Imágenes de páginas

This is the only treaty of any kind we have entered into with Russia, though, for more than thirty years, we have had a great commercial intercourse with that country, and since 1809 a continued diplomatic one of the most harmonious and agreeable sort. On two important occasions, Russia has performed, with a gratifying readiness, the valuable office of mediator in our controversies with England. The situation of the Emperor is so entirely independent and his power is so very great, that both the United States and England may submit their controversies to his judgment, in the full confidence of an impartial and disinterested decision. We have here only to add, that the ministers to Russia, since the close of the war, were, James A. Bayard, of Delaware, appointed February 1815; William Pinkney, of Maryland, April of the same year; George W. Campbell, of Tennessee, April 1819; and, the actual resident, Henry Middleton, of South

“ART. 5. All spirituous liquors, fire arms, other arms, powder, and munitions of war of every kind, are always excepted from this same commerce permitted by the preceding article; and the two powers engage, reciprocally, neither to sell, or suffer them to be sold to the natives by their respective citizens and subjects, nor by any person who may be under their authority. It is likewise stipulated that this restriction shall never afford a pretext, nor be advanced in any case, to authorize either search or detention of the vessels, seizure of the merchandise, or, in fine, any measures of constraint whatever towards the merchants or the crews who may carry on this commerce; the high contracting powers reciprocally reserving to themselves to determine upon the penalties to be incurred, and to inflict the punishments in case of the contravention of this article, by their respective citizens or subjects.

"ART. 6. When this convention shall have been duly ratified by the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the senate on the one part, and on the other by his Majesty the emperor of all the Russias, the ratification shall be exchanged at Washington in the space of ten months from the date below, or sooner, if possible. In faith whereof, the respective plenipotentiaries have signed this convention, and thereto affixed the seals of their arms.

"Done at St. Petersburg, the 17th (5th) April, of the year of Grace one thousand eight hundred and twenty-four."

Carolina, appointed in April of the next year;-all with the designation of envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary. On the other hand, Russia has been represented in this country by Andrew de Daschkoff, accredited in 1815, Pierre de Poletica in 1819, the Baron de Tyull in 1823, the Baron de Maltitz, a chargé, and, at the present time, by the Baron Krudener. With the exception mentioned, these ministers have held the highest rank of diplomatic agents, sent to this country by the powers of Europe.



Two opportunities to regulate this trade passed by-In 1794 and 1825 -Right to trade not a natural one-Depends on conventional law— True distinction—Since 1783 subject of negotiation as well as of intercourse-Constitutes right on part of the United States to negotiate for it-Amount of the trade in different years-Valuable for manner in which it is conducted-Excellent nursery for seamen-History of negotiations with England—United States have rejected all propositions in expectation of acquiring the whole trade-No indication that England will yield this ground—Acts of the American and English governments-Practical effects of the system—Mr. King sent to London-No instructions—is succeeded by Mr. Gallatin-The English proposition of 1825 withdrawn, and intimation given, that farther negotiation would be declined-Trade remains in same state to pre

nt hour-Examination of ground assumed by England.

THIS government appears to have suffered two opportunities to have passed by for making a tolerably permanent and, in some respects, advantageous arrangement, relative to a trade with the British West Indies. The first was, in rejecting that part of the 12th article of the London treaty of 1794, that allowed an intercourse in vessels, not exceeding seventy tons burthen, a condition wearing an invidious air, but, in reality, the size specified, was one, our merchants, engaged in the traffic, would have selected; and the other, in declining to accept the proposition of the British government of July 1825. Both these opportunities seem to have been disregarded, not from want of skill in conducting the negotiation, but from an impression entertained by the senate in one case, and the cabinet in the other, that, by the steady rejection of subordinate terms, the trade with the co

lonies could eventually be established on the same footing in every particular, as with the mother country.

Some reliance has been placed on the argument, that the United States have an original claim, a natural right to the commerce of the European possessions in the West India seas. This opinion, generally received and deep seated just after the peace with England, was a principal cause of the unpopularity of Mr. Jay's treaty, particularly in the northern and eastern states. The natural freedom of commerce,-the fitness of man for society, and a right, proceeding from that circumstance, to trade and to exchange the produce of one country against that of another, are, certainly, phrases very acceptable to the ear; but it is extremely difficult to define their meaning. Society may be a very simple machine, (as Lord Bolingbroke said of man, it has but one moving, constituent part, self-interest) but this only applies to the principle of the engine; in itself, complicated, full of regulating actions, checks, stops and balance wheels. These appear to increase as nations become more refined and accomplished, and, as man was obviously intended for improvement, his natural condition is evidently that, most removed from a savage state. We know of no country, where the natural freedom of commerce (to use that expression in its popular does not diminish with the progress of society; all adopt navigation laws, protecting or prohibitory duties, bounties and a variety of artificial arrangements to make their systems mutually and exactly correspond. We are aware, it is a nice art to adjust the proportions either of protection,. prohibition, or bounty; and in this, after all, consists the whole excellence of an administration of affairs in time of peace. As to the particular subject of the colonial trade, a proper and satisfactory view of it was presented by Mr. Gallatin in a letter of September 22, 1826, to Mr. Canning, and, as we do not recollect, that a similar developement, to the same extent, has ever before been made by an American statesman, we shall extract his observations relative to it.


"Great Britain asserts, as clear and undoubted, the right to give to the United States, or to withhold from them, the privilege of

trading with the West India colonies, to reserve to herself that trade, and generally to open the ports of those colonies to foreign powers, or to keep them closed, as may suit her own convenience, wholly or partially, unconditionally or conditionally, and, if conditionally, on what conditions she pleases.

"As an abstract and general proposition the right is not denied ; but considered purely as a matter of right, this, which is an attribute of sovereignty applies to all other territories as well as to colonies.

"Every nation has the abstract right, generally and not in refe. rence to her colonies alone, to close or to open her ports to foreign vessels or merchandise, and to grant the indulgence wholly or partially, conditionally or unconditionally. This right has been, and continues to be exercised occasionally by every nation in the shape of navigation, prohibitory and restrictive laws, operating unequally on different nations.

"The real distinction between the trade of foreigners with colonies, and that with other territories, seems to consist, not in a greater or less complete right, but in a difference in the usage and practice. That an exclusive monopoly of the colonial trade was not the best mode of preserving colonies, or of promoting their prosperity, is a recent discovery. But since the late final separation of the greater part of the continent of America from the mother countries, and now that more enlightened views prevail, as respe the remaining colonies, the former peculiar character of the colonial trade is almost lost. The abstract right being the same, and the ancient system of colonial policy having been nearly abandoned, it is difficult to perceive any striking difference between the trade with the colonies, and that with the mother country."

The remark the American envoy makes in regard to the practice of European nations, in regulating their colonial policy, contains the whole distinction between the abstract right to forbid intercourse, by no means denied, and a right in the foreigner to treat for it on certain terms, created by the modern usages of those nations. It is precisely on this ground the United States claim a right to negotiate with England respecting this trade. America, for example, claims equal rights in transporting her own commodities to the West

« AnteriorContinuar »