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should regard as highly unjust and as fruitful of disastrous consequences any attempt on the part of any European power to take possession of them by conquest, by cession, or on any ground or pretext whatsoever.”
Here were the gems of the Monroe Doctrine. Rush's bold, sagacious but unauthorized announcement was made at the instance of the English premier, and as part of a plan by which both the United States and England might head off the proposed scheme of the allied monarchs of Europe to interfere with the young American republics and reintroduce governments of monarchical form. But while Rush's announcement was such as England had proposed, Rush coupled its public promulgation and the final joining of his name and country in it with England with the condition that England should first recognize the independence of the young American republics. This England refused to do, and the joint declaration was never made.
That the policy thus far was original with England, and was really more English than American, is plain from the reasons urged upon Mr. Rush by Mr. Canning. Further, Mr. Canning had evidently conceived of the policy, not as a temporary expedient but as one of perpetual application, for he thus said to Rush:—“ The United States were the first power established on the continent, and now confessedly the leading power. They are connected with South America by their position and with Europe by their relations. Was it possible they could see with indifference their fate decided upon by Europe ? Had vot a new epoch arrived in the relative position of the United States toward Europe which Europe must acknowledge? Were the great political and commercial interests which hung upon the destiny of the new continent to be canvaxsed
and adjusted on this hemisphere without the coöperation or even knowledge of the United States ?”
The above was embodied in Rush's letter upon the subject addressed to Monroe's Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams. The importance of the matter, the strength and urgency of Rush's reasons, the singularity of the proposition as emanating from England, seem to have disconcerted President Monroe. He found himself confronted with the solemn, and then popular, advice of Washington in his Farewell Address, an advice which had become almost a policy in itself, and which ran:
“ Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities. Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course.”
Jefferson's warning against entangling foreign alliances, in his first inaugural, had been equally strong. Monroe, himself, had in two inaugurals and an half a dozen other messages, seriously advised against violation of the policy of non-intervention in the affairs of the colonies. No wonder he was in a quandary over Rush's letters and the proposition of a new and widely variant policy. He had not the courage to venture on a depart. ure so radical as the one proposed, till he thoroughly weighed the situation. In his doubt be sent the Rush correspondence to Thomas Jefferson, then in retiracy at Monticello, for review and the expression of an opinion. Jefferson's reply came with no uncertain sound, and it will be seen from it that he hesitated not to run counter, in great part, to the policy he had hitherto accepted and promulgated. He said :
" The question presented by the letters you have sent me is the most momentous which has ever been offered to my contemplation since that of Independence. That made us a nation; this sets our compass and points the course which we are to steer through the ocean of time opening on us. And never could we embark upon it under circumstances more auspicious. Our first and fundamental maxim should be, never to entangle ourselves in the broils of Europe; our second, never to suffer Europe to intermeddle with cisatlantic affairs. America, North and South, has a set of interests distinct from those of Europe, and peculiarly her own. She should, therefore, have a system of her own, separate and apart from that of Europe. While the last is laboring to become the domicil of despotism, our endeavor should be to make our hemisphere that of freedom.”
Thus encouraged by one in whom he had so great confidence, Monroe made the subject one of special study, seeking the advice and coöperation of his cabinet, and of others, with a view to all the practical consequences of a formal declaration of the new doctrine. It was seen that while the policy enumerated by Washington and pursued by his successors took America out of the domain of Europe politics, it was silent as to the part Europe might be per: mitted to play in America. Doubtless it was thought the latest addition to the family of nations should not make haste to prescribe rules for the guidance of its older members, and the expediency and propriety of serving the powers of Europe with notice of a complete and distinct. ive American policy excluding them from interference with American political affairs, might well seem dubious to a generation to whom the French alliance, with its manifolde advantages to the cause of American independence, was fresh in mind.
Twenty years later, however, the situation had changed. The lately born nation had greatly increased in power and resources, had demonstrated its strength on land and sea, and as well in the conflicts of arms as in the pursuits of peace, and had begun to realize the commanding position on this continent, which the character of its people, their free institutions, and their remoteness from the chief scene of European contentions combined to give to it. The Monroe administration therefore did not hesitate to accept and apply the logic of the farewell address by declaring, in effect, that American non-intervention in European affairs necessarily implied and meant European non-intervention in American affairs. Conceiving unquestionably that complete European non-interference in American concerns would be cheaply purchased by complete American non-interference in European concerns, President Monroe, in the celebrated message of December 2, 1823, thus formulated the doctrine which afterwards took his name:
" In the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy to do so. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparations for our defense. With the movements in this hemisphere we are, of necessity, more immediately connected, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers. The political system of the allied powers is essentially different in this respect from that of America. This difference proceeds from that which exists in their respective Govern. ments. And to the defense of our own, which has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and matured by the wisdom of our most enlightened citizens, and under which we have enjoyed unexampled felicity, this whole nation is devoted. We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety.
“ With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power, in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States. * * * Our policy in regard to Europe, which was adopted at an early stage of the wars which have so long agitated that quarter of the globe, nevertheless remains the same, which is not to interfere in the internal concerns of any of its powers ; to consider the Government de facto as the legitimate Government for us; to cultivate friendly relations with it, and to preserve those relations by a frank, firm, and manly policy, meeting, in all instances, the just claims of every power, submitting to injuries from none. But in regard to these continents, circumstances are eminently and conspicuously different. It is impossible that the allied powers should extend their political system to any portion of either continent without endangering our peace