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AMERICAN WHIG REVIEW ,
FOR MAY, 1850.
REVIEW OF THE REPORT OF HON. THOMAS BUTLER KING
The government of the United States , purposes only, while the whole constitutes cannot be said to have a colonial system, one contiguous, entire, and compact naunless the movements of such a system are to be seen in the constant acquisition and This population, is now 22 millions. In organization of new territories.
fifty years it will be 80 millions, and in an The expansion of the Republican Empire hundred years 200 millions ; equal to requiring the constant addition of new regions nearly one fourth the present aggregate to receive the overflow of population and population of the globe. emigration, the policy of annexation,- The problem for statesmen of the present peaceful and constitutional annexation- day, is, therefore, not how they shall conby treaty and by purchase, may be re- fine this irresistible and wide spreading garded as the settled policy of this gov- tide of life, but rather how they shall, with ernment. The population of the United sufficient expedition, provide a soil for its States, consists of natives of Caucasian feet to rest upon, and extend over it a govorigin, and exotics of the same derivation. ernment at once congenial, powerful and The native mass rapidly assimilates to free. itself, and absorbs the exotics, and thus The government of the United States, these constitute one homogeneous people. if they have not hitherto, must now begin The African race, bond and free, and the to have a sound colonial policy. There aborigines, savage and civilized, being in- are legislators, otherwise men of weight and capable of such assimilation and absorption wisdom, who have no faith in the expanremain distinct, and owing to their peculiar sive power of republican institutions, who condition, they constitute inferior masses, sigh for the narrow and manageable limits and may be regarded as accidental, if not of the old thirteen colonies, and amuse disturbing political forces. The ruling themselves and the people with predictions homogeneous family, planted at first on the of the incapacity of a republican governAtlantic shore, and following an obvious ment to extend itself over a continent. law, is seen continually and rapidly ex- These are men of the past ; doubters, and tending itself westward, year by year, and faint hearted. subduing the wilderness and the prairie, and Such should not be the spirit of the thus extending this great political com- rising statesmen of this age; they who are munity, which, as fast as it advances, to live through the coming thirty years of breaks into distinct states for municipal republican aggrandizement—who are to
shape the destinies of the coming time; it *Mr. Seward's speech in the Senate, March is theirs to make themselves sure of what 11th, 1850.
will be, and must be; and then, by reason VOL. V. NO. V.
and a just and universal legislation, guided converts the very stones beneath its feet by the constitution, and by the advice of into subsistence and riches ; there is history and experience, to provide govern- nothing wanting in this great, this select ments for these expanding millions; not and wonderful region, to supply everything dilatorily and factiously, but with a great that is needed for the densest, and the and generous liberality, a liberality to most numerous and civilized population. which Providence will be always kind, be- It is not broken by impassable ranges of cause it is the very brother and friend of mountains, nor by sandy,
by sandy, illimitable Providence; and by obeying the great deserts : from one part to another the laws of events, becomes itself a law.
traveller passes easily, and with safety. And now, when the necessity of adopt- He may sail through the land, from end to ing a broad and liberal system of coloniza- end, by natural and artificial streams; he tion has forced itself upon the attention even may traverse it, driven swiftly along, with of the most reluctant and bigoted admirers the speed of an eagle, by the force of maof narrow limits, the force of the national chinery. From place to place, over prolegislation is wasted in the hateful strife of digious distances, he may send messages faction. Instead of providing, with a pa- with the speed of lightning. The people ternal care, for our new colonies on the of this continent have a common law, a Pacific, to confirm and strengthen them in single code or constitution, which makes affection and respect for the mother country every man the friend, the fellow, and the leaders of faction are consuming week the equal of all others of his nation. after week in profitless recrimination. Let No country so favorable has been inhabited us turn away from this wretched strife, and by the human race: none of such extent, refresh our eyes and our hearts with new in- and of so useful and delightful a variety. dications of the vigor and the power of our No people so free have ever been so nuname and our laws; let us see how beauti
merous and powerful ; they have but one fully and peacefully they can expand them- language, and in that language is embodied selves in new and untried regions.
every thing that is useful or important to The empire of freedom has now within be learned. Such a people, feeling their its geographical boundaries every element own destiny, must become the proudest, of power ; a hardy and enlightened ruling and the most dignified, the least jealous, race, of the best blood of the human family and the most contented and happy among The American people, proper, spreading nations. The thoughts of a citizen, in such rapidly over a continent to which the a nation, should be too grand and general Creator has given every natural advantage; for local heat and prejudice. Let him of vast, but not sterile nor wasteful extent, think of his country and her destiny, and lying between two mighty oceans, far re- he cannot fail to be magnanimous in his moved on the one hand from the barbarism thoughts. of Asia, and on the other from the old There is a narrow and unphilosophical, tyranny of Europe. On the North bound- an unbending spirit, among a certain class less forests, affording the materials of of legislators, which is astonished and structure and habitation, whose removal offended at every turn in affairs, and sees leaves such fields as produce the best and a crisis in every difficulty. Let us make healthiest food of man : out of these, up our minds to it, and quietly take up rivers gathering their floods and flowing with this proposition, that as in the youth toward the South, East and West, navig- of an active and ambitious man, so in the able almost from their sources to the sea. first century of a rising and powerful state, In the South, rich plains producing every every moment is a crisis. The day is luxury in such abundance, that the meanest critical, the year, the age, the century is and the poorest may possess and enjoy critical, legislation is all' critical ; new them. In the West a land mountainous forms of opinion are continually springing and rude, but teeming with the precious into life ; new powers are rising on all metals, with silver and with gold. In the sides of us, new necessities, new exigenEast, nourishing a population qualified by cies; our legislation must consequently industry and sagacity for every handicraft, take its departure from certain grand and and with an ingenuity and enterprise which simple principles such as suffice for the
government of Empires, and the rule of North or to the South, but to the confedemultiplying millions.
racy of the whole. Were it possible for us to The liberty and equality of the Ameri- make certain political stipulations, to exact can people, and of those of their race who certain promises, to force into her Constiblend with them and with their children, tution certain provisions, for our sake or man for man; that is our first principle. for her sake, it might be sound policy to A solid and efficient governmental organi- keep her ambassadors waiting in the antezation, wherever men enough are met to- chamber, with their hats in their hands, gether to form a town, a county, a muni- for the sake of humiliation ; or to mortify cipality, then a state ; and for the rapid their friends in the House or in the Senate. fusion of states into the one great Empire It was not to insult the South that she inof freemen, maintaining, at the same time, corporated into her Constitution a proviwith a most jealous care, the liberty, and sion against the holding of negroes in bonsovereignty of the members, by granting dago; but wholly to exclude the negro them their separate honors; by honoring from her limits, and make every inch of their equality in the council of the nations her soil a possession for that free and enerHere are points of departure for liberal getic race who are deriving wealth from it. legislation ; from which, if we rightly take The higher the grade of industry and inour observation and measure our course, we telligence brought in immediate contact shall not be misled by those novel false with the earth's surface, the more willingly lights which have appeared in the Southern and rapidly it yields food and clothing, and horizon, Balance of Power, Extension by comfort, to its cultivators; and, therefore, Conquest.
it is, the new State of California, (for we To doubt the expansive power of the insist on calling it a State, as it has the American governmental system, is to doubt natural members and properties of a State) the existence of any universal principles of has legislated for the exclusion of the ingovernment; nay, it is to doubt the uni- ferior races. versality and efficiency of the moral law No sooner had the gold region of the itself, from which that system, together Pacific coast become a part of the American with the law of nations, is immediately de- territory, it began to be occupied by Amrived. True it is, the importance and erican citizens; their numbers increased weight of each particular state is some- with extreme rapidity; but they found what lessened as the number of all in- themselves subject to the uncertain and opcreases; but the efficiency of the principles pressive operation of laws written in a lanwhich govern all and each, is neither guage which they did not understand, and changed nor diminished. That law of founded on principles which they did not gravitation which controls the revolution of recognize. The native judges of the country two planets with their satellites, and har- were not fitted either by talent or educamoniously regulates their times, and sub- tion to arbitrate their differences, or conordinates each body to the common centre, firm them in their private rights. "There rules with greater power, and with equal was not a single volume,” says Mr. King, facility the movements of an entire system. "containing the laws of the country, as When the principle of the movement is far as I know, or believe, in the whole teruniversal, the number of the bodies whose ritory, except, perhaps in the Governor's motion is regulated by it, may be indefi- office at Monterey." The American citinitely increased, and thereby there is no zens, the masters of the soil, already confusion, but only a greater stability. more numerous than the native population,
The new State which is asking admission found themselves without protection in their into the Union requires only a formality to lives and property, saving by a rude milibecome one of us ; it is our jealousy only tary justice, and the force of public morals. which delays its admission, and not any Titles to property could not be with cerother reason; if jealousy be a reason : we tainty established, and were necessarily cannot, constitutionally, lay political con- taken without a possibility of ascertaining ditions
California ; we can exact noth- their validity. ing from her that she will be bound to Without charters, or any legal right of fulfil. She does not ask to be admitted to the organization, towns and cities were grow
ing up with all their municipal necessities beacon, a light-house, or a fortification on of police, of taxation, and the protection of the whole coast." life and property. At the custom-house, “ There are no docks for the repair of duties were exacted by the general govern- mercantile vessels nearer than New York, ment, to a large amount, in return for a distance of some 20,000 miles by sea.”' which, the people themselves received none “ All these things, together with the proof the benefits of the government which per regulation of the gold region, the quickexacted them. “ In obedience, therefore, silver mines, the survey and disposition of to the extraordinary exigencies of their the public lands, the adjustment of land condition, the people of the city of San titles,--the establishment of a mint, and of Francisco and of other communities elected marine hospitals, required the immediate members to form a legislature, and clothed formation of a more perfect civil governthem with full powers to pass
laws.' ment than California then had, and the Their laws and liberties they did not fostering care of Congress and the execuderive from charters, they had them in tive. their minds and in their hearts ; they were In a single year California had become trained citizens; they knew how to orga- a state of great commercial importance ; nize a State. They were already, de facto, of equal, if not superior importance to any members of a State ; they had no grada- of those which have recently been admitted tions to pass through, they were not pioneers, | into the Union as States. Her citizens, backwoodsmen, or barbarians. “ Other therefore, with unexampled unanimity and territories had been, at first, slowly and promptitude, resolved upon the only course, sparsely peopled, by a few hunters and which lay open to them the immediate farmers who penetrated the wilderness or formation of a State Government. To traversed the prairies in search of game or
have waited the action of a Congress paa new home, and when thus gradually ralyzed by a balance of factions, would have their population warranted it, a govern- shown a degree of patience and pusillaniment was provided for them. They, how- mity on their part unworthy of a people ever, had no foreign commerce, nor any- whose greatest glory, in the eyes of the thing beyond the ordinary pursuits of ag- world, is, the capacity which they exhibit for riculture and the various branches of prompt, and efficient, and permanent, civil business which usually accompany it, to organization. They did not do this howinduce immigration within their borders. ever, until they perceived that they would Several years were required to give them be subjected to ruinous delays had they sufficient population and wealth to place to wait on the action of Congress. them in a condition to require, or enable In regard to that question which was, tham to support a State government.” shaking the Union to its centre," and
“Not so with California ; the discovery had thus far deprived them of a regularly of the vast metallic and mineral wealth in organized civil government, “they believher mountains, had already attracted to ed that they had an undefeasible right to her in the space of twelve months, more decide for themselves, if not as a chartered than 100,000 people. An extensive com- State, then, as individual citizens, and in meree bad
sprung up with China, the ports maintenance of that very doctrine which is of Mexico on the Pacific, Chili and Aus- so jealously maintained by the South. Was trillia. Hundreds of vessels from the At- | it for them to suppress any portion of their lantie ports of the Union, freighted with Constitution ? To sneak it out and make a our manufacturers and agricultural pro- secret of it, with the intention of sneaking it ducts, and filled with our fellow-citizens in, after their reception into the brotherhood had arrived, or were on their passage round of States ? It had been argued and estabCape Horn ; so that, in the month of June lished, say the friends of Mr. Calhoun, in last, there were more than 300 sea-going the celebrated resolutions of 1847, concoctvessels in the port of San Francisco." ed by that much lamented statesman,
- California has a border on the Pacific “ that it is a fundamental principle in our of more than 10 degrees of latitude, and political creed, that a people in forming a several important harbors which have ne- Constitution, have the unconditional right ver been surveyed; nor is there a buoy, a to form and adopt the government which