Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/83

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cism of Parliament. They have received an answer to their "friendly communication," of which, I believe, it has been ascertained that the American government adhere to their interpretation; and yet they prolong the controversy. What is about to occur it is unnecessary for one to predict; but if it be this—if after a fruitless ratiocination worthy of a schoolman, we ultimately agree so far to the interpretation of the American government as to submit the whole case to arbitration, with feeble reservation of a protest, if it be decided against us, I venture to say that we shall be entering on a course not more distinguished by its feebleness than by its impending peril. There is before us every prospect of the same incompetence that distinguished our negotiations respecting the independence of the Black Sea; and I fear that there is every chance that this incompetence will be sealed by our ultimately asknowledging these direct claims of the United States, which, both as regards principle and practical results, are fraught with the utmost danger to this country. Gentlemen, do not suppose, because I counsel firmness and decision at the right moment, that I am of that school of statesmen who are favorable to a turbulent and aggressive diplomacy. I have resisted it during a great part of my life. I am not unaware that the relations of England to Europe have undergone a vast change during the century that has just elapsed. The relations of England to Europe are not the same as