect the interests of our country, has increased force in its application now. The eventful history of our country for the past four years should certainly give claim to a recognition from the nations of the earth of ability to preserve our institutions; and the success and prosperity in every civilized attribute of great nationality that has marked our onward course since the foundation of our government, surely entitles us to national pride and the right of rank in the class of great nations. After the overthrow of Bonaparte, the four great monarchies of Europe (and I believe, in the early stages, England, too, favored the alliance) formed what was known as the "Holy Alliance," whose object was to extend their principles, and oppress and put down popular institutions. Have we any less claim as a great nation, and interested in the promulgation of our theory of Government, to strengthen, aid, and support our sister republics near us? Does not our own interest, perhaps safety, demand positive hostility to any any attempt to break down free government near us? regard the attacks of Spain upon the South American
States as futile and unimportant. From the time of that nation's first attempt to reclaim her American possessions to the present, every effort in that direction has been a failure. The hostility of Spain alone to either Perú or Chili can, in my judgment, never be very formidable.
It is the other nation mentioned in your communication whose present condition invites my warmest sympathies, and excites my indignation at what I have always regarded as an outrage upon her people, and a covert attack upon our government. No reasonable claim ever existed to warrant the seizure of the Mexican Republic by the Emperor of the French. No just cause for war demanded the invasion of her soil. None of the rights of property gave the semblance of a title to the possession of that country. Mexico, disturbed by internal dissensions, and weak, was seized upon through the promptings of avarice and by the strong arm of power; and a ruler and a form of government repugnant to the very large proportion of her inhabitants was forced upon the country. An empire was created by force of arms with a people eminently republican in their notions of government. An emperor was placed over them who was, in every sense, a foreigner, without the most remote claim, by either association, language, or consanguinity, to be their monarch.
While the energies of our own government were directed to the suppression of the most gigantic rebellion the world ever saw, the Emperor of the French stole into Mexico, in a clandestine manner, and usurped the government. He selected the only period of time when he would have dared to perpetrate an outrage from which resulted great aid and assistance to those intent upon the destruction of Republican government in our own country, and practically became their ally. We have, happily, subdued the rebels at home; and the troops who consummated that result should not have been disbanded until the co-laborer in that rebellien and his mercenaries were driven from the soil of our sister Republic.
In conclusion, I have to state that I am earnestly in favor of our government reasserting the Monroe Doctrine, and, if need be, vindicating it at the mouth of the cannon.
I am very, respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
J. W. NESMITH, of Oregon.