Imágenes de páginas

government from Canada to explore the sources of the Columbia ;-he missed that river, fell in with another, called the Tacoutche Tesse, and, at last, reached the Pacific 500 miles north of the mouth of the Columbia, which captain Gray had entered three years before. This expedition was of a commercial nature, and laid the foundation of the present scheme, the British government are striving to execute, part of which is, already, accomplished, viz. a continuation of their hunting grounds from Canada to the Pacific,—an establishment of a chain of forts from sea to sea,—the possession of the fur trade from the parallel of 45 north, and the exclusive possession west of the Rock Mountains. This is an outline of the plan, and to its full and efficient performance the waters of the Columbia are indispensable. It is understood, that the English already hold a monopoly of the best as well as largest portions of fur grounds in the west on both sides the mountains, and it is, also, said that they have, still, actual possession of the settlement, (called Astoria) and made by the Americans at the mouth of the Columbia, as well as the whole country, drained by that river. The post, it is true, was formally delivered in 1818, to Mr. Prevost, but, being carried there in a British vessel of war, and having no men with him to take possession, the business resulted in a formal, amicable exchange of receipts and remonstrances. It is now called Fort George, has the British flag upon its flag staff, a British garrison; and is the first, on the west, of that long line of posts, that extend 3000 miles to the east, along the northern portion of this country. This project belongs to the great commercial system of the British government, obviously connected with the designs, they have already accomplished in obtaining the best mercantile positions in other quarters of the globe, particularly in Asia.-The empire of the English is founded in commerce; other great dominions have been founded in arms;-they have not proved very durable, and whether the same fate shall attend the British or not, it will always be a most agreeable reflection, that commerce, under any circumstances, tends to civilize, refine and improve the condition of men.



Napoleon releases Ferdinand from Valancay-Letters of Napoleon and Ferdinand-Erving attempts a negotiation with Cevallos—Various delays practised by Spain-Burlesque blockade of part of South America-Pizarro-Grants of land in Florida to Spanish subjects -Treaty of 1819 negotiated at Washington between Adams and de Onis-Grants of land, an evasion of it-Forsyth sent to SpainKing refuses to ratify treaty-No reason assigned-Warın correspondence-Vives sent to this country-No authority to ratify-Demands explanations as to privateers and recognition of South American provinces-United States extremely dissatisfied-Refuse explanation or discussion-European powers endeavour to persuade Spain to a ratification-Refuse, on account of unwillingness to have South -America acknowledged-Policy of England, France and RussiaDesign on Cuba-Delays again practised by Spain-Statement of the grant to Alagon, &c.—Include best part of Florida-Spain, at length, ratifies And cancels the grants-- Vives complains of Forsyth's letter of protest-Nelson, minister to Madrid--Anduaga to Washington-Piracies in West India seas-Vexatious and disgraceful-Spain unable to protect her own coasts-President proposes to Congress to pass a law, authorizing blockade of Cuba-RejectedDangerous measure-Navy very active and successful in suppressing piracies-Everett, minister in Spain-Tacon in U. States-Negotiations with Spain next in importance to those with mother country -Mississippi-Floridas-Louisiana-Indemnity of $5,000,000, to U. States-Spain in a state of decay-Diplomatic intercourse for the future, probably of slight moment.

As early as October 1813, the English and allied forces, approaching from the south, under the command of the Duke of Wellington, had crossed the Bidassoa, and taken a position on French territory. In the same month was fought



the battle of Leipsic, and in the course of the autumn, the French armies (with the exception of garrisons) were all pushed back across the Rhine into France, and as the winter closed in, that country was perceived, literally, to be encompassed and enveloped by hostile troops. In this juncture of affairs, the Emperor Napoleon addressed a letter from St. Cloud, dated Nov. 12, 1813, to Ferdinand, King of Spain, who had been detained his prisoner since 1808, and, at that time, resided at the castle of Valancay, not far distant from the Loire :

"My Cousin-The condition of my empire and my policy induce me to put an effectual end to the state of affairs in Spain. England is exciting in that country anarchy and jacobinism.-She is striving to overthrow the throne and the nobility for the purpose of establishing a republic. I cannot, without great emotion, reflect on the destruction of a nation, which interests me both by its vicinity and our mutual interest, respecting the commerce of the ocean. I am desirous of renewing the relations of good neighbourhood and friendship, that have so long existed between France and Spain, and of depriving England of every opportunity for the exercise of ambitious projects. M. the Count de la Forrest will present himself to your Royal Highness under a feigned name.* Put full confidence in any thing, he may say, as well as in the esteem and attachment, I have invariably entertained for you. My Cousin, having no other object in writing this letter,-I pray God to grant a long life to your Royal Highness."

Ferdinand having refused to treat, without consulting the regency of Spain, wrote to Napoleon Nov. 24, in the following terms:

"Sire-I have received, by the hands of M. de la Forrest, the letter, your Majesty has done me the honour to address me on the 12th of this month. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to your Imperial Majesty for proposing, by your intervention, to put an end to the troubles in Spain. Your Majesty informs me, that England is there exciting anarchy and jacobinism, and seeking to overthrow the throne of my family, and that your Majesty can

* He took the name of Dubosque.

not contemplate this state of confusion without a lively emotion of interest. I adhere to the answer, made verbally to M. de la Forrest. Neither my respect nor my attachment to your Imperial Majesty have diminished: but you have caused me to be conducted to Valancay, and I have ceased to exercise my control over the Spanish nation. I now claim to be heard by a deputation from the regency of that kingdom, who will give me accurate information on the state of the nation,-point out suitable remedies for the existing evils, and consolidate our union in the eyes of my subjects. If the condition of your empire and the policy of your Majesty induce you to reject these propositions, I shall still continue to remain at Valancay, where I have now been five years and a half, and where I shall die, if God so pleases. It is painful for me to express myself in this manner, but my conscience demands it. I feel an equal interest in the French and the English, but I prefer my own people to both. I am well pleased with M. de la Forrest, who, in watching over your interests, has not departed from the respect which is due to me.—May God give you many days, &c."

This letter exhibits spirit, sagacity and firmness; and, warmed by the perusal of it, several political writers have ⚫ paid Ferdinand a compliment, which no other part of his history or conduct, at all, justifies or confirms. It is much more likely, that the King and his attendants, notwithstanding the care, with which they were guarded, were well acquainted with the state of things, and looked forward to a speedy release on terms, more agreeable than those, proposed by the agent of the Emperor. Some diplomatic arrangements were, however, undertaken by the aid of the Duke St. Carlos, but before being completed, Ferdinand and the Infantas received permission to return to Spain without condition or stipulation. Their passports were delivered in March 1814, and they returned to their own country a few days only before Napoleon Bonaparte signed, himself, the act of his first abdication. A treaty was subsequently concluded at Paris, in July 1814, between Spain and France, consummating the great changes, that had taken place during the year, and restoring Spain, with all her rights and dignities, to the European family, as well partially to the inti

mate and family relations, which had formerly subsisted between these two branches of the house of Bourbon.

We shall now proceed directly with that portion of public affairs, that relates especially to this country. At the end of a former chapter, it has already been stated that in 1814, George W. Erving was appointed a minister to Madrid.This envoy was invested with full powers and instructions to come to a definitive arrangement on the points in dispute;-by no means a pleasing occupation, considering the nature of our complaints, and the dispositions of the Spanish government. These grievances, on the part of the United States, were many of them of ancient date, and all of importance. They consisted: 1, in a demand for indemnity for suspending the right of deposite at New Orleans 2d, for the refusal of Spain to settle the boundaries on just principles 3d, spoliations on commerce distributed in two classes-American vessels seized by Spanish cruisers, and those seized by French, but carried into Spanish ports and there condemned by French consuls. In the summer and autumn of 1816, Mr. Erving entered into a correspondence with the Spanish minister Cevallos on the subject of his instructions, but he was informed, the negotiation had been transferred to Washington, and that the minister here, was furnished with full powers to that effect. But when the Secretary of State at home entered into this business with Don Luis de Onis, it turned out, his powers were not full,--that he was authorized to discuss, but not to conclude a convention upon a single topic in controversy. This proceeding was, perhaps, not altogether unexpected, at least, not novel, and was adopted either for delay, or, because Cevallos was desirous of avoiding the labour of a negotiation. On the other hand, the Spanish minister in this country showed himself equally dexterous in the mode of managing the affair, and in 1817, at a time, when the American government absolutely refused longer to discuss subjects, perfectly understood and agreed on by both parties, sent his Secretary of Legation, Don Luis Noeli, to Madrid to obtain more ample and precise instructions. The

« AnteriorContinuar »