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bienséance (to use Dr. Franklin's expression,) but no harsher term could justly be applied to their conduct. France set the example of disregarding the spirit of concert and mutual aid and confidence, enjoined upon the two powers by the treaties of amity and alliance. France was secretly using her influence, at that time very powerful, in a manner injurious to America. The confederation, therefore, was no longer under any obligation to adhere to the conditions of the treaty of '78. Being opposed, nay deserted, by their ally on the first approaches of peace, the American commissioners considered themselves absolved from obeying the instruction that directed them to consult France. Indeed, the silence of the French minister in relation to this proceeding, affords ample justification for their conduct. The only notice of the dissatisfaction of his government, we have on record, is in the letter written to Franklin by M. de Vergennes. The minister rather intimates there that the commissioners had been guilty of an act of indecorum. The letter is severe and reproachful in its terms and allusions, but it does not treat the deviation as a very serious business, as in reality, it was not. The intercourse between the ministers was not interrupted. M. de Vergennes sent despatches by the vessel the commissioners had engaged to carry a copy of the provisional articles. The resident in America entered no protest touching the conduct of the commissioners, nor did he make any complaint whatever. The French court appeared to be satisfied with the explanations that were given. We may, therefore, infer from these circumstances, either that the government thought the deviation quite insignificant, or that there were sufficient reasons for it.* These remarks are made for the single pur

* When the definitive treaty was signed, the English commissioner refused to sign it at Versailles. It was therefore signed at Paris. M. de Vergennes desired the American commissioners to send him an express to Versailles when it was done, as he did not choose to sign on the part of France till he was sure the American treaty was conpleted.

pose of justifying the American commissioners. To France herself, America was under great obligations. That country had certainly afforded very material assistance, especially in the supply of arms, money and military stores. These articles. were furnished at an early period of the war, when they were indispensable, and could not have been obtained from other countries. In the course of '78, 79, 80, France loaned America, 8,000,000 on favourable terms. It is unreasonable and even ridiculous to enquire into the motives that induced her to make the alliance. It is sufficient to say that it was most fortunate for America that she could offer such inducements to France as ultimately to lead her into the measure.

This treaty was exceedingly favourable and honourable to America; and was negotiated by the commissioners with uncommon address. They took advantage very successfully of the ancient jealousy and enmity that existed between England and the house of Bourbon. Without entering into this fearful war for independence, America obtained an acknowledgment of it in the fullest manner, as well as a confirmation of the original boundaries of the colonies, and a recognition of her rights and privileges in the fisheries. She made a much more favourable treaty with Great Britain than either Spain or France. In England the treaty with America was exceedingly unpopular, and taken together with the concessions she was absolutely under the necessity of making at the same time to France and Spain, threw the ministry into a minority in the first debate in the House of Commons. The acknowledgment of the independence of this country would have cost any administration their places, but the time had come when the colonies must be sacrificed, together with the ministry that consented to the dismemberment. It was an act of self-devotion to the good of their country, and, one may truly say, of the world. On the part of Great Britain, it was a treaty to declare the independence of America. The other conditions concerning territory and the fisheries, though undoubtedly extorted, followed

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as necessary consequences. But time has proved that necessity acted on this occasion the part of good policy. America would have been uneasy under any terms that at all abridged the freedom and perfect independence of her situation. She had become a nation, and she properly and naturally required all those rights and privileges, which belong to that condition. Great Britain could not have held a hunting lodge, or exercised a single franchise within territory or jurisdiction, once strictly colonial, without awakening immediate jealousies or speedily interrupting the peace.

Before finishing the account of this treaty, it is only necessary to remark that the commissioners did not succeed in making any commercial arrangements. They thought it advisable to defer the consideration of that subject, though they had already secured one of the principal objects proposed in a commercial treaty. The English sought for delay in this business; they were not prepared for the new state of things; they had not determined on what conduct to pursue in regard to America; or they might have had hopes that the revolution was not thoroughly consolidated. Evidently, an expectation was entertained, that the confederacy would dissolve from weakness, and that some portion of the wreck would seek again the support and union of the mother country; a sentiment which was universal throughout Europe.



Confederation no power over Commerce-Commercial conventions with France, Holland, Prussia and Sweden-No trade-Trade to England only important one-Depended on an annual act of Parliament-Policy at variance with Europe-Mr. Adams chosen to St. James-First envoy-Well received-England refused to make a treaty-Account of violations of treaty of '83-Debts-InterestConfederacy dissolved-Hammond, first envoy to this countryMorris-Pinckney-Origin of oppressive acts by belligerentswar between France and England--Provisions contraband-Rules of neutrality--Danger of a war-Executive appoints Mr. Jay to London-Decides question of neutrality--Concludes a treaty-Unpopular-Eventually favourable to United States.

THE United States, at the close of the war of '83, had commercial treaties with France, Sweden and Holland, but no trade with either of those countries. The Congress of the confederation were not invested with the power to regulate commerce, or to levy imposts, and a proposition, made to the states, authorizing the government to assess a duty of 5 per cent. ad valorem on imports, had been rejected. The confederacy was adopted for the purpose of carrying on the war, and was, in reality, adapted to few other purposes. The excitements of the contest and the necessity of securing their independence, supported the people in their hardships. But

peace left them, if possible, with still greater hardships, and without a single circumstance of excitement. The external pressure, that alone had kept the states united, was removed; and at this juncture there appeared thirteen sovereign, independent governments, bound together nominally in one confederation, each entitled and equally qualified in its own capacity to assess taxes, to establish duties and rates of tonnage, and to open or forbid with each other or with foreign nations, every species of trade or intercourse. America, in a state of colonization, had been permitted to drive only a restricted commerce. The exports were limited to the parent country, and to the least valuable markets of Africa, of the south of Europe, and to the West Indies; though the articles termed in the navigation and subsequent acts, "enumerated commodities," were confined exclusively to Great Britain. The parallel of Cape Finisterre, the boundary of the trade to the north, entirely cut off France, Sweden, and Holland; countries with whom, as we have said, America had commercial conventions, but no habits of intercourse. The whole trade to Great Britain, her colonies and possessions, (altogether the only one of any value at that period,) rested upon the precarious tenure of an annual act of Parliament.

The course of trade, and of every description of communication with Europe, had formerly been that of a colony. And now become independent, the policy of America could in no way be made to follow in the same current with that of the nations, with whom she was brought immediately to act. Those countries were old and hardened in a system of exclusion and commercial proscription. They held colonies upon whom, according to the fashionable doctrines of the day, not yet entirely exploded, it was just and proper to impose restrictions for the purpose, to use the emphatic words of the preamble to the statute 15 Charles II. " of keeping them (the colonies) in a firmer dependence upon it (the mother country) and" rendering "them yet more beneficial and advantageous to it." On the other hand, the United States having no manufactures at home to protect, or foreign possessions, whose

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