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rection," so called, in western Pennsylvania, which have been mentioned in a preceding chapter.

The release of a number of American vessels captured under the British order of November 6th, together with a declaration by lord Grenville in the British parliament, of friendly designs toward the United States, and the disavowal, by that government, of having encouraged Indian hostilities, slightly checked the popular indignation, and encouraged the hope of a peaceable settlement of the disputes between the two countries Mr. Jay embarked on his mission on the 13th of May.

He was regarded by his political friends as eminently qualified for the trust confided to him. For purity of character, disinterested patriotism, sound judgment, and diplomatic experience, he was probably unsurpassed. But, although hopes were indulged of an amicable adjustment of the difficulties with Great Britain, these hopes were moderated by her well known unwillingness to relinquish any advantage, of which she had re cently given fresh evidence by her obstinate refusal to enter into a commercial treaty. The principal objects of the mission were, restitution for spoliations of American commerce, and the fulfillment of the treaty of

peace. These two objects obtained, a treaty of commerce was then to be proposed.

The instructions to Mr. Jay acquit the president of the charge of unfriendliness to France and partiality for Great Britain. As it was deemed not improbable that the British government would offer inducements to the United States to dissolve their alliance with France, Mr. Jay was instructed to say " that the United States would not derogate from their treaties and engagements with France." To the same effect were the instructions to Mr. Monroe, our minister to France, appointed soon after Mr. Jay's departure. Secretary Randolph, in his letter of instructions, says: "The president has been an early and decided friend of the French revolution; and whatever reasons there may have been to suspend an opinion upon some of its important transactions, yet is he immutable in his wishes for its accomplishment. * * • From Messrs. Genet and Fauchet we have uniformly learned that France did not desire us to depart from neutrality; and it would have been unwise to ask us to do otherwise. For our ports are open to her prizes, while they are shut to those of Great Britain ; and supplies of grain could not be forwarded to France with so much certainty, were we at war, as they can even now, notwithstanding the British restrictions. We have therefore pursued neutrality with faithfulness. We mean to retain the same line, of conduct in future; and to remove all jealousy as to Mr. Jay's mission to London, yoư may say that he is positively forbidden to weaken the engagements between this country and France."





By the


Congress had adjourned to the 3d of November, 1794; but no quorum appeared in the senate until the 18th.

In his address, delivered the next day, the president gave a detailed account of the insurrection in Pennsylvania, and of the measures taken to reduce the insurgents to submission; and he strongly intimated that, in tracing the origin and progress of the insurrection, it would be found to have “ been fomented by combinations of men, who, careless of consequences, and disregarding the unerring truth, that those who rouse, can not always appease a civil convulsion, have disseminated, from an ignorance or perversion of facts, suspicions, jealousies, and accusations of the whole government.”

" combinations of men,” were meant the democratic societies formed under the auspices of Genet.

The senate, in answer, responded to the opinion of the president as to the effects of these “ self-created societies,” whose proceedings tended to disorganize our government, and had “ been instrumental in misleading our fellow-citizens into the scene of insurrection.” This part of the address, however, was not adopted without strong opposition. The answer of the house made no allusion wbatever to this subject, nor to the success of Gen. Wayne, nor to the foreign policy of the executive; all of which were approved by the senate. The interference with the proposed commercial regulations, by the appointment of a minister to England, was presumed to be the cause of the omission to notice the last of the subjects mentioned.

The thrust of the president at the democratic societies produced considerable excitement, and perhaps contributed to accelerate their decline, which, however, was owing chiefly to causes before mentioned. Robespierre was overthrown; and his clubs were unable to maintain the contest for supremacy

with the French convention. A vindication of the clubs would have been nothing less than opposition to the government of France; a position which the republicans of the United States did not wish to assume. Hence the societies soon disappeared. It ought perhaps to be here stated, that the president's unfavorable opinion of these societies was not wholly occasioned by their attacks upon

his administra tion. Judge Marshall says: "So early as 1786, in a letter to a favorite


nephew, who had engaged with the ardor of youth in a political society. Gen. Washington stated, in decided terms, his objections to such institutions, and the abuses of which they were peculiarly susceptible."

The president again called the attention of the house to the subject of the public debt, and recommended the adoption of a “definitive plan for its redemption." On the 15th of January, Mr. Hamilton reported a plan for this purpose, and forcibly urged its adoption. He said there was danger to every government from a progressive accumulation of debt. A tendency to it is perhaps the natural disease of all governments; and it is not easy to conceive any thing more likely than this to lead to great convulsive revolutions of empires.

There is a general propensity in those who administer the affairs of government, founded in the constitution of man, to shift off the burden from the present to a future day; a propensity which may be expected to be strong in proportion as the form of the state is popular.” At whom the following remarks were aimed, the house could not fail to understand. “To extinguish a debt which exists, and to avoid contracting more, are ideas almost always favored by public feeling and opinion; but to pay taxes for the one or the other purpose, which are the only means to avoid the evil, is always more or less unpopular. Hence it is no uncommon specutacle to see the same man clamoring for oocasions of expense, when they happen to be in unison with the present humor of the community, well or ill directed, declaiming against a public debt, and for the reduction of it; yet vehement against every plan of taxation, which is proposed to discharge old debts, or to avoid new ones by defraying the expenses of exigencies as they emerge.

An act conforming nearly to the plan reported was passed. It established a sinking fund, consisting of the surplus revenues, of bank dividends, and the proceeds of the sales of public lands; together with a few other items. The permanent appropriation of the duties on domestic spirits and on stills, being strongly objected to, these temporary taxes were to be continued only till 1801; the others were permanently pledged to the payment of the public debt; for which purpose this fund was to be vested, as property in trust, in the commissioners of the sinking fund. By this act was consummated the funding system of the secretary of the treasury, under which the whole national debt was ultimately extinguished.

On the 31st of January, 1795, Mr. Hamilton resigned, and was succeeded by Oliver Wolcott, of Connecticut. Gen. Knox had resigned on the first day of the month, and Timothy Pickering, of Massachusetts, then postmaster-general, was appointed as his successor. He was suoceeded by Joseph Habersham, of Georgia, as postmaster-general.

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On the 3d of March, the constitutional term of the third congress expired. This session was less distinguished for the number of its important acts-though some of them were really such-than for the warmth and acrimony of its debates.

On the 7th of March, 1795, the president received " a treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, between his Britannic majesty and the United States," which had been concluded by Mr. Jay and lord Grenville, on the 19th of November. On the 8th of June, the treaty was submitted to the senate, specially convened for this purpose. The first of the two primary objects of negotiation, namely, indemnity to American merchants for the illegal capture of their property under British orders, was secured by the treaty. The second of these objects was partially attained. The western posts were to be surrendered by the 1st of June, 1796. The negroes carried away by the British commander not being deemed by the British negotiator of a class to which the prohibition of the treaty applied, no compensation for them was allowed. The British creditors were to be compensated for losses caused by laws of any of the states obstructing the collection of debts contracted prior to the revolutionary


The citizens of each country were to enjoy the right to hold and convey lands in the territories of the other. Debts contracted, or engagements made by the citizens of the one with those of the other, were not to be impaired in case of national differences. Free trade with the Indians, except within the limits of the Hudson's bay company; and the free use of the Mississippi river, were to be enjoyed by both parties. So far, the provisions of the treaty were to be permanent.

The other articles, relating to commerce and navigation were limited to two years after the termination of the existing European war, and in any case, to a term not exceeding twelve years. In the trade between the United States and the British dominions in Europe and the East Indies, the vessels and cargoes of each party were to be admitted into the ports of the other, on terms of equality with the most favored nation ; the British government reserving the right to countervail American discriminating tonnage and import duties. A direct trade with the British West Indies was permitted in American vessels of a burden not exceeding seventy tons, and in the products of the United States and those of the islands. But this privilege, restricted as it was, was only to be obtained by yielding the right of carrying molasses, sugar, coffee, cocoa, or cotton, either from the United States, or the islands, to any other country.

The treaty also enumerated certain articles which were to be deemed contraband of war. Provisions and other articles not usually contraband, if they should at any time become so, according to the law of nations, were not to be confiscated, but paid for by the captors or the government. Vessels having made prizes of the property of the citizens of either party, were not allowed a shelter in the ports of the other; but this privilege was to be enjoyed by the ships of war, or privateers of the contracting parties.

The treaty was far from meeting the wishes either of the president, or of the senate; yet, considering the tenacity with which Great Britain clung to a system to which she owed her commercial importance, more favorable terms could hardly have been expected. The most objectionable provision was that in the 12th article, which related to the West India trade. Among the commodities, the carrying of which to Europe in American vessels was to be prohibited, was cotton. This article, of which the United States had scarcely produced a supply for home consumption, had just begun to be exported; a fact said to have been unknown to Mr. Jay. As this product was soon to become one of the principal exports from this country, and as the relinquishment of the right to transport the other articles above mentioned, was a sufficient sacrifice for the restricted West India trade allowed by the treaty, the senate concluded to exclude this provision in the ratification, and recommended the addition of a clause suspending its operation; leaving for future negotiation, this question, with that of the impressment of American seamen, and others, upon which the parties had been unable to come to a satisfactory agreement. In this shape, the senate, by a vote of 20 to 10, a bare constitutional majority, advised the ratification.

The president, considering the defects of the treaty to be overbalanced by its advantages, had resolved to ratify it, if it should be approved by the senate. This determination was also approved by the members of the cabinet, with one exception. But the recommendation, by the senate, of the suspending clause, required consideration. It was not clear to the mind of the president, that the senate could advise and consent to an article that had not been laid before them; or that he could ratify the treaty until the proposed clause had been added. The doubts of the president, however, were soon removed. But before signing the treaty, an additional cause of delay arose. It was stated in English papers, though not officially, that the order of the 8th of June, 1793, for the seizure of provisions going to French ports, had been renewed. Great Britain, it will be recollected, claimed the right of making provisions contraband, with a view to reduce an enemy. This right the American government did not concede, except in cases of blockade. The president

, therefore, deferred for a time the execution of his design, and directed a memorial to the British government against this order to be prepared,

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