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really great, enlightened, and Christian nation, has just as much need to make war on a false point of honor, as a really great, enlightened, and Christian man has need to engage in a personal contest in the same case; and that is no necessity at all. Nor shall we be reduced to the alternative of war. If Hungary shall never rise, there will be no casus belli. If she shall rise, we shall have right to choose the time when to recognize her as a nation. That recognition, with its political influence and commercial benefits, will be adequate to prevent or counterbalance Russian intervention. But I am answered, that we shall unnecessarily offend powers whom it is unwise to provoke. I reply, that it is not enough for a nation that it has no enemies. Japan and China are in that happy condition. It is necessary that a state should have some friends. To us, exemption from hatred obtained by insensibility to crime is of no value; still less is the security obtained by selfishness and isolation. Only generosity ever makes friends, and those that it does bring are grateful and enduring.
Again, then, I ask, why not vindicate the Law of Nations by our protest? One Senator (Mr. CLEMENS) draws an argument against the exercise of national sympathy from the character and conduct he imputes to Louis Kossuth, and represents him as having been reckless and uncalculating before danger approached, and weak and vacillating and shrinking when it was coming on; as having abandoned his country while he had yet one hundred and thirtyfive thousand men; and as having surrendered the state unnecessarily or unwisely to one who for months he had believed a traitor; and as being, therefore, not a hero; and, finally, as addicted to military display, and irreverent of the ashes of Washington, and therefore not a republican.
Sir, if these assumptions were as correct and just as it has sufficiently appeared that they are erroneous, what would they or the objection raised upon them have to do here and now? This is a trial of Russia at the bar of the Public Justice of the World. How can the verdict be affected by any imagined misconduct of Louis Kossuth here, after Russian intervention in Hungary was ended, cr even by any errors or misconduct before, of which Hungary alone, not Russia, had right to complain? The objection is as much out of season as out of place. The character of Louis Kossuth was a preliminary question, and has been decided by Congress with unexampled unanimity, and by a decree awarding such hon
ors as the American people had before found none worthy to receive but the constant and generous Lafayette.
“Gods, of whatsoe'er degree,
Resume not what themselves have given." Freedom, sir, often undervalues, and sometimes mistakes, her friends; but tyranny never is deceived in her enemies. Let the honorable Senator from Alabama, [Mr. CLEMENS,] convince the treacherous Bonaparte that Louis Kossuth is not a man to be feared, or the old and subtle Metternich that Louis Kossuth is not a man to be hated. Until then, we must stand upon the judgment we have already rendered.
Once more, then, I ask, why withhold our protest? The Senator from Alabama [Mr. CLEMENS] would reply, that Hungary is an integral part of the Austrian Empire, and that she will be entitled to our declaration only when she shall, by successful revolution, have established her independence. The form of my proposition defeats the objection. Hungary had always enjoyed and in that very way had re-established her independence when Russia intervened. Certainly those who maintain that we could not now employ force to separate Hungary from Austria, when Russia has united them by force, cannot deny our right to protest against the crime that Russia thus committed. It would indeed have been better to have protested during the period of the act itself. But the period was short, and we remote. The act is yet recent, and the prospect of a new attempt of Hungary continues the transaction, and renders a censure of the past and a protest against the apprehended renewal of Russian intervention important and seasonable.
There remains the objection, that flows so readily from all conservative pens and tongues on this side of the Atlantic, and still more freely from the stipendiary presses of Paris and Vienna, that a protest would be a departure from the traditional policy of our country, and from the precepts of Washington. It is passing strange, sir, th:t Louis Napoleon and Francis Joseph should take so deep an interest in our adherence to our time-honored principles, and in our reverence of the memory of him who inculcated them, not for the immunity of tyrants, but for the security of our own welfare. I know by hearsay that an association during our last contest with Great Britain clothed themselves with these same principles, and even with that illustrious name; that they called
themselves the Washington Benevolent Society, celebrated the nativity, and quoted the Farewell Address of Washington to embarrass the administration in what they were pleased to call an unjust and unholy war, even when it had become a war of national defence. I have known a faction, too, that planted themselves on the same sacred text, to confine to persons of American birth the privileges of American citizenship. A good cause needs not the sanction of that awful name. A bad one often seeks, although it cannot justly claim it. Therefore, I always take the liberty to look underneath the mantle of Washington, on whosesoever shoulders I find it.
Sir, granting for a moment that Washington inculcated just such a policy as is claimed by my opponents, is it so entirely certain that it ought always and under all circumstances to be pursued ? Here is a message of his that illustrates the policy he adopted toward, not one only, but all the Barbary powers, and it received, I think, the unanimous and favorable response of the Senate of the United States :
"May 8, 1792. " To the Senate of the United States :
“ If the President should conclude a convention or treaty with the Government of Algiers for the ransom of the thirteen American citizens in captivity there, for a sum pot exceeding $40,000, all expenses included, will the Senate approve the same? If the President should conclude a treaty with the Government of Algiers, for the establishment of a peace with them, at an expense not exceeding $25,000, paid at the signature, and a like sum to be paid annually afterward during the continuance of the treaty, would the Senate approve the same !
“ GEO. WASHINGTON.” Sir, you and I and all of us would have answered in the affirmative to these questions, had we lived and occupied these places in the last century. I desire to ascertain how many votes such a treaty would receive here now? And I address myself to the honorable Senator from Rhode Island, [Mr. CLARKE,] who moved resolutions against any departure from the policy of Washington. Would you, sir, pay a Barbary Pirate $40,000 to ransom thirteen captives ? and $25,000 bonus, and $25,000 annually, for exemption from his depredations? He looks dissentingly. I appeal to my emulous friend from New Jersey, [Mr. MILLER.] Would you, sir ? No, not I. I demand from the other honorable Senator from New Jersey, (Mr. STOCKTON,] who, in the triple character of Senator, Commodore, and General, presided at the Birthday Congressional Banquet in honor of Washington, and dishonor of his Hungarian disciple, Kossuth, would you, sir ? No, not he. All who
are in favor of such a treaty, let them say, Aye. What, sir! not one vote in the Senate of the United States for the continuance of what was in its time a wise and prudent as well as humane policy of Washington! No, not one. And why, sir? The answer is easy: The times have changed, and we have changed with them. No one has ever thought that the Spartans wisely continued the military monastery after their state was firmly established. No one ever has thought that the rape of the Sabine women by the Romans was a policy to be perpetuated.
But, sir, to come to that part of Washington's policy which is directly in question. I shall maintain that it was this. It consisted in avoiding new entangling alliances and artificial ties with one of the belligerent powers in a general European war, but it admitted of expressions, assurances, and manifestations of sympathy and of interest in behalf of nations contending for the principles of the American Revolution, and of protest, earnest and decided, against the intervention of foreign powers to suppress these principles by force; and this, just as I have defined it, is the traditional policy of the United States, and it has been pursued until this very day and this very hour.
Mr. President: I might well excuse myself from proving the truth of this proposition, inasmuch as, on the principles I have established, the United States, being a moral person, could not but cherish all that devotion to their own just and true system of politics which the policy I have described implies; and being, moreover, an enlightened as well as generous power, they could not but desire to see it successfully adopted by other nations; and being, finally, a free nation, they could not fail to speak out their sympathies with those who might be struggling to adopt it, and to utter their indignation at armed intervention by despotic powers to deprive them of a right so absolute, and of benefits so inestimable. Least of all could George Washington, the highest human personation of justice and benevolence, have inculcated any other policy than that which I have described. But the issue is one of profound and lasting importance. And therefore history shall prove my proposition to be true, and vindicate my country and her immortal founder.
Political philosophy, as the last century was approaching its close, was engaged in an effort to discover the true theory of government. The American Revolution terminated the dispute, by presenting a practical experiment of a free representative government, directly established by the people, and depending not merely for administration, but for continuance, upon their ever-renewed, constant, and direct activity. France, with mingled motives of previous favor to the new system, and of opposition to a hereditary rival, had recognized the United States at an early day, and granted them seasonable and effective aid, and bound them to her by a treaty of mutual and eternal guaranty and alliance. The French Revolution of 1789 was the American Revolution beginning a new career in Europe. When, in 1792, a popular constitution had been received by Louis XVI, he announced his acceptance of it to the several nations, and with very different results. It roused all the monarchies of Europe, sooner or later, to a mighty and combined effort for the extinguishment of the popular cause in France, as a necessary measure of security to the ancient system. On the contrary, the President of the United States transmitted the virtuous, but irresolute king's letter to Congress. The House of Representatives, in their reply, assured him of their “sincere participation in the interest of the French nation on that great and iinportant event, and of their wish that the wisdom and magnanimity displayed in the formation and acceptance of the constitution might be rewarded by the most perfect attainment of its object—the permanent happiness of so great a people.” This, sir, was the first salutation to republicanism in Europe by the Government of the United States, and it was, in effect, a protest against tho armed intervention then organizing beyond the Rhine. Sardinia and Austria, on the other hand, entered immediately into a treaty, and were soon afterward followed by Russia, the Netherlands, and Great Britain—and thus was established the first combination, under the name of the Allied Powers, to oppose by force the principles of the American Revolution. To establish this point, it is necessary to refer only to Wheaton's History of the Law of Nations : “ It was an armed intervention to restore the ancient order of things in France, and against the principles of the French Revolution, deemed to be of dangerous example and contagious influence on the neighboring monarchies.”