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on us, one single article of which, viz. the fulfilment of a part of the stipulations of the treaty of alliance, was estimated by our government, as worth a subsidy of two hundred thousand dollars per annum. This being the estimate of the paying party, it may well be supposed that France, the receiving party, would have estimated it much higher.
The truth is, if it be allowed that the claims mutually offsetting each other were of equal value, the claim of our citizens, so far from being worthless, was of immense importance. It would have been impossible to negotiate a Convention with France, on the basis of the old treaty. So much was the state of the world changed since 1778, that the old treaty could not have been enforced strictly, without dragging us into a war with England; nor could that treaty have been left in the situation in which it was placed by the acts of Congress of 1798, without bringing on a real war with Napoleon. A war with Napoleon, at that time, would have been, in human probability, most injurious to this country. It would have yoked us in a disastrous alliance with England, would have prevented our acquisition of Louisiana, and probably thrown it into the possession of the British. Now, there seems no possible way in which the claims of the French, to the permanent enjoyment of the advantages of the treaty of 1778, could have been compromised, but by this pecuniary arrangement. The French agreed to accept a renunciation of a claim on them, estimated at fifteen millions. Our government, wisely as we think, chose to purchase at this rate a fair and honorable settlement of our difficulties with France, with which country, in consequence of the antigallican spirit of a part of our own rulers, and the violence and injustice of those of France, our relations had become in the highest degree embarassed. How then can it be said, that the claim, whose renunciation was the basis of so happy a compromise, was of no value? It was of all the value, that peace with France was to the country.
It may be intimated, that our government would not have renounced it, had it been a valuable claim ; to which we reply, that, however valuable, they would be still authorised to renounce it for an equivalent ; which we have just shown they obtained. Moreover, we all know, not only that the government of our country esteemed the claim valuable, but
the value they placed upon it is known from the instructions to our envoys. It is true, it may justly be argued, that, if the claims were valuable, the government would not have renounced it, without designing to make compensation to the claimants. We may add, they could not constitutionally renounce it, without such intention ; for in one of the amendments to the Constitution, which form the conditions, which a large portion of the people of these United States accepted that instrument, it is provided, that private property shall not be taken for public use, without compensation.'
It is our firm belief, that the government of our country 'intended to make compensation. Motions to that effect were very early brought into Congress; they were supported by as large a number of its members, as could have been expected before the question had been agitated, and the claims urged. Meantime the Louisiana treaty came on, and there is much reason to think, that it was the intention of Mr Jefferson, to make the acquisition of that region the means of indemnifying our citizens, whose property had been renounced. No provision to this effect could have been introduced into the Louisiana Convention, because, as between France and us, the claim had ceased to exist. But Chancellor Livingston, who negotiated the purchase of Louisiana, expressly writes 10 our commissioners under it, Messrs Mc Clure, Mercer, and Barnet, that such part of the private claims on France, as the twenty millions of francs appropriated should fail to cover, must be paid by the United States. In like manner, we have no doubt, our government expected, that recompense should be made by the nation to those claimants for spoliations, whose just demands on the French Government had been renounced for the public service.
The low price at which Louisiana was bought, would have well enabled our government to raise a fund out of it for such a purpose. The purchase money was but seven and a half cents an acre, estimating the quantity of land acquired at two hundred million acres,* which is a low estimate, and the price of the land at fifteen millions of dollars.
The whole of Louisiana cost but three times as much, as was paid to quiet the various Mississippi Land Company claimants, or to purchase Florida. And what, in one word, may show the smallness of the sum of money that was paid for it, we need only add, that the poor negroes of St Domingo, to quiet the claims of the ancient proprietors, have paid thirty millions of dollars for the French part of that island, twice as much as the purchase money of Louisiana. It is, however, wrong to attempt, by a comparison of dollars and cents, to estimate the value of Louisiana to the Union ; its acquisition is among the most important incidents in the history of the world; the silent peaceful extension, to half a continent, of the blessings of republican liberty. Nor does it admit a doubt, that our government, in making this purchase so low, designed that it should form a fund for the indemnification of those of its citizens, whose claims on France had in the general settlement been renounced.
It would not be difficult to point out, in the history of our politics, both foreign and domestic, the causes which have hitherto prevented this, or any other effectual measures for the relief of the claimants, but we regard this as a superfluous task. We also pass over many minor considerations, that have been or may be urged against any measures for granting this relief, such as the length of time that has elapsed, the large amount of the claim, the doubtsul justice of parts of it. If we have succeeded in showing that it is in the main founded in justice; that the claimants could rightfully have demanded payment of France, and that our government renounced this claim for them, we have established our point. If we have made it farther apparent, that at the time of renunciation it was understood to be a claim of great value, and was an offset against important claims of France on America; if we have shown that its recovery from France was not so desperate, as to make its estimated value null; if we have made it clear, that but for this renunciation, the claim would now have stood on the footing of those, which the government is actively prosecuting, and will certainly enforce, we have established, as we conceive, a fair right on the part of the claimants to indemnity from their own government. Meantime we have no distrust of the national councils. It is likely, that when the papers, which have been promised
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from the Department of State, shall be communicated, the subject will be fairly and adequately discussed, and that some compromise, satisfactory to the claimants, and not onerous to the country, will take place.
ART. VIII.-Ensayo sobre la Necesidad de una Federacion
Jeneral entre los Estados Hispano-Americanos, y Plan de su Organizacion. Obra Póstuma del H. CORONEL D. BERNARDO MONTEAGUDO. Lima. 1825. The alliance about to be established between the new American republics, by the delegates assembled at the Isthmus of Panamá, may with justice be considered among the most remarkable events of political history. Confederacies between independent states, for the purpose of consulting and supporting the common interest, have existed from early times. The governments of ancient Greece had their mutual compacts, their long sustained council of Amphictyons, and their renowned Achæan league ; some of the minor states of modern Europe have from time to time followed their example ; and we behold at this day, the colossal powers of the old world linked together to maintain their dominion, nay, to secure their safety. The influence of these confederacies has been important, in proportion to their extent and their objects, but none of them has existed under circumstances so imposing, or been instituted on principles so broad and just in their political bearings, or been calculated to affect so deeply and widely the destiny of future generations, as that about to be formed by the Congress of Panamá.
Polybius tells us, that it was the boast of the Achæan league, while the wise and politic Aratus was at its head, to be founded on the basis of equality and liberty, and that to this were mainly to be ascribed its strength and its increase. But every one knows what was Grecian liberty, even in the best days of Grecian prosperity. The balance, between the rights of the people, and the power of the rulers, was never well adjusted; the laws of nations were not understood, because practised on a narrow scale ; commerce, that great
instrument in drawing out the principles, and settling the rules of national intercourse, was hardly known. In short, liberty was too often the watchword of those, who desired freedom from law rather than from tyranny ; and the cry of equality was a signal for levelling the fabric of power, as sustained by an existing government, that the schemes of ambition and misrule might be raised on its ruins. These defects, and others of a collateral nature, interwoven with the very texture of political institutions denominated republican, not only in Greece, but in other countries of Europe at later periods, have presented obstacles to any well organised confederacy in governments of this kind in the old world, which would bring the combined power and wisdom of the whole, to act for the mutual and equal benefit of the parts.
If we look at confederated despotisms, we find things in a still worse condition. Who has ever dreamt, that it was the aim of the present allied sovereigns of Europe, to list a finger towards aiding the progress of the mind, or human improvement in anything, which implies freedom of thought, or scope of inquiry? All their acts declare the contrary, and prove this alliance to be a conspiracy against the liberty, as it is an outrage upon the rights of mankind. It is a combination to perpetuate ignorance, delusion, and slavery; to stop the current of public opinion, and let in upon the mind anew the Stygian waters of the dark ages; to make men bigots in the false creed of legitimacy, and infidels to the pure faith of reason and truth, liberty and right. Let public opinion be brought to this standard, and it is wisely judged, that it can be moulded to any shape, and impelled in any direction. Teach men to forget their rights, and abandon self respect, and you have no more to do to make them fit subjects for dragging the chains of slavery. The sovereigns of Europe are allied to prop up half a dozen tottering thrones, whose gothic structure is the mockery of an enlightened age like this, and to aggrandise half a dozen crowned heads, not merely at the expense of the independence of a hundred millions of the human race, but at the immensely greater sacrifice of retarding the progress of nations in those arts of self governtnent, of wbich the human character and condition are susceptible, which afford the broadest foundation for all the advantages to be derived from the social compact, and