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H. OF R.]
Occupancy of the Oregon River.
[DEC. 30, 1828. tering? The different navigators and travellers, of high-incur a heavy expense. The appropriation in the bill, I est respectability, who have visited the Northwest Coast, think, is too small. In a communication from a capable concur in their descriptions of the climate, soil, and pro- officer, made to the eighteenth Congress, it is stated, that ductions, of that fine country. Mr. Prevost, an agent of the expense of transporting two hundred troops, with the United States, in a communication, in April, 1822, ad- ordnance, and various supplies for the establishment of a dressed to this Government, gives the following account: post on the Columbia, on the largest calculation, would "It has been observed, by those exploring this coast, amount to about sixty-four thousand dollars. If it be set that the climate, to the southward of 53 deg. assumes at one hundred thousand dollars, and the annual expense a mildness unknown in the same latitude on the eastern of maintaining the establishment shall bear a due proportion side of the continent. Without digressing to speculate to the outfits, I cannot doubt that the interests to be secured are immensely above the cost. This Government is I will merely state, that such is particularly cause, the fact in 46 deg. 16 min. the site of Fort George. The probably destined, for a long time to come, to depend for mercury, during the winter, seldom descends below the its support on revennue collected on imports. freezing point; when it does so, it is rarely stationary for this system is pursued, the commerce of the country must, any number of days; and the severity of the season is more by all prudent means, be protected and cherished. It is determined by the quantity of water than by its congela- the right hand that replenishes our Treasury. The China tion. The rains usually commence with November, and trade yields a great revenue. The single article of teas continue to fall partially until the latter end of March, or has, in past years, brought into the Treasury, annually, the the beginning of April. A benign spring succeeds, and sum of five hundred thousand dollars. That trade adds, when the summer heats obtain, they are so tempered with annually, there can be no doubt, a considerable amount showers, as seldom to suspend vegetation. I found it luxuri- to the capital of this country. The China trade must naant on my arrival, October 1, 1818, and, during a fortnight's turally increase with the increasing demands for the artistay, experienced no change of weather to retard its course." cles imported. The China trade has depended, in a great Mr. Vancouver gives this description of the country, in measure, in years past, upon the trade in furs, ginseng, the latitude of 48 deg. 7 minutes :
and other articles from the Northwest Coast.
Major A. S. Brooks, an intelligent officer of the United States, who repeatedly visited the coast, gives this animating description of the vicinity of a place called "Pitts Cove," within the limits of the proposed occupation:
"The soil, for the most part, is a light sandy loam, in Besides, it is not improbable, that, in a comparatively several places of very considerable depth, and abundantly few years, the public lands of Oregon may add to the mixed with decayed vegetables. The vigor and luxuri- National Treasury another rich source of revenue. ance of its productions prove it to be a rich fertile mould. may be reasonably calculated, that, under the fostering This country, regarded in an agricultural view, I should care of this Government, multitudes of Europeans may conceive, is capable of high improvement." emigrate to that country, to cultivate the lands and augIt will require by no means a great ment your revenue. population in that territory, to derive from it a revenue If the sufficient to defray the expense of its Government. annual revenue accruing from duties paid at the custom houses in the United States amounts to twenty-seven millions of dollars, then, on an average, each forty thousand inhabitants pays annually, into the Treasury of the United States, the sum of one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. A territory, situated as is the Oregon, may be calculated upon to contribute more than a proportion of
"The Cove is a large commodious harbor for a fleet; the shores most beautiful; soil (where the bears had turned it up in search of roots) ready to melt in its own richness; game in absolute profusion."
The British Government has not been inattentive
That country is sufficiently inviting to an enterprising population. That country opens a great mart for the enterprise of commerce and navigation. In past years, a revenue, according to its civilized population. A valuable lucrative trade has been carried on by citizens of the trade with numerous tribes of Indians will add to the reUnited States with different parts of that coast. Various venue. articles of manufacture are there exchanged for furs. From to the value of that trade. A second objection to the prothe Northwest Coast the voyage is pursued to the Sand-posed occupation is, that it will expose the United States That Power being now in wich Islands, where the ships complete their loading with to a war with Great Britain. sandal wood, and thence proceed to China. There they possession of important ports in the territory, it may be exmake an exchange for articles of great demand in Ameri-pected that they will be relinquished with some reluctance. can and European markets. These, brought to our mar. The third article of the convention of 1818, between the kets, yield into our National Treasury revenue to a large United States and Great Britain, places the two Governamount. By this circuitous trade, in which the industry ments on fair ground. With wise precaution it guards and enterprise of many of our citizens are engaged, hun- against the claim of right, by this temporary occupation dreds accumulate into thousands, and thousands into mil- by the British. This article stands thus: lions. It is like
"the miser's glass,
"It is agreed that any country that may be claimed by either party on the Northwest Coast of America, westward of the Stony Mountains, shall, together with its harbors, bays, and creeks, and the navigation of all rivers within the same, be free and open, for the term of ten years, from the date of the signature of the present convention, to the vessels, citizens, and subjects, of the two Powers; it being well understood, that this agreement is not to be construed to the prejudice of any claim which either of the two high contracting parties may have to any part of the said country, nor shall it be taken to affect the claims of any other power or State to any part of the said country."-Dip. Code, p. 264.
The timber of that country ought not to be unnoticed. Humboldt remarks, "that the banks of the Columbia invite Europeans to found a fine colony there, for its banks afford fertile land in abundance, covered with superb timber." Clark and Lewis state, that "the whole neighborhood of the coast is supplied with great quantities of excellent timber." They mention a species of fir tree, measuring six feet above the earth's surface, twenty-seven feet in circumference, and rising to the height of two hundred and thirty feet, and one hundred and twenty of that height without a limb. These are sufficient proofs of the strength and exuberance of the soil, and of a climate most subjects of the two Fowers, as provided by the convention, expired i The term of ten years for mutual occupation by the citizens and friendly to vegetation. But a bill of so much importance October, 1828. By the articles of a convention between the two Powdemands great consideration. There are, I admit, ob-ers, published since this bill was reported, it is provided that neither jections to the proposed occupation, which are entitled Power shall take definitive measures of exclusive sovereignty over that country, without giving to the other Fower one year's previous notice. to serious regard. The first that is urged is, that it will For such contingency the bill makes provision.
DEC. 30, 1828.]
Occupancy of the Oregon River.
[H. OF R.
This provision leaves the question of right as it stood to an extensive and valuable country to Great Britain, or before the occupation by the British. Thus stands the any other Power, I should not know how to answer it to question of right to this moment. It may then be fairly my country, or to myself, as a faithful public servant. presumed that Great Britain will not, in the face of these ac- would be a proof of degeneracy from that spirit of my knowledged facts, of first discovery and settlement, and ancestors in which I glory. The proposed occupation, it of the law of nations, readily wage war with the United is true, may, perhaps, be attended with expense to this States to make conquest of that country. It would be a Government for a few years. A post must be establishnaval war--a war attended with too great risk to her repu- ed, and a government supported. But a country of natation, her commerce, and all her great interests. If the Ore-tural resources, so rich and abundant, will soon repay the gon River and territory should continue in the possession of expenditures. Under the fostering care of this Governthe British, it may be expected to become, at some future ment, territories soon become States, providing for themperiod, a theatre of war between the two nations. The same selves and augmenting the resources of the Union. policy that led to the acquisition of Louisiana and the This country, sir, is evidently, to my mind, destined to Floridas points to the occupation of the Oregon. This be an asylum for the surplus population of some parts of measure is pointed out by, I may say, parental affection the Eastern continent. Multitudes of Europeans are and prudence, due on the part of this Government, toward stretching their view towards America, as presenting the our successors, the children of the old States, destined by only prospect of their recovery to the freedom and hapProvidence to carry westward, to the utmost bounds, the piness which God and nature designed for man. Although blessings of civilization and of liberty. A third objection I would not invite emigration to this country as a philanto the proposed occupation has some plausibility. It is thropist, as a Christain I could not oppose it. Besides, an old objection. It is, that the safety of this Union will there is a sort of hereditary propensity in a considerable be endangered by its extension-by its becoming un- part of the population of the cld States to emigrate to wieldy. new countries. The fact was mentioned some days since The forebodings which were opposed to the acquisition by my highly respected colleague, [Mr. EVERETT] that a of Louisiana, have been, as I conceive, happily answered company of three thousand persons, in Boston and its by experience. Had not Louisiana been in the possession vicinity, have already associated, and had petitioned for of the United States, there is great probability, that, ere the permission and aid of this Government to enable them this time, powerful rival States would have existed there, to emigrate to the territory which this bill proposes to to vex this Union with the vicissitudes of war and revolu- occupy. The gentleman corrects me, and says he did tion, and with all the troubles that ambitious and turbu- not intend to represent that company as belonging wholly lent neighbors have power to cause. A glance of thought to Boston and its vicinity. Another, and yet another on the course of events cannot but awaken feelings of ven- company are asking similar aid and protection. For these eration for the name of that great statesman to whose reasons I am in favor of the object of the bill. It proposes wisdom this Union is so much indebted for results so hap- the exercise of a just and perfect right, and the fulfilpy as have been realised, in our own time, from the acqui- ment of a trust. It proposes, as I believe, a measure of sition of that country. Sir, I do not believe that a wise sound and good policy, with reference both to economy system of government--a system well balanced and ad- and to the preservation of our future peace with other najusted--loses strength by being extended. The princi- tions. It proposes an extension of the blessings of civiples of self-government are capable of universality. They lization, of freedom, and happiness, to the human race. are in concert with the laws of the moral universe, and Sir, I shall deem it a high satisfaction if my very humble are applicable to communities on the broadest scale. True, efforts may aid a measure that proposes objects so worthy indeed, the territory proposed to be occupied will be a of the countenance of this Government, and so congenial great distance from the seat of the General Government. with the spirit of generous and successful enterprise that Will this be a disadvantage? Why may not Missouri or planted, within so brief a period, the standard of free Maine derive as much real benefit from the General Go-government on the shores of North America. vernment as Maryland, or even the District of Columbia? Mr. DRAYTON said that, although he concurred with Do they not actually derive as much? In my heart I be- the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. FLOYD in the general lieve they do. Improvements of this age have greatly in-principle of the bill which he had reported, he differed creased the facilities for travelling and intercourse. By from him in some of its details. The bill assumed that the the aid of these, the traveller goes on his way, day and territory described in it, within 42° and 54° and 40′ night, at the rate of twelve miles an hour. He is trans- of north latitude, belonged to the United States. This ported from clime to clime as by magic art. was in dispute. Our Government has offered, by way of compromise, to relinquish that portion of it which lies beyond the 49th parallel of latitude. Their offer was not
Admitting that the distance from this meridian to the mouth of the Oregon, by the branches of the rivers between these two points, be three times as great as the di- accepted; Great Britain denying our right to any part of the rect distance, the journey may be performed in the country on the Northwest Coast of America westward of time which, a few years since, was required to travel from the Stony Mountains. I presume [said Mr. D.] that our several parts of the Union to the seat of Government. The Government can establish its claim to the whole of it; but relation between the General and Territorial or State Go- as the question has not been decided, and as, in the third vernments is not essentially affected by distance. For article of our convention with Great Britain, of 20th the most important purposes it makes, as I apprehend, October, 1818, it is stipulated that the whole country little difference whether a State or territory be on the should remain free and open for ten years, (which term, east or west side of the Rocky Mountains. in 1827, was extended to a further term of 10 years) were This, sir, I consider as the most favorable time for Con- the United States to erect it into a territory, to be regress to authorize the measure proposed. If the term gulated by their laws, they would, manifestly, commit a of ten years, as limited by treaty for the mutual occu- breach of their treaty. Congress has no authority to aspation of the river and territory, by the citizens of the certain and define the boundaries of territory in dispute United States and of Great Britain, should have long ex-between the United States and a foreign kingdom; this pired, without measures on the part of this Government must be effected by diplomatic negotiation and by treaty; to claim its right, the fact will naturally be considered as until then, no exclusive legislation can be exercised, either an abandonment of our claim. For myself, I am unwil- by America or by Great Britain. Whilst I object to our ling to take the responsibility of such a course as that. converting a country in dispute into one of our territories, Should I consent to a tame surrender of a rightful claim I do not agree with the gentlemen from Tennessee and
Occupancy of the Oregon River.
H. OF R.]
[DEC. 30, 1828.
from Massachusetts [Messrs. POLK and GORHAM] that the passed into the hands of a chartered British company, main object contemplated by this bill would impugn our exercising there the sole military power, and an unlimited convention with Great Britain. That convention leaves the sway over the Indian inhabitants. The Indians, instigated, contracting parties in the stituation in which they were, at as has been strongly suspected, by the arts of this com the date of its ratification; at that time, a common and un-pany, have frequently murdered our defenceless traders. divided possession existed. Both nations may then retain Were our traders sustained by the military arm of the the possession which they had, at the date of the con- Government, they would resume their former avocations, vention; and the subjects and citizens of both may con- and if they could not again acquire the largest share of the tinue to inhabit it: the sole restriction under the convention advantages peculiar to these regions, they would doubtbeing, that neither the United States nor Great Britain less possess themselves of a considerable portion of them. shall change the political condition of the territory from That the exports from thence are of great value, is a what it was when the convention was ratified. 'Tis an un-fact not controverted. This has been very satisfactorily questionable principle of the laws of nature and of nations, proved to us by the statements of the gentleman from that governments are bound to protect their citizens-'tis Virginia, [Mr. FLOYD] and by the reports of other gen for this purpose that governments are formed. All that tlemen of this House, who have formerly been members I propose to accomplish by this bill is, to afford the pro- of the Committee of which he is Chairman. It being untection of the Government to those of our citizens who deniable, that our citizens, whose speculations lead them permanently or temporarily reside in the territory re-to the territory of Oregon, are entitled to the succor of ferred to. The protection which is due to its citizens by their Government; and it being equally undeniable that the Government, is not impaired by distance, by inhospi- the interest to be protected is one highly important to in tality of climate, or sterility of soil. It prevails amidst the dividuals, and therefore to the nation, opinions must be wilds of the forest, and the frozen shores of the Pacific, unanimous that the protection required should be granted. as powerfully as in the fertile plains of the West, and By granting it we do no more than the British have done, the populous cities of the North. The United States, who cannot complain of our following their example. It under its influence, have established forts and garrisons to does not suit the genius, and it is inconsistent with the spi protect the persons and property of our citizens upon the rit of our constitution, to create chartered companies, with frontiers: and they annually despatch squadrons, for the civil or military privileges. We ought to interpose in a same object, to the Mediterranean, the West Indies, and mode which would be legitimate, which would be subject the coast of Brazil. Whether an American citizen be to no cavils or exceptions, and which, at the same time, traversing the ocean, or driving his ploughshare into the would accomplish what is desired. No mode appears to ground-whether he be in pursuit of gain abroad, or cul-me to he so appropriate as occupying commanding posi tivating his farm at home, he is equally entitled to the tions in the country, fortifying them, and defending them protection of his Government. The British settlers, in with United States' soldiers. If we resolve to give aid of what I shall term the territory of Oregon, (for the want of this kind, it ought to be efficient. An inadequate force a known appellation distinguishing the territory upon the will provoke aggression, and diminish instead of adding to Northwest Coast of America in dispute between Great Bri- personal security. I allude not here exclusively to the tain and ourselves) are already protected. They have the violence of a chartered company, but to that of the Insecurity which is furnished by soldiers and by fortresses; dians. Our citizens, in the prosecution of their lawful whether these fortresses be garrisoned by regular British pursuits, in a country which is claimed as rightfully be troops, or by the armed men of chartered companies, is longing to the United States, should be equally protected immaterial-both are equally the soldiers of Great Britain. from the tomahawk of the savage and the bayonet of the Protected by them, British subjects are now, not only en-regular. To effect this, it might be proper not to congaged in the commerce of the country, but they almost centrate our troops at one spot, but to place them in two engross it. Should similar protection be afforded to our or three eligible positions. With our imperfect knowcitizens, (which our Government has the same right to ledge of the country, before these military positions can grant as Great Britain has) there can be no doubt, from be judiciously selected, further explorations might be netheir hardihood and sagacity, that they would divide cessary. A discretion should, therefore, be vested in the with the British the profits of a lucrative traffic. With-Executive, to designate the posts for the troops, and the out protection, our citizens must relinquish their pursuits, fortresses to be garrisoned by them, after he has acquired in a barbarous region, where they would be regarded as better local information, through the means of reconnoisformidable competitors, and consequently be exposed to sances, which he should be authorized to direct; it being all the injuries which they would be subjected to from un-provided that the number of soldiers for the expedition restrained cupidity and power. We have recently heard should not exceed a specified number. It is to be desired, of eight Americans having fallen victims to the bloody that man should always be under the restraint of laws and vengeance of rival traders. Such examples must put a civil regulations, yet there are situations in which this destop to their progress. sideratum is impracticable; this, at present, is the case in Before the late war, the Americans nearly monopoliz- the territory of Oregon. It might be said that the laws ed the trade of the territory of Oregon. Upon the bank of Britain prevail there; but they can only be co-extenof the river was a settlement belonging to an enlightened sive with her dominion; and as we do not acknowledge and enterprising citizen of New York, which was sur-her right to any portion of the country, her laws cannot rounded by fortifications, and defended by armed men in control our citizens. However it may be deprecated, it his pay. This gentleman carried on an extensive com- is nevertheless certain, that the only protection which can merce with the natives, until a British force landed and be yielded is that which is derived from physical force. expelled his men from their possessions, the site of which In the territory of Oregon, the Indians must be awed, had been purchased from the Indians. His agent, un- and the lawless traders of a chartered company kept in fortunately, from an apprehension of personal danger, or check by the military, which ought, therefore, to be suffifrom some other motive, sold the site to a British subject; ciently numerous for these purposes. Until then, our consequently, although, under the treaty of peace, all citizens must either retire from the country, or be expos the country which had been conquered by either party ed to every commercial disadvantage, and to personal was mutually restored, yet these possessions, being private danger, in their intercourse with the Indians. Having property, were retained by the British purchaser. Since granted this protection, we should not now proceed any then, comparatively, few of our citizens resort to the ter- farther. When the question of title shall be decided, we ritory, and nearly the whole of its profitable trade has may then determine what other legislative measures may
Dec. 31, 1828. ]
(H. OF R.
be expedient, in order to give to this territory a govern- made by him, as he is more conversant with the subjects ment better adapted to the condition of civilized man. embraced by it than I am. Should that gentleman differ The opinions which I have expressed were not influ- from me, I shall
, probably, bercafter propose the amendenced by any specific knowledge which I possess of the ments which may be necessary to carry my views into excountry : for I pretend to none. The accounts which I ecution. have heard of it differ essentially. Most of them pro- Mr. POLK then proposed that the Committee should ceed from those who are interested, and, therefore, their rise, desiring that, when the bill came into the House, it testimony should be cautiously received ; but, in a region should be recommitted with instructions. of six hundred and forty thousand miles square, 'tis not On motion of Mr. STRONG, the commitice then rose: possible but that varieties of productions, of soil, and of whereupon, Climate, are to be found. One fact is indubitable: that it Mr. POLK moved to discharge the Committee of the is the seat of a commerce sufficiently gainful to allure Whole on the state of the Union from the Oregon bill, thousands to engage in it; and its peltries and some other and to commit it to the Committee on the Territories, of its products are peculiarly sought for, as being best with instructions to report an amendment having for its adapted to the trade with China, Russia, and various parts object, 1st. The extension of the civil or criminal jurisof the East Indies.
diction of the courts of the territory of Michigan over Objections have been made to affording the protection all citizens of the United States who are or may hereafter which is asked for our citizens, on account of the rocky be in the country west of the Rocky Mountains, and beshores of the Pacific, the difficulties of approaching the tween the latitudes of 42 deg. and 44 deg. 40 min. North mouth of the river Oregon, the rigor of the climate, the and West to the Pacific Ocean ; and, 2d. An exploration barrenness of the country, and numerous other evils and and survey of the Northwest Coast of America, between perils connected with traversing or settling it. These ob- those latitudes, its bays, inlets, and harbors, and of the jections, admitting them to be correct, though I feel cer- Columbia River and its tributaries. tain that, in many respects, they are not so, have nothing Before any question was taken on this motion, the to do with the question before us, according to my view of House adjourned. it. Abandoning every idea of converting into a territory the country described in the bill, any investigations as to
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 1828. the barrenness or productiveness of its soil, or the difficulty or facility of entering its harbors or navigating its ri
RETRENCAMENT. vers, are premature. Our inquiries should be confined to On motion of Mr. HAMILTON, it was ascertaining whether our citizens repair to it in sufficient numbers, and carry on in it sufficiently important opera- titled "A Report on Retrenchment,” made at the last ses
Resolved, that the report of the Select Committee, entions, to be worthy of the attention of the Government. Up- sion, be committed to a Select Committee, with instruc: on these topics there is no diversity of sentiment; protections to report, by bill or otherwise, touching the several tion ought, therefore, to be given to them, and I conceive none other can be devised which will be efficient and subjects submitted by that Committee to the House. practical, than a military force, judiciously posted. From In offering this resolve, Mr. H. said that he felt it bis the distance of the territory of Oregon, and from the nat- duty to remind the House that a report had been made at ural barriers and obstacles by land, which are interposed the last session of Congress, by the Committee on Rebetween it and the United States, I have never dreamed of trenchment. That report had been presented at a very its becoming a State. I believe it will never be organized late period, because the Committee had had such a mass as a territory. I much doubt the benefits of possessing of investigation before it, as to be perfectly overwhelmed it; but we have it, and whether we be influenced by na- by its labors. In presenting that report, he had stated to tional honor and policy, or less meritorious motives, we the House that the Committee had not sufficient time left shall never voluntarily relinquish it; it will never be to prepare the various bills which would be the legitimate yielded, should the title be found to be in us, but to supe- consequence of the investigation they had made; but he rior physical power. Considering ourselves as rightfully had farther stated, that a motion would be made, early in entitled to the country, we should conduct ourselves to the present session, to recommit the report, with a view wards it as wise and politic sovereigns : as such we ought, that the necessary bills might be prepared in conformity in the most economical and efficient manner which is prac- to it He was now aware of the shortness of the present ticable, to secure its adherence to us, to protect, in their session, but would assure the House that the requisite bills persons and their property, those of our citizens who in- should be prepared with all possible expedition. It was habit it, or who may occasionally resort to it in the pursuit not, however
, the intention of the Committee to pres» these of their lawful occupations, and to derive from it all the bills with any improper importunity. The House could advantages we can. The measures which I have advocated take up such of them as it might deem valuable, and will, it seems to me, produce these results. I am, there would, in this respect, act its pleasure. The committee fore, for adopting them.
had conceived it proper that the accounts of the printers A gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. GORHAM] is un to this House, for eight years past, should be investigated, der the impression that we are bound, by our treaty with as it had been supposed by some that the terms of the Spain, in 1819, to form the territory of Oregon into a contract under which the printing was performed had State, at a future day. Whatever be our obligations un- not been strictly complied with, inasmuch as the size of der the Spanish treaty, it is unnecessary for us now to the page had been somewhat curtailed. It was, however, consider them. It is left to us to decide when the territo- due to the printers to state, that they contended that this ry shall be annexed to the Union ; and, if it never be ex- alteration in the dimensions of the page had been made pedient, the annexation will never be made. But, after as much from regard to the convenience and advantage of the lapse of many years, should our successors think the House, as to their own, and that the slight difference proper to receive the territory into the Union, they will which it occasioned had been abundantly made up to the reap the fruits of that policy which is now recommended public by the manner in which other parts of the contract to our Government to adopt.
had been performed. Under these circumstances, he had, I shall not now move any amendment to the bill. If at the last session, offered a resolution that this account what I have suggested be concurred in by the gentleman should be fully investigated; and he believed that it was the fro m Virginia, (Mr. Floyd] he will amend the bill accord- understanding, both of the House and Committee, that a ingly. I should prefer that any alterations in it should be thorough examination of it should be had during the pre
H. OF R.]
Drawbacks.--Occupancy of the Oregon River.
[DEC. 31, 1828.
sent session, when time and opportunity would be afford-snbstantive terms of which are, that the country around the ed for taking the depositions of the witnesses under the Oregon River, with all its ports, harbors, bays, creeks, solemnity of an oath. and inlets, is, and shall be, secured to the vessels, citizens, and subjects, of both Powers. The convention says, in terms, that the country shall be "free and open" to the vessels and citizens of both Powers.
The resolution was then agred to.
The amendments of the Senate to the bill extending the time within which merchandise may be exported, with benefit of drawback, having been read,
But it is said that this stipulation did not prevent England from extending, in 1821, the jurisdiction of her laws, so far as respects recovery of debts, and the punishment Mr. CAMBRELENG said, that the amendments from of crimes, over the whole of this territory, and that this the Senate did not substantially alter the bill as it was pass- is virtually an act of sovereignty, and amounts, in fact, to a ed by the House. The first amendment proposed to ex- taking possession of it, and appropriating the country as tend the term from two to three years-this was an equiva- her own. It does not so strike me. But, at all events, lent for the second section, which left the authority with the the convention was renewed subsequently to that act, and Treasury after two years. The Committee on Commerce as renewed, it expressly says that the country shall be had considered the amendments, and were satisfied that free and open to the vessels, subjects, and citizens, of both the operation of the bill would not be in any manner Powers, and, thereby, Great Britain solemnly renounces changed by their adoption. With their assent, he moved any intention to have taken exclusive possession of the that the House concur with both the amendments. territory. These terms of the convention are to remain The amendments were concurred in by the House. binding for an indefinite time, unless twelve months previous notice shall be given by one or the other of the con tracting parties. This is subsequent to all the other acts of England, and, therefore, none of those acts can be pleaded as annuiling the convention, as made in 1818. It is not my wish [said Mr. S.] that we should even appear to violate the faith of the nation. Now, what does this Mr. POLK said, that, having received an intimation from bill propose? To put up a military power in the territory, the gentleman who introduced the bill [Mr. FLOYD] that under the sanction of this Government. Possibly, under it was his purpose to modify it by amendments, and also some restrictions, this might be done without contravenconceiving it due to that gentleman to allow him an op-ing the terms of the convention; but this bill lays no such portunity to meet the arguments which had been offered restrictions. It defines the boundaries of the territory as in Committee of the Whole against the principle of the covering the whole extent in dispute, and going from 42° bill, he had concluded to withdraw his motion, and he to 54° north. It then goes on to appoint a regular governwithdrew it accordingly. ment, with judges, sheriffs, and all other officers, including custom house officers, and proceeds to make donations of the soil to American citizens.
OCCUPANCY OF THE OREGON RIVER.
The Oregon bill, together with the motion of Mr. POLK, of Tennessee, to commit the same to the Committee on the Territories, with instructions, coming up as the unfinished business of yesterday,
But the convention says the country shall be free and open alike to the citizens of both countries. It does not say it shall be open to the action of both GovernmentsMr. STRONG, of New York, said, that it was not his but open to the citizens and subjects of both. Now, if the intention to occupy more time than he could avoid, in pre- United States shall interpose its power, and give away senting to the Committee his views of this subject. As parts of the country to American citizens, does it not therethe discussion had insensibly assumed a general form, go- by exclude all others? But the bill goes beyond that; it ing to the merits of the bill at large, rather than those of erects a civil territorial government, extending its authothe amendment immediately before the Committee, he rity over the entire extent of the territory, even to 54° should avail himself of the same latitude, and what he had north. There is this marked difference between the erecto say would respect the whole subject. It was not his tion of a local military establishment and the erection of a purpose to speak to the expediency or inexpediency of civil government: the former is transient, and may be now taking possession of the territory in question; but he withdrawn at pleasure; it may be sent, and may be recallshould confine himself exclusively to one point, viz: the ed, without affecting, in any degree, the sovereignty of inconsistency of the provisions of the present bill with the country; but when the United States sets up an esta the existing compact between this country and Great Bri-blished civil government over that territory, and your tain. He was sorry to be obliged to differ in opinion from citizens go and settle and form establishments under its the very respectable gentleman [Mr. FLOYD] who had protection, can you, in good faith to them, again withdraw brought the bill into the House, as well as from many and annul it? You have pledged the national faith, induced other gentlemen who were its friends, and for whose judg- them to form their settlements there, and thereby you ment he felt great deference. And lest it might be sup- have bound yourself to protect them. May you at pleaposed by any that his difficulties arose from any secret sure take away their government? May you leave them doubt he entertained as to the validity and justice of the ungoverned and unprotected? I think not. If you shall American title to the territory, he would take this op- go on to put up in Oregon a military power in subordinaportunity to say, that, so far as he had been able to ex-tion to a regular organized civil government, what will amine the subject, and was capable of judging, his decided Great Britain say? Can we pretend that this is not assumopinion was, that the title is in us: for, briefly, it seem- ing the sovereignty of that country; that it is not assuming ed to be admitted, generally, that the elder and better title it to our own exclusive use? Certainly we cannot. to the territory was in Spain and Russia. The convention, suppose Great Britain should answer us in the same way. in 1790, between England and Spain, in relation to Nootka Suppose the British Parliament shall set up their territoSound, contains no cession of sovereignty of such a kind rial government; that she should appoint her Governor as to draw after it the use and ownership of the country. and all her train of officers, and should fix her establishAs we, therefore, have the title of Spain and Russia, the ment at some other point near the coast, say at the Straits better title must be in us. But this is not now the ques- of San Juan? Can gentlemen persuade themselves that tion before us. That is a part of the general question, these two governments can go on peaceably side by side; which this Committee cannot touch. In 1818, the United that one of them will not soon exclude the other; and thus States and Great Britain entered into a convention, the bring the two nations into direct and open collision Sir,
The orders of the day having been proclaimed, the House, on motion of Mr. FLOYD, again went into Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, and resumed the consideration of the bill authorizing the occupation of the mouth of the Oregon river.