« ПредишнаНапред »
endeavouring to obtain the cession of New Orleans received a further impulse at this time, from the course pursued by the Spanish authorities in that town. On the 16th of October, Morales, the Spanish intendant of the province of Louisiana, issued a proclamation, in which he declared that the privilege formerly granted to the Americans under the treaty of 1795 for three years, and which had since been tolerated, of depositing their merchandise in New Orleans, was thenceforth interdicted. This measure produced great excitement throughout the west. On the 30th of November, the Governor of Kentucky transmitted information of these facts to the President of the United States, remarking that the citizens of that state were "very much alarmed and agitated; as this measure of the Spanish government would, if persisted in, at one blow cut up their present and future prosperity by the roots." On the 1st of December the legislature of Kentucky prepared a memorial to Congress stating this infraction of the treaty of San Lorenzo el Real, inasmuch as the intendant had not, according to that treaty, assigned to the United States "an equivalent on another part of the bank of the Mississippi." These interesting communications were, however, not received in time to be mentioned by the President in his opening message, which was sent to the House of Representatives on the 8th of December, and to the Senate on the 15th-several days having elapsed before that body had a quorum.
In this his second annual message, he mentions the continued pacific relations of the United States with the nations of Europe and the Indian tribes. He states that the late peace in Europe had diminished our carrying trade, and that the commercial regulations of some countries affected our commerce still more; and retaliatory measures were suggested, if negotiation should prove ineffectual. He mentions an act of the British parliament which proposed a mutual
abolition of discriminating duties, and which he recommends to Congress to meet in the same spirit. He briefly notices the cession of Louisiana to France, with the remark that "if carried into effect," it would "make an important change in our foreign relations." He informs Congress that a further naval force had been sent to the Mediterranean, lest the other Barbary states should take sides with Tripoli. He notices some treaties with Indian tribes since the ratification of the convention with Georgia; gives a favourable view of the public finances; the impost having been much more productive than in any former year-by means of which eight millions had been paid on account of the public debt, as well as one million on account of bank stock; besides leaving four millions and a half in the treasury. He thus encourages them to proceed in the course of economy they had begun : "When effects so salutary result from the plans you have already sanctioned; when, merely by avoiding false objects of expense, we are able, without a direct tax, without internal taxes, and without borrowing, to make large and effectual payments towards the discharge of our public debt, and the emancipation of our posterity from that mortal canker, it is an encouragement, fellow-citizens, of the highest order, to proceed as we have begun, in substituting economy for taxation, and in pursuing what is useful for a nation placed as we are, rather than what is practised by others, under different circumstances." He recommends a system of docks for preserving the public ships dry and sheltered from the sun. He concludes by a summary of their joint duties, among which he enumerates those of fostering the fisheries as nurseries of navigation, and the protection "of the manufactures adapted to our circumstances."
This message did not escape the animadversion of his adversaries, notwithstanding its moderation, and the favourable picture it presented of the national prosperity. They
assailed the scheme of laying up the navy ir. dry docks in every form of ridicule and argument, and they so far prevailed, that it seemed to be thought by the public, and even conceded by the silence of his friends, that the scheme was impracticable. Yet the subsequent adoption of what is substantially the same plan, in all the principal navy-yards, is now considered one of the greatest improvements in the management of our naval affairs, and has amply vindicated the wisdom of the recommendation. The federal party also took offence at the remarks made in the message on the prosperous state of the public finances, which were considered as a censure on the preceding administrations, to whom, they said, the merit was alone due, of providing that revenue which was now rapidly discharging the debt. But they over. looked the fact that it would have been inadequate to that object but for the reduction of the public expenditure, and of this measure the present administration were entitled to the exclusive praise. The minds of all were, however, soon engrossed by the closing of the port of New Orleans to American merchandise.
On the 17th of December the House of Representatives called on the President for information on the subject of the supposed violation on the part of Spain of the 22nd article of the treaty of 1795. And the fact above stated having been communicated to the House on the 5th of January, Mr. Griswold, of Connecticut, moved that the President lay before the House such official documents possessed by him as announced the cession of Louisiana to France, together with a report explaining the stipulations, circumstances and conditions under which that province was to be delivered up, with the usual reservation as to what the President should think it improper to communicate.
This resolution, being deemed by the republican party likely to embarrass the pending negotiation, and probably
it was so intended by its supporters, was opposed, and finally rejected. Mr. Griswold at the time offered other resolutions asserting the right of the people of the United States to the navigation of the Mississippi, its recent obstruction by Spain, and proposing an inquiry into the measures proper to be taken for the maintenance of the right. The majority refused to consider the resolutions, but afterwards agreed with closed doors to the following substitute. "Resolved, That this House receive with great sensibility the information of a disposition in certain officers of the Spanish government at New Orleans, to obstruct the navigation of the river Mississippi, as secured to the United States by the most solemn stipulations."
"That adhering to that humane and wise policy which ought ever to characterize a free people, and by which the United States have always professed to be governed; willing at the same time to ascribe this breach of compact to the unauthorized misconduct of certain individuals, rather than to want of good faith on the part of his Catholic majesty ; and relying with perfect confidence on the vigilance and wisdom of the executive, they will wait the issue of such measures as that department of the government shall have pursued for asserting the rights and vindicating the injuries of the United States; holding it to be their duty, at the same time, to express their unalterable determination to maintain the boundaries and the rights of navigation and commerce through the River Mississippi, as established by existing treaties."
Mr. Jefferson seemed to think that it was the object of the federal party in Congress to force the country into a war with Spain, "in order to derange our finances," and if that could not be done, "to attach the western country to them, as their best friends, and thus get again into power." With a view of carrying his pacific policy into effect he, on the 10th
of January, appointed Mr. Monroe minister plenipotentiary to France to act with Mr. Livingston, in the purchase of New Orleans and the Floridas, partly, because, as he said, the measures previously pursued by the administration, being invisible, did not satisfy the minds of the western people, then greatly excited, and consequently something sensible had become necessary; and partly, because the meditated purchase was liable to assume so many shapes that no instructions could be squared to fit them." He strongly urges on Mr. Monroe the acceptance of the appointment, "for," he says, "on the event of this mission depend the future destinies of this republic. If we cannot by a purchase of the country insure to ourselves a course of perpetual peace and friendship with all nations, then as war cannot be distant, it behoves us immediately to be preparing for that course, without however hastening it; and it may be neces sary (in your failure on the continent) to cross the channel. We shall get entangled in European politics, and figuring more, be much less happy and prosperous. This can only be prevented by a successful issue to your present mission."
He at the same time takes occasion to tell Mr. Monroe that, according to the system of economy the administration had prescribed to themselves, no outfit could be given him, it being allowed only to ministers resident; nor a frigate to carry him out. This piece of economy, it may be observed, has not been imitated, and considering the confessed inadequacy of the salaries to some of the foreign ministers, its discontinuance furnishes no great cause of complaint. He was the less inclined to grant extraordinary indulgence to Mr. Monroe, because the public, knowing his private friendship, would be less disposed to excuse a deviation from the general rule in his favour.
He had had a correspondence on the subject of the right of deposit at New Orleans, with Mons. Dupont, a French