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Occupancy of the Oregon River.

(Dec. 29, 1828.

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by either party, on the Northwest Coast of America, to do so. Great Britain has not, as yet, established any westward of the Stony Mountains, shall, together with its military posts, and has avowed her intention not to do so harbors, bays, and creeks, and the navigation of all unless we do. Her hunting companies may have private rivers within the same, be free and open for the term of defences and temporary fortifications. ten years, from the date of the signature of the present In the late negotiations upon the subject of this territory convention, to the vessels, citizens, and subjects, of the (the main object of which was, to fix upon a boundary line two Powers.” The question is not now, whether it was between the two Governments, but which wholly failed, wise to make this treaty, but, having made it, what is its and resulted in the temporary convention of 1827, leaving spirit and meaning?

the question of permanent boundary open for future adThe convention of August 6th, 1827, extends and con- justment) the subject of the exclusive occupancy of the tinues in force, for an indefinite period of time after the 20th country by either party was discussed by the respective of October, 1828, the provisions of the third article of the plenipotentiaries. Mr. Gallatin, our minister, in a letter, convention of 1818, but contains this additional article: dated at London, June 27th, 1827, addressed to his GovernIt shall be competent, however, for either of the contract- ment, gives the views entertained by the respective parties. ing parties, in case either should think fit, at any time He says: " The British plenipotentiaries had it in contemafter the 20th of October, 1828, on giving due notice plation to insert in the protocol a declaration, purporting, of twelve months to the other contracting party, to either, that, according to their understanding of the annul and abrogate this convention, and it shall in such agreement, either party had a right to take military pos case be entirely annulled and abrogated after the expiration session of the country, or, that, if the United States did of the said term of notice.” establish any military posts in the country, Great Britain

. These are the stipulations of the existing treaties be- would do the same. They preferred the first mode, as tween this Government and that of Great Britain. Whilst the other might be construed by the United States as havthey continue in force, they are declared by the constituing the appearance of a threat. Great Britain, they said, tion to be the supreme law of the land. Now we have not had no wish to establish such posts, and would do it only given the notice of twelve months to annul or abrogate in self-defence.” Again, they say, as stated by Mr. Gal. them, and until we do, or receive such notice from them, latin in the same letter, "Occasional disturbances between they are in full force, and are obligatory upon us. Did the traders of the two countries might be overlooked; this bill, or the amendment offered to it, violate their pro- but any question connected with the flag of either Pow. visions? The bill proposed to establish a territorial go- er would be of a serious nature, and might commit them vernment over the whole country between the Rocky in a most inconvenient and dangerous manner. Witb Mountains and the Pacific Ocean; to occupy it with a mil- these facts before us, contained in the official documents on itary force; to erect a fort; to erect a port of entry; and to our tables, who can doubt, if we send a military force grant donations of lands to emigrants. Now, sir, (said he] there, during the continuance in force of these treaties, can we take exclusive possession of any portion of this coun- but that Great Britain will send one also; and if so, collitry; occupy it with a military force; establish a territorial sions

between the armed forces of the two countries might, government in it; and create a port of entry, thereby ex- and probably would, be the consequence, and we might cluding all others, unless subject to our revenue laws, con- thus be compelled to decide by arms that which would be sistently with the provisions of these treaties, by which the much better settled by negotiation. If it shall at any time parties have agreed that the country shall be “free and be deemed expedient by the American Congress to pass open” "to the vessels, citizens, and subjects, of the two this bill, or one of its import, the course is a plain one Powers," until annulled by notice given? Can we do it First, give the twelve months' notice, that these treaties are without first giving the twelve months' notice required? Ad- annulled and abrogated, and then adopt the measure. No mit, if you will, that, upon the face of the treaties, it may treaty would then be violated, because none would exist. be a matter of some doubt what their true construction is: The national honor is pledged not to violate national enwe are left in no doubt what is the construction put upon gagements. In the mean time, he would not permit Great them by the British Government. They hold that neither Britain, or any other Power on earth, to take exclusive party has the right to take exclusive possession of any por- possession of any portion of the country. No foreign Powtion of the country; that the right to do so is suspended by er should be permitted to colonize there. He would promutual consent, during their continuance in force, by the tect the rights of American citizens there, but it was cer. terms of tliese treaties; that both parties have a right, dur-tainly prudent to attempt to adjust the existing difficulties ing their continuance in force, to a common occupancy of as to boundary, by negotiation, if practicable. He did the country, for the purposes of hunting and traffic with not now propose to discuss the question of title to the counthe natives. That the subjects of Great Britain and the try. To do so, would be but to consume time, and to citizens of the United States have an equal right, until mystify and obscure that which had been fully elucidated these treaties are abrogated or annulled, to hunt in the by Mr. Gallatin in our late negotiations, the official docucountry as they have heretofore done; to take furs and ments containing which were in the possession of every traffic with the natives in the interior; to take fish in the member. He would, however, avail liimself of the ocneighboring seas, bays, and harbors, and export them for casion to say, that, after a careful examination of the market to China, or any other part of the world they might claims of the two Governments, as advanced and relied on choose. They did not claim themselves the exclusive right by their respective ministers, he entertained no sort of to occupy any portion of this vast, unexplored region, nor doubt but that the United States possessed the better title, did they deny to us the right of common occupancy with and that the country, if it should ever be reclaimed from the them, for the purposes he had stated. Their Hudson's Bay natives, would belong to her. But although he entertained Company now hunt in the country and trade with the na- that opinion, yet it had been controverted. Great Britain tives. All American citizens who chose do the same. And had set up a claim, and that claim had been the subject of at this moment, all American citizens, all associations and negotiation. It was proper, before we resorted to other companies of individuals, had the right, by the terms of these means, to make every effort to settle it by negotiation. treaties, without the aid of Congress, to go into any portion At the date of the convention of 1818, Great Britain set of the country for the purpose of hunting or traffic." They up this claim, but at that time did little more than intimate had the right both by land and sea, without our aid, to have it, and did not uncover the grounds on which she intended free ingress and egress to and from the country. Such of our to rely. No boundary line between the two countries adventurous citizens as are disposed to penetrate into the un- was at that time agreed on. The convention was concluded, explored wilds west of the Rocky Mountains, have the right and in the third article guarantied a common occupancy

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Dec. 29, 1828. ]

Occupancy of the Oregon River.

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to both, and suspended the right of exclusive occupancy miles to the north of its mouth. But their main claim, to either for the term of two years.

chiefly relied upon by their plenipotentiaries, is the treaIn the following year, (1819) by the treaty of Florida, ty of Nootka, made between Spain and England in 1790, Spain, who likewise claimed title to the country on the by which they maintain that certain rights of traffic and Northwest Coast, ceded to the United States all her title occupancy were ceded to England by Spain; and that of north of latitude 42 degrees. Russia, too, set up claims to consequence the subsequent cession by Spain to the United a part of the country on the Northwest Coast. These were States, by the treaty of Florida, in 1819, of her title to the the subject of negotiation between Russia and the United Northwest Coast, was limited by the Nootka treaty of 1790, States, and were finally adjusted and settled by a conven- and that no greater title could be ceded by Spain on the tion between the two Governments, concluded on the 5th United States than she had retained to herself by the of April, 1824, whereby latitude 54° 42' north, was the Nootka treaty. The plenipotentiaries of the two Governline agreed upon as the boundary between them. Thus ments differed in their construction of the Nootka treaty, the Spanish and Russian titles were extinguished and set- and as to what its true meaning was. This is a summary tled, and the United States, as to those Governments, be- statement of the claims set up by the two Governments, came the undisputed owners of the country on the Pacific, in the last negotiation which took place between them. from latitude 42° to latitude 54° 40north. But the claim Being unable to agree upon the question of title, the of Great Britain was still unsettled, and, for the purpose respective plenipotentiaries reciprocally proposed to the of adjusting it, and fixing upon a permanent boundary, a other, permanent lines of boundary, each conceding, in a negotiation was opened by Mr. Rush, in 1824, then our spirit of compromise, something to tlie other. The Ameriminister at London. That negotiation terminated, (the can minister proposed that latitude 49° north, from the plenipotentiaries of the two Governments being unable to Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, should constitute the peragree) and left the question of title and boundary precise manent boundary; that the United States should hold, in ly where it found it. In the course of the years 1826 and exclusive sovereignty, all the country south of that line; 1827, another attempt was made to adjust the difference and the British Government north of it. The British mi. and fix upon a boundary. In the progress of that nego- nister proposed that latitude 49° north should be the ditiation, the claims of the parties respectively, but more viding line from the Rocky Mountains west, until that pa. especially that of Great Britain, were, for the first time, rallel of latitude should intersect the northeasternmost presented and fully stated. He should not attempt to dis- branch of the Columbia River, and thence, with the chancuss their respective pretensions, in all the minute ramifi- nel of that river, making the river the line, to the Pacific cations into which an examination of the subject naturally Ocean; and that the river should be free and common for led; but it might not be amiss briefly to state them, and the citizens and subjects of both Powers. These propoto repeat his conviction of the superiority of the Ameri- sitions were severally rejected, and the negotiation ended can title.

The United States rest their title on several in the renewal or continuance in force of the third article distinct grounds: 1st, the purchase of Louisiana from of the convention of 20th of October, 1818, for an indefiFrance, in 1803; 2d, the cession from Spain by the Flori- nite period of time, subject to be annulled or abrogated da treaty; 3d, the fact, that an American citizen (Captain on notice given, as already stated. Gray, of Boston) in an American merchant vessel, in 1792, From the official papers before us, it seems that one ob. first discovered and entered the immense river called by ject of the temporary continuance in force of the third the natives the Oregon, and gave to it the national name of article of the convention of 1818, was to give time for the Columbia River; 4th, the exploration by Lewis and further efforts to effect an amicable adjustment of the difClarke, in the years 1824, '5, and ’6, under the authority of ference by negotiation. Whether any farther attempts at the Government of the United States, of the Columbia negotiation have since been made by the Executive, we River, from its sources in the Rocky Mountains to the Pa- are not informed. In this unsettled position of affairs, cific Ocean. And to these may be added, the establish- would it be prudent now to take military possession of the ment of a trading post by an American citizen, in the year country; to extinguish Indian title; to grant donations of 1811, on the Columbia River, in the region of tide water, lands; to open a port of entry; and to plant the germ of a called Fort Astoria; the capture of it during the last war future colony there, as proposed by this bill? If we did, and by the British forces, and the surrender of it to the Ame- our citizens go there in consequence of our act, and colrican agent authorized to receive it in the name of his Go- lisions should take place, either between our citizens and vernment, after the treaty of peace. It was not necessa- their subjects, or between our armed force and theirs, ry to rely on all these. If any one of them constituted (which their ministers inform us they will send there, if the better title it was sufficient. The British claim, as we send one) it will then become our solemn and responpresented by their ministers, is of a more complex cha- sible duty to protect and defend our citizens. To do this, racter. They controvert most, if not all, the grounds of in that distant region, would require a much larger force claim presented by the American minister, and contend than our present peace establishment. A standing army that they do not give us the right to the exclusive occupan- would be necessary; at all events, a much larger one than cy of the country, but admit that we have a common pos- we now have would be required. From the great distance sessory right with themselves. They rest their claims on of the country from the inhabited parts of the United early discoveries, alleged to have been made by English States, its defence, in the event of collisions there, would navigators on the Northwest Coast, and their traffic with be a matter of great difficulty, and of enormous expense. the natives; though it is not controverted that Gray was the The distance from Washington City to the mouth of the first discoverer of the mouth of the Columbia; they al. Columbia is estimated to be more than 4,500 miles, and a lege that their Northwest and Hudson's Bay Companies, great part of that distance over a country very imperfectwhich have since been united, and become one, have, for ly explored, and inhabited only by savages, and the few a great number of years, been in the habit of trapping adventurous hunting or trapping parties who have peneand hunting in the northern parts of this territory; and trated into it. In a letter from a very intelligent officer of late years on the waters of the Columbia, from its of the army, (Gen. Jesup] addressed to a committee of sources to its mouth; and that an English subject, (Mr. Congress, on the 6th of April, 1824, be found that it was McKenziejas early as the year 1793, attempted, from Cana. the opinion of that officer, that it would require two sumda, to strike the head waters of the Columbia River, and mer seasons to march 200 troops by land from St. Louis, to trace it to its mouth. The fact, however, turns out to in Missouri, to the mouth of the Columbia River; that they be, that McKenzie missed the head waters or sources of could reach, in the first season, the Mandan villages, or the Columbia, and struck the Pacific Ocean many hundred the falls of the Missouri, where, from the extreme severi

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H. OF R.]

Occupancy of the Oregon River.

(Dec. 29, 1828.

ty of the winter, in that mountainous, snowy region, they any privileges were to be conferred on private individuals would be compelled to take up winter quarters until the re-or companies of adventurers. turn of the warm season. To go there by water around the Mr. EVERETT observed, that he did not rise to enter Cape would take a vessel on an ordinary voyage five or six at length into the present debate, in which he had not inmonths, and if the winds were adverse, a much longer peri- tended and was not prepared to take an active part. His od. It was farther the opinion of that officer, as expressed in attention had been turned to the subject by the circumthe letter to which he had referred, that it would require six stance, that he had been called on by a constituent, (at military posts, stretched from the Mandan villag s, on the the head of an association which wished to emigrate to the Missouri, to the Pacific Ocean, to protect our citizens against region in question) to submit a memorial to Congress, at the depredations of the numerous savage tribes that are scat- the last session, which, in his own necessary absence, Mr. tered over this region, and against the Hudson's Bay Com- E. stated, he had done, through the courtesy of the gentlepany. Were we prepared thus to increase our standing army man from Virginia, (Mr. Flowv) of whose meritorious in time of peace? If we passed this bill, we must do it. There efforts, in bringing forward this subject, the Committee are estimated to be in this territory from 80,000 to 120,000 were the witnesses. His thoughts had heen in this way Indians; and if our citizens attempt to make permanent set-directed to the subject, and he confessed he had formed tlements there, they must be protected by a large military a very favorable impression of the general nature of the force, or they will be destroyed by the wars which, in all proposed measure; although his views were not sufficientprobability, will take place between them and the natives, ly matured to authorize him to obtrude them, at great even if collisions between them and the British subjects length, on the House. He would, however, make a fer should be avoided.

remarks, in reply to the gentleman from Tennessee, who It is said that the British Government has extended her had just taken his seat, (Mr. POLK) on the bearings of the civil and criminal jurisdiction over these parts. By the proposed measure upon our relations with Great Britain. act of the British Parliament in 1821, that jurisdiction was Sir, (said Mr. E.] like the gentleman from Tennessee, extended only to her own subjects, who were hunting in I am fully persuaded of the validity of our national title the country. It applied to no citizen of the United States, to the territory in question. That point has been argued but was extended thither, as her ministers declare, in the with an ability which leaves nothing to be wished, by our official papers before us, only for the purpose of punish- ministers, Mr. Rush and Mr. Gallatin, in their negotiations ing criminal offences committed by British subjects, and with Great Britain, and by the present Secretary of State for the purpose of collecting debts contracted by them, and his predecessor, in their instructions on this subject. Great Britain distinctly admits the right of the United I agree with the gentleman from Tennessee, that the right States to extend her civil and criminal jurisdiction there, is ours, by every title by which a right to an unsettled reover her own citizens, to the same extent that she had gion can accrue to any Government. What then is the over her subjects. It might be well for the United States state of the question, on this admission? It is this: that to extend their jurisdiction over their citizens who may here is a region, extending more than twelve degrees of go there on hunting expeditions. To this there would be latitude from south to north, and more than a thousand no objection.

miles from east to west, to which we have a clear title, We ought, he said, to pause before we passed this bill; and on the possession of which we may not enter. It not that he would, for a moment, think of abandoning is not merely an extensive region, but, as I have no doubt, our title, (for he believed it to be the better one) or of notwithstanding what has been so forcibly stated by the permitting any foreign Power to become the owner of the gentleman from Missouri, (Mr. Bates) a fertile one. I country. We should not act now; but, as the question there are rough and barren portions, as there naturally of title is left to future adjustment by negotiation, until must be, in so extensive a tract of country, bounded by we ascertained that there is no hope of regulating it by one lofty ridge of mountains, and traversed by another, the Executive, let us postpone any measure on the sub- parallel to it; there can be no doubt (even if we had not, ject. In the mean time, he would not permit Great Bri- as we have, abundant testimony of the fact) that other tain, or any other Power, to take exclusive possession of portions--the banks of the rivers, some of its numerous it. By delay we can lose nothing. By acting now, we islands, and the valley between the two ranges of hills, may hazard much. If the question of title was settled, are fertile. In that part of the globe, and in that vicinity and we were the undisputed owners of the country, many to the ocean, if the region be as steril as it has been just would even then doubt whether it would be our policy described, it is without example in geography. But to extend our population to this distant region. We had documents, officially in possession of the House, (I allude yet, on this side of the Rocky Mountains, a vast extent of particularly to the two able reports of a colleague in the wild unsettled territory, which will probably remain so nineteenth Congress, Mr. Bailies, of Massachusetts) for half a century to come. But it was not now necessary contain abundant and positive testimony that a portion of to decide that question. At all events, he considered it this region is a perfect garden. The importance of its premature now to do so, when we must do it at a vast position I will not dwell upon. It lies in the rear of our cost, and at the hazard of being involved in war. Let entire western settlements, and it contains the only ports our citizens, who chose, at least for the present, go there we can ever have on the great Pacific Ocean; the only ports and hunt, fish, or traffic, at their option. Let the country, in which our immensely valuable trade on that ocean could at least for the present, remain a waste; it will be time ever seek the protection of a national fortress, in time of enough to settle it, if we should ever deem it our policy war. Such is the region to which it is agreed, on all sides to do so, when the present difficulties are removed, when of the House, we have a clear right, and on the enjoy. the dispute as to title shall be settled, and when we shall ment of which right a rival Power says we must not enter: have acquired more accurate information in relation to it. not that this Power claims it as hers, but on the ground The gentleman from Missouri has said that we have but that it is a vacant region, of which the jurisdiction belongs a very imperfect knowledge of the country, its bays, in. to no Power. This certainly is an important question, and lets, and harbors, and suggests the propriety of an ex- ought to be settled. If the territory is ours, let us have ploration. I agree with him, and had, in anticipation of the use of it; if it is not ours, us give up our claim to his suggestion, prepared an amendment having that object it; and if it be doubtful, let us ascertain, as soon as possiin view; but I am advised it would not now be in order to ble, whether it is ours or not. offer it, there being an amendment to an amendment now A convention was framed between the two Governpending. At the proper time I may do so.

ments, in 1818, of which one article provided for the joint Mr. LYON put in a claim for his constituents, in case occupancy of this region, and that article was renewed at

Dec. 29, 1828.]

Occupancy of the Oregon River.

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a separate convention, in the course of the past year, to them from the civil and criminal jurisdiction conferred by be terminated by either party on twelve months' notice to that act on the British courts, the other. The gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Polk] Will, then, those courts protect our citizens? Ought says the provisions of this bill are inconsistent with the we to leave our citizens to their protection? Ought we stipulations of the convention.

to forbid our citizens from going into the territory? And There are two main points in the bill—the erection of a this, while British subjects are protected in a free range? military post, and the establishment of a civil jurisdiction. I am, sir, for allowing our citizens to go, and for protectWith respect to the first, it certainly does not violate the ing them while they are there: and though there must convention. It was recommended by Mr. Monroe, in be some difficulties and anomalies, in the arrangements to 1822, and by the present Chief Magistrate, in December, be made, in a region so circumstanced, it cannot be that 1825, under whose instructions this convention had been the convention was intended to debar this Government negotiated. The British bave taken military possession from protecting its citizens, in those privileges stipulated of the country. If I am not misinformed, they have an by it, and now monopolized by the hunters of the Hudson's unbroken chain of posts from the mouth of the Columbia Bay Company. to Upper Canada.. Mr. Gallatin, in his letter of second Our negotiator strenuously refused to agree to any exDecember, 1826, to the Secretary of State, says: “I un- press stipulation, which should prohibit us from taking derstood it to be the opinion of the British plenipoten- possession of the territory, now in reality possessed, and tiaries, that there could be no objection to the establish- exclusively possessed, by a powerful chartered British ment of military posts, or to a jurisdiction confined, by company. But if it should appear, that the other party each Power, to its own citizens or subjects.” Again, in to the convention denies our right to do, what it has done, his letter of 20th December, he says: “The establishment and is doing itself, then the course to be pursued is open. of military posts, provided they do not command exclu- The bill names no time when the possession shall comsively the Columbia, is not objected to.” The first point mence. And the convention stipulates for a mutual liberof the bill does not, therefore, seem attended with essen- ty to either party, to recede, at twelve months' notice. tial difficulty:

Should we thus recede, we shall stand in no respect worse, The second point, that of jurisdiction, is unquestionably and in some respects better, than we now stand. The more delicate. I would certainly be among the last to territory is, on the theory of Great Britain, unoccupied, propose the infraction of the convention, or to recom- and open to the first comer; and she admits our right to mend a measure that would involve a hazard, or hold out establish any settlement, which does not interfere with a menace of war, in any case, unless the interest or the any settlement of hers. honor of the country imperiously demanded it. In the Should the suggestion I had the honor to make in the present case, I have no other wish than to protect our citi. Committee, some days ago, be approved by the House, zens, who now resort to this region in pursuit of their and the northern boundary be brought down from the 54° lawful industry, and to go pari passu with Great Britain 40' of north latitude, to the 49°, the bill will, in fact, be in asserting a right to the country. The British have a very conciliatory one. Our undoubted right to the whole their posts there; let us have ours to protect our citizens territory, from 42° to the Russian boundary, is admitted by from the violence to which they are now exposed. The every gentleman who has spoken on the subject. If we British, by an act of Parliament, of 1821, have extended fix the boundary at 49° we in fact give up nearly one half their civil and criminal jurisdiction to all the parts of of the territory. America, not belonging to other Powers, and not within My opinion is clear, that something decisive ought to the civil jurisdiction of any of the United States. What be done by the way of vindicating our title. The British shall we do to keep pace with this measure? The British Government disclaims the design of colonizing the counGovernment has objected to the establishment of a terri- try, but it is rapidly settling by their hunters. The British torial government, and yet Mr. Gallatin, in one of his let. official statement, annexed to the protocol of the sixth ters, observes, that "it was suggested (by him) and seem- conference with Mr. Gallatin, sets forth, that, “in the ed to be acquiesced in, that the difficulty might be ob- interior of the territory in question, the subjects of Great viated, provided the erection of a new territory was not Britain have had, for many years, numerous settlements confined exclusively to the territory west of the mountains: and trading posts; several of these posts on the tributary that it should be defined as embracing all the possessions streams of the Columbia itself; some to the northward, of the United States west of a line that should be at some and others to the southward of that river.” Into this terdistance from land east of the Stony Mountains.” ritory, in fact, an American citizen cannot safely enter.

The truth is, something should be done to keep pace This we know, from the nature of things; from the hiswith the British settlements

, and to protect our hunters tory of the contests between the two rival companies in and trappers. The territory is now overrun with the Canada, before their junction; and from positive testi. servants of the Hudson's Bay Company. Under a nominal

mony. With such a joint occupancy, Great Britain may joint occupancy, they monopolize it. They are there in well be satisfied; but it is, in fact, an'abandonment, on the great numbers: armed, of course; supported by a chain part of the United States, of the whole territory. of forts; and whenever the American trappers, com- I am clear, then, that the opinion of this Congress ought paratively few in number, and unsupported by any forts, to be heard. As yet we have done nothing but negotiate. make their appearance, they are driven off, and if they The gentleman from Tennessee says, perhaps a negotiamake resistance, are killed. I have been, within a few tion is now on foot. It is possible; but we have no partidays, informed by a gentleman, whose name, if I felt at cular reason to suppose that such is the case. And if it liberty to give it, would command the respect of every were, what will it avail us? The Executive alone cannot member of the Committee, that among the latest accounts settle this question. Foreign Governments know very well from this region are, that eight Americans have been shot the organization of ours. They know that the Executive by the British hunters. If it has happened in the skir- has no power, unsupported by Congress. What can we mish that a British hunter has been shot by an American, gain by a protracted negotiation, unsupported by the ex(of which I have no information) the act of Parliament pressed opinion of the Legislature, and of the people as of 1821 would warrant the British hunting parties to ar. represented init? For these reasons, said Mr. E.) we ought rest the American, and carry him for his trial to the seat to take the matter in hand. I am willing, for the present, of justice in Upper Canada. This act of 1821, while it to confine myself to those acts of occupancy in which the excepts Acnericans from the operation of the monopoly British Government has preceded us, and of which, of of the trade granted to British subjects, does not except course, it cannot complain. If it should (which I will not

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Occupancy of the Oregon River.

(Dec. 30, 1828.

do so.

believe) go farther, and insist on turning into a monopoly of this happy republic will have filled up the extent of by right, what has been too long a monopoly in fact, I fair and fertile territory which spreads within our present should then feel prepared to renounce the convention, in boundaries? At what distant day will the pursuits of the manner prescribed by its stipulations, and take proper agriculture, and all the train of the mechanic arts, have measures to maintain the title of the nation, and the rights fully taken possession of this immense region? Sir, that of our citizens in the territory.

period is so distant that no gentleman of the most prolific [Mr. POLK here made an inquiry, which the Reporter mind can ever look forward to it. Not even within the did not hear with sufficient distinctness to give.]

reach of fancy itself can the advocates of this bill point Mr. EVERETT stated, in reply, that it was undoubtedly out the time when the Oregon territory will require to be the post of the Hudson's Bay Company to which he al- organized as a receptacle of an overflowing multitude, luded. But this, it would be recollected, was a company which finds itself too closely pent within the limits of the recognized and chartered by the crown. In holding the present States and territories of our happy Union. territory, through the agency of this company, Great But it has been said, by some gentlemen, that we ought Britain held it, as she for a long time held her Indian em- to take possession of this territory, because, if we do not, pire, with fifty millions of subjects. And the British ne- some other Power certainly will." Well, sir, and suppose gotiators, although they certainly attempted to draw a they should, what shall we lose? What disadvantage distinction between national posts and those of the com- shall we suffer? It is a territory which we ought never to pany, (when pressed by the argument) yet, in their official inhabit, and which I hope we never shall inhabit. Why exposition, spoke of them as British posts, and such, to all In the first place, because it is situated at such an is practical intents, no doubt they are.

measurable distance-hundreds, yea thousands of mis (Here the debate ended for this day.]

from our seat of Government; insomuch that there never

can, or will be, any intervening links sufficient to unite it TUESDAY, Dec. 30, 1828.

with the residue of our country. It is utterly impossible

to conceive, if we ever do plant a colony there, that it The House again went into Committee of the Whole will ever form a part and parcel of this Government. I on the state of the Union, and took up the bill to authorize do not wish to characterize the project with harshness, the occupation of the Oregon river.

nor do I intend any personal disrespect to its friends, Mr. MITCHELL, of Tennessee, said, that he should when I am constrained to declare that, to me, it appears a not detain the Committee with any discussion on the com- wild and visionary project. It is a country that we can parative merits of the various projects presented by the never have any thing more than a parental care over, and original bill, and the several amendments which had been one which will return us no benefits at all commensurate offered, because he was opposed to the scheme in toto. with the expense and sacrifices indispensable to our setAnd such remarks as he had to make would be intended to tling and holding it. Grant that it should be possessed bị show the inexpediency of taking possession of the Ore- some other Power, what harm can result to us? What gon territory, in whatever mode it might be proposed to valuable interest have we there, which requires our taking

He saw no possible good which could result from possession of it? As to hunting, that our citizens can and the measure; while, to his mind, it appeared fraught with do engage in at present; and as to the immense quantities innumerable evils.

of oil and of fur that have been talked of, and the notion, It could not be pretended by any advocate of this still more ridiculous, of its giving us a commercial outlet te bill, that our country is oppressed by an excessive popu- the Asiatic coast, it has but litttle weight in my mind lation, too dense for the extent of our territory, and hence, From hence to the Oregon River is a distance of five thos. that it has become necessary to give an outlet to those sand miles. It is a country from which we shall never esrestless spirits, who, as appears, are willing to go into port any thing of value, or import to any considerable that steril, snowy, and mountainous country, fit only for amount. We may, indeed, bring some small amount of the abode of mountain goats, and wild beasts the most goods into the narrow and miserable strip of territory ferocious—a country inhabited by the most degraded of which intervenes between the mountains and the sea; but human beings; roamed over by a set of beings who live by it is a trade which can never be disseminated in its benefits accident rather than by design, and who are constantly en- through the United States. The vast profits of which we gaged in combating the elements and the wild beasts of have been told, never will be realized. But, if they could, the forest, their common enemy—a country where nothing will they be equal in amount to the vast expenditure was to be procured, and where nothing awaited the infa- inseparable from setting up and maintaining a colony in tuated adventurers who visited it, but wretchedness and such a country, and at such a distance? An expendiruin, and all the horrors of savage life. When (said Mr. ture, not of money merely, but of human life; of the lives M.) we contemplate that vast extent of fertile territory of our enterprising citizens, whom we ought not to gratify which spreads to the east and south of the Rocky Moun- in the mad ambition of seeking an early grave. tains, adapted to all the porposes of agriculture, and in- I never doubted the validity of our title to that terri viting to industry and to enterprise, we may well be led to tory. It is founded on the provisions of our treaties wit wonder what can induce any adventurer to seek the in. Spain and Russia, and strengthened by the fact of the hospitable regions of Oregon, unless, indeed, he wishes priority of our discoveries. Our claim is, in my judg. to be a savage; to cut loose those silken cords, and rend ment, perfectly incontrovertible, from latitude 43 to 48

, asunder all those golden links, which bind man to the en- and I consider it as good even to the latitude of 54° 40' joyment of civilized society, and to take refuge among north, although, with respect to this latter part of the the refuse and outcasts of Asia, Africa, Europe, and coast, I do not view our title as quite so clear. But is America; to forsake the haunts of civilized men, and find there any necessity for our occupying all the territory we his pleasure in the pursuit of the elk and the bear. We claim? If that were necessary, why did not the old thirare told that, in that country, there is a body of adven- teen States send out troops to take possession of the valley turers, a thousand strong, who have come from the or- of the Mississippi? For that, too, be it remembered, was ganized Government of England, and whose object, doubt- claimed, and partially occupied, by a foreign Power. But less, is much more to rid themselves of whất they con- they did no such thing. They believed their title was good sidered the burthen of the yoke of cizilization, than to and sufficient, and they did not consider it necessary to reap any fancied benefits which they derived from the strengthen it by actual possession. And I ask you, sir, vagrant life they lead in that steril and desolate region. what Power is there which is now attempting to hold the At what period do gentlemen suppose that the population country at the mouth of the Columbia? Not Great Bri

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