Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

character was the following story, which most of his acquaintance, in the last years of his life, must have heard him tell more than once. While he was vice-president, and when Dr. Rush's eloquence had given such a currency to the practice of blood-letting, he stopt at a house of entertainment, where he learnt from the landlady that she had just returned from the funeral of a youth of great promise. After descanting on his virtues and the universal regret his death had produced, she added, “but we have the consolation to know that every thing was done for him that could have been-he was bled six-and-twenty times.”

In the increased party heat at Richmond, occasioned by Burr's trial, it was rumoured that the collector, Major Gibbon, who had entertained some of his associates, was to be removed. Mr. Jefferson's old friend, John Page, who, at the expiration of his office of governor, had accepted the office of commissioner of loans, and then resided in Richmond, addressed Mr. Jefferson a letter on the subject of Major Gib

In his answer, the president states the principles on which he had acted in making appointments and removals : That he had never removed a man merely because he was a federalist : had never wished them to give a vote at an election but according to their own wishes. But if they employed the patronage and influence of their offices against the government and its measures, he had then removed them.

On the 20th of the same month, in speaking to William Duane, the editor of the Aurora, of the probability of war with Great Britain, he thus takes occasion to make a very favourable mention of the Emperor Alexander :-“A more virtuous man, I believe, does not exist, nor one who is more

bon. *

* It was of this gentleman, when some application had been made for his removal, that Mr. Jefferson, setting off his gallantry at Stony Point against his political heresies, remarked, that so far from removing him from office, he would " divide his last hoecake with him."

enthusiastically devoted to better the condition of mankind. He will, probably, one day fall a victim to it, as a monarch of that principle does not suit a Russian noblesse. He has taken a peculiar affection to this country and its government, of which he has given me public, as well as personal proofs. Our nation being like his, habitually neutral, our interests as to neutral rights, and our sentiments agree. And whenever conferences for peace shall take place, we are assured of a friend in him.” He adds, “ I have gone into this subject, , because I am confident that Russia (while her present monarch lives) is the most cordially friendly to us of any power on earth, will go furthest to serve us, and is most worthy of conciliation.”

This opinion of the late emperor, in accordance with that of his contemporaries, has, it is believed, received the confirming verdict of posterity.

271

CHAPTER XI.

The President's Message to Congress. The attack on the Chesapeake,

and measures of the administration. Proceedings of Congress. The President sends a confidential Message to Congress, and recommends an embargo-adopted by Congress. Communicates proceedings in Burr's trial. John Smith, Senator from Ohio. Correspondence between Mr. Monroe and Mr. Canning on the affair of the Chesapeake. Arrival of Mr. Rose from England. Correspondence between him and the Secretary of State. Party views. British orders in council. Milau Decree. Mr. Madison and Mr. Monroe rival candidates for the presidency. Mr. Jefferson's course. His correspondence with Mr. Monroe. British orders in Council and French Decrees. Report of Committee of Congress. Effects of the Embargo. Its policy considered. Policy of the administration.

1807-1808.

The tenth Congress assembled on the 25th of October, 1807, and on the following day the President sent to both Houses his opening message. He began by adverting to the reasons which had occasioned this early summons of the legislature. He speaks of the injuries which had led to the extraordinary mission to London, and briefly notices the treaty the ministers had been induced to make against their instructions, and the general character of the objections to it, which had induced his prompt rejection of it. That the ministers had been therefore instructed to renew their negotiations, and whilst we were awaiting the result, the frigate Chesapeake was attacked by an order from a British admiral. He then mentions the measures taken by the government.

He said that these aggressions of the British continued, by their ships remaining within our waters, by habitual

1

violations of its jurisdiction, and by putting to ideath one
of the four; men taken from the Chesapeake.:1 That they
had moreover interdicted all trade by neutrals between ports
not in amity with them, by which, as they are at war with
nearly every nation on the Atlantic and Mediterranean,
our vessels were compelled either to sacrifice their cargoes
at the first port, or return home without a market. Our
differences with Spain were still unsettled. To former
causes of complaint was then added a decree similar to that
of France, of Nov. 21, 1806. With all other powers our e
relations were pacific, though with some of the Indian
nations of the north-west, fermentations were observed soon
after the attack on the Chesapeake. The money appro-
priated for fortifications had been expended on New York,
the Chesapeake, and New Orleans. The gunboats had
been chiefly assigned to the same places, and he suggests
that the seamen of the United States should be formed into
a special militia for manning the gunboats. He also in-
forms them that as soon as peace was endangered, he had
deemed it prudent to provide military stores, without waiting -
for the previous sanction of law, which course he trusted
they would approve: that he had called on the states for
quotas of militia to be in readiness for present defence, and
volunteers had offered themselves with alacrity. He men-
tions the measures taken to defeat Burr's enterprise, and
their success : and adds, that he should lay before them the
proceedings of the court which tried the principal offenders, i
that they might be “ enabled to judge whether the defect
was in the testimony, the law, or in the administration of the
law, and apply or originate the remedy."

The receipts into the treasury for the preceding year had amounted to: 16,000,000 dollars, which, with the money previously in the treasury, had been sufficient, after paying the expenses of the government, to discharge more than

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

4,000,000 of the debt, being all which was then redeemable, and left in the treasury 8,500,000 dollars, a part of which he suggests might be applied to the purposes of national defence.

In the House that part of the message which related to aggressions by foreign armed vessels within our ports and waters, and to measures necessary for defence, was referred to a committee, who, on the 17th of November, made their report, in which, after detailing the circumstances of the attack of the Leopard on the Chesapeake frigate, and the result, say, that until the answer to the demand that had been made for reparation was received, and it was seen whether the outrage received the sanction of the British government or not, they decline recommending the course proper to be pursued. But, in the mean time, as there had been repeated aggressions before and since, within our waters, by capturing vessels, impressing scamen, and denouncing threats against the inhabitants, they think it expedient to provide more effectnally for the protection of the ports and harbours; and they formally declare the attack on the Chesapeake, and the subsequent continuance of the British squadron in the waters of the United States, after the President's proclamation, to be flagrant violations of their jurisdiction.

On the 18th of December, the President, in a confidential message, transmitted to both Houses a proclamation of the king of Great Britain, dated the 16th of October, 1807, in which all “ British scamen in foreign service, whether on board of public or merchant ships, are required to return home, and all commanders of ships of war are commanded to stop all such persons who shall be so employed on any foreign merchant ship, but to commit no unnecessary violence to the vessel or rest of the crew : and to demand of foreign public ships any British subjects serving on board,

т

VOL. II.

« ПредишнаНапред »