« AnteriorContinuar »
the great American experiment of cheap erpool of New York: the failure of the -elective-and federative government Pennsylvanian bank ruined more fortunes should fail. On the contrary, we think in England than in America; the manufacit of great importance to the future wel- turers of Manchester share more wealth fare of mankind that it should succeed; with Carolina than with Middlesex. We that is, that the general government are not merely brothers and cousins--the should have both constitutional and prac- ties of consanguinity, we know, are not tical authority to ensure peace and justice always the bond of friendship-but we are at home-peace and justice abroad. Our partners-joint tenants, as it were, of the doubts are whether the present elective commerce of the world; and we have had, and federal forms afford a sufficient gua. as we have just hinted, melancholy experantee for those great objects-and in rience that distress on either shore of the these doubts we only concur with the Atlantic must be almost equally felt on wisest and most patriotic of the states the other. men of America—of the authors of tbe And why should we quarrel ? What are experiment of the very founders of the the grounds or objects of any difference constitution! We have heretofore often between us? We know of but two, or at stated our reasons for thinking that the most three, points of difference on which experiment has never yet reached its the most captious on either side of the Atcrisis—we have vindicated the various lantic have raised even a questionand temporary and local causes which have what are they ? Matters which, we firmly tended to preserve the federal government believe, two intelligent and honest nego-the various subsidiary accidents which tiators might settle in a fortnight, and have helped to lubricate the working of which owe their chief interest to their bewhat we suspect to be an imperfect ma- ing made the pretexts of those who wish, chine. These causes and accidents for private or personal objects, to blow up must gradually wear out; and whenever a conflagration. they shall be exhausted—then, and not The vast importance to the peace and fully till then, will the intrinsic efficacy happiness of the world of our relations of the American system be brought to the with the United States will, we hope, be test. We ourselves sincerely wish that a sufficient apology for our taking this the day of crisis may be distant, and that occasion of making some, as we hope, some intermediate correctives may be conciliatory observations on these pendfound for that laxity of principle and con- ing questions. flict of authority of which we have had so The first is that of the Canadian boundamany recent indications.
ry; and there is, we believe, another bounOne danger, however, both to America dary question down in the Far West. We and England, may be nearer at hand than are not now going to repeat our recent any arising from the natural course of cir- argument on the Canadian boundary, but cumstances—we mean a hostile collision we cannot allude to it without expressing between the two countries—and it is our our conviction of its utter unimportance prayer and our hope that the wisdom of to the great American nation, however the respective Governments may prevent interesting it may be to the land-jobbers or -and it is, we have no doubt, in their popularity-hunters of the State of Maine. power to do so---so great a misfortune to The difficulty has arisen out of the terms the civilized world.
of a treaty made in utter ignorance on It is impossible that any other two in both sides, and now, by both sides, admitdependent nations can have such a com- ted to be inconsistent and impracticable; munity of interests as England and Amer- --what then remains but.--if we adhere to ica. In truth, we know of no material and this bungled treaty at all--to look to the substantial interests in which they are op- intention and meaning of the parties? On posed-nay, in which they are separated : this point we beg leave, as the best argutheir origin, their laws, and their language ment we can use, to reproduce once more are the same; their business, their pros a diagram of the disputed and the adjaperity, are identified : New York is but a cent territories. Huburb of Liverpool, or, if you will, Liv
The shaded triangular space, CA B, of it would be intolerably injurious to represents the disputed territory; and America ? and, in the same way, surely the can any rational man believe that it was Americans must see that the possession of the intention of the parties to protrude an uncultivated waste between Nova Sco. this shapeless and incongruous horn up tia and Canada, though of no possible use into the regions watered by the River St. to them as a nation, is of absolute necessiJohn--cutting off the course of that river ty to the British colonies. We cannot from its maritime outlet, and blocking up suspect a great people of such dog-in-thethe direct communication between the manger policy as to stickle for that which capitals and territories of our most impor- can be of little or 110 advantage to them, tant North American colonies ? No man and yet is an absolute necessity to us. does or can believe so munstrous a pro- The territorial question on the extreme position--- General Jackson did not: Mr. west coast of America has not yet taken, Secretary Livingston did not; and we that we know of, a decided shape, nor ex cannot but hope that some arrangement, cited, we believe, any strong feeling in on the fair, rational, and honourable basis either country-it may therefore, we pre(as we understand it) proposed by those sume, be speedily settled, and its details gentlemen, may be still practicable. The -as far as we have heard of any.--seem principle of the treaty was rationally con- to us of easy arrangement, and certainly ceived, though it was so unfortunately and they do not warrant any apprehensions of obscurely expressed—namely, that the par- a serious difference between the two naty which possessed the mouth of a river tions. We only mention it that we may should also possess its course, and that omit nothing that is debated or debateathe boundary.line should pass between the ble between us. sources of the rivers which eventually flow- But another question more serious in ed through the undisputed territories of its relation to public feeling, though in rethe respective parties. We do not see ality, we think, very little important in that if the present treaty were to be utterly litself, has been recently raised, or, as a thrown aside as unintelligible and imprac-hasty observer might say, revived. ticable, a more rational basis for a new mean what is most untruly-called the one could be found; and we still trust that right of searching ships on the high seas in the good sense of America would in a time of peace. Now we set out by staifresh negotiation see the expediency and ing in the broadest terms, and without fairness of allowing us a direct communi- fear of contradiction, that ENGLAND NEITHcation between our provinces. Let us ER CLAIMS NOR ATTEMPTS TO PRACTICE ANY suppose for a moment that Great Britain such right; and that the quarrel which a possessed an insulated strip of land lying party in America, echoed we are sorry to between New York and Boston, would it see by a party in France, is endeavouring not be universally felt that, though it could to fix upon us under this pretence, has be of no advantage to England, the want not a shadow of foundation.
It is but recently that we have heard of other maritime powers have agreed in de. the agitation of this question, and it has claring the trading in slaves to be felony reached us in a way that shows clearly the and piracy, and they have agreed by spespirit which actuates the parties. It has cial treaties that their respective cruisers been stated in the American newspapers shall intercept and send in for adjudica( Richmont Inquirer,' and New York tion any ships belonging to their respective Commercial Advertiser' of the 15th of No- nations which may be found practising vember, quoted in the London Morning this felony and piracy. America-and Post,' of the 2d of December last) that what we say of America equally applies Mr. Stevenson, the late American minis- to any other country with which we might ter to our court, being recalled on the not have special treaties on the point), change of government at Washington, America, though she too has proscribed boasted on his return that the most im- the slave trade, has not entered into this portant part of his ministry had been the special compact; and therefore even revival and prosecution of this question, though a British cruiser should see in which he had latterly fired very hot shot, American vessel loaded with slaves, it has and that bis last act had been to throw a no right, and pretends to no right whatbomb-shell into the English cabinet,' on the soever, to interfere. The American ship ere of his departure ; and a subsequent in that case would be indeed violating its New York paper, quoted in the Times of own laws, but to its own laws it must be the 17th of December, says
left ;-the British cruiser has nothing to 'I mentioned in my last that Mr. Stevenson do in the matter, and does nothing ! But had written a very severe letter (on the right of it has a right and a duty to see that Britsearch) just before he left England. I hear also ish ships do not carry on this trade, and more of that now. It was a Parthian arrow, it has also, under the special treaties just and the ex-minister, it is said, boasts that its point mentioned, a reciprocal right and a duty was poisoned, while Lord Palmerston considers the embroiled state of the negotiations as a de- to see that Spanish, Portuguese, and Bralightful legacy for him to leave to his Tory suc- zilian ships do not commit the prohibited cessor. The subjects will, I think, occupy a con- offence. But then, nothing is easier for siderable place in the President's message.' the British, Spanish, Portuguese, or Bra
We have seen at home such flagrant, zilian offender, when in danger of detecand so recent, instances of an outgoing tion, than to hoist--for the nonce---an ministry endeavouring to embarrass its American flag; and some American statessuccessors,
that we must admit the men pretend that under no circumstances, possibility of Mr. Stevenson's having in- however suspicious or fraudulent, shall tended to embarrass the American ad- any vessel wearing their flag be question. ministration which had recalled him ; but ed. It is well known that the ships of we wholly disbelieve that Lord Palmers. every nation are provided, at the expense ton-however facetiously he may be dis- of about ten shillings each, with the flags posed to deal with internal questions of every other nation; and—if the mere could have played any such part as Mr. momentary hoisting that bit of stuff were Stevenson is said to have imputed to him to preclude the possibility of inquiry into on so serious a point of foreign policy. the bonâ fide right of the ship to wear it--We are satisfied that it will be found that there could be no possible check on the Mr. Stevenson-if there be any truth at abuse. British felons and Brazilian piall in the story-stands alone in this spe- rates might roam the seas with impunity, cies of glory; and that Lord Palmerston, by only having one bit of American buntthough he may have left a difficult legacy ing to hoist whenever they were in danto his successors, did not do so intention- ger of detection. ally. If he had been capable of any such All that England says is, that under the conduct, Mr. Stevenson-whose charac- ancient and necessary common law of the ter as a gentleman has never been im- sea, and according to the ordinary rules peached-would assuredly not have be- of common sense, we are entitled to sattrayed the secret. But however that may isfy ourselves that the ship which hoists be, such petty arts and false pretences those colours is really entitled to hoist never can, we hope, involve two great them. If she be a bona fide American, and intelligent nations in serious difficul- though she were chock-full of slaves, we ties; and it is the duty of every honest pretend to no right to meddle with her man to use his best endeavours, whatever but we claim a right to see that she is not they may be, to avert so great a calamity. one of our own ships committing this crime
The case is this: England and certain I under the additional offence of fraudulent
colours. Can any rational man deny the would be placed in constant and general propriety—the necessity of such a right ? peril by so monstrous a doctrine ?-And Surely not; and above all, when it is a yet that is really the principle now at is. right that we admit to others as freely sue : for we say, again and again, we have and as largely as we claim it for ourselves. nothing at all to do with bona fide Ameri
But more than that: we admit-and it cans ; all we want is to distinguish, in is a very liberal admission—that the mere suspicious cases, a bonâ fide American from wearing of a national flag ought to be pri- one of our own malefactors, who may have mâ fucie evidence of nationality; and disguised himself under that flag. And what therefore, in ordinary cases, there neither is the objection to the practice !--Why is, nor ought to be, any interference. It this--that it may subject an innocent vessel is only when some peculiar circumstan- to vexation und delay. Now we must first ces of suspicion arise that any officer ever observe, that every one conversant with thinks it necessary to ascertain the fact the sea knows that, in general, ships have by a closer inspection. We will venture no objection to be spoken-particularly to say, that on all the wide oceans of the in out-of-the-way places: they are, for the globe no vessel under American colours most part, well pleased with a mutual inhas ever been questioned by a British terchange of news, or of letters, often of cruiser save in the comparatively narrow water and provisions, frequently of inforlimits in which the slave-trade is rife; and mation as to their local position, or other even within these limits we again say nev- circumstances connected with their safe. er-but when there is reason to suspect ty, which one ship may possess more exthat the American flag is but a fraudulent actly than another; and that the delay is colour for a ship of a different country. generally very trifling.
Practically, this question has grown out But this we adınit is all mere courtesy, of our Slave-trade legislation and treaties; and no ship can have a right to inflict such and the opposition to it has been raised, civilities on another that chooses to deboth in France and America, mainly, we cline them; and, no doubt, such visits believe, by parties who care nothing about would sometimes be attended with delay, the maritime rights of nations—which they and therefore vexation. But, let it not be very well know are not in the slightest de- forgotten, first, that the inconvenience, as gree invaded—but who are interested in the well as the ultimate advantage, is reciproslave trade, and know, as every body must cal between the nations; and that Eng. do, that if the mere fact of wearing a bit land can have no interest in subjecting of tricolour or striped bunting were to pro- her shipping, equal in number and value tect Spanish or Brazilian ships from any to that of all mankind put together, to kind of inquiry, all our treaties are worse such delay and inconvenience, if the safety than waste paper, and the slave-trade must of the seas did not require the exist. become more prosperous than ever. ence of such a principle-which, though
But, in fact, this is not a mere question rarely practised, operates as a general conof the slave-trade ;– for if the principle trol on robbers, pirates, and buccannow, for the first time, contended for, viz. eers. And it is, moreover, not that when a vessel chooses to exhibit,- worthy of note, that the delay and incon. ho:vever suspiciously, however fraudu. venience, such as they may be, are not lently-a national colour, there is no right only reciprocal between the nations, but of question or inquiry-if that principle, between the individual ships, for the visi
, we say, be admitted, what is to become of tor is inevitably put to more trouble and the safety of the maritime intercourse of delay than the visited--with the additionall mankind? Can it be argued that smug. al mortification, if he has made a mistake, glers in the British seas may escape the that the visitor has had his trouble for his visit of a custom-house cruiser by wear- pains; and is liable, moreover, to serious ing an American jack? Will the Ameri. responsibilities for any injurious delay he can government contend that a pirate in the may happen to cause. Gulf of Mexico, gorged with the plunder, But, after all, there may, and indeed and reeking with the blood of her citizens, occasionally wilí, be delays, and therefore is to escape from one of her cruisers, some degree of vexation ; but so there which may have the strongest grounds to must be from the execution of any law of suspect his real character, merely by hoist- general surety. Suppose we were to ading the red ensign of an English merchant- mit-an admission, again, much too libeman ? and will she deny that the lives ral—that the mere flag should be considerand property of mankind on the high seas ed as a kind of national passport. Dnes
any American gentleman, travelling on convenience have actually occurred.the continent of Europe, complain, as an We hear of complaints, but we have infraction of the laws of nations, that his never heard the details of any one cause passport is examined at every fortress and of complaint, and we suspect that had they frontier, and that the authorities satisfy been very serious we should have heard themselves by inquiries, often very dila- more about them : but whatever they tory and vexatious, that the passport is may be, no one can doubt that every genuine, and that he is the party to whom effort ought to be made to prevent, as far the passport, if genuine, belongs ? and as possible, their recurrence. Any Bri. how, à multò fortiori, can a traveller on tish officer, of experience enough to be the waters complain, that, in a very few intrusted with a command, will, in three peculiar places and under very rare cir- cases out of four, be able to distinguish cumstances of suspicion, his passport at a glance, or by exchanging a word should be looked at ?
through a trumpet, an American ship The domestic servants of our own sove- from any other that he can have a right reign, and of all foreign ministers, in to visit-except perhaps the British. In England are free from arrest; but if it any case, the inquiry ought to be so conwere discovered that the royal or foreign ducted that in the event of mistake there livery was frequently assumed by male- should be at least no discourtesy, and as factors as a disguise and cover for crime, little delay as possible, to complain of ; would it be thought any indignity to our and in the rare cases in which any injurisovereign or to the foreign ambassador ous delay or inconvenience should occur, that the police, meeting a person wearing the officer, or the country, according to their livery in suspicious circumstances, the circumstances, would be held liable should verify his right to wear it ? to make good any damages occasioned to
And, finally, and perhaps most impor- an innocent party—just as a magistrate tant of all, be it observed that the fre- or policeman would, in such a case as we quency of the fraud is not denied. The have before supposed, have to make reAmericans admit, we believe, that the paration to a person whom they should abuse of the American flag is but too com- have indiscreetly or erroneously arrested. mon, but they say that it is their business to There is, however, one point of our repress and punish it. But how can that system for suppressing the slave-trade be done? They never do, and, from the which we think objectionable in itself, and nature of the cases, never can see it: the still more so as tending to produce the British or Brazilian slave-trader has no inconveniences which we deprecate : we object in showing American colours to mean the bounty to her Majesty's ships American cruisers; on the contrary, they for the re-capture of slaves. These re. are as wary not to do so as they are not wards stand, we humbly conceive, on to show their proper colours to British entirely different grounds from belligerent cruisers. The party against whom the prizes—in an erroneous, as we think, imideception is practised is the only party tation of which they have been establishthat can ever see the deception ; while an ed. We will not enter into a detail of the impostor takes especial care to keep out many reasons for which we should wish of the way of him that he personates. to see this practice wholly abolished : it
In short, there is not in law nor in is sufficient for our present purpose to say reason, in principle nor in practice, the that it seems at variance wi h the spirit of slightest colour or excuse for the jealousy disinterested humanity, which we know, which it is endeavoured to raise against but which foreign nations were, for a long England, in a matter where she asks only time, so reluctant to believe, to be the real what she in return admits to all mankind, motive of our zeal against slave-trading. and which is asked only in the common But there is a short and easy mode of interest and common safety of the whole arranging this question, which would maritime world.
leave nothing to doubt or accident, and The truth, the plain unvarnished truth would wholly remove all possibility of and common sense will be sufficient to difference between America and us on the dissipate all jealousy about the prin- subject. We mean-a diplomatic arciple'; and there are abundant means by rangement between the countries ; and which the practical inconvenience may certainly there never was a more propibe reduced almost—if not absolutely--to tious moment for such an experiment. nothing. For this purpose it would be Even as we are writing these lines, we very desirable to know what cases of in.' have had the great satisfaction of hearing