« ZurückWeiter »
public. We have heard nothing from this gentleman since the answer to his request of a passport for his secretary.
In order to explain our public affairs to the States, and to urge the necessity of complying with the requisitions of Congress, we have determined to depute two members to visit the Eastern States, and two the Southern. The first are Root and Montgomery; the others, Rutledge and Clymer. I put this in cypher, because secrecy has been enjoined by Congress. The deputation will probably set off in a few days.22
I find that the Minister of France has been informed, by some correspondent in Virginia, that the late intelligence from Britain has produced very unfavorable symptoms in a large party. He seems not a little discomposed at it. The honor of the State concurred with my own persuasion in dictating a consolatory answer to him. For this reason, as well as for others, I think it would be expedient for the Legislature to enter into an unanimous declaration on this point. Other States are doing this, and such a mode of announcing the sense of the people may be regarded as more authentic than a declaration from Congress. The best form, I conceive, will be that of an instruction to the Delegates. Do not fail to supply me with accurate and full information on the whole subject of this paragraph.
A letter from Dr. Franklin, of thirtieth of March, enclosing a copy of one to him from Mr. Adams, at the Hague, was laid before Congress subsequently to writing the above. By these, it appears not only that an essay has been made on the fidelity of France to the alliance, but that the pulse of America has been at the same time separately felt through each of those Ministers. They both speak with becoming indignation on the subject, attest the firmness of our ally, and recommend decisive efforts for expelling the enemy from our country. Mr. Adams says, 'ten or eleven cities of Holland have declared themselves in favor of American Independence, and it is expected that to-day or to-morrow this Province will take the decisive resolution of admitting me to my audience. Perhaps some of the other Provinces may delay it for three or four weeks, but the Prince has declared that he has no hopes of resisting the torrent, and, therefore, that he shall not attempt it. The Duke de la Vauguyon has acted a very friendly and honorable part in this business, without, however, doing any ministerial act in it.” What was said above of Friesland came from Mr. Barclay, the Consul. Mr. Adams says nothing of that Province, although his letter is of later date.
The Secretary of War has just given notice to Congress, that the Department of Finance is unable to supply the essential means of opening the campaign. This shocks, rather than surprises, us. It will be one article in the communications of the deputies above mentioned, and adds force to the expediency of their mission.”
The denial to Congress of the right of granting flags is singular indeed. May not the power of Congress to agree to a truce be contested on the same grounds? The former is a partial truce, and if the silence of the Confederation reserves it to the States, the same silence reserves the latter. Admitting that
Congress had the right of granting flags, was it not exercised to the advantage of Virginia in procuring a vent to her staple, and stopping the exportation of her specie ?
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
Philadelphia, May 29, 1782. DEAR SIR,
I wrote you yesterday morning by the post, fully and in cypher. · As I am told, however, the bearer will probably be in Richmond before the post, it may not be amiss to repeat to you that we have heard nothing from Carleton since our refusal of the passport to his secretary, and that we have authentic information from Europe, that insidious attempts have been made both on Doctor Franklin and Mr. Adams, by British emissaries, as well as tempting overtures employed to divide our ally from us. These machinations have served no other end than to expose the meanness and impotence of our enemy, and to supply fresh proofs of the indissoluble nature of the alliance. Mr. Adams begins to advance with considerable speed towards the object of his mission in Holland.
The action in the West Indies is still wrapt up in darkness. The enclosed paper contains a specimen of the obscure and contradictory advices which have alternately excited our hopes and our apprehensions.
A copy of sundry resolutions of the House of Delegates, touching the exportation of tobacco in the flags, was laid before Congress yesterday by the
Superintendent of Finance, and referred to a committee. On a review of the doctrine of the ninth Article of Confederation, I believe, the right of the State to prohibit in the present case the exportation of her produce cannot be controverted. The States seem to have reserved at least a right to subject foreigners to the same imposts and prohibitions as their own citizens; and the citizens of Virginia are at present prohibited from such an exportation as is granted in favor of the British merchants. This is a very interesting point, and unless the division line between the authority of Congress and the States be properly ascertained, every foreign treaty may be a source of internal as well as foreign controversy. You will call to mind one now in negotiation, which may be affected by-the construction of this clause in the Confederation. Congress have no authority to enter into any convention with a friendly power which would abridge such a right. They cannot have a greater authority with respect to a hostile power. On the other side, it is equally clear, that the State has no authority to grant flags for the exportation of its produce to the enemy. Armed vessels would not respect them, nor would they be more respected in the Courts of Admiralty. Unless Congress and the State, therefore, act in concert, no tobacco can be remitted to New York, and a further drain of specie must ensue. When the matter was first opened in Congress, the impression was unfavorable to the right of the States, and pretty free strictures were likely to be made on its opposition to the constitutional power of Congress. It became necessary, therefore, to recur to the law and the testimony, which produced an
acquiescence in the contrary doctrine. Their sentiments, however, with regard to the policy and consistency of the resolutions, are very different. The last resolution in particular, compared with the preliminary doctrines, produces animadversions, which I need not recite to you. There are several reasons which make me regret much this variation between Congress and Virginia, of which a material one is that a great personage will be touched by it, since it originates in his act; and, since a conference between a committee and him and the Superintendent, he concurred in the expediency of granting the passports.
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
Philadelphia, June 4, 1782. DEAR SIR, .
According to your request, I send an authenticated extract from the Journals of the vote of Congress on the clause which interdicts British manufactures. It has, however, been for some time in print, and will probably be at Richmond before you receive the manuscript copy. The arguments urged against the measure appear to me in the same light in which you describe them. The policy of Great Britain in the capture of St. Eustatia has been constantly reprobated by some of the wisest statesmen. But whatever her policy might at that period be, it is manifest that a very different one is now pursued. British goods are issued from the enemy's line with greater industry than they have ever been, and, as is