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bled; and the war continued with a widened range a proud and powerful government meeting, in re. of action. That misguided ministry which had cognition, revolted and aspiring colonies: and we produced the war, maintained their places, and may add, the first instance where a parent state prolonged a destructive contest four more years; has proposed and consented to arrange, in a solemn and it was not until the 22d of February 1782, that instrument, even after a bloody contest, the terms any effective step was taken to arrest a cruel waste of a solid and sincere reparation; to create, by the of human blood. On that memorable day, Gene simple process of a treaty, made in the usual forms, ral Conway made his motion to put an end to the another great and independent nation; an event American war. This was a trying moment; a de- probably as unexpected to the European courts, as bate followed, which was protracted until two was the discovery of the continent, where that nao'clock in the morning, and lost by 193 votes to 194. tion was founded.”+
The closeness of the vote evinced a turn of the Another circumstance which gives sublimity to tide, and on the 27th the motion was renewed by this part of history, was, that whilst the very courts Mr. Fox, and carried, 234 to 215; thus prostrating
who offered their mediation were extinguishing the the North ministry. If we could smile at an event lamp of one of the ancient kingdoms of Europe, so productive of human misery, we might well another powerful nation rose to vindicate the insmile at the following extract from Lyman: sulted rights of mankind; and whilst Great Britain
" The administration had suffered itself to be saw with apathy the partition of Poland, she found conquered in America; but the triumph of its ad- her punishment by her own dismemberment. These versaries at home was a tardy and faint one. The two mighty causes, as will appear from a review House of Commons relinquished the contest with of the past, have yet produced but a minor share evident reluctance. Indeed, we shall shortly see, of their effects. that these votes did not at all indicate the feelings It was one of those happy positions assumed at of that body on the subject of independence; and the declaration of independence, and maintained that a portion of the members still believed that with skill and perseverance, which saved the United the colonies would be re-annexed to the empire. States from the lures of European cabinet policy. Lord North was abandoned, because it was out of After the declaration of independence in 1776, the question to continue the war; but this did not however much the states differed on some points necessarily lead, in the minds of all, to the further of internal regulation, they were unanimously deimmediate consequence—the acknowledgement of termined to make an acknowiedgement of national independence. The next cabinet, even formed as independence, not merely a sine qua non of any it was on the ruins of the war ministry, refused to treaty, but a basis of any negotiation with Great recognise the act of July 1776: it was dissolved Britain. It was fortunate that such a principle partly on account of this circumstance, and partly was adopted; for every art was used by France and on account of the death of the Marquis of Rocking Great Britain to pursue their diplomacy, leaving ham. Mr. Fox, one of the secretaries of state, either entirely neglected, or vaguely expressed, the withdrew when it was ascertained that a principal fundamental reward of blood, toil, and victory. condition on which it had been composed, the in- Truces, suspensions of arms, and every half-way dependence of America, was disavowed by a majori. measure were proposed, but in vain. Their wise ty of the cabinet. It would not be, therefore, quite adherence to forms, which were, in such a case, correct to say, that the vote of February 27th, matters of substance, went so far, that the British though it settled, as far as England was concerned, government was compelled to renew the commissthe question of war, decided, in the same view, that ion of Mr. Oswald, having, in the first instance, of independence."
omitted the proper name, and used the term “coWe see how decidedly averse were the whigs of lonies.” This was regarded, perhaps correctly, Great Britain to recognise an undeniable fact--the intentional, was objected to, and, before the neindependence of the American colonies. As a kind gotiations could be opened, the commission of the of emanation from “ The Armed Neutrality,” in British envoy contained the emphatic appellation, 1781, a proposition came from the courts of Russia “ The Thirteen United States of America.” This and Austria, to arrange under their mediation a commission in fact contained the demanded acgeneral peace. These proposals occupied the con- knowledgement, and all beyond was form and artinental courts of Europe for some months, but rangement of minor objects; such as the fisheries, whether from sound judgment or from strong feel. dispositions in favour of or against the American ing, they were properly rejected by Great Britain. loyalists, now exiles; and the share that France, As far as the interest of the colonies was concerned, Spain, and the Dutch republic, might have in the the wreck of Poland served as a beacon.
final articles of the pending treaty or treaties. The course of events, however, flowed on, and Great Britain, exhausted by a war against the swept with it kings and ministers, prejudices and greatest part of the maritime force of ihe world, those who blindly sought a shore no longer in ex. and dreading a too close alliance of her lost coloistence. The dreaded hour came, when the more nies with France, waved or cvaded one difficulty dreaded truth was acknowledged: “ The United after another; and her agents signed the provisional States are free and independent."
treaty of peace at Paris, on the 30th of November “ This is the first effort, recorded in history, of 1782. The negotiators on the part of the United
* Lyman's Diplomacy, vol. i. page 92.
| Ibid. vol. i. page 93.
States, were, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, be most fearfully interrupted before another half John Jay, and Henry Laurens; and on the part of century, by an exaction of too much power. Great Britain, Richard Oswald. The definitive The war between the colonies and Great Britain treaty, emanating from and repeating substantially closed; and a general peace again beaming over a the articles of the provisional treaty, was signed at desolated world, the new-born nation lost for a short Paris on the 3d of September 1783; on the part of period that importance in the eyes of the world, the United States by Benjamin Franklin, John which it had sustained whilst the contest raged. Adams, and John Jay, and on the part of Great But the young heart and limbs were sound and vigBritain by David Hartley.
orous, though wearied by a long and arduous "The conduct of the American commissioners, wrestle with a giant. The neighbouring nations in agreeing to the provisional articles without con of the earth were convinced by time, that a new sulting the court of France, has never been fully and vigorous member was added to their family. explained," says Lyman.*
It is not within the scope or design of this head of In formal terms, the conduct of the American our article, United States, to notice in particular commissioners, in this case, has not been, it is pro- only those negotiations which affected the geograbable, explained; but does not the history of that phical limits and extent of the United States, age afford a full explanation? The stake at issue sketching briefly those diplomatic proceedings gained value, as the contests in the field and the arising from mere commercial intercourse or cabinet proceeded, and a new nation had risen, views. claiming jurisdiction over more than the one for Under the latter head, may be classed not only the tieth part of the habitable earth. France expended treaties with Sweden towards the end of the revomuch in the cause, but she expected too great a re- lutionary war, and with Prussia soon after the ward, and was disappointed. 'Spain presented, at definitive peace with Great Britain, but also that an early hour, her claims to a large share of terri- entered into between the United States and the tory, within the bounds which the colonies consid- Stales General of the Dutch republic, already ered as theirs by right of conquest and succession. noticed. France claimed the fisheries as her own. In brief, We may here remark to its honour, that the if we revert to the proper source, the human heart, United Provinces of the Netherlands, was the se. we are at no loss to account for the readiness of the cond state of Europe to acknowledge the indepenAmerican commissioners to meet the advances of dent existence of the United States of North Great Britain, as soon as the latter had conceded America. national independence. The connexion between Sweden followed the United provinces of the the colonies and the parent state was natural, whilst Netherlands in order of time, in entering into an alliance of the former with France or Spain amicable stipulations by treaty. On the 3d of April could arise only from a combination of recent cir- 1783, Benjamin Franklin on the part of the United cumstances, and could not survive the momentary States, and Philip de Creutz on that of Sweden, causes of production.
negotiated and signed at Paris a treaty of amity In one essential principle of this great event, all and commerce. This instrument was duly ratified Europe was deceived. That was, the real views of by congress on the 29th of July 1783; of course it the people of the United States. These views, preceded the definitive treaty of peace with Great vague it is most probable in 1775, became more Britain. clear as the struggle proceeded. We may even say The first commercial treaty with Sweden being that in the first instance very few persons in the for twelve years, expired on the 29th of July 1798. United States regarded independence as the inevi. Though the relations were in most cases amicable table result of an appeal to arms. The whole war between the nations, there existed no formal treaty and its results were new to the world, though, between them from 1798, until 1816. In the latter when the local positions are taken into view in con year, Jonathan Russell, on the part of the United nexion with the moral and political features of the States, and counts d'Engerstroem and A. G. de parties, few if any other series of great events ever Morner, on that of Sweden, signed at Stockholm a flowed more naturally from causes to effects. treaty of amity and commerce, which was ratified
But of all the causes which operated in favour by congress the 25th of September 1818. In of the North American colonies in their revolu- force for eight years, of course it expired in 1826. tionary struggle, the opinion almost universal in The existing treaty of commerce and navigation Europe of their weakness, and the uncertain tenure between the United States and Sweden, was negoof their confederacy, did them most service. The tiated in 1827, at Stockholm, by J. J. Appleton idea of easy victory infatuated the councils of Great on the part of the United States, and on the part of Britain; and an expectation, that release from de. Sweden by Count de Wetterstedt. The latter, bependence on Great Britain, must be followed by ing for twelve years, will expire in 1839. dependence on France, had no small share in Prussia, at the comniencement and throughout drawing the latter into the contest. A dissolution the revolutionary war, from the personal character of the United States has not yet ceased to give day of her monarch, held a rank amongst nations far dreams to European politicians; reveries, which, above what, in ordinary cases, her relative physical unless the stream of cvents changes its course, will force would have enabled her to assume. Mr Ly.
Lyman's Diplomacy, vol. i. page 115.
man has stepped a little out of his way, to tell us, that aggrandizement which they each expected to that, “ This monarchy sprung, to speak justly, from receive from the colonial struggle. an entrenched camp,” and we may be permitted to Influenced by conflicting views, Spain was slow depart for a moment from our subject to remark, and reluctant in receiving the advances of the that the very same expressions would apply equally United States, though aided by the good offices of well to every nation of Europe. They have all had France. The acting of a double part produced its a military origin, but we notice the subject here, to natural consequence; and Great Britain returning, correct a common error as regards the origin of what she was pleased to regard aggression, by reboth Russia and Prussia. These nations arose, it is prisal, Spain was driven to declare war in June true, from entrenched camps, but these camps were
Allied now with France in a common war pitched as far back as those of even Great Britain with their formidable rival, the natural course, and or France. It would be just as correct to say, that what was generally expected from Spain, was a rethe United States of North America sprung from cognition of the independence of the United States; the entrenchments raised in the revolution, as to but the event disappointed general calculation. say that Prussia or Russia rose in the respective That their independence would be acknowledged reigns of Frederic I. or Peter I. In each of these by Spain without delay, was the expectation of the cases, a great era in national history has been mis.
American congress, and is evident from the date of taken for its commencement.
Mr Jay's commission as minister plenipotentiary to In 1775, when the war of the revolution opened, Madrid, which was made out in September 1779. we have already shown that the monarch of Prussia Enough, however, was known of the views and saw and comprehended the true nature of the dis claims of Spain on the territory which was to be pute; but with a prudence which we ought to coin- comprised in the United States, to induce Congress mend, from its perfect accordance with our own to modify their instructions to the ambassador acpolicy, he avoided all interference beyond his own cordingly, and he was instructed to guaranty the opinion, which, strange as it may appear, was in two Floridas to Spain, on condition that the free variably given in favour of the British colonies. navigation of the Mississippi should be secured to Yet, with all these private feelings, no public act of the United States. the Prussian king gave countenance to the United Mr Jay, contrary to his own expectations and States, until 1785.
those of his country, was not formally received in Spain, next to Great Britain, was the nation of Spain, where he arrived early in 1780. On the Europe with whom the most perplexing subjects of principles of her steady policy from the commencenegotiation arose, not only during, but subsequent ment of her colonization in America, the possession to the revolutionary war. When the contest as. of Florida, indeed of Louisiana, was valueless to sumed a serious aspect, and still more, when an Spain, unless the Mississippi could be closed against entire separation of the British North American foreign commerce. colonies from the parent state was made a condition From 1779, the question of southern and western of peace by the colonies, Spain, like France, under- boundary was of much higher importance to the rated the strength, mistook the sentiments, and United States, than was that of independence. The expected to benefit itself from the weakness of the latter, every man of sound unprejudiced mind conconfederacy. From 1761, France and Spain might sidered as settled. Great Britain, when independbe virtually called one monarchy under two branches ence was once conceded, regarded the boundary as of the same family; but, by a singular fatality, the of but minor moment after it quit the border of Bourbon monarchs of both nations, were negative, Canada; Spain, on the contrary, seized the occasion if not imbecile men, and of course their policy was to extend her claim of limits to the Ohio, and founded on no fixed principles. The court of Spain made no concealment of her pretensions. Count was grasping and ambitious, whilst notoriously de. d'Aranda, the Spanish ambassador in France, ficient in those talents which.could give force to its traced lines of demarcation on Michel's map, which claims. Under all the other circumstances of their left the Ohio at the mouth of the Great Kenhawa, situation, the United States derived infinitely more and thence to and around the western shores of advantage from the alliance of France, and the lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior. These rivalry between Spain and Great Britain, than could claims, early in 1780, were communicated by the have been received if the two continental nations French ministry to congress, and were “the exhad been directed by men capable of bringing their clusive navigation of the Mississippi, the possession disposable force into action. Spain and France of the Floridas, and the lands on the left bank of were both at the time rich and powerful, but they the Mississippi."* were inert. Hatred and distrust of Great Britain, These claims were not made to cover any ulteriorprevalent on continental Europe, constituted a pas- object. They were the expression of a policy, which sion in France and Spain; but, infatuated as was more genius, united with its actual meays, could British policy in regard to the North American have rendered fatal to the best interests of the new colonies, still Great Britain acted with an energy, confederacy; as, to its very existence, the left bank which, with all her blunders, circumvented her of the Mississippi was requisite. The boundaries Bourbon rivals, and prevented them from deriving afterwards recognised and stated in the definitive
* Lyman's Diplomacy, vol. i. page 122.
treaty between Great Britain and the United States, the express subject of which we are now treating. were pointed out by congress in 1779; and their From the strain of that memoir, there is strong promulgation operated to prevent Spain from fol reason to believe that Count Vergennes was greatly lowing the part of France; and on the 23d of Sep- instrumental in upholding the Spanish claims. The tember, 1780, in an interview between Mr Jay memoir of the French minister, would seem to ex. and Count Florida Blanca, “ the count said with plain the object of the secret conferences of himself warmth, that unless Spain could exclude all nations and the Spanish ambassador, Count d'Aranda, at from the Gulf of Mexico, they might as well admit the time of the signing of the preliminary treaty beall: that the king would never relinquish that ob tween the United States and Great Britain.I ject; that the ministry regarded it as the principal Had men of talents guided the governments of thing to be obtained by the war; and, that obtained, France and Spain at the close of the American war, he should be easy, whether Spain obtained other a singular change of affairs would have been incessions or not. The acquisition was much more evitable; that is, an alliance between the United important than that of Gibraltar."*
States and Great Britain, to counteract one of conIt is in discussing the history of this section of quest in America between France and Spain. As its diplomacy, that we hear the first murmurs of matters eventuated, the United States closed the domestic rivalry between the two extremes of the war successfully, without having had an openly United States. The author of a proposal to accede accredited agent in Spain, or having received one to the claims of Spain, has been, we may say, idly from that kingdom. sought for, as, if the following statement is founded By the treaty of 1783, Great Britain asserted her on fact, and we have no rational basis of doubt, own previous right to the sovereignty of the conti. there must have existed a party willing to restrict nent of North America, from the Atlantic ocean to the western boundary of the United States.
the Mississippi, by inserting the latter great river “ Mr Jay was not accredited; and it was not until as the western boundary of the new republic. Spain he had been ten months at Madrid, that he obtained disputed the right of the parent state; of course, a formal, serious conference on the subject of a the legality of the boundary granted to the United ' treaty; a very remarkable circumstance, as Spain States, and what may, indeed, excite some wonder, had now been engaged in the war more than two the claims of Spain, met powerful support in the years.
But no propositions were even then made United States, long after the revolution was con. by the Spanish government. In September 1781, summated; and had Spain been consistent in her Mr Jay submitted the following, among many other plans, and confined in her ambition to attainable stipulations for a treaty, which we notice only on objects, the consequences must have been serious to account of the extremely valuable privilege and the United States; but, presuming too far, and conright which it was proposed to abandon. This was senting to no proposal offered, time advanced, and done by order of congress, perhaps, as events have the feeble confederation was superseded by the shown, the most disastrous, fatal proposition ever existing form of government. Nations negotiate made by this country: “ The United States shall when too weak to enforce their pretensions by relinquish to his catholic majesty, and in future for arms; and it was evident to a few, that unless prebear to use, or attempt to use, the navigation of the vented by the former mode, the United States Mississippi, from the 31st degree of north latitude, would, in the end, open the free navigation of the that is, from the point where it leaves the United Mississippi by the latter; and yet, in defiance of all States, down to the ocean.”+
foresight, Spain persisted. We are now ready to exclaim, can these things The establishment of the federal and general have been? They were amongst the apparent in government over the United States, and the openconsistencies of the times; yet the offer and refusal ing of the French revolution, were nearly coeval were natural results of the respective situation and events. Spain became involved in var with France views of the parties. To shut the Gulf of Mexico in 1793; and the government of the former country against foreign commerce, according to the open saved the kingdom from conquest only by the treaty avowal of Count Florida Blanca, was, “ the princi- of Basle, in July 1795. By a singular coincidence pal thing to be obtained by the war.” An exclusion of circumstances, France in this instance conquered of the United States only as far as the influx of Red for the United States, as well as for herself; and River into the Mississippi, was too little for Spain. the long protracted negotiation between Spain and It would be to suppose the Spanish statesmen blind, our ministers, was terminated on the 27th day of if they had been held as regardless of the conse October 1795, by the treaty of San Lorenzo el quences of admitting willingly, a republican popula. Real; the negotiator, on the part of the United tion to approach Louisiana, Texas, and Mexico. States, being Thomas Pinckney, and on that of If the court of Madrid had been so little aware of Spain, Manuel Godoy, Prince of Peace. consequences, Vergennes, the French minister, was The treaty of San Lorenzo el Real was ratified ready to awaken them to their danger. The writer by the congress of the United States on the 3d of of this article brought from Louisiana, and de- March 1796, and marked an important era in the posited in the library of the Philosophical Society, history of our country. Numerous extraneous Philadelphia, a very scarce production even in stipulations entered into this treaty, but those artiEurope; it is the Memoir of Count Vergennes, on cles relating to boundaries were the only stipula
* Lyman's Diplomacy, vol. i. page 216.
† Ibid. page 219.
Ibid. pages 121-124, 248.
tions of primary importance. The boundaries thus “Each party is to furnish a commissioner and surformed have ceased to be national; but we quote veyor, to meet at Natchez, within six months after part of two articles, as they serve to explain in ratification, to run the boundary line, make plans, some measure that intricate part of our history. keep journals, &c."
« Art. 2.-The southern boundary of the United In virtue of this article, the United States apStates, which divides their territories from the pointed as commissioner on their part, Andrew Spanish colonies of East and. West Florida, shall Ellicott, who arrived at Natchez on the 24th of be designated by a line beginning on the river February 1797, and on the same day notified his Mississippi, at the northernmost part of the thirty. arrival and commission to the Spanish governor first degree of latitude north of the equator, which by the following note: from thence shall be drawn due east to the middle
"Sir,- It is with pleasure that I announce to you of the river Appalachicola, or Chattahooche, thence along the middle thereof to its junction with the my arrival as commissioner on behalf of the United Flint; thence straight to the head of St. Mary's States, for carrying into effect the third article of
the treaty lately concluded between the said United river, and thence down the middle thereof to the
States and his Catholic Majesty. Atlantic ocean."
" I wish to be informed when it will be conve. "Art. 4.—It is likewise agreed, that the western boundary of the United States, which separates
nient to your Excellency to receive my credentials. them from the Spanish colony of Louisiana, is in
“I am, sir, with due respect, your humble servant,
" ANDREW ELLICOTT. the middle of the channel, or bed of the river
“ His Excellency, Manuel Gayoso de Lemos.”+ Mississippi, from the northern boundary of the said states, to the completion of the 31st degree of lati
To this communication, a not very polite note tude north from the equator. And his catholic was returned, and neither day nor place was named majesty has likewise agreed, that the navigation of to receive the credentials of the United States' said river, in its whole breadth from its source to commissioner; who, on the 27th, addressed himthe ocean, shall be free only to his subjects and the self directly to the governor general of Louisiana, citizens of the United States, unless he should ex the Baron de Carondelet, at the city of New Ortend this privilege to the subjects of other powers leans, and hoisted the colours of the United States by special convention."
at his cantonment in sight of the governor's house. « Art. 22.-And in consequence of the stipula- . Mr. Ellicott makes the following statement, in tions contained in the fourth article, his catholic page 44 of his Journal, and in a subjoined note majesty will permit the citizens of the United observes, " The original letter has been in my States, for the space of three years from this time, hands." to deposite their merchandises and effects in the port “ Before we encamped (at Natchez) the followof New Orleans, and to export them from thence ing intelligence was communicated to me through without paying any other duty, than a fair price for confidential channels. First, that in September the hire of the stores; and his majesty, promises, previous to my arrival in that country, the Baron either to continue this permission, if he finds during de Carondelet, in a private conversation, declared that time, that it is not prejudicial to the interests that the treaty would not be carried into effect; of Spain; or if he should not agree to continue it that he, as principal commissioner, should evade there, he will assign them, on another part of the or delay, from one pretence or other, the combanks of the Mississippi, an equivalent establish- mencement of the operations. . ment."
" Secondly, that a letter had been written, bearIt must have been obvious to every reflecting ing date June 16th, 1796, by governor Gayoso, to person, on the mere reading of the treaty of San a confidential friend, stating, that the treaty was Lorenzo el Real, that, though it fixed the southern not intended to be carried into effect, and that deand western boundaries of the United States, the lay on their part would reduce it to a dead letter. real difficulties between the two governments were * And thirdly, that the country either was, or rendered greatly more intricate. In a commercial would be ceded to the republic of France !" point of view, the people of the United States were From the subsequent advance of the negotiaplaced in a much worse situation than they were tions between the agents of the United States and before its ratification. The king of Spain was now those of Spain, the correctness of Mr. Ellicott's authorised by a solemn treaty to open the naviga- previous information was confirmed. Every obtion of the Mississippi to Great Britain or any stacle, short of armed resistance, was opposed to other nation; and the right of deposit at New the execution of the treaty. If we revert to the Orleans, was made a contingency, depending on former intrigues at Paris, when the preliminary royal caprice. In fine, the acquisition of Louisiana, treaty of peace was signed between the United or the loss of their immense possessions beyond the States and Great Britain, we were at little loss to spine of the Appalachian mountains, were presented account for the impediments intentionally placed as alternatives to the people of the United States. in the way of fulfilling the conditions of the treaty Nothing but embarrassment could be expected from of San Lorenzo el Real. such a treaty; and nothing but increasing vexations The southern boundary, along N. Lat. 31°, and were its fruits. By Art. 3 it was stipulated that thence by the rivers Chattahooche and St. Mary's,
* Lyman's Diplomacy, vol. i. page 253. VOL. XVIII.- PART I.
| Ellicott's Journal, pages 41, 42.