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connects the name of Wolfe with that of Gray. Nothing could have been more picturesque than the surroundings of that saying of Wolfe's—of that English hero—and nothing could have been more momentous than the action and the consequence that followed from it, and which made the United States, which I have lately represented, possible. That, I think, gives me a certain right also to speak here.
I know that sometimes criticisms are made upon Gray. I think I have often heard him called by some of our juniors “commonplace." Upon my word, I think it a compliment. I think it shows a certain generality of application in what Gray has done, for if there is one thing more than another-I say this to the young men whom I see seated around both sides of the hall—which insures the lead in life, it is the commonplace. I have to measure my poets, my authors, by their lasting power, and I find Gray has a great deal of it. He not only pleases my youth and my age, but he pleases other people's youth and age; and I cannot help thinking this is a proof that he touches on human nature at a great many periods and at a great many levels, and, perhaps, that is as high a compliment as can be paid to the poet. There is, I admit, a certain commonplaceness of sentiment in his most famous poem, but I think there is also a certain commonplaceness of sentiment in some verses that have been famous for more than 3,000 years.
I think that when Homer saw somebody smiling through her tears he said, on the whole, a commonplace thing, but it touched our feelings for a great many centuries; and I think that in the "Elegy in a Country Churchyard" Gray has expressed a simple sentiment, and as long as there are young men and middle-aged men, Gray's poem will continue to be read and loved as in the days when it was written. There is a Spanish proverb which rebukes those people who ask something better than bread. Let those who ask for something better get something better than what Gray produced. For my own part, I ask nothing better. He was, perhaps, the greatest artist in words that English literature has possessed. In conclusion, let me say one word for myself. This will probably be the last occasion on which I shall have the opportunity of addressing Englishmen in public; and I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude for the kindness which has surrounded me both in my official and private life, and to say that while I came here as a far-off cousin, I feel you are sending me away as something like a brother. R. PRESIDENT, we had a short discussion the
Mother day upon the subject of the oft-debated
Monroe Doctrine. I propose very briefly to re-examine it; and I shall do so with the more confidence, because I have just refreshed my recollection by a conversation with the person, who, of all living men, has the most right to speak authoritatively upon this matter. I refer to Mr. Rush, whose name is well and favorably known to the whole country, which he has served with honor and ability in various high capacities, at home and abroad, and who was our Minister in England, when this doctrine was first broached.
What, sir, is the Monroe Doctrine? Let Mr. Monroe answer the question. In his annual message to Congress, in 1823, he announced his views upon two important subjects. They are as follows, and are to be found in different parts of the message:
"1. That it was impossible for the Allied Powers to extend their political system to any part of America, without endangering our peace and happiness, and equally impossible, therefore, that we should behold such interference with indifference.
"2. That the occasion had been judged proper for asserting, as a principle, in which the rights and interests of the United States were involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they had assumed and maintained, were henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European Power."
The honorable Senator from New Hampshire (Mr. Hale), in the remarks he made upon this subject a few days ago, referred to the views expressed by Mr. Calhoun, in the Senate, in relation to this doctrine, and maintained that no general principle of action was laid down by Mr. Monroe, but that his efforts were limited to the preservation of the independent States of Spanish origin from the grasp of the Holy Alliance, as the union of various despotic powers to put down popular demonstrations was called. The unholy alliance would have been its proper designation.
There is no doubt, sir, but that the threatening aspect of affairs in relation to these Spanish States, and the known project to bring them under the dominion of some Bourbon prince, was the prominent cause which led Mr. Monroe to interpose upon that occasion. Circumstances do not create principles. They call them into action. Circumstances occurred which directed the attention of the American Government to an approaching crisis, and it then investigated, not only its line of action, but the ground upon which that action could be justified, and the result was this wellknown declaration. In our position it is one of the great elements of our strength, and of our means of self-defense. It is perpetual, as well in its obligations as in the security it brings with it. It interfered with no existing rights, but looked to the future, with a view to guard that from danger.
Mr. Monroe promulgated what is known through the world as his doctrine-the American doctrine of American self-preservation. It is now sought to degrade it to a mere temporary expedient, living while the Holy Alliance lived, and dying with the death of that unprincipled league. Now, sir, Mr. Monroe is the best expositor of his own views. Hear him. In his annual message of 1824, when the danger from the Holy Alliance had passed away, he said, renewing his recommendation, that we had no concern with European wars, but “with regard to our neighbors our situation is different. It is impossible for the European Governments to interfere in their concerns, especially in those alluded to, which are vital, without affecting us.'
But, sir, we have another witness to introduce, whom no American can hear without respect and gratitude, the writer of the Declaration of Independ. ence, the patriarch of the Democratic faith, the statesman and patriot, second only to Washington in the estimation of his countrymen. Mr. Monroe, during his whole Presidency, was in the habit of the most confidential communication with Mr. Jefferson upon all questions of serious concern. He consulted him upon this subject, and here follows the answer, dated October 24, 1823. Never were sentiments sounder in themselves, or more beautifully expressed:
"The question presented by the letters you have sent me is the most momentous which has ever been offered to my contemplation since that of Independence. That made us a nation; this sets our compass, and points the course which we are to steer through the ocean of time. And never could we embark on it under circumstances more auspicious. Our first and fundamental maxim should be never to entangle ourselves in the broils of Europe. Our second, never to suffer Europe to intermeddle with cis-Atlantic affairs. America, North and South, has a set of interests distinct from those of Europe, and peculiarly her own. She should, therefore, have a system of her own, separate and apart from that of Europe; the last is