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CHAPTER VII.

1808-1809.

The President at Home-Letters to his Grandson-Presidential Election, 1808–Our Rela tions with England-Mr. Canning and Mr. Pinkney-Their Diplomatic Correspondence, etc.-Canning's offensive Communication-Meeting of Congress-President's Message-Action of Congress on Embargo-Embargo sustained by a larger Majority than that by which it originally passed-The Enforcing Law-President's continued Avowels that Embargo was intended as a Temporary Measure-A Federal Quibble to find a Fulcrum for Sedition-Reception of Enforcing Law in Massachusetts-Resistance and Disunion called for in Newspapers and Town Meetings-Gore's Resolutions passed by Massachusetts Legislature, January, 1809-Awkward Posture in which they placed some of the Federal Leaders-Silence of our Government in regard to Canning's offensive Communication-That Communication published, through British agency, in Massachusetts-Effect produced on Public Mind and in Congress-Key's Speech-Bill for an Extra Session passes Congress-This a test question on the Administration PolicyThat Policy described by the President-Other Bills, and Federal Policy-Nicholas's Resolution-Quincy moves Resolutions preparatory to an Impeachment of the Presi dent-They receive one Vote-A new Republican Wing, and its Plan-It unites with the Opposition to vote down Nicholas's Resolution-Defeat of the AdministrationJefferson to his Son-in-law on the Subject-Administration Party rally-The Non-Intercourse Law passed-President's contemporaneous Explanation of premature Repeal of Embargo-His Contradictory Statements to Giles in 1825-Causes of his manifest Error in them in regard to J. Q. Adams, etc.-They fortunately do no Injustice to Mr. Adams-Mr. Adams's Remarks on them in National Intelligencer-His charges against Federalists of Disunion Projects in 1808-9 and previously-Jefferson's Real Attitude on Repeal of Embargo-The later Assailants of that Law-An English and French View of the subject-Testimony of Edinburg Review and the Emperor Napoleon-What Substitute did its Opponents propose?--Inconsistency of New England Maritime Federalists-Memorial of John Jacob Astor and others-Final success of the PolicyMr. Jefferson's Consistency while in Office-His Personal Feelings unchilled-His Relations with Subordinates, etc.-His Feelings on leaving Office-Addresses pour upon him-Address of Virginia General Assembly-His Reply-Declines the Ovation of his Neighbors His Answer to their Address.

THE President made his usual two visits to Monticello in the summer of 1808. His unpublished letters of this period to Mr. Eppes give some traces of his private life, but they disclose nothing of particular interest.'

1 Mr. F. W. Eppes was again married, but he maintained as much as before towards Mr. Jefferson, the attitude of an affectionate and affectionately cherished son-in-law.

CHAP. VII.]

FAMILY CORRESPONDENCE.

TO THOMAS JEFFERSON RANndolph.

271

WASHINGTON, October 24th, 1808.

DEAR JEFFERSON:

I inclose you a letter from Ellen, which, I presume, will inform you that all are well at Edgehill. I received yours without date of either time or place, but written, I presume, on your arrival at Philadelphia. As the commencement of your lectures is now approaching, and you will hear two lectures a day, I would recom mend to you to set out from the beginning with the rule to commit to writing every evening the substance of the lectures of the day. It will be attended with many advantages. It will oblige you to attend closely to what is delivered to recall it to your memory, to understand, and to digest it in the evening; it will fix it in your memory, and enable you to refresh it at any future time. It will be much better to you than even a better digest by another hand, because it will better recall to your mind the ideas which you originally entertained and meant to abridge. Then, if once a week, you will, in a letter to me, state a synopsis or summary view of the heads of the lectures of the preceding week, it will give me great satisfaction to attend to your progress, and it will further aid you by obliging you still more to generalize and to see analytically the fields of science over which you are travelling. I wish to hear of the commissions I gave you for Rigden, Voight, and Ronaldson, of the delivery of the letters I gave you to my friends there, and how you like your situation. This will give you matter for a long letter, which will give you as useful an exercise in writing as a pleasing one to me in reading. God bless you and prosper your pursuits.

TH. JEFFERSON.

A month later, was written to the same grandson, that beautiful letter of advice, given in both editions of Mr. Jefferson's Works, from which we have already extracted the author's recital of his own experiences and triumphs over temptation in early life.'

The Presidential election of 1808 was conducted with extreme heat, particularly in the eastern States. The Federal gains were important. The great chief whom the Republicans had so long centered upon-the leader who never had a rival in his own party-was no longer before the people for their suffrages. Three Republican candidates were in nomination, and though two of them, in the final result, ostensibly withdrew but a very few electoral votes from Mr. Madison, the division had weakened the moral as well as the numerical strength of the party. The sectional feelings and class interests, roused into action by the Embargo, swept back into the opposition, all

1 See vol. i., p. 22.

Monroe received no electoral votes, but he had a strong party in Virginia, and the genuine Quids were generally violently opposed to Madison.

the New England States but one, in which the Republicans had recently triumphed.

The following was the result of the electoral vote:

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To get a clear view of the attitude of parties in Congress and throughout the country during the eventful winter of 1808-9, it is necessary that we understand the history of our diplomatic negotiations with England down to that period. We have seen what was the effect of Mr. Canning's personal deportment and official communications on the mind of Mr. Pinkney early in the summer of 1808-that the latter believed reparation for the affair of the Chesapeake was about to be made to the United States, and that the other principal questions in dispute between the two countries were on the point of being amicably adjusted.

Mr. Canning's seeming friendly dispositions appear to have been assumed, not only to gain time, but to draw out our minister who was opening himself with the frankness of a confidence carried to the utmost limits of proper official reserve. The British minister had been all smiles and smoothness. What must have cost him far more, he had kept under that habitual

CHAP. VII.]

tendency to light stinging persiflage, deepening occasionally into impertinent sarcasm, which he carried into official intercourse and even into official papers, where he felt dislike or encountered opposition. Mr. Canning could do a gracious thing graciously, and so can anybody else. He could render himself a most agreeable and apparently friendly personal or business. associate. Sidney Smith aptly characterized him as a "dinerout of the first lustre." But where he acted the agreeable to carry out a design, it was exceedingly difficult for him to keep up appearances long, not because he hated insincerity, but because he preferred his jest to his interest. Every shake of the mask gave a glimpse of a face behind it leering with impudence and derision.

CANNING AND PINKNEY.

273

His toryism was not ranker than that of his great master, Mr. Pitt. On the contrary, the growth of public opinion rendered it visibly milder-especially towards the close of his career. The one always sacrificed everything that stood in the way of his views. The other often provoked by his trifling where nothing was to be gained. Pitt appears to have been an earnest man. When he sunk broken-hearted into his grave, all men knew that a mighty pillar of a nation's greatness had fallen. His party felt they had suffered an irreparable loss. Canning lived to be cast off by the Tories, and to have such upright and truthful men as the Duke of Wellington utterly refuse to act with him politically-more, they asserted, from his insincerity and unsteadiness than from any important differences of opinion. His great talents have never been disputed. His real character has been the subject of most conflicting opinions. We have given that version of it which seems most consistent with facts. and which was certainly exhibited in his entire course towards our country. Pinkney considered his conduct, in 1808, tainted by the most gratuitous artifice-and there even rose direct questions of veracity between them.

No well-informed American of any party will doubt the perfect sincerity of character of William Pinkney, of Maryland. He was one of those rare men who engage in nothing with friend or foe, to which they cannot carry a loyal and stainless good faith. His education, knowledge of the world, and talents placed him above simple credulity or subsequent jealousy. Indeed on the score of talent, an American can have no unwil

VOL. III.-18

lingness to have his side of the correspondence measured against Mr. Canning's; and if the future attorney-general of the United States, and the future first American forensic orator of his day, lacked Mr. Canning's ability in any department (but that of a mere wit), it was, probably, only from the want of equal experience in that department.'

After Mr. Pinkney wrote home his favorable dispatches already mentioned of June 29th, 1808, he continued to have apparently the most friendly intercommunications with Canning. Two of these took place on the 22d and 29th of July, in which the latter encouraged the greatest freedom, and appeared anxious to draw out the American Minister as far as possible. But before the close of the last interview Canning apprised Pinkney that their discussions must henceforth be in writingand that without an explicit proposal in writing, on which the British Government could deliberate and act, nothing further could be effected.

The American minister had no objection to place his proposition in writing-a demand for the revocation of the orders in council, and a stipulation, when this should take place, that the Embargo should be immediately suspended as far as it regarded Great Britain-provided he could be given to understand what would be the answer before preparing his note. Canning did not press the preparation of the note, but he declared that if it was written, his Government must be left free to act upon it, without an intimation in advance. Pinkney, fearing a written correspondence might lead to unnecessary discussion, attempted to change his determination, but in vain. He was compelled, therefore, to submit a written proposition, or in effect, to drop the negotiation-and he had been led to suppose that the most favorable dispositions were felt towards. an immediate accommodation. He accordingly prepared a note, and delivered it on the 26th of August. (It is dated 23d in

1 Colonel Benton's Thirty Years' View has few more warmly written pages than those devoted to the character of Mr. Pinkney (q. v. vol. i., pp. 19, 20). John Randolph's annunciation of Pinkney's death in the House of Representatives, in 1828, has become historic :

"I rise" [said Mr. Randolph] "to announce to the House the not unlooked-for death of a man who filled the first place in the public estimation in this or in any other country. We have been talking of General Jackson, and a greater than him, is, not here, but gone for ever. I allude, sir, to the boast of Maryland, and the pride of the United States the pride of all of us, but more particularly the pride and ornament of the profession of which you, Mr. Speaker (Mr. Phillip P. Barbour), are a member and an eminent one."

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