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Were there a pressing necessity for so violent a step, that country, by stripping her merchantmen for a time, would bring upon the ocean a fleet superior to any that has ever appeared under one command. But Great Britain has not yet been compelled to adopt this ruinous expedient ; she has not materially impaired her commerce by impressing seamen ; she has not entrenched upon the capital stock of her husbandmen and inanufacturers. Her debt has indeed been augmented; but still immense sums of money are offered, and the only question with government is, whose money shall be received on loan; for the competitors are numerous. Such is the monied capital of that country, and such the resources, that Great Britain will, probably, be able to carry on the war longer than any other power. .
Nor is the idea of an approaching revolution well founded. Ireland may perhaps give trouble; but the government of England has seldom ever been supported by a more numerous and powerful majority of the people. The private associations in England and Scotland, gave some uneasiness for a time : but the moment government called for a suspension of the habeas corpus act, it was granted, and the executive dissipated all private societies, with their plans of revolution. The ease with which this whole business was conducted, certainly does not mark either fear or weakness in the administration of the government of Great Britain.
Where then is the ground for supposing that Great Britain is in a distressed state of humiliation, compelling her to make sacrifices to the United States ?
On the contrary, Great Britain, at this moment, maintains as commanding an attitude among the powers of the earth, as at any former period. All the hopes of Americans, founded on an opinion of the depressed state of that nation, are wholly delusory. Nor can we expect any thing from the generosity or good will of the British or any other nation. National generosity is a mere phantom of the imagination. It is to the interest, or at most, to the justice of a nation, we must address ourselves ; and no nation will make concessions beyond what these require. We are not in a situation to command
fo. reign nation to enforce our claims, or to compel the exercise of justice.
If our sanguine enthusiasts are mistaken totally as to the present power of Great Britain, they are equally so as to the force and effect of sequestration. The injustice of attacking private debts for national wrongs, is gene. rally admitted ; but many people contend, that it may be necessary at times to resort to this measure, as the only effectual weapon in our power, to terrify Great Britain, a perfidious nation, into a sense of justice.
It is surprising how such reasoners mistake the real and certain effects of such a step. Any man who will give himself time to reflect on the pride of nations, and especially of the English nation, must be convinced, that the use of this weapon, instead of inducing concessions on the part of Great Britain, would excite every hostile feeling, not only in the government, but in the very creditors whose debts-should be sequestered. Such a violation of all good faith, such an attack upon commercial confidence, as the sequestration of private debts, to avenge national injuries, would put it out of our power to accommodate differences but by the sword. It would provoke a war of double fury; and the very man whose debts should be detained, would be the first to encourage and the last to abandon the contest.
All the high raised expectations of our citizens of ob. taining from Great Britain, in her present state, humiliating concessions, which her pride would forbid to yield in time of peace, are supported by no one circumstance of rational probability. People who dwell on such prospects of success, are grossly deceived, both as to facts, and as to the character of the English nation.
But Judge Rutledge, of South Carolina, has, on this subject, uttered the silliest expressions that ever fell from human lips. « England,” says he, “is hoping for peace on whatever terms France may give it : she is reduced to the last gasp, and were America to seize her by the throat, she would expire in agonies at her feet.”
A man must be little less than insane, to utter such ab. surd ideas, especially at a moment when Great Britair possesses more actual resources, the sinews of war,
than all the other powers at war, even France included. And no man but an insolvent debtor, who hates his creditor, because he has injured him, would wish to see a great
agricultnral, manufacturing, and commercial nation, expiring in agonies. Whatever be the injuries Great Bri. tain has done this country, it is not for the interest of mankind that she should be blotted out of existence. In no country on earth do the American merchants find more good faith, fair dealing, and convenient credit, than among
British merchants--no creditors are more indulgent to debtors than the British-and no country on earth finds extensive credit more useful than the United States.
Whatever be the resentments of our citizens towards Great Britain, they may rest assured of one fact, and it is of no small moment to some of the United States, that the treatment Americans will receive from that country, will be more friendly, when the conduct of American debtors is more just.
Another objection, to the treaty, or to any treaty with Great Britain, is, that it begets an unnatural alliance between a monarchy and a republic. This is clearly the most trifling objection ever offered, and is beneath a serious answer : and those who make it ought to blush at their inconsistency, especially as these very men are rejoicing in the late treaty between France and the monarch of Prussia, and earnestly expecting every day, to hear of a treaty between France and Spain.
On the whole, let me ask my fellow-citizens, what sacrifices we may make by the treaty ?
We have old inveterate disputes with Great Britain, which must be terminated. War or accommodation are the alternatives. If we wish a war, we waste the blood and treasure of America, without an object : for at the close of the war, the old disputes will remain, and new ones be originated. Instead of bettering our condition, we render it infinitely worse by hostilities.
Is it not wise therefore, to compromise the differences ? And though considerable time and expense, perhaps some sacrifices of just claims, should be incurred on our part, yet, between these evils, and the continuance of inveterate enmity and hostile views, on which side does the balance lie ? Every reflecting man must say, on the side of accommodation and peace.
The commercial part of the treaty is of a temporary nature ; and even if some sacrifices were to be made, these will not come in competition with the other great and important objects of the treaty. But it is not true that any material sacrifice is made in the commercial part of this compact. We do not cede one material privilege which Great Britain does not enjoy by the laws of nations, or the laws of the United States. I am bold in the assertion, and call on my opposers to name the part in which such sacrifice is made.
On the other hand some material concessions on the part of Great Britain, are made to the United States by
It is said, Great Britain may enter with her ships into all the ports of the United States--True; but she enjoys that privilege without this treaty. She gains nothing in this respect, except that she changes a precarious privilege for a right; just as we do, in the trade to the British European dominions.
It is said we bind ourselves not to increase the duties on British tonnage and goods imported in her ships, be. yond what we lay on those of other nations True ; we agree on this head, to Great Britain as well as the most favoured nation. If this is a concession on our part,
it cannot be a material sacrifice, for we have an equivalent in this, that Great Britain stipulates the same thing to the United States.
It is said, we cede to Great Britain the right of increasing duties on our tonnage to equal our present duties on hers, and on goods imported in British bottoms. Nothing can be more puerile than such an allegation. this respect we cede nothing.--Great Britain had that right before the treaty; and her right is precisely the same as before.
It has been said, we cede to Great Britain the right of seizing our vessels, and taking the enemies property ; and that we have made naval stores and provisions, contraband by treaty.
These charges have been proyed not true. Great Britain enjoys these rights by the laws of nations, indepen. dent of all treaties,
We have, therefore, made very few sacrifices in this part of the treaty : but we have gained something. We have obtained a permanence of trade with Great Britain.
We have gained a free trade to Canada, and the British West Indies, without any considerable concessions, and what is more, we have preserved the BLESSINGS OF
Why, then, my fellow-citizens, will you not leave the management of this treaty where the constitution has placed it? What ground have you to suppose, that the president, our late envoy, and the majority of the senate, have, in a moment, and on this single occasion, deserted the interest of your country? What reason have you to believe, that old, tried patriots have renounced the uniform principles of their lives, and turned apostates ? Is there a shadow of reason to believe, that men grown gray in the service of their country, whose patriotism and virtue were never suspected, have now, in the evening of life, and at the close of all their active public scenes, commenced traitors? You cannot believe insinuations of this kind. The suggestion of British gold and undue influence, is the work of dark malicious hearts, detested by all good men, and discredited by the very children in the streets.
No, my countrymen, you have been deceived. Your passions have been taken by surprise ; you have been precipitated into rash opinions, and violent measures, by a set of men who are the foes of our present free and happy government, and its administration. You inay be assured, there is a confederation of characters, from NewHampshire to Georgia, arrayed in opposition, either to the constitution of the United States, to its administration, or to particular men in office. The opposition of the principal men in this confederacy, can be traced to some known causes, originally of a personal nature. Disappointment in application for some office, or the failure of some favourite scheme in their political system, has converted many of the friends of our late revolution, into determined opposers of the general system of the present administration. These men will never be contented till they can displace the present officers of government, and introduce themselves, their friends, and their measures, into our councils. You may rest assured, that most of the ferment raised against the treaty, originated with men of this description.