Page images


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 .com, pliance 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 attempt to break down free government near us?

I 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.


FROM CALIFORNIA. SENATE CHAMBER, Washington, Dec. 12, 1865. DEAR SIR: Your note inviting me to attend a meeting to be held in New York, for the purpose of giving expression to American opinion on the subject of the "Monroe Doctrine,” is just received.

It will not be in my power to be present on the occasion ; but I can assure you fully of my concurrence in the movement.

No more opportune time could be selected for a protest of the American people against the interference of European monarchists with republican institutions on this continent than the present.

The constant menace of the baser tyrannies of the old world during the recent rebellion will remain fresh in the memories of our people for many a day. The advantage taken by the Emperor of France of our direst troubles and needs in the invasion of Mexico, and the attempts of that usurper and traitor to liberty to establish an empire there by force of arms, has no parallel in history. Undertaken by him upon the double pretence of a defence of French interests, and in behalf of order," he has become the author of wrong and disorder, which must continue until he shall withdraw his hirelings and pretenders to the place whence they came.

Spain, following the bad example, has assaulted the Republic of Perú, and exacted terms which the people of that noble country have contemptuously rejected. Upon the most shallow and baseless excuses and allegations,

Spain has followed up her attack upon Perú by an assault upon the independence of Chili, which republic was menaced by war, or presented the alternative of degradation. To the everlasting credit of that gallant, free, and peaceful people, the guage of war has been accepted, and now it is for a just world, but particularly for the American people, to decide whether these constant interferences and assaults on republican institutions and the public peace shall continue. For one, I am in favor of plain language to European Powers. We are for peace and good will on earth. We do not claim the right of forcible propagation of our political principles ; but we believe in them and in the advantage to mankind of their extension.

[ocr errors]

You shall not suppress them by force. You have not been appointed by the world as masters, neither as pacificators according to your practice. We speak in our own behalf, and in behalf of the independence of nations and peoples.

Let this be our diplomacy, not diluted until dissolved, and my opinion is that we will soon enter upon an era in which the practice of each nation of the world will be to mind their own business. I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

JOHN CONNESS. To Hon. E. G. Squier, Chairman, &c.


NEW YORK, Jan. 1, 1866. GENTLEMEN : Your kind invitation finds my time so engrossed that I am unable to prepare anything worth giving to the public at your meeting next Saturday.

I take a deep interest, however, in the subject. It is not now a theory of which we may safely put off the solution for years. It knocks at the door. It involves the fate of our nearest neighbor.

I do not regard the twenty-year-long dissensions of Mexico as the mere result of individual ambitions, or as the national brawls of a people incapable of self-government. I see in these the great struggle through which all nations must pass—the contest between privilege and oppression on the one hand, and liberal principles and institutions on the other. They had their iucubus as well as we. Ours was slavery ; theirs the overshadowing temporal power of a church which held in fee one-fourth-some estimate, one-third-of all lands and houses in the Republic.

Like us, they brought their contest of long years to a successful termination. Like us, they might look forward, as the reward of victory, to a prosperous and peaceful future. Their hopes were blasted by foreign interference. The

was that they must bn governed by others since they could not govern themselves. But despotism is not the remedy for internal commotions ; least of all, despotism in America under European protection.


National peace is, of all national blessings, the greatest. Therefore, it behoves us to avoid not only the immediate but the more remote causes of war. I do not believe that we can maintain permanent peace with a European despotism next door to us; but neither do I think that war will ensue, in this case, if resolution, with good temper, mark our policy now.

We must be bold in the present, if we would avoid war in the future. The “ Monroe Doctrine,” temperately asserted, is peace. Ι I am, gentlemen, your obedient servant,

ROBERT DALE OWEN. To the Hon. E. Geo. Squier and others, Committee :



NEW YORK, Jan. 5, 1866. GENTLEMEN : Your note inviting me to address a meeting at the Cooper Institute to-morrow evening, called to indicate the popular sentiment on the subject of the “Monroe Doctrine," has been received, and my thanks are returned for the complimentary remembrance.

There is, perhaps, no question of national policy, either foreign or domestic, upon which the American people of all sections and parties are so firmly united and so resolutely determined, as upon that of resistance to the encroachments of monarchy upon this continent. In short, so often and so unanimously has this sentiment been asserted and repeated that the world knows it by heart.

The world knows, too, that it is one of the most cherished principles of republican institutions ; that it is deemed essential to their safety and exemption from the conflicts which are wont to spring up and Aourish in the pestilent atmosphere of monarchy; and the world should know, that it is the last point to be yielded to force or be circumvented by fraud.

Entertaining, as I do to their fullest extent, these convictions, I am aware that the subject is at this time somewhat interwoven with our foreign relations, always a deli

« PreviousContinue »