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sible to be pursued. The two governments are now engaged in surveys, not to find the line that cannot be found, but to acquire materials for making one that shall be as nearly as possible just and fair. That, I venture to say, will be the way and the only way in which the line between Great Britain and Venezuela can ever be established. And if we desired to interfere in any controversy between other nations, in which we have no interest, such a one as that is the very last in which we could undertake to find out which party is in the right. How should we receive a proposal by Mexico to interfere (if that republic was strong enough) between us and Great Britain, in respect to the Alaskan line, in order to ascertain that line for herself by an ex parte commission of her own, and then to compel the United States to accept it? Yet Mexico is as much entitled to a "Monroe Doctrine,” in respect to disputes arising on this continent in which she has no concern, as we are.
A few words now in reference to our relations with Spain, in which what is called the “Monroe Doctrine" again comes to the front. If the general intelligence of the nation will not permit a groundless war with Great Britain, it is proposed in certain quarters that we should fight Spain, in order to help the rebels in Cuba to wrest that island from the government to which it belongs." And, as before, our only reason is that Cuba is on this side of the Atlantic.. Cuba has been a part of Spain for a very long time, the most valuable of her diminished possessions. With Spain we are on terms of absolute friendship, and always have been. Spain! An ancient nation long celebrated in history, once the chief seat of that fine learning which institutes like yours are built to foster, whence and under the patronage of whose enlightened queen Columbus came to open this continent to our ancestors. And now there has broken out in her province a rebellion, which, so far as I can learn, is a rebellion of banditti; a rebellion of pillage and arson and murder, with no attempt at an organized government, no capital, no centre, no recognized head. It has nothing to stand on but crime. And it is proposed that we shall attack Spain, since she has become less powerful than we are, and set up
that class of people in the independent government of Cuba. Upon what ground is this proposal justified? Again it is the “Monroe Doctrine."
Well, let us look at that for a moment. We had a rebellion of our own thirty years ago, a very serious one, of four years' duration. It was not an insurrection of banditti, robbing and stealing and burning. It was the organization of a good many sovereign States, of a large and intelligent people, with a constitution, a government, a regular army, very distinguished military and civil leaders, and all that was necessary to national independence, except the right of secession. And the existence of that was a matter of opinion. If the South had possessed that right, it would have deserved to succeed, and it would have succeeded. How should we have relished the interference of Spain, or of any other country, on this hemisphere or the other, to assist that rebellion, on the sole plea that the people of the Southern States claimed the right to set up a government for themselves? What a feeling pervaded this country on the mere suggestion that the sympathy of society in England was to a greater or less degree with the Confederate government! Not that the British government took a single step to interfere against us, but it was asserted, and with more or less truth, no doubt, that among a certain class of English people there was a feeling of sympathy with the South. And when the Alabama, built in England, slipped out from her control to become a privateer against the commerce of the Northern States, what was the feeling in this country about that? It was never claimed that there was anything more than neglect on the part of the British government. It hesitated a little too long over the evidence laid before it as to the character of the vessel, and finally sent down orders to stop her, about twenty-four hours too late. And yet we were almost ready to go to war with Great Britain over the depredations of that ship, and but for the Geneva arbitration a war might have ensued. What do you suppose would have occurred if Great Britain had taken up arms to assist the Southern rebellion?
Now it is proposed that we should do to Spain, in her imminent distress, what in our own similar case we should have justly resented to the very death if it had been done to us by any nation in the world. Can anything be added by argument against such a proposal, to the refutation which the very statement of it affords? Can it be justified to the sense of any rational man, upon any ground that ever was known? Here again we encounter the established principle of international law that forbids such an interference, and makes it an act of war, as unjustifiable as it is unnecessary.
Now, my friends, there is no American, I trust, that ever would shrink one hair's-breadth from any war, let its calamities and horrors and destruction be what they may, let its cost be what it may, if it should be unhappily necessary to vindicate our national honor or to protect our national interest. When that time comes, we shall not be found arguing about the meaning of the Monroe Doctrine, nor shall we pause to inquire by what name we shall baptize a sentiment that will be irrepressible because it will be just. Is it not best to wait for that emergency? Is it not best to maintain the peace which is indispensable to our prosperity and welfare, until it becomes necessary to break it? And to refuse to intermeddle in the controversies that constantly succeed each other between the different sections of mankind, till the time comes when it can be shown that we have something to do with one of them that requires our interference? Is not that the true definition of the Monroe Doctrine, if we choose to call by a name that does not belong to it, a very early and fundamental principle in the law of nations? That is the ground, as it seems to me, on which Americans should stand, in order to preserve their own peace, and to help preserve that of the world. And notwithstanding the clamor of men who want war for war's sake; war for its contracts, and its plunder, and its offices, and the spoil that can be gathered out of the common calamity; war to further among the ignorant the chances of some party candidate; war to drive the country into the curse and ruin of a dishonest currency, for the benefit of those who have its material to sell; or to give a fictitious value to the bonds of a Cuban government that does not exist, and would be utterly worthless if it did—that is the ground on which, as I believe, the sound good sense of the Amer