« PreviousContinue »
This was the end of the war,-a measure into which the country obviously entered with infinite reluctance. The French revolution cost the United States, substantially, two wars; we could hardly have expected to escape at a less price. America is not a member of the holy alliance; she
tempt at adjustment had been made in the negotiation of Mr. Monroe and Mr. Pinkney, of 1806 and 1807; at which an article had been proposed and agreed to, that the line should be from the most north-western point of the lake of the woods, to the 49th parallel of latitude, and from that point, due west, along and with the said parallel, as far as the respective territories extend in that quarter. And with that article was coupled another, as follows:-"It is agreed by the United States, that his majesty's subjects shall have, at all times, free access from his majesty's aforesaid territories, by land or inland navigation, into the aforesaid territories of the United States, to the river Mississippi, with the goods and effects of his majesty's said subjects, in order to enjoy the benefit of the navigation of that river, as secured to them by the treaty of peace, between his majesty and the United States, and also, by the third article of the treaty of amity, commerce and navigation, of 1794. And it is further agreed, that his majesty's subjects shall, in like manner, and at all times, have free access to all the waters and rivers falling into the western side of the river Mississippi, and to the navigation of the said river."
"But the following observations upon the two articles, contained in a letter from Mr. Madison to Messrs. Monroe and Pinkney, of 30th of July, 1807, show how far Mr. Jefferson, then President of the United States, had authorized those commissioners to accede to them :-" Access by land or inland navigation, from the British territories, through the territory of the United States, to the river Mississippi, is not to be allowed to British subjects, with their goods or effects, unless such articles shall have paid all the duties, and be within all the custom house regulations, applicable to goods and effects of citizens of the United States. An access, through the territory of the United States, to the waters running into the western side of the Mississippi, is, under no modification whatever, to be stipulated to British subjects."
"Under this state of things, it had never been admitted by the British, nor could we maintain against them by argument, even that the Mississippi river was within our exclusive jurisdiction: for so long as they had a right by treaty to a line of boundary to that river, and consequently to territory upon it, they had also jurisdiction upon it."
is not connected with any nation by the form of her government, or by situation, or family compacts. But she is one of the great confederation of Christian states,-one of those powers who, by religion, arts and sciences, compose what is called the civilized part of the world. In this respect, Europe becomes only a geographical term. America, maintaining a more constant and frequent intercourse with the most powerful members of the European continent, than (with one exception) they hold with each other, must, unavoidably, partake, in some degree, of the changes, to which they are subject. Her territory, it is true, is not exposed to invasion or dismemberment; but she has most rapidly created a vast connexion and influence, moral, political and commercial, which will, at all times, render her liable to become involved in the general quarrels that disturb the old world.*
*The diplomatic intercourse of the two countries was renewed, by the appointment on the part of America, of John Quincy Adams, in February, 1815, and of Charles Bagot, on the part of Great Britain, in June of the same year, both as envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary.
TREATIES OF 1785 AND 1799 WITH PRUSSIA.
Fourth power in Europe to conclude a Treaty-Lee appointed in "77 to Berlin and Vienna-Not received by either court-His full powers stolen at Berlin-Hessians made to pay same toll as cattlePrince Henry-Treaty of '85-Peculiar provisions-Private war abolished-Treaty of '99.
THOUGH Prussia took no part in the revolution war, she was the fourth power in Europe to conclude a treaty of amity and commerce with the United States.* During the whole course of that contest, Prussia was at peace with England, though, soon after the beginning of hostilities, she was threatened with a war by the emperor, which, indeed, actually took place about the time the United States applied to her government for aid and alliance. But Frederick II. usually called the great Frederick, was not animated with a friendly feeling towards England, and it is well known, he viewed the progress of the American revolution with satisfaction.† Very early in the war, Congress took steps to obtain the co-operation of Prussia, together with that of some other powers in
*The treaty of '83 with England, was of a different description.
†The reader will find some remarks on this subject, in the 3d volume of his works.
Europe; and in May '77, William Lee, of Virginia, was appointed a commissioner to the courts of Vienna and Berlin. The objects of his mission are fully explained in his instructions, of which we subjoin an extract :—
"As it is of the greatest importance to these states, that Great Britain be effectually obstructed in the plan of sending German and Russian troops to North America, you will exert all possible address and vigour to cultivate the friendship and procure the interference of the emperor of Germany, and king of Prussia. To this end, you will propose treaties of friendship and commerce with these powers, on the same commercial principles as were the basis of the first treaties of friendship and commerce, proposed to the courts of France and Spain by our commissioners, and which were approved in Congress on the seventeenth day of September 1776; and not interfering with any treaties, which may have been proposed to, or concluded with the courts above mentioned. For your better instruction herein, the commissioners at the court of Versailles will be desired to furnish you from Paris with a copy of the treaty, originally proposed by Congress to be entered into with France, together with the subsequent alterations, that have been proposed on either side. You are to propose no treaty of commerce to be of longer duration than the term of twelve years from the date of its ratification by the Congress of the United States. And it must never be forgotten in these commercial treaties, that reciprocal and equal advantages to the people of both countries be firmly and plainly secured."
He was not received by the emperor; the court of Vienna positively refusing to have any thing to do with the revolted colonies; nor does it appear, that he was allowed to hold an official station at Berlin. Thiebault (vol. iii. p. 60.) tells a story of two Americans, who came to Berlin soon after the declaration of independence, for the purpose of buying arms, and to obtain other assistance. They were suffered to remain there; but, in a short time, their full powers and instructions were stolen from their lodgings.* Thiebault expresses his
* At the end of a few hours, they were secretly and safely returned. having, obviously, been taken for the purpose of examination only.
surprise, that neither the king nor any other person took any notice of the transaction. But, if the envoy had not been properly received, the theft was not a violation of the law of nations; it was an affair that belonged solely to the police. The names of these Americans are not mentioned, but it is quite possible that Mr. Lee was one of them.
It was said at the time, that Frederick compelled the recruits of Hesse Cassel, who had been bought to carry on the war in America, (and who had occasion to pass through his dominions, in order to reach their places of embarkation,) to pay the same toll or duty per head, as was exacted from cattle. The king may have considered this an ingenious piece of pleasantry, or have adopted this mode of expressing his abhorrence and disgust at the practice of selling christian men. Nations, in alliance with others in times of war, often transfer their troops, and, in coalitions, nothing is more common than for one party to furnish the subsidy, and the other the army. In all ages, men have, as individuals, entered into foreign service; but, we believe, that the conventions, made in the year '76 with the states of Brunswick and Hesse Cassel, and county of Hanau, present the first instances in history, where governments, for the purpose of enriching their treasuries, have condemned their subjects to fight, not only in a foreign cause, but against a country, with whom their own was at peace. Some Prussian officers, however, entered into the American service, and made themselves very useful, (one in particular will always be gratefully remembered,) but they were not sent by the government; nor are we aware, that Frederick took an active part in the revolution, notwithstanding the intimation that has been given in regard to prince Henry. Peace, however, having been concluded with Great Britain, the independence of the United States acknowledged, and the American commissioners at the court of Versailles having received general instructions to conclude treaties with the powers of the continent, a treaty was made at the Hague