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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/391

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Marshall's Acquisition of Oregon

This line was proposed in 1818 by President Monroe and Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, when the treaty of joint occupation was negotiated, as an offset to the British offer of the Columbia River as a boundary. Monroe, as Secretary of State under Madison, and Adams, as one of the peace commissioners, had secured restoration of Astoria in the treaty of 1814 with Britain.

In 1823-24 Secretary Adams renewed the proposal of the forty-ninth parallel to the British Government but the latter again declined. In the negotiations Secretary Adams announced the Monroe doctrine through Henry Middleton, then American Minister to Russia, and Richard Rush, then Minister to Great Britain.


Monroe Doctrine First Applied.

It is interesting to note that the Monroe doctrine—now an axiom of American diplomacy—was first announced in negotiations with Britain and Russia concerning Oregon. It was intended as a warning to Russia colonization schemes in America and was supported by Britain. Also it was a warning, backed by Britain, to the holy alliance—France, Prussia, Austria, Russia—which planned to restore to Spain its lost American colonies.

The British then declined, however, the forty-ninth parallel, but in 1824 offered the forty-ninth parallel to the Columbia and thence that river to the Pacific. This Mr. Rush declined and again proposed the forty-ninth parallel to the ocean. Thus the British virtually conceded south of the Columbia. In 1826, Adams, then President, instructed Albert Gallatin, plenipotentiary negotiating with Britain the renewal of the 1818 joint treaty, that the forty-ninth parallel was our "ultimatum." From this "ultimatum" of Adams the American Government never receded. Webster's refusal to accept the Columbia River as boundary in 1842 in negotiations with Ashburton caused delay in the settlement until 1846.

These negotiations, not before fully examined as to their bearing on the Oregon boundary, convinced Professor Mar-