페이지 이미지

country, especially by those who desired to find fault with the Administration, and here it was claimed that it gave entirely too much to Spain. These utterly diverse views in the two countries were not likely to be harmonized, and, as time passed, there became quite a general indifference in the United States as to whether Spain ratified that treaty or not. It now began to be argued that the proper way to get possession of Florida was to take it by force, and this view of the case was not without some degree of popularity, even Mr. Adams not being unfavorable to it. But a change of affairs in Spain revived a better inclination to adjust the long-standing differences with this country. De Onis was recalled and a new envoy sent in his place. A serious flaw had, however, been found in the treaty, and for which Mr. Adams was systematically censured. Very considerable grants of land in Florida had been made by the Spanish king to three of his "noble" subjects, and it was discovered that some of these titles were not annulled, still holding good under the treaty. Mr. Adams was, of course, fully under the impression that these grants were embraced in the treaty, but deeply blamed himself for the oversight. He at once took steps to have the error corrected, but Don Onis was a Spaniard, and although he knew that it was perfectly well understood that all Spanish titles of every kind in his government and its citizens were to disappear under the treaty, he now quibbled and held to the advantage he had acquired. This sort of diplomacy was disgusting to Mr. Adams, and he was not long in making the fact known to Hyde de Neuville, the French envoy, who had been a very valuable go-between in the entire negotiations, a man for whom Mr. Adams entertained warmer and higher sentiments of esteem than he did for any other foreign minister to this country.

General Vives, the successor of Don Onis, made some attempts to have the treaty modified in favor of his country, but Mr. Adams conducted himself with indifference and coldness, and at last seeing that nothing more could be done, Spain ratified the treaty as signed by Mr. Adams and Don Onis, and providing for the annulling of the objectionable land titles which had been overlooked. The ratification in this country had expired by time, and the treaty again went to the Senate. Mr. Clay, who was making it his business to form and lead an opposition to the Administration, presented resolutions in the House condemning the treaty, and twenty or thirty members voted for his resolutions.

But on the 22d of February, 1821, just two years after the treaty was signed by the two ministers, the Senate re-ratified it, only four votes being cast in opposition. So at last this great work of Mr. Adams's was fully and satisfactorily accomplished, and Florida was ours. Whether this treaty was the best attainable may be a matter of doubt. The country was generally satisfied with it, and the mischances of the future no man could certainly fathom. The omission of Texas caused many a bitter political struggle, and gave its final page to history in the brief, bloody, and costly contest from Palo Alto to the City of Mexico. CHAPTER XI.


HOWEVER formal and temperless may seem the greater part of the written diplomatic history of a nation, the real facts are often quite different. The scenes behind the curtain are stormy and undignified to the last extreme, in many cases. Mr. Adams's temper was fully displayed at Ghent in dealing with both his colleagues and the British commissioners, and in some elements appearing requisite and admirable in a wise and safe diplomate, he seemed deficient. However well the exhibition of ill-temper may operate at times, it would appear in exceedingly bad taste to speak in favor of such a thing. The moral effects of bluster and anger are at least questionable, and their employment in diplomatic intercourse relating to the affairs of nations is rather a matter of regret and reprehension than of praise. Never in this country, perhaps, was there more ill-temper shown in this branch of affairs than between Mr. Adams and the British Minister, Stratford Canning, the latter gaining the palm for violent outbursts and the habitual display of choler in his official dealings with our stiff Secretary of State. Most of the remaining old issues between the two countries, and other matters of any importance were discussed by them from time to time, but it was about all they could do to preserve the general amicable tone of our relations. Mr. Canning persistently pressed British views as to the African slave-trade. But he and Mr. Adams could not reach any satisfactory conclusion. The American Administration was not averse to meeting England fully and fairly at all times for the suppression of this crime, but in dealing with that power she always displayed great "nervousness" on two points. These were the matter of foreign alliances for any purpose, and the giving of any kind of color of tolerance to the British claim of right to search American vessels.

Mr. Rush was more fortunate in England about this slave-trade business than it seemed at all possible for Mr. Adams to be at home with-a fiery character like Mr. Canning. But Mr. Rush's treaty touched too unmistakably the delicate points above mentioned, and it consequently failed of ratification. In 1823 Stratford Canning withdrew from the post in which he had been successful only in maintaining the stubborn and proud pretensions of his government; and in Mr. Adams's numerous and often angry contests with him there is little to be found to excite admiration or special remark unless it may be in the equally arrogant style with which he met and not unfrequently overcame the irate and arrogant Briton. Canning was in the habit, in his spasms of temper of considering that Mr. Adams treated him as a boy, and in that temper he displayed the magnanimity of telling Mr. Adams that he should always preserve his respect for experience and age, a compliment which was received in the humor in which it was given. Mr. Adams got many a smarting thrust from this spirited Englishman which he did not soon forget. Of him he wrote in the Diary:—

"I shall probably see him no more. He is a proud, hightempered Englishman, of good but not extraordinary parts; stubborn and punctilious, with a disposition to be overbearing, which I have often been compelled to check in its own way. He is, of all foreign ministers with whom I have had occasion to treat, the man who has most severely tried my temper. Yet he has been long in the diplomatic career, and treated with governments .of the most opposite characters. He has, however, a great respect for his word, and there is nothing false about him. Mr. Canning is a man of forms, studious of courtesy, and tenacious of private morals. As a diplomatic man, his great want is suppleness, and his great virtue is sincerity."

How much of this description could this able and unswerving Englishman not have applied to the "diplomatic man" who, perhaps, gave him more vexation than all others with whom he had been obliged to treat, the unbending but sincere Mr. Adams?

In 1823, De Neuville also returned to Europe. He was passionately devoted to the Bourbons in France, and during the so-called republic and in the times of Napoleon he fled from his home. For several years at that time he had resided in this country, making a living by what was called the practice of medicine. There is the widest possibility that this was arrant quackery, however inconsistent such a thing may have been with the estimation in which he was held by Mr. Adams and President Monroe, and his honorable conduct as the representative of France at Washington.

No other foreign minister had ever so favorably

« 이전계속 »