Lord Ashburton to Mr. Sturgis.
Sir: Your lecture on the Oregon question reached me last week, and as the subject itself interests me, and still more so everything connected with the maintenance of peace and friendly intercourse between our countries, I lost no time in reading it. I beg you will accept my very best thanks for your obliging attention. Your treatise enables me every day to answer satisfactorily the question put to me so often, where is the Oregon and what is this dispute about? You have stated the case distinctly in a few pages, and what is indeed uncommon, you have stated it with great impartiality. Your leaning is perhaps to the side of the American argument; but if those who have to settle the subject by negotiation treat it with the same fairness and candor you have done, there can be no danger of its leading to consequences which all honest men would deprecate. I have personally a high opinion of the future destinies of that portion of the coast of the Pacific. The Northern Pacific Ocean, and in the course of time probably the eastern shores of Asia, will find their masters in the country north of California. But I have a very low opinion of any interest either your country or mine are likely to have in any division of the territory. From the moment it becomes of any real importance, it will not be, and should not be, governed from either Washington or from West-minster. You do not, or should not want land, and we certainly do not want colonies, and least of all such as would be unmanageable from their distance, and only serve to embroil us with our *neighbors. I am not without a wish that this new Pacific republic should be founded by our own race, which with an their detects, are likely to spread the best description of Christian civilization; but to say the truth, I care little whether this be done from Old England directly, or intermediately through New England. What I do care about is that we should not quarrel about this or any other measure, and I really believe that we should all be better by leaving this question to sleep again for another half century.Lord Ashburton regards Mr. Sturgis’s pamphlet as distinct and impartial.
Repeating my thanks for your obliging attention, I have the honor to be, sir, your very obedient,
The Hon. Wm. Sturgis.