« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
rant for directing the dislodgement of the Insurgent Commodore Aury from Amelia Island, an apology necessary for that apparent stretch of power in the American executive.
Prepared with this sanction, and holding in the utmost contempt the means of retaliation in the power of Spain, we cannot doubt of the disposition of the United States government coercively to possess the territory which has been denied to their entreaty. But this permission to invade the Floridas, ample as it is for its object, may not now the affairs of Europe have assumed a new character, be deemed by the President sufficient to warrant an exposure of the Union to the chances of hostilities, without the reconsideration and renewed authority of Congress. As that body will not meet before the 6th of December, sufficient time will be allowed to the Washington cabinet, to enquire how far they are likely upon this question to be compromised in their political relations with the powers of the European continent; and to ascertain the extent of their financial resources and their adequacy to the purposes of warfare.
The secret act and resolution of Congress alluded to, was passed when the ambitious strides of Buonaparte were rapid and successful; when the sovereigns of the continent held their crowns by his permission. The American legislature did not contemplate that his folly and infatuation would enable the European powers to triumph in their turn, and subdue the gigantic influence of the modern Attila, nor did they imagine that such discordant elements as those presented by his enemies, could be so combined in peace and concord, in the union of measures forming the basis of the treaty denominated the Holy alliance. Judging from their previous vaccilations, their jealousies and repeated apostacies, no such expectation could have been formed, and we may hail their amalgamation as a new era in the political world, pregnant however with the germs of selfdestruction,
To this treaty of alliance the king of Spain was subsequently admitted as a party, and it is probable that on his accession, the Allied Sovereigns did not anticipate that circumstances would so soon arise in which they might be involved by its provisions with the transatlantic republic. It is generally understood that they are pledged to maintain the integrity of each others' territory, and that this pledge is not merely confined to the European continent.
The claims of the United States upon Spain, which are urged with such clamorous impatience, are for spoliations committed in her ports upon the commerce of the Union, since the year 1796, amounting to eight millions of dollars, against which the Spauish government bave established a set off of three inillions, for depredations of a similar character.committed by the Americans on the property of Spanish subjects, thereby reducing the net amount of their demand to five millions. It must be recollected that those violations of American property in Spanish ports were principally committed by the French, while Spain bowed to the dictation of the Emperor Napoleon, while ber monarch held merely the shadow of a sceptre and his ports were occupied by the navies of his enterprising neighbour. Instead of making reclamation of France for those injuries on their commerce, instead of resenting the insults they were daily receiving from her despotic sovereign, and withdrawing from the mortifying situation in which he placed their minister, when he declared the Anierican government "the most despicable under Heaven,., the Voited States permitted their representative to remain near the Court of St. Cloud, and to follow the fortunes of the falling chieftain, even to the walls of Moscow, in which perilous expedition Mr. Joel Barlow - sacrificed existence, yet, now they have to contend with a weak and powerless opponent, beggared, in finances, and distracted by internal commotions, the American government evinces extraordinary sensibility, and ássymes, a loftier. tone, asserting in a recent correspondence that “ the rights of the United States can as little compound with impotence as with perfidy !”
1 It is reported, but the assertion is extremely suspicious, that Mr. Forsyth the special minister from the United States to Madrid, on the subject of the Florida treaty, drew from our Ambassador at that Court, Sir Henry Wellesley, a declaration that he was not directed by the British government to interfere in the Florida pegotiation, and that he was not authorised even to express our disapprobation of the cession of those provinces, a question equally inconsistent with diplomatic delicacy to ask, as with diplomatic policy to answer. England is certainly from her maritime character, above all other powers, the most interested in this question, and we cannot suppose our ministers can look upon
this momentous negotiation with indifference, or be inclined gratuitously to avow their course of policy, and thus by a premature disclosure, paralise their future measures.
The American Secretary of State, Mr. Adams, appears to have considered the transfer of the Floridas in the petty spirit of a tradesman, rather than with the extensive views and liberal feelings of a negotiator for a principality; in his correspondence with the Spanish Minister, he demanded the abrogation of all grants made in those provinces by the king of Spain, subsequent to the year 1802, and the excuse offered for this infamous proposal to violate the rights of individuals, was, that in that year, the subject of the cession of the Floridas had been agitated by the two governments. This disgraceful stipulation was proposed when the United States were about to acquire a territory containing several thousand square miles, the most valuable harbours, millions of unappropriated acres, and the sovereignty of two frontier states of the last importance to their influence and security, for a claim too of doubtful justice amounting to the small sum of five millions of dollars! the Chevalier D'Onis however in his reply, indignantly spurned this proposal, as alike offensive to the character of his sovereign to receive, and dishonorable in the American Secretary to offer.
We are told that the arrival of the Hornet at New York froni Cadiz, with dispatches to the United States government, stating the probable issue of the negotiation, excited the utmost surprise and indignation in the American people, who have 'lately adopted the sic volo sic jubed in their language towards Spain, and were astonished at her daring to oppose a' refusal to their fiat. That vain people did not for a moment suspect that Spain had sufficient courage to bazard a rupture with an opponent so formidable! the consultations of the Washington Dictators were long and frequent, and the result has been that the Hornet again directs her course to the shores of Andalusia, pregnant doubtless with the fate of the Spanish monarchy!
Time will manifest the policy we may adopt, but I cannot believe that we shall permit the acquiescence of the Spanish monarci in the claims of the North American Union, without demanding from the Court of Madrid the cession of the island of Cuba. The only adequate indemnity they have to offer, and the only security we can acquire, to counteraet the effect of the cession of the Floridas.lt
Should the American government, inflated by their partial successes in the last war with Great Britain, determine upon taking violent possession of the Floridas, Spain must, however reluctantly, resent the insult, and call upon her allies for assistance against the common enemy of their" Alliance, and we shall not I presunrey refuse the summons : we have already a subject of deep interest to discuss with the United States, the unexpiated murder of Arbuthnot and Ambrister, which, notwithstanding the feeble eftorts of the administration to palliate, in opposition to the manly and indignant feelings expressed in the motion of the Marquis of Lansdowne, remains a foul charge against the American character, and an insult to our own.
The cession of the Floridas by Spain to the United States of America, although it has occasionally elicited the political speculations of some of our diurnal publications, does not appear to have excited that feeling of general dismay and apprehension, one would have imagined, coupled with the transfer of a territory, peculiarly circunstanced to wound our prominent interest, to the controut of
the most active and enterprising of our commercial rivals, whose strides towards universal empire on the Continent of America, have been more rapid and successful than the examples of any nation in the older Continent of Europe, and whe threatens, with fatal presage, at no remote period, successfully to dispute our dominion on the Ocean.
The distance of the Floridas from Europe, the general ignorance of Europeans respecting these important Provinces, and the peculiar circumstances which give to them a high degree of local influence, together with a disposition in this country too lightly to estimate the progress towards power in the United States, have conspired to repress, or to disarm, that spirit of jealousy which is ever on the watch to guard against the changes of European policy: few are either aware of the consequences this cession involves, or disposed to question how far its« injurious influence may be counteracted by Great Britain, whose commercial and maritime pre-eminence must recede with the advance of the American Union.
Led to the investigation of this momentous cession by a variety of circumstances, and intimately acquainted with the character of the Floridas, from personal observation, and information derived from the most authentic sources, I have presumed to question the policy of Great Britain, in permitting the cession to proceed without demanding from Spain the Island of Cuba, the onlyi équivalent in her power to offer for our security, against the ambitious projects of the United States. In order to illustrate this subject, it will be necessary to establish the local consequence of the Floridas to the North American Union, and to demonstrate the ascendency that nation will acquire by this cession over the commerce of the Gulph of Mexico, pregnant with serious danger to the maritime interests of Europe.
That the acquisition of the Floridas will consolidate and strengthen the North American Union, by uniting the destinies of the Western and Atlantic States, rendering the former dependent upon the control of the latter, while the trade of the Gulph of Mexico, and of our Island of Jamaica, will be exposed in the event of a war with the Union, to certain destruction, is a proposition I conceive too evident to be questioned.
In order to sustain the opinion advanced respecting the consolidation of the American Union, by the annexation of the Floridas, the reader is referred to the geographical character of the United States, and the relative positions of their Atlantic and, Western Divisions. 1.
The Aleghany and Apalachean chain of mountains running from the borders of the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario, to the Gulph
of Mexico, along the western extremities of the Atlantic States of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, present a natural separation to those States situated on the banks of the Mississippi and the Ohio, while the British Provinces of the Canadas on the north, and the Spanish territories of the Floridas on the south, appear destined to support the integrity of this division.
Nature---as if it were in the ordination of Providence to designate to mankind the limits of their political Union has rendered the independence of the Western States more easily attainable, by creating for them those immense rivers the Missouri, the Ohio, and Mississippi, with the smaller ones of the Tombigbee, Alabama, and others, for the purpose of transporting their abundant produce to the sea of the Gulph of Mexicu, through the entrepots of New Orleans, Mobile, &c. while she opposes to their intercourse with the Atlantic States, those formidable barriers the Aleghany and Apalachean mountains.
Referring to the map of the United States and of the Floridas, it will be seen that the confines of Georgia, the southern boundary of the Union, are situated in lat. 30. 40. N. and are separated from the northern frontier of East Florida, by the river St. Mary's, the swamp of Okeyfenokey and extensive pine woods ; this latter Province then takes a southerly direction stretching into the Gulph of Mexico to the 25. of lat. a long and narrow Peninsula, in its broadest part scarcely exceeding one hundred and forty miles, wbile the Province of West Florida, skirting the territory of Alabama, to the Pearl river, presents a line of coast extending two hundred and fifty miles west upon the Gulph of Mexico (including that part claimed and occupied by the United States, as comprised in the cession of Louisiana), containing several extensive bays and harbours. .: Let us now turn to the contemplation of that phenomenon the Galph-stream. - Without philosophically investigating the cause to which it owes existence, it will be sufficient for our present purpose to adopt the supposition that the currents of air arising in the Southern Ocean (generally prevailing from the south-east), passiog over the vast desarts of Africa, collect in their progress accessions of strength, and press with their accumulated force upon the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, driving in an oblique direction, along the coasts of South America and the Brazils, an immense volume of water, which passing round the mouths of the river Oronoco, rushes along the shores of the Spanish Main, Terra Firma, the Isthmus of Darien, and the Bay of Honduras, to the Gulph of Mexico, augmented in this progress by the waters of many tributary streams. From the southern shores of the Gulph it advances to