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hands and lands; that to them belongs, either openly or secretly, · the great mass of our navigation; that even the factorage of their affairs here is kept to themselves by factitious citizenships; that these foreign and false citizens now constitute the great body of what are called our merchants, fill our sea-ports, are planted in every little town and district of the interior country, sway every thing in the former places by their own votes, and those of their dependants in the latter, by their insinuations and the influence of their legers; that they are advancing fast to a monopoly of our banks and public funds, and thereby placing our public finances under their control; that they have in their alliance the most influential characters in and out of office; when they have shown that by all these bearings on the different branches of the government, they can force it to proceed in whatever direction they dictate, and bend the interests of this country entirely to the will of another; when all this, I say, is attended to, it is impossible for us to say we stand on independent ground—impossible for a free mind not to see and to groan under the bondage to which it is bound. If any thing after this could excite surprise, it would be that they have been able so far to throw dust in the eyes of our own citizens, as to fix on those who wish merely to recover self-government, the charge of subserving one foreign influence because they resist submission to another."
This picture of the means which England then possessed of influencing public opinion in the United States, will scarcely appear exaggerated to those who were acquainted with the state of the times; but it must be remembered that it required their united force to counteract the national animosity which the war of independence, then fresh in the recollections of all, had engendered, and the lively sympathy for the French nation felt by the American people. The very circumstance that the subjects of Great Britain, priding themselves on their birth-place, and avowing their attachment to her government, and hatred for her great rival, were to be seen in every part of our country, produced a degree of reaction which was sometimes equivalent to their direct influence. As a proof of it, the anti-Anglican
party was often the predominant one in our large cities, where English capital, English agents, and English emigrants were the most numerous; and the disposition to a general amnesty of the past, and a revival of the friendly sentiments of kindred nations, descended from the same stock, having the same language, religion and laws, and not alien in interest, was no where so strong as in New England, where the number of native English was comparatively fewer than in any other part of the Union.
Some of the evidences adduced by Mr. Jefferson of English influence, must be regarded as the exaggerations of prejudice, from which no leading politician of the United States, of either party, was then exempt; as when he says, "at this very moment they would have drawn us into a war on the side of England, had it not been for the failure of her bank.” And he even at. tributes to English intrigue, a proposition then made in a Connecticut paper, to dissolve the Union, which he justly calls “the last anchor of our hope, and that alone which is to prevent this heavenly country from becoming an arena of gladiators.”
Party spirit, which had been increasing in bitterness for the last four or five years, notwithstanding the check it received from the great personal popularity of General Washington, began, now that check was withdrawn from the scene of action, to exhibit redoubled fury. Each side accused the other of being willing to sacrifice the interests of the United States to those of a foreign nation; and the known partiality which one party felt for England, and the other for France, and the correspondent hatred for their enemies, gave but too much colour to these recriminations. The sympathies of our citizens for the great struggle which was then going on in Europe, and which, in appearance at least, was a contest of political principles, were more lively than their regard for their own interests; and most public measures were viewed with favour or disapprobation, according as they harmonized with French or English principles, or furthered French or English interests. This strange state of things, so inconsistent with the duties of patriotism, and so humiliating to its pride, suggested, and almost justified the remark of a foreign traveller in the United States at that period, that
during his visit to the United States, he saw many English and French, but scarcely ever met with an American.
It would be equally invidious and difficult to decide which of the two parties was most responsible for this national reproach; but, without doubt, both merit a large share of it. The circumstances which contributed to swell the numbers and augment the influence of the British partisans, are well detailed by Mr. Jefferson in his letter to Mr. Gerry, and opposed to these were, the animosity excited against England and Englishmen by the war of independence, and which their indiscreet zeal in the United States contributed to keep alive; the enthusiasm in favour of the French revolution; and the jealousy entertained against some of the leading measures of our domestic policy. It thus happened that every act of the government was viewed through a discoloured medium by the more zealous partizans on both sides, and each prevailed as they could best succeed with the cooler, the more indifferent, and more untutored part of the community.
There was supposed to be not entire harmony of views between Mr. Adams and his cabinet, as Mr. Jefferson's sagacity had quickly perceived; and subsequent events fully confirmed the fact. The cabinet of General Washington remained unchanged. Mr. Pickering, wbo had succeeded to the office of secretary of state on the resignation of Mr. Randolph, supported the views of Mr. Hamilton, both in his kind feelings towards the British government, and hatred of the present rulers of France, and their political principles. He always supported the character of inflexible integrity, but was irascible, prejudiced, and obstinate. The roughness of his manners enhanced his character for sincerity. Though he gave General Washington and Mr. Adams his support, his highest esteem and confidence were bestowed on Hamilton. To Mr. Adams's claims of superiority he could not quietly submit, and the pride of the president was mortified by the secretary's churlish independence. With these sources of discord, they were kept together only by the pressure of a common enemy, and even that was not eventually sufficient to counteract their mutual repulsion.
The secretary of the treasury, Mr. Wolcott, was a man of business habits; well acquainted with the duties of his office, and giving his first attention to them. So far as he engaged in general politics, he went as far as any of his associates in opposing the democratic party; and where the views of Hamilton came in conflict with those of the president, he was likely to side, though cautiously and lukewarmly, with the former.
The secretary of war, Mr. M.Henry, of Maryland, was not led by any strong principle or passion to oppose Mr. Adams in any thing, nor had he that commanding force of talent, or weight of character to make his course particularly important. The attorney-general, Mr. Lee, was a decided supporter of federal measures, was warmly opposed to the democratic party, and ready to adopt any course of policy which would maintain the federal ascendancy, but feeling no particular interest in any other object.
The relative strength of the federal and republican parties, in the House of Representatives, may be inferred from the fact, that on the question of approving the conduct of the administration towards France, in debating the answer to the president's opening speech, there were fifty-two in favour, and forty-eight against it.
Congress had been convened by the new president on the 15th of May.
The circumstances which induced this extraordinary session, as detailed in the opening speech to the two houses of Congress, were: That on the arrival of Mr. Pinckney at Paris, aster the first formalities of receiving him were over, the French government informed Mr. Monroe, the recalled American minister, that no other minister would be received from the United States, until the grievances of the French republic were redressed. That on Mr. Pinckney's applying to be informed whether it was the intention of the government that he should withdraw from the French territories, he received a verbal answer that it was: and that he afterwards received a written order to that effect, with which he had complied. That during his residence in Paris, he was threatened to be subjected to the jurisdiction of the police; and that the language held to Mr.
Monroe on his audience of leave, contained sentiments still more offensive to the national dignity and rights. The president added that, feeling an anxious desire to preserve peace, and believing that the bonour of the nation did not forbid further advances for its maintenance, he should make another attempt at negotiation.
On the policy of this course the cabinet were divided: Mr. Pickering and one of his colleagues thinking that national selfrespect forbade another mission to France, after the marked contumely manifested to this country through Mr. Pinckney.
Mr. Jefferson, in speaking of the vote on the answer to the president's message, says, “It is believed, however, that when they come to propose measures leading directly to war, they will lose some of their numbers. Those who have no wish but for the peace of their country, and its independence of all foreign influence, have a hard struggle indeed, overwhelmed by a cry as loud and imposing as if it were true, of being under French influence; and this raised by a faction composed of English subjects residing among us, or such as are English in all their relations and sentiments. However, patience will bring all to rights, and we shall both live to see the mask taken from their faces, and our citizens sensible on which side true liberty and independence are sought.”
Mr. Madison had now withrawn himself from Congress. In the House of Representatives parties were nearly balanced, but the administration had a majority of three or four votes. In the Senate it had eighteen votes to ten.
The opinions which Mr. Jefferson had formed of the views of the administration, as well as of the present state of parties, are fully developed in a letter which he wrote to Colonel Burr on the 17th of June. This gentleman had received thirty votes for the office of vice-president, and was regarded as (next to Governor Clinton,) the leader of the republican party in New York. Mr. Jefferson imputes the strong majority in the Senate to the divisions made by the British treaty; remarking that “common error, common censure, and common efforts of defence bad formed the treaty majority into a common band, which