« PrejšnjaNaprej »
ject? or what language will Spain hold? The United States have not entered into an engagement with France or England to hold in blockade certain parts of the coasts of Cuba, nor do we profess to make war upon Spain. A blockade has been declared by statute;-this is municipal ;-it applies to our territory, or to the decks of our vessels,not to the high seas or foreign navigation. It is not easy to understand into what tribunals such questions could be introduced, or under what plea the neutral, offending against the blockade, could be condemned.
It is however quite competent to the government to adopt a municipal regulation in regard to its own vessels, and to forbid a traffic in those seas where piracies were exercised. But the efforts of the navy in those quarters in 1823, and in succeeding years, have fully shown, that such a sacrifice of trade was not required, nor the adoption of such dangerous doctrines in regard to foreign nations. The provisions of the bill, to which we have referred, were rejected by a large majority. And those piracies, at the time subject of deep and universal complaint, have for several years been entirely suppressed.
In a decree of September 25, 1822, the principle of the laws of the Indies, in regard to a trade with the colonies, was again revived by Moralles. This is one of those nice questions, that partake of all the metaphysical artificial difficulties of the whole colonial system. Admitting it was a principle of the Spanish colonial laws, and that Spain possessed the full right to regulate her colonial matters in her own way, it is nevertheless true, that a prohibition to trade, was never, in modern times, rigorously enforced, while the mother country had undisputed possession of the colonies; but at the dates of the decrees of Morillo and Moralles the whole country was involved in a civil war, where both parties were entitled to equal rights;-in old Spain, itself, the Cortes were just on the eve of being expelled by French bayonets from the island of Leon, and the government was in the agony of another transition. Even after the farce of the Trocadero, where the veteran grenadiers of the old im
perial guard of France, were made to mount to the assault in the most picturesque and theatrical manner to add a paragraph to a bulletin, Mr. Nelson had the chagrin to witness in six months four different sets of Spanish ministers in power; and as many times in that short space, he was compelled to renew, ab urbe condita, his whole correspondence.
Both Mr. Forsyth and Mr. Nelson were instructed to endeavour to obtain from the Spanish government a right to land on the Spanish territory in pursuit of the pirates, a proceeding very necessary to the complete annihilation of their retreats and shelters. It was, also, very desirable to make an arrangement to have consuls admitted into the Spanish colonies, especially as the commerce between the Havana and the United States exceeded in value and amount that with all the Spanish dominions in Europe. Mr. Nelson was succeeded in 1825 by Alexander H. Everett of Massachusetts, as envoy and minister with the usual full powers. Since Mr. Everett's residence in that kingdom, its political affairs have been tolerably quiet, at least, no change has taken place in the government, nor are we aware that any fresh negotiations have been entered into on the part of the United States.*
The negotiations with Spain, considered as a whole system, exceed, in importance and magnitude, those with all other states, with the exception, perhaps, of the mother country. It is true, there is in the collection no single treaty, both as it regards the provisions it contains, and the circumstances, under which it was concluded, deserving of the consideration, or entitled to the interest of the treaty of alliance of 1778, with France. But with Spain have been conducted all those wearisome and protracted negotiations, respecting the navigation of the Mississippi, which, as a sin gle topic of discussion, has not been surpassed, either in magnitude or difficulty, by any other event in our civil history;-respecting the acquisition of the Floridas, and, as connected with the Mississippi, it may be truly said, that
* Spain is, at this time, represented in this country by the Chevalier Don Francisco Tacon, a minister resident.
from Spain was obtained the cession of Louisiana, though, for the direct transfer, we are indebted to France. Another circumstance, worthy of notice, is the fact that Spain is the only country, that has made full indemnities to our citizens for spoliations on their commerce during the war of the French Revolution. It is not important how much of this remuneration we owe to the justice or magnanimity of the Spanish government. Fortunately there was a large and rich tract of Spanish territory within the reach of our government, and as it has produced 5,000,000 of dollars for the benefit of her despoiled and aggrieved citizens, it is of slight moment, indeed, to enquire into the motives, that dictated the indemnity. A small portion of our claims on France have been paid in a similar way.
It is not probable, that much interest will, hereafter, attach itself to our diplomatic intercourse with Spain. That ancient and unhappy country, once so brilliant, so celebrated for chivalry, valour, magnanimity and all the great virtues, that adorn, enrich and strengthen a nation, seems almost thrust out of its own caste in Europe, and of its possessions in America, it now retains nothing but the islands of Porto Rico and Cuba, one alone, to be sure, that, in the hands of a thrifty Metropole, might well be termed the Sicily of modern days. A colony of the Holy Alliance with emperors for its prætors, Spain seems destined to answer little other purpose, than to be moulded by those royal and iron hands into such shapes and devices, as the fashion of legitimacy may prescribe.
CONVENTION OF NAVIGATION AND COMMERCE OF 1822 WITH FRANCE.
American and Ottoman Legations only asylums in Paris in 1814-Restoration of Bourbons led to slight suspension in intercourse-Crawford-De Neuville-France unwilling to make a Commercial Convention-Great advantages from state of Trade-French commerce once very extensive-Gallatin-State of Trade causes great uneasiness in United States-Convention-Throws freights into American vessels-Claim under 8th article of treaty of Louisiana—Extraordinary-Account of that business-First employed by France to delay Convention, then to resist Claims-Diplomacy simplified in modern times—Executive men now more important-Argument on the claim under the Louisiana treaty-Remains without settlement-Brown, Minister-Menou, Chargé.
WHEN the allies entered Paris in the spring of 1814, there were, in that splendid and populous capital, but two asylums into which, by the laws of war, their troops could not penetrate. One of these was the hotel, inhabited by the American minister, and the other, that of the Ottoman legation; the representatives of the extreme elements of free and despotic governments;—of a warlike Tartar race, "encamped" on the edge of civilized Europe, holding no sympathy with Christendom either in religion or letters, manners or customs; of all the nations which (to use a term of antiquity) are denominated barbarous, the only one, that has, habitually and for centuries, exchanged, with European courts, the forms and courtesies of diplomatic intercourse ;and of a people, planting in a savage country the best ingredients of society, there developing the principles of a government, never before either attempted or conceived, and, already, with a rapid progress, carrying back civilization to the
shores of the ocean which, in this hemisphere, separates them from its original seats. Such were the spectators of a scene, as extraordinary as any that has taken place, since Constantinople fell into the hands of Mohammed, the second of his name.
William H. Crawford, of Georgia, was, at that time, American minister in France. He arrived there in August of the preceding year, having succeeded Mr. Barlow in that mission; he remained till April 1815.
The overthrow of Napoleon Bonaparte led to a slight suspension in the intercourse of the two countries; but as soon as well founded assurances of the stability of the Bourbon government were received, the United States, without delay, took the necessary steps to renew their diplomatic relations. A minister plenipotentiary, M. Hyde de Neuville, was, also, received from France before October 1814.
Three subjects of negotiation, (one of them extending far back into the relations with France) have occupied the attention of this government since the restoration of the royal family, viz. the settlement of the terms of a commercial convention, a demand on the part of France, under the 8th article of the treaty, constituting the cession of Louisiana, and a protracted discussion of claims on the part of the United States since the first and second years of the French republic. The two topics of a demand under the treaty of Louisiana, and of American claims, having been forced, in the course of negotiation, into an unnecessary and unreasonable union, we shall, for the present, omit an examination of those subjects, and proceed to an account of the convention for the regulation of commerce, concluded April 1822, at Washington.
The French Government manifested an extreme unwillingness to enter into a commercial convention, that should permit a trade on both sides on equal terms. They feared, (and time has shown, that their apprehension was not a groundless one) a competition with our ships and capital. The American ministers in Paris, Messrs. Crawford and Gallatin, successively undertook this business, but they met