Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/80

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

up, and have been the two great questions that have been under the management of the government.

I come new to that question which most deeply interests you at this moment, and that is our relations with the United States. I approved the government referring this question to arbitration. It was only following the policy of Lord Stanley. My noble friend disapproved the negotiations being carried on at Washington. I confess that I would willingly have persuaded myself that this was not a mistake, but reflection has convinced me that my noble friend was right. I remember the successful negotiation of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty by Sir Henry Bulwer. I flattered myself that treaties at Washington might be successfully negotiated; but I agree with my noble friend that his general view was far more sound than my own. But no one, when that commission was sent forth, for a moment could anticipate the course of their conduct under the strict injunctions of the government. We believed that commission was sent to ascertain what points should be submitted to arbitration, to be decided by the principles of the law of nations. We had not the slightest idea that that commission was sent with power and instructions to alter the law of nations itself. When that result was announced, we expressed our entire disapprobation; and yet trusting to the representations of the government that matters were concluded satisfactorily,