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an arrangement made with M. Onis would have been more sacred than the constitution of 1812. It might, and probably would, have shared a similar fate.


But when Napoleon was deposed and exterminated, and when "Ferdinand VII. was already restored to the throne of his august 66 predecessors, the cabinet of Washington saw entirely dissipated the prospects that had flattered their hopes," &c. Without stopping to criticise the term exterminado, as applied to a living man, it may be permitted to inquire, what is meant by "dissipated prospects that flattered hopes." If a meaning is to be conjectured, it may be supposed that the author believes the United States had hopes that could only be realized by the success of the plans of Napoleon, and by depriving Ferdinand VII. for ever of the crown of Spain. What were these hopes? The plans of Napoleon were the subjection of all the Spanish dominions, over which he had for years exercised an unlimited sway, to his immediate authority. Is there any man so senseless as to suppose the American government had hope of advantage from the success of this project? That it was gratified with the prospect of having a restless military despotism in its neighbourhood, in place of the torpid tyranny which previously bordered its territory. No one can be so senseless. The return of Ferdinand VII. was the annihilation of this plan, and therefore in so far gratifying, as it was for the interest of the American government. But another solution may be given to this enigmatical sentence. The success of Joseph would have been followed, by the separation of the Spanish American dominions from the crown, and therefore the Americans were interested in the success of Joseph. In case of the success of Joseph Bonaparte, at that time too probable, what fate could Mr. O. have wished for the transatlantic provinces (Ultramar) better than the realization of this idea? The simple wish of the United States was the success of the friends of Ferdinand against France; if France succeeded, the separation of the provinces from the Peninsula.

But this wish never tempted the government to any act calculated to produce its accomplishment. Schemes were formed, plans attempted to be executed by persons who passed from the United States, sometimes by citizens, but in every case contrary to the policy of the government. The persons concerned were prosecuted, in some cases punished, in almost every instance injured in fortune and credit, for engaging in these attempts. That none of them were patronized or tolerated by the American government, there is a conclusive proofno part even of Texas has been wrested from the Spanish power. Had the wishes and policy, so gratuitously given by Mr. Onis to the American government, directed its measures, not a foot of ground would now be possessed by Spain in North America. The attempts against Mexico never had a favourable issue, because the approbation, or connivance, of the American government was wanting. But how is it that Mr. O. reserves all his censure for the American government, without bestowing a portion of it upon other nations? For each Ameri

can citizen, who has entered into the Spanish territory, for the purpose of assisting the revolters, there have been more than one hundred Englishmen. How is it that this is not visited upon England as a crime? How is it that Mr. O. can censure none but the Americans, and draw unfavourable conclusions against no other power? That the wishes of the people and of the government of the United States (for those of the government and the people are the same) have been in favour of the revolters in all Spanish America, is certainly true; and it can be no longer a crime in the eyes of Spaniards. The contest between the revolutionists and the royal armies, like that between the army of the Isla de Leon and of General Freyre, was a contest between liberal, and despotic principles; for an oppressed people, against an oppressive government. The system of policy pursued towards America was unjust to its inhabitants, and fatal to their happiness and prosperity. This is no longer disguised in Spain. With a magnanimity, more glorious to him than his crown, the king has acknowledged it; his voice has proclaimed it; and the cortes of the nation have echoed it to the world. The tranquillity and the glory of Spain are now founded upon a thorough change of the former odious system. Spanish America is no longer a dependant and slave of the Peninsula, but an integral part of the Spanish empire, with equal rights, privileges, and powers, with its European relation. Those who hail the revolution of March as the dawn of glory to Spain, must justify the wishes and sentiments of the people and government of the United States in favour of the revolutionists of South America. But when Mr. O. charges the American government with any attempts to gratify these wishes, he sins against the light of his own knowledge. What are the proofs? "Expeditions have gone from the United States against the Spanish dominions. Vessels have been fitted out against the Spanish flag in the port of Baltimore, under commissions from South American governments, and many of the persons concerned in these acts have escaped punishment." These are his proofs. They give colour to the charge, only because the author conceals facts within his personal knowledge. The expeditions were secretly prepared; insufficient in their means to accomplish the objects intended; altogether unsuccessful; and the persons engaged, were prosecuted by the American government. Mr. O. knows that these prosecutions were numerous-Mr. O. knows that the American congress altered their statutes, for the avowed purpose of effectually preventing these offences -Mr. O. knows that the first law officer of the American government was sent to assist in the prosecution of such offences-Mr. O. knows that persons accused, have been convicted and put to death, for being guilty of offences against the laws. Why were these facts concealed? let the friends of Mr. Onis, if they can, answer the question, without leaving him exposed to the charge of intending to betray the Spanish nation into prejudices against a free government.

If the government of the United States cherished the designs imputed to it, the expedition against Spanish America would have been

amply provided: ships of war would have been fitted out in all the ports of the United States, and would not have been prepared in Baltimore only no prosecutions would have been commenced against the parties concerned, at least no one would have been punished."But some guilty persons escaped punishment:" be it so. Those only who are grossly ignorant of the criminal law of the United States, will feel surprise at this circumstance. Their criminal law is based upon two broad axioms-" Every man is innocent until his guilt be proved by competent evidence;" and, "It is better that ten guilty persons should escape punishment, than that one who is innocent should suffer." The provisions of all criminal law should be regulated by these maxims: Guards and fences should be erected to protect innocence, rather than to insure the punishment of guilt. That guilt may thus escape, is certainly true; but this arises from the necessary imperfection of human institutions; a thing to be regretted, but to be suffered, as an infinitely smaller evil, than the possible suffering of innocence. The proofs produced against the individuals, have been insufficient; or it may be, that the prejudice of the juries has operated to produce their acquittal; in either case, the government is not accountable. But, how base and detestable this plan is, of making the government chargeable with the acts of particular persons, a few examples of this mode of logical deduction will show. There have been some Spaniards engaged in promoting the revolution of Portugal-therefore, the Spanish government fomented that revolution. The army of the king, at Cadiz, in March last, committed the most horrible atrocities upon the people; therefore, the king is guilty of plundering Cadiz, and assassinating its inhabitants. Who is not shocked at the folly of the first, and the senseless barbarity of the second deduction ? Yet, these are similar to the deductions of M. Onis, to the injury of the American government and people.

The Americans, however, under peculiar circumstances, took possession of Mobile, and held it; and also Pensacola and St. Marks. To the first they claimed a right, and only seized, under circumstances which justified it, their own property. Mr. Onis is obliged to admit the claim, but wishes it to be believed that the justifying circumstances were produced by the artifices of the American government, to give merely a pretext for taking possession: a ridiculous supposition, unworthy of serious refutation. Pensacola was twice occupied by the American troops; first, because during the war between England and the United States the English troops had possession of it, and Gen. Jackson thought it prudent and necessary to dislodge them; the second time, because it was a refuge for Indians hostile to his country. It is not important to examine the peculiar character of these two events, both perfectly justifiable, and justified by the American government, according to the principles of justice and the laws of nations. They were seized and restored: the latter fact is not brought into view by Mr. Onis; a great parade is made of the seizure, but not one syllable, respecting the voluntary and unexpected restoration.


This last is passed in silence, because it proved those conclusions false, which Mr. Onis had drawn from the first.

Mr. O. traces the origin of the negotiation to the treaty of 1795, signed by Don Manuel Godoy. He accuses Godoy of a want of geographical knowledge of the countries for which he treated, and of the reciprocal interests of the two powers; of criminal impolicy in ceding to the United States, without necessity, rich and fertile lands, beautiful rivers, the point of Natchez, and other posts important to the defence of Florida. He accuses the United States of a design to extend themselves into the possessions of Spain; of seizing all occasions that had offered; and of not ceasing to foment them.

The boundary agreed upon, in the treaty of 1795, between Spain and the United States, is the same as that fixed in the treaty of peace, of 1783, between Great-Britain and the United States. The simple historical account of these treaties, is this: Great-Britain, in possession of Florida previously acquired from Spain, was at war with the United States, France, Spain, and Holland: By her treaty of 1783, the independence of the United States was acknowledged, and their territorial boundaries described: By subsequent treaty, GreatBritain made peace with France, with Holland, and Spain, and ceded to the latter, Florida and Porto Rico. The natural result of these different engagements, was the treaty of 1795, in which Spain and the United States formally recognised the previously well known and established rights of each other. Judging of right and justice by relative power, Mr. O. may conceive this to have been impolitic, since Spain was in a situation, in his opinion, to give law to the American republic; but in justice and honour, Don Manuel Godoy had every reason to support his conduct to the Spanish nation ;-and had his political course been always directed by similar principles, his name would never have been execrated, nor the people of Spain obliged to encounter those dreadful trials, by which they have at once vindicated and exalted their character. What, however, is the object of making Don Manuel Godoy answerable for the principles of the treaty of boundary, of 1795 ? Mr. Onis certainly knows, that Charles IV. in ratifying that treaty, only acted upon principles sanctioned by Charles III.: And Don Manuel G. only reduced to form, promises voluntarily made by the Count Florida Blanca. That the Spanish public may be as well informed as the Chevalier Onis, it is only necessary to make extracts from some documents of not very ancient dates.

Soon after the acknowledgment of the independence of the United States by Great-Britain, and the signature of the preliminaries of peace between those powers, General La Fayette, then well known for the services he had rendered to the cause of liberty in the new world, and since illustrious for his services and his sufferings in the same glorious cause in the old, was in Madrid, and about to repair to the American Congress, on the interests of the United States-in promoting which, he had already taken so distinguished a part. He had many conversations with Count Florida Blanca, then minister of his

catholic Majesty, which were to be reported to the American government. He submitted to the Spanish minister, the report he intended to make to Congress on his arrival in America, dated at Madrid, Feb. 19, 1783, requesting a word from Count Florida Blanca, to satisfy him that he had forgot nothing. An extract from this letter, is in these words. "With respect to limits, his catholic Majesty has adopted those that are determined by the preliminaries of the 30th November, between the United States and the court of London. The fear of raising a dissention, is the only objection the King has to the free navigation of the Mississippi."

The answer of Count Florida Blanca, is as follows:

"Pardo, 22d Feb. 1783. "Senior,-I cannot better comply with your desire, than by requesting you to receive this as my answer. You have perfectly

well understood whatever I have had the honour to communicate to you, with respect to our dispositions towards the United States. I shall only add, that although it is his Majesty's intention to abide for the present by the limits established by the treaty of November 30th, 1782, between the English and Americans; the king intends to inform himself particularly, whether it can be in any way inconvenient or prejudicial to settle the business amicably with the United States.



To the Marquis de la Fayette."

In a letter of the same date, the Marquis de la Fayette says, “On receiving the answer of Count Florida Blanca, I desired an explanation respecting the addition that relates to the limits. I was answered, that it was a fixed principle to abide by the limits established by the treaty between the English and Americans: That his remark only related to more unimportant details, which he wished to receive from the Spanish commandants, that would be amicably arranged, and would by no means oppose the general principle. I asked him, before the ambassador of France, (Mr. Montmorin,) whether he would give me his word of honour for it? He assured me he would, and that I might engage it to the United States.



But the name of Florida Blanca is held in reverence, while that of Godoy is detested. The acts of the first will not be condemned from prejudice; though the acts of the latter may meet with that fate. By what original mode of deduction the conclusion is drawn, that this treaty gave the Americans to understand with what facility they could extend themselves into the possessions of Spain, is left to a more fertile imagination, than the writer of this possesses, to conjecture. A deduction from this charge might be drawn, very unfavourable to the candour and understanding of its author: But it is not important to show the motives of Mr. Onis; it is sufficient to prove that his facts are assumptions, and his conclusions errors.

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