« PreviousContinue »
appeared even then to be entering upon that career, which, in the course of fifteen years, was developed to her view, and that laid the foundation of her present great wealth with such rapidity and solidity. The continental Congress created for the sole purposes of war, and that had governed the country only during a war, was at that early hour deeply impressed with the necessity and wisdom of neutrality. The advantages of the remote and peculiar situation of this continent were quite apparent; the habits of the people were commercial ; there were then no manufactories, and some of those articles, that have since become the staples of the country, were either unknown or little cultivated, having been discouraged by the colonial system of the mother country. With the great extent of sea-coast, and materials for ship-building, the government readily perceived the remarkable benefits the Americans would derive from becoming the carriers of the old world; they looked to commerce not only to enrich the nation, but to pay the debts of the war.
The subject of neutrality was discussed with great attention and anxiety by Congress, during the spring and summer of '83, before it was known in America that the armed neutrality had been dissolved on the restoration of a general peace. The votes and resolutions only remain to us, but the outlines of the system, adopted by the first administration under the Federal constitution, and which has rendered it equally illustrious and worthy of all imitation, are at that period quite perceptible. The fame, perhaps, of that administration does not so much rest on having been the author of a system of neutrality, as having maintained it during a season of unexampled trial and most unexpected difficulties. The policy belongs to the geographical situation of the country, to the form and character of the government; and the necessity and utility of it were as much felt in the confederation, as they have since been. We find, for example, as early as May '83, the following resolution adopted by Congress : “That though Congress approve the principles of the armed neutrality, founded on the liberal basis of a maintenance of the rights of neutral nations, and of the privileges of commerce, yet they are unwilling at this juncture to become a party to a confederacy, which may hereafter too far complicate the interests of the United States with the politics of Europe, and, therefore, if such a progress is not yet made in this business as to make it dishonourable to recede, it is their desire that no further measures may be taken at present towards the admission of the United States into that confederacy.” A resolution, which is in reality the foundation of the whole policy of the United States from that day to the present. Mr. Dana had not entered into any arrangements, that could at all involve the United States; for he had never been invited to accede to that convention. But when peace was concluded with England, as it was not precisely known what stipulations he might have made with Russia, some anxiety was felt, lest the faith of the United States might be pledged. The general peace, however, entirely released America from the difficulties and dangers of this situation, for the “neutrality” expired with the war. Though the northern confederacy had been dissolved, a considerable degree of uneasiness still prevailed on the same subject, particularly in the government of the United Provinces. That government was desirous of forming another coalition, and propositions to that effect were made to the American ministers at Paris. The United States, having escaped from the embarrassments of one league, though, as it turned out, no ill could have befallen them under any circumstances, took the first opportunity to give instructions on that head to their ministers in Europe, and to repeat, in a decided manner, their sense of the propriety of a perfect neutrality :
" Whereas the primary object of the resolution of October 5th, 1780, and of the commission and instructions to Mr. Dana, relative to the accession of the United States to the neutral confederacy, no longer can operate; and as the true interest of these states requires that they should be as little as possible entangled in the politics and controversies of European nations, it is inexpedient to renew
the said powers either to Mr. Dana, or to the other ministers of these United States, in Europe ; but, inasmuch as the liberal principles, on which the said confederacy was established, are conceived to be in general favourable to the interests of nations, and particularly to those of the United States, and ought in that view to be promoted by the latter, as far as will consist with their fundamental policy,-Resolved, that the ministers plenipotentiary of these United States, for negotiating a peace, be, and they are hereby instructed, in case they should comprise in the definitive treaty, any stipulations amounting to a recognition of the rights of neutral nations, to avoid accompanying them by any engagements, which shall oblige the contracting parties to support those stipulations by arms."
This country has no complaints to make against Russia for oppressions on its trade in Europe. Up to the period to which this work extends, (1814,) we are not aware that the two governments have ever had a single point in dispute. In regard to trade, however, and the rights of neutrals, the interest of Russia is much the same as that of America. We have always seen Russia take a principal part in all the leagues, or conventions, for the protection of neutral commerce and navigation. She depends principally upon the commerce of other nations for a supply of colonial, and other foreign articles, and for the exportation of the vast quantity of raw materials, produced by her. She has been an advocate, in time of war, for the greatest possible indulgence and relaxation in regard to neutrals.—The commercial intercourse of Russia
and the United States first led to an exchange of ministers. This government having received an intimation that the court of St. Petersburg was desirous of instituting a diplomatic connexion, appointed, in June 1809, Mr. John Quincy Adams, minister plenipotentiary to Russia; this courtesy was soon after acknowledged by the arrival, in this country, of count Pahlen, a minister of equal rank. No other minister was appointed, on the part of the United States, before Mr. Bayard, after the peace of Ghent with England, but Russia was represented here by M. de Daschkoff, as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary.
In 1813, Russia offered her mediation in a very friendly manner, to procure a peace between the United States and Great Britain. She was at that time closely leagued with England in the last and sixth celebrated coalition against France. Notwithstanding this circumstance, the trade of the
. Baltic was exceedingly embarrassed, and, in the language of M. de Daschkoff, “his imperial majesty saw, with infinite regret, the great shackles which this new episode (war of 1812,) is about to oppose to the commercial prosperity of nations." “The peace of Russia with England, seemed to present this immense advantage to the commerce of nearly all sea-faring people, that it freed their relations from that constraint, from that continual vexation, to which it had been subjected for many years without interruption.” The mediation, as has been said, was declined by Great Britain. The diplomatic relations* with Russia have not extended beyond the exchange of ministers, nor are we aware that any circumstance in the intercourse of the two countries, within the period embraced by this work, requires to be particularly mentioned.
* The arrangement respecting the North-West Coast, does not fall within our limits.
RELATIONS WITH DENMARK.
No diplomatic intercourse-Erving sent to Denmark in 1811–Ac
count of spoliations-French and Danish privateers-CapturesConvoy cases-New aggression on neutral rights—Remarks on that subject—None of the condemnations of 1809, 1810, revised— Convoy cases not restored—Erving leaves Copenhagen.
AMERICA has never had a regular diplomatic intercourse with Denmark ; though some vexatious circumstances, that at first excited great uneasiness, made it necessary to send a special commissioner to that country, in 1811.* Denmark has been
* Denmark has had diplomatic agents in this country, embracing, however, we believe, also, a commercial character. In 1801, Mr. Blicher Olsen was minister resident and consul general; in 1803, Mr. Peter Pedersen was a chargé, also, with commercial functions, and latterly the same individual has become a minister resident and consul general. A“minister resident" is usually considered as of the third order of diplomatic functionaries, though, never having seen any of the powers or credentials, with which the Danish agents are invested, we are not precisely aware of the nature of their commission, though, we believe, it does not extend to what is usually called negotiation ;-beyond the making or receiving certain official communications. On the subject of consuls, all necessary information will, we believe, be found in the work on consular establishments, of Mr. D. B. Warden, late consul general of the United States at Paris.