Imágenes de páginas



the correspondence.) It embraced the proposal already mentioned.

A month afterwards (September 23d), Canning replied in two separate communications. In the first, he gave as the reason for his requiring written instead of verbal communications, "a recollection of the misrepresentation which took place in America of fer conferences between them "-though he acquitted Pinkney of having originated it. He mentioned that "his share" in the preceding verbal communications had been small, and intimated that he had always discouraged them and engaged in them with reluctance. On one point, indeed, he confessed he had been "particularly anxious to receive precise information, and upon which, from Mr. Pinkney's candor and frankness, he was fortunate enough to obtain it." As the latter had connected in his overtures the suspension of the Embargo with the repeal of the order in council of 11th November, as well as the preceding one of the 7th of January, he had been desirous to ascertain whether that of November had been known to the Government of the United States "previously to the message of the President proposing the Embargo, so as to be a moving consideration to that Message," and "had the satisfaction to learn that such was not the fact"-that rumors of it might have reached America, but that there was no certain knowledge of it in the possession of the American Government.

The second letter announced the determination of the British Government to adhere to the orders in council as a necessary act of retaliation against France; that his majesty regarded the American Embargo as "manifestly unjust " towards England, "as according to every principle of justice," "redress ought to have been first sought from the party originating the wrong;" that "by some unfortunate concurrence of circumstances, without any hostile intention, the American Embargo did come in aid of the 'blockade of the European continent' precisely at the very moment when, if that blockade could have succeeded at all, this interposition of the American Government would most effectually have contributed to its success." The tone of both the letters is well exemplified in the following Canninglike paragraph:

"His majesty would not hesitate to contribute, in any manner in his power, to


restore to the commerce of the United States its wonted activity; and if it were possible to make any sacrifice for the repeal of the Embargo, without appearing to deprecate it as a measure of hostility, he would gladly have facilitated its removal, as a measure of inconvenient restriction upon the American people."

The broad insinuation, or rather charge against the veracity of the American Government, in the first letter, is palpable. The paragraph last quoted was an impertinence worthy of a pettifogger in the theatre of a police court, or of the smartness of an actor in low comedy. Pinkney himself was placed by a false declaration in the mortifying posture of a minister who had not waited to have his official secrets wormed from him, but who had hastened, with more than rustic simplicity, to voluntarily expose them. All this (if his word can be taken) came without the shifting of a circumstance, or a particle of premonition, on the heel of a continuous train of those friendly and cordial assurances which had led him to feel confident of a ready and favorable adjustment. This was purely Canninglike.

But, to borrow a forensic phrase, he "took nothing by his motion." Pinkney replied in the language of a gentleman, for he knew no other. But he followed up his antagonist keenly and nervously, and exposed him at every point. The letter (dated October 10th) is too long to quote, and we will take space to mention but two of its allegations. He declared that all their oral communications had been directly invited and encouraged by Canning; and he explicitly denied having given the information attributed to him in regard to a knowledge of the last orders in council by the American Government when the Embargo was recommended. And he said all that he did utter on that subject was conjectural, and that he "professed" at the time "to speak, and did in fact speak from general information only."

Canning's next official communication to him was dated November 22d, after the meeting of the American Congress; and there is nothing in it, or in their subsequent correspondence, that demands our particular attention.

Congress convened on the 7th of November. The President's Message began by mentioning the propositions which had been made to England and France in regard to the Embargo, and their rejection. This experiment having failed, that law,




he said, had necessarily remained in full force. It had been borne, in general, with patriotism; it had saved our mariners and our property; it had given us time to prepare defensive and provisional measures; it had demonstrated our moderation and firmness to other nations, and the necessity of uniting in support of the laws and the rights of our country, to ourselves; and it "had thus long frustrated those usurpations and spoliations. which, if resisted, involved war-if submitted to, sacrificed a vital principle of our national independence." The proper course to be pursued henceforth was referred to the wisdom of Congress.

The instructions which had been given to our ministers at London and Paris were laid before Congress. It appeared from their correspondence, that in addition to the rejection of our recent offers, England had taken no steps to make redress for the attack on the Chesepeake, still adhering to her inadmissible preliminary, and "now bringing it into connection with the distinct and irrelative case of the orders in council."

With the other nations of Europe, and with the Barbary powers, the President said, no material changes had occurred in our relations since the last session. Negotiations with Spain had been alternately suspended and resumed, and now "necessarily experienced a pause under the extraordinary and interesting crisis which distinguished her internal situation."

"With our Indian neighbors," the President stated, "the public peace had been steadily maintained," notwithstanding some instances of individual wrong, the perpetrators of which had been given up. He continued:

"And, generally, from a conviction that we consider them as part of ourselves, and cherish with sincerity their rights and interests, the attachment of the Indian tribes is gaining strength daily—is extending from the nearer to the more remote, and will amply requite us for the justice and friendship practised towards them. Husbandry and household manufacture are advancing among them, more rapidly with the southern than the northern tribes, from circumstances of soil and climate; and one of the two great divisions of the Cherokee nation have now under consideration to solicit the citizenship of the United States, and to be identified with us in laws and government, in such progressive manner as we shall think best."

The appropriations of the last session for harbor fortifications, he said, had been expended, and most of the works would be completed during the season, except at New York and New

Orleans. Further appropriations would be necessary to render the former entirely secure against naval enterprise. A view of what had been done at the several places, and what it was proposed further to do, would be communicated as soon as the several reports were received.

Of the gun-boats authorized to be constructed, it had been thought necessary to build but one hundred and three during the present year. A sufficient number of officers had been appointed to carry on the business of recruiting in the new regiments of regulars, and their success was believed to have been satisfactory. No general detachments of militia and volunteers had been called into service as authorized by the act of the preceding session; but some small and special ones had been found necessary to prevent evasions of the Embargo on our northern frontier. These, and the armed vessels employed, had, in a good measure, repressed those evasions.


The power to call out a large force ought, he thought, to be continued for the ensuing season. The uniform reorganization of the militia-the "best security" of "a people who are free -was earnestly urged. The public factories for the making of arms had been enlarged, and additional machinery erected, "in proportion as artificers could be found or formed." Their effect was already more than doubled; and contracts had been entered into with private manufactories to supply the arms directed to be procured for the militia.

The following paragraph touched on the subject of the new manufactories springing up in consequence of the suspension of our foreign commerce:

"The suspension of our foreign commerce, produced by the injustice of the bel ligerent powers, and the consequent losses and sacrifices of our citizens, are subjects of just concern. The situation into which we have thus been forced, has impelled us to apply a portion of our industry and capital to internal manufactures and improvements. The extent of this conversion is daily increasing, and little doubt remains that the establishments formed and forming will-under the auspices of cheaper materials and subsistence, the freedom of labor from taxation with us, and of protecting duties and prohibitions-become permanent."

He stated that, the receipts in the treasury during the past year amounted to about eighteen millions of dollars, which, with the eight and a half millions in the treasury at the close of the preceding year, had enabled the Government, after meet



ing current demands, to pay two millions three hundred thousand dollars of the principal of our funded debt, leaving a surplus of near fourteen millions. Of this, five millions three hundred and fifty thousand dollars would be necessary to pay what would be due on the 1st of January, 1809, which would complete the entire redemption of the eight per cent. stock. These payments, with those made in the six and a half years preceding, would extinguish thirty-three millions five hundred and eighty thousand dollars of the principal of the funded debt, being the whole which could be paid or purchased according to law. This would liberate the revenue from about two million dollars of interest. The accumulation of our surplus revenue, beyond what could be applied to the payment of the public debt, when "the freedom and safety of our commerce should be restored," merited, he said, the consideration of Congress. He asked whether it should lie unproductive in the public vaults—whether the revenue should be reduced-or whether it should "rather be appropriated to the improvement of roads, canals, rivers, education, and other great foundations of prosperity and union,' under powers already possessed by Congress, or such an amendment of the Constitution as might be approved by the States. And he asked, whether while we remained "uncertain of the course of things," the time might not be advantageously employed in obtaining such an amendment.

The Message closed as follows:


[ocr errors]

"Availing myself of this the last occasion which will occur of addressing the two houses of the legislature at their meeting, I cannot omit the expression of my sincere gratitude for the repeated proofs of confidence manifested to me by themselves and their predecessors since my call to the Administration, and the many indulgences experienced at their hands. The same grateful acknowledgments are due to my fellow-citizens generally, whose support has been my great encouragement under all embarrassments. In the transaction of their business I cannot have escaped error. It is incident to our imperfect nature. But I may say with truth, my errors have been of the understanding, not of intention; and that the advancement of their rights and interests has been the constant motive for every measure. On these considerations I solicit their indulgence. Looking forward with anxiety to their future destinies, I trust that, in their steady character unshaken by diffi culties, in their love of liberty, obedience to law, and support of the public authorities, I see a sure guaranty of the permanence of our republic; and retiring from the charge of their affairs, I carry with me the consolation of a firm persuasion that heaven has in store for our beloved country long ages to come of prosperity and happiness."

« AnteriorContinuar »