Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the subject of domestic manufactures. This was one of his most elaborate reports, equally distinguished for knowledge and strength; and he seems not to have entertained a doubt, either of the constitutional right of congress to exercise its sound discretion on the subject or of the wisdom of the legislative encouragement of them in particular cases. Fourth, his report of January, 1795, on a plan for the further support of public credit. In his view, the true principle to render public credit immortal, was to accompany the creation of debt with the means of extinguishing it; and he recommended a provision for augmenting the sinking fund, so as to render it commensurate with the entire debt of the United States. By these financial measures which he had the honor to suggest and recommend, he enabled his country to feel and develope its immense resources; and under his administration public credit was awakened from death unto life, and rose with fair proportions and gigantic strength, so as to engage the attention and command the confidence of Europe. In connection with these splendid results, the integrity and simplicity with which he conducted his department, and which the most jealous and penetrating inquisition into all the avenues of his office could never question, forms with posterity one of his fairest titles to fame.

While Colonel HAMILTON presided over the treasury department, the French revolution burst forth with destructive violence, and brought on an embittered war between Great Britain and the French republic. Being a member of President Washington's cabinet council, Mr. HAMILTON was one of the advisers of the proclamation of neutrality in April, 1793, and he supported it by his vigorous pen. That proclamation was the index to the foreign policy of Washington, and it was temperately but firmly 'maintained against the intrigue and insolence of the French minister to the United States, and against all the force and fury of the turbulent passions of the times, engendered and inflamed by the French democracy. He aided the American policy of neutrality in some fugitive pieces under the signature No Jacobin, and in the more elaborate essays of Pacificus, and vastly more so by his advice in favor of the timely mission of Chief Justice Jay, as minister extraordinary to Great Britain, in the spring of 1794.

After Colonel Hamilton's return to private life and to the practice of his profession in the city of New York, he felt himself called upon by a sense of duty to vindicate the justice and wisdom of Mr. Jay's treaty, which had adjusted and extinguished the complaints and difficulties existing between the two nations. This he did in a series of essays under the signature of Camillus, in the summer of 1795. They were profound and exhausting commentaries on particular branches of public law, and sustained with great ability and a thorough knowledge of the subject, the grounds on which our treaty and neutral claims and commercial interests had been ascertained and adjusted.

On reassuming his profession, Colonel Hamilton entered at once into an overwhelming share of professional business. He was a great favorite with the New York merchants; and he justly deserved to be so, for he had uniformly proved himself to be an enlightened, intrepid, and persevering friend to the commercial prosperity of the country. He was a great master of commercial law, as well as of the principles of international jurisprudence. There were no deep recesses of the science which he did not explore. He would occasionally draw from the fountains of the civil law, and illustrate and enforce the enlightened decisions of Mansfield, by the severe judgment of Emerigon, and the lucid commentaries of Valin. In short, he conferred dignity and high reputation on the profession, of which he was indisputably the first of the first rank, by his indefatigable industry, his thorough researches, his logical powers, his solid judgment, his winning candor, and his matchless eloquence.

In the spring of 1798, he was involved once more in political discussion. The depredations of France upon our commerce, and the insults heaped upon our ministers, left to this country no alternative but open and determined resistance. At that crisis Mr. HamilTON published a number of essays in the New York papers under the signature of Titus Manlius, with a view to rouse the people of this country to a sense of impending danger, and to measures of defence which should be at once vigorous and effectual. No productions of any pen ever portrayed in more just and more glowing colors, the atrocities of revolutionary France towards her own people, and towards other nations, under the impetus of unprincipled ambition and ruthless fanaticism. He suggested that we ought to suspend our treaties with France, fortify our harbors, protect our commerce, attack their predatory cruisers on our coast, create a respectable naval force, and raise, organize, and discipline a respectable body of troops, as an indispensable precaution against attempts at invasion. The facts were so undeniable, and the conclusions so just, that in the summer of 1798, all those precautionary and necessary measures were literally carried into execution by congress, and received the prompt and hearty sanc

At the earnest recommendation of General Wash

tion of the nation.

ington, HAMILTON was appointed inspector-general of the small provincial army that was raised in that year.

That public trust did not detach him from his profession, nor long detain him from its duties. He continued his devotedness to the bar during the short residue of his life. In the winter of 1804, Colonel Burr was proposed at Albany as a candidate for governor. General Hamilton, at a public meeting of persons belonging to the federal party, decidedly objected to the nomination, declaring that he deemed Colonel Burr an unsafe and unfit person to be placed in such a trust, and that he would never unite with his party on such a candidate. Declarations of that kind made on public and patriotic grounds, and when it was his right and his duty to make them if he thought so, (and of which no one doubted,) cost him his life. In the summer following, after Colonel Burr had lost the election, he deemed it expedient to call General HAMILTON personally to account for what he had said. The latter very mistakingly thought it necessary to meet his antagonist in the field. He fell on the 12th July, 1804, and all America mourned over the fate of such an innocent and illustrious victim.

14

J. K.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

Entre citing: tout of timurfs in the rear 1834 by Tum Hitring in the Jerks offer of the

strict Court of the Southern District of N York.

« AnteriorContinuar »