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ment either cannot, or will not, procure its citizens justice. For ourselves, we believe that it both can and will, and we have no doubt the course it is pursuing will ultimately succeed. The French ministry have professed a willingness to examine the claim, and to settle an account with this country. They have indeed endeavored to clog the subject, by connecting it with absurd pretensions to privileges at New Orleans. But they have not shut their ears totally against it; it must, it will be recovered. But for the renunciation by the Convention of 1801, the claims in question would have formed a part of the general claim against France ; for no one will say, that the present government of the country is not bound as much to make compensation for one, as for the other. The claim is against France; and France is as much accountable for the acts of her rulers from 1793 to 1800, as from 1805 to 1814.

Again, the claim was valuable, considered as a part of one large claim, a portion of which was actually, in two years, provided for. Up to 1800, no discrimination had been drawn between the different grounds, on which our citizens laid claim to indemnity. The merchant, whose property had been seized under an illegal decree of the National Convention, of the Directory, or of the special agents for the Windward Isles, was considered to have as good a claim on France, and to the aid of his own government in enforcing it, as the citizen whose vessel had been embargoed at Bordeaux, or who had made a contract with the French government for supplies, for which payment was withheld. The only difference in the cases was one strongly in favor of the former claim. The American citizen, who voluntarily makes a contract with a foreign government, has no claim on his own to go to war to protect him. But the citizen, who, lawfully pursuing his cornmerce on the high seas, is, in violation of the faith of treaties, and of the law of nations, arrested by the cruisers of a foreign power, acting under decrees as offensive to our national honor, as they are oppressive to private rights, is entitled to the national protection ; his claim is strongest, by all the obligation which the government of the country has, to vindicate its honor and the inviolability of its flag. Accordingly, Messrs Pinckney, Marshall, and Gerry, after recapitulating the claims of a private nature, pass to those for


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spoliations, as of far greater importance. And yet by the Convention of 1800, the claims for spoliations were renounced, and the private claims reserved ; and, by the Louisiana Convention, provision was made for the payment of the latter. Now, could not the claimants for spoliations reasopabiy insist, that while the private claims were so valuable, the public ones, those for whose payment the honor of our government was concerned as much as that of France, should never be abandoned, nor sacrificed without an equivalent ? Was it not reasonable, that if France had been brought to pay one part, she would sooner or later pay the other? And do we ascribe a becoming language to our government, when we represent it as saying to the claimants for spoliations,

We have insisted, that the private debts of the French Government to our citizens shall be paid, but for the losses sustained under decrees affecting our national rights and sovereignty, we can and will do nothing for you.'

Again, let us consider the case of the Spanish claims. Who, in 1800, would have thought of preferring the Spanish claim to the French ? Supposing their foundation in justice to be equally good, which no one will controvert, who would not have sooner expected justice from France than Spain; or rather, considering the relations of the two countries with each other, who would have expected any better result than that, whenever France should pay us, Spain would imitate the example ? But yet, in the course of events, the Spanish claim has proved good ; our government kept a protecting hand upon it, and in the end has succeeded in negotiating a treaty, by which it secured not only an ample indemnity to the claimants, but a great national object, second only in importance to the acquisition of Louisiana. With what reason then can it be urged, that a claim on France was worthless, when one on Spain has been liquidated almost at par?

It will be replied, perhaps, that the claim on Spain was always good, because there were vast Spanish possessions on our southern and south-western boundary; all Florida and Louisiana ; out of which we might, in the last resort, take our indemnity, if we could get it in no other way; while France had no possession on which we could lay our hand. This, however, is arguing only from the position of things at the moment, without taking into view the astonishing mutability of human affairs. It needs not be said, that to the eye of the statesman, no important political step would ever be contemplated, on the assumption that France had no territory in our vicinity. The monuments of French power and enterprise which encircle us, as with a belt, from Nova Scotia to New Orleans, would present themselves to his mind, and warn him that what had been might again be ; while the shifting spectacle of every part of the world would confirm the truth, that nothing is more familiar in the political system, than a change of sovereignty in colonial possessions. How, in fact, can a suggestion now be plausibly made, that this claim was worthless, because France had no adjacent territories, which we could appropriate to ourselves, when it is considered that the very day after the Convention of 1800 was signed, France actually became possessed of territory on the American continent, more than equal to the whole of the United States, and that she was ready to cede this territory, and did cede it, on favorable conditions to us ? No one can believe, that if the claim for spoliations had not been renounced, it would not, as well as the claim for private debts on France, bave been compromised at the time of the Louisiana purchase. And it is equally apparent, that this immense, and, to the United States, all important territory, would have been abundantly valuable enough to furnish the means of the compromise.

Farther, that it can with no justice be said the claim was worthless, may be argued from the estimation in which it was held by our government, and by the French Government. Our government instructed its ministers not to renounce it; and these ministers estimated it at fifteen millions. The French offset this claim against all their claims on this country. It is necessary only to cast an eye over the correspondence of the French ministers to this country, to see that they regarded their claims as very important, and yet they offset them against the claim of our citizens for spoliations. We have already said, that our ministers were instructed to propose to France a subsidy of two hundred thousand dollars, in acquittal of one part of the obligations, which the treaty of alliance of 1778 imposed upon us. It is a fact, that may assist us to estimate the value of the claim, that the two governments agreed to offset it against all the French claims

on us, one single article of which, viz. the fulfilment of a part of the stipulations of the treaty of alliance, was estimated by our government, as worth a subsidy of two hundred thousand dollars per annum. This being the estimate of the paying party, it may well be supposed that France, the receiving party, would have estimated it much higher.

The truth is, if it ve allowed that the claims mutually offsetting each other were of equal value, the claim of our citizens, so far from being worthless, was of immense importance. It would have been impossible to negotiate a Convention with France, on the basis of the old treaty.

So much was the state of the world changed since 1778, that the old treaty could not have been enforced strictly, without dragging us into a war with England; nor could that treaty have been left in the situation in which it was placed by the acts of Congress of 1798, without bringing on a real war with Napoleon. A war with Napoleon, at ihat time, would have been, in human probability, most injurious to this country. It would have yoked us in a disastrous alliance with England, would have prevented our acquisition of Louisiana, and probably thrown it into the possession of the British. Now, there seems no possible way in wbich the claims of the French, to the permanent enjoyment of the advantages of the treaty of 1778, could have been compromised, but by this pecuniary arrangement. The French agreed to accept a renunciation of a claim on them, estimated at fifteen millions. Our government, wisely as we think, chose to purchase at this rate a fair and honorable settlement of our difficulties with France, with which country, in consequence of the antigallican spirit of a part of our own rulers, and the violence and injustice of those of France, our relations had become in the highest degree embarassed. How then can it be said, that the claim, whose renunciation was the basis of so happy a compromise, was of no value? It was of all the value, that peace with France was to the country. It

may be intimated, that our government would not have renounced it, had it been a valuable claim ; to which we reply, that, however valuable, they would be still authorised to renounce it for an equivalent; which we have just shown they obtained. Moreover, we all know, not only that the government of our country esteemed the claim valuable, but the value they placed upon it is known from the instructions to our envoys. It is true, it may justly be argued, that, if the claims were valuable, the government would not have renounced it, without designing to make compensation to the claimants. We may add, they could not constitutionally renounce it, without such intention ; for in one of the amendments to the Constitution, which form the conditions, on which a large portion of the people of these United States accepted that instrument, it is provided, that private property shall not be taken for public use, without compensation.'

It is our firm belief, that the government of our country intended to make compensation. Motions to that effect were very early brought into Congress; they were supported by as large a number of its members, as could have been expected before the question had been agitated, and the claims urged. Meantime the Louisiana treaty came on, and there is much reason to think, that it was the intention of Mr Jefferson, to make the acquisition of that region the means of indemnifying our citizens, whose property had been renounced. No provision to this effect could have been introduced into the Louisiana Convention, because, as between France and us, the claim had ceased to exist. But Chancellor Livingston, who negotiated the purchase of Louisiana, expressly writes to our commissioners under it, Messrs Mic Clure, Mercer, and Barnet, that such part of the private claims on France, as the twenty millions of francs appropriated should fail to cover, must be paid by the United States. In like manner, we have no doubt, our government expected, that recompense should be made by the nation to those claimants for spoliations, whose just demands on the French Government had been renounced for the public service.

The low price at which Louisiana was bought, would have well enabled our government to raise a fund out of it for such a purpose.

The purchase money was but seven and a half cents an acre, estimating the quantity of land acquired at two hundred million acres, which is a low estimate, and the price of the land at fifteen millions of dollars.

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