Page:The American Review Volume 02.djvu/576

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558
[Dec.
The Whig Parly:

relations with every power, and on conditions fair, equal, and applicable to all. But in regard to our neighbors our situation is different. It is impossible for the European governments to interfere in their concerns, especially in those alluded to, which are vital, without affecting us; indeed, the motive which might induce such interference in the present state of the war between the parties, if war it maybe called, would appear to be equally applicable to us. It is gratifying to know that some of the powers with whom we enjoy a very friendly intercourse, and to whom these views have been communicated, have appeared to acquiesce in them."

It is apparent, from the language here used, that the feeling of an American system—as distinct from, and independent of, the European system—had made progress; and that, as this hemisphere interposed, neither by counsels nor by arms, in the arrangements of the allied European powers, it had a right to expect, and meant to require, that Europe should be, in like manner, abstinent in respect of America.

From the concluding paragraph, moreover, it is obvious that the views expressed in the preceding message had been made the subject of diplomatic communication to some of the friendly powers of Europe, and been, apparently, acquiesced in by them.

It was not from any sudden or inconsiderate impulse that the government of the United States assumed this attitude; nor without ample evidence that some such European interposition as Mr. Monroe, in his message, foreshadowed and reproved, had been contemplated.

As early as 1818, the American government had invited that of Great Britain to cooperate with it, in acknowledging the independence of Buenos Ayres—the only one of the Spanish-American states which at that time had succeeded in entirely expelling the Spanish forces from its soil. It did not comport with the policy of Great Britain to unite in this measure; but the fact, that it was meditated, and indeed determined on, by the United States, exercised an important influence on the deliberations of the congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, held in October, 1818.

The purpose of the United States to acknowledge, as governments de facto, such of the new South American states as should succeed in driving out and keeping out the Spanish forces, did, there is reason to believe, disconcert projects which were entertained at that congress, of engaging the European alliance in actual operations against the South Americans; as it is well known that a plan for their joint mediation between Spain and her colonies, for restoring them to her authority, was actually matured, and finally failed at that place, only by the refusal of Great Britain to accede to the condition of employing force, eventually, against the South Americans, for its accomplishment.

Desirous of so shaping the policy of this government both towards the new nations springing up on this continent, and towards Spain, with which our relations were those of friendship, as to avoid just cause of offence to either, the President, early in March, 1822, in an explicit declaration to Congress, expressed the opinon that "the time had arrived when, in strict conformity to the law of nations, and in the fulfilment of the duties of equal and impartial justice to all parties, the acknowledgment of the independence declared by the Spanish American colonies could no longer be withheld." Congress, prepared by information communicated in answer to its calls, acted on this declaration, and, in May of the same year, appropriated funds for such missions to the independent American nations as the President should determine to institute.

In this actual recognition of those nations, this government took precedence of all others; and it was a necessary complement of the just policy then proclaimed, that in the following year the President should distinctly make known to Europe and the world, that the nations thus recognized by us as independent, and the continent which we and they inhabit, were no longer to he looked upon as subject to European colonization.

It has been already stated, that the people of the United States adhered to and approved the ground thus taken by the Executive, and that the European powers to whom it was explained apparently acquiesced in it and its moral effects.

The influence, at the time, of this high and manly course, and its moral effect, upon the counsels of allied Europe, and upon the destinies of the new States of America, cannot probably be exaggerated.

If it have lost much of its weight and consideration, as it would seem yo have done from the speech of the French premier, M. Guizot, about a balance of power on this continent, to be superintended and maintained through Euro-