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as delivered to the army in the year 1783, may be turned to some personal and malignant purpose, I do hereby declare, that I did not, at the time of writing my address, regard you as the author of the said letters; and further, that I have since had sufficient reason for believing, that the object of the author was just, honourable, and friendly to the country, though the means suggested by him were certainly liable to much misunderstanding and abuse.
"I am, sir, with great regard,
"JOHN ARMSTRONG, Esq."
With this important testimony* we close our narrative, and the review of the sketches together, adding only a summary of the conclusions at which we believe ourselves to have fairly arrived in examining this last branch of our subject.
1st. That the letters of Mr. Morris to General Greene, quoted by Mr. Johnson, furnish no sufficient evidence of the existence of any conspiracy against the liberties of the country: And,
2d. That the imputation (to Mr. Morris) of the authorship of the anonymous addresses to the officers of the army in 1783, is wholly unsupported by proof.
* If Mr. Johnson wishes any evidences of the genuineness of this document, and will signify the fact to the Editor of the U. S. Magazine, he will submit them to the inspection of Mr. Rufus King, member of the Senate of the United States.
ART. II. Observaciones sobre la Memoria del Senor Onis,
relativa a la negociacion con los Estados-Unidos. 12mo. pp. 103. Imprenta de D. Miguel de Burgos. Madrid. 1822.
[The Memorial of Don Onis, on his negotiation with the United States, and on the several subjects of the population, the agriculture and manufactures, the commerce, the military force, national revenue, political system, and foreign relations of the American Republicwas published by him, at Madrid, from the same press of De Burgos, in 1820: and a translation of it was given by Dr. Watkins, in 152 pp. 8vo. at Baltimore, in 1821. We had been accustomed to meet with illiberality and calumny only from the English press -but the publication, in Spanish, of so much abuse, and prejudice, and animosity, as this Memoir contains against us, interspersed
with contradictory, and apparently unwilling acknowledgments, in our favour, was surprising, and must have had some political motives on the part of the Diplomatist, connected with the occasion. The objects to be effected must have embraced great difficulties, as the old Negotiator is obliged to make truth and falsehood alternately glance from his work, like the varying colours of a changeable silk. The observations, in reply to Don Onis, though printed (as above) in 1822, are dated at Madrid in 1820-and it must be gratifying to Americans to find, that in a foreign nation, on the very ground where our Government was so violently and freely assailed, its cause has been so ably and temperately defended. As they constitute an excellent criticism on the Memoir, so far as relates to our negotiations with Spain, and have not before been printed in the United States-we insert a translation of the whole of the Observations.]
A memoir on the negotiations between the United States and Spain, which were terminated by the treaty of the 22d February, 1819, with a statistical notice of the American republic, by Don Luis de Onis, who was his Majesty's minister plenipotentiary near that republic, and is now his ambassador at the court of Naples, will no doubt be sought for with avidity, and read with interest. The knowledge possessed in Spain, of the character, resources, and opinions of the government and people of the rising empire of the west, is limited in extent, and derived from doubtful sources-the partial or prejudiced accounts of American writers, and English travellers. The experience of Don Luis de Onis, his long residence in America, and the distinguished station he held, and holds, in the confidence of his own country, give value and currency to his opinions, and will make at least his own countrymen believe, without scruple or examination, the statements that he furnishes them. To a superficial observer it would appear, that no man could be better qualified for the task he has attempted to execute, than the author of this work: To those who examine more narrowly, and scrutinize with severity the capacity of an author for a given undertaking, it will be apparent that no one could be less calculated to execute it with fidelity. The negotiation in which Don Onis was lately the agent of his master, is too recent to be written or spoken of, least of all by the parties concerned in it, without a strong mixture of passion or of prejudice. No opinions are so correct as our own, no arguments so conclusive as those discovered or enforced by ourselves, no answers to the arguments of others so satisfactory as those furnished by our own pens. Such is the language of selflove a passion which is not weakened by a diplomatic education, or destroyed by years of service in that career. Every thing contained in this memorial, that relates to the negotiation, must be taken with those few grains of allowance, and should not be admitted as undisputed truth, until it has been thoroughly investigated. Mr. Onis's capability to give a fair and accurate account of the statistics of the United States, of the genius and character of the government and the peo
ple-a sceptic might question. The numerous valuable and accurate documents, published under the authority of Congress, enable every man who chooses to seek them, to make himself master of the past and present statistical condition of that country: To speculate correctly upon what is to be the future, requires a depth of understanding, with a thorough knowledge of the springs and sources of wealth and population in that country, few even of its most enlightened citizens possess, and which no foreigner can well acquire. With the genius and character of twenty-two governments, (all differing from and yet bearing a general resemblance to each other,) and of ten millions of people scattered over such an extent of country, it is difficult to become well acquainted. Mr. Onis's ability to overcome such difficulties, may be estimated by the statement of few facts:-He knows barely enough of the language of the country, to ask for his bread and wine; his time was spent in Philadelphia, and within twenty miles of it, at Bristol; add to this residence, a visit to New-York, and a sojournment of three winters in Washington; the necessary journeys from Philadelphia to that metropolis, and back;-and we have all his opportunities to become personally acquainted with those important subjects. It may be imagined, that the genius and character of a government, if not of a people, is best learned in the closet, and may be found in books; but more is necessary to the qualification of a man, who offers his opinions to others as oracular guides-and even that requires, as an indispensable auxiliary, a thorough knowledge of the language in which the constitution and laws are written.
That the distinguished author has served his king with fidelity and zeal, is neither questioned nor doubted. He deserves all praise, as the zealous and industrious representative of his government. That he should have committed great errors in his work, will not be surprising to those who will reflect upon his situation and character; nor will it be wonderful, even to his Catholic Majesty's Ambassador at Naples, that his errors should be designated and exposed. It may be conjectured, that no one but a citizen of the country, whose character is assailed, would take the pains to perform this service, (so it should be called,) not to the United States only, but to Spain. To vindicate the character of one's country, is a sacred duty, but to Spain it will be beneficial to know the American government and people as they are, and not as they have been fallaciously represented by English and French writers, and lately by this Spanish author. It is not important who makes these remarks: he is not a Spaniard. This is not said proudly, for, since the revolution of March, to be called by that name is no longer a reproach, but a eulogy. He is an American; called here an anglo-American-a name that once belonged to the inhabitants of the present United States, but which was discarded, with other badges of servitude, in 1776. This annunciation is made, to warn those who read what is here written, to use the caution given to the readers of Don Onis's book, to examine scrupu Jously the facts stated and the conclusions drawn, and not to admit
aught as truth upon mere assertion, however positively and hardily made.
The book of Don Onis is divided into chapters, but the natural division of his work is made in the title; and we will examine it as consisting only of two parts-first, the negotiation which led to the treaty of February 22, 1819.
In the midst of the war with France, in June 1809, M. Onis was appointed by the supreme central junta, minister to the United States. He arrived, after a dangerous voyage of 45 days, and hastened to Washington to present his credentials. He was not received as minister. The reasons assigned for it, are stated explicitly by himself. "It was promptly announced to me, that the American government, although it applauded the exertions of the Spaniards in their glorious struggle, and wished to be upon terms of perfect harmony and friendship with them, could not receive or acknowledge any minister from the provisional government of Spain, as the crown was in dispute, and the nation divided into two parties; and that, until the decision of the struggle, the United States would remain neutral, or as simple spectators, without taking any part in favour either of one or the other. The cabinet of Washington remained firm in the plan it had proposed, and would neither acknowledge nor treat with me officially, until it saw the prospects, that had flattered its hopes, completely dissipated by the fall and extermination of Napoleon, and the restoration of Ferdinand VII. to the throne of his august predecessors." This refusal is the foundation for two insinuations against the American government: 1st. That it did not pursue a conduct uniting with its true interests the principles of justice, huma nity, and honour; and, 2dly, That it had prospects which flattered its hopes in the success of Napoleon. With what colour of reason, is easily seen. The facts upon which the determination of the American President was taken, were notorious. The crown of Spain was in dispute; the nation was divided into two parties; the resolution that the United States should remain neutral spectators of the contest, was the result of prudent precaution and political foresight; their wishes were freely expressed, applauding the glorious struggle of the Spanish nation, and they treated Don Onis with the most attentive and decorous consideration. Must it not occur forcibly to every Spaniard, that this was the only course the United States could consistently pursue? What interest had they in the dispute concerning the crown of Spain? Of what import was it to them, who was kingor whether there was, or was not, a king of Spain? They had feelings and wishes, and these were enlisted in favour of a nation asserting the right to retain its ancient monarch; in favour of a people, claiming the inherent right of every people, that of choosing their own government and their own governors. Beyond this, no Spaniard could expect the American government to go, the more especially, when the contest, on the part of the people of Spain, was considered desperate, as a glorious effort which could only bring ruin
upon their heads. The rank injustice of the insinuations of Don Onis, will appear more strikingly, by comparing the conduct of the United States with that of other nations. What nation, besides England, showed the same kindness and sympathy towards the struggling Spaniards? England, at war with France, seized the dispute for the crown of Spain, as the means of weakening or distressing her enemy. But how was it with the rest of Europe? What power failed to send a representative to Joseph Bonaparte, or refused to receive one from him? Yet how gently Don Onis touches this subject :-"La Europa "entera veía con asombro su empresa y sus esfuerzos; pero gemía "toda, á excepcion de la Inglaterra, bajo el despotismo altanera de "Napoleon ó sometido á su influjo dominador :"* No reflections upon the disregard of the principles of honour, humanity, and justice, exhibited by the powers of Europe; no insinuations to their injury, for such conduct, proceeding from apathy or apprehension. Why is this difference? Can the distance of the United States from Spain and France, make their neutrality criminal, while the decided course of nearer and more powerful nations, is excusable in the eyes of M. Onis. One is tempted to believe, that this harsh judgment is pronounced, in consequence of his personal resentment for not being immediately permitted, on his arrival, to perform the part of a minister plenipotentiary. Although separated by an immense ocean, and not immediately connected with the European politics, the interests of the new, must always be affected by the changes in the old world. All that the government of the United States has endeavoured to effect, has been, not to mix itself in the vicissitudes and transactions of Europe; and this was the motive for its refusal to exchange representatives with either of the parties claiming the Spanish crown. What its wishes were, is to be inferred from its language to M. Onis, in terms not equivocal, and the conduct of its representative remaining in Spain. The Chargé d'Affaires of the United States, followed the provisional government, and remained with it until hope itself of the success of the struggle against Joseph Bonaparte, was almost extinguished. His house was broken open in Madrid; the public and his private property were plundered, in consequence of this step, by the French and the friends of France; and persons attached to the American consulate and legation, were imprisoned and insulted by the same authority. It is easily foretold what would have been the consequence of the acknowledgment of Don Onis by the United States, and an arrangement with him concerning limits, and for the payment of well known claims and injuries, had Joseph unhappily succeeded in retaining the throne of Spain. Such an arrangement would not only have been nugatory, but have produced additional difficulties in the settlement of their differences with Spain. Even as the affairs of the Peninsula have terminated, what proofs are there that
*Entire Europe saw, with amazement, her enterprise and her exertions; but groaned, with the exception of England, under the arrogant despotism of Napoleon, or submitted to his ruling influence.'