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United States 60 far listen to this language, as immediately to enter into negociation upon the subject, my apprehensions of British interference, of British influence, are strongly excited, particularly when the British minister seems to make a common cause between the two governments against what he is pleased to call evil disposed persons. I will here incidentally remark, that as far as these “ evil disposed persons” have produced the revocation of the hostile order of November, and a relaxation of British hostility in other respects, they are certainly entitled to applause from the United States, whatever epithets may have been bestowed upon them by a British minister.
The contents of the treaty have very much confirmed my original apprehensions. Gentlemen have often said, show us the danger of British interference, of British influence. To my mind, the treaty itself contains the evidence. The treaty itself corresponds with what I consider as the object of the British minister in giving the invitation to it.
I find it in the following particular instances. Before the treaty, the right of laying a special, as well as a general embargo existed in the United States : the right of laying a special embargo upon British vessels, is surrendered. Before the treaty, the right of sequestration existed, and the exercise of it was proposed. This right, so far as it respects Great Britain, is forever surrendered. Before the treaty, the right of discriminating against British goods, in favor of those of other nations, existed, and the exercise of it was proposed. This right is surrendered. Before the treaty, the right of suspending commercial intercourse with Great Britain existed, and was proposed to be exercised ; the exercise of that right is stipulated against for a limited time, &c. All these are restrictions of the exercise of the rights of national sovereignty, and seem to me complete evidence of British interference.
These circumstances furnish two reflections. The one is, that the British cabinet deem the measures
proposed, to be more efficacious, than they have generally been represented to be in the United States; and hence, the extreme caution to stipulate against the future exercise of them. The other is, that party sensations must have had great influence upon the extraordinary envoy of the United States, to induce his consent to these great abridgments of the rights of national sovereignty. The treaty not only contains abridgments of the national rights, but changes the municipal regulations of the United States: and how have these things been effected ?-By the substitution of a foreign power in the place of the House of Representatives. If the treaty-making power be thus extensive, and if it be so absolutely obligatory, as to deprive the House of Representatives of the right of judging as to the expediency of making the provisions for its complete effectuation, of what use is the House of Representatives as a distinct branch of the government?' Will it not be a mere formal, and not an efficient branch of the government ? An entire new system of jurisprudence may thus be introduced by treaty, and become obligatory upon the House of Representatives—obligatory upon the nation.
Whenever the question, which necessarily results from the unlimited scope given to the treaty-making power, shall be presented to the people of the United States, to wit:-Shall the House of Representatives become a formal, or remain an efficient, branch of the government; they will pause, before they will decide upon its annihilation. Their love of liberty, their love of their own interests, will check, for a moment, personal affections, or antipathies: party sensations, state jealousies will be disarmed, and the people will be found right in their decision.
Even in the midst of the clamor of war and disunion, which has been momentarily excited for a particular object, the people cannot be led to such fatal extremities, as the doctrine contended for would necessarily produce. Much less will this be the case after they
shall have been relieved from these causeless apprehensions.
If therefore, the House should exercise a constitutional right of judging of the propriety of the object of expenditure, and a refusal should be the result of their judgment, I do not believe that it will produce that fatal hostility of departments which would eventuate in a total dissolution of the government; but will be an exercise of one of the salutary checks, provided in the constitution, which, in my opinion, constitute its merit, and not its reproach.
I shall now proceed to consider, whether a war with Great Britain will be the probable consequence of a refusal to make the necessary provision for carrying the British treaty into effect. To my mind, there does not appear to be the least ground for the clamor, which has been excited from this suggestion. I believe that Great Britain will make war upon the United States whenever she deems it her interest to do so; and that the treaty would impose no restraint upon her, if she thought her interest would justify the conduct. I also believe, that if there should be no treaty with Great Britain, she would not go to war with the United States, unless her interest should dictate the measure. In short, I believe, that Great Britain, like all other nations, will make her interest the criterion of her conduct in every question of peace or war.
If this opinion be well formed, the probability of war may be tested by this question. Is it the interest of Great Britain to make war upon the United States in the relative situation of the two countries? Great Britain is now engaged in a war in which the government hazards every thing. She is at this moment engaged in an important enterprize against the French West Indies. She is under the necessity of resorting to the United States for sundry supplies for facilitating the enterprize. The United States are the best commercial customer she has in the world. Under these, circumstances, what would be her inducement for
war? What would be her inducements to avoid it? These questions furnish their own answers. The argument of war is an argument of dependence. It is also an argument which will last forever. If the fear of war is now to influence our conduct against our judgments, will not the same argument apply with double force two years after the expiration of the present war, to induce a continuance of the treaty upon its present injurious conditions ?
As the argument of war is the chief instrument, by which the treaty is pressed upon the people of the United States, I beg the indulgence of the committee in taking a retrospective view of this subject, and in examining it with some minuteness. Whatever may have been my opinion at the time of receiving the information of the hostile order of the 6th of November, I am now of opinion, that at that time, Great Britain did meditate war against the United States, although I believe there is no danger of it at present.
I believe too, that the neutrality, proclaimed by the United States, does not in the smallest degree, influence the conduct or disposition of Great Britain towards the United States in regard to war or peace, but that the true explanation of her disposition will be found in the course of events in Europe. On the 1st of February, 1793, France declared war against the king of England, and the stadtholder of Holland, and on the 7th of the same month against Spain. France was then at war with the emperor of Germany, and the king of Prussia, &c. A combination of most of the despots of Europe had previously been formed, (it is generally believed on the 21st July, 1791, at Pilnitz,) for the purpose of crushing the revolutionary spirit, which had appeared in France. The accession of Great Britain, Spain, Holland, Portugal and some of the Italian States to the combination already formed, made it the most formidable which has ever appeared in the history of modern times. The most desperate and bloody war, of course, ensued, and im
mediately succeeded the declaration of war against Great Britain; a series of successes took place, which threatened the absolute subjugation of France.
On the 1st of March, the French sustained a considerable loss by the surprise of the vanguard of their army, on the river Roer; on the 13th, the rebellion of La Vendee commenced; on the 18th, Dumourier was defeated; on the 20th, he abandoned his army; on the 3d of April, his army retreated into France; on the 4th, Dumourier himself was outlawed; on the 13th, France made a declaration against all interference with foreign governments; on the 22d of April, the President issued the proclamation of neutrality; on the 3d of May, the rebellion of Corsica commenced; 29th, the rebellion of the department of Loire; 30th, the rebellion of the city of Lyons ; June 2d, thirty-two deputies of the convention, generally called the Brissotines, were arrested. About the same time, a rebellion commenced in the departments of Bouches du Rhone, Calvados and Eure; June the 8th, the first order by Great Britain for seizure of neutral vessels bound to France, with provisions, was issued. It is here to be remarked, that the impartial state of neutrality proclaimed by the President of the United States, on the 22d of the preceding April, was probably known to the British cabinet ; but, whilst flushed with these successes in her crusade against liberty, the neutrality of the United States could not protect them from the invasion of their neutral rights. On the 10th of July, Conde surrendered to the Combined Armies; on the 27th, Mayence, &c.; on the 28th, Valenciennes; at the end of July, the Spaniards were in possession of Bellegrade, Collioure, St. Elme, &c. and of the whole departinent of the eastern Pyrenees, and part of the lower Pyre
The Prussians and Austrians were possessed of the lines of Weisemburg, Fort Vauban, &c. and had blockaded Landau. The Piedmontese and Hanoverians had made successful inroads into other parts of France; the royalists of La Vendee were in possession of four departments.