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tions, to debar themselves of the right of issuing commissions to private armed vessels. The country has the means, in time of war, of doing more injury to an enemy by that species of molestation, than any other whatever. Privateering is to be justified as one mode of harassing an enemy, that the customs of civilized nations allow a belligerent to adopt, and it can be defended on the same ground as most of the other practices of war. In finishing this paragraph, it will occur to every one, that the principal objection to the provisions of the 23d article would be the extreme difficulty of adhering to them.*
This treaty expired in '96. The United States had no direct trade with Prussia before the year '99; the trade with that part of Germany having been principally conducted through Hamburgh and Bremen. Since '99, we have had occasionally some slight commercial intercourse with Prussia, but it has been greatly interrupted by the wars in Europe, and the continental system. In general, however, the exports from Prussia have exceeded the imports. Prussia, since the last arrangement in 1815, now owns an extensive sea-coast, though our trade has latterly much fallen off to that part of the world. It is, at present, on the new footing of reciprocity.
The treaty of '85 was renewed in '99, at Berlin, by John Quincy Adams† on the part of the United States, and, on the part of Prussia, by the Count of Finckenstein, M. d'Alvensleben, and the Count of Haugwitz. This treaty, though a copy, in most of the articles, of that of '85, differed in several respects. The rule, that free ships make free goods, not having been respected during the two last wars, the parties agreed, at the return of peace, to concert such arrangements with the maritime powers, as should, hereafter, secure the navigation and commerce of the neutral. Contrabands were
It will be seen that in the next treaty made with Prussia in '99, the whole of this stipulation, respecting privateers and the exemption of private trading vessels, was omitted.
+ Appointed minister plenipotentiary in June 95.
specified, and confined to military arms and stores; the exemption, stipulated in the 16th article of the treaty of '85, on the subject of an embargo, was annulled. Vessels were, thereafter, subject to embargoes on the principle of the most favoured nation, and an indemnity was stipulated for all vessels detained for public uses. The original regulation in the 23d article of the same treaty, respecting privateers and merchant and trading vessels, was abolished. This treaty expired, by its own limitation, in 1810. It has not been renewed, nor have the United States, since Mr. Adams's return in 1801, appointed a minister to Prussia.
TREATY OF 1795 WITH SPAIN.
Spain powerful at time of Revolution-Family Compact--Great American possessions-Franklin appointed minister in '77 to Madrid -Important letter-Spain avoids the coalition-Strives to reconcile France and England-Fails-Declares war aginst England in '79 -Jay sent to Spain-Officially received-Makes no treaty-Important instructions-Gardoqui, Spanish Chargé-Treats respecting boundaries-Nothing done-South and North divide on the navigation of the Mississippi-South in minority-Short and Carmichael, commissioners to Spain-Remarks on Mississippi-Spain, having entered the coalition of '93, unwilling to treat-Indians-Acts of hostility in Kentucky-Short-Viar-Jaudenes-Peace of BasleGodoy-Pinkney sent to Madrid-Treaty of San Lorenzo el Real with Prince of Peace-Right of deposite at New Orleans suspended -Eastern and Western boundaries of Louisiana-France opposes claims of United States-Government take possession of W. Florida-Folch-Kemper-Spoliations--Settled by transfer of E. Florida-Humphreys-Yrujo-Bowdoin--Intercourse renewed in 1814
At the time of the declaration of independence, Spain was mistress of half the continent of South America. She was one of the most powerful nations of Europe, not only from her own wealth, valuable colonies, and numerous and well appointed army and navy, but in consequence of an intimate
connection with France. The "family compact," adopted by the treaty of Paris of '61, an alliance between all the princes of the house of Bourbon, more especially the crowns of France and Spain, still existed. By that instrument, those two powers mutually guaranteed their states and possessions, and assumed, as the basis of their alliance, the diplomatic maxim, “Qui attaque une couronne, attaque l'autre." All the American possessions of Spain were then entire; she enjoyed an active, extensive, and lucrative commerce; and was as determined an enemy of England as France herself.
After arrangements had been made by the Congress of the confederation to obtain the assistance of France, one of the next subjects of attention was Spain. As early as December 76, it was resolved to send commissioners to that country, and, in the beginning of '77, Dr. Franklin was appointed the first envoy to Spain, though he never went to that court ;* but while in France, he addressed a letter to the Count d'Aranda, at that time the Spanish minister at Versailles. This letter is to be found in the memoirs of Dr. Franklin, and as it explains in a few words the situation of the two countries, we shall extract a portion of it :
"Passy, April 7, 1777. Sir, I left in your excellency's hands to be communicated, if you please, to your court, a duplicate of the commission from the Congress, appointing me to go to Spain as their minister plenipotentiary. But I understand the receiving such a minister is not at present thought convenient, and I am sure, the Congress would have done nothing that might incommode in the least a court they so much respect. I shall, therefore, postpone that journey till circumstances may make it more suitable. In the mean time, I beg leave to lay before his catholic majesty, through the hands of your excellency, the propositions contained in a resolution of Congress dated December 30, 1776, viz., "That if his catholic majesty will join with the United States in a war against Great Britain, they will assist in reducing to the possession of Spain the town and harbour of Pensacola, provided the inhabitants of the
*For commission, see Secret Journals, vol. ii. Jan. 1, '77.
United States shall have the free navigation of the Mississippi, and the use of the harbour of Pensacola, and will (provided it shall be true that his Portuguese majesty has insultingly expelled the vessels of these States from his ports, or has confiscated any such vessels) declare war against the said king, if that measure shall be agreeable to, and supported by, the courts of France and Spain." It is understood that the strictest union subsists between these two courts, and, in case Spain and France should think fit to attempt the conquest of the English sugar islands, the Congress have further proposed to furnish provisions to the amount of two millions of dollars, and to join the fleet employed on the occasion with six frigates, of not less than 24 guns each, manned and fitted for service, and to render any other assistance, which may be in their power, as becomes good allies, without desiring for themselves the possession of any of the said islands.
Spain showed a great disinclination to take a part in the war declared in '78; and the measures, adopted by France to induce her to this step, were at first received with uncommon coolness. Spain, fatigued by her former contests, though of a recent date, and holding, herself, extensive and valuable foreign possessions, did not view the struggles of the Ameri
* In consequence of the celebrated Methuen treaty, the greater part of the Portuguese commerce had fallen into the hands of the English, and those two countries were in a very strict alliance and friendship. In the letter of B. Franklin quoted in the text, the reader will probably be struck with the uncommon willingness of the Congress to engage in foreign connections, though the motives and reasons of such measures are abundantly apparent and satisfactory. It is, however, remarkable, how few they formed; how entirely they escaped from every sort of entangling league and association, with the single exception of the provision respecting the guarantee in the treaty of "78. This circumstance is the more extraordinary, because England was at that time the common enemy of Europe, and an almost general armed confederation had been entered into against her. America is indebted for this good fortune, not only to the skill and discretion of her rulers, but to her "distant and detached situation," and to a very common impression in Europe of her weakness and inability to render valuable assistance to any cause.