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in the enjoyment of their liberty, property, and the exercise of the religion they profess."
As from your former condition, you cannot be much acquainted with diplomatic policy, and I am convinced that even the gentleman who drew up the memorial is not, I will explain to you the grounds of this article. It may prevent your running into further errors.
The territory of Louisiana had been so often ceded to different European powers, that it became a necessary article on the part of France, and for the security of Spain, the ally of France, and which accorded perfectly with our own principles and intentions, that it should be ceded no more; and this article, stipulating for the incorporation of Louisiana into the union of the United States stands as a bar against all future session, and at the same time, as well as "in the mean time" secures to you a civil and political permanency, personal security and liberty which you never enjoyed before.
France and Spain might suspect, (and the suspicion would not have been ill-founded had the cession been treated for in the administration of John Adams, or when Washington was president, and Alexander Hamilton president over him) that we bought Louisiana for the British Government, or with a view of selling it to her; and though such suspicion had no just ground to stand upon with respect to our present President, Thomas Jefferson, who is not only not a man of intrigue, but who possesses that honest pride of principle that cannot be intrigued with, and which keep intriguers at a distance, the article was nevertheless necessary as a precaution against future contingencies. But you, from not knowing the political ground of the article, apply to yourselves personally and exclusively what had reference to the territory to prevent its falling into the hands of any foreign power that might endanger the Spanish dominion in America, or those of the French in the West India Islands.
You claim, (you say,) to be incorporated into the union of the United States, and your remonstrances on this subject are unjust and without cause.
You are already incorporated into it as fully and effectually as the Americans themselves are, who are settled in Louisiana. You enjoy the same rights, privileges, advantages and immunities which they enjoy, and when Louisiana, or some part of it, shall be erected into a Constitutional State, you also will be citizens equally with them.
You xpenk in your memorial, as if you were the only people who were to live in Louisiana, and as if the territory was purchased that you exclusively might govern it. In both these cases you are greatly mistaken. The emigrations from the United States into the purchased territory, and the population arising therefrom, will, in a few years, exceed you in numbers. It is but twenty-six years since Kentucky began to be settled, and it already contains more than double your population.
In a candid view of the case, you ask for what would be injurious to yourselves to receive, and unjust in us to grant. Injurious, because the settlement of Louisiana will go on much faster under the government and guardianship of Congress, than if the government of it were committed to your hands ; and consequently, the landed property you possessed as individuals when the treaty was concluded, or have purchased since, will increase so much faster in value.— Unjust to ourselves, because as the reimbursement of the purchase money must come out of the sale of the lands to new settlers, the government of it cannot suddenly go out of the hands of Congress. They are guardians of that property for all the people of the United States. And besides this, as the new settlers will be chiefly from the United States, it would be unjust and ill policy to put them and their property under the jurisdiction of a people whose freedom they had contributed to purchase. You ought also to recollect that the French Revolution has not exhibited to the world that grand display of principles and rights that would induce settlers from other countries to put themselves under a French jurisdictiction in Louisiana. Beware of intriguers who may push you on from private motives of their own.
You complain of two cases, one of which you have no right, no concern with; and the other is founded in direct injustice.
You complain that Congress has passed a law to divide the country into two territories. It is not improper to inform you, that after the revolutionary war ended, Congress divided the territory acquired by that war into ten territories; each of which were to be erected into a Constitutional State, when it arrived at a certain population mentioned in the act; and, in the mean time, an officer appointed by the President, as the Governor of Louisiana now is, presided, as Governor of the Western Territory, over all such parts as have not arrived at the maturity of statehood. Louisiana will require to be divided into twelve states or more; but this is a matter that belongs to the purchaser of the territory of Louisiana, and with which the inhabitants of the town of New Orleans have no right to interfere; and beside this, it is probable that the inhabitants of the other territory would choose to be independent of New Orleans. They might apprehend, that on some speculating pretence, their produce might be put in requisition, and a maximum price put on it; a thing not uncommon in a French Government; as a general rule, without refining upon sentiment, one may put confidence in the justice of those who have no inducement to do us injustice; and this is the case Congress stands in with respect to both territories, and to all other divisions that may be laid out, and to all inhabitants and settlers of whatever nation they may be.
There can be no such thing as what the memorial speaks of, that is, of a Governor appointed by the President, who may have no interest in the welfare of Louisiana, lie must, from the nature of the case, have more interest in it than any other person can have. He is entrusted with the care of an extensive tract of country, now the property of the United States by purchase. The value of those lands will depend on the increasing prosperity of Louisiana, its agriculture, commerce, and population. You have only a local and partial interest in the town of New Orleans, or its vicinity ; and if, in consequence of exploring the country, new seats of commerce should offer, his general interest would lead bim to open them, and your partial interest to shut them up.
There is probably some justice in your remark, as it applies to the Governments under which you formerly lived. Such Governments always look with jealousy, and an apprehension of revolt, on colonies increasing in prosperity and population, and they send Governors to keep them down. But when you argue from the conduct of Governments distant and despotic, to that of domestic and free Government, it shews you do not understand the principles and interest of a Republic, and to put you right is friendship; we have had experience and you have not.
The other case to which I alluded, as being founded in direct injustice, is that in which you petition for power, under the name of rights, to import and enslave Africans!
Dare you put up a petition to Heaven for such a power, without fearing to be struck from the earth by its justice?
Why, then, do you ask it of man against man? Do you want to renew in Louisiana the horrors of Domingo?
Sept. 22, 1804.
TO A FRIEND.
Esteemed Friend, New Rochelle, Jan. 16, 1805.
I Have received two letters from you, one giving an account of your taking Thomas to Mr. Fowler, the other dated Jan. 12; I did not answer the first, because I hoped to see you the next Saturday or the Saturday after. What you heard of a gun being fired into the room is true; Robert and Rachel were both gone out to keep Christmas Eve, and about eight o'clock at night the gun was fired; I run immediately out, one of Mr. Dean's boys with me, but the person that had done it was gone; I directly suspected who it was, and hallooed to him by name, that he was discovered. I did this that the party who fired might know I was on the watch. I cannot find any ball, but whatever the gun was charged with passed through about three or four inches below the window, making a hole large enough for a finger to go through; the muzzle must have been very near, as the place is black with the powder, and the glass of the window is shattered to pieces. Mr. Shule after examining the place, and getting what information could be had, issued a warrant to take up Derrick, and after examination committed him. He is now on bail (five hundred dollars) to take his trial at the Supreme Court in May next. Derrick owes me forty-eight dollars for which I have his note, and he was to work it out in making stone-fence which he has not even begun, and besides this I have to pay forty-two pounds eleven shillings for which I had passed my word for him at Mr. Pelton's store. Derrick borrowed the gun under pretence of giving Mrs. Bayeaux a Christmas gun. He was with Purdy about two hours before the attack on the house was made, and he came from thence to Dean's half drunk, and brought with him a bottle of rum, and Purdy was with him when he was taken up.
Yours, in friendship,
TO THE CITIZENS OF PENNSYLVANIA, ON THE PROPOSAL FOR CALLING A CONVENTION.
As I resided in the capital of your State (Philadelphia) in the time that tried men's souls, and all my political writings, during the revolutionary war, were written in that city, it seems natural for me to look back to the place of my political and literary birth, and feel an interest for its happiness. Removed as I now am from the place, and detached from every thing of personal party, I address this token to you on the ground of principle, and in remembrance of former times and friendships.
The subject now before you is the call of a Convention, to examine, and if necessary, to reform the Constitution of the State; or to speak in the correct language of constitutional order, to propose written articles of reform to be accepted or rejected by the people, by vote, in the room of those now existing, that shall be judged improper or defective. There cannot be, on the ground of reason, any objection to this; because if no reform or alteration is necessary, the sense of the country will permit none to be made; and, ifnecessary, it will be made because it ought to be made. Until, therefore, the sense of the country can be collected, and made known by a Convention elected for that purpose, all opposition to the call of a Convention, not only passes for nothing, but serves to create a suspicion that the opposers are conscious that the Constitution will not bear an examination.
The Constitution formed by the Convention of 1776, of which Benjamin Franklin (the greatest and most useful man America has yet produced) was President, had many good points in it, which were overthrown by the Convention of 1790, under the pretence of making the Constitution conformable to that of the United States; as if the forms and periods of election for a territory, extensive as that of the United States is, could become a rule for a single state.
The principal defect in the Constitution of 1776, was, that itwas subject, in practice, to too much precipitancy, but the ground work of that Constitution was good. The present Constitution appears to me to be clogged with inconsistencies of a hazardous tendency, as a supposed remedy against a precipitancy that might not happen. Investing any indivi