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of their endeavours to promote and secure it, in the terms of that treaty. They thought the informal arrangement offered by the British negotiators-in whose sincerity they saw reason to confide-would
in practice, an adequate protection to our seamen, on board American merchant vessels, against impressment. In reference to that informal arrangement, they
“ We persuade ourselves we shall place the busi“ ness almost, if not altogether, on as good a footing as
we should have done by treaty, had the project which 5 we offered them been adopted."* This treaty, however, Mr. Jefferson sent back, without laying it before the Senate, although it was then in session ; because there was not a formal stipulation, by an article in the treaty, against any impressments whatever, of seamen on board those vessels: a stipulation which, from the experience of the American government, during a series of years, he had reason, amounting to moral certainty, to believe to be unattainable; and therefore, I infer, he made such a formal stipulation a sine qua non.
A third treaty he readily ratified. This was negotiated by Mr. King, pursuant to Mr. Jefferson's instructions. Its object was, by a compromise with the British government, to put an end to the controversy concerning the ante-revolution debts due to British merchants, and to extinguish the British claims, by paying to its government a round sum ; in consideration of which that government undertook to satisfy the demands of its own subjects. This sum was six hundred thousand pounds sterling-equal to $2,264,000; which was paid from the treasury of the United States. The merchants in the Commercial States were the debtors to the British merchants; and generally speaking (I always understood) had, prior to Mr. Jay's treaty, paid or compromised their debts, to the satisfaction of their British creditors.
* From different sources I received information, from which it appeared clearly, to my apprehension, that with all the parade, kept up for several years, of negotiating a treaty of amity and commerce with Great-Britain, Mr. Jefferson really desired none. A letter from a friend of his, now before me, contains this passage : “ I perfectly remember he terminated a conversation on this subject, by observing, that before a treaty could be ratified with Great Britain, she might no longer exist as an independent nation.”—He imagined (as I learned from another source) that Great Britain must sink under the weight of her debt, and the arms of Bonaparte.
The treaty of peace of 1783 recognized those debts ; and the United States stipulated, that no legal impediments should be opposed to their recovery: but such impediments were opposed; and that stipulation remained a dead letter. When, therefore, fresh causes of controversy arose, in 1793 and 1794, Washington, to prevent a war with Great-Britain, instituted a new mission to that government, and appointed Mr. Jay, the able and principal negotiator of the treaty
peace of 1783, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, to negotiate and by treaty to settle the new controversies, and those which had arisen from the nonexecution of some of the articles of the treaty of peace. In this negotiation, Mr. Jay' honestly renewed, or rather provided for the due performance of, the original stipulation relative to British debts. This, unquestionably, was one thing which contributed to render his treaty unpopular, in some parts of the Union ; while its terminating the recent controversies which hazarded our peace with Great-Britain-disappointing the vehement haters of that country and at the same time ardent lovers of France-raised up enemies to its ratification, in every part of the Union. It was ratified, however, and executed; and procured for our merchants, who had suffered by British spoliations, indemnities to the amount of more than five millions of dollars, paid to them by the British government. What did they obtain for ten fold more aggravated spoliations committed on their vessels and merchandise, and to ten times that amount, by the Republican and Imperial Governments of France ? Not one cent.
Every independent American must, I presume, view this subject (our relations with France) in the light in which I have now placed it; and be willing, should it become necessary, to concur with the only great, free and independent nation on earth, besides our own, in measures which the interest and welfare of both may require, to prevent the re-establishment of despotism in the New World.
That France afforded assistance to the United States, in our revolutionary war, exclusively for her own interest, had long ago been manifested; and it seems impossible that with Mr. Jefferson it should ever have been a subject of doubt. But the PEOPLE of the United States having unwittingly entertained and steadily cherished the contrary opinion, their prejudice was too strong to yield even to the force of moral demonstration. And the leaders of the opponents of the federal administration seized on this honest prejudice in favour of France, to obtain popularity ; while by every means they excited and promoted opposite sentiments towards Great-Britain, which the resentful passions engendered in the revolutionary war rendered it easy to propagate among the people. These prejudices, diligently cultivated, were among the chief means by whicħ Mr. Jefferson and his partisans acquired a predominance; and they may now safely abandon the scaffolding by which they rose to power. Still, however, for the purpose of enjoying, exclusively, all the benefits to be derived from its possession, they continue to arrogate to. themselves the name of Republicans; willing and desirous that their federal opponents should, by the people, be deemed aristocrats and monarchists. Yet to the Federalists are they indebted for their republican constitution and republican government ; both of which are now very good things, and in their hands quite unexceptionable. Many years ago, in the Senate of the United States, I heard the most frank, the most bold, and in my opinion the most able politician of the, so called, republican party, pronounce a eulogy on the Constitution, as strong and honourable as words could express. And even Mr. Jefferson must have entertained the like opinion; or, in conformity with his libellous remarks on it to his friend Mazzei, he would have proposed to change its features. And now he appears to desire only one alteration—to destroy, as I have before remarked, the independence of the judges. And having three and twenty years ago pronounced the citizens of the United States, composed of the different political parties, * all republicans, all federalists,” it might have been expected that by this time, at least, he would be willing we should together form one people, one nation, equally entitled to, and equally enjoying the advantages to be derived from, the government of our common country; but it is not so.
In his letter to Lieutenant Governor Barry, before mentioned, he affects to doubt (for if he really doubts he must be a blinder and more narrow minded politician than any of his intelligent followers) he, I say, affects to doubt whether it would be safe to admit federalists into the republican “camp!” that is, to admit to a participation of the public offices, the men whom he, before the representatives of the nation and a numerous assembly of citizens, pronounced, either honestly or deceitfully (he may choose which term he pleases) to be republicans! And he desires still to foster the spirit of party, by party names; and, assigning to his own the name of whigs-originally in Enggland designating the friends of liberty, in opposition to the partisans of the tyrannical race of the Stuarts, who were called tories-he would brand all federalists with the latter name, to induce a belief among the people, that federalists are enemies to liberty! What federalist can feel a shadow of respect for such a man? If they suppose him sincere in broaching such ideas, they must think lightly of his pretensions to wisdom as a statesman : insincere, I need not say what sentiment they will feel and express.
Wailings for the condition of the Catholics of Ireland, so long suffering under the Protestant oppression of the English government, have been heard throughout the United States. The Dissenters in England are also oppressed. Both pay tithes to support the Ecclesiastics of the Established Church. But what is the real condition of Federalists in the United States ? How does it differ from that of the Dissenters and Catholics in the United Kingdom of Great-Britain ? Federalists have long been paying tithes to the established Political Clergy of the United States, who exclusively
enjoy all the benefices. Surely there are many high minded, liberal men, among the reigning class, who must see this injustice, and be willing to provide a remedy. One such man, elected the Executive Head of the Nation, and having in view only the “ general welfare," and not the continuance of himself in
power by a re-election, might remove the existing evil, and
set the people to rights.” For the enjoyment of equal rights, Federal Emancipation is as necessary in the United States, as Catholic Emancipation is in Ireland.
In stating the preceding facts, and the reflections they suggested, in regard to Mr. Jefferson, I have written with the freedom which the occasion seemed to require, but without the consciousness of any personal animosity. Towards me his deportment has ever been marked with urbanity. It is in reference to his conduct and character as a public man, that he is presented as a just subject of reproach; such as, on a further and full investigation, he will, in my apprehension, appear to the future impartial historian of our country. The sentiments exhibited in his letter to Lieutenant Governor Barry, at this period, I confess I could not have expected. That they have excited in me a degree of indignation, I cannot, nor do I desire to, con.ceal.